Healthy Living for You and the Environment
It is no question that the need for improvements in sustainable living has become paramount. As it turns out, most people want to be more environmentally-friendly, but don’t know how or where to start. According to Forbes magazine, 96 percent of people feel that their own actions towards environmentally-friendly practices can truly make a difference. Need ideas for how to start making a difference? Here are 15 ways to be environmentally-friendly while maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
1. Walk or bike. Opt for these means of transportation whenever possible.
2. Eat local food. Try going to farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and actual farms. Local foods not only conserve environmental resources and reduce the carbon foot print, they also support local families and can taste better too!
3. Reduce consumption of canned beverages. Not only is it healthier for you, it is healthier for the environment. Cans are not biodegradable so the best way to reduce this waste is to avoid them.
4. Use reusable water bottles. Drink filtered water from a purifier and invest in a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing plastic water bottles.
5. Create your own garden. (Talk about local!) Take your plants indoors for some added bonuses of air purification, allergen reduction and decoration.
6. Exercise in the great outdoors. Walk, run, hike or bike outside for your workout instead of using electrically charged equipment.
7. Eat less meat. This will reduce the toll that animal agriculture has on deforestation, gas for farm machinery, and feed used to raise the animals, as well as the air pollution from green-house gas emissions. Even small changes like having “meatless Monday” can help.
8. Be dairy conscious. Consume hormone-free, local dairy products, in moderation.
9. Ditch the plastic bags. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and opt for reusable options (i.e., Mason jars, Pyrex and Tupperware containers) when packing snacks and lunches.
10. Buy foods with the least amount of packaging. This may mean eating more whole foods like fruits and vegetables and chopping them on your own instead of purchasing pre-cut produce.
11. Buy in bulk. Use leftover containers or mason jars and shop in the bulk food section to reduce the amount of materials that could end up in landfills.
12. Support environmentally-friendly stores. Shop at stores that promote sustainable practices to support those who are trying to save our planet.
13. Eat organic. Organic farming is better for the environment than conventional farming in ways such as promoting biodiversity and recycling of resources.
14. Give composting a try! Composting reduces the amount of waste we produce and improves soil quality, among other benefits.
15. Meal prep. Reduce energy used in cooking and maximize your free time by cooking larger portions of foods that you can enjoy for multiple meals. You can also freeze some of these meals and save them for a night you don't feel like cooking or a day when you don't want to make lunch. Though preserving the environment seems like a daunting task, small changes can truly make a big impact. Start by taking some of these steps to work towards more sustainable living every day.
Written by: Michelle Boucher, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern.