Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wheatgrass Wellbeing

 Meet Mr.Wheatgrass

(Sometimes the grass is greener on your side!)

Wheatgrass (Triticum Aestivum or Common Wheat) is currently perhaps one of the best known superfoods.  It is reported to have outstanding healing properties and exceptional nutritional value. 

Its benefits have been known for quite a while – since the 1930s in fact, when Charles F. Schnable fed it to his family during the Great Depression.  This was a time in American history when nutritionally significant foods were hard to come by.  He noticed that his family was thriving and their health was intact and subsequently decided to document it’s properties.  It became a popular addition to healthy diets in the 1970s when Ann Wigmore wrote the first book on how to grow this grass from the humble wheat berry. 

What makes wheatgrass special is the concentration of vitamins and minerals that it makes available to the body.  It is jam packed with iron; calcium, magnesium, potassium, amino acids and vitamins A, C and E as well as Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid

This abundance of vitamins and minerals led to wheatgrass being credited with the ability to increase stamina – a shot of wheatgrass is touted to have the invigorating effects of an espresso without the jittery side-effects.  It is believed by many to boost the immune system protecting our organism from disease.

Moreover it has a high chlorophyll content making it a useful addition to detoxifying regimes which aim at cleansing the liver and other internal organs. 

It can help to reduce the damaging effects of toxic radiation and heavy metals absorbed from the environment thanks to the presence of the anti-inflammatory enzymes called Superoxide Disumates or SOD.

Similarly wheatgrass seems to be able to oxygenate the blood, mimicking the function of hemoglobin.  For this reason it has been used in alternative treatments of anemia and cancers. 

Wheatgrass is said to reduce over-acidity, rids the intestines of damaging bacteria and relieves peptic ulcers, constipation.  In fact it is used to treat a range of gastrointestinal complaints. 

Claims have also been made for its anti-aging properties and skin enhancing effects.  Wheatgrass is said to help to control acne and improve the texture of blemished skin.  in fact it can be used in face masks and is often blended with honey or lemon juice. 

Moreover it is incredibly easy to grow at home.  It can be juiced, blended into green drinks and added to salads and can also be included in your favorite pesto recipe in small quantities without significantly altering the taste.  It is also widely available as a supplement form and as wheatgrass powder.

Having said that, mainstream scientists point out that research on the benefits of wheatgrass is insufficient and trials are, so far, inconclusive.  So, as often happens with superfoods, the jury is, technically, still out on this one!

Rule of thumb

  • Wheatgrass can be a useful addition to your diet and many feel that a shot of wheatgrass juice does wonders to enhance their sense of well-being.  However it should not replace the variety of vegetables and fruits which are necessary to the body to maintain a healthy nutritional balance. Our bodies need a little of all that is good to function and thrive.  
  • If you are pregnant or lactating it might be best to avoid wheatgrass since its effects in these circumstances are not well documented.  Similarly if you have a wheat allergy, coeliac disease or gluten intolerance it is best to proceed with caution.

Home grown
  • If you are interested in growing your own wheatgrass  you should know that is exceptionally easy to grow. 
  • It is normally harvested at the ‘jointing stage’   – about a week after germination.  This period is when many of the plants nutrients reach their peak.
  • Typically you could regrow and harvest the same batch a second time before discarding. 
  • Some home-growers report the appearance of molds at the base of the grass.  This can be avoided by growing your crop in a well-ventilated place where humidity is low.  You can also try using less seed per growing tray so that the grass does not grow too dense trapping moisture which could encourage mold formation.

You can buy good quality Organic Wheatgrass Powder here http://www.soapcafemalta.com/.  Simply add a small amount of powder to your daily green drink or smoothie.

Read more about Wheatgrass properties and benefits:

Customized Skin care

The Customizables: Let your instincts be your guide.

A skin care range to suit your heart’s desires…
as well as your skin care needs!

Have you ever fallen in love with a scent or perfume and find it hard to wear anything else?  Have you ever resonated with a particular aromatherapy blend and wished you had it in your shower gel and in your body lotion?  Have you ever flirted with fruity fragrance which captured your imagination and made you feel  special? Do you wish to make the most of the benefits of a specific essential oil by including it in your massage oil and also in your hair conditioner? 

Humans have a special relationship to the sense of smell.  Scents often dictate our choice not only in perfumes, but also in our culinary taste and even in companionship.  We can detect thousands of smells and many of our likes and dislikes are based on emotional associations which often influence our mood and state of alertness.  That is why it pays to use your instinct when choosing fragrances which you will wear or keep in your house.

Soap Café believes in your innate ability to select the fragrances and oils your body is and mind are most comfortable with.  We encourage you to exercise this skill when choosing scents and oil blends for your lotions and potions.  For this reason we are introducing the Customizables a range of products which we design together with you.


Customized Care

This is how it works.  Your individual choice of fragrances or oils will be added to an organic fragrance-free base whether it is body lotion, massage/bath oil, cleanser, shampoo and conditioner.  Your selection of fragrances or oils can be determined either by what suits your olfactory fancy or by what you know your skin prefers.  In this way, for instance, you can choose to use the same scent in your conditioner and shampoo but opt for a different blend in your body lotion.  Alternatively you can pick the same fragrance for your lotion, shampoo, oil and conditioner.   The products can be combined to make interesting and innovative gift packs.

The following are some examples of  SoapCafé aromatherapy blends that you can mix with your organic bases:

  • The Wellbeing blend includes a refreshing blend of Orange, Tea tree and Lavender
  • The Muscle blend is an excellent post-work out blend with Peppermint and Eucalypt among others.
  • Among our relaxing blends you can find Aphrodite with Sandalwood, Geranium, Lavender and a hint of Vanilla.

