Dark side of Clothing

This video sparks some interesting points…

Clothing is one of those everyday things that slip under the cracks. When people think of clothing it is usually about finding the best deal, what’s stylish on oneself, and heck, finding what fits best—because shopping for a well fitted slack is impossible!

Things to start thinking about: 

Right now. Grab a piece of clothing, any clothing, but make sure it has a tag. Now examine the tag and what do you see? No, this isn’t home economics.

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Key things to look at -> Material used and Where it was made.

Why does material matter? Common synthetics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon are made from synthetic materials, being cheaper and easier to produce. BUT, these synthetic materials are harmful to the Earth, to people you indirectly affect, and yourself.

Synthetic fibers are formed mainly from raw materials such as petroleum-based chemicals or petrochemicals. They can catch fire easily, are toxic when burned, non-biodegradable, can be damaged easily by heat, and add microfibers to water supplies and oceans. YES. You probably have plastic floating around in your body. Thank you chemical engineering, you are the gift that keeps on giving.

‘That dress is so vibrant and is perfect for Summer!’ Well, that dress also was made with toxic dyes, by people in poor living conditions who experience the harmful effects of chemicals used during the dying process.  Cancer, occupational asthma, allergic reactions and yet again we see another pollutant to water. 

Sweatshops, we’ve all heard this before and they have evolved. Many workers have poor working conditions, make little money, and work long hours.

‘Made in the USA’—Why is this important? First off, help support local businesses and buy locally whenever possible. But make sure they do their best and find businesses that source their material fairly and sustainably. You can even go a step further and buy your clothes from a local thrift shop—Bonus points if it is a not-for-profit! 

Thrifting is a fun activity and is like a hunt for treasure. When you find that perfect shirt, dress, or even pants, you will be so ecstatic and your brain will release some happy-inducing chemicals. Plus, you can find fun, vintage clothing and even brand name clothing that is brand new. Have fun with it!

Finally, buy quality over quantity. Make a purchase not based on the latest style, but rather for quality, sustainability, materials, necessity, and comfort. 

Make informed decisions and don’t buy something on the whim. Your conscious purchase will benefit the planet, those who live on it, and help build a sustainable future for the next generations.

Note: Rayon is also known as a synthetic fiber but made from cellulose, so it isn’t AS bad.

Good luck conscious shopper!

Your purchase counts

I just watched a video about the destructive nature of the palm oil industry.  This led me down a trail of thoughts which sparked the importance of thoughtful shopping.

When you make an informed purchase you are protecting the forests from being destroyed for palm and other crop production, consume consciously, save lives of thousands of people and animals dying due to home displacement and pollution, make healthier food choices,

Your buying habits effect peoples lives all over the world and the planet, and as sentient beings we have the responsibility to care for and sustain this planet.

If you discover there is a flaw in a product you purchase such as:

Unsustainable ingredients

Unfair trade

Unfair labor

Wasteful packaging

High carbon footprint

Over process

Cruel to animals

Toxic

Unhealthy

You should, at the least, stop purchasing that item but if you want to take another step into the right direction then notify the grocery store and then notify the business.  I typically send messages to the direct product’s customer service and let them know my thoughts.  Usually I get thoughtful responses in return describing their goals, values, considerations, or current plans. At least then it seems like my voice is being heard.

Oh, I also recommend providing positive comments for products you buy to reinforce your values and to just give them a nice ol’ pat on the back.

If you want to go for another step forward then use the tool of social media! # products you like, enform others of your values and educate people about the importance of conscious buying.  You can even go down the negative side and publically shame a business that sells a product against your values.

How do I know my values?

I try to make informed purchased by evaluating the product, avoiding specific ingredients, materials, wasteful packaging, and its benefits to my wellbeing.

I cannot express how important research and self education is to the working world around oneself and the urgency to product this planet, so it can remain sustainable.

 

Pickled Watermelon Rind & Beets

A week or so ago I bought myself a HUGE watermelon from WFM and thought to myself, “how can I use the rind to this melon”.

Watermelons are in the same family as cucumbers and zucchini, so I tried to think of cooking techniques for those.

Dehydrating first came to mind then of course breading/frying followed, because anything fried can be tasty.

Finally pickles came to mind!

I’ve never pickled or fermented anything and the idea not only fascinated me but also was terrifying.

I decided to peruse the net for basic pickling recipes to guide me in the right direction.

During my search I stumbled across a recipe for pickled watermelon rind! Oh, lucky days!

The recipe was adapted by Kitchen Riffs from a David Chang recipe.

As mentioned before I do not like using refined white sugar but it was important for me to follow the recipe somewhat closely for the first attempt. So, I reduced the sugar quantity from the original.

I pickled the rinds Monday night after waiting the recommended four days, I popped off the lids and gave them a try.

Ok, I do admit that eating pickled rind from a watermelon may not sound scrumptious, and well, I cannot say it was my favorite. These freshly packed sour warheads have an intense “POW, IN YOUR FACE” flavor.

Kitchen Riff recommended using ACV instead of Chang’s rice wine vinegar, so I went along with the ACV. The ACV has a sweet element and enhances the intense flavors to an overwhelming degree.

The thing about watermelon rind is that it doesn’t have much flavor and are bitter—absorbing whatever sauce used. Less sugar and the strong, sweet flavor of ACV took over the rinds, resulting in unbalance between sweet and sour/tangy, with sour/tangy dominating the profile.

Cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger were also added to my brind which adds a layer of heat to the pickles.

There is a real sweet, tangy, sour explosion of flavors that are not for the average soul.

There was also that expected crunch from the hard rind which you’ll find from a well pickled vegetable. The crunch adds another degree of complexity to this already stimulating flavors.

This would be great with some ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day or garnish for a fun, fruity cocktail.

I’ve generated two jars and am seeking creative ways to eat these tangy morsels because summer is on it’s way out and seldom drink, but once in a while I do enjoy a classic gimlet with gin. I’ll post updates about tasty finds for pickled watermelon rind.

I ended up using some extra dressing to pickle a golden beet that wasn’t looking too good. I honestly loved the pickled beet.

The ACV wasn’t as overwhelming and still had a strong beet flavor and a slight crunch to them.

These would be great with hummus and roasted corn or in a nice green salad with some toasted walnuts. YUM!

Have you tried pickling? Do you have a favorite recipe or tricks? Let me know!

Conscious Living in a World that Throws Everything Away

A few months back while doing research for gardening and composting on YouTube,  a video showed up featuring Bea Johnson, discussing her lifestyle called “Zero Waste”.

Those two words say it all and my mind quickly began simmering the idea of zero waste and soon after I became obsessed!

Johnson’s blog and book, “Zero Waste Home”  began a movement that has spread across the globe, inspiring other environmentally conscious individuals like myself.  Johnson has brought back a lifestyle that our ancestors have lived for thousands of years that include canning, making vinegar, cooking without waste, reusing what is available.

Bea Johnson believes you can live simply by following these simple guidelines, the 5R’s:

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (Not only in that order)

Johnson believes all habits can be adapted to this lifestyle, but a lot of regular habits may have to be sacrificed.

I’ve continued my research into this lifestyle by joining the Zero Waste Reddit community, researching books at the library, and by watching YouTube videos discussing their attempts at this lifestyle along with the frustration that comes with it.


Some frustration that I’ve personally experienced includes:

Feeling Overwhelmed

  • How do I even begin living this lifestyle?
  • What do I do with the things I currently waste?
  • Everyone I watch in public is so wasteful!  ARRGGHHH!
  • I have pets and taking care of them is wasteful.
  • The numbers game – Learning how much is wasted makes the heart feel heavy.

These are all complications I’ve come across and still struggle with during my journey.

