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Experience 7: To Eat is Neat, Sharing is caring… And it also means less plastic and more fun!

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I’ve been wanting to do a little tribute to my friends that i live near in the Bay for a while since starting this blog and think this post is perfect for celebrating food and friends together. So since the start of the year my friends and i have been running a weekly mid week dinner party. We like to call it ‘Come Dine with Me’ which apparently is ripped off from a TV show where people cook for each other too.  The dinner parties ran for 7 weeks with the basis that a different person cooks a three course meal each week of whatever they like as long as it was something they enjoyed themselves. It always brought up a healthy discussion on plastic too. The cook of the week  could invite as many  friends as they like for their night but the same 7 friends were always invited. So i have put some photos and explanations below of our mid week dinner parties. You may be wondering why i am talking about this on a blog predominantly about living without plastic but i realised during these weeks the benefits that sharing meals together has on our environment, our physical health, our mental health and our culinary education.  So i have listed below how this experience may assist us in minimising our plastic consumption in between each week’s menus.

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Image Week 1: Sarah’s background has had her travelling the womens professional surfing tour for the past 8 years so she has some pretty international/ gourmet taste when it comes to food as you can see from her prosciutto wrapped, camambert stuffed chicken breasts with oven roasted potato scallops and pudding for dessert. She also made an olive tapenade with dippers for entree. Entertainment for the night was Fuse-ball which she went to the effort of dismantling the table itself and bringing to our house!

Buying in bulk = When you are cooking for one or two people you tend to buy smaller portions of food. Whether it be apples, meat, cereal, rice, coconut milk, anything. And so each time we buy these small portions we are buying them in packaging. When you cook altogether you usually use a similar amount of packaging for 1-2 people as you do for 7, therefore minimising the amount of plastic consumed in that night.  So it gets you thinking that if we can buy in bulk and we can cook in bulk , then we can save these meals in the freezer or feed to the masses and not require the throw away material per person. Often buying in bulk becomes less expensive because you actually use less packaging than every single serve you usually buy. Im lucky in my area that i can buy many staple products in bulk from stores like ‘The Source’ http://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au  and ‘Santos’ http://santostrading.com.au/home.html, which have all the dry goods you can think of from nuts to rice to pasta to powdered protein and powdered greens. I can even buy oils in bulk into using my own glass containers or brown paper bags. This really is a great way to minimise plastic use as it completely cuts out the packaging. However the  produce itself is actually stored enlarge plastic containers which you then scoop out into your container of choice. I wonder if there was another way to store it all????? At least this plastic is being re-used and not thrown away after every use like our smaller portions we have coating our supermarket purchases.

 

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Week 2 was my (Lucy’s) night. I actually managed to do my 3 course meal completely plastic free too! (Except for using the fridge/ freezer which have plastic on them). We had zucchini strips as pasta with a fresh mint pesto and wild prawns for entree. For main we had ‘Big Comfy, Warm sweet potatoes with red velvet sauce and red kidney beans and avocado. And dessert was my secret recipe of cacao/banana/avocado/coconut ice-cream cups. Made from scratch. I got some ideas for my entree and main from the mynewroots.org website if you’re interested. My entertainment was a very funny  game that my friends Sasha and Jess brought up. You only needed your imagination and some good acting skills! 

 Out of the 7 weeks we ran the group dinners, each person only had to cook once. Which meant that one night a week for 6 weeks, i got a three course meal served to me for nothing! There is usually always one mid week meal a week that i will go and eat out due to finishing late or being too tired to cook after work  which is always more expensive than cooking it yourself at home. I used to get takeaway but due to plastic containers this is not always easy for me.So during this 7 weeks i noticed that i wasn’t spending as much money as the group night had filled this gap. And in terms of the others, there was a decreased consumption of takeaway containers because they too were using the group dinner as their ‘takeaway night’.

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Lori’s night to cook had an Italian theme which was extremely authentic due to the fact that she had been working at an Italian restaurant to save to go overseas. We started with these delicious bruchettas, then lasagna for main (which i forgot to get a photo of due to it being so tasty ) and ice cream for dessert. Lori’s entertainment was ….Surf Videos…… I think? Or maybe that was just mine and Sarah’s idea.

Portion control: When you cook for 7 there is generally not a lot of left overs and this stopped me from over-eating. Previously i’ve needed to maintain a large food intake to keep up my energy stores and muscle repair for the large amount of physical activity i used to do. Sometimes the temptation to eat like i used to can enter into my mind especially if I’ve made an amazing pasta or dessert. However i don’t need that much food anymore as i am not as insanely overactive. If we are patient and wait 20 minutes after eating , you usually find that you are full, there is just a 20 minute delay before we realise this. So often directly after our final spoon full we go back for more. These dinners gave me the portion i needed without the further temptation. I also found that you didn’t really think about seconds because it was a social night too and we were usually chatting about plastic (joking) or playing some form of entertaining game which was also a pre-requisite of the host: Along with your 3 course meal you also had to provide a form of entertainment.

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Clare is in the ‘You’re far from plastic t-shirt’ at the top of this sequence. She had quite a large dinner to prepare for as she had invited an extra 4 people to her dinner that night. But this was essential as one of these people (lets name him Glen), was the entertainment for the night which consisted of a cabaret style dance to a current disco track. This was entertaining and also caused the night to have a few drinks flowing (glass bottledof course). This is what can occasionally happen on a ‘come dine with me night’. Clare had two types of bruschettas for entree, fish tacos for main and a lovely toffee topped slice for desert with ice cream. A delicious feast and a lot of work for that many people.

Power: We also use less energy when cooking for a group. You use the same energy with an oven, stove top, blender, kettle for one person as you do for 7 people when making a meal, So we have also reduced our energy consumption once a week by 6. 

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This is Marlin, the Swede. She decided to do a Swedish feast, which i have to admit i had no idea what it would consist of but my taste buds were delighted at the end of the night! We had an entree of smoked salmon and creme fresh` on crusty toast as entree. Main was a pasty style pastry with minced meat and vegetables inside with cranberry salad on the side. But dessert was the winner for Marlin which was a chocolate brownie style pudding that was super soft in the middle and lightly crunchy on the outside. There is a specific Swedish name for this, however i don’t think i have enough letters on my keyboard to write it here and the pronunciation is really not that easy either. So lets just keep it to what i wrote above.

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Variety: Australia is a pretty multicultural place, especially Byron Bay so our ‘Come Dine with Me’s’ were also quite educational when it came to new cooking ideas.  Even i can end up cooking the same 7 things week in, week out when i’m having a busy month at work and this gave me a few new ideas and a good change to the stomach over the 7 weeks. I’l never forget , even before studying nutrition how important it is to have food variety. Not only for the many different vitamins and minerals we absorb from different types of foods that our body wants but, also the different types of good bacteria and enzymes food variety gives us for out stomachs. When i was 19 i had a friend who decided to be Vegetarian without any guidance on how to make vegetarian food. She was soon at the doctor with stomach cramps and it was due to having only rice , beans and salsa for almost every meal for a couple of months. The mysterious illness which we had nicknamed ‘Steve’ soon disappeared after a few changes.

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Dan, he likes chilli. No, let me change that sentence. He really likes Chilli! He likes Chilli so much that one night he decided to make a curry with lots of Chilli in it. It was a delicious night that started with some warm spring rolls, moved onto a slightly hotter green curry and ended with a delicious home made sticky date pudding from his Mum’s recipe. But i think the most memorable entertainment was Dan’s night where we danced to the entire Michael Jackson music DVD. Oh so many memorable film clips and dance moves!.Thanks Dan.

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Social Factor: I often work solely by myself seeing patients Monday to Friday at my clinic without anyone else to talk to in my breaks. This can get a bit lonely and can get me down, especially if you usually like to be a social person. I found the nights that we came together to share food was a perfect ‘mid-week-slump-breaker’ and if you’d had a bad day at work, it was soon forgotten once you were home with your friends.  Staying social is so important. In Australia we have an alarmingly high rate of suicide, yet we are not a poor country or at war? Many scientists believe it’s because of our isolation and lack of communication that limits our ability to talk about problems and feel alone with them. Having a group dinner once a week maintains those friendships that can get lost when we are leading busy careers or families. I mean you are going to eat dinner anyway, so we may as well do it together every now and again!

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Week 7 with Eva. A roast dinner was a very nostalgic way to complete our ‘come dine with me series’. Eva in the top photo  supplied a delicious entree of bread and dips. She cooked a turkey roast with crispy oven baked potatoes and greens. There was salad on the side for the main and an apricot bake for dessert. Oh so heart warming and homely. Eva’s entertainment took us back to the tunes of Fleetwood Mac with their final show on DVD. Lets just say the night ended in a sing-a-long!

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Experience 6: Nothing but some ‘trashy’ talk about rubbish and worms eating our crap.

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 I had a visit to the hair salon the other day for some much needed maintenance on the golden locks. This was the first  hair cut since being truly plastic free. So i thought it might be time for my blog to move to the discussion of hygiene for the hair and body and extend it even to the walls of my Exercise Physiology & Nutrition Clinic which i had to clean the past few weeks due to changing locations.

Its been a big month for this little plastic-free-dieter. I’ve been busy relocating my business which means moving equipment into storage and then cleaning and fixing the old premises. It was also the month that I made the change from using plastic products in the bathroom.

I guess i should let you know first off that i have a lot of hair (on my head, that is). And i usually don’t mind spending money on good products for my hair to keep it silky smooth and full of as the hairdressers may say ‘body’. My normal regime is to wash it every day with shampoo and conditioner, apply a well-known brand’s product of leave in conditioner to it in the car park before i go surfing and then apply another expensive french treatment to  it after i go surfing so the hair doesnt dry out. (Yeah i can hear you already, way too much care about the hair!). So as i have run out of these products in the last 6 weeks I have been forced to find plastic free replacements.

