Why Natural Skincare?


With people becoming progressively more aware of the harmful side effects caused by chemicals found in skincare creams and sunscreens, many women and men are trying to find active natural solutions that work as well as chemical skincare and deodorants.

Just as there are multiple chemically based skincare products touting miracles, there are just as many natural ones doing the same – frequently they do not actually deliver.

Fortunately in the natural skincare arena, the price tag will give you a guide as to the activeness and effectiveness of the product. Yet, the upside is that when you are buying middle of the range natural products, you will not get any of the nasty side effects you are likely to get when using chemicals. No irritation or redness – and no toxic waste in the body.

The other good thing when you are buying chemical free products is that there is generally no large multinational company spending huge amounts of money urging you to buy – so you are more often likely to purchase the contents of the bottle than a advertising budget, therefore when you spend $50 on a natural skincare cream you are getting $50 worth of skincare, not $10 worth of skincare and $40 worth of advertising and packaging.

Yet there is still an issue when purchasing ‘natural skincare’. There are still no strict rules and regulations defining how much of the product is natural. A company can sell a product as a natural product, yet it may contain nasty ingredients such as Propylene Glycol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):It does not have to be 100% natural to say it is natural. This is a massive problem for the average consumer as how are they to know if what they are actually buying is 100% natural or not. Unfortunately many natural companies are not so great at promoting this on their packaging leaving many people walking around scratching their heads.

Another problem is that a company can sell a makeup as a mineral makeup, yet it can contain talc and many other nasty ingredients, so here you are thinking you are doing the right and healthy thing for your skin, and yet, you are in actual fact poisoning your skin and yourself.

The only way around it, is to learn to read labels. I recommend you print off my blog article http://ethixbeautyblog.com/2013/01/31/naturally-beautiful/ and take it shopping with you so you know what not to buy.

Some companies are great, they list their odd sounding named ingredients such as Coco-Glucoside with the explanation of it saying from corn or potato starch and coco water. Or Polyquaternium-10 from cellulose. Products bought from Beauty salons sometimes do not have explanations of each ingredient, but the therapist will have a manual to explain what each ingredient in actual fact is, and or they will have attended stringent product training.

The one question I am often asked is do natural products work as well? They actually work much better. They treat the skin and skin alone. They do not leave toxic residue in the lymph, kidneys, liver and gut. The toxic residue left behind by chemical skincare causes stress on the body, which in turn as any form of stress does, speeds up aging. So you are using chemicals to supposedly improve the skin, yet you are causing the body to age, and since the skin is the largest organ………… you are actually speeding up the aging process!

You often do not see results as quickly from natural products, but the results are more intensive in the long run. Products containing chemical fillers are designed to give your skin that instant feeling that you are doing something good for it, they often make your skin look instantly better, but it is only like applying makeup, once the product comes off, the glow is gone.

So, how do you know which you should buy? I recommend if you are on a budget, you purchase products in the mid price range from a chemist, not the lower range. If not sure what to purchase, speak to one of the full time staff, if they cannot answer your question leaving you feeling confident, then contact the actual company. Ideally you should purchase products from a beauty therapist – they will be able to diagnose your skin and prescribe accordingly. Buying expensive natural products online or from department or specialised makeup stores will leave you with a empty purse and not necessarily with the correct skincare prescription, as the sales girls are trained for sales and seldom beauty therapists, more often than not they are makeup artists or cosmeticians.

My favourite products are;

Purestuf http://www.purestuf.com.au/

natural and organic ingredients, with easy to understand ingredients!

Uskincare http://www.uspa.com.au/

natural and organic ingredients

O’Cosmedics http://www.ocosmedics.com/

chemical free cosmeceuticals

Moo Goohttp://www.moogoo.com.au/

natural fragrance free products originally made to treat eczema and dermatitis

Vitamin D-ficiency


Photo thanks to Harvard University

Many of my clients have had blood tests and found that they are Vitamin D deficient, not suprising since we live in the Southern Highlands of NSW where bad weather is more likely than good. My Sydney based family then decided to have blood tests to see what their Vitamin D levels were like, and found out due to our Eurasian descent, we do not absorb vitamin D well at all. I am pearly white, but my heritage, the same one that stops me from burning in the sun, also stops me from absorbing as much Vitamin D as my other half who is from the UK.

The most natural way to receive enough vitamin D is to spend 20 to 40 minutes a day in the sun. Face and arms unprotected by clothing. Sorry, but I am so not sticking my face in the sun, all my training tells me to keep it out! So, I stick my pearly white legs in the sun instead. But, some days, there is no sun, and or, it is too hot!

There are some amazingly good natural sources of Vitamin D which, along with the sun, (the sun is still the best source of D) will help you keep your vitamin D levels up.

But you ask, why do I need vitamin D? Is this some crazy fad like the Atkinson Diet? Unfortunately it is not, there has been a lot of research done since the 1990s  proving that Vitamin D is a major player in many of our health issues.

Lets first look at Vitamin D, I have found there is more to it than we are lead to believe;

Up until the mid-1990’s, the answer to the vitamin D question would have been fairly simple: it is a fat-soluble vitamin needed to prevent a bone disease in children called “rickets.” Previous studies going back to the early 1800’s determined that cod liver oil could help to prevent and cure particular problems with bone development in children. In the early 1900’s, a compound called “fat-soluble factor D” was isolated from cod liver oil, and this factor turned out to be the vitamin that we now refer to as “vitamin D.” Scientific investigation of rickets helped establish the role of sunlight in providing us with vitamin D, and it also helped establish the role of vitamin D in bone health.

In the mid1990’s, they found out that it is not only a fat- soluble vitamin, but it is also a hormone. It regulates our metabolism, allowing it to function properly. It helps to regulate our bone development, our muscle function, our immune function, our insulin activity, our calcium balance, and our phosphorus balance. There are receptors for vitamin D, called VDRs, (vitamin D receptors,) on the cell membranes of most cell types in the body, the same as estrogen and cortisol.

Cholesterol is the basic building block of vitamin D in humans. When ultraviolet light hits the cells of our skin, one form of cholesterol found in our skin cells, called 7-dehydrocholesterol, is converted into cholecalciferol, a form of vitamin D3.

But this is not where the vitamin is useful to our bodies. For our bodies to come up with a fully active form of vitamin D3, further metabolism is required.

The first step involves conversion of cholecalciferol into hydroxyvitamin D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D. Hydroxyvitamin D needs a enzyme called CYP27A1, and is formed in any of the following areas of the body such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, prostate, brain, blood vessel linings, and macrophage cells of the immune system.

The second step involves transforming hydroxyvitamin D into dihydroxyvitamin D. This step needs another enzyme called CYP27B1 and can take place in the lungs, brain, liver, stomach, spleen, kidneys, colon, thymus, lymph nodes, skin, placenta, and in the monocyte and dendritic cells of the immune system.

Ok, after all of that, Dihydroxyvitamin D, which is the only fully active hormonal form of vitamin D, does in actual fact not last for very long in our body. The half-life of this hormone is between 2-3 weeks. For this reason, our vitamin D needs must be met on a fairly regular basis.

And the interesting thing is, we actually need a lot more Vitamin D than we are led to believe.

So what does Vitamin D do?

The hormonal functions of vitamin D include regulation of bone health, muscle health, immune response, insulin and blood sugar, and calcium and phosphorus metabolism.

Lets first look at bone health, with the rising epidemic of osteoporosis, in men as well as women, I think this is one which affects us all.

Our bone is composed of; collagen proteins, keratin proteins, and a variety of minerals including calcium, phosphorus, silicon, boron, and magnesium. But two most critical bone components are calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are the main players in a substance called hydroxyapatite, which accounts for over half of all bone composition.

Hydroxyapatite in bone places a premium on calcium and phosphorus metabolism and their passage in and out of the body. Bone health is regulated by many different substances in the body; growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D.

Our parathyroid glands put out PTH whenever our blood calcium levels get too low. PTH then triggers release of calcium from our bones in order to boost our blood level back up to normal. It also triggers our kidneys to retain more calcium for our bloodstream, and excrete more phosphorus to create a more favourable ratio of calcium to phosphorus in our blood. If there is too much PTH released from our parathyroid glands, however, we may end up removing too much calcium from our bones and leaving too much in our blood, compromising both our cardiovascular and our bone health.

Research has shown vitamin D to be associated with healthy parathyroid function. Vitamin D helps the intestines absorb more calcium from our food, and it also helps our kidneys hang on to calcium. But unlike PTH, vitamin D also helps our kidneys retain phosphorus. The two hormones work together in order to assure proper balances of calcium and phosphorus in our bloodstream and in our bones. PTH knows that it must act in partnership with vitamin D because it triggers conversion of hydroxyvitamin D into a hormonally active form dihydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D’s role in immune health has reached a point, that whenever researchers are investigating an autoimmune disease, they never do so without considering the possible role of vitamin D. Health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, are just a few that are affected by vitamin D as well as numerous other autoimmune conditions.

Vitamin D receptors (VDRs) exist on the immune system’s macrophage and dendritic cells. Vitamin D, triggers the macrophage cells to release antibacterial peptides (parts of protein) like cathelicidin, which play a critical role in the immune system’s prevention of infection.

In current research on multiple sclerosis, for example, clinicians are experimenting with vitamin D doses up to 40,000 IU, and in research on rheumatoid arthritis, doses up to 100,000 IU are being used in some clinical trials. (To get some perspective on these vitamin D supplementation levels, they can be compared to the current adult Dietary Reference Intake recommendations for vitamin D, which range from 600 – 2000 IU, unless severely deficient, then up to 5000 IU for only 6 – 12 weeks)

Vitamin D also plays a direct role in regulating our blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of a system called the renin-angiotensin system. It’s the job of the renin-angiotensin system to help increase our blood pressure whenever it gets too low. Optimal levels of vitamin D are needed to hold this system in check, so as to prevent it from raising our blood pressure when not needed, causing us to end up with high blood pressure.

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be a significant risk factor for high blood pressure, and risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

The key role played by vitamin D in regulation of calcium metabolism has opened the door to research about broader cardiovascular benefits of vitamin D. Overloading of cells with calcium is a problem for heart tissue, and it is associated with increased risk of oxidative stress and tissue damage. By triggering unwanted release of PTH, vitamin D deficiency can result. In several studies, the ability of heart tissue to heal after an event like heart attack has been shown improve significantly when patients have optimal vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of insulin metabolism and blood sugar balance. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk factor for development of type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D levels have been associated with insulin secretion by the beta cells of the pancreas as well as insulin activity once released into the bloodstream.

When vitamin D is deficient in the body and parathyroid hormone (PTH) is released in inappropriately large amounts, too much calcium can accumulate in the cells. When too much calcium accumulates in our fat cells, they end up producing too much cortisol, a hormone that counteracts the effectiveness of insulin. Too much calcium in our fat and muscle cells can inhibit the formation of a protein called GLUT-4. Insulin needs GLUT-4 to help carry sugar (glucose) out of our bloodstream and into our cells. When we lack vitamin D, not enough GLUT-4 is formed, and insulin is unable to this.

