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  • Writer's pictureSwan Wellness

Earth Day - Good for the Planet, Good for You

Just after health and wellness, the environment is at the top of my list of personal interests. One day I'll tell you about (or just email me!) my foray into vermicomposting, how I stealthily run around the house unplugging appliances at the annoyance of my family, and my eco-friendly way of doing laundry! The environment is also one of the reasons I adopted a completely plant-based diet.

I love Earth Day and how it reminds us to take care of our planet—whether it’s cleaning up litter, planting more trees, recycling and reusing, or going for a walk in the park. This year, we celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 22. Participating in Earth Day activities is good for our environment, and is also good for our health, so you can imagine my excitement! The connection that we have to nature, plants, and the land is integral to our health and wellness. This April, join me in celebrating Earth Day all month and make April the month you take care of yourself and the planet.

Due to COVID-19, many of us cannot celebrate our planet with typical Earth Day activities such as community tree plantings and cleanups, but there are outdoor activities to enjoy within the vicinity of your home that are good for the earth and good for your health. On Earth Day, take a walk, go for a run, or bike through your neighborhood or a nearby park. Go alone, appreciate your solitude and the sounds, sights, and smells of nature, enjoying the time to quietly reflect or listen to a podcast. Or take advantage of the opportunity for quality time with your loved ones and stroll with your family and friends and dog by your side. Exercising in nature is not only good for your body by reducing your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels, it is also good for your mood and can reduce stress.

Earth Day is just one day a year when the world joins together to help care for our environment. But who says every day can’t be Earth Day? What and how we eat and drink as well as how we get around have significant impacts on both our health and our environment. A large percentage of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to transportation and the food supply chain. Incorporate these five activities that are good for our planet and your health into your daily routine, because the planet and you can never have too much TLC!

Walk and bike more, drive less

Driving is one of the most polluting things we do nearly every day. Transportation is the largest US consumer of petroleum, accounting for twenty percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. Also, spending a lot of time in the car raises people’s risk of obesity, increases their exposure to pollution, and reduces air quality through hazardous air pollution. On the other hand, traveling by bicycle or by foot keeps pollutants out of the air we breathe and has important health benefits including improved fitness, weight control, and greater feelings of well-being.

Buy local and seasonal fruit and vegetables

In addition to being healthier and better tasting, seasonally and locally sourced food has a smaller environmental footprint. Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out of season produce which means less transportation, less refrigeration, fewer hot houses, and less irradiation of produce.

Incorporate meatless meals into your daily and weekly menu

Replacing meat with plant-based choices can offer numerous health benefits such as improved heart health and reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes and can help you maintain a healthy weight and get more of the nutrients your body needs. Reducing your consumption of meat is also good for the environment because it cuts down on the production of greenhouse gases that impact climate change and it reduces the demand for environmental resources such as land, water, and energy.

Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water or soda and use a reusable water bottle when you are on the go

Most of us don’t drink enough water, opting instead for soda, juice, or coffee. But our bodies need water to keep every system functioning properly, and we don’t need the artificial flavors, sugar, and caffeine found in other beverages. We also don’t need to drink bottled water. Tap water in the US is safe, healthy, and tastes good, without the wide range of negative environmental impacts of bottled water from the bottling, refrigeration, and transportation processes, as well as the disposal of plastic bottles after use.

Avoid ultra-processed foods

Highly processed foods often contain little to no real food and offer minimal nutritional value. Instead, they are made with chemical additives that are harmful to both our health and the planet. Also, processed food often uses a lot of energy during production. Plus, all the packaging ends up in a landfill which poisons the environment and can take many years to break down.

By incorporating these five simple activities into your daily routine this month, you will not only be doing the earth some good, you will also be doing yourself a whole lot of good!

Comment below and let me know about your plans for Earth Day. And let me know what you do that’s good for you and the planet.

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