By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com
One of the beautiful things about living sustainably is that it means living in a way that’s also healthy. If you’re resolving to live better for yourself, consider of these five resolution ideas that treat your body and mother nature better in 2012.
Waste Less Produce
According to a study published by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40 percent of the food that’s produced in the United States in destined for the dumpster. You can make a big difference in your household by simply buying less–which will also help you save money. Consider going to the grocer slightly more often, but buying fewer items. Or plan out your meals ahead of time, and buy only the ingredients that you will need in the coming week. If you’re not sure when you’ll be cooking, stock up on eggs, apples, cabbage, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables. These items keep the longest and are less likely to end up in a landfill.
We bet this isn’t the first time you’ve heard that organic produce is healthier. First off, organic produce has less residue from toxic pesticides than conventional produce, according to the USDA. That means eating organic fruits and vegetables minimizes your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects and developmental problems. Secondly, a growing body of research shows that some organic products are more nutritious. We know that the big players in agribusiness will dispute this claim, but it makes sense to us. Organic farms tend to have richer, healthier soil than farms that use fossil-fuel derived fertilizer that’s constantly being depleted. Lastly, those synthetic fertilizers and pesticides aren’t any better for the earth than they are for your body, and can lead to both contamination of the soil, water supply and harm the wild ecology surrounding a conventional farm.
Take a Walk or Bike
Biking or walking to work isn’t a luxury everyone can afford, but consider it seriously if you can. If your workplace is out of the question, re-evaluate where else you drive. Could you take the bike to do your local errands? Or walk to your friend’s house? Moving more will benefit your mood and your health, while cutting down on your carbon footprint.
Eat Fewer Animal Products
Meat production is at an all-time-high globally, which means it has become a huge consumer of natural resources and all too often results in environmental degradation. Eating less meat is a sure-fire way to decrease your carbon footprint. Give “Meatless Mondays” a try, or consider cutting back your consumption even more. Although animal products can be part of a healthy diet, many people find themselves eating more vegetables as they cut back on meat.
Shop the Farmers Market
It’s a little harder to argue how eating locally is better for your health, but it is better for the earth, local economy, and your budget. If you’re doing that local shopping at the farmers market, you’re sure to be bringing home lots of fresh, flavorful produce, which makes this an inherently healthy practice. Buying from local farmers means less energy has been used in the storage and transportation of your food. Make it a goal to go at least twice a month in the spring, summer and fall!