Sunday, June 14, 2015

Little Green Trash Saver

This post is one that I've struggled with quite a bit. Each time I've attempted to write it, I've found my writing falling into the realm of preachy-ness and hypocrisy. I don't like it, and I know no one wants to read it. So keeping that in mind, here goes.

In the last several years, I have come to be really offended by trash, and products that create a lot of it. Trash is offensive to me two ways. The first is the fact that trash is useless STUFF that goes to a place to be STUFF until the end of time. That is the end of the line. The other thing is the fact that this STUFF is made out of resources. These resources are taken from the earth or are made by materials and energy taken from the earth. Not to sound super granola or anything, but we only have one earth and allowing ourselves to use up finite resources and space at the rate that we currently are seems rather silly to me. (And that's putting it lightly.)

For these reasons, there are a few things that are super popular on the market today that make me super sad; K-cups, styrofoam food containers, disposable plastic table cloths (and basically all other disposable party supplies,) just to name a few. In my opinion, these are nothing but trash-creating, ecological disasters in the making. Our need for convenience and time-saving has begun to take over not only our resources, but our beautiful land and pocketbooks as well. No matter what the market tells us, we don't need these things. We really don't.

Another example of a very popular product that falls into this category are pureed food pouches. It all started when apple sauce was put into little foil pouches with a screw on top that could be easily eaten by messy children without creating the mess. Now they take up half the baby food aisle, with all kinds of different flavors in fruit/veggie combinations.

They may be lighter and easier to transport than glass baby food jars (saving on fossil fuels, which is good) and a simple way to get a picky baby/toddler to eat their fruits and vegetables in a non-messy manner, but the trash it creates kind of makes me want to pull my hair out. Each one of those pouches has an active lifetime for, at most, 10 minutes. Then it becomes a useless piece of trash. And those things have GIANT screw on plastic tops to boot (which are made out of fossil fuels). None of this can be recycled. Sure, TerraCycle recycles them, but sending anything to TerraCycle is a pain in the ass, and most people haven't even heard of them, so at this point, it doesn't count.

But guess what? There are others who share my disgust for food pouches. These wonderful, ingenious people have invented reusable, refillable plastic food pouches. There are several different brands out there, but at our homestead, we use the Little Green Pouch. It has a similar large plastic screw-on top, a super strong zip top, and is dishwasher safe. It is BPA, phthalate, lead, and PVC free, and is made of a very sturdy material. I love it, and so does Eddy. She fell in love with it the first time I gave it to her full of apple sauce. She instinctively knew what to do, and loved the independence it gave her. (So for this reason, I totally understand the draw of the food pouch. It's a great way to feed kids and they learn to have some independence, which for moms, is something that we yearn for for our children. Win-win. I don't blame the mother at the grocery store who buys them a dozen or more at a time. I really don't. I just wish everyone knew about these reusable ones.)

I like to mix half plain and half flavored yogurts for a less sugary option.
Now every time Eddy sees one, she points at it and begs me to give it to her. The smile that spreads across her face when I pull one out is pretty sweet. The cool part is it can be filled with anything. Lately she's really been in to apple sauce and yogurt. I just buy large tubs of the stuff and fill the pouches in the morning and pack it in her lunch that she takes to daycare. Sure, I do have to wash them each night, but didn't I mention they are dishwasher safe? They don't take that much space in the dishwasher and it's a sacrifice I'm totally fine with making to prevent the creation of tons of garbage. Large jars of apple sauce and yogurt are recyclable, so there's ZERO trash that results from Eddy's weekly snacks. AND, buying things in bulk like this is WAY cheaper than buying individual pre-packaged sizes. So much winning.

The options of what to put into them are pretty endless. Eddy, like most toddlers, is not one to just eat her vegetables. So I, like most moms, have to think about ways to hide nutritious plants in the food that she likes. I always have ice cubes of pureed super greens in the freezer, so one of those mixed into pureed fruit is an easy way for Eddy to ingest some salad with her snack. We went to the Sounders game the other day and I packed a pouch-full of yogurt and apple sauce that she happily ate while cheering on the rave green.

Another benefit to the pouches we discovered when Eddy was prescribed antibiotics for an endless cough and runny nose. We struggled for the first several days getting the meds into her, with lots of crying, lots of fighting, and lots of meds being wasted as she spit them out. We basically ruined her trust for us. She didn't want to eat anything that came from a spoon, and foods that looked suspicious were out of the question. She mastered the eyes-closed, whiny, furious shaking of the head. We were all miserable. Then two things happened. We switched antibiotics to one that was less bitter, and I introduced the Little Green Pouch into the mix. I found that the meds were nearly flavorless in yogurt, and Eddy sucks down anything that's in one of those without thinking twice. That pouch came to the rescue and Eddy finished her round of of antibiotics with a smile on her face.

I can't say enough about these things. They bring Eddy an incredible amount of joy, and it's a joy that comes with nutrition and no trash. This brings be joy. When we're both joyful, life is excellent. Who doesn't want that?

So please, next time you're thinking about stocking up on food pouches, think about giving these a try. They do require a tiny bit more of your time and effort, but I think that's a small sacrifice we can all make to take care of our lovely little earth. It really is lovely.

They are an instant crying stopper as well.

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