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chocolate

Organic Chocolate vs Conventional Chocolate

Many chocolate lovers consume and enjoy chocolate without ever thinking about where it comes from or how it was produced. However, there are many issues surrounding the production of chocolate that are important for consumers to be aware of. With Easter only days away and people starting to purchase their loved one’s chocolate we explore the benefits of Organic chocolate and compare it to conventional chocolate. Read on to see what we found!

One of the main differences is that organic chocolate is created using cocoa beans which have not been treated with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. True organic chocolate should not stop at the cocoa bean—any other ingredients included in the blend (sugar, milk, nuts, fruit, spices, etc.) should be organic as well. Of course, just because the label reads organic does not mean that it is totally organic; check the labels closely—your chocolate’s organic percentage could be anywhere from 70% to 98%.

How is conventional chocolate produced?

Conventionally farmed cacao is awful for the environment. Second only to cotton, cacao farming uses the highest volume of synthetic and toxic pesticides. Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers affect the environment, the crop, and workers. As of today, there has been research into creating genetically-modified cacao, but there has not been any produced.

How is organic chocolate produced?

For a chocolate (or any food product) to be considered “organic” it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. To make organic cacao, the farm replaces conventional fertilizers and soil conditioners with crop rotation practices and all-natural fertilisers (manure). Synthetic and toxic pesticides are never used, replaced with all-natural alternatives. These organic practices create a more sustainable crop, have a lower environmental impact, and are better for the workers who will not be exposed to the synthetic chemicals. On the manufacturing end, USDA Certified Organic chocolate also guarantees that no artificial flavours, dyes, or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) find their way into your chocolate.

So, there you have it. A great insight into the difference between Organic and conventional chocolates, If you are looking for an Organic chocolate this Easter my personal favourites are the following:

Pana – http://www.panachocolate.com/
Loving Earth – https://lovingearth.net/
Alter Eco – http://www.alterecofoods.com/

Click the links to check them out!

Have a wonderful and safe Easter and until next time,
Tiarna 😊

Health Ambition Ginger Blog

Health Benefits of Ginger and a Homemade Spiced Ginger Tea Recipe

Check out this awesome blog we found today from www.healthambition.com. A great little story about the health benefits of ginger and an awesome recipe for homemade spiced ginger tea!

Fresh ginger is a pungent and powerful herb with many health benefits, particularly for your digestion. Here’s a look at what are what makes it so good for you and a cinnamon, honey and ginger tea recipe for an simple way to make it at home.

Health Benefits of Ginger
From the moment you first taste it on your tongue, ginger has a beneficial effect on your digestive system. Phenolic compounds like gingerol help to stimulate saliva in your mouth and then bile and gastric juices in your stomach to improve your digestion.

Ginger’s volatile oils have muscle relaxant properties which can help to ease bloating, spasms and cramps in your gastrointestinal tract. For this reason, strong ginger tea is often used to help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Those suffering from IBS may find making up this ginger tea at home can be an effective natural remedy, especially if you drink it just before eating.

Ginger is also a useful treatment for those who experience heartburn after a big meal. Compounds in the herb have been shown to improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. This muscle, that blocks off your stomach and its acids from your esophagus, is supposed to close tightly when you are digesting food.

However certain chemicals in processed foods and the caffeine in coffee in particular can interfere with this. For heartburn sufferers, it’s definitely worth considering replacing coffee and other high caffeine drinks like cola with more natural options like ginger tea.

A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger is often reported to be a beneficial treatment for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. While regular cups can be effective, those on prescription medicines would be advised to check with a doctor before having more than a couple of cups a day of ginger tea in case it interferes with their medication.

Ginger is a natural treatment for various types of nausea and motion sickness and the tea is particularly fast acting. In fact, a study in the Lancet medical journal showed it to be more effective for motion sickness than popular drugs for the condition.

It’s very soothing to drink ginger tea if you have a sore throat and the recipe ahead, with the addition of honey and cinnamon, is even helpful for reducing cold symptoms.
In fact, if you were to make up a strong cup of it at the first hint of a sore throat, it may well never develop into anything more.

