The Age Of Overwhelm: How Meditation Could Save Your Mental Health

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Something’s up. 

It’s definitely not just me. It seems that these days every conversation I have with people contains an undercurrent of ennui… or fear… or confusion… or blatant, downright frustration. 

Some are frustrated with the anti-vaxxers. Some are the anti-vaxxers. Some are tired of being called anti-vax when they simply want to go visit their family. There are political leftists who wonder when the Left became the bad guys and are shocked to find that they are now relating to the Conservatives’ concerns around civil liberties. There are the right wing Christians who are positive it’s the End Times but they are mortified to see that the Liberal wolf crying about the environment all this time is what eventually caused it. Wasn’t climate change a hoax? What happened…? 

The OG hippies themselves, Jonie Mitchell and Neil Young have officially ditched the concept of Freedom of Speech and left Spotify in protest of a wrestler slash podcast host who dared to ask for a second opinion on easily the most controversial topic currently available to discuss. Ava DuVernay and India Arie followed them in solidarity. Isn’t that censorship? Or… censorship is OK as long as we are censoring the opinions that social media has deemed false… for now. Except that the storyline is already shifting. 

So who has the actual info then? Whose job is it to find it… political leaders? Aren’t they in bed with Big Pharma though? Or…? Who is the American president again? Wait… was Trump a good guy? THAT can’t be right… right? 

The head honcho of Canada, forever seen as the peacekeeping nation and almost too polite on the world stage… is now known for calling a State of Emergency while the world watches him have peaceful protesters arrested and pepper sprayed. Modern day celebrities like Elon Musk and news sites around the world are siding with a trucking convoy that spanned the second largest country on the planet. Which is amazing, but that’s a lot of trucks… and a massive carbon footprint, right? So is that good… or bad?

China and Russia are getting along. Scary. But don’t we want everyone to get along? Has anyone actually seen them do anything to be scared of yet? But…haven’t we seen this before someplace?

…and didn’t China create the virus that has had the world in lockdown for two years? Or was that the US and Fauci…? It’s difficult to say now because we all know that mainstream media can’t be trusted. But independent media is super sketchy. Isn’t it? Or…?

And then there is our personal day to day, which was already… a lot. Make sure you eat well, but not almond milk or quinoa, because that’s bad for the environment. But milk is worse for the environment, so… I think? Tofu for sure is out, it mimics estrogen and causes some sort of medical issue. But only in men. Except that that was disproven. I think. But definitely eating less meat is important. 

A few years ago I took up meditation. I was on the verge of homelessness because I lived in a house that was falling apart, in a gorgeous small town in the mountains that was somewhat like paradise, if you were lucky enough to find a house to live in. AirBnB had effectively eaten up all the rental homes in the area and so everyone who was fast enough bought everything available on the market. Overnight there were simply no places to live. I was talking to a good friend and she told me, straight up. Meditate.

Of course I had no idea how that would solve the housing issue. It didn’t. But what it did do, was teach me to get off of the merry-go-round of desperation I was on. I had become so accustomed to living in a state of stress and worry that I didn’t even know how stressed I actually was. The act of intentionally just sitting in silence was an incredible tool I was able to leverage my sanity with. At the time I didn’t realize quite how meditation can save your mental health in such a powerful way.

It took some practice. You have no idea how important your grocery list is until you try to quiet your mind. That thing you couldn’t remember earlier in the day… or week? It’s suddenly right there, front and center, and it’s apparently vital that you attend to it immediately. More than anything else, the first year of meditating for me was an exercise in realizing that my perspective was so far off base I could no longer remember which way was up. If one has no sense of direction in life, how is one meant to survive? Let alone thrive. It took that full year for me to realize that I even was meditating. I was spending all of my time trying to quiet my mind and then suddenly one day halfway through practice, I realized my inner voice had simply given up. I obviously was not going to play, so it had taken its toys and gone home. 

Then something lovely happened. 

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Captured by Bekir Donmez

Peace is an interesting thing. It’s not very dramatic. It’s… anti-dramatic. In a world where we obsess over lipgloss releases and celebrity breakups, where we consider warfare to be entertainment and we rate movies on how much of the budget was allocated to the pyrotechnics team, peace is… weird. It might even be kind of uncomfortable at first, but in that same way that your first crush is uncomfortable. You spend all of your time coveting it, not even knowing what you are actually so excited about until one day you look up into the eyes of the only person in the world that matters. It’s like that, but you are that person. 

I now understand how monks and nuns and monkeys are truly content devoting their lives to temple prayer. A day spent in quiet contemplation of the universe would not be a wasted day provided you had a secure roof over your head and food for the table. Meditation gives you superpowers. In fact, I’ll bet those monks could levitate if they wanted to. It’s probably their sense of humility that keeps them from floating around on clouds. I’m a ways off from that yet but I definitely have mysteriously acquired a healthier sense of Self. My clarity and sense of worth has returned almost to the levels of arrogant teenager Me. However unlike my teen self, I am now allergic to drama. 

This says a lot. 

(I suppose you had to know me as a teenager to know why this says a lot.)

I’m not one of those “everyone should do this” people about most things. About anything really. I believe that everyone should do yoga, but you won’t really hear me say that unless it comes up organically in conversation. I think neural feedback is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever invested in, but I don’t really tell anyone that doesn’t ask. My mother? Ohhh… she has that whole “it’s amazing, just do it!” thing down to a fine science. Not in an MLM way, nooo she does it in a fine tuned ninja seed planting way. She will just put the kale in your fridge without you even knowing she visited. But I digress. My point is that I generally avoid preaching at all costs. I do however think that every single person on the planet, and probably some of those monkeys, should meditate. Everyone would get something slightly different out of it, but it would all be good. 

It’s very difficult to explain the experience really to anyone who hasn’t become somewhat adept, but that adept point is still in the beginner phase. And like any daily practice, you only get better at it. You can sit for five minutes each morning or you can sit on your silk pillow in front of your personal altar burning incense and listening to a singing bowl if you wish. It doesn’t really matter how you incorporate meditation into your lifestyle, but it is something I think everyone would benefit from. The benefits are easy to list, and  there are a plethora of studies showing how meditation can save your mental health. It would be difficult today to escape hearing about how meditation lowers stress, helps you get better sleep, develops concentration and focus, self-discipline and positive mood / mindset. Everywhere you look, from Forbes to YouTube, you will find lists of all the goodness that comes from meditation along with guides, special music or soundbaths while stores now sell meditation specific eyemasks, lighting and even scented meditation candles.

The obvious consumer culture irony aside, this attests to the fact that meditation has become more popular and definitely more mainstream. In fact, a plethora of CEOs and Silicon Valley gurus have come forward to say that meditation has been the secret ingredient of their success. Quiet self-reflection is no longer the property of woo woo zen types, it has officially been co-opted by the suits, who are now regularly found in team building retreats doing breathing exercises and cold plunges. Best selling books abound in Barnes & Noble and on the NY Times lists, and you know what? All of this is a good thing. Slightly unexpected and a little forced perhaps, but also, I get it. It is, after all, why I’m sharing my own thoughts around becoming more attuned and hopefully enlightened. Even just a bit less stress in life is a good enough reason for most. 

That voice still shows up, especially if I miss a day (or three) of daily meditation, but it doesn’t usually stick around long. I have learned to treat it patiently like a four year old. Sometimes you need to sit with it and listen to it talk about the day it had, or spend time pretending to know what it has drawn for you while it explains the truly important parts of life and existence, but you know that the sense of serenity that follows its departure is worthy of the investment. In a world that just seems so fractured and chaotic that you often can’t see straight, when you come out the other side with more clarity, calm and self love, you know that you are on the right track.  

 

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How Camping Can Help You Reconnect with Nature

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Not everyone is a fan of camping, but the truth is that this is one of the healthiest hobbies you can have. It provides a chance for you to spend quality time honing skills in the open air and explore areas you’ve never visited before. What’s even more important though, it also gives you a chance to reconnect with nature. So many of us have lost part of that connection over the years as we’re so focused on our work and family, and spend so much of our time on indoor activities. Let’s say you are one of those people (ahem) who is perhaps not an avid camper. If you are one of those people who are, say, curious… but so far have considered a BBQ on the back deck “the Great Outdoors” we are here to tell you that if you start camping more than before, you’re going to notice how amazing the nature around you is and how much joy it can provide you.

Discovering new areas

No matter where we live, the chances are we know exactly where our favorite markets, clubs, restaurants and fast food joints are, but do we know anything about the area right outside our towns? Probably not, because we’ve never been interested in exploring anything that’s outside our comfort zone.

