your ecological footprint

I started being more mindful of the environmental impact of my general consumption years ago. It started in the shower, when I emptied a huge bottle of shampoo and wondered what the heck I would do with it. My municipality had a recycling system, but it still took huge amounts of energy to transform this plastic into, well, plastic with a different shape. I always knew from school that plastic is made with oil or natural gas, but in that moment, it clicked. I could see the extraction operation; the damage to the soil, the damage to neighboring waterways… I was taken aback – as if I was slapped in the face by reality – I knew that I could make different choices. I knew that it was my duty to make different choices, especially after having that awakening, that click.

I started on a quest to make homemade shampoo, toothpaste and facewash, completely dropping to use of any other ‘toiletry’. I want to share my basic recipe for facewash AND toothpaste. The differing factor here is the choice of essential oil. I love how simple and versatile this is.

Toothpaste or deep-cleansing facewash

3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil

3 tbsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt

20 drops of peppermint oil for toothpaste or of tea tree oil for face wash

Mix it all together in a small jar and you’re golden. It lasts a month, maybe two. Don’t store it in a warm place – the oil will melt – but I keep my facewash in the shower and it’s fine with the intermittent heat. Be aware that this toothpaste is not foamy at all and needs some getting used to… some people like to put stevia or other sweetner in their homemade toothpaste, but I’ve found it unnecessary for myself, though it might not be for you (that’s totally rockin’ too!).

To this day: I don’t shave (although that’s a topic for another discussion), I use straight tea tree oil as deodorant, and the purest form of coconut oil as moisturizer (it’s suprisingly not oily!).

I’m extremely ethically-driven and have a strong sense of integrity. Having profound love for the earth as the sustaining force behind Life, I take the responsibility to eliminate all of my destructive behavior and consumming habits. Some things take more time and energy – like kicking green tea and bananas! – but I have patience with myself and take on challenges one at a time.

Apple-walnut Breakfast Muffins

Sometimes I have a bunch of apples hanging around that desperately need help. Especially in the fall. These muffins are a delicious way to use them up before they rot!

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp of ground flax mixed with 9 tbsp water

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt, baking soda and baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup of honey

1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of shredded apples

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

two handfuls of raisins

  • Mix the ground flax with water; set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your muffin tin* (makes 12).
  • Throw your oats in a high speed blender until it forms a fine flour.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Mix all wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in apples, walnuts and raisins.
  • Mix until just combined.
  • Separate evenly throughout the 12 cups.
  • Stick it in the oven for 40-45 minutes.**
  • Voilà! If you used silicone cups, take the muffins out of the cups to cool down to prevent an accumulation of moisture.
  • Stuff your face with healthy muffins.

* I use reusable silicone muffin cups, which is a great way to reduce the consumption of our precious resources! 

**I’m not good at putting a timer on to bake things, since I just smell it when it’s ready so be weary of this cooking time. After 30 minutes in the oven, just do a tooth-pick check every 5-10 minutes. When the tooth-pick comes out clean (without any muffin batter sticking to it) you know those goodies are ready!

Oh, Valentine

For years I thought Valentine’s day, like any other conventional celebration, was absolutely ridiculous. What do you mean we give each other chocolates and candy with loving notes? What’s the point? And the stress of finding gifts for our partner? Pffff. Who has time for that? Of course, I was the girl who demanded not to have any gifts, stating I would be insulted if flowers ended up in my locker. I was full of disdain because nobody had genuinely gifted me something sweet on Valentine’s day, as the system conditions us to expect. So I metaphorically told myself “alright then, I don’t want to have any gifts. I refuse to have gifts. Gifts are stupid, anyways”. Such an angsty teenager I was.

After some time I started noticing how the advertisements and the grocery store sales really encouraged people to buy, buy, buy. The advertisements were especially blatant to me, seemingly targetting human insecurities (we all want to be loved and accepted) and playing on our emotions in order to get us to buy more of their products and to gift them to our partner. It was also clear to me how these ads could make some partnerless people feel worthless (to a certain degree) because they don’t have anything ‘special’ to do on Valentine’s day. They don’t have a ‘special’ gift for a special ‘Valentine’.

I was so incredulous. How could company CEOs, or people in charge of those ads, even sleep at night knowing they made so many people in the world feel like sh*t because they’re not a perfect mirror of the realities portrayed on TV, in magazines or on social media? At the same time, I started reflecting on the environmental impact of the increased consumption of goods… All the plastic wrapping that comes from fossil fuels and that gets dumped in the garbage. All the cacao in the chocolate – who grew it? Kids in rural areas submitted to these big producers to support their families? Even further: how is the cacao even grown? In rows and rows and rows and rows of tree pumped with chemical fertilizers and pesticides that get leached in local people’s water systems? The perfume. That’s a totally different thing. Think about the number of glass bottles. The energy needed to power the machines that distil the scents and aromas into different chemical compounds that we spray on ourselves in order to alter our natural smell? So many things seemed wrong to me.

After overcoming the denial, anger and sadness that came from thinking about all of this, I started reflecting about how I could turn Valentine’s day into something more positive. I found that regardless of the consumerism, Valentine’s day – at its core – seemed to be about love more than anything else. I focused on embodying Love. On letting it seep into my thoughts and actions. On celebrating the beauty of Love and what the wonderful things it brings to this world. Love is so important. It can transform communities. It can revolutionize people’s lives.

Love is everywhere. In the sun kissing the plant leaves, unconditionally giving. In the flowering of the trees, an abundance of beauty. Love is about selfless giving, without any intentions of receiving anything in return. Love is about enabling people to be themselves by holding space for them. Love is about freedom. True freedom.

Here is my suggestion. On this Valentine’s day, forget the consumerism, forget the stressful scrambling to get the best gifts, forget that you may not have anyone to go out for a fancy dinner with. Forget it. Focus on Love. Become Love.