A Beginner's Guide to Holistic Living with The Life Store Jamaica
The Life Store truly makes holistic living easy. Their one-stop shop is like no other on the island and was the perfect space to embark on my holistic journey.
Last Monday, I celebrated my 22nd birthday. Birthdays are a celebration of life; a toast to the blessings and lessons gained from the previous year and a nod to what more is to come. Approaching this birthday, I reflected a lot on what my 21st year taught me while envisioning what I wanted my 22nd year to look like.
One thing I've realize this past year is the importance of health and wellness- and how I've been ignoring this. The COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of things into perspective- including my priorities and values and how I've been upholding them.
Something that I want to uphold in this new year of life is holistic living.
Holistic lifestyles acknowledge that our health and wellness is interconnected; mentally, physically, emotionally and more. Living holistically is living intentionally, mindfully, respectfully and as a whole.
This is something that I have always wanted to find my footing in- but was unsure of where to start. My initial motivation spurred in 2017 during my acne journey where I turned to holistic living to find a cure. While I made some lifestyle changes- essential oil therapy, reducing my dairy and gluten intake- some lasted and others didn't.
I'll be honest, I'm stubborn...and picky, and lazy, and can be very unhealthy at times. Out of the blue, I have bursts of ambition to become healthier, more active and invest in my future- but then I tend to lose track of the long-term goal.
In Montréal, it was easy experimenting and incorporating holistic living into my lifestyle. Moving back home, I found it hard to find a similar space- that was until I came across The Life Store.
The Life Store describes themselves as "Your place for holistic living" and they truly are. Located in the new Super Valu Towne Centre on Constant Spring Road, this store is truly the holy grail for any holistic living needs in Jamaica.
Walking into their shop was so refreshing. Their space has such a welcoming, inviting and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. As a beginner, I was unsure of where to start but was given so much guidance and support by the store's founder and health coach, Natalie Murray.
Their curated collection of products is extensive; from food to skincare to lifestyle and more. At The Life Store, there truly is something for everyone; whether you're an expert or first-timer. Everyone's journey is different and The Life Store acknowledges, appreciates and welcomes that!
Thankfully, their store is also available online at thelifestoreja.com where free delivery is available! Not only is this convenient and thoughtful during a pandemic, but it's so helpful for those who live outside of the city.
When presented with the opportunity to review some of their amazing stock, I couldn't pass it up. Natalie truly helped me curate a personalized and authentic range of products that captures so many of my passions and interests; from baking to sustainability to beauty to supporting local brands!
Over the past few weeks, I've been incorporating these products into my lifestyle and loving every second of it! I'm so excited to bring you along for the beginning of my holistic journey. These are truly products that I see myself using and loving long-term.
TREAT YOURSELF, YOU DESERVE IT
During quarantine, one of my favourite activities was to bake; not only did it pass time but it had a delicious outcome. However, this was only short-term gratification and was actually doing more harm than good. Luckily, when Natalie asked if I loved to bake, she immediately guided me to the store's amazing range of guilt-free baking goods, mixes, and flours. I was hooked!
PURELY ELIZABETH: Ancient Grain Pancake Mix
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starting the day off healthy and nourished is essential. Recently, waffles have been my go-to comfort breakfast food. I was ecstatic to see The Life Store's range of mixes, specifically their Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Pancake Mix.
This mix is made with only five grains and seeds- yes, only five- including chia, teff flour and buckwheat flour. It's such a refreshing feeling to be able to read a package's ingredients and contents and not be overwhelmed and unsure of what you're actually eating. I have to admit, I was initially unfamiliar with teff and buckwheat flour but it was so easy to research them- versus, trying to understand scientific jargon.
The instructions provided were so easy to follow- and they even provided alternative measurements for making waffles instead of pancakes! Overall, I was able to make about eight waffles from the entire bag- although, this is also dependent on the size and depth of my waffle machine tray.
With zero added sugar, these gluten-free and vegan pancakes are not only mouth-watering, but 100% guilt-free. The Purely Elizabeth mix is truly a game changer. Sometimes it's easy to spot out gluten-free or vegan alternatives to your favourite foods- but this isn't the case.
LILY'S: Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips
Don't get me wrong, the Purely Elizabeth waffles were delicious but they weren't complete without infusing Lily's Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips. I love chocolate-chip waffles and these 32% cocoa baking chips were truly the real kick! They have zero added sugar and are botanically and naturally sweetened with stevia. When I say that these gluten-free milk chocolate chips are guilt-free, I mean it. As a fair-trade certified product, it's up to par with ethical social, economic and environmental standards.
These chocolate chips are so delicious and have become a staple in my kitchen. They pair so well with other baked goods- such as banana bread, chocolate-chip cookies and brownies- and even smoothies and hot chocolate! I even catch myself grabbing a few chocolate chips throughout the day as a treat. I'm so excited to test out more of the Lily's products that The Life Store offers, such as their dark chocolate baking chips and milk chocolate caramel popcorn!
