EcoConsciousness Today And For All Tomorrows

EcoConsciousness.  That looks like it’s spelled incorrectly.  What is it anyway?  It’s being aware of our own personal actions and how those actions either help keep the world clean, or not.

I stopped and thought about my actions on any given day.  For the most part, I feel that I am doing a decent job of picking up after myself and putting things in a garbage receptacle.  [Why is that important?  Because whatever we don’t put into a garbage can, and usually do, end up in the sewers and is washed out into sea.  There, our garbage can strangle sea creatures to death.  Or worse, animals such as turtles eat soft plastic (like bags) thinking it’s fish and starve to death as more and more plastic takes up space in their bodies.)]

However, that’s not even scratching the surface.  There are people who pick up after other people to ensure that waste does not go out to sea.  Then, there are those who go a bit further and in addition to picking up waste strive to put LESS WASTE into the system by using less packaged products in their everyday life.

YOU: What…huh?  Come again?

There are people who have as their goal a zero waste lifestyle.  Meaning, they do their best to have nothing to throw in the trash bin.  They use reusable containers.  They carry reusable bags with them to the grocery store.  They find Bulk Food stores where they bring their own containers with them to fill with whatever they need.

A few who are extremely passionate about getting our environment cleaner go an extra step and go  dumpster diving.  Yep.  They go into trash dumpsters to see what they find that can be reclaimed and utilized.  freegan.info‘s dumpster directory page details that some locations are ‘weirdly competitive’.  This is very extreme, in my mind, but if one is passionate about saving the planet (one dumpster at a time??) I cannot be mad.  Less waste means more space for other things, ahem — new people — in the future.

Zero waste is truly a thing.  There’s a movement out there and Bea Johnson is one of the thought leaders in this space.  The picture (from Bea’s website) below shows her family’s waste for the entire year of 2016.

Family-annual-waste-for-2016-photo-credit-Cristovão@Exposed-Image-1200x800

My brain cannot fathom how an entire family can have so little waste!  Clearly this is a passion for Bea and a very noble one.  I know it will take some time for me to wrap my brain around the changes in thought this lifestyle requires.  Well, at least a major shift in consciousness.

Of course, we’ll talk more about this later.  In the meantime, what do you think about ecoconsciousness?  What is your current level of comfort in regards to how much of your household’s waste goes to your sanitation department each year?

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Weekend Inspiration: Angels in the Outfield

Angel in the sky

Do you remember the classic Disney movie starring Danny Glover and Tony Danza Angels in the Outfield?  A movie about a little boy who wants his family to be together again.  But, his father tells him that is as likely as the Angels (a baseball team) winning the pennant.  And real angels are put on the task to make that most long-shot of wins happen.

Twenty-three years ago, the world was a little softer.  A bit kinder.  More open.  A movie like this could be written, produced, filmed, distributed and watched.  Today?  <shrug>  It better have a vamp in it.  Or better yet, a zombie-vamp.

We live in a time where predictability, consistency, reliability, and entertainment are priorities.  We want what we want right now.  We want it exactly the way we had it the last time and if you can give it to us at a better price than last time even better.  And, heaven forbid, we don’t get what we want, or it’s a schoosh late?  Forget it!  Our fingers are off clicking to find TNBT.  (Yeah, we can’t even bother to write out full words either…)

Who the heck has time for something as ephemeral and nonsensical as angels?  Angels are for little children, people not wrapped too tight, pagans, religious extremists, and/or New Agers.  Am I right?

No, I’m not.

I’m no angel buff.  I did not grow up hearing about this, or that angel, or saint, or anything like that.  I grew up a regular old Baptist.  I heard about angels in bible class.  You heard mention of one here and there.  And who doesn’t remember Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb and Defending Your Life?  Angels, in a very background sort of way, permeate our lives.  We can’t forget Angels in America, recently run in the UK in the British National Theater, no less.

But in our own personal lives, on average, how many of us think about actual angels in the traditional sort of manner?  Where they watch over us, keep us safe and help us out of things we’d rather not muddle into.  I personally did not think of angels in that way since I was a young child saying my prayers on bent knees before bed.

Yet, one morning while I was walking towards the train, my heart felt heavy,  I took a deep breath and forced levity into my heart and mind.  I made myself repeat an affirmation that always fills me with lightness.  Yet, it didn’t work that morning.  For some reason, I happened to look up into the sky.  Above me I felt/saw/experienced an overwhelming feeling of love, happiness…radiance.  It seemed as if there was — an angel in the sky watching over me that morning.

