Hello friends! Lots going on around these parts! The semester is rapidly winding down and with it comes paper presentations and refining the drafts I pumped out several weeks ago. I love this time of the semester, it allows for some good restoration and self care opportunities if you just know where to look. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite practices that have helped me keep my sanity over the past couple of months during a very busy time of year. As a health conscious vegan, I put a lot of thought and effort into the regular activities that occur in and around my kitchen. This fuels both body and mind, giving me an outlet for creativity that allows stress reduction and the opportunity to create wonderful foods that make me feel strong and invigorated.
In the wake of the holidays (in my mind this wake lasts all of January and into February with another heavily commercialized celebration on Valentine’s Day) I’ve did a lot of thinking on abundance, how to have this without a lot of materialism. Ever since moving to Florida, I’ve made the decision to live simply — to have as few material possessions as possible but to invest in quality and truly love and enjoy what I do have, to only buy what I need and to be appreciative of my access to and ability to buy these things, products, or garments. (I’m thinking I might write another larger post on this topic, thoughts?) I try and take this outlook to other parts of my life, particularly in my kitchen witchery and cleaning habits.
When slicing and dicing and putting together today’s lunch salad (a delicious bed of romaine and arugula with tomatoes, homegrown sprouts, carrots, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, and a bit of olive oil and lots of roasted chickpeas) I thought about a few simple practices that help me live what I feel to be a simple, sustainable life. A lot of the things I do in this vein pertain to my cooking and food preparation, a key part of my happiness and wellness on several levels, but I think that these tips can be easily applied to other parts of life as well. They’re ones that make me feel happy, healthy, and most of all good about the way I live and how it impacts not only my little life but also my carbon/waste/consumption footprint. In attempt to waste less and enjoy more, I love doing these things to help further my goals toward health and eco-friendly living. Enjoy!
I keep a “broth bag” in my freezer at all times. It’s just a gallon-sized ziploc bag that I toss all of my veggie scraps into. Carrot/celery tips and tops, onion skins and ends, kale ribs, garlic papers, you name it! It goes in the bag! Especially since I don’t currently have access to composting in my apartment (Oh, the follies of city/urban living!) this is how I make sure those good veggie nutrients don’t go entirely to waste. When the bag is full, I dump everything into a soup pot, cover with just enough water to submerge everything, add some salt and oil, and simmer over low heat until a delicious veggie broth has formed. After it cools, I measure it out and bag it up! Then back into the freezer for later uses in soups, to cook grains and rice, and other culinary needs.
Similarly, I keep a bowl or two in my fridge for fresher veggie scraps, like lettuce ends and kale bones, that I can toss into my daily green smoothies! I’m not currently a juicer, but this is also a great way to garner some odds and ends to run through your home juicing system as well!
I wash out and reuse my ziploc bags over and over! It not only saves money, but let’s be honest these things never decompose! I’ve bought literally 2 boxes of them since I moved into my new place. 1 box of gallon bags, 1 box of quart.
Invest in good food storage
Jars, the aforementioned bags, tupperware, pyrex, you name it. Buy it! Keep it! Use it! Love it! Don’t waste food, the freezer is your friend!
Cleaning with Vinegar
I recently did a top to bottom all out in depth Spring clean. In the middle of winter. I bought a gallon of cheap white vinegar for the occasion and it is not only 100% natural and eco-friendly but it also does a number on grease, grime, soap scum, and mineral build ups. Safe to use around cats!
And Baking Soda
Ever do those volcano experiments in grade school where you poured vinegar into baking soda and watched the “lava” flow? That chemical reaction is great for cleaning too! I used it in my tub and sink during the Great Spring Clean of 2015 and it worked wonders.
Movements Within Your Space
In yoga, I’ve always loved doing back bends and shoulder stands. Part of exploring these types of poses is the ability to change your perspective by looking at the world from a physically different stance than you normally would. I spend a lot of my free time in my apartment: reading, studying, writing, cooking, blogging, working out. I like to try and do different things in different areas in my apartment. Mornings I love to spend in my sunroom turned study, beginning with my first cup of coffee while it’s still dark outside and eventually closing my laptop and readings when the sun has fully risen. Workouts used to be in the same area, but with the addition of a small TV to my life (one thing I love is watching a single episode of one of my shows while I exercise) I pull my yoga mat and weights into the living room every day. I like to write at my dining room table, but I also work on my laptop on the sofa, in the study, or in bed. Fully utilizing my own space gives me a sense of ownership over it and it also changes my perspective. How does my body adapt to this task in this room? In this chair? On the floor? I love making those little changes and I love inhabiting every inch of my beautiful little space.
A good note to end on, I think. So there you have it! Just a few of the little things that I believe make me all the happier and healthier, in both body and mind! Are there any little habits you have that help you with sustainable wellness?