my eco-friendly favourites of 2019

Happy 2020! It’s a new decade! How eco-friendly have you been this year? How much has it mattered to you, compared to the year 2010?

My habits have changed enormously over the past 5 years. With so many more of us taking action to reduce waste (even practicing zero waste), eating local and/or plant-based, using our cars less (or buying electric), it’s felt increasingly easy to see & adjust where I was going wrong.

cool reusables

Reusables weren’t always cool. No one’s ever wanted to be the kid with the stinky tupperware. So many reusable cups have appeared on the market in the past few years, from those that recycle waste (like coffee husks or paper cups) to those that promise a warm drink for several hours. My favourite is still my trusted glass keepcup; it’s easy to clean and doesn’t take on a funky taste with use, like plastic does.

slow travel

I’m not setting the best example of #slowtravel (I flew multiple times in 2019), but my awareness to its possibility has increased. Whilst interrailing has been around for several years, it’s so easy to live a life of double standards, recyling every orange peel but travelling to the end of the world in the very same years. Talk about controversy! Slow travel is exactly what you think it is; it takes longer to get to your destination (train, bus, boat, bike, etc) but the travel is as much part of your holiday as getting to your end goal.

 

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bamboo toothbrush

Yes, these might totally be a token item. Amongst the plastic waste you produce in a year, your plastic toothbrushes might not account for *that* much. Yet still, they’re a small change you can make easily. They’re sold online and in health food stores, and you can brush your teeth with a slightly clearer conscience.

 

oat milk explosion

It’s no secret I’m Oatly’s number one fan and greatest advocate. Oatly reached the US market at full speed and proved hugely successful in 2019. Other oat milks have appeared on shelves, too. I’ve discussed why I love oat milk in a previous post; I’m a huge fan because the carbon footprint of oat milk is limited (compared to almonds, especially), particularly in northern Europe and wetter parts of the world, where oats can be grown abundantly and at low cost.

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soap nuts 

Detergent bottles are annoying for several reasons. They’re waste (and need to be replaced frequently), and often loaded with toxic chemicals. I haven’t *yet* ventured into the realm of making my own detergent, but soap nuts are a good start. I found mine in store, but amazon has a wide selection. These berries are grown on Himalayan trees and contain a natural cleaning agent. Just pop a few in with your clothes and reuse multiple times!

 

veganuary

Veganuary 2020 is to be the largest veganuary to date, which makes me so happy. And I’m taking part, like I did last year! You don’t need a reason to consume fewer animal products, but having a community behind you is hugely important to making sustainable changes. After 31 days, many realise it’s really not so hard to avoid animal products in many cases, rediscover their love for cooking and feel great.

As an indication, by going vegan for a month, you could save 30 animal lives, 620 pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions, 913 square feet of forest, and 33,481 gallons of water. That’s a lot!

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ecover refill stations

I switch between aforementioned soap nuts and ecover detergent, softener and stain remover. But that’s only ever since I found a local refill station! Ecover now has refill stations in many UK cities, find your nearest one here and bring your own bottle to fill up. I buy fragrance-free and add a few drops of lavender essential oil.

 

down-like material

Winter gets cold in northern Europe. Doesn’t mean you absolutely must wear fur, wool or down to keep yourself warm! I’m a huge fan of my Qimmik jacket made of thinsulate, an alternative to feathers. Frank and Oak have a whole range of men and women’s thinsulate coats, made from recycled polyester.

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more local, less dogmatic

2019 has been the year of picking battles. And with the rise of vegan processed foods (like cheese, yoghurt, fake meats etc), leading a low-impact life has become harder. We know beef is water intensive, but how does it really compare to an ultra-processed meatless diet? So my priorities have changed; it’s less about what is is I’m buying and more about where it’s from, how it was processed and how it got to my plate. Scrambled eggs from the farm down the road or a meatless patty produced god knows where? I’ll have the eggs!

 

bring your own oatmeal (#BYOO. I invented it.)

There are some things I don’t want to compromise on, and one of those is the comfort of having my morning oatmeal exactly the way I like it. Having started work this year, and commuting to London twice or so a month, I’ve bought Pret a Manger porridge and almond butter countless times. Bad, I know. All those little pots. The great thing about oats is that you can prep them in advance and bring them along.

