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Eat Lower on the Food Chain – 10 Min Eco-Tip

Submitted by on Monday, 8 February 2010No Comment

Leaf salad with kumquatsEating lower on the food chain means moving down a few links and becoming more of an herbivore, less of a carnivore.

Generally, the smallest species are at the bottom of the food chain, while larger animals are at the top. Members of each successive link eat the lower and more vulnerable species–although nature always provides plenty of exceptions to any rule. A bird is higher on the food chain than a worm, for example, a fish is higher than a fly, and a cow higher than grass.

Eating lower on the food chain is good for your health. Studies from around the world confirm that the lower on the food chain a human eats, the greater the protection against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

One of the biggest reasons to eat low on the food chain is to not eat contaminated fat. A number of chemicals created for industrial use — PCBs, flame retardants, dioxin, and DDT for instance–end up in larger animals each link up the food chain. Mercury found in tuna is a classic example of this concern.

Eating lower on the food chain is also good for the planet. Modern meat production involves intensive use of grain, water, energy, and grazing areas. Pork is the most resource-intensive meat, followed by beenf, then poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Almost half of the energy used in American agriculture goes into livestock production.

Go vegan just three meals a week to help steer your body –and the planet–in a healthier direction.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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