Ways To Get Healthy That Are Also Good For The Environment
Two years ago, comedian Jeff Garlin wrote a book called My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, describing his journey to becoming slimmer and more environmentally-conscious. Anyone who has seen the portly comedian on Curb Your Enthusiasm or any number of his movies and comedy specials knows that Garlin could stand to lose a few pounds. Garlin took it one step further though and tried to figure out how his food and life decisions impacted the environment. What he found out was that there was a connection between the two. With the help of a nutritionist and Ed Begley Jr., world-renowned environmentalist, Garlin is able to reduce his footprint, both figuratively and literally. The book presented an interesting argument, so let’s try to examine ways one can get healthier while helping the environment as well.
- Eat more plants and fewer animals: Through countless documentaries like Forks over Knives and books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, everyone knows that eating fewer animals is good for your overall health. Vegetarianism and veganism has been linked with lower incidences of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and countless other illnesses. The meat industry also costs our environment dearly. We use water, fertilizer and land to raise animals for food. These resources could be better used elsewhere. In addition, the animal waste produced in meat-producing farming often pollutes water sources and the air. By eating more plants and fewer animals, you’ll lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and your total carbon footprint.
- Walk instead of drive: Garlin has one anecdote in his book where he rides public transportation in Los Angeles for the first time. Anyone who has ridden the bus knows the interesting characters you can meet. However, using public transportation can lower your carbon footprint as you’re emitting less pollution in the air than let’s say driving your SUV. However, if you can walk or ride your bike to your destination, that’s even better. The American Heart Association recommends at least thirty minutes of activity a day for optimal health, so you’re covered there; plus, you emitting no pollution in the air, which makes Mother Nature happy.
- Try localized honey: Are you sniffling and sneezing a lot? You might want to try local honey. Honey has long been known as a natural remedy for allergies. In addition, buying local honey will help support an industry responsible for pollinating your fruits and vegetables. If you are really ambitious, you might want to try raising your own bees. It is a wonderful hobby that will afford you ample amounts of fresh honey as well as the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping the environment.
No matter who you are, you can start taking small steps towards a healthier you, and a healthier planet, today.
Alex White is a freelancer interested in writing about sustainability and environmental issues.