Updated: May 13
Like clothing, diet is an area where passionate climate activists often disagree! Both armed with scientific data, one person may argue that we must all become vegan to survive, while another claims that regenerative farming of animals is our best hope for carbon sequestration.
So I'll start with what we can agree on: eating a diet rich in organically grown vegetables and whole fruits is healthier for our bodies AND the planet. We are growing our own vegetables and buying vegetables from local organic farmers. We could certainly eat a larger volume of vegetables than we currently do! We are adding more greens into our diet, which we both enjoy and are easy to grow here.
We generally eat a vegetarian breakfast. One of us digests oatmeal and dairy well, and makes homemade oatmeal or granola for breakfast, along with dried fruit, nuts, and organic yogurt or milk. The other does better with a fruit, nut, and seed-based smoothie. Snacks of fruit, nuts, and carrots also work well for us.
Making our other meals vegetarian is trickier because of our food allergies. We both have trouble digesting legumes, although we can tolerate small amounts of black beans, green beans, and snap peas each week. We can't eat soybeans, and chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, lentils, etc, are problematic. We are also completely intolerant of wheat, and one of us can't eat much dairy and dislikes eggs, while the other has trouble with cruciferous vegetables, garlic, peanuts, and sweet potatoes. We have discovered that taking digestive enzymes along with the problematic foods helps, except for dairy and gluten. Still, we are much better off largely avoiding the foods we don't tolerate.
So at this point, we are consuming small quantities of meat, poultry, and fish. We are doing our best to source it locally and be sure that the animals are fed their natural diet and treated well. As we learn more about carbon sequestration through regenerative farming practices, we support our local farmers in moving in that direction. (See our blog post on our local grass-fed beef).
Since we've learned which enzymes help us digest some of the legumes, we are slowly increasing the amount of protein we get from plant sources, adding a few meals each week based on black beans. We also love vegetable-rich curries, stir-fries, and vegetable medleys. To further decrease our meat consumption, we've found that it helps to list the vegetarian foods we CAN eat, and to source them fresh, organic, and locally, to maximize our enjoyment of them:
Root vegetables: carrots, potatoes, onions, and beets
Greens: chard, kale, arugula, and leaf lettuces
Nightshades: tomatoes, eggplant, and chili peppers
Grains: Brown rice, wild rice, corn, oatmeal, and oat milk
Squash of all kinds
Herbs, spices, curry, olives, mustard, balsamic vinegar
Fruit, especially berries
Black beans, green beans, and snap peas (in small quantities with enzymes for both of us)
Cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and sweet potatoes (in small quantities with enzymes for one of us)
Cheese (in small quantities with enzymes for both of us) and yogurt, milk, and cream for one of us
We limit our consumption of prepared foods to dishes we can't prepare ourselves properly: corn and almond-flour tortillas, locally made gluten-free bread, and food from Mexican, Indian, Thai, and sushi restaurants.