Friday, April 27, 2012

An Experimental Mutiny: Parts One and Two (Food and Waste)

I've mentioned it multiple times, but Peyton and I are reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  The premise of the book is that over the course of seven months you tackle seven different areas of excess in your life.  I wanted to write a little update about the first two months because the third is about to draw to a close.

Month 1: Food
The challenge this month was to eat only seven foods.  Peyton did choose seven foods and, with a couple of exceptions, he stuck to his diet.  A couple of the foods were kind of "cheaters" because they weren't really just one thing (salsa for example). Here were his choices, in case you're interested:
- eggs
- wheat bread
- dried beans (kind of a cheater- lot of variety there, but they do all kind of taste the same)
- salsa
- cuties (the tiny oranges that are SO good)
- chicken
- spinach
(plus water)

Since I struggle with keeping weight on, especially when I'm nursing a little one, I decided this would not be a healthy thing for me to try.  Instead, I only drank water for the forty days of Lent.  I'm a HUGE fan of Coca Cola Classic so it was *really* hard, but it was good for me.  I was able to focus on Christ when I felt like I "needed" one and also I prayed for those throughout the world who lack the basic necessity of clean water.  It was also good because I realized that I could do without that crutch and in an emotional moment I could call out to the Lord instead of popping a can.

Month 2: Waste
*We actually went out of order because I wanted to do clothes in April when I felt the weather would be more consistent.  In March, we were still going back and forth between really hot and really cold, so we decided to do "waste: that month.*

 Jen had a list of seven areas of waste she tackled and we used a couple of her ideas, modified one, and came up with a few of our own.  Here were our challenge areas:
1. Be more intentional about recycling
2. Try to find things in recyclable packaging
3. Begin composting again
4. Buy local produce
5. Use reusable bags
6. Use *only* cloth diapers
7. Use only one car

"How'd it all play out?" you ask...

Recycling- Being more intentional about recycling wasn't a huge adjustment- we've recycled at some level since we got married.  We just tried to be more conscience of letting things "slip" into the trash- not tossing a plastic cup I didn't want to rinse out in the garbage out of sheer laziness, for example.  We also did take some time and try to organize our system a bit better.  We got four green totes for each category, so we could sort it better: glass, plastic, paper, metal.  We did try to buy things in recyclable packaging, but we weren't always successful.  We could have done better at that.

Food- We've composted before, but had gotten out of the habit.  It was really easy to start up.  We just designated an area in our back yard and started tossing stuff- banana and orange peels, bread crusts, and egg shells.  We don't have a bin, Peyton just puts leaves on top of it and we've never had an issue with critters or rodents.  We could have done much better with buying local, but we did make a few farmer's market visits and we also started buying seemingly more healthy, locally produced bread.  The farmers' market is something we need to keep up this Summer!

Reusable Bags and Dipes- We made an effort to use our reusable shopping bags except for at the grocery store because we like to use the paper bags to line our trash and recycling cans in the kitchen.  There were a couple of times I forgot and just told the cashier "I don't need a bag" (which for some reason, always makes me a little uncomfortable) and walked out with my purchases in hand.  The diaper challenge was a pretty big deal because when we're on the go, we typically always use disposables.  I bought a new wet/dry bag for the diaper bag specifically for this (I still use it around the house and sometimes in the diaper bag) and just decided to work really hard at it.  I'm not going to lie, it took some extra planning- there's a lot of extra preparation that goes into packing the diaper bag and I felt like I washed diapers a lot more frequently (like daily instead of every two to three days).  There was one day where I ran out of diapers, but since I had a clean cover, I put some of AP's pink training pants on under it.  Ha! Overall, though, it wasn't too bad.  The one thing I was a little worried about was other people- I just hate to be an inconvenience to people.  But everyone at Mother's Day Out and the church nursery acted like it was no big deal and the couple of times my parents and in laws kept the kids, it was fine.  It actually gave me confidence to try to try to do cloth more often.  Like I'll take Graves to my parents' house in a cloth diaper, for example.

One Car Family- This was *by far* the hardest one and I was hesitant to agree to it.  We did agree that in the event we had conflicting work schedules, we'd make an exception and we'd make an exception for church activities that we had already committed to.  We actually ended up only using two cars a handful of times (maybe three?) the whole month.  The hardest part is that Peyton works a solid half hour from our house and there were several days I needed the car when he was working until 10:00.  Loading up two babykins at that hour for some dark interstate driving (which I hate!) was kind of a pain in the butt.  We really didn't save money by doing this, because more often than not, we didn't choose to stay home we just took each other to the places we needed to be which created more driving. [There were some days where the kids and I did just stay home, days that I know we otherwise wouldn't have, and I think we did benefit from that.] However, it did give us a much greater appreciation for one car families across the country.

Overall, I think this project has been positive.  I feel like we're learning a lot by intentionally cutting things out and it's neat to watch God reveal areas of excess in our lives. 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is really interesting! I'm going to read the book. Can't wait to see what else you've done. We wouldn't be able to do one car either. Like for you, it would actually be more wasteful to be sharing one car because it would be so inefficient.