Fitness Articles

6 Ways to Get Lean by Going Green

Eco-Friendly Choices Can Slim Your Waist and Fatten Your Wallet

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4. Grow your own garden. Growing your own vegetables—especially without using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers— is another way to go green. From a tiny paper packet of seeds you can grow a month’s worth of tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers. By growing them yourself, you’re eliminating the need for fuel and all the other waste that goes into transporting and selling them. Plus gardening burns up to 230 calories an hour. The amount of money you’ll save on your grocery bill will be tremendous, and nothing beats the taste and nutrition of food from your own garden.

5. Clean house. Chemicals in most household cleaning supplies might smell like a fresh breeze, but usually they're anything but natural. Using non-toxic cleaning supplies may protect your health by reducing the chemicals you inhale while cleaning and by preventing chemicals from polluting our waterways. You’ll also save money if you make them yourself since most cleaners use a combination of a few cheap ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and soap. Spending three hours deep cleaning your abode burns an average of 390 to 675 calories. And the same goes for your lawn.

6. Go flexitarian. Flexitarians don’t give up meat completely but do cut back a little or a lot. It’s a green thing to do because it takes a lot less energy and land to produce fruits, vegetables and grains than it does to produce meat. Eating less meat also results in less pollution. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat sector of the global economy is responsible for 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting back on your meat consumption reduces this environmental burden. Most people who reduce their meat consumption lose weight and get healthier since plant-based diets are often lower in calories and unhealthy fats. As the price of food (particularly corn, which feeds animals used for meat) and gas (which transports meat across the country and to your plate) continues to rise, so do the costs of meat. Plant-based proteins like beans and legumes are more affordable, and arguably, healthier. Even if you give up just one meat-based meal per week, you'd be making a difference for your health, your wallet and the planet. Learn more about the benefits of meatless meals.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • VAINVT
    First time I heard the word 'flexitarian', but that is what I've been for years. Some friends thought I was vegetarian because I cook so many vegetarian recipes and order vegetarian when I eat out, but I just find it more interesting and varied.
    Good, clean, simple article. Thanks, - 3/18/2014 8:18:18 AM
  • BOBNIKON
    Human beings always defy to live their lives under the conditions of nature-given. Since we acquire the brain that is so complex that we would be able to manipulate it in order to obtain the preferred way of life regardless of any nature-given conditions. We have conquered the most effective conditions to live in such a harsh climate in some particular regions on earth. Human beings can manage to inhabit anywhere around the globe. Other creatures have to adapt their DNA in order to transform their bodies to be suitable for such an environment. That can take millions of years. Why humans can settle down to live anywhere in just one generation? Because we have such a complex brain that can manipulate things around us. In order to inhabit in any region on this planet regardless the conditions of the habitats.
    Humans build the structure to dwell in from variety of materials for their comfort and existence. These materials may have come from different sources such as the trees, elements underground, sand, stones and so on.
    All these materials require energy to operate the tools or create heat to alter them to be the finished materials in the process. Ironically, We also need energy to keep our dwelling warm in winter and cool in summer as well as household appliances to be operated. They all need energy to work for our well being. An energy allows us to choose the lifestyle that we prefer. So it becomes an important part of our lives. We cannot live on comfortably at any given time without it.
    There are two methods to obtain this energy in the form of electricity. One method is to burn fossil deposits such as crude oil, coal and convert heat into electricity. Our planet has the ample supply of fossil deposits at the present time but they will be depleted. So far, nobody can predict when that will happen. The other method is called "green energy" such as windmill, solar power and water dam along with some other green energy methods such as ocean waves, geothermal and so on. Green energy is clean and good for all li... - 11/28/2013 1:38:16 PM
  • Another benefit to parking the car and going in rather than using the drive thru: you get to know your bank teller, your barista, even your fast-food counter person. These days when we're so isolated from other people, it is good to make personal contact whenever possible. - 3/13/2013 7:58:39 PM
  • I'm curious whether buying local and organic vegetables and fruits really has green benefits. While some food travels 1500 miles from farm to fork, much of that travel is using rail and truck -- both of which may be far more efficient in terms of emissions per pound of food purchased than the local farmer and his pickup truck. I wonder if this has been carefully studied.

