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Low Waste Living – Weekly Grocery Haul in Brooklyn, NY

Please keep in mind that this is not everything we eat. I made a list of filler foods which will be made with what we already have in our kitchen. Food can be expensive, I hope this is helpful to someone who might be discouraging because they may not fit into a specific demographic.

I want to recognize that a sustainable lifestyle is not about perfection, it is about attempting our best with anything we have access to. When there are so many social issues to be aware of, it’s simple to get frustrated. So if we can be realistic and know we’re doing the best we can wherever we’re, that’s the most essential thing. I encourage you to keep going, even if your grocery purchases do have a minor impact on waste.

There are so many other places in our lives that we can build. I want us to be willing to remain passionate about the activity instead of being worried about stuff outside of our control. I can’t, and that’s OK because I try just to be mindful of my impact on the plant.

Read more here: Reducing Waste: What You Can Do https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-…

Let me know if you have any tips for a low-impact hack!

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The Balance of the Body, Energy, and Surroundings

The primary physical material of the cells is chemical – atoms and molecules. The universe and everything in it is made up of energy. The body, like the universe, exists in a state of constant change and movement. 

The body tissues are muscle – nervous, epithelial tissue that lines and covers everything. Everything in the body is made from raw materials found in food. For example: 

  1. Tendons and ligaments are made of protein.
  2. Glucose is used by cells to make energy.
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids make up most of our cell membranes.
  4. Cholesterol is used to make steroid hormones. 

The body is made up of five main systems: 

  • Cardiovascular System – heart and blood transport
  • Respiratory System – brings oxygen into our body and expels Carbon Dioxide
  • Digestive System – allows your body to process food so it may be expelled or absorbed in your systems 
  • Urinary System – cleans and filters the blood and monitors the amount of water in our System. 
  • Nervous System – the communication hub of our bodies

Another system could be called the “spirit or soul.” The maintenance of harmony and balance within the organism is known in western physiology as homoeostasis. Homeostatic Mechanisms encourages and promote the balance that we need to provide the fundamental requirement for health. Although, we can’t easily describe the “spirit or soul,” it is a mystery. 

Emotions:

Emotional health is dependent on the free-flowing and experiencing all our feelings. It is vital to the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Our emotions can affect our physical bodies, and for example, if we hurt, we may cry. 

Understanding and respecting our need for emotional discharge or release is an essential part of remaining healthy and being able to be present within ourselves fully. 

The nature of the ego/mind is that it can’t stand and wants everything to be solved. It believes itself to be in control – and it can’t stand anything that challenges this belief. It will come up with any number of doubts and arguments to prove that the spirit does not exist. The spirit isn’t a single entity. It is part of a person. It is their energy force. 

The heavier or lower in vibration that our energy is, the more insensitive and the less we can feel and experience more subtle realities. The more precise and finely tuned our energy is, the more sensitive we become to being able to experience the truth that the world around us is made of energy. We are more than just a simple body. 

Basic Needs: 

Our basic needs for the body includes sufficient clean water. It also needs wholesome food containing all the nutrients, good quality air to breath, and the right amount of exercise and movement. For our minds, hearts, and bodies, we need meaningful work and joyful play, with a proper balance between the two. 

It is quite common for modern medicine and culture to view these kinds of reactions as symptoms of diseases, to be suppressed, rather than as a homeostatic process. When we are healthy, we have more dramatic responses to toxins. When er is full of toxins, the body has less obvious reactions – but this doesn’t mean the toxins are not causing damage. 

Suppressing such symptoms can create chronic illness. 

Our health is dependent on the health of the environment in which we live – both internal and external. A significant step in self-care is to develop our self-awareness. 

The Water of Life

Our bodies contain 60-70 percent of water. An essential naturopathic principle comment to most traditions is that we need to drink enough good clean water for optimal health. The lack of water in our bodies can lead to man signs and symptoms of illness. The general recommendation is that we need about eight full glasses of water a day. 

