The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

June 9, 2010

Can a Fake Plastic Breakfast Cure a Panic Attack?

Um… probably not. But this kind can…


“The world is going to end and I’ll never get my book written in time to save it!” That was the crazy thought I had last night at 1am while riding home on BART. Suddenly, my heart raced, breathing quickened, stomach churned, and I started to sweat. I tried taking slow, deep breaths, but that didn’t help. I scrunched down in my seat, afraid my fellow passengers would think I was crazy or wasted, or that BART police were going to come through and toss me off the train for being inebriated. Which I wasn’t.

Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes all the news about plastic pollution and research and blogging and worrying about writing the Fake Plastic Fish book can throw me into my head, where I get trapped into spiraling negative thoughts. And when that happens the only thing to do is concentrate on the physical moment, breathe, ride it out, and when I get a chance, eat.

This morning I woke up, and instead of heading straight for the computer, I calmed myself with a beautiful plastic-free breakfast.


Oatmeal, homemade almond milk, chopped almonds, maple syrup, fresh nectarines, loose green tea… all ingredients bought from bulk bins and farmers markets. Nothing processed (except by me.) Nothing packaged.


Sometimes I have to remind myself to eat breakfast. This kind of food doesn’t take long to make, and it centers me back into the world that I love — my reason for doing what I do in the first place.

Did you remember to eat this morning?

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Ashley C
13 years ago

Gorgeous. Thank you for gracing us with your blog! I’m trying to eat better things like this. I usually just grab a banana (plastic free) while chasing my baby around.

13 years ago

Mmm… that breakfast does look delicious!! Tomorrow I’ll probably make some muesli myself (instead of the usual bread and cheese).
BTW, according to the only copy of womens magazines I posess, bananas and nuts are the best foods to relieve stress. You probably had the best breakfast imaginable!
(excuse the english…)

13 years ago

Yes I remembered to have a blueberry scone at the burien press while Romeo ate his puppy biscuits. :P

13 years ago

I recently did this meditation in a group called the Miracle… Where you close your eyes and imagine that you wake up one morning and a miracle has happened overnight, and the world is exactly whatever it is you dream it can be, from the clothes and furniture to city layout and social culture. After we found someone else in the room and shared what we imagined, then shared in a group.

That was the important part, the sharing. The imagining gets you to stop envisioning the worst case (or simply what happens if we don’t change the status quo). It got my mind in a more positive place. The sharing gets everyone realizing that there’s a lot in common, we all want similar things, and we can work towards those things.

Beth, your blog is the sharing part. It’s where everyone gets together and shares this dream that you’re helping turn in to a reality, just by writing about it. A more plastic free existance.

When I get all panicky like that, though, meditation won’t cut it. I need a plastic free, carbon footprint-less, non-disposable, infinantly reusable and recyclable HUG from a loved one. That ALWAYS works :D

13 years ago

Beth… you can’t save the world alone…. it has to be a team effort ;) The other day I said to my friend, “I feel like there are ALL these people out there who want the same things… we’re all out here doing what we do… living to make a difference… hoping to change the world… and only dreaming that the rest of the world will catch on…,” and then I said, “If only we could all come together… if we could ALL connect… just imagine what that would be like.”

Then I read this…

Today…I’m feeling optimistic… :)

Sense of Home
13 years ago

Granola with strawberries, it was very good and now I can face the day. Breakfast is a very important part of the day, and plastic free breakfast, even better.

Pure Mothers
13 years ago

Can you imagine how kids feel today, Inheriting a world where there may not be any more fish? The BP Oil Disaster lets the wind out of my sails every time I see a new photo or read a new article. I just saw a video on Care2 yesterday of undercover footage at a hatchery in Santa Cruz that made me cry so hard I almost vomited. I often feel helpless and think “how can I make a difference?” But like you, I refuel, meditate and make the right choices daily – oh and spread the good word.

13 years ago

Beth – I hope you pushed past the overwhelming…like others here I keep coming back to you and this blog to get re-inspired to reduce my plastic use…I get better and better but you are always making me look at new areas of my life and how plastic has invaded.

And my favorite breakfast is oatmeal with berries, honey and milk (and flaxseed for omegas)…which I had this morning…it wasn’t quote as plastic free as yours but it was organic – and tasty!

13 years ago

Thanks for writing a food post! I follow your blog but don’t comment much. I’ve been trying to cut back my plastic use, mostly inspired by you, and I’ve really, really appreciated the help. I’ve noticed, however, that most of our plastic use is from all kinds of food, and I have no idea how to cut back. Please include more good examples of plastic-free meals, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!


