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How Meal Planning Can Help Save Our Planet

How Meal Planning Can Help Save Our Planet

Mondays. Some people love them, some people want to skip them altogether.

Out of all the things Mondays represent, our favourite has to do with dinnertime: Meatless Mondays!

There are so many good reasons to consider incorporating Meatless Mondays into your family’s meal rotation and we’ll dive into a couple here.

 

THE ETHICS OF FOOD

There is no point in sugarcoating the truth: 10 billion animals are tortured and killed every year, 97% being farm animals.

In order to meet demand, some factory or large-scale farms keep animals in spaces that are way too small, don’t provide bedding, and often feed them the remains of other animals *

Larger animals=more meat=more money so they’re fed a steady supply of hormones, causing unnatural growth.

Animals that cannot sustain the stress of their living conditions get converted into feed and to combat the aggression and health issues that arise from this lifestyle, the surviving animals also get pumped full of antibiotics and other drugs, all of which are passed on to the consumer.

While there are a multitude of other serious issues with institutionalized cruelty, we’ll spare you the gory details and leave it here- reducing the amount of animal proteins consumed can hugely impact this unethical industry and reduce the amount of toxins passed on to your family; when shopping choose organic to support farms that use kinder practices to raise and slaughter their livestock.

IMPORTANT: * this doesn’t mean that all farmers are like this. The truth is, farming is one of the main reasons that humans have lasted this long. Without agriculture, where would we be? Farmers work long hours, are often underpaid, and care deeply for their animals.

Farmers (especially family-owned farms) deserve our respect. They keep our economy going, our bellies full, and our grocery stores stocked. We are a privileged society here in North America, and we often forget what it would be like without farmers.

This being said, there are, unfortunately, some farms that have horrifying histories of animal abuse and torture, like this chicken farm in Chilliwack, BC. We need to stand up for defenseless animals and condemn these sadistic farmers and workers alike.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Another huge impact to consider is environmental.

While studies have shown that most consumers assume fossil fuels are the higher contributor, agribusiness is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, planes, ships, and trains combined.

Although there is much effort being put into other areas of conservation, there is a huge gap in the livestock sector.

This reluctance is due to the controversy that could arise with governments seemingly telling people how and what to eat.

Disappointingly, developed countries are the highest consumers of livestock while ranking lowest as far as awareness of its environmental impact and willingness to change.

Two 2014 peer-reviewed studies (here and here) calculated that, without severe cuts in this trend, agricultural emissions will take up the entire world’s carbon budget by 2050, with livestock a major contributor. This would mean every other sector, including energy, industry and transport, would have to be zero carbon, which is described as “impossible”.

The Chatham House report concludes: “Dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2°C.”- United Nations University

THE EXPERTS WEIGH IN

Experts have spoken up time and time again about the health benefits of reducing the consumption of animal proteins, particularly red meat.

Add to that the devastating effects the industry has on the environment and the unethical treatment of animals and you have the perfect motivation for Meatless Mondays!

Even this minor change to our purchasing and eating habits can have a large impact collectively. 

SHARE YOUR IDEAS WITH US.

We’ll be following up with a piece on vegan swaps soon to give you some ideas so if you have any tried and true favourites, let us know!

Drop a comment below and we’ll pick some to feature in our upcoming article and newsletter. Also let us know if you’re doing anything to help with either of these causes, we’d love to hear how you effect change as well!

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How To Balance Life With Entrepreneurship & Find Your Soul Purpose

How To Balance Life With Entrepreneurship & Find Your Soul Purpose

No matter what we see on social media, no one has a perfect life. We all want to believe that everyone else is living their #bestlife while we are stuck, wallowing in our misery.

You know what they say: life is what we make it.

Lately, I’ve been dabbling in manifestation, the law of attraction and ancient spirituality as a sort of eat, pray, love life-change. Throughout this journey, I’ve found that we really do have the power to change our lives.

Ahh, the age-old cliche.

If you have gone through hard times recently, you might be rolling your eyes at this point and screaming,

“Screw you, Erin! You don’t know what I’ve been through!”

Well, you’re right. I don’t know your personal story, but I do know mine.

My Story:

As with any human being or living creature on this earth, I have experienced trauma and loss.

I have watched family members develop cancer and friends and family become addicted to cocaine, heroin, and methamfetamine.

I have lived as a low-income family and I have many friends that are struggling to make ends meet.

