Step 2. Reduce deodorant use

Let me tell you that I always had issues with BO. I don’t like to be the stinky one in the room, but probably I am. I read all these articles about how deodorants and antiperspirants contain unpronounceable chemicals, many of which pose serious health concerns and some are carcinogens. And putting these chemicals on our skin may actually be worse than eating them, because they enter our bloodstream. Although when eating small dosage of toxic chemicals, the enzymes in the saliva and stomach break down what’s ingested and flush it out of the body.

But then I read this article in The Guardian that says “Deodorants and antiperspirants are probably as safe as the other chemicals we use on our bodies: soap, shower gel, perfumes and moisturisers. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to demonise one set of chemicals over another. It makes sense not to use any products on broken skin, and to stop using them if you develop allergic reactions.” that makes sense, right!?

However, some of these chemicals cause hormonal disruptions – such as a class of substances called parabens. If you look at your deodorant or antiperspirant ingredient list, they are probably mentioned there as butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. These are actually preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast, and negatively impact the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.

Moreover, the Aluminum compounds (e.g. aluminum chlorohydrate) that we hear so much about them, they are used in deodorants to block the sweat ducts. But some say that they mimic estrogen, and promote growth of breast cancer cells. Again, no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer. But how can you be sure that these studies weren’t sabotage or blocked by the deodorant companies and lobbyists. Don’t forget that the deodorant and antiperspirant market size was just over US$70 Billion.

The small samples under study in the research that found Aluminium and paraben compounds in the deodorant carcinogen are the issue. 18 out of 20 is not a good sample size for any study let alone research that wants to diminishes a widely marketed products that most believe is keeping the fabric of our societies together and keeping us from intoxicating each other with our BOs.

Also Triclosan that is flagged as a risk to both human health, the environment, and animals have shown it alters hormone regulation and contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Research has also linked triclosan with allergies, weight gain, inflammatory responses and thyroid dysfunction, and there are concerns it may interfere with fetal development in pregnant women. The research on Triclosan found it in the urine sample of nearly 75% of people tested! But how many people were tested? We don’t know! Under what research condition? there are so many questions unanswered.

It has been noted that deodorants and antiperspirants can irritate skin. I can assure you that if I shave my underarm and then put spray or roll on deodorant on, it sting and irritates my skin but that is quite a given. Isn’t it? That is just common sense, put a bit of alcohol on your irritated skin, doesn’t it burn?

 

They say that Antiperspirants are keeping you from sweating, or as the tag line goes “Keep you Fresh!!!”  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines says “an antiperspirant product must reduce sweat production by at least 20 percent over a 24-hour period after application using the guidelines for effectiveness testing referred to in Sec. 350.60.” in order to be allowed branded or marketed as 24-hour protection. I don’t know about you, but 20% is not much for me.

On the other hand, you actually want to sweat to regulate your body temperature. We have all these, between two million and four million, sweat glands that must have been put there to do something necessary not just to hang out and get plugged by chemicals, you would think!!

Experts even recommend to switch antiperspirant/deodorant brands every six months as they become ineffective while your body figures out how to unplug its glands. So it must be something unsavoury for your body that is trying so hard to shake it off.

 

They also stain my clothes, yellow underarm stains are unsightly, embarrassing and ruining dresses and shirts specially white ones. The Wall Street Journal reports that deodorant makers, detergent manufacturers, stain-removal companies, doctors and textile professors all disagree on what exactly causes the underarm staining, although many believe it’s the aluminum in the antiperspirants.

So you agree there are a lot of negatives about them but for those of us that stink what is the solution. Well there are a lot of natural options out there. I can tell you what I did.

I start rinsing with apple cider vinegar to kill the bacteria on the surface of my skin that feed of the sweat and emit the gas that is  causing the odour of BO. This obviously doesn’t work for the whole day as you can’t keep showering with vinegar if you lead a busy life like me and are out of the house for considerable hours.

You can use Bicarbonate Soda which is a salt as well. I used the food grade one that doesn’t have aluminium. It is powder and I carry it around to freshen up when needed. But some people are allergic to it and irritates some other.

