A few of my favorite things…

Favorite Natural ProductsMy transition to a more natural lifestyle has been gradual…. I never had a dramatic throw out all products/food moment, mostly because it’s expensive to replace everything all at once.  I first changed my diet for optimal nutrition and as I read more books and blogs, I began to learn how the products we breathe and absorb through our skin affect our bodies just as much as what we eat.  So, I started to change the hygiene and cleaning products that I use in our home. Someday, I’d love to make all my own products… the recipes online are abundant and it’s certainly cheaper, but for now, I buy what I need.  I’ve written about quite a few of these products, but I thought I would put it all together in one easy place for those of you looking for recommendations.  Here’s a very random list of a few of my favorite health and home products:

HIMG_6800ealthy Mouth – Cavities, bleeding gums, root canals, bad breath… chances are that many of you don’t like going to the dentist. Gum disease, in particular, is a serious epidemic now – in 9 out of 10 adults – so, obviously the toothpaste & mouthwash out there isn’t doing a darn thing to help.  The OraWellness brushing blend, made only with organic essential oils, completely transformed the health of my mouth (read more here).  My gum bacterial infection is gone and I’ve healed two cavities – no fillings for me! I also use the toothbrush that they sell – specifically designed with less bristles to gently clean the tooth at the gum line. If you want to give the whole system a try, here’s the basic starter kit.


IMG_6811Living Clay
 – Used by some of the world’s finest spas, this Bentonite clay is not only beneficial for your skin, but has many other healing properties as well. It’s extremely absorptive properties help cleanse the body of toxins – I use it as a purifying face mask, any time I have a rash, as a detox bath, and even drink it in liquid form to cleanse my digestive system when I’m sick. For a comprehensive guide on the many ways to use it, I highly recommend this book – Living Clay: Nature’s Own Miracle Cure; you can also read some excerpts here.

IMG_6810Activated Charcoal – Read my blog post on this amazing substance and how it can be used for teeth whitening, acne, food poisoning, digestive issues, bug bites & stings and even hangovers. Add the capsule or powder version to your first aid kit today.

Coconut Oil – I’m begging you… please throw away those harmful vegetable/canola oils in your pantry and buy this next time you are at the grocery store.  I have replaced all oils in baking and cooking with this – it has incredible healing properties and is really easy to use. And I use it to wash my face and moisturize my whole body; my skin has never been better. Read more about the miracles of coconut oil here.

Natural Deodorants – Last October, with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in mind, I wrote all about some great natural deodorant options that are free of cancer-causing aluminium and parabens.  I recently found another product I love – Primal Pit Paste.  I find the best success in alternating deodorants every other day, so I also currently use Silver Shield Deodorant. Bonus: Both products are made locally and are also man-approved by my husband!

Essential Oils – I’m obsessed.  Sometimes, I wonder what I ever did without them; then, I remember that I took medicine… and suffered for it.  Instead of reaching for side-effect-causing pharmaceuticals, I can now use something safe and natural for my whole family (dog too!). Now’s the time to update your medicine cabinet!

IMG_6804Diva Cup – For women only: that “time of the month” may be a strange topic to discuss, but you should seriously rethink the hormones and chemicals going into your body through the feminine hygiene products you use.  Since the chemical glyphosate is used in growing cotton, you are exposing your body to this cancer-causing toxin every time you use a tampon. I am so thankful for this product; not only is it much safer for my body, but it’s also made a huge difference in the debilitating cramps I used to experience each month.

All-Purpose Cleaners – This is one of the few products I do actually make myself with lemon essential oil because it is just so easy. But, in the past, I have loved using each of these natural products: J.R. Watkins All Purpose Cleaner, Branch Basics, and Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner.  Each of those have great hand soap options as well!

Detergents – Most options you find in the stores have lots of chemicals, and with the items we clean being so close to our skin or even what we eat off of, the ingredients in these products do matter. I highly suggest visiting your local farmer’s market to find a local vendor who sells these as they often work the best, but Seventh Generation makes a couple of mostly natural items I IMG_6802use when I run out and need to buy at the store. The Laundry Detergent can be used in cold water & HE machines effectively and is free of fragrances & brighteners, as well as environmentally-friendly.  The Dishwasher Gel works great too!

Wool Dryer Balls – Did you know that the chemicals in dyer sheets are terrible for the longevity of your clothes and your dryer, as well as bad for the environment? As soon as I learned there was an option that was not only safe in all those aspects, but also dried clothes faster and make clothes softer, I was totally on board.  These are forever reusable and I can add a few drops of whatever essential oil aroma I’m feeling like.  Buy the package of 6 and use them all at once for even better effectiveness.

Do you have any other favorite, natural products to recommend? Will you be trying anything listed above?

*A few of the links above are affiliate links, which means I make a very small commission if you decide to purchase that product.  I appreciate the support to be able to keep this blog going.

