5 Ways To Live A Healthier, More Sustainable Life
Taking care of the health and wellbeing of ourselves and the environment we live in is more important than ever. With the increasing concern for the massively destructive impact we have on our planet, the decision to lead a healthier and more sustainable life has never been more crucial.
Unfortunately, the unhealthy and convenient options are generally those that harm the environment and our bodies most.
We are consistently living with more stress, eating more junk, and polluting the planet at a higher rate than ever. This cannot continue for much longer. We are putting our lives – and those around us, at risk until we make some positive changes.
Fortunately, it’s actually a lot more straightforward than you might think to start leading a healthy and sustainable life.
What’s more, you will also find yourself saving money while on your journey to a healthier you.
Leading a sustainable life is not just about protecting the planet, as most solutions will positively impact your health and even your finances.
Read on to discover how you can lead a lifestyle that will benefit yourself and your surroundings.
1. Eat Better
Not only is eating healthier going to make you feel healthier, but it’s also essential to consider the quality of the food we are consuming.
There is no doubt that living a vegan lifestyle will have the least negative impact on the environment, but it is a big life decision and not one that can be taken lightly.
Whether your food contains meat or not, always opt for fresh, organic food, particularly meat, wherever you can. There are tons of organic stores now that offer delicious, natural foods, often straight from the source.
Cut out all kinds of junk food (or at least cut down) and highly processed foods. These will usually contain high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat, plus a ton of unnecessary preservatives and chemicals that can harm your health.
Since the beginning of the year and my own health scare from a heart attack at age 30, I can tell you that cutting out processed and junk food will have a huge impact on how you feel. Remove as many ‘boxed’ foods from your diet.
When you get a craving for a handful of Cheez-its, grab some real cheddar and try to make your own. You’ll enjoy the flavor and texture of the real version and you just might find you have a hidden talent in the kitchen.
It’s okay to have a treat now and again, but continual regular consumption of unhealthy foods can cause substantial long-term damage to your wellbeing.
While convenient foods are packed with harmful contents, the production process is also exceptionally damaging to the planet. Eating healthy will benefit you and the world we live in.
2. Get Moving
It seems obvious, but exercising more will boost your fitness and improve your health overall.
Exercise can lead to a lower risk of heart diseases and help ward off chronic illnesses. Not only that, it is excellent for your bones and muscles and will leave you stronger, and help keep you at an ideal and healthy weight.
Exercise is also unbelievably crucial for your mental health. It keeps your brain sharp and improves memory.
It also makes you feel good and has proven links to lowering depression and anxiety. Not only is exercise vital for your health, but it is also great for the planet. The decision to cycle, walk, or even jog instead of driving your car can help reduce carbon emissions.
The average car in the USA releases 650g of CO2 per kilometer – in fact, vehicles make up the most considerable portion of CO2 emissions in the country.
With figures like these, it is no wonder the state of Earth is declining rapidly. If you work locally, why not walk or hop on your bike as an alternative to driving? Not only will you be upholding your overall health, but you’ll also be helping the environment!
3. Check Your Products
There are many endangered animals globally, and it is illegal to buy products made from or harm these animals. However, if an animal is not yet endangered, it is perfectly legal to consume products that may hurt them when being produced.
This is less about being vegetarian or vegan and more about what goes into the products we use daily. This can be food, skincare, and even household cleaning items.
Avoid foods that contain palm oil – one of the biggest drivers of deforestation.
It can be hard to recognize a link between your much-loved jar of sandwich spread and the devastation of millions of hectares of rainforest (and the animals that live there). Still, palm oil is in around half of all packaged products in America.
The list is virtually endless and includes candy, instant noodles, soaps, and toothpaste.
Not only do these products destroy the forests themselves, but the destruction of the surrounding peatlands also releases thousands of years of stored carbon into the atmosphere, which leads to a huge increase in greenhouse gases – effectively causing double the damage.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
A well-known phrase worldwide; reduce, reuse, recycle should be your mantra for living sustainably.
If you can reduce your use of materials such as plastic – particularly single-use plastic, then the world will be a little better off. Bottled water is one of the highest consumed products around America and is essentially a free product wrapped in plastic.
Instead, purchase a metal or glass water bottle that you can refill for drinking on the go. If you are caught short and must purchase a drink in a single-use plastic container, make sure you recycle it correctly.
If not, you could also consider using your single-use plastics to create DIY crafts as a secondary recycling method.
It is difficult (although not impossible) to live a totally package-free lifestyle, but in reality, every little helps, so opt for products with as little packaging as possible. Think for a minute about all of the plastic products that you touch each day… from your computer mouse to your debit card.
Purchase from brands that support this idea.
There are lots of companies that offer items such as skincare and beauty, as well as food that have refillable packaging. Reducing your use of single-use plastics will also help you save a bit of money in the long run, as we all know every cent adds up.
5. Switch Off And Switch It Up
It seems impossible to get away from technology in 2021. From Instagram to your Xbox, there is always something loud, bright, and shiny to be entertained by.
This has taken a massive toll on our mental wellbeing, with the spotlight on social media in particular.
Not only can technology pollute our brains, but it also pollutes the environment. It is easy to leave our gadgets constantly plugged in and switched on, but electricity runs mostly on fossil fuels – something Earth is quickly running out of.
Unplug all of your electrical items when they’re not in use, and always remember to turn off your lights when you’re not using them! Instead of sitting indoors glued to your TV, why not get outside and reconnect with nature. Starting your own vegetable garden is a great way to both get outside and away from the electronics and grow your own sustainable food source at the same time.
You could visit a local farm and try some fruit picking or curl up with a good book somewhere.
Getting back to basics will do your mental wellbeing wonders and is one of the best forms of self-care. If you can cut back on tweeting and double down on living in the moment without your iPhone stuck permanently to your hand, your brain will thank you – as will the planet!
If you find it hard to live without gadgets, consider installing solar panels to cut down on fossil fuel consumption.