This may be a bit off topic, but it may be of long-term importance. After years of digestive issues and extreme discomfort, bloated belly and major frustration, I stopped eating gluten even though I didn’t test allergic to it, and felt SO much better. Recently, I have confirmed to myself that I am not allergic to gluten but rather to US wheat. It has been stated that the modified wheat germ of the US in no way resembles what it did just 50 years ago. I think my body can’t recognize parts of those modified molecules and so reacts to this “unknown” through an inflammatory response. After eliminating gluten, I have also eliminated brain fog along with the perpetual gas, loose bowels and the like. When traveling in European countries I have been able to eat their bread and baked goods with no adverse effects.
I also recently discovered Einkorn Flour, an ancient grain, that I also tolerate just fine. It is naturally lower in gluten but not gluten free. Next came a local pasta maker that imports her wheat direct from Italy. She had sold some of her noodle using Einkorn flour and I first tried that with no adverse effects. But when that flour became cost prohibitive and she stopped making pasta from it, I ventured to try her Italian wheat pastas. To my great delight, I found I could eat that just fine as well! (Her pasta is amazing and the subject of another blog post in the works.)
I hadn’t tried the made in Italy dried pasta at the grocery store until this week. I gave it a test run., and… fine! How wonderful! Despite the much improved options for gluten free items, I now know that if something is not available or a gluten free option is a very poor substitute, I can look for other options that are from European wheat. Not likely a lot out there yet, but things change quickly these days and I am confident I am not the only “gluten free” eater that has discovered this. It is always nice to have more options to some extent (too many and we can’t choose) but the real aha is the fact that as the industry continue to modify our food to be more resistant to pests, to hold up better getting to market, to be brighter in color, not have seeds, or what have you, it could be inadvertently contributing to the rise is health issues for some of us. I know strawberries, even organic, big and beautiful, are almost tasteless any more unless you buy them from a local farmer. Combined with the fact that most fresh strawberries come in non-recyclable clamshell plastic containers, I so rarely buy them. Only from local farmers in season or else frozen (in a ziplock bag I can reuse many times over) although even those are lower in taste than what I remember from when I was young.
So at what cost are we supposedly “improving” some of our basic food building blocks such as wheat? To quote Dr. Malcom from the movie Jurassic Park “Your scientist were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”.
It can be true that a room, kitchen, home, with less storage is a challenge to live in. Some homes really are lacking, but many these days have decent amounts. It is us that have too much stuff. Look inside a home built back 75-100 years ago and their rooms, garages, closets are often smaller. We have so much more stuff to find a place for that it can be challenging in those homes. I moved from a small 1940’s home to a large modern home and had empty kitchen cabinets, closet shelves, drawers etc. But that didn’t last long. When we have the space, we find things to put there.
Yes, we want be able to access our things easily. We deserve to enjoy activities that may require equipment or gear, or supplies for projects and hobbies. We just need to be real about when enough is enough, and what we actually use.
When things are organized well, we need less actual space. Too much space and we wont be able to find items - where to even look? Did I put that in the attic, the closet under the stairs, the shed, the garage or the storage unit. Or items will be too far back or buried under other items. How much time do you spend looking for things? Or how often do you buy something only to find later that you already had it, you just didn’t remember or couldn’t find it.
More reasons to pair down and decrease purchasing in the first place:
Many people hold onto things “just in case”. Murphy’s law says if you get rid of something, that’s when you realize you need it. But there is another law I’d like to re-iterate - what you truly need always finds its way to you! Or you didn’t actually need it. Notice how often this is also the case in your life. Often we find we didn’t need something after all. We made due without just fine. So don’t be too quick to go out and buy, nor hesitate to donate/sell.
Keep or let go? Things to consider:
I kept my old skis for a long time, because I meant to get up to the slopes and hey, renting is not cheap. But my skis were so old (I bought them used in the first place) and when I finally did get up skiing, nearly 10 years later than I had intended, ski technology had improved of course. I had to rent boots anyway as mine were not good. Not bringing, carrying, not to mention storing, my skis made the occasional rental price seem like money very well spent.
Once you have decided to keep it, I offer these tips for storing:
If you have to rent a storage unit to hold all the stuff that wont fit in your house, you likely have too many things. The storage rental business is doing very well in the US! And this is not a good thing. Occasional use of storage units makes sense. But those rents keep increasing and eating up your hard earned money. All for things you rarely look at little-lone use. Time to get back to a reasonable level of “stuff”. We are over-consuming and contributing to green-house gas emissions with the production of all the stuff we don’t even have room for. This is not a healthy state to find ourselves in. But we can wake up to this silliness and change! Awareness is the first step.
Good luck! And let me know if I can help in any way.
Clothing and other textile waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the U.S. Why? One reason is what is called “fast fashion”, which refers to lower quality cheaper clothes sold in brick and mortar stores as well as online. A number of fast fashion retailers have been called out for throwing away brand-new and unsold clothes (by the millions!) to make room on their racks for the new, latest trends. Or rather than re-stocking returns, they get tossed because it was cheaper to do so.
However, public outcry has had an impact and some companies are revising their practices and putting into place more eco-friendly goals. The main reason for the shocking practices of destroying perfectly good items is of course, profit. It costs more to deal with unsold and returned items in earth friendly ways such as getting them to discount stores, recycling centers etc. And of course they don’t want their paying customers to think that they can get those same unsold items for cheaper or free later.
In 2018, the US generated nearly 13 million tons of new clothing and footwear waste, 9 million tons of which ended up in landfills. The rest was recycled or incinerated. Compare that to the 1.36 million tons of clothing and footwear waste in 1960. The US population nearly doubled over that period, but clothing waste increased nearly tenfold. (Earth Island Journal 8.3.22)
This wasteful practices is not just increasing the volume of waste in our landfills, but also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Producing textiles is very energy intensive - it takes a lot of water to produce and also adds to the contamination of our water from the dyes and chemicals used. Micro-plastics are increasing at an alarming rate in our oceans, waterways and even the air. Cheaper clothes are often made from manmade textiles, mostly polyester and acrylic, which then leach out every time they are washed. Your laundry and all our waste water eventually ends up in an ocean somewhere. Micro-plastics, that never fully degrade, they just continue to get smaller and smaller, are then ingested by the fish that we eat. Which means ultimately it ends up in us. It has been found in nursing mothers breast milk. Talk about full circle.
What can you do? Well, if it’s not profitable to do business as usual, retailers will change. Your pocket book is your biggest tool. And it is powerful indeed! Look into the practices and reports from your favorite apparel brands. Look at what the clothing is made of before you buy. Instead of returning an item that you don’t like or didn’t fit, consider gifting it to a thrift store or shelter, or selling it online through one of the many personal selling platforms like Poshmark.
Legislation is another way. Ultimately the best way to curb this, as well as all plastic waste, is by placing the responsibility of the products end of life on the manufacturer. Yes, clothes will be more expensive. Cheap is not actually cheaper in the long run, even as appealing as it is at the time to your pocket book. Ultimately the human species pays an even higher price through losses and harm to people and planet. Unless you like eating plastic and think it is good for your body, don’t base your choice solely on price.
Look for companies that share their practices with consumers, source sustainable and/or natural fibers, and are good to the environment and their employees (including their supply chain). Excellent if they are a Certified B-Corp, meaning they have been certified to be making good social and environmental decisions and practices.
This is a global issue and yet, you actually have a surprising level of impact and power. Remember this when you are looking to buy your next piece of clothing. Buying less, less often, and buying clothes that last longer, all help even on an individual level. And less for you to store in your drawers, closets and attic. And that is not insignificant!
My client was going to have her carpenter build her more shelves for her pantry. I was pretty confident that what she really needed was a few organizer bins and me to organize it all! I had a great time moving pieces around like a rubiks cube. I am not sure what she would have spent on her new shelves, but I do know having custom items built and installed is not cheap. Besides, she also would still have had items spread out, often with similar types of items not together. This is already a lot to look at at once, making it hard to find things, but add that not all like items were together, it can be easy to buy what you already have. She now has a template to work with - storing similar types of foods together, appliances together, etc. And if she doesn't like where I placed things or wants some items more eye level, at least she now has a sense of how she might re-arrange but keep things well organized.
I spent just over $100 on storage bins and mini wire shelves. I repurposed some of her left over containers (she had a lot) to contain like items such as chocolate bars, bulk seeds and grains, saving probably $25. Now she can more easily see what she has, find the right spice, or see if she is getting low on something before heading to the store.
Food waste is a huge methane gas producer on our Earth. In fact, it is the single largest category of material in US landfills! When we throw food away that has gone bad or is just old, it gets buried with all the other trash in the landfill and does not decompose, causing methane (a green-house gas) to build up in those piles. By keeping an organized pantry and kitchen (Fridge too!) you are contributing to a healthy planet. It also saves you money and time. Win win!!
Humans are curious creatures, are we not? We want big and impressive! Then we want small and simple. I live in a tiny house right now. But I used to live in a 2,600 s.f. home. I loved both. But neither would have worked in reverse. We change and along with it, our needs and desires and then the world around us. Yet, we often struggle to fully embrace change. The mind likes predictability and familiar!
So much of what we know we should do, we struggle to actually do. Like get enough quality sleep. Or eat whole foods closer to their original state, rather than overly processed with additional chemicals to preserve them. Things in moderation, including coffee, alcohol, sweets etc. We know those things are not the best for us, and yet we almost crave them and tend to over indulge. Our grocery stores are filled to the brim with them!
