Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms.

GENERAL INFORMATION

What does it do?

  • The balm conditions the skin with no oily residue.
  • Can be used all over the body.
  • Practical and economical with no spillage or waste.
  • Ready-blended with essential oils for different therapeutic effects, or unscented.

How to use:

  • Scoop some balm from the tub into your hands. It will ‘melt’ on contact with skin and is then ready to apply to the area to be massaged. Add more as necessary.

Other ways of using it:

  • Use a small amount on your skin before shaving.
  • Use as a nourishing massage treatment for the head and hair.

Who is it for?

  • These balms are suitable for all skin types.

Olive Massage Balm:

  • Olive Fruit Oil – an unscented massage balm, it is extremely effective on dry, chapped skin, useful for eczema or psoriasis, and especially good for hands, elbows, knees and feet. Nourishing and softening, it provides excellent protection from weather and water. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Rice bran wax is a skin conditioning and protecting agent with high antioxidant properties.

Lavender and Clary Sage:

  • Lavender – relaxing calming and soothing, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. Known to relieve toothache, neuralgia, rheumatism among many other ailments. It has been used as an insect repellent and was used in hospitals during the first world war to disinfect floors and walls.
  • Clary Sage – reduces skin inflammation and regulates the natural sebum production, making it suitable for all skin types. Has an uplifting effect and is known for its positive effects on mood swings, balancing female hormones and facilitating restful sleep. (NB: Clary Sage Essential Oil is not recommended during pregnancy.)

Black Pepper and Rosemary:

  • Black Pepper – warming and stimulating, used to ease muscle and joint pain, often used in blends for sports massage. May be used for skin inflammations and superficial wounds and to treat stomach and digestive issues.
  • Rosemary – healing, astringent, toning, tonic, refreshing, stimulating, deodorant, anti-septic, reactivating, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, softening, invigorating. (NB: Rosemary Essential Oil is not recommended during pregnancy . )

Spike Lavender, Ginger and Marjoram:

  • Spike Lavender – stronger than lavender, it has a wide range of therapeutic properties. Deeply relaxing for the mind and body tissues, anti-septic and revitalising, can be helpful for a range of skin problems including abscesses, acne, athlete’s foot, boils, bruises, eczema, spots, sores, wounds, sunburn, insect bites and stings.
  • Ginger – healing, tonic, anti-inflammatory, it is very soothing for aching joints and muscles. Helpful when combined with other oils in massage blends for after sport and relaxation.
  • Marjoram – anti-spasmodic, calming and sedative, known for its soothing and relaxing benefits on the mind and on tired, aching muscles. Often added to sports massage blends.

KEY INGREDIENTS IN ALL BALMS:

Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil – an excellent carrier for other oils, it is extremely effective on dry, chapped skin. It is especially good for hands, elbows, knees and feet. Nourishing and softening, it provides excellent protection from weather and water. Quickly absorbed by the skin it also helps regulate sebum production.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil – a good emollient, easily absorbed it leaves the skin smooth and nourished. It is odourless and colourless and won’t stain linen or towels during massage. It is naturally antibacterial and antifungal and can penetrate hair better than other oils.

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax – a skin conditioning and protecting agent with high antioxidant properties. Provides a protective, non-comedogenic barrier. It is not hydrogenated, is Ecocert, Cosmos approved and vegan friendly.

Tocopherol – natural Vitamin E, moisturising, easily absorbed, protects cell membranes from free radical damage.

Massage Balms – FAQ

Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms – the top five FAQ.

As massage and facial therapists, we all want our clients to have the best experience we can provide for them. In my treatment room, I use our award-winning aromatherapy massage balms, not only for their therapeutic benefits, but also to lift the quality of the experience for the client and add another dimension to their treatment.

Changing from your normal massage product can be a bit daunting, so we have compiled the most frequent questions we receive from massage therapists about the Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms.

We’d love you to try them for yourself – send us an email for our current prices and special offers!

1. What are they made from?

The four ingredients are Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Wax and natural Vitamin E. As a combination, these natural ingredients are moisturising, easily absorbed and protect cell membranes from free radical damage. They keep the product solid at room temperature and turn to liquid on contact with the skin. Each one also has its own special function – you can find out more about them HERE. To these, we add essentials oils, so each blend has a specific effect. We also leave one free from essential oils. The ingredients are completely natural, vegan, COSMOS-approved and cruelty-free.

2. Are they more expensive than oils?

Basic massage oils are made from a variety of base oils, such as grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, and fractionated coconut oil (meaning it’s refined so that it stays liquid at room temperature), all of which are relatively inexpensive. Many cheaper blends also contain artificial ingredients, such as ‘parfum’. Using liquid oils for massage can be very wasteful – the oil is left on the skin, on towels and clothing, and bottles are prone to spillage – so it’s difficult to compare prices weight-for-weight. Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms are similar in quality to Weleda, Aromatherapy Associates and Elemis products.

3. How many massages will I get from a 100g pot?

The Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms use unfractionated coconut oil and rice bran wax to give a product melts easily in contact with the skin and provides just the right amount of resistance and slippage. So you will use exactly the same amount of massage balm per massage as you do with an oil. However, unlike oils, you will use every gram from each pot for your massages – no spills or waste.

4. Are all the blends safe for pregnancy?

Used under proper dilution, and on an as-needed basis (rather than every day), most essential oils should not cause any problems during a healthy pregnancy, however it is always best to err on the side of caution.
• The Olive Oil Massage Balm is completely safe for use as it contains no essential oils at all.
• During pregnancy, use essential oils sparingly for health support, such as calming anxiety (Spike Lavender), relieving nausea (Ginger), or supporting sleep (Marjoram).
• Essential oils of Rosemary and Clary Sage are generally to be avoided during pregnancy, but could be helpful once labour has started, and only if all is well. We would encourage you to consult your doctor or midwife and discontinue use of the “to be avoided” essential oils.
• If you are a massage therapist and expecting a baby, you will need to consider how often you are using any products containing essential oils. The more you use, the more you absorb, so don’t use essential oils every day during pregnancy.

5. Can I use them all over the body?

The Lovegrove Essentials Massage Balms have been designed for use all over the body, including the scalp and hair, with the exception of the facial skin. We have conducted trials with therapists who have used the balms very successfully for treatments such as reflexology, and as cuticle softeners during hand and foot treatments. For facial massage we recommend our lighter Healing Touch Serum, which contains Argan oil, also useful for the scalp and hair.

 

Cider Poached pears with spices and toasted almonds

At the July residential yoga weekend, I wanted a dessert that would be light, yet full of flavour and would round off a fairly substantial meal without leaving guests with that “heavy” feeling. This was a huge hit, and I’m delighted that this recipe will be featured in the December issue of Bee Green Magazine, but just for subscribers. In the meantime, here’s a sneaky peek:

This is such an easy recipe to make. It would be a lovely way to end a meal with friends and it doubles (or triples!) up easily too. The orchard on the farm is full of pears, plums and apples right now, and I can’t wait to make the most of the season’s bounty at our next Yoga weekend in October. There are still places left, so if a weekend of yoga and delicious food in the depths of the Dorset countryside sound good, do get in touch.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 firm ripe pears (Conference pears work well)
500ml bottle cider (medium/dry)
50g demerara OR golden granulated/caster sugar OR Honey/Maple Syrup/Agave
1 cinnamon stick or 1tsp ground cinnamon
6 cardamom pods (swap for cloves, all spice or ground nutmeg for a more “festive” vibe)
1-2 tsp pink peppercorns
60g toasted, flaked almonds
Extra thick cream, greek yogurt or coconut yogurt, to serve.

Method
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks on and set aside. Place the cider, sugar and spices into a large saucepan with a lid, give it a good stir, then place the pears in and put the lid on. Simmer over a medium heat for around 20-30 minutes, or until a round bladed knife passes easily through the thickest part of the pear. Carefully, remove the pears from the poaching liquid using a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. Turn the heat up under the poaching liquid, and with the lid off, reduce until thickened and syrupy. Remove the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick but keep the peppercorns in. Put the pears into individual serving dishes, spoon over the syrup and sprinkle with toasted almonds then serve with a dollop of cream or your favourite yogurt or dairy-free alternative on the side.

