I have to admit, I'm not one for resolutions. It's not that I don't think having goals for the year is important, rather, I believe in making small adjustments and changes to my lifestyle that will be beneficial and easy to implement everyday. Often those adjustments include changes that will not only benefit my mind, body and soul, but also the environment. I made this commitment to myself more than a decade ago and it hasn't always been easy. In fact, at times, t's pretty f%$&ing hard. But, unlike 10 years ago, there are plenty of resources and products out there to make it as easy as possible. Here are nine ways to a happy, healthy, sustainable 2016.
- Eat seasonally and local and vegetarian when possible. Livestock is responsible for approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 30% of the word’s total ice-free surface is used to raise grains, fruits and vegetables to feed the chickens, pigs and cattle we eat. Eating a vegetable-based diet has been consistently proven to be better for long-term health, and eating seasonally benefits local farmers, reduces our carbon footprint and makes for more diverse and exciting food choices. Erin Gleeson discovered this when she relocated to Northern Californian. Her book, The Forest Feast, inspired by the abundance of local ingredients there, features approximately 100 vegetarian recipes that call for only three or four ingredients and require very few steps.
- Switch to a five-free nail varnish. It's no secret that traditional nail varnish is filled with toxic ingredients, including known cancer-causing agents, such as formaldehyde, and endocrine-disruptor DBP. Worried about being exposed to these toxins, particularly toluene (read about it here), during her pregnancy, Kim D'Amato created Priti, one of the first five-free brands of nail varnishes. Painting your nails shouldn't be hazardous to your health. Select colors are available in-store and online here.
- Save time and money using eco-friendly garment care products. The founders of The Laundress believe that 99% of dry-clean-only labeled clothing is hand or machine washable, including delicate fabrics like silk and cashmere. Their eco-friendly line of products will save you tons on dry-cleaning bills, while preserving the lifetime of your garments.
- Minimize your wardrobe waste by creating a wardrobe of timeless, seasonless garments. I've never been particularly trend-driven. It's too exhausting trying to figure out what's in and what's out. Plus, who can afford to swap their wardrobe out season after season? And have you seen what our over-consumption has done to our landfills? According to a 2014 article the Atlantic Monthly, Americans send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills each year. Instead, consider, timeless, tran-seasonal options like the Miranda Bennett Tempest Dress. Made from 100% raw silk, this sleek silhouette will always be on-trend and in-season. Buy better and smarter means less waste and a leaner closet.
- Chose better skincare products. Clean skincare products mean clean skin and a clean environment. There are only 10 cosmetics ingredients banned in the U.S. compared with 1372 in Europe. Chances are those hard-to-pronouce ingredient names listed on the back of your skincare products are probably not particularly good for your skin. S.W. Basics of Brooklyn keeps it simple: each of their products contains between three and five ingredients. Their cleanser, for instance, contains a beautiful blend of Organic Rosewater, Organic Vegetable Glycerin and Organic Tea Tree Oil. And it works.
- Switch to organic cotton undies. According to the Rodale Institute, cotton is considered the world's dirtiest crop because of the large amount of pesticides used to grow it. And "traces of these chemicals can remain in fabrics after washing and these chemicals can cause an array of health problems." Consider switching to Only Hearts organic collection of undies and bralettes. They use only organic Peruvian Pima cotton and it wears and feels as good as it looks.
- Create a clean, green home. It's been proven that houseplants are good for your health because they filter polluted indoor air. These days, succulents and air plants are having a moment in decor trends. I don't have much of a green thumb, so I love these air plant cradles. Air plants look super pretty and are easy to care for.
- Be compassionate. Compassion is always in fashion and I love the Open Circle Necklace by Mikuti, which serves as a reminder to maintain an open outlook so that we may open ourselves to others and let them.
- Drink more water for better health and stop using plastic bottles. In the United States alone, 60 million plastic bottles are used each day! That is a staggering statistic and an unnecessary one. S'well reusable bottles contain a hot/cold technology that can keep a beverage hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. And they don't condensate, which means you can toss one ice cold in your gym or yoga bag without worrying it will dampen anything it comes in contact with.