When I wrote Keep Calm and Waste Less, it was a logical conclusion that I would also write about creating a more sustainable home! Live Smart is something of a mantra at ours – it underscores grocery shopping, meal planning, equipment juggling, travel and recreation…in short, everything! 😛 A lot of my obsession with this subject comes from living in communities which often have more money than sense and I believe it’s tragic that it should seem prestigious to waste resources rather than think up reasonable alternatives for it!
With our Sky Box on the blink, I was recently looking on YouTube for some inspirational TEDTalks to get me past some banal around-the-house jobs when I came across Jamie Oliver (who I find indisputably fetching, by the way) talking about the importance of Teaching Children about Food ! It was about children growing up in homes that have lost the art of cooking..imagine a young teenager who has six years left to live because she’s killed her liver with junk food! She and others like her were the result of third generation women who could not cook and therefore were morbidly unhealthy. What scared me more was that this clip is four years old and we know that things on that front have only gotten worse…
We’re more at risk for death by food than by homicide, natural disaster or motor accidents! We fear break-ins and nuclear disasters and yet we turn a blind eye to the toxicity that we ingest via our food..
Maintaining a sustainable home is more than homecooking, it’s the skills that help equip and nurture the generation you raise and the attitude they develop toward health and resource management. I’m not an organized person and often putting it down in writing helps me focus on what needs doing. Today I share with you a few ways that we’ve minimised waste and learned to live a bit smarter over at ours, they’re small simple steps but when you start doing them, you realise just how much this little ripple effect accomplishes 🙂 It changes the way you think!
-Unpack food (especially fruit and veg) when you get home! The condensation that’s caused as a result of leaving them in the packaging causes them to over-ripen quickly, therefore with more chances of being binned!
-Put newer food behind and older ones in front in the refrigerator so you use up those are are nearer their Use by date first. I’ve thrown way too many yogurt tubs and slabs of cheese before I did this 🙂
-Try and buy seasonal food for these reasons : It’s unnatural to have the sort of variety we have in our supermarkets. Food travels a great distance to reach us and therefore has to be kept in cold storage right after harvesting. This begins to kill it’s nutrients, more so when it gets sprayed in order to make the long trek to ‘a supermarket near you’! We have a fabulously syndicated planet and every season has a bounty of food that you can get cheaper as you don’t have to transport it or increase it’s longevity. Plus, it’s far more natural to do so!
‘Buying Local’ has sadly become synonymous with a stereotype of a yummy-mummy, middle-class lifestyle that wears Birkenstocks and is never too far away from a Granola Bar! The reality of it is that it’s the cheaper, more economical approach to food budgeting!”
I find it marvellous that seasonal foods are geared to help us through those seasons! Consider this- butternut squash and apples are autumnal produce, they contain large doses of Vitamin C that boost our immunity to face the coming winter! Have you ever noticed that summer fruit have way more water content than any other seasonal produce? How clever is our environment?!:) Every seasonal product has something unique to offer you.
Here’s a list I refer to when in doubt about seasonal fruit and veg… give it a shot, you may surprise yourself with just how much there is on offer!
-Buy more jars and cans than squeezy bottles or tubes when you buy Ketchup and Mayo, you waste a little over 25% with them as it’s next to impossible to get all the contents out! Glass and cans are also more easily recycled.
-Use glass packaging to store food, retain good looking jars to reuse. They don’t stain, retain odour or impact the environment and they last longer than plastic bags, aluminium foil and clingfilm.
Bring your children into the kitchen, apart from the lifelong memories they make, it’s making sure they eat healthily in the future! My children have become a lot less picky about what they eat because they’re enthusiastic about helping with the process. We ate out a lot more when I didn’t do this as we all went through taste fatigue with homecooking..spending more and eating way less nutritious food! Don’t worry if involving them results in misshapen food that’s lacking in presentation… they don’t care and neither should you! It’s the plague of our generation that our children are less connected to healthy, natural food and the best way to counteract that is to take our curiousity-rich bundles into the heart of the home and give them an appetite and enthusiasm for healthy, natural tastes.
Live the Good Life, by all means it’s the best gift to give yourself..but it’s the icing on the cake when you do it whilst keeping our ecology diverse and productive and thinking of the next generation; and in doing so, you raise the quality of life for you and those around you! If there’s anything you do as a family that reflects respect for the environment, I would love to ‘borrow’ your ideas to use at home, so feel free to share them in the comments below! 😉 xxx
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