Eating Real Food has made us Accidentally Green

While I don't have 'being green' as my main objective in life, I am starting to notice that we're becoming more green as time goes on.  When I read articles that are more focused on being environmentally friendly than I am, I realized that as I go more towards feeding my family whole foods, our family is having much less of an impact on the earth.

I do think it's a good thing to do, to reduce impact. As a Christian I am to be respectful of God's creation, not greedy, not wasteful.  There's no doubt that just as I've come along to being more green as a result of trying to keep my family healthy, some people have come about eating traditionally prepared and raised foods as a result of wanting to have less of an impact on the environment.  In The Omnivore's Dilemma sustainable farming is investigated, and how it has improved the land the farm is on in addition to providing food for many people.  Just as we looked at back in the Dehydrating Almonds post there's a lot of 'mutual beneficialness' going on in traditional whole foods.

Looking at what goes out in our trash is a good way to see what we could improve on:
  • Disposable diapers about 1/4 of the time. This by far is the worst. I was better at cloth diapering 100% of the time when I only had one child.
  • Plastic shopping bags.  Still haven't gotten my act together to ditch those.
  • Food wrappers- mostly limited to sacks that held 10 lbs of flour, 10 lbs of apples, frozen fruit/veggie bags.  Still occasionally get the applesauce cups.  And the fruit leathers are individually wrapped.
  • Ziplocks.  I'm a little Ziplock-happy and should cut down on these.
More not green that can be improved:
  • Shopping at Walmart and other mega stores who truck products in from far away and are known for not being concerned about much more than the almighty dollar
  • I love my dishwasher.

Some things I can think of off the top of my head where we're accidentally green:
  • Cloth diapers
  • Reusing the same deodorant container with homemade deodorant; ingredients purchased in bulk
  • Minimal use of shampoo.  I use shampoo every once in a while, so my last bottle lasted me over 6 months. Otherwise I'm using baking soda to wash. I always use vinegar as my rinse.
  • Soapnuts in my laundry- they work really well, no harmful chemicals, and have very little packaging (pictured).
  • Use coconut oil (purchased in bulk) as 'lotion' 
  • Rarely go out to eat (expense, and the food doesn't taste as good after we're used to homemade)
  • Don't use hair products.  I just bought a bottle of shampoo at walmart (better go add that to my not-green list) the other day, and walked past so many products and things that I not only didn't need, but I had no desire to own whatsoever.
  • Shop second hand (antiques make the most awesome furniture for discount prices, and clothing from thrift stores- why pay 39.99 when you can pay 1.99? I'm not that fashion aware, though, this might not fly as well in Newport Beach ~grin~)
  • Live in a small apartment- we're doing it for low rent while we pay off debt, but this also is green because it doesn't take much energy at all to heat or maintain.
  • Buy sustainably farmed meat and eggs (and partially produce and milk products)
  • Use less-than-average as far as pre-packaged foods go.  We don't get boxed mixes, TV dinners, or pre-made food.  Some of our ingredients are still in kind of small packages (tomato paste, frozen veggies)
It's interesting to see how things are all connected- what's good for health is also good for the earth.

How about you, what's the biggest 'green' change you've noticed since eating whole foods? Or have you come to learn more about cooking whole foods because you wanted to reduce your impact?

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