Well, camping is perfect for that, and stepping out of your comfort zone is just one of the benefits. Others include reconnecting with your friends and family, learning more about yourself and the world around you, getting some exercise and boosting your serotonin levels. Good things.

New ways of traveling

How to reconnect with nature

When planning their family holiday, many people prefer going to the seaside, visiting a famous city or going somewhere far from their home. These are all legitimate ways of traveling, but aren’t the only ones – you can also consider camping as an option.

Whether you’ve already done this or not, camping can give you all the relaxation and excitement you’re looking for in a holiday, but it’s going to be much cheaper than all other options. Also, camping in nature will help you feel happier and (provided you bring a decent sleeping mat and bag) sleep better than ever before, and that’s something we all need.

Combine camping with other activities

If you’re not the biggest fan of camping, you can always add in other activities – swimming, snorkeling or riding a bike, for instance. All you need to do, though, is find a location that’s somewhere between a campsite and a seaside resort. Look for places that offer a camping combo service if you would like a bit of help getting your feet wet (although we HIGHLY recommend keeping your feet dry when camping!).

As long as you are not in a major metropolis, you can probably find a place fairly local to help facilitate the right trip for you. And if you are die hard about the experience, then go ahead and travel a bit. From Glamping to full on catch your dinner experiences, there really is something for everyone. From hiking the West Coast Trail in Canada to the  Sunshine Coast  in Australia full of amazing camping landmarks, tourists can always find new spots when thinking about their holidays. Powys in the Dyfi Forest offers luxury glamping in the UK for the reeeeally trepid. Conversely, if you head to Cambodia and hit up a certain canteen you can find a guide who will take you through the jungle with a knife and a compass and show you how survivalism is truly done. Find a place that fits your needs and maybe take baby steps if you need to.

Learn more about yourself

How to reconnect with nature

Being away from home and your comfort zone means you’ll have to do things you normally wouldn’t – from sleeping on an uncomfortable bed to researching and looking for edible plants you could include in your meal. These things are never easy, but they can be good for your resilience, and they help you learn more about yourself. Of course you don’t want to go looking to stress yourself out in your daily life. However putting yourself under duress can have benefits. You never know how strong you are until you overcome adversity. So if you are meh about camping this can be a good fix. You may be surprised though. Once you reconnect with nature you may find that you love it. You may find it invigorating and inspiring.

You’ll never know if you’re capable of enduring camping or not if you don’t try it. And by putting yourself in this situation, you’ll learn how to depend on nature more than before and connect to it on a deeper and more meaningful level.

Appreciate the little things

When you’re camping, you’re not just far away from your home, but from all your devices, appliances, gadgets and other perks of modern life. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some of these things with you when you’re camping – on the contrary, a durable smartphone and some solar charges are some of the essential gadgets every camper needs – but you’ll definitely have to adapt to this new way of existing for a bit.

This is particularly visible when you’re preparing food or washing your clothes, and unless you’ve arrived at your campsite in an RV, you’ll probably have to do that by hand. This may be harder than you’ve thought, but it’s still a great way to start appreciating the little things in life and paying more attention to nature than yourself. Trust us, you will return home with an entirely new relationship to hot water and plumbing!

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Everything You Need to Know About Astragalus Benefits

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In its natural habitat, Asia, the astragalus plant thrives. Huang qi (yellow leader), as it’s known in China, is regarded as one of the most significant plants in Chinese traditional medicine. The yellow root, by which it got its Chinese name, is the portion of the plant that is utilized medicinally. Are you interested in learning more about this plant which is little known to the Western world? We will acquaint you with the amazing benefits of astragalus and how to incorporate it into your own healthy lifestyle. Continue reading to learn more.

 

It can boost your immunity

In alternative medicine, astragalus is often used to boost the immune system. Clinical studies reveal that astragalus not only stimulates the immune system, but also increases the activity, development, and function of immune cells (such as T-cells, natural killer cells, macrophages, and antibodies) in the body. Astragalus may be able to stimulate immunological cells from a state of slumber to a more active condition. Studies have shown an increase in macrophages (immune cells that consume foreign antigens to prevent infection) after astragalus use. The immune system’s natural killer cells are also five to six times more equipped to take on foreign invaders. So, if you’d like to prepare your immune system for the battles to come, astragalus is a great choice.

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Captured by Shane Piamonte

It can improve your heart health

Astragalus benefits include heart health. It may be utilized to treat a variety of heart disease problems. In theory, it might reduce blood pressure via a mild diuretic effect, as well as by relaxing blood vessels. Astragalus has also been shown to have cardioprotective properties, preventing the formation of plaque in the arteries and reducing artery constriction. Decreased triglyceride counts and blood pressure are also among this herb’s benefits. 

It can better your complexion

Amino acids are found in abundance in the astragalus root. Astragalus and its compounds are recognized to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are helpful for skin health, according to scientific research. Anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-wrinkle properties of astragalus are just some of the ways in which this herb may assist your skin health. Our body’s ability to resist inflammation is greatly enhanced by the high polysaccharide content of the astragalus. In addition, astragalus benefits and regulates blood flow in areas of the skin that have been damaged. These all work together to speed up the healing process resulting in exceptional skin. Dermatitis lesions may be improved by astragalus root extract, which also alleviates psoriasis symptoms by reducing skin redness and irritation.

How to use astragalus and where to find it

Nowadays, astragalus benefits are easy to add into your lifestyle. It is available in powder, pill, and tincture form. Choosing the appropriate form of astragalus depends on your health issues and your lifestyle. Traditionally, astragalus is prepared as a decoction in Chinese medicine. Usually, the root is boiled in some water and then strained. Other herbs are often a part of the recipe, depending on your condition. Some experts suggest just sprinkling a few bits of raw astragalus into your cup of tea or other hot beverage. You’ll be happy to know that it’s acceptable to use it every day as a part of your tea drinking ritual. When using it for medical reasons, always visit a doctor of Chinese medicine before. They will know which exact form of astragalus will bring the best results. They may even treat you with some other herbs in combination or without astragalus if the doctor decides it’s better suited for your condition. 

 

Important precautions

In traditional Chinese medicine, because they may result in stagnation and “fuel” the sickness, tonic herbs like astragalus are not recommended when someone has a fever or autoimmune disease. Furthermore, astragalus should not be taken by people who are expecting a child or nursing. If you are currently taking any medicine and considering taking astragalus, seek medical advice or consult a pharmacist to ensure there are no complications. Obviously, as with any wild harvesting, be sure you are very familiar with the plant variations before ingesting or using medicinally. There are types of astragalus that are toxic and look very similar to those used for health purposes. 

 

As a super-plant astragalus benefits your health and immune system. From improved circulation to glowing skin, astragalus is used for a variety of reasons. No matter how you incorporate it into your routine or what your health concerns are, don’t forget to consult with a medical expert before you experiment with this supplement. 

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Playing Footsie: The Best Ethical Socks For Trendy Toes That Do Good

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What are the best trendy ethical socks for your everyday needs? No longer is your only option for socks the long, white tube sock option of the past. As a professional, you do not have to settle for black dress socks or opt for no-shows because that is considered the most fashionable option. And you can even find socks that tick off more boxes than you knew could apply to socks! Sustainable fibres, ethical outlooks and just plain cool socks are pretty easy to find these days. Today, crazy footwear is hot, allowing you to express who you are and show off all the best aspects of your personality. Why not go ahead and hop on the crazy and creative sock bandwagon and take advantage of the eclectic styles found from retailers like URU, Thought Co. or Elite Sports Socks and similar retailers? It does not matter if you want to show off your political beliefs, your rebellious spirit, or your love for someone special, socks are a smart way to go. Who doesn’t need more socks?

Socks with Famous Paintings

When it comes to fun and interesting socks, what is better than a pair that lets you express your artistic side? Today, a hot sock trend is to wear cozy knee-highs with printed images of the most famous artwork in the world. It doesn’t matter if you choose Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” or Van Gough’s “Starry Night,” there is a pair for any masterpiece you like. With these socks, you will look cultured and your feet will be nice and cozy.

Avocados, Tacos, Pizza and Other Popular Food Items

For some reason even foods get their fifteen minutes. most people still agree on what the best of the best foods are. From avocados and tacos to pizza and candy, these tasty and delightful favourites have now been featured on socks. Why not show off your favorite food on your socks? You can find an array of fun patterns or funny slogans, such as “if you can read this, bring me tacos” on the soles of the feet.

