Back to Basics: What You’re Putting Into Your Body When Brushing Your Teeth
In ancient times, toothpastes varied depending on the culture, although many cultures used crushed shells (including eggshells) and bones, and powdered ingredients such as ashes, bark, charcoal, herbs, and salt. When toothpaste was developed in the 1800’s, many toothpastes were made of soap and chalk. It wasn’t until after the 1850’s when toothpaste actually became made as paste. Before then, “toothpaste” was actually a powder that would turn into a paste substance after mixing with the saliva of the user.
Nowadays, toothpastes contain artificial foaming agents, detergents, artificial flavors, artificial colors, sweeteners, and humectants, such as glycerin. Some commercial toothpastes even include Triclosan (a registered pesticide according to the EPA, and an antimicrobial agent that is known to create super-bugs). Triclosan has been shown to cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, and when mixed with chlorine found in drinking water, can form Chloroform (a probable human carcinogen according to the EPA).
Let’s look at some other common ingredients in your tube of toothpaste:
Fluoride: A neurotoxin that was often used as a poison and insecticide in the past. (See my post on water fluoridation here, and a link about dental fluorosis here).
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): An chemical foaming agent used to create the foam and suds in toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. I posted about the dangers of SLS & why you should go SLS-free here. Remember, foam, bubbles and suds do not = clean! We are conditioned to think that way and feel that a product not foaming may not be working as well, but the foam really is all smoke & mirrors. It’s just a chemical added to your products to purposely create foam.
Saccharin: An artificial sweetener that has been linked to cancer.
Artificial colors, such as FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Red 33, and Yellow 10 Lake: These colors are lab-created dyes that have either been banned in other countries, or banned by the FDA for other uses (such as some eye cosmetics, etc.), and many of these dyes have been linked to toxicity and various tumors. For some reason though, these artificial colors are still allowed in our toothpastes & mouthwashes (which are absorbed through our gums and often minimally swallowed).
Glycerin: A humectant used to keep the paste moist & smooth. Although a natural ingredient that is safe for use, glycerin forms a sticky layer on teeth that has been shown to take 27 rinses to wash off of the surface of teeth. I don’t know anyone who rinses 27 times. The film formed on the teeth due to the glycerin content in toothpastes blocks saliva from coming in contact with teeth, & therefore, blocks the ability for teeth to remineralize.
Any of the ingredients in our toothpastes are easily absorbed through our gums and enter into our bloodstream. But how often have you stopped to think about your toothpaste, the ingredients in it and how it’s effecting your teeth and your health? We tend to buy what’s on a shelf and assume that it’s safe. Why would anything sold in a store be toxic to my health? Plus, my toothpaste is FDA approved, so it must be safe. Well, that’s what you’d think, but the truth is, many of the ingredients in commercial hygiene products are horrible for your heath. Look into these ingredients yourself instead of trusting that the FDA or your favorite store or brand will keep you safe, because, well…they won’t.
Ingredients are often approved based off of the amount of that specific ingredient that is allowed into the product. This doesn’t take into consideration that the ingredients/chemicals in products that we use every day, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, lotion, etc., accumulate in our bodies. This causes a toxic, chemical build up overtime from the constant use of these ingredients. Ingredients that maybe have been determined “toxic, but safe in low doses” is now a high dose ingredient in your body. Not to mention that the ingredients SLS and SLES allow your body to absorb more of whatever it is that’s in the product to begin with. Basically, it enhances absorb-ability. So now, not only is the SLS itself harmful, but it’s allowing the other harmful ingredients in the product you are using to be more easily absorbed by your body. Great.
And you also cannot just assume that because something is a known “all natural” product, that it really, truely, is! A great example of this is Tom’s of Maine, a well-known “all natural” brand. Although they sell a fluoride-free version of toothpaste, their toothpastes list SLS as an ingredient. They are able to get away with this as an ingredient in their “all natural” product by stating that it is “derived from coconut and/or palm kernal oil”. Although Burt’s Bees, another popular “all natural” brand, does not use SLS in their fluoride-free toothpaste, it does use glycerin (described above). And as we know, glycerin is an all-natural ingredient, however, in this specific application (toothpaste), it is bad for us (since it prevents our teeth to naturally re-mineralize themselves, the way nature intended).
