My zero food waste tips: part 1: vegetables.

Here are my favorite time+money+ waste saving frugal tips. these work so well -I almost never throw food away . (“away” meaning to the composter of course so as you can see this is a full proof 0 waste plan!)

#1: parsley.

I order a weekly local organic basket of vegetables- the basic ones: tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions, green peppers and garlic.

When the basket arrives- and on the following 2-3 days, the veggies are in top condition. they look-smell and taste wonderful.

on the 4th day -the tomatoes-green peppers- and needless to say the tough onions and garlic- are fine, but the cucumbers and parsley are beginning to “age beautifully” (….)

the parsley is a major component in my lunch salad at work, so I was thrilled when I found out that dipping parsley in water a few hours prior to chopping it for my salad, revives it to almost juvenile condition. so as soon as I get to work in the morning I fill a mason jar I have on my desk with water and the parsley spends the hours untill chopping at lunch time- dipping in the water.

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#2:Tomatoes:

 almost obvious but still worth mentioning ripe tomatoes make the greatest tomato sauce– as long as you don’t over do it with the ripening part. if you accidentally forgot a bag of tomatoes in your fridge and they are too ripe for their own good- just let it go and throw to the composter- and as a general rule of thumb (learned the hard and very smelly way believe me) is please remember to check all your produce every other day- whether in or out of the fridge. especially these potatoes down under and the cucumbers hiding in the corner…think about it from the frugal perspective: one bad vegetable can ruin a complicated dish you put a lot of time-energy-effort-money in

#3: green peppers: 

great eaten fresh- and very tasty when toasted in a pan or roasted in the oven. some times i stuff them with rice or bulgur and cook them in the mentioned above tomato sauce. I haven’t tried freezing them fresh but after cooking- they freeze great.

#4:onions:

If your onions start going soft- quickly peel&dice them all- and freeze in small bags -to be used in cooking. onions defrost quickly and taste fine after freezing- but in my opinion they cannot be used fresh after freezing- such as in salads etc-only in cooking.

#5: cucumbers:

these are tough ones. I used to just throw them to the composter once they went soft but now I put them in my smoothies!

#6: potatoes and sweet potatoes:

potatoes do not freeze well- fresh or cooked, and when I feel that they are starting to get soft- I fry them in the oven with rosemary -olive oil-and salt:

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or cook them and make veggy burgers with them.

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my veggy burgers are very simple:

I mash the potatoes-sweet potatoes with a hand blender, add raw tahini, lentil flour (I blend red lentils and here comes the lentil flour), mustard, leftover grains or leaves (rice, bulgur-spinach-parsley-what is in the fridge for a day or two and hasn’t been eaten by now- remember -food gone bad goes to the composter not into a dish!) , flax seeds, chia seeds and there you go- let cool in the fridge and make patties- into the oven on parchment paper drizzled with some olive oil and voila. now the quantities of each component of the listed above varies according to the quantity of the main ingredient. play with the consistency untill you feel you have a nice patty firm enough to hold on but not too firm to be choked on.

enjoy-the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons I’ve learned spending a week at the hospital

for the past two weeks a close relative of mine has been in the hospital after surgery.

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I accompanied my relative for a week- and more is yet to come- and during that intense week- I spent my days- and nights- at the hospital.

Beside giving birth to my children and accompanying friends and relatives to short procedures I’ve never spent such a long time at the hospital, and this experience has taught me some valuable lessons I thought I should share with you.

I am well aware that this was my own experience and that may not be the case in other places- but should my own experience help any of you when accompanying someone sick to a few days at the hospital be more prepared for the experience and make the necessary arrangements ahead to avoid the points I raise here- then at least I’ve helped someone.

I wish for all of you and your loved ones to never go through this experience.

# being in the hospital seems to the patient like imprisonment. 

you become one of many patients, you are basically confined to your bed-room-ward, you receive restricted hospital food and basically lose your independence. you are at the hands and mercy- of the doctors and nurses. I’ve met wonderful and attentive doctors and nurses at the hospital, but I’ve also met some that were not so empathic -due to massive work load perhaps or personal issues -we are all human and I definitely understand that, but being on the helpless- anxious -frightened side of the equation makes you inevitably dependant on whoever is across you at that moment, and for independent people like my relative- this was traumatic.

