Castile Soap

I discovered the wonders of Castile soap about two years ago. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I’m glad I found it. Castile soap is wonderful in so many ways.

Castile soapEndless uses

Castile soap can be used for

  • shampoo
  • laundry
  • facial cleanser (if you’re not doing the
    oil cleansing method!)
  • body wash
  • toothpaste?!
  • cleaning

The Castile Soap FAQ page has more details.

Environmental responsibility

The real magic in Castile soap is its gentle, earth-friendly ingredients. It’s certified fair trade, which means it’s people-friendly too. They call it “Constructive Capitalism,” which means they share profits with the workers and the earth.

All of the oils used to make the soap are organic. Though they use palm oil, it’s grown on decades-old plantations in Africa, not newly planted, a.k.a. clear-cut forests.

Castile soap is not tested on animals. And it’s 100% vegan, packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle. (I like to buy the big one and put it into smaller, reusable containers.)

My experience

I used Castile soap as body wash, face wash, and laundry a few years ago. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the film that was left in my sink and tubs. However, I’m back to using Castile soap as a body wash. (I have another eco laundry method that I’ll post later.) I can put up with a little film, knowing that I’m using a product that matches so many of my values. Though the bottles seem expensive (maybe because I buy the big one to reduce packaging), it lasts forever and it’s just so good for you, the workers who make it, and the planet.

Check out Dr. Bronner’s website for all the details.


Bean stew

I made a fantastic bean stew this weekend. The dried beans were given to us as a gift and I waited until the chilly depths of February to enjoy the plentiful proteins, fiber, and good ol’ deliciousness of black beans, adzuki beans, yellow and green split peas, and white beans. Just look at those colors! I soaked the beans overnight and the next morning, I added the beans, a big can of tomatoes and about 7 cups of water, some carrots, 2 sauteed onions, and some spices to the crock pot. These goodies simmered for about 10 hours while I hit the Goodwill (more on that later) and did some homework. There’s nothing like a big pot of bean stew to make this girl happy on a cold night. Add some toasty bread and maybe a salad, and you’ve got a meal.

Let’s talk about prep time:

  • pour beans and water into a big bowl – 30 sec
  • chopping onions and carrots (optional) – 2 min
  • combining beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, spices and water in crock pot – 1 min
  • Total – less than 5 minutes.

Less than 5 minutes for about 8 bowls of food. You just can’t beat that.

We didn’t eat all the stew, so I froze about 3 servings to use later this spring.

(This bean stew ensemble came from The Market Path, but I think you can find a package of dried beans just about anywhere.)

Naturally beautiful.. and moisturized too!

Along with buy nothing new, one of my new years resolutions ( yes I know I am a month late in sharing this with you) is to only use beauty products (make up, lotions, hair products, etc ) that are natural and not tested on animals. although it may be hard to see the benefits in only using natural products, believe it or not you can really tell a difference… not to mention you’re not hurting any critters in the process. Whats better than that? 🙂

Believe it or not, this is not a hard goal to fulfill and you will be shocked to find out that products like these can even be found in your own grocery store! There are plenty of places where you can shop but I am going to share with you a couple of my favorites!

The Body Shop: This is a company that I cannot say enough about. Not only are all the products in the store vegan and natural, they are also fair trade! I know many people are reluctant to buy products like these because they might think they are more expensive but you will be shocked to find out how comparable the prices are to other specialty stores. Their body butter, what they are most known for, only runs at about $16.00 and lasts so long.. not to mention the container can serve many purposes once emptied. I like to use it to carry food in my lunch box since it is small and compact, I have also used it as a portable water dish for my dogs when I take them to the park in the summer. Way cool! If you do not want to reuse the containers, some of the stores will even recycle them for you if you return them when they are empty.

Besides the awesome products they also are doing a fabulous job at staying green. All of their plastic bags are biodegradable and the bottles that the products come in are 100% post consumer recycled plastic! Not to mention, as of 2010 they are a carbon neutral retailer!

Currently, they are partnering  a campaign with the Somaly Mam Foundation that helps stop sex trafficking! ( something I am über passionate about)

PS the palm oil in their soaps comes from only sustainable sources so that no rainforests are being cut down! YAY for orangutans!

Garden Botanika: Another one of my favorites! It can be compared to the body shop in price. I get my perfume from there and have gotten some lipsticks! The lipsticks come in a really neat miniature tube, you get the same amount as you would anywhere else, they are just being sure to use less packaging!

Lush:  Lush carries soaps, shampoos, lotions, and make up! All of their products are natural and produced in sustainable ways with fair trade ingredients… and for those of you who do not use palm oil, their soaps do not contain any of it!  Also, 70% of their products are totally unpreserved.When it comes to their packaging, they give customers the option to take their products home naked, aka without packaging! For those that prefer  packaging the bottles used are made out of 100% recycled plastic and their plastic bags are compostable. For more information on their green policies click here.

Here are some ideas if you are looking for something cheaper and still want to make a difference:

St. Ives: All of their products are natural and are not tested on animals. Their packaging is made from 20% PCR which means that their bottles can be recycled after they are used. I adore their apricot face scrub and, for those of us who are still using soap, I recommend their oatmeal and shea body soap and lotion! It smells amazing!

They also have some great facial skin care products. Their anti-aging moisturizer runs just over $3.00 and its huge!

Hard Candy: This company is a make up company that does not test on animals and quite a few of their products are completely vegan. The reason I think it is important to share this brand with you is for the fact that it is now carried at Walmart and can be a real steal for what you are getting out of the product and can be found right around the corner!

Remember: There are many other brands out there that meet my qualifications, these are just a couple of my favorites.

See how easy it is to shop green, kindly, and feel pretty too 🙂

PS- If you are currently using other products and decide to try this with me, please be sure to finish your current supply first so that nothing goes to waste!