Recent Posts

30 easy zero-waste swaps you can make TODAY


Going zero-waste might sound overwhelming at first, which is completely understandable. That’s why I gathered 30 easy zero-waste swaps anyone can make today to get you started. You don’t have to do them all in one day though. Maybe set a challenge for yourself: do one zero-waste swap a day for 30 days. If you want to take it a step further to see how much impact these swaps have on your amount of waste, try tracking the number of items that would have usually gone to waste before you swapped. For example: ‘Because I used a reusable cotton wipe today, I didn’t have to waste 3 single-use cotton wipes.’

1. Plastic bags to a reusable bag

You’ve probably heard this one over a hundred times by now but it is one of the easiest, yet most impactful zero-waste swaps you can make. Just carry a foldable bag in your purse or backpack at all times, just in case. You never know when you need one.

2. Package-free groceries

Try to go for package-free groceries as much as possible. There is no reason for apples to be packaged for example. If you can choose between packaged and non-packaged apples, please go for the ones without the unnecessary packaging.

3. Install a bidet

This one is pretty straightforward, although I understand it’s not for everyone. If you are open to the idea, at least try to use a bidet a few times to see if it’s for you. If you are not comfortable with it, try to opt for toilet paper made from reused paper instead of your regular toilet paper. This alternative might not be zero-waste like a bidet would be, but at least it reduces waste significantly.

4. Single use cotton wipe to a reusable one

Personally, I don’t even understand why single-use cotton wipes exist. What is wrong with using a washcloth or microfibre cloth to clean off your make-up? If you find these too rough on your skin, you can even make your own reusable cotton wipes from fabrics that feel softer to the touch. If you want to take it to the next level, try making them from old clothes that you don’t wear anymore.

5. Silicone cupcake liners

This one might sound counterintuitive because cupcake liners are usually made from paper and paper is fine, right? Wrong. A silicone cupcake liner can be reused time and time again. Which means you have no waste after eating your cupcakes. This has a huge impact on the environment because by reusing silicone cupcake liners, you don’t contribute to the demand for more products to be made.

6. Plastic free soap

Soap doesn’t need the plastic packaging to do its job, right? There are plenty of soap options that don’t come wrapped in plastic. Try to find a nice soap bar instead of liquid soap for example.

7. Reusable water bottle

By having a reusable water bottle in your purse or backpack at all times, you rarely have to buy water in a disposable bottle again. If the tap water in your country is safe to drink, a reusable water bottle will allow you to stay hydrated without contributing to the landfills.

8. Carry an ‘on the go’ coffee cup

Similarly to when you bring a reusable water bottle along, you can also bring a reusable coffee cup wherever you go. Not only does this allow you to get your coffee waste-free, but it also keeps your drink hot for longer if you have an insulated one.

9. Cloth diapers

This one is for all the new parents out there. Because let’s be honest, babies are messy. But just because they can’t control when their bodies dispose of waste, doesn’t mean they need wasteful products like single-use diapers. Cloth diapers can be washed and reused over and over again. This way you save a tonne of waste and money that single-use diapers would cost.

10. Reusable period pads

Similarly to reusable diapers, there are also reusable period pads available. These pads allow you to wash them so you can use them time and time again. This will also save you a lot of money on pads each month.

11. Period underwear

Period underwear is best explained as underwear with reusable pads built-in. You can use a pair all day without leaking and throw it in the washer when it’s full. Using period underwear eliminates the use of pads and the waste that comes with them completely.

12. Use a menstrual cup

A menstrual cup is another reusable period product that eliminates the need for tampons and pads. They are similar to tampons in use but instead of them soaking up the blood and needing to be thrown away, they catch the blood in the little cup so it can be emptied and reused.

13. Buy from bulk bins

Not everyone has bulk bins available to them but if you do, buying from them is a very impactful zero waste swap. The idea behind bulk bins is to eliminate packaging as much as possible. If you bring your own reusable produce bags or containers you don’t have any waste at all.

14. Organic loofah

Not many people seem to know this but loofahs actually grow on plants. Why would you need an artificial plastic loofah that’s very harmful to the environment (in terms of both production and waste), if you can get an organic one? If you want to take it a step further, you can even grow your own!

15. Fabric napkins instead of paper napkins

Honestly, I think no reason can justify the use of paper napkins over fabric napkins. Fabric napkins can be reused time and time again, while paper napkins need to be thrown out after one use. Aside from being a great zero-waste swap, fabric napkins are also much more gentle on your skin than their paper twins.

16. Fabric towels instead of paper towels

Fabric towels are reusable instead of single-use paper towels. You can use them to clean your house and then throw them in the washer to use again. Try to count all the paper towels you’ve used over the past week or so. Now imagine that you would have used a fabric towel instead. You can’t go back in time to eliminate waste that you already created, but you can look forward to the future and think about all the waste you are going to save by implementing this simple zero-waste swap.

17. Silicone food bags

So many people use single-use ziplock bags or freezer bags. You essentially use 1 bag for 1 food item you want to keep fresh. But what if you could use one bag to keep hundreds of food items fresh? You can by using a reusable silicone food bag. After you used it, you can easily turn it inside out and put it in the dishwasher. Another option to keep your food fresh with reusable items is by using airtight storage containers or glass jars.

18. Reusable produce bags

Just like bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store, you can also bring your own reusable produce bags with you. You can even make your own from mesh fabric. If you want to take it a step further, try making your own from old bedsheets or clothes that you no longer wear.

19. Beeswax wrap

Beeswax wrap is a great alternative to replace saran wrap or aluminium foil. It is made from organic cotton and beeswax. This means you can reuse your sheets of beeswax wrap over and over again.