This is an issue to be addressed by hospital managers- because a stressed and frightened patient -takes more time to heal. he-she can’t sleep well , and can’t focus on their side of the operation- getting better. do not ignore the mental side of being hospitalized- this takes a big toll both on the patient and on his or her company.

#I am not sure people fully understand the direct connection between their own health behaviour -and their situation.

my relative has smoked for almost 60 years, and lately has been enjoying a jolly diet including mainly haagen-dazs ice cream and chardonnay. yet she couldn’t understand why she can’t just get better after her (lung cancer) surgery and just go back home.

I have no intention of judging anyone for their food-health any other choices.

I am a firm believer in live and let live. should anyone want to hear my input on those subjects well I’d be more than happy to give it, and this blog is an example , but I have no desire to impose my own beliefs on other people be they close family or work mates when they never wanted to hear it to begin with.

So I didn’t say anything about those “full of protein and vitamin” food choices and to my relatives surprise I didn’t even imply she should stop smoking. I fully understand when she says that for her this is an addiction she cannot get rid of . but at the same time I wished this connection was more clear. thoughts have crossed my mind about clean eating fun projects at schools, mandatory college classes concerning healthy habits, and maybe other innovative ways to promote public education on health subjects.

# I wonder if hospital managers put enough effort into making sure hospital food is based mainlyon fresh and healthy ingredients? Are they doing the best they can to ensure the patients sleep as much as they can and get moving as fast as they can in order to get well? is the direct connection between the patient’s nutrition-good sleep and exercise and quick healing prioritized?  I’ve seen a lot of carbs, dairy products and jams on my relative’s plate,  and an  occasional small plate of tired salad- not very appetizing.I saw patients woken up very early in the morning to have their blood pressure checked- and I am no doctor nor a nurse. maybe it is crucial to check blood pressure or give one pill at 5 am, but if that is not the case- and those check ups can wait untill 7 -I wish the importance of rest and healthy nutrition would call the shots- so to speak.

Trying to rest during the day was almost impossible mission at the hospital I was in, and when the patient is tired- he is weak- cannot start walking around and working his-her body- and the healing process is slowed.

*As soon as I came back home I treated myself to a quick pan grilled tofu marinated in a quick soy-mustard -rice vinegar-olive oil-agave  sauce. great with any grain- rice-bulgur- whatever. healthy clean eating is easy to arrange. just put your mind to it.

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have a great and healthy week- the cooliflower.

How I reduced 25% of my electricity and gas bills ( 5 tips and another V for enVironmentalism)

Now that I’ve set my mind on keeping my savings rate over 75% ( I know there are unexpected spendings- those are not taken into account per-se but I do try to leave a margin of error every month for these surprises…), I have tackled my gas and electricity bills.

These two are a major item in my monthly budget, mainly because of :

1.We live in  a very hot in summer – very cold in winter place- and the electricity bill during the extreme hot&cold months hit the 300$ a month rates.

2.I drive to work 5 days a week in my  3 year mazda -which I totally admit was not the most frugal and environmental decision to make – but the car itself is good and reliable, and I think I will hold on to it for at least two more years before I get a more efficient car.

3. gas and electricity have a direct link to pollution and reducing them has an environmental benefit too.

So how did I conquer these two contant budget hole diggers?

I’ve been experimenting in the past year with some changes I made , and realized I managed to save around 25% -30% of both of those bills.

Here is how:

#1: heating in the winter with a (clean burn-minimal pollution!) wood stove.

this is the sensational wood and kindle inside storage my partner built all by himself. got to love the man. 20180707_124853.jpg

we buy the basic load of fire wood off-season so it’s cheaper.( august is definitely off season here-over 105 degrees. in the shade).

the rest of the wood and fire kindle including those beautiful pine cones- I collect outside.

