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  • Writer's pictureCasey Girard

No Waste Ninjas

Updated: Feb 2, 2018

Three weeks ago my family chose to become more mindful consumers. It is our duty as parents to teach our children to nourish their bodies and to take care of the planet we live on. It's amazing how similar those two responsibilities go hand in hand. We are doing our best to lead by example, which brings me to discuss all of the changes we have made since my initial "no waste" Facebook post:

1. We joined our local Co-op! I walked into Hannaford armed with Mason Jars and re-usable bags determined to not purchase any food wrapped in plastic. I quickly realized my mission was nearly impossible. No waste shopping is anything BUT convenient, and most grocery stores in our area are not "bulk" friendly. Needless to say, I left the grocery store feeling defeated. I started searching for something different, somewhere different to shop. The internet did not disappoint. Google lead me to the Gardiner Co-Op ( www.gardinerfood.coop )! For a small membership fee we joined the co-op, and have been enjoying their bulk items, fresh produce, and organic items at a discounted price. The best part is all of their items they are for sale in bulk (even laundry detergent and dish soap)! AND we are able to use our own containers, which makes my granola soul very happy!

2. We traded our coffee maker for a french press. Since I've been on my own my daily routine has started with a pot of coffee. I start the pot without even thinking in the morning. It has become as much part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth. At night before bed, we'd dump the left over coffee, grind the beans, and prepare the pot for tomorrow's brew. I've never kept track of just how much coffee we were wasting, but I cringe at the thought of it. Our french press makes enough for two cups of coffee, one for me and one for my husband. If we want a second cup we brew another one, it's as simple as that. The simplicity of the french press brewing process slows us down, and makes our cup of coffee much more gratifying. We are connecting with the beans, our cup of coffee, and each other instead of a machine doing all of the work. Life really is about the simple things, like a good cup of coffee with your husband on Sunday morning.

3. We buy all of our meat from a local butcher shop. I'm a sucker for a good Netflix Documentary. I know we can't believe everything we see on television, BUT after watching a few dietary documentaries there seems to be a common thread... the meat in this country is shit. Literally. I couldn't stand the idea of 100 different cows in my hamburger, or not knowing what chemicals I was eating (and feeding to my children). We decided to make another change. Instead of buying our meat from Hannaford we have been purchasing our meat from Fuller's Market (www.fullersmarket.com). Everything they sell is grass-fed, and raised on a Maine farm. Are you ready for the best part? We are spending LESS on BETTER QUALITY meat. Buying in bulk isn't just for grains!

4. Back to the Basics. My Kitchen Aid is my best friend. Seriously, she's a bad ass. Yes, she. Kathy the Kitchen Aid makes wholesome eating easy. She is perfect for making our own breads, biscuits, protein balls, granola bars, and other goodies. The possibilities are endless, and I don't even have any of the fancy add ons! Although, I've got my eye on that pasta attachment! It's all about getting out of that comfort zone and trying new things in the kitchen. We have a pantry and fridge full of the basic ingredients. From those ingredients we cook meals that are colorful, wholesome, free of toxic ingredients, and of course satisfying. The simplicity is liberating (Once our kids got used to not seeing goldfish in cabinets!). After a few weeks we have all adjusted to our new eating habits, and now that we have ridden the house of processed foods the kids don't even ask for it anymore! Out of sight, out of mind!

5. Mason Jars are Life. I was nervous to send my daughter to school with glass containers. I'd picture her throwing her backpack around, and then opening her lunch box to a shattered mess, and the principle calling me, "Mrs. Girard, why did you send your daughter to school with glass?".Seriously, I created a worst case scenario in my head. I swear sometimes I am my worst enemy. I have been sending her (and my husband) with Mason Jar lunches for 3 weeks now, and there has not been one broken glass incident, but we have saved the life of 374,875 sandwich bags.

6. We tamed the Milk Monster. Our son, Hendrix, can easily drink a gallon of milk in two days if we allow

it. After yet another Netflix documentary, and some online research, we made the switch to Smiling Hill Farm glass bottled milk. Our Milk Monster no longer drinks milk in his sippy cup, instead he only has a small glass with each meal. Yes, local glass bottle milk is more expensive, but the peace of mind that comes with it is well worth the extra money.

6. Do it Yourself. One day I read the back of a Bath and Body Works lotion bottle. I couldn't pronounce half of the shit in the lotion, so why was I lathering this goop on the biggest organ of my body? How could I be so strict about what goes in my body, but not think twice about what was going on my body? Needless to say I trashed most of my beauty products, and I have started making my own. I make everything from lotion, to body wash and shampoo. The ingredients are so basic, and essential oils make homemade products smell just as good as store bought beauty supplies. Plus, it's a fun hobby!

7. I buy less. Okay, we are downsizing our lives and home as we work toward our tiny house goals. I realize not everyone wants to live on a converted school bus with their family of four,but it doesn't mean we all can't take a look at our shopping habits. As a family, when we need something it goes on a list. Our list currently has things like "Sneakers for Saylor, windshield wipers for the Nissan, and 2 pillows". We do not deprive ourselves of things we want or need, but we do our best to stop impulsive purchases. For me, this meant canceling our Amazon Prime, because I have little self control. It means borrowing books from the library or friends instead of buying a new copy. It means shopping at Goodwill (my favorite store) for clothes, costumes, toys, and craft supplies. It means researching for the best deal and best quality when we do buy something new. It means fixing something when it is broken rather than throwing it out.


We certainly haven't mastered the art of living waste free,but we are making large strides in the right direction. Every day I am motivated to do better because we FEEL better making more health/waste conscious choices. Our bodies and our planet thank us for making these changes. I feel the difference in my energy levels. I see the confidence in my children as they make their own natural, healthy choices. I look forward to overcoming the challenges our convenience based society throws my way while we continue on our no waste and healthy eating journey!

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