It’s packed full of ideas that can improve your space at home and they’re all good for the planet too!
About Sustainable Home by Christine Liu
If you haven’t come across Christine Liu, she runs the site (and YouTube channel) called Simply By Christine. In which she focuses on ways to improve your life by simplifying the way you live and ensure that everything you do is sustainable.
In her book Sustainable Home, she gives us 18 projects broken down into simple easy to carry out steps that can make your living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom more enjoyable.
Some are big projects like the project to convert your home to run purely on renewable energy sources. Others are much simpler and can be carried out the day you buy the book – like making your own toothpaste.
What we found was that this was the perfect text for anyone who wants to make a positive difference in the world but hasn’t quite worked out where to start.
You can check the latest price of Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household by Christine Liu on Amazon.
Some people think that paper waste is no longer a problem thanks to the near universal spotlight on plastic waste now.
Sadly, this just isn’t true.
While it is true that a couple of trees are planted for each tree cut down to make paper and that a lot of paper is recycled, and all paper is biodegradable – this still isn’t the best thing for the planet.
The best thing for the planet is a sustainable, reusable alternative to paper that eliminates (or at least massively reduces) waste in the first place.
It takes much less energy to carry out this process and that’s what the world needs.
The Unpaper Towels Revolution
The unpaper towel is not a new invention. It didn’t take a world class inventor to realize that the best towels in the kitchen are actual towels.
The unpaper towel is simply a traditional piece of towel shaped like a piece of paper kitchen toweling.
They are more
absorbent than paper and they last much longer than paper,
particularly if they are cared for properly and washed and dried on a
Thus you have an elegant, green alternative to paper which is no different to what you’re used to.
They’ve truly mastered the art of turning hemp into underpants and we have to say, we love what they’re doing.
Why Hemp Underwear?
For a short period
of time it looked like hemp would become the dominant material crop
in North America. Then the powerful and wealthy lobby representing
cotton producers got involved and because hemp is closely related to
marijuana – the industry was swiftly sidelined by legislation.
However, you can’t keep a good crop down and in the 2000s people have started to realize just how useful hemp can be for making things.
You can make paper from hemp, fibers from hemp and just about anything you can think of can be made from the fibers – including underwear.
The Benefits Of Hemp Underwear
This wouldn’t have
matter if it weren’t for the fact that hemp fabrics can be made
super soft and are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial and as
importantly, for underwear, they’re also very breathable.
WAMA underwear decided to become the pioneer of this nascent industry and create exception underwear with the right fit, function and design.
The WAMA mission is “to pioneer the hemp underwear industry by making the best hemp undies in the world and constantly improving the fit, function and design.”
As hemp is naturally anti-bacteria and anti-microbial, as well as breathable and very soft, it’s a natural textile to be used for underwear.
We can report that they’ve succeeded. This is a business that understands underwear as much as it understands eco-friendliness.
One of the greatest challenges of modern life unfolds in your kitchen. Get ready!
How do you get food that isn’t doused in pesticides and chemicals? Growing your own is always an option but what about those of us who live in urban areas?
If you live in an apartment, condo or townhouse with no garden, you’ve always been out of luck when it comes to cultivating your own product – until now.
Welcome to the kitchen of the future!
Having an Urban Cultivator means you can harvest seconds before you plate, giving you access to fresh, organic microgreens and herbs year-round.
Urban Cultivator aims to change the way we look at food and the art of growing it forever.
Hydroponic Solutions for Urban Indoor Gardening
Hydroponics have a bad rap. This is unfair. There’s nothing wrong with growing on water. It’s the fact that so many people turned to growing marijuana, illegally, on water that trashed the reputation of this awesome technology.
When you grow on water and use lamps, you can grow anywhere. You can plant crops in your closets, under the stairs, in the corner of a bedroom and you can maintain a constant temperature and provide exactly the nutrition that your plants need to thrive.
Urban Cultivator Residential in Action
With the Urban Cultivator you can grow a variety of herbs and microgreens right in your own kitchen garden – up to 8 varieties at a time. This is a sweet 24″ machine that operates on 110v or 220v power and averages 18 kWh per month.
