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Friday, October 8, 2010

Expressionery Product Review

I love getting stuff in the mail.  It's even more fun when packages that I didn't order arrive and I get to wonder what might be inside.  Just the other day, the UPS guy brought me one of these mystery packages, and I opened it to find a sample of Expressionery's new personalized melamine plates, which are available for purchase on their website beginning today!
Here is the one I received:



















Now, I am not a huge fan of melamine, but I have to say that this plate is pretty darn cute.  It also brings back lots of fond memories of making plates as a kid.  Interestingly enough, a couple weeks ago I was organizing a closet and discovered a Make-A-Plate kit that I had started working on a couple years ago and never sent in to be processed.  Apparently I have too much on my plate, without adding plate-making to the mix (haha).
If you think you don't have a creative bone in your body (I don't believe it for a second), or if you're like me and simply don't have the time to make totally custom melamine plates, but would still like some cute, dishwasher safe, personalized plates for special occasions (or every day use), you can check out the entire line of super cute (albeit the $25 price tag) new plates at Expressionery.com!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

My battle with fruit flies has become a yearly thing.  I was surprised at how few I had seen this summer until my mom said, "It might just be early."  Sure enough, a month later I was fighting a losing battle.  The past two years I tried keeping them under control with the bowls of soap and vinegar on the counter.  The fruit flies would fly to the bowl and perch on the edges but rarely would they actually hop in and drown.  I was told that I needed to cover the bowls with plastic wrap and punch little holes in the plastic so that the flies would get in but not be able to fly out.  I tried both ways and experimented with different mixtures in the bowls.  What a mess.  I ended up with kitchen that smelled of vinegar, a counter cluttered with bowls of soapy liquids just waiting for a spill... and four or five dead fruit flies.  I was thrilled when a friend of mine turned me on to this amazing fruit fly trap:

Not only does this trap actually work, it is humane!  I know most of you probably don't care about killing a few dozen flies or so, but if it is at all possible to get by without killing something, I am all for it.  Just ask the wasps that live on my porch... (I did give them their evacuation notice, but they haven't taken heed yet.  I may have to take more drastic measures and relocate them myself once it gets colder.)

In any case, this trap is simple to make and works like a charm.  Simply take a small jar and a piece of paper.  Twist the paper into a fairly wide cone with a hole in the tip just big enough for a fruit fly to pass through.  You may have to fiddle with it a little; when you place the cone in the jar, the tip should not be touching the bottom of the jar (or your bait).  Tape the loose edge of the cone to secure it.  Set the cone aside and place a bit of fruit or fruit peel in the jar.  Fruit flies go crazy for cantaloupe and banana, and less so for orange and watermelon, in my experience. Gently set the cone in and secure it with two or three pieces of tape, making sure there are no gaps between the cone and the glass.  Set the trap wherever you notice the most fruit flies.  Obviously, it will help to remove any other attractants in the room.  Do not let the trap sit longer than overnight, since the idea is to get rid of your fruit flies, not breed them (you also do not want to reuse your bait for the same reason).  Once you have caught yourself some of those bitty buggies, take the jar outside and release them. 

For a picture tutorial, go HERE.

Day 11-12: Easing Back

Many of you were impressed that I did this cleanse and consumed nothing but the lemonade for 10 days, but I'm finding out that was actually the easy part!  Coming off a cleanse is harder than being on it.   I know I was supposed to drink nothing but orange juice for the first 2 days.  The folks on the Master Cleanse forum seemed to think it would be alright to have the cantaloupe juice as well.  I am blaming it on my broken foot, but I admit that I had a small bowl of plain, baked spaghetti squash last night.  It just seemed like it would be something simple, good, easy to digest.  I'm starting today with some herbal tea and then making some watermelon juice.

Now, off to release my fruit flies!

Day 10: How NOT to Break a Fast

Coming to you from Day 11 12... I've been a bit preoccupied the past couple of days and didn't get to post.  All was going well on Day 10.  We took a trip to the grocery store and loaded up on all sorts of yummy things that I will be able to eat in a few days, including a bunch of organic oranges to juice.  Good thing I got all that done, because later that afternoon I slipped on something and fell and hurt my foot pretty badly.  I put ice on it and hoped that it was just a sprain or a bruise, but by the evening it was really swollen and I couldn't put any weight on it, so off to the ER I went.  About 3 hours later, the doctor came in said that I had indeed broken my foot (the first bone I have ever broken!).

As you can see, I didn't get a cast, but I do have to go see an orthopedist in the beginning of next week.  I wanted to post the x-ray of my foot, but I couldn't open it on the disk the doctor gave me.  Anyway,
I got back just before midnight, and went back over to my neighbors' house, where Kiira and Hana had already fallen asleep.  I came home for a minute to let the dogs out, rinse my sprouts, and make my senna tea, and then headed over there to sleep with them.  Since I wasn't at home in the morning, I didn't get to do my salt water flush, so I opted to start the day with a cup of peppermint tea; nevertheless, I am still amazed at how much is coming out of me!  Where is it coming from!??!

When we got home, I made myself a lemonade, and then a while later decided to go for the orange juice. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like fresh pressed orange juice, even when one hasn't been fasting.  I feel a little sorry for all the people who come off their Master Cleanses and start drinking boxed orange juice, even if it is the Not-From-Concentrate stuff.  No problems with the orange juice, so over the next few hours I squeezed a couple more small glasses. I noticed myself feeling a bit hungry. Later that afternoon I started getting tired of the o.j. and decided to press one of the long awaited cantaloupes.  Oh, my goodness... now this was heaven!  (The fruit flies were in complete agreement.)  I set a humane trap for the fruit flies using a bit of the cantaloupe peel for the bait, cleaned up the kitchen a bit and sat down.  It had probably been less than 20 minutes when I noticed my lip starting to puff up in a hive.  I wasn't getting the more usual and superficial body hives that I get, but rather the more annoying kind where they pop up more under my skin.  Rats.  Right at that moment a friend of mine called saying that he would be picking me up in 20 minutes to go for a boat ride, so I decided to pop a Claritin.  Now I am a little scared to try the rest of the cantaloupes, because I have really been hoping that I am not sensitive to salicylate- cantaloupes are high in salicylate- and I would really, really hate to give up fresh cantaloupe juice!  I guess I will just have to drink up while the antihistamine is still working today ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 9

My recipe organizing and typing has continued into today.  I've been feeling sort of hungry today, but I think I might have just made less lemonade today since I have been occupied with typing (plus I was running out of lemons).