Vitamin D has been shown to play a key role in prevention of muscle weakness and prevention of falls, especially in older persons. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with too much accumulation of fat throughout muscle tissue, in such a way that muscle strength is decreased and physical performance is compromised. Muscle strength is not related to muscle mass. You can have the same size muscles as someone else, but if you are D deficient, you will not have the same strength.

The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention is a major area of research at present. So far studies have shown a clear role for vitamin D in prevention of the following types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, ovarian, bladder, gallbladder, gastric, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, and renal cancers, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Indeed, more people die of Vitamin D deficiency-based cancers than from melanoma.

How do you know if you are deficient?

If you have any of the following symptoms you could possibly have vitamin D deficiency.

  • Asthma (severe childhood)
  • Bones which break easily
  • Muscular weakness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Colon cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Insulin resistance
  • Kidney disease
  • Leprosy
  • Liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Preeclampsia
  • Psoriasis
  • Rectal cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Senile dementia
  • Stroke
  • Tinnitus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Ulcerative colitis

How do I naturally improve my vitamin D levels?

There are set levels of how much vitamin D you should take daily, but the more I read about using extremely high levels of vitamin D for treatment of diseases, the more I start to feel that we should ingest and absorb as much vitamin D as we possibly can naturally.

I recommend you have a blood test with your doctor to see how low or high your vitamin D levels are before taking on any tablet form of Vitamin D, unless you decide to add Cod liver oil to your diet as part of a health program to up the fish oil factor.


Getting enough UVB sunlight in the range of 290-300nm daily seems perfectly easy, unfortunately this is not so. There is the fluctuating nature of UVB light. UVB rays are needed for skin synthesis of vitamin D, but they are not always present with the same intensity, all day every day. The intensity of UVB light varies dramatically depending on geographical location (latitude), time of year, time of day, degree of cloud cover, and other factors, unlike UVA rays which are present all year round (our aging rays!). Skin pigmentation also plays an important role in skin synthesis of vitamin D. Darker skin pigmentation means less vitamin D synthesis per minute of exposure to UVB light.

Some lifestyles and occupations provide great amounts of sun exposure. Individuals who work outdoors throughout the day in warmer climates have a greater chance of getting good exposure to UVB light and synthesizing adequate amounts of vitamin D. Under optimal circumstances, our skin can synthesize between 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D in 30 minutes, again, depending on the angle of the sun, time of day, degree of cloud cover, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, if someone typically wears clothing that blocks a lot of the skin from exposure to sunlight, or is a regular user of sunblock, or works in a job that keeps them indoors throughout the day, chances of adequate vitamin D synthesis are greatly decreased.

The ideal recommended dose of sunshine to receive enough vitamin D is 20 – 40 minutes per day, preferably before 10 am and after 2 pm (11am and 3pm daylight saving).

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, a low fat diet, vegan diet, and/or the presence of certain medical conditions that cause a reduction in the ability to absorb dietary fat may cause vitamin D deficiency. These medical conditions include pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn’s disease, celiac sprue, cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, gall bladder disease, and liver disease.

The most frustrating thing is that the production of vitamin D precursors in the skin, decrease with age. Additionally, with age, the kidneys and many other organ systems and cell types are less able to convert vitamin D into its active hormone form.

What foods provide vitamin D?

Vitamin D is oil soluble, so you need to eat healthy fats to absorb it.

The best food sources for Vitamin D are;

  • Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil has been a popular supplement for many years going back to the 1800s when they first found a link to rickets and lack of vitamin D and naturally contains very high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. Cod liver oil provides 10001IU (1667% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 1360IU (340% DV) in a single tablespoon.

  • Fish

Many types of fish are high in vitamin D. Raw fish contains more vitamin D than cooked, and fatty cuts will contain more than lean cuts. Further, fish canned in oil will have more vitamin D than those canned in water. Raw atlantic herring provides the most vitamin D with 1628IU (271% DV) per 100 gram serving, 2996IU (499% DV) per fillet, and 456IU (76% DV) per ounce. It is followed by pickled herring with 680IU (113% DV) per 100g serving, canned salmon (127% DV), raw mackerel (60% DV), oil packed sardines (45% DV), canned mackerel (42% DV), and oil packed tuna (39% DV).

  • Oysters

In addition to vitamin D, oysters are a great source of vitamin B12, zinc, iron, manganese, selenium and copper. Oysters are high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation. Raw wild caught eastern oysters provide 320IU (80% DV) per 100 gram serving, 269IU (67% DV) in six medium oysters.

  • Caviar

Caviar is a common ingredient in sushi and not as expensive as people think. Caviar provides 232IU (58% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 37.1IU (9% DV) per teaspoon.

  • Eggs

Are a good source of Vitamin D, B12 and protein. Eggs provide 37.0IU (9% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, or 17.0IU (4% DV) in a large fried egg.

  • Mushrooms

More than just a high vitamin D food, mushrooms also provide vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and copper.  Lightly cooked white button mushrooms provide the most vitamin D with 27.0IU (7% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 7.6IU (2% DV) per ounce.

Well, I am now off to buy a large platter of sashimi to get my vitamin D up, since I have been sitting at my computer since very early this morning. Not that being sunny would have made any difference, but it would have been nice if the sun were out when I went to hang out the washing, but it was over cast again!

What does having beautiful skin and your colon have in common?

This is a newsletter sent to me by  company called Poop Doc, yes all they talk about is the colon, and they supply everything for the colon as well. The only thing I would not purchase from them are their probiotics as I am not sure how well they would travel here to Australia from the US. I have not rewritten their post (just made a few editorial changes) as they sum things up very well.


What does Beautiful Skin and Your Colon Have in Common?

           EVERYTHING!  While most women deal with some form of constipation and 95% of Americans and Australians are fiber deficient, the health of the colon (directly effecting Your complexion) is almost always overlooked. Fix the root of the problem not the fruit! Don’t keep addressing the symptoms (they will keep coming back) as mainstream medicine does. Fix the root of problem and watch gorgeous skin appear. 

            How do I achieve a healthy colon?? A healthy colon is directly influenced by moving your bowels daily and having adequate fiber in your diet (your poop should float) AND going 1 to 2 times a day (once after each major meal). When your constipated, auto-intoxication begins and the toxicity your body is trying to get rid of begins to be reabsorbed back into your bloodstream. Most people have common sense where they easily conclude that auto-intoxicating is not good. The symptoms of auto-intoxication or self poisoning, will begin showing in symptoms such as headache, lack of energy, acid reflux, abdominal discomfort, indigestion, bloating, Acne, dull unattractive skin tone and the list goes on. 

             Beautiful skin and a healthy colon have a DIRECT CONNECTION. A clean colon will result in a beautiful skin tone and complexion. Do a colon cleanse or colon flush for 3 days and Empty Out. The third day slowly start adding an excellent dietary fiber supplement which is best taken 20-30 minutes before breakfast. Include in your beautiful skin and complexion health plan MORE fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (steamed or raw) on every plate. Exercise daily is another great plus even if its just walking 10 minutes a day. Exercize also helps in moving the bowels and lowering stress, eliminating toxins and better digestion. These are huge pluses to a healthy bowel and constipation relief. If you need more help, find a good constipation relief supplement (don’t use laxatives as they can have severe colon destroying side effects). Remember, your goal is to go twice a day and go productively.

            Probiotics or the colons friendly bacteria, do a MULTITUDE of functions you can’t live without. Everytime we have had antibiotics we have destroyed the good, friendly bacteria in our intestinal tract. The friendly bacteria is a MAJOR part of our immune system and we need them desperately. Probiotics to a person with bowel problems is like giving a fireman water to put out the fire. You’ve got to have it. Water is the other MUST. 95% of people are dehydrated just like they are fiber deficient. Can you imagine if you improved in these areas today what a turn around it would be for your health, your elimination and your return to beautiful skin and An Amazing Complexion? EVERYBODY wants beautiful skin! It’s a sign of Youth and Excellent health!

            In summary, the SECRET to Beautiful Skin is a beautiful, optimally functioning colon. The Bottom Line: drink more water (2 quarts minimum), eat more fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (look at your plate! what’s on it)? Exercise, yes, even a simple walk 10 minutes a day…you’ll like how good you FEEL.  Do a few minutes more as time goes on. Look Good,

 Feel Good! Add to this beautiful complexion plan a colon cleanse for 2 or 3 days every month. Add an excellent Daily Fiber supplement and Probiotics and you will see glowing skin, sparkling eyes and energy in every step. 

           Today IS the FIRST DAY of the rest of your life…the day being Naturally Beautiful happens…AND HAPPENS TO YOU!


Use protection! Use Sunscreen really??

All of us know we need to protect ourselves from the sun to avoid skin cancer, and to slow down the aging process. But do we really know all there is to know about practicing safe sun protection on ourselves?

Are we using sunscreens wisely? Or are we just applying more chemicals to our faces daily, but actually not protecting ourselves from the sun at all?

The amount of information out there on sunscreens is baffling, and the Australian cancer council says that we are so concerned about the SPF factor, that we are not concentrating on the bigger sunscreen issue… The fact that most of us do not use it correctly, that we are only using a third of what we should be applying daily to protect ourselves.

So many of our top moisturizers contain a SPF factor that we, religiously apply to our faces every morning. Many of us, complain of congestion, milia, irritated and inflamed skins, and breakouts which we cannot clear up no matter what we do externally or internally, till we stop using moisturizer with sunscreen in it.

But why are we using a moisturizer with sunscreen anyway? By the time sun protection is needed between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm (11am and 3pm daylight saving) the sunscreen applied at 7 am is null and void, as even a broad spectrum 30 plus sunscreen only gives us a protection for no more than 2 hours! So it has worn off by 9 am. We have happily applied a layer of toxic chemicals to our face for no reason at all, as by the time we head out into the sun shine at lunch time, the sunscreen has done its dash.

Ultra Violet Rays

There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun; UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the most responsible for skin damage,that can lead to cancer and skin aging. Although UVB rays also cause damage and sunburn, they cause more surface damage than deeper skin damage. UVB rays are those necessary for the body to produce its own cancer protective vitamin D via the skin.

UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.

UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, plays a major part in photo ageing. It causes significant damage in areas of the epidermis where most skin cancers occur. But UVA also damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers. It is the most dominant tanning ray, which until recently was why most tanning beds used it over UVB rays.


UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo ageing. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day, which is why we burn in summer and not in winter. Although in so saying, the sun’s reflection from the snow is higher than the sun’s reflection in the sand, and the UV radiation factor increases by 4% each 1000 foot increase in altitude! UVB is also responsible for vitamin D production in our bodies.


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which causes us to burn, but not UVA rays. Most sunscreens only protect us from UVB rays. You need to use a Broad spectrum, sunscreen to protect you from UVA and UVB rays, and again, it needs to be reapplied multiple times per day

The real truth is, that SPF actually stands for how effectively the product protects you from UVB rays, but it does not rate how well it protects you from UVA rays, as yet, there is not way to measure this.

