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Category: Eco Friendly Living

  1. What’s in our family fridge? Two years on.

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    Two years ago I wrote a blog post sharing what was in our fridge.  I always find it fascinating to see what other people buy for a week’s shopping and what they eat, particularly other health focused people.  Years ago there was a magazine that shared a celebrity’s fridge and analysed it with some healthy advice.  I used to love reading these!  It was my favourite part of whatever magazine it was.  I think I’ve always had an interest in food and healthy living, but only truly found my passion for it over the last seven years.  I’m now obsessed with healthy eating and this has now passed onto my family.

    Here are the fridge posts from the last two years for reference
    March 2016 - What’s in my fridge? A typical week’s food in our household
    April 2017 - What’s in our fridge? One year on.

    It’s also so interesting for me to see how our eating habits have changed over the years and what’s stayed the same.

    What’s in our family fridge? Two years on.

    What’s stayed the same?

    Organic

    Two years ago I was already buying organic and we still are.  I still get a vegetable box each week and we top this up with more fruit and vegetables and cupboard staples.  I always choose organic if it’s available.  To see some of the reasons why I think organic is the best choice, read my blog post 3 Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health).  It is more expensive, sometimes a lot more, but I see it as an investment in our health, animals and the planet.

    Wholegrain

    We still buy wholegrain items.  These are so much better for health.  White items are refined and spike the blood sugar.  They have also had all the good parts removed that are full of minerals, vitamins and fibre.  The benefits of wholemeal bread over white is a great post if you want more information on the differences.

    99% refined sugar free

    I went refined sugar free in January 2017 and I did one whole year with barely any slip ups, perhaps two or three (those were due to companies changing ingredients).  This year I still want to be refined sugar free, but I’ve decided to relax when we are eating meals out.  My only option was really ordering a salad with no dressing and it doesn’t make eating out much fun.  I hope sugar free options will start popping up on menus soon (there’s one option at my local gym and a plant based café that uses no refined sugar near to us), then it will be easier.  At home I don’t eat or buy anything with refined sugar, aside from Ben’s mayonnaise which he won’t give up.  There’s a version made from rice that I buy, but it’s very small and at least twice the price.  I’d like to convert him though.  Read the problem with refined sugar for an in-depth look at why added sugars are not good for us.

    What’s different?

    Eggs from garden chickens

    We no longer buy store bought eggs and have our own chickens.  They provide us with 3-4 eggs per day and this is plenty for Ben and the children.  I was only eating these, but I’ve given up eggs this year and no longer consume any animal products at all.  If Ben and the kids eat eggs then I much prefer it to be from our own well looked after chickens that are fed a chemical free organic diet and no soy.

    No meat or dairy whatsoever

    The main difference is this time there is no cheese, pizza or yoghurt in our fridge.  We are now a dairy free and meat free household.  Ben did Veganuary this year and he hasn’t stopped.  I made a decision, and he agreed, that regardless of what he chooses to do we will not have meat or dairy in our home anymore.  I finally cut out all dairy in December 2016 and early this year I stopped eating eggs too, even from our chickens.  So you could say I follow a vegan diet, though I prefer to say a wholefood plant based diet.  The children still eat eggs, but they are meat and dairy free at home and almost completely everywhere else.  I give them lunchboxes for school and nursery so these are always vegan and refined sugar free.  It’s only going to be a bit more complicated when they stay with friends and family or have a party to attend.  There’s no going back for me now.  I don’t want to support the meat and dairy industry for several reasons – my health, animal welfare, the planet and so on.  Read the book The China Study by T Colin Campbell and you’ll start to see why it’s the right choice for human health.

    Distilled water

    The big bottles of water are our own distilled waters.  Tap water is full of crap.  Believe me it is and if you distill your water and start seeing the disgusting brown crap that is left over, you’ll realise the rubbish we are drinking every day.  We were ordering spring water before anyway, so it made sense to distill our water and stop wasting so much plastic.  My blog post Megahome Water Distiller Review: Why I’m Drinking Distilled Water goes into more detail about why distilled water is potentially even better for you than mineral water.

    Meal planning

    This is still very new to us, but I created a loose meal plan so we all know what’s for dinner.  I’ve given two options per day and thought about whether it’s a gym night and we need an easy meal as we have limited time, or whether I have longer to cook a more complicated meal.  It’s full of our favourite foods and everything (aside from the chippy chips night) is homemade using as many fresh vegetables as possible.  The only frozen items we buy are peas and sweetcorn.  The rest we make ourselves.  If we need mash, we mash potatoes.  If we need a tomato sauce, we make it from tomatoes or use a can of chopped tomatoes.  We rarely buy any readymade items aside from pasta, flatbreads and bread.  It’s flexible too as we buy fresh food so sometimes an item might need using up quicker, then we’ll just switch a day.  If you want a sneak peek at my vegan family meal planner, here it is: My Vegan Family Meal Planner and Dinner Menu

    What’s in our family fridge Two years on Healthy Vegan Living Blog

    New vegan brands I love

    Totally cutting out dairy has meant we’ve had to discover some new brands to try.  Here are some of my favourites that are in this fridge and we order every week:

    Oatly

    We are now all drinking Oatly oat milk.  We also make our own milk too.  Read How to save money by making your own organic oat milk.  I’ve been drinking milk alternatives for a couple of years now, but the kids and Ben were still drinking cow’s milk.  I made the switch to mylk for everyone before Ben gave up dairy too and for the kids and no one was fussed.

    Gosh

    If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see me posting these balls of goodness all the time!  They are free from so many things including dairy and added sugar.  They have lots of flavours and they’re so versatile.  Use with hoummous and salad in pitta to make a vegan kebab.  Add to salads or on top of vegan pizzas.  They are so yummy.

    Pure

    This spread is just what it says – pure.  No dairy and no other crap.  We get the sunflower oil or olive oil spread.

    Dees

    These are the nicest vegan sausages I’ve found and we order from Ocado every week.  We make sausage and mash, add to pasta or have a cooked breakfast with them.  They are made from pea protein and there’s no endocrine disrupting soy in sight.  No sugar, just good wholesome ingredients such as seaweed.  Sounds weird, but we love them.

    St Dalfour

    This yummy jam comes in lots of different flavours and is 100% fruit.  Nearly all other jams are pretty much half added white sugar.  Yuck.  This stuff is great and the kids love it on toast or a splodge in their cereal or porridge to mix in.

    Violife

    This is vegan cheese made from coconut oil.  I use it on jacket potatoes with beans or to make flatbread pizzas.  Bella also loves a slice in-between some wholegrain rice crackers in her lunchbox.

    Pip Organic

    OK, not technically in the fridge, but in the freezer and a brand I want to share.  We buy the kids their ice lollies which are made from 100% fruit and vegetable juices.  No refined sugar in sight.

     

    I regularly post meals I make and new brands I discover that are vegan/refined sugar free on my Instagram account.  Follow me here to stay up to date: http://instagram.com/lyliarose

    What’s in our family fridge_ Two years on.

  2. Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)

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    I only recently discovered that we could save money by switching our gas and electricity to another company when our tariff ended.  To be totally honest, I didn’t even realise we were in a yearly tariff.  When we moved into our home four years ago it was with British Gas and we just continued with them without ever questioning it.  I don’t really know why.  I guess I naively thought everyone was priced roughly the same or it would be a massive headache to switch suppliers.  I was so wrong.  In this blog post I’m going to share why we have switched to a more eco-friendly energy supplier called Bulb saving £264 per year.  Plus, I can give you £50 credit if you decide to make the switch and use my link.

    Every year we compare car, travel and home insurance to get the best deal, but I’ve never compared home energy.  If you don’t, then you should start.  I decided to start this year after realising we could save hundreds of pounds a year compared to our current prices.  I’m now going to compare energy prices regularly too as it’s so simple to switch!

    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £200)

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    Simpler

    I used a price comparison site first and it said we’d save the most per year with Bulb.  This was based on our current energy plan and prices are going up next year, so really we should save even more.  I then found the Bulb website, entered my postcode and how much energy we currently use per year and our current tariff, then it told me in an instant how much I could save.  We decided we were happy with the amount and went for it.  We were also totally swayed by the fact that it’s 100% renewable energy and green energy so it fits with our beliefs.

    We clicked a couple of buttons and said we wanted to switch and it was all done.  Bulb will take care of the whole thing.  They’ll even tell us when to take final meter readings and pass them onto British Gas for us.  The whole process couldn’t be simpler and sign up takes around two minutes.

    If you have exit fees, that’s if you’re still locked into a tariff with your current supplier, then no need to worry about those either.  Bulb will even pay your exit fees for you!

    Cheaper

    Bulb say they’ll save you £200 per year, but our estimate was actually a £264 yearly saving.  Plus it should be more as our tariff for next year was going to cost even more with our current supplier.

    Not only can you save £200 per year and have cheaper bills, but with my referral link you can have £50 credit added to your account. 

    Greener

    The massive bonus for us was that Bulb use 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas energy.  This is more beneficial for the planet and helps us to do our bit.  Bulb was founded by Amit and Hayden, two friends from the traditional energy industry, who wanted to reduce environmental damage and make it affordable at the same time.  They say ‘Every year, the typical home with Bulb saves 1.3 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That's the same as planting 655 trees.’

    I’m so glad we made the switch and I’m sure it was the right decision based on their #1energy supplier rating from happy customers on Trustpilot. 

    You can get £50 credit as well as saving around £200 per year (we’ll save £264) by joining Bulb with my referral link by clicking here

     

    What to read next
    How to save time and money on your laundry with Ecoegg
    5 ways you can reduce your kitchen waste today and save money
    15 Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption

    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £200)

    More ways to make and save money:
    Easily make money from home by testing websites
    Mustard Car Insurance Comparison Promises to Beat Your Cheapest Online Quote
    How to earn cashback on things you already buy
    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition

     

  3. Eco-Friendly Design Ideas for Your Garden this Summer

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    Summer is just around the corner and so you may be thinking about the different ways in which you can spruce up your outdoor space, especially if you are going to be spending lots of time in it over the coming months. Increasingly, savvy gardeners are not only saving themselves money, but are also helping the environment by implementing eco-friendly design ideas in their garden. These low cost items can really add a wow factor. If you are unsure about where to start when updating your garden space, carry on reading for lots of ideas! 

    Eco-Friendly Design Ideas for Your Garden this Summer mason Jar Lights

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    Construct a Steel Building

    If you don’t have a greenhouse or shed, an eco-friendly and cheap way to update your outdoor space is to get a steel building. You can buy a steel building from Armstrong Steel and design it to fit in with your current garden space. Decide on the colour and size, then have it delivered straight to your door. Steel buildings can easily be constructed in just a few hours and then you can transform the interior into anything that you so do desire. As these are also weather resistant, you won’t be limited to just using your steel building during the warmer months and will be able to utilise it all year round. Steel is one of the most recycled materials on the planet and so fits perfectly if you are trying to make your garden an eco-friendly space.

    Use Old Wooden Crates for Plants

    If you are looking for a cheap and eco-friendly way to spruce up your garden this summer, why not use old wooden crates? Instead of heading out and purchasing expensive plant pots, recycle wooden crates, add some soil, plant some bulbs, and voila you have a unique and chic place for your flowers this summer. Don’t worry if the wooden crates are all different as this just adds to the charm of them and many people love the age-distressed timber look. You can also add a coat of paint to bring them back to life and add a bit of vibrancy.

    Utilise Mason Jars

    Mason jars seem to be the latest big trend and they can be found everywhere for a very good price! You will also most likely have some used mason jars lying around your home which can then be used to transform your garden. Why not string together some mason jars and use them as outdoor fairy lights? This can help create an atmospheric light effect but you won’t need to splash out on any designer price tags.

    Upgrade Your Greenhouse

    Do you have an old, unused greenhouse in your garden? A great way to transform a greenhouse is to turn it into a gazebo instead! Re-glazing can be expensive, so transforming it into a gazebo is a great option as you can give it a new lease of life simply with a bold coat of paint. A great suggestion is to grow climbers across it to turn it into a lovely outdoor space.

     

    More great posts to read next:
    7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
    3 Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health)
    6 easy ways to save money around the house (and be eco-friendly)

    How to Upcycle Furniture to Create Standout Pieces for Your Home
    An Eco-Friendly Playroom Makeover with Sundeala Notice Boards
    Quick summer updates for the home and garden on a budget

    Eco-Friendly Design Ideas for Your Garden this Summer (1)

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  4. 15 Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption

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    Inspired by The Plastic Pollution Problem infographic featured at the end of this blog post, by a company called Kennedy Wild Bird Food, I’m going to share with you today 15 ways you can start to reduce your plastic consumption today.  We are absolutely plastic addicts.  We love it because it is lightweight, cheap, durable and versatile, but unfortunately plastic waste is having a devastating effect on our wildlife.

    15 Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption

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    Many plastics never totally decompose and if you’ve watched the documentary on Netflix called A Plastic Ocean then you’ll know it’s even beginning to fill the sea.  In ‘clean’ areas of the sea that are miles and miles from shore and should not be polluted at all, there is now plastic pollution.  Tiny fragments of plastic floating on top of the sea that cannot be seen by eye at first glance.  Not only do fish eat this plastic accidently, but as larger fish eat smaller fish the problem becomes worse and worse and then guess who eats these plastic poisoned fish?  Yep, humans.

    Birds are also mistaking attractive shiny and colourful pieces of plastic for food.  Their stomachs are becoming so jammed up with plastic that it’s killing them.  The plastic does not digest and instead blocks their stomachs leaving no room for actual food.  Devastatingly, this is causing many birds to die from starvation.

    It’s so sad and I’d like to think that we in the UK are not a part of this pollution problem as we can recycle our plastics.  It’s even collected from our homes!  But unfortunately we are aiding to this problem and the brook at the end of my road is an example.  It’s filled with rubbish, mostly plastic.  Unfortunately some people just don’t care about the environment and are too selfish to carry their litter to the nearest bin or home with them.  My husband and I recently cleaned up 10 metres of our local brook and filled FIVE bin bags with litter!  It’s a joke.

    Such irresponsible littering is causing plastic to get into the oceans and have disastrous consequences, not only for the health of the planet and animals, but for us as humans too.  Not only does it annoy me that people are littering and not recycling plastic, but many plastics are still not recyclable.  The government should act on this and pass a law that only recyclable materials can be used from now on.

    Even though many plastics can be recycled it’s still very wasteful to live in our throwaway culture.  We use a lot of plastics only once and then chuck them in the recycling bin.  The energy and pollution that must be caused by constantly remaking plastics for single use and again to turn them into something new can’t be any good for the planet either.

    15 Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption

    Here are 15 ways to reduce your plastic use today:

    Order vegetable boxes

    Not only are veg boxes organic which helps support better soil, wildlife and cleaner water, they also reduce your packaging consumption.  Many of the vegetables arrive loose in a big cardboard box which drastically reduces the amount of waste buying pre-packaged products.

    Reusable straws

    There is no need to use throwaway plastic straws.  Either go without a straw or choose a reusable straw at home.  There are many companies selling eco-straws made from metal that last forever.

    Reusable water bottles

    Instead of buying single use water, save some money and invest in a water bottle you can use over and over again.  Fill it from the tap or filter or distill your own water at home for a more pure taste.

    Carry your own cutlery

    Stop using plastic cutlery and use your own.  Carry a set in your bag if you know you are eating on the go or buying a pre-packaged meal for lunch.

    Take a packed lunch

    Why not take your own lunch to work or on outings to save having to buy a pre-packaged item?  This will save money and reduce plastic waste.  Win-win!

    Cook at home

    As well as eating your own food when out and about, eat your own food at home!  Microwave and ready meals have a lot of plastic packaging that is instantly discarded.  Cook from scratch and reduce your household waste.

    Take your own carrier bags

    Leave reusable jute shoppers in the boot of your car so you always have them to hand for sporadic shopping trips.

    Buy loose produce

    If you can, as it’s hard when buying organic from a supermarket, but otherwise opt for loose produce.  It’s usually cheaper and there’s no packaging.  If you’re only buying one or two items then don’t use a bag and just stick the price and weight sticker to the skin.

    Use a hot drinks flask

    Coffee cups are terrible for pollution and many of them are lined with a plastic meaning they can’t even be recycled!  Instead take your own drinks flask to coffee shops or just take your own coffee with you to work.

    Buy in bulk

    Start choosing the larger packs instead of buying several small items time and time again.  Choosing to buy in bulk is cheaper and often less packaging is used.

    Use cloths to clean

    Stop cleaning with wipes and throwing away wipe packets so regularly and choose to clean with spray and cloths instead.  Many wipe packets aren’t recyclable so end up in landfill and may never decompose.

    Buy concentrated

    Choose concentrated cleaning solutions that last longer and use less packaging.  Some cleaning products even come 100% concentrated so you can add your own water at home.

    Opt for glass packaging

    If your favourite spread or sauce comes in a glass jar instead of plastic then make the switch.

    Don’t chew gum

    Mainstream chewing gum contains a type of plastic!  Yuck!  Stop chewing gum or find a natural alternative instead.

    Say no to coat hangers

    When shopping for clothes, tell the assistant you don’t want the clothes hangers.  That way they’ll keep them for reuse instead of you throwing them into your landfill bin when you return home.

    Hopefully by making a few conscious decisions and swaps you’ll be able to reduce plastic waste at home.

     

    Take a moment to check out this infographic by Kennedy Wild Bird Food which outlines the problem of plastic pollution and shocking statistics:

    Kennedy_Infographic

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  5. 5 ways you can reduce your kitchen waste today and save money

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    I keep seeing the hype about Zero Waste everywhere and it’s a great initiative to get involved with.  I think the government need to start taking more action and enforce things such as companies only being able to use recyclable packaging, but until they do there are a few ways we can be more eco-conscious in our kitchens ourselves.

    Here are 5 easy ways you can begin to reduce your kitchen waste today and save money:

    5 ways you can reduce your kitchen waste today and save money

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    Never buy single-use plastic straws

    There is absolutely no need to buy throwaway single-use plastic straws for the home.  Even if you are having a party there are paper straw options available, which actually look much cooler!  The best thing to do is order some eco-straws.  I found mine on eBay and they’re made from metal and last a lifetime!  Simply wash them after use and clean with a tiny straw cleaning brush, then reuse them over and over again.  This will save money and stop so much unnecessary plastic waste.

    Order an organic veg box

    Have a search on Google and check out which local companies deliver organic vegetable boxes to your door.  We’ve used Abel and Cole before and currently use Wholegood via Ocado.  Friends of ours highly recommend Riverford.  Not only are you being kinder to the environment by supporting organic farming methods, but you’re supporting local farmers and bettering your health.  Organic veg boxes can be much better value than buying the same items singularly, so find the best deal.  Some companies have excellent enticing sign up offers including half price boxes or even a free box, so you can save a small fortune on your weekly veg.

    Make use of veg scraps

    If your county council has a food recycling scheme then use it!  It’s much better for something to be recycled and turned into something useful than thrown into landfill, even if it is food which can rot and degrade.  If you have pets then you may be able to give them your scraps, just check if there’s anything they can’t eat.  We have chickens and can give them most of our scraps which they really enjoy!  This will also save money on their regular feed.

    Stop using cleaning wipes

    Cleaning wipes are handy, but they are not very environmentally friendly (even the biodegradable ones come in a plastic wrap) and they are very costly.  Instead, opt for a plant based cleaning spray and a fabric cloth that can be washed time and time again.  If you can find a bottle of concentrate cleaner that you water down yourself, even better. This will reduce plastic waste and save money in the long run.

    Wash without detergent

    So some of you may be lucky enough to have a utility room (it’s on my dream home wish list), but lots of us do our clothes washing in the kitchen too.  It’s totally possible to stop washing with detergent and fabric softener and instead wash and dry your clothes with Ecoeggs.  These clever balls are filled with natural mineral pellets that can last for an entire year, depending on the size ball you buy and amount of washing you do.  If you have a dryer then the dryer balls stop the need for any fabric softener as they soften the clothes as they dry.

    There are so many ways you can start to reduce waste in the kitchen, be more eco-friendly and even save money in the process. 

    Related: My Current Top 5 Natural Home Cleaning Brands

    5 ways you can reduce your kitchen waste today and save money