Reducing water is the norm (not new) in this country – as well as in many other drought-stricken regions around the world. How do we conserve water? What you put on your plate is one of the most impactful ways to conserve water. Learn all the many ways to conserve water with our water-saving diet guide and six tips.
Now, more than ever, water resources are dwindling and water sustainability is threatened. Challenges include increasing population, climate change, pollution, modern agriculture, and the resulting impact on ecosystems that depend on these limited freshwater resources. It can be confusing even to think about how we as individuals impact such a huge global issue, but as much as we are part of the problem – the average water use per capita is about 80 to 100 gallons per day in America! Also a vital part of the solution. One of the most effective ways to conserve water is with a fork.
Turning off the faucet and showering for a shorter time and replacing watery green lawns and landscapes with dry farming is important, but so are the food choices we make every day. Every bite of food has a “water footprint” – the total amount of water needed to produce the food, from farm to fork. we Literally Drink Our Food Nearly 70% of the world’s water supply goes to growing food.
One of the main ways to reduce your water footprint is to eat a more plant-based diet. Consuming a diet rich in animal protein increases your water footprint, while a plant-based diet helps reduce your footprint and the impact on the environment. For example, research shows that producing one kilogram of beef requires 13,000 liters of water, compared to 1,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of wheat. Switching to a plant-based diet can help reduce the amount of stress on the world’s water supplies and lead to more sustainable water use. And there’s more that you can do!
Tackling the big problem of conserving our precious water resources is easier to get around if you start where you are right. Start eating more plants. Try 6 tips to cut your water footprint with a fork to conserve these precious resources today!
6 ways to keep water in your diet
1. Eat a vegetarian diet. Eating plants instead of animals can reduce your water footprint. Forty percent of the water consumed in the United States goes to the production of animal food. This is because in modern animal farming, you have to grow plants (with all the water needed to grow them), and then feed those plants to the animals. Animals are thirsty, and drink a lot of water their whole lives before they become meat. That’s why one study showed that it takes about 1,600-2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, only 257 gallons for the same amount of soybeans, 146 for corn, 290 for oats, and 34 for broccoli. Alternatively, you can eat those plants directly from the soil and skip feeding them to the animals, thus reducing water use. That’s why studies have found that vegetarian diets, such as vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean diets, are associated with a much lower water footprint. Learn how to eat a vegetarian diet with my Free Toolkit.
2. Edible landscape cultivation. If you have garden space, don’t use it entirely on plants that don’t provide sustenance. You can use the same space (and water!) to grow plants that provide food. Start with a container vegetable garden or some pots with tomatoes or herbs. Plant a fruit tree instead of a non-bearing tree. Plant edible plants that are appropriate for your growing region. For example, in California we have a Mediterranean climate, so I planted trees that thrive in the sun: figs, persimmons, pomegranates, olives, and citruses. Instead of watering trees that only look pretty, I water trees (which are absolutely beautiful!) that can provide food for my family and friends. But don’t cut all flowering plants from your garden; they attract pollinators which are important for growing food. Look for species of wildflowers native to your area, which grow without man-made inputs. check out my Free toolkit on how to grow your own food very.
3. Reduce food waste. You spill precious water with every morsel of food you throw in the trash. In fact, we waste about 40%, nearly 40 million tons, of food produced in the United States each year. 24% of the water used in agriculture goes directly into sewers due to food waste – that’s 45 trillion gallons a year producing 1.3 billion tons of food that will never be eaten. So, follow the policy of no food waste! Plan meals, so you don’t buy too much, store foods wisely so they last longer, pack leftovers, take home doggie bags, watch expiration dates carefully, and use food whole—from root to stem. For those times when there is no waste, compost it at home or through a program sponsored by your city.
4. Get rid of the water bottle. The bottled water habit is one of the most unsustainable habits you can acquire in your lifetime. It’s not just fossil fuel-intensive (from making plastic bottles to transporting them across the country); Nor is it just an issue of landfills resulting from discarded water bottles. It takes about 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water due to the production process. Get reusable water bottle and use it! If tap water isn’t for you, consider installing a filter on the tap or keeping a pitcher of filtered water in the refrigerator.
5. Eat whole foods rich in nutrients. Every bite of food requires resources to produce it, including water. Some farmers and food companies produce wholesome, healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, while others produce highly processed foods, such as sugary sodas, snack crackers and biscuits. By focusing on nutrient-rich foods, you are eating sustainably because the resources (such as water) needed to produce foods are used to support human health. When you choose processed junk foods, these resources are used to produce foods that do not support human health. It’s that easy.
6. Eat in balance with your body. Have you ever stopped to think that when you overeat and overeat — eating more food than your body requires to sustain itself — it’s an unsustainable business? An average adult needs about 2,000 calories per day to maintain a healthy body (more or less depends on your age, gender, and activity). When you exceed the level your body needs to grow, you are essentially wasting the resources needed to produce that food. Living in balance with your body is one of the most important things you can do to live more sustainably through your life – and it’s good for your health.
Looking for more inspiration to live sustainably? Check out the following blogs to get there!
Check out some of my favorite sustainable kitchen items over here.