How to Let Go and Clear Your Mind (in 5 simple steps!)

Hey everyone! Riley here.

It’s been a little while since I last posted–it’s been a busy summer! We’ve been running around like rats, just trying to escape the race. All the hustling and bustling inspired me to write this post for you today about finding mental clarity.

Oftentimes, when the going gets tough, I forget about my mind. Literally, I forget it exists. And of course, that leads to many other symptoms:

  • I forget to breathe
  • I forget to meditate
  • I forget to exercise
  • …etc.

Maybe you have experienced this too. You become so busy that you forget to honor yourself until anxiety comes back, knocking on your door! Today, regardless of how busy we are, I think we can change that.

This is how to let go and clear your mind in 5 simple steps:

  1. Stop caring what other people think
  2. Invest in your health, diet, and exercise
  3. Create breathing reminders
  4. Enjoy time alone
  5. Say NO

How to Let Go and Clear Your Mind

How to Let Go and Clear Your Mind

1. Stop caring what other people think

The root of most anxiety and self-doubt comes from our worry about how people view us in the world. We think that everyone cares about what we are doing every single moment.

The truth is, this is completely false. Most people don’t give a s*** about what you do, how you look, who you spend time with, etc. But for some reason, our ego tells us to worry.

And so, we worry, worry, worry. “How does my hair look?” “Is this selfie good enough?”

To truly let go and cleaner your mind, you need to stop caring what other people think of you. YES, I mean it. You can give yourself permission to be yourself.

The most successful and relaxed people in the world are 100% themselves. They don’t care what people think about them because they know those feelings will only hold them back.

You can do it to. Let go. Stop caring and be yourself! The world wants to see your uniqueness, not your “cleaned-up” Instagram persona.

2. Invest in your health, diet, and exercise

The best way to invest in your mental health is to invest in your body. This is through healthy living habits, a healthy diet, and exercise. All of these things will relieve anxiety and bring you back to your body.

Healthy living will get you out of your head and make you feel alive. 

We recommend investing in a vegan/plant-based diet. Not only is it great for the environment, but it will also make you feel energized, help you lose weight, and make your skin glow.

Related: Minimalism & Diet (we need to talk)

There is no better feeling than feeling alive and healthy. If you need an extra motivation boost to exercise, sign up for a race such as a triathlon or trail marathon. The best way to motivate yourself to exercise is to set goals and work hard to achieve them.

When your body feels good, your mind feels good. Make sure you are taking the necessary steps to create healthy physical habits.

3. Create breathing reminders

I always forget to breathe. Always. Some days, I realize that I haven’t thought about my breath in weeks. This is not good.

When we focus on our breath, we bring ourselves back to our bodies. We become fully aware of who we are and what it feels like to live. When we forget to breathe, we forget to live.

I recommend setting up breathing reminders around your life. For example, every time I see a bird, it is a reminder for me to take a moment and breathe. You could use sticky notes, phone reminders, or other objects as breathing reminders.

The point is: don’t let yourself forget about breathing. It is your life force and it deserves some attention! When you are breathing, you can truly let go and clear your mind.

4. Enjoy alone time

While socializing and working with other people is great, it prevents us from focusing on ourselves. And self-care is EXTREMELY important if you want to let go and clear your mind.

Even 10 minutes of alone time each day can be beneficial to your mental health. I prefer going for walks or runs in nature. Spending time alone helps you embrace your true self and passions and allows you to focus on living.

Give yourself permission to spend time alone!

5. Say NO

I admit: I’m guilty. I am a yes-person. When someone asks me a favor, I usually say “yes,” even if I’m saying “no” to myself.

One of things I’ve been working on this year is saying “no” more often. Allowing myself the freedom to choose my schedule is rewarding, empowering, and better for my mental health.

By saying “no” to commitments we don’t want, we honor ourselves. This is a key component to letting go and clearing your mind. Saying “no” more often will give you more freedom to spend time alone, do some meditation, and relive daily stress.

Stay Consistent

I usually go through phases where I am SUPER invested in my mental health, and then I’m not. I’ve been working on my consistency.

Much like physical exercise, clearing your mind must happen daily to achieve long-term goals. By following these steps, you (and I!) can stay more consistent when it comes to mental health.

How do you clear your mind and let go? Let us know down below!

Be well, friends!
Riley Slayden

 

 

Minimalist Living Tips

Hi everyone! Do you have so many things that you are swimming in organizational chaos? Have objects taken over your life and eat up all of your time and mental clarity?

Most of us have experienced this realization at some point, and it is so overwhelming.

We call it stuffication. 🙂

Whether you have already taken action to downsize your life or you are just beginning to realize that quality doesn’t come from quantity, today we are going to give you some helpful minimalist living tips.

It is easy to say you are becoming minimalist but not as easy to actually take action and remove the clutter. We were once their too and had SO MUCH S***.

It is difficult to downsize, but it is always worth it. Ever since we decided to live minimally, live alternatively, and live healthily, our lives have flourished and we have grown.

We have certainly benefitted from these reminders and we think you will too.

 

Check out these posts too!

Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism
31 Days of Minimalism Challenge

As always, BE WELL! 🙂
Riley & Cece

 

31 Days of Minimalism Resources + Free Downloads

Hey everyone! Riley & Cece here. This is day (31) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: Inspiration to Live Tiny: the Ultimate Minimalist Challenge


Wow, we are finished!

What a month it has been! 31 Days of Minimalism has been a huge opportunity for many people to experience a new minimalist lifestyle. We are so proud of everyone who has stuck with it this month and adjusted their ideas, beliefs, and practices around stuff.

It has also been a huge opportunity for us to grow Living Tiny. But we must say though: it has been really, really, difficult writing new content each day. In a bit of an ironic twist, we cluttered this blog with minimalism resources!

We thought for this final day, we would do a quick recap of the month and combine all of the free resources we created into one blog post. To view all the blog posts from the month, go here.

In this article, you will find these FREE things:

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism
  2. Personal Minimalist Recipe Planner
  3. Intentional Morning Routine Planner
  4. Links to the BEST posts from this month
  5. Moving forward…

The 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge

1. Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism

[convertkit form=713581]

2. Personal Minimalist Recipe Planner

You can download the planner here.

Read the original post.

3. Intentional Morning Routine Planner

You can download the planner here.

Read the original post.

4. Our Top Minimalism Posts from this Month

We definitely recommend reading the following posts:

  1. How to Downsize & Declutter
  2. The Ripple Effect of Minimalism
  3. Reasons to Embrace Minimalism.
  4. Borrow Before You Buy
  5. Minimalism & Diet (we need to talk)
  6. 5 Reasons Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Become Minimalist
  7. 5 Easy Reads to Inspire Minimalism

5. Moving forward…

Our goal for the next month or two is to combine and format the information from this month into an eBook! Stay tuned to purchase the more compact guide.

As for the blog, we will be posting less for the month of August and will focus more on our bus conversion category. As always, if you have suggestions make sure to let us know!

Thanks everyone, you rock!

You all have been AWESOME! We are so happy you are here and CONGRATS to everyone who has started their minimalism journey this month. Great job!

Be well,
Riley & Cece

 

 

Inspiration to Live Tiny: The Ultimate Minimalist Challenge

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (30) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: Minimalist Money Saving Tips.

Today, I’m going to bring back a post that I published several months ago about living tiny! Enjoy!


Today, we thought we would give some inspiration to those of you wanting to “tiny” yourself. 🙂 That is, wanting to live in a bus, van, tiny house, or other alternative living space.

Many people often ask us “how do you start!?”, to which we simply say “you just do!” Truly, the most difficult part of such a massive lifestyle change is beginning. Everything after that falls perfectly in place.

We were in your shoes about a year ago: nervous, afraid, and anxious about every possible bad thing that could happen. It was out of this that we experienced the most growth.

Here are 5 reasons why should start living and thinking “tiny” TODAY to inspire you to take the big (or tiny) leap that will change your life forever.

Inspirations to Live Alternatively

1. Right now is all there is

If you’ve been dreaming of either tiny-home living, bus life, or van life, chances are you have been having trouble taking the steps to make your dream happen. Perhaps you don’t have the money, time, ambition, or support to begin such a large project.

While there are many true factors that delay or prevent us from taking actions in life, the truth to these delays usually comes down to being scared. People are constantly making excuses as a way to prevent the possibility of failure in the future. This causes them to remain stuck and frustrated.

We want to remind everyone that new beginnings happen every second. The second you decide to follow your dream is the second that it happens. People don’t change their lives over the course of years, but rather in the course of seconds. It takes one single thought or event to change your life forever.

Remember that the present moment is all that exists. No past or future. Understanding that, why not start now? Purchase a bus or van. Make a design plan for a tiny-house. Get rid of your useless sh**. Start saving money. Start watching DIY videos. Start shaping your life around your dream.

If you continue to put your dream off for the “future”, it will never happen. You have to start sometime. We say start today.

2. It will push you to get sh** done

With such a large project, you will be forced to make goals and deadlines for yourself. Many people tend to procrastinate in life, work, and other commitments. And while you can find many articles on the internet raving about the “benefits” of procrastination, they are not true. Sorry!

Procrastination is the failure to commit or enjoy the work you are doing. If you procrastinate, maybe you should question your lifestyle.

Everything you do, everyday, should fill you with excitement and joy. You should not feel the need to put things off as a way of avoiding them. Remember that this is YOUR life: why not make it great?

With a bus, van, or tiny-home project, you will have fun. If you enjoy working with your hands, problem solving, creating puzzles for yourself, and seeing the direct benefits of your work: THIS IS FOR YOU.

You will not feel the need to procrastinate–you will want to do the work.

There is something very special and rewarding about working on a project yourself and seeing the physical progress. What you put in is what you get out! If you are converting a bus into a new full-time home, you will find so much motivation to make it your own. You will also find motivation in your daily life to truly find and do what you love and make it work for your lifestyle.

3. You will grow quickly

There is a huge learning period when you start this journey. It starts with gathering every bit of information about your bus, van, or tiny house project (e.g. engine, electrical, plumbing, woodworking, welding, etc.). You then move into the DIY phase, where you put the information to use.

After that comes the problem solving. Oh the horror!!

Being able to adapt to your environment and make necessary changes in your home is difficult at first but gets much easier the more it is done. You learn to not freak out about the mess and chaos of nothing working and find ways to quickly solve problems.

Honey, is our urine drain leaking again!?

4. It is an investment and you will save

When you purchase a bus or van and convert it, you are increasing the value (as long as you keep the engine and body maintained). Even then, regardless of price, you are learning new skills which ultimately increase your worth and love for yourself.

By renovating a vehicle and creating a home, you exponentially increase the market for resell too. People are always looking for nicer “campers” and conversions that they can travel in. Just check out craigslist, it is cluttered with people wanting converted vans and busses!

Not only do you increase the value, but you also stop paying for extremely expensive rent. If you plan to travel, your rent will be gas. If you park in someone’s yard or driveway, your rent will be cheap.

This lifestyle is definitely a no-brainer for those wanting to downsize to save. Check out our bus conversion breakdown of costs here.

5. You minimize your environmental impact

There are many ways you can minimize your environmental impact by downsizing and living tiny. Here are a few:

  1. Less space to heat/cool
  2. Less lighting/electricity needed
  3. Less ground broken for new building construction
  4. Easier to move during environmental disaster
  5. Utilization of reused building materials for conversion/build

Want to know the best way to minimize your environmental impact? Go vegan! Check out our post on why outdoor enthusiasts should go vegan here.

Thanks for reading!

There you have it! As always, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Be well,

Riley Slayden

 

 

Minimalist Money Saving Tips (How to Save Quickly & Easily)

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (29) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: 5 YouTube Channels to Inspire Minimalism.


This month, we have talked a lot about managing spending habits through minimalism. From spending less to borrowing before buying, we have spend time talking about the why.

But you might still be asking:

  1. How can I save money through minimalism?
  2. What techniques should I use to save money?
  3. Why is it so difficult to save money?

Today, we are finally going to address these questions!

While saving money is easier said than done, we believe these tips will help you start a healthier personal money management system.

Minimalist Money Saving Tips

Minimalist Money Saving

1. How can I save through minimalism?

A huge part of minimalism is managing spending habits. The short answer to the question is: don’t spend money. But let’s narrow it down a bit more. Not spending money on things is pretty easy, but there is another evil lurking behind your back.

Let’s pretend that someone tells you they are going to take $100 from your bank account every single month, and you cannot do anything about it.

In this purely hypothetical situation, you would be pissed. Money would literally be taken from you for no apparent reason. But what if you never viewed your bank statements? You wouldn’t know that money was leaving your account in the first place!

Now, let’s reveal the real name of this “friend”: it’s called subscriptions. Yes, I’m talking about Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify–oh, and the Apple Music subscription you forgot about and never use!

It’s way easier to spend money on digital products than physical products. You might be a master at “not spending money,” but if you are giving out $100/month online, it’s harder to stop. Sometimes, you don’t even realize that you are paying money for these services.

So, a minimalist approach to this would be to declutter your digital life.

  • End subscriptions that you do not need
  • Avoid spending money on digital products that you may never use
  • Monitor where money is leaving your bank account

You might be amazing what services have been taking your money. Be responsible and manage them! You could be losing thousands of dollars each year that could be going to life experiences, such as travel.

2. What techniques should I use to save money?

Here are some techniques that I use to help save money:

  • Manage what you are spending (see previous section)
  • View your bank statements (don’t be scared!)
  • Adjust your spending habits

The ultimate trick to saving money is to simply monitor money coming in and money coming out. Obviously, you want more money coming in than going out.

Each month, once I see how much money I profited, I immediately pay debts (student loans & credit cards). I then budget a certain amount for food and living expenses. Finally, I save about 90% of my remaining money.

Many people will tell you to save around 50% of your leftover money each month. I say: SAVE 90%! If you apply a minimalist approach to your money, it is likely you will not need to buy much “extra” stuff.

90% savings build up a lot faster than 50% savings.

If it helps, create a vision board to remind yourself what you are saving for, whether it be travel, a wedding…whatever!

Remember, instant purchases bring instant satisfaction that do not add to your life experiences. Spending money on life experiences ultimately helps you live a happier and more fulfilling life.

3. Why is it so difficult to save money?

Most people tend to want instant satisfaction. This leads to them purchasing the newest iPhone once a year, new shoes once a month, a new car…etc.

Spending money on these things does not help you save money.

If you adjust your outlook on life (i.e. your dreams and wishes), it becomes easier to save. When you are focused more on the next experience rather than the next iPhone, you will be more inclined to save your money for longer amounts of time.

Move your focus away from things and closer to life and money will become easier to save.

Thanks for reading!

A few questions for YOU:

  1. What is your minimalist approach to saving money?
  2. What do you do to make saving easier?

Let us know in the comments!

Be well,

Riley Slayden

 

 

5 YouTube Channels to Inspire Minimalism (you definitely need to watch!)

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (28) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed the last post, you can find it here: Reasons Why Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Become Minimalist.


I’m addicted to YouTube.

Well, not really, but I enjoy learning from YouTube. I have always been a visual and auditory learner, which makes YouTube videos perfect for when I’m researching a new topic.

About 2 years ago, when I began pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle, I turned to several YouTube channels for inspiration. And guess what I found? The best minimalist YouTube channels EVER!

Today I’m going to share with you 5 YouTube channels that helped inspire me (and continue to inspire me) to become minimalist. I think everyone will really benefit from watching these fine folks–definitely check them out.

5 YouTube Channels to Inspire Minimalism

1. Infinite Waters (Diving Deep) ft. Ralph Smart

Ralph Smart is my number one favorite YouTuber. His videos have helped me through anxiety and depression, ultimately allowing me to embrace a more healthier and happier lifestyle.

Ralph preaches to “become your greatest version,” inspiring millions of people to invest in their health and well-being through veganism, outdoor recreation, deep breathing, and exercise.

You can check out his channel here: Infinite Waters (Diving Deep). (1.3 million subscribers can’t be wrong!)

You Should Watch:

2. Living Big in a Tiny House

Several years ago, when Cece and I decided that we wanted to “live tiny” in the future, we binge watched this YouTube channel. Bryce travels the world to interview tiny home owners and tour their living spaces.

Cece and I were truly inspired by the simplicity of tiny houses and decided we wanted our own. At that point we had no money, no building experience, and no leverage to build our own tiny house.

Fast forward one year, we purchased an old school bus and converted into our first tiny home (yes, there will be more!). We look back and attribute our success as being sparked by Living Big in a Tiny House.

You can subscribe to their channel here.

You Should Watch:

3. Minimal Millennials

This is a newer YouTube channel to us, but we have really been inspired by the Minimal Millennials. They are, well, minimal millennials–traveling around the world in their converted sprinter van.

Cece and I have a lot in common with Christian and Aubrey and enjoy their outlook on minimalism, travel, and financial freedom. Our blog is very similar to their YouTube channel, just in written form.

Christian and Aubrey are very kind people and we think you will really enjoy their channel!

You can subscribe to their channel here.

You Should Watch:

4. The Minimalists

Ah, The Minimalists. Not only are they our favorite minimalist bloggers and podcasters, they are becoming our favorite YouTubers. Well known for their documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, the Joshua and Ryan have a clear message that a life of minimalism brings more.

We absolutely, 100%, positively recommend watching some of their videos. You can subscribe to their channel here.

You Should Watch:

5. Living Tiny (yes, that’s us!)

Now for some shameless self-promotion.

Obviously, our YouTube channel wasn’t around 2 years ago to inspire me to become minimalist (that doesn’t add up), but I thought I would mention that we do indeed have a YouTube channel.

Much like me, I know that many people are visual and auditory learners combined, making all of these blog posts an absolute nightmare. 

Our goal for the next few months is to incorporate more videos into our blog so that we can reach a wider audience and spread our message and ideas more clearly.

While we feel awkward making videos of ourselves (especially me, I’m an introvert), it is absolutely worth being able to help and possibly inspire people across the globe.

If you feel like checking us out, subscribing, commenting, and doing what other YouTubers do, you can find our channel here.

You Should Watch:

Thanks for reading, everyone!

A few questions for YOU:

  1. What YouTube channels do you turn to for inspiration?
  2. Are you a visual, auditory, or a combination learner?

As always, BE WELL!

Riley Slayden

 

 

5 Reasons Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Become Minimalist

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (27) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: A Minimalist Approach to Personal Finance (VIDEO).


I am by default an outdoor enthusiast.

Being raised in rural Montana, I learned to appreciate the mountains, plains, and waters from a very young age. There is nothing more special than miles upon miles of untouched wilderness by which the heart and mind can dream.

Minimalism and outdoor recreation

My family loved outdoor recreation. We were always backpacking, camping, skiing, fly-fishing, & rafting. I am so grateful for my parents and my childhood, having the ability and means to experience nature. I know that many people never get to experience a childhood like mine.

As I grew older, my desire to go farther, higher, and deeper into untouched wilderness areas grew. I needed a simple way to become more extreme. That’s when I discovered ultra-light backpacking and trail-running.

By carrying less unneeded gear, I could extend my limits and reach new heights. This new ultralight phenomena I discovered could not have been possible without a minimalist mindset.

For me, minimalism and outdoor recreation go hand-in-hand. By traveling light and having only the necessary gear, I can devote more attention to being one with nature.

Today, I am going to explain 5 Reasons Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Become Minimalist.

Minimalism and Outdoor Recreation

Minimalism and Outdoor Recreation

1. Recreating with less allows more freedom and flexibility

By having less gear to manage and carry, outdoor recreation is more free and flexible. If I want to hike 5 miles further, it’s not too big of a deal because my back isn’t broken from carrying so much dead weight.

I used to think that I needed everything when I went to nature. I needed to be prepared. But I soon discovered that there is a huge difference between preparedness and over-preparedness.

Over-preparedness comes from an innate sense of worry and anxiety that something bad is going to happen. And while bad things do often happen in nature, it’s usually not as severe as our mind tells us it will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I 100% believe that strict safety measures should be taken into consideration for outdoor recreation when it comes to first aid and survival gear. Basic first aid training at a minimum is a must for anyone getting into “extreme” outdoor sports.

Minimalism and Outdoor Recreation

What I’m trying to say is: you don’t usually need 5 different sized pocket knives or 500 pills of ibuprofen or 10 blankets to go on a simple hike.

By having less unneeded gear, it is ultimately easier to spend more effort doing what you want, such as hiking to the next ridge or skiing one more run. Less allows you to experience more.

An easy way to decide exactly what you need while recreating outdoors is to experiment! After a hike or ski or whatever, open your pack and put everything you didn’t use into a pile. This is often a good way of indicating what you are actually using.

I’ve used this technique to narrow down the things I need for overnight backpacking trips. It is an extremely effective way of bypassing the worry part of the brain and to tell it: “I’ve done this before! I know what I need!”

2. Having less brings us closer to nature

The biggest reason why I am an outdoor enthusiast is because it clears my mind. Being outside and feeling like I belong on this planet is one of the best feelings possible.

Much like the domestic life, having excess stuff outside is a huge distraction. From preparing to packing to using to maintaining, things get in the way of the ultimate outdoor experience we want to achieve.

By having less, we can focus more of our attention (or lack thereof) on a peaceful, exhilarating existence.

3. Minimalism makes planning easier

From a pre-trip perspective, embracing minimalism makes it easier to plan. There is less deciding on what to bring and less time consumption on packing.

I choose to spend the majority of my pre-trip planning on knowledge of the area I’m going. I devote roughly 80% of my time on research and only 20% on packing.

Minimalism narrows down gear choice and reduces the stress of packing. This is a must for anyone who is a frequently recreating.

4. Minimalism adheres to “Leave No Trace” (LNT) principles

Leave No Trace (LNT) is an important part of outdoor recreation. It is a practice which, at its core, protects the authenticity of primitive wilderness areas so that generations to come can experience it as it was created.

Minimalism and Outdoor Recreation

The reason why we practice minimalism is to reduce our environmental impact. We purchase less because we don’t need half of the stuff we own. We don’t want to waste precious resources (that came from nature) to create stupid junk.

If you believe that your belongings are more important than millions of years of natural creation and evolution, please strongly reconsider.

Minimalism is a way of Leaving No Trace to protect our beautiful planet.

5. Nature is simple. Be like nature.

Nature exists exactly as it is without complaint.

We are all beautiful beings, exactly the way we are. While society and people constantly tell us otherwise, we are a beautiful part of the natural world. There should never be a question in anyone’s mind that they are inherently flawed or ugly.

Our minimalist perspective is similar to this. We would rather focus on experiences and peaceful existence than worry about the way our skin or hair looks. We would rather go with the flow than need 500 different chemical body products to make us more “beautiful.”

Nature allows existence in the present moment and tells us that we are beautiful. We follow this incredible example and know that things will happen as they happen.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

A few questions for YOU:

  1. How does minimalism help or hinder your outdoor experience?
  2. What does your minimalist outdoor gear selection look like?

Let us know in the comments!

As always, BE WELL!

Riley Slayden

 

 

A Minimalist Approach to Personal Finance (VIDEO)

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (26) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: Minimalism & Diet: We Need to Talk.


Today, I am outsourcing this topic to a fellow YouTuber, Matt D’Avella, to talk about his minimalist approach to personal finance.

A huge part of the minimalist lifestyle for Cece and I is to reduce our environmental impact and manage our spending habits. In managing our spending habits, we strive to earn more than we spend. 

This allows us to save money for experiences, rather than material objects. Experiences such as travel, recreation, and so on. We believe this leads to a happier and more fulfilling life than one filled with material clutter.

Enjoy the video and make sure to subscribe to Matt’s YouTube Channel here!

A Minimalist Approach to Personal Finance

Thanks for watching!

A few questions for YOU:

  1. What is your approach to personal finance?
  2. How has minimalism allowed you (or not allowed you) to become more financially stable?

As always, BE WELL!

Riley Slayden

 

 

Minimalism and Diet (We Need to Talk)

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (25) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can check it out here: 5 Books to Inspire Simple Living and Mental Clarity.


Imagine This:

You walk into the grocery store. Approaching the meat aisle, you poke your head around the corner. You see a female deer, but she doesn’t see you. Your mouth waters. You are so hungry. You begin to stalk your prey, creeping around baguette displays and discounted cans of juice.

Must eat. You must eat the deer. You are so hungry. As you lunge to pounce on your prey, she takes off, sprinting around the store. You pursue. You are so hungry! Your eyes never leave her. Soon you will catch her, sink your teeth into her flesh. Your hunger will finally be satisfied. Soon you will feast on her raw flesh!

What? Uhh…not likely, right?

Today we are finally doing a post that we have been putting off for quite some time regarding minimalism and diet.

Minimalism and Diet

Food has become a very contentious matter in the past few decades. We urge you to consider our perspective with an open mind.

A core reason why Cece and I choose the minimalist lifestyle is to reduce our environmental impact as well as manage our spending habits. We would be fools to ignore diet as a part of this lifestyle.

The food in which humans choose to consume not only determines their health, both mentally and physically, but it also determines their environmental footprint. Each time you walk into a grocery store and purchase products, you are ultimately “voting” for certain industries and supporting their environmental and business ethics, for better or worse.

Cece and I both eat a plant-based vegan diet and have for over 2 years. Now, before you run away and say we are absolutely crazy, let’s have a talk. You’ll want to stick around–this is important.

In this article, you will find:

  1. An important conversion
  2. Benefits of a plant-based diet
  3. Debunking myths
  4. Further research

Minimalism and Diet

1. An important conversion

Humans have a profoundly unique ability compared to all other animals. We have the ability to choose, especially in contemporary times where nearly all foods are available within 30 minutes of where we live.

With that comes a responsibility. We know that we do not need animal products to survive (yes, we’re talking about meat, cheese, eggs, and everything in between).

The shape of our teeth, the size of our digestive tract and many other physical indicators show that we are meant to be primarily herbivores. In fact, animal products are extremely unhealthy for our bodies and detrimental to the earth. We do not live like we used to. Humans used to hunt for survival…now we drive to the grocery store.

And all the animals that we used to hunt? Well, now they are cooped up, pumped full of steroids and antibiotics, and tortured in huge dirty facilities. Nearly 56 billion animals are killed each year for our consumption.

Minimalism and Diet
Some see bacon, we see a loving creature with the desire to live.

If you’re wondering about the detriments of animal products, both to the environment and to our bodies, watch documentaries such as “Cowspiracy” or “Forks Over Knives.” There is strong scientific evidence linking meat consumption to cancer and disease.

Consuming animal products does not fit into our minimalist lifestyle. It is not healthy for our body, mind, community, and for billions of animals. It is not good for the earth. It is complicated, bad karma.

We never shun people for eating meat, but we do ask them this: is it intentional? How often do you consider where that chunk of flesh or cream came from before you indulge?

There is more to life than fulfilling cravings. We know this from simplifying our routines and living environments by decluttering and changing spending habits. Satiating our material desires does not make us happy, healthy Beings.

Most people know about the torture in the meat and dairy industry, but choose to ignore it. We were once in a similar situation. We knew about the horrors associated with animal products, but we chose to ignore them because it challenged the way we grew up. Baring this truth required us to change. 

No longer could we accept this violation of animal and Earth rights in our lifestyle. If we truly want to help our bodies and help the earth, a plant-based vegan diet is the best way to go.

Minimalism and diet should be intentional and symbiotic. If someone wants to practice minimalism for the environmental benefits but chooses to eat tortured animals, that is a huge conflict of interest.

Conversely, someone who wants to practice minimalism for environmental benefits might choose to reduce their consumption of animal products or eliminate them all together. This is symbiotic.

Minimalism and Diet

2. Benefits of a plant-based diet

We often are pushed to change a habit or behavior based on self interest. We wonder how something is relevant to us. You might be wondering: How can a vegan diet serve me?

a. Physical Benefits

These are all positive physical benefits that Cece and/or I have experienced via our vegan journey.

  • Clearer, more radiant skin, hair & nails
  • Easier, cleaner bowel movements
  • Relief from body odor & bad breath
  • Increased energy
  • Reduced inflamation
  • Healthy weight gain or loss
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Longevity
  • Relief from premenstrual symptoms
  • Relief from allergies
  • Relief from migraines
  • Higher quality sleep

The list continues. Symptoms and limitations from diabetes, heart disease, as well as autoimmune diseases, can be effectively treated by a smart plant-based diet.

b. Mental Benefits

Not only does a diet full of nuts, vegetables, and fruits improve one’s physical health, but it can also relieve much mental health distress.

  • Peace of mind: By boycotting the torture and inhumane treatment of animals, we feel guilt and sadness leave our hearts.
  • Relief from depression
  • Relief from anxiety
  • Relief from stress
  • Improved mood
  • Improved self confidence

While neither Cece or I are medical professionals, we have researched the benefits of plant-based food choices in depth. We have experienced transformations in our physical and mental health. Please do your own research, and read other testimonials. Food is medicine!

c. Environmental Benefits

Please take a moment to check out this very powerful graphic from Culinary Schools.

3. Debunking myths

Here are some common myths about veganism that we will quickly debunk:

  1. No, it is not expensive
    • The price of tofu or veggies is way less expensive than meat.
  2. No, we are not nutrient deficient
    • We only supplement B12, which is found in bacteria and dirt. It is also found in red meat, but our body cannot digest it as effectively when it is introduced via animal protein.
  3. We eat amazingly delicious food, not only kale and walnuts

Minimalism and Diet

If you are really interested in a vegan diet and want some AMAZING recipes, definitely head over to Minimalist Baker.

4. Further research

If you want to learn more about how a plant-based diet works with your body to promote holistic wellbeing, The China Study is an exceptional resource. Written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, The China Study outlines “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted”, including “startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health”.

Also, check out this YouTube video. It has everything you need to know about veganism from morals to health:

Thanks for reading!

Some questions FOR YOU!

  1. How does your diet affect your lifestyle?
  2. Have you/will you try a vegan diet? Why or why not?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

As always, BE WELL!
Riley Slayden

 

 

5 Books to Inspire Simple Living & Mental Clarity

Hey everyone! Riley here. This is day (24) of the 31 Days of Minimalism Challenge.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: The Ripple Effect of Minimalism.


Cece and I love reading. However, during the school year and winter months, we never get a chance to read for “fun” because we are stuck with homework, work, and sleeping.

That is why we love summer. It finally gives us an opportunity to read what we love and learn exciting new things.

Today, I am going to give you 5 books that have inspired us to simplify our lives. It’s a bit ironic how we don’t have “time” to read these books when we are busy in the winter as they promote simple living. We’ll have to work on our time management this year! 

Nonetheless, we think you will really enjoy and benefit from these reads. Make sure to let us know what you are reading in the comments! We love suggestions.

5 Books to Inspire Simple Living

5 Books to Inspire Simple Living

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle was one of the first books in my life that had me saying “wow,” prompting me to question everything in life that I had known to be true. Tolle talks about how most people hardly live in the present moment, always looking back to the past or thinking about the future. But since the past and future both happen in the present moment, we are missing out on many of life’s joys. Tolle’s message is this: by bringing ourselves to the present moment, we are able to live more freely and peacefully. I absolutely recommend this book for anyone wanting to work on mental clarity.

Pages: 236
Reading Level: Easy

2. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace is Every Step is one of my go-to “easy reads” for centering my mind and building perspective. Thich Nhat Hanh does an incredible job conveying the areas of our life which tend to collect clutter. The message throughout the book is similar to Eckhart Tolle’s, which is to intentionally live in the present moment and be grateful for the people and things in our lives. I definitely recommend this book as a bedside & coffee table resource for daily motivation and perspective.

Pages: 134
Reading Level: Easy

3. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Description written by Cece

Robin Wall Kimmerer is both a celebrated professor and doctor of botany, and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In this beautiful collection of short stories, Braiding Sweetgrassshe blends indigenous wisdom and scientific perspective. Her style is elegant, descriptive prose. This book has changed the ways in which I interact with plants and creatures, and the way that I view and understand my role as an outdoor educator. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone- Kimmerer’s unique voice is incredibly valid considering the scary environmental change, global warming, and irresponsible management that decides the fate of the Earth today.

Pages: 408
Reading Level: Intermediate

4. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees isn’t directly related to simple living and minimalism, but it is absolutely fascinating. Peter Wohllenben uncovers the “hidden life of trees,” examining the way in which trees communicate through their root systems, fungi, sound, and movement. The level of comprehension and emotion that trees display toward each another is extremely inspiring: it brings humanity and the self back to an “earthly” level where we find connection and peace with other forms of life.

Pages: 288
Reading Level:
 Intermediate

5. The More of Less by Joshua Becker


Cece and I have yet to read The More of Less by Joshua Becker, but we know that it is a staple in any minimalist’s bookshelf (or previous bookshelf!). We are huge fans of Becker’s blog and podcast, Becoming Minimalistso this book is next on our reading list! What are your thoughts on this book? Let us know in the comments!

Pages: 240
Reading Level: ?

What Books Do You Recommend for Simple Living?

We love new book suggestions! What are you reading and how does it relate to simple living?

Be well, everyone!

Riley Slayden