Everything Zero-Waste Expert Lauren Singer Eats in a Day | Food Diaries | Harper’s BAZAAR


(upbeat music) – You ready to spend the day with us? Let’s go, come on! Hey everyone, it’s Sustainability
Week here at Bazaar. I’m Lauren Singer, and
I’m going to show you how I go through my entire day,
breakfast, lunch and dinner, without creating any trash,
any waste, or use any plastic. I’m going to walk you through my routine, starting with breakfast,
which I don’t eat, and haven’t eaten since I
was, probably, an infant. I think a lot of people
think that eating breakfast is super important, the most
important meal of the day, bla, bla, bla, but for me, I believe it’s more about listening to your body and what works for you. And what works for me, is just
having a nice cup of coffee, and taking my day slowly, and then going into
lunch and dinner later. I make my coffee in a French press. I do it because, one, I
drink a lot of coffee, and we can fit a lot of coffee in here, but two, because I buy bulk
grounds and I put them in here, and after I’m done with
my coffee I compost them in my freezer, bring them
to the farmer’s market. So it’s a really amazing, waste-free way, to enjoy what is the most
important moment of my day, besides cuddling with my dog, Rose. After I finish my coffee,
we are going to head out and go and buy some food for the day, so I’ll show you what I bring
when I go grocery shopping. So I’ve been living a zero-waste lifestyle for eight years now, and the
one thing that I’ve really learned is it comes
down to being prepared, and being prepared helps to prevent all of the circumstantial trash and waste that can enter your
day at any given point. When it comes to buying
food, I like to be prepared with things like silicon bags for produce. Mesh bags as well, for things
like bread and vegetables, and then I always like to
bring a second bag with me that’s expandable, in case I
decide to buy something extra. I don’t wanna have to get a paper bag or another type of carrying device, so this really helps
prevent all types of waste that I can encounter when
I’m shopping for food. I’m gonna throw all of this in my tote bag and head out to get some
ingredients, let’s go. (upbeat music) We’re here at Marlow & Daughters, it’s one of my favorite places to go in between farmer’s market trips or to grab bread or something that I need to supplement
in one of my meals. (upbeat music) Okay, just got back from the market, and I’ll show you what I got. And as you can see, totally plastic free, so it’s doable, possible,
easy, it happened. Usually when I make lunch
I try to keep it as healthy as possible, but make enough of it so that it can get me through the day. Very often I’m so busy
that I forget to eat, and I like to be really kind to myself and have enough ingredients,
or food made, on hand, so that when I am in a
situation where I’m rushing, that I’m not grabbing
something that’s packaged. I’m eating something
that’s really good for me, healthy real food. Even though I’m not always
the best to my body, I can treat it well when I can. So we’ll just do a big salad
of different cut up vegetables and call it a day. Some would call it a panzanella, but I just call it a
big-ass salad, with bread. I think something that I see a lot is people buying pre-washed
greens, instead of a whole head of lettuce, or
prepackaged cut vegetables instead of cutting them themselves. It takes, basically, zero time, and often you can get
non-cut items for less money. So you save money and you save waste. For me, composting is really easy. When I’m cooking I just take
any scraps that I would have, and I put them in a big bowl. When I’m done preparing
whatever I’m preparing, I take everything and put it
in another bowl made of metal that’s flexible in my freezer. And then every Saturday,
I take that out and put it in a paper bag that I find
in the recycling room, and I bring it to the
farmer’s market to compost. And I freeze my compost
so that it doesn’t start breaking down or smelling in
the refrigerator or my counter. You can really compost anything that comes from something that grows. You can compost anything
from paper, leaves, dead house plants, rest in
peace, any kind of scraps or peels, meat. But you have to just check
with your local municipal composting program to see what
they accept and don’t accept. But anything that comes
from something that’s alive can be returned back to the
Earth, that’s the beauty of our ecosystem. I don’t really think there was anything that was super hard for
me with going zero waste. Honestly, one of the biggest
things that I realized was that I couldn’t buy
my way out of plastic. I couldn’t walk into a
pharmacy or grocery store and just buy everything that was in my daily routine without it. That’s why I started Package Free Shop, was to make it easy for
people to have access to the tools that help you
reduce waste every single day. The only thing that I’ll buy online is maybe secondhand clothing. I don’t think you ever really have to buy any new clothing anymore. And then I’ll just make sure
that I ask the seller online to ship it totally plastic free and they never have a problem with it. Rose likes to cook too. She feels really left
out if she’s not involved in the process. Let’s make a quick dressing
to put on the salad, and then we’ll pack up
the food and head out. We’re gonna do some kind of measuring measuring, some capers. (pepper grinder crunches) It’s not bad, you know. (spoon clunks) Mozzarella cheese, some herbs. Let’s get the bread. So I love bread, but I
don’t buy packaged bread or bread with preservatives, so I usually end up buying baguettes. But as a person living
alone, sometimes I won’t make it through a whole baguette,
and it gets stale or hard. And a really great way to make sure you’re not composting bread every week is to let it dry out, put it in the oven, make it into croutons and it’s
great for a salad like this, like a panzanella. Also you can run bread under some water, put it back in the oven
and make it work again. You could also take stale bread,
put it in a food processor with some garlic and herbs,
and it’s a great breadcrumb. So, the most common
question that I get is, “I wanna do something “and I don’t know where to start.” That’s very much why I started my blog, “Trash is for Tossers”. I mean, that’s almost eight years ago. It was to give people
who wanna have a positive environmental impact really
simple, practical steps to reduce their waste that
don’t have to cost anything, or don’t cost much at all,
but have a big impact. So, I would say, if you
wanna reduce your waste, I like to say, just start somewhere. Every positive change is positive, so if you do something as simple as say no to a plastic straw, you’re
still having a positive impact, so reward yourself for
everything choice that you make that benefits the environment. So about to get lunch ready to go. I’m putting them in my
favorite containers, they’re stainless steel, we
sell them at Package Free. They’re totally airtight,
which means you can put things like soup or salad dressings in them. It just makes it really
easy to bring lunch. So I’ll just dump my dressing in one. And then we’ll pack my
lunch for the day in this. Because I wait so long to eat usually, I like to pack, almost more
food than I think I’ll need, so I don’t end up making
food purchasing decisions that could result in waste. We’re all packed up, ready to go, and I will see you guys for dinner. (bright music) Usually when I make dinner,
it’s something really quick because I’m usually running between work or coming from something,
and I have a child, who is very high maintenance,
and I’m usually number 45 on my list of things to do
and people to take care of. So I like to make things
that are really easy, fast, simple, with
ingredients that are fresh but easy to prepare. I’m going to make tacos,
which is one of my favorite things to make. I usually keep flour in my house, because it’s a super-versatile ingredient. I like to make fresh
pasta and also tortillas. It sounds really intense and hard, but it’s actually super fast and simple. It’s cheap, it’s a really
good hangover solution. So I usually make tortillas
if I’m feeling hungover and don’t wanna go out and get food. So, tacos it is tonight. So there are a bunch of
different ways to make tortillas, there’s flour, there’s corn. This is as simple as it gets. It’s literally just two cups of, I use organic all-purpose flour, but you can use different types of flour, and/or gluten-free flour
if you’re gluten-free. 3/4 of a cup of water. Three tablespoons of olive oil
and about a teaspoon of salt, but I like kind of saltier tortillas, so I add a little bit extra. I just blend all the
ingredients in a bowl, and I’ll add a little
bit of water at the end, and let it sit for 10 minutes
so the gluten develops in the flour. And then I just roll it out,
and it’s really, really, as easy as it could possibly get. After 10 minutes it gets a lot
stretchier than it would be when you first make it. The main reason I make
tortillas from scratch, one, because I’m usually
ravenous and need something really quick, and they’re just super fast. But two, because they all come packaged in single-use plastic which isn’t recyclable really anywhere. ‘Cause I like to ask myself the question, is the benefit of having this thing worth the trash that it will create? Tortillas, definitely
not, especially because they’re so easy to make. So that’s why I do it myself. So you just need a little ball of dough. And then just roll it out. It’s like, there’s no perfection here, especially when you’re
cooking for yourself. The cool thing about making these is that you can freeze them and reheat them, and have
taco shells, or tortillas without having to have the plastic. And then you can have it be
like a grab-and-go thing. Now time to cook tortillas. Really simple, they look like this. This is a really ugly one, not round, but we still love it. And just throw it on a
super hot cast iron pan. No oil or anything like that, but it has to be really,
really, really hot. And then you have to watch it. It kind of bubbles a little bit. I’m gonna finish up
making these tortillas, and then we’ll go onto all the good shit that goes inside of them. Pre-made some rice. I have a really good rice trick. Instead of putting the water in and boiling it with the rice, I just boil two cups of water
for every 3/4 cups of rice, and it works really well. So you boil the water, and
then you put the rice in, and then you let it sit for 18 minutes, and then you turn off the heat,
let it sit for five minutes, and it’s perfect, perfect rice. So we have some ingredients that I’m gonna finish chopping up. For me, tacos are kind
of like, the trash meal. Meaning that, if there’s
anything left in my fridge, I just take what’s in there, chop it up and throw it in tortilla and it’s tacos. For these I’m just doing
mushrooms, squash, tomato, maybe make some bootleg guacamole rice. I have beans. I’ve been living a zero-waste
lifestyle for eight years now. When I started I ate straight up crap. When I got rid of packaging
as kind of like the parameter for how I shop and buy
food, I was kind of left with just real fruits and vegetables, and ingredients like bulk rice and pastas. And eating in alignment
with a zero-waste lifestyle has helped me feel better
than I’ve ever felt. Also, I usually cook more
than I need for one meal. So I’ll separate the ingredients, and if I make a salad
or something like that, it’s great to just have
all of these pieces, so I can use them for other meals. (pan sizzling) I don’t eat meat in my house. I never have. I was vegetarian for six
years, I started eating meat because I had a boyfriend who was a chef. He killed his own animals,
and I realized from that, that not all animal agriculture is equal. In my ideal world,
nobody would eat animals, but because people do, I like to support a type of animal agriculture
that is more in alignment with sustainable practices
and kind treatment of animals. But I definitely don’t believe
in judging other people for eating, or not eating meat. Taco making, really easy. I think most people have
probably made tacos. But if not, let’s go. I like to do rice first. (pan sizzling)
(upbeat music) And then just squash. And that’s it, we have tacos. So at this point, we’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. I think one of my favorite
things to show people is that sustainable cooking
and living is really easy, it saves you money,
makes you feel healthier. I hope you’ve learned
something in this episode, and hopefully we can hang out again soon. Thanks for watching. (upbeat music)


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