Posts filed under ‘A Health Tip for the Month’
I have the fortune of coming across many amazing people in my life. These connections remind me that health, as we all know, come from many avenues and only creates a complete model of health from the combination thereof. On a recent occasion I have had the pleasure of working with an amazing woman who has inspired me and offered me a perspective on health that I forget about and yet it is a part of me and most likely you.
I wanted to share her perspective and ideas as a means of adding to the many ways in which health comes to us.
Live inspired: Be radically alive
As beings in constant communion with the world, all we need is to let our experience rush in and fill us up – to live richly in all the details and textures. The innate joy in the fullness of your presence is there, waiting for you to feel it. When you live in touch with the deep wellspring of lifeforce pulsing within and align with your soul purpose, you glow from the inside out. This is what it means to live an inspired life.
When what you do aligns with what you want and where you’re going, good things happen, as if the universe opens up to you. But all too often, I find people stuck in a fog of unknowing, often with ideas that need a place to land – or a plan for success.
“You always go for what you want. You’re so clear,” my mom would always say to me. “How do you know?” she would ask.
“I just know,” I would reply with little explanation, a shrug and a smile. The clarity was a full-bodied knowing – and a sense of the pull coming from where I was headed, bodying forth into a future that was calling me into it – even if I didn’t have a mental understanding of what that notion was.
Any artist will tell you that the impetus for creation comes from an ambiguous place and unfolds before them in the process – but it’s about trusting that first core gut intuition that creates space for great art. But you have to be listening and ready for the messages.
Knowing what you want requires clarity of thought and the ability to sit with yourself, to know yourself in a way that your heart’s song sings loud and clear, and you can trust your inner compass. It starts with getting in touch with everything in life that lights you up and turns you on and makes you come ALIVE.
Whenever I feel stuck or lackluster in the ‘zest for life’ department, I spruce things up with a subversively simple exercise of fearless creative play to let my whole self love what it loves by making a collage or vision board. When I look back through the big vision boards that I’ve made, I see notable themes – no matter what magazines are at my disposal. Each time, there is more refinement and more of a reflection of where I’m currently at – and what my hopes for the future are at that moment in time and space.
Since 2009, I’ve been keeping a manifest journal – starting with a black hardcover book with blank pages – and pouring into it all my thoughts, visions, dreams, fragments from the day, inspirations, to-do lists and mini-collages. This process has its own sort of magic that lends itself to the personal process of transformation – and the planting bed for grounding ideas in the world. In this way, the whole book (or set of books) becomes one continuous manifesting exercise.
The vision board process is nothing new. It is, however, a wonderfully accessible medium for fearless play in the creative space that can reconnect you to all that you love in the world. And if the intentions behind the experience are set, the process is fuel for igniting positive change. As a montage of clippings from magazines of images that grab your attention and text that speaks to you, vision boards can be a reminder of what lights your fire, can make you smile and light you up from the inside out.
Whenever I need to create something, to shift energy or get out of my headspace I always turn to the stack of magazines until I have collected enough images to make play in the pages of my journal. I’m always amazed at what happens just by giving myself time to listen to that inner voice. When I look back over the seemingly random collage of text and image fragments, I read it like a soul map with a regained sense of affirmation and clarity – and most often new insights that create a positive shift towards what I want or where I want to be.
Like life itself, the process of creating is what is important and can be used to facilitate a myriad of results.
- a space for creative play
- to shift or spark creative energies
- to create space for focusing on intentions
- to realign with what lights your fire
- as an exercise in starting and finishing a creative project, fearlessly
- to see just what the soul has to say in the space between…
There is much magic in that space of play and creativity if you allow your self to bask in that space often and give yourself the time to feel what makes you come alive as you tune into the rhythm of your own heart. As Howard Thurman said: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Your best life ever is waiting for you to step into it, to be filled with it and to dare to be radically alive. What are you waiting for? I put together The Inspiration Book to jump-start the process. You can download it here.
As I was speaking with one of my long time clients and friend, I realized that not everyone really knows about all the amazing things that Jack LaLanne brought to the world of health and fitness. He, my client, still runs about 5 days a week for an hour plus and just celebrated his 68th birthday. He too is a picture of fitness.
I told him about some of the amazing feats Jack did for his birthdays and he was astounded to learn that at the age of 70, Jack:
- Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.
This was just one of many!
In an attempt to inspire you yet again, I am offering you the following video:
Last, if you would like to see the list of feats Jack LaLanne accomplished, GO TO HIS WEBSITE NOW!!
