Originally posted on https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2017/08/22/ultimate-guide-eco-friendly-living/ 22.08.2017
Your Guide to Eco-Friendly LivingRegardless of whether you’ve decided to go green to help the environment, to save money, or just see how easy it is, every step you take towards eco-friendly living is one that helps the world.
If you’re just starting out and want some sustainable living ideas then here are a couple to get you started:
Step 1: Turn it offEnergy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving your electricals on standby needlessly uses up energy – hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements, most noticeably in your energy bills!
Step 2: Invest in eco-friendly technology. Want to go further than simply turning it off? Make sure that the tech you have got is as energy-efficient as possible. This way, you’re using much less energy for the time that the product is on, saving money, and reducing your energy output.
Step 3: Switch to renewablesChanging your energy supplier to one that’s 100% renewable is a great eco-friendly tip for any home. Anyone can do it, switching is simple and hassle-free plus all the electricity you use when on a 100% renewable tariff is effectively zero carbon!
Step 4: Eat less meatBeing careful with what you’re consuming is at the heart of being more eco-friendly, and cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a huge impact. Not having red meat - even if it’s just for two or three days a week - can have quite a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint.
Step 5: Don’t waste foodWaste not, want not. Did you know that 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year? This isn’t just a huge waste of food and money, it adds to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills.
Step 6: Compost. If you have let your food go that little bit too far past its ‘best by’ then you need to be sure to compost it rather than putting it in the bin. Not only will this help create a natural fertiliser and keep your garden green, it’ll also reduce the amount of waste going to landfill - and as it won’t break down anaerobically, there will not be a build-up of methane gas.
Step 7: Recycle everything. Chances are that if you’re thinking about taking on a more eco-friendly lifestyle then you’ll already be recycling. But could you improve your recycling-ability (now a word)? You can recycle almost everything, from batteries to paper to cars. Before you throw it away, take a minute to find out if you could recycle it instead.
Step 8: Try to cut out plastic. Plastic seems to have found its way into every single aspect of our lives. However, giving it up isn’t as difficult as you might think – bring a canvas bag with you when you go shopping, buy your fruit and veg loose and stop buying bottled water.
Step 9: Use LED light bulbs. Not only do LED light bulbs last longer than conventional bulbs, they’re far more efficient too! This means that you’ll be using less power and having to replace your light bulbs less frequently – everyone’s a winner. What's more, they're available in a range of brightness and designs so you can really tailor the lighting to your needs or to suit the room.
Step 10: Insulate your home. Homes that aren’t well insulated are much harder to keep warm when it's cold, and cool when the weather is hot. Insulating your home is one of the best eco-friendly tips for your home that we can offer you.
Step 11: Have your food shop delivered. Home delivery is like the public transport of groceries. Instead of having 20 odd cars make their way to the supermarket – one van drives around delivering to everyone in the area. Additionally, it means you’re less likely to impulse buy which can help to reduce any waste food.
Step 12: Fix it, don’t throw it. Repairing or fixing something is more environmentally friendly than simply throwing things away, although the latter may seem easier and cheaper sometimes. The internet gives you access to the tools and information you need to fix practically anything, and if you still can’t fix it then why not try and turn it into something else?
Step 13: Use eco-friendly cleaning products. A lot of cleaning products have a lot of harmful chemicals in them that aren’t environmentally friendly to create or dispose of. In fact, repeated exposure to these cleaning products can affect your health as well as the environment. Green cleaning products use more natural and organic methods of cleaning which are far less harmful. Here are some great tips on our partners at the National Trust:
Step 14: Don’t drive. If you can make the journey by foot, bike or public transport, then do it. Driving, unless you’re in an electric vehicle, isn’t very eco-friendly and can really add to your carbon footprint. When you do have to drive, make sure that you get the most out of your vehicle by keeping the speed down, ensuring tyres are properly inflated and that the engine is running smoothly.
Step 15: Use your microwave. Honestly, you’d be surprised by how much more energy efficient microwaves are compared to conventional ovens. While you’re already surprised, you may as well continue to be shocked with some of the awesome things you can cook in a microwave (hint: it’s not just ready meals).
Step 16: Buy local. From clothes to food, the closer to home these products are made and bought, the less carbon is created with their transportation. Not only that, but you’ll be supporting the local economy which means that in time you’ll likely have even more local items to choose from.
Step 17: Don't fly. Flying is one of the most environmentally damaging things you can do – just flying from Bristol to Edinburgh produces 0.15 metric tons of carbon!* Why not stay a bit closer to home and explore some of your local beautiful nature? Camping, hiking and cycling are all great things to do and are extremely low carbon.
