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Enjoy the benefits of hormonal health in full bloom

September is the beginning of a new season and a good time to relook your hormonal well-being. We’d like to focus on women’s health, starting with an intro to menstrual cups, a quick look at seed cycling and we have a beautiful quinoa porridge recipe to share – and here’s how they all work together:

MENSTRUAL CUPS

Photo by Rubycup

A menstrual cup is a flexible rubber or silicone cup designed to use inside the vagina during your period. The cup collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it like tampons or pads do. Tampons are also made from cotton, which is bleached with chlorine. This chlorine is an ingredient that is sadly tested on animals.

Advantages of using a cup:
They are reusable so you save money and there is less landfill waste.
Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place (tampons absorb all of these).
You can wear the cup up to 12 hours before emptying and it is easy to use.

All menstrual cups sold at Shop Zero are made from silicone, so they are suitable for latex-sensitive ladies. And remember, the only way to know if a menstrual cup is right for you, is to give it a try – and we are always happy to share our experience and advice here at Shop Zero. Your monthly cycle is about so much more than just your period – which is only the first phase of your cycle. Using a cup also puts you in touch with your body, giving you a better insight into your flow and anatomy.

SEED CYCLING

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

Seed cycling is a gentle way to balance your hormones throughout the two phases of your menstrual cycle by using the nutrients in seeds. All you need is two tablespoons of seeds each day. The first half of your cycle you’d eat pumpkin and flax seeds which help with producing, metabolising and detoxing estrogen. In the second half of your cycle you’d eat sunflower and sesame seeds to help with progesterone production, metabolisation and detoxification.

Women struggling with symptoms of PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), post-birth control syndrome (PBCS), irregular periods, acne, and breast tenderness could greatly benefit from seed cycling. Local women’s wellness enthusiast, Francesa Rose, focuses on balancing hormones through balanced meals. She has developed an inspiring 200-page ebook packed with information and recipes, and was kind enough to share one with us.

Berry Quinoa Porridge
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 cup water
5 chopped dates
1 cup mixed berries (I used strawberries, cherries and blueberries)
1 ripe banana
1/2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsp beetroot powder
1 tsp flaxseeds (freshly ground)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
A dash of Himalayan crystal salt

TO SERVE
Some beetroot slivers
A drop of beetroot sprouts
A dollop of coconut yoghurt (feel free to mix it with some beetroot powder for a fancy pink hue) A drizzle of tahini (or roasted almond butter)
A sprinkle of activated buckwheat

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

METHOD
Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Roughly chop the pumpkin seeds and dates. Gently mash the banana and berries with a fork. Keep the juice from the berries.

Bring the quinoa, water and almond milk to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the mashed banana and berries (with its juice) halfway through cooking. Stir in banana and the berries to ooze out the bright red colours.

Once the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla, beetroot powder, flaxseeds, pumpkin seed and dates. Stir to combine. Cover and let stand for five minutes. Taste and adjust flavour as needed. Add a bit more almond milk if you prefer the texture thinner. Serve up the quinoa in a bowl and top with your desired toppings. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for breakfast for the following week!

For more delicious recipes like this one, check out Francesca’s Rose’s ebook. It features 28 vegan recipes that work with, and correlate to your menstrual cycle and the moon cycle, based on the concept of seed cycling. Follow @francescaeatsroses on Instagram for amazing tips on period health, healing and getting your period back!

On Sunday, 22 September Shop Zero is hosting an informative Women’s Health Workshop with @hormonal.harmony and @rona_mindful_cycles_sa. The morning will be about Aligning with the Rhythm of Nature: Conscious Consumerism & your Menstrual Cycle. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media. This event will take place at our store and tickets will be available soon.

What better way to introduce spring this year than celebrating the natural rhythm of death and rebirth that occurs in women’s bodies every month. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the menstrual cup and your cycle… please share any insights here.

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To gift or not to gift…

It’s that time of the year again – festive season madness.  While we as Shop Zero do not promote consumerism and encouraged customers not to buy anything (excluding your essentials of course) during the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail campaigns, we are also realists and understand that gifting is a tradition for many during this time.

Sustainable festive gifting
I personally believe the trick is to handle it responsibly.  After two decades of attempting to mimimise our family’s festive gift budget, we have finally settled on a gifting solution that works quite nicely for everyone.  We all put or names on individual pieces of (recycled) paper, pop the names in a bowl and then each family member draws a name.  You will then ONLY buy a gift for that person whose name you drew and it has to fall within the allocated budget (which is R300 in our case).  This way everyone gets a gift and you can buy something decent for that amount – first prize being from a second-hand store.

Sustainable living inspiration
Why limit the joy of sustainable living to the festive season?  Let it be the start of a new lifestyle, one that focuses on being more aware of your impact on the environment.  Attempt to eliminate that which does not serve your health or the well-being of this planet.  Start by looking at what you consume on a daily basis and ask:
1. Is it all necessary?
2. Where can I cut back on waste and excess?

Introduce small changes instead of trying to tackle everything at once, which might become overwhelming and discourage you from the end goal: being kind to yourself and this beautiful planet.

For example: If you notice you love and eat a lot of chocolate, how can you still enjoy this treat in a healthy and responsible way?  Easy… through informed substitution!

Take Soaring Free Superfoods Raw Chocolate.  Although it comes in packaging, its Certified Organic Raw Cacao in home compostable packaging means it’s organic,  it’s a superfood and it’s packaged earth friendly.  By swapping a refined sugary chocolate bar wrapped in non-recyclable plastic for wholesome Raw Superfoods Chocolate, you know you’re doing the right thing, since the chocolate is fair trade, unprocessed and packaged in resonsible packaging.  You can even cut up the packaging and pop it in your bokashi composter bin.

This is a small example of turning an old ‘bad’ habit into a ‘new’ constructive one.   This process will become second nature if you continue to ask these simple questions as you navigate through your daily consumption habits.

Sustainable gift guide
If you are looking for sustainable gifting ideas that have a positive impact on our planet, here are some suggestions.  These really are gifts that keep on giving as they are ALL reusable and make a real difference to reducing your plastic waste:

R100 and under
Stainless Steel/ Copper /Glass Straw & Straw Cleaning Brush
Coconut Bowl
FreshBags veggie or bread bags
Masterstock Cape Wild Food 50ml bottle
Nourish luxurious body/ face soaps or shampoo bars

R200 and under
Market string bag
Hemp printed shopping bags: exclusive to Shop Zero
Bamboo toothbrush & travel case
Back2Nature vegan face & body products

R300 and under
Ecoffee/ William Morris reusable bamboo cup
Reusable drinking bottles
Composter: bokashi bin & bran
Kuro-Bo water filters
Tiffin food and picnic storage tin
Book: Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Book: The Magic of Superfoods by Peter & Beryn Daniel

Happy sustainable shopping and remember, every small change makes a huge difference.  So even if you don’t shop zero waste yet, aim to shop eco-friendly.

The festive season is not necessarily a religious occasion for our family, but it is the only time we are all able to all take leave and come together as a family to look back on the year, be thankful for our blessings and spend quality time together.  We wish our Shop Zero customers and followers the same and more.

If you have any other sustainable tips and tricks or any ideas for responsible gifting solutions, please share it with us and post them in the comments here.

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Shop plastic free online

We’ve arrived online and we’re so excited: our zero waste, plastic-free online shopping site is now live and ready for you.  Now you can Shop Zero from the comfort of your home, making zero waste options even more convenient.  If you are looking for sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle solutions, you have come to the right place.  Shop Zero has the answers!

Choose from our wide range of reusable cups and straws, zero waste skin, body and hair products, and other environmentally friendly items.  We are vegan-based and inspired by everyone and everything that is kind and fair to our beautiful planet. We also deliver nationwide in South Africa.

WHAT DOES ZERO WASTE MEAN?
If you are new to the concept of zero waste and how to shop sustainably, stick around. We’ll be posting regularly to guide you in the right direction by giving tips, advice and solutions to everyday waste problems.

WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO?
Quite simply, we’re here to eliminate the single use of plastic, which is the main threat to the livelihood of our oceans and the reason our landfills are overflowing. On our website and in our shop in Woodstock (Cape Town), you will see a vast range of alternatives to the single use of plastic, showing you how to shop and live plastic free.

Welcome to your zero waste community, welcome to Shop Zero.

shopzero.co.za