Healthier Chewing Gum: Pur Gum

_MG_8706

I want to highlight a very important topic: that of chewing gum.

We might not be aware of it, but most people chew gum constantly, digesting the ingredients in those gums. In fact, 10,000 tons of gum is chewed every year all around the world! Humans have been chewing gum for 9000 years.

Most gums today either have sugar added to them, or if they are sugar-free, have aspartame added to them.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. It’s found in diet sodas and most “sugar-free” products. But aspartame has been known to cause many negative symptoms in people.

The FDA lists 92 symptoms reported from the use of aspartame including headaches, dizziness, mood change, nausea and change in heart rate. In other words, it’s best to stay away from it.

Pur Gum came up with a solution to this issue by sweetening their gum with Xylitol, which is a natural sugar alcohol which they derive from non-gmo corn grown in Europe.

_MG_8707

Their mission statement reads as follows:

“We change the way people chew by providing an aspartame-free, great-tasting chewing gum that delivers the highest quality flavors and ingredients. We use simple substitutions and eliminate chemical sweeteners, with a team that provides the highest level of customer satisfaction.”

Moreover, they are Dairy-free, Gluten-free, and non-GMO, which makes them safe for diabetics and pregnant women.

Picture 1

Picture 3

I really rate this gum. It tastes great, has long-lasting flavour, and there are many flavours to choose from. They have pomegranate mint, peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint, coolmint, and cinnamon.

You can find Pur Gum here on their website: http://pur-gum.com/products.html

It might not be something we think about much, but chewing gum with lots of added sugar or chemicals can have detrimental effects on our health. It’s good to be mindful of even the gum we chew.

With love,

Sahar

Advertisements

Sudsatorium: Fair-Trade, Organic, Vegan Beauty

Pic_Conditioner_DrinkYourM copy

Sudsatorium

This is a great brand which I wanted to shine a spotlight on.

To start with, they create natural, vegan, organic shampoos and body products from the highest ingredients, but the even greater things is, they donate 5% of all their sales to grassroots charities around the world.

Their slogan is “Helping Those Who Help Others”, and they have really great, fun and good quality products that you can feel good about spending your money on!

I want to highlight their About Me section to illustrate why I really rate this brand. They write:

With the glut of cosmetics companies in today’s marketplace, it can often be confusing to know what product is best for you. Before you go buying the first thing you see on the shelf, think about this: our skin is the single largest organ in our body. Everything you put on your skin is absorbed through your pores, so it makes sense that you should know exactly what it is you’re putting on skin. At SUDSATORIUM we have a rigorous evaluation process that involves testing every ingredient we use for purity, effectiveness and known or suspected health concerns. We provide only the safest organic vegan skin care, hair, and body products made without potentially harmful ingredients, synthetics, fake fragrances or preservatives.

Pic_Shampoo_EasyBeingGreen copy Pic_ShowerGel_Rosehip copy Pic_BubbleBath_BunchofCoco copy

They are also an environmentally-friendly brand:  all the bottles, caps, jars and lids they use are made from 100% BPA-free post consumer recycled plastic to help reduce the amount of energy and natural resources that would have been required to make virgin plastic. Their adhesive labels are made from a tree-free and water-free process and are printed with soy-based inks for far easier recyclability.

Soap_ShowmetheMaui copySoap_Seashore copy

Further, they ship all of their orders out in recycled cardboard boxes and BPA-free post consumer recycled pouches, using biodegradable popped corn as filler.

You can find their products on their website here. Or you can go to the Detox Market website and order them online here.

I love to treat myself to great quality products with a clear and happy conscious. I hope you enjoy!

Sahar

5 Organizations I Follow on Twitter

Here are 5 organizations related to sustainability that I follow on Twitter and that I highly recommend you follow as well:

1. MindBodyGreen

MindBodyGreen

MindBodyGreen is a community of writers, teachers, experts etc focusing on issues surrounding health. This website and its Twitter feed are a wealth of information on health, food and fitness. A great community!

2. Fashion Takes Action

Fashion Takes Action

A non-proft organization that supports and promotes sustainability in the fashion industry. As they say, they are “changing the way we create and consumer fashion”.

This is a very important issue in my opinion and I will have plenty more to say about it in my coming posts. I believe becoming conscious and mindful consumers is essential to the well-being of our planet and ourselves.

3. TreeHugger

TreeHugger

A community on all things related to green living, including interior design, sustainable cities, and environmental projects around the world. A very cool and informative community. Make sure you check them out and follow!

4. Organic Beauty Talk

Organic Beauty Talk

Right up my alley! This is one of the best destinations for all things related to sustainable and organic beauty and lifestyle. As they state themselves, they are concerned with “talking all things organic and non-toxic that makes living more beautiful”

5. Guardian Sustainable Business

Guardian Sustainable Businessi

One of the best sites to get news about all things related to sustainability. On the website, there are links to comments, debates and expert insights on a vast array of issues relating to sustainability. A great resource and one I highly recommend!

