Love Self, Love Earth

Eco-friendly lifestyle tips


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how to deal with the sad truth

I put this post up before in my other blog, but I just wanted to share it again =)

 

Previously, I discussed the importance of saving money and I put up a video of The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. The reason I put this up is because it explains not only the reason of why we should save money, but also why we should buy less stuff. The endless cycle of buying things and then throwing them out just to buy more things is not only making us exhausted, but it’s also exhausting the earth.

A friend of mine had commented that she watched it and thought the video was inspiring, but also naive and trite. She mentioned that she didn’t like the way it leads us to believe there was anything we can do about the world, because in the end, nothing changes….

This got me thinking.

Now we’re all probably sick of hearing that the earth is dying, and how evil the big politicians and corporations are, but exactly why are we sick of hearing about it? Besides the fact that it’s depressing and repetitive, I think it’s because it evokes a feeling of hopelessness. Yes, there is intoxication, pollution, corruption, clear-cutting of forests, but what can we do about it? Does that mean every time I recycle it saves a tree? Every time I wear faux fur instead of real, does that save an animal? Probably not, we think.

The slogan of every environmental group seems to be that we can make a change, and that every little step counts. Yet the problem is that we care more about convenience or ourselves rather than anything else, and a part of us doubts the over oversimplifications or questionable facts that environmentalists try to feed us. So what can we do?

Here is the bottom line: It’s hard to believe everything we hear about anything. Even I think The Story of Stuff might be flawed, because it probably does oversimplify the problem. Even so, it’s the principles that you should believe in.

Instead of thinking how recycling does little, or that one person trying to lead a sustainable life is meaningless, think about the bigger picture. If everyone thought it was a hopeless dream to end these environmental and social issues, then the earth and our society would deteriorate at such a scary, rapid rate. If no one was inspired to recycle, or no one even pretended to care, where would we be? The important thing is that even amongst it all, we keep hope for change and keep trying. No one’s asking you to pee in a bucket or completely stop throwing out garbage yet, but at least make an effort. Maybe you can recycle more, spend a little less, and not make fun of that hippie looking guy who talks about sustainability. So what if nothing changes? What if something does? At least when you look back you can say that you tried.

Or at least this is just my hopeful opinion.

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the perfect healthy snack

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This weekend i discovered the perfect snack!

Ingredients:

4-5 sweet potatoes (2-3 is fine if they’re large)
Unrefined virgin organic coconut oil (or any kind of coconut oil for that sweet coconut flavour)

Directions:

1. Wash and cut sweet potatoes into any shape desired.
(I like to cut the potato in half and then slice them into ~2cm slices)

2. Grab a baking pan, cover it with a sheet of tinfoil.

3.  Spread coconut oil over the tinfoil. This doesn’t have to be super evenly, as the oil will melt and spread anyway.

4. Place your potato slices into the pan.

5. Bake at 375 for ~6 minutes, or until the potato slices soften.

6. Grab a wooden spoon and mix it around (for even heat distribution) and bake again for ~2 minutes.

And voila! You should have the most easy, delicious healthy snack! You can eat them plain or dress them whatever way you want. Sometimes I salt them and put some cheese on it, and it tastes totally amazing. Obviously that’s not as healthy as eating them plain but sometimes you feel like spoiling yourself >:)

Enjoy!


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unnecessary toxic intake

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I don’t know much about chemicals, or toxins, and to be honest I didn’t know what BPA stood for until very recently. However, I know there’s so many unnatural things in the world, and that if we’re not careful we can really damage our bodies just by living in it.

I’m totally paranoid, so sometimes I feel like I live in constant fear of the toxins in our lives… but there’s not really much I can do about it, because there are toxins EVERYWHERE.

So how can we avoid them? We can’t.
They’re in the plastic in your toothbrush, in the rubbers in your shoes, the buttons on your sweater, the bottle that you drink from, the car that your drive in, etc. Not to scare anyone, but it’s pretty much inevitable that we get a lot of toxic things in our body.

But, I want to offer some little helpful tips that make me feel like I’m at least trying to help my body, and I’ve found I just feel safer when I do these things.
They’re not scientific in any way, but I’ve just picked up these tips over the years.

  1. When you first turn on your car, open the window.
    The plastics and everything in your car emit strong toxins, which do not escape due to lack of circulation of air in your locked car. As soon as you sit, you probably breathe it all in. Open your windows and let the toxic air escape.
  2. Don’t keep your phone near your body while you sleep. 
    Remember those old rumours that the waves from your cell phones can give you brain cancer? Those scare stories come from a true place.
    But let’s get real, it’s not possible to stay away from your phone during the day, no one can escape it. So you might as well station it as far from your head and your body as you can while you sleep. Get a night stand, and try not to place it anywhere near your body or on your bed.
  3. Drink from a BPA free water bottle.
    This one is pretty self explanatory. Also, besides the toxins, you are helping the earth a great deal if you don’t drink from plastic water bottles. Consider getting a water filter, if you don’t already have one. (I have a Kor water bottle, as seen above, and they’re very durable and awesome! Check out their website here)
  4. Use organic skin products.
    The stuff you use on your skin is important, obviously. You put it on your skin every day, it’s absorbed into your body. A surprising amount of cosmetics have toxins and it’s hard to differentiate the good from the bad.
    I use an 80% organic aloe face wash, as well as organic aloe lotion, and it works wonders on my skin. I will also later post an effective, nutritious way to wash your face without using any skin products, but with only food.
  5. Stay away from toxic fumes.
    This one is a given as well, but there are many toxic fumes in our lives that we just breathe in without giving a second thought. There’s a reason that most nail artists wear masks while working, and cleaning experts do as well. Any chemical mix such as nail polish, cleaning products, hair dyes, hair sprays, air freshening sprays, etc are not good for our lungs.
    When in doubt, use a mask or try to use these products in a very well ventilated area.

