Woodford Files – March 2003

Here comes spring and with it the casting off of winter wraps to reveal our fleshy underbellies, those rotundities which have likely spent the long dark winter months stuffed with rich comfort foods. For many, these dense foods have congested the liver and lymphatics, leaving us depressed, sluggish, and mentally heavy. But with our passage from hibernation into spring, we sense a need to lighten up, both mentally and physically, and refresh body and soul with herbs, green foods, and long walks in the fresh air.

I like reishi mushroom tincture as a spring tonic for kidneys and immune defence against spring colds. It tastes awful, so is best added to juice, a couple dropperfuls a day. And superfoods such as greens+ or Pure Synergy are a lovely addition to the spring diet. Taken in the morning in water or juice, these green powders nourish the liver, clean the blood, move the bowels and add extra zip to your step.

With the emerging energy of spring, sap rises in the trees and chi rises in the liver and all the humours of the body undergo a sort of quickening. If the body is burdened with winter sludge, nature’s spring thrust will try to push it out through the organs and skin and bowels. So the best thing we can do is lend a hand by greening up our diet, adding more bitter herbs, and thinking raw. Check out Michael Vertolli’s Spring Detox story in this issue for more clues on the science of shedding cellular waste.

As the subject of our food feature by Habeeb Salloum this month, Tahini is a luscious accompaniment to all kinds of raw vegetables, making them sing with flavours of the Middle East.

The hair dye story by Geoff Tarbat in this issue turned out to be a real eye opener for us, bringing into focus the hazards of dousing our heads in chemicals on a regular basis. It’s a bit scary. But with those ubiquitous little grey hairs peeking up from our scalps, what are we to do? Store bought hair dyes are governed by legislation requiring full ingredient disclosure on the labels, allowing for informed choice. Hair salons, on the other hand, appear to be exempt from such disclosures, leaving both salon staff and consumers in the dark. When we contacted the Aveda Corporation for disclosure of specific ingredients in their permanent hair dyes, both Geoff and myself were given a runaround — nobody from Aveda headquarters returned our calls. This I would expect from purveyors of standard commercial dyes, but not from a company which has built its reputation on the naturalness and purity of its products. I was truly puzzled at the degree of unresponsiveness of Aveda’s media PR people.

Fortunately, the staff at Aveda’s salons were more helpful. As part of the research for the hair dye story I went to Vescada, an Aveda concept salon, to get my own hair cut and dyed, and found the staff to be quite delightful. They answered most of my questions, patiently posed for pictures, and in general gave me the best salon experience I’ve ever had. Furthermore, the Aveda hair dye didn’t burn my scalp, as had the dye in another salon I visited several months prior. The only question Vescada staff couldn’t answer was what, exactly, is in the dyes. Geoff did finally get an answer from a senior colourist at another Aveda concept salon, and so we were able to complete the story. But it does beg the question — if a company builds its reputation on the integrity of its product lines, does it owe the consumer complete disclosure of ingredients? I’d like to think so.

Julia Woodford, Editor ~ Vitality Magazine

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