The Environmental & Vegan Toothbrush

Changing from plastic to eco-friendly, discover the reasons…

escovadenteseco

I must confess that until I saw a recycled toothbrush on the shelves, I didn’t give it much thought. I usually choose my toothbrush by its looks and its bristles –  never from what it is made, but I have been recycling things since forever, so how come I never thought about tooth brushes before?!

The first time that I saw the recycled toothbrush I didn’t buy it, and when I got back home I couldn’t stop thinking about its simplistic bamboo handle and elegant paper box.  I became curious and wanted to know more about it. I did some research and learnt all about the universe of the toothbrush.

After my research I concluded that the key to perfect oral hygiene doesn’t depend on how many functions the toothbrush has, the types of bristles it has, or even if you can brush your tongue 😉  It all depends on having a good clean diet, and brushing your teeth correctly so they get a good clean.  I also realised how bad my environmental impact was in choosing a plastic toothbrush – I had never given it a 2nd thought that my tooth brush was made with plastic, it was so natural to buy, almost like drinking water…

We should never forget about these small things and their every day impact on the environment. How many toothbrushes have I used in my life?! I have no idea…but they are out there, taking years and years to decompose, and will still be there even when my grandchild is alive 😦  Small things like changing your toothbrush will make a huge difference.  Imagine that on a global scale…

During my eco-friendly toothbrush research I found one in which the bristles are made of sterilised Pig hair.  Yes, that’s right: Pig hair to brush our teeth. What on earth?!?! Sometimes we really have no clue of what we are eating or using, it’s damn disgusting when we get to know the ugly truth.  Anyway…let’s get to the point and that is about something GOOD!

The Envoiramental Tooth brush

This is the one, my first eco toothbrush and I will tell you why…It’s compostable, which means it is made from bamboo, a natural cellulose fibre (100% biodegradable, environmentally sustainable, and non polluting of the environment). The amazing growth and self-renewing ability of bamboo means that deforestation is not necessary either. Even the packaging is bio-degradable, well not 100% because the  inner white sleeve that the toothbrush comes in is not recyclable or compostable, and has to go to landfill.  According to the company though, this is as green as they can make it.

Recommendation: Because this is a natural toothbrush, it should be well rinsed and dried after each use.

Pros:

  • Naturally anti-bacterial
  • More durable than oak
  • Smooth finish
  • Lightweight
  • Biodegradable

This brand also offers three types of bristles: – Medium – Soft – Soft bristle for children

And…what’s the story behind ‘The Giant Panda’? ‘China’s Giant Panda consumes soft bamboo shoots, stems and leaves as its main food source. The Environmental Toothbrush honours the Giant Panda and does not harm their habitat or food sources. The type of bamboo used to create the bamboo toothbrushes is the high Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys Pubescens), which has no leaf growth on the first 5 metres of the stem and therefore does not serve as a food source for the Giant Panda or the small panda.’

Where to buy:  Harveste8 Amazon

 

 

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Cupping – Did you ever tried?

Another way to detox your body: Cupping
laura merie Acupuncture treatment

Since I moved to my new home, I have come across several Chinese medical shops that are around my new neighbourhood. Some of the pictures in the windows gave me goose bumps whenever I looked at them: the cupping – it just looked torturous!  I thought to myself  ‘That must hurt, I don’t think I can try it.’ It didn’t take too long until I changed my mind.

Last weekend I woke up with some back pain so I decided to book a deep tissue massage at the Chinese medical shop. Once there I requested a half hour massage, after further questioning I was advised that for my problem I should try cupping. That made me think…maybe now is the time to try cupping, even with all the fear and anxiety bubbling inside my stomach.

Every time I want a massage I use the Spa at the Hotel where I am staying or I book a Hotel Spa in London, so I am used to fancy massage rooms where everything is beautiful designed and the scent of incense and oils pervade the air.  Well, here it’s all different, a very simple massage room that meets the basic needs.

Also, it is not required to be naked, you can keep your panties on, or cover yourself with a towel.  Once in the massage room I was asked to take off my t-shirt and lie down in just my shorts and bra.  Then the masseur went into action, massaging my neck.  No oils, no towels…nothing, only his hands and his elbow massaging my back and neck, honestly, I didn’t feel the urge to have oil on my skin.

After 15min of proper deep tissue massage it was time for the cupping. I was a bit nervous about what I was going to feel.  I heard glasses clinking and moving around, then the sound of a lighter.  I thought to myself ‘Is this going to be hot?!? How will the cups stay glued to my skin?’ Suddenly I felt the first cup on my back and my skin being sucked up, ten times in all. After the last one, my back were covered with a towel and I was left alone for 15min. For the first few minutes I found it difficult to breathe,  I felt that my whole body was being sucked up into those cups. My breath was weak  and slow, but started to become normal after a while.  As time went by, I start wondering … ‘Ok, this doesn’t hurt, but what’s going to happen, when the he starts taking the cups off!’ Well nothing extraordinary actually…no pain…nothing…only a sense of well being and relaxation.

Back home I looked at myself in the mirror and I noticed a few round purple marks from the cups, having them meant that I had a significant amount of congestion – they lasted a few days – and touching the marks  slightly hurt, but nothing that can’t be handled in name of health and beauty!

If you have tried cupping before how was your experience? Did you see any results?

I have made some research and collected some useful information that explains and enlightens you on the subject.

Cupping & health benefits

Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the earliest documentations of cupping can be found in the work titled ‘A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies’, which was written by the Taoist herbalist Ge Hong and which dates 300 AD. Cupping is also found referred in other old medical textbooks, the ‘Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1550 B.C. Also Chinese documentation about 3000 years old was recommending cupping as a treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.

What kind of devices are placed on the skin for the Cupping?

The most common are the small glass cups, but this technique is also applied with bamboo jars or modern ones made of silicone.

How is the Cupping applied?

There are different ways to create the suction in the cups: one method involves rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin; suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame; by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum that pulls the skin upward, meaning localised use of negative pressure.

Where are the cups applied?

‘Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to ‘open’ these channels – the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of affected materials.’

How suction works to relief symptoms?

Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin: ‘gliding cupping’. The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.

Benefits

  • Loosen muscles
  • Encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (perfect for high blood pressure treatment)
  • Relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Rheumatism
  • Cellulite and weight loss (for these treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area)
  •  Can clear congestion from a common cold
  •  Can help to control asthma
  • Improves skin tone

If you still want to know more detailed info about cupping here

*Pic credit

 

Eid Mubarak!

Discover the reasons behind fasting
It wasn’t my first time in a Muslim country during the month of
Ramadan, but it was the first time – after having read about Ramadan –
that I follow some of the principles regarding fasting.  And why so?
No, I am not secretly being converted to Islam, but I do like
challenges and I thought that this could be a really good one. So I got into the spirit of Ramadan and fasted for two weeks.

I have never been one to go on crazy diets, I have a very healthy
diet, and I do eat when I am hungry. I know there are people who fast
once per week or once per month.  I tried before and I failed.  So,
why now?

First, because it is hard to find a decent place to eat during the
day, the restaurants look empty what looks bit sad – there are hotels
of course, but that can be a bit boring.

Secondly, I wanted to prove to myself that I was self disciplined
enough to subject myself to the rigours of fasting –  the purification
of the mind and body.

Thirdly, it is just easier to fast when people around you are doing
the same – the whole vibe makes it easier to fast.

My first day of fasting  was quite hard, I had eaten some fruit for
dinner the night before, so I was feeling hungry in the morning. I
avoided the hotel breakfast and went straight out. During the
afternoon I decided to purchase a few things for myself at the market:
nuts, a selection of dates, and some mini mangos (now they are in
season and OMG they are so delicious, and when cut in a half they look
like mini lollipops!)

While I was holding the bags in the taxi, I had a great temptation to
open the bags…I started to do so..but hesitated and remembered that I
had to wait only a few hours more. Later I had to go to the restaurant
to book a table for that evening, and choose what to have for dinner.
During Ramadan reservations are not accepted, and the food must be
paid for in advance, so it will prepared and ready for 7pm (sunset).

After all the waiting I was excited for dinner to arrive at last! I
arrived a little before ‘ifitar’, and the restaurant was already busy.
Big tables seating families, couples, or just a group of male friends,
all waiting for ‘iftar’ –  the tables already laid with morsel of
food.

At 7pm we listened to a prayer, then drank water and ate dates – the
anticipation of the meal was building up…  So many hours waiting for
dinner and then dinner was finished in just half hour!  I must confess
that when choosing the food in the afternoon, I was a bit greedy, in
the event I could not finish my food! I realised then that I only
needed the same amount of food as when I wasn’t fasting.

After I left the restaurant, I delivered left over food to the
homeless I found sleeping on the street (something that I’ve done
before) – unfortunately I didn’t have to travel far to find them.

