A girl's quest to live on the greener side.

6 Zero Waste Health Tips to Keep You Healthy Year Round

zero waste health

Want to stay healthy and zero waste at the same time? The two are actually quite interconnected. Giving up all that plastic exposes you to less toxins, that's for sure. And when you stop buying food packaged in plastic, you force yourself to give up a lot of processed junk, opting for real food instead. So, being zero waste on its own already gives you a much needed boost in health. Here's how to take it to the next level with 6 of my favorite zero waste health tips.


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Zero Waste Health
1. Eat more (plastic free) fruits and veggies

zero waste health
One of my plastic-free farmers market hauls!

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, opting for more package free foods automatically exposes you to more whole foods. Whenever you go to a farmers market, you'll notice a beautiful array of foods to choose from, all package free. The worst you'll see on your foods at the farmers market is a rubber band - which you can just return to the market the next week. When you're exposed to all this nutritious, plastic-free food, you're more likely to eat healthier on a daily basis. Because lets face it - most of the unhealthy stuff is packaged in plastic anyway (candy, sugary drinks, cookies, etc.). If there's a health bar you like that comes wrapped in plastic, look at the ingredients and see if you can make it in yourself by shopping for the products in bulk and plastic free.

If you'd like to stay at your healthiest, I recommend eating seasonally. Come spring and summer, these are pretty much the main foods I eat (and what they do for my health):

Strawberries: Boosts collagen production.  
Cherries: Prevents UV damage, supports healthy connective tissue.
Kale: Heals and clears skin, boosts cell turnover.
Dandelion greens: Maintains clear, glowing skin.
Arugula: Protects cells from DNA damage.
Asparagus: Detoxifies, increases anti aging glutathione production.
Apple: Detoxifies, reduces allergies and free radical damage.
Chard: Strengthens hair and nails.
Mint: Eases indigestion, promotes detox.
Peach: Maintains glowing skin.
Peas: Supports nervous system function and digestion.
Sugar snap peas: Defend against free radical damage.
Blueberries: Support youthful skin and healthy connective tissue.
Raspberries: Strengthens hair and nails.
Green beans: Promotes skin strength and elasticity.
Romaine lettuce: Supports smooth skin.
Spinach: Supports cell renewal and repair.
Tomato: Prevents UV damage.
Watermelon: Prevents UV damage, supports anti-aging hormone production.
Zucchini: Calms nervous function.

This is only a portion of what's available at the farmers market over the course of spring and summer. There's more to choose from at my market, but these tend to be my favorite foods. Check your local farmers market to see what's in season near you and stock up!
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Zero Waste Health
2. Drink more (loose leaf) tea

zero waste health
Dandelion flower and raspberry leaf tea.

They say a lot of tea bags are actually made from plastic, which gets released into your tea when you pour hot water over it (yuck). Instead, try switching over to loose leaf tea. You don't have to worry about any plastic infusing with your water that way. Also, tea (without all that sugar) is very good for your health. Some loose leaf teas to consider investing in are:

Green tea: Helps energize you and is good for those with a slow metabolism.
Chamomile: Relaxes you and helps those who suffer from insomnia.
Peppermint: Helps those who suffer from a bloated stomach or gas pains.
Ginger: Reduces nausea and is good for those with a stomach bug.
Elderflower: Good for easing symptoms and speeding recovery of the common cold.
Lavender: Helps ease stress and promotes relaxation.

You can typically find most of these teas in bulk, package free at your local bulk food store. If you can't get tea in bulk and loose leaf, consider looking for tea brands that use compostable tea bags. One brand I love and that's pretty wide spread is Yogi teas. You should be able to find these rather easily in your nearest grocery store, and you don't have to worry about their tea bags being made from plastic - you can add them to your compost when you're done!

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Zero Waste Health
3. Exercise using what you already have

zero waste health
See the weights? They're only 1 pound and I've had them forever.

