Helping you make better choices

HELPING YOU MAKE BETTER CHOICES

We care about the choices you make and we believe that we have a responsibility as a retailer, to help you to make better, informed choices. We hope that you find these articles, reviews and insights useful as you look to improve your wellbeing and to make the choices that will enhance your lifestyle and health.

We also believe that together, we can do this and make better choices for your home, your family, the community you live in and the planet we all inhabit.

If you have any suggestions for topics, please get in touch and we will add them to our plans for future articles.

Shoppers Beware: Follow the Green Claims Code
Don't be Fooled by the Claims Some Make
As we have become far more conscious of the impact our shopping habits have on the environment, so have many brands and as a result we have seen a rapid increase in products adorned with terms such as eco, bio, compostable and all-natural. But, do these claims always stack up to be what they claim to be or are consumers just being duped by clever marketing and the desire to be more environmentally concerned. In October 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched their consumer guide to Green Claims and provided guidance on how to be sure that the claims being made are genuine. The CMA also recently announced that they are to investigate the fashion industry to check that environmental claims being made by many brands are genuine and in line with UK consumer law.
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Look Past the Slogans
Don't be fooled by terms such as natural, eco or liberal use of the term green. In most cases they are entirely meaningless and do not provide any clarity on the environmental credentials of the product or the brand. There is no legal or formal definition of what a natural product is or how much of a product's ingredients need to be from natural sources to allow the use of the term. In contrast to this, use of the term organic can be evidenced and confirmed through a number of regulated schemes that have defined standards. One of the most popular organic certification schemes in the UK is operated by the Soil Association, who set out very clear standards that must be met to allow a product or brand to be certified organic and to carry the organic product mark.
Be Aware of the Green Sheen
We all now that the packaging and imagery used with products can have a big impact on our decision-making. But be aware that images of wildlife, or a logo with a leaf, can easily convince you that you’re making an environmentally friendly choice. Even the use of earthy, natural tones or a green font can give the impression a product or service is good for the environment. Look past these and take time to look a little closer. Many products now offer alternatives to single-use plastics, such as packaging made from sustainable sugarcane.
Don't Overlook the Disposal
Think about what you will do with both the packaging and the product when you have finished with it. Make sure you are clear about any environmental claim about how to dispose of these relates to the product, packaging, or both. Don't be mislead by claims about packaging being compostable or bio-degradable, as many of these claims only apply to specialist disposal methods and do not apply to home disposal. Check that you fully understand how to dispose of the packaging and product. For example, is it recyclable and do your local authority currently process this type of item?
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Consider the Ownership
As the demand for eco and environmentally products has increased, so has the number of products and brands available to buy. Many brands are owned by larger corporations who manage a portfolio of products and brand names. In some cases it is worth a little bit of investigation to understand who owns who and whether the parent organisation maintains the green standards you would expect. Two of the UK's most popular eco, cruelty-free household brands, are owned by the multi-national SC Johnson, who continue to use animal testing on some of their other brands. This is in part, a consequence of legal requirements placed upon SC Johnson by certain countries within which they operate. However, for some consumers, this position doesn't sit comfortably with the claims on the cruelty-free brands they promote and sell.
The Bigger Picture
As we all do our best to minimise the impact we have on the environment, it can a bit of a challenge and at times almost overwhelming, as we struggle to do what is right. Take time to consider the bigger picture and how you can take small steps to make a difference. Most businesses and brands aren't deliberately attempting to hoodwink consumers or trick them in to making purchases that they regret later. Many businesses are making a significant effort to have a positive impact and to make real change and there is plenty more to come. Do what you can, when you can and consider the points in this article to help you make better choices.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/
Genuine Manuka Honey & It's Benefits
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and is a dark, thick honey produced by bees which pollinate the flowers of the manuka bush. Manuka honey contains active compounds, giving it natural antimicrobial properties – and it is this that sets it apart from regular honey. When purchasing manuka honey you should look for the UMF mark on the label. This stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is a quality trademark awarded to licensed beekeepers, producers and exporters of genuine manuka honey from New Zealand. As well as carrying UMF trademark, you’ll also see a number such as 5+, 10+ or 25+, this represents the level of unique signature compounds, methylglyoxal (MG) and dihydroxyacetone (DHA) present in that specific honey, it’s this that gives the honey its purity and quality. The higher the number, the greater the MG and DHA content, and therefore the purer and more potent the honey is considered to be. There are many Manuka Honey products available, with varying quality and strength marks. The MGO mark has become popular in recent years and indicates the level of methylglyoxal (MG) in that batch of product. However, the UMF mark is the only quality mark that requires each batch of honey to have undergone a three stage assurance process, including quality standards, grading and rating .
Real Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey Supports Wound Healing
Manuka honey is probably most renowned for its wound-healing properties. When applied directly to a wound, it may improve the healing process and decrease pain – so much so that the US Food and Drug Administration approved it as an option for wound treatment in 2015. Being collectively antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, studies have shown manuka honey to offer wound-healing support for tissue regeneration, superficial partial thickness burns, diabetic ulcers and eyelid wounds, for example, post-surgery.
Manuka Honey Supports Gut Health
Manuka honey acts as a prebiotic, being a source of non-digestible carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides. We can’t digest these carbs but the bacteria in our guts can. Using the oligosaccharides as fuel helps levels of ‘good’ bacteria in our digestive system, including bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, thrive. Research has demonstrated the potential for manuka honey to help protect against gastric ulcers, by providing an anti-inflammatory effect and potentially helping manage infections such as helicobacter pylori which can cause ulcers and acid reflux. There is also some evidence that manuka honey may help treat other gut infections including those from bacterial strains such as clostridium difficile.
Manuka Honey Soothes a Sore Throat
Honey and lemon is an age-old remedy for a cold and studies support this claim. A study in 2010 found that honey was more effective at alleviating a cough in children than over-the-counter cough suppressants. This was followed by new guidelines in 2018 from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE and Public Health England (PHE) to use honey as a first-line treatment to reduce the symptoms of a short-term cough. Following the recent SARS Cov-2 (Covid-19) outbreak a study is currently looking at the efficacy of natural honey in the treatment of patients infected with Covid-19.
coughs and colds
Manuka Honey May be Useful for Antibiotic Resistant Infections
A 2020 study investigating the application of medical grade honey as an approach to treating multidrug-resistant infections suggests it should be considered as an alternative therapy.
Manuka Honey May off Anti Viral Properties
A 2014 study of manuka honey found that in a laboratory, it efficiently inhibited influenza viruses, and another study found it had significant in activity against shingles. However, more research, including human trials, are needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be drawn.
Is Manuka Honey Safe for Everyone?
Honey is safe for most adults, however, it must be avoided if you are allergic to honey or bees. Those with diabetes also need to be careful around their blood sugar levels when consuming manuka honey, as it is high in sugar. The NHS also advises not to give honey to children under the age of 1 year old as occasionally it contains a bacteria that can be can cause serious illness in infants. There are many health claims made about manuka honey. Some of these are based on limited, small-scale studies which, although promising, can’t be used to draw conclusions about its clinical use. Always check with your GP or other health professional if you have concerns over its suitability for you.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/
Simple Yet Effective Ways to Deal With Stress
Some practical advice we can all benefit from
It has been an unprecedented past 18 months that has caused most of us more stress than we’d care to admit. While everyone’s experience has been different, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised our collective stress levels and chances are, you’ve found the challenge of managing this more difficult than you care to admit. Although we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we know we still have a long road ahead. And even when the stressors of the past year or so aren’t so acute, we will be left to recover from what we’ve experienced. The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to help manage your stress and anxiety, and get better sleep. In this article, we provide you with some practical tips you CAN do, ideas that are feasible and reasonable to incorporate in to your every day lifestyle. This list is in a particular order, designed for easy stress recovery. We recommend you follow the steps below in order — but everyone is different, and if you feel you will thrive by rearranging these tips, go for it! The point is to find what works for you. And remember: slow and steady wins the race.
Find your balance
Find Balance
Try not to stress over your current stress levels, and don’t let your desire for recovery stress you out. Don’t let your diet, your poor sleep patterns, your lack of exercise, etc. cause you more stress — this only makes things worse. Instead, take some deep breaths and focus on what is actually within your power to manage at this time. The rest doesn’t matter right now.
Supplement Your Efforts
Magnesium has been well-studied as a support for the nervous system and the adrenal glands, and as an aid for muscle relaxation and restful sleep. Research shows that stress levels and magnesium status are linked: Stress leads to magnesium deficiency, and a deficiency in magnesium can make it more difficult for the body to deal with stress. Bottom line: Taking a magnesium supplement is one of the best ways to begin dealing with stress. In addition, B vitamins are necessary for energy production and adrenal support. They are a great addition to your daily supplement regimen to help you get back on track.
Go to Bed on Time
This is a simple thing to do, yet many of us ignore it. We start our night with non-REM sleep, and as we near daylight, we enter REM sleep. Both types of sleep are equally important; however, it’s critically important to get both. Going to bed late causes us to miss some of the restorative non-REM sleep that our bodies need to thrive. Getting one 90-minute sleep cycle before midnight is recommended. To achieve this, you should aim to be in bed by 10pm.
Sleep to reduce stress
Make Time for Exercise
It doesn’t have to be a lot, but movement needs to be a priority. Many people feel like they shouldn’t even bother if they can’t fit in a full workout, but this is the wrong mindset. On some days, you may only manage an 8-minute walk around the block. On other days, it's 10 minutes of deep breathing and stretching. Sometimes it’s throwing on a pop song and having a dance party with the kids. It doesn’t matter what you do — just do something to get your body moving, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Look at Your Diet
Does this mean you have to cut out ALL sugar, ALL simple carbs and ALL alcohol? Maybe, but probably not. Sugar, simple carbs and alcohol can drain our energy and affect our sleep. If you are turning to them as a coping mechanism, it may be time to make some dietary adjustments. If you are an all-or-nothing kind of person, feel free to cut them out completely and see how you feel. Otherwise, consume in moderation and think twice before you reach for alcohol and junk food.
It's Not Too Late
While we have waded through this pandemic, you shouldn't be deterred from recovering from the stress that it has caused. The sooner you act, the sooner you will feel better. It really is never too late.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/
5 Simple Steps to Help You Reduce Waste
Why Should we be Reducing Waste?