 

PHOTO-2018-09-19-12-52-35

Summer Refresher

The weather this summer is very thirsty work, and with Wimbledon and the World Cup looming, we all need a thirst quencher to slake our thirst before we start the celebrations.

Whenever friends and family are around, I make this big Jug of Summer from the herbs outside the back door. I make it a few hours beforehand, or leave it overnight in the fridge, so the taste of the lemon balm and mint really does come through.

Put a large sprig of lemon balm and mint in a jug. (You could also use lemon grass.)

Fill two thirds with water.

Add 6-10 thin slices of cucumber, half a lemon (thinly sliced) and squeeze in the rest of the juice.

If you like a little sweetness add a dash of elderflower cordial.

Leave to steep for a few hours.

Top up with ice before serving.

And if you haven’t heard about the magical effects of cucumber water, may I present Macka B: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVfNrNcvlto

Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Last week we tried out our pasta machine (purchased from a charity shop over a year ago) for the first time, and made buckwheat pasta. It was a great success, and it was much easier than I thought it would be. We used two eggs, buckwheat flour and a little bit of water, then rolled it through the pasta machine in the usual way. After this, we left it to dry for about 5 mins, then rolled again through the spaghetti cutter, and blanched in boiling salted water for maybe 5-6 minutes. Then we rinsed it in cold water and drizzled olive oil over it and set aside to be heated in the pasta sauce, which I will get onto now. You can obviously just use normal dried pasta, as you probably have better things to do, especially on a weeknight. Also shop-bought dried egg-free pasta makes the dish vegan.

I’m not vegan, but I don’t eat meat or dairy, and I can’t eat wheat. I had been eating a lot of shirataki noodles and pasta, in order to keep my carb intake down, but because they come shrink-wrapped in plastic, we have decided to stop buying them and try to also reduce our plastic consumption. This sauce idea came to me after craving a creamy-tasting risotto. I thought I would experiment with trying to create a vegan version of a rich, Italian dish.

Ingredients:

Dried Porcini Mushrooms (I got these from Lidl), soaked in hot water for 40 mins

Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced

One Onion, finely chopped

Three garlic cloves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt

Olive Oil (or similar)

Splash of White Wine (optional)

The Mushroom Water (from the dried mushrooms)

200ml (ish) unsweetened Soya Milk

2 Tablespoons of Vegan Protein Powder

One Teaspoon of Gluten Free Flour (or similar)

 

Method:

Gently fry the onions until they are soft, and then add the garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes. Cook them on a medium heat and make sure you don’t let the garlic catch or burn. Once they have softened, remove them from the pan and put them to one side.

Using the same pan, fry the chestnut mushrooms in a little more oil or vegan butter, with the salt and pepper (to taste) until they have a nice golden brown colour to them. Set these aside with the onion and garlic while you prepare the rest of the sauce.

In a jug, mix together the soya milk, protein powder, flour, white wine and some of mushroom water (about 100ml but make sure it’s not hot). Beat the mixture until it’ is smooth with no lumps, then heat the mixture in the frying pan and whisk it gently as it heats. It should start to thicken into a creamy-looking sauce. Once it has started to thicken, add in the cooked mushrooms, the softened porcini mushrooms, and the onion and garlic mixture, and continue to heat the sauce. Once you are happy with the texture (it will continue to thicken the more you heat it) then you can remove it from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Allow the pasta to heat up in the sauce before you serve it, and be sure to check the seasoning.

Serve on warm plates, with freshly chopped basil, more black pepper and truffle oil for extra flavour and richness.

 

HDB xx

 

Top 10 Reasons & 101 Foods for a Low-Carb Lifestyle.

The low-carb lifestyle is not just ‘another fad diet’. It’s a method of enjoying your food, staying healthy through your life, and eating in a way that supports your mental and physical well-being.  We all want to look and feel our best, and so much excellent research has been done now into this that we think it’s really important to understand a  bit about the science behind it.

And to help you make a start, here a list of 101 low-carb foods (approx – we haven’t counted!)

Top 10 reasons for low carb living:

1. The low-carb lifestyle.
First point, this isn’t about a ‘diet’ in the old, weight loss sense of the word. It’s about salmon-dish-food-meal-46239.jpegyour lifestyle choices. You can manage your health by keeping your carb intake at a sensible level, and manage your weight by reducing that a little further.

2. Eating low-carb foods reduces your appetite.
Because of its effects on blood sugar levels and therefore cravings, one of the best things about eating low-carb is that it leads to a natural reduction in your appetite. Gradually, your appetite tends to go down and you often end up eating much fewer calories without trying. To manage hunger pangs at key points in the day (11, 4 and pre-dinner snacks) we have developed some easy and quick little recipes for sweet and savoury stopgaps HERE.

3. Managing your weight with a low-carb lifestyle.
Studies show that people comsuming low-carb foods lose more weight, faster, than people restricting their fat intake… even when people are actively restricting calories. One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. Because they lower insulin levels, the kidneys start shedding excess sodium, leading to rapid weight loss in the first week or two (1, 2). In studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, the low-carbers sometimes lose 2-3 times as much weight, without being hungry (3, 4). (It’s true – we’ve been there!) So if you find you’re losing weight, add in a portion of healthier carbs when you have reached your goal weight.

4. A low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and tdiabetes-blood-sugar-diabetic-medicine-46173.jpegype 2 diabetes.
A large percentage of the fat lost on low-carb diets tends to come from the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that is known to cause serious metabolic problems. We have both subcutaneous fat (under the skin), and visceral fat (in the abdominal cavity). It this visceral fat is fat that tends to lodge around the organs and can cause serious problems. Having a lot of fat in the abdominal cavity can trigger inflammation, which leads to and exacerbates all kinds of ailments. It also increases insulin resistance, believed to be a leading driver of the metabolic dysfunction that is so common in Western countries today (5). So a low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

5. The low-carb lifestyle is better for your heart, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A low-carb lifestyle is very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood and a well-known risk factor for heart disease. It will also increase the levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein), one of the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol away from the body and into the liver, where it can be reused or excreted. The Triglycerides:HDL ratio is another very strong predictor of heart disease risk. By lowering triglycerides and raising HDL levels, low-carb diets lead to a major improvement in this ratio. (6, 7, 8).

pexels-photo-220723.jpeg

6. And has a tendency to lower blood pressure.
Having elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is an important risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Studies show that reducing carbs leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of many common diseases.

7. The effects of low-carb on Type 2 Diabetes is amazing!
When we eat carbs, they are broken down into simple sugars (mostly glucose) in the digestive tract. From there, they enter the bloodstream and elevate blood sugar levels. Because high blood sugars are toxic, the body responds with a hormone called insulin, which tells the cells to bring the glucose into the cells and to start burning or storing it. For people who are insulin-resistant this can lead to Type 2 diabetes, when the body fails to secrete enough insulin to lower the blood sugar after meals. By cutting carbohydrates, you remove the need for all of that insulin – both blood sugars and insulin go way down (9, 10).
According to Dr. Eric Westman, who has treated many diabetics using a low-carb approach, he needs to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% on the first day (11).
In one study in type 2 diabetics, 95.2% had managed to reduce or eliminate their glucose-lowering medication within 6 months (12).
***If you are currently on blood sugar lowering medication, then talk to your doctor before making changes to your carbohydrate intake, because your dosage may need to be adjusted in order to prevent hypoglycaemia.***

8. It can help Metabolic Syndrome.
The metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar levels
  • High triglycerides
  • Low HDL levels

Amazingly, all five symptoms improve dramatically on a low-carb diet (13). Unfortunately, the government and major health organization still recommend a low-fat diet for this purpose, which is pretty much useless because it does nothing to address the underlying metabolic problem.

9. Low-Carb Diets Improve The Pattern of LDL Cholesterol.
Scientists have now shown that it is the type of LDL that matters. Low-density lipoproteins, often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, are not all equal. It is the size of the particles that is important.

  • Mostly small particles = high risk of heart disease.
  • Mostly large particles = low risk of heart disease (14).

When you eat a low-carb diet, your LDL particles change from small (bad) LDL to large LDL – which is benign. Cutting carbs may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream. Who knew?!

headache-pain-pills-medication-159211.jpeg

10. Several Brain Disorders respond well to the low-carb lifestyle.
We need a quick recap of the Ketogenic diet here:
Glucose is necessary for the brain and that’s why the liver produces glucose out of protein if we don’t eat any carbs. But a large part of the brain can also burn ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carbohydrate intake is very low. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment (15). Very low-carb/ketogenic diets are now being studied for other brain disorders as well, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (16).

Few things are as well established in nutrition science as the immense health benefits of a low-carb lifestyle. Which makes it even more amazing that we can still find sweets at the checkout, fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate in vending machines in sports halls, hospitals, schools, blah blah blah! After 40 years preaching this I feel like a stuck record…..

Print out this list of 101 low-carb foods and get going. What have you got to lose?

This is a synopsis of the article written by Kris Gunnars BSc for www.healthline.com. (For more information and some of the research, click on the hyperlinks.)
For more excellent medical information, visit http://thenoakesfoundation.org
For help with diet and recipes, see https://www.dietdoctor.com

 

Detox your skin… Before January!

d3b177_a38b24c6323f40fcb0658d45f1c440b7~mv2It’s all very well waiting until the new year to start taking better care of yourself, and indeed it is the season to indulge. Remembering to take care of yourself in between all the parties doesn’t have to take up too much of your time, and will make all the difference in how you view yourself come January.

In summer we take extra care in protecting our skin with SPF and aftersun, but very often similar precautions are not taken during winter, unless you have very dry skin. The combination of cold weather (particularly cold at the moment!) and a few too many boozy nights out can have a drastic effect on your skin’s balance and lustre, leaving it a rather limp combination of dehydrated but still quite oily, with accentuated lines and wrinkles and the odd spot or blemish. Add to this the week long bender that is Christmas and New Year (enter goose fat roasties and daily cheeseboard) and by the time January comes around, you are ready for a three week juice cleanse and a week-long stint in a Harley Street Clinic.

All this got me thinking about which products I would recommend for this busy time, and so I decided to launch our newest addition to the Lovegrove Essentials range before Christmas. May I present the Clean & Natural Kit – a travel sized companion that will keep all skin types clean, balanced and hydrated throughout the party season. It contains one of my favourite things in the world. A clay mask. But not your average clay mask, as many can be very drying, particularly if dryness is already an issue for you.

facemask.jpg

The Aromatic Face Mask from Lovegrove Essentials (previously only available in the professional range) contains coconut oil, which is blended into the Kaolin and Bentonite Clay base by hand, helping to stop the dry, cracking feeling that clay can often cause. The essential oils are Geranium (nature’s balancer, will detox even the most congested skin), Sweet Orange (deeply cleansing and brightening, lots of Vitamin C) and Neroli (great for regeneration at cellular level, antioxidant and reduces inflammation). As well as the powerful skincare benefits of this blend, the heavenly fragrance will soothe and relax you in the evening, promoting restful sleep. If you used this once a week during December, taking one night off just for yourself, you’d wake feeling refreshed and energised, and totally ready for the next Christmas drinks party. We’ve included a mask brush (cruelty-free, of course) for super-easy application, and a soft cloth to remove it.

Clean & Nat - Bright

The other product in the kit is the ever popular, multi award-winning Cleansing Balm – a hydrating and luxurious blend of rice bran wax (vegan), Shea butter, Sweet Almond and Apricot Kernel Oils. It melts to a liquid at body temperature, allowing you to perform a little massage when cleansing. This will boost the circulation in your face, reducing puffiness and softening lines and wrinkles. It removes all forms of make-up, and comes off easily with the muslin cloth that’s also included with the kit.

 

So if you, like me, have not much self control (and several birthdays in the run up to Christmas, including my own), combat hangover skin with the Clean & Natural Kit. Take at least one night off each week, catch up on sleep and look after yourself. Your skin and your body will thank you! Read Hannah’s PRE-SOLUTIONS too, and make January that little bit easier…

The Clean & Natural Kit is available on the Lovegrove Essentials website at £34.95 plus postage.