Natural Deodorant Swap

A recent switch I made about 5 months ago was the swap from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant. I’m going to be completely honest here and confess that I had heard about the potential dangers of the ingredients found in common deodorants and antiperspirants more than 5 months ago and I was never quite ready to make the switch. “Am I going to smell terrible?”, “Am I going to have embarrassing pit stains?”, “Is it going to feel different?” were just some of my many natural thoughts.

Deodorant is something many people grow up being told is a necessity for personal hygiene and something that should be applied every single day. It’s just something many people do, no questions asked. So it’s only natural for some hesitation surrounding deviating from or making a switch to such a routine task. Even after I knew it could be bad for me, it still took me awhile to accept and to make the important choice to switch to a natural deodorant and to avoid antiperspirants all together. For some reason for me it went along with deciding to ditch toxic make-up. I just thought wow, if I’m getting rid of all of this make-up that I am putting on my skin every day, I can get rid of my Dove deodorant and try something natural.

So what’s so bad about conventional deodorants and antiperspirants you ask? First of all, blocking your pores and preventing you from sweating is opposing what the body is naturally being triggered to and needs to do. We have four million sweat glands on our bodies for a reason. Sweat is triggered to detoxify the body and help cool it down. Sweat also supports proper immune function, kills bacteria and cleans the pores. So why do we prevent this? Well…because sweat can be smelly and embarrassing. Research actually shows that some of the chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants are actually causing you to smell worse by altering your natural armpit bacteria and pH. It’s like a win win for deodorant companies right? “We’ve altered them to smell worse so they have to keep using our product.”

Other studies show that many people have an ideal pH under their armpits and don’t need to use deodorant at all, yet they still use it anyway. Your sweat smelling bad can also be traced back to certain foods in your diet and a lack of hydration. Certain herbs and vitamins are known to be natural body deodorizers and toxin eliminators. So if you are interested in going the natural way, but are overly concerned about the potential smell, look into these diet adjustments you can make as well.

The other bad news about conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is the toxic, skin irritating, hormone disrupting, cancer causing chemicals they contain. Triclosan is a common toxic ingredient found in many conventional brands. Triclosan is actually classified as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency, is a known endocrine disruptor and a known skin irritant that can cause rashes, itchiness and swelling. Alcohol, parabens and artificial fragrances also cause these same side effects. A 2004 study found parabens in 18 out of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors (although researchers cannot say the parabens caused the tumors). Due to this link and relation to breast cancer, paraben free products have been on the rise, however many of those products still contain other toxic ingredients that aren’t as widely known to be a threat. I will do a post dedicated to parabens in the near future.

Finally, aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to and associated with a variety of health concerns including, Alzheimer’s Disease, breast cancer, bone disorders and kidney problems. Aluminum in deodorants and antiperspirants is definitely a controversial topic. While evidence is not conclusive, studies have definitely raised suspicions and caused people like myself to be conscious and concerned. One study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that use of aluminum-based antiperspirants increased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life by 60 percent. A 2009 study from the University of Reading, U.K., found a correlation between “the increase in cancers of the outside upper quadrant of the breast with the increase in the use of chemical cosmetics, including antiperspirant” (Gillian Deacon: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, 2011) Other sources say there is no risk and not enough evidence. For me, any potential risk is a concern and I want to stay free from chemicals that could cause me any harm.

Be wary when shopping for “natural” deodorants. I’ve read that some of the “crystal” types still contain and “hide” aluminum and one of the first ones that I tried still had propylene glycol in it which made me break out in a horrible rash. Propylene glycol has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis according to EWG’s Skin Deep® Database.

After reading through many blog posts, I couldn’t ignore all of the fans of PiperWai natural deodorant so I thought I would try it out. I’ve gone through a jar and I would say that yes I’m a believer, but it definitely takes some getting used to. PiperWai is a charcoal crème deodorant that you apply with your fingers. The activated charcoal absorbs moisture and its other ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils work together to balance pH, soothe your skin and keep you fresh.

piperwai

It is interesting and a little time consuming applying it with your fingers, but you get used to it. For me, I still find myself damp, but it’s not terrible.  I’m pretty impressed on its ability so far and I am comforted knowing that it’s all natural and that there aren’t chemicals being applied daily to my lymph nodes. I would love to hear from you if there is a natural deodorant that you love and swear by!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.

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Less-Toxic Nail Polish

If you are interested in going clean and green when it comes to beauty products, you may be familiar with a lot of nail polish brands recently advertising that they are 5-free, 7-free, and even 10-free!  These numbers are referring to the number of common toxic chemical ingredients that are left out of their nail polish formula. You may have noticed that the title of this post is not “Non-Toxic Nail Polish” because so far that doesn’t exist completely, however there are a few brands that are definitely less-toxic than the rest. Do your research and realize that when it is 5-free for example, there are still a lot of toxic ingredients present.

So where can you research or find out where your favorite brand ranks? One way is by searching “nail polish” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The results will show the cleanest brands in their database, for example Acquarella and Suncoat. Both of these brands are water-based which is a great start and they do leave out many of the common toxic ingredients. Be mindful, however, that although they score a 1 on EWG (low rating), if you look at the details, there is still a low concern for some of the remaining ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, low is great and definitely better than a lot of common nail polishes, but completely non-toxic and clean, not quite. You can also search a specific brand you use, for example Essie and you can read its rating, its ingredients and their related concerns.

You can also do the same type of search on the Think Dirty® app. Acquarella scores a 3 and Suncoat a 4 on Think Dirty® app. The lowest rating they have for nail polish is currently a 3 and goes to the brands Scotch Naturals and Benecos. Ultimately, the decision is yours… how clean do you want to go and what ingredients are you willing to tolerate?

So again, “newbie” here and while I haven’t had a chance to try a lot of different less-toxic nail polish brands yet, I recently bought and started using a brand called Trust Fund Beauty. You actually won’t find this brand when searching on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database or even on Think Dirty® app, but they advertise to be 10-free. So let’s get into what these 10-free ingredients are: Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Andxylene, Parabens, Fragrances and Animal ingredients. The following is just some basic information I have found regarding a few of the toxic ingredients:

Dibutyl phthalate (DBT): DBT is a plasticizer and a common additive to adhesives. This chemical is banned in Europe and is known to cause reproductive problems. The EWG classifies this chemical as the highest danger level and warns that it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.

Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin: Formaldehyde is classified as a known carcinogen by the US National Toxicology Program. It is also used as a tissue fixative and an embalming agent. When used in lab preparations, there are strict warnings to avoid inhalation or skin contact.

Toluene: Toluene is an organic solvent with the ability to dissolve paint, rubber, ink, adhesive, lacquers, among other products. It is frequently employed as an octane booster for internal combustion systems. Research shows the chemical causes reproductive harm and dizziness. It is also found in gasoline and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that it can cause central nervous system problems.

Something else Trust Fund Beauty nail polish doesn’t have and is an ingredient that is commonly found even in many of the “cleaner” nail polish brands is Benzophenone-1. Multiple studies link Benzophenone-1 to Cancer, endocrine disruption and hormone disruptions. I use nail polish sparingly, mostly on my toes, but from my experience with Trust Fund Beauty’s polish, it lasts just as long as the top, more common and more toxic brands out there. It doesn’t chip easily and they have some great colors with very cute names like “I Look Good Nude” and “Wine O’Clock.”

TFB_Wine-O_Clock-NEW_large

All of this information regarding common toxic ingredients in nail polish just goes to show that we must create awareness for ourselves and research the products we are commonly using. It’s important to take the time to find out what ingredients are in our products, what those ingredients do and how harmful they can be. Then, if needed, find a better, less or non-toxic alternative.  Even though the US National Toxicology Program classifies formaldehyde as a known carcinogen and even though the CDC warns that toluene can cause central nervous system problems, these ingredients are still allowed to be used in our products. So until something changes, it is our responsibility to do the research and protect ourselves.

I guess my MO is leaving things on a more serious note in my posts with a call to action! HAHA! I really am passionate about this stuff as I find out more and more. I will continue to share my findings and we can learn together. Paint safely friends!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.

What’s hiding in your toothpaste?

Surprisingly, toothpaste was one of the first swaps I made when making the commitment to switch to natural, non-toxic products that I use daily. It only took reading a few shocking articles about conventional toothpaste and the potential dangers of the common ingredients found in them to convince me to look for a cleaner option.

So what’s dangerous about conventional toothpaste brands? The following are just some of the common harmful ingredients:

  • Fluoride
  • SLS ( Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
  • Artificial Flavors / Colors
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • DEA
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan
  • BPA
  • Parabens
  • Carrageenan

Some of these ingredients are known to be toxic to reproduction, cause antibiotic resistance and infertility, impaired muscle function, altered thyroid function and allergies. And that’s just a small list of the many side effects.  And you may say, “Okay, but it’s just my toothpaste…” Well, you are using your toothpaste twice a day, every single day hopefully, which creates consistent exposure to these chemicals. Not only that, but these toxic ingredients are found in other things we use often as well, like hand and dish soap and a host of other personal care products.

For this post, I want to particularly focus on the ingredient fluoride, but you can still search any of the ingredients listed above on Google to find out more. I actually like Googling ingredients because sometimes you can read both sides of the argument. Research may say that it is harmful and others will claim that the ingredients are harmless. I like to take in both sides and make my own decision based on all of the evidence.  I also really like visiting EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, or using the Think Dirty® app on my phone to view products, where they rank in toxicity level and then find out more about their ingredients. More about these later!

For a long time, fluoride was considered to be beneficial to our oral health by preventing tooth decay and strengthening enamel to name a few of its claims. But research now shows that it does not actually do these things and instead does a lot more harm than good. I’ve read a lot of evidence recently on how overexposure to fluoride harms teeth (and the body) and even causes discoloration to teeth in what is referred to as dental fluorisis.

Here are just a few interesting highlights about fluoride noted  in  10 Facts About Fluoride found on The Fluoride Action Network’s website.

“In the United States, health authorities call fluoridation “one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.” Few other countries share this view. In fact, more people drink artificially fluoridated water in the U.S. alone than in the rest of the world combined. [1] Most advanced nations do not fluoridate their water. In western Europe, 97% of the population has water without a single drop of fluoride added to it.”

“It is often claimed that fluoridated water is the main reason the United States has had a large decline in tooth decay over the past 60 years. This same decline in tooth decay, however, has occurred in all developed countries, most of which have never added any fluoride to their water.”

“According to the well-known toxicologist, Dr. John Doull, who chaired the National Academy of Science’s review on fluoride, the safety of fluoridation remains “unsettled” and “we have much less information than we should, considering how long it has been going on.”[7] In 2006, Doull’s committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity.[8] The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.”

“Today, over 95% of toothpastes are fluoridated. Although fluoride toothpastes carry poison warnings on them, studies show that children can swallow large amounts of fluoride when they brush, particularly when using toothpaste with bubble gum and candy flavors.”

So you can see from these facts that the concern isn’t on just fluoride in toothpaste, but our overexposure to it in general. Fluoride is in our water, toothpaste, processed drinks and foods, and pharmaceuticals just to name a few of the many places where we are exposed. But wait, can we just go back to the fact that toothpaste with fluoride has poison labels?! Enough said.

Flouridealert.org also notes that “excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including arthritis, bone fragility, dental fluorosis (which I mentioned above), glucose intolerance, gastrointestinal distress, thyroid disease, and possibly cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Fluoride has long been known to be a very toxic substance. This is why, like arsenic, fluoride has been used in pesticides and rodenticides (to kill rats, insects, etc).”

GROSS.

I mean is that scary or what? So, if you don’t want to completely make the switch and give up your favorite Colgate toothpaste, at least try to find one that is fluoride free, but also remember that many of the common ingredients are toxic and harmful as stated earlier.

So what should you use? Earlier I mentioned EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database or using the Think Dirty® app and these are great places to find where your current products rank and also to search for the cleanest products as well. On the Think Dirty® app you can just type in toothpaste or a brand and the app will bring up the most common searches. It ranks the product on a scale of 0 being the cleanest to 10 being the dirtiest. Once you click on the product, you can learn more about the rating and the individual ingredients. It will even give you Think Dirty® picks for the type of product you are looking that are Think Dirty® verified or that have a low score. EWG has a similar system where they have EWG Verified™ products so you know these are the very best and cleanest you can find.

To be honest, I’ve tried a lot of different clean, non-toxic toothpastes, but the one I am currently loving and that also scores a 0 rating on Think Dirty® is by Dr. Brite. Dr. Brite uses the highest-quality organic ingredients to ensure optimal oral hygiene such as Vitamin C, Activated Charcoal, Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice. They make sure to avoid all of the harmful ingredients discussed earlier ensuring that their products are safe and effective for your whole family. I also love their mouthwash! Seriously, my mouth has never felt so squeaky clean. Not to mention, when you use mouthwash, your mouth shouldn’t feel like it’s burning from the inside out like it does with common mouthwashes, am I right? Dr. Brite’s is not harsh at all and leaves you with fresh breath for hours.

dr. brite 2

 

Well, I hope you learned something new today about toothpaste. Now get out there and do some research on what you are currently using and evaluate if a swap needs to be made for your optimal health. Knowledge is power!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.

 

Why Organic?

This post will cover why to choose organic when it comes to fruits and vegetables. If you are new to the game of trying to make healthier choices, it’s a good place to start. Another post down the road will be dedicated to going organic when it comes to meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and well, everything else 😉

There are a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to the “organic” craze, but I think this skepticism comes in large part from a lack of awareness and education on the topic. I think a lot of people automatically think that organic just equates to more expensive and yes sometimes it does. I’ve also heard people say things like, “but I wash my fruits and veggies so it shouldn’t matter.” Stay tuned for the rebuttal on that one!

I want to help kick start the education part and address these common misconceptions. I say kick start, because there is so much more information out there. It’s up to you to continue your research and hopefully make the healthy switch!

About 5 years ago, I began a conscious effort to eat organic fruits and vegetables. I started off using the list you may have heard of called the Dirty Dozen™. This is a list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) singling out the 12 produce items with the highest pesticide loads. They actually update it every year and they have a list called the Clean Fifteen™ as well with the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues. I started by using these lists, but now I would say that 99% of the time I’m buying all organic fruits and veggies. These lists are a great place to start if you can’t afford, aren’t quite convinced, or are just not ready to make the complete overhaul to all organic.

But why organic? Simply put, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for one reason. Why does that matter? Well, I’ve already mentioned…pesticides. What are pesticides exactly? Non-organic farmers spray pesticides on their crops to kill weeds and insects. These pesticides don’t just remain on the outer layer of a fruit or vegetable, but are absorbed into it, so there goes that idea about being safe because you wash your fruit. Well, how do we know this? We know this because it has been tested by the EWG. They test produce even after it has been washed and peeled. That’s actually how they measure their pesticide levels when creating the Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ lists. Yikes, that must mean those Dirty Dozen™ are really dirty and toxic if the pesticides are that high after being washed and peeled. The National Pesticide Information Center even confirms this information by stating that washing produce reduces pesticide levels but doesn’t completely remove them.

The jury is still out and there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the full effect of pesticides on the body.

The following excerpt is from EWG’s article Five Essential Facts about Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables.

“Research confirms that pesticide exposure can harm us in serious ways. Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides that can damage our brain and nervous system, disrupt our hormones and contribute to cancer. In developing children, pesticide exposure contributes to neurological problems, which impair learning, memory and attention. Kids eat more food than adults relative to their size, and are less capable of processing chemicals that enter their small bodies. Both factors make them especially vulnerable to the hazardous effects of these chemicals.” –Megan Boyle, HCHW Editorial Director

I mean that’s scary stuff and you can go find even more research on it. Reading articles like this helped push me to starting with the Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™. There are other benefits aside from avoiding chemicals and toxins that wreak havoc on the body. First, if you haven’t had organic fruits and veggies, I’m very excited for you to try them, because I swear and others attest, that they definitely taste better! It makes sense too… if the soil is healthy and nourished, free from chemicals; it is then going to create healthy, thriving, great tasting plants.

By choosing organic fruits and vegetables you are also avoiding GMOs which is again, a whole other blog post coming your way soon 😉 Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet. Why is that important and why should you be concerned about GMOs? I’ll just leave you will the following reasons until I visit the topic in the future. Various studies in animals that were fed GMOs have resulted in tumors, damaged immune systems, smaller brains and livers, birth defects, reproductive problems and infertility. GMOs have also been linked with allergies, various digestive and bowel syndromes and even autism in humans.

Those are just a few of the many reasons why to choose organic. I didn’t even get into the green side and how organic farming supports, eco-sustenance, reduces pollution and protects our water and soil. Oh and if the price of organic fruits and vegetables is scary at first, try looking into shopping local (at a farmer’s market near you or from larger stores that advertise carrying local produce) to find the best deals. Shopping whatever is in season will help too. For example, trying to find organic strawberries in the winter for a reasonable price is going to be tough, but other fruits thrive in the winter months so shop these instead. These two things along with starting by eating organic when avoiding the Dirty Dozen™ will help make the switch more reasonable and less shocking to your wallet.

