Going vegan # 2 / How to get started

To be honest we didn’t plan these 14 days of exploring the vegan lifestyle very much. We already live a flexitarian lifestyle but aim to eat even less meat. All of a sudden we felt the motivation to go all in and test vegan eating first hand. Within two days we began.

Some preparation is definitely recommendable but most importantly I would advice anyone wanting to reduce their meat consumption just to trial vegan or vegetarian eating and learn as they go along. However if you have any health conditions make sure you get the proper guidedance.

Vegan in a quick decision

For long we have aimed to reduce our meat consumption but it has proven more difficult than expected. For some time we have discussed how to take the next step and after watching an American documentary called ‘What the Health’ on Netflix we looked at each other and said:

“What if we went vegan for two weeks?”

I am not claiming that the documentary holds the whole truth. I think it is good entertainment and I am sure that most of what it states is true. I however also believe that some truth has been left out. Besides, taking place in the United States I believe that the average eating habits and lobbyisme are quite different from here in Denmark and Scandinavia in general.

None the less it inspired us to just try out plant based eating for a shorter period to experience benefits and challenges first hand.

Why go vegan

Basically we want to eat more plant based to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

Read more on how and why in my previous post.

Preparing to test vegan eating

All ready the same day we ordered a vegan meal box for four days from aarstiderne who delivers recipes and ingredients right to doorstep in Denmark and Sweden. This left us to only come up with vegan dinners for three days for the first week not to forget breakfast and lunch for the whole week.

We agreed to allow for our youngest who turns 8 months March 2nd to only try our vegan dished and otherwise continue with everything she would normally eat.

For our daughter who is three and son who is seven we agreed to inspired and push them gently to eat as much vegan as possible. Most importantly though make sure that the period was going to be fun meaning letting them eat something familiar and even animal based if necessary.

For breakfast we usually eat porrigde or oats and muesli with milk. The milk we replaced with oat milk. For coffee we bought soy milk with vanilla.

For lunch we bought a vegan pate, some pesto and made sure we had avocado and banana as safe choices for the kids.

Besides, we bought a little more vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts than usually and allowed for shopping a few more times than usually in order fir us to adjust as we went along.

Does a break to rethink life sound tempthing? To me it did

And I could add: it still does! Since late 2016 my key hanger has been empty lying in my top drawer. I left a challenging job in a global food company behind. I had wonderful, competent and passionate colleagues around me and a pipeline full of interesting projects as well as the opportunity to fill it with evenmore interesting innovations. Anyway something didn’t feel right.

The journey to accept it and act on it has been long and hard. I don’t know exactly when it began. I am however not in doubt that my motivation had left me already before I left on maternity leave with my youngest in April 2015. To begin with I thought maybe it was just my pregnancy leaving me without energy this second time. Anyone having two or more children know time to relax when there’s already one child in the family is limited. But during my leave I even had proplems enjoying time with my daughter. Small everyday tasks easily overwhelmed me especially as returning to work came closer.  By the end of my leave my energy and motivation never came back like it had done the first time around.

I went back to work in February 2016 when my daughter was 9 months old. I know we are privileged in Denmark but the days felt ever so long and yet never long enough to really get a firm grip of my projects again. When I returned I landed in the middle of a huge reorganization which after a few months led to me moving to a new category still focusing on innovation. Something however still felt wrong. I started seeing a coach and I promised myself to give my new job a proper chance. The truth is that every month I dreamt of leaving. I remember those months almost a year ago as horrible for me and for my family. I was so low on energy trying to make it work and doing my best.

In Behind the blog I write more about how we as a family were at a cross road to either slow down and simplify or speed up; buy more help, an extra car and cut more corners. But boy it felt wrong! If I didn’t already feel fed up with our lifestyle – the thought of a life in which we were to speed up further and keep our eyes conveniently shut to how our busy and unconscious overconsumption influences the planet we live and rely on – surely made me dishy and nausea.

In reality the decision was quite obvious but the process of taking the decision was anything but easy. I felt so many uncertainties connected to leaving my job. Will I ever get a similar job again? And do I want a similar job? What if I regret? What about my pension? What about insurances? What if I don’t get better? What if we don’t getter better as a family? What will other people think?

For someone who has used most of my adult life trying to do what other people expect or even worse what I think they expect instead of listening to what I deep down inside want to do was hard. Beside seeing a coach, taking a highly recommendable intensive MBSR course at Aarhus University led me to connect better to myself. The actual decision making took almost 18 months and I would encourage  anyone with similar thoughts to make the decision much quicker. Being caught up in thoughts, dreams and worries for so long drain you for energy and leave you unable to enjoy life when it happens – right now.

I felt relief like I have never felt it before once I had made my decision. Everyday I am grateful it is possible for me to take a year to rethink my life. Now five months into my break I’m much more positive about the future and I’m much better at enjoying the moment.

For long it has been a dream of mine to make a difference in the world. I’m now certain that putting sustainability at the center of my activities both privately and workwise is right for our family and me.

  • I want to start small cleaning up our own cupboards and habits
  • I will investigate where and how to start
  • I will listen
  • I will experiment and I will share our experiences, ups and downs with everyone who wants to listen
  • I intent not to preach instead I hope to inspire and wish for dialogue
  • I do not know where we will end nor what success looks like
  • As long we have minimized our environmental impact on the planet while feeling more happy and content I will celebrate succes – any day

Want to hear more from more.conscious

I believe Fashion, Food and Traveling are essential for us to rethink if we want to build a sustainable lifestyle. I already have two posts on fashion on my blog: One on the cost of clothing and why we need to make it last longer and one on second hand clothing.

Beside more posts are to come e.g. on the options within sustainable and ethical children’s fashion.

Sign up to follow our journey at the bottom of this page or follow more.consciuos.aarhus on Instagram.

 

Please make second hand clothing fashionable

Fashion, food and traveling are three crucial subjects to address when rethinking your life to  become more sustainable. In this post I’m going to share a bit of our thoughts and experiences with second hand clothing.

First of all it makes a lot of sense to buy second hand clothing as textile manufactoring especially the methods within fast fashion do no good except to the shareholders. The fashion and textile industry is the second biggest polluter in the world. Recent years’ unconscious fashion consumption led by the devastating and addictive fast fashion industry have had grave effect on the environment. Read more in my previous post about how to make each piece of clothing last as long as possible.

We both sell and buy second hand clothes. Especially within children’s fashion the market is huge in Denmark and it is widely accepted to use second hand. Which makes a lot of sense as children usually grow out of their clothes before they wear them out. Looking at our own consumption I’ll admit that both of our children have much more clothing than they need. Analyzing our old habits I would say we could easily cut of 25-40% of their stock. I would like to reduce this and especially the part that we have bought from new.

I have always found a scarf and a shirt occasionally in local second hand shops but I have never found the majority of my clothing second hand. For 2017 I’m going to test how much I can find second hand. For the new things I’m going to buy it has to be ethical but I’ll get back to that in another post.

Earlier this week I went to a local charity second hand shop. I found seven pieces of clothing of which I’m going to use four of them the way they are. The dress needs to be shorten 5 cm and two of the shirts are intended for DIY dresses for my 20 months old daughter. Three items (the animal printed turtleneck, the scarf and the black and white striped top in the bottom right corner) are already in use. My favorite is without doubt the black and white striped shirt which will be a cornerstone in my wardrobe this spring.

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