On a tiny island not even attached to mainland USA, in a neighborhood that was still too sleepy to notice, I had a wonderful feeling of alright-ness.  Sure, not a word but it’s a most wonderful feeling.

So while you may not see what I saw in the picture above.  I know what I felt.  It felt real and true.  You could say that my recent health challenge could have precipitated my, err, atypical aerial visitation.  You could say that I was in desperate need of my morning coffee.  Or, like me, you could say…

Wow.

 

Eco Friendly Fashions and shoes!

I’m on an eco-revival.  Uhm, yeah.  Okay, I’ll go with that! 🙂

Getting my home cleaned the green way so now I need to think about dressing in a way that is better for the planet.  Easier thought than done, right?  Maybe not!

Here are a few companies that are making the job much easier (and cuter!).

While not all sustainable, the premise and mission is great “no sweatshops & no photoshop” and “expect more from your wardrobe”.  Who is this company? Birdsong in the UK.  Clothing made from batik in Ghana.  Hand-painted T-shirts with a very feminine message.  Handbags, shoes and rompers, oh my!  These stylish sandals are sustainable.  They’re made from reclaimed leather.

Birdsong_Juta-sandals

Okay, want cuter sustainable shoes and not clothing?  Check out Cammina Leggero vegan shoes.  Cammina Leggero’s shoes and accessories are “cruelty-free and made out of eco-compatible materials.”  My favorites are the Mary Janes in Mustard Yellow.  Yep, Italian vegan shoes.  You can’t get any better than that!

yellow Mary Jane vegan shoes_Cammina Leggero

Okay, now don’t shoot me!  I’m about to tell you about Soul of Africa and their shoes.  Yes, they use leather but it’s from free-roaming cows purchased from small-scale farmers in Ethiopia.  The funds help support the farmers and their families.  The company’s underlying mission is: Products that Build Communities.  Below is pictured the Daisy shoe in Tan.

Soul of Africa_Daisy shoe

D Boutique (Australia) has VEGAN shoes! 🙂  And, one of my favorites is the Love Tassels sandal.

TASSEL_TALES-BEIGE_du boutique austrialia_vegan

Another cute pair of wedges from D Boutique is their Peacock Pumps…

PEACOCKS pumps_d boutique vegan shoes

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention VERRAH vegan shoes.  I mentioned them here on this blog before.  I discovered them when I visited the GreenFest 2017 at the Javitis Center (NYC).

Veerah shoes 6 11 2017

 

the-maya-Verrah vegan shoes in red

The Maya (in red!!)

For a refresher on who, and what VEERAH is all about check out my previous green post here.  Oh, and here.  Nah, that’s it. 🙂

Okay, let’s just show the shoe first…

Nicora Studded Boot_eco shoe

OMG — right?  Nicora American made shoes.  This is the Wynonna Studded Ankle Boot in Sand.  It is almost sold out and you can see why!  Made from recycled materials, lined with recycled plastics with hand-cut wood heels all one can say is — bellissimo!

We will definitely speak more about great eco-friendly shoes in the future but for now…

Ta-ta,

Rochelle

Healthy Home with Green Cleaners

As you’ve read, I’m transitioning to using healthy cleaning products in my home.  (No more Fabuloso and Tilex for me!)  And, the first green product I used was City Maid Green’s all-purpose cleaners.  It took me a little over a week to try it and another few days for me to get used to the extra elbow-grease needed when using green products.  But, now I am fully committed to using green products!

TIP: Fellow author and health-enthusiast, Julie R(esist), told me to use a scrub sponge, or a brush, when using green products.  She says it reduces the amount of elbow-grease needed.  Thanks Julie!

But I digress.

Long story short.  City Maid Green products?  Finished!  I went looking for more at health food stores in my area.  Zip.  But, I can’t wait for products to be shipped before keeping my bathroom clean!  My last resort?  Whole Foods in midtown (new one opened up!).  However, no CMG products!  Arrgh.  I looked at the WF 365 Everyday Value product line of cleaners.  It’s Whole Foods.  It’s got to be good, sustainable, and safe.  Right?  I looked at the label of their All-Purpose Cleaner: Orange & Lemon Verbena.  It read as follows:

Our Full Ingredient Declaration: Aqua (Filtered Water), Sodium  Citrate (PH Control), Denatured Alcohol (Solvent), Laureth-7 (Plant-Derived Non-Ionic Surfactant), Methyl Alcohol (Solvent), Natural Fragrance, Ethyle Acetate (Solvent), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative).

