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April 19, 2021
The Green Diet and Other Lifestyle Choices That Can Benefit the Earth and Protect Your Health
It should come as no surprise - food that’s healthy for your body is also healthy for the planet. There’s a growing interest today in feeding our families and ourselves in ways that preserve land, our communities and the environment. The food we eat and where we buy it directly impacts our life and our world. Read on to find out what steps you can take to improve your health and help Mother Earth at the same time.
Go Meatless on Monday. Meatless Monday is a national health campaign designed to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, four of the leading causes of death of all Americans. According to research, vegetarians have lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Meat contributes a large amount of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to the daily diet. There are also major environmental advantages to eating less meat, as raising cattle and other livestock requires huge amounts of grain and water. Check out the website at meatlessmonday.com for delicious recipe ideas and tips for getting started.
Buy produce in season. Out of season produce is costly because transporting it requires fuel to get it from where it was grown to where it is sold. Local and regional food purchases can reduce carbon-emissions since food purchased locally has traveled fewer miles compared to the long distances typical for other produce. Over the past few decades, the average distance food travels from farm to supermarket has increased dramatically. According to one source, estimates range from 1,500 to 2,500 miles. Find out what produce is seasonal in your local region at fromfieldtoplate.com and download a produce availability guide for your state.
Choose Organic. Certified organic food has been grown, handled and processed without synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. If going totally organic is not in your budget, then spend your organic dollars on the “dirty dozen”: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries—the conventional produce most likely to contain pesticide residues, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.
Join a CSA. If you do not have room for a garden of your own, you can still receive a bounty of nutritious, often organic produce while supporting sustainable food production practices that do not degrade soil or water. Community Supported Agriculture, also known as CSAs, link individuals to small, family-owned farms. Most membership drives begin in January. Members make a financial contribution toward a local farm’s yearly start-up costs. In return, members receive a weekly share of seasonal, fresh, organic produce. Shares generally range from $300 to $500 per year and feed two to four people. To find one near you, visit localharvest.org and click on “CSA". Type in your zip code, and you’ll find the closest CSAs to your town.
Shop at and Support Farmers’ Markets. Farmers’ markets are growing in popularity as more consumers discover the many benefits and pleasures of shopping for both familiar and unique foods directly from their local farmer. Fruits and vegetables eaten soon after harvest often have higher levels of nutrients because they have not been lost to oxidation or destroyed during long distance transport at improper temperatures. Consumers can buy interesting varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables that might otherwise be damaged during long-distance transport. To find a farmers’ market in your area, use the clickable map set up by the USDA: ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
Grow or Pick Your Own Fruits and Vegetables. This can be fun and there’s no better way to get fresh produce, except to grow it yourself. To find a pick-your-own farm in your region, visit pickyourown.org. Growing your own vegetable garden eliminates the need for fuel for transport and can save a significant amount on your grocery bill.
Other ways to Go Green
Getting to Work.
- Begin your work day by using public transportation when possible.
- If you live a few miles from a commuter railroad, consider riding your bicycle to the station and locking it up there.
- If public transportation is not an option, consider carpooling or ‘’Park & Ride” facilities.
During the Workday.
- Bring your own reusable mug to the coffee station.
- Carry a water bottle from home to refill at the fountain as opposed to buying water in plastic bottles.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible. Not only will the exercise help keep you fit, you will save electricity.
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Reuse/recycle paper when possible.
- Try to purchase food with a minimum of plastic packaging.
- Choose produce grown close to home. For example, citrus fruit from Florida or apples from New York State.
- Pass on the paper and plastic and take your own reusable bag to pack up groceries.
- Cover pots with a lid to keep heat in.
- Use the smallest flame necessary and turn it down once water or food starts to boil.
- If using a microwave, periodically stir the food to evenly distribute heat and shorten cooking time.
Tag(s): Corporate Wellness Blogs
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