How to Make Cinnamon, Honey and Fresh Ginger Tea
Ingredients
Fresh ginger
Half a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of honey
Method
Start with a ginger rhizome that is firm and relatively blemish free. Give it a good scrub under hot water and then, with a sharp knife, carefully cut off between five and 10 very thin slices. Put these in a mug with half a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon and half a teaspoon of honey.
Boil the water in your kettle but let it sit for a minute after it is boiled to let any sediment settle before you pour it. It’s also worth cleaning out your kettle with vinegar regularly to minimize those crusty deposits, particularly if you live in a hard water area.
While the kettle is boiling, mix up your ginger slices, cinnamon and honey in your cup. Try and crush up the ginger a little with your spoon to release even more of the beneficial oils.
To make the tea, simply pour hot water into your mug and stir it up well. Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and then you can remove any floating pieces of ginger with a spoon, strain it if you like or simply blow them to the other side before you drink it as I do.

True Ceylon cinnamon is superior to the more common Cassia cinnamon in both taste and health benefits. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, regulates your blood sugar and appetite and can even help reduce elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Like ginger, cinnamon is definitely a herb worth getting more of in your diet.

Activated Nuts

Everything you need to know about “Activated Nuts”

What are activated nuts?
Activated nuts have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, which starts off the germination or sprouting process, then dehydrated at a low temperature. Soaking increases the nutrient value of the nuts along with breaking down the problematic compounds that help enhance their digestibility.

The Process of Activating Nuts

Here are some tips on how the process of activating nuts:
• Place the nuts in a large bowl and then proceed to put in salted water.
• Let the nuts soak in salt water for the needed number of hours.
• When the soaking time is over, the nuts should be strained and rinsed.
• Use a baking tray or a dehydrator rack to spread the nuts.
• Dry in either the dehydrator (12-24 hours) or the oven (less than 65C).
• The nuts need to be stirred and turned during the course of the drying time.
• Ensure that the nuts are dry and crispy.
• All steps completed and what’s left are the kind of nuts that the digestive system will welcome.

Why go through the process of activating nuts?

Depending on how you know your way around the kitchen, the process of activating nuts might sound like a hard task to achieve. There’s always the option of going out and buying activated nuts, only if you have the kind of budget that allows you to do so every time. For others, the process of activating nuts might be the easiest sacrifice they have to undertake to ensure that their digestive systems don’t suffer and they don’t end up with digestive issues. Having issues with your digestive systems might bring so much pain that investing in a dehydrator to make the activating process easier might seem like the most sane thing to do. Raw nuts are good for us, but activated raw nuts will prove incredible for us in the long run.

Source:
http://www.organicangels.com/blog/organic-nuts-and-the-importance-of-activating-them/
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition-tips/what-are-activated-nuts/news-story/d918e3bfc0ef73393509aceb311f81bd

Raw Dessets 2

Raw Desserts – are they actually good for you?

Ever wondered if those Raw desserts you are eating are actually good for you? We found this great blog from “Food to Love”  that explains everything we’ve all been wondering!

It’s almost too good to be true – a thick slice of cheesecake, a slab of creamy chocolate or an oozy piece of caramel slice, minus the sugar, dairy and gluten.

Over the past year or two, there has been a huge increase in both the popularity and availability of raw desserts. The concept is simple – ditch refined, modified ingredients and replace with wholesome ones in their original state to change desserts from mouthfuls of empty calories to nutritionally dense sweet treats.

Initially, raw desserts started out as part of the vegan health food scene, with individuals wanting to recreate their favourite desserts that are often loaded with dairy and refined flours and sugars. Now raw treats have become a popular trend, popping up everywhere from regular neighbourhood cafes to health food stores and hipster hangouts. They are often clearly advertised, boasting a (refined) sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free dessert that you can enjoy minus the guilt.

Raw foods by definition are unheated or cooked at less than 40 to 45 degrees to maintain higher nutrient values, antioxidant levels and to aid digestion.

The base of the dessert is usually made from a combination of ground nuts and seeds, with a filling created from soaked cashew nuts or some form of nut butter with a blend of coconut oil. They are naturally sweetened with dried fruits such as dates, apricots and prunes, or some form of natural plant-based sweetener in the form of coconut nectar, agave nectar or maple syrup.

Aside from raw cheesecakes, slices and various bliss balls, one of the more mainstream trends is health-ified chocolate bars, made without sugar, gluten or dairy.

Finally, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too!

 

Blog sourced from: www.foodtolove.com.au

 

http://www.foodtolove.com.au/raw-desserts-a-healthy-guilt-free-treat-16569

 

 

 

 

 

CHOOSING FOODS THAT SUPPORT A HEALTHY METABOLISM

Ever wondered what foods you should be eating in aid to support a healthy metabolism? I found this list the other day and thought I’d share it with you….

 

  • Organic Fruit– watermelons, papaya, lychee, cherries, grapes, RIPE/cooked apples, RIPE/cooked pears, peaches, kiwis, orange/orange juice, etc. are packed with good sugars (fructose and glucose), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Organic RAW Carrots– Raw carrots act like a natural antibiotic to aid your gut. They help decrease bacteria, endotoxins and estrogens in the gut, which will help increase metabolism.

 

  • Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut oil – A healthy saturated fat consisting primarily of medium chain tryglicerides (MCT). The MCT’s in coconut oil are proven anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents.

 

  • Organic Pastured Eggs– Eggs are loaded with vitamin B12, Vit D, Vit A, choline and leucine all of which are what your body utilizes to help metabolize fat.

 

  • Organic Dairy – and milk and other dairy contain tons of calcium. Calcium has shown to help decrease blood pressure and decrease abdominal fat.

 

  • Organic Fruit Vegetables– Squash, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkin, etc. They contain high levels of folate, Vitamin C and fructose along with glucose.

 

  • Organic Russet Potatoes – rich in protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C. Always eat potatoes with a fat and protein and some fruit (you want the fructose). The fat, protein and fructose will help regulate your BS when consumed with the starch.

 

  • Organic Coffee– Coffee increases glucose uptake (increases metabolism) and provides the body with the minerals Mg, K, and the vitamins B1 and B3.

 

  • Wild Shell fish–Oysters, clams, muscles, shrimp, lobster, scallops and crab are all good sources of high quality protein. Shellfish contain vitamins A, C, D and E, and the B vitamins. Shellfish are an exceptional source of vitamin B12, which is required for every metabolic process in the body.

 

  • Salt–it’s natures diuretic and is necessary to mobilize glucose (sugar). The right white, clean source of salt actually increases your metabolism, decreases endema and helps muscles recover.

 

  • Organic chocolate — Chocolate contain not only a healthy level of antioxidants but it also contains stearic acid, a saturated fat that has been found to boost your metabolism.

 

  • Bone broth and Gelatin. — Bone broth and gelatin are an amazing protein source free of the inflammatory amino acids, cysteine, methionine and tryptophan.*Of course, if organic foods are not available to you, do the best you can. You can still get lots of benefits using the non-organic options.

 

So as you can see there are a few awesome things on this list that we all love to eat (chocolate!!). Till next time….Tiarna :)

 

Sourced from:

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20746339,00.html

http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/18-metabolism-boosting-foods/slide/1

http://www.organicauthority.com/mojo-foods/no-more-diets-16-foods-that-naturally-boost-your-metabolism.html

 

kale

The benefits of KALE!

Ever needed to fill your meal full of a nutritious leafy green? Well Kale would be the best one to do it! Do you know why? Here are some reasons:

  • Kale is extremely low in calories, very high in fibre, as well as having zero fat! One cup contains around 36 calories, 5 grams of fibre and 0 grams of fat.
  • It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fibre content.
  • Just one single cup of kale contains; Vitamin A; Vitamin K; Vitamin C; Vitamin B6; Manganese; Calcium; Copper; Potassium; Magnesium; Thiamine; Riboflavin; Niacin; Iron; Phosphorus.
  • These can also be called Antioxidants, which are amongst the substances that help counteract oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the leading drivers of aging and many diseases, including cancer.
  • Kale also contains substances that bind bile acids and lower cholesterol levels in the body.
  • Vitamin K is a very important nutrient, in which most Australians do not get enough of. Lucky for us, Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin K, with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount. It helps prevent heart disease, osteoporosis and is absolutely critical for blood clotting.
  • Kale is also believed to have protective effects against the growth & reproduction of cancerous cells, due to the fact that it is actually loaded with substances that have been shown to help fight the formation of cancers, at the molecular level. Although, Studies have shown that vegetables like Kale, may significantly lower the risk of several cancers, the human evidence is proven to be mixed.
  • Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that have been linked to a drastically reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Kale is extremely low in calories, but also provides you with the significant bulk which should help you feel full. This is due to the low calorie but also high water content, which means the food has ‘low energy density’. Although, there are no tests directly linking kale to weight loss, eating plenty of foods associated with ‘low energy density’, have in fact been associated with numerous weight loss tests.
  • Did you know? Cooked kale offers more iron than one pound of beef and more Vitamin C than an orange!

