Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get the Scoop on Natural Sunscreens

After the last few days of beautiful weather I started thinking about how to protect my skin yet still enjoy the sunshine. I love summer and feel so alive after a day at the beach, sand in my toes and sun on my face! So to find out what a natural sunscreen is and how to avoid the nasty chemical sunscreens this summer keep on reading.
How do sunscreens work?
Sunscreens protect the skin from burning by either absorbing the harmful rays or reflecting them from the skin. No sunscreen can provide total protection from all of the sun's rays and that’s why it is always important to cover up using appropriate clothing and eye wear especially during the hottest part of the day. Sunscreens are filters of UV energy. They are used to filter a proportion only of UV rays.

What active ingredient does natural sunscreen use?
They use Zinc Oxide (250mg/g) which reflects UV-A and UV-B rays rather than chemical actives which absorb these rays.

Does natural sunscreen contain Nanoparticles?
Nanoparticles are man made, extremely small particles that can easily enter the body and can be found in cosmetics, moisturizers, mineral make up and sunscreens. They are used in sunscreens to prevent the white film once applied. Natural sunscreens should not contain Nanoparticles. Friends of the Earth's Safe Sunscreen Guide states "Studies have shown that Nanoparticles can produce free radicals and DNA damage, especially when exposed to UV light. These studies suggest that rather than offering us sun protection, if nano-sunscreens are absorbed into our skin, they could result in serious damage."

What does Broad Spectrum mean and is it important?
A sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection protects against UV-B rays as well as UV-A. All sunscreens protect against UV-A rays which cause loss of elasticity, premature aging and skin cancer however not all protect again UV-B which causes sun burn.

Recent studies have shown that UV-B radiation plays a large role in causing gene mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Therefore it is vital that when using a sunscreen you check that it offers broad spectrum protection.

Check List for Your Sunscreen

Free from:
Chemical UV filters/absorbers
Titanium dioxide
Artificial fragrances

Monday, September 27, 2010


I just love tomatoes, they are rich in Vitamins C and A and provide the body with lycopene, a valuable source of nutrition which prevents damage to the cells causing cancers. They come in all different varieties which vary in colour, size and flavour.

Over the weekend i made Baked Chicken in Tomato and here is my quick and easy recipe.

Baked Chicken in Tomato

Serves 2

1 eggplant, trimmed and sliced in 1cm rounds

1 x 250g punnet cherry tomatoes (mixed varieties)

1 x 400g bottle organic tomato pasta sauce

4 organic chicken drumsticks

In a large baking dish, layer eggplants and tomatoes. Pour tomato sauce over and add chicken drumsticks, turn to coat in the sauce.

Bake in a hot oven (180C) for 1 hour until chicken flesh meat is falling off the bone and vegetables are tender.

Spoon a large ladle of vegetables into a shallow bowl and top with two chicken drumsticks. Add more sauce and serve hot.

(Optional) Top with shredded basil and grated Parmesan.

Happy Cooking and Eating !

Cheers, Michelle xo

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Morello Cherry and Almond Little Cakes

Spring; this morning i jumped out of bed and made these yummy little cakes for breakfast. The taste and smell of the sweetness of maple and cherries mixed with roasted nuts is just amazing!

1 cup almond meal (or process mixed nuts)
1/2 cup 100% pure organic maple syrup
3 x 60g organic eggs
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 cup stoneless cherries, drained (morello)
10g butter, melted for greasing

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease 6 cup muffin tin with melted butter.
2. In a medium bowl add almond meal, syrup, eggs and vanilla and mix with a wooden spoon or soft spatula until well combined. Add cherries and gently stir in (be careful not to break cherries).
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until cakes have risen and are golden brown in colour.
4. Cool in tin for approximately 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges of each muffin to release from the tin.
5. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving with a creamy yoghurt. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking and Have a good day :-) Cheers, Michelle xx

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mushrooms – the New Superfood!

Those innocuous mushrooms in your shopping basket could be the answer to your vitamin D deficiency! Expected revisions to the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, which are expected this summer, may do wonders for mushroom sales. "There's a better understanding of importance of vitamin D in human health," said Tara McHugh, a research leader at the USDA.

At least 40% of Australians don't get enough vitamin D, but others estimate it may be twice that number. In addition to aiding calcium absorption by the body, vitamin D may help numerous health conditions including osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and even a reduction in overall mortality.

Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin found in few foods, occurs naturally in fish oils and has been added as a supplement to milk since the 1930s to help combat rickets, a major health problem at the time. Humans also create it naturally when ultraviolet rays from the sun strike the skin. It’s our “sunshine” vitamin!

While it has been known for years that mushrooms also can generate the vitamin, it wasn't until a few years ago that people started thinking about its commercial viability. It was found that exposing mushrooms to a short burst ultra violet light produces a daily allotment of vitamin D in 120 grams of mushrooms without a negative impact on other nutritional benefits, appearance, taste or shelf life. In comparison, one cup of fortified milk provides about 30% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

So, add mushrooms into your diet for an added boost of vitamin D, an essential nutrient for optimal vitality! Read about my immune boosting soup that features the powerful Enoki mushrooms.


Have you checked you vitamin D levels after our cold winter?