Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dealing with Debt


Well, now for a truly taboo topic.... money and debt. Given the state of world economies, and the fact that everything is connected, it is probably exactly the right time... the micro and the macro and all that.

Money might seem like an unlikely entry on the theme of art-science-spirit, but then again what facets of our lives are truly separate from financial concerns? There is the ascetic concept  of removing oneself from indulgence, but the truth is: unless we are debt-free it is not possible to free ourselves from our material trappings. Authors, from Charles Long ("Living Without a Salary") to Marianne Williamson agree, and are quite forthright on the matter: attaining material freedom and spiritual enlightenment cannot come without also meeting our financial obligations. (Naturally, we also want to avoid succumbing to poverty consciousness, see Julia Cameron and others).

          

I can tell you from personal experience that debt is no laughing matter. My debts steadily increased from the time I first relied on student loans at age 17, to the crisis point following a divorce in my 30's during which I relied on credit cards for my survival for several years. The low point included every possible survival strategy, from trying to work two jobs, to trying to pawn my jewellery, to relying on payday loans and juggling credit cards - signing up for new ones to help pay for the debts I'd already accumulated. When I finally started taking steps designed to get it under control, I was still too stubborn to get "real" help, instead trying to consolidate my loans through lines of credit and a loan from Citifinancial (please, never do this!). It wasn't until I finally reached the breaking point of going for credit counselling that I realized the error of my ways. The interest charges on all the forms of credit I had maxed out meant that even though I was paying about $1000 a month, my payments were going ONLY TOWARDS INTEREST. My debts were going nowhere! A truly sickening realization, and an experience I truly do not recommend to anyone.

How did I turn it around? I took a leap of faith, quit my low-paying retail job and applied for office work through a temp agency. My first assignment turned into a full-time gig and I have now been with the same company for more than 5 years. Although I wish I had done it much sooner, I also went for credit counselling from an accredited agency. I allowed them to take over my debt payments - I pay them $956 a month, and they pay all of my creditors. Like the ads say: no more harassing phone calls or letters. The agency takes $50 a month as an administration fee, but it was well worth it, at least for the first few years - just to reduce the stress of dealing with everything myself.

I've recently written a letter to the Government of Canada recommending that they consider a tax break for individuals undergoing debt management programs, as it is ridiculously hard to get ahead even now. With about one third of my take-home pay going to debts, my rising income means I also pay more taxes, and don't qualify for relief on things like healthcare. Even when I get a bonus cheque, a huge percentage goes to taxes, making it hard to save enough money for a vacation, let alone home ownership or a car. I often feel like a criminal, "paying for my past." My sins: claiming my "right" to education, years of underemployment, and a divorce. Meanwhile what kind of perks are inmates receiving in prison? I don't like to sound bitter, truly, but the ongoing struggle does wear one down.

In the midst of it all, I have created my website artsciencespirit.com. Although I touch on finances briefly in my lifestyle (work and play) section, the website focuses on a wide variety of products and services that create positive change in the world. Natural, organic, fair trade, cruelty-free, eco-friendly.... although I am not getting rich promoting these things, it gives me something to feel good about. On a good month, my website pays for itself, and always gives me something creative and positive to work on.

I would love to hear from some of you about your struggles, and what you are doing to make things better. Let's support one another, share ideas, and create change for ourselves and the world. Onwards and Upwards! And best wishes for a joyous holiday season, and happy new year :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Natural & Organic Anti-Aging Skin Care Online



If you're going to do it, why not do it right? Anti-Aging is big business, but it is possible to fight those fine lines and wrinkles using healthier products, while supporting companies that do less harm to the environment. Let your consumer dollars promote more than just the giant corporations' advertising budgets! Our options in natural and organic skin care have grown exponentially over the last decade or so.

My favourite online Canadian drugstore features almost 80 products in the category of "Green & Natural" Anti-Aging products alone (further broken down into Organic, Canadian, Vegan and Gluten-Free choices). It contains all the serums, night creams, and cleansers that you would expect - and then some! You'll find the "big names" in natural skincare (including Avalon, Aubrey, Dr. Hauschka) as well as some that are less familiar, including Canadian brands Ayu, Cocoon Apothecary, and worldBELIEVE.

