Meals & Groceries | Sustainable + Natural
Hello! Excited to share a few tips with you on simple ways to prioritize your health & the planet today —
As always, it’s important to work towards bettering your decisions but also not falling into the trap of feeling guilty when you don’t do everything perfectly. It’s also difficult to know where your realm of impact begins & ends but every positive effort is worthwhile + meaningful.
Let’s jump in.
Focus on cooking at home & meal prepping —
So much food waste is involved in takeout + fast food. The packaging is generally made up of single-use plastic & even if it isn’t, it’s usually gotten grease or food on it & therefor isn’t recyclable. There are so many tangents to go into in regards to fast food or take-out — but to put it simply, no matter where you’re eating, make sure you know what ingredients are in your food & find out where they’re sourced from & how they’re sourced. If you can’t find out answers to these questions, the food probably isn’t worth eating in the first place.
Cooking at home cuts back on so much waste as you’re preparing food with a general idea as to how much you’ll eat, how many leftovers you’ll have, etc. Meal prepping is great because it gives you options to grab from the fridge when you don’t feel like cooking — & saves you from ordering takeout. Not to say all take-out is terrible for you, but it’s a good idea to keep intake limited.
2. Shop at the right grocery stores —
We have a couple grocery stores on rotation that prioritize sourcing local goods, organic products, use minimal packaging, have lots of bulk options & loose-leaf products. (If you’re in Portland, check out New Seasons Market & Natural Grocers. These are my go-to’s.) We’ve really committed to making a trip to the store a concentrated effort & we take as long as we need to shop. On a good day, we bring about 6 mason jars, 5-10 produce bags, 5-8 tote bags & a few rubber bands from home. We keep the tare weight of the mason jars written on top & fill them up with bulk goods like chickpeas, almond flour, coconut flour, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, dates, etc. We use produce bags for loose-leaf arugula, rainbow chard & other fresh herbs + veggies. We bring the tote bags to carry all of the groceries, & then bring the rubber bands for the egg cartons so that the store doesn’t have to use new ones each time we buy eggs.
3. Set yourself up for success —
Leave a little kit in your car: tote bag with mason jar, insulated coffee mug, chapstick, reusable utensils & a small towel or recycled paper towel. You’ll be ready for a spontaneous picnic, grab & go lunch, coffee or smoothie while you’re out.
4. Read labels —
As far as food goes, a few basic things to always avoid are: cane sugar, enriched wheat flour, canola oil, palm oil, artificial flavors + colors, GMOs & trans fats. Please read up on the effects of these ingredients on your health if you haven’t looked into this before. Most of these are essentially cancer or disease-causing carcinogens that the FDA doesn’t protect us from — because the individuals high up in the FDA are being lobbied by major brands with alarming ingredients to keep regulations the same so that they can continue selling addictive/harmful products to the unknowing consumer.
A great way to avoid products with these ingredients all together is to commit to a diet like paleo, keto, vegan, plant-based or pescatarian. I personally stick to a pescatarian-paleo type of diet — I eat fish like salmon + tuna for the omegas & nutrients & then organic fruits, vegetables & nuts in tons of different forms. It keeps me full + feeling good so I’d definitely recommend it!
To circle back to the initial thought, most of these ingredients are found in highly processed foods like non-organic pasta or pasta sauce, candy, desserts with long shelf lives, canned goods, crackers, dried fruit, pretty much anything goes — so always read those labels & look for the “NON-GMO verified project” label as well as the Organic label.
5. Consider what you’re drinking —
Whether that’s soda, alcohol, juice, sparkling water or regular water, here are a few things to consider: What’s added to this beverage? How much sugar is in this beverage? My cutoff for a sugary drink is about 6g of sugar for the entire thing — & I like to make sure it’s an organic sweetener. This really limits options, but luckily I’ve found so many alternatives: 1. Kombucha! My favorite thing ever. I crave it constantly & it’s totally replaced soda for me. I go for kombucha brands with the lowest amounts of sugar. 2. CBD sodas like Recess are readily available in Oregon & they’re usually low on sugar, organic & super flavorful. 3. Zevia & LIVE Soda are my favorite for a real soda craving. Zevia is sweetened with stevia leaf extract & has no scary additives. My favorite flavors are cream soda, root beer & strawberry. On the shelf, they look generic & unassuming but they’re the best. Live Sodas are essentially soda-flavored kombucha. They taste a lot more like soda than kombucha in my opinion & the dr. pepper knock-off flavor is the best.
Other thoughts on drinks — make sure your cans are BPA-free. If you’re drinking wine, going with natural / biodynamic / organic is the best call. Wine can have up to 60 additives per bottle that do not have to be called out in the label. Organic wines do not have random additives & are a much safer choice!
& for regular water: make sure you’re filtering it!
Leave a comment if you have questions or would like to discuss! ✨
All photos are edited with Solstice Presets.
Disclosure: I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to purchase from brands that I refer to & promote. All opinions are my own!