What’s In Your Products?

Collection of bottles of health and beauty products
Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about harmful ingredients in health and beauty products. Many of us listen but dismiss this. We shouldn’t be. Every day we expose ourselves to potential toxins, chemicals, and harmful ingredients. Many of the products sitting in your bathrooms right now have the potential to negatively impact your health and the health of your family.
In a recent study from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University, 100 Latina girls between the ages of 14 to 18 stopped using their regular health and beauty products for three days. Instead they used products free of suspected endocrine disruptors such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3).
Both pre and post intervetion urine was measured for the suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals. After 3 days, the girls urine was tested again for levels of phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3, all ingredients found in many health and beauty products.
The results showed decreases of these ingredients in their urine after only three days of replacing conventional products with products free of these ingredients:
 
  • 43.9 percent down in levels of methyl and propyl paraben. Parabens are preservatives widely used in many cosmetics, shampoo, and lotion.
  • 35.7 percent down in triclosan. This is an antibacterial chemical that is common in liquid antibacterial hand soap, dish-washing detergent, toothpaste, face wash and deodorant. Triclosan has been linked to the disruption of thyroid and reproductive hormones in animal studies and has been found in human breast milk, blood, and urine (Triclosan, 2010).
  • 27.4 percent down in mono-ethyl phthalates. Phthalates, common industrial plasticizers, are present in some nail polish and fragrances.

Source: Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure, 2016

This is why I’m so passionate about educating others about what is in their products.
This does not only affect teenage girls, this affects all of us.
 Women on average use 10 to 12 different health and beauty products daily on our biggest organ, our skin. This means we are potentially exposing ourselves to 168 different chemicals each day.
Parabens have been shown to be oestrogenic, having an effect on female hormones, and have been detected in human breast tumor tissue (Endocrine, 2004). Phthalic acid esters (PAEs), used in a wide range of products, have been shown to adversely affect male reproduction and potentially affect fetal development (Potential Adverse Effects, 2007). Phthalates have been shown to possibly affect pregnancy outcome, puberty, respiratory health, and neuro-development (Exposure to Phthalates, 2011).
Each product we use has the potential to adversely affect our health since the U.S. does not have major regulations to ensure ingredient or product safety in the same ways other countries do. The United States has only banned 11 ingredients to date in personal care products, while the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,300 ingredients.
This concerns me. But it doesn’t mean I’m helpless to make changes for myself or my family. There are things you can do.
So what can we do?
Start replacing the products you use everyday with safer alternatives. This can be done in several ways. Using the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database you can search more than 60,000 products for their potential impact and get tips for what to look for in safer products.
You can also purchase products from companies that care about safer products and have taken it as their mission to carefully select products.

Some of my favorite safer companies for health and beauty products:


  • Beautycounter who has banned more than 1,500 ingredients in order to set a new standard for health and safety without sacrificing performance. Beautycounter has a full line of make-up in addition to offering skin care, bath and body products, sun protection, plus a kids and baby collection. Most Beautycounter products are nut and soy free, and they are all gluten free.
  • Fatco (formerly FatFace) uses pressed plant oils and tallow from grass fed-cows (full of nourishing vitamins A, D, E, and K) in their products. The use of tallow promotes head-to-tail use of the whole animal. FatCo has not only my favorite deodorant Stank Stop, they have body and baby butta, cleansing oil, toner and more.
  • Primal Life Organics carries chemical free skin care including my favorite toothpowder and a wide range of personal care and beauty products.
  • Primal Pit Paste for not only deodorant put PoPo Body Powder (you know for the ‘boys’).
  • The Dirt for other toothpaste replacements such as tooth powder and my kids favorite MCT Oil Toothpaste.
  • Uncle Harry’s has a wide range of products such as mouth care, skin care, and hair care.

Full disclosure: I am a consultant for Beautycounter and participate in the affiliate program for FatCo. So yes, I do get paid if you use my links to purchase products from their sites. However, I became a consultant and an affiliate because I used the products first and fell in love with not only how well they performed but the mission behind each company. They are at the top of my list because they are my personal favorites and the ones that I order from the most for myself and my family. This is why I recommend them to you and use their products to educate others on what was discussed in this post, the potential harm from using conventional products with questionable ingredients. I believe in safer products and education to help shift the health of everyone.

Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.
Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.

Resources

  • Banned in Europe, Safe in the US. (2014). Retrieved from http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/
  • Endocrine disrupters and human health: could oestrogenic chemicals in body care cosmetics adversely affect breast cancer incidence in women? (2004). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.978/abstract;jsessionid=5D238C0A8EACE76116477E348728C529.f02t03
  • Exposure to phthalates: Reproductive outcome and children health. A review of epidemiological studies. (2011). Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.2478/s13382-011-0022-2

  • International Laws, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/international-laws/
  • Potential adverse effects of phthalic acid esters on human health: A review of recent studies on reproduction. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230007001316

  • Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study. (2016). Retrieved from http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10514/

  • Triclosan exposure modulates estrogen-dependent responses in the female wistar rat. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562219

Life After Major Weight Loss

MeI can relate to this blog post by Josh of Slim Palate.

I lost over 100 pounds but always felt like I needed to lose more. I cut carbs out and would stress over everything I ate, feeling guilty when I had carbs or like a failure if I indulged. I didn’t see what others saw when I looked in the mirror.

I worked out two to three times a day. Getting up at 3 AM for a run and lifting before work and then lifting again after work. Often going for a second run in the evening. I was logging 6 to 10 miles a day running plus hundreds of pounds lifted in weights each day. Everyday. I pushed my body to the limit and I still wasn’t happy with myself. I felt like I needed to do more.

Photo: Henry House Photography
Photo: Henry House Photography

Gradually I came to accept the achievements I had made. I began to enjoy my food and not feeling guilty for eating carbs, because I NEEDED them. We all do. I stopped working out 7 days a week and only going to the gym once a day. Granted injuring my PCL last year, hello overdoing it, pushed me to rest more than I would have otherwise, but I did start taking rest days.

Yes. I gained weight. But not the fat I carried around before. I gained muscle. I started to appreciate my body for the journey it’s been through and how strong I was becoming. I’m in a much healthier place now than I was before. I still struggle at times when I see a photo I don’t like or clothes don’t fit a certain way. But I’m nicer to myself.

I focus on whole nutritious foods, including carbs. Balancing work and workouts. Building a strong base and foundation of strength. Rest and activity. Stress relief through favorite activities such as reading, taking an epsom salt bath, going for a walk, meditation, and laughter. I no longer focus on food or let it rule my life.

We expect life after weight loss to be magical and that if we just get to a certain point… but it’s not like that. There is a lot more to life, health, and our bodies than numbers on a scale.


Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.
Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Popsicles

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice PopsYou’ve never seen anyone eat a popsicle so slowly until you’ve seen my little sister eat a popsicle. Being the oldest I occasionally got to stay up late and watch T.V. with Mom before I had to go to bed, especially in the summer time. Before I could hang out late watching cool T.V. my little sister was told to finish her popsicle, then go to bed. It would take her a lifetime to slowly and meticulously savor that popsicle until I just wanted to scream. I mean I had shows to watch. Cool cable shows that I only got to watch with Mom if my sister was in bed. Shows that you couldn’t watch whenever you wanted because you recorded them on your DVR. No, you had to watch it when it was on or you missed it. But there was my cute blonde haired blue eyed innocent looking sister eating her popsicle slower than a snail. It always tested my limited patience.

Not all my summertime popsicle memories involve getting frustrated with my sister, but they all involve her. Every summer time involved popsicle breaks of some kind in between hours spent playing outside together. We’d often take a break from playing outside to get into the garage fridge for an otter pop. Savoring the tongue staining coldness of that that sickly sweet pop with the mouth cutting plastic wrapper. Or we’d chase down the ice cream truck so I could get an ice cream sandwich and a cherry and pineapple swirl popsicle while my sister got the more expensive whatever crazy cartoon popsicle they had at the time.

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice PopsWhen we were older our popsicle tastes got a little more refined. The town we lived in at the time had a teeny tiny shop that sold paletas (Mexican ice pops) in every imaginable flavor and then some. I’m not even sure how we found the shop to begin with. It didn’t have much in the way of signage and it was off the main drive in an area we didn’t normally frequent. Every time I drove near that store, and sometimes I drove us there just to get a paleta, we’d go inside. I loved that place. One of my favorite flavors was a cantaloupe paleta which I used as inspiration for this recipe. My sister often ordered a watermelon flavor that will be featured in an upcoming post. Even though we had moved on to more sophisticated flavors, that sister of mine still ate her frozen treat so slowly I was always surprised it was still frozen by the time she got to the last bite. She still eats her frozen treats that way. In contrast, I inhale mine.

I used a popsicle mold from Williams and Sonoma to make the popsicles in this recipe. Amazon has a nearly identical mold that would work wonderfully. The trick to getting the pops out once frozen is to run warm water over the outside of the mold for a few seconds, then they pull right out. You could also use Zoku Classic Pop Molds or a Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make this recipe or any other popsicle recipe.

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice Pops

Prep time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 to 8 Ice Pops

Ingredients
  • 4 cups diced Cantaloupe
  • Zest of 2 Limes
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • ½ Tablespoon Mint Leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, fine ground
  • ½ cup cold Water
Instructions
  1. Place all prepped ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix or pulse until cantaloupe is pureed. There will be some texture to the mixture, this is expected.
  2. If using a blender, pour directly into ice pop molds. If using a food processor transfer mixture into a bowl or measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring into ice pop molds.
  3. After filling molds place popsicle sticks into mixture and place in freezer for 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Remove from molds and enjoy.

FATface Skincare


 

Fruit Gummies Recipe

Blueberry and Coconut Water GummiesGelatin not only makes for some fun gummy treats, it’s excellent as a daily dietary supplement. The collagen in gelatin is great for tightening loose skin when ingested (the collagen proteins in gelatin are too large to be absorbed by the skin, so external collagen creams are useless) and some people claim it helps with cellulite. While I’m not sure about the cellulite, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Gelatin supports healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. It also supports a healthy digestive system and it’s great for your joints and can help ease recovery post workout. Gelatin does contain protein, but it is not a good source of pre or post workout protein. Although the amino acids in gelatin do help support better sources of protein, such as meat, in helping to build muscle.

In other words, fruit gummies are not only a great daily treat for yourself or your children, they are good for you too!

I prefer to use Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (with the green lid) when making gummies. Why Vital Proteins? Vital Proteins gelatin gives the most consistent results for making gummies. Other gelatins do not set up as well as Vital Proteins, which is why it is my first choice for gelatin to make gummies. My second choice is Great Lakes Gelatin in the red or orange cans. Great Lakes gelatin works well, but does not always set firmly making it hard to use in silicone molds. It also has a tendency to clump into hard nearly impossible to remove chunks which can be a hassle or it can work perfectly. You never know. Store brand and name brand gelatins located in the grocery store come from unknown sources, often from animals that are not healthy or raised in commercial feedlots not pastures. This results in collagen and gelatin that is not as healthy as what comes from Vital Proteins or Great Lakes. Vital Proteins gelatin is sourced from pasture raised cows resulting in gelatin that is great for the health of your hair, skin, nails, and gut.

There are other ways to get your daily gelatin intake other than tasty gummies. Vital Proteins also has collagen peptides (with the blue lid), which do not gel up in warm or cold liquid. This makes it perfect for adding to coffee or a smoothie. I add mine to my post workout protein powder in addition to having a scoop in my morning green vegetable juice. Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate, in the green can does not gel in cold liquids just like the Vital Proteins collagen peptides, making it another option to get your daily intake of gelatin.

Lego Silicone MoldsOkay, back to the gummies. I used silicone molds, from Michaels, to make the batch of blueberry and coconut gummies in the photos. But I’ve also used Lego man and Lego brick molds and dinosaur molds. Check out the Gelatin Gummies section of my Amazon store to find links to purchase the molds I’ve used (they also have Hello Kitty, Star Wars, Robots, Dr. Who, and yes even bear molds!). You can also make gummies in a glass baking dish and just cut them into squares to enjoy. The silicone molds are 100% optional fun.

The basic fruit gummies recipe below can be altered in many ways depending on what fruit and liquid you want to use. The basic gummies recipe requires approximately 2 to 2 ½ cups of liquid, not including the 1 cup of cold water the gelatin blooms in and the lemon juice. This means you can mix up the recipe to make any number of flavor combinations. I’ve made gummies with alcohol before for adult party treats as well as gummies with fruit for the kids. The possibilities are endless. To get you started, here are some suggestions for flavor combinations for the fruit and liquid portion of the recipe below:

  • 2 cups blueberries, ¾ cup coconut water
  • 2 cups raspberries, ¾ cup water, 1 Tablespoon Raspberry Honey
  • 2 cups mango, ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups of Red Roobios tea
  • 1 ½ cups champagne, ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 cups kombucha, any flavor

Fruit Gummies Recipe

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold Water
  • 6 Tablespoons Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin/Collagen Protein (Green lid)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen Berries or Fruit, measure before blending into a puree (Optional to strain if using berries to remove seeds)
  • ¾ cup Liquid (water, no sugar fruit juice, champagne, coconut water, etc.)
  • Juice of two Lemons
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add collagen protein to cold water. Stir and set aside to bloom while preparing fruit mixture. The collagen will start to set in the water as it blooms, this is expected.
  2. Puree chosen berries or fruit in a blender with liquid of your choice and lemon juice.
  3. Pour pureed fruit mixture and optional Maple Syrup or Honey into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until warm, about 3-5 minutes. Do not boil.
  4. Use a spatula to loosen collagen protein from bowl and break into four smaller portions. Add bloomed collagen protein to fruit mixture in sauce pan carefully to prevent splashing.
  5. Stir mixture slowly until all collagen protein has melted into the fruit mixture.
  6. There are two options on how collagen protein can set, in a glass baking dish (Step 7) or silicone molds (Step 8)
  7. Glass baking dish- Pour gummy mixture into an 8x8 glass baking dish and allow to set in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 minutes or until firm. Cut into small squares and enjoy.
  8. Silicone molds- Place molds on a cookie sheet or cutting board for easy transfer to refrigerator, mixture will make 3 to 4 dozen gummies based on the size and depth of silicone molds used. Transfer half of mixture into a measuring cup with a pouring spout, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour slowly into the molds. Repeat with remaining half of mixture. Place cookie sheets or cutting boards with molds in the refrigerator and allow to set for 60 to 90 minutes until firm. Remove gummies from molds and enjoy.
  9. Gummies can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

For more on the benefits of gummies and collagen:


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Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice

I’ll fully admit I’m team white rice and team white potato. You cannot fool me into thinking cauliflower rice or pureed cauliflower tastes anything like a lovely bowl of white rice or a creamy side of buttery mashed potatoes. I’m not afraid of dense carbs timed right, especially since I lift heavy weights and need to refuel my glycogen stores so I can lift heavy weights again. But there are reasons to enjoy cauliflower rice at times, such as if you aren’t as active or your focus is on weight loss. It’s particularly easy to enjoy cauliflower rice since Trader Joe’s made it even easier with their new frozen riced cauliflower with only two ingredients, cauliflower and sea salt.

Another reason to have cauliflower rice is when you want a quick side dish to serve with dinner. This easy cauliflower fried rice is ready in 30 minutes, from prep to table. Perfect amount of time to cook a protein such as chicken or pork to serve along side this dish. Since it’s all vegetables, and some egg, you get a great serving of colorful vegetables to go along with your meal too.

I used Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower to make this a super easy recipe. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you or prefer to rice your own cauliflower, no problem. Check out this post from Oh My Veggies on how to make cauliflower rice with a food processor or a box grater. You will need one and a half cups of cauliflower rice if you make your own. This will add about 10 to 15 minutes to the recipe time, but that’s okay especially if you plan ahead.

Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 3 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 package (12 ounces or 1.5 cups if making your own cauli rice) Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower
  • 2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • ½ bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Ghee, plus ¼ teaspoon
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Prep all vegetables. Dice carrots and bell pepper. Chop green onions. Open package of Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower or rice your cauliflower.
  2. In a small bowl combine Fish Sauce, Coconut Aminos, Ginger, Red Pepper Flakes, Black Pepper, and pinch of salt. (Recipe Tip: Go easy on the salt since the packaged Cauliflower has salt added and the fish sauce is salty. A pinch really will do it, you can always add a little more salt at the end if you feel it is needed.)
  3. In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp Ghee over medium-high heat.
  4. Once ghee is melted, add riced Cauliflower, Carrots, and Red Bell Pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. (Carrots and Red Bell Peppers will still have a slight crisp texture after 10 minutes, if you prefer them to be cooked further add an additional 5 minutes to the cook time.)
  5. While vegetables are cooking, in a separate skillet melt ¼ teaspoon of Ghee, and scramble both Eggs. Once eggs are cooked break them up into smaller pieces with spatula. Set aside.
  6. After cooking vegetables in skillet for 10 minutes, add scrambled Eggs, Green Onions (reserving some for garnish if desired), and sauce mixture. Stir together and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove from skillet and serve.

 

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