Saturday, May 9, 2009

Getting Myself Through Exams

Yesterday, my friend B told me that she really liked my vegetarianism because I just try to do the best I can.

It's true. In the weeks since my six week vegetarian experiment ended, I have eaten meat about once a week to once every two weeks. And it's been great. Flexible vegetarianism, or as its called, flexitarianism, has allowed me to stay mainly vegetarian, but still enjoy a few pieces of sushi, or try a friend's famous burgers at a barbecue. I feel healthy, I have less guilt, I'm eating significantly less meat, but I don't feel deprived. Good for me, good for the planet.

As you might have guessed from my personal challenges followed by my great wave of soda drinking, I tend to be an all or nothing kind of girl. I'm either fully committed or not. And it's hard, sometimes for me to accept compromises and find balance.

But I'm trying.

Lately my eating habits (aside from the lack of meat) have been a total disaster. I feel like I have no time to cook or shop, but I also feel like I can't give up on cooking from scratch or buying from the bulk food store. Thus I continue to order my organic veg delivery which then sits on my counter and rots as I put off going to the bulk food store for the other ingredients I would need. The end result is that my vegetables rot, I eat Subway all the time because when push comes to shove, I have to eat something from somewhere, I spend more money than I need, and I throw away a ton of garbage. Bad for me, bad for the planet.

Today I was at a coffee shop studying, and I decided to pop into the grocery store and pick up some milk. As I walked into the store, something clicked. I grabbed a cart, ganked some plastic bags from the store's recycle bin (don't you love that trick when you don't have any bags handy?), and started loading up my cart. Cereal, trail mix, dates, hummus, crackers, bread, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, sauce, stuff I can drum up in a matter of minutes.

I mean, look. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have bought pasta in plastic, but would have managed a trip to the bulk food store. In a perfect world I might make my own hummus. But I'm not perfect, neither is life, and I have to get myself through the next month and a half in one piece. Is the organic Green and Black version of Nutella that I bought the healthiest thing for me or the planet? Probably not, but it beats buying chocolate bars at three in the morning from the vending machine.

On Monday I'm cancelling my veg delivery until exams end. I'm disappointed that I can't make myself cook these days, but I recognize that feeling guilty, beating myself up, and then continuing in the same cycle of bad habits isn't a particularly good strategy. I can't make the perfect the enemy of the good enough for now.

Man, I can't wait for exams to be over.


Farmer's Daughter said...

You need to take care of your exams first, and the planet later. You can't be a steward to the earth if you don't take care of yourself first.

JessTrev said...

Also? Since I live in DC, hopefully your new hometown, I'll point out that your exams are for an education that you're going to put to use to help the planet. And here in DC I have a bunch of friends who are so busy doing big picture stuff helping the planet that they sometimes don't do the small picture lifestyle stuff that I have time to do (since I'm no global policy changer). What I'm trying to say is, right on! You do what you can, what is reasonable to expect of yourself in the moment.

Green Bean said...

You are on the right path. You do as much as you sanely can when you can. And that has to be good enough. Enjoy your Green & Blacks Nutella.

Going Crunchy said...

In a perfect world we wouldn't have marathon study sessions and exams to cram for. In a perfect world you might have an open salad bar for studying students. Until then, you sound like you are doing pretty good to me! In school I lived off midnight coffee in Waffle House as a I crammed - so you're already doing tons better than most of us!

P.S. And I sometimes get Subway without plastic - and you can get a paper cup for coffee instead of plastic and take it home to recycle.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

You're allowed to do whatever the hell you want during exams. During my finals I stopped cooking and loaded up the freezer with Marks and Spencer's ready meals, something I'd never done before or since. Get some sleep, exercise and fresh air, but eat and drink whatever you want, listen to whatever crappy music you want, watch trashy TV on your breaks, and don't feel guilty! This is not normal life, this is not the normal you.

Oh, and GOOD LUCK for your exams!