Archives for October 2018

Palm Oil: The Hidden Monster in Your Processed Foods

Everyday, countless people stroll up and down grocery store aisles making selections to nourish themselves and their families.

We are highly influenced by the shapes, sizes, colors, and words that define these product brands. With time, we may even begin to establish an attachment to certain products, making our ritual market runs predictable and mindless.

In so many ways, we are deeply involved and invested in these choices, yet, how many of us actually know what goes into the products we support and where and how they are sourced?

Due to our rapid-paced, convenient-food culture, consumers tend to know very little or nothing about the products they’re purchasing, and companies know that most people do not care enough to make these corporations change their ways.

It is my hope to shed light onto one of the most destructive, non-sustainable food ingredients prevalent on our shelves today: palm oil.

It’s already well-known to be destructive on our environment and wildlife, yet somehow, this sneaky ingredient has managed to find its way into nearly fifty percent of packaged products in the US today.

  • Packaged noodles
  • Your favorite snack foods
  • Cereals
  • Washing detergents
  • Cosmetics
  • Hygiene products
  • ….and so much more

Why Should You Care?

  • Palm oil is now recognized as one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction as rampant plantation growth devastates some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems.
  • Palm oil is responsible for globally significant carbon pollution.
  • According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area equal the distance of 300 football fields of rainforest is destroyed each HOUR to create room for the palm oil industry.
  • Precious rainforests are burned in order to clear land for plantation development, adding to the already prevalent issue of human induced climate change.
  • The release of smoke into the atmosphere from these deforestation practices has given Indonesia the rank of the third highest ranking greenhouse emitter in the world.

These circumstances alone are enough to sound the alarm, but unfortunately, it’s just the beginning of the devastation.

Loss of Habitat

  • More than 190 threatened species are impacted by the palm oil industry’s deforestation practices. Some of the most vulnerable animals, such as the Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and the Sumatran and Bornean orangutan are on the verge of extinction as their habitats are wiped away.
  • The orangutan, the irreplaceable poster-child for the anti-palm-oil industry, is predicted to become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years if we do not bring these practices to a halt. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year due to over 90% of their habitat being destroyed in the past 20 years. The United Nations has dubbed this situation a conservation emergency.

Our pleasure and modern-day consumer conveniences are occurring at the expense of our ecosystems, and these damages will be irreversible if we do not create change NOW.

Human Right Violations

  • Indigenous Peoples are forcefully removed from their communities and precious land.
  • Drinking water from streams and rivers that once provided clean hydration have dried up due to water being redirected and privatized by plantations.
  • Local people are deprived of opportunities to create alternative, environmentally sustainable businesses. This lack of economic potential adds pressure for local people to work for the very plantations that rob them, exposing them to hazardous conditions leading to long-term health impacts.
  • Child labor and modern-day slavery still occur on these plantations. This is a very real issue.

What You Can Do

So why am I telling you all of this? Because sadly, we’re the ones paying for it.

  • Get clear and real on what the true cost of our purchases are by researching everything. The industries are deliberately and effectively omitting the truth from us, and it’s our job to put the time in to look for the truth.
  • Shine the light of awareness on this issue by talking and writing about it (with love, not judgment, please).
  • Spend money only on products that come from industries that align with our values to protect the planet, its precious creatures and each other.

Too often, we are lead to believe that our individual choices are too small to make a difference. But united as consumers, we have the ability to shift our consumerism landscape to trend towards longevity, sustainability and integrity for all.

Spread the word. Share this article. Support this issue coming into the collective awareness by sharing it in dialogue or in social media. And most importantly, leave palm oil products out of your shopping cart.

Join me in saying “no” to palm oil.

To learn more about the Palm Oil industry and what you can do, please visit:

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php

Take the 28 day palm oil challenge:

Mahalo,

Alyse

Always Do Your Best: A Motto to Live By

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you always tried your best, no more or no less.

Imagine for a moment the amount of mental and emotional energy you would save yourself by dissolving feelings of guilt, blame and self judgment.

Imagine for a moment the self-love, acceptance and celebration you welcome into your heart when you say no to feelings of regret and remorse.

Give yourself the assurance to embark on this journey of radical self-acceptance. Embrace and accept this invitation to put this simple, yet profound principle into practice to shift and transform the way you perceive and relate to your efforts.

If you always try your best, you can trust that its always enough.

Honor Where You’re At

Our best can and will change from moment to moment. Just like the ever-changing, impermanent nature of life, our capacity to kick-ass and take names will vary on many circumstances.

Our health, mood and energy levels will all influence what our best looks like at any given moment. At times our best may feel high quality, while others, not as much.

For instance, our energy first thing in the morning versus after a long day of work will yield different capacities for what our best looks like.

Learn and know that this is more than acceptable.

By always doing our best according to where we are at in this moment, we can strive and excel when we feel rested, healthy and powerful, while honoring our needs with cautious pace when we’re not feeling super charged.

By honoring our natural cycles of plowing forward and receding back for recuperation, we allow ourselves to live in accordance with our natural waxing and waning experience.

There are times and activities of speed and exhilaration that can multiply our enthusiasm and energy on some days, that can burn us out and leave us depleted at other times.

Tune in with what your best looks like at any given moment.

By doing so, you preserve your precious energy to excel in all you pursue with a greater care and attention to your sustainability and longevity. By doing so, you go with yourself instead of against.

Curb Your Inner Critic

So you were able to knock out a full-laundry list of chores in one morning, while juggling deadlines and showing up early for your business lunch?

Cut yourself some slack for not feeling mega juiced up to knock out more come the evening.

Put your foot down towards self-judgment and self-abuse.

Dismiss the inner critic that may size up and compare your previous performances and achievements. Understand and observe with skillful view that many of our habitual patterns have been firmly established through countless experiences and affirmations. We may not always create change or bring goals to fruition at the speed in which we desire, but we can always try our best.

Recognize your energy levels, mood, and the quality of your experience in your body (Are you feeling relaxed or tense?) as signals and communication from your body of what your needs are.

Don’t give your inner judgments permission to neglect and deny time for vital self-care and rejuvenation practices.

If you strive to do your best in each moment, you can eliminate the urge to judge yourself, dissolving needless blame, guilt and self-punishment.

When and if the inner critic rears its head, casting doubt and criticisms of your efforts, you know you’ve got the answer:

“I did my best, and that’s always enough.”

Dissolve Remorse

Your best is always enough.

Chances are, life has already dished out enough experiences to show you that things won’t always go the way we want them to. Despite the ebbs and flows of life not perfectly aligning with our preferences at all times, we are granted countless opportunities throughout our lives to show up to the best of our abilities.

From the easeful, joyous, celebration times to challenging, “didn’t see that coming”, bumps in the road, if we arrive to each moment of our life willing and able to do the best we can, we can dissolve any remorse or regret.

With this one simple truth, we can liberate ourselves from the mental bondage of self-accusation and regretfulness.

Give yourself permission to celebrate your earnest efforts in all circumstances and expressions of your life.

It is more than enough.

Inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements.”

Mahalo,

Alyse

9 Ideas to Reduce Your Waste

With the current state of the environment, from ocean water temperatures rising, freakish and dangerous weather patterns becoming the norm and the widespread devastation of natural habitats, just to name a few circumstances of this heartbreaking situation, there’s no doubt that the Earth is rejoicing at the ever growing trend of low/zero waste.

As choosing green trends, culturally, we are beginning to wake up and take responsibility for the ways in which our daily choices are contributing to the issues.

Sadly, the United States has its work cut out for itself. As the leading nation of annual trash production at the staggering rate of 4.4 pounds of municipal waste per person each day, the time is ripe for us to adjust our practices and reduce our waste.

Because caring for our planet is love.

1. Hop On the Reusable Bags Train

The Ugly
  • Americans use 100 billion plastic bags per year, the majority of which
  • Wind up in landfills and
  • Sorrowfully are consumed by wildlife, commonly seabirds and turtles, leading to their premature deaths and great decline in population size.
The Good
  • Thankfully, city governments throughout the country are banning single-use plastic bags.
  • Even if your city hasn’t yet reached this verdict, there’s no reason to wait. You can make the choose to plan ahead and bring reusable bags with you wherever you go. I like to leave one in the back of my car so that I’m never without!
  • There are tons of options, but I like the reusable shopping bag by Chico Bag.

2. Bring Your Own

The Ugly
  • One of the greatest sources of waste creation in our lives is due to our food purchases that come in packaging.

The Good

  • Choosing to skip the pre-wrapped products will not only reduce the amount of trash you create, but may lead to healthier food choices as well.
  • Instead of purchasing pre-made and processed foods wrapped in plastic and cardboard, make your food pickings from the produce and bulk aisles instead.
  • By bringing your own mason jars, mesh bulk bags, and reusable produce bags you can skip the plastic bags provided by stores and instead set a shining example on how to refuse and instead reuse.

3. “No Straw Please”

The Ugly
  • Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States.
  • After its single use, we toss straws to the trash with no thought, turning them into an instant source of plastic pollution.
The Good
  • We only started using straws to this extent in the past twenty years. We are not yet so indoctrinated that we can’t turn things around.
  • Consider requesting your drink orders without the straw or bring a reusable one of your own!
  • Reusable straws come in acrylic, stainless steel, glass, and even bamboo.

4. Switch Your Wraps

The Ugly
  • 30% of all waste in the U.S. is from packaging. So while you maybe in the habit of using plastic wrap to preserve your food, it’s not the most considerate choice for the planet.
The Good

5. Bye, Bye Plastic Bottles

The Ugly
  • In 2016, 334 million metric tons of plastic was produced, half of which was used for single-use products like plastic bottles.
  • Less than 10% of that plastic will ever be recycled.
  • Statistics like this are absolutely unacceptable with the choices available to us today.
The Good
  • One of the easiest things we can do to reduce our waste is to choose to hydrate ourselves with reusable water bottles.
  • If you have a reusable bottle already, I encourage you to use it. But if you’re looking for a product you can feel good about supporting, consider purchasing a Hydro Flask.
  • Not only do they create a high quality product, Hydro Flask also funds Parks for All, which “provides grants to non-profit organizations focused on building, maintaining, restoring, or providing better access to parks,” which makes your investment in their products an investment in our park’s wilderness too.

6. Say “No” to Disposables

The Ugly
  • To-go meals are super convenient, but they come in single-use styrofoam, often the kind that can’t be recycled. Some, luckily, do come in recyclable plastic, but this is still a product that creates more waste than it saves.
The Good
  • Something is better than nothing. Even if you can’t get zero-waste take-out, you can ask them to please not put any plastic forks or condiments that you won’t use. Instead, bring your own.
  • To-Go Ware is a company I feel really proud to support, as we share similar visions and dreams for a transformed “to-go” culture that has lead us to creating excessive plastic waste.\
  • Their travel bamboo utensil sets are reusable and made with a commitment to being environmentally responsible, making these transportable utensil sets super eco-friendly.
  • Don’t feel called to invest in an additional product? Then simply travel with a set of utensils from your home in your purse or backpack.
  • Toss out the “throw away” approach and commit to reuse today!

7. Brush With Biodegradables

The Ugly
  • Nearly 5 billion plastic toothbrushes are made annually, and it takes each brush 400 years to decompose.
  • This overwhelming statistics makes me think of how many plastic toothbrushes I have used throughout my life thus far, sitting in a landfill somewhere, destined to never biodegrade.
  • Multiply that reality by the number of people purchasing plastic toothbrushes in the world and that visual becomes that much more alarming.
The Good
  • As I educated myself more on the reality of today’s plastic pollution, I started to investigate and switch my purchasing habits to reusable or biodegradable products. Toothbrushes are no exception, and this is what led me to discover the people behind the Mable bamboo toothbrush.
  • The folks at Mable are on a mission to inspire others to make a difference by making small, sustainable choices, one toothbrush and classroom at a time. Not only have they made a chic, eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable toothbrush, but they also visit schools in their local community through their Buy Give Teach program, empowering youth to utilize the power they have to affect change.
  • In order for our changes to have the greatest impact, they need to reach others. Let’s come together to stop adding to the problem, cut our plastic use and be part of the solution.

8. Cups Over Trash

The Ugly
  • In her lifetime, a woman will dispose 300 pounds of waste through menstrual products alone. Holy guacamole.
The Good
  • In the past, we may have turned to disposable menstrual products, because we were led to believe they were our only choice.
  • Thankfully, today, we have a wide variety of reusable products, from menstrual cups to reusable pads, that are not only kind to the Earth, but better honor our bodies too. Consider these recommendations below:
  • Natural sea sponge tampons
  • Diva Cups
  • Created by a mother and daughter duo committed to making periods a more positive experience for all women.
  • Thinx Panties
  • A company committed to female empowerment, smashing through the period taboo culture.
  • DIY Cloth Pads
  • For a fraction of the cost of the above mentioned products, you can empower yourself to make your own reusable cloth pads… extra “Go Green!” points if you up-cycle clothing that you are no longer using to make them with.

9. Choose Paperless

The Ugly
  • From junk mail to credit card bills, it doesn’t take long for our mailboxes to overflow with envelopes and fliers. Now imagine how many forest and trees had to be clear cut in the production of their paper?
The Good
  • One of the simplest steps we can take to reduce our waste while minimizing our clutter is by switching over to paperless. It’s as easy as logging into your accounts and clicking a button.
  • Also, if you’re a lover of books, magazines or newspapers, consider switching over to their digital forms and reading them on the electronic reader of your choice.
  • Prefer the smell and feel of books, then commit to purchasing used books or host book swaps with your neighbors, colleagues and friends. Gifting books when you’re done is another great option.

Living Our Values

As consumers, we have tremendous power to influence the greater, flawed systems of our societies. Our current system reaps resources from our planet as if they will infinitely be abundant.

But the truth is, our modern way of living is depleting a very finite natural world that will seize to provide if we do not change our ways.

We can strive to send nothing to the landfill. We can shift our expectations of what we need, reuse as much as we can, send minimally to be recycled and compost what we cannot.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Rot. Recycle.

It’s not about perfection, but about making better choices.

Want to see more of my Zero Waste alternative product picks? Click here.

Sincerely,

Alyse