Welcome to the first post of my new interview series where I’ll be discussing living an eco-friendly and plant-based lifestyle with guests. I’m excited to introduce you to my first interviewee, Aurelia Moulin, who I met while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. This California girl isn’t completely vegan, but her natural lifestyle includes admirable habits we should all take under our wing. Check out our conversation below to find out what you should be doing to to help live sustainably, too!
What does it mean for you to live naturally or organically?
A lot of people think living organically/naturally has to do with food, and it does, but it goes way past that for me. I do buy organic food when I can (check out the Clean 15 for times you don’t have to, and the Dirty Dozen for when you absolutely should!), but I also search for organic products that I put on my body. This includes my makeup, moisturizer, and cleaning products. I actually make my own toothpaste because I didn’t like all the chemicals in store bought (the recipe she uses here.) Your skin is the most absorbent part of your body, so you should be putting organic products on it as well as in it. When buying food I not only focus on organic, but also try to shop local and if it’s an animal by-product (like cheese), then I try to take that animal’s welfare into consideration.
What does a typical day look like for you when it comes to food?
I eat roughly 5-6 times a day, which may sound like a lot, but I have a mostly plant-based diet, so I have to eat more, and more often in order to feel full, and to get enough nutrients. I also dance 5 days a week, so I need a lot of power! I’ve been meat-free for the past couple years, and for about the past year have been mainly dairy-free as well. My typical day looks something like this:
- Breakfast: Eggs and whole grain protein toast or tortillas, a green smoothie, peanut butter toast with a banana, or oatmeal with fruit.
- Morning snack: Homemade trail mix and a piece of fruit, a nut butter and jelly sandwich, or hummus with carrots, snap peas, or cucumber.
- Lunch: Quinoa salad with edamame, corn, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, kidney beans or garbanzo beans, black beans and rice with lettuce mixed in, or a huge salad full of veggies and fruit topped with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Afternoon snack: Typically looks the same as morning snack options, adding cheese and crackers or chips and salsa.
- Dinner: Lentils with veggies, warm quinoa with veggies, tofu and pizza, grilled cheese, or a huge salad like lunch. I also love roasted veggies!
- After dinner snack: Popcorn, dark chocolate, gummy candy (one of my few vices!), fruit
How has being meat free changed your body and health, either physically or mentally?
I find myself choosing healthier options since I’m not eating things like processed meats, steak, fried meats, and bacon or sausage which all have high fat content. My digestion has improved because it doesn’t have to work so hard to digest hard meats. I also mentally feel better because not only is it a healthier choice for me, but it’s a healthier choice for the planet and animals.
What differences does buying organic produce make and why is it better?
I can’t stand the thought of putting pesticides in my body, so I avoid it! Ultimately its just better for your body, system, and the planet. Do some research and better your mind and body. You should know what you’re consuming, not just consuming mindlessly.
How is your lifestyle benefiting your own life and the world around you?
Like I said, I make a lot of healthy choices now, and always feel better when I get the healthy choice, over say In-N-Out. I also feel better because I’m making less of an impact on the planet, and I’m supporting it rather than going against it!
How easy is it to make the switch from the grocery store to farmers markets and what are the challenges involved?
For me it was an easy switch. There are local farmers markets all over, but I also live in the Bay Area. I always encourage everyone to Google and see if there are farmers markets in their area! I think the biggest challenge is actually getting yourself there, with real cash in hand. But past that it’s the best thing! You can form relationships with particular vendors, exchange recipes, and eventually they may start giving you deals or save you things because they remember you. Plus it’s a lot easier to go waste free when shopping at the farmers market!
What are your tips for living a more conscious lifestyle?
Past what I’ve already said, I also try to lead a minimal waste lifestyle. This includes having my own reusable water bottle, saying no to disposables, bringing my own containers and bags to the grocery stores (you can weigh them at the counter before filling them so you don’t pay for your containers weight!), buying in the bulk section, and when buying a packaged item trying to buy it in glass, metal, aluminum, or cardboard as those can be more easily recycled. I also use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper.
What are your favorite foods or meals?
I absolutely love cooked grains and beans, especially lentils. Summertime is my favorite season because then I can get heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, berries and more!
What do you want people to know or what advice do you have for those making the switch to buying local or plant-based foods?
Don’t stress out and try to do it all at once. Every little step helps! Also there are SO many blogs out there with helpful tips, so check them out! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Here are some of Aurelia’s favorite sites:
Trash is for Tossers: A blog to reduce trash output
Zero Waste Home: Similar to above, this blog is about reduce, reuse, recycle
Minimalist Baker: A vegan recipe blogger
Life Without Plastic: An online store with eco-friendly alternatives to plastic products
Brush With Bamboo: An online store with bamboo toothbrushes
Going Zero Waste: A blog with a guide to going waste-free
Simply Straws: An online store that sells glass straws