Tag Archives: tips

5 Tips to Green Your Kitchen

09 August

Following with my Green Series, here are some tips to start transitioning to an environmental friendly kitchen.

Cleaners & Paper

As I mentioned in my post about green tips for your bathroom, I recommend using more natural cleaners. I make my own cleaning spray using vinegar, water, and soap.  I also use baking soda and vinegar to clean my kitchen sink or my vitamix after many green smoothies which usually leave a “yellowish” coat on my vitamix.  I avoid using paper towels to clean; instead I have a nice supply of organic cotton kitchen towels that I purchased at Target for a reasonable price. I don’t purchase paper napkins either, instead I use the small kitchen towel or cloth napkins when I have guests over. I love using cloth/cotton towels because they are reusable and very inexpensive in the long run.

Compost/Trash

Compost Bucket

One of my favorite things I do everyday is saving my kitchen scraps for my compost. Not only I avoid creating more trash, but also I use vegetable scraps for my compost which eventually go to my edible garden. In fact, since we started composting, our weekly trash is about a 3 gallon bag! Mainly the trash I have left over is the corn cups I get from Josh’s Organic Garden from my daily juice because most of the rest is recycle paper or some (very minimal) plastic containers. This is one of the biggest advantages of being a raw foodist, there is very little trash if you compost.

However, if you are still eating microwavable food and take out, please look for recycle containers and avoid using new plastic containers when you order food. Bring your own containers so that you can avoid making more trash. For more information on composting, there is tons of sites that are very easy to use.  Also, for trash bags, I recommend bags made of corn that will biodegrade instead of your regular plastic bags that will outlive humanity.

Food

Yes, food is a way to green your kitchen! Buy organic food and hopefully from local growers. Buy more vegetables and fruits instead of pre-packaged foods that create trash and are not healthy for you. See it all leads to being healthy… yeah you catch my drift now. I write a lot about this, so here are some posts on food and environment.

Also, start buying organic herbs and seasonings, star transitioning everything in your pantry to healthier organic foods. For example, if you eat tons of pepper, next time you run out, purchase an organic pepper (most likely) in a reusable container that you can later refill. You don’t have to invest tons of money all at once on switching to healthier foods if you start slowly as they run out.

Energy & Kitchen Appliances

Using the same principle in replacing your food, start replacing your appliances to energy saving ones or better yet, get rid of them. Starting with the microwave! Are you still using it? I mean really? Get rid of it instead of replacing it, and if you still need something to heat up snacks and food, get a small toaster oven. In addition, consider using your regular oven less times a week or use it more efficiently; for example, prepare 3 or more meals that you can save for later days all at once.

Change the settings in your refrigerator to a lower temperature. Most times they are set too high when you don’t use most of the space.  Unplug your appliances when not using them everyday. I have two surge protectors where all my appliances are plugged and before I leave for work, I turn the surge protectors off that way I don’t have to unplug each appliance. Avoid using the dishwasher if you have one, and please don’t tell me you do cause I’ll cry!

One of the biggest (my top 5) advantages of being a raw foodist is that our energy bill decreased immensely since we stopped using our stove, and now in our new apartment, we don’t even have a stove!

Utensils & Kitchen Containers

Organic Fruits & Bamboo Bowl

Avoid buying plastic; please really, I mean it! Plastic is the worst thing ever!  It’s made of oil and can’t be recycled most of the times. So no more Glad, instead buy glass and bamboo for your utensils. Again, you don’t have to give away all 100 Tupperware pieces you have (that don’t even match anymore) all at once, but as things get lost (and wind up in the ocean), replace them for more environmental friendly choices like glass and bamboo. Unless you really want to get rid of it all after reading this very inspiring post, but please don’t throw it away (there is really no throwing away, it means burying in and hoping it will decompose after 200 years), so donate it to a poor college student, goodwill, or a relative. You can post it in FreeCycle.org and someone will take it.

Ok so those are more than 5 tips for sure, but hopefully one will stay with you today and forever! If you have other “Green Kitchen” tips, please share them with us.

Green Tips for Your Bathroom

14 July

It took longer that a week to write this post. But here it is: I would like to share some of the things I do on a daily basis to keep contributing to conserving resources in my daily routine. So let’s start with the bathroom! Why there? well it’s the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up, and these are easy tips to start changing your lifestyle.

Cleaners

I know you clean your bathroom… At least I hope you do.  So this is an easy way to get started. Next time you run out of your regular chemical cleaners, instead of buying the same toxic spray or poisoned cleaner for your bathroom, consider purchasing vinegar and baking soda instead. Odds are you already have vinegar and baking soda in your kitchen. There are also other products that are more natural and are ready to use. One of the most popular brands is Seventh Generation. I also  recently started using Method and it works great because there is no smell.

Soaps, Shampoo, and Tooth Care

These are easy to replace and you will be saving a money as well. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s soaps for hands and body. They last a long time because you can dilute them in water. Shampoo and tooth paste are also important since they go on your skin and mouth. I recommend using Aubrey Organics for hair care, and Tooth Soap for brushing your teeth.

Toilet Paper

If I could replace toilet paper for something reusable or that didn’t come from a tree, I would. But so far I haven’t found anything I’m comfortable replacing toilet paper so instead, I purchase brands such 365 or Seventh Generation. Here is a guide to Toilet Paper from the Grist.

Water

Reducing the amount of water you use in the shower and toilet is one of the best things you can do. For example, start by replacing your shower head for a more efficient one and possibly a filter as well. There are many tips to save water in the toilet and the bathroom and many blogs written about the matter, so I won’t reinvent the wheel, instead I’ll invite you to read these tips on how to save water.

Electronics

I went thru my bathroom drawers and found many electronics we use. An electric tooth cleaner, hair dryer, hair iron, beard trimmer, foot massage/spa, etc. For the most part, all of them are rechargeable or plug into the wall. There is only one “device” that uses batteries, the beard trimmer. So in this case, we use rechargeable batteries instead of one-time use batteries. In addition, I have stopped using the hair dryer and iron and not only I saved money by not using these two, but also I’m not damaging my hair from all the heat.

So I hope that with these tips I have shared, I’m inspiring you to take a look at your bathroom and possibly start replacing and changing things in your house one room at the time.

Next week: How to Green your Kitchen!

If you have other tips for “greening” bathrooms, please share with us. Blessings!

Tips to Begin a Green Lifestyle

25 October
10:10

10:10

We went to the global premiere of “The Age of Stupid” on Monday September 21st and as usual, I walked out angry, frustrated, and depressed. Anytime I watch a movie about the environment, I cry and feel hopeless. Mostly because I feel that no one cares and no one is doing enough to conserve the very little resources we have left. It usually takes me days to recover. As we drove home, I decided I was going to be more positive and thought of what else I could do, not just in my lifestyle, but promoting what I’m passionate about. I talk about raw food more than anything else, but I don’t share my feelings and knowledge about the environment. So I’ve come up with these three lists of tips on how to help conserve and be “greener.”

For Beginners

Reusable bottles, bags, and natural soaps

Reusable bottles, bags, and natural soaps

So you already recycle and have changed your light bulbs. Well that’s not enough! Here are 5 tips for beginners.

Reusable bottles

Stop buying bottle water please! It will save you money and help conserve by not making more plastic bottles that will eventually land in our ocean. Get a reusable bottle and a filter and voila! You have bottled water!

Plastic bags

Ok so you probably bought the reusable bags but are forgetting to carry them. I keep at least three bags in my car, one at my office, and two in my purse. I now collect a tote or reusable bag from every place I travel. I actually no longer gift wrap presents but put them in a nice reusable bag, that way the person will get two gifts!

Soaps

Yeah I bet you didn’t know about this. Most soaps contaminate the water supply. There are environmentally friendly soaps that are very reasonable in price, for example, Dr. Bronner’s soap is great because it last for a very long time and it comes in gallon size containers. They also carry a laundry and cleaning Dr. Bronner’s soap called Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds.

Packaged Food

It creates tons of garbage! So if you can’t cook or don’t have time, look for recycled packaging specially plastic number 1, 2, and 3. However, I strongly recommend starting to fade out microwaveable foods.

Re-Use

Instead of immediately throwing things away, donate or swap with other people. Freecycle.org is a great way to re-use; it’s a way to give away the stuff you no longer want without having to find a place to take it. It’s free and a lot of people can benefit from your “garbage.”

Advanced “Greening”

So you already know more than the average person, here are some advance tips that will prove how committed you are to saving the planet.

Compost

Compost Bucket

My Compost Bucket

Great way to create less trash and make fertilizer for your plants. If you live in an apartment, there are methods to compost in small places. Once we began composting, we reduced our trash to 1 bag a month for 4 people!

How to Compost

EnviroCycle Composter

Thermostat

Replacing your current thermostat for one that can be programmed for multiple temperature settings throughout the day and week can help save a lot of money and energy thus saving the earth. I recently replaced mine for a three bedroom house and my electric bill went down 40%! Mind you I’m in Florida and summer just ended.

Energy Star Programmable Thermostats

Carbon Footprint

Anytime you travel, there is a carbon footprint. Your car and house also have carbon footprints. To offset these, you can sign up for an inexpensive service that will plant trees.

TerraPass.com

Become a vegetarian/vegan

Yes, it’s time for that big step! Begin transitioning to a healthier lifestyle and save the world at the same time. What a concept! For tips on how to start the process, read my post for tips to transition to vegetarian and/ or vegan.

Collect water

There are two ways to do this. One by collecting water every time you wash your dishes and re-use the water for plants. Two if you have a backyard and can collect rain water, set up buckets outside and use that water for plants and lawn.

Extra Credit

Here are some more tips to earn extra credit in the “greening” path.

Mail

MailStopper - Formerly GreenDimes

MailStopper - Formerly GreenDimes

I used to recycle all my junk mail until I found Green Dimes. It’s the best $20 bucks I’ve spent ever! I no longer get any unwanted mail.

Plant more trees

Even if you live in an apartment, there are local projects and even national places where you can plant trees or donate as little as $1 for each tree planted.

Drive less

Yes, you may think you already do this but in fact, you may be driving the same amount. Count how many miles you drive a week and reduce them by carpooling, taking public transportation, etc. When I bought my Prius, I also started riding the train to work and carpooling. It becomes a habit very quickly and part of your life.

Buy local food/organic

Support your local organic farmers; it saves the earth because they are using organic farming methods and you are not supporting produce that travels across country using fossil fuels.

Laundry

Replacing the soap used for laundry, the dryer sheets for dryer balls, using a low temperature, and air drying helps tons not to mention will save you money.

I wrote this post a day after I saw the movie but was unable to post it because I didn’t have access to Internet at home. As one of my decisions to do more for the environment, we downsize our living space and moved to an area that reflects our beliefs and lifestyle.