To your health and happiness!
I was first introduced to health and exercise when I joined a Jack LaLanne Health Spa at 16 years old. In looking back I really don’t know what made me do that but it did start me on the path to health I have been on every since.
Over the years I would reflect on Jack and his teachings. As I have gotten older I have tried to motivate other people in considering to choose health as an alternative way of living. I had dreams of teaching health in corporations in hopes that people would see that eating well really isn’t that difficult and yet the rewards are great. I even emailed Jack LaLanne last year to see how he inspires others. I was told to just keep on the path.
I was struck, in going to his website at that time, by how he essentially was preaching the same basic nutrition advice 50 years ago that is still true today – eat real food and exercise regularly. Times really haven’t changed in what is healthy for us and yes it does take discipline but is so worth it!
So in honor of Jack and a life filled with the desire to motivate others to live a healthy full life, I salute him. Here are just two videos showing just how amazing he really was…
Suffer from joint pain?
Do you have chronic inflammation?
Want to lose a few pounds?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you might want to read on…
If you have read any of the articles in my blog, chances are you know about how I feel about carbohydrates – especially simple ones. By ‘simple’ I mean those items that have been processed to create a product such as scones, pasta, breads, cookies, cakes, and more. Let’s face it, these aforementioned foods are yummy and addictive! I know as I go through periods of time when I crave them just like the rest of America.
Usually I am pretty good at avoiding them on any regular basis but occasionally I slip. This last weekend was a perfect example. I was visiting my mother in California for a long weekend. She has been recovering from Ovarian Cancer and is doing amazingly well for an 89 year old woman – has regained 23 pounds, is back to all her social events, going to the gym and even walking her ‘old 2 mile route’ that she did for years. Yes, she is a trooper!
While in California, at the 1 mile marker of her ‘route’ lays a small town called Sierra Madre. On the main drag is a coffee shop called Bean Town. Well, they have the best cranberry scones ever. Of course a visit to see mom always involves a day of going to Bean Town but this time it got out of hand. We ended up going there all three mornings in a row! Now I did vary one day and have their cinnamon coffee cake instead but… well you get the picture.
By starting each day out this way, lead to wanting more carbohydrates throughout the day. Consequently I ended up eating bread as well as crackers rather than just the usual huge salads. I even had a cookie one day! This is a lot of these types of food in a very short period of time for my body. Normally having one of those things every week or two wouldn’t really make a difference but the quantity and frequency played havoc on me and it got me to thinking how this has such a huge impact on peoples’ health.
By the time I got home late Monday evening, my joints started screaming. By Tuesday morning, when I did my usual hike up Mt Sanitas, my knees were so cranky it took the pleasure out of the hike. At first I couldn’t figure out what was going on but then it hit me… all those simple carbohydrates!!! I had already started back to my usual eating habits of vegetables and protein so was on the right track yet it actually took until this morning (Friday) to start feeling normal again. So let’s look at what happens…
First, simple processed carbohydrates are acid producing. By this I mean that when they are broken down in the body, they create ash that is of an acid nature. Not only is all disease found in an acid environment but so is inflammation. Our bodies are always healthier in an alkaline environment and yet our tendency is to eat foods that are acid producing including all the refined foods I’ve already mentioned. Now the foods themselves do not cause the inflammation but rather it is our body’s response to them when they are broken down. Foods that have a high glycemic index and consequently convert into sugar quickly alter our body’s normal hormone balance. This imbalance can result in an overproduction of such things as C-reactive protein (CRP); a protein designed to be produced during acute stages of trauma, infection and inflammation. Although we need CRP produced in acute phases we certainly do not need it to be continually produced. Just this one protein has a huge impact on the health of our cardiovascular system. And this is just to name one of the many negative results of eating refined foods.
The picture gets even more involved as those same yummy foods lead to an increase in weight. When we eat foods that break down quickly into sugar our body MUST burn it off rapidly or it is converted into fat, especially belly fat. This belly fat in turn causes an increase in the production of CRP by the liver and the inflammatory response is again increased. As you can see it is a vicious cycle.
Unfortunately as our society gets more and more addicted to these foods our bodies become sicker. We begin to become accustom to our joints hurting. We think it is normal to carry around an extra 5 or 10 or 50 pounds of body fat. We tend to accept all of this as a normal process of aging.
