Biryani on a Budget

I’m in a Plant Based Recipe sharing watsapp group, and shared the Biryani recipe I made recently using surplus ingredients.

Well how can I share it there, and not with you guys? Sharing is caring right? So here goes…

Potato, Mushroom & Chickpea Biryani :-

You should know by now that I use whatever surplus food I have in my cooking; if I don’t have it I don’t use it. Hence, there is no onion or garlic in this recipe. Of course, you can add to yours if you would like to.

Ingredients :-

  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato
  • 2 White Potatoes
  • 200g Long Grain Rice
  • 300g Mushrooms
  • Schwartz Biryani Spice Mix or spices of your choosing.
  • 400g Tinned Tomatoes
  • 100-200g Tinned Chickpeas
  • Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1-2tbsp tamarind, or mango, chutney
  • 1tbsp margarine or oil

Directions :-

  • Chop the sweet and white potato’s, unpeeled – fibre right, into cubes.
  • In a large frying pan, fry the cubed potatoes in 1tbsp of margarine, or oil, till soft.
  • Slice and add the mushrooms, stirring altogether until the mushrooms are soft.
  • Add the spice mix, stirring so the vegetables are mixed in the spices well.
  • Add approx 100g chickpeas, more if you’d like, the chopped tomatoes, rice, fill the tomato tin with cold water, and add that to the pan.
  • Add a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes.
  • I added a tamarind chutney pouch leftover from a box of samosas, you could use mango chutney if you have that.
  • Simmer until the rice is cooked, adding more water if needed.
  • Enjoy!

Feel free to adapt the ingredients depending on what you have. You could use fresh chillies, ginger, coriander. Choose from different veg; aubergines, squash, peas.

Let me know if you give it a go!

Flat Earth Pizza

Sustainable fast food? Are you taking the pizza?!

Most sustainable food business is a big claim, but one that was awarded to Flat Earth Pizzas by Lux Life Hospitality Awards in 2020! I had the pleasure of interviewing Flat Earth Pizzas founders, Sarah Brading and Rich Baker, for the Alright Raiders podcast – keep an eye, or ear, out for that upcoming episode. https://open.spotify.com/show/6cTNNLKYNjAAIXe2zEDYRh?si=7lmc_ljWSHG9-S8xbn-3Sw&dl_branch=1

They invited me to come down and try their pizzas at their residence at The Railway Tavern, Dalston, London.

Who do you take to a vegetarian pizza place? A meat eater of course! Whilst I love eating out with my vestie (vegan/veggie bestie), sometimes you need to step outside of your echo chamber, and show omnivores how tasty a plant based approach can be, so I took my pal, Hayley; we’ll call her a lestie (less meat eating bestie).

Rich and Sarah make vegetables centre stage, encouraging diners to reduce their meat intake without feeling like they are missing out on the sustenance or flavour that people associate with meat.

I went for the Hackney Hot topped with Sweet Pickled Beetroot, Rhubarb, Chillies. Rich lit up with pizza pride as he told how a customer had asked how he managed to make the pizza taste like pepperoni – he told me that he’d replied “I don’t” with a cheeky grin. In fact, Flat Earth add no fake meats at all to their pizzas; plants really are on top! I can see how your taste buds could be fooled though, the Hackney Hot has a good kick to it, and it’s paprika, sriracha, flavour reminded me of a hot, meaty, pizza.

Lestie had the Courgette, Fennel, and Walnut. We both had vegan cheese; all of the pizzas on the menu can be veganised using the arty vegan mozzarella – father and daughter duo producing deli style food https://theartyvegan.com. We also had Garlic Bread with Vegan Cheese, and Wild Garlic Roasted New Potatoes with Vegan Mayo. The lestie raved that less, meat, was more, with her choice; she loved the pizza, and didn’t feel that she was missing out in any way.

The bread dough is made with Gilchester’s, unrefined, unprocessed, organic heritage grain flour, making it a healthier pizza base https://gilchesters.com. Flat Earth pride themselves on creating unique toppings using local, seasonal produce, reducing their carbon foot print and air miles; they’ve certainly given me an idea for when I next glean rhubarb from Andy’s Allotment! https://reductionraider1.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/andys-allotment/amp/

Flat Earth try not to send any kitchen waste to landfill; vegetable ends which would usually be binned are transformed into new ingredients. Beetroot skins are dehydrated into a dust to top the pizzas, and a demi-glace stock is made with onion and garlic skins and other vegetable tops and tails which would usually be thrown away. They also ferment, pickle, brew kombucha Avoiding food waste is something Flat Earth are really passionate about, and any small amount of unavoidable food waste is turned into fertiliser for local farms.

They are also keen to promote other local, independent, businesses; for dessert I had a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie by Cake or Death, a vegan bakery started in Dalston. https://www.cakeordeath.co.uk/

Rich enthusiastically told us of other businesses they are partnering up with such as another bakery in Hackney, Lovely Buns https://www.heylovelybuns.co.uk/; it’s clear that they want everyone to have a pizza of the action 😉

There was mention of more pioneering businesses paving the way, but I’d had a few wines so can’t be expected to remember everything – what? I need to be able to show lestie’s that alcohol can also be free from animal products!

Anyway, never mind my unit intake, Hackney Hot food it down to Dalston and grab yourself a slice of the action!

https://www.flatearthpizzas.com/

Chew it Over

I recently met the, retired, work bestie at our old office for lunch. “Come in the men’s I want to show you something”.

Get your heads out of the gutter, it wasn’t that! It was dried up chewing gum stuck above the sink. He was amazed that it was still there, he’s been retired for over a year but the gum has been there from when he started at the office 20 years ago!

Whilst he might be decomposing, don’t tell him I said that, the chewing gum certainly isn’t! Regular chewing gum is made from polymers (plastic) so doesn’t biodegrade. This makes it an environmental nightmare, especially when not disposed properly and tossed on the streets, stuck under desks, bottom of shoes, in office loo’s. And, who didn’t buy into the, it sticks in your stomach if you swallow it, rumour as a kid?

According to www.keepbritaintidy.org/local-authorities/reduce-litter/gum-litter 95% of the UK’s streets is stained with gum. So how can we clean up our act? Let’s get Nuud! Again, heads out of gutters please Raiders, I’m talking Nuud gum!

I was sent a couple of packs of plastic free, Nuud gum to try, peppermint and spearmint flavours. In place of plastic are plant based ingredients. The gum base is from a sustainably harvested tree sap called Chicle which is biodegradable.

Nuud can be composted, on their website they note that the gum can be broken down in about 12 weeks, and compare it to banana peel. The two of them can become acquainted in my food waste bin!

Both flavours are refreshing, I couldn’t tell much difference between them and regular gum. Being plastic free, sugar free, vegan, getting Nuud is something that I’m going to stick to!

Click on the website below to subscribe, or find your local stockist :-

www.nuudgum.com/

Ultra Raiders

Back in September 2020, I was on Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, tv show presenting my dilemma of ‘Should I or Shouldn’t I Spend on Sports Nutrition’ for an upcoming ultramarathon.

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to tell you that I trained, and ran, a 53K trail race in the October eating surplus foods, and spent no money on fancy sports nutrition. In fact, I’d run a 50K the same way a few months earlier, and am currently training for a 53 mile race buying and eating surplus foods.

I’m certainly no sports nutritionist, or coach, but thought I’d share some tips for frugal fuelling.

See Food Diet:-

I used to be a loyal TK Maxx shopper, the designer discount store, and loved rummaging through their rails. What I quickly learnt with buying clothes that are imperfect, end of season, is that if you see it and want it buy it as you are unlikely to come across it again. Whilst these days I spend more time in Tesco than I do TK Maxx, the same principle applies. if you see food reduced on it’s use by, best before dates, packaging damaged or a store is clearing a shelf, discontinuing an item and you think you’d eat it, buy it. There are so many foods which can be frozen. I routinely freeze bananas to add to pre or post run smoothies, porridge, flapjacks. I enjoy having items such as meat free sausage rolls, vegan pasties, on a long run so will buy these reduced and freeze ahead of time. I even stashed individual packs of biscuits into my pocket, whilst in a showroom recently, knowing that I’d be thankful having them with me on a long run.

Use What You Got:-

One of the reasons that I’ve run consistently for the past 10 years is that I don’t need much more than my trainers, and to open the door. I can run anytime, any place, I do not need to make a booking, no fancy equipment; when the world came to a halt with the pandemic and gyms, classes, studios closed their doors, I could keep on running. It can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, and the food doesn’t need to be complicated either. You’ll often surprise yourself as to how much you already have at home. Roast potatoes are a favourite of mine on a long run and I really want to give oven chips ago after a running buddy mentioning that he took cold chips out on a run. I’ve taken a banana on the move with me, filled bagel, a sandwich, a cake, brownie that I’ve baked. If your starting position (pun not intended) is ‘how can I use what I already have’, you’ll find you go the distance (pun intended).

Do What Suits You:-

“Ah yes, a jam doughnut that well known running fuel”, a friend of mine said sarcastically as I pulled a jam doughnut out of my hydration vest, half way into our long run. We’ve run together enough times for me to be used to her teasing, but she’s flat out refused to join when I’ve been running 4 hours plus because it doesn’t suit her. And that’s ok, ultra running is not for everyone, neither is a jam doughnut, but clearly I’m partial to both. I had the doughnut left from a pack I’d collected using food sharing app olioex.com figured it would do the same job as a sports gel, replenish depleted carbohydrates and give me an energy boost. Plus, training is the time for trial and error to see which foods suit you ahead of race day.

Do Not Follow The Pack:-

We are such social creatures that we often find ourselves mirroring our peers, comparing ourselves to them, being influenced by how much or how little they eat, train, rest, yet running is often a solitary activity in which we our reliant on our physical and mental strength to keep going and we can take a similar approach to food, our diets. I’ve been questioned on how I can sustain a healthy diet on surplus foods, received remarks on how much I’ve eaten, found myself hesitating when it comes to ordering dessert waiting to see what my dinner date does. More and more, I’ve tried to tune out the outside noise and tune into what I need. If you want a second helping have it, leftovers are going spare take them, you need more than the recommended portion tuck in. It’s astonishing that considering the thought, time and energy invested into food that 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK yearly wrap.org.uk

Ditch the Labels:-

Best before dates (BBD) can often be confused with use by dates, but it is only the latter which refers to food safety. Best before is a date at which the food is said to be at it’s best quality, is not a legal requirement and safe to eat it past it’s best before date. This has meant I’ve been given porridge oats instead of a friend’s aunt binning them, protein powder a good few years past its BBD when another friend moved house, a selection of powdered super greens when friend’s have cleared out their cupboards, fruit that my mum hasn’t gotten around to eating; plenty of nutrients to support my running, and saves me running to fancy health food shops. I was at a friend’s allotment recently, not a BBD in sight, but an abundance of fruit and veg which I cooked, baked, blended; I even made a ginger and turmeric shot recently without a blender which cost 20p – 90% less than it’s RRP @reduction_raider1

Whether you are a seasoned runner, foodie, or newbie to exercise, eating well for less, there is a lot to be said for making use of what you have. It could be turning the limp veg being neglected in your fridge into a tasty soup, day old bread into croutons, making a curry from a tin of baked beans, storing milk in the freezer ahead of time for smoothies, taking 20 minutes of your lunch break to hit the pavement. And, keeping in mind that we all have to start somewhere, but consistency can yield great results. There was a time, I’d swear blind I was never going to run a marathon, an ultra was a far fetched fantasy, and I’m not sure that I would have seen the day I’d move on from being a fussy, can’t cook won’t cook. It didn’t happen overnight, it was a build up of small changes, over a number of years. And a community, my sisters on hand to tell me how to make bolognese, work friends egging me on (I know I’m full of them) to try out new recipes, running friends, clubs, coaches to offer advice, tips, support. There are running, food waste, sustainability, cooking communities out there; give us a shout, we’ll be waiting for you at the start line.

My running pal Pats popping her unwanted block of tofu into my back pocket – waste not want not

Alright Raiders

Chew the fat, spill the beans, talk turkey, break bread; all idioms related to food to refer to talking, conversations, exchanges, connections. And, I want us to do more of that, talk, talk food, food talk, conversations about food, discuss our relationship with food by relating to one another, forming relationships, which is why I have launched my own podcast ‘Alright Raiders’.

I love showcasing my reduced price food finds on Instagram https://www.instagram.com › reduction_raider1, sharing what I’ve cooked with surplus foods. It’s great being able to write about my experiences here, provide you guys, with tips, the odd recipe. What I also want, is to bring it back to good old fashioned conversation. That’s why we enjoy gathering at the table right? Family dinners, fancy restaurants, casual dinning, celebratory meals, picnics, barbeques, cutting cake. it’s not simply the food sharing, but the conversations, the time, space to connect with one another. Food is symbolic, meaningful, social, political and can affect change. Food is community, cultural, it feeds into our identities – pun intended, it unites us. Sadly, it can also divide use. Food poverty, food politics, food systems, food deserts, food accessibility, food insecurity, food privilege.

I often describe our increasing ability to live independently, those of us who are relatively comfortable that is, as one of the reasons that we are so wasteful in UK. In the UK, hunger impacts 8.4 million people – that’s the rough equivalent to London’s entire population – while 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year. Food waste is one of the root causes of hunger around the world, alongside extreme poverty and conflict. https://www.oddbox.co.uk/blog/world-hunger-day-food-waste-food-poverty

We can have food delivered, from around the world, to the comfort of our homes, any time, day or night, without having to interact with the outside world. We do not need to see who grows, farms, harvests, produces our food. Who it is that transports it, stocks it, even delivers it. We can avoid those who are in need and have to rely on others for their next meal. We can go unseen whilst the salad in our fridge wilts away, no one has to know when we throw away food that could have nourished us, someone else.

I’m hoping that Alright Raiders will open up the conversation, get us speaking to one another, connect with each other, build a community, have us putting food waste on the table. Each week, I ask a different guest the same six questions; who they are, what is their current relationship with food, how does this differ from their past relationship with food, what do they do well in terms of food waste, what do they want to do more of, and what changes do they want to see in the world? It’s been amazing how the same questions have led to different conversations; to date we have talked sustainability, food systems, colonialism, charity, disordered eating, health, child-care, community, environmentalism, and veganism.

I’ve really enjoyed breaking bread with each guest, and I hope you come and join the conversation too; I’m going to be dining out on this podcast, and these puns, for a while lol! Alright Raiders, enough typing, more talking, pull up a dining table chair and search for Alright Raiders on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

https://open.spotify.com/show/6cTNNLKYNjAAIXe2zEDYRh

Save Dough!

We’ve all heard of wonky fruit and veg right? Well how about bread?! According to Earth & Wheat, in the UK we waste 24 million pieces of bread every day! www.earthandwheat.com

Who are Earth and Wheat I hear you ask. The first, and only, UK wonky bread subscription box. They have partnered up with UK bakeries and are redistributing bread which would otherwise go to waste, to subscribers who want to reduce food waste, the impact on the environment, and save dough.

Earth and Wheat sent me a box of their mixed variety wonky breads to try. It included crumpets, pancakes, plain tortilla wraps, wholemeal tortilla wraps and folded flatbreads.

I put all of the bread, bar the pancakes, into the freezer. All of the bread and packaging is suitable for freezing and will last in the freezer for at least one month when frozen before it’s best before date.

The pancakes contain dairy so being vegan I’ll give those to my mum. Earth and Wheat support sharing the non-vegan pancakes with neighbours or through food sharing apps such as Olio https://olioex.com It’s my mum who would not be impressed if I gave them to anyone but her ha ha! Earth and Wheat are seeking to introduce a vegan option and are working with developers to make this possible from a technical IT side.

Sharing doesn’t end with mums, or neighbours, but for every box ordered, they donate a meal to UK food banks to help fight food poverty, including a charity that I’ve volunteered with for some years The Felix Project https://thefelixproject.org

In addition to reducing food poverty, the impact of my box was 2.5kg of bread saved, 3240 litres water saved, 3kg of CO2. The box itself is recyclable, and the plastic film can be recycled in a store.

If you’d like to save some dough, both the breaded and monetary kind, then use offer code RESCUE50 for 50% off your first order. £3.50 for the first box, including delivery, then £6.99 from then onwards. You can cancel your subscription at any time.

www.earthandwheat.com

Butter Lentils

Butt er I don’t eat chicken. Sorry I couldn’t help myself! Ginni’s Kitchen sent me a sample of their Butter Chicken Spice Mix fully aware that I don’t eat meat. In fact, it’s that very reason Ginni asked me to try it. They already had a chicken recipe nailed but wanted me to try giving it a go in a vegan dish. “I know you are incredibly creative with vegan options” Ginni said so go ahead and improvise. Well get creative and improvise was exactly what I needed to do seeing as I had limited ingredients in. I could have gone to my trusty reduced section in the supermarket but honestly I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house so figured I’d make use of whatever I already had.  

Ironically, as a non meat eater, I used Ginni’s Butter Chicken recipe as somewhat of a guide. I’d not blended tomatoes in a curry dish before, seeing it as an instruction on the recipe I thought why not follow suit considering I had a tin of chopped tomatoes, and an immersion blender. The following recipe is based on what I had available, I’d encourage you to tweak it based on whatever you have.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tablespoons of Ginni’s Butter Chicken Spice mix
  • 160 grams of yellow lentils
  • 400g of tinned tomatoes
  • 1-2 handfuls of mixed vegetables – I used sliced carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets
  • 200ml soya milk – tinned coconut milk would work really well if you have it, or dairy non dairy cream, butter
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil – or oil of your choosing
  • 100ml of vegetable stock

Recipe – serves 3 – 4

  • Soak lentils for 2-4 hours; longer if you can i.e. overnight
  • Cook the lentils in a pan of water just covering them; bringing to the boil and then simmering until soft. Approximately 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
  • Add the oil to another pan and then the spice mix for a minute or two.
  • Add the tomatoes and let simmer until they have softened; 5-10 minutes should do it.
  • Blitz using an immersion blender to make it smooth.
  • Add in the cooked lentils, vegetable stock, vegetables, and milk.
  • Let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
  • Season with salt & pepper.

Feel free to add more milk, cream, at the end. Fresh herbs such as coriander; you guessed it I didn’t have any. I did have rice and plenty of flour though so served mine with rice and homemade flat bread’s.

If you’d like to try Ginni’s spice mix, and check out their recipe ideas, head to https://ginniskitchen.com

Let me know how creative you are with the mixes. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow when the flavours have developed even more. I’m already thinking of other non meat alternatives; tofu, chickpeas, yes, yes I know those options involve me leaving the house. For now, Imma just gonna love my leftovers! 

Wasabi Vegan Fish Cakes

Free Food? Does it smell fishy? Yes, but that will be the nori sheets as these ‘fish’ cakes are vegan.

It was not an attractive sight when I tasted wasabi for the first time, whilst out for dinner with my friend Shells. There were tears; mine of sorrow, hers from laughter.

It’s a mystery how I ended up with 2 tubes of wasabi paste at home after those dramatics! Well, it’s not really, I simply can’t resist free food so couldn’t say no when an independent store was getting rid as they were past their best before dates. For free I’ll learn to like wasabi!

With best before dates relating to food quality, and not safety, I hadn’t been in any rush to use them but then a nagging feeling kept creeping in. Food is still wasted if not eaten, whether it’s free or not, so I asked for wasabi recipe ideas on Instagram.

Fish cakes were suggested but a no go with my being vegan. I could make a fish free alternative I thought to myself, and so I did, also substituting any paid ingredients for what I’d picked up for free. And now I’m shedding tears of joy because they taste delicious!

Aside from the wasabi, which I’d picked up for free in store, the ingredients were free via food sharing app Olio. I make use of what I already have in preparing meals and I encourage you to do the same. Go fishing in those cupboards of yours and see what you can find 😉

Ingredients
  1. 300g of potatoes; unpeeled, less waste, more fibre!
  2. 400g tin of chickpeas drained. Other pulses will work butter beans, lentils, would make good substitutes.
  3. 2 sheets of nori, torn into small pieces. Dried seaweed could also be used to give the cakes a fishy flavour.
  4. 1 tablespoon of dairy free aioli garlic or mayonnaise of your choosing.
  5. Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon or lime.
  6. Black pepper. Salt – I just didn’t happen to have any.
  7. 2 tsp of wasabi.
  8. 3 tablespoons of golden breadcrumbs. You could make your own if you don’t have any, or do without.

Other ingredients that you may have which would work well are capers, dill, mustard, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, pickles.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6
  2. Wash and boil the potatoes until you can put a knife through them with ease.
  3. Add the drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl.
  4. Cut or tear the nori sheets into small pieces and add to the chickpeas, with the wasabi, mayo, squeezed juice, seasoning. You may want to add more or less than the listed ingredients according to your taste. Add the potatoes and mash until thoroughly mixed and you can easily form patties, cakes.
  5. Scoop the mixture, around a large tablespoon, and form into a patty. You should get 4 large ‘fish’ cakes from the mixture but can make them smaller and have more if you prefer.
  6. Place each of the ‘fish’ cakes on a breadcrumb sprinkled plate or tray. Press each side of the cake in the breadcrumbs so well coated.
  7. Add to a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning over halfway.
  8. Cut your juiced lemon, or lime, into wedges and serve with the fish cakes.

I added sriracha mayo by simply mixing peri sauce into the aioli sauce.

Let me know how you get on, and which foods you have saved from the surplus seas!

To download the Olio app visit https://olioex.com

Rise Up

The Toast Team wouldn’t have known this when they asked me to be an ambassador for their Rise Up campaign, but I’m a bit of a Tristam Stuart fan girl. After starting my Instagram page, showcasing meals that I make using surplus food, a friend of a friend gave me Stuart’s book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal. It really opened my eyes to our different attitudes towards food, food waste across the world, and how our food choices, practices locally, impact globally. Stuart is founder of Toast Ale www.toastale.com who brew beers using surplus bread. Bread is one of the most wasted food items in the UK. Toast’s mission is to reduce emissions, and fix our food systems.

They are taking it one step further with their Rise Up campaign, which launched the end of November, by pairing up with other B Corp brands, businesses certified as meeting minimum standards of social and environmental responsibility, transparency and accountability, to raise awareness of the environmental impact of our food systems in the lead up to COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, being held in November 2021.

Toast launched their Rise Up campaign with a Chocolate Stout brewed with Divine Chocolate cocoa powder that supports sustainable forestry. Good news for me as I’m also a fan girl of both beer and chocolate. It’s also pretty good news for the environment considering food production is the biggest cause of deforestation, as trees are cleared to graze animals and grow crops. But one-third of food is wasted. By reducing food waste, and preserving and replanting forests, we can mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity. I’m excited to see, and taste, what other beers Toast will be brewing in their collaborations with a number of B Corporations, including Rebel Kitchen and Rubies in the Rubble.

Each limited edition beer will tell the story of our broken food system, celebrate ways to fix it, and all of the beer profits will go to the environmental charity Feedback www.feedbackglobal.org, co-founded by Stuart, to support their campaigning work on food systems in the lead up to COP26.

Reading Waste got me thinking, and it doesn’t take much persuading to get me drinking; I am drinking for the planet, people! Where I can slack a little, is when it comes to taking action. I mean there is a lot that I can do on an individual level; shop mindfully, store foods properly, eat the food I have, share the food I don’t eat, give what I can to those in needier positions than I, but as demonstrated by Toast, more needs to be done at political levels. Toast have made this easy, no wasted peas or lemons, squeezy, by providing a simple form on their website which you can use to write to your local MP, “oh cooee Boris”, asking them to take our food system into account in environmental policy.

Now is the time for me to rise up for people and planet, come join me and let us toast to change!

http://www.toastale.com/riseup

Every Freaking Day, Every Freaky Way

As a young adult I was a fussy eater, can’t cook won’t cook, meaning I would often spend a small fortune in chicken shops. Not only was I into fast food, but fast fashion, I ran up store cards, credit cards, would buy the same pair of shoes in different colours; all I bought in preparation of moving away for university was a new handbag. Many of the debts that I ran up whilst studying were on clothes, socialising, eating out. Despite studying sociology, I didn’t give any thought as to how my lifestyle was impacting the world we live in. I can’t say I reflected on my fussy, frivolous ways, but there does become a point when you have to reflect on your bank statements.

Financial savings is just one benefit of shopping from supermarket’s reduced food crates; I’ve learnt to cook, have a diverse diet, and make efforts to eat more sustainably by reducing food waste. A study by Poore and Nemecek (2018) found that food wastage is responsible for around 6% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it’s likely to be slightly higher since the analysis from Poore and Nemecek (2018) does not include food losses on the farm during production and harvesting. https://ourworldindata.org/food-waste-emissions

Of course food waste is not the only contributor to climate change, there’s also fashion; an outfit for that dinner date, what to where for that dinner party, heck active wear has become a brunch outfit in itself! According to UNEP, the fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions. www.unep.org

As I’ve become more thoughtful around what and how I eat, I’ve tried to do the same with what I wear. Transitioning to a vegan diet and lifestyle has meant that I’ve stopped buying clothes and shoes made from animals. I try and apply the same principals of making use of the food I already have, eat what would otherwise be wasted, to fashion by shopping second hand. Being a keen runner, yogi, lockdown dependent gym goer, jump rope dude – aka my mum gave me a skipping rope during the first lockdown, and I now fangirl on a topless LA duo and their double unders, I still tend to buy workout gear from new. I have however tried to give more thought to not only what my workout gear is made from, but by whom, and how.

So, who, what, how, is what I wanted to know when offered workout gear from 3rd rock clothing. Their sustainability values and practices are easy to find on-line www.3rdrockclothing.com. I was given a pair of recycled leggings; sort of second hand, just from bottles instead of Betty. 3rd rock use recycled fibres made from plastic bottles and Italian carpets; even the packaging is recyclable. According to their website, over 200,000 football fields worth of carpets are thrown away each year in Europe alone! I was also given a Freaky sweatshirt, with pockets, we love a pocket, not recycled but made from organic cotton meaning natural pesticides and fertilisers are used instead of chemical ones so no health or environmental damage, supporting farmers, their communities and eco system. 3rd rock only work with factories following the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code, and are part of the #whomademyclothes campaign; you can read more about where their clothes are made on their website’s site traceability link. 

Sustainability is only sustainable if it supports us all mentally, physically, and the world we all live in, which is why it is encouraging to see that 3rd rock have taken an inclusivity pledge to make climbing more accessible to black people, and people of colour. Widening their range of sizes (I’m wearing a size medium), and will be designing unisex items. None of us can claim to be at our sustainable, ethical, peaks, we still have a way to go. What I’ve learnt from my younger years, and running, is that it’s all a journey, one step at a time, climbing the ladder. Who knows, I might even start climbing rocks too in my new, sustainable, gear!

Wearing Titan leggings and Freaky sweatshirt