No major updates on the cleanse front; my skin is breaking out a bit more, which sort of makes me think that I should continue for a few more days.  Of course it is hard to tell, since my feeling on this seems to change daily.  I got another bag of lemons today, so maybe I will just continue until they are gone.  Or I run out of maple syrup, whichever comes first.  Either way, it seems like the transition back into eating is so clean and gradual (if done properly) that it is almost like an extension of the cleanse.

Trying to get into bed a little earlier tonight.  It doesn't seem too likely at this point, but I'm going to end it here anyway :)

Until tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 8: The End is in Sight! Fruit Flies 2, Kai 0

I take back what I said about wanting to do some extra days.  I think 10 days will be just fine.
Yesterday someone gave me the great suggestion to eat sprouts when I start eating again, and I figured that if I start them right away, they would be ready just in time for me to eat them.  I started a batch last night, and have been rinsing them today.  I went to give them their final rinse for the night and discovered that the jar was full of fruit flies. Ugh!  I guess since I put the rest of the bananas that were on the counter into the dehydrator this afternoon, they had nothing left to eat, and so turned to the sprouts.  I just can't figure out how they got in there!

I have been feeling good today, though I felt myself turning inward somehow and decided against going to a church event this evening.  Instead, as torturous as it may sound, I sorted through my cookbooks and recipes and started to tackle the long awaited task of typing my recipe collection (a large folder of torn out newspaper and magazine pages, random scraps of paper with fading ink and the like) into the computer.  I have to say it was easier to handle than making pancakes for the girls this morning! (Having sent my Vita-Mix to be repaired, I was forced to make them with all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat, and I accidentally put a little too much oil in the pan for frying- wouldn't that have been a great way to break my fast, with sweet, greasy, white flour goodness! :D)

I have still been somewhat hivey the past days; although they haven't been any worse than before, unfortunately it is looking like this cleanse will not be my miracle cure.

However, as I continued my research, I did find a website with an elimination diet that I am interested in trying. The RPAH Elimination Diet, also known as the FAILSAFE diet, helps determine salicylate, amine, glutamate, and additive sensitivities in individuals.  The FAILSAFE (Free of Additives, Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers) was developed by allergists at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia in the 1980's, and apparently is not well known outside of Australia.  It's amazing that I've just come across it now, after researching chronic urticaria for so many years already. I'm pretty sure I can already rule out the additives, since I avoid artificial colors and preservatives, etc., but I think it may be a good idea to go through the diet and see about the other three.   As much as I would like to try it right away, I think I will ease myself back into eating as directed, and then start clearing my cupboards of the foods that I will not be able to eat while doing the FAILSAFE experiment.

Other than that, I have no other significant updates... two days to go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Plastic Trash Challenge: Week 2

approx. 91 items, 1 lb 4.3 oz (+ 3.7 oz)
Recyclable items: 9 (7 locally)

There are a few items this week that I am ashamed of.  I don't know why I had taken my To-Go Ware stainless steel food carrier out of my car the day we went to Ruby Tuesday's, but because of it I ended up with that horrible styrofoam box and cup.  I should have known better.  And I could have refused the to-go cup (at least I refused the lid and straw, but still...!)  
The other thing that was appalling to me was the amount of plastic that came with a recent order of school supplies.  As if the packaging of the individual items wasn't enough, Utrecht Art Supplies packed my order into a box that was far, far too big, and then filled it with all these Filled-Air bags.  I forgot to count the bags, but it added that 3.7 oz to my trash and you can see the size of the pile there on the right side of the picture.
Going into Week 2, I realized that deciding to use less plastic in my life was going to take a little longer than I expected because of having to use up my previous purchases.  Writing this from Week 3, I can say that with even more certainty.  Last night I cleaned and organized my pantry and one of my kitchen cupboards.  The pantry, especially, was remarkable as it contained a lot of plastic bags: trash bags that had fallen out of the box, all those grocery bags that I got when I forgot my reusable bags, produce/bulk bin bags department store bags, bread bags, cereal bags, miscellaneous bags that I kept because they "might come in handy someday".  I realized that I had a lifetime supply (or more!) of plastic bags and it was time to purge.  (Notice a theme in my blog lately?)  I ended up with 5 bags of bags that I will recycle at Kroger next time I head out.  I am not counting these in my Week 3 trash because I want to keep the focus on my average weekly output, but I will document them here. 

I wish I had taken a "before" picture, but here's my freshly organized pantry:
There's still quite a bit of plastic in there, but at least a lot of it gets reused.  For instance, I found that the plastic containers that dates come in at our co-op are great for storing my dehydrated foods since they are clear, have good lids and stack nicely.  

Anyway, that's it for show and tell.  I'm off to see how else I can utilize this cleansing energy before the day is though!














Plastic Trash Challenge: Week 1

Well, folks, here it is: the result of the plastic trash I accumulated over the course of my first week participating in the Fake Plastic Fish "Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash" Challenge.  I will post the complete details once it is posted on Fake Plastic Fish (I figure it will be easier to copy the list from there rather than type it all in a FOURTH time.)

A few details about this mess of plastic:
There are approximately 91 pieces in the picture (not counting individual produce stickers), and the combined weight is 1 lb.  Aside from the grocery bags (how do those pile up so quickly!?), only ONE thing is recyclable in Bedford County.

Day 7

I got the right amount of salt in my water this morning, apparently.  Drinking a glass of lemonade soon after the SWF seems to really help get things moving.  It's really amazing what is coming out of me.  I read this morning that there is from 5-8 pounds of fecal matter in our intestinal lining!  I weighed in at 125.2 lb today, which is about 5 or 6 pounds less than I weighed when I started, and actually what I consider  to be my ideal weight (not that I was doing this cleanse to lose weight; it is sort of a nice bonus though).  My skin is breaking out just a little; I'm noticing little blemishes here and there.

Today I actually feel a little sad that I am nearing the end, and am tempted to do a few extra days, especially since my first day was really only a half day having had those other juices.  While 10 days is minimum number of days for the Master Cleanse, the book also says that the cleanse is complete when the tongue becomes pink with no coating (mine does have a slight whitish coating now).  I recently watched a video on YouTube of a woman on her 40th day of the Master Cleanse.  She had started out planning on doing the 10 days, then decided to do 10 more and then 10 more until she went all the way to 40.  I don't want to go that long (at least not this time), but I can now see how she did it!

