My thoughts are brewing!

There are a few things on my mind, so here they are…

1. Why are organic products [products that people put loads of time and effort into creating to be clean, healthy and beneficial] put into chemical/petrol plastic. It just mind boggles me.. the most with food and cosmetics.But a bit less with clothes and items like pillows. I just don’t understand it. I really am irritated with ‘Organic’ food being in tin cans. Like 99% of all tin cans are lined with BPA! Ek! If your interested in more about BPA and the harm it does, read this.

2. Why do our fruits and veggies have to be covered or wrapped in plastic. I mean, most of them are grow in dirt. Yet heaven forbid if they were to have someone touch the actual plant after it has been plucked .. and get there germs on it. Why can we not just wash or rinse our plants instead when we get them home. I was reading that this one co-op in the UK decide to not wrap there cucumbers anymore and it ended up saving them 8 tonnes of shrink wrap per year! wow! so then our food could be cheaper because plastic does cost and our food would be healthier and probably be fresher since they did not have to be individual wrapped which must take some time and extra transportation. The photo above is from a store in Norway, I am always so upset here when I see bell peppers (paprika) in plastic.

3. Bad Design! I Just can not get over this one. I think that it is because I am in the design community. Ever since I have gotten on my big kick (the stuff on this blog), I have had such a hard time continuing with my normal ways. I have a design blog, and have always been posting the next great big thing. This cool new product and must have new design item, now I have no want to encourage useless consumerism. I just want to promote local and natural. I have been in the business of selling things since high school. My first job out of High school was in marketing and design.. so it is like all I know sometimes. But I just can not feel right about this anymore, no more pointless consumerism. My blog has moved more toward design of houses. How they look. There are no details on how they are made or what they are made of. I also like the natural look in house design. I read this great article ‘Design for Disassembly’ over @Issue the other day, check it out here if you are more interested in better environmental design.

4. Bea over at ‘Zero Waste Home‘ recently has a comment about how basically she was intensive to those who do not know the dangers for plastic and pollution. Bea is a great inspiration to me, her family is doing such an amazing thing! Bea had written a post about the garbage they had collect over 6 months (it was not much at all!), but she was irritated about people giving her kids food she did not want them to have due to the chemicals in it. Here is what she said when she was tallying what was in her bin…

4 snack wrappers and 3 bubble gums given to my kids without my knowledge: Those probably are the most irritating to me. The Fiber One bar contained 23 ingredients, including high maltose corn syrup. Ugh. The Teddy Grahams contained 19 ingredients, including partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and high fructose corn syrup. Double Ugh. As for bubble gums, they are simply plastic. Triple Ugh. I do not yet blame my eight and ten year-old children for succumbing to temptation and accepting the empty calories. For now, I blame the ignorant adults who buy and feed harmful and wasteful junk not only to their children but also to others.

I completely agree with her, if I had kids and they are being handed bad food- I am sure I would not be a happy momma. In reply to her statement in the comments one said, “Perhaps a bit of compassion and understanding for those unlike you could help people hear your true message more clearly.” Ok, so I get that I guess. But it is at this point so hard to not understand or remember that people don’t know. I find that if i am telling someone they get very skeptical and upset, like if I were telling them their religion was wrong. People don’t want to hear that what they think is normal is harming them. See Bea’s reply here.

I recently had a friend say that she was extremely aware about the dangers of plastic and BPA, but just did not see a way around it. She used shopping for produce as an example, and said you know it came in plastic, you know it was shipped in and then you have to baggie it to take ti home – completely unavoidable. I was so sad by this. I told her that we have reusable cloth drawstring bag that we shop for our produce in. I would like to think that it mad an impact, but I worry it was just brushed off.

I find that now I know the dangers of plastic and the other pollution that we are creating, and how it is harming the earth – that I just can’t stop trying to eliminate the useless things out of my life. I have been going room by room and evaluating what we can live without or what we can find a better version of. I dont plan to live without make-up, so find a good source for my makeup. The same with hair products and more. My mind is constantly racing to see what I can do.

5. Today we have gone through our pantry. All the food that we never use and has been there for the last year is going away now – we either need to find it new homes, toss it if it is too old or use it. Being an Expat, many friends move away often. Since you are not allowed to take your food with you, I tend to be gifted food when they move. But my cabinets being full of food I really don’t like/use has been bothering me. We are in a 50m² (540ft²) apartment, I don’t need my space being wasted. We have also removed all of our plastic kitchen utensils and storage containers. And being on a roll, we have moved the microwave out of the kitchen. We lived a year and half without one, then when a friend moved away we were given one. It takes up valuable counter space and I have been watching – we only use it maybe 2 times a month. So it has been relocated, no we will see how long it takes for us to use it – and we have made it abit hard to use 🙂 we will have to get it, plug it and and then use it, so no more super convenience.

