Category Archives: SELF CARE: Mind, Body & Soul

Going Nuts 😂😋🤭

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Yeah, yeah, you heard it right🤭 Don’t get worried, I still persist with my own madness, but this is about something different. It’s about nuts: SOAP NUTS / SOAP BERRIES. Okay, why would I need to talk about them? It’s very commonly available in India in the common name as Retha(Hindi) / Pasakkottamaram (Malayalam) and many more local names. These are the berries of a tree found widely in the Himalayas. Like many other plants, they also have got many medicinal properties.

As part of my sustainable lifestyle journey, my research pointed me towards the dried soap berries due to its several household usages. Lifestyle has made us shift in many simple products to latest products made available in the market and as I have mentioned in my previous posts we are more brainwashed by advertisers. For me, soap berries come into view as a replacement for my liquid laundry detergent. Every alternate month, I used to buy one bottle of (500ml) top brand liquid detergents which will cost me around 200 to 250 rupees.I stopped using detergent powders long back due to its remnants in the after dried clothes which costs around 100 to 200 rupees.

My research helped me to understand how much these chemicals reach into the sewage which finally ends up dumping all these harmful chemicals into the ocean since I live at a walkable distance from the estuary close to the Arabian Sea. All the detergents and it’s heavily loaded micro plastics end up in the marine system and thus directly getting its entry into the marine food web. This reaches our plate as fishes consume these plastics assuming these particles to be their regular food. That thought made me strictly stop my use of detergent powders and liquids.

Now I am left with a new choice of an alternative. Either I should make a less harmful basic chemical detergent consisting of washing soda, baking soda & Castile soap or use the natural available Soap Nuts. Now you may think, Soap Nuts seems to be the newest option for us. No, you got it wrong, soap nuts have been used for so many centuries that racing for civilization made us leave behind many basic things and now when we realize what all we left behind, we are trying to get them back which could be termed “Back to Basics”.

 

 

I read about the various chemical household products which could be replaced by this single natural product.. my main concern was focused on liquid laundry detergent which this could be used making shampoos, face wash, hair mask, kitchen and floor cleaner etc to name a few.

 

 

I have initially tried the readymade soapnut liquid detergent named “Bubble Nut Wash”. I have tried on a variety of clothes and was totally impressed. The clothes were fresh with a slight citrusy smell. I had bought one-liter product from Amazon for 299/-( plus shipping charge). You can buy this product here. I won’t prefer to purchase them since every purchase will leave me with a plastic bottle and compared to cheaper homemade options I will prefer the later.

I ordered them at Amazon from the brand Stone Soap. A packet of full size dried berries of 750 grams for a price of 235 rupees. You can buy this here product. It came in a cloth bag with drawstring and also had a tiny cloth bag for using them in the washing machine.

For the laundry purposes, there are two ways to use these berries.

  1. Direct Use: Take a handful (5-10 as per the cloth load) in a cloth pouch and put them along with clothes to soak and do the washing. This helps the berries to release the saponins which give the lather. This tiny batch of berries can be used for several times. You could also add few drops of essential oils of your choice in the last round of rinse to add more freshness.
  2. Liquid soap: A handful of berries can be boiled in two-liter water for nearly 30 plus mins and then strain out the liquid. Add essential oil of choice or vinegar as fabric softener. Store them a refrigerator and use as needed. You could find plenty of videos on YouTube regarding the uses and methods of preparation. I have made liquid soap with crushing the berries ( with the seeds) and boiling them hence the color has got more brownish but if only nut skin is used, it will be golden yellow colored. I have stored them in repurposed plastic bottles and refrigerated. This could be used for making face wash, shampoo or cleaners with few more additional ingredients.

Once the soap nuts are used more than 5-10 repeated cycles, the saponin contents would be reduced and it could be dried, powdered and used as hair mask or kite hen vessels cleaner by adding little baking soda. Soap nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin making them ideal for use. The laundry run water could be directly used for gardening purposes without worry. This is complete with a plant-based product and probably the most sustainable cleaning product.

