Sure, you recycle aluminum, paper, and plastic, and switch off the lights when you leave a room. You may even bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store. But what else can you do to shrink your carbon footprint? The good news is that following an eco-friendly lifestyle is easier than you might think. And the benefits of following a green lifestyle go beyond protecting the environment. They also can make a positive impact on your overall health. The 43rd anniversary of Earth Day is today, and we encourage you to follow these tips to help you lead a healthier, eco-friendlier lifestyle:
Choose locally grown foods. The majority of the fruits and vegetables we buy in the supermarket are imported from various countries, and they lose nutrients for every energy-consuming mile they travel. In the interest of helping the environment and your diet, buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season from your local farmers’ market. During the spring, look for veggies like asparagus, radishes, sugar snap peas, and snow peas (as well as fresh green peas on Phase 2), spring onions, artichokes, fiddlehead ferns, and morel mushrooms. Late spring brings the first apricots and strawberries, while summer ushers in a host of lettuces and summer squash along with peaches, plums, blueberries, and raspberries. Organically grown produce may be more expensive, but you know you’re not getting any chemicals. To save money, shop your farmers’ market late in the day when the farmers are more likely to cut deals rather than transport unsold produce back to the farm.
Re-use bottles when you drink. While some people claim that bottled water tastes better than tap, others buy it because it’s convenient when they’re on the go. Since recent studies suggest that certain plastics used for bottled water may contain potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates, including Bisphenol A (BPA), you may want to shop for water that has been bottled in glass or in BPA-free plastic. Keep in mind that a more eco-friendly option is to purchase a reusable water bottle or canteen made out of polycarbonate or aluminum to carry drinks around. You can also buy an inexpensive water filter, which reduces the amount of fluoride and chlorine and removes some unwanted chemicals and minerals that can be found in tap water.
Walk or bike your way around town. Carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases pollute the air every mile you drive. If you need to make a short trip to the store or live close to your desired destination, opt to walk or bike there. If you’re on foot or your bike, you can advance your weight-loss goals by doing intervals, in which you alternate short bursts of intense walking or peddlilng with more relaxed periods of recovery. By walking and biking more often, you’ll cut down on your gas expenses and burn more calories and fat, too.