When our habit is to not to drink enough, the sensation of thirst tends to dimish. If we begin to increase the amount of water we drink, we begin to be thirsty again. The more water we drink, the more diluted and copious our urine output will be. Water is important because it is used in many of the chemical reactions in our body. 

Kidneys help monitor and gauge the amount of water in our bodies, and it increases or decreases the amount of water excreted in our urine. The kidneys make urine by filtering the blood. In one hour, all the blood in our body will pass through the kidneys. 

The kidney’s main job is the excrete substances from our bodies that would otherwise poison us. Without water, organs of eliminations (kidneys, liver, bowels, lungs, and skin) will not work with able to work to they properly may healthy support our organs systems. 

The amount of urine made by the kidneys, lone with a myriad of other bodily processes, is controlled by small chemical messengers called hormones. The endocrine glands help produce most of the hormones in our body. The endocrine is essential because it takes the water processed by the kidneys, along with other functions, to work with our nervous system. 

The Energy of Life

The body is made of chemicals – water, proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins, minerals, trace elements. These chemicals are made of energy. 

Two holistic approaches to describing energy are through Vedic (ancient Indian) or Shamanic (earth-based). 

The Vedic tradition has a useful and straightforward way of describing the energy the makes up the reality of the materials. 

  • Heavy, low (tamasic energy) of ignorance 
  • Light, clear (sattvic energy) of goodness 
  • Passionate (rajasic) for getting things done

Shamanism is a healing technique for where every culture has been geared toward creating an energetic balance that is deeply connected to nature. Energy is restored and expelled from our systems if it is healthy or unhealthy.

Both Vedic and Shamanism practices with living with harmony with your systems and environment can help you balance your energy levels. 

Interrelatedness: 

We are individuals, but we are completely interdependent on our environment. All of these systems need our attention to our health to flourish. Holistic self-care is basically about understanding and respecting the need to keep the body, mind, spirit well by giving each what it needs and protecting each from harm. 

For our self-care to be fully effective, we need to become aware of and thoughtful about the gross imbalance in our societies. We need to create new policies that are more rational and balance to enable everyone to be healthy. All the systems are intimately connected and cannot indeed be separated. The fit of each is vital to the proper functioning of all the others, and the whole being. 

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Three Sustainability Kit Hacks that are in My Bag Right Now!

My thought process and intention for sharing this with you are to convey that you can be sustainable no matter your income. It only takes little steps to achieve less waste. For myself, I get the urge to buy something that seems to “Save the World,” but in truth, if you didn’t need it before, chances are you don’t need it now. There is also things around your home that you can use, and items you can buy that is under $10 that will help achieve less waste.

As you go through these photos, please remember that another way to help is by contacting companies or following companies that have a reputation for being wasteful. It cost almost nothing to send a photo to their DM or write to these companies. In the end, it’s about getting larger companies to stop their wasteful practices. They are the main culprits of plastic and other waste in our oceans and land.

I have three kits. One is for eating out, another for drinks, and one is for grocery shopping. Most of the items shown were repurpose from other uses or purchase for a small fee. I try my best not to buy plastic, but if it comes down to it, my kit will last me more uses than a single-use item. I feel it’s worth it, especially if your budget does not allow you to buy fancier items. It’s more about the statement that you can be sustainable without given into the companies requirements for consumption and to add a quiet protest to their pollution impact on the planet.

