I’ve spent years researching and trying out dozens of sustainable products, from natural skincare lines to kitchen staples and holistic remedies. It’s an ongoing quest for the best of the best in terms of sustainability, ingredients, quality, design, effectiveness, and price. Settling for so-so has never really been my thing. Fortunately, there are a growing number of new and heritage brands making some incredible products. These are the essentials that make up my personal sanctuary. The things I’ve fallen in love with and use daily.
The following list is always evolving as I discover exciting products, vendors and resources. Check in whenever you’re on the hunt for something new. I’ve done the work, so that you don’t have to.
COOKING & DINING
FOOD & DRINK
OM FOODS | This online store, which has Canadian and American websites, is my go-to for all my organic dry goods. A few times a year I place a large order with everything from beans, lentils, spices, loose leaf teas, adaptogenic powders, shea butter, kelp noodles, pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, epsom salts and more. Everything is organic (their name stands for Organic Matters) and the sourcing of all their ingredients is as good as it gets. The prices for quality are also the best I’ve found.
LOCAL B.C. PRODUCTS
SAVARY ISLAND SOURDOUGH BREAD | I still can’t get motivated to bake my own bread, so I buy a weekly loaf of super high quality sourdough at Savary Island Pie Company in West Vancouver. I’ve been coming to this bakery and café since I was a child and can tell you that they also make the world’s best pies, my favourites being raspberry rhubarb and lemon buttermilk with berries. But honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything there. All of their baked goods are heaven.
SOYA NOVA TOFU | The verdict on tofu (and many other soy products) seems to be out. One expert will tell you to avoid it, the next will encourage you to indulge. I personally love tofu and have done my own research on both sides of the discussion. In my opinion, if the Okinawan’s, the people who live the longest healthiest on earth, eat tons of tofu, I’m sold. The real issue, I believe is the quality of the tofu we find in most supermarkets. It’s nothing like the homemade tofu these Japanese elders have been consuming for decades. Even if we buy organic, most tofu brands are mass-produced and highly processed. So I was thrilled when I discovered Salt Spring Island based Soya Nova Tofu, which makes very high quality, organic tofu in small batches. They have a handful of stockists in BC and you can order their delicious tofus on Spud.ca.
IN THE KITCHEN
LE CREUSET & STAUB | Years ago I was fortunate to stumble upon some cast iron Le Creuset dutch ovens at a charity sale. Since then I’ve invested in a few more Le Creuset and Staub pots and pans for my cooking arsenal. These are the best non-toxic alternatives I’ve found to non-stick cookware and I swear my food tastes better when I cook with them. There’s something about cooking with something so beautiful and enduring that makes the whole ritual of preparing a meal that much more special. For discounted Staub, I recommend checking the Zwilling website from time to time. They occasionally sell one-off pots and pans at a large discount when they have imperfections that don’t impact use. That is how I bought my frying pan and I never did locate the defect. Since this cookware can last for generations if well cared for, it’s definitely worth the investment, and if you’re lucky you can even find some second-hand.
INSTANT POT | It’s not uncommon for me to use my instant pot at least once or twice a day. This multi-functional machine makes cooking everything from beans to rice so much easier and faster, which means I’m more likely to cook and eat healthy.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
HERBS, SUPPLEMENTS & POTIONS
MOON JUICE | I’ve been using Moon Juice supplements and beauty products for a few years now. Their sourcing and formulations are excellent, the packaging is eco-conscious and all of their products are steeped in years of research and trial and error. Super You has done wonders for my anxiety. Super Hair has made my hair so much healthier. And Magnesi-Om helps me sleep deeply. I mix their Collagen Protect and adaptogen powders, like astragalus, tulsi and ginseng, into morning smoothies to boost my skin and keep my stress levels in equilibrium. You can find several of their products at Sephora in Canada or the whole collection on their website.
LIVING LIBATIONS | A beautiful Canadian company based in Ontario, I buy all of my essential oils, fragrance and most of my beauty products from this brand. Founder Nadine Artemis has been sourcing the highest quality oils and developing unique formulations since 1994. Everything they do is clean, organic, truly all-natural and eco-friendly.
MENTAL HEALTH & SELF WORK
TO BE MAGNETIC | TBM is the world’s leading formula for neural manifestation work. I started doing TBM work back in early 2021, not so much to manifest a wishlist of items or dreams, but to do the deep self work around shadow, inner child and self-worth (which contributes to successful manifesting). Backed extensively by neuroscience, plus a sprinkling of woo-woo, TBM walks you through the process of unblocking your shadows/triggers, discovering your authentic self, and taking aligned action to reach your goals. It’s an understatement to say that the work and the community within TBM has had a profound impact on my life, as well as the lives of thousands of others. I cannot recommend it enough. To learn more about neural manifestation and TBM’s unique process, listen to this podcast episode. Use coupon code “Alexis” to get 15% off your first year’s subscription of The Pathway.
BEAUTY & SELF CARE
ACID POTION BY MOON JUICE | A plant-based adaptation of beauty editor favourite Biologique Recherche P50 at a fraction of the price. This exfoliating toner works just as well as its dirtier French counterpart, cleaning out clogged pores, brightening the skin and balancing sebum. I like to use this product twice a week for that natural glow.
GUA SHA EMPRESS STONE BY WILDING | Since botox remains on my no-list (I’m just too scared of the long-term effects), I’ve been eager to try clean anti-aging alternatives that might help slow down aging, especially around my face. I heard about Gua Sha as an ancient Chinese healing technique that helps lift, sculpt, tone, and de-puff the skin. Gua Sha works by promoting lymphatic drainage, stimulating circulation, producing collagen, decreasing inflammation, reducing dark circles and sculpting facial muscles. My Gua Sha tool from Wilding is made from sustainably-sourced Bian stone, which is an amalgamate of over 40 minerals with rejuvenating properties. Bian stone was formed when a meteor struck a mountain in China 65 million years ago, which definitely adds a sprinkle of magic to my morning bathroom routine.
BEST SKIN EVER – SEABUCKTHORN BY LIVING LIBATIONS | This incredible product performs triple duty as a makeup remover, cleanser and moisturizer all-in-one. When I lived in Paris, I started using oil-based face wash after hearing that they are gentler and better for the skin. It took me a few tries to find just the right one, and now that I have, I can’t imagine using anything else on my face. In the evenings I apply the oil using a gentle washcloth (which also exfoliates!) to remove any makeup, dirt and build up from day, while simultaneously moisturizing. In the mornings I simply splash my face with water and then apply the oil directly to with my hands. A big win for anyone who wants to minimize the amount of steps in their beauty routine.
5-in-1 TINTED SUNSCREEN MOISTURIZER BY SUNTEGRITY | The best non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, mineral sunscreen for the face I’ve found so far. This sheer, tinted cream goes on smoothly and evenly, without looking too matt or greasy and provides good all day-coverage during the sunnier months. The SPF 30 makes for a good base and I would recommend reapplying every few hours on days when you spend more time in direct sunlight (just like any other sunscreen). No breakouts, blotchiness or clogged pores to report.
MOISTURIZING MINERAL FACE SUNSCREEN & PRIMER, SPF 30 BY SUNTEGRITY | It’s been a long road to find a basic mineral sunscreen that spreads nicely, works well under makeup and doesn’t leave me looking like a ghost with a white streaked face. So far this one is by far my favourite. I use it on days when I don’t want to wear a tinted moisturizer, usually when I’m going makeup-free to the beach or on a hike, but it works equally well with makeup.
DOUBLE EDGE SAFETY RAZOR CHROME PLATED DE89BL BY EDWIN JAGGER | I bought my chrome razor several years ago when I got sick of spending a small fortune on disposable razors that would end up in the landfill. It’s very satisfying to know that my new razor can potentially last me for the rest of my life. Each replaceable blade lasts for months and costs pennies. And most importantly, it does a fantastic job. With a little practice, I now get a smoother, closer and faster shave than I ever did with a plastic razor.
Use with Derby Extra Double Edge Safety Razor Blades | Each blade lasts about 6 months. The $8 I spent on 20 blades will literally last me 10 years. And I can actually recycle them (with proper safety precautions).
UNCOVER UP NATURAL FINISH CONCEALER BY RMS BEAUTY | (I use shade 00)
BURITI BRONZER BY RMS BEAUTY |
HAPPY GUM DROPS BY LIVING LIBATIONS |
HAPPY GUMS CLEANSING CLAY TOOTHPASTE BY LIVING LIBATIONS |
BOAR BRISTLE HAIRBRUSH AND BAMBOO COMB |
UNSCENTED DAILY MOISTURIZING SHAMPOO BY CARINA ORGANICS | Made locally in North Vancouver, Carina Organics offers a truly clean and green haircare line, free of toxic ingredients like sulphates and parabens. Many local refillery shops also sell their products in bulk if you prefer to fill up a reusable container like me. I find that dark amber glass bottles with pumps (available at most refilleries) to be a pretty, eco-friendly alternative.
UNSCENTED DAILY CONDITIONER BY CARINA ORGANICS | Same as above. I often prefer unscented options when available, since most scents are made using endocrine disrupting synthetic fragrance. Plus, even the most high quality essential oil based fragrances can have a negative impact on our hormones through scent overstimulation. So I try to cut back on scents in products where I don’t need them. That being said, I have tried some of Carina Organics’ scented products and they are equally lovely!
CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES
These books have changed my life, introduced me to rich, new ideas and transformed how I view the world. May you gain as much wisdom and joy from them as I have.
The Myth of Normal by Dr. Gabor Maté
How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera
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