Sloth Socks

Believe it or not, sloths have beat out unicorns as being the “it” animal for 2020. This year there seem to be more people than ever before who are gravitating to the laid-back attitude of Mr. Sloth. The saying of “live slow, die whenever,” is considered the flagship of a carefree lifestyle that so many people are seeking in this new decade. This specific chill mammal spends most of its day upside down, in a tree. Most people find the sloth’s relaxed disposition and connection with nature appealing.

Next up… flamingos.

Political Patterns

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Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, has developed quite a reputation for his bold footwear. In fact, he has been seen at press conferences and global summits across the globe wearing all sorts of crazy socks. Since this started, the demand for novelty socks has been boosted too. We might not approve of him, but we approve of his sock sense.

From conference halls to the street in your local neighborhood, politically inspired socks are becoming more and more popular. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to promote awareness or make a statement about a certain social issue, they are a fun way to do just that.

Sports

Do you have a certain sports team that you love? If so, why not show off your dedication to them on your feet? Today, you can find every type of sport highlighted on footwear.

Socks might seem like an odd place to look for ways to do good. There are a few brands out there though who make an effort. With a bit of digging you can usually find a company in any genre that aligns with your values. For example, purchasing these fun custom sports socks from Elite Sports gives to Cancer Research.

Or Just Fun Prints

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URU’s Solosocks mean that if you lose one you don’t have to throw the other away! Genius.

As you can see, fun, novelty socks have gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years. If you are ready to join this trend, there are more than a few options you can choose from, as seen here. Find your favourite and then wear them with pride. The great selection of designs out there are endless and getting crazier all the time. Find some fun for your wardrobe and do good at the same time! There are so many options out there now for great eco and ethical socks options that you really can find just the right thing to fit your personality and show it off.

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5 Keys to Holistic Natural Weight Loss

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If you are looking to adjust your body weight as part of a healthier lifestyle holistic weight loss may be an option. Weight loss is always a huge topic. It’s one of the most searched keywords on Google and is one of the most profitable industries on the planet. But this should tell you something. First it tells you that people are frustrated with their health, their bodies, and looking for better solutions. Second, it tells us that there is an entire industry benefiting from that frustration. And anytime there is an industry that is benefitting, you have to be wary about letting that industry educate you on “what’s best”. Weight loss is such a complex issue that there is definitely no “one size fits all” approach. One has to look at everything from insulin resistance to hormone balance to find what works for their own body and lifestyle, but it really can feel like an uphill battle when our society and daily routines work against us.

Sometimes it is best to step back and look at things as a whole puzzle with many pieces that need to work together harmoniously. This is called a “holistic” way of addressing a situation. Holistic medicine sees a person as a whole being, which means that it prioritizes the cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. This whole body-mind approach is exactly why holistic health is a huge deal across the world these days. Here are five keys to holistic weight loss you should know about if you have had mental or physical blocks to getting back into shape or finding your health.

Positive messages are a huge part of holistic weight loss

Most diets and fitness messaging can have the effect of turning food into your enemy. This can be an extremely challenging process – especially because as living creatures we always been strongly connected to what food symbolizes in our lives. Starting from birth we attach all sorts of messages to food and nourishment. As a baby the only way to express hunger is to cry. If those cries are met with any kind of negativity this impacts our mental health. Beginning as a toddler we associate celebration with foods that are bad for us – birthday cakes, holiday desserts, Valentines chocolate, Halloween candy etc. along with being rewarded with sweets or snack foods. We learn from the start that if we are feeling bad, the way to feel loved and celebrated is to eat sugar. Alternatively we watch movie heroines bury their breakup blues in pints of ice cream and all of Instagram for some reason seems to think a pumpkin spiced latte is a way to prove social status.

This attack on food also goes for all those people who tend to either punish themselves for their bad dietary choices or use food as a way of self-control. It’s also important to understand that people whose parents used food to instil discipline or change their childrens’ behavior are highly likely to be obese as adults. However, you must know that this is entirely reversible and positive messages are one of the best ways to break this pattern. Studies show that affirmations work to adjust our mental space. It doesn’t happen overnight but putting some effort into your self talk can have extremely healthy and far reaching implications to your psyche and emotional well being. You could start with writing down phrases such as ‘I am in control my eating habits’ or ‘I’m proud that I ate responsibly today’, which can reinforce positive behaviour and gradually take your relationship with food to a whole new level. Speaking them out loud to yourself helps to rewire the brain to feel  empowered, rather than threatened by eating choices. Your  mind will shift from feeling burdened by lack of willpower, to realizing that you are in control. Add messages such as “I am enough” and “I am beautiful” to the mix and you will eventually redefine how you feel about your body. Write the messages on the mirror. In red lipstick for emphasis.

Meditation for healthy body + soul

In case you aren’t familiar with it, meditation is a mental exercise that involves focus, relaxation, and awareness. Many people will agree that meditation to the mind is the same thing as physical exercise to the body, which is a good enough reason to give it a try.  This amazing holistic technique will help you become more mindful and recognize your feelings and thoughts with success. This is of the utmost importance when you’re trying to lose weight and regain health. For example, binge eaters who struggle with problematic emotions often use food to deal with those emotions. If you’re one of them, meditation can help you figure out when you’re really hungry or when you’re feeling a need for something else but replacing that need with the feeling of hunger. It can also help you identify the underlying causes of overeating, which is often essential for your weight-loss process. With time and practice, meditation can actually diminish or even eliminate the traumas or poor habits that have led to making unhealthy choices in the first place. It is a powerful tool that also addresses more than simply diet obviously, and this can only be a good thing. The more you come into alignment with yourself the better you treat yourself in every aspect. You feel less stress overall and you deal with stressful situations more easily. As stress is one of the biggest factors in weight gain and the difficulty in maintaining a healthy body mass, especially as we age, this can be key to natural holistic weight loss.

Embrace organic foods and natural supplements

When it comes to holistic weight loss, it must be pointed out that your diet should encompass mostly organic foods, as well as natural supplements that don’t feature any artificial ingredients. Organic foods differ from conventionally-grown foods in many aspects. First, because these were grown with the specific methods of bio-farming that exclude harmful chemicals and other toxic substances. These are, therefore, much healthier and more environmentally-friendly, which makes them beyond perfect when you want to lose weight holistically because they maintain their intended nutrient dense state with nothing added that will impede health. Often people think that buying organic is complicated. However when you take the quality of food and the availability of nutrients in organic over “conventional” or modern and unhealthy farming standards into account it’s a no brainer. Unfortunately the reality is that gram for gram your consumption of toxins and the low quality of nutrients in non-organic produce and food products works against your health. Eating organic means you don’t need to eat as much to reach your nutrient goals and you are not putting your body under duress with a constant onslaught of yuck. A great life hack for this is to learn about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen so you know which fruit and veg you can buy as non organic that will be on the healthier end of the spectrum if you can’t find organic options easily.

Using natural supplements is a great way to kick off the weight-loss process – especially if you love to work out or exercise. Look for naturally sourced supplements that have a science verified backing if possible such as yohimbe. a supplement that comes from a tree in Africa and has been proven in studies to have multiple positive effects. Another one to try is a tumeric supplement, which has numerous benefits, one of which is improving metabolic function to support healthy weight management. It is made even more powerful when combined with black pepper. Apple cider vinegar is a great metabolic jumpstarter and has multiple positive effects on the body overall including creating a more alkaline system which helps with inflammation. Truth be told however, this is one that takes some getting used to. We find that watering it down and adding a bit of apple juice can help to down it with minimum face contortion. There are many more natural products that can help your body with the metabolic process and make holistic weight loss more efficient.

Self-monitoring is crucial too

Even though it probably seems a bit redundant, we must say that self-monitoring is a very important part of the holistic weight loss. Keeping a food journal is a great way to start, as well as engaging in other techniques that will allow you to monitor your eating habits and help you become more aware of what you’re actually consuming. For example, seeing a list of everything you’ve eaten throughout a day might surprise you. When we eat something we often ignore the sauces, condiments and things we add without thinking. We think of the three cups of coffee but ignore the three teaspoons of sugar we put in them. When we add those to the teaspoon of sugar in the pasta sauce we put on the spaghetti, which your body breaks down akin to sugar, you begin to realize that you are consuming things that you didn’t necessarily realize. As you learn more about how the body’s digestive system works you can be proactive in how you approach your diet.

