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Emily Martin’s Blog

Top 10 #FoodResolutions for the New Year

Emily Martin

Posted December 13, 2013 in Health and the Environment

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When it comes to making New Year’s resolution lists, “eat healthier” is typically in the top 5.  Somewhere between resolving to “exercise more often” (does picking up my toddler count as lifting weights?) and “reduce stress” (is that possible when you live in New York City?).  

 But I’d like to take the “eat healthier” concept one step further and not only do it for myself, but also for my community and the planet.  So with that in mind here is my 2014 #FoodResolutions list! 

  1. Reduce food waste.  40% of food in the US today goes uneaten.  Reducing food losses by just 15% would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans their total diet every year.  As a consumer, I can do my part by getting educated about what all those food date labels on our food really mean (spoiler: they’re really confusing and result in a lot of perfectly good food being thrown out) and by embracing the Waste Not, Want Not philosophy.
  2. Buy more organically produced food.  Many widely used pesticides have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and reproductive problems.  I’d like to pass on that for 2014 and look out for the USDA Organic label when I’m buying fruits and vegetables (and meat and dairy!)
  3. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Resolution-Antibiotics.png Speaking of meat, I’d like to keep mine antibiotic-free. When chickens, pigs and cows are routinely fed antibiotics, not as treatment when they get sick but to compensate for crowded and unsanitary conditions inside industrial farms and to speed up growth, bacteria develop antibiotic resistance and we run the risk that antibiotics will not work to cure an infection when we need them most.  That’s bad for the animals and bad for us.  Join the fight, sign the pledge and protect our health! 
  4. Make home-cooked food a weekly routine.  It’s much easier to make sure the produce you eat is organic and meat is raised without reliance on antibiotics when you buy and cook it yourself.  If you need inspiration, check out this family meal planner which also has gluten free and vegan options.  And it doesn’t have to be expensive.  Check out my colleague’s adventures in “Frugal Feasts”, delicious and nutritious meals made from sustainably sourced ingredients all for $5 a head!
  5. Begin composting kitchen scraps.  If you’re like me and live in a big city, this one feels like a stretch.  But even New York is joining the movement and expanding composting in 2014.  I’ll start by reading tips for newbies like me.
  6. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Resolution-Seasonal.png Only buy seasonal produce.  If you prefer to buy locally produced food, it's wise to eat in sync with the seasons.  Use NRDC’s Eat Local widget to find out what's in season and locate your nearest farmers markets
  7. Plant an herb garden – in some form!  Some of us only have a small window sill to call our own.  Do what you can and grow your own food – even if it’s just one basil plant in a pot.  Then you don’t have to buy a whole bunch when you only need a sprig, and that means less waste!
  8. Visit my local Farmer’s Market once a week.  Get to know your farmer, and you get to know your food.  Also, when you support farms financially, you save them from the developer’s bulldozer, an all-too-common fate these days. 
  9. Commit to leftovers and leave nothing to waste.  I’ll start by reorganizing my fridge to minimize spoiled food and popping things in the freezer when I realize I won’t get around to eating them in time.
  10. Resolution-CookWithKids.png Cook with your kids!  I have a very picky two year old at home, so this is a big one for me.  My personal resolution for 2014 will be to instill in my son the love and appreciation that I have for food, for cooking for the ones you love, and for this great planet that provides us with delicious things to eat year after year.

Do you have another great resolution that we missed? Be sure to add your own #FoodResolutions to our list by sharing them in comments below or on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll include them in our list. Happy New Years!

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Comments

brianDec 17 2013 10:46 AM

i find it ironic how you note that the idea of 'bacteria developing antibiotic resistance' is 'bad for the animals'. you do realize that immense suffering and premature death are also bad (actually, much worse) for the animals?
if you're going to feign sympathy for animals, then please think about what eating/wearing/exploiting them means to you.
try this... http://earthlings.com/
you'll like it, it's got Joaquin Phoenix

Emily MartinDec 17 2013 01:05 PM

Hey Brian- Thanks for your comment. Bacteria developing antibiotic resistance IS certainly bad for animals, as well as all of us "earthlings". Antibiotic resistant superbugs threaten all of our health when the drugs we've come to rely on no longer work. Animals raised in unsanitary, crowded conditions are given antibiotics routinely to prevent disease and promote growth. That's not OK. Let's focus on changing the system so that industry doesn't squander our precious medicines to compensate for poor husbandry practices. To learn more about this issue, please visit our website: http://www.nrdc.org/food/saving-antibiotics.asp

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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