We’ve talked a lot about the virtual water footprint of various foods.  In other words, we’ve covered the fact that all products require water to be grown and produced, and in times of drought (like the mega drought parching California), choosing the right meal can make a massive difference.

So what have we learned so far?  Well, this blogger has been disappointed to discover all her favorite foods fall into the “do not eat” category as a result of their virtual water footprint: bacon, chocolate, cheese, and bread are all guzzlers.

The good news is that you can go on a diet and have a virtual-water-friendly lifestyle all in one go.  The bad news is that if you can’t indulge a little bit, it becomes that much harder to stick to a food resolution.  So this week, we wanted to present the indulgences and treats that you can enjoy without having to feel virtual water guilt.

When I first moved to California, avocados and guacamole held no appeal for me.  After seven years in the City of Angels, I now can’t get enough of them, which is why I was thrilled to discover avocados only need 154 gallons of water per pound, which is virtually nothing.  Health nuts will tell you avocados are loaded with healthy fats, meaning they can sate your fatty food cravings without making you pay on your waistline.

Need to satisfy your sweet tooth?  Fruits are far less water intensive than pastries and baked goods that involve processed sugar.  A pound of bananas only require 103 gallons of water, but there are a lot of other water-friendly fruits to choose from.

I gave up cooking with meat over a year ago, and chickpeas, lentils, quinoa and beans just aren’t cutting it.  I may be in the minority, but fake “meats” like veggie burger patties and tofurky don’t taste “right” to me.  Luckily, there’s a vegetable “meat” substitute I love that meets all my savory/umami/salty cravings like meat used to.  That’s eggplant, which clocks in at only 25 gallons of water necessary for each pound produced.

How about ice cream flavors?  Well, animal products are generally virtual water unfriendly, but yogurt is an exception.  Requiring 138 gallons of water for each pound of yogurt, this frozen treat will tingle your taste buds without depleting our water supply.  Guess that’s an unexpected upside to this decade’s froyo craze!

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