First Hack: Eating Out Kit

I found this satchel and thought it would work quite lovely for this kit. It gave it a new use and time. In it, it contains a tea towel, a collapsible silicone straw, and a spork.
The tea towel was getting old. I didn’t want to throw it away, so it became my on the go napkin or seat covering. It works well, and it is easy to clean. I have saved myself from using too many paper towels or asking for paper towels because I have this is always with me.
The spork was something I found in our local donation bin. Our building allows people who place useable but no longer needed items into a small area. I saw this and jumped right on it. I found I was in luck. The plastic is environmentally friendly and non-toxic to me as it is made with 100% recyclable and recycled material. I know it isn’t entirely eco-friendly but for a starter it, it’s a piece of gold. I will continue to use it until it has been worn out.
The collapsible straw I found on Amazon. It is made with safe plastic and very inexpensive. I struggled with this as I heavily rely on straws.
I have physical issues that make it hard for my head to go back to drink completely. This item works well, and it is easy to clean. It is contained in a case, so I don’t have to worry about leaks or getting it dirty. I love this straw very much.

Second Hack, My Drinking Kit

I love Mason Jars. I particularly like the blue jars. When they were on sale, I bought four. I use them every day to drink or to eat from the jars. They are fantastic for on the go person like me.

However, I have an issue with drinking. The lids are not friendly for drinking liquids. I certainly did not want to go out and buy different containers for all of my needs, for example, smoothies, ice coffee, soup, oats, and water. It was just easier to have it all in one. This is where I found my answer to my lid issues.
This lid is pretty amazing. I thought this type of product did not exist, but there is was, on Amazon, for less than eight dollars. I bought with the assumption that it may not work. However, it has proven me wrong. The seal is tight, and the mouthpiece stays closed. It is a real gem to have this as a convenience but also as being sustainable and practical that keeps me in my habit.
However, there is also the issue of condensation. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, your jar will sweat. It also can get scorching with soup and coffee. I realized very quickly but did not want to buy a sleeve. I thought about it. I remember that I keep my odd socks in a drawer. I do this because sometimes they show up. However, sometimes, they do not.
Some of my socks are too cute to recycle, so “ding!”
I repurpose my sock to be a sleeve and a mouth protector. It works well to control the dewiness and heat from the jar. It also works as a layer of protection in case the mouth opens in my bag.
If you don’t have a mason jar, you can always use a jar that you have at home. I would make sure that it is heat resistant, but this empty jar is an instant coffee container from Trader Joe’s, and it works well.
I have used it in the past, and it fits enough to get me through the day. It is also much lighter than my mason jar, so on days that I need to travel light, I will reach for this jar.

Third Hack: Grocery Shopping Tote

Living in NYC, having an extra tote in my bag almost seems intuitive. Plastic bags can get clunky and can be hard to move in the subways.

The most significant change happened a few years ago when I realized that I did not have to use plastic bags. I can use my tote. It has been a game-changer for me. I can fit more in my bag, and some stores offer discounts for bringing your bag. It’s pretty awesome.

The bag I currently use to do my shopping is a bag from H&M. It was on clearance and it only a $1. This seems to be the right tote for me. I have used it ever since. It is sturdy, but light and can carry a massive amount of food. I love it.
My produce bags came from Amazon. I got them for an excellent rate. It is the same brand that I have found in eco-friendly stores around the city but for a fraction of the price.
I couldn’t resist it. I use them every time I buy food.

I am taking steps to get to understand my impact on the planet. These three habits are available in my bag that are staples in my routine. For me, they are the easiest way to start. It takes a little creativity, but I bet that most people can find one low impact habit that does not cost money and can be reused, recycled, and reduce your waste.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please let me know some of the ways you worked into your life to reduce waste.

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Low-Waste Kitchen Hacks for Busy People

Living a fast-paced lifestyle is a convenience we have grown increasingly comfortable in, but like everything else, such comfort comes at a cost. The price we are paying for convenience is a considerable one.

Our convenient lifestyle that accommodates our need always to be on-the-go comes at the cost of the environment, which is why, I wanted to share with you some simple methods that I try to use, to keep with my eco-friendly values while maintaining that sense of convenience daily.

I live a lifestyle vibrant with entropy. No two days ever look the same. I need a structure in place to help me function properly, even to be able to perform the most basic of tasks like, eat, or maintain some level of sanity. I am sharing with you today just a few of the things that really help me and hopefully help you as well.