20. Safety razor

A safety razor is a razor that you can reuse multiple times. Unlike single-use razors, you won’t need to throw your safety razor in the trash after shaving. Aside from lasting much longer than most modern razors, safety razors are more often than not free from plastic. Another bonus is that most companies that produce these razors also opt for plastic-free packaging as well.

21. Cloth tissues

Why is it even socially acceptable to use single-use tissues? You blow your nose only once or twice and then throw them in the trash. A much more sustainable and waste-free option is to use cotton tissue instead. Cotton tissues can be reused after simply throwing them in the washer. If you don’t want to have a snotty tissue in your purse all day (which honestly was the reason I didn’t want to make this swap at first), bring along a silicone bag to put it in after using it. Silicone bags can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher or the sink. Aside from being waste-free, cotton tissues are also much more gentle on the skin around your nose. This is especially relieving when you catch a bad cold. By using something more gentle to blow your nose in, you won’t need some type of lotion to relieve your damaged skin either. Since those lotions usually come in plastic packaging, that’s another item you don’t have to waste.

22. Bamboo toothbrush

This one is not entirely zero-waste in the sense that you never have to replace your toothbrush but when you do, you don’t contribute to landfills. Because bamboo is a natural material that breaks down and composts in the time span of approximately six months, it is a much more sustainable option than our usual plastic toothbrushes.

23. Bamboo dish brush

Just like your toothbrush has to be replaced every few months, so does your dish brush. By choosing a more sustainable bamboo dish brush you don’t contribute to landfills when it is time to replace it. Aside from that, the production of bamboo brushes is much more eco-friendly than the production of their plastic counterparts.

24. E-reader

Imagine how many trees have to be cut down to fill an entire book store. Now multiply that number by the number of bookstores you know. By switching your traditional book for an e-reader, you stop contributing to the demand for paper that is needed to create those books. You also make a significant impact when you look at production demand. If you use an e-reader, only one has to be manufactured for you to read countless books. While traditional books have to be created per book you want to read. By using an e-reader you also save a lot of space in your home, since it stores so many books on a small device. And when it’s time to purge your book collection, you can simply delete the file instead of sending an entire book through a recycling process.

25. Loose leaf tea

This zero-waste swap might not sound that impactful, but it makes a huge difference. You see, the tea leaves themselves decompose in approximately three to six months but the bags themselves don’t. Teabags are made from microplastics that are not biodegradable or recyclable. That means that for every cup of tea you make, you add another decomposable piece of plastic to a landfill. By switching out your traditional tea bags for loose leaf tea and a reusable tea strainer, the only waste you have from your cup of tea is the completely compostable tea leaves. If that sounds like your cup of tea, try it!

26. Reusable coffee filter

A reusable metal coffee filter is similar to our traditional paper coffee filters but you don’t have to throw it away after just one use. By simply throwing out the used coffee grounds (which are compostable by the way) and rinsing it thoroughly, you can use your metal coffee filter for years to come. Just imagine how many coffee filters will not be sent to landfills when you make this easy zero-waste swap!

27. Reusable plates and cutlery

Sigh… Why this is not common sense still baffles me. In the day and age where dishwashers are getting more and more common in every household, you have no excuse to use single-use plates, bowls and cutlery. I can imagine it might sound appealing to use them when hosting a family barbecue, but even then you can just use your regular plates and cutlery. It might mean you have to run your dishwasher twice or a family member has to help you wash the dishes after the party, but does that small inconvenience really justify sending a set of plates and cutlery per person to landfills? Even if you don’t have enough plates for everyone, getting single-use ones is still not justifiable. Just ask your guests to bring their own reusable ones with them to the party.

28. Bring a lunchbox

When at work, I see many people bring their lunch in little plastic or paper bags. Some people even wrap their sandwich in aluminium foil. But why though? A simple reusable lunchbox is just as effective as using wasteful packaging. Aside from being much more sustainable, it also protects your food much better from being crushed and smashed by other items in your work bag.

29. Bagless vacuum cleaner

Aside from it being a pain to replace vacuum bags, they are also very wasteful and unnecessary. Many vacuum cleaners these days come with containers that you can easily take out and empty in the trash can. You still throw out the dirt and dust you usually would, but you eliminate the need for vacuum bags.

30. Silicone baking mat

If you love baking, as I do, you probably have a stash of baking sheets hidden somewhere in your kitchen. As it is completely understandable to not want to clean your oven after just one use, this is no reason to add waste to landfills. An easy to get alternative is a silicone baking mat. They are heat resistant and work just like a regular baking sheet would. The difference is that you don’t have to throw it out after using it only once. You can easily clean and reuse them for years to come. Aside from being much more sustainable, they also save a lot of space in your kitchen drawers since you only need one or two of them.

What foods groups to avoid in general according to functional medicine


Functional medicine is about personalised medicine and diets. So in general what foods you should and shouldn’t eat differs from person to person. That being set there are commonalities that certain foods are best to avoid in general, you shouldn’t eat In this article you will learn why that is.

Why it’s best to avoid gluten according to functional medicine

The problem with gluten is that more and more evidence is showing that it can trigger inflammation and leaky gut. It causes an inflammarty reaction and increased levels of a protein called zonulin. With more zonulin tight junctions between intestinal cells that opens a gap between them. Like a row of bricks with no cement left between them. This is called a leaky gut.

Once you it, it will cause a cascade of problems like virusses, toxins and bacteria coming into your blood stream because gluten can go through your gut’s barrier. This will trigger your immune system and will cause it to become over-activated which created inflammation.

It also might even cause more food sensitivities to develop to new foods that now can get through the barrier. Cross-reactive foods with similar proteine structures are most likely.

Why it’s best to avoid dairy according to functional medicine

Mark Hyman, one of the leading experts in the field of functional medicine has this to say about dairy: “It’s nature’s perfect food – but only if you’re a calf.” Which makes sense when you think about it. According to research 75% of the worlds population can’t consume dairy properly. Countries with the lowest dairy consumption like Asia and Africa have the lowest rate of osteoporosis which is a bone disease that occors when the body loses too much bone. That’s weird right? Because you probably heard that dairy should be good for your bones.

Also in another research it shows that consuming dairy products regularly increases your risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50%

The main protein found in milk is called casein. This protein can cause inflammation. Leading to eczema, ear infections, congestion, sinus problems and many more problems like acne, diarrhea, allergies, irritable bowel and bloating.

When coming off dairy try it for 3 weeks you will probably feel more energetic and more fit. Then reïntroduce the food again and see how you feel.

For more in depth information you can also watch this video:

Why it’s best to avoid corn according to functional medicine

Corn is not a vegetable, it’s a grain. And it’s one of the most sugary and starchy and empty grain there is. It is also a product that is mass produced and therefore full of pesticides. The corn that is eaten is also in most cases meant for animal food.

Why it’s best to avoid Soybean oil according to functional medicine

Soybean oil is one of the most abundant sources of omega-6 fatty acids and it also contains high levels of glyphosate (round-up). It is found in most fast foods and also in most fried foods at cafeteria, diners and restaurant along with other oils that are bad for you when over-consumed.

Other foods to avoid

  • Caffeïne and alcohol. Caffeïne because it’s inflammatory and increases stress levels. Alcohol because it you get an increased risk for liver disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological complication and bone damage, also because of inflammation.
  • Anything with “hydrogenated” in the name. It’s just another word for trans fat.
  • Anything advertised on TV. The worst foods get the most airtime, probably because people know to stay away but can’t because they keep getting cravings from all the advertisements.
  • Anything at a drive-through window
  • Anything with artificial sweeteners as the evidence on sucralose, aspartame and maltitol seem to affect gut health and glucose tolerance.
  • Anything with high-fructose corn syrupe. It is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.

Final word

With functional medicine it never is a one-size-fits all type of deal. You might be able to consume gluten or dairy perfectly fine, but in the case of these food substances you would be one of the lucky few. It is more likely that the foods in this article will trigger an unwanted reaction in your body making you feel like crap (pardon my language). So what is best to do is to see a functional medicine practioner and find out for yourself what foods are good for you and which are not. You can also experiment yourself by eliminating foods from your diet for a couple of weeks and reïntroducing them later on to see how you react.

Sources

  • https://nutritionstudies.org/12-frightening-facts-milk/
  • https://drhyman.com/blog/2017/07/27/still-consuming-dairy/
  • https://consensus.nih.gov/2010/images/lactose/lactose_finalstatement.pdf
  • https://drhyman.com/blog/2018/03/30/what-not-to-eat/

References

  1. Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. Bmj 2014;349:g6015.
  2. Lanou AJ. Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2009;89:1638S-42S.
  3. Dahl-Jorgensen K, Joner G, Hanssen KF. Relationship between cows’ milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care 1991;14:1081-3.
  4. Malosse D, Perron H, Sasco A, Seigneurin JM. Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence: a worldwide study. Neuroepidemiology 1992;11:304-12.
  5. Key TJ. Diet, insulin-like growth factor-1 and cancer risk. Proc Nutr Soc 2011:1-4.
  6. Kritchevsky D. Dietary protein, cholesterol and atherosclerosis: a review of the early history. The Journal of nutrition 1995;125:589S-93S.
  7. Kamiński S, Cieslińska A, Kostyra E. Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health. J Appl Genet. 2007;48:189–98.
  8. Brantl V, Teschemacher H, Henschen A, Lottspeich F. Novel opioid peptides derived from Casein(β -Casomorphins). I. Isolation from bovine casein peptone. Hoppe-Seyler’s Z Für Physiol Chem. 1979;b360:1211–24.
  9. Whiteley P, Haracopos D, Knivsberg A-M, Reichelt KL, Parlar S, Jacobsen J, et al. The ScanBrit randomised, controlled, single-blind study of a gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Nutr Neurosci. 2010;13:87–100.
  10. Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev Online 2004; CD003498.
  11. Whiteley P, Shattock P, Knivsberg A-M, Seim A, Reichelt KL, Todd L, et al. Gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for autism spectrum conditions. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012;6:344.
  12. Pennesi CM, Klein LC. Effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: based on parental report. Nutr Neurosci. 2012;15:85–91

15 ways to reuse clothes


There are so many ways to reuse old clothing. What way fits best for your situation mainly depends on the state of the clothes. That’s why this article offers 15 different options to reuse your old clothes.

1. Organise a clothing swap

If your old clothing is in good shape but doesn’t fit you anymore, or no longer matches your style, you can try a clothing swap. You can invite friends and family, or even strangers. Not only will you possibly make someone else very happy with your clothes, but you might also find something you like for yourself. By doing a clothing swap, you save your own used clothes from the trash and save others’.

2. Upcycle old clothes for new outfits

Upcycle? Don’t you mean recycle? No, I meant UPcycle. The idea of upcycling your clothes is to improve them so they can go through a whole new lifecycle. Websites like youtube and Pinterest offer plenty of cool idea’s to revamp your clothing items. Even if you’re not good with sewing, there are still more than enough options for you. Think about things like tie-dye or bleaching for example.

3. Make a blanket

Even if certain clothes are no longer suitable to wear we still really want to. Usually, because you really like the feel of the fabric, the item has a special memory attached to it or just because you like the print. What if you could gather all these items and make them into one snuggly blanket? This is so easy that you can do it even if you’ve never touched a sewing machine before.

4. Make them into plushies

No, I don’t mean silly sock puppets that we used to make as kids by glueing googly eyes on old socks. I mean actual plush toys that you could even give as presents. On websites like https://cholyknight.com/, you can find several free plush patterns for every skill level. There are even ones available for complete beginners, so it’s worth it to give it a try.

5. Use them for cleaning

If you’ve worn a shirt to the point that there’s literally no way of saving it, you can always reuse the fabric as a cleaning rag. Be sure to only use fabrics that won’t scratch the surfaces you’re cleaning, as denim would. A cotton t-shirt, for example, would make a great cleaning rag.

6. Make shirts into pillowcases

You can use old shirts to make them into nice looking pillowcases. You can even do this with blouses if you position them right. There are more than enough ideas to find about this on Pinterest, so get creative!

7. Make them into shopping bags

We already know that having a reusable bag is the way to go to save plastic. But what if you didn’t have to even buy a reusable bag? You can easily make your own from old clothing items.

8. Frame t-shirts with emotional value

That one shirt you got at the concert of your all-time favourite band for example. After wearing it too many times it will inevitably lose its shape or the fabric get’s too thin. It might even rip in some places. Understandably you don’t want to say goodby to a shirt that has so many great memories attached to it. So use it as a decor piece instead! by framing it you can hold onto it forever, and you will have a nice display piece for your home.

9. Learn to tailor or have them tailored

You are constantly changing as a person, this also goes for your body. Maybe you have gained or lost some weight recently, causing your clothes to not fit you as well as they used to. Or maybe you just bought an item that doesn’t fit you as well as you would like, but that you like so much that you couldn’t pass upon it. By learning some basic tailoring skills you can fix all of these problems quickly. By making your clothes fit you better, you don’t have to send them to a landfill.

10. Give to someone in need/donate

This one is pretty straightforward. Just because a piece of clothing no longer fits you or your personal style anymore, doesn’t mean they can’t be right for someone else.

11. Sell them online

Sometimes you bought something and regret it later. If you sell pieces of clothing like these, you can at least try to make some of your money back. If selling fails, you can always consider donating or upcycling the item.

12. Recycle them

If you can’t find any new use for your item, please don’t throw them in the regular trashcan! There are plenty of places that collect used clothed or even fabric scraps to they can be recycled properly.

13. Organise a swap cycle

When I was a child, my mom organised a clothing swap system with some other moms in our area. The idea was that I had to go through my closet twice a year and take out all the items that no longer fit me or that I didn’t like anymore. All these items were put into a bag or box and given to the person who was next on the list. They could take as many items as they wanted from the bag, and put in the items they purged from their own closet. Then the bag/box would be given to the next person who did the same thing. In the end, all items that were not taken out by someone else got donated to a thrift store or charity. Every cycle was started by someone else on the list so that it wouldn’t always be the same person who got the last choice.

14. Make hand warmers

This is a very simple and useful DIY project! All you need (besides your old clothing items) are a pair of scissors, a needle, thread and some uncooked rice. Just cut out 2 squares from an old piece of clothing and sew them together. Then fill them with rice and you’re done! You can make these heating pads in any size you want, so make some bigger ones for at home or some small ones for on the go!

15. Make a pencil case

Making a pencil case is another easy DIY project. If you go on Pinterest you will find many free patterns to follow. How awesome would it be to have a one in a kind pencil case that you used to wear?

What diet does functional medicine recommend?


The functional medicine diet is jokingly called the pegan diet by Mark Hyman, one of the leading figures in the functinoal medicine space. This is because functional medicine is a combination of the paleo and a vegan diet. Functional medicine focusses mostly on plant-based and whole foods.

So foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, (non-starchy) vegetables, fruits and organic meat and fish. Basically the foods we have been eating for all of history.

Foods you should limit as much as possible are dairy, refined sugars, coffee, alcohol and gluten. (ultra) Processed foods with more than 5 ingredients that have lots of unknown substances that you can’t pronounce are also a no go.

Read on why functional medicine

Why legumes are recommended by functional medicine

Legumes is a general term used for beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts. They are recommended by functional medicine because they are rich in proteïne and fiber. They also contain magnesium and iron. If you want to know why iron and magnesium is important, check out our previous article. These plant based sources of proteine are not only one of the best foods you can eat but also quite cheap.

Why nuts are recommended by functional medicine

Nuts like legumes are also great sources of proteïne, but also of the right unsaturated fats like omega-3 oil. They also contain fiber, vitamin-E and plant-sterols which are good for your cholesterol levels. 80% of a nut is fat so too much of nuts might not be such a good idea. A healthy serving of nuts is a handful or 1 or 2 spoons of nut spreads. Eat them raw or cooked but not boiled in oil.

Why fruits are recommended by functional medicine

Fruits are nature’s candy, they contain sugars which is why you shouldn’t eat to much fruit. But fruits also contain all kinds of healthy vitamins and minerals. The advice is to eat the rainbow since different kind of colored fruit contains different kinds of vitamins and minerals like vitamin c, potassium, folate and fruit is also high in fiber.

It ofcourse differs per fruit, you can check out this extensive list for more information: https://www.lenntech.com/fruit-vegetable-mineral-content.htm

Why seeds are recommended by functional medicine

Seeds are loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus (important for restoring cells). Flax seeds even contain omega-3 fats. The six best seeds to eat are:

  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Find out more about these seeds in this article: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-6-best-seeds-to-eat/

Why organic meats and fish are recommended by functional medicine

Organic meats and fish contain vitamin B12, omega 3 fat and even some antioxidants. Meat is ofcourse also a very good source of proteïne and fiber. Organic meat as well as fish shouldn’t be eaten much. They are more of a treat than something to be eaten daily. Once or twice a week is the overall advice.

