Living a sustainable lifestyle is not something we can just do overnight. It's a humbling and educational path, in which we continuously develop and grow.
This month on The Journal, we caught up with slow fashion advocate, earth-lover and vegan food and beverage consultant Anya Lily at her family home in Tuscany. Inspired by Anya's connection with nature, passion for sustainability and love for our planet, we felt compelled to find out more about how she incorporates 'slow living' into her everyday, from food to fashion.
Anya's lifestyle embodies the charm of Tuscany, living amongst the rolling hillsides, miles of vineyards and amidst this landscape harvesting her own fruit and vegetables, it truly is a provincial dream.
From a young age Anya has been inspired by her mother's conscious lifestyle, from permaculture to foraging, as well as trying to reuse and recycle, generating as little waste as possible.
FTL: What inspired you to live this kind of lifestyle involving sustainable living from your food, to your medicine to your clothing?
Anya: I grew up with my mother in the countryside, she is an intuitive herbalist. She taught me from a young age about plants, permaculture, foraging and homestead living. She has inspired me to live a conscious life, where we always live as low waste as possible, making everything from scratch. This slow living gives you a real sense of appreciation for the plants you grow from seed, the food you cook and the things you make.
Having always grown her own food and spending so much time in nature, Anya describes the garden being a vital part of her life. ‘I have always grown my own food, even when I was small my mum gifted me a part of our garden for my 7th birthday that we called "Anya's Magic Garden". It had a patch for growing veggies, an apple tree and a pond.'
FTL: Why is growing your own food so important to you?
Anya: Learning to grow your own food from seed is a way to bring freedom into your life. I am very conscious of the food I eat and growing my own, means that I know exactly what comes into contact with my food. I never use any chemicals or pesticides on my plants, so they are 100% natural and full with the most nutrients possible - which is not only beneficial for my health but also that of the soil and the creatures that I share my garden with.
Sustainability always played a key role in Anya's personal and home life, growing food and working towards being self sufficient to consciously collecting a timeless selection of pieces for her wardrobe. Anya dresses with sustainable and conscious brands in mind.
FTL: Sustainable fashion is about wearing a wardrobe made to last, do you agree?
Anya: I have always been an advocate for the idea of “timeless pieces” in my wardrobe. I wear a lot of block colours and only buy things that I really love from sustainable brands or second hand. I find the amount of waste in fast fashion appalling, therefore I feel that people should buy clothes selectively that they can wear again and again.
FTL: Why is it important for you to dress with ethical/sustainable brands?
Anya: It's important for me to live authentically in all areas of my life, so I want the clothes I wear to reflect my care for the planet. I aim to walk gently on this earth, knowing that what covers me hasn't caused harm to the earth, the soil or its inhabitants.
A passion for the environment, a love of organic produce and driven by investing in mother earth, Anya is mindful of her choices. Living consciously and choosing to live in harmony with our planet.
What you buy makes a difference.
What you eat makes a difference.
What you wear makes a difference.
Choosing to save our planet is about small everyday choices.
Anya shares her signature recipes for making delicious homemade pizzas, follow the recipe below to try yours at home.
Anya's Earth to Table Pizzas
* 00 Flour – 600g (extra for rolling and shaping)
* Mixed seeds (chia, flax, poppy) 40g
* Water (room temperature) – 360g
* Salt (fine) – 14g
* Yeast (dried or fresh) – around 0.2g to 0.5g (depending on yeast type & room temperature)
For the toppings:
* 300g fresh tomato
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* Salt – sprinkling of table salt or sea salt
* Pepper – freshly ground black pepper
* Vegan cheese
* Extra virgin olive Oil – a few glugs
* Basil – hand full of fresh leaves
For the dough
* This recipe is for a 24 hour prove. I know it sounds like a long time but don’t worry!
* Simply make the dough the night before you want to make pizza and you will be good to go on the following evening.
* Don’t worry about exact timings, anywhere around 20-28 hours will be fine.
1. Mix all the ingredients into a shaggy mass in a large bowl, starting by adding the water first. You can do this by hand or use a wooden spoon.
2. Cover the bowl with a bees wax wrap or a very damp cloth (if the cloth isn’t damp the dough may dry out).
3. Leave the dough to rest for around 1 hour (the technical term for this process is the Autolyse).
4. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead for around 5 minutes.
5. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover.
6. Leave the dough to prove (in one big lump, don’t worry about the shape) for around 20 hours.
7. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts (250g each) using some kitchen scales and a knife (or dough scraper). Do this about 4 hours before you intend to cook the pizza (after about a 20 hour prove).
8. Place each dough ball into a small bowl and cover. Alternatively, use a large tupperware container with a lid, or two smaller ones.
9. Leave the dough balls to prove again for about 4-6 hours.
For the sauce
1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the watery insides and seeds. Put to one side to use for a sauce or gazpacho.
2. Blend the tomatoes with a glug of olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and oregano. I like to leave it a little chunky.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Photo Credits: Anya Montague