Setting intentions for sustainable, mindful eating

Jan 13, 2019 | by Hawnuh Lee

setting intentions abstract green illustration

Welcome 2019! I’m finally ready to accept that it’s a new year and things keep moving forward, despite whether or not I’m ready for them. This blog, for instance. Closed Loop Cooking has given me a great start on my own low-impact journey but I have so much more in mind (and can’t wait to share with you all!) Scrap Supper is just the start! This new year will be one of setting intentions, purposefully making choices around sustainable, mindful eating. Best part is, we can do it together. I know I have big goals for myself around minimizing my material / food waste and eating holistically. If you’re reading this (hey mom!) there’s a good chance you might feel similarly. So let’s support each other as we think about ways we can approach low-impact / zero-waste living and fueling our minds + bods. I’ll dive into 10 manageable intentions we can implement to support sustainable, mindful eating.


Before we jump into intentions, it’s important to recognize where we are in our low-impact journey. Have you taken detailed note of your material consumption over 2018? Probably not, as I’m sure you have literally anything better to do. It’s tedious and can feel unimportant to keep track of these things. But as sustainability becomes top of mind for many folx, bringing awareness to what we eat and what we throw away is critical. Take a moment to consider in the last week how many paper towels you’ve used, how many take-out containers you’ve wishfully recycled, how many wilty vegetables you’ve discarded (even though you bought them with good intention, I feel you.) Each disposable item, every limp carrot or wilty green contributes to our waste production. Reflecting on what we’ve been using can help inform how each of us can make powerful, impactful change for the future.

You absolutely have the ability to influence waste production. Your choices matter.

Setting Intentions

Now that we’re aware (and possibly in shock) of our habitual material use let’s consider how to move forward. Setting intentions will help us mindfully reduce our waste, one paper towel at a time. The aim of having intentions is not to create insurmountable goals which will ultimately leave us feeling totally overwhelmed and unsure how to change. The aim here is to create mindfulness that will help us make manageable changes over time. This is an imperfect process, so don’t be nervous about trial and error. Heck I’m figuring this out with you as I go. I want to make this accessible for just about any lifestyle without feeling like you’re losing quality of life. But we have to start somewhere.

I intend to invest in more upcycled, reusable produce bags to avoid using plastic bags at the grocery store.

I may forget them on occasion but I will put them in a convenient location to remember them as best I can. (I keep one in my backpack at all times. Maybe keep them in your trunk or glove box!)

I intend to bring a reusable coffee mug to the coffee / tea shop if I’m taking a drink to go.

Otherwise I will ask for a washable mug and sip it there. I will be mindful of planning ahead so I don’t have to use a paper cup, sleeve, and plastic lid to drink something that tastes the same out of my travel cup.

I intend to use a dish cloth / towel over a paper towel whenever possible.

Eventually I intend to stop buying paper towels as I’ve figured out how to stop spilling so much dang tea out of my travel cup.

I intend to shop seasonally by purchasing more produce from the local farmer’s market.

I won’t have to wonder whether this random asparagus is supposed to be in the grocery store or not if I don’t see it.

I intend to prepare / store my produce in a way that makes it last longer.

I will get great use out of the leftover plastic containers I still have and continue to thrift / find glass jars to keep building my collection. I’ll make an effort to waste less produce through mindful prep.

I intend to find a use for all edible parts of a plant and share that information.

I want to spread education and introduce friends and family to new ideas that help reduce food waste.

I intend to eat mindfully by checking in with my body and listening to what it needs.

I’ll stress eat less by bringing awareness to my hunger and taking notes from how I feel after I eat something.

I intend to meal prep / plan ahead for meals (and share how to do that with y’all!) to make the most out of my ingredients.

Not to mention make my life easier.

I intend to learn more improvisational cooking techniques.

So that when occasion arises I can use what I have on hand to feed myself and others.

I intend to buy less (if any) packaged / processed foods.

Less packaging = less waste. If enough of us change this habit, the market will shift.

I encourage you to take some time to write out your own low-impact / zero-waste intentions for 2019. This journey will look different for each of us, so start with a few intentions that make sense. Build slowly and keep making progress towards sustainable habits. Take inspiration from this list and let me know what else you come up with. We can help keep each other accountable for change this year.

What’s on your intention list? #closedloopcooking

Stay hungry,
Hawnuh Lee
Closed Loop Cooking


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