Eco-Friendly Habits I’ve Developed in 2018

Looking back on 2018, I made a commitment to myself to be more conscious of my everyday lifestyle and habits to work toward reducing my footprint. Listening to my favorite podcasts and following some inspirational zero waste accounts on Instagram sparked this idea to live more sustainably, and I wanted to share some of the habits I developed over the last year.

Becoming a weekday pescatarian.

It all started when I was working in Cambodia in Fall 2017 and just had so much easy access to red meats. It seemed like it was everywhere and I told myself the first thing I’d do when I came back to the US was move toward a pescatarian diet on the weekdays and give up red meat to reduce my carbon footprint.

Carrying reusable items.

For the past couple of years I would say I had been using reusable produce/shopping bags and reusable water bottles whenever I could remember, but in 2018 really tried to remember bringing my water bottle and always packing a shopping bag with me *just in case* I made an impromptu trip to a store. Sometimes I would forget my water bottle and just be parched on my commute to or from work (lol not fun) but I really did not want to purchase any plastic bottles if I did not need to!

Got this free reusable bag from GreeNYC! More on my Instagram 🙂

Composting at home.

Our neighborhood in Queens, NY received compost bins in Summer 2017 and we have been going strong with our composting. This has significantly reduced the amount of regular trash we throw out each week!

Saying no to fast fashion.

I used to be a bargain hunter and would like to shop at the fast fashion stores like Forever 21 and H&M, but the quality of the clothes is not great and they do not last very long. From a sustainability standpoint, many of their clothes are made of more than one material, which makes it difficult to recycle, too. As far as I can remember for 2018, I virtually cut out all fast fashion spending and only purchased investment pieces which may be more expensive in the upfront cost, but well-worth it in the end since I do not need to replace it for a long time.

I purchased these secondhand items from thredUP, giving these clothes a second life! The fashion industry is a huge polluter so we should all do our parts to purchase responsibly.

Throughout the year, I’ve made a concerted effort to refuse straws in restaurants when dining in, passing on utensils when doing takeout, but I know there is more to be done. With these new habits formed in 2018, I am determined to sustain them and continue to build on these lifestyle changes and do more to reduce my footprint.

What habits did you form in 2018? Are you carrying them over in the new year?

Recipe: Korean Raw Spicy Crab (Yangnyeom Gejang)

If I had to choose what’s my favorite type of seafood, it would be blue crab, hands down! It’s great steamed, boiled with seasonings, made into crab cakes, or raw. I can’t remember when I first had raw spicy crab, but I remember I got it at a local Korean supermarket in NYC. This was many years ago, and I’m glad to say I am experienced enough with preparing food that I can make a pretty decent yangnyeom gejang.

Korean Raw Spicy Crab

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 dozen blue crab (live or killed–I’d suggest killed so you don’t have to struggle like I did to keep them from scurrying away or dueling with your tongs)
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • half a head of garlic, diced
  • scallion
  • a touch of sesame oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • cayenne powder
  • a medium onion, diced
  • sugar

I’ll be honest here, as you all know by now, I really eyeball the amount of each ingredient, and focus on the taste to let me know if my seasoning or sauce is on point. I can give you my best estimates for the proportions! 🙂

Steps:

  1. Separate the head from the body if it’s not already separated.
  2. Pull off the lungs and antennae.
  3. Scrub the crab down thoroughly to clean off the dirt and mud that’s on the shells.
  4. To let the flavor seep in, break the crab’s body into quarters.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the crab as you work on your marinade. **I usually just marinate the bodies and steam the heads, but that’s entirely up to you!**
  6. Pour approximately half a cup of low sodium soy sauce, some cayenne powder and pepper flakes (based on your tolerance for spice), 1/4 tsp of sesame oil, and sugar to taste.
  7. Dice up your garlic and onion into fine pieces and add it into your marinade.
  8. Put the crab either in a large bowl or ziploc bag, and pour in your sauce (after you make sure you like the flavor!!). Stir it around so all of the crab pieces have touched the marinade.
  9. Cover it again and let it sit for a couple of hours, flipping the crab to let all of the pieces get thoroughly soaked.
  10. Leave it overnight to marinate, and you can eat it the next day!

DISCLAIMER: Remember that there’s always a risk of eating raw foods, so this is a recipe that you should eat at your own risk! I have a pretty strong stomach that can handle raw foods, but if you don’t have a stomach of steel, you might want to pass on this recipe :X