Tuesday, October 2, 2012

100% Safe Deodorant!

For some reason I recently relooked at my current deodorant which was Lavanila's Coconut and Lavender scented purchased from Sephora.  Previously I have been recommending this all over as 100% safe and was alarmed on reading the ingredients list yesterday morning to discover it has Carrageenan in it!  The dangers of carrageenan would be a recent discovery for me, so I guess it skipped my radar back then when I started using it, but I'm glad I checked.

So back to square one.  Searching my page on pinterest I looked through all the recipes I have found for natural deodorant you can make to decide which one I will try first.  My eyes fell on a simple pin stating that apple cider vinegar is an effective deoderant.  So, today I put it to the test - wearing it to work on a day I was unloading boxes and doing more strenuous work.  I did take a risk however I can now say, it held up!

What I did was wipe some apple cider vinegar under each armpit, let it dry then dressed and went about my day. Even now nearly 12 hours later when I smell my armpits, still no smell!  I'm so happy about this. It saves me the trial and errors of making my own, saves me money from buying natural ones and finding they don't work (which I have done a bit of in the past),  it's completely safe, it's easy and cheap and it works.

Why don't you try it too? Let me know how you find it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cast Iron Cookware

I have written on the safety of cookware before so won't go into this in great detail.  As a sum up - anything teflon or non stick is toxic to your body and should be avoided - not to even mention plastic, the evil of all evils.

I have been using stainless steel, ceramic and glassware to cook in and have found that it works really well however was reading up about Cast Iron the other day.  First of all, I was amazed at how cheap Cast Iron cookware is.  $19 from Walmart for a 12 inch pan - what a deal!  Apparently Cast Iron Can leach iron into the food you are cooking, depending on the food as it varies - which is great in our case as my husband is anaemic and very low in iron so I welcome any ways to increase the iron in his food.  The newer the pan too, the more iron leaches out also.  Info on the study is here.

If you have young children though it is best to avoid cast iron cookware and stick with stainless steel, ceramic and glassware as it can also give too much iron.  Too much iron can be a problem as the only way to get it out is by loss of blood - for a woman this is ok with the monthly cycle but for a man the only way is by regular donating blood.

I have used my new 12 inch pan and really like it.  I researched for tips on cleaning and like this method.... rub salt on it with water to clean it, then season with some oil and put on element or in stove till it's dry (so it wont rust).  Not a hassle at all!  One day I hope to get a Le Creuset dutch oven to add to my cast iron collection too!

Interested in your experience with cast iron or other cookware too so feel free to comment below!

Update on Pest Control

Just an update as promised,  it appears the earwig problem is now solved.  I used both the ecosmart problems.  The Home Pest control was easy to use and the smell was not offensive at all.  No further earwigs in the bed.   YES!

Friday, August 17, 2012

DILEMMA: Earwig Infestation In Our Home!

For the past three months we have been battling earwigs.  I guess it could be worse, I mean at least they are harmless - and their nippers on the back do nothing.  At least they aren't spiders or silverfish or cockroaches, I try to console myself!  Not only have we been having earwigs but these little critters are mostly making appearances in our bed and bedroom of all places!  I researched a lot when we first found them and have no idea why they would be in our bedroom - we have the air conditioning on 70 F this whole hot summer,  which is meant to be too cold for them.  I change and wash the sheets every week so there is no dampness or anything they would be attracted to in there?  I vacuum weekly?  The first time I had one crawling up my arm UNDER the sheets creeped me out.  I pulled the bed out and found one even under our mattress protector!  Some under the box springs.  Got rid of them and cleaned and put tea tree oil all around. Totally grossed out by this stage. I think they drop onto the bed out of the air conditioning vent right over the bed.

The months have gone by with frequent earwigs - probably seeing at least one a day. The other day was the final straw though - I was lying on the bed under the air conditioning vent and felt something on my neck - it was quite a big earwig... I'm guessing it dropped out of the a/c vent.  (I taped the electrical outlets in case they were coming through there... the windows have been shut and locked for months so they can't get in there so the a/c vent is the only option).  THEN to make matters worse that very night another earwig crawling up my arm in the middle of the night! Yuck!  My husband had some encounters in the bed also with one on his ear and on his back at another time.

The whole thing of it being near his ear creeped us both out because I read that though people dismiss it as a wives tale, earwigs do actually go in your ears and there's many stories online of people who've found them in their kids ears etc. Again YUCK!  So I've been sleeping with cotton in my ears these last months every night.

Ok so that last middle of the night encounter was just the straw that broke the camels back. I was sick of fighting these disgusting things in my house, let alone my bed!  I contacted our apartment manager who promptly wrote back to say she knows I don't like chemicals but the place will have to be treated by the pest man around the base boards as they can't risk this infestation affecting all the other apartments also.  This was the WORST news I could get, I should have expected it as that is a standard response, but me, trying desperately to keep chemicals out of our home and being very successful for over a year now could not bear the thought of losing all we had worked for just like that.

I started researching to see what safe alternatives are out there and was excited to find Ecosmart which is an organic and safe spray made of essential oils and non toxic ingredients.  Even better you can get it at Home Depot and Walmart!  I presented the idea to our manager and she said that is fine to use that.  I am going to use Ecosmart Home Pest Control inside the house round all the base boards and doors and windows. Then I'm also getting Ecosmart Organic Crawling Insect Blocker to put all around the perimeter of the apartment. I assume they are getting in somewhere round the air conditioning units so will put lots around there.  Hoping the combination of the two will end our problem once and for all.

Interested if anyone else has any experience either with this brand or other alternatives?  I know neem oil is safe and non toxic for gardening and use it outside on my pot plants, it seems to work well.

I have yet to spray the apartment but plan to do so this weekend.  I will let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Plastics, Pesticides and Your Hormones

Did you know that your body is like a sponge? It soaks in everything around it... there has been research that from the things found in your body, it can be known what you have in your house?

Now this might not seem scary initially but when you think of things such as flame retardants in your mattress, furniture, curtains, carpet and then glues and solvents used in your carpet/flooring and furniture and in the structure of your home as an example,  pesticides used outside your windows, vinyl emissions from any vinyl flooring, every plastic thing in your home offgassing pthalates... and if you're not chemical free there will be lots of chemicals from cleaners and bleaches etc. Hormones and chemicals in food you eat, mercury fillings offgassing their neurotoxic gasses...the list goes on.

All of this plus much more I haven't listed is creating a toxic soup inside your body absorbed on a daily basis in huge amounts. Our bodies were not created to eliminate or know what to do with these man made toxins.  One of the areas I want to look into with you today to bring to your attention is how these things affect your hormones and in particular introduce you to Xenoestrogens which are a big deal in our systems.

Xenoestrogens are the result of pthalates from plastics and other offgassing chemicals in your home and environment that absorb into your body.  The body sees them as estrogen in both men and women.  Now this is a problem because our hormones are a delicate balance as it is, so introduce more of one hormone in huge amounts and you get a problem.

Xenoestrogens are a problem that causes so many problems to list a few:

* undersized penises and or undescended testes in boys born to women exposed to this
* increased incidence of testicular and prostate cancer
* a stimulating effect in breast cancer
* a stimulating effect in endometriosis
* endometrial cancer
* cervical cancer in women
* Fibrocystic breasts
* Postmenopausal osteoporosis
* change in sexual orientation
* estrogen dominance syndrome

Estrogen Dominance Syndrome causes SO many problems just to name a few and believe me the list is really long:
* acceleration of aging process
*Allergy symptoms including asthma, hives, rashes, sinus congestion
* Autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythematosis and thryroiditis
* headaches
* irregular menstrual periods
* infertility
* Fat gain especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs,
* Fibrocystic breasts
* Hair Loss
* Depression
* Cold hands and feet
* Uterine Cancer
* Uterine Fibroids
* Polycystic Ovaries
* Prostate Cancer
* Thyroid Disfunction
etc etc

I am getting all this information through the research of Dr John Lee. He has written some books that I HIGHLY recommend to you if you can relate to any of the above or even if you can't, you need to know this information.

His most well known book is called 'What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause'.  Don't disregard it if you are younger because though the title mentions menopause it is actually applicable for females of all ages and I believe men too to some degree as they too are effected by the estrogen dominance syndrome - however for them they need to balance their testosterone and the progesterone.

For women the solution is simple - bio identical progesterone cream.  That sorts it! So simple.  Progesterone is needed to balance the estrogen and bring the levels down.  Symptoms of estrogen dominance have been reported to just disappear as it brings it all back into balance again.

