My Green Cleaning Journey Has Begun – Did I Keep my New Year’s Resolution and What Have I Learned?

Progress report - Naturally Bubbly's Green Cleaning Journey - Did I keep my New Year's Resolution? What have I learned about living a simple, green lifestyle?

green cleaning journeyUPDATE! It’s been 7 months since my New Year’s Resolution to stop eating butter. And I have. Except occasionally it’s in a prepared food that I didn’t make myself. But now I’ve started a new workout and eating regimen, and that does not include any previously prepared foods. Except on cheat days or cheat meals!  My cheating has been more along the lines of eating too many almonds, or having a Thai curry on Saturday afternoon. I’m taking my green cleaning journey to heart and working on cleaning out myself. It feels great!

It’s been 5 weeks since I posted my New Year’s resolution to stop eating butter. It seemed like a really achievable resolution and I am happy to say that my resolution was achieved!  Did I eat butter after January 1? Yes I did, but only a tiny slather. It was the end of the tub, so I thought I’d just finish it up, not waste it. I cannot bear to throw away perfectly good food. Let me explain please.

I was brought up by a ‘Depression Baby’; my Mom, who was born in 1932.  Back then Americans had what was called Victory Gardens. Everybody was encouraged to grow food, to turn any spare plot of dirt into a vegetable garden. People were very frugal. You were not supposed to throw away food, unless it was spoiled. Later, in the sixties when I was a kid, if you didn’t eat all the food on your plate it was explained to you that there were children starving in Africa and because of that you had to eat everything on your plate. So now I have a very hard time throwing away “perfectly good food”. I try to serve myself smaller portions, but heck, here in supersized America, value is often placed on quantity over quality. It’s like a right or something, to over consume calories, just because we can!

I would really like to heat up my frozen pizza at this moment, but instead I feel compelled to write this post.

I finished the butter and did not buy any more.  I am trying to get across to you my readers not to be super rigid when you make a transformation in your lifestyle or eating habits. Just be sincere and try your best. Don’t beat yourself up because you are not perfect! Only the big Boss is perfect, we are human.

In addition to my resolution to not eat butter, I’d like to report to you that I have learned a lot from writing all those posts about food safety and nontoxic kitchen cleaning. I don’t eat food cooked or uncooked that has been around too long. Leftovers are a rarity. If I keep leftovers I eat them with 2 days and after that, into the trash, even if the leftovers still appear edible. The thing about food poisoning is that it is not always a life or death situation. You can experience it in a slight way as an upset stomach or similar problems the next morning.

Case in point, I recently threw caution to the wind and bought mung bean sprouts to make into a stir fry at home. Although considered to be a super healthy food bean sprouts can be a bit dodgy. Although sprouts may look fresh, clean and wholesome, and be sold by reputable stores (I bought mine at Whole Foods) if the seeds that were used to make the sprouts were contaminated, you have got trouble. This quote from a NYTImes.com article sums it up,

“But sprouts are particularly vulnerable to bacterial contamination. They are raised from seeds that sometimes come from countries with less exacting sanitary inspections, which can themselves arrive infected with E. coli. They are sprouted in warm water — the perfect temperature for bacterial growth”.

Well, boy did my stomach become upset. I had to throw the rest out and vow to never try that again! I have a sensitive stomach and I probably did not cook them at a high enough temperature to kill any possible pathogens.  I don’t know how Chinese cooks manage to make them into chow mein and chop suey without killing people. My guess is that’s due to the high heat of the woks that are used to cook the food that kills any lurking bacteria.

So I have wised up about food safety and learned how to eat more clean and healthy. I am really observant and cautious about how I handle raw meat on my counters, knives, and hands.  I have also become more aware of just how dirty my kitchen sink and counters are when I refuse to wash or clean up after cooking. I just can’t seem to force myself to clean up after a meal, even though I have dishwasher! That’s pretty lazy, and I now understand how that can lead to an unsanitary, un-hygienic kitchen sink.

I now throw out kitchen sponges after 2 weeks. I use lots of soap and water to clean up. I make sure to allow my sponges and dishtowels to dry completely overnight. I gave up using products containing bleach for surface cleaning, finally, in favor of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. After washing down the sink and counters, I spray with vinegar and then peroxide, and allow that it dry.

The goal is to be aware, but not afraid. The fact is that normally healthy people are capable of fighting off mild cases of contamination without feeling sick, so please don’t overreact to this information and become overly cautious. Antibacterial dish and hand soaps are useless and actually counterproductive. I’ll be posting about that soon!

Welcome to my website!

Julia has been practicing green cleaning for several years as the owner of As You Like It Home Cleaning and organic gardening for almost 20 years running Julia Houriet Custom Gardening. She studied landscape design at Radcliffe Seminars in Cambridge Massachusetts. Her expertise is gleaned from education and years of experience.

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