As a couple who doesn’t follow the gift-giving status quo, my husband and I don’t send pesticide-laden flower bouquets or nosh on slave-labor chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Rather, we like to be unique with our gift giving and choose eco-friendly items (or experiences) that will create a lasting impression — not just for ourselves, but for this beautiful earth we all inhabit.
An eco-friendly gift for yourself first
My hubs is a self proclaimed chocoholic, but not of the GMO, slave labor, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors kind. So, when I stumbled across this to-die-for Sexy Mayan Smoothie recipe created by Southern California’s Beaming organic superfood cafés, I was all ears (and tongue and tummy). It’s gluten-free, vegan and, oh yeah, libido-boosting. Treat yourself or your sweetie to a healthy at-home breakfast or dessert that will get your Valentine’s Day started off on the right, uh, taste bud.
- 1 cup almond milk, homemade sprouted or organic boxed
- 1 date
- 1 Tbl Beaming superfood plant protein (with or without greens)
- 2 Tbl cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 cup frozen organic banana
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
- 1/2-1 cup ice
- Blend in blender until smooth.
- Sprinkle cacao nibs on top if desired.
If mixing, blending and ice-crushing aren’t your thing, hold on to your bow and arrow, cupid, ’cause I’ve got six eco-friendly ideas that’ll knock your satin sleepwear off!
1. Wrap with love!
While the Black Eyed Peas are wondering where the love is, I’ve found it’s on a self-adhesive, nontoxic wallpaper. In fact, I used it in my very own home office makeover — see for yourself HERE. While it’s designed for walls, mirrors and furniture, you can get creative with Tempaper since it’s removable and repositionable. This ingenious product is made with water-based adhesive and ink for an environmentally safe solution. Plus, it’s 100 percent manufactured within the USA, and is lead-, phthalate– and VOC-free. With no paste or water required, the Bobby Berk Home LOVE Wallpaper Collection offers a cool typographic pattern with a pop of color and design for your home, your table or even your Valentine’s Day wrapping.
2. Flowers that love their farmers
While I said we don’t send pesticide-laden flowers, I didn’t rule out eco-friendly bouquets. In that regard, The Bouqs is pretty special. For a flat $40, you can send your bae a gorgeous bouquet straight from an active volcano in South America (now that’s romantic). I sent one to my mom and received a video message from the farmer who picked them! The flowers are sourced from eco-friendly, sustainable farms that respect the environment and their workers. Since they’re cut to order when you do, waste is avoided. What’s more? Their farms provide living wages, childcare, healthcare and adult education. Now, that’s what I call amore!
3. Chocolate with a heart
In the United States, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold during Valentine’s week. If you’re contributing to the $83 billion-a-year chocolate business, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets, then you’ll want to be sure you’re not simultaneously contributing to human trafficking or animal cruelty.
As the world’s first confectioner devoted to sourcing humane, sustainable and wildlife-friendly ingredients in all of its products (the packaging and ingredients), Nuubia gives back with every bite you eat. Their Chocolate Wildlife Project creates revenue streams for farmers. They use no palm oil and most products are gluten-free (some are even vegan), and even the packaging is sustainably sourced and FSC certified.
Many major chocolate brands are guilty of using children and slaves in their cacao supply chains. As always, you are what you eat, so be sure to look for Fair Trade certifications on the chocolate you purchase and consume. Educate yourself by watching documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate for free.
Some of my personal Fair Trade favorite brands include:
- Dagoba Organic Chocolate
- Endangered Species Chocolate
- Chocolotl (my personal fave raw cacao); they also offer chocolate remedies packed with superfoods and antioxidants
Yes, eating chocolate really can be good for you!
4. Pamper your pooch
Your extra love will go a long way this Valentine’s Day with not just your human mate, but your furry friend! Eco Dog Care offers nourishing, eco-friendly and vegan products to pamper your pooch. The essential oils and botanicals will clean and soothe their coat while naturally repelling pests. Plus, Fido will be squeaky clean and ready for some Valentine’s Day snuggles.
5. Wear your love
Got a fashionista you want to feel special this Valentine’s? Try Nudy Patooty’s luxuriously soft undershirts. These bamboo base layers can be worn under most garments. They keep away unplanned fashion disasters (sweat stains!) by preventing perspiration and deodorant stains from forming in the first place via the Dual Dry technology, which wicks away sweat under the arms so stains don’t happen. Goodbye toxic, aluminum-laden antiperspirants! Nudy Patooty also regulates body temperature with ultra-soft bamboo fabric that is certified organic. Plus, Nudy Patooty undershirts save on expensive (and often toxic) dry-cleaning, which can be tough on clothes and harmful to the planet.
6. Love that grows
The Sprout collection consists of the coolest items that grow an entire new life when you’re finished using them. After you write your love letter, you’ll enjoy the aroma of fresh flowers and sweetness of juicy fruit that germinate from a plantable pencil (yup, you read that right). Check out their eco-friendly offerings below.
Three new pencil variants have been engraved with love messages like Grow old with me, Be my Valentine and I (heart) you. They will sprout into forget-me-nots, sweet pea with pastel-colored flowers and wild strawberries. The pencils are made from sustainable FSC-certified wood and contain 100 percent biodegradable materials. They germinate about three weeks after planting them, depending on the type of plant.
The stylish decorated card with the inscription Happy Valentine and Will you grow old with me? can melt the heart of even the most hardcore Valentine-skeptic. You can plant the card in its full size or tear it into pieces first. Three weeks after planting it, you will see the sprouts of different wildflowers. The paper is made from 100 percent recycled paper, and the seeds are non-GMO.
Tiny Gardens by Sprout
The tiny gardens are carefully designed window boxes made from sustainable FSC-certified cardboard. They contain hemp mats instead of soil, which makes it easy and hygienic to cultivate your own microgreens. The seeds will grow into Mizuna sprouts, whose heart-shaped leaves have a fresh and spicy taste. They are ready to eat within five to seven days.
By showering your Valentine with gifts that give back to Mother Earth, you get to express your gratitude — to not just your sweetie — but the entire world.
Now that’s what I call eco-friendly true love.