This book and information has revolutionized my life so I'm just wanting to get this info out there for every one to read because the Drs really don't know much about this at all and Dr John Lee is a reputable Dr with lots of research to back this all up.

Make sure you go pick up the book and find out more about this. There is SO much more - this blog is just to whet your appetite!

Here's some links to his books on Amazon:
What Your Dr May Not Tell You About Menopause
Hormone Balance Made Simple
What Your Dr May Not Tell You About Premenopause

Again just one more reason to live chemical free as much as possible!!!

Enjoy your week!

Steps from Nena Bakers book 'Body Toxic'

She recommends these steps:
1. Buy and eat organic
2. Get rid of microwave popcorn
3. Ditch all plastic food containers
4. No bug control
5. Decline stain protection in furniture and flooring
6. Use low VOC paint
7. Use stainless steel drink bottle
8. Clean and dust house weekly
9. Buy stainless steel or cast iron cookware
10. Read labels and ask questions before you buy
11. Get water filter that removes atrazine
12. Remove shoes to prevent pesticides inside
13. Buy PBDE free electronics and furniture
14. Limit canned food unless you know it's BPA free
15. Avoid all stain resistant products: Teflon etc and fast food packaging.

A Non Chemical Way To Color My Hair?

This has been weighing on my mind for a while.  As one who loves to color my hair regularly and expresses my creativity often through it, this whole non toxic lifestyle has crept up into my hair routines.  Okay so I already ditched all the hair product I used to have (and I had a lot, I loved all the smells and was always looking for the perfect product),  I am using only safe non toxic hair shampoos  (Desert Essence is my favorite right now of all the brands I've tried - with fine hair, their apple one makes my hair so nice and doesn't weigh it down like other brands ie Hugo Naturals Volume weighs my hair down) so now I have to think seriously about color.

On researching I came across some great websites that I thought I'd share with you. They are full of ideas and as I try any I will let you know how they go.  The first is from Wellness Mama (whom I believe is linked with the reputable Vintage Remedies - professional herbalists - they know their stuff.

I particularly like this post by Wellness Mama because there are options for different colors of hair and different intensities of color and all just using herbs.  Henna is discussed also.  I have already purchased the cheesecloth and the walnut shells as I want to try for a dark color, which is what I usually go for underneath.  I haven't yet decided what I will do about the blonde highlights I have at the front and love.

Here are some other links that I found while searching on google for non chemical ways to dye your tresses: (some may just be for dark as that's what I was initially searching for)







This video is a review on Aveda salons and how safe they it.  It shows that though Aveda salons are not yet 100% non toxic/safe they are getting very close and striving to be non toxic and safe in their treatments.   So they are a much better option than a normal salon with regards to exposure to chemicals.  I thought that's worth keeping up my sleeve too in case I can't get the results I love and am so used to through my own efforts...maybe they can?

For those of you that aren't aware of what coloring your hair with chemicals does to you -  here are a couple of links just as a start but in no means comprehensive, that will get you started.



This blog is in no means comprehensive as I've just started my research on this so please feel free to comment below if you've found anything safe that works! I'd love to know and I'm sure others would too.

Happy coloring!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guidelines For Non Toxic Living

Just found this online and it summed it up so well I thought you would all appreciate this also.  I've added my own comments also.

General Recommendations:

1. Avoid ALL scented products ("fragrance" as an ingredient) - including all perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, personal-care products, air fresheners, pot-pourri, etc. Be careful about certain "unscented" products that use "masking fragrance" to cover up the original fragrance - these are doubly toxic!  Look for pure essential oils to fragrance things as only they are safe.

2. Avoid ALL fabric softeners, dryer sheets, Clorox, scented detergents, etc. These products are VERY toxic and very harmful to the environment as well.   Try soap nuts or make your own non toxic detergent and line dry your clothes - they will last longer!

3. Avoid ALL pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Pesticides are neuro-toxins (affect the central nervous system), and they don't know the difference between the BUGS and YOU! There are many natural alternatives to get rid of bugs/weeds etc.  Vinegar I've heard is a great weed killer for example. 

4. Use only non-toxic cleaning products and personal-care products.  Baking soda and vinegar are great cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, or even oregano essential oil is anti bacterial, antifungal = anti-everything which is great to clean the whole house with.  Lemon essential oil is also great.  So many alternatives that are 100% safe and 100% work!  Try coconut oil as a moisturiser on your face, baking soda as a deodorant.