Another tool that can be helpful is a fitness app. But not in the way you might think. For decades people have thought that calorie counting is the key to losing weight, but that’s not actually the case. Calories are not bad, they are simply a measurement of how much energy your body will derive from that food. To get through a day your body needs a certain number of calories to burn and every body is different. Age, gender, genetics, activity level and dietary choices all combine to create specific blueprints for each person. We all need calories, however there is a massive difference between how your body uses that energy and how it stores the excess depending on where those calories are coming from. Obviously the calories derived from broccoli are superior in nutrient content than from a bag of Doritos. When you start to actually put your attention on the quality of foods, the ingredients and the level of processing that goes into them, you will see yourself making changes. Out of respect for yourself you will begin to make better educated, more conscious diet choices. A fitness app is usually designed to count calories but if you use one that also divides up your input into sodium, carbohydrates, fats etc then you will find it easier to break down how your food choices were processed and it becomes a fairly simple practice to replace the least healthy ones with healthier versions.

Understanding more about the foods that you are eating and being more mindful of your habits can help you stop eating more and avoid additional trips to the kitchen. Apart from that, it will also encourage you to reflect on your emotions and results associated with your diet, so include your moods, your schedule and your energy levels throughout the day when filling it in and making notes. You can find simplified ways of doing this by using a bullet journaling method. This attention to detail may be extremely helpful when it comes to keeping up with your weight-loss process as well as reflecting on other areas of your life such as productivity and maintaining positive emotional space for yourself. You should remember that self-monitoring is closely intertwined with meditation and positive messages, so bear that in mind and you’ll see fantastic results.

Don’t forget to exercise regularly

Needless to say, physical activity is an important part of any weight-loss process – including a holistic one. So, if you want to shed those few pounds and feel better in your skin, it’s important to adopt a positive view on exercise. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to  immediately become a member of your local gym – those surely aren’t for everyone, so don’t feel obliged to do so. Intense workouts and crowded gyms aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s perfectly OK to skip those altogether and opt for something different that might suit you better. All exercise is essentially is movement.  For example, yoga is a great choice for beginners. Apart from its numerous often discussed health benefits, it can also help you relax, lower your stress levels, and boost your mood, which are the key elements to maintaining health and yet are advantages that are often overlooked. Find a yoga studio near your home or simply start practicing it alone or with your best friend in your living room. Go for walks or hikes outdoors and connect with nature. Ride a bike or go swimming. Borrow a neighbour’s dog and explore your own neighbourhood. Dance! There are limitless options and it’s a great idea to switch things up to keep yourself inspired, using various muscle groups, and especially… interested. Trust us when we say that it’s a small step that’ll make a huge difference.

 

There are so many things that contribute to holistic weight loss and a healthier approach to life overall, but these five are possibly the most important ones you should bear in mind. So, if reaching and maintaining a healthy body is a goal you want to achieve, remember that success is about a whole outlook and changing your mental perspective. The changes you make to your mental space will translate to your physical one.

 

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5 Best Things to Do When Visiting New Zealand

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Did you know that New Zealand is probably the least corrupt country in the whole world? We concede that Iceland may compete for that title, but let’s just say that we think they are pretty cool, as far as countries go.  To its credit, it also has no snakes (except for the ones in zoos), it has appointed an Official National Wizard, and about a third of the country consists of protected national parks. It’s completely bonkers. It’s so cool that Gabe Newell decided to mass transport a large chunk of his staff there on a vacation from their home base of Seattle, then during the pandemic when everyone went into lockdown and they were stuck there, they simply decided to change home bases. In fact, they were shown such amazing hospitality, that he and his company Valve Corp. threw the locals a big music festival before they left to head back to the U.S. as a parting thank you gift.

It’s also one of the most beautiful, untouched, intact places on earth.

With vast green stretches of untouched nature, wildlife adventures, creative cuisine, and luxurious vineyards, New Zealand is just the place for a travelling wanderer to get their next fill of zen. It’s the perfect country to visit for adventurers who seek to enjoy nature in a completely absorbing manner.

If you’re planning your very first trip there, we’re going to make your vacation even better by giving you a few suggestions on what to see once you get there.

Hike to your heart’s content

If you’re into hiking, you’re going to love New Zealand. The whole country is crisscrossed with hiking trails, and each one is more gorgeous than the last. You can walk the Routeburn Track on the South Island if you want to walk through valleys and see a lot of glittering lakes. Or try the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a 37-mile long hiking trail that can take anywhere from three to five days to finish. It’s a commitment but it will take you next to golden-sand beaches, jade-coloured ocean waters, and lush green flora.

If you want to explore the North Island, then we suggest walking the Lake Waikaremoana track, which follows the shoreline of Lake Waikeremoana. If you want to mix a boat adventure with your hiking, then take the Whanganui Journey, which is best enjoyed in a kayak or a canoe.

Explore Auckland

If you’re not sure where to go on your first trip, start here. When it comes to destination New Zealand, Auckland has a little bit of everything and the best way to see it is to just drive through the city and let your intuition guide you. From parks and gardens on Rangitoto Island to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, the culture and vibe of Aukland is extremely unique and inviting wherever you end up.

History buffs and art lovers will have plenty to see, but if you’re looking for a little bit of a culinary adventure, then why not go on a food tour through downtown and try a selection of cheese, seafood, honey, chocolate, and excellent beer? We think that they only logical explanation of New Zealand not being in the media much regarding their culinary prowess is due to their own habit of downplaying their own amazingness. Also because, let’s be honest, it’s a bit out of the way.

Visit the vineyards

If you want to take home a bottle of wine and relax as you stroll through long stretches of fragrant vineyards, then we recommend the Obsidian Vineyards on Waiheke Island. It’s just a 40-minute ride from Auckland, and the island is beautiful. Besides the vineyards, there are plenty of high-end restaurants, local fish and chips stands, and walking trails to keep you entertained. You can also visit Onetangi or Palm Beach.

Experience sunrise at Cathedral Cove

Need a perfect place to propose to someone? Even if you don’t, you’ll definitely want to see the Cathedral Cove because it’s one of the most romantic spots in the world – where there isn’t a crowd of tourists there, that is. To enjoy this enchanting, famous cave without annoying crowds, get there early – early enough to see the sunrise. Cathedral Cove is located at Hahei, which is only 10 minutes away from Hot Water Beach.

Soak in a hot pool

There are quite a few hot pool springs around New Zealand, and a lot of them are easily accessible. We recommend the Kerosene Creek, found in Rotorua. It’s not just a hot spring – it’s a naturally hot waterfall. If you want a simple hot pool, then visit the Lake Taupo Hot Springs. If you’re looking for a little luxury, then check out the Franz Josef Hot Pools where you can rent a private pool just for you and whoever you decide to take with you.

While we wouldn’t exactly recommend New Zealand to someone who’s looking for wild nightlife and nonstop parties, the country does offer a well-rounded experience for foodies, nature enthusiasts, and adventurers. If you want a vacation that will rejuvenate you, then this is definitely the place to choose.

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INTERVIEW: MIKAGE SHIN About Attitude & Sustainability

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Mikage Shin was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1991.

She is an aspiring designer for Japan who is rapidly making her way mark within the underground fashion scene. Even though she came to New York in 2017, Mikage has already achieved NYFW, VFW, Miami Fashion Week, Hotel Asia Art Fair 2019’s special exhibition successfully. MIKAGE SHIN works were on VOGUE ITALIA, Teen VOGUE, Refinary 29, L’OFFICIEL LITHUANIA and more. On December 31, 2018, her fashion show was also featured by NY1 Spectrum News.

In Mikage’s childhood, her Japanese father and her Korean mother divorced. Mikage and her sister were taken by the mother, and she began to think about―what was the best life for women, what was the importance of nationality, what was the identity―? From these backgrounds, Mikage has been highly interested in social problems. Mikage had challenged lots of social actions since she was in senior high school.

In addition to that, she was really into another thing―FASHION. Mikage was impressed by various fashion styles that could change a person’s impression completely different. Thanks to fashion, she found that what she liked could shape her real identity. It is not decided by nationality, age, and social status. You can be what you want to be by yourself. Mikage could gain self-confidence through fashion.

In 2014, Mikage graduated from Waseda University and entered Dentsu as a marketing planner in 2014. However, she could not give up her dreams. She quit the company and entered PARSONS the New School for Design in 2017 to fulfill her dream. While she was in Parsons School of Design, Mikage Shin became an aspiring designer and got shooting offers from NY based fashion creators. Her works has already been published in several print and digital outlets, including Flanelle Magazine, Soleil Magazine, Afropolitian and more.

