What Eco-Influencers Eat

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What is a sustainable diet? I’ve teamed up with other members of Ethical Writers & Creatives to share what we eat in a typical day and why.

The video above ^ shows what I ate on a day of healthy, home-cooked meals.

Morning

My day started as it always does with a cup of tea. Tea is a must-have for me and I drink at least one cup a day.

For breakfast most days I’ll have oats or muesli with fruit. I usually use oat milk but our grocery store was unfortunately out of stock, so this week we had rice milk (I always make sure the milk has added calcium though). This muesli has dried fruits but I added a banana as well.

Later in the morning I’ll have a light snack, and we had some delicious clementines which make a perfect snack.

Afternoon

For lunch I’ll often have leftovers from the night before – I like to cook extras so we have enough for lunch the next day. If there aren’t leftovers, this simple sweet potato and crispy kale dish is something I really enjoy in the winter – it’s warm and comforting plus includes seasonal veggies! It’s also really easy to make and just involves roasting sweet potatoes and making kale chips close to when the potatoes are done. You cut the potatoes open, add hummus and top with the baked kale. The potato and hummus are super creamy and the kale chips adds a great texture.

Later in the afternoon I’ll usually have a snack. This might be some nuts, or hummus with veggies or chips (if I didn’t already have hummus for lunch). Sometimes I want something sweet and will have chocolate or if I’m out with friends we’ll usually go for coffee and cake in the afternoon. On this day I had some homemade “peanut butter bites”. These ones are just peanut butter, puffed amaranth, and maple syrup – you can find tons of different recipes for things like this on Pinterest and they can be a great snack, but I wish I had also added chocolate. 😉

Evening

For dinner I usually make a big curry, stew, stir-fry, pasta dish, or “Buddha bowl” like this day. I’ll try to use up what veggies we have around and for this bowl I wanted to use leftover kale (and actually should have made an extra sweet potato for it too). I also added cooked mushrooms to the rice, chopped tomato and red pepper, steamed broccoli, and chickpeas. For a sauce I made a quick sesame sauce based on Minimalist Baker’s tahini dressing.

Finally I’ll often end the day with another cup of tea, I love a peppermint or a herbal blend at night. 🍵

 

I enjoy cooking but often don’t want to spend too much time, so I try to make more simple, healthy dishes. Usually quick and simple for me means pasta and sauce, packaged foods, or going out, but I’m finding more and more delicious healthy dishes that are also easy to make!

 

vegetables
Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash

How is my diet sustainable?

I’ve been vegetarian for over 10 years now and follow a mainly plant-based diet which is a big part of sustainable and ethical eating for me. Food was actually where I began my journey (after learning about the cruelty behind factory farming) and made me think more about what I consumed, where it came from, and the greater impact it had.

We are very lucky to have good organic stores in my city (that aren’t crazy expensive) and I buy a lot of our groceries organic, especially produce that uses the most pesticides like the “dirty dozen”. Most people assume I buy organic for health reasons, but I’m actually more concerned about the affects of pesticides on biodiversity and especially how they harm bees, which are so important as pollinators in our food system.

When planning meals I try to incorporate seasonal produce and buy locally-grown when possible. Eating seasonally is not only more sustainable but also more affordable and I enjoy trying new recipes and ways to eat seasonal fruits and veggies.

Some things I’m currently working on are reducing plastic packaging by buying what I can in bulk and I’m also trying to buy fewer pre-made, packaged foods – this not only reduces plastic waste but they’re generally not very healthy, plus a lot of them contain palm oil which I like to avoid due to the deforestation issues caused by palm plantations.

Another important aspect of a sustainable diet to me is food waste and I try to only buy what I know will get used/eaten. Something that I’ve found incredibly helpful is having a small fridge which seems common in Europe but not what I’m used to in North America. With a small fridge you can see everything and remember to use it, plus you can’t over-buy because there isn’t space for it. We almost never have to throw any food out which I’m really happy about.

photo: Dennis Wilhelms www.denniswilhelms.com

With any diet changes and shifting to more conscious eating, I think it’s really important to take it in small steps and not worry about being “perfect”. Food is such a huge part of our daily lives and I’ve found focusing on one thing at a time and slowly building on that to be really helpful.