13 years ago

Having a nice breakfast all made at home from scratch is like meditation…:)…not even using the plastic bottle based pancake mix is what i mean….I am a vegetararian (not vegan) but no eggs or white meat…lacto yes! regret…all the plastic milk cans coming into the house :(..miss india for that …milk is delivered at our doorstep…milk comes in metal cans and is measured and poured into containers in the house.

Lara S.
13 years ago

I know what you mean about that feeling of overwhelming desperation… and I’m happy to read you’re handling it the right way. Since you go to meditation retreats once in a while, perhaps you could practice meditation more often and it could help, too. I don’t know which type of meditation you practice, but I recommend you …

That breakfast looks yummy! I too love the presence of your kitties in the photos. :)

13 years ago

Beautiful photos of a lovely, ordinary brekky. Thanks so much for sharing.

Don’t worry about your book. It will get finished in time. Just enjoyed being at peace occasionally.

13 years ago

I have two children to feed, so I can’t forget to eat.

This morning it was scrambled eggs from the farmer’s market. Also plastic-free. And a banana, which sadly had the plastic on the top as it was organic. I can’t make up my mind which is worse – the chemicals or the plastic. Perhaps it’s a sign that I should just stop eating bananas. Luckily, local berries should be ripe in a couple of weeks.

13 years ago

Beth, your cat is gorgeous.

13 years ago

Hey Beth,
I think you diserve to relax a bit. you have already influenced so many people GLOBALLY through this blog. Including me all the way in New Zealand, creating awareness of the problems and perils of plastic.

I think it’s kind of a pay it forward thing. I and many others who have learned from you now have to pass it forward to our communities.

And yes I did remember to eat this morning. A brief plastic-free slice of toast from the loaf of Maori rewena bread I made myself with real butter and jam (store bought but in glass jar) mmm yumms!!

Graham Meriwether
13 years ago

Great post Beth. You can feel the breath of relaxation, within your words and photographs, that often follows persistent hard work with enlightened purpose.

13 years ago

I have only recently signed up for your newsletter and I love it! I was just thinking about your oatmeal – do you get the loose oats? And if so, is there a brand that doesn’t have a plastic lid? Or are you getting the individual packets?
And how like a cat to be right in the middle of it all! (mine loves it there..)

Sandra Lee
13 years ago

Absolutely, I never skip breakfast anymore!

Beth, I am so glad you know what to do when signs of stress arise (breathe and ride it out) and I’m so glad you do it. I am so glad you are taking care of yourself with a good breakfast. I appreciate your dedication to removing plastic from the planet as much as possible. At the same time, I know to accomplish such grand goals, balance is a huge help. Stay well and happy! You are already making a big difference in the world. By the way, I mentioned Fake Plastic Fish in my current blog post. Totally love the site and what you are doing!

Holly Musgrove
13 years ago

Very un-plastic related comment: Can I just tell you that I love the fact that your cats are in most of your pictures?

Plastic-related comment: I was given a small stuffed animal from our local zoo, a naked mole rat, after a superior outing to the zoo, and the tag on the rat said all kinds of great stuff about how lots of groups were helping the environment and how naked mole rats needed all the help we can give them. So I looked up the company and asked them lots of questions about what their products were made of (my personal guess is lots of synthetics), why the don’t have a sustainability statement on their web site, if they knew if their manufacturers practiced fair-trade policies, and why there wasn’t a little recycle symbol on their cardboard tag. Guess what? Haven’t heard a thing! I hope lots of other groups really are doing the environmental work, ’cause it definitely ain’t this company.

Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green
13 years ago

I’ve been trying to remember to eat breakfast. I understand the pain attack, I get them sometimes as well. Omega fatty acids help. I’ve been eating oatmeal or a green smoothie for breakfast.

shona~LALA dex press
13 years ago

What I take away from this post is the great idea for putting stickers with the tare wt on your glass containers! Brilliant!

13 years ago

Beth, please, please promise me that you will have a showing of your photos somewhere. You could call it “The Magic of the Mundane” because that’s what your pictures do. Your still-life of the bowl and the breakfast setting are outstanding, only the latest in a corpus that could easily be placed on the walls of several rooms at a gallery. It would be Terryfic.

Jeez, I already had breakfast today and your picture made me want to have a second one!