25 Books on Mindful Living

25 Books on Mindful Living

A Journeying Through Multiple Perspectives

There are so many wonderful books that can support us on our journey into living more mindfully each day. Here are 20 – some conceptual, some ethnographic, some tales, and some narratives – that we feel offer something unique to all of us:

1. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (by Shauna Niequist)

A coming toward our core selves from the busyness of our lives, this is a book that can set us to rediscover who we want to be.

2. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (by Don Miguel Ruiz)

A text that explicates how we can try to change our self-limiting perceptions that create discord and move toward  new experiences of love, independence and joy. 

3. Loving-kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (by Sharon Salzberg)

This is a book that shows us how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness (metta in Pali) can be a path to liberate our heart and experience the many meanings of happiness.


4. Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life (by Lilian Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh)

Offering pragmatic practices, nutritional counsel and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teach us how to gently adopt and integrate mindfulness in relation to our food habits in our everyday lives.

5. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (by Jenny Odell)

An in-depth account of how different fields and personal experiences can express the limits and power of our attention, here Jenny Odell shares with us how we can work to leave behind the productivity-obsessed cultures we are all a part of, and come to a more collectively shared understanding of the ecosystems that are connected with us.

6. Mindfulness : Connecting with the Real You (by Vinay Dabholkar)

A learning into our unconscious practices of self-deception to become more self-aware in the process and dissolve thoughts that are untrue or unproductive.

7. Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More (by Courtney Carver)

A text that looks into how we can simplify our lives by allowing ourselves to focus on what’s important and how we can create space for it. 

8. Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World (by Franz Alt and The Dalai Lama)

A plea by The Dalai Lama for us to stand up for a renewed and more climate conscious world, and to let younger generations assert our rights to an optimistic future.

9. Inward (by Yung Pueblo)

A collection of quotes, poetry and prose that traverse the journey to unconditional love and the wisdom of self knowledge. 

10. The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (by Pico Iyer)

A look into the surprising and counterintuitive adventures of slowing down and sitting quietly in a room in an age of constant movement.

11. The Practice of Not Thinking: A Guide to Mindful Living (by Ryunosuke Koike)

A mapping of how embracing simple Zen practices into our daily lives, can allow us to reconnect with our five senses and live in a more peaceful, optimistic way

12. Mindful Eating On the Go: Practices for Eating with Awareness, Wherever You Are (by Jan Chozen Bays)

A pocket-sized book on some of the principles underlying mindful eating to understand the “nine aspects of hunger” that we feel, while going deeply into our needs and cravings without judgment to heal our relationship with food.

13. Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication (by Oren Jay Sofer)

Thinking about how “what we say matters”, Oren Jay Sofer pens in this discursive book how observing our interpersonal relations can help us carve three fundamental skills for mindful communication: leading with presence; coming with care and interest; focusing on what matters.

14. Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader (by Marc Lesser)

A thoughtful workbook for cultivating a more intuitive approach to mindfulness, Marc Lesser shares how and why he believes living from our heart shapes powerful leadership both individually and professionally.

15. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World (by Haemin Sunim)

An invitation to deepen mindfulness and joy in eight foundational areas of our lives.

16. Destination Simple (by Brooke McAlary)

An elementary and succinct introduction to the features of slow living.

17. Mindful Zen Habits: From Suffering to Happiness In 30 Days (by Marc Reklau and Manuel Villa)

A 30 day exercise guide for us to try to cultivate new habits that support us in giving room to our emotions, slow down our thoughts, and listen to our heart and body.

18. Slowness (by Milan Kundera)

One of Milan Kundera’s earliest fictional works in French, this book is a thoughtful contemplation of contemporary life and the ways in which our innate connections with slowness, memory, desire and speed intersect and conflict with each other.

19. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything (by James Gleick)

A humorous look at the unlikeness of our hurried world slowing down in the near future, this is a work that displays our responsibility to reflect on the meanings of ramifications of  our lifestyles.

20. Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me (by Alexandra Kuykendall)

An insight into the disillusionments of comparison and loving our ordinary, “actual” lives and selves.

21. Zen: The Art of Simple Living (by Shunmyo Masuno)

Simple rituals designed to practice through the business of our modern world over a 100 days.

22. The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done (by Kendra Adachi)

A conscious way of overcoming conventional narratives of what it means to live rightly and healthily, this is a text that inspires us to live by our personal definitions of well being and what matters to us, and lazily letting go of who we are not.

23. 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week (by Tiffany Shlain)

Lessons on how rest and living 24/6 positively affects our productivity, feelings of connection, and cognitive presence.

24. Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom From a Monk’s Bowl (by Om Swami)

An exposition on the art of happiness with Om Swami’s humor, stories and wisdom as he walks us from being mind full to mindful.

25. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life (by Marie Kondo)

A mindful process of simplifying and organizing our work life.

Are there any you’d add to our selection? We’d love to hear from you and know about the ones that you love and have made a difference to your experience in living consciously. We look forward to hearing from you at zine@ikkivi.com and our Instagram, where you can join our conversation as we share the books we have been reading every month.


 21 Things We Learnt in 2021

21 Things We Learnt in 2021

The Gems That Guided Us In The Year That Was

Each year carries many new beginnings and learnings for us, and this time we wanted to pen and share ours from the last year with you. Here are 21 things we learnt in 2021, and are taking forward with us in 2022!

1. Shadow work 

A practice of healing and self-growth that has helped us unwrap the parts of ourselves that we unconsciously repress or hide from ourselves.

2. Communicating who we are through our art and design

Working on our typography, visual layout and experimenting with different niches to express to you what we are doing and where we are heading

3. Following a personalized routine 

The rhythm of doing things with consistency in ways that suit us individually has been grounding and exciting

4. The effect that energy has on us

Understanding how our body and mind responds to another’s energy and the impact it has on us, as well as others, has brought forth powerful change in how we conduct ourselves with everyone.

5. Balancing spending time with ourselves and socializing with our loved ones

It’s taken us quite a few months to nail this one and arrive at a place of peace and joy with it.

6. Including more healthy foods into our diet

Addition, subtraction; subtraction, addition has been the key for us.