As a child (and even as an adult) I’ve searched through my kitchen with my stomach rumbling, wondering how I’m going to make it through the week without any food. I’ve survived abusive relationships and situations where I could have easily died.

We all personally know someone that has suffered from insomnia, mental illness, anxiety, health problems, or any other combination of life’s obstacles.

The Cold Hard Truth:

There is no guarantee that life is going to be good to us.

But we do have one guarantee — and that is in ourselves. We really do have the power to turn any situation into a good one, and it all starts within your mind.

As “woo” as that sounds, just hear me out.

You know those nights when you’re screaming into the pillow so hard that your throat closes up, or you’re crying so hard that your eyes are swollen shut?

Whenever I am in those low, low points in life, I have always found positivity by taking time to grieve and wallow, and then by making HUGE goals. I mean goals that seem totally far-fetched but are super inspiring.

As a kid, my goal was to be an archaeologist just like Indiana Jones or a paleontologist like Allen Grant. As I got older, my next dream was to be an animator for Disney. I started applying for colleges and jobs that I was TOTALLY not qualified for, and eventually enrolled in a university that I couldn’t afford, but I made it work somehow.

I lived the “poor college kid” lifestyle for many, many years.

Once I realized that working for Disney was off the table (for the time being, who knows what the future holds), I made a goal to launch the next Bell Media.

I don’t even really know what that means, but I even went around telling people that I was going to have this big, media corporation. I switched my focus in university from anthropology to graphic design, and now I’m a straight-up, full-time founder and CEO.

TL;DR:

My point is — I always made a goal that excited me to my very core, even if I knew it might not have been totally achievable at the time. But by making these gigantic dreams for ourselves, it pushes us to do better.

You’d be surprised what can happen when you push yourself to be your best.

How To Find What You Love (AKA Your Soul Purpose):

It’s also important to find activities that you really love doing.

If you have no idea what you love doing, think back to your best memories as a kid. What did they include?

Were you running around with a fake gun made from a paper towel roll, hiding behind doorways and pretending to be a CIA spy? (Oh, I forgot to mention that I also wanted to be a spy).

Maybe your happiest memories include fishing down at the local stream or watching Star Wars. Maybe your fondest memory is eating pizza and playing cards with the grown-ups. Maybe it’s camping, or exploring, or reading, or flying a kite.

All of these things can tell you something about who you are and who you were born to be. These are hints about your soul purpose.

Take your fondest memories, and ask yourself what about those situations made you happy?

Example: When I would pretend to be a spy, I was really satisfying an interest that I had in being someone important with secret information. I wanted to be irreplaceable, and I wanted to do something that REALLY mattered.

It does take some soul-searching, but once you figure out why you love doing certain activities, I promise your life will drastically improve.

Crush Your Goals with a Side Hustle:

Giving yourself purpose from week to week can improve your productivity and help you achieve these big goals.

If you have a set goal in mind, you can then create a roadmap on how to get there. Start doing activities each week that will propel you closer to your big goal.

If you want to travel to Italy, start taking a side-hustle opportunity twice a month. Use any of those profits to go right into your Italy fund.

You could also pick up a virtual assistant position if you’re good with organization and writing. You could walk dogs if you’re active. You could drive people around on Uber. You could sell items on Craigslist. You could become a brand ambassador. You could clean houses.

It would only take once or twice a month to be able to save a little bit of income here and there. If you have a child, you could probably find childcare just once a month. If not, then find a side hustle where you don’t need to have childcare.

If your obstacle is that you’re too busy, you’ll need to make time otherwise you will never achieve your dreams. Ditch anything else that isn’t necessary in life and pick it back up when life slows down again.

Once you are able to complete your smaller tasks that will lead up to your big goal, you’ll start to feel a sense of accomplishment.

This feeling of positivity, self-love and accomplishment can help you overcome life’s big obstacles by creating a positive place in your mind.

Side Note: Have you read Amanda Lindhout’s memoir, A House In The Sky?

Amanda talks about creating a place in her mind that she calls the house in the sky. She fabricates a place in her mind where she can escape to while she is being held captive and tortured by Somali pirates (HIGHLY recommend this read).

This is an extreme example, but it backs up my point.

If you can create a sense of positivity and a mindset where you can go to feel comfort, you can achieve happiness.

 

Did you find these tips helpful?

What other tips do you have on balancing life with entrepreneurship? Leave a comment below!

Cold & Flu Fighting Smoothie

Cold & Flu Fighting Smoothie

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Flu Season… Yep.

It’s not a super fun part of the holidays but there’s one thing I do (year round, actually) that helps keep the bugs at bay.

Read on to learn how I make sure I’m focusing on carving turkeys (or Tofurky) and sipping eggnog rather than stocking up on tissues and chicken soup!

The Secret:

OK, it’s not a mysterious family secret, passed down from generation to generation, or some magic serum that fends off germs, it’s better: Superfoods.

I drink a green smoothie that is chock-full of nutrients every morning and it has made an incredible difference in my overall health.

Here’s a quick peek at the ingredients I use, but feel free to modify it as you see fit!

  • Spinach – a well known nutritional powerhouse full of Vitamin A, B2, C, K, Magnesium, Manganese, Folate, Iron, Calcium, Potassium and tons of antibiotics.
  • Oranges – Vitamin C bomb!
  • Pineapple – Long revered for its anti-inflammatory properties, this regal fruit also contains potassium, bromalain, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fibre.
  • Turmeric – Also a popular anti-inflammatory resource, turmeric is also known for it’s antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and is rich in vitamin B6, C, and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium.
  • Ginger – This root’s active ingredient is gingerol, famous for its ability to reduce the risk of infections. Also anti-inflammatory.
  • Cayenne Pepper – Disease preventing and health promoting, this pepper is full of Vitamins A, B6, and C, and minerals such as iron and potassium, cayenne boosts immunity, attacks free radicals, and contains anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – The type that is unfiltered and still has the “mother” intact, specifically. ACV contains proteins, friendly bacteria and enzymes, allowing it to kill infectious bacteria, boost immunity, and increase energy. Sometimes I’ll do a shot of this in the morning with a bit of honey and lemon if I can’t get to a whole smoothie.
  • Lemon – High in Vitamin C, lemons are alkalizing, detoxifying and improves digestion (plus literally a ton of other things).
  • Greek Yogurt – Mainly for its probiotic properties but also for its calcium and protein as well!

COLD & FLU FIGHTING SMOOTHIE:

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 C water or coconut water
  • ½ C orange juice or a whole orange
  • 1 C pineapple
  • ½ t ground turmeric
  • 2t apple cider vinegar
  • 1T greek yogurt
  • ½ of a lemon
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper

Blend it all together and enjoy that supported immune system!

*Always use organic ingredients to ensure that harmful pesticides don’t ruin your hard work!

Notes:

I’ll modify based off of what I have on hand but I try to keep most of these ingredients in the pantry.

Feel free to omit or add as you see fit, any combination of these superfood powerhouses will help beef up your immunity, support your other body organs and functions, and keep you hydrated and debloated (so you can eat that pumpkin pie guilt-free!).

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How This Organic Skincare Company is Changing The World, One Bottle of Ethical Argan Oil At A Time

How This Organic Skincare Company is Changing The World, One Bottle of Ethical Argan Oil At A Time

How This Organic Skincare Company is Changing The World, One Bottle of Ethical Argan Oil At A Time

Joèl’s Unconventional Story

I’ve owned a beauty and wellness company for nearly eight years now, but few people would guess that my path toward ethical entrepreneurship actually started in a very frightening and unconventional way.

In fact, I don’t think many people out there can claim that their ethical business started because of a terrible condition affecting their eyelids, but I can! Curious? Let me explain…

I went from looking like my healthy, happy 30 year-old self to looking like a 70 year-old overnight – my eyelids were scaly, red and angry. I had no idea how I would heal my eyelids so they would return to their blessedly normal state.

For anyone out there who’s ever dealt with a skin condition like that – you know how terrifying it can be.

I was not pleased. I was even less pleased to discover that after trying about a dozen products, there was not ONE that helped my eyelids, other than a steroid cream from a doctor – a cream that could only be used for a maximum of 7 days.

I just knew there had to be something better.

And it turns out, I was right.

Who had the secret potion for me? My very own Moroccan mother-in-law. Once I tried her handmade Argan Oil, my scaly and red eyelids miraculously transformed back to their healthy, vibrant, and supple skin in just a few days. Obviously, now all of my friends wanted to get their hands on this ‘miracle oil from Morocco”, too.

That’s when I asked my mother-in-law how much of this stuff she could actually make. She simply answered: “I can make as much as you’d like.”

And we’ve been in business together ever since.

