By caring for your environment and the planet you can make your life healthier.

Answering these questions may help us understand how looking at our own habits can have an impact on the environment and how these two things are connected:

– Where does our food come from?

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– How does it get to our tables?
– What do we need for healthy people?
– What do we need for a healthy planet?

Where does our food come from & How does it get to our tables?

Are you eating processed and packaged foods that require many processes?

The use of water and electricity amongst other things to prepare these foods, they are filled with additives and chemicals that are not only bad for the environment buy are also harmful to our health.

Are you buying food that has travelled thousands of miles to get to your supermarket shelf?

This food may have been picked before it was ripe so does not have all the necessary nutrients, it then continues to lose nutrients whilst it travels to get to its first point of storage and continues to lose nutrients whilst it sits in storage until it is placed on your supermarket shelf.

eco friendly habits_2How far and how often are you travelling to the supermarket?

Although buying foods from other countries does help those economies, the transport used to get this food to you has an impact on the environment and by the time you eat it, it has very little nutritional value – not good for the environment – not the best option for you.

Buying fresh, seasonal local produce is not only good for you but good for the environment too, there are fewer miles to travel for you and for your food and you will be supporting your local famer.

What do we need for healthy people?

Eat less processed food
– Local and organic produce
– Food that meets certified standards and carry the correct labels; Soil Association certified organic, Fair-Trade and RSPCA Freedom
– Eat more plants: organic vegetables and fruit
– Eat less meat and ensure that this is from good quality organic, pasture raised animals
– Use less chemicals and toxins in the home for cleaning – replace household cleaners with natural cleaners such as vinegar
– Use less toxic personal care products and more homemade personal care products

What do we need for a healthy planet?

– Less transportation
– Less manufacturing: toxic by products are created which contaminate our soil and water supplies
– More sustainable farming methods: organic and fair-trade
– Pasture raised animals require less animal feed and produce less by products

The food we eat is the easiest thing we can change; it will have the biggest impact on our health and on the health of the planet.

Common reasons people avoid eco-friendly options

– “Healthy food is expensive”: Eat what is in season, cook in batches and freeze them, this can reduce the cost.

– “Vegetables are boring”: Vegetables add to your meals and are essential for health. There are hundreds to choose from all year round, so start experimenting with different veg.

“Frozen fruit and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh”:
This isn’t necessarily true. Producers usually quick-freeze freshly picked produce which preserves much of its vitamin and mineral content which is lost when fresh produce is shipped and stored, as natural enzymes are released in fresh fruit and vegetables that cause nutrients to be lost. Just be aware to avoid frozen fruit or vegetables that have had additives and preservatives added to them.

eco friendly habits_4“All calories are equal”: It’s not just about the calories. Think about 500 calories of fresh steamed vegetables and 500 calories of a packaged and processed meal – it may be the same number of calories but the processed food will contain fewer of the nutrients and will have additives and preservatives that are toxic to your body.

How does this affect our ecosystem?

If we continue to produce and consume food as we currently do, we might be able to feed ourselves for another 40 years – but there will be nothing left.

We will be facing food shortages, scare water and insufficient energy sources – the pressure that feeding the world is putting on the climate and ecosystems has never been so high.

However, access to food is not equally distributed throughout the world. Approximately one billion people are undernourished and a further one billion suffer from some form of nutritional deprivation even when the supply of food is plentiful.

On the other side of the coin, approximately 1.5 billion people are overweight or clinically obese. And in the UK, around 40% of the food that’s planted is wasted, and 30% of what we buy we throw away.

Follow the steps above, plan your meals, experiment and be creative, use good quality ingredients and, if you can, grow your own! Let’s all adopt eco-friendly habits, create healthier people and create a healthier planet!

Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick.

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