Spotlight on… Sunflower

Cheerful, bright sunshine on a stem, sunflowers have a special place in our hearts (Shire Farm wouldn’t be the same without them). Not just pretty things loved by bees and hoverflies, they’re also multi-tasking health and beauty heroes thanks to their antioxidant and nutrient-rich seeds.

 

And how fitting that this complexion-boosting powerhouse was first cultivated for its beauty – sunflowers were initially brought to Europe from North America to adorn gardens as ornamental plants…

 

  1. Why your skin loves sunflower oil

 

Mild scent, check. Light texture, check. Sunflower oil is absorbed quickly and leaves no oily residue (just a silky feeling), making it an ideal addition to beauty formulations. And that’s not all.

Dreaming of supple, hydrated skin? Sunflower oil is packed with vitamin E, a supercharged antioxidant that does double duty by locking in moisture as well as protecting your complexion from environmental damage. High concentration of linoleic acid (omega-6) in sunflower oil also adds to its skin-soothing powers, making it ideal for dry or irritated complexion in need of some TLC.

Treat your skin to the rejuvenating powers of sunflower oil with two of our award-winning formulations:

 

AEOS Enriching Moisturiser

 

Quench thirsty skin and treat your complexion to a rejuvenating lift with our Enriching Moisturiser Pink or Blue. Sunflower’s nourishing properties shine in this award-winning formula.

 

AEOS Biodynamic Nail and Cuticle Oil

 

Show your nails some sunflower love: our Biodynamic Nail and Cuticle Oil will not only strengthen your [Read more…]

Adieu mood swings – step off the hormonal rollercoaster

You know the drill… sudden mega emotional outburst… followed by the thought “oh no, not again”… followed by the ‘strap yourself in and get ready for the ride’ mentality of just-getting-on-with-it. Whether it’s that sudden urge to burst into tears because they don’t have your usual brand of cereal on the shelf – or feeling like the world has come to an abrupt end the moment you wake up (when it all seemed so fine yesterday) – the hormonal rollercoaster can be a slippery slidey (yet surprisingly unspoken about) female nightmare.

 

But that doesn’t mean we just have to put up with it. Read on to learn how your lifestyle might be affecting your hormones and how to cruise every day of your cycle with more peace, love and vitality.

 

  1. Hormone-friendly eating

 

General healthy eating advice applies to keeping our hormones balanced too. So avoid crash dieting and limit sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. And ensure you include plenty of fruit, colourful veg, good fats and other nutrient-rich whole foods in your diet.

 

A few foodie resolutions apply specifically to hormonal balance though. Soy is one food that can become problematic if we consume a lot of it (easy to do if you’re a new vegetarian and eat a lot of soy-based ‘replacement’ foods, for example). Soy contains a high level of phytoestrogens which mimic the natural oestrogen in our bodies, and while not a problem in limited quantities, eating too much can cause our hormones to get out of whack.

 

While it’s not necessary to shun all soy, go for moderation and pick organic and fermented soy products (enjoy miso and tempeh) when possible, and add a variety of other healthy sources of protein to your diet, such as nuts and seeds.

  1. Halt the xenoestrogen build-up

 

Eating soy is not the only way oestrogen-like compounds enter our bodies. So what should we watch out for? Xenoestrogens (synthetic compounds that imitate oestrogens in a similar way to phytoestrogens) are found all around us, including many pesticides and herbicides as well as plenty of plastics and some cosmetic preservatives including parabens.

 

It’s impossible to avoid all xenoestrogens, but we can take steps to minimise our exposure. Choose organically grown food, natural cosmetics and cleaning products when possible, and avoid drinking from plastic bottles and storing food in plastic containers when you can.

 

  1. Do a life-style health check

 

How’s your daily routine? If you’re eating all the right stuff but still struggle with hormone-induced mood swings, there could be room for improvement in other areas of self-care, especially sleep and exercise.

 

Our body does a lot of its hormone production and tweaking at night while we slumber, and skimping on sleep (especially on a regular basis) may well be one of the main culprits pushing your hormones off balance. Recognise yourself? Take your time to create a pleasant bedtime routine that works for you, and keep it as consistent as far as possible, making sure you get those 7–8 hours of shuteye every night.

 

Regular exercise is another thing we often don’t feel like we even have the time for anymore… But a daily (or so) dose of physical activity could be your ticket to a gentler monthly cycle (not to mention countless other benefits). Through exercise, your body can rid itself of excess oestrogen via perspiration and [Read more…]

Draw strength and courage …from your fears

Do you often lose sleep over niggling fears and worries? Or are you generally confident and only ever rattled by the major setbacks in life? Either way, experiencing fear can be super uncomfortable – and something that most of us would gladly live without.

But is fear really a ‘bad’ thing? Perhaps if we learnt to look at fear differently, it could become a source of courage for us instead of an obstacle to overcome. And those things in life that get our heart pounding in an unpleasant way – be it public speaking, boarding that aeroplane, driving down the freeway or blushing in public –  might cease being barriers to living our life to the full.

Fear you’re a little sceptical? Let us explain…

1. A friend in disguise?

How easy life would be if we were completely fearless! Or would it? No matter how uncomfortable fear is, we experience it for a good reason. Fear is a natural response to potentially dangerous situations (without it the human race wouldn’t have survived for very long).

Of course, sometimes our fears are disproportionate considering the situation at hand. A job interview can induce a full fight-or-flight response in us even though we’re not in any sort of physical danger.

But even in those situations we can choose to view fear as an ally. And with that choice, comes power. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal speaks about stress and the power of looking at it from a positive angle: stress seems to be only as detrimental to our health as we believe it to be. We can apply the same wisdom to dealing with our fears. Every time fear comes knocking, think of it as an ally helping you rise up to the challenge – Light-headed? Know that oxygen is pumping round your body to help you face any situation; Pounding heart? Hello adrenaline that will help you think faster…. And watch for the shift.

2. Channel your inner Susan

Few books have been as influential in helping people achieve their full potential in life in spite of their fears, as Susan Jeffers’ best-selling ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.

One of Susan’s core messages is that fear is inevitable. And she believes that this is a key to our liberation: If we can accept that experiencing fear is just a fact of life, we can start seeing the many fear-inducing situations as pointers to the areas of our lives where there’s room for growth, rather than barriers to our success and happiness.

So what would Susan do when faced with a fear? That’s right: she’d do it anyway – and trust that she could “handle it”. Doing the thing that terrifies us is the quickest way to tame the fear and stretch the limits of our comfort zone.

3. Use body language to harness fear in a positive way

We know that body language influences how others feel about us. But it may come as a surprise that body language (even faking it) can also change how we feel about ourselves. According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, taking just a couple of minutes to stand in a ‘power pose’ before a stressful event can significantly boost our confidence.

About to give a presentation or go on a first date? Why not test it out… Like Amy says, find a [Read more…]

Organic vs biodynamic? Here’s the difference

We’re living and breathing biodynamic here at AEOS, but what does this mean? And is it really any better than organic? Well here’s the lowdown…

  1. Going the extra mile

You could think of biodynamic farming as ‘organic plus’. Biodynamic farmers follow all organic principles (such as excluding all synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and genetically modified organisms), but they take extra steps to work in greater harmony with Mother Nature, tending the land using holistic and sustainable methods that help it thrive not just today, but also in the long term.

Self-contained, self-sustainable

What is a farm? From the biodynamic farmer’s view, it’s a single entity made up of numerous interdependent parts. And each part (the bacteria in the soil, the crops, the livestock, the wildlife and the human stewards of the land) plays an integral role in helping the farm as a whole thrive.

And while an organic farm may bring in organic fertilizers and seeds from elsewhere, the goal of biodynamic farming is to be as self-sustaining as possible by producing everything that is needed in situ.

Soil in the starring role

Biodynamic farmers know just how crucial the role of healthy soil has in producing crops that are full of life-force, potency, and resistant to pests and disease. Healthy soil brims with nutrients, beneficial microbes and life-sustaining water, and key methods of achieving this goal include crop rotation, growing soil-enriching plants such as legumes and using farm-derived composts and special biodynamic preparations made from herbs, minerals and animal manures.

In tune with natural cycles

Biodynamic farming methods harness nature’s rhythms, such as lunar cycles, in decision-making. These cycles can energise or slow down plant growth, and thus determine the optimum times for planting and harvesting crops. A careful observation of, and working in harmony with, these vital rhythms, ensures that plants achieve their fullest potential when it comes to vitality and strength.

  1. What biodynamic means for your skin

Maximum potency

We all want to see a real difference when we use a beauty product – and we get the best results by applying the purest, most potent ingredients rich in complexion-enhancing nutrients. And there are no short cuts to cultivating plants that can deliver that. Vitality can’t be faked or forced; it takes a fertile, thriving ecosystem to produce ingredients with maximum benefits – which is what biodynamic farming is all about.

Beauty, guilt-free

 

In biodynamic farming, the land is never manipulated or ‘forced to perform’ at the expense of its long-term health. Biodynamic farmers cultivate the land with deep respect for the earth, working with nature every step of the [Read more…]