LIV­ING COL­UMN En­joy ev­ery mo­ment of your sum­mer safely and nat­u­rally.

Let’s make the most of those glo­ri­ous sunny days – safely and nat­u­rally

In the Moment - - Contents - Words: Janey Lee Grace / Illustration: Bene­dict Blyth

My pas­sion for all things nat­u­ral started, as it does for so many women, when I was preg­nant. As a self-con­fessed ca­reer girl singing in pop bands, I’ll ad­mit that it was a steep learn­ing curve. But my preg­nancy made me re­alise that I had to look af­ter my own body, co­or­di­nate a ‘build­ing project’ (the baby) and en­sure that I left a bit of the planet be­hind for them to en­joy. Fo­cus­ing on nat­u­ral health and well­be­ing be­came an im­por­tant part of this. I made it my busi­ness to seek out great nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives to just about ev­ery­thing. Back then, it felt a lit­tle like a lone cru­sade, but 11 years on, mil­len­ni­als are rock­ing the well­ness trend and I’m just as pas­sion­ate as I ever was about the holis­tic pic­ture.

I de­scribe my­self as be­ing im­per­fectly nat­u­ral – it’s im­por­tant for me to stress that I don’t get ev­ery­thing right and I don’t ex­pect any­one else to. I’m glad that I used that name for my rst book, Im­per­fectly Nat­u­ral Woman, be­cause oth­er­wise I’d prob­a­bly have found my­self un­der some scru­tiny as I nished o the kids’ sh ngers, or added an­other wine bot­tle to my re­cy­cling bin!

Sum­mer is one of the times when I didn’t al­ways get it right. When I was writ­ing my book, I was cov­ered up, sit­ting in the shade look­ing vam­pire-like and es­chew­ing all man­ner of sun­light. I’m fair-skinned and burn eas­ily, but it wasn’t un­til I re­alised just how low my vi­ta­min D lev­els were that I started do­ing a bit more re­search into the im­por­tance of get­ting some sun­shine.

It turns out there’s an epi­demic of vi­ta­min D de ciency, and health pro­fes­sion­als ev­ery­where are en­cour­ag­ing women to check their lev­els. There are even on­col­o­gists who claim that many breast cancer deaths could be saved if women had ad­e­quate vi­ta­min D. While sup­ple­ments can help, mak­ing the most of the sun’s rays is an­other way to boost your lev­els. So this sum­mer, I am re­form­ing my sunavoid­ing habit and get­ting my kit o (well, ex­pos­ing my arms and legs!) to soak up some long-over­due sun­shine. Of course, too much sun is also a bad thing – I al­ways head out­side armed with a big hat, para­sol and sun cream. But here’s an­other thing that I’ve learned: con­ven­tional sun creams, while e ec­tive at keep­ing your skin safe, also block out the bene ts of the sun’s rays and of­ten con­tain a whole raft of po­ten­tially toxic in­gre­di­ents. I’ve been try­ing out nat­u­ral sun creams in­stead – I love Shade, an all-nat­u­ral, non-toxic, SPF 25 sun­cream that con­tains only shea but­ter, beeswax, co­conut oil and zinc. It’s thicker and takes a lit­tle longer to ab­sorb than reg­u­lar creams, but you aren’t left with any white streaks once it’s all soaked in.

An­other favourite of mine is a fab­u­lous com­bined sun cream and in­sect re­pel­lent from Less Mos­quito, the cre­ators of the only in­sect re­pel­lent that ac­tu­ally works for me, Incog­nito. The fact is, I am oh-so-at­trac­tive – to mos­qui­toes. I used to think that hav­ing good lev­els of vi­ta­min B helped, but sadly de­spite eat­ing co­pi­ous amounts of Mar­mite and tak­ing sup­ple­ments, it didn’t deter them. I sug­gest avoid­ing con­ven­tional in­sect re­pel­lents; many con­tain DEET, which can be highly toxic. Incog­nito, and its sun cream sib­ling, makes you lit­er­ally in­vis­i­ble to mozzies. I took it on hol­i­day last year and it worked bril­liantly – I was dou­bly de­lighted be­cause as well as be­ing nat­u­ral, it’s proven to pro­tect against malaria.

You can also try ward­ing o in­sects with es­sen­tial oils. Get an empty spray bot­tle and half ll with ltered wa­ter, a tea­spoon of neem oil and a drop of vodka (to pre­serve), then add up to 100 drops of a mix of le­mon, eu­ca­lyp­tus or tea tree as re­pel­lents, as well as a few drops of laven­der oil, gera­nium, or rose­mary for a sweet scent.

So head out­side this sum­mer – with just a few small swaps you can en­joy the sun and look af­ter your body as well.

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