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Yes I do go around where I live carrying this “trolley” made of reused stuff and collect fire kindle under pine trees.

I add that I do it in the beginning of the summer and throughout summer – early in the morning, usually after my morning run when I’m still in my jogging out fit. definitely a feast for the eyes. but-I don’t care.

I actually love those quiet hours of wandering with my dog under the scented pine trees looking for dried branches and cones.

No use collecting kindle in spring when every thing is still wet. and no use trying to hurry and find forgotten leftovers in fall . (no wonder I have such an appreciation for ants).

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the fire-place is a family get together place in winter, which is great. the ac is seldom on,  and the residues are great for the composter so win-win-win.

#2: cooling down in the summer mainly with ceiling fansunless it is dead hot. and sometimes it is. but most of the times we manage with these :

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when we bought our house  14 years ago , one of these was installed in almost  every room and we added a few to make sure no one goes without. a very smart decision we made then, that only needed the fine tuning of using mainly these in the summer.  please remember to clean the fans wings- specifically on their upper side- the one you can’t see. naturally what we can’t see and is hard to reach- is the dirtiest…

#3: Use the oven to its maximum capacity when turning it on. saves on elctricity and time!

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Every time I make my homemade buns ( almost every week…) I first stick an oven tray full of potatoes-sweet potatoes to roast while the buns are baking. If not potatoes then eggplants . or spicy chickpeas.

here is as example of my weekly buns.

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and these are the toasted spicy divine chickpeas. an upgrade to every salad at work,20180508_124014.jpg

#4: freeze your levi’s. I ain’t joking. this is a real hack, check it online. if you freeze your jeans in a zipper bag you can wear them at least once more without washing, apparently it’s even better for the jeans… I wish I were sponsered by levi’s but sadly i’m not.

(levi’s if by any chance you are reading this contact me I lovvvvvvvvve your jeans!)

#5: for the gas saving- you might lough but as I told you before It’s totally fine by moi:

I simply drive slower. I mean way slower. 

When nearing a traffic light, I never speed but purposely slow down, and 90% of the times when the red light is on I find all the hasty and anxious drivers that passed me a minute ago when trying to catch the green light standing right next to me-or I see them passing in red light-which is not only extremely dangerous + illegal but also carries a substantial fine .

I discovered that by driving slowly my gas bills have dropped by at least 25% and I am not joking . try it. it is also more cautious , allows you to prolong your reaction time, listen peacefully to your favorite music (yes deep purple -led zeppelin-camel-marianne faithfull ) and slims to 0% the chances of you getting a speeding ticket….

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so how do I get to work on time you ask? read my post:  why I get up at 04:00

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

Why I’m not a grade A minimalist

So I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism, and naturally (for me anyway) I started thinking about myself.

I asked myself am I fully and whole heartedly invested in decluttering everything I don’t use , and the frank answer I gave to myself was- definitely not.

Don’t get me wrong- I did a big konmary style grand decluttering in my house , and many items were donated -recycled-given to beloved family.

*my close family and I- including my mother-sister -daughter , have a clothes swapping policy, meaning that whenever one of us gets tired of a clothing item and it is in good condition- the other family members have the first right of refusal on the item. if the poor item is  unwanted by all family members -then it shall go to the clothes donating bin .

As for children’s clothes and toys- I have neighbors with two young kids who enjoy my kid’s toys and clothes.

But I am certainly not a grade A minimalist. I have quite a few clothing items that survived the grand decluttering and I simply can’t let go of- although some I only wear just a few times a year.

this skirt is one of them.

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yesterday I decided it is perfectly ok to wear this heavy fabric skirt in the middle of summer, provided I pair it with this very light top  (I got from my mother in the above mentioned procedure) and light and open shoes I bought a few years ago.

I spend my day at the office sitting at my desk , (sedentary is an understatement), but at least there is air condition .so I decided this  (untill now classified as) winter skirt can have a glimpse at how things look outside in summer time.

