(ARA) – It’s empowering to know that there are small changes you can make in your own life that can also have positive effects on everyone else’s life. But did you know that many of the same things you personally do to live a healthier lifestyle can also positively impact the environment?
In fact, improving your own waistline and reducing your personal waste are connected in more ways than you’ve probably thought about. Here are four changes you can make to your everyday life that will also make a positive impact on your health and the earth:
* Eat local, organic foods. By making sure that you are purchasing locally grown, organic foods, you are also reducing the amount of energy it takes to transport the food to your area. When you eat locally, it means that the food has to travel a much shorter distance to make it onto your plate, therefore reducing its impact on the environment. It also allows you to know that you are eating some of the freshest produce available to you, which are packed with vitamins you need to improve your health.
* Drink more water, but ditch the disposable plastic bottle. We often mistake thirst for hunger, so grabbing some water might quench both a craving and your thirst. Water is a far better choice than calorie-ridden sugary beverages.
By carrying a reusable container with you instead of single-use plastic water bottles, you’ll do your part in reducing plastic waste. “If everyone in the United States pledged to give up bottled water for just one month it could save more than 5 billion bottles,” says Josh Dorfman, environmental activist, TV host and author of “The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget: Save Money. Save Time. Save the Planet.”
* Eat more fruits and vegetables. The health benefits of increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet are well-documented, as vegetables are a low-fat, low-calorie source of essential nutrients. But did you know that when you eat less meat and more vegetables, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint?
According to a 2008 Economic Information Bulletin from the USDA, the food market produces hundreds of pounds of meat each year per American to meet demand – an amount that has not been good for our nation’s waistlines. The production of meat uses many more resources than fruits and veggies, which is why Dorfman recommends going meatless at least one day a week. For a fun and healthy way to learn more about how your food is sourced, ride a bike or jog over to a local farmer market.
* Power of the pedal, or your feet. On your way to becoming healthier, you’re sure to include exercise in your plan. Sometimes though, exercising can have a greater purpose than just working your muscles and improving cardiovascular health.
Consider including daily chores into your workout plan, as it will help you fit in your workout while also leaving your car on the curb. Bike or walk to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping.