Coming Soon! Room-By-Room Guide to Reducing Waste! [An Introduction]

Hi Friends! I know the main focus of my blog is health/fitness, but I am also very passionate about Mother Earth. She is my only home and the source of my entire existence. It is my duty to keep her as clean as I can within my means. I feel like “Ahimsa” can be extended to the Earth, as she is alive through housing many diverse living, breathing ecosystems. Besides, if you were to pass a house down to your child, you wouldn’t leave it filthy and in need of repair.

I’m making this little guide because there are many, many, ways to reduce your waste, and it takes a lot of these practices together to get to “zero” waste. This guide will break down habits room-by-room (take a drink of water every time I say “room-by-room,” you’ll thank me when you’re hydrated) to make reducing environmental impact more feasible. When I think of “zero waste,” I think of the people who can put a year’s worth of trash into a jar. I read “Zero Waste Home” and felt overwhelmed with so much information at once! Which is why I say “reducing waste,” I am nowhere near “zero,” but I make progress each day with the decisions I make. So, I will be making a beginner-friendly guide with tips, resources, DIY’s and people/books that inspire me! This guide will be for people who have never heard of reducing environmental impact, those who have heard of it and are interested, and people who have started their journey and need a little inspiration.

The upcoming guide will break down the waste produced by a household room by room. I will have a separate post for each room/category that goes a little deeper into the swaps or behavior changes related to reducing waste in that space. I will keep rolling out my standard health/fitness content as well!

I would like to kick off this guide with the “whole house,” rather than one room. Before we enter the first room of the guide, we will start with ways to prevent waste from coming into the home in the first place. Waste enters our home whether we are conscious of it or not. One of the first steps for preventing waste from coming into your home is to unsubscribe from magazines and various subscriptions. Some of these services may offer a digital version of their product. You can also go “paperless” for most bills and statements. Instead of a physical bill being mailed to you, you would get it in an email. A lot of people receive physical junk mail that we do not sign up for. One way to start the process of eliminating incoming junk is to write “Return to sender” on an unopened piece of mail. Here is a list of websites that will help you either sign up for a “no mail” list, or opting out of offers:

Another great resource that can apply to the “whole house” is TerraCycle. You can sign up for specific recycling programs and mail in your packaging/item once you are done using it. This is a great option for people like me, who have no recycling programs near them. This program is a good transition step into reducing waste. It may be difficult to get rid of all junk mail because our information is always being sold. If you keep receiving junk mail after taking these steps; contact the company directly as each piece of mail comes in.

The next step is to prevent the trash that we bring into our homes. You can refuse to eat out, or take a reusable storage container to prevent bringing home a single-use storage container. Refuse a straw entirely, or bring your own! Silicone straws are very easy to deal with because they don’t break and can fold up to store. You can also be fancy and go for a collapsible metal straw. I’ve had a bad habit of biting straws, so I like the silicone straws a little more. You can bring your own mugs for coffee/tea. This would also include declining “gifts”; goodie bags, pamphlets, snacks in single use packaging, trinkets, etc. People are pretty empathetic when you let them know you’re not trying to bring into your home things you don’t need. Lastly, do not bring home impulse purchases. Its typically the things we don’t think about buying that we end up getting rid of. We see something that looks good on a hanger, we buy it, we take it home and hate it, or we keep it for a few months and that piece goes “out of style.” Moving forward, try to think about the things we are bringing into our home.

Once waste stops entering your home, it makes it easier to tackle what’s already inside the home. It is also one less thing to worry about.

Some things you can do while waiting for this series to be published:

  • Read “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard. You can buy it as an e-book or audiobook.
  • You can read “Zero Waste Home,” by Bea Johnson. It is a really handy guide.
  • You can check out the following YouTubers, they really inspire me: Gittemary Johansen, Madeleine Olivia, Shelbizleee, and Sustainably Vegan
  • Make some swaps, starting with the ones in this post and my mini Head to Toe Guide if you missed it!

