There has been a lot of recent discourse about what kinds of food people should eat to lower their environmental impact. Often, sustainable food choices are put into an "all-or-nothing" category. However, sustainability is more-so a lifelong commitment with pathways for incremental changes. Here are some foods to leave out of your diet if you want to make an effort to increase the sustainability of your plate. 

1. Tuna 

High-trophic level fish populations have been declining so much over recent years due to overfishing. Bluefin Tuna are considered delicacies in sushi, but costing the health of the entire oceanic ecosystem as a result. Consuming high-trophic level fish (i.e. shark, swordfish, and tuna) can also increase your risk of mercury poisoning. 

2. Meat & Dairy 

This one should seem obvious, but animal products are absolutely terrible for the planet's groundwater, land, and ecosystems. Larger ruminants, like cattle, are the worst for the environment while chickens and poultry have the lowest per capita impact. According to this post, beef produces ten times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per pound as chicken. But if you want to get out of the "ethical weeds," I suggest freeing your diet from any sort of animal product. Here are some of my tips for going vegan in college! 

3. Avocados

It requires almost 70L of applied groundwater to produce a single avocado. In some of the driest regions of Chile, it takes over 300L of water to grow a single avocado. In comparison, one tomato requires a mere 5L of water to produce.

Chile is just one country dealing with persistent drought in South and Central America. Although some of America's avocados come from California (another state with persistent drought) nearly 70% of America's avocados are imported, according to this Mother Jones article. The increased demand for avocados has forced many farms to irrigate water from distant wells which in turn causes entire communities to go without water. Residents in many regions have to purchase water from private businesses to ensure they can survive. 

4. Almonds 

Almond milk is a barista craze, but how good is it for the environment really? In this Spoon article, I explored some of the environmental requirements needed to grow a single almond. The verdict? Switch to peanut butter on your toast if you want to save the planet. 

5. Olive Oil 

Who knew this healthy fat could be so dubious? According to the Huffington Post, one gallon of olive oil takes over 1,700 gal/lb. of water to produce. Coconut oil takes almost a third of that much water to produce (538 gal/lb.) while corn oil takes 309 gal/lb. 

6. Chocolate 

If avocados didn't make you feel guilty enough, here's yet another one that will make you feel worse. Chocolate and vanilla are both intensive water crops; chocolate consumes nearly 2,000 gal/lb. while vanilla consumes over 15,000 gal/lb. On the bright side, vanilla isn't a common part of many people's diets. Higher cocoa chocolate requires more water to produce, but many people usually opt for a Hershey's bar instead. 

7. Wine 

It takes more than twice as much water to make a gallon of wine (872 gal/gal) than a gallon of beer (296 (gal/gal). Each 5oz serving of wine requires about 34 gal of water to produce! That's not to say you shouldn't enjoy wine in moderation, but just think more consciously about how much you drink.