Peace in the Home

Living Simply

Living simply is a choice. It can also become habit, default mode.

I remember a time when I used napkins and paper towels on a daily basis just so I wouldn’t have to touch “gross” stuff. I can recall times in my life where I ate tons of processed, junk foods despite knowing on some level they were not good for me. I used to go shopping at the mall and spend my paychecks on new decor for my living quarters, and found much creative joy there. When I started seeing my things grow I felt proud, I think. But I began to see the uselessness of some of this stuff, stuff I thought mattered. Living simply doesn’t require you to live in a cave and never shave your legs while eating grass and sunlight. It calls for a method of thinking, a perspective. It starts with small stuff, like refusing to use plastic one-time-use bags at the stores. I finally purchased hemp produce bags for my greens and veggies in the fridge. They seemed pricey but felt very much like an investment in small business, a renewable resource, and the earth. That was one step amongst many on my unpaved trail to living simply and since then have bought another set so that I always have enough. I also keep my ChicoBags shopping and produce bags nearby as they are SO durable, compact and long-lasting! It may not seem like much compared to all the terrible things that are happening on and to the earth right now, but I’m doing what I can, when I can!

I recently finished reading: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, which SO deserves your attention. I checked it out from the library and quickly devoured its pages. Here’s a very watered down summary: “Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.”  I’ll speak to the last part of that quote; always do your best. When it comes to living a simple life, clean from harmful chemicals, toxic foods and endless consuming, just always do your best. There will be times that you’ll come home with your hands full of styrofoam waste from “eating out” and there will be a night that you buy a new lotion that smells good but wreaks of carcinogenic chemicals. When that moment comes to you take it in as an awaited observation. Take a breath, forgive yourself and say to yourself “Okay, I don’t want to do this anymore.” Then, there are nights that you spend putting away fresh produce from your garden or the local organic food co-op ; when those moments come to you (and they will!), you will see them for what they are worth. You will breathe, take it in, and say to yourself, “Yes, do this again.”

This may seem like rambling, and it might be, however, there is a point I’m getting to here.  When it comes to living an environmentally harmonious (That sounds so much prettier than Eco-friendly, ha!) and serving the planet, there are many people that would say ‘it’s too late’, and ‘who am I to make a difference?’ I now have some sentiments that reassure me that I am on the right path:

I save ~900 animals from slaughter this year by not consuming any meat, dairy or eggs.
Just one person opting out of plastic shopping bags saves 315 plastic bags from ending up in a landfill, ocean or treetop.
Air-drying clothes for a family who washes one load per day instead of running the clothes dryer can save ~12,000 kWh of electricity. (That’s ~$140! @ 11 cents per kWh)

Each and every one of us has great impact on the world around us. Especially those of us that are parents or work with children (which is everyone, even if you only see children from afar in the grocery store, they are still looking to their surroundings to learn what other humans do. So remember your impact is not always seen.). We are responsible for setting an example, for teaching the next generations what it is to live simply, to live in harmony with our fellow Earthlings, and to live in compassion.

There are SO many ways to “live simply” and these are just a few thoughts I have had on the subject. It is a mindset and it takes constant adjusting.

What are some ways you have chosen to live simply? Let’s share in the comment section!

Love

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I Eat Plants.

I often get asked this question by strangers, friends, family and acquaintances. The question goes something like: “Why vegan?”, “How come you don’t eat meat?”, “Why give up cheese?”  or “What’s wrong with bacon?”. So here it is folks, my first attempt at publicly and thoroughly answering this question “Why I Live a Plant-Based Lifestyle”

I could simplify it into three points:

  • Compassion for animals
  • Compassion for my health
  • Compassion for the Earth
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Casey

I started to feel the lopsidedness of my life when I was adoring my pets on a daily basis while at the same time I was serving animal for dinner. What is the difference between a pig and a dog? A pig is said to have the understanding of a 3-year old human. They know what is happening when they are taken for slaughter. The fear and adrenaline is pumped into the very meat that sits on the end of that fork. We are essentially eating their fear, their confusion and adrenaline. I came upon the idea of my stomach being a graveyard and I couldn’t stand it any longer. It didn’t feel right. I started studying the conditions in which these “livestock” animals live and die. They are horrendous, appalling, disease-ridden, and depressing places filled with disdain and darkness. If you’d like a great book recommendation it’s Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer’s. Then I did some research on whether or not we as humans need meat to survive and thrive. The simple answer: no. This isn’t the post where I argue whether humans are frugivores, herbivores or omnivores. Maybe later, but not now. Also, this is not the “protein” post. If you are eager to find that out before I prepare my spiel about it, check google for “plant-based protein” (psst! The answer is all plants!) This is where I insert this link. That video always brings a smile and a tear, so much joy.

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Mika

My personal journey started with giving up dairy for health reasons. It proved so beneficial I decided to stick with it and after a few minor “slip-ups” I haven’t had dairy or cheese since. This was in fall of 2011. In the spring of 2013, I found myself feeling compelled to quit eating meat. About the same time I had some neighbors who were going to “go vegan” for the lent season. I also had met my second vegan friend and was thinking “Hey, this is possible, I could do this!”. I convinced my partner to try it with me (if only for a month), this was SO helpful and I am blessed that he was willing to try it and support me. At the end of that month I felt great and more confident than ever about taking the plunge into veganism. I had already ditched milk and cheese (which is what many struggle with the most) and had just gone a month without eggs and meat. My digestion was improving, my energy level was up and I had peace in my heart. I did not anticipate the last part. I decided to not look back and to continue living a plant-based lifestyle. Since then I have come upon more compassion than ever before in my life. I kid you not, I believe that aligning my plate with my beliefs about animal-rights, specie-ism, and health has given me peace and compassion that I couldn’t imagine.

My health improved all around. Thankfully there is much information and research being done that supports plant-based living. Eating plants and turning away from animal products can lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. If you care what the American Dietetic Association says: “… appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and many provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as for athletes.” According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. This is an obvious problem that should no longer be neglected and it’s up to all of us to make a change starting with ourselves and our own plate.

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Maya

I fancy myself a lover of all things Earth. It’s beautiful, we depend on it and it gives us life. In turn I’d like to do my best to protect her and give back. She can take care of herself for the most part, but I would not like to be apart of her destruction. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report released in 2006 revealed that animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation combined. Also, it takes 8 times as much fossil fuel to produce animal protein as it does to produce plant protein. Another excellent fact that I’d like to point out, it takes less water to produce one year’s worth of food for a completely plant-based diet, than to produce one month’s worth of food for a diet with animal products. What I buy at the market has a higher impact on the planet than what or how I drive.

Food is such a vital part of our lives. We eat multiple times every day (if we’re blessed enough). Food gives us energy, strength, enjoyment and life. What we put in our grocery carts and kitchens has more of an impact than we first think. Our daily choices truly have the power to change the world. By making the decision to live life without consuming animal flesh or secretions, one could make a positive and compassionate impact on their world, their health and the lives of others. In the words of In Defense of Animals- “Veganism is about celebrating life by taking care of your health and the health of the planet, and by protecting the lives of animals that share our world.”

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Benny

If you have any questions for me about my plant-based transition or journey, or if you are wondering about this lifestyle and have a question about veganism/vegetarianism leave a comment below. I want to know what you think!

Also, keep checking back as I am planning to add a page that includes my recommendations for books, cookbooks, films/documentaries.

Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful day!