We all know that foods in their whole form are healthier than their stripped-down, processed counterparts. It should thus come as no surprise that brown rice is healthier than the white version. Brown rice is higher in fiber, B-vitamins and minerals and is better at stabilising blood-sugar levels. I’ve known these basic facts for a while now and have always tried to use brown rice when I felt it suited the recipe. Yet it wasn’t until I read a section on brown rice in Healing with whole foods that I started to understand how much health benefits brown rice really has over white rice. In this post I share what all the ins and outs on brown rice vs. white.View Post
Plastic is everywhere and in some cases unavoidable. It is something that annoys me to bits at times, particularly knowing what a detrimental effect this has one the environment. I truly admire people who live a completely plastic-free life and I am certain that there are many ways in which I can still reduce my plastic consumption. But living in a city without a waste-free shop, I cannot always be as plastic-free as I would like. Nonetheless, this is something that I strive to improve, as the effects of plastic on the environment are truly horrendous. To inspire myself (and hopefully you) to go plastic-free more often I have compiled a little list with 10 shocking facts about plastic.
- 97% of all plastic still exists. Some plastics take up to a million years to decompose and most take hundreds of years.
- There is more microplastic in our oceans than there are stars in our milky way.
- More than 8 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since plastic became a commercial good in 1957.
- The average plastic bag has a working life of just 15 minutes.
- 44% of all seabirds have some plastic in their system and over a million birds die each year because of plastic.
- Henderson Island, a tiny uninhabited island in the South Pacific, is the landmass most affected by plastic. Over 38 million pieces have washed up on its shores.
- The UK (and other Western countries) send their trash to low-income countries. This removes the issue for them but does not resolve it. Plastic has been linked to numerous health concerns, including cancer.
- Kenya has the strictest ban against plastic bags in the world. Anyone using, producing or selling plastic bags can face jail time or a hefty fine. #gokenya.
- More plastic has been produced in the last decade, than in the 50 years before that.
- Based on current trends, plastic production will double by 2025.
What we can do
Looking up these facts made me sad and a little hopeless. So much of these facts are beyond our control. We do not control where our trash ends up (particularly if our city council doesn’t even allow proper recycling). We also do not control how companies choose to wrap their products. All we can do is vote in elections (or start petitions) and hope that our vote makes a difference at top-down level. But that doesn’t mean we need to stand by without doing anything. We can choose to make more conscious decisions wherever possible. We can choose to say no to plastic in many of our choices. Here are some of the things I try to do to reduce my use of plastic:
Swap to reusables
There are some items that are single-use and plastic that can easily be swapped for reusables. The most well-known example of this is, of course, the plastic bag. But also coffee mugs, water bottles, razors, tampons, and dish sponges are some examples of items that can be easily replaced with reusables. I can vouch from experience that all these sustainable options do not compromise on quality and user-friendliness. And I also know there are many more examples of items that you (and I!) can use in the reusable edition. The best part about reusasbles (besides the fact that they reduce plastic waste) is that they can save you tons of money in the long-run.
Swap to plastic-free packaging (or avoid plastic)
If you have a waste-free store in your area, then, of course, you can get your food staples from there. If you are not that lucky and don’t want to go hungry, there are a few other things you can do.
- Choose foods in the grocery store that are packaged in paper or cardboard. Oats, couscous and fresh berries are some examples of foods that are often wrapped sustainably in mainstream supermarkets.
- Glass and tin packaging are also better for the environment than plastic, as both can easily be recycled.
- Opt not to wrap your produce at the grocery store (if possible).
- Avoid mainstream shops completely for produce by getting a local fruit and veg box delivered.
- Ditch Amazon. There are plenty of alternative (waste-free) online shops and many sustainable brands naturally will ship their products without plastic (such as this awesome swimwear brand).