 

These are the tip of the iceberg, and the only tips that I can think of that are very easily do-able and cost effective. Please love your bodies and love the earth!


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Be ware of your lip products!

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Carmex, chapstick, blistex… any of these brands sound familiar?

Well if you’re a victim of chapped lips like me, then you’re probably addicted to applying and reapplying these products. I know I am, especially because I run out really quicktly by biting, chewing or smacking my lips a lot (also I live in Canada). But I came to the disturbing knowledge that these products are actually HARMING our lips, more than they are healing them.

Apparently these products contain agents that dry the lips, which just makes us want to use more product, and “tingling” agents that actually make us addicted to it. For example, Carmex contains an ingredient called Salicylic Acid that is also used in acne products that dries out the skin. This harshness is balanced out with Phenol, which is an anaesthetic which makes your lips feel good temporarily. So it basically gives a vicious cycle of putting on product, feeling moisturized temporarily, drying out quickly, and then reapplying product, feeling moisturized temporarily, and etc.

To be honest, I’m not too surprised because for a while I was wondering why I felt like my lip problems were getting worse when I applied some of these balms. And I feel like there’s not much in the world is still safe and trustworthy… which is a sad realization..

But fear not!

There are still ways to moisturize your lips without being afraid!

Some safe brands that I’ve found so far are:

  • Burt’s bees: Yes, they may be a tad more expensive then your chapsticks, but they do last you a lot longer because you do NOT have to reapply as much!
  • Fresh’s sugar balms: They contain all kinds of natural oils (mostly from seeds) and also provide SPF for those sunny days.
  • Badger Balm: I haven’t tried it myself, but I only hear lots of good things. It’s made up of two ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beewax.

There are actually a lot of organic, non-harming lip products out there so you can still have a soft-lipped winter. Just remember that even though it SAYS its organic, don’t just buy it right away and try reading the ingredients first.

I think that lip products should all be chosen by personal preference. So if you think that Carmex works fine on you and you don’t care, then that’s your choice. I’ve also heard some people say that Burt’s Bees feels “waxy” to them, but for me the pomegranate one feels fine (the peppermint one, not so much). Try reading reviews, look carefully at the ingredients, and find one that is right for you.

Disclaimer: The research and information has not been found by me, but come from other sources. Also, I am not paid by anyone to say anything, just wanted to share my own knowledge and opinions.


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humanitarian

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I had an interesting thought today, and it was about how I want to be known when I die.

I want people to remember me for at least the next 2 years after I die, and if people move on and decide to forget me I’m totally fine with that. And if they ever hear my name or think about me again, I would like them to think of pleasant things.
But most importantly, I think my new life goal is to impact my society or the world in any beneficial way. And that’s how I want to be remembered.

I was listening to the radio on my way to school one day, and they were talking about Jason Mraz because he had come to Toronto for his concert. They said the words “Jason Mraz; an amazing singer, song-writer, avocado farmer and humanitarian.” When I heard that, I thought to myself that even once in my life, I would want to be called a humanitarian.
If you’re an avid Mraz fan (like me) and read his journal (like me), then you would know he is actually a true person who deserves to be called a humanitarian. He has a genuine passion for not only helping people in need, but he also cares deeply about the environment. In fact, a lot of his songs are about nature and respecting the earth, as well as loving our fellow man. He tried to take this initiative to plant a tree for every flight that he took as a way to sort of make up for his air travels (which can’t be helped when you’re a performer of his calibre).

So I thought to myself; what could I possibly contribute that I can be called a good person?
The only thing I ever do that is beneficial is refusing to buy water bottles in bulk. I also am not such a huge consumer or shopper, and I reuse a lot… I volunteer as a teacher. I turn off/unplug almost everything. I recycle. I sponsor children in need. I donate to my church and community. I pray….
And that’s about it. I always feel like I could be doing so much more but I never do. In fact, I think all the negative bad things I do probably off-set all the good things.

Like: I drive (almost everywhere!), and in an angry-road-rage fashion. I’m greedy. I waste food sometimes. I watch a lot of TV. I’m judgmental, and sometimes at heart I feel like I’m not a good person…. Wow this got way too personal.

Anyway, I feel like I could be doing more. And if I ever want to be called a humanitarian I should be doing more. I will do more.