6. We have set up a new challenge for ourselves. We have been slowly working over the past months to eliminate plastic from our house. More and more now, I find my self telling the store clerk (event at the organic market) that I don’t allow plastic in my house – which always is followed by odd looks. I am not sure if people are just shocked and confused or unsure of how it is possible. I have even had a lady a the butchers become very cross with me about how I needed to take the plastic. So I feel we have eliminated the majority of what we ‘think we can’, so starting on May 1 we will be saving all of our plastic for the whole month. (We have paper, compost, glass, metal and electronics recycling in place here in Stavanger and we do have plastic too, but we want to avoid it due to the impact it has on the earth) We have bought a new container for our compost to make it ‘easier’ and have gotten our recycling area in order. We will have a can for all the plastic in the corner. Compost and ‘all other trash’ bins under the sink. Then our paper, metal, glass, batteries, and bottles are in another area. We will be having some soda bottles, which will be returned to the store since Norway has a great reuse program for soda bottles and beer cans. I am going to go into more detail about this challenge soon in another post. There is also a second part of the challenge where we will be keeping tack of every penny that goes to food, and what food. But again, more in the next post!

7. Food waste! When 1/3 of the food most people buys go to the landfills as food waste, it is just sad to think about. First off, there are many around the world without food, but we think we can trash millions of pounds of it. No only that, but when food waste it not composted it make methane. I am so glad we have a city compost system here in Stavanger. If your city doesn’t, seriously consider getting a worm compost or starting one in your year. When we move (someday!) and have a garden, I will keep my compost for myself then!

What things are brewing in your head about your food, waste or consumption?

Robyn O’Brien – What is real food?

Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a “Real Food” evangelist. Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more interested in food as good business than good-for-you, this mother of four was shaken awake by the dangerous allergic reaction of one of her children to a “typical” breakfast. Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others. This is a very informative video!

My [plastic free] Toilet Paper

So I have been on the hunt to find toilet paper not wrapped in plastic. In the States I could at least always find single rolls wrapped in paper, but that has not been the case so far here in Norway. (If they are here they must be hiding very well!) I am not exactly on the ‘No Plastic Challenge‘, but I am working as hard as I can to eliminate our plastic use. We are first refusing plastic if we can. So that means no new shopping bags, no produce bags and no plastic packaging.

So the toilet paper was really starting to bother me, I can buy 6 rolls at a time (sometimes I find a 12 pack – yep, no Costo here). So knowing that the toilet paper packaging is not marked and is a soft plastic bothered me very much since I knew it was rather hopeless to be recycled. So the solution: Toilet Paper from Edet, it is packaged in bioplastic!

Edet had toilet paper called ‘Soft Eco’. Here is why I think it is a winner: it is made ​​of 100% recycled fiber and packed in bio-degradable plastic (aka bio plastic), its packaging and paper sleeve can be composted. The tube/sleeve is smaller the normal to make it fit more paper on each roll. Which means more can be transported in one truck, cutting production, packaging, and transportation cost and emissions. For every tree that is used (for the tubes i guess, or mabe boxes?) they plant 3 in its place. They transport only if they have to by air – minimal air transportation. It is produced in Scandinavia. And they have cut there CO2 emmisions by 80% and create there own energy from there waste.

Abeego Wraps: Alternative to Plastic Wrap

Goal # 32 Completed: Stop using saran wrap / plastic wrap

Well ok not 100% completed, I still have like 1/4 of a roll of plastic wrap left, but once it is gone we are not buying a new roll.

“Abeego is natural, reusable, eco-conscious food storage created with hemp/cotton fabric infused with a blend of beeswax and plant extracts. The fluid-resistant coating keeps food fresh and is easy to clean. Simply hand wash Abeego in COLD, soapy water and enjoy the long life of this breathable, plastic free innovation.” -Abeego

So let me just say that I am in love with these Abeego flats I ordered! In my attempt to rid my house of plastic wrap I came across these amazing things! At first I was a tid bit unsure how fabric coated in beeswax would keep my food fresh – but since it was a natural way and I am up for taking chance, I ordered the Multi-Pack. They only cost $15 CAD and the sweet owner, Toni, backaged them in a flat envelope to mail them from Canada to Norway for me. I was first of all OVERLY impressed with the envelope when it arrived – All paper and NO plastic! Packaging after my own heart!

So the multi-pack, also called Flats, are just like plastic wrap in function.. here is what the site says (since they say it best!). “Abeego Flats are the ideal kitchen companion for fresh food storage. Simply press and form over dishes to cover leftovers. Wrap up cheese, mold around produce, baked goods and more. Bend and shape the Flats to suit your individual food storage needs. Explore the versatility with this multi pack containing a small, medium and large Abeego Flat. Use pressure in combination with the warmth of your hands to form it tightly around the item to be stored. Abeego responds to temperature. It will be more adhesive and moldable at room temperature and will stiffen when cool, holding the shape you created.”

