Toothpaste – do you know what you’re putting in your mouth?

When you put toothpaste in your mouth do you really know what you’re putting in? Or when you use deodorant do you know what’s going on your skin?

That’s why I like natural based products with nothing artificial in them. Tom’s of Maine have been making hygiene items since the 1970s.

The thing I like about Tom’s of Maine is that their website explains each and every ingredient so you can see exactly what you’re getting – much like we do at GoodnessDirect – but with greater scientific detail.

Tom's of Maine
Webshot from Tom's of Maine

Each item has a list of ingredients and if you click through there’s a layman’s explanation of what the ingredient is…

Close up of webshot
Close up of webshot

They’ll also tell what the ingredient is for, where’s it’s come from, if there are any alternatives and what the risks might be. That’s pretty impressive.

Tom’s also have a great commitment to sustainability, they aim to keep their products affordable and their ethics animal friendly.

If you’d like to find out more about the Tom’s of Maine values, visit their YouTube Channel.

New Booja Booja flavours – I’m so excited

There are 3 new flavours of Booja Booja chocolate truffles.

Is there any more reason you need to get excited?

Booja Booja have created the Rum Sozzled Sultana – a divine flavour explosion, the Stem Ginger – a gorgeously juicy pleasure, and the highly anticipated Banoffee Toffee.

Stunning and ethical in design and taste
Stunning and ethical in design and taste

If you don’t know anything about Booja Booja then you have a brand new world of wonders to discover. Booja Booja make gorgeous truffles and vegan ice cream but these are all organic and dairy free and gluten free, organic – and they taste fantastic!

Not only that you can find them in such exquisite packaging. Booja Booja also have a range called the Artist’s Collection. These are stunning wood-painted chocolate boxes and, in my opinion, now they have a new source of dairy free chocolate, these new truffles taste even better than before.

Rose Petal Jam – recipe from The Thrifty Forager by Alys Fowler

We recently held a competition to win The Thrifty Forager – by Alys Fowler it’s a fantastically interesting book on living of the land.

Just so you can see how good it is, here’s an extract from the book. It’s Alys Fowler’s recipe for Rose Petal Jam…

250g (90 oz) rose petals (that’s roughly a quarter of a standard carrier bag of petals). I mix pink dog rose with creamy yellow, highly scented rose from my garden
1.1 litres (2 pints) water
Juice of 2 lemons
450g (1lb) granulated sugar

The petals may have a few bugs on them, so shake them free of any intruders, place in a bowl, add half the sugar and leave for several hours or overnight. This infuses the rose flavour into the sugar and darkens the petals.

In a heavy-based pan, add the water, lemon juice and remaining sugar, then gently heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the rose petals and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rose petals look as if they are melting and have softened – pull a few out and chew if necessary, they should melt in your mouth but have a slight bite. Turn the heat up and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes or until setting point is reached. Remove any scum that may have risen to the top and allow to cool slightly, stirring gently so that the petals are evenly distributed. Cover and bottle as usual.

Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Forager is available from Kyle Books at £16.99.

Detox your world with Shazzie’s naked chocolate bars

“I am chocolate therefore I melt. Keep me cool or be prepared to get dirty with me.”

Organic Vegan Chocolate
Organic Vegan Chocolate

Such is life from Shazzie’s perspective. Her love of chocolate is well known as is her sense of fun. But her passion for raw health ingredients has shaped a movement.

Shazzie’s unique organic chocolate range is suitable for chocolate munchers who are dairy free or vegan,  and for those who avoid refined sugar and fibre.

They are handmade raw chocolate bars with a hint of pink Himalayan salt. And they’ll always leave you wanting more!

You can start detoxing your world with 6 different flavours.

Desire The intense chocolate bar with a sensation of orange oil and star anise.
Goddess A smooth chocolate bar with lacuma and lashings of hempseeds.
Intacta A pure cacao confectionery bar with a touch of maca and vanilla.
Siren An alluring bar with a splash of AFA algae and spirulina
Empress A regal bar bestowed with purple corn and pineapple
Temptress A heady handmade bar with a licking taste of strawberries and rose petals

A new form of scrumping? – Win this great book on living off the land

Stroll along a riverbank and it’s possible to forage for lots of wild food, even if you live in a city. Wild rocket, cobnuts, garlic mustard, barberry, rosehips, the list is endless. Can you get any more organic?

The best way to learn how is to join a nature group or go with someone who already knows. But if you’re interested, especially in making the wonderfully flavoured soups, wines, jams, cakes that come from these foods, then you may want to get hold of Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Forager.

In partnership with Kyle Books we are offering a prize copy of The Thrifty Forager to one lucky winner. All you have to do is email me with the subject ‘Thrifty Forager’ in the subject line. I’ll pick the name out of a hat and contact the winner in the next week. (Competition ends 22.9.11. UK addresses only.)

However, if you want to get your hands on the book straight away it’s available now priced at £16.99. And if you want to hear more from Alys Fowler, then you can listen to her walking along Regent’s Canal with Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey.

Flaxseed could protect from breast cancer

Compelling evidence that consuming phytoestrogen-rich substances like flaxseed can reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by as much as 40%.

The study involved 1140 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It seems that foods like flaxseed and sesame seeds introduce plant-derived compounds called lingans into your diet (a type of phytoestrogen). Lingans in turn attach themselves to oestrogen hormones to prevent the growth of further breast cancer tumours.

Seeds of life?
Seeds of life?

This is interesting because the use of soya – also a phytoestrogen rich food is still controversial in its association with breast cancer.

So what can you do?

The introduction of flaxseed (aka linseed) into your diet could well be advised, however it’s useful to know that more studies have to be done before people start taking lingan supplements. There are outstanding questions about how lingans are digested in order to become effective in action against oestrogen.

So, as always, the best advice is to maintain a balanced diet. Flaxseed is healthy anyway. It is rich in omega 3 and is known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also prevent arthritis. You can try flaxseed with cereals, yoghurt or salads, mixed into mashed potato or baked with bread.

Bless your skin with Himalayan Salt for cleansing

We need to learn. Our skin absorbs the chemicals we put on it.

Since the 1970s, Urtekram has been producing pure and natural body care products. That is why their products are entirely made from natural and vegetarian ingredients. They are certified organic and contain no synthetic chemicals.

Bless your body
Bless your body

Now, in an extra effort to care for your skin, Urtekram have developed a Body Scrub, Shower Gel and Hand Soap, all infused with Himalaya salt – a perfect ingredient for nurturing the skin. They’ve also included a blend of rosemary for fresh and aromatic sensuality, but it is the mineral rich salt which will really benefit your skin, leaving it smooth and soft, ridding your body of dry and rough skin cells.

Salt has long been used for its healing properties. Himalayan salt is rich in the minerals that your body uses. This might explain why many testify to using salt as a cleanser to benefit bad skin, the nervous system and muscle tone.