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 www.organicfusion.eu 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!  

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