The shampoo bar. Well I’ve been using this one for a week since my normal shampoo in a big plastic bottle that I’ve had for 6 months has only just ran out. I have to say its a bit of work to shampoo my hair now due to needing to lather up the bar enough to cover my hair (which is down past my bra line and very thick) to clean it properly. I am willing to continue to keep using it though whilst looking out for other options. If you’re not quite as committed to me, there are what i call ‘halfway’ options which is still using plastic but the bottle is from 50% recycled material.  However that doesn’t really cut it for me as I’m attempting completely plastic free. I feel my search for a great plastic free shampoo is still in progress and i will continue to write further in this blog about that as i learn of new options. But for now the bar will have to do. I think my hairdresser felt sorry for my hair whilst at the salon as they gave me an old used plastic container with some Loreal conditioner to use for the next week on my hair as i was leaving….. Is this a nice way to say ease up on the oils? For about one month i was using coconut oil out of a glass jar for my pre and post surf treatments on the hair. I have to say that actually it did stop my hair from matting up like a birds nest which it would of, if i didn’t put anything in it. However apparently this eventually leaves a thick build up on the hair which i now notice too. So i’ve moved from the coconut oil to Argan Oil which is a lighter oil. You would have heard of this already. It’s everywhere! Sometimes called ‘Moroccan Oil’. My hairdresser sells it in glass bottles to i can buy  it!  I think the stylist was happy they had something i could use too after going through all their products and realising everything except this one product was in plastic.  I did get some colour in my hair at this visit as well as a cut and i have decided to work back to my natural colour in stages as i can’t use the treatments in the plastic bottles that keep the colour looked after especially since I’m in the salt water and sun everyday. This is a big step for me i must say. But I must stay true to my plastic freedom and i never said it was all going to be easy.

IMG_4692Is this what your household/office bin  looks like?

I got sick of seeing that most of my bins at work and at home were full of plastic. If we took out the plastic then we can pretty much re-use or compost our other trash. I was at a very interesting flower show with my 71-year-old Mother yesterday where the  well-known Nurseryman who was doing a talk on composting explained that we can actually compost all organic matter. It will all eventually break down and our plants love it.  This guy, Steven Ryan puts his chicken carcasses, his woollen socks, his dog’s poo , his fireplace ash along with the garden scraps and other food scraps all into the compost. He said the birds eat the meat on the top of the compost before it degrades further into the compost and then poo on the top of it to further aid the soil.  This guy Steve even has his own self composting sewerage system where he has worms breaking it down. It further confirmed that i really don’t need to be using what can’t be completely absorbed back into the earth.

There’s nothing funny about plastic, but there’s certain things in Nature that really make me laugh! (see below pic).

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So I’ve been trying integrate plastic free into my toiletries in the last 6 weeks. Long before the shampoo experience. My first change was my toothbrush. Not nearly as difficult as i thought. My local health food shop sells bamboo toothbrushes which are great! I have to say that there is absolutely no difference from this toothbrush to using my normal soft bristled plastic toothbrush . When you think about it we consume a lot of plastic toothbrushes a year which get thrown away and never re-used or recycled. So if there was one thing you could change in the bathroom first, try the bamboo toothbrush.

Clean your ears? I changed to bamboo cotton tips which are cotton and bamboo. Again absolutely no difference in use from the original plastic with cotton ones except maybe the price. Yes they are a little more expensive but i think if we began buying them over the plastic ones then the demand would increase and the supply would increase in wholesale ordering and the price would then come down. Or maybe the plastic style brand owners would start making plastic free ones too at a matched price? Anyway, i feel better paying three times the price knowing that they are completely degradable and no little turtles are going to eat the brunt of my  waxed cotton tip and choke!

The soap bar is easy of course. There are lots of options for soaps without plastic being covered in plastic but the one i chose is also a gentle facial soap too. Its 100% organic and animal cruelty free like the shampoo bar also. When you think about it most of our facial options are in plastic tubes or pump bottles. I haven’t noticed any big changes yet as I’ve only started using this for the last week but il keep you ‘posted’.

The scrub pad which could be used to either clean the bathroom or use it as just as an exfoliated is 100% compostable which is awesome. When you look in your bathroom and kitchen and think about how many cleaning wipes/ cloths or sponges we throw away its a lot and not many of them are made from cotton or completely compostable materials. Now you can throw this one away with your compostable food scraps! I love this product! It will probably save me a garbage bag size of non biodegradable cleaning sponges a year.

I took a photo of our bathroom bin with its biodegradable recycled plastic bag filled liner and all the products that have been used up and are now being thrown away. I no longer use these biodegradable plastic bags as remember they never actually go away, they just get smaller and smaller for our fish to eat easier. Anyway in this bin, it was all plastic! All of it! Shampoo, soap, facial soap, soap containers, cotton buds, toothbrushes, cleaning cloths, floor cleaning sprays, window sprays… the list goes on.

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I’ve realised that none of this is necessary.

