5 things this Monday…

Happy Monday friends! I’m feeling determined and am lining up several posts for this week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here are 5 things that have caught my eye…

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  1. Sainsbury’s is leading a really exciting initiative to encourage shoppers to eat less meat! This involves improved visibility for vegetarian and vegan products alongside meat options and other plans. Companies are cottoning on to the environmental importance of eating less meat! If you are ever in doubt as to whether veganism makes a difference, consider this one of the many reasons why it does!
  2. We’re all familiar with 5-a-day, but scientists have found that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is even more beneficial to your health (I know, it kinda stands to reason). On a vegan diet, I have to say this is a lot easier to manage- sometimes I get 5 in my dinner alone! Seeing how many veggies you can shoe-horn in is a good challenge.
  3. Schools in California, United States are cutting cheese and meat from the lunch menu to help the environment. I’m so excited that institutions are really starting to take this seriously and take charge of climate change. More please!
  4. More you say? Well the German government has banned meat at official functions! YES! What a great example to set, by taking a practical step that people can follow 🙂
  5. M&S released this recipe for savoury rosti pancakes ahead of pancake day tomorrow and they look SO GOOD! I bought all the ingredients today and I’m going to give it a go..

5 things this Monday…

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I saw this and it spoke to me (Source)

Hi friends! It’s time for another round up!

  1. Jamie Oliver has some great video tutorials for vegan meals! This one for sweet potato + white bean chilli looks simple enough but also ridiculously yummy. I’m in.
  2. Zero Waste Memoirs shares some tips on eating down the pantry and starting fresh. When you keep duplicates of tins and packets, it normally ends up being a waste of money and/or food because you can lose track. Keeping less + being creative with your food stock is the key. I found this a great read!
  3. Some news- Swedish supermarkets have started using laser marking to replace stickers on produce. I love hearing about creative ways that technology is making solutions to the problem of waste. In the words of Peter Hagg, one of the pioneers, ‘It’s small but I think it adds up’. Especially for people who have dramatically reduced their trash, these little produce stickers are annoying and unnecessary and everywhere!
  4. This super short, beautifully filmed video shows Jamie Kate Adoc’s zero waste travel kit. It’s just a collection of basic items to bring on a trip and avoid picking up disposable waste. I normally carry a canvas bag on my travels, but now I’m super inspired to put together my very own kit!
  5. LEGO have recently announced that they are investing 1 billion DKK into the ‘research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO® elements as well as packaging materials’. YOU HEARD RIGHT! Possibly the greatest toy manufacturers ever are jumping on the eco bandwagon- there is hope for everything else too 🙂

Have a great week!

Homemade zero waste mascara.

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Yeah guys, I finally got round to replacing it! I talked about my plans to see if I could make my own mascara in my review of LUSH’s ‘right eyes’ version. It came in such a nice little glass bottle that I thought I should try and reuse it before I resort to buying another. I have to admit, I was quite sceptical about how well it would turn out, but credit to the people I stole the recipes from- they done good!

My priority here was ease and simple ingredients, (surprise surprise, laziness came into play!) because at the end of the day making your own products requires effort enough without the added hassle of sourcing weird and wonderful ingredients package-free. Everything I used for my mascara came from my home and took next to no forward planning (win!)

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I started of with a handful of almonds that had gone soft because I didn’t eat them quick enough, a glass of tap water and a bar of castile soap from Living Naturally that I had in my stash.

As for my recipe, I used this video by Gittemary Johansen to make activated charcoal, which involves blanching the almonds, chopping them up and burning them in a frying pan until they’re black all over (my mum was so pleased when she came home to find the kitchen smelling of burnt almond!) I then crushed them up into a mush.

After that, I just followed these instructions by The Rogue Ginger. It’s just a case of heating up a pyrex in a pot of boiling water and mixing the charcoal, water and oil (I used olive oil). At the end it was a kind of peanut butter texture, so i ended up putting in more water than recommended until it was thin enough. I think I got it just right!

The texture is more watery than normal shop bought mascaras, but is more or less the same as the LUSH one originally was (easy to apply, but also easy to smudge). While applying, it still smells like burnt almonds haha, but after it dries you can’t smell a thing.

As for its wear, I get no flaking and it’ll stay for the whole day. It also passes the cry test, although I would avoid wearing it if I thought there was a decent chance I would end up crying! It comes off easily with coconut oil and a cloth as well. Due to the soap component, getting any of this mascara in your eyes will sting, but I find that generally this isn’t a problem.

I like a relatively ‘natural’ look, so this mascara suits me perfectly! It basically makes my lashes slightly longer, spreads them out and makes them stand out a bit more, which is all I really want. Excuse the image quality, but I hope the photos below give some sort of indication of how well this mascara performs.

Before:

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After (1 coat of mascara):

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Dinner.

Since I moved to France and especially after I went vegan in January, I’ve been turning into a foodie. The kitchen has become my favourite place, and whereas a year or two ago cooking was a chore and a source of stress in my life, it is now what I look forward to most days!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty abysmal at following recipes. But that’s okay, because it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re happy with the result. Here are a few meals that I’ve made recently:

 

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Broccoli and lentil soup – My hand blender was on the blink which I only realised as I got it out to blitz the broccoli up for this soup, so it ended up having some quite large bits of broccoli in it! But it was actually really nice to be able to taste all the elements and them not to be blended together. The key was putting onion and garlic in and seasoning it well.

Ingredients:

Broccoli

Green lentils

Onion

Garlic

Sea salt, black pepper, coriander

 

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Rice, plantain and lettuce – This one was easy. I am obsessed with plantain. Maybe it’s because it’s sweet and I’m a sucker for anything sweet. Maybe it’s because I fry them in oil, who knows (coconut oil is perrrffecct for this as it brings out the sweetness!). Also, brown rice is great. I made the switch a few months ago and I do not regret my choice one bit.

Ingredients:

Brown rice

Onion

Lettuce

Plantain

Coconut oil

 

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Roasted yellow peppers with quinoa – This one was a fun one. I started off by boiling the quinoa, then mixed it in with some black beans, chickpeas, tomato purĂ©e and some spices then filled a hollowed-out pepper and whacked them in the oven! It turned out really yummy.

Ingredients:

Yellow pepper

Quinoa

Tomato purée

Black beans

Chickpeas

Red onion

Sea salt, oregano, black pepper

 

As you can see, most of my dinners aren’t that fancy. They don’t involve too many ingredients and usually include at least one vegetable and some kind of grain. They are filling and pretty healthy, and it’s exciting to keep experimenting every day with new ideas. I haven’t included directions on how to make these, because I am basically just making it up as I go along, or I look it up on Pinterest and follow someone else’s recipe 🙂

Unhelpful comments.

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Have a picture of the motorway in Spain in 2014, go on.

This is an issue that I was aware of, but never considered writing about until a pang of frustration hit me whilst scrolling down my Facebook feed and I read a post saying something like ‘you call yourself an environmentalist but you still eat meat HAHAHA’. The tone was very belittling and aggressive and I just don’t see the need.

I would be lying if I said knowing what I know now doesn’t make me want to shake all my friends and family and say ‘do you realise what this does to the planet?!’ but that would make me two things; 1) disrespectful of the fact that everyone comes to their own decisions. Just as they respect my decision to not eat meat, I have to accept theirs. 2) arrogant considering that less than a year ago I couldn’t fathom why anybody would want to stop eating meat.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have conversations about the effect of meat eating on the environment, it’ s just about adjusting your attitude. Until every aspect of your life is faultless, it is unfair for you to make anyone feel lesser because of something they do. No one wants to feel that someone else’s opinions are being shoved down their throat, and it doesn’t really work anyway.

