Eating more plant-based meals is the fastest way to shrink your carbon footprint. And beyond helping Mother Earth, you’ll also improve your own physical and mental health.

Rhian is a conscious living blogger, based in northern Michigan. We spoke to her about where her dedication to conscious living stems, why she leads a plant-based life, and how we all can tread more lightly.

Splendid Spoon: Hi Rhian! What does conscious living mean to you?

Rhian: Hi! Conscious living is a term I use to describe how I stop and think before acting. That action could be consuming something (either eating or buying), making a decision (more efficient cars or reducing waste), or how I treat others and the environment.

SS: What started you on your mission of conscious living?

Rhian: I was raised vegetarian and later vegan, so I’ve always thought about conscious living. I continue to make changes to how I live, and starting with this foundation makes it easier.

As I started to work online and share content, my viewers made suggestions and shared more ethical options with me, and my life has evolved from there. The internet is a great place to pick up new ideas about ethical and conscious living.

SS: What message about living a vegan, cruelty-free life is most important to you?

Rhian: I want people to know that it’s doable! One downside of the internet is that people think perfection is possible. It isn’t. I want people to know that there are easy, ethical options you can choose that will fit into your life. You should always feel good about any changes you make. Focusing on small changes makes people more likely to continue to evolve in more ethical ways, and not get so overwhelmed and then give up. [Exactly the same as how we approach healthy eating: through small habit changes. They really add up! — Ed.]

SS: What drives you to continue to be vegan?

Rhian: I was raised this way, but I did have a brief vegetarian stint as an adult when I moved to the US. However, I didn’t feel good about being vegetarian: both ethically and physically. For me, it’s just natural.

SS: What do you wish people knew about how their life affects the planet?

Rhian: It can be inspiring to know how much of an impact these small lifestyle changes have on the planet. Reducing waste, eating more plant-based meals, and being conscious of the environment and pollution make a huge difference. Just googling environmental stats on certain things — cutting out red meat or switching to a more fuel efficient car — can help people grasp the power of their choices.

SS: What one thing do you wish people would do to help protect the environment?

Rhian: I wish more people would stop and think before purchasing clothes. It’s really easily to mindlessly buy things and never wear them when they cost next to nothing. I wish people would consider why clothing is so cheap (Watch The True Cost movie!) as this can help control how much we buy, and reduce the quantity that ends up in landfills.

SS: What does a day on your plate look like?

Rhian: I usually start with avocado toast and grilled tempeh, along with coffee and kombucha.

For lunch I’ll have homemade veggie soup, or if I’m feeling lazy I’ll have Gardein “Chickn” sliders and salad.

Dinner could be an easy pasta, a buffalo cauliflower bowl, or anything else I’ve been inspired to make, thanks to Instagram.

SS: How has being plant-powered changed your health and life?

Rhian: Cutting out dairy helped with my stomach issues, cleared up my skin, and boosted my energy levels. My body doesn’t find it easy to digest dairy (what with me not being a baby cow and all), so I now have more energy to put towards other things!

The change has also connected with some incredible people and helped me guide others who want to make these changes!