Downsizing tips from an eco-essentialist

The trinity of downsizing:

SellDonateTrash

Most of the stuff we buy throughout the years will either end up sold, donated or trashed.

It’s sad, but it’s also inevitable.

That’s one of the main reasons why I became a minimalist in for first place.

When I look at the number of things I owned throughout my life, I can’t help but feel guilty..

Guilty because most of it went out the window at one point or another, guilty because there definitely are people who can’t afford half the stuff we buy carelessly

Guilty because consumerism is so ingrained in our modern societies that we hardly question our spending habits.

Minimalism allowed me to shift my mindset completely, so the least I can do is simplify the process by sharing some of my tips with those looking to live mindfully and sustainably.

“But what do I do with all the stuff I own ? It’s already been made, bought and used (for most part)?”

That’s the type of question I usually get.

The answer is quite simple:

Sell: if you need the money and want your most valuable things to have a second life

Donate: if you don’t need the money and want your things to be repurposed and help people in need (Charity, NGOs, Homeless Shelters..)

Trash: everything that can’t be repurposed, sold or recycled. It’s unfortunate but don’t beat yourself up too much, it happens to the best of us.

Where to go from here?

Here’s a short list of things you can turn to if you want to minimize further. Some of these tips hint at frugalism as well.

  • Avoid eating out and getting take outs. Take out foods are usually less healthy and way more expensive than home cooked meals. Learning how and what to cook is a useful skill for a better life, health wise and financially as well
  • Stop “treating yourself” when you can’t even pay off your debt and loans. Focus on the things that truly matter to you, and things that could have a lasting effect. Perhaps you could treat yourself to some cooking or baking classes, that way you won’t have to overspend every time you crave something. Same goes with most skills (yoga, fitness, cooking, handywork..)
  • Stop seeking instant gratification. Instant gratification is one of our era’s worst nightmares. It’s responsible for depression, anxiety, people feeling lost, so on and so forth. Refraining from social media use is one of the best things you could do to heal from this disease, news fasts* are also very effective in that regard
  • Avoid fast fashion AT ALL COSTS. I know it’s convenient and cheap, but what comes easy never lasts. Also, it’s highly destructive to both nature and the humans behind it (btw click on the link if you’re not familiar with this industry, the video’s super dope and it’s only 8 mins long)
  • One grocery trip twice a month should be enough. Meal planning (and prepping) helps a lot as it decreases overspending, and waste, of course
  • Shopping online is better as it allows you to browse similar products to the ones you’re looking for, and find the ones that best fit your needs 
  • Go organic as much as you can. Health is important and bad health is extremely costly !
  • Go for one time purchases. For example, start using linen napkins instead of paper towels
  • This one’s quite personal and something I’m working towards but I always try to favor cash instead of credit/debit cards
  • Minimize unnecessary subscriptions – cloud storage, streaming services, music services, apps, gym, website memberships, meal delivery, monthly installments.. I’m sure we all have subscriptions we hardly ever use

Beside all this, digital minimalism is also something you could look further into:

  • Delete all the apps you don’t use regularly
  • Sift through and delete all the unread/undesired emails in your mailbox. Here’s the real cost of your full mailbox
  • Unsubscribe from all the lists that keep sending you updates, offers and newsletters that you hardly ever read. It may not seem like it but most of that stuff is costly in mental energy (c.f. decision fatigue), carbon emissions and anxiety
  • Organize your photos in folders and delete all copies and similar photos
  • Disable unnecessary notifications, especially the ones on social media. I personally only kept incoming calls and text message, as those are the ones I use the most with my family and friends

Reach out to me or leave me a comment if you have any specific questions, I’m always happy to help 🙂

*A news fast implies opting out of watching the news on TV, listening the radio, reading newspapers, or following the news on social media and other internet outlets.

Behaviors and traits that make healthy personalities

Here’s a short list of some healthy behaviors, traits and habits I’ve noticed in some of my favorite people in the world.

Those are traits I personally try to gravitate towards in order to build healthy relationships.

  • They avoid criticism at all costs 

Criticism shows a lack of understanding and empathy towards others. The less critical you are towards others, the better.

Slander is also a major sin in my religion.

Slander and backbiting are considered “destructive” major sins.

These two sins are forbidden by God because they sow enmity, evil and discord among people and lead to destruction.

Slander, like overt criticism, are a sign that you want to show superiority, which in turn shows a lack of confidence and is ultimately a sign of weakness.

People ain’t all that different, we just choose our differences, so please refrain from being cheaply critical and just accept others as they are.

  • OCEAN is the acronym

OCEAN are the “Big Five” personality traits developed in psychological trait theory. They’re a great way to assess oneself.

O for Openness. Being open to new things, new ideas, change and being curious are all great signs of a great personality.

For instance, if someone tells you about a positive thing in their life, try to dig deeper, be happy for them.

Showing real, genuine interest in what others tell you is a sign of goodness, and happiness.

C for Conscientiousness: be conscientious is one of the noblest traits.

Knowing how to act and react accordingly in difficult situations, being aware of your surroundings, treating others with respect are all signs of a conscientious person.

Don’t be so quick to judge and just let others the benefit of the doubt, learn how to trust.

E for Extroversion: try being extroverted, not in a “party-going” way, but rather in a “be curious about others, ask how they are” way.

Don’t interrupt when others talk to you, show genuine interest in their feelings and wellbeing and treat them with love.

A for Agreeableness: being agreeable should be the easiest thing when you’re surrounded by the right people. Your friends need to challenge you on certain things, but not on everything.

“A person with a high level of agreeableness in a personality test is usually warm, friendly, and tactful.” So be warm, make people feel at ease, heard.

N for Neuroticism (it’s not what you think): this trait is about people who are emotionally stable, who deal well with stress pretty well, who don’t worry much (know how to let go of grudges) and are generally very chill and laid-back.

The kind of person who avoids conflict and troubles at all costs, my type of people.

Let’s move on to some other traits healthy people have in common:

  • They don’t think about their needs only (considerate?)

One of my favorite thing about some people is their ability to put others before themselves.

I’ve had friends who were exactly that. They always serve others before they serve themselves, they’re the carers of the group, which usually brings the group together.

Carers are my personal favorite people !

Showing that you care about people other than yourself is such an attractive trait. It shows empathy and an acute sense of humanity. 

  • They avoid hijacking conversations

Everything isn’t always about you, let others be, express themselves.

Make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you. Avoid hijacking conversations with sentences like “this reminds me of something I went through”. NO. It’s not about u, it’s about them ! 

  • They own up to your failures and mistakes

Take responsibility.

It takes courage to take responsibility, to show that you understand your mistakes and that you’re willing to do better

Say that you blew it when you feel like you did. I know it shows vulnerability but that’s what healthy people say and do

  • They allow nuance in life

Things shouldn’t always be how YOU want them to be, focus on yourself and hope others do their best as well

  • They never shame, never blame, and don’t have an agenda

If you disagree with someone, do it in a civil and respectful manner. Things can’t always go your way and that’s ok, let it go, just make sure you do your best in every situation, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t 

  • They have an acute sense of teamwork

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Always try to work things out with the person in front of you, personally and professionally.

  • They don’t mind sharing the negatives of their personal and professional endeavors

Talking about the negatives of your life allows a sense of intimacy to others, which is the opposite of control.

This intimacy exposes you and will eventually make you feel vulnerable, which is bound to get you out of your comfort zone and help you grow. Let yourself get into that new, unexplored zone

  • They’re patient

Impatience is a big red flag when it comes to narcissism.

Impatience show that you can’t slow down to care about someone other than yourself, and that you’re too spoiled to realize you can’t always have it your way.

Impatience manifests itself in different forms, some people throw tantrums while others will just shut themselves out. Learn how to deal with your emotions and be an open book.

Learning how to be patient is an important aspect of a good life

  • They listen

Take time to reflect and learn how listen. It’s no wonder God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth.

We learn more by listening and observing others, so try to be more present and listen. Active and intentional listening is the cornerstone of good communicators and healthy relationships.

Careful listeners are usually more open and compassionate.

  • They know other people aren’t just as good as their last good deed 

Avoid being harsh and too quick to judge.

Avoid holding grudges and let others prove you wrong.

Life in Lyon, mostly pros and some cons

Lyon is one of the biggest and most diverse cities in France. 

Size and culture-wise:

It offers a wide range of cultural activities, sporting events and festivals.

It’s not too small so you get bored easily, nor too large that is gets overwhelming. 

I ain’t fond of metropolises like NYC, Paris or London. Medium-sized cities like Lyon offer access to pretty much everything you could find in bigger cities, minus the stress, dangers and exorbitant real estate prices.

Combine that with Lyon’s amazing public transport network and you have a winner.

The surroundings:

The proximity to Switzerland and Italy was a huge plus for me, with Brussels (Belgium) also being 4 hours away by train.

Besides, if you’re into hiking and/or winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing then look no further, Lyon is the place to be for you, with the Alps aka the highest and most extensive mountain range system in Europe right next to you.

The dream !

Proximity to the mountains and surrounding countries was one of my favorite things about this city. Despite the locals being somewhat unfriendly, being in the outdoors and traveling around made the whole experience well worth it.

You can find some pretty gnarly trails in Valence, Roman and Grenoble and its incredible views of the Alps.

Btw the trails were surprisingly empty in the winter, perhaps out of caution.

In immediate proximity you’ll also find the amazing cities of Annecy and Aix-Les-Bains with its thermal baths.

Student life:

I honestly couldn’t tell you much about student life in Lyon. I mean, my friends seemed to have a lotta fun going out, clubbing, going to festivals and whatnot. I wasn’t.

As an 18YO kid and fresh out the family nest, my focus was very different from that of my peers. 

I had one idea in mind: make as much money as I could, pass my classes and learn how to invest. 

I used to watch a LOT of football and geek on FIFA as well. 

The thing about my passage in Lyon was that I knew I wasn’t gonna be around for too long.

As much as this post makes it sound as though was a city I loved, it wasn’t. I’ve always looked forward to leaving, for some reason.

Besides, it seemed as though all of my friends ended up leaving as well. Go figure !

All that said, Lyon offers several entertainment options, free passes and discounts for students. You’ll also find lots of Erasmus students and expats there, which is always nice.

Birdview:

  • Cost of living: it was alright, I managed to get by quite easily. If you budget your spendings, you’ll be fine, just keep in mind that this is France and life isn’t as cheap as it is in Spain, Germany or Portugal. It’s still very affordable compared to Paris, London or some other megalopolis. 
  • Accomodation: it’s not easy to find the right place, but it’s doable. Finding accommodation is never easy in western countries, unless you’re financially very stable, in which case that won’t be an issue at all. But as a student, it wasn’t as hard as it is in Bordeaux, nor was it as easy as it was in Southeast Asia, Africa or South America. 

You can always share a flat for a few months then move out on your own. 

  • Cuisine: I’m not a big fan of French cuisine BUT Lyon is the birth place of “French tacos” (don’t ask me why they call them that, they’re nothing like tacos). French tacos are probably my favorite French dish of all. I know, I ain’t boogie enough, and I couldn’t care less 🙂

As a vegan, though, Idk if Lyon (like most French cities) is very vegan-friendly. The French love their meat and cheeses.

But if I had to go back, I’d probably start with Le Paradis du Fruit. 

Favorite spots: 

  • Fourvière Basilica 
  • Parc de la Tête d’Or (huge natural park)
  • Vieux Lyon (Old town)
  • Island of Barbe
  • The Roman Amphitheaters
  • Bellecour Square
  • Rue (street) Prunelle and its beautiful staircase
  • Place Rouville (Croix Rousse)
  • Stade de Gerland and of course Groupama Stadium for football-heads like myself 
  • Hôtel de Ville – Terreaux – Ópera
  • And of course the Quais (river banks), especially during the summer. Very lively and chill, the perfect place to go for a stroll, a bike ride or anything of that nature
  • The French “projects” or public housing in Vénissieux and Les Minguettes. I wouldn’t recommend going there alone unless you actually are from the streets. That said, I felt more at home there than I ever did where I used to live (Gambetta, which is quite central). People were just genuinely nice. 
  • Place de Terreaux
  • Café Sevilla or Casa Latina if you enjoy reggaeton. 

The festival of lights:

It usually takes place between the 8th and 11th of december each year, and summons about 3/4 million tourists.

The whole city gets lit up, which quite a sight to see.

How minimalism and slow-living can enhance your happiness

Yo, another article about minimalism ?

Well, not exactly. Instead of going at this in a classic post, Imma try a different way: bullet points.

EVERYONE’s got time to read bullet points !

So, here’s a breakdown of my philosophy:

On a practical level,

  • Less stuff usually means
  • Less money spent, which also means
  • Less time spent shopping, which in turn means
  • Less need for MORE money.

Less stuff also means

  • Less time looking for stuff (phone, wallet, keys..), which leads to less decision fatigue. It also means
  • Less time spent on maintenance and cleaning (Floor, closet, doing laundry, washing piled up dishes and utensils)

Owning less stuff quickly translates into more fulfillment and appreciation:

  • You start enjoying what you have a lot more (less choice = more appreciation for what we have, ask your grandparents), it also means
  • More space, because your home now feels more spacious, cleaner, comfortable..notice how the best spas, hotels, yoga farms all have one thing in common: a minimalistic look and feel? It’s no coincidence, clutter wears us out.

Having less stuff also means

  • You now can be more lazy, since there’s nothing to clean up, declutter or “take care of”.

Furthermore,

  • The stuff that surrounds us is often a distraction to our peace. Achieving inner peace starts with decluttering the spaces we spend most time in. Get rid of all the junk sitting around and you’ll literally feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

On a personal level, owning less translates into:

  • Seeking less validation from others. When you stop filling voids with stuff and addressing your problems and insecurities, outside validation stops making sense and becomes irrelevant. 
  • The less you own, the less you’ll feel the need to compare yourself to others.
  • The less you compare yourself to others, the less you care what others think of you.
  • The less you care what others think of you, the less you need to boast.

Besides,

  • The less you own, the more time you have to pay attention to your loved ones and their wellbeing. Caring for other is important as it helps us find balance and steer clear of narcissism and self-absorption.
  • Owning less also means you can focus on more. Now that you have more time off, you can start conquering new grounds, getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things.

On a practical level, owning less and shopping less will leave you with:

  • More free time to do whatever you want and
  • Your home is now almost always ready to receive guests !

On an ethical and moral levels,

  • The less stuff you consume, the less exploitation and waste, which is great for the environment
  • Extra points if you love thrifting and vintage clothing !

Last but not least, on a neurological level,

  • Less stuff, decluttered and organized spaces boost creativity and productivity 
  • Owning less also increases mental clarity, hence my podcast btw (shameless plug)

All in all, marketing (and most importantly neuromarketing) and advertising are two extremely powerful tools, tools that can make ANYONE act irrationally.

Been there, done that !

The yearning for validation, acceptance and gratification is addictive and can easily degrade your mental health, your financial situation and your overall wellbeing.

Slow Living and minimalism, aka eco-essentialism, will save you from overt consumerism and all its rather evident pitfalls.

What to get a minimalist on a special occasion ? 

Gift-giving used to be fun.

Used to.

Gifts became customary as an expression of friendship, neighbourliness and peace between nations. It used to be a meaningful exchange of somewhat useful stuff.

Things’ve changed though.

Gift-giving quickly became something many of us dread. Even more so if you’re a mindful-eco-essentialist, aka a minimalist

When I first became a minimalist, I became so much more aware of all the things I was buying.

I refrained from buying so many things that used to feel “essential” but weren’t at all.

As I eased into this lifestyle, I learned how to make minimalism my own.

As time went buy, being a mindful consumer became second nature. Buying stuff wasn’t part of who I was anymore, quite the opposite actually.

Just like veganism, most people think minimalists deprive themselves from the things they once loved. 

WRONG. 

We just refocused our attention and energy on the things that truly matter, things that bring us happiness and FULFILLMENT. 

Consumerism is an addiction, a way we all use to fill the void in us. 

As a minimalist (or mindful-eco-essentialist), I don’t need to fill that void with stuff anymore, cause it ain’t there. 

Instead of packing my life up with shit, I now deal with my problems at face value. 

Grown up shit. 

Anyway, so as I eased into minimalism, I stopped feeling the need for excessive shopping, excessive eating, excess in everything. 

My minimalism soon turned into mindful consumerism, and then into mindful-eco-essentialism.

I still call it minimalism, but like I said in this post, the current terminology doesn’t do this exceptional movement and lifestyle justice. 

Anyway, back to the main topic. Here’s a list of gift ideas for your minimalist friends:

  1. Minimalists (myself at least) love experiencing new things and adventures. Take your minimalist friends and/or loved ones somewhere they’ve always wanted to go. It could be a trampoline park, a museum, a hike, an amusement park, whatever. Minimalists collect memories so this would defo make their day(s)
  2. Get them tickets to a concert, expo, museum, spa. Entertaining a minimalist ain’t that hard, just do your research
  3. Food. Everybody loves food, so find what the giftee’s food preferences are and surprise them with their favorite snacks/dish/cakes/fruits
  4. Plane/train/boat tickets. We all love going places so if you’re about that life, a plane ticket could go a long way 
  5. Money. The safest choice of them all. We can all do with a bit of extra cash
  6. A replacement for something they’ve been complaining about. It could be a pair of socks, an ergonomic beanbag, a set of AirPods, a leakproof travel tumbler (or lay-flat water bottle), it all depends on your means and what said person truly needs
  7. Plants. I’d swap all my stuff with plants if I could. Plants add life to a room, they’re like cute, SILENT and barf-free little babies. Plants are awesome dawg !
  8. Printed photos of your adventures together. In the age of digital, some minimalists love being analog. Classic prints are awesome
  9. A handwritten note. The best gift I ever got from the wifey was a handwritten note expressing her love towards me. Works for friends too
  10. And on that same note (pun unintended), postcards. Extra points in you live abroad 🤩

Last but not least, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES gift a minimalist clothes, utensils, shoes, trinkets, decorations or ANYTHING they haven’t asked for. 

We hate stuff, really, we hate stuff more than anything. 

WATCH: Top 15 documentaries that’ll change the way you eat (with trailers)

This may come as a surprise to some, but prior to going vegan, I’d only met ONE vegan person in my entire life.

I was 26YO when I went vegan.

The one thing that’s helped me (and many other vegans) learn about this lifestyle is documentary film.

Veganism was so underground bro. Before the Internet and Social Media, access to unmanipulated data was quite a task.

People weren’t catered to, unlike what we’re seeing today.

So therein lies the importance of filmmakers and content creators, who are, IMHO, the real game changers.

I went vegan thanks to the first vegan documentary film I’ve ever seen. Cowspiracy was IT for me!

Thank you, Kip Andersen ! You’ve literally changed my life.

Below is a list of 15 eye-opening documentaries exposing the harms (and war) of animal agriculture, meat, dairy and fishing industries on the animal kingdom, on our health, culture and planet as a whole.

Let’s dive right in.

Dominion.

Probably the best one of all, Dominion shows the many ways in which animals are regularly abused. It thoroughly exposes the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture through drones, hidden & handheld cameras. Available on Youtube.

Cowspiracy.

My personal favorite, along with next two on this list. Available on Netflix.

Seaspiracy.

Seaspiracy is the groundbreaking documentary which seeks to expose the fishing industries impact on the world’s oceans and overall environment. It tackles forced labor and animal rights in a never-before seen manner. A must watch ! Available on Netflix.

What The Health.

This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries. Another must watch especially if you’re a health geek like me. Available on Netflix.

Forks Over Knives.

Forks Over Knives empowers people to live healthier lives by changing the way the world understands nutrition. Another masterpiece for health-conscious geeks. Available on Prime.

The Game Changers.

A documentary about plant-based eating, protein, and strength. Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and many more. Available on Netflix.

Eating Our Way to Extinction

A cinematic feature documentary, narrated by Kate Winslet (2021). A masterpiece.

Milked.

A feature documentary that exposes the whitewash of New Zealand’s multi-billion-dollar dairy industry.

Kiss The Ground.

Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson (I love that guy!), Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis. Available on Youtube.

Earthlings.

An animal rights documentary by activist and Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix.

Plantpure Nation.

A documentary that highlights the importance of a plant-based diet for a health life and longevity.

Eating You Alive.

A documentary about curing chronic disease with a whole food plant based diet. Features James Cameron.

The Milk System

This documentary sheds light on one of the filthiest industries and the harms of dairy on our health.

Land of Hope and Glory

A documentary that features never before seen undercover footage of what goes on behind closed doors, by Earthling Ed.

HOGWOOD: a modern horror story.

“Through careful marketing and misleading labels, we are led to believe that farmed animals are well cared for and that eating meat is natural, normal and necessary. It’s time to uncover the truth.”

Bonus: Rotten. (Netflix Series)

A series that exposes what goes on behind the scenes to cater to our selfish culinary needs. Absolutely worthwhile.

Are you vegan? Have you ever considered going vegan? Do you understand what veganism is all about?

Drop me a line below, I’d be more than happy to help you transition and answer all your questions as best I can.

This is a judgment-free zone, allow yourself to learn and grow.

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 people don’t even flinch when they hear about my (our) minimalist journey and lifestyle.

Most of them think they know what minimalism is, or what it entails.

Most of them obviously don’t.

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

This really got me thinking, 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.

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. Simple.

I still own some stuff, but the things I now own and 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) 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, my loved ones, my feelings and emotions helps me increase my quality of life in a significant manner.

It also 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

The most valuable lessons I’ve learned since becoming a minimalist 

Minimalism made me reevaluate what time means to me and how much of it is wasted doing essentially nonsense. 

Minimalism makes you wonder, do I enjoy spending all my free time cleaning and doing maintenance? Do I like spending so much time in stores? Do I enjoy working so many hours and/or side jobs to pay for stuff that is mostly wants or impulse buys instead of needs?

The beauty of minimalism is that it doesn’t force us to do anything, it’s all about the freedom to choose and the power that comes from making decisions based on awareness instead of being ruled by unconscious impulses and societal conditioning (hello neuromarketing).

I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this, but having fewer dishes or less clothes doesn’t allow it to pile up. If you want a clean plate or outfit, you have to keep them clean.

About that, here’s a short and yet perfect story on how to deal with laundry, by Matt d’Avella.

To take this a step further, since becoming a minimalist, I noticed that I now need less self-discipline, since there is no other option than to wash whatever is dirty, and since there isn’t much to maintain and keep up with.

This could be summed up in an extremely simple reasoning: minimizing entails having less work to do.

How ? A simple equation:

Less stuff = less work = less stress

When my go-to isn’t buying more or calling anyone for help, I become more resourceful and creative with what I have. 

The other amazing thing about minimalism is that the momentum of enthusiasm created by downsizing/organizing one area of your physical life carries over into others.  You want to experience the thrill of accomplishment again and again.

Moreover, as a minimalist, I’ve stopped ignoring my problems, and instead started focusing on them, and minimizing them.

Less stuff also means less decisions, which undoubtedly leads to less decision fatigue.

Once you do not use up your decision making power in non-essential things (such as what to wear or which cup to use) you have more energy in making more important decisions.

A personal uniform could be the answer for some, not necessarily something that works for me though ^^

Last but not least, I think minimalism promotes self-mastery.

Minimalism helps you question everything and consider how temporary the ecstasy of (insert thing) will be. 

I think that’s deep. 

What is “pattern interruption” and how does it help enhance your fulfillment in life ?

Patterns are part of our lives.

Positive patterns are seemless and necessary.

For instance, our bodies follow millions of patterns to keep functioning.

Breathing, sleeping and the beating of our hearts are some of the most vital patterns of our bodies.

That being said, this blogpost is more about exploring negative patterns and explaining how breaking said patterns can enhance our quality of life.

You see, negative patterns are just as easy as bodily ones to repeat.

Life patterns vary in severity, but they all have a commonality: they tend to recur.

Here’s a list of negative patterns many of us are familiar with:

  • Procrastination
  • Constant struggles with weight (emotional eating, weight loss..)
  • Porn addiction (👈 podcast episode)
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Financial burdens
  • Issues at work
  • Heavy drinking
  • Drug addiction
  • Smoking
  • Falling for the same toxic people in our lives

The problem with patterns is that at times, it may seem like the problem is gone, but then it repeats after some time, hence making it a pattern.

If you notice negative patterns in your life and if said patterns have occured far too many times to be a coincidence, something is definitely up. 

That said, the good thing about patterns is that some of them will keep repeating themselves until you learn the lesson associated with it, which then breaks the loop.

Here’s the point of this blogpost:

Pattern interruption is key to help you prolong your perception of time.

Let me explain.

When we interrupt or break out patterns, the mundane things of our lives start disappearing.

As they disappear, our perception of time starts changing.

It’s pretty simple, our brains love patterns because they usually allow us to be on autopilot.

Living as such may preserve your energy, but boredom is a silent killer. It’s not just physical but psychological suicide.

Here are a few extremely easy habits you can adopt to give life to your life:

  • Meeting new people. Meeting new people is a fun challenge cause you never know who you’re going to stumble upon. People are funny, surprising, sometimes mean but some other times extremely kind. People are intriguing, and meeting new ones give us life, because shared experiences are the only way you can give something without losing anything.
  • Taking different routes to work, training, school. It might sound very simplistic, but there’s evidence from the world of psychology that suggests doing could increase your creativity and ability to innovate. Small changes make the biggest difference, remember that !
  • Learning a new language. Languages are the window to the world. Language learning can seem challenging at first, but once you start picking it up, everything changes. Your whole perception of the world, and YOUR WORLD, changes. You’re now going to be able to connect with more people, to grow your knowledge, to better understand another (or several other) culture. Language learning is easily accessible to everyone. Multilingualism has been shown to have many social, psychological and lifestyle advantages. Moreover, researchers are finding a swathe of health benefits from speaking more than one language, including faster stroke recovery and delayed onset of dementia. There’s a plethora of cognitive advantages of multilingualism.
  • Working from a different office. Working from a different office or spot will add some flavor to your daily life. You’re also more likely to connect with other people, or see things that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Trying a new coffee shop in your hometown. Be a tourist in your own town. Take a stroll on a monday morning, talk to people like you would if you were visiting. Being stiff and uptight is the best way to speed up aging. Ain’t nobody got time for that !
  • Exploring a new area on a hike. Hiking is the perfect way to challenge yourself, your cognitive senses and physical shape. It’s also the best way to disconnect from everything and reconnect with nature, and yourself.
  • Switching up your workout routine. The reason most people struggle with fitness is because they tend to stick to one workout routine for far too long, switch it up already fam !
  • Seek out awe inspiring experiences. Those usually take place away from home. It’s almost always the case. Go out, stroll around, pick up your car and drive somewhere you’d never been. It’s by seeking new adventures that we find ourselves. (bro let’s be honest, I’m killing it with these quotes !!)
  • Learn about something you never thought you would. I’m considering taking up knitting, cause why not ? The yearning for new experiences is what makes me feel fulfilled and alive. That’s how I got into podcasting, blogging and how I picked up hiking in the first place.

I think you get the point.

My life is all about avoiding the status quo and COMFORT. Yours should be too.

New experiences and pattern interruption reverse engineer aging.

Let’s get it !

Food and supplements checklist before going vegan

No fluff, just facts.

1. Vitamin B12

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

Vitamin B12 helps keep your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy. You need B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. It also helps prevent dementia and reduce birth defects.

Vitamin B12 also helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition that makes people tired and weak, so signs of B12 deficiency usually include tiredness, fatigue and dizziness.

A lack of vitamin B12 can cause neurological problems as well, which affect your nervous system.

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.

Proteins are a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body.

Proteins also help make antibodies. Your antibodies are there to fight off infections and illnesses. Besides, proteins also keep your cells healthy and create new ones.

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 and turmeric boost your immune system.

Drinking water first thing as well.