MY VERDICT: I found soap nuts to be cheaper and making every laundry expense heavily cut down. One time purchase of 750 gram is going to stay for 3 years minimum. This will cut my repurchases for chemical laundry detergent from shop list which saves me minimum 3000/- and no tension about the plastic packaging or it’s discarding. I can store them in any containers of my choice.

I could happily wash without regret of releasing rinsed water loaded with chemicals or microplastics. Thus I will be able to do one more little steps towards keeping oceans from pollution. I could repurpose the water for gardening. Thus making my lifestyle to be more ECO-FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE 🌏🖤👩🏻‍🌾👩🏻‍🔬

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My journey towards sustainablility – 1

It wasn’t any random decision of mine to start being more sustainable. When I look back, I have traveled from a peak of consumeristic fast forward life to a slower basic consumeristic person in the last one year. I have been a hoarder for all my life that in the last 8 years of singular life made me possessed with a huge quantity of materials. This included books (I spent a major share of my scholarship), cosmetics (ufff….. too many that I can’t name), household utensils, articles of clothing (ethnic to western, shoes, bags etc). There comes a point when I could find myself surrounded by too many things all accumulated with dust and I kept on procrastinating the act of tidying. In real, I deep down I knew the truth and I was coward to face the reality hence applied the strategy of neglecting it. But how long can this persist? Even that had to end.

A voice inside me was giving me the instinct notion to face it. Maybe its the conspiracy of the universe that I came across the KONMARI technique and happened to get in detail about it from the bestselling book “Life changing magic of tidying” written by Marie Kondo and also few of her interviews on YouTube. I was looking at myself and what mess I am literally in. This was in the middle of 2017. I needed to act. But from where do I begin? I decided to follow the book and started decluttering. Yeah, you read it right, DECLUTTERING.

Until you begin, you won’t realize how much clutter exists in your life and how laboriously & ruthlessly you have to act to get rid of the clutter. I started with my clothes. I had clothes filling the entire big cupboard and in few bags beneath my cot. I pulled out every bit of cloth from every place in my room and I was shocked to see the huge pile in front of my eyes.

Clothes….Clothes & Clothes!

All the clothes I had bought in the last 8 years, some from the home, some from my sister, some don’t even fit me anymore in the last few years but still, I am keeping them. I am having an illusionary hope to get slim enough to get fit it into those clothes. While I knew the truth that I don’t even attempt to reduce my weight nor even feel attached to those dresses since my choices for clothing has changed over the years.  Several of my clothes were kept aside for their need for repair due to the research life I had been experimenting with how not to save my clothes from acid attacks. This left me with a pretty good bag with repair-needed clothes. They no longer serve me the purpose. If that was the case, why am I still having them in my cupboards and bags? I kept on holding them and occupying the major space in my wardrobe. Being an Indian woman, we have the entirely different dress codes for different occasions. This aspect really contributes to different outfits getting accommodated in the wardrobe some can only be worn for weddings while some only for formal functions/travelling wears/winter-summer-monsoon wears while another bag of comfortable daily wears. I guess this is more or less the same categorization for bags/shoes/cosmetics etc. We fail to sum up all these belongings to one single category and we have our own explanations too. No blame games.

At this point, I decided to stop being an impulsive shopper for clothes or to buy things for updating current fashion statements. Most of the clothes lying in front of me was a result of impulsive decisions and which lead to the act of causing dead money. Is that really what I wanted? No, not at all. I needed to do something. I began sorting my entire wardrobe from old to new, from jackets to handkerchiefs with the help of KONMARI technique. I decided to be ruthless and finally ended up getting rid of three big bags full of unwanted clothes. I spared some for give away for my siblings and kept few on checking level to see whether I will require them or not.

Once it was done, I came to a conclusion to stay more conscious and purchase clothes for wisely which will serve me purpose not just for once instead of several years as well as for replacing the older regularly needed ones. I won’t need or choose any onetime serving clothes or because for its lower price or offers running in the brand showrooms. This doesn’t mean that I completely stopped going to malls or purchasing clothes. I did get new ones but very few numbers that too for replacement. Now I keep asking more frequent about the need of an item and see whether there is an alternative with me already. This self-questioning practice has helped me in tremendously reducing the impulsive buying attempts.