This is not a definitive guide to get someone to Zero Waste, but to get you started and to make small changes that will add up over time. There may be a lot of swaps that are missing from this guide, I will be updating it in the future if need be.

Mini Head-to-Toe Guide on Reducing Waste!

In addition to being on a “health journey,” “fitness adventure,” “weight loss endeavor,” whatever we want to call it, I’m also on a mission to reduce the amount of waste I produce. I would like to start a series of small ways I have been able to (and would like to) reduce my waste production. I’m planning on splitting the series up by “rooms;” kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc. Today, I want to go over a brief head-to-toe beginners guide that is practical and easy to adopt. I don’t have “low impact” substitutes for everything yet. These are very basic changes that you can make if you’re interested in learning how to reduce your environmental impact.

Head:

  • Shampoo: Shampoo bars are pretty great! They usually come in cardboard packaging and last a long time. I have thick, coarse and dense hair and shampoo bars can still lather enough to reach my scalp. I like HiBar and Bestowed Essentials shampoo bars! HiBar also carries conditioner bars!
  • Makeup Removal: Buy (or make) reusable cotton rounds. Put some oil on them and gently massage makeup off.

  • Cotton Swabs: You can try a LastSwab! They have a standard ear-itching swab and a “beauty” swab. The standard swab is textured so you can clear away debris, and the beauty swab has a pointed end so you can make precise corrections or applications.
  • Oral Hygiene: I use a bamboo toothbrush, which is compostable at the end of its life. A WaterPik is another great choice. It uses water to floss instead of the plastic string typically used. You can also use a tongue scraper or bamboo tongue brush. There are lots of sustainable toothpaste alternatives on the market. There is tooth powder, tooth tablets, tooth paste in glass jars, and tooth paste in recyclable packaging.

Torso:

  • Clothes: One of the more sustainable ways to buy clothes is second hand. Sometimes thrift shops have really cool finds! You can also buy secondhand directly from the previous owner. There are many online “thrifting” sites, like Mercari and Poshmark.
  • Stomach(???): Eating and drinking also have an impact. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it in public water fountains or an at home water filtration system. There are many ways to use food scraps so they don’t end up in the trash. Some examples include juicing them, boiling them and making a broth with them, blending them up and making crackers with them, and you can even compost them! You can also reduce your impact by choosing less animal products, as they have a more profound impact on the environment than common staples.
  • Excretory parts: A lot of people choose to buy bamboo toilet paper because bamboo grows quickly and does not take much water to grow. A better solution (I’m biased because I have one) is a bidet. They will make you cut back on toilet paper use, and if you use a rag/family cloth, you can use even less.
  • Feminine Hygiene: Reusable cotton pads and period cups are great alternatives to single use period products. I personally love Charlie Banana reusable pads. They’re very soft and absorbent. Period underwear is good for lighter flows.

Legs:

  • The only thing I can think of for legs is working out. You can rent or borrow equipment, or join a gym. You will have access to equipment and weights without creating demand for them by buying them.

This was just a basic rundown of baby steps I’ve taken so far. If you would like tutorials on how to make your own cotton rounds or family cloth, let me know! I will start on my room-by-room guide soon!

Are you into reducing your environmental impact? What alternatives have you tried? Let me know!

People Who Track Daily Food Intake Have a Better Chance of Losing Weight

If I could pick one eating habit to consistently stick with, it would be tracking food intake. No, not counting calories. When someone tracks their intake, they are looking at the bigger picture. Macronutrients, micronutrients, fiber, water, where the calories come from (not how many). When you start a fitness journey, one of the first steps is to log everything you eat. Portions have increased over the years, so what we think is one serving, might be two or three servings. “If you’re not counting calories, why does it matter? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to eat two or three servings of fruits or vegetables at once?” If you have specific body composition goals, you need to take the “calories in vs. calories out” equation into consideration, but what I have in mind is volume of food. This is what I have learned about myself while trying to “deal with” over eating.

