You Have Mail!

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #5

Hi lovely people! How are you all getting on with your bite size detox tips so far? Any successes?

Now, this week might seem a bit random but before you wonder what mail/post has to do with detox, see if any of these scenarios sound familiar and note how they make you feel:

  • Tripping over the pile of junk mail that awaits your attention by your front door.
  • Having to open addressed post, that you have no interest in, in order to rip out your contact details before sorting the rest for recycling.
  • Trying to ignore the siren calls of the free catalogues which make you want to spend money on things you never knew you needed. (And still don’t!)
  • Recycling the freebie local newspapers and accompanying leaflets. (Did you read them? And if you did, was it worth it?)
  • Immediately throwing out the flimsy charity bags that get posted through your doors. You already give to charities. Just not these ones.

Do you recognise these irritations? Did they make you feel good? I’m thinking not. Does junk mail enrich your life? No? Can I get a Hell No? Ok. Let’s get rid of it. Let’s detox the letterbox’s equivalent of someone regularly popping tasteless junk food in your mouth without your permission.

Sorry, much of this advice is UK specific, but please post alternatives in the comments. And if it seems initially time consuming please remember that it will all be worth it in the end I promise!

  1. Print, fill in and send off this form to request that Royal Mail stops posting unaddressed post through your letterbox. It will take a few weeks to take effect but even then…
  2. Save the number 03452660858 because you may need to make a few follow up calls to make sure they actually follow through with your opt out request. It took me three phone calls. But it now works just fine.
  3. Contact the Mailing Preference Service to reduce the amount of addressed junk mail you receive. Those amazing credit card offers, specially for you? You really don’t want those!
  4. Put a sign on, above or over your letterbox requesting no unaddressed post or newspapers. For the first month I made a massive sign that actually covered the letterbox just to make things crystal clear. Sometimes even this didn’t work so…
  5. Be prepared to (politely!) phone or email the local paper’s editing teams or charity bases for anyone who abuses this. I’ve only ever had sincere apologies when doing this (the deliveries are usually contracted out) – and each time it has stopped the problem.
  6. Phone mail order companies you have accounts with and ask them to stop sending catalogues because you order online anyway.

And then look forward to less distraction, less wastage and less rubbish and recycling to deal with. Yeah that counts as detox! Great job, you’re saving the world too so bonus points for you!

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The Best Body Scrub

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #4
Body scrubs. The tempting promise of smooth glowing skin. You step into the shower dry, jaded, grubby and flakey. Amidst birdsong and joyously dancing butterflies you close your eyes and feel all your worries and cares float away along with your crocodile hide and crone-like demeanour. You step out with the perfectly revitalised, radiant skin of a ten year old who bathes daily in spring water suspended with pearls, gold dust and the kisses of cherubic water sprites.

Or, more realistically, it probably goes a little something like this:

  1. Get warm and clean in shower before grudgingly turning water off so that your body scrub doesn’t get rinsed off before you’ve even started.
  2. Wrestle with a lid both encrusted with plastic microbeads (en route to soon be mistaken by sealife as tasty morsels, with hideous ramifications to the food chain) and slippery with that grey slime that mysteriously appears on all shower bottles.
  3. Squeeze or scoop out some lurid concoction of fake smelling oily and gritty stuff which you scrub hopefully into your elbows, feet and thighs for a minute before imminent frostbite necessitates turning the shower back on (or is this a UK specific thing?)
  4. After rinsing off most of it (accept now that you will miss a bit which will only become apparent when you towel yourself dry) you crash ungracefully onto the bathmat because your oily feet are now a health hazard.
  5. Moisturise all the bits that aren’t covered with a slick of mineral oil and pick exfoliating beads out from under your fingernails.
  6. Note that your skin feels disappointingly taut and more ruddy than rosy. What happened to the promise of revealed gleamingly nourished layers?
  7. Clean the residue of gritty gunk out of the shower stall or bath.
  8. Consider getting back in the shower to freshen up.
  9. Resolve to chuck that scrub out because your skin doesn’t look or feel any smoother or more toned. And the smell of your scrub clashes with both the body wash and moisturiser you just used. Only, obviously, you don’t chuck it out because it cost you good money. Sigh…

So? What’s the alternative?

Well, you could faff around with any number of lovely sounding homemade recipes involving coffee grounds, sugar or salt. But frankly my dears, I can’t be arsed with that.

So here’s my secret. Drum roll pur-lease…..

A washcloth. 

That’s it! Yes I know there’s also a bar of soap in the photo, but just a couple of cloths does not make for aesthetics. And I figured you might be fooled by the slightly scrubby looking texture of the soap and read the whole post in anticipation of a product recommendation. Which I’m not going to give because today is all about the poor under-appreciated washcloth. Anyway, you can still use soap if you like. Seeing as you’re probably getting washed in the shower at the same time. In fact, if it’s a decent natural soap you can use it on your face and hair too if you like.

I’m getting off task again. A plain ol’ wet washcloth rubbed in gentle circles over your face and body while warm water waterfalls down your back is kind to your skin, your wallet, the world’s precious oceans and your sanity. Try it. Like it. Appreciate the results and repeat. You’re welcome.

