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Eat Your Peas, Save the Planet

I’ve been struck this week by several news events that revolve around the theme that making lots of small, simple choices everyday can quickly add up to big changes, like a healthier body and a healthier planet.

I look back 20+ years, when we started gardening organically and composting our green waste, mostly out of a keen sense of “waste not, want not.” Back then, I never could have predicted that my daily thrifty habits would turn into a passion and spark the vision for our Green Cycler system.   Another positive result was, by getting my kids involved in the fun of gardening and cooking what they helped grow, they made “friends” with veggies, provided me with tons of green scraps to compost, and most importantly developed an appreciation for healthy nutrition.

New Ideas in Eating

Our family’s love affair with homegrown fruits and veggies is just one of the reasons the USDA’s new Nutrition Guidelines caught my eye. The old food pyramid we grew up with was a bit confusing for some, but this new diagram makes it clear: veggies and fruits should fill about half your plate at every meal.  The new guidelines aim to inspire more of us to make a daily choice to eat our peas (and apples and broccoli…) resulting in better health, and providing ever more peels, trimmings, and rinds for the Green Cycler to shred for the compost pile!  See also the great Dr. Andrew Weil’s analysis of the new dietary guidelines.

Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid

This news also reminded us about Dr. Weil’s “Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.” Dozens of people have recommended this system to us recently with enthusiasm bordering on evangelical, with stories of how it helps them fight allergies and other chronic medical conditions. For me, all of this is a strong reminder to continue being mindful about daily practices -– that we can affect and improve our own health by making small but meaningful choices about what we eat, every day.

There was also news on the planetary scale about how small choices can add up to big changes from the front page of The Economist. It seems that geologists and earth scientists are getting serious traction for their argument that we’re living in a new geological age.  Who knew?!  The “Anthropocene” is characterized by the profound effect humans have had on the planet.  That idea certainly got my attention. One of the messages from this series of articles is that small actions from ALL of us are going to be necessary to make the planet more resilient.  The author writes: (to improve the planet’s resilience) “more often the answer will be fiddling—finding ways to apply human muscle with the grain of nature, rather than against it, and help it in its inbuilt tendency to recycle things…” and, “it means thinking afresh about the relationship between people and their world and acting accordingly.”

Applying “human muscle with the grain of nature”?

Fiddling?  Applying “human muscle with the grain of nature”? Music to my ears and a further validation for my own fiddling, my daily practice of “waste not, want not” in my kitchen, garden, and in our Green Cycler business. I continue fiddling, looking for more healthy choices that will, when joined with a “Billion acts of Green” from others, add up to a healthier planet.


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