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Do More and Feel Better with Less in 2015
Written by Trina Felber of Primal Life Organics   

Green New Years ResolutionsIt seems like everyone makes a New Year’s resolution related to losing weight, exercising more or eating better. We all jump in on January 1 and try to make our new habits last. This year, I think it’s time for a change. Why not try to focus on other ways to live more healthfully, environmentally friendly and chemical free? The choices we make every day produce waste and can impact our bodies. Here are a few ideas I’d like to think about in 2015!

Waste free living (more environmentally friendly)

Several recent news stories have covered individuals or families that have gone “Waste Free.” Lauren Singer explains how she went two years without producing waste in this video. She said she “quit plastic” by taking glass jars to the store to fill up on produce and foods, buying in bulk and planning her meals so that she didn’t feel tempted to buy items in the beautiful and shiny, yet plastic, packaging.

Singer references the Zero Waste Home blog by Bea Johnson. The blog shares what Johnson and her family have discovered through their experience with the “Zero Waste Lifestyle.” Check out her tips to “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot” your way to a waste-free life.

Even making marginal changes in your shopping habits, like buying bulk quantities of natural soaps (like liquid castile or bar soaps that do not contain SLS) or larger quantities of frequently used items (like coconut or olive oil), can make a difference. This year, I plan to make a point of not using plastic bags and buying fewer food products that are packaged in plastic.

Chemical free living

Reducing our encounters with unnatural substances is a constant battle. No matter where you are in your journey toward healthy living, we all slip up sometimes.

A few ideas I encourage you to implement in 2015:
Buy Primal Soap in bulk

  • Bring natural soaps to the office, kitchen and bathroom
  • Pack the products you need for weekend trips, or even long days, so you are not tempted to buy lesser quality products when in need (think hair care, dental care, skincare and makeup!)
  • Rethink your sun protection habits before the summer or vacation starts
  • Fully make the switch from lotions to oils
  • Swap out your commercial, chemically filled blush and ditch the pore-clogging concealer
  • Work toward washing your hair less
  • Keep learning about ways you can live a more natural, less chemical lifestyle

Feed your skin and body what it needs, and ONLY what it needs, this year! Look for chemical and preservative free skin foods that will keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

Our products at Primal Life Organics have the nutrients, essential oils and vitamins you need, from ingredients you can recognize. We make our products because we care about your health! No chemicals, no preservatives - and we package primarily in glass and tin which can be recycled or re-used and are environmentally friendly. 

Visit Primal Life Organics for More Green Ideas & Gorgeous Beauty Care

 
Whole Living: Fats - Diet Myths and Your Skin Health
Shirley Makela's Whole Living Articles
Written by Shirley Makela of Alki Organix   

There is one myth that stubbornly persists and in my experience gets people really worked up when it’s discussed; the myth of low fat diet equaling healthy diet.  Not only has this been debunked multiple times by credible sources and studies but eating a very low fat diet may have adverse effects not only on your overall health and not surprisingly also on your skin.  Yet we continue to be marketed low-fat foods as the healthy alternative, and we continue to ‘eat-it-up’ as healthy!

According to the Harvard School of Public Health it’s time to end the Low-Fat myth, it’s neither reduced obesity nor increased health, it may have even done the opposite. In the 1960’s about 45% of calories we consumed were from fat – around 13% of us were obese, fewer than 1% had Type 2 Diabetes, 50 years later we’ve reduced our fat intake by over 25% and obesity has risen to 34% and Type 2 Diabetes to 11%! Their speculation is that reduced fat processed foods are compensating for the loss in taste and texture with added sugars, salts and refined grains. While we have indeed reduced fats in our diet our sugar intake has skyrocketed in recent decades.

According to HSPC it’s the type of fat that matters most.  They point out that our bodies need fats & oils for good health, in addition to providing us a source of sustained energy fats and oils are also necessary for our bodies to absorb and utilize the nutrients and vitamins in our foods, like CoQ10 and vitamins A, D, E, and K.  One or two tablespoons of olive oil on your salad is all you need to make the best use of all those healthy vitamins, skip it and you don’t get the benefit of those healthy greens!

So what does this all have to do with our skin?  Beside the fact that our skin is a mirror to our overall health diets that are rich in healthy essential fatty acids assist your skin in the production of lipids which in turn help your skin trap & hold onto moisture. Essential fatty acids are called because they are indeed essential to every single cell in your body.  Our bodies cannot manufacture them, if they are not present in our diet our health (and our skin) suffers.  Deficiencies in the Omega 3’s can result in dry, flaky skin.

A diet rich with omega 3’s include fish like sardines & salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts are also excellent source of omega 3.  Additionally a diet rich in monounsaturated oils, like olive oil, not only helps boost your immune system by making nutrients available to it - it can help your skin stay younger looking. Sources include avocados; nuts like pecans, almonds &  hazelnuts and seeds like pumpkin and sesame seeds.

Though the Harvard School of Public Health would like us to think twice before opting for a low fat diet they also point out that not every fat is equal.   While monounsaturated fats are considered one key to health and saturated fats are not the ‘pure evil’ they were once purported to be ( moderation is key), there is one truly evil fat.  What’s that one fat that you should avoid completely?  Hydrogenated or Trans fat oils! These do nothing for your health but clog your arteries and cause heart disease. The recommended amount is 0%, absolute zero! And that’s not the 0% you see on nutrition info on labels – by law a food can contain up to .5 grams per serving and still say zero.  Look in the ingredients, if you see hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated anything put it back.  Interesting note; trans fats (aka hydrogenated oils) were introduced to our diets in 1911 with P&G’s Crisco.  The hydrogenated cottonseed oil it was made from was intended initially not for consumption but to make soap!  Various market forces brought it into our mainstream diet including the fact that it made processed foods last longer on the store shelf and mass shipping easy!  Food for thought (not for consumption!)

 

Here's To Our Health!

Shirley Makela, AADP INHC

Owner/Artisan

Alki Organix

Truly Natural Skin Care in Partnership with Nature

 

http://alkiorganix.com/

http://www.facebook.com/AlkiOrganix

https://twitter.com/AlkiOrganix

 
Paleo Living: Are There Dangers Lurking in Your Toothpaste?
Trina Felber's Paleo Living Articles
Written by Trina Felber of Primal Life Organics   

“Most toothpaste contains a number of slow moving poisons that accumulate in the highly sensitive and permeable mucous membranes in the mouth and lead to toxic overload. Over time, these toxins can cause serious health risks.” (1)

Poisons.  A harsh word, I know.  But lets call it what it is.  I refuse to pretend a toxin is safe even in small doses!  After all, how do you measure how much is absorbed anyway?  Obviously, for a child, even a small amount is toxic.

What are these toxins?

Most commercial toothpastes contain at least three potentially harmful, possibly toxic, and at the very least unnecessary chemicals: Glycerin, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and artificial sweeteners. Fluoride, which many people choose to avoid due to toxicity concerns, is also common to commercial mouth care.

Glycerin is thought to leave a coating on the teeth, possibly contributing to de-mineralization and preventing re-mineralization (the layering of minerals back into the enamel structure). Re-mineralization strengthens the enamel and protects the tooth.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is readily absorbed by the body and is considered a “probable human carcinogen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  According to the EWG, SLS may cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and even hormone imbalances; exposure may also cause denaturing of structural protein – including the membranes in our mouths. SLS and Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate are the synthetic chemicals used as the foaming agents in toothpaste (1).  SLS is also commonly found in engine degreaser, garage floor cleaners, and car wash soaps (2).  In the scientific community, SLS is commonly acknowledged as a skin irritant and has been linked to mouth ulcers and canker sores (1).

Commercial products often include a variety of artificial sweeteners intended to make them palatable. For instancesaccharin is manufactured from petroleum products, and, like most artificial sweeteners, has been linked to cancer (EWG). Two other commonly used artificial sweeteners include sorbitol, and aspartame. These can cause horrible side effects (this list is SCARY) like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain/cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, fatigue, numbness in legs, joint pain, unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, and various cancers (3). Symptoms many may suffer from, but difficult to link to a cause. 

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure.  Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol.  Did you know that a by-product of aspartame is formaldehyde??   For a great article on the dangers of aspartame, I suggest you read the article Aspartame is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market that is Added To Foods.

Fluoride has actually been categorized as a “toxic drug” by the FDA (1). If you are buying organic food to avoid pesticides but using commercial toothpaste, you might be interested to know that Sodium Fluoride was at one time widely used as an insecticide and a rodenticide (1). Fluoride toxicity can occur due to the toothpaste that may be ingested with every brushing, and can have harmful effects on the entire body.  In children, dental fluorosis (enamel discoloration due to damage to the tooth forming cells) can occur.  Studies have shown that fluoride can also cause damage to the brain, possibly causing IQ deficits in children. Fluoride can also adversely affect the pineal gland, thyroid gland, bone, gastrointestinal tract and has been linked to bone and bladder cancers (4). 