So that’s how I eat, but there are many different approaches to a sustainable diet. See what these other eco bloggers and content creators eat:

Alden from EcoCult

Kathryn from Going Zero Waste

Jen from Honestly Modern

Leah from StyleWise

Florine from The Wasted Blog

Cait from World Threads Traveler

Chloé from Conscious by Chloé

Holly from Leotie Lovely

Renee from Model4GreenLiving

Faye of Sustaining Life

 

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12 Responses

  1. Idun Loor
    | Reply

    Eco diet)) Love this!!

  2. Vera
    | Reply

    Nice video, good inspiration. But I would like to point out that the use of aluminium foil is not a good idea healthwise and as far as the environment is concerned. Instead of chia you could use flaxseed in your müesli. It contains more or less the same minerals and vitamins but is grown in Germany. Sweet potatoes are not grown in Germany (it is too cold). Sauerkraut is great in winter to supply you with vitamin C.
    (Sorry about my awkward English)

  3. sakura
    | Reply

    Good principles, but tomatoes and pepper could not be less seasonal at the moment… unless it was filmed 6 months ago… I was surprised to see these veg in your video. Being from northern France I’m pretty sure better options exist in Germany.

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      It’s not the easiest to eat seasonally in the winter but I try to incorporate seasonal produce where I can.

      • sakura
        | Reply

        Mmmmh… there should be many options but it is true that depending on the “grocery system” it can be more complicated since the food industry has “abandonned” so many vegetable… in france “amap” or community-supported agriculture, where you buy a farmer’s production, are quite popular… i don’t know if it exists in germany though…

        • Vera
          | Reply

          It does.

  4. Valerie Hart
    | Reply

    This looks amazing! I love Buddha bowls! I can’t believe I never just put kale on my sweet potatoes. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m going to the farmers market today and you have me feeling so inspired 💓💓💓

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      Yay! 😊 I love the combo of creamy sweet potato and crispy kale. 🤤 Have a wonderful time at the farmers market! 💚

  5. Sarah
    | Reply

    Beautiful video as always 🙂 these meals looked super healthy, easy and yummy! Unfortunately a lot of the ingredients where neither local nor seasonal. I get that this is just one small fraction of your diet and not representative, but it might give the wrong idea in the video. With globalization on the run it can get more and more difficult to actually buy locally and seasonally

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      Hey Sarah,
      I didn’t intend to make it seem like I eat only seasonal or local produce (that would be almost impossible in the winter here), just that I try to incorporate them when I can. For example the kale, mushrooms, onion, and potatoes were all grown in Germany (I’m not entirely sure about the sweet potatoes we get, but I know the regular ones are). It can be difficult especially in winter, but I try.

  6. Jailyn
    | Reply

    Your meals look great – really healthy and easy!

    Since the first of the year, I’ve really made an effort to eat more healthy. I eat pretty much the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch and have the same meal for dinner all week, usually.

    For breakfast, I have a protein shake with either nut milk fortified with pea protein or soy milk, since both are high in protein. I add a small amount of cold brew coffee and protein powder. This gives me most of my protein for the day plus B12, calcium, vitamin D, and DHA (omegas). For lunch, I usually have a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread with an apple. More protein and I start to get my fruits and veggies. Dinner is primarily vegetables with some grains and protein. This week I’m having couscous with almonds, raisins, dates, red peppers, spinach, onions, and tofu.

    I’ve been trying to stick to the idea of a meal with 1/2 fruits and vegetables, 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains per meal, but that mostly applies to dinner, although maybe lunch too. I also drink a lot of water during the day. If I’m especially hungry one day then I may have a snack of another apple or hot chocolate between lunch and dinner.

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      My husband just got some protein/nutritional powder for shakes, I’m trying to figure out some good recipes and combinations to make it taste better and coffee is a great idea!!

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