Created by Ana Yong. All photos are royalty-free from unsplash.com
Vegan Leather: Not only is it a more humane choice, it could be argued that it’s the only type of leather that can contribute to biodiversity, and to a brighter future for our fragile planet.
What is Vegan Leather and What is it made of?
According to an article entitled “What is Faux Leather Fabric: Properties, How it’s Made and Where”, “Synthetic leather came onto the international fabric scene with the invention of Naugahyde in 1920. This substance was formulated by U.S. Rubber Company, which had been founded in 1892. After years of dedicated research, the engineers at U.S. Rubber developed this viable alternative to leather, which was originally used in handbags.” i
Why Using Animal Leather Is Not Beneficial To The Environment
According to PETA, “most leather produced and sold in the U.S. is made from the skins of cattle and calves, but leather is also made from sheep, lambs, goats, and pigs. Other species are hunted and killed specifically for their skins, including zebras, bison, kangaroos, elephants, crocodiles, alligators, ostriches, lizards, and snakes.” ii Too many exotic animals are killed because many people cannot go without leather. Granted that leather gives the wearer a sense of style, sophistication and wealth, consumers should start looking at other alternatives which are less costly and which look and feel just like real leather.
In addition, an article called “How Many Cows Does It Take?” stated that “18 leather shoes take one cow hide on an average. In 2015, 2.2 billion shoes were sold in the United States. Assuming 25% of them were made from leather, 550 million leather shoes were produced, which equates to 30 million hides.” iii So, is there a need to wear real leather as many people cannot tell the difference just by looking at it?
The Independent has reported that “Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it – and clearing vegetation for grazing – produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.” iv Now, considering that such livestock are also bred for meat, and the hide is considered the end-product of the production line, 18% is still a huge number.
Fortunately, there are some innovative brands which are producing vegan leather without the need for animals to die.
Three Brands that produce Vegan Leather
Veggani’s products are made from various types of vegan leather. The first kind is made from polyurethane and synthetic microfibers called Microfiber Leather where the “microfiber strands are thinner than a strand of silk and 1/15th the diameter of a human hair. This material is the most luxurious vegan leather available today.”
Another type of vegan leather produced by Veggani is Apple Peel Leather which is bio-based and consists of industrial waste from apple peel harvesting from a juicing company in the Italian Alps. The peel is made into powder after going through a drying process. Sheets of leather are produced by mixing the powder with PU (Polyurethane) which are then sewn into bags. This line which is called “Apple Skin” and “is a USDA Certified Bio-Based Product with 31% composed of apple peels. This material also holds the VEGANOK Certificate – International Vegan Standard.”
The third kind is called Cork Leather which is gathered from trees without killing them. Therefore, this is the most sustainable method in producing non-animal leather. Veggani stated that “Cork is a great leather alternative due to it’s impermeable and moisture-resistant properties.”
PU Leather is the fourth type and “is a composite material made of one or more layers of PU and a woven or non-woven textile. PU is known to be a greener alternative to PVC Leather in both production and after-care. It does not require the same chemical plasticizers and will eventually degrade over time.”
Lastly, we have Faux Fur which “is made using acrylic & polymeric fibers that are processed, dyed, and cut to emulate real fur. Our faux fur material feels like a fuzzy teddy bear and has black & blue-colored roots to promote its synthetic, cruelty-free nature.”
Their website states that “Piñatex® is a natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty free material” vi which is made “from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant. These leaves are a by-product from existing pineapple harvest, so the raw material requires no additional environmental resources to produce.” vii
After extracting the long fibers from the pineapple leaves, they are dried and purified in order to extract a fluff-like material which is “mixed with a corn based polylactic acid (PLA) and undergoes a mechanical process to create Piñafelt, a non-woven mesh which forms the base of all Piñatex collections.” The Piñafeltare then shipped to Spain or Italy for the final stage of production. Well-known brands who use Piñatexinclude Hugo Boss and H&M. viii
Piñatex does not produce finished goods like bags, clothes and shoes. Instead, the Piñatex Leather is sold to famous brands which use the material to make their own products.
Like Piñatex, Desserto does not manufacture clothing and accessories. The leather they produce is taken from their own cactus farm in Zacatecas, Mexico, where they “cut only the mature leaves of the plant without damaging the cactus itself, so every 6-8 months (they) will (have) a new harvest. Also, (they) do not use an irrigation system for the cactus, it grows with rainwater and the earth minerals which are rich in Zacatecas and great for the variety of cactus that we plant. The selected cactus is very resilient and strong, it can handle low temperatures during winter without dying and its thorns are very small so it’s easier and safer for our agriculture team to harvest.“ The cactus plants need to be planted only once and can last for 8 years.
According to Desserto, the cactus also “absorbs CO2 during (the) night because only when the environment is fresh the plant opens its stoma capturing CO2, generating oxygen and absorbing water present in the atmosphere which normally comes from the morning dew.” The cactus cultivated here is a CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) plant and is native to the region.
Only the mature leaves from the cactus are made into vegan leather and “the remaining organic cactus material not used in our process is exported and sold nationally in the food industry.”
As the title suggests, we do not need to be a vegan to use vegan leather. We can choose to support vegan leather as a way to conserve the environment for our children.
This article was published in Unsustainable Magazine on 7 October 2020.
Mask Eye occurs when you are wearing a mask and your breath escapes from the top of your mask and goes onto the top of your eyes, thereby, drying them more frequently, leading to a grainy sensation and your eyes may look sore.
How To Prevent This
Make sure that your mask fits properly so that as you breathe out, the air escapes through the sides of the mask and not from the top.
Blink your eyes frequently and closing your eyes tightly every 20 minutes helps to lubricate the eyes. If required, use eye drops.
For those suffering from foggy spectacles, make sure that your glasses fit properly and that your breath is not coming out from the top of your mask. You can cross the ear loops of your mask if it is too loose. Spray anti-fog spray onto your spectacles to prevent fogging.
When to use:
A Compound Sentence is a sentence with more than one subject or predicate. A predicate can be a noun or a verb.
Here, a comma is used to separate or divide two or more clauses in a compound sentence. This sentence is split up by a conjunction (a connecting word). The comma is placed at the end of the first clause (before the conjunction).
Incorrect: She was late and she was very angry.
Correct: She was late, and she was very angry.
When to Use:
Use a comma after an introductory phrase or clause to give the reader a breather and to avoid a misunderstanding of what the sentence is saying.
Incorrect: After having said that John gave him a punch in the arm.
Correct: After having said that, John gave him a punch in the arm.
When you use the apostrophe with “its”, this means “it is” or “it has”.
Incorrect: When its time to go, I’ll tell you.
Correct: When it’s time to go, I’ll tell you.
When you do not use the apostrophe, this means “belonging to it”.
Incorrect: It’s nose is bloody. (referring to an animal)
Correct: Its nose is bloody.
People have been asking me when to use “oriented” and “orientated” so I did some research and this is what I found:
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that both words are adjectives (an adjective describes a noun, for example, a sad face where sad is the adjective). According to Simon Kewin of Daily Writing Tips, “In the UK, it is more common for people to say “orientate” whereas in the US, “orient” is more common.” (1)
Having said that, I asked some of my friends which one of the following sentences sounded more acceptable:
(a) He is a family-oriented guy OR
(b) He is a family-orientated guy.
Most of those I asked said (a) was more acceptable and (b) sounded incorrect.
Which one would you use: (a) or (b)?
Would you like to read more PPTP tips as I’m thinking of making this a regular post if more people are interested. Please leave your comments below. Cheers.
This article is a follow-up to “Shopping Addiction Is Just As Serious As Any Other Addiction And What You Can Do About It” published here on 16 May 2020. It discusses the current medical treatments and psychological strategies that can be used to deal with Oniomania.
- Introduction – Does A Cure Exist?
- Types of Therapies
- Non-Medical Treatments
- Last Word
1. Introduction – Does A Cure Exist?
According to the article entitled “Shopping Addiction Treatment Program Options” by psychguides.com, there is no cure because “Addiction isn’t an acute illness like chicken pox. Rather, shopping addiction is a lifelong issue that affects the patient’s motivational priorities; however, it can be effectively treated and managed.” (i)
2. Types of Therapies
These therapies are used to modify the addicts’ behavior using various techniques.
a. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (ii)
This is a general type of talk therapy (aka psychotherapy) where a mental health counsellor (psychotherapist or therapist) works with the addict through regulated lessons over a fixed number of sessions. CBT helps the patient to realize erroneous or negative reasoning so that he/she can react to demanding circumstances effectively. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is the preferred treatment because it allows you to rapidly recognize and handle particular challenges and as a result, requires fewer sittings than other types of therapy.
“It is useful in tackling emotional challenges that may require you to:
- Manage symptoms of mental illness
- Prevent a relapse of mental illness symptoms
- Treat a mental illness when medications aren’t a good option
- Learn techniques for coping with stressful life situations
- Identify ways to manage emotions
- Resolve relationship conflicts and learn better ways to communicate
- Cope with grief or loss
- Overcome emotional trauma related to abuse or violence
- Cope with a medical illness
- Manage chronic physical symptoms
Mental health disorders that may improve with CBT include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Substance use disorders
- Bipolar disorders
- Sexual disorders”
b. Other Therapeutic Treatments (iii)
This may require changing the core framework of CBT to allow for several patients to attend a session with one or more therapists and by doing so, allows the addicts to know that they are not alone in suffering from this addiction.
Here, the patient is isolated in a controlled setting where he/she is free from any external influences and stressors. In addition, his/her health is scrutinized during the early phases of treatment. Such an environment allows the patient to focus on the treatment and healing process.
Such facilities aim to decrease the stress on the patient for having to be checked into a treatment institution by providing luxurious amenities like golf, spa, etc..
e. Executive Shopping Addiction Programs (vi)
These allow patients who require close attention to be guided via remote supervision as they are not able to attend a normal face-to-face therapy session. Often these programs are tailored toward the constraints of each individual.
f. Outpatient Shopping Addiction Rehab and Treatment Programs (vii)
These are treatment centers that allow patients to come for regular care sessions on a daily or weekly basis and/or for the dispensing of medication.
g. Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications (viii)
These are recommended by the doctor during the important phase of the treatment to relieve tension and help the patient sleep better at night. Focus is on helping the patient deal with the psychological effects of retreating from shopping addiction.
3. Non-Medical Treatments
Here are six tips on how to rein in your shopping addiction without going for counseling and/or taking medication:
a. Always use cash to pay for your purchases
By doing this, it makes you more aware of how much money you are spending every time you make a purchase. You not only have a visual but also a physical connection to the amount of cash you are holding in your hands.
b. Record your purchases and total up your spending
If you make an effort to record in a notebook every time you buy something and tally up the total, then after a while, you may find it cumbersome to do this. In addition, by seeing the actual amount of money you have spent so far on shopping may scare you to reduce your shopping.
c. Don’t bring your credit card
This is related to point (a) above because if you don’t bring your credit card and every time you need to pay in cash, you would most likely think twice before making a purchase.
d. Do not sign up for emails that promote sales
This is so that you can stop yourself from being informed of any sales or promotions from your regular shops.
e. Remove any shopping apps from your phone
This will reduce the temptation for you to open the shopping apps to look for promotions and also compel you to go to the physical store should you need to buy something.
f. Show your family or friends your purchases
After making a purchase, always show it to your family or friends who are aware of your shopping addiction. This is because upon seeing the purchases, they may ask you hard questions like “Why did you buy this?”, “Do you really need it?”, “Was it on sale?” and “How much did you pay for it?”. Such questions will force you to think long and hard on whether the purchase was really required.
4. Last Word
Shopping Addiction requires you to take a long and hard look at yourself in terms of what you want versus what you need. Addicts need to accept the fact that they have a problem and that this condition needs consistent and regular treatment over a prolonged period of time.
(i) and (iii) to (viii)
The article is written by Ana Yong and appears here first on Ana_Writes.
- What is Shopping Addition aka Oniomania?
- What is the Difference between “Normal Shopping” and Oniomania?
- How does Shopping Affect You?
- Why Should You Be Worried About Shopping Addiction?
- What are the Tell-Tale Signs of Oniomania?
- Why is it so Hard to Know if Some One is a Shopping Addict?
- Six Types of Shopping Addicts by addictionhope.com
- What to Do if You think You have a Shopping Addiction?
1. What is Shopping Addition aka Oniomania?
Oniomania (pronounced as onio-ma-ni-a) is a widely-known condition which can become an obsession and cause other complications. Shopping addiction “is a behavioral addiction that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression.” (1) As at 2019, about 6 percent of the people in the United States suffer from Oniomania. (2)
2. What is the Difference between “Normal Shopping” and Oniomania?
The difference between “Normal Shopping” and Oniomania is that the activity of shopping becomes the addict’s preferred way of handling the pressures of life.
3. How does Shopping Affect You?
When you know that a certain shop is having a “sale”, you experience a “Dopamine Rush” which happens when a certain area of your brain that contains Dopamine Receptors are triggered. (3) This rush makes you feel happy and excited when you see items on sale and it creates a sensation of instant pleasure. This means that the more you shop, the more enjoyment you experience. To some, the high gives them self-esteem and may translate into a display of social wealth. Some people need to feel this rush regularly and so shopping becomes an addiction to them.
4. Why Should You Be Worried About Shopping Addiction?
You should be worried if you feel that it is “getting out of hand”, for example, you notice that a family member has to make a purchase (even though he or she has no use for the item) every time you go out shopping. There is no “window shopping” because the addict always ends up buying something. Shopping addicts often spend more money than they can afford to and may purchase things that they may not need. Ultimately, this results in them accumulating huge debts which they are unable to pay off.
As the shopping addict would surely not see this as a problem, it is up to friends and family to intervene.
5. What are the Tell-Tale Signs of Oniomania?
a) You are constantly trying to make ends meet
You have a decent job making decent money but yet you are out of cash way before your next pay day. You may even need to borrow from friends and family and you promise to repay them when you get your next pay.
b) You can’t make the monthly installment payments
You may have purchased a big-ticket item like a car a few months ago and now you are struggling to meet the installment payments every month.
c) You must buy something every time you go shopping
To shopping addicts, buying something makes them feel good about themselves.
d) You buy things you know you don’t need or won’t use
This happens, for example, when you buy an outfit that’s two sizes smaller because it is on sale and this also gives you a “reason” to lose weight.
e) You try to hide what you have bought
Putting your purchases away immediately when you reach home means that you could be suffering from some kind of guilt and do not want your family members to find out.
f) You have items lying around that are not opened or used
When friends or family members visit you, they usually find purchases everywhere in the house which still have price tags on or are still in their original wrappers.
6. Why is it so Hard to Know if Some One is a Shopping Addict?
a) Online Shopping
With the popularity of internet shopping, it is very hard to know how much your friend or family member is spending on purchases.
b) Use of Credit Cards
Unless you have access to the addict’s credit card bill, it is virtually impossible to know how much is spent on shopping.
7. Six Types of Shopping Addicts
Flashy shopaholics spend big and look for the most dazzling items. Their goal (or reward) is to impress others.
Bargain hunters will buy products that they don’t need simply because they’re on sale. Getting a deal is what drives the addiction.
Compulsion-shopping addicts turn to retail when they’re emotionally strained. The act of purchasing relieves anxiety.
Trophy hunters want to find the perfect items and will search diligently for the best products. The search is the compulsion.
Collectors want multiple versions of the same item in a different color, size, etc. For these individuals, collecting fuels the addiction.
Bulimic shoppers – as the names suggests – cycle through buying and returning items.addictionhope.com
8. What to Do if You think You have a Shopping Addiction?
a) Talk to friends and family members about it
You could ask them whether they feel you have a tendency to shop excessively or unnecessarily.
b) Ask some one you trust to hold on to your credit card
If you feel that you cannot resist a “sale”, ask someone to hang onto your credit card for safekeeping and to let you use it only for emergencies.
c) Do your own research on how to tackle the addiction
If you suspect that you have a shopping addiction but don’t want anyone to know, do your investigation online to find help.
d) Seek professional assistance
You can make a private, one-to-one appointment with a qualified medical professional to handle your addiction without your loved ones knowing about it.
(1) & (2) An Overview of Shopping Addiction By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc., MSc., MA, PhD and Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD (Updated on 23 March 2020) for verywellmind.com
(3) Why Shopping Makes you Feel High by The NeuroTracker Team (18 December 2016)
Nowadays, as more and more people are using social media platforms to post photos, blogs, etc. there is a huge possibility that our social media accounts are at risk of being hacked.
And since 38% of the net is created using WordPress, I thought I should do some research about WP security. Fortunately, I found a book which helps us keep our WP accounts secure: WordPress Security Guard.
Another one which is not directly related to WP but talks about identity theft is All About Identity Theft which really opened my eyes when I read it.
Well, until next time – Happy WordPressing!
- What is Osteoarthritis (OA) And How Is It Diagnosed?
- The Four Stages Of Knee Pain
- Non-Surgical Treatments
- Surgical Treatments
- Last Word
1. What is Osteoarthritis (OA) And How Is It Diagnosed?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “a common form of arthritis typically with onset during middle or old age that is characterized by progressive degenerative changes in the cartilage of one or more joints (as of the knees, hips, and hands) accompanied by thickening and overgrowth of adjacent bone and that is marked symptomatically chiefly by stiffness, swelling, pain, deformation of joints, and loss of range of motion —abbreviation OA” (1)
The doctor will check the affected joints for pain, swelling, tenderness and heat. Sometimes, a joint may have an inflammation but does not feel warm. You may also be required to go for an X-Ray and/or MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging). As the X-Ray will only show bones, loss of cartilage is seen using the MRI. Blood test is also commonly used but as OA cannot be detected via a blood test, this test is usually undertaken to exclude other causes of joint paint, for example, rheumatoid arthritis. Another method used is the Joint Fluid Analysis where the doctor will extract fluid from the distressed joint and test it for inflammation to detect if the pain is triggered by gout, OA or an infection.
Please take note that currently, there is no known cure for OA but the symptoms can be managed.
2. The Four Stages Of Knee Pain
According to the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, there are four stages of OA of the knee (with “0” allocated to a normal knee). (2) The stages are:
Stage 1 – Minor
Patients usually do not feel any pain or discomfort at Stage 1 where the knees suffer very little deterioration and/or bone spur growths at the knee joints. The doctor will not recommend any treatment other than telling the patient to take daily supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Stage 2 – Mild
Patients will start experiencing joint pain. X-Rays will show more bone spurs at the knee joints which will feel rigid, sore, tight and painful. Although the cartilage and soft tissues may be still healthy, an additional production of enzymes (for example, metalloproteinases) will breakdown the cartilage. The doctor will advise that patients adhere to a stringent exercise regimen to lose weight, build strength and stamina. They will also be encouraged to wear knee braces and sole inserts to support the weak knees.
Stage 3 – Moderate
Patients experience more pain and stiffness in the joints where the cartilage is eroded. There is inflammation which prevents patients from walking properly or steadily, kneeling, climbing up or going down stairs and squatting. There is even soreness, twitches and pain if patients sit or stand for too long and when they get up from bed in the morning. Some may even hear “snapping” sounds when trying to walk. The doctor will prescribe pain killers together with anti-inflammatory medication.
Stage 4 – Severe
Patients experience greater pain at this stage. Running, walking, squatting and kneeling are virtually impossible because the space between the knee joints is so worn out. There is constant pain, swelling and stiffness leading to chronic joint inflammation. During this time, more bone spurs develop at the knee joints. Here, osteotomy or bone realignment surgery may be required.
3. Non-Surgical Treatments
Patients are advised to stick to an exercise routine that helps them to lose weight. This is because by losing weight, there will be less pressure on the knees and when there is less pressure, there will be less wear and tear on the joints. If patients are unable to jog because of the pain, they should swim. In addition, they should also perform exercises that help them to build strength so that the muscles around the knees are able to support them when they are trying to stand up or move around.
(b) Pain Relief Medication
Usually, doctors will prescribe pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicine together so that patients can manage the pain more effectively. In addition, the type of medicine given will depend on the severity of the pain, the patient’s medical history and also whether the patient is currently on any medication that may hinder the efficacy of the pain relief medication to be recommended.
(c) Steroid Injections
These injections contain the hormone, Cortisol (which is man-made) and are prescribed only when other treatments do not work. The patient is given a local anaesthetic and then the injection is made straight to the affected joint. The injection works very quickly and can reduce the pain for many weeks or months.
(d) Capsaicin Cream
The cream is given to patients when normal pain killers do not work. Patients will be able to find some relief after using this for two weeks but it would take up to one month for the treatment to be more effective. The disadvantage is that the cream does not provide immediate relief and often, patients have to use it for quite some time before any effect is felt.
(e) Hot or Cold Compression Packs
Patients can purchase such packs from local pharmacies or lifestyle stores. For a hot compression, patients can use a hot water bottle. For a cold compression, patients can put the packs into the fridge to be used later as required.
Depending on the gravity of the pain and the current physical situation of the patient, the doctor may recommend physiotherapy. Older patients find this especially useful as there is someone to guide them along the way through the exercises.
4. Surgical Treatments
Surgery is proposed only when all the other treatments do not work and/or when one of the joints is significantly damaged. While surgery often improves the quality of life of the patient, it does not guarantee that all symptoms of OA will be removed. A popular surgical procedure called Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty) is used for knee joints. Here the surgeon will remove the affected joint and replace it with a synthetic one made of specialised plastic and metal which can last up to twenty years. After the surgery is completed, the patient will need to attend the relevant physiotherapy sessions to complement a speedy recovery.
5. Last Word
If you are already experiencing joint pain, please consult a doctor early so that you can receive relevant treatment faster and that your quality of life will not be greatly affected.
- What is the Ring Of Fire and Why Should You Be Concerned
- Where Can You See It?
- Precautions You Should Take To Protect Yourselves
- Last Word
1. What is the Ring Of Fire and Why Should You Be Concerned
The Ring of Fire is a solar eclipse that occurs when a new moon is at its farthest point from the Earth (known as “apogee”) forming a straight line with the Earth and the Sun. At this moment, the moon partially covers the Sun but the outer rim of the Sun can still be seen, thereby, creating a dazzling “ring of fire” effect around the moon. This happens only once a year and lasts about two minutes.
2. Where Can You See It?
According to Science Alert, the Ring of Fire “will be visible from central Africa and through Asia, commencing at 0345 UTC on 21 June 2020. Many other locations, from south eastern Europe to the northern tips of Australia, will experience a partial annular eclipse.” (1)
3. Precautions You Should Take To Protect Yourselves
(a) Don’t Look Directly at the Sun
Protect your eyes by wearing a pair of “eclipse glasses”. Before you buy, do check the filter for scratches and cracks. Click here for a list of reputable manufacturers stated by the American Astronomical Society. Please do not use homemade filters or sun glasses.
(b) Use a Pinhole Projector
This is another way of watching the solar eclipse without damaging your eyes. Click on Exploratorium to find out how you can make a pinhole projector. (2)
4. Last Word
Please try to enjoy this annual solar eclipse by taking the correct precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.