Now, think of your kids. Do you think that, on occasion, they probably swallow some of the toothpaste you put on their brushes? Maybe even you do sometimes? And even if you’re not swallowing it, you are still putting it into you mouth where it has access to the rest of your body (Sublingual absorption). Is that a risk you are willing to take on yourself and your family?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  We need to start reading labels and paying attention to what we are putting in and on our bodies! We need to be educated to know what to look for on those labels! For all of you gum chewers, diet pop drinkers, diet yogurt eaters, or “diet” and “sugar-free” anything- PAY ATTENTION!   Aspartame is used in almost all “sugar-free” and “diet” substances.  We are conditioned to be blissfully unaware – and ok with that!  NOT ANYMORE!!! 

References

  1. http://voices.yahoo.com/fluoride-other-hidden-toxins-toothpaste-70307.html?cat=5
  2. http://dherbs.com/articles/beware-of-toothpaste-222.html
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page8.htm#aspartamecon
  4. http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/cancer/

 

 Trina Felber, RN, BSN, MSN, CRNA, CEO Primal Life Organics

Primal Life Organics offers Face, Body, Hair, Makeup, Baby and Dental Products - All 100% Chemical and Preservative Free.
We make skincare that will improve your health. The product you receive is a fresh, all-natural product, that will nourish your skin and hair from the outside. 

www.PrimalLifeOrganics.com   

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Check Out Primal Life Organic's Dirty Mouth Primal Toothpowder

 
Eco Living: Candy Cane Body Oil
Li Wong's Eco Living Articles
Written by Li Wong of Earth Alkemie   

Candy Cane Body OilI love the smell of candy canes!  Since I can’t eat candy canes, I enjoy making skin care that smells like them.  I’ve previously shared my recipe for a candy cane toner, and this year, I am sharing my recipe for a candy cane scented body oil.  It’s very simple to make, and smells delicious!

Ingredients:

1 oz of vanilla infused oil or your favorite carrier oil

6 drops of peppermint essential oil

Directions:

Pour the vanilla infused oil or carrier oil into a one ounce bottle.  Add the peppermint essential oil, cap, and shake well.

Notes:

To make vanilla infused oil, see my previous eco living article on how to make many different vanilla products, including vanilla infused oil, extract, and glycerite!  If you haven’t made a batch of vanilla infused oil yet this year (it takes time to infuse the vanilla beans in a carrier oil), then use your favorite, plain, unscented carrier oil.  Good carrier oils that you may like are almond oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, or camellia oil, which work for most skin types.  But you can use any oil you like.  Your body oil will still smell fantastic without the vanilla! 

Instead of using vanilla infused oil, you can also use a different vanilla aromatic (with the plain carrier oil).  Vanilla CO2 extract and vanilla absolute are oil soluble: vanilla CO2 extract is completely oil soluble, and vanilla absolute can dissolve in oil but will make the oil cloudy.  They are both very expensive.  However, they are very potent, so you’d only need to use a drop or two in recipes to impart a strong and heavenly vanilla scent.  You could add as much as six drops to the recipe, if you desire.  The least expensive, concentrated vanilla aromatic is vanilla oleoresin.  It is usually water soluble, so if you use it in body oils, you’d need to shake the body oil well before each use.  It comes in different strengths, such as 10x, 20x, and 30x.  Vanilla oleoresin 10x is the least expensive option and it is very affordable, while vanilla oleoresin 20x costs a bit more.   Vanilla oleoresin 30x is very expensive but not as expensive as vanilla absolute or CO2 extract.  Try adding 1 to 6 drops of vanilla oleoresin:  the amount will depend on the concentration and how strong of a vanilla scent you like.  Vanilla oleoresin 10x and 20x will temporarily be suspended in the carrier oil if you shake it before each and every use, but vanilla oleoresin 30x is very thick and will probably just stay on the bottom of the bottle (it will impart its scent over time though). 

Candy cane body oil’s shelf life depends on the carrier oil you used.  But its shelf life typically ranges from anywhere from a few to nine months or more.  It is best to store in a cool, dark, non-damp place.  I do not recommend storing any all natural cosmetics in the bathroom, unless you are using them daily and will use them up in a few weeks.

This recipe is recommended for adults and for older children only.  For safety concerns, peppermint essential oil is not recommended for use on young children (under the age of six).  Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, which can cause severe respiratory issues; it can slow or stop breathing in the young.  If making this body oil for older children (over the age of 6), then use less essential oil and aromatics in this blend.  Try only three drops of peppermint essential oil with the vanilla infused oil.  Or only three drops of peppermint essential oil and one to three drops of vanilla absolute, CO2 extract, or oleoresin.  When formulating for kids, it is always best to use less than more essential oil.  Spearmint essential oil or many of the citrus essential oils (like sweet orange, mandarin, tangerine, etc) are good and safe alternatives for young kids.  For babies, I personally don’t suggest using any essential oils on them unless it is necessary (many essential oils are not safe for babies), and other plant ingredients (like herbs, hydrosols, etc) have not worked.   

