Diet Roulette

Ayurveda

I’m doing it again. The food thing. Changing it up. If you’ve lost track, as I have, let me recount the past few food philosophies I have adopted and what I’ve learned and why I’m switching again.

There was the juice cleanse. The intention was to drink nothing but freshly pressed green juices, mostly my own, for 3-5 days. Eat a little whole fruit in there, perhaps some all-vegetable salads with only cold pressed olive oil drizzled. It went pretty well, but really 3 days of that is not enough to reveal any great insights, and I got so bored. So, I moved on.

I was feeling an unreasonable amount of stuffiness and congestion so I investigated the low-histamine trend. It’s the newest shiny thing in the food world. It’s difficult, but I did it religiously for about three weeks then slowly incorporated higher histamine foods back in. I mean, no avocado? Come on! Plus, I was reading conflicting articles, apparently it’s a very personal thing, this histamine. I did however find relief from the congestion and I stopped my morning ritual of three sneezes upon rising, so a win, I would say. But not sustainable and not intended to be.

That brings us to Whole30. That blog was a few days ago. The Cliff Notes version: It was good and pretty easy for me.

But still, there was this nagging in my mind or gut or somewhere demanding attention that told me I had not quite figured it out.

Circumstances being what they were I was heading to Flagler Beach to take my love to an Ayurvedic Physician. There was a consultation, then the recommendation that he return for four days to do a cleanse for four hours each day. This involved a specific kind of lymphatic massage, a sweat box, a forehead oil drip and something I promised not to mention. Let’s just say, it was a big part of the ‘cleanse’. Back and forth each day. That’s about an hour and a half each way. But it’s the beach, so. Plus, I personally know and love the doctor here. He spent his first lifetime as a general surgeon, then shifted a little more than 10 years ago to Ayurveda.

A quick primer: Ayurveda literally translates to Science of Life, it is the sister science to yoga. Where yoga is mostly a spiritual path, Ayurveda deals with the physical health of the body as it relates to diet, the seasons and the rhythms of the earth. Together they are a comprehensive approach to health. Everything prescribed in Ayurveda is dependent upon your dosha – your body’s constitution. This can be determined by a quick pulse diagnosis by someone who knows what they’re looking for. Often our constitutions are out of balance and some tweaking with food, exercise, lifestyle choices, treatments like massage, activities like yoga and herbs, will help straighten everything out. Other times call for a detox to remove stubborn waste called ama.

As I mentioned in the Whole 30 blog, body intuition goes a long way to recognizing an imbalance, but it is often useful to get another opinion. I also mentioned how it would be so great to be a vegetarian. (That right there is a little thing we call foreshadowing.)

Well, while I was waiting in this spectacular giant home on the water with a pool at my disposal, I decided to schedule a consultation for myself. Turns out, according to Ayurveda, a vegan diet is what is best for me right now. Vegan. No eggs, no dairy, no meat. Kind of the opposite of Whole 30, but I’m game. My first question was, “Forever?”

One year, with check-ins every three months. I’m down. And kind of excited. From past experimental experiences, I can tell you that a vegetarian diet for a month or more always left me feeling clearer and lighter, but I was invariably pulled back to the other side by my habits. The every-three-month thing will probably hold me accountable. Plus, I can have dark chocolate, coffee and wine on occasion. Win.

There is still “no list” food in my home and I am awaiting some herbs, so I plan to use the next couple days to transition and start with full attention on Sunday. In the margins of my life I am also completing a Life Plan as directed by the motivational book Living Forward, which happens to have as one of its “life accounts” Health. This will be completed on Saturday so the stars seem to be aligning.

I’m such an over-achiever wannabe.

Food Intuition

curious me

Why is food such a challenge? I’m not sure when marketers started getting involved but I suspect that’s when we all became confused. We believed what we heard because [mostly] men in white coats were telling us what to do. Celebrities who looked amazing drank diet soda and ate lettuce for dessert, so we did that. No fat, all fat, no carbs, only carbs, no meat, lots of meat. It’s much more conflicted now. Information is moving quickly and the desperate need to get it in front of the right people has created a whole new business culture involving metrics and algorithms. Plus, those with the most money win. The meat and dairy industries throw an enormous amount of capital at advertising – and often misdirecting and making false claims – while the little organic kale farmer can barely pay crop insurance, let alone extol the virtues of cruciferous vegetables.

