Castile Soap

Goal #21 completed: Wash body with pure castile liquid soap

There have always been a few things that bothered me when it came to cosmetics and cleaning products. One of these was that I felt my skin never was clean with my bar of Irish Spring soap or my Dove body wash. Growing up I was always trying out different things, partly because as a teen I needed a soap that would clean my skin well so I would not be smelly hours later. For the longest time I just used a bar soap, and it just made my skin fell icky but I thought this was just the way it was going to have to be. However I was wrong.

At some point in late 2006 or early 2007, someone introduced me to pure castile soap – particularly the crazed Dr. Bronners brand. Now if you have ever picked up a bottle of this soap and seen the writtings, you will know what I mean by crazed. Dr. Bronner was abit of an odd ball hippie environmental world peace take me to your leader kinda guy – BUT he makes one hell of a product. The first bottle I had was the 32 oz. Eucalyptus Liquid Soap, it is highly concentrated… so seriously just a few drops gets the body clean. That 32 oz. bottle lasted over a year – now that is a bargin! Never before had I felt that my skin was this clean. On Dr. Bronner’s site they explain it as ” A combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed.”

The “Eucalyptus opens your pores and clears your sinuses while enveloping the body in its warm invigorating vapors. All oils and essential oils are certified organic to the National Organic Standards Program.” The Eucalyptus soap is my favorite to have in the winter – it really is a great help opening up the nose and feels very refreshing. It can do this because the soap is made of Eucalyptus Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Oil and Jojoba Oil citric acid (natural and protects freshness) and Tocopherol (which is vitamin e and a fat-soluble antioxidants) – these are all natural!! I find that since the soap cleans my skin but is not to abrasive and allows some of my skins oils to stay.. I am not having dry itchy skin and don’t feel icky 5 minutes after I get out of the shower. All the different ‘flavors/scents’ are the same type of ingredient line up! I personally love the tea tree oil!!

Dr. Bronner’s also boast that his soap is 18-in-1, that besides washing your body it can be used as shampoo, toothpaste (if you do this use bar not liquid), laundry detergent, dish soap ect ect. In the past year or so they have taken the ‘uses’ off the label, they were not able to do this when Dr. Bronner was still alive. The soap, if bought in bottle, is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (even though I would like to avoid plastic, this is a better route – and I only buy one a year). All the soaps are Fair Trade and Organic. I have been so overly impressed that I have not uses anything else to wash my body since back in 2007. Have you ever used Pure Castile Soap?

The Dirty Dozen

The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

Environmental Working Group research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load. Richard Wiles, senior vice president of policy for the Environmental Working Group explains that, “If you eat something like a pineapple or sweet corn, they have a protection defense because of the outer layer of skin. Not the same for strawberries and berries.” Also, it is good to know and remember that these list were complied after the produce had been washed using high pressure water systems – you can not wash off all pesticides, but you can reduce them – so keep this in mind when deciding to spend a little more on the organic.

Fruits and veggies grown conventionally – not homegrown or organic – have tested positive for as many at 67 different pesticides/chemicals in them. “The Dirty Dozen” list is below, it has been recommended to buy these organic or grow them yourself (if possible).

domestic blueberries
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
imported grapes

All the produce on “The Clean 15” had little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. However if you have the resources to buy organic or a garden, logic would provide that would be a better path to take. However, not everyone has these options – hence why the dirty have been identified. This list includes:

sweet corn
sweet peas
kiwi fruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions

A few words about Pesticides
Basically pesticides, are used to kill crop invaders – crops are sprayed with these chemicals, kill of bugs and such then come to our table since they are very hard to remove from the plant. Pesticides are made to kill small living things, and we are eating them. Pesticides like to stay in our colons. In 2005 a study linked breast cancer to a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide – which was banned commercially in 1988, but is still allowed in bug killers. Many of these pesticides have been linked to leukemia, liver and kidney cancers, fetal development, autism, ADHD, miscarriages, convulsions, infertility and prostate cancer. Some pesticides are considered carcinogens. I have always lived by the thought that if it is in the grey area.. why mess with it. However I feel this is more in the obvious no-no area – but why would we want to risk our health. Please consider buying the Dirty Dozen organically..

Recommended Documentary: Addicted to Plastic

Addicted to Plastic is an 85 minute documentary about solutions to plastic pollution. The point-of-view style documentary encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic’s path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions – which include plastic made from plants – will provide viewers with a hopeful perspective about our future with plastic. Every piece of plastic that’s ever been made, except a small amount that’s been incinerated, still exists. The truth is, only about 5% of all plastic actually gets recycled.

I have had this on my ‘to watch list’ for some time now, and I am glad I finally had the chance too. It is very educational and I feel I understand more about the system and potential solutions. I really hope that more businesses pick up bio plastics.

As much as I like this movie, there was just one thing that bothered me. Ian, the guy making the film, ask at one point – could we live without plastic. Well the reality is kinda – some things are just not safe to not have made out of plastic – like your bottles in the shower, not good to have glass in a slippery environment like that. However, I personally believe that we can live with much less plastic. There are many alternatives and ways to avoid it, and I felt that Ian did not point this out well – in this particular section on the film, he tries to go through his morning routine without plastic. How to wake up with out an alarm, where to sleep since there are plastics in mattresses, how to brush his teeth and how to shower. Maybe I am becoming abit extreme (some would say hippie – and I am sad that has such a negative meaning these days), but I know there are other options. You can have an alarm clock that is plastic free, there are plastic free beds, there are also wooden and bristle tooth brushes and alternatives to toothpaste in a plastic tube. Some of these might be out of our comfort zone, but I am sure that they would become the norm.

I am currently attempting to clear out as much plastic from our lives as possible. We will never be 100% free- and this is not the goal. However I need to take it slow so I don’t freak Ole out – so I am slowly making this transition. In a follow up article I will outline what it is a I am planning to do to reduce my plastic consumption.

James Wong: Grow Your Own Drugs

James Wong is back, putting his ethnobotanical expertise to use once again, with over 100 new, natural, cheap and easy remedies, showing you and those around you how to have a fantastically healthy year. Whether you’re fed up with your hormones, worried about your baby’s nappy rash, your partner is prone to a sore-throat, or leg-waxing is proving just too expensive to maintain, Grow Your Own Drugs: A Year With James Wong offers over 100 great new remedies to soothe all manner of common conditions and beauty problems – whenever they might flare up.

James shows how easy it to have access to the right ingredients whatever the weather, with his easy-to follow seasonal focus – whether you’ve got a window box, a roof terrace, a country garden (or a computer to order the goods online!). His seasonal planner takes you right through from Spring to Winter, making sure you know what to plant when, the best time to harvest and how to create your own mini-apothecary (or store-cupboard) at home. Packed with James’s personal top tips and easy solutions for both growing and making remedies, this is your must-have companion to help ward off any ailments and complaints which might crop up throughout the year, the natural, James Wong way.

I have watched this series (on the BBC) and I highly recommend it. It is nice to see it in action. I really like what he says in his intros – basically that making your own lotion, for example, does not make you some crazy hippie and homemade remedies like cough-drops don’t have to taste bad just because they are home grown. I can’t wait to read though his book and get to cooking/growing! He has two books- Grow Your Own Drugs :Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Grow Your Own Drugs: Beauty Treats and A Year with James Wong. You can buy both of his books here. Below is a preview of what the show is like, if it is not airing in your town, it is also available on DVD.

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