Energy Diet

Big Things, Small Packages

A few coworkers and I were talking the other day about this diet and ideas for the next round, which begins in May. The question of doing “big” things (say, engineering one’s car to run on biofuel) versus “little” things came up.

“I don’t know,” one of us said. “There are some little things, like getting a fuel-efficient car or driving less, that can be very hard to do, but if we all did them, it would make a huge difference.”

Vanity table full of products

Lots of "little things" on my vanity table

I considered this comment as I looked at what little things I’ve found very hard to do over these last few weeks. Many of them are simply impossible, because I’m a renter who has no thermostat, never see an electric bill (it’s included in my rent) and no yard.

But some things are about habit. The thing I’ve found it hardest to be consistent about is shutting off power strips when I’ll be out for the day or asleep for the night. I always unplug individual items, such as a toaster or coffee maker, when I’m done; but I have a couple of jam-packed power strips in the living room that I just don’t remember to shut off.

Driving at or near the speed limit is another one. I am very well practiced at driving about 12 miles over the speed limit — enough to speed, but usually not enough to warrant a ticket. And at traffic lights, I accelerate like an Olympic runner off the starting block. Now that I’m only driving once or twice a week at most, it’s easier to calm down behind the wheel, but years and years of ingrained driving habits die hard!

Bathroom shelf with makeup on it

My bathroom shelf, copiously adorned with various concoctions.

I also have an addiction to beauty products. I especially love skin potions, but really there’s no limit to the number of ways I can fall prey to the beauty industry. Take a look at my vanity table and bathroom shelf in these photos and witness the excess. Aside from all the makeup and perfume, I own at least three cleansers, six moisturizers, a toner, various facial masks — and yet, I still seem to be aging. Go figure.

Because I have been so focused on buying the right foods, cutting back on meat, always bringing my shopping tote to the store, etc., it’s easy to overlook the other “little indulgences” in my life that add up to a lot of packaging and chemicals.

Lately, it’s not just this diet that’s making me reconsider how much energy and water I need to consume. It’s events like the tragedy in Japan, where it has become dramatically clear how quickly precious and basic resources can be wiped away, overnight.


  1. Lindsay
    March 16, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Hi Christina,

    I really like your post. I can totally relate to you on a renters standpoint. I don’t see any of my tallies either. On the term of talking about becoming pre-occupied, I could not agree more. There is so much to take in. I think this is a very positive experience because we are committed to twelve full weeks considering the challenge in the back of our minds, is that everything becomes a choice and we forget about the small things we each indulge in, for you beauty products, for me, efficient pre-packaged food and ziplocks. It’s difficult!

  2. Christina Nunez
    March 17, 2011, 9:09 am

    Thanks, Lindsay! Yes, the “360 degree” part of this challenge really hits you — it’s remarkable what you notice.

  3. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    April 11, 2011, 5:22 am

    Nice post, I am starting to learn more and more from our experience, I loved the last part, you are absolutely right I could never say it better. Excellent thinking