A clean way to spring clean for the upcoming Chinese New Year in Feb!

A clean way to spring clean for the upcoming Chinese New Year in Feb!

(By Angela)
Yet, do you know that common household cleaning products can contain unsafe ingredients that can cause problems in your health? Look out for these ingredients: 2-Butoxphenol, which can cause skin and eye irritations, phthalates (Synthetic fragrances) and synthetic colourant dyes which may cause cancer and other adverse health effects.

Household Cleaning Products Survey 2015 show that 70% of Singaporeans fail to look into green alternatives for household cleaning products.

As a tutor with a home-based business, I tend to cook a lot at home and do household chores myself.

Coming from a family of four, I do most of the dishwashing while my mum washes the clothes mostly.

I came across Biohome, a product range for green household cleaning purposes when I was shopping at Fairprice. These products are made from 100% plant based active ingredients and are therefore vegan by default. I tried the following three products-Dishwashing Detergent, Laundry Detergent and Floor Cleaner.

Dishwashing Detergent

I find that general dishwashing detergent happens to irritate my skin, and leave my hands greasy.

Random fact: Do you know that a hawker works from 5.20am to 11.00pm every day, serving 100 to 120 plates a day. And most hawkers wash the dishes by themselves. I observed that many of them have wrinkly hands and dry skin that get sensitive and red easily. I am actually afraid that I might develop hand wrinkles in the long run, with so much chemicals added to my hands every day.

The detergent is made of derived ingredients from coconut. I like that it removes grease from plates well without leaving any residue or grease. I just need a pump of detergent to clean a load of dishes. It also helps to save water due to its low foam formula. My hands feel soft and smooth,with a slight lemongrass and green tea fragrance, but the fragrance smells slightly chemical.

Laundry Detergent

Due to the rainy season, we sometimes take in clothes that are not completely dry because another round of laundry needs to be hung in the same spot. The clothes tend to smell bad and it is because fillers interact with the bacteria and moisture and cause bad odors.

But my mum found that there was no bad smell after leaving clothes in the open. Perhaps it is because this laundry detergent contains no fillers.

The laundry detergent cleans the clothes well using Plantmoist technology and comes with slight Hyacinth and Nectarine fragrance. The detergent is suitable for indoor drying as well.

The laundry detergent is very concentrated, so my mum just needs to use a little bit each time. My mum found lots of laundry suds with just a little bit of detergent and water.

Floor cleaner

The floor cleaner is also made from natural ingredients. It cleans the greasy floor of my kitchen well.

The floor also doesn’t feel sticky. It does not contain any wax though so don’t expect that your floor will look sparkly shiny. There is a slight lemongrass and green tea fragrance that still reminds me of chemicals. I love to lie on the clean, nice smelling floor and read books!

Summary – Angela’s thoughts:

I am overall satisfied with the green household cleaning products. Though they just contain natural ingredients, their cleaning power is still comparable to conventional cleaning products. The price is also quite affordable. The packaging also looks great. If you want a free trial of Biohome products, just head over to its Facebook page and send through your personal details.

SGVegan’s thoughts:

You can commonly find Bio-Home products in the major supermarkets in Singapore, such as the image below which I took in NTUC:

SGVegan_BioHomeNTUC

Do note that for the Delicate Bio-Home laundry detergent, it contains hydrolysed silk protein, which Bio-Home is only able to verify that the silk worms emerge hatched from the weaved silk cocoons (they eat their way out) but not of the hatched adult moth’s well-bring.

SGVegan has chosen not to review/use the delicate version as we know that usually such silk worms emerge with underdeveloped mouth parts and unable to fly (source).

Here is what Bio-Home has replied with regards to the use of this hydrolysed silk protein in their delicate  laundry detergent:

With regards to the process of drawing the silk protein, supplier has indicated that it is taken after the silkworm have morph into moth because they only need to extract the protein found in the silk by hydrolysing it unlike fabric manufacturer who needs pure and undamaged silk before silkworm turn into moth.

Therefore we do not harm the silkworm – clearly being a eco green brand, we have taken steps to ensure that does not happen. There are no other plant based compounds that has similar silk protein structure.

Why we use silk protein because it is a natural ingredient that is suitable for people with sensitive skin. With more exposure to chemicals on a daily basis (be it processed food, cleaning agent or simply the haze / air) more and more people are getting skin irritation and skin sensitivity.

Silk protein protects and retain moisture on the skin.

I personally find that when I use the regular laundry detergent, I need to use more and sun dry my clothes. Air drying in an enclosed area will lead to some clothes smelling bad. But otherwise, I really like the scent.

Like Angela mentioned, the floor cleaner also foams up really well. Just a tiny small amount in a large pail does the job when mopping.

With regards to the multi-purpose cleaning spray, I personally find that if I happen to take a whiff of the spray scent while spraying, I end up choking as the smell is really strong. So do be careful when using it.

Giveaway!

I have 2 sample bags from Bio-Home, each containing a small bottle of laundry detergent, floor cleaner, dishwashing liquid and multi-purpose cleaner.

SGVegan_Biohome sample bag

Follow SGVegan with your email address (top right of page) and comment on this post as to why you would like to win the Bio-Home sample bag.

Winners to be drawn on 24 January 2016, 2pm. All winners will be contacted and a meet-up will be arranged. 🙂

10 Tips For Hosting a Plant-based Dinner

10 Tips For Hosting a Plant-based Dinner

Hi everybody, I met Angela in 2013 and she interviewed me for her blog, Vegeasian sometime in December. I’ve reproduced the post here on SGVegan, so if you are interested you can check it out here. 🙂
Angela has been away from the SG veg scene for a year as she took up a job opportunity in China. She has since returned to Singapore. For those of you who have been following Vegeasian, Angela is putting that on hold for the moment. Please subscribe to SGVegan with your email address as Angela will be blogging on SGVegan for the time being as she sets up her English tutoring website, http://www.learnenglishfast.co.

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(Thanks Amanda for the opportunity to write in your really useful blog! )

A few months ago (actually more than that), I was invited by Amanda to cook a plant-based dinner for her and her bf. I had a few tuition assignments at hand but I said yes. All of us were busy, so I decided to just keep it simple. Granted, things are slightly easier for me because I blog about vegetarian/vegan food and I mostly cook at home (www.vegeasian.com). But don’t feel like you have to slather all your food in butter, salt and alcohol to make vegan food slightly palatable. Here are some tips I learnt from hosting a plant-based dinner.

SGVegan_dinner
Photo credit: Kevin Curtis. Source: unsplash.com
#1 When in doubt, just bake. Baked potatoes, Baked sweet potatoes. Baked asparagus. Baked anything sounds delicious. What I did was baked mushrooms with onions and vegan cheeze. (It’s easy to make, really. Recipe is available here. Just stab the potatoes/sweet potatoes/mushroom lightly a few more times to make sure the steam can escape.

#2 Anything with chocolate is a good combination. Just buy some fruit (Strawberries are a good choice) and melt some dairy-free chocolate in the oven. Dip the fruit in the chocolate. Dessert done.

#3 No time to cook? Find a local bakery and buy their vegan breads. Sunshine multigrain bread is a good vegan option. Amanda has also written a very useful article about some vegan bread options and you can read it here.

#4 Use vegetable broth. It adds a depth of flavour to everything, from stir-fries to soups to curries. It’s amazing how the basic ingredients- onions, celeries and carrots can produce such umami goodness. It’s all vegetables, not meat. It won’t take hours to cook. I promise. Cooking time- 20 minutes.

#5 Do some prep in advance. It pays in returns. When I first hosted the dinner, I just prepped on the day of dinner(So last minute, I know!) . We all cooked for about two hours in total, all hot and sweaty. We ravenously finished our dinner in 15 minutes. You don’t want that. What you want is to pop some prepped food in the oven, wait for 10-15 minutes and the guests eat in peace. And talk more important stuff.

SGVegan_candles
Photo credit: Chelsea Francis. Source: unsplash.com
#6 Use store-bought ice cream for a quick dessert. Brownice (www.brownice.com) (Sorry folks, only available in Singapore!), Rice Dream (www.tastethedream.com) or Coconut Bliss are all plant-based ice cream brands. But if you can’t find a dairy free ice cream near your house, don’t fret. Sorbets (not to be confused with sherbets, which contain cream) are also naturally dairy-free. Add some roasted chopped almonds, chocolate and/or cherries to your ice cream. Place the newly minted ice-cream in the freezer. Your friends will not hesitate to think it is homemade because you can’t buy it anywhere outside. But you don’t have to tell them the truth. Shh.

#7 Use quick blended sauces. Pesto, roasted red pepper sauce and instant peanut sauces  are fast and easy to make and can be great additions to pastas. Recipes for these time-saving sauces  can be found here.

#8 Youtube is your best friend. Search for vegetarian (You can easily make it vegan if you omit the dairy and egg) or vegan dinners and you will find a plethora of ideas. Or better still, veganise your favourite recipes!

SGVegan_wineglass
Photo credit: Emanuel Feruzi. Source: unsplash.com
#9 Read up on vegan blogs.Vegan food bloggers spend a lot of time trying and testing new recipes. Their amazing food photography might trigger some creativity sparks in your brain. Check out OhSheGlows, Vegangela, Post Punk Kitchen or local blogs such as HungryAngMo, MoreThanVeggies and VeganAsh for starters.

#10 Lastly, if you are still clueless on what to do, just hit up a conversation with a vegan blogger on Twitter and shoot your question. Vegan bloggers don’t bite. I promise. They will be so excited that someone is finally going to try making their grassy food. (Just kidding)

What creative ideas do you have for hosting a vegan dinner? Let us know in the comments below. (For those in Singapore, I’m excited for EarthFest that begins tomorrow, how about you? By the way, walk-ins are fine even without tickets. If you happen to see me or Amanda, just say hi!)