Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Back to the Basics Without Becoming a Hippie

from Life
By: Jackson Tremont

Back-to-basics living can be part of a major life change, or it can be an accumulation of many smaller changes. You don’t have to rush out to live in a yurt in order for your lifestyle to become more basic, more sustainable and more affordable. Here are three easy tips for getting back to lifestyle basics without turning into a hippie.

Eating Habits
Believe it or not , our eating habits have an enormous impact on the world we live in. Choices we make as consumers influence the way that agriculture is managed, the energy expended to bring food from farm to market and even the resources that are used—and sometimes wasted—to package the food that we buy. And, naturally, the food you eat also affects your personal health.

You don’t have to become a vegan or switch to a raw foods diet to make big changes in the way that you eat. Start simply. Take a look at your cabinets: Are they filled with prepackaged snacks? These types of foods have the lowest ratio of nutrition to energy expended, which makes them low-hanging fruit, so to speak, for elimination from your diet. In fact, replacing prepackaged snacks with fresh fruit is a fantastic and easy step for getting back to basics.

Travelling Habits
Americans are used to driving everywhere, but many of us don’t have to. Consider the expense of gasoline—and your engine’s contribution to global warming—as a flexible variable. Buy a high quality bicycle, preferably one built for commuting, outfit it with a reliable set of panniers and bike to work one day out of the week. If work is too far away for biking, make two trips to the grocery store by bike rather than in your car.

Electricity Use
Getting back to basics is easy inside the house. Just reduce your electricity use. Buy only compact fluorescent lightbulbs—they look as good as incandescent bulbs these days—and install them in every socket in your house. Reduce your air conditioning, or, if you live in the north, don’t use it at all. A few days of discomfort might yield spectacular energy savings.

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