October 20, 2010 § 28 Comments
Intriguing title no? Are you reminded of those girly teen magazines that wooed you with their TOP SECRET sealed section, that was apparently so lewd and outrageous they needed to contain the vulgarity within a separate little booklet? We’d RIP off the perforated seam and be greeted with such naughty topics as periods, boobies and sometimes even s.e.x! Ultimately we discovered it was all rubbish & tossed it aside whilst the boys took their opportunity & poured over every last piece of gross girly trivia. Typical.
Well guys, if you’re reading this over the shoulder of your lovely lady friend on the sly, you’re in for a treat! I have a few COMPLETELY X-RATED women’s matters to discuss, so for now, pretend you’re not dying to read the gory details and check back later while she’s not looking!
First things first, The Pill.
There have been things cropping up in my life lately that seem to be encouraging me to consider a life without the cure-all, mystical, magical, miracle Pill. If you’re anything like me, you could have been prescribed it at a very young age, perhaps to combat acne or maybe for menstrual cramps, if not for sexual activity. Either way, I sure as heck was not given an in-depth low-down on the facts or long-term implications of relying on this artificial mode of contraception, and today I find it slightly at odds with my whole health philosophy.
Why? A simple reason is that it completely artificializes our monthly cycle. I am so out of touch with what goes on in that department, that I wouldn’t have the foggiest about ovulation, hormone fluctuations throughout the month, or when I am fertile, or barren as the hills. This level of disconnection from such a vital, wonderful process makes me a little sad.
I also realised the other day that I don’t actually know what’s in the pill. I mean, there’s the hormones sure, but what composes the rest of the tablet? What exactly am I ingesting? Have YOU ever seen specific ingredients on the packet? Yikes. For a gal who takes so much pride in putting happy wholesome foodstuffs into her body, this again seems to be a major aberration.
Other hints from the universe have been flooding in, challenging me to think about my exact motivations for relying on the pill so heavily. Meghan Telpner recently broached the topic (again) with an excellent series detailing a multitude of interesting (unsettling) facts about our little white friend, and alternative, natural methods of contraception. Here is the link to the first post in the series; no doubt you will avidly read on.
I don’t mean to make people feel uncomfortable about their choices because after all, I am on the pill myself, and am struggling to reconcile with the notion of ‘quitting’. I’m scared for my skin, for the months and years it may take to once again balance my hormones, for the absence of so much convenience, however I strongly believe it is something worth considering – taking responsibility for your health, as we know all too well, does not end at simply following the advice of your doctor.
In coming off the pill, there are many methods of support, and means of minimising the hormonal crazies. Of course, Fran has enlightened us greatly on the topic, and worthwhile articles can be found in abundance on the net. Herbs and nutrition can play a huge role in regulating hormones, as can relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. When I finally take the plunge, I am going to work with a homeopath/herbalist/naturopath to help me be mentally & physically, and give my body every possible chance of regaining a natural rhythm.
Worried about contraception? Pas de problems! I’ve read about the Lady Comp a few times before, but the brilliance of it has only recently hit me. It is a device that takes your temperature each morning, and therefore charts your fertility throughout the month (your body temperature changes according to fertile/infertile times). It is 99.3% accurate. Amazing no?
The catch? Pricey. Too pricey for me, right now anyway. But depending on the pill prescription you have, the losses could easily be recouped in X amount of time. And it’s pretty darn cute; green light means GET IT ON! Red light, time for a platonic foot massage.
Don’t leave yet, because I still have one more super awkward facet of feminine hygiene to delve into before we go. It’s an amazing alternative to pads & tampons, and suppressing your EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW response for a moment, I think you may agree it’s a wonderful, sustainable, economical option.
Yes, it’s a tiny cup. A tiny wee cup that goes up your you-know-where and collects your you-know-what. But really, is it any weirder than corking the flow with a creepy little bleached torpedo? Or wearing an irritating, cumbersome, absorbent flap? And look! It comes with a non-threatening drawstring bag & in a delightful range of colours!
