Tuesday, September 08, 2015

How Did I Begin My Eco-Transformation Journey?

Since we launched the Foraging for Wellness guided nature walks in Prospect Park, I've been feeling an urge to share my motivation for launching this new aspect of my work. The story is part personal and part professional -- as has been most of my journey in the wellness arena.

I began telling the story of my eco-transformation by recording some thoughts about my experiences this past year -- the audio of which I just released on my iTunes podcast channelThe Eco-Transformation of a Coach. This is Part 1 of my story -- composting made easy.

My transformation from a focus on personal wellness to a greater awareness around Sustainability of the planet and Green Living began (now) about nine months ago when I met Tim. We started to have conversations (OK, sometimes heated discussions) about why wasn't it OK for me to just throw certain plastic wrappers in the garbage. Or, he would come behind me and take them out of my garbage. This created tension and conflict on a personal level. There were a few things going on, two of which I believe are relevant to my transformation.

  1. The first was a level of tension within my personal relationship, that led me to often think: “Why isn't he respecting my space, my point of view?” 
  2. The second aspect was me not seeing the larger potential problem of discarding certain plastics into the garbage. 
I like to say now that these Green issues were in my “Eco Blind Spot.” After all, I was already recycling paper, metal, glass, and hard plastics; “Why did I need to do more than that?

Tim started helping me too, though; collecting food scraps from our meals together and putting them into old plastic containers from Chinese delivery meals, or in other hard plastic containers that I had in the apartment, and storing them in the refrigerator. I thought this was interesting, not really having thought about saving my food scraps before, not really being aware of what composting was nor what the benefits of composting could be. But, in essence, it became pretty easy for me over time to just put food scraps into the containers. I just got used to doing it; I would put in my banana peel, my tea bags, his coffee grinds, our leftover food – all of it would go into the containers. Around that time, I was co-working out of Impact Hub NYC, and I noticed that they too had a large plastic bucket there labeled for composting, so I began to do the same thing there. It just became a habit to compost my tea bags and my banana peels and my leftover food scraps.

An interesting project idea developed from my home composting. I live in Brooklyn; Tim lives in Jersey City. Initially unbeknownst to me, he was taking the composting containers when they were full with our scraps and bringing them back to Jersey City to compost them in the garden at the back of his house. It was several weeks before I started to notice what he was doing. For a long time, composting was just really easy; I’d put the scraps in the plastic containers and the composting containers “magically” disappeared and then reappeared empty. It was composting made easy for me, which actually led to our business idea of CompostIFY. The “IFY” stands for “it for you;” meaning “We compost it for you.” We started to do some research around other cities that were creating either nonprofits or social enterprises to pick up compost scraps from local residents and businesses. We've explored the CompostIFY idea to some degree; I have pitched the concept at a few Green startup events.

When I became consciously aware that Tim was taking away the composting containers, it became of interest to me to figure out: “Is there another way that I can compost?” I decided to research my alternatives and found out I could bring my compost scraps to the Greenmarket. That comes back to the personal aspect of my transformation: the personal relationship was what started me on this journey of eco-transformation and foraging for wellness, or foraging for greater sustainability, actually. I began to look at Tim's actions in a different way that was less about him "making me wrong," and more about his passion for reducing waste, reducing consumption, and improving sustainability of the planet.

That was the first pivotal shift in my eco-transformation: recognizing that I could let go of my story around his not respecting my personal space or not respecting my personal boundaries, and open up to think about it from a wider perspective – from a collective wellness perspective, in some ways, and definitely from an environmental perspective of protecting and saving the planet. When I made that shift it created a whole new level of interest for me around composting, and I was motivated to research alternatives to compost my own food scraps. That's when I discovered the Greenmarket and learned that NYC Organics has composting bins at many local Greenmarkets. That's when I realized that I could continue the process of collecting my own food scraps, storing them in the refrigerator, and then once or twice a week bring those containers to the Greenmarket myself and dump our food scraps into their larger bins. I also learned that the food scraps are delivered to local composting organizations and community gardens dedicated to greening New York City.

I've been (consciously) composting at the Greenmarket ever since.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

9 Beautiful Reasons Why Coconut Oil Belongs in Your Medicine Cabinet—And A Free Jar!

When it comes to beauty products, many of us will shell out big bucks for a magic concoction of mystery ingredients—as long as it promises clear skin or voluminous hair. But, often, the natural option really is the best. Take coconut oil, for example. This one-ingredient beauty product is so versatile that it could give your moisturizer, body lotion, lip balm, and makeup remover a run for their money.

Why is coconut oil better than the typical drugstore lotion? For one thing, it’s not water-based. Most commercial beauty products contain tons of water, and as soon as it evaporates, they stop moisturizing your skin. Not coconut oil—this beauty product is 100-percent moisturizing.

Plus, coconut oil is naturally free of silicone, parabens, fragrances and dyes, and other artificial chemicals that can be harsh on your skin and damaging to your health. The slightly sweet, tropical smell is an added bonus! I love using coconut oil as my all-over moisturizer and have seen positive impacts on my skin!

Here are the 9 miraculous ways you can use this oh-so-versatile oil in your beauty routine:

  • In oil pulling
  • As a moisturizer
  • As a leave-in conditioner
  • As lip balm
  • To soothe itchy skin or bug bites
  • As a natural treatment for lice
  • To relieve the pain of a sore throat
  • In a DIY body butter
  • As a makeup remover

Not sure if you’re ready to start slathering coconut oil all over your body? Lucky for you, Thrive Market is offering all first-time members a FREE full-sized jar of Nutiva organic, fair-trade virgin coconut oil! Claim your free gift today before they’re gone HERE!

Thrive Market is a membership-based online marketplace that sells the top 4,000 healthy foods and wholesome products at 25 - 50% below retail prices and matches every paid membership with a free membership for a low-income American family so we can all thrive together. The free coconut oil applies to new Thrive Market members only; existing Thrive Market members will receive an additional 10% off their purchase!