Sunday, 5 August 2018

We can’t escape the plastic! ~ Plastic Free July 2018 #PlasticPollution

I will start off with a little back story, in case you are new to my page. My man and I have been living a zero waste lifestyle since 2016 (please check out my posts about our zero waste lifestyle). We not only try our best to purchase/consume less stuff but less plastic as we possible can, especially single use plastic.
Last year was the first time we attempted Plastic Free July (post HERE) and we thought we failed miserably because of the amount of plastic we purchased. Well, fast forward to 2018 Plastic Free July and SMH it hasn't got any better!. 

I would also like to add that last year I was still trying to sort my "diet" out. I had unintentionally developed an eating disorder in 2016 and became malnourished. So in 2017 I needed to increase my food intake - which by the looks of this plastic free July, also increased my plastic consumption!!
I will also add from August 2017 I changed my diet to Vegan (No Animal Products) You would think that would decrease the plastic.... NOPE! But to our surprise our food bills have decreased !?

Here is all the plastic we purchased in July.

Items missing in this picture are
x2 cucumbers wrappers x2 bottles of fruit juice x2 Bread wrappers and x1 bag of pasta.

This picture is products we already had in our cupboards/fridge but we finished in July.

Surprisingly we are still using up bathroom products from our stash we had 2 years ago!!   

Out of all of this only 10 items can't be recycled :(.
Most of the remaining plastic goes to our local supermarket which takes plastic bags that can't be recycled curb side.

And due to unforeseen circumstances our cooker heating element decided to break and we had to purchase a new one. Which meant more plastic :(

This consisted of the plastic bag the element came in, which was then wrapped in bubble wrap. They also sent a Pen (plastic) which was also in a plastic sleeve which was also in a bigger plastic sleeve which had a card with a plastic coating on it and a magnet. :( And all of this was in a box.

Why do we still have all of this plastic!?!?


We have improved a little bit from last year. I no longer purchase the vegan cheese, I prefer making my own cashew cheese. We no longer purchase the ice creams/lollies that were individually wrapped in single use plastic that couldn't be recycled.
But I now purchase protein powder that comes in a wrapper that can't be recycled. But I do purchase the larger bag to save on packaging and multiple purchases.  

We still purchase the cartons of plant based milks because of the added vitamins and minerals in them (and before anyone adds, Yes most Cows Milk is fortified as well) we have tried making our own milk but I/we like to make sure we are getting enough vitamins and minerals (whether this is a marketing ploy or not from the companies...every little helps).
Purchasing Frozen Fruit and Veggies saves a lot of Food Waste! Not to say we don't purchase Fresh and don't freeze what's left or can't get eaten in time. We all know how quick Berries can turn. And Also soft fruits are also packaged in plastic, so we cant escape it.

Being gluten intolerant doesn't help, the food for health reasons has to be packaged to avoid contamination :( .

It would help a lot if we had a package free / bulk store near us.
And it would be a huge help if the supermarkets sold their Fruits and Vegetables loose (and provide Paper bags NOT Plastic) and were also cheaper loose! because surprisingly a lot of items are cheaper when they are packaged in plastic :( I always believed items cost included the price of the packaging? So why are some packaged items more expensive ?!?.

If you follow me on Instagram @simplydonna13 you would have seen I shared at the beginning of July the products we have swapped. But there is still a huge problem when it comes to food packaging. A lot of supermarkets have pledged to reduce their Plastic packaging or to make it Recyclable, some starting from 2019. I personally believe it should be sooner, a lot sooner - This pile is just from us (2 people) for a month! who try and live a zero waste lifestyle - How much plastic is every other person consuming/disposing in a month?!? With more and more pictures coming to life of the beach’s/oceans covered in plastic. We all really need to do something NOW.

Did you participate in Plastic Free July? Did you escape the plastic?
Leave me a comment below :)

Till next time

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 1 ~ Packaging & Consumtion
and or
A year of collecting Litter ~ 1 Year of Take 3 for 365

Find me: Twitter ~ InstagramBloglovin  

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Mental Heath ~ Daily practices

I mentioned briefly in a previous post, the daily exercises/practices I do, to try and keep a strong, healthy, positive mind. Here I'm going to go into a bit more detail.

