I have curated the best podcasts on health, sustainability, and expanding your mind in the list below. I also included MY first two podcast interviews at the bottom for you to learn more about me. Whether you're interested in sustainability, the human body and mind, the environment, vegan health, social justice, or just want to be inspired; there's bound to be a podcast for you to discover. I hope you enjoy!Read More
This year, for Earth Month, I decided to experiment with going zero-waste. I began with the simple idea that anyone can do it and, by doing so myself, that I would make the world a "greener" place. Some prominent zero-waste influencers suggest that this is a possibility for all of us, so we should all try. And to some extent, I agreed. I quickly discovered, however, that a complicated set of corporate and institutional structures prevent most people from ever coming close.
I saw first-hand that waste-free living is nearly impossible if you aren't extremely diligent and privileged with free time to do so in the first place. Is striving for zero-waste on an individual level the best way to use that privilege for the betterment of our planet and society as a whole? Or should we also be demanding governments finally get involved with us?Read More
Stop mindlessly using single-use plastics already! Seriously, it's driving me insane. According to a report by the WEF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, "There could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050." This is a worldwide problem. With serious consequences being felt now, lasting last far into the future, we can no longer afford to let our society's plastic-use go unchecked.
We're in 2017 with great affordable alternatives, yet plastic consumption continues to grow. And it's growing fast. “Global plastic production has increased from 2 to 380 metric tons (Mt) annually from 1950 to 2015.” This according to a recent global study by Roland Geyer published in Science Advances. And "half of the total plastics manufactured during this period (3900 Mt), was produced in just the past 13 years.” Our ever-growing addiction to plastic is causing a massive shift in our ocean and terrestrial ecologies but is being widely ignored for convenience and societal norms. Not only is it being ignored, but oftentimes being sold to us as the best way to consume.
Throwaway-plastic use is even being glorified and promoted in modern, celebrity/influencer culture. Many Instagram stars and celebrities take food photos and post shots of themselves with plastic coffee cups, straws, and other forms of single-use plastics on a regular basis. When I see a picture like this, not only am I completely baffled, but I want to cry. These images are the most lucrative form of advertisement in our social-media driven world. People of all ages look to them for inspiration for how to live and behave. So why are there so many plastics being promoted in these shots? Mindless plastic consumption isn't glamorous. On the contrary, it's burying our planet alive and suffocating the Earth's creatures. Big and small.Read More
I have been getting lots of inquiries lately about my skin care routine, and what clean beauty products I use. As flattering as it is to hear, "You have beautiful skin.", I can't stress enough that, I too, have had more than a few years of trial-and-error perfecting my skincare practice. Every skin type is different. Every person's skin is different. I have combination, dry and oily skin that is sensitive to harsh chemicals, and dark circles under my eyes that never go away. I firmly believe that plant-based nutrition, staying hydrated, exercise, and adequate sleep are far more important than any topical treatment will ever be at giving someone good skin. Products are often expensive, and it's wasteful to buy something that doesn't work only to throw it away. But I also really love enhancing my natural beauty with a little bit of makeup and know that cleaning and moisturizing are also essential to maintaining radiant, healthy skin.
I have tested and used all of these products for the past year, and know they are good investments. They all last for at least a few months if not longer, are cruelty-free, non-toxic, and are easy to purchase online or in a local store. I hope this list is useful to you, and that you can find some items that also work for you. Let me know, in the comments below, if you want to learn more or if you have any other thoughts on clean beauty routines! Here is my daily skincare routine, and the best products I've found for my skin type:
Face Wash Powder
Day and night. Apply a quarter-sized amount of powder into the palm of your hand. With your other hand, run water over your fingers, and allow a few drops of water drop onto the powder. I only use enough water to make a paste. Too much water added can make this difficult to apply. Massage gently on your face and neck, then rinse. Avoid rubbing vigorously and be very gentle around your eyes. Optionally, you can leave this on your face for 10 minutes as a mask.
Day and night. In the mornings I combine a quarter-sized dollop of this with my bronzing tint shown below. Rub between the palms of your hands, and gently apply in small, circular motions on your face and neck. At night time I do the same application, minus the bronzing tint. This lotion is not oily, but still wonderfully moisturizing. Ideal for sensitive skin.
Renewing Night Conditioner
Night time only. One month treatment, 3 times a year. Applied before moisturizer after washed face. Open dropper and squeeze just enough drops as one hand can hold in its palm, without dripping out. For me it's usually about a nickel's size. This has the same consistency as water, so be careful not to waste it. Use your other hand's ring finger to dip in the conditioner, and apply it on the face... then neck. Repeat until dropper is empty. Follow with moisturizer above. I really love this product as it makes my face look healthier, my pores smaller, and my skin more supple.
Used daily with morning moisturizer. Apply 1-3 squirts with lotion listed above, depending on how dark you want the tint to be. Blend thoroughly with a dollop of moisturizer, and then apply all over face and neck. Play around with how much you add of this to your moisturizer. Start with less, blend with lotion, and if the color is still really white, add more. If the lotion looks too dark, you probably added too much. A little goes a long way!
Used when makeup worn. For covering dark, under-eye circles and other blemishes that may occur. Squeeze a pinhead-sized drop onto index finger and hold on under-eye area for a couple of seconds to help it warm. Then lightly blot with same finger to cover purple under-eye circles. Use lightest pressure possible to blot and blend. Use same technique for blemishes. I use the "light" shade.
Used when makeup worn. sharpen pencil every week, to get best application. Start by nose and work your way out, using light upward strokes that match the grain on your eyebrow hair. This stuff lasts all day, but is easily wiped off with your finger if you color our side of the lines. Use opposite brush end to comb brows and blend. I use the "flax" shade.
Used when makeup worn. Suck in cheeks to make cheekbones more visible. Apply a line of bronzing stick, starting in line with the center of your eye, and draw to hairline. Blend with ring finger down and evenly. This makes cheeks look naturally bronzed. Apply elsewhere on face depending on your face shape. I love my jawline, so also use same technique along jawline close to ears. I don't use under my chin. In the winter, I also use alone hairline to give a sunkissed look. Always blend thoroughly. More is easily added on top of the old.
Contour/ Highlight Duo
Used when makeup worn. I like this as a more natural-looking eye pallet, to contour eye crease and highlight eye lids. Use small makeup brush, or finger tip, to apply darker shade in creases of the eyes. Blend outward and don't apply close to eyebrow. Use same brush, or fingertip, to apply highlighter on eyelid. These can also be used as a highlighter on cheekbones, and a contour along cheekbones/ jawline/ hairline as described with bronzing stick above. I use a finger and not a brush for this. Blending again is key for a subtle enhancement. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Used when makeup worn. Do NOT repeatedly dip wand in and out of tube, as this makes your product dry out faster. This will last you for at least 3 months if you don't allow it to dry out. Simply shake the tube when closed to get more mascara on wand, then open. Apply with wand in light, upward strokes. I only apply it to my upper lashes, but it may also be applied on lower lashes as well. Use light, downward strokes when applying on lower lashes. If one coat isn't enough, repeat until satisfied. This mascara isn't waterproof, so it can be easily removed and doesn't cause lashes to break. It also doesn't smear throughout the day unless you cry or go underwater. I use the "pro black" color.
This look achieved using products and techniques above.
I hope you enjoyed this look into my clean beauty routine, and that I've demonstrated how simple making a mindful makeup switch can be. What does your clean beauty routine consists of? What are your favorite products? Let me know, in the comments below, if you have any questions or thoughts about this post.
Staying relevant in the fashion industry, while maintaining my ethics, was something that I grappled with a lot. As issues of sustainability and ethics became more important in my life, I began to question if “staying relevant” was really an issue at all. Was this just an insecurity that I developed after 15 years of advertising telling me I wasn’t good enough if I didn’t have the latest trend? I realized the questions I was having were actually masking an even deeper truth. I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion.
"I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion."
Beginning as a teenager, as most of us deal with issues of identity, I questioned who I was and how I wanted to present that person to the world. One year I felt goth and the next year hippie. As fast as I could throw out one identity (and the clothes that went along with it), I was replacing it with a new one. Stores like Hot Topic, Wet Seal, and Forever 21 provided trendy clothes at dirt cheap prices, and fueled my search with lots of wear and waste. Although I am thankful for these years of exploration, they lasted way too long, and far beyond my years of teenage angst.
Throughout college, and into my career as a model, this confusion didn’t go away. With newer, more trendy stores like H&M and Zara, I never wanted to stop and think about my own personal style… the one that reflected who I am deep inside. I wanted to keep up with the trends and remained prey to the constant “Hot and Not” lists that advertisers and fast fashion CEOs count on. It wasn’t until graduating college, going vegan, and investigating the vast environmental issues facing us, that I started to even question who made my clothes.
A film premiere in New York of the documentary called True Cost was the catalyst for my journey. Released after the Rana Plaza disaster on April 24, 2013, it highlights the astonishing inequality that garment workers are subjected to across the globe. It shows the horror of the 1,134 people who were killed and the over 2,500 that were injured in Dhaka, Bangladesh when the complex collapsed. Despite earning my degree in Biology, the massive affect of the clothing we wear on the environment hadn't occurred to me. True Cost demonstrates how and why the fashion industry is one of the largest polluter on Earth, perhaps less damaging than the oil industry alone.** Fast fashion being the main culprit. This film was not only an eye-opener but it also marked a huge turning point in my life.
I knew something had to change and that my mindless consumption of fast fashion had to stop. My true identity, no longer a question of outward appearance but something deep within, was finally able to take shape. Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am. My clothing also needed to last, which meant I had to be comfortable with that identity for a long period of time.
For the first time I was forced to really ask myself, "Who am I?" and "How will I present this person to the World?". Although it was difficult at first, with practice and time I have been able to curate a wardrobe I feel confident in wearing over and over again. I have pieces that are sustainable and ethically made that all fit together. I have formed a unique capsule collection of clothing that confidently reflects my true self.
"Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am."
I now know that the clothing choices I make have a huge impact. “80 billion pieces of clothing are bought each year, and on average we only wear 20% of the clothes in our closet. The average American also throws away 82 pounds of textiles each year, adding to 11 million tons of textile waste in the U.S. alone." Giving up fast fashion therefore reduces huge amounts of toxic waste in landfills. Without much effort on the part of consumers, buying less and choosing well, also reduces the degradation of Earth’s waterways and ecosystems.
Climate change is real. We are using up the Earth’s resources at a rate that compares to no other time in history. In order to sustain life in the way that humans are living now, we would need SEVEN planet Earths. The little things that we, as individuals, do everyday all add up to combat climate change. Ask the question, “Who made my Clothes?”, and stop supporting brands that exploit their labor. Investigate the environmental affects that our clothing has. Fashion Revolution and one of my favorite brands, Zady, both have vast amounts of information on their websites available for free. If you haven't seen the movie, True Cost is available for viewing via their website, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. I cannot recommend it enough.
Giving up fast fashion has not only been an inspiring and fun journey for me with my clothes, but also helped me find confidence in how I present myself to the world. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that all add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint. Not only will you be supporting our fellow humans and the planet, but you may even find out more about yourself.
Want to get involved?
“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect. Human beings working at the bottom of any supply chain are often treated like slaves, without reference to our common humanity. So ‘fashion’ – i.e. what we wear every single day, has huge relevance and huge consequences on human, social and environmental capital.” - Liva Firth, Eco Age
***2018 UPDATE: A report conducted by Quantis and Climate Works, released in February of 2018, now shows that, "Combined, the global apparel and footwear industries account for an estimated 8% of the world ́s greenhouse gas emissions." Read the full report here --> Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study
There is something to be said about the plant-based movement, when so many new innovative, and delicious plant-based restaurants keep opening up. Manhattan and the surrounding Burroughs have always been a haven for vegans and vegetarians, providing a huge number of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and juice shops to chose from.
New York City already boasts the most extensive list of restaurants in my Plant-based Restaurant Guide, and until this point I have tried all of the restaurants myself. I am excited to discover even more, all having opened since January 2015, that I have yet to enjoy and am dying to try! Check out the newest plant-based restaurants of NYC, and experience them for the first time with me.
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Have you tried any of these delicious, plant-based restaurants in NYC? Do you have any favorite restaurants that you don't see featured here? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I love hearing from all of you... and especially trying new food. Thanks, as always, for reading!
If you are searching for inspiration on living a more sustainable, clutter-free life; seeking help from experts on how to transform your diet and stick with your goals; are interested in sustainable fashion; or are wanting to build your own health empire; these books are the resource you've been looking for.
Written by some of the most influential authors of our time, they have provided me with extensive knowledge and inspiration. They continue to influence my drive to take part in the sustainable movement, and are my go-to resources when I am looking for answers.
Check out some of my favorite books below. I hope they can inspire you along your journey too.
Frances wrote EcoMind because she believes that solutions to global crises are right in front of our noses, and our real challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps that keep us from bringing these solutions to life.
Drawing on the latest research in climate studies, anthropology, and neuroscience, she weaves analysis and stories of real people the world over who, having shifted some basic thought patterns, are shifting the balance of power in our world.
It turns out that gap between the world we long for and the world we thought we were stuck with can be bridged after all—if we can learn to think like an ecosystem. EcoMind shows us the way
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.
From places already devoid of humans, Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that doesn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly-readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.
Bill McKibben insists we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.
Endless economic growth depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.
Marie Kondo is a professional cleaning consultant inspired by the Japanese book Throw-Out Skills with a lifelong love of all things house and home.
This book is a comprehensive manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house. She uses easy-to-follow line drawings to illustrate her patented folding method as it applies to clothing, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets.
Kondo also add in-depth advice on moving, packing, and dealing with necessary objects that may not spark joy. This manual is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy, and helps readers live better with less.
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
The Story of Stuff explores the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the “stuff” we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet.
Annie Leonard transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet. From sneaking into factories and dumps around the world to visiting textile workers in Haiti and children mining coltan for cell phones in the Congo, Leonard highlights each step of the materials economy and its actual effect on the earth and the people who live near sites like these.
Leonard shares concrete steps for taking action at the individual and political level that will bring about sustainability, community health, and economic justice.
MagnifEco by Kate Black
In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh—the worst garment industry accident in recorded history— the industry has been forced to undergo a shift, and many of us are questioning our buying habits. Magnifeco is the Fast Food Nation of the fashion world—your guide to making a difference too.
In this guide, author Kate Black examines non-toxic beauty and ethical fashion; recommends a multitude of ways for consumers to make better decisions; introduces the brands and designers leading the way along this socially responsible path With this complete head-to-toe guide covering everything from hair and beauty products to shoes and footwear, you can feel better about everything you put on your body and be—magnifeco!
The Sustainability Secret by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn
The companion to the groundbreaking 2014 documentary Cowspiracy, this book presents shocking truths about the effects of industrial animal agriculture on the planet. The leading cause of deforestation, rainforest destruction, greenhouse gas production, water consumption and pollution, habitat loss, species extinction, ocean dead-zones, topsoil erosion, and a host of other environmental ills, animal agriculture is the biggest issue facing the planet today and one of the most controversial environmental secrets in the world of conservation.
Filled with anecdotes, statistics, research, interviews with the filmmakers and contributors, and unabridged transcripts from the film, this companion book supplements and expands upon the documentary in every way.
Exercise physiologist Marco Borges is the author and founder of 22 Days Nutrition. He has shared his knowledge with countless celebrities and athletes; most famously Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Huge media coverage following their successful completion of the 22 Day Vegan Challenge inspired people around the world to adopt a plant-based diet.
Founded on the principle that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, The 22-Day Revolution is a plant-based diet designed to create lifelong habits that will empower you to live a healthier lifestyle, to lose weight, or to reverse serious health concerns. Inside, you’ll find motivating strategies, delicious recipes, and a detailed 22-day meal plan. With this program, you will lead a healthier, more energetic, and more productive life—helping you to live the life you want, not just the one you have.
Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
Crazy Sexy Diet is a must for anyone who seeks to be a sexy, confident wellness warrior. Infused with a bit of sass and an advice-from-the-trenches style, it is a beautifully illustrated resource and plant-based, vegan diet plan to put you on the fast track to vibrant health, happiness and a great ass!
Kris Carr and experts, lay out the fundamentals of her Crazy Sexy Diet: a low-glycemic, plant-based diet plan that emphasizes energizing whole and raw foods, nourishing organic green drinks and scrumptious smoothies. She also includes the steps of her own 21-day cleanse and simple, sample recipes.
Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them.
Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer "at the table with our greatest philosophers."
What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, how we answer it today may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves?
What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth. Beautifully written and thrillingly argued, The Omnivore’s Dilemma promises to change the way we think about the politics and pleasure of eating. For anyone who reads it, dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same.
Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin
From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal, and in this book he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love.
Salatin understands what food should be: Wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn't stop there.
Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact. His crucial message and distinctive voice make this a must-read book.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. By urging us to once again eat food, Michael Pollan challenges the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach — what he calls nutritionism — and proposes an alternative way of eating that is informed by the traditions and ecology of real, well-grown, unprocessed food. Our personal health, he argues, cannot be divorced from the health of the food chains of which we are part.
In Defense of Food shows us how we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context. Pollan shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.
Jason Wachob is the Founder and CEO of MindBodyGreen, the leading independent media brand dedicated to health and happiness with 15 million monthly unique visitors.
In his first book, Jason redefines successful living and offers readers instead a new life currency. In this prescriptive memoir, he shows us all how to build a life, not a resume, and why it's important to make frequent deposits into our own 'wellth' accounts.
Don't just take his word for it, read exclusive material from popular contributors and see what they have to say about becoming truly wellthy, including: psychologist Sue Johnson, Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Aviva Romm, Joe Cross, meditation expert Charlie Knoles, EWG director Heather White, and yoga phenom Kathryn Budig.
Thanks for checking out my favorite books on sustainable living, nutrition, and health for ourselves and the environment. Your continued support inspires more than words can express. Be sure to leave comments below, letting me know what your favorites are, so that I can continue to learn with you.
If there is any key to living the life that you truly desire, "Creative Visualization" has been the one that I have found to open the door for me. I first heard about this idea from the book, Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain:
"Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life... a clear image, idea, or feeling of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea, feeling, or picture regularly, giving it positive energy until it becomes reality ... in other words, until you actually achieve what you have been imagining (© 1995 Shakti Gawain)."
I have put this belief into to practice by creating a vision board every few months. Vision Boards help me because they allow me to physically create what I see in my mind, and make it that much more of a reality. Starting with a picture of myself, I then surround it with things that I want to have in my life, or accomplishments that I wish to achieve.
I like to make a new one regularly because my goals and visions for my life change with time as I learn and grow and I want my visualization to stay current. Putting these collages together is also therapeutic in way because they allow me to take time for myself... to stop worrying about the hustle and bustle of life, and simply create.
Our thoughts and beliefs actively shape the way that our lives, our relationships, and our careers manifest. We all have the power to be and do what we want.
Whether it be through collage, meditation, or mindful thinking daily... we all have the ability to influence our outcomes. The first step is to believe it... The second is to see it.
See more about the author and the book, Creative Visualization here: http://www.shaktigawain.com/products/books/creative-visualization