If I stopped you on the street and honestly asked, “How can I get healthier?”
I have no doubt that I would hear a lot of the same advice: Eat better. Exercise more. Stop eating junk food. Eat more veggies, less carbs, less fat, more protein.
Then I might hear something like, do more pushups. Go to the gym. Meditate. Research. Talk to your doctor. Find a healthcare coach. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
I’m amazed how often people will ask this question. Most people are pretty honest and know they need (and want) to be healthier… but how to actually go about doing it is a little more tricky.
1. Shopping Locally
There is nothing better on a Sunday morning than strolling down the aisles of a farmer’s market. The sun is shining, and your basket is brimming with fresh produce and the delicious smells from fragrant fruits and fresh vegetables. Meanwhile, the smell of fresh-baked bread is wafting around you.
What you might not know is that your weekly market venture can also be a move in the right direction when it comes to lightening your footprint on this earth.
Buying from farmers in your local area means your food hasn’t travelled as far as it would have it you bought it from a supermarket (Supermarket produce is often grown overseas, leading to enormous carbon consumption). You’ll also get the chance to sample foods and meet people in your community you might never have had a chance to talk to before.
2. Growing Your Own Veggies
Growing vegetables or herbs in your garden means you can select and pick only the portions you need, leaving the rest on the tree or in the ground. What this means is that you’ll greatly reduce food waste, keeping your fridge clean and clear of wilted greens for good.
Even if your space is limited, you can grow space-friendly herbs on a windowsill or apartment balcony. Basil, mint, chives, coriander and oregano are five easy-to-grow herbs that are versatile enough to throw into most dishes. With an ever-growing supply of herbs, you won’t need to deal with the waste accompanied with supermarket-bought foods again.
In fact, here’s a great infographic
that shows 4 vegetables that you can regrow by using stubs from old vegetables. No seeds needed!
3. Using More Natural Fibers
When you want to reduce your impact on the earth, it’s imperative that you choose fibers and materials that are naturally sourced and made organically. Anything plastic-based, such as polyester, nylon or rayon, takes an excess of resources to produce, meaning your clothing will put a drain on the planet.
Cotton, wool and silk are much better alternatives to the synthetic options that are out there, and you can find these fabrics in anything from fashion and homewares to food packaging. Here at The Swag, we’ve opted for a natural unseeded, unbleached cotton food wrap that keeps food fresher for longer.
4. Buying Less (and Saving More)
Our bank accounts will thank us for this one. As well as saving us money in the long term, buying less means that fewer items will find their way to landfill – creating a greener planet over time.
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to over consumption is food wastage. And it’s easier to waste food then you then. Just a little extra weekly from your kitchen can cause long-term damage to the environment after they’re thrown away. Instead of chucking all your food in the trash, eat them while they’re fresh – and don’t be afraid of leftovers. Some things are that much more delicious the next day.
5. Swapping, Not Shopping
Just like choosing naturally-sourced fibers is good for Mother Earth, so is extending the life of your clothes. Think about it. The clothing industry has us thinking we need new shirts, dresses, pants and shoes every season. Meanwhile, they’re eating into our pockets and causing all of “last season’s” clothes to pile up in landfills across the U.S.
Huffington Post even called fashion one of the world’s most polluting industries
last year. But you don’t have to be a miser and wear the same dress 10 years in a row.
Instead, plan a cocktail clothing swap with our friends! You’ll get that same adrenaline rush you get from buying something new without the price tag! Just invite everyone to bring their unwanted items that are still in good condition, and swap them for their friends’ pre-loved threads. This way, everyone gets something new for cheap, and can feel great about their impact on the planet. While you’re at it, serve up something delicious, like our favorite Vegan Blueberry Cobbler.