“Eat more, lose weight!” They said. Cool, I’ll make my meals from mostly calorie-dilute foods. For me, eating large volumes of food with not enough calories led me to eat more food because I can’t trick my body into thinking I’m eating more nutrients than I’m giving it. Even though more servings of healthy foods can be a good thing, make sure you are feeding yourself vitamins, minerals, fiber, and not just water. After failing my attempt at learning how to eat calorie-dilute foods, I started tracking what I ate on a normal day. By serving size and weight, I was eating way too much. I was eating twice or three times the serving size of everything. I practiced portion control while tracking what I was eating – I hit my daily nutrient goals with less food. I’m not saying you need to eat less, I’m saying you need to look at what nutrients you’re putting in because you might not be lacking the vitamins that you *think* you are. For me, one example was Vitamin C. I took a vitamin C supplement daily until I learned, through tracking my food intake, that bell pepper has the daily amount of vitamin C! When you see what’s going in, you can adjust your food intake to the almost perfect amount your body needs to do what you need it to. Tracking what you eat can help you lose weight because you can see how much food it really takes to feel full. It helps you be more mindful about what goes in your body.

I have a printable weekly planner template that is perfect for getting started with tracking food. I have been using it for several weeks and it has helped me immensely! It has a weekly agenda to write down foods, a grocery shopping page that breaks down different food groups. It does have items like “meat” and “dairy,” I just write in my fake meats and dairy alternatives. It even comes with a recipe template, so you can have a reference for an awesome dish you made! The best part? You can print out as many copies of each page as you want!

Have you tried tracking food intake? Let me know!

Defining Health

I throw around the word “health” often. It’s in my title and the foundation of my content. What does it mean, though? There are many different facets of health; physical, mental, spiritual, financial, etc. It is very different for everyone. I won’t go too much into mental and spiritual health. With that being said, mental health is one of the higher priority items and is very individualized. If your mental health is not where it should be, or you suffer from a condition or illness, please seek professional help and treatment. Once mental health is in line, the other types of health will be more achievable. Nothing is impossible, but we must fill our own cup. Filling our cup without taking care of mental health is kind of like filling our “strainer.”

Now, when I’m talking about “health,” I’m mostly referring to physical and financial. These aspects of health are easier to cut and paste into your daily routine. One of the most important topics in physical health is sleep. Your body needs sleep to get all of the “behind the scenes” work done. Muscle repair, digestion, memory building, and many other processes occur during sleep. Professionals will recommend 7-8 hours of sleep. Getting the same amount of sleep every night is a great starting point. Physical health means to eat foods you love to nourish yourself with in the quantities you like it in. Using food for self-love (not emotional eating.) Using food to power through your workouts and work days. Physical health is also being able to move your body to the best of its ability and working on improving. Its not being able to run x miles, or lift x pounds for y reps. Its putting effort into yourself to enhance your abilities. Its believing in yourself and your future. Beginner-level nutrition and fitness are much healthier than continuing negative thought and behavior patterns and doing nothing about them.

Health is putting yourself first. Performing every action as an act of self-love. That’s what I think of when I think of health. Its fertilizing and growing your potential to be able to give yourself the best quality of life. Obviously it gets much more complex when you think about mental, spiritual and financial health, but its easier to break them down and master bits and pieces of them at a time.

What about you? What comes to mind when you think about health? Do you measure health based on statistics or more abstract ideas?

Spicy Asian BBQ Sauce Recipe!

This BBQ sauce is tangy and spicy, with hints of sesame and garlic. Its 3 basic sauces mixed into one. Its perfect for cauliflower wings or fake chicken.

Ingredients

  1. Your favorite Teriyaki sauce (Use island style to make sauce sweeter.)
  2. Your favorite BBQ sauce (Kinders has a lot of BBQ sauces that are good for this recipe.)
  3. Frank’s Original Redhot (or any vinegary hot sauce.)
  4. Fresh or granulated garlic (optional.)

