Two weeks ago I decided to try a vegan lifestyle. I have been a vegetarian for ten months and I do not drink dairy. BUT I eat eggs, butter, and cheese. I have wondered for a while if I would have the willpower to commit to not eating any animal products. I knew that I could probably give up eggs and there are plenty of butter substitutes, but CHEESE I knew would be the absolute hardest.
I am proud to say that I went a full 14 days without consuming any animal products. It was actually a lot easier (when I was at home) than I thought it would be. I didn’t miss cheese that much and most of my food staples (spinach, rice, chickpeas, garlic, pasta, etc.) were already completely plant-based anyway. I really recognized the difficulty of a vegan lifestyle while I was out though. For example, I went to Starbucks with two friends for some almond lattes and we ended up staying and chatting for almost three hours. Towards the end, I was properly hungry but soon realized that next to nothing on the Starbucks food menu was vegan. There were plenty of vegetarian options but they all had either cheese or eggs listed as ingredients. I know that it doesn’t sound like much of anything, but when your hands are shaky and you feel slightly faint (which sometimes happens to me if I go without eating for a while), it became a big deal. Little instances like that, things you do not plan for, are what make being vegan hard for me. Plus all I wanted was a croissant.
What I have taken away from the experience is this: I have MAJOR respect for people who live a vegan lifestyle 24/7. It is something that I think I would ultimately like to work towards, and with the acceptance and science promoting a plant-based lifestyle increasing, I think more brands and restaurants are going to make it easier for me to be able to. I also want to try being vegan at home and vegetarian while I am out. I eat at home probably 85% of the time, so this will really help me curb my environmental impact (my reason for going vegetarian and a big reason why I want to go vegan). But when I am out, I think I am going to let the standards slip a bit. Because sometimes you just need that ice-cream or bowl of raviolis and that is okay.
We often think about the chemicals and additives added to our foods. Most people actively seek out organic when they can afford it because we all want to know that what we are putting into our bodies is safe and non-toxic. But what about the toxins and chemicals that we put on our skin?
Launched in Los Angeles in 2014 as a community for ethically-minded consumers, The Good Trade is an online publication featuring brands, products and ideas creating positive social change. The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea consumers are collectively powerful and capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices. Our team envisions a world where ethically minded consumers vote with their everyday purchases for a world that is sustainable and free from forced labor. – ABOUT The Good Trade
I can’t remember when or how I first heard about this site, but it has been a source of constant inspiration since deciding to try and live more ethically. There are articles and guides pertaining to ethical beauty, fashion, gifts, home, and travel that give tips and offer up some great alternative products. Some of my favorite guides include “35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion” and “Conscious Living 101: 5 Books & 5 Documentaries That Will Open Your Eyes to the ‘Way’ Behind Conscious Living“. Guides and articles like these have helped keep me motivated when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed with the process of trying to live ethically and sustainably. It seems a lot easier to just pop into Zara, buy that £20 polyester top, and be done with it. You can’t do that while trying to live ethically. There is no more aimlessly wandering into a high-street store and having a peruse around. If I want a new piece of clothing, I have to do some research and more often than not, buy it online. Yes, this is better for my wallet as I can no longer spend my Saturdays wandering around Oxford Street, but it can also take the fun out of the shopping pastime. Luckily I can get on to The Good Trade and within a few minutes of reading their articles and guides, I feel completely encouraged and motivated to buy sustainably. The site offers so much information and options when it comes to fair trade and ethical fashion that I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything.
I highly recommend you take a peek at the site. You’ll find some inspiration and maybe a more ethical option to that H&M top you’ve been eyeing!
I read this article on broadly.vice.com and knew that it was something I had to share. This article highlights an extremely important issue that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Companies and brands seem to be jumping on the feminist bandwagon, but without committing to the actual values associated with it. “Trendy feminism” is something that I try to be wary of on a daily basis:
WOMEN’S MARCH T-SHIRTS BEING SOLD AT THE WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON IN WASHINGTON, DC. PHOTO BY TASOS KATOPODIS/GETTY IMAGES
From “Feminist AF” to “Nasty Woman” merch, feminist fashion having a moment. But our thirst for cheap Instagrammable T-shirts and hats may have unethical consequences.
You could almost set your watch to it: Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” at the third presidential debate in October, the first nasty-themed merch—including a T-shirt with a heart shaped logo that ended up raising $100,000 for Planned Parenthood—began appearing online.
Then, in January, when the Women’s March on Washington was about to become one of the largest political demonstrations in US history, Instagram was awash in slogan T-shirts to wear on the big day. “Feminist AF” and “The Future is Female” were popular, while more recently, “Nevertheless, She Persisted” has cropped up. Everyone seems to want one; few seem concerned with where they are coming from.
I love a good handbag. It’s an item I do not mind investing in, as I need it to be able to handle being stuffed to the gills and carted around the city on a daily basis. In the past, a good quality bag usually meant a leather one. Leather is one of the most durable materials and actually tends to look better with time and wear. As I try to slowly transition to a more ethical lifestyle, this was one area where I wasn’t sure how I could get around not using leather. Luckily I discovered Matt & Nat, a completely vegan and beautifully-made accessories company based in Canada.
There are a lot of reasons why people do not drink dairy – allergies, dietary restrictions, or they just plain do not like it. As someone who is trying to get away from eating dairy completely, almond milk has been a lifesaver. I will drink soy milk when I am out and about (it is usually the only non-dairy option), but due to conflicting reports about soy’s affect on hormones, I only drink it if it is the ONLY plant-based option available. Almond milk is all I drink at home and is my favorite thing to add to my daily coffee(s).
Starbucks began offering almond milk in the U.S. back in September and I was able to try it out when I went home for Christmas. I much preferred it to both the soy and coconut milks already offered at the chains. Starbucks has said that it is using an almond milk made specially to compliment their drinks and I found it to be quite good. I have been patiently awaiting the day it would come to the U.K.! How excited was I to finally see this tweet from the official Starbucks UK account last week!
Last May I saw a documentary that was going to change the way I ate forever. The film was Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. The film, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, follows filmmaker Kip Anderson as he learns how devastating the meat and dairy industry is to our environment and why respected environmental advocacy groups seem afraid to even mention it.