22 Healthy Foods to Always Have in Your Fridge

Originally Published on ForksOverKnives.com on April 20, 2015 By Darshana Thacker

22 Healthy Foods to Always Have in Your Fridge_5
Here’s a master list to use when you’re stocking up on healthy ingredients and essentials. Filling your kitchen with healthy foods makes cooking delicious dishes a pleasure, not a chore. Although it looks like a long list, it’s worth it to stock up on condiments and frozen goods, since they will last for a long time.

1. Staple Vegetables

For vegetables, stock up on carrots, celery, beets, and bell peppers, because they have a better shelf life than other vegetables. You can use them in stews, for making stock, with dips as a snack, and in a lot of other types of recipes.

2. Staple Fruits

For fruit, stock up on apples, grapes, berries, and pears. These last a long time in your fridge, and are good for snacking or in oatmeal and baked goods.

3. Greens Like Lettuce, Spinach, and Kale

Fresh greens are always good for making a quick salad or for steaming or sautéing. You can also throw them in stews, soups, and healthy scrambles.

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4. Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs add flavor and freshness to almost any recipe you’ll make. My favorites are cilantro, parsley, thyme, sage, dill, and rosemary. If the herbs are damp, then wrap them in a dry paper towel before storing; if dry, wrap them in a damp paper towel before storing.

date paste recipe

5. Dates and Dried Fruit

It’s always a good idea to have dates and other dried fruits in your fridge. Keep your favorites on hand, whether they’re raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, currants, or cranberries. You will get a lot of use out of a small amount in place of sweeteners and in baking.

6. Nuts and Seeds

We use them sparingly at Forks Over Knives, but nuts are good to have in case you don’t have nut milk—you can quickly make some nut milk at home. You can also use nuts and seeds to garnish your salads or main dishes.

7. Plant-Based Milks

Stock up on any plant-based milk that you like, whether it’s almond, soy, rice, cashew, hemp, or rice milk. You can always use it in breakfast cereals, for making baked goods, and in any dish that requires a creamy texture. Just like with nuts and seeds, please use sparingly.

8. Salsa

Good quality store-bought salsa makes cooking easier, as you can use it in main dishes and as a dip or a dip ingredient.

9. Mustard

Always have some mustard you like in the fridge, whether it’s Dijon, yellow, spicy brown, or another variety. You can use it on sandwiches and in dressings and sauces.

10. Hummushomemade-hummus

Some good hummus is always useful to have in your kitchen, since you can use it as a dip or as a sandwich spread. Try this delicious low-fat hummus recipe.

11. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to food, so it’s a good vegan ingredient to have on hand. You can use it in pasta, in dips, and in other savory dishes.

12. Miso Paste

Miso is a flavoring agent that’s great for cooking, and along with nutritional yeast, adds a good cheesy flavor to dishes.

13. Tahini or Peanut/Nut Butters

Tahini, peanut butter, and other nut butters are good for making sandwiches, dressings, and baked goods.

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14. Tamari or Soy Sauce

Tamari or regular soy sauce is useful for making Asian dishes, for overall flavor, and in dressings.

15. Hot Sauce

I love hot sauce because it adds spice and kick to dishes. When you buy it at the store, try to find an oil-free brand with just a few ingredients.

16. Cacao Powder

Keep some cacao powder in your kitchen to make any dessert that requires chocolate.
For the Freezer…

17. Cooked Beans

Whenever you make a batch of beans, double the recipe so that you have extra to freeze. This cuts down a lot of prep time during the week.

To thaw: remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight, or run under hot water to use them immediately.

18. Cooked Grains

Just as with beans, grains freeze and reheat beautifully. Store extra cooked rice and quinoa in your fridge and quick meals will be a breeze.

To thaw: remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight, or steam them to use them immediately. Or place the frozen grains in a bowl, and set into a larger bowl partially filled with very hot water.

19. Frozen Vegetables

Stock up on frozen vegetables like corn, vegetable medleys, edamame, and green peas, and you will always have healthy options when you’re cooking.

