When Lean Means Green

I've recently started exercising more and watching what I eat in order to look and feel healthier, and I'm slowly but surely losing weight. While I'm learning to enjoy pumping iron instead of plopping on the couch, I'm also trying to bring more green into my life -- not only in the salad bowl but also in reducing my impact on the environment.

Summer is a great time to start eating healthier because of the variety of produce in season. In Texas (where I live), we are blessed with big, tasty blueberries, and I'm surprised that the hands of one of my more adventurous friends didn't turn blue after he picked a large amount for a local organics' club fundraiser.

One often-heard bit of green advice is to buy local and organic goods to minimize land degradation and support the local economy. With a little bit of Web searching, I found an online directory of Texas farmers' markets, with a few organic markets not too far from me. And, if you are looking for a "staycation" that involves breaking a sweat while dining on something sweet, you can find nearby "pick-your-own" operations, including some that are organic.

I'm also trying to eat and purchase foods in their more natural state, which generally require less packaging. I've also dropped my soda-drinking ways and try to carry a reusable container for water. Fill it up, and I have a handy weight to do arm curls.

While you are shopping, don't forget the reusable shopping bag. I'm sure I've lost at least two pounds alone by running back to the house because I forget my bags. Speaking of running, I've been doing more of that to the bus stop along with walking to wherever I need to go.

There are ways you can build additional exercise into your day while saving energy. For example, you can use the stairs in your home, apartment or office building (if you have access and it is relatively safe). When I'm bored at home, I try some cardio instead of flipping on the TV. I haven't got that adventurous or fit yet, but I know some tech-savvy friends who could convert a stationary bike at my home to generate electricity.

Of course, consult with a doctor before starting an exercise and diet program and be sure to keep safety in mind in whatever fitness activity you pursue. Yes, there are more things I can list here that can help me get fit while doing my bit for the environment. But, I want to hear from you. What are you doing to help your waistline and the environment?

Posted by Angela Nelson on Aug 12, 2008