We have been on a journey to reduce the amount of processed food in our lives for quite some time now. I have found that I have food sensitivities to just about everything processed (namely corn, wheat, sugar, and preservatives like sulphites or citric acid – which oddly enough is usually sourced from corn). Because of my own journey to find a way to eat which supports my dietary requirements, our family has already come quite far along the spectrum toward consuming only whole foods. We do have a few vices which have remained in our diet. A few examples of these foods that still linger for us are chips, cliff bars, and one particular brand of gluten free cracker.
I want to be able to resist the urge to buy things in packages. Unfortunately we’re not self-reliant enough yet to squirrel away enough of our own food to last the winter months. But besides that, even whole foods come wrapped in a sheath of plastic. I feel a pang of discomfort when I look in my garbage can and see it shoved full of plastic. I don’t know what else I expected to be in there. We try to reduce the amount of plastic that passes through our home, including toys, food, dishes, you name it! We consider our use of plastics carefully! I try really hard not to buy things with excessive packaging, and to reuse what we can. For example, I have started to buy individual avocados for the baby so that I can avoid the plastic mesh bag that encapsulates the package of five, despite paying more for the fruit. I buy the frozen organic vegetables that come in the resealable bags so we wash them for reuse in harvest season. I buy only items in glass jars for reuse in our home or for recycling (plastic recycling can only be reused for throwaway products, whereas glass can be reused indefinitely for the same purposes). But still, there are so many things I want to change…because there are still too many plastics finding their way into my garbage can!
Here I struggle with what’s best…to allow myself some convenience, or to push ourselves harder to move away from all food in packaging. I have to remind myself that life is a balancing act, and inner transition is all about slow sustainable change. I know the season I’m in right now is a busy one, with three children age four and under, but I also know that I have a responsibility to the planet. Each plastic item that makes its way into my home has a hefty price tag: production, consumption, recycling, waste. So where does that leave me? Wanting to be somewhere I’m not quite ready to be…ready to make commitments that are not quite feasible yet. So, I shall carry on, making one more small change at a time.
I had begun this blog entry before reading this post by Zero Waste Chef, which provides 7 wonderful tips for how to eliminate waste in your kitchen. When I read it, I was reassured that this process is a slow one. I also felt encouraged to be already incorporating a few of her suggestions. I have gained some wonderful ideas for next steps, and will continue to push toward less and less plastic in my garbage can. For now I am going to try and take notice of what types of items are there, looking for ways to eliminate them.