Get Lean and Green

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September 16, 2008

By Lynn Difley

What a fantastic one two punch–you can trim your waistline and your carbon footprint at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than this! How to accomplish this miracle? I’ll give you a couple of tips to get you started, and I know you have your own suggestions to contribute.

Walk or bike to shop. How many times do you jump in the car to drive a short distance for a few items? Never mind. The figures say that if all Americans between the ages of 10 and 74 walked half an hour a day instead of driving for that time, we’d reduce our carbon emissions by 64 million tons, save 6.5 billions of gallons of gas, and shed more than 3 billion pounds. What a lean, green world that would be. How can you not get with this movement, that produces benefits all around? (Check this fact and other great ideas on Planet Green.

  • Stay away from the drive-through. Not only do you burn a lot of excess gas, but also studies show you opt for the fattier, higher calorie choices. Park and walk over to the counter, you’ll burn a few calories and take time to make a smarter decision.
  • Buy local and organic. Who needs food suffering from jet lag from having traveled 1500 miles? Buy locally; support your local economy, or the economy of the area you’re traveling through. Look for farmers markets (listings near you). Not only do you reduce the amount of money spent on transporting the produce, it is fresher, tastes better, and is more nutritious. The longer a fruit or veggie has been off the vine, the fewer natural levels of vitamins and minerals contained. Buying directly from the farmer eliminates the middleman, so you get more bang for your buck.
  • Clean the old fashioned way. Many household cleaning supplies are full of toxic chemicals. You don’t need the advertising or the additives. Use non-toxic cleaning supplies like grandma used to do. A combination of vinegar, baking soda, and soap will clean almost any surface of any spill. A little elbow grease will also burn a few calories; three hours of household chores burn from 390 to 675 calories. I’m sure the higher figure is for those times when you put on music and dance while you tackle the dirt.
  • Become a flexitarian. You don’t have to give up all meat forever, but decide how you can cut back. It takes a lot less energy and land to produce fruits, vegetables and grains than to produce meat. Agricultural animal production is responsible for 18 % of the world’s greenhouse gases. Those who reduce meat consumption lose weight and get healthier by reducing the saturated fat. Plant based proteins, like beans and legumes are cheaper, healthier and friendlier to the environment. Pick one meal a week to be your meatless meal, and you’ll be surprised how many delicious dishes you will encounter in your quest to become lean and green. Let me know your own favorite lean and green ideas.

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  1. Marie

    I will ride my bike to the grocery store if you can tell me where to get the carrier shown in your article! Marie

  2. I agree with a lot that you have to offer, but I have to disagree when it comes to raising animals. Having grown up on farm I know you cannot find a better steward of the land than a farmer! If they did not take care of it properly there would be no goodness in the crops or the animals that were fed from it. It seems all the ” greenies ” think about and the media rams down our throat is carbon footprints. Where do you think that milk in a carton comes from or that egg? True some animals are just raised for their meat, but we were recycling before recycling was the rage in that we raised chicks to lay eggs and when they no longer produced eggs they became Sunday dinner. Likewise the cows, we had milk and cream and made butter, but when the cow did not produce it was slaughtered and fed two families. Perhaps if houses were smaller and every kid didn’t need a cell phone or ipod we would be better off because all these electronics emit bad things into the atmosphere and are made of materials that NEVER decay.