There has definitely been a point in time in our lives, the aha! moment, when we have realized the benefits of good health that come from healthy eating. And we have delved deep – scribbled notes from the internet, established regimes, charted diet plans, crafted exercise routines – undertaken the whole drill. We have done everything it takes and more. And, some of us continue to (while others need a little hand-holding). Yet, in all our endeavours, without the right insight and guidance, we may have done more harm than good.
Good eating habits, in my opinion, stem from deep care and consideration for ourselves, our bodies and minds, as well as our environment. After all, it is our external environment – our home, workplace and surrounds – that impacts our health and lifestyle the most. It was this suggestion that spurted the curiosity of many of my readers, and their questions about ‘the best ways to combine health and environment’ led me to develop this post.
So, here are the 5 healthy eating tips that are also good for the earth. I sincerely hope you will take note:
1) Grow & Cook Your Own Food:
Start by growing leafy veggies and herbs in small batches, on a windowsill or corner. While they add splendidly to the aesthetics of your home, they are also a welcome addition to meals – salads or garnish. You can consider having a vegetable patch if time and space allow it. Use manure and compost from your kitchen to naturally tend the plants and watch them flourish. It is surprising how easy it is to grow the food you love!
And, cooking your own food brings you the same joy. It is about balance – using the right ingredients, incorporating produce that is homegrown and making healthy choices. And you will agree – the satisfaction that a plateful of tasty home-cooked meal brings to the table tops any restaurant-style-meal, any day!
2) Buy Organic & Responsibly Produced Food:
Needless to say, the food we consume has profound effects on the environment. Therefore, wherever and whenever possible buy organic and responsibly produced food. Read the labels and research information about food brands. Go for the local produce, the in-season produce, food brands that are sustainably-sourced and follow fair-trade and environmentally-friendly processes. For example, your support for organic honey helps the natural bee-keeping practice thrive; And buying free-range eggs, means that the practice for rearing chickens under natural and therefore healthier conditions is encouraged. And finally, avoid food that has unnecessary and wasteful packaging.
3) Go Meatless:
There are innumerable reasons why meat, that is reducing your lifespan, increasing your chances for a heart-attack and your susceptibility to develop type 2 diabetes, is better quit. Livestock rearing consumes an important and limited resource – land. As per a study by the United Nations – “More than 30% of the available land on Earth is being used to raise and support livestock”. Wow! The more disturbing and harmful side-effect of this livestock rearing is their uncontrollably high emission of greenhouse gases (that directly contribute to the ‘global warming’ phenomenon). Reducing the intake of meat in your diet, and substituting this instead with fresh vegetables or fish can go a long way indeed.
4) Save Water & Energy:
Attention to a few, simple details can make a significant difference to your utility usage, reduce costs in bills and keep the environment safe. Here is a list – Switch off appliances when they are not in use; Use proper cookware that is designed to lower your energy consumption; Cover the vessels while cooking and consider using a pressure cooker for preparing certain meals; Boil only the right amount of water; Avoid heating food immediately after pulling it out of the freezer; Do not overcook; And, avoid spillage and wastage.
5) Reduce Usage & Consumption of Oil:
Oil adds very little value to the meal, and yet, it is the most overrated ingredient of all. Apart from the many impacts to the environment while producing oil, such as the production of palm oil that is erasing rainforests and robbing wildlife of their habitat, and the incessant reaping of genetically modified canola seeds (used for making canola oil) that is causing severe degradation of the native plant species, there are various health impacts to consider. Cutting down on the intake of oil in your diet, and ensuring the oil you do consume is responsibly-sourced and produced, is a step in the right direction.
As a health coach, I cannot stress how important it is to not overburden or over-commit yourself in the adoption of any new dietary plan. Celebrate your uniqueness and let it be a part of the approach to fit your individual needs. Keep the foundation strong, the intention robust and the rest is sure to follow!