With constant news about depleting resources and climate change, more and more people are becoming interested in doing their part to help the environment. Even so, current economic conditions make financial constraints important to consider when making a purchase. The good news is that you can make your home greener without sacrificing your first-born to do it. Here’s how:
1. Decide what green alternatives you’re willing to use before buying anything. What prompted your interest in sustainability? Start with that, and conquer more tasks as you get comfortable. You’ll save time, money, and wasted effort.
Do you want to tackle energy efficiency first? Are natural foods more important to you right now? What about composting? Before you go out and spend hundreds on dollars on supplies for going green, create a clear plan on what your priorities are.
2. Start with what you already have. Whatever path you’ve chosen to start your green journey, you’ll probably be surprised how many resources you already have in your home that can be used. A few simple tweaks (of your thermostat, for example) or the re-purposing of some materials you already have (like making a compost bin from a plastic storage tub) could save you money and give old items new uses.
3. Save a buck by buying in bulk. To reduce waste and spending, buy your essentials in bulk. These days, things like rice, grains and beans can be found in the bulk section of health food stores & some mainstream grocers. By purchasing without the packaging, you’ll save money at the register, and reduce the amount of waste your home creates. It’s an easy switch, and cost no more to your family than the usual budget, since you’ll be buying those items anyway.
4. Replace one bulb a month with a CFL or LED. Even if energy conservation isn’t the first project on your list, this tip is an easy and budget-friendly one. Starting this year, traditional light bulbs are being phased out for their more expensive, energy efficient counterparts. They last longer, cost less to use over the life of the bulb, and are better for the environment. When you do your monthly shopping, pick up one bulb each trip until you’ve replaced all the incandescents in your home. You’ll barely feel the cost.
5. Create an environment where being green is easy. Set up systems in your home that make consistent green choices simple and natural to make. How? Design a recycling station that’s as accessible as using the trash in your kitchen. Put together an eco-friendly “go bag” for shopping trips to keep from using plastic. Start your “Hit List” of 100% natural food recipes & plan ahead to have great food available. The more convenient it is to access eco-friendly products at home, the easier it becomes to make sustainable choices over the long-term.
If you’re an eco-newbie, congratulations on making a great choice for your health & the future of our planet. Following these tips will help make your transition simple and easy, and keep a little extra cash in your pocket. Have fun & be green!
Is your favorite product doing more harm – to you, the environment, and animals – than good? Check the ingredients before you buy your next bottle of moisturizer, and vote with your dollars for better beauty standards.
Parabens, phthalates and acids, oh my! Cosmetics shelves are packed with a variety of creams, lotions and potions, each of which is composed of an often dizzying list of ingredients. When you turn over your favorite bottle, and the list is full of things impossible to pronounce, sticking to a green beauty regimen can seem pretty daunting. Knowing a few key terms will make it easy to exorcise the biggest eco offenders from your routine.
Why Reading Health/Beauty Labels Matters
When adopting a plant-based lifestyle, most people focus on food; few consider the ingredients in common beauty products and household staples. Who would ever think there was beef fat in shampoo?
In addition to animal sourced ingredients, many conventional cosmetics contain a slew of synthetic chemicals (separate post) that have been proven potentially unsafe to use. Every product that comes in contact with the skin ends up in the bloodstream. Given that the effects of prolonged use for most of these substances have yet to be studied, the safest course is avoidance.
Even if you’re not the type to join an animal liberation group & protest cosmetic testing, you can do your part to support more ethical standards. The most effective form of activism hits companies where it matters most – the bottom line. Every sale diverted from corporations using animal-derived or unsafe components in their formulations to a natural alternative makes a statement.
The Name Game
Most ingredients are listed on beauty labels by their scientific names, so beef fat will never appear on a bottle of your favorite moisturizer. Check for the following when you shop, and you’ll be well on your way to eliminating unethical ingredients.
Collagen is the protein from which gelatin is derived. Prized for its elastic properties, (it’s the same component that keeps our skin taut and aids joint movement via connective tendons) its frequently found in face creams and anti-aging moisturizers. Companies usually source it from animal hooves, tendons and other tissue.
Like collagen, elastin is a common element in facial and anti-aging applications. The protein is found in animal ligaments.
the hottest “new” thing on the market, the use of keratin in hair and nail products is gaining market share due to trendy treatments from far and wide. The ingredient is derived from the feathers, hair, hooves and horns of a variety of animals. It’s used primarily to add luster and sheen to hair, particularly when dry or damaged from processing.
Commonly known as cochineal or carmine, carminic acid is derived from the crushed exoskeletons of the female insect. The product is used as a coloring agent in a variety of applications, including shampoos and cosmetics. Sound familiar? The discovery of its use in Starbucks’ Strawberry Frappuccino syrup led to an uproar from the vegan community in 2012, so much so that the company changed their formulation.
Also called “tallow,” this saturated fatty acid is used in everything from lotions to shampoo. Cows, pigs, and sheep are all possible sources. It has even been suggested in several reports that euthanized shelter animals may be used by some companies.
What You Can Do
There are several more elements that could come from questionable sources, and new ones are constantly in development. The safest way to be sure your favorite product is plant-based is to look for the word “vegan” on the label. If the product doesn’t advertise as vegan, here are a few other ways to ensure it lines up with your lifestyle.
- Contact the company. Every corporation has a dedicated customer service department. In theory, these representatives should be able to easily address your concerns about ingredients and animal testing. If they can’t, avoid.
- There’s an app for that. Add an app like Cruelty-Free to your smartphone to check whether a company uses animal products or performs animal testing.
- Check out an eco-friendly alternative. More and more companies are creating great, plant-based health and beauty products for both men and women. Herban Cowboy and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics are two of my favorites.
PeTA has created a list of companies that DO test on animals when formulating products. Give it a once over to see if any of your favorites are listed.
Do you know of any great ethical health & beauty products that readers HAVE to know about? Share them with us!
No matter what was going on in my world as a kid, my Mom always gave the same advice: never let them see you sweat. When I’d come home crying about some kid bullying me or calling me names, she’d assure me that they were “just jealous.” If I held my head high & felt good inside, she promised they’d see me for the awesome person I was.
Thanks Mom. I’ve never forgotten the lesson.
Have you ever felt a little down in dumps? Not quite feeling your mojo lately? Whatever your current circumstance, taking control of your confidence will pull you out of negativity & draw great people & opportunities to you.
This video includes 3 VERY simple steps you can take to improve your confidence-anytime, anywhere.
Step 1: Straighten up! Posture is key to controlling mood, and sends a clear signal to others about how we feel about ourselves. Confident people stand stall, look up and communicate “Here I am!” to the world!
2. Give your lungs a work out. You need air to function at a high level. Stand tall, take a deep breath, hold for 4 counts, then exhale slowly. Your mental clarity and overall mood will improve dramatically.
3. Visualize your outcome. Take 2 minutes, sit down, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and visualize what it feels like to be confident and charming. You’re fabulous, and everyone around is drawn to your magnetic energy. How does it feel? Now, carry that feeling with you throughout the day.
Bonus: Smile! This one’s kind of obvious, but all of us forget how powerful a smile can be, for ourselves & others. Use yours to say, “I’m an interesting, engaged & pleasant person” without saying a word.
Thanks for watching! For more tips like this, subscribe for my video updates.
This video was done as a submission to the Vegan Testimonial Project. When I sat and thought about the message I wanted to convey, I knew it would be best done in video format.
If you have any questions about living a plant-based life, please leave them in the comments. Looking for great curated content for vegans, vegetarians & the plant-curious? Visit us at Ayurvega.
Everyone deserves access to clean water. Unfortunately, more than 780 million people live without this basic necessity daily.
According to the World Health Organization, diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
Of those deaths, more than 90% are children under the age of five.
I am so incredibly fortunate to live in a place where something as basic as water has never been a concern. The realization that so many others face a daily struggle to find water acceptable for consumption is heartbreaking. Since 2009, I’ve been a supporter of Charity:Water.
Every year since 2006, they’ve been building wells around the globe to bring clean water to communities without access. 100% of all public donations go to fund water projects.
Would you like to get involved?
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The Amare site design is based on the Center’s current goals: brand building and growth. The core of the organization is inclusion, and their message centers around it. The design also had to communicate the importance of growth through spiritual practice, another key pillar of Amare’s mission.
Amare’s new site goes live in early Fall. We are currently working together on content building, branding all church marketing materials and offline member retention strategies.
Is your church or organization in need of a design overall? Are you unsure where to start? I can help. Together we can create a high-quality church branding package and marketing strategy. If you’re ready to develop a comprehensive social media strategy that connects with current and potential members, click here.
About Ilena Banks
Ilena Banks is an entrepreneur, speaker and coach who helps clients discover their power and "level up" in life and business.
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