Most manufacturers make products that will break or fade or fall apart after a certain amount of time. Whether it’s fast-fashion (ahem, H&M) or fast-furnishings (oh hey, Ikea), they make things cheap and bet on you coming back to buy more.
Tara Button is not okay with that.
She saw all of the waste built into a system that operates on “planned obsolescence” and came up with a new mantra: buying for life. Button is now the founder of BuyMeOnce, a website that stocks the longest-lasting products in the world, and the author of A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life.
While her lifestyle approach, which she calls “mindful curation,” is about awareness of how our actions impact the environment, it also makes sense as a strategy for living with less stress. Just think: If you only buy things you really love that will last forever, you’ll never have to clean out a drawer or a closet again. (It’s like a preventative version of the KonMari Method.) She even applies the overall philosophy to her diet.
“It involves taking a step back, getting to know yourself and what you want your life to be, and then mindfully (like a curator in an art gallery) bringing things into your life that help you do that,” she says. “It’s all about how to pair a long-term strategy with how you live day to day, which I believe is also the cornerstone of any healthy diet.”
Below, she shares what that really looks like, from how she stocks her kitchen with the longest-lasting cookware to how she works out every day but never goes to the gym.
How Does Tara Button Live a Nutritious Life?
What’s your go-to breakfast? My tummy wakes up two hours after me so I have a coffee on the train into London in a KeepCup. Then, at my desk, I have a nutty, seedy granola (Deliciously Ella) and a piece of fruit. My favorite is grapefruit and kiwi. Since reading The Doctor’s Kitchen, I think of every meal as an opportunity to get some different type of organism (and the nutrients and natural gut bacteria that comes with it) into my body.
Your go-to workday lunch? My lovely husband makes his mum’s recipe chicken soup which is perfect for keeping me going and avoiding a carb crash during the day. If we’re out of soup, a halloumi salad wrap is traditional.
Your go-to workday dinner? It usually involves sweet potatoes, kale, and either free-range organic chicken or veggie-sausages or burgers. I’ve drastically cut down on the amount of meat I eat since I found out what a difference it makes environmentally. Cooking is important to us and all of our cooking equipment is made to last a lifetime, like this Finex 10-inch skillet, and the Get it Right range.
What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Blueberries and hummus. But my husband considers the fridge his domain; he has a “system.” I close the door and forget everything that’s in there, so it’s probably for the best.
The snack you always have with you when traveling? A pot of nuts (pecans and walnuts) and mixed seeds. To prevent throwaway plastic with snacks, I use Dalcini boxes, which are really gorgeous and last forever.
What do you eat before and after a workout? I work out first thing and can’t bear the thought of eating beforehand. Afterwards, I have a coffee, or if my tummy has had time to wake up, it’s all about flour-free banana pancakes with blueberries.
Other than water, what do you sip regularly? Coffee—I shock everyone because I prefer instant coffee, but I find “real” coffee too bitter, and I’m at a stage in my life when I’m over pretending that I like things I don’t.
How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? I aim for five days a week, as it makes such a difference to my mood and productivity. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and cardio is one of the best things you can do for your brain apparently, so I’m taking it seriously. The downside of ADHD is that I get bored easily so I came up with my own workout routine to stop myself from getting bored. I call it “game of fitness,” and it involves pretending to be fictional fantasy characters. I have embraced my inner geek, and I’m making it work for me.
How do you stay active outside the gym? I never go to the gym any more. Once I learned how to motivate myself through fun and fantasy, I realized that I can get an excellent workout at home for free and only have to commute down from my bedroom. I also cycle across London most days unless the weather is awful, always walk up escalators, and love a bit of Yoga with Adrienne to keep myself supple.
What’s your go-to tool for managing stress? If I ever get over-anxious, the most effective thing I’ve found is to write a note to myself from my “fear,” as if it was a person who lived inside me and then respond to it. Day to day, the Calm app is great, and recently I’ve been meditating by looking at a candle for ten minutes. It has the double benefit of improving focus (we are all so distracted by phones and social media) and relieving anxiety and stress at the time.
How do you pamper yourself when you need it? Being a CEO is all-go and can come with a lot of guilt because there is always more to do. So a real luxury is guilt-free time to be creative on projects that are not work-related. Writing kids books, playing the ukulele, or doing an art project all restore me in a way that simply consuming or vegging out cannot do.
How do you express and spread love? I’m a problem solver. I love helping people with whatever is bothering them. This is not always what they want from me, though, so I’m working on just giving people my time, acceptance, empathy, and encouragement. I also see my book as a way of spreading love, as it comes from a sincere desire to help my fellow humans navigate this crazy time. I feel like many people are drowning, and I was lucky enough to stumble across a few lifebelts. I want to hand them out as widely as possible.
What does it mean to you to “live consciously”? It’s the art of taking an in-depth long-term view of your life and your role in the world and using it to create everyday habits and behaviors that allow you to both live in the moment and build a life of purpose and happiness.
What’s your weirdest healthy habit? I think anyone who sees me pretending to be Arya Stark fighting zombies with a medicine ball in the morning would probably think it was that… or using reusable sanitary wear—much healthier for us and the planet. I’m of the belief that if it’s weird and works, do it! The only normal people are the people you don’t know well enough.
Which healthy habit do you wish you had more time for? Long countryside cycles. Or even better: Cycle holidays in countries where it hasn’t been known to hail in June.
Meditation or massage? Massage—I get all my best ideas while being rubbed.
A hot shower or a soothing bath? Shower: Also an idea generator, I have a waterproof notebook in there!
Almond butter or peanut butter? Peanut..with jelly…on toast…all…day…long…
Coffee or tea? Instant coffee or Earl Grey (I am British after all).
A long run outside or a dark spin class? Can I cycle outside instead? I like sunlight…and my knees.
(Photos: BuyMeOnce/Tara Button)