The Goods / April 12, 2017

Ya, we’re talking to you!

Welcome to halfway through your week. Fun times!

This week, we’ve got an amazing kitchen staff, forest bathing and lab jewels.

On with the show!

Quiches, date squares, chocolate chip cookies…

The list goes on.

Yummy goodies like these are made by a team of amazing people that are part of a community project in British Columbia, Canada called the The Mindful Mouthful.

While they may not be reinventing the wheel when it comes to classic recipes, they are definitely changing the way they’re made — by including a huge amount of ❤️️

You see, that delicious Nanaimo bar you can order was made by an incredible team of uniquely-abled adults whom are mentally and developmentally challenged.

What a team

This heart-warming project gives a team of 15 people (who normally wouldn’t earn a wage due to their mental “disabilities”) the opportunity to work for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, to mingle with others socially, and to learn how to cook and clean in a kitchen setting.

The Mindful Mouthful also happens to be a viable business. This a great example of helping others reach their fullest potential.

We haven’t had the chance to crush some of their cookies, but apparently, they’re awesome good. If only they shipped internationally 🍪

Out here, you don’t have to do anything. Mother Nature does the work for you.

Hit the showers

The Japanese government spent over a decade investigating the psychological and physiological effects of shinrin-yoku, or loosely translated ‘forest bathing.’

The results are in and — to no surprise — there are amazing benefits to basking amongst the trees.

Results that last

It was found that human natural killer cells (the kind of cells in your body that respond to viral infections and tumor growth — and yes, that’s their real name) had some serious activity spikes for up to a week after a forest visit. Pretty sweet.

Out in the woods, the air really is fresher and safer for you. Trees and plants naturally give off phytoncide (a.k.a., antimicrobial organic compounds) to protect themselves from rotting. For us humans, these compounds boost our immune system.

Above all, simply being in the presence of trees has been proven to lower your heart rate and your blood pressure. It even decreases the hormones that produce stress. Ahhhh.

Take a hike (please)

We’re not sure that we really needed science to back the idea that being in nature is therapeutic, but hey, we’ll take it.

This Spring or Autumn (depending on your hemisphere), make some time to get out in the woods, put your phone on airplane mode and get your tree bathing on 🛀

“A Diamond is Forever”

Of course. This is what they — the diamond industry — want you to think.

Arguably the “best advertising slogan of the 20th century,” the guy who coined the term back in 1947 had no idea how much of a huge impact these four words would have.

For one thing, it worked.

It brought the diamond industry heaps of profits because it convinced women that diamonds are a necessity for courtship and marriage (so put your hands up ✋) and tricked men into thinking that the bigger the diamond, the greater the love (sneaky, sneaky.)

Times are a changin’

As effective as this marketing campaign was in the past, the demand for diamonds as jewelry is going down. And that’s a good thing because (hopefully) it’ll prevent more bad things from happening due to the nasty business of earth-made diamonds.

Dirty diamonds

Some info before we get started.

About ⅔ of the world’s diamond supply comes from Africa, and the diamond industry is valued at around USD $81 billion.

Add to this, the messy political and social fabric of the past few decades throughout the continent and the result is years of civil wars in numerous countries funded by diamonds unearthed by slave labour.

Sad thing is, the reality behind the term “blood diamond” is still very pertinent today.

In Zimbabwe, for instance, (where ¼ of its population don’t have enough to eat), billions of dollars from its diamond mines have reportedly ‘gone missing’ (instead of going to important stuff like, um, food.) Recent reports highlight the deep corruption and terrible state violence against the Zimbabwean civilians who work in the mines.

Sad stuff. And makes no sense, we know 😟

Good news is, we’ve got plasma reactors.

There’s a new startup that makes diamonds in a lab. Because, San Francisco.

The Diamond Foundry is using topshelf science to build diamonds in plasma reactors that imitate the Sun’s heat (oooof, that’s hot.) Coolest thing about these human-made diamonds is that there is 100% transparency in where your diamonds come from — hipster scientists in California.

Even better news: there are more awesome companies doing similar good stuff.

MiaDonna, for instance, recently popped out the largest lab-made diamond in the US — a whopping 6.2 carat (over 11mm in size.) They also happen to donate 5% of their annual profits to help fund agricultural projects in communities devastated by the conflict brought upon by the diamond industry. Talk about wow.

Lab grown diamonds, really?

Oh ya, totally. Under a microscope, there’s no difference.

As Anna-Meike Anderson (MiaDonna’s CEO) explains, these diamonds are optically, chemically, and physically identical to earth-mined diamonds. She also gives the example of comparing the ice outside and the ice in your freezer — there is basically no difference.

Sorry (not sorry) Mr Bond, but Martin Roscheisen (CEO at Diamond Foundry), said it best, “a diamond is a diamond is a diamond.”

Kind of a no-brainer

In addition to their shine and overall lower cost, the beauty in these diamond alternatives is that there are no humanitarian nor environmental consequences to producing them.

There is no more need to tear up the planet nor the communities of innocent people in search for earth-made diamonds.

Like the organic food movement from a few decades back, change on a big scale takes time. But every single purchase has an impact.

You vote for change with every dollar you spend.

Ladies don’t be fooled, and guys wake up

Don’t fall for the latest marketing tricks (i.e. “Real is rare”) the old school diamond industry is trying to push onto us. The notion that diamonds are rare is total BS. Thesupply of diamonds has always been artificially controlled by a bunch of old rich guys.

We’re smarter than that, c’mon.

If you plan on buying some shiny rocks for your loved ones, ask the tough questions to your jeweller, or just check out some of the great eco-friendly alternatives out there. (We sure did!)

Friendly reminder: Real love is harder to find than branded and bloody diamonds.

If you’re lucky enough to find it, you’ll know that no jewel will ever match it 💠

Thanks for reading friends!

Did you smile? We sure hope so :)

Don’t forget to Like our Facebook page. We’re not even sure if it’s possible, but we’ll love you sooooo much more if you do.

Catch ya next week.

*************

Gettin’ clicky with it!

👂 Give your ears the forest (30 min audio).

👀 See the Mindful Mouthful team in action.

👧🏼 This little girl is living the Disney dream.

🎥 A quick reportage on diamonds by Quartz (4 min video.)

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