Whitney Lauritsen of Eco-Vegan Gal
By Whitney Lauritsen
You want to go green, but you also want to keep green in your wallet. And you wouldn’t mind being healthier, too.
Believe it or not, these three objectives all go hand-in-hand. Here are 9 ways to reduce your costs -- and nourish your body -- by going green:
When it comes to food…
- Shop based on your location and the season. Food is cheaper if it’s in season in your area because it doesn’t have to be shipped in from other parts of the world. It’s also better for the environment and tastes fresher. Consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). In exchange for a small monthly membership fee (about $25 a week), you’ll get produce delivered to you from local farms. For the rest of your grocery needs, shop at a farmer’s market or buy in bulk.
- Cook. Cooking at home is cheaper and often healthier than eating out, and it’s eco-friendly -- because you won’t have to throw out any take-out containers. Make sure to use reusable containers and utensils when you cook, and opt for glass or stainless steel containers rather than plastic, which has been shown to pose health concerns. Bamboo utensils are also great for cooking.
- Eat less meat. Meat can be expensive and is linked to various health problems. Its production is also environmentally very unfriendly. By reducing your intake, or simply going vegetarian one day a week, you’ll see a change in your wallet (immediately), health (gradually) and the environment (eventually).
- Invest in a water filter. Filtered water is cheaper than bottled and better for the environment, too. Choose from a wide range of water filters available on the market, from purifiers to ionizers.
When it comes to cleaning…
- Make your own cleaning solutions. Next time your counter-top needs a wipe-down, consider baking soda and vinegar as your budget-friendly, all-purpose cleaner. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the surface, fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar, and then spray it on the baking soda. Your body and the earth will also benefit, as most commercial cleaning products are toxic.
- Give your body a natural makeover. Look for alternatives to your usual health and beauty products at a natural store. Opt for nutritious food instead of vitamins in pill form, salt crystals instead of typical deodorant, and nasal washes instead of allergy medication. You might find that not only do these alternatives work the same (or better), but they’re cheaper, better for your health, and easier on the environment.
When it comes to transportation & exercise…
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation whenever possible. Next time you need to shop, go by foot, bike, carpool, or public transportation to the closest store. This will reduce car emissions, save you gas money, and help you stay in shape.
- Exercise outside. Who needs a gym when you’ve got the great outdoors (or a sidewalk)? Belonging to a gym costs an average of $50 a month and uses infinitely more electricity than exercising in the daylight outdoors.
When it comes to electronics…
- Disconnect them from power when not in use. Just because your TV is turned off doesn’t mean it’s not drawing power from your wall, and this goes for most electronics and their peripherals. When you’re not using it, either unplug it or connect it to a power strip with an off switch. Some research shows that it benefits our health to sleep without electronics in our bedroom. Short of that, disconnecting them from the wall is the next best thing.
Whitney Lauritsen is a filmmaker, environmentalist, and vegan who promotes her lifestyle on her site www.ecovegangal.com. She shares tips on how to be kind to your body and the earth via video, photography, and writing.