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Alternative Medicine Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Saving money

Our Consuming Natures – We Can Live More Sustainably

www.mypicshares.com

How much do you consume? If you could measure and keep track of it, do you think it would make a difference in your regular consumption levels? In our culture of mass consumption, we are so accustomed to buying products and having products around for our “convenience”, we seldom stop to think just how much we are consuming and how much waste we are producing as a result of that over-consumption.

Stop and think: do you really need to consume everything that you do? Challenge yourself to consume less of everything for one week. Keep a journal of the things you are doing without and ask yourself if you can do without those things permanently. At the end of the week, compare your reductions in consumption with your previous levels of consumption.

Here are some ideas for reducing levels of consumption:

  • Ride your bike or walk to work, the store, or to a friend’s house. I’ve even heard stories of people riding their horses – don’t laugh…do it, if you can!
  • When you do have to drive somewhere, combine trips to various locations that are in nearby locations. Instead of driving every day of the week, cut back your driving to 3 or 4 days a week.
  • Carpool whenever possible.
  • Use items over and over. Whenever you have containers, devices, or utilitarian items that can be used more than once, store them for later use to use again and again. This includes glass, paper, canvas, wood, metal, tin foil, boxes, plastic containers, clothing, and anything else you can think of. Find ways to reuse and re-purpose everything.
  • Replace plastic with paper, wood, canvas, cotton, glass, metal, ceramic, tin foil, or wax paper.
  • Stop buying dryer sheets. Hang your clothes in the backyard to dry on a clothes line. If you do use a clothes dryer, dry them without anything at all. I have been doing this for years with no adverse effects to my clothes. I don’t have static cling, and I am saving my family the hazards of toxic chemicals in dryer sheets (as well as a lot of $$).
  • Wash your clothes all in cold water. I have been doing this for over 10 years and my clothes always come clean. If they need a stain removed, I soak them in a non-toxic detergent or soap, and add a non-toxic stain remover to them before washing.
  • Use bar soaps for everything in your house including the shower and all the sinks. Good bar soaps are those made from natural ingredients – olive oil-based soaps are great for your body. If you do buy liquid soap, consider Dr. Bronner’s (buy in bulk) or make your own with purified or distilled water, herbs, and, essential oils. Here are some great recipes for homemade soaps using ordinary bar soap. Stop buying commercial liquid pump soaps. They are bad for you and the environment.
  • Make your own shampoo and wash your hair less. When you wash your hair less, you find the need to condition your hair less frequently or not at all, thus saving your health and your pocketbook.

Make a basic castille shampoo with 4 ounces castille soap flakes and one quart water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour water over the soap flakes. Stir until the soap flakes dissolve. Once the mixture has cooled, store it in a reusable bottle such as plastic (with no BPA), glass or ceramic, or stainless steel.

Add essential oils to the mixture for natural scents. Lavender is calming while oils like peppermint and citrus are more lively and promote blood circulation in the scalp. Try different oils to find those you prefer. To use essential oils in your recipe, mix 4 to 8 drops of the oil in to the soap mixture just after all the soap has dissolved.

You can also create an herbal shampoo using herbs. Instead of plain water, make an herbal infusion. For each quart of water, use approximately one-half ounce of dried herbs. Let the herbs steep for 20 minutes or more. Reheat the infusion if necessary, pour the hot infusion over flaked bar-soap or castille soap, and stir well. For dark hair, use rosemary and for lighter colored-hair, use  chamomile. For dry or oily hair, create an herbal infusion of comfrey and rosemary leaves, burdock root, and nettles. This will help return your hair’s natural balance to normal.

