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Ecover – Feel Good Cleaning

0 Posted by in Green Living, Product news on August 15th 2014

EcoverHere at Ethical Superstore we have a thing for eco-friendly cleaning, which is why we love Ecover, the world’s largest producer of ecological detergents and cleaning products. They offer everything you need from paraben free washing up liquid to cruelty free air fresheners, so you can really stock up on your planet friendly cleaning products.

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Introducing Aduna Baobab

0 Posted by in Food & drink, Health and Wellbeing, Superfoods on August 8th 2014

AdunaIf you are up on your ‘superfoods’ you may have heard of Baobab, a nutrient-dense raw wholefood from the Baobab tree commonly known as the ‘Tree of Life’ which is an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Our friends at Aduna are the leading suppliers of Baobab powder and capsules. Aduna is an Africa-inspired health and beauty brand, the name meaning ‘life’ or ‘world’ in Wolof, the local language of Senegal and The Gambia. Aduna was set up by Andrew Hunt and Nick Salter, both of whom had travelled extensively around Africa but during a trip to Senegal in 2008 tasted bouye, a West African drink made from the fruit of the baobab tree. The question was, why was this amazing nutrient rich fruit not widely known in the rest of the world? The answer was to set up Aduna!

Aduna work alongside suppliers and their communities to ensure that their business is fair and free from exploitation. Aduna give 10% of their profits to the Aduna Foundation which has set out to ensure fair wages for those who cultivate the unique fruit and help them grow for the long term. Most importantly while helping small scale producers they not only work hard to help them supply their products to the western world, they also work hard to create a demand for them. By promoting and marketing these under-utilised but remarkable natural products from small scale producers in Africa.

Read the rest of Introducing Aduna Baobab »

Which energy saving kettle is right for you?

0 Posted by in Green Living, Technology on August 7th 2014

Cup of CoffeeWe’re a nation of tea lovers and coffee worshipers. Most mornings begin with a good brew or cup of Joe and the days end pretty much the same (bed-time tea, yum).

However, because we’re such hot beverage fans, we need to be smart when we’re making drinks. After all, a couple of teas a day adds up and has a considerable energy impact.

You’re also likely to feel the effects of all that hot stuff in your pocket too. Last year nPower estimated that it costs around 2.5p to boil a full kettle – water that many of us don’t actually end up using.

Energy saving kettles are a great choice in order to ensure you can indulge in as much caffeine as you want without worrying how much energy – and money – you’re using.

Of course there are plenty out there to choose from and, with hot drinks featuring so prominently in our lives, it’s crucial to get the right one.

Read the rest of Which energy saving kettle is right for you? »

40 years of Faith in Nature

2 Posted by in Beauty on August 4th 2014

Faith in NatureOne of our favourite brands on Ethical Superstore Faith in Nature is celebrating 40 years this year. Faith in Nature was born in Edinburgh at a time when ‘green’ cosmetics weren’t the mainstream, however things have changed over the last 40 years and Faith in Nature have stuck to their original vision of doing good, for their customers and the planet by only using natural ingredients whilst keeping their prices affordable.

Faith in Nature are UK based and choose to manufacture in Britain too, supporting the local community and keeping international logistics to a planet friendly minimum.

Faith in Nature Edinburgh

Faith in Nature’s first office in Edinburgh

Since starting up in Edinburgh 40 years ago the business has expanded but because it is still a family owned and run business they have been able to ensure their products are not compromised and only use natural ingredients putting the environment first at.

Faith in Nature cosmetics use a wide range of natural ingredients from plants making their shampoos smell wonderful with everything from lavender to need seed oil with all the original fragrances such as Seaweed, Rosemary and Lavender & Geranium – all continue to be incredibly popular.

But what isn’t in their products is just as important, Faith in Nature have a strict policy on what goes into their products. No animal tested products, no animal ingredients and no ingredients that have been tested on animals are used in Faith in Nature products. You also won’t find any genetically modified ingredients, no synthetic colouring or fragrences, no SLES, SLS or parabens, no artificial preservatives or BPA plastic!

Faith in Nature Tropical rangeFaith in Nature’s latest ranges are ‘Tropicals’ Coconut and Pineapple & Lime (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel/foam bath, hand wash, bar soap) and new Luxurious Creams (coconut body lotion, coconut hand cream, lavender body lotion, lavender hand cream).

The Coconut Shampoo is already so well regarded that it just scooped the Gold Award in the fiercely contested hair care category at the recent FreeFrom Skincare Awards.

Faith in Nature continues to grow in the UK and internationally and are consistently named health store retailers’ Most Mentioned Brand since the feature started in Natural Products Magazine.

We are proud to have stocked Faith in Nature for a number of years and they continue to be one of our best selling brands loved by our customers.

What is your favourite Faith in Nature product? Tell us in the comments below;

Eat yourself to the perfect summer body

0 Posted by in Food & drink, Superfoods on August 4th 2014

Summer FoodsThe summer is officially here. Yet as we hide away our winter jumpers, many of us will be worrying about how we look when we take to the beach.

The good news is that it’s not too late to get yourself summer-ready; The better news is that you may actually be able to eat yourself into that summer bikini.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you can chow down on as many chocolate bars as you like, but by picking the right foods you can help to get your body back in shape for summer.

So what sorts of things should you be eating to slim down this season? The answer it seems is superfoods.

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Plastic Free July – how we got on

2 Posted by in Environment, Green Living, Plastic Free on August 1st 2014

It’s been interesting to check in with the Plastic Free July movement and hear about the challenges others have found as I’ve tried to refuse all single use plastic for a month. You don’t realise how ubiquitous plastic is until you start looking for products without it!

So what’s the problem with that? Well, plastic doesn’t go away – it ends up in landfill, eventually buried in the ground where it still doesn’t break down. It also breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic which threaten our marine life and even end up in fish which is then consumed by people – not a good record for packaging which is very often only needed for seconds. As the movie ‘Bag It’ said: “Think about it. Why would you make something that you are going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever? What’s up with that?”.

And yet, most of us feel good about recycling – I know I make sure to recycle every piece of plastic I can, yet the fact remains that very little plastic is fully reusable so recycling really should be the last option. Reducing the plastic going into the waste in the first place is a more sustainable plan, and this challenge really opened my eyes to that.

You can read more about the challenge and why I decided to take part, in our original blog post.

So what challenges did I find while taking part?

My first gripe came while innocently visiting a family-owned coffee shop. Avoiding the regular high street chains I thought this could be a less wasteful place to have a drink, but was stunned when I was served an ice tea in a plastic smoothie cup, complete with plastic lid and plastic straw! The reason I was surprised was, I was sitting in and not taking out. So I explained the challenge and politely asked why they don’t serve smoothies or iced drinks in a proper cup like the rest of the drinks are when sitting in. It turns out they “hadn’t thought about it”, and took the easy way out to serve a set measure in the same type of cups. (Yet, that wasn’t an issue for serving coffee in proper cups?)

As others suggested on Twitter etc, I started a ‘dilemma box’ and stored all the plastic I couldn’t find an alternative for.

I decided to stock up on drinks in glass bottles, to make sure I had plenty at home I could mix up and carry with me instead – my favourite is the Rocks Organic and Belvoir brands! Tins of pulses and tofu formed the staple of my meals.

My next hurdle came as I decided to work with a personal trainer in the middle of July – which is undeniably a good thing, but you try finding a protein shake mix that’s not in a plastic container or a protein bar not wrapped in it! So annoyingly, I ended up with vitamin and supplement bottles – all in plastic apart from the Terranova glass ones – and a huge plastic container of protein powder staring at me from the kitchen counter. I’ll try and repurpose these small bottles as mini vases or plant pots though – a good excuse to get creative.

As I’m vegetarian, the healthy food and protein I needed for my training stocked up in the fridge. I happily carried fruit and veg from the market without the irritating and needless mini plastic bags they try and offer you, although the salad and spinach was again packaged in plastic. Time to try and grow my own methinks! But I struggled with feta and halloumi cheese, and even pasta, only finding plastic wrapped options in the stores. Yoghurts again came in plastic, so I decided to make my own at home (quite easy and fun to do, I’ll blog a recipe sometime). All of this made me more and more annoyed at the amount of plastic waste residing even in the more environmentally aware supermarkets. Don’t even get me started on the takeaway plastic cups of capsicum peppers (yes, really) I found in a major brand supermarket!

Although a shampoo bottle lasts for longer than a few minutes unlike a drinks container, it’s still technically single use as you will bin it once the shampoo is gone. This is true of so many other products you wouldn’t even think about, and their packaging. Toilet rolls and cat litter wrapped in plastic (thank my stars for Ecoleaf’s compostable wrap, and BioCatolet), mouthwash bottles and even my asthma medication made of plastic and wrapped in it. That last one is a little difficult to find a reuse for, but I’m open to ideas!

So, what other plastic did you happen upon while doing the challenge? And do you know of alternative products that use other non-plastic packaging, or using recycled plastic as part of their construction? I’d love to hear your comments below, and how you got on. I’ll certainly be continuing my awareness of the plastic problem for more than just July, and hope to see changes in supermarkets and stores – this will only happen if consumers vote with their feet, write to them and continue to demand better options. Let’s do it!

The ethical survival guide to festivals

2 Posted by in Festivals on July 16th 2014

Glastonbury When we think of festivals the term that comes to mind is ‘unadulterated fun’. There’s nothing quite like spending a few days camped in a field with friends listening to your favourite music.

