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

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

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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

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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.

 

Kasandrinos Olive Oil

 

Sustainability, Stress, and Abs

Sustainability, Stress, and Abs or What I Took Away from Paleo f(x)

It’s difficult to write a blog post when a large purring orange cat is curled up on your arms and partially on your computer, but it’s even more difficult to write a blog post when you are still overflowing with information and processing it all. Paleo f(x), if you are unfamiliar with it, is a 3 day conference in Austin Texas covering all aspects of health from nutrition, to movement, to products.This year was my first year attending, and I was blown away by the impact the event had on me. There was an expo floor where I got to meet some of the amazing people behind my favorite companies and learn more about other products. Cooking demos and presentations by authors, bloggers, health professionals, and more were on-going all three days, it was often hard to decide which presentation to attend because there were so many amazing topics. With only 5 minutes between presentations it was often a mad dash to get to the next one. I attended workshops where I learned about training using biofeedback with Jen Sinkler and David Dellanave, plant medicine for the mind with Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larsen from Barbell Shrugged, and speed under the barbell with Dutch Lowy . I even got to briefly share a barbell with Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo and Stacy from Paleo Parents, both amazing women I respect greatly who help to encourage strong female lifters. I even got to be there and cheer on Nicole from Merit + Fork as she attempted her first barbell cleans. I had an amazing inspiring chat with other 21 Day Sugar Detox coaches, Diane Sanfilippo, and her team. And that isn’t even getting to the tip of the iceberg on other experiences.

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I know I’m missing touching on many other experiences, such as coincidentally finding out I was on the same flight to Austin and one row behind Suzie from The Tasty Remedy an amazing woman, fellow 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach, and friend. Or eating, and drinking butter coffee, at Picnik everyday we were in Austin or having some killer BBQ and eggs benedict. I was able to meet people I admire (or people I have only spoken to online) and new to me people I look forward to getting to know better such as Everett AKA Paleo FatKid, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDX, and Holly Morello from Nourishing Excellence.  I listened to presentations from some pretty amazing people such as Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Diana Rodgers, Maggie from Thrive Nutrition PDXBen Greenfield, Sarah Ballantyne, Dr. Andy Galpin, and so many more amazing people that it would take me forever to mention.

My overall takeaways from the weekend were a focus on reducing stress, the effects stress has on our every day lives, and sustainability is greater than abs. I learned about many applicable topics such as anabolic windows, carbohydrate timing, using real food to fuel for athletic activities, who a ketogenic diet may help and who it may be detrimental for, food and autoimmunity, and stress reduction. I came away feeling like I was hungover with information but so inspired to get back home to put everything in use for myself, family, and clients.

Oh, about those abs! Visible abs are such a sought after ideal that there are billions of dollars spent in the health and fitness industry to attempt to achieve them. Just watch television late at night or early in the morning for evidence. Most of the information shilled is false, if it were that easy or true everyone would have abs. It’s not always healthy to obtain those abs either at the cost of what else is sacrificed, such as hormonal health for women. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the idea of having visible abs myself, but the reality is it’s not possible for every man or woman to reach that ideal. And that is okay! Overall health and being at the right body proportions for your own body is more important. I do know people that have those visible abs and they have genetics on their side. In other words sustainability is greater than abs!

Overall Paleo f(x) was a whirlwind of activity that I hope to never forget. I’m already looking forward to next year for Paleo f(x) 2016!

Instant Pot Corned Beef

Instant Pot Corned BeefOh lovely March, when you arrive so does the corned beef! The Smithsonian online magazine has an excellent article describing how corned beef evolved from salted beef made with the ash of burnt seaweed to a dish Irish American immigrants shared with Jewish immigrants. The salt cured and slow cooked meat was a way to transform a tough cut of meat into tender flavorful corned beef. Add some potatoes and cabbage, cooked in the same liquid as the corned beef, and you have an easy tasty meal. Corned beef and cabbage is especially easy to enjoy today when you cook it in an Instant Pot.

While you can brine your own beef brisket, I prefer to save time and purchase already brined brisket. Most of the corned beef available in the grocery store is gluten free, unless a malt vinegar is used in the brine (not likely). Just be sure to check the package label and ingredients to be sure. You can also purchase corned beef from your local butcher and even Costco carries a grass-fed gluten free corned beef this year.

About those potatoes? The second half of the recipe below is for cabbage, carrots, and yes potatoes to be cooked in the same liquid the corned beef was cooked in. The corned beef and the vegetables cook at different times in the Instant Pot which is why this is a two step process, the good thing is corned beef tastes great even if it isn’t super hot just from the pot so don’t worry about it getting cold while you cook the vegetables. While potatoes may not fit into your personal diet template, they fit in ours, so I’ve included them. It is okay to exclude them and just make the cabbage and carrots to serve alongside your corned beef.

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Rating 

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Two Step Process- After cooking the Corned Beef in your Instant Pot, remove the corned beef from the pot and strain the liquid with a slotted spoon to remove any large pieces of fat and herbs. Retain liquid in pot as it will be the same liquid you use to cook the second half of the recipe- Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound Corned Beef Brisket
  • 3 cups Beef Broth
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and roughly chopped (substitute ¼ medium onion)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and whole
  • 15 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 9 Whole Allspice
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 6 small to medium Red Potatoes, rinsed and cut into eighths (optional)
  • 5 Carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 2 Shallots, minced (substitute ½ minced onion)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Kosher Salt
  • 1 head green Cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
Instructions
  1. Place corned beef brisket in Instant Pot fat side up. Add beef broth, water, rough chopped shallot, 3 garlic cloves, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, and thyme.
  2. Place lid on Instant Pot in locked position, making sure vent is sent to "sealing". Plug in Instant Pot.
  3. Press "Manual' and "+" to increase cooking time to 60 minutes at High Pressure.
  4. After a moment the display will turn to "On" while the pot heats up and pressure increases, once the pot has warmed up the display will start counting down.
  5. When finished cooking wait to open lid until the pressure float is down on it's own, or release pressure manually by moving vent to "venting". Unplug Instant Pot.
  6. Remove Corned Beef from pot, saving liquid for cabbage, carrots, and optional potatoes. Cover corned beef with aluminum foil and set aside.
  7. Strain cooking liquid with a slotted spoon to remove fat, bay leaves, and thyme.
  8. Place optional potatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic, and salt into cooking liquid then place cabbage on top.
  9. Place lid on Instant Pot in locked position, making sure vent is sent to "sealing". Plug in Instant Pot.
  10. Press "Manual' and "+" to increase cooking time to 10 minutes at High Pressure.
  11. After a moment the display will turn to "On" while the pot heats up and pressure increases, once the pot has warmed up the display will start counting down.
  12. When finished cooking wait to open lid until the pressure float is down on it's own, or release pressure manually by moving vent to "venting". Unplug Instant Pot.
  13. Remove vegetables from Instant Pot and serve with sliced corned beef.
  14. For Slow-Cooker Variation
  15. Place all ingredients except cabbage (corned beef, beef broth, water, 3 shallots, 5 cloves garlic, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, thyme, optional potatoes, and carrots) in large slow-cooker (7 quart or larger), and cook on high for 4 hours.
  16. Add cabbage on top of corned beef, cook for another hour on high.

 

Instant Pot Corned Beef

 


 

US Wellness Meats