Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ~ Anon
As you know, I don’t like to use chemicals in the garden, preferring instead to use natural remedies, traps and preventative measures. I don’t like to use any synthetic fertilisers either.
Because I know that in order for my garden to flourish, there is a whole cast of insects, microbes and worms that need to be there, doing their bit. Using harsh chemicals and pesticides compromises the whole gardens health. It’s a bit like attempting to kill a mosquito with napalm. The pest may be gone, but the “cure” introduces a new (often bigger) problem into the mix.
Needless to say, an organic garden is fantastically dirty work. After digging, planting, potting, seeding, mulching and splashing about home brewed worm tea I get pretty sweaty and filthy. It’s a glorious feeling.
I love to come in and have a good shower, rinse off and feel fresh.
But, as I was lathering up a few weeks ago, I realised I have been living an unsettling hypocrisy.
I am more considerate of the dirt in my garden than I am of my own body.
Believe it or not, your body isn’t all that different to your garden. While reading the January 2013 National Geographic, I had my mind blown……
“All told, the microbes in your body outnumber your own cells by ten to one and can weigh as much as or more than your brain—about three pounds in an average adult. Each of us is thus both an organism and a densely populated ecosystem, with habitats harboring species as different from one another as the animals in a jungle and a desert. Even the resident microbes in the gum pockets around your teeth can vary greatly, suggesting, as David Relman of Stanford University puts it, that “each of our teeth is essentially an island, rocks in an intertidal pool.”
For the most part, the microbes inhabiting our bodies are either beneficial ones or unobtrusive freeloaders. They help us digest our food and absorb nutrients. They manufacture vital vitamins and anti-inflammatory proteins that our own genes cannot produce, and they train our immune systems to combat infectious intruders. Resident bacteria on our skin secrete a sort of natural moisturizer, preventing cracks that could allow pathogens to penetrate.”
This realisation has prompted a change in how I treat myself (or Myselves? My Melissagarden? Eco-Mel? Mel & Colony? This could get weird…)
Treat my body as thoughtfully as I do my garden.
So, no more chemical hair dye. No more anti-bacterial handsoap. Soap, not detergent. Cut down on the nasty stuff in my cosmetics and skincare. Go ShamPHree!
Thanks to the internet, (and a wash of people having the same realisation waayyy before I did) this is a surprisingly easy thing to accomplish. Mineral and plant based skin care. It is all so much more freely available than it used to be! It’s absolutely possible to look as good on the outside as I feel on the inside.
As I write, I have my hair soaking up a Henna treatment from Lush. I am having a bit of an Anne of Green Gables moment as I hope the green-baby-poo-paste on my head will transform my greyish-tresses into a beautiful chestnut brown colour. It seems that just swapping out one chemical-laden product for another, simpler one will be pretty straightforward.
In the coming weeks, I’ll examine my home and my diet much the same way, and for the same reason. In the meantime, I will enjoy our cooler weather and celebrate as my autumn/winter planting is almost complete!
Do you have a favourite natural beauty practice you follow? I would love to hear all about it. Please leave a comment below…