Organic T-shirts and Slow Fashion

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


ABM_1409284771

As a result of  dressing with less I have  started paying attention to the quality of my clothes. My standards have changed. I know more about the materials that irritate me. Synthetics. I know more about the clothing and textile industry. Scarier than I previously thought. Now that I know more I have to act differently to adjust to the new information.

My current project 333  winter closet mostly consists of old clothes. Nothing was new except two pairs of tights. While  there were few things I wanted, I refrained from getting anything new because I couldn't find something that was  comfortable, long-lasting, andethical. So I had 30 items for a bit.

I knew if bought something I wasn't happy with I wouldn't wear it. So I waited, I looked, and finally I found  exactly what I was looking for. People Tree. And I got three shirts from them to complete my 33 items for the winter.

Slow Fashion means standing up against exploitation, family separation, slum cities and pollution – all the things that make fast fashion so successful"-People Tree

This quote sums up People Trees mission. They want to give customers an alternative to fast fashion.  I like that. Our demand for fast fashion has a negative effect on people, and the environment in the form of sweatshops, child labour, and global warming. So People Tree embraces the Fair Trade philosophy at all production stages.

That's why they want to be organic and fair trade at the same time.  The negative environmental impact of conventionally grown genetically modified (GM) cotton is high and they didn't want to be just Fair Trade. For them that wasn't enough.

GM cotton is vulnerable to new diseases and yields less cotton. They also need more water, and nutrients so farmers need to rely on synthetic insecticides and pesticides which they need to purchase for the GM cotton to survive. This whole process depletes the soil. This is sad because GM cotton seeds were brought to India, where a lot of the world's cotton is grown,  promising higher yields. In reality GM cotton hasn't reached its expected results.

Furthermore, farmers borrowed money to buy expensive GM seeds, plus the necessary insecticides and pesticides. But the GM cotton provided less yields at a higher cost so a  lot of farmers ended up with high amounts of debt. As a result critics blame the introduction of  GM seeds for significantly contributing to the recent high numbers of farmer suicides in India. This is why I have been searching for organic cotton clothing.

The objective of Fair Trade is not profit at any cost, but to help people in the world's most marginalised communities escape poverty, strengthen their communities and promote environmental sustainability.

Another pro of using organic cotton is that it provides more jobs fue to its labour intensive requirements. Not only jobs provide income for prosperity but they are also important to people's sense of wellbeing.

Plus, organic procures protect the farmer's health in the long-term. Working with synthetic chemicals such as conventional pesticides and herbicides without proper gear and equipment is dangerous. Often poor farmers in developing countries don't have access to or can't afford to get the necessary protection to be safe. This is important to notice and change for me because I don't want people putting their lives in dangers just so I can have tons of clothes and someone in the middle can make  an unhealthy profit from someone else's suffering .

Another thing that People Tree prefers to use  is hand crafting to preserve traditional skills such as weaving and embroidery so artisans in rural areas don't have to travel to cities and leave their families. A lot of conventional fashion companies have factories in cities far away from their homes which are located rurally . Often in conventional factories women and children work for 16 hours a day, day after day with only one day off in the week. Hand crafted items, also, take longer and this means they can provide more artisans with jobs. It is also carbon neutral. By using a hand loom rather than a machine saves one tonne of CO2 per loom, per year ( Loom is an apparatus that is used making fabric by weaving yarn or thread).

Due to their thoughtful design procedures and preference for hand crafting the People Tree design process starts more than a year (four more months longer than conventional fashion companies) before their products become available to the customers, giving  their producers enough time to create their products. Overall I am impressed by People Tree, and I am glad I found them.

Here are my final 3 items for my Project 333:

hot-air-balloon-top
Blah print draped tee
wear-fair-top-in-grey
Here's me with my not so blah shirt and my favourite (only) coat.

These three shirts are all 100% organic cotton and they are so soft. They also don't have annoying labels on the inside that itch and scratch. I have had plenty of  shirts that were made from nice materials but had terribly uncomfortable materials for their inner label and inner stitching. I can tell People Tree had thought about that. These three shirts are comfortable, long-lasting, and ethical. Triple check!

Once you know who makes your clothes, how the fabric is grown, and how it affects you it's hard not to care. Once you know more it's easier to start being more selective with your choices  in the future and start taking care of what you already have.

Now back to you. What do you think of People Tree? Do you think they are doing the right thing? Any other ethical and environmentally friendly brands I should be aware of? Let me know below in the comments section.

With love & simplicity,

Nyamka

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Stress, Caffeine and Adrenal Fatigue (Plus a recipe for a Chocolate Maca Chai Tea)

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


ABM_1407482645

I have a daily caffeine habit that I have been working hard to curb it. Currently I have one cup of black tea every morning. It used to be more.  Back in the day to keep my energy levels up through the day I had coffee in the morning, and then continue the day with countless cups of black tea until I went to bed. I was so exhausted even with all that caffeine as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell asleep.

I needed caffeine to function because without it my body didn't have enough energy. Instead of slowing down and looking after my self I just upped the caffeine. Taking time out to nurse my to health was not an option. If I just had enough coffee and black  tea I could do everything but my body was struggling to keep up with it all.

I had dark circles under my eyes, I had excess cravings for salty food, my muscles on top my eye regularly twitched, sometimes my neck muscles twitched so hard I almost threw my neck out, I woke up at night because of painful leg cramps, I got light headed when I stood up,  I had very painful PMS symptoms, and my hair was going grey all at the ripe age of  20.

Of course not all of the symptoms were the result of my excess caffeine consumption. I was tired and worn out without the caffeine, but the caffeine was definitely not helping.

Caffeine is a stimulant that binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. This leads to a range of complex reactions such as an increase of stimulation at the adrenal glands, over time it can lead to adrenal fatigue.

Caffeine  stimulates our heart,  makes our  blood vessels dilate, increases our blood pressure and amplify  our stress hormones making us more alert and concentrated even when we are tired and worn out.

The endocrine system is sensitive and a small change in your hormone levels can have a significant effect. Over time elevated stress hormones due to a stressful life or from the over consumption of caffeine wears your body out and can  increase vulnerability to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation and fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a common occurrence in individuals who are tired and highly wired, which is what I was.

If your life is in danger and you need  to be alert to save yourself  having tons of caffeine makes sense. However, being on it every single day I was just putting undue stress on my endocrine system when it was already messed up from  my stressful life plus the antibiotics, and the other prescription pills. 

As I learnt more about health and nutrition I realised I had to stop living this stressed out full to the brim life and stop relying on  caffeine to get through my day. Cutting out that one cup of coffee in the morning was not easy. The headaches were painful and I wanted to turn to caffeine whenever I felt tired, which was very often. The headaches went away in a few days and within a month my caffeine tolerance had adjusted.

My terrible  health symptoms went away over a period of few months. I wasn't going  grey haired prematurely and I had enough energy to get  through the day with just one cup of caffeinated tea.

Now I have one cup of black tea in the morning, rest of the day I have water and herbal teas. When I have 2 cups of caffeinated tea I become jittery and shaky. So for now it's only one cup of caffeinated tea. I savour that one cup because soon I'll be going completely caffeine free. I have a feeling I will feel even better than I do now with no caffeine.

Below is a recipe for my Chocolate Maca Chai Tea, my favourite caffeinated drink for the time being. It's a warming, spicy, chocolate-y and creamy. If you want you can also leave out the chocolate because it has a bit of caffeine too.

Chocolate Maca Chai Tea

2014-08-07 11.11.21

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of of boiling water
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 tbsp of  coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • stevia/honey/rice malt syrup to sweeten it  (optional)

Directions:

  1. Infuse tea for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bag. Pour hot tea into the blender and add rest of ingredients. Blend and pour into a large mug. Top with cinnamon if you wish.

Have it in the morning instead of your coffee, and over time you can slowly transition to having less and less caffeine.

Now to you, do you depend on caffeine like I do. Are you trying to quit? Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned above?  I'd love to hear your caffeine story so let me know in the comments section.

With love & simplicity,

Nyamka

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