We Can Do This!

I can’t think of an appropriate title for this post, mostly because my brain is doing that spinny thing where too many thoughts and feelings are swirling around at once and nothing is sticking. Well, some things are, and they include:

  • Belief
  • Mindset
  • Attitude
  • Get-over-yourself
  • Just go do the thing (which I’ve previously written about)

The reason my brain is spinning out on these concepts is because of the documentary I just watched, and because prior to watching this doc, I’d been doing quite a bit of reading about how important having a positive mindset is. Then this documentary brought up mindset…cue “Twilight Zone” music. Mindset: it’s like, the most important thing, you guys! πŸ˜‰

But first, the documentary. I know what you’re thinking…another f*cking documentary?! What’s new?! What concept can we possibly keep beating into the ground? Sit tight, hang with me! The flick is called “Prosperity“* and it covers all the topics: food, climate change, deforestation, human psychology, etc etc etc. The thing I love about it is that it focuses specifically on positive actions businesses are taking to not only make better products, but also to redefine what it means to even do business in this day and age. The other thing I love is that this movie takes a comprehensive look at what we as individuals can do (re: solutions), that’s more tangible and will actually make a difference nowΒ than say, recycling all your plastic bags. Which is still great and all, but this movie promotes stuff like conscious spending and finding better banks, which don’t typically get talked about in the sustainability sphere.

And back to that mindset thing…here’s something to chew on:

β€œA lot of people ask the question: ‘So if we can make such a big difference, why aren’t more people doing it?’ and I think the most fundamental barrier we face is really a belief that we can’t make a difference. That belief is the most dangerous belief that we confront because if we give away our power and our influence because we don’t think we matter, then we make that the reality.” – Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation

I’ve oscillated between feeling super jazzed about our species getting over ourselves and coming to our senses, and feeling super down-in-the-dumps, woe-is-me about the whole thing. What I’ve realized, after doing all this reading and now watching this doc, is that mindset is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Literally. I create a more positive mindset and outlook on life, and I in turn, start to radiate happiness and rainbows out into the world. Once I start stepping into my power, instead of GIVING IT AWAY, people take notice, and walk with me, side-by-side. Then there’s strength in numbers, and badda bing, badda boom: a movement is born.

I speak as if this isn’t already happening, which is totally unfair because it is, all over the place. But I think it’s worth mentioning anyway, for those times when it seems like the mountain is too tall, or the big guys have it all and life isn’t fair. We can do this! What ever “this” is. It is all possible, and it is all available. We just have to choose.

We. Can. Do. This.

*(Oh, and did I mention that documentary is free all week long? Yeah. Go watch it right meow!)

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Mushroom Pasta & A Story

Once upon a time, I started this blog with the intention of sharing my progress towards completing my senior thesis while an undergrad at The University of Maine. It has now been 7 years since us Class of 2010-ers were released into the real world. Since then, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. The real world is really nuts. It’s still amazing to me that we spend 10+ years of our lives in a school system and then are expected to function in society as a normal human…when we’ve been in school for so long and nobody taught us how to actually LIVE in said real world. Does that make any kind of sense?
  2. I really love to cook. Thanks, Mom! πŸ˜„
  3. Holy f*ck, this plastic pollution problem is a lot more complicated than I originally thought.

Where am I going with this?

Simply put: over the last 7 years, my interest in the issue I had written my final paper on (plastic pollution) has shifted and thank goodness for the chaos of the real world or I wouldn’t have made the connections between our waste and food problems!

So what did I do about all this? I started another blog, of course. 😝 This one was all about my Instagrammed-meals and it eventually morphed into an attempt at vegan, plastic-free food creation. But for some reason, I kept these two blogs separate from each other until…

…I realized that my these two areas (food and plastic) are so intertwined, to not talk about them on the same platform would be absurd. My present goal is to bring more awareness to the issue of plastic pollution by talking about food.here’s the deal: moving forward, this blog, my dear 7 In the Ocean, is going to morph, once again! It will still be my place to rant about all things plastic, but I will also share recipes, and ideas on how to make said recipes plastic-free experiences.

Oh yeah, and about that mushroom pasta…I made it for dinner tonight (Thanks, The Kitchn!) and it’s what inspired this post. The whole thing was simple, fast, and totally delicious which is what I love about cooking. It doesn’t have to be complicated and in most cases, it can be waste-less without really trying hard!

Hints: The mushrooms can be purchased in a paper bag (or in your own bag) and the pasta can be purchased in bulk. The butter is butter (I sometimes freeze the paper wrapping for use later greasing pans) and that’s IT people!

Dig IN and stay tuned for more food ramblings… 😊❀️

Plastic-Free Shaving Saga

Who knew it was so complicated? All my life, or at least from puberty onwards, I’ve grabbed my razor with conviction and confidence. One day I finally decide to take the plunge into the world of safety razors (aka those badass metal contraptions people were using long before plastic came around) and a) it takes me almost a week to work up the courage to take it out of the box, plus b) when I finally sit myself down to figure it out, it scares the crap or of me. The f*ck?!

My panic at all of a sudden being confronted with something kind of deadly sent my brain spinning. All of a sudden the relatively mundane act of shaving was not mundane at all. It required me to pay attention, like really pay attention. It made me realize, again, that we’ve made yet another thing “convenient.” There is almost no thought to it, we simply pick up our handle and zip zip, done.

With this safety razor, it’s basically the same process, but slower. Literally if you rush the process, you’ll severely injure yourself. Not to mention, the whole thing is physically heavier than a disposable razor and a bit slippery given that it’s entirely metal, so getting a grip while showering requires patience. Get a grip, Ryan! 😜

But as we learn when we de-clutter and cut back on the plastic crap, we have to slow down. Just as we can’t just throw around a bunch of jars in our cars on the way to the store or else they’ll shatter, we also can’t rush through shaving anymore. And ya know what? I kind of like that.

To add to that, I’ve found that once we eliminate wasteful plastic from our lives, things get prettier. This razor is gorgeous, which is not something I ever would have said about my plastic razors. My Preserve handle was funky and pretty dang cool, to be sure, but this thing…wow. You’d think I’d have been bouncing off the walls with glee to have this hunky hunk of metal in my own bathroom, and I was! That is, until I realized that I had to deal with it and it wasn’t going to be as brainless as a disposable blade.

It took me 10 minutes of gingerly manipulating my new tool to finally load the blade and ensure it was nice and snug. Then another 10 minutes of attempting to actually do the thing. I know, “oh brother” right? I’m laughing at myself because it’s a bit ridiculous to write a whole blog post about shaving for Pete’s sake, but hey, I’m kind of proud, because this little thing forced me to take a pause, observe, and appreciate.

That is what I love about eliminating the crap from my life. I learn something new every time and it makes my brain feel good. I feel less robotic and really, shouldn’t we all be doing things we’re a bit uncomfortable with anyway?

Revelations Over Juice

The intention of this post initially was simply to share how I turned a fridge full of produce into juice for a road trip. A couple of photos, a recipe, a hint at plastic-free choices, and done…except then I got more ideas as the road trip actually happened. So here we go:

I started with the above pile of produce and distilled it down into two juices: green and green. The watermelon was too big and there wasn’t much time to break it down, so it stayed as is and ended up coming along for the ride. Who doesn’t love road trip watermelon slices?! Put them in a cooler and off we went. Destination? Revelstoke, BC. More on that later.

Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a natural foods store in Vernon, BC. Nature’s Fare is a BC chain specializing in all things organic, natural, and holistic. They have aisles filled with supplements, household products, fresh food, and a spread of tasty deli items including fresh juice and smoothie options. On the surface, it’s a dream and really, it makes my heart sing to see people choosing this place over McDonald’s. But what got me more than a little POed was the disconnect between this healthy style of living…and all the packaging everywhere!

Places like Nature’s Fare are a beacon of hope for all people searching for healthy alternatives and yet, they sometimes fall so short in the packaging department. Want a muffin for the road? Great! But first, let me wrap that in a plastic bag because that’s what the health code requires of us. Want three? Individual bags for each, of course!

Guys, it’s enough to make me scream. Have we forgotten the point? I thought the goal was to eat and live more healthfully, and with intention…all while taking into account the things our stuff comes wrapped in (or not). Why are we still living as though our waste is inconsequential? We have to take into account the whole picture.

It seems like these days we’re becoming more like robots, and we need to break that mentality. Had we spoken up earlier at Nature’s Fare, we might have had a fighting chance at avoiding the plastic muffin bags altogether. And to be fair, the counter people are just doing their jobs; having worked in food retail, I get that. But when did we stop having conversations at the point of sale? Why aren’t we having a dialogue to inquire what customers truly want? We become sheep that way, and we are drowning in a sea of plastic-wrapped health food. That’s not healthy!

I feel like I’m knocking Nature’s Fare. But too much with this rant and I don’t mean to. My point is that sometimes it’s easier to just DIY, and skip the chaos of the grocery store packaging mayhem. There’s power and satisfaction in making something in my own kitchen and packaging it as I see fit. Hence, the juice I mentioned at the beginning of this post!

So, if you’d like to share in that satisfaction, here’s the recipe for the juice that kept me awake on the road and calmed me down after the Nature’s Fare debacle. I quadrupled it and ended up with 64oz of green bliss. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

(Ok, so after a day it starts to look less vibrant, but it was still tasty!)

And hey, if juicing isn’t your thing and you’d rather have someone else make it for you, that’s cool too. Nature’s Fare does do fresh-pressed juice! But how about bringing your own glass/jar/container to the counter and skipping the lame plastic?

Just Do the Thing!