If you are interested in learning more, that’s a great place to start, just being interested! For me, it was like an addiction for awhile. The more information I gained, the more shocked (and grossed out) I was and the more I wanted to know and do something about it. If you are into documentaries, which I definitely am, I would suggest browsing the food ones on Netflix. Some of my favorites are Food Fight (2008), Vegucated (2011), Forks Over Knives (2011), Hungry For Change (2012), Fed Up (2014) and Food Inc. (2008). These aren’t necessarily dedicated to the organic topic, but they all touch on it at some point and the information in these documentaries will literally blow your mind and change you! Until next time…

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

 

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! This blog is a place where you can follow me on my journey to become more aware and conscious of the things I am using and consuming every day. I am on a mission to make better, healthier choices that will allow me to feel my absolute best and allow me to live a long and happy life.

I know there are others out there that felt exactly the way I did when I chose to start this mission for my health. I remember thinking where do I start? How do I even begin to clean up my world, my choices and the products I use every day in order to be my healthiest self? It can be a bit overwhelming and that’s why I chose to start this blog. I hope you can learn from the knowledge I have gained already as well as learn new things with me. We can make small changes and improvements over time to do great things for our overall health and well-being.

Let me share a little bit about how this all started and progressed to where I am at now, beginning this blog. For me, I would say my journey to be a healthier me started around 5 years ago.

I started to become more interested in nutrition and things I was hearing in the news. I enjoyed gaining knowledge about all things health related and loved watching food related documentaries. I started out by making healthier food choices. I started eating more organic foods and cutting out artificial ingredients and processed foods. Little did I know then that this only scratched the surface of my overall health journey and the changes I was going to continue to make.

I continued for the past few years to be conscious of what I put in my body, but also strive for balance. I allowed myself to indulge and enjoy not as healthy foods that I wanted here and there as long as I balanced it with some green juice or a salad so that my body was getting the nutrients it needs. Above I said that I only scratched the surface and that even though for years I was making an effort for my health food-wise, it really wasn’t the true, overall health and well-being overhaul my body needed or that I now realize my body was asking for in subtle ways.

I would say in the past year or so, I started to read more and more about not only nutrition and what I was putting in my body, but everything topical. I read about all the chemicals and toxins that are in products that people use every day and the horrible things these chemicals can do to someone’s body. I began to research this more and it actually started to scare me a bit. That fear, shock and the information I gained finally pushed me into action.

After getting married recently in April and coming back from our honeymoon, I made the big decision to use up all of my favorite go-to beauty products, give away the rest that I wasn’t crazy about and begin to make the transition to all-natural, non-toxic skin care, makeup and bath and body products. After this, I slowly started and am still in the process to do the same with my household and cleaning products. Let me tell you, it is a process and a learning experience.

On that note, I do want to say that in no way am I an expert in this category. A “newbie” to the fullest, I learn new things every day and I’ve already made a lot of mistakes. For example, I’ve bought things that say “all natural” only to find out later that they still contain dirty, toxic ingredients. There is a lot of “green washing” currently happening where companies will and are allowed to slap “natural” on the label, but truly the product’s ingredients are not natural at all. This is a whole post in itself that I will blog about soon.

Needless to say, wanting to make the change for my health to using non-toxic, natural and organic alternatives seemed like an overwhelming decision at first, but a no-brainer for me. It’s a large task, a long journey and takes a lot of work and research, but I do believe for me it has been and is worth it. Our health is so important! Just think about it, our health should be a number one priority because without it, you can’t enjoy all the other important things, like family, love, a career, and whatever else matters most to you.

People, including my husband ( I still love him dearly) have told me before, “I don’t believe in that organic crap” or, “buying organic, and all natural is too expensive.” Even with makeup and skin care, a few of my friends  have said “I don’t care what’s in it as long as it makes me look great” or “I don’t have the time to research all the ingredients.” My hope is if you think this way too, then you keep reading this blog and you start to believe in “that organic crap” 😉 and you begin to realize that buying the natural, organic and non-toxic alternatives may be more expensive at times (I have found this is usually not the case), but it is worth the investment for your health. I hope I can help change these misconceptions and that I can pass along some awareness to even one person who then makes even one change for the better.

So, if you know you want to improve your awareness and overall health and wellness or you are simply intrigued and interested in learning more about all of this, please follow me along on my journey. I hope you learn something new every time you visit.

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie