5 Surprising Ways Common Consumables Are Made

5 Surprising Ways Common Consumables Are Made

How much do you know about the process of making the products you use and the items you own? Although most people probably don’t go as far as believing that sausages grow on trees, most of us are still pretty clueless about how everyday items are made. Here is a list of five well-known things that are produced in ways you wouldn’t think of.

1. Silk

Today the fact that silk is produced by the larvae of a specific breed of moth will hardly be a revelation for anybody, but most people are unaware of the process that actually creates the silk. What is usually left unsaid is that silk in its initial, liquid form constitutes the cocoon of the silkworm, and in order to use it farmers have to kill most larvae with heat and boil the cocoons afterwards. That is why silk production often becomes the target of animal rights groups like PETA. However, recently a number of producers turned to other approaches, either by using a no-kill method in producing silk bed-clothes or utilizing the wild silk produced by non-domesticated silk moths.


2. Cosmetics

When you rub a cream in your face, do you give think much about just what exactly this thing is? If no, you are probably better off, if yes, here is the answer – many cosmetic products consist of up to 80% petroleum-based products which, in turn, means that if you take a random beauty care product it is more than likely to be made up mostly of decayed mass of living organisms that died millions of years ago.

3. Energy Drinks

If you are a fan of drinks like “Red Bull” and its brethren, you have probably noticed that it has something called Taurine listed among its ingredients – but have you ever wondered what exactly it is? Actually, the energy rush all tired college students and party-goers have gotten used to originally comes from bile mostly found in the large intestine of cows. Although you may find some comfort in the fact that today it is mostly synthetically produced.


4. Kopi Luwak Coffee

An ultimate gift for any coffee connoisseur, Kopi Luwak elite coffee is one of the most expensive and celebrated types of coffee. However, due to an unusual method of production, it has both ardent proponents who believe it enhances or even outright changes the original taste of coffee beans, and sarcastic enemies, who consider it nothing but a clever marketing ploy. Believe it or not, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans that were first eaten and excreted by a species of a small animal called Asian palm civet or toddy cat.

5. Vanilla and Raspberry Flavoring

When you think about various additives and flavorings used in food production, you probably think that all of them are nothing but different chemicals with fancy names, produced in some laboratory. In most cases it is true, but what about the so-called ‘natural ingredients?” As it turns out, they often have more than unorthodox origins. For example, vanilla and raspberry flavoring doesn’t come from either vanilla or raspberry but, inexplicably, from the substance called Castoreum, received from beavers’ anal secretions the animals use to scent territory.


As you may see, the next time you get interested in how some everyday stuff is made you will probably be better off if you don’t get inquisitive enough to actually check it… Although if you are not grossed out then it certainly makes for excellent party talk to make your friends happy when they are relishing those vanilla-flavored marshmallows they like so much.

Are there any other surprising facts about how everyday objects are created that you’d like to share? Tell us below!


Featured photo credit: Interest/GotCredit via

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Melissa Burns


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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.


3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.


6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.


9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.


Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via

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