Earth Day Activities for Frugal Meal Preparation Throughout the Year

Happy Earth Day! The Earth Day Network wants to plant 7.8 billion trees as a way to combat climate change. What a wonderful thing to do! Want to help? Check out how to do so here. You can bet I’d be planting trees if I had the space to do so.

There are many ways the frugal cook might choose to celebrate Earth Day. Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

When Shopping…

  • Use canvas totes or reusable shopping bags.
  • Try making your own produce bags. I plan to do this at some point. Now that I purchase more fresh produce, I seem to collect those plastic produce bags like crazy. I use them as bags for used cat litter when I’m scooping the boxes, but I don’t want to collect them at all. The homemade bags will have to be lightweight, as the produce is measured in terms of pounds. Reusable produce bags may also be purchased, if you’re not a particularly crafty person.
  • Or opt not to use any produce bags at all when possible. It is perfectly okay to place 3 apples, 2 pears, 5 oranges, and 4 peaches on the conveyor at the register, and expect them not to package each type of fruit separately.
  • Look for items with less packaging. Bulk purchases may seem like the way to go due to cost, but they may also provide extra packaging that will only end up in a landfill.

While In the Kitchen…

  • Cook from scratch whenever possible. By doing this, you can by items with less packaging.
  • Use cookware and other items that are meant to last. Cheap cookware ends up in a landfill more quickly, as do cheap plastic measuring utensils. Use items that were made to last, from a material that does not have known toxins. In the long run, you’ll save much money and be less wasteful. I am working toward getting cast iron cookware, as much as is reasonable for my situation. And I’m researching other types of cookware.
  • Bake more than one item at a time to save money and energy.
  • Use small appliances more, large appliances less.

While On The Go…

  • Use reusable water bottles.
  • Walk or bike everywhere you can.

When In the Garden…

  • Use empty milk and juice jugs, rather than dispose of all of them. Save them in the shed when not in use. In the garden, these make wonderful mini greenhouses that will aid you in extending your growing season. Cut the bottoms off and leave the cover off. A jug with a screw on lid makes a good watering jug because you can poke holes in the cover.
  • Start a compost, after constructing your own bin.
  • Plant a vegetable garden to save money and other resources.
  • Plan an herb garden. This alone will save money on your shopping bill if you cook or craft with herbs. You’ll also be able to make your own teas. And you wont be wasting all the packaging.
  • Reuse water from cooking eggs and vegetables to water plants.
  • Collect rain water in buckets or rain barrels for watering the garden, if it is legal to do so in your area. If not, it might be time to fight for your right to do so. This will save money only if you pay for water. It will save on use of this precious resource either way.

In what ways do you celebrate Earth Day, and work toward a better planet?

Shannon

 

Trying New Foods, Harmless Harvest, and Earth Day

During my journey into eating healthier, I’ve been trying new foods. It’s important to do this, to make sure we’re getting all the nutrients we need. One of the ultimate goals to healthy eating is to get almost all of your nutrients through food, minimizing the supplements we need to take. Another ultimate goal is to learn how to prepare these foods in healthy ways, to stay on track with our nutrition goals. Many people also want to eat in a more sustainable way.

Try new foods!

By trying new foods, we can meet at least the first two goals. I’m not saying we’re going to like everything we test out, but it is important to at least try. There will be hits and misses, and that’s fine. When something is a miss, rather than ruling it out completely, we might try it another way.

When I started this journey, sweet potato was something I knew I wanted to try. I didn’t really like it, so I decided to try it again, differently. The second time, I had only half a serving with a half serving of white potato. I mashed the two together, and it tasted just fine. Over the course of my experiment, I slowly added a bit more sweet potato and took away a bit more white potato each time. Eventually, I came to like sweet potato without the white. Later, I used the same process with squash and am able to eat that without potato now.

Unfortunately, this experiment did not work with carrots. I need to be able to mash them up with white or sweet potato, or even squash, or I can’t eat them cooked. However, I do love them raw!

I’ve tried mango a few times and can’t stand it, unless it is in smoothie form with other tropical fruits. Yum!

Other things I’ve been able to add without mixing, such as raw spinach and kale (who knew they would be so good!). I can’t eat them cooked, yet. I love almond and cashew milks, even though I’ve never been able to stand almonds and cashews. I’ve even gotten to the point where I can add sliced almonds to some things. Now that is progress!

Considering I’d only ever had sweetened coconut flakes, I was surprised to find I love the organic, unsweetened flakes, as well as all other coconut products I’ve tried. I almost solely use coconut oil, I like coconut cream with cocoa powder or pure extracts, and coconut milk is delicious. I even use coconut water in my smoothies sometimes.

I don’t always have the extra money to try some of the new organic, non-gmo, Paleo-friendly, items that I want to try but, during months when I have a few extra dollars, this is exactly what I choose to use the extra money for. If I like something, I try to budget for it every so often.

And once in a while, a company will contact me to try and review a product. I don’t review it unless I like it and know I’ll use it again at some point. You may have read my piece on Leap Organic Smoothie Bowl Powders. I’m trying protein powders in my smoothies as well. These were free for me to try, and they help me to decide if something is worth buying.

What new foods will I be trying next? I have a list, and am trying them as I can. The list includes items such as cashews, papaya, raw Brussels sprouts (don’t like them steamed!), sunflower butter, and coconut probiotics.

Harmless Harvest

Harmless Harvest has a coconut probiotic I’ll be trying soon, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it. It’s made with pure coconut water (yum!), and I like what I’ve read about the company so far. They are an ecosystem based business that considers sustainability of the utmost importance. This Earth Day, Saturday the 22nd, the Harmless Harvest staff will be volunteering to show their support. They are a fair-for-life company, and their coconut waters are environmentally conscious. Their goal is for a zero-waste ingredient model, and they are working toward that goal by not only using the water from the coconut in their coconut probiotic, but also the meat.

Why are probiotics important?

Probiotics are important because they stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. These microorganisms are important for proper gut health, which is important to the overall health of the body.

I’ve been a bit worried about gut health since taking on a mainly Paleo diet. I’m not eating milk-based yogurt any more, so I’m wondering what I can replace that with that will be Paleo-friendly. I’m looking into coconut yogurt, and Harmless Harvest Coconut Probiotic was recently brought to my attention. Can’t wait to try it!

Celebrating Earth Day Year Round

I don’t celebrate Earth Day once a year. To me, it a year-round thing. There are so many things we can all do to lessen our negative impact on the Earth, that we can incorporate things throughout the year. Here are some things I do/use:

  • Reusable lunch sack for work meals.
  • Reusable containers for work meals.
  • Reusable water bottle while at work and when walking.
  • Leftover water from cooking to water plants.
  • Use canning jars to store food in the refrigerator. Since I don’t process foods in the jars, I can reuse the lids as well.
  • Use wool dryer balls.
  • Use fabric (not paper) towels.
  • Try to buy products in glass jars that I can reuse for other purposes. I don’t buy items in jars often.
  • Pick up trash from the ground when I’m out and about.
  • Eat less meat than I used to.
  • Buy organic/non-gmo/sustainable when possible.
  • Use less paper and plastic products.

Am I perfect? Nope. But, then, who is? But every single thing I’m doing makes an impact and makes a statement.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? How are you eating healthier these days? What products do you adore to help you meet these things?

Shannon