4 planet-friendly ways to build a sustainable vegan diet

May 23 2018, 2:26 am

This article was written for Daily Hive by Choices Markets dietitian Jess Pirank, RD and  nutritionist Elizabeth Whalley, RHN. 

There are plenty of great reasons to switch your diet to a more plant-centered one. For starters, it’s better for your health, and it shows compassion toward animals.

But what about reducing your carbon footprint?

With that in mind, here are four tips to consider when filling your plant-based grocery cart to keep its environmental impact at the lowest possible

Forget fruits from afar

Exotic fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles before landing on our dinner plates. Think about how many times coconuts, avocados, and jackfruit, are incorporated into vegan recipes.

When it comes to coconut (the main source of saturated fat in a vegan diet), it’s transformed into everything from butter to sugar to soy sauce substitute, so relying on an imported exotic product is not the best thing you can do for the environment. The bottom line is that we can’t rely on exotic foods that travel from afar as everyday staples in the long run.

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Canadian plant-powered protein

Good news; your best protein sources grow right here at home. Whole grains can be a great source of protein – just one cup of wheat berries gives us 24 grams of protein. That’s the equivalent of a whole chicken breast. Not only are whole grains a great source of protein, they’re also packed with fiber, B vitamins, and lots of minerals.

Legumes are another great example of a Canadian grown plant-based protein – Canada is a world leader in producing both lentils and dried peas. They’re an excellent source of protein but unlike animal-based protein sources, they offer tons of fiber and minerals, too.

Local or organic for the win

When you see “organic” on a label you know it’s heavily regulated and farmers are held accountable for the foods they grow. These regulations encourage biodiversity, clean air, and water, support natural wildlife, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Although organic farming promotes sustainability, organic certification can be a financial hardship for small-scale family farms. This is where getting to know your local producers is really important. By getting to know local producers you can get the inside scoop on their farming practices, most of which are very planet-positive without the organic price tag.

To learn more or to book your FREE nutrition consultation with Choices’ team of dietitians and nutritionists, visit Choices Markets.

You can also hear more from Jess and Elizabeth at Veg Expo in Vancouver on Sunday, May 27.

Tickets to the one-day event are on sale now costing $16 each via Veg Expo. Plus, you can get 2-for-1 tickets when you use the promo code DAILYVEG at checkout.

Veg Expo 2018

When: Sunday, May 27
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
Price: $16; buy online (+ get 2-for-1 tickets when you use the promo code DAILYVEG at checkout)

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Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Veg Expo 2018

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