Plastic is not so fantastic

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  • Jenna Judd

    Jenna Judd

  • personal care products made for family here  for Christmas (Photograph supplied)

    personal care products made for family here for Christmas (Photograph supplied)

  • zero waste grocery

    zero waste grocery "hauls" - organic ground beef, prosciuitto and blocks of cheese placed directly into her own tupperware containers (Photograph supplied)

  • small vegan bulk shop called 12 Monkeys (Photograph supplied)

    small vegan bulk shop called 12 Monkeys (Photograph supplied)

  • cooking oils at zero waste supermarket, Stückgut, in Hamburg (Photograph supplied)

    cooking oils at zero waste supermarket, Stückgut, in Hamburg (Photograph supplied)

As a model, Jenna Judd’s livelihood depended largely on her diet.

A career move to holistic nutrition not only changed her eating habits, but her way of living.

The 36-year-old Bermudian, who lives in Hamburg, Germany, embarked on a “zero waste” lifestyle last July.

She and her husband, Dennis Rodewyk, parted ways with straws, single-use plastic and unsustainable product packaging to help combat “the damage caused to ocean ecology by plastic pollution”.

They also started shopping exclusively at farmers’ markets and bulk shops, storing items in reusable bags and glass jars, Tupperware or drawstring cotton bags.

“While we both ate a clean diet, nutritionally speaking, our recycling bin was always quite full with empty plastic bottles and we were producing food waste each week,” said Ms Judd, a nourishment counsellor who started her own company, Nourishing Path, last year.

“We quit plastic straws and plastic shopping bags cold turkey. We eliminated to-go containers by bringing our own Tupperware.”

Metal cutlery is a constant in her handbag. Washable tea towels have replaced paper rolls. She replaced tampons with a silicone menstrual cup.

While it sounds “strict”, she promises it isn’t.

“It is a bit of an adjustment, but for me, it has been completely worth it,” she said.

“Neither my husband nor I are into lifestyles that are defined by strictness or deprivation, and we could see that becoming hardcore zero-waste activists would ultimately be unsustainable for us.

“[We] have allowed ourselves to still buy certain things that are exclusively packaged in plastic occasionally — meat, cheese and smoked salmon.

“Significantly, our recycling bin for plastics is always empty and we produce very little garbage.”

Experiments with home-made products such as toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm have made the experience “empowering” and “fun”.

“We save a lot of money living this way,” she said. “I see the zero-waste lifestyle as beautifully complementing my work as an holistic nourishment coach.”

Ms Judd had been a vegetarian for two years, but changed her diet after ill health threatened her modelling career.

“Without any understanding of nutrition, I went a step further and became vegan,” she said.

“My health quickly began to suffer. I felt exhausted all the time, lost weight and began suffering from perioral dermatitis, which meant that the lower part of my face was covered with small red bumps.

“I lost modelling clients because of these physical changes. I also experienced stress in my personal relationships due to the complications that arose from my specialised dietary restrictions, which I had come to relate to as a central part of my identity.”

She enrolled at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition just outside Toronto. As she incorporated what she was learning, her health “rapidly improved”.

“My energy returned, my skin completely cleared and my weight stabilised,” she said. “That was the end of my experience with veganism and my personal introduction to holistic nutrition.

“My conclusion, after years of experimentation, is that diets are, by definition, unsustainable and that it is perhaps wise to be sceptical of any system of eating that is fixed, rigid, static, or one-size-fits-all. The needs of the body are constantly changing and it is helpful to eat in such a way to accommodate these changes.”

To that end, she created Nourishing Path.

“While nutrition is an important factor in promoting and sustaining wellness, I believe that feeling good depends upon much more than sound nutrition.

“I personally see the profound physical benefits of a high-fat, low-sugar, plant-heavy, seasonal diet.

“At the same time, I really believe that wellness comes down more to self-love than to ‘correct diet’. I know that at various times it has been much more nourishing for me to enjoy a beautiful wood-fired pizza than it would have been to force myself into eating a Paleo dinner.”

She organises a zero-waste community with 140 members in Hamburg.

“Creating that group has brought so much joy and energy into my life,” she said.

“It is not about doing everything perfectly, or about getting it all right. It is about paying attention to the environmental impact of our daily consumer choices and making adjustments that will better support the planet.”

Bermuda could “greatly benefit from championing sustainable living”, she said.

“Bermudians are blessed to live in the midst of natural beauty and in close connection with the ocean.

“The reality is that hyper-consumerism is threatening the natural world, ocean ecology and ultimately, human health.

“More than eight million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans each year [and] it comes from the plastic waste borne of our own unsustainable lifestyles and shopping practices.”

She suggests people examine any regular activities that produce garbage and consider if they could be modified to eliminate waste.

“You don’t need to judge yourself, or to feel guilty,” she said. “Simply be open to changing.”

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Published Mar 10, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 10, 2017 at 8:33 am)

Plastic is not so fantastic

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