We have tacos every Tuesday – AKA Taco Tuesday – and we always have half a cucumber leftover, that I always hope will last until the next Taco Tuesday. But it never does, it is normally mushy. So I was super excited test this. And guess what – after one week of it wrapped in a Abeego and sitting on my counter it was still crisp and fresh – no mush!

There is only one thing I am bummed about though, that is that I want one in like 18×18 inches – haha. Toni has been very helpful in all ways, so I think I will have to make a request (or if you are reading this Tone, this is a request for bigger sizes!) I am very excited about this product and have been telling everyone. Give them a try, and if you like them (I am sure you will!) – then spread the word! Kudos to Toni on that, she is really helping eliminate the plastic consumption.

You can find out more information about Abeego here.

Oil Pulling

Mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine, Oil pulling is the act of swishing one teaspoon of oil throughout your mouth for 15 minutes first thing in the morning. It is like a natural mouth wash. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text “Charaka Samhita” (3000BC) and refered to as “kavala graham”.

Oil pulling has been reported to cure these following issues: Teeth and gum problems; including toothache, loose teeth, bleeding gums, and yellow discoloration. Allergies. Asthma. Back pain. Arthritis and joint pains, Skin problems, including eczema. Ulcers. Digestive problems. Insomnia. And more.

Studies have shown that after just 45 days of oil pulling plaque is significantly reduced. The thought is that pulling oil through and it combining with the salivary alkali starts the oil to saponifi or turn into soap. Soap removes plaque. Other studies also show lower bacteria counts in the mouth after oil pulling.

So it claims lots, I was most interested in that it claims to whiten teeth and help with the thyroid/metabolism (ill take all the help I can get since I have a bad thyroid).

There are many skeptics out there, here are what a few have said after trying it out.

I was a skeptic who decided to see if it works. Now after 5 weeks of oil pulling I can say it works for gums, teeth, better sleep, removal of mucus from your lungs or troth (I am not sure where it is coming from) but, after oil pulling I spit lots of it (it looks disgusting). As for detox I am not sure yet. And I am not sure how will I see if it works or not. I do have occasional constipation, water retention, allergy and arthritis in one joint. I will continue for another 2-3 months to see if any of it goes away. [via]

[I] began oil-pulling about 2 months ago. Since then I have reversed documented nerve damaged and avoided my 5th back surgery. My arthritis in my knees is much better. I have lost weight and my cellulite is going away. My teeth are whiter, my gum tighter. [via]

I started oil pulling a few months ago. I hate to say it, but I gagged the first time I did it, and was not able to continue. … Now I do oil pulling every day … My three loose teeth are no longer loose. No more sensitive teeth- I can eat hot, cold, etc. without any discomfort to my teeth at all. Severe and repetitive plaque buildup on the inside of my lower front teeth literally fell off in my mouth and has never come back. Arthritis in my fingers is gone and has never returned. [via]

So here is how you do it. First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach (no food or drink) place one teaspoon of oil in your mouth. You should use cold pressed sesame oil, cold pressed sunflower oil or coconut oil. Swish the oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to get the back of the teeth and under the tongue. The oil will start to dilute and then become white and foamy. Do not keep the oil in your mouth over 20 minutes, if you were to your body could start to reabsorb the toxins it has just pulled out. When you spit out the oil, it is recommended to spit it in the toilet due the the fact it can be full of toxins. Next you brush your teeth (I recommend with pure castile non-gylcerin bar soap – but more on that in another article).

It is said to work because the oil mixes with your saliva and activates enzymes in your mouth. Those enzymes draw out toxins from the blood. You can oil pull up to 3 times a day, as long as each time is on an empty stomach. It is also recommended that you are sitting while doing so, I am unable to find any reason why it says this. Anyone and everyone can do this, even pregnant women – however small kids that would have trouble not swallowing should probably not since the oil is pulling toxins out of your blood that should not be ingested.

I have been oil pulling now, and I will continue. I feel that my teeth felt firmer and and my gums softer (it is like a gum massage). I found the process to be somewhat relaxing too, but maybe it was because I could not talk and was sitting – hence not running around. I had some canker sores that just would not go away that disappeared within hours of my first ‘pull’ and have not come back. I also had been having a major stuffy nose the seem to just disappear – but with some work, like in the testimony above I too had lots of mucus coming up after. I will have to have been doing it longer to give you more results.. Ill post more in a few months – but for now I am sold! I would like to say though that if you are around others in the morning, beware they might be very grossed out – which I guess I can understand, I was told it just sounds funny.

So the bottom line is that trying it cannot hurt, it is a all natural product. You can buy it in glass and recycle the bottle. It is an oil that you probably eat and cook with. There are no schemes getting you to buy some extra chemical altered product. Nope! Just go into the kitchen and get a spoon full of oil! If anything you spent an extra 15 minutes relazxing in the morning – which I bet has great benefits on its own.

Have you Oil Pulled? or Are you going to try?

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