It is vital to remember that the health and beauty products we use have wide-ranging effects, from how they are absorbed into our own bodies, to the way they eventually seep into our environment (the micro and the macro). Then there is the packaging used, the social causes supported (or not), and so on. Our choices as consumers make a bigger difference than we realize in the big picture.

I was reading the other day that Canadians are not embracing the choices available through online shopping - but isn't that a shame? What easier way to make informed decisions than online, where we can read product descriptions, view categories, compare prices, and look at product reviews all in one place? Why not take advantage of the wider selection available and support causes and companies we believe in?

For more on ethical online shopping, alternative health and wellness, and great gift ideas, please visit my website: www.artsciencespirit.com - and have a great day :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gluten-Free Banana Bread



Gluten-free Banana Bread

1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup organic honey
2 eggs
3 medium bananas

1 cup organic spelt flour
1/2 cup organic brown rice flour
1/2  cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 dash all-natural alcohol-free vanilla flavour (fair trade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
(don't forget to grease loaf pan)

Combine oil and honey, then add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Add mashed bananas and vanilla flavour.

In second bowl, stir flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to banana mixture stirring just to moisten. Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool. Enjoy!



* note: baking powders may contain wheat. If you are allergic to gluten, look for a wheat-free variety, or look up ways to make your own (e.g. using baking soda, tapioca starch and cream of tartar - from the All Natural Allergy Cookbook by Jeanne Marie Martin).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Going Gray...

Should I, or shouldn't I... that is the question... No, I am not referring to the erotic novels currently gaining such popularity (Shades of...); but rather, the age-old question (at least for women of the last several generations): when is it time to give in and embrace my gray(ing) hair?

Let me level with you friends: this December 2012, 1 of 2 things is going to happen: either the world will end, or I will (gasp) turn 40!

Believe me, the irony of the situation is not wasted. I no longer recall at what age I realized this particular reality, but I was probably already dying my hair. I plucked my first few snow-white hairs around age 16 with bemusement; and allowed my prominent streak to grow in while still in my 20's. It was all fun and games until, in my early 30's, I found myself going through a divorce and all the changes that come with it (plus an acceleration in gray hairs) and I suddenly wanted to reclaim some of that youthfulness wasted on my younger self.

Several years later, here we are: the battle with the roots still going strong. Meanwhile, I have developed my website (www.artsciencespirit.com) and changed my consumer habits to focus on natural, organic products wherever possible. Unfortunately, my hair colour remains the final frontier... while I do use alternative methods of prolonging the time between colouring, my hair grows so quickly that I typically resort to buying whatever hair dye is on sale to get the illusion back on track; to buy me a little more time...

I often wish I'd maintained that "stubborn streak" at least; the first to show up after each dye job, taunting me and reminding of the big b-day on the horizon. What's a girl to do? I have tried to enjoy the journey a bit at least, gradually introducing warmer shades to my typically dark ash brown locks... However, when my most recent root touch-up resulted in a darker shade than I had intended, it led to some interesting discussions at work. Why not go jet-black (it could be intriguing)? Or, as one friend suggested: be even more dramatic and go white! Having fought with these roots for a number of years now, this latter suggestion actually got me thinking, but I didn't know what such a process would even look like. So I did some research! Well, would you believe, going gray is almost considered a trend as of late? From actresses to supermodels; books, blogs and magazine articles - there is plenty of information out there on how to do it (and who else is doing it too)!

Of course, when considering any radical change in hair colour, it is advisable to consult with a professional. However, being an avid do-it-yourselfer, I've "naturally" decided to experiment on my own for a bit, at least to start. How hard can it be to start bleaching out the main gray streak, assess the results, and go from there? The answer to this question: it depends. How tolerant will I be of the different stages required, of the sometimes strange shades that result? And how much hair do I have to "comb over" and cover up these awkward instances? For the time being, I have enough of both (the patience and the hair) to persevere with the experiment. We'll see how it goes!

For more on authentic lifestyle choices, healthier products and unique gift ideas please do visit my website: www.artsciencespirit.com. Or stay tuned here for further updates! :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Living With Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain is one of those things you cannot explain to people who have not experienced it (or witnessed it daily in the lives of loved ones). It becomes a lifestyle, in some cases a lifetime of appointments with experts, experimenting with potential `cures` and making modifications when it is just too difficult to live `normally.` ``What`s wrong with me?`` can become the overwhelming focus of your existence. For myself, more than 20 years of headaches, body pain and fatigue have become a sometimes depressing reality. I`ve gone through many cycles of despair, acceptance, and renewed determination to look for answers.
In some ways the struggle has prompted me to make positive lifestyle changes. I`ve become increasingly aware that, while we cannot control everything - there ARE things we can do to at least attempt to help ourselves.

