Amazon and health food supermarket Whole Foods recently announced a partnership that includes the lowering of prices in-store and increased availability of products through Amazon itself. Since there are no Whole Foods Market stores in the province where I live – I don’t have any personal experience with the grocery chain, but I do have experience with Amazon as far as ordering items such as books, movies and so on. Being into sustainable eating – meaning buying foods produced in environmentally conscious ways – my initial reaction to purchasing food items from Amazon is mixed.
On one hand, taking your business to the online giant means taking it away from those who live in your community and adding to carbon emissions because of the extra transportation. On the other hand, healthier foods made available at the touch of a button – and at a reduced price to boot – makes sustainable eating more accessible.
As with so many things in life, I believe this all comes down to balance. Buy local when it’s available and affordable. Support the businesses and individuals who live in your community. However, online shopping via companies like Amazon is one way to deal with the aforementioned availability and affordability issues. It’s about using your head and – forgive me for the (vegan) cheese-filled sentimentality – following your heart.
With all that being said, I’ve rounded up a few of the most sustainable foods available on Amazon. Some are from the Whole Foods product line, some aren’t. Likely, many of these are also available at your local grocery store. Keep an eye out for them on your next shopping trip!
Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I only link to products that are good for the earth, good for the soul, or both!
Why They’re Sustainable: Dry beans contribute about 2kg of carbon dioxide for every 1kg produced. Considering producing the same amount of beef emits 27kg of carbon dioxide, that’s really low!
Why They’re Sustainable: Mango trees can live up to 300 years, helping remove carbon from the atmosphere by storing it in their trunks as sugar.
Try: Dried mangoes. Dried fruit is like healthy candy – chewy, sweet and bite-sized. You could also add dried mangoes to a homemade trail mix. Perfect for snacking on the go.
Why They’re Sustainable: Chickpeas enrich soil with nitrogen, thus requiring less fertilizer while also amending soil for future crops.
Try: I am always going on about the miraculous healthfulness and deliciousness that is chickpeas. Try my baked balsamic chickpeas recipe and see for yourself!
Why It’s Sustainable: Coconut oil is a more controversial food item as far as sustainability goes. While the production of coconuts doesn’t require pesticides and herbicides and they are picked by hand instead of machine, the growing popularity of the product means larger areas of land are being cleared to grow more coconut trees. Make sure you buy organic coconut oil and look for other certifications on the packaging such as Fair Trade.
Try: I love using coconut oil in baking. When I’m in the mood for some fresh out of the oven cookies, I get Devin to make these vegan chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil for me because – for some reason – they just taste better when he does it.
Why They’re Sustainable: Lentil production creates very low carbon emissions – only 0.9kg for every 1kg. That’s the equivalent of driving only 2 miles. Compared to 1kg of turkey, which equals driving 25 miles.
Why They’re Sustainable: Nuts are a low carbon source of protein. The amount of carbon required to produce a serving size is the equivalent of driving about a half a mile.
Why They’re Sustainable: Olive trees are extremely drought-resistant and require little water to thrive. Plus, some companies that sell pitted olives crush the pits to create renewable energy sources.
Try: Olives are one of those foods that either you love or you hate. My baby and I love them. Devin and our older daughter – not to so much. So I just cut up a few and sprinkle them in my salads or on a homemade pizza. If you’re super into olives you can even make an olive tapenade – sans anchovies – and spread it on your sandwiches or some crackers.
Why They’re Sustainable: Not only do tomatoes have a low carbon footprint, but they also grow deep root systems that absorb water from deeper soil, limiting the amount of water needed.
Try: Everything! Tomatoes are so incredibly versatile. Make your own homemade spaghetti sauce or salsa, use them in soups and stews or try this tomato pepper potatoes recipe. Yum!
Why It’s Sustainable: Another sustainable food with a complicated backstory. The increasing popularity of quinoa has raised prices, meaning southern hemisphere farmers who grow the grain now see it as too valuable to consume. However, articles such as this one note that farmers are indeed making more money and are using it to buy larger quantities of more affordable grains. See… I told you it was complicated.
Try: It’s important to diversify the foods we consume even within the food type itself. Instead of the highly in demand white quinoa, try black or red quinoa instead.
Posted on November 5, 2017
Former architectural technologist. Current treehugger.
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