IWD 2013 – Wonderful Wellness Women!

Happy International Women’s Day! To tell you the truth I never really got on the whole IWD train… practically every day of the year is ‘Something Day’ and I just thought they were created willy nilly. But I looked into it and found out that IWD has actually been around since 1910, is on the agenda at the UN and is an official holiday in a whole range of countries (including Afghanistan which surprised me). So according to our trusty Wikipedia International Women’s Day is;

A celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women.
A celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.

That is something I can totally get on board with! And I’ve decided that in keeping with this blog I wanted to share with you 5 of my wellness heroes. When you have special women inspiring and motivating you they need to be shared…

My Mum

mum

Having become a mum recently myself the love and respect I have for my mum transcended to a whole new level. Mind you, I was also hit with a massive pang of guilt (see years 16 through 21). Back to my mum though, she has been a career mum (and a damn good one at that) and has devoted her life to me and my brother.

Recently, she stepped right out of her comfort zone and embarked on a career of her own (a reasonably scary one involving needles!) and despite some jitters about getting back into the workforce is doing amazingly! She has also assured me for as long as I can remember that the only time I will ever see her running is if a mass murderer is on her tail. Which is why it is particularly impressive that she has recently purchased a treadmill and is training herself on it every morning. She has decided to take her health seriously and is making some major changes accordingly. My mum has always been impressive but seeing her face some pretty major fears has been ultra motivational as well as incredibly satisfying.

I am so proud of you Mother Goose!

Dads pretty awesome too but it isn't International Man's Day!photo courtesy of White Tulip Photography

Dads pretty awesome too but it isn’t International Man’s Day!
photo courtesy of White Tulip Photography

Jessica Ainscough: Wellness Warrior (Surprise, surprise)

Photo courtesy of www.wellnesswarrior.com.au

Stuck record much? I can’t sing this girls praises enough. Jessica is a gorgeous young lady who survived a pretty grim cancer prognosis through a natural therapy that focuses on the unlimited potential of our bodies, and their abilities to heal themselves. Since this she has gone on to create The Wellness Warrior website (check it out here) which has achieved a cult like following from people around the world (including moi!).

She has also created the Lifestyle Transformation Guide (see that here) which I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to! This scholarship is slowly but surely leading me towards the life I have always wanted – where I am well, calm and following my dreams with a bit of self love thrown in there too! I will talk more about my journey on Monday… but imagine knowing that you are giving countless numbers of people the key to living life the way they were always meant to. That deserves a round of applause I reckon.

P.s. If you are living in Sydney, Jessica is going on tour with Earth Events and will be speaking with 3 other amazing girls (Amanda Rootsey, Tara Bliss and Mellissa Ambrosini) on Self Love and Sisterhood. I am so jealous it’s not coming to the west coast but if you are in the position to go, get your ticket here

Vegan Sparkles

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I dare you to read Bex blog without smiling… c’mon… just look at that face! Not only does she create absolutely delicious food but each post is full of health, happiness and (most importantly) sparkles. While some vegan sites can lean towards dogma, Miss Sparkles is a breath of fresh air who just inspires with her contagiously happy personality and her insanely delicious recipes. And the best is yet to come as she is currently studying at the Institute of Intergrative Nutrition. She also happens to now be a friend of mine and we are hoping to collaborate on some exciting projects this year.

You don’t have to be vegan (I’m not) to love Bex food! Some staples that now reside in my culinary repertoire include this AMAZING healthy, Mint Choc Chip Smoothie (see it here), the Good For Everything Tea (here) and this Quinoa and Mushroom Gravy Shepherds Pie (here). WOW. Must stop dribbling on the keyboard!

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Tara Bliss: Such Different Skies

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As a renowned (actually… maybe infamous) champagne guzzler, Tara is providing me so much inspiration to change my nasty habit. I have virtually conquered all the demons (sugar, grains, caffeine, dairy) but I still find myself very much craving my Friday night wine. Tara herself is a reformed party girl and she is trying to spread the word that has brought her so much peace. She motivates me with awesome blog posts that really drive home the fact that you don’t need alcohol to feel calm or have fun. And if you want to go further she has also created the aptly titled online program The Party Girl’s Guide To Peace.

She is also an awesome foodie who is very focused on raw and green too. Check out her awesome recipe that featured on The Wellness Warrior here (bit of cross-pollination never hurt anybody). If you want some sassy, spiritual vibes i really recommend giving this blog a read! (see Such Different Skies here).

Jodi Duval: Revital Health

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Another Perth local! Jodi is a Naturopath with a list of qualifications as long as your arm included Natural Science, Hypnobirthing and even Colonic Hydro Therapy. She is also a raw chef and raw chocolate entrepreneur and is one of the four co-founders of Revital Health – a team of holistic health coaches. (You can read about all of them here).

Jodi (and the wider Revital team) have a Facebook page (here) which provides me constant inspiration for raw food and general health inspiration and is well worth a look if you are dipping your feet into the world of raw as I am! She also helps run affordable workshops like this upcoming event which i hope to attend (and give you all feedback afterwards). The world needs more people that are helping to inspire and guide them to be the healthiest versions of themselves.

Do you have any wonderful wellness women inspiring you?

Less IS More

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Well tomorrow is finally the day… The Less Is More Festival is back! A celebration of anti-consumerism!!!

It is an incredible day run by the Western Earth Carers which involves hands on DIY workshops that will show you how to buy less and live better! It is family friendly and of course in the spirit of anti-consumerism… is completely free.

I will be there running two workshops on Eco Babies (they run at 10am and 12pm) and there are so many more amazing workshops…

  • Make your own natural soap, toothpaste and deodorant (bring jars if you can!)
  • Fix your bike
  • Declutter your life
  • Live plastic free (with the amazing Simone)
  • Eat raw food (with one of my favorite Perth wellness goddesses A Foodly Affair)
  • Grow a native garden
  • Keep chooks and bees
  • Mosaic making
  • Make your own ginger beer, yogurt, preserves and sourdough

View the schedule here of the entire day here.

Saturday 16 February, 2013 from 9:30am until 5:00pm
The Grove Library, 1 Leake St, Peppermint Grove, WA 6011
If you decide to come along beware that parking will be very limited. BUT the good news is, the library and community centre have ample bike racks and lockers, and excellent public transport links! (See Public Transport Links here)
Would love to see you all there!
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Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2012

The annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta is clearly becoming a beautiful tradition for many West Aussie families! Held every September it is a massive celebration of those that have chosen to tread lighter on the planet. Whether you are looking for ideas on how to make your home a bit greener, tools that can make ‘eco choices’ a bit more accessible or you just want to get down and celebrate with good company, food and music – Hulbert Street has you covered. Here are some of my highlights from the day.

For a gold coin donation you are permitted entry into the festival and we were met with a sustainable red carpet! Anyone who chose to ride to the festival received the star treatment… a valeted bike parking service, complete with people cheering them down the red runway. I spoke to Rebecca from Freo Cycle Chic (she is also a professional Earthcarer!) and on their first day they parked a massive 150 bikes and judging by the growing queue they would be surpassing that record for the Sunday. 

There was loads of music and entertainment throughout the day including belly-dancing, singing, ukulele players as well as… well, I don’t know what you call this particular type of music so I will just call it ‘Plinky Plonky’ Music! Awesome atmosphere.

We then stumbled upon the Sustainabilitree (my favorite bit of the day). On recycled card love hearts people were asked to write down their green hopes and dreams and then tie them onto the branches of the tree. Not only did the tree look absolutely fabulous but it gave your heart that nice fuzzy feeling just reading all the comments. I get to meet my daughter in 9 weeks and I have always wanted to make a tradition where every morning she writes down something that she is grateful for! After seeing the Sustainabilitree I have decided that this will be how we do it and we will have our own magic tree in the home which we can use to cheer us up and remind us of how lucky we are.

