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And Baby Makes Three

Summer Bod Eating Tips - How to Beat the Bloat!

Summer Bod Eating Tips - How to Beat the Bloat!

 

As summer approaches, many of us are starting to notice how we look in that summer dress or bikini and more importantly, we are noticing how we feel in our summer attire. No one wants to be walking around the beach feeling bloated. It can effect our posture and our attitude when we feel the pressure from bloating.  The term “food baby” commonly used by millennials to describe the effects of feeling way too full after a meal. But even if a “food baby” is the least of your concerns, let’s go over some great ways to keep that belly feeling healthy this summer!

As a millennial woman in the health and fitness industry, avoiding bloat is a crucial to me. Not only to look good, but to feel good.  You’ll be shocked to notice how much your confidence will go up when you don’t feel bloated.  So I've created some awesome tips that I live by to look and feel good.  This article isn’t just for younger women however, or even for thin women, or even for just women in general.  It’s for everybody – men and women of any age.  Because while some of us don’t physically see side effects from bloat, all of us still feel it.

To get ready, I want to share with you my rules of life when it comes to how I approach my health and fitness and appearance.  Apply those first before using my tips:

Rule 1: Love your body.

            No matter your shape or size give gratitude to your body.  If you don’t like something, love yourself first.  If you want to change something or maybe you have a summer goal to put on more muscle in your glutes and shape that booty, set the goals to achieve that! And if you ever don’t know where to start send me a DM on Instagram @nikkiannespahn.  I’ll be there to assist you!

Rule 2: Know your body.

            What’s so great about being human?  Every single one of us are different and unique.  We all have a different genetic background, various blood types and so much more that makes us all different.  A vegan diet that works for one person may be awful for another. Be informed about your background, genetically and through blood work with your local naturopath.

Rule 3: Remember to have fun and don’t stress –  you only live once, enjoy it!

            Don’t stress about your body type, or a number on the scale!  If you ever find yourself stressing out about it, remember that the hormone cortisol is released during this time.  What does this hormone do?  It slows your metabolism and adds to the level of fat in the body being produced.[1]  So chill out, take five deep breaths, clear your mind and realize you are beautiful!

MY 10 TIPS

(1) Start each day off with lots water!

I’m talking first thing in the morning. And not just an 8 ounce glass. When you wake up you want to flush your system. Go to bed the night before with a full water bottle next to your bed (the biggest you can find) and when you start to wake up, start drinking. If you don’t drink water often you may find this a challenging new habit, but your belly will love you for it. Do it for two weeks straight and you’ll start to notice the difference.  I first learned about this practice as an aspect of daily routine from different cultures. The original suggestion I received was to drink 40-70 ounces. Which is insanely difficult! I suggest you try it out, but as long as you are drinking a minimum of 16 ounces first thing in the morning you’re going to feel amazing! Your skin will look healthier, you’ll be more hydrated, and that tummy is going to look great! It’ll jump start your metabolism, flush you out, and get your body ready for food!  And make sure to continue to drink lots of water throughout the day!

(2) Swap Out Your Raw Veggies

I know what you’re thinking… the veggie plater makes such a great treat at the BBQ. But please, for the sake of your belly, lose it!  On the veggie platter, our biggest enemies are the cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.  Also, be on a lookout for kale and cabbage.  These four raw veggies contain raffinose, which is a complex sugar that humans are unable to breakdown.[2]  Because of this, these veggies make you gassy.  If you really want to harvest their vitamins and minerals there are a few tricks you can try:

  • Steam them, or cook them and add rosemary, bay leaf and/or ginger. This will help break down the indigestible sugars that they contain.  
  • You can also add an anti-inflammatory spice such as turmeric, which will provide some relief from indigestion. 
  • If you’d like to avoid them all together, though, check out the healthy snacks in tips 3 & 4 below.

(3) Eat Kiwi & Dried Dates to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

A kiwi a day keeps the constipation away! And dates will also be a great helper with this! It’s impossible to feel slim, let alone look slim if you have a belly full of… well… crap! Literally. So, make sure you are eating these in substitute of popsicles and other sugary snacks. If you are really craving a cold snack, stick a popsicle stick on a shaved kiwi and pop it in the freezer.  In a few hours you will have a natural yummy frozen treat! Kiwis have a lot of fiber which will keep things in the body keep moving out smoothly.  Dried dates, besides tasting amazing, are also great for the body.  One thing about dates is they “contain a bunch of soluble fibers. Soluble fiber is essential for good digestive health because it draws water into the digestive tract.”[3] 

(4) Eat Avocados When You Need a Quick Snack

Hungry?  Stay away from that processed bar and grab an avocado!  Not only are they super filling, “they’re rich in monounsaturated fat, a nutrient that helps banish bloat, quell hunger pangs and fry stubborn belly fat.”[4]  I like to eat my avocado with a little bit of pink himalayan salt accompanied by a pinch of cayenne pepper which is a metabolism booster!

(5) Eat Iceberg lettuce in Your Salad Instead of Other Leafy Greens

I know what you’re thinking – Nikki, iceberg lettuce is not healthy for you!  But it does have a water content of over 90% which is great for hydrating your body, and on a hot summer day, we could all use of that!  “Half a head of iceberg lettuce has significantly more alpha-carotene — a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant — than both romaine and spinach.  What’s more, iceberg carries more satiating water than romaine, spinach or kale, making it a belly-filling force to be reckoned with.” [5]  While I love an organic spinach and kale salad, I do notice lots of bloat afterwards. Pay attention to your body to notice if you experience the same thing.  For the summertime, it may be a great time to switch to iceberg salads for lunch. Maybe save the spinach and kale for cooked meals or add them to your eggs in the morning.  Cooking your spinach helps your body processes spinach by breaking down the fiber.  Too much fiber can make you a bit bloated, and nobody wants that.  Flavor your steamed spinach with herbs like rosemary for a tasty dish at night.  Make sure you mix in other items to this meal and don’t eat too much of this fiber rich veggie.  If you want a large salad try out the iceberg lettuce with some sliced cucumbers, you can drizzle it with lemon juice and sprinkle on some sea salt and pepper!

(6) Eat a Healthy Probiotic Yogurt

This can be super tricky for some vegans out there, as most organic probiotic yogurts at the store are not dairy free.  Vegans will have to look for the coconut types.  Probiotic yogurt is a great option to start thinking about for breakfast!  Remember not all yogurt has probiotics – so make sure you find a brand that does!  You’ll also want to make sure you find one with low sugar.  You can throw it into a morning smoothie or garnish it with organic nuts, strawberries, real honey, and chia seeds! Keep that gut healthy with some good bacteria!

(7) Walk after your meals

Go for a nice stroll after your meal. A quick pace walk for about 30 minutes right after eating can help with long term weight loss goals. “Repeated hyperglycemia after meals causes hyperinsulinemia and a resultant resistance to insulin, which is problematic for people who have mild diabetes mellitus or are at risk for diabetes mellitus, and for people with obesity, because insulin is the obesity hormone”[6] Even going for a quick little 15-minute walk can aid in digestion; helping the food move through the body. Walking can prevent bloated tummies, indigestion and heartburn. So get moving!

 

(8) Drink this at night to transform your day-time belly!

Cucumber Metabolism Booster!

Ingredients:

1 cucumber
A bunch of cilantro
½ a Lemon
2 tbsp. Grated Ginger
2-3 tbsp. Aloe Vera juice/meat
4 ounces of cold filtered water

A Dash of Cayenne Pepper – optional

Directions: Blend all ingredients in magic bullet or blender of some kind.

Cucumbers reduce stomach fat while being loaded with fiber and low in calories. They are also high in water content and they are great for summer time snacking! Cucumbers along with lemons are great detox agents.  Lemons help flush out stored toxins in the body that can block fat burning elements from doing their job. Cilantro is another extremely low calorie food with great benefits; they are filled with antioxidants and very important vitamins and minerals that ease water retention without causing belly bloat. Ginger and cayenne will both kick your metabolism into high gear and create heat in your body.  For the aloe vera aspect of this mix, we recommend picking it off of a plant, just squeeze out the meat of the plant into your magic bullet or blender. Warning, this plant does not taste very good, so don’t use too much. Aloe Vera has the power to delay the growth of free radicles in the body due to its natural antioxidants.  It is also an anti-inflammatory and helps the body get ready to processes energy and aids in reducing your BMI (body mass index). 

That’s all for now! If you’ve had any personal success with any of these tips please let us know either by commenting below or sharing your story with us at @makes3organics on Instagram and using #organicforeveryone.

Take care,

Nikki

[1] (LaMotte, 2017)

[2] (Smith, n.d.)

[3] (Wolf, n.d.)

[4] (Smith, GET A FLAT STOMACH AND STAY HYDRATED WITH THESE SUMMER FOODS, n.d.)

[5] (Smith, GET A FLAT STOMACH AND STAY HYDRATED WITH THESE SUMMER FOODS, n.d.)

