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Tips for eating more sustainably

Sustainability has become more and more important, especially as awareness has increased over the past decade or so. More and more people have come to the conclusion that they have an obligation to make the world a better, healthier place – or at least not actively make it worse. That obligation has been largely internalized, meaning that more and more people are trying to figure out what they can do as an individual to make the world a more sustainable place. One of the most immediate impacts one can make is directly related to how and what they eat. Here are some suggestions that anyone can do to help make the world a more sustainable environment for everyone. 

Become a Vegetarian

It may be uncomfortable to hear, but it is none-the-less true: Our reliance on meat is not particularly environmentally friendly. Many reports have noted that the processes involved in meat production – the manufacturing, emissions, water use, and more – are all devastating for the environment. As such, people who are looking to eat more sustainably should start with their own consumption by shifting to a more plant-based diet. It doesn’t have to happen all at once – you can start by just reducing the amount of meat that you actually eat in small steps. The good news is that this also comes with health benefits, and much less expensive although it may involve more preparation time.

Increase Your Variety

One of the little-discussed ways to eat in a more sustainable manner is to increase the variety of what you eat. Eating the same thing – and the same thing as everyone else – can damage nature and create agricultural problems for future generations. By eating a more varied diet, you’re committing your wallet to practices that are more environmentally sustainable and friendly. Make sure to do your research and find what other foods may work for you. Like becoming a vegetarian, you don’t have to move all at once: Instead, substitute out one common mass produced item for a different option to help shift the focus.

Reduce Waste

Up to 30% of all food is wasted. This, of course, is a tragedy on many levels, including from agriculture, food security, and financial perspectives. As such, you should do whatever you can to reduce your food waste. There are many things that can help you accomplish this goal. First, buy smaller products – particularly those that will expire quickly. This may mean more frequent trips to the grocery store, but at least you will save money on wasted food and help sustain the environment by not wasting resources. Second, develop a good system for tracking your leftovers. This will ensure that you don’t put something in the refrigerator and forget about it. It may mean that you need to plan better, and more often, but it is a good thing to do for the planet as well as your wallet. 

Grow Your Own Food

There is no better way to ensure the sustainability of your food than to grow it yourself! Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will be able to grow every meal, but if you can even grow some fruits and vegetables, you will reduce the burden on your wallet and on the agricultural system by just a hair. This is a good thing environmentally and can help you become more comfortable at growing your own food supply.

Buy Fair Trade Products

Fair Trade means that a product has been certified as being environmentally friendly and sustainable. There are many types of Fair Trade products that you can purchase, such as coffee. There are also more than a few Fair Trade certifications, so make sure that you do your homework about what each different certification means and how it can be beneficial to you. When it comes to Fair Trade, keep in mind that the benefits of this type of food practice also applies to how a company treats their workers. This is obviously an added and important bonus!

Do Your Homework

If sustainability is a big issue for you, you should take the time in order to do research into the brands you are purchasing regularly and the types of stores you are buying from. What are their sustainability practices? Do they have any special certifications that can allow you to buy their food with comfort? What types of agricultural products do they sell, and what types of practices do those brands use? There are also some apps that you can download – like Giki – that can give you additional information on certain brands and what their practices are. This can be time-consuming, but it can give you a much better idea of how sustainable your products are. 

Cut Out Wasteful Products

Remember, sustainability in your food practices is about much more than what you buy, but also pertains to the packaging of what you buy. The environmental damage caused by plastic has been well documented. Do whatever you can to cut plastic out of your food shopping. This means monitoring the packaging of what you buy in order to ensure that it isn’t plastic. It also means bringing your own bags from home or buying those reusable ones from grocery stores and actually reusing them. There’s at least one easy way to start: Don’t buy water bottles anymore. Instead, purchase a reusable mug or thermos that you can reuse over and over again. You can also stop buying disposable silverware and pack your own, even if it means buying travel-friendly items. You can also bring your own cups to coffee-to-go places, like Starbucks.

Cut Out the Paper Products

There are some paper products – like napkins, plates, and paper towels – that can be hugely wasteful. Cut them out if you can and switch to reusable alternatives. This will help to cut down on the amount of waste that you generate.

As you can see, living in a more sustainable manner is about more than just the food you literally put into your body. It can be a large lifestyle change, and it may take some time and effort to turn into a habit. However, there’s no doubt that it can be very, very beneficial to your peace of mind, your wallet, and the planet. 

How to make your own natural cleaning products

If you are tired of using harsh chemicals in your home, you may be looking for a safer alternative. Rather than using a variety of different brands and searching for the one that fits your needs, you can actually easily make your own cleaning products.

Making your own cleaning product ensures that you know exactly what is being used in your home. You do not need to try and decipher labels and try to figure out what each thing is or isn’t. ThisIt is definitely nice to have the peace of mind knowing that you are not exposing yourself and your family to harsh chemicals and irritants.

If you are looking to make your own cleaning products, you can use this simple guide to mix basic ingredients to make the perfect concoction.

1) White Vinegar

This natural ingredient is one of the versatile ingredients that you can use in all areas of your home. White vinegar can help you get rid of rust, water stains, and build up. It works great in all areas of the home that you eat or prepare food at. For instance, you can use white vinegar in your dishwasher or coffee pot to help cleanse them with minimal work. This reduces the exposure that you have towards harsh chemicals but still makes your home a clean and fresh environment.

2) Baking Soda

Another great and natural cleaning product is baking soda. This ingredient naturally absorbs odors in the air and works as a gentle surface cleaner. This inexpensive ingredient can be immediately found in every grocery store you walk into. You can add a box to your refrigerator, trash can, or bathroom to help remove odors from the air. You can also mix this with water to make your own whitening toothpaste or mild surface cleaner.

3) Borax

If you are sensitive to bleach and other chemicals, you may want to use borax as an alternative. This is a natural bleach that can help you remove surface stains from carpets, laundry, and other areas. It can act as an irritant if not used properly, but is much less harmful than chemical bleaches in general.

4) All-Purpose Cleaner

If you are looking to make your own all-purpose cleaner for household use, try mixing 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 6 cups of hot water. Mix this in a bottle and use it around the home. If you want a stronger solution only use four cups of hot water and if you want a weaker solution try using 8 total cups of water. You can add some lemon or orange peel to the spray bottle if you want a citrus scent and a little extra cleaning kick. If you plan on storing this cleaner for an extended time, try using essential oils instead to give you a fresh scent.

While all of these homemade products are considered to be natural cleaning products, they should still be kept away from children and pets. If they are consumed, it could cause harm to them. While they can still irritate sensitive areas, they are much less harmful than the toxic chemicals found in most cleaners.

How to get rid of pests naturally without chemicals

Have you been wondering how you will get rid of pests in your home or garden without using pesticides? If you have, you aren’t the only one bothered by the use of pesticides. This is because although pesticides may be effective in getting rid of pests, they also leave a lot of toxic substances behind that get absorbed into the plants. This means that eating produce from such plants results in one ingesting the toxins.

Since ingesting the chemicals present in pesticides over a long time could have adverse effects, it is imperative to find out how you can get rid of pests without using harmful chemicals.

Here are several natural methods that you can apply to eradicate pests from your home and garden.

How to get rid of pests naturally

Using barriers and repellents

Repellents and barriers are a great natural way of keeping pests from your garden. The barriers will act like a wall and keep out all the crawling insects from gaining access to your home and garden. One great idea of implementing barriers is by planting carrots while wrapped in toilet paper rolls. Pests like cut worms will be unable to attack the carrots while the toilet paper rolls do not have any toxic effect to the carrot.

You can also use other plants as barriers to protect your plants. For instance, you can plant your vegetables alongside plants like peppermint, pennyroyal, and spearmint because they repel pests like aphids and ants.

Cedar twigs will also come in handy because all you need to do is simmer them in water then pour the water over your vegetable garden to prevent corn earworms, cutworms, and other pests from attacking your crops.

Other barriers that may come in handy include a line of lime, which snails cannot stand leave alone cross, cayenne pepper to keep out those pesky ants, and iron phosphate, which will keep slugs a good distance away from your garden.

Using other insects

There are several beneficial insects that are useful in getting rid of the harmful pests that you do not want near your home or garden. Good insects like the praying mantis, green lacewings, and lady beetles will treat the harmful garden pests as prey and eradicate them from your environment.

How will you get insects like the praying mantis into your garden? Easy. All you need to do is lure these good insects into your garden using the food they like to eat, water, and shelter. If luring the insects into your garden proves to be challenging, you can always purchase them and release them into your garden. Before releasing the insects into your farm, however, make sure that your garden provides a habitat in which they can survive.

Beneficial insects are the best option for your garden in the long run because they will not release any harmful chemicals into the plants. Once you have enough information about the type of pest creating a nuisance in your garden or home, you can research which beneficial insect will solve the problem.

Biological pest control

Do you know that there is a way you can infect the pests in your garden or home without affecting the health and development of your plants, pets, children, or other beneficial insects? Biological pest control involves introducing diseases to the insects using various strains of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi.

The biological pest controls are also non-toxic and organic. This means that they will break down easily in the soil and will not cause any pollution.

Chemical pesticides are known to be rendered powerless after using them too frequently because the targeted pests often build resistance against the chemicals. With the biological control measures, however, the pests will not be able to build up any resistance. This means that the method is a more effective, safer way of getting rid of pests.