Mareya Ibrahim works to reduce food waste through sharing ways to prolong food life and use all parts of produce.
I’ve been an environmentalist for most of my life, so ‘precycling’ (thinking about what I’m doing before I use something) has been a lifestyle practice for over 30 years for me. I believe the biggest impact I can make—and any of us can make—for the Earth starts in the kitchen. Before I use an ingredient, I think of all the ways I can use it so that nothing goes to waste—from the peels or skin of fruits to the leaves of celery and broccoli stalks, I use it all. I won’t throw anything out, but instead will puree it, freeze it or make something with it (like a banana bread where I use the whole banana, including the peels). I also shop locally as much as possible to reduce my carbon footprint and I eat a largely plant-based diet. I even developed a product called eatCleaner, which helps prolong the life of fresh produce so that it can last up to five times longer than it would otherwise, as it really matters to me that we keep food out of landfills.
It all stems from my love for nature. It’s where I find my solace, peace and feel the most connected with my creator. I’m also a licensed PADI scuba diver and have noticed first-hand just how devastating the impact of global warming is on the ocean, with the bleaching of coral. It really hit me hard around 13 years ago, when I noticed that the same coral reef that I visited 10 years previously in Hawaii, that had shone bright with all of the colors of the rainbow, was now white and lifeless. I was shocked and saddened beyond belief—I actually cried for hours after seeing it so up close and personal. I want my great, great grandchildren to have the same opportunities I have had to experience the world of nature and the magnificence of God’s creations and sadly, if we don’t make big changes soon, that may become a disappearing reality. I had always been conscientious, as I have been in the natural products industry for over 27 years and there is a big emphasis on environmental conservation, but seeing it in person was what partially prompted me to start my product line.
I understand that making changes might be challenging for some, but for me, I think it’s not difficult to honor the environment with your actions when you have a reason. Connect with your ‘why’ and that will help take you so much further in your journey. I am always sharing these practices with my followers and the people that I coach as well as my kids and family to help them do their best too. And it’s all about doing your best. I do love to indulge in coffee and chocolate, which are actually two of the most sprayed crops—and the labor that goes into growing those crops often takes advantage of local workers. So recently, I have shifted to not only buying these organic, but also Fair Trade, where the workers are properly treated and compensated with fair wages. Taking care of the Earth and its people to further good practices are equally important to me. I would like to be better when it comes to eating meat too. I do try to avoid eating red meat completely, but if I do ever have it, I definitely limit my intake to only grass-fed and finished beef to avoid supporting CAFO practices and the methane emissions that come from factory farmed beef.
I think that making a change is only as difficult as you allow yourself to make it. Changing your eating approach may feel unnatural at first, but it may help you feel so much better health-wise and in knowing that you’re doing your part to eat sustainably to make a lasting impact on our Earth.