20. Frozen Fruit

When your grocery store is having a sale, stock up on frozen bananas, frozen berries, and other frozen fruits. You can use them when baking, snacking, or in smoothies.

21. Garlic and Ginger

Garlic and ginger are excellent to have for flavoring savory dishes, so I store minced garlic and grated ginger in small freezer bags when I have extra. There’s no need to defrost it before using.

22. Corn, Rice, and Wheat Tortillas

These freeze well, and tortillas are endlessly useful when making tacos, wraps, quesadillas, and other handheld meals.

Ready to cook?

Check out our recipe database of delicious, gorgeous, and healthy dishes.

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By Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she’s known for her hearty and distinctly flavorful creations, which draw inspiration from a wide range of ethnic traditions. Chef Darshana was the recipe author of Forks Over Knives Family and a lead recipe contributor for the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Chef Darshana has catered numerous events, served as a private chef and regularly holds individual and group cooking classes. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com for more.

Organic Clothing Brands

Originally Published on TheGoodTrade.com

Clean Up Your Closet With These 15 Organic Clothing Brands_2
Sourcing organic cotton is a healthier, more eco-conscious alternative to non-organic materials. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers and GMO’s that are proven to harm the environment, farmers, producers and the consumer.

According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries during the manufacturing process. Pesticides cause a range of health concerns from short-term impacts like headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. On top of this, conventional cotton production may be the largest water user among agricultural crops.

We’ve taken a close look at the companies supplying organic clothing and included our 15 favorites based on their overall commitment to sustainable and ethical practices, as well as their aesthetic. The brands range across a number of versatile categories from athletic wear and nightwear, to dresses and basics.

Clean Up Your Closet With These 15 Organic Clothing Brands

1. Thought

Best For | Timeless pieces
Based In | London
Price Range | $$

Thought is a natural clothing company with a simple philosophy—to design and make beautiful, timeless fashion while caring for our environment. They sell women’s and men’s organic cotton clothing, bamboo clothing and hemp clothing. The brand has developed long-lasting relationships with their factories and suppliers working to ensure that every person who touches their clothing is treated respectfully with fair wages and working conditions.

2. Synergy

Best For | Outerwear & dresses
Based In | Santa Cruz, CA
Price Range | $–$$

Synergy is committed to using the highest quality organic cotton from farmers who are well paid and work under healthy conditions. This commitment goes up the supply chain, too—from the weavers to the people who pack product in boxes, Synergy ensures that everyone has a safe, healthy and fair-wage work environment. They also endeavor to empower communities, especially women, in Nepal through giving back to nonprofits. While they offer everything from skirts to outerwear, we love their soft, recycled dresses as the perfect piece for both work and play.

Shop Synergy

3. PACT

Best For | Affordable men’s & women’s basics
Based In | Boulder, CO
Price Range | $

PACT is pretty obsessed with making clothes that make the world a better place. The certified B Corp goes to great lengths to make sure their entire supply chain, from the growing and harvesting of their organic cotton to the final sewing of their garments, are as clean and responsible as possible. Their super soft tees, dresses and underwear are all 100% pesticide-free organic cotton.

Shop PACT

4. Shift To Nature

Best For | Range of sustainable textiles
Based In | Australia
Price Range | $–$$

Shift To Nature sources the best eco-friendly brands that have a strong commitment to the sustainable and ethical production of beautiful clothing items. Their products are made from certified organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and other sustainable textiles and that are also made through sustainable and ethical fair work production and business practices. You’ll find basics in luxury organic cotton leggings, beautifully-made organic cotton t-shirts, dresses in unique luxurious hemp linen, and organic cotton activewear.

