How to be­come a con­scious con­sumer

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About -

Q: In­creas­ingly I’m hear­ing more and more peo­ple talk­ing about sus­tain­abil­ity and be­ing a con­scious con­sumer. What is your idea of a con­scious con­sumer and how can I tran­si­tion mylifestyle to be more con­scious? Thanks, Hai­ley

A:

We are in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate in the Western world to have an abun­dance of food avail­able to us that we don’t have to grow, har­vest or hunt for our­selves. Do you ever stop to con­sider where your food comes from? From the farmer who com­mits their life to feed­ing you through to the en­tire chain of pro­duc­tion that takes place be­fore some­thing ends up in your shop­ping bas­ket.

But on the other side of that for­tune lies a dis­con­nec­tion to the sup­ply chain that means we of­ten for­get the im­pact that our choices have on the world around us. I raise this, nei­ther to elicit guilt, nor to make a political state­ment but be­cause I think it’s im­por­tant we all ask more ques­tions.

I’ve dis­cussed be­fore about how im­por­tant I think it is that

you choose or­ganic pro­duce and prod­ucts where pos­si­ble. I’m pas­sion­ate about in­creas­ing your nu­tri­ent in­take and the ben­e­fits that has on your health. But I’m also in­cred­i­bly pas­sion­ate about sus­tain­abil­ity and the im­pact that we all have on our planet and its in­hab­i­tants.

We aren’t given a lot of in­for­ma­tion about the pro­duc­tion meth­ods that ev­ery­thing we buy passes through be­fore it gets to us but we have more power than we re­alise. With ev­ery pur­chase you make, you’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing to pro­duc­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers where you stand on the qual­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and in­tegrity of the prod­ucts avail­able on the mar­ket.

Maybe there is a cost pro­hib­i­tive for you around switch­ing to or­ganic or sus­tain­able prod­ucts. It’s true that these kinds of prod­ucts are more ex­pen­sive – be­cause the costs of pro­duc­tion are so much greater.

But it costs noth­ing to ask ques­tions. It costs noth­ing to take a more con­scious ap­proach to shop­ping by omit­ting some­thing from your shop­ping bas­ket be­cause you’ve found out it was pro­duced in a fac­tory with un­safe work­ing con­di­tions for em­ploy­ees, for ex­am­ple.

As you make your pur­chases this month, con­sider what part you play in the chain of pro­duc­tion. Are there any small changes you can make to com­mu­ni­cate to pro­duc­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers that you want more nu­tri­tious, sus­tain­able and eth­i­cal prod­ucts on of­fer?

We all have a part to play in shap­ing the world around us and shift­ing some of the prac­tices we feel at times, pow­er­less to change, but that are un­ac­cept­able to us. I en­cour­age you all to act on what you care about.

Here are some other sug­ges­tions to help you be the pos­i­tive change the world needs to­day:

Take out pack­aged, pro­cessed foods and keep adding in lo­cal, fresh pro­duce.

Source lo­cal, sus­tain­able cafes and restau­rants to dine in.

Switch plas­tic con­tain­ers and bot­tles out for glass.

Re­cy­cle as much as you can and start a com­post bin.

Shop eco-friendly, cru­elty-free beauty prod­ucts and fash­ion lines.

Switch to chem­i­cal-free clean­ing prod­ucts.

Use re­us­able al­ter­na­tives to items com­monly thrown out af­ter one use, such as nap­pies, plas­tic wrap, pa­per tow­els and bat­ter­ies.

Source the ma­jor­ity of your gro­cery items and fresh pro­duce from lo­cal farmer’s mar­kets and shops.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this column is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional.

123RF

It costs noth­ing to take a more con­scious ap­proach to shop­ping.

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