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Eco-Friendly Eating for the New Year

With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur soon approaching, many feel a need for reflection and introspection. The High Holidays are also the time when Jews take stock of their lives and consider new beginnings. Below are a few suggested changes in the way you eat and shop for food for the New Year that also benefit God’s creation, the Earth:

  • Consider reducing meat consumption to help the planet: Cattle farmers use about 1000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. This compares with 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of grain or rice. With this in mind, consider opting for a meat-free meal once a week as a way to reduce water waste. Reduce waste even further by eating more poultry and less red meat as often as you can. Producing a pound of poultry uses half the amount of water as producing a pound of beef.
  • Grow your own simple vegetables: Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are simple items like herbs that anyone can grow in the kitchen, on the porch or in the backyard Growing your own herbs saves money and also reduces your carbon footprint because you will not be purchasing store bought herbs likely grown miles away.
  • Buy in bulk: There are many environmental benefits to buying in bulk. Among other things, it greatly reduces the amount of food packaging used. It also reduces the carbon footprint of each meal because bulk goods require overall less transportation before arriving at the grocery store. If every American purchased items from the bulk aisle once a week for a month, it would save more than 26 million pounds of packaging waste from landfills. Try the bulk food aisle for items such as raisins, nuts and pasta.
  • Buy local: Most area farmers’ markets are still up and running through the month of October. Visiting a nearby farmers market and purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables from the vendors helps the planet because you are not purchasing items flown from far away. Items purchased also will taste better and have more nutrients than store bought produce flown in from hundreds of miles away.

Through these few simple tips, you can start the New Year on the right foot and show respect for the planet too.

Resources: Earth911.com

This post originally appeared in jewishinstlouis at www.jewishinstlouis.org/planetjewish

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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