Healthy Habits: Diet and Planet
Finding the motivation to overhaul a lifestyle can be particularly trying, especially having grown up with certain ideas embedded within your daily habits. I want to stress that a journey to zero waste does not have to equate to immediately changing out all of your belongings to sustainable alternatives. In fact, it would actually be more wasteful to do everything in one go instead of making full use of the life of the items already in your arsenal.
As I continue to blog, there will inevitably be times that I run out of some food, cleaning supply, toiletry, or other material. These are the perfect opportunities to establish a new habit or seek out zero waste alternatives to what needs replacing. Try to find some baby steps at every turn.
Some small steps that I’ve used include:
- Bringing a reusable shopping bag with me for groceries
- As an extra step, bringing reusable produce bags for groceries
- Buying pantry items in bulk
- Saving the rare glass beverage bottle for use in my own home
- Requesting no straw when being served a drink
- Air drying my clothes after washing
- Having reusable rags available in place of paper towels
Let’s take a closer look at some changes that are easy to make for grocery habits. This is by far the biggest change I’ve had in cutting back on the waste I produce.
This, up until recently, is what a typical grocery haul was for me. Over the past many years, I’ve been making a real effort to eat healthier, but failed to take into consideration that what is healthy for me is not necessarily going to be any healthier for the planet. While my food choices were improving, I was failing to see what other new possibilities that consumer awareness could bring
I also started to realize that some items, like pan spray and pancake mix, are totally unnecessary purchases; I’ve found it’s better to just coat a pan with butter and make my own mix.
Now, my grocery trips end up looking more like this. There’s still some plastic in there (English muffins are my weakness for a breakfast choice), but notice the differences. In my attempt to diminish my use of waste, I’ve also started making healthier decisions in my diet. I now:
- consume more whole foods, rather than processed.
- eat less meat, to the point of barely bringing it into my kitchen anymore, which is also a bonus to the burden to our planet that is mass-raising livestock.
- Am more conscious of nutritional values and intake fewer empty calories.
- turn most of my waste for the week into compostable materials.
Try within the next week to make at least one sustainable change to your consumer habits. If you do – congratulations! You just took your first step.