A Guide to a Sustainable, Plant-Based Christmas.

Gifting, Festive Recipes, Wellness and more…

With only 1 month to go until Christmas day, the Christmas trees are already on sale and the festive fever is officially upon us! If you haven’t started decorating your tree or wrapping gifts, don’t fret (me trying to convince myself!)…this little Christmas guide will help you on your way to planning a sustainable, conscious Christmas.

My Christmas pledge: Shop small, Spend local, Eat local!

Christmas Gifting
An estimated $400 million was spent on 10 million unwanted gifts last Christmas, many of which were discarded and likely ended up in landfill (Australia)
Giving a gift to a loved one is a great way to show them how you feel about them. The act of giving should be about thoughtfulness and gratitude, and not the price on the tag. Sustainable gifts aim to use materials that already exist, support local arts and crafts and minimise negative impact on the environment.

Instead of being a part of a problem, let’s be a part of the solution. Here are a few ideas to keep gifts eco-friendly and sustainable.

Choose experiences over material things or something to look forward to.
A voucher for a restaurant or even better, a cooking class.
A homemade Christmas wreath- see for inspiration https://www.instagram.com/wylde_magnolia_x/
A voucher for a gardening class or pots of herbs.
A Digital Magazine or even a magazine subscription.
A voucher for a gym/dance/yoga/CrossFit/surfing/rock climbing class…the options here are endless.
Home-baked goodies – it’s not often that we actually take the time to bake something for a friend. Attach the recipe card. Certainly inspiring to get the person receiving the gift to make the same recipe again and remember your gift over the other stuff they were given.
Support the locals – go to a market and buy something handmade. Supporting locals is another way of giving back to your community.
Get a box of vegetables and fruit delivered to their door the week after Christmas.
Nothing better than a gift that grows – so how about a tree, a fruit tree, herb pot or even a sprouter.
A basket of organic, local treats.
And last but not least inspire your family and friends to do the same.
Christmas is about giving and remembering why we give, so give from your heart and not by the value of $ on the tag!

Christmas Food
If you are truly wanting a sustainable Christmas, then you would need to look at the foods you are consuming. Food choices have the biggest impact on the environment.
Steps to eat more sustainable this festive season:
1) If you insist on having a turkey, make sure it is 100% organic and local. Turkeys are one of the worst treated animals in factory farms so please think compassionately when you choose. There are plenty meat free options to choose from. Consider a new approach to Christmas dinner and put together a delicious plant-based grazing table.
2) Eat less meat and more veg. A plant based diet is not only better for the environment but it is also better for your health. Try and at least commit to eating a flexitarian diet (consciously cutting out meat a few days a week.
3) Eat less fish. The oceans ecosystem is in danger of collapse – it is estimated that by 2050 the oceans ecosystem will face full collapse in light of the overfishing practises currently being employed to feed the demand for fish and other ocean creatures. 13 of the 17 major fishing zones are completely depleted of fish stocks and can no longer be fished. Fisheries are resorting to catching fish down the food chain – a sure sign that the ocean is in trouble. There is no such thing anymore as sustainable fish. 180 000 birds die each year using current commercial fishing methods, and for every 1kg of targeted fish caught, 9kg is considered by-catch and thrown back into the ocean, mostly dead. Bottom dwellers such as prawns are caught using drag nets which destroy anything in their path, including corals and other sea creatures. Sea horses are almost extinct because of our desire to eat prawns! There are other options: Try the Fry Family Fish-less Fillets or Prawn Style pieces. https://www.fryfamilyfood.com/au/our-food/4-golden-crispy-vegan-fish-fillet/
4) Lastly, Christmas is a time to experiment with different and interesting foods. Shop the supermarket with new eyes and keep a look out for the brands that are truly ethical, sustainable and possibly family owned. Support these brands over the larger corporates. And of course, read the packaging and do your own research.
5) Try these plant based versions of Christmas goodies:
Fry’s Christmas Welly

Christmas Stuffed Squash:

Vegan Mince Pies:

Skewered Prawns and Black Bean Salsa

Christmas Wellness
Let Christmas not be the time to let ourselves go. This is the best time to get outside, get some fresh air and our hearts pumping. In our time starved society, we rarely have the opportunity.
Tips to stay well:
1) Start something new: see https://www.seed-blog.com/start-something-new/
2) Restrict the amount of alcohol you consume. We all know too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. It just isn’t worth the hangover the next day, the night time sugar cravings, the lack of energy and the additional calories which you will be faced with having to deal with in January. Try these alcohol free versions for healthier Festive Cocktails! https://www.lyres.co/
3) Although festive season is a time where people tend to overeat, try and stick to some kind of ritual. I usually drink loads of water, eat really healthy meals when I am alone or at home giving me some scope to enjoy the dinners with friends or a treat or 2 when the time arises.
4) Sign up to Veganuary – even if you do splurge at Christmas time, give plant-based eating a go in January. https://veganuary.com/register/
5) Take a meditation class or breathing class – find a space for yourself this silly season.
6) And last but not least, do something or give something to someone in need. Real happiness can be achieved by giving to others that are in need. Find a way to make someone else smile and you may find yourself smiling too!
7) Adopt a grandparent who may not have family to share Christmas with, give to someone in need, or assist a community group with an initiative that they already have.

Here’s to a more sustainable, healthy and compassionate Christmas! Who is with me?

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