Journal

5 ways to help our planet today

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What is the one thing all us unique human beings have in common? Our home.

Whether you call home a condo in the city, or a hammock on the beach, our true home is planet Earth. We are warmed by the same sun and our nights illuminated by the same moon.

What else do we have in common? When our planet struggles so do we. No one is exempt, no matter socio-economic status, or geographical location. We are all in this together.

In honour of World Environment Day, I put together a list of ways we can help our environment today. Like literally, right now!

Break up with Plastic

Plastic has become so incorporated in everyday life, it often goes unnoticed, but did you know 8 million tonnes end up in our oceans every year?

Recently, I started collecting my plastic waste, curious about how much I produced in one week. As the pile grew and grew I was horrified – and to be honest – embarrassed.

The plastic wrap around my cucumbers, packs of lettuce, and those disposable grocery bags were my main culprits. Once I identified where my waste was coming from, I could look for eco-friendly solutions. If you’re a big plant eater like me, here’s how to navigate your grocery store plastic free:

Use re-usable mesh bags for fruits and veg instead of single use plastic bags the grocery store provides.

Pick greens in tied bunches versus greens in sealed plastic bags or boxes.

Same goes for bananas and other fruits. I often find pears, lemons, limes, and apples in plastic bags, why? Nature created these foods with a perfect layer of protection, their skin. We humans can be so silly.

Lentils, beans, nuts, and grains can be purchased in bulk to reduce waste – as long as you bring your own glass jars.

Now for those middle aisles. The nutritionist in me recommends avoiding these as much as possible. Not only because products are wrapped, often numerous times, in waste, but because they are not real food.

Eat Fewer Animals

It’s 2017 and eating animals carries a whole new meaning. This is because we have learned of the harmful impact raising animals for food places on our environment (if you’d like to learn more check out Tip 5). The good news is, every meal is a chance to make a difference.

If you eat animals 7 days a week, try 1 plant-based day. If you eat animals once a week, aim for once a month. You get the point. 

It doesn’t matter where you are, just that you are trying. Bonus: your health, mood, and bod will thank you!

Drink Mylk

For every addictive (literally) dairy treat, there is a plant version just as creamy and delicious. Let’s start with milk. Humans drinking cow’s milk is a becoming thing of the past, but how does it affect the planet?

To drink milk, we must raise a cow. That cow needs to eat and drink, a lot. That cow also produces methane emissions. What does this mean? Immense food and water waste, and a huge contribution to something we’re trying to decrease; greenhouse gas.

Replacing dairy with plant based sources reduces food and water waste, as well as green house gas emissions. With so many varieties, you’re sure to find one you love.

Certain nuts like almonds require more water to grow than others. If you do love the taste of almond milk put it on a rotation, to further reduce your footprint. Check a list below for my favourite dairy alternatives:

Icecream

Coconut Bliss: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Island, and Ginger Cookie Caramel are my favourite.

So Delicious: Cashew Caramel Cluster

Homemade: Blend frozen bananas with a touch of plant mylk until creamy. Add cacao for chocolate, dates for caramel, or fruit for sorbet.

Cheese

Nuts for Cheese: Canadian based company that makes delicious cashew-based cheese. My favourites: Un-Brie-Lievable, Smoky Artichoke and Herb, and Chipotle Cheddar.

Zengarry: Garlic and Fine Herbs will change your life!

Kite Hill: An assortment of cheese and yogurt made from almonds. 

Yogurt

COYO: This coconut-based yogurt is what heaven must be like. Unfortunately I haven’t found a similar product in Canada, but if you live in the UK or Australia, give it a try!

Coconut Kefir: Various brands are available at health food stores and farmers markets. Usually made locally, with love.

Hit up a Farmers Market

Produce is often local, meaning it travels much shorter distances. This reduces vehicle emissions and gives you fresh, nutrient-dense food. Don’t forget to chat with a sweet farmer, that’s my favourite part!

Watch Cowspiracy

Education and awareness are the strongest tools we have in creating change. This documentary begins with a super chill dude from Cali and a question – what’s really hurting our planet?

Love Yourself

My last tip is to give yourself some love. Caring about our planet is the magical spark that starts it all. None of us are perfect, no matter who we are, how we eat, or what we do. Progress over perfection. Happy World Environment Day everyone!

 

Julia Marcuzzi