“You are what you eat.”
I believe we are far more than the foods we eat. I believe we are the food we eat, water we drink, air we breathe, products we use, and the amount we move. I believe human health is intimately connected to the health of our environment.
To date, most published diet and weight loss books focus solely on traditional lifestyle factors when addressing obesity. However, the rapid rise in obesity over the last four decades simply cannot be explained by diet and exercise alone. Researchers have pointed out that even laboratory animals our and pets are gaining weight!
Increasingly, research suggests the role of non-traditional lifestyle factors such as exposure to certain environmental chemicals, inadequate sleep, and air pollution.
Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything in the world. Everything around us is a chemical. All living matter, including people, animals and plants, consists of chemicals. All food is made up of chemical substances. For example, the nutrients found in food including carbohydrate, protein, and fat are all chemical compounds.
The difference is, some chemicals — especially industrial chemicals — are incredibly toxic to both wildlife and humans. Unfortunately, humans and ecosystems are being exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of potentially harmful chemicals each and every day. Some of which, are believed to be capable of disrupting the human endocrine system — the system responsible for human metabolism, sexual development, reproduction, and the way your body handles stress.
While most people are aware of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic food packaging, BPA is only one of many endocrine disruptors humans are exposed to each and every day. As of April 2016, there were more than 1,000 chemicals believed to be capable of disrupting the human endocrine system, with hundreds more just waiting to be tested.
Most of the chemicals believed to be capable of disrupting the human endocrine system are synthetic (or man-made) chemicals; however, there are some naturally occurring substances as well. Research in animals suggests a link between low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors and chronic disease, but this relationship in humans is still not yet fully understood. The good news is, we can reduce our carbon footprint while optimizing our own health by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
Eat Clean and Green
- Choose minimally processed and unrefined foods and beverages. You can learn more about eating clean by visiting the page titled Eating Clean.
- Support local farmers who utilize sustainable agricultural practices.
- Choose organic produce, whenever possible.
- Limit exposure to toxic pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides by rinsing it well prior to eating it.
- Avoid heating edible oils. Heat — especially high heat — promotes the formation of carcinogens and mutagens in food (e.g., advanced glycation end products (AGEs)) and destroys the beneficial nutrients found in the oil (if any).
- Avoid foods stored in metallic containers (e.g., canned foods and beverages).
Eat Less Meat and Dairy
- Animal products are a leading source of environmental destruction and greenhouse gases. Meat eaters can learn more about the issues surrounding consumption of animal products via the page titled Tips for Meat Eaters.
Kick the Can
- Avoid toxic cookware, bakeware, dinnerware, glassware, and cutlery (e.g., non-stick cookware (teflon) and plastic kitchenware).
- The chemicals used to manufacturer metallic canned foods and beverages are a source of multiple endocrine disrupting chemicals including cadmium, lead, bisphenol A (BPA), and the newer bisphenols ( BPS and BPF).
- While no food contact material is without risk, stainless steel, silicone, and glass are considered better options.
Invest in Less Toxic Kitchenware
- Don’t wrap foods with aluminum foil when baking or grilling. Aluminum is a neurotoxin that leaches into food when exposed to heat, especially high heat.
- If you use parchment paper or cupcake liners to line baked goods while baking, opt for responsibly sourced products that are free of bleach and other potentially harmful chemicals.
- When buying waxed paper, look for unbleached paper that is coated with a non-paraffin wax. Soy wax is made from a renewable resource, while paraffin wax is derived from fossil fuels.
- Opt for responsibly sourced paper towels or ones made from recycled fibers, and choose the kind that has the adjustable sizes — that way you’ll be able to take just as much as you need.
- Although perceptions of what makes up “local food” differ by region (due in large part to varying climates, soil types, and populations), most individuals agree that it eating locally means minimizing the distance between production and consumption, especially in relation to the modern mainstream food system.
Eat Fair, Be Fair
- Fair trade is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability.
- Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards.
Waste Not, Want Not
- Research from the USDA finds that Americans waste an average of US $544 worth of food per person per year.
- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 1/3rd of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste each year.
- Avoid bottled water;
- Drink filtered tap water;
- Remove toxic contaminants normally found in tap water (e.g., fluoride and perchlorate) using an under-sink reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system with a superior carbon filter; and
- If you drink wine, opt for products that are certified to be free of toxic metals.
Limit Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors
- Limit use of products that contain potential endocrine disrupting chemicals (e.g., bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates).
- For example, certain beauty care products and household cleaning agents, canned foods and beverages, certain medications, plastic water bottles, and bottled water.
- Towards the bottom of this page is a photo gallery that contains several posters with additional information re: potential endocrine disruptors.
- Reduce exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
- Filter indoor air using a MERV-rated air filter.
- Opt for environmentally friendly and ethically made products
- Eat Green: Eat less meat and dairy
- Choose organic and humane certified animal products
- Reduce food waste
- Grow your own food
- Use less plastic
- Eat more meals at home
- Skip the bottled water
- Invest in safe and sustainable cookware and bakeware
- Avoid plastic kitchenware and non-stick pans and utensils
- Avoid using aluminum foil to prepare foods with heat
- Avoid buying single-use items
- Don’t buy stuff you really don’t need
- Create a shopping list and stick to it
- Rent or borrow instead of buying
- Resist the urge to buy the newest technology and gadgets every year
- Opt for goods with the least amount of packaging
- Buy in bulk
- Invest in quality products and then use them for a long time
- Get the most out of what you buy – use it up and wear it out
- Purchase products that are returnable, reusable or refillable
- Take shorter showers and don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth
- Walk or ride your bike whenever possible
- Turn off the lights and put your computer into “sleep mode” when you leave
- Make your own cleaning supplies and beauty products (e.g. DIY peppermint toothpaste)
Reuse is the action or practice of using something again, whether for its original purpose (conventional reuse) or a different function (creative reuse or repurposing). Reuse is different from recycling, which is the break down of used items in order to manufacture of new products. The act of reusing saves time, money, energy, and our precious natural resources.
- Invest in reusable shopping bags
- Reuse towels prior to rewashing
- Reuse glass bottles and jars
- Donate or sell your gently used clothing, shoes, toys, appliances, and furniture
- Use resealable containers rather than plastic wrap
- Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of paper cups
- Reuse grocery bags or bring your own cloth bags to the store
- Do not take a bag from the store unless you need one
Everyday, we encounter hundreds of recyclable items. Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. By recycling, we can preserve our natural resources and lessen our carbon footprint.
Benefits of Recycling
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and combustion factories
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries
What can I recycle?
A lot of things (e.g. aluminum, glass, paper, cardboard, magazines, junk mail, flattened cereal boxes, plastic bottles and containers, batteries, light bulbs, electronics, and used motor oil); however, it really depends on the recycling center.
Where can I recycle?
To locate recycling resources and facilities near you, visit www.earth911.com and be sure to check out their Recycling Guides. If you live in Houston, check out the city of Houston’s recycling center and resources. The WestPark Consumer Recycling Center is an awesome drive-thru facility that accepts most recyclables.
One way we can recycle our knowledge and experiences is by volunteering. We all have great skills that can be used to better the world around us. Please consider volunteering your time, energy, and/or skills to give back to the world around you.
To learn more about my lifestyle, visit the page titled Rebel Lifestyle.
To view photos of my grub, check out the page titled Rebel Grub.
To view meal planning information, head over to the page Meal Planning.
To view shopping lists, visit the page titled Shopping Lists.
Posters and Charts
To view my posters and charts, hit up the page titled Posters.
Pinterest and Facebook
Posters and Charts
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. This means you are free to use my work for personal use (e.g., save the file to your computer or share via social media) as long as you do not modify the image or use the image for commercial purposes ($).
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