by Chitra Esther Chelladurai
The holiday season is here and everyone knows what that means: Packing on those pounds with sweet and savory foods only to make New Year’s resolutions promising to lose them again. What if this holiday season you could avoid losing those extra pounds and go green by doing simple things?
Indeed, it is true that reducing your weight directly plays a hand in reducing your carbon footprint. Kate Geagan, the author of Go Green Get Lean, states that raising beef accounts for 18 percent of global warming emissions worldwide. If for one day you switch to the vegetarian meals Geagan suggests in her book, you’ll save roughly 890 calories and nine pounds of carbon. Do this for two weeks, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by 122 pounds and your calories by 12,460—leaving yourself about three and a half pounds lighter.
You don’t need to go gung-ho vegetarian or vegan but according to Planet Green cutting meat out of your diet reduces your carbon footprint by over 5,000 pounds annually. It can also reduce weight in actual pounds annually. As you many of you may have noticed you don’t often come across a hefty vegan or vegetarian. Also, eating organic foods is usually better for you than eating processed foods; they often have less packaging waste as well.
Get real with sweeteners by using real sugar or raw sugar, which is made from evaporated sugar cane juice. The Daily Green suggests going with the real stuff instead of artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes may offer a sweet kick, but the downside is their link with cancer in laboratory animals. And though it has been debated, you’re better off without the risk in your diet.
Other options are a natural sweetener called Stevia, which is FDA approved, and Agave nectar derived from the agave plant. An interesting fact from Geagan is that manufacturing the amount of sugar the typical American eats in a year—150 pounds worth—releases 855 pounds of carbon. Most of us could easily halve that amount by avoiding processed foods and sodas. We’d be cutting 7,500 calories a month, the equivalent of about two pounds of weight.
When it comes to physical weight loss methods, ditch the leaf blower and the ride-on lawn mower and go back to the exercise intensive rake and push mower this season. In the winter, avoid the snow blower and keep fit by shoveling your driveway. Even when you’re sitting in front of your television, avoid eating while watching. A study done at Pennsylvania State University has proven a link between obesity and eating in front of the TV. This is due to the person’s unawareness of caloric intake while being distracted. Try to do some exercise while watching TV like running on the treadmill or using a stationary bike. The calories melt away in no time.
For more on eating healthy visit the The Daily Green as it provides a “healthy eating plan.”
Image courtesy of FatLossandLoseWeight.com.