But then again, maybe it’s all genetics.

But beyond blaming the big guys (or maybe because of them, but let’s take responsibility back now, people) we have lost touch with our body intuition. I know I have. Mostly. As a teenager, Weight Watchers and Seventeen magazine directed my dietary needs. Then came Dr. Atkins and Scarsdale. Then joining a sorority at a southern university and eating the cooking of an amazingly talented southern black woman who cooked with passion, love and lard. Then all the alcohol that comes with college. Then vegetarianism, veganism, paleo, Mediterranean… I’m getting exhausted just typing this.

I needed someone else to tell me what was good for me. I lost trust in my gut.

So, it will probably come as no surprise that I just completed the Whole 30 plan (I just can’t use the word diet anymore). It was good. It is how I normally eat when I am behaving and when I am capable of listening to my body. It follows my particular blood type. (Yes, I did that one too, maybe the only one that really made sense and felt good. So why did I give it up?)

In the end I lost maybe 6 pounds. A small win, but a win nonetheless. I attribute that entirely to no sugar and no alcohol. Mostly no sugar, I had all but given up my red wine habit months ago, opting only for special occasions. Like a normal person.

I didn’t move enough. I have a million valid reasons but really that’s just a pretty way of saying excuses. If I had moved more that weight loss number would likely be higher. But moving is coming.

I have learned throughout this year so many valuable things about my tendencies and my experience of life in general. One of those is: Life will always get in the way. In other words I will always have a valid reason NOT to do something. No sleep, disrupted schedule, travel, sick pet or person, but so what, that is life.

Life cannot interrupt life.

It takes commitment and self-prioritization. And I know that once I get just a few days into a healthy routine of the gym or yoga or walking, my body will beg me to keep going.

Back to intuition. I like the premise of the Whole 30 diet as I do almost any elimination plan. If it’s taken seriously and done correctly it can offer a lot of information about your body’s capabilities to digest and assimilate certain types of foods. It creates and environment of forced intuition that can help rebuild that innate muscle.

It’s as simple as this: Pay Attention.

How do you feel when you eat certain foods? Energized, sluggish, asthmatic, itchy, bloated, nauseous, calm, jittery? These are solid clues.

I know my body is not fond of grains – in particular wheat. It does not take kindly to legumes and it gets very congested on dairy. It LOVES sugar, or maybe that’s all in my head. To be honest, even juice can make my heart race, so sugar isn’t so much my friend as my energy dealer.

But I have discovered that I can tolerate a small amount of any of those things once in a while. I can have a fully loaded cappuccino on a rainy afternoon every so often. A piece of birthday cake does not affect me if I’m not eating wheat and dairy on the daily. Black beans in my burrito bowl are quite tasty, but less is better. Cheese is seductive, but being able to breathe and, well, perform other natural functions, now wins. No cheese. I have also learned that there is such a thing as too much meat for me. I would love to be able to be a vegetarian but without legumes or soy it’s very difficult to find a worthy protein source. Instead I limit my animal protein to eggs from a friend’s happy chickens and some responsibly, humanely, organically raised beef and chicken from a local farm. If I had to catch and kill my own dinner I would live off eggs or learn to like fish. Perhaps a plan for the near future.

Oh, wait, Ayurveda…

 

 

Sugar Troll

Stone bridge over a canyon at the Trolls path in Norway

It’s amazing to me how I can go from gobbling sugar in various forms to not having any at all and being okay with it. It’s like a switch is thrown, but until it is I am stumbling down a long, dark hallway with no windows in the middle of a moonless night groping for it, picking up a piece of candy and maybe a glass of wine along the way.

I don’t fully understand the triggers.

In the book, The Whole30, the authors speak of slaying the sugar dragon. I find this an unfair assessment of dragons of which I have great affection. I know of no such dragon, but I am more intimately acquainted than I’d like to be with the Sugar Troll. He’s ugly and creepy and short with rotten teeth and thick black fingernails. His posture is atrocious and he emits a smell I can only compare to too much cotton candy. When he’s close to me I am disgusted. It’s usually after we’ve just polished off a pint of ice cream or a bag of m&m’s. It’s not often. Mostly he lurks around corners and behind draperies encouraging just a little more sugar in my coffee or another piece of dark – the good for you kind – chocolate.