I believe they should be done daily. Have a little you time, to recharge. Obviously it isn't the end of the world if you don't do these everyday. Don't kick yourself. But the benefits are amazing, you will end up making time. And with most of them, you can do them anywhere, anytime and or throughout the day.
Here is what I do:
Meditate for 10-30 minutes
Get plenty of sleep
Fresh Air, even if its just opening a window
Practice Gratitude
Be Mindful and Present 
Surround myself with positive affirmations
Do something you love
Morning Pages

I have already shared my advice and tips on Mediation in a post HERE. Please check that out.
I like to meditate for 10 minutes in the morning before I get out of bed.
Meditate before I go to sleep. And if I need to I will at any point during the day. Just to bring myself back to the present moment and switch off my brain.
I like my sleep, I try and do get 7 - 8 hours of sleep. There are a lot of benefits of getting a good nights sleep.
Your body gets to repair/recover. You have more energy. Keeps your heart healthy. Reduces Stress. Makes you more alert and helps improve your memory.
To get a good nights sleep; I make sure all electrical items are switched off. The room is dark. I have the air vents in our windows open. I no longer check social media before I go to bed, I actually make sure I leave my Ipod in the living room. I no longer have it in the bedroom. That habit was quite hard to break. And once I'm comfortable. Meditate :). 
Fresh Air
I work from home, in a flat, in London. So I don't get outside much, and you are probably thinking how do I get fresh air living in London. Well, all I can say is I get what I can. I'm lucky where I live there is a lot of Trees and plants. And my home is full of plants. If I don't get the chance to leave the house, I will open the window. Getting some fresh air, clears my mind and it makes you happier.

I like to sit and relax with a proper (not a kindle) book. I like to switch off from a screen. And apparently reading helps sharpen your brain. The range of books I read vary. I'm a big fan of 'self help' books they help keep myself motivated.


Practice Gratitude
For years I've seen / read / heard people talk about Gratitude. I always thought I'm always thankful for what I have. I just thought that was what it meant, why are they consistently going on about it?.
So I researched, and found it really is so much more. You need to practice gratitude daily and whenever you can.
Being grateful helps you keep present and focus on the positive. I've heard people mention, think of at least three things you are grateful for in the morning and or in the evening and it sets your mind in the right direction. I thought I would give this ago.
I have seen gratitude journals a lot so I decided to make my own, in my own journal. Every evening I will write down the 'highlights' of the day. I will only write down positive things, whether they are achievements, things that happened or received. Or just what I'm grateful for. 
Some evenings I go to write and I can't think of anything, then all of a sudden I can't stop writing. 
Its true what they say ~ Positive Attracts Positive. Think positive and positive things will happen. Some days I run out of space to write things. I actually look forward to writing it.
Mindful and Presence  
When you do the above and along with everything else you do, being mindful and present is the main point. Being in the moment helps you concentrate and pay attention to what really is going on, in and around you.
Have you ever been with someone and they are just glued to their phone. Have you ever felt the person you are with is distracted, and/or not paying attention. It doesn't feel great, does it?
I try my best to be in the moment. I'm no way perfect at it, but I really do my best.
Presence is the best Present. Your time and presence means a lot.
I try and be mindful in everything I do from working out, watching T.V., eating and even brushing my teeth.
Giving your full attention, really paying attention to the task helps complete them correctly, and when that happens you feel happy and accomplished.  It is really calming and can make you aware of your body and can help switch off the self talk. Which we all know we need to pay attention to that.
Trust me even with the little things when you have given your full attention you will feel it. And you will be surprised with what you have missed. Pay attention to your mind, body and surroundings. It will always tell you what's going on.

Positive Affirmations
The more you say things, the more you will believe them. It's how your subconscious mind works.  Surround yourself with positive affirmations, even set alarms or notes on your phone if you need to. Make sure one or more positive affirmations are relating to what you desire. Repeat them every day.

Remember: What You Think, You Become. Make sure its Positive.

Do something you Love

For me that something is being creative. Everyday I do something crafty, whether its crocheting, card making, upcycling or just some doodling in my journal. Its never a day wasted when I create something :) Crafting makes me happy.

Morning Pages

Morning pages is new in my life. I came across it by accident and thought it was a good thing to start. In other words you could call it conscious writing. Every morning, before you start anything. You write 3 pages. Yep, write 3 pages. At first I was like, What??? 3 pages of what? How will I write 3 pages? What do I write about?
Well, let me tell you it is easy. Well, I ended up finding it easy. I found it so surprising what falls out on to the paper. Yes, there is the occasional, I don't know what to write, written amongst my 3 pages. But I have been shocked at what is on my mind and more surprisingly I get my answer. I don't do this every morning. I do my best too though, and I really notice a difference in my day when I miss it. And I normally time myself. I sit there for 30 minutes. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on what I write and sometimes I don't make it to 3 whole pages. I really recommend you give morning pages a go, even if you don't do it every day, or even not write in the morning, whenever you feel like it. You will be surprised what is going on in your head and the clarity it gives you.

All you need is a notebook or scrap paper and something to write with.
You don't need to keep them. Or re read them. I believe, along with others, its best to write by hand than type. Because

"When you write by hand, you connect more deeply to your thoughts." ~ Julia Cameron

But like with everything else, what ever works best for you.

Here is a video from Lavendaire talking about morning pages.


I hope you have found something helpful, and can take something away from this. I'm one to admit and I even said in my meditation post, I never thought any of this would work and its not for me. But I proved myself wrong. I'm not saying I'm an expert in this. We all have days when we just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing and think nothing will help. Just take each day as it comes and do one of the things I have mentioned above.

I'm not a psychologist, I have and still do study psychology and the brain.
A little mindfulness and positivity can go a long way.
If you find that none of these things are working or can't find your own. Please seek medical advice.

What do you do to help keep you mentally strong? 

Till next time ~ Stay Healthy

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: My Fitness Journey update ~ Yoga & Anxiety and or Meditation 

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Lets Catch up ~ Getting Back into Fitness ~ Mental Health

I have been indecisive for months about whether or not to keep my little blog going. The last post I did was back in August 2017. I have so many posts in the draft section. I'm still unsure if I am going to post them.
One of the reasons for not posting was, I didn't know which direction to take my blog in. I have sadly been comparing myself to other bloggers. Most of those I follow or followed just stick to one topic. My blog seems to jump from so many topics, I was starting to feel that if I'm feeling confused, so must other people who are reading/visiting my blog.
I have really missed everything that goes into having a blog and my little blog is now coming up to being 4 years old. I have, (obviously because you are reading this) decided to blog again. But make a few tiny changes.

I'm going to stick with my description "My Journey to Live a Healthier, Active, Zero Waste Lifestyle" ~ A Lifestyle Blog. I'm still indecisive about using the words Zero Waste because the term "zero waste" has different meanings. (please see my Zero waste journey posts).    
I'm no longer going to share my craft, unless its an upcycle project relating to Zero Waste. 

Healthier ~
Will included Food (Plant based/Vegan)  and Mental Health.

Zero Waste ~
My journey to live a more eco-friendly, minimalist lifestyle.

Active ~
My Fitness Journey.

I have mentioned before and I still agree with it, even though my opinions/lifestyle has changed since I started this blog, I'm still keeping my old posts active. Mainly because I like looking back and seeing how much I have learnt and grown.

I am going to start off getting back into my blog with a fitness update. 
I haven't shared a fitness post since December 2016 ~ Why? I hear you ask. Because I haven't really done anything since. Last year (2017) I did a few Yoga Challenges and spent a few weeks trying to get back into cardio but I had lost complete motivation to get back into a routine.

I think my mental health took quite a few steps backwards. After what I went through in the last part of 2016, it really took its toll on me ( POST ). 

Anyone who suffers with Anxiety/Depression understands when you get knocked back it can take a while to get back on track. In my case, MONTHS. I got stuck in a viscous circle. I loved doing the yoga challenges, but I lost confidence in posting pictures. And not posting pictures for the challenges, I didn't feel like doing them. So I stopped. I didn't completely stop, I still stretched occasionally but not enough and no way near as much as I was doing before. And with Cardio, my mind set went back to why I gave up cardio before (POST here for Cardio).

So in 2017 I spent my time working on my mental health and my Food intake.
 If you follow me on Social media you might have noticed I didn't post much on my social media platforms I am on. I didn't realise how much until I did Instagram's Best of Nine and all my pictures were all Quotes, compared to previous years of yoga poses and fitness pictures. 

I've been living a more simplified / minimalist lifestyle for a while now so I decided to minimalize my time on social media.  I have deactivated/deleted my Facebook account (if you are reading this from FB Hello and Thank you to whoever shared this :) ). I still have a Twitter account but I only really used that for news. Lately I've been a bit more active on there but I will focus mainly on Instagram. I believe this has helped a lot with my mental health. I thought at first I would get FOMO but I didn't. Taking a break from social media and not needing to go on it all the time, really frees up your time.

The last few months of 2017, I have finally cracked it with my food. Even though I don't focus my full attention on calories. I am reaching around 2000 calories a day. And finally getting enough Protein. Not going to lie, it took a long time to increase my food intake. Esp. Protein. My body really didn't like it, or should I say my mind? I was very full, a lot! and I didn't like it. But I have finally figured out how to make sure each meal is quite high in protein, and full of nutrients. I'm really proud of myself for that.

 Sunday Roast:
Linda McCartney Mushroom and Spinach Burger with a mix of fresh and frozen Veggies

Overnight Oats:
Gluten Free Oats, Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Pea Protein, Coconut Milk or Water. Topped with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter.

With the food sorted and my mind-set getting in the right place. I've realised it is time I get my fitness BACK.

But first I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons.
And they are:
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Health
  • Mental Health  
Its funny the last reason is Mental Health. The one thing missing from last year when I was (still am) working on my mind-set/mental health. I missed out one of the most important things... Exercise (SMH).
Exercise is Awesome for your mental health. I think because I was so busy working on getting my protein/food intake up. I was nervous about my body not getting enough, if I included exercise into my routine. I really didn't want to worry about a deficit. But, like I mentioned above, I have been reaching my goals and now's the time.

I decided in December I would start (like a lot of people) in January "Fresh Start". I'm not going to go crazy, I'm starting slow.
My Fitness Journey has started off with the Yoga Challenges ~ YAY!! I have missed them.

And Oh My.. did my body miss and need them. I felt so tight, esp. in my hamstrings. But only after about a month I started noticing improvements in poses again. I'm disappointed I have lost confidence in doing Headstands :( (Need to work on my Ab strength). I really can't remember when I last did one. But I'm not going to dwell on it. I will get back to them. One of the things I've learnt from my yoga journey is - Poses take time. 

No surprise, I mentioned my hamstrings. I've mentioned before I struggle with tight hamstrings. So to help me with that, I've invested in a foam roller. I've been looking into them for a while. I was unsure if they were just the latest 'fad' in the fitness community. But after I left a question on my Instagram about any advice for tight hamstrings a follower of mine mentioned the foam roller. So I did some more research and purchased one.

I can't give a true opinion on it yet, because I keep forgetting to use it. lol. I have used it a few times, but I have also got back into Yoga again, so I'm not sure if my hamstrings are getting better from the yoga or both. But it does make my muscles feel great afterwards. 

So, What am I doing to get myself back into Fitness? I'm taking each day as it comes. As long as I do a little Yoga workout each day, I will be happy. I'm surprised at how quickly I'm noticing improvements already. And I'm really only doing a little yoga workout daily. With Cardio, I'm also taking it slow...No idea when I will get back to where I was. I wanted to feel comfortable with my Yoga first. 

Not sure yet how often I will be posting fitness updates. Do I post monthly again? not sure. But My next post will be ~ What I have been doing to help improve my mental health.

How are you going on your Fitness Journey? Have you lost motivation? Do you have any tips to get back into Fitness.    

Till next time

Donna x

I post a lot of my Food Dairy and Recipes on my Instagram.