Eating on the Cheap

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This is so well timed.  The month of September is Vegan Month of Food and Eco-Vegan Gal is doing a video series on how to be vegan on a budget.  (edit: try as I might to only upload the first video in the series, YouTube keeps changing it to a playlist.  It is showing the most recent video uploaded in the series).  Now let’s be honest, my food budget can be stupid, and it needs to be kept in check.  How much do I spend on food a month?  I have no idea, it could be $200 it could be $500 who the hell knows?  I eat primarily vegan, mostly raw low fat, mostly organic and 100% gluten free.  Essentially, I eat an expensive diet.  I’ve been trying to earn more money, but it’s not really working.  Maybe what I really need to do is spend less.

 

September first I’m changing my diet a bit and see just how cheaply I can eat.  This is what I bought for under $26.00:

IMG_0516Yay for the clearance section!  I got the apples, oranges and cookies 50% off. I’m thinking of making a big pot of chilli and a ton of beans and rice.  I also bought a bag of dried black beans, I have never made beans that weren’t crunchy, but I will figure it out.  It’s so much cheaper to buy dried beans, plus they have less crap on them.   Plus I have the CSA stockpile of potatoes, onions and beets to eat.

What’s In Your Products?

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Do you read food labels?

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and had to avoid gluten containing products.  Since then I don’t eat anything unless I’ve read the label, no exceptions.  When in doubt I don’t eat it.  I know lots of people don’t read food labels, for a variety of reasons.  I don’t like that I have to read labels and so when possible I prefer to eat foods that don’t have labels like fruits and veg.  While reading labels looking for gluten, my eyes were opened to the crap that is added to processed food.  Inevitably I started to avoid these products and look for better options.  For whatever reason I started to read the ingredient list on my lotions, shampoos and conditioners.  I was shocked to not only find gluten containing ingredients, but also a chemical shit-storm.  I stopped using the ones with gluten and started to wonder wither I should be using the other products as well.  Like seriously, what the heck am I applying to my skin?  Our skin is not only our largest organ, but it also absorbs whatever we put on it.  Why am I applying chemicals at all?  Where in my body are these chemicals going?

 

Looks like shampoo, but really it's just cancer in a bottle

Looks like shampoo, but really it’s just cancer in a bottle

Overtime I started switching to more natural alternatives for toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion deodorant and sunblock.  I didn’t really know if the products were good for me or not.  I figured that if they had a short pronounceable ingredient lists and was sold in my local health food store it was probably ok.  A few months ago Eco Vegan Girl Whitney Lauretsen shared a website that she uses to check if a product is “good” or not.  http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a searchable database of products and assesses their level of risk to health.  I found it helpful to see which ingredients should be avoided and for what reason.

 

EWG

EWG recommends using products that they rate as 2 or lower.  Overall the products I bought as natural alternatives were rated 2 or below, so I feel good about that.  There are some bad product that I’m still holding on to… cosmetics.  I really must invest in more eco-friendly make-up.

 

I encourage you to go the EWG website and search your products to see how safe they are.

Brush With Bamboo

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I’m always looking for a more eco-friendly change that I can make. It occurred to me as I was about to throw out my toothbrush that maybe there is a better option. Over the last 30 years how many toothbrushes have I thrown out? A couple hundred? I spent some time researching other options.

The first one I came across was Source. The handles are made of recycled materials, either wood, flaxseed or paper, but the top part is disposable and made of plastic.  I wasn’t entirely happy with this because it is still a disposable single use product.  It’s a more ecological product, but it’s not that great.

 

I also considered Terra-dent, which also has a replaceable brush head, but it’s all plastic and I think I can do better.

 

I was interested in Dr. Du-More’s Oxo-Birodegradable toothbrush, this plastic consists of CO2, water and humus and apparently will breakdown.  I can’t really wrap my head around that, how long does it take?  I was able to find them for sale on Amazon, but I don’t like the look of them, and I’m not prepared to buy 24 toothbrushes at a time….

Dr. Du-More Toothbrush (24 Pieces)

I have finally settled on Brush with Bamboo.  The price was comparable to traditional toothbrushes, and I like that there is no plastic.  The bamboo that they use is renewable and doesn’t impact panda habitat which is something I wouldn’t have thought about.  Although the bristles are made of nylon, the rest is all wood.  There are toothbrushes available with pig hair bristles, but as a vegetarian, I’m not cool with that.  Plus all the reviews I read said that the pigs hair tastes like shit.  The Brush with Bamboo website had lots of suggestions for how the handle can be reused rather than thrown out.  I plan to cut off the brushes and use it as garden markers.