It’s also CSA certified and comes with a 3 year warranty.
This Is Locavore In Action
Jessica Prentice, of Local Foods Wheel, coined the term “locavore” and it represents people committed to only consuming products grown or harvested within 100 miles of their home.
Urban Cultivator has
given us the means to become locavores no matter where we live and no
matter how far we are from a farm.
Matt & Nat is one of our favorite brands of the moment.
Their elegant fashion collection is both on point and environmentally friendly. It’s also one of the most ethically designed ranges you’re going to find anywhere.
They were founded in
1995 and the company name is a combination of “Mat(t)erial” and
“Nature” and their concept is simply to explore the synergy
between the two.
The company says
that its motto is “live beautifully” and they believe that means
that there is a responsibility to understand and appreciate the
humanity, creativity and positivity inside each living soul.
itself in a set of values that reflect this they include love, social
responsibility, excellence, integrity and more.
Yes, vegan clothing. If you take a quick look at the average person’s wardrobe, you won’t need to find a mink coat to find plenty of animal products such as leather or sheepskin.
Matt & Nat, from the beginning, chose to avoid any animal-based materials.
They also experiment
continuously with new eco-friendly materials that have been created
from recycled products even recycled cork!
And all their linings, since 2007, have been out of completely recycled plastic bottles.
They’re doing their bit to combat the biggest threat of our time – plastic waste.
Where Can You Find Them?
Matt & Nat clothes can be found online at their webstore here but also at boutiques in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Australia.
So, there’s no excuse for not supporting their efforts to make clothing environmentally friendly.
One thing women have told us time and
again is that they want to try a natural beauty regime but they find
the getting started so intimidating, that they keep falling back on
So, we’ve put together a simple guide to getting your natural beauty routine started and then we take a look at some of the big natural beauty trends for the rest of 2019 and into 2020– so you can begin as you mean to go on, with the latest knowledge.
How To Make An Effective Transition To A Natural Beauty Routine
This is a multi-step process but a simple one.
It allows you to move at your own pace and to become comfortable with small changes before making major changes.
One of the first things we did when we switched out to a natural regime was to consult a specialist about it.
Bodyshop, for example, will be happy to provide a free consultation and recommendations on products that might improve your health and beauty regime.
There are also professional beauty
consultants that can offer a broader range of services designed to
help you tailor your natural routine.
Realize That Change Doesn’t All Need To Come At
This is the moment that many people
become completely overwhelmed. They’ve got a bag full of makeup
which isn’t natural, and which might impact on their health. They
don’t have the budget to swap it all out – what should they do?!
Breathe. The answer is to take it one step at a time. Change one thing a week and by the end of the year, everything will be natural. Switch the products that you use the most (like deodorant or shower gel) first and leave the occasional use products until last.
Try Things Before You Commit: Natural Beauty Free Samples
You can get free samples of many
cosmetic items and for others you can buy trial size packages or even
travel size ones. Before you commit to a product, give it a
small-scale trial, do you like it? Does it deliver the benefits that
you were looking for?
Brand loyalty is understandable but
build that loyalty around results rather than marketing materials.
Develop A Care Ritual That Makes Sense And Makes
You Feel Great
It won’t happen immediately, but you
should be looking to develop a routine that makes you feel amazing.
It’s like switching from junk food to whole foods. The first few
days are a little strange and then, suddenly, you’re full of energy
Deep changes in the way we live are
positively impactful, but they can take time to bed in. Be patient,
don’t expect miracles but do expect to feel better and happier over
time. Once you rid your body of toxins – it can begin to heal.
You should make a little time to renew
your commitment to natural beauty every now and again. It’s easy to
slide back into old habits over time if you don’t remind yourself
as to why you began, it’s even easier.
And don’t forget that it may take a
while to get used to a new way of doing things too (think switching
from a spray deodorant to a cream-based one) and it’s worth
Make It Fun
One thing we’ve found really helps
people stick to a new routine is to involve other people. Get your
closest girlfriends together, explain the journey that you want to
take, see if they’d like to get involved too.
