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.


  • 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

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

  • 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
  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


Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth

Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth Recipe (with Crock-Pot variation) and Joint Support Post Injury (or to Prevent Injury)

Instant Pot Beef Bone BrothI recently got a refresher in anatomy and medical terminology when I had to retake a medical terminology course (my previous credit was to old to count) and when I took an anatomy and physiology course. I learned all about shoulder joints and muscles such as the acromioclavicular joint, the supraspinatus muscle, and trapezius muscle. I got a refresher in all the gluteus muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus). I also got to reiterate how important joint health is for prevention and treatment of injuries.

While I’ll share with you below what you can do to prevent or treat an injury, it is always best to seek the care of your physician before starting any treatment or supplements as they may be contraindicated for you based on your personal medical history. In other words don’t do what I say just because I said it, check with your doctor first.

With the disclaimer out of the way, here’s what I recommend doing and why:

  • Triple Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM (Shellfish-Free) Tablets

    • Shellfish free only because I personally am allergic to shellfish, and glucosamine supplements are often made with the shells of shellfish.
    • Glucosamine is used by the body, along with other chemicals, to build tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the fluid surrounding joints. Taking glucosamine is thought to help support this process. While chondroitin may reduce pain and inflammation. In combination they promote and support joint health and movement.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend
    • Regular fish oil is questionable, to me, because it is so highly processed the health benefits are often lost by the time the finished product is reached. Which is why I prefer fermented cod liver oil as the manufacturing process is less damaging to the Omega-3 oils and vitamins in the oil. There are numerous benefits to taking fermented cod liver oil (see this article by Katie the Wellness Mama or this article by Diane Sanfilippo for more information) but I recommend taking it specifically to reduce joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
  • Collagen
    • Collagen is a protein made from the amino-acids Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine. Approximately 30% of the body’s protein consists of collagen. It can be located in the bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue of the body and in the skin, hair, and nails. It helps gives strength and protects the body. As we age, collagen production naturally slows down resulting in loss of skin elasticity, joint stiffness, tendons and ligaments being less elastic and more. Following Hippocrates wisdom of “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” I already supplement my diet with collagen because of it’s numerous benefits (hello wrinkle reduction/prevention). Post injury I recommend increasing your intake with the following:
      • Collagen Hydrolysate, Great Lakes Gelatin
        • Collagen Hydrolysate is cold water soluble so it does not gel up like other gelatin. This makes it great to add to smoothies, guacamole (yes, I do this), puddings, into your shaker bottle with post work-out protein powder, to give bone broth an extra gelatin kick, etc. where you don’t want the jello like consistency. I add this to my morning coffee along with ghee, maca powder, bulletproof XCT oil, and coconut milk as a preventative measure.
      • Unflavored Kosher Gelatin, Great Lake Gelatin
      • Bone Broth Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth

        • Bone broth is having a shining moment with a walk up bone broth window in New York and numerous articles (here’s just one) and studies purporting it’s many health benefits. I’ve always loved how happy, warm, and nourished my tummy feels after having soup or stew made with real bone broth but it turns out I was actually getting health benefits from the broth. Bone broth helps in healing my gut, supporting my joints, boosting my immune system, and strengthening my bones too. Drinking a cup of bone broth a day is a great way to take advantage of the many benefits of bone broth. Other than Bare Bones Broth there isn’t a good way to take advantage of the benefits of bone broth unless you make homemade because commercial bone broth doesn’t have the same nutrients. Which thanks to the Instant Pot only take just over 2 hours total to make at home (see recipe below), although you can also make bone broth in a crock-pot or on the stove.
  • Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM), by Natural Factors
    • NEM contains naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans including chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, NEM also contains collagen and other beneficial proteins for joint health and flexibility.
    • Note this supplement does contain Shellfish, so avoid if you have an allergy.

That’s what I recommend doing to help support and heal your body. It is also helpful to prevent injury by giving your joints the best nutrients so they can be strong to prevent minor injuries.

Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6-8 cups

  • 3 pounds Beef Soup Bones (including two knuckle bones)
  • 4 large Carrots, washed and cut in half
  • 3 stalks Celery, washed and cut in half
  • 1 medium Onion, cut into quarters
  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond, or other brand, Kosher Salt
  • 6-8 cups filtered Water, do not fill past safe fill line on Instant Pot
  • Variations:
  • Add to recipe above
  • Pho Inspired: 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce and 6 slices of peeled fresh ginger
  • Herbed broth: Add sprigs of fresh Thyme, Rosemary, and Parsley - no need to chop just add as many or as little as your taste prefers
  1. Place all ingredients in Instant Pot
  2. Put lid on and turn to closed (locked) position
  3. Make sure vent is set to "Sealing"
  4. Plug in Instant Pot
  5. Press "Soup" setting
  6. Click - (minus) time button once to reach 120 minutes
  7. After a moment the display will change to On while the Instant Pot heats up. Once the pot has warmed up the display will start counting down
  8. When finished cooking turn off or leave on Warm cycle while waiting for pressure to release, when pressure float is down the lid can be opened safely
  9. Remove bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon
  10. Strain broth through a mesh strainer
  11. Enjoy! Use for soups, to drink, to freeze for later use in storage containers or using a silicone mold freeze individual portions for later use
  12. Crock Pot and Slow Cooker Variation
  13. Add all ingredients to Crock Pot- cook on low for 16 to 24 hours. The longer the better.