Healthy Monday Tip #2: 8 Steps to Reduce Packaging Waste

Healthy Monday is a public health initiative founded in 2005 in association with Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Syracuse University. HM’s goal is to end chronic preventable disease in the U.S. by offering people and organizations a weekly prompt to start and sustain healthy behaviors, intentions, actions and initiatives. For most Americans, the week begins on Monday. Studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.

Gaby’s comment from last week’s Healthy Monday gave me the idea for today’s post. I’m going to be running Healthy Monday indefinitely so if you ever have ideas for a Monday Tip just send them along.

Reduce Packaging Waste (food packaging or otherwise)

I buy a lot of things online, but sometimes I skip Amazon’s packaging in favor of something more eco-friendly. I’ve noticed more and more that I will order something and it comes with (unnecessary) bags of packing peanuts, or arrives in a gigantic box, or is contained within obscene amounts of plastic.

I’m a big fan of moderation, so I am not going to suggest anything that is difficult to implement or easy to forget for reducing packaging waste. Sustainability is all about just that – making changes that are sustainable.

Here are 8 quick and easy tips to reduce your packaging waste immediately:

  1. Buy food from bulk bins rather than individually packaged, if possible. (However, don’t buy in bulk if you have to buy more than you will need.)
  2. Avoid buying “single serving” packets of food (for example: buy 6 fresh cookies from the bakery that come in one paper bag instead of 6 individually wrapped cookies that come inside another wrapper).
  3. Don’t let cashiers double-bag your purchases unless absolutely necessary. (Or don’t let them bag them at all.)
  4. Bring your own grocery bags (re-use them).
  5. Try re-usable (travel) coffee mugs instead of new paper or plastic mugs each time you buy or make a cup of coffee or tea.
  6. Buy a loose piece of fruit instead of a bag of candy for your snack.
  7. Try eating less meat (it’s Meatless Monday today). Not *no* meat, just less. Meat is high up on the food chain so it takes more energy (and more waste) to produce than, say, a vegetable.
  8. *Buy Less Stuff In General*. Ohhh, snap. Yes I did just say that. Maybe we should all just cut back on how much we purchase. Is all of it necessary? Nope. Try going a week without buying anything non-essential. It’s hard. But it makes you realize how much you buy that you don’t really need.

Why Reduce Packaging Waste?

Because the earth will thank you. Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a massive area in the Pacific ocean filled with bits of plastic and crap that humans have tossed out irresponsibly.

Maybe if we just took a few of the steps outlined above the whirling gire of crap wouldn’t be quite so titanic.

What are your tips to reduce our trash production?

There are a lot I didn’t mention because they are (unfortunately) not that reasonable. People will balk at you if you ask them to stop eating out, make everything from scratch, and save their greywater to wash dishes in. To affect change you have to introduce change gradually. (Humans are bad at change.) That’s why I hope my 8 tips are not too crazy 🙂

I’m Not Perfect and it’s Okay (Great, Actually)

This morning I grabbed a quick and random breakfast. It was a waffle from this weekend (my dad’s waffles) and leftover cabbage with mustard from the corned beef I made last night. Both were taken right from the fridge and eating at room temperature. I smeared some almond butter on the waffle. I ate this at my desk.

I think it’s okay to admit that I eat weird, mis-matched meals like that. Because I’m a food blogger you might think that I am always eating the perfect bowl of oatmeal or perfectly plated dishes with lots of healthy things like wild fish and organic vegetables. But I’m not. I like to eat whatever I have on hand and I eat something because I enjoy it… not because it’s what I “should” be eating.

So lunch was a medley of things I had in my fridge. I steamed up some watercress, daikon, and burdock. I topped it with chopped corned beef, mustard, and whipped cream cheese. And it was great. I ate it out of a tupperware, cold. I might have had something else with this as well, but I don’t remember. I know I had an apple later on in the afternoon.

After work I wandered down to the West Village to look at an (ugly) couch. I met up with Kate and we tried to shop for vintage dresses. It didn’t work out. I got slightly depressed when I tried on some dresses (not vintage ones) and realized how my body has changed recently.

Went to Whole Foods for some maca chocolate, then headed home. I had more leftovers from the corned beef meal and I also had kabocha with whipped cream cheese.

Sometimes my eats go in phases for no reason other than I need/want to use something up. I don’t really want to use up my whipped cream cheese, but now that I have started eating it I can’t really stop because it’s so good. I’m eating the corned beef because it’s good, but also because I don’t want it to go bad. I’m eating all my random veggies because I buy huge quantities of them in Chinatown for cheap and I just like veggies. So there.

I’m trying to figure out what dessert will be (aside from the square of chocolate I munched while thinking of what to write about tonight). I would go out and get ice cream again, but it is gross outside. So I may have a non-traditional dessert of baby carrots and blue cheese (my snack from earlier).

Do you eat weird things? Or weird combinations?

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Ice Cream

Saturday was the first day of spring. I’m visiting my family in New Jersey and my dad made waffles. I had them with some of my sister’s Artisana macademia nut butter and my dad’s homemade syrup (he taps our trees every year and boils it down).

After breakfast we walked over to Rita’s for free water ice. Every year on the first day of spring, Rita’s opens and gives out free cups of their yummy flavors. I actually opted for sugar-free rootbeer. One of my food rules is that sugar is more evil than fake sugar. We all enjoyed our ices.

Back in the city, after dinner, I got ice cream at McDonald’s. That made my night. Another one of my food rules is that McDonald’s cones are okay occasionally.

