Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eating clean = going green?

Since I changed my eating habits back in May/June, I'm finding that other aspects of my life are becoming a little more green as well. Being more aware of what goes into my body and how it helps me function has me thinking about the things I purchase, wear, consume, and clean with and wanting to make smarter, greener/cleaner choices for those things as well.

We recycle, though it took me too long to pick up our free bins from the city. Being here in a hotel and using plastic water bottles and aluminum cans that go right into the trash is bugging me more than I would have thought a few months ago. Surely (some) hotels have to have recycling programs, right? I should have asked last week.

We've used reusable grocery bags for awhile, when I remember them, but only recently have I thought to buy reusable produce bags. Most of my shopping trip is spent in the produce department anyway, where I have been known to stand at a roll of plastic bags and rip off 10 or 12 at a time for the things I'll be buying that day. I recycle the ones I can (clean and dry) when I get home, but WOW that's a lot of plastic! My new set of 6 mesh bags, ordered from etsy.com, should be at my doorstep within a few days. Reusable snack bags will be another eco-friendly purchase down the line. I've also added a set of insulated hot/cold grocery bags to my Amazon wish list, so I can save on gas and do more than one errand while I'm grocery shopping without fear of my milk spoiling or my yogurt getting warm.

I have spray bottles of vinegar-water solution and a homemade floor cleaner in the pantry, but too often I reach for my handy Swiffer Wet cloths for floor messes. If I had a reusable mop (or hey, an old t-shirt) to attack the floor with, using my bottles wouldn't take any more time than the Swiffer. One of my projects when we're home will be to set up a stash of reusable towels/washcloths in the kitchen to cut down the number of paper towels we use. Bounty select-a-size have been my best buds for years, but we use way too many. I got all excited when I remembered that I even have an old plastic trash can, too grungy for everyday use, that I will store used/wet towels in under the kitchen sink until laundry day.

Thanks to my clean eating and established running habits, some of my clothes are becoming baggy (and simply worn out; I don't shop all that often), but rather than dashing out to Old Navy or the mall to purchase brand-new off-the-line replacements, I'm really hoping to look around at a few consignment shops near home. There is a used-goods store that my son and I could walk to, so I will plan for that next week. The idea of rescuing pre-worn articles from the trash and finding some one-of-a-kind additions to my wardrobe is becoming more appealing to me.

Tonight at Barnes & Noble, I skimmed through a green-living book and scribbled down some of the websites listed in the back, for things like pet supplies, women's clothing, home decor, coffee, shoes, and reusable bags. Sure, I could have bought the book, but 1) it seemed silly to spend $15 on something that is designed to help people conserve resources, 2) I knew I had a coupon sitting in my email inbox so it would be wasteful to spend full price, and 3) I plan to walk to the library next week and look for the book (or something similar) there.

Clean eating fits nicely into this greener mindset, not only for what we eat, but how. Tonight I made a bean dip using leftover black beans, leftover corn, and some of the salsa I bought fresh this week, to help us use up the tortilla chips we bought last week and to provide a little snack variety while we're here. (I do like to snack on more than just rraw almonds and dried apricots, despite what my daily entries say.) Even at home, I challenge myself to use our pantry/fridge/freezer stashes in conjunction with fresh produce to creatively cook healthy and fun meals before anything goes bad. Just before we left for this trip, I was able to cook my way through the kitchen without making a grocery trip for nearly two weeks. I sent The H to a store for milk here and there, on his way home from work, but that's about it.

Knowing that our house-sitter doesn't drink coffee, we even made sure to use the last of our beans and ground coffee stash before leaving (even though it wasn't our favorite flavor), rather than buying a pound + of fresh beans that we wouldn't get to enjoy for two weeks. Going home to an empty coffee cupboard means we now get to visit our favorite local roaster/distributor and pick some fresh flavors. Even the baby enjoys this kind of trip, as he gets to ham-and-cheese for the nice ladies at the counter. Everybody wins!

And now off to etsy to bookmark some more favorites. Christmas isn't *that* far away...

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