Get hooked on nature outside

Get hooked on nature outside

The trouble with screen time and being sedentary is that we do too much of it and too little time hooked on nature outside the walls and our screens.

Forty-six per cent of Canadian children are getting three hours or less of active play per week according to Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) by Statistics Canada.

 

baby-technology

 

Get hooked on nature outside

My childhood summers were garden and woodland adventures, picnics, daisy chains and eating dirty carrots straight from the vegetable patch, but that is rare today.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, 70 per cent of 13 to 20 year olds spend an hour or less outside each day.

CHMS found that youth spend “an average 8.6 hours sedentary… during waking hours.” How much of this sedentary time is spent staring at a screen?

The Canadian Paediatric Society suggests children limit their total screen time to no more than one to two hours a day.

Childhood obesity rates, behavioural problems, diabetes and depression are increasing. Yet time in nature is shown to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and stress levels.

The very thing we need we avoid.

 

Why are we missing out on nature?

By staying indoors children are missing the joy and development opportunities that come from being outside.

Nature is ever-changing and a good teacher for flexibility and adaptation as we grow up.

If children aren’t given time in nature, they are less likely to feel a need to protect it in the future.

 

child-outside-kite-play

We must forge a nature habit, which, like any habit, requires commitment and a desire. It is never too late to learn to love nature.

Elderly care homes and hospitals find that patients with a view of trees and green space actually recover faster and require less pain medication.

When my paternal grandmother was dying she loved the bird feeder we put on her bedroom window. Her frail face lit up when the bold, chirpy, little robin ate seeds and sang heartily at the window. She rarely spoke towards the end, but I remember her smile as she remarked: “Ooh you cheeky thing” as the robin tapped his beak at the window. The feeder was out of seeds; he was just making sure we noticed!

 

Get hooked on nature and outside – for children

Unstructured, outdoor, nature time gives children space, inspires them and ensures healthy development whilst building confidence, capability and competence.

Our brains develop according to our environment. A brain brought up with a regular dose of nature will differ to a brain given lots of screen time.

Too much screen time negatively impacts aspects of cognitive and psychosocial development.

 

According to the film Project Wild Thing, available on Netflix, the likelihood of a child being abducted is similar to that of being struck by lightning. Could the fear of the outdoors be greater than the reality?

This is a superb film and a must see for anyone with or without children!

 

 

Ask yourself questions about being hooked on nature and outside:

As Nature Play Nanny says we need to ask different questions of ourselves each day, not: “Did you work hard?” or “Are you busy?” but “What made you smile today?”, “Did you laugh a lot?” and “What was the most beautiful flower or tree you saw?”

“Did you feel the wind kissing your face today?”

These questions ensure we engage with nature, we LOOK, we SEE and appreciate the outdoors, the wind, the rain, the sun, the shade and the shadows.

 

Get hooked on nature and outside – for adults – we need nature too!

How to get hooked on nature outside is easier than you might think, simply having your lunch by a tree or small patch of lawn begins the inquisitive nature that stems from surrounding yourself with nature outside. You’ll likely see a bug, a butterfly or a bee, just doing their thing. Nature is always moving, evolving.

With adult rates of obesity, depression and anxiety on the rise, nature is a perfect antidote. Us adults need nature, daily time in and amongst the wonders of flowers, trees and animals.

As ironic as it is why not download the “Wild Time” app which has lots of great resources for outside play for children and adults, ranging from 10 minutes to half a day!  This blog (Nature Play Nanny) also has some inspiring stories of why it is important to get children into nature.

 

Find yourself in nature. www.ActualOrganics.com

 

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This article first appeared in The Question newspaper British Columbia. http://www.whistlerquestion.com/opinion/columnists/non-toxic-living-get-hooked-on-nature-and-the-outdoors-1.2039536

Best colouring in pages for adults

Best colouring in pages for adults

Colouring in for adults is hugely popular, four of the top twenty books on Amazon are adult colouring books, well this week at least!

 

There’s a reason for this, colouring in is a therapeutic way to spend a few moments without distractions.  Colouring is a satisfying way to take time out, you start you colour, you finish. That is a good feeling.

 

Rest your brain for a while with some adult colouring in. www.ActualOrganics.com

 

It almost seems that the craze is the perfect antidote to the crazy busy, hectic lives that so many people have these days.

Could colouring in pages for adults be a secret weapon for stress? Some believe a resounding YES.

 

Colouring in is cheap, we can all do it and you can do it anywhere: on a train, aeroplane, at the kitchen table, whilst waiting for a friend in a coffee shop, even when brainstorming for a new idea colouring in may be the much-needed creative break your brain needs to come up with the bright idea.

 

We need to slow down, our brains need a rest from our to do lists and pressures, life needs balance and it seems we have forgotten how to switch off, colouring in pages can help with that!

 

 

best colouring in pages for adults. www.ActualOrganics.com

 

I don’t know about you but I struggle to ‘go, go, go’ without at least some time to rest and relax.

What better way than returning to a childhood love of colouring in books?  I can still remember the sheer excitement of a new colouring in book, can you? Couple that with new coloured pencils – I still have mine and some of my fathers, they must be at least 60 years old – and you have a recipe for settling down and some fun colouring in.

 

 

Best colouring in pages for adults

Here are some links to great templates that you can download:

 

Johanna Basford draws beautiful pictures and here is a lovely download straight from her website: http://www.johannabasford.com/blog-article/397

http://www.johannabasford.com/uploaded_files/EnchantedForestDownload.pdf

 

If you want more pages from the world-famous book then there are links at the bottom of this Guardian UK article. Enjoy!

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/19/secret-garden-colouring-in-adults

 

 

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Enjoy colouring in, even as an adult! www.ActualOrganics.com

 

Other sites with downloadable colouring in pages for adults:

 

http://colorpagesformom.com/coloringpages/flowers/flowers22.shtml

Just choose the category of colouring in that you want? Birds, oceans or people simply click on the category you fancy colouring in.

 

So put aside any internal struggles of ‘it’s a waste of time’ or ‘what’s the point?’ and find yours or a child’s coloured pencils and get settled, choose your first colouring in pages and off you go.

Enjoy it. You are worth it.

 

Further reading:

3 reasons to slow down today

Why multitasking doesn’t work

Perfect gifts: why experiences trump stuff

Ways to reduce your water use today

Significant water restrictions are under way here in British Columbia (and many places around the world for that matter) a time perhaps many thought would not come, as a phrase I hear a regularly is: “oh it’s B.C. we have loads of water.”

The province has requested we, voluntarily, reduce water use by 20 per cent. Yet, according to the provincial government and municipality, water use is higher than normal this year, not lower.

 

Ways to reduce your water use today

 

easy ways to use less water. www.ActualOrganics.com

 

Voluntarily requesting we lower water consumption is optimistic, especially when many are like the child sneaking into the cookie jar taking just one more cookie hoping no one will notice — until the jar is empty.

Yes, that includes sneakily using sprinklers at 5 a.m., or even blatantly at 2 p.m. — that flouting of the law is greedy and selfish.

Our attitude needs adjustment quickly before it is too late. It’s easy to assume lots of rain, snow and beautiful lakes equates an endless water supply, yet you know as well as I that rainfall is below average and snow — I can’t remember seeing much of that recently.

Being apathetic and carrying on using water wantonly is no longer an option; our water supply is a serious concern, especially if we continue to consume water at the high levels we are using today.

Apathy is a toxic state of mind we have to alter. It is not someone else’s problem.

 

 

 

 

When we realize we are all dependent on each other — my choices affect you and your choices affect me — it encourages a more thoughtful, compassionate, responsible attitude — hopefully.

We need to use far less water and adopt secondary water use: using water twice, for example. I water my herbs and vegetables with water I’ve already used to wash vegetables by pouring it into a watering can.

 

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I also take the water I use to wash up with and put it in the watering can where it settles and I water the flowers. My flowers are thriving. I use Sapadilla dish soap, which is relatively gentle, and I don’t use very much — I don’t obviously use the really dirty dish water. I avoid antibacterial dish soap!

 

Coconut oil in toothpaste- nicer than triclosan!

 

When brushing your teeth, have a nice glass by the sink, pour some water into it, dip the toothbrush into that — you really don’t need a gushing tap’s worth of water simply to wet your toothbrush or rinse your mouth. Why waste litres of water when millilitres suffice?

Forgive me for sounding harsh, but it’s better we all pull together now than end up wishing we’d done more when we could.

Water is a luxury any way you look at it, so let’s curb our rampant water use before it’s too late. Without water we would all have different lives; water collection would dominate our day — like it does for billions of people around the world. Water is precious and deserves our respect.

As a Kenyan friend said to me: “Man with no water has only one problem, but man with water has many.”

Let’s conserve water today and keep our problems or we may only have one problem.

We are wasteful, and the commonly heard phrase that Canada has lots of water is outdated and very dangerous; the time has come to take action and encourage others to do so too.

 

Do you need to shower everyday?

 

Tips for saving water

 

Use water twice. Put the plug in the bath when you shower or put a bucket in the shower and save at least some water from your shower to water the garden. Use a non-toxic soap. Use vegetable-washing water and washing up water for the garden.
Keep showers short. Turn on the shower, get in, wet the skin, turn the shower off, use soap, shampoo or shave, turn on the shower, rinse and get out. Simple. Two minutes of actual water use. Millions of Australians keep clean on two or three-minute showers and you can too!
Follow water restrictions on garden watering.  Stick to the local council / municipality water restrictions on sprinklers. Usually it will be certain days that you can use water sprinklers for odd side of the street and other days for the even side of the street.
Use the sink plug when washing your hands. Use that to water the garden, or house plants. If you don’t have a sink plug, Whistler Hardware (in the Village) has a wide range of sink and bath plugs.
Wash clothes once a week when you have a full load of laundry rather than doing small frequent loads of washing. Use a non-toxic laundry soap, avoid fabric conditioners.
Use a full dishwasher. Or if you are washing up by hand: use a little water and soap first and then rinse if needed with hot water into the washing up bowl rather than a running tap. Re-use the water for flowers. You’d be surprised how little water you can actually use while washing up!

 

Further reading:

Here are 12 ways to use less water

3 reasons not to drink bottled water

 

This article first appeared in the Whistler Question newspaper.

The true cost of consuming fast fashion

Fast fashion is defined as cheap clothes where catwalk designs move into stores at the fastest possible rate in order to respond to the latest fashion trends.

 

The true cost of consuming fast fashion

 

Photo courtesy of www.TrueCostMovie.com

Photo credit: TrueCostMovie.com

With the speed at which fashion changes it gives rise to a near-obsessive desire to shop for new stuff and the once-treasured favourite clothes are now considered, by some, disposable.

The trouble is that clothes take oodles of resources to produce so it seems unwise that fashion should be as fast as it currently is — and certainly not in an age where our natural resources are under pressure as never before.

The True Cost film is now, very excitingly, on Netflix worldwide, so you can watch it for ‘free’ essentially!

 

 

The cost of clothes has dramatically decreased (yes you read that correctly!) [1] in the last 20 years; astonishingly low prices abound and we have lost the true value of quality clothes.

Fast Fashion and tip to end it: www.ActualOrganics.com

 

It’s a recent phenomenon that a T-shirt can cost $5 — we may not see the true cost on the price tag, but many miles away those who earnestly create our clothes are paying dearly.

Drastic change is needed.

Cheap fashion rarely lasts; it creates waste, we buy more and the toxic cycle continues. The adverts scream at us creating unnecessary want and encouraging uncontrolled spending. We willingly oblige by getting rid of the old and bringing in the new, again and again, year after year.

According to the film “The True Cost“, annually there are 80 billion pieces of clothing purchased worldwide —up 400 per cent from two decades ago — and many of these items end up in landfill.

Americans each throw out 82 pounds of textiles annually!  That’s over 37 kilograms!

 

 

 Where did the seasons go?

 

Rather than two seasons in a year (spring/summer and autumn/winter) shops have “new in” all year round — an absurd number of seasons in one year.

More new clothes than ever and still we cry: “I have nothing to wear!”  Can you relate?

It is a toxic cycle of consumerism that is negatively impacting those people far away from our over-stuffed closets.

I’ve de-cluttered my wardrobe and it feels totally amazing. It is totally refreshing stepping off the fast fashion treadmill and asking myself, “Why do I think I need new clothes?” How many clothes does one really need? I have far fewer clothes than before and I only have clothes I love wearing.

Remember The True Cost is available to watch on Netflix worldwide now!

 

Locally made clothes

 

According to www.Encircled.ca in 1989, 70 per cent of apparel sold in Canada was made in Canada. In 2013 only 10 per cent of apparel sold in Canada was made in Canada.

When did the business of clothes morph from buying a quality, locally made jacket to the needless impulse buys we see today? I have a winter coat that I have had for over five years, it is in excellent shape and I no doubt will have it for a many more years yet.

Currently price tags omit the true cost of production: the impact of water pollution from toxic chemical dyes and fabric treatments, and the crowded, often incredibly dangerous working conditions.

Wages need to rise to provide a living wage, but factory owners often (very reluctantly) accept ever-decreasing prices, for a set amount of garments made, simply to ensure multinationals use their factory over a competitor.

The variable cost in the fashion equation is that of the human wage. So for many garment workers around the world a living wage is a mere dream, safe working conditions a mirage, and as workers sew, dye and produce our clothes they are acutely aware of how our obsessive consumerism costs local lives.

 

TrueCost_FilmStill_15

Photo credit: TrueCostMovie.com

Clothes – at what price?

 

In April 2013 in the Dhaka district in Bangladesh, the Rana Plaza factory collapsed killing over a thousand people.

The film The True Cost — available on iTunes — and Netflix — shows the true cost of our fashion obsession. It is well worth the purchase; the film is eye opening, shocking and very humbling.

According to the film, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The film’s premise is to inspire and raise awareness, encouraging us to buy fewer higher-quality clothes that last and do not have a high environmental or human cost.

 

Many clothes are made from cotton, which is a very water-intensive crop; often grown in areas least able to afford to use precious water on crops and fabric production. When water is scarce the last thing needed is pollution and certainly not for clothes that are seen, by some, as disposable.

An impulse buy in a mall in Western Canada impacts an Indian’s drinking water and no $9 shirt is worth that.

The film states: “Major brands are able to source cheap materials and labour while avoiding accountability for the growing cost of human health and the environment.”

Clothes used to be statements, treasured and passed through generations — a far cry from our “I don’t even know if I’ll wear this now I’ve bought it” clothes
of today.

 

Watch The True Cost trailer below:

 

Be sure to share this post with your Facebook friends so they too can learn more about the fashion industry.

 

Clothes used to be statements, treasured and passed through generations — a far cry from our “I don’t even know if I’ll wear this now I’ve bought it” clothes
of today. It’s time to love our clothes and make that love last!

 

Further reading:

12 ways to use less water

3 reasons not to drink bottled water

The cost of consumerism

References:

[1] True Cost Movie: http://truecostmovie.com/

– See more about the the true cost of consuming fast fashion in this newspaper article: http://www.whistlerquestion.com/opinion/columnists/non-toxic-living-the-toxic-cost-of-consuming-fast-fashion-1.1983874#sthash.pp0E4LY0.dpuf

What is the best natural deodorant

What is the best natural deodorant ?

 

“What natural deodorant do you wear?” is a question I am regularly asked – I guess there are worse questions.

 

what is the best natural deodorant www.ActualOrganics.com

 

Deodorants are simply products which mask the potential odour of sweat, in the case of natural deodorants that is usually pure essential oils and baking soda.

Antiperspirants are products which, through the addition of aluminium compounds, create a temporary plug of the sweat duct. [1]

We constantly sweat but we tend to sweat more when we need to cool down our bodies in the heat, after physical exertion, or when we are stressed or nervous.

 

It’s a wholly naturally process but it seems through being bombarded with adverts in magazines, on buses, and the internet we’ve become accustomed to spending rather a lot of money on deodorants and antiperspirants.

The deodorant market in North America is expected to be worth $3.2 billion dollars in 2017, according to Companies and Markets.  So there’s a lot of money riding on you feeling that you stink, which you most likely do not but if you want a more natural alternative at least there are now some super alternatives.

 

What is in deodorant and antiperspirants?

It is worth checking deodorant labels as many conventional deodorants contain ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ an ingredient often containing phthalates which are known hormone disruptors.

Aluminium, or aluminum depending on where you grew up, is often added to antiperspirants and whilst many worry about it’s impact on our brain, in particular Alzheimer’s, some research implies we are wiser to eat well, exercise regularly, de-stress, and do crossword puzzles rather than solely focus on deodorant ingredients but studies come out all the time and so who knows what we’ll know in a year or two.

 

The precautionary approach to beauty

Overall with cosmetics and beauty products I opt to use the precautionary principle; an approach to preventing harm to our health or the environment when the scientific evidence is inconclusive.  Less is more!  We do not need the wealth of products, organic or otherwise, that grace the shelves of stores.  We can look great without using oodles of beauty products. Face masks can be honey, cleansers simply jojoba oil. Simple stuff really!

 

What is the best natural deodorant ?

 

Miessence:

For eight years I used the same natural deodorant, made by Miessence (affiliate link) in Australia. It’s simply made from aloe vera, baking soda and essential oils.

When I first switched from a conventional aluminium-based deodorant my arm pits detoxed, I had a little rash and I stank! Sorry but it’s true. After a few weeks my body had seemingly got was used to the natural deodorant and I actually found I didn’t really need the deodorant everyday.

 

Routine deodorant cream:

I changed deodorants as, unfortunately, Miessence  (affiliate link) came in a plastic roll on and I wanted something packaged in glass.  Recently I’ve been using a deodorant paste: “Routine deodorant cream” which is made in Canada and comes in a little glass jar. So far I’m really impressed, it is not only effective but so easy to use.

 

“Routine” deodorant cream which is made from coconut oil, kaolin clay, baking soda and essential oils. Being a paste and you only need a tiny amount. They say a jar lasts three to six months, I’ve only been using it a month so don’t know about that – yet.  I tried the “Lucy in the Sky” deodorant which is vegan as it had no beeswax.  It goes on smoothly and I have not had stinky armpits, even in the boiling hot weather recently, so far so good.

 

Bare Organics:

I also like “Bare Organics” deodorant. Find them at: www.BareOrganics.ca  Bare Organics products are made in Ontario, it is again a baking soda-based deodorant; it comes in a plastic stick form or a jar.

 

DIY deodorant recipe:

There is a simple recipe for making your own deodorant in my book : “The Radiant Woman’s Handbook”.

The Radiant Woman's Handbook available at www.ActualOrganics.com

Why not get together with a few friends (and save money on ingredients) and make a deodorant? It is really easy.

 

Do you really smell or is it advertising?

 

I have noticed that my sweat smells when I feel stressed but I simply see it as a good way of tuning in and slowing down; it’s too easy to be on auto-pilot, or is that just me?  My body gives me daily clues which, if I tune in, gives me an opportunity to adjust my lifestyle accordingly.

 

So next time you ask: What is the best natural deodorant ? you have an idea of some alternatives, but still remember to read ingredients labels and do your research; as I have said before: “Just as it is on the shelf doesn’t mean you should buy it nor is it necessarily good for you!”

I’m not saying stop wearing deodorant but ask yourself do you really stink as much as you think you do or is it just advertising and marketing making you feel you should buy a product?

Most adverts aren’t for your benefit, and with an industry worth billions we’re only making someone else rich, perhaps it’s time to try a natural alternative or even go au natural and see whether you really do stink or is it just ‘advertising baby’?

 

 

 


 

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Further reading:

Non-toxic deodorants discussed, read more

What happens when we wear deodorant and antiperspirants, find out here

Learn more about antiperspirants and deodorants, here

 

References:

[1] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/antiperspirant-ingredients

http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/antiperspirants.html

Photo credit: http://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/olgysha2008

 

This article was also in print at http://www.whistlerquestion.com/opinion/columnists/non-toxic-living-how-to-find-a-natural-deodorant-1.1969457

7 ways to quit comparing your life

It seems to be a common toxic trait: we want what we don’t have.

The refrain, “I’ll be happy once I get X, Y or Z” is often heard, but will it really bring us lasting happiness? Not in my experience.

 

Here are 7 ways to quit comparing your life.

 

Is it time to change? www.ActualOrganics.com

 

What works is a change in thinking and the way you do things, which is easier said than done.

 

I used to want what I didn’t have and found myself going round in a cycle of unhappiness — until one hot day in Australia, many years ago, a friend firmly said to me, “you have a great life, better than 99 per cent of people in the world. You have to stop complaining and focus on the positive things God is doing in your life.”

Initially I did not like the way I felt about her comments; upset, guilt and disbelief that no one really “got” how I felt. Inevitably over time I was grateful for her words, they were the catalyst for me to change direction, to trust more and appreciate my life.

 

Before I went travelling in the ‘90s to Australia, my mother gave me a handmade bookmark with this quote:

 

Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

 

I hadn’t been doing this.

 

Positive versus negative

 

I started a daily tally of positive thoughts versus negative thoughts, and it was soon clear change was needed.

 

 

Despite being intelligent we regularly take the trailer of other people’s lives and compare them to the full-length film of our life, yet we are not making similar comparisons.

 

 

The happy marriage, beautiful children and amazing holidays are balanced by marital arguments, toddler or teenager tantrums and sunburns with bug bites.

 

Comparing your life often isn't a true comparison. www.ActualOrganics.com

I love life and yet there are storms and setbacks, twists and turns. A life that is too easy may well become rather boring?

 

 

The threat to your happiness is wanting what you don’t have, constantly comparing, and dreaming your days away with unrealistic wants. It’s wise to set goals and prudent to observe whether you are constantly comparing.

Perhaps living life to the fullest and leaving a legacy is time better spent?

Life is messy, life is wonderful, your life is unique.  Is it time to quit toxic comparisons and start using your energy to make the world a better place?

 

Seven ways to quit comparing your life

  1. Quit comparing, enough said. Notice when you compare and why.
  2. Forgive the past, but learn from it.
  3. Accept the possibility of an alternative — if only brushing your teeth with the other hand — it opens the door to possibility.
  4. Spend time in nature with a distraction-free walk, listen to your favourite piece of music or enjoy soaking up nature.
  5. Start to make small changes: save $10 a week, listen more carefully, turn off social media notifications or get up earlier. You’ll have your own ideas, which will likely be better, but let’s not compare!
  6. Do YOUR best. You are unique; your life will not look like anyone else’s life.
  7. Remember: being here today is a necessary step; you are right where you need to be today.

 

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– See more at: http://www.whistlerquestion.com/opinion/columnists/non-toxic-living-seven-ways-to-quit-comparing-your-life-1.1954165#sthash.7WMgHjd7.dpuf

Pictures: www.pixabay.com