So how do you challenge the people around you to think about meat consumption? Here are 3 ways that respect other people’s autonomy:

  1. Recommend a documentary- Netflix was the main source of evidence that convinced me to become a vegan. Unlike books or articles, most people will find it easier to sit and watch a documentary because it’s quick and passive. Whether you watch together or leave them to themselves, the hard facts speak for themselves and it could be the spark that gets their minds ticking. Netflix has a good range of documentaries to suit personality types, priorities (health, planet, animals) and depth of scientific knowledge. I’ll leave a list at the end of this post of places to start.
  2. Be an example- I don’t go very long without having to mention my dietary requirements somewhere, and at least half of the time when I do, someone asks me why. That’s your permission to -briefly- explain your reasons. It might end there, or it might be the beginning of a discussion; either way that person has registered the choice you have made and you never know if further down the line it might trigger a change.
  3. Make + bake- Food is the way to the heart, as they say, and what better way to demonstrate your lifestyle than by showing its best bits? I’m compiling a collection of cake recipes and have made 3 birthday cakes in the last few months for family members. Making food to share with others means that firstly, you can eat it (unlike shop-bought birthday cake for instance) and secondly others will see that veganism doesn’t require any more effort or sacrificing taste.

Basically, stay respectful and remember that when it comes to any subject, we are only ever responsible for our own decisions. A little creativity goes quite far though!

 

Documentaries to recommend:

Cowspiracy– focuses on the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, quite science-y

Vegucated– an all-round introduction to issues related to meat-eating. Follows a group of diverse meat-eaters as they learn more as an experiment to see if they change their diets.

Food Matters/Forks Over Knives/Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead– focus on the effects of eating meat  vs. plant-based (vegan) diet on health. Food matters is stats heavy with lots of case studies and graphs. Forks Over Knives is a bit more testimony based with facts to support. FS&ND follows 2 men’s dramatic journeys towards better health through a plant-based diet.

Earthlings (not on Netflix)– morality/animal focused, it goes through the main ways that animals are used in society (food, pets, experiments etc.) showing real-life typical scenarios for animals. It’s harrowing and exposes a lot of suffering that we are shielded from in everyday life.

5 Things this Monday…

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It’s about time I did another one of these! I’ve been saving interesting articles as usual, but for some reason sticking them in a post seemed like an impossible feat! Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve read recently..

  1. Kristina has done it again with a brilliant recipe for fully raw sushi rolls. They look so yummy and more importantly easy. I’ve been meaning to learn more raw food meal ideas as it’s really really good for your health.
  2. Next up is a little story from The Beauty in Simple. This lady made a lacy pillowcase that was just lying in her closet into a dress to gift a friend’s 2-year-old on her birthday (pictured above). She even made sure to employ the straps to make a pouch for her hankies. Star!
  3. The BBC reported in May that a reality check is needed if we want to reduce our emissions in time to save the planet. According to this article, a third of greenhouse gas emissions are created by agriculture.
  4. Rob Greenfield shares his 12 undeniable ways to better health. What I like about them is that they’re not complicated, and the basic premise is being natural and giving your body what you know it needs.
  5. Lastly, I’ve been trying recently to save energy by washing my clothes less often. Some items have got me stuck though because what do you do when things start looking and smelling not quite dirty but not clean either? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO!

Teeth.

 

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Convention dental care is a disposable nightmare with plastic everywhere you look. What makes it even worse is that toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss need to be regularly replaced meaning tonnes of landfill. I used to think there was no way around this- we have to brush our teeth after all- but I have developed a pretty near zero waste routine that works for me and I thought I would share.

Firstly, there are many different approaches, enough to suit everyone’s needs and preferences. Alongside my solutions I will list sources directing you to other alternatives for dental hygeine that I don’t personally use, but that you might find helpful nonetheless. I know it’s a personal thing.

Toothbrush:

This bit is an easy swap-out. Instead of buying plastic toothbrushes, get your hands on a bamboo toothbrush. I started off with this one from the Environmental Toothbrush Co. which was really soft and was thick and sturdy and ergonomic to hold. It was nice for a first dabble into wooden toothbrushes but the bristles were non-biodegradable, so I switched to Save Some Green. This toothbrush really is 100% biodegradable, and although it isn’t as luxurious, it uses less wood and does the job. I buy them online from their website in a pack of 12 which lasts around 3 years! I haven’t had to stick any of my past brushes in the compost yet because I save them to use for cleaning.

Toothpaste:

I’m nothing if not lazy haha so I picked the easiest toothpaste recipe I could find. 2 parts coconut oil to 1 part bicarbonate of soda (see here for recipe and demonstration video). I put a pea-sized amount on my toothbrush and brush as normal then rinse with water and spit. It does taste a little salty (due to the bicarb) and it doesn’t froth like traditional toothpaste, but I’m not a fan of mint anyway- if you are add peppermint oil- and within a week I was used to the taste and consistency.

When I saw my dentist in May, he asked if I used a fluoride tothpaste and I told him what I use. He said that my teeth were perfectly healthy and there was no decay in my mouth. He said that bicarbonate of soda was fine to use to brush my teeth but he did recommend fluoride toothpaste as it is good at protecting teeth from staining. Basically, the gist I got was that it’s down to what you eat and when which determines your liklihood to develop tooth decay or staining. As a healthy eater who only really drinks water, I’m dong half the job.

I also know that the act of brushing is the most important element of the process, regardless of what substance you use- if any at all! Sometimes if I run out of toothpaste or leave it somewhere I brush with a dry toothbrush, and whilst I wouldn’t do it everyday, my teeth are still clean and smooth. I also use natural soap such as Dr. Bronner’s or Living Naturally occaisonally (wet the brush then rub it over the bar) which does the job too.

Floss:

I have to admit, I’ve never been a flosser. My teeth are on the gappy side so it’s not a massive problem, but in recent years I have been making an effort. Finding a plastic-free or vegan floss (some use silk) has been a bit of a challenge. I settled for now on a gum stimulator which I bought in a pharmacy (unfortunately came in plastic + cardboard). I run it in between my gums and teeth a few times a week at the moment, and when I feel it necessary.

This link will take you to an article by a vegan zero-waster analysing the options available to you if you do want a floss alternative.

5 things this Monday…

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  1. Firstly, I actually tried out this recipe yesterday from Jamie Oliver’s Youtube for the Ultimate Veggie Burrito comprised of lentils and plantain, and even though I didn’t have all the ingredients, it was still delicious!
  2. I came across a new blog this week too- Going Zero Waste! I found this article on shopping zero waste online very useful. It just requires a little extra organisation and communication basically, but many sellers/shops are willing to send products plastic-free. It’s always worth asking.
  3. Friday the 22nd of April was Earth Day in case you missed it- here are 8 ways to make every day Earth Day and why it matters. Great tips for starting a greener lifestyle.
  4. The Note Passer made an adorable diagram showing how to make zero waste coffee (mainly by replacing disposable equipment and using natural ingredients). I’m not a coffee drinker but thought it might be of use!
  5. Finally, you can never hear about too many zero waste advocates. Sometimes you can feel like the only one doing it, but this article from the Guardian proves that the movement is gaining momentum every day and that being perfectly waste-free is not realistic for the vast majority of us (which releases us from the fear of failure).

5 things this Monday…

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I fell out of sync a little with posting these last few weeks, but I am back on the wagon as of now, I promise! Here are 5 things I read this week:

  1. 5 myths about sustainable fashion debunked. It’s really hard not to get the impression shopping sustainably means compromising on style or shelling out more than you usually would when the high street is presented as our only option.
  2. Laura Miller of Raw. Vegan. Not Gross’s video on healthy vegan-friendly camping recipes has got the inspiration going! This is often a scenario where the meat/animal products are everywhere you turn, but I’m now pretty excited to invent some alternatives (and steal hers, obviously).
  3. A nice introduction to the concept of eating seasonally. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re in any doubt as to what it entails, or are in need of a few pointers this is a good read. I definitely need to work on this some more..
  4. I’ve never been a massive gravy person (apart from that awesome Swedish one they serve in IKEA haha) but some of these vegetarian (and some vegan) recipes are making me salivate.
  5. This article from the Huffington Post explains that child Syrian refugees have been found to be working in textile factories that supply H&M and Next among other UK clothing stores. These are the only two that owned up according to their official inspections, however a number of stores refused to comment which says a lot about what they’re hiding.