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Stories and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems, written by a beginning farmer/gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reduce Bad Food Decisions, Reuse Materials

Last week for Reduce Footprints' Change the World Wednesday challenge, I agreed to the following:

This week, for seven whole days, read food labels and refuse to buy anything containing the following:
  • Hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives
  • Bleached or bromated flour
  • Any ingredients that you aren't familiar with and/or can't pronounce
So maybe the first day I held true to my word. Then, according to my everyday routine, I purchased an "everything" bagel from Noah's New York Bagels (bleached flour) and a hazelnut soy misto Starbucks drink (artificial flavors & sweeteners) and proceeded to eat them, without being aware that I had violated the challenge. I wasn't really thinking and proceeded to buy another set the next day. It's a habit. A poor habit, I suppose.Then I realized that I'd completely gone against the challenge and pretty much gave up for the week. I commented on the blog and promised to live up to the challenge this week. I also took on this week's challenge, which was:

This week only use reusable mugs/glasses. Yep ... for seven whole days, refuse anything that isn't reusable. Bring your own mug to your favorite coffee shop ... haul your own glass to the soda dispenser at the corner convenience store ... carry your own mug/glass to fast-food restaurants. If a drink comes in something that will be tossed out ... either don't buy it or use your own vessel.
Since Wednesday, I have not had a bagel (which for those who know me is pretty insane, considering I eat bagels daily, sometimes twice!). I have not gotten a sweetened drink at Starbucks (I got one Starbucks this week, yesterday, and I left out the hazelnut and of course used a reusable mug). I avoided white bread, Oreos, bleached flour spaghetti, white bread rolls, Gatorade, sugary cereals and many other challenge-violating foods this week. It feels really freeing to have gone without a Noah's bagel or my daily Starbucks this week. I am definitely going to make my daily habit into a once-a-week habit for now. I'm sure my parents' wallets are feeling better about this, too.

It's rare that I do not use a reusable mug at Starbucks, so for me that challenge was not difficult. I think one day this week my mom brought some food home from a restaurant in a Styrofoam container they supplied, but because it wasn't me bringing it home (and I hadn't planned to bring anything home), I couldn't do much about it. Other than that, this week's challenge didn't really affect me. For some tips on how I make reusing a habit, check out this post.

I'm really glad I took on last week's challenge this week because it reminded me that I should be more aware of what I'm eating and spending money on. Though I will miss seeing my friends at Noah's and Starbucks every day, I know they'll be there on Saturday morning when I visit for my weekly treat.

4 comments:

  1. we all slip from time to time but at least we try thats all we can do practice makes perfect.if at first we dont succeed try again..anyway good luck

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  2. I love this post! Sometimes I think we learn more from the challenges that don't go as well, and from the things that are more difficult for us to do.

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  3. I agree--it definitely makes us more aware of things we can improve upon.

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  4. I am astonished!!! I hope you can keep up your goals! Good luck :)

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I love reading comments and am always up for a discussion! Thank you!

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