I don’t want to slay him so much as help him find his bridge. I’m not a violent person.

For the past three days he’s been on vacation. I asked him to go, told him he deserved it. He has after all been working really hard the past few months, and if I’m totally honest, more than the past fifity years. I don’t know how he does it. He works so hard for these intense bursts; bringing me bags of Werther’s and butter rum Lifesavers. When we go shopping together at Michael’s he always insists I pick up a pack of Razzles. It’s a candy AND a gum and big piece of my childhood. I deserve the memory, he winks. He loves parties, admonishing me if I try to avoid the birthday cake, it would be rude not to have a piece. And wine, I should have lots of wine, the red kind, it’s good for me. Like dark chocolate.

And then he hibernates for a while and I back off the cavity-maker in self-abasement. Then, just when the tiniest stress begins to build because of… anything …he’s at my door with a box of gluten free ginger snaps from Whole Foods.

He’s a cheeky bastard.

We’re having heart to heart conversations these days. He‘s taking my desire for him to move out pretty personally. He’s trying to understand, but he’s hurt. There is nothing sadder than a crying, snotty sugar troll. Pitiful. I explain that he could find a nice sugar troll mate and they could fall in love and eat candy together forever.

It’s been four days and I haven’t heard from him. I hope he’s kicking back on the rocks by the stream daydreaming and sighing contentedly a lot. I really don’t want to see him again, but it’s not his fault.

We’re just in two different places. And I’d like it to stay that way.

Sex, Drugs and Lots of Food

me on the gator

The photo purge continues. It may, in fact, never end. It’s part trip down memory lane and part making up stories of the lives of relatives I have never met.

While the story making up is endlessly entertaining, at least to me, the personal history part is the most informative.

As I look at photos of myself over the past thirty-some years, I notice one thing: I have never really been thin. As an adult, beyond college, I have always carried more weight than was necessary. And more than I wanted.

Oddly, this is a revelation. I mean, I kind of knew I wasn’t my ideal weight, but what surprises me the most is this: Since somewhere in my twenties, until this very moment that my fingers are striking these letters to make these sentences, I have been trying to get back to ‘that weight’. What weight? I made it all up. Somewhere in my memory I have constructed the perfect sized adult me. She’s about a size 8, not too thin, but not heavy. She’s athletic-ish, maybe she dances or hikes a lot. Her clothes are awesome, pretty simple but well-fitting and not boxy and concealing. Her movements are smooth, her way easy. And she is a figment of my imagination.

I may as well be making up stories about the photos of me.

There is a girl, about 14, that is very thin with legs that appear long and lithe, but that was clearly a growth spurt and before she understood what was really happening at home. Before she started eating her feelings and building her protective coating of fat.

This is not to blame my parents, but I kinda blame my parents.

At 15 I decided I was obese, about 130 lbs. – actually probably my perfect weight, maybe even a little thin for my age and body structure now – and I wanted to go to Weight Watchers. My mother agreed immediately. At least that’s how I remember it.

When I was combing my memories a number of years ago I pinned this whole unhealthy obsession with food and diets on my father. He liked thin women, it was known. So I was going to do that, get thin. I’d get his attention and love that way. (He did not, not love me, he was just one of those dads that preferred alcohol to emotion. Or daughters). Then after processing that, and resenting him for a few years, a light bulb went off. Wait a minute, I thought… Why did my mother agree so quickly to Weight Watchers? (I was the youngest one there, by the way, and the only one who could not drive herself.) It occurred to me that she could have questioned my motives or told me I was perfect the way I was. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? But she just packed me into the car and sent me in with enough cash to cover the meeting fee each week.

There’s way too much neurosis on everyone’s part to tease that riddle apart here, but suffice it to say that some damaging seeds were planted that got watered with unrelenting rains a year later when our family unit began to dissolve in angry and quiet ways.

The blame crown was now hers to wear for a while. But it really wasn’t her fault either.

