Since 1970, people around the globe have been celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd.? Considering the state of our planet and the political, corporate and industrial forces that seem intent on destroying it, everyday should be Earth Day. Our world needs more care and healing and, in the absence of true leadership from elected officials and the business elite, it is up to ?the little people? to lead the way.
In honor of Earth Day, here are seven ways you can eat an earth-friendly diet:
1) Grow your own food
It sounds crazy, but something our ancestors did naturally for millennia has now become one of the most significant acts of revolution we can undertake. At the turn of the previous century, most American households grew all or most of their own food. As late as the mid-1980s when they passed away, my grandparents purchased staples such as flour and salt at the grocery store but grew everything else.
How did we get so far removed from this natural act? The short answer is this: we have been told for decades that buying your food in stores is a sign of affluence. Now that food production is industrialized and run by companies equally interested in chemicals, buying food in stores is increasingly associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related diseases. Do yourself a favor and take charge of your personal food supply. Whether you have a balcony, a backyard or an acreage, give it a try. You?ll be surprised how easy and rewarding it is and you?ll be even more surprised at how much delicious, fresh food you can get out of even the smallest spaces.
2) Eat local
If growing your own food just isn?t feasible, consider stocking your pantry with locally-grown products from markets and independent grocery stores. Many smaller produce markets and even some health food stores stock fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and prepared foods from local producers. Not only do you support your local businesses and keep dollars in the local economy, you cut down on the amount of food that needs to be shipped into your community from elsewhere. Less shipping means fewer trucks on the road and fewer fossil-fuel emissions into the atmosphere.
3) Buy food from local farmers
Buying directly from local farmers ensures that your food doesn?t make the lengthy trip to your grocery store, a trip which causes untold pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. You?ll be rewarded with much more nutritious food as well. That?s because food quickly loses its nutritional value after it has been picked. Those precious first days in transport causes a significant loss of nutrients.
4) Eat more plant-based foods
No matter how some people try to spin the facts, the reality is that a plant-based diet is far better for the planet than to use the extensive resources required to grow meat and poultry. Additionally, plants actually absorb carbon dioxide emissions while animals emit them. The bonus is that countless amounts of research shows that plant-based diets are far healthier for your body as well. A study published in the American Medical Association?s own online journal JAMA Network, found that eating a plant-based diet was more effective than other diets to lose weight. Another study published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found that a plant-based diet slashes mortality risk from heart disease by a whopping 40 percent. A plant-based diet is healthier for you and the planet.
5) Choose chemical-free or organic
Buying organic means that you?re not supporting chemical-based agriculture. When you buy organic, or better yet, grow your own food organically, you?re helping to ensure that many acres of land will not be sprayed with toxic chemicals?chemicals that have been linked to many diseases, including cancer.
6) Drink purified tap water
Choosing tap water over bottled water helps to ensure that billions of plastic bottles don?t end up in landfills, roadsides or waterways. Even the simple act of carrying your own reusable water bottle that you refill can help make a difference to the level of plastic pollution on the planet.
7) Eat fewer packaged and processed foods
Making your own food from scratch isn?t just better-tasting and healthier, it reduces the amount of waste in landfills, as well as the amount of packaging that needs to be processed even if it is recycled. It?s a simple act but just choosing foods with less packaging, or better yet, no packaging at all, will make a big difference to the planet.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World?s Healthiest News, founder of Scent-sational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
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