The Economic Crisis Diet
As you may have read in the recent post about the green economy, there is a growing movement dedicated to finding solutions that address the economic and environmental crises simultaneously. We recently came across this great blog post that proposed a number of actions you can take as an individual that healthy for you, your wallet, and the environment. We've never felt so good at the suggestion that we might need to go on a diet!
By Carla Golden, originally published at OneHealthyGirl.com
As you know, dollars are tightening here in the USA which puts a big squeeze on luxuries, indulgences and recreational habits. For the uber rich, this won't matter too much and for those who live on the bottom rung of society, this change may go by unnoticed. When you live on nothing, it's sadly easy to get by on less.
For the rest of us - the middle-class, the majority, the masses - we will need to become more conscientious of how and where we spend our money, especially when it comes to FOOD. A financial crisis is a perfect time to assess priorities and start voting with your harder-earned greenbacks on those items you want to see survive the economic downturn.
We need to get comfortable with the notion that what we buy now - today - we need to purchase with the realization and acceptance that in doing so we are helping to create this to become our only choice tomorrow. We vote with our dollars. The one with the most votes wins.
What does this mean? If you buy conventional tomatoes shipped from Chile in November while in the back of your mind promising that you'll go back to the organic and/or local tomatoes when the economy gets stronger, you are possibly voting away your choice to have organic or local options in the future. If you don't support the markets that match your values now - when we're all adjusting and struggling - they may very well disappear.
If money isn't your issue, perhaps the state of the environment is. The two are intrinsically intertwined in their problems and their solutions.
I have put together a list of guidelines for The Economic (or Environmental) Crisis Diet below to help all of us become more conscious with our food choices. Let's put our mouths where our values are. It is now more important than ever to keep alive that which we would embrace in the best of times!
1. I pledge to buy local and regional foods. If not local, then organic. If not local or organic, then the option with the least packaging.
YOU: Studies have shown that ingesting pesticides, herbicides and fungicides is detrimental to overall health.
WALLET: You should be able to attain local foods a bit cheaper because extensive transportation costs are not folded in. The price of organics will come down as the demand increases.
PLANET: Less transportation, chemical and waste pollution.
2. I pledge to purchase more raw and bulk foods and fewer processed foods + drinks.
YOU: Foods in their most natural states or slightly cooked offer the greatest nutrition. Avoiding trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, excessive sugar and salt and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavorings is crucial to long term health.
WALLET: Packaged and prepared foods as well as boutique drinks are costly. The less packaging, the less the company is passing that expense on to you.
PLANET: The fewer the ingredients, the less transportation and production pollution.
3. I pledge to bring home (or to work or send with my children to school) all my food in reusable bags in reusable or recyclable containers (preferable not plastic).
YOU: The less contact your food has with plastic, the better, especially when heat is involved.
WALLET: Many countries and states are now charging for plastic and paper bags. Might as well start using your own and be in the habit before your rules change.
PLANET: The less non-degradable plastic in landfills, the better for the future of Earth.
4. I pledge to compensate for the increase in food prices by eating less: smaller portions, fewer meals.
YOU: Possible fat storage loss, increased energy levels and more efficient assimilation of nutrients, not to mention the decrease chances of lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol.
WALLET: As prices of food go up and your consumption goes down, your bill remains about the same.
PLANET: The fewer resources your mouth demands, the less taxing the resource production and processing on Sweet Earth.
5. I pledge to eat less meat.
YOU: Studies have indicated that regular consumption of conventional, mass produced (beef, chicken, pork and seafood) meats offers an unhealthy dose of antibiotics, growth hormones, heavy metals, and possible exposure to cannibalistic diseases (such as Mad Cow Disease).
WALLET: Meats can be quite costly. Cheap meats should be avoided because the quality is too questionable.
PLANET: A disproportionate amount of land, corn, soy and antibiotics are consumed by the meat production industry whereby creating an inordinate amount of run-off water pollution and greenhouse gases.
6. I pledge to eat out only in restaurants that serve wholesome, nutritious food. (Don't kid yourself - fast food is NEVER nutritious.)
YOU: The higher quality food, the more nutrition potential. Cheap food is made from substandard ingredients and mysterious additives.
WALLET: In support of independently owned, local restaurants, chose those which offer vegan, vegetarian, organic, raw and/or local food options.
PLANET: Really, does the world need one more McDonald's? KFC? Starbucks? Pick your chain, I don't care. Just boycott it and the massively destructive practices of offering unhealthy products on every corner.
7. I pledge to breast feed my infant until s/he can comfortably eat what I eat (mashed or diced).
YOU: Greater connection between mother and baby, nature's perfect food for a growing baby complete with immunity and healthy fats, chemical chain reactions to stave off post-partum depression, aides in maternal weight loss and hormonal balance.
WALLET: It's free!
PLANET: Empty formula containers = trash.
8. I pledge to embrace that "I am what I eat" including the ingredients in the food AND the values in the company creating the food. Keep it real and honest!
YOU: If the company that creates your food doesn't have a heart for the planet, the employees, the plants, animals and environment, do you think for one second that they care about your health? If they'll exploit one resource, they'll exploit you.
WALLET: Do we need 78 choices of cereal? 83 choices of chips? 17 peanut butters? 67 loaves of bread? Narrow down your favorite, respectable companies and make your shopping that much easier. You'll be less tempted to buy less honorable brands and impulsively blow the shopping budget.
PLANET: R-E-S-P-E-C-T is R-E-S-P-E-C-T whether it's the cow, the green bean or your liver.
9. I pledge to drink more filtered tap water.
YOU: Less exposure to plastic (exposed to heat in transportation) is crucial to the health of your water. Filter your tap water to keep it available and relatively clean. If we don't use it, we'll lose it and municipal water should always be flowing to the citizens. Yes, there is some ICK! in tap water, but do your research and find a great filter - ideally for the whole home/office/school.
WALLET: Bottled water is so much more expensive than utilizing reusable bottles of tap water.
PLANET: Bottled water has been one the worst paradoxes of recent times: polluting the planet with discarded plastic in the name of ingesting clean water. Even recycling the plastic (which happens to a very small ratio of plastic bottles) still requires unnecessary and pollutive plastic production.
10. I pledge to explore my emotions (stress, anxiety, fear) rather than turning to food, drink or recreational drugs for comfort.
YOU: Stable, healthy emotions will get you much further in life than another round of sweets, fats, salts, booze, beer or smoke. Have fun in moderation by choice, not by dependence.
WALLET: Vices aren't cheap financially as well as emotionally. Your hard-earned money is better spent on the investment of psychotherapy, journaling, self-help books or a healthy, harmless habit.
PLANET: Discarded toxins and packaging from excessive, non-vital consumption is just polluting the planet as well as your body.
These items are a start and have been chosen based on benefits to our health, our wallets and our planet. If you don't understand why I have included something, if you need more information or if you would like to see something added to the list, please contact me kindly.
May we all come through this crisis within or under budget, with greater energy, a bit slimmer, happier and with greater health for ourselves and our planet. Excess and garbage are not wise choices for little babies or great Mother Earth nor anyone in between.
Maybe I should call this The Silver Lining Diet because it's a win-win-win situation.
Thanks to Carla Golden for sharing her insights.