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Category: Eco Friendly Living

  1. Why I returned to vegetarianism

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    When Bella was one year old (which is how I remember when it was), so four and a half years ago, I returned to being a vegetarian.  I was never a massive meat eater.  I was never obsessed with steak or bacon like many are, so missing these things really wasn’t a problem for me.  Before becoming veggie again I was only eating chicken, salmon and occasionally a tuna mayo jacket potato.

    When I was younger a friend of mine and my mum became vegetarian.  It always interested me and I decided as a teenager I would no longer eat meat.  I stopped eating meat and anything containing gelatine.  It lasted until I was around 18 if I remember correctly, so possibly a few years.  I got drunk and my friend bought me a chicken burger.  Chicken was probably my biggest weakness and in my drunk hungry state I ate it.  I then craved chicken so much I returned to eating it.  I sometimes ate double cheeseburgers from Macdonalds which I cited in my early 20s as a perfect cure to a hangover!  (The thought makes me feel sick now!)

    I carried on eating mainly chicken as though it was a normal thing to do, until Bella was one.  One night me and Ben had a KFC (his favourite) and I pulled out a big string thing from my chicken burger or piece of chicken, I can’t remember what I was eating exactly, but it was chicken.

    Oh my goodness.

    ‘Ben is this what I think it is?’

    ‘Yep’

    I nearly threw up.  It was a vein.  I was peeling a VEIN off my food.

    That was that.  I immediately changed back to vegetarianism and I haven’t looked back.

    Now, however, in my 30s, I have so many reasons for being a vegetarian and not just because eating flesh and blood grosses me out.  After considering it for over a year and reducing my intake, I have also cut out dairy one month ago.  I’m not a vegan as I have fresh eggs from our chickens in the garden and I still eat honey.

    Here are some of the reasons I am vegetarian and can’t imagine ever eating meat again:

    Why I returned to vegetarianism

    Being vegetarian is better for the environment

    It’s becoming well known nowadays that the meat industry is one of the top environmental polluters.  From the methane in the cows flatulence, to the rainforests being wiped out to make room for rearing cattle and growing the soy to feed them.  Plus all the antibiotics and medicines routinely given to the animals that end up in the food or washed away into our water supplies contaminating it.  This also happens in the dairy industry, so it’s best to avoid dairy too.  The dairy industry is no better and perhaps even crueller than the meat industry, but that’s a blog post for another time.

    Being vegetarian is healthier

    Eating processed meat is as dangerous as smoking.  Processed meat is as carcinogenic as cigarettes according to the World Health Organisation.  I feel cleaner and lighter since not eating meat.  I feel healthier.  I never feel gross after eating a meal filled with veggies and plant based foods, yet I often felt sick and flatulent after a heavy meat filled meal.  Red meat consumption is linked to an increase risk of cancer and diabetes.  Most people I know who get food poisoning get it from eating meat.  There are even diseases you can catch from eating meat.  You can catch Hepatitis E from eating undercooked pork.  Let’s not forget about Mad Cow Disease which humans could catch by eating affected meat.

    Being vegetarian is kinder

    Raising animals just to kill them is sickening.  Killing animals to eat them is weird and cruel.  It’s kinder to the animals and it’s kinder to the environment to not eat them.  Many people are opposed to animal cruelty, yet not to killing animals to consume them.  That IS animal cruelty.

    Being vegetarian makes more sense

    We feed cattle so much corn and soy, enough to feed ourselves more times than the meat can.  It doesn’t make sense.  Why don’t we just eat the plants in the first place?

    An additional 4 billion people in the world could be fed if land currently used to grow crops for livestock were given over to crops for human consumption’ Meat Free Mondays

    That’s insane!  Our ‘normal’ system is so backwards.  It doesn’t make sense.  People are starving when we have enough food to feed everyone if we used it more wisely.

    I believe we’re not meant to eat meat

    Imagine before man discovered fire.  Do you suppose we ate meat then?  I really can’t imagine that we did.  We have hands that are the right size for picking fruit and pulling up veg.  We can peel them and feed ourselves.  We don’t have claws for catching and killing animals and tearing them apart and eating them.  We don’t even have spiky teeth to do this.  Before fire, did we really eat animals?  I know many meats need to be cooked or else they’ll make us ill.  Surely then it’s not natural for us to eat them?  Would you want to jump on a cow, kill it and sink your teeth in to it?  Doesn’t sound tasty or normal to me.

    I don’t NEED to eat meat

    I think many of us have confused a want to eat meat with a need to eat meat.  If I was stranded and my only option to survive was to eat an animal, then yes as a matter of survival I would probably do it or at least consider it.  But we’re not in a life or death situation.  In fact it’s been proven time and time again that vegans and vegetarians can be way healthier that meat eaters.  We don’t need to eat meat to survive.  Most people just want to eat meat because they think it tastes nice (and that’s debateable once you’re not eating it anymore and get your normal taste buds back, I’d find the taste disgusting now, it was like an addiction, not really tasty at all).

    Most people eat it for pleasure.  It’s a sick pleasure to have if you ask me.  Killing an innocent animal for your own pleasure.  To eat it.  It’s just crazy.

    It’s cheaper

    Honestly, I'd do it even if it was more expensive, but this is something I hear people say all the time.  They think it's more expensive somehow.  Meat is really expensive.  I’m not talking about those cheap 99p burgers from fast food chains that are full of who knows what and highly processed, I’m talking about real organic quality meat.  A pack of two organic chicken breasts that are rather small costs around £4.  My husband would polish these off in one meal!  That bumps up the price of one meal considerably.  We don’t even have a microwave.  Just a food blender, processor and good old oven and hobs.  Some good sharp knives and kitchen utensils.  Most people say it’s too expensive to eat healthier or turn veggie, but I disagree.  Use the money saved on expensive meat to invest in superfood staples that will last for weeks and good quality kitchen equipment.  How about a vegetable spiralizer to make spaghetti from your veg?  

    I’m certain in 50, 100 years, people will look back at us and think we were all backwards and crazy for eating meat!

    Related:

    7 ways I’ve got healthier in 7 years

    Your ultimate inspirational guide to being truly healthy

    Can Vegans Live Longer And More Independently? 

    Why I returned to vegetarianism

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  2. Simple Ways To Add Value To Your Home

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    Some people don’t think of their home as an investment, they just see it as somewhere to sleep and keep all their things safe. However, your home absolutely is an investment, and when you get older and your children have flown the nest, that investment will pay off big when you can sell your home, downsize, and have a big lump sum left to see you through your retirement. Below are three simple ways to add more value to your property, so that when the time comes to sell, you’ll have more in your pocket than you spent to acquire your home in the first place.

    Simple Ways To Add Value To Your Home Pexels Image

    Make it energy efficient

    With the world becoming more conscious of its carbon footprint, as well as utility bills constantly being on the rise, more and more homeowners are wanting their properties to be as energy efficient as possible. Not only does it help protect the environment, but it means that regular bills like gas, electric and council tax are lowered. There are many ways to make a home more energy efficient, but adding replacement windows that are double or even triple glazed can help to keep the cold out and the bills down. Adequate roof insulation will stop all that heat escaping as it rises, and adding solar panels to the roof can help provide a sustainable source of energy for years to come. Adding a new and highly efficient boiler can also be a way to increase the efficiency rating of the home as a whole.

    Add an extension or conservatory

    Another great way to add value is to increase the floorplan of the property. If you have a particularly large garden, it makes sense to sacrifice a little of it to turn your three bedroom starter home into a four bedroom family home. You will then have the option to add many luxuries like a walk-in wardrobe or an en-suite bathroom, which will dramatically increase the value of your property. A conservatory is also another relatively cheap and easy way to add value. Not only is it easier to gain planning permission to add one, but many buyers will actively search for a property with a conservatory, or else factor in the cost of adding one themselves when negotiating price.

    Do a loft conversion

    This may require some extensive remodelling of your roofline and careful scrutiny of your home’s foundations. But, a loft conversion is a great way of adding some extra room in your house without sacrificing any garden space. Usually, the loft will be turned into a guest or master bedroom, though some may wish to turn it into an entertainment room or home cinema. The possibilities are endless, but the extra space it affords will no doubt increase your property value by more than the cost of installation.

    There you have it, three simple ways to add a sizeable amount to the value of your home. Not only will they increase your standard of living whilst you are still living there, but they will allow you to retire with a little more in your bank account when you do decide to sell up and move on.

  3. 6 easy ways to save money around the house (and be eco-friendly)

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    Being eco-friendly is becoming more and more popular as we realise we need to live sustainably to protect our planet for future generations.  It’s also a great way to look after ourselves too by creating a healthier environment to live in and using healthier toxic free products in our homes and on ourselves.  Not only this, but becoming more eco-friendly is also much friendlier to your wallet.  There are lots of ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle that will also save you money in the long run.

    Here are six ways you can be eco-friendly around the home and save money at the same time:

    6 easy ways to save money around the house (and be eco-friendly)

    Flannels

    Do you clean your face every evening and morning with cleanser and cotton wool?  I do love using cotton wool pads (the Fairtrade from the Coop are my fave), but it’s so wasteful.  They end up in the trash and then in landfills.  I get through a chunk a day to both cleanse and tone my face two times a day.  To stop being so wasteful I’ve started using a flannel in the shower to wash off the cleanser instead.   Flannels last over and over and just need a good wash now and then.  I’ll rinse in hot water in the shower after each use and hang to dry so I can use it the next day.  Using water also makes my face feel even cleaner than just using cotton wool and cleanser.  I’ve even seen washable cleansing pads about that are smaller and can be used water free, totally in the place of cotton wool.  I’d usually get through a pack of cotton wool per week, so using a reusable alternative is a great saving.

    Cleaning cloths 

    I went through a massive phase of using cleaning wipes for everything.  They are super convenient, but also very costly and terrible for the environment.  Most of the plastic wrappers are not recyclable and all the cloths end up in the bin and landfill.  Plus it’s easy to grab way more than I really needed out of the pack and waste a load every day.  Now we use a spray and cleaning cloths to clean around the house.  The cloths can be reused so many times and it’s an awful lot cheaper than repeatedly buying packs of wipes.  You can even turn old worn out clothes into rags to use as cleaning cloths.

    Eco friendly concentrated spray 

    To go with our cleaning cloths we use eco-friendly nontoxic spray, usually by Method, but we’ve also used concentrated spray.  You buy concentrated liquid or sachets from companies like Natural Collection and add water yourself.  This greatly reduces the amount of plastic production and waste as you can reuse the same plastic bottle over and over.  You just add the concentrated mix, top up with water and save money in the process as it’s much cheaper than continuously buying eco-friendly one use bottles of cleaner.

    Related blog post: My Current Top 5 Natural Home Cleaning Brands

    Reusable bamboo towels 

    Ecoegg sell a roll of reusable bamboo towels which we use in place of kitchen roll.  With two young children we found we were buying paper kitchen towel every single week and getting through a mountain of the stuff!  I’m so pleased I looked into an alternative as we now use bamboo towels every day instead, saving a stack of cash and stopping so much landfill waste.  The bamboo towels can be used with spray to clean or on their own to mop up spills.  They can be washed up to 85 times according to the pack, but we’ve probably washed some many more times.  They go bobbly after washing, but this doesn’t affect their performance.  They say not to tumble dry, but we do.

    Laundry balls 

    Ecoegg also make reusable laundry and tumble dryer balls.  The laundry balls last for up to three years depending on the size you buy.  The dryer balls last forever and can be used on their own with no additional costs or incense refills can be purchased to give the clothes a light scent.  The laundry balls need topping up with pellets, but these will work out so much cheaper than using regular detergent and fabric softener every day.

    Read my review here: How to save time and money on your laundry with Ecoegg

    Reusable straws 

    One thing we switched to a long time ago is reusable drinking straws.  I’ve seen many argue that straws are unnecessary, but I personally like to drink my smoothies through a thick straw.  We did at first switch from plastic straws to paper straws as these seemed a little more environmentally friendly.  I’m sure you’ve all seen the horrid pictures of animals with plastic straws stuck in their noses.  But even better than paper straws are reusable straws.  We have a few thick plastic ones that can be reused, but also some steel metal straws which will never wear out.  Lifetime straws that will save you money and stop so much waste.

    I hope this blog post has inspired you to make some simple switches around the home to save money and be more conscious of what you’re putting into the environment.

     

    Related blog posts:

    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) (1)

  4. 13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

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    Over the past few years I’ve made a few changes to become more eco-friendly.  I’ve really started thinking about ways we can lessen the damage to the environment from our household.  One thing that still astonishes me is how many clothes people throw into landfill.  In 2016 300,000 tonnes of clothes went to landfill.

    This is crazy!

    Did you know all clothes can be recycled?  Even stained, ripped, worn out, useless clothes and textiles.

    I’ll admit.  I did throw out old socks with holes into the bin, but not anymore.  Since discovering you can give them to the rag trade I no longer throw ANY textiles in the bin.

    I would never have thrown out anything useful though.  I always gave to charity or sold our unwanted clothes.  It amazes me people still throw perfectly good textiles into landfill.

    I was inspired to write this post after seeing a Facebook message of someone saying they’ll be binning some perfectly good clothes if no one wants them!

    Whaaaat?!

    We need to stop with this binning things we don’t want culture and ruining the environment.  Most things can be reused, given away or recycled.  So think twice before you bin something.

    Here are 13 ways to get rid of your unwanted clothes WITHOUT binning them:

    13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

    Charity shops

    A very obvious one, but give your unwanted items to the charity shops.   They’ll be grateful for your donation and you’ll be helping a good cause.  They can also recycle anything useless – see the next point.

    Rags

    Even if your clothes are worn out, most charity shops can sell textiles to the rag industry.  Just ask them.  My local charity shop takes bags for rags and I expect most people don’t know this as there are no signs or anything.  Don’t throw away any ruined textiles.  Give them to your charity shop and let them sell them as rags.  This is much better than items going to landfill.  Even useless clothes can have a purpose and be reused.

    Ebay

    If your clothes are in great condition or were quite expensive, consider selling them on eBay and making some pocket money!

    Facebook marketplace

    Another great place to sell bundles of clothes or high quality items is Facebook marketplace.  You can reach local people and they’ll even collect them from you.

    Hand me downs

    Consider holding onto your kids clothes to use as hand me downs for your younger children or their friends/cousins.

    Charity bins

    Behind most shops and at recycling centres are charity bins for clothes.  Just bag up your unwanted textiles and post them in these boxes.

    Upcycle & reuse

    Perhaps you love your white t-shirt, but the colour is a bit off now.  Why not buy some dye and change its colour?  Or turn that long skirt into a short skirt.  See if you can upcycle your clothes and turn them into something you do want to wear.

    Clothes drop off points

    There are some clothes drop of points that you can sell your clothes to by weight.  Bag them up and take them to be weighed.  You’ll not get very much for them.  We donated around 10 bin bags once and got about £10.  But you get a little pocket money and your clothes get reused so it’s a win-win if you don’t have the time to sell them individually yourself and you need a little cash.

    Use as cloths/rags/old clothes

    Cut up some old clothes and use them as household cleaning cloths and rags.  Keep a few back to use as painting or gardening clothes.  Once totally tired out, then give them to the rag industry.

    Clothes swap party

    Organise a clothes swap party with your friends and family, or search on Google to find a public one.

    Nearly new sale

    For children’s clothes there are regular ‘nearly new’ sales organised as the clothes are grown out of so quickly and barely worn.  You can sell the clothes yourself at a stall at some, but at others you price them up and leave them there, simply collecting any unsold clothes and your profits at the end of the day.

    Car boot

    A good old car boot is the perfect place to sell clothes, have fun and make a bit of money.  People are looking for serious bargains at car boots, so be prepared for lots of offers of only 20p!

    Friends and family

    Why not ask your friends and family if they’d like to look through your old clothes?  My little sister used to love going through my unwanted clothes in our teens and twenties.

    Hopefully you can now see there is no need to ever throw any textiles in the bin, ever!  They can all be reused or recycled, no matter how useless you may think they are.

    Related blog posts:

    7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
    3 Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health)

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     13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

  5. Growing Your Own: A Goal For The New Year? Tips To Get You Started

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    December is the time of year that we reflect. We think about the things we have loved in the last twelve months, and the things we would like to improve upon. Most of us set some form of goals or resolutions on new year's eve, and many have a focus on a healthy lifestyle or changing diets. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to have more control on what you eat, and so I think it can be a great focus for the New Year. I want to share with you some of the tips that can help you start. I hope it inspires you to consider doing it yourself next year.

     Growing Your Own A Goal For The New Year Tips To Get You Started

    Consider where you can or want to do it

    One of the first decisions to make is where you want to start growing any vegetables or fruit. Have you got an outside space? This could be a garden, a patio or even a balcony if that is all you have. The perception is that you need a huge garden, but this isn’t the case at all. If you do want to utilise a garden, then think about an area that could be useful, you could even add a greenhouse to help keep some of the plants safe from the weather. Using things like greenhouse polycarbonate sheets can make it safe for children, if they are still using the outdoor space. However, small areas like patios or balconies can still be utilised with pots or planters. You could consider growing things like tomatoes, strawberries, and homegrown herbs.

    Start with some of the basics

    If you want to start growing your own then make sure you start off with some of the simpler produce or things to grow. Things like herbs are easier to maintain and having a good selection of them available to you can enhance many meals and side dishes. Other ones to consider would be salad leaves such as lettuce or chard. They tend to grow quickly, and they harvest continually so you can always have a good selection available to you. Spring onions and radishes are another homegrown favourite, as well as the potato. Peas, broad beans, onions and tomatoes are also easily grown and adaptable. Knowing that you have such a variety of options available to you, it’s easy to see why so many people consider doing this. It can save you money on some of those family favourite dishes you cook up every week.

    Appreciate that this is a long process

    Finally, try and remember that growing things can be a long process. Sure some of the salad leaves options can be sprouting up leaves in a matter of weeks when the seeds are sown at the right time, but other things like potatoes and tomatoes can take a little more time to create. Don’t get disheartened, approach this as a hobby and you will soon be reaping the rewards of your very own crop.

    Related blog posts:

    Easy grow your own vegetables for children through the seasons

    Get More Out Of Your Garden

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    Growing Your Own A Goal For The New Year_ Tips To Get You Started