Reflecting on Consumption: What’s in the Fridge

October 25.

I don’t do the grocery shopping any more. My husband does. And he cooks the dinner meal for the most part. This is a recent change and I’m loving it. So, while I don’t buy food, I do consume it. Let’s look in the fridge!

Copyright Leigh Symonds
Copyright Leigh Symonds

We eat a lot of whole foods. My husband’s health issues have meant that he’s been working with his diet quite intensively. We are gluten and mostly grain free right now. We don’t buy chips and our chocolate is Cocoa Camino because my husband is happy eating that and its Fair Trade. My husband also makes his own yoghurt and he used to make his own chicken bone broth. I must see if he’ll make more or start making it myself. We buy organic, antibiotic free meat and free range eggs and try to make them local. There are always improvements to be made here. For example, when I have the luxury of having eggs given to me by my friend, the yolks are always a deeper yellow than any you can get at the store. And, when the hens are young, the shells are much thicker and healthier. Having our own chickens would be lovely but I think I’m on a search for a gift exchange somewhere else.

Copyright Leigh Symonds
Copyright Leigh Symonds

Furthermore, enjoy some out-of-season fruit that is non-local. Though, we have been enjoying the Ontario grown strawberries and tomatoes from hothouses (and, yes, there are sustainability questions here too). Still, we buy avocados and bananas and while there is one farm pioneering bananas in Ontario (Canada Banana Farms), it is too far away, and likely too expensive, for us to partake of that bounty.

What we are brilliant at is composting! And in the past, reusing bones in soup stock! We have very little kitchen garbage which makes me very happy, especially as the compost goes to enrich our vegetable garden in the summer.

While we do pretty well on the health part of food, looking in the fridge, there are a LOT of plastics. This bugs me. And, of course, some of it had been affected by COVID and the inability to use bags from home for awhile. We need to regain the good habits we had before.

Copyright Leigh Symonds
Copyright Leigh Symonds

Bags are something we can easily change and do better with. But the internal packaging that comes with our organic and peanut free choices is a different matter altogether. I’ve mentioned the Royal Nuts packaging previously. We’ve reused some but as nuts are a staple of our diet, the extra containers are troublesome. So are the huge plastic containers that accompany the baby spinach which we use in daily salads. But here, perhaps, we can start to make some in-roads. Greens are so important to diet it’s nice to have them year round. One of the things I’d to try, is to grow them indoors in the winter. As non-fruit producing plants, I think this should be possible. Maybe here is one of the places I can make a positive shift in our consumption practices.

Copyright Leigh Symonds
Copyright Leigh Symonds

The other is adult diapers. My Dad is incontinent, sadly. And most of our garbage results from his diapers. If there is one thing to target to get our waste down, this would be it! The difficulty is getting something that is both comfortable and absorbent. Oddly, the thing that has stopped me before this, is the amount of time needed to research, buy and try products that none of the ‘wellness’ stores aimed at the aging populace carry. Again, this is putting the onus on the consumer to do their own research and to find alternate places of purchase. And perhaps that is where the acceptance must come. That time is well spent pursuing this research and that it’s not about money. I am reminded of the treadmill in the videoThe Story of Stuff (Leonard et al., 2007, timestamp 16:17).

And perhaps herein lies the rub. I often feel guilty about purchasing in general, despite the fact I am not a shopper. And I often feel I don’t have enough time in the day to keep up with my responsibilities. These are both states associated with hyperconsumerism. I reflect here Tim Kasser’s (2018) discussion of well-being in his video The High Price of Consumerism. The impact of consumerism on happiness and well-being further figures highly in Mattison’s (2012) dissertation on affluenza where she quite clearly links materialism with unhappiness (pp. 21-24). Perhaps, one ‘intervention’ (Mattison, 2012, p. 79) that I can make is to shift my own perceptions and to feel good about discovering alternate products that make our lifestyles happier. There is something here that has been stuck and needs to shift. I am greatly appreciating this journal because it allows me to take the time and consider not only the things that we could improve on but also the things that we do very well. Too often, I have been concerned about what I haven’t been doing. This leaves me with little energy to make changes. Conversely, feeling that you are making positive contributions to your lifestyle generates energy to go further and do more. Here, is perhaps, a key change I need to make.

References

Canada Banana Farms (2020). Canada banana farms. Canada Banana Farms. https://canadabananafarms.ca .

Kasser, Tim (January 2018). The high price of materialism – how our culture of consumerism undermines our well-being New Dream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtwXryPNciM.

Leonard, Annie, Fox, Louis, & Sachs, Jonah. (December 2007). The story of stuff. Free Range Studios. https://www.storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/.

Mathison, M. (2012). Emancipation from affluenza: leading social change in the classroom. Unpublished dissertation Antioch University.

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