Make your own drink!
Who doesn’t love a warm/cold drink in the morning? Having tea or coffee every morning is something we all look forward, too, it gets our day going. Unfortunately, on the busiest of days we can be tempted to get one at a shop, but making your own, at-home drink could make all the difference for the environment since most of these shop cups are not recyclable or compostable. Every day millions of us around the world buy these cups and dispose of them. When a single person buys one cup of coffee every day, it builds up the numbers landing in the trash.

Try to make your own, help the environment and of course, hence, help yourself!

I’m a big believer that your morning routine starts the evening before. Every night I set out my coffee needs (cup and top) and have the water ready in the fridge. I have my coffee already ground and store it for use in the morning. When the morning arises, I can quickly put it together while I am getting ready. I then put it in my thermos, and I am prepared to go. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and you don’t have to think about it.

I stopped going out for coffee in the morning when I realized it just wasn’t any faster. You’re probably not saving any time by making a 20-minute trip and waiting in line to get a coffee. It’s that extra step that will help you maintain your convenient lifestyle without having to give up your eco-friendly values.

Freezing prep for your meals
I love freezer meals. I measure it out so that one mason jar is enough food for one person. I can layer the rice on top of the beans and then add a sauce or vegetables. You can let them thaw overnight, and then you can throw it in your bag on your way to out or for a convenient meal.

You can heat the glass, but you have to remove the lid off the mason jar and put it in the microwave.

You can also save most of your glass jars and use them for this purpose. When you freeze something in a glass jar, make sure there is enough space between the liquid and the top since liquids expand on solidifying. When you heat up your to go meal, make sure to let it thaw and defrost naturally or the glass will be shattered and can cause harm, not to mention it is a pain to clean!

Yes, I know this from experience!

You can freeze individual serving sizes of things like hummus in little containers and just let them thaw in your bag when you head out. By the time you are ready to eat it, it is prepared!

Please remember, if you have plastic containers, it’s OK to use them to freeze. Just make sure that they are safe to be microwaved. Some plastics leak toxins into your food and your body.

Mason Jackets!
The condensation on the outside of the glass was causing a mess in my bag. The jar also can be sweltering and hard to touch with your hands if it is heated. I’ve been grateful for how convenient jackets are for my needs!

I love them, and they’re brilliant. The jackets come in a variety of different materials like silicone or cloth. You wrap them around your mason jars, they protect them from getting broken, and they protect your hands when you hold it.

It takes away a little bit of the stress during the day because I don’t have to worry about these small, simple things. I can go about my day without having to worry if the mason jar’s broken and caused a disaster in my bag.

Pre-chopped frozen veggies
Chop those vegetables up, put them in a container and fill it with water then pop them in the fridge. Not only do your veggies remain fresh and crispy, you always have a healthy snack at hand. Just think of eating crisper carrots and celery with your thawed hummus throughout the day. It’s like you went to the store on days you don’t have time to stop, and it requires less packaging.

It works wonders. The best part is that you could do this with almost any product, It’s comfortable, convenient, and helping maintain a cleaner Earth.

The multipurpose ice-cube tray
You can use the ice trays as measuring devices to measure the individual sizes of things like lemon juice or vegetable broth. You can put them in the ice tray, and then after they’re frozen, you put them in a jar, You’ll end up with frozen individual-sized servings in bulk quantities.

You could do the same with silicone muffin or cupcake pans for more significant portions.

You can also use your ice-cube tray to make homemade candy and other treats! One easy recipe is, buy chocolate chips, melt them down, put a little in the bottom of the tray and then add nut butter or fruit, top with a bit more chocolate, and you have package-free butter cups and bonbons.

Be creative
Instead of buying unique products that are marketed with “eco-friendly” agenda, you can use those everyday things lying around your house. For instance, instead of putting the leftover in zip locks or unique wraps or containers, just put the food in a bowl and close it with a plate. Alternatively, cut old fuzzy socks for jar jackets or you could even a knit or crochet. It’s effortless to make one of those jar sleeves and a great way to use up scrap yarn and recycle old clothing.

