As 2017 begins I find myself evaluating the way I live my life and the goals and lifestyle I wish to forge for myself and my family. We all want to a look after ourselves and our families, and want our environment and home to reflect this also. Personally, I want to do this without compromising the planet or ethics. For me, being a conscious consumer has more significance now than ever before. The way I purchase items and products are built to last not limited by built in obsolescence and short product lifecycle, nor having a negative impact on our planet.
As a designer, I love anything that is both well designed and has longevity. To me, this means standing the test of time, being functional yet pleasurable outside of aesthetic alone. Admittedly, at times, I do find it hard to manage the need versus want argument in my head when I am confronted by something beautiful and appealing. However, I was also very fortunate to be raised by great-grandparents and, because of this, I believe I have adopted and encouraged a minimalism and sustainable ecological practice into my own life. Pre-industrialisation and the proliferation of capitalist and consumerist behaviours, we lived much more harmoniously with our environment. We fixed and repaired and managed with less, indeed we have a lot to learn from indigenous cultures that still employ these practices today.
It is imperative that we are far more considered in our approach to consumption in our future. For us to thrive we must distance ourselves from media messaging and clever marketing campaigns. We need to realise the true benefits of living in harmony with nature, actually taking care of ourselves and our planet by living with less and acting in a more conscious way. This can be achieved, we simply need to start making a few small adjustments, new tiny habits, and the rest will follow. In our throw ‘away’ culture, we must remember that there is in fact no ‘away’.
Being accountable for your consumption
Years ago, when I was researching for my sustainability paper for my Masters, I found some incredible resources that helped me personally to start on this journey. The Story of Stuff is an easily digestible animated video that explains consumption. If you haven'twatched it, I implore you to do so, share with your family and friends. Indeed my own children learned a lot about their own impact watching this and are more conscious around what they actually need as opposed to want.
Late in 2016, we did a podcast and blogpost on how to declutter our lives. To date, this has been one of our most popular pieces. There is an upward trajectory showing that people really do want to live a life of abundance, by letting go of that that does not bring them joy and living with less. Simply put, being more aware of what we have in our lives and how we manage it, give us more time and money to add real meaning to our lives, through greater experiences.
If there is one book your should read
One particular book that had a profound effect on me was’ Slow death by Rubber Duck’ Having read this, and be aware it is a little terrifying, it gave me a deeper awareness around what I used and the things I purchased, and most importantly the short and long term effects and risks that products I surrounded myself with were having on my health.
Get involved, participate
There are many organisations that you can join to help you keep in check by buying things ethically and with consciousness. Become more aware of what you do, what you consume by being the champion in your home and in your business. Use the app and adopt the principles here Conscious Consumers.
The podcast that accompanies this blog is titled the Natural Superwoman - Beauty in the basics toward sustainable heath
In the podcast, I mention a natural beauty company called World Organics. Part of their philosophy is to attain 100% organic ingredients in their skincare and beauty products. They are one of the most transparent companies I have come across and their products are not only well priced and but smell, and fell incredibly good on our skin.
However, here are a few of the recipes I mention regarding using basic ingredients of white vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, lemon, essential oils (make sure they are therapeutic grade), sugar, salt. Go to a bulk food place and have them available to use in your home. It's cost effective, and completely natural.
Use the peel of your oranges, grapefruit or lemons, place them in a glass jar and cover with white vinegar. Leave for 2 weeks. Discard the peel, and add 10% of the concentrated cleaner to a spray bottle with water.
White vinegar is also great to addition to your main laundry wash, dab straight white vinegar on to any stain, add 1/2 cup to your main wash. Vinegar acts like a laundry softener gets rid of bacteria and keep your clothes white and lint/pet hair free. Add 2 tsp of salt to the wash can also eliminate bacterial residue.
Adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to hot water to a bucket will get rid of stubborn stains like chocolate, red wine, grease etc and it's non-toxic and completely natural.
Homemade body scrubs
I gifted these for Christmas, I made a spicy Christmas pudding smelling combination that leaves you feeling moisturized and smelling divine.
1/4 cup granulated sugar (You can use up to 1/2 cup if you want your scrub to have a more coarse, sand-like texture.)
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp cacao powder
About 1/2 teaspoon of essential oil (about 50 drops) I use organic essential oils (vanilla, cinnamon, orange)
Combine all ingredients. Do not recommend heating the coconut oil prior to mixing, because hot oil will dissolve the sugar. Add into a glass container. Use to exfoliate and scrub the skin. If you use citrus zest as an addition be careful if you use it on your face.
Teeth and Oral Health
Everyone likes to have great looking teeth and fresh breath. Adopting a combination of oil pulling (using tsp of coconut oil) and swishing around your mouth each day for 20 minutes. and brushing with activated charcoal powder regularly helps to keep your mouth bacteria free, fresher to the activated charcoal helps to get stained teeth whiter. Follow with a normal toothbrush with a natural flouride free and chemical free toothpaste, I rate Red Seal toothpaste products.
This post will be one of many helping provide useful tips around becoming your own natural superwoman. Be sure to check back and subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated with any new health hacks, natural recipes and information. A nutrition post and podcast will be coming soon. Let's ensure we keep being beautiful and healthy with a sustainable focus on the inside and out. Happy New Year.