Your Sustainable Dietary Change: 2019


*This was originally written for 614 Magazine and is here to guide you into 2019.

Perhaps you’ve crafted your long scroll of resolutions including the popular “hit the gym everyday, never eat junk food again, be more organized” intentions. However, the first domino to create a cascading health effect hasn’t been set up. The single most important item missing from that 2019 to-do list is changing your mindset.

The first decision, the beginning domino, is key to making every other decision infinitely easier. Ready? Here it is.

Make the decision to be a healthy person. Once you do, whether presented with a restaurant menu or a choice between hitting the gym and skipping it, you’ll make the decision through a filter that ultimately leads to a result aligned with your new values. By adopting the desired identity, the behaviors naturally follow. For example, when reading over the restaurant menu, you’re now doing it through the eyes of your new identity; what would a healthy person eat? Then you choose such a dish. If you’re trying to decide between a workout and binge-watching a favorite show, the choice is already made for you (and after the gym, you can still partake).

This is not to say that you can never indulge in favorite foods. A guideline I share with clients is to go 80/20 or 90/10, meaning if 80-90% of your choices are favorable to reaching your health goals, then don’t sweat the cheesecake at your friend’s birthday party. Ultimately, you can avoid guilt, fear, and shame by having this ‘allowance’ set up. It’s more about trajectory than perfectionism.

When it comes to fad diets, they are novel and intensely followed for a short time. Some become longer-lasting, influential trends. We’ll share some pros/cons of popular diets:

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Sustainability, the Environment, & our Diets

What makes a diet sustainable? First, we’ll need to discuss it as it relates to health and to the environment.

The word “sustainable” may be defined as something 1. as able to be maintained at a certain rate or level and 2. conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources, according to the Oxford Dictionary.

With this definition, we can approach the idea of a sustainable diet as one that can endure and continue over a significant length of time.

For an individual, a sustainable diet most likely must both taste good and be enjoyable. It needs to be affordable and to contain all the nourishment needed reach and maintain a healthy weight and high level of vitality. On the other handy, an unsustainable diet is one that promotes overweight or obesity, illness, and/or fatigue, quite possibly leading to disease, especially if the diet is followed long-term. Without a doubt, there is an epidemic of obesity and chronic illness in the United State today which has been strongly linked with the Standard American Diet (SAD). This way of eating is devoid of nutrients and is comprised of too much processed food, meat, fat, and sugar while also being low in whole grains, healthy fats, protein, fruits, and vegetables.

The Standard American Diet is also harming our environment and is not sustainable in this realm. The modern farming and food system is polluting our water, degrading our soil, increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, destroying biodiversity, and using up our finite resources and energy during this process. Synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms contribute to many of the world’s ills. A sustainable diet can help conserve our natural resources and biodiversity in our ecosystem while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Consider how you can create a more sustainable diet for yourself and the environment.