My favourite staples for green eating

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Transitioning to a more plant-based diet can be challenging at times. When I stopped cooking meat I started stocking new products that were tasty and easy to cook. So for those of you that feel a bit lost with vegan or vegetarian cooking, here are some of my favourite green eating staples!

Cabbage

I love almost all types of cabbage! The greatness of the cabbage is the versatility, that they are nutrient dense, cheap and keep for long (like really long). Cabbage can be used as a filler in many dishes, it is great for stews, soups, casseroles, salads or just as a side. You can pickle it, make sauerkraut, kimchi, steam it, boil it, fry it or just eat it raw. My favourites are kale and red cabbage (preferable pickled in a bit of apple cider vinegar).

Onion

Similar to cabbage, onion is cheap and durable. I use all types of onion to cook: yellow, red, garlic, spring onion, shallots. They are anti-inflammatory and great for adding flavour to a dish. It is very rare that I eat something that does not include at least one type of onion, raw or cooked. My favourite is to add a bit of pickled red onion or fresh spring onion to top of a dish. It adds a nice touch!

Potato

Regular potato and sweet potato are my best carbs (sorry pasta, I still love you though…). They work great boiled, mashed, baked, fried or whatever way you would like them. In addition to eating them as a side (or as me the main), you can add them to curries and stews, you can make hash browns or patties by mixing them with some nice spices and herbs. I also love to make sweet potato tacos with some black beans and loads of cilantro!

Peas & beans

The great thing today about peas and beans is that you can buy them ready in tetras or cans, which is fast and accessible. But the cheapest way to to buy dried ones and cook yourself. They provide a great amount of protein and can be added to salads, soups, curries and most other dishes. If you do not like the taste or the structure, I would try to either blend them into a soup or marinate them to get some flavour. I mostly eat chickpeas, which I put in salads and curries, or black beans, that I use for tacos, bean patties and salads.

Tomatoes

I love tomatoes in any form! When I was a child I did not like fruit so my grandmother would cut up tomatoes for me to eat. Still today I tend to buy cherry tomatoes as snack for movie night! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant, that has been linked to decreased risk for several diseases.
In my kitchen you can almost always find a few cans of diced or whole tomatoes. They are a great staple that keeps for long in the pantry and they can be used for soups, stews, sauces and what not. However, my favourite is to eat a perfectly ripe tomato with just a tiny bit of herb salt.

Grains

Grains are a great filler that you can put in salads, bowls or sub for when you have no rice at home. My favourites are quinoa, buckwheat and wheatberry. I tend to use then mostly for bowl base or as the side of a soup or curry, or to make breakfast porridge. They are great carbs, that fill you up, without being too “fast”, and I personally like the taste and the texture of them.

Lentils

If I am completely drained for food inspiration or seriously cramped on time, I make lentil soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and they are often very cheap. I prefer the red ones best, both for the flavour and for the fact that they are fast cooked. If I have more time I like to make chili with green lentils.

So if you are finding it hard to cultivate a vegan or vegetarian diet, you could try incorporating more of these foods into your your

My tips for making 2019 your most sustainable year yet

jazmin-quaynor-105210-unsplashAs the year comes to an end, many feel like a new beginning. If you want to make 2019 the best year yet, why not try to make some positive changes for yourself that are also beneficial for the environment?

Set realistic goals

Want to make a bigger change for the environment? I say start small. Maybe you heard that going vegan is the best choice if you want to decrease your impact and you decide to go vegan over night. For some it might work, but for most it is not realistic to change ones diet in a heartbeat. Being vegan takes some knowledge on your part and often time. To learn how to cook new ingredients and how to get proper protein etc. A more realistic goal might be to decrease the intake of meat, egg and dairy for a while, while incorporating more vegan recipes into the repertoire. The end goal can still be to eat fully vegan, but by easing into it, you lessen the risk of feeling overwhelmed and quitting.

Start small

This one connects to the previous one, but is slightly different. By focusing on doing one thing at a time you will have a bigger chance of having it stick. If you try to go vegan, start doing yoga every day and running three times a week, you will most definitely get really tired and not be motivated to stick to the rigorous routine. Decide on one or a few small things to change. When they start to become a habit, challenge yourself with a new change.

Don’t stress it

You are only human. If anyone (or society) makes you feel bad for not being perfect, remember that no one is perfect and that all movement in the right direction is good. You didn’t make it out to run three times this week like you said you would? Well, a maybe if you think back just a few weeks you hadn’t gone for a run in months! It is all about perspective. Try to see the bigger picture, without using it as an excuse to not continue striving towards your goals. Because that is what goals are. Something to strive for and work towards. If you are able to reach it within a few weeks, maybe the goal wasn’t big enough to begin with.

Educate yourself

If you want to lead a more sustainable life in 2019, both for you and the environment, take some time to educate yourself. It is hard being conscious, because there are so many people saying different things. By educating yourself, making sustainable choices will be easier. It will take less time at the store to decide what vegetable to choose since you already know which ones have lower impact.

Do you want to make 2019 your most sustainable year yet? Why not join my some of my challenges? Or create your own goals calendar for the year?

2019: monthly challenges

sarah-dorweiler-357715-unsplashNew Years resolutions have never been a big thing for me. Committing to something for an entire year takes a lot of devotion and engagement, which I tend to lack. Instead, this year I will be doing monthly “challenges” to push myself to do and learn more, and in some cases just to push myself to do stuff that I have long been meaning to do but tend to forget when life comes along.

Having a monthly goal, or challenges as I choose to call it, is more sustainable since committing to 30 days of something gives a clearer horizon and you may not feel deprived in the same way since you can just “return to normal” if it’s not for you, without feeling like you failed. So just setting up reasonable goals that you can actually do. You might have heard about SMART goals. SMART goals is all about creating motivational and tangible goals that you can actually reach. SMART was first coined by George T. Duran in 1981 stands for:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

So by giving myself a clearer horizon by limiting the time to one month, it feels more attainable. I will also only focus on things that feel relevant to me and my journey, that are very specific for each month and that I will be able to see a result from.

Monthly challenges

January: Veganuary

This is a global challenge and yearly challenge from https://veganuary.com/ to inspire people to eat more vegan. All of January I will eat (or do my best to) eat vegan. To push myself to try something new, to try new recipes, ingredients and how to eat out.

February: Meditate daily

February is a dark month with bad weather, and if you live in the north it’s probably like four months since you saw the sun. So when the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) starts knocking on the door I will spend a month meditating daily. These past few months have been stressful for me and I have felt that my defence against stress is quite low. Hopefully with daily meditation I can improve this.

March: Digital detox 

For the month of March my focus will be on minimising my use of Internet, computers, tablets and phones. My only tech appliances that will not be on the decrease list are my e-reader and my camera. How much I will “detox” is unsure right now. Since Instagram is a big inspiration and I like to read interesting articles online I would not be able to do a full on detox, but I will be avoiding it as much as I feel is viable.

April: Shopping ban

This one is quite explanatory, I will not do any shopping for the entire month. Which of course excludes food, medications and hygiene stuff (I need to survive it!!). No new clothes, no new beauty products, no interior shopping, no unnecessary stuff I can live without.

May: 30-day yoga

I will do a 30-day yoga challenge to really feel the benefits of the practice and stretch out my body. I have done yoga on and off for almost 10 years and even though I love it during and after, I never seem to get into a routine that sticks, so this month I will challenge myself to stick to it and hopefully feel better both physically and mentally.

June: Capsule challenge

For the month of June I will commit to a capsule closet. I have yet to decide the number of items to be used but somewhere between 20-30 is where I am aiming. This years mini capsule challenge felt slightly too constricting for me, so I want to give a bigger and longer capsule a shot.

July: Plastic-free July

Plastic-free July is a quite well known challenge by now, which means that for all of July, the goal is to not consume any plastics. This means no plastic single use items like take away bowls or plastic cutlery. This feels like a tough challenge for me right now, but my hope is that it will teach me more about the low impact living.

August: Reading challenge

One of my goals this year is to read more and for this I purpose I will do a book club for myself, but I will also assign one month of the year for reading even more. When I was a teenager I would read several books a week, but when I started university and had to read large amounts of course literature, I lost the appetite for reading for fun. I want to find the fun in reading again and this is what I am hoping to achieve during this month.

September: Self care September

During September I will focus on taking better care of myself and doing stuff I enjoy. Since fall tends to be very dark and gloomy where I come from it feels like the perfect start to the darker times.

October: Slow-Fashion October

For October I will be challenging myself to be more circular when it comes to my closet. I will be mending broken clothes, tailoring bad fitting ones, upcycle that which is no longer my style or simply make new items. A personal goal for the year is to get better at sewing, so this challenge caters mostly to this. By using what we have better and not wasting fabric is good for the environment and my own economy, as I will feel less a need to buy new.

November: Food challenge

For this month the challenge will be to explore new foods. New recipes, new ingredients, new cooking techniques etc. The goal is to compile 25 new recipes to try out during the month, both breakfast, snacks and dinners.

December: Creativity challenge

When I was a child I was constantly drawing, cutting and pasting. I had subscription boxes for what we in Sweden call “pyssel” which is a somewhat broad word for doing any kind of creative hand-work. During December I want to get creative again, just like when I was a child. Maybe I won’t be gluing beads on a picture frame, but more knitting pot holders, painting, colouring and maybe practice my calligraphy.

Conscious book club 2019

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One personal goal I have this year is to read more. Another is to learn more about conscious and sustainable living. Therefore I will be doing a small reading challenge, call it a book club. Every two month I will read a book related to the sustainability topic, such as consumption, fashion, plastic etc. I will evaluate the book here on the blog and discuss the topics brought up by the book.

This changes everything – Naomi Klein

A book about climate crisis and economy. In this book Naomi Klein discusses capitalism and the connection between social, environmental and economic sustainability and equality. She means that we have to change our relationship with nature and each other in order to manage this crisis and that we have to do it now.

Overdressed – Elizabeth L. Cline

The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. This book looks into the fashion industry to unveil why clothing is cheaper than ever and who is actually paying the price for it. What do we do with all the clothes produced, as well as what all this production does to society and the environment.

Turning the tide on plastic – Lucy Siegle

With this years word being single-use this is a very current book about plastic. Facts about the plastic industry, how much plastic there actually is in the world and what it is doing to us all. How do we change our habits to avoid seeing more whales being washed ashore with several pounds of plastic inside?

Rise and resist. How to change the world – Claire Press

Clare Press runs one of my favourite podcasts around and I have been longing to get my hands on this new book of hers. In this book she meets passionate change makers that work towards a better world and explores how we can all help change the world with activism.

Cradle to cradle – Michael Braungart & William McDonough

This well known book rethinks the way we make things. Must our production really damage the world? Or are there ways of increasing the effectiveness of our production in ways that harm the planet and the people less?

Doing good better – William MacAskill

How can we make a difference in this world? By using our time to help people? Or are we more effective letting our money do the job? In this book the author tries to understand effective altruism and how we can maximise our impact with our decisions.

Interested in learning more about sustainability? Why don’t you join me in my reading?

Closet goals for 2019

celia-michon-115006-unsplashFor 2019 I have decided to put up some goals for my closet and shopping. Even though I gave up reading fashion magazines in my late teens, my shopaholic behaviours have stayed. I try to be more mindful of what I consume, but when life gets a bit though I tend to turn to shopping, a habit I am trying hard to break. So this year I am putting up some closet goals for myself.

Using what I have

For the time being I am not fully ready for a capsule or complete minimalism. I tried the 10×10 capsule challenge earlier this fall and I did not really enjoy it that much, however I might try a bigger capsule for a longer time during the year. I am planning on using as many parts of my closet as possible (I started keeping track of what I am wearing about 8 months ago) and the ones that I do not use enough, I will be selling or giving to friends.

Responsible shopping

Regarding shopping, I will be buying maximum 12 things in the year, so corresponding to 1 thing per month of the year. To some this might seem like an insane amount, while to others it’s nothing. For me this is a quite small number and I am trying to minimise my shopping over time, since going cold turkey hasn’t worked too well for me in the past. For these 12 purchases I will not be including underwear/basics, accessories or activewear/sleepwear. However, I will keep those to minimal. No going crazy just because I don’t count them.

Further, I will continue to prioritise quality, longevity, natural materials and that they are second hand or sustainably made when possible. I will do my best to avoid spontaneous shopping and instead plan my needs. I am already working on a shopping list for the coming year, since I need to save up for some of the garments. Another important thing is that I will ONLY buy stuff I love. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no!

Questions for shopping

When shopping I will keep some questions in mind to make sure I make sensible purchases.

Does it fit my closet?

The garments should fit with my closet – I should be able to create at least 3 possible outfit combinations with things I already own. No thinking that “this would look great if I only had that”…

Will I wear it at least 30 times?

Have you heard about #30wears? It is encouraging people to wear their clothes for longer. A big portion of the fashion impact comes from the actual use of the garments and by using what we own for longer we can increase the garments impact.

Is this worth the price?

Will the future CPU (cost per use) be low enough to motivate the purchase? If you want to have a CPU of let’s say 2€ then you would have to wear a 200€ coat at least a 100 times for it to be worth the purchase. For this reason I tend to only invest in more expensive garment that I know I will be using for a longer time, like coats, bags and shoes.

Personal development

My last closet goal for 2019 is that I want to learn more about sewing and making my own clothing. In Sweden you have basic sewing classes for 3-6 years in middle school and even though I have made both my own dresses and knitted mittens and embroidered table cloths, I am not near the level I would want to be!

I come from a crafty family and both my mom and my grandma used to sew, knit and crochet everything when they were young and couldn’t afford to buy new. My hopes with this goal is that I will be able to make most of my own clothes, so that I can be in charge of materials and cut and so I can get more tailored items that will not need to be taken in or hemmed.

Do you have any closet goals for 2019? Or are you just going with the flow?

Friendly gift wrapping guide

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Wrapping gifts for christmas. Some people love it, some dread it. This is an area where you can get really creative if you want, just try to remember that most wrapping paper is not recyclable. However, there are several other ways of wrapping gifts than in regular wrapping paper.

Firstly, I would start looking around the home what is lying around that could be used. Maybe you find an old shoebox that you haven’t thrown out. With some paint or fabric that could make the perfect box for grandpa’s new sweater. Just put a bow on it and you are done! Maybe you have some old wall paper lying around from renovating the house, those would make great stand-ins for regular wrapping paper and they don’t require you buying new. With some creativity, most things can become a nice wrapping design!

If you are the really creative one with some time on your hands, I would go for designing your own wrapping paper with potatoes. By buying simple brown or white gift paper (the ones without the shiny side) you can simply design different papers for the entire family. All you need are the paper, an ink pad, a knife and some potatoes.

joanna-kosinska-480420-unsplashIf you are more of the lazy type (like me most of the time) go for reusing old newspapers. It gives a nice retro feel and you can dress it up nicely with nice bands and some decorations.

Last idea is to wrap in fabric, so called furoshiki (you can see more about furoshiki and the techniques on my Pinterest board here). It is a traditional Japanese way of wrapping gifts. You do not need to buy new for this, you could wrap it in a kitchen cloth, old sheets or whatever you have laying around.

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For all the ideas you have the option of making it more fancy by accessorizing. Some pine cones, a tree twig or some dried winter flower that are easy to find outside. It really takes a gift from regular to special looking.

 

 

 

Conscious christmas gifting guide

joanna-kosinska-414555-unsplashChristmas can be an incredibly busy and stressful time of year, especially if you are fed up with overconsumption and consumer culture. There are ways of making small changes for the better though. One field for improvement is the holiday gifts. There are different “levels” of conscious consumption in my book, below you can read about them.

The optimal choice is to not give anything. At least not material. Great things you can gift people that are not material:

  • donate in their name
  • gift card for service they use or need (like Spotify, Netflix, maybe some clothing subscription?)
  • gift them time to do something with you. Maybe you are a great chef? Well why don’t you gift them a 3-course dinner at your place. They love hiking? Plan a weekend hike to do together!
  • gift an experience. They want to learn pottery? How about you give them a class for x-mas! Want to learn a language? Sign them up for classes or buy a subscription to Babbel!

If you still feel that you want to gift something physical, try to make something yourself. A lot of times it is more appreciated, since it requires time and love. One year I made my grandma a knitted headband for winter. She cried for like 20 minutes because she was so happy for it. And I made a felt Ipad case for my dad one year, he still uses it to protect the screen!

What if you want to git something physical and you suck at any kind of crafts or similar? Well then I say give stuff that is sustainable and that they actually need. Some ideas for this is:

  • Bees wrap – a really practical way of wrapping food that eliminates plastic wrap
  • Reusable bottle – because we all know the problem of plastic bottles, don’t we?
  • Bamboo utensils – for when they are out on the run and need to eat.
  • Produce bags – very handy for grocery shopping, and we all need to buy food!
  • Sustainable underwear – you always need new underwear…
  • Garment care – e.g. pimp stone for clothes pilling, clothing brush, clothes mists.
  • Edible treats – such as homemade granola, truffles, bread mix, sourdough, kombucha starter.