Dear readers,

After my previous post, I had to think long and hard about where I wanted to go with my blogging. I started this blog, Practically Pure, with a lot of love and passion. I had been blogging for some years about being ill, and I found it so refreshing to talk about something else for a change. Something that had nothing to do with being sick.

However, after a while it became clear that I couldn't escape my illness, and blogging about something completely different wouldn't change that. It became hard to keep up with the green blogging world with so many other bloggers. Different companies asked me to review stuff for them, and I loved doing it, but it was hard on my health as well. I took on a bit too much. Because it asked so much from my body, blogging became more of a must than something I did to relax and enjoy.

Meanwhile, my other blog was gaining dust as I had to put all of my energy in writing reviews and making pictures for Practically Pure. It has become clear to me that I have to turn things around.
I therefore decided to stop posting new articles here. I will go back to writing in my own language, Dutch, and will do this on my old blog Tussen dromen en leven. I am changing the look and concept, and will write about everything that I feel like writing about. My experiences with Lyme disease, fun things that I experienced or make me happy, and yes, also green living. I have adapted completely to this lifestyle now and will stay this way. I will never go back to a life filled with nasty chemicals. The only problem is that I just can't keep up with the tempo a blog like this asks. I will keep this place online though, as I still stand by all the articles I've posted. I will translate some of my articles and place them on Tussen dromen en leven too.

I feel sad about this step, and will miss it certainly. However, I also look foorward to returning to "my home". Tussen dromen en leven is still the place on the web that is me. Or, I should say, it will be me: I am more than just sick, and I look forward to write about everything I feel up for.
I'm sorry to all of you that will not be able to read there anymore due to the language change. I just have to choose for my own comfort and this is the path I have to go in the blogging world right now. So whoever is up for it, and can speak Dutch, you are so welcome to join me over there again. And who knows what the future holds...

I had so much fun here, and I learned a lot thanks to you all. Thank you!!!

Love, Sofie

Ps: you can still follow me on Instagram: no language needed there!

A note from me

Hi there!

Although things are way too silent over here, I wanted to say happy holidays anyway. I haven't been able to do much blogging lately. Of course this has to do with my ongoing battle against Lyme disease and the inability to kick these bugs out for good... I don't know when things will be back in business again over here, as the new year will bring a new home to me as well. That's of course super exciting but also means a lot of my energy will have to go to other things than blogging! I will try and squeeze in some blog power from time to time, but consistency will be lacking. I can only hope everyone is well and is having lots of fun, and for me, well, I'll be back! 

Lots of love,

Must see: Food, Inc.!

Netflix came to Belgium recently, and I love it so far! Next to watching the occasional movie and the not so occasional tv show, I also had my eye on the documentary section. And in particular: the documentary Food, Inc.

I watched it yesterday and all I can say is: please do watch this film, you won't be sorry. I think everyone HAS to see this to become aware of what an insane world we live in. I am horrified with the way humans think they are better than every other thing including nature and living beings. I hate the fact that everything in this world revolves around money and power. I am, after watching this movie, even more convinced of our choice to buy almost all our food organic, in spite of the extra cost.

Everyone should see this, and mostly, no one should close their eyes anymore. I know it can seem overwhelming to try and live greener, but every little step is worth so much in the big picture, even if it doesn't seem that way. Doing something, how small it may be, is always better than putting your head in the sand.

Food, Inc. certainly provides a closer look at how eating, one of the most natural, basic, important things we do to take care of our bodies, has turned into something that is everything but natural, healthy and basic. Conscious living and eating has to become our natural way to go again. Watch this movie and see the insanity of it all.

Erbaviva body wash and lotion: Awaken and Embrace

Always fun trying a brand I didn't know yet, and this time from the US: Erbaviva. It's literal meaning is "living herbs" and I thought that was so beautiful that I was excited to try it. Erbaviva has different kinds of products meant for mommy's and their babies, but they also have bathing and showering things in different aroma themes: Awaken, Embrace, Breathe and Relax. Each has its own symbol. Very cute! The style of the bottles give me an African kind of feel. I love the look of them, and how they fit in the African style study room in our home. These bottles would make a very beautiful luxury item in many bathrooms as well.

Thanks to Solobiomooi I could try a body wash and a body lotion.
The body wash Awaken was something I used daily under the shower, and I liked it so much that it was empty before I had the chance to take pictures for my blog :-).
The aroma of this body wash is very unique. Nothing like anything I had before. It's a very sweet smell, and although I normally don't like heavy aroma's, I liked this one. Next to the ingredients water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, decyl glucoside, glycerin, chondrus crispus (carrageenan), citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate there were a lot of essential oils used (all organic): citrus nobilis (mandarin) peel oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, cymbopogon citriodora (lemongrass) oil, citrus bergamia (bergamot) oil, zingiber officinale (ginger) root oil, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) oil, melissa officinales leaf oil, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil. That's a lot, and that probably explains the one of a kind aroma!

After showering I also tried the body lotion Embrace. This aroma is very different, and I liked it too, despite it was a heavier smell as well. This time the essential oils used are citrus grandis (grapefruit) oil, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, jasminum officinale (jasmine) flower oil, next to water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, glycerin, beeswax, xanthan gum, algin, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, glyceryl stearate citrate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate.
The bodylotion isn't greasy and does it's job fine. It is kind of "dry", which is an advantage regarding the greasiness, but I had to work a bit harder to spread it across my body.

Erbaviva pays attention to environmental friendly packaging, which I find a big plus.
The price of their products (16 € for 175 ml body wash and 16.5 € for 175 ml body lotion at Solobiomooi) is too high for my budget. Nonetheless, I'm glad I had the chance to test this luxury brand!

Leftover lunches

Last time I talked about trying to lower our food waste. I think I can say we are trying our best to use up everything we buy. One way to do that is by making creative lunches. 

For instance, what always works and is very easy and quick is making a leftover omelette. There are times when you have a bit food left from dinner that just isn't enough to make a whole meal the next day. What you can do is add one or two eggs with whatever you have available: a bit of vegetables, a small peace of meat, some fresh herbs or a spring onion that was forgotten about... Just bake it all together and season it with pepper, salt, a bit of garlic powder: it will make a delicious lunch! 

Another thing to do with a tiny bit of leftover food: cook some noodles, rice or quinoa with it.
Also, a trick that I use a lot is to add onions. Onions are the only thing we always have in our food supplies. I love onions, for real, I think they match everything so well. So when I have to make my leftovers for lunch a bit bigger: I add an onion. Lol, am I the only one? 

I promised to show what leftover lunches I had last time, so here they are. 

Available in my fridge for the first one were: 

- 1 gluten free ciabatta like thingy
- a few spoons of tomato sauce (which before I wouldn't have kept because it was just so little)
- a ridiculously small amount of grated cheese that was very close to expiring 

One thought immediately came to mind: pizza bread! I sliced up the ciabatta, put tomato sauce on the three thin pieces of bread, added some dried herbs we use for making spaghetti sauce, and put the cheese on top. I put it in the oven for about 10 minutes and boy, it was DELICIOUS! 

I also had an expired pack of hazelnut powder from my cleaning closets action from before. And I stumbled upon a bit of applesauce my mom had given to me to take home. So I mixed some hazelnut powder with a bit of butter, cinnamon and coconut sugar and put it on top of the applesauce. That went in the oven with the pizza bread and voila, a very nice leftover dessert was born: hazelnut apple cinnamon crumble.

The next day it was time to eat some leftover chicken we had saved to make a salad with. At the last minute I didn't feel much like eating a cold salad. I found some cherry tomatoes from earlier, and added, yep, an onion to them :-) To go with this, I baked the chicken so it had a nice crusty texture. Yummm, I liked this way better than eating salad on a cold day I must say... 

Of course, possibilities for leftover lunches are endless and these are just a few examples with stuff I had laying around. You just have to work with what you've got, be creative and don't be afraid to try something new. Some of the best lunches I've had were made from leftover foods!

Cleaning out my closet: saving food and money

What you may or may not know about me already: I like to organize. Every now and then I randomly take on a cupboard in the home. This time, I took a closer look at the kitchen. I checked all the food supplies and, more importantly, their expiration dates. What I found didn't make me happy at all. 

A lot of products were expired. Half eaten, and then forgotten. Bought for some kind of cake or muffin recipe, and then never used. In the refrigerator it was more of the same story. A jar of olives that was only half used. A pot of pesto or garlic sauce that was left alone at the back. Things kept popping up. Out of sight, out of mind. Shame on us for wasting this food, was all I could think. 

I took a closer look at everything that was past the expiration date. Some of the things were not even opened yet, but they expired a year ago. However, if the expiration date is mentioned as "best before" or "best if used by (or before)" or in Dutch "tenminste houdbaar tot", this means that the food càn be eaten after the date without you getting poisened. I actually used a pack of grinded hazelnuts that expired more than a year ago: it didn't kill me, and I didn't got sick. Of course, you don't want to try this with things that can actually give you food poisoning like meat, fish, milk, eggs and so on. For me, anything that was opened and expired, I tossed. The things that were dry foods and were still closed, I kept. I also found a never opened pack of chlorella powder that was fine according to the date, but the smell that came of the pack was terrible and definitely not okay. So I decided not to risk it. 

So sad to have wasted this...
With the discovery that so many items were actually wasted in our house, we made a promise to each other and ourselves to stay more on top of things from now on. I am going to try and think more creatively in terms of what I can use from leftovers. We already eat leftovers from dinner for lunch, but that is more like an intentional leftover: we cook double amounts with the intention of using it for lunch. That's not really the creative leftover spirit I'm aiming at! 

At the same time, we found out that buying everything organic is being heavy on our budget. We did have other high expenses for the past months, but we do have to be more careful on what we buy for eating too. We managed to put down our food budget (that initially climbed from 50 € a week when we didn't shop organic, to 100 and sometimes more a week when we started eating completely organic) to now something around 80 € a week. Not bad! But we will have to keep watching ourselves. What helped a lot was changing the habit of having to eat meat or fish every day. That's really not necessary to stay healthy, so we limited meat to about three times a week, and one or two fish days. The other days are vegetarian. Organic meat is very expensive, but we are so happy with our choice to invest in this quality meat (and yes, we really notice the difference in taste and structure). We now eat better and healthier meat, but less times a week, and that makes up for the bigger price. 

Trying to lower our food costs and our food waste at the same time is actually a great opportunity. We are forced to be creative. I plan to first take a look at what we have lying around already, before making a shopping list from scratch for the week. Using up what you have forgotten about in the back of your cupboards is a very green way of saving money! You should try it too sometime :-) 

For instance, after the hard cleanup work, I treated myself with a delicious tea made from a very sad looking wrinkled lemon that no one touched anymore. Added the lemon juice to hot water, put in a spoon of honey et voila! I also made two great leftover lunches and a dessert this week, but you can read about them in my next post! 

Benecos hand cream for happy hands

The days are getting colder and fall is in the air... Time to review a hand cream! In the cold months of the year I always tend to get dry and flaky skin, and my hands don't escape from this.

I've been testing Benecos hand cream for a while now and I'm convinced. I'm going to rub a drop in every night to prevent my dry hands this winter. Why do I like this hand cream you ask? Let's see... 

First of all I am a fan of the tube. Like all the Benecos products, this too has such joyful colours and it just gives a happy look to my bathroom counter. I'm pleasantly surprised by the size of the packaging. I'm used to hand creams with just a little less in the tube, so I'm quite pleased with the size.

What is great about this product is that it sinks in the skin without leaving a greasy residue behind. My hands feel dry, yet velvety soft. I also don't need a lot to rub in my hands, just a drop will do. 

The smell is nothing special, actually. If you're a big fan of flowery or fruity heavy aroma's, this is not for you. It smells like... a hand cream really. It's subtle and for people like me, who can't stand heavy aroma, it's perfect. 

The final point that is also very important to me: the budget. This is a budget hand cream at 2.99 € for 75 ml, available at Solobiomooi

It has a BDIH label, is cruelty free and vegan suited. Ingredients are: Aqua, Helianthus Annuus Hybrid Oil*, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glyceryl Stearate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Arctium Lappa Fruit Extract*, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract*, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract*, Hypericum Perforatum Flower Extract*, Urtica Dioica Root Extract*, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil*, Glycerin*, Sorbitan Caprylate, Tocopherol, Potassium Hydroxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Phytate, Sodium Salicylate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Parfum**.
* certified organic
** natural fragrance

My conclusion: it says "hand cream for happy hands" on the tube and I totally agree! 

This product was given to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.