I have had some hives during the past couple days, but a bit less than 'usual'.  My body feels more relaxed.  Salicylate sensitivity was suggested to me as the cause of my hives, but since the cayenne (high in salicylate) doesn't seem to aggravate the hives I hope to rule it out.  I'm interested to see what happens when I switch back to lemons, as they are somewhat higher in salicylate than limes.  I will probably try a salicylate free diet when I start eating again, to see if that has any effect.  

In other news, I am doing battle with fruit flies.  

Coming soon: Plastic Trash Challenge, Weeks 1 and 2



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 6: Over the hump, or "Where the heck is all this poop coming from?!"

Woke up feeling good.  I think I may have used the wrong measuring spoon for my salt this morning as I didn't experience quite the "flushing" effect that I have the past few mornings.  Still, I cannot figure out WHERE all this poop is coming from when I haven't eaten anything in 6 days (and I take back both days of saying I was cleared out)!

More and more I think that preparing food for the girls is helping me deal with my cravings.  I managed to clean and organize the pantry and one kitchen cupboard this evening, as well as wash and polish the car earlier this afternoon.  Now, I'm ready for bed!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 5: Halfway!

I had a feeling that since yesterday was so unremarkable, that I'd probably have more to write about today. For one thing, I've made it to the halfway point!  I didn't feel the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but when I woke up in the morning I felt really lousy: weak and shaky.  I got up and made myself my salt water and chugged it down, hoping that getting things moving would help.  No luck; it was taking too long and I really started feeling hungry, so I made myself a lemonade, too.  That seemed to help a bit, and when the salt water did its trick I felt a tiny bit better as well.  I was still feeling really weak and pasty in the mouth, so I drank more water. I drank a big glass and then felt somewhat nauseous. It's interesting that I feel a bit dehydrated even though all I have been consuming for the past 4 days is liquids!   I think I have been focusing more on the lemonade for the past four days, and I will be drinking a lot of water today. The salt water flush had me going to the bathroom more than any of the other mornings, and I also take back what I said about clearing my intestines in three days as the last trip this morning was the first that has really been clear.  (Sorry if it is TMI.)  I also suddenly noticed that I DIDN'T HAVE MY USUAL MORNING HIVES!  Still feeling pretty lousy, I finally decided to lie down for a bit, and after 10 or 15 minutes I started feeling a little better, at least enough to get up and start cleaning the bedroom for a guest this evening. 


I have been making mental lists of things I would like to eat once this cleanse is finished.  My neighbor requested a wheatberry salad that I haven't made in ages for a get-together this afternoon. It looks delicious... wish I could eat it.  I'd also like to make more veggie sushi rolls.  Vegan marshmallows. Hummus. Oh goodness, all this maple syrup makes me think of pancakes :D I have to remember not to go crazy with all the food once I start eating again.  I remember once, years ago, I  forgot I was fasting and I accidentally accepted a beer someone offered me.  What a way to break a fast! 

Anyway, it's nearing the end of the day again, hooray! I'm excited yet a little hesitant to say that I only got a few hives all day. I hope it's not just a coincidence.



Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 4

Not much to report today.  I woke up feeling good but when I tried to straighten up the house a bit I realized that my energy was a bit low and I was also a bit grumpy. Tomorrow is the halfway point; that is pretty exciting.  I'm still debating whether it is "already" or "only", although I am sort of leaning towards "only".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 3: When Life Hands You Lemons or "Oh God, there is half a peanut butter cup on the counter"

I can't decide whether I should write that it is "already day 3" or "only day 3".  The middle of the night trip to the bathroom is turning into a routine.  This time I looked at the clock- 3:30am- and then went back to bed until just before 8 when I got up to do my salt water flush.  I find it amazing (and a little disgusting) that it took three days of not eating to clear my bowels completely.  I added an extra teaspoon of sole to my salt water this morning since it seemed a little weak yesterday.  I'm not sure if it is the salt I am using, but I found it absolutely delicious this morning, contrary to the reaction people tend to have.  The warm saltiness is a welcome change to the lemonade, which, by the way, I have also been able to modify a little depending on the method I use to juice the lemons.  I have been switching between throwing whole lemons in my juicer and just squeezing them.  Juicing the peel makes for a slightly more bitter brew, and according to Burroughs, (author of The Master Cleanser) also adds to the cleansing and laxative effect.
I took the girls to story hour and stopped by Kroger on the way back to pick up more lemons.  I ended up with limes instead since they were cheaper and smaller (better for my citrus press), and they will also add another welcome taste variation.

Overall, I feel really good!  My energy level is good.   My skin (I think) already looks brighter, softer and clearer.  I haven't had any of the stomach pain that has plagued me for the past few weeks.  I would have to say that my main challenge is the cravings.  For instance, I made Kiira a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and she didn't eat it; it is still sitting on the table and calling to me.  I walked through the kitchen a little while ago and instinctually reached for a banana before I remembered that I am not eating food right now.

Alright, the sandwich is gone, the girls have had their dinner and I am looking forward to winding down for the evening.  I'm feeling hungry again, so I will have another glass or two of limeade.  In a couple hours I will be ready for my tea... and the end of the first third of the cleanse.  :P

Someone needs to eat the rest of that peanut butter cup... I don't think it will be difficult to talk Kiira into that :D

Until tomorrow..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cleanse Day 2

I will spare you the graphic details of the cleanse, not that it has been bad so far.  There are other bloggers out there that go into every little detail of the detox, so if that is what you want, you will have to look elsewhere.  I will say that I felt pretty good all day yesterday.  I had no real huger pains or cravings. Even cooking the girls' dinner was no problem.  Around 9pm, however,  I suddenly started feeling really jittery and shaky.  I made myself one more lemonade, then settled into bed with my senna tea.  Although I was tired, I had a hard time falling asleep (further aggravated by the fact that my 3 year old, Kiira, "wasn't tired" at 10:30) Eventually sleep came, and sometime early, early in the morning I had to get up as the tea was making its way through me. When I went back to bed, I had sensations of not only my body being cleansed, but also my mind and spirit. I got back to sleep for a while and woke up feeling quite rested.