Directions

In a large bowl, pour about 1 part of each sauce. You can add more or less of any sauce. I like to make it 1 part teriyaki and BBQ with 1½- 2 parts Frank’s to give it a little heat. Add garlic and any desired seasonings.

Basic Tofu Scramble Recipe and Macros!


This recipe is a basic tofu scramble. I love this recipe because it is very few ingredients, but contains lots of nutrients to kickstart your day! This recipe is loaded with protein and fiber to keep you feeling satiated! This makes a lot of food. I can only eat half of this when paired with breakfast potatoes (or zucchini!)

You can always omit or add ingredients, not everyone has the same taste! I personally like this recipe because it fits very well into my macros and keeps me full for a majority of the day!


Basic Tofu Scramble

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package tofu
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • spinach (as much as you like)
  • nutritional yeast (I use 1 shot glass full)
  • turmeric (for color)
  • garlic powder (or fresh)
  • black pepper
  • oil (optional, if you are oil-free, do not drain all of the liquid from the tofu when pressing it)
  • black salt (optional, but it gives the tofu the sulfur/eggy taste. I got mine from amazon)
  • 2 beyond meat spicy breakfast patties (optional, you can use any fake breakfast meat, or none at all)

Instructions

  1. If you are going to eat breakfast potatoes/zucchini, prepare them now.
  2. Open tofu and cut it in half (or use the whole block to double recipe). Press the tofu. If you are not using oil, keep some of the moisture in the tofu.
  3. While tofu is being pressed, chop the onion and bell pepper. You may chop the spinach if you don’t want to fiddle with cooking down large leaves.
  4. Prepare spices. I do not measure my spices, except for nutritional yeast. I will put 1/2 shot glass of nutritional yeast into the pan with the other spices, and the other half will go on when I’m serving it.
  5. Now, you have all of your chopped veggies and spices ready to go. If you are using the Beyond Meat patties, start them now. You just heat them up in a pan, no oil necessary if you’re using nonstick. They take about 3 minutes on both sides.
  6. In a separate pan (10-12 inch,) warm it on medium heat. Add oil if you like.
  7. Crumble tofu into pan. Stir it around and let it cook for about a minute, then add spices. I measure them by color and taste. I add enough turmeric to turn the tofu yellow, enough black salt to make it taste eggy and lots of garlic powder and black pepper! After adding spices, cook for another 2-4 minutes.
  8. Add in the bell pepper, onion, and garlic if using fresh. Cook until onion is translucent.
  9. Add in spinach and any other veggie you might be using (I like to add in mushrooms in this step if I have any!)
  10. By now, your sausage patties should be done, and spinach wilted.
  11. Sprinkle the rest of the nutritional yeast on top and serve with breakfast potatoes/zucchini, toast, in a tortilla, etc! I will sometimes add sliced cherry tomatoes if I have any!

3 Habits That Don’t Help Weight Loss; and Smaller Habits to Break Them

A lot of people struggle with aligning their actions with their ideal thoughts or words. The struggle between how a person believes they should act versus how they truly act can cause internal discomfort, which does not help the external body at all. Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand; conquering both are daily battles. I have struggled with mental health, especially when it comes to thinking about my physical health. One of my main issues is that I posses cognitive dissonance when it comes to my physical health. I was eating healthy and exercising, so why didn’t I feel any better? Despite being familiar with the logistics of losing weight, I make unfavorable decisions almost daily. I thought I was eating healthy, but in reality I would have had a veggie burger and fries for lunch, and a frozen microwave dinner. I thought I was working out, but in reality I was at the gym once a week. I had to take a look at the smaller, daily pictures. The daily habits and the decisions that required cognition. I realized that I will see results if I break a few of my bad habits. I will be outlining these bad habits and ways to break them, if I have not already.

