Let’s Talk About Sustainable Packaging

In our efforts to be more conscious about the way we consume, we may choose to buy “natural” or “organic” products, thinking that once you’ve made the purchase, the work is done. But, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of the packaging of your product? To put our choices into perspective, here is something to consider: There is a patch of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean which has been measured by satellite imagery, this patch of garbage is mostly comprised of plastic and spans across 1.6 million square kilometers. A lot of this garbage is plastic and has a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and even human health. These microplastics disintegrate when subjected to heat and are consumed by the fish, making their way to the very top of the food chain, so yes, this devastating effect trickles down to you too.

Now, there are garbage patches like this all over the world’s oceans, including our Indian ocean. And each of these patches has an estimated amount of 80,000 metric tons of plastic. Such is the terrible effect of packaging on our planet. After reading these numbers, doesn’t the ban on plastic in the state of Maharashtra make more sense to you? There are plenty of sustainable materials which can serve the same purpose, in fact, many countries are even banning the production and use of single-use plastic.

So what is sustainable packaging?

Simply put, it is packaging which has a longer life cycle and reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It takes into consideration the entire life cycle – from the whole supply chain, from production to the end of its life, everything is taken into consideration.

What can we gain from sustainable packaging?

The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the ecosystems, without compromising on the functionality for the consumer. It’s the brainchild of economics and functionally so that the environment and the future generations do not have to pay the price for our consumerism.

Why is sustainable packaging the need of the hour?

Because we need packaging that’s biodegradable, we need options which allow conscious citizens to recycle or reuse plastic, we need to provide solutions which are long term, and we must take into consideration the ramifications of our actions. There is nothing that’s more important than conserving our natural resources, and sustainable packaging is a huge part of this.

What are the products that you need to be wary of?

There are some products which are used every day and have very short product lifecycles. Such products are single use and are usually discarded within a few hours of using the product. Such products include daily grocery staples such as butter, milk, grains, toothbrushes, earbuds, and razor blades. A lot of this plastic is single use, which means that even if you send it to a recycling facility, there’s not much that they will be able to do with it. As a result, all of this plastic waste gets dumped into rivers and water bodies which ultimately empty out into the oceans.

This vicious cycle continues because simple items like milk delivered in plastic bag are something that we consume every day. So when you think about doorstep delivered milk, for example, not only is the product itself could be adulterated which the packaging can do nothing to prevent, but the packaging is also a major pollutant. What’s more is that you consume milk every day, so you end up being a huge contributor to waste which upsets the ecological frameworks of the planet. Feeling distressed? It doesn’t have to be that way! Tetra packs come with tamper proof sealants and are made with biodegradable materials. These materials are selected based on the supply chain of the materials, important questions such as the greenhouse gases produced in the making of the packaging, the processes involved, and the even the resources spent on sourcing the raw materials required to assemble the packaging are considered. So when it comes to packaging, remember that as a consumer, you have a choice, choose for the planet, and choose sustainability!

 

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients required by your body. The human body breaks down the protein into enzymes and amino acids. The cells present in the human body get cytoskeleton from protein, which is used to build up new skeleton muscle.

The moment people hit the gym, they shift to high protein consumption. But little do people realize that as much as protein is important for gaining muscle or losing weight, the quantity of protein consumed by your body plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Excess of anything is harmful and protein is no different. There are different school of thoughts about what should be the ideal protein consumption for a human body.

As per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) the ideal protein consumption is 0.8g per kilogram of the body weight. This is further bifurcated upon the gender:

  • 46g per day for the average woman
  • 56g per day for the average man

Factors To Consider For Protein Intake

Everybody needs protein. It is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to function properly. Each one of us consumes protein in our daily diet through the regular food. Why’s there a whole market for protein supplements then – you may ask. Let’s read on to find out the answer to your whys.

One needs to take into consideration various factors while deciding the protein intake. Each body is different than the other and so are the body’s nutritional requirements.

Here are some factors to consider while deciding the amount of protein to include in your daily diet:

  1. Gender

An average man consumes around 2,600 calories per day, and a woman consumes around 1,700 calories per day. According to nutritionists, an average healthy man should consume around 3000 calories per day and a woman should consume around 2000 calories. The percentage of protein in the total calorie intake should be between 10-30%. The latter only when you are on a high protein diet and are having an active lifestyle.

  1. Workout and other physical activity

People who are into strength building, heavy workouts and sports need higher amounts of protein to build muscle and stamina. If you have a lower rate of physical activity in your routine, then the amount of protein consumed from the regular diet is enough for your body to maintain the nutritional balance.

  1. Food Habits

Vegetarian food is comparatively lower on protein contents. Vegetarian people who are into bodybuilding, athletics or sports would need to supplement their diet with protein. Animal meat has a high percentage of proteinform of powders hence non-vegetarians can do without supplements. To meet the exceeding protein requirements, the non-vegetarians can increase the animal meat in their diet.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

There’s no gym or gym instructor who doesn’t press their clients to give in to protein shakes. You would see every gym selling some sort of protein supplements in the form of powders etc. Don’t fall for the trap that you can’t build muscle or lose weight without going on a high protein diet which is largely dependent upon the protein supplement they are selling.

There’s no denying that one does need protein supplements to build muscle, but not everyone is training to be a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. Before jumping onto the bandwagon, you need to understand your goals and body needs.

Going on a high protein diet often means neglecting or completely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Carbohydrates are as important as protein for the body. The body derives its energy from the carbohydrates and when you deprive your body of carbs, you start feeling lethargic and low on energy all the time. One needs to maintain a balance between the protein and carbohydrate intake in their diet.

Excess intake of protein can result in weight gain. The body consumes the protein it requires and stores the excess amount in the form of fats. This results in weight gain. Until and unless you are looking to gain weight or doing high-impact exercise, excess intake of protein can have adverse effects on your workout goals.

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have the same or similar results with the same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.

 

Let’s Talk About Mindful Eating

How do you have your breakfast? While reading a newspaper? While scrolling through news apps on your phone? While watching TV? Or, just running out of the house in a rush with either grabbing something like an apple or nothing?

How does your day proceed? Stressful mornings? Skipped or late lunches? Half of the time forgetting if you ate something or not?

If you have nodded a yes for any of the above questions, this article is for you.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a Buddhist concept that helps you in understanding the value of the food you eat and what that food is doing to your body and you. Mindful eating is like meditation but to appreciate the goodness of what you are eating.

Irrespective of who we are and what we do, our lives have become a constant hustle to make end meets. This hustle is all about earning a living to be able to fend for ourselves and ironically, that’s what we overlook while getting caught in this vicious circle of hustling!

Mindful eating is a practice that makes you aware of the food you are eating and what your body is demanding by understanding your hunger cues and pangs.

Every time you feel a hunger pang, you don’t need to fill yourself up with food. More often than not these hunger pangs are due to reducing water levels in your body. Are you amazed? Well, this is what practicing mindful eating teaches you about your body and digestive system.

Why Mindful Eating?

The everyday hustle has reduced eating to a thoughtless activity. People are so busy running according to the clock that it has become a mechanical act to fill their bodies with food during lunch breaks or tea time in offices. People are so pressed for time that eating has become a rushed activity. People have mastered the art of finishing a meal in less than 10 minutes! Have you ever stopped and wondered that this is what you keep hustling for and you don’t even spend 30 minutes in a day to appreciate what’s on your plate?

This rushed and mindless eating has grave repercussions on the human digestive system and the body. A rushed meal means faster deglutition which results in overeating or binge eating in a majority of the cases. The faster deglutition means you are not chewing your food properly which ends in the inefficient absorption of nutrients from what you are eating.

During office lunch breaks, have you felt that you have eaten too much or too less? It takes 20 minutes for the brain to understand that you are full. If you have a rushed meal you either end up eating more than your capacity or indulge in binge eating every half an hour.