Now that I’m  on the topic of cleaning i thought id share with you something I learnt the last week. My previous clinic was about 54square  metres in size which means i had some pretty large wall space that needed to be cleaned last week. Holes in the walls needed to be patched up and then painted over. I knew i was going to have to buy some supplies to clean it properly in order to get my bond back so i had a quick google search on cleaning in a chemical free way. So i did it! Apparently all i needed was baking soda or ‘bi-carb soda’, white vinegar, water, a sponge and some cotton cloths. Oh, and toothpaste!  I had a large sink in my clinic to fill with water and a waste paper bin i cleaned out and used as a second bucket.

I have to say it put a smile on my face when i realised as i walked into the big supermarket to get these supplies that this was only the second time i had used the supermarket in 9 weeks since going plastic free. The previous time was to buy a light globe (glass globe in a cardboard box and some batteries (cardboard with plastic cover). The globe was for my home and the batteries were for my blood pressure machine at work which at the moment i don’t have another alternative for. But I’m working on it. Can you imagine how much impulse buying i have avoided not going into this supermarket? And how much plastic i have avoided exposing myself to? I was quite pleased. So i could get the vinegar in a glass bottle, the bi-carb soda in a cardboard box and although the cotton cloths were cotton and the sponge not plastic, they both came in plastic wrappers! Every single brand! WHY????! Im not planning on eating them. They are used for cleaning so why cover them in plastic?!  I was really annoyed about this. The other ingredient i needed to clean black stains off the walls from rubber or pens rubbing against them was apparently toothpaste. So far toothpaste comes in a plastic tube and my next blog is actually going to be about toothpaste options but i am going to interview my lovely dentist Mark about this first to get his opinion. Ia leo used newspaper to clean th windows which I’m sure you’ve all done before. It’s the best way to get them squeaky clean.

So off i went with my disappointing cleaning cloths and plastic free cleaning substances. I have to say, they worked fabulously! Really, they did a great job. I just dabbed the toothpaste over any mark on the wall, then rubbed over it with a wet sponge soaked in bicarb soda and water and it came right out! So simple.

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The toothpaste before it being wiped away.

The vinegar was then liberally poured over the wall which doesn’t require you to wipe over it again with water as somehow it leaves no water marks. Excellent! I highly recommend this and will  be using these for cleaning my bathroom from now on too! Oh and also i had no sneezing fits or headaches as i wasn’t using harmful chemicals. Win, win!

Stay tuned for my next blog which will be about weekly cooking with friends, turning your dead body into a tree and being plastic free in the city.

And……. why buy plastic bottles when so many amazing things come in glass! (see below pic).

Experience 5: Lets all move in together and lose weight!

This post is late because it’s a big one! I decided to put my ‘sustainable living’ hat on this week after visiting a groups of friends on a small farm near my place. They inspired me to spread the word on sustainable living as I apparently inspired them to stop using plastic.  We also realized that the more self-sufficient you become in your living, the easier it is to be plastic free!

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My friend Casey has bought the land with his Mum and now lives there in the farm house with four friends who rent rooms from him. Let me just say that this visit got my ‘plasticfreediet’ brain thinking.

Casey, Chad, Benny and friends share a property, which has fruit trees, a vegetable garden, lots of free ranging chickens and three lovely goats. Whilst getting the grand tour on the farm I explained to the guys about the idea of being plastic free and as they drank from plastic bottles and picked up the plastic bucket with the food scraps for the chooks in it we began a conversation of how much we could make our planet a healthier place by some big but achievable changes.

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There is a common ‘want’ we have in Australia when it comes to housing.  We want a large block of land to live on with one large house to share with just 1.5 others (click here for a great article about our current un-sustainable living habits and the increased cost to our pockets too). This is a spacious dream that most of us want and it brings about thoughts of relaxing in privacy and safety of our home without much of a backyard or garden though.  It may not sound that bad unit you begin to think about it on a national and global level.

First of all, globally our population is growing. Growing faster than ever before and it is not sustainable to continue to purchase these large blocks of land that we build on as this means we are reducing our national parks, our animal habitats and existing farm land.  Land will continue to become more expensive as it becomes lesser available and we would become more in debt with larger mortgages. This would of course increase that big hole in the ozone layer, increase extinct animal species and reduce national food production as we will not have the space to grow ‘real’ food.

The other problem when it comes to housing is that we become more depressed due to less social interaction. Its been shown many studies over that social interaction is important in the mental health of all of us and living in group situations is positive. The key elements identified across this research are meaningful social contact and positive social cohesion. Without these, the person and the group flounder.

Would it be weird to consider the possibility of sharing land together as an alternative?

For example, what if you and your partner, your friend and their partner, your partner’s friend and your … sister all want to buy a house? You all agree on a lovely piece of land, build your homes and together use the left over land for your amazing vegetable and herb garden and goats, chickens, cows, fish and whatever else you wish to have. We are able to have more trees amongst us and this works because we are sharing the work load that living sustainably requires.It also reduces your costs to  buy. The main benefit is that this is a solution to allowing us to live sustainably with a potentially longer life span.

