Eating Healthy for You and the Earth

hands holding a green globeAuthor Michael Pollan recently inspired me when I heard him say, “What happens on our plates is the most profound effect that we have on the natural world.” Obviously what we eat makes a big difference to our wallets and our waistlines but we often don’t consider that our most profound engagement with nature is through the food we buy and eat. Our daily food choices impact our internal and external landscapes more than anything else we do.

The farther a food has traveled from its source, the less life force it offers. Locally-grown foods, unaltered by processing, satisfy you and your taste buds. Fresh raw vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are on the top of the list, ideally organic.  Wild-caught fish and free-range beef, pork, and poultry also offer sustenance. However, did you know that the United Nations has determined that livestock production is responsible for 20% of the greenhouse gases that are part of worldwide global warming, more than cars, planes, and all other forms of transportation put together? Also worth considering from the Environmental Defense Fund:  if every American replaced just one meal of chicken per week with vegetables, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.  You don’t need lots of variety or quantity at every meal to eat a balanced diet. It’s more important to eat variety throughout the week and across the seasons.

Also consider the garbage generated by your choices. Tons of food packaging sit on our earth and float in our precious water sources. Consider filtering your water if needed and hydrate your thirsty cells throughout each day from a glass or stainless steel container. The earth will breathe a sigh of relief when we commit to no more non-decaying plastic. Consider primarily eating foods that have a life cycle, decaying back into the earth just like our bodies and all of nature.

Earth and body-healthy foods do not harm those who are planting, raising, distributing, or selling them. Imagine a world where you know where your food comes from and all who come in contact with it. Not everyone can plant a garden and grow their own food, but you can support the farmers and gardeners around you.  Spring is the perfect time to venture out to local farmers’ markets, explore our many co-ops, and consider Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). Invest up front in local farmers who deliver sustainably grown foods direct to you.

Drink in the life-sustaining energy of pure unaltered foods that are in colorful abundance all around you and check inside. Your body knows exactly what it needs for optimum health. Insist on delicious nourishing whole foods that are created with care from healthy plants and animals, are grown and harvested with methods that support our earth, and are produced and sold by people and companies with integrity. Offer gratitude for each healthy choice, and your body and the earth will continue to generously support you in return.

Published in Whispers of Spirit, June 2009. Whispers of Spirit