OMG, you’re like, so healthy. Like SO healthy.

Hey guys!

Today I wanted to talk about a “normal” upbringing. What even is that? Does that exist? Is normal even a thing, or is normal just a fancy word for ‘the majority of people do it this way’? To give you a background on my “normal” childhood and what we ate – it was healthy. We never had soda or junk food in the house. If we had anything that was considered unhealthy it was a special occasion, like a birthday or my dad had done the shopping and only bought mint chip ice cream, whole milk and frosted flakes. My school lunches always had a balanced diet. Usually a peanut butter and honey sandwich, some apples, (no skin, because – ew), some graham crackers or tortilla chips, and a napkin with a love note from my mom that I will never admit I loved because I’m still trying to be cool.

In Nashville however, it’s a lot of “down home” southern cooking, fast food and complete disregard for salad. Salad is totally offended – btw. And no – a fried chicken salad does not count.

To me, anything unhealthy should be few and far between. Although, I was raised with the awareness of nutrition and what was bad for me – we weren’t perfect and I definitely understand that there are things you can’t give up or change. But that’s not what is so awful. That’s not my point.

One of the most shocking things for me moving here, was that eating healthy for every meal was considered weird. Since I’m allergic to basically everything, I tend to make my own food. When I make my own food, it’s going to be healthy. Even when it’s dessert, it’s going to be healthy. What’s the point of creating your own meals, if you’re going to be, essentially, poisoning yourself. Dessert can be chocolate dipped bananas with peanut butter. It’s delicious, and won’t give you heart disease. There is nothing more annoying than coming into work everyday and having at least one person comment on my food. EVERY. DAY.

I have a couple friends who talk about their weight, what they eat, and how they look more often than the weather and traffic – combined. Clearly they’re aware of it, so why are they so reluctant to change? I’m assuming it’s because of how they were raised. If everyday as a child they were allowed to eat whatever they want, and now as an adult, they are trying to be healthy – nothing will ever taste as good as that fried chicken and fries.

The human body treats food and drugs almost the same. If everyday you eat sugary and high fatty foods, you will crave those foods. It’s an addiction. Stop giving your body crap, and your body will have a withdrawal, and then have a party. You will start to crave that salad, without the fried chicken on top. You will see a difference in your energy, or those headaches you always get, or your insomnia. Food effects them all, so why not change? Stop eating crap and you’ll stop feeling like crap.

Just to let you in on what I do put in my face, it’s not all kale and pine nuts. My staple foods are apples and peanut butter, veggies and ranch, a homemade burrito bowl, a matcha smoothie, and a romaine salad with random fixings. Obviously I do not eat just these foods everyday, but at least one of these items is my backpack everyday.

What breaks my heart is people asking me about my meals, and wanting me to teach them about nutrition out of complete desperation. No one should be that unaware of diet and nutrition. One woman I talked to, who has an obese daughter and is obese herself, started crying because she didn’t know what to do, and also couldn’t say ‘no’ to her child. First off, saying ‘no’ to your child regarding junk food is never a bad thing – EVER. If you can’t handle saying no to your child, or have them cry because they wanted McDonald’s, check yourself. But here, food is a way of life. Food is religion. Food is happiness. So denying your child junk food, is essentially denying your child happiness. That is why people are so unhealthy here. Food is not happiness. Food is sustenance. Memories are happiness. The people at the dinner table are happiness. Food is not.

Not saying food can’t be delicious, because let me tell you – I could eat apples with globs of peanut butter all day. ALL. DAY. The most important thing is that people learn to make their food delicious and healthy. All food is delicious if you want it to be. I feel like no one makes their own food anymore. If you make your own food, you can control how delicious it is. Hence, my globs of peanut butter.

I am thinking of posting a couple YouTube videos of how I make my food, healthy and zero waste. Let me know if that’s something that sounds interesting. 🙂 For now, here are some of my favorite info-graphics.

Click here for the 24 must see diagrams that I live by.

Below is the best smoothie chart, ever.
The-Ultimate-Green-Smoothie-Formula

Hope those help!

Talk soon,
Audrey

Whole Foods isn’t just for millionaires…

Hey guys!

Today I wanted to share how I save money while shopping at Whole Foods. Yes, I save money. It’s possible.

First, let me point out that I was spending about $50.00 every week at Kroger/Ralph’s for my food before I went zero waste. So when I say I’m saving money at Whole Foods, I’m saying I’m spending less than $50.00 per trip.

Now that everything is out on the table, let’s get down to it.

Stay on the outside of the grocery store. Buying package free foods (at Whole Foods or any “normal” market) will save you a lot of money.

Only buy what you need. Whenever I have a recipe, I bring measuring cups and my own containers and shop in the bulk section. I save so much because, for example, if I need one cup of chocolate chips, I only buy that one cup. Instead of spending $5 or more on a bag of packaged chocolate chips, I spend under a dollar on the one cup of bulk chocolate chips.

Shop oragnic. Whole Foods is all organic, so there are no markups. Whenever I am at a normal market there is always an organic and non-organic option. Obviously, the organic option is more expensive. But since Whole Foods is all organic, there are no markups. If you want to buy organic, I highly suggest Whole Foods or a farmer’s market.

Bulk is beautiful. For example, salad mix. My boyfriend used to buy a packaged salad mix of kale and spinach. It was a plastic box for $4.00. When he went zero waste, he bought a bundle of organic spinach and a bundle of organic kale – each $1.00. When we got home, he spent about 10 minutes washing and cutting up the bundles. He ended up with twice the amount of salad mix, and cut his cost in half. He was basically paying $2.00 extra for saving 10 minutes of prep time and for half the product. I repeat, bulk is beautiful.

To really drive the point home, here is my most recent shopping list:

• $2.99 Head of romaine lettuce
• $2.19 Bundle of bananas
• $0.67 Three carrots (big, with the tops still attached)
• $4.15 1lb of freshly ground peanut butter
• $1.60 About a cup a kalamata olives
• $2.00 An avocado
• $0.86 Half a pound of bulk black beans
• $0.69 A tomato
• $6.00 4 Fresh mozarella balls in water

Total: $21.15

Like I said at the top of the post, I’m used to spending $50.00. This trip I spent about $20.00 – TWENTY. Everything was organic, everything was in my own containers. Zero waste, plastic free and cheap! I wish I would have known about zero waste in college. I would have had so much more money for Forever 21 dresses and jaeger bombs. (embarrassing)

**Disclaimers: Since I am now making the majority of my meals, my kitchen is stocked with a lot of kitchen staples to go with my grocery items. I plan on making a giant salad with the romaine lettuce and kalamata olives. I already have feta cheese and the salad dressing. I am going to make a caprese salad with the tomato and mozarella, I already have the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So I will say, my first couple of trips were closer to the $50.00 I was used to as I stocked up on those kitchen staples.

I am also vegetarian (for the most part), so my shopping is always cheaper because meat is more expensive than beans.

If you do have a craving for lunch meat, the deli is super accomidating to zero waste. You buy the amount you want and have it wrapped in paper. Cheap and waste free!

Talk soon,
Audrey

Not Everyone Loves a Good Mason Jar

Hey guys!

Hipster weddings are not the only place you should be able to use a mason jar. Since starting this zero waste journey, I have been carrying around at least one mason jar with me at all times. It’s spill proof, plastic free and just like those weddings – I look super cute using it. But lately I’ve hit a roadblock with my cuteness, and my mason jars.

I love matcha smoothies and have been going to Smoothie King every since my boyfriend (originally from the east coast) told me that the smoothies are better than Jamba Juice and it was an answer to his prayers to be back in a state that served the essence of happiness that is, Smoothie King.

The store next to my house has been so amazing and has accepted the “weird jar lady” and always takes my giant 40 oz mason jar. I told them about my plastic free life and how I didn’t want to use the provided styrofoam and plastic cups. They have always been so awesome and I’m so happy with my experience with those employees. But I veered off my normal path and went to another store that was not so down with the zero waste life.

I asked them to use my mason jar instead of putting my smoothie inside their cups and he said he couldn’t because it was a health code violation. He also felt the need to point out that it was gross because he didn’t know where my jar has been and if my jar was dirty or not. Just to be clear, my jar was sparkling clean, but I’m pretty sure it’s my business if I want to use a hella gross jar or not. I worked at Starbucks for too long and I had customers with coffee stained mugs, with thermoses that still had DAYS old latte in them, and people with the same cussing paper cup they used two days ago at the Starbucks down the road – I always took it. It doesn’t hurt me and makes those customers happy. If you want to put a fresh latte in a thermos with old latte in it, I’ll rinse it with hot water and you can go on with your bad self.

Naturally, I was livid. Not only were they not accepting my jar, but they insulted my way of life. So I contacted Smoothie King customer support, tweeted them and tagged them in an instagram post that also included the red faced angry emoji. Yeah – it was serious. Smoothie King got back to me almost immediately on social media and only took a day or two to reply to my email. The customer service representative, Jason, basically said the same thing as the Smoothie King store employee – it’s a health code violation.

That just made me more mad. If I was understanding everyone correctly at this point, Starbucks, one of the biggest corporations in the world was simply ignoring a giant health code violation and offering discounts encouraging customers to violate it??? (Yes, those three question marks were necessary.) Why was Starbucks allowed to violate this health code and Smoothie King so strict on it?

Jason told me if I had any questions about the violation, to contact the Tennessee Department of Health. So I did.

That’s when Hugh got back to me with this little gem:

hugh

That’s right – no violation. As you can read, he did say that any business can refuse a personal container. What’s makes me mad about Smoothie King is that they blamed a health code violation that doesn’t exist. It’s all a personal internal company choice. Which is fine for them, but don’t lie to me and blame “the man” when it’s completely safe to refill my VERY CLEAN jar. Just ask my main man Howard Schultz.

I also wanted to clarify to you all what those code references were at the end – just to make sure it wasn’t like a secret line in the document that read “unless it’s Audrey and her mason jar. Don’t serve her” or something like that.

Below is the section 120-23-01-.04 Hugh referenced when saying the contamination-free process had to follow.

rules
rules2

Basically stating that the blender has to have a lip on it to prevent spilling down the side and the lip of the blender can’t touch my jar. End of rules. That’s it. I can use my super cute mason jar forever and always as long as there is no touching. To be honest, even if there was I don’t see the issue. Blenders should be washed between each drink so where’s the contamination? But that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, I’m glad that I was vindicated. I am emailing Jason at Smoothie King back and asking why he thinks it’s health code violation and if this new information will change their rules at all. Can I use my mason jar now, please? I’ll let you know what he says. I also was denied to use my own jar at the smoothie counter at Whole Foods, so I will be contacting them as well. I just feel for the hourly workers. Almost all of them love my jar and are interested in a plastic free life, but are getting yelled at because of what their boss told them to say. Obviously excluding the rude dude who thought I had some nasty jar cooties. -__-

Just another day in the plastic fight. A surprising positive that came out of all of this was Jason telling me that Smoothie King’s cups and lids are recyclable. I guess that’s a start. He said paper is worse for smoothies and the environment. That paper mills are evil and emit harmful chemicals and gases. Calm down dude. I agree paper cups are bad as well, (everyone should be a weird jar lady) but I could clearly see this was his attempt to retaliate after being backed into a corner. Jason, your manhood was not in question – just asking about your cups. But for the record, my jar is bigger than your cup.

Talk soon,
Audrey