BONUS HACKS:
Here are a few simple tips that could help you along the way:

  • Prep your food for the week on Sunday nights, you could be watching Netflix or listening to some music.
  • Also, try storing herbs, green onions, celery, etc. upright in a few inches of water to retain its crispness.
  • Lastly, the plastic bins with screw-on lids are GREAT to reuse for things you buy in bulk and for art supplies like crayons or markers.

I hope these tips and hacks prove useful to you. They are effortless to execute and efficient. However, this might not work for all of you. You may need to be slightly altered your practices from time to time as life gets in the way. Just remember to be a little creative and find different styles and structures to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Let me know some tips that have helped you spare more time in the morning or in life, just leave a comment below.

Also, check out my Amazon Associate Store if you need some inspiration for your journey. Here it is: https://amzn.to/2YJdfbn

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Plastic Straws, What’s the Hype and Why?

Starbucks says by 2020 it will eliminate plastic straws, turning to biodegradable straws and a newly designed lid. These new lids are made from polypropylene that can be recycled. The issue I see is would this not produce more plastic into the environment? Like the idea of reducing plastic straws, it is a thought, it is an action, it is a conversation to the bigger picture of conserving our environment.

So why are plastic straws bad for the environment?

Society has an over-reliance on single-use plastics, and the fact is that a lot of the stuff is ending up in our marine environment.

In one 2017 international coastal cleanup, 643,000 plastic straws were picked up around beaches and waterways all over the world. Straws only make up a fraction of our plastic waste. However, it is the easiest thing we can change now. It opens the door to understanding the impact of plastic, and it impacts on the environment.

All plastics ultimately sort of break down and fracture into smaller and smaller bits of plastic as a result of being tossed around by the waves, and the sunlight basically makes the plastic brittle. It creates what we call microplastics.

Microplastics are found on everything from the forage fish that are at the base of the food web up through the kinds of fish that we end up putting on our dinner plate.

Americans use an average of 1.6 straws per person per day that translates into 7.5 billion straws year. By the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. It takes 500 years for a single straw to decompose. In that time the plastic could potentially leak pollutants into the soil and water. Every year an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic go into our oceans, and it’s harming wildlife.

We need to be more thoughtful about how we use plastic. For starters pay closer attention to your personal practices. Get into the habit of carrying your own cup, fork, bag, and straw. That’s what I have in my bag at all times.

Decisions to make environmental friendly items or not use environmentally harmful pieces can make a positive impact. So, though the one straw may not make a real impact, the decision you make to not to use straws will change the awareness to the environment and how much a carbon footprint you leave behind.

Resources:
Business Insider, “Why Plastic Sucks,” https://www.businessinsider.com/why-plastic-straws-suck-ocean-pollution-sea-turtle-starbucks-2018-7

Ocean Conservatory: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/volunteer/

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Sustainable Fashion: Beginner’s Thoughts and Guide

My actions alone will not change the world. However, I like to think that it can influence someone to make a decision to help in the sustainability of the environment. If I start to make small changes, it’s like a revolution to my habits and ideas of the world.

As I mentioned in a previous post, fast fashion is currently the second biggest cause of pollution. Unmistakably, from the manufacturers of fabrics into the consumer’s closets, there is a responsibility to think about how we buy and dispose of clothes. I think it’s time for people to take action in their own lives we could all make little changes. There is no easy answer, so there is no way to be perfect. We just need to make small changes. If we all made little changes, it really would make a significant impact on the planet and our wallets.

Fast fashion is the production of an exorbitantly huge amount of garments. Fast fashion has to be a fashion no. It’s about looking at what we have and how to use it to create our own style in individuality. We have to think about what already exists. Some pieces have already been made that we can continue to enjoy healthily.

