Woman Crush Wednesday with Mama Eats Plants
This month’s Woman Crush Wednesday is someone who we have been following and admiring on instagram for quite a while. Mama Eats Plants aka Amanda based in California, who lives with her partner and two beautiful children who all thrive on a plant based diet and lifestyle. Amanda is a super mum who makes low waste and vegan food look so effortless and irresistible! She is bound to inspire you to cut down on your waste and add more local plant based goodness into your life! She is always glowing and we can’t wait for you to read her top tips for living simply and sustainably.
We love your approach to living more sustainably and healthfully as a family, was there one moment in your life or a sequence of events that inspired you to start a vegan zero waste lifestyle?
Thank you! I had dabbled in vegetarian and vegan eating since the age of 18, when the idea of the ethics of eating first came into my consciousness via a philosophy class in college. Part of our assigned reading was Peter Singer, and my mind was kind of blown open. I had grown up on a cattle ranch which raised beef and dairy cows before sending them out to the dairy or slaughterhouse, so I always had the mentality of meat as an essential component for health. I went vegetarian much to the dismay of my family, and stayed that way for over a year until I got pregnant with Carmela. At that point I began craving meat like crazy (I attribute this to my junk food diet which included mostly pizza, bread, cheese, faux chikn nuggets, and a powerbar every day for breakfast while rushing to work- I was hardly ever cooking at this time in my life).
Going back to eating meat disgusted me, but I had so much programming around me telling me I needed meat for my unborn baby that it was all overwhelming. Over the next few years I went back and forth between vegan, pescatarian, paleo, you name it, trying to find a way to feel good. Anyways long story short, I believe the Universe (or whatever bigger power you believe in) always pushes us back to whats right for us, what’s in alignment with our true selves. I started to manifest all kinds of health problems, literally my body was shutting down on me. My rheumatoid arthritis flared up, I was depressed, hormones all over the place, massive breakouts all over my body, hair loss, chronic fatigue. It was screaming “PAY ATTENTION!!” And I finally did. I remember the exact moment because it was a crystal clear hit of clarity- we had been camping with my parents and had eaten meat, fat, and egg heavy meals for 7 days- on the drive back home it just clicked. I thought to myself- "no more. This isn’t right for me, and my beliefs aren’t in alignment with killing another being for food.”
I dove deep into researching vegan diets, how to heal, and came across a high raw vegan diet via Medical Medium and also Ali Kamenova. I juiced celery every day, I worked really hard on releasing past shame and trauma, I started working out regularly for the first time ever, I grew to love and CRAVE vegetables and fruits with a passion which I had hated before - like kale, butternut squash, mushrooms, persimmons, and dates! My symptoms faded away and I can’t describe the amount of physical and emotional relief and release that I found. You can read more about my healing journey here ( https://mamaeatsplants.com/2018/05/03/my-journey-with-rheumatoid-arthritis/ )
Zero waste for me came about organically too. I randomly was looking on Sunset magazines site and came across Bea Johnson and her zero waste home and was hooked. I remember obsessively reading everything I could about it that night and diving down the rabbit hole of zero waste. My mind expanded like crazy! I remember my partner coming home and me telling him, “I’m so inspired! Let’s do this!” And it really fell exactly into my personal set of values I strive to uphold of lightening my footprint on the earth, living simply, and honoring ancestral/indigenous traditions. So we went in with a bang, it was WAY too much and I got burned out in a few months. I went back to buying at Costco in plastic for a while, but it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t undo the awareness I had received. So I consciously decided to take it slow, mastering one swap at a time before moving on and building another change on top of that. That worked so well and before I knew it, our home was producing very little trash. I’m very fortunate to live in an area where I have easy access to bulk foods and products. I don’t think this is talked about enough, but if you’re contemplating zero waste, know that it’s not all or nothing. Your circumstances are valid, and please honor them and don’t worry about what you can’t do. Do what you can, celebrate each victory, no matter how small, and build over time at your pace.
We are so obsessed with the wonderful seasonal food you are always eating! What’s your favourite seasonal food to eat in Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring?
Summer- HYDRATING FOODS! melons, stone fruit, minestrone with pesto swirled in, marinated lentil salads, juicy tomatoes on everything, watermelon and beet juice
Autumn- GROUNDING FOODS! Dates, tahini, sweet potatoes, kabocha and red kuri squash, roasted root veggies, persimmons, salads with bitter greens and juicy apples, baked pears, chocolate
Winter- WARMING FOODS! Soups, all the soups. More squash and sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. Curries of all kinds loaded with warming spices. Dahl. Chai lattes. Pomegranates and all the citrus. Loads of greens, I especially love the bitter ones.
Spring- FRESH FOODS! Peas, leeks, tender baby lettuces and salads with them, risotto, potato and leek soup, the first strawberries, beets + their greens, artichokes.
Why is eating seasonal important to you?
It’s just another way to live slower, get back to our roots, how we were designed to live. Honoring the cycles and the foods nature has perfectly provided us for what we need in each season. It also tastes way better, is cheaper, and makes you deeply appreciate things when you’ve waited a whole cycle for them to be back again- the first peach for example, is a divine experience for me
You are quite the avid gardener! What advice would you give to a complete beginner wanting to start growing their own food?
I think gardening is so unique to where you live. Your soil, the pests in your area, the weather, the pH of your water, the varieties that will do best in your area- they all vary wildly depending on your area. My best advice is to just start and learn! Search out resources in your area like local small nurseries, community gardens and farms, even utilize a local buy nothing group or Freecycle to ask for gardening advice. Most gardeners are more than happy to mentor a beginner and you will learn so much more than reading about it! You can also google your gardening zone and then use your zone to find out more info about your area. Start small! Try growing some herbs, they are low maintenance and add so much flavor to meals.
Who or what inspires you?
I find inspiration in others who are living their truth, their authenticity and passion. People who own it, both their dark and light parts. Vulnerability. I’m always working on cracking that outer shell, so seeing others who have makes me encouraged. Always the earth, too. If I’m in a funk or a lull of inspiration, getting outside usually helps so much. The ocean is my special place that always resets me.
For those who don’t have access to zero waste organic and seasonal produce locally what advice would you give someone to lower their waste?
Do your best, try to buy in larger packages to minimize waste, choose paper/metal/cloth/glass over plastic when possible, and really get to know your area for unexpected resources. For example, is there an international market near you? I’ve found things like tofu, kimchi, kraut, pickles, tortillas, chiles, hibiscus, etc in supermercados, asian markets, taquerias, and other specialty shops. If that fails, shift your focus to what you can improve- can you bike or take public transit? Buy secondhand? Invest in ethical clothing? Support small makers? Reduce/simplify your needs? Bring your own reusables? Educate others in the community? Donate your time planting trees, organizing a zero waste group pr meet up, beach cleanup, etc? Borrow instead of buy? Zero waste groceries are nice, but they’re not the end all be all. We can all contribute and live a sustainable lifestyle in many different ways.
Do you have a morning or evening ritual or routine that you could share with our followers?
I fluctuate throughout the year with my routines depending on what my body needs at the time. I’ve always loved the idea of routines as a Virgo moon and rising, but I can never stick to them forever! That being said, my essentials are meditation (carving out space at some point during the day), stretching or moving my body in some way, and an herbal infusion with whatever I’m feeling I need that day- nettles, gotu kola, ashwaghanda, hibiscus, raspberry leaf, oatstraw, red clover are all favorites.