I either use a glass jar or a thermos coffee cup (swivlit also make a cute little thermos) and add my own recipe (available on my instagram highlights). I add slighlty more liquid and undercook my oats to allow them to absorb more liquid and not dry out. I eat them on the train about an hour or two after leaving home!

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What were your favourites of 2019? How did you make the past year a greener one? I’d love to know, and keep up with my future discoveries on instagram

april favourites | food, matcha & more

Spring is upon us at last! With many life changes finally behind me (moving, starting my career and getting into a new groove), I thought I’d round up everything I’ve loved over the past month.

The choices you make on the daily are so incredibly transformative. Surrounding yourself with a peaceful, supportive and beautiful environment, treating yourself with compassion and enjoying every aspect of your day is the single biggest favour you can do yourself. I wake up in the morning looking forward to a fresh start, excited to start all over again!

what I’m drinking

Well, matcha, of course. I can’t believe I only discovered matcha 6 months ago. I like it with oat milk, or whisked with hot water for a super grassy drink. I had a really nice Ippodo matcha at Japan House on Kensington High St. A quality matcha isn’t bitter – it’s sweet and doesn’t linger unpleasantly. If you’ve had a bad experience in the past (like I had!), I suggest you try again!

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I’m enjoying my KeepCup more and more. I’ve owned lots of reusable cups and always found a major flaw – hydroflasks keep my drinks too hot, plastic cups start smelling after a while and most lids are hard to clean by hand. I love KeepCup’s super simple clip-on system and glass tumbler. Because let’s face it – nothing tastes that nice in stainless steel or plastic. I own the smallest size, which is ideal for a flat white or shorter espresso-based coffees.

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staying healthy-ish on the move: how not to lose your mind when you’re travelling + airbnb porridge recipe

I travelled to 5 different cities in the last month, across two continents, and didn’t really have a home to return to. Say whaaaat?!

 

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First of all I’m not quite sure how I’ve kept going for this long. I’m a creature of habit and routine, and the slightest thing can really throw me off. I get kind of anxious and don’t feel my best when I don’t have access to either a yoga mat, porridge or a comfortable bed. You feel me?

Routine is a powerful tool for me; for my health (physical and mental), and to live in alignment with my values of sustainability and waste reduction. But you know how it goes; you go on a trip, you don’t have a kitchen or enough space for a yoga mat, and you end up neglecting everything that matters. You reach for the gross supermarket salads and plastic-wrapped deli bagels out of convenience, and your routine gets thrown out the window.

If you’ve been planning your dream trip to Italy for years and can’t wait to eat all the gelato and pizza, by all means, knock yourself out. But if you’re on the move for work, a transitional period in your life or feel it’s important to stay as well-functioning as possible without having access to your daily comforts, I’ve got you covered.

Continue reading “staying healthy-ish on the move: how not to lose your mind when you’re travelling + airbnb porridge recipe”

why I love oat milk, and you should too

If you’ve hung out with me for any length of time (read: had coffee with me), you know my love for oat milk cappuccinos runs deep. And if you’ve read the news over this past summer, you might have seen that Oatly, the numer one oat milk supplier in the UK, is struggling to meet demand in the US since it came to market! There were a couple of places I visited in California that had run out of the stuff this summer (which of course, was devastating).

 

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I’m super excited oat milk is so becoming so popular. I think every coffee shop should offer it, everyone should have it in their fridge and consider buying shares in Oatly. If I haven’t convinced you yet with the gorgeous latte art, read on!

1- It tastes so damn good

Well, no surprises here. I wouldn’t drink it every single day if it weren’t amazing. It offers a subtle sweetness (without any added sugars!), a smooth mouthfeel, and is very mild in taste, almost neutral, with a slight acidity. Dairy alternatives have been around for a while, now, and are certainly getting more out there (macadamia, hemp, pea protein…?), which are kind of hit and miss taste-wise. If you like oats, you’ll like oat milk. With porridge, it’s the dream, but also with granola or a cookie!

 

 

2- It’s eco-friendlier than almond milk

Almonds are incredible. Almond milk can also be incredible. But almonds require so much water to grow. One litre of almond milk takes roughly 6000L of water to produce. That’s 5L per almond. ONE ALMOND. That’s 6 times as much as it takes to grow oats. Oats grow in abundance in Northern Europe, and Brits love their porridge – it makes so much sense to me to be consuming milk from our large European oat supply (Swedish, in Oatly’s case) than scarce and water-intensive California almonds.

 

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3- And it’s more sustainable than cow’s milk

Cheese is truly phenomenal, and nothing compares to some shaved parmesan on a bowl of spaghetti. That being said, an astonishing amount of milk is consumed worldwide, and it turns out it isn’t super planet-friendly, either. According to Oatly, greenhouse gas emissions from oat drinks are just one third of those generated in the production of cow’s milk, and milk consumption is expected to rise by 65% in the next 30 years – a huge strain on the environment! That means less pesticides, too!

 

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4- But it behaves like cow’s milk

What I hate about soy and almond milk is that the cappuccino froth is super disappointing. It either clumps up to become tofu (yikes) or is so flat it disappears into your coffee. Oat milk is where it’s at. It’s super stable, transforms into a beautiful silky froth and allows extra beautiful latte art. In fact, I’ve often had to double check it was actually oat milk (and not cow’s) because it looks so convincing. In intelligentsia’s CEO’s words, Oatly is ‘like a blank canvas’.

 

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5- Oats are versatile af

Oatly has diversified since it launched (a whole 25 years ago!); oat cream, oat crème fraiche, oat chocolate milk, and many more to come, I’m sure (their skimmed and semi-skimmed line launched recently!). You can make a latte, and iced latte, a béchamel, a milkshake, a smoothie, a quiche… literally anything. You could even bathe in it if you really wanted to, I bet your skin would be mega smooth (in fact, here’s how).

More pro tips:

  • Dairy free? Although the organic Oatly milk is just as tasty as the original, it isn’t fortified in calcium. If you’ve cut out most dairy like I have, make sure you’re meeting your calcium needs!
  • Price conscious? I get my milk in bulk, in a 6-pack, from amazon here!
  • Not keen on buying it? Try making it yourself – it’s a little labour intensive, but here’s a good recipe: https://minimalistbaker.com/make-oat-milk

sacramento city guide to healthy living

Sacramento is definitely under the radar. With its excellent coffee scene, many yoga studios, easy connections to the Bay area and ‘farm-to-fork capital’ status, I really appreciated the convenience of living there this past summer!

That being said, with Mexicans and breweries on every street corner, it’s not always been easy to make healthy choices. Over the past 4 months, I’ve really searched  for the most health-friendly spots in the city. If you’re like me and will hunt down the best avocado toast and oat milk latte wherever you’re visiting, this post is for you. I still fully encourage you to enjoy some of the city’s best pizza and ice-cream. Because life (and especially travelling!) isn’t about being restrictive. And rest assured, I’ve certainly had my share of taco plates, pizza and indulgent brunches during my time here (and yep, my jeans are feeling a little tight!)

 

food

You can find my top Sacramento finds on my public yelp list here!

For a nice, light, italian-inspired weekday lunch or dinner, head to OBO’. They have a great deli salad selection for lunch that is not to be missed! I also really like their evening entrees; yes, there’s pizza and the like, but the portions are very reasonable and often packed with vegetables and interesting grains. It’s a little harder to navigate if you’re 100% dairy-free (hello cheese) but if you’re just looking for a fresh alternative to your average italian, this is your spot!

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Salad trio from OBO’

 

Ethiopian and Indian food are always great options for vegans and vegetarians in my opinion, and tend to offer dishes with lots of vegetables, less dairy and plenty of pulses and whole grains. Queen Sheba and Bombay are two local favourites. I really fell in love with the Ethiopian injera, which is much lighter than naan bread. Make sure you order the spicy red lentils. Bombai does a mean vegan dhal, too!

 

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Platters from Queen Sheba

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september recap | hikes & other stories

September is almost over! It’s hard to believe – the California sunshine is still shining bright on most days.
This month has been filled with some wonderful adventures. From weekend trips to revelations and accomplishments, it’s been an eventful beginning to the autumn.

trips & adventures

On the first weekend of the month, I took yet another trip to SF. The Saturday farmers’ market on the Ferry Plaza was a feast for the senses. Flowers, exotic mushrooms and weird granolas all around.

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my 10-day social media detox | the why and the how

So here I am in the Sierras, hiking my way up to a bunch of lakes. It’s hot and dry and I stop to admire the mountains every few minutes. And my phone has no signal. And I’m living my best life.

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See, the whole point of taking a break from social media is not to feel deprived. You want to feel like you’re fully participating in your own life. You’re taking an amazing hike and it’s not on Instagram and that’s totally cool because memories last a lifetime. That’s exactly how I’ve felt these past 10 days.

 

It was both reaching for my phone a little too often and the opportunity to spend time in places where phones aren’t such a big deal that made me realise I wanted a break. It’s 11.25 and it’s not lunchtime yet and I Just. Need. Something. to pass the time, so I watch a few Instagram stories. That started happening a lot. My weekend away in Lake Tahoe (post coming soon!) made me realise I wasn’t always connecting to myself because I was so busy trying to connect with others on social media. Does that sound familiar to any of you? Continue reading “my 10-day social media detox | the why and the how”

ayurvedic + gut-friendly savoury oats

A warming bowl of porridge is so much more than a plate of food. Share it with a friend and it becomes a topic of conversation. Make it after a long day and it becomes a source of comfort. Let your imagination run free and it becomes a creative outlet.

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this is how you pack exactly what you need

Holiday season is upon us once more! I’m super hyped becauseI have actually planned a couple of trips this year, which means my suitcase will be more than just a weekend bag for a few days spent with a friend. Or will it? Is packing a huge suitcase, 5 pairs of shoes and both a hair straightener and curling iron really necessary?

Having less is seriously cool. I’m no longer worried about stuff not matching in my wardrobe, or that pink jacket I never wear: if I’m not using it, I’m not keeping it.

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But then comes your exotic trip, and you think you need the entire asos swimwear department to survive it. (Just a piece of friendly advice before we start: you don’t.) I take more long weekend trips than weeklong holidays so I’ve become accustomed to packing a small carry-on and making the most of what I bring! Here’y how you can apply underpacking to longer holidays like I am this year!

1. Think ahead

Beautiful view of Ostuni, Puglia, Italy. Photo: Kate Holstein:
Ostunia, Puglia © Kate Holstein

If you’re not one of those people that starts packing or thinking about packing at least 2 weeks before you leave, start now. Honestly, this is a huge help – ask yourself where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing and how often, think of what you already have and what should be replaced or bought for the occasion. I’m leaving for Italy in a couple of days for a super casual poolside reading and city exploring break. Realistically, only 3 scenarios are likely: a day out, for which I’ll need some comfortable, functional and breathable, a day at the pool, for which I’ll need swimwear and a cover up and a classier option for the evening to wear to a nice dinner. My make-up and hair routine can be adjusted accordingly by increasing the intensity rather than the amount of products used. Instead of just slapping on some mascara and eyebrows, I might spend longer on some eyeliner or contouring. And then there’s the airport days, where you should think of wearing something comfortable and layerable, for example the only thicker jacket you’re bringing in case of colder weather, and to keep yourself warm on the flight, over a t-shirt you can wear on a city day later on. Write it down, draw it out, whatever you need to do: just think!

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how to make the best gut-healing oatmeal

Oatmeal, porridge, whatever you wanna call it. One thing: treat it like risotto.

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Oats are like the perfect middle-ground between incredibly indulgent and incredibly nutritious.

I was probably born with a spoonful of oats in my mouth. Wherever I was, at home, at school, on holidays, oats always made an appearance. Except my oat consumption has changed drastically since those dairy and microwave days. I actually used to pour cornflakes on top of my porridge. That crunch was everything. Now it just comes in a different shape (i.e. spoonfuls of PB)!

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