You don't need a bunch of fancy gym equipment to exercise on a regular basis. All you need is a little bit of creativity and space. Look around and see what you already have in your home. Do you have a yoga tape you don't use? What about some weights? Utilize those items before going out and purchasing new exercise equipment. Also, if you belong to a gym but don't go - GO! The gym is an excellent resource of exercise equipment. In many ways, it's similar to a library - but for fitness! 

You, of course, don't have to own any fitness equipment to exercise. Doing simple things like taking a 30 minute walk every day, doing 20 to 30 crunches, 10 to 20 push ups and 20 to 30 squats can really make a difference. Even utilizing stairs the proper way can give you a work out. It's really just up to you and choosing to make the world your playground. One easy workout that doesn't feel like a workout is taking care of kids - they're always full of energy and want to play! Playing some sports with them like baseball, catch, tag and swimming is a great way to get moving and have fun doing it.

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Zero Waste Health
4. Get out in nature

zero waste health
Nature caught in the act.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Sometimes, we just need a moment to ourselves. Spending time in nature always helps me re-center myself. Whether it's a short walk around my neighborhood or a trip to the park, getting outdoors always helps clear my head. If your house is too loud, or you had a long day, consider going outdoors to your favorite tranquil spot. Meditating in nature is always nice too, if you know you won't be disturbed. Find a nice spot to sit, close your eyes, and just breath. Connect to the earth, and let her in. You can also just explore and look for unique plants and animals, or take in the sunset. Whatever brings you joy and helps re-center you to this Earth. After all, this beautiful place we call home is the reason many of us went zero waste in the first place! 
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Zero Waste Health
5.  Utilize crystals

zero waste health
This is angel aura quartz, one of my favorites.

Crystals are beautiful. They come directly from the earth and there are so many kinds. If you're into spirituality, crystals are a lot more than just pretty though. They have healing benefits that can really help re-align your energy in times of need. If you're unfamiliar with crystals, here are a few healing crystals worth looking into (you can find these at local crystal shops or on Etsy by the way):

Amethyst: Relaxing and calming, but spiritually energizing.
Rose quartz: Allows love to flow, promotes self love specifically.
Quartz: This brings energy into a room, helps one focus and relieves frustration.
Citrine: Encourages fun, happiness, joy and abundance.
Onyx: Cleans and rids you of negative energy, very grounding.

These are only a few crystals I personally recommend. They're good starters for those interested in crystals but not sure where to begin. Once you acquire a crystal, it's good to cleanse it by leaving it out in the moonlight or burning some sage and letting the smoke cleanse it. Then, you can use it for whatever purpose you desire such as holding it on your person, meditating with it, or just keeping it by your bedside.

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Zero Waste Health
6. Experiment with holistic remedies

zero waste health
Harvested dandelion flowers. Good for all sorts of home remedies.

Got a specific ailment? Look into some holistic remedies for it, before buying some over-the counter medication. Of course, if you have a serious condition you should definitely see a doctor and not worry about "what waste" your condition will create. However, there are a few holistic home remedies that can help with more day-to-day, mundane struggles. Here are a few I recommend looking into.

For headaches: Drink some water or eat fruit with high water content (like watermelon) - you may just be dehydrated. If that doesn't help, try rubbing some lavender essential oil onto your temples and giving yourself a temple massage. You could also try drinking lavender tea.

For a stomach ache: Try drinking some peppermint tea to help soothe your stomach. If you're nauseous, try drinking ginger tea. If the stomach ache is from being constipated, drink a glass of lemon juice and water first thing in the morning. If you're having diarrhea, try  including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, or chamomile in your meals or in tea. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco is a good route too.

For a sore throat: Drink something hot (like tea or soup - if you have a cold, I especially recommend echinacea tea). Gargle frequently with warm salt water (not from the ocean - just add a pinch of salt to tap water). Try eating some raw local honey every day. Make a decoction of turnips, sweetened with honey or sugar, and drink before bedtime (good for coughs and hoarseness).

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What are some ways you like to stay healthy year round? Here are 10 natural immune boosters that can also help you on your journey to more holistic, zero waste health.

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