Eco challenge: Day 2

-The biggest challenge for new vegetarians\vegans is, of course, getting the nutrients your body needs without eating animal products. Meat, fish and dairy products are the principal source of protein, calcium or iron for a lot of people, but they can all be found in other ingredients. Yesterday, I was looking for retail stores that sold organic\vegan food in Ottawa and I found an amazing local store called Herbs and Spices that is literally heaven for vegetarian\vegan\gluten-free\environmentally-caring people! It’s really cute and cozy and has a LOT of varieties of products and brands. You can also buy some of their products, like beans and rice, in bulk which is great because it means less packaging! Here is some of the stuff I bought:

proteinI admit it, I will miss my dairy products! I usually eat cereal every night before going to bed and yogurt in the morning, but I decided to go with Earth’s Own Almond Milk Fresh (Zinc, Calcium, Vitamin D, B12) instead and it actually tastes a lot better than I remembered! I bought organic bread that contains a high amount of protein and splurged on natural/GMO free Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Co. (protein, iron)  and organic garlic hummus to go with it. I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying that this is the best peanut butter I ever tasted and the hummus is a strong candidate!

food2

Other:

Black beans (fiber, iron and protein)

Kidney beans (fiber, iron, protein, vitamin C)

Kale (vitamin A/ C, calcium, Iron, protein)

Rolled oats (fiber, protein, calcium, iron)

Chia seed (calcium, fiber, omega-3/6)

Almonds (protein, calcium, iron, fiber)

– Camino 80% Dark chocolate (iron, fiber, protein)

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Eco challenge: Day 1

I’ve decided to take baby steps and get closer to my ”zero-waste lifestyle” goal by setting up daily objectives. The background picture includes most of the products that I will try to either exclude from my lifestyle, or find better alternatives. Today was sunny, warm and perfect so I felt inspired and biked to Planet Botanix, a wellness clinic and organic beauty care store in Ottawa that also sells awesome ingredients for DIY projects. I bought a Spearmint hits the spot soap (ingredients: olive/canola/coconut/palm/spearmint oil, water and green clay). Price: 8.95$ dove

There’s numerous reasons why conventional soap (Dove, Dial, Clinique) is bad for the environment and can even affect your health but most of all, the packaging is crazy! I usually by Dove bar soaps and they’re individually packaged in a box and wrapped together in plastic. The organic soap that I bought did have a small label but it’s better than the commercial brands. I also bought a shampoo bar that is supposed to last longer than liquid shampoo and contains similar natural ingredients: olive/castor/sweet almond/palm/jojoba oil, kukui nut and water. Price: 8.95$

shampoo

I didn’t try them on yet but I’ll make sure to write a review on each of them!

Eco challenge: Vegan for a month

”So… why are you vegan?”, that’s the question I keep asking people who made the choice of excluding animal products from their diet. I don’t ask this question on an accusatory tone, but rather in a curious, wanting-to-understand-where-you’re-coming from tone. Because I’ve considered being a vegetarian/vegan for a long time, but I wouldn’t take the first step before I felt authentic about it. Like writing an essay, I felt like I had to do a thorough research on the subject to come up with rational arguments for myself. So why would I switch to the other side? From all the reasons I researched and heard about, the environmental impacts of the meat and fish industry made the most sense to me. Cows produce methane just by living: they’re farts, burps and breath releases this dangerous gas in our atmosphere and traps the heat inside, thus causing global warming. ”A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change”. They produce so much feces (10x more than humans do in North Carolina) that it’s collected and sprayed on the fields as a fertilizer. The problem is that the waste often leaks in water sources and contaminates it. For the fish industry, fisherman use huge nets that drags on the marine floor and destroys it: the choral dies and the fish ends up homeless.

So I had my first argument, but what else? I just finished my first year at University and I experienced at least 10 times a moment where someone approached me to give me a pamphlet explaining with detailed illustrations about how animals are treated horribly in slaughterhouses. I thought: wow, this is horrible, but it can’t be that bad…? I told myself they made it look worst to persuade people to stop eating meet. But then I did some more research and found out that they were by no means exaggerating.

So I had 2 arguments: environmental impacts and animal cruelty. But it still wasn’t enough because if animals eat other animals, then why shouldn’t we eat animals? The Lion King’s theme song was my main inspiration for that thought: it’s the circle of life! We need animal protein to be strong and fierce! Don’t we? I then decided that I would only eat chicken (less methane) but only from local organic farms (no antibiotics, hormones nor animal cruelty). So just this last Saturday, I mounted my bike and headed to the organic farmers market and bought a nice chicken breast.

