White Christmas – Green Thanksgiving?

The idea of having a White Christmas is popular, why not have a Green Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday to celebrate being grateful to the planet and honoring the loved ones in your life (including you!). If you’d like to focus on eating healthy food, consuming less, and being grateful for your life exactly as it is right now, here are ideas that may help.

Eating Healthy Food

Buying food that’s locally grown and organic if possible is a great way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.  Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves.  Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; organic meat is produced without antibiotics and artificial hormones. Organic farming also produces higher yields, increases soil fertility, prevents erosion, and is more cost-effective for farmers. Locally grown food also contributes to the local economy.  For a local Austin company that delivers local and organic food to your door, visit www.greenling.com.

On a national level, the Good Food Guide www.goodguide.com rates all types of food and they have a special guide to Thanksgiving foods.  If you’re going to serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you can find out how much salt is in your turkey, how much high fructose corn syrup is in your cranberry sauce, which preservatives are in your stuffing, and the amount of trans-fat in your pie.

The guide shows health and environmental impact ratings based on nutritional data from the USDA.  Their ratings for Diestel Farms Organic Turkey, Kraft chicken with whole wheat stuffing, and Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin are all high.

Reducing your Waste

To make your Thanksgiving celebration as eco-friendly as possible buy foods that are packaged in recyclable material.  And buy what you’re going to eat – try not to over-buy. Think ahead of how to use the leftovers that you’ll inevitably have.  Instead of buying extraneous Thanksgiving decorations – make your own.  And use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again. Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, this may be a good time to use your fruit and veggie trimmings to start one. Compost is great for a garden.

Being Grateful

It is Thanksgiving after all!  The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving after fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They were free and grateful to be alive. Reconnect with the Spirit of the Holiday.  Stay in the each moment of the day and realize that sharing love among your friends, family, and/or pets is more important than getting anxious over an over-cooked turkey or lumpy gravy. 

Enjoy being you.  Enjoy being with people or enjoy being with yourself.  Notice all the small gifts you have in your life.  It is the small things that we often overlook that contain the richness of a well-lived life. Avoid getting caught up in the media touting all the great deals for the official start of the Christmas buying season the next day. Instead, volunteer to help at a homeless shelter to put your life in perspective and give to others. Take a walk in nature.   Whatever unfolds on that day, meet it with acceptance and gratitude.

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