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Jul 15
Opinion Pieces
Each Mindful Meal Is A Step Towards Sustainable Food For All

By “Jackie Writing Jackie”

Photo by Ella Olsson

Around the world, over 3 billion people are malnourished, and many more eat a poor quality diet. Sustainable food practices are essential in order to ensure an adequate supply of good quality, nourishing food for an ever expanding population. However, in a world of greed and destruction, change will be slow to occur. When individuals take control over their own relationship with food, in accordance with Buddhist teachings, it can make a positive difference, not only to their own health and well-being, but to that of the world as a whole. Eating mindfully, being aware of where produce comes from, and savoring meals with friends all help to consolidate a strong connection with food and how it can nourish the world.

A Diligent Diet

Practicing mindful eating is already a requirement of many modern diets. Portions are measured, food is appreciated and cravings are managed. The Keto diet involves tracking consumption of different food types, but a more relaxed or lazy version of the diet can still be effective. So, what is lazy keto? It’s a simpler version of the diet where the intake of carbohydrates is restricted, but counting calories and recording macronutrients can be less rigorous. It shows that even small steps towards being more thoughtful about eating can have positive results on the body. However, the idea of mindful eating also has wider societal implications, when along with the health benefits of food, sustainability on a global scale is taken into account.

A Meat-Free Regime

There is some dispute over whether global beef farming can be made sustainable, but there is no denying that the inefficient farming of meat has had a negative effect on deforestation, pollution and climate change. At the same time, it only provides 18% of all food calories consumed around the world. The reasons behind choosing a vegetarian diet speak to the Buddhist themes of compassion, pacifism and re-birth, combined with the contemporary ethical motivations of animal welfare and environmental health. Vegetarianism was not part of early Buddhist tradition, and nor is it an essential component of following Buddhist teachings today. However, as more people embrace a meat-free existence, cruelty to animals and destruction of the earth can undoubtedly be mitigated.

A Deeper Connection With Food

Many people are disconnected from the the food they eat, unaware of its sources, the methods used to produce it, or how far it has travelled. Through eating fresh, seasonal and locally produced food, or even cultivating homegrown fruit and vegetables, provenance and sustainability can be ascertained and assured. Mindfulness in the preparation and consumption of food also allows a deeper connection, and a nurturing of body and mind.

Ensuring everyone in the world has access to nourishing food from sustainable sources will not be easy to manage. However, individuals are able to make compassionate and thoughtful choices about the type of food they eat, and how it is grown, prepared and cooked. Making the right choices now could lead to a better fed world in the future.

After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues

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1 response to “ Each Mindful Meal Is A Step Towards Sustainable Food For All ”
  1. Bravo!!! I am especially encouraged that the article discusses the merit of a meat-free diet, in terms of both environmental sustainability and compassion. I guess I’d take issue with your statement that it is not an essential element in Buddhist practice. Things are a lot different in the 21st century than in the Buddha’s time and going meat-free is no longer difficult (at least here in the western world). We may not have a set of Ten Commandments, but for the vast majority, eating meat is a choice, not a necessity. Being able to choose compassion, not only for the planet but for other sentient beings, is a gift. Great article!

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