7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Footprint and Eat Healthy
You’ve probably seen videos of the miles of plastic currently floating around in the ocean. Seahorses attached to drinking straws, dolphins caught in plastic netting, and trash floating through a once pristine ecosystem. Living a zero waste life seems stressful as almost everything we consume comes with additional packaging, non-recyclable plastic, extra parts and trash. It doesn’t have to be daunting! When you commit to eating healthy, living a zero waste or reduced waste lifestyle comes naturally.
Follow these tips to reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy the local goods your community has to offer! You might even make a few friends on your journey!
1. Eat Local
Many restaurants now are going farm-to-table, meaning they place priority on foods and goods that are already available in your community. Knowing where your food comes from includes reassurance that it’s fresh and supports farmers in your community. Farm-to-table restaurants also typically feature dishes that focus on foods in season and change their menus frequently. It’s a great way to support local businesses and try something new!
2. Imperfect Produce
The quality standards at grocery stores focus a lot on the look of produce. If you’re not concerned with how beautiful the exterior of your orange or sweet potato looks, ugly produce could be the way to go! Imperfect produce has a subscription box that you can customize based on the produce available that week. A box is delivered to your door in the frequency and weight that you determine. The produce is also much cheaper (30-50 percent) than what’s available at the grocery store without compromising any taste. They also keep track of your impact in pounds of diverted produce, gallons of water saved and pounds of CO2 out of the air.
3. Reusable Grocery & Produce Bags
Many cities have placed taxes on plastic bags to discourage people from using them and eventually reduce production. Reusable grocery bags are an easy way to make an impact and can also make a fashion statement while you’re at it! There are also reusable produce bags that can eliminate the need to use those tiny non-recyclable bags to wrap up your fruits, veggies and herbs.
4. Plant a Garden
There’s nothing quite like grabbing fresh mint from your garden to make a mojito or plucking a tomato off the vine for your salad. Not only do you feel great, but the taste is so much better than what you can find elsewhere! Gardens don’t only need to happen in the summer either. Use indoor lamps to create a mini greenhouse and enjoy fresh herbs and select veggies all year round!
5. Check Out Your Farmer’s Market
No matter where you’re located, most communities offer farmer’s markets during the summer and throughout the year. By shopping local, you’re supporting small businesses in your community and farmer’s markets are a great way to bring friends and neighbors together! They also usually have activities and entertainment for the kids. If you’ve never tried local honey or cheese, go. Right. Now.
6. Start Composting
Get a head start on your garden and reduce the amount of trash coming from your home through compost. If you’re eating healthy, chances are you have a lot of vegetable skins, leftover seeds and pits from fruits and food waste that can be easily turned into fresh, rich soil. If you can’t have a full compost at home, there are many local organizations that will drop off a bucket and take the full one away every month. For a small fee, you not only have peace of mind that you’re reducing food waste, but also have access to soil for your garden!
7. Join a Food Co-Op
Eating locally and consciously is a trend that will never go out of style. By joining a food co-op, you can have a direct say in the products and services offered to the group. They’re typically member-owned volunteer organizations and you pay a fee to be a member. Most food co-ops are set up as a group-owned marketplace that bring together local foods and consumers.
How are you helping the environment and reducing waste? We want to know!
Copy by: Michelle Rivas
Michelle is a health and wellness writer and communications director in Chicago, although many know her as The Healthy Latina. She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism from Arizona State University and her master's degree in Health Communication from DePaul University.
As a health and wellness aficionado, Michelle can frequently be found running around Chicago training for a marathon, trying new gyms and classes, and trying to perfect her grandmother's arroz con pollo recipe with cauliflower rice. She was a Hispanicize TECLA Award finalist in 2015, received the Latina Magazine 30 Under 30 Award, the Best Latina Blogger Award in 2014, and the Cosmo for Latinas Blogger Award in 2013.
Read more about her adventures in healthy living at www.thehealthylatina.com.
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