Being 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.