2018 Holiday​ Gift Guide with a Conscience

Around this time of year, I find myself becoming internally devastated by commercialism. Plastic toys glare with all their toxicity from chain store shelves. Television advertisements grovel to sell their products and services while shamelessly claiming that spending on whatever it is will bring your family closer together, or that some item is inherently more progressive and ethical just because it has a token person from each major race. Those adverts are almost laughable because they don’t even try to have a sophisticated thought, but just obviously try to lullaby/romance us with images of happy people and pristine nature, and then smack on a word about their products in the last few seconds, as if the one equals the other! And besides all of this, I can’t help but mourn the sheer magnitude of all the packaging that will be added to our landfills after these days. 

These realities burden me ethically and morally, and I feel immense rage and resistance inwardly which drive me to resist this capitalistic excuse to capitalize upon our desire to live authentic, connected lives. 

But how can we give our children toys which were made in factories employing child or underpaid labor? How can we dress our children and family members in synthetic holiday pajamas when those fabrics are soaked in flame retardants like formaldehyde which also happen to be massively toxic to our health? When we entertain guests, how can we use non-biodegradable disposables which will damage our environment and harm animals, and which will leave a damaged and polluted earth for subsequent generations? And how can we feed our families and guests meats and animal products which were produced in gross and cruel environments? (Surely it is better to eat less meat if it means we can spend a little more on obtaining food that came from happy animals, so we are not supporting a corrupt system and eating meat and dairy from stressed-out animals.) 

In what way does giving gifts which are purchased at the expense of other’s safe and humane treatment constitute a true and authentic connectedness? Is our cultural expectation of giving and receiving en mass a justification for monetarily supporting the mistreatment of real human beings? Is our little moment of anticipation and pleasure worth this abuse of others? I feel that it is not. 

So, for these reasons, I want to only give and receive things which (1) are actually of use and not just space-fillers that will look bountiful under a tree, (2) are ethical, and (3) won’t be introducing toxins into the homes and bodies of those who will receive the gifts. I won’t deny that I have a child’s excitement when it comes to packages, but I don’t really care how I feel if it means others will suffer, you see. 

I’ve compiled a little list of some gift ideas which fit these criteria, in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to shop smaller and more cleanly this season. This may sound like a morbid way to look at things, but it’s the reality, and isn’t the idea of thinking more deeply about our purchases and limiting our waste really a very cheerful concept?!

Here’s to a holiday season that is deeply connected, immensely joyful, and profoundly ethical! 

Big Berkey water filter – a purification system that legit cleans your water

This water filter has two huge black charcoal filters which filter out chlorine, bacteria, and any pharmaceutical waste. You can also add fluoride filters (which I have done) if you’re uncomfortable with consuming something added to your water when studies have shown that it can have a harmful impact on our health (especially thyroid health). 

Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask – I sleep with this every night to keep my cycle more regular

This mask is a great gift to give to someone who needs more quality sleep (don’t we all?!). I started using this one because our apartment windows allow in a lot of artificial city light at night, which can interfere with a woman’s ability to ovulate – something women need to be doing to keep their bones strong, mind and emotions healthy, and to help with proper nutrient absorption. So this gift truly shows that you care, especially if you include with it a study on cycle health and sleep quality! ;p

For a friend who loves to stay cozy with warm drinks…give them a Keep Cup to reduce waste from coffee shops.

We throw away so many coffee cups each year, and the production of these cups also wastes so much energy, even if they are recycled. Not to mention, paper cups are lined with plastics, which your food is coming into contact with. And if your disposable cups are styrofoam…don’t even get me started! Pouring hot water into styrofoam is a terrible idea! Hot water causes the styrofoam to break down, meaning you are digesting those toxins. Just don’t! If the option is between no coffee and coffee in styrofoam — just be patient and wait until you can get coffee in a cup that won’t poison you. Honestly, it’s not worth it for your body or the environment. 

Dry brushing is an amazing therapeutic and detoxifying habit to cultivate.

Our skin is our largest organ of detoxification, so keeping it healthy able to do its job will benefit you in so many ways. Dry brushing not only sloughs off dry skin cells, but also improves circulation. It’s done from the extremities inwards, towards the heart, and is a wonderful pre-shower routine that only takes a few minutes. It also means that when you apply a skin moisturizer afterward, that yummy skin food is going straight to healthy skin, without getting held up by dead skin!

ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – DoubleNest Hammock, Portable Hammock for Two

This is an awesome hammock for summer hikes, as well as just for apartment balconies. I really enjoyed reading and studying in it this past summer! 

Berkey Shower Filter – this clears out 95% of chlorine from your shower water!

I feel like it’s easy to forget that the water we put on our skin is pretty important, and not just the water we drink and cook with. But when you’re in a hot shower, your pores are open and you’re absorbing whatever is in that water directly into your bloodstream. In fact, the things we ingest go through more of a biological filtration process than anything we put on our skin! We also may not realize that we’re inhaling chlorine vapors while in the shower. This filter cleans that up and gives you shower water that is gentler on your skin and hair. I find this especially helpful in the winter, when skin is prone to be so dry already. 

Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes

Instead of using plastic toothbrushes, these bamboo ones are an effective and easy substitution that will help you minimize your footprint just that little bit more. They don’t have boar bristles, which aren’t actually ethical even though they’re natural. We use these every day in our home, and really like them. 

You know Dr. Bronner’s makes Castile soap, but did you know they make fluoride-free, cruelty-free toothpaste as well?!

I mentioned above that we’ve added filters to our Berkey to eliminate fluoride, so it only makes sense to also remove it from our toothpaste. Curious about the data on this? Check out this and other articles from the Weston A Price Foundation, which researches and supports traditional diets, rather than fad diets or unhealthy governmental dietary recommendations: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/modern-assaults-thyroid/

Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet – I use this for literally everything!

Iron skillets are pretty much the most useful kitchen tool, in my opinion. I use them to saute, to stir-fry, to toast, and even to bake cornbread. With an iron lid, they’re also awesome for cooking up potato-veggie medleys very quickly in the oven. They’re easy to maintain, as long as you know how to care for them. And they’re a much healthier alternative to non-stick pans, which can flake off or release toxic particles into your food. I don’t have a single non-stick item in our home, because the health concerns aren’t worth the convenience for me.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats

‘Nuff said. Get smart, and learn to eat nutrient dense foods, not nutrient deficient “foods”.

Whether you ever plan to have children or not, if you are a woman in your ‘childbearing years’ you need to read Real Food for Pregnancy

Lily Nichols (RDN, CDE) is an expert in the field of prenatal nutrition and nutrition for women with gestational diabetes. Similarly to Nourishing TraditionsReal Food for Pregnancy teaches you to look past empty dietary recommendation from organizations and governments and to look directly to credible research.  Not only that, but this way of eating backed up by the effective diets of traditional cultures, which nourished women in the childbearing years. I say this a lot, but your body should be able to have children, regardless of whether you plan to or not. Why> Because a healthy body is a fertile body, If you are not fertile, your body is letting you know that it is need of healing and support. I’m learning to eat this way more and more, and have seen true improvements to my cycle healthy along the way. I look forward to healing my body further with this knowledge and highly recommend this book for any woman who menstruates. I’d give this to any woman friend, regardless of her pregnancy status.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

This book is not about making babies. It’s about body literacy, something we could all use a lot more of. I believe every woman should be given this book in her teenage years so that she can enter her adult life on the informed side. Every woman needs this book, so if you have a friend who doesn’t have this on her bookshelf — fix that!

Sync up your lifestyle with your cycle, and you’ll find that you function 1000% times better. WomanCode teaches you how!

Many women find this book when they are diagnosed with a hormonal condition such as PCOS, because Alisa Vitta put her PCOS into remission without the endocrine-damaging drugs that are generally recommended to women. By cleaning up your home and diet, and syncing your lifestyle to your cycle with simple changes, you truly can achieve a balance in your body. I eat according to this protocol, even though I don’t have PCOS because I want to make my uterus oh so happy! ;p 

I hope you found this list helpful, and that you picked up some inspiration for meaningful and health-promoting gifts. Shop smarter, not bigger, and reap the benefits of a lighter conscience! 

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