It is very clear why this newly found and very cheap superfood is causing such a huge buzz, not only with the organic kind, but with absolutely EVERYONE!

 

 

kale

 

 

Sourced From: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

Chemicals

What’s in your Skin Care?

Chemicals

I came across this Blog recently about nasty ingredients in Skin Care and thought it had some great info in it so I wanted to share it.  Many of these ingredients are also used in Hair Care and even some brands claiming to be natural!  EverEscents definitely does not use any of these nasties.  Happy reading, Cheers Tiarna

Ever wondered what you are putting on your face?  These days the labels can be very deceiving so if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you are bound to fall in the trap of buying something that says it’s good for you but really isn’t. Read on to learn what words to look for and what they are actually doing to your body!

 Phenoxyethanol

 We’re seeing fewer chemical preservatives, a.k.a “parabens,” on labels because consumers have become aware of the potential problems with parabens, a newer preservative, under the name “phenoxyethanol” (or ethylene glycol monophenyl ether), has emerged into conventional and even “certified organic” skin care as a safer alternative.

But is it really?

Phenoxyethanol is commonly used in a variety of skin care products ranging from facial and body cleansers to moisturizers and make up. Several studies demonstrate this preservative shows toxic effects to the body in moderate concentrations. These effects include:

  • reproductive and developmental complications
  • contact dermatitis (skin irritation)
  • damage to the brain and nervous system

Japan recently banned the use of phenoxyethanol in all cosmetics, while most other countries have limited its use to 1% concentration.

Aluminium

Some studies have linked aluminium to Alzheimer’s disease, though recent research has cast doubt on the connection. Other studies have indicated that aluminium may be linked to breast cancer and other brain disorders. Aluminium, in the form of powder, is used in self-care products such as antiperspirant deodorants.

Aluminium is unequivocally a neurotoxin. It can cause irritation to the skin, it’s an endocrine disruptor, and it causes birth disorders in animals.

The average person will consume, absorb and/or eat three pounds of aluminium in their lifetime. Wow! Think about that next time you reach for Dove or Old Spice on the shelf.

Formaldehyde

 Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen linked to leukaemia, pancreatic and skin cancer, skin irritation, and cirrhosis. It is typically found in nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair smoothing and straightening products like the popular Brazilian Blowout treatment.

This chemical is a little more inconspicuous, meaning that it’s not often listed on a product label, but rather “released” from preservatives. These preservatives include:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • Bronopol
  • 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1

If any of these chemicals are listed on the label, avoid the product.

Dioxins

 Belonging to the “dirty dozen” list of dangerous chemicals, dioxins are of high concern. Existing in the food chain as environmental pollutants, dioxins have made their way into many skin care products. Because they are persistent compounds, they linger inside of our body for long periods of time.

According to the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, dioxins are known endocrine disruptors, strongly linked to cancer and toxic to the organ system and human development. Dioxins will not be listed on a label, but are often contained in antibacterial agents such as triclosan, PEGs and sodium laureth sulfate.

Dioxins are also found in non-organic tampons, as most conventional cotton is genetically engineered, sprayed with pesticides, and treated with bleach.

Toluene

Toluene is often used in glues, adhesives, chemical detergents, dyes, paint and paint thinners, plastics and many other industrial substances. Why would we want that in our skin care? Look out for this chemical also hiding under the names: benzene, methylbenzene, toluol and phenylmethane. You may see it in nail polish or hair colouring products.

Triethanolamine (TEA)

There’s tea (a nice herbal blend steeped in warm water), and then there’s TEA. These two are not to be confused, and we much prefer the first.

TEA is a fragrance ingredient, pH adjuster, surfactant, and emulsifier. It’s found in soaps, hair care, lotions, make up, perfumes and sunscreens. The health concerns include cancer, organ system toxicity, allergic reactions and bioaccumulation in the skin. Animal studies also show that even at low doses applied topically, it was linked with cell mutation.

Look for it under other names like DEA and MEA on the labels, too.

Plastics

It seems that over 90% of conventional skin care products are packaged in plastic these days. If you spend all this time creating a beautiful product with organic plants, herbs and high-quality ingredients, wouldn’t you want to store it in something that protects the integrity of the formula?

