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You may have heard the phrase “clean eating” before and while it refers to an approach to eating, it also encompasses a way of living that can lead to optimal health and wellness. And even more, adopting a clean eating lifestyle will not only benefit your own health, but that of the environment. According to the World Health Organization, 13 million deaths annually and nearly a quarter of all diseases worldwide are due to environmental causes that could be avoided or prevented. Here are some steps you can take to improve your own health and the environment’s as well.
Reduce Meat Consumption
Excess meat consumption, especially of red meat and processed meats, can take a toll on our health and have harmful effects on the environment. While you don’t need to become a complete vegetarian or vegan if you enjoy eating meat, there are some steps you can take to reduce your intake.
• Plan for some meatless meals throughout the week. Focus on plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy. For some inspiration and recipe ideas, check out www.meatlessmonday.com.
• Choose quality over quantity. Grass-fed raised beef comes from cows that only eat grass and other foraged foods throughout their lives and may contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linolenic acid and higher levels of antioxidants, like vitamin E. Organic meat is raised with organic, hormone-free, and GMO-free feed and disease is prevented through the use of natural methods. Livestock must also have access to the outdoors. Organic farming is also better for the environment, reducing pollution, conserving water, reducing soil erosion, increasing soil fertility and overall using less energy.
Choose Safe Seafood
By making smart choices in the seafood department, you can help protect fish and ocean animals. Fisheries are rapidly declining due to unsustainable fishing practices and over half the fish we eat actually comes from a farm rather than wildly caught. Chemicals and wastes from fish farms are polluting oceans. Choose fish that's been caught or farmed in environmentally responsible ways. To find out which seafood to buy and where to find it check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch at www.seafoodwatch.org and download the app for on-the-go access when you’re out shopping or dining at a restaurant.
Be Picky About Produce
Nearly 70 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues, according to the Environmental Working Group’s analysis of test data from the Department of Agriculture. The EWG puts out a list each year of the top 12 produce with the highest pesticide levels (known as the “dirty dozen”.) New to this year’s list is kale. More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected. Before testing, all produce is washed and peeled, showing that simple washing does not remove all pesticides. Other produce to make the dirty list include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
Eat More Real Foods
The supermarket shelves are filled with packaged, processed foods, and while these foods can make it into your cart on occasion, try and have the bulk of your shopping come from
whole, natural foods. And when you do decide to purchase something in a can or package, check out the ingredient list and pick items with simple and pronounceable lists.
Go Clean Beyond Your Plate
A clean lifestyle goes beyond just what you put on your plate. Be sure to get plenty of daily exercise during the day and log 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Manage stress in healthful ways and spend time with loved ones. Make time each day for self-care and hobbies you enjoy. And take steps to preserve the health of the environment:
• Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store.
• Skip bottled water and invest in a reusable water bottle.
• Take the stairs over the elevator whenever possible – a great way to also get active!
• Turn off lights when you leave the room and open the blinds to utilize natural light during the day.
• Turn off your computer and other devices at the end of the day.
• Use less disposable items.
• Receive and pay your bills electronically.
Get The Whole Family Involved
The best way to insure you can stick with a clean and green lifestyle is to get the whole family involved. It’s also a great way to teach kids about where food comes from and how to build a balanced plate. Here are some ideas to try:
• Visit a local farm or farmers’ market. A key element of clean eating is knowing where your food comes from. Visiting a nearby farm or farmers’ market is a great way to connect with the person raising the food you eat. Buying directly from a farmer can also guarantee you enjoy the fresh, in-season produce.
• Join a CSA. Community-supported agriculture is a system that connects the producer and consumer by allowing the consumer to purchase a share of the farm. While all CSAs are structured a little differently, joining one can mean getting weekly or biweekly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a great way to support local farmers and increase you and your family’s consumption of produce.
• Plant a home garden. It doesn’t get any more local than growing fruits and vegetables right in your backyard! Plus, it’s a fun way to get the whole family involved and excited to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
• Recycle. We all know by now that recycling is good for the planet. Set up bins for different materials and assign kids the job of sorting jugs and milk cartons and preparing for pick up.
• Reduce food waste. In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply! Get creative with leftovers and reinvent meals. Grilled chicken leftover from dinner? Try dicing it up to throw over a salad or add avocado oil mayonnaise and enjoy on whole grain bread. Leftover veggies at the end of the week? Throw them all into a big pot and make a delicious vegetable soup. Get family members involved and ask them to come up with meal and snack ideas using items found right in your refrigerator.
SPRING PEA SALAD INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn 1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped 1 small shallot, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 10 oz. green peas, blanched (if fresh) or thawed (if frozen)
In a medium bowl, combine the mint, capers, shallot, zest, oil, salt, and pepper. Add the peas and toss gently. Serve at room temperature.
BLACK BEAN JICAMA SALAD INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained 1 cup jicama, diced 1/2 cup 1/3-inch dice peeled carrots 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons orange juice 2 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
In a large bowl add black beans, jicama, carrots, green onions and basil. Whisk oil, lime juice, orange juice, lime peel, cumin in small bowl. Mix dressing into bean salad.
Tag(s): Corporate Wellness Newsletters
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