Then there is the SPF protection debacle.

Is a 100+ or a 90+ sunscreen really that much better than one with an SPF of 30? Not at all really.

A SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 50 product blocks about 98% of rays. Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offer 100% protection.

Also be aware, that in most cases, each time you go up a SPF you are doubling up how many chemicals you are applying to your body. SPF 15 – SPF 30 usually means a 100% increase in chemicals whilst only giving you 3% more protection.

The good news is, that there are now more and more companies bringing out high protection products based on more natural ingredients. More later.

Sunscreen application

To get the best out of your sunscreen protection, you need to apply it 20 – 30 minutes before you go outside, and then it needs to be reapplied every 1 and ½  – to 2 hours to keep you totally protected, depending on how much you sweat and how wet you get. If you are swimming, you must reapply your sunscreen as soon as you leave the water.

The difference between water resistant and waterproof sunscreen is, water resistant protects you for up to 40 minutes after exposure to water, waterproof protects you for up to 80 minutes.

In actual fact, the average person does not need to apply sunscreen every day to go to work. As ideally we should be getting 20 – 40 minutes per day for us to keep our vitamin D levels up, preferably before 10 am and after 2 pm (11am and 3pm daylight saving). Sunlight is the optimal source of vitamin D. By blocking UVB rays daily, you may be increasing your cancer risk.

Getting sun, without sunscreen, is actually really important. Recent studies reveal that people who spend more time outdoors without getting sunburnt, in fact decrease their risk of developing melanoma, and protects them from multiple forms of cancer; including breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, ovarian, bladder, gallbladder, gastric, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, and renal cancers, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Indeed, more people die of Vitamin D deficiency-based cancers than from melanoma. But this is another whole article!

One of my personal concerns is how many chemicals we are applying to our skin. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens.

Block outs

There are two types of sunscreens available; physical block outs and chemical block outs.

Chemical Block outs

  • Dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are free radical generators which can disrupt hormone function.
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is common in many sunscreens, acting as a dye that absorbs UVB light in the same way as oxybenzone. PABA contains a benzene ring in which electrons can shuffle, or resonate, between different locations within the six-sided structure. This electron dance matches that of the lightwaves of UVB rays, absorbing and blocking UVB energy by converting the light to heat. PABA releases free radicals, damages DNA, has estrogenic activity, and causes allergic reactions in some people.
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate:  Is the main chemical used in chemical sunscreens to filter out UVB light. OMC kills cells in mice even at low doses, and is particularly toxic when exposed to sunshine!
  • Benzophenone: Is an ingredient which prevents sunlight from breaking down the products in the sunscreen. It is a hormone disrupting chemical that interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone, which raises serious concerns about its impact on male fertility.

Personally I prefer the physical block outs which are non invasive and natural, and they also work from the moment they are applied.

  • Zinc oxide; is often found in lip balms and foundations. It looks white on the skin until worked in, and Titanium dioxide is also often found in natural sunscreens.

I personally prefer Zinc Oxide as it has UVA and UVB protection and I have never found it to cause any congestion on problematic or sensitive skins, whilst Titanium Dioxide I have found to do so.

The American Environmental Agency’s graph below features chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients, as well as the type and amount of ray protection that they provide and their class


Many natural skin care ingredients give a certain amount of protection from the sun on a day to day basis.

Vitamin C, extra virgin olive oil, and extra virgin coconut oil all contain a natural sunscreen factor. Extra virgin coconut oil has the highest, it has a rating of SPF 10.

Bruce Fife, ND, author of Coconut Cures, explains that coconut oil applied to the skin protects against sunburn and cancer. Unlike sunscreen, unprocessed coconut oil doesn’t completely block out the UVB rays that are needed for vitamin D synthesis. It protects the skin and underlying tissues from damage due to excessive exposure.

Many natural and sustainable health practitioners recommend not only applying sunscreen on the outside to protect the skin but to also eat to protect the skin. Eating foods such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, foods high in antioxidants, omegas, especially fatty fish and lycopene etc, will help our skins naturally protect itself from the suns rays.

My other half is actually walking proof of this. At 60 he will not and has never worn sunscreen. He lives out in the garden most weekends during the hottest hours of the day. He more than often chooses to swim between 20 and 60 laps of a outdoor 50 metre pool in the middle of the day. He burns, turns brown, then burns, turns black, and to this day has not had one skin cancer. He is often thought to be 10 years younger than he is.

He loves fish. Every day he eats fish, fresh, tinned or pickled or all three. Always has and always will. Cooks with huge amounts of olive oil and eats avocados the same way most of us demolish mangos. He drinks tea as if his life depends on it, as well as water and takes chlorella whenever he remembers.

He drinks and drank too much red wine and trashed himself most of youth, as well as spending his life on the beach surfing and swimming. There is more and more proof, that controlled amounts of sunlight increases your bodies natural sun protection as Vitamin D protects us from the sun!

If you would like to protect your face from the sun daily with some sort of protection that you can apply in the morning and know that you are protected all day, use a mineral makeup, or a foundation with a zinc oxide base. The best protection is still mineral makeup. But if you like me do not want to wear mineral makeup as it settles into your wrinkles, use a foundation with a zinc oxide base, or a mineral base to it. It will give you physical protection from the sun.

But if you are really serious at keeping the sun off, there is nothing that beats a hat, and clothing, or just stay out of the sun, remembering that UVA rays will penetrate your glass car windows unless you have UV tinting in them.

