Gallons on gallons on gallons…
Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which the foods we eat not only impact our bodies, but also affect our surrounding environment. It’s easy to acknowledge which choices are nutritionally superior to others, but the benefits can be outweighed by the environmental impact of producing certain foods if we aren’t mindful about our consumption.
Take water, for example. You don’t need us to tell you that there is clearly a limited amount of safe drinking water on this planet and that this statistic matters a great deal for the agricultural industry as it produces food for humans across the globe. But do you know how much water your favorite foods require to grow, harvest and ultimately make their way into your kitchen? We didn’t, either, so we decided to do a little research. Below is a handy list of foods and how many gallons of water each of them needs for production, from the least amount of water to the greatest. We portioned each food based on how much you’d enjoy in a normal sitting, and we have to say, we found some of them to be seriously surprising!
1 tomato = 8 gallons of water
4 ounces of sweet potatoes = 12 gallons of water
1 orange = 21 gallons of water
1 banana = 24 gallons of water
1 apple = 25 gallons of water
1 grapefruit = 30 gallons of water
1 cup of coffee = 34 gallons of water
1 glass of wine = 34 gallons of water
1 peach = 34 gallons of water
4 ounces of bread = 48 gallons of water
1 egg = 52 gallons of water
4 ounces of pasta = 56 gallons of water
4 ounces of asparagus = 65 gallons of water
1 ounce of almonds = 70 gallons of water
1 avocado = 70 gallons of water
4 ounces of rolled oats = 73 gallons of water
4 ounces of cheese = 95 gallons of water
4 ounces of chicken = 125 gallons of water
4 ounces of chocolate = 515 gallons of water
1 6-ounce steak = 674 gallons of water
Now, we don’t present these numbers to scare you away from eating (and eating well). At the end of the day, most fruits and vegetables are a lot less draining (see what we did there?) than nuts and grains, and they’re definitely more sustainably than animal-based products. But as long as you consume mindfully and in moderation, as well as pick sources that are using sustainable farming practices, you’re doing your part and should feel good about that.
So, who’s hungry?