Want to read more on this topic. We’ve found a very extensive article that covers this subject very thoroughly: https://holisticfoodie.com/is-organic-meat-better/

Why non-starchy vegetables are recommended by functional medicine

Non-starchy vegetables have a low amount of carbohydrates and are often much more “clean” vegetables than starchy vegetables. To be clear, here is a list of non-starchy and starchy vegetables:

StarchyNon-Starchy
White potatoBlack-olives
Sweet potatoPurple Cabbage
Green peasEggplant
TurnipsAsparagus
Butternut SquashBrussel Sprouts
CarrotsCelery
BeetsRed Peppers
Acorn SquashTomatos
CornPaprika

Fun fact, the color of fruit and vegetables says a lot about nutritional value. To find out more, check this article: http://www.winmedical.org/our-services/clinics/family-medicine/healthy-eating/the-importance-of-a-colorful-diet/

Finally, here is a cool video by Mark Hyman about superfoods of functional medicine:

40 easy ways to reduce your waste


Many people seem to think reducing their waste is a huge task that will take up a lot of their time and compromises their quality of life. To help you help the environment I made a list of some easy ways to reduce your waste that you will hardly notice in your day to day life.

1. Carry a foldable bag at all times

Let’s be honest, how many times did this happen to you? You’re on your way home and you realize that you need something from the grocery store. So you stop by to pick up that particular item, but somehow you have an entire cart full of stuff when you arrive at the checkout. How will you carry all of it? You need a bag of course! But what if you just have a bag sitting in your purse for moments like these? Just think back to all the times you had to get a single-use bag at the grocery store. Imagine how much plastic you would have saved if you just carried a little foldable bag with you all these times.

2. Opt for glass or cardboard packaging

Glass and cardboard are much easier to reuse and recycle than plastic packaging. If you have the option to get a similar product in glass or cardboard packaging, it’s best for the environment to leave the item in the plastic packaging alone.

3. Repair, reuse, reduce

In this day and age, it’s become common to throw something out as soon as it breaks or you don’t want it anymore. Many items are easily repaired if you just take the time to Google how to fix them. And if you don’t need an item anymore for the purpose it’s meant for, try to find a new use for it before you consider tossing it. By repairing and reusing items until you really can’t anymore, you reduce a tonne of unnecessary waste.

4. Digitalize communication

Nowadays there is hardly any reason to send physical letters. E-mail and texting are accessible to almost everyone you need to reach. For every letter you send via E-mail, you saved another piece of paper, a stamp AND an envelope.

5. Use meaningful pictures to decorate your home

So many people decorate their homes with cheap decor that they get bored of and replace in no time. If you decorate your home with pictures that are meaningful to you or remind you of valuable memories, you’re less likely to want to replace them.

6. Buy in bulk if you can

If you buy in bulk, less packaging is needed for the amount of product you buy. A really big bag of rice simply uses less packaging than 10 little bags. It can be interesting to buy in bulk especially on items with a long expiration date or non-food items, both for your wallet and the environment.

7. Compost

For food scraps to compost, it requires a very specific environment. This environment is not found in a landfill. Every time you send food waste to a landfill, you might think you’re not doing any harm because ‘food will decompose anyway’, but you’re wrong. If you create the right composting environment at home, you will see how hard it can be, and you can use the compost itself as a fertilizer for your plants.

8. Install a bidet or use toilet paper from recycled paper

This one is pretty self-explanatory: if you use a bidet, you won’t need to use (as much) toilet paper. However, a bidet is not for everyone and that’s okay. If you still want to reduce waste while being on the toilet, opt for toilet paper made from recycled paper.

9. Buy package free as much as possible

There is no need for every single piece of food to be wrapped individually. Especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables. You don’t even need the little plastic bags at the grocery aisle either. Just bring your own bag from home for convenience if you do need them.

10. Choose quality over quantity

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new food processor. You see one from a reputable brand, but it costs $80. You know it will likely last at least 10 years, maybe even longer. But you don’t want to spend that much money, so you choose a $20 one instead. However, this $20 machine needs to be replaced every 2 years because it wears down quickly due to its poor quality. Over 10 years you have spent more money and created a lot more waste than you would have if you had just saved up a little longer and bought the higher quality one.

11. Buy secondhand

Buying things secondhand saves you a tonne of money, it also reduces the number of products sent to landfills significantly. Another great benefit of buying secondhand is that you don’t contribute to the demand for new products. Buying secondhand has a bad reputation because many people assume secondhand items are dirty or broken. But this is not the case for most secondhand products. Often, you can find almost new items that just don’t serve the current owner as well as they expected.

12. Borrow one-time outfits from friends and family

Why would you buy an entirely new outfit for just one occasion if you can borrow (or even rent) it for the day? If you need a professional-looking outfit for a job interview while your usual style is more casual, ask a friend to borrow an outfit so you don’t have to buy an outfit you will likely never wear again.

13. Learn basic sewing skills

Learning basic sewing skills can benefit you in so many ways. It allows you to repair clothes so you don’t have to throw them out or tailor them if they no longer fit well. You could even combine and alter clothing items to make brand new looking pieces!

14. Develop your own style

This one goes for areas like home decor and clothing. Why would you copy the way the people around you dress and decorate their homes? There’s a huge chance you will get bored of their style in a short amount of time because you are not them. Try to develop your own style and only invest in items that really match that.

15. Get a teapot

You can reduce the number of tea bags you use significantly by using a teapot. If you use a single tea bag for a one-litre pot of tea, you can drink approximately 4 cups from that one bag. This might not sound like it has much impact at first but think back to all the tea bags you could have saved in just last week if you used a teapot instead.

16. Make your own pet toys and supplies

Let’s be honest here, does your cat really care about how high quality and beautiful their pink fluffy cat bed is? If your cat is like most cats, it probably doesn’t care as much as its human does. Cats are just as satisfied with a cardboard box that you can reuse from a package you ordered as they would be with an expensive pink fluffy bed. You can find plenty of toy and supply ideas for practically any pet type that uses items like toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and cardboard boxes.

17. Sell or donate items you no longer need

Just because an item no longer serves you, doesn’t mean it can’t serve someone else. Maybe your clothing style has changed in the last few months, but your current clothes are still in good condition. Consider selling them on Facebook, or even organising a clothing swap with friends. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling items and getting strangers at your door, you can always donate your clothing to a local thrift store. There are plenty of better options than sending them to landfills.

18. If you want something, wait at least a week before you buy it

Impulse buying is a huge contributor to landfills because we get tricked into thinking we want something, while we actually don’t. Once we realize these items don’t serve us, most of them get sent to landfills. To reduce the number of impulsive buys we make (and later send to landfills), you should wait at least a week before you actually get it. If you still want it after a week, you most likely will enjoy the item. If you forget about it in a week, it would have been an impulse buy.

19. Make a wishlist for your birthday/Christmas

How often have you received gifts that didn’t serve any purpose for you? Think about all those scented candles you got, that you didn’t like the smell of so you never used them. If you make a wishlist your friends and family can gift you things that you actually need and enjoy. This way you won’t end up with a tonne of unused items that will eventually get thrown away.

20. Re-use glass bottles for storage

There is simply no need to buy a tonne of small storage containers if you reuse the glass bottles that hold foods. Simply rinse them and put them in the dishwasher afterwards, and they are good as new. If they come with one of those pesky sticky labels, just leave them in water overnight and the label should come off on its own. Just don’t use them for food items as they are no longer airtight after you open them for the first time.

21. Learn to recognize marketing tricks

Marketing is meant to trick us into buying things. Most of the time, these are things we don’t even need or want. As I’ve mentioned earlier, impulsively bought things often turn out to not serve you and end up in landfills. If you become more aware of the most often used marketing tricks, it might help you see through them and decide if you actually need the item.

22. Donate cardboard packaging to schools

Have you seen how many arts and crafts projects can be made from simple cardboard boxes, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls? When I was in primary school, our school asked parents to save these items and give them to the school to use for arts and crafts. Imagine how much fewer art supplies would have to be bought and produced if every parent donated just a few of these items every month.

23. Borrow items that you rarely use

If you are the type of person that only bakes one single birthday cake a year, why would you buy a cake pan? Just ask your friends or family if they have one you could borrow. This saves you money on an item you don’t need and will likely throw out once you realize you will never use it again. On top of that, it saves space in your kitchen cabinets as you just return said cake pan after you’re done with it.

24. Eliminate single-use items as much as possible

Why use single use wipes to clean your house if you could just as easily use a fabric wipe as well? Why use cotton pads to take off your makeup if you could just as easily use a washcloth? The fabric wipe and washcloth can be used over and over again after putting them in the washer, while the single use equivalents end up in landfills after just one time. Imagine how many single use items a single reusable one can replace over the years.

25. When in doubt about purchacing an item, borrow it first

If there’s an item you want, but you’re not quite sure if it fits in your life, why not try to borrow it first? If someone close to you has the same or a similar item, ask them if you could use it for a day to see if it suits you. If it doesn’t, you give back the item and move on with your life. If it does, you return the item and can get one of your own.

26. Propagate plants at home

Propagating plants is so much easier than most people think. On YouTube you can find plenty of 2-3 minute tutorials on how to propagate the most popular houseplants yourself. This way you can over time decorate your entire home by buying just a few plants. By doing this, you don’t add to the demand for plants. Even though plants are organic products, they can be pretty harmful to the environment to grow in large quantities. Another big advantage of propagating plants at home is that you have free gifts to hand out. They are great tokens of appreciation to give to people that did you a favour.

27. Ask your friends to make a birthday/Christmas wishlist

Similarly to receiving gifts that you have no use for, you can also end up on the giving side of the equation. It’s so much more satisfying and environmentally friendly to see your friend or family member use the gift you have them, than to never see it again because it didn’t suit them. By giving someone a gift they actually want and/or need, it has no reason to end up in a landfill.

28. Use a reusable (water) bottle

Just like carrying a reusable bag with you at all times, it can be very beneficial to carry a reusable water bottle as well. Think back to every time you bought a bottle of water and had to send the empty bottle to a landfill. Now imagine you had a reusable water bottle with you all these times and just refilled it at a tap. Not every country provides drinkable tap water, but if yours does, it’s just silly to buy single use water bottles.

29. Avoid packaging within packaging

If you buy a box of cookies, why does every single cookie need to be wrapped individually? If you want to keep them fresh, you can just as easily stash them in an airtight cookie jar. Just think about how many pointless wrappers one single cookie jar can replace. Try to avoid these types of packaging as much as possible and opt for reusable items to keep foods fresh instead.

30. Only buy something new if you can’t find the item secondhand

This goes mainly for furniture and electronics. Just because an item didn’t serve their previous owner anymore, doesn’t mean it can’t serve you. Take a used tv for example: maybe the previous owner got a newer model because the current one didn’t meet their needs anymore. It could still meet your needs. Or maybe they want to travel the world and don’t have use for the tv anymore. It’s still a good tv. Try to find these kinds of products secondhand if you can to avoid adding to the demand of new products. Sometimes you’re lucky and even save money. Sometimes you’re not and you still have to buy the item new, which is fine. Try to see buying new as your plan B.s

31. Freeze leftover foods to eat later

I mean, why would you even throw out perfectly edible food? Just because it’s cooked already? You can just as easily put it in an airtight container and freeze the dish. Not only does it reduce your waste significantly, it also saves you a lot of time cooking next time you want to eat that same dish. You could even save up several leftover dishes and have a special leftover night with your family so everyone can pick their favorite dish from that week.