Shop Shift To Nature

5. Brook There

Best For | Undergarments
Based In | Portland, ME
Price Range | $–$$

Brook There is our go-to for minimalist everyday undergarments that keep us comfortable in our clothing. Their durable and super-soft lingerie is designed, cut, and sewn in the USA from GOTS-certified organic cotton, and some sets include gorgeous silk trims. They love using organic cotton because of the twofold benefits of a reduced environmental impact and for their customers health. If you’re looking for lingerie that goes back to the basics, this is it!

Shop Brook There

In Theory

6. Kowtow

Best For | Women’s workwear
Based In | Kolkata, India
Price Range | £££

With 100% Fair Trade certified cotton fabrics and great working conditions and employee benefits, Kowtow produces high quality fashion that you will feel proud to wear. Kowtow never uses genetically modified seeds, retains water efficiently, and conserves soil through crop rotation. This healthy system creates a sustainable, earth-friendly model for their business. Plus, a portion of their profits support projects such as Girls Education, Cow Shed and Cow Donation programs. We love their dramatic knitwear and bold prints on their classic pieces.

Shop Kowtow

7. Groceries Apparel

Best For | Affordable basics made in the USA
Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Price Range | $

Groceries Apparel is thoughtful about the materials they use—they trace their organic cotton from seed to skin, ensuring it’s grown fairly and with a minimal carbon footprint. They make all of their clothing sustainably and responsibly in Los Angeles, where they work to reduce waste and recycled materials whenever possible. Their organic collection ranges from activewear basics for men and women to stunning maxi dresses, and we especially love their vegetable-dyed products for a one-of-a-kind look.

Shop Groceries Apparel

8. Beaumont Organic

Best For | Contemporary women’s wear
Based In | Manchester, UK
Price Range | $$$

Beaumont Organic specializes in luxury casual pieces, most of which are made from 100% organic cotton with GOTS certification. They work exclusively with factories that are within the EU, paying fair wages and providing good working conditions for their staff. Beaumont Organic introduces two collections a year along with a collection of accessories that encompass the brand’s clean look and contemporary styling.

Shop Beaumont Organic

9. Bibico

Best For | Women’s knitwear
Based In | UK
Price Range | $$

Bibico creates easy to wear, fuss-free, well-made clothing with 100% natural materials. Their “back to basics” approach to fashion is focused on creating clothes that are timeless, rejecting the idea of fast fashion. In addition to high sustainability standards, Bibico is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. We love their chunky knits and cozy cardigans, all made from natural materials in a fair trade environment.

Shop Bibico

10. Bhumi

Best For | Activewear
Based In | Australia
Price Range | $–$$

Bhumi, which means “Mother Earth” in Sanskrit, is on a mission to comfort, nurture, revive, and sustain—all through using 100% organic cotton. Their sheets and clothing are luxuriously soft and all of their products are Fair Trade Certified. We love their wide range of functional, breathable activewear, tops, bottoms, and nontoxic undergarments for both women and men.

Shop Bhumi

11. Sorella Organics

Best For | Maternity & sleepwear
Based In | Australia
Price Range | $$

Every piece of Sorella Organics 100% organic clothing is kind to the wearer, the farmers who grow it, and the planet. Their clothing is made in a fair-wage environment and produced in small batches to ensure minimal waste and to ensure worker’s capacity to partner with other brands, which leads to sustainable employment. Sorella Organics offers soft & minimalist loungewear for both men and women, and offer an ultra-comfortable maternity line as well.

Shop Sorella Organics

12. Noctu

Best For | Loungewear
Based In | Bath, UK
Price Range | $$

Noctu is a family business committed to organic textiles and simple, minimal, and beautiful design. We love their line of comfortable luxury nightwear and loungewear for men, women and kids, inspired by nature and the purest materials. All of Noctu’s cotton products are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and all of the cotton they use is Fair Trade Certified from seed to stitch.
Shop Noctu

Clean Up Your Closet With These 15 Organic Clothing Brands_4

13. Nomads

Best For | Comfortable travel clothing
Based In | UK and India
Price Range | £–££

Nomads, inspired by Indian culture, creates clothing that is soft, flattering, comfortable, and feminine. They use exquisite, original prints that showcase traditional textile techniques such as woodblock printing, traditional embroidery, textured handloom and exquisite tie dye. With fair trade values and ethical fashion guidelines, “Nomads creates clothing with the individual woman in mind. For someone who sees life as a wonderful adventure.”
Shop Nomads

14. Kuyichi

Best For | Denim
Based In | The Netherlands
Price Range | $$$

Kuyichi was founded on the idea that socially responsible work conditions and environmental considerations aren’t just trends, but a way of the future. Kuyichi works directly with the Peruvian farmers who supply Kuyichi’s organic cotton. In addition organic cotton, Kuyichi uses other sustainable materials like recycled cotton and polyester from discarded water bottles to create their garments.
Shop Kuyichi

Clean Up Your Closet With These 15 Organic Clothing Brands_5

15. Loomstate

Best For | Uniforms, bulk tees
Based In | New York, USA
Price Range | $$

Founded in 2004, Loomstate is a pioneering sustainable design house using 100% Certified Organic Cotton. The NY-based company has gone beyond environmental sustainability, to create garments that fully benefit everyone in the production process through living wages and safe working environments. In addition to their men’s and women’s wear, they offer 100% organic uniforms and bulk tees.
Shop Loomstate

DIY Wine Vinegar

Originally Published on TheSpruceEats.com on By Danette St. Onge

DIY Wine Vinegar

It tastes much better than store-bought

Wine vinegars, whether red or white, are a ubiquitous ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, stews, and slow-roasted dishes. And, it is easy enough to pick up a bottle at your supermarket, but, as with most food products, a homemade version tastes better than a mass-produced, store-bought. Homemade wine vinegar will be stronger and more concentrated, with a more delicate, but complex flavor. This will not only improve the taste of your recipes, but homemade wine vinegar also makes a nice gift.

And it’s quite simple to make. (You may have even accidentally made wine vinegar in the past by leaving out an opened bottle of wine too long!) To start, you will need a good-quality wine (red or white) that’s not too strong (about 10 to 11 percent ABV); too much alcohol inhibits the activity of the bacteria that transform the wine into vinegar. On the other hand, if the alcohol content is too low, the vinegar won’t keep well. Depending on how much wine vinegar you’d like to make will determine the method you use.

Make 1 Bottle

The easiest way to make your own wine vinegar is to leave an open, 3/4-full bottle of wine in a warm place for a couple of weeks. It’s really that simple—the natural oxidation process will do all of the work. The only issue you may encounter is fruit flies. To avoid this, place a small piece of cheesecloth over the opening of the bottle.

 Make a Steady Supply

To make larger amounts of wine vinegar you will need what is called a “mother” vinegar. This fermenting bacteria culture turns alcohol into acetic acid (in combination with oxygen) and can be purchased as “live” or “mother” vinegar or simply as an unpasteurized vinegar. You can also make your own mother vinegar by combining wine and vinegar and leaving it to ferment.

For a constant supply of vinegar, pour 1 quart (4 cups) of wine and 1 cup of the mother vinegar into a wide-mouthed glass jug with at least 1-gallon capacity. Cover the container with a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. In a couple of weeks, the live vinegar will have settled to the bottom of the jug, while the vinegar above it will be ready for use. Add more wine as you remove vinegar for use, to keep the level in the jug constant.

DIY Wine Vinegar

Make Large Batches

If you want to make wine vinegar in larger batches, you will need a 1-gallon glass or ceramic cask that has a spigot at one end. If it’s new, rinse it with vinegar and let it dry. Next, fill it to within a couple of inches of the top with wine and place it, covered with cheesecloth, in a location that’s about 68 F (20 C). In a couple of weeks, the wine will be vinegar. Drain it from the cask using the spigot. Replace the vinegar used with more wine, adding it into the cask through a hose or a funnel, so as to leave the mother undisturbed.

