Le Marché, King’s Wharf

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As I had a car rental this past weekend, I decided to visit the King’s Wharf community in Dartmouth. I discovered a new local store, Le Marché, which sells a nice variety of mostly-locally made food products, including fresh bread and produce, as well as some natural cleaning and beauty products. I treated myself to some unpackaged white Lebanese olive oil soap bars, as well as to a bottle of Splash blood-orange olive oil. The store has a small, but good collection of olive oils stored in vats; you fill glass bottles with the oil, and can bring the bottles in for a refill. It’s the same concept as the larger Liquid Gold stores in Halifax. It’s a nice little store that I will make a point of visiting again.

Real Fake Meats

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Real Fake Meats is Halifax’s first vegan butcher store. I have been there a few times since it’s opened and plan to be a regular customer. I don’t generally buy too many faux meat products, as I prefer to use vegetables and grains, but I am very partial to seitan bacon. Although I can make seitan at home, it can be a long process, so I do like the convenience of buying it ready made.

The store has a variety of plant-based deli items such as turkey, seitan bacon, donair meat, cheeses, and desserts. There is a rotating deli menu as well; there isn’t a lot of seating in the shop, so most people take the food to go. The image above is of the Philly cheeze sandwich, which is delicious. The seitan bacon is divine, and I’ve never managed to make it home before eating any of the desserts. Also worth mentioning is the tofu feta, which is fabulous.

My one concern about the store is the plastic packaging used: The cheeses and desserts are packed in lidded plastic tubs, while the meats are in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Happily, however, I spoke to the owner about whether I could bring my own containers, and she said they would be happy to oblige.

Whenever I’ve been there, which has been in winter so far, I’ve seen a few people come in wearing down coats or leather bags, so the clientele does not consist of only vegans. The staff told me that, in fact, many of the regular clients are omnivores who are looking for vegan alternatives as a way to reduce their consumption of animal products. Naturally, I was delighted to hear this, particularly since it’s a way for omnivores to understand the many delicious plant-based alternatives available to them.

Lush Naked skincare

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Lush is expanding its inventory of Naked products; 35% of its products are now completely package free. I have been using a number of their package-free body products, such as the King of Skin, for several years, but in the past week, I’ve tried their new Naked facial care products.

My facial skin is dry, delicate, and easily irritated. Most skin cleansers, no matter how gentle, dry out my face. I’ve found that using olive oil to cleanse my face, and wiping my face with an Erase Your Face cloth, has cut down significantly on skin irritation. Oil cleansing has become very popular. The most common method used is a combination of two parts castor oil to one part olive oil. You need to remove this oil with a very hot wash cloth, as castor oil is very viscuous. This method dried my skin out, as I found the hot wash cloth too harsh. I’ve had better luck with using plain olive oil and warm water. I was interested in trying the new Lush Naked Like a Virgin cold cream, which is an oil-based solid cleanser. The key ingredients are olive oil, jojoba oil. I apply the bar to my damp face, massage into the skin, and wipe off with an Erase Your Face cloth soaked in warm water. I then rinse my face with some more warm water and pat to dry. The bar does a good job of removing makeup, and my skin doesn’t feel dry or irritated. The only thing I don’t like about this product is the addition of fragrance which, sadly, is something that Lush insists on using for most of its products. The fragrance consists largely of Limonene. Fortunately, it’s a very mild scent and doesn’t stay on the skin once the oil is rinsed off.

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I have been using facial oil for a long time; I make my own oil that consists of jojoba oil as the base, to which I add argan oil and rosehip seed oil. I use this facial oil at night in lieu of a serum. I find serums to be far too harsh on my skin, especially since many of them contain what they call anti-aging ingredients, which often serve to exfoliate the skin. My face can’t tolerate exfoliants. I find these serums to be both too irritating and drying. I layer a rich facial balm over the facial oil at night, as the oil isn’t enough. Travelling with facial oils can be messy, as I’ve had a few spills from the high altitude in a plane, so I was interested in trying one of the Naked facial oils. I was given a sample of Banana Oil, whose main ingredients are murumuru butter, banana, grapeseed oil, and mango butter. I’ve used the sample only on my neck so far: No irritation so far. I will try some on my face tonight, now that I know the cold cream doesn’t cause irritation. I am a little concerned about the fragrance, as this product is not washed off, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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While it’s easy to make my own products, I do need to buy a lot of separate items; for example three oils for my facial oil, versus one Lush naked bar. The bars would be very good for travelling, as well, as they would not count as liquids.

 

 

 

Easy zero-waste dish soap

I have been  using a very easy zero-waste dish detergent over the past week. I simply take 4-5 soap nuts and place them in a glass bottle that used to contain passata. I add hot water to the soap nuts, and give the bottle a good shake. I pour about a 1/4 cup (I never measure) into the sink and wash my dishes. I use either the wooden brush or the luffa, both pictured above, to clean the dishes. While I’m filling the sink with hot water, I top up the bottle. I keep doing this until the soap nuts stop producing saponin, at which point I put the soap nuts in the compost and put new ones into the bottle. Soap nuts do not lather, but the dishes come out sparkling clean. You can use this same method to make an all-purpose cleaner. I buy soap nuts from The Bulk Barn, using my own glass container.