May 28, 2008

Chile Chews' Quit Now Challenge

Okay, I've gone and joined another challenge to keep me moving. I love perusing other blogs on sustainable living and gardening, and one of my favorites is Chile Chews. For the month of June, Chile is sponsoring a challenge that requires participants to quit one of their "addictions." She's cleverly called it the Quit Now Challenge. Here's an excerpt of her post announcing the challenge.

When money, resources, time, and energy are in short supply, addictions will become far more of a hindrance than just something to be tolerated. So, for the month of June, I'm going to ask you to give up at least one of your addictions, preferably the one that is the most harmful to you and that could most complicate your life in the future...

Perhaps your addiction is more behavior-oriented. Do you spend mindless hours in front of the television or surfing nonsense websites? Do you talk on the phone to your friends for hours, as an escape from work you need to do, rather than because you are building a relationship? Do you spend hours browsing catalogs or shopping at thrift stores when you actually have everything you need already?

As you can see, these are not necessarily addictions in the traditional sense, but could be a less-than-sustainable behavior you'd like to stop (e.g. excessive tv watching or shopping), a food or beverage you should really cut back on (e.g. coffee, chocolate, cookies or tea), or just about anything think you will need to eliminate or cut back on as we approach a peak oil scenario.

Now, I'm nowhere as far down the road to sustainability as all the other folks who have already signed up for this challenge. But I know I need to start somewhere, so I'm willing to start small and work my way up to something more significant. The first thing that came to mind is the fact that I eat lunch out nearly every day. I know, not particularly sustainable, but suddenly switching to bringing my lunches from home may not be a simple shift, and I'm not ready to start that change right when I'm also trying to work on lots of other things. So, without further ado, I'd like to announce that I'll be eating vegetarian lunches for the month of June. I know it seems insignificant, but it's a small enough step that I should be able to keep it going after the challenge is up...then I'll move onto the next challenge of figuring out how to bring my own lunch...


Chile said...

Veg lunches are a great plan. I wanted to give you some ideas, too, for your future plans. (Got kinda long ...)

Maybe you can follow your own advice and start small with bringing your lunches from home. Start with bringing your lunch one day a week. Mondays would be easy because you'd have the weekend to make sure to pack something. Then work up to twice a week and so on.

The way I deal with my sweetie's lunches is to try to make more dinner than we need. Before we go back for seconds, if we want them, I pack his lunch for the next day. If there wasn't enough food, he puts rice in the rice cooker first thing in the morning. By the time he's ready to leave, it's done. He can top it with leftover veggies, BBQ sauce, or salsa. Frozen veggies are also an easy addition. (Note: we're vegan.) Potatoes or sweet potatoes cooked in the microwave are another last minute morning option, unless I've baked a large batch at once in the oven. Baked potatoes will keep for a work week.

For a snack, I send some kind of baked good. Every other week or so, I bake a large batch of something for lunches - muffins, bars, quick bread, etc. Then I freeze them. If we have fruit from the CSA, he takes a piece of that.

Debbie said...

It doesn't sound insignificant to me, it sounds like a great challenge!

Eating out is a big problem for me too (in my case it's dinner, since I work second shift), one that I'm also working on.

Lori said...

I admit that I didn't give you all the details when I said that I'm not ready to bring my lunch to work right now. You see, due to space constraints in my office right now, my choices are to bring my own lunch and eat at my desk (which I despise!) or leave my desk to go out and eat. I hope it doesn't sound like an excuse (or maybe it is), but I've found that I'm happier and better adjusted when I can get away from my desk for a while and focus on something more than a foot or two in front of my face. As a bonus, I get to to hang out with co-workers and/or friends for a bit in the middle of the day.

So, while we do often follow your trick of making too much food for dinner, we tend to eat the leftovers the next night rather than for lunch the next day.

The good news on the lunch front is that our company will soon be moving into new office space that we designed ourselves (yep, being a bunch of architects comes in handy sometimes), and that will have a lunchroom where I can heat up my food and eat it away from my desk while still being social with co-workers. So come late August or early September, I plan to ramp up my lunch-making skills.

Who knows, I may surprise myself by taking your suggestion to bring lunch once a week, eating it relatively quickly, and going for a walk around downtown once in a while. Hmm, I'm already thinking about which co-worker(s) can I con into joining me in this adventure...

At any rate, thanks for all your suggestions for yummy and quick lunch options!

Lori said...

Thanks for the support, and good luck with your efforts to kick the eating-out habit!