Alanna is a holistic nutritionist and the creator of Whole Healing Nutrition. She grew up living a healthy lifestyle, but it wasn’t until she spent time working in a career that left her uninspired, unfulfilled and completely drained, that she decided to start fresh and pursue her passion for health and wellness. She created Whole Healing Nutrition to educate and empower individuals to take control of their health and create long-term, sustainable change. Her philosophy is rooted in the belief that proper nutrition and lifestyle are essential in achieving true health and happiness. She has a passion for mindful living and for continuously learning to live her most sustainable life and hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Making an effort to reduce your waste might seem like an impossible undertaking. Perhaps you’ve even wondered “what’s the point?” when it’s become nearly impossible to go through a day without leaving a trail of waste behind. It's important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect to have an impact. Being mindful of your habits and taking baby steps is the perfect place to start. It might seem insignificant, but when a whole lot of people put in the effort to make small changes, it can create a world of difference. Wondering where to start? Here are a few of my favourite tips for living your life less wastefully.
This should be one of the first places you start. Easier said than done, I know! Most of us have the best intentions and a trunk full of reusable shopping bags but when we get to the till we discover we’ve forgotten them, yet again. Try hanging a reusable bag or two on your door handle or keep them by your purse so you always remember to grab them on your way out (just don’t put them back in the trunk when you get to the car). Better yet, look for thin reusable bags that fold into a pouch and can be stored right in your purse. Also don’t forget about produce bags, invest in a few small mesh bags for buying your fruits and veggies. They weigh virtually nothing, and you can feel good that your reusable shopping bag isn’t packed full of smaller plastic produce bags.
This is an excellent way to shop if you want to reduce waste while saving money. If you ever use recipes that call for an ingredient that you don’t commonly use in your kitchen, shopping at a bulk food store is the way to go. This allows you to buy the exact amount of what you need without letting the rest go to waste or sit to go stale in your cupboard or fridge. On the other hand, if there are staple ingredients that you commonly use, buying in bulk allows you to buy larger quantities, usually for a cheaper price. You then have the ingredients on hand whenever you need them, saving you trips to the store and extra packaging going into the trash. The best part about bulk food stores is that you can bring your own jars and reusable bags to fill up, meaning no packaging or waste at all!
When you buy local, you’re not only supporting your community and local economy, you’re also doing your part in reducing transportation and fuel consumption. Not only that, but goods that have a shorter travel distance often require less packaging. In the case of locally grown food, you’re also getting a fresher product with higher levels of nutrients and a longer shelf life, meaning you’ll have more time to consume it before it has to be tossed. Now that spring is here, and summer is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to scout out your local farmer’s market! Support local farmers and bring your own bags or basket – this is the perfect spot to find loads of goodies that won’t be wrapped in unnecessary packaging.
Save all your veggie scraps and older, wilting vegetables and herbs that you’d normally throw away and make them into a broth at the end of each week. Never again will you have to spend money on store bought broths with questionable ingredients. The taste is undeniably better, and your food waste will decrease dramatically. Just cover your scraps with water, bring to a boil and let simmer on low for about an hour. Strain out the scraps and voila, you have a big batch of broth to use for the week or to store in the freezer for later use.
Meal planning is not only a great way to help you stick to your health goals, but it will also help you put all of your food to good use without ending up with a bunch of waste at the end of the week that you would otherwise throw out. It does take a few hours of commitment each week but once it becomes a part of your routine you’ll never look back. Try cooking large batches of your favourite meals and use leftovers for grab and go lunches and dinners throughout the week or to freeze for a later date. Meal planning also ensures that you always go grocery shopping with a list. Roaming around the grocery store aimlessly without some kind of guide almost guarantees that you’ll end up with more than you need, creating the perfect recipe (no pun intended) for things ending up in the garbage.
I’ll admit, I’m totally guilty of buying fresh herbs for a recipe and discovering a rotten pile of cilantro in my drawer a week later. Instead, you can grow a herb garden or just a few pots of your favourite herbs and always have herbs on hand to grab whenever you need. Don’t throw away the tougher stems – save them to add to your broth collection! Growing herbs is also a big money saver as they are one of the most marked up items in the grocery store.
Plastic water bottles are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to waste in our environment. If you’ve seen videos or photos of the insane amounts of plastic ending up in our oceans, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you do use plastic water bottles, then switching them out for a glass or stainless steel one instead will make a huge impact on reducing your waste. Invest in a bottle you really love and you’ll be more likely to remember to take it with you wherever you go, and you might be surprised at how much more water you actually end up drinking. The same goes for coffee cups! Think of all the disposable cups that pile up from people getting their daily coffee (or coffees) to-go. The worst part is that most disposable coffee cups have a polyethylene lining (yikes, whatever that is!), which makes them waterproof but also non-recyclable. Bonus: many shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup!
Maintaining livestock and producing meat requires a huge amount of resources including feed, land, and water and is a major contributor to the production of the greenhouse gas emissions that pollute our planet. In fact, animal agriculture contributes more to greenhouses gases than the entire transportation industry combined. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be vegan or vegetarian but swapping out even a few or your meat-filled meals for plant-based ones can make a significant difference when it comes to your carbon footprint. Incorporating more plants into your diet will do wonders for the environment, your health and your wallet! Take a look at some of the recipes and cookbooks out there today and you’ll see that plant-based meals have come a long a long way and are far from boring!
For more from Alanna check out Whole Healing Nutrition.