Healthy Body=Healthy Earth
Happy Earth Day Everyone!
In honor of this important day I am going to talk about ways to improve your diet for your own health as well as the health of the environment.
First of all just keeping yourself healthy is the best thing you can do for the earth. When people are sick the use of drugs, herbs and other alternative medicines increases the amount of waste factories have to produce.
Although plants and natural substances are a better environmental choice they still take their toll on the environment.
Just because herbs are natural doesn’t mean that using them is always the best choice for the earth. Many popular herbs are actually in danger of becoming extinct and we need to use them sparingly and only when they are absolutely needed.
Now most of you are already savvy on the use of recycled and reused goods, so here are my top tips for improving your diet to support your health as well as sustainable living:
#1 Eat less packaged foods. Packaged foods are pretty much just gigantic marketing ploys to get us buying useless stuff that pollutes us and the environment. By switching to a whole foods diet you are reducing much of the waste that goes both in to your body and in to the landfills.
#2 Eat less meat! What?!?!?! I know…I know… I am always telling people that they need to balance out their blood sugar by eating protein and fiber with every single meal or snack, but the source of that does not have to be from animals. A diet high in animal protein is not conducive to continuing human existence. Imagine if everyone in the world was on “The Bacon and Eggs Diet”! Oy vei. What a nightmare. We would be extinct faster than the dinosaurs! Raw nuts and seeds as well as legumes and whole grains are all excellent sources of proteins for snacks. See if you can make one or two of your meals each day vegetarian.
#3 Switch to a calcium enriched non-dairy milk. According to New Scientist Magazine it takes 2000 gallons of water to make one gallon of milk. Now that might sound absurd (unless you live in Seattle and see 2000 gallons of rainfall daily), but when you think about the amount of water and other resources it takes to raise a calf to a cow, allow that cow to have a calf, and then sustain it while it produces milk every day for it’s lactation period; you will quickly realize what a frivolous luxury the use of dairy is for the environment. Learn to use dairy as a garnish for your meals and eat more green leafies for calcium.
#4 Buy organic. I understand that not everyone can afford to buy organic but for those of us that can, the more things we buy organic the more affordable it will become for everyone else. Every time you buy something organic you send the message with your money that you want clean food. Food growers will naturally be forced to provide more organic options as the market for this increases. Our environment is becoming so polluted by pesticides that countries in Africa that don’t even use pesticides are finding our contaminants in their foods. If you are on a budget visit www.ewg.org to find the top produce items that you should buy organic. “The Dirty Dozen” are the produce choices notoriously laden with the most pesticides. Keep in mind that pesticides concentrate as they move up the food chain so dairy, eggs and meats are the more important organic purchases.
#5 Eat Less. Think of all the energy and resources that go in to creating food. If you are lucky enough to have food to eat each day the best thing you can do is eat only that which you need. One of the best things all of us in America can do to save our bodies while saving the environment is to simply just eat less. Over-eating is over-consuming. America is a wasteland of unfulfilled consumerism. Start realizing NOW what it is that you ACTUALLY need. At first you might waste more food as extra portions get thrown away…but they would have gone to waste in your body anyways. Offer to share meals with friends and family when you go out. It will save you money, save your waistline, and save the environment from the excess burden of unfulfilled consumerism that runs rampant in these parts. They say “A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips” but before you even put that bite to your mouth think of all the effort and energy that went in to it’s production, then ask yourself… “Do I really need this?” Chances are you probably don’t.
Whether you can implement just one thing on the list or do them all, every little bit through the power of synergy creates a big overall impact. Feel free to add your favorite environmental health tips to the comments section. The simplest thing you can do for the environment is e-mail these tips to your friends and family so that together we can all become that much more educated with our shopping habits. Plus e-mail is paperless!
Everyone needs to read this, including Kevin Bacon!
So after spamming everyone you know with my latest tips for Earth Day, what else do you have on the agenda to make a difference?
~Dr. Nicole Sundene
Editor-in-chief of KitchenTableMedicine.com