For those that are allergic to Bicarb Soda, you can use natural salt roll on or sticks. There are some marketed salt deodorants out there. Like:

 

They last quite a while, so more cost effective and they let you sweat but the salt kills the bacteria off. So it creates an inhospitable environment for the bad bacteria but doesn’t plug the glands.

They don’t have a scent so if you are like me and don’t like the scent of these chemical sprays then you are safe.

You should also make sure to wash regularly, both your body and your clothing. Moreover, keep an eye on your diet. Avoid foods that make a juicier sweat for the bacteria like spicy foods, garlic and onion, caffeine, alcohol, processed, fatty and sugary foods. Minimising intake of these foods, also help your gut bacteria and keep your tummy happier too.

Keep your liquid intake up to regulate your body temperature without sweating too much. And herbs like parsley, basil, mint, sage and rosemary, along with supplements like chlorophyll and wheat grass, are all said to be natural body deodorisers.

Make sure you’re getting enough of the B Vitamins, and Vitamin C, as these water soluble nutrients encourage toxins to be eliminated via the urine rather than the skin.

The least is that by not using conventional deodorant, I feel less sticky in my underarm, I feel happier and I save between $3 to $5 every month. So go natural.

Step 2. Reduce the size (Continued- part 2)

What took longer to eliminate

  1. Bread

So I clearly remember, it was late 2014 and by this point we were buying bread from our local bakery where shall be remain nameless. It was going well as it was package free and a relatively ok quality. Until one day we found a piece of spinach in the baguette that we bough that day. It would have been fine if my hubby didn’t mention that the baker had a piece of spinach in his teeth that day as well. ARGHHHHHHH!!!

So you know what happened we didn’t go back. Went and bough ourselves a piece of machine called bread maker, this is the one and I cannot recommend it high enough:

That changed our lives. As this trusty bread maker comes with a handy recipe book that has more than 30 types of bread, cake, jam and dough that made our lives easier, tastier and richer. We bake for people and give them when we visit them or when they come over and they seem not to get enough of our bread. We can make any type of bread, pastry, and dough including pizza, pasta, pastry and the list goes on.

The cost is not comparable with the store bough bread, no matter how fancy you go on material it won’t be more than a dollar for a freshly backed fancy fruit loaf or mixed nuts and grain sour dough. I told you there is no limit but your imagination. Go buy a bread machine and you won’t regret it. I recommend this one too if you are gluten intolerance:

This purchase pay itself off after a month of bread making and not buying. I would say this was one of the best decisions in my life and I stand by it forever. Easy, cheap and tasty, waking up to a fresh baked bread smell in the house and so much option at your fingertips, this is what I call perfect replacement.

 

  1. Sauces

So you probably remember that one of the early steps, was to reduce the amount of shopping and do most things at home, for instance cook your food at home. So we were using some premade sauces to do the cooking, namely Asian sauces and Pizza sauce. They were packaged and premade so brought in preservatives, bunch of ingredients that we couldn’t even pronounce and of course packaging, lots of it. to our house. So we set to eliminate them, the Asian ones were easy as we just replace them with a trusty combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce. The Pizza sauce was also easy for me to make but my hubby wasn’t a believer, so it took couple of try and errors to turn him as well. Just used a good portion of tomato paste, warm water, pepper and salt and if handy some dried herbs mainly oregano, thyme, coriander and parsley. After that we didn’t buy these and saved tons as each pack was roughly a dollar or two on special. Probably as you notice, we are making our own Pizza and this is beneficial from two aspects, first we save tons of money and second we know exactly what goes into our Pizza, have to confess having the bread maker for making the dough is a huge help. The dough still has to be kneaded and that is when my helpful hubby come into play.

Have to admit having invested in bunch of good and easy cookbooks also helped us a lot to create new foods and don’t get bored as well as eating well and nutritious food with healthy  ingredients. These are some of the books we have:

Step 1. Rethink your journey

At the time I was living with my partner/husband with no children in the horizon. So I sat him down and had an honest discussion about what I believe in and how I think we should drastically but gradually change our consumptive life and led a simpler and more joyous living.

We both aspired to the path and agreed to do it in a way that will be lasting and not a short lived change.

The first changes we did were:

  1. Make a conscious decision of buying from market instead of supermarket to bring home less packaging
  2. Taking our shopping bags with us when we go for the weekend market haul
  3. Reusing plastic bags that were ending up in our house despite our best efforts
  4. Try to buy locally
  5. Religiously recycle instead of landfill
  6. Start and strive to make most of the food, bread, jam and in general our eating supplies ourselves in the house

These changes were conscious for about couple of years, when we were quite comfortable with them and they felt an essential part of our life style, more like a habit ingrained in our unconscious. However, being both immigrants-I am from Iran and my husband is from Colombia-we had visitors from overseas where consumption is unfortunately still mistaken as a sign of opulent living. So our attempt to have a simpler life was perceived as lack of economic means or outward stingy. It took me a while to change the dynamics and educate my immediate family on disadvantages of massive consumption but more on that in future posts.

My journey to zero waste living

In January 2010, I moved to Australia to pursue my PhD in Industrial Sustainability at the University of Melbourne. I am originally from Iran and it was during my research in Melbourne that my eyes were opened to the understanding of how our new industrial and consumptive life style is damaging the environment and our mother earth. Soon I joined the Climate Reality Corps led by Former US Vice President, Al Gore, to raise awareness about climate change and people power to convince politicians to act before it is too late when the climate change effects are irreversible.

I was one of 500 people from 94 countries who were selected to be trained by former US vice president Al Gore to deliver a version of the slideshow known to many as the basis of the award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The trip was partially funded by my successful Peter McPhee Award from Melbourne University.

As a climate leader, I was committed to perform at least ten Acts of Leadership within a year of my training. These were acts such as speaking and presenting my version of the famous Al Gore slide show, and I also did a number of presentations including an end of the year showcase of my Peter McPhee and Dreamlarge grants.

After completing training with the Climate Reality Project in Istanbul in 2013, I founded Engreeneers as a new sustainable engineering group funded by a University of Melbourne’s Dreamlarge Student Engagement grant. In collaboration with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and Australian Conservation Foundation, Engreeneers presented a series of group discussions on topics including sustainability and sustainability leadership. Each session ended with a list of ideas, recommendations or questions to be presented to the relevant expert guest in a follow up Q&A session.

Throughout all these volunteer works and studies, I realised that our current way of life is not sustainable and we cannot continue our consumptive living. Our current lifestyle is diminishing our bounded resources and filling up our landfills with trash emitting tons and tons of CO2 and methane. These emissions are the main sources of green house gas emission that is causing the climate change. Most of the problems in the world have simple reasoning behind them and reasonble solutions but the geo-political situations making those solution so out of hand that nothing is getting fixed and just deterioriate further and further. One example is the sheer number of poor and hungy people in the world that can be fed easily with the amount of food produced in the world but their number just increases each year and nothing get fixed, read more on this in Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity 1st Edition by Lester R. Brown (He actually signed my copy when I was at a conference in Columbus, Ohio, USA in 2012).

I soon decided that focusing on one aspect of action, zero waste living, and promoting it throughout communities can have more impact that just preaching change without clear and doable solutions. So I started first steps towards a zero waste household classes, seminars and workshops. These posts are written forms of those classes and goes into more details on how I started my zero waste journey and how I am still continuing to learn and make more positive changes for a less harmful impact on my mother earth.

These blog posts are to empower each and everyone of you out there to believe in the power of one and how it can grow to impact the whole world. So here I share with you step by step of my zero waste living journey. These are based on my experiences and do not count as my professional advice in any shape or form.

I want to inspire you, instigate action and make a change but also share my journey with those interested and feeling that somewhere few steps ahead or behind can provide them a different or maybe new perspective. I don’t think I even get to the end of my journey so long I live but having a record of my steps is heartwarming for me and those who care this shared cause.

Come on, hop on this journey with me and don’t be shy to leave comments and ask questions. As you see based on the dates of these posts, I am a novice in blogging and need encouragement to keep it up so I appreciate any word of advise, encouragement or constructive criticism. Just as a disclosure, your comments will be checked by me before posted on the site but I won’t be censuring any comments so long it is not insulting to anyone. Please also recommend content or posts that you find useful and relevant and I will try my best to accommodate your wishes within a time frame that will work for us both.

Ok let’s get to it!