Earth Day is a great opportunity to take inventory of your pantry as well as your eating habits. How you eat and what you eat have a direct effect not only on your personal health, but also the health of the planet. Luckily, what’s good for your body is also good for the earth! Here are 5 ways to eat “green” every single day of the year.
It’s no secret that buying organic is a smart way to go. Organic foods are free from pesticides and herbicides that pollute waterways, harm wildlife and poison the health of farm workers and their children. Instead of using toxic chemicals, organic farms concentrate on soil health to create strong healthy plants, and those healthy plants turn into healthy food with higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Healthy soil = ecosystems in balance = healthy humans. Everybody wins.
Stock up in bulk
If you’re like me and love to cook and bake, you probably have a pantry full of dry goods such as oats, nuts, flour, dried beans and pasta. Why not stock up in bulk to save on packaging? There are many grocery stores that even sell oil and honey by the pint and, if you bring your own containers, even better.
According to PETA, it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat and 70% of the grain grown in the US is used for animal feed. What if we ate more grains, nuts and legumes for protein and put the meat aside, even for a few meals per week? Animal production, when done in CAFO’s pollutes waterways and is resource-intensive, using large amount of electricity and fossil fuels. Start by participating in the Meatless Monday movement and get inspired! We post meatless recipes on our Zing Facebook page every Monday.
Buy sustainably-caught fish
Oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface and contain 50% of the species on our planet. Our oceans have always been a precious source of food for humanity, but did you know that they are in danger of depletion? Overfishing and harmful fishing methods that destroy ocean ecosystems are putting our fish supply at risk. Buying sustainably-caught fish such as line and hook-caught Seabass or Alaskan Salmon assure that we’ll always have healthy oceans. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has developed a series of downloadable pocket guides to help you navigate the grocery aisles.
Or take the bus… or walk… or carpool with your neighbor. When you’re taking short trips to the grocery for a few items, why not take your backpack, hop on your bike and make it part of your workout? Or, what if you decided to take your elderly neighbor for his or her weekly grocery trip? When you think outside the box, you’ll reduce CO2 emissions, get some exercise, and even make new friends in the process. Once again proving that the best things for the planet are the best things for our mental and physical health!
How are you eating “green” these days? Any tips to share?
Christine Weiss MS, RD is a dietitian and Bastyr University graduate who counsels people dealing with food allergies, diabetes and digestive issues. She enjoys working with Zing Bars to raise awareness about healthy living through online media. She can be found at Eating It Up online.