My father, just out of reach emotionally, treated my mother like a doormat. He was condescending and rude at best, verbally abusive at worst. He never hit her, instead he withheld, brooded and shot the house full of threat without saying a word. There was never any reason to fear him, yet we all understood we were to be worried.

In the years between Weight Watchers and going off to college my mother surreptitiously planned her escape. She had been hiding a few meaningful things at a neighbor’s house, squirreled away some money and not so elegantly taken up with a friend’s husband. All the adults seemed to know. I was confused but understood what was at work on some level.

Aside from the affair thing I had encouraged her to leave my father.

At this point my weight was normal. Not healthy necessarily. For a while there I subsisted on an apple and a pint of milk a day. Period. Until grandma came for Christmas and baked her way into my heart and back onto my thighs.

I had firmly researched and implemented all sorts of self-inflicting shaming practices. I was not as thin as my mother and if my parent’s relationship was falling apart, then why should I bother becoming that perfect specimen of thinness? Crazy, right? But somehow this must be the thinking that coalesced and dropped even more seeds into my already tattered psyche.

I left for school when I was 19, opting for community college for that first year so I could continue to spend time with my boyfriend who was a year behind me. Even so, we opted for different universities that would cause us to be apart. He went south to the tidewater area of Virginia, I went one state further to East Carolina University.

As my tires crossed from Virginia into North Carolina I somehow knew I would never go home again. Not to any home I had known.

I immediately pledged a sorority. It was a calculated move – instant friends and a plethora of parties. Distraction became my medication. Food, alcohol, a few other unsavory, but very fun at the time, substances and sex all kept me even somehow.

Then mom came to visit and announced she was marrying her friend’s husband.

After that I gradually lost interest in the school part of school and engaged fully in extracurricular fun. I did play a few intramural sports, miniature golf (I know) and soccer, but otherwise the fun was centered around dark hours.

There’s so much more between then and now, but it seems this period defined so much of what would follow.

The weight and the desire to control everything around me didn’t fully manifest until I moved home from school and had to ask permission to stay somewhere with my mother or father. It was at this time I concluded that I was the only one who could take care of me and so I did. I stayed with my mother for less than a month, felt like a stranger in someone else’s house – because it was someone else’s house – and moved in with a new friend.

The coping mechanisms I had employed during college were still readily available and close at hand. I am fortunate to not have an addictive personality (whatever that truly means) so I never held onto any of the panaceas for long. Except food. I struggled forever to control food. Always failing, it seemed. Sometimes winning, but not for a sustained period of time.

The food struggle continues, but it has been channeled in a healthier way, through education. But it’s still at the top of my brain almost always.

I am not unhappy in my current state. There is some tension between where I am and where I would like to be, but the chasm is small and there is very little stress in that tension. And now with this new information that there’s not really an ideal me to return to, I can relax and realize that as I am is just fine, maybe even perfect. This does not mean I will not continue to engage in healthy practices or even push a little harder, but that fantasy ideal?

It’s gone.

Another Brilliant Idea

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I had the brilliant idea that I would do a fast/cleanse of sorts every Monday and maybe Tuesday, possibly Wednesday. And maybe, just maybe, I would do this every week.

I stocked my fridge with coconut water and ordered more from Amazon as back up. I bought a truck load of kale, chard, spinach, carrots, celery, parsley, a few apples, pears and pineapple for juicing. There are enough bananas on my counter for a zoo.

The plan: Only raw fruits and vegetables in their recognizable form or spun into juice. Loads of water and a couple coconut waters a day.

The back-up plan: All of the above plus steamed fresh veggies with a bit of ghee. And maybe a dash of salt and pepper.

The back-up to the back-up plan: All of the above and maybe a hard-boiled egg or two if I was feeling particularly weak.

  • No caffeine
  • No sugar
  • No meat
  • No legumes
  • No grains
  • No dairy (except ghee)
  • No spices other than salt and pepper

Unfortunately all of that seemed to add up to no energy. So I cheated. Right. Outta. The. Gate.

An hour into my Monday morning, post coconut water, I was fading fast. I have a four cup coffee maker and my typical morning brew is half caf/half decaf – and all four cups – but I really didn’t think I’d miss it that much.