Mine and my dear friend Kat’s ‘heart leaves’

There were also loads of yummy places and things to eat. There was a small fruit juice stand manned completely by under 12’s and they were making an absolute packet. For 50cents you good get a freshly squeezed, homegrown juice (Limeade was amazing) in a reusable plastic cup. After you finished your drink the little greenies washed up the cups and the cycle continued on. A traditional lemonade stand without those nasty single-use plastic cups.

Gorgeous hubby supping away on his Blood Orange and Tangello Juice in a reusable cup!

There were all sorts of amazing cuisines from El Salvadorian food (Tamales and Pupusa’s) to Spanish Quesadilla’s full of spinach and kidney beans and covered in herbs AKA yummy flat things with yummy things on top. But my fave of the day was the all natural icy poles. They had the most amazing flavours from Raspberry and Hibiscus, Salted Caramel and (the absolute winner in my books!) Cucumber, Lime and Chilli. Flavour explosion!

Orange and Rose vs. Cucumber Lime and Chilli… I WIN!

All along the street were educational stalls which not only had the adults looking but seemed to have so many kids interested as well! I feel like I am officially getting old when I start commenting on how great it is to see young kids getting so interested in living sustainably. But hell – get me my walking cane and tea cosy…. if that makes me old I am cool with it. Taking of awesome older folk, I also spied the cutest Sunday Best hats ever…

A young chap pondering the importance of renewable energy!

And of course there were also the Hulbert Street House Tours. Homes literally opened up their doors allowing anyone and everyone inside to inspect how they live and provide inspiration for people to draw upon for their own homes. From edible landscapes to underground water tanks (for particularly squishy urban blocks) these homes really demonstrate that you don’t need to live on a massive plot of land to become largely self-sustaining!

An idea that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED and hope to be able to implement on my own street one day was the book exchange. What a great way to bring a community together and instill a feeling of trust amongst it! Just a simple tin shed, full of books that anyone can borrow at any time. Functioning off a self monitored Honesty Policy I think it may just be the cutest library I have ever visited.

And on top of all that it was just a lovely place to be with family and friends. We were lucky enough to spend with day with a super gorgeous family comprised of my very dear friend Kat (from Eco Empire), her fusband and her mischievous little 4-month Fox. We were able to roam the streets and I even managed to get a roadside tutorial from her about Cloth Nappies – yep, I had never seen (let alone changed) a real life nappy before! I am about to get a baptism of fire. All in all it was a fabulous day. If you haven’t gotten down there before I sincerely recommend you block out some time for next year. It is a wonderful event that really renews your passion and hope in community togetherness.

Me and Kat

A very cute fam!

Oh… neck tickles are just the best!

With my lovebug.

Oh and word to the wise… do not leave anything unattended or you run the risk of … YARN BOMBING.

Sustainability and Health – Learning’s from Perth Green Drinks

On Wednesday (24 August) I attended my first Perth Green Drinks event to watch three panellists discuss a topic of great interest and concern: “Sustainability and Health”. The Green Drinks crew lived up to their mantra ‘conversation, education and community’ and the speakers were fabulous and SO informed – so then, why did I walk away feeling so damn frustrated?

On the way home my husband and I realised why: it was because the solutions that the experts provided for opting out of the chemical maze were not quick fixes. It seems I am another victim of the ‘quick convenient trap’. We are smack bang in the middle of a very sticky web and sadly ‘just look for this little symbol’ doesn’t cut it anymore. Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Like a light switch going off, I felt empowered again.  This is why I want to share the information with you so that if it concerns you as well you can take the necessary steps to leading a toxic free life.

Who, What, Why

The event flyer pointed at the ever increasing links of ‘convenience chemicals’ and the ever declining health of the environment and those that inhabit it. Allotted 10 minutes each the three experts were (drum roll please)…

Jane Bremmer – an environmental health and justice activist. Chair of the Alliance for a Clean Environment and secretary for the National Toxics Network (Australia’s peak toxic and pollution reduction NGO).

Dr. George Crisp – a GP who is WA’s chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia, a voluntary group interested in the relationship between human health and environmental damage.

Dianne Caine –On her crusade to help her daughter survive an inoperable brain tumour, Dianne was alarmed at the level of harmful chemicals in popular products that we use every day. She consequently went on to create her own very successful product range Always Purer.

After they spoke there was a short Q&A session which bubbled over into drinks and nibbles (not very vegetarian/vegan friendly I am afraid). It was a fantastic event and I only have one major gripe: the speakers were all given a plastic bottle of water! Not only is this one of the easiest steps one can take towards being a bit greener but when we are discussing chemicals in products (including BPA in plastic bottles) I found it a very bizarre choice. This being said that is a nitpick (i just found it odd). If you have a chance to get to one of these events make sure you go. The information I have learnt is invaluable (see their Facebook page here).

Here Is What I Learnt…

Where/When Are We Exposed To These Chemicals?

  • Food –pesticides used in agriculture, chemical additives used in production
  • Personal Care products
  • Consumer Goods
  • Environmental exposure (there is no legal requirement to put any signage in a public urban area that is being sprayed with potentially dangerous agricultural chemicals)
  • Medicine

An Overview of Chemical ‘Regulation’ in Australia

The chemical regulation in Australia is complex and fragmented and – let’s face it – a bit of a joke! In fact, chemical regulation in Australia and New Zealand is considered amongst the worst in the world. We have a host of government bodies dedicated to the regulation of them yet when we look at the AICS – the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances – we see that there are a whopping 38,000 chemicals that have not been assessed.

A huge amount of chemicals that we are readily using in Australia are completely banned elsewhere. One example is Dimethyl Fumarate, a mould prevention chemical (fungicide) commonly found in shoes, jackets and furniture. Banned in EU, Used unhesitatingly in Australia.

Who Regulates Chemicals in Australia

The (self-regulated) government bodies that are responsible for the assessment and registration of chemicals within Australia and NZ are as follows;

  • NICNAS (National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme).
  • APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) – The rightly infamous Monsanto lists them under their ‘Who Are We’ section… just sayin.
  • TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration)
  • FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

Luckily, those organisations (ACE and NTN) that Jane is involved in are working towards better accountability, public knowledge and regulation for Australia.

Stockholm Convention and POPs

My completely unscientific interpretation of a POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) is this: a chemical that once created does not ever leave the planet, once ingested never leaves the body. It is rarely naturally occurring more commonly a huge by-product of industry: a Frankenstein. Because these POPs do not breakdown they accumulate in our environment and bodies and are major area of concern in terms of global warming and health. The Stockholm Convention  is a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from them.

 3 chemicals you need to get out of your life RIGHT NOW!

Triclosan – is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical that was originally developed for medical settings. It is now used extensively in hand washes and other personal care products and its overuse has exploded since Swine Flu came about. In Australia we currently have no limitations on its use whereas it is completely banned in Canada and EU and limited in USA.

Triclosan is an endocrine disrupter – which basically means it messes with your hormones in a very scary way. A major area of Global Concern is its link to worldwide trends of antibiotic resistance.  It has also been linked to impairing muscle functions (see the study here) at our current level of exposure.

If Triclosan is affecting humans in this way you can only imagine what happens when it hits the aquatic environment which inevitably all products do! It damages ecosystems and the organisms within them, bioaccumulates and then ends up back in the food chain.

Bisphenol A (BPA) – this is the guy that you hear about the most. He is found in plastic containers, water bottles, canned food and drinks and (alarmingly) baby products. Bisphenol A is another endocrine disruptor: it mimics oestrogen and may fool the body by stimulating reactions that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.  In 2010 all the aforementioned government bodies (in conjunction with ACCC) collectively considered the possible risks of BPA and they remain convinced that BPA is safe for the whole population at the very low levels of current exposure. Canada, Japan and parts of Europe and USA obviously disagree and have banned it in all infant products.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs or PBDEs) – Jane feels that this is the biggest con of our time. These chemicals apparently contribute to public safety by reducing flammability of products like computers, furnishings and mattresses.  Same issues – hormone disruption, environmental damage, stuck record. Following strong evidence of increasing contamination of the environment, wildlife, and people this POP is soon to be phased out under the Stockholm Convention (see it here with the 8 other chemicals added to the annexes).

Before learning about this I had never seriously thought about how important organic materials and mattresses were. I thought you would invest in them as an environmental decision only -which of course is important too – but it is now very clear that there are strong causes for concern regarding our health. We sleep inhaling the chemicals released from these mattresses as well as wrapping our bare skin within then. I am expecting a baby in November and this has hugely affected my decision towards mattress selection.

What can we do?

The resounding pieces of advice from the panel were;

  • Use chemicals as little as possible
  • Read the label

This is the hard bit…

  • Investigate the companies

Apparently even certified organic ingredients can be manufactured in a way that can damage the ingredient and lead to some sort of chemical contamination. What? So even making all the right choices, supporting all the right companies I am not doing enough? I was getting mad. I make all my own beauty products (like this deodorant) and cleaning products from natural ingredients like Bicarb, vinegar and coconut oils. Surely this is okay? Well this is better but we still need to take a serious look into the companies and processes used in the production of products. For example, in terms of Bicarb soda, truly natural products are mined from the ground and are presented as untreated, pure sodium bicarbonate… the way the earth made it. Others however are heated, treated and processed and are therefore not as great.

I calmed myself down and reasoned with myself. I have figured that it goes back to the primary principle of awareness – educate and investigate. But now there is an added dimension. We all need to read our information as critically as possible and try to avoid green-washing (see here). It frustrates me unbelievably that we need to look this damn hard to verify that natural products are what they say. Why is it that we need to prove that big companies are doing the wrong thing? Surely the big companies should have to prove to us that they are doing the right thing? Oh well.

Sum Up

I am sorry if that was incredibly long, wordy and dry. I try to steer away from articles like that but the information I learnt was so shocking and important that I really felt I needed to share it. I hope it helped!  Would love to hear from you in the comments as always. In the meantime I love the way Annie Leonard explains things.. it is light and bright and always provides solutions. Here is here take on the chemicals in cosmetics…

Radio Interview with RTR FM – Living Plastic Free

Sorry about the illustration quality… a quick lunchtime squiggle then rendered with a very outdated Paint program! :)

As I explained in yesterday’s post, I was recently contacted by RTR FM Presenter Peter Barr (Breakfast with Barr) wondering if I would come down to the studio to discuss Plastic Free July. My nerves almost got the better of me but in the end I am so glad I went in and had a chat. Beyond that I am so excited that living plastic free is on the radar!

If you would like to hear the interview the links are below;

Listen – Click here and then click the Listen hyperlink

Transcript Found here!

Interview Introductionhere

Olive on… Radio?

So… I bet you were thinking that now that we are in August my incessant blogging about Plastic Free July would stop? I apologise but it is set to continue for just a smidge longer… though on a different medium this time at least!

On Friday I was emailed by a lovely fellow named Peter Barr, kindly congratulating me on my month of being Plastic Free. What makes this email particularly blog-worthy though is that Peter Barr is the morning presenter on RTR FM (92.1fm) – an independent radio station here in Perth. Much to my surprise (and horror) he has invited me into the Breakfast With Barr studio to chat about the experience and (hopefully) inspire a few people to rethink their plastic habits.

I am ridiculously nervous about the whole affair and shortly after reading the email seriously considered running for the hills… naked and screaming. It just seemed like the right thing to do. But sanity prevailed (this time at least) and I reminded myself that the reason I created this blog in the first place was to start conversations about our habits, create a bit of an online community of information sharing, perhaps offer easy solutions and maybe even (if I really tried hard enough) encourage people to give these little changes a go in their own lives. So I decided that I really had to face my fear of public speaking and jump in.

Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.

~Brendan Francis

Details

The interview was held Tuesday, 7th August 2012 as 8:30am WST on 92.1FM.

Listen to the Interview

The interview has been and gone and I can safely report that it went very well indeed. If you would like to hear a recording of it just click here to get all the links.

Thanks!