Simplify Sunday- Gimme Five!ย 

I am kind of a recycling nerd. I hate that I can’t recycle everything, because I get super freaked out by the idea of piles of garbage sitting around for hundreds of years.

Don’t even get me started on the huge pile of plastic in the middle of the ocean. It’s terrifying. It’s going to take over the world!

Anyway, I read a great book (The Zero-Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst- affiliate link) about living a trash free lifestyle. I don’t think that is particularly achievable for most people- I just have other things that I want to focus on. However, I am incredibly impressed by her.

I did take several things away from it, and one was the Gimme 5 program. Number 5 plastics aren’t recyclable curbside in most communities, but the Gimme 5 program makes it possible. You can either drop your plastics off at a location or mail them in. Whole Foods is one of the participants. So, not fully knowing what to do, I washed and saved all of my number 5 plastics until I had a paper bag full. J was not super impressed with my plastic hoarding, so it was time to take it in.

I’m not great with new things. I like to know exactly what to do, what the rules are, how things are going to play out. This includes something as ridiculous as dropping off a paper bag of plastic.

In my defense… I mean, you guys have been to Whole Foods, right? It’s not really the kind of place where it seems cool to walk in with your bag of garbage and wander around with it. I don’t even really feel that comfortable walking into Whole Foods in the first place. I didn’t even have yoga pants on, and aren’t they required?!

I pulled some nerve out of nowhere and walked in with the bag. I looked for a bin for the plastics, but didn’t see anything. Decided to wander casually around the store. Oh, la la la, I always walk around Whole Foods with my bag of garbage… Of course, in the process, I end up buying $36.06 worth of stuff. None of which was on my grocery list.

Moving on. I realize I am being a psychopath, and go up to customer service and ask the clerk if they participate in the Gimme 5 program. He says yes and takes my stuff. Gives me back my paper bag. That’s it. End of story.

So… In order to simplify my trash output, I nearly gave myself a stroke and spent $36.06. Go me.

However, I now know exactly what to do, and so do you!! All you have to do is save up your number 5 plastics, then take them in to Whole Foods to customer service ๐Ÿ™‚ I do feel really good about the fact that those plastics won’t go to a landfill. Obviously the better option would be to not buy them, but we’re talking prescription bottles, peanut butter lids, stuff I need in my life!

You can go to this website to look for a drop off location near you. Does anyone have any other cool recycling tips for me?

Jillianย 

Baggu Reusable Bags

three baggusI received three Baggu reusable shopping bags in the mail today! I first heard about them when a reader (Mag) mentioned them in a comment. When I looked them up I wanted some, but never quite followed through. I need a few new ones, but didn’t really want to shop.

On Friday I wrote about how I was looking into them, and my friend K (who I wrote about in my interview with Sami– K is my super hero!) bought me these three as a surprise! She knows I love animals and she picked a cat, a dog, and a rabbit. However, there are many designs.

The reason I wanted to try these is that they have a stuff sack. I like to keep my shopping bags in my purse, otherwise I just forget them in the car. I only have one that stuffs in a small bag, and that’s usually all I use. I hate plastic grocery bags. I don’t want them in my life any more than necessary.

I think these are going to be perfect. I took some pictures for you of the tag, the bag with a regular plastic bag on top of it for size (these are the “standard” Baggu), the bag open (it would fit a 13 pound Shiba Inu, if anyone is curious. However, said Shiba Inu was NOT going to pose for a picture inside the bag), and the bag stuffed back in the sack. It is definitely never going to be nice and flat like the way they came, but it stuffs back in pretty easily.

xo Jillian

baggu tag

baggu comparison

open baggu

baggu stuffed back in

Lunette Cup and Luna Pads~ How I Changed My Way of Thinking

lunetteIf you’re male, I would stop reading here, unless you *really* want to learn what a menstrual cup is (hint, you probably don’t, unless you’re a single dad to a girl). You probably just want to live the charmed life that you have as a man. You were warned. Even for women, this entire post has a TMI warning ๐Ÿ™‚

Who knows what a menstrual cup is? I didn’t, until my sister told me I should get a Diva Cup. I’m pretty sure my response was something like “wt* is that?”. She explained to me that it was a cup that you insert in your vagina, an alternative to a pad or tampon. I had heard of these, but only the disposable version. I was always scared about spilling those when taking them out. Well, this is even more intimidating. You pull it out, dump it, wash it, and put it back again.

That’s all I needed to hear. I wanted no part of this disgusting process, and told her she was insane. She said okay and dropped it.

I didn’t mean it though. I thought it was crazy that this secret thing existed and I knew nothing about it. I must know everything! Immediately! I started reading reviews, and saw that basically everyone that’s ever tried it thinks it’s the best thing in the world. You know that awful feeling when you pull out a tampon that apparently was heavier flow than you needed, and it’s dry and feels like it’s tearing out your insides? The reviews said that doesn’t happen with a cup. They also said that tampons cause cramps. WHAT?!?!?!?!? Is this a joke?? Tampons have been causing my cramps?! WT* is going on in this world run by men? They’re creating tampons now to give us cramps, under the guise that they’re helping us?? OMG. I didn’t really believe it, but that sold me. I wanted to try it.