It called to me from the kitchen, it was moaning and bargaining and it just wouldn’t shut up. So I had 1 of those four cups with less than half of it caffeinated. BUT (in the interest of honesty) I also added a dab of sugar and a splash of milk.

I am not one of those brave souls who take their coffee black.

The rest of the day went according to plan until about 4. You know, that hour. At which time I gobbled up a handful (or 3) of macadamia nuts.

Dinner was steamed veggies with ghee as planned. And there was plenty of water and juice throughout the day.

It wasn’t a total fail.

I learned a long time ago not to shame myself. I’ve also learned that one “mistake” doesn’t ruin the whole plan. It would be so easy to give up and eat the chocolate. But I didn’t and I call that a win.

The whole reason behind the plan was to disrupt the crap fest I suddenly found myself in the middle of. Habits creep back. Sugar wants sugar. Carbs want carbs and so on.

If I can make this my base and go back to it a day or two a week, even with the coffee, I imagine I’ll be feeling pretty good.

 

 

Travel Enlightenment

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Aaaaannnd, we’re back!

Not that I actually ever left, but there were many distractions and disruptions that led me physically,  mentally and emotionally away for a bit. Now that I have returned I am ready to pick up where I left off and maybe start over a little on some things.

My time away (I led a yoga retreat to India for two weeks and took a week for fun in Spain) revealed a few things to me. It always does, this is why travel is so important to me. (If travel is your thing too, you can read about my wanderings here: allisonswanderland.)

A few nuggets for my own consideration:

Whenever I’m in India I eat completely, 100% vegetarian. And I feel great. I have “been” vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and every other named dietary follower before. And I never truly stick with any one thing for long, but I have learned a lot about my tendencies, likes, dislikes and what my body appreciates.

Conclusion: I am going 95% vegetarian for the summer. Why not 100%? Because one of the things I’ve learned about my body is it doesn’t process legumes well and it loves protein, so eggs, yogurt and a bit of cheese will be my primary sources, not beans. If I get lethargic I’ll need to add a bit of meat for medicinal purposes. [Please note: there was no intention of sarcasm in that medicinal comment. I truly believe that almost any food when eliminated can be added back in, in small doses as a benefit to the body.]

Traveling also always reveals to me that I have an irrepressible need to be outside and to walk. I love to walk. Walking in cities fills me with wonder and purpose. I have also learned through my travels that I can stop in the afternoon for a pick-me-up of a fully-loaded cappuccino and half a creme brulee and still lose 10 pounds. From walking. About 10 miles a day.

But Florida’s summer heat makes me edgy and lazy and the lack of hills makes me a little sad. So I’ve crafted a plan to walk to the gym (about 1.5 miles one way) every morning super early, walk the hills on a treadmill for 30 minutes then walk home all sweaty. By the way I will be passing a Starbucks and a Panera so… can you say incentive? Maybe some days I’ll even strap my laptop to my back and stop at one of the aforementioned places on my way home to pound out a few blogs. Who can say for sure?

I cannot control anything, [insert eye-rolling emoji here] except my reaction. I ALREADY KNEW THIS, but it has been thrown in my face over and over and over again with unnatural force recently. What I continually attempt to control is my environment. I want my house to be certain way, have structure, be organized. I want the same for my office and the studio (I own a yoga studio with two other magical ladies). This is important to me, not for the unexpected visit from Elle Decor, but so I can have head space to be creative. If there is stuff everywhere I feel so tired and uninspired.

Having just acquired most of my mother’s belongings, there is nothing if not a lack of structure in my home. Getting upset about it only hinders the process and there’s so much to learn in the process.

Organizing things, sorting, compartmentalizing and yes, purging, all make me very happy. It’s this weird internal sense of things clicking into place, and it only works with tangible objects. I cannot feel satisfied by sorting through files on my computer. I have to touch and move actual stuff. The Universe has gifted me a tremendous opportunity to go to this happy place, I just need to see it as that and not the furniture and stuff shaped mound of frustration I’ve made it.

