• Paula Gray

An organic, plant-based, low-sugar recipe packed with iron, protein and omega-3s perfect for chocolate lovers, children and pregnant women who need an iron boost!

I love protein shake smoothies as much as the next person but am usually put off from purchasing because of the cost, sugar content and packaging. When I struggled with less than optimal iron levels this pregnancy, my good friend Dr. Wirtz from Footprint Health and Wellness suggested this recipe to me and the taste is amazing!!


Shop the ingredients in bulk from your health food store you’ll also save on $$ and packaging!



Packed full of nutrients (highlights below)


Super Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

  • 3 organic ripe bananas

  • 3-4 organic dates

  • A handful of organic chopped walnuts

  • 1 spoon organic hemp seeds

  • 1 spoon organic chia seeds

  • 1 spoon of flax powder

  • 1/2 spoon organic flax oil

  • 1 spoon almond hazelnut butter

  • 2 spoons of organic raw cacao powder

  • 1 large spoon Maca root powder

  • 3-4 cups of almond milk


Optional:

  • 1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries

  • Handful of spinach

  • Half of an Avocado

  • Ice



Mmmm Chocolatey!


Combine all in a blender, blitz and enjoy! Stored unused portions in a mason jar and refrigerate.


Serenely,


Paula



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Becoming a parent was my impetus for striving towards a more natural, healthy and sustainable lifestyle. However, my green living journey started before I even became pregnant, more than eight years ago. As a young woman, I wore a lot of make-up and had a nagging question about what kind of long-term effects it was having on my skin and my health. I started looking more into the ingredients commonly found in conventional skincare, cosmetic and personal care products and was shocked at what I found. In 2010, Gillian Deacon wrote a book called: "There's lead in your lipstick," in which she shared alarming facts and statistics about the everyday products that women were using.

"By the time she heads out the front door, the modern woman has spritzed, sudsed, and slathered herself in more than 127 different chemicals, many of them more toxic than beautifying." - Gillian Deacon

Why should you care about Green Beauty?


Even if you are not a make-up wearer, chances are you use toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, soaps and shampoos! So please listen up! Your skin is the largest organ on your body and ingests all of the ingredients that are contained in those products. Personally, I use the term green beauty to refer to all of those products. When it comes to green beauty products, my general motto is: I will not put anything on my skin that I wouldn't eat. The cosmetics industry is worth about $380 billion dollars USD and is only forecasted to grow. Think of all the people ingesting harmful chemicals from these products and all the pollution, waste and toxic chemicals being produced from the ingredients and packaging.

What's a health and eco-conscious person to do?


Watch my video below:


In case you don't feel like watching my video, here's a recap:


The top 3 Things to look for in Sustainable Green Beauty Products


INGREDIENTS


Your best defence against greenwashing, the practice of making a product look natural, green, clean and sustainable when it really isn't is to analyze the ingredients to see if they match up to their marketing and labelling claims. I will do a blog post with some of the top ingredients and red flags to look out for, but until then, please read this article on how to see past greenwashing in green beauty products.

Tip: finding a small and reputable green beauty store that carefully curates their products such as The Detox Market is a great place to start.


Packaging


Remember when I said if you care about living more sustainably than green beauty should definitely be on your radar? Here’s where a really obvious point comes in: look for products with low to zero-waste and sustainable packaging. Unfortunately, only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled (more on this later). Can you imagine all the plastic lip balm containers that have accumulated over the years into our oceans and landfills?! So try to look for products that use no plastic, and can be reused and refilled instead.


Locally Sourced (or DIY!)


Supporting local green makeup brands when possible is always a win. It reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and supports a local artisan/maker! And if you’re really feeling inclined, you could always source local ingredients and make your own bath and beauty products (keep your eye on my DIY section here and be sure to contact me with any requests).


Kjaer Weis review pt. 2


I thought I'd hit two birds with one stone here with top tips for choosing green beauty products, and also talk about one of my very favourite brands that checks off almost all the boxes (except for being locally sourced).