We all know that we waste too much and that the throw-away culture remains a huge issue in society. Over the past few years, the political agenda has been dominated by efforts to reduce waste and minimize the negative impact of the disposable culture on our planet. From David Attenborough to Greta Thunberg, world leaders are being urged to act upon the crisis, but it is not just the big and powerful that can make a difference; small changes that we make to our lifestyle and habits can make the world of difference.

The most recent UK Government data indicates that on average, the percentage of household waste that is recycled is a pretty disappointing 45%. On a more positive note, 70% of packaging waste was recycled.

So, we have a long way to go and we can all make a difference, big and small, that can contribute to a better outlook for our communities and our planet. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to reduce waste and don’t forget to read our pledges on waste and use of recyclable materials.

1. Go for a Reusable

For a material that takes up to 400 years to decompose, we have a very disposable mindset with regards to plastic drinks bottles. Despite the best efforts of campaigners, over two million tons of plastic waste has been dumped in our oceans globally this year so far, and it kills 1.1 million seabirds and animals each year.

Get yourself a refillable water bottle or coffee cup and see the massive difference you can have. They come in many shapes, colours and styles and include some fantastic innovations to stop spills and keep drinks hot or cold. The best tip is to ensure you have a selection of bottles and cups available for each occasion. One for the office, one for the gym and one for trips out. Try the One Green Bottle 1 litre and 2 litre stainless Steel canteens for size.

2. Swap Single-use Items for Multi-use Items
Going hand-in-hand with the above, it is not only the materials you should be reusing but also the usage of a product too. This can all be put into you daily routine; even your morning cup of tea can be made with alternatives to the classic (plastic based) tea bag. In the UK, approximately 100 million cups of tea are drunk daily, imagine how many single-use tea bags end up in the bin? How about replacing a tea bag with loose leaf tea and when you have enjoyed your brew simply add the leaves to your compost bin. Who knows, you might even get a better brew out of it!
3. Use Natural Products at Home

Using natural products around the home can reduce waste through materials and usage. What about using a loofah to wash your dishes and surfaces instead of sponge or a metal scour brush? A loofah is a vegetable-based scrubber, that acts as a biodegradable and recyclable exfoliating surface scrubber. It is absorbent, yet rough enough to get rid of hard-to-remove stains. It is plastic free, which not only minimises plastic usage from your daily routine, but it also reduces the number of microplastics that get washed down your sink.

Switch to a bamboo toothbrush. Approximately 3.6 million plastic toothbrushes are purchased around the world annually, and over 99% of these are plastic, so the plastic toothbrushes that are thrown into landfill sites each year will take over 450 years to decompose. But when recycling a bamboo/organic toothbrush, it will decompose back into the earth within 4-6 months.

5. Buy Efficiently

Adopting an efficient approach to your personal purchasing is possibly one of the most significant steps you can take to reduce your household and personal waste. There are two threads to this approach which involve buying only what you need with perishable items and buying in bulk with non-perishables.

When buying a bathroom cleaner, order a 5 litre product and refill at home, rather than thirteen 400ml bottles. Think of the number of bottles that won’t have to be made, transported and disposed of through this very simple act.

5. Buy Local
In the early stages of the pandemic, with flights grounded and entry in and out of countries proving problematic, product shortages were abundant. Buying local proved to be the alternative, which is better for the environment and also helps to support your local economy and local producers. So, when buying your wellbeing and lifestyle products, ditch the anonymous corporates and head in the direction of your local high street. Many small retailers source products from their local area and work hard to minimise waste.
Helping you to Make Better Choices
We are committed to helping you make better choices that have a positive impact on your wellbeing and lifestyle. In the Blossom & Root Wellbeing and Lifestyle Store, we offer a selection of environmentally friendly products, from bamboo toothbrushes, straws and cotton buds, to reusable bottles and coffee cups and so much more! Whatever product you buy, just know that you are helping yourself and the planet.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/
An Introduction to CBD
What is CBD?
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE PRODUCT

Cannabis plants are made up of more than 100 different cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in cells that alter messages sent to the human brain. These specific receptors are responsible for regulating your neuro-hormones, so, they help to maintain a natural balance in your body, and support your overall wellness too. All cannabinoids have different impacts on the body and are concentrated to different extent in certain parts of the cannabis plant. It is also worth noting that, there is a big difference between the CBD that you are prescribed by a healthcare professional, and the CBD oil you can get on the high street. CBD available in shops is of far lower strength than the oil used in clinical trials.

IS IT LEGAL?

The majority of cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but the use of CBD oil is legal in UK. In 2019, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) introduced the need for any CBD products to be authorised for sale in the UK under their Novel Food Guidance and from March 2021, only products which were available for sale in the UK in February 2020 and for which the FSA has validated its novel food status will be allowed to remain on the market.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before use of any CBD product.

DOES IT WORK?

It is important to recognise that CBD is a relatively new product that has gained popularity very quickly. There is still a lot we don’t know about CBD extracts, and there has been very little research about the effects they may have. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of these products to relieve chronic pain, ease anxiety and to generally help people gain a balance in their everyday lives.

There is ongoing research to identify whether these claims can be supported by evidence from clinical trials, but it is too early to be certain that the claims can be supported by clinical evidence. At the moment there is one cannabis-based medicine that has been licenced for treating epilepsy, called Epidyolex. It contains pure CBD and is a very different product to the products that are now widely available online and in store.

Does CBD Oil help back pain?
HELPING YOU TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES

We are committed to helping you make better choices that have a positive impact on your wellbeing and lifestyle. In the Blossom & Root Wellbeing and Lifestyle Store, we offer a limited selection of CBD products in forms that will suit your lifestyle and daily routine from oils to super convenient oral sprays and a relaxing bath bomb. Whichever form you take, we believe that you may benefit from CBD products and that these may have a positive benefit to your wellbeing and general health. Take a look at our full range here.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Supplement
The sunshine vitamin
WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D, commonly known as the Sunshine Vitamin, regulates your absorption of calcium and phosphorus (both of which build and strengthen your bones and teeth) and facilitate the function of a normal immune system. Getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
VITAMIN D FROM NATURAL SOURCES

From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. However, it is widely recognised that many people who work indoors or who choose not to expose themselves to direct sunlight may not be able to maintain Vitamin D levels without a dietary supplement.

The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout the year if you:

  • are not often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound
  • are in an institution like a care home
  • usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors

If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or South Asian heritage – you may also not make enough Vitamin D from sunlight alone.

The best source is sunlight on your skin, but with darker days and lockdowns we have not been getting enough; deficiency is common and It’s widely accepted that to take a Vitamin D supplement is a good thing, but if you are in doubt, you can test levels, even at home.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
Sources include:

  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Liver (not as popular as it used to be)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals

As this list shows, if you are following a plant-based diet, you are unlikely to be gaining enough Vitamin D from food sources.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Take?

The general consensus is that adults should take 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout the year. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).

Sometimes the amount of Vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So, 10 micrograms of Vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.

The Sunshine Vitamin How Much Do I Take?
The Wider Benefits of the Sunshine Supplement

Improving your intake of Vitamin D can help your body fight infection and disease. The sunshine vitamin not only helps to protect you physically, but can support your mental wellbeing as it can play a role in regulating mood and guarding against depression. After all, it isn’t called the Sunshine Vitamin for nothing, as it creates the same feelings that going out on a lovely summer day for a stroll would.

Research has found that people with depression who received Vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms, and that Vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were experiencing anxiety and depression. Signs of deficiency include tiredness, aches and pains, severe bone or muscle pain or weakness.

Helping You to Make Better Choices
We are committed to helping you make better choices that have a positive impact on your wellbeing and lifestyle. In the Blossom & Root Wellbeing & Lifestyle Store, we offer a selection of Vitamin D products in forms that will suit your lifestyle and daily routine, from drops, to vitamin D infused teas, capsule form and super convenient oral sprays. Whichever form you take, we believe that taking a Vitamin D supplement all year round will have a positive benefit to your wellbeing and general health.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash
Content for this article was drawn from the Competition and Markets Authority consumer guide to Greenwashing available from the CMA at https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/

MAKING BETTER CHOICES: OUR COMMITMENT

Helping you make better choices: Our Committments