A Green New Year
When I’m sick I get a lot of things done that don’t get done when I’m well. I may have stayed in bed until 2:30 however I then: washed the dishes, put away my clothes, shaved my legs, addressed letters to my parents, did 3 Italian lessons and wrote out my goals and plans for the new year and revised them, and googled things and revised them again. Oh I also started knitting a baby blanket for my niece. So being sick serves a purpose.
And I made healthy food and thought a lot about my past diets and all the changes and evolutions, what worked and what “didn’t”, when I was happiest with my body. And I decided that I’ll no longer be writing directly about food in the way I have in the past. I’m not going to outline my diet or post pictures of my lunch on instagram. All of this feeds my insecurity about what I eat and how it effects my body. It reinforces my perfectionist, dieting mentality. As for my goals – I want to take the focus off of dieting for the body I “should” have and put it onto more important, or just different things. I’ve explored that, I know what I want to do. I want to eat in a way that I don’t have to think about it 24/7 but I’m healthy, fit, maximising my potential and feeling max energy. As I perused millions of food blogs, again, over the past few days, I realised how much time I spend thinking about FOOD. FOOD FOOD FOOD. It’s one small aspect of life. Yet it feeds my issues, it fills up my boredom, it satisfies my curiosity, it helps me make friends. I spend so much time thinking about food that when I die what will be said about my interests? I spent all my time trying to figure out how to avoid getting fat or eating the wrong way? Ridiculous, I say. No more, I shout! I want to eat when I’m hungry and to have boundaries and beliefs that help me choose what to eat. and I want to have a full life outside those decisions that keep me too busy to worry about it.
That life includes, my relationships (with Dan first, friends, family, coworkers), my passions (dance, arts, literature, ethics, yoga, knitting – I can’t stop thinking of things I’m interested in). And I haven’t really spent as much time researching those things I have FOOD – so my browser history would suggest.
So yes, I want to explore ethical living. I haven’t really given much thought to that and it’s a big subject. I’d like to let health and fitness go for a while, at least in the blogosphere as I try to find what else I am good at. So now, every time I go to google food/diet blogs or recipes, I will be stopping myself and going to google ethical living blogs and pinterest knitting patterns, and find youtube videos of silks and lyra. Because those are facets of my interests that have been neglected in the past that I would like to nurture. I have researched enough health and fitness information to keep my head spinning for a lifetime. Now what.
To get me started I found this – 100 ways to make a difference on this website – earthfirst.net.au I’m going to see how many I can do – I’m limited as I don’t have a house that’s my own, which actually makes some of this easier. I do walk most places because I don’t have a car, so unless I can hitch a ride, I’m walking or waiting to carpool…ect How many can you do? (Italics are my additions and not from the article)
“Follow some of these simple green living tips to help reduce the environmental footprint and live a healthier life.
1. Turn the lights off when not in use (check!)
2. Avoid buying drinks in plastic bottles (ooooh a challenge!)
3. Shop less. One of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact is to buy less. Next time you shop think carefully about whether you really need it. (new habit for 2014?)
4. Don’t use disposable coffee cups, get yourself a reusable coffee cup (I’ve got the cup, time to bring it unabashedly everywhere)
5. Use solar power and save on energy bills
6. Buy fruits and veggies that are in season
7. Newspapers are great window cleaners.
8. Vinegar is great for cleaning windows and glass.
9. To clean marks of suede gently rub a very fine sandpaper.
10. Don’t buy bottled wate r(this one will be tough, but no time like the present!)
11. use crayons to repair scratches on marble and Caesar stone benchtops. Match the colour and ub into the area that needs repair until the area is filled.
12. If you’re worried that yoru childrens toys contain lead, you can purchase a lead-testing kit from most painstores.
13. Front loaders use 40 per cent less water by cycling clothes through water at the bottom of the drum. Front loaders also remove more water in the spin cycle which reduces drying time. (bonus, Dan’s family does all line drying!)
14. Dry-cleaning is expensive and damaging to the environment. Many garments sent ot the dry-cleaner can be hand washed. Some clothing manufacturers label their garments ‘dry-clean only’ so they are not liable for damage. (easy, I never dry clean, but I hand wash like a boss)
15. If the steam jets in your iron become clogged, fill the iron with equal parts of white vinegar and water, let it stand for 1hr and empty it out, rinse with clean water and let it steam. (or live like a bachelor like me and wear everything wrinkled 🙂
16. Say no to plastic bags and use your own reusable bags (check! most of the time…)
17. Limit your meat intake to twice a week (or less)
18. Grow your own vegetables (not an option right now but a girl can dream…)
19. Buy recycled paper
20. Put a lid on a saucepan to make it boil faster, it saves energy.
21. Some scientists believe that the accumulation of chemicals in our bodies is causing an increase in allergies such as asthma and eczema. Try to use products that are labeled eco friendly or make your own. Bicarbonate soda is versatile and effective with a little elbow grease.
22. Get your bills delivered via email by going online and requesting no paper based bills.(check! fringe benefits of traveling a lot)
23. Donate old clothes to charity or sell them online
24. Walk short distances instead of using the car
25. Avoid using aerosol cans
26. Buy organic meats
27. Try to use eco friendly cleaning products
28. Try to remove as much plastic from your home. Its toxic to your body and the earth.
29. Buy organic hair products
30. Install energy saving light bulbs in your house – It saves energy and money!
32. Did you know that most computers aren’t optimized for energy efficiency? Use the ‘sleep’ and hibernate settings on your computer, or turn them off if you know you wont be using them for a while.
33. Make an effort to buy groceries with the least amount of packaging
34. Eat healthy and make your meals from scratch
35. Reuse some of your empty glass bottles and jars to store leftovers.
36. Use reusable containers for lunches instead of cling wrap or plastic bags
37. Teach kids to care for the world.
38. Hang your clothes outside and try to use the clothes dryer less.
39. Watch the story of stuff by Annie Leonard.
40. Teach kids to save water.
41. Get a worm farm and recycle all your organic waste.
42. Use bio friendly laundry detergents.
43. Get a bore water pump installed.(I don’t know what this is..google!)
44. Next time you buy a car make it a hybrid.
45. Don’t litter.
46. Get a plant for the office.
47. Spend tax rebates wisely, don’t just splurge.
48. Avoid upgrading your mobile phone every time a new comes out.
49. Start a herb garden in your balcony or your backyard.
50. If you have large garden buy some chickens and you’ll have fresh eggs everyday.
51. Switch to gas. It’s the most effective method of heating.
52. Open those blinds and curtains and let in some light
53. Put your food scraps in a compost bin.
54. Save fuel by making sure your tires are inflated properly.
55. Don’t throw away your unwanted goods, have a garage sale or give it to goodwill.
56. Shop at second hand stores once in a while.
57. Install a water tank.
58. Read newspapers online. (does it count if I just don’t read the news…anywhere?)
59. Buy movies and music online – saves packaging, reduces carbon footprint and de-clutters your home.(check check!)
60. Use solar powered lighting in outdoor areas.
61. Get insulation in your house.
62. Open the windows and turn off the air conditioner
63. Don’t set your air con to less than 20 degrees
64. Buy organic products from your local farmers markets. Organic is best for your body and the earth.
65. Take out your mobile phone charger from the wall even if you have turned the power outlet off it is still charging using. unecessary energy but being plugged in