7. Produce a podcast

We learnt how to prepare, record, edit and publish a successful podcast series from scratch and had so much fun in the process

8. Move from a place of personal authenticity

We’ve continually dedicated time to understanding ourselves more and be guided to follow what feels authentic to us

9. That we love listening to audio books, sometimes over reading

They make us feel like the speaker is personally involved in what they’re talking about and offer more ease with their work

10. Stay calm and problem solve under stress 

Keeping our head down and solving different challenges calmly in high crises situations has been a revelation

11. Open up with new people

A little uncomfortable to begin with, engaging with new people freely has shown itself to be a delight.

12. The power of repetition

Mindfully doing things over and over has taught us how capable we are of mastering skills

13. Slow work 

Throughout the year we fine-tuned practices that would allow us to work slowly and have fun doing it.

14. Trying things outside our comfort zone can be both safe and fun

We made a whole list with this one and followed it to the end to notice that there’s so much we enjoy about the things we are often hesitant to try before.

15. The value of filing and organizing our work documents 

Simplifying, editing, cleaning, organizing, recategorizing, optimizing on a bi-weekly basis make things dramatically easy to navigate through

16. To practice interdependence 

Asking for help as well as doing things collaboratively with others is as much a joy as doing everything independently.

17. To improvise or moving with spontaneity

Moving with our natural urges and creativity when they come up, even if they don’t coincide with our elaborately planned schedules.

18. To trust our driving skills more

Passing through the narrow roads of Bangalore everyday amidst the thickest traffic has given us more confidence in taking the wheel.

19. Use a planner (more) effectively

Whatever the templates or prompts, we’ve seen that we first need to make our planner our own and give it our personality in order to make it work and have it offer us the results that it’s designed to.

20. Understanding that no matter how perfectly we try to do things, we will still make mistakes and errors

They aren’t always avoidable and we don’t have to penalize anyone to learn how to do things correctly

21. That rest inspires action

The most beautiful thing we learnt – timely rest sparks our creativity, willingness and desire to do things in a way that nothing else does.

Are there any things from our list that coincide with your own from 2021? If you still haven’t made one, we encourage you to go ahead and make it now for we wonder what sweet things you’ll remember and continue to do!



25 Zero Budget Things You’d Love To Do

The Joy of Shared Experiences

There are many meaningful experiences we can partake in through the exchange of currency, but today we’d like to share with you some simple and beautiful zero budget activities that can bring us all a lot of joy and allow us to do more with our loved ones. 

1. Have a picnic

Picnics are always such fun – whether in our balconies under the sun or in the park amidst the lush greens. You’d love having all your favorite snacks and home cooked treats in a basket and sharing them with your friends!

2. Reorganize or clean your cabinets

What can look like a chore may quickly feel enjoyable to you when you look at and touch all your precious belongings and rearrange them by color, category, style or purpose.

3. Look for free city tours

This is one you’d especially like doing with your friends. Not knowing what you’d discover, going for free tours with them is like a scavenger hunt.

4. Window shop 

Window shopping lights up our creativity and imagination, where you’re able to look at things and just appreciate them for their beauty. What adds to the fun is seeing how people are trying to innovate with different designs and ideas every now and then.

5. Try new recipes

We don’t know what your style is but you can have a great time following the instructions of a new recipe and preparing a dish you’ve never tried before. It’s like a science experiment that ends with you having a delicious meal!

6. Soak in the warmth of the sun

Don’t you love how healing the morning sun feels when it touches your skin?

7. Create a book club with your friends

It’s a whole new experience to read great books with friends and think about the many interpretations everyone has of the same one!

8. Have a music night

A happy, messy gala night with everyone around. We wonder what your favorite karaoke song to sing will be!

9. Play in the rain.

From jumping in the puddles to letting yourself get wet in the rain, this would take us all back to our childhood selves.

10. Go to the public library

We’ve put this on the list even for our friends who aren’t book lovers! Public and local libraries have so much to offer – beautiful and quaint architecture, stories of the past, and books with unheard names and pencil marks.

11. Explore something that has always intrigued you

If a sport, subject, place or instrument (or anything else) that you’ve always felt interested in is something you can explore right now, why not try it and see what it makes you feel?

12. Call your loved ones

Staying connected with the people you love can always make your heart soar.

13. Host a potluck dinner with your friends and family

Potlucks are so exciting because you get to share meals you’ve cooked for each other, relish different flavors, and spend time together.

14. Go for a Walk

It can be so refreshing to feel all the sounds, sights and smells around you.


15. Watch a new movie

A popcorn party in your pyjamas can make you enjoy even the strangest of films!

16. Make paper planes or origami

Some of us might need to watch a video tutorial for this, but it’s so much fun once we get to doing it. Added joy: It looks sweet when we hang it by our bed with strings!

17. Go to the beach

Nothing can soothe you more than taking a swim or walk at the beach, watching the waves and building sandcastles.

18. Have a sleepover

You’d love the idea of a long night of conversations, snacks, and video games with a loved one!

19. Stargazing 

The glimmering stars have never failed to take one’s breath away. We’d always recommend going to a nearby viewpoint or laying on the grass to see their magnificence.

20. Make a camp or fort in the living room

For us indoor cats, camping at home can be so fascinating. A few bedsheets, books, fairy lights, and a couch or floor mattress can make such a playful fort. Don’t forget to switch off the lights to give it that outdoor feel!

21. Family game night

A great way to bond and catch each other cheating, would you like to see how far everyone will go to win?

22. Make a new meal from already stocked items at home

You’d find this as innovative as it is challenging. To make something from ingredients that you didn’t think of putting together before? We foresee a blend of interesting flavors or a tragedy of taste, but neither without their fun.

23. Draw something and admire its uniqueness

It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or can only get yourself to do some stick drawing. Play with shapes and see what funny things you make!

24. Go through your baby pictures 

How long has it been since you saw your adorable baby pictures?

25. Mindful coloring

Relaxing and inspiring creativity at the same time, mindful coloring books can be a sweet way of adding some color to our day. PS – If, like us, you feel a little overwhelmed with books that have very intricate patterns, we encourage you to look for ones that have simpler designs.

We hope these 25 zero budget activities can add a little more pleasure and relaxation to your time, and that you add more to your list as you go on trying these!


Creating Climate Impact

Creating Climate Impact

Disentangling Misconceptions around Climate Change and Action

Climate change has become one of the most central and pervasive concerns for us in the last decade, with increasing debate over what we can (and, need to) do as global citizens to confront and cross-examine its challenges. At IKKIVI Zine, we wanted to get a deeper understanding of how we can break down the problems of climate change and injustice at a microscale and learn about how it intersects multitudinously with other social issues. We spoke with environmental educator Isaias Hernandez about his journey as an environmental activist, the many ideas he is unlearning and relearning around the subject, the differences between climate action and climate injustice, and how the misconceptions around climate change impacts the way we approach it.

1. Where did your journey start? When did you first realize you wanted to work for climate justice?

When I was growing up in Los Angeles, I experienced the impacts of environmental racism directly. I remember a field trip when I was younger where we went to pick up trash in an affluent area and I couldn’t help but wonder, “why aren’t we going to places like where I live?”.

I knew that solving climate change couldn’t only be a conversation about science and technology, it had to include conversations on people, livelihoods, and the communities that are most impacted by colonialism and capitalism. Experiencing various systemic failures firsthand led me to pursue a path in environmentalism that was built with justice at its foundation, rather than as a secondary concern.

2. Could you tell us a little about ‘queerbrownvegan’.

Of course! I was interested in creative expression and education throughout college and after graduating helped start the online publication, Alluvia Mag. With the experience and confidence I picked up, I went on to start my own educational platform which is the Queer Brown Vegan page you see today!

When I first started my own platform I wanted to bring my full self to the table and speak to the intersecting dimensions of sustainability. To me, that meant intimately exploring the question, “who is Isaias Hernandez?”. My identity has shaped the experiences I’ve had, so I felt compelled to lean into that as a source of power. The name “Queer Brown Vegan” speaks to these intersections: I’m queer, Hispanic, and vegan, and my activism and education seeks to explore the intersectionality in environmental issues we see today. For a long time, I’ve felt overlooked in environmental spaces, and have even experienced derogatory comments from professors about things like my name being hard to pronounce. I wanted to provide environmental education that highlights issues not always talked about in classrooms and do so in an engaging and creative way. Starting and running Queer Brown Vegan has been fundamental to me finding my own voice in the environmental movement.

3. On your Instagram page you’ve written ‘(un/re) learning’ under your bio note. What are some of the things relating to climate change you have found yourself needing to (un/re) learn?

One of the first that comes to mind are the expectations we place on ourselves as well as the expectations others place on us. No one has to be a perfect environmentalist. As a content creator with over 100,000 followers on Instagram, I know I have a unique responsibility, but I’m still a human being. The environmental movement has its fair share of binary thinking and perfectionism, and I’ve seen how that impacts myself and other activists. It’s a recipe for burnout.

I’m constantly reflecting on my own values and individuality, and allowing myself the space to be imperfect while operating in exploitative systems. Unlearning perfectionism has been essential to supporting myself and maintaining my activism.

Another one is doomism. The climate crisis is already happening for communities around the world, but in the Global North, a popular media response has been to broadcast the doom and gloom. This gets more clicks, but has sparked a global mental health crisis, especially in young people. However, many communities don’t have the same privilege of shutting down and have to fight for their survival. I believe that bringing that same resilience and resistance into the climate movement, the same resilience found in the United States’ civil rights, women’s suffrage, and labor movements, is a far better alternative to doomism. TLDR: unlearning perfectionism and doomism, and (re)learning lessons from resistance movements and Indigenous cultures.

4. How can we understand the difference between ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’? Is there a salient difference between the two?

You can have climate action without climate justice. Climate action itself has become watered down and undermined by corporate influences. Most people want to take climate action, but the truth is that the term itself is nebulous. Is climate action buying a metal straw? Petitioning my local government? Having a plant-based diet? All of the above could be considered climate action, but climate justice narrows our focus. Climate justice asks us to examine how policies and practices disproportionately affect vulnerable communities and to replace those policies/practices with better ones. When we channel our climate action through the lens of climate justice, we end up with intersectional solutions and stronger outcomes than what quantifies climate action. It’s one thing to focus on our individual decisions and impacts, but climate justice asks us to go beyond and recognize that while we’re in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.

5. There is so much information on climate change on multiple platforms. How can we know what data is reliable and what isn’t?

I think it’s worth noting the shift from climate denial to climate delay. World governments and multi-national corporations have all made statements on how they seek to approach sustainability (the problem is these are still mostly just statements and often fail to address unsustainable or exploitative systems, but that’s a different story). In some ways, we’ve beaten the war on outright climate denial, at least on a global scale.

Most people think our issue is if information is reliable or not, but our real issue is in how this information gets presented and who controls the narratives. We have reliable information, but we still need to turn toward our story-tellers and communicators that emphasize intersectionality, indigenous wisdom, resistance movements, and more. Very often information on climate change gets presented as definitive and disastrous, and this itself is dangerous as it often excludes the perspectives and interpretations that can lead to and empower systemic change.

6. Having been dedicated to climate activism, can you share an instance with us where you saw yourself being able to generate real, positive impact?

I’m extremely grateful for the following I have and the support I receive, because it enables me to support so many other amazing individuals and organizations. It’s hard to pick one, but I’d say that anytime I have the chance to work with environmental justice organizations, especially in my own community, I feel the most fulfilled. The quote “think global, act local” comes to mind because it summarizes a lot of the work I do and how I approach my work. There are so many efforts besides my own and I love when I’m able to help raise awareness and support the organizations and individuals making it happen.

7. What keeps your drive for activism strong?

Having my own platform helps! Being able to express myself authentically and in a way I can sustain is what makes all of this possible (as well as having a team behind me). Also, being among a community of change-makers and having friends in this space helps keep me inspired. I want to create a world where people don’t experience the same problems that I did, where people aren’t breathing and consuming poison because of where they live or their economic and racial identities. Lastly, I think resting is the real secret! I also take daily walks. Taking care of my physical, mental and spiritual health keeps me engaged in a sustainable way.

8. What is the one thing you’d like to communicate to our audience which you feel doesn’t get talked about enough?

There isn’t a set of requirements to being an environmentalist, there’s no check-box that you need to complete. It’s not even about solving climate change, because no one person can do that. Solving the climate crisis is about solving the broken systems that have led to it, and solving the broken systems (as an individual) means identifying what problem(s) you connect with and are uniquely equipped to solve. You’ll burn yourself out by doing work you can’t sustain. The world needs environmentalists that are problem-solvers and while it’s important to consider the big picture, this really means focusing on the problems you can solve.

Go beyond and use that individuality to find a collective movement, and I don’t just mean Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion. Collective movements can look like engineering firms, farms, offices, really anywhere that has people connected by a shared belief and dedicated to solving a problem. If you look, you’ll see there are tens of thousands devoted to solving almost any problem you can think of (and if there isn’t one, then maybe you’re the lucky one to start it). We’re being asked to reimagine all the ways we live in and interact with the world and that’s not an easy task – be gentle toward yourself!

If you’d like to know about Isaias Hernandez’s work, you can visit his website.


Inviting Change in our Everyday Life

Inviting Change in our Everyday Life

Learning to Connect Deeply with the Ephemeral

2021 was a year that carried a lot of change for me. I changed fields and left a discipline that was a part of me for over ten years, lost one of my professors – a mentor, who in no short terms, (has) made me who I am, and moved to a city I knew nothing about barring its tales of traffic. Acclimatizing to a new pace of life, both at work and at home, and moving with the complexities of Covid-19 as it surged in India, there was so much change afoot that on most days it felt that I didn’t have my feet on the ground.

To need to “adapt” to change is a concept I found strange, more so elusive and imposed, since I was but a child, for there was nothing I found that would ground me through its course – not even its own unchanging consistency. Being here at IKKIVI, my colleague and now dear friend, Ms. Esha’s exploratory nature made me realise how poignantly I dislike change. I believe I have always resented it, sometimes even in the moments where making changes or changing itself held a lot of goodness and meaning. No matter how much we may accept Remy’s profound truth from Ratatouille that “change is nature”, change feels harsh to me – not necessarily because it makes our days and journey unpredictable or discomforting, but due to the constant movement and little rest its unfolding can involve.

Contemplating the beauty, value and near necessity of a slow and mindful approach to life that underlies the foundation of our work over the last several months, has nudged me into reflecting on my relationship with change. I have had the fortune to meet the shadows of my ‘self’ and soak in confusions to ask some critical questions about the pains of change and the ways in which I want to, or more so need to live, to be in harmony with who I am (becoming). Stemming from my own predispositions, my pursuits in philosophy have largely kept me engaged in inquiring about the metaphysics of our existence, but never so much in the subjectivities of our experiences and needs. Unsurprisingly – yet, to my joy – after years of detesting myself for being distinctly slow to “adapt” to the new, let go of the old, and to merge with the ebbs and flows of life seamlessly, when I looked into some particularities of my personality I recognised that I do not want to adapt to change, but invite it into my everyday practices. A minute play of language while it can seem to be in the beginning, as I went into the profundity of the real variances between the ideas and propositions of the two words, I saw that one softened me, opened my shell and offered me something, and the other unconsciously divorced me from the wisdom, sorrows as well as playfulness of change. But what would it mean to invite change? And does something that perpetually befolds naturally even be invited in the strictest of terms?

In as much as change signifies an alteration, reorientation, remoulding, reworking modifying or modification, renewal, evolution, or any kind of difference to specific forms, I believe it can. Change requires time, and does not frequently transpire at the accelerated rate that contemporary or modern living can mistake us into believing. The inhumane velocity of action that many of us unwittingly experience and become subjected to in such a domain I suspect plays a significant role in deterring us from being able to feel or fuse with the naturalness of change. What I have been discovering now through my experience and examinations is my intrinsic attunement to slow(er) living, and that slowing down from a metropolitan pace of life does not soften the harshness of change but enables me (and I hope ‘us’) to see that there is inherent softness in change itself – that the slower I move, the more tempered, correct and truthful change can feel; that we may not need to “adapt” to change when we are able to feel its naturalness (as much as possible).

Inviting such change has meant to consciously allow myself to differ from the ways I (have) know(n) myself to be, and appreciate the differences and movements around me. In practice this has taken the shape of keeping with a few everyday rituals at home, cultivating slow work values, learning from colleagues and friends, steadily letting go of what feels inauthentic or hurried, practicing being comfortable with taking more time to do things, and carving an intention each morning. Being able to feel the naturalness of change has encouraged me to integrate with two (among many other) of its essential elements – genuinity and beauty – in a way that I always hoped for: to experience and perceive lesser loss and pronounced unity in its meetings. I’d like to ask you what about ‘change’ disturbs or disrupts for and in you; what, if at all, you’d like to invite through it and what you’d like for it to give to you; what you’d like for it to mean and what you’d like to feel in its presence. These questions are stepping stones that can hold a space and bind us with the fluidity of our being, making it safer and more enlivening for us to explore the world and our place in it – and I’d love to know what that place looks like for you 🙂


With Team IKKIVI

With Team IKKIVI

Conversations on Who We are Becoming Together

This last year we’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how alike yet different we all are at IKKIVI. Not only through our commitment to making fashion more sustainable and living intentionally but also in exploring what a conscious lifestyle means and looks for us, eating together and discussing the dynamics of the human condition, we’ve become a close knit family. This week, we sat with each other to understand the impact working at a slow business has had on us, the personal values that mould the way we want to work, share some funnies, and learn about where we are heading as a team.


1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Prior to IKKIVI, I had started a fashion data analytics platform to support designers with data to help them with the problem of overstock. We are now slowly integrating the ideas we had in the previous business with IKKIVI in order to further support the 50+ designers we have on board at IKKIVI. Building and growing a passionate team has been very rewarding and I am excited for all that we plan on doing together.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Working from home initially was a challenge for me along with the uncertainty of the situation we were all in. Other than the initial few weeks, I don’t think it really changed my style of working. With a family and a dog living in close quarters of each other it sometimes was a challenge to set boundaries between personal and professional time but as time progressed and we were expected to do it for longer I was able to get into some sort of a rhythm.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?


4. What do you love to do together with the team?

We’re all at different ages in our lives with different experiences and perspectives and I love having conversations with each one to understand how they think and where they’re coming from.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Kindness. A value that truly describes what we do at IKKIVI, encouraging kindness to the environment and its people. It is also a value that is part of the culture at IKKIVI, in interaction within our team and stakeholders.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Malini 🙂 Her personality and perspective never fails to amuse us all!

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

The biggest learning I have had is to give ideas time, sit with it and then make a plan to achieve it. There always seems to be a million ideas but the key is to really focus on prioritizing, planning and executing to actually move forward.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am excited for us to start offline pop ups again in 2022! I am also thrilled with the response we’ve had with our Podcast on mindful living and excited to make a larger impact with it over the next months and years.


1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Over time I have worked with several different small businesses in varying capacities but IKKIVI is the one I have worked on for the longest duration (almost four years!) It has shown me the importance of long term commitment and the impact it can have in affecting change. When we began, slow fashion was something very few people knew of. With time, our audience has grown with us in numbers and well as in information, which allows us to delve deeper into addressing issues of consumerism and the systemic problems in the fashion industry.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Being a freelancer all my life, I have always worked from home, so it didn’t impact my work habits-wise. However, the political climate in India before and during the pandemic has been heartbreaking to deal with and taught me to fortify myself, get involved in things I could be a part of and trust the power of community.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

This is something I have cultivated on my own and swear by, be honest about deadlines and have clear, honest communication with the people you work with.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

Since we put the team together during the pandemic, I have been staying in touch over video calls, which have already allowed me to get to know everybody a little bit. But, I’d love to meet everybody on the team in person in the near future.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Our commitment to re-imagining a future for fashion and consumption which is rooted in supporting small business, ethical practices and a mindful, reflective way of living.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

I know Nivi the best in the team since we have worked together for so long, so I feel honoured to have developed a genuine friendship to the point that we are both extremely comfortable being silly in each other’s company.

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

Having worked with a few different startups and in a bunch of team structures, I have learnt how to give productive and clear feedback, how to think of the growth of the people I work with and how to creatively problem solve and at times accept limitations that come with a small team.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am excited to put together our invitations and press packages for our upcoming pop ups, it is going to be very ‘IKKIVI’ in its essence, slow and mindful, and I hope people enjoy them as much as we are enjoying planning them.


1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

I have worked with startups before but my experience with IKKIVI has been unparalleled. I love the environment and work ethic. I appreciate that we plan things well in advance and are able to be flexible with our schedule as long as our work gets done within the planned timelines. We are clear about our responsibilities and able to collaborate with ease.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Since I worked as a freelancer for a while before I joined IKKIVI, I was quite accustomed to the idea of working from home. I had a separate room, at home, as a dedicated work space which helped a lot. In fact, I had gotten so used to working from home that the idea of coming back to the office was terrifying and took me a while to figure out. Now that I have found my rhythm with it I enjoy working from the office and having my work and rest spaces be completely separate.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

A piece of advice that I received from my father has always stayed with me – He said that no amount of talent, skill or intelligence would matter if I couldn’t be a loyal, dedicated and reliable worker. People work with people they can trust so being honest would take me a long way and that has helped me along my journey.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

Since it’s only been a few months of us coming together as a team it’s always fun to talk and get to know each other better  . We share stories and our different perspectives on topics and we always end up having a good laugh.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Honesty. It is one of my core values and it informs almost all of my choices. I try my best to be true to myself and honest with the work that I do. The environment also plays a big part in helping me stay aligned with this value. My colleagues support my honest expression and I’m very grateful for it.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

I’m afraid I might be the silliest one in the team!! But, if I had to pick another person it would be Esha. She has the funniest stories and the most bizarre experiences to share with us.

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

There is so much that I am learning, consciously and subconsciously from everyone on the team but one thing that I’m actively learning and practicing is managing my time and organizing my tasks better. Other than that, I’m also learning not to dwell on things that don’t work out the way we envisioned them to. I’m able to move on more swiftly to making improvements or to testing out new ideas.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

We are approaching the new year with so many new ideas and truly, I am excited about all of them but if I had to pick one it would be the monthly shops that will be curated by different influencers on our website. I’m really excited to work with different creators and see what they put together!


1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Yes, this is my first time working with a small business and I truly enjoy how inclusive the environment is. We have the freedom to ideate, tweak things based on our instincts, there is room to make mistakes and learn at every step while we move forward with the business.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

It was my first time working from home and although work from home comes with its comfort and advantage, I really enjoy working in the office. There are innumerable miscellaneous tasks that get completed while we are in the office which adds a lot of value to the business overall and I feel this would not have been possible otherwise.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

One thing I’ve picked up myself by observing the people I look up to is, always communicating!! Communication goes a long way.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

The first thing which comes to my mind, to my surprise, is our monthly meetings. I guess I love our meetings because we come together and help each other plan and organise our tasks. For me it’s fun to know how each one of us is so different with respect to the style of working but at the end our goals align perfectly.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?


6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Malini & Vedhika. :p I honestly don’t have a specific reason to support my answer because I just enjoy my time at work when I’m around these two. Just a small conversation lights up my mood and we always end up having a fun time together. 🙂

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

One thing I’ve learned from everyone in the team is how to organize my work to have a good work – life balance. This is one thing I’ve always struggled with for the longest time but I feel I’m getting better by the day and I have no one to thank for it but my team.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am super excited about our Pop-Up!! This would be my first time handling an offline event which makes it even more special for me. We would love to see you guys at our Pop-Up so please do drop by and say Hi to us.


1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Yes, this is my first time working with a small business. Something that has been distinctive for me about this experience is working with a close knit team and multiple people on a single project and the collaborative ethos that we have here. I’ve mostly worked independently before, and I love being able to see the range of beautiful things we can create when working together.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

I really struggled with time management, for months on end. A couple of weeks into working together, we all had to work from home. I was still trying to understand the nature of the work as well as know my colleagues a bit and everything felt a little scary as I didn’t know where to start. After rushing to meet timelines multiple times (and failing frequently) at the start, things (organically) began to synthesise and I was able to visualise how I can work in a way that feels enjoyable and cohesive for me. Over the course what I discovered (and am still fine tuning with each month) was that I love working with fluid schedules – so that I have my work charted out, but am not bound by any rigidity with it. I’m also really excited to see how this develops in the long run as we experiment with different verticals at IKKIVI!

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

From my Sociology professor – “Don’t be in a hurry to ace anything. Commit to the process of  learning each thing properly and spend your time exploring things you’re least likely to do.”

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

I feel that language is all I have (and am!), so I really love talking to them, about everything – work, our fears, our experiences, our peculiarities. And ofcourse, stealing food from each other’s lunch boxes!

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

I wouldn’t want to necessarily ‘claim’ it as a value, but I think sincerity – about projects that I love a little less than others, things that feel scary, some days that feel really exciting and some disorienting. I try to work with that flow and knowing, because that helps me build myself from a space of being human. And I honestly feel that it’s the primary attribute that is helping me grow and open up to doing new things.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Ms. Vedhika! She can be so witty even without trying. And I love how she can switch so smoothly between different kinds of conversations. Also her sweet laugh cracks us all up 🙂

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

Over the months, I think, I’ve learnt different things from everyone in our team. But I’d describe them more as values than skills. I’m just listing them below because that’s how my mind works 🙂

Ms. Nivi – the value of progress (and completion) over perfection

Rhea – the importance of revision and discipline

Ms. Vedhika – honest dialogue about any conflict that may arise when working with each other

Ms. Esha – opening up to try new things, even at the risk of them feeling scary

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

Our Podcast! We’ve been running it for half a year now, but the conversations we get to have with people are so valuable that I’m excited to see what we’re going to do in the coming months with it. Ohh, and the IKKIVI pop up that we are having in February.


Mindfulness and Mental Health

Mindfulness and Mental Health

Learning to Get Through Holiday Season Blues

A peculiar reality many of us experience at different periods in our life, this time of the year can make us feel paralysed and despondent. A feeling state that can arrive at its own accord or be occasioned by our complex life circumstances, it is one that requires more care and concern to traverse, than we may be able to foresee. We’re sharing with you here our thoughts on what we hope can soften the pervasive form of holiday blues and extend to you support through its experience. 

1.Listening to our mind and body

The experience of the holiday season can be different for all of us, such that we may or may not share comparable needs or emotions as someone else who may be going through it as well. When experiencing the difficulties that come with feeling low, we urge you to try to spend some time with yourself and ask two questions – ‘what’ am i feeling?, and ‘what’ do I feel I need or would like, in this moment? The former allows us to identify, understand and acknowledge our feelings, as well as to sit with ourselves in honesty about where we are at. We, at IKKIVI, like to engage in this process by journaling or writing in a notebook, as writing feels personalising and cathartic to us, and creates a semi visual lens to go back to. The latter is a step further in recognising what our feelings can tell, or are telling us about our needs, and thinking through and moving toward meeting them.

  • Do you feel that at this time, you need to slow down and rest?

  • Do you want to say no to doing certain things and yes to doing some others?

  • Do you feel called to move your body, or read about and explore a particular subject?

  • Do you feel you need to grieve, or that you are grieving?

  • Do you think you would like someone to help you understand and navigate through what you are experiencing?

  • Is there something you need to, or want to, express?

  • Do you feel you need to, or would like to, be alone or have someone be with you for some time?

We think that asking ourselves these questions can prompt us in taking steps in a way that regards our individual experience for what it is, and become a reflective and viable tool through such a period.

2.Letting Ourselves Be

We think it is as valuable to let ourselves take a breather, consciously let go of any perfectionistic ideals of performance we may hold, grieve, rest, go deeply into our pain, do nothing and let ourselves wholly feel as we are feeling, as it is to try to ‘do’ what we feel (or know) can bring us ease. And often in the midst of our experience, it is possible that we may be unable to identify or understand our feelings and needs with clarity, or even know what we want. Giving ourselves a break and leaving our experiences of pain undefined and unanalysed for some time can inspire us to slow down, let things fall apart (if they naturally are), positively surrender to the polarities of life, perceive the inexplicability and randomness of some events, be gentle with ourselves and watch life unfold in its own ways, without appending any mental meanings to them for the time.

3.Asking for help 

A lot of times we are met with a feeling of hesitance or embarrassment when it comes to asking for help. But as initially discomforting as it can be, we think it’s important to ask for help, if we need it or would like another’s support. While our pain or past experiences can mistake us into believing that we would be burdening others or be rejected by them upon sharing our feelings, most often, our loved ones and friends will wholeheartedly want to be there for us in whatever ways they can and provide us comfort. At the same time, prolonged feelings of loneliness or melancholy may be a sign of depression. Meeting with a mental health professional who is committed to our well being and experienced with the many manifestations of depression can offer us insights, constructive inputs and resources that can help us work through our difficult feelings in a safe way when we find ourselves feeling persistently low, anxious or troubled. Leaning on others and letting them take care of us in a time of pain can open our hearts to new ways of doing things and ask fresh questions about what may be right and healthy for us to take up, as well as to leave. Going for talk therapy and counselling may also be a good step for any of us when we may be trying to get a little bit of guidance in working through our lives. We are hoping for this to be normalised and something that anybody feels comfortable and safe to opt for.

4.Cultivating a lifestyle suited to our values

Advertising, media, cultural norms, social practices, and idealistic systems can instill in us a feeling that we need to live by particular and pre-decided merits to be seen as a worthy, prosperous and useful member of society. We invite you to reflect on the values that align with and feel authentic to who you are, genuinely re-think if the desires you hold are yours or someone else’s, mindfully consume and question media content, create new traditions and routines for yourself, work at a pace that is harmonious with your natural energy and build an environment that nurtures your unique talents and desires. In our podcast Daily Routines to Inspire an Intentional Lifestyle, with artist and creative director Rhea Gupte, we further reimagine with her what building our own identity can look like, and how we can let go of things that don’t feel fulfilling, if you would like to listen to it.

NOTE: You can find here some worldwide and Indian mental health helplines, if you or someone you know may need some support.


With Nivi Murthy

With Nivi Murthy

Conversations on Exploring Diverse Business Values

Working with our Founder, Nivi Murthy, we at IKKIVI, spend a lot of time together on different themes, ideas and intentions. In the everyday hubbub of our projects, we’d been missing out on some conversations we’ve wanted to have with her for a while – conversations around the heart of her inspirations, experiences over the last couple of years, and the processes she sees entrepreneurs and ethical businesses need to be a part of. We got to meet with her this month and have a heartwarming dialogue about all this and more, and even learn about what she has planned for our newest vertical – ‘The IKKIVI Podcast’.

1. IKKIVI is now 6 years old. Does the business look different from what you had envisioned when you first started out?

The business has definitely evolved over the last 6 years into also being a voice for conscious fashion and mindful living. But what has stayed with us right from the beginning is the vision and passion to support and promote Indian contemporary designers globally by being a trusted curated online shop. We are ever evolving and constantly learning to be better and all-encompassing, but our vision is clear and we look forward to making a larger positive impact on our planet and its people.

2. What key quality has helped you sustain and build your business over the years?

Perseverance and passion.

3. What does ‘business’ mean to you? Did you ever think you’d be a business owner?

Business to me is the ability to create something new for the benefit of the people and the world we live in. I have always been passionate about solving problems and finding solutions but the first time I knew with more certainty that I wanted to create something of my own was during an internship while studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was exposed to the supply chain and its inefficiencies leading to the problem of overstock and harmful impact to the environment with little being done about it. That’s when I felt the need to create and build something of my own that would have a positive impact.

4. You’ve had a full time team join you this year. But everyone had to work remotely for several months right at the start, due to the pandemic and lockdowns. What was that like for you? As a Founder and business owner, how did you navigate through all the changes and hiccups that came with that time?

I am grateful for the dedicated team we have at IKKIVI. I personally enjoy working with people and understanding them so I would say it was difficult that we had to work remotely almost immediately but we made Zoom work for us. We set up some processes right in the beginning so we could work towards our weekly and monthly objectives and tried to just put our heads down and go with what we could do considering the situation we were dealing with together.

However, now, I am more than happy that we get to work together in the office, we enjoy each other’s company, laugh more than required (haha) and are most importantly able to create so much more together in person.

5. What is a challenge you think every ethical and small business faces, and how do you think one can stay grounded and steady through it?

The idea that everything must be perfect. I think as small ethical businesses we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect in all areas of the business and forget that it is a process of learning and evolving. I believe in the idea of progress over perfection and feel that one small step in the right direction is a start and those many steps over a period of time will only have a larger and larger positive impact. It is important to be kind to ourselves and commit to the idea of constantly learning and improving.

6. You launched a podcast this July and it’s been so refreshing to hear one on conscious living. What can we expect with it in the next few months?

I am so excited about our podcast! I thoroughly enjoy meeting people, having conversations and understanding the choices they make in their lives. This podcast has conversations with some very cool and interesting people on living very intentional and mindful lives. We hope through this podcast we can continue to encourage and empower our listeners to live more fully and craft the lives that they want to uniquely live. We have artists, entrepreneurs, activists and change makers lined up over the next few months and we’re really thrilled for you to be a part of this journey with us.

7. Any book or podcast recommendations on running a business that you can share with us? 

This past year I enjoyed listening to ‘The Farrynheight Podcast’.

8. A quote that you live by?

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence” – Ovid


Mindful Gifting


Creating Meaningful Experiences with Each Other

We love gifts! We love giving them, receiving them, hoping for them and being surprised by what we’d give to someone and what they’d give us. Over the years we have been practicing how to be mindful with gift giving, and understanding what that means to us. For us, gifting is about expressing joy, gratitude, and sharing.  Being mindful with it is about paying attention and becoming aware of the ways in which we give to someone, why we give, and when. Buying presents for someone (including ourselves) can bring up a variety of feelings – some of them pleasurable and some conflicting. Gifting can feel stressful when trying to select the “right” gift from a plethora of available options, the bombardment of advertisements at every billboard, cultural expectations and personal standards along with the uncertainty of whether the recipient of our present will appreciate what we give them. We’re sharing with you here what we have learnt, and hope that it can help make your experiences of gift giving novel and fun.

1. Think About How you Feel when Buying a Present for Someone.

In the IKKIVI team, we realise we tend to feel excited and more connected with the person we’re buying a gift for, when we genuinely and intentionally want to give our loved one or acquaintance a gift — whether it’s a handmade item, our love and presence, or a gift from a shop. When buying a gift for someone, we ask ourselves seven questions: a) Do I actually want to give them something? b) What are the things I know about the person I am going to buy a present for? c) Will they be able to enjoy the gift I give them? d) Does the gift I give to them have the potential to bring us closer and cultivate a more meaningful relationship? e) What can I do if I feel unsure about what to give? f) How much money can I, or would I like to spend on buying something for them? g) How am I feeling, and what would make the process of looking for and buying a present easeful for me, or, keep stress at a minimum? Asking ourselves these questions puts us in a space where we (have to) become more deliberate about what we are doing, and reflect on how truthfully we are able to and want to engage in gift giving. We encourage you to ask yourself similar questions or use prompts when buying something, as this can reduce anxieties and make the experience rewarding for you as well.

2.Personalise the Present

There are many beautiful things we can buy for someone, and often we try that our gift is one that can translate into a shared experience, create memories and be enjoyed over time. We like giving handwritten notes, gratitude jars, mindful card and board games (for us to all play together), journals, going for picnics or boat rides, surprising our friends or family by bringing them a meal they love, simply spending time with them and extending our help with something they may be struggling with a little. We feel that gifts don’t have to be costly to express care or celebrate an occasion and like finding ways that can bring some newness to our relationships. What are some experiences you think would be creative and gentle for you and the recipient of your gift?

3.Introduce them to Something New 

Gift giving can be a mindful way of introducing someone to an aspect of conscious living – buying a present from an eco-conscious shop, giving a gift card, a book from a different discipline, a new recipe or anything they may have been wanting to try. At IKKIVI, we have various gift cards that you can give to a loved one for them to explore sustainable brands, designs and products. Through these cards, we hope to encourage the conscious consumption of beautifully and mindfully made products that create minimal negative impact on the environment and its people. What we love about giving (and receiving!) gift cards is that they allow us to stay on budget, almost always assure that the recipient of our gift will love what they buy, and lets them freely and thoughtfully get something they may need or be looking for.


Can Taking on Zero Waste Cooking be Uncomplicated?

Can Taking on Zero Waste Cooking be Uncomplicated?

Taking a Closer Look at the Sustainable Practice

“Food is everything. It is nourishment. It is love. It is political. And our industrial system is wreaking havoc on our planet. So food is a good place to start when trying to live more sustainably. Food offers the opportunity to make more conscious choices three times a day (plus snacks!)”, says cookbook author, speaker and Zerowaste Chef, Anne-Marie Bonneau. To understand how simple or difficult low (to zero) waste cooking is, what myths around the lifestyle can derail us from its practice and how we can inspire ourselves to be more playful yet mindful with food, we, at IKKIVI Zine spoke with her this month and learnt some invaluable features about it. We hope these can support and further your own relationship with food and the environment, and bring newness to your everyday experiences with it.

1. What made you start zerowastechef? How has your journey with it been over the years?

Reading about plastic pollution in the oceans and its devastating effects on the oceans’ inhabitants started me on this journey. I decided on the spot that I would break up with plastic (doing so took several months). I then read about food waste—in the US, nearly 40 percent of the food we produce goes uneaten. That is an astonishing and absurd number. A couple of years into this lifestyle, I realized that I hadn’t had a cold or flu since I had changed my lifestyle. That came as a huge surprise. Cutting the plastic cleaned up my diet. Living more intentionally has also brought me so much joy. I never want to go back to the old days!

2. Could you tell us about your favorite part of the cooking process? (And your least favorite too!)

Cleaning is probably my least favorite task, although I love the results—a clean, organized kitchen. My favorite part of cooking is experimenting. Inspired to try something new with ingredients I have on hand has led to dishes and discoveries that I would not otherwise have made had I not imposed these constraints—to waste nothing—on myself.

3. We all learn differently – some of us respond more to books, some of us take to visuals and videos. How did you learn and develop this art of zero waste cooking?

I learned to ferment food and bake sourdough through books (I love books). Once I learned the basics, I started to experiment, which is not only fun but also reduces food waste. Fermentation plays a big role in preserving food in my kitchen—which reduces food waste. It also adds incredible flavors to food.

4. Through the course of the pandemic these last two years, a lot of us took to the kitchen and cooked more, cultivating a more intimate relationship with food. But many of us have also gone the other way – where in the thick of the stresses, we have lost the degree of connection we had with it. Food in one sense, just became about eating for the need and sake of eating. How can we go back to it, this time more mindfully than before?

I think getting back to cooking for nourishment and pleasure requires a shift in mindset, like any lifestyle change. I think you take it one day—or one meal—at a time and don’t stress about the big picture. And keep in mind all the work and resources that went into producing our food. Respect and gratitude for food will bring more joy to cooking.

5. Often we get discouraged and disinterested in starting something new or in staying committed to it, if it feels too difficult or time consuming. How can we make learning and practicing zero or low waste cooking fun and engaging for ourselves in the midst of hectic days and schedules?

Cooking with what you have on hand saves time and money. You won’t have to run out to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient. Make do and experiment with what you have on hand. When you do cook, make it worth your while and cook a double batch of whatever—if you will eat it all! Freeze some of that food to enjoy later. Cook once, eat twice (or three times).

6. What are some challenges people can expect to experience when they start practicing low or zero waste cooking and living?

Don’t let the “zero” in “zero waste” scare you or induce paralysis. Zero waste is merely a goal. Even if you don’t bring any plastic into your own home, plastic and other waste hide in the supply chain unseen behind almost everything we buy. So, don’t expect to be perfect—it’s not possible. And don’t expect to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. Just try to make a couple of changes, get them down and then try some more.

7. Sometimes we may not immediately be able to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. But we can try to produce as minimal waste as possible. Could you share with us some mindful and eco-conscious methods of disposing of the waste that is created in our homes?

A couple of strategies will have a big impact. Reducing food waste is one of the most impactful actions you can take. Food waste accounts for 8 to 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. To put that into perspective, aviation accounts for about 2.5 percent of global emissions. So eat all the food you buy. There is no downside to doing that.

Composting is also crucial. Food waste—when it does happen—and food scraps should never go to a landfill. In a landfill, food becomes compacted and cut off of oxygen. The anaerobic bacteria that break it down emit methane, a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. If you have access to a yard, start a pile in the corner of it. You don’t even need to build a bin if you don’t want to. You can also pit compost—bury the food scraps in the ground. If you can’t compost in a yard, look for community gardens or farms that offer dropoff of your scraps. You can also compost indoors with worms. I once saw a worm bin that serves as an ottoman in someone’s living room! Of course, you can keep a worm but out of sight, in a cupboard or closet.

If you no longer want an item—clothes, furniture, kitchenware, for example—someone else likely does. Try to find a home for your unwanted items. Recycling is a last resort—prevention is key—and plastic has an abysmally low recycling rate (about 9 percent in the US). But put any recyclables in the bin. Some items do have a high recycling rate, such as aluminum cans.

8. What is one myth about zero waste cooking and living that you think needs to be debunked? And how can we do so?

People think zero-waste living costs a lot of money. I save money. I tell people the lifestyle is a package deal. Yes, local organic produce often costs more than non-organic industrially produced food, for example, but I eat all of the food I buy, which saves a small fortune. The average family of four in the US spends $1800 a year on food that goes uneaten. I eat lower on the food chain—lots of fruit and vegetables, beans and lentils and whole grains. I don’t buy things I don’t need. I recently moved and packing is not my favorite thing. If you’re tempted to buy something that you may not need, ask yourself if you want to pack it up one day when you move! That will stop many impulse buys. When I do buy something I need, I try to find it second-hand. I’m also fairly handy at repairing things—and at finding someone to pay to repair things. I had my sewing machine repaired this summer. The repairman tried to talk me into buying a new one (he also sells machines). Mine is much nicer than the new ones and using it until it can no longer be repaired is much more sustainable.

9. What are some of the difficulties you still experience when practicing a conscious lifestyle? 

I have access to year-round farmers’ markets and very good bulk stores and I am able to compost. So I don’t find the lifestyle difficult here. Also, I was raised in a very religious household and trained to live consciously. So I would say the most difficult part of this lifestyle is other people’s expectations—which is really true of life in general. People want to give me things I don’t want (my family now knows not to). I really don’t want more stuff. So that can lead to some awkward situations.

10. What are the projects or learnings you are currently dedicated to? How is the rest of the year looking for you? 

I’m attempting to rewild my yard. I recently moved back to my house after having lived in an intentional community for 15 years. I’d like to tear up at least some of the heat-retaining concrete in the backyard and replace it with native plants to attract pollinators. I’ve been saving logs from felled trees and branches and plan to build some raised hugelkultur beds outside for growing more vegetables. I’ll also plant a few more fruit trees.

If you’d like to know about Anne-Marie’s work, you can visit her website and Instagram page.


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