Amid our search for a better lifestyle, people are looking for new ways to eat and shop. Less plastic, less meat and less food-waste. These are some of the premises real-fooders champion to save the world and our health. At WabiHost we also promote a better understanding of local food and shopping. That’s why we would like to contribute to this just cause by sharing our daily practices that aim to help the environment and our health.
The following 5 tips will help you on your quest for better food and a healthier environment.
1. Choose wisely: Local market vs Supermarkets
In Spain we have a lovely local market tradition. In these temples of fresh food you can find the best local produce at a reasonable price. Sure, I have several people asking me whether the supermarket is not more convenient in terms of price and quantity. To answer that let me point out that supermarkets are designed to make you buy more that what you actually need. This creates great profits for the big chains but also generate piles of plastic and food waste. Local markets sell better quality food at slightly higher prices but encourage you to buy just what you need.
This doesn’t mean you have to doo all your shopping at the market. But make sure you buy fresh high-quality foods from your local provider. This will ensure you activate the economy in your area, and help small business survive. Plus you’ll be eating good food thus taking care of your body.
2. Learn the seasons
Some people seem to forget the planet – and the crops – follow a period of four seasons. While in the past everyone knew what products were in season, most of us can’t actually tell what fruit or vegetable is ripe in spring and which one in winter. Global trade has spoiled us for choice and we no longer plan our meals in harmony with nature. However, learning what produce is freshly harvested in our country/area will allow us to buy local ingredients. These are ripe, delicious and at much lower price than those that have been imported from the other side of the globe.
If in doubt, ask your local grocer. Personalised customer service is a key feature in local markets.
3. Keep that bag
Many supermarkets now charge you for new plastic bags which I believe is wonderful but sadly not enough to avoid our world plastic issue. My advice is to plan your shopping ahead and carry your own bags. Most of us already do that when it comes to the big recycle bags that we buy. But I would take the next step and get some of those amazing reusable small fabric bags for your fruits and veggies. Get them online in different sizes and keep one or two always with your in your backpack or handbag in case you need to do some spontaneous shopping. Furthermore, when buying eggs, keep the container and refill it on your next visit to the grocers. Oh, yes, this is something you can only do if you buy at local markets…
4. Basic foods vs luxury foods
Can’t live without meat? Ok, there’s no need to be a strict vegan to save the planet. Just bear in mind that meat has always been, throughout human history, a luxury food and rightly so. Problems start when we get to the extremes. A good responsible diet has always been balanced. That means veggies and fruits should be your base, then legumes, cereals. Meats on the other hand, should go back to be an ocasional (festive even) treat.
No news here but at least some encouragement for those who can’t commit to be a strict veg.
Another advantage of local markets is that you can talk to the person you’re buying from. Most of the sellers at the market stalls are business owners. This means they know exactly where their products come from, their quality and main characteristics. Don’t be afraid to ask them for all this information. They sell their produce with pride and will be very happy to assist you on your shopping. Plus you can always learn so much from them like what’s in season or how you can cook a certain food. They will probably remember your face and give you a warm welcome the next time you visit them.
If you would like to have a real foodie experience in a local Spanish market in Madrid, contact us and will show more tips on how to shop and eat wisely.