Article Written for Essential Magazine | Marbella, Spain
By Shivani Mair

Gone are the days when organic living is only of interest to hippies, it’s now becoming one of the biggest lifestyle crazes amongst A-list celebrities around the world. Well loved celebs including Gywenth Paltrow, Demi Moore and Brangelina (aka Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) are inspiring examples of loving the planet, by growing and eating organic food, choosing fair trade products, and creating blogs about living clean and green.

Many more of us are now choosing to live in harmony with mother nature because apart from it being super trendy natural / organic living is saving us a lot of money, preventing unnecessary waste, getting us healthy, awakening our creative minds and most importantly it’s preserving the earth we live on – and let’s face it, it’s the only one we have.

Here are just a handful of simple tips you can use to help you become organic gods and goddesses.

Healthy Lifestyle

Buy Organic vegetables and fruit– although they don’t look as pretty or last as long as the super market bought fruit and veg they really do taste the same, if not nicer because they contain less pesticides and preservative (which is why they don’t last as long as the supermarket fruit and veg).

Replace your white sugar with organic honey or fairtrade unrefined brown sugar in your tea, coffee and cereals – it’s much better for your body because it’s not bleached and chemically refined like white sugar.

A hand full of almond nuts and cod liver oil daily has been proven to increase your brain power and concentration the natural way because they contain omega 3. There are many vegetarian substitutes to cod liver oil too, so no excuses veggies!

Have a cup of green tea to help with weight loss. A growing number of studies report that green tea works on a number of levels: it boosts the metabolism, suppresses the appetite and increases the body’s heat production that leads to fat burning. The ancient tea has been drunk for centuries for its taste and health properties. It’s high in antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and has metabolism boosting qualities. But don’t overdo it; it contains about 30 mg of caffeine per cup. (This is compared to about 133 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz cup of coffee). Excess caffeine can cause insomnia, irritability, muscle tremors, nausea, racing heart rates, high blood pressure, risks to cancer and reduced bone density. Pregnant women should not drink too much green tea because caffeine is a diuretic, and can cause dehydration.

Try the raw food diet, which is based on the belief that raw food is the most healthy for the body, and studies have found that it can be effective for losing weight, and improving health and fighting disease. Cooking is thought to destroy natural enzymes in the food.
According to raw foodists, if we consume too much cooked food, our bodies are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes. Eventually, a lack of enzymes from food is thought to lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency, accelerated aging, and weight gain.
Diets come and go, but the raw food diet has been around for thousands of years. Today there are raw food cookbooks and many celebs have turned to it for health reasons and to boost their energy in frazzled and stressful times.

Snacks for kids are as important as meals – make it a fun and creative activity of the day. On average, kids snack three times per day. Currently, most of these snacks are junk food such as chips, fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets.
Choosing healthy snacks for kids can be tricky and there are many readymade snacks that can be bought in stores. However, homemade snacks will ensure that the snack will be fresh, healthy, nutritious, and artificial ingredient and preservative free.
Two options are home-made granola mix or fruit slices. It only takes a little creativity to make simple healthy foods that can be turned into a delicious snacks. The best part about making homemade snacks is that kids can help, making it a fun and creative family activity which is actually simple and easy to prepare. The bigger picture – provide your child with good nutrition and it will shape their healthy eating habits and diet for the rest of their lives.

Getting More From Nature, Naturally

Do you know the power of a lemon ?– that little citrus fruit is a great substitute for so many harmful and toxic cleaning and beauty products. Apart from saving you money on expensive products you will be creating a chlorine-free, toxic gas-free environment for you and your loved ones.
Here’s a few ways a lemon can be useful:

  • Strengthen your nails: squeeze quarter of a lemon into a small bowl of warm water, dip your finger tips into the water and leave in the water for 2-3 mins. Don’t wash your hands but dry them, so that the lemon can work into the nails. Avoid this if you have any cuts on your finger tips…ouch!
  • Descale the kettle of limescale: squeeze the juice of 3 lemons (with seeds removed) or 1 bottle of lemon juice, into your kettle and gently swirl the juice around the kettle – remember to put an ‘do not use kettle’ sign to warn kettle users. After leaving it for 2-3 hours, give the kettle a gentle circular shake, then pour out the lemon juice, along with all the loosened bits of lime scale. Rinse out the kettle well with warm water before using it again for your brew.
  • Clean window and mirrors: mix equal parts of warm water and fresh lemon juice and with a cloth, dip into the mixture, rig out excess water and wipe windows and mirrors clean of grease and dirt.
  • Keeps your fridge smelling fresh: If your fridge is still smelling a little funky after being cleaned, cut half a lemon and leave it uncovered on a middle shelf – the lemon’s citrus will eliminate the odour in no time.
  • Keeps your salad fresher for longer: if your salad leaves are a little wilted no need to throw them out, get a bowl of cold water, add the juice of half a lemon, add the salad leaves into the bowl and put the bowl into the fridge for an hour. Rinse the leaves and pat them dry and walla, the leaves have been brought back to life.

Keep the slugs away using salt: Instead of using pricey and chemical based slug pellets (which also kill other wildlife) use what you’ve already got loads of in the house for your garden…salt! Sprinkle salt on the ground of your garden and they will not enter that space…why? Because snails are made of mainly water and will melt away (I know, disgusting). You can use broken egg shells on your plant beds too, this also deters the slimy critters from chomping at your flowers and plants.

Create a magic night garden with solar lights: there are so many lovely solar light designs now that are inexpensive, they are super easy to install (no electrical wiring needed) and they use zero electricity because they are powered by the sun’s solar rays during the day.

Save Money, Prevent Waste

Unplug appliances and cut your annual electric bill by 10%: putting electrical devises on stand by may not seem like a big deal but it clocks up your electricity bill and also reduces the life span of your devise. Get yourself a plug extension with individual on/off buttons – so you can turn off all appliances you are not using them. Also create a ‘shut down’ routine: take moment to check everything is switched off. Leaving your computer on over night is the equivalent of printing 800 pages!

Send electric greeting cards: who really keeps all their greeting cards anymore? I don’t, so you to can not only cut down on the paper we waste throwing the cards away, you can save yourself stamp costs and the time to go to the post office, by sending a digital greeting card to some of your friends and family. There are loads of great online options where you can have fun making them, create personalised designs that recipients will love to see. This is also a great way to get that card in last minute, if you forgot to post one in time for the special day.

Share your car and make traveling more fun: if you know family and friends live near by, who are traveling to same event, why not share the go together and share the car, instead of taking two cars that will just add to carbon emissions unnecessarily. It’s a great way to catch up before the event, get into the party spirit early and save on fuel consumption. If it becomes a regular thing why not split the fuel costs or take it on turns to drive to the events.

Make children’s toys last longer: children get bored of toys so quickly, but a tried and tested way of making their toys last longer and save you the expense of buying new toys every few weeks, is to rotate their existing toys ‘out of sight out of mind’. Leave a few of their toys out (keep them as varied as possible) and put the rest away in storage. When the kids get bored of the toys that are out, rotate them with some of the others in storage. It’s a sure bet your kids will treat them like they are new and embrace them like long lost friends.
Better still, make a toy: making toys is so much fun and great for their creativity. Try making musical instruments: great drum sounds can be made from plastic food containers or metal pots and a spoon; or create a maraca from a bottle of uncooked rice. An old sock can become a fun hand puppet when you draw /sew or stick on some buttons for eyes. Or make the most of your hand-me down clothes, shoes and hats by adding them to a ‘dressing up’ box – kids love to dress up and play adults.