Nutrition / Food

How to Be Healthy and Environmentally Friendly When It Comes to Food

It goes beyond plastic straws.

There’s a lot we can do in our everyday lives that both keeps us healthy and our environment happy. This is particularly true when it comes to food.

It can be as simple as forgoing the plastic straw in your next beverage or creating your own compost.

We asked experts simple ways to be healthier and greener in our everyday eating, grocery shopping, and hosting practices.

Ethical Eating

Ethical and healthy eating go hand and hand, which is great news for those trying to be eco-friendly.

The rule of thumb is, especially as it pertains to our food, that the more processed and unnatural a product is, the more toxins, carbon dioxide, and harmful substances are used and released both into the air and our bodies.

Use Aaptiv workouts in app to continue your healthy eating habits. Click here to learn more.

Avoid Conventionally Raised Animal Products

“Conventionally raised animals are often mass-produced in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in order to produce the fattest animals as fast as possible, often with antibiotics and hormones,” says Certified Health Coach Palmer Kippola.

After reversing her multiple sclerosis after twenty six years, she created F.I.G.H.T.S. to help others overcome autoimmune diseases. Part of that message carries through the food we put into our bodies, like meat.

“They are fed grains that are usually genetically modified, laden with pesticides and herbicides (glyphosate), and spoiled by toxic mold. Moldy grain causes greater weight gain, fattier meat, more tender meat, and mycotoxin-laden meat. The first three traditionally appeal to American consumers.”

By eating 100 percent grass-fed, pastured, or wild meat, you’re limiting your exposure to the harmful chemicals and hormones.

In addition to health risks, these animal confinements can often be cruel. “Sadly, these animals also suffer from the added stress of confinement,” she adds.

“But, whatever your views on animal cruelty, the bottom line is that conventional meat provides less nutritional value than organic, grass-fed, or free-range meats. While conventionally raised meat is cheaper and easier to find, the cost to the animals, the environment, and human health is high.”

Promote Biodiversity

Did you know that fruits and vegetables all come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors? We’re not just talking about different produce.

A quick trip to a market in another country will tell you how tomatoes aren’t always round and carrots aren’t always long and thin. In fact, American food distributors waste a good portion of ‘ugly’ produce, thus creating extra waste.

Abraham Kamarck, founder of True Made Foods, created America’s favorite condiments and naturally sweetened them with real veggies. And he didn’t just use any produce—he used vegetables that are ugly and undersized.

“We are reducing food waste, encouraging biodiversity (by creating incentives for farmers to grow more vegetables), and significantly impacting American health by replacing refined sugars with vegetables,” he says. “These vegetables would otherwise rot in their fields.”

Like Kamarck, try utilizing unwanted produce by shopping local. Don’t be afraid of the the untraditional looking fruit and vegetables.

Just like people, no produce looks the same (and we should embrace it). Plus, by searching for biodiversity in plants, you’re putting healthy produce, which is packed with vitamins and minerals, into your body.

This may also be a great time to try your hand at indoor or outdoor gardening. By seeing produce or herbs grow firsthand, you’ll experience all the many sizes and colors that our favorite fruits and vegetables can come in.

Smart Snacking

Not all snacks are created equal, and we’re not just talking about taste and calories. Some snacks are created from sources that require heavy amounts of water to retain and rebuild.

As the world is slowly approaching a decline in water sources, every bit of attention helps. For example, there is no water consumed in the production of seaweed.

According to Stephen Broad, CEO of gimMe Snacks, fifteen gallons of water are required to produce one pound of lettuce alone.

“Seaweed is not only incredibly beneficial for our ocean’s ecosystem, but also for our health. Seaweed is full of nutrients. These include high levels of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as calcium, iodine, potassium, selenium, iron, and magnesium.”

The next time you’re craving a salty snack, make an ethical and healthy choice. Try incorporating seaweed into your diet.