It’s about becoming smarter in your choices. It’s about thinking of the greater good and interweaving your mark, your style, your lesson while decreasing your dirty carbon footprint on the planet. It’s about buying kinder clothes that represent the people who created them, cut the fabric, sewed them together and then lands on you. The piece of item has a story, and the energy that comes from kinder pieces feels better than one created in a harsh environment to wear for a season or two.

  • I think about how can I look after that item more sustainably since I became wiser to the destruction of the fashion industry:
  • It’s refurbishing and mending a piece to give that item like a new lease of life.
  • It’s washing it at a cooler temperature is because of the majority of the energy the washing machines uses is just on heating the water.
  • It’s about recycling, regifting, or selling the clothes you no longer need or use.
  • It’s about thrifting instead of buying fast fashion. Try your best to keep it from hitting the landfills.

It’s about finding your style and not what the fashion industry tells you what’s in season. It’s an anyone fashion type world, and it’s here to make you feel good.

Through the search for ease and convenience, we’ve kind of lost that sense of human instinct which guides us to our creativity. Take something that’s already in existence and change it to make something new. The small steps you take now could lead to a better world and more sustainable life and can bring us back to the ebb and flow of creativity to survive. It’s already started, but you can join when you are ready. The earth and life on it will be grateful for your participation.

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Fast Fashion – The Horror Story

So, on my decluttering journey, I realized that I owned a heck of a lot of clothes, half the items I never really wore and kept because I didn’t want to admit that I wasted many. As I continued with my journey, I wondered what happens to the clothes we donate, discard or don’t buy.

The fashion industry is putting too much product out there, millions of ton of clothes end up in landfill every year—it’s one of the fastest-growing categories of consumption in our society. Termed, “fast fashion” allows consumers to purchase extra, but consumers are wearing these fashion pieces less often and disposing of them at an abnormal rate. How can the fashion industry proceed to produce while not approaching the environmental requirement for people to purchase fewer clothes?

If you don’t believe me, here are some facts:

  • In 2015, the world produced roughly 155,000 square miles of fabric (about the size of California)
  • 80 billion items are manufactured every year
  • Globally, sorting plants like this only deal with around 25% of discarded clothes
  • On average only 20% of clothes are worn on a regular basis
  • Every year, we send about 85% of the textiles we purchase to landfill
  • The artificial fibers often preferred by fast fashion brands, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are primarily plastic made from petroleum. This indicates that your discarded clothes could take up to a thousand years to biodegrade.
  • Fast fashion accounts for 10% of the planet’s greenhouse production
  • Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone
  • Fast fashion is in second place as the dirtiest and most pollutant industry after oil
  • The US consumes about 1.2 million tons of clothing waste which is equal to 15 percent of the clothing sales in the country
  • On average, the global water footprint US is enough to fill over 1,200 bathtubs per household
  • The number of garments produced globally exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2014
  • Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines. Most workers are slaves or work in sweatshops and have very little human rights
  • Approximately 300 million people who produce cotton are still living in poverty

There is so much out there the support that fast fashion is horrible for the environment, yet we pretend that it isn’t a real problem. What can we do to help lessen the burden on the environment? It’s straightforward, here is what I suggest below:

  • Recycle or repurpose your old clothing
  • Choose quality over quantity—avoid cheap garments made from synthetic fabrics
  • Participate in clothes swap events, or exchange old clothing with friends and family
  • Spread the word about Fast Fashion impact on the environment
  • Simply do not buy from brands that participate in harming the environment or human rights
  • There is nothing wrong with thrifting for clothes, and you will save money too!

I hope you found this article insightful. If you have any suggestions or facts to add, please add them to the comments below.

References and Resources:

Fast fashion: How to make clothes last longer and save the planet (https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-47292087)
Fast Fas is harming the earth, MPs say (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242)
What Is Fast Fashion? (https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion)
Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis (https://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html)
By the Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of “Fast Fashion” (https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/01/numbers-economic-social-and-environmental-impacts-fast-fashion)

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