Posts filed under ‘guilty displeasures’

Raw Shame

oreoThis is kind of embarrassing. I go all the way into Manhattan to score some raw milk (which is illegal but shouldn’t be, because it’s delicious and wholesome), and then I come home and soil it with an Oreo cookie. Oreos are made from highly processed ingredients, they’re “chocolate” cookies, but the very last ingredient listed on their packaging is chocolate, and they’re made by Nabisco, which is owned by R.J. Reynolds and is one of those big nasty food/tobacco/evil companies.

It was really tasty. I really shouldn’t buy Oreos. From now on I’m just going to make my own cookies, or even better I’ll make Boyfriend make them for me.


June 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm 2 comments

Pine Sol without Pine

cleaningWith all the gardening and soil hauling that I’ve been doing this week, my floors have gotten really nasty and muddy. Yesterday I attempted to address this problem with a little mop action. Of course, my floors are already muddy again, but that’s not my point. My point is this: what the F am I doing with a bottle of lemon-scented Pine Sol under my sink?

Pine Sol, on its own, is really not that bad. Its active ingredient is pine oil, which is a natural cleaning agent that comes from distilling the needles and wood of pine trees. The cleanser also includes alkyl alcohol ethoxylates, which are toxic if you consume them and hazardous in large quantities but also totally biodegradable, as well as isopropanol, which is basically rubbing alcohol. The cleanser also has some sodium petroleum sulfonate, which is basically oil-based soap. While you wouldn’t want to drink Pine Sol, or rub it on your skin, it’s probably not the worst thing (from an environmental perspective) to clean your floors with.

But still – lemon scented Pine Sol? I can’t even remember buying this stuff. I generally clean my house with vinegar, lemon juice, and the occasional “natural” cleanser that I buy from natural foods stores when I’m feeling fancy (note: the Seventh Generation bottle pictured above is about 3 years old and currently contains a vinegar-water solution). Pine Sol is a product of the Clorox Company, which is on the cutting-edge of greenwashing after having bought out Burt’s Bees and with its “Green Works” products (CLOROX: disposable wipes will never be “green”, please stop making them!). (more…)

April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Lazy blogger, mediocre environmentalist


It’s been over a month since I last wrote here, and I don’t really have an excuse. I think it’s because I keep coming up with blog topics that are kind of hard to research and/or comply with. Someone recently told me that it actually slows down your boiling water if you add salt to it first – I always have added salt in the beginning because I thought it sped up the process. Does anyone know what the truth is? I’m too lazy to look it up, but I would really like to know whether I’m wasting a ton of energy trying to heat up salty water all the time.

I’ve also been thinking about greening up my cat’s litter situation, but I’m totally hooked on Fresh Step (which is clay-based and not at all green, plus it costs about $10 a box). I’m not at all interested in potty-training my cats, (more…)

April 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

Not Terribly Green Meal (but yummy, nonetheless)


The other night Boyfriend and I made a tasty dinner out of a mix of some green but mostly conventional ingredients. This is kind of how all of my meals look these days, as I’ve been out of work and pinching pennies. Although there are lots of ways to save money while still eating green, I haven’t been leaving my neighborhood much (the little work I’ve been doing of late has been from my couch), and there isn’t a lot of organic and sustainable food in Bushwick (yet! – this weekend we had a great discussion about this).

Anyway, here’s the meal broken down:

The potatoes are from my local grocery store, and I picked them out because they were labeled “eastern potatoes,” which I assumed meant they were kind of local but I have no clue whether or not that’s true. I sliced them up and fried them in olive oil (pricey, but good for you) – a technique that I learned from my Step Dad, who traditionally makes these kinds of fries to go with big weekend bacon-and-eggs breakfasts.

The rolls, tomatoes and arugula came from the grocery store, and although the rolls were baked locally, the rest probably hailed from California or Mexico. (more…)

March 9, 2009 at 9:58 pm 1 comment

Clean Slate

holiday_tableThe holidays. They’re over now (phew), but I’m still feeling the aftershocks. It’s time for a confession.

Christmas is about gifts, and this year I bought a lot of them, made a couple (too few), and received even more. There might be a recession on, and Americans might have experienced a leaner holiday this year, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the mountain of loot that I brought home on December 26th. It’s worth noting that a few of the consumer goods I received were fairly green – I got a compost bin, some gardening tools, and a gift certificate to buy vegetable seeds from Seeds of Change. I also wrapped the presents that I gave in the paper that I saved last year. But for the most part, this Christmas was a nauseating display of consumption and waste.

And there was also food. Too much of it. And lots of alcohol to wash it down. I ate until my stomach hurt on more than one occasion, and threw a New Years party which resulted in a morning-after recycling bag full of bottles and cans whose girth rivaled that of my 1995 volvo sedan. Even a couple of days ago I caught myself eating and drinking to the point of gluttony, excusing my behavior with the pathetic phrase, “it’s the holidays, right?” No, it wasn’t the holidays. It was January.

And it still is January, which means that I’ve still got an opportunity to repent for my holiday season sins (more…)

January 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Welcome Back, Me


Hi! It’s me, Gwen. Remember me? I write this blog. Or I did, as recently as eight short months ago. Since I last wrote, I have been driving a 1995 Volvo sedan around the mighty USA, spewing carbon and other nasties into the air at about 28 miles per gallon. I’ve been eating roadside beef and American cheese, hanging out in towns with no recycling services, and living in an Alaskan home that gets its water trucked in on a monthly basis. The closest I’ve come to composting is throwing an apple core out the window of my moving car. And that’s really just littering.

Tsk tsk.

But now I’m back in New York, ready to repent for my eco sins by riding the subway, getting a new job in the environmental sector, and moving into an apartment with a back yard (soon to be my garden). I’m going to push the New York recycling system to its extreme, conserve electricity using the time-tested method of turning out the lights, and shop with near exclusivity at my favorite grocery store in the world – the Union Square Greenmarket.

And we’re selling the car. That’s right, the car’s gotta go. New York is no place for a Volvo, and Boyfriend and I could certainly use the cash (remember $5 gas? we were on our way to Alaska during that golden age).

So here we go. Back to blog land, and back to a never-green-enough lifestyle.

November 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Super Repentance


Yesterday was perhaps the most American of days (excluding Xmas, 4th of July, and this coming Thursday, which I’m sure I don’t have to remind you is the first day of Chinese New Year). My friends and I gathered around the TV and put on the game, and treated ourselves to a feast fit for about 300 sumo wrestlers. There were ten of us.

Now, it’s not like I eat this way every day. The Superbowl is a special day, where we’re all given a free pass to binge on salty, fatty, orange-colored foods. It’s part of what makes America great. Right?

No, not right. Aside from the crippling stomach situation that resulted from my 8-course meal (consisting mainly of chips, cream, cheese, cream cheese, salt and beer), the feast left me with a soul-ache. This had a lot to do with the fact that most of the food I procured for the event wasn’t seasonal or organic (except for the salsa and some of the chips). And it had a whole lot to do with the sheer amount of food that my cohorts and I stuffed so willingly into our faces. (more…)

February 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm 1 comment

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