Day 15/30 Less Waste Challenge: Simple DIY Foods and Beverages

There are a lot of foods and beverages that we buy for convenience. This is more obvious when we go out to eat, especially if it is fast food. The grocery store is another place where you can cut back your waste if you make good choices. By shopping in the bulk bins and your local Farmer's market, you cut down on waste, which is awesome, right? But now what do you make? Here are some items I make at home in order to reduce waste further (and save money and know exactly what I am putting in my body):



Plant based milks

Nut milks and other milk alternatives are really popular right now, which is so cool! One of the drawbacks to buying these in the store is the packaging. If you buy them in the dry aisle, they are in tetra packs, which are challenging to recycle. They are made from various recycled material, which is cool but then makes recycling it much more difficult, due to the varied materials. Also, these milks have preservatives in them, if they are refrigerated they contain oil, and many of them are really sweet. Here is a basic recipe for making your own:

1/3 c cashews/almonds
5 cups filtered water

Soak nuts in filtered water for at least 4 hours. Then drain water. Mix soaked nuts with 5 cups filtered water and blend in a high power blender for at least 2-3 minutes. Then strain. Nut pulp can be added to smoothies, given to your dogs or cats to enjoy, or you can dehydrate and turn into flour. 

Sprouts

I absolutely love sprouts! I fell in love in high school when the cafeteria added them to sandwiches. They are pricey and hard to find in stores. But they are so easy to make yourself and so good for you! They are high in nutrients and probiotics so your gut will thank you! Here's what you need:

Seeds (we got some from Natural Grocer's. We prefer alfalfa sprouts. These came in packages but if we were to buy sprouts at the store we would get less and have way more packaging)
1/2 gallon mason jar
A lid where you can drain the water. We have a copper lid that Tyler put holes in too small for the seeds to slide through. 

Soak the seeds in filtered water over night. In the morning rinse the seeds at least 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Then drain the water as much as possible. Place in dark, dry place. Rinse seeds daily and then place back in dark, dry place for 4 days. Then rinse and put in sunny spot. Sprouts will then turn green. The next day they are done and should be refrigerated. They'll be good for about a week. 

Kraut

I just started making my own Kraut and it's fun. I've been enjoying fermented food lately as it is also good for the digestive track. Tyler and I got a Crock (a ceramic container used for fermenting) as our Christmas present to each other. This what the process looks like:

1 head organic cabbage (green or red)
2 T salt
(you can add turmeric or other spices as desired)

Shred cabbage and place in bowl. Add salt. Mash the cabbage with the salt (you can use your hands-wash them first). You want to get the water out of the cabbage so it's soaking in its own juices. Then put in the Crock and put the weights over it so the cabbage is completely submerged. Put a clean towel over the top to prevent anything from falling it. Let sit in cool, dry spot for at least 2 weeks. 

Miscellaneous





  • Salads-Buy the lettuce, veggies, nuts, pasta, fruit, and whatever else you like in your salad on their own and then combine. Stop buying pre-packaged salad mixes. This is cheaper, healthier (less risk of e-coli or salmonella), and allows you to be creative. I combine so interesting items and make my own dressings and I find this to be so fun! 
  • Coffee creamers- Make your own. Can of coconut milk and 2 T sugar (brown, regular, coconut, turbinado, etc), mix on stove to combine, keep in fridge up to a week. 
  • Fruit and veggie trays-Cut up your own and assemble. Tastes better, cheaper, less plastic.
  • Salsa or hummus or other dips- make your own. Again, tastes better, is cheaper, and involve less plastic and packaging. 
See a theme? Get back to having a relationship with your food versus eating something fast and easy and cheap. 




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