Sustainability: Is it All or Nothing?

Sustainability means a lot of things to a lot of different folks. Unfortunately, the term “sustainability” is often pigeonholed into the all or nothing mentality.

From my experience and usually when I’m talking about my graduate program in Sustainable Food Systems, the responses are usually:

  1. “Oh, I could never go vegan/plant-based.”
  2. “I could never give up dairy.”
  3. “I could never be “zero-waste.”
  4. “I can’t afford only organic.”
  5. “I can’t go to the farmer’s market every week.
  6. “Composting? Isn’t that for hippies?”
  7. “Recycling is stupid.”

Or the Opposite:

  1. “Vegan/Plant-based is the only sustainable choice.”
  2. “Eating meat is dangerous because of CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.)
  3. “GMO’s are dangerous and should NEVER be consumed.”
  4. “We are organic, ONLY.”
  5. “We never buy anything with single-use plastic.”
  6. “Composting is life.”
  7. “Recycling is a waste of energy, just go zero-waste.”
  8. “We only eat in 100-mile radius.”


Oy. Why does sustainability have to be all or nothing?

The truth is, it doesn’t. Sustainability is a journey. It’s disrupting a system that isn’t working…but in no way does that mean someone has to be perfect at it. Sustainability means doing the best you can with what you have and sometimes unlearning processes you’ve grown accustomed to. This takes time.

I’m still growing and learning as I go. And yes, I still buy things in plastic but have slowly started buying hemp produce bags. (Not an affiliate post, just my own personal opinion!!) Also, this week I am attending a class on making traditional fermented sourdough bread because I like to learn hands-on instead of teaching myself. (Will post about it soon!). Moral of the story, never stop learning (or unlearning).

There is a lot of misinformation out there especially when talking about sustainable diets. Read my previous diet posts here: One Size Diet Does Not Fit All and What Does it Mean to, “Eat Healthy“? I promise I won’t convince you to give up meat either. But seriously, eat some vegetables. Roast them, stir-fry them, steam them, add them to smoothies, eat them raw, eat them with a dip, whatever you decide, I’m begging you to EAT MORE VEGETABLES and learn to enjoy them. As always, it’s important to choose healthy fats when roasting, sauteeing, or dipping because it aids in the nutrient absorption process. EX: Pasture-raised butter, whole fat cheese dip or nut butter dip, avocado oil, etc. However, I don’t recommend roasting with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) because it has a pretty low smoke point. If you like the taste you can always add on after roasting/stir-frying.


Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. And great things are not accidental, but must certainly be willed.”


Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.

—Vincent Van Gogh—

Cheers to Eating with A Conscious,




Author: A Nutritionist And A Cook

Welcome to A Nutritionist and A Cook! We are a husband and wife with two little girls currently living the military life on the East Coast. I (the wife), “B”, am a “Bachelor Qualified Nutritionist” (undergrad in Nutrition and Food Science) and currently pursing a masters degree in Sustainable Food Systems. My husband, “K”, was once a kitchen manager of a fine dining restaurant in our old college town. He is currently serving in the military, but loves cooking for the family when he is home. Together we are a military family learning to live and cook with a conscious 🇺🇸✌🏼🌎 All dietary preferences are welcome. The intention of this blog is to create an open discussion on the current issues food system and how we as consumers can help create a sustainable future.

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