*Calculated using http://calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?tab=3
Step 18: Grow your own. Growing your own veg isn’t just a good way to save money, it’s also a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly. Don’t have any outside space? Windowsill boxes are a great way to brighten up your view, filter the air coming into your home and offer plenty of space for herbs and small vegetable patches.
Step 19: Plant some trees. Ecological sustainability is very important when it comes to eco-friendly living. Without a stable ecosystem, things start to fall apart. Making sure that we’re planting more native trees to replace those that have been felled to make room for developments is something that more people and businesses need to do to protect the environment and improve air quality.
Step 20: Choose your personal care wisely. When it comes to personal hygiene there are several things you need to be careful to avoid for a truly eco-friendly lifestyle. The most damaging of these is microbeads, which are small bits of solid plastic which aren’t biodegradable and make their way into watercourses and ultimately end up damaging the environment by entering the food chain. Make sure that your body wash, toothpaste, face scrub and other products do not contain these beads. In addition to this, avoiding chemicals and opting for natural cleaning products – like those sold by Lush is the best way to keep yourself and the environment clean.
Originally Posted on 25 April 2017 by Rebecca Taylor - Kent-Teach Advisor in Wellbeing
1) Fresh air is good for your digestive system
Fresh air increases the flow of oxygen helping you digest food more effectively so this will particularly help if you are trying to lose weight.
2) Fresh air helps improve blood pressure and heart rate
Avoid polluted environments particularly if you need to improve your blood pressure. Stay away from the busy traffic as the body will need to work harder to get the amount of oxygen it needs over polluted car fumes.
3) Fresh air makes you happier
The more fresh air you get, the more oxygen you will breathe which will increase the amount of serotonin (the happy hormone) you inhale, consequently making you happier.
4) Fresh air strengthens your immune system
By increasing the amount of fresh air we get, will increase the amount of oxygen which helps our white blood cells function properly by fighting and killing bacteria and germs.
5) Fresh air cleans your lungs
You lungs dilate more from having an increase of oxygen so fresh air improves the cleansing of your lungs. You release airborne toxins from your body when exhaling through your lungs.
6) Fresh air gives you more energy and a sharper mind
You may have noticed after spending time outside, you come back indoors feeling brighter and perhaps ready to get back to work. More oxygen results in greater brain functioning, improving your concentration skills and providing you with more energy.
Beauty Tips For Face: 10 Dos and Don'ts for Naturally Beautiful SkinAashna Ahuja | Updated: August 20, 2018
1. The Golden Rule
Do: Make sure you always (and we mean always) remove your makeup before hitting the sheets. The skin needs to breathe overnight. And makeup prevents that, as leaving it on overnight clogs the pores which may cause blemishes and/or blackheads. Don’t possess a makeup remover? Just put some olive oil on a cotton pad and gently massage the oil onto your face to get rid of the makeup and dirt.
Don’t: Forget that exfoliation is indispensable. At least once or twice a week, exfoliate your skin to remove the layers of dead skin, sure to leave you with a more healthy glow and brighter skin. You can also apply a paste of walnut in powder form with yogurt to exfoliate your skin, as the antioxidants present in walnuts help remove dirt and promote radiant skin.
2. Sun and Skin
Do: Apply sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Since a lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems, you have to protect your skin from the sun. Make sure the label reads ‘noncomedogenic’ or ‘nonacnegenic’ so that the product does not tend to block pores.
Don’t: Skip the sunscreen, whether it's cloudy or cold outside (no excuses). If you’re heading to a beach or around reflective surfaces like snow or ice, lather your skin up with some more sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.
3. You are What You Eat
Do: Keep a note of what you put on your plate. Eat fresh fruits, greens, sufficient protein and vitamins. A diet rich in vitamin C and low in fats and sugar promotes radiant skin. Consider a low-sugar diet, which can keep insulin levels down, allowing cells to maintain a healthy balance.
"Don’t: Eat spicy and fermented foods, salt, citrus fruits, fried food. Instead favour blander foods such as rice, oatmeal and applesauce”, advises American author and Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad, in The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.
4. Sweat It Out!
Do: Exercise regularly. Running, jogging and yoga will give your body the necessary blood circulation, and also accelerate the cleansing process of your entire body. You will notice a glow on your face after working out. Racing against time? Just take a brisk walk around the block.
Don’t: Skip skincare before and after a workout. Apply a toner to help minimize oil production before heading out. Exfoliate after, and then apply shea butter or olive oil to moisturize the skin.
5. Beauty Sleep
Do: Try to sleep at least 8 hours every night. If you don’t get enough shut eye, your skin gets tired just like you - it sags and you get bags. So don’t risk it. You can also apply honey on your face twice or thrice a week to naturally soothe and heal your skin.
“Don’t: Forget to wash and moisturize your face before going to bed”, recommends Dr. Rahul Nagar, Dermatologist, Max Hospitals. “For dry skin, use milder cleansers that are free from alcohol. Apply lots of moisturizer, and avoid hot water as it dries out the skin excessively.”
6. H2O to The Rescue
Do: Hydrate yourself. Drink lots of water daily, at least 8 glasses if not more. Also, eats fruits and vegetables that have a high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, orange, strawberry, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad recommends to “drink water from a blue coloured bottle”, since it has a cooling effect.
Don’t: Ignore rose water. It helps prevent and reduce eye puffiness in the morning, maintains pH balance and naturally hydrates your skin if you spritz it on during the day.
7. Goodbye Acne
“Do: Wash your face with warm water, three times a day, and gently massage your face in circular motions, ensuring that the cleanser contains alpha hydroxyl acid or beta hydroxyl acid. Face packs that contain multani mitti (fuller’s earth) work really well too. After cleansing, pat dry and apply a lotion which contains benzoyl peroxide”, suggests Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Dermatologist, Max Hospitals. Benzoyl peroxide appears to be effective due to its antibacterial actions.
Don’t: Pop pimples because it can lead to more swelling, redness, and even scarring. Feel a pimple is on its way? Just clean the area with rose water, and place a chilled green tea bag for 10 minutes. Also, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.
8. Go Back to Your Roots
Do: Use Ayurvedic scrubs to nourish the skin, and help it breathe better. Luckily for you, everything you need is already in your kitchen. 2 tbsp chickpea flour, ½ tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of camphor and sandalwood with some rose water/milk/water is your perfect skincare pack. Yes, the secrets of beauty lies in ancient Ayurveda.
Don’t: Neglect the basics. Make Sudarshan Kriya your beauty mantra. Yes, it’s that easy. Just breathing right could rid you of spots and pimples. Nidhi Gureja, Art of Living, says “Sudarshan Kriya is a breathing technique which incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath that harmonize the body, mind and emotions. This helps releasing accumulated stresses, and each individual’s experience is different.”
9. Spa Day Everyday?
Do: Have a regular skin care regimen. “For dry skin, use a fresh cherry mask. Apply the pulp of fresh cherries on your face before going to bed. Leave for 15 minutes and wash with lukewarm water”, adds American author Vasant Lad.
Don’t: Forget to pamper yourself. A gentle facial massage with oils could work wonders. Depending on your skin type, choose oils from mustard, coconut, almond or Kumkadi as they are excellent nourishing agents which help to get glowing skin. Better still – switch on some soothing instrumental music. After 20 minutes, what do you have? Beautiful skin and a relaxed you.
10. Healthy Habits
Do: Take out time for yourself, and try to avoid stress as much as possible. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed, you tend to break out more? This is because stress causes your body to produce cortisol and other hormones, making the skin more oily. Practice stress management techniques like breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. The more you meditate, the more you radiate.
Don’t: Neglect your jawline and facial muscles. For just 5 minutes a day, perform a few facial exercises. You can jut out your lower lip in such a way that wrinkles are created on the chin, then lower your chin to your chest. Another exercise that works wonders is to look up towards the ceiling and pout. It stretches out the muscles making the skin more firm. “18 till I die”, why not?
Behavioral scientists have spent a lot of time studying what makes us happy (and what doesn’t). We know happiness can predict health and longevity, and happiness scales can be used to measure social progress and the success of public policies. But happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. Everyone has the power to make small changes in our behavior, our surroundings and our relationships that can help set us on course for a happier life.
Happiness often comes from within. Learn how to tame negative thoughts and approach every day with optimism.
Conquer Negative ThinkingAll humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation — over-learning from the dangerous or hurtful situations we encounter through life (bullying, trauma, betrayal) helps us avoid them in the future and react quickly in a crisis.
But that means you have to work a little harder to train your brain to conquer negative thoughts. Here’s how:
Don’t try to stop negative thoughts. Telling yourself “I have to stop thinking about this,” only makes you think about it more. Instead, own your worries. When you are in a negative cycle, acknowledge it. “I’m worrying about money.” “I’m obsessing about problems at work.”
Treat yourself like a friend. When you are feeling negative about yourself, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who was down on herself. Now try to apply that advice to you.
