Reducing plastic waste

One of my goals for 2014 is to reduce my waste, which is a VERY big project so I’m taking baby steps. I read an article about someone from my university, who went completely plastic-free, cold turkey, for a month. That’s so hard! Though probably only at the beginning, because after a while you know where to find things or how to do things, and it will be no trouble. And hopefully, not too expensive either (I have the idea that going plastic-free will mean higher costs… which perhaps is weird because you also pay for packaging of food… anyway). But, like I said, I’m taking baby steps (and using the plastic I still have in my house, because if I’m going to throw it away, I might as well first use it.

Why do I want to reduce my plastic waste? Several reasons, actually! First of all: environmental reasons. Plastic is extremely slow to degrade, and lots of it ends up in the ocean, endangering the wildlife there (let alone the sight of it…). The ocean currents collect this plastic waste, making islands of them. This YouTube short documentary from National Geographic illustrates what happens and also what people try to do to make others aware of it!

My second major reason to want to reduce plastic, especially around food and drink, is that some plastic types give of substances that are bad for your health. Not all of them, because they would never be allowed to sell food in plastic if it was that dangerous, but some do. Heating the plastic is even worse (microwaving your meals in plastic bags or containers…), so that is not preferable. I don’t want toxins in my food and drinks! But let’s be honest, food also looks way less attractive in plastic. So many reasons not to use plastic anymore, or at least reducing plastic waste!

What could you do? I started with 2 simple things: just drink tap water from a reusable bottle and stop buying bottled water. And stop using/accepting plastic grocery bags. In the mindmap of Learning Fundamentals that they published during Plastic Free July (no, I had never heard of that) last year, there are other suggestions on what you might do!

Deplastify your lifeI am saving the glass jars some of my food comes in for future storage (which I like way better than the plastic bags, once again), and I will upcycle some old tank tops into bags for fruits and veggies. Pinterest holds many more ideas to reducing plastic, on all fronts. And if we stop using it, hopefully many of us, production will lessen (because, despite the tons of wasted plastic in the ocean, new plastic is still produced) and we might stop poisoning ourselves and the environment. That’s a good thing! Are you in?

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Healthy sports canteen

Every year, our club hosts an international korfball tournament with over 150 people from the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. A great weekend, because the English arrive on Friday, so it’s almost a three day event (there’s a smaller tournament for the first teams on Sunday, and last year we had youth games on Friday evening).  All these people spend at least one day playing match after match. In the sun today, though that has been different some other years.

 

French Fries

French Fries (Photo credit: fritish)

Playing sports is healthy, we are all aware of that. In a healthy lifestyle, exercise ought to play a part, as ought a balanced diet. But, weirdly enough, those two aren’t always combined. Have you played organized sports? Then you have probably enjoyed a beer and french fries or something similar in your canteen. Many teams enjoy the third half, consisting of alcohol and socializing, more than the game they play. And little children? Sweet drinks and candy. That’s not very healthy, is it? But it’s something that happens everywhere.

 

Some people (like me) bring their own food. I like to eat grapes on match days, or an apple, and I bring my own sandwiches. Not because I don’t like panini’s or fries (they also have regular sandwiches in our canteen, with today a healthy choice of salmon), but because I think what I eat is healthier. Especially the fruits, cause we don’t sell any fresh fruit, or canned fruit for that matter. And it’s such a shame! When I have my grapes with me, it’s always more than I can eat myself, but I barely ever have anything left. Simply because other like to help me finish it. It’s not that people don’t want healthy food in the canteen, it’s because there is barely anything available. Unhealthy is the easy choice! And that’s not the way it should be.

 

Some things will probably never change. If we try to ditch the beer, people will riot, definitely. But we could limit the times we sell beer. And for the food and snacks, we can offer healthy alternatives. Place the crisps out of sight and have a fruit basket with apples and bananas, or small boxes with grapes (I’d love that). If you place something in sight, it’s already way more appealing. Have sugar-free chewing gum and add some low-calorie drinks to the assortment. Without a doubt, there will be people who chose the healthy option.

 

It’s a difficult fight for a healthy sports canteen. You can try asking for certain products if you can’t get them at the moment, or if you don’t have any direct influence on the buying. Another option is to start a petition: ask around whether other people might like a change in assortment as well. And if nothing works? Just bring your own healthy food!

 

Low on energy – 7 ways to recharge

We all have it sometimes. Days where you just can’t get anything done, because you’re low on energy. Today was such a day. After my full moon ritual two days ago, in which I burned a candle to rid me of the laziness concerning schoolwork specifically, I felt like transcribing my interviews. The sooner I get it done, the better, because it is extremely boring and mind numbing. But low energy makes it hard to concentrate, and I was having trouble with it despite my good intentions. Today I got up to actually do something, and I didn’t have enough energy! That needs fixing.

There can be several reasons why you have a low energy level, and concurrently, several ways to reload. Here are some tips to recharge and get your energy level up again!

  1. Get enough sleep – An adult needs approximately 7-9 hours of sleep (it varies per person), so if you have to get up early, make sure to go to bed early as well.
  2. Take your breakfast – Some people can’t stand the smell of food in the morning, but breakfast is very important to get your body started again. Try eating a cracker or perhaps some porridge, but eat something.
  3. Check what you eat – After a few days of fast food or take away, my body is craving for vitamins and healthy food. Take strawberries, yogurt or some nuts (I love a berry smoothie!) instead of the chocolate bar and cook a nice pasta with fresh tomatoes and other veggies or something else that’s fresh. Your body needs nutrients (you can check nutrient content online and there are several apps available as well).
  4. Stretch – When you stretch in the morning, you signal your body to wake up. Try stretching everything, from toes to neck, or perhaps try some morning yoga.
  5. Exercise – After a good workout, I feel much more energetic than before. Even a short 10 minute workout can be enough! If you don’t know what to do, there are literally tons of workouts on YouTube, from yoga to aerobics to strength training.
  6. Check the temperature – Especially when it’s too warm, you might have less energy just because. Adapt your clothing to the weather, if possible, or try to keep it cooler.
  7. Use bright colours- Yellow and orange make me very happy, and when I’m happy, I have more energy. When I was 8, my bedroom used to be bright yellow and green… I was very energetic then 😉 Dull or dark colours often only bring your energy down. You can do something with the colour of walls or ornaments, or you can wear some bright clothing.

These are just seven ways to reboost, but there are definitely many more. How do you recharge?