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Natural Sunscreens

Most of us rub it into our skin and our kid’s skin regularly but who really knows what’s in conventional sunscreen?

What are the side effects of protecting ourselves from the sun using chemicals we can’t pronounce with technology we don’t understand?

The good news is natural sunscreen is available and it is comparable in cost to conventional sunscreen. It is Zinc based and free from petrochemicals, parabens, artificial fragrances and preservatives, perfect for sensitive skin!

Mountain Creek Wholefoods stocks a range of natural sun screens for adults and babies, our staff can show you where next time you come visit.

Here are some tips on choosing a natural sunscreen:

How and Why to Choose a Natural Sunscreen

 So why all the fuss you ask? How could something doing us good potentially do the reverse?

Let’s begin at the beginning. But before we get into the science of it, now might be a good time to let you in on one of the leading resources for examining chemicals in beauty products:

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a non-profit US-based organisation and their site is quite extraordinary. Each year they analyse several hundred sunscreen based products under key criteria. These include: the potential to disrupt hormones, skin allergen, effect if inhaled on the respiratory system and where there are any potential reproductive concerns.

We get a little nervous reading that list – So why don’t we find out what is in commercial sunscreens:
The EWG explain that sunscreens are grouped into two active ingredient types: mineral or chemical filters.

Mineral sunscreens form a protection barrier on the top of the skin while chemical filters act to filter the UVA rays before they penetrate the skin. The biggest issue with chemical filters is that they may break down and get into our bloodstream. When this happens it has been reported that the chemical filters display hormone mimicking activity. Research has revealed evidence of these chemicals in mother’s breast milk.

So which particular chemicals do I avoid and why?

The 3 most important ingredients to eliminate according to the EWG are:

  1. Oxybenzone

This is probably the number one chemical to avoid according to the EWG. Oxybenzone has been found to penetrate the bloodstream and have oestrogen mimicking effects. With this oestrogen mimicking effect, studies have linked the chemical to incidences of endometriosis in older woman and lower birth weight daughters. There is a high risk of allergic reaction.

  1. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate)

Vitamin A is commonly found in night creams for its antioxident and therefore, anti-aging properties. However, when exposed to sunlight the EWG reports that it may in fact speed up the production of malignant cells.

  1. Fragrance

The biggest issue with fragrance is hormone disruption. Yes it might smell coconuty sweet, like an endless summer, but really it’s just messing with your womanly gold (hormones).

What to look for in a natural sunscreen?

In addition to eliminating the above, we would also suggest looking for a sunscreen that contains the following:

Fragrances from essential oils or coconut extract, is oil based for moisturising and easy absorption into the skin (these oils might include Jojoba, Shea Butter, Safflower Oil, and combines soothing Aloe Vera.

Zinc Oxide vs. Titanium Dioxide? 

Our first choice is with Zinc Oxide, primarily because of its ability to protect us further against UVA rays. Zinc Oxide may result in a sunscreen that leaves a white film on the skin.

Mountain Creek Wholefoods stock a range of natural sunscreens, insect repellents and deodorants. Our staff in store are happy to provide additional information and help you make a selection.

 

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Chia Seeds

Want to get loaded up on healty Omega 3 essential fatty acids without eating a bunch of fish?

CHIA SEEDS contain more Omega 3’s gram for gram than salmon!

Don’t be fooled by their size, these little guys pack a mega nutritional punch with not only Omega 3’s but also antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and calcium.

Eating them is easy, sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal, on your toast spread, in your smoothie, on your salad any way you like.

Here is a really cool desert recipe for chia seed and mango pudding:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vanilla coconut milk or almond milk
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3½ tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom
  • 1 large mango or 2 small mangoes

Instructions

  1. Add coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla bean seeds or extract, 2½ tablespoons maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom to an airtight container. Whisk and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Once your chia pudding is ready, slice your mango and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and process into a smooth mango cream.
  3. In four small glasses or two larger glasses, create layers of chia pudding and mango cream starting with the pudding. I did 6 total layers or 3 layers of each.
  4. Enjoy and refrigerate leftovers!

 

 

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What on Earth is a Moon Cup?

“Comfortable, clean, convenient, leak-free!” say the converted. Many women are now switching from tampons to a healthier, more sustainable alternative, the Menstrual or Moon Cup. Made from medical grade silicon the menstrual cup is reusable for many years, so you save money and help the environment too.
Yes, it is a shift… But it’s easy to use, the cup is folded and inserted in the vagina, menstrual fluid is collected, then after 12 hours the cup is removed, emptied  and reinserted.
And it’s healthier – The menstrual cup collects just the menstrual fluid. Tampons absorb all the fluids of the vagina which can interfere with healthy pH, and can cause dryness. Also tampons and pads, if they are not organic, often contain harsh chemicals which may irritate and be absorbed by this most delicate area.
We stock two high quality Cups – DivaCup and JuJu with a choice of size and shape.
The Cup may not be suitable for everyone, for example, if you use an IUD take care with its string; and correct placement may be difficult if you have prolapse.
If the cup is not for you, we suggest TOM Organic, Organyc and Natracare pads and tampons which are 100% organic cotton and Vegan and Cruelty Free. Unlike most feminine care brands, these contain no synthetics, no SAPs or dioxin and no wood pulp.
Your body will thank you for giving it the period care you deserve.

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Plastic Baby Bottles – Why risk it

BPA Free ‘ECO Friendly’ plastic products are often packaged in such as way as to feel like a very “green” or “healthy” choice – usually with the aid of brown cardboard packaging and green lettering, when in fact, nothing about them is particularly eco-friendly or healthy.

So why take the risk of feeding your baby from a plastic bottle which may be leeching chemicals into their milk?

The good news is you no longer have to!

For some time glass baby bottles were pretty hard to come by but we have tracked down a supplier of the highest quality, thermal shock resistant borosilicate glass bottles which come with a silicone teat and outer glass protector, providing a grip for little hands and protection against the occasional drop.

Glass bottles are great from the point of view that there are no chemicals that can leech out of them into your baby’s milk. Glass bottles became unpopular due to their breakability. With the addition of toughened glass and a latex outer protector they are much more durable but broken glass is still a risk.

Many plastics, including BPA-free plastics, contain other chemical plasticizers, which are added to make the containers more flexible. Unfortunately, many plasticizers are also endocrine disruptors similar to BPA, which means that they could cause many of the same health issues. According to Carl Baum, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and the Director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Toxicology, some plasticizers may be even be more dangerous for our children than BPA.

Mountain Creek Wholefoods stock a range of natural products for small people including bottles, baby wipes, nappies and nappy cream

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Quinoa – Red, White or Black ?

Quinoa is a seed, which is usually used as a gluten-free grain.  It comes in different colours, or a mix of colours (known as Andean mix).  The difference in the use and taste of the different colours is as follows:

White –soft texture, buttery taste; excellent base for sweet or savoury flavours; absorbs the flavour of  companion foods

Red – more texture than white; earthy, nutty aromas; good base for stuffings or salads; goes well with onion, garlic, vegetables, nuts

Black–  more texture again; earthy flavour; pairs well with vegetables and/or other quinoa varieties