Kombucha – a 2,000 year old health drink, it’s certainly helped my health!

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:


The Kombocha we make at home ourselves.


There are stack of commercial products available now too – all different flavours too!

No he’s not some mystic who sits on a mountain top in Tibet. Kombucha is the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir?” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of supposed health benefits, like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases – still to be proven I might add!

We brew it at home in swing top jars, but you can use any jar, as long as it has a lid that breaths – we’ve found kombocha grows well in a warm dimly lid area. We cover the jars with a tee towel as well – the strange white thing on the top is called the The ‘mushroom’ or ‘scoby’ (symbiotic culture of binary yeasts) is a jelly-like…

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You should drink 8 glasses of water today! But do you know what you’re drinking?


It is really scary what we drink when we drink tap water. Research has found that the chemicals in tap water kill the healthy bacteria in the gut, this causes you to end up with a overgrowth of bad bacteria known as candida. My next blog is going to cover talk about candida and believe me, you will not be drinking tap water ever again if this article does not scare you enough!

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:


If you’re on a high fibre diet (which you should be to remain healthy), you need lots of water! *Water believe it or not is an essential nutrient in any diet, but especially important in a fibre rich one that includes a lot of vegetables and whole grains in order to keep your digestive system working smoothly. Best of all, drinking water is the best way to reduce appetite. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty. So when hunger pangs strike again, first try drinking a glass of H20!

Just one small point though on water, as an essential nutrient to your diet. I’m very fortunate because as I live on a property where we harvest our own rain water, so our water is 99.9% pure – if you live in the city or in regional centres your water can sometimes be of dubious quality…

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Hands up who knows what Kefir is? Is it a gift from the Gods?

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

Kefirkefīrskeefir, or kephir (/ka’fiar/ka-feer), alternatively kewratalaimudu kekiyamilk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter) and has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains around 3,000 BC. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat or sheep milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.

This short insight to Kefir is a precursor to a series of articles in the next few issues of the 1910 Lifestyle Magazine on fermented Probiotics. Why not check out the latest issue of the latest 1910 Lifestyle Magazine – Jan 2014 issue out now at http://issuu.com/stephenhogwood/docs/1910_lifestyle_magazine__-_jan_2014

I use Kefir for Sauerkraut fermentation and pickling – it’s delicious! Marco Polo also…

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The GREAT news about salt, it IS good for you, well NATURAL SALT is anyway!

We are all told not to eat salt, because it has a direct effect on your blood pressure. It causes you to store water, causing you to put strain on your kidneys. It is also linked to dementia, heart attacks and stroke.

But the truth of the matter is, salt in its true form is VERY good for you. NOT the unnatural form of salt that we know as table salt, or the one we find in most processed foods.

But REAL natural sea or Himalayan salt is essential for all of our cellular functions. Not whitened sea salt, or anything which is refined or bleached, which is what we generally find in the supermarket.

Real unrefined high mineral salt is pinkish or greyish in colour and the sea salt variety is very moist, not dry and smooth flowing as the normal salt we use. Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan salt is full of important minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper etc. It’s a natural source of 21 essential minerals and many more elements. This makes natural mineral salt much better for you than regular “table” salt. We need salt (real salt) to make hydrochloric acid, which helps you digest proteins.

Linus Pauling, Ph.D. (Two time Nobel Prize Winner)once said: “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency”

Your body can not make minerals therefore it’s important to get your mineral needs met in some other way. We need to be taking minerals in a form that our body can use or assimilate. Unfortunately taking minerals in a vitamin tablet, according to the research, is quite useless. Our body not only has to produce excessive amounts of acid to break down the pill, the minerals cannot be absorbed into the body unless they are in a liquid form. Using natural salt is just one tool to help you meet this need. Natural salt also raises your body’s pH making the body more alkaline, but this is another blog (next week!)

The known benefits and use of natural salt have been around for thousands of years and many cultures of the past have viewed it as a very precious commodity…as precious and as valuable as money itself. The Himilayans still to this day mine the salt by hand in the Himalayan mountains, which they used to transport for miles to trade for other goods. Salt was used for preserving foods before refrigeration.

Here are some of the more vital functions of salt in the body taken from Dr. Batmanghelidj’s book, “Water: Rx for a Healthier Pain-Free Life”.

1. Salt is most effective in stabilizing irregular heartbeats and, contrary to the misconception that it causes high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure – in conjunction with water. Naturally the proportions are critical.

2. Salt is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.

3. Salt is vital for balancing the sugar levels in the blood; a needed element in diabetics.

4. Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body. It is used for local power generation at the sites of energy need by the cells.

5. Salt is vital to the nerve cells’ communication and information processing all the time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death.

6. Salt is vital for absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.

7. Salt is vital for the clearance of the lungs of mucus plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.

8. Salt is vital for clearing up catarrh and congestion of the sinuses.

9. Salt is a strong natural antihistamine.

10. Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

11. Salt is vital to prevent excess saliva production to the point that it flows out of the mouth during sleep. Needing to constantly mop up excess saliva indicates salt shortage.

12. Salt is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in a major way, is a result of salt and water shortage in the body.

13. Salt is vital for sleep regulation. It is a natural hypnotic.

14. Salt is a vitally needed element in the treatment of diabetics.

15. Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs.

16. Salt is vital for the prevention of gout and gouty arthritis.

17. Salt is vital for maintaining sexuality and libido.

18. Salt is vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs.

19. Salt is vital to the communication and information processing nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work – from the moment of conception to death.

20. Salt is vital for reducing a double chin. When the body is short of salt, it means the body really is short of water. The salivary glands sense the salt shortage and are obliged to produce more saliva to lubricate the act of chewing and swallowing and also to supply the stomach with water that it needs for breaking down foods. Circulation to the salivary glands increases and the blood vessels become “leaky” in order to supply the glands with water to manufacture saliva. The “leakiness” spills beyond the area of the glands themselves, causing increased bulk under the skin of the chin, the cheeks and into the neck.

21. Sea salt contains about 80 mineral elements that the body needs. Some of these elements are needed in trace amounts. Unrefined sea salt is a better choice of salt than other types of salt on the market. Ordinary table salt that is bought in the super markets has been stripped of its companion elements and contains additive elements such as aluminium silicate to keep it powdery and porous. Aluminium is a very toxic element in our nervous system. It is implicated as one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

22. Twenty-seven percent of the body’s salt is in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the body. Bones are twenty-two percent water. Is it not obvious what happens to the bones when we’re deficient in salt or water or both.

So bring on yummy salt – I personally love the taste of Himalayan Natural Pink Rock salt, you need to grind this in a grinder.


Coconut oil as a sunscreen? We weren’t as daft as we thought!

Yes, in the good old days we used to slather ourselves in  coconut oil, and then feeling cocoluscious, we would toast our bodies in the sun!

But we were not as dumb as we thought! Research has now found that extra virgin coconut oil has a natural sunscreen of 10 SPF.

This means that not only are you applying something natural with no chemicals on your face and body, you are treating your skin to a healthy dose of Omega’s, vitamins and minerals, which in turn  are absorbed into the skin and blood stream whilst your pores are open!

Plus, if you get burnt (heaven’s forbid) you are actually healing the skin at the same time.

Tell me which sunscreen does that?

High weigh to hell, the impact of crash dieting

Most of us have been there at one time or another, or on many occasions, where we look in the mirror and see what we have tried not to acknowledge, or accept, we are carrying too much weight and in all the wrong places.

This moment of “oh dear” usually occurs before we need to wear something special for a special occasion or don our swimmers. It usually happens a very short time before D Day and we panic! We stop eating, or go on a slimming detox drink, or only drink slimming shakes, or eat soup for a week or two.

Great, we have lost all of that weight in two weeks flat! Wow! I can fit into that dress, or squeeze into that swimsuit.

Yup, you can do all of that, but there are severe consequences.

Firstly, I would like to explain the difference between a detox and a crash diet. A detox goes for 2 – 3 days, a crash diet goes for a week or longer.

Fasting two days per week, not consecutively, but approximately two days apart has proven to be highly beneficial for your health. It is believed now that fasting, for women 500 calories per day and men 600 calories per day, can help stabilize hormones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, as well as helping you slowly but steadily loose weight from hard to loose areas of the body.

You do not need to do it by living on juice or vegetables alone, you can eat proteins, which are very important for lean muscle mass, and small amounts of carbohydrates, as long as you stay below your calorie limit. You can even have a cup of coffee or tea as part of your calorie intake. But sugar is out!

The idea of the two day weekly detox is to remove waste from the body and replace it with good nutrients. It is also beneficial that by eating less for two days per week on the digestive system, it takes some pressure off the body.

Going on a crash diet causes the body to become nutritionally deprived, and this is going to cause you to have health issues. Not only do crash diets impact on your long term health, but they also effect how well your brain functions on a daily basis.

Your body needs a certain amount of energy to function daily. It requires energy to keep your lungs breathing to bring oxygen to your tissues, to keep your heart beating for blood to flow all through the body, and brain functioning directing the central nervous system to do the jobs it requires.

So that when you reduce your calorie intake to a point which is so low that there is not enough energy being provided to your body to carry out these basic life functions, you are not going to be able to function as well as you should, because basically your body is fighting for its life!

A crash diet is forcing your body into starvation, and your body does not like this, so it is going to fight back, and fight back hard!

It will slow down your basal metabolic rate. This is the rate your body is going to burn calories daily to keep your body alive, doing the basic functions we discussed before.When you go on a crash diet, you are reducing your calories so that you are not supplying your body with enough calories to keep you basal metabolic rate functioning to sustain life.

So your body now will start emergency proceedings in order to keep you alive. It will slow your resting metabolic rate so that you are conserving as much fuel as you can. For example if you normally burn off 1500 calories per day to keep all of your basic functions working, your body would drop it down to 1100 to reduce the threat to its survival.

You will notice that your fat loss will come to a halt and you will reach a plateau, your body will not loose anymore weight as your metabolic rate is functioning at a slower rate. I have noticed with my crash dieting clients, that incredibly efficient smart women become forgetful, disorganized and cannot cope with things they used to. For the normally scatterbrained, I find that I often start wondering if they have dementia (especially my older clients) for there is no consistency in anything they do, their brains just do not function well at all!

This is why crash diets produce fast results at first, and then none at all. This is because the body takes a while to notice what is going on, once it does, it puts all systems in to stop your efforts.

The bad news is that once the metabolic rate slows down, it will stay slow for quite some time. So now you return to eating normally, but your metabolism is still working slowly and your start gaining extra body fat quickly.

So first you see your scales go down two kilos, but then you gain three once you start living normally again. Next thing you know, you are not only back to square one, you are worse off then before you started!

But this is just the least of your problems.

When you are constantly consuming less calories than your body needs to survive, you will end up with nutritional deficiencies.

You will start to fall short on iron, which helps you maintain physical performance, calcium needed for strong bones, and many other bodily functions. B group vitamins needed for healthy metabolism, heart health and stress control etc. Magnesium for brain function, and shall I go on? Get the idea?

Simply, to loose weight quickly, you are putting yourself at risk of serious health issues in the long run. Imagine what you are doing to yourself when you do regular crash diets………. Or go on one for two or three weeks, or longer. If you go for longer, you are likely to end up with a calorie deficit as well.

So you think – that’s the idea is it not?

The body gets nutrients from food, if you are not getting food, where are you getting the nutrients from? Nowhere! Even if you take a multivitamin, it is not going to replace the fiber you get from real foods, and the moisture, as well as all of the nutrients you get from real food which you cannot get from multivitamins. Even if you consume superfoods which will give you vitamins, minerals and omegas, they still do not replace all of the proteins and fiber. There is also one problem, you cannot absorb enough calcium from supplements as you can from food.

This brings you to the next problem you are faced with.

Loss of bone mass. If you are young, you will think this is not something you should worry about as it will not effect you. It will as you get older. What you do in your youth shows up as you age. So the damage you do to your bone mass during your 20s, 30s and 40s will show up during your 50s and 60s. If you are dieting at 50 or 60 or older, your body is less effective at absorbing calcium, so when you loose calcium whilst dieting, you increase you calcium deficiency.

When you are on a crash diet, you are not getting enough calcium, which is going to put a lot of stress on your bones, especially if you are exercising to support your diet.

Calcium plays an important role in keeping your vital organs strong as well as your bones. It is needed to keep your heart beating, your brain functioning, and your muscles contracting. It is needed for every function in your body.

As your blood calcium levels start to drop it will tap into your primary source of calcium reserves to supply your vital organs with enough calcium to maintain life function. This primary reserve is your bone mass. And we know the side effects of that.

When you crash diet, you also loose lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does.

When you are on a low calorie diet and not bringing in enough calories or protein to cover all of your basic needs, the body will use the protein you need to build muscle mass and produce hormones etc, for basic survival functions.

Then when it does not get enough protein which is the case in most low calorie diets, it will start to dip into your lean body tissues to access the amino acids you need to keep yourself alive. Now the truth is, if you are overweight, you are already lacking muscle mass, and have excess fat, otherwise you would not be overweight!

Now that you are burning up muscle mass, you are lowering your metabolic rate even further. This is why men burn more fat than women, they have more muscle mass, whilst women have more fat mass.

This means you are now in serious trouble. You are now not only lowering your metabolic rate due to being on a crash diet, you are loosing lean muscle mass as well.

When you start eating normally again, slowly and steadily your metabolism will restore itself, but your muscle mass will not, it is gone permanently forever. Unless you work at rebuilding it again through weight bearing exercise, you will continue to have a very slow metabolism.

This also is a problem if you have cellulite. The reason you had it in the first place is because you had such a small amount of muscle mass. Now you will notice even more cellulite because you have even less muscle mass.

Maintaining muscle mass is the most important part of a weight loss plan, if you are not eating enough protein, you will not maintain your weight loss.

This all leads to an increase of injury development. With a decrease in bone density and muscle mass, you will find that you will become injured more often than you used to.

You will find an increase in joint pain as well as your tendons and ligaments surrounding your joints becoming weaker and weaker. You will often find yourself suffering from neck and back pain. Hip and knee problems.

With enough tissue damage without recovery, serious injuries can occur such as overuse injuries or muscle pulls and strains, which can take weeks if not months to overcome.

So you say, I am young and do not have aches and pains. How is your focus? How is your concentration?

Anyone who has been on a long term fast or crash diet will have noticed that they often become forgetful and disorganized.

If your brain is not receiving enough nutrients, it will start to run on ketones as a fuel source which often leaves people feeling light headed and fuzzy. Your brain like all other organs in the body needs a constant stream of nutrients to function normally.

Low carbohydrate diets will impact your mood as well. Carbohydrates increase the serotonin in the body that gives us that feel good state. This could be why you wish to bite everyone’s heads off!

Another downside, is lack of physical performance. If you like to exercise, you will find that not only the quality of your performance suffers, but when you are exercising, without the correct nutrients, you are accelerating the process of bone loss and muscle loss.

Last but not least, the ugliest part of a crash diet is bad breath. Your body usually becomes acid instead of alkaline, and your breath becomes fetid. Low carb diets are frequently the cause of this due to the body burning ketones. Another cause is lack of vegetables and fruit, causing the body to become acid, not alkaline. Also, often lack of water consumption can be the cause if you are loosing weight fast, but not flushing the toxins out.

So now that you are totally freaked out over crash dieting, you need to know what compromises as a crash diet.

  1. A diet with a low calorie count of less than 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories for men.
  2. A diet with insufficient protein. A good diet should provide a well- balanced amount of protein. If you are eating protein with every meal and snack, you are receiving enough protein every day.
  3. Any diets omitting any food group from the diet. Eg. Low carbohydrate diets. You need to eat fresh vegetables every day, and have 15% of your daily food intake made up of healthy fats.
  4. Any diet that promises rapid results.

If you are wondering then how you can get into that dress or swimsuit in a short period of time, whilst maintaining muscle mass, therefore not covered in even more cellulite than before, just get back to the basics.  Firstly start weight bearing exercises, to build muscle mass and burn fat. Two days per week follow a detox program, preferably drinking nutritionally high detox drinks (on these two days do not exercise). You will find that you will loose that weight and gain health. I have seen a few people have great weight loss success over a very short period of time.

But beyond that. Live a healthy life. Be more concerned with eating for your health, and exercising for your health, than worrying about weight. Love your body, because if you do not love it, nourish it, take good care of it, it will not love you back.