Dental issues

I just went to the dentist and apparently my plastic-free dental hygiene isn’t cutting it. Two years ago I started using a natural toothbrush and various types of natural toothpaste. I absolutely love my natural toothbrush! It softens up nicely over a few uses and of course there’s no plastic in it (except for the plastic wrapped around the head for delivery).

I’ve tried a few different toothpastes over the past couple of years. I’ve made my own using a variety of recipes and lately I’ve been using a refillable tooth soap.

I guess that these things aren’t making the cut and it was “strongly recommended” that I stop using what I’ve been using and get (A) an electric toothbrush and (B) regular toothpaste. So until I figure out something that works and gets my teeth clean to the standard I’d expect, guess I’m going back to a plastic-filled dental routine. :(

Any suggestions for something that actually works??

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Back at it!

I’ve been slacking the past few months and figured that maybe getting back to my blogging might help me to get back on track! I admit I haven’t been living as plastic-free as I’d like to be. My big problems are toiletries, food and medicines.

Medicine/first aid was one of the things I was going to forgive myself for. My health needs to be above the mission. In an effort to move further away from plastic packaging (and western medicine in general), I’ve applied and been accepted to an 8-month Herbal Integration program, where I’ll study plants and learn how to use them to make various medicines and first aid supplies for my own apothecary!

Food is an on-going problem… being vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free (the latter two due to allergies) and the fact that I hate cooking means I’m buying a lot of things that come packaged – gluten-free pasta, dairy-free cheese, etc – that I can’t find unpackaged. I’m working on this!

And lastly the toiletries. I use a wooden/natural bristle toothbrush, refillable tooth soap (glass bottle), bar shampoo, etc. But other things have been a problem! Today I went to the Soap Dispensary and bought bulk shea butter, cocoa butter and unrefined beeswax (the latter for candles). The cocoa butter and beeswax were put into paper bags and I bought a 1-L mason jar for the shea butter. I’m planning on making body butter and shaving cream this weekend! I picked up a bunch of different containers for these things and the candles.

So! Back on the train and hopefully 2013 will be more intentionally plastic-free. Hopefully I’ll be writing some more posts and of course will post the recipes if they work out!

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Plastic money.

Just a quick post today, but I read an article tonight about Canada’s new plastic money that will begin circulating later this year. $100 and $50 bills come out in November and $5, $10 and $20 bills will come out in 2013.

I can’t say how I feel about this. On one hand, plastic bills last significantly longer than the current cotton paper bills. Australia uses plastic bills and you can’t tear them the way you can rip a Canadian bill. So in the long-run it’ll be cheaper to produce the money and therefor more environmentally friendly to produce. (Energy use, etc.)

Then again, they’re plastic.

But… is this really that big of a deal? I mean, I’m mainly complaining about single use plastics and the new bills definitely aren’t single use. Yes, they’ll eventually wear out, but things like computers, phones and appliances wear out as well. At least they’ll be used for years before that happens.

I think this time the benefits outweigh the negatives and I’m all for the plastic money. Am I the only one?

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I’m still alive!

I haven’t written in a while because (A) I’ve been insanely busy with work and (B) I have nothing new or interesting to say!

But, I’m still going on the plastic-free challenge. It’s been two months now and I had to ease up on the plastic restrictions in regards to the food I buy. Of course, I’m still trying to find anything I can plastic-free, but I have to consider my health first.

That said… I have to admit that I haven’t been as excited about the challenge over the past couple of weeks. For some reason, I’ve found myself not really caring if I buy short-term plastics or not and actually the other day I bought a hot chocolate on the way to work, complete with paper cup and plastic lid. Granted, this is the only time I’ve given in… but I don’t know… for some reason I’m just not into it as strongly as I was before.

I’m hoping this is just a by-product of the insanity going on at work over the past month, but I guess we’ll see soon…

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New products for me!

I just got home from spending the weekend in Victoria with my folks. My immediate and extended family had dinner plans for my brother’s (early) birthday last night and I decided a few days ago to go over for it.

I love Victoria because there are so many options for me food-wise. There’s a new restaurant downtown called West Coast Waffles that serves gluten-free waffles (!!) so my friend Brie and I decided to get together and check it out. It was yum!

After lunch, we walked around downtown for a bit. I bought a few things (a new German book, gluten-free black licorice), but the big stop was for shampoo! I finally finished the last of my pre-challenge shampoo and I needed to get some bulk shampoo that isn’t in a plastic container.

Lush it was! My hair and scalp are both really dry during the winter so I bought two different shampoo bars. One was made with cade oil, which reeks of camp fire initially, but thankfully the smell doesn’t stick around! (The website promotes that shampoo with the tagline, “The scent of freshly made tar.” Ha!) The other is a jasmine conditioning bar. I used them tonight and love them; I’d definitely buy more bulk shampoo from Lush and would also recommend their bulk deodorant bars, which smell awesome.

I’m normally not a big Lush fan, but for plastic-free toiletries, they’re certainly the way to go these days as I have no clue where else to buy that stuff. (That said, if you know of any place that sells bulk plastic-free toiletries, please let me know!)


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Easing up.

I just wrote a huge post, which ended up being just a big rant. So, into the trash it goes and I’ll try again.

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve slowly run out of the food I bought before my challenge started (ie: frozen stuff), I’m starting to realize how limited I am in what I can eat.

In addition to being vegetarian, I’m also allergic to dairy and gluten. For some reason, very few bakeries in Vancouver make gluten-free bread and the ones that do all wrap the bread in plastic. (The only gluten-free bakery I know of that doesn’t do this is in Victoria.) If I wanted to make my own bread at home, I need to have a lot of weird flours that are virtually impossible to find (here at least) in bulk and many of them come in small, plastic bags. Nut butters come with lids that are lined with or made of plastic. Most produce has plastic stickers. I could go on.

When I first started this challenge, one of my “rules” was that my health comes first. I’m currently home sick from work and my seriously diminished diet has likely contributed to this. After a lot of guilt and re-thinking, I’ve decided to make a few changes.

In cases where I can get plastic-free versions or can go without, then I’ll do that. (IE: I will buy in bulk when at all possible and I won’t buy things I don’t need, like microwave dinners or chips.) But, with things that I wouldn’t be able to buy otherwise, like xanthan gum, etc, I’ll purchase in the plastic until I can find an alternative source.

I feel seriously guilty doing this and trust me, I don’t want to! But like I’ve said before, I can’t put my health in jeopardy because of this challenge. I need to be eating better and while I figure this all out, I’m going to have to back down on a few things.

Of course, I will still stick to the rest of the challenge! Hopefully this will be my only concession.

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I’ve been really busy the past week, which is why I haven’t written. Even today I only have a little update. Overall I’ve been doing well, but yesterday I bought a thing of instant oatmeal that usually comes in paper. However, I went to open some today and they’ve changed the packaging and it now has a very thick plastic liner. So, fail for me! I’m still going to eat it because it’s one of the few breakfast things that I can actually eat these days, but I’ll add the packaging to my Sin Bin when it’s done.


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