Today is Earth Day. Over one billion people are participating in Earth Day events across the globe in an effort to solve/save the climate crisis. This year’s focus will be on Green Cities, mobilizing a movement to create a healthy and sustainable environment by taking action in urban populations. There are many ways you can help save our Earth, even from your own home, today and every day. Through the food choices you make for each meal, you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and can also benefit your own health.
1) EAT MORE VEGETABLES
Simply by adding more and more vegetables and fruits into each and every meal is the first step in making the right choices. Not only are nature’s vibrant colors and flavors exciting to eat, you get a multitude of nutrients with “Eating the Rainbow” every day. Consuming this naturally colorful variety of foods can strengthen your immune system, reduce risk of diseases and illnesses, and build a strong body and mind. Follow this one simple rule, whether for a juice, salad, snack, or a soup: Check to see that all colors are included to make for a wholesome, naturally nutritious meal. For each meal, fill half your plate with veggies first to ensure you are getting enough nutrients each day. Take this even further by incorporating Meatless Mondays into your family’s life (and then maybe a second or third night too!) Vegetable proteins such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu and leafy greens are just as easy to prepare and just as flavorful when you set your mind to it.
2) EAT LOCAL
Not only is eating local food better for the environment by burning less fuel, it’s also better for your health. The less distance a food has to travel, the fresher it is. Eating locally also means eating seasonal foods, thus naturally giving your body a healthy balance with nature. From CSAs to farmer’s markets to pick-your-own farms, by eating local, you are able to support the local economy, can truly know where your food comes from, and most importantly, reap the benefits of the freshest, most flavorful, and nutrient-rich produce. Go to localharvest.org or pickyourown.org to see what local produce is available near you. Or, if you have a few flower pots, or a little bit of land, start by growing a small herb garden, or a few vegetables, so you can reap the benefits of growing some of your own food. Not only do you reduce your environmental impact, you save money, waste less food, and enjoy the accomplishment of nurturing your own nutrients, with no question of chemicals and processing. The kids love it too!
3) UNPROCESS YOUR FOOD
If meat is an integral part of your diet, then make sure to be knowledgeable and purchase meat and animal by-products (dairy, eggs) that are organic, pastured or grass-fed. Aside from all the hormones and antibiotics given to factory-farmed animals because of their cramped “living” conditions, they’re being fed GMO grains. These unnatural interventions ultimately affects the consumer, even if the taste and texture may be the same. Also, did you know that the largest contributing factor to global warming is the raising and production of the meat on our plates? Processing of all foods also damages our earth. Look at how Industry, marketing and convenience have completely changed the way so many of us eat today, so many foods come in colorful packages and have long shelf lives – it’s everywhere! Pesticides, antibiotics, artificial colorings, flavorings, modified/mutated foods, formulated to make foods convenient and addictive. As a result, we’re faced with the rise in chronic diseases, many which are now affecting our children. Avoiding “Big Food” factory products will save the earth as well as save your own health and the health of the ones you love. Unprocessing your food may go against the grain of today’s society, but in order to make a change that is not only good for your own body, but also good for the environment, this change is a lifestyle, not a fad diet.
• Organic (avoid pesticides/antibiotics) • Refined grains (white flour, white rice)
• Local foods (support your farmers market) • Refined sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup)
• Whole ingredients, whole grains • Factory farmed meat and seafood
• Non-GMO (why mess with nature?) • Boxes, bags and cans (you know the ones!)
• Plenty of fruits and vegetables • Refined oils (canola, safflower…)
It’s all about making smart, clean, healthy choices and being conscious of what you eat. Doing this will make the earth’s body, your body, your children’s bodies feel better, function optimally, and be vibrant.
Christine Wong is the loving mother of two healthy eaters, she is also a Certified Health and Wellness Coach working with parents who want to improve the health and well-being for themselves and their families. Find out about her coaching program by scheduling a free one-hour health consultation at: firstname.lastname@example.org.