This exciting idea came to me as “necessity is the mother of invention”, and  because after nearly 2 years of pursuing a  clothes and shoes spending ban- my wardrobe kind of bored me.

If I were to use the minimalist ” 90 day rule “-here is the link- minimalist 90 day rule,then I probably would have donated this skirt a long time ago- and wouldn’t have enjoyed the multiple compliments I got when wearing the outfit above.

The thing is- this example is one of many.

being a grown person with a reasonable salary, like many people I accumulated a lot of stuff.

After contemplating this for quite a while I decided to trust my instincts and for the time being  keep the items I already have -even if I don’t currently use them. I don’t mean torn or damaged items- only those that are in good condition.

The same goes to my big collection of books.

Being an introvert I love to read and over the years  I have accumulated 3 book shelves loaded with books.

I stopped buying new ones about a year ago, I get some at the library and some on amazon kindle, but to tell you the truth- it’s just not the same somehow.

So I decided I am not buying any more books untill I reread every book I have in my book shelves, and so far this has brought me back to books I haven’t read in a long time and simply forgot how much I loved them, and on the other side it made me rethink about other ones-I am now contemplating donating them to the public library like I did with many books in my konmary declutter days.

where d you draw the line as to decluttering ? 90 days? 120? 1 year? maybe not at all?

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

Vegan snacks- liked by omnivore kids too!

One of my big dilemma’s is can I  feed my kids healthy nutritious food without them declaring war on me.

Sadly we are not one of those families where all family members are happy environmentalistic vegans who recycle all day long and play outside with their organic rabbit.

I wish we were.

My family is an omnivore family. sometimes I think they are plain carnivores. meat , chicken , dairy and eggs are definitely in the menu. all .the .time.

There is no way I can change their minds, and declaring war on my family is not my thing, so I learned to accept them- and since I am the house cook – I prepare all meals including the beef stews, chicken breasts , omelets and dairy ice cream and cakes.

I am dreaming of the day they will come to their senses and see the light, but until then- I cook everything.

I don’t taste the food as cooking- so I rely on my instincts and hope for the best.

But all this tolerance and love&peace method doesn’t mean I don’t sneak tasty vegan food all the time -without declaring the fact out loud for fear of it suddenly loosing its appeal. (yes this is how sad they are).

one very effective way to get them to eat vegan+healthy food was to introduce vegan food as snacks.

here are the sweet snacks-

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medjhool dates with/without raw tahini drizzled on it, almonds, apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled on it, banana “nice cream” with chia seeds sprinkled on it and walnuts.

and here are the savory snacks-20180623_090346.jpg

green peppers, cucumber slices, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, baked chickpeas and air-popped popcorn.

*I bought one of those designated air pop popcorn machines back in my non frugal -not a minimalist at all days, and I’m glad I let it survive the grand declutter 2 years ago-popcorn is a simple and healthy snack as long as it’s air popped and not drizzled with any kind of oily substance or sprinkled with heaps of salt.

I can report that so far so good- though they do like the dairy homemade ice cream i make them but i figure it is the lesser of two evils since it is homemade-speaking from the healthy point of view of course.

another trick of mine are these-

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they love them and when paired with a salad- win for vegan .

I’d love to hear what the situation is in your house hold.

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean green / V for vinegar

I became frugal once I understood that saving most of my income is the most effective way to accomplish early retirement and financial strength that will allow me to help my kids start their grown lives from a reasonable starting point.

But- my turning to green cleaning was motivated from a different angle: the environmentalist angle.

Once I fully understood the difference between green and non green products, I immediately began looking for powerful green substitutes for my regular arsenal of bleach- windex-all purpose cleaners.

The more I researched the more I  understood that green cleaning has a direct link to minimizing health hazards (and home accidents involving accidentally swallowing/inhaling harsh chemicals), it most definitely simplifies the whole cleaning process as you shall see in a moment, and- it is by far more frugal- so what’s not to like?

actually there is an answer to that- if we dare be honest.

Most people were brought up believing that a good clean ain’t done untill the house smells like the floor washing brand used at your house, and the sinks and bathrooms smell like a gallon of bleach just went there- which was actually the truth.

This is why many people find it hard to trust green products- let alone DIY green products that dont have that powerful scent that reminds them of their childhood.

Understanding the environmental , health , minimalist and frugal advantages of the green products might help give those products a fair chance.

I clean my whole house using 5 products:

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#1: vinegar. I use the cheap synthetic one- not the fancy acv (with “mother”) -that is a staple in my cupboard for different reasons- (will reveal in a different post).

 #2: baking soda. I discovered that this product can be bought either in small 50 gram packets (I guess meant for baking), and in bulk- a large 1 kilo pack that costs a fraction of the first one per 100 grams. I buy the bulky version and store it in my own jars-labeled of course-to prevent some one accidentally mistaking this stuff for white sugar or any other powdery substance.

#3:dish soap.

#4: hot water . in my experience- 99% of dirt will disappear  once using hot water mixed with a few drops of  dish soap and some  vinegar, in my kitchen this is an all-purpose cleaner. to soften the vinegar’s strong smell I sometimes infuse leftover  lemon peels with vinegar in a mason jar for a few weeks.

#5: hydrogen peroxide 3%. a green substitute for bleach. it’s not cheap but it’s a very potent liquid that I use to finish cleaning  my bathroom and kitchen surfaces.please do not mix the hydrogen peroxide with any other product!!!

*of course you will need a good pair of gloves and dish sponges that can hold up to the tasks , good music and the will power to conquer all evil- and there you go.

#To clean the toilets– I pour 1/4 cup baking soda -then vinegar, let it bubble and scrub frantically with the toilet cleaning brush-which by the way- needs to be cleaned itself from time to time.please be carefull not to lean too close to the mixture-and wash your hands carefully after using the products-even though using gloves of course.

(*no cleaning without gloves! )

 *before I begin please check that the kitchen utensils needing cleaning  you have at home agree with the listed above products- some may not. 

#my all-purpose cleaner– after using the baking soda- vinegar method listed above- there is still the rest of the toilet to clean.  I  spray the toilet sides, walls (yes-walls) and the floor with my glass spray bottle filled  with my all-purpose cleaner: 1/2 water -1/2 vinegar and a few drops of dish soap- and wipe it with disposable  paper towels.

#to clean the floors: I have  hard wood floors- I use water mixed with  vinegar and a few drops of essential oils.

#before mopping the floors I always let my iRobot clean the surface thoroughly. this is not a cheap device- but for me- working full-time –  it was a game changer. (no-I am not sponsored by anyone). I  simply believe that a clean tidy home is  inviting and comfortable -no matter how small it is, and I also believe that especially for people with young kids-  having no time to spare is an understatement.here is a link to a post where i explain why this indulgence is sensible if you can afford it.

Indulging yourself #2

#windows and mirrors– I spray with my all-purpose cleaner and wipe with disposable paper towels or old newspapers if I can get some.

#to clean the kitchen sink- (I have a regular porcelain sink- haven’t tried this with other types of sinks- please make sure these products are suitable for whatever sink you have.) I sprinkle the sink with  baking soda, scrub, then spray vinegar on the baking soda , let it bubble then pour 2 cups of boiling water.  not only is the sink clean now- this also helps to  unclog the sink if necessary.

no need to keep many cleaning supplies around. no more a using different cleaner for every chore . simple, minimalistic, efficient, frugal. and minimizes pollution too.

ciao- the cooliflower.

My frugal journey- and a pair of torn flip flops as a symbol

I already told you my goal is to retire early.  (just in case- here is a link ):Why I want to retire early and my plan to achieve it.

I think it’s time I share the tips I am using-and are proving themselves as powerful tools- to reach this goal by saving more than 75% of my salary . 

*I live in a small house (but we have a large garden!)-so no need to downsize. I admit my partner has been complaining about the size of our house but I love its cozy feeling, and I strongly believe that keeping the house clutter free and tidy makes for a perfect home- no matter how small it is.

