It’s time to face facts, the majority of us have heralded in plenty of New Years, and plenty of 'New Year, New Me' mantras, yet we’ve never quite managed to to lose that 10kg, or start going to the gym every week.
But don’t get despondent, it’s time to see the New Year as a positive force for change once again. Perhaps it’s time to stop being so insular with what January can bring and, instead, focus on some real changes that we would like to see in 2018.
At Evocco, what we propose is that you can binge happily on ice cream whilst watching Netflix but still have a New Year’s Resolution that promises real change, not just for you but for everyone!
The Real Food Resolution
1.Try and avoid all factory foods
Even the term factory food (or processed food) can be confusing, and that’s just what they’re intended to be. At its core, a processed food is anything that has been frozen, canned, baked or dried somewhere in a factory before being put on the shelf. So, it’s essentially any deliberate change that has been made to a food before it's sold to the consumer to eat.
Contrary to popular belief, Factory foods aren’t just unhealthy snacks. This means that its really important not to set yourself up for failure - instead, think about what you love and see if there’s an alternative, such as switching to organic products for things like tea and coffee.
As coffee has moved from a luxury item into a daily staple, the ethical issues surrounding coffee plantations (including environmental destruction, child labour and slavery) have worsened dramatically. Coffee is traditionally grown in poorer countries with little effective environmental and humanitarian protections, resulting in both people and plants being exposed to harmful agrichemicals. Intensive coffee farming results in the third heaviest chemically-sprayed crop in the world, and it’s land-exploitative practices mean that after only 15 years a plantation's soil will be leached of nutrients. Sadly, it's also easier and more cost effective for companies to clear more land for a new plantation when this happens and just leave an ever expanding trail of wasteland behind them! You can find out more about it here: http://www.foodispower.org/coffee/
And just to make life super easy, here’s a link to the best organic coffee shops in Dublin: http://coffeesocietydublin.weebly.com/best-organic-coffee.html
2. Fork not Finger Food.
Usually, the food that’s best for you is best for the planet.
Fizzy drinks contain wasted energy for both the body and the environment! Anything that has ingredients that you can’t stick a fork through (i.e chemicals and E numbers) is best avoided.
The detrimental health effects of fizzy drinks are terrifying and they’re just another example of bad logic. We harm the environment and ourselves with a bad habit that can be so easily conquered!
This doesn’t mean that you have to swear off them though, in the summer months you can make cordials and add fizzy water through a soda stream. But, if you need help until then, getting over a hangover or fighting off the flu, we recommend Mulled Apple Juice to warm you up and keep you in the Christmas spirit whilst staying true to those drunk promises you made on New Years Eve about really sticking to Dry January this time!
3. Fermented not Fizzy
After all that Christmas bingeing, look after your gut health with more fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut. Research at the moment is suggesting that better bacteria in our gut (fermented foods are full of the probiotics that restore this) could have a serious influence on our serotonin production levels, which can ultimately work to raise our mood. As the days grow increasingly colder and darker, and people become more at risk of illnesses like seasonal depression, it’s time to begin taking care of ourselves as well as the planet.
As fermented foods have grown in health food trends, they’ve become more expensive and, sadly, more wrapped up in colourfully-branded plastics. To make it more environmentally friendly, we’re going to be giving you recipes and ideas on how to make your own, and will be showing you just how easy it is to pickle everything!
Check out our pickled fennel recipe here.
4. Taste the Rainbow...
...of organic vegetables.
Eat as much unprocessed food as you can. Companies like Green Earth Organics can deliver organic, Irish vegetables right to your door, making eating green both easy and creative.
Again, here’s a rough idea about what the term organic farming really means: ‘Organic agriculture is about a way of farming that pays close attention to nature. It means fewer chemicals on the land such as artificial fertilisers, which can pollute waterways. It means more wildlife and biodiversity, the absence of veterinary medicines such as antibiotics in rearing livestock and the avoidance of genetic modification. Organic farming can also offer benefits for animal welfare, as animals are required to be kept in more natural, free conditions. ‘
Many people believe that the taste is better and that the nutrient contents are higher, but the real asset to eating organic food is that the soil stays healthy and the waterways remain unpolluted. Often the chemicals run off the land and into the water, poisoning fish and ultimately disrupting the ecosystem. The Irish countryside may not look like it, but it’s actually made up of a delicate balance of plants and animals that once lost can never be regained. You can see all the environmental benefits to organic food listed here, and a good way to start is to keep an eye out for organic labels.
5. Treat yo’self
Making your own desserts and cakes enables you to become more aware of what it is that you’re putting into your body - this is a great way to cheat without hurting the planet or yourself!
So whether it’s Kale crisps : http://iofga.org/general/organic-recipe-of-the-week-kale-crisps/,
Or making your own biscuits using organic maple syrup: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/oaty-hazelnut-cookies, it is possible to eat good food whilst being environmentally clean!