The Green Beauty Movement

This is actually a wonderful time to be in the beauty business. Yes, it’s competitive, but we have the opportunity to work with customers who appreciate what we do – and how we do it.

People like you and me have finally had enough.

We are tired of questionable ingredients.

We are tired of products made in unsustainable work environments. We are tired of nature having to pay the price for our self-care purchases.

The movement toward “green beauty” has been brewing for a while and we believe that this is absolutely something to celebrate. Not only do we now care more about what we put in our bodies with regard to food, but we really care about what we put on them as well.

While this whole approach to beauty and wellness is totally trending now, this was certainly not a thing when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s. We pretty much ate what we pleased and we just picked up whatever personal care products looked and smelled good in the stores.

But meanwhile, data piled up on common, but harmful body care ingredients (think in soaps, lotions and other daily essentials). These problem ingredients are not good for our bodies, they’re not good for the environment, and they’re certainly not good for the humble hands that help make them.

Which sneaky ingredients am I talking about?

I’m talking about possibly carcinogenic parabens, and endocrine-disrupting phthalates, and polluting microbeads. Then there’s the unethical working conditions.  To top it all off, you have the horror of animal testing. I’m not trying to make you depressed – it’s time we wake up and hear the truth behind the beauty industry.

And I have great news: we are not powerless.

How We Can Change the World

It might seem overwhelming and complicated to overhaul your beauty routine to make it green and ethical, but believe me – you can make it easy with the right approach. Here it is: change the world and reveal your healthiest self in the process by swapping your usual conventional picks for their greener, more sustainable alternatives. This has never been easier, or more luscious, than now.

Natural, green, ethical, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free: you no longer have to sacrifice quality and efficacy for beauty picks that are good for you AND the planet.

The thing is, there is no good reason to use harmful chemicals in beauty products in this day and age. Sure, they can be effective to a degree and they certainly are cheap. But there are so many nourishing, highly stable, and totally luxurious ingredients out there to use on our skin, hair and nails that don’t contain anything questionable. Sometimes they may cost a little more, but most, if not all, of us would agree – they are worth it.

Saadia Organics

I run my company, Saadia Organics, from Vancouver but our star ingredient – Argan Oil – is made in Morocco. My mother-in-law, Saadia, is our proud production manager. At Saadia Organics, we choose to do things differently.

Our Values

  • We are socially-conscious and fair-trade. We hire single mothers to hand-press our oil for us in Morocco, ensure that their workplace is private and nurturing, and that their hourly wage is fair and acceptable – by Canadian standards. While many companies of our size will take advantage of lower wages and conversion rates, often paying an equivalent of only $5-10 a day, we at Saadia Organics are proud to provide wages that sit far above the North African average.
  • Our products are eco-friendly. Our Argan Oil is made from the fruit from the Argania spinosa tree that grows in southwest Morocco. We would not be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that our products are harming the Earth, so we strictly prohibit unsustainable harvesting practices: instead, we simply wait for the fruit to fall from the tree. Once it has fallen, we simply gather it from the ground. We also are planting and growing our own trees on the farm that Saadia inherited several years ago.
  • We use only eco-friendly packaging. We do our best to trim away excess, useless packaging and avoid plastic as much as possible. It’s all about sending out things that are reusable and recyclable. There is enough packaging in the world and we refuse to contribute to a growing problem.
  • We are cruelty-free. We are huge animal lovers and would never consider animal testing. Cruelty-free standards can vary from country to country – we hold ourselves to the highest standard and strictly prohibit animal testing of any kind. Instead, we happily test Saadia Organics products on willing friends and family!

How to buy socially-conscious, healthy, and eco-friendly skincare

If you’re ready to do the green beauty swap and buy quality products that do no harm, some research and reading is a must on your journey to a healthier earth – and a healthier you.

Check out the “About Us” page on your new green beauty company finds. Do a quick Google search and read up on their practices.

Ethical businesses are proud of their sustainable and green initiatives. Like us at Saadia Organics, entrepreneurs, doers, and dreamers the world over are creating the new beauty and wellness industry you want and deserve. Let’s work together to change the world, one beauty swap at a time.

 

Comment and tell us what your favourite beauty brands are.

AUTHOR BIO

Joèl Adrienne • Guest Blogger • Saadia Organics

Joèl (pronounced “Joelle”) has been the owner of Saadia Organics Inc. since it was founded in 2011. When she’s not focusing on her beauty and wellness company, she’s hanging out with her husband and two daughters. And she is always amidst planning their next vacation adventure.

Using Psychology to Improve Your Mental Wellness

Using Psychology to Improve Your Mental Wellness

Using Psychology to Improve Your Mental Wellness

It is believed that around 30% of adults suffer from anxiety and depression in the United States, but don’t seek help or even understand the feelings they are experiencing. The problem is, the topic of mental wellness is often avoided out of fear of judgement and a misunderstanding of the implications of being mentally unwell.

The Complexities of Mental Wellness

Fear and misunderstanding cause a stigma around being mentally unwell. The average person doesn’t know how to change it or how to take steps to better their lives. Entrepreneurial women can be especially triggered by being mentally unwell because of all the components in life they are trying to juggle.

Taking the First Steps

When we are ready to make change, we most likely wait for adversity to hit . . . for trauma to build, or for stress and anxiety to become debilitating before we seek help. When we desire to make a change and be healthy through wellness, we tend to sign up for simple things like fitness, yoga, coaching, meditation or therapy.

We need to remember that it is natural to need support and validation, even if it is as simple as a yoga class or time spent meditating. We need inspiration between life’s storms, or even when the sun is shining.

And remember: it’s okay to want extra support at any time in our life. Humans are complex beings and it’s expected that we may go through times in our life where we need extra support.

The Key to Mental Wellness

The key to mental wellness is to be consistently grounded so that when the time comes, we maintain wellness, which means practicing things like:

  • personal development
  • self-care
  • medical health
  • time management
  • spiritual development

When we practice these behaviors regularly, it eliminates the effects of urgency in crisis situations because we are then more prepared and grounded.

Juggling Roles as Entrepreneurial Women

As a woman, mother, sister, entrepreneur, wife, and spiritual woman, my roles are often blurred, my energy is lost and my patience is limited.

Juggling roles like these without a wellness plan in place can cause a breakdown (from mental to physical) that can contribute to things like autoimmune diseases, viruses and even a breakdown of overall health.

How Can We Take Steps to Transform Our Mental Wellness?

When difficult things happen in our lives, it may temporarily take us out of our normal state of mind. In order to maintain mental wellness, our time spent processing needs to be temporary so we can continue working on our journey to success.

While seeking balance throughout important components of our lives, we often lose sight of self care and “maintaining the brain”.

Tip: Transformation is a lifestyle change that begins in the mind.

Examples of changes beginning in the mind are things like deciding that you want to do something new, or starting a new routine and behavior pattern. This can change the trajectory of your life, career and family.

We hear this topic discussed, yet do we execute it like we should?

Next time you realize you need a lifestyle change, try to initiate a change in your mind like trying something out of the ordinary. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

What are your favourite steps to take to improve your mental wellness? Leave a comment below!

The 4 Components Needed to Improve Mental Wellness:

These components need to be maintained to make sure that mental wellness is not compromised and that we are living up to our full mental capacity:

  • Feeding the brain (knowledge, devotion, inspiration)
  • Resting the brain (relaxation)
  • Exercising the brain (professional and personal development)
  • Social development (interacting with others)

It’s also important to note that mental wellness is affected by things like:

  • Physical wellness
  • Environmental factors
  • Familial dynamics
  • Employment
  • Societal expectations

How to Start Improving Your Mental Wellness

Self-care is a concept that is often discussed yet rarely implemented. It is essential for us (entrepreneurs specifically) to learn to take care of ourselves first now, not after we are diagnosed with something that will lead to a separate wellness plan.

Transformation starts with a mentality to have a successful mind, body and spirit. To implement a transformation of your mental wellness, I recommend starting with a vision board, a journal, or some other way of recording your desires. This will help you reflect later on the success of change.

To set yourself up for mental success and happiness, learn from your past and enjoy your present as it comes, and always prepare for a successful future.

Do you have any specific tips on how to maintain a healthy mind, body or spirit?

Comment below and tell us your thoughts!

 

AUTHOR BIO

Anika Wilson • Nobody Greater LLC • Guest Blogger

Anika Woods-Wilson is a transformation and success coach focusing on the mental wellness and well-being of individuals in entrepreneurial journeys and in seasons that led to the need for healing. Transforming into who you are destined to be is more than an vision, it’s a lifestyle change. Anika is an expert and walks with you, using the secret tools to faster results.

 

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