Posts

Greenwashing

Today I wanted to make you aware of a term called greenwashing.  It’s an important trend for all of us to know about; especially if you are trying to go green. The idea behind greenwashing is that companies can take advantage of the green consumer by slapping an “all natural” label on products without really providing a green product.

One example of a product line getting greenwashed is Burt’s Bee’s.  Burt sold his company several years ago to Clorox.  Burt was a hippie through and through, and built a brand that stood for his ideals from the ground up.  He made a great product that spoke strongly to his market and made millions because of it.  I was managing a yoga gift shop at the time, and I watched the Burt’s Bees product line change drastically for the worse after Clorox purchased the brand.  Let me just say that we stopped carrying it within a year because the only thing that stayed the same was the packaging.

Greenwashing happens in many ways, and it happens a lot. Sometimes it is blatantly unethical marketing.  Sometimes executives simply don’t understand what going green means.  Regardless, the bottom line is that the scope and extent of greenwashing puts serious distrust into the process of purchasing green products. People looking for healthier options believe they have a right to know about the ingredients in the foods they eat and in the personal care products they put onto their bodies.  They also believe that there need to be standards upheld in the definitions of the words used, such as natural, organic, and ethically sourced.  They want to trust that their ideals and ethics are shared by the companies they purchase from.

Since the practice of greenwashing strikes deep into the ideals of green consumers you can guess that there is some activism in response.  Two issues that are being battled in courts right now are truth in labeling, and legally defined standards for terms like ‘organic.’  Voices for the green movement are fighting for structure so that the muddy terminology can be cleaned up, making greenwashing more difficult to do.  The most interesting, and to me scary, legal battles happening right now are the truth in labeling ones.  Recently California voted no on a proposition to force GMO foods to be labeled as such.  Why would special interests spend millions to keep the fact that we are buying products that include GMO foods hidden? It makes me wonder, “Would we buy their products if we knew the whole truth about how they were made, packaged, and their ingredients?”

And so the issue is trust and how much energy you are going to devote to making sure your products are delivering to your standards.  Retailers all have buyers and policies about how they choose their products.  One of the best ways to make the process easy is to find a retailer that you can trust and let them do the research for you.  However, you need to trust the retailer and pay attention to what products they have on their shelves.  Back To Bliss has very stringent product requirements on personal care items, however there are others that are even more strict than us.

The bottom line on the issue is that if you are one of those green consumers, you need to decide how passionate about it you are, because when it comes to green, the path is pretty gray.

Washing Your Nose With Neti Pot

Over the last several years the neti pot has gotten a lot of media attention.  For three years I had the great pleasure of working with and living next door to the man who designed and developed the most popular neti pot on the market.  As such, I have a few insights on the matter. The neti pot saline rinse is classified as one of the primary Karma Kriyas, or cleansing actions, in India’s medical system.  Saline rinse has been a part of many cultures throughout history, but our current neti pot health trend stems from the growing popularity of yoga. For yogi’s, neti kriya is an important preparatory practice that leads to pranayama, or breath control practice.  While most of us won’t be doing pranayama, the health benefits that the
neti pot offers make it worth having.

There is one key word that you need to think about with neti pot: mucus.  Basically, by using the neti pot regularly, you support a healthy mucus layer in your nose.  This nose mucus is part of our immune system.  One of its functions is to capture and hold large debris and other icky things that enter our nose as we inhale.  This sticky fly-paper property keeps pathogens and debris from getting deeper into our sinuses and lungs.  Our body naturally restores and cleanses this mucus by pushing the old debris filled mucus down into our stomach to be burned. Problems arise when our nose mucus becomes dry and thick.  This causes the mucus to lose its stickiness, and thus decreases its effectiveness.  Once the mucus thickens and dries, our bodies have a harder time moving it down into our stomach, which leads to further build-up.  Consider any pathogens trapped in your mucus as time bombs.  Do you want them lingering? So how does the neti pot work?  The answer is very simple.  By running salt water over the mucus membranes, you keep them healthier and your mucus thinner.  Thin mucus flows more easily to the stomach.  The immune system components at the nose work at peak performance.  You stay healthier.  End of story. We buy a “neti pot” mostly so that we don’t make a HUGE mess while trying to get the salt water rinse up into our nose.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  Neti kriya practice is not for everyone.  However, it is a viable wellness option. Many people report that it increases their immunity and mental focus, minimizes sinus irritations, eliminates some of their headaches, and creates a deeper energetic balance throughout their whole being.

REMEMBER:  Several food categories cause the body to create excessive mucus.  Unfortunately dairy is one of the worst for this.  Mucus also dries out when we breathe lots of dry air.  Like, when our home heating systems are turned on all winter long.  Basically, we live in a climate and are part of a culture that makes us susceptible to those exact nose mucus problems that the neti pot helps regulate.

CAUTION:  Neti has very few side effects.  However, it can create too much dryness in the nose and sinuses from its frequent use.  If that happens, talk to an expert about nasya practice.  In my many years of using it, the most common issues people have with neti pot practice are simple mental obstacles and aversions.