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9 eco-friendly diets

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Be green and lean

Is it time to lose those extra holiday pounds? This new year, don’t just resolve to cut calories, resolve to eat a diet that’s healthier for you and the planet. Here are nine diets to help you lower your weight and your carbon footprint at the same time. (Text: Julie Knapp)
 

Real Food Diet

Much of the food on supermarket shelves was invented in the last century and is packed with unpronounceable ingredients. Anything that your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t call food is off limits in the Real Food Diet. Farm fresh foods, in-season produce, meats, eggs, dairy and good fats — not the chemically produced kind — will lead to naturally nutritious meals.
 

Locavore Diet

While most food travels 1,300 to 2,000 miles before it arrives at your table, the locavore diet focuses on foods produced within 100 miles of where you live. Finding fresh food at farmers markets, family farms, local bakeries, food co-ops, community supported agriculture or your own garden will reduce your carbon footprint and your waistline.

Eco Atkins Diet

The low-carb, high-protein Atkins Diet packed with animal fats is far from green and only questionably healthy. But the eco twist follows the same carb-to-protein ratio using plant-based proteins like soy, beans and no-starch gluten instead. Researchers found dieters lost weight and reduced their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels at the same time:
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BPA-Free Diet

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been linked to a number of health issues including obesity and type II diabetes, yet it’s still lurking in many foods. Cut it out of your diet and you’ll have to give up most canned foods, packaged foods with waxy liners, foods with metal lids and frozen foods. What’s left? Healthy, unpackaged, fresh foods without chemical additives.
 
 
 

Vegetarian Diet

Even if you still eat eggs and dairy, going veg can reduce your carbon footprint by almost a ton annually. You’ll reduce your water footprint, too, because animals and their feed require lots of H2O. Choose healthy produce and legumes (you can’t fill up on carbs and cheese alone) and you should lower your disease risk and weight:
 


Flexitarian Diet

If eliminating meat from your diet is too extreme, the flexitarian diet may be more your style. Basically, it’s a vegetarian diet that allows you to cheat and eat meat once in awhile. Eat meat only on the weekends or make pacts to skip meat a few times a week with traditions like “Meatless Mondays.”



Vegan Diet

Taking the extra step from vegetarian to vegan doubles the impact on your carbon footprint — reducing it by about two tons. In addition to meat, vegans consider dairy, eggs and other animal-derived ingredients or those processed using animal products off limits, too


Raw Diet

Often vegans, raw foodists typically eat 75 percent fruits and vegetables. The rest of the diet includes whole grains, nuts, beans and sprouted seeds. Instead of cooking meals, food is served raw or dehydrated. You’ll save energy by not cooking and lower your carbon footprint by giving up meat and packaged foods.








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