Do you ever get totally overwhelmed by all the beautiful content on the Internet these days? Scrolling through my Instagram feed is like riding a roller coaster of emotions: first, it’s inspiring, then it gets frustrating, and sometimes I have to turn off the damn phone and walk away because I have flung myself into a sea of misery and feel like I can’t even begin to compete with all the beautiful madness. I give up.

But then, I make a smoothie, pour it into a jar, and realize…it doesn’t have to be perfect. None of this has to be perfect, it just has to come to fruition (haha, fruit…smoothies…it’s funny, right?) and BE a thing. Our smoothies don’t have to have perfectly placed chia seeds and banana slices on top, and they don’t need to be in a vintage Mason jar. Nope. Today it’s a repurposed mayonnaise jar and tomorrow it’ll be an old salsa jar and whatever the type of jar, it’ll be beautiful, and more importantly…it’ll be damned tasty.


After all, the point is not to gain 100K likes on this photo. That’s never the point! The goal is to demonstrate that food can be delicious, sustainable, and easy. Make a smoothie! Grab a jar! Enjoy it!

My favorite yoga studio has a phrase on the wall at the front desk that simply says, “Begin Anywhere” and I always come back to that concept when social media gets overwhelming. By doing the thing (like making a smoothie and putting it in a mayo jar), we are taking control of the situation, and creating something amazing. That is totally satisfying (and sustainable). πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ

World Oceans Day: Celebrate the Small

There’s varying schools of thought on the effectiveness of “small acts.” I’m speaking specifically about small acts of conservation, and on World Ocean’s Day, I’d say that conversation is pretty relevant, wouldn’t you?

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I was listening to CBC radio the other day (for my US readers, this is the equivalent of NPR and it makes me so happy that it exists!) and on the showΒ (begin at the 25:00 mark!)Β was a man by the name of Dan Kraus, who is with The Nature Conservancy of Canada. The topic of conversation was small acts of conservation (say that 5x fast…) but what really got me thinking was when someone phoned in with a comment, arguing for a different perspective on small acts. His thought process went something like this: if the small-scale changes are not part of a larger, master plan, then are they really worth doing, or are we just wasting our time?

At first, I bristled. Why are people so hell-bent on writing off the little stuff?!

But then I thought some more…and came to realize that maybe this caller was kind of right. We need to frame our small actions within the context of something bigger, a larger purpose, a goal. Even if that goal is just to eliminate single-use plastics from our own house. Without a goal, Β it’s hard to rally people (in the case of this plastics goal, our families), hard to motivate ourselves (why bother?) and nearly impossible to effect change (back to the good ‘ole Ziploc!).

Here’s the deal: large acts take time. In our own houses, they take time. On the scale of city-wide change, national change, and global change…even longer. We need to work together to make big changes happen and we need big changes to keep the world from totally collapsing.

But what about the in-between time? Like physically, in between writing legislation, and lobbying for change, and meeting with corporate executives and politicians, and holding town-hall meetings with concerned citizens, and running our houses. We still need to eat, to fuel our bodies for all these activism and outreach activities. We still need to get to-and-from all of these meetings. On weekends when we want to take a break from all the advocating, we kick back at a bar with friends, where we may sip on a cold beverage or two (or three, depending on how the advocating went…).

All of these moments require some kind of decision. A decision about what to eat, what to wear, what mode of transportation to take…and how to do all of those things.. so yes, those small acts really DO matter because it’s not like we can just say our piece in a meeting about climate change, then walk out the door and jump into an Escalade while chomping down on a CAFO-raised steak. Well, yes, I suppose we could…but then what the heck was the point of meeting to talk about climate change in the first place?

By doing our small acts of conservation daily, we are walking out walk; speaking our truth; rebelling against the man in our own ways…and these make the bigger acts that much more robust. We need the small to get to the big.

So today, on World Ocean’s Day, I will be sipping my juice through my glass straw because #plasticsux but I will also be thinking up ways to get the “straw-free” movement to Kelowna (any Canadians want to join me?). Ultimately, if I’m the only one refusing a straw here, nothing will change. But if the whole city goes straw free (hey, a girl can dream!), now that would be quite a big change, don’t you think?

Wherever you are, regardless of if there is an ocean near you, go out and celebrate in whatever way you can. Celebrate water, celebrate abundance, celebrate your freedom to CHOOSE the best thing for you and this wonderful, blue planet we get to call home.

Grateful for these salty seas. ❀️

Recycle, Profit, Invest…Repeat!

This is the power of a bottle deposit:

Step 1: Collect & Sort

Bottles and cans, just clap your hands…
Step 2: Profit

Canadian currency sure is pretty!
Step 3: Invest (in your health!)

Fresh from the Kelowna Farmer’s Market!
The act of returning metal and glass for money is amazing (almost like magic), but it’s made all the more powerful when that handful of change is put right back into the local economy. In doing this, I’ve supported area farmers, while also feeding myself and my family. And, as a bonus, I’ve also invested in our future health by purchasing a few seedlings for the garden. All with money collected from metal and glass. πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ

How freaking cool is that?!