Toxic Cosmetics Lurking in my Home – STILL!!!

11 May

As you can tell by my blog topics and archive, I’ve been cleaning up my act for sometime now. I must admit that I can be a know-it-all – and this week I have been humbled. Not only humbled, but also shocked, surprised, and honestly a little bit angry. Here’s why: when one embarks on this journey to clean up ones life there’s certainly a learning curve. You learn that the healthiest things don’t come in packages, and even those organic packaged foods are still junk food with a fancy label. You learn that animal products and chemicals are hidden everywhere. If you haven’t seen the Story of Stuff, it’s below.

If you’re anything like me, you may also think that because you know the red flags to look for that you really do know your products. Much of my ego has played into feeling that I was making better choices than most of the people I know – and while that’s not WHY I do it – I’ve really patted myself on the back and tooted my own horn about it. If you follow my blog you likely know me in some way – so you know that I am proud of buying CLEAN products, clean food, and supporting companies that I believe make a difference in this world.

Here it comes. I WAS WRONG and I AM ANGRY! I’ve used the Cosmetics Database many times over the past few years to look up products. The database rates products toxicity from Zero (not harmful) to 9, very harmful. I picked a range of products from things I use daily (shampoo, deodorant) to things I use occasionally (OFF!, facial masque, cheap body spray) and everything in between. First, here’s a visual. Do you recognize any of these products? Do it yourself – I posted a hub about it here: How to Detoxify your home.

Toxic Products including shampoo, lotion, mineral makeup, organics and more.

All of these toxins combined create a deadly cocktail in your body, and what goes on your skin goes IN your body.

So you may be wondering why the anger? What’s the big deal? I buy everything from organic lotion to organic dish soap. The price point on these items is much higher than supposed toxic products. But since I’m a know-it-all – my motto has been “You get what you pay for!” Not true. Hence the outrage. You’re telling me that my overpriced shampoo, conditioner and lotion are the exact same poor quality as everything else on the shelf? Yes, it’s true.

Fine, if you know me – you know I prefer solutions to complaining. I took the plunge this week to join Ava Anderson Non-Toxic as a consultant. I am already passionate about this subject, and now I am empowered. Let me tell you something folks… I THOUGHT I KNEW my organics. I really did. After trying TRULY organic products that are clean and made with minimal ingredients I can’t even explain. I have not dyed or processed my hair in over 10 years – it has not felt this healthy – ever. It feels like hair again! The frizz is gone (and I didn’t have to use my dimethicone-based “serum” either!) My skin feels flawless, and not like it has a coating of garbage over it.

I will never, never ever, ever ever go back to the old way… no more blinders, no more wasted dollars at drug stores, whole foods, trader joes. I’m done with the cosmetics and personal care industry. There is a new way… and as you may have guessed, I am completely on board. Once you go clean you’ll NEVER go back.

Watch for my Ava Anderson non-toxic review – where I tell you about my experience with the products!
UPDATE:
(Review is linked here!)

I will be reviewing the following: Ava Lipstick, lip gloss, foundation, blush, cleanser, scrub, moisturizer, toner, body lotion, body wash, and haircare products.
CAN’T WAIT – but duty calls – I have some design deadlines to tie up first.

Top 5 Spices in my Kitchen (Medicine) Cabinet

9 Mar

Spices have amazing properties. There are entire websites and books dedicated to their healing attributes. Today, I’d like to cover a few basic staples. As with all supplements, they should be taken with caution. If you take any medication check with your pharmacist about possible interactions before adding spices to your supplement regimen.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon has been getting praise as of late, in regards to its ability to assist in blood sugar management. Even the Mayo Clinic says that patients with type II diabetes can benefit from taking a cinnamon supplement. It’s said to lessen the impact of sugar on the blood.

According to German research it can also “supress completely” the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, as well as assist in controlling the fungus candida albicans.

Cinnamon can eliminate many of the types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, and when mixed with ginger you can easily avoid stomach upset and reduce the symptoms of food poisoning.

Keep in mind that using cinnamon is not like taking a typical OTC medication. It contains compounds that thin the blood. Cinnamon also assists in metabolic function and according to Thyroid-Info.com can reduce cholesterol, as well. One great way to monitor your intake is to take it in supplement form – or if you like the controlled portion but love the flavor, pull the capsule apart and sprinkle it on food, or in a beverage. I use it on many different things – next summer try it on some watermelon! Cinnamon will also assist in cleansing the liver and detoxifying the blood.

