Five Steps To Live A More Organic and Sustainable Lifestyle

National Organic September is a month-long campaign which aims to raise awareness of organic products, and the brands, producers and the benefits organic living can have on ourselves and the environment. 

What is an organic and sustainable lifestyle?

An organic and sustainable lifestyle doesn’t just start and end with organic food, this lifestyle extends to how you travel, how you take care of your home and how you look after yourself. To live an organic and sustainable lifestyle means to live the best version of what is healthy to you, making conscious decisions to better yourself and help protect the planet, whether locally or globally.

So the question now stands: how does one live a more organic and sustainable lifestyle?

Lucky for you, we have five simple steps that can help you on the way.

1. What you eat

Starting with what comes to mind when you think of ‘organic’: food. With more and more organic choices available now is a great time to think about the foods in your diet. What, in your food shop, could you swap for organic? Our first port of call when it comes to organic food is swapping in organic fruits and vegetables.

When we say organic produce, we mean specifically how the produce is grown and how it is processed, being free of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, so every factor is naturally controlled. Organic meat and dairy also mean that livestock are not subjected to growth hormone injections to produce more meat and diseases are prevented by natural means. Other things include, but are not limited to, healthy diets and ensuring that livestock have a clean environment to live in.

The purchase of organic food means that now only are you eating healthier foods, you are helping protect the environment through the prevention of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides getting into surrounding ecosystems. The Soil Association says that by switching just one item in your shop to organic will help contribute to changing our food system!

If you shop locally you can also help your local economy too. One of the best ways to do this is finding out where your local farmer market is and looking for produce that is organic. Local farmers markets are a great way to discover new local producers and farms. Produce that is grown locally and from the country in which you live also means that your fresh produce has not travelled across the globe, which means supporting food that has a lower carbon footprint.

2. What you grow

If you want to go the extra mile then a really great way to learn about your food is to actually grow some of your produce. Even if you have only a window sill, you can grow herbs which are wonderful to have fresh in salads, soups and other cooked dishes. For those of you that have bigger spaces, like gardens or allotments you can take your pick of easy to grow fruits and vegetables, from strawberries to bell peppers. With a bit of research, you will find that there are several fruits and vegetables that you can easily grow in your garden. 

Whether you have a garden or a windowsill, growing this produce in pots or packaging that would have been thrown away allows you to limit your waste and take up a hobby that contributes to your health. Egg cartons, yoghurt pots or even your baked bean tins are all easy containers to grow seedlings in. Also gardening and cultivating seeds and growing things are all beneficial to your mental health and physical health. Just think, how satisfying would it be to pluck some oregano and add it to your pasta sauce? Fresh and feeling like a primetime chef all at once.

3. How you move

Chuck the car, bring in the bike or walk. These are healthier alternative options which get the body working no matter the intensity, and if your legs just will not thank you for this, public transportation is always an option. Taking the bus or the train limits the amount of emissions with fewer cars on the road - plus, the scenic routes can often be more enjoyable. 

If you’re not convinced and a car is just what you need, why not get a car with better petrol mileage and try and limit any unnecessary trips with the car. If you can easily go by foot, why not do it, reach your daily steps target and clear your mind, helping the environment and your health. 

4. How you clean

Cleaning is usually never a step many think about when it comes to an organic and sustainable lifestyle, but it can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle. 

Using cleaning products that are free of parabens, phthalates, triclosan and palm oil is a starting point. You can also go natural and use baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice to help clean your home, these can easily act as cleaning and disinfectant substitutes. There are lots of new cleaning products available that are concentrated in formula meaning that water is not needed as part of the transportation process. Also with the rise of zero waste shops now might be the time to ditch the plastic cleaning bottles and switch to reusable glass spray bottles that can be refilled. 

5. What you buy

While we have already covered food, cleaning supplies and cars, this step is more specific to clothes and personal cosmetics as well as thinking about all the other products you buy. Buying skincare and clothes that support natural or organic practices is a step that you can take to go healthier and more sustainable in your purchasing. As more and more sustainable products become available, you have more choices to support businesses and retailers that align with your values. It may be a commitment to shop local, to shop smaller brands or to support only brands that have sustainable practices or values, but how you shop is hugely important and empowering.

An organic and sustainable lifestyle is a journey rather than a race to perfection. There are some steps that may be easier than others, but a lifestyle should not be a competition, we suggest you take your time and slowly implement these steps into your life if you haven’t already. After all, you can only help the environment one step at a time.

September 14, 2021 — Kwabena Gyane