Last year I set two mini-resolutions (new habits).
The first was to hand-wash my personal dishes every night. Rom and I alternate making dinner, and whoever cooks also cleans up, giving the other the night off. However, after work, I stack containers from my work-lunch-bag next to the sink. They join my breakfast dishes waiting there since morning. Then I pile on dishes from evening snacks (maybe bowls I used for pretzels and grapes). Then they sit there until the next morning when I need some of them for my work lunch again.
When Rom moved in, he was personally affronted by this. He washes his personal dishes every night without fail. If I leave mine by the sink, he feels as if I’m leaving them for him to wash!
I actually have another motive – I don’t like to wash dishes under running water or fill up a sink with water for just a few items. So I rinse them and wait until I have a sink full to wash.
We do use the dishwasher but we only have enough to run a full load about once a week, and I need my work lunch containers sooner than that! I suppose I could buy many duplicates of my favourite lunch containers and put them all in the dishwasher!
So, out of consideration for Rom, I now wash my own personal dishes every night. I would say I’m at 6 days out of 7. Not sure why it isn’t automatic by now – something in me is resisting!
The second new habit was to stop automatically using hot/warm water every time I rinse something under the kitchen tap. I thought, why use more electricity to heat the water when cold would do? This was less successful. The cold water feels like it hurts my hands. Our cold water in winter is really cold. In fact. I’ve heard we shouldn’t use it for a “cold water wash” for laundry because it is too cold! (The water is supposed to be over 15C for clothes to get clean, apparently). So whenever I rinse dishes or wash produce, I try to make do with cold, at least momentarily.
Of course I could use kitchen gloves, but that is such a big production – as long as I have to put the gloves on, I might as well actually wash those dishes, haha!
This year I will continue on with my habits since I’ve made good progress.
I am trying a somewhat bigger challenge this year. Rom and I have been “vegetarians at home” for over 7 years now. We are occasionally flexible about it, but have stood fast with not buying and preparing meat at home, and not trying to make up for it by ordering meat-based meals at restaurants. This is mainly due to environmental concerns. However, I consume a lot of dairy and we both eat eggs. Rom has always drunk soy milk so I’ve decided to give it a go. I’ve always known the the dairy industry is bad for animal welfare but I’ve always managed to overlook it out of convenience for myself 😦
I have tried various plant “milks” and I’ve chosen not to go with rice, cashew, almond or coconut because they are all very low in nutrients compared to cow’s milk. Locally, it seems only soy milk is supplemented with vitamins D and B12 to the same level as cow’s milk, and also has high protein. I have read that oat milk is best for the environment (there are also oat milk brands grown and prepared in Canada) but I haven’t found a brand with the right taste for my purposes yet. To wit, cow’s milk is quite sweet with its lactose, but the Canadian oat milk brands are unsweetened, and quite bitter in coffee or cereal.
I’ve been using soy milk in cereal and coffee (even lattes) for about 3-4 weeks and have become quite used to it. I have 3 or 4 flavoured black teas I can drink without milk, but regular tea with soy is impossible. It has a taste that interferes with the taste of the tea. Debating if I could just give up “regular” tea.
I have tried 3 kinds of non-dairy yogurt substitutes. The first two, one almond and one coconut, were “set” with gelatin substitutes and were nothing like the creamy yogurt I’m used to. Happily, the Silk brand was good. I am wondering if having things like chia puddings could wean me off yogurt.
I have no idea what I am going to do about cheese. I would normally have cheese to eat by itself, not just for cooking. I didn’t get off on a good foot with Daiya but next to try is the local brand Fauxmage!
Similarly, I am fine with scrambled tofu instead of eggs, and have no issue with egg substitutes in baking, but what about hard-boiled? We do buy free-range, local organic eggs…
If all else fails, I will pay up for organic dairy, even though I know it is a half-measure.
In all, I have a lot of decisions to make about how committed I am and what I’m willing to give up. Meanwhile, if you are a vegan reader of this blog, please be patient with my small steps. I am trying to think of the dairy switch as a series of small habits so I won’t get too intimidated and quit.
Do you have any new habits in mind for 2020?