We know that producing plastic items that never fully breakdown, over time pile up, add to pollution and leak toxins into our already overly toxic environment. If it is true that each of us consumes a credit card size of plastic each WEEK - why do we keep approving new plastic manufacturing plants?
Perhaps we are asleep at the wheel. We prefer blissful ignorance. We just want things to stay the same. Until we don’t. Or can’t. We think we don’t have time to be aware and make better choices or change, we rely on quick, simple, easy and justify it because we are very busy. And yet our lives are filling up with problems that need our time, attention and often more of our money. Not exactly blissful. An abundance of cancers, chronic diseases, physical limitations on our actives due to our ill-health. We have polluted soils and water and we KNOW how & why! And yet here we are, looking for ways to allow producers and industries to continue business as usual, looking for “solutions” that help them continue profiting a few at the expense of many. Some plastic is useful, yes. But we are swimming in it. Quite literally! Have you swam in an ocean or been to a beach lately? Watch your step! Broken plastic pieces are sharp.
We have identified a wide number of things that cause cancer, including and maybe primarily, stress. Instead of going to the source, the reason for the stress for example, and alleviating that, we spend tons of resources to “fight” cancer. It is like allowing someone to poke us in the eye (or worse, poke ourselves) and wonder why our eyes are red, blurry, hurt and we can’t see well. Rather than look to the source, the poke itself, we spend time and money researching and trying new eye drops, stronger glasses etc.
We are killing off our bees with pesticides created to increase crop yields. Bees are a necessity for the pollination of those same crops! Without them we wont have crops! We are fracking and polluting our water. We already know of alternate cleaner energy solutions. We need water more than energy! And our crops need clean water. Even we are made of 75% water - so is Mother Earth. We understand the cycle of water and yet apparently we are ok with polluting it and thus ourselves.
In which ways are you supporting the current state of insanity? What things do you already know and yet don’t follow through on? What do you want to change for yourself? Do you want to eat foods grown closer to home, closer to how nature grew it? Do you want to slow down enough to rest well each night? How about living in a enjoyably clean and tidy space free of excess stuff and clutter? Do you want to spend more time with those you love and/or doing things that bring you joy? Do you want to stop buying things in container that stick around on this planet longer than you will? Do you wish to experience more balanced between “doing” and “being” human?
There is an energy and emotional reason for much of what we do or don’t do. Maybe subconsciously we don’t feel worthy enough. Sometimes we hide behind our illness, weight or ignorance. We may feel powerless to impact our world, feeling like we can’t possibly matter that much or worse, assume the victim role. So we continue along the same path, continue to buy and consume what isn’t good for us (media too!).
So what can you do? Start by writing down an intention. What is one thing you can change today? Find that thing and do it (or don’t do it if that fits) again tomorrow. And the next day. Stick with it for a month and then assess your life - still ok with the change? Once that becomes normal and feels good, then look for something else to try, give up, or otherwise be of benefit to yourself and/or Mother Earth. Gradual steps will be more likely successful than big changes all at once. Although that can work too for some!
When we change, our world changes. It can’t be any other way. You have choices. What world do you want to live in tomorrow? Shift your thoughts and actions and see what happens to bring about that desired world. Big house or Tiny; both are good. At the right times. My needs changed so I shifted and the world around me shifted to accommodate.
Please share your intention(s) or experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it!
I love this bamboo top! It is perfect for yoga or as a member of your regular wardrobe - really great as an under layer. Made of 79% viscose made from bamboo, 15% nylon, 6% spandex. I love the 3/4 sleeve. It is super soft, well made and both warm or cooling - wicking moisture in the warmer months. Perfect amt. of stretch. See link to this specific top below...
This company, based in Australia, is focused on ecological consciousness. If you are looking for better for the planet textiles, here is one! They have undergarments, activewear, sleepwear and more, for both men and women. Children too. This is my first purchase but I will try more!
The clothing industry is under a lot of scrutiny right now due to the great harm to our planet that the production and life of clothing inflicts, especially where it ends up, sometimes having never been worn (see my blog entry further down about the truth of online returns.) Buying less but higher quality, versatile pieces from eco-focused companies is becoming a real focus and goal for me. I found this cheaper at Quimper's in Port Townsend than it is advertised online. Quite likely there are other local stores that carry this brand as well. If I find out about any I will add it to this post. Or let me know if YOU know of a store in the greater Puget Sound area that does!
I have a fairly easy and straightforward plastic challenge I want to offer you. You can do this easily and get a good picture of the various plastics that fill your trash can. Please check out the PDF below for instructions and watch my video below for a quick overview. Please email me or comment below with how it went and what you discovered! I hope you find it helpful and thanks so very much for caring about Mother Earth and the health of all living creatures!
I enjoy being of service. I'm taking my knowledge and intuition out into the world for those that are ready, willing and open to shift and change. It is my hope that through our interactions, we can further support the health and wellbeing of our communities and planet, as well as ourselves. I look forward to working with you!