When I discover an ingredient I love, I tend to stick with it for quite a while, experimenting with every interesting recipe I can find (hello, Pinterest!). Right now, my current ingredient obsessions are coconut and avocado (have you tried my Dark Chocolate-Avocado Pudding Recipe yet?).
Truth be told, I’m not a DIYer when it comes to skin care products, but this recipe brings back childhood memories for me, so I like to make it from time to time. My mom used to make this body butter, except she would buy coconuts from the grocery store and extract the oil herself—I know—I’m going to have to ask her how she did that. Until I become schooled in the extract-the-coconut-oil-straight-from-the-coconut method, I’ll continue to buy the ready-made stuff.
When purchasing coconut oil, be sure you are getting the highest quality available—the higher the quality, the healthier it is for you.
Make sure the brand you are buying is:
Also be sure that it comes in a BPA-free jar. Some great, high-quality brands I have tried, love, and fit all of the above criteria are Nutiva and Carrington Farms.
I personally prefer to keep the body butter's coconut scent as it is, but if you want to change things up, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil along with a carrier oil such as organic sweet almond oil. Try some essential oils that go well with coconut such as vanilla or orange and make sure that the essential oil you choose is a 100% essential oil since artificial fragrances are not healthy for us.
If you are worried about this body butter being too oily, no need to worry. A little goes a long way and once it is rubbed onto the skin, it is quickly absorbed—you’ll quickly learn how much is enough for you. Also, if you aren’t too sure if coconut oil is a healthy moisturizer for your skin, it is! It is also a great replacement to use in cooking and baking as a healthy replacement for butter or fat. Read all about the benefits of using coconut oil here and here.
3/4 cup of solid, organic, unrefined coconut oil
A few drops of your favourite organic essential oil (optional)
1/2 tsp of organic sweet almond oil* (optional and only needed if you are using an essential oil)
* If you cannot use almond oil because of an allergy, see this list of suitable carrier oils that can be used as a substitute.
Put all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl. It’s a good idea to chill the coconut oil beforehand because it will not whip properly if it’s soft, runny, or melted—it needs to be solid—but not too solid that it won’t mix.
If using a stand mixer, whip using the whisk attachment for about 7 minutes or until enough air has been whipped into the oil to make it light and fluffy.
Transfer the body butter into a glass or stainless steel jar, cover, and store at room temperature. In the warmer months, you may need to store it in the fridge. When refrigerated, it will become solid, but will melt as soon as it comes into contact with your skin.
Father's Day is right around the corner, and rather than sticking with the same old boring ties, electronics, and tools, why not go for something that is not only unique but also eco-friendly? Here are a few suggestions:
Mill Street’s Original Organic beer is Ontario’s first certified organic beer. All of the raw materials and everything that is part of the brewing process is pesticide and herbicide free.
Prices vary, The Beer Store
An assortment of natural and organic products for dad makes a thoughtful gift. One of the many products you can choose from is The Man Bar. It is fair trade, organic, and scented with Fennel, Spearmint, and Peppermint. The hint of mint & black licorice combined with the exfoliating goodness of ground walnut husk exfoliates and leaves the skin super clean and soft.
$6.49, Nayla Natural Care
By now, you know that regular perfumes, colognes, and artificial fragrances are not healthy for us, right? Herban Cowboy Dusk Cologne is the world’s first organic cologne. Not only is it organic, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, dye-free, GMO free and gluten-Free. The recyclable packaging uses soy ink and is biodegradable. The scent is describes as masculine, sensual, earthy, woody, and not overpowering.
Each Anointment Wet Shave Kit comes with a shaving scuttle, an Anointment Shave Soap, and a shaving brush. The shave soap is unscented and contains moisturizing french green clay for added glide, ground certified organic flax seed and lather-producing shea butter and castor oil. The soap additives are healthy and nourishing for the skin and help produce a thick, rich lather and will not clog razor blades.
Ethically handcrafted by Me to We Artisans, these Trade Bead Cuff Links are made with heavy sterling silver hardware and feature distinctive and rare African Trade Beads. Trade beads were customarily given as gifts to African chiefs by European traders to guarantee safe passage across the continent.
Me to We artisans are fairly paid and are working towards financial independence through this sustainable source of income.
Half of Me to We’s net profit is donated to Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.
$89.99, Me to We
There are some things money can’t buy, and one of those things happens to be time and memories. What better way to spend father’s day than by creating a memorable family experience. Be creative and think of something fun. I guarantee, it will be better than anything you can buy in a store.
If you choose to give a gift, be sure to choose an eco-friendly way to wrap it up! Happy Father's Day!
The recent garment factory fires in Bangladesh have put a spotlight on ethical clothing practices. Even though Bangladesh is a world away from where we live, our worlds are very much intertwined. Many of the big brand clothing we buy here, is manufactured over there and in other overseas countries—for a fraction of the cost of manufacturing closer to home. Workers are not always treated fairly and working conditions are almost always poor. So this has many of us wondering: how we can be more mindful when buying clothing?
Eco-friendly clothing is not a new concept. It has been around for quite a while but isn’t in the mainstream for many reasons—the big one being cost. Eco-friendly clothing is not cheap for many reasons—the main ones being because they are manufactured ethically in exchange for fair wages and because of the superior quality of the eco-frienbdly materials making up the garments. These costs trickle down to the consumer and even though we end up paying more, what we are rewarded with is clothing that has been manufactured in an ethical facility, clothing that is manufactured with quality materials, and clothing that ultimately will last longer.
Now, about that cost thing—it’s something you can’t really escape if you want to “green” your wardrobe unless you do some digging. But, great news, I’ve done the digging for you and found some brands that are ethical, stylish, and a little more budget friendly than most. Remember though, the point is not to boycott clothing made in these overseas countries, the point is to be more mindful of how your clothes are being made. Three of the five manufacturers below manufacture their clothing in foreign countries, but their workers are treated and paid fairly and the companies have programs that give back to the communities.
Even if you can only buy one or two pieces at a time, it’s better than not making that all-important vote with your dollar.
Short Sleeve Colour Block Dress, $38, mimi mioche
It’s hard to spend big bucks on clothing that will only fit a child for a small amount of time. However, if you are looking for ethical and eco-friendly clothing for your kids, check out mini mioche. All of mimi mioche’s clothing is organic, eco-friendly, and manufactured here in Canada.
Of course, recycling kids clothing is another great option. Try taking advantage of hand-me-downs, rummage sales, clothing swaps, and even children’s consignment stores. Also, check out brand listings on Good Guide
The Canadian company, Me to We Style was launched in 2005 by Oliver Madison, Craig and Marc Kielburger. The Kielburgers, of course, are founders of the charitable organization Free the Children and Me to We.
Me to We Style's mission is to provide sweatshop-free apparel for the socially-conscious consumer. Fifty per cent of their profits go directly to the Free the Children charity and for every piece of Me to We Style apparel purchased, Free the Children plants a tree.
For more him and her options, check out prAna.
Metallic Tweed Women's Wedges, $80, TOMS
When I think of eco-friendly shoes, the first brand I think of is TOMS. Even though TOMS products are made overseas, they take great strides to ensure they are manufactured ethically and they give back through various programs. TOMS makes shoes for the entire family and the collection is reasonably priced.
Ravenna Recycled Rubber Tote Bag, $98, Alchemy Goods
Alchemy Goods produces really cool and unique upcycled products from used advertising banners and reclaimed inner tubes. Their products are manufactured in Seattle, Washington and can be found at various stores across Canada.
Do you have a favourite eco-friendly apparel, shoe, or accessory brand?