There was more wisdom imparted to me but this is plenty to work on and adopt so I’m sticking with these three. To review, I will:

  1. Eat a 95% + Vegetarian diet throughout the summer, which is about 6 months here.
  2. I will satisfy my need to wander through hill and dale (while not meandering abroad) by walking to the gym and climbing on equipment.
  3. I will take my time and practice mindfulness while organizing and continuing to purge stuff from my various environments.

I am also still deeply committed to minimizing my personal carbon footprint by reducing my trash and carefully considering all purchases.

It feels good to have a plan, some structure and goals. As soon as I finish integrating whatever I am keeping from my mother’s gifts I will resume, and in some cases restart, counting all my objects.

It was actually quite therapeutic.

Waste Not

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I’ve been thinking a lot about trash lately. Mostly how much I produce. How many bags go out per week, how full my recycling bin is, stuff like that.

And then I wondered how different my choices would be if I had to pay or be responsible for this trash. I am already paying for its removal, as are you, it’s one of those line items in your “City of…” bill or it’s built into your rent, so paying for it is covered.

But what if I had to do something with my trash and recycles? What if I couldn’t just put them at the curb and smile in satisfaction at my clean home?

Let’s play a game… Let’s pretend we’re going grocery shopping for one day of food on the SAD (Standard American Diet).

In our basket we may find:

  • 1 box of cereal
  • 1 gallon of milk
  • 1 quart of orange juice
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 loaf of bread
  • package of smoked turkey lunch meat
  • package of American cheese
  • 1 jar of mayonnaise
  • 1 box of single serving chips
  • 1 apple in a plastic bag
  • 1 box of Hostess treats
  • 1 package of hotdogs
  • 1 package of buns
  • 1 squeeze bottle of mustard
  • 1 squeeze bottle of ketchup
  • 1 jar of pickles
  • 1 jar of baked beans
  • 1 container of potato salad
  • 1 12 pack of soda
  • 1 gallon of ice cream

First of all, bleck! For your health’s sake, please eat some greens!! But moving on. Let’s take a look at the waste produced just in the packaging.

  • 1 box of cereal – cardboard box, wax paper insert
  • 1 gallon of milk – plastic jug, plastic lid
  • 1 quart of orange juice – plastic bottle, plastic lid
  • 1 dozen eggs – Styrofoam container
  • 1 loaf of bread – plastic bag, plastic tie
  • package of smoked turkey lunch meat – plastic container/wrapper
  • package of American cheese – plastic wrapper(s)
  • 1 jar of mayonnaise – plastic jar, plastic lid
  • 1 box of single serving chips – cardboard box, plastic wrap, plastic bags
  • 1 apple in a plastic bag – plastic bag
  • 1 box of Hostess treats – cardboard box, plastic wrap for each treat
  • 1 package of hotdogs – plastic wrapped
  • 1 package of buns – plastic bag, plastic tie
  • 1 squeeze bottle of mustard – plastic bottle, plastic lid
  • 1 squeeze bottle of ketchup – plastic bottle, plastic lid
  • 1 jar of pickles – glass jar, metal lid
  • 1 jar of baked beans – tin can with rubber lining
  • 1 container of potato salad – plastic container
  • 1 12 pack of soda – cardboard box, aluminum cans
  • 1 gallon of ice cream – wax coated cardboard

Now let’s say you were going to throw all of this away in one day. A lot of it could go into your recycling bin, but not all. Those lids for mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc. are usually not recyclable. Many plastic bags cannot be recycled. Styrofoam egg containers, maybe. The cardboard can typically be composted or recycled, in some municipalities.

All this sounds like good news! What’s the problem?

The problem is only about 35% of people actually recycle and only a percentage of that gets recycled. There’s too much. Recycling is a business and if there is no need for more of your trash it gets turned away. Where do you suppose it goes?

What if you had to separate all of your recyclables and take them to their individual recycling places and pay to have them recycled? What if there were no service to just pick them up? Would you make different choices?

Let’s take a look at our shopping list one more time and consider some more environmentally friendly choices that may actually be healthier for our bodies as well.

  • 1 box of cereal – purchase in bulk (purchase reusable cloth bags to buy dry items in bulk)
  • 1 gallon of milk – make your own almond milk, super easy, no waste, store in a reusable glass bottle
  • 1 quart of orange juice – buy loose oranges and squeeze your own, compost the peels, nothing like fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 dozen eggs – ceramic containers are available and doesn’t everyone have a backyard chicken now? Purchase from a farmer’s market or friend, bring your own reusable container
  • 1 loaf of bread – bake your own, or let go of gluten for a while and use lettuce to wrap your sandwiches
  • package of smoked turkey lunch meat – purchase from a deli that uses paper to wrap meat and ask them to put it in your reusable glass container or washable cloth bag
  • package of American cheese – see above
  • 1 jar of mayonnaise – make your own, it’s easy and fresh
  • 1 box of single serving chips – you don’t need chips, pick up some bulk nuts
  • 1 apple in a plastic bag – ditch the plastic bag, you’re going to wash the apple anyway
  • 1 box of Hostess treats – you don’t need these either
  • 1 package of hotdogs – no, but if you must, again, get them from a deli that will wrap in paper
  • 1 package of buns – go bunless or wrap in lettuce or purchase from a bakery that will wrap in paper or use your bag
  • 1 squeeze bottle of mustard – make your own or buy an organic brand in glass – save the glass container
  • 1 squeeze bottle of ketchup – make your own, easy and fresh
  • 1 jar of pickles – you can make your own but if you’re buying glass and saving it, you get a pass
  • 1 jar of baked beans – choose a brand that doesn’t line their cans or make your own
  • 1 container of potato salad – make your own, grandma must have an amazing recipe
  • 1 12 pack of soda – just no
  • 1 gallon of ice cream – on a hot summer day make your own, this is a treat

We have ended up with a few glass containers we can reuse, paper than can be composted and maybe one tin can. Don’t you feel better?

The time it would take to make all of this from scratch is probably the same amount of time it would take to sort through all your trash and drive it to separate recycling facilities and pay to have it recycled.

Precycle. Plan ahead. Consider where the packaging will go when you make your purchases.

  • Purchase a few glass jars that seal tightly to hold bulk dry goods like rice, cereal, nuts, etc.
  • Pick up a variety of sizes of cloth draw string bags for bulk foods and produce.
  • Save all the glass containers that are already in your pantry to use for other purposes.

Set waste goals. Find a container that seems like an acceptable amount of waste and notice how long it takes to fill it. Continually try to beat your last record, slower and less.

There are so many great resources out there and inspiring people doing great things. Here are a few:

Website with tons of ideas: www.bezero.org

Website: www.trashisfortossers.com

Article with statistics: harmony1.com

 

About 90% Committed

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I decided to do the Whole 30 “Abridged” version.

Which is to say, I’m cheating already.

In my defense, I have a nearly full carton of organic half and half just sitting in my fridge and since I no longer waste things, I have to use it. There may have also been a couple pieces of chocolate left too.

I’m also not completely prepared. I need to purchase a few provisions to make this as easy as possible.

What’s interesting to me, is that the Monday after Thanksgiving I quit it all: dairy, alcohol, grains of any kind, sugar. And it was easy. A switch had been thrown that would not allow me to stuff garbage into my pie hole.

That lasted nearly a month. Then someone found the switch and threw it in the other direction.

How does this happen?

I jumped off the junk train then because I felt disgusting and lethargic.

I no longer gauge if something is working by the scale but how I feel. What my energy level is. If I’m sleepy mid-day I know there’s way too much sludge in my veins and they need a nice clean-out with some juicing and/or water. NOT coffee or chocolate, as much as it pains me to write that out loud. And longer term, just better, cleaner eating habits.

I tripped back onto the sugar bus because I clearly wasn’t paying attention. I forgot that I was feeling great. Or, more likely, I succumbed to the ideal that a little won’t hurt.

But I’m back. And committed. 90%.

I have been reading the front of the Whole30 Cookbook and I’m becoming inspired. Enough to order the original Whole30 book with all the secrets for moral support. Thus far, it sounds suspiciously identical to the 21 Day Sugar Detox + 7 days. Either way, just reading about it will help me stay on task.

And either one of them will get me back to that energy sweet spot.

Next Monday 100%.

I’m gonna need all that sustained energy to finish counting all the things in my house.