For myself, this has included switching to organic foods, as well as health and beauty products, wherever possible. It just makes sense to me that if my health is already ailing, it can`t be good to bombard my system with chemicals, pesticides, and artificial ingredients. This is a choice I can make for my own health, but also for the environment (it is always good to remember we are part of something larger).

As always, lifestyle is key. No matter how many appointments we make it to and experts we consult with, it is our daily activity that is going to make the biggest difference. Adequate rest, exercise, nutrition, and hydration create the basis of good health - for everyone. From there we can work on creating our own health `program` and work on our particular challenges.

It can take a lot of ``digging`` to learn about the underlying causes of pain and illness. There is seldom only one contributing factor (as tempting as it is to seek that one magic cure!), and it is to our benefit to develop a holistic understanding of our health; to see all aspects of our mind, body and spirit as being related and interdependent. I highly recommend doing a lot of reading, and consulting with several alternative health practitioners in order to develop this understanding. Unfortunately, in my experience, the mainstream medical system is not likely to be very helpful in this pursuit. Some of the health challenges I have investigated include:

fibromyalgia
chronic fatigue syndrome
sleep apnea
TMJ
HSP (Highly Sensitive Personality)
depression
anxiety
food sensitivities
sinusitis

Using products and services including:
acupuncture
osteopathy
chiropractic
massage therapy
naturopathy
homeopathy
herbal remedies
yoga
special diets
dental appliances

An area I have typically neglected is physical exercise. When you are constantly exhausted and in pain, it seems counterintuitive to push yourself to get active, when all you want to do is rest. However, I have proven to myself on several occasions that this is indeed a necessary component of recovery. At some point I took a break from normal life and social stresses by going to work overnight in a warehouse, where I was physically active stocking shelves and moving product for the duration of every shift. To my surprise, I became stronger and my warm muscles provided some relief. Recently I`ve decided to take action again, and invested in a set of Zumba dvd`s. Being naturally averse to sports and exercise classes, I have come across something I can do at home, and so far it is working. I`m enjoying it so much, I haven`t even tried all the different workouts yet. And, I`m learning some dance steps - a skill I have always wished to learn.

Even now, it is a work in progress. Some things change over time, while others are stubbornly persistent. However, I have to believe that the answers are out there - we just have to keep looking.

All of these topics and more are explored further on my website: www.artsciencespirit.com, as well as my other blog postings. Thank you for visiting!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventures in Online Shopping

My adventures in online shopping have been almost entirely positive. I have purchased cd's, books, beverages, clothing, shoes, organic food, herbal supplements, baby gifts, fair trade items, natural bath products, cruelty-free cosmetics, electronics, and the list goes on - almost always without a glitch! Online shopping is perfect for someone like me, who gets overwhelmed being out in the world too much, likes to take a little time to weigh my decisions, or sometimes know exactly what I want but do not want to spend a lot of time running around looking for it. Comparison shopping for a better price, or checking out customer reviews is as easy as the click of a button.

Here are a few things I have learned about being a savvy online shopper:

- If you are rarely ever home during the day, it is better to seek out online retailers that offer shipping by postal service (rather than courier)
- If you are shopping outside your own country, be prepared for the occasional unexpected expense (believe it or not, the biggest surprise I've had in this category came while importing some diet soda from the States for a diabetic friend! It was a gift, so I was willing to pay - but beware duty and taxes on even low-cost items!)
- Do read carefully, and remember what it is you are trying to find (I once got distracted while looking for a facial brush - one item was out of stock so I looked at some related items, but ended up buying a full-size body brush by mistake! It didn't look that big in the picture!) ;)
- Do support businesses whose mandates you believe in: your options are widened when shopping online, and it is easier to seek out companies that support fair trade, eco-friendly and cruelty-free practices, use organic ingredients, and so on. I love buying gifts from fair trade websites such as the Hunger Site - and my purchases even donate food to the hungry.

The only time I ever encountered the threat of credit card fraud, it was through a traditional retailer that had decided to broaden itself to including online sales. I received an email notification that my credit card may have been compromised; when I called my bank they advised me just to avoid using the card for awhile. A few years later the retail company went bankrupt - some things you just can't predict.