*I decluttered following the konmari method  which I thought was beautiful because of her instructions to treat your item with total respect- while owning them- and when parting from them .

*Since going through my house using the konmari method–  including all my closets, pantry,  kitchen cupboards etc- I cut down my expenses drastically.

*since september 2016, I paid 0 $$$ for clothes or shoes: I went into a store twice throughout those almost  22 months-and paid for the few items I picked  with a gift card I got.

*I in-source almost all house chores– I clean the house, cook, bake,tend the garden,  never order take out or coffee, I go out to restaurants only when I cannot persuade the participants to come over to our home and enjoy my cooking (and I usually am very persuasive).

*my partner and I cut our own hair , and he does a great job at cutting our son’s hair.

*we exercise outside/inside the house using apps– no gym membership -but I have a 10 entrance ticket to the pool where I enjoy a weekly power 2 k swim listening to my music under water : How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning

*I do everything I can to save waterHow I Implied a zero water waste policy and how it (almost) works: 12 basic and useful tips.

*I made calls to my cell company-internet supplier-and my healthcare – and managed to take the price down significantly.

*I buy my groceries online only once a month -but have a weekly order of organic vegetables delivered to my house-including fresh (and organic) local farmers produce. check my post on go salads.

*I buy in bulk- and preserve-freeze- keep in pantry .check my post on a vegan staple-  beans.

*I always take a cooler bag to work– carrying my meals and snacks for the day. so I never buy anything from vending machines or order lunch. they’re as cold as ice

*I learned to do my own nailsBeing frugal : Learning to do my own nails

(I have some more tips but I can’t reveal all my secrets at once.)

So the other day I had an AHA moment.

One of my “hanging in the garden” flip-flops tore down.

I know- it’s a master piece.

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My partner asked me what I was going to do- since it’s summer and I wear flip-flops outside when I’m around the house all the time, and I told him I was going to check again around the house and the outside garden shed to see maybe I’ll find a pair long forgotten.

At this point my partner stared at me and said: “you know a new pair only costs a few $, right?”

I said I knew that, but I believe it is a matter of principle and of environmentalism. I told him that buying is for sure the easiest and quickest way to solve any problem, but using this method will make our world suffer  from more pollution-not to mention-and I didn’t mention- the “small numbers add to huge numbers” rule. The reason I didn’t mention that rule is my partner is -to say the least -not on the same page as I am on the frugal subject, and this would only seem to him as me  being a grade A miser.

Then he just went to the garden shed and came back 3 minutes later with 3 (yes three) pairs of flip-flops we forgot we transferred there a long time ago- and since I only decluttered inside the house- I totally forgot they were there.

Sure-they were not new and shiny (come on, I  know flip-flops don’t shine) but they saved time, energy, earth junk and-of course- how can we forget some $.

This incident made me think of the previous me.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have hesitated to go and buy a new pair and wouldn’t even think about looking again .

I think being frugal and (for me-sort of) a minimalist is quite different when you earn good money and can definitely afford many things .

Many people believe that working hard and earning a good salary gives them permission to spend it whenever -and on whatever they wish.

Many times I’ve heard those phrases: “this is my hard-earned money, no use of taking it with me to the grave” (or another interesting way of putting it).

While I totally agree that money has no business lying in graves, I believe this way of thinking does not take into account our true independent wishes and desires-but only the instant – “brain washed by commercials” desires.

A bigger car, a newer phone, a bigger house, designer clothes- I believe many people tend to think this is what they want or need- just because they are following  trends or the desire “to have what everybody has”.

Well people- these are great times to be unique, to stand out, be different. not like every body else. the more you find out what you really are- and what you really want or need- the more special and whole you become. 

ciao- the cooliflower.

How I Implied a zero water waste policy and how it (almost) works: 12 basic and useful tips.

Water is a powerful resource. we cannot survive without clean water, and yet so many abuse this resource..

I know I cannot save the world. I wish I could . But I fiercely believe that If every one of us would do all in his or her power to save as much water as he or she can It may have an exponential effect and things might look different. at least one can have hope.

