We don’t need Vice President Al Gore to tell us that we citizens of Earth still aren’t doing as much as we can to stop and reverse the negative environmental effects we’ve done to the planet. Look no further than the fast-food wrappers littering our streets or the dozen of co-workers sitting at the conference room table drinking their morning brew out of Styrofoam cups.
Still, there are environmentally friendly things that we can do that have bonus incentives, such as improving our health. So in honor of Earth Day, we present the top ways to eat healthy and environmentally friendly:
Switch from processed white rice and bread to brown rice or quinoa and a whole grain loaf. We’ve mentioned here before that whole grains are better for our health because there is less processing than bleached white rice or bread. Did you know though that a large amount of fresh water goes into farming rice? That’s concerning. And any product that requires the amount of processing that those white rice and bread require also means excessive energy use at the plant.
We’ve written time and time again about the harm of fast-food consumption on our health, so we’ll spare you the long version and just say that the salts, sugar and fats in those foods are bad news for our bodies. Now let’s talk about the effects of fast-food on the environment. Despite most of the physical packaging of fast food being recyclable, less than a third of fast-food waste is diverted from landfills. And the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger? The number of cheeseburgers made in a year is equal in greenhouse gases to roughly 6.5 miilion-19.6 million SUVs. Ugh.
Anyone working a 9-to-5 office job knows that certain situations with food are unavoidable – there will be thoughtful but dangerous office cookies/cakes/doughnuts and the smell coffee from your cubical neighbor will make you crave caffeine. For the latter, simply brew yours at home using USDA Certified Organic coffee, which is grown using sustainable standards. Also, bring it to work in a reusable cup to reduce waste.
Want to get your children on board with environmentally friendly eating? Reduce the amount of processed foods that they eat and make sure that they’re eating the rainbow when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Bonus environmental points if you grow your own food or buy local and organic products!