Why is sustainability so important? 

The subject of sustainability has gained a lot more attention in recent years, whether it be in relation to the environmental, fashion, energy, and food sector. 

The United Nations formulated 17 goals which state that the biosphere and human behaviours (such as food consumption) as interconnected and interdependent. Meaning, the lifestyle choices we make can directly impact the environment. They founded the 2030 agenda which proposed 17 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We asked Juleyka to explain what the SDGs are, and how we can adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Juleyka is a nutritionist from Manchester; she is passionate about food sustainability in relation to health and nutrition. She has partnered with dissertations for good contributing to research around the U.N Sustainable Development Goals and food sustainability practices, volunteered for Dimension's charity; creating meal plans for people with complex needs. More recently, she has also joined with YouGen as a content writer on the link between sustainability and health.
Throughout this month,she will be sharing tips around the theme of sustainability via a 4 part mini series.

The Sustainable Development Goals

One of the goals is SDG 3, “Good Health and Well-being” and the objectives are:

  • Optimise human microbiota to reduce their risk of illness including infectious and chronic diseases
  • Use the microbiota to help identify new biological targets and discover new therapies and new antibiotics

Why is Food Sustainability Important?

Now let’s talk about food sustainability – and the importance to human health and the health of the planet and how eating sustainability can contribute to a healthier gut microbiome.

Partaking in sustainable food choices ensures:

  • You as an individual and the food choices you make have a low environmental impact.
  • Eating sustainable food ensures that you as consumer are not contributing to the ever-growing climate change as it often means eating more local food which has less air miles.
  • Eating sustainably involves eating a more varied plant-based diet which has been linked with greater gut bacteria diversity, which consequently is linked to better health outcomes.

How can I make Sustainable Food Choices?

There is a plethora of information out there when it comes to sustainability which can be abit daunting sometimes, however as with anything, education and gradual habit change is key. You may not even have to completely change your shopping lists-just a few tweaks here and there.

See below for some ideas:

1. Reduce animal product consumption; particularly red meat: Animal agriculture is an industry with one of the largest carbon footprints; this means that increased meat production contributes to greenhouse causes. To counter act this, you are not even required to adopt a fully plant based/vegan diet; simply reducing the amount of meat and dairy you eat and swap for veggie options instead can have a significant impact.

2. Reducing food waste at home campaign, according to Waste & Resources Action Programme up to 70% of the food that is wasted in the UK is wasted by the public within their own homes. Annually, this results in 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten. Simple steps like planning ahead and only buying what you need can make a huge different. Preservation methods like pickling can also save food which would otherwise gone to waste. Examples include, creating jams out of berries, turning apples into apple sauce and creating your own chutneys and pickles from mangos and cucumbers.

3.Buying less plastic. For example, creating your own yoghurts instead of buying supermarket yoghurts in plastic containers. One-way Probio7 is trying to contribute to the SGD’s is via introducing the Probio7 Life Yogurt Making Kit - the kit includes ceramic cups to reduce plastic waste. It is widely known that plastic contributes to the problems of sustainability as it involves an energy intensive process to make and recycle.

However, thanks to the ceramic reusable cups and homemade yoghurt you will no longer be needing to buy store bought yoghurts and you can say goodbye to single use plastics

Creating your own homemade yogurt is also healthier. The yoghurts sold in supermarkets often included higher sugar content with a lot more additives and ingredients that hold no extra health benefit. Making your own yogurt gives you more control over what goes inside your body. The ingredients can be easily adjusted to your diet preference by leaving out dairy and using a plant-based milk instead.

4. Eat a more plant-based diet and buy locally. Research has shown those with a more varied plant-based diet, up to 800mg of fibre – which is 10 portions a week, contributes to a healthier more resilient gut microbiome. Sustainable choices like opting for a plant-based diet, ensure a regard for biodiversity as often the smaller, more local farms grow a variety of fruit and vegetables for smaller scale consumers. As a result, this helps preserve the biodiversity of the land and soil. So not only are you supporting your internal gut environment through your food choices, but also the external environment you live in.

Lastly, being informed around what is and what isn’t sustainable is the initial step to leading a more sustainable lifestyle. The second step is using that knowledge to make more informed choices and form better habits over the long run.

For more support on how you can support your gut and eat more sustainably, book in for 1:1 consultation.

Where can I find out more information?

For further tips on environmentally sustainable diet:
• One Blue Dot - the BDA's Environmentally Sustainable Diet Project | British Dietetic Association (BDA)
• Sustainable Hacks | British Dietetic Association (BDA)

• Project Breakthrough (2017) The Microbiome, Our microscopic allies. United Nations Global Compact:
• https://wrap.org.uk/taking-action/food-drink/actions/action-on-food-waste
• https://www.epa.gov/recycle/preventing-wasted-food-hom
• https://sdgs.un.org/goals
• Generation 2030: Recipe: How to Eat More Sustainably | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD