Sustainable living–a phrase that attracts everyone’s opinion; a lifestyle that everyone needs to adapt. Each one of us is aware that we need to make a shift towards a sustainable lifestyle. But most of us don’t have a clue as to how.
When I began my switch to a sustainable lifestyle, reducing the use of chemicals and plastic, adopting a vegan lifestyle, and reusing whatever I could were the obvious options of living sustainably. The problem is, the alternatives to chemicals and plastics and a vegan lifestyle are expensive. What can we do then?
How about we replace everything that we use with a similar sustainable alternative? This way we won’t have to compromise on our lifestyle and we will be helping the Earth too. Any ideas on how we can do that? Through the adoption of an innocent plant called Hemp.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant belonging to the cannabis family. It can be processed into numerous products including, but not limited to, apparels, jewellery, accessories, food and health supplements, cosmetics, biofuel, building and insulating material, and even biodegradable plastic.
The hemp industry is a vast industry in itself. Its history with mankind goes back to 2800 BCE. Hemp was used in pottery, to make clothes, ropes, paper, and even to cure health conditions. During the first world war, India was the largest exporter of Hemp. The United States used hemp during the Second World War to make warfare material.
But then marijuana happened. The ban on all species of cannabis put an end to the hemp industry. However, now with the times and needs changing, the hemp industry is making a comeback. And it is something we all must at least try.
Why use hemp?
Hemp is the one standalone solution to a comfortable sustainable living. The plant is nutritionally, therapeutically, and sustainably rich. That is to say, not only does it contain an abundance of essential nutrients for the human body, it can also aid in healing several medical conditions, and the products from hemp are 100% biodegradable.
Why then are we not using Hemp?
Mostly because of two prime reasons. One, lack of knowledge. Two, inhibitions stemming from stigma. A majority of people will refuse to believe you if you tell them that hemp (i.e. bhaang, charas, and ganja) gives us clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, and even plastic. And if they do believe you, it will take a lot more convincing to get them to try it because they’ll be scared of getting high.
But, hemp does not get you high. It doesn’t get simpler than that. The components in hemp are present in a different proportion than marijuana and do not cause a psychoactive effect on the body/mind. And while saving people from getting high, it gives us an option for adopting comfortable sustainable living.
How can I adopt Sustainable Living with Hemp?
Including hemp into your life is easier than you might think. If you make a resolution to adopt this one plant into your life, you sign up for a natural, better, healthier, and sustainable life. It might appear to be a huge change but in actuality, it’s not. You can adopt a hempy lifestyle in 3 simple ways:
Sustainable Living with Hemp Food
One of the easiest, and healthiest, ways to adopt sustainable living is through hemp food. Hemp, as studies suggest, is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains the perfect ratio of omega6:omega3 fatty acids, all essential nutrients and minerals, and zero trans fat.
And it’s not like you’ll have to make a different addition to your diet. You can consume hemp in the form of seeds, oil, milk, butter, granola bar, and much more!
The superfoods of the superfoods, hemp seeds are your quickest, hassle-free way to a healthier diet. The best part about hemp seeds is that they are easy on the body and digest easily. This is because the seeds contain proteins in the exact DNA structure of the human body. This plant is a marvel. You can easily sprinkle them onto your yogurt, smoothies, cereal, or, if you’re anything like me, just grab a handful of them.
Hemp spread/butter is your go-to if you find yourself worrying about carb intake. This product is vegan (which is a classic sustainable living example) but it’s not a vegan-only. That is to say, it is not processed specifically for vegans but is naturally 100% plant-based. And the good part is that it comes in a lot of delicious flavours!
If the idea of consuming raw hemp seeds makes you uncomfortable, you can try hemp oil. Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the plant with zero compromises on nutrition. According to studies, hemp seeds, and therefore the oil from them, are healthier than flax and chia seeds. Hemp oil can easily become your new cooking oil.
Please note: The boiling point of hemp oil is comparatively low. Do not use hemp oil for deep frying.
Sustainable Living with Hemp Skin Care
Yet another way to adopt a sustainable living with hemp is through organic skincare. Every now and then we find ourselves exploring through organic and chemical-free makeup and skincare supplements. Hemp-oil-based cosmetic products are naturally organic and bring with them the add on nutrition too.
Hemp has natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are the best way to care for your skin. Hemp oil keep the skin moisturized, clean, and healthy. Some hemp-oil-based skincare products you must try are:
Plant-based, chemical-free, moisturizing, and healthy. What more can you ask for? I personally use lotions a lot. My average application used to be three to four times a day. Switching to hemp lotions and body butter brought it down to 2 times. The most interesting part is that hemp lotions are suitable for all skin types.
I don’t drink alcohol. But I remember asking my brother to bring me a bottle of beer so that I could wash my hair. This was years ago and soon after, there was a thing called beer shampoo in the market. Everyone went crazy. But very sadly I realised that it had just as many chemicals.
Next switch was to organic shampoos. But nothing sat quite right. Maybe it was the strong pungent odour or the fact that they left my hair frizzled. And then there were hemp shampoos. Completely organic, absolutely chemical-free with a decent odour. Adopting hemp shampoos and conditioners was my way of minimally adopting sustainable living.
Hemp Balms and Lip Balms
The natural antioxidant and moisturizing properties of hemp oil give an edge to hemp lip balms. And the therapeutic properties serve well for the beauty inside the skin too. I am personally waiting for a purely hemp-oil-based lipstick. Most likely, I will end up making it myself.
Sustainable Living with Hemp Clothing and Accessories
The third way of adopting sustainable living with hemp. The bast of the hemp plant yields fibre on extraction which further gives fabric. For me, it is hemp fabrics that are changing the clothing game. I don’t have anything against cotton or linen. But I just find myself attracted to coarse fabrics such as jute and hemp. That is not to say I don’t use the former. I own them. But I am not buying more of them.
The thing is, hemp clothing and accessories is not just limited to these. There is possibly every single item that we use today that can be made from hemp as well.
Hemp can almost replace denim. Imagine! And well, of course, there are dresses, shirts, skirts, shorts, yoga pants(!!), and so much more. I like the way natural hemp fabric looks. So, I don’t go for dyed hemp apparels but they are a great option for those who love colours.
When refined into a plastic-like structure, hemp can be used to make everything from shoes, keychains, chappals to sunglasses, and even a certain kind of jewellery. I am keeping an eye out for hemp heels or boots because I know I’ll buy them without a second thought.
I know about these because I am from the mountains and hats and/or caps are a must. Though I don’t have the confidence, or class, that it takes to pull off a hat, I manage to look decent in beanies and hemp beanies keep me happy.
Everything seems too difficult or uncomfortable until we actually give it a try and it ends up working for us. Switching to sustainable living was such a thing in my life. But hemp made it easier. And I know that it can do the same for everyone else too.