Storing products in cheap plastic shows a lot about the quality of the skin care. Opt for BPA-free plastic when glass is not possible, because Bisphenol A (BPA)—the compound found in plastic—can leach into skin care products. Research has shown that BPA can be absorbed through the skin and we don’t need any more estrogen-mimicking happening in our bodies.

Glass is the best option for storing skin care, but do remember to still read the labels, as even the “top-shelf, high-end” skin care products packaged in glass are filled with chemicals.

Sometimes reading labels can be overwhelming. A general rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t roll off of the tongue easily (unless of course it’s a botanical name in Latin), and if water is listed as an ingredient (this requires a preservative to be added), then I’d swap it out for something cleaner.

 

Sourced From: http://www.annmariegianni.com/10-ingredients-definitely-dont-want-skin-care/

http://www.scratchmommy.com/whats-in-your-skincare-products/

Capture

Coconut Crackles

Capture

  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 slightly rounded tablespoons honey*
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Place the ingredients into a small bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Use your hands and fingers to work the honey and oil into the mixture until it is well combined and sticking together.
  3. Use slightly damp hands to press the mixture very firmly into the holes of a silicon mini muffin tray.
  4. Place in the fridge to set.
  5. I pressed down on my crackles again after they had been in the fridge for an hour or two and then I left them to set overnight.
  6. Enjoy!

Sourced from our favourite website: www.wholefoodsimply.com

 

 

double-crunch-PB-choc-chip-fudge

Double Crunch Peanut Butter And Chocolate Chip Fudge

double-crunch-PB-choc-chip-fudge

  • 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey*
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons crushed peanuts
  • 50 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped**
  1. Place the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and salt into a heat proof bowl. Heat the ingredients until the oil starts to melt. Remove from the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Add the crushed peanuts and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into a silicon loaf tin. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top and place the slice into the freezer to set.
  2. Slice. Serve. Eat and enjoy.

*you can use rice malt syrup if you prefer.

**I use 90% dark chocolate.

notes – one sliced this can be stored and served straight from the fridge or freezer. It will not be stable at room temperature.

 

Sourced from our favourite website: www.wholefoodsimply.com

 

HEALTHY HAIR TIPS

 

  • Let Your Hair Down– Regularly pulling hair back in a ponytail or bun too tightly can cause damage. Removing hair elastics often leads to breakage, so make sure if you must put your hair up opt for hair ties that slide easily out of your hair.

 

  • Don’t Wash Everyday– Washing hair too frequently strips it of its natural oils, which actually causes the scalp to produce more oil. It will take some time for your scalp to adjust to less frequent washes but be patient, eventually your hair will thank you.

 

  • Brush Before Washing– When you do wash your hair, brush it beforehand. Not only does pre-shower brushing make for fewer post-shower tangles, but brushing also dissolves dirt and product build up and disperses hair’s natural oils. 

 

  • Never Brush When Wet– Hair stretches and is most prone to breakage when it’s wet. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently untangle knots and save the brush for when hair is at least 90% dry.

 

  • Watch the Water Temp– hot water is drying both to your skin and to your hair. Wash hair under tepid water and do your final rinse with the coldest blast you can handle. Cold water will seal the cuticle, promoting shiny hair.

 

  • Condition, Condition, Condition– You should condition hair every time you wash, but only the ends. Just like you really only need to shampoo the scalp, conditioner is only needed on the ends, where the hair is much drier.  Once a week, use a deep conditioning treatment like EverEscents Organic Cinnamon & Patchouli Deep Treatment all over. For extra healing, after you’ve applied the mask cover your hair with a shower cap as this locks in the moisture and the heat from the shower will take care of the rest.

 

  • Cool it with Heat Styling– Hot tools like hair dryers and curling irons are very damaging to hair. Embrace your hair’s natural state as often as possible. When you do use hot tools be sure to protect hair first with EverEscents Heat Protector that coats the cuticle—creating a barrier between the hair and the heat. Also watch the temperature setting too; using hot tools on high settings can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Start at the lowest setting and work up if necessary.

 

  • Sleep on Silk– silk pillowcases are much smoother than cotton pillowcases, which means less tugging and tangling, and therefore less breakage and damage. Sleeping on silk also reduces frizz.

 

Sourced From:  http://www.longlocks.com/tips-for-healthy-hair.htm