66. Get rid of old energy draining appliances such as second fridge or old microwave
67. Check energy and water ratings prior to purchasing new appliances for your home or office
68. Support eco-friendly organisations
69. Cruise control saves you fuel.
70. Fuel is cheaper during certain days of the week, fill up on those days and save money.
71. Buy double glazing for your home to keep your place cool
72. Turn off and unplug electronics when not in use (it will save you money as well)
73. Shorten your showers and use low-flow showerheads
74. Limit the amount of paper used & print only when you really need to
75. Stop junkmail to your home
76. Don’t throw something if you can give it away or sell it. Have a garage sale or ebay it!
77. Be thrifty and buy used items
78. Use cloth napkins
79. Eucalyptus oil is great for removing sticky labels
80. To neutralize onion and garlic smells use lemon juice.
81. If you add a teaspoon of sugar to a vase of cut flowers they will last longer.
82. Rinse your glass jars and bottles before you recycle
83. Use organic hair products
84. Take public transport when ever possible
85. Try to carpool if possible
86. Keep your car in shape with regular maintenance checks. Your car will run better and be more economical with fuel consumption
87. Walk or ride a bike when you can
88. Make homemade jam & preserves and use your old glass jars
89. Teach your children about caring for the environment
90. Watch who killed the electric car
91. Use rechargeable batteries
92. Install or upgrade to a dual flush toilet
93. Insulate your home; keep heat out in the summer and warmth in during the winter
94. Capture rain water and install a rainwater tank
95. Start reading ebooks and buy less paper books.
96. Participate in Earth hour
97. Say no to plastic bags, and carry your own bag.
98. Buy digital music instead of CD’s. Reduces clutter and saves on manufacturing.
99. Get an energy audit
100. Suggest incorporating carbon neutral status for your workplace or business
101. Get some indoor plants- house plants improve your indoor air quality
102. Only buy BPA Free plastic kitchen containers
103. Use all natural cleaning products
104. Use only natural skincare and makeup products
105. Recycle, reduce and reuse
106. Buy locally
107. Calculate your carbon footprint
108. Know your plastics & understand which are not recyclable.
109. Check your cosmetics for toxic ingredients, there are guides online to help you.
110. Install solar power panels on your roof
111. Use a perpetual calendar and save on having to buy one every year.
112. Be an environmentally conscious gardener and find out what kinds of garden plants are most suitable for the area that you live in. Ask your local garden center.
113. Place windows and doors by buying seals to stop drafts or use snakes against your door
114. Purchase a tap flow to place all the taps in your house/apartment reduce wasting our most valuable resource – water
115. Buy organic food and wine there are loads of websites available online
116. Before turning the heater on in winter, put on some extra clothes and bring out the blankets
117. Join the library for the latest books – saves you buying them only to store them in your cupboard once you have read them
118. Become a vegetarian for a month, start by reading Kathy Freston’s books.
119. If you are not keen to change your lifestyle try skipping meat a few nights a week and notice the difference.
120. Place a plant next to your computer to reduce the toxins you breathe in.
121. Buy biodegradable doggie bags for your pet
122. Recycle your greeting cards and use online cards instead
123. Only boil the amount of water you need in your kettle
124. Give your unwanted books to friends or sell them at a second hand book store
125. Purchase new items as necessary; avoid upgrading your furniture and cars all the time. If you purchase quality from the beginning there is less of need to continually upgrade
126. Purchase glassware instead of plastic home wares as dangerous chemicals exist in certain plastic items
127. Check your labels on the food purchased from supermarkets. Check out Aus only grocery website
128. If some of your furniture is looking worn out give it new look with paint or decoupage or create a mosaic of old chipped dishes on a worn out table.
129. Make your own paper. Don’t throw away paper, collect it and when you have a bucket full make your own paper. Its great for greeting cards.
130. Ask a friendly neighbor for some cuttings and grow them instead of buying from a nursery.
131. Plant seedlings in old egg and milk cartons
132. Grow your own lettuce in a pot
133. Don’t ditch the shirt over a lost button. Remove the button you’re least likely to see and use it as the replacement. Or buy different buttons for a brand new look.
134. Breathe new life into old footwear at the shoe repair shop; replace heels or soles, repair linings or just get them shined up.
135. Patch it (iron-ons are easy!). If it’s no longer suitable for the office, wear it for cleaning, painting or gardening.
136. Host a clothing swap party. Invite all your friends to bring their unwanted clothes and trade!
137. Tear T-shirts into rags for washing windows, waxing the car or paint clean-ups.
138. Repurpose old socks by cutting them into strips and clamping them to a mop handle with a clamp apparatus. (Use wool for dusting, cotton for wet-mopping.)
139. Worn-out knees on your jeans? Make cut-offs.
140.One of the easiest ways to save money is to take your own lunch to work. Left overs are great, just reheat them in the microwave.