The best way to steer clear of unnecessary ingredients in your toothpaste is to research and read labels! Read the ingredients on your tube of toothpaste and find out what each ingredient does, why it’s used, and any harmful effects associated with it. Even with all natural products, read labels to ensure the ingredients truly are all natural and will benefit your teeth/gums in some way. Another way to avoid unnecessary ingredients and uncertainty is to make your own toothpaste or tooth powder. I will end this weeks post on that note and will post a few homemade recipes for toothpaste and tooth powder for next Sunday’s Back to Basics post. Stay tuned!
“The Vitamin Water Deception - exposes truth behind this non-healthy beverage”
Check out this short (5 minute) video, especially if you’re a consumer of Vitamin Water.
Back to Basics: Why RAW MILK is better for you (a summarized explanation)
Due to Wednesday’s SWAT team raid of Rawsome, the seller of raw milk in California, this week’s Back to Basics post will be in regards to raw (unpasteurized) milk, and why it is better for you than conventional/pasteurized milk that all of us buy at the grocery store. And yes, raw milk actually goes back to basics — our ancestors drank only raw, unpasteurized milk at one point…actually, for years!
In my quest for a healthier lifestyle, I’ve been introduced to “real foods”/”traditional foods” — the concept of eating truly healthy and nutrient dense foods, healthy fats & oils, and leaving refined sugars and processed foods out of the picture. (I’ll save the details of other Real Foods in future Back to Basics posts). To begin, however, I’ll focus on nutrient dense Raw Milk (also known as: “Real Milk”).
Pasteurized milk was once raw milk that was heated to such a high degree that it kills off all of the “harmful” bacteria…meanwhile, it also completely destroys all of the GOOD bacteria (that our stomachs love & thrive of off), and kills all of the nutrients that raw milk is filled with. Raw milk only becomes a problem when the cows are not raised properly (producing unhealthy cows) or when the milk is mishandled. With healthy, pastured cows, the beneficial bacteria in raw milk flourishes. Raw milk from grass-fed, free roaming cows is safe (when handled properly), whereas raw milk from factory farmed, confined, feed-lot fed cows is not. Pastured cows eat a natural diet of foods that they are supposed to eat/food that they would eat in nature. Given their natural diet, pastured cows have a balanced pH in their stomachs which becomes present in their milk supply.
The milk that is sold in conventional grocery stores mostly comes from factory farms where cows get practically no sunlight, are shoved into small stalls where there movement is limited, and they stand on concrete filled with their own feces. They do not get to roam around on pasture like they are supposed to, and definitely are not fed a good, natural diet that they are supposed to be fed. Also, from living in the conditions that they are forced to live in, the cows often become sick and are given antibiotics to allow them to keep producing milk. THIS kind of milk MUST be pasteurized because of how disgustingly MESSED up the milk is to begin with (filled with pus from udder infections, etc). A healthy cow, who is pastured, is allowed to roam around in natural sunlight, and eat a healthy diet since they eat the grass that they live on (how nature intended cows to live & eat). These healthy, happy cows produce healthy, nutrient dense milk filled with beneficial bacteria, minerals, and enzymes.
Of course, there’s a very small risk in drinking raw milk (as with any food, really), but the risk here has been proven to be so small that you’d have a greater chance of getting sick or some kind of disease from mishandled meats, or other foods (think of the E.coli outbreak with that bagged spinach, or any other food recalls you can think of) — it can happen with anything, any time (people even get sick from pasteurized milk!) So you take a risk with everything you eat. What’s important is to do the research and make informed decisions, weighing out the pros & cons. To me, it seems that the small risk involved with consuming raw milk is worth it, considering that it’s better for you and the cows the milk comes from are HEALTHY cows. After looking into it, processed, antibiotic filled pasteurized milk seems pointless even. Adding chemicals and killing off all of the nutrients…what’s the point of drinking it?
