Do you have a friend that seems like she’s got all when it comes to her health? She hardly misses a workout, packs a giant kale salad for lunch, and has no problem avoiding cake.

It can be sort of annoying, especially when you feel like you have a long way to go in that department. It may also feel like she was given 28 hours in the day instead of your 24.

So what gives? How is your friend able to maintain such a healthy lifestyle in our crazy, fast-paced world?

It all comes down to habits. Nobody comes out of the womb eating kale salads and doing downward facing dogs. These sort of habits are learned and practiced daily.

ANYONE can reach greater levels of health if they so desire.

I have some insight for you today on how to make this happen. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a glorified post of how healthy I am and all the things I do.

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earthday1.jpgI don’t usually share this many personal pictures (especially unrelated to nutrition), but I thought I would do something special for Earth Day.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being outside. I’m one of those crazy people that feels guilty if it’s a gorgeous day outside and I am inside watching TV.

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I don’t know what it is, but whenever I’m surrounded by beautiful nature I just feel complete. Like my head is clear and I can finally breathe.

When you love nature as much as I do, sometimes it’s hard living in the Chicagoland area. We do have one heck of a city skyline, but when it comes to the outdoors we are pretty limited.

earthday3.jpgI crave experiences that involve mountains, pristine waters, and dense forests. 

Sometimes I wish I could just uproot a big ole’ mountain and place it smack dab in the middle of chicago. Now that would be ideal. Maybe a waterfall too if it’s not too much to ask for.

Because the truth is, Chicago and its suburbs are a fantastic place to live, and for the time being, I can’t picture living anywhere else. Maybe in the future, but not now.

So my husband and I do our best to travel to beautiful nature whenever possible. Throughout this post, I’ve included some of my favorite pictures from travels we’ve had in the past few years. These include: Utah, Arizona, Michigan, and even a few from Illinois in the Spring and Summer months.

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Now to get to the point of the post today….

When I enjoy these natural wonders, I’m simultaneously reminded of one of the biggest problems facing our generation – climate change. Though so much beauty still exists in the World, it’s hard to ignore that there is also so much damage being done as a result of modern living and population growth.

I think we can all agree that something needs to be done about it, but we don’t know just what, or how to do it. And I know as well as all of you that there isn’t a simple solution to the problem. BUT I do believe that each and everyone of us is capable of taking action, and that we should all try to contribute to this problem in small or large ways.

Small acts should never be discounted because a lot of them add up to something BIG! 

Since my interests lie heavily in food and nutrition, I tend to look for solutions there. And heavens, there are a lot of them! The act of eating carries with it a large impact on the environment.

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Over the years, I’ve tried to educate myself on the topic of eating and the environment. I am FAR FROM perfect, but I thought I would share with you some of the things I do to make my kitchen more eco-friendly.

  1. Subscribe to a local CSA program. I honestly think this is the best thing my husband and I have done for our health and the environment. I wrote all about CSA here if you want to learn more about it. But in brief, a CSA is program where you pay to receive weekly boxes of fresh produce from a local farm. We belong to Angelic Organics here in IL.
  2. Shop at farmer’s markets. Even though we do a CSA, we still go to farmer’s markets to get things like meat, cheese, eggs, and other random produce that we need. Anytime you can eat as close to the source as possible, you’re doing something good for your health and the environment.
  3. Buy grass-fed beef. Beef production has one of the largest carbon footprints in the agricultural world. Raising beef on grass is not only better for the animal but also for the earth because it helps sequester CO2. FYI – grass-fed beef is also much healthier to eat than corn-fed beef.
  4. Purchase organic produce when possible. The use of pesticides is harmful to the environment.
  5. Know your seafood. Wild fish populations are being overfished, and some fish farms are harmful to the environment. I like to use the EDF seafood selector or Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch to help me make the right choices.
  6. Recycle! This is an obvious one but I think we all need to be reminded from time to time :) Some bigger grocery stores have drop-offs for plastic bags, which I find helpful.
  7. Buy in-season when possible. If you live in a place like Chicago, this one can be tough. I try to adhere to this rule during the spring and summer months when things are actually growing here. Bonus – saves you money too!

So there you have it, the 7 seven things I do to help lower my carbon footprint in the kitchen.

I know there are so many other things you can do in this area. I would love to hear what YOU do! Let me know by leaving a comment below. If you currently do nothing, tell me if you will try any of the tips I suggested above.

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How To Find the Best Diet for Weight Loss

April 10, 2014

Have you ever known someone who was on a wacky diet? I sure have. Back when I was in middle school (circa 1995) the Atkins diet was HUGE. I remember going over to my friend’s house and opening her fridge only to find a bunch of meat, cheese, and Diet Rite. She explained to me […]

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