I hope you find these useful and educational.

Enjoy!

Sahar

3 Beauty Benefits of Honey

Honey is truly Mother Nature’s liquid gold.

It’s not only a natural sweetener but has many medicinal uses as well. In fact, the use of honey in Ayurvedic medicine dates back to almost 4000 years due its high antioxidant and antibacterial properties (great for the immune system).

The Ancient Egyptians considered honey as an offering to the gods. Indeed, bee-keeping was common among the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

Honey also has amazing beauty benefits.  Cleopatra was famously known to bathe in milk and honey.

Here are 3 ways you can use honey in your beauty regime. (Note, make sure you get 100% organic honey, both for digestion and applying on your skin. If your budget allows, organic Manuka honey is the best choice, as this honey is extremely high in antioxidant properties and vitamins):

1. Cleanser & Moisturizer:

You can cleanse your face with honey to achieve clean and baby soft skin. Wet face with warm water and place a small amount of honey in your hands and rub together. Massage into skin in a circular motion. Allow honey to sit on face for 5-10 minutes for deep pore cleansing. Rinse with warm water or use a warm wash cloth to remove honey. Pat dry skin with a towel and enjoy clean and soft skin.

Honey is also great to use a face mask.

If you have dry skin and want an immediate moisturizing effect, apply raw honey as a mask directly on to face. Let it sit for 15-20 min and rinse off.

If you want a brightening effect, or to treat dark spots and scars, mix honey (3 tablespoons) with lemon juice (4 teaspoons) and use it on your face as a mask. Leave for 30 minutes or even overnight to reduce scars and discoloration.

2. Hair conditioner:

Honey is great for conditioning hair and giving it shine. In fact, honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and holds moisture.

This makes it wonderful for damaged or dry hair.

Take 1/2 cup honey and mix it with 1/4 cup olive oil. You can warm the mixture in a pot to make it easier to apply. Apply the mixture to damp hair using a wide toothed comb, working it through the strands all the way to the ends. Cover your hair with a towel and leave the mixture on for 30 min.

Shampoo well, rinse and dry as normal.

3. Lip scrub/conditioner:

The healing properties of honey are great for dry and chapped lips. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with a pinch of brown sugar and a 1 teaspoon of olive oil and apply onto lips. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then gently exfoliate away.

I usually apply honey directly onto my lips when it’s chapped (especially now with the colder weather).

I let it sit on my lips until it absorbs away or until I lick it off! It always heals my dry lips.

So there you go: a great beauty product that is natural, cheap, and works wonderfully.

Enjoy!

Staying healthy while traveling

flying

It’s common understanding that airplane food kinda sucks.

It doesn’t just taste unappetizing, but it’s often unhealthy since the meals have often been frozen and packaged for an extended amount of time.

Most airports also don’t seem have many healthy options (hint, hint: Pearson airport in Toronto).

So skip the dull airport/airplane food and bring a few of these snacks on the plane for a healthier experience:

  1. A bag of mixed nuts or home-made trail mix. Here is a great recipe you can make yourself. I also love wasabi nuts to add a bit of spicy flavor to my trail mix.
  2. A bag of instant soup like an organic miso soup sachet that you can add to a cup of hot water. You can find these in any supermarket or order them from Amazon here. 
  3. Fruit like pears, apples or bananas are great for tossing in your bag to eat later.
  4. Home-made raw energy bars are a great and quick fix for hunger and energy. Click here for easy recipes to make yourself, or alternatively, you can always order from my friend’s amazing raw, organic bars if you live in Toronto, My Vegan Superpowers.
  5. Bring a few bags of herbal tea to help calm and hydrate you during the flight.
  6. Dried fruits like mango, apricots or pineapples are great for a quick energy boost.
  7. And finally, carry an empty water bottle to stay hydrated. You can fill it up after you get past security.

Happy and healthy travels!

plane

Story of Cosmetics

I wanted to share a video with everyone today. It explains the toxins in cosmetics and the lack of regulation for these toxins in the government.

However, I want to stress that I am against fear-mongering and believe we all have plenty of CHOICE and ALTERNATIVES when it comes to cosmetics, lifestyle, food and health products. There are so many amazing brands out there to choose from, and there is truly a movement happening, with great brands practicing safe and sustainable business.

But it’s still important to be educated and be mindful of the things you apply, digest and use. Mindful and educated, two words I love.

In the posts to come, I will outline many more brands that I can rate and that are safe and pure to use. Again, my purpose for this blog is to make you more aware and inspire you to all the great things happening out there.

