"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." Hippocrates

"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarter keeps your doctor alive." Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb

"It is a matter of common knowledge that any processing that foods undergo serves to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods." McDonald's Corporation legal statement, shown in the documentary Supersize Me.

“Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people.”~ Henry Kissinger

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

making environmental (and healthier) changes...alittle at a time

i have included on the right hand side of my blog a new block called "what i'm reading right now" and that happens to be "sleeping naked is green" by vanessa farquharson.  i love the title of this book. and yes, i admit that when i saw the title, i picked it up out of curiousity. ;) the writer shares her daily changes (and the struggles) when she decided to make one little environmental change for an entire year on her blog. wow. i wouldn't have made it through the first month! i find myself reading a chapter or two when i can...i can't wait to find out the next change that she makes. i might be able to make the changes of showering in the dark, or using recyled paper towels (before she completely gives them up), banning all styrofoam (I hate that stuff anyhow and paper plates too!) or even starting a compost bin (although the thought of worms makes me want to throw up). the real problems for me would be giving up my car (i live in a rural area with no public transportation and it's 30 miles one way to work...over a mountain!), turning off my air conditioner in the summer (this one would kill me for sure, as hot and muggy as it gets here), handwashing all my dishes (oh God no, there aren't enough hours in the day now for everything I try to get done), or not using fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second (i am obsessed with scrubbing my fruit and vegetables, especially the ones that aren't organic).

But as i read her book i realized that i had infact started to make some positive environmental changes in my life without even realizing it. and that made me feel better. so what have i done that is better?

1. no more paper plates, plastic bowls, cups, utensils, etc. instead i bought a thermos and take my tea in it everyday to work. i also bought a thermos for my soup. no more tupperware! ugh, they're bad for your health anyhow! and yes, i like eating with a "real" utensil. i even bought some reusable sandwich & snack baggies...no more ziploc plastic to throw away.

2. no more bottled water. after watching a documentary on the bottled water industry, i realized what a joke it is to buy this stuff. i remember when bottled water was first introduced i laughed and said "who in their right mind would pay for stuff out of a faucet?" turns out i was closer to the truth than i knew.  in an effort to get rid of fluoride from our water and other nasty stuff, we're buying a berkey.

3. switch to organic shampoo, conditioner, soap. omg, do you really want to know what chemicals are in your shampoo? and the body wash you slather on every morning? do you want to know how many of those chemicals are classified as carcinogens? run, don't walk, to the nearest natural foods/health foods place near you and invest in some organic products!

4.  use only non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent. i switched over to seventh generation, no dyes, no fragrances. it's safer for you, your family, your pets, and the environment.

5. cancelled cable. Granted our reason for this was to save $$. i mean honestly though, we're paying $50 a month for 50 channels and i rarely find something to watch. ok, when "the walking dead" season 3 starts again in the fall, i'm going to be crying. but surely i can find it on the internet somewhere. oh please oh please. but for now, i am surprised i'm not missing it. in fact, i'm getting alot more productive "stuff" done! and we are signed up with netflix, so when the urge hits, i can watch a drama, comedy, or more documentaries to piss me off at "the government" and "big business".

6. make sure all the lights are turned off before leaving home. a nice, easy environmental change. ok, we did it to not give an extra dime to AEP. their rates are high enough and they're constantly asking for a rate increase. enough is enough! we're on monthly budget rating and can barely afford that.

7. switched to a natural toothpaste. we did it get rid of the floride and saccharin. two very scary ingredients in anything!

8. use stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up). and along with the environmental element comes the health issue. teflon is like death in frying pan. ditch those suckers and use the stainless steel only.

9. no more ordering food by delivery. yeah, this is another one of those that you can do for the environment, your health, or your wallet! lucky for us we live in a rural area where there's only like 3 places that deliver and the food sucks at all of them! ;)

10. pick weeds by hand rather than with use a pesticide.  we're going organic, baby! this will be our first year using container/square foot gardening and it's all going to be organically grown. the food prices are outrageous for good, healthy, quality, organic food. it's part of  "prim rose hill homestead" that's in the first stage of developement.

11. use cloth instead of paper towels for household cleaning. great way to use rags (old clothing, t-shirts, etc) or dishcloths/tea towels in the kitchen. we didn't use paper towels when i was growing up. my parents/grandparents thought that was too expensive to just use something you throw away after using one time. we need to get back into that mentality of thinking.

12. use the same fork or spoon you stir with to eat with. seriously, how much easier does it get than this? i mean, this is one of those things that you think sounds hokey, but think about how much we dirty up more utensils when that first one really isn't "dirty" to begin with. my dishwasher will fill up slower and that means less water and electricity  and $$ in the long run. not to mention you're an idiot for stirring your tea and then getting another clean one to eat with. ;)

13. use towels several times before changing them. i've been doing this one for years. i mean, how dirty can it be? you just took a shower!

14. not consuming anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, most tea bags, etc). this is really a health issue for us. after you watch a few documentaries on corn, you will become a paranoid freak, throwing out everything in your kitchen cabinets that contain any form of corn. yep, if it's not "organic" you can bet it's a gmo. we've gone as far as to not buy anything corn, soy, or canola that's not organic. wow that eliminates processed food in a hurry!

15. Only buy beans dry, in bulk. as two vegetarians, we now eat alot of beans. i do buy some organic ones in the can occasionally, but i've been trying to freeze a few bowls here and there so i always have some cooked and ready to use in the house. much better than buying the heavily-salted ones in cans.

16. drink only organic teas. i LOVE numi teas. they are organic and the tea bags are NOT made from gmo-corn. yeah really. most teabags are not bio-degradable and that's why. so now i am spoiled by their aged earl grey & it's all i will drink.  i like that they are an pro-environment, use only organic teas, and no gmo bags. and the best way to show that is to purchase their products. yep, money speaks louder than words. you vote for a product every time you buy it. you tell that company that you approve of their product and you want them to continue making more. sometimes that's good and sometimes it's not. i'm trying to make it more "good".

17. signed up with freecycle.org. well, who knows what i can rid of instead of sending to the dump or dropping off at goodwill. maybe we'll find some ducks or composting worms. ;)

18.  Empty lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis. ok, this one i got. i always clean the dryer trap before using it. yep, each and every time.

Changes we'll be making within the next month:

1. buy or grow only local (US only) organic produce. much easier to do in the summer months when  the farmer's market are open again. what we don't grow, we can buy locally.

2.  use tote bags, no more plastic bags. really now. i should already be doing this. i bought the bags at wal-mart when i shopped there but kept forgetting to bring them with me every time i went to the store. i tried to put them in the car. then i'd get to the checkout counter and realize the darn bags were still in the car! ugh. i am going to have to get better about this. especially when i'm at the farmer's market or natural foods store.

3. switch to recycled toilet paper and paper towels. how bad can it be? of course, i never have to buy either since my in-laws stock up on both like there's a crisis coming. ;) everytime they come to visit, they've made a stop at sam's warehouse and bought oodles of paper. so when i finally have to buy it, i'm buying recycled! maybe i can convince them to change now...

4. switch to natural deodorant. i am in the process of doing this one now. oh man. i bought this "fresh apricot" smelling deodoarant & thought how wonderful! after about two hours, i smelled like rotten apricots. no joke. ok, maybe next i'll buy the unscented or order one a different brand online. ugh. this is a hard one.

5. find a pvc-free shower curtain liner. surely i can find one online! you can find anything online!

6. quit using nail polish (or nail polish remover). this is hurting me now. i'm trying. really i am. i've been wearing nail polish since i was 13 years old. i think my hands look better with those mauve-colored tips. i know it's bad for me and yes, it takes my breath everytime i paint  or remove the old polish. it makes me feel feminine.  i feel so blahhhh without it. i really hate this one.

7. use "green" and "natural" cleaners. ok, baking soda. vinegar. those are the two biggies i know about. i'll have to some research on green cleaning. one thing i know for sure: better for the environment and better for our health.

8.  no buying plastic ever again.  self explanatory. :)

Changes to make over the summer:

1. find a natural, safe, vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic company that isn't outrageous. this is going to take some time. I've been looking online and doing some research.

2.  compost. yuck. i will have to get over my queasies. i have been saving our tea for the compost pile/bin that jeff will be building soon. i will start saving our food scraps too.

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