Chocolate treats – But don’t eat them

March 12, 2008 by  
Filed under featured, Food & Nutrition, Health, Skincare, Wellness

Easter is upon us, and the array of chocolate stretches to infinity and beyond, but not everyone can eat chocolate – or indeed wants to.

If you are, or know, someone like that then can I suggest a couple of healthy alternatives – and no it is not carob, because however virtuous carob may be, it cannot be a substitute for chocolate. I have yet to think what it might be a substitute for, but give me time.

First, let me commend you to those wonderful people at Lush who hand make a range of beauty treats from all-natural ingredients at incredibly low prices. The two you might want to consider as gifts are: Soft Coeur – if you don’t’ have elementary French, think Soft Heart or as the wonderful Lush Times describes it,’The Honeymooner’.

If you are looking for a messy massage bar made from honey, cocoa and natural butters this is a real treat – just don’t forget to massage with it and not masticate it.

Secondly, the other product of theirs I can highly recommend is the Cupcake facemask, which is recommended for oily, congested, skin. Something you might well have if you have over indulged in the real chocolate Easter treats. It is an anti-microbial cleansing mask made from Rahassoul mud – which gives it the chocolaty colour from which it takes its name, and sandalwood, spearmint and peppermint oils to give your skin a boost. Buy from their stores or online at

Finally, there is a great craze for raw chocolate at the moment, and one way to get your fix is with another face pack, this time from organic skin care company Raw Gaia. They have launched the world’s first raw chocolate face pack and like all their products it is hand made, organic, vegan and cruelty-free. It contains raw chocolate powder, the highest known source of antioxidants in the world, plus red clay, organic turmeric and organic amla (an Ayurvedic herb) fruit powder.

The nutritional content of raw chocolate powder is amazing: there are over 25,200 antioxidants in a single spoonful of the stuff and raw chocolate powder contains 367% more antioxidants than its cooked version. You can buy it from good health food shops or online from Gaiaa. It costs £8.20 for 50grams and won’t put a single extra ounce of weight on your hips – honest.

Broccoli can relieve inherited skin condition

Epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) comprises a group of inherited disorders in which the skin blisters extremely easily and can be extremely painful to the sufferer. The problem lies in the genes that hold the instructions necessary for production of certain proteins in the top layer of skin. These instructions have a minor fault, rather like a typing error, with the result that the proteins are incorrectly formed, and unable to fulfil their role as scaffolding for the topmost layer of skin. The result is that the top layer of skin does not ‘stick’ securely to the layer beneath it, and where the two layers separate a blister develops.

Even the mildest form of EBS can leads to blistering of the hands and feet and the condition is more common than you might think. If only one of the two parents has the condition then there is a 1 in 2 chance it will be passed on their children.It may be obvious from birth, or develop during the first few weeks of life. Sites of blistering respond to areas where friction is caused by clothing and frequently appear around the edges of the nappy, but may not be noticed until the child begins walking, when foot blisters start to appear. There is currently no effective treatment that can cure it, though a number of measures can be taken to relieve the symptoms. However, a new study that was reported at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting shows that eating broccoli could be of great benefit. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that the natural compound sulforaphane, which is present in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, can help treat this disorder. Sulforaphane has already been lauded for its cancer-fighting powers and so the researchers carried ouit an experiment where they found that mice with EBS who were exposed to sulforaphane, had significantly reduced skin blistering. Patient trials have not yet been conducted, but in the meantime anyone suffering from this condition could benefit from eating broccoli at least 2-3 times a week.

Toning Up Your Digestive Tract

December usually is the start of the ‘out of the window’ with sensible eating plan. It’s a sociable time; office parties, Christmas lunches and dinners with friends and neighbours and what they all have in common is rich food and usually some alcohol. It is of course great fun, but if you are not used to eating that sort of diet in such quantity and with such regularity it can put a real strain on your digestive system and one of the results can be constipation and bloating. There are of course numerous products you can buy to help you with it, often expensive, usually with additional additives in terms of chemicals, sweeteners and colourings.

How about something incredibly cheap, natural and yellow? It’s called a lemon and is the simplest way to help your system stay toned and ready to cope with that additional load. All that extra food and drink puts a large strain on your liver, gallbladder, and pancreas and so you don’t digest your food properly and the result is discomfort. One of the great things about lemons is that they are the most amazing cleaners for your body and a great source of Vitamin C and potassium. How do they do that? First by building up enzymes in your liver, so it can detoxify toxins in your blood, and then they help to prevent kidney and pancreatic stones forming by combining with calcium in your body.

All you need to do to get these great health benefits is to drink the juice of a lemon in a large cup or mug of hot water every single morning after getting out of bed. Make it the first thing you do, and don’t eat anything before it or for at least 30 minutes afterwards. If that sounds too sour for you then add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten it but however you drink it I promise you will feel the benefit – oh and it helps keep your skin clear too!

How to cut eczema rates in babies

September 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Skincare

You can’t turn on the television without endless ads promoting products that encourage us to eradicate every single germ I the vicinity with a variety of chemical products. My mother’s favourite dictum of ‘you’ve got to eat some dirt before you die’ is now deeply unfashionable, but there was a lot of sense in it. For children to build up immunity they need some exposure, so a completely sterile environment is not the answer. WE are now seeing a huge increase in cases of eczema – in fact the number of children suffering from it has doubled in a generation. It wasn’t widely reported, but Dr Chris Steele spoke up on television on the This Morning programme and suggested that one reason why at least 35% of babies now suffer from sore, flaking and itchy skin be in part due to the fact that our drive for cleanliness means babies are being washed too often and this causes damage.

Nor is it just children who are affected; eczema affects more than 5% of adults and many skin experts agree that a lot of it is down to our over use of artificial cleaning agents, solvents and detergents. If you want to try some natural solutions for dry, itchy skin and eczema then first look at your diet and increase the amount of essential fatty acids. A Danish study showed a 58% success rate when patients were given fish oil supplements over a 4 month period and every time you add oily fish like mackerel to your diet you are giving yourself a dose of Omega-3 oil and also vitamin D, both of which are good for the skin. Zinc is an essential trace element for healthy skin and natural sources include oysters, red meat, poultry, pumpkin seeds, dairy products, beans and lentils, yeast, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals.

For more help with skin conditions like eczema there is a useful website at Skin Care Campaign

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