PS: All the images are obtained from the Pinterest and are meant only to create awareness.This post of mine was originally published in Pepprbook blog.

Happy Face

The morning needs to begin with happiness which requires a grateful heart and the beautiful feeling of freshness. This month onwards I choose to take one more little step towards sustainability by opting for the real fragrance of rose for my morning routine. I am not a rose person and even my experience to use the world-famous body shop products in the British Rose range stopped me from wasting money for they had the too much artificial smell. But decided to give a try for this organic ingredient combo of oats, rose petals & oil, aloe vera: GULAABO from @rawbeauty2018. I had stopped using most of the commercial brands which were locally available in the supermarkets due to its harmful ingredients and repeated trashes from the non-reusable plastic tubes.

I have been using only tea tree oil based foam from the body shop for last 9 months but now kept it only for my evening clean up at the end of a day. It is a strong tea tree oil based foaming facewash which removes the complete oil but not too effective with the eye makeup. Once the product gets over, I will surely repurpose the dispenser bottle for my DIY oil cleanser. I may repurchase the product of tea tree face wash for a travel-friendly option. 

Okay, now coming back to this product: GULAABO: choosing this made me hit three targets: face wash-scrub-face pack 🖤multipurpose reducing skin to too many chemicals for too many things nor multiple products/plastic containers ☺️😍 My acne prone skin with open pores & frequent outbreaks due to hormonal imbalances kept me thinking of stopping as many products as possible. I wasn’t sure about this product until I began using it. The very first thing I do these days is clean my face. I wet my face and use little of the light rose powder and do the scrubbing. It becomes pink colored with the aroma of rose petals. Rinse with tap water and that’s it. I just let my face dry naturally and use few drops of non-alcoholic toner to do the rest. 

The oil texture of my acne prone skin morning is completely cleaned with the simple natural product. It comes in a glass jar (which I can repurpose it 💃🏻). It will last for several months since only a pinch is enough. It isn’t a soap based product. Hence my heavy kohl smudges need a non-alcoholic cleanser. But I am completely happy with making one more clean choice for reducing my trash.  This isn’t any paid brand endorsement. It is my honest review after using the product myself. 

To make the genuineness of this product visible, you can also check the detailed product review done by my dear friend Ranjini in here blog. You can read the article If You Wouldn’t Eat it, Don’t Put it on Your Skin. She has done a better review.

I hope😊🙏 someone else too can start making eco-friendly choices 😊😍 

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Joyful choices

It has been almost a month I haven’t written anything much as a detailed post. But I felt it’s my duty to spread the info which I have come across on my journey towards a cleaner-sustainable-ecofriendly living. These posts on the category “SELF CARE: Mind, Body & Soul” are bits and pieces of my little steps I have made and I am happy to share with all the people out there. Not like my most of the new year resolution dramas, I made 2018 to have more content steps towards sustainable eco-friendly lifestyle and it demanded changes in several aspects of my habits and consumerism. 

This is a continuation to one of my earlier posts about the hazardous effect of choosing chemical loaded deodorants/antiperspirants available in the market for the cheap price yet with too many adds from several brands. If you are interested you can check that post here. I have become insightful about the harmful effects of their use on the human body as well as to the ecosystem. That made me say a complete NO for my entire lifetime towards these hazardous chemicals (paraben, phthalates, triclosan, fragrances). 

Sweating is an outcome of our body’s metabolic process trying to keep our body temperature and salt level balanced with the efficient help of sweat glands. Depending upon several functional factors of each human body, the sweat may be odorless or with odor. Most of us have a job/study routine which keeps us outside home during the time and each one of us prefers to have clean fresh feel till the end of the day without getting hindered by our unpleasant sweat odor. This is one of the reasons why most of us prefer to use a deodorant or antiperspirant or perfumes. 

