I believe part of living a healthy lifestyle is doing what I can to live environmentally sustainably and keep the planet I’m dependent on habitable. How can we expect to be healthy if we do not live in harmony with nature, do not interact with the environment the way we were designed to and we are destroying the environment we are dependent on for our survival? In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share some tips for living sustainably.
97% of climate scientists agree that humans are at least partially responsible for climate change. Here is some of the evidence. If 97% of climate scientists are wrong and we take action and live sustainably, then the result is: cleaner air, no oil spills, no nuclear plant disasters, we produce/consume less and live more, get more out of what we use. There would be no harm done. However, if 97% of climate scientists are right and we don’t make use of the solutions which already exist: famine, unsafe water, unsafe air, more death/disease caused by living in toxic environments, catastrophic weather events, widespread conflict and eventually mass extinction (including humans).
Eat Local: You can find local farmer’s markets here. You can also grow your own food.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet: Not only are plant-based diets among the healthiest, they are also among the most sustainable.
Buy Foods with Sustainable Labels: Such as…
- USDA Organic: Items that are “100 percent organic” are certified to have been produced using only methods thought to be good for the earth. “Organic” means the item contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Prohibits the use of hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, radiation, synthetic pesticides, and fertilizers.
American Grassfed Certified: Applies to beef and lamb. Requires humane treatment, open pastures, and a grass-only diet for all animals and prohibits use of all antibiotics and hormones.
Rainforest Alliance Certified: Sets high standards for environmental protection, worker rights and welfare, and the interests of local communities. Some pesticide use is allowed.
Fair Trade Certified: Members commit to biodiversity-enhancing practices, ensuring children’s rights, supporting safe working conditions and other fair-trade measures, and documenting fair-trade labor policies.
Use Less Fuel: Walk, bike or take public transportation when possible. If you have the opportunity, get a hybrid car so you aren’t dependent on gas.
Use Renewable Energy: Buy solar panels or use renewable energy options from your energy service.
Use Less Electricity: Buy energy efficient products, turn off the lights when you can and turn the power down when you are not using it, hang dry clothes when possible.
Use Less Water: Shorter showers, use dishwasher only when full, wash clothes only when full.
Do not buy bottled water
Recycle: You can follow standard recycling practices and buy products secondhand.
Buy less stuff.
Our body is constantly working to maintain balance in an interconnected process known as homeostasis. Rather than thinking of your health behaviors in terms of “good” and “bad”, think of it in terms of “balance” and “imbalance”.
Pizza is delicious. It is there with its cheesy temptation at many social gatherings and whenever we are too lazy to cook for ourselves. However, nutritionally it isn’t the best. We typically eat it from pre-packaged frozen dinners or from the pre-packaged frozen dinners cooked professionally by delivery services. They usually have crust with similar ingredients as the cardboard box it was delivered in, sauce that is more high fructose corn syrup than tomato and cheese that resembles plastic. I have concocted a solution to this dilemma with a recipe that takes about 10 minutes to prepare, is nutritionally reasonable and uses real food.
Dominos Plain Pizza
- Whole grain pita
- 1 oz. Low-fat mozzarella
- 1/8 cup Tomato sauce (any type with real ingredients works)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- cherry tomatoes
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
- Fry onions in a pan
- Spread olive oil on both sides of pita
- Spread tomato sauce on top-side of pita
- Put mozzarella on top of tomato sauce
- Put cherry tomatoes (cut in halves) and onions on top of mozzarella
- Bake for about 5 minutes (or until it looks ready)
The Hot Chick: Hot chicks can typically be spotted on the elliptical or getting toned with 3-5 lb. weights (they don’t want to get bulky). You occasionally also find them in yoga or the trendy workout class of the moment. Most of their fitness advice came from Cosmopolitan magazine or whatever the latest celebrity craze is. They usually wear expensive gym outfits from places like Lulu Lemon and usually have bright shoes from Nike that they have in multiple tones so they always match their outfit. They always have their makeup and hair done. They usually workout in pairs. They also are the type of person that is texting while exercising. While most other women like to give them a hard time, it is really just our reproductive competitiveness that is driving this (Darwin would be proud).
The Yo-Yo Dieter: The yo-yo dieter is most frequently spotted the first 3 weeks of January. They often reappear shortly before summer or before any special occasions. Their presence also spikes at the first Monday of each month. Yo-yo dieters are typically 10-20 lbs. overweight, but that varies. They usually prefer jog/walking on the treadmill or going on the elliptical. They are also seen on-and-off at the less hardcore fitness classes. They are usually really determined when they start, but they struggle with maintenance. Yo-yo dieters are also commonly seen stopping at Starbucks to reward themselves for their hard work.
The Lost and Confused New Kid: The new kid is usually either obese or scrawny. They often quickly move from machine to machine not really knowing what to do with themselves. They may try to mimic more experiences members, but that may end in embarrassment when they can’t quite lift the same as more fit members. They have a habit of checking their phone often or going to the water fountain between every set. Most new kids either quit and never speak of it again or get a trainer.