 

10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music [Infographic]

Originally Published on TakeLessons.com on January 22, 2016 By Booke Neuman

10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music Infographic
Chances are you’ve heard that there are several benefits of listening to classical music. But is there any actual truth behind this statement? According to numerous studies, there absolutely is.

There are a ton of brainy benefits one derives from listening to classical music. From pain management to improved sleep quality, listening to classical music has both mental and physical benefits.

In fact, simply listening to classical music as background noise can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and creativity.

I guess those old guys were really onto something, huh.

Below are some surprising benefits of listening to classical music backed by actual science.

10 Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Decreases blood pressure

Want to keep your heart healthy? According to an Oxford University study, listening to classical music can help reduce one’s blood pressure.

In the study, researchers played participants different styles of music, including rap, pop, techno, and classical.

Classical music was effective at lowering participant’s blood pressure, while rap, pop, and techno actually raised blood pressure.

2. Boosts memory

Did you know that listening to Mozart can actually help improve your memory? According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity that’s linked directly to memory.

So next time you have to memorize a big speech or presentation, put on some Mozart while you practice.

3. Sparks creativity

To get your creative juices flowing, listen to some classical music. While listening to classical music won’t instantly make you creative, it will help put into a more creative mindset.

Next time you need to brainstorm, try listening to some Mozart or Bach to get your mind thinking outside the box.

4. Reduces stress levels

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, listen to some classical tunes. A study found that pregnant women who listened to classical music were less likely to feel stressed throughout their pregnancy.

Scientists claim that classical music’s tempo is similar to the human heart, which eases both anxiety and depression.

5. Supercharges brainpower

Do you have a big test or project coming up? Boost your brainpower by listening to some classical music.

In a study, French researchers found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test compared to other students.

6. Fights depression

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, ditch the donuts and opt for some classical music instead.

Several studies have proven that classical music helps relieve depression and melancholy.

In fact, a study from Mexico discovered that listening to classical music can help ease symptoms of depression.

7. Puts you to sleep

Do you toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep? Rather than squeeze in another episode of Games of Thrones or New Girl, listen to classical music.

According to a study of people with sleep issues, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes prior to bed can help improve sleep quality.

8. Relieves pain

Instead of reaching for another Tylenol, you might want to consider playing a Bach or Beethoven playlist. Multiple studies have shown that listening to classical music can help relieve pain.

According to researchers in London, patients listening to classical music used significantly less pain medication.

9. Makes you happy

Want to get out of that bad mood you’re in? Listening to classical music can help increase dopamine secretion, which activates the brain’s reward and pleasure center.

In fact, a 2013 study found that music can help put people in a better mood.

10. Improves productivity

It’s a Monday morning and you can’t seem to get it together. To help boost productivity, listen to some classical music.

A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that Baroque classical music in the reading room can help improve radiologists’ efficiency and accuracy.

Give it a Try!

While classical music can’t raise your IQ 10 points, there are a ton of benefits of listening to classical music. Not sure where to start? Our friends at Merriam Music put together a great beginner’s guide here.

Whether you need to cram for an important presentation or you simply want a good night’s sleep, classical music can help. But Don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and let us know what benefits of listening to classical music you experience!

How I Manifested an Electric Car

2019-ioniq-hybrid-ext-13-symphony-air-silverAround a year ago I purchased a vehicle because I got my puppy, Amber.  After that I realized I made a bad mistake and should have purchased a hybrid.  But in any case I decided that I wanted to redeem myself by getting an electric car.

So what I did was just started looking at electric cars and focusing on them only.  Pretty soon I was seeing them all over the place.  I was only familiar with a few cars.  Tesla of course and the Leaf and some other cars that are either too expensive or I refuse to buy from the corrupt companies.

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So fast forward to October 2018 and my friend gave me an Electric Car magazine.  I started to study it and look at all of the prices and rebates etc.  I found a car that was a great price, all electric and it looked really  sporty.  The car I was interested in was the Hyundai Ioniq.  I started looking on line and they only had them in Southern California.  So I called one car dealer and they didn’t have it in stock.