Well for me, I don’t buy it! When I am eating a healthy, high alkaline diet and staying away from process foods most of the time, I feel SO different. I feel energetic and happier. My joints don’t ache. I don’t have an issue with excess weight because I am utilizing the foods I eat so they aren’t storing as fat in my body. Overall I am more vitalized.
You shouldn’t buy it either! I hope you will consider altering your diet to see how all this affects you. It won’t happen overnight if you’ve been eating poorly – even just part of the time – but it will change. I encourage you to give it a good 3 or 4 months and keep a journal of how it has created positive changes in your life.
As for carbohydrates, think of using vegetables as your main source. Vegetables, especially leafy green ones, not only contain a healthy amount of carbohydrates but they contain so many nutrients and antioxidants. They are our vitality foods. Our cells will be healthier, our hormones will stay more balanced and generally our bodies will stay younger. Of course there is also the benefit of keeping your weight down by eating vegetables. Just read Jim’s story here:
“I’m a 55 year old male. Since I was 25 I have worked out a minimum of five times a week for at least one hour per session. When I was younger, that meant running 40-50 miles per week. Now my workouts involve running three times a week and lifting weights 3-5 times. My total mileage is 13-18 miles per week. This has been my regime for the past ten years. I never worried about what I ate as my workouts kept me at my high school weight of 168 pounds. It’s true that the past decade has seen a pound or two increase in my weight each year. New Years Day 2010 was my epiphany, as the scale read 180+. I cut out all the non-vegetable carbs the first two weeks of this year and have limited my carb intake to less than 20 grams a day (all right so I cheated on Easter Sunday, I indulged with pastries at brunch and of course a Cadbury egg). Today I weight 168. I sleep better, my digestive system works much better and seeing the scale at 168 is a huge mental boost.”
So think about your diet and see if you too can’t offer your body the many benefits of eating foods that are more nourishing to your entire system. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Eat a minimum of 70% of your diet from the alkaline side of the food chart. For a copy of the chart, download this pdf.
- Eat at least 80% of the time healthy; saving the ‘not so good’ foods for special occasions rather than daily.
- Make a journal or chart of not only what you eat now but how you feel so you can track the changes. This is a great motivator when you are falling back into those bad habits.
- Even if you think you eat well, you might be surprised just how often you ‘cheat’ and eat some of those processed foods more regularly than you ever thought.
- Last, be gentle with yourself. It is not an easy thing to change addictive behaviors and even easier to allow them back in. When you fall off the health wagon, note it but don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply get back on the right track and move forward.
I hope this has motivated you to make choices and changes. You deserve it!
Vitamin D has been getting a lot of publicity for several months now because of the significant amount of health benefits being associated with adequate levels. What do you know about Vitamin D? Are you getting adequate amounts?
Listen to this podcast by Dan Butterfield. He will cover what Vitamin D really is, the latest research on health findings, how to determine sufficient levels and much more!
In his podcast he mentions the following for your records:
Life Extension Foundation for testing. Either call 800) 208-3444 or visit their website!
Cathy is a friend of mine that I have had the pleasure of learning from. She has overcome something major in her life and I wanted to share her story with you as I find it very inspiring. When you are struggling with health on any level read this article as it may help you take charge of your life!
The first thing members encounter when entering Iron Works Fitness during the day is a smile and a warm welcome from Cathy Grayell, the owner. This is usually followed by a short conversation regarding the current goings on and any news worth sharing. Cathy is always upbeat, and even looks the part of a health club owner. She is fit, energetic, and is often found lifting weights or using other equipment.
There is more to Iron Works Fitness and Cathy Grayell than meets the eye. Fourteen years ago, Cathy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a progressive disease that slowly eats away at the nervous system. Cathy’s doctor predicted she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40. She was also a mom with three young children to raise. That was in 1992. Today, Cathy looks like a well-trained tri athlete.
Indirectly, Cathy credits her multiple sclerosis to opening her business. “Unless you are forced into new situations you might not do as much in life. I probably wouldn’t have opened Iron Works unless I had already been pushed in different ways working with multiple sclerosis.”
“The concept behind Iron Works” says Cathy with an infectious smile, is “What kind of workout facility would you create in your own home if you had unlimited time, money, and space?” Another idea that helped form the approach of the facility was to allow 24 hour card key access. “I’ve belonged to different clubs over the years” says Cathy, “And they always seemed to open too late, or close too early for my schedule. If I did get in during regular hours, it always seemed that I had to rush to be done.” The card key approach removes all those issues. “The members all really look after the place too,” she continues. “They have taken ownership of the facility, which is great. The members come in all ages shapes and sizes” she says proudly, “from elite cyclists to people in their late 60’s”.