Biodegradable * No Animal Testing

Safe for Septic and Grey Water Systems

Bottle is Made From 50% PCR Material

Made in Canada

I scratched my head at a few of the ingredients.  I had no clue what they were.  But, with precious few options I decided to try it.

I wasn’t that happy with the scent.  Think I’m not in love with Lemon Verbena but it was OK.  The sheeting action  was pretty good without too much elbow-grease (and no scrub sponge!).  Hmmm.  Maybe this would be okay!

After cleaning with it for 2 days, I decided to research it and see what others had to say about it.  You know what I found, right?  The Environmental Working Group gave All-Purpose Cleaner: Orange & Lemon Verbena a “D”!  In fact, only 80 green household cleaning products received an “A” while 199 scored a “D”, and 152 scored an “F”!  The EWG is pretty stringent and has high standards for our health and for the planet.

Some of the top rated product in household cleaners for 2017 are created by the following companies: Attitude, Aunt Fannie’s, and Lion Bear Naked Soap Co.  Click here for the full list of products that scored an “A”.

The lesson?  Do the research before buying anything! I totally agree with this meme — cleaning IS harder than it looks! LOL.

cleaning is harder than it looks

Ta-ta for now,

Rochelle

 

 

 

Weekend Inspiration: Clean Eating Does Wonders

I woke up wanting a hamburger and cheesy fries.  Yep.  Open eyes, dream of tantalizingly delicious juicy burger. [Insert your favorite burger here.]

Then, the immediate next thought was, What about all I’ve been learning?  How will my body respond to this influx of gluten, grease, calories and cholesterol?  Okay, so maybe it didn’t go exactly like that.  It could have gone more like this…

I want a frickin’ cheeseburger and fries!  To hell with this healthy eating.  I want to be happy, fat and NORMAL.  

And, it could have started yesterday when I ate both Jarlsberg and Smoked Gouda cheese for dinner because if I looked at another salad I was going to murderlize someone…

Woke up with a bloated tummy and flatulence.  But — still wanted a frickin’ burger! 🙂

How is this inspiring, you ask?  Because when I realized the relatively minor reactions I had to eating JUST some cheese, can you imagine the response my body would have to a full burger, the bun, cheese and tons of a bunch of other stuff?

Smoothie Bowl 7 8 2017

Basic Smoothie Bowl except did not freeze the bananas. The base is bananas, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and frozen mangoes. Toppings are simple: more bananas, apples & sliced plums with granola.

Then, I began realizing that I do enjoy the taste of a good roasted veggie salad with kale and carrot ginger dressing.  I recalled the smoothie bowls I’ve been enjoying these past several weeks, and the Soldanza Maduritos sweet plantain chips that are quickly becoming a food group for me.  And the good food that I know I can create once I get some new cooking techniques and the best ingredients to use (such as chickpea miso…).

Amy Valpone’s book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body is inspirational!  Amy is so positive and so confident that it virtually oozes between the words and infects me to want to eat clean, too.  [So, I might not be able to eat all of the comfort foods I remember but I can have ground foods (plantains (green and yellow), ackees, dasheen, etc.) and codfish!]

Amy’s health story is rougher than mine and she found her way through it all and is now healthy and happy.  I want to have that level of happiness in my own life.  And, if that means eating clean so as not to have a body always under a crisis — then that’s what I need to do.

I tried Amy’s granola recipe and it was amazing!  My children loved it as well and a batch (that filled a 16 oz container) was finished in 2.5 days.

What I’m saying is simply this: I really enjoyed eating foods that were not the best for my body.  I grew up with those foods!  They’re my go-to comfort foods when I want to feel ‘at home’.  But, it’s not working for me anymore.  What I am experiencing is the feelings of being in transition with my dietary food patterns — and that’s okay.  Just as long as I don’t indulge, and find healthy substitutes, I’m OK.  I have to be gentle with myself and nurture myself through the process of being Green & Leafy. 🙂

Ta-ta for now,

Rochelle

Ackee Saltfish &amp; Food

Traditional home-cooked meal full of ground food and codfish. (Okay, so maybe the dumplings don’t fit in this picture…)

 

 

Do We Need to Care About BPA?

In a word…Yep.

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in plastic production that mimics estrogen.  It is most dangerous for children which is why it is banned in Europe, Canada, and China.  However, it is widely used in the USA.

Where can BPA be found?  Everywhere there’s plastic and canned food.  So, it is in canned coconut milk, canned fruit, canned meats, canned juices, yeah — pretty much everything in a can.

