Healthy Body=Healthy Earth

by in American Sickcare System, Diet Tips, Discipline, Environmental Medicine, Kitchen Sink, Weight Loss April 21, 2008

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


21 Comments
  1. waaaaaaaah I am guilty here I can’t live without eating meat! waaaaaah!

    and going organic waaaaaah poor plants!

    eat less waaaaaaaaah I’m gonna starve to death!

    hahahaha just whining but I agree less is actually more!

    HAPPY EARTH DAY!

  2. Hi Doctor, this is Sangeeta of http://www.worldinurpocket.com. Your posts are effective and I wanted them in my mailbox. So, I have subscribed to your site just now. Will you reciprocate the same by visiting my site and subscribing to it? Thanks and my comments to your posts will be received by you soon.

  3. This is a great post. Putting everything into simple, concise, everyday terms makes it easier for us to grasp! Thanks for these suggestions and in thepsot “Tell me what is in your shoppong cart…”.

    Happy Earth Day!

  4. Hi Nicole – Love the pic. I had no idea that there was such a thing as Earth Day. There’s so many different days now that it’s difficult to keep up with them all.

    I’m shocked – I had no idea so much water was required to make milk. I really would like to cut out cow’s milk altogether and from what you’re saying – it sounds like it would definitely be worthwhile.

  5. Earthlingoregeous you are cracking me up! I don’t really want to give up eating meat either, but I limit it to one meal a day. Really we all eat too much meat and it is hard on our kidneys and giving us osteoporosis. Less is definitely more.

  6. Hi Sangeeta- Since I love to read, chances are I will subscribe. Off to check it out…

  7. Houseonahill- thanks so much! That is my goal with this blog is to get people to make little compromises and be motivated by understanding why. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi Cath- I loved this pic to it said to me “be careful what you eat, you may be eating a big piece of the earth!” I think every day should be holiday. Life would be so much more fun that way 😀 Yes, cutting back on milk (looks around paranoid that the dairy people are going to be mad…) is a good thing for the environment as well as for most people, especially those with allergies and digestive problems.

  9. Great, useful information! Like Cath, I too am amazed by your statistics on milk production. Who knew?? Are non-dairy milk products as good of a source of calcium as the real thing? I know they’re calcium-enriched but to what extent?

    As far as the less meat is better…my family eats quite a few vegetarian meals each week. Organic foods though…yikes, with the cost of regular food who can afford organics? Looks like I’ve got to find a way to make some money…any ideas?

  10. That’s remarkable information. I’ll try 😉

  11. Found your blog on Blog Catalog – thanks for the very informative posts. And I agree, keeping ourselves healthy is a simple way we can contribute. I don’t know about being fully vegetarian or buying only organic food, though.

  12. Dr. Nicole –

    I like two suggestions 1) Eat less meat – I’m vegetarian and loving it.
    2) Eat less – This is the most effective way to become healthy

    As always, you provide quality content which makes your blog pleasure to read.

    Thanks
    Shilpan

  13. I had no idea that pesticides concentrate as they move up the food chain and that dairy, eggs and meats are the more important organic purchases. Wow! With the price of gas going up and up and it causing groceries to go up and up, eating organic is becoming even more challenging! I never buy organic dairy, whereas I do other things. Maybe I’ll switch…. Thanks for all the useful info.

  14. Hi Lori! Well it takes a great deal of water to really produce any food, but animal foods obviously use more water than vegetarian foods. I am not vegetarian, I simply try to limit my meat intake to one meal per day for environmental reasons. Yes, organic is expensive, but sometimes it isn’t. I have noticed that at times a few things are the same price or sometimes less if they are on sale. Buying the organic foods of the season is usually the simplest way to make it affordable. You can also get produce boxes delivered each week from an organic farm nearby which is a simple way to eat the foods of the season while increasing organic produce in the diet as well as support organic farming. You can usually get a box of produce for $25 a week. So that is a place to start!

  15. Hi Mocha- all we can do is try, right?

  16. Hi Ruth- I am not saying everyone needs to be vegetarian or buy all organic…imagine if everyone in the world did! wow that would be amazing…but I don’t buy everything organic, and I do eat meat. I think if everyone just does a little bit to contribute and get in that mindset it will make a significant overall impact without having to personally sacrifice a great deal…thanks for stopping by!

  17. Hi Shilpan- I am a big fan of working to eat less…it is tough at times as most of us were raised in the “clean your plate club”. The less I learn to really eat the more shocked I am when I go out to some of the big chain restaurants and see what kinds of servings they provide me…sometimes I eat the leftovers all week! Wow.

  18. Hi Jennifer- Sure thing! I know all the organic stuff is really complicated, but the bottom line is that pesticides are fat soluble so they are stored in fat, so animal fat is the biggest source of them…this is part of the reason why low fat/non-fat dairy and meats are so much healthier.

  19. thank you for this information!

  20. […] allergic, don’t like the excess phlegm it creates in your body, or simply are trying to make better choices for the environment…this blog is for […]

  21. Glad that you mention how important eating LESS meat is. As you already mentioned in the comments area, it takes way more food energy and supplies to make meat than to make veggies. Generally speaking we all eat too much…and meat is something people eat WAY too much of. Like at every meal every day. So reducing is a start.

    Great article, Doc.

    Missy’s last blog post..Top 10 Vegetarian Apps For The Iphone

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