In any situation, raw milk should be purchased only from a trusted farm/farmer. It is important to find out their animal-raising methods and how their milk is obtained and handled. At some farms, farmers go above and beyond to make sure their raw milk is safe for consumption by performing extra tests on their milk supply. Of course, people with compromised immune systems should be extra careful and stay away from anything unpasteurized (in my opinion, unless the issue is properly researched).
I’ll post more info on “real food” diets in future Back to Basics posts (to document & share everything I’m learning/doing to lead a healthier lifestyle). Meanwhile, do your research & support local & organic farming whenever you can! (I’m trying, and transitioning!) Feel free to message/ask any questions you have :)
Back to Basics: Homemade Cleaning Products
So, I completely missed this Friday’s Back to Basics post because I was on the set of Alpha Girls all day on Friday. So instead, I will post this week’s Back to Basics post today! (and will continue with all of the others every Friday)
Since today is my “cleaning day”, I will dedicate this weeks Back to Basics post to cleaning products and give away my biggest all natural cleaning secret! So, let’s begin:
One of the things that bothers me most is knowing that commercial cleaning products even exist and these huge corporations are fooling everyone. For one, there’s a different cleaning product for EVERYTHING. A safe and effective cleaning product would work in any room, in any situation. That includes your bathroom and kitchen cleaning products. Another thing that bothers me about the array of cleaning products offered is that they are extremely harmful! It’s sad because so many people are fooled into thinking that by using Bleach, or an anti-bacterial cleaning product they are getting the most effective cleaning product they can to keep themselves and their kids away from germs. Sure, these products may kill the germs, but they are also slowly killing us, and can oftentimes be the cause of some illnesses.
Let’s take a look at just one of the ingredients in Lysol Disinfectant Spray: o-phenylphenol. Well, it says our bodies can absorb the chemical by inhaling the vapors. Hmm…disinfectant spray. We are spraying this chemical around our homes, releasing vapors into the air that linger well after the fake (chemically produced) lavender scent disappears. Symptoms of exposure: cough, eye irritation, dizziness, sweating, etc. Effects of short term exposure: “The substance irritates the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract. The substance may cause effects on the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, liver, and lungs, resulting in respiratory failure, tissue lesions and hemorrhages”. — and that’s just short term exposure for ONE ingredient in ONE household cleaning product. Imagine what we could be doing to our bodies with the vast amount of products that we use in our homes, where these vapors are trapped.
Sure, there are “green” cleaning products on the market. But I have quite a few problems with them as well: 1) manufacturers do not have to list every single ingredient on their labels. And if you’re a label reader like I am, a lot of them don’t even specify what is in them at all. 2) just because their labels say “green”, “safe” or “natural” doesn’t mean it is. Those labels mean absolutely nothing once you realize labels and claims such as these are not regulated. 3) the “natural” cleaning products that I actually trust are expensive! Why pay so much for something when you can make your own all natural cleaning products, and spend less! (Plus, you will no longer be supporting those manipulating companies!)
So, to go back to basics, you have to think: What did our ancestors use to clean their homes before these chemical cleaning products were around?? (Just think about it, these products didn’t always exist! They actually weren’t around until during or after WWII). Well, then and now, the only two products you need to clean your home are: Vinegar and Baking Soda!
