Most food is plant-based. Even food that’s not plants (meat, eggs, pastries) is made of products derived from plants (flour is made of wheat, sugar of sugarcane) or of animals that eat plants. Each and every one of those plants needs water to live, and the more steps of processing from the initial planted seed to your dinner plate, the more water your food needs. That’s why your diet can be the biggest factor in how much water you can save like times of drought like today.
Of course, tracking the footprint of every item of food you ever eat can be time-consuming, which is why The Drought Diaries has done much of the work for you. Even though it’s outdated, the foot pyramid makes for an easy guide when breaking food into groups, so we’ll follow it.
Breads and grains? Turns out they’re pretty hefty with their water footprint, but with greywater gardening, patience, and a blender, you can enjoy the goodness of bread without the badness of water wasting.
On one factor we agree with the food pyramid: vegetables should be a major part of your diet. They’re good for your body and good to your planet, or at least – most are.
California can be pretty wondrous when it comes to its produce, especially our year-round seasonal fruit selection. Even though not all of California’s fruits are green or water conscious, enough are that these should be a go-to snack for the water-aware diner.
Meat? We’ve covered meat a few times by now. The reason we keep coming back to this issue is because a meat-heavy diet is pretty darn unsustainable in times of drought, but we know not all of our readers are ready to go full vegetarian, so we include some tips to mitigate the water-intensive nature of most meats.
Dairy is better than meat, but not by a whole lot. Luckily, we took a look at hemp milk, almond milk, and soy milk to see if any of these dairy alternatives has a better water footprint than traditional cow’s milk.
Of course, no pyramid is complete without its peak, so we took a look at that never-neglected food group as well: desserts and sweets.