3 ways I love my body and planet with my personal care
Are you a taker? I would guess that most would say no, but I’m just going to challenge this way of thinking a teensy bit; maybe even only for the time it takes for you to read this blog. Hopefully a teensy bit longer.
I would say I’m not a taker but everything in this whole ‘life’ party is a delicate balance of exchange.
This beautiful planet that we get to call home gives us so much that we don’t even think about; air to breathe, water to drink, earth in which to grow food, fire to warm us and space to be. In everyday life, we probably don’t give these things a second thought.
Of course, the earth is not just home to us lovely humans; it provides all these wonderful things for every single organism that we share it with. Having our amazing opposable thumbs as we do, we’ve sky-rocketed to the top of the food chain and have been able to cleverly engineer and manipulate things in our favour, unfortunately to the detriment of other species and to Mother Earth herself.
Mahatma Ghandi is quoted as once having said,
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Over the years, I have been carefully considering the impact that I personally have on the planet and making adjustments where I can. There are so many ways we can reduce the footprint that we leave behind. Social media and eco-conscious blogs are proving a great platform for increasing awareness about initiatives such as the #2minutebeachclean, #refusethestraw and #plasticfreeJuly.
Making small changes has a big impact. Here are some of the changes I have made that could also be a change for you.
1. I’m a bit of a chemical-hater.
I have ensured that the products I use on my skin contain as few chemicals as possible. I’m a die-hard Liz Earle fan and all the other products I use are sourced to make sure no nasties. In particular, I avoid Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS). I am no chemist (though I do have the most wonderful friend who is a real-life actual brainy scientist of this ilk, and she’s pretty cool), but from my studies of Pip Waller’s Holistic Anatomy, it is my understanding that this nasty is a carcinogenic chemical only used to make the pretty bubbles in products that we are told are necessary for something to be clean.
If this is of interest for you, take a look at lots of everyday products ingredients lists.
Your skin is a semi-permeable membrane, through which some particles and toxins can be absorbed into your system. Every single cell in my body and yours is solely concerned with keeping exactly the right balance of chemical composition needed for repair, renewal and growth and could do with having less toxins to clean up in there. My cells don’t need that schizz to battle with; do yours?
The deodorants I use are plant-based balms and pump-action sprays rather than an aerosol canister containing aluminium.
Firstly, we are supposed to sweat or perspire; it is one of the body's main ways of cooling down. Think about the words anti-perspirant and maybe you might want to question whether you want to use a product who’s function is to stop one of your bodily functions.
Perspiration, as it is produced, has no odour. The smell occurs when the water content evaporates and the dry bacteria content reacts with the air. A perfectly normal function. Interestingly, Mother Nature intended this as a way of attracting a mate or repelling someone with incompatible DNA. A deodorant will reduce or mask the smell of this bacteria but will still allow your perspiration function to happen and for those all-important pheromones to do their thang.
The second point I want to make is that the “containing aluminium” is an issue for me. As I mentioned, some particles are ingested through the skin, indeed, some medications are topical and must be applied to the skin for this precise reason. We apply deodorant under our armpits which is also the area that houses sections of a very important system of the body, the lymph drainage system.
I'm going to get all anatomy-geek on you now, but this is the way I understand it;
In normal cellular activity, there is waste which must be broken down and reabsorbed into or excreted from the body. The lymph drainage system is a network much like the veins and arteries, except there is no heart-like pump, the waste is moved by muscular movement in the body (so keep active, people, go for a walk, a run or a yoga class!) This waste-sorting process takes part in the nodes of lymph system, one area of which is under the arms. Where we apply chemicals. Daily. Sometimes onto skin that has had the top layer exfoliated by shaving or hair removal.
Some days of the month, I definitely perspire more than others, maybe you do, too? It’s part of my normal female cycle and that is fine. On those days, I will use an aerosol deodorant if that feels right, but one canister will last me a very, very long time.
There are health considerations for both of these examples I have given. In the first instance, I have very dry skin on my hands and I have learned that by reducing the amount of SLS I expose my skin to I decrease the potential for soreness. In the second instance, every single body is different and some perspire more than others. For some people, this is of medical concern and you should never ignore physical symptoms that cause you worry - take consult with a medical professional, don’t just rely on internet-based reading.
Do your research, people, know your own body and do what is right for you.
2. Disposable products; are they even disposable??
They have to end up somewhere so I have dramatically reduced the amount of these items that I use, starting with re-usable cotton wool pads and muslin face cloths instead of using ‘disposable’ make-up remover wipes.
Another key change I have made that has had huge impact on my eco-footprint and on my whole life has been the introduction of washable bamboo sanitary pads and my use of menstrual cup.
Before I move on, let’s be clear; I am a female, and just like 50% of the population, I have a uterus whose normal function is to operate on a monthly menstrual cycle.
This is a pretty large soap box for me. Let’s drop the embarrassment and stop the whole stupid, period-shaming stigma about it. Enough.
Anyway. I feel pretty good that within the last three-four years, my sanitary product contribution to the UK’s landfill sites has been practically zero and the monthly financial cost has been zero. Of course, the initial outlay was a little bit more costly than the price of a box of tampons but these products will last me many years. For me, it’s a no-brainer!!
The most beneficial part of this investment was that to the way I see my whole body and in turn, my life. This is something I feel so passionate about so expect to see more blog expressions along this thread and if you want to chat about it or are thinking about trying a menstrual cup, let’s talk!
Things like this are so much easier with support.
Being a female is pretty amazing. Being a male is pretty amazing. Can we embrace who we are without trying to point score or put each other down?
Here in the UK, we are lucky to have access to recycling facilities and my family have been recycling for years. In fact, we have very little non-recyclable waste now.
Trees are so beautiful to look at and they give us so much. Let’s forget for a minute that they provide us with food, shelter and fuel and provide these vital things for many other species, let’s remember what we learned in school; the trees use carbon dioxide to create nourishment for themselves. The very same carbon dioxide that our ever-growing population of humans exhales and produces en masse in the use of fossil fuels.
Trees are friends.
And they take a long, long time to grow and replace when we chop them down in deforestations for fuel, property development, or paper, rendering lots of creatures homeless or verging on extinction. (Orang-utans, I’m sincerely sorry. I’m doing my best x)
So here, let’s start talking about bamboo.
There is a variety of bamboo that is capable of growth of 90cm in 24hours. Almost 1 metre in 1 day, people!! In old money, we’re talking about almost three feet in length! That’s incredible!! By way of comparison, one source of paper is from the wood pulp of trees such as spruce or pine, which you can expect this same growth annually. Pine trees reach a height of 15 - 25 metres and takes around ten years. As opposed to 15 -25 DAYS for this lovely species of bamboo.
The clever folk of Cheeky Panda create toilet paper, kitchen towel and facial tissues from the pulp of bamboo and even more lovingly, they only a type that pandas do not eat, because of course, it is a scrumptious food source to those super-cute and vulnerable monochrome guys. Bloody genius!
I love this brand and you will find it in almost every room of my house. Even in my handbag!!! Portable eco-friendliness!
And the toothbrushes I've been using for the last year or two! Also made of bamboo and I LOVE them!! (My youngest son calls his Bamboozle, which I think is super-cute, so mine's been re-named now, too!)
Some of the changes I have implemented have required a little bit of a commitment, but really, they have been small changes. Many hands make light work, and all.
What more can be done? Is there anything you can do? I love to chat with other people about the things that they do to see if their small changes can be introduced into my routines, do you have any that you want to share? Let’s interact!
Please do comment with any ideas or share this post with someone else who might enjoy it.
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