11 Simple Ways To Start Living Healthier
Have you been thinking about living healthier and maybe “greening up” your life? But the more you think about it, the more overwhelming it becomes, and you don’t have a clue where to start!?
I know the feeling, because I’ve been there too! But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that we’re making problems not only for my generation, but for my kids and grandkids generations.
Here are 11 simple things you can do to start living healthier. These things are not only good for your body, but the environment too… and starting today.
1. Shop Local
When you shop local shops and farmer’s markets, you’re investing in the success of small business owners who have invested in the future of your community.
Money spent at a local business puts 3.5 times more money in the local economy, than money spent at a chain business.
Buying local sourced goods requires less packaging and processing, and a lot less fuel to get it to the buyer, which has a smaller carbon footprint, and creates much less air pollution.
2. Living Healthier And Living Greener Can Start By Eating Less Meat
Healthier living can start by limiting the amount of meat, especially red meat, that you eat on a daily basis.
An enormous amount of cropland, water, fuel, pesticides and fertilizer is required to grow enough soybean meal, corn and other grains to feed the animals in the factory farming industry.
Through their digestive process, cows and sheep pollute the air by producing large amounts of methane (the greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide).
Their waste (500 million tons of manure per year!) can leach pollutants like antibiotics, metals and nitrogen into groundwater and release toxic gases into the environment.
Add the emissions created in processing and transporting commercial meat… it ends up having a huge carbon footprint.
This Meatless Walnut Loaf is an excellent substitute for your favorite meatloaf recipe.
3. Grow Your Own Food
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as eating food that you grew yourself.
Not only are homegrown fruits and veggies generally more flavorful, they can also be more economical. Another bonus is that you control the environment in your garden, so you can choose to garden without harmful pesticides.
There are lots of ideas you can find online for how to naturally and organically deal with common diseases or pests.
Lastly, the carbon footprint of produce that travels from your backyard to your plate is a LOT less than the produce you get at the grocery store that’s traveled thousands of miles and weeks or months to get there.
4. Buy Organic
Not only is organic food healthier for us, but it’s also better for the climate.
Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming are mostly derived from fossil fuels.
Organic farms use natural manure and compost for fertilizer which stores more carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Overall, organic soil tends to be healthier… containing more vitamins and minerals and less harmful pesticides and toxic metals than soil that’s treated with chemicals.
5. Wear Natural Fiber Clothing
Synthetic fabrics… polyester, nylon and fleece should really be called “plastic fabrics”. They’re chemically derived and create micro plastics that go down the drain when they’re washed, and end up in our rivers, streams, and oceans.
Natural, plant based fabrics… cotton, linen (made from flax), silk, wool, cashmere and hemp, require less energy to produce and therefore, use less fossil fuels. And because they’re plant materials, when they’re disposed of, decompose much quicker than the synthetics, which are extremely slow (if ever) to biodegrade.
6. Buy “USED”…
Buying used electronics, clothing, toys, vehicles and more, is more sustainable and more affordable.
New products require farming or factory producing, harvesting and shipping to market, which takes energy and uses fossil fuels! Used items don’t require any new energy (except for the gas to go pick it up!) and any packaging.
7. Switch Your Light Bulbs To LED
LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional light bulbs, which means less demand from power plants and lower carbon emissions.
The LED bulbs are a little pricey, but last far longer than traditional light bulbs, meaning you’ll be paying less in the long term. They’re also free of toxic chemicals and recyclable!
8. Say NO To Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics like straws, plastic bags, water/pop bottles, stirrers, ‘to go’ cups and lids and most food packaging.
In the USA alone, people discard 500 million straws everyday. 500 million pieces of plastic per day which cannot be recycled and inevitably wind up in a landfill or polluting lakes and rivers.
Replacing plastic bags with re-useable ones, plastic straws with paper/metal/silicone, and ‘to go’ cups or plastic bottles with BPA free re-useable bottles/mugs won’t save the world over night, but if we start making small changes, it can make a big difference in the earth that we leave our kids and grandkids.
9. Living Healthier By Avoiding NON-Recycleable Materials
There are things we use daily, because they’re convenient and cheap, that can’t be recycled and end up buried in our landfills or making their way into our streams and rivers.
Here are just a few items that can’t be recycled: foil gift wrap, plastic bottle caps, styrofoam, padded envelopes, foil lined bags (like chip bags), plastic netting produce bags, aerosol cans, foil lined or plastic coated cardboard, take-out food containers, ceramics, mirrors, cellophane, zip lock bags, cereal bags.
Remember that recycle is the last ‘R’ – reduce, re-use, and recycle!
10. Start Composting
About 150,000 tons of food is tossed out of US households every day… about a third of the calories that we consume in a day.
That equals the weight of 26,000 full grown elephants! That’s a lot of waste that ends up either being burned (which releases carbon dioxide into the air) or buried in our landfills (where it doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs to decay and produces methane, which is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide). A good home compost produces zero methane!
Your compost can be used in your garden, adding nutrients back into your soil and also increasing the soils ability to hold water.
11. Avoid Artificial Fragrances
Fragrance is another way of saying “hidden chemicals”, and they’re found in most of our cleaning and beauty products. But they’re also considered “trade secrets”, so companies aren’t required to tell you what the ingredients are in their products.
Fragrances are well documented to trigger migraines, allergies and asthma and many of them contain chemicals that haven’t ever been tested for toxicity.
For your own health and for the environment, skip the artificial fragrances and start using natural essential oils, instead! Let me share some easy ways to use essential oils.
Hopefully, at least one of these 11 ways to live healthier and “greener” has touched a nerve with you. They are all relative easy… well maybe some are easy and some not anything you’re interested in doing.
Just remember ANYTHING we do will help.