5. Drink and bathe in filtered water. Taking a shower in chlorinated water causes the chlorine to go right into your blood stream. You can purchase shower filters that easily attach to your shower nozzle from water-supply stores.  Mercola has a great one here - I have his water filter and it's fantastic, I can't wait to get the shower one also. One day I will get the whole home filtration when we aren't renting.  Also avoid swimming in chlorinated pools.

6. Eat organic food (food grown without pesticides or fertilizers) as often as possible. Avoid processed foods, foods with colors and dyes, preservatives, etc. NEVER consume products containing "NutraSweet" (aspartame). It breaks down into formic acid ("ant-sting poison") and methanol (wood alcohol) in your body! Research that yourself - the information is out there and it's mind blowing.

7. Wear only natural-fiber organic clothing (100% cotton, linen, wool, or silk). Make sure the clothes are NOT "permanent press" or "wrinkle resistant" - these clothes have been treated with formaldehyde that does NOT wash out!  This is a mission but very necessary. Your skin is like a sponge remember.

8. Use only 100% organic cotton, wool, or pure silk bed linens and blankets. Avoid "no-iron" or "wrinkle-resistant".  

9. Avoid:  all plastics, particle-board, plywood, glues, inks, paints, foam rubber, vinyl, carpet, synthetic rugs, varnishes, solvents, PVC, Teflon and anything nonstick.  Start changing over to using wood, stainless steel, baskets, no VOC paint.  Try polished concrete floors or ceramic tile - but watch the grout has no chemicals or glues added.  This includes on your furniture and mattresses which are all coated in flame retardants, glues, formaldehyde etc.

10. Open your windows as often as possible! Even in the most polluted cities, the outdoor air has been found to be less toxic than the indoor air! Certain houseplants are beneficial to remove toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene etc.  The best plants for removing these and other toxins are philodendrons, spider plants, aloe vera, English ivy, golden pothos, and boston fern.  Or air purification systems such as Roboclean (we have one as my husband sells them and they are AMAZING) are also an important option to clear the indoor air, its not only dust mites and dust but flame retardants, offgassing from plastics and many other things that pollute your indoor air.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Do You Have Vinyl Floors In Your House?

I read some research lately that really got my attention, particularly this paragraph:

'Research from 2009 discovered that infants who lived in homes with vinyl floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later, compared to those with wood or linoleum flooring. Vinyl floors can emit chemicals called phthalates, which are widely used plastic softeners found in much more than just vinyl flooring. Hairsprays, perfumes, cosmetics, toys, shower curtains, wood finishers, lubricants, certain medical devices and more all contain phthalates. Researchers have suggested the chemicals may contribute to autism by disrupting hormones not only in small children but also in the womb'
Source: Mercola and seen also on 'The Doctors' tv show.

I have read this other times in many books on detoxifying your environment but this new research adds an extra sting to it.  Vinyl flooring offgasses into your home and continues to do so for most of its life, so it isn't just when it is new.  You cannot cover it or paint it to stop it offgassing (believe me I have looked into it as we have it in our apartment). The only remedy is to remove it. Get it right out of your house.

I have a friend who had vinyl floors in her house and was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  On researching, she ripped up the vinyl floors and replaced them and lo and behold the sleep apnea and all the symptoms immediately left and have never reappeared.  I'm sure there are many other stories out there also.  It's scary.

I'm not going to go into great detail with this, the research is all out there and available.  For me, now, it's just a matter of knowing how to respond to this information and the seriousness of it as we are renting.  We found a place that has low VOC paints and is green friendly but they lost the plot and resorted to cheaper alternatives after the first building. So we still have the low VOC paint and recycled wood benches etc but we got the cheap carpet with toxic glues and the vinyl flooring instead of the tiles they initially were using.   And while I'm complaining about the apartment I'll add in the toxic cigarette fumes from all the neighbours around us that smoke on their balconies dropping their ash on our garden. The joys of apartment living.

For me, we need to change, but I don't know what right now.  I guess for all of us, change has to be gradual because we aren't millionaires able to create the perfectly safe home immediately.  I have made many changes this last year and it all makes a difference. The big ones left we need to deal with in our environment are:  vinyl flooring, bed and linen, carpets, couch.  I'm slowly getting organic linen and changing over.  The flooring and carpet are beyond our control as it's an apartment and our couch? well.. it's fairly new so I don't know how we'll get around that and its nasty flame retardants.

The Safe Alternatives are:

1.  Ceramic Tiles - make sure the grout and glues etc are non toxic though.  You can also get Ceramic tiles that look like wood which is really cool. I found it on pinterest here. I have no idea if that finish is safe or not though.

2.  Wool untreated carpets - again if glue is used it needs to be safe glue as glues offgas into your environment too. 

3.  Marmoleum - I haven't researched this too much yet but heard it's meant to be a safe alternative

4.  Cork - more pricey option

5.  Wood - again caution with this as you need to make sure the wood hasn't been treated with chemicals etc and if glue is used that it is non toxic

6.  Cement/Concrete - a great option as you can polish it and it comes up really nice.  

And remember it's not just vinyl floors, vinyl ANYTHING is unsafe and leaches phthalates into your environment which affect your hormonal system etc.

Hope this helps and please feel free to comment if you know more safe options or whatever!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your day!

New Organic Product Range Discovered!

So excited I just have to post my new discovery here and share it with you.

Whilst in Target yesterday I thought I'd check out their 'naturals' section to see what's new.  I always go straight to the ingredients list, and to be honest wasn't expecting much because most of the things claiming to be natural slip something in there.

Anyway, happy to announce I found a brand that is safe and you can buy it here at Target and Walgreens...and I've heard some Walmarts are starting to stock it too!  Now here's the great bit - not only is it 100% safe, AND organic but it also comes in a range of 100% essential oil fragrance blends that are AMAZING!!! They smell great. No synthetic fragrances at all according to the ingredients list.  They do lotions, bath washes, hair products, shaving products etc.

It's called Shea Moisture.  Here is their facebook page.

At the moment Target has them on sale for $8.99 a bottle so go check them out.  I got the Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Lotion with avocado and it smells so delicious!  It is a thick texture but melts straight into the skin and not greasy at all.  As those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know, it was hard for me to give up Bath and Body Works and all those fantastic smells...which are toxic by the way, so this is great finding something safe that smells just as good as B&BW.

And may this continue with more safe products hitting the mainstream shelves giving more people access to it.

Go check it out and enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Still plodding on

Haven't updated for a while but still going strong.

I thought I'd share some links to recipes I found recently that look really good and I've added to my list to try sometime!



I've been getting into the spring mode and planted basil (which is proving itself to be a delicious addition in cooking - I think I'll have to plant another as it's not growing fast enough for me to use it as much as I want to!).  I've also planted a grape tomato plant and a bell pepper plant.  Looking forward to them producing as that will save us some money.  I found organic potting mix at Walmart which was great, so have planted them in that.

I continue to use soap nuts on my laundry and find they work great - been using them for probably over a year now.  I had 'Yoreganics' brand first and now am on 'Econuts'.  Very happy with both brands.  I actually have some soap nut seeds and am going to attempt to grow my own soap nut tree, as that will be great to source my own soap from my own tree! How cool is that?

Recently my husband and I had a really bad cough/cold and that really started me looking for home remedies as I don't want to have to take the sugared medicines etc that are available commercially.  It's amazing how much information is out there, so many people have different remedies for different things that they claim are tried and true.  While searching online I stumbled across a website called Vintage Remedies.  There is so much interesting information provided there as well as mini courses - there is one mini course in making herbal syrups that is only $5.99.   I'm also interested in their family herbalist course - great idea!  I would love to know about the power of plants so to avoid antibiotics and other drugs as much as possible for my family and I in the years to come.  Apparently elderberries are really good - so I need to get one of those plants at some stage too,  that will make some effective syrups I've heard.

Another link I found that I'll pass on to you is here.  It's a forum of different people posting remedies and it's really interesting.  I've been trying some on my husband like the honey mixed with turmeric (which works quite well) and the gargling of apple cider vinegar is an experience out of this world.  Never felt anything quite like it - not a nice experience. If you've experienced how horseradish or wasabi goes right up your sinuses - that is nothing compared to where apple cider vinegar goes!

I got up early and went to the farmers market - great to have fresh, organic local produce and meats etc again.   I love our farmers market!!!

I'm going to leave you with an article making me feel once again, SO GLAD, we made the decision to be chemical free in our home.  Children are too precious!

Study links Autism with environments...