Minimalism: removing things that remove you from your life

I could write a whole book about the many benefits of minimalism.

Oh wait, I am (it’s an ebook but still).

I talk a lot about minimalism and mindfulness on my podcast.

I truly and wholeheartedly believe this lifestyle can spark a change in the world, help people feel happier, lighter, achieve financial stability, work less and live more.

There are no good arguments against minimalism, just like there are none against veganism.

That said, lately I’ve been exploring a different terminology. I felt as though the term “minimalism” wasn’t impactful enough.

Hear me out.

As shocked and/or rattled as people look when they realize we’re vegan, the same individuals don’t even flinch when they hear about my (our) minimalist lifestyle.

Funny thing is, most of them think they know what minimalism is, or what it entails.

Most of them don’t.

The word “minimalism” is somewhat self-explanatory, which doesn’t do it justice.

I also noticed how indifferent and apathetic people are nowadays. Or is it just me?

I’m defo not of fan of nonchalance or the nonchalant attitude of this “modern” society.

“Edgy” lifestyles used to spark conversations back in the day, not anymore though? That’s kinda sad tbh.

Anyway, all this made me think, so I decided to come up (or explain further) my own work-in-progress minimalism: I call it green or eco-essentialism.

Green or eco for the environment, essentialism because I own the bare minimum, essentials only, no extras.

But let’s dive further into this.

As an eco-essentialist (aka green or eco-minimalist), one of the main focuses of my lifestyle is protecting the environment.

Consuming less leads to cutting down waste and living with a smaller ecological footprint. That simple.

I still own some stuff, duh, but the things I now buy (when need be) is 100% environmentally friendly.

I also live frugally, and try to repair and repurpose all my belongings.

I’ve talked about this time and again on my podcast, but consuming less helps reduce the harmful impact of mindless consumerism on our planet. This makes my eco-essentialism a pro-environment and anti-consumption mindset and philosophy above anything else.

From shopping second hand and eco-friendly to investing in quality products (that last longer), my new shopping habits (close to nonexistent btw) help me reduce my carbon footprint significantly.

Mindful shopping and making sure I don’t bring any unnecessary things into my life is the first thing on my mind when I’m out looking for new things to buy.

Having the preservation of the planet in mind, eco-essentialists like myself follow a vegan lifestyle (and a plant-based diet) as the two (veganism and eco-essentialism) go hand in hand.

My other focus as an eco-essentialist is to experience the world without getting tied down to a permanent place and financial burdens. Instead of embracing materialism, I believe creating memories of my experiences is one of the two most important aspects of my life, the other one being giving to charity and NPOs.

As a lifelong traveler, I’ve always had trouble finding the right amount of things to pack up, so I always ended packing way more than I needed.

Since embracing this lifestyle (and perhaps even before), I’ve noticed how traveling with fewer distractions allowed me to be more present and get the best out of each and every experience.

For some nomad minimalists, minimalism is just a practical way of moving around. For me, it’s challengingly fun to experience how little I (and now WE) can live with.

How about mindful-eco-essentialism?

Hang on, what’s that again?

Mindful-eco-essentialists worry about more than just the environment, we worry about peace of mind too.

That’s the other focus of this lifestyle.

Owning fewer things automatically reduce mental clutter, which is the number one cause of stress and anxiety.

Besides, owning less reduces distractions and gives you the ability to focus on self-reflection (hence this post), self-love and personal development (once again hence this post).

As a mindful-eco-essentialist, my aim for fewer possessions and more headspace, for being present in the moment with my thoughts and loved ones, my feelings and emotions helps my increase my quality of life in a significant way.

It helps me pursue an intentional and meaningful life.

I’m constantly working on shaping a better version of myself, pursuing excellence (a religious principle in my case) and adding value to other people’s lives.

I started my mindful-eco-essentialist journey to escape the suffocation of stressful and expensive lifestyles. By cutting down expenses, I rapidly gained more freedom and peace of mind.

So all in all, as I learned more about minimalism, I embraced other attributes of it and made it my own.

I cut down on literally everything.

I owned 51 pairs of shoes at some point. It’s a lot ! I now own 4, 1 of which is a pair of football cleats.

Furthermore, and as far as digital essentialism goes, I used to spend hours on Social Media every day ! Posting, tweeting, commenting.

I now spend an hour/day tops. I only use SM for work and promotion.

Stepping away from Social Media was a major turning point in my life, evil eye and all.

In short:

Cutting down on “stuff” helped me become more mindful about self-care and my core values as well.

Mindful-eco-essentialism, aka minimalism, has become a powerful tool in my journey of developing a better me. 

IMHO, learning how to be mindful of our possessions and reducing physical and mental clutter helps us become better humans.

Here’s a short list of my favorite minimalists:

  • Leo Babauta from Zen Habits 
  • The minimalists
  • Sorelle Amore
  • Colin Write
  • Youheum from Heal your Living (personal fave)
  • and of course Matt D’Avella

Food and supplements checklist before going vegan

Vegan supplements

No fluff, just facts.

1. B12

Can be found in: tempeh, cremini mushrooms, nutritional yeast, and supplements (which are very highly recommended).

2. Proteins

Can be found in: seitan, quinoa, natural soy (tofu, miso, tempeh, edamame, soy milk), lentils, beans (black), chickpeas, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, green peas, spirulina, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters (also contain antioxidants), artichoke, sweet potatoes, asparagus, spinach broccoli, blackberries, guava, banana

3. Iron

Can be found in: lentils, red bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, soybeans, carrots, broccoli, quinoa, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, dried raisins, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beats, seeds and nuts.

Vitamin C helps better absorption. Vitamin C can be easily found in citrus, red peppers, broccoli.

Iron is an essential element for blood production. About 70% of our body’s iron is found in the red blood cells of our blood called hemoglobin and in muscle cells called myoglobin.

Hemoglobin is essential for transferring oxygen in our blood from the lungs to the tissues.

About 6% of body iron is a component of certain proteins, essential for respiration and energy metabolism.

Tea and coffee decrease iron absorption.

4. Iodine

Can be found in: iodised salt, navy beans and baked potatoes.

Iodine plays a vital role in thyroid health. The thyroid gland, located at the base of the front of our necks, helps regulate hormone production. These hormones control our metabolism and heart health.

Deficiency causes goître.

5. Calcium

Can be found in: fortified tofu, rice, oat and soya drinks, sesame seeds, tahini, dried fruits (raisins and prunes).

Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat.

Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and feces. Our body doesn’t produce its own calcium.

Deficiency causes cramps, insomnia and low bone density.

6. Vitamin D

Can be found in: sun exposure and/or supplements, extremely important for calcium absorption.

2000UI/day is a health dose, some take up to 4000UI/day.

A healthy dose of vitamin D can prevent mild Covid-19 symptoms and lower risks of death.

7. Zinc

Can be found in: lentils, green peas, white beans, corn and oatmeal. Needed for proper immune system function, antioxidant, wound healing.

Zinc is used by the body in COUNTLESS ways. It is found in cells throughout the whole body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA.

You must get a constant zinc supply through your diet. Supplements during cold season are highly recommended.

8. Riboflavin (B2)

Can be found in: whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spirulina, mushroom, quinoa, nuts, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, Brussel sprouts, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, soybeans, green leafy vegetables and whole grain and enriched cereals and bread.

It plays a huge role in energy production in the body.

It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy, and it allows oxygen to be used by the body.

It is flushed out of the body daily, so it must be restored each day.

Hemp seeds, dates, figs, grapes, granola bars Garlic, turmeric and garlic boost your immune system.

Drinking water first thing as well.