This weekend, I got to hang out with my friend Lauren Singer of the environmental blog, Trash is For Tossers. Lauren and I were introduced this past fall by mutual friends who thought we should meet. Lauren not only is a rad chick, but she's making serious moves in her life and is full of drive and ambition. Lauren also holds an insane amounts of knowledge about humans and their environmental impact. Lauren lives in Brooklyn and leads a zero waste lifestyle. She does not use plastic items. She brings her own napkins to restaurants. She asks her cocktail servers for no straws in her bloody mary's. She produces one mason jar full of trash per year.
Lauren's mission is to teach humans how to live a full, vibrant, and fun life without the waste. You don't have to have poor hygiene and wear dreadlocks in care about the environment.
Lauren's story is especially interesting to me, because of how she got to where she is now. She was a lively NYU environmental student, attending protests to ban fracking and scoffing at people who didn't bring their own bags to the grocer's. Then she took a look at herself and realized she was one of those people! She was still using paper cups from Starbucks and still buying bagged lettuce wrapped in plastic. It was in that moment of clarity that Lauren decided to change herself before trying to change the environment around her. Step by step, Lauren began to live a life that finally aligned with her preachings and beliefs about the environment.
To me, Lauren is inspiring because she is an amazing example of how one human can start a movement. We must take a deep, hard look at ourselves before we judge others of their choices. I love surrounding myself with people who are ambitious and inspiring. It motivates me to push myself harder.
Lauren and I decided to produce a zero waste smoothie bowl. Her knowledge of the environment married with my knowledge of smoothie bowls (and food as a whole) made out for a crazy day in my kitchen full of laughter and lots of good food.
Lauren and I started by meeting at Integral Yoga Natural Foods in the West Village of Manhattan. Lauren's tips for shopping zero waste style:
Mason Jars Lauren brought 6-8 mason jars for us to fill our smoothie bowl toppings in instead of using plastic bags
Tote bag bring a tote bag so you don't have to use their plastic or paper bags
Clothe Bags to keep your fruits & vegetables in, in place of plastic
Buy your produce seasonally resist the temptation to buy berries in the winter if you live in NYC like we do. They travel far to get to you! If you do, buy organic.
Buy your produce loosely skip the bagged spinach. Instead, buy the spinach that comes bundled and place it in a tote bag
BULK This is obvious, but buying in bulk saves so much waste. We don't realize how much packaging we use until we look at our cupboards. Buying in bulk is not also environmentally friendly but wallet-friendly as well.
For the smoothie bowl flavors, I decided on an avocado, turmeric, banana, and spinach base with a plethora of fresh and dried toppings including coconut shreds, flax seeds, crushed almonds.
I taught Lauren how to make my almond milk from scratch. Lesson trade off was definitely real that day!
Recipe (Makes 2 Servings)
3 previously peeled and frozen bananas
1 cup homemade almond milk from scratch
1/8 cup turmeric (zero waste tip:save the peels and submerge them in tea for a turmeric tea)
1/4 ripe avocado
3 cups of organic loose spinach (or any green of your choice, really)
3 medjool dates (compost the pits)
Put into your Vitamix and blend baby, blend!
For toppings, we used coconut shreds, flax seeds, pomegranate seeds, and blood oranges. One bowl was topped with my homemade buckini (buckwheat granola) and another with rawnola. Both were equally delicious!
I taught Lauren about the art of toppings and how to get everything to look nice. At the end of the day, I let her do her thing and get creative with her bowl because you can't stop those creative juices, baby.
All photos by my friend Keith Morrison.