Living with nourishment
Today I interview the inspiring Cassandra Hope, holistic wellness practitioner. While my version of Interior Environmentalism pertains to décor, art and the plants we surround ourselves with, for Cass she is an interior environmentalist through nourishment. Through health and wellbeing, it almost transposes as interior environmentalism: the green we consume to take care of our bodies.
Between our various theories and definitions, we found plenty to chat about. We definitely have living a green life in common! Here’s our convo:
AC: I'm an advocate and have a passion for being and Interior Environmentalist. Being an Interior Environmentalist means being conscious about the way in which we fill our homes with stuff (or not). To me it is buying with purpose, finding or reconditioning secondhand furniture (flea market or antique finds) and repurposing them instead of buying new. And its also about bringing nature indoors as much as possible through art, plants, textiles or wallpaper. I view your career and healthy living in a similar light! Our bodies are vessels to be proud of and take care of, just like our homes. They are sacred places that bring us joy if we care and nourish what goes into them, this brings with it a level of conscious happiness. So I ask: What does green lifestyle mean to you?
CH: What a great question...Living a green lifestyle means many things to me…It’s about being conscious about how we interact with the world in order to facilitate our needs; nutrition, travel, home care, etc. I believe this takes time for people to envelop - for many of us, it isn’t taught by our families. I don’t advocate aiming for perfection, I just recommend and personally, do the best I can with what Ihave available to me. For example, I buy as much organic food as I possibly can. Not just for the health benefits, but also to vote with my wallet. I want conscious farmers to win! Corporate decisions are base on consumerism, what better way to help reduce environmental toxins than by supporting those who don’t use them in their farming practices? The same goes for travel…Our goal in this household is to trade in our hatchback for one of Teslas affordable electronic cars. Again, voting for change with our wallets! And lastly, ‘green’ home-care…I love my baking soda, white vinegar and essential oil mists to clean my home. They work! And they won’ destroy our soil, wildlife and ecosystem in the process. I am dumbfounded as to why companies had to begin using chemicals in cleaning products anyway - I get they may be easier in some cases, but definitely not better. The best thing about living green is that once you learn how to do it, its the answer to that question we’ve all asked ourselves (hopefully) - “What Can I Do To Help The State Of The Planet & Society?"
AC: Describe your sanctuary for us and where is it . What 3 things do you need in your sanctuary? Mine would be silence, art, a plant and some kind of visual nourishment (art books, a gallery, or searching pinterest).
CH: My sanctuary is in my home - the character of living in a 100 year old loft inspires me. Huge open and bright windows and a tall ceiling inspired me. The 3 things I need in my sanctuary are 1. My desk - it is tucked right in to the corner and is surrounded my by 2. My favourite books on nutrition and personal development. And 3. A plant I’ve had for many years, named Cleopatra. She has beautifulenergy and makes me happy.
AC: What are the 3 most important things to you, that make you feel healthy (both mentally and physically) each day?
CH: A diet rich in a variety of colourful and whole-food based proteins, healthy fats and carbs. Processed food makes me feel gross immediately, while natural foods can keep me feeling connected, energetic and mentally balanced all day.2. Laughter. I’m so lucky to be in love with someone who I laugh with harder than anyone else. I can be quite intense about life, business, personal growth etc., and he knows how to help me shelf that and just be in the moment, and be silly. I love that because I feel physically lighter and it consistently allows my brain to take a break from its A-Type predisposition. 3. My natural beauty care products. There’s nothing like dipping myself head-to-toe in completely non-toxic and decadent creams, oils, make-up (that actually works!) and hair care products. I feel like a million bucks and LOVE the way they smell.
AC: Personally I need to work and live in an environment which is visually pleasing. I like a few pops of colour set against natural tones. I also like creating interesting vignettes and details throughout my workspace and home. Your office and work environment are at a beautiful new location (MOVE Fitness in Leslieville). How does your working space / environment impact you? Do you believe its important to have Art in the workspace? What other things do you like to be surrounded by?
CH: Well, I’ll start by giving some love and acknowledgement to your piece ‘The Botanist’ which is hanging front and centre in the office at MOVE. ‘Zoe’ (what I’ve called her) grounds me, and I agree, neutral tones with a pop of bright colour also inspire me. In a monochromatic space, having her there as I consult on all things natural and beautiful in the health industry, I feel she is there as my biggest supporter. So yes, I do believe art is important, and how wonderful to have a piece by a local artist! I’ve always had pieces from artists’ abroad, having 'The Botanist' close is such a treat. I work a lot from my home office, and love to be surrounded by warm and colourful pieces I’ve collected that originate from India or Morocco. Rusted metal candle holders, antique turquoise armoires with black and white chevron textiles make me feel warm and at homewhile I create food, recipes, and write. There’s nothing like having a warm space with mood lighting, beeswax candles burning and unique furniture to feel like myself and work from a place of authenticity.
AC: I love being surrounded by Art and pot plants. I also love knowing my fruit bowl is full and my fridge has lots of greenery inside it too! If we peered into your fridge what would we find?
CH: I love that question - well, on the regular we have fermented foods of all kinds, homemade pickles, sauerkraut apple cider vinegar and fermented nut cheeses. We have two fridges, one is for vegetables and pre made foods (batch cooking is a regular practice around theseparts) and the other for condiments, meats and non-dairy milks. We love our bacon (yea, I said it!) so that’s a staple - and good quality organic eggs, too. Man I could go on, with a chef and a nutritionist as the heads of the household (and a 7 year old who LOVES to eat), our fridges are sacred places, really.
AC: How does female entrepreneurship apply to your industry? What are some of the perks and pitfalls of being a female businesswomen working in the health and wellness space?
CH: Female entrepreneurship applies to the health and wellness industry because it’s ripe with women who are using their recovery from illness to build a business sharing their wisdom with others who also suffer from chronic dis-ease. My class was filled with people who were looking to recover from an illness and wanted to use food, herbs and stress management to do so. It’s common for us to become sole proprietors as the ability to work for a company or corporation is limited and often goes against our values as holistic healers. Personally, I would say the perk is the pitfall. Our sick bodies (the pitfall) have become our greatest teachers (the perk). I’ve used my battles with self-medicating, depressionpoor gut health and PTSD to become an expert on how to overcome those illnesses, and thenteach others. The cause became my cure and I see that in a lot of other female entrepreneurs in my industry.
AC: What does Interior Environmentalism mean to you?
CH: Well, it’s becoming to mean a lot more to me these days! After learning more about what you do, Anna, and watching the popular documentary Minimalist, myself and my partner, Ryan, have had some great conversations about reducing what we buy, being moreconscious of that and the impact our food, clothing and car has on the planet. We don’t believe we can change everyone’s mind to be more conscious of what they buy and the impact that has on the planet, though we do believe we can make incredible change in our ownlives. With that commitment, we feel we’re being congruent with our values and love for this planet. We also believe we’re teaching by example, to his 7 year old, Penelope. We want her, and her generation, to have a healthy planet to exist on and that begins by choosingconsciously when making purchases for our home. It’s a wonderful thing, and I LOVE what you’re doing, Anna.
And here's the recipe to the wonderful Green smoothie Cassandra made in front of me. OMG it was soooo good!
The Ultimate Green Smoothie
3 cups organic spinach
½ fresh mango
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup water
⅓ cup raw cashews
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh mint
1 medjool date, pitted
1 teaspoon organic powdered spirulina or chlorella, optional
1 teaspoon bee pollen, optional
Juice of 2 limes
Pinch of sea salt
Big thanks to Cassandra, for sharing her wonderful aspects on living well with us. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I experienced it!