Year for the Planet Week 42: Zero Waste Eating and the Gift of Time

Year for a Planet is a personal challenge to be a better human for the planet for a whole year. This year, 2017, is where I deal with my food choices.

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I’ve nearly died a few times and this has brought upon me an acute sense of my mortality. An effect of this is that I like to visualize time as an hourglass instead of as a clock, because it reminds me of how much I have left and how much I hate to waste it. So here’s one benefit of healthy, sustainable eating that makes me know I can stick to this lifestyle: free time.

There is so much time I’m able to save because of my new eating lifestyle. I realized that one reason why I sometimes felt antsy in the beginning of this project is that… shoot, there’s all this time that I suddenly have and that I need to figure out what to do with.

Here are time-eating activities that you will drastically reduce if you choose to eat for the planet:

1. Supermarket time – When you quit processed food, there’s less choices. You head straight to the organic produce aisle. You likely have that one brand of dark chocolate that does not have sugar and has the least packaging. The endless flavored oatmeal and granola aisle? All likely have refined sugar, so you end up buying the most generic brand that has none, and the biggest bag so you it will last you for weeks.

2. Mall time – When you bring your own snacks and drinks wherever you go, there’s no compulsion to have pit stops in a Starbucks. I hate malls, so when I do have to go, I buy what I need to directly and get the hell out of there.

3. Cooking time – The efficiency of meal prepping for a week far outweighs the hours you need to make one meal the usual way. Dinner time for me when I eat alone is, on average, 35 minutes from prep to cleanup.

4. Restaurant time – Unless it’s a particularly great restaurant, I’m not a fan of eating out. The crowds! The terrible service! The waiting time! The dress codes! I eat out way less than I used to, and when I do go for an indulgence of my favorite foods, such as gourmet mac and cheese (because hey, I gotta live, ok?), it feels a lot more special.

So with all this time saved, here are the things I have substituted them with:
1. Online learning
2. Drawing
3. Reading
4. Writing letters to friends who live far away
5. Writing fiction
6. Watching movies
7. Meditating
8. Getting massages
9. Exercising
10. Getting up to speed with current events

So with the holidays fast approaching and another year about to begin, I have to ask, wouldn’t you rather spend time doing more of the things you love instead of being caught up in an endless war for your attention and your wallet? Our days on the planet (with or without climate change) are numbered; let’s not waste a huge chunk of it weighed down by shitty options and falling in line.

 

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