On my second day of fasting I woke up by coincidence at  about 3am,
which is time for the ‘suhoor’ – the meal before the day break.  I
thought about eating, but I wasn’t hungry at all, so I skipped
‘suhoor’ completely.  Later when I woke up,   the fasting came easy to
me, although I was thirsty and I had water.

During the day I didn’t feel hungry and didn’t think about food.
However the excitement increased as ‘iftar’ time approached,  it felt
like a celebration, like Thanks Giving or Christmas Eve – only without
the family.

The following days of fasting fell into the same pattern, the days
getting gradually easier and easier, until the fasting become almost
natural.

By the end of the two weeks I lost a few inches and I mentally I was feeling peaceful with myself and more self-aware. I loved the experience and I have serious toughs about do it again next year for a longer period of time or even before the next Ramadan, or something like once per month.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a period of fasting, reflection, worship, generosity and
sacrifice practised by Muslims around the world. The purpose of this
holy month is much more than abstaining from food and drink; it is a
source of purification for the soul, heart, mind, and body.

This month of reflection also serves as a tool to increase patience
and self-control. It is a humbling reminder of those who are living in
hunger and poverty on a daily basis, and allows one to truly count
their blessings and give thanks from within as well as with their
actions.  The experiencing of hunger and thirst allows one to
empathise with those in the world who have little to eat every day.
We recognise that everything we have is a blessing from Him.  Charity
(also important on Eid – last day of Ramadan), developing generosity,
improving our relations with others, feeding the needy and sharing
good fortune. These actions help to decrease poverty.

Fasting exceptions for:

Those who have not yet reached puberty; those who are ill, traveling,
pregnant or menstruating, but they are still required to give to
charity and feed another person.

How to fast:

During daylight hours, Muslims will abstain from: food, drink, sex,
smoking and profanity.

Before daybreak/sunrise, many Muslims will eat a meal ‘suhoor’

Sunset marks the breaking of the fast, and is time for the ‘iftar’,
before starting this meal it is traditional to drink water and eat a
date.

Health benefits of fasting during Ramadan – if done correctly

According to Dr Mahroof, when the body is in starvation mood, it
starts to burn fat so that it can make energy, which can lead to
weight loss.
As the Ramadan fast only lasts from sunrise till sunset, the body’s
energy can be replaced by the meals during night time.
This ritual provides a smooth transition from using glucose as the
main source of energy, to using fat, preventing the breakdown of
muscle for protein.
During fasting, a purification process occurs, because the body is
dissolving and removing toxins.
Mental wellbeing is increased due to the higher levels of endorphins
in the blood, making one more alert.

I am back!

Hello!

I’ve been very busy recently, which amongst other things means that I haven’t had much time to devote to this blog.

I have been moving houses, so I stopped cooking. But now I am settled down at my new beautiful home and back to the game! Inspiration has been running again in my veins and I started cooking delicious recipes, that I will share with you all very soon. I couldn’t be more happy at the moment, since I have a small market and an organic shop, just a few minutes walk away from home, to fill up all my special needs and requirements, it is just perfect!

Harveste8 is my new favourite spot. It is a friendly family run business that offers organic and fresh groceries and beauty products. If I am lazy to cook I do sometimes have a meal at their Cafe, where they offer a variety of vegan/gluten free cakes, salads and smoothies. All very yummy! If you are in East London, give them a try.

XOXO

A organic vegan chick in Roma – Where to eat

After my last post regarding my trip to Roma I received many messages saying how hard would be to keep my organic vegan diet in Italy. But at the same time I also received some delicious suggestions that I have tried, even like that I didn’t had time to try all (Thank you guys). Some people that I meet personally always made a face like: where the hell are we going to eat?! Honestly I don’t understand why people make a great deal about this, I see this the same like when choosing a Michelin star or the best restaurants in town. Happens that not everyone likes the same vegan or not, they always have their preferences, and they make an effort to eat what they fancy, so with me is the same. I just don’t eat at any restaurant by the corner (but I have been always like that even before becoming vegan).
I had pin all the places on the map to make my life easier when I was becoming hungry, but when exploring the cities I also have found new places that didn’t made part of my list.  I can say that was pretty easy to keep my food and diet standards. Plus I also didn’t fell any temptation by the delicious smell of pizza, pasta or gelato that you can buy in every single door. Oh and I must confess that one of the days I had four gelatos, from different gelatarias – yes, all vegans – and if I wanted I could had more (greedy! eheh)

If you visiting Roma this route can help you to make better choices, hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

VATICAN 

Tulait

Delicious mediterranean food

tulait-rest-roma
A rustic small restaurant, owned by Roberto and Alexandra, they don’t let you down with the service and the offer of veggie dishes, even so is not a specialised in vegan, but in mediterranean italian food, it is simple, tasty and with good quality.

Taverna Vegetariana

Vegetarian & Vegan

tavernaveg-rest-roma
The first vegetarian restaurant in town, made for the italians taste. I am saying this because some of the dishes can be a bit spicy, something traditional in the Roman cousin. So if you go there, and you are not used or don’t like spicy food, ask before you order or you will have a spicy surprise, as they don’t mention it on the ingredients.

Pasticceria Gelateria dei Gracchi

Vegan natural gelato

gracchi-gelato-roma

Home made gelato, made only with the seasonal fruit, is completely natural and free of preserves, colorants. They have regular ice-cream and also a really nice exquisite selection of flavours completely vegan (only egg free is also available). They have a few shops around the town, so I end up eating more from this brunch, I always repeated the dark chocolate or dark chocolate with rum mixed with other two different flavours like apple and mint, apple and cinnamon, coconut or wild berries. On my last day when searching for one of the shops, I asked directions to a italian lady that took me until there, she was afraid that I could miss the spot, on our way she kept talking about how she loves their gelato, and that she’s only eats from there, and how I understand her 🙂

Fa Bio

Customised salads & sandwiches on the go

fabio-rest-roma

Its tiny tiny, the queue starts earlier (12:30pm) seats just a few in side, but all this is worth to have an amazing super casual bio lunch. On the queue I found tourists, locals, people who were just passing by, no one stay indiferent to this cosy place. Inside a selection of salads, swandiches, juices and smoothies made with the best bio ingredients in town, made to order, everything looks good! I had a huge salad and I was completely satisfied for hours and hours, plus Fabio and Claudio are extremely lively.

At Restaurant

Casual fast food

at-rest-roma
I was lost on my way to Fontana de Trevi, and so happy for that, because I come across with this natural  food restaurant. Smoothies, salads, fruit and vegan gelato. They have a great variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes just like a fast food place but with healthy fast food choices. With two doors open to the Plaza where you can see and absorve the italian atmosphere and vibration during the lunch time. A place where you only find locals.
Its small, cosy and friendly (with free wifi). I had a delightful smoothie with dates, vanilla and almonds and after of course I had to try their gelato: coco and papaya, what a surprisingly combination.

In Salata Ricca

Organic jumbo salads

Delicious JUMBO salads, that I couldn’t finish mine! With a extended salad menu for vegans or non vegans, plus they also have other dishes suitable for every diet. Everyone will be happy. Perfect for a casual lunch or dinner sitting outside. You can find the branch all over the city, whats perfect.

CAVOUR

Grezzo

Raw chocolate

grezzo-rest-roma
I really had to visit this place, since they say they are the first vegan chocolaterie, pasticiere and geletaraia in the world. I do love chocolate, as I have mention many times before, and I even make my own home made chocolate, although I never had a real raw chocolate before, and when I started making mines at home I had no clue how it should taste and how the texture should be. But I never had doubts how tasteful is my home made chocolate (plus looks good). After taste the Grezzo chocolate what is dam good, I notice that is very similar to mine as for taste and texture (what made me really proud) . It is a minimal, silk place with a few banchs to savour their vegan gellato, I had coffee and hazelnut, and after  I wanted more 🙂 They also have cakes, but I didn’t try but they really look delicious.

TRASTEVERE 

travesterre-roma

Fior di Luna

Another organic place where you can find a few vegan flavours and also sells other biologic food products. Situated in the beautiful area of the Piazza Trilussa, perfect to eat wile walking and enjoying this neighbourhood that looks like a small tuscany village.

Akbar

I love the decor of this place. Kitsch, stylish, unique. Offers a great selection of wines and also a good – but small – buffet with a good selection of delicious veggies.

KM 0

I didn’t try this one, because I didn’t went back to this neighbourhood, but what I can tell is that looks nice, only uses organic food and is vegan friendly. Give it a try and let me know who it is 🙂

Ferrara Restaurant
This is not a vegan specialised restaurant, but one of the oldest Enotecas in Rome with a really good reputation. You can always go for a tasty salad and of course you can’t miss their ‘vino’ selection – the main reason to visit them – relax… let the time goes by, enjoy the moment, the people and the music in the streets.

