Low-carbon diet: The food fad that’s good for the environment

If you aren’t already worried about climate change, you probably should be. Melting ice-caps, rising sea-levels and extreme weather – indicators that all is not right with the world, and us humans definitely have a hand in it!

Sustainability, low-waste living and plant-based lifestyles are all hot topics for anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint and diet is one of the best places to start.

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A low-carbon diet is all about adapting your lifestyle to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. At the heart of this is thinking about your food: how it is prepared, packaged, processed and transported to reduce your impact on the environment. A low-carbon diet aims to reduce the amount of plastics used and cuts down on meat and dairy consumption because of the large quantities of methane and carbon dioxide this industry puts into the atmosphere.

When constructing a low-carbon recipe look for foods first and foremost that are grown in the UK, as they will have travelled less, and recipes free from meat and dairy. One of my favourite dishes is tagine – a north African dish that can be adapted to fit locally sourced foods.

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Tagine Serves: 2-4

Tagine

Butternut Squash x1

Red Onion x1-2

Red pepper x1

Garlic x a few bulbs

Can of Chickpeas x1

Can of chopped tomatoes/passata x1

Rapeseed oil x2 tablespoons

Seasoning: harissa paste, ras-el-hanout or a spice mix of smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, chilli, ground black pepper, salt

 

Flatbreads

200g plain flour/bread flour + extra for dusting

100ml warm water

Pinch of salt

½ tablespoon of oil

Method:

Roughly chop the red onion, pepper and garlic and fry in the rapeseed oil. Cook until soft.

Peel, deseed and chop and butternut squash and add to the pan. Coat in the harissa paste/spice-mix.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes/passata and an equal amount of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Cook until the butternut squash is soft and the sauce has reduced. Add more water if necessary.

Whilst the tagine is cooking, make the flatbreads. Mix the flour, water, salt and oil in a bowl. Add more flour/water if the consistency is too dry/wet. Knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Portion the dough into 4/6 balls and roll them out into thin discs. Heat a pan and dry fry your flatbreads. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, you can use a bit of oil to make sure they don’t stick.

Whilst this dish may sound exotic, the vast majority of the ingredients can be sourced from the UK. Go plastic-free where possible and recycle what packaging you can. Everyone is capable of making a difference, no matter how small, and making small changed to your diet can do wonders for the planet.

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-This blog post was written by Claudia Minett an NTU Staff member in the academic registry. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 

 

Want to write a blog post that’s featured on this site? Email us your ideas today at GreenAcademy@ntu.ac.uk!

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