Photo by Karla Reina

Coffee has long dominated the morning ritual of Americans. In the daily hustle, the drive-through latte rules. Attempting to stay relevant, coffee has received numerous “upgrades” to make it more paleo, more nutritious, less acidic. What if there was a better way? An entirely different way? Siply is reinventing the morning routine to include clean organic loose leaf tea. The innovation doesn’t stop there, Siply aims to take tea drinking to a whole new level with exciting flavor combinations that will make it easy to quit coffee. If you are coffee drinker looking for a change, butter tea is the way of the future.

For Siply, tea isn’t just hot beverage. Tea is serene. It is both calming and invigorating. It is beneficial in ways that far surpass coffee. It is linked with decreased depression, diabetes and other diseases. Siply makes extra effort to source ethically. Teas are tested for heavy metals and pesticides. Beyond those benefits, Siply encourages a conscious connection to tea drinking. Drinking tea is about taking your foot off the pedal. It’s about the present moment. It’s about stimulating and focusing the mind. For Siply, tea drinking is meditation — as it has been for a thousand years.

Why it matters: Biodiversity

Tea is better for the planet than coffee. Period. It is easier to grow, and requires less water. It can grow in more diverse climates. Tea can also be mixed with other herbs or spices that further extend it’s sustainability. Transitioning the world from coffee is a huge undertaking, for sure. Siply is doing it one steamy cup at a time. We may throw our money at fatigue by ordering a double mocha latte. Siply teaches a better way to drink a better beverage that is ultimately better for the planet. It is a more conscientious way to spend your dollars, and a more mindful way to spend your morning.

Hemp 360

For years I struggled with my complexion. I tried everything from Amoxicillin to Proactive to Accutane. Nothing helped. My skin remained stubbornly and unpredictably blemished. Then, as I began to reevaluate my overall health, I started also to understand more about my own skin.

Skin is the largest organ. Among other purposes it serves, it acts as a conduit. It will absorb toxins from clothing, the air, and from anything applied to it. Those toxins damage the skin’s ability to function. There are also long term implications because toxins may enter the blood stream through the skin affecting other internal systems. Part of the natural process of skin is regeneration. However, external impurities halt its ability to heal, hence unbalanced visibly distressed skin.

I discovered Hemp 360 at the farmers market in Austin. Using raw, organic, cold-pressed ingredients, including, but no limited to, the super nutritious hemp oil, Hemp 360 offers skin care with zero toxins. No preservatives, no nonessential stabilizers, just pure oils and butters. Within a month of using their skin repair raw lotion, I no longer had the deep cystic spots that afflicted me most of my life. My skin healed and brightened. Hemp 360 is an impressive skin care line born of simple, nourishing ingredients.

Why it matters: Hemp.

Hemp is the non-drug version of the cannabis genus. Though it shares a family with marijuana, it is not psychoactive. It does, however, grow like a weed. That means it does not require pesticides or fertilizers and can thrive in diverse climates. It is a hardy plant that can be utilized in many different ways; from textiles, to nutritional supplements to skin care to building materials. It is a high return resource with a low environmental impact. Hemp 360 Skin Care takes advantage of one aspect of this versatile plant; it’s beneficial oils. But in doing so, they continue to support the market for a plant that has the potential to move many industries toward a more sustainable model of production. They may have chosen hemp for it’s miraculous skin healing properties, but ultimately that choice can also help to heal the planet.

The Future 50 Foods

“Future 50 Foods is the beginning of a journey and a way for people to make a change, one delicious dish at a time.” –WWF/Knorr Future 50 Report

Several years ago my interest in the sustainable food movement began. Volunteering at the farmers market and finding other ways to shop for local, sustainably-raised food became a kind of obsession. I volunteered at the Sustainable Food Center. I spent a few years eating as a vegan. I’ve read Dan Barber’s book Third Plate twice. When it comes to mindful eating, I’ve been on board for awhile.

My views have evolved over the years. The roll industrialized agriculture plays in damaging the environment has only become more apparent to me. As the population continues to expand, the urgency to find new ways to feed the world increases. Dangerous mono-crops threaten the vitality of the entire industry and continue to wreak havoc on ecosystems. The Future 50 Foods report, compiled by Knorr and the World Wildlife Fund, is the best compilation I’ve seen which offers solutions to the food crisis. Solutions in the form of nutrient dense foods that are easy to produce en mass.

Biodiversity is key when considering the possible effects of what we eat. The report asserts the importance of eating a variety of food, siting that “75% of the global food supply comes from only 12 plant and 5 animal species.” Finding new foods, new varieties, new flavors should be an imperative as we look for ways to help the environment. Establishing a demand for unfamiliar foods like bambara groundnuts or fonio is challenging, but doable. Think of the rise of kale and quinoa in American cooking. We can eat our way into sustainability by making the foods on this list more mainstream.

Why it matters: Affordability.

“Local,” “sustainable,” “organic” — these words though important, have come to be more of a status symbol than an environmental practice. After all, these types of local, sustainable and organic foods often are priced to reflect the demand for such labels. The Future 50 list is different. It is about choosing foods that are inexpensive to farm and inexpensive to consume. Foods that often grow well in poor or unpredictable climates. Foods that are affordable in every sense of the word. They cost the earth minimal energy to produce. Many foods on the list invest valuable nitrogen back into the soil, bolstering the ecosystem rather than draining it. Sustainability is only truly effective if every class of person can be involved, not just the affluent. Eating the Future 50 Foods is not a class signal, it is a pragmatic and inexpensive way to eat healthy. It is about health for the body and health for the world.

What is a powerful purchase?

A powerful purchase is more than an exchange of goods and services. It is a reflection of values. It is an investment in community. It is an opportunity to make a difference.

The word purchase doesn’t just mean the act of buying. Purchase also means a hold or position on something for applying power advantageously. Purchase means foothold. It means anchor. It means support. We look for purchase in things that are sturdy, foundational and reliable.

We look for purchase in places that will hold us up.

Finding purchase in this mixed up world is difficult. It can be intimidating. Finding purchase for our time and money is overwhelming. In the vast ocean of commerce, it can be hard to stay anchored.

This is a collection of places where you’ll find purchase.

Organizations and businesses that are powerful in stabilizing ways. That consciously consider their employees. That actively work toward sustainability. That cultivate their communities.

In a world full of information, finding what you need can be surprisingly hard. Here you’ll find opportunities that will empower both your dollar and your spirit. Ways to improve your interaction with the standard structure of buying and selling goods.

Here you’ll find what matters.