There’s a magical place I’d like to visit called the Isle of Skye. Forget for a minute the magnificent landscapes and the accolades it has amassed for its beauty (the National Geographic just called it the ‘4th best island in the world’), for I am enchanted not by the island itself, but by its inhabitants. More specifically, I am enchanted by one inhabitant in particular: Vicky Ewbank.
Co-founder of the excellent skincare range Live Native, Vicky’s raw-food vegan diet served to provide inspiration for the skincare range. But it isn’t only Vicky’s products that are exceptional. On each occasion I’ve had to speak with Vicky I find myself a little entranced by her – she is passionate, well-informed, kind.
Here is what she had to say about Live Native and living well //
“Live Native is one of the world’s first ranges of living (or raw) skincare. Living skincare uses only plant based ingredients harvested fresh from the earth, the forest and the ocean (that have been grown organically without the use of petrochemical fertilizers or pesticides), Living Skincare goes beyond organic. There is a simple but fundamental difference: it isn’t cooked. This ensures they contain the highest levels of minerals and antioxidants, essential fatty acids and immune-stimulating polysaccharides. Most important of all, ingredients are harvested and processed in such a way as to retain the enzymatic activity inherent in the living plant and essential for the vitality of our skin.
The fundamental difference between Live Native and almost every other brand of skincare available today lies in the preparation. From the raw ingredients to the finished product we use only premium cold-pressed and unpasteurised ingredients, which we then blend fresh at low temperatures. When you heat ingredients much above your own body temperature you create chemical changes which are often irreversible.
Cooking depletes enzymes, vitamins and minerals, whilst creating new and undesirable compounds such as trans-fats and acrylamides. Oils especially are very sensitive to heat, and can easily be damaged. When heated, polyunsaturated oils such as Grapeseed or Hemp oil can oxidise, and become a dangerous source of skin ageing trans-fats and free radicals. Our heat-free raw-blending ensures that nature’s store of naturally occurring enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, essential fatty acid’s and bio-active plant phytochemicals remain intact. In addition we try to only use ingredients that are safe enough to eat, and the result is true nourishment for your skin with instantly visible results.
My journey began with a near life-long interest in nutrition. I have been vegetarian, then vegan, and finally a ‘raw-vegan’ as of 9 years ago. When I became a raw vegan I realised there wasn’t much choice in ‘living skin foods’. In fact, there were none at the time. So, I used my knowledge of plants and herbs gained from years of working as a health practitioner and began to make my own SkinFoods from the highest quality, living and organic ingredients I could find. It was after using my own moisturisers for a couple of years and feeling how nourished and healthy my own skin had become that Ian and I decided to set up Live Native, and we officially launched in April 2008.
It is so important to always read the label. This goes for everything including food, household cleansers, and beauty products. It is amazing how even the most natural looking product can be packed with petrochemicals, carcinogens, irritants and hormone disruptors. If you don’t recognise any of the ingredients of a product you probably don’t want it in your home, and when you become conscious of just what these ingredients are in the products you are eating/using, chances are you will be drawn to making healthier choices
Make changes when you are ready to make them, not because you are being influenced by others (although there’s nothing wrong with good influences!). Meet positive people who have made the change in their life that you wish for in yours and try to understand yourself – some people are very ‘all or nothing’, but most do better with gradual change. To apply this to diet, you could eat one raw meal per day, or change your chocolate bar for a raw chocolate bar. Change doesn’t always have to be painful, so remember to be gentle to yourself. When implementing changes be prepared and plan ahead – it’s the best way to not come unstuck, especially when you are new to a raw or vegan diet.
For human kind to have a future on this planet at all we need to move forward in a sustainable and ethical way. The earth will survive, even if we do our very worst, but the truth is that we probably wont! If we are to live healthy and happy lives we need to be in harmony with our eco system. In the same way that we need to balance the ecology of our bodies by consuming only what we need and no more, to keep our blood alkaline and oxygenated, and to aid elimination of our waste rather than drowning our cells in it and creating disease, we need to do the same for our environment. A choked and polluted river cannot support life and chemicals that kill other organisms are toxic for us too. Air that is full of benzene, seas filled with mercury, rivers poisoned with phthalates, global warming accelerated by intensive farming producing methane all create cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This unhealthy reality needs to change – consciousness is the only healthy way forward.
Vegan skincare is not only cruelty free but has a lighter burden on earth’s resources to produce. It uses less energy and less water. Growing ingredients organically and biodynamically is not only better for the planet but better for your skin too. There are higher levels of nutrients in organic foods and herbs than in non-organic. Raw-fooders find they eat less food over time, as higher mineral and nutrient levels in the raw food means you are satisfied with less. Higher nutrient levels in skincare leads to healthier skin, better able to protect itself from the elements with the result that it ages more gracefully.
In addition to our range of living skincare we have also designed holistic spa and salon treatments that are available in the UK and Europe. It is our intention to bring more of my background in holistic health into play and in the future I would love to open a retreat where we offer not only food for the skin but for the body and soul too!”