Cathy loves talking about her relationship with members. It is important to her that she knows the members, and she really enjoys connecting with them. “I am kind of like a bartender sometimes” she says laughing. “We talk about everything.”
It’s a whole different world for Cathy than in 1992. At the time of her diagnosis, she was working a high stress job. On her Doctor’s advice, she quit. At first, she listened to her doctors, rested most of the time, and took steroids. Her physical condition worsened. She had so little energy she could barely get up and take a shower without returning to bed. She admits it was very tough initially. When she first heard the diagnosis, she “steam-rolled through things” to deal with it.
About this time something in Cathy changed. She realized she had to take control of her own health, and it was a turning point in her life. She told herself “This is small-potatoes compared to raising three kids.”
“You have two options when you look at your place in the world” Cathy continues. “You can look at it as either something was given to you, or something was taken away. I have chosen to say something was given to me.”
She started exercising. She started walking 5 minutes. After some time, she increased to 10 minutes of walking. She got to the point where she could walk easily for an hour. She also started listening to her body during this period, and she says this was the start of her journey to wellness. Believing that a healthy body and mind are synergistic, she enrolled at CU and finished her undergrad degree in English begun many years ago at Penn State. Obtaining her degree in 2000 after six years of being a part-time student and full-time parent gave her an even greater sense of accomplishment, physically and psychologically.
Cathy has lived in Colorado since 1978 and in Boulder since 1990. “Living in Boulder”, she says with an amused look on her face,” I had access to lots of alternative methods of treatment, and I tried everything.” She is a firm believer in eating unprocessed food (this is her “medicine”) and being very tuned into her body. She will still have flare-ups if she is too stressed or too tired. She is a big believer in exercise, and credits this with her wellness. She lifts weights three days a week and her current regimen includes a goal of participating in at least one century bike ride this summer and continuing to build her strength both on off the bike.
Cathy has a positive outlook on all aspects of her life. Her journey to wellness brought her an understanding of the importance of incorporating and maintaining fitness as paramount to coping with whatever life offers. Through the lessons she learned, and the many difficult tasks she faced, she also learned she had a great capacity to accomplish difficult goals.
She believes life has given her an opportunity to be available to people facing physical challenges, and she is eager to share this gift of fitness with others. That is why Cathy can be found most days at Iron Works Fitness where she helps hundreds of members along their own path to wellness.
Iron Works Fitness is located at the corner of Yellow Pine and North Broadway, in the Holiday Project. You can learn about their facility at www.ironworksfitness.net, or by calling Cathy at 303-539-9334.
We are always thinking of ways in which we can lose weight, eat better, exercise more, and so on.
How often do we think outside of that box? Here are some ideas for making our lives and the planet healthier!
1. Change the Way You Eat
Idea #1 – Make it a point to sit down with friends and family for at least three meals per week.
With the change in schedules and the availability of fast food, our society has moved far away from the relaxing social meals of the past. When eating with friends and family, we eat slower because we are talking and enjoying the conversation. Not only will we feel better physically but we will be filled much more emotionally.
Unfortunately it is not only our country that is compromising the way we eat. In John Robbins book, Healthy at 100 he notes the following:
“In almost every culture in the world, eating dinner together has been a place for families to strengthen bonds. The French in particular have long cherished mealtime as a family ritual, so much so that children have traditionally not been allowed to open the refrigerator between meals. But the days of sitting for hours around the table savoring small portions of several courses and relishing each other’s company seem to have passed. Instead, it has become commonplace for the French to eat in front of their television sets, while talking on the telephone, and even alone. As McDonald’s has become more popular in France than anywhere else in Europe, the average French meal, which twenty-five years ago lasted 88 minutes, has been reduced to only 38 minutes today.”
Idea #2 – Stop eating in the car, in front of the television, or standing at the counter.
Our digestive system is not meant to adapt under any of these circumstances! When we sit down, relax, focus on our food, and breathe, our bodies are prepared to produce the appropriate amount of digestive enzymes and we get the most benefit (nutrients) out of our food. Part of the reason we overeat is due to these unconscious methods of eating. We hardly chew our food and inhale it at such a rate that our brains have yet received signals that we are actually full. Consequently we overeat and feel bloated and gain weight. The crazy part about the whole process is we have no idea just how much this type of eating has compromised our health.
If this is you, maybe one of your resolutions is to make the time to sit down, relax, and take a few deep breaths before taking your first bite. Appreciate the amazing fact that food is our lifeline to health. Enjoy it fully.
Although this has sounded crazy to most people that know me, even if I am alone at home for dinner, I actually prepare a delicious nutritious meal, pour a nice glass of wine, set the table, light a candle or two and really enjoy the time of eating a wonderful meal in a relaxed setting. I am sure this sounds off the charts for many of you but I encourage you to try it once or twice. It is a great experience!
Idea #3 – Learn about Slow Food
Slow Food is a movement that counters fast food. It is about creating a way of eating and living that associates the pleasure of food with community and the environment. There are many Slow Food movements throughout the world. Here a some sites to learn more:
2. Change your Shopping Habits
Idea #1 – Stay out of the middle of the grocery store!
The most natural and healthy foods are found around the periphery of the store. You will find the most nutritious and least processed foods in this area. Not only is the food more processed as you wander down the aisles but can be more expensive. Plus the amount of packaging adds to the increase in waste products in our landfills.
Idea #2 – Take a list and Do NOT go when you are hungry!
I realize that neither of these ideas are new yet can save you a lot of money and keep you on a healthier track of food. Think about what you would like to make and jot down the ingredients you need. Make it an intention to get only those ingredients. Of course if you see some great sale on fruit or vegetables you might want to get extra while you are there. The main thing you want to avoid is picking up that junk snack food that you know isn’t good for you and yet is so tempting when you are hungry and just mindlessly wandering the aisles of the store.
Idea #3 – Change one/two buying habits into healthier choices.
Although eating organic and antibiotic free meats can be expensive, in the long run it is cheaper than eating a bunch of junk and ending up sick! Besides, by watching for specials in the produce, meat and fish section of the stores, you can find deals that are worth the purchase. For example, not too long ago the Whole Foods in Boulder had grass fed ground beef on sale at an amazingly cheap price. Now I don’t often eat ground beef but at that price it was worth purchasing it and keeping it in my freezer for that unexpected time I might want to make something with it.
The same goes for produce. Although you can’t necessarily store it, there are certain foods that I (now) only buy organic. The reason being is that certain plants are sprayed much more with pesticides and the produce absorbs more of it. Two examples are strawberries and spinach. I only buy these if they’re organic!
So start with one or two things that (you feel) are easy to change in your diet. Maybe it is organic produce or antibiotic free chicken, whatever it is, it will have a positive impact on your overall health over time.
3. Become a Part-Time or Full-Time Locavore!
What is that you ask? The term Locavore started in the San Francisco area not too many years ago. The premise was to encourage people to only purchase food that has been grown within a 100 mile radius of where you live.
Eating local foods is a great step towards saving our planet and increasing our health. When you purchase food that is grown within 100 miles of home, you are helping the environment. It requires much less fossil fuel to get it to the store! In addition, the food is much fresher as it is picked when ripe, thus allowing time for all the nutrients to get into the food. You are also eating foods that are in season; something we are designed to do.
Although this might not always be easy, start with your local Farmer’s Market. You will meet some great people – the farmers and ranchers. You will find you have a much greater connection to the person growing your food, the food will taste amazingly so much better, and you will feel a greater part of the whole food chain. If you are in a cold climate where this is only available in the summer, start there and get to talking to the farmers. Chances are that many of them will be able to provide you with food in the winter months as well.
I have found a local organic farmer, Jay Hill Farm that grows greens and various other produce all winter long. I just have to email her and it will be picked the following morning and ready for pick up after 11am. I have made salads with her mixed greens and arugula for many friends and family. I always get the same reaction, ‘wow this is the best salad I’ve ever had!’ In so much as I would like to think it is my amazing ability to make a salad, I know better. The main difference is the fresh and vibrant taste of the greens!
Want to learn more about the ‘locavore’ movement? “The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.”
For ideas of the closest Farmer’s Market and where you can find local ranchers, here are some websites:
Local Harvest is a great source for finding food grown close to you.
This USDA site might offer you some farmer’s market information.
Eatwild.com is your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles. You can go here to find ranchers in your area.
If you can’t find one, the U.S. Wellness Meats in an alternative place to get grass fed meat and more.
4. Change your Water Drinking Habits
Idea #1 – Purchase water in larger quantities and fill your own bottles.
To begin, water is life. Without it we will die and yet we don’t drink enough. Many people are walking around dehydrated and don’t even know it. For more details on signs of dehydration and more on the benefits of drinking water, read this article.
Meanwhile there are many more people drinking water-like products than ever before. First, many of those are processed and have various types of sugar and more. Rather than purchase these expensive products drink good water! Second, realize the environmental consequence of using all those bottles! Here is a very dramatic slide show revealing the tragedy of the plastic bottle on our environment.
Watch this slide show - water-disaster !
Last, if you do not have good water available in your area, purchase a water filter. There are many types on the market and are worth the cost.
Idea #2 – Purchase a healthy reusable bottle for your water.
BPA is a chemical that is found in hard plastic. It is very toxic and has been proven to cause major health problems. Although more companies are aware of this and changing their bottles, not all are there yet. If using a plastic bottle, look for one that says, “BPA Free.”
One of the companies that have taken on this change is Nalgene. I really like their bottles as they have a variety of designs to meet everyone’s needs. If you cannot find them locally, here is their website.
The second option is to use one of the Swiss made bottles. They are stainless steel on the inside so no worries about the plastic. Again you might be able to find these locally but if not, here is their website.
5. Find Ways to Help Sustainability and Decrease your Carbon Footprint
In addition to the aforementioned, here are some relatively easy things you can do that have a positive effect on our environment.
Idea #1 – Decrease the amount of animal products you eat.
One of the ways we can have the greatest impact on our planet is to change our diet towards a vegetarian one. Now I am not proposing that we all give up animal products. I personally cannot imagine doing this and yet I am very impressed by those that have.
What I do realize is that even with eating grass fed and antibiotic free beef, cage free and natural chicken, and non-farmed fish, we are still using a great deal of the resources available on our planet. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. In total, it is responsible for 18 percent of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.”
So what do we do about this? Well, my goal is to start by having one day a week that I eat no animal products. I will then work towards two days. If each of us gave up one or two days a week, we would have a huge impact on our planet. With this being said, I intend to put more vegetarian recipes on my website!
The Toronto Vegetarian Association has some good information for you.
Idea #2 – Change your lIghtbulbs!
As your light bulbs burn out, replace them with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. They are 75% more efficient and last 10 times as long.
Idea #3 – Start unplugging what you are not using!
Unplug lights, stereos, printers, heaters, and anything else when not in use. Even if the units are turned off, many of them continue to use energy. The only way you can be assured they are not is to unplug them from the wall. It only takes an extra second but can have a huge impact on our energy output.
Idea #4 – Recycle!!!
Make it a goal to have a minimal amount of non-recyclable trash. Last year I made my goal to not have more than one (kitchen) bag of trash for two weeks. So far I am there all but those times that I have a big party. Once you get in the habit it is really easy. If you have a local recycling program, learn about all that you can recycle. If you are lucky enough to live in a place like Boulder, then you also have compostable recycling. If not, get a bin and start composting. Here is some information on how.
Idea #5 – Buy products with the least amount of packaging.
As mentioned earlier, if you stay along the periphery of the store, you will find the packaging to be at a minimum. Even at this however you need to think! I do see these plastic containers for spinach and mixed greens. Don’t buy them! Instead buy in the bulk.
To support this concept even more, I just purchased some reusable vegetable bags. I haven’t tried them yet but am excited to decrease the amount of plastic bags I accumulate. Check out their website!
Idea #6 – Use less paper products.
Two ways that are extremely easy is in the kitchen. Rather than purchasing paper napkins, get some really nice cloth ones. It is a much nicer feel on your mouth and hands and they last forever! I still have the original ones I bought about 25 years ago! (I use them for outside picnics and camping.)
The other easy change is in using dish towels rather than paper towels. Dish towels or sponges are great and can be reused for a long time. Of course we do still need some paper towels but not so many.
Idea #7 – When purchasing paper products, buy recyclable ones!
You can avoid the bleaching process and save the trees! “ If every household in the United States replaced one roll of virgin-fiber paper towels with 100 percent recycled paper towels, we could save 1.4 million trees.” Source: Care2
Idea #8 – See how you’re doing!
Calculate your Carbon Footprint now and then again every few months. There are a lot of different sites to figure out this process, just search for carbon footprint calculator. This one is pretty simple but a good place to start – The Nature Conservancy
If you have information or ideas that are along these thoughts, please share them! I look forward to hearing from you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!