21 October 2009

Food - No Impact Project


I am always hesitant to evaluate my food intake. I don't believe its well balanced at all. While I eat TONS of vegetables, steer away from fast food, and could count on my hands the number of times I have eaten meat in the past few months...I still snack on candy, don't drink enough water, and hardly EVER eat fruit.

Its hard to describe. On the surface it looks like I'm eating a well balanced meal throughout my day.

 This was dinner last night. Good right. Tons of vegetables (Although I realize asparagus is now out of season and I could have substituted the instant white rice for jasmine or brown rice). But what I realized is that on an average day I only eat one to two meals a day. And its usually a salad or veggie stir fry.

Lunches vary. We order lots of catering at work. Today I had a falafel sandwich. Yesterday a ceasar salad. So I just kind of eat what's there.

I hardly ever eat breakfast. Just as I can count the number of times I've eaten meat..I can also count the number of times I've eaten breakfast. When I do it consist of oatmeal, with fruit and granola. Or yogurt with granola.

Again. Sounds wonderful and balanced. Except again, I'm only eating one to two meals a day. Either because I'm busy or just not that hungry. I'm also not eating enough fruit. And I have a feeling that if I ate an apple or orange or banana, I might have more energy. But I don't like any of those fruits. The only fruit I like is mango. And that's not in season either.

I could keep going back and forth with this. With how when I eat, its pretty good yet there is a need for more fruit and brown rice I guess.

Other things that I eat

Following the How To Guide, I learned a bit more about trying a Low Carbon Diet. This has nothing to do with denying yourself moderate tasty things in an effort to look like Halle Berry which will never happen because you are not Halle Berry. This is all about eco-conscious eating. Something I never thought about before. I played their interactive game.

 While I eat "healthy," I didn't realize it still wasn't that eco-conscious. One cup of coffee cancels out the positive effects of my eating tofu. Why drink coffee when I can drink green tea with honey? (because sometimes coffee just taste good...all nutty, caramely, creamy and delicious.)

But I think if I was fully aware of the complete impact of my tasty choices, perhaps I'd be more inclined to change. There are a few things that I know I can do.

One suggestion was to eat less, therefore you waste less. To me that means, quitting that bad happen of just stacking my plate with more than I can actually eat. We do that too often. I once heard of a study where people were brought into a room with plates of food and asked to eat until they were full. Most people finished everything on their plate. The next day they were brought back but this time they blindfolded the group and asked them to eat until they were full. No one finished their plates. More than half..didn't even eat half. I find that so interesting. How much food do I actually throw away? Such waste. (I couldn't collect some of my trash in my bag of shame because it was food and I can't carry around decomposting food in a bag for a week. But I was conscious of how much food was going into the regular trash and it made me uncomfortable.)

Another thing I can be more intentional about is eating seasonal food. The guide directed me to a website that shows you what's in season in your area depending on the time of year. Very simple. Although I have issue with the fact that asparagus is no longer in season. I eat that a LOT!

The website was also gently suggesting a lifestyle of vegan choices. Hmmm. I am open to change. I own two vegan cookbooks. One is a soulfood vegan one! I also have a raw uncook book and a yoga vegetarian cookbook. I've spent some time going through the recipes that seem interesting and compiling a list of ingredients to purchase. First up, I'll be making a black bean vegan soup. On Friday that is...while I'm also making my own facial products!

Another suggestion is to skip out on processed and packaged food. That means no CheezIts with Tabasco sauce or Triscuit Crackers with Rosemary and Olive Oil. Those are two of my favorite snacks. So what will I be able to snack on? They suggest nuts and seeds. I like sunflower seeds. I guess I could purchase that in bulk. But where do sunflower seeds come from? How far does it travel to get to my local grocery store? Or is there a better snack to try and that's better for the environment? (The fact that I'm asking these questions, is the first step.) Maybe I should snack on rose petals and then use the left overs to make a rose face mask. (dripping sarcasm)

I went through the list of the foods that are in season that I actually enjoy. That list consisted of....
  • bell pepper
  • corn
  • garlic
  • onion
  • potatoe
  • ruhbarb
  • spinach
  • tomato
  • snow peas
  • carrots
On my wish list, I'd have a garden. I remember my grandmother always had a garden full of vegetables and herbs. I also have an aunt who owns a farm. Although they keep livestock and don't grow food. They grow hay though. (Also, they don't kill the livestock. The bulls and horses are their pets. Must be nice)

My Aunt and Uncle's Farm in TN

I never considered the environment before when planning meals. I always just think about what I like and focus on making that. I was taught not to waste food because it cost money. But no one ever brought up the fact that is cost resources as well. That by choosing salmon during a specific time I was credit from the earth that I'd never be able to pay back Shelagh mentioned she has a friend who knows where all of her food comes from. I aspire to be like that. To know the true impact of the life that I live...from the electricity I use at home, to the way I choose to travel and to the food I choose to purchase. I am definitely considerings participating in a CSA next year as well.

First immediate goal....make my vegan black bean soup. (I need small measureable steps to exact large scale changes in my life. This soup with be one of those.)

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