Friday, November 1, 2013

A Life experience...

I just finished a 2 week ecochallenge of not eating or drinking anything that comes out of a package. Why ? First of all, I like to do life experiences and especially ecological experiences. In the past, I did a vegan challenge; we lived off of food from our refrigerator (nothing from our pantry) for a few weeks. Once we took the garbage can out to the garage for few weeks and we become much more conscious of what’s going in to the trash. Last summer, I took the bus to work once a week to reduce my carbon print, and finally this one; not eating or drinking anything that comes out a package.

The U.S produces a quarter of the world’s waste despite the fact that its population is less than 5% of the world’s population. 1/3 of the solid waste in US is generated from packaging waste. That’s why I wanted to see my contribution to that packaging waste and how I can reduce it.

The first few days were easy because this challenge overlapped with my last days of juicing, and obviously I didn’t consume anything that comes out of a package.
Between Kroger and Whole Foods, I was able to find pretty much everything to live without eating “anything that comes out of a package”.

Well.. there were few law-breakers:
1) Tea : The very first morning I broke my challenge using a tea bag as I realized I didn’t have any loose green tea at home. Then I remembered the wonderful Reiki tea I had and that took me through the next few days until I went to Teavana
and stocked up on loose tea. Boy that store is expensive! I paid $45 for 4 oz of tea. Ordering online is the best. Also Coffee Emporium and Essencha have bulk teas. Next time I’ll order from Elmwood Teas online, yes they have a Reiki tea too!
2) Olive oil: I guess there is no way to find olive oil that doesn’t come in a package. I usually buy it in a 5 L container and transfer it to a smaller glass one. That one was a law-breaker!
3) Tomato paste: If you want to use tomato paste that doesn’t come in a package, you need to make your tomato paste. It’s that simple. I buy mine in a recyclable glass container from Halal Market in Tylersville, but this was one other outliner in my challenge.
4) B12: Because I was just out of a 7 day juicing diet, I thought I should take some supplements so I took the liberty of getting B12 daily, and that comes in a package L

Few things that I craved but I couldn’t find in bulk:
- Milk/yogurt/eggs: Thanks to this challenge and my eco-conscious friends, I learned that you can order raw cow’s milk online. Highland Farm offers weekly deliveries to downtown Cincinnati, in recyclable glass containers! I don’t drink cow’s milk anyway but not being able to eat yogurt and eggs was tough. Oh well, I survived.
- Grapes and all berries only come in a package unless you buy from the farmers directly, so I had to pass on those.
- Agave, I guess there is no such thing as bulk agave, well there has been so much debate about it lately anyway.
- Tofu: I didn’t search if I could find bulk tofu but that must be a hard one.

- Salt: I found Himalayan salt in a large container at Patel brothers. There is also bulk salt at Whole foods.
- There are lots of bulk snack options at Patel Brothers if you like Indian snacks.
- I learned that you can make your own Almond milk (no I didn’t try it).

So, just to give you an example, my daily diet was something like this;
Breakfast: Bulk oats, bulk hempseeds, bulk chia seeds with fruits, loose tea
Lunch: Soup and salad
Snack: Fruits, bulk nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts), bulk raisins, bake pumpkin seeds with little salt and it makes a great snack (I didn’t do this one but I sure will next time).
Dinner: Vegetables, salads, bulk beans, bulk lentils.

The most price efficient way of living on bulk foods is shopping online. At Frontier, an online coop store, you can find herbs , spices, teas, bulk products, at You can even stop by and fill in an order form at Grace Tree Yoga Studio!
I also learned that you can find vitamins, minerals and raw local honey at Ell Farm in Sharonville.
My family didn’t participate in this challenge, so it was just me. It would have been more complicated if they had joined in. Also, in two occasions I had to take a boxed salad at work. That was my only packaging waste in 2 weeks.

So, it can certainly be done, it just takes more awareness, time and effort but it sure is worth to relieve Mother Earth’s burden, just a little bit.

Love & Light,


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, well done.
    Yes I think we all need to go that way so save our planet.