This my friends, is the Lady Cup. It’s really pretty nifty if you read about it, and the savings for your wallet and the environment by embracing this re-usable, perfectly safe & effective monthly accessory are immense! Seems that Australia is a little behind in the feminine hygiene department, and we have to source them from the other side of the (forward-thinking) world, however I’m on the mission, and let me know if you have had any experiences with the lady cup (or products of that ilk). Also check out the Moon Cup and Diva Cup, they may ship to the land down under.
Speaking of cool new toys, there is also an awesome giveaway from fellow Aussie blogger, Robyn at Girl On Raw. She is bestowing a pack of 4 beautiful Glass Dharma straws on an extremely lucky reader; straws that I’ve been ogling for many-a-month on blogs that use these stylish creations to add that small je ne sais quoi to their smoothie experience. Look how pretty they are!
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the Bonne Santé sealed section & your brain is sufficiently full of all things wo-manly and wonderful. I apologise for the lack of boob-related-material, however I’m sure your local pre-teen magazine stand at the newsagency could furnish you with all the gruesome details in that respect. Would love to hear your thoughts on these issues & please share if you have already taken steps towards embracing more natural methods of contraception, fertility & flo’s monthly stint!
October 15, 2010 § 8 Comments
Salut, Ola & Good Day to you all!
I have been a reclusive bloggie hermit crab this past week, due to unforseen technical er…difficulties.
I did the unspeakable last weekend in my haze of homeward-bound misery, and LEFT MY MOBILE IN A DIFFERENT STATE. Am I, or am I not part of gen Y? Apparently not. My youthful, tech-dependent cohorts would never abandon their most vital iOrgan without some serious health repercussions. I myself lapsed into a kind of foggy coma whereby my colourful world of facebook, twitter & instantaneous email became a dark a scary place.
Hook it to my veins!!!
Is this an inappropriate image on my wholesome healthy living blog? Welcome to the real world.
Luckily, I was reunited with my precious tumour-promotin’ mobile baby a couple of days ago, so all was (temporarily) well in the world!
The day I picked it up however, was also the day that our internet contract ran out. Simultaneous technology fail.
I knew our contract was waning (we were ‘babysitting’ someone else’s net until it lapsed) however I ignored the problem, hoping that someway, somehow, the glorious interweb would continue to greet me each morning without any financial/contractual input. I obviously had elevated expectations for our USB internet stick.
This is also why I am supplying you with hand-made (with love, mind) images. Unable to upload drool-worthy photos of food! What a travesty. I have thus unleashed the majesty of paint to communicate my most recent adventures.
I’ve been concocting some DELICIOUS smoothie creations this past week.
*witch-like cackle* This is me, stirring my big, freaky, vegan cauldron.
What did the smoothie look like you ask?
Well! Let me provide you with a highly accurate representation.
I even went all macro on yo’ ass, as per usual.
If you couldn’t tell, it’s an Avocado, Banana & Almond Butter flurry. It is my latest obsession.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 cup rice milk
- 1 tbspn of flaxseed oil (optional)
- 3/4 tspn raw honey for extra sweetness (optional)
Holy bonanza, this smoothie trumps all other foodstuffs, period. If you’re unsure about the avocado…don’t be. It MAKES the recipe.
I’ve also eaten many a
since my return. Glorious.
Well, the title promised wisdom as to hidden toxic factors that may be lurking in their evil, harmful way behind the most innocent of facades. (Now if that isn’t a sensationalist scare-tactic, I don’t know what is!).
It is true however that we do live in a highly toxic environment, and there are undesirable substances present in the most mundane of household & personal items. This does not mean we must strive to eliminate ALL negative external influence; however being aware of their presence and measures to reduce their impact, certainly comes in handy.
Did you know for instance that Amalgym fillings, ie. those gnarly silvery/black deposits your dentist may have bestowed upon you, actually contain mercury? There have been concerns as to the safety of this cavity-filling-brew for a long time, however I was horrified to learn that I actually have one just chilling in one of my molars, KILLING ME SLOWLY. (Sorry, I let my inner hysteria loose again). Mine was put there by a shady, school-based dental scheme; a pox on them.
(disclaimer: not my gaping mouth)
It has been shown that the mercury can leach from the fillings and do all kinds of good things inside your body. I’m not saying that you should share my hysterical mania, but perhaps think of having yours removed & replaced with porcelain, a much safer (and more aesthetically pleasing) alternative.
Incorporating superfoods such as Spirulina & Chlorella, as well as such humble ingredients as garlic, onion and seaweeds (in particular Bladderwack) can actively detoxify your body of these aforementioned nasties – how amazing is that?!
In fact, increasing the amount of antioxidants in your diet goes a long way towards preventing free-radical damage from a host of uncontrollable factors; you may choose not to believe me, but I have noticed since improving my diet and inhaling about 50 superfoods a day, I rarely get sunburnt anymore. In fact, I consider it much more effective (and delicious!) to EAT my sunscreen. (Not that i’m condoning lying in the sun and slowly making a handbag of yourself – employ some sense, please!).
- Check out this article on foods that help protect your skin.
- This is also a really excellent one by Meghann Telpner.
Other contact I am trying to minimise is with chemicals found in shampoos, conditioners, face creams, deodorants…all of the above. You’d be surprised at what you can unearth when you research those funky-sounding ingredients on the label.
You may have seen incomprehensible names such as Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate thrown around, and various parabens; both of which consistently find their way into most ‘mainstream’ beauty products. I was even horrified (albeit not surprised) that one of my flatmates’ all natural coconut oil shower scrub contained SLS amongst other lengthy, fear-inducing ingredients, with perhaps 5% of the total derived from actual coconut oil. Highly deceptive marketing makes it hard to decipher what is safe to put on your body – after all, our skin is our largest organ, and extremely permeable.
So why should we be concerned about chemicals in our personal/beauty products?
As I mentioned, nearly everything that we put onto our skin can be absorbed – thus, most chemicals will absorbed too. Anything that isn’t a natural, recognisable substance is extremely hard for our system to break-down, and can interfere with other functions.
SLS is an irritant, with many people fiercely allergic to it. Not only that, but once it enters the bloodstream, it is directed to the liver where it becomes a challenge to process and break-down. In some cases, this can lead to liver toxicity.
Parabens are added to products to perform antimicrobial functions & keep them fresh, however their safety is an ongoing area of concern and is worrying filed under the list of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ substances – ie. parabens have been demonstrated to be present in a large number of cancer patients , however the defense is that presence does not prove causality. I’d rather err on the side of caution, wouldn’t you? They can also have estrogenic effects that mimic the body’s natural hormones, and subsequently lead to imbalance. No thanks, para-lames.
How do you replace these seemingly necessary items, all of which, infuriatingly contain unwanted chemicals?
I look to fluoride-free toothpastes from the health-food-store, aluminium-free deodorants (Miessence works well), natural (not fake-natural) shampoos & conditioners (read read read those labels!) and beautiful organic skin care.
A company I am suuuuper impressed with (who is obviously not in any way affiliated with this site) is Hemp Hemp Hooray!, an Australian-based brand who make delicious skin-care products that I have found great on my combination, never-happy, totally high-maintenance skin.
The ingredient list is so amazingly fabulous – I recognise ALL the constituents & it’s recommended you keep it in the fridge to prevent spoilage (y’know, like a safe, natural product would be prone to doing). It’s the only cream cleanser i’ve ever used that doesn’t clog my pores & the moisturiser is so lovely & nourishing. I really can’t get enough!
Well my friends, I really have to wrap up this post because it’s starting to animate a la Frankenstein’s monster and come alive, ALIIIIVE!
Have a great weekend! I’ll be intermittently trying to mooch off other people’s net until I can find it within myself to pay for my own 🙂
August 6, 2010 § 4 Comments
Hi there fellarinos,
Here we are at yet another Friday, with no prospect of weekend rest for the wicked. But, who’s complaining? I love stretching myself between 1001 different domestic/educational/occupational committments like a thin scraping of almond butter on a dry piece of Ezekiel bread…ok, so maybe I am complaining a tad. But don’t get me wrong, life (in-between times) is grand!
Outside of being a manic stress-head, i’ve been enjoying the following:
- You know I love extra-virgin coconut oil – it is a magical food of the gods, & I use it + olive oil exclusively in my diet. However i’ve been testing it more and more as a beauty product, with awesome, sweet-smelling results!
- The skin is our largest organ, is permeable, and therefore sucks up most of what we put on it. I never used to think about the chemicals I was slathering on my skin, only what I was physically consuming – but i’ve switched over to natural products now I have the knowledge, and the powaaahhh!
- SO, getting to the point (on point-number-three)…Coconut oil is FANTASMO as a moisturiser. If you’re like me you may have tried it, thought it was too oily/sticky/shiny and given up. But, never fear – just use it in the shower! After washing (with this awesome palm-oil free vegan soap my dear mother hooked me up with) I just scoop out some coconut oil and proceed to wax on! Once you get out & towel off, your skin is still silky smooth but with less oily residue & whatnot. You don’t even need to moisturise if you do this every day. So go get shiny!
- Coconut oil is also grand for the hair. Antiseptic fatty acids help to protect against fungal & bacterial infections, which is why it’s good for dandruff & scalp conditions. I’ve also heard it can help thicken hair & will obviously nourish it, making it shiny and smooth. I tried it for the first time the other night on dry hair, massaging into the scalp & leaving it on overnight. In the morning I shampoo’d and conditioned as per usual, and my hair was really soft…i’d even go so far as to say caressable. hah. I read it was better to apply it to damp hair though, so will be experimenting further.
- What deserves MAJOR kudos is the High on Health skin care pack that I received last week. It contained:
I don’t want to pre-emptively proclaim a miracle, but this is possibly the BEST skin care range i’ve ever tried, despite having bad experiences with ‘natural’ products in the past. I’m still getting some breakouts, but I think they’re hormonal and will take some serious detective action to pin down – regardless, the rest of my skin looks & feels so. much. better. It’s cleared the mystery congestion I had on my forehead in under a week, and evened out my skin tone instantly.
I want to give it some more time, obviously, before I unleash the potential of a full-on rave review, however this is feeling like a turning point *sniff, tear* and I owe it to the ever helpful, natural goddess Fran Kerr!
- Have run out of Kale/greens. Worst. Could not have my Spirulina spinach shake this AM!
- Brain has reached maximum capacity of learning. Am suddenly horrific at spelling, and experiencing many-a blonde moment (and i don’t even believe in them!). It is evident that old knowledge is making way for new.
- Attempted to create a new miso/soba noodle soup recipe. It was hideous. Won’t even begin to share the details for fear that terrorists could get hold of the recipe and use it as a culinary WMD.
Unfortunately, concocting dubious dishes comes with the territory. I’d rather experiment and have to hold my nose than never discover anything new!
Well that is a fairly incoherent blog post for you all – I think i’m gradually losing the ability to construct sentences…what’s next? Possibly the ability to cook, judging by my most recent offerings!
Hope you’re all having a great weekend!
June 23, 2010 § 6 Comments
Inhale. Exhale. SQUEAL!
Look what’s wrapped around my newly liberated tootsies. FIVE FINGER VIBRAMS!
