Last weekend, I was at the Chicago Bioneers conference. It was extremely empowering to be in the presence of so many inspirational figures who are leading the way toward a new future — one that is less dependent on oil, better at following the patterns found in nature, and is resilient to the inevitable fluctuations that happen in life. (My favorite presenters included Vandana Shiva, Richard Heinberg, and Starhawk.)
One of the themes that continually appeared was the need to focus on creating community and living simpler, more regionally-based lives. However, people often asked, “How? What can I do to help us transition?”
I believe one of the primary answers is, in fact, embarrassingly simple: we need to consume less and produce more. This cuts our carbon footprint, decreases our exposure to toxic chemicals, reduces the need to extract far away resources, supports local (and often home-based) economies, gives us meaning and purpose, reduces costs, produces less pollution, and on and on….
And so in case you haven’t noticed, that is one of the main things that I am attempting to do with this blog — get you excited about these simple-living changes! It’s one of the easiest ways to walk the talk of being environmentally friendly, socially just, and a participant in a new Earth-centered way of life.
Today, I’m sharing two new homemade products that I’ve been meaning to write about (although on different ends of the homemade spectrum) — broth powder and face wash. I know…totally unrelated to one another, but they are both about producing more ourselves and consuming less!
Recently, I shared a homemade vegetable broth with you, but there are times when something akin to a bouillon cube might be more convenient, and so I was excited to find this recipe from Budgeting with the Bushmans.
Although I altered and reduced her recipe somewhat, the original includes the mixing (and shaking up!) of:
- 2 cups nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 2 TBS onion powder
- 1 TBS turmeric
- 2 tsp marjoram
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 2 tsp savory or sage
- 2 tsp basil
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp parsley
A tablespoon of this powder can then be used in 2 cups of water (adjusting for taste) for use as a vegetable broth flavoring.
I tried this in a soup recipe using heirloom cattle beans (which also helps to preserve our diverse food heritage!) and it worked splendidly!
- 1 cup cattle beans (soaked overnight using 3x as much water as beans. Rinse in the morning.)
- 1 quart water + 2 Tbs of broth powder, mixed together
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: green onions and feta cheese to garnish
Add beans, broth water, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to a soup pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add salt and pepper and serve with optional garnish.
A tasty soup dish prepared with local ingredients and a side of cornbread!
Now onto another homemade product used in an entirely different area of the house…
Honey Face Wash
The next time you go to wash your face, take a little look-see at the ingredients list. How many of them can you pronounce? Are they really things that you should be putting on your skin? Where do they come from? What is their environmental impact? And have you ever investigated the health risks of some of the contents?
Although the face wash formulation that I’m sharing here is not yet perfect (I’m not sure how I’d obtain these ingredients locally at this point..), I feel safer putting these three natural ingredients onto my face than a plethora of unnamable chemicals. This reduces what enters the toxic waste stream, limits reliance on petrochemicals (in the form of packaging, chemical manufacture, and transport), saves money, and increases self-reliance! Plus, it leaves my skin feeling very clean.
Also, as a bit of natural-living beauty advice, I must admit that I do not wash my face with a product every day (ok, to be honest, I probably only do it twice a week). And in fact, once I gave up the belief that my face needs to be washed every day, it was the first time in my life that I eliminated my acne. Sure, I’ll get a pimple every now and again, but my face has never been as clear as when I stopped removing all of my natural oils every day. Maybe this suggests that yet again, it makes sense to follow nature’s lead — our bodies are self-regulating and know how to keep our skin healthy — we don’t really need something external and artificial to do this for us.
But I digress…I still like to use a face wash every once in awhile and this one is a step in the right direction.
To make it, just mix together:
- 3 Tbs. of honey
- 2 Tbs. liquid castille soap
- 1/2 cup vegetable glycerine
It’s that easy! And I do love that a major ingredient is one that can be procured locally and is known for its healing, soothing properties: honey!
Feel like taking it up a sustaina-notch? Ditch the plastic bottle all together and make a dispenser out of a reused glass jar.
To make this jar, I just whipped out a drill, made a hole in the lid that would fit a pump I saved from an old soap dispenser and placed a ring of glue around the pump. Easy enough! I think I’ll knit a little cozy for it so that it’s safer to keep in the bathroom!
And this, my friends, eliminates the last disposable plastic bottle I had lining the shelves of my shower (yeah, it’s true! I use baking soda or a shampoo bar with an apple cider vinegar rinse for my hair — commonly referred to as “no-poo” in the blogging community — and plain ol’ soap on my body.) Don’t believe the hype about needing to consume so many petrochemicals to look good — you’re beautiful just the way you are!