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Health wise the benefits of shared property far outweigh the cons. You’re living off the land so you’re in control of the chemicals that the produce you’re putting into your body have. Here is a video from a TED X convention where the guy talks about using charcoal from organic waste to increase the growing properties of crops. Its an amazing video which also goes into how the community can benefit by creating jobs and less carbon emmissions due to the charcoal absorbing carbon and if its produced within the community using it then less carbon is produced in transporting it. As well as this it enhances the growth of the crop meaning less need for GMO maybe??

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Because you are physically working on growing this produce you are going to be moving. Not sitting! This is very important because sitting is one of main reasons for our first world’s obesity epidemic. .

As well as working on your sustainable lifestyle you are outside more which allows you to breath in fresh, not stale, air…

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Experience 4: …..Nuts about plastic free food!

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There’s a lot of chocolate pictures above aren’t there? I thought i would dedicate this post to some things that we can all relate to.
Food shopping  (unless you have been living with your overcompensating Mother all your life who refuses to let go of her now adult child and still does your shopping) and cooking. Going plastic free with food requires more preparation and organising ahead of time. So i thought i would share with you a few things that i have started to make since being plastic free to that gets me through snacks. Before going any further i just want to add that i made all of those amazingly scrumptious chocolate bars in the pictures above and il be getting to their story a little further down the page.
We all loath the task of buying our groceries, especially if you have had a busy week. So, i decided to go on my first plastic free grocery shopping experience after a lovely Sunday surf session in Lennox with an open mind for plastic free treats for my week ahead. At this point my fridge and freezer is currently empty due to being away for one month so this was a much needed shop. I headed to a local green grocers, ‘Baz & Shaz’s’ near my house who has a great range of organic and non organic fruit and vegetables, breads, and dry foods. The fruit and vegetable part of the shop was easy and i did not use bags to collect them in. I piled them into the basket, and they were placed in a box upon purchase. I did miss out on a few things in this shop due to not having smaller bags of my own to collect things like baby spinach, brussell sprouts, beans and berries. Whilst the helpful guy from ‘Baz & Shaz’s was carrying my box of non-plasticated goodness to my car he informed me  that i can order my berries in bulk so they are not packaged in plastic and this will not only save me money per gram and plastic but i can put them in the freezer and eat the frozen blueberries for snacks as well as for my daily smoothies. I just need to place an order or go to the local berry farm in a nearby town.  I also found out through some friends that i can get some small cotton mesh bags which are great for collecting  these smaller items instead of plastic bags. (The link to the cotton mesh bags are not the only supplier of these and i make no profit or gain free bags from adding them on my blog. It’s merely a link to give you an example of what they look like).
But again, i struggled with plastic free milk. So this time i didn’t buy any. Instead I bought some raw almonds and hazelnuts and i made my own nut milks! The process is below and you can add many things to make them even tastier but here is what i did:
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Almond milk or Hazelnut milk
  • you will need a ‘nut bag’ (no, not your embarrassing mate you always try to run from at the pub) , a mesh like bag to strain the blended nuts with.
  • you will need a blender (mine is glass).
  • you will need a non plastic container to tip the milk into (otherwise you are breaking the rules!)
  • you will need water and nuts (obviously)
  1. soak your nuts in a bowl overnight (if they are cashews 4 hours) so the oxalates are removed (better for your digestion).
  2. rinse the soaked nuts.
  3. place them in a blender
  4. For every 1 cup of nuts add 2 cups of water (this is an estimate as it depends how ‘light’ you like your milk to taste).
  5. add any spices for e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, agave etc
  6. blend until the nuts are very very very very fine
  7. place the nut bag into a glass bowl or vase and pour the mixture into it so the nuts pieces have separated from the liquid.
  8. I then pour the liquid into a glass bottle and YOU HAVE MILK!
 You will find that you are left over with this amazing nut meal from your milk making project and i could not let all that goodness go to waste. So i made things out of it!
‘Organic Chocolate Champion Chunkers’
OH MY GOD!! Have you ever needed a before surf boost or a post surf kick in the butt to drive home? Have you had that feeling when you are a bit tired on a saturday afternoon but really wanted to go out to that party?  Then these chocolate bars are for you!
I got a few ideas for the recipe off the mynewroots website but you can be as adventurous as you like! My recipe is below and you could use any nut meal that you have from your milk.
  1. mash up about 100gm of pitted dates
  2. toast or dry pan fry the nut meal so there is not water content left in it and you can start to smell the nuts warming.
  3. melt 50-100gm of butter (you can use:organic unsalted butter, cacao butter, coconut oil etc) in a bowl that’s inside a saucepan with water heating in it, over a stove.
  4. stir in about 30gm of cacao powder
  5. add in the toasted nut meal to a consistency of your choice. (the more nut meal you add, the more ‘cakey’ the chocolate bars will be).
  6. you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli , peppermint oil etc etc to this mixture now for your own little touch.
  7. add the mashed dates so a thick paste is made.
  8. taste it! If it’s not sweet enough you could add some drops of agave or honey to be mixed in.
  9. i then use some left over toasted nut meal to sprinkle on a wooden board and then roll balls of the mixture onto the board.so the outside is coasted in nuts. I also used shredded coconut.
  10. make strips of aluminium foil and wrap the soft bars up.
  11. Place in the fridge for at least one hour.
  12. THEN EAT THEM!!!! YUM!