I got it, I found the solution! Until I watch the documentary Vegucated (which you should all watch) and realised that even ”small” family farms have issues. Another disturbing realisation (pointed out by my sister) is that humans are the only specie that drink milk: (1) from other species and (2): after we grow out of our ”baby stage”. Harvard recently published a study about how milk ”Doesn’t Do A Body Good”.

In conclusion, I’ve decided to match up my ”zero-waste” challenge with a ”Vegan” challenge to experience first-hand the ups and down of being a vegan for a month. Again, I will post daily articles about my experience of going to the other side.

Pure Gelato VS Piccolo Grande

I loooooove Gelato and it didn’t take me long to go on a treasure hunt to find the best places in Ottawa! I first tasted this heavenly-like desert in it’s mother country, Italy, and I now consider myself kind of like a ”is it real or fake?” gelato expert. The trick is to look for the banana or green apple flavour: if they’re the color of the fruit’s skin (yellow/green), then it’s fake gelato because homemade ones only uses natural flavours and no coloring. Gelato has less air than American ice-cream which creates the intense flavour. It’s also healthier because it contains fewer calories and less butter fat. There’s two famous places in Ottawa that makes the Italian ice-cream and I’ve been to both of them, here’s my review:

Piccolo Grande: situated in the Byward Market, is cute and has a unique sense to it: the building looks European and the business is clearly focused on clientele rather than franchise. The flavours are intense but the texture of the gelato is too liquid. There’s not a lot of variety. Favorite flavour: lemon

Pure Gelato: sitting on the edge of Elgin Street, this place screams tourism. The design is more conventional and it’s often busy. Although, the flavours are AMAZING and the texture is perfect! Favorite flavour: passion fruit

Zero Waste Lifestyle

It’s been a couple of weeks that I’ve been thinking about starting a zero-waste lifestyle. I already compost, recycle and I’ve started buying only second-hand clothes but there’s still a lot of things that I’m doing wrong. I’ve stumble across a great article about a girl that didn’t produce trash in 2 years!! This finally made me realise that it’s possible to do so and that I should match my actions with my ideologies. The main reason that I’m doing this is that trash is synonym of disposing which means to get rid of or to give to someone else, and that someone else is the earth. It takes 450-1000 years for plastic to decompose and surprisingly, the most dangerous of all waste is organic waste: when food is thrown down in landfills, it becomes compacted and covered, which prevents the oxygen to reach it and thus produces methane. EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) states that ”the comparative impact of CH(methane) on climate change is 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period”. Global warming is not the only consequence of our societies’ overconsumption rage: plastic is taking over our oceans, threatening marine life and we humans who consumes it, hazardous waste can affect the health of people living near landfills by polluting the air the groundwater and the soil. So starting now, I will try my best to:

  • Start buying my meat, eggs and vegetables at an organic farmers market in Ottawa
  • Buy in bulk
  • Stop purchasing anything with a package (that’s a lot of things!)
  • Bring my own plates/containers/utensils everywhere
  • Say NO to things like straws, napkins, paper cups

During this process, I will post pictures and articles about my experience and I hope it will inspire some to do the same!

Interesting blog: http://www.trashisfortossers.com/2013/08/zero-waste-alternatives-ultimate-list.html

Vancouver: the role model for every city in Canada

Vancouver recently became the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. Some say the goal is unrealistic, but it’s the other way around and we have to face it: our way of life is unsustainable. ”The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is inevitable. It will happen whether we take action or not. Fossil fuels are—by definition–finite. They are a one-time gift to humanity” (Global 100% RE Alliance). The only way that change will truly happen is if our cities show leadership by taking such drastic measures. Read the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/vancouver-commits-to-run-on-100-renewable-energy

Dictionnaries, Lonely Planet and Maps

I walked into Chapters and I felt like a tourist. Not that I’m a tourist in Ottawa, I’ve past that stage a while ago, but I could smell the tourist odour coming from upstairs. I followed it and I ended up in front of the ”Obviously you’re a beginner traveler and you need help” section. Thank God the nice lady with a cool walkie talkie got the hint and helped me find my saviors: Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands travel guide and two really cute dictionaries! 🙂 Soon enough I’ll be able to speak español like a true Ecuadorian!

ecuador