The Truth About Food Additives

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat

Good weekend reading…the lowdown on food additives. Read the part on gelatine – you know how it’s made and it is included in some well known brands of Cyprus yogurt. Better to buy organic! 


Organic food industry creates jobs

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat
Are we missing something? Would love to see more commitment to organic here in Cyprus both from producers and consurmers as in the USA. Buy organic and help boost the economy!

Smart Thinkers Think Green

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Cyprus Blog

I am always pleased to hear about businesses and organisations who have realised that adopting green or ethical policies is more than just a ‘marketing ploy’ to win customers. Regular readers of my blog may recall that Google is one such company. It provides healthy, organic food for its employees which is often cited as a important benefit of working for them.

So, as you can imagine, I was delighted to discover that eBay has a devoted green site called Green eBay I’m not sure that a lot of people know about it but it is really good and I recommend a visit there – from green driving and kids toys to clothing and light bulbs, it really is an innovative concept and a great shopping experience in true eBay fashion!

Green eBay was started as a group of 40 passionate eBay employees who wanted to make the company a truly green place to work. The team now comprises 2,500 eBay employees in over 25 countries, all promoting green, sustainable business practices within eBay, volunteering in their communities, and supporting environmental legislation. The eBay Green Team members are committed to a greener lifestyle of better products, better business, and a better way of living. This is the main reason I believe it works – their passion filters through to the customer; you know they really believe in what they’re doing. And of course, there are many great products on there too!

They were savvy enough to realise that real positive environmental impact happens when people make seemingly small, eco-friendly choices on a regular basis andthat this impact can really add up. They also believe that being green shouldn’t come at a high price and that eco-friendly actions should actually save you money – that it should literally pay to be green. A very switched-on attitude and absolutely true! It is out of this belief that their latest innovation, eBay Green Driving, was developed which was designed to provide drivers with ways to reduce both money spent at the pump as well as their environmental impact. With petrol prices heading in one direction only, there’s never been a better time to green your driving and ease some of the pressure on your finances.

It is perceptions such as these that puts eBay ahead of the game – they have learnt that adoption of green policies is an important strategic tool. These days with soaring prices, many of us have no choice but to lead a more frugal lifestyle and if being green’s one way of doing it, then it doesn’t seem quite so bad!  

eBay is not the only large corporate embracing green practices. Although I wouldn’t say they possess the same ethics or have adopted green policies in the same way that eBay has, H&M, the world’s second  largest clothing retailer is also trying to remake itself as a greener option and is now positioning itself as the ethical solution; the retailer that can make ethics and fast fashion synonymous.

Recent finanicial reports have indicated some impressive sustainable figures: for example nearly 2.5 million pairs of shoes were made last year using lower-impact water-based solvents; all building contractors have signed a code of conduct to ensure "good" working conditions; recycled polyester equivalent to 9.2 million plastic bottles has been used and H&M uses more organic cotton in production than any other group. This year, 7.6% of its cotton was organic. By 2020, 100% will be sustainably sourced cotton.

While H&M is by no means perfect, today’s fashion’s production system is reliant on low-wage production in some of the poorest countries of the world. You’ve heard the stories about cheap labour, but at least H&M are getting better by trying to improve and be as good as possible at sustainability. Whilst acknowleding that there is more to do, they are working in many ways to achieve it having realised the importance of greener solutions.

I believe many other companies have also realised the importance of greener policies. For instance, I recently purchased organic cotton t-shirts in Zara and Benetton stores. They were also reasonably priced, a real bonus! Also, with food never far from my thoughts, another Swedish store, IKEA (Swedes are good at this kind of thing aren’t they, or are they just smart?!) now has an organic food section within its sales area featuring a small selection of reasonably-priced organic foods such as pasta, jams and drinks. No doubt there are other companies also doing similar things and as andwhen I discover them, I will report on them here!

The evidence is clear that smart thinkers are thinking green with companies increasingly using green strategies as part of their business models. Perhaps they have realised that it’s a great formula to win customers? Of course we’re in no doubt they are ultimately commercially driven. But, there is a feel-good factor associated with ethical shopping and if, as eBay has shown, it can actually help reduce your spending whilst saving you money, then there’s no doubt in my mind that for companies and consumers alike, green’s the way to go. As the title of the blog says; smart thinkers think green!  

All About Eggs!

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Cyprus Blog

Being Easter-time, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about eggs and take a look in some detail at ‘real’ eggs as well as a variety which may perhaps be a little more appealing at this time of the year; chocolate eggs, which definitely get my vote!

So, first of all let’s look at ‘real’ eggs as I referred to them. Love them or loathe them, one thing for sure is that eggs have a unique chemistry and are an essential cooking andbaking ingredient. They are also an extremely varied food, coming from all sorts of sources and in a variety of colours.

Colours of eggs, while often regarded as an important element of purchasing eggs, is actually not important. Common belief is that brown eggs are healthier than white (my mother always used to tell me that!) but the truth is that the colour is not a factor – it’s the contents that matter. It is what the chicken eats and the way in which the chicken is kept that has an effect on how healthy the contents of the eggs are.

Varieties of eggs are extremely diverse. While chicken eggs are most common, duck eggs, quail eggs and even ostrich eggs can be bought for consumption. Each type of egg has a distinct flavour and chemistry. Duck eggs cannot usually be used in traditional baking recipes in place of chicken eggs, but they’re great poached on toast. Quail eggs are very small, but quickly cooked or even raw (organic only, of course!). Chicken eggs are, of course, very versatile and likely to be the most commonly used in your kitchen.

Eggs have many health benefits. They are full of high-quality protein (each egg contains 6.3 grams of protein), and are low in calories at about 68 calories per egg. They contain choline, a key component of cell membranes, especially brain cells and neurotransmitters, without which our bodies can become deficient in folic acid. An increased consumption of choline has proven to decrease inflammation, which, when it becomes a chronic problem, can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and osteoperosis. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two important carotenoids which help protect vision and reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration of the eyes.

But aren’t eggs supposed to be notoriously high in cholesterol? They are, but nutritionists have foundin recent years that high blood cholesterol actually comes from the consumption of saturated fat, not from dietary cholesterol. Eating one or two eggs a day is completely reasonable for someone on a healthy diet with regards to cholesterol. On the contrary, eggs are good for your heart and have been proven to help prevent blood clots thanks to the proteins within the yolk.

Eggs are one of the best and easiest sources of protein, and they are also one of the most important foods to buy organic. Not only do commercial eggs come from chickens that are fed hormones and chemical feeds, but the egg shell is extremely porous, and everything in the egg’s environment such as chicken droppings and soil filled with chemicals can enter the egg itself. Organic eggs come from chickens fed organic feed. Organic feed, without antibiotics and hormones, is very important when it comes to the quality of the eggs so it makes perfect sense to buy organic eggs, guaranteeing you the best in nutritional value. Organic eggs are now widely available from supermarkets and healthshops and are produced locally and organically by Ayia Skepi and Petrides.

Now time to move onto the chocolate variety! We all love Easter but it’s worth knowing that many chocolate eggs are loaded with preservatives and hydrogenated fats, and made with conventionally-grown ingredients. Some of the ‘cheaper’ unheard of brands of Easter Eggs that you can buy here from some stores taste appalling, probably because, suspect ingredients aside, their cocoa content is minimal. But it’s not just the taste….it’s where they originate from and the fact that there are some serious ethical concerns regarding their production. It is estimated that nearly 15,000 children work on cocoa farms in West Africa and Latin America for very little money, while hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest have been destroyed to make way for cocoa plantations. But despite the ethical qualms, our appetite for cocoa shows no signs of abating. With 40 per cent of chocolate estimated to have been grown by child labourers, one of our favourite treats can leave a bitter taste.

Chocolate is never more popular than at Easter. Thanks to concerns about the provenance of cocoa beans, Easter is neither ethical or green. But thankfully for chocolate-lovers like me, you don’t have to miss out. What’s required is a savvier, more sensible approach and buying Fairtrade and organic chocolate is the obvious way to go both from an ethical and taste point of view.

Whilst some companies such as Cadbury’s take a more ethical stance and others such as Lindt and Ferrero unfortunately have a way to go, I am delighted that at least we are able to buy organic Easter Eggs here from one of my favourite manufacturers of organic chocolate; Green & Black’s, a limited selection of which are available from Alphamega. I’m not sure whether any other brands of organic Easter Eggs are available in Cyprus – I have not seen any – however, I have tasted many brands of organic chocolate and my opinion is that the quality and taste of Green & Black’s takes some beating! If you are a real chocolate connossieur, you may have already tried raw chocolate and although not available in Cyprus, UK company offers a range of organic raw chocolate Easter Eggs which you may wish to note, although I would advise you to try raw chocolate first because although it is superior chocolate in many ways, not least for its high antioxidant levels, it is very much an acquired taste.

Whatever your choice of eggs for consumption during this festive period, have a Happy Easter!