The Know-it-All: The know-it-all is the obnoxious combination of an intellectual and health freak. For most people reading a few articles here and there is enough, but the know-it-all reads scientific studies and university/ graduate level textbooks in their free time. Their interest in fitness is probably more theoretical than it is practical. The know-it-all may be seen closely examining the muscles used for each machine or how to properly do the exercise. They often come equipped with geeky fitness technology, which of course they thoroughly researched. They may be spotted occasionally spacing out like a not-s0-absent-minded professor, because they spend most of their time in their head. They are probably a great person to ask questions to, but there’s a good chance you can squat more than they can.
The Micromanager: The micromanager does not overlook any detail. They log every calorie, count every rep and never miss a workout. They always look put together. They always follow their rules and plans. Micromanagers form a habit and stick to it. The often can be spotted at the gym at the earlier hours, because they actually got up when they said they would. They often use the same exact machine each time and fix the disorganized weight rack that the rest of us screw up.
The Powerlifting Feminist: The powerlifting feminist actively defies almost all gender roles. She often seems a bit resentful and can intimidate other members. Although, the friendlier ones tend to hang out with guys and other women who aren’t stereotypically girly. She is usually bulkier than other women and has a more athletic figure. She is one of the few women who can actually do unassisted pull-ups and often lifts heavier than the guys.She may also be seen on cardio machines, but she is typically more focused on strength training. Powerlifting feminists are the type of women with the grit to survive Cross fit. They completely change the way we think about what it means to lift like a lady.
The Overcompensating Meathead: Overcompensating meatheads are typically on the shorter end, usually under 5’7. They spend a lot of time lifting weights and eating protein. They typically can be spotted wearing t-shirts with the sleeves cut off and drinking protein shakes while working out. Some of them may try questionable practices by experimenting with supplements. The overcompensating meathead may be spotted trying to talk to the hot chicks. They also tend to workout a bit inefficiently due to spending time flexing in the mirror for all to see. They usually work extra hard on glory muscles such as biceps so they can make their guns more epic.
The Athletic Guy: The athletic guy is often seen making all exercises look easy. He usually is great eye candy and can be distracting to the opposite gender. The athletic guy is usually accomplishing impressive feats such as looking attractive while running. He often doesn’t need to try as hard as other guys and doesn’t bother much with proper technique because it comes so naturally to him. Athletic guys tend to go later at night, but they aren’t as dedicated as other gym rats.
The Old Person: The old person is somehow at least 3 times your age yet still is in better shape than you. They give you hope for the future but they also embarrass you because you should probably be in better shape than them. Old people tend to workout in the morning or in the late afternoon. They may occasionally make comments about all the ridiculous technology like the TVs that you can’t get away from. They also like to talk to other old people about how bad our music is these days.
The Overachiever: Are they even human? The overachiever usually goes to the gym when it first opens or right before closing. They can often be seen simultaneously working while on cardio equipment. They make their workouts as efficient as possible because they are borderline addicted to being busy. You may also catch them drinking their morning coffee or breakfast smoothie while working out. They need to cram in as much as possible. The overachiever has a habit of either having a heart attack or a midlife crisis at some point because they don’t know how to relax.
The Yogi: The yogi is always calm and usually radiant. The yogi is often a bit airy looking and is usually very sensitive. They are almost always vegetarian and often vegan. They like to drink green things and they probably grow their own organic kale. The yogi probably has namaste advertised somewhere like on their yoga mat or car (usually a Prius). They can often be seen trying to help the overachiever because they can sense their intense energy.
Blending is a great way to eat healthy food without doing a lot of work. I can usually make a smoothie at breakfast faster than it takes for my coffee to brew. There are plenty of options when it comes to blending and really you can put almost anything in one and consume in liquid form. Blending is also really fun for drinking alcohol in a way that you can pretend is healthy, I’ll leave you to your own devices for that…
*The measurements I give are estimated. I don’t actually measure my food.
Basic Fruit Smoothie Formula: 4 oz. Citrus juice + 6 oz. greek yogurt + assortment of fruits + spinach (you can’t taste it)
- I usually use orange juice, but I occasionally use grapefruit juice or almond milk.
- I typically use frozen fruit (not the sweetened kind, just plain frozen fruit) because it is less expensive and fits better for smoothies.
- You can swap spinach with any type of dark green, but spinach has the most neutral flavor based on my experience. You also don’t need to add it, but it gives a boost of nutrients without making it taste off.
- Greek yogurt is great for giving a boost of protein, but I occasionally leave it out if I want something lighter…
Mixed Berry Smoothie:
- 4 oz. orange juice
- 6 oz. of plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 2 oz. of frozen raspberry
- 2 oz. frozen blueberry
- 4 oz. frozen strawberry
- 2/3 cup of spinach
Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie:
- 8 oz. almond milk
- 1 banana
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter (avoid the processed kind of PB if you are trying to be healthy)
Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie:
- 4 oz. almond milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup of spinach (or until green enough)
- 15 mint leaves
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 50 g of dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces… or you can just get chocolate chips