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I also used the almond meal to make cookies (high protein, not sweet, soft inside) and no one complained when they tried them! Another great snack that’s a little lower in G.I than the Chocolate Champion Chunkers and hit’s the hunger cravings due to the nuts in them.
Again this is just a recipe i made up from looking at a few options on line so feel free to improvise:
‘PLASTIC-LESS PROTEIN POUCHES’
  1. in a blender mix the almond meal with 1 egg, soft butter and honey or agave to taste.
  2. i also added a dollop of peanut butter to increase the nutty flavour.
  3. Mix lightly, then add some cinnamon or nutmeg to taste.
  4. Scoop out small portions with a spoon and place on a greased oven tray.
  5. back for around 30 mins at 180degrees. (they will stay fairly soft on the inside so they take a while). 
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 Along with the nuts and fruits and vegetables i also bought organic Auzzie butter (in paper ). I also bought coconut and spelt flour which was in brown paper bags, bottled sauerkraut, jarred nut butter, cardboard boxed eggs and boxed tea. I bought the Sourkraut in a glass jar because again i could not get a natural yoghurt in glass so i have opted for the Sourkraut to feed the good bacteria in my stomach this week.
There were many benefits to this adventure: I had such a big box full of fresh produce it was carried to my car by an employee for me! This shop is definitely healthier than normal as i have no processed foods to snack on and get to have fun making my own yummy, healthy, non-toxic snacks. Another upside is that i will now have some glass jars to reuse.
Whilst typing this i had a break and made some fresh hommus with the food i had and used carrot sticks for dippers. No sugar added, no plastic contaminants, healthy protein and vegetable intake for a snack too!
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Living plastic free does take more time and organisation. For example, to make the hummus i soaked the chickpeas overnight which i had bought dry in a paper bag. Then once drained i could blend them with the other ingredients. Canned foods have a plastic BPA liner in them so canned is now out also. Did you already know that?! I didn’t until now!
There was also no fresh bread in paper bags at the shop  today so I chose to make my own Turkish bread! It’s actually really quick too.
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  1. Simply tip your flour onto a wooden board (you need to have self raising or add a raising agent to it so the bread is fluffy when baked)
  2. make a well in the centre of the flour
  3. add dollops of natural unflavoured yoghurt into the well and combine the flour with your hands to mix the two together.
  4. Add more yoghurt  if the mixture is too dry
  5. add some dried mixed herbs and olive oil over the top with some sea salt if you desire.
  6. place on a oiled baking tray
  7. bake!
  8. delicious and so quick! You can actually do this in the microwave too which is even quicker but i’m a bit suss on microwaves…
I’ve noticed i haven’t had as much garbage to throw out in the last two weeks and even the separate recycling bin has not been as full.  Plastic seems to takes up a lot of bin space! Imagine how much landfill it must take up too………….
If you have any questions about my very loosely explained recipes please don’t hesitate to write a comment as i usually make them up as i go along so my quantities are not always exact.
Also if you have a recipe you think is completely plastic free then add it in a comment below or attach the link!

Experience 3: Condoms made from pigs intestines?

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It’s always an interesting conversation when talking about the elimination of plastic. Last week i was eating out at a local restaurant in my neighbourhood called ‘Yellow Flower’ and the topic of ‘plastic free sex’ arose. First of all, condoms are not made of plastic. They are made of latex which, in most instances is from a rubber  tree. Plastic is usually from petroleum but can be other types of polymers also. So when we were trying to think of other options to use instead of condoms for safe sex, I am off the hook here. Just wanted to clear that up as it seems to be a regular question from my age group.

THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IS FOR WOMEN ONLY. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND YOU CONTINUE TO READ THIS PARAGRAPH JUST KNOW THAT IT WAS YOUR CHOICE AND YOU CAN”T BE ANNOYED THAT YOU READ IT AS I DID WARN YOU TO GO TO SECTION 3

Of course the next question from many women is: ‘What about my vibrator?”. Yes , I’ve said it. They asked it. I didn’t answer however i have included a picture of a very interesting looking eggplant my neighbour grew in her garden two weeks ago…….. IMG_4128

We also discussed the use of tampons. They are wrapped in plastic. I was then enlightened by my very adventurous swedish friend who told me about a rubber type device that is reused. The ‘Moon Cup’ or ‘menstrual cup’, if you want a boring term is completely re-usable. I am still undecided as to whether i can use this device but i am going to have to try. Apparently “you get used to it”. Well in the mean time i do have a question to anyone that knows of a tampon brand that does not wrap them separately in plastic and holds them in a plastic free container?????? I do hope there is something out there as i really don’t want to be writing another post on menstrual bleeding.

