Energy Diet

Slips in the Diet

Some of the activities in this diet come very naturally, as they are already part of our life, some of the things I have tried are hard to sustain, and others are just not practical. It is probably the things that are not practical that yield the greatest benefits.

The one thing I tried which is not as easy to sustain as I thought it might be was taking the bus. While I found the bus to be very relaxing and it allowed me to work through my e-mail list, I just don’t like the schedule it forces on me. We have a lot going on in the morning to get all the kids up, fed and off to school. When I felt pressured to get to the bus stop it made my morning feel even more rushed.

It is also not a good place to talk on the phone like I can in the car, hands-free of course. While sitting in traffic is a royal pain and waste of energy, it is a great place to catch up with people on projects. My offset is riding my bike. Now that spring is coming and daylight saving time is here, it will happen a couple of times per week. It is easier for me to check out during a bike ride, because you have no choice.

Around the house, things like hanging laundry are not very practical either. The inside of our house is simply not big enough to have clothes strung all over, and the proximity of our houses to one another might result in a pair of undies in our neighbor’s yard with one gust of wind. Composting is an area we have talked a lot about and have not yet done it, because it is another thing to keep up with.

The other area listed in the waste section is eliminating the advertising email. If you know a place where I can opt out of the 50 catalogs we get a month, please let me know. This is the biggest joke. It seems like a crime brands can send so garbage in the mail. Our mailbox is in a central area with our neighbors and the community association removed the trashcans next to the mailbox because people would simply dump all of these catalogs and flyers in it.

In the end what I found most difficult on some items is simply changing our mental state and not using excuses as to why it’s not possible. So next we will try composting and I will add a bus ride a couple of times a month and try not to be that loud guy on the phone.


  1. clipton
    March 15, 2011, 6:09 pm

    In the U.S. you should be able to reduce unwanted snail mail. Try this website:

  2. Dave Chameides
    March 16, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Ahhh, junk mail, the dreaded plague. I tackled this early on when I was doing my 365 days of trash project and while it can be a pain, there is hope. We rarely get any mail most days now and when we do, it’s always something we wanted or need! For starters, head to (;jsessionid=146CAADCB741B89894BA917C5457B30A.tomcat2) which is the direct marketing associations website. You can opt out of a whole bunch of stuff there. As I recall it costs a dollar for legal reasons, but that seems like a small price.
    Next up, head over to as Chad mentioned above, and opt out of everything there.
    ( will help you from getting those unwanted credit card offers.
    If you are looking for more of a one stop shopping site, I’ve heard works pretty well. They get their name from the amount of junk mail the average American receives every year.
    Now for some common sense practices. There will be some stragglers here and there so call the 800 numbers on the catalogs and tell them to place you on the do not send list. If you have a lot of catalogs, fear not, just chip away at it and they will diminish overtime. It’s also a good project to put the kids on!
    We give money to charities and we didn’t want to shut them out, so I called the orgs and told them that I wanted to support them but wouldn’t support anyone who sent me snail mail, pointing out that this saved them money as well. This worked with everyone except one, and we decided that was still worth supporting anyway (but don’t tell them I said that).
    Next up is to recognize that every time you give out your info, on a warranty card, contest slip, application, you name it, you are inherently giving permission for them to sell or give out your name to other companies for marketing. You can write “Do not sell, give, or loan any of my information with any companies” on the cards, but I’m dubious as to whether this works. So you’re better off just limiting the instances when you fill things out.
    Finally, sit down and write a quick letter to your representatives and tell them how insane you think it is that you need to spend hours, and sometimes pay, to stop unwanted mail from coming into your home that not only wastes resources, but actually costs you money in the form of recycling/disposing. You may want to add in there that you wont’ be voting for them if you receive their direct marketing pieces in the next election (maybe a tad extreme, but a nice touch I think).
    So there you have it. Kind of crazy, but as we are proof, there is hope. One final note. If you really want to have fun and track who is selling your mail, fill out different titles on each form you submit (His Honorable Bill Shaw, etc). You’ll be able to see who is selling your name to whom and catch them in their tracks!
    Good stuff all around and congrats on your quest. I think you hit the nail on the head in your summation when you pointed out that most of this comes down to changing the way we think and reconsidering what is important.

  3. Dave Chameides
    March 16, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Ahhh, and it should go without saying that if you are comfortable with it, you can deal with most bills and invoices online, so that will cut out that part of your mail.

    You mentioned that you all share a post box. Maybe you’d want to share this info with your neighbors and see if you can get that box to remain empty for a day or two a week? Let us know.

  4. Shaw Family
    March 16, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for these tips. I am going to cut off the junk mail and yes i get almost every bill online and have done so for nearly the last 10 years, mainly because it will pile up and i will forget to pay.

  5. Christina Nunez
    March 17, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Good tips! I have also contacted businesses directly when I get one of their catalogs — many of them have a place to opt out on their websites. My building has that same problem with recyclable paper ending up being stacked on or in the trashcan by the mailboxes — especially those useless newspaper-style circulars — never thought of suggesting to the building that they just take the trashcan away.

  6. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    March 26, 2011, 2:05 am

    I believe that this is a celebration for all of us on our hard work; We Al Nowais family would love to share this hour with all of u.