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One of the more surprising parts of adopting a more low-waste lifestyle with a focus on reusable packaging, reducing plastic usage as much as possible, lessen my reliance on recycling, and changing my habits to lessen my overall waste impact was how much healthier I became. I feel lighter, I eat better and I am more relaxed. I thought about why that is and I came up with the five reasons I outline below. Here’s how foregoing plastic made me more healthy.
I Eat Way Fewer Processed Foods
This is one of the best parts of going low-waste! No packaged foods equals no processed foods. Processed foods are by definition more likely to come in lots of packaging, so when you start shopping at bulk stores, all of that rubbish you really would be better off avoiding is just not part of your grocery landscape anymore. Turns out the impetus to be more eco-friendly is one of the best motivators to stop snacking on crap and to start cooking more at home, both of which are listed as the habits of the healthiest people on websites everywhere.
I Eat Way More Plants*
Meat, poultry, dairy products, seafood- most of it comes in a lot of packaging and a lot of the time, that means loads of vacuum-packed plastic bags in the frozen section. When you start shopping in bulk grocery stores (I am lucky to have Live Zero at my doorstep) and start avoiding plastic packaging, you naturally reduce your meat, dairy and seafood intake. Who doesn’t need more nuts, seeds, complex grains and fruit & veg in their daily diet? More fiber, more vitamins, more trace minerals, more everything good that everyone needs! Not to mention: animal foods require cold-storage, which means lots of energy is required to transport them, store them and display them. Eating plants is simply more energy-friendly!
I Drink Way More Water
One of the best parts of la vida SANS plastico is how hydrated I am thanks to all the water I now drink. I always have my water bottle with me so I can always fill up (in Hong Kong, the handy Water For Free app means I can find free, safe drinking water pretty much wherever I am). Since most of us are actually walking around dehydrated, this is very good news for your health. Saying no to single-use plastics also means saying no to sugary drinks and sodas, which you really don’t need. Pro Tip: Add some lemon slices to your water bottle and hey presto! You’ve got spa water on the go.
I Am Way Better At Meal Planning
Because I am more careful about where I shop (and when I am being lazy, where I order take-out from, MANA being my go-to, since it’s plant-based and I can throw the packaging into my compost pile courtesy of HK Community Composting), I have to be more organised about my meal schedule. No more last minute Food Panda frenzy or going crazy at the grocery store deli. Low-waste living forces me to think ahead and have a sort-of-plan of what I will be eating when. And if you’ve read ANY of the diet/healthy eating resources out there, you know that meal planning is a must for anyone looking to improve their health.
I Save Way More Money
Meal planning, eating mostly plants, avoiding snacks/meat/seafood/packaged drinks…all of this means lots of money savings. A low waste life is absolutely cheaper and if you don’t agree, you are not doing it right. You don’t need lots of expensive reusables and you don’t even need to buy everything organic. There are some great budget-friendly local fruit & veg delivery services (Eat Fresh does a 3.5-3.7 kg weekly delivery of seasonal organic produce to your doorstep for HK$ 385), you can shop at the wet market, you can buy only what you need… And what does saving money have to do with my health? Stress of course. Saving money, wasting less food- these are habits that lower your stress levels and improve your mental health.
Check Out Green Queen’s Guide To Zero-Waste & Bulk Grocery Shopping
*Author’s Note: I don’t eat meat/seafood/dairy at all but I sometimes have to purchase it for the other humans in my household. Living low waste means I am very very careful about where and how I make those purchases (only at butcher/seafood counters with my own tupperware or glass/canned containers).
Lead image couresty of Lead Image courtesy of Valeria Aksakova / Freepik .