Today started with the salt water flush.  I used 8 tsp. of Himalayan salt solution in 1qt. of water, as suggested on the Raw Food Site forum.  The Master Cleanser book says to use 2 tsp. salt;  someone did the math and calculated that this was the correct amount of sole to use.  I found this amount of salt quite palatable, but I was a little worried that it wasn't enough salt for it to work properly.  However, within 15 or 20 minutes of drinking the quart of warm salty water I felt things moving in me and was again in the bathroom.

The morning went by slowly.  I've had 4 glasses of lemonade so far, and have felt a bit hungry.  Mostly though, I want to eat just to eat.  I am noticing how much of the eating I do is simply instinctual, or even brought on by boredom. I am also noticing food related Facebook posts more (the Co-op hit me hard with their mention of handmade bagels and chocolate-strawberry cupcakes this morning!) In a way, I think it might even help that I have to prepare food for the kids.  I don't get to eat it, but it keeps me occupied and I do get to engage my other senses.

Ironically, the October issue of Vegetarian Times also arrived in my mailbox today.   After I write this I am going to sit down and devour it :D

I'm down almost three pounds since yesterday (part of this is probably just daily fluctuation) and I started menstruating.  It seems a little early, but I haven't really been keeping track these days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reset: Master Cleanser Day 1

I've been craving a cleanse on and off for several years now, but haven't been able to do it since I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding.  Granted,  I'm still nursing my 16 month old, but she's not totally dependent on my breasts for sustenance, and I feel I'm in a good spot to do it.  My main motivation for this cleanse is the hope that it will reset my system and help the mystery hives that I have been dealing with for the past 7 years or so.

I decided to do the Master Cleanser, sometimes known as the Lemonade Diet.  I have tried it once before, but if I remember correctly I didn't get past day 3; in any case I have never done it for the recommended 10 days.  I'm aiming for the full 10 this time, with the added challenges of having to feed and watch my kids eat (I keep wondering how I am going to manage their inevitable leftovers!)

I have been preparing myself for the cleanse for the past week or so by focusing on raw food again and also emptying the fridge of the perishables that will not last the 10 days.  Today is my first official day; I drank only fresh pressed juices in the morning and just now had my first glass of "lemonade".

I thought that this would be a good motivation for blogging, too, as I really am not that good at posting consistently :D  I'll post everyday to let you know how I'm doing.  So far so good...










And now for something a little different...

As I have been exploring being single for the better part of the past year, I have been getting to know myself a little better again and figuring out exactly what I do want out of a relationship when the time (or person) is right.  I have realized that in the past I have settled and compromised on my values simply out of loneliness or convenience.  A few times I have been on the right track, but missed some integral part; I suppose in a way each relationship has been educational.  

What I am actually leading up to is an interesting experience I had: I was recently presented with an opportunity to review an online adult shop on my blog. It’s not really a usual venue for me in any case, but especially since I experienced a lot of hurt and betrayal in the s-e-x department of my last relationship, my first instinct was to toss the email.  After some more thought, however, I became intrigued by the offer and then pleasantly surprised with what I found once I actually went and explored it.  I was expecting something kind of creepy and sleazy; instead I found a company and community that celebrates the act of physical love.  
As I mentioned, I don’t have much experience with this type of store, but this shop is something else. I don’t care what your preference is; Eden Fantasys has something for everyone, whether you are straight, gay, married and happy, married and needing a little spice, single, you name it.  Everything (and there is a lot to choose from!) is nicely categorized and the advanced product search makes it easy to find what you like, from adult toys to lingerie to sensual oils and lotions and beyond (board games, anyone?). The detailed product descriptions include actual size images as well as material safety information (love that!!), and the personal reviews are fun to read. Of course, I personally love that they have a large selection of green toys (I never thought I'd be saying something like this, but some of these are really beautiful!) and other natural products.  The wealth of information and educational material on the website is quite impressive, and, as I briefly mentioned, there is also community of friendly and helpful folks that one can connect with in a number of different ways.  

I was provided with a free product in exchange for this testimonial, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Talking Trash

Hi everyone, I still have several more giveaways to post, but I got a little sidetracked over the past weeks with my parents' visit as well as some other issues that are close to my heart. If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably seen some of the "propaganda" I have been posting, but it really boils down to me becoming more aware of what I am consuming as well as what those things are packaged in.  More specifically, I am becoming more aware of the magnitude of plastic we all use and throw away every day.  During the past few weeks I have realized that I have become less outspoken and more lackadaisical about things I really care about.  Twenty years ago it wasn't uncommon to hear me say things like, "You're going to throw that away? Where exactly is away?"  Over the years, however, I started becoming more and more mute on the subject, and I am now realizing that I haven't been living up to my own standards, either. (On another note, I think I need to read The Phantom Tollbooth again, too.)

In case you weren't aware, there is an alarming amount of garbage in our oceans.  In fact, there is an estimated 3.5 tons of mostly plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean.  It is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and there is a similar patch growing in the Atlantic.



I am absolutely horrified by this.



In any case, as I said, all of this information is making me really aware of exactly how much plastic I use on a daily basis. I stumbled on a blog called Fake Plastic Fish that has an ongoing "Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!" Challenge.  The rules are simple: Collect your plastic waste (both recyclable and non) for one week or more. Then photograph, tally, and post it on the blog. Fake Plastic Fish's author, Beth Terry asks, "What can we learn about our habits and lifestyles by examining our waste? And what changes can each of us make to leave the planet a little less trashy?"

I thought this was a great idea, and started right away. Two days in, I'm discovering that I have a LOT of room for improvement. Up until Monday morning, I thought that I was pretty good about the three R's. I have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, and bamboo utensils that I carry with me.  I reuse my empty yogurt containers (darn those #5 plastics!) and bread bags.  I have reusable grocery bags that I am pretty good about using.  Even so, the plastic trash is accumulating more quickly than I imagined at a frightening pace.  If this is what I alone (for all intents and purposes) produce, how much do the people who live a "throwaway lifestyle" produce?! 

In case you are wondering where some of the plastic you throw away ends up, take a look at this video about the albatrosses on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, located approximately 1,250 miles northwest of Honolulu.