The reviews taught me that the Diva Cup doesn’t fit everyone. There are different sizes and different brands. I found this cool chart that helped me figure out which one would be best. I’m not going to get too detailed here, but I decided on the Model 1 Lunette cup. According to the recommendations I should have gotten a bigger one since I’m older, but reviews I read (I seriously probably read 1,000) told me that I needed something smaller. That’s a problem I see here- finding the right cup could definitely take trial and error, and they are around $40 each. I got lucky finding the right one on the first try.

When I first got it, it took an entire cycle to figure out how to use it. I was scared to death (I’m kind of melodramatic), and the first time I put it in it hurt so bad. I had some leaking at first, and had to experiment with different folds (Google them on YouTube! Different folds make all the difference!). I recommend wearing a pad or pantyliner while you’re finding your groove.

Here is why I love it, and will never ever go back:

  1. I never have to go to the store to buy tampons or pads again. I have what I need, all the time (I do use cloth pantyliners as well, from Luna Pads). This is convenient, plus after the one time investment I don’t have to spend any more money.
  2. It doesn’t leak. There is a learning curve, and I do wear the pantyliners just in case, but I have so many less leaks than with tampons. Even when working out!
  3. I have a heavy flow and was emptying it all the time at first, but figured out quickly that I really only needed to do it every 8-12 hours. With tampons I was doing about every four hours- this is obviously way better!
  4. Umm… you’re not going to believe this, but it really did help my cramps! I still get them and it sucks, but they’re so much less. I haven’t even gotten out the heating pad since I started using it. It has not helped with the urge to stuff my face with chocolate and curl in a ball and cry.
  5. It doesn’t hurt to take it out, and it doesn’t hurt to wear it. Tampons did hurt. Pads are so uncomfortable that they’re not even worth mentioning.
  6. I won’t lie, taking it out is messy and can be a nightmare in a public restroom. I figured out that if i fill up one of these bottles with water before going into the stall, I can use it to rinse the cup and my fingers.
  7. I’m not throwing all that stuff away every month. I hate creating garbage. It’s also a bonus that there isn’t all sorts of gross stuff in the bathroom trash for the dogs to get into.
  8. No chemicals. Organic cotton tampons and pads are expensive, and don’t even work as well as traditional ones. I have to pick effective or safe. Really? Those are terrible options. The cup does both.

Overall, I’m so glad I switched. I think it’s some sort of conspiracy that cups aren’t more widely known, because it seems like such a better option. I’ve been using it for a little over a year now, and it’s been so much better. I got an IUD a few months after switching, and they told me I couldn’t use a cup with it. I didn’t believe them, did research, and have been using the cup anyway with no problems. However, I like it enough that I considered not getting the IUD to keep using it. That’s real love, right there!

I know this is a weird thing to write about, but I want every woman to know about this! I can’t really explain how much better it has made my period, I know that I just sound like a crazy person. I think you just need to try it for yourself. Since I’ve already gotten crazy personal, feel free to ask me anything below! Anyone else doing their period the hippie way? ๐Ÿ™‚

Jillian

No One Ever Asks Someone Why They Eat Meat

veggie wingsI try not to make my food choices a huge deal in daily life. I make my choices for myself, and I expect others to do the same. I don’t bring up that I’m a vegetarian, but people notice when you don’t eat meat.

There are all sorts of questions that come up, but they all seem to fall in a few categories: “WHAT DO YOU EAT?!” “Don’t you miss meat?” “Can I eat this hamburger in front of you?”

Let’s start with what I eat. I made battered cauliflower with hot sauce and vegan yogurt to eat during the super bowl. Veggie and delicious! I find plenty to eat, always. I’m trying to lose 50 pounds. It’s not a problem, trust me… Here are some things that I eat often, in no particular order: oatmeal, smoothies, pasta, Indian food, french fries, soup, chocolate, fruit, veggies, bread, meat substitutes, hummus. Obviously some of my choices are smarter than others. I find that being a vegetarian is limiting in some ways, but I actually eat a much more diverse diet overall than I ever did before. It has made me more creative and more willing to try new things. I do not ever worry about protein. There is literally protein in nearly every food.

Do I miss meat? The short answer is an honest no, not at all. I know that not every vegetarian feels this way. My mom tells stories about how I hardly ever wanted to eat meat, and gave her no end of headaches over it. I never had a favorite meat based meal, not really. I’ve always been more into side dishes, sauces, and desserts. You know what I do miss? Marshmallows! I miss them more than anything else. I have found a few brands of vegan marshmallows, and my life is now complete again. I also miss not having to worry about what is in every single thing that I eat.

As for the last- I do not care at all if people eat meat in front of me. I don’t like that my choices make other people uncomfortable, and I wish it didn’t have to be that way. I want everyone to understand that they can be comfortable around me! I think that maybe people ask me this so often because they don’t like to see what I’m eating? I get a lot of comments about things like kale smoothies at my desk ๐Ÿ™‚ I will say, I really don’t like to see people chew on bones. However, that grossed me out in my pre-vegetarian days, and my omnivore sister feels the same way; so maybe it’s not just me.

I think it’s strange that everyone wants to know why I don’t eat meat, but no one ever asks someone why they do. I suppose it’s because my way was a conscious choice, that evolved throughout my whole life. I’m going against the grain, but it feels like the only natural way to me.

What do y’all think about going against the grain? Sometimes it puts you on the offense, but it’s worth it. Minimalism, vegetarianism, bold fashion- it doesn’t matter. I think it’s worth it!

Jillian