I’ve often mentioned that making sustainable choices is not just about buying organic food, but creating a whole new lifestyle. Part of creating that lifestyle, is changing small everyday convenience habits that we have spent our lives performing mindlessly, like so many lemmings.
Take for example the grocery bag. Millions of Americans every year drive their gas powered cars to the grocery store, put their pre-made packaged groceries or produce into yet more plastic bags, then drive their car home. What happens to the paper and plastic bags when all of this is done? If one is lucky, they are recycled. This does not atone for the cost of the bag production, but it does keep our landfills from growing too massive. One of the big problems with this is that plastic bags are not recycled everywhere, and often well-meaning individuals shove them into bins, not knowing that they will just be tossed out by the recycling company later.
What does a sustainable person do about this cycle? The first two steps are obvious. You bring your own reusable grocery bags, buy in the bulk section to avoid access packaging, then cook from scratch with said bulk items. This is the first step in going plastic free. However, there is another component to worry about.
What about all the little plastic baggies from the bulk section? Or all those green baggies you put your produce in?
Here lies a crucial and influential step, often forgotten about, and a little hard to perform. It involves a lot of planning, and perhaps some good resale shopping. Other people do it but those people are the few, the proud, the very, very green. To be honest, I am not yet in that number.
I want to be plastic free though, and here is how I am doing it.
Jesse and I took a run to the thrift store quite a few weekends ago. Lots and lots of jars, from 50 cents to a dollar for the large ones. The large ones I am using for things I buy a lot of, like all purpose flour, high gluten flour, rice and beans. Old yogurt containers (more treasured now that I make my own yogurt) are for smaller purchases, like sugar, specialty flours (buckwheat), and flaxseed. When I go to the grocery store, I now need to bring said jars (or a smaller container just for transportation) with me, meaning I really have to follow that grocery list. All of my containers I will need to get weighed before I take my cart to the isles, and then I can begin filling them. This is a lot harder than you would think. I seem to always forget at least one container!
In regards to produce, I am just not going to use bags. For produce bags junkies like Jesse, I’m going to suggest wonderful made in USA bags, like these. Spices are going to be the hardest part, and for me, step two. I do not have spice jars or a spice rack, and funds are running a bit low. Thus, next month I am going to purchase or find used spice jars, and find an old spice rack in a thrift store.
The petroleum needed to make plastic bags takes millions of years to make, which we spend like nothing else on 5 minutes of convenience. From people I have talked to at the Natural Food Co-op, once you establish that habit of bringing your own containers and you have the supplies to do it, it takes only a few more minutes out of your day than a plastic bag purchase would.
Did I also mention that glass containers are impervious to pests like months, cockroaches, and mice? Protect your food, protect your world, and let’s ditch our last plastic habit together.
This Week in Updates: Fun in the Sun
So it is hot here in Sacramento. Hot, hot hot! So far I’ve been doing pretty good, my experiences last year helping me adapt much faster. As soon as I start to feel 97 as cool I know I’ve made it. This is especially important at work, since more and more I’m leaving the shop and working out on the un air conditioned hanger deck in a t-shirt and long bloused pants. I sweat soak that uniform. If I am going to survive 105 in coast guard clothes, I better make normal ones seem easy. It also means that I’m not afraid to run around outside. I remember summers in WI, where I wilted the minute I stepped foot outside of air conditioning. The result? I did nothing. Heat adaption means I can enjoy a 40 mile bike ride to and from our morale raft day, all in 100 degree weather, and come out okay!
We also had a uniform inspection where I got to display my trops gold wings for the first time. I gave an all hands presentation, saved a baby bird, and might volunteer at the bird sanctuary/rehab clinic. All in all, it was a good week to be in the USCG at AirSta Sacramento! Except for the fact that I almost missed the comedy performance of Chris Tucker with Dana the roomie because we got out of work late on Saturday. But I made it! So I guess all is well that ends well.
The Recipe: Peaches and brie with 2 hour wheat baguettes
So this was some prep work for next week’s recipe that I just threw together. As I mentioned before, it is summer time here in Sacramento, and with that heat comes beautiful, beautiful fruit. Coming back from the co-op this week, I had blueberries, strawberries, and one amazing looking peach. It being anti depressant Friday, (an extra 10 percent off) I indulged and bought a small thing of California brie. I had to call in a lady for some help though, because almost all the brie was made in France! I’m not having someone ship brie all the way across the ocean, just for me. Anyway, after grocery shopping I went and looked into some recipes from my girl (well, the girl I wish was my girl because SHE IS AWESOME!) at girl versus Dough. I wanted to make some baguette, and fast, for next week’s blog recipe. I was not disappointed. I tweaked the recipe a little, knowing my flour mixture, and that I wanted to make my baguettes with some whole wheat in them. I used my usual half high gluten, half whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons of yeast, a teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of sugar. The results were a little malformed (I’m a lazy person) but they tasted great. Man, do I love the taste of homemade bread!
Baguette (Make your baguette with my ingredients or the ones from girl versus Dough below)
Slice peaches and place them on the baguette. Melt brie in bowl in microwave, then spread over peaches. ENJOY! It’s summer time!