Thursday, May 1, 2014

What's Happening Out There

Long time followers of Footprints know that my favourite blog is The Non-Consumer Advocate. I also belong to the Non-Consumer Advocate group on Facebook and am always inspired by the people in the group. They’re not all non-consumers as such. Their reasons for being in the group are many and varied. Some want to save money, others are part of The Compact, some are trying to help the environment, others want to be ethical and some just love the challenge and the satisfaction of trying not to buy new things. Regardless of the reasons, we have become a vibrant on-line community. I’ve learnt a lot about what people are doing. At times, I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of what I could be doing and need – at those times - to remind myself that anything I do helps.
Some people are willing to take their non-consumerism to lengths I’d never considered, doing things I’d never even heard of and I’d really like to share with you, in this post, some of the things that people are doing. Naturally, there is the usual: growing one’s own veggies and from that, canning and/or freezing and sharing surplus, bartering, buying second-hand, borrowing instead of buying, repairing and mending, taking advantage of special offers, buying in bulk, finding new uses for old things and simply deciding that the desired item isn’t a necessity. The list goes on.

Here are the things I want to add:

Oil Pulling
A couple of my cousins are doing this. It involves swishing and pulling oil – preferably unrefined organic coconut oil – around in one’s mouth for twenty minutes daily. It’s meant to remove bacteria and impurities from the body via the mouth. I’ve read articles on-line in favour and against. All I know is that the people who do it swear by it, saying it makes them feel better. If it works, it would go a long way towards keeping down medical and dental costs and be good preventive medicine. I haven’t tried it yet but am thinking of giving it a go.

Oil Cleansing
While I’m writing about oil, I’ll cover this one, too. Using a combination of the right oils can deep cleanse the face and remove excess oil from the skin. The idea is that oil attracts oil. I tried it but used the wrong oil. Interestingly, it dried out my usually combination skin. Used correctly I think it would be quite effective. It would certainly be a money saver for people who spend a lot on facial cleansers and would be a much more natural way to clean the face. I’m not sure if I’ll bother to try. I have a confession to make. I stopped using cleansers on my face as an experiment many months ago. It occurred to me that I was stripping the natural oils with cleanser which I would then replace with moisturiser. I decided to just use water and see what happened. Absolutely nothing. Nada. My face is clean with the right balance of oils. How’s that???

No Poo
This uses the principle of what I just wrote about my face and applies it to hair. The “poo” in no poo is shampoo. Some people have stopped using shampoo. Shampoo strips the scalp of its natural oils so the skin compensates by producing extra, thus leading to oily hair. People using no poo use a combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead. Initially the hair goes through a greasy stage of adjustment. I’m really attracted to trying this but don’t want to go through that stage. I’ve thought of cutting my hair really short and taking it from there. I like the idea of not using shampoo. I use ones which don’t have SLS but I’d still prefer not to use it at all. It would certainly save money, cut down on packaging and help keep our waterways cleaner. My mother once joked when she had cancer that the upside to chemo was all the money she was saving on hair care.

Wet Wipes
From shampoo to real poo. There are people that use wet rags to wipe themselves after going to the toilet. Some only use them for wees, others for both. Then, just like with cloth nappies, the rags are put into a bucket to soak. Imagine how many trees would be saved if we all used old, unmendable t-shirts and linens to wipe ourselves. I love the idea – in theory. I certainly used cloth nappies for both of my kids. I think that’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t use wet wipes. I’m not grossed out or offended by it and I think it would get one’s bottom much cleaner. It’s just that I’ve been there and done that already with the kids. I don’t want to do it again.

Fanny Rags
If you know the expression “on the rag” you probably know that women once used “fanny rags” instead of disposable pads during their periods. Some have gone back to it, put off by all the chemicals in sanitary pads, the fact that they fill our dumps and waterways, as well as to save money. We must spend a fortune in our fertile lifetimes on those products! It’s a bit like using wet wipes in that soiled ones are put into a bucket to soak. Some people make cloth pads themselves, others buy them from companies such as Moonpads. There are also various internal, washable, reusable cups that can be used instead of tampons. I have no problem with any of the above-mentioned products whatsoever and am not grossed out at all. I have a couple of moonpads and like them. In fact, if I weren’t coming to the end of my child-bearing days I’d completely change over. For now, I'm just marking time.



  1. I am also intrigued by the oil pulling. Let us know how it goes when you try. We don't do the no poo but I wash my hair about once a week (sometimes less) and it's less oily than ever it was before. I mostly wash it because I don't like the chlorine smell after I go swimming but even with all the exercise I do (on land) and sweat it seems fine otherwise. I can totally see how no poo would work.

  2. Agree with the shampoo. As a person with sensitive skin, I was worried my children would inherit that. I was keen to avoid introducing anything to their skin/hair/scalp that would upset that balance. Occasional users of soap or solvol on hands, I know that one of them has NEVER used shampoo and their hair is shiny and healthy. Another one doesn't use soap. Their skin is clear and healthy apart from the occasional adolescent pimples which I think have more to do with the diet than lack of soap or shampoos! The most I ever used on my children's skin when they were babies was sorbolene or olive oil - when I feel like I need to use soap, I use an olive oil soap which seems to moisturise the skin very well. When the headlice went through the school, I used tea tree oil and spritzes of other essential oils to keep them at bay. I don't want to put chemicals on my children who are happy and healthy and without the allergies and problems of mine.