Meat-Free for Six Months!

After taking part in Meat-Free May earlier this year, I’ve been vegetarian for just about six months! Honestly, I didn’t think I would still be vegetarian, but once you stop eating meat, it’s a little weird to go back to eating meat. I still don’t miss it, and I have not craved it at all. I have lost six pounds in the six months, but note I was not specifically trying to lose weight, and also note I still eat potato chips. I did have a physical last month, and was told I am pretty anemic. This was not unexpected, as I was anemic before I stopped eating meat too. My cries of, “But I eat kale every day!” fell on deaf ears, and my doctor insisted I start taking an iron pill a day, in addition to my B12 pill.

IMG_0167
This insanely good and decadent lunch consisted of a Creole Grilled Tofu baguette and a dulce de leche doughnut.

In exciting news for me, I found out that every Wednesday the vegan food truck The Cinnamon Snail is parked two blocks from where I work! I used to work by their shop in the Pensy and was sad when we moved offices. But now I have it almost every Wednesday!

What have I eaten these past six months? I’ve eaten at home a lot more, which is good. I’ve gotten in the habit of having the same things on repeat, which the kids actually like (since they like knowing what they will be eating based on what day it is). This also saves a ton of money. Some stuff we have about once a week are: pasta and veggie meatballs, tofu with curry and vegetables, tacos or burritos with beans and rice and cheese, and  frozen pizza (I get regular for the kids and dairy-free for me and my spouse). We order sushi about once a week, and we usually eat out once a week.

IMG_0154.jpg
Go soak your oats, as the old saying goes!

I have been trying to eat less eggs and dairy to further reduce my environmental impact, and to that end, I made oat milk! Oat milk is one of my favorite non-dairy milks, but I think the ones for sale in stores are overpriced. Oats are pretty cheap, after all. There are a ton of oat milk recipes to be found online, so I’m not getting into that here, but what I will say is, I didn’t have an advance strainer or cheesecloth, so I just used my colander, and that worked exactly as well as one would expect. (Not that well.) The result was a little too thick. It was okay in coffee, but very good in cereal. I will definitely try again once I invest in a cheesecloth!

IMG_0156
The resulting oat milk, still frothy from the blender!

 

Sustainability Project: October 2019

For the October Sustainability Swap, I focused on cat litter! This is particularly appropriate as our cat, Oz, joined the family two years ago, on October 13, 2016 to be exact. I have lived with at least one cat for most of my life, and I have to admit that I’ve never really thought about cat litter before.

64703774_10219466678683311_7055154142175559680_o.jpg
My kitty Oz, in his favorite spot (my lap)!

When I was young, my parents used whatever litter they used, and I was not involved. When I was 18 and I moved out with my first cat that I adopted myself, my parents actually still bought all my household items, including cat litter. The next time I adopted a cat, I was a full adult, and continued to buy the same litter, just out of habit. (Fresh Step, if you are interested.)

It’s only now that I’ve started doing these sustainability swaps that I have thought about switching cat litters. Why switch? Clumping clay litter doesn’t biodegrade in landfills, and, from what I understand, is not sustainably sourced.

What I started using instead is Feline Pine. This litter is completely biodegradable (it’s pine!) and also sustainably sourced. You can read about that on their website, which is linked above. I have used this litter for a bit, and there is a learning curve to cleaning the litter box. In fact, I had to watch a YouTube video before I could figure it out! But, it doesn’t smell at all, and Oz seems to have taken to it! This is the video I watched: see someone cleaning a litter box!

 

Sustainability Project: September 2019

September is over but I was so busy posting about the Minimalism Game that I forgot to post my monthly sustainability swap. But I didn’t forget to actually do it!

IMG_0153
This cup came in many, many designs, but this was my obvious favorite!

Last month I got this neat insulated cup. It has a top for hot drinks, and also a straw lid for cold drinks. In a parallel but invisible swap, I also started drinking green tea in the morning, instead of keurig coffee at work. This stops me from throwing away a keurig pod, and, since I drink green tea plain, and coffee with milk, it also stops me from drinking milk, something I’ve been trying to cut down on.

In addition to looking really cute, this cup also keeps the green tea hot all morning (if it lasts that long), and my seltzer with ice cold all afternoon. You can get your own here. (No, I get nothing for a click.) Also, yes, my office has a free seltzer machine. Jealous?

Thoughts on the MinsGame Fall 2019

IMG_0026
Two small things: My older son (short for his age) and a miniature donkey! Bonus alpacas behind them!

I’m not sure if this is my fourth or fifth time of playing the Minimalism Game, and it was probably the most challenging so far. Usually, I try to have a plan before the month starts, and I’ll focus on certain things, like kitchen cabinets I haven’t opened in three years, or the back room in the basement that everyone except me and the cat are afraid of. This month, I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a bunch of weekend plans. Since the weekends are usually when I would do most of this, and one long weekend I was camping for three days, I imagined horrific defeat. But somehow, I did it!

Some things I noticed this time: Usually I get rid of a ton of books, both from myself and my kids. But I went through so many last time that I could only muster up one book that I thought I would never read (and I’ve had it since the 1980s). I usually go through my kids books, but Nadim is just learning to read, so even the most infant-centered books will be helpful this school year. I also want to get the kids a new bookshelf, since the one they have now is the one I got from my parents when I was 17 (almost 30 years ago) and the legs are falling off. My mom bought it at Ames (a store that doesn’t exist anymore) for $20 and I guess it’s lasted way longer than anyone would have imagined. So when I do buy them a new bookcase, we will definitely go through every single book then.

I also wanted to completely clean out my shed, but because of it being a busy month and going out to the shed seems to require more effort than just looking through drawers, I only got rid of a few garden items. We are about to undertake a massive backyard renovation, so I will eventually do that anyway.

Will I play the Minimalism Game again? I think so. March and September seem like good defaults, so I will probably stick to that schedule.