After having a much needed holiday break filled with an abundance of decadent chocolates and flaky pastries, I have taken it upon myself to make a few commitments this year. One of those commitments is to my new co-op role at Sustainable Waterloo Region: doing all that I can to help out the organization to the best of my abilities and in striving to learn something new each day.  Another is a shift in lifestyle – I like to call it my own personal green health revolution.

As you may find, performing your best at work becomes much easier when your personal health is at its optimum state (let’s face it, nobody enjoys attending meetings when battling the flu).  While maintaining good health includes a combination of proper sleep, healthy diet and exercise, upkeep and motivation can slip away in the chilly and dull winter season. I am writing this blog to briefly share my experiences in incorporating green practices with good health, to share ideas about winter health in Waterloo, and in hopes of motivating others to take similar green health challenges during any season.

While local farmers’ markets like St. Jacobs Farmers Market  and Kitchener Market may not experience their thriving season in the winter, residents can still opt to select foods that are grown within a local or near-local radius and that are minimally processed. Selecting foods such as these usually carry the combined benefits of putting less pressure on the environment through limited manufacture processes and shorter delivery distance to your grocery store, and provide health benefits through their natural vitamins and minerals. In terms of selection, make choices similar to selecting apples rather than oranges for your go-to fruit; apples can be grown locally and they contain a variety of healthy vitamins.

Waterloo Region is beautiful in the snowy season! Taking a walk or bike ride around the city will provide you with a different experience than found here in the summer. Finding pleasure in the sights and sounds of winter can motivate you to spend time with nature more often, just make sure to bundle up! Some fun, active and impact-free things to do outside in Waterloo at this time of year are jogging, ice skating and tobogganing. Being active outdoors can provide a more sustainable option than using workout machines to work up a sweat, can enable you to relieve stress faster and allows you to easily change your surroundings.

My challenge to you, reader: join me in packing a green health lunch for an entire work week. My definition of a green health lunch includes: no non-organic disposables (including the container that brings your food to work) and near to non-processed food (the more local the better). A great go-to lunch to bring to work is a wrap stuffed with your favourite stir-fried seasonal veggies.
I see green health as a win-win: a healthier environment and a healthier you 🙂