Pay Attention to Packaging

When it comes to our food choices, we allow our minds to gravitate towards marketing and packaging. Retroactively, we don’t realize that what we’re drawn to can impact our health and be environmentally unsustainable.

David Kovalevski, founder and CEO of Waka Coffee, insists that he wants to revive the instant coffee category, not only with quality coffee, but also with packaging.

“Most traditional instant coffee brands use big plastic containers or heavy glass jars. We chose to have lightweight packaging made of foil-lined kraft paper with no plastic at all. Most of our packaging is recyclable, and because its light weight, it requires less energy to transport. This also cuts down on carbon emissions.”

In addition to packaging, Kovalevski recognized the water waste in the coffee production process. In his efforts to play a small part in preservation, they started the Add Water, Give Water program.

“Through our program, we donate four percent of our proceeds to charity. This brings clean and safe drinking water to twenty six percent countries in Africa, Asia, Central, and South America,” he says.

In general, companies that invest in creating eco-friendly packaging to care for the environment simultaneously care about their consumer’s wellbeing, as well.

When Stopping for Your Morning Coffee

“Americans toss a staggering 58 billion disposable cups per year,” says Jurrien Swarts, founder of Stojo, the collapsable pocket cup.

“As we know, recent reports (such as the ban on plastic straws) point to the necessity for sustainable solutions within the food and beverage realm.”

When stopping for your morning coffee (if purchasing outside the home) bring along a thermos with you. Ask the barista to save the plastic or paper cup and refill your cup. This way, you’re helping save the environment by eliminating unnecessary plastic or paper waste from your morning cup of joe.

Some people use coffee as a pre-workout to their fitness routine. Once you have your cup, give Aaptiv’s workouts a try.

Grocery Shop Ethically

We covered how important it is to eat both ethically and healthy. However, there are also positive steps to take when shopping for your yummy and wholesome meals.

Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

“The average family uses over 1,500 plastic bags a year,” says Lotus Trolley Bag Founder Farzan Dehmoubed. He saved almost 75 million plastic bags with his ethical grocery cart trolley bag.

Farzan believes that simple changes to our behavior in our everyday routine can truly help save this planet. The impact of preserving plastic bags helps save our wildlife and oceans. Plus, when you bring reusable bags to grocery shop, certain stores will give you money off your order for being green.

It’s hard to predict those last minute errands where you may need your grocery bag. However, it helps to keep an extra set in the car, just incase.

For those moments where you’ve forgotten completely, try reusing those paper or plastic bags in other capacities. Whether for trash bags at home or for when you walk your dog, try to make the used plastic or paper stretch as far as it possibly can.

Produce Bags

When living a healthy lifestyle, it’s a guarantee that you will place produce into your grocery cart. “In America alone, we use over 100 billion plastic bags,” claims Wowe Lifestyle, an online store that focuses on health and environmental awareness.

Not only do they produce waste, but according to Wowe Lifestyle, “Plastic bags are made from fossil fuels. This means it takes twelve million barrels of oil to create all of these bags.”

Every plastic bag we can keep from entering the environment makes a difference! So, make sure to bring both your grocery and produce bags the next time you hit the store.

Host Your Parties, Ethically

Whether you’re throwing an outdoor barbecue or a quiet, small gathering, it’s both healthy and environmentally friendly to use reusable and sustainable material.

“Single use plastics are a major problem in today’s environment,” says Joel Bigham, president of Fermented Reality Biergarten. “So much so that California legislation was recently introduced to ban single use plastics by 2030.”

While developing his product B-Cups, it was important for him to make sure that they were reusable and dishwasher safe. But he also wanted them to be BPA and BPS-free and aesthetically appealing.

An added bonus for health? By making your guests accountable for their glasses, they’re more likely to count their beverages (like alcohol or high calorie soda) and acknowledge when they’ve had enough.

For another added health bonus, Aaptiv has workouts you can do to burn off those extra calories. View them in the app today.

Have you seen Aaptiv Coach Yet? Click the image below to learn more.

Food Nutrition

Subscribe

Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.