So how did you do?  How many of the items you use on a daily basis end up in albatross stomachs? Maybe you aren't a fisherman or a smoker (or even if you are, there are several alternatives to plastic lighters), or you have decided to carry reusable utensils, but what about those pesky toothbrushes?   I did some research yesterday on natural toothbrushes and was not happy with what I found: natural toothbrushes are hard to find!  I found pricey wooden toothbrushes with boar bristles (sorry, vegans) that are imported from Germany and toothbrushes with natural handles and replaceable plastic heads (I suppose it reduces the amount of plastic somewhat).  I even looked into the Peelu or Miswak chewing sticks that are used in Africa and the Middle East but ironically I could only find individual plastic wrapped sticks.  Just as the situation was looking hopeless, I found Preserve. Remember those pesky #5 plastics that many communities don't recycle? (Does anyone else have a really big collection of storage yogurt containers in their pantry?)  Preserve has a program called Gimme 5  which takes those #5 plastics and turns them into toothbrushes (and other items).  Best of all, they close the loop by providing prepaid mailers for returning your used toothbrushes to them to be recycled again! They also accept Brita filters for recycling.  Drop off locations can be found in 36 states, or if there is not one close to you, you can also mail in your #5 plastics.
 I will be posting my first week's Plastic Trash Challenge results on Monday.  Anyone else game?

Leave me a comment below with at least one way that you can reduce the amount of plastic trash you produce (be creative- think beyond reusable grocery bags!)







Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kai on Pai Giveaway: Paperspring!

Mom 360 Giveaway #2

I was really tempted to keep this one for myself! However, for as much as I love to get mail, I have to admit that I am usually pretty bad about sending out cards and letters.  Despite my best intentions (and perhaps my minor stationery fetish), my drawer of stationery and pretty cards remains for the most part untouched. So, I have decided that one of my lucky readers will be the recipient of a $50 gift card to Paperspring!  Hopefully the products will get put to better use than they would with me :)

I was truly impressed with the quality and selection of sample cards, invitations and birth announcements I received in the Mom magazine sample pack.  Paperspring products are easily personalized with an online preview and printed on premium quality eco-friendly paper (All of their matte cards are printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled thick cardstock and utilize green methods of printing, as well.)

I really like that they offer free shipping on every order!

I love the Digital Name Art, especially these Personal Islands! They're available exclusively at Paperspring.

 For your chance to win the $50 Gift Certificate to Paperspring...

**Mandatory Entry**

Go to Paperspring and have a look around. Leave a comment here telling me what you would spend the $50 on if you win! Please be sure to leave your email address, or make sure it's visible on your profile, so that I can contact you if you are the winner!

**Bonus Entries**

Bonus entries are not required. However, you may do one or all to increase your chance of winning! *Bonus entries will not count if mandatory entry is not done first!*
(Please leave a separate comment for each entry)


*Publicly follow Kai on Pai on Google Connect or Networked Blogs (1 entry)

*"Like" Paperspring on Facebook (1 entry)

*Tweet about this giveaway (once per day, leave a comment with your Twitter status, 1 entry per day)

*Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link to the post (2 entries-leave two comments)


**Rules**

*Giveaway ends July 31, 2010 at 11:59pm EST

*Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries

*Winner will be chosen from all valid entries using Random.org and will be contacted by email

*Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen

Kai on Pai Giveaway: Celebrations!


Ok, here we go! Mom 360 Giveaway #1!

As far as my parties go, the typical sequence of events tends to be as follows: I first get the reason to have a party, and then decide on a theme, the invitations, and decorations, etc.  I love throwing parties and love to go all out on the decorations and food.  However, the last time I was able to pull that off was when I was pregnant with my first child.  These days, with my two little ones, I am sorry to say that the menu and planning for my get-togethers has sunk to the level of (a few hours before the event), "Hm, I think I have some grapes and baby carrots in the fridge… whew, that block of cheese isn't moldy... I think there's a half a box of crackers in the pantry… and here are some napkins left over from Valentine's Day!" 


Fortunately, for those of us who aren't Martha Stewart, or if like me, you simply don't have time or energy to hand make and plan every detail of a party, but still want to create beautifully coordinated settings for birthday parties, showers, or holiday events, there is The Celebration Shoppe! (Don't you just love that name? It's so cheerful and fun!)  I was introduced to the founder, Kim Ayers, thanks to the Mom magazine goodie bag I received the other day.  Kim created her company in order to "help moms and girlfriends host spectacular birthday parties, showers, and holiday parties without all the stress." (Thanks, Kim, on behalf of all of us busy moms! )
After browsing the Celebration Shoppe website, I have to say that the fore mentioned party planning sequence has been reversed for me: I have the decor in mind, and now just need the excuse to have a party! Or… can the decorations themselves be the reason? Pair the customizable invitations with any combination of matching plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths and runners with printable napkin rings, place cards, cupcake picks for a unique, foolproof party décor that is easy as "Click. Click. Planned." There are even coordinated baking supplies, if you are so inclined.

If simply browsing the storefront doesn't get your creative juices flowing, check out the party planning and idea center blog for more ideas and examples of what people have done with The Celebration Shoppe's products!



Now, for the GIVEAWAY!  The Celebration Shoppe is kindly giving away one of their printable collections to one of my lucky readers!


**Mandatory Entry**

Go to The Celebration Shoppe and have a look around. Leave a comment here telling me which collection you love the most and which printable collection you would choose if you win! Please be sure to leave your email address, or make sure it's visible on your profile. *You MUST do the mandatory entry! Bonus entries will not count if mandatory entry is not done first!*

**Bonus Entries**

Bonus entries are not required. However, you may do one or all to increase your chance of winning!
(Please leave a separate comment for each entry or it will not count)


*Publicly follow Kai on Pai on Google or Networked Blogs (1 entry)

*Subscribe to The Celebration Shoppe Blog (1 entry)
*"Like" The Celebration Shoppe on Facebook (1 entry)

*Tweet about this giveaway (once per day, leave a comment with your Twitter status, 1 entry)

*Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link to the post (2 entries-leave two comments)


**Rules**   
*Giveaway ends July 31, 2010 at 11:59pm EST  
*Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries
*Winner will be chosen from all valid entries using Random.org and will be contacted by email  
*Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bread