Related Posts:

Why I don’t buy toothpaste, cleanser, moisturiser, shampoo or conditioner. 

The Cleanest All Purpose Bathroom Cleaner!

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #2

Confession: I used to avoid cleaning our bathroom… I would regularly give it a good wipe round with an e-cloth; but the deep cleaning? I’d avoid it like the plague. But hear me out! Every bathroom cleaning spray I tried, even the “eco” products, triggered a mild asthmatic episode. My poor lungs were struggling with the assault of toxic chemical combinations. But asthma or not everyone’s going to get a lungful of stuff you really don’t want to breathe in from commercial cleaning products. Have you got a minute right now? Go have a look on the labels.

That’s not really acceptable is it?

But then, neither is having a grubby bathroom so I was really chuffed when I read that white vinegar mixed with water makes a perfectly fine cleaning spray. White vinegar doesn’t appear to be an easy product to obtain in the UK but I bought 4 x 5 litre bottles* from Amazon for just over £12.00 and I figure those should do me for about a year (I’ll list some more uses in other tips!). I’ve just been diluting the vinegar with tap water at a roughly 1:3 ratio.

You can add essential oils if you like but I haven’t invested in any yet. I’m thinking some rosemary might be nice here.

It works on all your bathroom surfaces from the bath, sink and toilet to any shelves, windows, glass screening or shower curtains you have. You can just spray on and wipe off but if you’ve got some serious soap and limescale scum going on in your bathtub then a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a smidgen of elbow grease should do the job nicely. Then spray with your vinegar mix and buff to a shine.

A shiny clean bathroom, happy lungs and an end to multiple garishly branded plastic bottles assaulting my eyes. For a 500ml bottle that’s cost me around 10p I reckon that’s an all round winner! Who’s going to give it a go?

*Simon is taking the used plastic bottles to school to be re-used.

Further reading:

A mommypotamus recipe: DIY Citrus Splash All-Purpose Cleaner

Winging It Without Waste

I am a (charmingly) chaotic cook. I think about main meals about an hour before I need to serve them up. Breakfast surprises even myself each morning; I get it on the table pretty much before my brain has woken up! Furthermore my shopping lists rarely contain much more than a reminder to pick up loo roll and I have not ever written a meal plan unless it was for Christmas Day. One year I didn’t even plan that but spent a lovely few hours pottering in the kitchen with my veggie box while the others watched Mary Poppins and we still feasted on a glorious roast with ALL the trimmings.

Recently I’ve been trawling through countless zero waste blogs and the most common advice where food is concerned seems to revolve around planning. Which got me thinking because we haven’t ever needed to use our council-provided food-waste box. So, for those of you that are perpetual wingers of the kitchen arena, here is how I do it!

Get a regular organic delivery. Organic food lovingly raised, harvested or produced tends to be on the expensive side. While it’s easy to chuck out a bag of discounted supermarket pre-prepped veggies gone to mush, I defy you to forget about that proud head of kale that takes up half your fridge. And because a) it tastes so much better and b) is seasonal – meaning you aren’t bored of using the same produce month-in-month-out it’s more exciting to use. In addition, I find our locally grown, non-air freighted, non Modified Atmosphere Packaged veggies stay fresh much longer anyway. Probably because they actually are fresh!

Don’t buy crap. Self explanatory really! If you buy crap you are unlikely to have much appetite or respect for it. So, unless you are a junk food binger (I’m not judging, I’ve been there) you probably won’t want to eat it all. And you probably don’t want to force feed it to anyone else either. And your compost bin won’t want it. So instead you hold it in your hand going what the hell did I buy this for? And, with no sensible answer other than it was on offer and I was PMSing and I just wanted to get out of the shop with the bright lights and other peoples screaming children and get home to have a cup of tea you chuck it out. Because it isn’t food. It’s crap.

Learn to improvise. I’d never have the ingredients I’d need if I followed recipes. But I do love cookery books for the inspiration. Most evenings I just grab some meat out of our tiny fridge (hopefully I remembered to defrost something the night before!), chop up whichever veg looks like it needs using up sooner rather than later and then decide which herbs, spices or sauces will complete the dish. Here are some examples:

Raise non-picky kids. I made a deal with myself when our girls were young. I would cook good, healthy, delicious meals and expect them to either eat them or go without. They love their food and it is rare that they don’t finish what’s on their plates.
Raise non-picky pets. Once a week Simon prepares a large bowl of raw meat, eggs (including the shells), yoghurt and vegetables for Ella-the-dog and Poppy-the-cat. This gets divided into five portions (for one meal a day) and then they get raw bones, chicken gizzards, the pickings from the stock bones and any pan-scrapings or leftovers to top up or fill in the gaps. Until recently we’ve also always had free-range rabbits that got the cores and outer leaves of leafy veg like cabbages and the ends of root veg  like carrot tops. These bits now either get given to the dog or added to the compost bin.

The compost bin is a last resort and takes on any veg peelings that the pets don’t want; copious coffee grounds; tea bags, egg shells, the grotty bits from the sink strainer that fits in the plughole, the meat bones, and all of the egg boxes, paper and cardboard (largely used to package our organic veg) that we’ve used. In return we get great garden compost for free!

And that, my friends, is how we roll. Is there anything I haven’t covered? What are your top tips for winging it without waste?

Defining Detox

When I put Flojo’s Easy Detox together (workshops and online coaching) a few years ago I believed detox to be the process of releasing toxicity at cellular level and enabling this rubbish to leave the body in an orderly fashion: quietly and calmly (much as you should leave a building during a fire); thus allowing the body to work more efficiently.

Over the past year I’ve revised my opinion. I now see effective detoxing as the release and removal of anything and everything that doesn’t enrich your life. Call it detox, call it de-cluttering, call it healing, call it minimalism. If it doesn’t contribute to your well-being physically, mentally or emotionally, it’s time to acknowledge it and wave a firm but polite goodbye. In a few years I hope to re-start a detox programme with this approach at its fore.

I am joyfully celebrating my 43rd birthday today with a new sense of direction and purpose. Yippee!! Armed with advice from the likes of Mark Sisson (Primal Blueprint), Katy Bowman (Move your DNA), David Perlmutter (Brain Maker), Daniel Vitalis (the ReWild Yourself podcasts), James Wallman (Stuffocation), Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home), Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying) and countless other inspirational writers and educators I am now on a mission.

Firstly I’m setting out to clear all the stuff I don’t need from my home, whether it’s unnecessary chemicals, single use plastics or just stuff accumulated for sentimental or lazy reasons. All of these send my subconscious the false message that I need these props to thrive and survive. I don’t. It’s just unnecessary ballast. I’m also aiming to further reduce food that doesn’t serve to nourish me and my hardworking microbiome. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m actively looking to banish fears that hold me back from experiencing a long life rich in experience. That’s a lot of stuff to get rid of!

What do I want in my life to replace all this rubbish? I want to be free. Free to travel, socialise, learn new things and just, well, do stuff whether with friends, family or by myself. We’ve kept various rescue rabbits over the last few years. Not in a hutch, although there was one left open for the rare occasion they chose to take shelter from the rain, but wild and running free in the garden. They dug burrows, ate fresh grass and practised a spectacular type of bunny parkour at twilight. I can’t understand why anyone would keep rabbits cooped up with just a few hours in a run daily for entertainment. But we humans increasingly create our own hutches and limit our “run time,” and then we wonder why we’ve lost our zest for life.

This year I had my Success Story published on Marks Daily Apple, completed a Wolf Run, donated an estimated 50 large carrier bags of belongings to charity, ditched conventional toothpaste, moisturiser, suncream and haircare; swapped all my home-cleaning products for environmentally friendly ones, learnt to embrace cold showers, a lower set thermostat and one less pillow; noticed a significant reduction in binge eating and saw the back of self-loathing, depression and anxiety! What a start to my seventh seven year cycle! It’s like camping in the wild and seeing the sun rise while sipping hot, fresh coffee. I’ve got a glorious day ahead of opportunities and possibilities at my disposal and I want to make the most of them. All I need to do is decide which direction to head off in.

The only thing is, I think this blog needs a new direction too and I’m not sure which way to take it. Or if it will just decide its own route and destination. Hmm. Any thoughts? Should I document my progress? Give you authoritative sounding bulletpoints on what’s working for me (Five Easy Tips to…)? Outline and review specific diet and exercise approaches I’m taking? Go back to just writing down recipes? Or just continue to haphazardly ramble on and on, elaborating on my own philosophies and random streams of consciousness…? Drop me a line please! Your input is much appreciated!

Big love to you from me! X

Piggy Stew! (Oh Pa-He-ggy Stew)*

 Give me a full fridge and I don’t know where to start. There’s too much choice and my brain goes into meltdown!  The evenings when I need to serve up a filling, nutritious and delicious meal to my family in an hour or so and all I’ve got are leftovers? That’s when the magic happens. My best meals are invariably the ones where I’m under pressure and tonight’s stew was no exception. I reckon you could adapt it quite easily – take a look in your fridge and see what you’ve got.

This evening I had leftover roast pork and cold sausages staring balefully at me from Tupperware boxes. And a drawer of odds and sods of veggies from last week’s organic box. And my cupboard was, uncharacteristicly sporting a couple of tins of tomatoes from a day when I must have been trying to forward plan. I forget what I was planning…

I fried chopped onions, garlic, carrot and courgette with fennel seeds, chilli seeds and thyme for about twenty minutes. Added the pork, chopped sausages and tinned chopped tomatoes. Bought it all to the boil, seasoned it, simmered it, went for a dog walk**, added some shredded Savoy cabbage and a splash of water, put the laundry on drier racks***, served it up, drizzled, ok,  poured olive oil on the top and settled down to hear the troll-like slurping going on round the table from my own piggies.

*Apologies for the poor pun on Buddy Holly’s 1957 hit 

**optional

***also optional

Related Posts:

Cheap n Cheerful Chocolate Chilli

A Fine Way with Leftovers

Wednesday Night Fridge Clearout