So here are some tips I implemented at our home. Bear in mind that I cannot persuade all family members to participate because there are still the two that insist that “we were not born to suffer,   we will shower as long as we want and will definitely not shower with a bucket standing at the side of the shower “. but me and my other kid- the mindful no-waste environmentalist kid- are doing a good job keeping the water taps closed as much as we can, and we hope to someday- change the minds of the other two home living family members.

these tips are simple-take little time and almost no cost to implement-and result in saving both water- and $$ on the water bill.

#1: be mindful . all the other tips are derived from this basic simple one.

#2: we have quite a large garden that needs watering everyday. we have a water drip irrigation system that minimizes the water waste drastically. other than that U water the plants in the early  morning hours  -to avoid as much water evaporation as possible.no need to mention no green lawn anymore- just beautiful plants and flowers.

#3: quick and efficient showerswith our friend the infamous bucket. all the pre-worm water goes to the bucket -and are used to water the plants the next morning.showers do not exceed the minimum needed to be a very clean person but showers are not therapy. no need to do all your wondering /crying while the water is running.

#4: AC water– a bucket is standing under every ac unit and collects the water drip from it.

#5: Cooking water-pasta water, bean cooking water, vegetable washing water- i have a designated bowl in the kitchen next to my kitchen composter, and all the cooking water goes there- and used to water the garden the next day.

#6: collect rain water: the same buckets used in tip #4 to collect ac water in summer- are used to collect water from drain pipes in the winter.

#7: an obvious one- when brushing your teeth and getting soaped or shampoo your hair –turn the water faucet off.

#8: I never leave the house without a water bottle filled with ice-cold water. sometimes when i get back home- the bottle is half full. it is a habit of mine to empty the bottles on one of my plants.

#9: be aware of dripping faucets– both in -and out of the house.

#10: ok- ever seen “meet the fockers”? barbara sreisand and dustin hoffman playing a cool hippie couple practicing yoga and eating clean? remember their toilet flushing rule? if you don’t remember- go check it out. this movie makes me laugh. out. loud.

#11: have an outside water hose? put a water-loving plant under it to collect all dripping water from it. for example- mint loves water- the more the better .

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#12: before washing your floors- broom it /use the IRobot -so the majority of dirt will be cleared and you will not need to use that much water to get the floors clean.

remember- we only have one planet (currently )- the cooliflower.

related posts:

frugal kitchen hacks

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Why I want to retire early-and my plan to achieve it

I know many people like their jobs (so I’ve heard),  and that  many feel they cannot afford to retire , and some –like me-were brought up to believe that the only way to justify your existence on this planet is by being a productive human being=going to work every day rain or sun and “being like everybody else”.

I used to like my job too. But now I am tired . I have seen everything there is to see in my field, and I’ve climbed up the ladder, I’ve dealt with the most difficult situations, I’m now a boss of people, and I’m tired.

I drive to work every day in the early hours (check my post on why I get up at 4 am) , put my beloved pink floyd-led zeppelin-deep purple and hope the day at the office goes fast so I can go back home.

My days are -from my point of view- a waste of time and energy,  which both I believe I can put to better use.

So I sat down and asked myself some difficult questions:

*Is working for 10 /more years a valid option?

*can I manage cutting down a big slice of my expenses?

*is there another way to save real money quickly?

I knew the answer to the first question, I wasn’t really sure about the other 2.

So I started researching online and reading books on the subject of early retirement, and the more I read the more I understood there was no magic involved , as always, only hard work will get me to where I want to be.

for some good reading online  I recommend mr money mustache, and early retirement extreme.

 I understood that if I wish to retire early and give my children the head start I want to give them, then I need to cut down my expenses drastically and invest the money in a “non risky but profitable enough to see some results way”.

But there was a caveat-a  basic rule of thumb I’ve found : with all due respect to my savings ratio –if I feel deprived in any way then this is not only not worth the whole deal but it will not hold on for a long time anyway so what’s the point?

