This environmentally-friendly horticultural concept is an obvious solution to our regular water shortages….we certainly have no shortage of seawater! Shouldn’t we introduce this system into our agricultural industry?
Often overlooked in the Cypriot diet which tends to focus more on regular potatoes and kolokasi (when in season), why not consider an alternative next time you’re shopping? Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients including Vitamins B6, C, beta carotene, copper, iron, potassium and fibre. They are rich in iron so can offset any deficiency, help in alleviating food cravings and can help boost your mood.
Sweet potatoes taste excellent baked in their skins or boiled. Green Cyprus serving suggestion: Peel and chop 2-4 sweet potatoes depending on serving size. Cover with water and boil for approx 10-15 minutes until soft. Drain the water and mash until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons organic olive oil, ½ teaspoon each of cumin and sea salt. Stir and serve. Organic sweet potatoes are available in health shops now.
Over a third of Marks & Spencer products sold, amounting to over a billion items a year, now boast some form of sustainability credential with 35% of its products having an eco or ethical feature that goes beyond the market norm.
It’s investment in renewable energy is not only important from an environmental point of view, there’s also a good business case; biomass located at Cheshire Oaks currently provides 70 percent of the store’s heating. Certainly a good example to be followed, hats off to M&S, a market leader in every respect!
If you’re familiar with the Green Cyprus website and have become a friend on Facebook, you’ll be aware that since its inception, the aim has been to pool together all things green, organic and eco-friendly. This puts me in constant touch with new green products and services on the Cyprus market.
Since it has been a while since I last put together a recommendations list, I felt it was time an update was due and so here we are!
The following list has been compiled which highlights my 6 favourite buys for 2012. Some of these have featured on the ‘Green Cyprus Loves…’ section of the website. The items I have listed regularly feature on my shopping list as important must-buys and will continue to do so as I strive to achieve a greener and healthier lifestyle.
1. Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is very versatile with many uses and many health benefits being documented and reports of people improving or even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s by using coconut oil. There have also been positive results from people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in using coconut oil as well as those suffering from hypothryroidism, as coconut oil helps boost metabolism and raise body temperatures to promote thyroid health. Other healthy benefits of coconut oil include fighting off bacterial infections and viruses. The list goes on and you can read about it in more depth on the website. I am a convert and in my attempt to ditch all dairy products, I regularly buy and use organic coconut oil in cooking and baking – it’s a greener product than most other cooking oils as it can also withstand high temperatures unlike some of its toxin-producing counterparts e.g. corn oil. By my own admission, I make a mean coconut-based flapjack that tastes great and is very healthy! It also makes a great dry hair and skin treatment. Enough said! Biona Organic Coconut Oil, Naturata Kokos and other good brands are generally available from health-shops.
2. Agave Syrup. OK, strictly speaking any kind of sweetener shouldn’t be on this list. Certainly, we are all aware of the dangers posed to our health as a result of too much sugar consumption especially with the soaring rate of type 2 diabetes. To add to that, the Cypriot fondness for all things sweet which features quite heavily in our diets doesn’t help the situation. To make matters even worse, artificial sweeteners like aspartame which is currently hot news in the press once
again as it has been associated with increased risk of blood cancers, are best avoided altogether. That said, it is still difficult to exclude all kinds of sugar from your diet. I make a conscious effort to eliminate as much sugar from my diet as possible as I am all too aware of the health problems that can arise – and let’s face it, it does seem that a high proportion of the population of over 40’s are type 2 diabetes candidates! Needless to say, I never touch artificial sweeteners as I have been suspicious of them for years. So, I now buy Organic Agave Syrup. There are at least 2 good brands on the market; NaturGreen and Bjorg which both retail for around 5 euros. It is quite expensive but it is worth it as it has a low glycemic index and is therefore much better for you. Agave Syrup has a nice subtle sweet taste and is perfect in baking. I haven’t tried it in tea or coffee as I don’t add sweetener to either but I’m sure it tastes fine. Agave is a much healthier and greener choice as it is not a refined product like sugar so it’s
ideal if you require a general purpose sweetener.
