Organic Cosmetics

The human skin wraps and protects our bodies. It comprises a living, dynamic tissue system. It has the extraordinary ability to absorb applied products, partially or completely, into the bloodstream. In fact, up to 60% of the products we use on our skin are absorbed and deposited into the circulatory system. For instance, the average woman absorbs 30 pounds of the ingredients contained in moisturizers over sixty years.

These new understandings of how the skin functions reveal concerns about the possible long term effects due to the amalgamation of chemicals used in cosmetics, often termed the “chemical cocktail effect”. Several chemicals which are used in common, popular cosmetics are known irritants and carcinogens. Concern stems from the knowledge that most of these ingredients are derived synthetically or from petroleum. Avoiding these substances serve to decrease overall exposure to harmful or irritating cosmetic ingredients.

Ingredients to Avoid

Forms Found in Cosmetics and Possible Negative Side Effects
Aluminum

Thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Found in almost all antiperspirants.
Works by blocking pores so sweat cannot be released by the skin.

Artificial colours FD&C, derived from coal tar.For example, Azo dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin.
Causes hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose
DEA, MEA, TEA Causes allergic reactions, irritating to eyes and dries out hair and skin

Fragrances

Can contain up to 200 undeclared substances (Fairley, 2001).
Major cause, in addition to artificial colours, of skin irritations and allergies (Antczak, 2001).
May cause dizziness, skin irritation and hyper-pigmentation

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Health Benefits of Organic Agave

Agave is a perennial plant, classified under the monocots. Chiefly Mexican, agaves are also native to the southern and western United States and central and tropical South America. They are succulents with a large rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, each ending generally in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root. Along with plants from the related genus Yucca, various Agave species are popular ornamental plants.

ITS ORIGIN

Agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that flourish in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. Agaves are large, spikey plants that resemble cactus or yuccas in both form and habitat, but they are actually similar to the familiar Aloe Vera.

Agaves come in many sizes and colors. There are over 100 species. Due to the Blue Agave’s high carbohydrate content (which results in a high percentage of fructose in the final nectar), Blue Agave is the preferred species for producing nectar. Though there are other species used to produce agave nectars, such as the Maguey Agave, the premium nectars are produced from 100% Weber Blue Agave.

ITS TASTE

The taste of agave nectar is analogous, though not identical, to honey. Many people who do not like the taste of honey find agave a more palatable choice. It also has none of the bitter aftertaste associated with artificial sweeteners.

WHY AGAVE OVER OTHER SWEETENERS

It can be a challenge for even experienced cooks to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugars without compromising food quality or palatability. An artificial sweetener may be suitable for reducing the caloric content and glycemic index of a dish, but they lose their usefulness in many other culinary applications where a sugar is needed for more than its ability to sweeten. Continue reading

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

When it comes to organic foods, it’s just as imperative to know what isn’t allowed and what is.  The organic standards are process-based, meaning they establish the rules for an entire system of farming that follows a product from its early stages on the farm all the way to retail.

The USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of GMOs, listing them as “excluded methods,” and defining those methods as “a variety of methods to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes.

The New York Times published a story called, “It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?

The ‘USDA certified-organic’ standard was not developed to be a food safety label, but a label that confirms and verifies that the product is produced following organic protocols.

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Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)

The world is turning healthy. Yes, you heard that right. Isn’t that so good to hear? Eating healthy, going green, turning brown- all these phrases ring a bell in our heads. Can you imagine your skin glowing, no pimples, and hair soft and healthy? Wheeep, sounds awesome, right? THEN BUY ORGANIC!!!!!!

There is more than one reason why the organic movement is gaining its importance in the modern era. The first and foremost reason could be the letdown created by the conventional agriculture – undiscerning usage of chemicals causing air, water and soil pollution, health menaces, increase in pest and disease incidence, loss of crop diversity, untenable productivity and so on. On the other hand, lure towards organic foods started slowly by the health conscious urban community, which is visible among other section of our society. In addition, more number of farmers is showing inclination towards organic farming owing to remarkable efforts being taken up by both government and non-government organizations. All these happenings during the recent years helped in opening new walks for organic foods in the domestic as well as in international markets. General opinion among the consumers is that organic foods are nutritious, tasty, long shelf life and safe. In order to protect the demand and interests of the consumers the process of certification has become inescapable for organic consumer goods including organic foods, cosmetics, medicines, fabrics, etc. Already such initiatives are operating and there are different mechanisms, systems and agencies for certification of organic goods. PGS is one of these systems being initiated in different parts of the world, especially for small organic farmers who can produce organic foods for domestic market. In India PGS is being initiated by different organizations through OFAI and during 2011 PGS has seen launched by the Government of India, heralding its official recognition.

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Organic Certification

Just yesterday my dad was saying “so the dal (pulses) you ate yesterday was organic”. I got really excited and I asked “Really? Show!!!!” And then when I read the packet there were no certifications. It said organic, but it wasn’t really organic and this is just one instance out of the many instances that keeps happening all over the world.

So how to identify if a product is organic or sold only in the pretext of it being organic. I thought, it will be great if I can share how to identify between actual organic product and “so-called” organic products.

Organic Certification

It is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include: