Read part I here
A big thing I’ve been trying to focus on the past few weeks has been food waste. My family and I have, for as long as I can remember, always kept leftovers to eat them later. We try not to throw away food, but what I’ve noticed is that sometimes when you don’t prepare certain foods on time, or don’t first cook or eat what looks like it’ll go bad sooner, it can still lead to involuntary food waste. So we’ve been working on that big time, trying to figure out little tips and tricks to make this work better, like organising the fridge or meal planning for the week. Something I read the other day was that it’s not good to keep vegetables and fruits in the same drawer/shelve in the fridge as they make each other go bad quicker.
Besides focussing on preventing food waste, my journey of less animal-produced-food is getting simpler and simpler. I’ve still eaten fish but I’ve managed to eat less of it over the past few weeks. Additionally I’ve been working on ways to lessen my cheese intake. This one feels quite difficult as I really do love cheese, but I realise that less of it is okay too. I still want to make my own vegan-cheese, but I haven’t gotten the motivation for it yet. But less seemed like a good start. We eat a lot of bread, often little sandwiches for dinner. This comes from how we used to eat when we were younger. In The Netherlands it’s quite normal to eat sandwiches or bread for lunch. This is something I’ve always carried forward in life. But recently my family and I have shifted to eating warm for lunch and having either salad, soup, or bread for dinner. And normally two or three of my pieces will contain cheese. But this is what I’ve been trying to substitute with other vegan friendly options. Like hummus! I made some more two days ago (recipe) in effort to make the less-cheese thing easier. Or Avocado, tomatoes, or dried tomato paste, substitutes like this. I have other things I’d like to try to make to put on bread, like making a peanut butter from scratch, but step by step.
I try to cook a lot for my family. We try to share the household duties like cooking, dishes, cleaning, laundry. I enjoy cooking the most out of those activities, but also cooking allows me to be somewhat in charge of what we eat. Especially because I’m open to experimenting with recipes and trying out new dishes, having me cook also creates the opportunity for the rest of my family to also try vegetarian and vegan meals – something they’re all open too, luckily. The other day I made a vegan curry using lots of vegetables, coconut cream, and tofu. Other days I make a pasta with vegetables, or a vegetable-rice mix with an egg on top.
Baking and cooking snacks is also something I’ve been continuing to do. Some of the recipes I’ve tried I’ve shared on my blog too under the “food” section. I prefer making my own snacks and tasty recipes because that way I know all the ingredients that included. I don’t like the idea of eating all these added sugars when, honestly, I don’t feel like they’re all needed. Having cut out a lot of processed and added sugars (which was very hard at first), I’ve grown to like bitter foods again, and dark, bitter chocolate, especially the 100% kind has really really grown on me, so bitter-ish snacks, or those with less sugar are what I’ve grown to prefer. Yes I can for sure still enjoy a great cake or something sweet, but I don’t feel the desire or urge to eat it often or a lot of it.
Eating less sugar and decreasing my desire for sugars in my daily food intake has really helped me love myself more too. While I don’t believe that self love should be based on physical appearance, for me it’s been a big hurdle on feeling like I could and should love myself. And then, because I wouldn’t love myself enough, I often headed for the sweets, specifically chocolate. And while it never got extremely out of hand, I eventually realised that the right way to love myself was to accept who I was, how I looked, and figure out how I wanted to create that further. I understood that I genuinely enjoyed feeling healthy and fit, just like eating healthy food and natural food rather than processed and sugar-ized food.
Another way I have been changing up my lifestyle has been by following some new and different accounts on social media. Accounts with inspiring posts or facts and information about well-being or yoga. I’ve unfollowed quite a large amount of people. Not because I don’t like their posts or because I don’t enjoy them as humans, but I just did not feel like their content production added anything substantial to my life. And I’m still working on weeding out my social media like that, but it’s a work in progress. I do notice that only following accounts with content that makes me happy or inspires me has left a better aftertaste in my mouth when I put my phone down. Additionally, after permanently deleting my Twitter account and deleting the Facebook app from my phone, I find myself going less and less on my phone for the purpose of social media. Instead I’ve learned to use my phone for educational and creative purposes like writing down blog ideas or learning a new language via Duolingo.
I feel like there is also a downside to following all these sustainability accounts on social media. It often feels like there is an overflow of information, of things I could be doing to have even less of an impact on the environment. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try it never feels like I’m doing enough because who am I as just one person doing little things?
But then I try to change my mindset. Because maybe the change will only come from many people who do little things to adjust their lifestyle. Maybe its the combination of many people all over the globe doing their thing to help the environment. The collective buying local, eating less meat and fish, taking more public transport or walking, little things like that. I’m hopeful that that is the way forward. I know big corporations and governments also have to help make the shift, but I honestly believe that they’ll be more inclined to make changes if the people are demanding these changes and are showing with their behaviour that they want something different.
A very different way I’ve also chosen to focus on creating less of an environmental impact is regarding my period. While I cannot control on whether I bleed every month or not, I can control on whether I create waste in the process. The other day I read information about that menstrual products can take anywhere between 500-800 years to decompose. That is insane!! That is so much time for products that are used monthly for a large percentage of the average woman’s life.
Something that I had already been exposed to was Thinx® underwear. They’re period underwear that you can rinse out, wash, and then wear again. I only have three at the moment but the more I use them, the more I feel secure in them. They’re not just beneficial for the planet but also for myself. They’re much more more comfortable than pads and tampons, and because of their comfort and environmentally friendly purpose, I decided to get more so that I have enough for a whole cycle.
I’m slowly finding more and more ways to become environmentally friendly and to work on bettering the world that I live in. There are many things that I still do, like travel via airplane, or occasionally shop from non-sustainable brands, but I’m working on each of these aspects. Especially shopping I’ve focused a lot on become more and more sustainable, to buy from brands that are environmentally friendly and fair to their workers as well. It’s a process and I know that a lot of sustainability bloggers share that it is difficult to be perfectly sustainable, and that the best we can do is work our hardest to create a life where we have the ability to be environmentally friendly to the planet and ourselves.