[6] ( Hijikata and Yamada, 2011)

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The Perfect Travel Companion for Summer

Hi Everyone,

If your purse or car is usually filled with tubes of lotions, random lip balms, sunscreens and an assortment of other ointments that are just over populating your space, get ready for your summer to be revolutionized by Organic Body Balm. While all skin types are different and all people have different life goals, if you are trying to live a simpler, toxin-free life this summer you may want to switch to Makes 3 Organics’ Body Balms for your skin! The great thing about Body Balms is that they are multi-functional and they can be used as a lip balm or even a hair styling aid! Great if your summers are usually spent away from home. Let’s go over our most popular Body Balm now.

Makes 3 Organics -Organic Lavender Miracle Balm

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Aloe Vera, and Organic Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula x intermedia). Size: 2.0 fl. oz.

This balm is made with ingredients that each have their own unique and naturally occurring benefits. The base of this balm contains Organic Coconut Oil and Organic Shea Butter. Coconut Oil penetrates deep into the skin and contains triglycerides. This means using it on your face may reduce wrinkles because triglycerides are known to create collagen. Coconut Oil is often used as a tanning aid in the sun, but it also has naturally occurring SPF – but always use a rated SPF too!  So while helping you tan instead of burn, it also protects your skin from UV rays. Coconut Oil may also reduce the damage to your skin by the sun.

Shea Butter, like Coconut Oil, also has natural SPF. It was used by Cleopatra herself as a moisturizer and is often referred to as food for your skin because of its natural antioxidants. Shea Butter is believed to reduce inflammation and can also help to combat acne. It can reduce the appearance of scars and aging. Coconut Oil and Shea Butter are also great for your hair.

We also use Beeswax in this plant-based balm. It has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties that are essential in fighting chapped skin and bacterial infections. It also has Vitamin A which is another wrinkle fighter!

Nicole Anne Spahn soothing an itching rash with Organic Lavender Miracle Balm

We also use Organic Aloe Vera and Organic Lavender Essential Oil. It is well known that Lavender Essential Oil is so good for you! It may aid in the healing of scrapes and burns. It also may be a great aid in slowing aging due to the antioxidants it has.  Lavender Essential Oils may improve eczema and psoriasis and restore skin complexion including the reduction of acne. Lavender Essential Oil also has aroma therapy benefits of reducing stress and anxiety. Just the smell of it can calm your nerves and alleviate headaches. Aloe Vera also has the healing properties of Lavender Essential Oil, along with its well-known ability to aid in reducing sunburn. Like the other ingredients of this balm, it may also reduce wrinkles!

We combine all these ingredients into an environmentally friendly tin, free of plastic. While this is advertised as a body balm it can be used for so much more. At Makes 3 Organics, we attempt to live as modern and naturally as possible. As Creative Director, I try to find that balance between strictly natural and totally conventional. It’s a balance that Makes 3 Organics advocates well and our Lavender Miracle Balm is the prefect representation of balanced living. It allows me to live toxin-free but have all the luxuries of the modern world. I use it as a make-up remover, a hair styling cream, a face moisturizer, an all-over moisturizer and for skin-irritant relief. I’ve always been prone to acne and dry skin, but the combination of these ingredients really help with those issues for me. It also makes for a great natural make-up remover because of the coconut-oil base. The tin is so light and compact I can take it with me anywhere and everywhere. If I’ve been out in the sun to long I can easily pull it out of my purse and use it.

I've put together a fun video to show you all of the ways I use this balm.  You can click the photo below to watch it.

Video recap of the Miraculous uses for our Lavender Miracle Balm

Give our Lavender Miracle Balm a try!  I hope you experience the same wonderful benefits that I do by using it.  Always let us know about what you are using it for!

Lots of love,

Nikki

Creative Director at Makes 3 Organics

www.makes3organics.com

#organicforeveryone

@makes3organics

 

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Three Stress Reducing Habits

Three Stress Reducing Habits

Reduce Stress This Year!
Developing positive habits, or rituals, to incorporate into your everyday life can be very beneficial in raising your vibration. Little things, such as: waking up and smiling every mourning, oil pulling, reading before bed, etc. Little things like this added to your weekly, or daily routine can bring immense happiness into your life. 

The Inner-Self
Meditation is a known way for individuals to reduce stress. When situations arise and you feel your blood boil, or you want to hide away, just take 5 deep breaths to calm yourself. Starting your day with a little 10-minute meditation can set the tone for your entire day and raise your vibration. Whether you use this meditation time to look inward, or to completely transcend away from your thought processes, it can really amplify the rest of your day. When you finish your mediation, set your intention for the day. Say out-loud a goal you'd like to accomplish, or a feeling you'd like to carry with you throughout the day.

If you are not sure where to start with meditation, You can start a couple different places. Youtube has videos that allow you to listen to a voice of a guid while you sit criss-cross. If you are more experienced and you are looking for a new practice, try this one out:

Start by laying on your back, limbs relaxed. 

