Let me introduce you to a gem of a human being, Miss Asakemi (@Asakemi). Clean lifestyle blogger, beauty enthusiast, strong woman advocate and recipe developer (known for her famous oats!) Asakemi is a girl who is out to “slow down the world” (don’t we need this when we live in such a want-everything-now nation?)… She’s out to teach people about eating REAL FOODS and taking back their health. She’s out to make a difference in the clean beauty world- calling out the injustices she sees left and right. She’s out to do something good for womanhood.
She is a light in the Instagram world. A feed you can go to and feel calm. Content that teaches and inspires and is beautifully raw and vulnerable. And her site has incredibly valuable content.
I’ve been following Asakemi for awhile now and I just HAD to have her on the Violet Fog. Enjoy her interview- she really gave some good tips on living a cleaner and more minimalistic lifestyle and she gets into causes that more women should be vocal about. She also talks about BEAUTY FOODS- info we crave!!!
LOVE ASAKEMI- I know you will too!
Katey: You are a voice for eating REAL FOODS, minimalism, and clean beauty. Well researched, well written. Passionate. It shows. Your readers love you for it and follow you for your instincts and advice. What was the “moment” that pulled the trigger and got you living this cleaner lifestyle?
Asakemi: I can’t quite tell if there was that one “Eureka” moment for me. I do believe it’s been a culmination of events. Everything started with my hair. A lot of the products on the market targeted towards black women contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for our hair. When I eliminated those products and embraced a more natural approach to hair care, it caused me to consider skincare and ultimately other areas of my life. That was how I ventured into the journey of only using natural and organic products that didn’t have questionable ingredients in them. For minimalism, I got to a point in life where I had had enough. I was feeling like I was drowning in my possessions and it just didn’t make sense that I was using my own hard earned money to buy items that I didn’t even need only to feel like they were weights holding me back. When the reality hit me that more than half of what I owned is never used, it didn’t make sense to keep them. Eating healthy and plant passed for me was an alternative to treat a chronic illness that I had battled with. When I started eating a plant-based diet, I realized that I was alive, feeling better and thriving. I was getting better nutrients on a plant-based diet than I was getting when I ate meat. Everything I had learned about the food industry and the lies purported by them to get more people to eat meat began to make sense. I knew then that I wanted to free myself from it.
Katey: MINIMALISM- What is the EASIEST first step someone can take?
Asakemi: The first step is the realization. Take a moment, a few hours if you will, and look at everything you own. Take stalk and truly ask yourself if having that many things truly brings you joy? Look at all the clothing in your closet, the shoes, the books; When last did you wear all of those clothes? When last did you read those books you’re hoarding? Be real with yourself at this moment. This is the moment that will help you cultivate your “Why”. Often times, we have so so many clothes but only wear the same 5ish tops and the same jeans. So why then are we keeping that many clothes?
Katey: VEGANISM- Why did you make this choice? What changes have you seen? Are there any downsides?
Asakemi: I like to clarify that I am not a vegan. I eat a plant-based diet which happens to be vegan foods 98% of the time. I say I am not a vegan because I do not boycott the use of some animal products in my everyday life. I am okay with using honey in my beauty products or adding it occasionally to my meals- vegans oppose this.
But to answer the question, I started eating mostly vegan foods as a way to heal my body and prevent a recurring surgery. When I started learning of the lies from the food industry and realizing that I could live healthier on a plant-based diet, it was a sure thing for me to continue living this way. Since eating a vegan diet, I have become more aware of my health and I have been making better food choices. I am more mindful of how I eat; eating intuitively is a big part of my life now. I also have a better and healthier relationship with food.
To be very honest, there are no significant downsides. It can seem daunting if you have eaten meat most of your life but it’s a transition that’s quite simple to make. The only downside I can think of is the restriction encountered when you go out to eat. There’s not a lot of vegan options in restaurant menus. Depending on where you live, there are vegan restaurants popping up across the country and it’s so encouraging to see.
