This year, World Food Day is a reminder that each one of us should follow a more sustainable lifestyle, and here is why the Mediterranean diet can help us toward that direction.
The global health crisis, as a result of the pandemic outbreak, has led to redefining our eating behavior, offering a chance to appreciate food, a human need that many of us take for granted. Access to nutritious food keeps us alive and healthy, and this became even more apparent during the difficult times of the pandemic. A way to appreciate food is to respect the planet and sustain its ecosystems.
This is a message conveyed by this year’s World Food Day (WFD), that was celebrated on October 16. WFD was established by the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in November of 1979, and its theme for 2020 is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”.
Biodiversity is essential for the ecosystem
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms in the planet. According to FAO, a way for people to benefit the earth is to choose healthy and diverse foods that not only protect people’s health, but they also foster biodiversity, which is very important for the soil and the environment.
As a matter of fact, the Mediterranean diet is well-known as a diet full of different nutrients valuable for the human body, but its eco-friendly aspect has been sidelined. By encouraging the consumption of a plethora of different foods, this diet is in perfect alignment with the concept of biodiversity.
A mostly plant-based diet has smaller impact on the environment
The Mediterranean Diet mainly focuses on plant-based rather than animal-based products, so its environmental impact is less harmful compared to other diets.
Meat, which is consumed in very low quantities in this diet, is one of the food categories that has the most alarming impact on the environment, according to National Geographic.
Scientific research supports that greenhouse gas emissions, extent energy, water consumption and land exploitation could be reduced, if more people start following the Mediterranean Diet.
In other words, it is made clear that the Mediterranean Diet is a less resource-intensive diet, opposed to diets that focus on high-protein and energy-rich foods.
Consuming local products benefits our planet
The Mediterranean Diet, also, includes a wide range of local products and ingredients, for example olive oil, that are produced by small and medium- sized companies. Consuming food products produced by SMEs and small artisanal food makers results in maintaining a balanced food supply.
Small producers can, therefore, sell their artisanal and healthy products, while having a better control over quality, using less intensive production procedures, and avoiding harmful chemicals. When talking about local production, it is also important to highlight the traceability of the products, since in this way consumers are more “connected” to their food’s source.
By staying informed about the followed production processes and all the specifics of the supply chain, they are able to find out how food products made it to market.
In this article, we only presented a small part of the Mediterranean Diet. It is clear that, following this diet is natural and simple for people who want to eat everything in moderation, while maintaining their health but also protecting the environment and its ecosystems.
World Food Day can be the starting point for adopting this healthy lifestyle and make an impact!