As we head towards an age of environmental consciousness, more people are looking for ways to go green. Green dining is a relatively new concept that recently reached Malaysian shores, with an increasing number of eateries and restaurants promoting eco-friendly dining facilities that lessen the impact to the environment.
Individual health has become a major concern with an increasing number of patients battling heart and cardiovascular problems as well as diabetes that plagued countries across the globe. These greatly involve bad eating habits and incorrect diet that increases health risks even for children.
Green Dining is not only about sustaining the earth; it is also about sustaining our lives.
Buying locally produced food, or better yet growing our own, can reap incredible rewards for our lives, other than saving the environment. The purchase of sustainable foods, especially those organically grown, supports the maintenance of ecosystems and agriculture for generations to come, while reducing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers than potentially harms our health. It helps a country’s economy and drops pollution rates by lessening transportation and travel time between producers, distributors and consumers.
Organic fruits are tasty, fresh and healthy for our diets and fights heart disease and cancer. It promotes natural beauty by promoting skin regeneration and increases body hydration and body functionality.
When you go to your next seafood restaurant trip, do think how many sea animals have been caught whether by purpose or accidently, and then left at the sea dead or injured, like some sharks that are caught and their fins cut off for our later consumption while they are thrown back into the ocean without them to limp and die. This slowly destroys the eco-system, damage the habitat and harm the marine life. Yet, these are the symptoms of the efforts of our beloved fisherman to make sure we get our feast of large prawns, favourite fishes and sharks’ fin soup.
70 percent of the world’s fisheries have been over-fished to the point of near depletion, presenting a scenario where in the future there will not be a steady supply of fish from reliable sources to dine on. While fishes like tuna, sardines, salmon and mackerel are heavily advertised as prime fishes to eat due to its omega-3 content and calorie reducing properties, they often contain high dosages of PCBs, mercury and other toxic contaminants that pollute the waters that present a health hazard to children as well as adults especially women who are childbearing if consumed more than once a week.
Meat and Poultry, Eggs and Milk
Meat preparation for the general market is harmful to the environment as it increases greenhouse gas emissions with its factory based farming, transportation and has huge wastage and pollution levels. But there are types of meat that are less impactful, such as chicken, fish and eggs. It always pays to go vegetarian with a milk diet for energy, or at least take smaller portions of meat.
And if you are into animal rights, you could also try to check on the welfare of the chickens that lay our eggs, for instance, whether they are kept in captivity without any freedom of movement for the rest of their lives, or injected with antibiotics, bovine growth hormones or other substances. Growth hormones are often injected into cows to increase milk production. These may end up within your body once you consume them.
Coffee, Tea and Bottled Water
Most of us drink coffee and tea without realizing that the plantations built to harvest their seeds contribute to tropical rainforest deforestation and habitat destruction especially for birds. Many growers resort to chemicals and pesticides to mass produce in meeting demand. However, there are alternatives. Switch to organic coffee. Organic coffee farmers are required to avoid pesticides and rotate crops to maintain natural soil fertility. You can also get coffee from bird-friendly or fair trade sources.
Bottled waters are unavoidable as they are cheap and convenient. Most manufacturers are now heavily promoting dispensers, especially filtered water dispensers, for home, officers and around the neighbourhood in order to cut down on the use of bottles. We can do our part by reusing the bottles at least another three to four times, which is still safe to use. Also look at the manufacturer’s details on the bottled drinks, and only buy from organizations that do not need to travel much to supply them. This would encourage facilities to serve by state and discourage much transportation, which also saves their cost.
Try These Easy Tips To Be More A Green Diner.
• Say no Styrofoam and Polystyrene when you take-away your food. Use a tiffin carrier or reusable containers instead. Or get yourself a bento box or lunch box.
• Bring your own cup or bottle the next time you head to a fast food outlet or kiosk.
• While you are at it, bring your own utensils as well.
• No more plastic bags. Hand-carry your take away food instead. Work your muscles!
• Do not waste food. Make sure finish food that is stored. If you really cannot finish it, then pack and store the leftovers.
• Really, why do you need straws? And seriously, you need lids on your cups too?
• Go vegan. If you cannot, go vegetarian. Remember, meat contributes to global warming.
• Start your own garden and grow your own food. You can always start with some pots if you do not have space.
• Look for green restaurants to dine in.
• Avoid seafood and buy sustainable foods.