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New Eco Friendly De-Inking Process Developed.

A new technology utilising enzymes (biological molecules) has been shown to remove ink from recycled paper. A research project conducted by the University of  Malaysia Sarawak reported the use of a crude enzyme preparation for the enzymatic de-inking of mixed office paper. Traditional de-inking methods have involved the use of large quantities of chemicals, causing pollution to the environment.  The enzyme material was prepared by growing endoglucanase (enzyme use for the enzymatic treatment) producing Bacillus licheniformis BL-P7 in a liquid culture media containing sago pith waste and rice husk. Furthermore, the process proved to be more effective for the removal of larger ink particles. Also, properties such as brightness, air permeability, tensile, and tear were enhanced in the preparation of the recycled mixed office paper.

Researchers : Hashimatul F.H., Hairul A.R., Andrew Wong H.H., Awg A.Sallehin A.H. (all of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak), Nigel Lim P.T. (Sarawak Forestry Corporation) Adapted from materials provided by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Organic Wine Leaves Only Half the Eco Footprint of Non-Organic!

Italian environmental scientists from the University of Siena, measured the resources needed to produce wine at two farms in Tuscany. Both were utilizing Sangiovese grapes but one was totally organic and the other was not. The organic farm used natural fertilisers and most of the work was done by hand, while the other farm used conventional methods of production. A bottle from the organic farm had an eco-footprint of 7.17 square metres, half that of the non-organic wine with a footprint of 13.98 square metres. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j

Low Sperm Count Link to Soy also includes Nuts, Wines and Beers

The high levels of oestrogen like chemicals in soya beans have also been found in beers, wines and nuts. Gunter Kuhnle of the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, UK tested foods and beverages using mass spectrometry. Previous testing had focused on lignans but ignored isoflavones and this expanded search has found phytoestrogens in many more foods and drinks. Studies into the effects of phytoestrogens have produced a mixture of results, with some showing compounds that protect against cancer, menopausal symptoms and heart diseases, whilst others have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and male infertility.  Journal reference:                                                                                                    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (DOI: 10.1021/jf801534g)

A-Beta Protein Alzheimer Disease Clues

Amyloid-beta the thinking brain’s protein has been shown to be intrinsically involved in increased neuron activity. A study into people with severe brain injuries resulted in steadily rising levels of A-beta protein as their brain activity increased through recovery. A-beta, as the protein is sometimes called, is best known for causing plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a normal component of the brain, but scientists don’t know what it does. Traumatic brain injuries increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Milan, Italy and Washington University in St. Louis, USA used advance brain testing techniques to ascertain if brain injuries cause a spike in amyloid-beta levels that could lead to plaque formation, a team of researchers from Milan, Italy, sampled fluid from the brains of 18 comatose patients.

What the researchers found was exactly the opposite of what they expected, says David L. Brody, a neurologist at Washington University who led the study with Sandra Magnoni of the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan. Instead of seeing a spike of A-beta soon after brain injury from falls, car accidents, assaults or hemorrhages, levels of the protein started low and rose as the patients improved, the team reports in the Aug. 29 Science.

Farm Kids Avoid Asthma & Allergies

Pre-natal exposure to farm animals and plants helps protect children from asthma, allergies and eczema. Researchers from the Centre for Public Health Research discovered farmers’ children had a lower incidence of allergic diseases than children not exposed to animals, grain and hay products. The findings have been published in the European Respiratory Journal. Associate Professor Jeroen Douwes says it is the first study to show a direct link between exposures in utero and a significant reduction in asthma symptoms, hay fever and eczema.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

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A2 Milk Different White Stuff

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Mad, bad and dangerous to eat the series

A2 Milk Different White Stuff

With The Sacred Chef

INTRO: A few years ago; ‘milk was milk’, it came in funny shaped glass bottles and was delivered by a milkman, (who was rumoured to be infamously linked with extramarital activities), and who would run along behind the truck carrying the clinking milk bottles in their crates.

Then, along came the momentous choice between full fat milk and low fat milk; and glass milk bottles went the way of the dodo. Nowadays, producers are adding so much stuff into milk that it is hard to keep up – omega 3 fatty acids, added calcium, vitamin D, in addition to coffee, chocolate, banana and other flavours. ‘Low fat’ has been joined by ‘no fat’ and milk comes in a variety of cartons and plastic bottles. So, today a trip around the supermarket and up the dairy aisle entails a whole lot more choosing time than it once did.

If you really think about the simplicity of where it all came from – over there is the cow and here is a bucket and you pull on these…. Well now there is a whole new kind of cow’s milk to think about called A2, and this is an essentially different type of milk than everyone else’s. Humour aside, this is probably the most important development in the understanding of one of our most cherished consumer foods. We drink a lot of cow’s milk and we give our kids a lot of cow’s milk products, and if there is a concern about it; we should all be informed.

There are two main forms of the important cow’s milk protein, beta casein, found in the cows’ milk that you drink. These two forms are known as A1 and A2 beta casein. The A2 form of beta casein has been identified by scientific research to be the original form of beta casein that would have been produced by cows thousands of years ago. Every litre of milk contains about two teaspoons of beta-casein, usually a mix between A1 and A2.  A2 is the original type but over time a natural mutation occurred in some European cattle, and A1 beta-casein developed, says Keith Woodford, professor of farm management and agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, and the author of a book on the subject:  Devil in the Milk.

According to Woodford, the genetic difference between the two beta-caseins is tiny, but the difference in outcome is enormous. “The beta-casein has 209 amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and the difference between A1 and A2 is just one of these,” he says.

A1 milk beta-casein has been linked to allergies, type 1 diabetes, heart conditions and more recently some psychological conditions, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism and Schizophrenia. For more info on these issues or to see details of the Devil in the Milk by Keith Woodford visit www.unireps.com.au

A2 milk is not genetically modified. It’s not that the A1 protein is taken out later: it’s that it was never there! The milk used in A2 branded milk is taken only from cows that produce the A2 form of beta casein.

Make Your Own A2 Yoghurt


Sterilize all bowls, utensils or yogurt maker (internal container) before starting. You can sterilize them in the dishwasher or boil them for 5-10 minutes.

What do you need:

*           2 litres of A2 Full Fat Milk

*           1 teaspoon dairy-free acidophilus

*           thermometer

Method:

1.     Bring milk to just under boiling point, and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42°C.

2.     Prepare starter by combining acidophilus powder with 3 tablespoons A2 Milk (at room temperature).

3.     Pour the starter mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk.

4.     Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yoghurt thickens.

5.     Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

To make your yoghurt a thicker consistency

1.     Remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt you’ve just made.

2.     Pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag.

3.     Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained.

Serve with fresh berries or passionfruit; stir a little maple syrup through for an added treat.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Probiotics – Fermenting for life.

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Probiotics – Fermenting For Life.

By Sudha Hamilton

Intro: We are not alone. In fact, we are hosts to trillions of micro-organisms, happily munching on our waste products and doing a sterling job within our digestive system.

It may come as a bit of a shock to those of us with obsessive compulsive cleaning tendencies, that killing all the tiny invisible bugs is not a really good idea. Bacteria are all around us, within us and performing vital tasks for our health and the health of this planet.  Of course, like everything in existence, there are good and bad bacteria, not intrinsically bad but just bad for humans – and probably quite good for something else. The good bacteria, (or gut flora), are involved in a myriad of useful functions – such as fermenting unused energy substrates, producing vitamins for us, preventing the growth of bad bacteria, producing hormones to help us store fats, and improving our immune functioning.  If we did not have all these bacteria munching away our bodies would be unable to digest many of the carbohydrates that we consume – like certain starches, fibres, proteins, and sugars like lactose. Studies with animals indicate that we may need to eat 30% more calories to maintain our stable body weight without the helpful presence of gut flora. The good bacteria transforms carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids, and these are able to be processed by our cells into nutrition and energy. Lactic and acetic acid are also produced by this saccahrolytic fermentation, and they are used by our muscles. There are numerous other positive functions supported by good bacteria in our systems.

Bacteria have also been shown to be implicit in preventing allergies (which are an over reaction of the immune system to non-harmful antigens). Research into children with allergies has confirmed that the make-up of their gut flora is different to those without allergies. The role that bacteria play in training our immune systems to respond to antigens is the key point in understanding this. A baby inside its mother is bacteria free, and develops its gut flora through birth and breast feeding initially.