141. Cut the sleeves off a team T-shirt, then sew the waist closed for a reusable shopping bag with personality. Make this reusable shopping bag!
142. Put together a kids’ clothing exchange at your church, neighborhood association or scouting troop. Then let the kids show off their wardrobe-swap favorites at a fashion show.
143. Turn the top half of jeans into a durable, retro bag by sewing the leg holes closed and attaching a belt for a shoulder strap. Make this jeans purse!
144. Newspaper is a good deodorizer. Just place a crumpled sheet inside smelly shoes and leave overnight. Can also be placed in smelly plastic containers to remove yucky odours.
145. Avoid frozen dinners and reduce the amount of take away meals you eat
146. If you can’t afford to buy organic fruit and vegetables grow your own or learn which are the fruits and veggies highest in pesticide residue so you can reduce your intake.
1.Peach, 2. apple, 3. bell pepper, 4. celery, 5. Nectarine, 6. Strawberries, 7. Cherries, 8. kale, 9. Lettuce, 10. grapes (imported), 11. Carrot, 12. Pear (find out more here)
147. Use old newspapers to make papier-mâché. Make pigs or masks by blowing up a balloon and covering it with strips of newspaper that has been moistened in a mixture of flour, salt and water.
148. Are the possums nibbling at your veggie patch? Rub vicks vaporub under a few rocks. Possums don’t like camphorated oils.
149. If you are after non-mainstream Australian seeds to plant? visit http://www.diggers.com.au.
150. The best way to remove weeds is by hand. You can burn up to 200 calories in 1hour and you’ll avoid using toxic weed killers.
151. Don’t through away the carcass of last nights roast chicken, put all the left overs in a pot of boiling water and simmer for a couple of hours to make a wholesome chicken stock.
152. Garlic is a great to keep snails, slugs, aphids and flying insects away from your veggies. Simply crush 3 garlic cloves into a 1 litre spray bottle, let it sit overnight and then spray over the plants that need protection!
153. Buy FSC certified products and decrease the trade of exotic wood from endangered forests.
154. Spiders hate lemons. Add lemon oil to your broom bristles and sweep webs away. The lemon oil will keep spiders away for up to 3 months.
155. The next time you make scrambled eggs, blow them out and decorate them. To blow the eggshells, pierce the top and bottom of an egg with a darning needle. Hold the egg firmly and blow slowly through one of the holes. Rinse the egg shells by using the egg like a straw and sucking the water from a bow of clean water and blowing it out again until its all clean. If you have little kids that are likely to break them, you can then fill them up with warm jelly place in the fried to set and get creative!
156. Eggshells are high in calcium and are a great substitute for shell grit. Simply mix with birdseed.
157. Cucumber slices are great for removing dark circles around the eyes. Cucumbers bring blood to the surface of the skin and are good for soothing skin irritations and sunburn and reduce swelling.
158. Form a tree-planting group with family and friends and commit to planting and maintaining these trees together.
159. Coffee grounds keep slugs and snails away from your garden. Simply mix equal parts of sand and ash and sprinkle around the border of your garden.
160. Coffee grounds are a great fertilizer
161. Coffee grounds can be added to your compost.
162. Don’t throw away stale bread, just pop it in a food processor to make breadcrumbs
163. Most vegetable oils can be reused. Just strain into a glass jar and store it away until the next time you need it.
164. To bring splinters to the skins surface, put a 1cm thick poultice of mushed cabbage leaves on the skin cover with plastic film to hold it firmly.
165. Small beetroot leaves can be added to a mixed leaf salad.
166. Take old appliance boxes to your local pre-school or daycare center. They make great cubby houses.
167. You can reuse the biscuit trays to store kids crayons and other craft items.
168. Use your egg cartons to make alligators, monsters, trains, bees or even caterpillars!
169. Make paint pots out of egg cartons.
170. Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. You will save as much as 11litres every time. Did you know that only 2.5% of the world’s water is drinkable.
171. Give memberships to an environmental organization or seedlings as birthday gifts”.
Do you have any tips for me? Anything you think I should research? there’s so much out there I just don’t know where to start….