Win-Win: 4 Tips for Your Health and the Planet

This time of year, it makes sense to tune into greener living. Take the time to appreciate and preserve the beauty of the earth while improving your own health at the same time – remember, a healthier earth means a healthier you!

earth1. Eat organic when you can.

Most people can’t afford to eat organic produce all the time, and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has tried to make it easier for the consumer to prioritize. If you want the health benefits of eating organic without sacrificing your entire budget, you can choose to buy conventional versions of the less pesticide-laden food. The EWG created a list called the “Dirty Dozen” that acts as a guide to the twelve fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide levels in them: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, and kale or collard greens. By buying organic versions of these foods, or avoiding them altogether, you may reduce your pesticide exposure by almost 80 percent! And when you choose to buy food grown with fewer pesticides, you’re taking action to help support a healthier earth.

2. Think re-usable.

Around your home, there are a lot of ways to waste less. You can gradually replace throwaway, one-use plastic containers with glass containers – cleaned-out glass jars (from jelly or marinated foods) and mason jars work great! Make an effort to keep cloth bags with you in your car or day bag to use in lieu of plastic bags; it will become a new habit in no time. Instead of using paper towels for every spill, try switching to cloth rags or sponges, which can be reused. Stop buying bottled water and bring filtered water around with you in a reusable water bottle. There are so many more opportunities to re-use if you just start to look around.

3. Go for green cleaning.

Another way to reduce your impact on the earth is to use more natural cleaning products at home. Conventional cleaners may look and smell bright and shiny, but they leave toxic residue around our home, produce poisonous runoff that affects the water supply, and contributes to plastic waste. Because the manufacturers of these products aren’t required to label all of the ingredients on these products, they often don’t – so you may not even know what you are using. Switch to cleaning products that have a list of recognizable ingredients and don’t contain words like “danger” or “poison” on the label. Or, better yet, make your own low-impact cleaning products. They clean your home just as well, without the health concerns. To make your own all-purpose cleaner, mix ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, and 2 liters of water in a spray bottle.

4. Choose organic cotton.

Spring clean your wardrobe and green your bedroom by switching over to organic cotton. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, conventional cotton is so heavily sprayed that is uses about 25% of the world’s insecticides and over 10% of the pesticides. These chemicals are usually still present when you purchase your cotton products. Buying organic cotton is really an investment in the health of you, your family, cotton farmers, and the earth.