authentic living

Tag: kiahs kitchen

Summer Fennel and Zucchini Pasta

Summer Fennel and Zucchini Pasta

Hi Friends, Wow, it has been a hot minute since I have posted a recipe to this blog, apologies for my absence I have been busy growing and birthing a human, who arrived safely on the 22nd of December 2019 – I’ll save the birth […]

Easy Sourdough Starter Pancakes

Easy Sourdough Starter Pancakes

Hi Friends, Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post! Today I am sharing these easy and delicious sourdough starter pancakes. As any regular readers would know, I am always on a mission to reduce my food waste (and plastic waste) and cook more from scratch. […]

September Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 3

September Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 3

Hello Friends!

Welcome back to my September Grocery Budget Challenge, I can’t believe we are in week three, where is the month going!

If you missed out on week one and two, you can find them here:

For a quick re-cap, I’ve set myself a challenge to drop our grocery budget to $120 per week for groceries AND household needs (i.e. washing detergent) without sacrificing food quality and sustainability. I am a big believer in cooking from scratch and consuming wholefoods that nourish you from the inside out. To achieve this goal I have been utilising meal planning, zero food waste principles, focusing on wholefoods and getting creative with what I’m cooking. For reference, Nathan and I live about an hour out of Melbourne CBD (Australia) and $120 is a challenge for us without being too unrealistic, previously we were spending over $200 per week on groceries for the two of us!

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

This week’s grocery shop

For the third week of September, my grocery shop came in at $134.46 which is only $14.46 over budget, much better than last weeks attempt! I also used some of the protein money for the month to buy the chicken, fish and eggs so that is not included in the $134 total. I take out $100 in cash at the beginning of the month and use it to purchase any animal protein we need throughout the month. We follow a predominantly vegetarian diet, we have only incorporated animal products since I became pregnant and I will only buy from local butchers and farms. It’s week three and this is the first time I have used any of it for the month of September.

I had to stock up on some more essentials this week, mainly olive oil and coconut oil. I also grabbed some things that were on special which I didn’t actually need such as the organic quinoa, organic canned tomatoes and extra coconut milk and almond milk. If I didn’t do this I probably would have come in under budget (for once!).

I have included a break down below of what I purchased and where!

Local Green Grocer – $55.56

  • Whole Butternut Pumpkin x 3.5kg
  • Brown Onion x 750g
  • Fresh Ginger x 125g
  • Ground Coriander
  • Pink Lady Apples x 2kg
  • Pak Choy x 1 bunch
  • Carrots x 345g
  • Sweet Potato x 1.57kg
  • Leeks x 1 bunch
  • Lebanese Cucumbers x 350g
  • Bananas x 1.8kg
  • Purple Garlic x 1 bulb
  • Avocado x 1kg
  • Zucchini x 245g
  • Broccoli x 865g
  • Green Capsicum x 500g
  • Red Capsicum x 265g
  • Fresh Coriander x 1 bunch
  • Chinese Cabbage x 660g
  • Baby Spinach x 500g
  • Tomatoes x 630g
  • Strawberries x 2 punnets
  • Blueberries x 1 punnet

Aldi – $37.96

  • Organic Milk
  • Organic Yoghurt
  • Vanilla Yoghurt
  • Apple and Mango Juice
  • Flavoured Tuna x 4
  • Sardines x 2 (for the dogs)
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Choc Chip Cookies
  • WeetBix
  • Rye Bread

Woolworths – $34.40

  • Cobram Estate Olive Oil
  • Earth Choice Laundry Liquid
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk x 2
  • Canned Coconut Milk x 2
  • Organic Diced Tomatoes x 3
  • Organic Soba Noodles
  • Sharp Parmesan Cheese
  • Peppermint Tea

Coles – $6.54

  • Tuna in Springwater x 2
  • Lindt Dark Chocolate x 2

Protein (not included in $120 budget)

  • Chicken Breast from local butcher x 1
  • Fresh Salmon Fillet from local seafood supplier x 2
  • Dozen Free Range Eggs (from family run local farm)

Meal Plan for the Third Week of September

Week Commencing 15/09/19
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast Organic sourdough toast with peanut butter or Vegemite and butter Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Green smoothie made with frozen bananas, fresh spinach, hemp seeds, tropeaka protein powder, natural peanut butter, almond milk, water and ice

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Toast with eggs or oats with leftover fruit
Morning Tea Coffee with Karolina at Conscious Cravings Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Leftover fruit and cup of tea
Lunch Lunch with Jake and Karolina Quinoa, pumpkin and lentil salad with tahini dressing (tri-coloured quinoa, cooked brown lentils, roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, tomato and avocado) Quinoa, pumpkin and lentil salad with tahini dressing (tri-coloured quinoa, cooked brown lentils, roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, tomato and avocado) Toasted sandwich Kiah: Sweet potato soup from freezer
Nath: Vegetable lentil soup from freezer
Tuna salad (tuna, spinach, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds) Leftovers from the week
Afternoon Tea Raw nuts, fresh fruit and cup of tea Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Leftover homemade muffin
Dinner Fresh Salmon fillet (baked) with stir fried Asian greens and rice Chicken and vegetable stir fry (using leftover veggies and one chicken breast) Sweet potato chickpea and spinach curry with soba noodles Sweet potato chickpea and spinach curry with soba noodles Lemon, pea and spinach risotto (add in any other veg on sale) Lemon, pea and spinach risotto (add in any other veg on sale) Date night/takeaway
Dessert Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea



Breakfast

Breakfast was the usual affair once again, I have overnight oats most days and as the weather gets warmer I’m starting to incorporate my favourite smoothies again. Nathan is quite happy with his WeetBix, honey and milk with a glass of juice. On the weekend we have toast just to change it up a bit (plus I love toast!). I needed to buy the milk, almond milk, plain yoghurt, WeetBix, berries and juice for breakfasts, the remaining ingredients I had on hand.

Lunch

Lunches this week were a bit all over the place! I had planned on meal prepping quinoa, pumpkin and brown lentil salad bowls – which I did and we ate them on Monday. However we then had leftover stir fry that we needed to eat so we both took that on Tuesday, we ended up having toasted sandwiches Wednesday, another quinoa, pumpkin and brown lentil salad bowl on Thursday and then soup from the freezer on Friday. I cooked the lentils from scratch (I always keep dried lentils in the pantry) and we had enough quinoa, lentils and pumpkin to make three salads each, so I put the other two servings in the freezer for next week. I only used half of the pumpkin for the salad bowls as it was HUGE so I roasted the other half of the pumpkin and scooped the flesh into a glass container and popped it into the freezer, I’ll use this to make my delicious mushroom and pumpkin risotto (recipe here) in a few weeks time.

Saturday lunch I had something that most people probably cringe at but my mum used to eat it when I was younger and it’s surprisingly good (plus I’m trying to make sure I’m getting my Omega-3s). I had Brunswick Sardines in Olive Oil on toast with natural tomato sauce and melted cheese, and served some sliced apple on the side and a cup of tea. It was amazing (don’t judge me haha).

Dinner

I tend to plan to cook 3-4 nights per week, the nights in between we have leftovers, this works well for us as it is easy, saves us time, reduces dishes and minimises food waste. One night we’ll usually have fish, we might have meat another night and the rest of our meals are vegetarian or vegan.

Sunday night we had fresh salmon fillets which I marinated in a fresh ginger, garlic, honey, soy and chilli dressing and baked in the oven for 20 minutes. We served these with stir fried veggies (pak choy, carrot, green capsicum, red capsicum and broccoli) using the remaining marinade and some quinoa. A delicious and easy Sunday night dinner!

Monday night we came home from work, walked the doggos and threw together a chicken and veggie stir fry, I used Chinese cabbage, onion, carrot, green capsicum, red capsicum and broccoli along with the one chicken breast. I made a stir fry sauce using fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and natural hoisin sauce. We served the stir fry on rice with fresh cashew nuts, chopped coriander and sesame seeds. There was enough leftover for us both to take a serving for lunch the following day. (Forgot to take photo – sorry!).

Tuesday night I made this delicious Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach curry by Heidi Sze – it was so easy to throw together and full of flavour, I added a little extra sweet potato, and some fresh curry leaves I had in the fridge from a couple of weeks ago and used lemon instead of lime. We served this on organic soba noodles with fresh coriander and black sesame seeds, it was amazing! I definitely recommend this for an easy weeknight dinner.

Wednesday night we got home from work, walked the doggos and had leftover curry from the night before which was even better the next day. When storing soba noodles, you should always store them separate to the curry (or whatever you are serving them with) and to reheat you just immerse them in boiling water for a minute or two and strain. I heated the leftover curry on the stove and when I served it all up it doesn’t even feel like you are eating leftovers!

Thursday night I created this delicious Lemon, Leek and Pea risotto with spinach and Parmesan. When I cleaned out our pantry a couple of weeks back I found a packet of arborio rice that I needed to use so decided that we would be having risotto at some point in September. I have too many lemons on my lemon tree so needed to use some of those and when I went grocery shopping I saw the leeks on special and thought they would make a great addition. The peas I had in the freezer and the spinach is something I always have on hand as we buy 500g (which is a lot) every week to add greens to meals easily. I’ll definitely be putting this one up on the blog!

Friday night we came home from work, walked the doggos and had leftover risotto for dinner, super easy and super delicious! If you are going to reheat risotto, I recommend doing so on the stove and adding a little stock while string to heat through.

Saturday afternoon we went out for coffee at a new restaurant in town, I tried their organic dairy free hot chocolate with almond milk which was amazing.

We then watched the final between Collingwood and GWS (AFL if you are not familiar) unfortunately Collingwood lost, the last quarter was intense though, they fought hard! Once the game finished, it was getting late and it was pretty wet and rainy outside. I really wanted Indian but didn’t want to drive to the next town to get it, so I grabbed the broccoli and zucchini out of the fridge that was leftover from last week and turned it into my own Indian curry – I sent Nathan to the supermarket to grab some naan bread and viola, Indian for dinner but much healthier!

Snacks

Since falling pregnant I have had to snack more than I used to, previously I would have an almond latte as morning tea and a piece of fruit in the afternoon. These days, I take raw almonds and cashews, homemade healthy muffins (I usually make a batch of muffins every Sunday using what fruit we have leftover), fresh fruit and a Babybel natural cheese round. Nathan is somewhat similar although he takes vanilla yoghurt rather than nuts and cheese.

This week I made these Healthy Apple Muffins using leftover apples from the previous week, I had all other ingredients already – they turned out great!

 

I also purchased the apples and bananas as our snack fruit for the week.

At the end of the week I had some leftover sweet potatoes and zucchini so decided to try and make life easier for future me by turning these into a meal for the freezer, I already had lentils, chickpeas and stock on hand so I threw together this sweet potato, lentil and chickpea dahl with zucchini. Dahl freezes really well and it made enough for about five serves so I’ll use that for dinner in the coming weeks.

If you want the recipe for this, I used a combination of this one and this one and kind of made my own adjustments/additions (I can never just follow a recipe haha).

In Summary

Overall week three was a success, only $14 over budget and we had an abundance of good nourishing food that lasted us the week. I tried out some new recipes and Nathan enjoyed eating them! I really recommend giving Heidi’s recipe a go, so yummy and easy!

If you too are looking to cut some money from your grocery budget I hope this has given you some motivation, or at the very least, I hope it has given you some meal ideas and inspired you to do some more cooking from home with fresh ingredients! If you’d like to stay up to date on the remainder of this challenge, feel free to subscribe via email so you receive a notification every time a new post is published.

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below or over on my Instagram page, maybe you’re trying to cut costs or just looking at ways you can be more sustainable both financially and environmentally, I love chatting about both of these topics.

Until next time, take care!

X Kiah

My top 5 favourite soup recipes this Fall/Winter Season!

My top 5 favourite soup recipes this Fall/Winter Season!

Hi Friends! Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen blog post! Today I’m sharing my top five favourite soup recipes for this Fall/Winter season! In Australia we are slowly beginning to see the signs of Spring on the horizon, however we’ve not escaped the cold days […]

Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Hi Friends! I’m back with another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe for you today! This past weekend in Melbourne was a doozy! I believe Saturday was the coldest March day in over 40 years and it poured with rain for most of the day. Whilst there are […]

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Hi Friends!

Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post, I’m sharing a super delicious, cheap and easy Coconut Kidney Bean Curry recipe!

I have been continuing to read and explore the principles of diet according to Chinese Medicine and taking a more holistic approach to health and wellness. The dietary changes I have been making combined with the continued acupuncture and Chinese herbs has really made all of the difference to my health.

I am focusing predominantly on hormonal health and balance as that is one of the areas I have been struggling with for the past few years. According to Chinese Medicine the kidney system is closely related to the western endocrine system and so to support hormone balance and reproductive health, it is necessary to take steps to support your kidneys. It is really interesting to learn how the organs are impacted by our lifestyle choices and the subsequent impact this has on various aspects of our health, it is quite a different approach to Western Medicine. The emotion associated with the kidneys is fear, so if you have weak kidneys, you are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and panic (which makes sense given my anxiety). The taste associated with the kidneys is salt, so if you are craving salt it may also be a sign that your kidneys need a boost.

Over the past few months, I have implemented various diet and lifestyle changes to support my kidneys, under the guidance of my Chinese Medicine Practitioner. As a result of these changes and the ongoing treatments from Nashira, my menstrual cycles have gone from being irregular (ranging from 30 days to 45 days long) to being consistently 31 days long for a few months now, which has not happened in the previous 18 months that I have been tracking them! Furthermore, my skin has started to clear up, my sleep has improved and my body is now going through the hormonal changes that it should each month with the rise and fall in oestrogen and progesterone, I feel a lot more connected to my body and my cycle.



Some of the small changes I have made to support my kidneys, include reducing the amount of water I drink each day (I was drinking over 2.5 litres) as this can place stress on your kidneys. I have consistently been drinking a cup of Nettle tea everyday which is excellent for your kidneys and does not contain caffeine. I have also been incorporating a lot of kidney supporting foods into my diet, as well as receiving the acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs.

According to the principles of Chinese Medicine kidney beans are excellent for supporting your kidneys and heart, in fact a simple meal of kidney beans, rice and vegetables can be an amazing boost for your kidney qi (how many times can I say kidney?). Of course anyone that knows me knows I can’t just stick to a simple meal, so I wanted to come up with something super flavourful and relatively easy that would support my kidney health. The result? This delicious Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens – it ticks all the boxes! Great for your health, inexpensive, plant based, very nutritious, packed with flavour and easy to make. Whether you feel like your kidneys need a boost or not I definitely recommend giving this one a go, especially at this time of the year where it is important to provide your body with lots of nourishment before we move into winter.

All of the ingredients for this dish should be relatively easy to find, don’t skip on the curry leaves, they add so much flavour and can be found in the fresh herb section of any large supermarket or green grocer. If you make this recipe please let me know how you enjoyed it either on social media (@kiahs.kitchen) or via a comment below. Also please share this recipe with anyone you feel could benefit from it!

Until next time,

Kiah x

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

This is a super simple yet flavourful dish, quick to pull together on a weeknight while still providing plenty of nutrition. Kidney beans are one of the most affordable options for a filling and healthy protein source.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Easy Vegan Dinner, Kidney Bean Curry, Vegan Curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 400g cans of red kidney beans
  • 1 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 whole brown onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 3cm thumb of ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  • 270 ml can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 servings basmati rice
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 200 grams green beans
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander to serve

Instructions

  1. Set rice on to cook according to instructions (I use a rice cooker)

  2. Peel and dice the onion, peel and mince the garlic and grate the ginger 

  3. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onions on a medium heat until golden and translucent 

  4. Add minced garlic and grated ginger to saucepan and stir for a further one minute

  5. Add turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and fresh curry leaves (remove stalk) to the saucepan and stir for 30 seconds (add a little water to prevent sticking)

  6. Drain and rinse kidney beans and add to the saucepan along with the can of crushed tomatoes (including their juice) and the can of coconut milk

  7. Stir everything well, bring to a near boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes

  8. While the curry and rice is cooking, chop the broccoli into florets and top and tail the green beans

  9. When the curry has 8-10 minutes of cook time remaining, place the broccoli and green beans in a steamer over medium heat and steam to your liking (I like mine with a little crunch left in them)

  10. Serve rice onto plates, top with kidney bean curry and serve veggies on the side, finish everything off with a sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander 

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.


Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Hi Friends, I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Today I am sharing my recipe for a banana apple bread which is 100% dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free and could be made gluten free by changing out the flour, so it certainly […]

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Hi Friends! Today I’m sharing my super yummy, super healthy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Green Bean Curry recipe! Now for my fellow Australians, I am very aware it is November and we are heading into summer, however, curry is an all season staple for me, […]

Five easy ways to minimise waste and become more eco friendly!

Five easy ways to minimise waste and become more eco friendly!

Hey Friends!

Today I’m here to talk about waste. Nope, this is not a blog post about poop, the waste I am referring to is the avoidable and unnecessary kind.

Right now I don’t think the planet is feeling too crash hot, the air is dirty, the water is contaminated, the temperatures are rising, the ice is melting and there is plastic literally everywhere. I bet you’re feeling really positive right about now hey? Sorry about that! Good news is, we can do something about it, we can change our behaviour, and little changes by a lot of people go a long way.

Recently I have been on a mission to see what I can do to reduce my negative impact on the environment and in this post I am sharing my top five beginners tips to minimise waste and become more eco-friendly. I have implemented all of these steps in my life, a few I have been doing for years and a couple I have only recently started. Have a read and see if there is something you could implement in your life (I promise they are all super dooper easy) and if you have any tips or resources of your own on this topic, please share in a comment below!

1. Clean up your diet

World Watch scientists estimate that the current livestock industry is responsible for the production of over 51% of all human created greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which makes it the leading contributor to GHG emissions, more than the entire transport industry combined (Sustainable Table 2018). This means, what you choose to put in your mouth has a greater impact on the environment than the car you choose to drive and the energy you use in your home. Joseph Poore from Oxford University, recently led a major study published in the Science journal reviewing the impact of today’s farming industry on greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water health. Poore stated “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use”.



I have been vegan for one year now after giving up animal products overnight in September 2017 and I have to say, it was one of the best decisions of my life. Before you roll your eyes and prepare yourself for a stereotypical angry vegan rant, I understand that not everyone feels ready or wants to make the leap to a plant based vegan lifestyle, I had to come to that choice on my own in my own time. However, any reduction in your consumption of meat, dairy and eggs is a step in the right direction and has a positive impact on the environment. Consider starting ‘meat free Mondays’ and including more vegetarian and vegan meals in your week.

Alternatively, if you are like me and have already adopted a vegan diet (yaass go you!), I encourage you to take a look at your weekly grocery shop and review the number of packaged food purchases you are making. Reducing the amount of processed food in your diet will reduce single waste plastic, improve your physical and mental health and probably help with your budget. So opting to consume more whole foods is a win for the planet as well as a win for your health!

Want some more info on the environmental impact of the livestock industry? Check out the resources below:

  • Food Inc Documentary, available on Netflix
  • Forks over Knives Documentary, available on Netflix
  • Sustainable Table Website, click here
  • Love Food Hate Waste Website, click here
  • Article: 5 Ways the Meat on Your Plate is Killing the Planet, click here

Want some delicious meat free meal ideas? Check out the resources below:

2. Start composting

WOWZA! I cannot believe I did not start composting earlier, it is SO SO easy!

Did you know, when you dispose of fruit and vegetable scraps in the normal waste, it gets deposited in landfill without oxygen and can’t actually decompose properly? Instead it takes up valuable landfill space and produces harmful methane gasses which are 20x more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. I had no idea until only recently!



This can be completely avoided by starting your own compost bin! By composting you are allowing biological breakdown of your food scraps and other organic matter into compost which in turn provides nutrients for the soil in your garden. All you need is a compost bin, you can easily get one from your local home improvement store (Bunnings if you are Aussie) or you can make one yourself. Then you just start by adding your green matter and your brown matter, aiming for a 50/50 balance of the two to ensure there is enough nitrogen and moisture (from the green matter) and carbon and fibre (from the brown matter).

For a more detailed guide on how to set up your compost and and explanation of what constitutes green and brown matter, check out the resources below:

Don’t think you have enough space to compost? Think again, literally EVERYONE can compost, even in an apartment with no garden, there are so many options from indoor composting setups to local council initiatives. Check out your local councils websites or some of the links below for further options:

  • Earth Easy Guide to Apartment Composting, click here
  • Sustainable Table Guide to Composting, click here

3. Switch to an eReader

I am a self confessed bookworm, I LOVE reading and can go through numerous books a week #NerdLyf

This addiction can become somewhat of a problem when your home office starts to look more like a hoarder’s library. Sure I have some all time favourites sitting on my shelves, but for the most part, how often do I actually read a book more than once? In short, never.

In my quest to become an eco princess warrior, I decided to consider my options for satiating my inner book nerd while respecting the environment.

To be honest, I used to be super against using eReaders. I felt like technology was taking over my life and looking at another screen would be bad for my eyes. However, before our Europe trip I decided to do some research into them (because how else was I going to get through my European Summer reading list – I couldn’t lug 20 books around!).

(Accurate representation of me trying to fit all the books I bought into my bag on the way home from Europe – DISCLAIMER they were all second hand, London and Scotland have THE BEST second hand bookstores!)

I discovered that eReaders can actually be easier on your eyes than a normal book as there is a better contrast between the text and the background. If you opt for a kindle, you can read with no screen lighting, or you can use the front light for reading in low-light situations. The front light allows you to read for hours without straining your eyes, as opposed to a back light like those on our smart phones which is harmful to our eyes.

I took the plunge and invested in a Kindle Paperwhite and I have to admit, I do love it! It’s so easy to download books, it’s cost effective, the battery lasts for ages and it’s so light in my handbag (yes, I am one of those people that always carries a book around). Plus, I found that I actually read faster on the kindle and it automatically connects to my good reads account!

Not convinced on the eBook front? Why not try out Audible, an audio book subscription service which allows you to download books to your phone! I LOVE audible, I download a new audio book every month to listen to on my commute to work, while doing my house work or walking my dogs. This is especially great if you don’t have much time in your life to sit down and read a book!

STILL NOT CONVINCED? If you are still super keen on reading physical books why not try your local library or second hand bookstore? Choosing this option will cut back waste that results from buying a book and reading it once, save you money and you still have the satisfaction of curling up with a cup of tea and getting lost in a good story!

4. Shop second hand

Let’s face it, we live in a consumerist society, we are told what to like by big businesses, celebrities, marketing and advertisement designed to make you feel like if you just had *insert item name here* you would be happy. NEWS FLASH having more stuff does not and never will make you happy. Now I’m not preaching from my high horse, I have and still do fall for this. Marketing and advertising infiltrates our lives, we are bombarded with it, it’s pretty hard to ignore and it works. But at what cost?

A great documentary on the environmental and human impact of fast fashion is called The True Cost. It’s on Netflix so if you don’t have a login borrow a friend or family members, sit down with a cup of tea and learn about where our clothes come from. As consumers we want things fast, we want them cheaper and we treat them as disposable when the next thing comes along. This attitude is having a detrimental impact on our environment, and on the people and communities working in the factories for next to nothing to produce our consumables.

There are a few ways we can take a more sustainable approach to our purchasing habits. Firstly, if you are going to buy clothes new, research the brand and the company, preferably choosing one that has a positive environmental and social impact. Invest in well made and timeless pieces that you know you will wear time and time again and avoid fast fashion companies LIKE THE PLAGUE.

Secondly, try op-shopping! I have been a lover of op shops, markets and vintage stores for many years, I often find some of my best wardrobe pieces in op shops in practically new condition. Not a fan of digging through clothes in a funny smelling shop? You can always try markets or there are plenty of options to shop second hand online from the comfort of your own home, such as Facebook Marketplace, eBayDepop, The Luxury Exchange or Blue Spinach.

Fun fact, almost all of the clothes I took to Europe this summer were from an op-shop or second hand, they were all in brand new condition and pretty much all well known high quality brand names (check out some snaps below).


Rome, Italy (op-shopped dress)


Amsterdam, Netherlands (op-shopped jumpsuit)


London, England (op-shopped skirt)


Oxford, UK (op-shopped pants and t-shirt)

Lastly, if you are looking for an outfit for an event, why not borrow from friends or family? Often we only wear nice dresses once or twice, by borrowing we save money and minimise our waste!

Want some more resources on reducing clothing waste? Check out the list below:

  • The True Cost Movie (available on Netflix)
  • The True Cost Movie Website, click here
  • The High Cost of Our Cheap Fashion Ted Talk, click here

5. Invest and reuse!

Plastic is everywhere, it’s all around us and it doesn’t decompose, it’s never going away. Plastic has infiltrated our lives, our food, our clothes, our oceans. Plastic is literally killing our planet, we have entire floating islands of plastic waste! A great (and also terrifying) documentary to watch on the impact plastic is having is A Plastic Ocean which is also available on Netflix. If this documentary doesn’t make you rethink your plastic use, I don’t know what will.

Want to reduce your plastic but don’t know where to start? Start with investing in a good quality reusable water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, and reusable shopping and produce bags.

It is estimated that 1,000,000 plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide, half a million straws are used each day and each year we consume over 500 billion disposable cups (www.earthday.org). Only a fraction of this is actually recycled.

Last year I invested in two (one for me and one for Nath) large insulated stainless steel water bottles from the brand Earth Bottles. This company partners with Clean Coast Collective to fund beach clean ups along with many other organisations having a positive social and environmental impact. My Earth Bottle keeps my water cool, keeps me hydrated and it looks pretty! Best of all, I don’t ever buy plastic water bottles. There are so many stainless steel or glass water bottles out there which will last you forever and save you from using plastic, just find one that suits your style and get hydrating!

The reusable coffee cup I use is by Pottery for the Planet and was a Christmas gift from my mum (she knows me too well). It is a beautiful ceramic reusable coffee cup that I get so many comments on from baristas and friends. Previously I have used a KeepCup glass reusable coffee cup (I unfortunately smashed it to pieces when I dropped it at work, a very sad day) which is another great option! Choose a brand and cup you like and keep drinking that heavenly heavenly coffee!

Lastly, in terms of reusable shopping bags, invest in some cute ones so you like using them. Keep them in your car or some little fold up ones in your handbag so you are never without them when stopping in at the shops. I have also invested in some reusable produce bags which are great to avoid using those single use bags for your apples and potatoes, alternatively you can just get your fruit and veg sans bag!

Want some more resources on plastic and some reusable product suggestions? Check out the suggestions below:

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! If you are not already doing some of these things I hope it has inspired you to make small changes to benefit the environment. I am still learning about how I can be and do better and I will continue to share my journey with you, I’m not perfect, I make mistakes like everyone else, I forget to bring my reusable cup occasionally or I see a new book that I really want, but the important thing is that I’m trying and will continue to try. If you have some tips and resources on minimising waste and leading a more environmentally friendly life, please share in a comment down below!

Until next time,

X Kiah

Pear, Raspberry and Walnut Oats – the perfect winter breakfast!

Pear, Raspberry and Walnut Oats – the perfect winter breakfast!

Earlier in the year I shared my go-to summer breakfast, vegan bircher muesli which is a staple for me in the warmer months (find the recipe here). However now that the leaves have fallen, the days have become incredibly short and I can literally see […]