When Michaeal first shared about introducing minimalism to their lives, Masha reacted with, “Are you crazy? I’m not going to live in a white room with a white chair. I love my stuff!”
Her mindset has of course shifted since that initial perception. Realising now that minimalism is so much more than that. She explains, “There are so many ways of understanding minimalism and experiencing it, but the underlying message is the same, ‘releasing to create space’.
We love connecting with emerging independent brands.
Especially those of the ‘social entrepreneur’ variety.
People with a passion not just to create business and products but individuals passionate about creating positive change in our world, driven to participate in building a better life experience for others.
We recently connected with Michael & Masha of online space, The Minimalist Vegan at one of our Educated, Empowered & Chemical Free event in Canberra. We caught up again to chat more about minimalism, veganism & what a ‘Minimalist Vegan’s’ heart is for Certified Organic.
Here it is …
FIRSTLY, 5 TIPS FROM MICHAEL & MASHA ‘TO A NON MINIMALIST & NON VEGAN’ WHO MAY WANT TO BEGIN ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF BEING ‘MINIMALIST & VEGAN’ …
Begin the practice of being aware of what you use and don’t use. Pick an area of your house & put everything into a box. Take things out as you use them. At the end of the month assess what you really need. Consider if you can release the rest.
Master a morning smoothie. Get creative with bananas, cacoa powder, nuts, greens. Go crazy. One power plant based smoothie a day will put you further ahead of what most people will consume nutritionally in a week.
Enjoy quality sleep. Practice ‘reset’. Choose a time to turn off the internet at the power and start unwinding. Stretch, talk, write, tidy up. If you get to sleep earlier & sleep well you can enjoy the benefits of beginning each day fresh.
Get to a market and get to know your farmers. Build connection and relationship with the people that are growing your food. It’s what is fueling and nourishing you. Value paying your Farmer over your Doctor.
Pursue education. Go to workshops, watch documentaries and start to get curious about your food and your consumer purchases. Make decisions and take action.
Tell us, what made you begin your Minimalist Vegan journey?
“In late 2014 we decided to move forward with our blog, The Minimalist Vegan.
Looking back over the years we realised we’re now completely different people. We’ve gone through so many changes. Life is getting so much better for us and we wanted to share that.
We’re a very authentic, down to earth brand. We share recipes, lifestyle tips, resources.
The blog and social media provide a great way to reach as many people as possible.
We want The Minimalist Vegan to be about building community, spreading the message, supporting others that are on a similar journey to ours.”
Why Veganism? And minimalism?
“The two lifestyles work really well together.
We had been experiencing the dual lifestyles, both minimalism & veganism.
We had been exposed to concepts of living a more enriched life, with less. Basically not giving into consumerism, not giving in to advertising, really getting clear on what is essential so that you can really enjoy what you have in life.
We connected with Minimalism through a website called Zen Habits . Leo has a very down to earth, conversational style and we took a real liking to his content.
We find minimalism to be very freeing. By removing clutter in your life, you clear your mind.
A lot of people think minimalism applies only to ‘things’, stuff that you own. We find the biggest benefit of minimalism to be mentally. You become clearer on what you say yes to and what you say no to. Friendships that you build. Relationships that you take on. Projects that you be a part of. How many jobs you have. How much information you consume.
Then we watched a documentary called Earthlings. Have you heard about it? Watch with caution, it’s pretty intense. It’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with the music by Moby. It completed shifted our mindset as to how we want to live and how we consume animal products.”
Michael ~ “Transitioning to veganism was a huge. I was eating chicken kebabs up until the day I changed over. Whereas Masha has been vegetarian for most of her life.”
(Michael later laughed and said he now is very wary of ‘documentaries’ in case he has to change his whole life again).
Tell us about the practical changes you’ve implemented & experienced.
“We’ve simplified everything. It’s made life so much better.
It started when we were moving around a lot. Our things were in boxes and we discovered what we needed & didn’t.
We’ve started being more creative with what we have. Using the same item for multiple uses, we don’t need so many things in our life.
Having one car, not two. We can use our hand wash as a body wash also. Using kitchen utensils in different ways.
Once you start seeing things, you can’t not see them. Suddenly, there is clutter everywhere!
The biggest change in our lives has been our diet. Cutting out dairy & eggs and shifting the way we cook.”
So what do you buy when you’re a minimalist?
“It comes down to being a conscious consumer. Being really mindful of the decisions that you make and being aware of the repercussions on your body and your health, as well as everything around you, the environment, the animals, other people.
There’s two ‘consumer’ messages in minimalism.
Firstly, you don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’.
Secondly, the ‘stuff’ that you do buy, make sure it’s good quality.”
What does Certified Organic mean to you?
Masha, “I’ve always found it very important. My mother is a naturopath so I’ve been surrounded by people that care about it. Moving out of home I took it to another level and become very strict about who I was supporting and who I wasn’t supporting. I found that with my purchases I can support businesses that are doing the right thing. I’ve always put it as a priority in terms of money. Within reason I will always put my budget towards Certified Organic food and products. “
Michael, “There is a long way to go. Certified Organic has been attached to food for such a long time. The message needs to spread across all industries, personal care, cleaning products, clothing.
There has to be more social entrepreneurs educating as well as providing a service.”
What challenges have you experienced with this lifestyle choice?
Fashion is a challenge for us.
Food is easy. You can just go to the shop and buy a Certified Organic banana.
Shoes, belts, jeans that tick the vegan box as well as being ethical and sustainable, that’s really hard! You’ve got to be researching a whole bunch of niche online stores.
Sometimes you feel silly going in to a shop asking, ‘Who makes your clothes?’. People look at you and say, ‘Who is this crazy hippy?’.
Finally, what does a vegan think of a non vegan?
Michael, “Like with any tribe, there are a lot of people that have an opinion.
Before becoming a vegan I was scared of becoming vegan!
We don’t have a problem with ‘non Vegans’ as such, we’ve got a problem with the system. A system of industrialization, commerce & scale giving us messages of consumerism & only telling one side of the story.
We’re about inviting people over for dinner, Masha cooking up an amazing Vegan meal and encouraging people to go do the research. It’s only when you start questioning things that you realize what is really happening.
We do find it hard to see people that have been exposed to information and then choose to ignore it. Although, we’re lucky that we’ve got each other. We don’t think that we would be able to do what we do without each other.
That’s what our blog is for too. We wanted people to feel support. Be part of a community. Have accountability. Share & ask questions.”
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