money · sustainable diet

Sustainable diet and its impact on my weight and my wallet

Ever since I started being more conscious about the impact I have on the environment, I tried keeping my diet more sustainable. The first step was to eliminate meat from my diet while keeping diary products.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. I wasn’t feeling that great and my energy was down.

I blame it on the fact that I’m a picky eater and I didn’t have much variety in the diet. No doubt I was missing some nutrients.

Nevertheless, I added the meat back into my diet, though I try to keep it to only one meal a week (which ends up being two lunches a week).

That stumble didn’t change my mind though. I still try to keep my diet as sustainable as possible and limit as much plastic and packaging as possible. And to keep myself motivated, I started to track it all, so see if I was making any progress.

I decided to track three aspects:

  • How much plastic and other waste I was bringing in (in packaging)
  • How much money I spent on food
  • How far could I stretch that food

The Set-Up:

Now my data gathering wasn’t exactly pristine. I got seriously sick in August and was recovering after the bout of antibiotics. Staying at home meant that I wasn’t snacking as much on plastic-wrapped snacks as I usually did while at the office. I also got really good at bringing my lunch to work. But there were days I forgot and that impacted my food budget.

Now to the results:

How much plastic and other waste I was bringing in (in packaging)

Though it wasn’t easy, I managed to successfully kick my snacking habit. In fact, I completely stopped going to the convenience store in my office building which sustained my snacking habit in the past. So that whole packaging stopped being an issue in my life.

I also recently noticed that my mom, who does the majority of grocery shopping in our family started reusing the small plastic bags we already have in our house for packing up veggies from our local veggie stand. And she started refusing plastic bags for veggies that can be transported loose, like cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers. So that’s a huge victory in that department.

How much money I spent on food

Eliminating snacks did impact my food budget. Where it used to come up over 350PLN (that’s all for snacks and fast food, our home grocery budget is separate) pretty consistently, I managed to pull it back to under 200 PLN per month these past three months. I’m relatively certain that if I manage to kick off (or at least significantly limit) my pizza habit, I’ll be able to cut it back even more.

Our home grocery budget was also impacted as I try to avoid processed foods, though the change is less visible there because veggies in Poland aren’t always cheap…

How far could I stretch that food

Measuring this aspect was the most challenging. Because mine is a two-person household, I don’t have control over a lot of variables. So I focused on what I was actually eating. This morphed into watching what I ate and controlling food portions.

So for the first week, I logged everything I ate and checked the macronutrients on those meals to get a better grip on what I was actually eating. It turned out I was actually overeating.

As a result, I was able to cut the portions of my meals and while I still pay close attention to macronutrients and calories to make sure I don’t go overboard I now eat less.

Unsurprisingly, I’m losing a little weight on top of all the money I’m saving and all the plastic I’m refusing.

I’m considering this experiment a success and plan on continuing with everything as I go forward.

There’s of course still room for improvement. But one small step at the time. Wish me luck!

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