Dr. Dana Lyons: Mindful Shopper + Health Expert
It's been a little while since I've interviewed a conscious consumer on the blog, and I am so deeply honored to bring this post to you.
Dr. Dana Lyons is an incredibly inspiring individual, and she's been an engaged reader of Selflessly Styled for quite some time now. I believe you'll find her approach to life, shopping and style very refreshing and thought-provoking.
After you read her interview, be sure to check out her business, Alchemist Eating. I personally love her approachable and simple approach to genuine health and nutrition.
Without further adieu, meet Dr. Dana Lyons...
Share a little of your personal background...
I’m a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and currently teach Chinese Medicine and Nutrition plus run my own business, Alchemist Eating. I help people live in a way that’s healthy…and uncomplicated. My work combines eating, medicine and minimalism.
Home is Nelson, British Columbia, where I live in an adorable house with two very spoiled siamese cats.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake early and savor my morning time. This involves the “Five Tibetans” (a yogic breath and movement practice) and a very quick plunge in the nearby, glacially cold lake. Then comes bulletproof chicory-root coffee in bed, where I check email, post on Instagram, and spend quality time with my cats before beginning the work day.
Work for me involves teaching at a local Chinese Medicine college plus running my own business. I work with my eating and lifestyle clients by phone and email, and schedule phone sessions within specific afternoon blocks. My schedule is full, but I try to go slow, tending to one project or person at a time with mindfulness and care.
I also prioritize twice-daily yoga (whether at home or a class); daily walks in nature; and slow, nourishing lunches and dinners — with NO work during those times. Though I work seven days a week, these places of self-care are non-negotiable. They are essential for my own wellness and ease…and allow me to best support others.
When did you start shopping ethically?
Even before “minimalism” became a thing, I’ve always kept my belongings simple. Not out of some pull towards asceticism…but rather, because I love the sense of lightness, ease and spaciousness it brings. I love what it allows space for.
Feeling at home in my clothes is important to me. So is buying fewer items that are higher quality and last a long time. If they’re produced in a sustainable, ethical fashion — all the better. Over the past few years, I’ve been bringing conscious attention to ethical buying, and am especially drawn to smaller lines owned by women.
Choosing fewer, better and ethical goes for food too. I find simple is better: real, whole, high-quality meals on rotation — typically featuring ethically raised animal protein surrounded by local, in-season veggies.
Eating and dressing this way nourishes me. It also opens up space…and brings ease. Having fewer choices — so long as they’re all *perfectly me* and *perfectly delicious* — just feels right.
Describe your personal style...
I’m all about soft, loose-fitting blacks and greys — pieces made of natural fibers I want close to my skin. Cashmere is my favorite this time of year! Overall, I like subtly textured layers that come together in a look that’s androgynous, clean, effortless and comfortable.
What are your favorite brands to support?
Can you identify any major obstacles you've had to overcome in the endeavor?
The biggest obstacle for me is that I prefer to try clothing on before purchasing…but most of the brands I love are not local, so I have to order online. I favor companies that make returns and exchanges simple. And I’m always on the lookout for Canadian brands to further simplify shipping and exchanges.
How do you make ethical shopping work with your budget?
I place items on a wish list long before I actually buy, so purchases are few and far between…and always carefully considered. I’d rather invest in a few pricer pieces that I love than spend money here, there and everywhere without thought.
Quality thrift stores are another excellent option, whether locally or online. I don’t do much thrifting currently but plan to check the local shops before my next wish-list purchase.
What's been the most rewarding part of this shift for you?
In life, belongings and food, choosing simpler but better brings ease…and space for what I really want. Knowing that what I buy was produced in an ethical, sustainable way adds to this ease and helps me feel connected to others I want to support.
What's one piece of advice you would offer to anyone who wants to start shopping ethically?
These days, shopping ethically can feel confusing and even overwhelming. Take things one at a time — you don’t need to sort it all out at once. Pick one item on your wish list (a sweater or scarf, for instance), and start there. There are so many excellent blogs to use as a resource — this one, for instance!
Anything else you would like to share?
Simplicity and quality are the heart of my business…and anchor me personally. I love seeing such a beautiful, diverse community embracing similar choices.
All photos in this post were taken by Three Owls Studio.