My Top Organic Buys

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Cyprus Blog

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. 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 as they offer unique and top quality items.  If you are looking for baby/toddler items then visit 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!  

Long Live (Green) Life

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Cyprus Blog

Living a greener lifestyle requires commitment but in this day and age it is increasingly important to try and embrace green principles which I believe give us a better quality of life. 

With a few exceptions, most of us live in a world where it is difficult to avoid eating and breathing-in environmental toxins. It’s also a fact that we are in the midst of a fat epidemic. Overweight andobesity are serious health risks that I wrote about in my recent blog “What’s up with our kids’ diet?”

So what’s the connection between toxins and being overweight? It is not by accident that obesity levels are rising alongside the increase in environmental toxins. The extra inch or two you might be carrying aroundyour waist could actually be toxic-waste storage sites!

There are many factors that contribute to weight gain; lack of exercise, over-sized fast food meals and one factor that is often overlooked by traditional diets is toxic overload. This could account for the fact that some of us have difficulty losing weight because our bodies are full of poisons.

These poisons or toxins can come from many sources including pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and other things found in the food that we eat as well as chemicals found in our cleaning products, hair care products, make-up and toiletries.

When toxins accumulate in the body, the liver and other organs try to filter them out of the body. When the liver is overloaded, it cannot efficiently burn body fat and the toxins are stored in fat cells. The more toxins the body is storing, the more fat it is likely to accumulate and retain. Toxins stored in fat cells are difficult to get rid of through dieting alone. When the body is overloaded with toxins, the body transfers its energy away from burning calories and uses that energy to work harder to detoxify the body. In other words, the body does not have the energy to burn calories.

So, I believe we all owe it to ourselves to detox our bodies not simply to lose weight, but in order to reduce toxin intake and experience a greener quality of life.  Here are some important steps towards achieving this:  

1. Flush the body of toxins with an herbal or nutrition cleanse. There are plenty of these kind of products on the market which can give you a kick-start. Several years ago, my nutritionist, Gillian McKeith recommended Dr Vogels De-Tox Box which was very good. There are now plenty of other brands around in pharmacies or through health shops & herbalists if you wish to undergo a body cleanse.  

2. Exercise. I know! I find it difficult too, not least because of work, I have limited free time. But it is very important for the body to function andcleanse so it’s a good idea to try and fit in some form of exercise. I love the sea so a brisk sea-side walk is never a chore!  

3. Eat organic fruits and vegetables to avoid the chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides generally found in produce. Of course this is my speciality as I run an organic food company! Apart from eating my own branded meals , I always make a point of buying everything organic where possible. Some people say it is often expensive and yes, I agree to an extent, but I do believe there’s no such thing as ‘cheap food’ – someone, somewhere pays the price and I will be discussing this topic in a forthcoming blog. I prefer to pay for quality food and cut back on other less important and unnecessary items.  

4. Choose organic meat to avoid the hormones and antibiotics found in non-organic meats. This is a bit tricky in Cyprus. If you are a meat-eater and wanting to buy organic I am not aware of any LACON certified producers of meat such as beef and lamb on the island although I have heard that some farmers do produce additive-free meat. Organic chicken is, however, available from health shops.  

5. Choose unprocessed foods to avoid preservatives, dyes, nitrates, and nitrites which are present in cooked meats, salami, ham, bacon, etc. These additives are very toxic to your system.  

6. Choose natural skin and hair products that don’t contain chemicals and dyes. The skin is a source of absorption as well as elimination. This area is of particular interest to me because research has shown that 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. I think that’s a good enough reason to seek out skin-friendly products. I have some personal favourite products: Melvita and Dr Hauschka make wonderful products which are highly effective. I also avoid the use of chemical sunscreens within these products as I believe them to be toxic. Dr Organic make a good, reasonably priced range of toiletries which are available at Holland & Barrett and some pharmacies. A good range of organic skincare & toiletries are also available from Nicosia’s Organic Fusion Skincare Boutique and you can also order on-line. I’m also very cautious about hair colourants. Fortunately, Apivita now do a much kinder range of permanent hair-colourant which avoids the use of hazardous chemicals and are available in a wide range of colours. It’s a shame that I have not yet found a hairdresser in Cyprus who uses earth-friendly, non or safer chemical dyes like one of my favourites – US company AVEDA. Oh, for an AVEDA salon in Cyprus!  

7. Avoid household toxins to rid your home of chemicals by using green cleaners. In recent months, I have seen an increasing number of these products in the supermarkets and health shops. Ecover is well-known brand that comes to mind and they are good products but also check out Greek company Planet’s cleaning products, washing powder, washing up liquid, etc. They’re really good as is Carrefour’s new Eco Planet, a cost-effective range of household cleaners which actually smell good enough to eat – even their toilet cleaner!  

8. Take steam baths or saunas. I’m a big fan of saunas and they are a very effective way of eliminating toxins. A daily sauna session of 15 minutes can assist detox by excreting toxins through the skin andalso help reduce both body weight andbody fat as well. I know the scorching hot Cyprus summers don’t exactly make you want to jump into an even hotter furnace so you may be better off frequenting them in the cooler months!  

9. Maintenance. Once the body is free of toxins, it is much easier to maintain optimal weight. A good low-glycemic diet and fitness routine is a must.  

10. Drink water. It goes without saying that drinking filtered or spring water is a must. Opinions vary on how much you should drink but make sure you keep frequently hydrated especially in the hot summer months.  

And finally, here are a few hints and tips for minimising your household toxins:  

1. Use natural cleaners in your home.

2. Install water filters to eliminate the chlorine and other chemicals found in your water. At the very least, drink and cook with filtered or spring water.

3. Install air filters and/or air purifiers. Definitely next on my agenda to help deal with all the dust clouds we get on this island!

4. Change the air conditioning filters in your house often. Get the ducts cleaned frequently as dangerous bacteria can breed very quickly andyou don’t want to be breathing these in.

5. Use plants such as spider, aloe, andpeace lily to help filter your household air.  

Going green and living green will help you live a longer and healthier life. A little time and commitment and everyone can reap the benefits. We owe it to ourselves and there’s no better time to start than now!