5 easy steps to Becoming Vegan and sticking to it.

Normally I try to stick to Zero waste posts, but I haven’t had anything new to post lately and I am finging Veganism to be extremely important in my life, so I wanted to share some of it with you. The Following steps have helped my to stick to my Veganism.

I started being a vegan because of my zero waste lifestyle since I couldn’t find unpackaged meat, cheese and milk. I then realized how much I actually disliked the taste of those products any ways. The only thing that kept me from fully becoming vegan was thinking I would never get to eat certain foods again, Pizza, Cheesecake, Etc. I then educated my self on Veganism and why its a great thing to do, not only for your health but for the Environment as well. So I have prepared the Following steps to help anyone who is interested in Becoming Vegan, Learning about it or just want to cut down on meat consumption.

1. Plan your food ahead of time.

This one is big, If you have to plan last minute on what to eat, you will most likely Default to what you already know, instead of trying something new. It also Helps save time and money when heading to the grocery store. Even for your regular meals this is a great option.

2. Educated your self.

Be it Documentaries, books or a friendly conversation with another Vegan. I found this step really helpful to really stick to it. Seeing what goes on in the places your meat and animal products come from, is an awful thing to see, but it really solidifies why your are doing this, or gives you another good reason for doing it. The following documentaries I found helpful:

Vegecated

101 reasons to go Vegan

There are a ton of other ones but I haven’t had a chance to watch yet. Most are on Netflix or YouTube. these are some of the more popular ones.

Proteinaholic (book)

Earthlings

Cowspiracy

 

3. Do your research.

Look up recipes and try to make some of your current regular meals into a vegan option, Weather it be swapping for Vegetarian, or swapping beans for meat, or using fake meat, Or using vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese. Any swap can make a difference and make it easier.

The more you plan ahead the easier it gets. Find out how to make a vegan version of all your favorite things like Cream cheese, Cheesecake, Pulled pork, Whatever it might be, there is usually another option.

Research Options at your favorite restaurants in town, or find Vegan friendly restaurants in town (I know Panago Pizza has Daiya Cheese!!!!).

4. Thinking about the Process.

How did that chicken breast come to be on your plate? the chicken Grew up in what conditions before being Slaughtered? (sorry to be gruesome but it happens). This is a lot more helpful once you have done some research and seen where it comes from and how it happens.

I find this one very helpful when your get the occasional craving  for bacon or think it would be easier just to get burger and not worry about it.

5. Remember the Benefits

The Environmental, and Cruelty free benefits from becoming Vegan are fantastic and there are a few others as well. Zero waste packaging is a lot easier, since most veggies and fruit come without much packaging, as well as bulk ingredients.

The Health Benefits from Veganism are fantastic as well! Lower risk for heart disease and conditions! A significant Difference actually. Lower risk for Cancer, Extremely low Cholesterol, Increased Energy, Diminishes Existing Health problems (not a guarantee but I have heard of a lot of people that this happened to). None of these are guarantees, As long as you still maintain a varied balanced diet you will be fine!

Lastly, Don’t Give up! Especially when trying to make a vegan version of your favorites, Once recipe might not work for you, but try another one! things will taste different, but It doesn’t’ take long to get used to it. You may fail a few times, like me but it is worth it in the end.

So there we go! There are definitely ways of being an unhealthy vegan, but personally I find it has made thing way better in my life! I hope you guys enjoyed this list and found it helpful. Please let me know which tips help you, or let me know if you have questions!

 

Extended Beauty routine, Zero waste style

sugar-scrub

I like to take care of my looks. Call me vain, and it’s true, I am! These are some of the extra beauty routines I do to keep my self looking fresh feeling nice. All are Zero or at least minimal waste.

Nail care

As a former esthetician this one I feel is important. Keeping your nails healthy and clean is a great way to lessen the need for nail polish, because you wont need to cover them up. so for a DIY manicure try the following!

Opt for a Stainless steel Cuticle nippers, Nail clippers, and Cuticle pusher. As well as here is the tricky one, A glass file. I cannot express how amazing using a glass file is. It runs smoothly and you don’t get that awful gritty feeling the seems like your skin is being torn apart.

All you need to to is soak your hands and or feet in some warm/hot water for a few min, Push your cuticles back, Clip the dead skin off(its should be lighter than the rest and look bunched up or like its peeling off), Clip your nails and file them(make sure they are straight across to avoid ingrown nails.), then lastly Clean under your nails with the other side of the pusher. Its as simple as that! also lotion and add oils to your nails at the end for a shiny smooth feeling. On average it takes me about 10 minutes to do both hands and feet. It may take a while to get used to the clipping of cuticles, but trust me you do not want to skip this step, it make all the difference. The links are the ones I use.

Cuticle Pusher

Nail clippers (awesome reverse rounded edges really make a difference)

Cuticle Nipper

Glass file

Body scrub

This is an easy one. Try once a week, stand in the tub before you turn on the shower/bath. Use a mixture of liquid and granules and scrub everywhere, before turning on the water. It will leave you feeling silky smooth and your skin will soak up more moisture, you will also get a closer shave.

Possibly ingredients are:

Liquids: Lemon juice, oil, Honey.

Granules: Sugar (brown or white), crushed seeds/ nut shells (not recommended for the face), coffee grounds, Salt, Epsom salts.

Just pick whichever you have on hand to save time, waste, and money!

Hair Oil

I suffer from an dry itchy scalp and frizzy hair once the winter kicks in, sometime even in the other seasons too. A great way to combat that is by every 1 or 2 weeks, pick an afternoon/evening that you don’t have to do anything. warm up a mixture of oils, Olive, Coconut, Vitamin E and essential oils, or whatever your feeling! don’t get it too hot! rub it into your scalp and run your fingers down the rest of your hair afterwards. once your hair is completely covered in oil wrap it or clip it up and do something else for a couple hours, or even over night! if you want adding heat is also very beneficial, so use your blow dryer to warm it up. The application is way nicer with a friend! something about having someone else rub your scalp is great!!!

Once your done with it, Rinse really well then wash your hair as normal, it might require an extra shampoo to get it clean.

Hair Styling

Beside using high levels of energy and electricity, blow drying and hot styling your hair, is really bad for it! it dries it out and makes it weak. try the Au natural look and your hair will thank you. I had a hard time accepting the way my natural hair looks, for years all I did was blow dry and straighten it (its naturally wavy), and I never really wanted to do it, but always felt it was necessary.

My suggestion is to experiment with no heat curls, braids and twists. there are tons of cool unique hair styles out there for all sorts of hair. take an hour or 2 whenever you can and just practice, It take a bit, but anyone can learn! all you need are some bobby bins and elastics. Maybe even some homemade hairspray. or even better is to tie your hair tie ribbons or cotton strips whenever possibly to avoid the elastic ones. Try some of the options below!

Braiding Tutorials

Or this one!

No heat waves!

And last but not least!

Last one for this post is just take care of yourself! say no to stressful situations, meditate, take a bath, Look at the things you but on and in your body, after all you are what you eat!. The #1 secret for clear skin is a healthy diet and exercise.

I’m sure I will have more tips is the future but for now that’s it! let me know what you think!

Party Mayhem

For those of you who don’t know, My Boyfriend is starting his own production company. This weekend we did a bunch of filming for the trailer of a TV show we are making. Through out the weekend there was a bit of waste, most I couldn’t avoid as it has to do with applying fantasy prosthetic makeup and such, and unfortunately there aren’t many alternatives.

The main amount of waste, was the after/thank you party. My boyfriend decided to get 3 huge platters from the grocery store, fruit and cheese, veggies and dip, and spinach dip with bread. All of these came in those huge round plastic shells. Next we had about 6 Pizzas, which I can recycle the boxes, but there is that liner that sits under the pizza, I am not sure if this can be recycled/composted and then the little plastic table to keep the lid from crushing the pizza. On top of all that we had plastic cups, plates, cutlery and bags from the pre made salad mixes. We had a couple of plastic bottles from various drink mixes. Over all it was a complete disaster in the Zero waste world. Unfortunately since we were out of town filming until about an hour before the party started, I couldn’t pre make all the platters from Scratch, which is the first natural solution, to one of the biggest issues. Secondly, I could have used some of our glasses from the house, but I didn’t want them to break, especially when there is beer pong, it is pretty much un avoidable to not have plastic cups. A lot of the other drink containers were recyclable, beer cans mostly.

Well next time we do something like this, I will try to prepare ahead of time the best that I can, Other wise I am at a loss for how to avoid waste at parties without sacrificing my dishes. Does anyone have experience with this? I could potentially wash all the plastic cups and use them until they break, but that ends up being a ton of work sometimes!

Its all about learning from your mistakes, I plan to use my won glass or ceramic cup at the next party, even possibly encourage others to do the same, and even bring my own utensils if possible.

Global Warming and the unseasonably warm weather

I live in a northern town in British Columbia, Canada. We are known for having those long cold, snow packed winters, everyone thinks are year long! They do span from generally October to March (if not longer). Although the temperature varies. To give you some perspective, I give you this photo!

snowplow-640x425 (Taken from Google Images)

That happens around Dec-Jan, when the snow builds up too much in the middle of the road. they have to scoop it up and haul it out of town. We usually have about a foot or so of snow by this time now in mid November. (not that I’m complaining, I would love to live with out this much snow!)

This year however we have had only 1 snow fall of about 2 inches! and it’s been melting ever since!

IMG_1650(current photo taken with my phone.)

I think this is a pretty good indication of the Effects of global warming. Most are signs they just tell you about, ice caps melting, higher temperature averages and what not. Well this is one you can see for your self!

I don’t claim to be an expert or to know any facts and numbers that have to do with this. I just go by what I can see. To me it looks like the world has a lot of work to do in reversing the effects we have on the environment.

It makes my heart happy to know that I am doing what I can to help the environment and inspiring others to do the same.

By living Zero waste or even just lessening your impact, you can make all the difference. Even if it seems pointless because how can one person make that much of a difference? Well just think about us all as one group! If all of us Zero wasters lived in one city, (how cool would that be?) Think about how clean and unpolluted it would be? The have said the same thing about Vegan/ Vegetarian when it first became popular for Ethical reasons. They said it wouldn’t make a difference in the long run, or the overall picture. Well now the movement and lifestyle has caught on and there are tons of people doing the same! and you save about 100 animals a year on average by switching, if that doesn’t make a difference I don’t know what will! 100 happy cows, chickens and pigs! can’t ask for more. I think the same thing can happen with Zero waste. While it might not make a difference now, Just wait until it catches on and more people start doing it, It will only get easier and better!

Failure at its finest

The unfortunate reality that for me is that I have given up on making my own dish soap and dishwasher powder. I have tried every combination that I could think of using my base ingredients : Castille soap, baking soda, vinegar, washing soda, and essential oils.

Every combinations has its issues whether it be soap scum, chalky film, no foaming/grease cutting power and clumping. Alas the day has come where I have to admit defeat! Since I do not have an option for unpackaged dish soap here, I must go back to using commercial  products! such a sad day!

The only upside I can think of is that I can buy things in bulk( and have clean dishes again)! Therefore lessen my packaging and expenses. I know this is only a minor set back and it will not deter me from future experiments! I will stay strong and continue forward on my journey towards Zero (or in this case less) waste.

P.S. sorry for the drama 🙂

Until next time…

Ultimate Zero waste Christmas list

I don’t know about you but even being Zero waste and a little bit minimalist, I still love the idea of getting presents and also giving Presents! Christmas for me is always exciting and yes part of that excitement is getting gifts and seeing the look on everyone’s face when they see what I got them. The only problem? it creates a lot of waste just the wrapping paper alone can make an entire large garbage bag full of waste, and you also end up with alot of junk you don’t need. So in the spirit of Zero waste, here is my ultimate Christmas list! everything from packaging, to stocking stuffers 🙂

The following ideas are generally easier if you are a somewhat crafty person, but if you are not, never fear! Check out local craft fairs and markets. People often sell a lot of these items. They also might seem a lot more time consuming, and maybe they are but it depends on how long it would take you to shop normally for gifts!

Of course we can start with the cutting down of the amount of gifts given. I personally like the idea of:

Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear

Something to read.

Alright are you read for some ideas?

To start we have some basic do’s and don’ts for wrappings.

Packaging/Wrapping

Don’t buy anything that is wrapped or packaged in plastic (buy second hand if possible)

Use Fabric Bags with a drawstring or wrap it in an old shirt/sweater/towel or whatever.

Use Brown packing paper or newspaper as opposed to traditional wrapping paper and tie it with a natural string like hemp for example (you can draw or paint on it to make it more festive if you want)

Or don’t wrap it.

Try to use all natural thing for decoration instead of ribbon and bows, use branches/flowers/herbs and natural string and fabric.

Try homemade glue or biodegradable paper tape

What not to buy/use

Ribbon

Bows

Traditional wrapping paper

Plastic Tape

Plastic products (try and find a stainless steel/wood version of item)

Single use items, like travel toiletries (Usually thing that end up in stocking stuffers)

Décor items (unless specifically asked for it, or you made yourself)

Kitchen Items (unless asked for it). Most of us have everything we need, the rest are just extras we can live without.

Any other items that don’t have a purpose, or an alternative that we already have.

Gift Ideas

Homemade foods such as Salsa, Antipasto, Cookies and other baking, jam pie fillings, etc.

Candy/ Chocolate (make or buy unwrapped items in bulk and use a reusable container like a Mason jar or fabric pouch)

Gift cards to your favorite places mine are: Rona, Canadian Tire, Walmart, Pier 1, Homesense, Etc. (because we will be buying a house soon and will need to do some renovtions.)

Make Crafts. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather if someone made me something rather than buy it.

Homemade products (perfumes, lotions, scrubs)

If you sew, ask for scrap fabrics, they can often buy old curtains/scarves and more at thrift shops.

If buying new fabric, try to get organic and or naturally dyed stuff. (compost for the win!)

Sewing/craft supplies. This one is practically impossible to go plastic/waste free on. But the stuff does last a long time!

Buy clothes from the thrift Shop

Experiences such as movies/play tickets, Restaurant gift cards, concerts or other events and such around the area.

Used Books, or Gift card to a Used Bookstore.

Book some Lessons: Knitting, pottery, music… the list is endless!

Do something nice (deep clean the vehicle, clean the entire house including all the nooks and crannies that normally get forgotten, finish off that project for them that keeps getting sidetracked)

Stocking Stuffer Ideas (most ideas found on Pintrest)

Homemade or used dish towels

Homemade candy/Chocolate or from the bulk section (stored in a jar)

Other homemade treats or again from the bulk section

Gift cards

Homemade bath products (lotions lip balms, perfume, Bubble bath, Bath bombs, soap, Etc.)

Homemade mug or tea pot cozy

Toques and or mittens

Make magnets from old photos

Paint rocks for their garden

Reusable bags for shopping, or smaller ones bulk or for carrying around cutlery or napkins and what not.

Small books/Comics (preferably used)

Drink mixes (chai, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice… All either homemade or bulk and stored in jars)

Chore Coupons. (Make on compostable paper)

Bamboo Toothbrushes

Glass jar of local honey/Jam from farmers market/craft fairs.

Make a Zero Waste starter kit (bamboo toothbrush, hanky/napkin, reusable bag…)

Make your own ornaments out of clay or something that can be biodegraded if it breaks. A good idea is a piece of cotton for a string and a small piece of wood, just paint something Christmas style on it.

Wool Dryer Balls

Make small vials of your favorite extracts.

Pine cone fire starter

Cloth Handkerchiefs

Cloth Napkins

Cloth “Saran wrap” Alternative or Bees wrap

Hot/cold Bean Bags (can be homemade but they often frequent craft fairs and such)

Eco cubes (buy them at Chapters/Coles) (It is a plant inside a box)

If they are a pop or beer drinker, get one or two of the vintage glass bottles.

Basically any other homemade crafts/ foods and put them into a reusable container or wrapping if needed.  For those of you who are not crafty just go to your local craft fairs/farmers markets and I’m sure someone has some gift options for you to choose from. Happy Shopping!