Source.

Today my brother was in town (he actually came last night and brought our piano) so we took him to brunch at Quantum Leap (vegan place by NYU) as thanks. It was not very good! I ordered the macro plate because I was missing Souen this weekend but QL’s was so disappointing.

After my brother left I made corned beef for dinner that I had picked up at Pennington Market back in NJ. (It was a special packet that included the seasonings.)

Corned beef recipe – cover beef with water (1 inch above), add spice packet (looks like a tea bag), bring to a boil (uncovered), cover and simmer for 3-4 hours. Add cabbage for the last hour (chopped up roughly).

Eat with kabocha and mustard. I pulled a Heather and had my second bowl with whipped cream cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. That was the best.

Dessert was another McD’s ice cream cone (2 nights in a row!) and exercise was a walk on the Upper West Side to look at a couch and arm chair from Craigslist (which I think we will get).

I am now officially over my rambling and I am off to bed. I hope your weekend was as lovely as mine. What did you do?

Acupuncture Treatment: Stress and Hormones

This is an overview of the treatment for hormonal imbalance and treatment for stress. Acupuncture treatment can be very helpful for both. It’s an effective natural treatment for stress.

I’ve had a few people emailing me asking for recommendations that my acupuncturist told me. So I will just put them out here for you all to see. A lot of the mindfulness exercises can be good for anyone.

Acupuncture is great for: stress, digestion, hormonal problems, and more. I mainly went because of my digestion and a hormone thing!

Eating recommendations:

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  • Eat: lamb and bison, lightly spiced. (Cinnamon and chili are good.) (This is for the hormone thing.) (I made lamb here and here. Used spices here.)
  • Eat: Eggs and bacon. Alternate between turkey and regular bacon so I don’t get bored. (Reasoning: animal fats are good for hormone regulation as long as they are from free-range/organic animals.) (Also for hormones.) (I made bacon here. Eggs and bacon breakfast here.)
  • Eat: black beans with some coconut oil. (For hormones.) (Ate them here.) (Coconut oil here.)
  • Eat: lemon rind/zest in cooking; oranges. Something about the rid of these citrus fruits is good for digestion.
  • Eat: ginger and garlic. Good for digestion. Also very warming.
  • Snack idea: rice cakes with coconut oil.

It is good to keep a balance – meat and carbs are acidic in nature, so to balance them out, we need alkaline green leafy veggies. Lots of them!

Other recommendations:

  • Soak feet in hot water with lavender and epsom salts. Don’t let the water get cold! Do this for 20-30 minutes.
  • Take a hot bath after dinner with lavender and epsom salts.

Meditations to try:

  • Lie on your back (savasana). Breath in and out with your chest. Imagine your heart is expanding and making your chest rise. Keep focusing on the strength and power of your heart. (5-15 minutes.)
  • Sitting or savasana. Focus on an area of your body that may feel neglected or needing love. Imagine a tiny light the size of a dime radiating from the center of that place. Now imagine it growing and radiating out from that body part until it is big enough to envelop your whole body. Now take all that energy and begin to compress it back into a smaller and smaller light. Eventually the light goes back to the size of a dime (still in the same location). Repeat if necessary. (5-10 minutes.) I got this one from an intenSati class with Lindsay.

Books:

  • Feeling Good by David D. Burns. Cognitive therapy isn’t just for depression!

Have you tried acupuncture? What about other Traditional Chinese Medicine? (Coco has a good series on this stuff too.)

Gourmet Park and Nutty Butter Fats

The other day I got a package from Maranatha – 2 jars of nut butter. They sent me one jar of no-stir peanut butter and one jar of no-stir almond butter.

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Let me tell you – I thought I didn’t really like almond butter… I was so wrong. This almond butter is great. Both the almond butter and the peanut butter are slightly sweetened with organic cane sugar.

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Thanks, Maranatha! I can’t wait to experiment with these. So far I’ve just had them plain, in oatmeal, and on rice cakes.

I work long hours so recently I have been going to Gourmet Park for dinner. My favorite thing to get is the unlimited topping salad for $6.95. You pick a base (I get romaine), one “meat’” (I get either bacon or shrimp, depending on my mood), and unlimited gourmet toppings.

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This one had (I think I’m forgetting some): roasted oily eggplant, roasted oily Brussels sprouts, broccoli, roasted peppers, corn, peas, water chestnuts, baby corn, mandarin oranges, artichoke hearts, sprouts, and probably some other things. I always get the honey mustard dressing on the side.

Gourmet Park also has a sale on their prepared food after 6:00pm – it’s all half off. So I get prepared food for $4/pound (normally $4/half pound).

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This one was some Asian-inspired cooked salad of broccoli, black sesame seeds (Coco likes these!), peppers, and some other unidentified veggies. Underneath (hiding) are a bunch of oily peppers. I’m really into oily veggies lately – they are so good. Fat is good.

Tonight I got a big dish of something with cauliflower. It was Indian-inspired, I think.

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I topped it with some beef, salmon, and crab (salmon and crab are in that left corner). I also got some oily eggplant and some mashed potatoes. Very filling. Gourmet Park is helping me eat a variety of foods without having to worry about planning my meals.

In terms of exercise I’ve been sticking with my walking routine. Today I actually walked 4 miles instead of 2 because I walked home from work while chatting with my parents.

How often do you talk to your parents? Sometimes I talk to them every day and then other times I will go a week or even more.