As a chocolate lover, it feels so rewarding being able to indulge in one of my favourite 'guilty' pleasures while being reassured that I'm not consuming copious amounts of sugar. For an even better taste than traditional commercial chocolate chip brands, and at a similar price point, there is no reason not to make this sweet switch.
LAKANTO: Maple Flavoured Syrup
Waffles aren't complete without their toppings and the Lakanto Maple Flavoured Syrup didn't disappoint. This sugar-free and Ketogenic syrup is sweetened with monkfruit, a fruit with anti-inflammatory properties. This syrup is the perfect alternative to sugar-packed commercial brands; it tastes and makes you feel 10x better. Its natural sweetness beats the 'real' thing and isn't overwhelmingly rich.
Alongside some banana slices, this syrup was truly the perfect addition to my chocolate-chip waffles. What I loved was how much thinner and lighter its consistency was! Since it doesn't have a syrup's traditional thickness, I enjoyed pouring the syrup on the side of my plate and dipping each bite into it to soak up its delicious taste without getting my waffles soggy.
My family has fallen in love with this syrup and we've been using it constantly, even beyond baking! It's not only perfect for waffles and pancakes but for oatmeal, yogurt and even as a coffee or tea sweetener! Clean eating is clean living. Being able to find products that add to and enrich my palette, versus place limits on it, is such a refreshing feeling.
Make sure to check out the baking process behind these delicious waffles in one of my latest videos: 'A Weekend in Ocho Rios'!
SUSTAINABLE LIVING IS HOLISTIC LIVING
To live holistically is to live sustainably. Our world is interconnected and many of our daily choices and actions, the products we buy, the food we consume directly impact our environment. We need to learn to not only be mindful and conscious of our own health, but also the health and wellbeing of our planet and only home.
SIMPLY GUM: Cleanse & Natural Gum
Simply Gum is simply amazing. This vegan gum is not only the perfect pick-me-up but is sustainable. Most gum brands contain synthetics and plastics which are not biodegradable and remain in the environment for years and years. Simply Gum simply uses natural ingredients- all of which are transparently listed on the back of its packaging. Instead of conventional "gum base", which contains polyvinyl acetate and plastic, Simply Gum uses chicle from the sap of a sapodilla tree- which gives it its interesting, brown and textured appearance.
Their packaging is minimalistic and doesn't include wasteful individual wrappers for each piece of gum. Instead, they offer biodegradable post chew wraps for easy disposal.
The two flavours that I tried were 'Cleanse' and 'Natural'. These two vegan flavours are free of literally everything- gluten, dairy, soy, nut, and wheat! While Cleanse was a more fruity and tangy flavour, consisting of grapefruit and prickly pear, Natural's refreshing peppermint kick was more up my alley.
Simply Gum is naturally sweetened with cane sugar containing no artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours or coatings. Not only are they addictive, but they're good for you and the environment.
I loved how subtly freshening, sweet and soft to chew these gums were! As a gum fanatic, I'll admit I was skeptical when trying them out but now, there's no going back.
HIC: Stainless Steel Drinking Straws
Our future and environment depends on reducing our plastic consumption. One way I've been able to do this is by switching out disposable and single-use products for reusable ones! Not only are reusable products less wasteful but they're cost efficient and so convenient.
One of my favourite reusable products that I use daily are reusable straws. Following Jamaica's single-use plastic ban- these became an essential item. While disposable paper straws are great, they're not for everyone and are still wasteful. As a fan of metal straws, I'm constantly on the hunt for new ones to add to my roster!
The HIC Stainless Steel Drinking Straws from The Life Store were the perfect addition to my daily routine. Not only are they gorgeous- look at its stunning rainbow iridescent coating!- but safe, economical, eco-friendly and convenient. These straws won't rust, corrode, strain or break, so I don't have to worry about any residue dissolved into my water- something I've experienced with paper or wooden straws.
This kit includes four drinking straws and one cleaning brush- which is so handy for using the straws on rotation. These are actually the first angled tip reusable straws that I've ever owned! I actually prefer this accessible design as it's so practical and helpful for easy sipping. These are my new go-to straws and are always within arms reach.
PACK N WOOD: Bamboo Eco-Friendly Cutlery
Another way to reduce plastic consumption daily is by swapping out single-use utensils for a reusable set! I always feel so wasteful whenever I stop for food on the road and they hand me the disposable single-use plastic cutlery wrapped in the plastic packaging. This bamboo cutlery set available at The Life Store was exactly what I was searching for!
This Bamboo Eco-Friendly Cutlery set is potentially one of my favourite items that I picked up from The Life Store. It has rightfully claimed its space in my daily handbag- it's so light and thin and doesn't take up any space! This kit comes with a full biodegradable utensil set; a knife, fork and spoon. I've tested and used them multiple times on both hot foods (soups, box lunches and pastas) and cold foods (salads and noodles) and they're truly so functional and durable!
Typically, I carry these utensils in a reusable and resealable bag which helps to avoid cross contamination with any of the items inside of my handbag both before and after they've been used. They're very easy to clean and are a necessary habit to integrate into your daily routine.
Every person has the power to enact powerful change through their daily choices, actions and intentions. Similar to the stainless steel drinking straws, I truly believe that everyone should own a set of bamboo cutlery- just think of how much less waste there would be!
LOOKING & FEELING BEAUTIFUL
During my acne journey, I began to appreciate the importance of protecting your skin. After all, it's the human body's largest organ. Many times, we unknowingly harm our skin in our daily routines and through the products we use daily- not only externally, but internally. The Life Store makes looking and feeling beautiful easy with their wide range of holistic skincare and beauty products!
VITAL PROTEINS: Beauty Collagen
One of the products that I was really interested in trying was the Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen dietary supplement. Collagen is a big buzz word that everyone's been using recently...but what are its benefits?
This powerful packet provides skin, hair, nail and joint support for your inner and outer glow; including skin hydration, skin elasticity and digestive health. While they provide larger drums, I decided to test out one of their Strawberry Lemon packets. One of these dairy and gluten-free packets contain 12g of collagen and 120mg of hyaluronic acid. Simply mix the powder thoroughly with 8 fl oz of water, and enjoy!
With no artificial sweeteners, fillers or additives, its organic strawberry and lemon flavours were the perfect summer fix- refreshing, hydrating and fruity. While I paired it with water, this powder would be a perfect addition to smoothies, juices, or teas!
NOUR NATURAL THERAPY: Goat's Milk Soap
When looking through The Life Store's range of soaps, their selection of locally-made Nour Natural Therapy soaps immediately caught my eye- specifically, their Goat's Milk Soap. I was slightly familiar with the benefits of goat's milk, not only in skincare products but in food products, but was unsure of whether it was the right fit for me.
This 100% natural soap's gentle formula is helpful with eczema, psoriasis and allergies. As someone who suffers with eczema and allergies- especially during the summertime- and has very sensitive skin, I was really excited to try this product out. While it's a bit soon to say whether it's healed these issues, it's safe to say that it has definitely helped.
Personally, I fell in love with this bar soap. It wasn't heavily scented with fragrances or didn't leave a coated or sticky residue like many commercial brands. Its formula was so soft, gentle and relieving on skin. I've genuinely seen an improvement in the texture and quality of my skin since then and I'm so excited to try out more of Nour Natural Therapy's soaps, such as their activated charcoal and turmeric soaps.
LIVING INTENTIONALLY AND LOCALLY
Holistic living is intentional living. It recognizes the interconnectedness of everything that surrounds us. By purchasing and advocating for local businesses, I was unknowingly living holistically. As an avid supporter of Jamaican-made goodies, I was so excited to see the store's range of holistic products made with love and care in Jamaica.
LIKKLE TEA: Loose Leaf Teas
2020 has been the year of challenging myself. As a picky eater, whose go-to hot beverage is hot chocolate, I was reluctant to try one of the store's many tea options. Tea is something that I've always wanted to love but never found the right brand or flavour. I'm so relieved to say that Likkle Tea has finally changed this.
Likkle Tea offers a selection of loose leaf teas, all of which are blended and packaged in Jamaica. There were so many choices in store but 'Coconutty Escape' seemed like the perfect flavour to help me make my transition into the tea life. It's caffeine-free and consists of milk oolong tea and roasted shredded coconut- yes, that's it. Just two ingredients. It was so fascinating opening the bag and seeing the actual coconut flakes and tea leaves.
This tea is perfect for rainy days or early mornings, with instant relaxing and refreshing properties. The 28g resealable bag I chose makes about 12 cups of tea and reduces the unnecessary packaging used in traditional tea bags! If you're a picky eater like me or just haven't found the perfect tea, look no further than Likkle Tea.
SWYPZ PLUS: All- Natural Sanitizing Wipes
Swypz Plus is a Jamaican-Made brand that I have been using and loving for years. Typically, I buy their larger packs of wipes for my bathroom counter but always wished that I had a compact travel sized pack for my handbag. Thankfully, The Life Store carries some of their resealable zip-top packs- perfect for a gyal-on-the-go like myself.
Thanks to its formula and resealable packaging, the 8 all-natural wipes never dry out! The amazing thing about these wipes are that they're all-purpose sanitizing wipes- perfect during a pandemic. The 'Lavender Kiss' scent, consisting of lavender and grape-seed oil and vitamin E, is rich of decadent essential oils and doesn't smell like harsh chemicals.
Similar to the bamboo cutlery, these wipes have become an essential in my handbag. While I was initially worried about running out of them quickly, I simply refilled it within some wipes from my larger pack at home- which The Life Store also has available! Whether I want to sanitize my hands after running errands, touch-up my makeup or cool down myself on a hot day, these wipes are so convenient and necessary to have.
I think it's safe to say that this is only the beginning of my holistic journey. Every journey is different and The Life Store is truly the place to guide you on yours. Their vast curated collection of products, from skincare to food products to supplements and more, allows one to truly get to know their preferences and themselves. These are products that I genuinely see myself continuously using, and I can't wait to see what more is in store!
This post is sponsored by The Life Store Jamaica. As always, all opinions and ideas are entirely my own.