Hey guys! I told ya I'd be back with a more health-focused post, and I keep my promises ;) I spent a long time thinking about whether this was truly a "health" post, if this was more of an "eco-friendliness" post, but I decided that it could totally be both.
That's the cool thing about health. Eco-friendliness and our personal health are inseparable. What's good for mama Earth is good for us in the short-term (keeping us healthy) AND in the long-term (preserving our planet for future generations to live healthy lives), hooray!
Why is "green-ness" important for the planet?
First, I'm going to do the scary part of this blog post and then we'll get to cheerful positive part of it, so hang in there with me, okay? :)
In health class this year we had to complete this really long survey about overall wellness. I mean, it was a packet. It was really exhaustive and it made me happy to see that it went way beyond nutrition and exercise - it focused also on intellectual health, emotional health, relationships, happiness in school/career, and even how earth-friendly you are! One of the questions asked you how much you agreed with the statement "I understand that nothing I throw away truly goes away" (I'm paraphrasing). But isn't that such a good way to think of it?
I want to put this on a poster. One of those hipster, white Helvetica on black background posters. "Nothing I throw away truly goes away". It would be such a great reminder of the impact of excessive (and improperly managed) waste.
Take, for example, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's two freakin' islands just floating around in the ocean because plastics never ever biodegrade - they only break into smaller and smaller plastics. This harms all sorts of living things: sea turtles, albatrosses, seals, even algae and plankton (source).
Keeping our trash here on land isn't much better. When food and yard waste is put in landfills, it decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas. Yes, it can be captured and used to create energy, but not even close to all of the gas that is put out is utilized. In the past 20 years here in the US, we've captured 345 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, but we produced a whopping 148 million metric tons metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2014 alone (source).
Why is "green-ness" important for our health?
It's also important to know how common household products affect our bodies. At first glance, cleaning products and makeup and such can seem perfectly innocent. Especially if the packaging is cute and promises to work wonders on your home/body. But it only takes a little bit of digging to find out HOW MUCH $h*! is actually in these things. I won't list everything I can find, but I think a few examples will suffice.
It has mostly been phased out of water bottles, which is where I think people were/are most wary of it, but it can also be found in the lining of cans, plastic toys, even receipts (source). Honestly, that last one kind of scares me, because receipts are so common and such an accepted part of life. Katie of Wellness Mama suggests saying "no" to the receipt or throwing it in the trash if you do take it (it can contaminate other recyclables).
Here's why you should want to toss those BPA-containing items: BPA severely disrupts your hormones. It leads to fertility issues, birth defects, and male reproductive dysfunction (source).
This one's a famous makeup "no-no", and for good reason. It interferes with our reproductive, nervous, and immune systems, and, just like BPA, severely disrupts your hormones (source)!
It is so important to remember that when you put on makeup (or moisturizers, creams, shampoos, etc. etc.), you are not just putting these things onto some hard, exterior shell. You're putting them on your skin, your body's largest organ. Much of what you apply goes into your bloodstream, so ya'll better make sure you're putting on good stuff... (source).
The hardest one to spell and pronounce. Here is the pronunciation if you're interested. It is NOT what I was expecting.
If you thought spelling them was scary, the health effects of these little suckers are even scarier. The Guardian lists, "In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues" (source). Yikes!
And the scariest part is that they're found almost everywhere: fragranced products, nail polish, insect repellant, car parts, even food.
That's why I've been thinking of starting this little "program" (do I sound like a fancy blogger yet?) for a while now. I have a list in my planner of green changes that I want to incorporate into my life. They include DIYs, products I want to buy that are better for the Earth, and habits. I've decided that every week 'll put one of these into effect. I don't know how long I'll do this because I think that the more you dig and learn, you end up with an endless lists of things you could be doing differently! That can be overwhelming, so that's why I'm taking it slowly.
This week I went a little crazy and did *cue announcer voice* not one, NOT two, but three DIYs. Now, to be fair, that's because they were easy and quick and it just made sense to do them at the same time buuuut let's just celebrate my achievement.
My very first DIY was mascara. The main thing I learned was that mascara tubes are the most annoying thing in the world to wash. The second thing I learned was that egg yolks make for surprisingly good mascara. I used the recipes from Simple Life Mom.
I was really excited to try the first recipe because it used beeswax and shea butter, but unfortunately, it didn't work out too well for me. I might have done something wrong because the texture came out a little crumbly/clumpy and it didn't stay on my eyelashes very well.
But the second recipe... The second recipe was the simplest creation on Earth and blew me away. It's literally an egg yolk and activated charcoal (+ cocoa for a browner color). It stays on your eyelashes SO well, has a wonderful texture, and is incredibly easy to make. Next time I think I'll try just cocoa powder for a brown mascara.
For this one, I used the recipe from A Blossoming Life. It used castor oil, which is super great for your hair, so I was really excited. I had my mom try it first, and while she found it a little difficult to work with at first, it looked pretty great! I tried it as well, although I have lighter hair and so it was a little too dark for me... So if you have very light hair this might not be the recipe for you. Also, if you make it, I would suggest reducing all of the amounts because you really only need a veeery small amount of it and the recipe makes a LOT!
Last was this "5 Minute Whip It Up" moisturizer from Green Thickies. I LOVED making this. All I had to do was throw everything (3 ingredients) in a jar and stick it in a pot of hot water to melt, then a pot of cold water to cool down. I added 10 drops of lemon essential oil and it SMELLS LIKE LEMON COOKIES. I want to eat it but I won't...
I love applying this moisturizer at night before I stretch and using the leftovers on my hand to lightly moisturize my face. It is somewhat greasy so don't touch things until it has absorbed enough... I think I must have touched my wall because there's now, like, a handprint there? Oops.
So that's all for this week! This post turned out way longer than I expected and I gotta say, it was one heck of a struggle. First I published it too early (wanted to see how it would look) and then couldn't figure out how to "un"-publish it, so it just sat there, unfinished, on my blog. Thank goodness I don't really have readers yet, haha. And then, I worked on it for like an hour this afternoon and came back to see I hadn't saved what I had written!!!
The moral of this story: always save and always be green. ASABG (I totally looked this acronym up to make sure it didn't stand for something weird).
In the future, I'm going to share my progress with my green habits right here on this blog with monthly review blog posts. And I'll also post updates on my social media under the hashtag #blissbeangreen! Check it ooout.
What's something you've done recently to be kinder to the Earth and your body?