This is part 2 of my Kjaer Weis review, and you can find part 1 here, where I cover their cream foundation.


So disclaimer: This post is not paid or sponsored in any way but does contain affiliate links, meaning I make a very small commission from the referral if you purchase through my link. It doesn't cost you anything extra, and it allows me to cover my expenses of web hosting/maintenance so I can keep on blogging!

Kjaer Weis Cream Blushes Review

In "desired glow" and flush and glow duo in "luminous flush"


Ahhh these cream blushes are absolutely incredible; they melt into the skin like butter, stay on all day and come in many luminous and natural-looking shades. The finish is dewy and very natural. The ingredients are clean and certified organic. Some highlights include castor seed oil to strengthen the skin, Beeswax and Jojoba Seed Oil to nourish and moisturize and Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, while gardenia Florida Fruit Extract works as a natural preservative. Apply with clean fingers to the apples of your cheeks.

I have on Desired Glow (a very natural subtle sun-kissed glow, when I wear this on its own, you can't tell I'm wearing makeup at all!) and the Flush and Glow duo in Luminous flush, which contains the cream blush Blossoming (perfect rosy hue for a glowing, fresh-faced look for fair to medium-dark skin tones) and the bronzer is Lustrous (sunlit bronze)

Mom win: this is a super simple way to freshen up. I take all of 5 mins (max) to do my makeup if I'm wearing any at all!


In the last photo, I also have on Kjaer Weis' cream foundation in "Paper thin"

(And no I don't use any filters on my photos!)


The other products I have from her are her Eyeshadow and Eye pencil, but I will postpone for a possible Kjaer Weis review pt. 3 because, honestly, I haven't used them yet!

Also, I am not, nor intend to be a "beauty blogger," so please don't expect detailed makeup tutorials or anything like that! I'm sure you can find plenty of YouTubers who cover that area. My interest in green beauty lies insofar as it contributes to health, wellness and a more sustainable lifestyle. If you have more questions and want to see detailed swatches, please don't hesitate to drop me a comment.


I look forward to sharing more of my "best of green beauty" recommendations with you!

Serenely,

Paula

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I'm really passionate about slow fashion and sustainable clothing, and you can bet that's one of the common topics you'll be seeing regularly around here (without too much redundancy!) Because the fact of the matter is, if you want to live eco-consciously and sustainably, it's so important to be mindful of your clothing. Consider this: "Fast fashion" is the second biggest polluting industry, a significant contributor to microplastics in the ocean and, of course, human suffering and exploitation.

As a mom of 3 (soon to be 4) on a frugal budget, I completely understand the need for affordable and stylish clothing because children grow so quickly, and the cost of raising a family is increasing. Popular fast fashion companies such as Shein, Patpat, Wish etc. are on the rise. While their "social responsibility" pages may paint a pretty picture, dig a little deeper. You will see the statements regarding their commitments against "unethical labour" are not only untrue, but the "child labour laws" in the countries they operate in (China included) vary significantly, making their corporate statements/promises pretty meaningless in the context of Western expectations. And let's be realistic, do you really think a $5 dress can be ethically made?


10 years ago, I didn't know any better either. I shopped at H&M, Winners, Modcloth and Boutique 1861. My closet was filled with beautiful (not always cheap) clothing that were mostly made in factories from synthetic materials. My goal is always to educate and not shame anyone because we are all a work in progress and need to support one another to know better and do better. While it's tempting to lavish our children with a big haul of new clothes, we can put that love and care instead into efforts to leaving this planet a better one for our children.


I always hear the argument "but the cost savings!" But when you buy cheap, fast fashion, SOMEONE ELSE pays the price (usually poor children in another country), and the effects on the planet (pollution and microplastics) mean WE ALL PAY.

Here's the thing, ethically made clothing is more expensive; there is no doubt about that because someone was paid a living wage to make them, and usually from more sustainable materials. But that doesn't need to be a deterrent at all! Buying ethical and sustainable clothing is possible even on the most frugal budget - I promise! Here are my top tips below.