To cope with the overwhelming amount of wastefulness I try to be non-judgemental of others, continuously restructure my habits until I find a system that works, and communicate my feelings to others and try to teach others about easy habits to reduce waste.

One of the key factors for adjusting to this lifestyle is the realization that I cannot expect to be waste-free overnight, it will take time and effort to attain a completely zero waste lifestyle.  

Being Unknowledgeable

  • What is considered to be waste?
  • Is recycling worth it?
  • What products are available for this lifestyle?
  • Needs Vs. wants.

I’ve delved deep into learning as much as I can about zero waste within the past couple of months and there is still much more to learn.

One dilemma I’ve experienced is how to get rid of the wasteful things I currently own.  I have nail polish, plastic wrap, plastic Tupperware, personal care products, toilet paper, random kitchen gadgets, and more.  

I currently just have these items sitting around, waiting for its life purpose to be fulfilled.  I still need to figure a solution for most of these items, but until then, I do the following:
  • Use or recycle the Tupperware.
  • Do not buy anything that has wasteful packaging or that is not recyclable.
  • Create family cloth. (A reusable cloth for wiping your bum)
  • Donate these items to a thrift store.
Bea Johnson points out an important detail:

Don’t buy anything new, you can find almost anything used at a local thrift store or on eBay.  Buy your food in bulk form and locally and in season.  Be conscious of what you are buying and think to yourself “Do I really NEED this?”

Get out of your comfort zone and try new things like crafts, growing herbs/other produce, cook more or try making your own almond milk or cheeses–You’ll be impressed with what you are capable of and honestly, you’ll probably enjoy being self-sufficient in these areas.

Being Lazy or Reverting to Old Habits

  • Making excuses.
  • Putting leisure before productivity.
  • Eating out because “I’m hungry now”.
  • Feelings of frustration resulting in inactivity

Altering decades of old habits is challenging and require constant motivation, determination, and effort.  I’ve realized that planning ahead and organization is crucial to success and includes daily journaling, meal planning, and attainable weekly goals.

Eating Out

  • Ordering takeout.
  • Avoiding straws.
  • Over-ordering.
  • Utensils
  • Refusing plastic bags

Eating out is difficult when you are trying to be zero waste.  You have to deal with disposable cups and utensils, becoming full before finishing so you are stuck with either food waste or a wasted container, straws being forced to you, and ordering takeout is completely out of the picture unless you bring your own reusable container.

I have a past addiction to Mitsuwa’s pastries, ice cream, shaved ice, and other desserts featured at Ry-Leaf.  In my continuous effort to be less wasteful, I now bring reusable cups, containers, choose a cone Vs. a cup, and request no disposable straw/utensils.

My first attempt at bringing a reusable container to Ry-Leaf started off without a struggle until the cup I had brought was too large for their machine.  The employee decided to use a styrofoam cup to transfer the ice, so without thinking, I reacted with anguish expressing that the cup was not necessary and the whole experience became awkward.

Now when I ask for a business to use my own container I instantly say “I know, I’m crazy–Don’t worry about it!” and usually go on to explain WHY I am asking them to accommodate my strange requests.



I’d like to end this post with my Earth Day messaged which was shared on Facebook:

Today is Earth Day, and while every day should focus on our precious Earth we need to all take a moment to reflect on our actions.

We all group up wasteful, we are wasteful as a species and the neglect needs to stop.

Take a moment today think of ONE thing that you can do to help Earth and all the life that struggling with it.

500 MILLION plastic straws are wasted EACH DAY. This is an easy habit to break and it all begins with REFUSING. Do you really NEED a straw? Think about it.

Plastic is killing the remaining wildlife and the oceans. If you love animals and/or love seafood, help protect them! It is our responsibility to reverse our destruction to this planet!

Thank you for reading. 

Included in the post was a button for friends to donate to the Earth Day Network.  I raised $95 including my donation of $20!