A post card from Roma

During my visit to Rome I took some pictures that I would like to share with you. I am not writing about anything touristic, because I think we all know how amazing and rich this city is. Plus there are out there so many other blogs talking about it, and they do it so well. But I can’t go without referring to that the picture with the Love padlocks that can be found all over the world, as we have been seeing. Here in Italy was where everything began, so I had to go there to the Ponte Milvio bridge, after inspiration by the writer Federico Moccia, whose novel ‘Ho voglia di the’ (I want you) has its protagonists placing a lock around a lamppost on the bridge. Romantic, don’t you think?!

xoxoxoRoma

Che bella Roma! – a long weekend away

An organic veggie chick in Roma

Ciao!

I’m now on my way to Rome, it is not my first time, but back then I was more interested in sight-seeing and pasta instead of relaxing and enjoying Rome like a Roman.
This time Rome will be a big challenge for me because I am not eating grains, pasta, bread, dairy or sugar (no, I am not breaking my sugar diet this time).
Instead of a hotel room I have booked a super modern high tech flat close to the Vatican with a ‘belissima’ kitchen where I can prepare my super breakfast, but… Where I will be getting my organic veggies and fruit?!

Any recommendations?! It will be very helpful 🙂

Grazie mille! 20140604-155916-57556651.jpg

The Greek Island Amorgos- Discover the superb natural beauty

The Spring has sprung, has finally sprung – well kind of. Looking outside just makes me dream about the sunny days by the beach reading a good book wile breathing the fresh air from the sea.
One of my favourite destinations is Greece. I love the traditional blue & white (hm maybe that’s why I love to wear stripes and this simple combination is one my favourites for clothes?!); oh the delicious fresh organic food, where the tomato it really tastes like tomato; the smell of pure fresh air; the friendly people… It is a place that makes me want to stay and come back, makes me desire to  visit every single island. Oh they are so many!! Probably the best thing to do would be to sail around for a couple of months. That would be amazing! I do love the well known glamorous Santorini or the party island Mykonos, but I also like to escape from the massive tourist areas to enjoy my moments of tranquility and discover high gems that are well known just by the greeks and a few people.
TRAVEL-AMORGOS-COLLAGE
Last Summer I went to explore the  island of Amorgos, another piece of paradise on earth, with beaches where you don’t find more then ten people or if you are an explorer you can find your own private unique beach. Can’t wait to explore more greek islands this upcoming summer 🙂 🙂 🙂
Which one is you favourite greek island?
TRAVEL-GREECE-AMORGOS.FINAL.001

Home Made Gelato – in 5 min

Craving for Ice cream and allergic to dairy, soy and sugar? Here is a yummy substitute.

gelato1

I do love gelato! Ice cream! Sorbet! Whatever it calls, more cream, less cream it’s my favourite thing after chocolate. Winter or Summer.  During the cold winter days,  somehow, eating ice cream it makes me fell warm, it reminds me the beautiful hot summer days setting at the coffee-shops by the beach enjoying every spoon as it was the last one, while the sun rays warmed my body giving that beautiful golden tan colour. Or the endless summers days spent at the beach were  I could eat three ice creams per day.

But nowadays my body doesn’t tolerate any kind of dairy. But that doesn’t means that I can’t have gelato anymore, well I just can’t appreciate them on the coffee-shops or by the beach, but I can have it at home or some friends backyard in a beautiful sunny day.

When I say to friends that I make my own ice cream and that only takes 5min to prepare, they just make that face: ‘How come?!’ ‘How do you do that?!’.  So finally I am sharing it with you all. This is one of my favourite recipes because is easy and really fast to make it.

To feed my gelato craving I always have frozen fruit on the freezer: banana, berries, mango, ginger and so on…then I just need to choose the flavour, add few ingredients and Voila! Serious is more quick then living home and buy it at the nearby deli, plus very very healthy.

I do also have some more complexed, creamy and yummy recipes, that I will share in the future. But this one is perfect for the last minute cravings.

Ingredients:

Mango Gelato

  • 100g Frozen Mango
  • 30g Ripped Banana
  • Frozen ginger to taste
  • 1 tbs Milk (I use coconut or unsweetned almond)

 

Berries Gelato 

  • 100g Frozen Mango
  • 30g Ripped Banana
  • Frozen ginger to taste
  • 1 tbs Milk (I use coconut or unsweetned almond)

 

Chocolate Topping

 

Preparation:

Whisk the honey, cocoa powder and the milk until a glossy mix. Reserve it.

In the blender mix all the ingredients for the chosen flavour until you get a smooth consistency. Keep in a container in the freezer while you make the second flavour, if you wish too.

In a bowl place both flavourers, add the chocolate topping, sprinkle with coconut and..ENJOY!!!