Quality over quantity, or in other words - less is more!


Get a capsule wardrobe going! So you buy a couple garments that are really good quality - and because they don’t fall apart, you’ll be able to get a lot of wear, and then pass them on or re-sell them to recover some of your costs.


You may get some sticker shock at the prices here, but again keep in mind: LESS is more, these clothes will last. The linen and wool materials are durable, stain resistant AND dry very quickly (I may possibly devote an entire blog post to why we love linen!)

Also: SHOP THEIR SALES. Almost all of these labels below have seasonal sales that'll see the prices reduced by 30-50% (sometimes more).


Our Favourite sustainable + ethically made in Canada brands



Organic Clothing for Babies and Kids

Mini Mioche

Simple, comfy, timeless unisex organic cotton essentials. Handmade ethically and sustainably in Toronto. Kind to people + kind to the planet.


Petits Villains

Organic (linen and cotton) line of clothing for children ranging from 1 to 7 years of age. The collection is a modern take on timeless silhouettes. Designed and made in Vancouver, Canada.


Red Creek Kids

100% Linen made in Canada children's clothing that are gender neutral, timeless, and will last through many years and children.


Parade Organics

Luxuriously soft, made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. I'm not a fan of their colours/patterns (we prefer earthy, soft and neutral) but their prices are very affordable and the quality is good.


Nest and Nurture

Ethically handcrafted children's wear made in small batches from new and reclaimed materials


Wee Woolies

Merino wool children's clothing and sleepwear for newborns to 8yrs. Eco-friendly, organic, ethical and sustainable. Designed and made in Victoria BC, Canada with pure New Zealand merino wool.



Organic Clothing for Babies, Kids and Mamas:

Little Deer handmade

Ethical and affordable, handmade in Alberta, Canada, using high quality, natural fibres. Specialize in 100% linen, as well as linen/cotton fabric blends. Their core intention is to ethically source and produce garments that respect both humans and the planet.

Simply Merino

100% pure Merino wool. Designed and made in Vancouver, Canada. Certified RWS (Responsible Wool Standard), which means that their sheep are treated responsibly and ethically. No chemicals are used during any process of making their garments.


Ethical Clothing labels - not made in Canada


Organic Clothing for Babies, Kids and Mamas:

Kindly, the Label

Linen and cotton - earthy neutrals for women and children, produced slowly and kindly, with a focus on mindfully designed pieces together with five friends. Designs are brought to life by our small team of artisans in China who are SEDEX Members. Garments are made with natural organic fibres of the highest quality.


Nui Organics

100% GOTS Organic merino wool and cotton clothing for families. Designed and Made in USA.


Simple Folk

Earthy, timeless, sustainable, ethical and luxuriously soft, 100% organic linen and cotton clothing handmade with love in small batches in Portugal.


Organic Clothing for Mamas

Not Perfect Linen

100% linen women's clothing, handmade to order by a family of artisans in Lithuania.


Simply Grey Life

For women, men and children. Handmade clothing from 100% washed linen, in a small studio in Slovakia.


Aya Sacred Wear

Organic bohemian dresses, handmade and hand-loomed from raw and natural materials. Designed and ethically made in Bali.


P.S. Buy second-hand


Try local thrift stores, mom groups on social media, Facebook marketplace etc.

Mini-cycle: https://mini-cycle.com/ - preloved with a buyback program!


More to come...


On that note, I will be doing Part II soon which will consist of more brands we love and recommend! And personal reviews/photos of sustainable women's clothing labels (yes, photos of me wearing them so you can see what they look like on an actual mama - not a model).


Also, I purposely left out brands such as Engel, Disana and Hocosa, which our children lived in, because that is being saved for a special "how-to-do base layers" blog post coming closer to the Autumn.


Serenely,


Paula


P.S. Do you have any favourites to recommend? Drop me a comment below 💛

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