About Me

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Growing up in Oregon, I constantly heard wise words from my mother like "lets recycle that," "you can walk," "don't use too much water," "whole wheat is better than white," "no dessert if you don't eat your vegetables," "dark lettuce is better for you than light," "paper over plastic," "don't leave anything behind" and so much more. Her healthy ways got me into many sports and helped turn me into a record-setting track athlete. In 2006, my mother lost a 3 year battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease; something nobody would have ever expected. That was right around the time I joined the Surfrider Foundation in San Diego and had my first child, whom she never met. Now 10 years have passed since losing my mother, yet volunteering for the Surfrider Foundation, and becoming a mother, I've noticed her words have come through clearer than ever. In addition to personal training and triathlon coaching, I have done some blogging to help our planet, and improve lives. I hope you enjoy my content, and join me in my journey for a cleaner planet and promoting happier, healthier lives!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bag It Documentary

From Surfrider San Diego:

Join us for a FREE screening of the award-winning documentary Bag It on Monday, June 2nd from 7-9pm at Bottle Craft, located at 2161 India Street San Diego, CA 92101. Attendees will receive 10% off draft beer and have the chance to win some sweet prizes!

This documentary film follows J. Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Berrier is not a radical environmentalist, but an every day American taking a closer look at our cultural affair with plastics. His journey starts with important but often unasked questions: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? Berrier takes us beyond plastic bags, opening all of our eyes to urgent changes we can each make for the environment and the future of our oceans.

Personally, I can't wait to see it. ;)  Here's a preview...

Bag It Intro from Suzan Beraza on Vimeo.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Save $$ While Saving the Planet

"Think Green" truly has a double meaning.  Look at all the ways you can save money while reducing waste, or getting more fit!  This estimate is for a family of 4 for 1 yr, but easily adjustable to any size family or individual.  Note: most reusable items last many years, increasing the savings.  There's also many brands at different prices for most items.  Many of these were from the Dollar Tree, Walmart, or Target.  Also many people have a good start by reusing grocery store bags as garbage can liners so they don't have to buy any, but when the bag bans hit, better get reusables...

Reusable napkins- (4 for $4) vs 3 meals/day or 4380 regular/yr = about $70
Cleaning cloths ($4 for 16 at Walmart) vs. paper towels 8/day: 2920/yr = $70
Reusable ziplock bags (4 for $20) vs 4 regular/day = 1460/yr = $146
Reusable kitchen bags ($13) vs. 3 regular/week or 156/yr = $30
Reusable water bottles for 4 ($32) vs. 2-8/person/day =  $3,650-$14,600
Cloth diapers 1 baby (12 for $100) vs 6 regular/day = 2190 = $592
Reusable party plates 20/party ($5) vs 20 regular x 6 parties = 120 = $23
Reusable party cups  20/party ($5) vs 20 regular x 6 parties = 120 = $23
Reusable silverware 20 sets ($20) vs 6 parties:120 sets = $30
Reusable gloves for family ($8) vs 1 box regular medical gloves = $12
Reusable feminine products (DivaCup $30) vs $10/12 months = $120
Good mop ($20) vs disposable mop w/replacements = $100

Other ways to save money, energy, and resources:

-Walk or ride a bike instead of driving
-Turn of lights when exiting a room and turn off TV/appliances
-Plant plants that require little water (save water plus $ on your water bill)
-Growing food at home    
-Avoid using oven when hot inside
-Open windows when its hot instead of turning on AC
-Using fire in fireplace instead of turning on heat
-Fishing/hunting- these can reduce an incredible amount of packaging and feed a lot with very little cost.  (Those who know me know I've NEVER been a fan of killing animals, particularly mammals, which is why I hover somewhere between different forms of vegetarianism and vegan.  Though I do admit can be cheaper to catch your own meat!)

Keep posted as I'll also write a post on ways to save $$ and reduce waste for cooking!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guilt-Free Cookie Making

Or mostly. ;)  Yeah, I know, what is a personal trainer doing writing about cookies?  The way I look at it, since nobody wants to give up cookies completely, and everybody needs SOME fat, why not compromise with smaller serving sizes of home-made natural, nutrient-dense cookies instead of purchasing an over-plasticy packaged tub of over-sized, garbage-filled, nutrient-poor cookies?

Now, how we keep guilt to a minimum: make SMALL cookies.  As soon as the cookies cool, put them into several reusable bags that you can put in the freezer or give away to friends.

 The guilt comes when cookies are in plain view, and magically disappear.  So, keep them out of sight, out of mind.  Also the small freezer bags are perfect for grabbing on the go for the beach, hikes, etc.  I don't recommend cookie jars as they're also in plain view.  This cookie jar, on the other hand, plays the "Jaws" shark tune when you open it.  So at least your family can catch you red handed. ;)

Okay, I know you want to know, here's the recipe for the cookies I just made.  No flour, butter or oil! (Of course I used Natural peanut butter and dark chocolate.)  Delicious!

Planet-friendly tip: Buy buy natural peanut butter in glass jars rather than plastic.

Life Without Plastic Bags?

Approximately 1 TRILLION plastic bags are used worldwide each YEAR!  But plastics are recyclable right?  The fact is, only a very small percentage of plastics are ever recycled, plastics don't decompose, and the majority are either left in landfills or scattered around the Earth.  Approximately 10% of plastic made every year ends up in the ocean.  Many have recognized these facts, leading to a few city-wide plastic bag bans in 16 states, with California leading the country, pushing an entire state-wide plastic bag bill to start Jan 1, 2015.  If you are a California resident, please follow this link to support the measure.  The Surfrider Foundation is also working on several other states, so please check here for yours, and contact your closest chapter.  If your state is not there, please follow this link for two ways to start a ban in your town!

THE DILEMMA: #1: What to use?  #2: If you don't bring home plastic bags, what do you put your household waste in without buying more plastic bags?

My SOLUTIONS: #1: Keep several reusable bags in your car.  When you bring in groceries, shake them out and put back in your car.  Reusable bags are STRONG.  They'll hold much more than plastic and not break.  I have bags I've used for up to 10 years!!!  (Think how much plastic that's saved?)  #2: If you have city garbage pick-up, get a reusable liner or use NO liner and just rinse your garbage can and recycling bin.  In your home, use washable, reusable liners (if you need one at all).  Dump your waste from your house directly into the large garbage bin from your small house cans, shake out or rinse out the liner and you're ready for the next load.
Here are some examples:  PlanetWise Reusable Trash Bag, or lots of great stuff from "moocowmamma".

Also try to compost your food scraps rather than throwing them in the garbage or wasting water and energy on the garbage disposal.  There are countertop compost "Crocks" which start composting your food waste without smelling up your kitchen or attracting fruit flies until you're ready to dump in in your garden or yard.  These are a great idea for people with small or no yards.

Then to help reduce waste, here's my reusable sandwich and snack bags I use...  ChicobagsLunchskinsBlueAvacado clear zip bags, and SlimSnacks.

If you know how to sew, make your own!  If you rinse and reuse on a regular basis, the bags will more than pay themselves off.

Feel free to ask questions, and check back for more, as I'm always searching for solutions!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lets Make a Difference!

As a child I assumed everyone was taught the same lessons as me on the importance of the 3Rs (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle), not overusing our natural resources, eating healthy local foods, and getting in some exercise.  The more I became educated and the more I traveled, the more I realized how dirty our Earth really is and how many people either DON'T know it, simply don't care, or have just given up.  Those who ignore the environmental issues may think "I won't make a difference," "it won't happen in my generation," or "it's too late."  The fact is, ANYONE can make a difference, and we can all do more, including me.  That said, I'd love to hear your comments and requests as we've all got to work together to make this planet a better place.

Now for my plans; tips on how to get by without single use plastics, environmentally friendly alternatives at the grocery store, transportation solutions, how to SAVE $$ while keeping our Earth happy, how to reduce your water bill with an ocean friendly garden, explanations of why garbage in the ocean impacts us on land, how to hold a fun yet environmentally friendly and healthy party, and since I'm a personal trainer, if requested, I can certainly post plenty of ways to enjoy nature while keeping fit. :)  Let me know what you want most!