For those who say that you don’t buy canned products, no problem.  It’s in the plastic containers that your water is shipped and stored in leaching into the “clean” mineral, and spring waters we drink so religiously.  Therefore, we are imbibing this toxic chemical each and every time we drink that life-sustaining beverage.  A better alternative?  Drink filtered water and store it in a BPA-free water bottles such as Contigo, or a stainless steel water bottle, such as The Flow bottle.

Also, don’t put your plastic containers in the microwave as the microwaves will break down the plastic and allow BPA to leach into your food.  Fun, right?

However, this is what we are supposed to do.  Check our environment, and our daily actions, to ensure that we are living in harmony (as much as is possible in today’s world) with the earth and our bodies.

You can read more about BPA and what can happen to our bodies if we ingest too much of it here.  As noted earlier, babies and children are the most susceptible to BPA ingestion.

Ta-ta for now,

Rochelle

 

Weekend Inspiration: Intentions & Sisterhood

It has taken a full week for me to truly process and be able to speak about my participation in Start Within, Finish Strong!, a sisterhood New Moon event hosted by Coach Colette Ellis.  I am very glad I went as I had an uplifting inspiring afternoon filled with new thoughts, reminders of practices I used to do in my early 20’s, and nudges to release old behavior patterns that lived and breathed in my psyche’s blind spot.

Due to the busy morning I had last Saturday, 6/24, I arrived at the event 30 mins late.  I was bummed…until I walked into the heart meditation.

coach colette ellis

Coach Colette asked us to visualize the sister to our right and imagine her heart full of all of the love she has and how it fills her, and how that love can heal that woman, and all of the women in the room.  Then we were directed to imagine the woman on the left and visualize the same.  After that, we were to visualize the world, however that appears in our mind’s eye, and all of the sisterhood groups in the world doing the same new moon gathering.  To see and know that we are connected to these other groups and we are sharing our energies with them, and they with us.  To see our combined global energies healing the world.  It was a beautiful meditation!!

There was sharing afterwards about how we each felt and what we experienced during the meditation.  It was lovely to see how each woman had a different perspective and a different meditative experience!

Then we went into breathing with Amy Jindra of Choose Love.  Amy showed us four breathing techniques to help us energize and clear our chakras of stagnant energy.  These were powerful experiences that raised my inner fire and my body temperature!  These breathing techniques also flooded me with endorphins in a natural uplifting way.

amy jindra_choose love

Something key that Amy said during the sharing after the breathing exercises was this (my paraphrasing):

Find out where the fear lives in [your] body, recognize the fear feeling and sensations and do whatever is opposite of the emotions.  OR, step back, review the intuitive information, and then respond to the situation (never react).

This is very compelling yet difficult to do when in a moment that is full of emotion.  Yet, this is precisely what we should do; this is also a form of mindfulness.

Did I mention the pasta salad that Chef Allie Pisano prepared?  She kept people with food allergies/sensitivities in mind when she made a pasta salad made from Banza pasta (made from chickpea flour!) with walnuts and veggies.  [Did I mention she’s available to cook for your next event?  Or, just for you?]

Start Within_Pasta_6 24 2017

And the delicious healthy snacks were to die for!  Especially the Divine Chocolates!  I loved the Kale Chips covered in yummy goodness.

Start Within_Snack Table_6 24_17

Lauren Servin of DiLoren Acacia Silk was on hand providing facials to all participants using her company’s product Acacia Silk in which the main ingredient is desert date oil, aka dattier du desert oil.  This oil is rich and moisturizing without being heavy so it will not clog your pores, or leave you feeling oily.  This oil was found in the tombs of  the Ancient Egyptians.  They used it as a part of their beauty regimen.

start within_facial closeup_6 24 2017

The most gratifying portion of this half-day event was the section where we discussed our intentions for the upcoming month.  After a discussion about the New Moon in Cancer and what it could mean for each of us in our personal lives, we were asked to digest the information and create intentions for what we want to accomplish for this next month to continue our plans for the year.  This event is the half-way mark of the year and is meant to invigorate us and help propel us towards our annual goal(s).

There was also a crafting/vision board table for us to use while we set our intentions as well as a deck of Angel Dream cards to help pull down inspiration.  There was great conversation and networking  among the women as well as quiet reflection time, if you so chose.

start within_angel dream cards_6 24 2017

We closed with another breathing exercise from Amy; a Yes! breath that filled us with joy and a feeling of powerfulness.  I’m going  to leave you with my first impressions of this event…

  • Powerful
  • Energetic
  • Uplifting
  • Spiritual (in a non-religious way)
  • Creative
  • Nurturing
  • Helpful

I will definitely be at the next event which will be held on Thursday, July 27th, 2017. Will you be there?