To me, the most difficult part of the keto diet is the choosing healthy foods and creating healthy meals. It’s almost impossible without planning and preparation, at least at first. This is why I felt it’s perfect to pair keto with the second principle of Eating Green- meal prepping and meal planning.
Fact of the matter is, meal prepping and planning is vital for anyone looking to transform their fitness. It’s why meal plans with recipes and shopping lists telling you what to eat and when are so successful. But even without a guide, meal prepping is a great habit to get into. It makes choosing healthy meals over junk food easier. We remove temptation with meal planning by not allowing it to be an option. Meal prepping makes stopping by the coffee shop or fast food take-out unnecessary because we have easy, healthy, and delicious choices readily available to us.
But the big kicker for why meal prepping is so important is its environmental impact. When we prepare more meals at home, we use less waste than when we eat out. Think about all the products in a restaurant you use which gets thrown away. The food containers, paper or plastic bags, utensils, cups, straws, napkins. On the other side of the counter, just as much gets wasted. Plastic gloves to prepare your food and ensure your food stays safe. Cleaning products, bags and packages the food comes to the restaurant wrapped in. All these items add up and make a large amount of waste every day.
I am a strong advocate for eliminating single use plastic. If you need me to, I will spend this whole blog post discussing the intense problem our ocean is experiencing due to all our plastic garbage it is collecting, how it impacts wildlife, gets into our food supply, and threatens whole ecosystems. Many marine animals get tangled in plastic and drown as they become immobile or strangle to death. Fish and birds ingest plastic and die from starvation because those items don’t break down. Other animals mistake plastic for their main diet, such as sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish, and fish thinking bits and pieces of plastic are smaller fish or krill. Coral reefs are literally being blocked from the sunlight due to all the trash. Combined with warming temperatures of the ocean, ocean pollution is destroying most of the coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking of the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of the largest body of water on earth is a garbage patch which is double the size of Texas, and growing. While not a solid mass of trash, it’s visible from the air and weighs about 88,000 tons. It is difficult for animals to navigate through without coming out unscathed, meaning they are affected by ingesting, entangling, or right out dying by traveling through it.
The thing about plastic is once made, it never really goes away. Every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence. This is why so many people are getting up in arms and demanding to decrease our plastic waste. If we cut our need for plastic bags, and other items, we can help save our oceans from an eminent destruction.
Will one person eliminating the use of a straw or a plastic fork make a difference? Yes, I firmly believe it can. We live in a highly influenced society. What one person does can change the behavior of dozens of others, which then ripples out and before you know it, we have changed the world.
It’s not just our oceans in trouble from single use items. Our forests and our forest friends are in danger as well. The statistics on just chopsticks alone are unnerving. In China alone, they produce 63 billion disposable chopsticks a year . This product alone is responsible for 3.8 million trees destroyed every year. But China isn’t alone in their destruction for producing eating utensils. In the United States, we are harvesting trees in the Appalachian forests, home to the highest diversity of amphibian wildlife, to send even MORE chopsticks to China and supply ourselves(Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders).
In 2008, research showed Americans used over 15 billion disposable hot beverage cups a year (Mongabay). The study predicted the use to go up, but I believe that trend has somewhat curved downwards due to the high popularity of reusable cups. But there are plenty of other products we have not reduced our usage- napkins, stirrers, and paper bags, to name a few. If there is an easy, healthy way to help reduce plastic and paper waste, why wouldn’t we use it? I mean, help the planet AND help myself? Sign me up!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am proud and pleased to see so many restaurants help reduce their impact. Most have three receptacles for trash- one for compost, one for recyclables, and one for landfill. There are also many restaurants who are transitioning to plant based compostable utensils, straws, and food containers. I applaud the efforts of these establishments, and certainly, when I do eat out, I gravitate towards those who are doing their part.
While I truly support the effort to use bamboo reusable utensils, nice stainless steel coffee mugs, and reusable glass or stainless steel straws, I try to keep those for rare instances when I don’t have a choice but to eat out. Even when they use recyclable or compostable products, the energy to produce them is still a high cost. I advocate for a habit which is even healthier than using your own utensils or bringing your own containers for take-out. It has even more of a positive impact on the environment, and, in addition, you save money and lose weight.
I’m talking about meal prepping, of course. You don’t have to remember your utensils at the restaurant because you don’t have to go to a restaurant. Meal prepping makes it as easy as stopping by the store, only more convenient, because you don’t even have to pull off the side of road to grab your meal. It’s in your refrigerator or freezer. Easy breezy.
When you meal prep, you eliminate the need for plastic utensils, paper cups, and styrofoam containers. You don’t need to worry about compostable materials, or recyclable products. These is a significantly lower carbon footprint, too. You aren’t driving to a convenience store or a fast food joint. And you aren’t eating food which has traveled all over the continent either.
So do yourself a favor, and the planet while you help yourself. Start meal prepping, and meal planning. Take a small amount of time each week to save the earth, save you money, and save you time with your hectic schedule.
Breakfast: Keto Casserole
Lunch: Leftover Lasagna
Dinner: Bison burgers (no buns) with roasted veggies and feta cheese
Snack: Coconut bread
Pilates in the a.m.
Arm strength workout in p.m. at home
Mood: Hmmm, well, a little cranky, but that really has nothing to do with keto. It probably has more to do with me staying up too late watching “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” on Netflix. And wanting to eat ALL THE THINGS. Which SOUNDS like it’s diet related, but I promise, it’s not.
Challenges: Okay, so while I am the main person practicing this program, Chris is another participant by proximity. But he said he’s not COMPLETELY following the program, which is kinda frustrating to me, because I need his input. I am also confused because the last couple of days I have been over my calories, even though I’ve worked out. I’m feeling good about my food intake though. I don’t feel like I’ve overeaten, but I’m not super hungry (except the wanting to eat all the things, but that is not about being hungry, again, just trust me). But if Chris is eating outside the plan, does that mean he’s still hungry and not getting enough food? Things that make me go hmmmm….
Made coconut bread last night.
Ranch dressing for snacks tomorrow