Go green, get lean

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Go green, get leanBeing greener about your eating habits is a great way to give yourself that extra push towards healthy eating. All of the health-draining foods that are bad for our waistlines are actually bad for the environment too.

Choose organic fruits, vegetables and nuts, which are made using sustainable farming practices that are kind to the planet as they use fewer pesticides (which means fewer chemicals in your body). Plus, they’ve been proven to be a crucial part of a healthy diet. In fact, eating these natural foods has been proven to assist in weight loss as well. Fruits are great ways to appease your sweet tooth without hurting your body and vegetables are fab for filling you up without overloading you with kilojoules. (Consider growing your own herbs and vegetables – it’s cheap, organic, eco friendly, and you’ll know exactly where your food came from.) Nuts and soy give your body tons of protein and are a great replacement for meat.

Raising beef accounts for 18% of global warming emissions worldwide. Foregoing meat for just one day a week can have a significant impact on reducing these emissions – and you’ll be doing your body a big favour. Red meat is high in saturated fat, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. Isn’t it time you joined the Meat Free Monday movement?

In fact, you might want to think about starting your own Sugar-Free Saturdays movement, as well. Those chocolate bar and ice cream factories definitely require loads of energy and contribute to the draining of resources. Combine that with the fact that they’re packed with chemicals and synthetic substances, and you’ve got yourself some food that isn’t really food at all. Plus, sugar plays havoc with your body’s insulin levels – in the long term this could trigger diabetes, and has been linked to a number of diseases. Not to mention that sugar is just plain old fattening.

Cooking at home instead of buying ready-made and/or processed meals is also a good idea: you’ll know exactly what’s going into your body, which means you’re more likely to make healthier choices, and you’re also less likely to waste food. Plus, cooking from scratch means less non-biodegradable waist ends up in landfills – processed and ready meals all come in paper or plastic containers, while fruit and veg come packaged in their own skins.

Use a bicycle – or walking – instead of driving to work or your local grocer. You’ll cut down on carbon emissions, and boost your body’s own fuel-burning power. Exercise is just great for your health, not to mention your waistline, and great for the planet.

Go to bed earlier – several studies have shown that during times when you are lessening food intake (i.e. dieting), a hormone that regulates hunger, glucose utilisation and metabolism can be over-active due to not getting a good night’s rest. The environmental benefit of getting more shut-eye is that you will save on energy consumption by turning out the lights (and computer, TV, and other gadgets) earlier, so your total carbon footprint will be reduced.

Image: BestPhotoStudio/Shutterstock.com

Written by

Rachel McGregor is a Cape Town journalist (and part-time narcissist) specialising in food, health and lifestyle-related features. In her spare time she loves to cook and poke fun at hipsters. Sometimes she dreams of giving it all up and becoming a millionaire.

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  1. Jayendra Rambaly

    I enjoy organic food more then these processed food that is sold everywhere.

    3 years ago •

  1. Sue1N

    I like the Sugar-free Saturdays idea. Or maybe an All Veggie Saturday? Every big change starts with a small step!

    4 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    I love my fruits and veggies. I also take the stairs to work every morning and afternoon – it’s 9 levels of steep stairs but I love it and my heart rate shoots up each time. It really is the small and simple things that make a difference.

    4 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    Sounds fantastic… but it’s usually harder to change everything at one time. Rather implement one step at a time.

    4 years ago •

  1. Hima

    Awesome article!!!! I love growing my own veggies…have a small veggie patch. And home cooked meal is a must for my health conscious spouse…

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    Changing to a healthy eating regime and half of the hard work in losing weight has been done!

    5 years ago •

  1. wyona

    Gonna put my month where my money is, gained a lot around the waistline, this always happens to me in winter, really going very Green to lose the extra kilo’s great article.

    5 years ago •

  1. Le Noir Pearl

    I love this article,but I’m concerned about going to bed early. I just don’t think I can

    5 years ago •

  1. Maria Meyer

    I try to be as green as possible, but very hard when everybody else in the house does what they want and eat what they want. I so wish I could have my own vegetable garden, but have no space for this as everything around the house is paved or needs some dynamite to get the ground loose.

    5 years ago •

  1. Affat

    second time i am reading this as it keeps giving me inspiration! my august project is a herb garden – )

    5 years ago •

  1. Sam

    @ Anita. That’s wonderful. I would also like to start my own vegetable garden but don’t know where to start. Any tips?

    5 years ago •

  1. Samantha

    Thank you for the great article!

    5 years ago •

  1. Botes

    Great read, I get fresh veggies every week. Fresh is the only way to go……..

    5 years ago •

  1. Clarad

    The good thing about being a mom of an 18 month old is that I eat lots of veggies! (setting the example!) Now time to convince my husband to try the sugar free saturday movement! (Not an easy task :))

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    I try and buy as much organic as I can and we do Meatless Mondays, every bit helps!

    5 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Thanks for the Article, I try my bit to go green when ever I can, I like walking and eating fruits.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tanya

    Thanks,great article!I’m planning on growing vegetables very soon

    5 years ago •

  1. Anita

    Thanks for this article, i have a vegetable garden, and i love it. Just a small patch that is no trouble to maintain, we all can do this a few small thing to be greener

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Kay

    Every week we buy fresh verggies at the Farmers market (at a fraction of the supermarket’s price),so we try to eat healthy at least during the week!

    5 years ago •

  1. Sam

    I try to be as green as can be. Thank you for the great tips.

    5 years ago •

  1. Lady-T

    Raising two boys makes me like cooking, raising men is not easy. I discovered that though they are still young, they are demanding when it comes to their meal. we can go out but they’ll come home expecting home-cooked meal and they’ll give me lecture how home meal is good for their sport bodies. They are so health conscious!!

    5 years ago •

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