 

Links:

Here is my eco living article on vanilla infused oil and more vanilla products!

http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/791-eco-living-vanilla-extract-vanilla-glycerite-and-vanilla-infused-oil-recipes

 

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, try my candy cane toner too!

http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/797-eco-living-candy-cane-toner

 

 

About The Author: 

Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001.  Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception.   She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer.   http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm  

For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog:  http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/

For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog

For Earth Alkemie's news and products, environmental issues, eco living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and crafting tips, visit Earth Alkemie's face book fan page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthAlkemie 

 
Eco Living: Citrus Vinegar
Li Wong's Eco Living Articles
Written by Li Wong of Earth Alkemie   

When I think of winter, I think of citrus!  I like using the peels to make citrus vinegar.  I love citrus vinegar because it can be used for multiple purposes.  I use citrus vinegar as a general all purpose cleaner: it is a great cleaner for counter tops, sinks, floors, bathtubs, and more!  I often recommend it for skin and hair care.  I like adding citrus vinegar to foods: it makes a delicious, fruity vinaigrette.  Best of all, citrus vinegar can be made year round, and not just during the cooler months.  Here is my version of this awesome wonder.

 

Ingredients:

Vinegar (enough to fill the jar)

Citrus peels (any amount)

A glass jar (any size)

 

Directions:

In a glass jar, add the citrus peels.  Pour in the vinegar, and make sure you add enough vinegar so that it covers the peels

as much as possible.  Since the peels usually float to the top of the jar, I usually just fill the whole jar with vinegar, and push the peels down with a spoon so that they are covered with the vinegar.  Cap and gently shake.  Let the peels infuse for a few days to a couple weeks.  Shake every once in a while.  Strain.  If the scent isn’t strong enough, you can add more peels and infuse again. 

 

Notes:

You can use any type of citrus peels including oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, or more.  I recently made a wonderful smelling vinegar using pomelo; it smells amazing!  You can use just one kind of peel or use the peels from many different kinds of citrus fruits.  The combinations are endless!  If you are going to use citrus vinegar for food, skin or hair care, it is highly recommended that you use organic citrus peels.  But if you are making citrus vinegar for cleaning, then non-organic citrus peels are fine to use, but I still recommend getting organic when you can!  If you don’t care for citrus, then you can make infused vinegar with other types of herbs.  I enjoy making rosemary, lavender, or other herbal vinegars. 

You can use many different kinds of vinegar.  If your citrus vinegar is going to be used for household cleaning, I suggest using white vinegar.   For food and cosmetics, I like using apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, brown rice vinegar, or coconut vinegar.  Balsamic vinegar is wonderful for food too.

In my instructions, I did not list a specific amount of citrus peels or vinegar to use.  The reason is that there is no right or wrong amount!  You can use as much or as little citrus peels as you want, and make as much or as little citrus vinegar as you desire.  Just make sure the peels are covered in the vinegar, and that you fill the whole jar with vinegar.  Of course the more peels you use, the stronger the scent will be. 

To use citrus vinegar as a cleaner, use it full strength for tough jobs, or dilute it with distilled water to make a gentle all purpose cleaner.  I use it on many different types of surfaces, but as vinegar is acidic and citrus is a solvent, spot test it on surfaces using a diluted concentration.  I often use a 25% concentration when I dilute it.  When I make it, I just eye ball it: I fill a spray bottle ¼ of the way with citrus vinegar and fill the rest with distilled water.  But many people use less or more citrus vinegar than that.  Try different concentrations and see what works best for you!

For skin and hair care, it is best to dilute it well before use.  (Well diluted) vinegar toners are mildly exfoliating and are gentle enough to use daily.  Citrus vinegar makes an awesome skin toner or hair rinse.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of citrus vinegar to an ounce of distilled water.  Once you dilute vinegar, its shelf life decreases so make small batches and use it up within a couple weeks. 

For foods, my favorite recipe using citrus vinegar is salad dressing.  You can add it directly to your salad, or make a delicious vinaigrette with it.  Whisk the citrus vinegar with a good oil (like olive oil or grapeseed oil), herbs, salt, pepper, and a little juice if desired.  Yummy!

Enjoy making and using citrus vinegar!

 

Link:

Here is my recipe for vinegar toner.  I suggest reading the whole thread, as the FAQ in this thread is extensive.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/earthalkemie/messages/?msg=144.1

 

 

About The Author: 

Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001.  Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception.   She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer.   http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm  

For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog:  http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/

For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog

For Earth Alkemie's news and products, environmental issues, eco living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and crafting tips, visit Earth Alkemie's face book fan page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthAlkemie 

 
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