By practicing mindful eating you slow down the deglutition thereby making yourself and your brain aware of what you are putting inside rather than just dumping it in. Slowing down the eating process makes it an intentional act instead of a forced activity. It helps you in distinguishing between the actual and false hunger pangs along with making you aware of your bodily requirements.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

Practicing mindful eating can do wonders to your health and body. Some of the benefits of mindful eating are, it:

  • Improves digestion
  • Helps in better absorption of nutrients
  • Makes the metabolism healthy
  • Aids in weight management
  • Reduces over-eating
  • Reduces food cravings
  • Can help with depression
  • Felicitates healthy eating
  • Prevents binge eating
  • Makes you enjoy your food 

How to Practice Mindful Eating?

Practicing mindful eating can be a little tough in the beginning but it is absolutely doable. Here are a few things that will help you in following mindful eating:

  • Turn off from all sorts of distractions while eating. No TV, no laptop and no phone.
  • Concentrate on what is on your plate. Make yourself aware of the food you are eating.
  • Don’t eat in a rush. Sit down properly at a table and chew your food slowly.
  • Take at least 20 minutes to finish each of your big meals.
  • Enjoy the flavour and taste of the food you are eating.
  • Get aware of hunger and when you begin to feel full.
  • Stop eating the moment you start feeling you are full.
  • Focus on your meal.

These might seem simple to follow or adopt, but when you start practicing mindful eating, you will realize that it isn’t as easy as it seems. However, don’t give up because, once you start practicing it, the results are amazing. Start with one meal. Eat that one meal mindfully every day and when you feel you have mastered the art of mindful eating with that one meal, you will automatically inculcate the habit of mindfully eating your rest of the meals.

 

15 Simple Ways To Embrace Sustainable Living

The ever-increasing human population and our untenable lifestyles have burdened the environment with a pressing need to switch to sustainable lifestyles. Our dependency on technology and non-renewable resources and non-recyclable products has added to the environmental woes.

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that helps people in reducing their dependence on non-renewable energy and non-recyclable products thereby diminishing the ever increasing burden on the environment. Sustainable living is all about choosing the products that felicitate sustainability of the environment. It can be done by bringing in some simple changes in your current lifestyles.

The depleting ozone layer has been a grave concern since last three decades now. The ozone layer has thinned substantially since the 1980s and the way we are headed, there seems a bleak hope of any respite. The ozone layer absorbs around 97-98% of the harmful UVB rays which, if reach the earth, can cause severe damage not only to the humans but also to the flora and fauna thereby making life impossible on the planet.

Simple Ways to Embrace Sustainable Living

By adopting sustainable living one can help in reducing their carbon footprint and other environmental impact. Start with bringing these simple changes in your routine:

  1. Plan Your Meals to Avoid Wastage of Food

The easiest and simplest way to avoid wastage of food is to properly plan your meals. The food waste dumped in the landfills becomes a source of production of methane which is far more harmful than carbon dioxide for the environment. Cook in small quantities and if you still can’t avoid or reduce food waste, compost it in your house rather than throwing it out in the trash bins.

  1. Conserve Energy by Saving Electricity

The most commonly said thing when talking about sustainable living is to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption. More often than not, the argument is made that how can one live without electricity in today’s time. No, we are not asking you to give up using it altogether. Use it wisely is all we say. Turn off the lights, fans, TV and other electronic items when not in use. Use natural light during daytime. Buy electronics with 5-star rating for energy conservation. Set your AC temperature at 24 degree Celsius and above.

  1. Replace Old Lights with Energy Efficient Lights

Replace the old bulbs with CFL or LED lights. They are long-lasting and lighter on power consumption. The traditional bulbs consume more power and don’t last long hence creating electronic waste in the landfills.

  1. Give up on Disposable Cutlery

Buying takeaways add to the ever-increasing problem of plastic waste. If you are headed home then avoid taking disposable cutlery from the food joint. You can completely give up on disposable cutlery by getting into the habit of carrying a steel fork and spoon in your bag every day.

  1. Give up on One-Time Use Plastic

The recent plastic ban in Maharashtra state created a ruckus in the market. The non-decomposable plastic has created major environmental issues in the recent times. The sewages are choked and rainwater doesn’t recede thereby causing flood-like situations in cities. The soil is becoming infertile too. Say no to one-time use plastic like shower caps, poor quality polythene bags, packaging material etc.

  1. Use Public Transport or Carpool

Stop commuting to your office in your vehicle every day. Carpool with a few other colleagues or opt for public transport as much as you can. This will not only help you in saving on your fuel costs but will also help the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

 

  1. Cycling or Walking for Short Distances

You don’t need to take out your bike every time you go to the neighbourhood grocery store. Either choose to cycle or walk when it is a short distance.

  1. Use Natural Light

Build homes and create spaces that allow sunlight in your house and office. Using natural light will cut down on the usage of electricity. Unwind those blinds and curtains during the daytime. Built ecological and environment-friendly spaces.

  1. Use Water Wisely for Household Chores

In most of the houses, the household chores are taken care of by the domestic helpers. You need to educate them about the need and importance of using water wisely. Train them to use water efficiently while carrying out the mundane household chores like washing dishes and clothes, cleaning floors and cars etc.

  1. Buy Energy-Efficient Electronics

Nowadays, electronic products have ratings in the form of stars with 1 being the least and 5 being the highest. These star ratings are based upon the electronic product’s energy efficiency. Buying electronics with higher star rating help in cutting down the consumption of electricity. It is advisable to opt for 5-star rated electronic products.

  1. Reuse Polythene Bags and Other Plastic Products

If you cannot avoid using plastic products entirely then it is a good idea to reuse them instead of dumping them in the trash bin. Polythene bags can be reused for a very long period of time along with other plastic products like bottles and boxes. These bottles can be water bottles, cold-drink bottles, or your shampoos and conditioners. Reuse the packaging boxes after consuming the product.

  1. Give up on Paper Products

The increasing dependency on paper products is directly proportional to the decreasing number of trees. Giving up paper products like paper cups, plates, tissues etc. can help a lot in creating a greener and healthier environment.

  1. Create Community Gardens & Parks

Create green spaces in and around your locality. Rope in people who might be interested in the cause. Educate people about the need and importance of planting trees in open and unused spaces. Greener planet is one way of rescuing it from the adverse effects of our lifestyles.

  1. Reuse and Recycle

The best way to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is to practice the habit of reusing and recycling products. Think twice before dumping something into the trash can. Try and think of alternate uses for non-decomposable and non-recyclable products.

 

 

  1. Adopt Minimalist Lifestyle

Choose a minimalist lifestyle to help save the environment. At first, a minimalist lifestyle may seem impractical and impossible, but all it takes to practice this lifestyle is to live wisely. Choose products that don’t have a harsh implication on the environment. Buy things like cars and electronics only if you need them.

Sustainable living is the need of the hour. If we don’t adopt a sustainable lifestyle, in the coming years, we would be forced to live in a miserable environment. The environmental woes cannot be neglected any further. Scientific researches show that in the coming century, Earth will become unliveable with the rate at which the natural resources are depleting. So start small, but start now!

Did You Also Believe These Myths About Organic Food?

Like everything else on the Internet, there are a lot of mixed feelings and opinions that people seem to have when it comes to organic food. While the benefits of choosing organic are crystal clear, it’s possible to stumble upon misconstrued information which may be false or manipulated. Such misinformation paints organic food in a negative light. In this blog, we do not wish to convince you that organic food is the best and the negatives you read about it are all lies, rather, all we wish to do is present you with the facts, the unadulterated truth, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #1. “Organic food does not always translate to healthy food”

If you buy a packet of organic urad daland decide to make deep-fried tikkisout of the batter, then it’s obviously not going to do much for you, nutrition wise. The high temperatures will destroy most of the nutrient value, the oil will be laden with saturated fat, and you will lose out on the health benefits. If you take the same urad dal and make a dosawith just a dash of oil on the pan, then you’ll have yourself a healthy meal! One of the biggest myths about organic food is that it’s not automatically healthy, but that’s more because of the way the food is treated, it has more to do with cooking than the food itself. So the health factor is really dependent on how you choose to make your food.

Myth #2: “Pesticides are only harmful to pests, not humans”

If you think that these chemicals are only effective on four-legged pests, think again. A study by the US Library of Medicine stated that pesticide residues have also been detected in human breast milk samples, which raise serious questions and concerns about prenatal exposure and the effects on children. People who work closely with pesticides have recorded suffering from respiratory issues, and also those also affect their reproductive and endocrine systems. High accidental exposures may even result in death.

Myth #3: “Organic food is simply unaffordable”

Of course, organic food can be affordable if you know where to find them. Try your local farmer’s markets, sustainability drives and online superstores to find genuine, organic foods. And if the price point is a marginally higher than generic brands, understand that you are paying for the assurance and safety of a certification. It’s far from easy to get certified by the USDA, but if a brand is certified, then you can rest assured that you’re consuming safe, hygienic ingredients.

Myth #4: “Natural and organic mean the same thing”

This is by far the biggest myth. Understand that what makes a brand organic is not the nature of food, but rather the processes of production, sourcing, and manufacturing. For example, doorstep delivered milk can be called “natural” because using that word requires no certification. But calling a brand organic without the certification can have serious consequences as well as legal ramifications. The certification is all about the processes, have the key ingredients been sustainably sourced? Are the cows healthy? Do they have space to roam? Are they grass-fed? Is the grass they are fed with chemical-free? Getting certified requires providing documented evidence for questions like this and more.

Myth #5: “Organic food is not sustainable”

A study conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which spanned over 9 years, stated that organic farming is better for the soil matter than conventional, no-till farming. To put things in perspective, just one teaspoon of compost rich organic soil can host over 600 million to 1 billion good bacteria from 15,000 different species. Compare that with chemically-treated soil, where one teaspoon can house barely 100 good bacteria. This is the most pragmatic way to understand the benefits of organic farming on the environment.

Myth #6. “Organic food is tasteless”

This is a common myth that mostly surfaces to organic newcomers. Let’s take an example of milk. If you find that your new brand of organic milk isn’t as rich as your previous milk, it’s because organic is as close to the real thing as it gets. Traditional cartons of milk use emulsifiers and thickening agents to make milk seem creamier and richer, but all of this takes an immense toll on the digestive system. Most people cannot handle such high levels of lactose, which is why organic milk reserves the best natural ingredients and preserves their nutrition through scientific processes.

#Myth #7. “Organic is just a buzzword”

By buying into this myth, you are not only denying yourself the opportunity to be healthier and make wiser health choices, but you are also robbing local, Indian farmers the opportunity to preserve their heritage and make an honest livelihood. India has always been an agriculturally rich nation, but after colonization, farmers were forced to stop the cultivation of indigenous local crops and replace them with cash crops. Now, our farmers are finally getting the support they need to grow local grains like red rice, millets and more. By buying an organic brand, you choose to shop local, to support local farmers and the community. By choosing organic, you are not helping a greedy corporate CEO to buy a fifth holiday home in France, rather, you are helping a local farmer to put food on the table and feed the family. So who would you rather support?

These are the facts about organic food, and we hope that this article has helped you better understand not just the benefits of organic food, but also the impact of organic farming on a holistic scale. Not only is it the best option for your health, but it’s also something that creates jobs and lessens the load on the environment. Remember, when you shop local or organic, you are not just benefitting yourself and your family, but you’re also benefiting the community and the planet as a whole!