Try living without plastic for a week
As always, awareness is the first step to change. Becoming aware of our plastic consumption will make us realize how dependent we really are on this product in our everyday life. To become aware of our usage of plastic we can go without plastic for a week. There are tons of plastic-free challenges roaming the internet. I wanted to participate in this one hosted by the ethical influencer’s community, but happened to be on holiday at the time. I haven’t done a plastic-free challenge yet, but am itching to do one. It is a brilliant way of increasing awareness of how much plastic we usually consume in our day-to-day life. Stay tuned for my try at a plastic-free week.
These are some of my tips for reducing plastic in our life, but I would love to hear if you have any additional tips!
I love using affirmations to set my intention for the day or to overcome a bad mood. Affirmations are powerful tools. They bring a thought pattern into our consciousness that serves us rather than letting us fall victim to the negative thoughts that roam in our sub-conscious mind. We can use affirmations in different ways. Either we repeat them regularly (in our mind, out loud or written on paper) or we can meditate on a particular affirmation for a while. This way, we can alter our mindset to a more positive one. I have been using affirmations for a few years now and find them very helpful to overcome challenging times. So today I wanted to share my favourite affirmations that I keep returning to and that have noticeably made a difference in my life.
I love you. Please forgive me. I am sorry. Thank you.
This affirmation finds its origin in an old Hawaiian practice of forgiveness called ho’oponopono. I first heard about this affirmation a few years ago. It is now by far the most powerful affirmation in my life. Forgiving myself and others on a consistent basis for anything that I or they might be struggling with has truly changed my life. It continuously cleanses me and those around me from all the negative thoughts that no longer serve us.
If you want to learn how powerful this affirmation can be, you can read this post about a Hawaiian psychologist who successfully treated an entire ward of mentally ill prisoners. All he did was speaking this affirmation over their paper files without ever meeting the prisoners in person.
Everything happens for me, not to me.
This is another great affirmation I use when I am feeling bad about something. It is particularly helpful if I perceive the issue as something external. If I am dating someone who treats me badly, fall ill or don’t get the dream job I so desperately wanted, I am quick to point to the bad luck in my life. This affirmation forces me to look at how a situation is serving me. As it happens, everything in our life can serve us in some way if we let it. The bad guy is here to teach us self-love because he will surely never give it to us. The illness is here to slow us down and remind us to take better care of ourselves. The job we didn’t get teaches us patience, persistence, and humility. Repeating this affirmation in bad times helps me to transform my views on a negative situation, which is especially helpful to calm down anxiety and stress.
Every moment is an opportunity to become who I already am.
I like this affirmation because it points out the freshness of each new moment. It keeps reminding me that I can choose to act out of love and become a confident co-creator of the universe at any point without having to wait for the right opportunity. Every moment contains a right opportunity! When I find myself in the middle of self-doubt, uncertainty or boredom I can choose to step into the strength that resides in me.
On a practical note, I use this affirmation whenever I feel like I have to wait until Monday, next month or next year to work on a goal or whenever I am in a bad mood and think I should sleep on it to make me feel better. Although a good night’s sleep and Mondays can make for a nice clean slate, this affirmation emphasizes that now is as clean a slate as you will ever get.
Everything I need is within me.
This is my little power mantra! While I use the other affirmations more often when I feel badly, this affirmation assures me at times I need to feel confident. I often use this affirmation before an important presentation, job interview or first date. In a way I am telling myself ‘you’ve got this, little one’.
Besides these top four favourites, I also enjoy using the affirmations below for strength, contentment, and peace:
- Feelings are just visitors
- Today I let go of all that does not serve me
- Everything is working in my favour
- I am aligned with my highest truth
For me, my higher truth is knowing that all is love, all is connected and therefore I have access to infinite wisdom and love within me. In meditation, I am sometimes able to truly embrace this truth. However, in my day-to-day life this truth often gets forgotten. When I need to feel this truth in my life in order to act from a place of presence and gentle strength, I use any of the affirmations above to give myself a spiritual confidence boost. And if have completely lost you with this spiritual mumbo-jumbo, then just think of affirmations as a little mental pick-me-up you can have with your morning coffee!