Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My bathroom cabinet detox

Over the last 2 and a half years, I've gradually cleaned my bathroom cabinet - i.e. I've stopped using a number of industrial products and I've replaced them with organic/natural ones commercialised by small companies with a conscience.

My motivation is to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals I use on my skin everyday. Why? Because many cosmetics and personal care products can contain chemicals, including endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), "which can cause adverse health effects, and some are potentially linked to breast cancer".

To be frank, I'm yet to apply the same rule to make-up... Although I don't wear make-up every day, I do wear foundation, powder and eyeshadow on a very regular basis. I haven't transitioned to organic cosmetic products yet. But, rather than focusing on what I still need to tackle, I thought I would share with you some practical information about all the positive changes I've made since 2015.

I hope it can be helpful. If you want to find out more about the chemicals that may be linked to breast cancer, I recommend you have a look to Breast Cancer UK #DitchtheJunk information sheet.

This post is NOT sponsored by any brands.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Zero waste broccoli and orange salad

The news that we should eat 10 portions of vegetables and fruit every day "for maximum protection against disease and premature death" cannot have escaped your attention. The findings of a study led by Imperial college have been widely reported in the UK press and abroad - and derided as a near-impossible task by a lot of British publications. 

I don't pretend that I eat 800g of vegetables and fruit religiously every day, i.e. the equivalent of 10 portions. But, by reducing the amount of processed food in my diet - for health reasons and for the sake of reducing the amount of waste I produce - I've automatically increased my veg and fruit consumption. 

From experience, I think the best way to include more fruit and veg in your diet is to :
1 - eat mostly vegetarian food (veg curry & chilli sin carne are some of my favourite veg dishes)   ; 
2 - have a piece of fruit in the morning with porridge, for example ;
3 - snack on an apple or a couple of clementines ;
4 - have grated carrots and other grated raw vegetables as a starter whenever possible ;
5 - eat a fruit for dessert (with or without yogurt).

In short, keep it simple! 

It doesn't mean you cannot be a bit adventurous time to time. Adding a fruit to a veg salad can work very well. I tend to forget about it but somehow got inspired to mix broccoli and orange in a salad the other day. It worked very well! I didn't follow a recipe. I just used (almost) all the veg I had in my fridge - including a sad looking half fennel bulb and a few floppy celery branches. 

Ingredients (for a big salad - serves approximately 6 people as a side dish) :
- 1 head of broccoli (boiled for 5-6 minutes maximum and cooled down under the water)
- 1 orange cut into pieces
- 1 spiralized courgette (I have a very basic Joseph & Joseph spiralizer
- half a fennel bulb roasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
- 2-3 branches of celery (cut into small pieces)
- a handful of pumpkin seeds (roast them in a pan for 6 minutes or so)

For the dressing, I mixed:
- some olive oil
- the juice of half a lemon (but you can probably use a bit more if you want a zestier flavour)
- salt, pepper
- a table spoon of liquid honey
- a sprinkling of ras el hanout (a mix of spices that I happened to have in my spice drawer)

I can't give you the exact quantities. I've improvised it. I do strongly recommend that you prepare the dressing separately in a small bowl. Therefore, you'll be able to try it and adjust quantities before adding it to the salad. 

Do you have a recipe that mixes fruit and veg? If so, leave a comment below this article. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

My resolutions for 2017

In 2017 I will...

1. Keep refusing plastic straws and let people know how much of a scourge they are for wild life and the planet in general. Don't feed me plastic! 

2. Give talks to fellow residents in my local area to let them know what they can do day to day to reduce their waste, save money and (re)discover small pleasures - all in one go.
For example, making tea with loose leaves (instead of using tea bags containing plastic), baking bread, using more natural ingredients as cosmetics.

I've been using coconut oil as a moisturiser since January 2016.

3. Use my sewing machine to mend and adjust clothes and also make Morsbags. Textile shouldn't go to waste! (And, no, you cannot throw old pants nor socks nor any textile with your household waste - that's a reminder for my other half, by the way)

4. Grow herbs in my garden in the summer. Everything tastes better with fresh herbs.

Mint is one of my favourite herbs - with basil.

5. Meet up with other zero waste advocates in London and share tips for a more sustainable and enjoyable life. 

What's your zero waste resolution for 2017?