By the second year of life the infant’s faeces contains a similar amount of bacteria as an adult. The prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in our western societies has been linked to our obsession with hygiene. Our predilection for kitchen and bathroom cleaning sprays has “über- sanitised” our homes, and has thus lowered the absorption – and the variety – of useful bacteria available in the colon to break down waste material. The lack of breastfeeding for the baby boomer generation has also contributed to this situation. Not to mention the pharmaceutically driven overuse of antibiotics that has killed off gut flora in exceptional amounts. The inverse of this occurs in developing countries, and there is no sign of IBD at the rates that we experience it here in the West.

Probiotics, meaning literally “for life”, can help with IBD and other conditions associated with bacteria levels, which are out of balance or missing vital components. Originally discovered by science at the beginning of the twentieth century, before being named ‘Probiotics’ in 1953, it has been defined by Dr Roy Fuller (author of Probiotic’s in Human Medicine) as, ” a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance.” Of course, sour milk and yoghurt have long been part of healthy regimes employed by cultures around the globe. The naming of particular strains by science is as much about recognizing effective natural approaches to nutrition, as it is about reinventing the wheel and claiming credit for it. Lactobacillus Acidophulis is probably the best known probiotic strain but there are many more including the Bifodobacterium family, the rest of the large Lactobacillus family and Escherichia Coli. Many of these are now available in supplement form, having been combined to form effective treatments for many bowel complaints, helping with lactose intolerance, some cholesterol reduction, improving immune function and lowering blood pressure. There is a large and still growing body of scientific evidence, indicating that diet supplementation with live probiotic bacteria may confer a significant health effect on the host, when those bacteria are consumed in “adequate” amounts. In fact, one important problem is that more then 400 bacterial species are thought to be present in the normal intestine, with bacterial concentration in the colon equivalent to one thousand billion bacteria per gram. This means that only “high-potency” probiotic products, i.e., those that contain at least a comparable number of live bacteria per gram of product, can be expected to modify the bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract in terms of quantitative and qualitative composition. Consult your natural health practitioner for advice on which probiotic supplement is best for your particular condition.

The argument against probiotics by some nutritional scientists is that the bacteria in these supplements and foods cannot possibly survive the naturally occurring acids in our stomach and this is where prebiotic foods come in. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients in foods, which stimulate the growth and activity of certain helpful bacteria – fructoologosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides are the two that best fit the bill. These can be found in functional foods like bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, chicory, legumes, oats, tomatoes, spinach and other greens. Perhaps a diet rich in both prebiotics and probiotics is the best solution for those seeking a healthy bowel.

Fermented foods like miso, tempeh, soya sauce, kim chi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables also offer lactic acid bacteria. The oriental cultures in particular – who have developed these fermented foods –  are well known for their traditionally long lived healthy lives. The pickling process activates certain bacterial properties within the food, and eliminates some of the qualities that inhibit the food’s digestion by humans. Pickled or activated nuts and seeds, which have been treated in a solution – a brine or other acidic liquid – for some time and then slowly warmed through a dehydrating process are a great example of this. Delicious and much more digestible.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Eco Builders & Materials Reviewed

Eco Living Magazine presents

Sustainable Home Builders & Materials in Review

By Eco Living Magazine

West Coast Poly

Established in 1999, West Coast Poly manufactures a range of water tanks for farming, domestic, agricultural, industrial and transport sectors, in WA and interstate.  All the water tanks are manufactured to the highest standards, with onsite impact and ultrasound test equipment for quality control. The Urban range is especially designed suburban homes – for the space conscious aesthetic eye – capacity ranging from 720 litres to 23,000.

The rotomoulding process is used from high-grade polyethylene powder that meets AS4020 and AS 2070 (Aust. Standards for materials in contact with drinking water and food products). The process involves placing finely ground thermoplastic material inside a female mould and firing this in an oven while rotating on two perpendicular axes to obtain a homogeneous melting of the plastic on the surface. When complete, the mould is transferred into a cooling phase while still rotating and finally the finished part is removed from the mould and the process restarted. For more info visit www.westcoastpoly.com.au or Ph: +61 (08) 9456 5888

ecoInfusion – Spa Tonic & Spa Treatment:

Acutely aware of the state of the environment, ecoInfusion is committed to eco-friendly practices. Products are environmentally friendly; packaging is 100% recyclable, as is all of our promotional material. Spa Tonic & Spa Treatment are 100% natural spa water maintenance products, based on seaweed enzymes. Spa Tonic has been specifically designed to seek out and destroy contaminants and viruses in spa water without the use of toxic chemicals. One bottle will keep your spa water clean and healthy for 3 months. No more constant pH tests and chemical adjustments, as Spa Tonic automatically balances your water levels. Spa Treatment, a natural deep cleanser dissolves any existing chemical residue and mineral build-up in your spa pump, plumbing and seals. Spa Treatment will lubricate your spa system and prevent mineral deposits, rust and stains from building up in spa equipment, reducing maintenance costs and extending the life of your spa. Non-toxic products mean less frequent water changing, so less water is used.  The other added bonus, is that free of chemicals, ecoInfiosn products are ideal for Grey Water usage – water your plants with the bath water! (ecoInfusion uses green power in the office and environmentally friendly printing companies for our printing needs). For more info: Website: www.ecoinfusion.com.au

Breakout box: Case Study on a Solar Dwelling – a 7 star rating

The home sets an impressive 7-star rating for thermal performance on a difficult 45° to north block and is expected to maintain comfortable temperatures year round. The client brief to Solar Dwellings was to design an affordable, single storey, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with double lock up garage in keeping with the style of the urban renewal project. The Quattro Sustainable Home presents as an aesthetically stimulating, stylish and livable home adaptable  – With a few simple modifications the single storey 227sqm home can be built on any flat, 45° to north block with as narrow a frontage as 12 metres and will achieve excellent thermal performance for natural heating and cooling.

Constructed of cavity brick and iron, the residence incorporates simple energy efficient principles to ensure a comfortable and consistent ambient temperature all year round and to display reduced energy and water requirements and reduced running costs.  The home also displays material specification for reduced embodied energy and environmental impact and low toxicity and low allergen finishes were specified to ensure excellent indoor air quality.

Energy efficiency is achieved by:

Passive thermal design for natural heating and cooling, including a mix of  insulations;

Installation of a gas boosted solar water heater  as close as possible to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry;

Reflective zinculume roof  prevents excess solar heat gain;

Insulation of the hot water service and the pipes;

Thermostat set as low as possible; and

An intelligent lighting system, using natural light and energy efficient CFLs.

A minimum 4-star energy efficient appliance package will be showcased during the display phase and a user manual will be provided to the home owner upon sale of the home to ensure the home maintains optimum performance.

Water efficiency is achieved through the installation of:

A greywater reuse system and subsurface drip irrigation;

Water efficient (minimum 4-star) tap and showers fittings;

Aqualocs installed to all taps;

Dual flush AAAA rated toilets;

Waterwise garden design;

2,500 litrerainwater collection tank plumbed for toilet and laundry use; and

Water efficient appliances.

Designed by Solar Dwellings for joint venture partners Peet Limited and the Department of Housing and Works, the Quattro Sustainable Home is energy and water efficient, universally accessible and comfortable to live in. For WA – The home at 325 Wharf Street, Queens Park will be open up to two years and will also be the Quattro: The New Queens Park sales centre. – For interstate enquiries about this home and how to apply these eco-measures to your home plan. www.solardwellings.com.au

Break Out Box:

For more sustainable building resources or other states & territories try:

National: http://www.safecom.org.au/buildings.htm

National: www.yourhome.gov.au

NSW: http://www.yourabode.com.au/

QLD: www.sustainablebuildings.com.au

SA:         http://ecopolis.com.au/

TAS: www.sunrisehomes.net.au – consults nationally

VIC: http://www.sunpowerdesign.com.au/

WA: www.solardwellings.com.au

And for NZ:  http://www.ecoprojects.co.nz/ is a good resource.

©Eco Living Magazine

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Mineral Make Up Review

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: From Dust to Dust

Mineral Make Up…Naturally beautiful

By Eco Living

Being someone that rarely leaves the house without a sweep of Mascara and a few dots of Concealer, I have consistently looked for make up that is both safe and natural. My sensitive skin means, whatever I apply needs to be hypo-allergenic and free from chemical nasties – otherwise I’m red and blotchy within minutes. The best results I’ve had so far are with mineral make up. This is delicately effective make up, which comes in a huge range of colours and preparations with everything from liquid and powder foundations through to eye shadow and blush.

What makes mineral make up different from other foundations and powders is its ability to give great coverage without blocking pores, therefore allowing your skin to breathe. Most foundations create a film on your skin; whatever is trapped under that film stays there until you next cleanse your skin. Underneath your make up may be inflammation in the form of acne or pimples, Eczema, Dermatitis or even Rosacea and all day long your film of foundation is holding in the heat of that inflammation and causing – more inflammation. It’s no mystery then why most make up only makes these conditions worse, leading many women to apply more make up to cover blemishes. Mineral make up is non-eclusive, meaning it doesn’t form a film on the skin and won’t lead to further inflammation.

Mineral make up has also been recommended by plastic surgeons and other health professional for its ability to cover scarring. With mineral powder foundations, you can apply several layers to create the coverage needed, without fear of blocking pores and causing breakouts. Mineral eye shadow is also great because it’s water resistant; it doesn’t slide into the creases of your eyelid, and it won’t cause redness or itchy eyes. So your make up stays put all day or night, even if you wear make up when exercising, your skin can breathe and you’ll stay gorgeous – and above all else your skin will stay healthy. Another great bonus is that loose mineral foundation is formulated with Micronized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. These natural minerals block harmful rays from the sun.

There are several brands of mineral make up available now but there are a few things you need to know before you make your choice. Look for a brand with No Talc – even though Talc is a mineral, it’s not the kind of mineral you want in your make up. Talc can clog pores and can dry your skin, leading to the same inflammation issue as a regular foundation. Bismuth Oxychloride and Boron Nitride are also ingredients that may cause irritation in more sensitive skins, and if you’re buying a liquid mineral foundation, be sure to check that it contains a non-paraben preservative. As always when buying cosmetics and skincare, check the packaging to ensure it’s recyclable, if not reusable.

There are several great Aussie companies producing mineral make up, you can find most of them online, and some in pharmacies and health food shops. Buying Australian cosmetics and skincare, means you don’t have to concern yourself with the cost in both financial and environmental terms of getting the products here. The other benefit is that if you have a question regarding your make up, you have the convenience of being able to contact the company directly.

Break out box: APPLYING MINERAL MAKEUP

All loose mineral powders can be used as eye shadows, blushes, eyeliners and lip gloss. You can even add to clear nail polish to colour. Mineral foundation can be used as a concealer, powder and sunscreen. Always start with a clean dry bare face that has been moisturised.

WET: dampen a flock or latex sponge, tip a little powder into the lid and dab with a sponge, and gently spread over the area to be covered (great as a concealer before brushing on foundation).

DRY: Use a good quality natural fibre brush. Tap a small amount into the lid, dip the brush in and swirl it in the lid until the minerals are picked up by the brush. Tap off excess minerals on the side of the jar or tap the brush handle first on the bench so minerals travel into the brush head. Blend the minerals down your face until you have the coverage you want (TIP -two light layers will give a better finish than one thick layer). For smaller areas use a contour brush and apply under eyes and around nose to conceal dark areas and large pores.

©Eco Living Magazine.

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Natural Skin Care Solutions

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Natural Skin Care Solutions

Organic Skin Care Options

By Lesley-Ann Trow

“Nature has provided us with everything we need to nurture our skin; we should just let it get on with it.”

There’s no shortage of skincare brands – marketing, advertising and making claims on the shelves in your local pharmacy, health food store or where ever it is you go to buy your beauty products. Underneath all the hype there are some fundamental guidelines you can follow when purchasing your skincare to ensure your ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product is everything the label says it is.

Several environmentally and health conscious skincare companies have spent a fortune in research and development to make safe products that are full of active natural ingredients and no chemical nasties. Many of these are just as, and often more effective than products sold over the counter in department stores every day. Nature has provided us with everything we need to nurture our skin; we should just let it get on with it.

Here are some of the best natural ingredients for skincare to effectively heal, nurture, moisturise and slow down the ageing process. It’s also important to note the order the ingredients are listed on the label. The more there is of an ingredient, the closer to the top of the list it is.

Jojoba Oil

With properties similar to the skin’s own sebrum, jojoba oil is easily absorbed for maximum moisturising. With strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can destroy skin bacteria and fungi making it useful in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. It’s also known as nature’s wrinkle fighter – when applied, it holds water in the skin and it even absorbs UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. It can also act as a natural preservative with its antioxidant properties.

Rosehip Oil

Best renowned for its anti-aging benefits, rosehip oil is extracted from the fruit of the rose bush. The oil is extracted in order to get the high essential fatty acids, which make it such a beneficial oil for anti-aging and regeneration of the skin. Along with the essential fatty acids, rosehip oil is also rich in Vitamin C, A, D and E and antioxidants. The vitamin C in rosehip oil is responsible for producing collagen and improving skin elasticity. Used at night, it acts as a skin multi-vitamin, replacing nutrients lost during the day and repairs the skin while you sleep. Can be used for dry skins, as it can balance the skin.

Coconut Oil

Noted as one of the best ingredients for healthy hair and used in India, coconut oil helps to condition and repair hair and help with dandruff. The different acids and antioxidants and antibacterial properties are the reasons for its benefits. Good for cooking and the face, coconut oil is nourishing and moisturising without being too heavy on the face. It’s great for dry, flaky skin in winter and for helping to improve those wrinkles or sagging.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is best known for its fabulous smell. Used regularly in natural perfumes or aromatherapy blends, it also has antiseptic and antifungal properties. It helps to soothe sunburn and heal wounds. Combined with chamomile, lavender oil helps with eczema treatment.

Aloe

Aloe is found in many skincare products, especially products designed for oily skin. But it’s also a great healer – it is absorbed into the skin tissues below the surface.  It’s rich in vitamins as well as being an effective wetting agent to help with cleansing.

Panthenol

This plant derived pro vitamin B5 is an effective aid for irritated or damaged skin.

Green Tea

Organic green tea (Camellia sinensis): A potent anti-oxidant known to fight free radicals helps rejuvenate the skin and prevents sun damage. Promotes elasticity – as well as being high in vitamins, including B complex.

Manuka Honey

Included in facial creams to treat acne due to antibacterial properties and also contains lactic acid and helps remove dead skin cells in facial cleansers.

Calendula

Included for its antibacterial and soothing properties. Many creams for babies’ skin also contain calendula; it’s also great in hair care to sooth sensitive scalps.

Unrefined Shea Butter

Shea butter is a common ingredient in body butters, lip balms and moisturisers – creamy yellow in colour; it has a lovely nutty fragrance. This unrefined version retains many of the remarkable properties for which shea butter is renowned – deeply moisturising, anti-scarring, anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins A and E and other phytonutrients, and even provides mild UV radiation protection.

Preserving natural and organic skincare products has been one of the major sticking points. Certified organic skincare can have no chemical interference, this means water based products that are prone to bacterial growth once opened, must contain a natural preservative. Many products labelled organic, as opposed to certified organic (and yes, there is a BIG difference) contain safer chemical preservatives such as phenoxyethanol or benzyl alcohol.

The chemical nasties you’re looking for when it comes to preservatives include;

Parabens (Propyl, Methyl, Butyl, or Ethyl): Parabens are used as preservatives in numerous skin care and hair care products. They are highly toxic as they release Formaldehyde when exposed to the air and cause allergic and skin reactions.

There’s a whole host of other chemical nasties to avoid if you’re concerned about your health, and the health of your family. Several of these ingredients are now considered a cancer risk, especially breast cancer. More and more research is being done so that in the future they can have them banned from skincare.

Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol is obtained from petrochemicals and is added in numerous skin care creams and lotions as an emulsifying agent. It makes the skin look smooth; however, it speeds up aging of the skin. It also causes irritation and contact dermatitis.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS acts as a surfactant, degreaser, and emulsifier and is used in numerous foaming personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, body wash products, face cleansers, shaving cream, etc. This detergent affects the eyes and delays their healing time. It can be absorbed by the skin surface and gets accumulated in your body organs. When used in products containing nitrogen-based raw materials, it forms carcinogenic nitrates, which are known to cause irritation to the eye and skin.

Fragrance/Parfum: Artificial fragrance can cause numerous health problems including headaches, lung problems, skin irritation and dizziness.

Mineral Oil: Mineral oils are obtained from petroleum products and can cause skin irritations. They block skin pores, which restricts movement of nutrients and waste matter from the cells.

Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl Urea: These are also used as preservatives and are known for causing contact dermatitis.

Ingredients with PEG in the name: Polyethylene Glycol is their extended name; they should be avoided in cleansers for your skin and hair, as independent testing has shown they can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane; a petroleum-derived carcinogenic compound that is also used in dry cleaning solvents, lacquers and automotive coolant.
Synthetic Colours: Synthetic colours can cause allergic skin reactions.

Triethanolamine (TEA): TEA is used to adjust the pH of the cosmetics. It causes various allergic reactions including eye problems, and dryness of hair and skin. Also look out for MEA and DEA for the same reasons.

Packaging is the final element for consideration for natural and organic skincare. Certified organic skincare can contain only natural ingredients so it’s incredibly important to stop bacterial growth, by keeping air from getting into the packaging. Some skincare companies have again spent a fortune in research and development to ensure that their super effective ingredients maintain their integrity for the life of the product. It should also be noted here that the time between starting and discarding most organic and natural skincare should only be about 9 to 12 months. A product you love to use probably wouldn’t last you that long anyway.

What to look for in packaging.

Recycleable or Reusable: just makes good sense.

Positive Packaging: Opening and dispenser is at the bottom of the packaging allowing gravity to make it airtight.

Dark coloured glass: To maintain the integrity of active ingredients and Essential Oils.

As wonderful as it would be to live in a world where all products were labelled with 100% honesty (and claims had to be proven without a doubt before they could be made); we’re not there yet.

We can all help move a step closer though by making the hugely profitable skincare industry conscious of the new paradigm by voting with our wallets and supporting skincare companies that have embraced nature in word and action by creating super effective products that have a positive impact on the future of our planet and our health.

(Lesley-Ann Trow is the founder of www.gorgeousthings.com.au – The Pink Guide to Being Green and Gorgeous)

©Eco Living Magazine

Eco Living Magazine

Midas Word

Chemical Free Cleaning at Home

Eco Living Magazine presents:

Heading: Clean & Green- Chemical Free Cleaning at Home

Subheading: Would you bathe in your bathroom cleaner??

By Lesley-Ann Trow

We’ve all experienced how tough it can be to clean our bathrooms without gassing ourselves. Anyone who uses traditional household cleaners knows you’ve got to wear gloves, open the windows, and scrub whilst holding your breath. This experience should tell us a few things about traditional household cleaners, and not least that they’re having a negative impact on our health – while also being damaging to the environment.

If you’re looking to make your household cleaning safer for yourself and the environment then there are some great options available to you. The first step is to safely discard the chemical cocktail in your cleaning cupboard.

The health concerns stem from absorption of harsh chemicals directly through your skin and nasal passages to your bloodstream, as well as Volatile Organic Compounds that are found in petrochemical based cleaning products and synthetic fragrances and are released into the atmosphere as you spray your cleaners around your home. If you or your children have asthma, or you have allergies then these VOCs could be aggravating symptoms.

It’s not hard to imagine what the world will be like if we don’t address our polluting of waterways and ground water. No one wants to be responsible for making the problem worse but as Leroy Eldridge Cleaver put it – ‘you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem’   – and we all have to do our bit in our own homes today. That means switching to products that are 100% biodegradable (truly green products will tell you how many days this will take – 7 is good!), buying Phosphate Free cleaners and avoiding chemicals where there is a natural alternative.

You can then take the ‘back to basics’ approach and use simple ingredients to create your own cleaners and a bit of elbow grease. This is a great alternative if you have the time and patience. From Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for scrubbing down benches, chopping boards and bathrooms right through to Vinegar to clean your windows, there’s a natural alternative to pretty much everything you find under your sink. There are recipes you can following in fabulous books like ‘Spotless’ by Shannon Lush & Jennifer Flemming or even a quick Google search will have you cleaning up an environmentally friendly storm in no time.

The other way to go, which is the option I’ve chosen in my home is to use household cleaning products that have been formulated to be kind to you and have minimal impact on the environment. Not only does this option save time and effort but in most cases the ready-made cleaning products smell much better. In some cases so much so that you’ll never need to use anything else to scent your home. These greener household cleaning products will give you all the information you need on the label. They’ll tell you if it’s a plant-based surfactant, if the fragrance in naturally derived, how many days it will take to biodegrade and if it contains phosphates.

A few brands to look out for in the Supermarket or your Health Food store are Seventh Generation – great product imported from the US, Cinderella – my favourite as they smell divine and are Aussie Made, BEE – amazing Laundry Liquid & Dr Bronners – the ultimate All Purpose Castile Soap. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, you’ll notice the difference immediately.

©Eco Living Magazine

Eco Living Magazine

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