I am super excited to join Arhaus in talking about simple ways to lighten your environmental footprint. Arhaus is a company that emphasizes sustainability by making their furniture from recycled natural resources. One example being their dining room pieces which are made from reclaimed and recycled wood.
I know I don't usually talk too much about the environment, but I am a lifelong tree hugger!!! And certifiably a minimum of 51% hippie.
In fact, I think everyone should be at least 25% hippie. (Not the lazy, self righteous, or lazy part.)
We should all be the part that is idealistic, inspired, passionate, and environmentally friendly.
Even my sister, who used to get SO MAD when I burned incense in my room, is now 25% hippie. (But neither of us burn incense now.)
In fact you don't need to be a hippie, you can just be hip. Because making choices that benefit all of us tend to benefit the environment.
I'd love to share with you some of the fun and surprising ways you can be hip and hug trees.
Shopping at the farmers market is an environmentally friendly thing to do. And of course it's a great way to eat healthy food, enjoy the weather, and meet and support your local farmers!
Wherever you shop, choosing lots of fruits and veggies is a great and simple step to nourish yourself and also lower your impact on the environment. Keeping your fruit bowl full makes it easy to choose a healthy and delicious snack on the go and minimize the processed food you eat and the waste that goes along with it!
Cooking your own food from scratch is an incredibly environmentally friendly thing to do! Imagine it...baking your own sourdough bread...fermenting your own kimchi...drinking homemade kombucha...Yes, being a foodie is good for the earth!! Doesn't that make you want to be hip???
Getting rid of clutter is an environmentally friendly thing to do - it helps us buy less, it is an opportunity to recycle old items into reuse by another person (so they can avoid purchasing something new and therefore minimize their environmental impact).
Reducing your stress is good for the environment, too. This may not make sense immediately, but the way we treat ourselves directly correlates the way we treat the environment. As a society we deplete ourselves and consume too much in our personal lives. We basically do that to the environment, too. Taking the time to contemplate and draw firm boundaries to protect yourself will allow you to be your best self, which allows you to help others, which allows us to protect our environment.
How we live our daily life and the simple choices we make are the foundation for our own healthy life and the health of the environment. If we can live a life in alignment with our values most of the time, with plenty of room for fun and relaxation included, and of course with the grace to forgive ourselves for the short cuts and mistakes along the way, we can live a life that feels great and protects our world for the future.
Thanks to Arhaus for putting together this infographic and for sharing other ways to make simple changes to help the environment throughout our homes!
There are many things in life in which I like to take a very very big picture, cosmos kind of look at things.
The way I eat is one of those things.
For a long time, I thought about the environmental impact in a strictly numbers kind of way. How do I minimize impact? I became vegetarian at 15 (though, admittedly, in the beginning that was more of whim).
I had been an environmentalist since a young age. Encouraged by my school, and a natural tree hugger, I understood that eating plants took less of toll on the environment. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains was good for my health AND good for the earth! There is a lot of science to back this up.
I also had a vegan stint in college. (But then I also had a no onions and no garlic stint in college.)
And at the time all of this seemed very "big picture."
But, as you likely know, I struggled for a long time with eating sugar, lots of sugar, and in an unhealthy way. I also had a lot of guilt and judgement around food - both towards myself for "failing" to "quit" sugar, but also towards others for "failing" to be as "big picture" with their diets. (Wow, that was a lot of quotes.)
That year I was vegan? It's seriously a wonder that I have any friends that knew me before that lasted through that year. I try to block it from my mind, so I can mostly only imagine how self righteous I was.
Plus, being so strict was alienating. It made parties and family gatherings hard. BLESS my mom for being so accommodating and catering to my various diets over the years!!! I mean she used to cook me whatever she was cooking minus whatever it was I was not eating!!!!
It took a lot of self discovery and letting go of rigid perspectives for me to move beyond the rules that were not actually serving me.
Also, suffering through 7 months of nausea and vomiting in my first pregnancy was enough to make me realize I'd eat ANYTHING to make it stop. I mean I would have hunted a deer and painted my face with its blood if it would have gotten rid of the NVP. Meat, unfortunately, did not help, because nothing helped. None the less, the experience cracked the door open much wider.
I had actually already decided that a bit of quality meat was probably the healthiest, especially for me, since I don't tend to crave much protein. Meat is nutrient dense and very nourishing. The whole chicken noodle soup effect is real. I had read a bit of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and they tout the same: modest, quality meat consumption as part of a plant based diet is often the most healthful. Still, I didn't want to eat animals.
(Except for the one time at my friend's wedding in Ohio, and I had WAY too much champagne. Back at the magical farm house where all her friends were staying, with a kitchen packed with all kinds of things to nosh on... the only thing that looked at all appealing was a giant roasted turkey!! That was the real beginning, and to this day the only meat that I honestly enjoy eating a "chunk" of is roasted turkey! A new traditiona i nthe life of the mostly vegetarian was to eat turkey on Thanksgiving day.)
Roll forward to my current life. Today was Thanksgiving. My mom made a turkey, I made a vegetarian "Neatloaf." We had mashed potatoes, tempeh gravy, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, grains and greens salad, Brussels sprouts, two kinds of cranberry sauce, corn bread stuffing, and a pickle tray. Everyone loved the Neatloaf! But, of course, I ate some turkey, too :)
And my dad, who eats healthy mostly because of my mom, told me after dinner, "I think being vegetarian is really the healthiest way to eat." And I told him, "Maybe only 90% vegetarian." And he said, "You're right. You've lightened up in your old age."
First of all LOL!!! Love it that my dad is calling me old! And second, what a nice middle ground, for the more meat and potatoes guy to be admiring me and for me to be meeting him in the middle!
Looking at the big picture, though, what I mean is this: Yes, it's really good to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. But that is not something that surprises most people. Eating a plant based diet is good for your health AND the health of the environment. However, if you eat ANY diet with rigid rules and lots of judgement towards ANYONE, that actually is NOT healthy for you.
So, sure, aim for a lot of plants in your diet. It will make you feel good, help you live a healthier life, maybe even allow you to live longer, and certainly can help you lose weight. But choose the fruits and vegetables you really love. Have fun with whole grains. And enjoy meat and sugar!
The last piece of the puzzle is that I believe that taking the absolute best care of yourself you can will naturally lend itself to taking good care of the earth. Because people who eat well and feel well naturally gravitate towards choices in their life that uplift the world, and the truth is there are MANY ways to do that.
(Oh, and since we are talking environmentalism, also VOTING for strong environmental protections & protectors is essential!)
I help busy, ambitious women connect their food to their desires & overcome emotional eating in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.