Turmeric/Curcurmin
Turmeric is a beautiful yellow spice that will stain just about anything you get it on! Traditionally used in Indian curry dishes turmeric is now known as one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices in the natural supplement kingdom. In many countries it is used as a treatment for cancer, namely prostate. Some studies suggest that it may remove plaque buildup from the arteries, and the brain. It was shown to prevent the spread of breast cancer in mice, and of course more research on humans is needed.

Of all spice supplements, in my humble opinion, turmeric is king. It has also shown positive effects for arthritis sufferers. Check out this great list 20 Health Benefits of Turmeric.

A word to the wise (and not-so-wise): after dealing with a shoulder pain for several weeks, I decided to try using turmeric topically as my late-night googling suggested. I made a nice paste with some aloe vera gel, put it on, and covered it with a large gauze. The next day, it wouldn’t wash off. My skin was stained for nearly a week, and afterwards peeled like a sunburn. I do not recommend this!

Fresh Ginger Root
 If you like spices with a bite, its likely you may have forgotten about ginger. While the dry ginger in the spice aisle certainly has its place, there’s nothing like the bite of freshly grated or juiced ginger root. If you do a lot of juicing with apples, try adding an inch of ginger root. It will keep your apple juice white! (The brown color comes from oxidation.) Much like cinnamon, ginger is known in traditional medicine to help with symptoms of arthritis, thin the blood and reduce cholesterol.

Ginger is great for upset stomach, and is known to calm down stomach upsets due to some strains of food poisoning. In China ginger is used to calm a cough. There are many uses for ginger (not to mention, it’s really yummy!).

Cayenne Pepper
Of my list of staple spices to keep in the cupboard/medicine cabinet cayenne pepper is often forgotten. It’s bite is certainly as loud as its bite. One year someone brought an awful virus to the office. You know the drill, one day Mark can’t swallow and he thinks he has strep, and two days later Phil calls out. A few more days and your throat is on fire. Mark is the first to visit the doctor. He’s told he has a virus, and he should be nearly through it. The Dr. basically says “wait it out.”

Mark gets that call from a crazy relative about cayenne pepper. We’re all miserable enough to try it. Behold.. it works. Here are the most pleasant ways to take it: 1. Mix it in some tomato soup. or 2. Mix it in hot chocolate (dark is best!). You need enough to bite the pain in your throat, literally. It should sting. Sip slowly to ensure the longest amount of time spent in this “stinging” phase. Repeat 2-3 times a day, it shouldn’t take more than 1-2 days to work. While I don’t know the mechanism of this, I will say: I have not had a cold in 5 years, since I learned this trick, the moment I feel a tingle I have cayenne pepper.

While it is more pleasant in a good dark hot chocolate, monitor your sugar intake anytime you’re fighting a cold – and if you still drink that nasty sugar water that I so dearly love (my personal weakness, Dr. Pepper) remember that 1 can of soda can take your immune system down for 24 hours.

Garlic
Like the other top-5, garlic is a potent medicine. It is known to have antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol garlic is another spice that has a list of health benefits. Much like ginger, while it’s dried variety is fine for cooking, its health properties are best found from the raw form. Because of its strong flavor, many people opt to take a it in supplement form.

Here’s a great list from my-home-remedies.com of the healing properties of garlic. As always, do some of your own research and ask a medical care professional or pharmacist before adding spices to your daily regimen. They can be quite powerful – they can also be quite wonderful!

On that note, stay warm, stay healthy – and for a delicious way to combine all 5 of my favorites, see my last post with my Butternut Squash Soup recipe. Please let me hear if you try any of my suggestions. I’d love to hear about your experience.

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic New Products of 2015

27 Mar

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic just keeps getting better! I’m constantly impressed with the ever-growing product line. From home to baby, to their perfectly fine-tuned cosmetics, I can say that my love affair with Ava Anderson Non-Toxic has not ended – and I’m positive that it won’t, anytime soon!

Ava-Anderson-Non-Toxic-Products

As you’ve probably read in blogs and reviews, Ava’s Diaper Cream has been somewhat of a miracle cure for eczema sufferers, psoriasis sufferers – and has OF COURSE, been keeping baby’s bottom happy for years. Ava has announced it’s new Dream Cream – the product you know and love with new scents – including my very favorite – citrus! YUM. Also released within the past few months is Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Men’s Line. After all – no man needs estrogen-laden hormone disrupting body spray – we know there’s nothing sexier than clean and green!

avaMEN Facebook

Also in our sights is the new BB Cream (that’s beauty & blemish cream!), released in 2014, it comes in 4 shades and is luxuriously perfect for those who don’t like a heavy feeling on the skin.

