My Green Journey – one quarter in…


A much healthier-looking top shelf

In Happy Endings, really a post about beginning than ending, I described the conversation that was the origin of my green journey. The theme of that particular WordPress challenge was “Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

I was giving up an unhealthier way of eating and I am pleased to report at the end of the journey’s first quarter, it is working. It may well be working because many of the changes that I have made have been small in nature but large in effect.

Reduced caffeine

I used to churn through a half dozen or more cups of coffee a day. I’m now down to one coffee a day. True, it is the bannofee described here that fills a 700ml smoothie mug I only have one a day, the coffee component is just one normal cup of coffee, the remainder being two bananas and a cup of almond milk, usually unsweetened. So I’m saving in coffee consumption and I am sleeping way better – not as long now but the sleep I get is sooooo much better.

The only time when I will have a coffee that’s not from home is when I am with someone socially – that is really no change from pre-Journey – but I am more likely to consider, if the option is available, a non-diary option…or I might just say “Starbucks, do your worst…” the nearest Starbucks is at least two hours driving from here so it’s not a big risk…

Reduced dairy

I’ve dropped my milk intake right back. It would be down to zero but I had a few litres, quite a few litres, of milk stored in the freezer that I am disposing of the traditional way. Once that is gone, the only cow milk, I’ll have here will be frozen in small bottles, about 250ml each, for cooking and any other circumstance where an alternate milk type won’t cut it. Those bottles will be the smoothie bottles above: they were reduced to $1.99 and, even full, were cheaper than any empty bottle the same size that I could find. I could have done the same with cream bottles but disposing of the original contents may have been defeating the purpose.

I’ve also got a few kilograms of cheese in the freezer and am slower disposing of that in the traditional manner. I am keeping a small quantity of mozzarella and parmesan around as I have yet to identify a suitably tasty non-dairy substitute for these specialist cheeses.One of my original objections in Happy Endings was that there was no life without cheese but I did find and make with relative ease a non-dairy cheese recipe that not only met the requirement but which is easier and less messy to make than dairy cheese (note to self: write up and share notes from non-dairy cheese experiment).

Cream remains a necessary staple for desserts although my sugar not-quite-craving has reduced substantially and so thus has the numbers of desserts prepared.  Beyond an occasional (less than once a week) non-dairy ice cream in a cone, I hardly ever have dessert now unless I am entertaining (well, I am always entertaining: what I mean is when we have guests for dinner). But you cannot have butterscotch pudding or brandy cream on waffles without real cream from a real cow.


I didn’t notice any real change when I swapped almond milk for cow milk but I definitely felt slower and heavier as soon as I went back to cow milk and dairy cheese. I don’t need much more incentive than that to stay my healthy course so far as dairy is concerned.I used to have an off-the-shelf iced coffee with my emergency breakfast i.e. those mornings when coordination and organisation are sub-optimal,  from the garage in National Park but it made me feel the same way so I’ve dropped that as well.

I mainly use almond milk in cups of tea and coffee and in my pretty-much-daily bannofees; and rice milk for bulk applications like on my breakfast muesli. The rice milk is cheaper than the almond milk and useful when the main purpose of the ‘milk’ is to soak. Drinks taste slightly different with almond milk, not better or worse, just different, and I notice that the original taste of the drink remains more distinct than with cow milk. After an awesome coconut coffee at Eat in Ohakune a couple of weeks ago, I am going to try using coconut milk for those (now) rare occasions, mainly when we have guests, that I have a normal coffee, like, with no bananas. After my pretty-much successful pumpkin spice latte, I am confident that I can froth up coconut milk much the same way as normal milk…


I had more to say on this than I thought…to be continued…