Step 1: Connect with your food environment. Saladino references the Hadza—the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in northern Tanzania—who practice no form of agriculture and have a special relationship with the land (thanks to their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, they also have extremely diverse gut microbiomes). “Children as young as 5 can completely read the landscape and understand the biodiversity of their environment,” says Saladino.
That’s not to say we must all become hunter-gatherers. “We just need a greater awareness of the environment in which we exist and the food and farming stories that surround us,” Saladino adds. Understand the food production process and where your crops come from—as you make those relationships, chances are you’ll uncover new ways to interact with the food. “Even if you live in an urban area, you don’t have to go that far to actually understand that there is food production taking place,” says Saladino. “Try and not only bring in diversity of food but also diversity of food businesses.”
Next, Saladino suggests researching all the ways you can indulge in your favorite foods. Let’s say you love a rich, creamy bar of milk chocolate: “Interrogate the diversity of that product,” says Saladino. Understand the difference of what [cow’s milk] from Venezuela versus Ecuador tastes like, consists of, and the different processes involved.” Are there any differences in cacao trees from West Africa versus Southeast Asia?
If you’re a coffee enthusiast: What are the unique differences of certain beans and roasting practices? “We can become our own experts of the diversity of our favorite foods,” Saladino declares. As you do your own research, you’ll naturally incorporate a higher variety of these foods into your diet.