Energy Diet

Everything Comes Together…

I can’t believe 12 weeks have passed!

When we started the Nat Geo 360º Energy Diet, I sincerely did not know so many good things would come out of it. It seems that this subject everything has to do with everything and everyone.

Trying to live green led to other wonderful things, such as getting healthy and saving money at the same time. I’ll share an example: In our effort to cut down our gasoline consumption, I decided to dump the car during the morning, got on my bike (lost a pound or two), carpooled more (saved money on gas and saved time by eliminating unnecessary trips altogether).

When I started to inquire about the project for a new bicycle pathway that was being built in our neighborhood, a new committee was formed involving people like Matthew and myself who aren’t experts on the matter, but that are interested in making walking and cycling a good, viable and safe option for a cleaner and healthier means of transportation.

The project has expanded, and turned into a possible fitness and bicycle safety educational program in our daughter’s school. It’s great to see everybody in our community jumping on board!

They say long lasting habits are small tasks that you repeat on a daily basis, and this experience gave us a chance to put into practice many positive actions that we knew were necessary, like switching to a fuel-efficient car, or lowering the temperature settings on our water heater, just to name a few.

Some things, we will continue to do, like grow our fruits, vegetables and herbs and to compost. I love the fact that our kids now know that food doesn’t come from the supermarket, but from the earth, and that they get a chance to tune into life-cycles and seasons of the year. Seeing orange peels in the same trash bin as say, cartons of milk has turned into a huge pet peeve for me.

Some other things we couldn’t tackle… food, for instance was one of the aspects: grass fed beef is not easily obtainable here, so we continue to buy it from the normal grocery market. On the other hand, we are now doing two meatless days instead of one.

Fruits like kiwis, raspberries, and blueberries that have traveled from far away to get on our plates are also on the list. I know that fresh tuna is also a big no-no in sustainable fishing, so I will keep trying not to eat it. I do love it.

As far as energy-efficient appliances, well, at some point we will try to get a new energy efficient fridge and washing machine — the switch to LED lighting drained our wallet.

We do have an extra fridge. It’s a small one for beverages. Since it is new and green certified and it’s built into the kitchen, I don’t think we will get rid of it any time soon.

We did do a little bit of travel during the challenge, and we didn’t get any carbon offsets. Truth be told, we’ve never done it before and just recently looked into it. I found that it is easy to do. They even tell calculate them for you based on your trip and the amount of miles you fly:

Low flow shower- heads are also on our list.

Getting our clothes here for us is not a good option, as taxes in Mexico make them more expensive than in the U.S. and we do have a lot of family visiting us from there who can bring it back for us, so that will not change either.

Our main worry at the beginning of the challenge was lowering our electricity bill, (which is where we put our biggest effort) with the great help from our coaches (thanks Chad and Christina!) we made a lot of changes. I can’t say that we’ve seen major results yet, but I figure that with the switch to LED lighting, disconnecting electrical appliances that aren’t in use, and the installation of power saving energy strips, maybe we’ll see a difference in our bills soon… keeping fingers crossed!

In this endeavor, I realized that nobody needs to reinvent the wheel. Just bringing back our ancestral knowledge and common good sense in all things concerning nature will be a good bet.

Technology also proves to be of good help in bringing together isolated efforts, projects and knowledge, i.e. the 360º Energy Diet.

So, summing up, it was a great experience for our whole family. I loved connecting with people from all over the world with the same interest as us, to live a little more responsibly and in sync with the environment.

Thank you, Nat Geo for letting the Schmidt-del Rio family be part of this wonderful eye- and mind-opening project, sincerely:

Michele, Matthew, Natalia and Lucia


  1. Jeff
    April 14, 2011, 10:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing the adventure with us. It was really great to read your journal but even better to see it live…I can attest to all that the Schmidt-del Rio did to change and improve our world and it is very inspiring. Way to go guys and spread the word!

  2. clipton
    April 15, 2011, 5:13 pm

    It was great to have you as participants. I’m glad we could provide some answers.

    One last suggestion, about the small fridge–you can unplug it for the days/weeks that it not in use.

    Good luck moving forward with your energy or lifestyle diet.

  3. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    April 17, 2011, 5:19 am

    Dear Michele:
    I too thought that I was doing great things before the beginning of the challenge, and I was doing only 1%, after taking the challenge I did noticed the difference and I am really proud of what we were doing. We learned lot of things I wish we could have the coaches guide us forever. Now it’s our time to take responsibility of doing things by our selves. And definitely we got many good things out of this challenge, best of all is enjoying. Lovely ending, all the best luck for your family.