Rewilding literally means the undoing of domestication, and this became an attractive concept when I thought about how our food system impacts negatively on the environment.
The amount of damage inflicted by humans on our planet is just plain scary. Scarier still, however, is how many big industrial businesses and governments continue to stick their heads in the sand. Consumers – whether as individuals or a collective – need to drive the change and be more intentional about our purchasing power.
Inspired by American environmental activist Rob Greenfield, I thought I would share some of his methods on how to be mindful of our planet when consuming our foods and essentially rewild our diets. Restoring the ways our ancestors survived – especially those that created greater health and nurturing of the ecosystems we are aligned with for our well-being – may not be such a bad thing after all.
Here’s how you can rewild your diet…
Eat less meat
We are not here to tell you what to eat or not to eat. However, from our experience and what people have shared with us, the positive health benefits of a plant-based diet are immediate and very obvious. There is also the environmental impact of livestock farming to consider, which is widely reported. Water and land consumption, animal methane and fossil fuel usage are some of the environmental effects associated with meat production. Being a flexitarian is what’s working for us currently. Remember to consult your doctor for any drastic changes in diet.
Avoid or reduce processed foods
I’m sure you’ve read the famous wellness quote “If your grandmother or ancestors don’t recognise it, don’t bother eating it” – or something like that. Eat whole foods most of the time – foods that are still in the same shape as when they came from the earth, full of nutrients and free of all the nasties. It is advised to shop on the perimeter of a supermarket where the fresh food is stocked. You are not missing much in the middle aisles where real food is concerned.
We cannot emphasise this point enough, and if you are familiar with our articles this is on repeat. Eating food that is grown in your local environment has been proven to contain enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals to help keep your immune system healthy and strong. For example, in South Africa, winter is citrus season, which means loads of vitamin C to battle colds and flu. Buying local helps improve your local economy – and how much do we need this in our country? Your food is also not transported from far away, which means fewer gas emissions. The benefits are massive. We support local organic farmers through our vegetable box delivery service – read more and order yours here.
Buy organic or natural food
While PGS South Africa (find out more about them here) is a great resource, you can also just talk to your local growers and ask them if their food is grown organically. This will keep chemicals out of your body, the farmer’s body, and all the creatures’ bodies. While most farming methods have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment, organic farming is far better for you and for the earth than the conventional methods.
Buy unpackaged foods
What is the point of plastic wrapping fresh produce? It’s certainly not a good rewild practice and not something our ancestors would have done. Farmers markets that supply the most “reputable” supermarkets in the country sell produce that is unpackaged! I’m talking about City Deep market in Johannesburg, here. Packaging, in most cases, ends up in landfills or the oceans and it’s just unnecessary. Major cities in South Africa now have package-free/zero-waste supermarkets, so find one near you and support them. Also, if you’re buying whole, unpackaged foods in the bulk section then make sure to bring your own jars or bags to put them in. It may seem weird at first but these practices quickly catch on.
Spread the word
There are many ways to rewild your diet, from not buying plastic water bottles to using your own cup for coffee takeaways (guilty!) to eating raw foods. But the most important, in my view, is to spread the information. Every small step taken by each person helps the movement grow and creates a huge impact on the environment.
Let us all strive to restore some of the ways our ancestors did stuff, especially where our food, health and well-being is concerned. Every effort and conscious decision counts. Let’s go back to basics – rewild your diet.