We all know that the New Year brings with it the resolution to become a make some changes. Our resolutions may be to sleep more, eat less, get active, or organize every closet in the house. For many, the promises we make are about improving our health, so to encourage smart choices in the New Year—and beyond—we’ve come up with some suggestions which present a variety of healthy habits. We hope that they inspire you to make 2016 your healthiest year yet!
- Go Veggie
- Countless studies have shown that eating vegetarian just one day a week can have a major impact on both your health and on the environment. The average carnivorous American eats up to 250 pounds of meat & seafood a year. Going vegetarian just one day a week will reduce your meat consumption by up to 35 pounds, which means that you will also save 84,000 gallons of water, 245 pounds of grain, 7,700 square feet of rainforest, 15.5 gallons of gasoline, and 87 square feet of topsoil from eroding. It will also help reduce global warming, as emissions from animal agriculture contribute to more greenhouses gases than all the cars and trucks on the planet combined. As for our health, countless studies show that decreasing meat consumption (and increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables) directly correlates with improved heart health, reduced risk of cancer, and weight loss.
- Choose Grass Fed & Pastured
- When you do eat meat, eggs, and dairy, support farms that pasture their animals. Whether it’s a cow that gets to eat grass or a chicken that gets to eat bugs, both are happier animals with healthier byproducts. Eggs that come from pastured chickens have 1/3 less cholesterol and ¼ less saturated fat; have up to 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, 6 times more vitamin D, and 7 times more beta-carotene (which has recently shown promise as a cancer preventative) than their supermarket counterparts. Grass fed meat is also significantly healthier than beef from corn-fed cows. A grass fed steak is lower in fat (and therefore lower in calories) and richer in Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (both of which have potent anti-cancer properties). Additionally, the butter, milk, cheese, and other forms of dairy that come from grass fed animals is just as healthful as the meat—not to mention quite flavorful.
- Pick the Right Oil for the Job
- Too often, we use the wrong oil when cooking. Not only does this ruin the flavor of delicious oil, but it can also have unintended consequences for our health. Every oil has a “smoke point”. When an oil starts to smoke, it has lost its nutritional integrity; more important, it has started to release oxidative (free radical) molecules with carcinogenic properties. The fumes from smoking oils have been linked to red blood cell damage, suppression of the immune system, cancers, and reproductive defects. When you use the right oil for the cooking task at hand, you preserve the healthful benefits of the oil. Your foods will also taste their best, and provide a healthy array of beneficial fatty acids.
Alterman, Tabitha. “Eggciting News!” Mother Earth News. 15 October 2008
Greene, Maya. “The Right Oil For the Job.” Berkshire Organics Newsletter – 27 Jan 2012
Johnson, Jo. “Why Grassfed is Best” AmericanGrassFedBeef.com – 2012
“10 Reasons to Go Vegetarian 1 Day a Week” WannaVeg.com – 2012
“Vitamin A, Retinoids, and Provitamin A Carotenoids” American Cancer Society – 4 May 2012.