Being involved with organic food, I often get asked by friends and family for advice on buying organic. Not just organic food, but other items too. So, I have taken the opportunity to compile a list of some important organic must-buys as well as some of my favourite organic and eco-friendly products which I am either knowledgeable about or have stumbled upon through my continuing search for all things organic!
1. Organic food. I’m a believer in the saying ‘you are what you eat’ and eating pesticide and additive-free organic food is certainly much safer for your health. Yes, it can be expensive but what price your health? For this reason I consider organic food a must-buy. Even if it’s not possible or practical to buy everything organic, at the very least, play safe when purchasing fruit and vegetables and avoid the ‘dirty dozen’ i.e. those containing the highest pesticide levels. Another essential is organic milk, if you consume dairy. Charalambides sell organic semi-skimmed milk in selected outlets which is superior to non-organic milk, the production practices of which I’m sure my readers know about!
2. Organic supplements. There are a variety of food supplements which can boost your overall health and well-being. Perhaps I will devote an entire blog to this subject in the near future because there are many beneficial ‘superfoods’ available, but for now I will mention two supplements that are available here at Holland & Barrett; Organic Spirulina powder which I use in smoothies and The Groovy Food Company’s Organic Cool Oil which I add to salads and soups. Both products cost under 20 euros and contain all the essential omega oils which are vital for good health as they contain the right kind of fats.
3. Eco-friendly household cleaners. I have mentioned these items in previous blogs so I’ll keep it brief; my current favourite is the Eco-Planete range of cleaners from Carrefour as they are very reasonably priced and effective.
4. Organic deodorant. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants can contain aluminium which not only clogs the pores but can also enter the bloodstream increasing the levels of aluminium in the body. The alcohol contained in these conventional products also has a drying effect on the skin and can transport other chemicals into the bloodstream. Basically, they work by blocking the sweat glands so that you don’t perspire. That doesn’t sit well with me – sweat’s got to come out somewhere! Apart from that, they can even make your armpits itch! Some of the natural deodorants may be less effective and having tried a lot of safer alternatives, I back crystal deodorants. I always stock up on Pit-Rock crystal spray from the UK which works brilliantly, even in the Cyprus heat. www.organicfusion.eu is now stocking a similar brand which is available here.
5. Organic skincare. 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. That’s a fact andsince most of your regular mainstream brands are petrochemical-based – andyes, even Johnson’s baby products – rubbing these lotions andpotions into your skin causes toxic overload. It’s a no-no. My personal favourites as I have mentioned before are Dr Hauschka, Melvita andsome of Apivita’s skincare products. There are of course a lot of brands on the market but I find these effective time and time again. Obviously these kinds of products are very much a personal choice and I would be very keen to hear from any readers who have any other favourite and effective products. Please drop me an email.
6. Organic cotton/clothing. Perhaps it doesn’t always cross our minds to seek out organic clothing andcotton in particular which is grown using high amounts of pesticides but whenever I have bought organic clothing in the past, I am always pleased by the natural feel andtexture of the material. Some of the mainstream stores now offer some organic cotton items. For example H&M and Zara do a range of organic cotton tops as well as a range for children. But it’s also worth seeking out on-line retailers who specialise in this kindof thing such as www.naturalcollection.com as they offer unique and top quality items. If you are looking for baby/toddler items then visit www.greenbaby.co.uk for a brilliant range of eco-friendly clothes and other products. I have bought from Green Baby in the past. Their clothing is stylish and the quality is excellent.
7. Organic paint. Household paints for walls, wood and masonry contain very toxic chemicals such as solvents which can cause health problems. If you’re looking at re-decorating your home to freshen up your home environment, I would recommendusing organic paints. I am not sure whether these are available in Cyprus but when I lived in the UK, I had the whole house painted using ECOS organic paints Not only are they odourless, they come in fab colours and of course, you feel safe knowing that you won’t have any nasty chemicals leaching into your atmosphere. They are more expensive than the leading market brands but since painting your home only tends to happen every few years, It’s definitely a price worth paying.
8. A ticket to Iceland. OK, I haven’t checked into the departure lounge just yet as holidays are not on my agenda right now! However, I felt that Iceland deserved a place on this list. Said to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, featuring glaciers, volcanoes, andeven waterfalls, Iceland tops the list of being the greenest country in the world. Though a pretty small island, Iceland has founda way to ensure that despite its size, it would be making a huge impact on becoming eco-friendly. Because of its location, Iceland has focused on using its geothermal landscape to utilize clean electricity and heat. The most commonly used source for heat and electricity is hydrogen, and the country hopes to become the first to be entirely reliant upon this energy source. Not only will the hydrogen energy be used by homeowners and those who occupy buildings, it is also used for transportation. The government of Iceland has provided hydrogen-powered buses to ensure people can get to their destinations in an eco-friendly way. To go along with the buses, Iceland has put a lot of focus on the Mercedes Benz A-Class F-Cell. This car is also fueled by hydrogen and can go up to 100 miles on a full tank. Though the country wasn’t always so green, having depended on imported coal for 70% of its energy, nowadays, Iceland can proudly say that only 18% of its energy sources come from coal, the other 82% is pure hydrogen and geothermal power. While it may seem like a tough goal, by 2050, Iceland’s minister of industry and energy, Össur Skarphédinsson, hopes to have the country be carbon and oil free. Shouldn’t we follow in their footsteps or at least give some aspects a try?!
So, there you have it; my current list of organic and eco-friendly recommendations which I will be updating in the near future. My mission to seek out and pass on practical information relating to all things organic continues, along with my day job at The Yum Company of course!