The consumeristic habit of man has made us follow the brands advertised with people of stardom. The media make sure that the common people blindly get lured to these products without letting them use their ability to comprehend whether this will do good for the body on a long-term usage or is it just a silly marketing strategy causing increased consumerism alone.  I haven’t much into perfumes or deodorants much. I ‘m not saying I haven’t used them at all. I do have and those bottles got into my room as an outcome of my impulsive shopping binge. Since I wasn’t consistent and most of the times they remained idly catching the dust and space in my room. Finally, I just threw some of them away and I stopped buying them anymore until recently I came across greener options and certain DIY projects. As part of my decluttering pathway, I didn’t want to buy new multiple organic raw materials just for making deodorant at home. I need a smaller amount for a long-term use and buying raw materials will increase the shipment with more plastic packagings and space necessity in my room. But I learned several DIY recipes with coconut oil, essential oils, cocoa butter, shea butter etc. This info has helped me in finding the alternative. I found few good & green choice and I found one with the same brand who had provided me organic toothpowder. You can read my reason & review on ayurvedic toothpowder here. 

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This is Deodorizing Happy Underarms Salve by the brand called RAW BEAUTY. I purchased it through their Instagram account (rawbeauty2018). It cost 390/- for 35gms. This is made of 100% natural ingredients such as organic coconut oil, arrowroot powder, essential oils like cedarwood, lemon, patchouli, geranium etc. I didn’t even take a second thought since I knew I was spending on what I need and what doesn’t harm me or the environment especially by not leaving behind plastic/ aluminum cans and caps. I am completely aware of what are the components applied over my skin to keep it stress-free and protect it with respect for its best duty of protecting my body. I use a pinch regularly in the morning and I was super impressed by my test of 9am to 9pm. After 12 hours, I could feel my sweat. But I ‘m not bothered since a little of the product gave me 12hr odor free time and I don’t expect more than that. I don’t need to waste any more time on what choice I should make while shopping for a deodorant. I was impressed by getting the product in a glass jar with metal cap and with the complete ingredient list on the jar itself. It came packed in old newspapers instead of plastic bubble wraps and in a cardboard box. 

You can gift this to your loved ones with these type of best products. This is one green product which I chose. You can find deo sticks and deodorants in jars from several other companies too which are made of 100% organic ingredients but some of them come in plastic packaging hence I will be sticking to this brand.

 

Unconcerned Underarm

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Lemme clarify at the beginning of this post itself that, it does hold a very relevant question for each one out there reading this post. Technically it’s a food-for-thought post and to look back into yourself. I would be extremely grateful if each one of you could spare five minutes from your valuable time for the complete reading of this post and do share the words with your beloved ones. It is a big topic which I have attempted to concise.

Every day each of us begins our day setting foot into the routine hectic schedules of our life either for education or for work. A self-obsessed regime is found in each of our lives and we set out for the day with or without a shower. Whether taken shower or not, whether going for school or office, each one of us does like/ love to apply deodorant/ antiperspirants/ perfumes to keep the sweating at bay and to remain odor free till the evening. Okay, now you might have a clue what my topic is all about the use of them. One of the major reasons why I would like to talk about this now is SUMMER is gonna start.

Our lifestyle and observant nature of the brand endorsed market has made us available to a surplus number of products with distinctive name and function.Our consumeristic nature is well exploited by the companies especially through the endorsements campaigns done by movie stars. In real life, most of these public figures may not be using any of these products. But common people are drawn towards this by the advertisements and are left to purchase them without even letting them think whether they really require it or they just wanna add one more product to their hoardings. Even for one purpose, we have too many different products. For example, to manage sweat odor, we can try a perfume with synthetic fragrances/ colors, or try antiperspirant roll-ons, gaseous/liquid ones, sweat controlling ones and what not.   Now the basic question is ” What is needed? ” Different people have different body conditions which are influenced by external or internal conditions where they live.  We should know our body type and it’s specific nature of requirements before choosing any product for skin application. This is mandatory for almost all the products we use in our day to day life.

Now, Perspiration, also known as sweating, is the production of fluids secreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals. In humans, sweating is primarily a means of thermoregulation, which is achieved by the water-rich secretion of the eccrine glands. Maximum sweat rates of an adult can be up to 2–4 liters per hour or 10–14 liters per day (10–15 g/min·m2), but is less in children prior to puberty. Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect due to evaporative cooling. Hypohidrosis is a condition of decreased sweating and Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating. People have an average of two to four million sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands. But how much sweat is released by each gland is determined by many factors, including gender, genetics, environmental conditions, age or fitness level.Sweat is not pure water; it always contains a small amount (0.2–1%) of trace amounts of minerals (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium & Magnesium), lactic acid, and urea.

Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects (3).

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Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer (3). In addition, it has been suggested that aluminum may have direct activity in breast tissue (4). However, no studies to date have confirmed any substantial adverse effects of aluminum that could contribute to increased breast cancer risks. A 2014 review concluded there was no clear evidence showing that the use of aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants or cosmetics increases the risk of breast cancer (5).

Some research has focused on parabens, which are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells (6). It has been reported that parabens are found in breast tumors, but there is no evidence that they cause breast cancer. Although parabens are used in many cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products, most deodorants and antiperspirants in the United States do not currently contain parabens. 

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There exist a biased situation for the common people whether to believe that the usage of these products cause health risk or not. It is still not completely revealed and many a time mentioned that “more research is required in this area”. The major ingredients of concern are PARABENS, ALUMINIUM, TRICLOSAN, PHTHALATES, FRAGRANCES. You can read the related articles published in Times 2015 and 2016.

The scientific paper “Underarm antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer” published by Philippa D Darbre in the journal Breast Cancer Research (2009) 11 (Suppl 3): S5 describes in detail regarding this aspect and it suggests that: “If use of underarm cosmetics is a factor in the development of breast cancer, then options for prevention could, at last, become a reality through individual decisions to cease usage or through alterations to product formulations.

It is utmost important for each one of us to check what are the chemical ingredients in the products we use in the name of keeping the body odor under control. Each one of us loves to live more with less worry about health issues. Also, let us make sure that we find eco-friendly alternatives which will cut down the waste disposal in the name of empty deodorant plastic bottles/ cans which make us contributors to environmental pollution. 

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Love yourself

Summer has slowly begun and our working lifestyle requires little extra steps which we all prefer to do. Skin is our largest protective organ for us and we should be sensible in taking good care of it. Skin works throughout our life to keep our internal body safe from external stress factors. But are we really aware of it or appreciative of the skin’s hard work? Very rarely do we think in that way. In our daily routine, we do use a lot of products which are of chemical origin to keep our skin especially face free of oil, harmful sunrays, dirt, dead cells, and pollutants etc. While doing this all, are we aware of how much more stress our skin faces due to these chemicals? Okay, so let me come to my point. We all do use face scrubs either as part of our face wash which has mostly microplastics or as face scrub itself. We have so many choices available in the market. Use of face scrubs from leading cosmetics brands are fully loaded with microplastics and they are extremely hazardous to our earth.

Okay, you may think that these microplastics going back to earth through our drainages can affect the environment but not ME. If that is what you thought, you are wrong since technically these microplastics get into human body itself. HOW? To know more about this you can visit this previous article. I didn’t mean to take more of your valuable time but these are real truths which we aren’t aware of. I ‘m not saying we shouldn’t exfoliate our skin. We should do it on regular basis but with better eco-friendly alternatives. Exfoliation is necessary to remove dead cells and other debris from the skin and making the pores breath comfortably. Do look for the best natural alternatives which will never cause your skin any harm. You will soon start finding the differences.

I have just begun my baby steps towards sustainable living and after knowing more about the harms of microplastics I stopped using any such products as well as make sure that my family /friends don’t use them either. I had shifted to one of the best natural product and even if it happens to be ingested, I would be happy since its edible. It is nothing but grounded oats. Yeah, you read it right, OATS. I just ground some oats in my kitchen and kept it stored in an airtight glass jar (which I repurposed from its previous coffee powder I bought from the market). Thus I could say NO to harmful chemicals as well as repurpose old glass bottle. Yes, it helps me save money too. I don’t need to think anymore in my life worrying about which cosmetic brand should I purchase next time when I do my shopping for necessities. I use it every day and my skin feels happy. More than anything, it’s an act of kindness and respect I show to my skin’s unending duty of protecting me. 

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

My Sustainable Choices

We being consumers, always forget that we do hold the ultimate power to make choices for our life living. Here is one of my recent choice as well as my blog post regarding a simple choice which I made for sustainable living.

My little sustainable choice

Do lemme know what is your thoughts regarding it 🙂