For your listening pleasure…

PodcastsIf you’ve been wanting to learn more about health, but not so much into doing lots of research or reading, this post is for you!  While I love reading & highlighting a good health book now and then, I don’t always have the time or energy for it.  I love listening to podcasts during my commutes to (1) avoid annoying radio commercials and (2) to encourage and remind me to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Here are a few of my favorite podcasts & some episodes I found interesting to give you a place to start:

  • Underground Wellness – By far my #1 pick… I love everything I’ve listened to and there are years worth in the archive.  It’s hard to pick, but here are a few of my favorite episodes: Deep Nutrition with Dr. Cate Shanahan, MORE Deep Nutrition, The Coconut Oil Miracle with Bruce Fife, Heal Thy Mouth with Will Revak of OraWellness, Genetically Modified Foods with Jeffrey Smith, The Hormone Cure with Dr. Sara Gottfried, Gerald Roliz: Ex Pharma Sales Rep Tells All.
  • Wellness Mama – I love Katie’s blog, so of course love her podcasts: How to Know if You Have Gluten Sensitivity, Micronutrients & Healthy Fats, Can Cavities Remineralize?, Reversing Infertility & PCOS Naturally
  • The Primal Blueprint – Interviews with health experts and narrated articles from Mark Sisson’s super popular paleo blog
  • Bulletproof Radio – Best enjoyed with a cup of bulletproof coffee: Dr. Cate Shanahan and Bulletproofing the NBA, Hashimoto’s: The Root Cause, Dr. John Salerno: Holistic Medicine, Heavy Metals & Allergies; Dr. Daniel Amen: Alzheimer’s, Brain Food & SPECT Scans
  • Balanced Bites – Two gals talking about modern real-food living: Women’s Health, PCOS & Body Image with Stefani Ruper; Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue with Laura Schoenfeld
  • The Fat-Burning Man – Abel James experienced quite the life change by transitioning to a “wild diet”: Raw + Paleo for Your Dog, Dr. Alan Christianson: The Adrenal-Reset Diet

Do you have any others to recommend?

Happy listening!

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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.

Healthy Hygiene Routine

 

Healthy Hygiene RoutineMany people make a good effort to eat healthy and limit the toxins they ingest, but what about the chemicals you are spreading over your body or putting in your mouth during your hygiene routine?  Today I want to share some basic products I use daily and talk a bit about why they are way better than their mainstream alternatives.

Living Clay MaskCalcium Bentonite clay is full of trace minerals and literally vacuums toxins out of the skin. It’s been used throughout history and has so many healing and detoxifying uses.  It’s alkaline 9.7 pH brings the body into balance.  I use it as a mask at least once a week on my face and have seen dramatic improvement in my skin.  If my hormones are going crazy and causing me to break out, then I will use it daily to remove my makeup each night.  You can instantly feel how it stimulates blood circulation and your skin will feel so refreshed and energized afterwards.  When I had an allergic reaction to antibiotics, it helped decrease the severity and redness of the rash. I use the powder form in detox baths and even mix it with water & drink to detoxify my body when I’m sick.  It’s also the perfect shaving cream for those of you who struggle with dry skin and razor burn.  This is one of those products I really could not live without; it’s made my skin clearer than ever!

Coconut Oil – I recently wrote about my absolute obsession with coconut oil and all it’s miraculous healing abilities. In addition to cooking with it, I also use it as a moisturizer all over my body and even on my face.  As it absorbs and moisturizes your skin, you also get it’s benefits internally.  It has anti-aging properties and will help prevent wrinkles; it also helps your skin adjust to sun exposure giving it SPF effects.  And it’s great for removing eye makeup and lip stains.  Best of all, it’s super affordable (especially when you compare it to what you would spend on lotion and expensive face moisturizer) because a little goes a very long way.  I simply melt a few tablespoons on the stove and put it into a small travel sized container for my bathroom counter.

Lavender Essential Oil -I actually mix this with the coconut oil in the container I use for my face moisturizer.  Besides smelling absolutely amazing, lavender oil has many anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  It will help heal pimples very quickly, minimizes the appearance of scar tissue, and helps heal cuts and bruises by stimulating circulation.  It’s a great moisturizer for chapped skin, so I use it on my lips too.  Plus, it’s scent helps calm your mind and body, decreasing stress and helping you wind down for a night of restful sleep.

Orawellness HealThy Mouth Blend – The simple fact that you’re never supposed to swallow regular toothpaste always made me suspicious of its safety for putting in my mouth at all.  This is the best “toothpaste” I’ve ever used and I’ve seen incredible improvement in my mouth health over the past year (my dentist has too!).   This is a blend of organic essential oils that fight bacteria and helps heal cavities.  Plus, it doesn’t contain any of the toxic chemical fluoride.  If you have gum problems, cavities, or are just looking for a safe way to clean your teeth, this is a must-try!

Mineral Salts Deodorant – Antiperspirant deodorant works by using aluminum to stop the sweat and odor.  Unfortunately, it also causes breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, so I knew I needed to get it out of my routine.  (TMI) I sweat a lot, which made this the toughest natural hygiene solution to find.  Most products would work for a while or at least stop odor, but I finally found a great solution that is consistently helping with both.  Lafes Deoderant is made with simply 3 ingredients: aloe vera, essential oil and natural mineral salt; it comes as a spray or a roll on.  The mineral salts combat the bacteria that causes odor. I love the lavender scent and while it’s not technically an “antiperspirant,” I’ve noticed that my sweating has decreased the more I use it.  I buy mine at my grocery store, Natural Grocers, and it lasts months using only once a day.  Lastly, it doesn’t leave stains or marks on your clothing like the regular ones always do – a great bonus!

As for the “beauty” department, I am researching and testing different makeup and hair products to find healthy options that actually work.

Hair Products – I am currently using Kevin Murphy shampoo, conditioner, hair spray and dry shampoo.  They are sulfate and paraben-free and work amazing, but still use a lot of chemicals I am not comfortable with.  I’ve tried many of the organic options from the grocery store but found my hair was oily and flat within just a week of use.  I am considering making my own as soon as what I have runs out, and I will certainly keep you updated on that adventure.

Makeup – I’ve used Origins, Arbonne, and MineralFusion from Whole Foods, but they are all so expensive and don’t have the lasting power that I really want.   I feel like when I come home from work it looks like I didn’t even put makeup on that day.  Looking for any and all recommendations!!

Have you found safe, natural beauty & hygiene products that you love? Please share them here!

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?