32. Drink loose leaf tea

Tea bags might look like they would easily decompose but in reality, they don’t. Tea bags are made from microplastics and therefore are not compostable. If you buy a reusable tea strainer and loose leaf tea, you can keep the tea bags out of the equation alltogether.

33. Don’t use straws

If you are not a child or have a serious condition that makes you spill your drink easily, you simply don’t need a straw. It might look ‘aesthetic’, but is that Instagram post really worth the unnecessary waste that gets sent to landfills?

34. Buy refurbished electronics

Be honest, is the newest model of Iphone really that much better than the one older version? Most people wouldn’t even know the difference except for the amount of bragging they would otherwise do. Do bragging rights justify spending a few hundred dollar extra and adding to the demand of new phones while there are plenty of perfectly usable phones out there? If you are just a little tech savvy and know what to look out for, you can buy a used phone off of someone directly. If you want a sense of security, check local stores for refurbished phones. They check them thoroughly for defects before buying them in, clean them if needed and reset them so you can use them straight away. Most stores even offer a warranty period in case they missed a minor defect.

35. Don’t replace an item until the current one is beyond repair

This one ties in to ‘repair, reuse, reduce’. In this consumption driven age companies make it too easy to replace an item so they can make more money. If the seam of your shirt rips, you can easily fix it yourself. You simply don’t need to get a new one simply because of one ripped seam. It might be easy to hop online and order a new one, but that means you also have to send your current shirt to the landfill. That makes taking 5 minutes to repair your shirt much more appealing, doesn’t it?

37. Don’t fall for trends

Not only is keeping up with trends stressful, it’s also very harmful to the environment. The clothing industry is by far one of the most polluting industries of all because of the extremely high demand for clothing. This demand is not there because we don’t have enough clothing available, but because the clothing industry creates the feeling of being left out if you don’t wear the latest trends. If you develop your own style, you don’t have to keep up with this (let’s be honest) nonsense. This doesn’t mean you can never buy an item that is in style though. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself ‘would I still wear this item if no one else is?’. If the answer is ‘yes’, go for it because the trend that’s going on happens to match your style. If the answer is ‘probably not’, it’s best to leave the item be and wait for another trend that fits your style better.

38. Grow your own food

Even though you won’t directly see the impact growing your own food makes, it makes a huge difference. Imagine all the pesticides, packaging and gas that is no longer needed to get a certain food item from being a seed to your plate. Of course, not everyone has a garden to grow food in, and it’s not realistic to grow every type of food by yourself, but many people making a small contribution can have a huge impact. Even if you don’t have an outside area, you can still grow herbs in your kitchen. This way you eating herbs doesn’t require the use of pesticides, packaging and gas that it otherwise would.

39. Buy reduced food items in the grocery store

Some grocery stores have special discounts for products that have almost reached their expiration date. Legally, they can’t sell products beyond their expiration date, but that doesn’t mean they are not edible. You can easily eat most of these products the same day or the day after the expiration date. You can even freeze some products if you don’t need them until later. If no one takes these perfectly fine products, they will be thrown out.

40. Use a meal plan and grocery list

How many times did you end up with way too many groceries just because you didn’t have a plan while going shopping? If you make a list of all the items you need for the week, you are less likely to buy extra products that you ‘might need’ but actually don’t.

Bonus: share video games with friends and family

When I was a kid, my mom owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, and so did her cousin. Since the games for it were pretty expensive, she often swapped games with her cousin. I remember them discussing on the phone what games they would swap at their next meetup, and for how long. This way, both of them saved a tonne of money but still got to play the games they wanted. Doing this in modern days, not only saves you money but also significantly reduces demand for the number of video game copies. If you finish a game, why let it gather dust until you want to play it again in a few years while your friend could enjoy it in the meantime?

What is functional medicine?


Functional medicine is personalised medicine. It approaches healing in a holistic way, meaning that your disease isn’t treated but the cause of the disease is treated which in most cases have very desireable side effects like overall health and mood improvement.

Functional medicine starts with an extensive research of you:

  • What do you eat?
  • How do you sleep?
  • How much exercise do you get?
  • How is your stress level?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • How does your job look like?
  • How much time do you spend looking at screens?

These are the kind of questions that you can expect when going to a functional medicine practioner. On top of asking you all kinds of questions to get an idea of your habits and rituals they also do extensive testing to find out if you have inflammation or for example a leaky gut. Also nutritional deficicies like vitamin d, magnesium, iron, omega 3, zinc are being investigated.

An extensive profile will be created to find out what is causing your disease(s) and a treatment plan will be based upon that. Find out how what the differences are between functional medicine and traditional medicine and what functional medicine treatments plan could look like.

Differences between functional medicine and traditional medicine

As mentioned functional medicine treats the patient on a holistic level. They look for the root cause(s) of your disease and treat the cause not the disease. Traditional medicine does treat the disease, they have a procedure for every disease and on how it’s treated.

Traditional medicine tends to prescribe drugs that have many harmful side effects fast while functional medicine in most cases only prescribes a certain diet and in more extreme cases pro-biotics and even a microbiom transplant. Which is a last resort.

Traditional medicine has all kinds of specialists for every disease while functional medicine practioners are more generalistic and can treat several diseases because the root causes are in most cases a form of imflammation caused by a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle.