3. Planet Washing-Up Liquid with organic chamomile. No I haven’t gone mad – this product smells really divine and makes washing dishes a pleasure! Even if you use a dishwashing machine, it’s always useful to have a bottle of washing-up liquid handy and this brand comes highly recommended! Planet is a leading Greek-based eco-cleaning products company and I have used all their cleaning products which are of good quality, pleasant to use and reasonably priced considering they’re earth-friendly products. The organic chamomile washing-up liquid is tops! Try it and you’ll see.
4. Venus Rose Organic skincare. There are a whole host of great organic, chemical free beauty products on the market and personally, I have used a variety of different organic brands for years as I have wanted to avoid all petrochemicals, parabens and other toxic ingredients included in the larger commercial brands. Not long ago, I visited home-grown company Venus Rose (rose gardens) in Agros (www.venus-rose.com) and purchased their organically certified rose cleaning water and their rose moisturising creams. Now, if I were a famous celebrity and endorsed their products, they would be flying off the shelves as we speak! You never know, the secret may find a way out but follow my advice and try out their products. If you like Dr Hauschka’s light rose cream, you will adore this because it is better. It sinks in without leaving a tell-tale moisturiser shine and gives you a really bright, fresh and smooth complexion.
5.Fluoride-Free Toothpaste. Any dentists reading this blog may disagree but at least from my point of view, toothpaste containing fluoride is a big no no. You can read all the facts about fluoride on our site but in a nutshell, it is a dangerous neurotoxin that can cause cancer and other conditions. I decided a while back not to take any risks and avoid fluoride-based toothpastes at all costs. I now opt instead for Jason’s fluoride and sls free Sea Fresh Toothpaste which does an excellent chemical-free job and is a greener product. I’m not sure I have seen this in Cyprus but Dr Organic which is generally available in Holland & Barrett and pharmacies has a range of fluoride-free toothpastes which are equally good.
6. Green Cookware. Apart from the importance of following a fresh, natural and organic-where-possible diet, I always stress the importance of using eco-friendly, safe cookware. Once again, you can read about the dangers of teflon on the Green Cyprus website. It is much better and healthier to use stainless steel or ceramic type cookware to avoid potentially dangerous chemicals from teflon leaching into your food. I always avoid aluminium foil for cooking but have a roll of Bacofoil’s recycled aluminium foil on standby for other purposes. Both for wrapping food and cooking, it is safer to use chlorine-free, unbleached parchment paper such as the one by If You Care brand which is available from health shops but if you can’t do without cling-film, the COOP brand from E&S hypermarkets offers a PVC-free cling film which is eco-friendlier and a healthier option.
This summarises my main current recommendations for greener products in an attempt to achieve a better and greener standard of living….and whatsmore, these are really good products too. What I find as I discover good green brands is just how much better they are in every way – for you and the environment. My mission to seek out and pass on practical information relating to all things green, organic and eco-friendly continues and I shall be updating again soon.
In the meantime, stay up-to-date by checking out the website and joining us on Facebook. I look forward to seeing you there!
You’ve heard the saying, charity begins at home and that’s a good place to start. No doubt you have seen the food banks in supermarkets collecting food for those in need. It’s a new challenge for us in Cyprus as for the first time, the downturn in the economy is beginning to impact on us. But it’s also part of a bigger picture with world food shortages becoming very real. So, remember; be conscious, be thrifty and support food recovery programs.
Go through your cabinets and shelves and donate any non-perishable canned and dried foods that you won’t be using to your nearest food bank or shelter. You can find collection points in some of the supermarkets including Alphamega, etc.
A growing number of people depend on these donations. Be green, don’t throw food away – give it to the needy and help make a positive impact instead
Widely regarded as a superfood, pomegranate juice is packed with anti-oxidants and is also known to lower blood pressure, guard against heart disease and help fight certain types of cancer. The pomegranate’s abundant polyphenols work as powerful antioxidants preventing heart damage and build up of plaque in the arteries. They can also ease the pain of osteoarthritis by slowing the deterioration of cartilage in the joints and preventing inflammation.
A newly published paper in the Journal of Nutritional Science from researchers at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh has found additional benefits associated with pomegranate juice consumption including bulge-busting, perfect skin, anti-stress and increased energy.
So, eat the fruit (there’s plenty of Cyprus ones out there at the moment) and drink the juice! They are perfect added to salads, cereals with yogurt and a handful of pomegranate seeds make a sweet, healthy snack for your lunch boxes too.
If you’re greening-up your diet, they’re not to be missed!