Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.
Sustainable food should be produced, processed, bought, sold and eaten in ways that:
Provide social benefits, such as safe and nutritious products, and improve people’s experiences of good quality food, for instance by growing and cooking it, which helps to enrich our knowledge and skills, and our cultural diversity;
Contribute to thriving local economies that create good jobs and secure livelihoods – both in the UK and, in the case of imported products, in producer countries;
Enhance the health and variety of both plants and animals (and the welfare of farmed and wild creatures), protect natural resources such as water and soil, and help to tackle climate change.
A plant-based diet is a diet that relies mainly on foods coming from vegetal sources instead of relying on animal products as many diets do. The term is very broad in the sense that doesn’t exclude some products coming from animal sources (flexible forms of vegetarianism) but clearly states that most of its contents are not coming from this source. Plant-based diets include all types of vegetarianism (wether including dairy, eggs or both), flexible forms of vegetarianism (part-time vegetarians and pescetarians – who include fish, and macrobiotics), and veganism in all its forms (raw veganism and fruitarianism).
Animal Products (in diet):
Animal products, as opposed to those defined as plant-based, are those coming from any animal sources, that includes all types of meat (beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, etc.) and their products including and deriving from milk, eggs and fat. This applies to all processed and unprocessed forms (sausages, cheese, butter, yogurt, bacon, caviar, seafood etc.).
Food waste (which as referred to here, includes food losses in the first part of the food chain) are the masses of food lost or wasted in the part of food chains leading to “edible products going to human consumption”, as defined by FAO (2011). This includes all the edible food that is lost in all stages from production to consumption, and specifically include the lost of foodstuffs by providers and retailers and consumers (including unwanted food being thrown to the bin).
Fair trade is a trading system, focus on ensuring fair transactions over goods, to especially protect poor or disadvantaged producers. Fair trade organizations work trying to focus on fair and better price setting and securing better working conditions and terms of trading mostly for farmers and workers. The Fair trade certification labels aid consumers to identify such products in an attempt to avoid those who couldn’t be certified as such (indicating not meeting such standards of production and trading). There are other types of certifications that also work in a similar way, addressing ethical issues behind production, but Fair Trade is the broadest one so far.
Wild-caught fish are those caught by fishermen in their natural environments. It is a method that, while depending on its intensity and method, is less damaging (especially for the aquatic ecosystems) than more extensive methods of commercial fishing such as bottom trawling, the latter, having been proved that is extremely damaging and contributing to a depletion of fisheries and species extinction.
The term ‘processed food’ applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience. Processed foods aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but anything that’s been processed may contain added salt, sugar and fat. (NHS, 2014) They may also contain additives and artificial flavors. The disadvantage of most processed foods is the fact that, after being processed, we may not know the exact ingredients that have been included in it, so cooking/preparing anything from scratch ensures more control over any additional substances and the amounts of those. As a general rule, most processed foods can in packages or some sort: cans, boxes, bags, bottles, etc. Although this doesn’t mean all food products that include some sort of packaging or container is necessarily unhealthy.
Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism. (Who.int, 2016)
Organic foods are the ones produced using organic methods of farming. The main difference with non-organic procedures is the fact that synthetic agrochemicals are not used (pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc.), nor any other of industrial or synthetic chemicals during processing (such as additives). This method of working the land focuses on preserving the soil and respect for the biodiversity of ecosystems.
According to FAO, a healthy diet provides foods in the right amounts and combinations that are safe and free from disease and harmful substances. They key idea for a healthy diet is balance. Most food groups providing the necessary nutrients for our bodies should be aimed at, variety and balance ensures this will be achieved. No particular food should be eaten in excess as there is no one single food that provides all the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle (except for breast milk for new-borns). Guidance on the right amounts for specific common ingredients would always be beneficial as to make sure to stay within the right margins.
Carbon emission trading
“Carbon emissions trading is a form of emissions trading that specifically targets carbon dioxide (calculated in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or tCO2e). This form of permit trading is a common method countries utilize in order to meet their obligations specified by the Kyoto Protocol; namely the reduction of carbon emissions in an attempt to reduce (mitigate) future climate change. Under Carbon trading, a country having more emissions of carbon is able to purchase the right to emit more and the country having less emission trades the right to emit carbon to other countries. More carbon emitting countries, by this way try to keep the limit of carbon emission specified to them.”
(Simplified definition from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_emission_trading [Accessed 18 Jan. 2016])
“Natural Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this Natural Capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible.With Natural Capital, when we draw down too much stock from our natural environment we also run up a debt which needs to be paid back, for example by replanting clear-cut forests, or allowing aquifers to replenish themselves after we have abstracted water. If we keep drawing down stocks of Natural Capital without allowing or encouraging nature to recover, we run the risk of local, regional or even global ecosystem collapse.”