Following on from my previous post on my simplified wardrobe, here’s the last piece of the puzzle: shoes! I know I only have 6 pairs of shoes so I probably should’ve realised this earlier, but getting them all together to take pictures was the first time I realised that they’re all monochrome/grey except for the wellies! I remember as a teenager, my shoes were almost exclusively grey. I had an aversion to black (look at me now, teenage me!) and white poses the problem of always looking dirty, (which I’ve now largely embraced) whereas grey was the perfect balance. It goes with everything, which is probably why I subconsciously decided it would be my colour scheme for shoes. I know many minimalists apply this to their entire wardrobe, but I couldn’t do that myself. I need a bit more variety than that. But for shoes it works perfectly.
I will point out that while these shoes are perfect for 99% percent of my activities, I do borrow the odd pair of my mum’s for certain occasions such as weddings, interviews, or random days when I just feel like a change. Like I said, it is quite rare, and if we weren’t similar sizes I’d just make do with mine, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with sharing it around sometimes!
Similarly to the wardrobe this is my winter collection, but it’s almost identical to the summer one, except that I wear the boots a lot less and add a pair of sandals and flip flops into the mix.
When bored of the word ‘minimalist’ or sick of the cliché connotations, I’ve noticed bloggers like to go for ‘simple’ or ‘simplified’. Today I am all of those bloggers (fight me!) I’m at once grateful and resentful of labels like ‘zero waster’ and ‘minimalist’ and ‘vegan’. They obviously represent decisions and lifestyles that I am proud of, and it means you can search these terms and find like-minded people to inspire you. On the other side of the coin, labels come with stereotypes, expectations and criticisms. Sometimes you also get caught up in being that stereotype or label, rather than caring about the root issues. But anyway..
The point I was trying to make before I got sidetracked, was that it makes a lot more sense to me to use ‘simplified’ in this case. Because that’s what minimalism means to me. Having less clothes makes everything simpler. It has never been easier to choose what to wear, I have never loved my clothes more, and this is also probably my comfiest wardrobe to date! I used to have clothes I loved, was indifferent to and hated- all in the same place! I had items that I bought cos they looked great on other people, items that would’ve been great in another colour, or a teeny bit longer, or looser (so basically exactly what they weren’t). It’s taken over 2 years of mistakes and learning to realise what I value in a wardrobe and stick to it. And I know the journey is not over, but I like to think I’ll only be making small changes a few times a year from now on.
Here’s a run down of what’s in my winter wardrobe. This is what simple looks like to me:
key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan (n)= natural fibres
There’s a new documentary on Netflix advocating veganism and exploring the treatment of animals in farms- yes! Netflix is such a good source of documentaries and I can’t get enough of them 🙂 Check out the trailer here.
The winners of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest have been announced, and their pictures blew me away today. What better reason to want to save this beautiful planet…
10 ways to use a handkerchief! Tea towels and hankies are so useful for so many things! They really come into their own when you go zero waste, I love them.
It’s probably too late for this year, but this article gives advice on what trees can be kept in pots outside then brought in for Christmas year after year, as well as tips on how to care for them. I’m definitely keeping this bookmarked.
Buy Me Once has put together a review of reputable knife brands to find out which is the best. Could be a last minute gift idea or something to invest in with your Christmas money that’ll last a lifetime.
This letter from a mother to her vegan daughter made me think. For probably most vegans, it is difficult to stand by and watch people put their health at risk and contribute to animal cruelty etc. but the disintegration of a relationship like this is quite sad.
Hi there! I’ve been doing some thinking recently (help us all!) and it occurred to me that through this new way of life I’ve been living the last few years, I’ve been able to participate in my own acts of resistance against things I wasn’t even aware of before. Here are a few ways I’ve been sticking it to the man…
cosmetics- don’t use shampoo, and only use 3 makeup items
I am resisting the advertisement industry that lies and profits from women’s insecurity, telling us that we need an eye cream, foot cream, nail cream, and a different soap depending on whether you are male or female. My hair and skin haven’t been softer since I ditched the products which whilst doing a job, make your body reliant on them for something it can do naturally.
clothes- buy only a few items of clothing as needed, from ethical brands and charity shops
Spanish brand ZARA for example churns out a crazy 52 (micro) seasons a year, averaging 12000 styles (the retail average is 3000). It’s just irresponsible to think you can produce so much and encourage people to buy more and more with the situation already in dire straights. I am resisting the over over over-consumption and prices so low that people pay for your clothes with their lives on the other side of the planet.
veganism- I choose not to eat animal products
I’ve had people personally offended that I don’t eat meat. I’ve even had people ask me how I can call myself Jamaican. I am aware that in some cultures meat is very embedded into the every day, but there is no reason why someone should have to condone an act they consider wrong to be a part of a culture. I’ve also been told that I am being rude or fussy when refusing food that someone of another culture has made for me because it has meat in it. I understand that for a lot of people, they don’t see or think about the process and simply see meat and animals as food. My intention is not to reject your generosity but rather to live by a principle that I think matters.
Also, something I haven’t had to experience as a woman, but that I have witnessed happen around me: the association of manliness with meat-eating. Who knows where it stems from; cavemen ideology, the preoccupation with protein and muscle-building, I can’t really comment. But as weak as the argument seems from someone liberated from the need to fit in with gender stereotypes, I have seen that in many people the need to perform their gender and what they consider to be essential components of their gender is a really strong pull.
I am resisting the association of meat-eating with culture or by being a mixed-race British person of Caribbean heritage who does not eat animal products. And as a woman I do not perpetuate the myth that to be strong, healthy, happy or fit in, it is necessary for any gender to do so either.
Yeah, so we got a little bit political today, but that’s okay! It’s important to remember that often things that are worthwhile and right, are not easy. Being aware of underlying influences in society is crucial to breaking their power and realising that they do not need to control you. Thanks for reading 🙂
Yes people. It’s all very well trying to buy environmentally friendly fabrics, and not use animal products, but it all means nothing if you’re still buying into businesses that effectively use slave labour. (That was a bit more direct than I thought it would be, but there’s nothing like a little harsh truth!) As it’s Fashion Revolution week, and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, I figured it might be good to share something.
Now I’m an advocate of the largely secondhand wardrobe, because not only does it contribute to good in the world, (if it comes from a charity shop you are making a donation to their work) but it means that instead of garments going on a one-way path to the garbage heap, they become part of a loop economy. Products that can be used again by someone new, avoid the fate of landfill and all the horrible dangers associated with it. When you buy secondhand you don’t require anything to be made from scratch in a factory, so no energy is wasted to create it. There’s enough already in existence to mean we shouldn’t need to buy very much completely new! It can go round and round the loop until it can’t be used any more!
However, sometimes you can’t be searching high and low for things. Also, there’s something to be said for encouraging and supporting ethical businesses with our money. So without further ado, here is a list of ethical clothes manufacturers on my radar…
First up, a petition! Let’s show the supermarkets that we as the consumers do not want our produce smothered in plastic. Sign this petition and share it with your family and friends- let’s do this.
A London cafe has ditched dairy after watching a 5 minute video on the dairy industry called ‘dairy is scary’. They put the above poster in their front to explain why. It’s so exciting to see companies taking action after educating themselves 🙂
I have finally started using this search engine that I heard about a little while ago. They plant trees with the money raised from ads. I’ve only used it for one day and they are committed to planting 8 trees on my behalf- talk about an easy way to do something awesome for the planet! See this video for more on how it works…
Looking for a zero waste alternative to hair gel? Well look no further! This amazingly easy recipe requires only flax seeds and boiling water. And that’s not even the best part- you can use the seeds again and again before composting them!
If you’re based in the UK you will no doubt be familiar with many of these restaurant chains. Fun fact: they all have vegan options and some even have a whole menu. YIPPEE!
The picture above shows a turtle who got caught in some plastic packaging from a 6-pack of cans. It caused the his shell to be misshapen as it grew- but that’s not all. This poor guy’s organs were unable to fully form due to the constriction of his body. Even after he was liberated, Peanut has been unable to live unaided which is really sad. But now he’s being looked after and makes appearances across schools in the US to teach them about what happens to plastic waste! It is pictures like this that really bring it home that our consumption is making animals really suffer.
Now for some happy news! A vegan cafe has opened in Mexico City, and is challenging the eat-obsessed culture. It’s called ‘Los loosers’ and it sounds magnificent 🙂 hopefully this will be the beginning of better availability of plant-based food in the area.
Lots of people don’t have the option of visiting bulk shops where you can fill up your own bags and containers. How do you do your best to minimise packaging and landfill waste whilst shopping at your average supermarket? Zero Waste Nerd tells you how.
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…
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!
What did people do before Netflix, eh? (don’t answer that question, they probably were a lot more productive!) At least when it comes to documentaries, it’s really the place to go! In the theme of Veganuary, I thought I’d watch a foody documentary that’s been sitting on my watch-list for a while. Food Choices follows Michal Siewierski on his journey to discovering the most healthy diet for humans. It felt like an extension of other Netflix food documentaries, featuring interviews with Joe Cross of ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ and Dr.T. Colin Campbell of ‘Food Matters’. Here are the stand-out points for me:
Whilst it has been made complicated through all manner of fads and ‘studies’, it seems the perfect diet for humans consists of the following 4 main food groups: fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The ideal foods are high in fibre and unprocessed.
Doctors are not trained in nutrition hence why they focus on treating health problems with medicine (what they are trained in). This only tends to control the symptoms and adds others. Especially in America, but across the West, corporations interfere and confuse the situation by trying to make money through false food information as theor primary focus is profit.
Myth= we (humans) are hunter-gatherers designed to eat meat
Reality= those closer to the equator and most of the planet relied on starchy foods (corn, potatoes etc.) to survive. Only in the far North and South in places such as the Arctic did people have to eat large quantities of meat due to the scarcity of other food options in the extreme cold.
Our bodies are designed to eat fruits and vegetables. Some animals ave sharp teeth and claws to kill and eat animals, whilst we see in colour to detect fruit and vegetables, and our hands are perfect for picking and peeling them.
Myth= you can only get protein from animal products
Reality= it is impossible to be protein deficient especially on a plant-based wholefood diet as long as you’re getting enough calories per day. Humans do not need a lot of protein, not nearly as much as we are made to believe. In fact we get health problems as a result of too much! Our kidneys, and liver are put under stress by over consumption of protein and we are at a far larger risk of cancers.
Myth= we need milk for calcium
Reality= the higher the calcium intake from dairy products, the higher the risk of osteoporosis. There is calcium in all sorts of food, such as oranges!
All of the nutrients generally lacking in the population can be found in plant-based foods, whereas all of the over-consumed ingredients come from animal products/processed foods
We are the only creatures on earth that consume the milk of another species AND that consumes milk after infancy- IT’S NOT NATURAL! It’s designed for baby cows to rapidly gain weight! High fat, high cholesterol, no fibre- it’s just like liquid red meat.
No wonder people are addicted to cheese! The casein used to bind cheese together has been proven to be as addictive as heroin! (paraphrased from Karyn Calabrese)
‘Eggs are the most concentrated source of dietary cholesterol in the average person’s diet’ Dr. Michael Greger
Cholesterol only comes from animal products, and additional cholesterol causes heart diseases.
Commercial chickens are fed antibiotics, genetically modified corn and soy.
We are the only species on earth that does not live in harmony with nature.
Anyway, those are my notes. If you haven’t seen any food documentaries, I would recommend Food Matters, Cowspiracy or Forks Over Knives. This one I enjoyed the first half of, but I’d say there are others that deliver the message a bit better. I did like the humble approach of the guy and the way he asked simple, common questions and tried to find the answer.