The Loving Earth ‘R’s of a plastic free life

Plastic-Free-Life

This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

We’ve recently celebrated the ban of the single use plastic bags at Woolworth’s, one of the major supermarkets here in Victoria. We’ve bought (and lost, and rebought) a stainless-steel straw, we’re well practiced in remembering our KeepCup at the coffee shop, and now we’ve opened our eyes to the plastic epidemic, we see it EVERYWHERE. From toothbrushes to face washes, clothes to ice cream containers, plastic is as prevalent as your ex the month after you break up.

It’s just been Plastic Free July & we’re loving all the changes made this past month, we’ve compiled our list on how to live footloose and plastic free for the rest of the year!

Refuse
The supermarkets may have banned the plastic bag for all your shopping, but not all outlets are making the change. Wherever you come across plastic that you can choose to say no to, do.

Remember
In a world where a million things are happening at once we know remembering to bring canvas bags, stainless steel straws, and KeepCups can be a pain, but it seriously is a game-changer in the habit changing game. Keep a couple of bags in your car or keep your re-useable’s in easy to see places so it’s super simple to grab them and go.

Reduce
Swapping plastic for non-plastic alternatives can take a bit of getting used to but there are some great items out there to make the transition smooth. Glass, paper, wood and tin, are all great materials that you can sub in for where you’d normally reach for plastic.

Re-use
We know the Tupperware cupboard can be like the biggest game of skill ever (where do all the matching lids go?!) but re-using the plastic that we already have can make a real difference. Instead of using things like sandwich bags once, give them a rinse and use them again. Got loads of old takeaway containers? Use them for packed lunches, or as storage.

Repair
Buying new or replacing a broken item is often more about convenience and time saving than anything else. Why not hit two birds in one and learn how to repair something you’ve relegated to the hard rubbish pile. Upskilling AND saving the planet.

Replace
On a day to day level, replace the automatic choice with plastic-free alternatives. Biodegradable rubbish bags, using bars of soap instead of plastic containers washes, choosing fresh bread in paper or cotton bags rather than plastic are all small swaps that can have a big impact.

Rethink
Change can be overwhelming when faced with more than a few things to remember, or if you think that you can’t make a difference being only one person but reframing your mindset can make a real difference. Start slowly and pick one thing a month to focus on.

5 minutes with…Fred Siggins

fredThis interview was originally conducted for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

We sat down with our friend Fred from Sullivans Cove for a bit of a yarn. He likes talking and thinking about whisky almost as much as he likes drinking it!

1. What was it like winning that first award? Where were you when you heard? 

I wasn’t working with Sullivans Cove when we won our first major award back in 2014, but I remember how huge it was for the Australian industry as a whole. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to drink local whisky. 

Getting our second major global award was incredible. It’s one thing for a tiny craft distillery like ours to do it once, but twice is mental. It just goes to show it wasn’t a fluke. We were all really happy this time our personal favourite style was the winner, too. When I heard I was just standing in my apartment talking to our Managing Director on the phone. It was a good thing I was at home because I could scream and shout a bit without freaking anyone out. 

2. How did it change life at Sullivans Cove HQ?  

It hasn’t changed that much to be fair, but think it’s really a vindication of everything we do and the approach we take to making whisky. If anything, it’s galvanised our resolve to keep doing things the slow, hand-made way.

3. What’s the magic whisky formula? 

Make what you want to drink. If you like it, chances are someone else will, too. And if not, you’ve got lots of whisky to drink. 

Bourbon and whisky are kind of the same, right? Sort of, yeah. Bourbon is a type of whisk(e)y. Whisk(e)y is a really broad category that has lots of different styles, regulations and processes depending on where you are, so you can have Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky, Bourbon whiskey, Australian whisky…

4. How do I know if I’m drinking a good whisky or a rubbish one? 

How much you enjoy it, plain and simple. One person’s rubbish is another one’s gold. Lucky for us there’s heaps to try. Personally, I look for texture, complexity and integration of flavours. I love floral, waxy, creamy whiskies. 

5. Which Aussie craftspeople are lighting up for you at the moment?

So many! Pennyweight winery, Peter Bignell at Belgrove Distillery, Never Never Distillery, Willie Smith’s Cider, Two Metre Tall Brewery, Franklin Restaurant, Dan Gregory at Ettie’s Piano Bar, everyone is doing such amazing work and really pushing flavour into unexplored realms. 

6. Best weird cocktail flavour combination?

Smoked honey & fig leaf

7. What was your mum’s favourite advice? 

Be nice. Question everything. 

8. You love a good adventure. What 3 things are always in your adventure travel bag? 

My camera, my all-purpose scarf/towel/blanket/sarong, and plenty of hardy cloth bandaids for blisters. 

9. You’re a mix of Aussie and American. What’s your most Aussie trait and when does the American shine through? 

My favourite breakfast is two pieces of toast; one with Vegemite, one with peanut butter. 

10. What’s the best way to have whisky and chocolate? 

With good company, even if that’s just yourself. 

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5 no-brainer ways to help the planet

planet

This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the ways we human beings have burdened this beautiful planet of ours. Sometimes you wonder if all your recycling, composting, and riding is making much of a dent in the face of all the bad news.

Well, we know the feeling, fellow loving earthlings, but it’s all the little actions that will turn the tide. Being part of the solution is about making it super simple and remembering the power of one.

We bet you can take our challenge of making these five no-brainer changes TODAY.

The all-purpose eco cleaner

Dr Bronners started life in 1858 and five generations of Bronners have been making their infamous castile soap since. All multi-purpose soaps are certified organic and cruelty free, using olive oil, hemp and natural essential oils. It may be a bit odd to think that the soap you use in the shower can also do your dishes, but the results are squeaky clean.

The reusable cup

The brain child of Abigail Forsyth, KeepCup was born from the other side of the coffee machine. After opening a café in 1998 with her brother, they were very aware of the volume of packaging waste that the business and its customers produced. Since 2009 over eight million KeepCups have been sold diverting billions of disposable cups from landfill.

The refillable bottle

Childhood friends, keen surfers, and co-founders, Jesse Leeworthy and Jonathan Byrt, grew up seeing the effects single use plastic bottles had on the ocean and environment. Inspired to make a water bottle that would fit in your bag alongside books and laptops, they have created a social movement proving that beautiful design and eco living go hand in hand…or bottle in bag! Introducing the Memo Bottle.

The forever straw 

Plastic straws made the ‘top ten’ items picked up on beach clean ups and are made from plastic that never breaks down – thanks BPA! In the US alone, 500 million straws are used every single day with an average timeline of twenty minutes before being tossed away. Ever Eco saw a small change could make a big difference to our oceans and launched their stainless steel straws in 2013.

The recycled shopping and produce bags

Banning plastic bags has been making headlines with the big super markets the world over declaring they’d phase them out within a matter of months. We’ve been fans of recycled shoppers for a while so challenged ourselves to go even further and look at produce bags for fruit and veg too.

This is list is by no means the be all and end all, but a couple of simple swaps to get you started on a cleaner, greener future because the world always needs more love and less waste.

5 minutes with…Sarah Stevenson

SarahsDay

This interview was originally conducted for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

1. Were you sporty as a kid?

You could pretty much call me sporty spice!! I was always active, playing outdoors and coming home with dirt all over myself. I loved dancing, gymnastics, running, swimming and athletics!

 2. What was your proudest possession when you were a kid?

My very first pair of pointe shoes! I started ballet when I was 3, so I don’t necessarily remember my first pair of ballet shoes, however, trying on and purchasing my very first pair of pointe shoes was one of the best moments of my life. My ballet teacher sent me a hand written letter to announce that my feet and body were ready for pointe shoes. I cried… of happiness…. literally.

3. What’s your party trick? And what was your party trick as a kid?
(knowing all the words to a rap/reciting the alphabet backward really quickly/super good at maths?!)

How much food I can eat on the party table. It’s pretty impressive.  Oh, and I’m pretty incredible at limbo.

4. Now you live with Kurt, what do you miss most about living at home?

My mum doing my laundry!! Oh my gosh! Laundry and washing is honestly the bain of my existence! #aintnobodygottimefordat

5. What’s the one thing your mum always told you?

My mum is seriously the princess of positivity! Everyone who comes in contact with her says she is just a ray of sunshine who warms their heart. She’s actually the best human ever!! She has SO MANY incredible one liners! I actually use loads of them on my YouTube channel. One thing I love that she says is “don’t say those words over yourself Sare”. She always taught my sisters and I to love ourselves and be grateful for out bodies and minds. If we were struggling with school work she would make us sit there and physically speak out load saying “I am smart, I have powerful brain, I’m going to understand this”. The power of positive talk life changing!

6. When you were a school teacher, what did you used to eat for lunch?

Pretty much what you see on my “What I eat in a day’ Youtube videos now to be honest. I love HUGE salads filled with quinoa, sweet potato, greens and avocado. I also love to snack on fruit, raw veggies, seeds and of course fruit and nut mix (if it’s a nut friendly school).

7. What’s been your biggest ‘Aha’ moment?

When I realised the (traffic relative) saying ‘bumbadabumba’ was actually… ‘bumper to bumper’. POOF mind explosion. The world makes sense now.

8. You’re a new addition to the Pantone Colour Chart, what would you be called?

First of all – what a fabulous question! I’m excited even thinking about it! Ok, well of course I’d have to be some kind of pink tone, but I think I would label myself ‘positive pink’… is that lame? #actconfidentandnoonewillquestionyou

9. You are always on the go, top tips for travelling near and far?

Always bring healthy snacks!! I always think how disappointed a burglar would be if they stole my bag on the street. All they would find is some dirty coin at the bottom of my bag, suit and nut mix, an apple and a water bottle.

10. If you could go back and indulge in a former junk food favourite, what would it be?

I’m going to be so boring here and say NOTHING! If I ever have a craving, I can satisfy it! Honestly, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I can make essentially any food healthy! I’m always making Kurt and I healthy ‘fried chicken’, burgers, banana nice cream and of course Loving Earth chocolate!

11. Where does your mind go when you’re working out at the gym?

Wow…. I actually don’t know! If I’m having a great session, I’m literally so in the zone, that the only thing I’m thinking about is the exercise at hand. If I’m a little distracted, or not feeling my session, I’m usually thinking about what I’ll be eating afterwards haha.

12. You’re on a desert island and can have only one luxury – what do you take with you?

Probably a facial serum. I LOVE facial serums and ain’t nobody got time for dry, scaly, desert skin!

13. What’s one thing  you do every day without fail? (not counting brushing your teeth!)

GO OUTSIDE!! Sunshine and nature is seriously the best medicine in my opinion! This was also an unspoken rule in my household growing up. If we were grumpy, mum would send us outside to sit in the sun. Sick – sun. Tired – sun. Sad – sun. I LOVE the outdoors and use a walk along the beach as my reward for smashing out emails or getting a lot of work done!

How would you like a National Park 40 minutes from your front door?

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This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

The Great Forest National Park or GFNP is a campaign is to get the forests and parks that stretch from Kinglake through to the Baw Baws and up to Eildon declared as a National Park.

GFNP has its own logo and lots of supporters, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that the National Park already exists, but it doesn’t yet!

By declaring the forests as a National Park, it will create a vibrant tourist destination for anyone who visits the area. It will also protect it from logging which is heavily impacting the ecosystems that we rely on for our main source of water.

Did you know that 90% of Melbourne’s fresh water comes from the Mountain Ash forests a little over an hour away from the CBD?

The aim is to help preserve these forests that already exist so the native wildlife can thrive and the trees don’t end up as paper for your printer.

These forests grow all along the Great Divide because of the rich rainfall patterns and has meant that they are some of the most carbon dense forests on the earth – something that we DEFINITELY need more of to help mother nature bounce back.

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The Park, stretching from Kinglake through to the Baw Baws and north-east up to Eildon.

At Loving Earth we’re pretty passionate about this project, firstly because it’s where we make our chocolate (yum) and also because this is our chance to give back to the land.

We work with indigenous communities around the world to source the ingredients for our chocolate, to preserve and protect their way of living with and on the land. Their guardianship is what will guide us into how we can begin to regenerate the planet and supporting the GFNP is our way of contributing to this planetary healing, right on doorstep.

These forests are also home to the tallest flowering trees on the planet (140metres – way bigger than the American redwoods) and home to some pretty cool animals, like the Boobook Owl, who you may recognise from our first ever Easter eggs…told you they were rad.

Getting out in nature is one of our favourite things to do and the area is perfect for exploring and trying out a whole heap of other adventures including bike riding, bushwalking, fishing, bird watching, four-wheel driving, motor biking, camping, zipline tours and much more – FUN!

If that all sounds a bit too active, then check out our top five things to do on a long weekend (like Easter!).

If you’re feeling inspired and want to get involved – here are out top five ways to make a difference:

1. Follow, love and share the Great Forest National Park on Instagram @greatforestnp

2. Learn more about the Great Forest National Park plan

3. Help us to make a GFNP film – donate today

4. Visit the Great Forest National Park – download a Self-Drive Tour Guide today

5. Be sure you’re not using paper sourced from forests that should be protected in the GFNP –choose an Ethical Paper

To find out more, head over to www.greatforestnationalpark.com.au

Top 5 things to do in the Yarra Valley

Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-3.25.41-pm.pngThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Getting out of the city on a long weekend is a great way to have a break without travelling further than a couple of hours from your front door.

If sky diving, mountain biking and skiing aren’t your cup of tea, then check out our top picks for a more restful, but still beautiful weekend soaking up what Melbourne’s east has to offer.

1. Get to know some native wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary

Get a chance to learn more about the amazing wildlife that call the surrounding ancient forests home, cared for in beautifully kept 30 hectares of native bush land. The keepers host daily up close encounters with familiar furry and feathered friends.

2. Have a pizza at Innocent Bystander

Enjoy a woodfired oven pizza at the cellar door. Just off the Maroondah highway, the restaurant caters for all dietary requirements! Have in or take away and venture up to the reservoir.

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3. Collect fresh spring water from Mont Donna Buang

When the National Association of Testing Authorities rates this the cleanest water ever tested, we’d say it’s a pretty great idea to stock up on some of nature’s nectar. If you feel like a walk to burn off some of that pizza, the hike to the top is pretty beautiful too.

4. Take a gin flight at Four Pillars Gin

The best kind of flight is one where you don’t have to go through security or check your baggage, so we’re big fans of this paddle of four gins by local distillers Four Pillars. If you’re the designated driver, we can highly recommend the negroni marmalade.

5. Visit Tarrawarra Museum of Art

Modern art with nature as its back drop all housed in a building just as striking as its contents.  A well curated, privately-owned collection that also hosts travelling artists exhibitions. A perfect dose of nature and culture in one.

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5 minutes with… Marc Martin

static1.squarespaceThis interview was originally conducted for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

We sat down with Melbourne based artist Marc Martin to learn a little more about the man behind the gorgeous illustrations that adorn Loving Earth’s Boobook Chocolate Eggs!

What did you draw when you were a kid?

I didn’t actually draw that much. I was more of a lego kid – I liked building colour co-ordinated spaceships.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in France, but we moved to Australia when I was around 4 or 5. We first moved to small town called LIcola, and then settled in Melbourne.

What’s your favourite kind of nature?

Dense forests with tall trees, far away from the sounds of the city.

How do you start a job? Any secret rituals?

I usually have an idea in my head of what I want the finished work to look like, so I might do quick sketch to try and flesh that out a bit before moving onto more finished artwork.

Hates and loves about not having work mates?

I do have work mates! I share a studio with about 12 people, so there’s always someone around to have a chat with.

The studio is on fire and you can grab three things before you get out; what are they?

Laptop, iPad pro, Wacom tablet. How boring 😦

In a parallel universe, if you couldn’t draw what would you do?

As a kid I always wanted to be a professional cyclist and ride in the Tour De France.

Who’s your Melbourne art crush right now?

There’s too many! Evie Cahir is one to watch though. Love how she captures light and mood.

What’s the one thing your mum taught you?

Don’t worry about what other people think.

Tell us about your bravest moment.

I guess just sticking to my guns and continuing being a freelancer when most other people my age went and go ‘real’ jobs.

How do you take your coffee?

I’m taking a break from coffee for a while, so it’s earl grey all the way these days!

Sweet or savoury?

Definitely sweet.

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Chill out don’t burn out

breathThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Life is running faster than it ever has done before…we are now exposed to as much data and information in one day as someone from the 1600’s experienced in an entire lifetime, no wonder we’re feeling more stressed and overwhelmed!

21st Century illnesses such as adrenal fatigue, stress, and anxiety are ever increasing meaning more and more of us are feeling the affects in a very real way. Of course life can’t be smooth sailing all the time, and our bodies are designed to cope with occasional pockets and peaks of stress, but the trouble comes when we start running these peaks together with stressful situation after stressful situation, until eventually it becomes the norm and then that’s the level we operate at every day.

When we push ourselves repeatedly, eventually our body says ‘no more’ and stops. That’s why you get the cold when you have finally given yourself some time and space to catch up on sleep and recuperate from the constant pressures that daily life throws at you. The fight and flight hormones of cortisol and adrenaline slowly start leaving your system, clearly signalling that it’s ‘safe’ and your nervous system breathes a big sigh of relief.

So what can we do?

Use what is easy, free and innate…your breath. Breathing, more specifically diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your diaphragm – no holding in of the stomach here I’m afraid) is one of the simplest and most effective ways to engage your parasympathetic nervous system (the one that tells you to calm down and that all is OK in the world). It’s great to do at work or in the car when you’re feeling under the pump.

Take the time to plan rest into your week and build in a ritual or routine that signals to the body that you’re on a break and it’s time to switch off. Maybe it’s a gentle yoga sequence in the morning to wake your body up gently, rather than hitting snooze for the tenth time and running late for the rest of the day. Maybe it’s committing to getting into bed a little earlier on weeknights or not filling every spare moment with errands, admin, or social engagements.

Try not to reach for the coffee at 3 pm. Easy to say, hard to do, however, it will help you understand your natural energy levels and also ensure that your body has had the time to process the caffeine before it’s time for bed.

Get to know when you’re feeling a little lazy (hello seventh episode on Netflix) and when you need to pull back and not go 110% above and beyond. Friends will have birthdays next year, the gym will be there tomorrow, and the world will keep turning if you get an extra hour of sleep.

Lifestyle is what gets us into these patterns, but it also means it’s lifestyle that can help us out. Take some time to have a proper look at where your time and energy are going and decide to de-clutter anything that isn’t serving you anymore. Even if it means canceling your Netflix account for a bit.

Spring cleanse

Greene-Street-Juice-1600x1200This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Spring is the perfect time to have a clean out. Opening a proverbial window and letting the fresh air of a new season refresh the old energy from winter. Where usually a spring clean is associated with our homes, myself and brand manager Hannah, decided to take it one step further and have a clean out of body, mind and spirit too…

We joined the Greene Street Juice Spring Cleanse Week and decided to go for the five days on the Healthy Start and Glow package. The idea of having a couple of smoothies and an evening nut milk for us novice cleansers was what made the choice for us, giving our tummies something a little more substantial to ease our way in. The cleanse week also came with a community of support, daily emails to guide us through including advice from Dr Amanda Waaldyk from Angea, a guided meditation, and lots of other nuggets of wisdom.

So how did we go?

Day one was the toughest for me with a cracking headache and my kidneys were really sore. I deployed a hot water bottle, a good few litres of water and an early night to help combat these first symptoms of detox. Other than that I felt good – only a few grumbles from my empty stomach, but nothing having a juice and a cup of herbal tea couldn’t fix.

Day two was very low-key for me, heading to the sauna to sweat out some toxins and a walk outside. Hannah indulged in a trip to the hot springs in Mornington Peninsula with full spa treatment and massage. Who said cleansing was tough?! Seriously though, it was the perfect time to practice a bit of self-care and really slow down and be good to ourselves.

Day three we were both back in the office and found that although our energy levels were up, but we found it tricky to focus for long periods of time, especially looking at screens. We took ourselves off for a few strolls around the block to soak up the first of the spring sunshine and get some fresh air to restore our focus a little. We both headed to yoga in the evening, finding moving our bodies in a mindful way was really rejuvenating. Plus we both came home to a goody bag full of gorgeous treats – a sure fire way to lift the spirits!

Day four I must admit I really felt emotionally. I was quite short tempered and found quite small things annoying, getting easily frustrated. I’m a practiced meditator so upped my meditation practices to three that day to help bring me back to centre again. Physically though, we both felt full of energy still and we were both sleeping really well, feeling incredibly rested in the mornings. The other benefit was my social media use went way down – who knew I followed so many foodie accounts on Instagram?!

Day five was probably the easiest which is no surprise and even has left me thinking that the next cleanse I do (probably in January for a post Christmas clean out!) I’ll do a full week! Although it’s been a great few days to really take stock and give my digestive system a break, I must admit I’m really looking forward to eating again. I think I missed chewing and experiencing different flavours the most over these last few days.

It has certainly made me more aware of how much food I do eat though and sometimes how quickly I gulp it down. My intention is to really be more mindful when I sit down to a meal and enjoy each mouthful. And to eat a lighter meal earlier in the evenings so my body has a chance to really digest before going to sleep. All in all I think giving your body the break to rest and repair is never a bad one. Considering 70% of our energy is taken up by eating and digesting food it felt good to redeploy that energy elsewhere and give my liver a good break. Right now I’m looking forward to my date with an avocado and almond feta smash in the morning!

If you aren’t keen on embarking on a juice cleanse and want to give your body a bit of a break, you can follow these top 10 tips.

  • Start each morning with some warm water and lemon, and if you’re feeling particularly brave, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar, although acidic in nature actually help to alkalise the body, and stimulate digestive juices.
  • Eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible. They are foods that are alive and contain the most vital nutrients. Also try and avoid wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It sounds like it’s no fun but we promise you’ll be thankful for the break in the long run.
  • Eat whole foods. Seed-like grains such as buckwheat, nuts, seeds are what we like to call one ingredient foods. No nasties hiding and your body knows how to digest them and absorb as many nutrients as possible. Don’t forget to activate now!
  • Get enough sleep. Your body uses your time asleep to repair and regenerate so make sure you’re getting as much sleep as possible. The general rule of thumb is eight hours, but if you need longer, then try and get into bed a bit earlier.
  • Drink water. Try to drink up to three litres per day to help flush out the toxins your liver is processing. It may sound a lot if you’re not a water drinker already, however your body will love you for it and repay you with glowing skin and bright eyes. Just remember to slowly up your intake over the course of the day to avoid you running to the bathroom every 10 minutes.
  • Swap out your usual beauty products for more natural ones. Particularly ones you use every day, so think deodorant, body lotion, and makeup. Your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs everything that we put on it. If you’re worried about smelling then try a mineral stick with a scent on top.
  • Body brush. If you have time, and a bath, then hop in the tub at least once a week with some Epsom salts, great for detoxing and relaxing at the same time. Aim to dry body brush in gentle downward sweeping motions away from the heart before you get in the shower to help stimulate the lymph glands and flush out toxins.
  • Sweat it out. Try and get your heart rate up with exercise at least three to four days a week, if not every day. If the weather is with you, try and get outside to do it too – being outside can help lower and alleviate stress and regular exercise helps improve your immune system, enhance your sleep quality and raises your metabolism.
  • For an extra boost, try adding in super foods to smoothies and hot drinks. You can find some inspiration for recipes here.
  • Switch off from phones, computers and tablets at least an hour before bed. The blue light can affect sleep quality and hormone signals, which can alter appetite and sleep patterns. Maybe even challenge yourself to one day a week with out digital devices, spend some time solo, call your mum or hang out with friends. Time spent with others or in a nourishing environment alone (by choice) can elevate moods and release the love hormone Oxytocin. Feel good vibes all round.