To reduce the threat of fraud, you may choose to use a credit card with a low credit limit for your online purchases, or use the pre-loaded variety (I've heard that the ones you can buy anywhere are not always accepted online - but you can also get these through your bank - I have used mine without difficulty)

If you want to purchase through an American website but they do not ship to Canada, there is a service called MyUS.com (and probably others) that offer parcel-forwarding services - I have not tried this, but have seen it recommended on websites where I've considered making a purchase.

For my recommendations on where to shop, plus tips on authentic living and making the world a better place, please visit my website www.artsciencespirit.com.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Creative Gift Ideas

Pink Bud Necklace
Pink Bud Necklace by artsciencespirit
Design your own photo necklace online at Zazzle.

Customizing your party invitations, bridal party gifts, and thank you notes is a fun way to incorporate a theme into your special occasions. Websites such as Zazzle make it easy to do, and give you the choice to either support the work of independent artists, or create your own designs.


Simple Things Cards
Simple Things Cards by artsciencespirit
View other Shoe Cards

I theme I personally love is "fairy tales." From tiny ornate shoes reminiscent of Cinderella, to cottage windows, or frogs awaiting the kiss that will return them to their rightful place in the palace, I like to create images that remind us of childhood stories and universal themes. 

 
Fountain Frog Keychain
Fountain Frog Keychain by artsciencespirit
Create your own photo keychains from Zazzle.

Whether you are hosting a themed event, or just looking for a unique gift idea, why not browse the phenomenal pool of creativity on sites such as Zazzle? Get inspired: the possibilities are endless! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Re-Examining Sleep Apnea

One of the health concerns I have investigated over the years is sleep apnea - the sleep disorder characterized by prolonged pauses in breathing while asleep, followed by gasping for air (often accompanied by snoring). Everyone who has ever observed my sleep patterns has commented on my bizarre, sometimes disturbing breathing (or lack thereof) during sleep, and I've always felt it would explain so many of my other daytime health challenges (headaches, chronic fatigue, anxiety, even digestive ailments - if we are not getting adequate oxygen and rest, wouldn't almost EVERYTHING suffer as a result?). However, two disappointing overnight sleep tests in different hospitals, years apart, showed no conclusive results. If the experts say "no," how capable do we feel of disagreeing? However, every so often the nagging thought returns, that I have to be my own best expert when it comes to my health and life experiences. So, during my latest bout of health-seeking appointments, I discussed with my acupuncturist and massage therapist the sleep apnea conundrum. Their responses were encouraging, and have given me hope to continue my quest for better health in this area.
My acupuncturist had an interesting suggestion: to try taking "Aerobic Oxygen" drops that you add to a glass of water both before bed, and upon waking, to help maintain blood oxygen levels even in the case of breathing disturbances. My own research revealed that there are also herbal formulas designed to help sleep apnea, by improving the quality of sleep and relaxation. Finally, my massage therapist said she would speak to a colleague about cranial sacral therapy for sleep apnea (she felt this might be especially helpful in my case, as I did sustain facial injuries as a child that may have had lasting consequences). Upon reading more about this, I discovered that there are many references to TMJ in relation to sleep apnea (TMJ is another definite problem of mine).... so, the plot thickens.
Interesting, isn't it? And yet we know that everything is related. I am at the early stages of this exploration, but will report any significant results as I experience them! For anyone suffering from chronic ailments, please do not give up... help can come from even the most unexpected of sources.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Get Ready for Some Sun!

With the warm weather finally making an appearance here in Vancouver, I was just reviewing some of the natural suncare products I've promoted in previous years.

One is a fun line of hemp products made and sold locally by Serf to Surf - I've yet to try these personally, but for all true beach enthusiasts I think it is definitely worth checking them out:

Premium Hemp Products

 Another  website I like which offers both natural sun care and mosquito protection is Mexitan.com.
"Mexitan and Tropical Sands suncare products include all natural and biodegradable sunscreen, tanning oil, and moisturizer, with the added protection of green tea. All Tropical Sands sunscreens are eco-friendly, non-allergenic, and chemical-free, even safe for kids. Skedattle mosquito repellent is deet-free and works great too! (Free shipping on all USA orders over $75)." However, it appears that the Canadian website is not currently available, so this one requires shipping in from the USA.



