What Have You Given Up?

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I was watching Oprah last night and the topic was “What Can You Live Without?” I only watched the first few minutes and am saving the rest to watch later (man, I love TiVo), but it got me thinking about what I can and do live without and have given up for environmental, health, ethical and other reasons. Some things have been harder than others – bananas, for example, which I’ve (somewhat guiltily) started to incorporate back occasionally. Coffee, tea, coconut and chocolate are all staples in my life, and I can’t give them up completely, but I do look for organic, fair trade, shade-grown, sustainable, and all the other green buzzwords. Other things have been easy – using a Sigg water bottle instead of bottled water, walking or taking the bus or working from home when I can (I still have a car but would LOVE to get rid of it some day), ditching high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. I’m trying to cut back on individually packaged items, and need to work on some recipes to better replicate my favorite bars. I also try to buy meat that is sustainably and humanely raised, though this can be quite difficult at times and I’ve actually been tossing around the idea of cutting back on meat a bit. It’s not always being “pretty green,” but I feel good when I make these choices!

And now, on a totally unrelated note, a picture from my friend’s wedding last weekend. Wait! I think this demonstrates that I can’t give up champagne (though it was a delicious semi-local one). I’m in the middle. 🙂

Jen's Wedding 048

What have you given up for environmental, health, ethical, etc. reasons? Are there any things you’d like to give up but just haven’t been able to yet? What could you never give up?

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “What Have You Given Up?

  1. Great post! It’s my first time over at your blog and I really enjoyed checking it out. Gotta love Oprah, always makin’ us think!

  2. Love the photo. Those dresses are very cute for bridesmaid dresses!

    I’ve given up meat mostly lately. I get meat for the husband, but it’s local humanely raised meat. Since he’s the only one eating it, it’s more cost effective. I can totally live without meat. I’m finding that when I do “allow” myself to have some, I realize that I don’t really want it anyways.

  3. I have given up paper towels and paper napkins. I don’t buy them and try not to use them at other peoples houses. I gave them up because I felt I was too dependent on them and wasted a WHOLE lot of them. We do use toilet paper but it’s 100% recycled 7th generation and it makes me feel good to know that I can look at a part of my life/self and go “hmm I don’t like that” and change completely.

    I think I am almost done with meat. Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” had this line about how can we eat meat from an animal who lives it’s life belly deep in it’s own poop, hoping to die and then one it does. That line made me cry. It changed my whole perspective on meat and where it comes from. We are now growing our own meat and I can’t wait to harvest some this fall. I realize that does not sound nice but IF I am going to eat meat I want it be from an animal that had a good life and death.

    What am I writing a freakin’ novel over here? SORRY. As usual, you rock and I love your blog. 🙂

  4. I need to work on making my own bars too!!!!!!!!! and eating less bananas… and other tropical fruit. and buying recycled toilet paper/not buying paper towels
    things I’ve given up-all animal products, having a car (but that’s easy in my situation) plastic water bottles, artificial sweeteners…….
    I know i could never give up- disposable “female” products. lol

    adorable photo!

  5. I’ve given up artificial sweeteners for health reasons, including diet coke. I used to have SUCH a bad addiction to it! I’ve also given up eating meat (but I do still eat fish). I’ve also given up buying bottled water, and instead carry a reusable bottle.

    I could never give up owning a car, as I need to transport my harp around to gigs.

  6. I like this post! and you do so much for the environment…..don’t beat yourself up over little stuff! You more then make up for it by spreading the word of how to help our environment and inspiring others!

    I’ve given up eating meat, phrase “i don’t need a bag” is now automatic when I go to stores (instead I just shove stuff in my huge purse– no shame!), I use a coffee cup and reusable water bottle at work, canvas totes, tupper ware instead of ziplocs, repurposing jars and containers, and drinking lots of local beer 😀

  7. Love this post!

    I’ve given up a lot of things for health reasons including gluten, dairy, casein and refined sugars. I’ve also tried to cut out artificial sweeteners. Everything has made an amazing difference in how I feel and it’s interesting for me to look back to the foods I used to eat almost daily and CRAVE.

    I always carry two fold up tote bags in my purse so that I don’t have to take plastic bags and I have various metal water bottles stashed in my house and office so that I can refill all the time. I gave up disposable female products about a year ago and now I can’t live without my Divacup and cloth pads 🙂 (I never thought I would be saying that but it’s truly amazing!)

    I would like to give up papertowels and napkins and use reusable cutlery consistently when I bring my lunch.

    I would find it hard to give up my appointments at the salon for cut/colour. I know I could probably do it with henna on my own, but I love my colour and my stylist.

  8. janeterin

    You guys are awesome! I love hearing your ideas – it gives me inspiration for other things I can live without or changes I can make, too.

    And thanks for all the blog-liments! 😀 I am excited to check out all of yours!

  9. I haven’t had a car in 12 years. When we have kids we feel we’ll need one, but will hopefully buy a hybrid.

    I have given up sugar, caffeine, white flour and processed food but it doesn’t feel like ‘giving up’. It feels like a positive choice for health!

    And most recently I’ve ‘given up’ birth control pills in favor of the Fertility Awareness Method.

    It doesn’t feel like I’m missing out with any of this–it feels like I’m living so much better!

  10. Calliope

    I think mostly what I’m trying to give up is being lazy.

    There’s a little extra effort in cooking fresh, buying local and cleaning green. It seems like convenience (which was such a luxurious goal for decades) is largely anti-eco. (Convenience stores are full of horrible unnatural food in lots of packaging.)

    But I am a little lazy by nature – so it helps to read stuff like this blog to keep me doin the right thing!

  11. I have given up animals & their byproducts, plastic bags, I compost all of my kitchen goodies, I have significantly reduced transportation, water, and packaging use, & I buy a large percentage of organic foods – local if in season.

  12. KarenCassidy

    One thing I’ve given up is plastic bags. I wash, dry, and reuse bags of all sizes – ziploc, produce bags, safeway/target bags, bags from loaves of bread, etc. and bring them to the store when buying produce or bulk goods. Haven’t bought plastic bags in probably 6-7 years!

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