1.Eating too much.
One cause for my over eating is the fact that I was not familiar with proper portion sizes to begin with. So, if I’m eating too much to begin with, then my body would most likely be used to those quantities of foods. I started tracking my food intake and realized I was eating way more than the recommended servings of… everything. I could eat a whole avocado, when I only needed 1/2; I would use way more than 2 tablespoons of oil to cook my food; I would snack on my food while cooking it, and still eat a “full” helping of that dish; I would eat while watching TV or playing on my phone and forget that I ate, I would go back for seconds because I didn’t remember thoroughly enjoying my food. This one bad habit had many faces, but it all stemmed from my own ignorance. A lot of the foods I would eat too much of are calorie dense, which only compounded the issue. I learned about proper portion control when I started logging my daily intake. When I saw how many nutrients the food I was eating gave me, it really put into perspective how much I was over eating. I would also binge out of habit and comfort.
I have recently turned my eating habits around after gathering information from reading books and articles, and watching professionals in the field on YouTube. These worked for me. I started with increasing my water intake. When I’m hungry and under stimulated, I’m probably thirsty. Water also makes me feel “full.” I have started drinking water before and after meals to prevent additional eating. I don’t need more food when the meal I just ate had enough macros, micros and made me feel good. I recently traded in calorie-dense foods for nutrient-dense ones. I’ll have spinach instead of lettuce, I’ll make my own burrito bowl instead of buying a pre-made or frozen one. I also try to make half of my plate veggies. A good habit that I’ve also started to practice is making only enough food for one portion. If there is only one serving available, I won’t be able to grab seconds. If there is any food left over, I will put it in Tupperware before I start eating. If I am still absolutely hungry after eating and drinking some water, I will find a high-fiber and/or water snack (apple, banana, something with oats, celery and peanut butter, popcorn, etc.) I will either meal or ingredient prep to prevent supersized portions. I’m also getting into the habit of planning out my meals and snacks ahead of time, so I don’t stray away from the good stuff.

2. Not Exercising Enough.
I a.) underestimate how much exercise I really need (“If weight loss is 80% food, I don’t need to work out that often.” No. Wrong. Fake news.) and b.) overestimate how much work is being put in. Based on my stats, I should be active for 3 hours per week, and have at least two sessions of strength-building activities. In reality, I’m only active for 1.5 hours per week, which is my weekly gym session.
I have been working on these bad habits by trying to get in some power yoga in addition to my weekly gym session. I have also signed up to participate in my first cycle class. My goal is attending two cardio classes per week, and two sessions of strength training per week. It will be easier for me to come in half an hour before the cardio class to do my strength sessions than to go to the gym 4 times a week. When it gets warmer, I will be taking my dog out for a daily walk. I will also start incorporating at-home workouts in my new routine.

3. Focusing on the goals from the wrong angle.
My main goal is to lose weight. It used to be my only one. I used to think that losing the weight would solve all of my problems. My health would instantly be better! Little did I know, I also needed to take care of myself in the process. I started out with meal prepping bland lunches and would get sick of them by the second day. I would follow YouTube workouts that made me so sore, I ended up falling off the wagon after a day of rest.
For my body to be able to do what I need it to, I had to nurture it. All other bodily processes will fall into line. I switched my goal from weight loss to health gain. I tend to think of food as fuel, not entertainment; exercise as medicine, not a punishment; rest as necessary, not as “laziness”. I base my goals on health by finding healthy habits I enjoy. I will seek out physical activities I like (yoga, walking, lifting, stair climbing, running), and healthy meals that taste good. I have started to use recipes that require foods I like, not something I bought because it was stamped with the superfood/weight loss seal of approval.

I also focus more on health related goals:

❤ How are my bowel movements changing as I eat better? ❤

❤ How am I sleeping when I don’t binge before bed? ❤

❤ How amazing do I feel after cardio? ❤

❤ This shirt fits better! ❤

❤ I can do 5 pushups consecutively! ❤

These behavioral changes may not work for everyone. These are changes I have made and am in the process of making to reach my health goals. I did not implement them all overnight, I have collected the good habits over the last two months.

Let me know what you think of these changes! Don’t be afraid to let me know if they are unclear, or veer off topic; I’m new to writing!


Do you have any bad habits you indulge in? What are some ways you can break those bad habits?