Integrative Nutrition Blog
7 Ways to Eat Healthily That Help the Environment
Happy Earth Day! Did you know there are hundreds of ways you can help the environment and get healthier, have more energy, and be happier?
It’s easy to ignore the impact you have as an individual on the environment, but if you want to live a long life on a happy planet, it’s important to bring consciousness to your daily actions today.
There are the obvious things, like recycling, shopping with reusable grocery bags, and taking shorter showers, but you might be surprised to find out just how big of an impact your food and lifestyle choices have on the environment.
There’s never a bad time to make a change or improve on what you’re already doing. Read on for seven actionable tools to start feeling healthier and happier today while also improving our planet:
- Buy local food from your farmer’s market to reduce oil consumption. Shipping food long distances requires a lot of oil, a quickly-diminishing nonrenewable resource that contributes to global warming. Not to mention, you get to enjoy freshly-picked produce at the peak of taste and nutrition!
- Grow your own food to reduce your carbon footprint. This isn’t practical for everyone, but even growing a few herbs on your fire escape or front porch contributes to the health of the environment by improving the quality of oxygen for everyone and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By breathing cleaner air, you reduce toxicity in your body, improving your body’s ability to detox naturally and increasing your energy.
- Reduce your consumption of meat to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production. Cows are estimated to produce about 20 percent of all methane emissions! Start by participating in Meatless Mondays or going vegetarian or vegan for a short period of time, if it works for your body. You may notice an improvement in your health and energy, or you may discover that your body requires high-quality animal protein.
- Purchase only organic and/or grass-fed meats to protect your country’s water and soil. Pesticides and other chemicals used in conventional farming methods run off into bodies of water and the soil, decreasing the nutritional benefits of the soil, and therefore the nutritional profile of our food. Organic and/or grass-fed meat contains much higher levels of omega 3 essential fats than conventional meat. Omega 3s are crucial for reducing inflammation and improving mental function, among many other benefits.
- Eat whole grains to reduce pollution. Whole grains don’t require as much processing as refined grains, minimizing factory use and the fumes that impact human health, wildlife, the land, oceans, and so much more. Eating whole grains has a huge impact on your energy levels as they keep your blood sugar levels stable, rather than the spike and crash that refined grains cause.
- Cook only what you’ll eat and/or eat your leftovers to reduce food waste. Americans threw 35 million tons of food into landfills in 2012 alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That food could have gone to starving people all over the world. Pretty crazy, right? Fully understanding how much food your body needs will also lead to proper portion sizes and a healthy body size.
- Compost your food scraps to contribute to rich, nutrient-dense soil that will provide healthy food for people all over the world. Soil is the foundation of nutritious food, and food is the foundation of a healthy, vibrant body.
You can be a positive source of change by setting an example for the people around you, and then together create a global shift toward better health.
It’s important to honor where you are and not compare yourself to others, but we also want you to know how big an impact your choices have on the environment. Just take one small action today.
Do you already do some of these things? If so, how did you start and how do you stay dedicated to these practices? If not, which one of these will you implement first and how do you plan to stay committed and accountable?
Join the conversation in the comments below – we can’t wait to hear from you!