Eating habits are greatly related to low-carbon living. If you can change your habits to eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat, you should be able to improve your health and effectively slow down global warming. The production process of any food ingredients, from their planting, herding, transportation, manufacturing, processing, selling, using and/or discarding, is directly or indirectly involved with energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, while carbon dioxide is the main culprit of global warming. "Low-carbon diets" are to consume the food ingredients that are produced locally, on season, and environmentally friendly, so as to reduce environmental impact and carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, “eating more fruit and vegetables and less meat” is not only good for your own health but also the easiest way to reduce carbon emissions to save the Earth
Essence of low-carbon food ingredients:
1. According to a British research, the process to ship 1 kg of apples from New Zealand to the United Kingdom would emit 1,000 grams of carbon dioxide. In comparison, 1 kg of locally produced apples would discharge only 50 grams of carbon dioxide. The difference is 20 times, indicating that the more local and seasonal the food ingredients are, the less carbon emission there is.
2. The amount of carbon dioxide consumed in the production of meat is one thousand times more than that of green vegetables of the same weight. For a cow to produce one kilogram of meat, it would emit about 36 kilograms of carbon dioxide and consume 52,147 liters of water. According to statistics, meat production is accounted for 18% of the total carbon emissions in the world. If a person can refrain from eating meat one day per week, he/she would help reduce 4.1 kg of carbon emissions. It is thus inferred that 23 million residents in Taiwan can reduce 9,200 kg of carbon emissions by doing so.
3. The manufacturing, packaging, storage, or waste disposal of processed foods all consumes energy. Thus, consumers are urged to select natural foods, which are more environmentally friendly.
The living principles for low-carbon diets:
1. Prepare meals by using fresh local ingredients as much as possible. If you need to use processed foods, use those naturally dried by air and sun. Use highly edible ingredients to reduce as much as possible the amounts of waste, including the shells, stems, skin and bone.
2. Consume natural fruits and vegetables directly. Do not make them into juice or processed foods, so that you can have more dietary fiber intake and reduce waste as well.
3. Bring your own water bottle when going out. Experiments have shown that boiling 1,000 ml of water by yourself causes about 50 to 60 grams of carbon emissions, while it consume about 183 grams of carbon to produce 600 ml of bottled water and 303 to 565 grams of carbon to make a 600 ml bottle of packaged drink.
4. To enjoy hot drinks and foods while saving energy, make more use of warmth-keeping apparatus, such as thermos and smoldering pots.
Tips for low-carbon cooking:
1. To get the best heating effect, keep the gas flame under the bottom of the pot and do not let the flame exceed the pot’s outer edge. If you put a small pot on a big fire, you only waste fuel gas and money for nothing.
2. When cooking or boiling water, do not fill the pot or the kettle too full. Otherwise, boiling soup or water may overflow, resulting in energy waste and the risk of gas leakage if kitchen fire is extinguished by spilled water.
3. When boiling, steaming, or cooking food, please cover the pot with its lid to keep temperature concentrated so as to shorten cooking time and save energy.
4. Make use of multi-layered cookware. For instance, cook rice at the lower layer, while steaming dishes at the upper layer. In such a way you can shorten cooking time and save energy.
5. Put frozen food to thaw at room temperature before cooking. In such a way you can shorten cooking time and save energy.
6. Clean the inside and outside of a pot thoroughly to keep good thermal conductivity and lessen gas consumption.
7. Right after food is taken out from an electric rice cooker, you may use the cooker’s remaining heat to warm up the leftovers.