Healthy Living Goals for 2011: Simple Steps

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Natural-Health/healthy-living-goals-2011-simple-steps.aspx

As the year winds down and we gear up for 2011, I’ve been looking at my lifestyle and thinking about what I want to change in the coming year. I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions (what’s the point? I know I won’t keep them), but the start of a new year does seem like the perfect time to turn over a new leaf.

1. Eat more local food.

I made a decision to eat healthier last year, and I think I did a pretty good job. My diet contains a considerably larger amount of leafy greens and fresh fruit than before, and I make an effort to buy organic when I can. Although the foods I brought home last year were good for my body, they weren’t good for my local economy. Despite the spectacular farmer’s market my hometown offers, I wound up buying most of my produce from the grocery store.

My goal for 2011 is to utilize more local food resources—and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. I can find local meats and in-season produce at the farmer’s market; farm-fresh eggs and meat and artisan bread from coworkers; and dairy products from a local dairy at a nearby grocery store.

farmer's market peaches 
I can find a plethora of peaches, one of my favorite fruits, at a local farmer's market during the summer. Photo By Laura Padgett/Courtesy Flickr. 

2. Grow a container garden.

Along with eating more local food, I’d like to try growing my own. I distinctly lack a green thumb—I’d tell you to ask my houseplants, but they’re already dead—so I figure baby steps are the way to go.

As a renter, I don’t have space for an actual garden, so I’m going to try container gardening. It will be a challenge for me to find plants that can grow on my balconies, which face due east and due west. As I’m doubtful of my ability to grow vegetables, I’ll start with herbs and judge my success from there.

 

 balcony garden 
Because I live in an apartment, my gardening experiments will take place on my balconies. Photo By Phlora/Courtesy Flickr. 

3. Be more active.

I know exercise is good for me—it boosts mental health, raises levels of good cholesterol and helps prevent various diseases. But when I’m sweating away on the treadmill, staring a blank wall in my dimly lit gym, I’m not thinking about how good exercising is for me. I’m just wondering how long until I can quit and go cram my mouth with cookies while watching TV. (Okay, so that might not be a factual representation of how I spend my evenings.)

For 2011, I’m not making a resolution to work out more (because I know it will never last) but to be more active in general—and to find a physical activity that interests me. I know I don’t like running on a treadmill or using the elliptical machine at the gym, so my plan shouldn’t involve those. I’ll look for an activity that takes me outside and preferably involves friends, whether it’s taking one-mile walks with coworkers each day or joining a yoga class. I may even give in to my boyfriend’s request and join his intramural soccer team. By starting with small steps, I can work my way up to making “working out” part of my lifestyle.

yoga pose 
As part of my "be more active" goal, I plan on taking yoga classes (although I imagine it will be a while before I can master this pose!). Photo By Canon in 2D/Courtesy Flickr. 

4.  Avoid plastics.

As I was editing an article about harmful plastics for Natural Home’s March/April issue (set to hit newsstands in mid-February), I realized how often I use plastic in my everyday life—especially in terms of food storage. I store and heat most of my lunches for work in plastic containers, which can leach toxins such as BPA into my food, causing all sorts of health problems.

My goal for 2011 is to phase plastics out of my life. A new set of glass cooking and storage dishes will make this transition easier.

pyrex bowls 
In 2011, I will strive to ditch the plastic in my kitchen and instead use glass food containers. Photo By Emily Carlin/Courtesy Flickr.

What healthy living goals do you have for 2011? Share them in the comments section!