The Two Easiest (and Cheapest) Non-Toxic Products

Switching these two products from conventional to non-toxic has been one of the best money savers and worry-easing things I’ve done recently. I love them that much! These switches are SO simple, easy on the budget, and just as effective as their toxic counterparts.

First up: homemade all-purpose cleaner. I think this is a well known tip, but I have to thank Ellen Fisher for finally making me understand. Simply fill a reusable spray bottle with 50% water and 50% white vinegar. Add as many or as little drops of essential oil as you’d like (I like lavender or rose around these parts), and BAM! That’s it!

Been using this Method bottle for ages!

This cuts grease and grime big time, and I use it everywhere from my kitchen to bathroom. I used to get terrible headaches from conventional products. In fact, so much so that I remember tying dish rags around my face with hair ties when my mom would make me clean while younger!

When I think about the toxic chemicals so many of us are unknowingly exposing ourselves to – ick. When I think about how pricey the “cleaner” products are – ugh. When I think about this vinegar + water solution – yay!

The price is amazing too. I spend about 0.75-1 euros on a large bottle of vinegar, which tends to last 6-8 weeks (and I clean a lot). If I’m not counting the essential oils I sometimes use (which are really not essential for this at all – no pun intended!), that’s basically less than 6 euros a year for a cleaning product that can be use anywhere.

On a more serious note, household cleaners are one of the most toxic products we’re surrounding ourselves with. If you didn’t know about this cheap hack, I hope you’ll start using it soon! The vinegar smell can take a bit to get used to, but I’ll take it any day over toxicity.

Second up: coconut oil for body lotion. I’ve spent some pretty pennies on all-natural and organic body lotions. The skin is our largest organ, so I like to be as vigilant as possible about what I put on it.

I’d never considered using coconut oil before my girlfriend’s mom introduced me (and she’s French, so how could I not trust her beauty routine?!). Wouldn’t it be too thick? Too oily? Make me break out?

The verdict – not at all.

It’s all about the amount. In winter months, I slather it on. In summer months, I’m more careful about how much I use. And either way, it is SO hydrating and completely clean! Especially if you can buy organic coconut oil.

The price is the biggest win of all. See that big tub up about? 7 euros! And it lasts two people six months! That means it would last one person roughly one year! Am I the only one that thinks that’s insane?! A little goes a long way with this product.

I hope you’ll benefit from this hacks as much as I have. I cannot even begin to imagine the money I’ve saved since switching over just 8 months ago.

Here’s to making non-toxic living simple and affordable!

Weekly Vegan Grocery Haul + Meal Plan |3|

Hello again! I’m quite liking this series and hope you are too. It’s nice because it’s intentional. It makes me slow down and take stock of what I’ve bought and plan to do in the coming week. A good reflection process, and it’s allowed me to narrow in on what doesn’t really need to be bought (to save on the budget). Bye hummus, lemons, and limes!

Albert Heijn and Jumbo

Sorry, got these two mixed up since I did the shopping at the same time! But I would say: 80% from Jumbo and 20% from Albert Heijn.

Produce: bananas, ginger, frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, and cherries), spinach, apples, zuchini, and passion fruit.

Dry goods: chia seeds, nuts, lentils, pasta, granola, buckwheat flour, oatmeal, maple syrup, rice, peanut butter, and pasta sauce,

Other: tempeh (what category does this go in?!)

This was a good week! I only spent 59 euros here even though I felt like I stocked up on a lot.

Farmer’s Market

If you checked out my post from yesterday, you know it was a beautiful day at the Farmer’s Market! I swear, not much else makes me happier than a sunny spring Saturday.

I picked up: beets, broccoli. cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.

All for just 15 euros! For organic, local produce, I consider that awesome.

That means I spent 74 euros, equaling 37 euros for each of us. I’m happy with that! We each may spend another 5 euros later in the week picking up more milk or pasta sauce, but we’ll see.

Meal Plan

Total creature of habit…

Breakfast: banana + cacao oatmeal with hemp + pumpkin + chia seeds, blueberries + raspberries, and peanut butter.

Lunch: Smoothie bowl + granola.

Dinner: (like last week) a variety of grains + a veggie. Keeps things super simple and affordable! If pasta, we just use pasta sauce. If rice or quinoa, I mix in fresh ginger and turmeric. And of course, tempeh!

Snacks: sweet potato fries, nuts, apples, and passion fruit.

Have a wonderful Sunday, and let me know if you have any questions!

Have a Beautiful Weekend

Farmers Market earlier today.

It’s absolutely lovely in Amsterdam this weekend, and I’m feeling confident we’ve turned the corner with spring! April and May are my favorite months in the Netherlands by far (although I’ve never really visited in the summer as my girlfriend and I were always in America then). Despite having a lot of work stress at the moment, the sunny weather is helping immensely.

Before running out to an Info Session for a local Yoga Teacher Training I’m thinking of choosing, here are a few weekend links.

With some granola, this smoothie is on rotation through lunch this week. As soon as it starts to get warm, all I crave are smoothies!

I’m super intrigued by Lush’s Shampoo Bars. Since I have to head there this weekend anyway to stock up on some face wash (this is a favorite), I’m thinking I might try one out!

I cannot the believe the news on Wow Airlines. We almost bought tickets to Iceland with them for June! In retrospect, so happy we did not as it’s looking like no one will be getting their money back…

I really love this “Living with Kids” series on Design Mom (and I’m far away from being a mom!). It’s just so interesting to get a peak into peoples homes.

What is going on in the world of veganism? I have some thoughts about this that I’m thinking of turning into a blog post. But let me preface it by saying I have absolutely nothing but love for people doing what they feel they need to for their health. I don’t like or participate in internet judgement.

I have this new album on repeat.

Have a wonderful weekend!

5 Gorgeous Days on Langkawi

Wow is Langkawi beautiful! I had the amazing opportunity to spend five days here in late February and early March. I was on an 11 day trip to Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen) to visit my Dad, and I’m so happy we made the pit stop here!

Beach at sunrise.

I flew Amsterdam to Singapore on KLM (12 hour flight) and then Air Asia from Singapore to Langkawi (1 hour flight). I’m going to admit I had MAJOR travel anxiety to fly with Air Asia. They’re a newer airline that is growing super fast and therefore means they don’t have the most experienced pilots – or the best safety history. Oh well, I guess I survived…

Flying in – look at the water!

We spent our five nights at Ambong Ambong, which is probably one of the most friendly and comfortable hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. In fact, everyone on the island was SO friendly! It definitely was a highlight of the trip.

The beach just down the road from Ambong Ambong.

Ambong Ambong is located just a five minute walk from the beach but is built super steeply into a cliff. If you’re fit and don’t mind the exercise, it’s actually awesome. For those not as athletically inclined, they have on-demand cars to bring you up to your room.

One of the coolest things about the hotel? Free yoga 3x/week. That’s my type of vacation!

I LOVE hotel breakfasts, even if it has become more challenging since going plant based. I ate a lot of fruit, peanut butter toast, and black coffee here! But it still tastes so special maybe because I didn’t have to make it? 🙂

I ate/drank so many coconuts while there. Honestly probably the best treat of all! It’s expensive to get good coconut water in Amsterdam (meaning 100% coconut water with no added sugars), and don’t even think about finding good coconut meat. So, I definitely indulged on Langkawi! I’d often get at least two with dinner.

Another amazing thing about the island – I didn’t see one plastic straw the entire time I was there! Of course, there is still a lot of other plastic stuff – cling film, water bottles, utensils, but such a good step in the right direction. Langkawi felt like paradise, and I’d hate for over-tourism or waste/pollution to have a negative effect in the future.

Although I still had to work while visiting (we went Tuesday-Sunday), everything was definitely more relaxed! I called it “island style” 🙂 I lived in my tank tops and shorts and kept my beauty routine super low key – basically brushed teeth, brushed hair, sunscreen, my sunglasses, and then I was good to go! I spent most mornings exploring and at the beach and then worked in the afternoons when the sun was at its hottest.

One day we went to what I believe is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island: Langkawi Sky Bridge. The view is INCREDIBLE – you can even see Thai islands! – but you have to go up a ridiculously steep cable car that certainly got my heart racing. It’s just rocks below you! But all in all, worth it for the amazing experience.

Thailand in the background!

The only downside – decent vegan food was hard to come by. I had two highlight meals. One from a Dutch owned cafe actually! YamYam had the best smoothies, soups, and coffee with soy milk! Second, Bon Ton, a hotel + restaurant that had the most amazing selection of vegan options for dinner.

My go-to vegan meal at YamYam.

And too quickly, it was time to go…on another Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur where we then caught a flight to Hong Kong. I cannot wait to return to this beautiful, relaxing, and friendly island in Malaysia!