I learned a great lesson today while going through my kitchen cabinets, looking for extra pots and pans, and miscellaneous kitchen stuff to take to our cottage…I over buy. I over buy ingredients for recipes that I’m making. Or planning on making, but then life gets busy, and we go to events, or I’m exhausted so we eat out, and the ingredients sit in the cupboards, which is fine, because I’ll whip up that recipe…eventually. But eventually comes, and goes, and it all ends up in the trash. Not cool. The other bad habit I have is not checking my cupboards prior to buying more ingredients for recipes. I simply take the recipe and the ingredients that it calls for to the grocery store. But I never, ever check through my cabinets prior to heading out to see just what it is that I might be missing.
Hence, I threw out three, THREE bottles of rice vinegar. Two unopened and expired, and one half empty.
Why oh why am I this way???
But today I had an epiphany. While standing in my kitchen among the pile of recyclables I made the commitment to be a more mindful global citizen. To check my kitchen before sashaying off to the market armed with my enthusiasm and zeal, excited that I finally cracked the binding of one of my many cookbooks. Which is another obsession of mine: book collecting. I love books. I love book stores. I love food. Put them all together and BAM it’s like a perfect storm. Lord hold me back if that cookbook also has exceptional photos of the recipes…you have to beat me off it with a stick. If I go into a book store I am not leaving empty handed.
But this is not the point of this post. The point of this post is that I was confronted with my wasteful Western ways today when I did a pass through my kitchen, and threw far too much stuff out. Each day that I wake up I meditate on how I can be a part of the solution of what is happening in the world. Whether it’s focusing my heart on being kind, thoughtful, empathetic, or helpful. I try to make sure that my 24 hours on earth are spent being better than I was the day before. This includes, recycling, eating organic, leaving as small a carbon foot print as possible.
But I had no idea how much waste I was putting out until I cleaned out my kitchen. I am Canadian, and based on some articles that I’ve read I throw out 170 kilograms of food a year. That’s 374 pounds a year, or two humans. That’s more than I’m comfortable putting into land fill, or compost, especially when so many people around the world are starving. It’s not right to be so flippant and casual about the gift that food is. The privilege it is to not only have food at our finger tips, but to be able to afford high quality food, only to throw it away?
Nope. This is a first world trend that I need to break immediately. With all of you as my witness, I pledge that I will only purchase food that I know I will eat. I will no longer buy things in bulk because they’re on sale. Nor will I buy trendy health foods suggested by this online article or that one, promising to whittle my waistline; the same goes for magic vitamins that will provide the same result, but in reality only end up giving me gas. I am fully committed to no longer being a zombie shopper, over stuffing my cupboards with foods “for a rainy day”. Instead I will adopt the same practices of the people who live in my favourite city of all. I will be like the french, only buying what I will eat for a couple of days/that I can carry up multiple flights of stairs without having to take a break or make a second run.
These are my new food purchasing standards. My wallet and the planet thank me.