Eating like you mean it

We all know eating organic and local is the way to go when buying food because, as a teacher once told me, “every time you buy something, you’re voting for the kind of world you want to live in,” and making those decisions is choosing healthier plants, animals, workers, bodies, and planet. But do you know how you can supercede that decision to make even better eating and lifestyle choices? Stay tuned to find out.

Organic farming is designed to reduce pollution and conserve water without releasing harmful pesticides that harm health and wildlife. When buying organic, you also avoid the risks associated with pesticides, herbicides, additives, preservatives that come with conventional agriculture. By becoming an informed and aware consumer, you support practices that ensure your health and that of the world you live in. Here are some examples of how to start:

  • Look for the USDA Organic label on a product. It means that at least 95% of the food’s ingredients were organically produced or that the product was “made with organic ingredients,” which means the product contains at least 70 % organic ingredients.
  • Avoid the Dirty Dozen–and check out the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” cheat sheet of fruits and vegetables to determine which produce items have the highest and lowest pesticide amount.
  • Buy local and get better food while also ensuring that the money you spend brings twice as much economic wealth to your community. Moreover, purchasing locally and organically raised meats and produce reduces oil consumption significantly as the food industry consumes nearly a fifth of all the petroleum used in the United States.
  • Find out about and combat factory farming. An animal raised on a farm has its weight increased through a daily ration of antibiotics. Such unsustainable and unethical methods are only about maximizing profit and deeply neglect the condition or cost of the food produced.
  • Try meatless Mondays. Think about how far the food on your plate has come and if you’re a major carnivore, take a day or more break off meat a week. The production of meat, especially beef, uses humongous amounts of water and energy.

Your food will surely taste better when you know it’s been treated well and you feel like you’re making a statement of health and care just by eating it.

Sources:
http://www.organic-center.org/
http://www.jamieoliver.com/foundation/
http://sustainableagriculture.net/

Saving the Planet: One Tasty Bite at a Time.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and you know what that means: the season of face-stuffing is about to begin. Between Thanksgiving, various holiday parties, and New Year’s celebrations, the American social scene centers around one thing: food.

Yeah I know, the holidays are supposed to be about family and fellowship. We all say that, but I know it’s really about the tasty, tasty treats that you only get to eat this time of year.

Now as you can imagine all those trips to and from the store aren’t great for our air or the environment. Think about all the exhaust fumes that your car pumps into the air each time you go to and from the store. Just remember that every mile is about 1 pound of air pollution. So what can green choices can we make to help?

Green: Bike or walk to the store.

Riding your bike is a great way to cut the everyday air pollution that comes from short trips. It’s definitely a great way to start solving the problem. Not to mention you can exercise while running errands. What a time saver!

Greener: Buy local.

Buying foods from the supermarket is super-convenient, but it can be bad news for the earth. Just think about all the energy (and air pollution) it takes to ship the things you buy to the supermarket. Say you live here in Georgia and buy avocados from California. That’s 2,456 miles away. And when you consider that every mile driven puts one pound of pollution into the air, we’re talking about almost 2.5 tons of air pollution for one avocado truck. Seriously?

So how can you enjoy your tasty holiday foods (and everyday foods), and still cut air pollution at the same time? Well, it’s really pretty simple – the idea is to buy local.

You can cut out the thousands of miles, and tons of air pollution by making a trip to your local farmer’s market. They bring in local, organic foods that are way fresher (didn’t spend a week on a truck), taste even better, and are from local businesses near you. Check out the Dekalb County Farmer’s Market, that place is incredible.

Greenest: Grow your own.

Ready to really go the extra mile? Let’s talk about having a garden at home. Check out our Pinterest board for ideas.

Believe it or not, growing your own veggies is easier than you think. Just imagine walking into the back yard to grab dinner. You’ve not only cut out nearly all environmental costs, but you’re probably saving lots of money—while eating better quality food.

Super-Ridiculously Green: Go vegetarian.

This one might not be so popular. But hear us out.

Environmentalists have started spreading the word that going vegetarian or vegan packs an even bigger punch in the fight for clean air. When you don’t have to transport thousands of livestock for food, you cut out a good chunk of transportation-related pollution. Also, let’s face it—that all-bacon diet is probably not the healthiest decision you’ve ever made.

And think about this: we’re not talking all-or-nothing here. A lot can be changed just by becoming a sometimes vegetarian. Some research shows that cutting out meat even one day a week can make some pretty dramatic changes to air pollution AND health.

If you’re worried about missing out on all the tasty holiday foods, here’s a solution for that problem.

Even if you always buy local, or grow your own produce, there are still some things you have to get from the store. That’s ok—sometimes you just have to get what you need. Just remember the more local products you buy, the better off our air is!

For a full breakdown of the benefits and costs of buying local or international foods, check out this infographic.

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Your Valentines

Happy Day of Love! Today you’re bursting with appreciation for all of your loved ones and the Earth. How do you show it? With a thoughtful, eco-friendly gift of course! The ideas below should satisfy everyone on this year’s love list.

For your parents:

A recycled Valentine’s Day card. Junk mail with colorful ads is great for paper hearts, and you know how much your parents love an original poem!

That compost pile you’ve been working on? Perfect for Dad’s spring tomato planting! (Just make sure to cover any openings in the bin with upcycled wrapping paper so he doesn’t guess what it is from the earthy smell!)

If your compost heap isn’t quite ready yet, give a live plant from your nearby organic nursery. Unlike cut flowers, a live plant will help clean our air and will symbolize your growing love.

For your friends:

An invitation to pick up litter at a local park. With a group picnic made from organic ingredients afterwards, your volunteer day practically becomes a party.

A farm animal. So this isn’t a typical Love Day gift, but what could be cuter than a VIP visit to a farm animal you sponsor? That’s right, adopt an animal and give the gift of a new friend.

For that special someone:

If that special someone is especially special, you may want to go above and beyond this year. Why not try eco-friendly jewelry? Recycled gold, cruelty-free diamonds, and pearls harvested with tropical fish are a good start.

If you don’t have the funds for jewelry, you can always do something free. Using left-overs from your recycled card-making, craft an invitation for a walk in the park (perhaps the one you cleaned up with your friends). What could be more thoughtful than the gift of fresh air?

For everyone:

If the ideas above aren’t quite enough to express your love, a box of organic, fair trade chocolates made from sustainably-harvested cacao never fails to please!

What are your air-friendly plans for the day? Let us know in the comments below!