Mikage is eager to create new genderless and ageless brands for empowering today’s intelligent self-made woman and individual, who lives in such a difficult time without any unreasonable limitation and stereotype. The 20th century’s art history and 21st century’s social problems highly inspire her avant-garde designs. Since she firmly believes that fashion definitely can promote self-confidence and change their life greatly, she is creating best clothes today.

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An exclusive interview with MIKAGE SHIN for Trend Privé Magazine 

When did you first realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

Originally, I have been really into fashion since when I was small, but I did not think that it can be serious lifetime job for me. Because my school was preparatory school and I firmly believed that I had to study hard to be get good occupation the future. Therefore, I had studied so hard and entered the Politics and Economics Department in Waseda University in Japan. Then, I entered Japanese largest advertising agency as a marketing strategist. 

However, after hard working, I realized that what I really wanted to spend all my lifetime was different. At that time, I already had certain ideas for fashion designs and fashion business.

I thought that “there were some great persons who could do my business much more excellently than me, but there was only one person who could make this idea come true in this real world”.  I had started to feel like going to fashion industry, seriously. Then, I quit the job, and decided to change my career. I studied English so hard that I could enter PARSONS. After entering PARSONS and moving in NY in 2017, everything was happened.

When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience? 

My first internship was in TOMO KOIZUMI’s first NYFW runway show in 2019. It was held in MARC JACOBS store in NY, and it was organized by Katy from LOVE magazine with incredible team.  The most valuable experience which I learned from that internship was to meet some of the best teams in the fashion industry. I learned how to organize high-quality works professionally and smoothly, through looking at the work of top-class people. Designers, stylists, media, and fashion show organizing companies were fully professional. Especially, Tomo, the designer, and other stylist team were really well-prepared and tried to do both time management and quality details even though there was very limited time. They were very punctual and very hard workers for anything if they were requested. I learned their professionalisms, and these experiences have definitely helped me to manage the good team for my own brand business.

What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position?

My first job after graduating from university was a marketing in Dentsu, the largest advertisement agency in Japan. Since I graduated from a four-year university in Japan, I was hired as a strategic planner in the marketing department. It was totally different from fashion industry.

After the that company, I quit the company and studied English to pass the entrance examination of PARSONS. Then, I came to NY and entered PARSONS. After the graduation of PARSONS on May in 2019, I established my own company and started my own brand business.

Define sustainable concept nowadays in fashion industry in few words . 

Not Trend,

Necessary and Truth.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be? What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out? 

Nothing. Everything is just process until I die.

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What is one thing you look at the models for your campaigns? 

Strong attitude and personality that come from inner beauty.

What role do you think social media plays in fashion today? 

Today, social media plays essential communication tool between brand and publics. SNS is a kind of organic and natural verbal for us.

I strive to do interactive communications between us and all people. SNS should not be one-way communication and not isolated world. We should communicate and co-create with each other. Moreover, customers also have to be involved to create the brand more actively. They are no more passive compared to before. We should learn and handle the correct way to use it together.

What is your favorite and NON-favorite part about being part of the fashion industry? 

Favorite: There is no certain one answer, but various answers are acceptable. You can enjoy your style and tastes. No one cannot deny your style. It is one of the most creative and limitless worlds…!

Hate: I do not why but fashion tends to be looked down on, compared to other industry. Sometime, people think fashion is a stupid things and fashion people are just crazy and unintelligent people.  However, it is never true. Actually, fashion designers are required very intellectual creativity. Because, fashion is a presentation of identity and lifestyle. It is a kind of anthropology. This problem has been caused by immoral companies and designers who destroyed environment and exploited people’s talents.

Many creators and manufacturers are still struggling to get proper evaluation with fair wage. Because people got used to buying cheap clothes… Worker’s’ human right, professional techniques and creative value are sometime exploited by market and customers. I would like to change this situation by transmitting them actively.

How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes? 

I would like people to feel more confident and gain more self-esteem when they wear my clothes. I firmly believe that fashion should empower people not only outwardly but inwardly.

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Can you tell us how your brand makes a difference in fashion industry? 

Everything is different. Unlike traditional fashion brands, my brand, MIKAGE SHIN, has not only artistic design values but also strong social messages.

For instance, the brand’s core message is “For the intelligent and independent person who is not limited by age, gender or nationality.” There are still few brands that are clearly verbalizing and communicating these messages and its social positions. In fact, there are many fans of my brand, such as ACCIDENTAL ICON, who is never limited by age stereotypes. ACCIDENTAL ICON is an amazing person who is both intellectually gifted as a professor and creatively gifted as a fashion influencer.

Also, since the beginning of my brand, my brand deliberately developed genderless clothes. I want to support people who live their lives as more themselves, not limited by social symbols or stereotypes. 

Moreover, the brand’s motto is “Sustainability in Our Own Closet,” and it offers three-way, functional and fashionable clothing that can be worn for many years. I also crate sustainable material collection line. The first product is message T-shirts, which is made from natural cotton and real wood with special craftsman from Japanese factory.  We try to invent more ecofriendly and sustainable products for the people who are concerned about environmental issues seriously.  I hope to make this kind of products will be STANDARD in the near future. We firmly believe that we can satisfy people with both materials and our artistic designs. We are willingly to collaborate with innovative tech companies.

News on the way regarding your next collection? 

There are two big news about our next collection. First, we participated in a runway show in PFW 2020AW and were featured by ELLE. We also held an exhibition for the first time in PFW, and Linda Fargo, the head of Bergdorf Goodman’s buyer’s team, came to my exhibition…! Linda and all the team members gave us great feedback and took our look book. Apparently, they don’t usually do that for new brands. It was very exciting experiences for me to see my brand’s future big potentials.

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What do you think is the biggest challenge for a fashion designer? 

The biggest challenge of a fashion designer’s job is constantly multi-tasking to create new designs and value that exceed people’s expectations. We have to understand that it is not just about clothes, but also that clothes are a part of the values of everything of life. Fashion is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is one important person, in your life, who pushes and motivates you to believe in yourself? 

Definitely, my mother.  I greatly respect my mother.  She has a strong way of life that is not bound by nationality or gender. When I was wondering whether continuing my good job or changing whole my career to be fashion designer, she told me that “it’s not about which one is right answer for you. Whichever you choose, you MUST make it right.” That words were enough. She empowered me. Since then, I’ve been able to recover and motivated mysef when unexpected things happen. All success and fails are just process, and we can change our life until we die.

How do you think a big brand should motivate their collaborators and team members? 

I think so. It is definitely win-win for both.

How do you think sustainable can play an important role in fashion industry? 

Sustainability is an essential issue that all industries and all people must take on.

It is not only for commercial or just for BRANDING. Truly necessary.

Describe us you as a designer and how your feelings influence the creativity process? 

Describe me as a designer:

I believe that my mission as a designer is to build people’s confidence and clarify the aesthetics, attitudes and identities of life.

I believe that clothes can speak for a person’s identity, their inner world, how they want to be seen and become, and more. Good clothes can give a person the courage to change. I’m particularly conscious that designers don’t just make clothes. We make life values.

How My feeling Influences:

Therefore, I always try to analyze my feelings and others’ feelings. I listen to the voices of my friends and people. I carefully watch people’s clothes on the street a lot. No matter how directly or indirectly, all voices about the news and social issues are regarding to my collection.

I’m fully influenced by everything in my life.

I think I also tend to be attracted by arts, architects and various cultures. I love art, architecture, photography, film, and various other cultures, so I often take visual inspiration from these things. While being influenced by the composition and color balance, I also research the background story, such as why it was created and what kind of intentions and ideas it was created from. 

Process of Collection:

The process of making a collection design is following steps.

Firstly, drawing dozens of rough design drawings on an iPad or paper. Picking up a few of the good ones and develop them further and deeper. Then, I make a number of shapes by applying the temporary fabric to the torso. This method is called as “draping”. At the same time, I am also researching fabrics and materials. In creating a work, I go back and forth in a series of these processes, again and again.

I sometimes starting with a fabric research, and sometimes get a great inspiration from draping silhouette that changes entire of my collection.

Although it is very exhausting, I really love going back and forth randomly and spending so much energy to dig deeper and deeper. I don’t dare lay down any rules or order to find all the possibilities. Because I sometimes come up with something unexpected when I was unconscious. I just aim to pursue the “BEST”of best designs.

After the finalizing of designs, I consult with my patternmakers and sewing craftsmen to create the actual clothes. Their professional advices about sewing and technical knowledges are very helpful for me. Then, I decided each fabric by looking at it with my own eyes and touching it with my hands.