Imagine a golden ball of light that engulfs your heart.

Focus on this ball of light, and allow it to grow. Imagine the ball slowly growing to your entire body, and after a few moments allow it to stretch out beyond your body. Be still here for a moment. Once ready, allow the glowing light to fill the entire space of the room you are within. If there are others in the room with you, imagine that their energy is also being touched by this light, and adding to the goodness of the ball of light. Next imagine the light to take up the entire building you are in, after, the entire city block (or an abundant amount of land surrounding you), next the entire city you are in, after that, the entire county. Keep imagining all the beings this light is touching and spread your love to them, and allow their love and goodness to be excepted into your light.

Follow these next steps slowly at your own pace, imagine the light is spreading to the entire state you live in, then the entire country, then the entire world. Remember to keep in mind all the creatures and people your light is encountering as it encompasses the world. Next spread your light as far as you can imagine, to the planets in our solar system, to the sun, to the milky way, to the entire universe! 

After your light as been put out into the universe as far as you can go, start to bring it back in slowly. Remember to keep all the positive energy you have encountered in the light, and also to leave some your love in all the areas you have envisioned.  Bring the light all the way back into your heart and just take note of how you may feel differently. Let yourself feel light as a feather, and take a few deep breaths before you open your eyes. 

A second great way to reduce stress is simply creating enjoyment out of the ordinary. Lets say you regularly drink tea, create that act of drinking tea into a special occasion, so that it is like giving yourself a treat every time you make a cup for yourself. Stock up on a variety of teas so that you have lots of choices to choose from. 
 

The Outward-Self
A third stress reducer is something you can physically do for yourself. Dry Brushing is a great way to exfoliate your skin and increase your circulation. This can be a great way to get your skin looking great for summer, and also keep your body temperature up a little as we finish these last weeks of winter. The benefits of dry brushing don’t stop there. If you’re looking to get ready to wear shorts this summer but usually shy away due to cellulite, dry brushing could be a solution. According to Dr. Mercola, the act of dry brushing can reduce cellulite by removing toxins that may break down connective tissue. It can also relax those hard fat deposits below the skin, evening them out.  Dr. Mercola also touts its benefits internally: stimulate your lymphatic system, reduce stress, and improve digestion and kidney function!


 When you dry brush make sure you take long slow strokes towards your heart. To do your entire body it should take any where from 10-15 minutes. The best time to dry brush is right before a shower so that you can wash off all the dead skin cells. 

 

 

Here at Makes 3 we know the outside of an individual will most likely always affect their inner self. If you feel good about your outer-self, your inner-self will reflect this. Also, on a more physical level, what you put on the outside of your body can affect the health of your body internally. We have many of customers that choose Makes 3 because our products are pure and free of any toxic ingredients, making it a healthy choice for the outside, and inside of your body!

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10 Minute Natural and Organic Homemade Sunscreen - Simple and Easy

10 Minute Natural Sunscreen Recipe

Did you know that many of the items you have in your home have natural SPF? Both coconut oil and shea butter have a natural SPF of 4-5 and combined with a non-nano zinc oxide make for a simple and natural homemade sunscreen that you can trust. This sunscreen has an estimated SPF of 15, but you can always add more zinc oxide to increase the SPF.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. organic extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz. organic coconut oil (1/4 cup)
  • 1 oz. organic beeswax (1/4 cup)
  • 1 oz organic Shea Butter (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 0.7 oz Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Optional: Organic Essential Oil to suit your taste, maybe 3-6 drops
  • Pyrex dish, BPA free plastic container with lid, or recycled balm tins
    Instructions:
    1. In a double boiler, combine all ingredients except the zinc oxide and the essential oil
    2. Warm under a low heat, and stir occasionally to incorporate the wax and oils
    3. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide and essentail oil, stir well and pour into your choice of mason jar, pyrex container, or tin you will use for storage. We recommend using recycled 2 oz. balm tins as they are easier to throw in a beach bag.
    4. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated
    5. Use as you would regular sunscreen but make sure to reapply after you are in the water as this is not a waterproof recipe

      Storage and other recommendations:

      • To prolong the shelf-life of your sunscreen I would recommend keeping it in a cool place when not in use. You could keep it in your refrigerator, but a cool pantry shelf works fine.
      • Make sure the container you hold it in seals tightly for those hot days when the heat from the sun will soften the mixture to avoid any leakages in a beach bag.
      • Play with the amount of zinc oxide you use, if you are looking for a stronger sunscreen you could double (actually 2.5x) the amount of zinc oxide in this recipe to make stronger sunscreen....better safe than sorry. But, please know that simply doubling the amount of zinc oxide will not give you a estimated 30 SPF, but cater the amount to your needs.

        NOTE: This is a natural recipe and has not been tested by a regulatory organization and is for personal use only. We can’t make any claims on the combined SPF it and should be used for moderate sun exposure only. As always, check with your doctor or dermatologist before using any new products.

         

        Using a double boiler helps melt the oils and butters while preventing overheating the oils. At medium heat this only takes a few minutes to melt.

        Organic Oils and Butters

         

        Once the oils and butters and melted mix in the Non-nano Zinc Oxide and stir well until the zinc if fully incorporated.

        Organic Oils and Butters with Zinc Oxide

         

        Pour the mixture into recycled balm tins or pyrex dishes. Remember to stir a few times while the sunscreen settles to ensure the zinc oxide is evenly dispursed throughout the mix while it sets. 

        Hand-mixed zinc oxide sunscreen

         

        We filled both balm tins for the beach and a larger pyrex dish to have around the house.

        Home made sunscreen in recycled balm tins and pyrex dish

         

        And that is it! In a few minutes you have just made your own zinc oxide sunscreen with no chemicals so it is safe for you and your family.

        Done! Home-made organic zinc oxide sunscreen

         

         

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        Toxic Beauty - a data story, by Maryam Khezrzadeh

        Toxic Beauty — a data story

        The first time I became aware of harmful chemicals in cosmetics was in early 2000s when a story about “lead in lipstick” was circulating through email and word of mouth. One was instructed to use a gold ring and rub a sample of lipstick on a surface; if any black substance appeared, the lipstick contained lead — or other heavy metals. We did that; We watched the streaks of black forming as we rubbed the pink and red lipsticks on our skin with gold rings.

        The unsettling truth about cosmetics and personal care products is beautifully summarized in the Story of Cosmetics. The seven minute animation film tells us there are toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products: in shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, nail polish, baby powder.

        The Story of Cosmetics: co-created and released by The Story of Stuff Project and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

        There are mountains of scientific evidence that link these chemicals to breast cancer, childhood cancers, learning disabilities, asthma, infertility, ADD and other diseases that have been rising in recent decades. Some babies are coming to this world, already contaminated. Mutations in genes can’t account for these increases in just a few years. What can explain the rising rate of hormone-related cancers and other health problems, is our unprecedented exposure to toxic chemicals. “All of us today share something unshared by countless generations of humans who lived before us: we carry man-made pollutants in our bodies.

        An average American teenager uses 17 different products a day, exposing herself to more than 150 chemicals. This everyday exposure continues throughout her lifetime. An average American woman uses 12 products a day. American man? 6.

        Many of these chemicals are hormone-altering. They disrupt signals in the body that regulate metabolism, growth, reproduction, sleep and mood. Hormone-altering chemicals are more problematic at lower doses than higher ones, so even small traces found in everyday products should concern us.More than a third of common everyday products reviewed by EWG, containhigh levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

        Why are these products even on the shelves? Because multi billion dollar beauty industry can use almost any ingredient they wish. They are not required to disclose all ingredients on product labels and they can name their products natural and organic without having a single natural ingredient in them. There is no law to prevent them from doing so. Beauty industry is one of the least regulated industries in the U.S. Regulations in Canada and European Union are much stricter. However, there are still many chemicals of concern used in cosmetics and personal care products sold in these countries as well.

        Who are these companies?

        To answer this question, I visited EWG’s Skin Deep Database. EWG researchers launched Skin Deep in 2004 to create online profiles of cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns. Because of the hard work of Jane Houlihan and her research team, women are starting to think they are putting on chemicals, not makeup.

        The graph below summarizes more than 1600 company profiles on Skin Deep. The big 7 companies which are labeled on the graph, manufacture most of the cosmetics and personal care products sold on the market today and the majority of these products have medium to high hazard scores according to Skin Deep’s scoring framework. For example, only 3 out of a 100 products made by Procter & Gamble have a green score on Skin Deep.

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        The beauty titans collectively own more than 120 brands. This multi-brand strategy grants them a greater space in the market. They sell similar products under different brand names to target maximum number of buyers with varying expectations of price and quality and to create an illusion of choice on store shelves. More than 500 green companies on the other end of the spectrum do not follow the same strategy. Pioneers like Dr. Bronner’s set excellent examples of how a company can be successful making responsible products of the highest quality. All you need is a man who is committed to making a better world.

        Brands owned by Procter&Gamble, L’Oréal, Unilever, Estée Lauder, Johnson&Johnson, Revlon and Avon companies

        Aside from those owned by the big 7 beauty companies, the following brands are also among the most popular across the globe, selling products that have moderate to high hazard scores in at least 80% of cases.

        Other popular brands of cosmetics and personal care products. At least %80 of the products made by any of these brands have moderate to high hazard scores on SkinDeep.

        Do these products need toxic chemicals in them to make us clean and shiny? No. In almost all cases effective and safe alternatives are already being made by thriving green companies. Toxic beauty is the legacy of 1950s when people were totally swept up in “better living through chemistry”. Companies hesitate to change their old formulations because they don’t want to spend money. That’s why they do whatever they can to defeat efforts to shift the beauty industry away from hazardous chemicals.

        70 years later, we have connected these chemicals to our sicknesses. We know more than half of all breast cancer cases can’t be explained by risk factors such as genetics, diet or reproductive history. We have evidence linking exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments to increased breast cancer risk. Yet, the beauty industry manufactures doubt and ignorance about science. It positions itself as the leader in the war against breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease. The industry over-emphasizes early detection and cure without willing to look at the causes of cancer, and in this way, it diverts public attention from equally important prevention strategies. The message the beauty industry is sending women is: you are going to get cancer, but we’ll help cure it and help you “Look Good, Feel Betteralong the way.

        What else does the data tell us?

        An analysis of the SkinDeep data reveals the relative safety of different types of beauty and personal care products. For example, most styling mousse on the market are toxic. It is harder to find safe styling mousse than it is to find a non-toxic bar of soap. The word cloud below summarizes these findings. Larger word size means relatively fewer safe alternatives are available on the market for that category. If you want to begin your journey towards safe cosmetics, start by reviewing the products you regularly use that are more likely to be toxic: hair styling products, hair colour, tanning products, sunscreen, perfume and nail polish.

        A measure of the safety of different types of products. Size is calculated as the ratio of non-green to green products. Colour is proportional to size and changes from red, for types that are most likely to be toxic than non toxic, to forest green to indicate the abundance of safe options on the market.

        Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a set of tips on beauty and personal care products. The first tip is simplicity: choose products with simpler ingredient lists and fewer synthetic chemicals. This is in fact a very sound advice. The chart below shows how the average hazard score increases as more ingredients are used in a product.

        Nevertheless, choosing safe cosmetics doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Applications like ThinkDirty enable you to scan products in the store to check their hazard score before buying them. ThinkDirty also helps you discover new brands and products that provide safer options. EWG Verified standard is another great way to get to know responsible companies.


        The good news is that the message of natural products is breaking through to mainstream culture. As more consumers become aware of the chemical soupwe are living in, they will see value in natural and organic alternatives. This new quest for beauty leads not only to eliminating toxins from our bodies and our minds but to a deeper realization of how everything is connected: the economy, the legislature, science and nature.

        The real solution to toxic beauty is having laws that prevent companies from using toxic ingredients; It will take a major mobilization of all of us who are affected by the ugly side of the beauty industry, to pass legislations that will shift the industry away from hazardous chemicals. Let’s help clean up this mess.

        For more from Maryam, you can find her at https://medium.com/@mkhezr

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        When to go Organic?

        WHEN TO GO ORGANIC?

        Have you wondered what I mean by living an Organic Life?  I hope that through my previous blog posts you have gained important knowledge about Organics and the Organic Movement and why it is so good for you to live an Organic Life!  There are so many different aspects of our daily lives where making organic choices can make a difference to the health and wellbeing of your body, mind and spirit.

        What I am talking about when I use the word Organic and talk about Organic Living is that the food we eat is natural, that the products we put on our bodies are natural and that we are living natural lives making intentional and conscious choices on a daily basis to be closer to nature.

        Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.  ~ Ralph Marston

        If you are reading this it’s my guess that you are already dabbling in organic living or have even made the full commitment to live an organic life.  Really the time to go organic is any time and most preferably now. 

        But my approach is what I consider a balanced approach.  In our everyday lives it can be challenging to make a special trip to a grocer that sells organic food or to find that boutique that sells organic personal care products.

        I also know that our budgets can limit our organic purchases.  And yet, all of us know that our health care bills are bigger when we are living out of sync with nature.  So I advocate making organic purchasing choices as often as possible but not to feel guilty or like you are failing when you don’t.

        Let’s face it, buying only organic food, personal and household products is impossible.  So let’s not provoke anxiety in ourselves for the items in our grocery carts that don’t meet organic standards. 

        My goal with my blog posts and with my promotion of organic living here and through my company, is to help you make informed decisions about what you are bringing into your home.  This week you may buy that organic shampoo and the next time you might not.  It’s ok.  Do the best you can when you can.