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MEN CAN CONTINUE TO READ HERE:

Anyway the point of this post is actually to discuss going ‘plastic free’ when eating out.  At restaurants or takeaway places etc.

We were at yellow flower which is an Indian Diner and i was impressed that the cutlery is steel , the takeaway cutlery is wooden however the containers for take food away food are ‘plastic’. So, we ate in.  We used china bowls with out steel cutlery and glass water bottle s and cups. We were feeling very plastic free until the dessert was required to be taken home for a friend.. Thankfully the lovely ‘Adrian’ (picture below) from Yellow Flower allowed us to take the delicious sticky date pudding home in the china bowl which i later returned. It did get us thinking at the table about how this system could actually work. You bring your own bowl to the restaurant , any leftovers come with you and no plastic throw aways required.

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The other option is to use tapioca or starch based plant containers with are completely biodegradable and can be used many times over as an alternative to plastic. These are also pretty cheap to buy (not as cheap as plastic but if everyone starting using them the price would drop due to increased consumption). Also known as Cassava starch, the following link provides much more information on these products than i could ever explain. There are plenty more companies apart from this one as well that we could be using for our disposable containers. (If we really need disposable containers??) http://www.eco-go.net

It also made me realise as i sat there with my four girlfriends that it’s much more fun to be eating a meal at the restaurant than by myself with a takeaway container at home. I even ate less because i was talking so much that i didn’t feel the need to go and order more, or eat the remainder of my bowl even though it was there. Eating in a social environment has been shown to decrease overeating and now there is the added benefit that it can be plastic free as well!

Experience 2: Yes i cheated..

Could it be possible to have more plastic in our supermarkets than actually food????
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Visiting my parents home in Victoria i’m even more inspired to keep the plastic free ideas growing. Living each day gets me thinking deeper and deeper into how much plastic we really use. I was given the job to get some ingredients for a rhubarb and apple crumble my Mum and i were going to make. We had the rhubarb and apples from the local community garden from which my Mum owns a plot, so we just needed oats, flour, chia seeds and yoghurt .ImageImage
 I walked to the shops which was about a 6km round trip ( 6km  walk per day is great for someone recovery from back pain too by the way as well as not using a plastic car and fuel!) could not find anything in the supermarket that was not packaged with plastic for what i needed. I ended up buying yoghurt that was in a plastic tub and walked out feeling like a cheat and a hypocrite with it in my green reusable bag. As i was about to leave i noticed the ‘health food’ store. I found in the health food store oats in a calico bag, coconut flour in a brown paper bag but no chia seeds that weren’t in plastic. Feeling bad enough about the yoghurt i didn’t purchase the chia seeds but was happy walking home with my plastic free organic oats and flour. It did get me thinking about the yoghurt though and i think i could probably purchase some in a glass jar somewhere. In Paris last year i was able to get small meal sized glass jars of yoghurt and i am sure we can do it in Auz too.
By the way…. the rhubarb and apple crumble was A-Mazing!. Benefits: less bin waste, reusable calico bag and the brown paper is recyclable. We also made the crumble insead of buying it pre-packaged which was even better and healthier! (visit www.mynewroots.com for her amazing crumble if you need some inspiration for cooking!)

Experience 1

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It’s Summer in Australia and i have been in our most southern state, the beautiful Tasmania with friends for New Years Eve. We experienced the rugged coastlines and bush of the most untouched part of our country. Tassie is very clean and it was on this adventure that i decided to make my new years resolution to be ‘plasticless’. My 4 friends and i had stopped at Adventure Bay General Store on Bruny Island and after a deep discussion with my friend Randal about the poor health of our ocean and the poor decisions our government has been making recently about our environment in general, I was feeling very passionate about not using plastic all of a sudden . So i decided that i was not going to buy any supplies for our camping dinner that included plastic.

I was hoping that the rest of my four friends would join me on the bandwagon of plastic free but unfortunately the Bruny Island sausages wrapped in plastic were too good to pass up. So in we headed to the general store with my eyes open to anything with paper, cardboard, foil or  ‘nothing’ wrapped around it. We already had veggies in the eski (which is still made of plastic at this point) so we were after some accompaniments to our vegetable based meal.

I found some flour in a cardboard box, eggs in cardboard and olive oil in a bottle. I would make herb and garlic damper on the fire with roasted herb and olive oil vegetables in the camp oven pot! Delicious! There was one problem which was that if we wanted a tastier damper we would probably need milk and unfortunately all the milks had at least a plastic cap on them. So ‘Phill’ our fellow traveller bought the milk so i would not break my challenge (but i admit i did use the milk). So milk is actually my first ‘brick wall’ at present. On Bruny if i was better prepared and it was not after 5pm i probably could have gone to the local dairy farm or cheese house and purchased milk with my own vessel. So lesson one: plan where you are getting your choice of milk from before it gets too late in the afternoon. Lesson two: flour in a cardboard box still comes in plastic inside the cardboard box………

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Dinner was a hit by the way! No plastic except for the soy milk carton and flour which i now know i can get in paper bags elsewhere! This also meant minimal rubbish as most of it was organic waste or went in the fire! I have to admit we did have large plastic water containers which were bought in preparation for our trip. Next time (now that i’m plastic free) i would take large glass bottles and get the creek/ river water which is so clean in Tasmania and boil it on the fire for our water. So we did have tea brewed with water from plastic containers that night and the wraps in this picture were not mine. But it was only the first day! Below is the ‘Herb and Olive Oil Damper’  with local Tassie honey (glass jar) which was delicious!

