This week I am again following Reduce Footprints and the Change the World Wednesday challenge. For some this challenge could be very hard to handle, for me this one is easy as both parts of the challenge are part of my every day life. Instead of choosing an option I thought I would show how I made the changes to get to where I am.
This weeks challenges are:
Option 1: This week drive less, or not at all. Consider walking or bicycling. Plan out trips so that the least mileage accomplishes the most. Plan at least one day when you leave the car parked and perhaps stay at home. Avoid quick trips to the market or driving your kids around when they could walk. If you must make a trip, consider public transportation and carpooling with a friend.
Option 2: This week, for at least one day go vegan or vegetarian. Yep, meatless for a day….longer if you can. Search the internet for great recipes, you’ll also find wonderful dishes (tried and tested) right here on this blog
OR: if you are an Eco-Superstar, do both activities….perhaps for the whole week.
At one time both portions of this challenge would have seemed impossible to me, but not anymore.
The biggest struggle for me in giving up my car was that loved both driving and the convenience of having my own car. But as the price of owning a car rose I began to cut back on my use of the car until the expense of owning it was greater than the cost of gasoline. I knew my needs were few and if an item couldn’t be found locally either I didn’t really need it or could acquire it by using public transportation or by shopping online.
The only problem I had concerned how I would visit my son who lived out of town. I took an average of 6 trips per year which totaled 1200 miles on the car. After much thought I gifted my son, who lives nearby, with the car on the condition that I could borrow it for these trips. Once that was decided I felt a huge burden lifted from my life and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I get much more fresh air, have met many friendly people, and was just told this week by my granddaughter that riding in a car is boring, walking is more fun. Hopefully she will remember these walks and not rush to have a car when she is of age.
Making the transition to a vegan diet from the typical SAD lifestyle I grew up with was in some ways harder than giving up my car. I first eliminated animal products from my diet in 1986, a time when in my area the term vegan was basically unknown and to be a vegetarian was akin to belonging to a cult. I made the choice based on my health not knowing if it would help but knowing I had to try.
I began by making little changes to foods I ate regularly. Chili could no longer have meat in it, but a bowl of beans and tomato sauce just didn’t work. I began to add rice into the bean mixture and found it added just the right texture to allow me to enjoy a bowl of chili again. After that I began to add vegetables to dishes to give more flavor. Onions were so often used that I was certain I could almost smell onions from my pores.
I experimented with faux meats and other commercial foods but due to the cost quickly gave up on that. Today I am not a true vegan. I occasionally eat eggs and will even allow myself a dab of butter. Honey is something I can’t see myself eliminating as it has plenty of medicinal properties, but I don’t use it every day. My meals are now very different from what I knew previously, they are simple yet satisfying.
Have you cut down how often you drive or changed your diet? Will you be joining in with this weeks challenge?