This St. Patrick’s Day, Go Green for Real

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by Lisa Snow

On St. Patrick’s Day, every imaginable food has been dyed green; Chicago even dyes the river green! This year, why not skip the fake green coloring and go green for real?  Here are 3 easy tips you can use immediately.

1) Green Breakfast

Green eggs and ham are out, but a “green” lifestyle is in!  We all know that eating healthier is better for our bodies, but how about breakfast’s impact on the environment?  A Vega protein shake is 38 times better for the planet than a bacon and egg breakfast in terms of carbon dioxide.  Switching to a Vega protein shake for breakfast is equal to turning off a 60 watt light bulb for 521 consecutive days!

So many of us are running out the door in the morning with no time to cook, but a smoothie actually takes less time than going through a fast food restaurant’s checkout window!  Mix 1 scoop Vega One with 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk (the kind sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, not the canned variety) and ½ bag frozen fruit of your choice, like blueberries or strawberries, and 1 frozen banana.  Blend until smooth.  The entire process takes less than 2 minutes.   If you want to turn your shake green for St. Patrick’s, just add a spoonful of spirulina powder.

Then pour into a thermal cup to take with you to work, so you don’t freeze your hands in the winter or have your shake melt in the summer.  Miir insulated bottles or Kleen Kanteen insulated work great for this, are lightweight, and easy to clean.  The Miir comes in silver or classic black, while the Kleen Kanteen comes in a range of gorgeous colors.  Because they’re stainless steel, you never have to worry about chemicals from plastic leeching into your shake, and they’re dishwasher safe, too.

Vega One protein shake mix is available at the manufacturer’s website, Whole Foods stores, Amazon.com, and many other health food stores and websites.  Every flavor is free of dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, etc. so it’s perfect for people with food allergies, too.

2) Green Cardio Workout

At most gyms, what passes for cardio is a very bored member walking or running on a treadmill while watching TV.  Many trainers have lamented this practice because people ignore their bodies all week long, and the one day they get to the gym, they turn on the TV and ignore their body some more.  While that is a valid critique, few people go further and connect the dots to the environment.  Even when it’s not on, every minute a treadmill is plugged in, it’s using electricity.  Watching TV at the same time uses exponentially more power.

Self-powered cardio equipment, on the other hand, uses no electricity.  It’s still too cold to run or bike outside in most parts of the country, but a great indoor cardio activity you can try is jumping rope.  Many adults think jump rope is only for kids, because they imagine it will be too hard on their knees.  But jumping rope is actually lower impact on your joints than running!  When you run, all your weight lands on one foot at a time, putting all the stress on that knee, whereas when you jump rope, you land on both feet, so your weight is evenly divided between both knees.  If you haven’t jumped rope since you were a kid, be smart.  Always wear supportive sneakers, and jump on a wood floor in your home or a gym’s studio room, or on rubber flooring at a gym—not on concrete!  Start with intervals of 10-20 seconds at the beginning of each minute, resting until the next minute begins.  See if you can keep that pace for five minutes.  Just remember, a kid’s rope isn’t long enough for an adult.  If you’re jumping at home, it’s worth investing in a quality rope like the Buddy Lee Master Jump Rope.

3) Green Personal Care

Today’s personal care products—like body washes, shampoos, and hand lotions—are often loaded with chemical ingredients.  The government doesn’t require the manufacturers to test these ingredients for safety, or even to list them on the label.  This St. Patrick’s Day, be kind to your skin by going green.  While no one standard exists to define what’s “green” or “natural” in personal care products, good terms to look for are “organic,” “fair trade,” and “not tested on animals.”  Unfortunately, the word “hypoallergenic” isn’t regulated, and absolutely does not guarantee the product is free from common allergens.  Check out these three products that are as “green” on the inside as they are on the outside.

Desert Essence Organic Green Apple and Gigner shampoo, line the entire Desert Essence Organics like is made with 70% or more organic ingredients, is completely gluten-free, and every flavor smells great.  You guessed it, the bottle is green!  Although the scents in their products are natural, a fragrance-free option is available for those with allergies and sensitivities.

Kiss My Face Peppermint Foot Crème is gluten-free and paraben-free, and helps heal severely chapped feet that don’t respond to hand lotion or body lotion.  Right again, the package is green!

Inesscents Mint Chocolate cocoa butter , like all Inesscents products, is free of preservatives and artificial fragrances, scented only with essential oils.  So while the label isn’t green, the product inside certainly is.  It soothes winter dry skin and even helps calm eczema.  An unscented version is also available.

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