Monday 7th June, 2010

Eco-Diet saves the environment

Image courtesy Peggy Greb, Wikimedia

Dieting isn’t easy. And neither is living a green lifestyle. However, combining the goals of weight loss and saving the environment can produce some creative ways of – for the lack of a more ecological phrase - killing two birds with one stone. Here are a few diets that can help you be environmentally conscious AND skinny!

The ‘Great-Great-Grandma Wouldn’t Call That Food’ Diet

Basically, the rules of this diet are: don’t eat anything that didn’t exist when your great-great-grandma was a girl. So much of the food in our supermarkets these days is processed and packaged in ways that would have been inconceivable a century ago and these methods of production are, more often than not, unnecessarily wasteful. By focusing on fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed fats and meats, you can maintain a nutritious diet, save money and lose weight gained from fattening processed meals.

Loca-vore Diet

Similarly, supermarkets contain foods flown and trucked in from around the world. Such extravagance didn’t exist in your great-great grandma’s day! Try and buy food that has been produced within 100 miles of where you live. This includes farmer markets, local bakeries, family butchers or even your own garden. By purchasing fruits, vegetables and even meats produced locally you can contribute to a reduction in demand for imported and, therefore, environmentally unfriendly products. And, unless you live next door to a Hershey’s chocolate factory, you should be able to reduce your dress size too.

BPA Free Diet

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an additive found in packaged products like canned food. It has been linked to both obesity and diabetes. By avoiding foods packaged in tins or waxy liners, you are likely to buy fresher, unpacked food – lowering your risk of diabetes and helping you to lose weight.

Veggie Diets

Going vegetarian can drastically reduce your personal carbon footprint (almost a ton annually) and also can aid in H2O conservation as livestock require lots of water. To lose weight, though, you still have to be wary of your carbs and dairy (particularly cheese) intake. If you don’t like this idea then perhaps it’s best for you to go all the way and turn vegan. Taking the step from vegetarian to vegan will halve your carbon footprint by eliminating animal products such as dairy and eggs from your diet.

Raw Diet

The raw diet often goes hand in hand with veganism and generally consists of up to 75 per cent fruits and vegetables – the rest being made up of whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans. This diet is one of the most effective and eco-friendly ways to lose weight as loads of energy is saved from not cooking and avoiding packaging and meat.

Eco Atkins Diet

This diet was introduced after a study conducted last year when the Atkins diet was adapted for vegans. The original Atkins diet is decidedly not green with its high levels of animal fats, but researchers found that adapting the principle to a vegan diet allowed the subjects to lose weight and be ecological.

The Eco Atkins diet consists of 31 per cent protein calories which come from mainly gluten, soy and nuts (veggie burgers, veggie sausages etc) and 43 per cent if the diet is fat obtained from nuts, vegetable oils, and soy products. The most interesting part of this diet is the fact that the other 26 percent of calories come from carbohydrates, which mostly come from fruits, vegetables and cereals. The diet has been proven to reduce cholesterol, waistlines and carbon footprints.

The ‘Meatless Monday’ Diet

If you are a born carnivore and the mere idea of a vegan diet leaves you bloodthirsty, this diet may present an alternative. Also called the ‘Flexitarian’ diet, this regime is a vegetarian diet that allows for meat-cheats once in a while. Depending on your preference, you can be stricter on yourself by only eating meat a few times per week or simply plan a routine around avoiding meat sometimes – such as ‘meatless Mondays’. Another option is called the ‘Simple Till 6’ diet which is where you stick to vegan living until 6 in the evening daily when some (moderate) carnivorous-snacking is allowed.


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