Challenge your negative thoughts. Socratic questioning is the process of challenging and changing irrational thoughts. Studies show that this method can reduce depression symptoms. The goal is to get you from a negative mindset (“I’m a failure.”) to a more positive one (“I’ve had a lot of success in my career. This is just one setback that doesn’t reflect on me. I can learn from it and be better.”) Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself to challenge negative thinking.
First, write down your negative thought, such as “I’m having problems at work and am questioning my abilities.”
Controlled BreathingScience is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.
Rewrite Your StoryWriting about oneself and personal experiences — and then rewriting your story — can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness. (We already know that expressive writing can improve mood disorders and help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, among other health benefits.)
Some research suggests that writing in a personal journal for 15 minutes a day can lead to a boost in overall happiness and well-being, in part because it allows us to express our emotions, be mindful of our circumstances and resolve inner conflicts. Or you can take the next step and focus on one particular challenge you face, and write and rewrite that story.
We all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it right. By writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of our personal well-being. The process is similar to Socratic questioning (referenced above). Here’s a writing exercise:
Numerous studies show that writing and rewriting your story can move you out of your negative mindset and into a more positive view of life. “The idea here is getting people to come to terms with who they are, where they want to go,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas who has pioneered much of the research on expressive writing. “I think of expressive writing as a life course correction.”
Get MovingWhen people get up and move, even a little, they tend to be happier than when they are still. A study that tracked the movement and moods of cellphone users found that people reported the most happiness if they had been moving in the past 15 minutes than when they had been sitting or lying down. Most of the time it wasn’t rigorous activity but just gentle walking that left them in a good mood. Of course, we don’t know if moving makes you happy or if happy people just move more, but we do know that more activity goes hand-in-hand with better health and greater happiness.
Practice OptimismOptimism is part genetic, part learned. Even if you were born into a family of gloomy Guses, you can still find your inner ray of sunshine. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of a dire situation. After a job loss, for instance, many people may feel defeated and think, “I’ll never recover from this.” An optimist would acknowledge the challenge in a more hopeful way, saying, “This is going to be difficult, but it’s a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy.”
And thinking positive thoughts and surrounding yourself with positive people really does help. Optimism, like pessimism, can be infectious. So make a point to hang out with optimistic people.
Aaaah, the summer!
Brighter days (and smiles!), BBQs with pals, trips to nearby beaches, sandals and dresses all-day-every-day, kids playing outside, colourful cocktails, paddling pools… Wait! Paddling pools?
Paddling pools are one of summer’s favourites however they are also one of the main causes of water waste in Ireland.
But because we are all about enjoying life (and summer!) without harming our planet, I have decided to talk about how to avoid water waste during the hottest months of the year.
In general, we take water and water supply for granted when in fact supply is in high demand and of limited resource – did you know that only 0.3% of the Earth’s natural water can actually be used for human consumption?
Today, more than half of our daily water consumption at home originates from the bathroom and the toilet.
The good news is – water waste is something we can control... The bad news is – we need to get better at controlling water waste!
Let’s save water together, one drop at a time:
Water conservation is a must and everyone can play an important role, from a toddler learning how to brush her teeth to large businesses learning how to make and sell products in a more resource-aware manner.
It is essential that our water supply resources are conserved if we are to avoid restrictions and outages like the ones a lot of us faced during previous years.
Our planet will appreciate every drop (!) of help.
By Pat Kane, founder at reuzi, a one-stop shop for sustainable living offering a wide range of products and services to enable you to live in a more eco-friendly way.
Website www.reuzi.ie | Social Media @reuzi.ie
Dr Kate Stephens
PhD Food and Microbial Sciences; Gut Microbiology (University of Reading), BSc Medical Microbiology
What do probiotics do for babies? Does your baby need them? Resident gut microbiologist Dr Kate Stephens explains all there is to know about probiotics for your little one.
What are probiotics for babies? The baby years are some of the most important for microbiome development. So, having lots of the right bacteria is very important. As 70% of the immune system is in the gut, this stage is also essential for healthy immune development. Therefore, you might want to consider probiotics as a part of your baby’s daily routine.
Babies are in a developmental period, so they may not suit a probiotic targeted towards older children or adults. A probiotic trialled for digestive health in adults may not work the same in infants. This is because their microbiomes are at different stages and may have different bacteria present. Some researchers call this the ‘baby biome’ because it is so distinct! Probiotics designed especially for babies use bacteria that would be present naturally in the gut during these early years.
Baby probiotics often come in different formats to adult probiotics. – powder or drops are commonly used, for ease of delivery. Drops are usually the easiest way to administer probiotics to babies.
These specific probiotics can help support your baby right from birth and help to ensure they have a healthy gut environment, microbiome and immune system.