Why Protecting the Planet Is Good For Your Long-Term Health
Fun fact: My Bachelor's degree is not in exercise science, physiology or any other health-related field. However, my educational background has directly influenced the way I view the world and live my life, what I put on my plate and why, and how I coach my clients. Does anyone want to take a guess? My degree is a B.S. in Wildlife Biology ... yup! Because first and foremost, I love our planet and strive to protect it as much as one human can.
Support Local, Sustainable Farms and Businesses
Before becoming a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, I worked at both a veterinary hospital and later took a job as the Director of Operations for an amazing, little start-up company called, LoMo Market (think a farmer's market on wheels)! While working at LoMo, I learned so so much about sustainable food systems and the importance of supporting companies that provide locally-sourced, environmentally-sound products. I had the privilege of becoming the meat and seafood buyer for the company as well (all sustainably and locally-sourced, of course). In doing so, I had the pleasure of building relationships with farmer's and producers that genuinely cared about their animals, their products, the planet and their consumers.
Meet the Farmers and Producers!
By the way, if you get a chance or are in the North Carolina area, check out these farms and businesses that I worked with: Locals Seafood , Coon Rock Farm, Green Button Farm , and Firsthand Foods . They are all outstanding companies on a mission and with a passion to produce sustainable, quality products. It is companies like these that actually give us a choice and the option to buy and consume products that are good for the planet, good for our health and allow the animals to live a happy life!
It is also important to remind yourself how vital our food producers are to our health and well-being. Without their hard work and commitment, we would not get to enjoy most of the food we eat every day! Farmers, ranchers, and fisherman have a passion for what they do, but that does not mean it comes without strenuous work, sweat and difficult tasks every day. Give a little thanks for the food on your plate each day, because the people who grew, produced and harvested it worked hard to get it there!
How Does this Relate to Me and My Coaching Business?
So why in the world am I writing about something that doesn't seem to go hand in hand with health and fitness? Well, the truth is, it does! There needs to be a mindset shift around this very topic. Nutrition isn't just eating foods that we know are good for us. Nutrition is about SUSTAINING BOTH YOUR HEALTH AND THE PLANET.
I keep mentioning the word sustainable, but do we actually know and understand what it means in terms of food? I think Ryan Andrews of Precision Nutrition defines it very well, "the ability to meet our current needs without compromising the wellbeing and resources of future generations." This, of course, is not an easy task. However, by making small changes like buying your eggs from a local farm or joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you are beginning to do your part!
I am not perfect, but my family does have its own garden and chickens (we get 3 eggs per day, holla!), we are looking into CSAs and I shop locally and at Farmer's Markets when I can. And trust me, I know most of us are on a budget, so make small changes when you can and gradually. For me, it is hard to put a price tag on health. The way I see it, I am saving money in the long run by not having to spend a bunch on health care and medical bills down the road!
Did you know...
Research shows we waste around 50% of the food produced in the U.S. If we go back to our definition of sustainability, we are technically doing the opposite. The scary thing is that our planet stays the same size, while our population perpetually increases. The good news, we DO have options - it's just a matter of taking initiative. Here are some ways to support both your health and the planet:
- Don't strive for perfection...with your produce I mean. Seriously, why do we care if our carrot is deformed or if our apples have a few spots?! Did you know that the deformed, ugly produce almost always gets wasted just because we don't think it looks pretty?! Buy the weird fruits and veggies! They need lovin' just as much as their "perfect" counterpart.
- Join a CSA in your area.
- Shop at your local farmer's market.
- If you're a meat-eater, get to know your farmers and buy from them! Opt for local, grass-fed, and pasture-raised products when you can.
- Buy your own chickens - they will start to give you eggs EVERY. DANG. DAY. It's literally the best!
- Grow your own garden.
- Buy locally whenever you can and when it fits your budget.
The Big Picture
So why in the world does this matter to me and the clients I coach? Chances are, if you implement any of the tips I recommended above, you are also doing good for your body. A sustainable, locally-sourced diet, in general, is a very healthy, balanced and nutritious diet! AKA, your medical bills won't be piling up because you took care of yourself, and bonus, the planet as well!
To wrap this up so you can go on your merry way and research what breed of chickens you will be buying (since I know I have inspired you to do so), ask yourself these questions at your meals today:
- Where was my food grown? (if your answer is "in a factory," don't feel guilty about it, but know you have the tools and choices to change that)!
- How was it grown?
- Who produced and harvested it for me?
- How did the food get to your plate?
- Did it have to travel far?
I have a feeling this will change the way you look and think about your food. Remember, nutrition is more than just knowing what nutrients are good for you. Nutrition is making the conscious effort to sustain both your health and this beautiful planet we call home for the long haul!
Get even healthier!
Are you curious about learning more about nutritious, sustainable foods? Would you like help being as healthy as you can? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today — or pass this offer on to someone you care about!
I received my Health Coach training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. I am also a Certified Personal Trainer helping clients to bring physical activity back into their daily routine, reduce body fat, gain strength and become their healthiest self. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. You can learn more about me, here.
Book your complimentary, discovery health consult today!