Now that it’s summer – you better believe its time to stock up on non-toxic sunscreen and bug spray. Ava’s sunscreen is silky smooth, and leaves your skin feeling spa-moisturized. It’s unscented, aside from the natrual scent of the ingredients, but it’s truly neutral to the palette. We’re in the final weeks of the cooler weather – it’s a perfect time to stock up on essentials! From shampoo & conditioner to SPF moisturizer and deodorant – Ava has you covered from head to toe.

Here are just a few Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Product testimonials!

“I am a walking advertisement for the diaper cream, body butter, and hand sanitizer. My hands were in terrible shape, dry, painful, itchy and cracked to the point that I had open, bleeding cuts on all of my fingers and my palms. My Consultant gave me a little diaper cream, body butter, and hand sanitizer to get me through until my order arrived. I rubbed hand sanitizer on my hands and then used the diaper cream. Throughout the day I would alternate between body butter and diaper cream. Every morning I started with my sanitizer and diaper cream routine, following up with body butter and diaper cream throughout the day. Within 2 days my hands were well on their way to healing and in 5 days, although still dry, there wasn’t a single cut on my hands. Seeing is believing!!!” – Alyson


 Relief from Psoriasis

“My husband has horrible psoriasis and he is constantly scratching. I mean constantly. Even in his sleep. I put a huge glob of diaper cream on his feet (which have the most psoriasis) and covered with socks over night. They literally looked like a faded scar by morning. I can’t believe how amazing that stuff is!” -Suzanne

A friend of mine suffers from painful scalp psoriasis. She ordered the Ava shampoo and conditioner … I saw her last night and she was telling me about her next Ava order & what she plans on getting! Then she says, “I’ll definitely be ordering more shampoo and conditioner! My scalp psoriasis is gone!” I was so happy to hear that!” -Jessica

“You not only gained a new customer, but one for life!


 

Son was born with eczema

My son was born with the worst eczema the 8 doctors have ever seen. For years we’ve treated the symptoms with over the counter creams that contain petroleum, mineral oils and other chemicals. Steroid creams prescribed every winter. The last two years have been the toughest since he was a baby. Using these other products up to 3 times a day wasn’t enough, and my son grew sick of the chemical smells and the greasiness of, especially eucerin cream. I hated using it because after all my research I knew the petroleum was the last thing his skin needed. Yesterday at 5 pm we got our package of Ava and my son applied it right away, he loved the natural, fresh smell of the dream cream and loved how his skin absorbed it. I think 24 hours later the results are speaking for themselves. While the “scale” on his knees (see below) is not completely gone, the extreme dry spots and scab like area is! His cheek is healed and the corner of his lips have greatly improved! Thank you Ava! You have a customer for life! ” – Earin

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Review

14 Nov

Before I write this blog I’d like to say that in 2007 I read a book that absolutely opened my eyes to the toxicity (parabens, pthalates, sulfates, ethyls, methyls, etc.) in everyday products, in relation to not only cancer, but many other diseases that are caused by hormone issues. The toxicity us “crazies” speak of has to do with endocrine disruptors. Here’s your quick lesson in just ONE hazard that I’m referring to when I say “toxic” and that is Endocrine Disruptors:

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disordercognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, etc. Any system in the body controlled by hormones, can be derailed by hormone disruptors. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg, into a fully formed infant. As the cells begin to grow and differentiate, there are critical balances of hormones and protein changes that must occur. Therefore, a dose of disrupting chemicals can do substantial damage to a developing fetus (baby). The same dose may not significantly affect adult mothers—for a more scientific explanation, see below.

Endocrine disruptors are substances that “interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for development, behavior, fertility, and maintenance of homeostasis (normal cell metabolism).”[1] They are sometimes also referred to as hormonally active agents,[2] endocrine disrupting chemicals,[3] or endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs).[4]

EDC studies have shown that endocrine disruptors can cause adverse biological effects in animals, and low-level exposures also cause similar effects in human beings.[5] The term endocrine disruptor is often used as synonym forxenohormone although the latter can mean any naturally occurring or artificially produced compound showing hormone-like properties (usually binding to certain hormonal receptors).

Ava Anderson Product Reviews

So, now that we’re past just a sliver of what I mean when I say “dirty” products, let’s get onto the fun stuff! First I will say that I’ve been wanting to try Ava’s makeup products for years. I’ve been a supporter from afar due to my interest in her cause, and the clean products cause, in general. I love everything her company stands for, and I really believe she walks her talk, quite well, I might add. With high expectations my package arrived neatly via priority mail. All of the packaging is very high quality and each item was sealed beneath it’s lid (ever notice store brand products are never sealed… maybe that stuff doesn’t rot?) the light citrus scent in many of her products is wonderful and never overpowering. So where should we start? I say, top of the head!

OrangesAva Anderson Non-Toxic Shampoo Review

I was most excited to try this product out of the entire order. I’ve stumbled through SO many different “organic” brands – many of which turned out to be as bad as a 5 rating on the Cosmetics Database (and I’m sure there are worse!).  The shampoo is very light in it’s consistency, and has a fresh orange scent. I did have to use a tiny bit extra to get a good lather throughout – but knowing what I know about Sodium Laurel Sulphate I figured this may be slightly different than my overpriced non-organic organics! First let me say this – my hair felt great after the rinse and before the conditioner – and it felt completely different. I used just a dab of conditioner on the ends of my hair, as I really wanted a feel for the product. Drying my hair told the story. First I will say that I have not dyed or chemically processed my hair in 9 years. I have also not used hairspray or any other product in my hair other than aloe vera gel, so it’s naturally very healthy already. After the Ava shampoo… it just felt like hair again. It was really smooth, there were no parts that felt dry or rough, and I have very thick hair, so I was honestly quite impressed. What told the story even better: an air dry. My hair was shiny – really shiny! Shiner than I’ve every seen it with those “shine” claiming shampoos or serums, that’s for sure.

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Face Wash Review

The face wash also has a wonderful orange scent. I get a slight tingle when I use it, probably from the natural citrus. It rinses very clean, with no slimy feeling afterward like I’ve experienced with L’Oreal, Mary Kay, Alba Organics, etc. (my previous favorite). It’s not an obnoxious “too dry” clean like bar soap, but again much like my hair – suddenly my skin just felt like skin – which was really nice!

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Exfoliator Review

If St. Ives ever did their apricot scrub right, this is what it would be like. The apricot seed granules are similar, but fewer in number. Again, the product rinses completely clean and leaves no film on my skin at all. I have very sensitive skin and nearly any change in my routine will cause my skin to react. So far: nothing but happy!

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Toner Review

My skin has never handled toner well – no matter the price range or quality. It simply makes me break out. This one is a winner, too. I actually love this toner, the scent is incredibly light as is the after feel. Like all of Ava’s products they’re literally weightless – and to me, nothing feels worse than having a layer over my skin of anything – toner, moisturizer, makeup, etc. I am a bare skin kind of gal! I like the toner so much that I sometimes use it midday, depending on whether or not I’m wearing foundation. Speaking of which: lets get to it!

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Foundation Review

So I will just admit here that I’ve loved BareMinerals / Bare Escentuals. Loved it, after seeing several mentions of the ingredients of mineral makeup – all I can say is.. check the database… I’m not going to bash products here. My point: I will never switch back – My Ava foundation is made with French Clay. The texture is perfect, as is the coverage. You know what’s even better? The size of the product… WOW – It must be twice the size – and it is – and then some! With BareMinerals original SPF Foundation you pay $27 for  8 grams ($3.37 per gram). You’ll also get a side of poison, with a rating of 7 on the database.  Ava is $35 for 19 grams (1.84 per gram) – the freebie here is that there are no surprises. Truthfully, one of the top makeup products I’ve tried. Are you ready to try it? Since I don’t want to put anyone to sleep, I’ll leave the review as it is for now, and say that I was impressed with the quality of every product. What I’m even more impressed with is that Ava Anderson, founder of Ava Anderson Non-Toxic is 17 years old, and has been at this since 15. She walks her talk, and has helped to bring this very subject to the attention of hundreds of thousands of people – and continues to each day by educating consumers. Nobody is asking for you to support only one product – but be aware of the safety hazards. You’re taking a risk every time you buy a product that is full of toxic yuck, and you’re also getting a mediocre product for a premium price. If you’ve been hearing the hype, here’s why: this product is worth the hype – it’s stellar! I won’t be switching back to mislabeled products. As we like to say – you can’t unknow something. Remember who you support when you walk into your grocer or drugstore, and remember that every item you buy has implications larger than yourself! We need to clean up our act. No more labeling lies!

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