This past weekend was the fourth annual TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat. For those who don’t know, TEDx events are privately organized events that take inspiration from TED Talks, and allow a broader audience access to a TED experience. Changing the Way We Eat is a topic that I obviously care a lot about, and I’m so glad that the event continues to grow. This past weekend featured talks by a variety of pioneers in our changing food system, including Dr. Regina Bernard-Carreno, Alison Cayne, and chef Tom Colicchio.

So what are the major tenets of “Changing the Way We Eat”? The first and most important aspect is educating yourself. While it can be tempting to rely on authority to tell us what to eat, learning what you can about the food industry is important. It can help you shape your own philosophy when it comes to food, and lets you decide for yourself who you support with your money.

The second major aspect is sustainability. This isn’t to say you can never visit another supermarket. But try to buy food that is grown locally, or is in season. When you buy packaged food, go for items that use less packaging. Bring your reusable totes to cut down on plastic bags. Small steps can add up to make a big difference.

The third step is to ask questions – this will not only help you educate yourself (step 1!) but can also help inspire others. If your grocery store doesn’t carry locally grown food, ask the manager why. You may inspire them to make a change! Plus, what could be more satisfying than talking to the farmer who grew the vegetables you’re planning to eat tonight?

Fourth, and this will be less popular, eat less meat. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet is good for your health and the environment. When you do eat meat, be sure to purchase meat from farms that raise and slaughter their animals in a humane and sustainable way.

Another way to change the way you eat is to grow your own food! Whether you have a few pots of herbs on the windowsill or a full garden in the backyard, growing your own food guarantees you fresh produce with no surprise pesticides.

Finally, cook! I share recipes on here to help inspire you in the kitchen and (hopefully) enjoy food as more than just fuel. Plus, by cooking at home you know exactly what ingredients go in your dish, how much waste is or isn’t generated, and exactly how much your food costs. Not to mention, everyone loves a good chef!

In the meantime, be sure to stop by TEDx Manhattan and watch some of last year’s speakers. They all have some great things to say that may end up changing the way you eat!

Image Credit: TEDx Manhattan