Mexitan Products



A Canadian favourite of mine, well.ca offers numerous healthy sunscreen options for all ages, and does include at least one natural insect repellent product (but it is currently out of stock).



I decided to broaden my search for natural (or at least DEET-free insect repellents) to get a better idea of what is available online in Canada, and was pleased to find several on Amazon.ca. Bullfrog combines both sunscreen and a DEET-free repellent, so is one choice for those who need protection without a lot of fuss.




Then there is Burt's Bees, a product line I always love. This insect repellent combines several essential oils for protection that is almost certainly better-smelling than those other more toxic products!








Consumer reviews are available on most products, so take a look before deciding on a purchase. Remember that by choosing natural, biodegradable, non-toxic skincare, you are protecting not only you and your loved ones, but the environment as well! Now get out there and enjoy the sun! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zeitgeist Day 2012 - Vancouver, BC




This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Zeitgeist Day 2012 - the annual conference hosted by the Zeitgeist Movement in cities across the world. The main event took place in Vancouver this year, and I'm happy to say I was there :)

I took 10 pages of notes during the 5+ hours of speakers I stayed for, and would like to share with you some of the basic concepts and recommended resources mentioned during the course of the day.

The first speaker was a humorous young Italian man by the name of Frederico Pistono, author of, "Robots Will Steal Your Job - But That's Ok." He reviewed some interesting advances in software and technology (everything from automated cars, to 3D printing, to robot scientists capable of making new discoveries), while posing the question: what happens when all of these marvelous technologies do actually replace us in our jobs?

http://robotswillstealyourjob.com/

The lectures were full of philosophy and academic studies, as the Zeitgeist Movement is determined to be taken seriously as a science and research-based organization, and contained references to numerous works by individuals such as Rudolph Steiner, Herman E. Daly, and Michael B. Rosen (covering everything from non-violent communication, to reform in education and economic systems, in addition to advances in science and technology).






James Phillips, TZM Education Coordinator, gave a compelling talk on the need to start developing our minds early, allowing children to learn by self-directed activities, rather than forcing them to conform to the system.

http://www.tzmeducation.org/



In answer to the question, "how do we change the system?" James directs us to explore the writings of Jacque Fresco (founder of the Zeitgeist Movement) as we create a love of learning, thinking, questioning and innovating, using collaborative models, rather than competition.

http://www.truththeory.org/awakening/

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Next, Douglas Mallette continued the discussion of new technologies and quality of life, drawing on his experiences at NASA, and giving examples of recent developments such as photovoltaic paint, solar roadways, GPS-driven cars, innovative applications for wind turbines, maglev trains, and more.

www.solarroadways.com

http://www.zeitnews.org/

http://www.facebook.com/CybernatedFarmSystems



As the day went on there were talks about communications, human values, semantics and free will, rounding out some of the underlying theories of the movement, leading up to the presentation by Peter Joseph.







http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nhv56



http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorstein_Veblen

Peter further reviewed the "Structural Psychology" of the Zeitgeist Movement, including theories of "Structural Classism", and the concept of a Natural Law Economy (versus our current reality of Market Economy). This was all leading up to part 2 of the lecture, which will be available in months to come.

I think what people are most hungry for at this point in the movement are more concrete ideas about how to put the principles into practice, so may have gone away disappointed on this note. However, it was inspiring to be in a crowd of people who care about the topics discussed, and to hear some of the great minds speaking about both the theories and the recent developments which may help us to create the change. I look forward to further exploring the resources mentioned here, and maybe even be a part of what happens next :)


video

Monday, January 9, 2012

Organic & Fair Trade Products for Babies & Moms

Please visit Well.ca to find natural and organic baby bath products, BPA-free baby bottles, toddler-friendly toothpaste and much more -all with free shipping in Canada!

A growing number of companies are simplifying your search for healthier baby clothes, bedding and other everyday items by producing only non-toxic, natural products - providing worry-free solutions for new moms, as well as wonderful gift ideas. From toxin-free handcrafted furniture to organic cotton or bamboo blankets and clothes, as well as natural skin creams and supplements, browse through some of the healthy options available on sites that offer shipping to Canada and throughout North America, including:


Shipping from the United States to almost anywhere in the world

I'm Organic... Are You? - 486x60
100% certified organic cotton clothing, tote bags, and reusable lunch bags, including a variety of cute green slogans, or put your own logo on these eco-friendly products. Worldwide shipping from the USA.


It is even worth searching mainstream websites such as Amazon - you never know where you might come across something like these cute organic toys! With so many choices that are better for our health and the environment, why not make a habit of it?

Choosing Healthier Products for Your Home

Organic Linens, Natural Cleaning Products, Candles and Morefor body, mind & soul

Once you begin making more conscious choices about food, bath and beauty products, it may come to your attention that other elements of your surroundings could also benefit from a "healthy makeover." My own transition to healthier living has been gradual over the last few years, starting with organic groceries and progressing to more conscious choices in everything from cruelty-free shampoo to less toxic candles. Fortunately I am not alone in seeking more healthy products for personal use and around the home. If you haven't paid much attention to consumer trends lately, you may be surprised to learn about the growing number of organic products and services catering to healthier lifestyles as well as protecting the environment. It's getting easier! I recently picked up some organic cotton pillowcases at Winners, and my local Shoppers Drug Mart has dramatically increased their selection of non-toxic products for the home. From electronics to furniture and toilet bowl cleaner to fresh bouquets, if you are looking for healthier alternatives, they are likely to be found. Explore some of the online choices available, as well as keeping an eye out for more natural products while you are out shopping - you'll be glad you did.

Well.ca - Canada's online drugstore

Well.ca is the online shopping source for that Canadians have been waiting for! An attractive, user-friendly website with a whole section of "green" products, including, for the home: soy candles, non-toxic air fresheners, odour-neutralizing crystals, and cleaners for bathroom, kitchen, floor, upholstery and more.

Some reasons to look for alternatives:In their Chemical Home report, Greenpeace details their findings on toxic chemicals commonly found in house dust and rainwater, as well as their origins in items including:
- children's toys
- children's clothing
- shampoo
- air freshenershttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
- mattresses
- sports shoes
- perfumes
- vinyl flooring
- electronics
- lipstick
- toothpaste
and their associated health risks, including:
- hormone disruption
- interference with the human immune system
- male and female fertility
- foetal toxicity
- disruption of the endocrine system
- global contamination, even in marine mammals in remote locations
- liver and kidney problems
- disruption of the nervous system
The full report can be viewed at: Greenpeace Chemical Home Report



Are you concerned about the quality of your drinking water? For clean water without heavy bottles and constant trips to the store for refills, Upaya Naturals offers filtration systems for your drinking water (countertop model or with under-sink conversion kit) and shower, (numerous multi-purpose showerhead styles) as well as other products including your own water distiller, and de-chlorination tablets for your bath. Imagine cleaner, healthier water for drinking, cooking, bathing and all your daily needs. International shipping from Canada

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Clothing With a Conscience


From new takes on "recycling" to new levels of dedication to organically grown cotton, more and more companies are taking steps in the direction of environmental, social and corporate responsibility, and giving us more numerous choices in healthy, sustainable products for the conscious consumer!

eco friendly clothes
A beautiful, earth-friendly company.Int'l shipping from the USA

In addition to the many other beautiful fair-trade goods available from around the world, we are happy to announce the discovery of kinder alternatives in an increasing variety of fashion choices - from sweatshop-free casual clothing and sportswear to eco-friendly wedding dresses and one-of-a-kind creations using recycled fabric. The controversies surrounding the practices of large corporations in their efforts to find cheap manufacturing solutions has led to an increased public awareness, and a desire to know where our clothes are coming from. Groups such as No Sweat Apparel are making it easier to find the information and alternatives you are looking for in avoiding unfair labour practices and other unethical big-business schemes. Enjoy browsing the growing selection and feel good about what you are wearing!


Own a Classic Littlearth License Plate Purse Today

Littlearth Family of Brands, the most stylish name in eco-fashion. Click Here for License Plate Purses, NFL Purses, and Designer Lines

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Natural Health & Wellness

Herbal supplements and other natural treatments offer many potential health benefits, and are experiencing a major resurgence as people decide to take a more active approach to their personal health and well-being. Such traditional approaches to healing are based on wisdom and formulas that have existed for hundreds and even thousands of years. There are many preventative strategies for health that you may not have considered, including mind-body remedies for stress and natural ways of reducing toxicity - both examples of the hidden causes of illness. Even within strategies for reducing toxicity in the body exist a wide variety of treatment options, from detox diets, to bowel irrigation (this is one treatment I've not been brave enough to try, but I have read about it; see books Tao of Detox, or The Body Ecology Diet, below:) or consider other less-invasive, intriguing options for ridding the body of toxins, such as foot patches.

Well.ca - Canada's online drugstore
For vitamins and herbal supplements, to make sure your loved ones across the country are taking good care of themselves, a full range of detox products, and more!With free shipping in Canada why not check out Well.ca's natural remedies?

Information and health products that can be used at home are always increasing, making it easier to explore the underlying causes of illness, as well as create treatments that can be used at your convenience. However, it is important to remember that herbal remedies are still medicines, and it is always wise to consult with a professional to ensure you are doing yourself only good and not harm - particularly where serious health issues or potential drug interactions may be of concern. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists all offer alternative methods of treatment and expertise to help you find natural ways to improve and maintain your health.



Whatever form of treatment you choose, it is a good idea to do some reading yourself in order to understand what to expect and look out for. Be an informed consumer! This will also help you know what questions to ask in order to get the most out of your consultation. Even in the mainstream healthcare system, it is best to develop your own wisdom when it comes to taking care of your body (and mind and soul...). Believe it or not, you are the expert when it comes to your own health, life, and experience. No one can monitor your daily activities as well as you. Take advantage of the wealth of information available online, do your research, and be an expert when it comes to healthy living.


Are you concerned about the quality of your drinking water? For clean water without heavy bottles and constant trips to the store for refills, Upaya Naturals offers filtration systems for your drinking water (countertop model or with under-sink conversion kit) and shower, (numerous multi-purpose showerhead styles) as well as other products including your own water distiller, and de-chlorination tablets for your bath. and all your daily needs. Upaya Naturals also offers such specialty detox items as nuclear radiation treatment potassium iodide (emergency use), and infrared heaters which both heat and purify the air in your home! Exciting and inspiring ideas for better health! International shipping from Canada.
Upaya Naturals offers a range of detoxification products, includingAdya Clarity Magnetic Sulfate Minerals -a convenient method of purifying your drinking water on the go.This website also offers an exciting array of organic and wildcrafted herbs and teas, recommended by herbalists for their nourishing tonic properties, including schizandra, astragalus, holy basil and more.Looking for organic silica products? Upaya Naturals has those too!

Gifts That Give More

Donating to Charitable Causes Online, Choosing Gifts that Inspire Healthier, Happier, Lives through Socially and Environmentally Friendly Choices

Gifts With Humanity

If you are looking for gifts for an upcoming shower, wedding, anniversary or other special occasion - here is a perfect solution. Fair Trade gifts offer excellent value and more unique solutions than you'll find at the local department store. And your gift will have greater value in other ways - with a percentage of the proceeds going directly to the men and women around the world who created or produced the gift items, enabling them to overcome the challenges they face in earning a better living for themselves and their families.


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Fair Trade, Organic & Green Gifts

The artsciencespirit store at amazon.ca includes books on eco-friendly:
- gardening
- housekeeping
- crafts
- jobs
- weddings
- home design
- landscaping
- recycling

books on organic:
- farming
- body care recipes
- gardening
- foods
- pet food recipes
- Chinese herbs

organic products for sale:teas, coffee, yarn (jute ribbon), baby supplies, pet supplies, as well as a book section on career development:
- entrepreneurship
- social innovation
- green jobs

***Each section is listed as a sub-category from the main Eco-friendly page***

recylced gifts
Cool recycled gift ideas - International shipping

Healthy Foods Online

Good news for those with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance, allergies or food sensitivities, or lifestyle choices such as vegan diets: it is no longer necessary to go without the more decadent kinds of treats so coveted by many! It http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifis now possible to have your cake and eat it too, with the growing assortment of organic and vegan chocolates, drinks, meal ideas and more available online and elsewhere. No stranger to the challenges of special dietary needs, we appreciate the convenience of finding these specialty items online (in Canada!) and will continue to share our latest discoveries.***Vegan cheeses now available at Upaya Naturals!!! 100% dairy free, no gluten, no casein, no soy and lactose free, 100% organic!

