Adopting the Pritikin lifestyle requires a shift in the way you eat, move, and engage with the world around you. What you may not realize is that the Pritikin lifestyle benefits not only your heart health but the environment as well.

In honor of Earth Day, we will look at four ways you inadvertently celebrate Earth Day every day by living the Pritikin lifestyle.

Spend time outdoors

The more time you spend outdoors, the more committed you are to protecting the beautiful world around you.

Getting outside even if it’s just for a short walk around the neighborhood can help you maintain a healthy mind-set. Studies have shown that spending time outside can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, and stress which improves heart health.

As the weather warms up, there is even more reason to enjoy nature. If you like to exercise outside, it is a good time to revisit an older article on our site, “Don’t let the Heat Beat You: Exercising in Hot Climates”.

Eat less meat

Lessening the demand for meat can help reduce food-related emissions. If you are following the Pritikin lifestyle and eating accordingly, you likely already limit your consumption of animal products. However, if you are working to limit your red meat consumption, this article by one of our registered dietitians is full of helpful tips to get you started.

Focus on unprocessed foods

The Pritikin lifestyle encourages adherents to focus on eating unprocessed foods. Not only are unprocessed whole foods better for you as they have more fiber and nutrients, but fewer stages in food processing mean fewer resources spent on producing, transporting, and packaging that food item.

Unprocessed, locally sourced foods such as fruits and vegetables are among the foods with the lowest environmental impact. On the other hand, research suggests that highly processed foods often have the highest environmental impact.

Minimize food waste

One of the best things we can do to reduce carbon emissions is to waste as little food as possible. Wasted food often ends up in a landfill where it decomposes and generates methane gas, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

My favorite way to reduce food waste and limit my sodium intake is to make my own vegetable broth. Store-bought broths and stocks can contain half of your daily recommended sodium intake in just one cup!

Here is how I make my own scrappy soup broth; I encourage you to give it a try as well:

  • Throughout the week as you are preparing different vegetables, save your scraps and put them in a gallon-sized freezer-safe bag. Once the bag is full of about 4 cups of veggie scraps, toss all your carrot tops and peels, onion ends, mushroom stems and celery ends into a stockpot.
  • To the pot, I  add 1 head of garlic cut in half, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and whatever fresh herbs I have on hand. You can customize these aromatics to suit your tastes.
  • Then fill the pot with enough water to cover everything (about 4-6 cups) and boil it all for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • After it’s boiled, remove it from the heat and let it cool before straining the vegetable scraps from the broth and you’re done!

For more tips that will help you reduce food waste at home, check out last week’s blog post “How to Reduce Food Waste and Preserve Your Budget”.

You may never have considered just how good for you and good for the environment the Pritikin lifestyle is, but there is clearly a strong correlation! Hopefully, this piece strengthened your resolve to continue living in a heart-healthy and environmentally conscious way.