I use vinegar to clean everything! It’s my “all purpose cleaner” — it’s natural, SAFE, and effective. And it doesn’t leave that chemical or bleach smell (YUCK!). I literally just buy vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. You can buy empty spray bottles at almost any store, or you can even reuse an empty “all natural” store bought cleaner bottle. You can mix 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar if you want to dilute the vinegar a bit, but you don’t have to. I use it straight to get the most effective clean/disinfectant. Plus, it’s so cheap, who cares if you use a lot of it?! I buy a huge 128oz bottle of white vinegar for just a little over a dollar, and it lasts a while! And if you need a little scouring cleanser, just throw down some baking soda where you need it, spray or pour a little vinegar on top, you’ll get instant fizz, and you can start scrubbing. Vinegar and baking soda together works perfectly in the bathroom for cleaning the bath tub, or anywhere else you’d use powdered bleach.
And that’s the basics of homemade cleaning products! I’ll save the more specific homemade cleaning recipes for another Friday’s Back to Basics blog :)
BACK TO BASICS: Explanation & Introduction
It’s Friday, Friday… and beginning next week, I will be posting a “Back to Basics” post every Friday!
Back to Basics stems from the idea that we, as a society, have lost touch with our most essential and basic needs (and desires). If you think back to how our ancestors lived: fruits and vegetables were grown locally, oftentimes in their own backyard, and food was made from scratch, using fresh ingredients. The thought of chemical ridden, processed foods would have been appalling to any of our ancestors, as well ancient cultures. And the same goes for toxic skin care products. Half of the products out there today we don’t need… we’ve just grown accustomed to them.
For quite some time now, I’ve been slowly but surely changing the foods I eat/cook, the beverages I drink, and the cosmetics and skin care products I apply.
This all began from when I spent 60 hours a week working at a store that was known for their pet fashions and supplies, carrying only the most nutritious dog (and cat) foods. While I was there, I realized that many people cared more about what they were feeding their pets and applying to their coats, than what they were feeding themselves and applying on their own skin. With a large selection of all natural grooming products including shampoos, conditioners, and coat sprays, I knew that there was something wrong with what we, as humans, use on our own skin every single day.
I began looking into all of the skincare products that I owned, reading every label and researching the ingredients. The first place I started was the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. You can search by product name, brand, company, or ingredient. — This database is an awesome way to get to know what you’re really putting on your skin each day. Don’t forget, your skin is your largest organ and everything you put on your skin can/will be absorbed into your bloodstream. When I realized how awful the products I was using were, I wanted change and I wanted it fast. I quickly looked into a bunch of all natural brands/products, and even began making my own homemade skin care recipes with ingredients I already had in my kitchen (recipes to come in future “Back to Basic” posts). The same eureka happened with the cleaning products I’ve been using when I realized, ‘duh! For something that lingers in the house and is inhaled while cleaning and for a long time after, cleaning products should definitely be all natural’! It was then when I switched and never turned back. I first began by buying all natural cleaning products from the grocery store, but soon realized I wasn’t as satisfied not knowing exactly what was going into the product, plus it was much more cost effective to make my own (recipes for this also coming soon).
More recently, I’ve moved onto the food aspect of things. All natural is obviously the direction I was moving in, so I felt that the foods I eat should be “all natural” as well. Since I’m still in the process of making a complete transfer, I’ve got to say that the food part of this is definitely the hardest, and is taking the longest. With patience though, I can already tell it’s worth it. Less processed, pre-packaged foods, less junk as snacking food, and more fruits, vegetables, “good” fats, and essential nutrients. This means, more cooking, baking, and whipping together meals and desserts from scratch, rather than the store bought versions that are filled with chemicals, preservatives, and generically modified ingredients.
And that’s the point of future Friday’s Back to Basics posts — to provide just a little bit of information regarding how to get started going “Back to Basics”. I will provide recipes for at home skin care, and from scratch food/drink recipes, as well as information regarding the “healthier” way to go.
Follow Back to Basics every Friday to keep up with the new things I have been learning, the latest recipes I’ve been using, and my thought process through it all.
It’s ridiculous how toxic the world has become…at least make changes where you can within your own home, and for your family. This is something I take extremely serious.
Become informed, and share the knowledge.
I absolutely love & support everything this organization stands for & is doing. Please watch, visit their site, and share!