If a bangin’ bod, vibrant skin, toned muscles, good health and absence of disease isn’t quite enough motivation to eat healthy and clean (i.e. fruit, veggies, legumes, lean protein) then imagine if I told you eating clean is also eating green, environmentally speaking.
By eliminating processed, packaged, additive filled, sugar filled junk food you are doing a HUGE favour to Mother Earth. Firstly, consider how little packaging and processing fresh fruit and veggies need to get to your door, no processing and hopefully no packaging except maybe a reusable green bag to transport them home in. Then think of the amount of plastic goes into a box of prepared sweets or biscuits, which are often in a cardboard box, then individually wrapped in a layer or two of plastic. All of this plastic and rubbish is derived from oil, which must be extracted from the ground and then manufactured into plastic, all of which produces excessive amounts of carbon emissions, then once we are done with it we bury it in the ground!
When it comes to the benefits of being gluten free, consider the vast expanses of land and forest that have to be cleared to grow enough wheat to meet the global demand! It also seems that most of the healthier grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are much more sustainable and economical to produce, with less carbon emissions.
One of the hot topics on the environmental scene at the moment is palm oil. Palm oil is a plant derived oil that is cheap and easy to produce which makes it very popular with food manufacturers who want to increase profit. However, thousands of hectares of precious rainforest in Indonesia and Borneo is being destroyed to make room for these palm oil plantations, which is leaving thousands of truly unique orang-utans and proboscis monkeys stranded and habitat-less. Due to this loss of habitat orang-utans are now endangered and fighting for survival. The worst part of all is consumers may be unaware that the products they are buying contain palm oil as Australian law currently allows it to be labelled as vegetable oil! But, by eating a diet free from cakes, biscuits, chips, lollies, unnatural spreads and sauces then you can be quite sure that you’re doing the right thing for the beautiful orang-utans. The best way to be sure is to cook your own treats, using organic butter and more natural ingredients, or if you still want to buy something you can call the consumer hotlines or simply Google the product and you should be able to find a list of products that do and don’t contain palm oil.
Unfortunately, the story of palm oil woe doesn’t stop there. Just when you thought that you had figured out what to eat and what not to eat, I am going to drop an even worse bombshell, nearly all cosmetic products that ‘bubble up’ contain a palm oil derivative. Yes, that means shampoo, conditioners, detergents, soaps and much, much more. You can see if you look at the ingredients, as the most common derivatives of palm oil are Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulpahte. Check out a list of common names that palm oil is labelled as here. But, here I come to the rescue again! There is palm oil free alternatives, such as organic and hand made soaps, made of coconut, soy, almond or goats milk and free from the foamy additives. Also, check your supermarket shelves because there is a number of brands that sell shampoo, conditioner and soaps that have palm oil free or use sustainably grown palm oil. It’s all a matter of hunting until you find one that is right for you, but do have trust that they are out there!
As for meat, that is another story altogether, but if you choose organically grown and sustainably farmed fish, poultry and red meat you shouldn’t be doing too badly. Beef is the worst for the environment, so try to limit the amount you consume, which means absolutely no McDonalds, because who knows where their beef comes from!
So, next time your weighing up whether to grab packet of Tim Tam’s, think of the environment and realise that your handful of nuts and goji berries is a much greener option!
Keep clean, eat green! :) Erica