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Sustainable Living

About Asphyxia

Food and Nutrition

  • Traditional Foods
    My health has dramatically improved after changing my diet for a more traditional way of eating, as advised by Sally Fallon.
  • Food Flower Poster
    Forget the food pyramid! It was developed by the agricultural industry, not by nutritionists. Instead, print this Food Flower poster, which shows a visual guide to choosing nutritious and satisfying traditional foods.
  • Sourdough bread Recipes
    I make delicious sourdough bread in my bread machine - recipes and tips here.
  • Raw Food
    Should we be eating a diet of 100% raw food? Here's what I found by way of "scientific proof".
  • Raw garlic to cure colds & flu
    If you feel a cold or flu coming on, eat a whole clove of raw garlic, three times a day - it works miracles.

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01 November 2009


i've put buckets under all our taps and shower and am collecting enough water to keep most of our vegies going (the recent rain has helped there). (the taps aren't leaky - just catching the excess water from hand rinsing and vegie washing etc).
we've had our home sustainability assessment and got a quote for a large rainwater tank.
i've cut back on buying foods that come in excess packaging, especially our daughter's snacks.
i've sealed all the drafts i could find.

my big challenge is reducing food miles. we live a substantial drive away from the nearest farmer's market so it feels counter-productive and very time-consuming to drive to farmer's markets. the irony is that we live in market garden heaven, but they all supply the big chains and no-one seems to sell locally. but i need to do more investigating about that.

the cloth toilet paper is interesting. what fabric is recommended?

Hi Eilis,

It's funny but all week I've been thinking about the farmer's market and its value for people who live a bit too far away and need to drive there and make a real trip of it. If you think about food that we buy from a supermarket, the food miles behind each item can be astronomical - ie a simple bottle of milk might be farmed quite close to you, but be shipped interstate for processing, then shipped back to the central depot for the supermarkets, and then shipped out to each chain. And not only that but the farmer who raised the cows and milked them only gets a few cents for your bottle of milk, which is hardly rewarding. The majority of your money goes to the middlemen and to pay for petrol, and it's sending a vote saying "Great, do more of this!" A bottle of milk bought directly from the farmer at the farmer's market a bit of a drive from your place has the food miles from the farm to the market, and then from the market to your place, which is far far less. And the money you spend ends up entirely in the farmer's pocket, and you aren't giving any financial power to the big corporations who set up stupid systems like interstate shipping of milk, but instead are voting with your money to support local independent family farms. So in terms of what's better for the environment, getting to a farmer's market once a fortnight, even if it becomes a half-day trip, it's definitely a winner. In terms of your time though, I know what you mean.. our time is always so precious...

As for cloth toilet paper, I've no idea what fabric is recommended - it doesn't seem to be something that comes with a system for how-to. So I'm making it up. (Those of you who find this stuff gross, please stop reading!!) Last night I ripped up an old cotton flannelette sheet (I figured it's absorbent), cut it into hanky-sized pieces, one per person per day, and zigzagged around the edges. I added a loop of fabric tape to the corner so that I can hang it from a nail next to the toilet. The idea is that I'll have one nail with all the clean cloths hanging from it, and another nail for each person (so far only me) with the current day's cloth on it. Now it might seem utterly gross to reuse the same cloth for a whole day, but here's my rationale: 1) I can't face washing and hanging out a cloth for 9 wees a day, 2) right now I go drip dry in my undies, and a single pair of undies does a whole day... the only difference is that I have to put up with a slightly wet feeling for a while, whereas with my new system the wet bit will be hanging on the nail next to the toilet, waiting to dry. At the end of the day I will chuck the cloth in the wash. Wanna give it a go?

i know you're absoltely right about the food miles and driving to farmer's markets. it just means a bit of a change in habits on the weekends to make the time for it. but it's always enjoyable time so it's worth it.
i'm interested in the cloth toilet paper idea and i might give it a go, but i reckon i'll have trouble convincing kristen...

Well if the nearest farmer's market to you is the one at Collingwood Children's farm, it's on this Saturday and maybe I'll see you there! It's a change of habit for us too - we have a deeply ingrained habit of going to Vic Market every Tuesday and working out how to shop fortnightly, sans car, is proving rather confusing. But today I borrowed a friend's bike trailer in preparation for next week, to see if I can pedal home the produce. So here's to changing habits and farmer's markets, just in case you decide to change yours!

As for the cloth toilet paper, I haven't a hope of convincing Paula, but she hasn't complained (yet) about the mysterious appearance of cloths hanging on nails next to the toilet, haha... maybe just start with yourself and if Kristen wants to join in but feels icky you could offer to sew her a separate set out of a different fabric? Or suggest she just use it for one wee a day and you wash the cloths or something...? It might ease her into it!

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