  • Turn off your television or computer (to save electricity and $$) and read a book, do an art or craft project, invite a friend over for tea or a snack, engage in a cleaning project you’ve been putting off, or take a walk or do some gardening and get some Vitamin D. Most of us are short on Vitamin D and need it for good health and to keep away illness and disease.
  • Consider alternative energywind, geothermal, solar, hydro, and other emerging technologies in alternative energy efforts. Incentives provided by the government can help offset the cost, and pay-back models for various alternative energy solutions are becoming more appealing and feasible as time goes on.
  • Make your own cleaners from items in your home. Vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and olive oil work well for many different uses, are non-toxic, and economical. Buy spray bottles, use filtered or distilled water, and add your ingredients to make great cleaners that will do the job without harsh chemicals and odors.
  • Stop using personal care products such as lotions, moisturizers, hand creams, and other similar items. Remember, most products on the market are designed to create a need in the consumer’s mind and make money. Most companies spend more money on their marketing and advertising budgets than on the quality of the product itself.
  • Pay more attention to eating natural foods with whole, natural fats in them to supplement your health and support healthy skin, hair, and nails. Consume more Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as raw butter, raw cheese, raw milk, sprouted nuts, grass-fed meats, and fresh fish, cod liver oil, and other seafood from safe sources. If you must moisturize your skin from the outside (topically), use fresh, real oils like coconut, olive oil, apricot kernel, and sweet almond oil, or shea butter. To support healthy skin, hair, and nails, you need healthy oils and fats in your diet. Drinking more water does not hydrate your skin because the water in our skin is generated from the consumption of fats.
  • Buy as many whole foods as possible, and less packaged and processed foods. You will save $$, your health, and the environment.

Want more information on reusing, re-purposing, saving money, and living sustainably?

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Waste not, want not – tips for saving in the kitchen

Activism Green Living Healthy Meat Kids & Family Real Food

Waste Not, Want Not: Tips for Saving in The Kitchen

www.mypicshares.com

Do you ever wonder how people eat healthy and save money? There are many ways to cut corners and make food last longer, thus saving a few bucks.

One way is to waste nothing (or as little as possible). I’ve noticed that the less I waste, the longer my food lasts and the fewer trips I make to the store or the farm. It’s a pretty reliable system.

Here are just a few of money-saving tips I’ve learned over time and through trial and error:

Find a home for leftover meats. Omelets, soups, stews, casseroles, stir frys, rice dishes…endless possibilities.

Save leftover vegetables. These can also go in many foods like omelets, soups, casseroles, and stir frys.

Use the carcass. Chicken carcasses are great for soups and broths.

Keep bones. Bones are good for soups and broths. I save my meat bones every time we have a meal and put them in a container in my freezer.

Save fat. We keep bacon drippings in a jar to use with all kinds of cooking – vegetables, garlic, onions, scrambled eggs, even to cook with other meats. But my favorite way to use it is to make refried beans. Yum!! There are so many other possibilities with leftover fats – again, soups, stews, casseroles, sautees, stir frying, etc.

Have a few meatless meals. Instead of using meat with every meal, use bone broths, cheese, butter, and other dairy, olive oil, coconut oil, or even cook your rice and vegetables in lard or tallow for your healthy fats and loads of flavor.

Freeze anything you can’t use right away. If you make a large meal that has leftovers and you know you won’t be able to eat it in the next day or two, freeze it.

Make your own salad dressing. A bottle of salad dressing from the store costs anywhere from $1.99 and up, more for the “healthier” brands. I’m here to tell you that most of the brands on the market are not healthy, even the “organic” and natural brands because most of them contain vegetable oils = bad. And that $1.99 brand will cost you more down the road in chronic health problems.

Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of olive oil, and a bottle of balsamic and red wine, or whatever your favorite vinegars might be. Mix these together in a 3 to 1 ratio (olive oil to vinegar), throw in some salt, pepper, spices, and you have a delicious salad dressing that is good for you. You can add many other ingredients to salad dressings. Get creative. Here is my home-made salad dressing recipe link. There’s even one there for home-made ranch dressing!

Use sour raw milk. This is a fantastic and versatile health food! Make yogurt or kefir, buttermilk or cream cheese, smoothies, and use in cooking – think pancakes, hot cereal, or mashed potatoes.

Buy in season. Buying in season guarantees a lower price. Foods that are not in season and that have to be shipped in are more expensive in more ways than one.

Buy local and buy direct. Local products are often cheaper because there are no transportation or other associated costs for the farmer/merchant. You may have to spend money on gas to go pick something up that is local, but you can plan your trips or carpool and make more than one stop on your way to other necessary obligations/tasks.

Cook from scratch. Anything you buy that’s already been prepared will cost more up front or on the back end (health problems later), or both. Here are some recipes for ideas.

Eat more nutrient-dense foods, and less junk. You will get full and stay that way longer, which will cut back on eating between meals and save money. If you are eating a lot of junk, you will be hungry more often, and have to keep eating more to get full – but you won’t be full, and your body will pay for it in the end.

Plan ahead and make lists. I don’t always do this, but when I do, I reap the benefits.

Consult the Dirty Dozen.  Although I always try to buy organic whenever I can, sometimes this is not possible. Find out which foods are best to buy organic, and which can be left to conventional selections if you are on a budget.

Plant a garden. If you grow your own food, the savings are substantial.

Grow and dry your own herbs. Wash them and shake them of moisture and dirt or insects that may have become trapped. You can bunch herbs together and secure with a tie, then hang them upside down for 1 – 3 weeks. Use care to tie the string securely around the herbs, but not too tightly which can cause broken stems. Best place to hang is in a dark, dry, well-ventilated area. Herbs are dry when they feel crumbly to the touch. You can also use a food dehydrator or oven (if you have a setting that goes down to 150 degrees). Wash, rinse and allow to dry thoroughly. When dry, place a parchment paper sheet in your dehydrator or oven. Place in the device of your choice for 40-45 minutes or until crumbly and dry. Make certain to spread well out and not overlap while drying. Store in an air-tight container, glass is best, or zippered plastic bag in a cool, dark place.

Buy whole foods, and buy in bulk when appropriate. Some bulk items are cheaper, but some are lower quality. Weigh those factors with whether to buy from bulk bins, frozen, fresh, or from the farm directly. A bag of prepared lettuce may seem more convenient, but a head of lettuce is usually cheaper and the savings on packaging is better on the environment.

Instead of toxic, costly cleaners, use vinegar to clean everything in your house. Use about 6 – 7 to 1 ratio of water to vinegar for cleaning. Walls, floors, counters, glass containers, bathrooms, sinks, toilets, and almost any surface you can think of.

Reuse containers. We have a bunch of glass containers and jars in our house that we’ve saved from products we’ve purchased, and they come in handy in many instances. My daily water container, for example, is a 32 ounce (liter) glass jar from unsweetened cranberry juices I buy. Use single-serving juice jars for drinks and baby food and small jars for lunches and to-go food packs. If you must use something disposable, use parchment or glass lids (plates turned upside down work too!), or paper bags. They are reusable, biodegradable, and better for health.

Throw all your organic matter into a compost bin. It’s amazing how fast you can create a wonderful, healthy pile of dirt for your garden by depositing your mustard and carrot greens, avocado peels, apple cores, coffee grounds, and egg shells into your compost bin.

Share with others. If you are going to pick up meat, milk, or produce from a local farm, find others in your area who also want to do this and share responsibility for pick up/delivery. We share our milk delivery with three other families, and thus only have to pick up milk once a month from the farm that is 30+ miles away.

Be willing to volunteer and you’ll reap benefits. A few years back, a woman who was selling locally-produced vegetables and fruits needed delivery drivers to take items around to subscribers on her CSA routes. I volunteered to be a driver to take produce crates around in my own neighborhood and in exchange I got a free crate of fruits/vegetables in return every week. I also made a new friend.  :)

More money saving tips:

Food budgets – using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating

Proof that nourishing food doesn’t have to cost bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!

Time and money saving tips – the real health and financial implications of food allergies

Eating healthy in a time of recession

Time and money saving tips – getting the most out of your vegetables

Want to know more about real food?

How well do you know your food? Find out!

What are your tricks and tips for saving in the kitchen? Please share!

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please visit Kristen’s site and read all the other real food posts linked there.

What are your tricks and tips for saving in the kitchen? Please share!