My January self-challenges: go real (food) or go home, no TV, no dryer

January Self-Challenge!

Ok, time to start putting my daily practices where my mouth is. Time to start walkin’ the talk. During my year of switching to as much of a “homesteading” way of life as possible while still living in a suburb, I’ve got to learn new skills (and learn to do without). I am going to challenge myself each month to new ways of doing things, some more radical to me than others, but all in the name of getting used to more self-sufficiency.

And the idea is for the challenge topics to take root as habits and stick around long after the month is over.

So for January, I’m challenging myself to…

  • Switch to a real/traditional foods diet. I’ve already started this over the past couple of weeks, and honestly I’m so excited about it that it’s not really going to be much of a challenge. Well, ok, learning to use sprouted & soaked grains instead of refined flour will be a challenge. And, er, affording pastured meats on my budget will be a challenge. But I’m ready to learn to plan ahead and to switch around my shopping list, making do without some other things (such as diet soda) in order to afford it. So we’ll see. My diet will include pastured dairy & meats (raw dairy if I can find it), fermented foods, no processed “food,” no additives/colors/etc, no nitrites, no MSG (already have cut that out), no fake sugars…and the no fake sugars thing means no more Diet Coke. For all my moving to better eating, I still drink that crap. But not this month! My roommate thinks it’s impossible to cut out, lol, and she’ll still be drinking hers. So the temptation will be there. But lately I’ve so enjoyed drinking milk with meals that I actually haven’t wanted any soda. Let’s see how I feel in a week or so…
  • No TV. This just means no turning on the tv set…I do enjoy several TV shows, but I will watch them all online. I don’t turn the TV on that much to begin with, since most commercials seem to trigger latent homicidal tendencies in me, but if I know I can’t watch the set, I expect to want to. So I’m challenging myself not to use it. My laptop is all the entertainment center I need (and hey, it’s an Energy Star appliance, and my older, large-and-in-the-way TV is not).
  • No clothes dryer. This one should be a no-brainer; I live in Florida, where there is plenty of sun, so drying clothes outside shouldn’t be that much of a hassle. My goals are to learn to live without this particular energy & money eater; I plan to do this challenge again in August when the electric bill typically skyrockets due to A/C. I expect the hard part of this will be getting into the habit of actually taking laundry outside & hanging it (which might take 20 minutes)  instead of just tossing it into the dryer (which takes a minute or two), as well as dealing with weather patterns (five days of rain will crimp drying plans or result in clothes hung willy-nilly around my living spaces). But like changing my eating habits, it just means getting used to a bit more planning and learning to deal with the unexpected.

I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

P.S. My roommate just came back from the thrift store with a hand-crank meat grinder that she got for $5! Just the other day I was looking at pre-packaged sausage at my local supermarket, and was instantly disgusted to see that every d*mn brand had MSG in it. When I mentioned it to roomie, she said we could just get a meat grinder & some pork and make our own sausage (she’s a more advanced cook than I am). I’d never considered doing that, and I suppose I didn’t realize it was possible. Duuuuh me! *smacks forehead* So we said hey, we’ll both keep an eye out for a grinder. Then lo & behold, today she finds one! Check it out:



Look at that beauty! I can’t wait to try it out. One more step toward controlling what goes into my body!

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  1. Make sure your lease/neighborhood association permits outdoor clothes drying. I know several people who have been fined because it is banned in their complex/neighborhood. Too “white trash”, doncha know. I’m hoping to buy a house this spring and I DARE anyone to make a peep about my clothesline.

  2. Cyberdelia says:

    Hi Constance! Happily there’s no problem line-drying here; it’s an old subdivision & almost everyone has clotheslines (and privacy fences, woot! ;) ). But I hear ya…when I get my own place, I’m going to make sure it’s somewhere where the “old ways” are welcomed. :) Good luck with house-hunting!

  3. Cyberdelia says:

    Thanks, viggie! :)

  4. Thanks Cyberdelia! I used to air dry when I had a condo with a yard about the size of the bathroom. The warmth, the scent…I did it not to save money or the earth, but just because it FELT better. I still ran the dry clothes through the dryer, though. Whoever invented the lint filter should get the Nobel prize.

  5. Cyberdelia says:

    I love how we are more often than not instinctively drawn to things that are more natural & are better for us in so many ways…the ‘ole cells know, even if we try to make them forget, lol!

    I will admit though that I’m not yet sure how to deal with lint sans dryer…I’m gonna have to get creative.

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