Well.ca - Canada's online drugstore

Not just a drugstore! Well.ca offers a range of specialty food items, from organic jams, to manuka honey, gluten-free mixes,organic tea, candy, nuts and chocolate,organic rice, rice pasta, beans and more! Free shipping in Canada


Click here to visit Uhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifPAYA NATURALS - Canada's Raw Vegan Health Store



Upaya Naturals offers an intriguing array of raw, vegan supplements, herbs, and more, including: organic quinoa, Schisandra Berries, vanilla beans; Tulsi (Holy Basil), Stevia leaf powder; camu camu berries; goji berries; acai powder; Maca; Mesquite Meal; Lucumu Powder; raw, organic Cacao beans; raw, organic peanuts; Yacon syrup; Agave nectar; Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce, organic); Tamari (gluten-free, kosher, organic); freeze-dried sprout powders - most are certified organic, with a few wildcrafted exceptions.

Upaya Naturals also offers a full range of ingredients, juicers and blenders for making your own organic juices and smoothies.



Interested in trying the Body Ecology Diet but not sure how to get started? The following certified organic foods recommended in the book are also conveniently available online at Upaya Naturals:Dulse Granules or Whole Leaf; Kelp Granules or Whole Leaf; Nori Sheets; Agar Agar; Buckwheat; Pumpkin Seeds; Quinoa; Olive Oil; Coconut Oil; Almonds;Sauerkraut (raw, unpasteurized, certified organic); Stevia Leaf Powder; Dried Shiitake Mushrooms.They also have raw vegetable crackers (dehydrated); candies made from birch; raw salad dressings; kale chips; trail mix; assorted nut butters, and other organic treats you may want to incorporate into your diet, as your digestion allows. You may also want to take a look at Upaya's recipes for making your own cleansing teas.

I have shopped at both Well.ca and Upaya Naturals and enjoyed a trouble-free online shopping experience in both cases. I highly recommend these online Canadian businesses and look forward to being a customer there again soon :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Evolving Self

What better time than the beginning of a new year to revisit a favourite book - The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I was introduced to his theory of "Flow" in a university class (The Anthropology of Play) many years ago, and continued to incorporate his concepts throughout the rest of my academic studies. On a personal level his writings resonate strongly, including his discussion of "entropy" (which he describes as "the state of confusion and inability to act that occurs in consciousness when one's goals are frustrated, and the consequent negative emotions one feels.") I was reminded of this kind of entropy over Christmas, when instead of enjoying the time off as I had anticipated, I found myself slipping into an emotional abyss, ruminating about things like problems in my relationship, and financial challenges, instead of being thankful for all that I do have, and using the time in more productive and enjoyable ways. What is it that makes us turn negative? Czikszentmihalyi discusses the mechanics of the mind that create this tendency, as well as our innate need for complexity and growth, and how developing these capacities are a necessity on both an individual and societal level if we are to further "evolve."
We need balance. We need both challenges and successes. I would say it's sadly obvious that in general, as individuals and as a society we are quite badly off-balance. Overwork, stress, long hours on computers or in front of televisions... And I too well understand how difficult it is to maintain any balance when, by the end of the day, after work, commute, meal preparation and other chores - and hopefully some quality time with family or friends - it is often impossible to do anything other than collapse in exhaustion in the hopes of resting adequately to be able to do it all again tomorrow. I get so frustrated with this life. Add to the mix any kind of health problem - especially the chronic kind - and all hopes for further "evolving" feel pretty much shot. So, we live for the weekend, the next vacation, or finally retirement - but as my recent experience proved, often these breaks from routine are not able to provide the renewal or the escape we desire - leaving us feeling like even more of a failure.
Wow! What a negative perspective! And so I spend years studying psychology, sociology, spirituality trying to figure it all out; I think maybe it's because I'm creative, or a Capricorn, or a depressed/anxious personality type; too highly sensitive; too introverted; or just born into the wrong culture/time in history etc etc. Perhaps it is a combination of all of the above. I think that life as we know it has become so unnatural that it excuses the need for antidepressants or natural medications to try to help us get back on track and tolerate our daily realities. I understand better why people depend on alcohol and other substances to numb or escape themselves. There are periods of time where I really do give up and just keep my nose to the grindstone, when it seems the only thing to do is keep moving forward, even if it feels more like walking on a treadmill, going nowhere.
What a relief to occasionally pull myself out of the stupor, and delve back into something as refreshing and inspiring as a book that reminds us of our potential - our duty even - to progress and grow into something more.