All posts by Sustainable Anna

About Sustainable Anna

I’m Anna. I try to live sustainably and I never shop made in China.

I am back! More eco than ever. Or not?

Hello world.

I just finished writing a Climate Action Policy for the company where I work. It came out great, this is my passion after all, and I completely forgot to eat lunch because I was having so much fun. That just made me realize, “slash” remember, that I LOVE WRITING.

Time to pick the blog back up. Despite being more tired than an old-folks-home. Despite being in the middle of sleep training our new 6-month-old. Despite being back at work killing it while pumping as much milk as I can squeeze in. (Ha ha, pun intended.)

Maybe some of you are wondering how this eco-mama (note: self-proclaimed) is doing planet-saving-wise with two kids and a full time job?

Well, not the best I’ve ever done, I’ll say that, but we are eating veggie-based, driving our EV, cloth diapering at home and wiping our constantly runny noses with reusable wipes.

All that probably, most likely, for sure does not, compensate for the carbon and resources used due to me giving birth to a new little human, but hell, I decided siblings are a good thing and I am super into my kids.

Planet-saving is full of hypocrisy anyway.

Doesn’t prevent me from doing my best.

So, let’s kick off fall with this new blog post, with a commitment to blog (write) again because it makes me feel happy and inspired. I did write a dozen drafts this summer, so I’ve got some new posts in the making…

I hope you all will hang around and read along :)

Ending with an info-graphic, for no other reason than I can… I did put this in the introduction to the policy I wrote today as well. It’s pretty relevant in climate-change-denying-Texas.

climat222

See you pronto.

Green New Deal: Because suddenly there’s a vision of hope

Deep down I am definitely a climate optimist.

I believe we can change things, do better for our planet and be better allies for each other every day. I believe that we can create a world in which we watch our children grown up knowing the environment is part of their lives, not something to “save” or to exploit for profit.

Sometimes a little hope goes a long way, so I wanted to share this video on the blog. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is indeed a new type of politician, a type we are in desperate need of right now.  Who hasn’t heard of her or the Green New Deal? And now look this extraordinary project she has spearheaded to spread awareness.

So much love and HOPE.

Let’s keep fighting in our every day lives; ditching plastic, flying less, eating greener and let’s encourage everyone to vote (when time comes) and/or to support green candidates! It matters and we matter.

PS. Instead of dismantling oil pipelines I’d like to think we can use them to transport other things in the future. Wouldn’t it be so cool if we could use fresh water from flood zones in the East to water fields in California?

Another year of blogging, more growth and 12 years to save our world

Hey y’all. Is it too late to wish everyone a happy new year?

2018. Wow. I am not sure if it was a great year, a good year or a bad year.

Personally, I think I had a very good year; what’s there to complain about with a beautiful family, stable job and privilege?

Blog wise, I guess I had quite a “bad” year. Not because I didn’t have visitors, but because I lost some of my inspiration to stay green, clean, shop local and to then write about it. Only 37 published posts!

ideas how to celebrate earth day

In terms of personal development, I had a big year. I had to lay someone off at work – not fun but a good learning experience. I had to redefine what sustainability means to me and define how much I can (and want to) actually participate in personal green efforts (like recycling and not shopping). I had to work through endless colds and sleepless nights with our toddler, leading to serious development of skills in the raising children department. I also had to survive the first few months of pregnancy with a toddler and a job that has been more demanding than ever – yes, we are adding to our carbon footprint and having another little one :)

But hey, let’s focus on the sustainability part. I wrote some posts about my efforts and failures last fall and I haven’t really bounced back since then. I am still kind of in that “ah, I’ll do what I have the energy to do” phase, yet I have to say I am super, duper stoked and EXCITED that media, politicians and regular people are finally talking about climate change!

Hello “Green New Deal”, school strikes for climate and every single car manufacturer getting ready to release their own line of electric car models. Yay to more coal plants closing and more wind and solar being built every day. Thank goodness for the scientists who told the world we only have 12 years to change course or head towards extremely severe weather conditions.

About the “12 years” the world has got left to shape up; I’ve been thinking a lot about my own journey and if I can be “fossil fuel free” in twelve years – or sooner.

So, I actually think I (plus family) can come very close to a green life, if infrastructure keeps moving in the right direction (which to me it seems like it does). I know I work better, faster and harder when I have a set deadline. It will take some effort, but here’s what I have come up with:

  • It requires us to stop flying. That means we need to move closer to family so we can travel by car (EV of course!) or train to see them. It also means we need to visit the places we dream about on this continent in the near future, so we don’t feel like we missed out. In the long run I think there will be hyper-loops, electric high-speed planes and other cool connections between Europe and the East Coast of USA but until then we’ll be putting effort into creating a more sustainable living and travel plan.
  • It requires us to only consume renewable energy. I am not concerned about this at all. We know we’ll need a bigger house with two growing boys eventually and at that point we will install solar panels and batteries to run off the grid 24/7.
  • It requires a low carbon food supply. I plan on maintaining a plant based diet and I do believe that within the next 3-5 years, there will be so much plant based (vegan) food in our stores, schools and restaurants that most animal products will begin to phase out. I believe that scientists and farmers will work together to improve practices and more organic food will be available.
  • It requires container ships (currently running on heavy oil products) to clean up their act. Even though I buy lots of local stuff, there are items – and I believe there’ll always be – we must get from certain far-away countries (assuming we continue this lifestyle with owning electronics and bamboo toothbrushes). I am not sure how this will play out. I am hoping to see some initiatives from the shipping industry but I am not sure they’ll work hard enough to get there in time. Thoughts?
  • It requires a society way less dependent on fossil-fuel-based plastics. Aiyoooo. Will they shape up? Will I be able to buy my fave potato salad in bulk? Will giants like LEGO and Disney move towards bio-based materials in time? Remains to be seen.
  • It requires policy, incentives, infrastructure and opportunities created by fair, decent, hard working governments. Will THEY wake up and do something? If there are more “AOC’s” in the global politics-pipeline, odds are we might start seeing things shift. I am hopeful.

Have you been having similar thoughts?

I think knowing I only have until 2030 has had a positive impact on my long term planning – setting goals way larger and way beyond just “pick the vegan lunch option today”. Maybe this new way of thinking is part of why I haven’t blogged much about my day to day green living style!?

Anyway, as always, thanks for being part of “Sustainable Anna” in 2018! I am not sure what 2019 holds but I will be here and I love hearing from you all.

Much love!

My sustainable (very fun) Christmas gift list!

Is it almost Christmas already? I can’t believe how fast we went from Easter brunch to jingle bells! Time flies.

I am super excited about the holiday season this year; we’re going home to cold and dark Scandinavia to celebrate with our family. For the first time in seven years we’ll wake up to snow (hopefully, or at least frost!) instead of palm trees. Yay. Yes, yes, I know we’re adding more carbon to this year’s footprint but it was what we felt we wanted to do with our 2-year-old and I’m sure it won’t become a habit to travel twice a year!

Anyway, I am excited about the season and I decided to share some sustainable, support-something-good gift ideas here on the blog! Gifts that fit everyone, no matter gender identification or age.

A handmade mug to hold that hot, winter drink

I got two beautiful mugs earlier this year from RBD pottery. At the time, their studio was based in Alaska but has since moved to Michigan (shorter shipping for most :)).

Commonly, made in USA mugs are just painted or printed here, not really made here. You’ll see made in China pottery showing off a local artists art work. What’s cool with RBD is that everything – the ceramic too – is handmade with love, making each mug 100% unique and local. PS. They’ve got planters too! $30-60

made in usa pottery mug handmade

Virtual Animal adoption

I love the kind act of “adopting” an endangered animal for Christmas as a gift for someone, especially for kids. They’ll get a card to learn more about the animal and a nice picture to keep. Very low consumption yet meaningful and for a great cause. $25

Glass drinking straw

For that person who always wants to zip their drink through a straw but appreciates our need to reduce plastic; I can’t think of a better gift than a reusable straw!

Mine was actually a gift from a colleague who got it in Seattle for me. The one I have is handcrafted in the Pacific Northwest, cute, sustainable and durable. It comes with a protective sleeve, so you can keep it in the car or in a bag, as well as with a tiny cleaning brush. $8-20

reusable glass straw made in usa

Bar soap

The vast majority of folks bathe or shower several times a week, so a nice smelling bar of soap will be appreciated by most!

You’d be surprised how easy it is to find locally made, no plastic wrap soaps at farmers markets, Whole Foods, online, general stores or anywhere they sell beauty/body products. Watch out for goat milk based soaps tho; there’s no need to add the carbon of raising goats just so we can get a good clean! Vegan, paraben-free soaps are a plenty. $10-15

Home-baked crisp bread

I just made a batch of my allergen friendly crisp bread last week and took with me as a hostess gift at a Thanksgiving party. It was super appreciated and everyone loved it (recipe here!). You don’t have to make this particular treat, of course, but stick something home-baked in tin jar and voila you’ve got a perfect gift! $10+time.

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Classic gift of socks

Am I a suuuper lame blogger if I put SOCKS on my Christmas list? Maybe. I apologize.

There are no better socks out there in the world than Smartwool hiking socks though. They’re knitted in USA (most styles at least), have absolutely superb quality and will keep everyone you love so warm all winter.

I love wearing mine even in the office (inside my sneakers or booties!) so I am not slightly cold all day (I have yet to hear from anyone who works in an office building that the temperature isn’t either too hot or too cold all the time. Side note, but hence the need for good socks). Of course for hiking they’re great too, and everyone takes walks. Right? Available lots of places but REI is a co-op I love to support so I get mine there. $20-29

Over the years I’ve posted a few Christmas lists on the blog so you’ll find more ideas here and here for how to totally rock it this year. What are some of yours? I’d love to hear what you’re giving your loved ones this year.

PS. I read that in Sweden, this years “it gift” is second hand clothes! That is pretty awesome I think; very sustainable indeed. I hope it’s true (?). Anything second hand makes for an eco-friendly gift of course :)

Wishing everyone much love and a great start to the last month of 2018!

It’s Fri-yay, so let’s have some good news on the blog (for once!) #oceancleanup

Hey you guys.

Sorry for being so gloomy lately. Al though I must say it’s warranted! Lots of things going on in the world that are “not so great”. However, today I have some cool, good news I wanted to share.

You may have read about it already; there is literally a system in the Pacific Ocean – RIGHT NOW – cleaning up some of our plastic waste that is threatening sea life!

The Ocean Cleanup. The name says it all. It’s the largest clean up attempt in history, with its first stop in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch“. By using this system, we can collect (and then recycle) about half of the plastic in the area every five years.

However, being somewhat nerdy, I was curious to know more about how the technology actually works, and I found this cool animated video. Have a watch :)

I love that someone is doing something to tackle this huge problem of ours. It’s inspiring and NEEDED.

On a personal level, the most important thing we as consumers can do to not contribute to further pollution in the ocean is, drum whirl please…

To stop eating fish.

Yes, that’s right! Almost 50% of all plastic in the patch is discarded fishing nets, with the majority of the rest being other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets. Plus, if we want to save marine life, why do we eat them?

Of course, don’t be a jerk and use disposable plastic unless you absolutely have to … but you know, think about what’s on your plate. The solution to our problem isn’t always the most obvious.

Happy Friday!

Time’s up: You can’t write an eco-friendly blog, without talking politics

I’ve been quiet lately here on the blog. I had planned to write a post about the  sustainable initiatives – or lack there of – that I saw in Scandinavia this summer, but it just hasn’t happened (yet).

I’ve been kind of low, lots going on in this world, and not been in the mood to write. But now I have to because I am upset!

Did you hear about the new climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-convened coalition of climate scientists)? We basically have only 12 years to change the course we are heading in, in order to prevent catastrophic events due to the increase in temperature caused by human industries! It’s not catastrophic for the planet as such, it’s catastrophic for the life on this planet. That’s us. That’s our kids.

The report talks about the importance of only warming the earth 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) instead of the somewhat agreed to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).

“We know there’s a threshold somewhere, probably in the vicinity of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, where we’re very likely committed to more than 30 feet of sea-level rise over centuries. It may be possible to preserve those large stores of ice at 2.7 degrees, scientists have found.”

“The new prognosis is stirring. A world that warms by 3.6 degrees—and not 2.7 degrees—will find that its problems metastasize out of scale with that seemingly small difference. In the hotter world, the number of people affected by water scarcity will double. Twice as many corn crops will perish in the tropics. The size of global fisheries will drop by 50 percent. And 99 percent of the world’s coral reefs will perish.”

So let’s just talk about this for a second. We’re in crisis mode here.

I don’t know where you are sitting right now, but where I am sitting (in my office) I am surrounded by people who don’t give a shit. In fact, they couldn’t care less. They watch Fox News and never read reports about climate change or environmental issues. These people are lucky enough to be on the richer side of the population, which means they count on always using privilege and savings to make sure they still drink fresh, delicious water. At the same time, they’ll always vote for politicians who want to build walls. Walls are great because once we’ve built them, they can keep all the future climate refugees out too! That way they can just starve on the other side of the wall – super handy. (Plus, the wall builders let them keep their guns! Yay.)

So what are we to do in these situations, when so MANY don’t care. So many can’t be bothered to even quit one beef burger per week.

I have tried to lead by example. Show them my tasty veggie lunches, said no to straws 45628774 times, told them about livestock and dairy. I have shared my blog and advertised other blogs. Still, almost five years later, I am still the “idealistic millennial who they better not get caught not recycling in front of”. Sigh.

I think I have come to the conclusion that the government, the people who make policy for countries, have to play a huge role in changing the course. Of course, we the people, can make positive changes – some of us have – but I’ve come to realize (after trying for so long to be optimistic) that it’s not enough because most people don’t care. Nope. We need policy, policy, policy.

There won’t be that perfect politician out there who can just fix it all, but there are good people running for office who want to seriously transition to a 100% renewable powered future.  Most of these good people are running as Democrats. Most of these good people focus on power generation, not so much on agriculture yet, but they’ll get there. Donald and his crew will NOT get there.

More than 1,600 new coal plants are due to come online worldwide in the next few decades, most under contract from Chinese companies. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has tried to create new subsidies for coal companies. It has also moved to weaken or repeal pollution regulations limiting airborne neurotoxins, as well those reducing greenhouse-gas emissions—rules that attracted the ire of coal companies.”

This, ladies and gents, means that every single eco-friendly blogger out there has the responsibility to talk politics.

They don’t have to shove it in someones face (like I do. Sorry not sorry) but they need to mention it. If someone has a blog that focuses on reducing global warming by making sustainable changes, that person can’t NOT talk about voting.

Personally, I don’t believe many MAGA supporters follow green living bloggers, but in the odd case of me being wrong, isn’t it a great thing if they read, on a blog they like, that politics and zero waste are linked together? Fox and Breitbart aren’t going to tell them… I am sure there are one or two eco-friendly followers  who don’t vote because the system is corrupt though, who could get an aha-moment and actually get to the polls, if a sustainable blogger explained how important this is, and mentioned some candidates to vote for to advance environmental policy.

If Taylor Swift can get political (thank heavens she did), eco-bloggers must.

Policy is key here.

Midterms are less than a month away, November 6th. In some states you can still register to vote. I hope, if you are a US-citizen, that you will vote, and that you will vote for a progressive democrat, or whoever the best choice is – for us all – where you live.

Quotes from this article

Am I being green – even when I’m lazy and unmotivated AF?

Hi all.

Just a couple of hours after my last blog post confession was published, a good friend of mine texted me and said “Yes!! I am sooo in the same spot! I’m so tired of being green and looking frumpy – the world is shit anyway.” See, both she and I have been limiting our shopping for years now (in order to reduce) and we are both just ready to look cute. And new. And relevant. And hot. (Yes!)

However, fashion was just one part of our conversation; the chore of rinsing yogurt cups so they can be recycled without contamination was another.

So, she says the world is shit. And she’s not wrong. Recent studies are predicting we’re heading towards as much as 9 degrees F rise in temperature (!!) and up to 200 ft of sea level rise. That’s kind of shit. The world in all feels very turbulent right now. Personally, I think my lack of motivation has been building up for a while [see this post on my unsustainable shoes] and then re-discovering this summer (on vacation) that the general population in Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) hardly take any personal responsibility when it comes to sustainable living, added to it. Here in the US we totally think they’re rocking it. More on the state of things in Le Europe in my next post – #teaser.

BUT there are a lot of good initiatives out there too. Progress in renewable energy systems (to name one area) and hope for change. As a climate optimist with a son who will inherit the earth, I need to believe in the greater good and keep myself motivated. (I should regularly share more good news on the blog actually, so other’s who may feel demotivated like me get a little boost too.)

Time for a list. A pep-talk. A readjustment of expectations. Not expectations from other people, but the ones I have for myself to be this eco-champion.

I am not trying to brag or seem better than anyone (I’m not in that mindset at all believe me!) in listing what I am actually doing; I am reminding myself that I do enough, despite being lazy and unmotivated AF right now.

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  1. I compost.  The occasional banana peel goes in the trash though. Composting is easy and I love the smell of healthy soil.
  2. I eat a plant-based diet and serve my family the same. The most eco-friendly diet as it stands. Happens to also benefit my health.
  3. My kid uses cloth diapers (many of them hand-me-downs) about 50% of the time.
  4. One of two cars we own is electric, and we drive very few miles for living in a large city like Houston.
  5. I use only reusable bags (and reusable produce bags) for all shopping.
  6. I recycle (all though most of that curb-side waste is probably land-filled).
  7. All my kid’s clothes (and most toys) are second (or third) hand thanks to my sister having a couple of kids before I did. Thanks sis!
  8. We use a 100% renewable energy provider.
  9. I buy (almost only) organic food.
  10. I donate monthly to environmental groups and Democrats up for election this year like fantastic Texan Beto O’Rourke.
  11. I blog and tweet about environmental issues. YAY! This might be one of the more important things because this is spreading the eco message.
  12. Our house uses bar soap, natural body products and I don’t use make-up.
  13. I re-use a lot of containers. My husband says I’m a pack rat… (I realize that is not very sexy in this blogger world full of minimalists.)
  14. I never consume water in plastic water bottles.
  15. I have a to-go cup with me every day and refuse straws. Sometimes they happen but mistakes are inevitable.
  16. I try to only shop ethical and local brands.

When I first started looking into living greener, I was only doing number 6, 10 and 5 (partly). So thinking of it that way, I really have made huge positive changes!

Which ones of these do you do?

Now. Here’s expectations I have decided to let go of, or rather things I allow myself to do during this phase (life time?) of being more of a regular person.

  1. Throw away dirty plastic containers. Let’s be honest, since China is no longer accepting our recyclables, most of it is going to be land-filled anyway. Why bother the recycling people with sorting it all? Potato salad tub – consider yourself tossed.
  2. Buy things online that we need as a family, not knowing exactly where they’re from. Sometimes we need a tool or a battery. Our kid needed a made in China booster seat. I’ll just get these type items online. Not sweat it.
  3. Buy clothes when I feel like it. Mind you, I don’t very often! I will allow myself to browse and buy something new when I feel it’s right. I’ll always check tags for China and polyester – that’s in my blood now – but I might get that cotton tee from Turkey (or whatever).
  4. Donate and throw away things our family doesn’t need that disturbs peace at home because we don’t have enough storage. No pressure to find uses for it all or donate to the”right cause”. If I need to toss, I will toss. Freedom!
  5. Post eco things when I feel like it on Instagram. But if I feel like sharing a picture of my toe that has nothing to do with being sustainable, I will.
  6. Any other things/actions as I see fit.

Doesn’t sound so bad… right?

Finally, should eco-bloggers lead by that “perfect example” (also known as “It’s so EASY and FUN and budget friendly to be zero-waste-vegan!!!) or do we need to have real conversations about effort and demotivation?

Much love and ramblings, my friends!

Confessions of an eco-fashionista… (who kind of wants to skip that “eco” part for a while)

It’s already August 22nd! Every day now gets us closer to cooler fall winds and darker evenings. I am excited. I am done with summer.

Of course, I would say that, living in Houston, but this summer has been especially rough. Our Scandinavian summer getaway, which is supposed to cool us down, ended up serving nothing but sun, sun, sun and heat as Europe experienced a heat wave like never before (climate change, I’m looking at you). Oh, and do I need to mention there aren’t any air conditioners over there?

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Thank you Emma for this wonderful photo of me and our minis.

It was a well needed vacation nonetheless and I must tell you that I’ve thought a lot during this little summer break about where I am going with this blog of mine; if it’s needed and has a future. I’ve truly been enjoying my time “off” which has led me to ponder questions like “Should one really need time off from a hobby?” and “Am I done with the blog?”. At this very moment, I feel like I am not done with it – there are more topics to discuss – but I am maybe a tad bit tired of being sustainable.

Aiyooo. I am probably not supposed to say that! But I am.

I just want to buy all new clothes and not care where they’re made and by whom. I want to throw old ugly things away (in the trash). I want to dump all my donations in a bin anonymously and be done with them (instead of say arranging a garage sale and try to give them a new home.) I want to toss my yogurt cups instead of washing and recycling them. I want to unfollow the perfect eco-queens of Instagram and never again have to see stories about their dogs (I have never and will never like dogs).

It gets worse. I actually went into H&M the other day out of pure rebellion and promised myself that I could buy what ever I wanted – no matter where it was made and from what (like poly!). This could have been a breaking point in my non-profit-career as Sustainable Anna but, of course, the clothes I ended up wanting were all cotton (two of which 100% organic cotton from the Conscious Collection at that) and not made in China. Still, my intentions were un-pure and I am hereby confessing to the community.

I guess after over four years of buying hardly anything and constantly learning about sustainability, taking on more eco-responsibility and educating people about climate change – I need a breather. And I think I need to share that here on the blog, so that we can have a conversation about it.

How “good” does one woman have to be?

As far as living a plant based life – which a recently published study concluded is the number one action an individual can take to lower her carbon footprint – I am loving it and thriving. So my baseline is already super sustainable… I can throw away ugly shit, right?

With that said, I am back from my blogging break and would love to hear your thoughts!

PS. WELCOME to all my new followers that have joined over the course of the summer. Felling so much love and excitement about having you all here. Hopefully everyone is good with eco-confessions!

Uh-oh. Someone bought boots made in China.

You know what guys? Internet shopping will get you.

There I was, four years since starting my not made in China challenge, thinking I was buying our toddler rain boots made in Canada, when they in fact, I was importing boots from China. I didn’t know this until they showed up at our house, of course.

Kamik is a Canadian brand with 90 something percent of its products made in North America an with that stat in mind, I assumed I was safe when I picked a pair of space themed boots for tot on the website. ”Assumed”. Kind of like when I recently assumed the nachos at Chili’s were gluten free…

Anyway, after clicking “purchase” it took several weeks for these boots to arrive. Impatiently waiting, suspecting that USPS had lost the package, I contacted Kamik and long story short, because it was taking so long, they refunded our money! So, when I finally opened the box and realized the boots were made in China, not Canada, it seemed like too much of a hassle (or craziness?!) to return the boots (and start my search over for more sustainable boots).

A mistake purchase, yes, but at least I am supporting a brand that makes most of their products here, recycles boots and uses sustainable practices!

Kamik rain boots space theme made in china

Our little man loves splashing, jumping and getting as wet as humanly possible in his new boots! He doesn’t care where they’re made, he’s just happy, so I guess I will be too – just this one time :)

More on Kamik here!

Five surprising ways a plant-based diet has improved my life!

A newly published study in Science Magazine concluded that switching to a vegan diet (from an all-inclusive one) is the single most effective way to reduce ones environmental impact*. Diet change is more powerful than for example switching to green electricity or electrifying travel, because it doesn’t just tackle greenhouse gases but also reduces ocean acidification, agricultural land use and water consumption. The study included data from 40,000 farms in 119 countries.

When I transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle (from vegetarian + sometimes fish or chicken), I did so because of climate change sure, but mostly because of the health benefits and my personal need to clear my perioral dermatitis. Little did I know that changing my family’s diet would improve my life in a bunch of other ways too! Turns out, there are a few surprising benefits to plant-based living that truly enhances quality of life. At least I think so. Read on and then tell me what you think about these five amazing changes I’ve discovered!

benefits of vegan diet

1. Bye, bye gross bacteria

Here’s something amazing and convenient that comes with plant-based living: your trash doesn’t smell. Think about how fast your trashcan goes sour and gross after you toss a Styrofoam tray in there with meat juice on it. After just one day (tops) you have to empty the whole bin. (Since, you know, meats are forbidden in the compost). There’s another benefit to this bacteria thing as well: dirty chopping boards and having the toddler “help” in the kitchen is suddenly no big deal. I know that even if we miss a spot, the “chickpea residue” (lol) will not pose a health threat to any of us. Kids can lick their fingers after helping you out without any risks. If they drop the spatula on the floor, no biggie. Plus, you can taste the bean patties when raw to check if they need more salt. This is a TRUE win.

2. Bathroom breaks are FAST

Let me put it this way; you won’t be seeing any magazines in a vegan family’s bathroom. Because every time plant-eaters consume protein they also consume FIBER, bellies and intestines are generally super happy which means no constipation. Meat is also tough on your belly flora and stays inside you much longer than plant foods do. I hate public restrooms with huge openings around the door, so if I can shorten my time in there; mega win.

3. Serious savings

If you are like me, someone who shops at the grocery store, prefers organic and natural foods and cooks most meals at home, you’ll save money ditching animal products. Soy milk costs the same as organic cow’s milk. Legumes (beans, lentils) are much cheaper per pound than meat is. The savings add up even more when you consider legumes are often sold in a dry state. Did you know one cup dry lentils becomes almost three cups when cooked? Ca-ching! Also at restaurants, vegetarian and vegan meals cost less than that steak or seafood dinner. Every time.

4. More varied menu

How often did we really eat cauliflower steaks before going plant-based? How many fun salads did I actually make? Did we ever reap the benefits of nutritional yeast? The answer is no. Heck, I didn’t even eat squash regularly! I have invited so many new foods into my life since I started to cook vegan, which is what ultimately lead to my love affair with lentils.

5. Learning commitment by limited selections

This may not sound like an amazing benefit, but I tell you, ordering food at restaurants has never been easier. Sure, there are a few places where I can’t eat anything which is kind of inconvenient but in most places there are a few vegan options. And by a few, I mean two. Tops. This is what makes it so easy! Even at the Cheesecake factory where the menu is a thick as a bible, it takes me two seconds to flip to the “superfoods” section and pick the vegan cobb salad. Often, if a menu offers little or no options, combining two or three side dishes will do the trick.

How does those sound?! Great benefits if you ask me.

*A note from me: I am all about “do what you can” – also when it comes to diets. Every vegan meal matters, even if you are not 100% vegan. I call myself plant-based, not vegan, because cheese and leather sneakers, but most meals I cook are 100% vegan.