But the list is actually quite vast and intriguing – so much more for you to discover!  Visit us and delve into our selection of floral, fruity and woody scents and oils.

Refill, reuse and rejoice!

At Soap Café you can bring back your empty (clean) bottles and get them refilled with your favorite base and blend.  In this way you are supporting a healthier environment by reducing waste and also buying your product at a slight discount since you will not be paying for the packaging – a little incentive on our part to encourage more awareness about waste production particularly with regards to plastic packaging.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Care for your natural skin care product

Naturally different; What does it REALLY mean?

And what should you know about taking care of your natural skin care products.

  • Knowing your natural product also means finding out about the best conditions to store it.  

Many people don't realize that natural skin care items contain no or minimal amounts of preservatives.  It is one of the reasons why we choose to buy them and it makes them qualitatively different to other product. Less preservative in turn means that they have a shorter shelf life.  

As a rule, at Soap Café we recommend using our products within six months of buying them in order to guarantee that the beneficial properties of the ingredients remain intact.

Summer presents an extra challenge for natural products since environmental temperatures are higher at this time of year.

Natural ingredients tend to change color or texture as the heat increases. Liquids may start to separate.  It is a good idea to look at the ingredients in the label and decide which of them may be better off in the fridge. If the product contains oils or butters, both of which have a high fat content, then keep them refrigerated.  The product may harden a bit but it can be quickly melted between the palms of the your hands when you use it.  Products containing beeswax are also likely to soften in the hotter months.

Similarly certain components such as Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) tend to oxidize unless they contain large amounts of stabilisers and preservatives.  In summer they are also best kept in the fridge, with the added benefit that you will end up with a super cooling, extra refreshing gel making it more effective as a treatment for the eye area.   Products which contain fresh ingredients such as fruit or vegetable juice or pieces will also need to be kept refrigerated since they may mold or become rancid. 

So remember, enjoy using your non-toxic skin care regime.  But if they contain truly natural ingredients you will need to treat them like food.  Just like edibles, your lotions and potions (and natural soap bars too) will deteriorate if not stored properly. 

If you have any queries you should start by asking your beauty chef about the shelf life of the product you are using and particularly in summer, don’t forget to ask if it needs to be kept in a cool place or in the fridge.   

Look at it this way.  Natural products come with their pros and cons.  
The high content of degradable ingredients indicates a high content of natural and non-toxic components.  Caring for your natural products really does bring out the best in their properties and saves you money.

Cool Hacks

13 Hacks to keep you chilled in the middle of summer

1. Eat lots of raw fruit and veggies
In Ayurveda cucumber is a number one coolant.   Others include mangoes, peaches, pineapple, grapes and of course cantaloupe and watermelon.  In the veggie section avocado (actually a fruit), broccoli, tomatoes and zucchini make it to the ‘cool’ list together with asparagus and leafy greens. 

2. Remember to drink at least 2 litres of water a day 
If you’re not too fond of plain old water try fruit infusions. Avoid too many drinks which contain sugar or sweeteners.  These are toxic in the long term and will slow down your digestion – which is certainly not what you want on a torrid summer’s day. 

3. Eat smaller meals, more frequently.  
Snack on light cooling foods like fruit or raw veg right through the day. Large meals will slow you down and make you lethargic 

4. Exercise at the golden hours of dawn and dusk.  
Swimming is clearly preferable.  But if you can’t make it to the beach try some gentle yoga or tai chi.

5. Wear loose, light clothing.  
It makes sense to ditch the Lycra pants and skin tight jeans in the next few months. Lounge in loose cotton and linen clothes to allow the air to circulate around your skin. 

6. Sleep with an ice-pack!  
Make your own DIY ice-pack by sticking a hot water bottle (with water at room temperature) into your freezer.  Then just take it bed with you!  You can also use smaller ice-packs on pulse points such as wrist, ankles, back of knees for an instant chillin’ effect. 

7. Spray some fragrant chilled floral water on your face and body.  
Check out Soap Café’s Lavender, Rose or Chamomile Hydrolat here.  Just store them in the refrigerator and liberally spritz it on as required.

8. Cool your room the old fashioned way.  
This one is for those of you who, like myself, don’t particularity like aircon. Add extra cooling factor to your fan by placing a shallow tub or bowl full of ice in front of the fan.  The wind from the fan will blow ice-mist into your room as it gradually dissolves.

9. Go take a shower!  
Needless to say this one will be a cold one (or as cold as it can get with water pipes heated by the August sun)

10. Take a long soak in a cool bath with epsom salts 
This will help to replenish lost magnesium (especially if you sweat alot)

11. Include an organic lotion with refreshing aromatherapy blends such as peppermint and eucalyptus oil in your daily moisturizing regime.  
You can customize your face and body lotion with cooling oils of your choice from an extensive range at Soap Café Malta

12. Stay out of the heat during the middle hours of the day.  
People from the Mediterranean instinctively stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm.  Re-arrange your commitments so   that they fit in the cooler parts of the day.  I promise you it can be done with a little perseverance!

13. Slow down!  
Physically and mentally give yourself time to recharge when it starts to seriously heat up.   The trick is to be aware that even the way you think changes when your body is under stress –and overheating can cause a great deal of stress.  Practice a little mindful awareness, meditation or just stop and notice your breath for a few minutes a day.  Yoga practitioners can look into coolin types of pranayama such as Sheetali Pranayam.

Write in and let us know about your favourite chilled way to keep your cool this summer!

Read more on how to keep cool during the summer months: