This year marks the 49th anniversary of Earth Day! There are so many reason we should be grateful to Mother Earth: soil that bears our food; oxygen and water that sustains our life, and the beauty of nature just to name a few. There are a two pressing concerns I want to share with you that could affect our health and wellness in a significant way if not corrected in the near future. Also I will share with you some small lifestyle upgrades that will bring better health to both you and our planet.
Today is a reminder that quality, nutrient-dense food cannot be taken for granted. As a nutritionist, I often recommend my clients to choose quality foods, however, the quality of food has been decreasing in the past few decades due to soil mineral depletion. How is our health affected by the loss of nutrient levels in our soil? According to Scientific American, many studies across the global has found that compared to the mid 1950s, our food has decreased in the amount of nutrients that they can provide us. For example, we are losing critical amounts of anti-inflammatory vitamin C, bone-building calcium, oxygen-carrying iron, and calming magnesium. I believe our health and well-being is intertwined with the soil that nourishes and supports us.
What is plastic pollution? Why does recycling bottles and containers fail to solve the issue? I want to share with you two examples to demonstrate the scale of the plastic challenge we are currently living with. First is the issue of single-use plastic. Plastic items take approximately 450-1000 years to decompose in landfills. The reality is, according to Earth Day Network, most of single use plastic doesn’t make it to the landfill. Instead approximately 25 million tons of plastic packaging flows into our oceans every year. As these plastic materials begin their slow decomposition journey, they break apart into small pieces called ‘microplastics’. This brings me to the second issue – microplastic. How big are microplastics? They range from microscopic fibres that are invisible to our eyes, to about 5 mm. These plastics are often mistaken as algae or phytoplankton by fish, resulting in harmful plastic residues in the seafood we eat. The scale of microplastic pollution can be found in every corner of our oceans – including antarctica. How do microplastics affect our health? If we ingest fish that contains microplastic particles, we are exposed to chemicals such as BPA, which have hormone-disrupting and immune-compromising effects.
According to the United Nations, sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations. We are all part of this balancing act of choosing to be kind to ourselves and our environment. Even small lifestyle shifts can make a difference and you have the power to shift this balance to protect our future.
Tahlia Sage (Bsc. Food, Nutrition & Health, Certified Nutritional Practitioner) is the founder of Sweet & Savoury Health, instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and wellness educator.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issue prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps.