Valentine’s Day is near and millions of cards and other waste from the day will pile up in our landfills; artificial colors and flavors will fill our bodies; and people will spend lots of money on items that will likely be tossed aside. There are healthier, less expensive ways to show your love that will show love to the Earth, as well. If your significant other is health-conscious, vegan or if they just hate candy, we have a few ideas for you. If you plan on having a relaxing day all to yourself, these are for you too!
These delicious, French-inspired cookies are made from simple ingredients and natural colors. A Paris-trained pastry chef has carefully crafted each flavor and the company is working on an all vegan line that should be making its debut any time now. To me, these were simple, light and crispy, and much better than versions with artificial coloring, which usually have a bitter aftertaste. For $32.00, you get a beautifully wrapped box of 12.
I have fallen in love with Nicobella, whose products aren’t just crafted to taste great, they’re made to nourish the body. Nicobella chocolate is vegan, fair trade, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free, what more could you ask for?! They also use sustainable packaging, made from rice paper and wild grass. Their truffles are made with pure dark chocolate, coconut oil, agave nectar and a variation of healthy ingredients. Blueberry Almond is my favorite flavor, but a 6-piece assortment box can be purchased for $12.95.
If you or your Valentine don’t like truffles, try Nicobella Munch, which is a combination of nuts and chocolate. Since I’m diabetic, this is perfect for me. It’s a stable, unique treat that can also serve as a healthy, antioxidant-rich snack too.
My mind diverts directly to sweets when I think of Valentine’s Day, but spreading the love by supporting artisans around the globe sounds like a great way to celebrate. Novica’s mission is to help eliminate sweat shops, child labor and unfair treatment. Find unique items from all over the world, and when you buy from Novica, know that you’re supporting an individual who makes quality products.
The Caramel Paths Shoulder Bag ($112.99) is made by Ricardo Hinojosa in Mexico, with high-quality leather (I apologize to vegans, but there are many vegan bags available from Novica). I’ve never purchased a bag that has felt this luxurious. Even the inner lining feels strong and smooth. The Choco Chic Shoulder Bag ($154.99) is made by Piedad Aguilar in Nicaragua with deep, spacious pockets and beautiful outer golden buckle detail. However, my favorite has to be The Road to Success Messenger’s bag ($139.49), made in Bali by Hariyono. It’s a compact, secure-fitting bag that I see myself taking on many trips. It has a lovely reminder quote, placed on the side, encouraging its owner to keep pushing for success.
Not only known for their bags, Novica carries eco-friendly jewelry made from items such as discarded water bottles. The Eco Friendly Hand Crafted West African Dangle Earrings ($19.99) are a beautiful example of how we can turn earth spoiling waste into sustainable beauty. If you buy a gift from Novica this Valentine’s Day, your treasure is sure to have a story.
My husband is a kid at heart, he loves Trolli Gummy Worms, but I can’t bring myself to buy them. I went on a search for something better and found Surf Sweets, a mostly organic candy line that is all natural. They offer adorable heart lollipops, Organic Fruity Hearts, Sour Berry Bears, Gummy Worms ($1.95-$4.95)…and they taste amazing. Surf also carries a vegan line, called TruJoy, whose Starburst-like fruit chews are awesome. Since Surf Sweets are made with juice, I don’t get that sick feeling after eating them. So top your cupcakes, eat them during a romantic movie, or use them as an edible center piece.
EarthEasy is a family owned company with “Solutions for Sustainable Living”. They offer a wide range of home, garden and gift items that would be great for Valentine’s Day. I zeroed in on the travel line because I can’t think of many things more romantic than surprising someone with a Valentine’s getaway. The Earth Easy Diamond bag ($91.95) is a great way to let them know to get packing for an exciting retreat. The bag is very durable and comfortable to carry. The best part is, each bag is made from recycled, nontoxic materials for minimal environmental impact. Sustainable living is about respecting the limits of the earth and its capacity to provide. —EarthEasy
If you’re lonely this year or want to expand your family, adopt a furry family member. Animals are overflowing in most pet shelters and humane societies, and many will never have a forever home. Adopting an animal from your local shelter is a great way to experience love at first sight on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a day of love and an opportunity to spread love, not only to our significant other but to an animal, our bodies and Mother Earth. Whether you spend the holiday alone, with a family member or with your sweetheart, there’s always a great way to celebrate. I wish you a day of love, happiness and pure living!
Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.