    And the idea that buying from the farmer is economical because the transaction eliminates the middleman has not happened in my experience. Farmers' market foods tend to be kind of pricey compared to the nearby big markets in the city. - 3/13/2013 9:29:04 AM
  • Thanks for the encouraging article! Flexitarian... what a great term. We started visiting the tfarmer's market after our Saturday morning run, and the produce prices are better and they last longer thanthe store

    Another area to go green is in your skincare. Choose products without harsh chemicals, petroleum, or animal bi-products and you will be helping both the environment and your body in BIG ways

    While quality, organic products may have a higher sticker price, the value is far better than those with cheap fillers and expensive packaging.

    Healthy lifestyle - 3/12/2013 12:18:57 AM
  • we use vinegar in a spray bottle for windows, glass, TV's and counters. works better, cheaper and no more asthma attacks from windex. - 10/21/2011 11:48:12 PM
  • I believe we need to participate in civil and urban design.
    In America and Australia (where I live) car culture rules supreme. I am active and vocal in being part of the solution for people and animal friendly neighborhoods.
    Get involved in your community: when we live in unpolluted, sustainable living spaces we naturally move our bodies more & connect with our communities. - 4/22/2011 10:29:45 PM
  • To those who won't cut out meat (I saw a comment about not being able to get enough protein) - there are plenty of ways to get non-animal based protein. Want tips and suggestions - please ask me how and I'd love to help!!

    p.s. Most people eat way more protein than they actually need to. - 4/22/2011 9:06:51 PM
  • Ridign a Bicycle even at $4/gallon gas does save money unless you need to exercise anyway. Why, the food required to fuel a bicycle commute costs more than gasoline. 1 Gallon of gasoline can move an effecient car about 25 miles on a average commute. To travel 25 miles at somewhat relaxed pace on a comfortable bicycle, most humans will need around 900 kcal. That's a full meal... which will cost you at least $4 if you eat healthy.

    Make the comparison with an electric bicycle or a scooter, and things just got skewed for the worse.

    Just making a point that you don't always save as much as you think. So unless you eliminate a car form the household, or need that commute as a from of exercise, it won't save you as much money as you think. Gaoline is still a very cheap form of energy. - 4/22/2011 4:30:53 PM
  • i live in a city, i have no prior knowledge of growing fruits or veggies and using old and repurposed containers i have started my own garden this year and it is doing quite well with some dirt, compost i make in a trash can in my house by a window and water...start up cost was all of maybe $5.00 for seeds. i don't own a car and do everything by bus or walking, even grocery shopping and i have 4 kids. granted somethings are too far to walk to or the roads are unsafe (or there isn't a bus where you live, etc) but i think this list is actually very practical and totally doable by most. - 4/22/2011 4:13:38 PM
  • Even though there are good suggestions here, one must do what is practical for them. For example, I live in the rural area of my city so walking anywhere isn't really safe due to a lack of sidewalks along our two-lane roads. Growing my own food isn't practical because I don't have the knowledge, skill, or start up funds to start a garden. I don't go to fast food drive-thrus. If I do get fast food, it is usually at a Subway or the local non-chain burger joint where I can park my car and walk in. I'd like to live accroding to these suggestions and someday I will. Right now, it's not feasible. - 4/22/2011 3:30:59 PM
  • I agree that these are great suggestions but not all of them are practical for everyone. The nearest grocery store is 6 miles away. The fruits and veggies are not fresh. I could walk or bike but how would I get my groceries home and what do I do with the kids.

    I won't cut back on my meat. As it is I rarely get enough protein. Much of the meat we eat is grass fed cattle raised locally or wild meat that has been hunted.

    But, as with many things, we do what we can and what works for one doesn't mean it works for all.
    - 4/22/2011 2:13:27 PM
  • Liked the article-full of practical advice.

    I must be doing something wrong in the "grow your own food" department. With a tiny yard, I plant tomatoes in a container. The cherry tomatoes do just fine, but I'm lucky if I get two decent tomatoes per plant all summer long...off to the farmer's market I go. - 4/22/2011 10:56:33 AM
  • Everyone wins when we follow those simple recommendations! - 4/22/2011 8:56:20 AM
  • SUPERNURSEMOM
    I commute to work 5 days a week, in the morning when I get off the commuter bus, instead of taking the subway, I walk 20 minutes to work. I burn around 80 calories and save $2.50 in metrocard fare per day. - 4/5/2011 8:20:08 AM
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