Swap tips and products, get together
for natural beauty treatments or a massage, the more you share your
enthusiasm, the more enthusiastic they will become, and their
enthusiasm will boost you even more. It’s a virtuous circle and
it’s a lot of fun.
Natural Beauty Trends For 2019
Now, that you’ve got an idea of how
to create a beauty routine. What should you be looking to include in
that routine? Well, there are an infinite amount of natural products
out there but the big hitters for 2019 include:
Bakuchiol Based Products
Retinol is the miracle anti-ageing drug
to remove wrinkles. It’s also dangerous to use on a regular basis
and can react very badly with sunlight.
The good news is that there’s a
natural alternative – bakuchiol. It’s also an anti-inflammatory
agent which can help you feel even better than Retinol ever could.
The United Kingdom has already been
forward thinking enough to ban microbeads (tiny pieces of plastic) in
women’s beauty products, sadly, the rest of the world has not
Microbeads are insidious in that they
may be drawn into your body and build up over time to cause problems.
They’re certainly building up in the world’s oceans. Getting rid
of these contaminants isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the
If you’re dealing with chronic pain,
you’ve probably heard of CBD oil which is an extract from hemp
which offers similar pain relief properties to marijuana but without
the high. Well, it also offers real benefits in beauty products and
we think 2019 is the year that every woman will start buying CBD
products of some description.
CBD oil can help cure acne, reduce
eczema and when used topically it can even help with depression and
We all love going to the spa for a
pampering session but most of us don’t love the huge bill that
we’re presented with when we leave. One of the challenges of spas
when you’re trying to go all natural is it’s hard to know what
products they’re using.
There is, however, an alternative and
that’s to create spa treatments at home out of 100% natural
ingredients. It’s cheaper, more fun and you can be certain that the
ingredients you use are the ones that work best for your body.
We love it when
people get creative in the home and make fresh, eco-friendly products
for use in their own lives. The trouble is that for some things it
can often be quite a complicated process to get started. Like making
Fortunately, Anne-Marie Faiola is on hand to guide us through the fascinating world of soap making in Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond. It’s rapidly turning into one of our go-to texts at home.
Soap For Beginners To Experts
This is a book designed to grow with you as your soap making skills. Anne-Marie tackles the basics of soap making (always using milk products) right through to advanced lessons. Camel milk soap? Anne-Marie will show you how and it’s very much worth it, if you can find a camel to milk.
Of course, this
wouldn’t be truly eco-friendly if there weren’t some vegan
recipes in there too and she tackles hemp, rice, coconut and almond
milk soaps too. We loved the rice milk soap, it’s so gentle on your
Anne-Marie walks you through how to sculpt your soaps into intricate
and beautiful designs. That was our favorite part of the book.
Final Thoughts on Milk Soaps
We loved this book.
It’s the perfect way to get into making soap at home and having a
ton of fun. It’s also something you can get your kids involved in,
as long as you keep a close eye on things.
You can check the latest price of Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond by Anne-Marie Faiola on Amazon.
One of the most interesting points she
raises is the idea that local food is often better for the
environment than organic food. Food mileage is a major concern if you
want to eat an ethical, sustainable diet and turning to local food
can make a significant impact on the eco-friendliness of your diet.
We loved this book. It’s witty, clever and brings us back to the ultimate truth. You can eat well on very little money if you want to.
You can check the latest price of The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally by Robin Mather on Amazon below.
Paperworks is one of the most innovative companies working in the
eco-friendly sector. They’ve got a 20-year history of providing
awesome paper products that don’t just biodegrade but are actually
made of seeds.
When you throw away a sheet of Botanical Paperworks’ paper – you’re planting wildflowers, herbs or vegetables.
It’s no wonder that brands such as Starbucks and Sony are keen to use their products because it sends a very clear green message to everyone who comes into contact with them.
The Eco-Friendly Wedding
Getting married is a huge expense and for the average American, they will spend $33,391 on getting married.
Though if you marry in New Mexico the local average is just $17,584 compared to New York City’s breath taking $76,944!
That’s a lot of money to celebrate a special day and there ought to be some lasting benefit that comes out of that investment (though we do recommend focusing on the happiness of the bride and groom as part of the process too).
Many people are
attracted to the idea of natural living, but it is often difficult to
define exactly what we mean by “natural living” that’s because
there are many different interpretations of the phrase.
This is good news because it allows you, in part, to define what natural living means and to decide how you will change your life to accommodate it.
In this guide we
offer up what we feel most people would mean by natural living, some
of the benefits of choosing to live this way and some tips to help
you get started living naturally.
Please remember, you don’t have to change everything in your life at once.
It’s better to make small changes, turn them into habits and then make more changes – you’re more likely to succeed and to enjoy the process of change when you take it slowly.
The Principles Of Natural
We think the basic
principles of natural living are as follows:
We live the
way that nature meant us to. That is
whenever possible we choose the natural over the chemical. We follow
the laws of nature rather than trying to bend them to our will.
conscious of our environment. We want
the Earth to be a better place so that we can live in harmony with
living is an everyday occurrence and we make time for it.
We eat fresh foods, spend time outside and choose positive outcomes
whenever we can.
organic to pesticides and preservatives.
There’s no need for your food to be put through a chemical
local over international. Transport
miles are incredibly damaging to the eco-system when we can, we
choose local products.
We work with
the seasons. Seasonal produce is
natural untreated produce. The world has seasons, so should our
control of our environments. We grow
food when we can. We make eco-friendly products. We know what goes
onto our plates and into our homes.
You see, natural living doesn’t have to be complicated. You can interpret these guidelines in a way that makes sense for you.
There are no “natural living police” and there’s no examination or certification that makes you better (or worse) than anyone else at natural living.
The Benefits Of Natural Living
Why do we choose
natural living? What do we expect in return for opting for this way
of life? We think the main benefits are:
world for our children. Natural living
is eco-friendly. If we want our children to thrive on this planet,
we need to leave them a planet worth living on
world for ourselves. Did you know that
90% of people are subject to air pollution every day of their lives?
That all the plastic waste thrown in the world’s oceans each year
could cover every inch of coastline around the world? We want better
health for us and our families. When
you consume natural products – you are consuming products that
nature intended for your body. Manmade chemicals may or may not be
harmful, but why risk it?
Many natural living approaches are designed to minimize stress, and
this makes us happier and more peaceful.
savings. Did we mention that natural
living tends to cost less than the alternatives? It’s true, though
in some cases, it may take a while for savings to make themselves
It’s not quite so “hippy” sounding when you break down the benefits, is it?
Natural living isn’t silly new age nonsense – it’s a means to a better life for everyone.
Practical Ways To Live
OK, we know what people mean by natural living now and we know what the benefits are, but what actions can we take to live a more natural life?
Let’s take a look:
Go For A Walk (In Nature)
There’s no easier change to make in your life than to make space for a walk every day.
Ideally, your walk ought to be somewhere green (if you don’t live next to a forest, don’t worry, an urban park is just fine).
Why? Well, walking itself is good exercise. If you walk for 45 minutes a day, you’ll lower your blood pressure, feel fitter, be happier and have some time to think and plan your life.
You take a walk in a natural setting because research shows that green scenes make us feel calmer and more at peace.
Human beings weren’t designed to live in cities.
We were made for living in small nomadic tribes in harmony with nature.
It’s no surprise that walking in the outdoors makes us feel connected to the big picture, it’s what we were designed for.
Eat Better, Healthy, Natural Whole Foods
It’s harder than you think to start eating healthy food but it’s also very easy when you’re in the habit.
The trouble is that people get confused easily and big agriculture loves to muddy the waters.
For example, snacks made out of fruit will often be labelled as one of your 5 a day but, in reality, they’re not.
Fruit is one of your five a day. The sugar, preservatives, chemicals, etc. in a fruit snack are not healthy for you.
