Friday, March 30, 2012

Four Guilty Pleasures I Need to Quit

Since life is our ultimate learning experience, and there are always improvements to be made, I’ve decided to compile a list of habits and choices in my life that I would like to change – two short and two long term.

Short Term:

1. Stop thrifting.

One of the many piles of give-away stuff before my move.

“Stop thrifting!?” you say, “I thought thrifting was good.” Yes, generally going to your local thrift store for something you need is a great way to reduce waste, support the local economy, and save money. However, my guilty pleasure and the verb “thrifting”, is sort of a synonym to “shopping”. You know, the “I don’t have anything to do, so I’m going to go to the mall to distract myself and look at the pretty things and probably buy something I don’t need” thing. The mystery of the hunt while thrifting adds a bonus lure – finding the jewel in the ruff. That added excitement is quite addictive. I must admit, I’m pretty decent at walking out of the thrift store without buying anything should nothing call out to me; however, the principle I need to face is that I am still killing time (and cash) seeking things I don’t need. Every cute thing I bring home that I don’t really need is a backward step from the intentional, minimalist life I am trying to create. So, in the spirit of intentional living, no more going to the thrift store without a mission!

2. Chuck shampoo & soaps.

I picked up this tip from my favorite blogger, vegan chef, and ultimate lifestyle role model, Joy Tienzo. As someone with fine hair (I wouldn’t quite call it “thin”), and a definite T-zone of oily skin on my face, I am excited to see how the no-poo method works for me. Joy writes that she didn’t like the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method mentioned on a lot of sites, so I’m going to follow her advice to condition once weekly and scalp massage daily first.

For my skin, the supply and demand explanation of bodily oils definitely makes sense. The more you soap up your face, the more oil your skin produces. We need to reach a natural balance instead of a roller coaster. I have experienced mild to moderate acne and oily skin since puberty, and I’m hoping the oil cleansing method will finally (I’ll be 25 next week for goddess’ sake!) help my skin find the balance I’ve been screwing up the past decade or more with various soaps, astringents, topical medications, and antibiotics. Since I eat a fairly healthy diet, I think for me acne is mostly hereditary – which is the most frustrating part. However, I refuse to believe the only way to cure my acne is through medications. I am determined to find out what will make my skin naturally clear, whether it be through eliminating an irritating food (wheat? dairy? peanut butter?), or discontinuing stripping the natural oils from my skin which have been causing it to overproduce oils for years. I plan to make an antimicrobial oil concoction with coconut oil as the base and a few drops of tea tree and lavender essential oils to use for a nightly cleanser. To be honest, adding moisture to my skin resonates with me much more than soaping. More and more lately, I’ve been feeling like I am doing my skin a disservice by going to bed with it squeaky clean and dry. I imagine my new regimen will not only lead to less maintenance but probably discourage wrinkles as I get older, unlike constant drying of the skin. I believe in the infinite wisdom of my body and its ability to heal itself, so I feel like any treatment I impose on myself that goes against my body’s natural processes is counterproductive. I think that’s why no-poo makes sense to me.

I laugh at myself for this new adventure because I recently bought two “natural” products on impulse. They were shampoo and facial wash.

I’m not saying anything bad about these companies and they are certainly better than the average chemical stuff, but I believe we need to be aware of greenwashing these days during which “green” is hip and trendy. Don’t think that advertisers and big companies aren’t going to capitalize on this trend in order to make money, usually selling us stuff we do not need. While I have been very happy with these products for what their jobs are, and at the time of purchase I didn’t yet know about the no-poo and oil-wash methods, I was definitely a victim of impulse buying with the facial wash and shampoo.

So, I’m going to give no-poo and oil wash a whirl and report back with my results to see if my impulse buys truly were unneeded.

Long term:

1. Driving a car.

I recently paid off my car loan after two and a half years. Woo! I officially don’t owe anyone anything! Except my parents I guess since they birthed me and let me live in their house rent-free for 18 years. However sweet it is to not have a car payment every month anymore, there is still a little voice in my head saying I shouldn’t own a car at all. Insurance payments, gas, pollution, military-industrial complex, carcinogens in car materials… yeah. My current travel plans for wwoofing SE USA include traveling by car; however, I see myself possibly doing some wwoofing in South America next year. This may require selling the car. My dream is to one day live in a great cooperative community where there would be a shared car. My primary mode of transportation would be feet and bike, and folks in the community could reserve the car for special occasions or large hauls. And it would be a veggie mobile. *Sigh*

2. Disposables and recyclables.

Since I am going to be a farming intern for the rest of this year, I hope I don't have to wait too long to fulfill this goal because luckily, homegrown food has no packaging! In the previously described dream community I plan to find or create in the future, all our food will be homegrown = goodbye need to dispose or recycle! Love the correction: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse then Recycle.

In the mean time, I try to reduce the packaging I consume by supporting the local farmers’ markets which are just popping up for the spring season here in Richmond – lovely, buying in bulk, and choosing less-packaged products. By buying more produce instead of processed semi-foods, you can cut your disposable packaging by a LOT!

Off I go to do my scalp massage!

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