With love,

Sahar

Slow Beauty: Dry Body Brushing & Bath Salts

I want to talk about the concept of slow beauty.

With work, school, children, running around all day and night, it’s no secret that the average person spends little time on their beauty regime.

Our lives today are fast-paced and we’re constantly dealing with environmental stresses and strains. Just like our eating habits gave way to “fast-foods”, so has our beauty habits. We’ve become lazy when it comes to the ritual of beauty and nourishing ourselves, which goes against the fundamentals of healthy living.

This is where the concept of slow beauty comes in. We require (and deserve) more than just a topical treatment if we’re going to be serious about taking care of ourselves. And if we’re serious about taking pleasure in taking care of ourselves.

When was the last time you set aside 20 minutes for yourself? Or the last time you ran a nice bath for yourself?

In this post, I want to talk about two slow beauty rituals which I believe are very beneficial: dry body brushing and bathing.

_MG_8697

Dry body brush

The skin is our largest organ, and just like our kidneys, liver and colon, it is an organ of elimination. Dry body brushing it every day or evening has a multitude of benefits:

  • It helps shed dead skin cells and encourages cell renewal.
  • It improves vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.
  • It energizes and stimulates the body, helping to invigorate it.
  • It leaves skin clear of excess debris so it’s free to absorb oxygen and other nutrients into the body.

Look for a brush with bristles made from natural materials. They should feel stiff but not harsh. The body brush shown was brought at The Body Shop, and you can find similar ones in most stores.

Brush your entire body, starting from your feet, always stroking toward your heart. I like to dry body brush before showering, and then apply organic coconut oil to my body after I come out of the shower. My skin feels incredibly smooth and supple afterwards.

Another ritual of slow beauty is bathing.

I recommend salt baths, which are great for detoxification. I especially rate Epsom salts, which are a cheap and effective way to detoxify.

_MG_8690

Epsom salts

Epsom salts are rich in magnesium and sulfate and soaking in these salts is a great way to absorb these minerals through the skin, while flushing toxins and heavy metals from the cells.

The salts are also great way for easing muscle pain and reducing inflammation.

Add in 1 cup of Epsom salts to your bath and soak for 20 minutes. An important step in this ritual happens post-soak when instead of getting dressed right away, you should wrap yourself in a towel and relax while the minerals continue to detoxify though your skin and body for another 15-20 minutes. And drink plenty of water during and post-soak, since this helps with the detoxification process.

You can buy Epsom salts from any health food store or order them from Amazon.

I also recently bought a Cleansing Blend dead sea salt mix from The Detox Market and have been loving them.

_MG_8687

These are just two ways you can practice slow beauty and put aside some well-deserved time for yourself, your health, and your well-being. Enjoy.

With love

Sahar

Scent, the forgotten sense

I’d like to talk about something that I truly love: scent.

Although the perfume industry today is a billion dollar industry, I personally believe scent is the forgotten sense.

We simply don’t pay attention to how we smell anymore. We don’t pay attention to the perfumes sitting on our drawers, their ingredients, their story, their conception.

Perfume making is a mysterious and secretive art. And I am completely fascinated by it.

How do these “noses” (perfume-makers) create, capture and evoke such an elusive and abstract thing such as a scent? How does the creation of a new scent even begin?

The word perfume derives from the Latin per fumus, meaning ‘through smoke’.

Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began with the Ancient Egyptians, and was developed and refined by the Romans, the Persian, and the Arabs.

I want to recommend a wonderful line of perfumes, which uses only the purest of ingredients and essential oils: atelier cologne

_MG_8691

Their line is called Cologne Absolue, meaning pure perfume.

Atelier Cologne perfumes are blended with the most precious raw materials for perfectly balanced creations. They also use very high concentrations of essential oils to ensure lasting power. No synthetics here.

I usually get headaches when I wear or smell mainstream perfumes as these scents can be so overpowering and chemical-smelling. Not with atelier cologne. Their line is pure. And oh-so-delightful.

I have their Vanille Insensée and I am genuinely in love. If you are into the warm sweet smell of vanilla, you will love this. It is by no means a sickly sweet smell, but a fresh and dewy one, thanks to its citrus blend.

_MG_8694

Among the ingredients of Vanille Insensée there is vanilla from Madagascar, coriander from Russia, and oakmoss from Slovenia.

Honestly, I feel like a different person when I wear this and receive so many compliments when I do. I simply adore this smell and their whole range.

Their 30 ml bottle is $80, and their 100 ml bottle is $125. Their perfumes aren’t on the cheaper side, but like most brands, you pay for quality.

In Canada, atelier cologne can be found exclusively at Sephora stores: you can purchase them here or you can purchase the variety of scents through their website: http://www.ateliercologne.com/colognes-absolues/vanille-insensee-cologne-absolue.html

On the subject of scent, I can recommend two wonderful books for those who are interested in perfume and the art of perfumery. The first is called The Diary of a Nose- A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur by Jean-Claude Ellena, who is the exclusive “nose”, or perfume-maker, for Hermès. This is a beautiful book, written with great elegance by Ellena.

_MG_8695

The other book is called The Secret of Scent- Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell, by Luca Turin, who is a scientist and perfume expert, revered in the world of perfumery. In his book, Turin tries to solve the mystery of scent, and he does it in a very informative, funny and passionate way.

_MG_8696

Scent is so fleeting, yet so profound and provocative at the same time. It evokes so many memories, feelings and sentiments.

As Jean-Claude Ellena states, “Smell is a Word, Perfume is Literature” 

I will forever be intrigued by our sense of smell and by the ancient and mysterious art of perfumery.

With love,

Sahar

Organic Beauty Store in Toronto: The Detox Market

One of the best places to find natural, organic, ethical, and efficient health and beauty products in the city of Toronto is at The Detox Market.

Located on 367 King St. West, The Detox Market is like a mecca of all things related to health and beauty.

The Detox Market on 367 King St. W in Toronto

The Detox Market on 367 King St. W in Toronto

I always feel like a kid in a (very healthy) candy store when I am there, perusing and testing some great natural products.

The co-founder of The Detox Market is Valérie Grandury, a breast cancer survivor who has made it her mission to marry purity with effectiveness and style.

On their website they write, “With so many so-called green items out there, how do you know which one you can really count on? Having survived breast cancer and completely detoxifying her entire life to heal herself, Valérie made it her mission to find a solution for not just her and her own family, but for everyone. The Detox Market is that solution”.

I love this place.

The design of the store is great, very spacious and sleek, and the staff are all very nice, knowledgeable, and helpful.

You can find all kinds of products from makeup, perfume and skin care, to shampoo, cleaning products and organic chocolate.

If you are ever in Toronto and need to buy health, beauty and home products with all-natural ingredients, this is your one-stop shop.

_MG_8685

For more information, check out their website: http://www.thedetoxmarket.ca/

With love,

Sahar

A Tale of Roses

What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my heart – Rumi

I want to talk about two companies that I really admire and love: Dr. Hauschka and REN Skincare.

When I want to find out more about a certain company, I usually start by checking out their Mission Statement. Every company has one and you can always find it online on their website.

Dr. Hauschka’s Mission Statement is to “support the healing of humanity and the Earth”. They state that their approach to skin care is to make products that has benefits for your skin, and for our planet.

This is a company that truly incorporates sustainable practices in everything they do.

Dr. Hauchka was founded by Dr. Rudolf Hauschka, who was a chemist from Vienna, Austria. The company incorporates a “culture of care”, which is essentially what a sustainable and ethical company must do.

Their culture of care is as follows:

  • They source their ingredients using ecologically-sound methods like Biodynamics.
  • They only use pure and organic ingredients in their products.
  • They are active in local communities and engage in projects around the world that fosters self-reliance and economic sustainability.

I love their products. More importantly, I love the story behind their products.

I especially love their Rose Day Cream and their Rose Nurturing Body Oil. The key ingredient in their rose products is of course, rose essential oil.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

Photo courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

Photo courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

 

Now an interesting aspect is where Dr. Hauschka get their rose essential oil. One place they source their roses from is Zahra Rosewater Company, which is a company  based in Iran, in a province in the south of the country called Kerman. They are the producers of exquisite organic rose oil and rose water. Great company.

But recently, the marketing director of Dr. Hauschka got in touch with me and informed me that they’ve begun to source their rose essential oil from Ethiopia, which is the first African country to distill rose oil organically!

The rose farm is called Terra PLC and is located in Debre Birhan, some 125 km north of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa.

Great accomplishment, both for the local Ethiopian farmers and the company, and of course, for us the consumers!

Another company which I love and rate is REN Skincare.

The mission statement for REN states, “REN’s philosophy of Clean Skincare can be summed up in three words: Performance, Purity, Pleasure”.

I especially love their Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil and their Moroccan Rose Otto Body Oil.

Photo courtesy of REN Skincare

Photo courtesy of REN Skincare

Photo courtesy of REN Skincare

Photo courtesy of REN Skincare

REN uses rose essential oil from none other than the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

The farmers who cultivate the organic roses in Morocco depend on it for their livelihood and to stimulate their local economy.

I got in touch with the marketing director of REN Skincare and she sent me a video which shows the process behind the roses that REN uses in their products. You can watch it below. It’s very interesting

I honestly really love both these brands and recommend their rose products wholeheartedly.

Treat yourself to these beautiful rose products. What’s better than enjoying beautifully-crafted organic products with a clear conscience?

With love,

Sahar

xoxo