Diets for Sustainability

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People often consider diets to be sacrifices that they put their bodies through, whether it be working out for 30 days or taking away chocolate for a few weeks. The Atkins diet cuts out carbohydrates, Keto diet cuts out high carbs and sugar, and others are based on a point system (Weight Watchers may allow up to 30 points per day, with different points associated to different foods).

Screen Diet

But dieting doesn’t have to be just for food. It’s ideally just a conscious change in the way you do things. One of the latest “diets” is known as screen dieting, where people remove phone/computer/television time from their day. Through this diet, people find more free and creative time, and when it’s a family initiative, there is a bigger bond created with the children and parents. As reported in a story by Motherly called “We Quit Screen Time Completely - and It Saved Our Kids”  

“It was amazing to see the immediate shift in [the children’s] behavior - they became calmer and the defiant behavior significantly decreased. … Instead of immediately grabbing our phones in the morning, we spent the first few moments of the day connecting with each other and being more present while we got the kids ready for school.”

Through the screen time diet, the social system of a family and personal lives can completely change for the better, while also reducing your energy expenses.

If cutting screen time completely isn't something you can do, try other tactics through a social setting. One common thing is people will stack their phones, upside down, in the middle of the table. Whoever picks up their phone first has to buy an appetizer for the table, or has to complete some other task for the group. For more ways to reduce your cell phone use, check out this article by Siliconrepublic.

Plastic Diet

tamara-bellis-415688-unsplashAnother diet that is being pressed harder this year is the plastic diet. This is exactly as it sounds - removing all plastics from your life. This is surprisingly harder than you would expect, and due to some regulations, may not be possible. If you’re an organic foods consumer, this may require you to shop at farmers markets (where organics aren’t always certified), as many organic foods come pre-wrapped in plastic. In this article by Fast Company , ways to reduce plastic include buying fruit by piece (as opposed to bulk plastic bags of apples), purchasing items in bulk, and focusing on natural fibers instead of polyester.  Another article by from Metro challenges people to give it up more so to raise awareness of how much we use plastic as opposed to a permanent process. In this article, “The Best Thing to Give Up This Lent is Plastic, Not Chocolate”, the time frame is six weeks (40 days),

“Six weeks isn’t loads but trust me, trying to go plastic-free for over a month is going to be a massive challenge. That means not buying any pre-packaged food, not bottles of fizzy water, no shiny bags of crisps, nuts or biscuits. It’s a start and an opportunity to see just how much plastic we subconsciously consume every single day. Once you start noticing it, you’ll be horrified.”

 

Mins Gamegades-photography-540985-unsplash

One lesser-known diet that is inspiring awareness is known as the “Mins Game”, originally taking place during the month of October (but it can be done any month).

 

“What is this ‘Mins Game” you ask? … It is a 30 day challenge; on the first day, you get rid of one thing. On day two, you get rid of two things. Day three, three things … you get the picture. By the end of the 30 days, you will have removed a total of 465 items from your home and life!” - Token & Bliss

During this diet, you become aware of how much stuff you really have. It makes you consciously count and realize all that has been accumulated and how you store it. Some people who start this challenge start light, such as getting rid of business cards or going through that junk drawer every house seems to have.  Others start heavy, and focus on a storage closet (or room, garage, shed, etc.) counting items in bulk (the goal is to get rid of 465 items in total.) In the end, you’ve removed items that you don’t need or use, and hopefully have placed them back into the economy through donation and second hand stores or a garage sale, reducing unnecessary consumption. 

“It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” - Sheryl Crow

Summary

In all, the importance of dieting is to raise self-awareness of your habits and personal choices. To many, this will make a lifestyle change (albeit sometimes temporarily), increase your personal education, and hopefully build new habits that continue onward with us over time. When the diet has a focus on sustainability (as opposed to a personal weight focus), it also helps society and our ecosystem. So next time you choose to go on a diet, add in a sustainability focus and help out the rest of the world.

“We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies. That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability to shape the destiny of the universe. … Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do - insignificant as it may seem - spread out beyond us. … Thus, we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures.” - Margaret Weis

 

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