Going On 9 Months | 8 ways to Grocery Shop Update

a dream lived greener 9 months zero waste ottawa

Hey lovelies,

October 17 marked the beginning of my 9th month. I could have had a baby in this time period.
But instead I chose to give birth to a whole new me.
Well, I’m not a whole new me, but I have changed. In reality we all are changing. Every day. Our skin cells are different then they were yesterday. You know, science stuff.

I am constantly evolving as a zero waste minimalist.

So the real reason I’m writing is to do a check in with myself. How do I feel? Great. What would I change? Cheese coming in plastic and being so expensive. Seriously though. I make farmer’s cheese every once in a while, but as much as I’m complaining right here, I don’t really care too much and wouldn’t care for cheese if….

I didn’t like PIZZA SO DAMN MUCH.

That being said, I’m writing to update you.

A friend of mine wrote me the other day wanting to come with me grocery shopping to see “how I do it.” I was like hells yes come with me! More excited to have someone help keep watch on my son… just kidding. I was actually really excited she wanted to come grocery shopping with me. I like teaching people. Anyone else? We’ll make it a party. And we can cook food after and eat it. And feel amazing and healthy and full of energy.

This is me saying, let’s gorge and go into a food coma.

So.. how do I do “it.”

How do I go grocery shopping? Well in a previous post, I had written about it but I felt compelled to review myself.

Here’s how:

1) Sharpie and a cell phone.
I write in sharpie what the tare of my jar is on the bottom. I’m over the sticker thing. I also know most of their weights off by heart now. Like a mason jar is 0.260 or 0.265. For all the items, I actually just keep a log on my phone now or text myself the list as I’m shopping. I don’t bring a clipboard anymore. The painters tape was just wasteful.

2) I am selective about where I shop.
I used to venture into the big guys. But after one too many frustrations, I now avoid any huge supermarket, like Loblaws, Costco and Walmart. The word supermarket freaks me out. Too many choices that aren’t environmentally friendly, not enough local and I just don’t trust them. I shop at a handful of stores like Rainbow Foods, Kardish and Farmboy for produce. If I want meat I go to the Piggy Market or if I want bread, I go to Bread By Us. See the start of my list of Where to Shop in Ottawa.

3) I buy the same items.
When it comes to (most) meals, I’m a 30 minute meal or crockpot girl and I prepare a lot beforehand. I buy pretty much the same things. It makes life easy and shopping is quick. The stores I visit are small. The items I choose are selective. I’m not staring at 20 different kinds of sauces or pizzas in a plastic in a box in the freezer. It also means I don’t really need to write down a shopping list unless I really want to remember something. I also only buy when my fridge/cupboards are almost empty. I’m a creative girl, I can make a damn good meal with a few small ingredients. And doing this means food isn’t being wasted in the back of my fridge.

4) I rarely buy meat.
I looked at the vegetarian life and thought about becoming one. But I’m really not ready for it, even though I’m practically there. Instead, I just buy selectively from local farmers and buy it when I crave it or just for my son. If I want to buy meat and can’t make it to the Piggy Market, sometimes I’ll buy from Farmboy because they wrap it in paper and the paper is compostable. (We’re lucky in Ottawa we have the Green Bin program that collects compost). It’s cheaper than the Piggy Market except at the Piggy Market they’re sweet enough to put it directly in my containers whereas Farmboy won’t. In 9 months I’ve bought meat about 6 or 7 times.

5) Produce are in bags, bulk items are in jars.
I don’t have a set of cotton bags I ordered online. I see a lot of people have these sets but I’m trying not to be wasteful so I use what I have. My cloth bags are made by my friends, sometimes I use old pillowcases and sometimes I use my cloth napkins to wrap veggies or fruits in. And often, I don’t even use them unless I’m buying green beans or something like that. I’ll just put everything in one bag and arrange them when I get home. I’m not scared about my produce touching each other. I don’t need everything to match. At least not yet…

20151008_172419 a dream lived greener

6) I avoid plastic.
My friend asked me what I do about cucumbers because they are all wrapped in plastic. This is what I do: I find ones that aren’t. Or I don’t buy them. That’s it. Shopping made simple.

7) I look for produce without stickers. 
I’m tired of saving them in my garbage jar. I want produce without them. Stickers are there for the cashiers to punch in the code, but often they’ve memorized them or I just tell them what it’s called and they look it up. Obviously I’ll still buy them if the stickers are on them, but honestly, sometimes I just take them off and stick them on another produce item.

8) I do buy items in glass or cans, but almost never. 
I bought milk twice because my son is a cat and wanted milk. It’s organic and local and comes in a glass bottle. You return these for a deposit. I do this for yogurt too. The yogurt jar is returnable too. I tried making my own yogurt but I realized I can’t do everything. Vinegar (for cleaning and sometimes drinking) is in glass. Tomatoes in a can for the days when I’m lazy and don’t want to get a ton of tomatoes, cut them and make my own sauce. Tamari (gluten free soy sauce ) in glass because I’m asian. PIckles in a jar (specifically Polish ones because they don’t have weird ingredients) because my son loves pickles and he calls himself Pickles the cat. I think that’s pretty much it that I buy.

This means I don’t spend a lot of time going to the recycle bin either.

I think that’s all for now on that list. Do you have any other questions? Please comment below.

Some people tend to think I’m depriving myself or that I’m missing out. I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I still eat out. I still eat at my parents’ and friends’ places. I still eat pizza. I’m alive, healthy and fit. I think I love my body more now than I have ever loved it in my whole life…. and I have never really loved my body. I’ll credit it to being zero waste because this lifestyle forces you to be conscious and healthy.

Although… you could just skip grocery shopping and just eat out every day at places that feed you pizza, poutine, donuts…

Mmmm.. anyone up for a zero waste comfort food date?

Published by Mailyne

Owner of DLG Media. Founder of A.R.T. in Action. Philanthropist. Environmentalist. Activist. Photographer. Video Producer. Writer. Artist. Mama.

7 thoughts on “Going On 9 Months | 8 ways to Grocery Shop Update

  1. I was applying your checklist to my own shopping habits, and most of those fit for me too! I think it’s great (and a little humourous) when people say, “Let me go with you, I want to see how you do it,” like it’s some magical way of shopping; it’s simply a more conscious way of shopping. Way to go!

    1. hahah I hope more people ask us to go with us! Thanks for the comment Nadine, I hope you are having fun on your journey 🙂

  2. Thanks for this post. I’ve been trying to go more zero waste but have been back sliding a bit so this was inspirational.

    1. It is a process for sure. Don’t be too hard on yourself and just continue where you can, where you feel happy. Thank you for reading my post.

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