I believe the main thing to remember is that wishing to retire early demands you not only get used to living on a moderate budget for a while– sort of clenching teeth for a year or two before you arrive at the gates of financial paradise. this way of thinking will leave you hanging dry 2-3 years after you’ve retired early and might even result in you having to go back to work after having retired.  I’m thinking this can take a  quite a tole on you both mentally (assuming you do not wish to work again) and monetarily speaking (the tax imposed on you will be significantly higher).

So the key here in my opinion -just like many other important and positive life changes you make -is to embrace the change acknowledging that this is a permanent change.

Just like a dietary change, fitness decisions, and other behavioural changes concerning you or your loved ones, a successful change is a gradual, mindful and consistent one.

please remember I am speaking here from my own experience only- I am not a specialist on physical/ mental/monetary issues .please look at my disclaimer post.

What I can share with you is my personal experience . I have now reached a level where I save most of my salary , and feel very happy –and even indulgent doing so.

more details next time- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 reasons why being an introvert is actually beneficial -and a useful tip

First of all-what is an introvert?

my definition: a person who prefers spending time at home, quietly doing what he/she likes to do-than going out and meeting people.

I can tell you i never get bored being by myself, but i get bored easily around people, I avoid parties,  eating out, going to office meetings, sport groups, or any kind group for that matter.

I read this article :23 signs you are an intovert  

and checked all 23 signs.

There were times I thought something was wrong with me- how come everybody loves going out and partying and I will -under peerpressure- go out, but feel exhausted and drained afterwards?

Now I understand there are different kinds of people and different kinds of personalities, and while some people enjoy chit-chatting with new people , having lunch with everyone and water-cooler conversations at the office-(extroverts)-some would much rather have their lunch alone, and while at my job I give speeches and lectures all the time- and never find it intimidating, the thought of making  small talk with anyone is a task i need to prepare fo.

So why is being an introvert such a good thing?

#1: you always get enough sleep– you don’t have to run around from place to place in fear of missing something (infamous FOMO) . you know that the best place for you is always being at home. preferably- alone.

#2: when you get enough sleep you  are more energized, your skin looks better, you can exercise easily and your overall performance- including at work- is better.

#3: It’s so much easier for you to maintain your frugal manner. when you prefer eating at home, entertaining friends at your place instead of going out, exercising alone instead of in a team , reading or listening to music at home instead of wandering around the mall or going to the movies-well then-your costs are much cheaper .

#4: you have only a few friends-but these are true and loyal friends that go way back with you. I have 3 friends. 2 of them have been my good friends for over 23 years and the third one for over a decade.

#5:You have more time to explore and find out what you really want -you- not anyone else around you or society or the internet . you. you can learn how to cook, read books, watch documentaries, learn new skills, find new exercises online -anything.

Ok but how do you manage to not insult people who invite you to their events?

Since I have always worked in an office, I found over the years that people don’t get offended if you avoid going to all events equally:  meaning the important thing is to be very consistent and not attend any event concerning anyone at the office- including boss related events.

Now the key is not to make any exceptions to the rule. never ever. you cannot attend your boss’s daughter’s wedding and then a few weeks later apologise to someone else (who is less able to affect your career) by saying that you don’t attend events as a principle. this is insulting and unfair and will do you much more damage socially.

There are other solutions- such as arriving at the event and disappearing after a short while- no good in my opinion since the hassle of getting dressed up and doing your makeup and driving to the event -and mainly the mental preparation that is needed for me to go out- is too big a task .

there is always the other option- like most people- go to some events- preferably of people they like and people they need in order to promote their own career- and make up excuses for all the others.

I believe strongly in the old and true saying :”you can fool some of the people some of the time-but not all people all the time”.

If you think people at your workplace don’t notice your lame excuses and don’t get offended by both your not attending their event and your belief that they can take your lame excuse than you are wrong.

Here is where my trick is so tricky- not only you don’t have to go to any event- assuming that you desperately don’t like events like me, but people dont get offended because they know that you are an equal non-arriver to everyone’s events. at some point they stop inviting you altogether which is great because it saves you the explaining part.

try it- the cooliflower.