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If you have any tips on going more plastic free when camping please let me know on the ‘leave a reply’ section.

My first ever blog and pot stir..

Who am I? I’m Lucy and if you’d like to check out my credentials feel free to go to Pro Health Studio.
You can check out my clinic there too. I live in Byron Bay on the Far North Coast of NSW, Australia. But that’s not important right now. What’s is important is that soon our hospitals and medical centres will be over run by cardiovascular patients needing surgery because of ‘Western World diseases caused by unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles. And for many kids it’s due to the unhealthy genetics gained from their parents with these diseases This in turn is spending our taxes on hospitals instead of on other more pressing issues such as ‘global warming’.
So you have probably realised by now that I am passionate about health and not just my own but YOUR health, your family’s health and the generations to come.  Recently I have become more passionate about the Mother that we all share; your Mum, my Mum and your friends Mum: Mother Earth. Every single thing we use in our day is derived from Planet Earth and yet we seem to be abusing her instead of giving back and treating her with respect. And you know what? If I was Mother Earth I would probably be getting angry and starting to give some negativity back to ‘us’‘ too by now. So after some research into what’s going on with our environment, our health crisis in the Western World and what will happen in the future, I have decided to use my skills to take a different approach to health consulting. I believe that  if we can live sustainably in a way that is respectful and loving to our planet, we will in turn begin to reverse our health problems and perhaps even eradicate some of these ‘new’ lifestyle created diseases that do not need to exist.

DIET & EXERCISE: IT’S NOT ACTUALLY WORKING….!?

 The dietary interventions Paradox:  

“While we know from intervention studies that we

can change both diet intake and activity patterns in a more

healthy direction..

….. We do not have the evidence that obesity is caused by too much food and too little exercise…”

Summerbell et al.
Cochrane Database Sys Rev., 2005;20(3):CD001871 

 

In 2012 i attended The Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association conference to update my knowledge on treating clients with Obesity. A presentation by Professor Berit L Heitmann  (Director for research Institute of Preventive Medicine, Region H, Copenhagen, Denmark) changed my outlook on our current answer for Obesity. Professor Heitmann enlightened me to the fact that:

“The current evidence suggests(based on 22 controlled interventions) that many diet and exercise interventions to prevent obesity in children can be effective in promoting a healthy diet and increased physical activity levels, but are not effective in preventing weight gain.” 

 This got me thinking…

Maybe we should be taking a different approach. 

My first step is to practise what I am hoping to preach. So I need to attempt to go ‘plastic free’. Yes that’s right, I am going to try and live without using any plastic in my life. Why? As a surfer I love the ocean and whilst travelling for waves around the globe it has become obvious that our oceans are beginning to decline in health. I highly recommend you to watch a recent movie called ‘Trashed’  or go to the Facebook page ‘The Ocean Clean Up’ which also has many YouTube educationals on what’s happening with our ocean and it’s marine life due to its absorption of plastic (which never actually breaks down by the way, it just gets smaller and even easier for marine life to ingest).  If we don’t clean up our ocean from plastic and stop dumping it in our water ways then we will continue to suffer from new cancers and child birth defects, infertility problems, still born births and the list could go on. Did you know that plastic mimics our reproductive hormones? The smallest marine life such as algae ingests plastic which is then eaten by bigger creatures and whales and dolphins are currently considered as toxic waste after they are autopsied now due to the high amounts of plastic found in them. It’s disgusting and we are eating the fish (Which our diets require for many things but unfortunately we get the plastic along with it now). And its not just the ocean. If you think about it, plastic is covering most of our food; even the lining of our tinned food and milk cartons has plastic in them now. Our water bottles we carry around every day drinking (how have we been manipulated to think we are drinking cleaner water from the bottle……?)  I haven’t even begun to talk about the production of plastic and the disposing of plastic yet and the emissions produced from this but I think if you already know that this is definitely NOT a nurturing activity for Mother Earth.  

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So back to the idea of eliminating plastic from my life: The following blog posts will be snippets of how I plan to explore changing from plastic to other alternatives, the struggles and the benefits from plastic free living and also…..and most important of all, the benefits to my health as I do it. I hope you enjoy this blog and I would love to hear your thoughts, advice on how i can do plastic free living better. I definitely hope that you show others this blog to spread the word on living a healthier and more sustainable life for us and for our future humans!