Whole wheat loaf (from the Vita-Mix cookbook)
    And now for something completely different!  To be honest, I almost don’t want to write about bread after writing about (and drinking) green juice, but I went on a bit of a baking frenzy a couple weeks ago and want to share. Just so you know, up until now I did not consider myself a baker.  I grew up baking cookies from scratch (at least during holidays and special occasions—snickerdoodles, anyone?), and knew my way around a box of brownie or cake mix, but for some reason I never found my way into the world of bread baking.  I eventually came to accept it as an activity reserved for some initiated few.  I do have a few memories of eating bread that my grandmother baked; she would always prepare kringel for birthdays, and I remember biting into slices of her English muffin bread which was best hot out of the oven and smothered with melting butter.  I vaguely recall some starter that she used for baking dark Estonian rye bread, but for some reason I don’t really remember seeing much of the actual baking process.  My brother, on the other hand, has carried on the tradition; he started making pizza dough from scratch years ago, and he often brings sweet braided raisin breads to family birthdays.  Until recently, I continued to shy away from the seemingly mysterious process of bread making.  Like rolling out a pie crust, it was one of those things that I just didn’t do (I can roll out a mean tortilla, though).  So I have baked a few breads over the years, but they have mostly been non-yeasted breads, and I have managed to turn out a decent whole wheat pizza crust.  When my Vita-Mix arrived with the whole grain cookbook, which includes instructions for grinding grains into flour and baking bread,  I had to try it out.  I had some good success with my first couple loaves, and decided to get adventurous when a friend offered me some sourdough starter that supposedly originates from the Oregon Trail.  


My first loaf of sourdough! 



What can I say? I have an affinity for strange cultures and ferments that require occasional attention and feeding. My first loaf came out beautifully! Although it wasn't very sour, it was very tasty.
 I also made some sourdough waffles.  I thought they were pretty good, but my girls were not as enthusiastic. 






Easy Cinnamon Sticky Buns

Since I was on a roll (hahah), I then moved on to these Easy Cinnamon Sticky Buns from Vegetarian Times magazine. They were fun to make, but very, very messy! They came out so dark because I didn't have dark corn syrup, so I added some blackstrap molasses to some light corn syrup I had instead. (I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you are a big fan of molasses). Since these are best hot, I would also recommend making them for a crowd. I gave some away and still ate too many.

Getting Greener....

I was hoping to relieve those of you who have been wondering if I've gone off the deep end with all this talk of raw food, and write a post about the breads I've been (secretly) baking in the meantime.
I will get to that, I promise!

However, I felt inclined to post again about the amazing effect raw greens have had on me. I admit it: even though I have been veg*n for the majority of my life, I have really not been that good about eating dark, leafy greens on a regular basis. There have been times when I bought big bunches of kale with the intent of making it a regular part of my diet, but all too often I would end up with a bunch of wilted yellowing leaves in my refrigerator. I really hate wasting food like that, but I never had a really good recipe for kale. I got excited about a recipe I found for "kale chips" last fall, but I found them unpalatable, so sauteed with a little garlic and lemon remained my go-to, though boring, way to prepare greens.
 I don't think I expressed the extent of my joy to discover a recipe for Raw Kale Salad. Most of the people I mention this to give me a weird look and say, "RAW kale? Really?".  If you massage the kale a bit, it wilts and becomes so tender and tasty.  I posted a recipe in my last post, and you can find another version on my friend Brandy's blog.  I also discovered that green smoothies are also a really easy and tasty way to pack in my daily greens!

A couple weeks ago I was making at least one green smoothie a day, but out of convenience, or perhaps having not gone to the grocery store in a while, I started slipping back to cooked foods again. The first couple of meals were great; they were soft and comforting, but I quickly realized that I didn't feel as happy or energetic as I did as when I was eating a diet of about 80% raw food.  The situation got dire when I ran out of greens for a few days over Memorial Day weekend, and I really started noticing the difference --my body started demanding fresh greens. 

As luck would have it, an old friend mailed me a couple of her raw food books the other day and I got yet another recipe for a green drink.  Apparently this is a pretty common concoction in the raw food world which goes by different names: it's "Green Lemonade" in the Raw Food Detox Diet, and there is a similar recipe in  Raw Food Real World called "Basic Green".

When I get the ingredients out of the fridge to make this, my 1 year old finds a cup and brings it over to me!  She sucks down this juice like it's going out of style! I crave it as well. (My 3 year old prefers smoothies to juice, but she will sip this a bit, too.)

Edited to add:
Since I published this post, this thought has been running through my head: "Basic Green Lemonade" is way too boring a title for this juice.  Let it be henceforth known as:
 
Basic Green "Lemonade"  
Emerald Love Elixir of Life :)
1 head of romaine and/or
a couple stalks of celery
8-10 large leaves of kale, chard, or collards (or a combination)
1 whole organic lemon
1-2 organic apples

Run all ingredients through a juicer. Yum!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Month of Raw Food

Has another month really passed by without me writing a single blog post?  I have been meaning to! I've just been having so much fun trying out new raw recipes that I haven't gotten to writing about them, although my friends on Facebook have seen the previews :)

Here are some of my favorite dishes this month!

Strawberry-Apple Muesli with Raisin Sauce
(adapted from Vibrant Living: A Live Foods Resource and Recipe Book)



I actually don't measure any of the ingredients for this recipe; I just eyeball the amounts.

Muesli:
1 c rolled oats
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/2 c strawberries, sliced

Sauce:
1/3 c raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 ripe banana
1-2 tbsp hot water

Place oats and flax seeds in a bowl and top with water or fresh nut milk of your choice.  While the oats and seeds soak, hop the fruit and prepare the sauce.  Place raisins, banana, spices and water in a blender and blend until smooth.  (I usually let the raisins soften up a bit in the water while I chop the fruit).  Add chopped fruit to the oat mixture and top with the sauce.Yum!


Italian Veggie Medley (adapted from a recipe courtesy Amy Tuggle)




2 medium tomatoes
1 zucchini
1 stalk celery
1/2 large bell pepper (or any fresh spicy pepper if you prefer)
1 tbsp Italian spice blend (or a combination of fresh herbs, if you have them!)
1/3 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c sun dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Soak sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes in filtered water overnight.
Dice tomato, zucchini, celery and pepper and place in a medium bowl.  In a food processor, combine drained sunflower seeds, soaked tomato, and spices and pulse until fairly fine.  Combine with the diced veggies and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. This mixture is fabulous over zucchini noodles or in lettuce wraps and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.


Save the Tuna Salad Nori Rolls (From Baby Greens: A Live-Food Approach for Children of All Ages.
Recipe by Chad Sarno, (c)2004, 2005 Michaela Lynn and Michael Chrisemer. All rights reserved.)

Yields 4 servings.




1 c almonds, soaked 10-12 hours
1 c sunflower seeds, soaked 10-12 hours
1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbs fresh oregano, minced
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp kelp granules
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/3 c celery, minced
1/4 c red onion, minced
1/3 c pickles, diced

Homogenize almonds and sunflower seeds. Add remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly by hand.  Serve as is or wrapped in nori with assorted veggies.


Raw Kale Salad




1 bunch kale
1 large carrot, grated
1 avocado
a big handful of pine nuts
1 or 2 green onions, chopped
lemon juice, to taste
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash kale and pat dry.  Remove tough stems.  Roll the kale up and slice thinly (or simply tear into bite size pieces).  Place kale in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and massage kale (ahh, to be a vegetable in a raw food kitchen); it will quickly start to wilt and become tender and oh so tasty.  (I don't think I will ever cook kale again after making this raw salad).  Add carrots, pine nuts, green onion and avocado and mix well. I served this salad on the Carrot Wrap recipe from Evie's Kitchen: Raising an Ecstatic Child
and topped it with sprouts.


I hope you saved room for dessert....!  It's strawberry picking time here in Virginia!
We made this Strawberry Shortcake (recipe from I Am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude) with some of the berries we picked the other day.

Can you believe this is only HALF the recipe!? (Something about the 9 cups of almond flour in the original recipe clued me in on the fact that I would be fine cutting it in half!) :)

Of course, I have continued to juice and make all sorts of smoothies, as well as these dishes. I can't wait for blueberry season because I've completely depleted my stash of frozen blueberries from last year!  Also, not to say that I don't still love a carrot-apple-ginger cocktail, but I am happy to report that I have a new favorite juice: just cucumber with an added a spoonful of sole (super saturated Himalayan salt solution). It's a nice change to the typically sweet juices I have been making, and as the weather continues to get warmer, it is so refreshing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

What’s (Not) Cooking?


Although I have been a veg*n (by which I mean vegetarian of varying degrees, occasionally vegan, but for the most part lacto-ova) for more than 20 years now, over the past couple of years my diet has slipped a bit from the whole foods my body craves towards "quick and easy" (read: processed). I subsisted almost entirely on string cheese for the better part of a year when Kiira was just over a year old, and now that I have two young children the situation has, in some ways, gotten even worse. Since Kiira is still such a light eater, it barely makes sense to cook up a whole dinner each night, and we have gotten accustomed to snacking all day and often not even having a proper meal together. Not that grazing is all that bad, but this did make me want to make some adjustments and get back into a routine of family mealtimes. I also recently I noticed my skin breaking out more than usual and realized that a more serious dietary overhaul was probably in order. I decided to focus on cutting out the processed stuff and buying more whole foods, and in effect, force myself to prepare more wholesome foods. I considered eliminating dairy, but due to the B12 issue I will (probably) never be completely vegan. Although I am not opposed to taking dietary supplements, I want to be able to get all my necessary nutrients from the food I eat. Although some would argue with me, I have seen enough evidence that B12 is not readily available from a 100% plant based diet to make me think that it is not a perfect diet, especially for children (I'd rather them have a little milk or cheese rather than pond scum spirulina or chlorella). I have dabbled in and researched some more extreme diets over the years, but in the end I am a believer of moderation and a super natural path. For instance, I recently read The pH Miracle
and found it a little too drastic for my tastes; so many wonderful fruits and veggies get cut out in that diet and it seems to me that God wouldn't have put them here if they weren't meant to be eaten.

That being said, as the weather warms, I am starting to explore raw food again.

I unintentionally started this a few months ago when I was gifted a juicer that I have been putting to very good use (thanks again, Megan!!!). I think that daily dose of living enzymes worked to prime my system and give me a newfound craving for more raw foods. Around the same time that I started juicing regularly, I started making other changes in my life as well, such as the feng shui that I mentioned in my last post, and starting to exercise more regularly. As I was getting my priorities in order, I decided to drop one of my classes so as not to get as stressed out as I was in December, trying to finish two intense classes on top of taking care of my girls and building my fledgling business. A few weeks later I found a check in the mail, a refund for the class, and I decided to splurge on a kitchen appliance that I have wanted for many, many years. (Ironically, it is a food processor…)

My Vita-Mix (yay!) arrived a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it! What a great investment! I have been using it several times a day on average, and have made everything from hummus to smoothies to bread to hot soup in it. Not everything I have made in my Vita-Mix is all raw, but the machine is so versatile that I just had to mention some of the cooked recipes as well, because even cooked food prepared in a Vita-Mix is so much fresher than anything you could buy premade from the store. Speaking of recipes, I have been scouring Paperback Swap, Amazon and Barnes & Noble for good raw food (un)cookbooks, but found that many of the recipes are too complicated for everyday eating; they often require days of preparation and sprouting, not to mention ingredients that are not easily obtained here in rural Virginia. For a diet to be truly sustainable, it needs to be based on local, seasonal produce. Years ago when I first tried an all raw diet, I found it hard to plan meals and have all the ingredients on hand and ready to use (sprouted, fermented, etc), and eventually went back to cooked foods. I am now realizing that it is possible to eat a raw diet with minimal preparation and planning, simply by buying seasonal produce and having a few staples on hand. I am seriously considering creating my own recipe book of the easiest and tastiest foods I discover. One of my favorite recipes so far has been the Caramel Apple Breakfast Pudding from Vibrant Living, a living foods recipe book that I rediscovered on my shelf recently. It consists of shredded apples topped with a "pudding" made from sprouted wheat berries, soaked almonds, apricots, banana and a dash of cinnamon.

  
If you're hungry for lunch, here is a recipe for a Raw Butternut Pecan Salad, adapted from a salad I discovered at our local co-op.  Please note that the given amounts might have to be adjusted a bit, since I was given this recipe without the exact amounts (and for a much bigger batch!). As a guideline, the squash should make up about half of the salad, and the pecans, onion and raisins combined should make up the other half. This makes a big batch!