I had just come back from a trip where I stayed in Santa Clarita so I clicked on the Santa Clarita link and I ended up at Parkway Hyundai in Valencia.

I sent them a message on line and right away I received a call from Manny and he was ready to assist me.  I also received a call from Danny too (yes their names rhyme).  I told them what car I wanted and they answered all of my questions and ensured me they could take care of me.  They said it was a car in high demand but they took care of me in such an amazing way.  I was going to Southern California at the end of the month so we set up the appointment to drive the car and we sealed the deal.

I was telling Danny how so many people want electric cars but are difficult to find.  I mentioned that they should specialize in electric and hybrid cars.  So what did Danny do?  He had a conversation with his district manager.  His manager agreed and is going to give them 10 electric vehicles.  That is so phenomenal.  So if you cannot find Hyundai Ioniq Electric in Northern California then make the short drive to Parkway Hyundai.  I sure am glad I did.  Actually they had it delivered to me.

I was so happy to finally have my electric car.  It was a real blessing.  And the car is so amazing.  I mean really it’s just an amazing vehicle. It has some serious pick up!!  I mean like amazing how fast it goes and it’s quiet.  I love it.  I highly recommend the Hyundai Ioniq and don’t be afraid to drive to get the car you want.

We won’t discuss the first time that I charged it.  We really won’t.  But now I have it all figured out.  If I can do it, so can you.  And I’m not a techie person.  But you will get the assistance you need. I promise.  So just start dreaming about it.

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Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor.  She is passionate about Green living and following her dreams.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and doggie, Amber.

 

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Going Zero Waste

Originally Published on GoingZeroWaste.com  on November 7 2017 By Kathryn

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Going Zero WasteI wasn’t entirely sure what to call this post, because it’s more of a timeline. I get so many people asking me, what are the next steps after tackling the top 10 swaps?

Living a zero waste lifestyle, isn’t like moving through a timeline. It’s more of a choose your own adventure. Which is a pretty vague answer.

I’ve come up with an outline of a step-by-step zero waste process, but it by no means has to go in this order. You can go in any direction you like, but for some that are struggling with next steps, I hope this helps!

step one: awareness

The first step is being aware of the problem. If you’re on my blog, I’m assuming that you’re aware of the problem. Long story short – we make too much trash.

Check out this post about the recycling myth and this one about the problem with plastic.

step two: phase out

This is all about using what you already have. If you’re anything like me, when I started going zero waste I had backups of lots of personal care items. I had a lot of paper towels, napkins, tissues, and other single-use disposable items. I had a pantry full of food, some of which was regularly passed over for more desirable items.

I had a lot of things that weren’t being used or serving a purpose in my life. I started to phase those items out. I started using what I had, instead of purchasing new. I intentionally planned meals to use up the odd items in the pantry with a vow to make better purchases in the future.

For more information on what to do with your old plastic when you’re going plastic free, check out this post.

step three: simple swaps

As you’re phasing out old items, look to replace some of them with reusable items. The first place I tell everyone to start with is the big four.

When looking to purchase reusable items, make sure to check the second hand market first! But, most importantly make sure that what you’re buying is going to last you for a very long time.

I’m always amazed that for every disposable item there is a reusable alternative.

Make sure you’re making a good purchase that you’re 100% satisfied with. Don’t buy something immediately. Take some time and think about it so you make the best purchase possible. When ever making a purchase, I always reference this flow chart to make sure I’m not adding unecessary clutter to my life.

step four: patience

The hardest part about transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle was having patience! You’re not going to go zero waste in a week!

There can be this urge to throw everything out and start completely over, but that’s contradictory to the lifestyle. The lifestyle says waste nothing!

Use what you have to start. To be honest with you, almost three years later and I STILL have things from my pre-zero waste life. I plan on using those things until I can use them no longer.

