Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thirteen Tips Toward Sustainability

I do wish to write more about sustainability and healthy living on this blog. There are ways to afford being able to eat organic foods.. To begin, I would like to simply include a list of tips that I have found helpful in changing my own lifestyle. (I am far from where I would like to be), but this is a good starting point. This is a very informal list and at some point I'd like to add more details and facts, links, book recommendations.. I highly recommend clicking on the link for "story of stuff" It is lifechanging information.




1. Join a local CSA (community supported agriculture)-eat local as much as you can. Eat organic. This can be a more offordable option. We are a member of Birds and Bees Farm near Oregon City. Eat local and in season. In season food is cheaper. Look at the prices. Don't buy fresh strawberries from Mexico in January...wait until you can buy them local/in season..or go crazy in the summer and pick away/jam/freeze them so you can enjoy them during the winter that way. Think about the fuel cost in having the food shipped from so far..and the loss of nutrition anyway.. "think about your ecological footprint" in your buying choices.

2. Buy grains/beans/rice in bulk. We buy most of this from Azure Standard. http://www.azurestandard.com/ You will save money this way and better be able to afford organic options.

3. Avoid plastic and recycle everything you can. Plastic is horrible to the environment. Use those reusable bags at the grocery store. Plastics are also filled with chemicals that are harmful...plastic toys that babies put into their mouths, etc.. Try to avoid as much "packaging" as you can even it is recyclable...think about bulk..all that packaging had to be created which involved polluting someone's backyard..and then again, it will be thrown away-creating more waste.. Make a goal of reducing your garbage. We use a smaller garbage can now since we compost, buy in bulk, and avoid processed foods=smaller garbage bill! I also buy bar soap and shampoo to avoid the plastic packaging.

4. Try not to depend on a grocery store too much. (if you have other options) buying clubs, co-ops. etc.. (Portland Green Parenting) In grocery stores, you will be paying marked up prices for not so good food-and getting more packaging to only be thrown away. Farmers markets are wonderful during the summer as are trips to a local farm for u-pick..


5. Try to make food from scratch as much as you can. Avoid processed foods. Enjoy the creativity. Processed foods are "dead foods" and have many harmful aspects to them...oils that are heated to extreme temps that become non-food to our bodies= cancer. I can't emphasize enough to avoid these processed foods like the plague. Even boxed cereals that claim to be healthy are still HIGHLY processed. Instead eat oatmeal or other whole grain "actual grains" there are many ways to prepare them that are not hard and are delicious! (I am still learning about this and some day hope to phase out those boxed cereals (almost completely)


6. Grow a garden in your yard, patio, window, etc.. or use pots, grow vertically if you lack the space. (Check out the book Square Foot Gardening) for starters. Compost your scraps=great for your garden, flowers, lawn, trees, and less waste going into landfill.


7. Drink raw milk from a local farm that is reputatable..has clean practices, feed their cows only grass. the enzymes are needed in our diets.. So much of what we put into our bodies is "dead"..we need some living things to help us digest our food, protect us from harmful bacterias. Truly raw honey is good too! Eat your veggies raw when you can.. The fresher they are, the less processed/cooked that they are the more nutrition they will provide you.


8. Have fun with the process and take it one step at a time! So many things to try-making your own bread, grinding your own wheat/grains, making yogurt, kefir, kombucha, creme fraiche, granola, canning and preserving-jams,


9. De-clutter your home and your life. Live more simply. Your things are more of a burden than you might think. (I am working on this step right now-and it is my biggest challenge)


10. Try to buy things used. Don't support the trend of "throwing things away" Don't support the industries that are making too much toxic throw-away "stuff". Things made today are made to break within a short amount of time. Try to get things second-hand..less will have to be "made" if more people re-use. Yard sales. consignment. freecycle. craigslist. goodwill outlets/thrift stores. borrow. use the library rather than buying books.

11. If you buy meat, find a farmer you can order part of an animal from to keep in your freezer. We've been buying grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as chickens this way. It is much cheaper and you have the comfort of knowing where your meat comes from-You can see the quality of life the animals have had. I think this kind of meat is much safer..considering the horrible meat recalls lately..and it is much tastier and cheaper!

12. Drink your own filtered water. Nothing is better than water. Not juice, certainly not soda, not coffee..and it is MUCH cheaper. Our bodies need the water, not all the sugar and additives. Once you start primarily drinking water, you will not crave the sugar so much. (I do still drink coffee often and the others I mentioned as "treats" but in general, this is the ideal I am striving towards.

13. Think about how you use energy, oil, and water. How do you travel to work? Are there better ways to conserve energy that you haven't tried yet? biking, walking, public transportation. Turn off those lights when not using them. don't run the water while brushing your teeth. Take showers moderately. Keep your thermostat lower than what is luxurious.


I will most likely revise/add to this list, but this is a start..

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