May 15, 2021
To quote Kermit the Frog~ “It’s not easy being green.” Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge. I try to eat whatever I want in moderation. At parties I will indulge in things I never buy for home and I’ve become a very big label reader. I find a lot of things deemed ‘healthy’ are not even close. Isn’t there some FDA rule about how much a product has to contain to be labeled ‘natural’ or organic? (the most OVER USED WORD in the English language btw). My vegan friends have tried to turn me onto ‘Forks Over Knives’ but my idea of a vegetable is French fries. I do like a nice salad --loaded with fried onions, croutons, cheese and a healthy dose of avocado! My grandfather- who lived to be 86 - said everything on earth is either animal, mineral or vegetable which would include beer as a vegetable. (He was a Pisces). I like his philosophy. As I get older I find my body very much responds to and appreciates what I put in it. I not only consciously try to eat better and do better, I subconsciously have made healthier choices like giving up red meat. Very rarely I’ll have a burger or steak and I have replaced chopped meat in my recipes with ground turkey. It works just fine with the exception of turkey meatloaf which landed in the garbage after just one bite. C’est la vie.
As I’m more conscious of what goes inside my body, I’m becoming more aware of what I put on the outside. 2 years ago I found a wonderful all natural sunscreen made locally called With Love. When I put it on I look like a mime and it is not inexpensive. But then what price to you put on your health? I’ve tried vegan shampoo and it seems to be missing a main ingredient- like soap? I have a ton of hair and just can’t seem to get it to lather? I’m also sticking with my crepey skin cream until they come up with a vegan version!
As I physically, mentally & spiritually try to be my best self I absolutely make decisions based on my own convictions. I in no way feel the need to conform to public pressure or do what everyone else is doing – ever the reason not to – and I apply this to my design aesthetic as well. With that said, I do appreciate the collective effect we all have on our environment, especially as designers. I am a big fan of renew, recycle and repurpose whenever possible, terms that have long been a hot topic. With everything from food to clothing to beauty products being touted as sustainably sourced, eco friendly, and ORGANIC, it’s not a big leap to see those buzz words surface in interior design. What we procure for our projects has a huge impact on the planet in more ways than we think.
A couple months back I was introduced to Deborah DiMare’s book Vegan Interiors. This is her passion and subject matter which she encourages others to share. Her research has brought forward some cruel truths that make one take a hard look at the interior design industry. She doesn’t just point out the obvious effects of deforestation and pollution to our soil and ocean from textile factories, she also calls out the horrific human exploitation and animal cruelty that go into creating products that we take for granted like wool, silk, down, fur and leather. Ouch! How many hides or alligator skins does it take to make a headboard? 1 skin equals 1 animal. According to Deborah and her researchers, approximately 1 billion animals are killed each year for these ‘luxuries’. Ducks and geese are supposedly live plucked and if they don’t die from shock are plucked 3 times a year. Pretty thought provoking. I live in a community filled with both and I see how family oriented they are and devoted to their young. I never use feather pillows as I and so many others are allergic to them. Here is her list approximating how many animals are used to create luxury goods.
The upside of DiMare’s work is her spot light on BIOFABRICATION, a technology that uses cells, proteins, and other materials found in nature to create products. While the value of Hemp and natural dyes are well known this is a whole other level of imagination ~ everything from Mangoes to Mushrooms are being used to create textiles! And no they are not edible. Carpets and rugs are made from Eucalyptus trees and recycled water bottles. How cool is that? Here is her list of Vegan fabrics. I prefer natural products to synthetics anyway because of their breathability. It is nice to have options and be reminded of alternatives.
Veganism on any level gives one a lot to think about, not only how we nurture ourselves and our environment, but where things come from and how their made. I’m not sure I am ready to give up all animal products just yet. My parents ran a hobby farm on Vancouver Island for years and although things were done humanely – which probably sounds like an oxymoron – it did give me pause. I don’t think it’s anybody’s right to tell others how they should live or maintain a lifestyle. I do, though, think it is good to be aware and know how our choices might have rippling affects throughout the planet. I also believe it’s beneficial to do our own research when faced with new ideas. I would be interested to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Here is just a sample link to some earth friendly décor items as featured in my main image. (Yes I profit from purchases, however, these should be the lowest prices you can find on the internet). I had to pass on a few sofas, because although the wood was sustainably sourced they were still using down in their cushions. If I’ve missed the mark on any of these please let me know.
Food for thought ~ sometimes what is not good for the body can be good for the soul. And in the end that’s all you’re taking with you ~ Namaste.
Staging to Sell? Styling to Stay? Contact me today ~ KerryFDecor@gmail.com, 702-882-4518
deborah dimare says (May 15, 2021):
thank you Kerry for bringing awareness to cruelty free healthy design. Great article.
Janet says (May 15, 2021):
It is so important to be mindful of the impact our choices have - both for ourselves and for the planet.
Lisa A Peck says (May 16, 2021):
Great insight on vegan options and how we can all do a bit better.
Erin says (May 16, 2021):
Kudos Kerry on a thoughtful and intelligent blog. I'm with you on trying to be more considerate about how I consume, but I have to admit I'm not nearly as virtuous when it comes to food and bedding - I'm more of a hedonist, I guess (must do better...). Anyway...I really respect what you've said here and it will have an influence on my choices going forward. Great work! Also, a little feedback about the site: I find the text really difficult to read on the black background.
Christie says (May 16, 2021):
This is such great info on vegan options!
Mary Ann Benoit says (May 16, 2021):
What an eye-opening article!!! All our choices have consequences and I will never look at another feather pillow in the same way again. Thank you for opening my eyes.
Susan says (May 16, 2021):
Hi Kerry I just want to say how much I enjoy reading your posts. So thought provoking . I had no idea birds were plucked alive...horrible. I'm allergic to feathers so already don't do down but we all need to strive to do better for our future generations . Keep up the great articles and design info.