Cliff Richard’s secret

‘Cliff Richard is 70 next month…’

'Congratulations' Cliff Photo by MandyHallMedia
'Congratulations' Cliff Photo by MandyHallMedia

The office is unusually silent at this announcement… There’s even a slight embarrassed reaction. Could it be that women still go weak at the knees over his strong jaw, captivating eyes and boyish looks?

Apparantly he keeps himself slim by taking lecithin, a vital substance which helps your body reduce its fat content. He also follows a blood-type diet, exercises regularly, drinks wine and takes a daily multi-vitamin.

I look at those photos and can only hope I’ll be half the looker he is when I’m his age. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do!

Competition – win some Fairtrade chocolate

Having written about Fairtrade a few days ago I thought I’d launch a mini-competition on the Fairtrade theme.

The prize is a box of Fairtrade chocolate bars from Traidcraft.

All you have to do is send me an email to enter the draw. That’s it! Competition closes on 9/9/2010.

Go on... of course you want one... its Fairtrade chocolate
Go on... of course you want one... its Fairtrade chocolate

‘Antioxidants for Dummies’

I was trying to explain the importance of antioxidants the other day and I came across this easy explanation:

“Antioxidants are a bit like rust protection for the body.”

As with everything that goes rusty over time, the oxidation of our cells is damaging and leads to the early onset of diseases particularly associated with old age. Antioxidants – in various things from raisins to cacoa – reduce the effects of oxidisation and repair the damage as well, which helps you to have a longer life.

So there you go, even humble raisins can be superfoods nowadays.

Don’t forget, if you need to ask us questions about antioxidants or anything else you can always contact us by Twitter, email or phone 08710871 6611.

Food price crisis – can Fairtrade help?

Chocolate prices could be up 20% next year! Perhaps this might provoke millions of women around the world to campaign against the disasterous market gambling on the value of food?

In 2010 food prices have been on the rise again. We could soon see more riots worldwide as we did in 2007/8.

Evidence is gathering that it is the speculation on food prices that is fueling the massive leap in the cost of basic commodoties such as wheat and rice. High prices mean that the world’s poorest can’t afford basic foods despite their availability. During the last crisis this resulted in the malnutrition and even deaths of millions.

Can Fairtrade help in this crisis?

Buying Fairtrade still helps, Photo by Kaihsu Tai
Buying Fairtrade still helps
Photo by Kaihsu Tai

As I look at some new jars of Clipper Fairtrade  and Organic Coffee and Decaf Coffee on my desk, my hope is that buying food like this can still be a voice for sustainable development, even in greedy times.

Will guaranteeing a minimum profit for the farmer mean that Fairtrade prices aren’t so volatile at the consumer end? I’m not sure. Will small farmers (who make up 75% of the world’s poor) always at the mercy of fat cats creaming the best off the profits and leaving economic devastation in their wake? Again, it’s difficult to say. This year has already seen the price of coffee at its highest for 12 years, and cocoa is a staggering 25% more expensive than it was during the food crisis in 2008.

However what Fairtrade can do is bring confidence to the farmer: if they are guaranteed a minimum profit they can afford to budget through hard times and have a greater chance of buying food for their families when prices shoot up; and they can think about investing in the future for their communities, thus helping to lift themselves out of the poverty trap.

So while chaos may reign, Fairtrade farmers will have some reason to feel safer. You can pick up some of their Fairtrade produce here.

More Vitamin D could protect you from disease

Vitamin D works with your cells to protect you from a number of diseases. In fact the list of illnesses it is known that Vitamin D can help with is still growing.

Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis – all of these can now be conected to a deficiency in Vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is also known to help, in some cases significantly, with osteoporosis, immunity, muscular pain, coronary illness and depression.

As an anti-depressant, Vitamin D can reduce depression and enhance your mood, sociability and overall sense of wellbeing. Yet more than half the UK population is deficient in this vitamin.

If you live north of Birmingham you won't get enough Vitamin D from the sun in the winter
If you live north of Birmingham you won't get enough Vitamin D from the sun in the winter

And, this is interesting, if you live roughly north of Birmingham (above 52 degrees north) your body will not be able to make Vitamin D in the winter because of the lack of sunlight. In fact, a key reason why so many people developed rickets during the industrial revolution was because everywhere was covered in dense smog.

So how do you get more of the vitamin?

As well as sunlight Vitamin D can also be gained from fish and shellfish, and a little from eggs, dairy produce and green vegetables. But there are calls for the RDA of Vitamin D to be increased because it is such a significant health-giving nutrient.

But, given that so many people suffer from a lack of this sun-sourced friend, it’s useful to take Vitamin D in tablet form. A good vegan source of Vitamin D can be found in Viridian Vitamin D2.

Organic creams for the most sensitive skin

Having just written about vegan cosmetics which, by their very composition tend to be safe and natural, it’s good to introduce a new skincare range which is just that, and not surprisingly it’s vegan and organic too.

Organic  cream for sensitive skin
Organic cream for sensitive skin

Natraderm have created a new line of moisturising creams for use in the  shower, and for the hair and skin. And of course, being Natraderm, they are totally free from artificial colours, fragrances, sulphates, chemical preservatives or artificial foaming agents.

What is really excellent about these creams is that they are suitable for anyone with sensitive skin or suffering from eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, skin rashes and irritations.

The shower gels and shampoo are entirely organic and blended with extracts of Jojoba, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.

If you’ve ever used Natraderm you’ll know how soothing it is, so you can look forward to being gently cleansed and moisturised by these new skin-friendly creams.

Finding toiletries at GoodnessDirect if you are vegan

How do you know what is really in your facial scrub?

You can read the smallprint, but only chemists can understand most of the words.

If you are a vegan the two crucial elements to choosing toiletries and cosmetics are the ingredients and the testing.

The principles

Be confident in your beauty products
Be confident in your beauty products

No  cosmetic should contain products derived from animals (living or dead). And each item should be cruelty-free.

Testing on animals is not allowed in the UK, but companies can still sell beauty products here and test them abroad (for more info visit BUAV). Check that the makers specifically say their product has not been tested on animals.

Non-vegan ingredients to watch out for includes beeswax, collagen, elastin, keratin, lanolin, oleic acid, oestrogen, propolis and stearin. I list these because these are the ones I know about, but Viva offer a more useful and longer boo-hiss glossary of words for you to check your favourite items against; however, their list is not definitive and some ingredients listed can possibly be obtained without farming animals.

At GoodnessDirect

Brands which guarantee their creations are vegan include Organic Bloom, Urtekram, Faith in Nature*, Tom’s of Maine, Suma, Kingfisher Natural Toothpaste, Green People, Weleda, Yaoh and PitRok.

You can obtain all these from GoodnessDirect and you can find them by looking out for the ‘vegan’ flag on our pages or by selecting ‘Vegan’ in the My Options section.

Some of the latest items on our shelves include…

Suncoat’s hair mousse, styling spray and styling gel (check out their impressive nail polishes)
PitRok’s handwash, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner
Organic Bloom’s shampoo and conditioner
Uketram’s no perfume shower gel
Weleda’s skin food and Birch cellulite oil

NB. *Faith in Nature’s Propolis is non-vegan as it involves using bees.