What a functional medicine treatment plan looks like

A functional medicine treatment is based on your life. What you eat and how much you exercise and sleep. So the treatment plans tend to differ in the details however when speaking generally you get recommended the following:

  • Follow a strict diet for atleast 6 weeks of mainly vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit (not all kinds), nuts, organic meat (not to much), eggs, and an occasional piece of dark choclate (above 70%)
  • Meditation, 15 – 30 minutes daily
  • Regular exercise, atleast 30 minutes daily.
  • Nutritional supplements such as vitamin d and omega 3 fish oil.

Most people generally are cured after six weeks when following this diet and not only that they also tend to feel a lot better in general.

Functional medicine focusses a lot on the microbiom of the gut

On Netflix there is a show called Human: The world within and there was an episode about fuel (episode 3). This explained how much impact the microbiom of the gut has on your level of well-being. You have billions of micro-organisms living in your gut and they all eat what you eat.

When you eat ultra processed food like cookies and chips all the time your microbiom will adjust and micro-organisms will grow which release chemicals that are bad for your health. The same is true for when you eat the right foods like vegetables and nuts.

You and your microbiom should be a team, you should not only eat for yourself but for your teammates supporting you with the right kinds of chemicals.

The good news is that you can change your microbiom rather quickly. So if you have been eating poorly for a long time it does not matter because you can change it in a month or two of strict dieting.

What diseases can be cured or if incurable become more managable using functional medicine

It might come to a suprise to you, because I know it did for me that functional medicine can cure all kinds of diseases like:

  • Depression and anxiety (There are strong signs that depression is just inflammation of the brain)
  • Alzheimers
  • Schizophrenia
  • Chrone disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Autism (but only autism that is picked up not born with)
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer prevention and also help slow down cancer cells
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Allergies
  • Astma
  • Dementia

So that’s quite a list already but there are more diseases that it can treat but also prevent. More and more discoveries are being made that inflammation and the immunal system are linked to many of these diseases.

What foods are often recommended by functional medicine

As previously mentioned the food groups that functional medicine recommends are beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits (not dried), nuts, fish (organic), meat (organic).

Beans

Beans are a natural ingredient that contains quite the amount of proteine and it is recommended by Dr. Mark Hyman in his book the blood sugar solution that you take proteïne with every meal to negate the negative effects of carbs.

Vegetables

Vegetables according to functional medicine you can eat all day every day. Especially dark green vegetables, they are anti-inflammatory and provide you with many healthy nutrients.

Fruits (not dried)

Now fruits are nature’s candy so these you can’t eat all day every day. Around 2 to 3 pieces of fruit daily and not always the same fruit is preferable. The advice here is to eat the rainbow, meaning you switch colors of fruit. The color of fruit says a lot about the nutrients it contains. So when eating different colors you get the whole variety of nutrients that you and your microbes need. You shouldn’t eat dried fruit because sugar and other harmful compounds are added to make and preserve it in that form.

Nuts

As humans we have been eating nuts for as long we exist so we evolved being very able to make good use of these foods. Nuts provides healthy fats and proteïne, make sure that you eat different kinds and eat them unsalted and unprocessed. Eat nuts like cashews, pistaches, walnuts and almonds.

Fish

Fish is a great source of omega 3 fats and also proteine. Eat fish like tuna and salmon and not the bigger fish as they contain high contents of heavy metals like mercury which can poison you.

Meat (organic)

While to much meat is not good for you. A few pieces of meat, mainly white meat is good for the amount of proteïne and fats it contains. Eat it as organic as possible because it will contain no hormones and pesticides that your body does not need.

What supplements are often recommended by functional medicine

The main supplements recommended by functional medicine are omega 3 fish oil, magnesium, vitamine D, Zinc and Iron.

Omega 3 fishoil

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are needed to survive and should be in the right ratio with omega-6 fatty acids which is 2:1. But on your standard diet with lots of dairy and gluten and proccessed foods this ratio is far from this ratio. omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and play a crucial role in brain function. Therefore supplementation is recommended. Also on the packages of fish oil say to take two to three capsules a day. It doesn’t say when, this is important because you should take one AFTER eating in the morning and one after dinner. This way it is absorbed more throughout the day. The same goes for magnesium.

Magnesium

Magnesium is called the relaxation mineral. And for good reason it relaxes your muscles and also mind. It is one of the best mood boosting supplements that you can take that are free of any risk when you don’t go overboard with the dosis ofcourse. But that is rather hard to do.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also a mood booster and vital for regulation your cells and genes. Vitamin D is one of the most potent cancer cell inhibitors. Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight but most of us aren’t getting enough sunlight anymore because our work is mainly indoors.

Iron

Iron plays a role in various enzymatic reactions in the body that are necessery for muscle metabolism, physical growth and neurological development. When deficient of iron you can feel headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme fatigue and have a poor appetite.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that your body uses for fighting off infections and producing celss. It is important for healing wounds and creating DNA.

How functional medicine is linked to the climate and global warming

What I would like to leave you with is this. You vote 3 times a day with your fork, everytime you eat vegetables or organic meat instead of processed foods and processed meat or fish you are voting for what kind of food is demand for. Eating vegetables and organic is better for the climate and for yourself!

The only reason to eat junk is because it tastes good and you get a temporal high. This is the ONLY reason you do it, because many of us are addicted to sugar and unhealthy fats. This is not entirely our fault it’s because these foods are made to be highly addictive.

The odds are stacked against you by major industries that promote bad foods and even spread misinformation about products. Making you confused which can lead to you giving up altogether which is exactly what these big companies are aiming at. It’s not because they are evil but it’s because they are in that business and a business wants to survive and grow so it will do what it can in order to do just that.

Sources: