The first time I have been using a Konjac sponge was an amazing experience. It made me want to have it in our ekoko assortment. But it took us some time honestly to find the right source for the right (best) quality and price. But now we are happy to introduce it and let you share the great effects from this natural source.
The Amorphophallus Konjac, also known as Konnyaku, is a typical Asian vegetable. It’s origin is to believed the Indochinese region and has been introduced to Japan by Chinese merchants. The Japanese then started using it over 1500 years ago as a traditional healthy food. Besides 97% water the main ingredient is Glucomannan, a calory-free dietary fiber rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, D and E), protein, lipids, fatty acids and natural minerals like copper, zinc, iron and magnesium. That makes it also excellent for use in skin care. The Japanese discovered that already 100 years ago.
The Konnyakku is growing in highlands like in the picture. Not the plant itself or the flower is used for the sponge but the root.
The modern and clean way of producing the sponges is adding water to Konjac root powder and make a paste of it. Then adding calcium hydroxide. This paste is then poured in moulds and heated to become solid. They are slowly dried in frozen condition to evaporate water and alkaline. That is the last step of the process before they are packed in clean bags.
Now it is time to share my experience even before we decided to get it in our assortment. A friend from Europe had given it to me because she was ridiculously enthusiastic and said it would be a great thing for us to offer. My first reaction was that it felt like a hard black stone almost. But she explained it. First you need to soak it in water and then the sponge becomes soft and almost twice as big. Push the water out but don’t twist or squeeze the sponge.
Time to start cleaning my face.
That was some experience, it felt a bit strange because of the texture but also very soft and light exfoliating. You feel that something is happening with your skin but much softer then scrub, a brush, loofah or so. It is so soft that I even cleaned my eyes with it in a most comfortable way. It was special en somehow you have the feeling that you did not feel it but it really worked!!
After use it is needed to clean the sponge with water en dry it again, best in the wind. You also can put it in the cooler to keep it well. Always use it gentle and not in a rough way to use it for a longer time. The thing I did not understand at first was that you do not need to use a special cleanser for your face with this puff. A little bit of all-natural soap or even no soap at all will do the job.
So if you want to become a part of the fast growing global ‘konjac-using-community’ then order yours here to make your skin look beter then ever. After use just put it back in nature, it is 100% natural, save for the environment and biodegradable.
Almost forget to mention; my husband now also uses it after shaving and loves it! And I do as well...
* This is a updated version from our original blog published on 10-05-2018
Chúng tôi sẽ chia sẻ những bí quyết hàng đầu để giữ cho bạn một làn da luôn tươi khoẻ trong suốt mùa hè. Đối với các vùng có nền nhiệt cao hơn, việc chăm sóc da càng trở nên được chú trọng hơn bao giờ hết, mặc dù vậy phương pháp để chăm sóc da có thể đơn giản hơn bạn nghĩ. Cùng bắt đầu nhé!
At the checkout of a supermarket, the young cashier suggests that from now on I will bring my own shopping bag instead of using a plastic bag. ‘Because plastic bags are not good for the environment’ she says.
I apologize and explain to her: "We didn't have that environmental green thinking when I was young!"
The cashier replies: 'Yes, and that is precisely OUR PROBLEM today: YOUR generation was not worried about saving the environment for future generations!'
I felt offended and at the same time thought she's right, our generation didn't have that 'green thing' in our days.
We used to have milk in glass bottles, soft drinks in glass bottles and beer in bottles, which we brought back to the store empty and rinsed. The store then sended it back to the supplier/factory and in the factory these bottles were sterilized and refilled. We really did recycling.
But we forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
We walked stairs because we did not have escalators and lifts in every building.
We walked to the stores and didn't put ourselves in a 200 HP car every time, if we had to be 2 blocks away.
But she is right: we forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
Baby diapers went into the hot laundry because disposable diapers did not exist.
We dried our clothes on the line and not in an energy-wasting machine that uses 220 volts continuously. Wind and sun energy really dried our clothes - in the old days, in our days.
Children wore the discards of older brothers and sisters and did not receive brand new clothes.
But the young lady is right! We forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
At that time we had - perhaps - one TV or radio in the house and not one in every room. The TV had a small screen and not a screen the size of a room wall looking like a cinema.
In the kitchen, dishes were mixed and stirred by hand because we had no electrical devices that did everything for us.
If we had to send a fragile object by post, we would pack it in an old newspaper for protection and not in styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
We worked out by working, so we didn't have to go to a fitness club to run on rotating treadmills that run on electricity.
But she's right. We forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
We drank water from the tap when we were thirsty, instead of from a plastic bottle, which is thrown away after that. We filled our pens ourselves with ink instead of buying a new pen every time.
We replaced the blades of a razor instead of throwing away the whole thing just because the blade is blunt.
But, We forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
People took the train or a bus and children walked or cycled to school instead of using their mother or father as a 24-hour taxi service.
We had 1 electricity outlet per room and not a whole arsenal of sockets and extension cords to power a dozen devices.
And we didn't need automated gadgets to pick up a signal from a satellite that was hanging 2,000 miles away in space so that we could connect with others to find out where the nearest good restaurant place is.
We drank coffee or tea from a cup that was cleaned afterwards instead of going to the coffeeshop and have it from a plastic or paper cup with plastic straws.
Yes she's right. We forgot about it because we didn't do that 'green thing' at the time!
But isn't it in-and-in sad that the younger generation is commenting about how wasteful we 'older people' were, simply because we didn't have the environmental awareness on a large scale in our time?
I too am such an ‘older’ person, who is (not) waiting for a lesson in the preservation of mother earth, taught by ‘younger’ people of this time.
Valentine's Day is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends and spend special time together to honour their love for each other.
The history of Valentine's day
Valentine's day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd century. Many stories have been told about St Valentine and over time these stories grew into the legend we know today.
At the time of Valentine's life, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the Emperor Claudius II was a pagan and created strict laws about what Christians were allowed to do. Claudius believed that Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome and therefore passed a law preventing them from marrying. St Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret christian ceremonies and this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love.
Eventually, Valentine was found out and jailed for his crimes against Claudius. While imprisoned, Valentine cared for his fellow prisoners and also his jailor's blind daughter. Legend has it that Valentine cured the girl's blindness and that his final act before being executed was to write her a love message signed ‘from your Valentine'. Valentine was executed on 14 February in the year 270.
How did Valentine's day develop?
It wasn't until more than 200 years later that 14 February was proclaimed St Valentine's Day. By this time Rome had become christian and the catholic church was determined to stamp out any remaining paganism. A pagan fertility ritual was held in February each year and the Pope abolished this festival and proclaimed 14 February Saint Valentine's day, thus establishing this feast day on the catholic calendar of saints.
The poet Chaucer in the middle ages was the first to link St Valentine with romantic love. This was the beginning of the tradition of courtly love, a ritual of expressing love and admiration, usually in secret. This custom spread throughout Europe and stories grew about a high court of love where female judges would rule on issues related to love on 14 February each year. Historians believe that these meetings were in fact gatherings where people read love poetry and played games of flirtation.
Valentine's day symbols
The practice of sending love messages developed into people sending special cards expressing their affection. These cards were beautiful creations handmade by the sender and individually designed to show how much they loved the recipient. Cards would usually contain sentimental verse, proclaiming the beauty of the receiver and how much they were loved.
Saint Valentine's day cards were decorated with pictures of cupid, hearts and flowers and trimmed with lace and ribbon.
No need to say that of course this was something reserved for the well-off people, poor people did not even have knowledge of such a thing, let be the means.
Valentine's day in contemporary times
While Valentine's day is celebrated in many countries, different cultures have developed their own traditions for this festival. In some parts of the world Valentine's day is observed as a day for expressing love between family members and friends, rather than that of romantic couples. Some traditions include leaving lollypops and gifts for children and others include acts of appreciation between friends.
Valentine's day is most commonly associated with romantic love, with millions of Valentine's day cards being exchanged, social media posts and questions and more each year. Gifts of flowers or a single red rose are sent with romantic messages to loved ones and couples spend special time together.
Many couples choose to celebrate Valentine's day with dinner, a picnic or special home-cooked meal. Marriage proposals are also popular on Valentine's day, and it is often chosen as the perfect day to express their love and commitment. Some marriage proposals are delivered very creatively, such as after climbing to the top of a mountain, or posting a message on a billboard. Whatever the method, marriage proposals made on Valentine's day are generally romantic and will be remembered.
Remains only one very important question: should not every day be like Valentine’s day, no need for special gifts but just be special to the one(s) you love?
When you are choosing toothpaste, do you know if you should buy one with or without fluoride? For example children under 3 years of age should not use toothpaste with fluoride and children under 6 years old should not use adult toothpaste.
To much or to little Fluoride (referred to as F) affects the teeth and the skeletal system.
Too little Fluor can create poor enamel, easy pitting and cavities. Too much fluor will cause cloudy enamel, white spots, yellow spots on the teeth and overall weakening. Excess Fluor in the body can also impair the functioning of the thyroid gland, causing brain damage, and the birth of children with "down" syndrome in women. Scary huh?
So how much is enough? According to water standards, Fluoride would be best within 0.7 to 1.5 mg / lt. But in nature, there are areas where the content in water is to low. Not far away, but right here in Vietnam. Several studies have shown that in Vietnam there are very poor areas of fluoride in the water such as the Mekong Delta and Hanoi. Initial analysis of some water sources in Cuu Long Delta shows that the fluoride content is very poor, below the level of hygienic safety, the average content is only about 0.02 - 0.6 mg / lt. In areas that have a content of fluoride in the water below 0.1 mg / lt, there is a potential risk of fluoride deficiency in the environment.
Fluoride content in natural water sources in Hanoi is also very low, only about 0.1 - 0.3 mg / lt. Meanwhile, some localities related to fluoride poisoning in the recent South Central provinces have been noticed. These areas are scattered in Phu Yen and abundant in Khanh Hoa (Cam Ranh, Ban Ninh, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Vinh ...), there are villages called 'no smiles' due to broken teeth as a result of too much fluoride in the water, with a ratio from 1.8 mg - 9.4 mg per liter!
Fluoride in the environment, natural born and man-made (mostly natural sources, through hydrothermal geological processes involving magma rocks, ancient and modern volcanic activity, movements of groundwater and alkaline hot mineral water, weathering on rocks and mines containing fluor). The wells near Apatite mine are particularly at risk of excess fluoride. Adding fluoride is much easier than removing fluoride from water.
Now that you are a bit more aware of the presence and important influence of fluoride in life, the question is how much is suitable for your age and environment.
Fluoride is absorbed in small amounts into the body through the food chain, but mostly through water. For Fluoride-deficient areas, this micronutrient supplement becomes important to address tooth decay. The idea of adding calcium fluoride to toothpaste types was therefore started in the 1890’s. Over the years, studies have helped fluoride toothpaste to become popular and bring remarkable effects. For adult toothpaste, the maximum F ratio is 1500 ppm
Children toothpaste (over 3 years old), the rate of fluoride should be in the range of 200-450 ppm, do not let children use adult toothpaste for a long time, because there will be excess fluoride that can damage children's teeth. For the situations with an excess of fluoride as mentioned above, you should not ‘put oil on the fire’ by using fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Perhaps over 90% of Vietnamese consumers do not pay attention to the YES / or NO question of fluoride in the toothpaste they usually buy, and if you have children, you probably do not pay much attention to how much is suitable for kids age.
Hopefully this short article will help you to choose the best toothpaste for your family. A great choice are DENTTABS where you can choose with or without fluoride. Besides that they are absolutely natural and give many more benefits and without fluoride they are also suitable for kids under the age of 6 years.
Everyone knows and loves lavender! It’s been widely used for centuries and is probably the best-known beauty herb on the skincare market. Lavender is included in soaps, creams, lotions, scrubs, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes, toners and cleansers. So what makes this herb so perfect for our skin?
Perfect skincare herb in your garden.
If you’ve ever want to grow cosmetic herbs in your garden, start with lavender. It is perennial (which means it regrows every year), some varieties can be quite hardy (check the recommendations for your local growing conditions) and there are almost 40 different varieties to choose from!
In some parts of the world, lavender is grown in huge fields and then harvested for its essential oil. Its flowering tops are steam distilled to yield the small bottles of fragrant essential oil that you can so easily find in shops everywhere. It is considered one of the safest essential oils you can get, although some people are still sensitive to some of the chemical compounds in the oil itself.
Lavender’s uses in history
The use of lavender dates back thousands of years. In Roman times the flowers were added to baths. In fact, this is where lavender gets its name – from the Roman word lavare, which means ‘to wash’. Over the centuries lavender was also used as a fragrance, as a smoking mix and even for mummification purposes!
Lavender has a beautiful scent and is thought to be very calming to the nerves. It is often recommended that you put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow or that you place a sachet of dried lavender under your pillow to help you sleep at night. (our eye pillow is also great for that). But its properties go further than that.
A French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé spent much of his time researching essential oils and was consequently the first man to coin the term ‘aromatherapy’. In 1910 he suffered bad burns after an explosion occurred in his laboratory. After trying conventional medical treatments, as a last resort he treated his burns with lavender essential oil. The burns healed quickly and left minimal scarring, demonstrating lavender’s antiseptic and healing properties.
Lavender – the anti-aging herb
Lavender is also having properties like being anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, balancing, energising, soothing, healing, toning and stimulating. There doesn’t seem to be much that lavender cannot do for you. It is one of the only essential oils that aromatherapists recommend you can use neat on your skin to treat minor burns and wounds.
It works well on all skin types and is effective in treating oily skin as well as acne, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Lavender is thought to stimulate cellular growth and regeneration in the skin by helping your upper layer of skin rejuvenate itself.
I would always recommend having a lavender plant somewhere in your garden. Not only will the insects thank you for it and will it make your garden smell gorgeous, but you then also have a fantastic skincare herb at your disposal. When the flowers are blooming in late summer, cut yourself some bunches of lavender and dry them. You will always find a use for lavender somewhere in your house.
Unfortunately our climate here in Vietnam is not very suitable to grow lavender. It’s not impossible but it is a hard job to get it right.
No worries anyway, you can set your expectations high and look for ekoko’s lavender products, they contain the best quality lavender oils and flower buds. It will certainly satisfy your needs.
As I am a Dutch citizen but living here in Vietnam throughout the years I have seen Christmas developing and with that Santa Claus. This year more then ever we can face all celebrations and decorations just looking around. So I thought it might be good to tell the story of Santa Claus. It starts a long time ago.
The story of Saint Nicholas
Sint Nicolaas is called Sinterklaas in the Netherlands and Belgium. Who was that good "Saint" anyway? Saint Nicholas was born in 270 in Patara - Lycia in the Eastern Roman Empire, which is now in Antalya in Turkey. When he was nineteen, he became a priest. He died on December 6, 342. In the Netherlands and Belgium it is claimed that Santa Claus comes from Spain. This is probably because his skeleton was transferred to Italy centuries later after his death. This place was in Spanish hands for a long time. In many other countries in Europe the children's festival of St Nicholas is also celebrated, but the interpretation of the folklore varies by country and region.
Saint Nicholas was a bishop and performed many miracles. He helped people survive if they were poor. He did this by throwing food and gems into the houses. Because St. Nicholas has caused many miracles during his life, he has been declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In the 13th century his name day was set on December 6. On December 5, people are celebrating his "birthday" to commemorate the good man. He does not receive presents, but, as a good saint should, he gives them away.
Because the Saint was declared saint, many legends went around. The following story has left many traditions, such as sprinkling the candy and giving the unexpected, also the golden chocolate coins come from here.
A nobleman from Myra was so poor that he could no longer pay a dowry for his three daughters. And where there is no dowry, there are no men to marry. The girls threatened to remain unmarried and worse: the girls would have to rely on prostitution for their support. Then Bishop Nicholas decided to intervene. At night, he went to the poor girls' house with the light of the moon. He threw coins in several times until there was enough money for a dowry for the three girls.
In ancient times the god Wodan was a kind of Sinterklaas. Wodan was "transformed" into Saint Nicholas by the Catholic Church. This, because the church of Rome could not get the image of Wodan out of mind with the believers. The church managed to reverse the image by giving Wodan a "facelift": with a bishop's coat over his hairy skin and a miter on his head. Instead of a lightning bolt, Wodan's replacement was given a staff with a curvature at the top. The black horse became a brite white horse. His name became Saint Nicholas and he was declared a child friend.
Sinterklaas has helpers called Petes and they are always with him. There is no clarity about the origin of the Petes. But it is probably an Ethiopian orphan who stayed with the Saint as a thank you. The miter probably originated from an Eastern head covering "a Phrygian cap" that is normally only worn by the pope. Sinterklaas always walks over the roof at night. This is because he does not want to be seen. This way, he and his employee Pete can throw all the presents through the chimneys.
The story of Santa Claus
The American Santa Claus is actually the same as Saint Nicholas in Western Europe. Santa Claus has the same character as Saint Nicholas. Only now he is a happy old elf who moves on a sleigh pulled by eight reindeers. This sled is full of presents, such as toys. "Santa Claus" also has a bag full of presents, just like Sinterklaas. He slides through the air from chimney to chimney with his sled. He descends down the chimney to fill the children's socks. In Scandinavia there is a similar person: the Joelman. This also uses a sleigh with reindeer in front. He brings fertility and gifts.
Santa Claus originated in the United States in 1626 when a Dutch ship arrived there with the figurehead "Sinter Claes". That is because Nicholas is the patron saint of seafarers. Those on board wanted to set up a colony, this colony became New Amsterdam: what is now New York. The sailors brought the Dutch customs with them and so a generous character was introduced to "the new world".
Santa Claus drinks Coca Cola
Santa was first presented as a scary person, but luckily he became more and more friendly over time. Because of Coca-Cola Santa Claus has really changed into a sweet and nice man. In 1931, Coca-Cola wanted to sell the sweet drink more to children. Due to the law that no advertising images were allowed with children in it, they had to find a way to reach their target group. Commissioned by Coca-Cola, Haddon Sundblom visualized a friendly Santa Claus. He drew a cheerful man in the well-known bright red suit and the white fur collar. The eight reindeers of Santa Claus all got a name in 1822: Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donner, Prancer and Vixen. But with reindeers, most people immediately think of Rudolf the red nose reindeer of the famous song. This Rudolf only came into the picture in 1939. Then Robert L. May created the ninth reindeer. Children look forward to Santa Claus every year because of the presents. These presents must be made and wrapped. This work is done by Santa's elves. These fairies live in his house and make presents for children in all countries throughout the year.
So there is a big similarity between Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) and Santa Claus: they actually originated from the same man: Nicholas of Myra.
If you picture the perfect toothbrush, what do you see? I think it is the commercial one with the toothbrush bristles covered in paste, forming the shape of a wave. The paste starts at the front of the bristles and ends at the back. It’s simply so much toothpaste.
But if you don’t know better you never think about how much toothpaste we are using. And we are not the only ones. Even if dentists recommend a pea-sized amount of toothpaste most people use a whole lot more. How commercials can influence behavior! Also if using a fluoride one kids under the age of 6 are using way too much toothpaste and get much more fluoride than is good for them.
It is not clear if kids and adults are just copying the commercials on TV or just using too much by accident (sometimes accidentally you squeeze out far to much and then just go with it? Not using it is waste, right?). But definitely it is a negative thing. For adults it is not such a big health risk since teeth and bones are already developed, but it is a major factor when it comes to sustainability.
Too much toothpaste is waste on waste. You don’t need that much, so you’re wasting the actual toothpaste. And then, of course, the faster you are finished with the toothpaste tube, the sooner you need a new one, sending the old tube straight to a landfill. Like so much in our society, toothpaste is generally used without much regard for whether or not it’s really needed, and then it’s simply thrown away.
You take only what you need, and don’t add unnecessary waste. The problem of too much toothpaste is solved with DENTTABS, one tablet at a time. Just the right amount, no more no less. You can start today to treat yourself and our planet with the right care!
Scientists all over the world are almost unanimous that our planet is facing a catastrophic climate crisis. While little things that we can do everyday are adding up and can make a difference we do need the ‘change-fighters’ to not only live by example but also to reconnect to the beauty of our planet and convince others that it really is almost closing time and we need law-enforcement to keep mother Earth open for life.
So when CHANGE contacted us we had no doubt that this is a good cause to be supported by Ekoko Vietnam. Little did we know at that moment……so let’s dive a bit into their history.
Miss Hong Hoang founded CHANGE in 2013. She has been the first Vietnamese to set foot on Antarctica in 1997. Her mission was and is ‘To promote and encourage the care and preservation of the environment through education and innovative communications that change habits and inspire community action in Vietnam’. Wow……that’s something else then the fashionable saying ‘zero waste’ People like Sir Richard Branson and Maggie Q by now are also engaged by her mission.
CHANGE now has become an incredibly active environmental non-profit organization based in Ho Chi Minh City. CHANGE promotes and encourages the care and preservation of the environment trough education and innovative communications that change habits and inspire community action in Vietnam. There are 3 focus area’s:
- Fighting environmental degradation and climate change
- Reducing illegal wildlife demands
- Promoting sustainability
As we are committed offering products that support keeping the environment vivid and clean we know that many are always looking at what is happening behind the horizon but lesser at our front door. Vietnam is our home right? So let’s get some figures out just to increase our awareness of what is happening and see where we are with our country Vietnam.
Our Planet Earth
July 2019 was the hottest Month on record in human history
Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last 40 years - One million species are being threatened
Air and water are polluted globally. Air pollution will take an estimated seven million lives in 2020, 1 out of 9 people globally lack access to safe water
Climate change will create world’s biggest refugee crisis: about 2 billion people may become displaced by 2100 due to extreme weather events
By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in oceans
Our HOME Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but it comes with ‘side effects’.
- Vietnam ranks SECOND on the list of illegal wildlife consumption, only after China
- Vietnam is the FOURTH worst polluter of ocean plastic waste
- Hanoi and HCMC are amongst cities with the worst air quality - in 2019 Hanoi topped the chart on many days
- Mekong delta is among the three deltas most threatened by sea level rise
Quite alarming all of this, isn’t it? But we just need to look around and we can see many of it. Personally I always take my bicycle to go somewhere. That has many advantages: stay fit, don’t co-pollute and slowing down makes you see more….more trash….more engines of cars and motorbikes running even at moments that they are just standing somewhere….so it needs vision and courage starting to change things.
The vision of CHANGE in the next decade looks like this:
- Vietnam is no longer the ‘leading market for illegal wildlife products’
- Hanoi and HCMC are out of the world’s top 30 most polluted cities
- Vietnam is no longer among the top 10 worst ocean polluters
- 20% of the population and 30% of businesses are aware and make practical behavior changes to reduce impacts on climate and environment.
The year 2023 will mark the 10-year anniversary of CHANGE and their goal is ‘to build the most powerful and engaging environmental action movement in Vietnam & engaging 2 million Vietnamese people’
And this is also where we come in and need your help to help CHANGE as well. All little things combined make a big thing. At ekoko you don’t find polluting packaging, single-use plastics are out and not to forget; no harsh ingredients in any of our products for daily use. Finally the ocean starts at the flush of your shower and kitchen sink.
Will you belong to the engaged 2 million people and help keeping us all alive? I sincerely hope so.