Katey: CLEAN BEAUTY- Is your skin better off because of it?
Asakemi: It’s honestly difficult to answer this as my skin has changed a lot over the last few years as I’ve gotten older. Clean beauty worked for me for as long as I’ve used it. I haven’t had any issues finding skincare products that work so that is a plus. What I do appreciate is that I can beautify myself without the guilt of “I don’t know if this product has safe ingredients”. That peace of mind alone is worth the switch for me.
Katey: I have to say that one thing I’ve always really admired about you is that you call out the beauty industry for not being inclusive enough. Especially when it comes to “clean non-toxic” beauty. Can you elaborate on your sentiment towards this? I feel like you always present arguments that are so eye-opening.
Asakemi: The beauty industry has a long history of not catering to black women (BW) and most women of color (WOC). While this is not good, the clean beauty industry is worse off in this regard. It’s extremely hard to find makeup products that work for black women. It’s almost as though black women are not deserving of “cleaner beauty” products and that is worrisome. I read a study that showed that black women had more toxic ingredients in products targeted to them when compared to women of other races. That is unacceptable. We can’t encourage women to switch to using more natural products if we don’t even make products for them. We need more shades for black women and women of color. Personally, I feel like most green beauty brands like conventional brands do not care about BW and WOC. Most brands rarely feature minority women on their social media pages and that is problematic. I am tired of hearing “We are working on more shades” and all the lip service by PR, we need to see the work. Bring minority women on board and design products that work for us!
Katey: When it comes to clean beauty- how do you define it? And why is it so important to you?
Asakemi: For me, embracing clean beauty means sticking as close to nature as possible when buying beauty and cosmetic products. I prioritize ingredients that are derived naturally. It is also important to me that my products are all natural and the ingredients are mostly organic. I also value products that are wild harvested, sourced ethically and packaged sustainably.
These are important to me because the skin is the largest organ. A lot of products we use on our skin is used on a daily basis. If I am using that many products, I need to be sure that they are not harmful or irritating to my skin. More so, my need to beautify myself should not be to the detriment of the wellbeing of the women and men to make the ingredients and neither should it be harmful to the planet.
Katey: What clean beauty brands ARE doing it right (being inclusive, etc) Are there any?
Asakemi: So far, I am liking Clove & Hallow, they’re relatively new but have been making products that work for most shades. I also think Plain Jane is awesome. Au Naturelle, Blac mineral cosmetics, Gabriel cosmetics and Alima Pure. These brands have some work to do but they have the most diverse shade range for women of color.
Katey: What are some ingredients in makeup that are non-negotiable for you? Like there is NO WAY you’d ever put it on your face/body.
Asakemi: There are 8 ingredients that I absolutely would not use again. Phthalate, Parabens, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), BHA/BHT (Butylated hydroxyanisole), Formaldehyde and many PEG. I also stay away from “fragrance” as many fragrances are synthetic chemicals that aren’t disclosed.
Katey: What do you think are the best BEAUTY foods?
Asakemi: Any food high in antioxidants, vitamin C and Vitamin A are great beauty foods! So the berries are a must, Citrus fruits, oatmeal, tomatoes and even dark chocolate (without excess sweetening). Your green vegetables are awesome too.
Katey: What is a quick snack on the go you make all the time?
Asakemi: My favorite on the go snack to make is either a homemade Rawnola (raw granola) or a Vegan Raw Cacao or oats bar/balls. They are so quick to make, super simple with few ingredients and healthy too. I have the recipes on my blog and on my Instagram accounts.
Katey: Tell us Violet Foggers where we can find you. What can we expect if we follow you. Thank you so much, you are SUCH a beautiful soul!!
Asakemi: You can find me on Instagram of course! My lifestyle account is @asaakemi, my food and wellness account is @heroatsbowl. My blog is https://asakemi.com. Do expect to read a lot of posts on mindful and slow living, my journey and tips on minimalism as well as posts that inspire you to simplify your life. I also share super simple plant-based meals, recipes, and food inspo.