Advertisements

I Heart Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Miracle

Beginning in the 1960s, research began to emerge that some forms of saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol.  In general, saturated fat became feared as a major cause of heart disease, clogging our arteries and killing us slowly.  Coincidentally, at that time, the farming and production of soy products domestically was becoming a huge industry and the American Soybean Association was seeking to eliminate imported tropical oils from the market.  By the 1980s, the government and media jumped on the bandwagon against coconut oil and vegetable/canola oil became the “healthy” choice.  As a result, our products changed and we were no longer getting the nutritional benefits of coconut oil in our food. Since that time, our nation has actually seen an increase in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

How do you decide what to believe when it comes to your health?  This is the ultimate question I get when I tell people I write a wellness blog because there are so many contradictory opinions and “facts” out there.  Since I seem find myself always going against the grain on what’s generally accepted as healthy, I have to explain my rationale a lot.  While there’s much more that plays into my beliefs, it usually comes down to this: look at the facts and the research, but focus on the sources.  Personally, I am less likely to believe information coming from a medical journal published by a pharmaceutical company or a government recommendation based on profit to the economy.  Often, the source of the information really sheds some light on possible motives involved in the dissemination of that message.  For example, compare the likely credibility of a doctor who supports some drug and just happens to make lots of money from said support versus the doctor who is standing up against their institution and risking losing their job or research funding because of it.  While it may seem like a dramatic example, I find it all too common in my research.

Okay, back to the topic at hand: enter our current world of everything canola oil and a country dying of chronic illnesses. The Coconut Oil Miracle opened my eyes to all the health benefits the fruit has to offer – it’s pretty amazing and we’ve really been missing out.  What I loved about the book is that it uses research based on real cultures: “Coconuts (and coconut oil) have been used as a major source of food for thousands of years by millions of people in Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and Central America.  Traditionally these people have had much better health than those in North America and Europe who don’t eat coconut.”  The book also explains the science behind why the fat in coconut oil is so beneficial to us.  The main reason it’s so beneficial is that it’s comprised of medium-chain and short-chain fatty acids, which our body breaks down for energy rather than storing as fat like the long-chain fatty acids in vegetable oil.

Let’s talk for a bit about free radicals. Free radicals cause cellular damage as they seek to steal electrons from other molecules, causing a chain reaction creating more free radicals stealing electrons.  They attack our cells, causing damage and mutations.  Ultimately, they cause degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, failing memory, reproductive problems, aging… the list goes on. We encounter free radicals throughout our environment and some occur naturally so they cannot be completely avoided, but many of the additives and toxins in our food promote their destruction.  It’s important to limit your exposure to free radicals and incorporate antioxidants into your diet as they’re the only way to stop them. Vegetable oils contain a high amount of free radicals because they are chemically unstable and oxidize so easily.  Coconut oil, on the other hand, contains none of these and also helps fight the ones you experience in your environment by giving you a boost of antioxidants, plus it’s safe and still beneficial after heated during cooking – a rarity among oils.

The book goes on to detail all the proven health benefits coconut has and the list will astound you:

  • “Coconut oil protects the heart and arteries from injury caused by bacteria, viruses and free radicals.  By removing the cause of arterial injury, coconut oil prevents further damage, allowing the arterial walls to heal, thus not only reducing the risk of heart disease but actually promoting healing.”
  • An New Caledonia island study revealed that islanders near ports eating modern foods “had an incidence of dental cavities of 26 percent, and those who lived inland and on a diet of native foods an incidence of 0.14 percent.”  These islanders with phenomenal dental health ate lots of coconut and “never brushed their teeth, never flossed, never used antibacterial mouthwash and never saw dentists.”
  • “Today people are suffering and dying from illnesses that science predicted 40 years ago would be wiped off the face of the earth…. Experts say our overuse of antibiotics is largely to blame: antibiotics encourage proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria.”  “Even the super germs are vulnerable to the lifesaving coconut derivatives. The unique properties of coconut oil make it, in essence, a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiprotozoal food.” *emphasis added
  • “By far the best and richest natural sources of lauric acid are coconuts and coconut oil.”  Lauric acid kills lipid-coated microorganisms like HIV, measles, herpes, influenza, leukemia, hepatitis C, staph, and strep, just to name a few.
  • The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil work for our immune system just like they do for newborns from a mother’s breast milk.  MCFAs kill bacteria that causes a multitude of STDs, staph, food poisoning, meningitis, ulcers and sinusitis.  They also defend against parasites that can cause food allergies and chronic fatigue.
  • The vegetable oils that you consume attack your thyroid and make you fat.  Replacing those oils with coconut oil, which adds MCFAs to the mix and increases your metabolism, can actually help you lose weight.
  • “Polynesian women are famed for their beautiful skin and hair, even though they are exposed to the hot blistering sun and chafing of the ocean breeze every day.” Free radicals in our food and environment cause advanced aging to occur, but the antioxidants in coconut oil work to combat that. Coconut oil also protects your skin from germs, acts as a healing agent and is an incredible moisturizer.  I use it as a lotion, as a hair conditioning treatment, and as my sunscreen – it “enables the body to adjust naturally to sun exposure, naturally increasing the body’s tolerable level over time.”
  • Coconut oil is considered a catch-all healing medicine in many countries, helping with digestive issues, nourishment to newborn babies, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, diabetes and liver disease.

So how can you incorporate coconut oil into your diet and routine?  The book recommends 3 1/2 tablespoons daily… you can cook with it (replace any oil with it, same amount), put it in your coffee (if you love lattes, check out this amazing recipe), or use it on your skin.   You’ve got to put this book on your reading list… it’s such an easy read and there is so much more information and case studies that will really amaze you.

Will you give coconut oil a try?  Let me know what you think… I’m hoping you all become just as obsessed as I am!

Source: The Coconut Oil Miracle written by Bruce Fife, C.N., M.D.

Let’s Talk Teeth

Shark Teeth

In honor of Shark Week, let’s talk teeth!

Last week, I visited the dentist for my 6-month cleaning appointment and received a glowing report: no cavities, no gum disease, not even a “you could be flossing or brushing better.”  When is the last time you got a report like that?  Well, for me, this was phenomenal news compared to my last dental visit…

See, earlier this year, I went in for my normal cleaning and the dentist gave me some grim news.  Apparently I had a serious bacterial infection that was causing gum disease in my mouth.  I was urged to spend $500 on a test that would pinpoint the exact bacteria attacking my mouth, which would direct them to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics, and maybe even steroids, to fight the bacteria.  I was also told to implement a new routine into my dental care: schedule cleanings every 3 months and purchase a high-end water pick as well as a pricey prescription dental wash (which I was appalled to find contained sucralose!).  To top it all off, the dentist mentioned that if this gum disease continued to ravage my mouth, it would likely cause heart disease and infertility problems.  Way to put the fear into a patient!

Okay, so I am admittedly cynical when it comes to anyone in the health profession.  Let’s be honest, this is their job… it’s how they support their families, and more problems with a patient certainly mean more money for them.  This was certainly not the first time in my life to receive a terrible diagnosis from a medical professional, and I knew from experience that I needed to do a little research of my own before agreeing to any treatment.

I take great care in what I put in my body, whether it’s food and drink or the hygiene and beauty products that my skin absorbs.  A few years ago, I learned about the dangers of fluoride and have since been filtering it out of my water at home as well as avoiding it in dental products.  Fluoride is used to prevent cavities because it kills the bacteria in our mouth, but unfortunately, we are getting far too much of it and it’s causing lots of health problems in the general population.  Just a few examples include cell death, brain damage, dementia, bone issues, lowered immune function and thyroid problems.  (Read more here and here.)  I take a daily iodine supplement to counteract the fluoride that I do consume through water outside my home and bathing since Austin’s water contains it.  More and more people are beginning to hear about the dangers of the fluoride chemical being added to our water supply, and some places, like Portland and Israel, have even voted to prevent it.  I have personally seen improvement in my hormone issues and memory since removing it.  All that to say, I needed a dental care solution without toxic fluoride or other harmful chemicals, which meant the dentist’s solutions were not going to happen.

Having found natural healing for so many other health issues in my life, I began to seek out some trusted sources that have helped in the past.  Thanks to a recommendation by my favorite Dr. Cate, I found a product called OraWellness. I purchased the OraWellness HealThy Mouth Blend to give it a try.   It is a blend of organic essential oils with bacteria-fighting properties to fight against gum disease and the bacteria that causes cavities. Basically, you use a few drops of the blend on your toothbrush instead of toothpaste.   It was hard to get used to not using toothpaste, but within a week I was sold. It tastes great and the small bottle travels easy.  I also love that you can use it on your floss or as a mouthwash for a deeper clean.   My mouth has never felt so fresh.  Plus, since you are just using a few drops at a time, a bottle usually lasts me 2-3 months, which is totally affordable. Also, they have these great toothbrushes with less bristles that feel so much better on my sensitive gums (thank you, seasonal allergies).  If you want to learn more about why the blend works, you can visit their website directly. Their blog also has some great insight into other dental care topics as well as how important a healthy mouth is to overall wellness.

Now, six months later, after using the product twice a day, I am free of gum disease, bacterial infection, cavities and have clean, fresh breath. Plus, I swear my teeth are whiter!  The dentist was shocked by the transformation of my mouth, and hopefully slightly convinced that the natural way can indeed heal.

Had you heard about the dangers of fluoride?  Would you ever try something new and natural to clean your teeth and gums?