Last weekend we celebrated Earth Day and since then we've been delighted by all the earth appreciation posts we've seen on Instagram and Facebook.
At BePure we try to eat as close as possible to nature. Our philosophy focuses on eating nutrient-dense, whole foods that support health while reducing inflammation and illness.
The key to nutrition is getting all the macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants your body needs.
This means eating an abundance of fresh seasonal vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, soaked gluten free whole grains and legumes while avoiding gluten, refined grains, refined sugars and highly processed vegetable oils.
The problem is that if a nutrient isn't in the soil, it can't be in our food. In New Zealand, we're seeing the levels of nutrients in the soil decline as the use of glysophates, herbicides and pesticides, damage our soils and the soil carbons. This impacts carbon sequestration which contributes to greenhouse gases.
When we look after the environment it's a win-win situation for everyone. Our crops become more nutrient rich and our bodies function better.
If you've been thinking about the earth this week and wondering how you can minimise your impact on it, here are two things to consider and some simple, long-term tips to try.
How it affects the world
Conventional sprays, pesticides and conventional farming methods expose the environment to chemicals, herbicides, antibiotics, as well as hormones added to fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products. As explained above this damages our soils and the nutrients in it.
You also want to consider how your meat source has been raised. Was it feed its' natural food source or an introduced one? For example, grass-feed beef. Intense modern farming methods have turned to feeding cows grain, this causes a lot of digestive damage and increases the dosage of hormones and antibiotics given to the cow throughout its' lifespan.
How it affects us
There is some controversy over whether organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods. However, from a toxic load point of view, there is no doubt that the chemicals and hormones used in food production are ingested by us when we consume it, loading our bodies and placing them under additional stress.
Consuming protein sources that have not been raised on a natural diet – so for our example of cows, an introduced diet of grain – increases the omega 6 fats in the cow's diet. Omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory and trickle down through the food chain and into us.
However, buying organic and free-range food is often more expensive than conventional produce. There are ways you can reduce the cost by growing your own produce or joining a co-op.
We understand buying organic produce is not possible for everyone. If you’re on a budget, an easy place to start is with our Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen blog post. This is a list of the most contaminated foods as determined by the Environmental Working Group.
If you can’t afford to buy all your meat, dairy and produce organic prioritise meat and dairy as conventionally raised animals store their own toxins in fat which we then ingest. If organic is out of reach, opt for free range, hormone free suppliers.
With regards to produce, organic is definitely best. However, spending your money on spray-free produce at a local farmer’s market will still reduce your exposure to these toxins and is a great intermediate step.
How it affects the world
Buying seasonal, fresh and local produce reduces the carbon footprint of produce that has travelled across the country or in some cases, across the world, for us to purchase all year long.
You'll have to do your research but if a company has an environmentally friendly ethos their packaging is usually plant-based and biodegradable or recyclable which helps to reduce waste and landfill.
How it affects us
Eating season and locally sourced foods are also better for us as they are fresher and contain higher a nutritional density than foods that have been travelled across the country or in some cases, across the world.
When it comes to body products, we don’t really give it much thought other than to ensure we’re wearing it for our comfort or protection or for the comfort and protection of those around us. However, body products such as deodorant, toothpaste, sunscreen, lipstick, and so on, also contain many chemicals which can adversely affect our health.
80% of whats's on your skin is going to be in your bloodstream. Reducing the chemicals placed on your skin will reduce the toxic load placed on your body.
Learn to read labels and avoid ingredients known to be especially harmful. For more information and resources, including companies with clean ingredients and eco-friendly policies – and those to avoid, check out SafeComestics.org. You can also find more information in our blog post, 10 tips to low-tox your life.
Like nutrition, health and wellness, looking after the earth, is most successful when you make small changes, consistently over time.
Turn the lights off when you're not in the room. This reduces your energy consumption and will save also you money on your power bill.
Walk to work/ the gym/ the store. A short stroll can invigorate the rest of your day, suggests research presented to the American Heart Association. Women who walked briskly for 70 minutes a week (or 10 minutes a day) reported 18% more energy than their sedentary peers after 6 months. They also felt more clear-headed and confident, had fewer aches, and hoisted groceries and climbed stairs more easily. Walking those short distances will also work to reduce your carbon footprint over time.
Take shorter showers. Water shortages and droughts affect New Zealanders throughout various times of the year, especially if you're on a tank system. Reducing your water consumption by even 2 minutes each day will help reduce water waste and will also save you money on your water bill. If you listen to music in the shower try and syncronise your shower duration with your favourite song (usually no more than 5 minutes).
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We are all unique. Our genetics, our environments, our lifestyles, our emotional wellbeing. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness or a single solution to your health concerns. If you want to learn more about your personal health story, Ben is touring to 30 cities around NZ presenting his new, 'What's Your Health Story?' seminar now. Learn more here.
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