        With that as a guiding light, the time to go organic really can be now.  One organic purchase at a time will reduce the amount of agricultural, industrial and cosmetic chemicals your family is exposed to.  The less demand for non-organic products, the less that will be produced and the healthier our environment will become. 

        The way we spend our money is powerful and can lead to change in the marketplace.  So the more consumer dollars we devote to organic products, the more organic products will be available and they will become less expensive as a result.

         If you want to relax, watch the clouds pass by if you're lying on the grass, or sit in front of the creek; just doing nothing and having those still moments is what really rejuvenates the body. ~ Miranda Kerr

        ~Kristine

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        The Biggest Reason to Go Organic - Our Health

        THE BIGGEST REASON TO GO ORGANIC – OUR HEALTH

        Did you know[1]:

        • 1 in 13 kids has food allergies?
        • 1 in 10 kids has asthma?
        • 1 in 68 kids has autism?

        Which means:

        • 1 in 3 kids has allergies, asthma or autism

        Did you also know:

        • Cancer is the leading cause of death among American children?

        Cancers, autism, behavioral disorders, kidney diseases, asthma, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers are being experienced at increased rates in our population.  I believe this is linked to the increase and proliferation of the use of toxic chemicals in our food, personal care, household cleaners and the presence of these chemicals in our environment.  Are you willing to continue to watch the incidences of these debilitating health effects grow out of our modern methods of crop production and our personal care and household care products?  I am not.

        Because science cannot yet measure the cumulative effect of the Chemical Body Burden on our health or particularly pinpoint the particular chemical sequencing that triggers the cancer or the expression of asthma, should we deny the problem at all?

        Just because much of the science that is showing the harmful effects of consuming GMO food is being accepted by other countries[2], should we deny that the science is real in the United States where currently GMO crops are not banned, nor is the use of GMO chemicals regulated.  Should we continue to accept the agricultural ethic that the only way to produce food is to spray millions and millions of pounds of herbicides, insecticides and pesticides on the crop and the land?

        Let's stop being too busy to demand better for ourselves  Let's kick our addiction to convenience and go out of our way for Organic foods and non-toxic personal care and household products.  It seems we have become too cynical about government to accept the need for regulation and are we too trusting of the corporations that provide our jobs.

        I think we need to make the economic choices in our households to reduce the amount of meat and processed foods that we eat and get back to a diet based in nature.  We need to accept the notion that the production costs in conventional food, personal care and household care products are artificially deflated because cheap GMO ingredients or petroleum by-products are being substituted for the healthy and valuable elements being removed and monetized in other products and then do something about this.

        Let’s wake up to the realization that the real cost of eating, cleaning our bodies and our homes is reflected in the cost of organic and environmentally friendly products.

        I believe that in the long run greater health will mean lower medical bills and a lower overall cost of living even when adding the expense of organic products to our household budget.  I believe that back to basics is healthier and in harmony with the way human beings are meant to live our lives and that with consumer pressure on the market, organic can be for everyone.

        [1] http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/parenthood-rx/

        [2] http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/10/22/gm-crops-now-banned-in-36-countries-worldwide-sustainable-pulse-research/#.VsZedfIrKUk

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        How We Clean Our Homes (and other household hazards)

        HOW WE CLEAN OUR HOMES (and other household hazards)

        We are a society obsessed with clean.  We are terrified of germs, obsessed with clean hands and wary of environments that appear unclean.  And for good reason.  Every day we hear of new food-born illnesses and disease outbreaks and waves of public communicable diseases.  We are convinced that anti-bacterial gel will keep us safe and our children free of sickness and we ritually engage in a scorch and burn approach to cleaning our homes.

        It is so obvious as to not require footnotes.  Just take a look at the labels in your shelves.  On many of your household cleaning supplies you will find labels that read: WARNING, CAUTION and POISON.  Or perhaps you will find one of these:

        We have become so acclimated to seeing these symbols that they have lost their meaning.  Ask yourself, especially if you have children, why you would have any products in your home that display these symbols?

        Ok, so I’ll get off of my soap box.  At a minimum please ensure that cleaners that are obviously dangerous are kept in a secure place away from children.  And also please keep their use to a minimum, as I’ll discuss further in Part II.

        The danger that cleaners that are poisonous can be immediate and acute like immediate respiratory difficulty, skin irritation and watery eyes.  Direct exposure to the skin can cause irritation or burns.  But there are potential long-term effects of exposure to these chemicals, mainly cancer.  Some cleaners may be required to inform consumers that their contents contain carcinogens.

        Companies who produce these cleaners are not required to tell you their exact ingredients.  There are no labeling requirements for this. 

        But we know the most dangerous products are those that are corrosive, such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners.  These may include bleach or ammonia and are acutely toxic if not handled properly.  Other cleaners, such as all-purpose cleaners and bathroom cleaners may contain lathering agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), which I highlighted in my chapter on Personal Care, to create the sudsy effects consumers desire to enhance the visual confirmation that the cleaning agent is working.  These chemicals are highly reactive and combine with other chemicals to create carcinogens. 

        In addition, it is likely your typical household cleaner will contain synthetic fragrances and perfumes to create the aromas we have come to expect.  That “fresh” lavender small isn’t lavender at all.  Recall that thousands of potential chemicals can be present in what a proprietary fragrance is made of.

        But acute allergic reactions can be just as harmful to your family’s health.  Of the chemicals used in houehold cleaners today, the following cause the most allergic reactions:

        • Triclosan – recall our discussion that triclosans aren’t actually better at killing germs than regular soaps. But triclosans have been marketed very well.  Unfortunately they are commonly responsible for hay fever reactions and skin rashes.
        • Ammonia – a naturally occurring substance, ammonia is fine in very small doses. However, the concentration used for cleaning is toxic. Exposure can cause respiratory constriction, eye irritation and headaches.
        • Hydrochloric acid – what, acid? This is also natural, but found in nature in diluted forms.  It is used in toilet bowl cleaners and bathroom cleaners.  Direct inhalation is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe respiratory impediment and even coughing up blood.  It can burn and blister the skin.
        • Formaldehyde – although a known human carcinogen this chemical is still found in cleaners and personal care products. Exposure to even small amounts can cause asthma, headaches, skin irritation and vomiting.
        • BPA – Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor and is found in the plastics of household cleaning products. BPA is also linked to asthma and potentially to the display of food allergies.

        Neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, irritants and carcinogens are common in these household cleaners.  The categories and many of the chemicals are the same as what are found in personal care items.

        But it’s not just our human health we need to be concerned with.  The environment also suffers from the chemicals we use to clean our homes.  When a chemical rinses down the sink or down the toilet, it ends up in our municipal water system and then out into the environment itself.  Although our municipal sewage systems treat the water that come through the pipes, that water is released into our water system.  Although many chemicals that are harmful coming out of the bottle do in fact dilute, breakdown or dissolve through water treatment, there are still toxic chemicals that do not.

        The US Geological Survey found that 65% of our waterways contain detergents – recall all detergents are petroleum byproducts.  Those that don’t break down in the water treatment process are surfacants – chemicals that are key to the detergent’s effectiveness.  These are a class of chemicals known as alkylphenol ethoxylates and are added to laundry cleaners, stain removers and even your favorite citrus spray cleaner.  These chemicals are endocrine disruptors – specifically estrogen enhancers.  When they are present in waterways it is believed they interfere with fish reproduction.

        Another example are phosphates which survive the water treatment process or run off directly into our waterways.  Phosphates promote the growth of oxygen depleting plant life in waterways.  These plants create toxic environments in waterways and kill all other life.  Although many municipalities have banned phosphates, they are still present in many dishwashing machine detergents.

        Making informed decisions about the cleaners you use and store in your home is important to your overall health.  Exposure to harmful chemicals through household cleaners contributes to your overall Chemical Body Burden.

        But perhaps more directly, the exposure to household cleaners accounts for over 10% of all poison exposures reported to the US Poison Control Centers and half of these exposures were to children under six.  As you will read in Part II, this is especially infuriating considering we may not need all of these toxic chemicals in our homes to begin with.

        The ways in which we are exposed to synthetic and toxic chemicals in our homes can be overwhelming.  There is formaldehyde in the particle board underneath our floors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the paint we put on the walls.  Your upholstered furniture has flame retardants linked to cancer.  Fortunately the government is now acting to do something about this and in many states you will not have to buy new furniture with these chemicals.

        If your home is new, there are numerous products installed in your home that can take months or years to off-gas completely.  I won’t go into all of them.

        But I thought I would highlight one piece of furniture that you can change which can make a positive impact on your health.  Your mattress.

        Unfortunately, the cheaper the mattress, the more chemicals it will contain.  Flame retardants, petroleum-based fibers containing arsenic, boric acid and formaldehyde.  That is an unfortunate economic reality.  So for many, making an investment in a chemical free mattress isn’t an option.  But if you can afford to find a mattress made with latex, eco-foam or other nontoxic, chemical free and hypoallergenic mattress, it may help your health in the long run.  Best of all would be a mattress made with natural fibers such as cotton and you can even find organic mattresses too!

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