Zero-waste Deodorant for Healthy Armpits & Cleaner Planet

Cosmetic products are often overlooked when it comes to waste. Many people make an effort to recycle paper & glass….. but packaging from products like toothpaste or deodorant are often not possible to recycle. The big leaders in this industry are doing little to help the problem, but luckily there are more and more green companies working to make sustainable options. We are so happy to be collaborating with the brand Coconut Matter for this article. They have an incredible range of natural deodorants which are zero-waste (from production to post-consumption) and completely biodegradable. Their passion for sustainable beauty is contagious and we’ve loved trialling their deodorants for the past few weeks!

The ugly truth is that the beauty industry creates a huge amount of waste. In 2018 it generated over 142 billion units of packaging. Yep, billion, and it’s predicted that only 50% of this is eventually recycled. That’s a lot of waste going to landfill and a lot toxic chemicals polluting the land and waters. We know the numbers are scary, but we hope this post empowers you to make a change & gets you thinking about your own use/disposal of bathroom products!

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Deodorant Waste

In the UK alone, we use approximately 600 million aerosol cans every year, which are mainly from deodorants, anti-perspirants and body sprays. Although it is possible to recycle aerosol cans, it’s more complicated than it seems as they need to be completely empty, dry and clean, which they’re often not. Also, the compressed gases in these types of deodorant are really harmful to the environment and contribute to cO2 emissions.

Since completely switching to natural products a few years ago, we’ve personally made a real effort to either make our own deodorant at home or purchase ones in reusable tins/jars. So for the purpose of this article we’ll time travel back to our days of aerosol deodorant cans and roll ons. We estimated that an average sized deodorant can would last us around 4 weeks. so between us that would have created 20-24 units of waste per year. Even if we decided to choose roll-on rather than a spray, the majority of these are still packaged in plastic and it uses a lot of energy to recycle them due to the mixture of plastics they contain.

Eco-anxiety is on the rise and it’s easy to get doomy and gloomy reading statistics like this. But we can see that even if we decide to switch just one of our bathroom products, that’s 10-12 less units of waste per year, per person. Multiply that by 1 million and that’s 12 million less every year. Our small choices can make a huge impact and your body will also thank you in the long run ….

Natural Deodorant for Healthy Armpits

We personally believe that if you’re going to switch any bathroom product to a natural alternative, deodorant is the best place to start. Unfortunately so many of the products available on the market are full of toxic ingredients such as aluminium, parabens & pesticides like triclosan. Not only can these ingredients irritate our skin externally, but they are also absorbed into our body and have been linked to serious health problems in multiple studies.
Sweating is a natural body function that we need in order to aid detoxification. When we use toxic anti-perspirants that stop this process, we disrupt our armpit’s microbiome and can actually end up smelling worse in the long run.

Review of Coconut Matter’s Mood Deodorants Range

We’ve been trying out a couple of the Coconut Matter deodorants for the past few weeks and we’re really impressed with both the deodorant and the packaging. We’re currently on a backpacking trip around Portugal and despite all the hiking and hot weather, we’re still smelling fresh thanks to this deodorant! Our favourite scent is definitely the ZEN, with woody tones of cedarwood and vetiver. The packaging is also really compact and feels very secure … which we weren't expecting when we read it was 100% biodegradable.
The deodorants come in a stick which you push up and then slide across the armpit. It feels really soft and we’re sure it would be ideal for sensitive skin (especially as it doesn’t contain baking soda like many natural deodorants). Overall, we would really recommend the range of deodorants and will continue to enjoy testing them for the next few months!

Let us know if you have any questions about the range and tell us your experience with natural deodorants below…


Weekly Links // No.7

@deltavenus.jpg
Victor Higgins piece Taos, New Mexico.jpg

1// We were interviewed by the amazing website the moon and spoon and yum. Go look at our interview here where we talk all things food, inspiration & travel!

2// We’ve just opened up our etsy page with handmade jewellery inspired by our travels in South America. Go have a look here

3// This raw chocolate has been on sale in our local health shop and we’re totally obsessed. Sounds unusual, tastes incredible.

4// Excited to dive into this podcast series.

5// Inspired by this Instagram post

6// Implementing the method from this book has been totally life changing for me (Gabriella). I’ve tracked my monthly cycles for years to keep track of where I’m at, but the FAM method has taught me so much about my body and enabled me to know exactly when I’m ovulating and how my hormones are changing throughout my cycle. I really recommend this book to anyone with a female reproductive system!

7// Resonated with this interview about plant medicines.


photo sources: @deltavenus via Tumblr, Victor Higgins Taos New Mexico

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Understanding the Feminine Cycle (Nourishing Foods / Herbs for Each Phase)

Like so many women, I was never really encouraged to honour my feminine cycle growing up. During those tender years where our bodies change so rapidly, society feeds us the idea that our bleed is a time of the month to dread and hide from. We’re told that there are two stages to our cycle - bleeding or not bleeding - and that PMS symptoms like bloating and fatigue are something to be accepted and endured. With this lack of knowledge comes a disempowerment and a detachment from the beauty of our own bodies. Now, more than ever, I feel that we need to return to this natural wisdom in order to find balance again…

The negative seeds of thought were planted within me but I did not allow them to grow for too long. At the age of 21, after a year taking the contraceptive pill and feeling utterly depressed and detached from myself, I began to question everything related to my health, body & spirit. Once I began to dive into this world of holistic health & healing I couldn’t turn back. Taking responsibility for my own healing has been the ultimate expression of self love in my life.

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When I first began reading about women and cultures who honour their cycle and bleed, I felt resistance. ‘How can you honour something so inconvenient, painful and messy?’ was the question dancing around my head. But still, the more I read, the more something began to stir within me that shifted my whole perspective. When we discover the intricacy of our hormonal system, it’s difficult not to be in total awe of our bodies and what they’re capable of. After all, it’s this very cycle that leads to the creation of life. Without it, you wouldn't be here right now, reading this.

When we nourish ourselves in the right way and connect with each stage of our cycle, we begin to understand our bodies and can recognise our own intuitive needs in a clearer way. It’s been a fascinating, sacred & at times confusing path for me, and I hope through this article we can provide the foundational knowledge for anyone starting this journey or interested in deepening their understanding.


Aztec calendar. “Sun circle, with symbols of months.” Prehistoric America. v.5. 1905

Aztec calendar. “Sun circle, with symbols of months.” Prehistoric America. v.5. 1905

The Four Primary Reproductive Hormone

FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) - The production of this hormone occurs the same time of the cycle that 15-20 eggs start to mature in each ovary. Each egg is encased in its own follicle, and the follicles race to become the largest. Eventually ovulation will happen once one of the ovaries releases an egg from the most dominant follicle.
Estrogen -In order to ovulate the follicles need to produce enough of the hormone estrogen. After our bleed, our estrogen levels will gradually rise until they meet the necessary level for ovulation to occur. Excess estrogen in the body (also known as estrogen dominance) can cause really unpleasant side effects. This can be avoided in various ways…. some example are eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, keeping stress levels low and also avoiding xenoestrogens from plastics, cosmetics and pesticides.
LH (Luteinizing hormone) - Once we reach the estrogen threshold, it will trigger an abrupt surge of LH which leads to ovulation. This hormone causes the egg to burst through the ovarian wall. Once the egg is released from the ovary, the follicle that encased the egg collapses on itself and becomes a ‘corpus luteum’. This stays inside the ovarian wall and begins to release the hormone progesterone.
Progesterone- This is a really important hormone for women’s fertility. As the corpus luteum releases progesterone after ovulation, it prevents the release of any other eggs during that cycle and causes the uterine lining to thicken. It also causes our waking temperature, cervical fluid and position to change. The corpus luteum stays on the ovarian wall until it disintegrates after around 12-16 days. If the egg doesn’t get fertilised, then progesterone levels will drop and the uterine lining will then shed and cause your bleed to start.


The Four Stages of the Cycle and Nourishing Foods/Herbs for Each Phase

  1. MENSTRUAL PHASE (first day of bleed until the end of bleed)
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    Average duration: 3-7 days

    Day 1 of the cycle begins on the first day of your bleed. If you experience any light spotting on the days before your bleed starts, these would be counted in the previous month’s cycle. This is a time of inner-reflection and many women find that their intuition is strongest during this phase. As you bleed, it’s an invitation to really nourish your body and take things slower than normal. Prioritising time for self-care can be beautiful during these days - whether it’s a warm bath, time in nature, gentle stretching or journalling. In many ancient traditions the women would gather together during this phase and be exempt from their responsibilities..

    Foods/Herbs for the Menstrual Phase:
    Your body goes through an intense process as it sheds the lining of the uterus, so it’s important to eat nutrient-rich and grounding foods during this phase. As your body loses blood, focus on foods that are high in iron and zinc. Warming foods and teas are also really beneficial - I love eating soups and stews during this time.

    Foods: Root Vegetables, Beetroot, Dark Greens, Kale, Mushroom, Seaweeds, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Blueberrys, Blackberries, Cacao, Miso, Tamari.

    Herbs: Nettles (really high in minerals), Red Raspberry Leaf, Chamomile, Turmeric (anti-inflammatory), ginger (can help with any cramping)

  2. FOLLICULAR PHASE
    Waning Moon
    average duration: 7-10 days

    As your bleed ends you enter into the follicular phase of the cycle, where the hormone estrogen gradually rises. Many women feel a rise in energy during these days and it’s known as a time of creativity and new beginnings. Instinctually, it’s the time of the cycle where we would normally attract a partner to mate with, which is why we might feel more confident and outgoing during this phase. It’s the time when you will most likely want to be more social, active and try new things.

    Foods/Herbs for the Follicular Phase:
    Fresh, lighter foods are ideal for this phase and will keep you energised. All your hormone levels are at their lowest, so your body can easily tolerate different types of food.

    Foods: lots of vegetables - broccoli, carrot, courgette, parsley, lettuce, avocado, citrus fruits, mungbeans, split peas, fermented foods, olives, brazil nuts, cashews.

    Herbs: schisandra (supports kidneys/liver), tulsi, licorice


  3. OVULATORY PHASE
    New Moon
    Average duration: 3-4 days

    This is the time when many hormones reach their peak level (FSH, LH, and estrogen). As an egg is released, we are at our most fertile time and often women find they are at their peak in terms of energy, confidence and libido. You may feel pelvic pain as the egg is released and on your most fertile days, you should have clear, wet vaginal discharge. This is called cervical fluid and is a really essential sign of healthy fertility. The Ovulatory phase is a good time for communication and expressing yourself clearly - so it’s a great time for meaningful conversations or interviews.

    Foods/Herbs for the Ovulatory Phase:
    As estrogen levels are high, most women have more energy during these days. Sticking to lighter foods will help support this. You want to help your body eliminate any excess estrogen (e.g. from toxins, plastics…) so eating a lot of fiber will help with this elimination process.

    Foods: quinoa, corn, flaxseeds, spinach, tomato, pepper, aubergine, fig, strawberry, raspberry, red lentils, almonds, pecan, pistachio

    Herbs: Red Clover (promotes lubrication), dandelion (supports detoxification), shatavari (supports healthy ovulation), maca (balances excess estrogens)

  4. LUTEAL PHASE
    waxing moon
    average duration: 10-14 days

    The luteal phase begins after ovulation has occurred and it’s when progesterone levels rise. Energy gradually declines during this phase and towards the end you may feel yourself begin to turn inwards and soften once again. Some women have unpleasant symptoms during this time due to the abrupt change in hormone levels, so it can be helpful to recognise the big shifts your hormones are going through and see these symptoms as ways your body is communicating with you. For many, this is a ‘nesting’ time where we feel more called to organise things at home, do some necessary life-admin or take more time for yourself to rest.

    Foods/Herbs for the Luteal Phase:

    Many women experience sugar cravings during this phase. You can navigate this is in a nourishing way by eating foods that are rich in B vitamins and also eating more complex carbohydrates. These natural sugars will help balance dopamine levels and prevent any mood swings. I love eating roasted sweet potato during this phase. Continue eating high-fiber foods to help eliminate any excess estrogens (which can cause PMS symptoms).

    Foods: Brown rice, millet, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, ginger, leek, onion, parsnip, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, apples, dates, peaches, pears, chickpeas, walnuts.

    Herbs: ashwaganda (helps balance hormones and stress), ginger (can help with bloating), tulsi (helps lift mood), Vitex (boosts progesterone levels - helpful if your luteal phase is too short, but do your research before taking!)

Tracking your cycle

Photo by Gustav Amestal

Photo by Gustav Amestal

If you don’t already, I really encourage you to track your period from day 1 of your bleed. There are tons of apps you can use or I personally prefer to chart it in my journal. It’s amazing when you begin to recognise the various ways you change during the month and how this correlates with what phase you’re in. It’s also a really interesting way of tracking any symptoms or patterns that occur in your cycle. For example, for a long time I would always have a small breakout on days 18-19 of my cycle, due to a hormone shift. Once I identified this I could work to support my body and balance excess estrogen during this stage.

Recommended Resources

  • Watching this video a few years ago really sparked my interest in this topic. Beautiful advice and approach to the cycle!

  • Woman Code by Alissa Vitti is an incredible book that dives into the feminine cycle in so much detail. Credit to Alissa for the food recommendations that I’ve mentioned in this article!

  • Also really recommend Love your Lady Landscape and Code Red by Lisa Lister.

  • Taking Charge of your Fertility is the fertility bible. Goes into a lot more detail about how to track your cycle and cervical fluid.

  • The Superfeast podcast have an excellent women’s series which covers so about women’s health and the feminine cycle.


We would love to hear about your relationship with your cycle…. let us know in the comments below or on Instagram @putumayo.kitchen
We hope you enjoyed this post and found some wisdom from it!

Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread

We hope everyone has had a beautiful Summer (or Winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere!) It’s been a busy one for us and things are finally starting to slow down a little as we approach the Autumn. So far, August has been a month of very rainy days and cosy moments inside. Quite the opposite from our expectations of the Summer, but the plants are happy and we can’t help but feel grateful in comparison to other countries experiencing draughts and fires. This somewhat grey weather has of course influenced what we’ve been eating, and instead of cooling smoothies & frozen snacks, we’ve been craving comforting foods like this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.
We’ve been trying to create the perfect banana bread for quite a while, and we can confidently say that we’ve finally found ‘the one’ with this recipe. We’ve used dates in the banana bread instead of a liquid sweetener or sugar, which give it such a delicious texture and a flavour that isn’t overly sweet. Of course, chocolate chips are an essential for us and they go incredibly gooey when you warm a slice of the bread before serving. Depending on the bar of chocolate you use, this recipe is potentially sugar free, which is pretty cool considering how delicious it is. We hope you love the recipe, let us know if you make it in the comments below. Banana bread blessing to you all x

Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread Sugar Free Vegan
Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread Sugar Free Vegan
Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread Sugar Free Vegan
Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread Sugar Free Vegan

Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread (Sugar Free and Vegan)

Servings: makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 4 large, very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of spelt flour (we use wholemeal but you could use white)
  • 1 packed cup of dates
  • 1/4 of a cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of oat milk
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 100g of dark chocolate, broken into chocolate chip sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for 15-20 minutes, to ensure that they are soft for blending.
  2. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 (350 f). Line the bottom of a loaf tin with a rectangular piece of baking paper. Grease the sides with a little coconut oil.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add the flour, cinammon, baking powder, chocolate pieces and salt. Mix well.
  4. To a food processor add the bananas, dates, coconut oil and oat milk. Blend until very smooth.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into your loaf tin, making sure it's spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden on top. If you're unsure whether it's ready, ou can test it with a cocktail stick. If the stick comes out fairly clean (melted chocolate aside) then it should be cooked.
  8. Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a drying rack.
Chocolate Chip Spelt Banana Bread Sugar Free Vegan

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