sustainability series: shopping habits

How your shopping habits are damaging the environment and how to change them.

For the second article in our Sustainability Series we are going to be talking about shopping habits.

We live in a world where people make new purchases every single day. For a long time, we have been buying new things when we don’t need them and throwing them away a month later. This is not sustainable. It’s time to make a change. From the food we eat to the fashion industry, we are consuming too much and wasting even more. At what cost? Our planet is suffering because of our poor decision making, our everyday choices, and that includes our shopping habits.

Today’s society is one of consumerism. Adverts on TV tell us to buy a new perfume when our current bottle is full. These luxury sofas are ‘half price for this week only’ and yet our current ones are far more comfortable. Perhaps we should order takeout tonight, even though there’s food in the fridge (food that will undoubtedly go to waste). Consume. Consume. Consume. Where does it end?

Consumerism is everywhere, being forced down out throats. It’s convenient. Companies make it easier and easier for us to consume whatever they might sell. Supermarkets are full of premade meals, individually wrapped snacks, and ‘saver brand’ clothing. We can buy anything we want without having to leave the house, without even having to get up from our seats. That thing that you probably don’t need or in fact want is just a tap of a button away. This increase in stuff isn’t making us happier, and it certainly isn’t good for the environment.

Did you know that approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide now belong to the ‘consumer class’? That includes you, me, and probably everyone else you know. The ‘consumer class’ is defined – the group of people characterised by diets of highly processed foods, desire for bigger houses, more and bigger cars, higher levels of debt, and lifestyles devoted to the accumulation of non-essential goods. This is creating a devastating toll on the Earth’s water supplies, natural resources, and ecosystems.

Increased reliance on automobiles means more pollution, more traffic, more use of fossil fuels. Did you know that cars and other forms of transportation account for nearly 30% of world energy use and 95% of global oil consumption? Did you know that, in order to provide enough beef, chicken, and pork to meet demands, the livestock industry is responsible for mass deforestation and factory farming? It takes 25,000 litres of water to produce 8oz of beef (think about that next time you buy a steak, coincidentally vacuum packed in plastic).

In our self-made chaos and unnecessarily busy lives, its almost understandable why we reach for convenient products and online delivery services. The problem is that this addiction to convenience is costing us far more than the price of delivery. How long will it take us to realise that bigger is not better and more is never more?

How can we change these habits engrained into us? What can we do to become more sustainable in something as everyday as our shopping habits?

Here are a few things to consider:

Firstly, think twice before you buy. Do you need it? Do you really need that thing that you’re about to buy? This is a mindset that I have been using when it comes to everything that I buy. Whenever you fall into the trap of window shopping online, before you click ‘add to basket’, ask yourself if you really need this. This pause, this question, this time for reflection, cuts down on my consumption by about 75% annually. Instead of buying something new every month, I end up buying only what I need (most of the time; no one is perfect). Do we really need all that we think we do? Go and check, next time you’re about to buy a new shirt or some new leggings, go and check how many pairs you already have. What condition are they in? Will my wallet thank me for NOT making this purchase? Do I need it?

If you do need it, buy it secondhand. Does everything you buy really have to be brand new? Not only does secondhand buying save you money, but you’re also lengthening the life of a product, keeping it out of landfill, and putting it to good use. Buying secondhand reduces the demand of fast fashion, a leading contributor to climate change. Fast fashion produces 10% of all of our carbon emissions, and more than half the clothing produced ends up in landfill by the end of the year. Did you know that 10,000 litres of water go into making a single pair of jeans? You’re saving that much water just by buying a secondhand pair.

Unsubscribe. Do you get emails from major pizza chains every day too? Adverts are everywhere. If you have a membership card to a ‘fast’ brand, or even just purchased from one once, chances are you’re getting email after email and adverts all the time on your social media, telling you about the latest sales and discounts, telling you to consume more. You won’t realise it, but this does actually cause you to spend more. Who doesn’t want to be offered 50% off their next pair of shoes, right? Wrong. By unsubscribing from these brands and emails, by blocking these ads, you’re helping yourself to reduce your consumption, reducing demands on ‘fast’ brands, and therefore helping the environment. Avoid ‘fast’ and unethical brands at all costs.

Shop small and shop local. This past year has opened our eyes to the importance of supporting your local businesses. The local economy is powered by small businesses – everyday people with big dreams. When you shop at your local bakers, your local farm shop, your local charity shop, you’re putting money towards a good cause and supporting someone in doing something they love. Most local shops are within walking distance, and factory-to-door/farm-to-table journeys will be shorter. Locally sourced goods won’t have travelled great distances to get to you, reducing the amount of air pollution and your carbon footprint. Buying local fights waste too. Large retailers throw away insane amounts of food, clothing, and other products that just haven’t sold. Small brands = small stock = small waste. Overall, shopping local is better for the environment.

Learn more about the importance of supporting your local food suppliers by reading the first article in our Sustainability Series: Food

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to learn more about the dangers of convenient consumerism and how to change to more sustainable shopping habits. I hope that this article was useful for you and provided you with valuable information to consider. 

Before we end, let’s go over those sustainable shopping habits:

  • Think twice before you buy (do I need it?)
  • If you need it, buy it secondhand
  • Unsubscribe from pro-consumer brands e.g. fast fashion, fast food
  • Shop small and shop local

I hope that you take these changes into account the next time you think you need to buy something.

Thank you for joining us on our second Sustainability Series article, and we look forward to seeing you again next week, with our next one!

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, leave a like and a comment and we’ll be sure to get back to you soon. To keep up with us here at rhythm & green, give us a follow on Instagram @rhythmandgreen to see what we’ve been up to lately and for the very latest of our content.

Until next time,

Katherine x

Articles I read to gather my information and statistics:

Earth Suffers as Consumerism Spreads (nationalgeographic.com)

The Negative Effects of Consumerism | Greentumble

Consumerism plays a huge role in climate change (grist.org)

The cons of convenience culture and 5 steps to break away – Connected to Port Phillip

How fast fashion hurts the planet through pollution and waste – Business Insider

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handmade christmas: preserve happiness

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re only just starting to think about Christmas shopping. Here at Rhythm & Green, we believe that consumerism for the sake of it is… well… what’s the point? Every year I find myself buying random things that people don’t really want just for the sake of gifting them a Christmas present. This year I asked myself why. This year, more than ever, it’s important that we support small, local businesses. Here’s the mantra: SHOP SMALL, SHOP LOCAL, SHOP HANDMADE. That’s what we should be telling ourselves when we step out the door, or open out computers to get the Christmas shop done. But what if we take this one step further, and handmake our gifts ourselves? This year I have been INVESTING in homemade. It is our belief that nothing is better than homemade, and that applies to Christmas gifts too. As part of our handmade christmas series, we are sharing with you a range of different preserves, and their recipes, that you can make and gift to your loved ones this Christmas. What a special way to celebrate the holidays?! So without further ado, let’s spread some happiness with a simple collection of preserves.

FOUR FRUIT MARMALADE

Marmalade is the heart and soul of my kitchen. I would eat it for every meal of the day if I could. This year, we decided to switch things up a little from the everyday Seville orange marmalade… this time we use FOUR different citrus fruits. The result is gorgeous. Marmalade is a super delicious and oh-so-simple handmade Christmas gift, perfect for your loved ones this holiday season. Find our recipe HERE

BALSAMIC FIG & APPLE CHUTNEY

You’ve never had a Christmas chutney like this one! Our Balsamic Fig & Apple Chutney is so easy to make and truly a wonder on the taste buds. You will not be disappointed with this recipe. Whether you’re giving it as a gift this Christmas, or serving it on the buffet table, we are sure that you’ll love this chutney. We love pairing it with a creamy cranberry cashew cheese and some vegan crackers for extra crunch. All wrapped up pretty in a jar and tied with a ribbon, this simple chutney is the perfect gift this Christmas. Get the recipe in our new ebook HERE

VEGAN SPICED MINCEMEAT

It’s not Christmas without a good old mince pie! Mince pies are an absolute must when it comes to those festive feelings in my household. Usually, I just head down to the nearest supermarket to get my mincemeat, but this year I decided to make my own for a change. I’ve been INVESTING in homemade this year and so far everything I’ve made has been even more delicious than it would have been shop-bought. This Vegan Spiced Mincemeat is jam-packed full of winter fruits, cozy festive spices, and a good helping of holiday spirits (figuratively and literally). Get the recipe HERE

BLACKBERRY SYRUP

Over the summer, we have been picking endless amounts of blackberries – so many, in fact, that we had no idea what to do with them all! Blackberry syrup is extremely easy to make and it requires a minimal number of ingredients. Making it yourself is also a lot cheaper than buying it in the supermarket and you know that the fruit hasn’t been shipped from overseas or grown out of season (so many emissions!!!). We’ve been enjoying our batch of blackberry syrup on pancakes, porridge, and ice cream (as well as saving the majority of it for the colder months, of course). Get the recipe HERE

PEPPERMINT SYRUP

Are you tired of spending a little bit too much money on tiny bottles of coffee syrups? Well, this recipe will give you way more bang for your buck! Our simple syrup recipe uses gorgeous peppermint, and we can be sure that you’ll have a fresh and simple syrup in no time at all. You can use this syrup for a whole range of things too! We use it in our 3-Ingredient Peppermint Fudge recipe and also love to swap out the coffee for a couple of tablespoons of this minty goodness in our Billionaire’s Mocha for a fresh and Christmassy hot chocolate! Get the recipe HERE

FLAVOURED GIN

With a rise in the variety of gin flavours, why not save yourself a few bucks and have a go at making your own? Gin is a classic Christmas gift, and with such a range of types on the shelves, its hard to find the perfect one. We are firm believers that nothing is better than homemade, and flavoured gins are an extremely simple gift to make. Whether you go with the traditional sloe gin or mix it up with a blackberry gin, a homemade gift is better than any you’ll find in the supermarket. Get our recipe for blackberry gin HERE

FIND ANYTHING YOU LIKE?

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME MORE RECIPE IDEAS?

THEN YOU’RE IN LUCK! I HAVE AN EBOOK JUST FOR YOU!

A Simple Christmas is a collection of vegan recipes for the holiday season. This e-book is full of rich, warming, and simple foods to help you enjoy Christmas in a kind and stress-free way.

In 70+ pages, I share with you my favourite recipes to celebrate the yule tide and all of its flavours. This e-book takes your average recipe book and gives it a vegan twist, with a multitude of recipes ranging from traditional Christmas favourites to new seasonal dishes. You can look forward to simple and delicious recipes such as: Cosy Gingerbread Waffles, Frozen Berry Cinnamon Rolls, Winter Vegetable Wellington, Stollen for Snowy Days, and so much more!

It is our hope that, within these pages, we can help you to celebrate the holiday season in a simple and exciting way. Whether you’re completely new to veganism, have been vegan/vegetarian for a long time, or just want to try your hand at something different in the kitchen, we’re here to supply you with a multitude of vegan recipes to enjoy this Christmas.

Hearty, warming, and simple foods are the focus of this e-book. With our simple ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, we’ll help you to enjoy Christmas time in a kind and stress-free way. A Simple Christmas has been curated and developed to encourage new and already vegans to try their hands at vegan festive foods this holiday season. It is our belief that nothing is better than homemade.

All of these recipes are vegan and have been well tested, so you can be sure of great results in the kitchen! We’ve also made sure that each recipe is as simple as possible, so you won’t be working away for hours over a complicated recipe method either!

Simple. Seasonal. Exciting.

That’s all there is to it.

SHOP HERE

For more information on ‘A Simple Christmas’ you can visit THIS blog post.

Thank you so much for taking the time to find out more about our latest ebook. Hop on down to our Etsy shop to get your very own copy of ‘A Simple Christmas’ whilst its still on offer! We hope you love our recipes as much as we do and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

If you make any of these Preserve Happiness goodies, make sure you leave a like and a comment down below! I absolutely love hearing from you guys and you can be sure that I will try my best to get back to you soon! And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @rhythmandgreen

I love seeing the photos of recipes you’ve all made! Have a beautiful Christmas and a safe and warm winter! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Love and light,

Katherine x

IF YOU LIKE THESE RECIPE, YOU’LL LOVE:

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handmade christmas: vegan spiced mincemeat

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re only just starting to think about Christmas shopping. Here at Rhythm & Green, we believe that consumerism for the sake of it is… well… what’s the point? Every year I find myself buying random things that people don’t really want just for the sake of gifting them a Christmas present. This year I asked myself why. This year, more than ever, it’s important that we support small, local businesses. Here’s the mantra: SHOP SMALL, SHOP LOCAL, SHOP HANDMADE. That’s what we should be telling ourselves when we step out the door, or open out computers to get the Christmas shop done. But what if we take this one step further, and handmake our gifts ourselves? This year I have been INVESTING in homemade. It is our belief that nothing is better than homemade, and that applies to Christmas gifts too. As part of our handmade christmas series, we are sharing with you a simple recipe for Vegan Spiced Mincemeat, that you can make and gift to your loved ones this Christmas. What a special way to celebrate the holidays?!

It’s not Christmas without a good old mince pie! Mince pies are an absolute must when it comes to those festive feelings in my household. Usually, I just head down to the nearest supermarket to get my mincemeat, but this year I decided to make my own for a change. I’ve been INVESTING in homemade this year and so far everything I’ve made has been even more delicious than it would have been shop-bought. This Vegan Spiced Mincemeat is jam-packed full of winter fruits, cozy festive spices, and a good helping of holiday spirits (figuratively and literally). Super simple and so delicious, this recipe is also 100% vegan, so you don’t have to worry about a thing! Without further ado, let’s dig in!

Ingredients:

  • 200g raisins
  • 200g dried currants
  • 100g vegan suet
  • 170g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 75ml dark rum
  • 75ml brandy

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except for the vegan suet. Heat the ingredients over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the ingredients form a jam consistency, and the mixture is gently bubbling.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Add in the vegan suet and stir until it is evenly distributed.
  3. Transfer the mincemeat into hot, sterilised jars, and add the lids to seal. Leave the jars to stand, cool, and seal for 24 hours, then store in a dark, cool, and dry place until ready to use. Once the jars are opened, consume the mincemeat within 5 days.

And there you have it! An extremely simple, super delicious vegan mincemeat recipe, stored up and ready to use for whenever you need it! Check out our recipe for Vegan Spiced Mince Pie Cookies for another way to enjoy this traditional treat!

NOTE: if you’re unsure how to sterilise your glass jars, you can use our handy method found HERE

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE?

WOULD YOU LIKE MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS?

THEN YOU’RE IN LUCK! I HAVE AN EBOOK JUST FOR YOU!

A Simple Christmas is a collection of vegan recipes for the holiday season. This e-book is full of rich, warming, and simple foods to help you enjoy Christmas in a kind and stress-free way.

In 70+ pages, I share with you my favourite recipes to celebrate the yule tide and all of its flavours. This e-book takes your average recipe book and gives it a vegan twist, with a multitude of recipes ranging from traditional Christmas favourites to new seasonal dishes. You can look forward to simple and delicious recipes such as: Cosy Gingerbread Waffles, Frozen Berry Cinnamon Rolls, Winter Vegetable Wellington, Stollen for Snowy Days, and so much more!

It is our hope that, within these pages, we can help you to celebrate the holiday season in a simple and exciting way. Whether you’re completely new to veganism, have been vegan/vegetarian for a long time, or just want to try your hand at something different in the kitchen, we’re here to supply you with a multitude of vegan recipes to enjoy this Christmas.

Hearty, warming, and simple foods are the focus of this e-book. With our simple ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, we’ll help you to enjoy Christmas time in a kind and stress-free way. A Simple Christmas has been curated and developed to encourage new and already vegans to try their hands at vegan festive foods this holiday season. It is our belief that nothing is better than homemade.

All of these recipes are vegan and have been well tested, so you can be sure of great results in the kitchen! We’ve also made sure that each recipe is as simple as possible, so you won’t be working away for hours over a complicated recipe method either!

Simple. Seasonal. Exciting.

That’s all there is to it.

SHOP HERE

For more information on ‘A Simple Christmas’ you can visit THIS blog post.

Thank you so much for taking the time to find out more about our latest ebook. Hop on down to our Etsy shop to get your very own copy of ‘A Simple Christmas’ whilst its still on offer! We hope you love our recipes as much as we do and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

If you make this Vegan Spiced Mincemeat, make sure you leave a like and a comment down below! I absolutely love hearing from you guys and you can be sure that I will try my best to get back to you soon! And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @rhythmandgreen

I love seeing the photos of recipes you’ve all made! Have a beautiful Christmas and a safe and warm winter! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Love and light,

Katherine x

IF YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE YOU’LL LOVE:

KEEP UP WITH US ON INSTAGRAM:


a simple christmas

A Simple Christmas is a collection of vegan recipes for the holiday season. This e-book is full of rich, warming, and simple foods to help you enjoy Christmas in a kind and stress-free way.

In 70+ pages, Katherine shares with you her favourite recipes to celebrate the yule tide and all of its flavours. This e-book takes your average recipe book and gives it a vegan twist, with a multitude of recipes ranging from traditional Christmas favourites to new seasonal dishes. You can look forward to simple and delicious recipes such as: Cosy Gingerbread Waffles, Frozen Berry Cinnamon Rolls, Winter Vegetable Wellington, Stollen for Snowy Days, and so much more!

It is our hope that, within these pages, we can help you to celebrate the holiday season in a simple and exciting way. Whether you’re completely new to veganism, have been vegan/vegetarian for a long time, or just want to try your hand at something different in the kitchen, we’re here to supply you with a multitude of vegan recipes to enjoy this Christmas.

Hearty, warming, and simple foods are the focus of this e-book. With our simple ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, we’ll help you to enjoy Christmas time in a kind and stress-free way. A Simple Christmas has been curated and developed to encourage new and already vegans to try their hands at vegan festive foods this holiday season. It is our belief that nothing is better than homemade.

All of these recipes are vegan and have been well tested, so you can be sure of great results in the kitchen! We’ve also made sure that each recipe is as simple as possible, so you won’t be working away for hours over a complicated recipe method either!

Simple. Seasonal. Exciting.

That’s all there is to it.

SHOP HERE

This e-book is for you if:

  • You want vegan recipes that are easy to make and exciting
  • You desire to have a simple and stress-free holiday season
  • You want to eat more seasonally over the Christmas and winter period
  • You love Christmas food

FAQS:

Are these recipes vegan?

Although I myself am not 100% vegan 100% of the time, my recipes certainly are. All 25 recipes in my new e-book are vegan – by my standards. Although all of these recipes have been created and developed free from all animal products such as meats, eggs, and dairy, some of my recipes do contain honey. I include honey in my recipes because the definition of ‘vegan’ is different for everyone and there are different extremities to these definitions for each individual. If you do not wish to use honey in any of these recipes, then all recipes where honey is used do provide you with an alternative, or you can swap the honey out for your own preferred alternative.

Do these recipes require a certain degree of skill in the kitchen?

Not at all! This e-book has been specifically developed to help you to enjoy a simple and stress-free Christmas. All of our recipes contain simple ingredients and easy-to-follow methods, so whether you’re a beginner or an expert in the kitchen, this e-book is for you.

Do any of these recipes contain ‘difficult’ ingredients?

No. Difficult ingredients include ingredients that are; hard to pronounce, hard to use, hard to find, and often expensive. We’ve created this e-book with accessibility in mind. One of our main frustrations when it comes to vegan recipes is the ‘difficulty’ of some of the ingredients that you often find. Therefore, our recipes contain only simple ingredients, making time in the kitchen more enjoyable.

I created this e-book to help people to celebrate Christmas in a simple and exciting way. The holiday season should not be a stressful time of the year. It should be slow, it should be simple, it should be kind. But also exciting. Christmas is a time for giving, and for sharing joy. By giving this e-book to you, it is my hope that I can share all the joy that these recipes have bought me. I hope you love every single one of them as much as I do.

I want to take the time here to express my gratitude to you. Thank you. To everyone who has purchased this e-book, to everyone who is following along with me and my brand – rhythm & green – and to everyone who has supported me throughout this journey. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy A Simple Christmas.

Love,

Katherine x