It’s always really hard getting off your high horse, especially if you’ve been really loud about riding it, but it goes against every fibre of my being to be a hypocrite. So here’s the stream of thought about how it’s not always easy to be sustainable, zero waste, plant based hippie.
Just like a lot of things in the developed world, sustainability is a privilege. That’s why we as a family take it upon ourselves to be as sustainable and kind to nature as possible because we can. We are privileged enough to have our hierarchy of needs completely fulfilled and therefore we can concentrate on such things as the wellbeing of the planet, the future and our children’s future.
When the needs are met and you are a single young professional it’s easy, when you have a baby it’s easy still. At those times I found myself judging people for not being a little bit kinder to the planet, for simply dismissing even the easiest swaps and changes. However as we found ourselves this year in some of the toughest times we have gone through in life, I have come to a realisation that you never really know what’s going on in other people’s lives. I don’t think I will ever understand buying plastic bottles, not recycling, not bringing your own bags, wasting food and water or walking 200m for a take away coffee without a keep cup, but I have now found it in my head and heart to just stop thinking about what others are doing. Partly because we have had to make our lives easier in certain ways from the end of last year.
Even when you have a busy job and a great social lifestyle, without kids, you still have plenty of free time, even with a baby that you can easily take anywhere you go, it’s still a cruise. Things change a little bit when your kid starts talking, running and forming opinions. Adding zero family support, full time job and a pregnancy on top of that, you soon find that free time is the highest valued commodity and you choose very carefully how you spend it. I am sure that people that have their own business and two kids will tell you: “one kid = no kid” and I believe them.
First of all, I no longer wish to detangle my hair for an hour anymore. There’s simply no solid bar shampoo and conditioner that works on my long hair. Not to mention “men have their cars and women have their hair” haha just kidding, it’s one of my favourite quotes from That 70s show”, I just really like my hair.
It’s not always possible to cook, not every single breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a family we don’t really do processed food so popping a frozen pizza in the oven is not a weekly option. Neither is pouring milk over some over sugared cereal in the morning. We make our own saurkraut, bake bread, make homemade pizza base, buns and even gnocchi. If we have muffins in the house, it will be from ripe bananas that we have bought on the markets and sweetened with honey from the same source. So sometimes we order in and most of the time, it comes in a plastic container. When we were in Sydney and didn’t want to go out for dinner because you know – toddler, we had Uber eats in our room. Oh so much plastic.
When me and Lukas were travelling on our own, in the plane we were super equipped. Hot tea flask, reusable water bottles, our own cutlery and most of the time even home made lunch so we wouldn’t have to eat airplane food. When you are travelling with a toddler, there’s really no space for all of that because you already have all the cloth nappies, books, toys and food. Again feeding our daughter with store bought processed food is not an option for us and no she will not always eat what we order in the restaurant even though that up until year and a half she ate absolutely everything.
Now speaking of eating absolutely everything. It’s easy to maintain plant based diet when you can do a batch a of vegan balls made out of black beans knowing your toddler will eat them, but what if three days go by and there’s just no way to get any lentils or beans into her? In terms of physical development and child psychology, I think we are really doing our best and the first year and a half with absolutely no sugar on a plant-based whole-foods will be worth it. However as someone who struggled with anaemia this year, I am obsessed with Josefina eating enough iron so I do cook meat for her as well. We have also introduced eggs (high on Omegas, locally sourced from happy chickens that you can check on a live cam) into our diet and I am so happy we did. Most of our meals at home will still be plant based, especially for Lukas who claims he never felt better, however when I eat out, I no longer order the only vegan option on the menu. Since I have become pregnant I have been craving meat and because of the anaemia I have just gone with it. Although in saying that, it hasn’t had any positive effects on raising my iron levels so I am still convinced that a balanced plant based diet is a way to go on most days and maybe go with the flow when eating out.
I am so glad I got that off my chest.
Now, we will still hunt on marketplace because buying lots of new stuff is a total waste, we will still repair everything that’s broken and buy better quality rather than quantity. We will still source local. I will still go and recycle that goddamn soft plastic even though I hate it, I just hate it, it’s such a chore. I don’t think I would ever use disposable wet wipes because it smells horrible and it’s full of chemicals. I will still be making our bum spray and bum cream to go under the beautiful cloth nappies, but I will not be above using those horrible chemicals packed in plastic on my own hair because I just want to look pretty, pregnant mother and all.