I first heard of these while reading the fantastic Edible Perspective, and thought the concept was fairly amazing – simulating getting about in bare feet to increase the strength of your foot, improve balance & agility and guard against injury by returning to a more natural style of movement. The idea is that by allowing your feet to interact with and respond to (contact with) the ground, feedback mechanisms will kick in and automatically adjust posture & running style. Ie. the old heel-to-toe running motion actually places undue stress on the leg muscles and can result in things like shin splints.
When I discovered that there was an outlet close by, I of course couldn’t live another day without trying them out!
I’ve only been wearing them around the house & on short walks so far, because you have to allow your feet to adjust to the absence of all that cushiony joggery action, or risk tearing your toes off. BUT these are seriously amazing – even just walking around outside is a whole new experience in which you can actually feel the texture and formations of the ground. Not only better for your muscles, but also, in my opinion, a more wholesome, connected experience.
Apart from the FFV madness, I’m also in Brisbane visiting my dad & his kiddie winks – ie. my little brother/sister spawn.
I love plane trips – I’m continually in awe of the world above the clouds.
My dad must feel lucky to have such special offspring.
I’m aiming to try and actually do a meaningful post sometime soon, but for now am being summoned to create lego monstrosities, jump on trampolines and generally provide holiday entertainment. Luckily I’m at one with my inner child!
May 16, 2010 § 3 Comments
Buying clothes & accessories has never been something i’ve subjected to scrutiny, until recently. With the whole transition to veganism (which I haven’t fully conquered yet – it’s still too hard when eating out!) I started to think about the entire philosophy, that includes not WEARING animal products such as fur or leather. Eeeek! Many an ex-critter sit in bag or shoe form in my closet, and I still find it hard to think about all these tiny details when shopping (expensive handbags are fawned over for their beautiful, supple suede until I’ve realised what i’ve just said…ooooops!).
This post isn’t so much about veganism however, but more a general call for us to ask questions about what we wear, as well as what we eat.
I was interested in investigating brands that I purchase often to get some idea of where they source their materials, who manufactures the garments & if they’re Australian owned.
Even this simple information was hard for me to find, and it became clear yet again how relatively ‘behind’ Australia is in terms of alternative options for mindful folk such as organic garments, sustainable cotton plantations & companies that offer fair workers’ wages.
I finally found an Australian website called Ethical Clothing Australia that details how the fashion industry even in this country has been known to compromise workers rights. Many garments are made by people who work from home and even though this may sound appealing, apparently they are faced with insane deadlines, meagre incomes & emotional abuse by employers. It’s spoken about in detail on the website and in this article, but the great thing is that they give you a list of ‘accredited’ brands that have boycotted unethical production practices – pleased to see that Cue, Lisa Ho & Jets make the cut, however it’s pretty limited & we’re still faced with a gap when trying to find clothing options that are soundly-made from A to Z and don’t resemble a hessian sack (although I have personally found this to be a flattering style – esp. over face!)
Ummmmm, yes please! Anyone? Anyone?
Then I thought about which brands feature heavily in my wardrobe, and I’m sad to admit that my conservative, boring & pseudo-mature persona has tended towards Country Road, errr Country Road, and some more Country Road. I am a walking CR clothing catalogue. Ok, granted I did get a huge voucher for them for x-mas, so I’m a little justified in my reliance on the brand. Other common ones are Marcs, Saba, some sports brands like Adidas & Puma, Cue, Sass & Bide etc.
This doesn’t bode so well for the ethical cause – no second-hand items or sustainable cotton – just a massive bunch of labels. What a whore!
So. Country Road. Here’s their website & most of this info is on there.
Basically they market themselves as an Australian label, but are in fact owned by Woolworths inc which is South African. Rotten liars I tells ya! So unfortunately they aren’t Aussie made & owned. However, I did find some pretty compelling info about the changes they are making to be more ethical & conscientious. I’m sure this was cleverly crafted by their PR minions to sound all proactive & wonderful, but at least they have a ‘Code of Labour Practice’ that they make suppliers sign, as well as independent audits and whatnot.
