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Greening Up My Diet

Posted Apr 13 2012 8:00am
Besides my family, my one passion in life is running. A close second to running is the environment. Combine the environment with fitness and you have a win-win for me.

The more I run, the more I think about what I am putting into my body. And as a mother, I think about what I am putting into my child's body and what kind of example I am setting for her to follow.

No one is perfect and there is no way I can make the perfect decision every moment of every day for every decision I need to make. The trick is to make great decisions most of the time and accept that sometimes, you won't. And you know what? That is okay. I eat healthy most of the time but sometimes I will indulge....and that is okay.

With all that said, I am on a quest to greening up my eating....and I don't mean by eating more green colored food, although that will be part of it. I recently stumbled upon a book that is making a positive impact on me. The book: Eco-Friendly Families by Helen Coronato . It is a good light read and is full of ideas on how this running mom, who rents a home, can make a smaller carbon footprint in her daily routines. And it is about taking small steps and being good most of the time, not all of the time.

My first mission is centered on how I feed my family. I feel our bodies are temples and that we need to respect them as such...and I recently started focusing on this path when I finally quit drinking diet Coke and committed to monthly shipments of wholesome goodies from Healthy Surprise .

My next step is to bring this focus up front and center. To achieve this I am incorporating some of the strategies presented in Eco-Friendly Families.

  1. I am going to aim to decrease the impact of the dirty dozen in our lives by opting organic whenever possible. The dirty dozen includes apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale. The bolded items are ones my family often consumes.
  2. I am going to frequent our local farm more often for locally grown produce even if it limits the choices available.
  3. I am integrating gluten-free, vegan snacks for quickies on the go through Healthy Surprise .
  4. NO artificial sugars are allowed. And look closely, they are hidden in many items such as Yoplait light yogurt, sugar-free Jell-O, some vitamins, and many drinks. 
  5. I am limiting the amount of corn syrup my family consumes mainly because items with it have little nutritional value. Sorry darling daughter, fruit chews are not the best but how about some Clif Bar Fruit Twists
  6. I am limiting the amount of food dyes used in our foods. These chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems and serve no nutritional purpose. And often you can find an alternative with natural coloring that is just as good. Surprisingly, when I did a spot check in my cupboards the other night I discovered my purchases were pretty good. I only found some pudding packages with yellow dye and in all reality, that is okay. I may make pudding four times a year! So once I use those packages up, I will be looking for an organic option. 
  • I will continue to shop thinking about minimal packaging and how far the item had to travel to get to me. Being on an island, most things do need to travel but how about bread from a local bakery versus bread from who knows where? 

  • Source

    Trust me, I know what some of you may be thinking. That would be wonderful to do but how on Earth can I afford it? Organic food costs more. My income is limited. The economy isn't at its peak. Every penny counts. And don't worry, I am in that exact same boat with you and have the same concerns, even now as I am stating that this is my goal.

    But I have confidence that by making good decisions about implementation and being budget-minded I can accomplish this goal. And if it is a big fail, I will let you know. So how do I think I can do this? Once again, I am implementing, or re-implementing, suggestions from the book.

    1. My family and I will come up with a menu for dinners for the next week every Friday. They already know if they fail to participate I will make the choices myself. The menu will be planned in such a way to have a minimal impact on the budget. For example, dinners will lead to leftovers for work and school lunches. Dinners will be based off of a list of similar ingredients so one large bag of potatoes will serve multiple meals instead of us using some potatoes for one meal and some potatoes rotting. 
    2. Our family will continue to grow some of our own foods and focus on the ones we are succeeding with. For example, I very rarely buy herbs as we grow our own basil and cilantro. Perhaps it is time to try a third option.
    3. My darling daughter and I will do the shopping weekly on Saturdays. This is a perfect day as we can head to the necessary stores after the gym in the morning. We will pack snacks for our adventure and head home afterwards. I will only buy what is needed on the list. For example, yes, dear hubby may like ground turkey, chicken breasts, fish, and sweet potato fries but if we don't need the items for the menu, I am not buying them. Period. Can you tell he is the primary carnivore in the family? This will save gas expenses of running to the store for a few items multiple times a week (gas here is currently $4.89/gallon). And it limits money spent on spontaneous purchases each time we are at the store. And that adds up.
    4. I am re-implementing a one day a week no driving day....or very limited driving. This decreases wear and tear on my car and saves gas expenses. It is a 20-minute plus drive to get to most stores. It takes almost 40 minutes for me to go to work. So one day at no or very little driving is good. I am thinking Sundays and yes, I know I may drive to church but that is upcountry and okay with me. So I guess I should say one no driving downcountry day!
    Is this all going to be smooth sailing? Probably not. I think it will take time to get back into the groove on weekly shopping days. It will take practice to really know when I need to buy that gallon of milk to avoid a trip to the store to just pick up milk. And it will involve communication from dear hubby when he is running low on x, y, or z so that he doesn't have to go without and I don't need to make a special trip. 

    Why do I think this will work and allow us to eat greener and not kill our budget? Mainly because of the planning and not buying x-number of items just because they look good. Is that item needed next week? No, don't buy it. And darling daughter and I already looked through the Costco coupon book and pulled out the coupons for items that were already on our shopping list --- created from what was on our menu. And that menu, when I was thinking of it with my family I was going off of things I already knew I had in the house for many meals. 

    Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for store discounts and coupons.
    Daily Affirmation: I am confident in my ability to feed my family good wholesome foods while sticking to my budget.

    Would you like a copy of Eco-Friendly Families? Enter the Sweat Pink with Me Virtual Run , enter your results, and me eligible for a door prize drawing for this book and other "sweet" and potentially pink prizes!
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