52 Weeks to Wellness

I dream of being the perfect consumer, living an eco-friendly, healthy, environmentally-conscious life. I’d like to rid my own world of dangerous chemicals and food products that contribute to issues within the food industry AND my body, and find a way to do most actions just a little more care and information. I’d love to be one of those people who only eats local, organic, clean, paleo, antibiotic-free foods and buys products that support the local economy and are good for the environment and my body (I totally realize what a yuppie I sound like right now…)

But, as I reflect on my own habits I realize that there is a LOT of change needed, and I simply can’t do it all at once. As I’ve learned with my weight-loss efforts, change takes time and considering the sheer number of issues that a consumer must face, it really isn’t possible to do it all at once. So I’ve decided to compile a list of 52 habits I’d like to adopt each week for the next 52 weeks in order to make my personal universe just a little more healthful. I will tackle one habit a week and once I do I won’t go back to my old ways. Here I go (in no particular order and with corresponding money signs to denote whether the goal will require a financial investment):

  1. Begin going to the farmer’s market and purchasing only grass-fed, local, antibiotic-free and non-factory farmed meat.
  2. Buy only local (no more Mexican or Latin-American produce with the exception of certain tropical fruits).
  3. Build or buy a composting unit and begin composting. $
  4. Spend time researching the chemicals in ALL my makeup products and research eco-friendly, healthier alternatives.
  5. Spend time researching the chemicals in all of our beauty products (hair sprays, lotions, shampoos, etc.), research eco-friendly, healthier alternatives and compile a list for future purchases.
  6. Begin making my own deoderant!
  7. Invest in glass tuperware and recycle all of the plastic ones we have. $$
  8. Buy new, BPA-free water bottles (a few of them) and commit to never buying a plastic bottled water bottle again.
  9. Replace all Teflon pans with stainless steel or copper-coated pans. $$$
  10. Toss every product that has triclosan and replace with healthier alternative.
  11. Buy spray bottles and begin making my own cleaners, ditching the heavy chemical products found in stores.
  12. Spend time learning about seasonal farming, and committing myself to only purchasing food that is in-season.
  13. Clear pantry and stop buying any foods with synthetic preservatives or coloring.
  14. Invest in indoor plants for every room. $$
  15. I love candles BUT I don’t like that many contain dangerous chemicals. Research beeswax or soy-based alternatives.
  16. Research safe, eco-friendly, at-home dry cleaning alternatives.
  17. Switch to a biodegradable, fragrance-free, non-toxic detergent for clothes.
  18. Educate myself on the proper way to dispose of things such as batteries and toxic waste so I do so in the future.
  19. Find a more eco-friendly, healthful option to plastic wrap, ziplocks and foil.
  20. Take time to educate myself more about recycling and the list of items I may or may not be able to recycle.
  21. Switch to organic produce for all “dirty dozen” foods from here on out.
  22. Commit to buying all-organic dairy (right now we do organic milk and eggs, but are “ify” on butter, kefir, yogurt, etc.
  23. Plan out the most cost-effective way to get local, organic produce, dairy and meat.
  24. Become much more careful about wasting electricity. Spend time researching how to lessen my footprint when it comes to electricity use.
  25. Invest in a reusable cat litter-“filler-upper.” Our local petstore has a bin of litter, which you fill up with a bucket, reducing waste. $
  26. Finally ditch the paper towel habit (or at least set up specific rules for using them) and switch to using “bartender rags” for cleaning and dusting.
  27. Invest in paper napkins. $$
  28. Get rid of our microwave (put it outside in the garage and reserve it for rare occasions where I’ll need to reheat for a party).
  29. Educate myself on the fish industry and commit to buying sustainable, healthful fish.
  30. Make vegetarian, no-cook meals once a week.
  31. Invest in eco-friendly organic cotton and/or bamboo towels made with plant-based dyes. $$$
  32. Research accessible, cost-affordable recycled toilet paper.
  33. Get in the habit of turning off the water when brushing my teeth.
  34. Unplug electronics when they aren’t in use.
  35. Buy organic, sustainable sheets & pillow covers $$$
  36. Update our pillows with organic, non-chemical ones. $$$
  37. Make it a habit to carefully monitor towel-use (we tend to toss towels after only one or two uses) and invest in an outdoor towel rack so towels dry faster.
  38. Begin washing out own cars at home (instead of taking it to the car wash).
  39. Start prepping produce more efficiently to avoid unnecessary spoiling.
  40. Plan out my meals every Sunday, so less food and money is waste (and gas from unwanted trips to the store).
  41. Make sure every single bill is paperless and recycle all junk mail.
  42. Cut back to only indulging in added-sugar once a week in a small amount.
  43. Commit to buying less STUFF. For every one thing I buy, I need to get rid, giveaway or recycle something else.
  44. Get down to my healthy weight (long-term goal!) and eat much less food everyday.
  45. Wear a healthy, chemical-free sunblock everyday.
  46. Floss everyday and brush twice a day.
  47. Switch to a healthier, chemical-free toothpaste.
  48. Commit to eating vegetables at every meal (including breakfast).
  49. Purchase bicycles. $$$
  50. Use my hand-held earpiece instead of putting the cell phone directly against my head.
  51. Make the car a phone-free space, and yes, that means no fiddling with the iPhone to find a song, using it for navigation, etc. We survived (better) without these “useful tools” for decades, and we should do that again.
  52. Commit to everyday movement/exercise, at the very least adopting a regime for stretching.
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Nostalgic Connecticut Blueberry Crisp

Dhiren and I got a knock at the door at 11am a couple days ago to find a huge package from his mom in Connecticut waiting for us. We quickly opened it, and inside we found pounds and pounds of organic blueberries from his grandmother’s farm in Kent, CT, freshly picked by his mother less than 24 hours ago.

These berries are extremely nostalgic for Dhiren.  Since I’ve known him he often talks  about how he used to work on his grandmother’s farm, setting up tents (I don’t know the actual term) and picking them (most likely eating more than he picked). The farm also produces equally-as-delicious peaches and maple syrup.  When we visit, it’s always fun to wander through the orchards and see how things used to be done, before mass agricultural industrialization and pesticides came to town. (Produce just doesn’t taste as good when it’s plumped with water, genetically modified and then sprayed down with gallons of chemicals.)

Berry bushes from 2009 on his grandmother's farm

Farm boy at heart

So Dhiren glowed when he opened the package. What a crazy, but amazing birthday present! I quickly got to work researching some recipes for the berries. Martha Stewart has some great slide shows of berry recipes, and after a good amount of drooling, I finally decided to go with a simple crumble, which highlights the fresh berries better than something with lots of flour and ingredients.

I used good ol’ Martha’s recipe, along with a tasty, homemade whipped cream and it was fantastic. I even cooled the crumble by the window to make the neighbors jealous…

If you want the recipe, go HERE. I’m too lazy to type it out, especially since I didn’t modify it (actually I only used 5 cups of blueberries, not 6 of them)

Simple recipe, but SUPER delicious.

Thank you Wendy!!! From Dhi & Dee