I was suprised because I’d heard bad things about Country Road & their practices, so i’m still a little wary of how much faith to have in their website & obvious self-promotion.
I was impressed by their anti-mulesing stance (cutting off the sheeps tails) which is talked about here, but this then means that they effectively boycott a large portion of the Australian wool industry.
There are so many considerations when it comes to thinking about fashion. Food, I’m more confident in my choices, however clothing seems to be a whole different kettle of fish (who puts fish in a kettle?).
I want to keep researching, but this is a bit of a starting point and I hope you aren’t becoming overwhelmed by all this eco-talk! I truly believe it’s important, and that’s why I’m going on and on and on about it…..zzzzzzz……
Anyhoo! Back to delicious culinary treats soon! xx
March 24, 2010 § 4 Comments
I’ve been feeling a little frustrated lately with my skin (and state of my make-up collection in general), so after doing some research, I excitedly went out and bought some Bellá Pierre mineral makeup today and wanted to tell you all about it!
Not only have continued break-outs catalysed my search for a better make-up base, but in general i’ve been trying to think about everything that comes into contact with my body, and also the ethics behind various products I use each day. It’s a natural progression for me, and i’ve definitely had a bit of a revelation lately that health involves all aspects of our lives, not just being nutritionally thoughtful and sticking to an exercise regime. Even things like cleaning products and shampoos/conditioners should ideally be from natural sources (and for me, saying no to animal testing is paramount). Something like 70% of what we put on our skin is absorbed, so it makes sense to ditch as many chemicals as we can and appropriate our awesome eating habits to what we expose our bodies to as well.
Back to the review!
I found Bellá Pierre after noticing on a lot of health blogs/forums the problem ingredients in many mineral make-ups; namely bismuth oxychloride and talc. Bismuths are known allergens and create problems for people with sensitive skin – although deemed ‘safe’ for use in beauty products, it’s a fairly harsh thing to be putting all over your face. The last mineral make-up I used had this ingredient (GloMinerals) and I always felt that my skin was never quite ‘right’ while using it – it certainly didn’t make my complexion flawless as was so often touted by supporters of mineral makeup. Talc is another filler that is commonly included in these powders, and can clog pores, so I wanted to avoid that too. So in searching for a product that was free of these 2 things, I came across Bellá Pierre, which was conveniently sold close to where I live.
It has 4 ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides. They are also against animal testing, and the representative assured me that it would actually help my skin, and I would look like a supermodel in 3 days. This, I will hold him to.
So what do I think? Well, firstly the price is quite high, but for some reason everything was 50% off today so I bought a basic pack (Loose powder, blush, concealer & brushes) for $190. This, to me, was excellent value. The powder on it’s own was meant to cost $120, so pretty steep – then again it’s meant to last for a year & a half, so in that instance, would be worth it.
I didn’t really appreciate the application of the primer, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer & lipstick RIGHT before I had to go to Uni though. They always put so much on when selling it, and you’re meant to be like ‘ooooooooooh my god, I look amazing!’. I felt I more closely resembled a drag queen who’d done their make-up in the dark, but the powder felt SO smooth and nice on my skin, and it really glowed. I did it again when I got home after cleansing my face of the first onslaught. Please find cheezy danoz-direct before & after shots below:
Not really that much difference huh? But i’ve never been able (or had the desire) to put so much make-up on that it’s really obvious. It’s not a skill I posses no matter how hard I try and spatula the stuff on!
Anyway, I love changing up the products I use, and hopefully this may help my skin with those irritating break-outs that it’s still prone to.
It’s definitely worth thinking about what you’re putting on your skin, because why not be conscious of that aspect of your life when striving so hard for dietary awesomeness?
It can also make you feel nice to indulge in good quality beauty products – it’s a therapy I wholeheartedly recommend!