Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eating Habits - Goal for 2012

My sister used to lecture me about my carbon footprint.  Okay, it was huge.  Like, Shaquille O'Neil huge.  But things changed when I moved out on my own.

First of all - I couldn't afford to buy all new furniture so I became the Craigslist queen.  Then my inventory of clothing was getting out of hand so I turned to consignment (to buy and sell).  Then I got into gardening and became more selective of the food that I bought, what I kept (as organic fertilizer for my garden) and what I put in my body.

Then I moved downtown and I got rid of my car and took public transportation, zip car, cycled, scootered, or walked to my destination.  

All these changes happened in the span of about two years.

But now I have a new goal, which I've been working on for about two months.  I plan to cut down my carbon footprint and live a healthier life by drastically reducing the amount of packaged and processed foods I eat.  I had to take an inventory of the food that I consume the most to identify my buying patterns.  How to do this?  I kept track of what was in my recyling box for the past three weeks.  Here's what I found:
  • LOTS of canned beans, tomatoes, beets, pears (for baking), Jyoti's canned curry, herring and sardines and condiments
  • Tons of plastic packing for campari and grape tomatoes, arugula, falafel, and goat yogurt
Bye! (Sniff, Sniff)

From this
To this

This is much better than a year ago when I was taking out my recycling every other day.

So what can I do?
  • I have already bought containers and filled them with dried beans.
  • Continue to pre-plan my meals (I have weekly meal plans).
  • Make my own curries.
  • Take the time to prepare my own beets.  
  • Never buy canned goods by the bulk and when I don't actually need them.  They tend to just sit there in my cupboard taking up valuable space.
  • Make my own chips (kale and sweet potato) and pop my own popcorn.
  • Buy seasonal veggies.  In the summer, I would get large bunches of mizuna and arugula from the UBC farmer market for stupid cheap.  So, now that the season has changed, I can eat kale and sprout my own quinoa for salads.  
  • Make my own falafels.  Besides, the store bought ones are always pre-fried.  I'm sure I can make patties that I can just pop into the oven or on the Foreman Grill.
  • In the summer, I will buy fresh berries and make my own preserves.

Less packaging, just buy your veggies from the smaller grocery stores or farmer markets

    These tools will be part of my arsenal to keep me on track:

    Foreman Grill
    Slow Cooker
    Salad Spinner

    Currently, my intake of processed and packaged foods is quite low - I'd say I'm probably at about 65-75%.  I'd like to see that go down up to about 75% - 85% by the end of February.

    How will I know that I've succeeded?
    • I only need to take my recycling out once a month and eventually, every other month
    • The canned goods shelf is replaced by dried food.  It has already gone from two whole shelves to half a shelf.
    • Packaged salad and tomatoes in my home become as rare as a full moon (I'm keeping my expectations realistic).

    Any tips to share?

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