Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3 Easy Ways to Green Your Life Now

Kris Carr, wellness warrior and author of “Crazy Sexy Cancer” and “Crazy Sexy Diet,” urges us to “make juice not war and remember, you are the change you’ve been waiting for.”  Change happened to her big time when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, turning her world upside down and setting her on a quest for health. She promotes eating your veggies, minimizing animal products and educating yourself about food, nutrition and health. That’s a lot of change for those of us used to eating on the run, depending on convenience and fast foods, without an unlimited budget for fresh produce. But thankfully, there are a lot of easy (and cheap) things you can do right now to green your diet and your life.

Drink 1 Cup of Green Tea Daily
Many people are die-hard coffee drinkers. I get that. I was a coffee fiend for many years too, and one of my favorite treats is a caramel machiatto. Mmmmmmm. But I don’t drink coffee every day all day long anymore. I do drink a cup of green tea though. I either drink it in the morning to start my day, or have it with lunch or dinner, iced and garnished with something yummy like a juicy orange slice or fresh mint leaves. The health benefits of green tea are many and generous, including powerful antioxidants from polyphenols that protect cellular health and may protect against cancer, cholesterol-lowering properties, inflammation-reducing properties and blood sugar control. If you don’t make any other health or lifestyle changes in your life, get your green on and drink a cup of green tea every day starting right now.

Add 1 Green Veggie to Your Week
Many people claim they don’t like green veggies, and many have at least one they absolutely HATE, such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Don’t eat the one veggie you really, really hate, the one that makes you gag just touching it to your lips, the one that turns your stomach just thinking about. Don’t eat that one! Add a different one, maybe one that you like, or one that you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe buy half a pound of fresh green beans with groceries this week. Lightly sear them in olive oil with half a clove of minced garlic, or if you love onions, a finely chopped sweet onion. Or buy a large bunch of curly spinach, and prepare it two or three times this week. You can steam it lightly with sweet red onion slices and carrot coins, or toss it with a few ounces of shaved carrot, chopped tomato and a teaspoon of your favorite salad dressing. Veggies, especially the leafy green ones, boost your health and immunity with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. So don’t eat the veggies you hate, but add one to your week and green your nutrition now.

Eliminate 1 Plastic Item from Your Life
Contrary to what the plastics industry wants us to believe, plastic is scary. Most plastic containers leach bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics estrogens when in the body, promoting cancer cell growth and affecting reproductive health. The Ocean Conservancy reports that plastic bags are one of the top pollutants in our oceans, second to cigarette butts. There are almost 50,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also called the Pacific Trash Vortex, floats between San Diego and Hawaii, a huge collection of pollutants, mostly plastics, breaking down into toxic sludge and tiny plastic particles that enter our food chain when eaten by marine life. Experts report that 80 percent of ocean plastic is from land-based pollutants. Stop adding to this floating toxic island today. Look around your home, take inventory of all the plastic and eliminate one plastic item from your life. You could stop using plastic bags and carry your own reusable shopping bags, or stop buying bottled water and fill stainless steel canteens with filtered water instead.  Or stop buying plastic, recycle all your plastic food containers and use glass and metal instead.

Sometimes, it seems like a big, overwhelming commitment to change is necessary to “go green.” But in reality, any change for the green is good change, no matter how small. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Start walking toward the green today.

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