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Health & Beauty

Be green, lose weight in '09

imagesAmerican’s #1 New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.
Sure, there’s some variations … Such as “get fit, be healthier, make better food choices and then there are those who get specific – consume less than X number of calories everyday, cut out candy and chocolate, stop eating standing up etc.”  But the theme is we’re resolving to lose weight in ’09 (and ’08 and ’07…)

This is the week I notice a shift in those around me in their approach to food and exercise. Co-workers that  ran for the holiday treats in December now hold up their bag of carrot sticks and mutter “no thanks” to the leftover seasonal baked goods. My gym parking lot becomes impossible to get a spot in (though why not park two blocks away – it is  exercise to walk over) and the battle to get a treadmill is fierce.

But no complaining, I commend any efforts to take better care of ourselves. And it’s no mystery why people recommit themselves to these goals year after year. According to an article by Business Week this past August adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15% to 30%, and two-thirds of U.S. adults are now considered overweight or obese.
That’s a pretty scary stat.

But there’s a very real connection between getting healthier (read: slimmer!) and living green.
As Julie pointed out in 10 Green New Years Resolutions in ’09,  there’s plenty of simple fixes that go a long way.

Here are some specific steps you can take to conquer your green and health resolution simultaneously:

Use your legs: Cutting down your carbon footprint can help get your body in shape. Whenever you can  walk, run or bike instead of driving. Got an errand in center city Philly? Bundle up; enjoy the crisp and burn calories while saving fuel.

Go vegetarian: At least a little. My goal for the New Year is to eat only one meal that contains any animal protein a day. It’s not huge, but as a big fan of poultry it’s a step in the right direction because meat is unsustainable and harmful to the environment.   According to a 2006 report by the Livestock, Environment And Development Initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contributes on a “massive scale” to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change, and loss of biodiversity.

Red meat like hamburger, steak, pork or ribs can be especially high in fat- so not the best choice for your body or the environment. Instead of meat: Substitute tofu, polenta, beans, peanut butter, hummus, chick peas or nuts . These foods are all great sources of protein, just watch your portion size or check calorie count.

Less is … less: Decreasing our food intake leads to less waste. Simple as that. Next time you’re reaching for second helpings or making excess food, think about how your choice to obstain can help to ultimately conserve resources.

Go on a container strike: Grabbing fast-food or take-out for a quick lunch or easy dinner usually means you’re using plastic, non bio-degradable materials. Further, the average American portion size is way out of whack and you’re increasing your chances of eating more. By making meals at home & packing your lunch in reusable containers, you’ll cut calories and rubbish.

Posted by Beth

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Beth is a Health and Wellness expert who believes sustainability goes hand-in-hand with self care. She’s the girl whipping up kombucha cocktails at parties, and extolling the benefits of canning vegetables to anyone who will listen. View all posts by Beth Funari
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