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Would you like to involve other accessories designers in your future projects? 

Of course! I would love to collaborate with various accessories designers.

Especially, I am highly interested in shoe designers and bag designers.

What do you think is the main mission of the CO-BRANDING concept ? 

Achieving sustainable and essential business model with triple-win.

How fashion PRs can help more the brands and what skills a good fashion PR should have in your opinion? 

I think they are more required not only PR effectiveness but also business consulting power.

They have to step into essential management consulting service from the inside of fashion brands. 

Usually, designers are more likely to be an artist, but they are very, very beginners to be CEO. I am 100% sure that there is a huge demand to get a real consulting for sustainable business.

What designers inspire you and why?

Phoebe Philo and Jonathan Anderson.

This is because they design genderless, intelligent and artistic designs with a distinctive personality.

I think, these are definitely innovations.

There is anyone special who would like to meet in person?

Phoebe Philo. Her designs are not designed to make women look “FEMININE” or “GIRLY”.

She did not compare genders or relative aesthetics.  I guess she wanted to make people look cool and intelligent as “human beings” with an absolute sense of beauty. I truly respect that point.

Also, her designs have a taste for architecture, which is also something I have in common with her. I would like to ask her about the aesthetics that underlie the creation of her works.

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your collections online nowadays? 

Selling online is a must. However, giving opportunities to try on for customers is also an absolute must.  Each sales channel has different strength. I have to scrutinize certain products that I should push for each channel with my strong color.

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Easy Sustainable Health & Beauty Tips for Everyone

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Paying attention to how you look and feel with the mindset that what you are doing is also considered sustainable with regards to health & beauty contributes to an overall approach to wellness. This is because it includes feeling good about your choices. Everyone wants to look good and feel good but how can you really feel good if you know on some level that your choices are harming the planet? We know, heavy question. The happy part though is that these days there are really fantastic eco replacements for pretty much everything you use or wear. Our job is to show you what, where and how. We can break down the ways to make it easy to choose sustainable health and beauty.

Maybe you do your best to recycle, turn off the lights when you’re not using them and use less gas, but we all know that those minor changes are the bare minimum of what we can do to make a difference for the planet and those living on it. If you take a bit of time and look at your day to day, you will find that there are a ton of areas that you can make simple switches. Those all add up to making a healthier and less toxic or wasteful life. For example, what about the things you do to take care of yourself? Are you taking care of the environment as well?

 

Eat Sustainably

Diet is a great place to start when you’re trying to live sustainably. Making the right choices with diet is maybe the simplest and most effective way to feel good about yourself and how you look. Sustainability is truly the key here, because fad diets for quick weight loss are often not personally sustainable. Nor are they very good for the planet. They tend to create either a ton of waste from prepackaged product.

Another issue is that an unnaturally high demand for specific produce can cause problems. For example, when the avocado became so trendy as a vegan food staple that it  became the focus of a number of restaurants in recent years. This drove the price of the fruit up and availability down. If a certain grain common in one country becomes popular in the US due to a diet craze, then the country that produces that grain may experience shortages of an important staple crop. You have to think globally and responsibly and review the global side effects of your dietary choices.

With regards to diet, it sort of goes without saying at this point that there are some key points to address in the “live and eat better” category. We are all very different in our dietary needs. It’s complex but important to do your best to figure out what works best for you. Some people do wonderfully with a high fruit diet, some can’t handle the fructose. Don’t simply follow the trends. Do your research and then possibly try an elimination diet to see how it affects you.

First, it’s hard to debate eating organic foods. You pay a bit more for properly grown and harvested foods, but that’s a given. If you want better, you typically pay for it. Paying farmers fairly and eating food that’s not dependent on chemicals seems worth it no? When weighed against the cost of healthcare and the problems our dietary choices are causing? Our current system isn’t working so well in supporting our health.

The more we learn about the influence gut health has over our overall wellness the more we are realizing what natural health practitioners and advocates have been promoting for centuries. You are what you eat. Quite literally. And as such, the opposite is true as well. Paying attention to our diet is not only kindergarten level obvious as far as understanding that veggies are healthy… but almost every health issues that arise from seemingly mysterious sources is actually a direct result of us not eating properly. In fact, almost everything we learned growing up is being thrown out the window. It pays to learn at least the basics and build a pro-actively healthy diet around them.

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Captured by Heather Ford

Second, eating less (or no) meat / animal product is both healthier for most people, and many studies agree, healthier for the planet. Again with the organic, because… well for the same reasons. Have you ever visited a corporate dairy farm? No? Yeah, don’t. Just trust us, organic happy farms are just better. Have you seen the movie Babe? Those farms exist. Find them, buy from them.

Third, eat food with as little packaging as possible. Why? Because as a general rule, the more it’s packaged, the more it’s been processed. So this is our trusty hack that helps you to remember that if it’s fresh, packaged minimally and packaged without a ton of plastic… it’s most likely better for you. Not foolproof, but if you are not a label reader slash foodie researcher slash grocery store Karen, this may be your easy to follow method. Also… less waste. But we figure you were able to put that together yourself.

Oh, sidebar… with regards to supplements, you should TRY to get your goodness from your diet. However we all know that we simply are not all designed to do that much complex math. If you are looking for some nifty ways to add goodness to your diet, we suggest looking into certain mushrooms, finding a label you trust, and doing a bit of sleuthing. You should first check out places with actual reviews before adding a supplement to your diet.

 

Keeping Yourself Active Sustainably

Staying active and getting out in nature is another great way to keep yourself healthy. For starters, staying active is a great way to keep your body healthy, and when your body is healthy you will feel good. And when you feel good, you look good. Getting out into nature specifically is a good, sustainable practice. A walk requires virtually no equipment (except maybe good sturdy shoes). You don’t have to drive to the gym to take a walk or ride your bike. In fact, you may be able to eliminate driving to lots of places if you are able to walk or ride a bike instead.

Being out in nature fosters a connection to nature and will make you more conscious of what local areas need to be cleaned up or could be made more friendly to local plants and wildlife. It builds a sense of community and this creates a more healthy feeling of well being and connection. In this digital age we have become increasingly detached from each other (and obviously Covid has created some weird side effects to further this) and we crave a human connection to others. Getting out of your front door, saying hello to neighbours and being more active in your local area is more rewarding than you may think.

Pro Tip: if you wish you had a dog to walk but don’t actually own one, most shelters have volunteer dog walking programs that let you “borrow” a canine, so you are also doing a really good deed if you sign up. Adding good deeds to your “live better, feel better” list gets you bonus points.

 

Sustainable Skin Care Options

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Captured by Sunny Ng

When you’ve got solid foundations, you can pay less attention to “fixing” the surface. Proper skin care is often overlooked in western culture, but it is the thing that is most important. It is often both the most easily attainable, and also the most desirable when looking for ways to upgrade your appearance. Healthy skin is one of the first indicators of good health and a healthy lifestyle. This means it tends to radiate a wealth that isn’t purchased. It reflects a healthy individuality which is subconsciously appealing to others. A low key self confidence that shows you care enough about yourself to take good care of yourself.

We are not discounting  health issues or skin conditions that many people live with and need to address. However, many conditions that western medicine tend to throw cortisone and other steroids at, can be at least partly alleviated, if not entirely eliminated with changes in diet and use of the correct routines.

So while it seems a bit odd to list skin care under sustainability, just like diet it’s an important thing to look at from all sides. Are you plastering your skin with toxic chemical ingredients? Do you recognize that the first line of defence is nutrition and hydration? Are you putting cruelty free and “clean” makeup (or no makeup) on your shopping list? Are you making the same important choices that you might with diet? It takes routine and persistence and the results are often accumulated over time rather than immediate. However, a good skincare regimen will work wonders for your confidence and your look. This often relies on removing toxic chemicals from your life. Consider making your diet healthier while paying attention to how your skin reacts to your environment, your stress level, your product use and even your pillowcase.

 

 

Sustainable Hair Care

Removing toxic chemicals from your life and building a healthy diet to benefit your skin will also be fantastic for your hair. Having good hair is always the dream and the best way to get reliably healthy looking hair is with sustainable practices. Putting too many chemicals in your hair will be as bad for your hair as it is for the environment. Be aware of what you’re putting on your head and down the drain.

Our relationship with hairstylists gives us the inside scoop on how healthy it is to NOT wash your hair. Don’t fill it with product and expect the product to disappear. Not a product user, or you use naturally based products? (GO YOU!!) Then you can simply go through the motions in the shower. Massage your scalp as though you were washing it, and skip the shampoo. It is extremely drying and ruins your PH balance. It may take a bit but you will start to notice that after overproducing the oils for a few weeks, your scalp calms down and restores your natural balance. You will soon have gloriously shiny and healthy hair! Use dry shampoo (or cornstarch) and / or essential oils (depending on your scalp type) to enhance your locks. Learn that you can be fabulous without a ton of yuck gumming up your tresses.

 

Beauty Products

All kinds of beauty products can have toxic effects if they’re not properly tested and approved. Or even if they are tested and approved depending on where you live. So do a little homework on your beauty regimen to make sure it’s as wholesome, healthy and eco-friendly as you can get it to be. You might be surprised at how many lipsticks etc contain lead, heavy metals and formaldehyde. And those are only the things that are easy to understand. There are all kinds of endocrine inhibitors, carcinogens, etc that have no business being in the beauty… business.

Don’t forget to consider packaging! Beauty products often come in obscene amounts of plastic which has to go somewhere when you’re done with it. There has been a glorious rise in clean beauty products. Demand for less plastic and packaging has become loud. This means some of our favourite companies have started to package their goodies in much more planet friendly packaging. They also offer refills rather than always needing to purchase an entire compact of colour to get one shade. One of our favourites, Sappho, we use on many of our editorial shoots and love them.

 

Clothes

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Captured by Thom Bradley

Clothes are another area where sustainability definitely matters. Where does the fabric for your clothes come from, and where does it go when you’re done with it? Who is making those clothes, and where? These are all questions you should be asking every time you’re thinking of refreshing your wardrobe or cleaning out your closet. Why? Well because the very definition of fashion is to wear who you are “on your sleeve” as one might say. You are showing people who you are and what is important to you. Even if it’s from a point of vanity, we would hope that you don’t want to shout from the rooftops that you support the idea that people suffer for a Tshirt. And no, that’s not being dramatic.

If you have been hiding under a rock the past few years, perhaps you haven’t heard of the movie The True Cost, the story that finally got people paying attention. Inspired by the 2013 Ghana collapse it was meant to draw attention to how unethical fast fashion is. It had a much bigger effect (thankfully) than that. Suddenly the discussion around fashion’s role in our ecological and ethical demise was around every watercooler, boardroom and media channel. It is actually a huge issue and it is one of the cornerstones of why Trend Privé exists… to educate and inspire a better way to do things. If you need an understanding, you will find it here. If you need inspiration, you will find that here too. Peruse our Directory for the brands that we love. Whether because they use natural fabrics, dyes and production methods, or because they give back to humanity in some way, or both.

 

Confidence

The key here is taking better care of yourself. Physically and emotionally. When we feel good in your skin, we feel good all around. All of this comes together to create confidence, which is the best thing you can do to improve your look. Be confident in your choices, feel good about them. And make sure that you haven’t hurt the planet to achieve the look that you are greeting the world with. In the end, it’s pretty simple really. Looking good and feeling good is more than skin deep. If you know that you’re doing good at the same time, you’re going to look and feel even better about yourself. And we have to say… Good looks GORGEOUS on you!

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How to Drink Coffee the Right Way

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It doesn’t really matter if you’re a huge coffee lover or just a person who has tried it once or twice before – we can all agree that this liquid sustenance is a global phenomenon. Millions of people make it a topic of conversation, posting photos of their perfect cups  online, and even using it as a status identifier. However, do you really know how beneficial coffee can actually be? We’ll bet you don’t, so stay with us and let us extol the virtues!

While we don’t want to push the idea of coffee as a “health drink”, it’s no secret that many people drink it daily as part of their routine. So we would like to point out that there are actually benefits and show you how to drink yours the right way, improving the taste of every cup and making it much healthier to drink.  Here is everything you need to know about drinking coffee…

First of all, what are the benefits of drinking coffee?

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It can boost your energy levels

First things first, coffee is said to boost energy levels and help people feel less tired. This is because of caffeine – a natural stimulant most commonly found in coffee and tea. Caffeine can stimulate the brain and central nervous system and therefore help you stay alert. As this stimulant gets absorbed into the bloodstream, it quickly travels to your brain.

While it is very important to remember that caffeine is a drug, and therefore is artificially stimulating your system, there are actually numerous studies that show that it can actually improve many aspects of brain function. It can also improve your mood, memory, and overall mental function. If you want to feel energized immediately after waking up, it can help to have a cup of coffee after breakfast. It’ll instantly help you feel more awake and energetic, which can be helpful – especially if you’re constantly on the go.

It can reduce the risk for liver diseases, including cirrhosis

In case you weren’t aware of it, there is information that suggests that coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and even cirrhosis.

Protecting your liver at all costs is essential because this is an organ that carries out hundreds of vital bodily functions. This is particularly true if you tend to drink alcohol regularly, which puts you at a greater risk for developing alcoholic cirrhosis. The good news is that only one cup of coffee a day can decrease the chances of developing this disease. Of course, drinking coffee should never be an excuse for excessive drinking. Besides that, it won’t make this problem go away, so make sure to ask for professional help if you think you need it!

It can improve your physical performance

No matter if you’re a passionate fitness enthusiast or just a novice at working out, you can incorporate  a cup of coffee into your pre-workout routine to improve your metabolic rate and burn fat faster. This is because caffeine found in coffee can encourage your body to use fat as fuel while you work out, which may help burn fat and improve your physical performance. Also, drinking coffee before a workout can delay the time it takes your muscles to reach exhaustion by helping the glucose stored in muscles last longer.

It’s good to know that caffeine can strengthen your muscles and increase tolerance to fatigue, which is crucial during intense workouts. Some experts claim that 5 mg of caffeine per 1 kg of body weight can improve performance by up to 5% when consumed one hour before a workout. So perhaps give this natural stimulant a try rather than depending on some of the harsher  pharmaceutical stimulants that are packaged up for athletes with little respect for overall health.

It can raise your alertness

As mentioned above, coffee can give you more energy and raise your alertness, which is exactly what makes it so popular all across the world. Some studies have shown that the effects of caffeine found in coffee can increase both selective attention, which means focusing on the relevant stimulus, as well as sustained attention, which means maintaining focused attention over a longer period of time. If you need to be super focused and concentrated on a certain task, try having a cup of coffee before you start working on it. This is exactly why many companies now have at least one top quality coffee machine in their break rooms.  A good cup of coffee will boost your alertness and improve your performance, both in simple and complex tasks, potentially creating a great ROI.

It can boost your mood and fight depression

Last but certainly not least, coffee can boost your mood and fight depression in more ways than you might imagine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and therefore boosts the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known for elevating mood. No matter if you love to savor it in your alone time or if you are all about coffee with friends or coworkers, it could help to lift your mood and help you accomplish daily tasks.

How to drink coffee the right way?

Drink your coffee sugar-free

Even though a large number of people love to add sugar to their coffee, it’s not the best idea. The reasons for that are numerous, and the first one is the fact that sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet. Nutritionists almost universally agree that it should be avoided as much as possible. Our sugar dependency can result in unstable blood sugar levels that cause fatigue, headaches, and mood swings. Consuming too much sugar can also lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

It’s worth noting that the quality of your coffee is imperative. Once you stop adding sugar to your coffee, you’ll realize that there are so many types of amazing roasts and regional variations. Eventually you’ll be able to spot the differences between those as there’s no sugar to distract you while staying healthy and energized.

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Captured by Christina Rumpf

Opt for a more sustainable and eco-friendly coffee-drinking way

If you’re one of those people who are doing everything they can to help save the planet and be more eco-friendly – welcome to the club, you aren’t the only one! Many people these days are switching from conventional coffee drinking to more sustainable ways, which is a simple way for you to add another “live better” tip to your list.

Carry your own reusable cup wherever you go. This is particularly important for those constantly on the go or who work on the move. If you have a more stationary job, get a fabulous mug for your workplace, as this is where you spend a lot of time every single day.

Stopping the use of disposable cups every time you want to enjoy a cup of coffee is a great step toward creating less waste. Even though the majority of those disposable cups are recyclable, it’s still too much waste in the long run and we know that most don’t actually get recycled. Don’t be afraid to make a difference and inspire people to follow, our planet will be more than grateful!

Don’t have coffee only for breakfast

Yes, we know that a lot of people are always in a rush – especially in the morning, if they don’t have enough time to eat healthy breakfast before heading straight to work. So, you’re running late for work, breakfast isn’t an option, and you decide to have a cup of coffee on an empty stomach? Well, that’s the last thing you should do if you want to keep your stomach healthy in the long run. The acidic makeup of the coffee can wreak havoc on your system. Also, our bodies run on essential nutrients such as protein, carbs, fats, minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc. These are vital for our overall health and well-being, which means that skipping them altogether and drinking coffee instead is beyond wrong. Just because coffee can suppress your appetite and boost your energy levels, but you should never use it as a meal replacement or to lose weight in that way. Bear that in mind and have nutritious breakfast no matter what.

Top your coffee up with cinnamon

Adding a touch of cinnamon to your coffee not only complements the flavor of most roasts, it will upgrade the overall taste of your coffee and take it to a whole new level, but it also has numerous health benefits you shouldn’t overlook. First, cinnamon is packed with antioxidants that can protect your cells from getting damaged by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced by your body as a reaction to stress and other environmental pressures. Apart from premature aging, these can also cause different types of diseases – including several types of cancers. Antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal effects, which is why you should start adding this fantastic spice to your coffee.

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Captured by Nathan Dumlao

Use filtered water only

Many people think that using filtered water to make their coffee isn’t necessary because they will boil the water anyway. However filtered water is always a better option – not just because of the taste, but because its health benefits are unmatched. Tap water in many countries isn’t really appropriate for drinking. This is because of the plumbing systems made from old pipes that can sometimes feature unwanted heavy metals such as copper or lead. Also, tap water often contains a variety of chlorine disinfection byproducts that can be harmful over time. If you want to prevent potential health problems and still enjoy a cup or two of coffee every day, make sure to switch from regular tap water to filtered water. This is the only way to stay safe and healthy, so take it into consideration and you won’t make a mistake!

Make sure to always use paper filters

If you’re a huge fan of unfiltered brewed coffee and you love to drink it on a day-to-day basis, you must know that it can negatively affect your health in the long run. This is because unfiltered coffee contains two compounds – kahweol and cafestol – which can raise both LDL and total cholesterol levels. Unfortunately metal and fabric re-useable filters have not proven to be helpful in filtering out the two compounds so in order to prevent consumption. It is important then to source recycled paper or even bamboo paper filters for your coffee making. If you are only enjoy an occasional cup, re-useable filters or non-filtered are fine.

Hopefully these ideas have given you some food (or drink) for thought, and you can make some small adjustments to enhance your coffee routine.

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How Energy Efficiency Can Save the Planet

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Though it sometimes doesn’t seem that way, there are a lot of different ways to help Mother Earth survive. Insisting on energy efficiency is one of the ways to do that, but many people aren’t actually fully aware of what that entails. Do you NEED to be a home owner? As a home owner what options are available to you? What about every day life? Here are some strategies that you may not have thought of.

Reduce carbon footprint

Our environmental “footprint,” or the amount of stress that our actions, both collectively and individually contribute to the planet’s system, needs to be shifted for the better. Cutting down our carbon output is an idea that can go a really long way toward fixing the planet and introducing the huge changes needed to our world. It’s all about producing less of a “footprint” than we do now to balance out what we create as a species, along with all the other carbon creators, with what the earth can actually handle. By driving your car less frequently, reducing your waste and using efficient elimination strategies, using reusable things as much as possible, and switching to more efficient energy systems – among other things – we can create enough of a shift to heal the earth! We just MUST do it now.

But, there’s another problem when it comes to this matter: is every individual’s own sacrifice enough to make enough of a change in the world? Most people believe it’s not, which is why there are so many studies conducted that show how important it is for companies and corporations to get involved as well. After all, these entities are producing more carbon footprint than all individuals combined, and making a change is a must.

Luckily, businesses are finally seeing that this move can actually benefit them, and we are starting to finally see enough of a shift that we see the effects, from the automotive to construction industries, agriculture, fashion and especially in the beauty industry. While the major players took longer to get on board than some of the upstarts, companies like Tesla have shown everyone that it not only can be done, but also that it’s worth the effort.

Try harder

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Blaming other people is easy and saying that big companies are the biggest threat to the environment is even easier. But, looking at your own behavior and admitting that you’re also to blame is never easy. And this is exactly the reason why the world isn’t sustainable enough – we’re just not trying hard enough.

We’ve decided we don’t want to make changes because our brain always chooses the easiest option, even if it’s only perceived to be the easiest option and even when the RIGHT option is really, really important. Why do people who need to lose weight, even for medical reasons, have a tricky time with it? Why do we drive when we know we could walk? Why do we put off doing dishes when the sight of them in the sink drives us a little crazy? Often it has as much to do with our habits than what would actually make our lives easier.

If we want things to change, we have to change our own behavior first. From unplugging the appliances we’re not using to keeping our windows closed – this has, according to a 2015 study, “the greatest impact on the energy consumption during the heating season” – we can do a lot if we change our approach to energy and therefore sustainability and get more involved. When we demand change with our lifestyle first, which leads to altered buying and spending, the corporations follow suit. When the vegan community looked at animal testing on cosmetics the same way as they approached their diet, the entire beauty industry responded. And quickly!

It may feel like a lot to make so many changes. When you start to look at all the things you can do to make an impact, it seems overwhelming to basically lead an entirely new life, but also, it’s not all that hard in the end. Pick the areas that are easiest to change first, and get good at it. More than anything the complicated part is simply being aware. Keeping an eye out for the things you can adjust. Do as much as you can but don’t freak out. If you turn it into a source of stress you likely will hit a wall and won’t continue.

Explore unusual approaches

No matter how amazing all the traditional ideas are, trying out a few unusual and new approaches is always a good idea. What’s great is there are lots of new ideas and researches that are constantly coming up with new solutions for this problem. And the only thing you need to do is follow them as closely as you can in order to find the ideas that sound the most interesting and appealing to you.

However, you need to keep an open mind and try not to let new technologies and findings frighten you. Whether it’s an innovative approach to reducing carbon footprint or checking out the great triboelectric nanogenerator that makes the most of even the slipperiest surfaces and uses them to harvest water energy – all these ideas can make a difference in your home, your local area, and your community.

Reduce food waste

Here’s another simple solution that could end up meaning a lot in the long run. Though reducing your food waste and planning your meals ahead might not seem like a lot, these things mean more than you can imagine, especially with people who are used to throwing away tons of food every single week.

Instead of cooking more than you can eat, you should plan ahead and come up with a menu that will work for you and your family with attention toward your best habits. Take time for a couple of weeks to jot down how and when and what you already are eating, and then take a bit to work out how much time you have to put toward your meal prep and when that would be. Working within your already set habits makes any shifts easier and more efficient.

Trade out things you already use for less processed and packaged (which almost always equals healthier) alternatives. Learn your way around a menu that will work for you. Knowing exactly what you’ll be eating and when won’t just make your life easier, but it will also make it more sustainable. Food waste has a huge impact on our environment, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t become a part of this fight as soon as you can! Bonus points if you can integrate gardening, food preservation, buying staples etc in bulk, using reuseable bags and containers while shopping, farmers markets and local suppliers and healthier alternatives to pretty much everything. 

the earth at night energy consumption how clean energy will save the earthUse renewable energy sources

the earth at night energy consumption how clean energy will save the earththe earth at night energy consumption how clean energy will save the earthInstead of wasting too much energy and ending up paying tons of money at the end of the month, you could reduce your energy bill and save the Earth at the same time with this easy solution. Switching to renewable energy sources is a simple way to do a lot, and doing that is something everyone should be looking into right now.

Most people don’t know enough about this topic though, so getting informed and learning more about it should be your first step. Making the most of solar, wind, and water energy, as well as other forms of alternative energy sources, will make you more sustainable, but also inspire your friends and family to do the same, so you’ll be taking your battle for energy efficiency to an even higher level.

Depending on where you live, both in the world and within your community, you can find different ways to approach alternative energy, and you might be surprised if you start looking at what’s available. For example, if you are living in a high rise in an urban center, you could look into the installation of rooftop wind turbines to supplement or even entirely erase your electricity bill. In some areas you can even find government grants to offset the costs of installation. If you live in more rural areas, there are plenty of options from solar to wind to water and kinetic energy capture. Everything from solar backpack chargers to refitting your home to transportation and supporting community projects in some way to bring alternative energy initiatives to fruition, even if they don’t benefit you directly, could be a strong way to help change the environment.  And make you a better person by default.

If you still doubt that energy efficiency can save our planet, stop being skeptical and start being proactive. Do your research. Do LOTS of research. There is always a better way to do something. Find it.

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