 Raw Butternut Pecan Salad



2 lbs butternut squash, grated
2 cups pecans, soaked in water for at least 2 hrs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1- 1 1/2 cup raisins and/or dried cranberries 
A couple handfuls fresh cilantro (or parsley, in a pinch), chopped
2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs ground coriander
Salt & pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Enjoy!




 



Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Decluttering and Revelations in Feng Shui


Ah, so real life has taken over and I have neglected my blog again. Ever since I was computer-less a couple months ago I have not been inclined to spend as much time on here as I did before. Instead, I have continued my battle against the clutter in my home, and am pleased to report that I have been making some great progress! 

The Feng Shui book that I mentioned a while back arrived and I was excited to try out some of the ideas. However, a couple chapters in, I realized that it was way too much to try to figure out how to 'feng shui' this house on my own, even with the step-by-step approach in that book, and decided to look into having a Feng Shui consultant come and help me out. Apparently there is only one consultant in the area, and after talking to her I discovered that I couldn't really afford it at the moment, but I did squeeze some information out of her that included a little about her training and background and the type of Feng Shui that she uses. I learned that, although classical Feng Shui can be very powerful, it originated in China in the days when it was possible to pick the very best location for a building according to one's personal astrology and the landscape. Of course, these days, when building a house, it would still be most beneficial to have a professional Feng Shui consultant work with the architect to create a harmonious design for the client. However, when working with a structure that is already in place, it is often simpler to use the "east meets west" Feng Shui that is taught at the Western School of Feng Shui. Back online I went, and found another book in PBS written by the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui, Terah Kathryn Collins. I found this book much easier to work with, as it is based on the Bagua map rather compass directions and astrology. If the astrology part of classical feng shui is too confusing for you (with the charts given in the first book I read, it seemed simple enough to find the harmonious colors and forms for one person, but when I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do to harmonize all three of the inhabitants of my house I got lost), the key points to remember are form, function, and beauty. Objects should be in good working order, useful as well as pleasing to the eye. The five elements also come into play, but above all, the décor of a room must be pleasing to its inhabitants. It is amazing how much of a difference you can create in a room's energy simply by moving stuff around a bit! Although some of the Feng Shui ideas I have read seem to border on the edge of superstition (such as closing toilet lids and even the sink drains when not in use), in practice I have found that this helps keep the focus and energy present, and mostly the concepts are rooted in practicality. For instance, leaky plumbing, especially in wealth and prosperity areas, is symbolic of your money draining away. Even "non-areas" of your home (cluttered closets and garages, for example) become indicators of the energy flow (or stagnation) in your home. Basically, once you immerse yourself in Feng Shui, you find that there is nowhere to hide! 


I decided to start by rearranging and energizing my Wealth & Prosperity areas. I was able to open up and beautify these areas quickly by removing any clutter, dusting and rearranging objects and adding symbols of prosperity. To my surprise, within about a week of doing this, I signed up several new customers into my business, and then, out of the blue, sold a sling from my Etsy shop that I had posted for months and months and had pretty much given up hope of ever selling. Nice! At that point I had a revelation and a flashback to grade school when I took a career aptitude test and my top career result had been interior design, and I am now seriously considering switching from the graphic design program to the interior design program at the Academy of Art, and then supplementing that with a Feng Shui program.

Here is an easy Feng Shui tip that you can implement in your own home.


Beautify your home's main entrance (even if you enter from the garage or laundry room) to help draw positive energy flow into your home. Make sure that the area has ample light, no objects such as hoses, old newspapers, dead plants, etc. block the flow of energy, and that the door can be opened a full 90 degrees. Place some fresh flowers in a vase and/or a beautiful picture that you will see immediately upon entering your home. 


Try it and let me know what results you get!


 

Recommended Reading:
The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Creating Balance, Harmony, and Prosperity in Your Environment (Feng Shui)
The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room by Room



Western School of Feng Shui (lots of great infor here including a free Bagua map download, five element chart,  room balance analysis, Essential Feng Shui decluttering guidelines and more!)




 


 


 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tiny Choices Survey: Kai!

Tiny Choices Survey: Kai!
By tinychoices | February 12, 2010
kai.JPG
Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Kai Rikken, 30, SML, Virginia. I blog at http://thecatinthetree.blogspot.com
How do you reside (apartment or house, roommates)? Are your housing decisions dictated by choice or necessity? Please explain.
I live with my two young daughters and two dogs in a lake house that my grandparents built. It is a decision based on both necessity and choice, but I do love living here and keeping it all in the family.
How do you travel (transit, car, etc)?Are your travel decisions dictated by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Out here in rural Virginia I don’t really have a choice; I travel by car (at about 31 mpg). It takes at least 20 minutes to get anywhere by car, and so I combine errands as much as possible and usually only go out once or twice a week. My dream car is the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI :)
Tell us about a Tiny Choice you’ve made in your life.
I’ve switched my house over to safer & healthier products and am helping others do the same!
What is the one environmental dilemma you personally struggle the most with?
I struggle with my living situation not being quite as green as I would like it to be. For instance, I’d like to be generating my own power and growing more of my own food.
What is one Tiny Choice you can make in that direction?
I just take it one step at a time, do what I can on a daily basis and try not to stress about what I can’t (yet) do. I reuse and recycle as much as I can, use environmentally friendly products, and most of all, teach my children about the impact we have on the earth.
What is the one environmental Tiny Choice you make that people question (in either a positive educational or a negative hassle way) you the most about?
I probably get the most comments about my food choices. I have been vegetarian since I was 10 and I buy mostly organic. Many of the people I interact with locally have more of an “all-American” diet, and so I get a lot of questions about what I eat and why.
What is the one environmental Tiny Choice you would like every single person to adopt?
Be alert! The world needs more lerts! Seriously, though, simply becoming more aware of your actions and their consequences is a huge step in the right direction.
Do you feel like you make sacrifices for environmentalism? Please explain.
If I do, they don’t really seem like sacrifices to me. I suppose I tend to take the path of greater resistance and wash my plastic baggies, cloth diaper my kids, etc. It might be easier and quicker to throw out disposables but I feel so guilty using a paper plate or coffee cup.
Are you generally: optimistic, pessimistic, neutral about environmentalism and the future?
I consider myself an optiMYSTIC. Humans in general tend to be selfish and careless, and we might have really messed things up on our planet, but the way I see it, it’s probably all part of something even bigger. Hopefully we’ll do better the next time around.