My husband and I did a lot of our early dating at Starbuck’s, other coffee places too, but mainly Starbuck’s. We would meet before work almost everyday and chat over a latte, now I know what a huge sacrifice that was for him, he’s NOT a morning person! Ah, the things you do for love.
A lot has changed since those early times but we still LOVE heading to a coffee shop, just not Starbuck’s. Now we choose a local place where they roast their own, it’s owned and operated by a couple of young business men who are behind the counter serving it up most days. My husband is sipping a cortado these days, I’ve switched mainly to soy chai and now we have children – so that’s different.
My husband, ever with his cup, the rest of us with our “for here’s”, we all split a muffin. Using the stainless spoon from our coffee friends I slice it up, I pack a bandana for a family napkin. All in all our waste is nominal and the moment is perfect.
Now say it like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, it’s only appropriate since that’s where the quote comes from.
“Better learn balance. Balance is key.”
I’m not the student Danielson was, I struggle particularly with this practice.
So, I’ve found my own modern day Mr. Miiyagi, Yoda-type master of zen, it’s this guy.
My husband and I are currently working through his “Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life”. If that sounds too intense, he has a short version consisting of 2 steps and here they are:
“The Short List:
- Identify what’s most important to you
- Eliminate everything else.”
Written by: Leo Babauta
For those of you who find those 2 steps to be all the instruction you require, go forth and simplify. For the rest, may the force be with us.
For me and maybe for you too, when I’m out and about I tend to do two things:
- Accumulate waste, a bottled water here, a to-go soy chai there… oh and may I have that cookie as well?!
- Yup, my healthy eating usually slides too.
BUT if I’m just a wee bit prepared, I’m able to stay on the path I’m choosing for myself.
So here are some things I’ve learned.
Stainless steel canisters, like the Klean Kanteen are wonderful for water. I’ve tried the glass ones with the silicone sleeve, the BPA free plastics. For me, the stainless stays CLEAN, no weird smells, no major problems if I left it half full of water in the car over night, no cracked plastic lids.
However, for a smoothie, a shake, or a green juice – glass is preferable. I know it’s not so sturdy, but when I need to eat on the go, I pack my smoothie in a Ball’s Mason Jar and I know it won’t leak and it will clean like a dream once I’m back home.
In case you were wondering, here’s what’s in my smoothie:
1 cup Homemade Almond Milk
½ cup frozen blueberries
Generous squirt flax seed oil
Big handful yellow chard
Hand full diced celery
1 scoop vegan protein powder
1 heaping TBS Raw Cacao
2 Medjool dates (pitted)
When you commit to reducing your waste your shopping habits tend to be one of the first things to change. The first time I watched the story of stuff my immediate proclimation was:
“I’M NEVER BUYING ANYTHING AGAIN”
For ME, that was not sustainable for many reasons, I enjoy clothes for one. BUT I knew the way I shopped needed to change. Currently about 85% of what I purchase is used. For clothes that can mean consignment stores, Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift, Vintage and much more. I also shop, and therefore buy, MUCH less now, so I try to do a “Three Ways” list in my head before buying.
For example, my $16 pleather shorts from Buffalo Exchange.
To the park with kids:
Make the stuff you buy and already have work triple time, in buying less I’ve found I have a lot MORE to wear!
It’s good for more than coffee. We had…let’s see….a few beers….let’s call it three plastic cups saved from waste!
Photo by my spicy husband
Tare is my word of the week. Dictionary.com provided the following explanations:
1. any of various vetches, especially Vicia sativa.
2. the seed of a vetch.
3. Bible . a noxious weed, probably the darnel.
Eh?? Oh, “example sentences”, again from Dictionary.com:
The weight of the packaging materials is referred to as tare weight.
Weigh the empty laboratory sample containers which will be placed in the oven to determine their tare weight.
Now for my own fictional/based on a true story example:
So, there you are walking into the g store, bags, jars, pillowcases in hand. You are ready to fill up with bulk, gone are your days of packaged food.
You fill your cart, head to check out and the cashier asks,
“What’s the tare?”
Me: HUH? Did one of my bags tear?
Patiently the cashier smiles and says,
“No, your tare, the weight of your bags and stuff so I can deduct from the weight of the goods.”
Me: Ooooooooh, didn’t know about that.
I do now!
See those little pieces of tape on each bag? Say it with me – T-A-R-E. To procure your tare, take your bags, jars, what-have-you, to a cashier BEFORE you fill up with bulk, they will weigh your things and provide you with a tare.
These are not words you will hear in my house. It’s not because my four year old son has mastered the art of the toilet lid, or that my husband installed automatic lid-put-downers, it’s because I have NO toilet seats and therefore no lids.
It’s just the rim, can you picture it, cause I’m not really into posting a picture of my potty.
So, how did this come to be and why have I let it continue? The short story is they broke, the toilet seats that is. If you’ve potty trained a boy you can see how this is possible, it involves the issue of aim.
So, why haven’t I replaced them? Well…….have you heard the whole squatting versus sitting discussion? Basically it’s about positioning, sitting on our western style potties hinder our colons from doing their job effectively. With just the rim you can perch right up there in a perfect squat, no extra equipment needed.
Is anyone in the house currently employing this method? Not that I know of BUT I want to.
According to Kris Carr in her book, “Crazy, Sexy Diet” which details how she’s living a healthy life WITH cancer, “There are three times in life when squatting is necessary. One: childbirth. Two: if you’re employed as an umpire. Three: dropping the kids off at the pool, aka taking a crap.”
Oh that Kris, so eloquent, she goes on to say, “…your feet should be elevated about 10 to 18 inches off the ground – you want your knees to be higher than your hips.”
My seat-less potty checks those little boxes AND I didn’t have to buy anything. Now maybe just a lock on the bathroom door and I’m good to go.
You guys remember MacGyver, right? He could build a skyscraper with a toothpick, a rubber band and a few paper clips. Well, I’m using the same “use what you got” concept when making nut milk.
So, this is how I MacGyver it (yes, he’s a verb too), no special nut bag, no special anything really. Just the humble equipment you see below and a BLENDER.
The Breakdown of EVERY detail in this process:
What you need:
Big vessel (I used a flower vase) and a cover (I used parchment paper and a rubber band)
2 cup measuring cup or bigger
bandana (or handkerchief or cloth napkin)
a fork or spoon
1 cup almonds (or cashews or Brazilian nuts or whatever nut you choose)
Pinch of sea salt (or whatever you have)
Vanilla, cinnamon (or other things you’d like to flavor your milk with)
1. In the big vessel add 1 cup of almonds and 3 cups of clean water.
2. Go to sleep or wait 8 hours.
3. Next, rinse your almonds in sieve and dump them in a blender.
4. Add 3 cups water in blender, a pinch of sea salt and BLEND.
6. Blend until it’s blend-y, no chunks, looks semi-oatmeal-ish. Probably a bit over 1 minute.
7. Now, place your sieve on top of big vessel and grab a fork or spoon.
8. At the same time, grab measuring cup and place a handkerchief over the top, should dip a bit over the opening but doesn’t touch the bottom of the cup.
9. Pour from blender into sieve, use the fork or spoon to stir in the sieve to help the milk flow. When it slows to a trickle, dump the pulp from the sieve into the cloth over the cup.
10. Continue this little dance – pour, stir, dump, pour, stir, dump – until the blender is empty.
11. Now gather the corners of your cloth and squeeze the liquid from the pulp into the cup. This gets milk on your hands, but all the pulp stays in the cloth – if you’ve got pulp coming through when you squeeze, you need a finer cloth. I tend to use a cow milking motion for this but I think wringing, or toothpaste squeezing type motions would also work.
12. Pour liquid from cup into big vessel, stick in a cinnamon stick or maybe a drop of vanilla, you’ll need to suit your tastes here.
13. Cover (I used parchment paper and a rubber band) and put in fridge and let it chill for an hour.
14. Enjoy your homemade nut milk.
Good for 3-4 days.
That’s a mouthful. Most of us have a bathroom cabinet full of products, I will hazard a guess and say over 50% of those products are half full or maybe even unopened. Now the really uncomfortable question, how long have they been there?
Yup, if it’s been over 6 months even the products that are “all natural” should be trash bound. The un-natural lot of products sitting there were toxic to begin with so time isn’t really an issue.
What is the issue?
Our bodies absorb what ever you slather, squirt, spray, rub, dab on your sweet bod. Meaning, you could be eating all your veggies, thwarting all refined sugar from your diet but if you are covering yourself in toxic, chemical laden products you might not be feeling so hot.
This is a big topic and I can’t pretend to have all the answers BUT I do have one and with summer around the corner I’m feeling very timely.
Soapwalla Deodorant, it’s tried and true by both myself and my husband. You can read the creator’s story here. I found out about this product while reading an article about Tata Harper, current natural beauty queen, the article covered products she uses herself – all natural of course. Like me she did not have luck with the deodorant crystals or Burt’s Bee’s products BUT Soapwalla worked for her and it’s working for me too. One caveat – you get used to the cream application, just do your whole under arm area.
And to quote Billy Joel, “I love you just the way you are” (even if you’re stinky….that part’s me not Billy)
So I mentioned the awareness of creating waste can become a bit of an addiction right? Well, my husband caught the bug too, his frequent contribution is in the form of this cup (or something similiar). As a friend to caffeine he frequents many a coffee joint and he always brings his own cup. He’s saving the waste of the paper cup, cardboard sleeve, plastic lid, occasionally those weird plastic sip-stopper things certain coffee shops adorn your cup with, BUT apparently it’s also quite the conversation starter.
SO, if you are looking to put a little spice in your daily caffeine jaunt, try bringing your own cup, in my humble opinion cups with phrases get extra points. For example, USE ME OVER AND OVER, I CAN GO FOR YEARS NOT MINUTES, sadly I gotta million of ’em. heehee.
P.S. No lip about my husband’s superior photography, he’s not only handsome, he’s talented too, pfffff.