Is Your Diet Drought-Friendly?
Water Food experts and co-hosts of the “Pass the Salt” podcast, Nathan Lyon and Sarah Forman, chime in on the lifestyle changes they make to conserve water—and how you can too.
Mediaplanet: What inspired you to start creating drought-friendly recipes?
Nathan Lyon: When my partner, Sarah Forman, and I saw the report in the LA Times at the beginning of this year by a NASA scientist claiming that there is 1 year of water remaining in California’s reservoirs, we felt as though we needed to take action in a broader way—than just taking shorter showers, for example.
As 80 percent of the water used in California is for agriculture and around 50 percent of what is grown in California feeds the entire United States, it seemed that addressing what we eat and how we cook could, at best, have an impact in water conservation and, at the very least, start a dialogue around the country and get everyone involved in the California drought.
MP: What is a drought-friendly recipe? What factors do you considering when selecting ingredients?
NL/SF: A drought friendly recipe is one that uses foods with a smaller water footprint relative to others. For example, the Global Water Footprint network explains that it takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, whereas it takes 302 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of tofu.
"In a world filled with water scarcity issues, we can all take part in water conservation by eliminating food waste and enjoying drought friendly recipes."
Our recipes mainly consist of fruits, vegetables, grains and fish while we avoid animal protein and nuts grown in California. The idea is that, just like we have Meatless Monday, you can swap out some of your regular meals with our drought-friendly recipes.
MP: What other conservation efforts make up your day-to-day life?
NL/SF: We try to be cognizant of our water usage by taking quick showers, avoiding running faucets—while brushing your teeth, for example—watering our garden in the evening and re-using the water we use to wash our produce to water our plants, to name a few.
MP: Do you have advice for people who want to take a more proactive approach to save water?
NL/SF: There’s a lot you can do around your house to save water, like re-purposing the water used to wash produce to water your plants, having a large bucket on hand to capture the water that is lost while waiting for your shower to heat up, etc. Another part of water conservation is eliminating food waste. We lose approximately 5 trillion gallons of California water to food waste. So, not letting your food spoil and eating or utilizing all parts of the plant, as much as possible, helps to conserve.
MP: What would you say to people who believe their diet doesn’t impact the drought?
NL/SF: I can’t say for sure that everyone’s diet impacts the drought. It depends on where you live, what you eat and where your food comes from. That said, in a world filled with water scarcity issues, we can all take part in water conservation by eliminating food waste and enjoying drought friendly recipes.