Zero wasters may look like they have it 100% picture perfect together, but we all started somewhere. In fact, take a look at me in this blog post.

step five: better solutions

Once simple swaps have become routine, it’s time to take things one step further. Take a look at what you’re still throwing away and recycling. Start trying to find solutions for these items.

This is where you get to have fun! It’s time to think outside the box and try something new. You can always try something new. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep doing it. I have five rules I follow for personal sustainability. It’s equally important to ecological sustainability.

When I first started going zero waste, I made my own tortillas.

If you’ve been following this blog for any period in time, you know how that went. Other than, “I HATE food waste,” the most popular words you’ll find on this blog is, “I HATE making tortillas.”

It was time for me to find a better solution.

I hopped on down to a local Mexican restaurant and loaded up on tortillas in my own bag. Since then, I’ve found a tortilleria where I can get 20 freshly made tortillas in my own bag or $2. That’s right. $2.

Sometimes, it’s just about finding a better solution.

step six: education

Going zero waste really is a journey. When, I started this lifestyle, I knew I wanted to avoid making trash and bringing plastic into my home.

Over the years, I’ve learned so many new things. I’ve learned about the dangers of fast fashion. I learned more about the environmental impacts of a traditional American diet. I’ve learned about the devastating effects of palm oil and that we waste an INSANE amount of food.

I’m constantly evolving, learning, and growing. Each day I learn something new, and I learn how to do better.

No one is perfect, hence the motto of my blog, “It’s not about perfection; it’s about making better choices.” But, every day we have the choice to leave a positive impact on the planet, and I’m just doing the best I can to make positive choices.

Keep educating yourself. Constantly keep learning and ask yourself, “Is there something I can do better?” Maybe the answer is no, but maybe the answer is yes!

Keep checking in with yourself. Always strive for better.

step seven: consumer habits

You’re definitely going to notice your consumer habits changing.

The best piece of advice I can offer is to stop purchasing things for a while (not food obviously). You can take some time to examine what you need.

I stopped buying things and focused on what I already had. I started finding contentment and it was really liberating.

Stuff doesn’t define us. Life isn’t about acquiring more things. Living a zero waste lifestyle has taught me about what’s really important: time and relationships.

When I did really need something, I started looking at the second hand market first. Then I looked for an ethical place to make a purchase. All of the things I bring into my life are very carefully curated and bring a lot of value to my life.

It’s important to get involved in your supply chain. Know where your purchases are coming from and know what’s going to happen to them when you’re done with them.

The concept of voting with your dollars is really popular in the zero waste movement.

Every purchase you make is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. Make sure your purchases are supporting your values and ideal world.

step eight: community

It’s difficult to become discouraged when you feel like you’re the only one out there trying to make a difference.

I promise, you’re not alone in this fight! There are a ton of people working towards a common goal. Check out this blog post with five tips for finding a local zero waste community.

I even have my own “top-secret” zero waste group. You can join us by signing up here!

step nine: community action

Once you feel like you’ve got the individual action step down, it’s time to go one step further. With your local zero waste community, it’s time to pick out certain businesses you’d like to target.

Maybe there’s a restaurant you frequent and they put straws in your drink automatically. Write a letter with your group asking that the owner instate a new policy. Instead of automatically placing a straw in everyone’s drink, make straws available by request only.

Organize a documentary viewing for the local community. Host a talk at the library. Get a booth at the farmers market. Host an earth day event. Talk to teachers so they can start Zero Waste October. Encourage your workplace to go green with some initiatives.

Start thinking about community action to help get others involved and grow the movement at the grassroots level.

step ten: policy

One of the best quotes I’ve heard, “Citizens and businesses must first act so policy can react.” Policy reflects the will of the citizens and local businesses. By fostering a green community and gathering like-minded individuals, you’ll have some serious power to negotiate with your local government.

For more information on getting involved with your local government check out this post for my free policy workbook.

My journey looks very similar to the one presented here. I hit step 10 earlier this year when chosen to serve my local government. I’m curious if your journey looked like this?

Have you gone through all the steps? Were they in a similar order? What step are you on now?