Here’s what we
recommend to begin taking control of your eating:
possible buy unprocessed foods. That
is vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and when you buy meat,
fish and chicken avoid the deli counter and buy unprocessed
where your local grocery store keeps all its junk food. Stay away
from it. It’s much easier to avoid
these areas than to fight temptation to “just buy some candy”
when you’re there.
Buy local as
your priority. This over and above
organic produce. Food transportation over hundreds of miles wrecks
the environment more than anything else.
farmer’s markets in preference to grocery stores.
Buying your food directly from small farms can make a massive
difference in the quality of produce to hit your table.
own meals. Restaurant chains are often
doing nothing more than heating up a ready meal and even in more
bespoke restaurant offerings, you can’t get a clear idea of what’s
in the dishes.
Bake at home
too. Snacks like cookies and cakes can
all be made in much healthier forms when you make them at home. Your
home will smell nice for it too.
Meditating is easy.
It requires no cash outlay. It can be done almost anywhere. It is
simply the practice of taking some time to clear your mind of
thoughts. (This bit can be a little tricky, but you can get the hang
of it with practice).
Simply sit in a
quiet place, close you eyes and clear your mind of thoughts. When a
thought arises, and it will, acknowledge it, don’t pay any
attention to it and let it go. Do this for 5-15 minutes a day.
Why? Well, it’s
been demonstrated that people with a sense of purpose are more likely
to succeed and achieve in life. It’s also been shown that people
who meditate are far more likely to have a sense of purpose.
Also, mediation is
linked to many health benefits including lower blood pressure,
reduced stress and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Change Your Household Over To Natural Products
Most of the products
we buy and bring into our homes are chemical and can be hazardous to
our health and to the health of our pets and the environment. Making
a change in this area is often painless and can save you a lot of
Here are some tips
to get you started:
glass and metal. That is instead of
plastic. Whenever you can, opt for something that can be washed and
re-used and that is not made out of plastic.
cookware that is cast iron, ceramic or stainless steel.
Non-stick coatings may be convenient, but they’re also linked to
natural fibers. Move your clothes,
bed-liner, towels, etc. to fabrics made from organic cotton, bamboo,
wool, etc. and ditch the polyester and other chemically made
natural beauty products. In particular
ditch anything with parabens, artificial fragrances, sulfates, etc.
natural cleaning products. Vinegar is
better than window cleaning fluid and it’s natural. Look for safe,
yourself. The best way to get better
makeup, better cleaning products, etc. is simply to make them
yourself, the Internet is awash with guides to making every product
you can think of, naturally.
Some General Eco-Friendly
Natural Ways To Improve Your Life
Everything in this
list is easy to do and almost all of it will save you money too. This
is the best part of natural living, don’t miss out!
rather than disposable. Everything you
can buy that can be reused rather than discarded is going to save
you money in the long run. Check out bamboo kitchen rolls for
waste water. Switch off taps when
you’re not using the flow, switch out your shower heads for
low-flow, flush toilets only when needed, etc.
Cut down on
energy waste. Install time controls
for lights, thermostats, etc. Insulate rooms where necessary. Unplug
devices when not in use, don’t leave them on standby.
hand. You don’t need new clothes,
new tables, etc. buy used whenever you can. Thrift stores and
Craigslist are your friends.
before you discard. Don’t throw out
tubs and containers, make them into other things. Rip up old clothes
and use them for rags. Before anything goes in the trash, ask how
else it could be used?
junk. Take a walk around your home and
you’ll find it’s full of stuff you bought but rarely (if ever)
use. Before you buy anything ask, “do I really need this and will
I really use it?” If not, don’t buy it.
own food. Or at least, some of it. You
can grow food even in the smallest apartment or condo.
Buy in bulk.
You can save money buy buying everything you can in bulk and then
putting it into smaller reusable containers at home.
cycle rather than drive. Eco-friendly
and great for your health too!
Our Final Thoughts On Natural Living
doesn’t need to be confusing or hard work. The trick is to decide
the principles by which you want to live naturally, understand the
benefits that they will bring and then taking small actions in every
area of your life to live by them.
Once you start, you won’t want to stop. You will feel healthier, you’ll have more money, and the planet will benefit too. Never has living a good life been so easy.