Even if your experience is strictly U-rated, there’s something wonderfully rebellious and bohemian about festivals which sends our minds back to the 70s. Suddenly a floral head garland and a band T-shirt combination seems like the best idea ever. Is that a native American war bonnet you have there? Well bring it on.

Read the rest of The ethical survival guide to festivals »

6 Places You’ll Find Hidden Plastic (That You Probably Didn’t Realise)

2 Posted by in Environment, Green Living, Sustainability on July 15th 2014

Whether you’re taking part in Plastic Free July (meaning you’re attempting to use no single use plastic for the whole month of July) or you’re just interested in doing your bit for the environment, wanting to be able to compost your waste, or recycle it, rather than sending it to landfill, chances are you’d rather have a little less plastic in your life. After all, it’s extremely persistent in the environment, it leaches toxins, it cannot be truly recycled (only downcycled) and it harms wildlife, particularly marine birds, mammals and fish.

Plastic is everywhere. As well as the obvious plastic, it often sneaks into our packaging in unsuspecting ways so we don’t suspect we are still buying it. Most of us want to do the right thing, but making plastic-free choices can be difficult!

Read the rest of 6 Places You’ll Find Hidden Plastic (That You Probably Didn’t Realise) »

The root of sporting success?

3 Posted by in Food & drink, Superfoods on July 8th 2014

If it’s good enough for the Tour De France Cyclists it’s got to be good enough for us! In this article on the BBC website the Belkin cycling team chef Jesper Boom explains how the purple root vegetable can help give his team’s riders a crucial performance advantage in the gruelling stages. Belkin Cycling Team beetroot JuiceThe secret is the high nitrate content in beetroot which helps muscles to use oxygen more efficiently.

Jesper is so adamant of the benefits that he will ensure in advance there are adequate supply of Beetroot in all the hotels the team stay at, if it’s not on the menu then he asks them to go and buy it!

So what evidence is there of the benefits?

Beetroot juice has traditionally been linked to lowering blood pressure however over the last few years there has been a focus of studies on increasing athletic performance. This has led to a boom in its popularity and with top athletes adopting it the boom will only continue.
Research by the University of Exeter published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise has shown drinking the juice enables competitive-level cyclists to cut down the time it takes to ride a given distance. The study looked at club level cyclists completing 2.5mile and 10 mile trials who were given beetroot juice beforehand (supplied by James White Drinks), on one occasion with normal beetroot juice and the other with a key ingredient, nitrate, removed.

The results showed on average riders were 11 seconds quicker on the short course and 45 seconds quicker on the longer course.
It is thought the nitrate has two physiological effects, firstly affecting muscle tissue and reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity and secondly it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow.
Other studies have shown it is actually less effective in increasing performance of the highest level athletes, the significant improvements seem to be with everyday chumps like us!

In events such as the Tour De France anything which can give a slight advantage could be crucial with riders being separated by seconds after 90+ hours of cycling so you can see why they are so keen to use it.

So have you tried it?

Beet It Stamina ShotI have to admit when I was training for the Great North Run I thought I’d give it a go and I found it to be an acquired taste! It certainly is a marmite style drink but if you aren’t keen there are still ways to reap the benefits of beetroot. James White Beet It has 10% apple juice mixed in to give it a sweeter taste. There is also the option of the Beet It shots to give you that hit before your big event.

But it’s up to you, there are plenty of juices you can mix with beetroot juice to make it suit your pallet, the best thing is just to try different things, my particular favourite is in a smoothie with mixed berries and apples, yum!

But it isn’t just drinks you can add beetroot to, it works surprisingly well with chocolate especially in chocolate brownies (which as we all know are an essential part of any top athlete’s diet), or check out our Free From Foodie’s recipe for triple feel good chocolate truffle cake.

I’d love to know your thoughts on beetroot, do you swear by it to get you through a 100 mile bike ride? Just love the taste? Or wouldn’t go near the stuff??

What You Can Learn from Your Energy Bill

0 Posted by in Climate Change, Green Living on June 30th 2014

Do you know how much energy you use at home? No, I don’t mean how much money you shell out to your energy company by direct debit every month. I mean how many units of energy you use every day.

If you take the time to look at your energy bill there’s some useful information on there. One interesting thing you can find is whether your bill has been estimated, or whether it has been calculated after a meter reading. If it’s been estimated, that means someone in an office has pulled an amount out of a hat and billed you for it. Well, possibly not; I’m sure there are complex algorithms and the like. This estimating can work in your favour, of course. If you’ve used 20 units and your energy supplier has estimated that you’ve used 5, then you’ll have a small bill – but down the line you’ll be due for a big bill once they finally cotton on. On the other hand, if you’ve used 5 units and you’re being billed for 20, then that’s your money sitting in their bank account, earning interest for them at your expense.

Read the rest of What You Can Learn from Your Energy Bill »

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