February is the month of Dechox over at the British Heart Foundation. Millions of people across the UK have a heart condition, and with both grandmothers among that number, heart health is an issue close to my heart (pun not intended).
While I’m not prepared to give up chocolate in February or any other month (dark chocolate is one of my vegan sources of iron) I want to do my bit to promote heart health. A lot of heart conditions are lifestyle related, and maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle go a long way to prevent heart conditions.
These are five green habits or activities you can add to your everyday, knowing that you’re looking after yourself and our planet at the same time.
Gardening is a great way to stay active and it can be good for the environment too. Keeping a garden that is safe for wildlife and produces food gives you double the green factor while doing your heart some good.
Replacing car journeys with walking cuts out air pollution and gets your heart pumping – especially if you live at the top of a big hill like me! Sit down with a notepad and pen and think of all the small journeys you take regularly, then gradually swap the car for a pair of walking shoes.
Spending time in the kitchen cooking tasty vegan food from scratch does a number of things. It reduces your reliance on convenience foods, cuts out the environmental destruction related to meat and dairy, and puts you firmly in control of how much fat and salt you have in your diet. If you happen to be cooking something you grew in the garden, even better!
A lot of our downtime is typically spent sitting down, but what if we spent it doing things instead? If you spent an hour or two a week moving about and fixing things, then you’re saving things from going to landfill and having one or two less sedentary hours every week. I call that a win-win.
Getting less screen time
Less than 7 hours of television a week, in fact. The British Heart Foundation say that is the key figure to encourage heart health. I guess the key principle is, the less time you spend binging on Netflix, the more time you spend moving around which is good for your heart. You’re using less energy too, which is good for our planet and gives you lower bills.
Bonus habit: not smoking
Okay, so this is more an absence of habit rather than a habit per se. As an ex-smoker myself, I get how annoying preachiness can be, so I’ll keep it simple. Those cigarette butts don’t disappear when you throw them down a drain. Cigarette litter is the most common type of litter on our beaches. The tobacco takes a lot of energy to grow and travels a lot of air miles before it gets to you. That cigarette smoke isn’t great for the environment. And you already know how bad it is for your health.
Planet health and our own health often go hand in hand. Which green, heart-healthy behaviours are you going to take on this month?