Do you remember Kermit the Frog's song with this same title?
Here's the original video...nostalgia. :)
In this instance, I'm referring to a different type of being "green".
Also known as eco-friendly or environmentally friendly, it's a way of living that reduces harm to the earth's environment/ecosystem.
Here's a basic article about An Introduction to a Green Environment
The products we use in our houses affects our indoor air quality (not only cleaners, but flooring, furniture, paint, etc. That's a whole other subject I won't get into). The products we use for our lawns and gardens (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.) affect our soil quality, water runoff into larger bodies of water and the plants and creatures - birds, bees, butterflies, beneficial insects... that live in that ecosystem. The foods and health & beauty products we choose impacts our health in many ways. What we put in our mouths, what we put on our skin, what we spray in the air... it all can help or harm. In a larger impact, the use of harsh chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) on lawns, gardens and crops (and the lack of crop rotation - another whole other subject) affects the soil quality and nutritional quality of our food, etc. It's all connected. But, please don't get discouraged; even the small efforts we make matter!
I named my business "Live Positively Healthy" to encompass an overall way of living healthy (beyond just nutrition), including taking care of the planet. It's something I'm very passionate about. I have personally transitioned to a "green" lifestyle (and it's a continual work in progress) over the last decade or so. I have to admit, it's not easy being "green" (and thus the title of this article). It takes more effort, but in my opinion, it's worth it for my overall health, the environment and impacting future generations.
There are limitless options to be "green". Every person is different and can find things that work in their lifestyle. There is so much to talk about on this subject so I am going to split this up into one more blog post. For Part 1, here are two things I do personally:
1) Eat "Real" Food
Of course I couldn't write a newsletter that doesn't include nutrition in it somewhere! :)
100 Days of Food defines Real Food in this picture (click on the link below to read more about real food).
Real Food Defined
Buying pasture raised animals instead of animals from a feed lot is a start. Animals that are raised this way will be "happy", healthy and won't require antibiotics, growth hormones or the like (side note: cows aren't supposed to eat corn, "cage free" chickens doesn't mean what it sounds like; look it up). Plus the meat is much tastier and actually has more nutritional value because the animal is eating what it's supposed to!
We are So Disconnected, Grass Fed vs Feedlot Beef, Decoding Meat and Dairy Product Labels
The best places to buy these types of meats are from local farms or the farmers markets in town. You can also look for grass fed beef or organic chicken in the grocery store.
Here are some local links to get you started:
Local Harvest, Agrilicious, Creswick Farms, Crane Dance Farm, West Michigan Coop, Michigan Food, Eat Local West Michigan
Eating real food includes buying organic, which can be expensive, so I use the "Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen" for a guide. The Dirty Dozen is the produce that has the highest levels of pesticides and is recommended to buy organic. The Clean 15 is the produce with the lowest levels of pesticides safe to buy non-organic. More information at EWG.
There are so many more things I could talk about on this subject but for space I will keep it simple. I do offer a 6 week health coaching course (individual or group) that goes into detail about all of this and much more. Contact me if interested.
2) Ask: Can This Be Recycled?
Our trash service offers bi-weekly recycling - a large recycling bin for a very small price (shout out to the local guys, EverKept!), so that's a no-brainer for me. I recycle as much as I can - cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, paper, glass... I can't stand the thought of something sitting in the landfill for the rest of eternity. Yuck. It makes me very aware to put forth an effort to recycle everything that I can.
For the things that I can't put in the recycling bin, I try to find alternatives. Here's what I've come up with so far:
My local Meijer has a plastic bag recycling box right in the entrance of the store. When I get too many, I drop them off there (I'm sure there are other stores that do that as well). Note: I usually bring my own cloth bags to Meijer just to save on the amount of plastic bags I bring home.
Comprenew will take anything with a cord. Did you hear that? ANYTHING. In the past, I dropped off a bin full of stuff - a broken lamp, a leaky pressure washer, an old DVD drive, an old keyboard...I can't remember all I had in there! Plus they took my metal recycling too (saved me a separate trip)! Note: some things you have to pay to get recycled, such as CRT TVs, but most everything else is free.
Here are a few options, with the bonus that a lot of places will pay for your metal scraps!: Burton Street Recycling, West Side Iron and Metal, Wolverine Scrap Metal, Black River Recycling.
I admit, I even take apart the aluminum foil boxes (to recycle the cardboard separate from the sharp metal edge) and the wire ring from notebooks. I told you I was passionate about recycling!
Depending on the condition, you could sell them on eBay or Amazon, donate them to a library or you can trade with other people on Paperback Swap, SwapaCD or SwapaDVD. For textbooks, I've seen drop off bins in parking lots for Better World Books.
Please don't put chemicals in the trash! It damages the environment and potentially people (think a trash worker unknowingly coming across a leaking container of chemicals). Instead, please drop your chemicals off to Recycle Kent (when you click on the link, scroll to the bottom to see the list of accepted chemicals).
I came across this unique company, TerraCycle, in my various searches to recycle as much as possible. They take trash and re-purpose it into other things. It's meant to be a fundraising program for schools and other organizations but I've found that I can use it at home as well. Some examples include Pur water filters, Tom's of Maine toothpaste tubes, certain chip bags, instrument strings, and so much more! Worth looking into!
20 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle
How To Rid Yourself of VHS Tapes
There you go, part 1 of what I do personally. Whew! That was longer than I thought it would be; so much to talk about! Thanks for sticking with me! Stayed tuned for next week, where I'll talk about cleaning products and health & beauty products (and more, if there's space). I believe even the small steps I do every day can make a difference!
What ways are you "green" in your life? Please comment below. Thank you for reading!
Maria Walcott. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist "Extraordinaire" :) Nutrition "nerd". Essential oil educator. Love nature. Want to protect God's planet and help His people become their healthiest selves.