01 Jul

Turning Green: Grocery Shopping

Nobody says that making a switch to an over-all eco-friendly lifestyle is easy. If they do then they’re either liars, rich, or have a rare form of dedication. Or all three. But I’m not going to lie to you, I have less than $200 in my account, and I’m super lazy. Plus I’m new to the game, and I’m really not sure how this is going to work. But, I’m going to try. And I’m starting with groceries.

I think the most basic level of trying to be environmentally friendly starts with ourselves. I know, it’s hella sappy and nobody likes a holier-than-thou vibe, but I’m going to be real with you. To this day, I am in deep addiction to junk foods like microwaveable popcorn, Cheez-its, and Lays Potato Chips. Actually, I like to have all three of them mixed together in a large bowl. I also weigh 170 lbs on a good week, and I’m paying for an expensive gym that I’ve only been to twice so far. I’m not that person who’s gonna tell you to “be awakened” and make a sudden switch to a “whole lifestyle” that’s gonna make everything better. I think that only works for like, maybe 30% of the population? And even then, I’m skeptical of their seemingly perfect diet choices, cause a couple years ago I lost a bunch of weight and made better food changes but I still ate Pizza Hut like at least twice a month but would never admit it. So I don’t know.

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Anyway, I do truly believe that any changes – no matter how little yet consistent, make a big difference. The truth is, maybe eating a bowl of popcorn with cheez-its and potato chips 1-2 times a week isn’t healthy, but maybe I can slowly cut down on it. Plus, the waste it accumulates is kinda sad. I don’t need to tell you how bad we (as humans) are doing with trash, you can look it up yourself (starting here). That’s some real stuff..

So as far as my home is concerned, I’m gonna try to make a slow but steady switch and if you want to join me, hey, that’s awesome. You don’t wanna? Not gonna make ya.

But like I was saying before my tangent: I think it starts with ourselves. Healthier is a great start for happier, and generally when you’re happier and healthier you’re more mindful of others. And when you’re more mindful of others, you’re more mindful of taking care of them – which you can do in so many ways. One way is to take care of this planet WE all live in. It doesn’t just benefit me, but it benefits the planet my kids’ kids’ kids’ kids will live in, too.

Rubbish dump, Sidon

So first, let’s start with groceries. You know what? I’m not gonna yell at you about what you should be eating. Just start with eating healthier if you want, k? It’s different for everyone, so starting with a goal that’s practical is really the best way to start. I’m trying to implement more vegetables in every single meal I eat. So, how does this affect my life in terms of being more eco-friendly?

A couple years ago I bought a straw basket at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market to act as my reusable grocery bag. It mostly saw the inside of the closet for all of it’s L.A life, but now in Austin where it’s mostly a plastic bag-free city, I’ve been using it (almost every time) I buy groceries. Current reality: I’m using it maybe 80% of the time, but sometimes I go to H.E.B straight from work (with no basket in the trunk) and I end up buying a plastic bag. Goal: to use it every single time I buy food.

You can probably find similar baskets at local Farmer’s Markets, but you can also find one at places like Ten Thousand Villages for an average of about $40 – a great price when you factor in the favor you’re doing for the environment.

But, I noticed that even though I was using a basket to buy groceries, I was still throwing fresh veggies into those plastic bags that the store has. A total backwards effort to what I thought I was doing. Yesterday I picked up a pack of these reusable mesh bags at The Container Store for this reason, and I was pretty psyched to try it out today:

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Inside separate mesh bags: spinach bundle, mushrooms.

I also invested in some fridge containers to keep produce fresh, and in total honesty: in something that would remind me that they exist so I don’t keep throwing veggies out. It became a serious problem. But who doesn’t wanna use vegetables that look cool in your fridge? The only thing keeping me from buying seven of them (which was my original plan) was the fact that it’s anywhere from $20 – $25 for just one container! Ah, hell na. I had to compromise for two (which was still pushing my budget), and plan to save for maybe another one once a month. Current reality: lettuce is in one container, and all the other vegetables in the other. Goal: to keep lettuce in one, and all other vegetables in separate containers depending on their need for humidity (which is a new thing I learned!).

 

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Those are the changes I’m working on this week. I hope to be able to make these two things (basket bringing, reusable bag using) a habit. Once it feels natural, it’ll be great for nature.