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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Handy Little Inventions for the Pregnant Woman

I am due on April 18th, which is in a little less than 3 months. I have technically begun the last trimester, and I am starting to be able to tell. The high energy feelings of the second trimester have begun to wane, my hips are starting to feel really sore, my belly is popping out of my pre-pregnancy clothes, my lower back is beginning to ache, and my appetite has almost doubled. Woo hoo, I finally feel pregnant! You know, I take the good with the bad, and I am really enjoying it. However, there are a few handy little inventions that are making this pregnancy more enjoyable and I thought I would share them:

  • Belly band: I do not know about you, but I really don't like maternity pants. Everytime I go to the store to try them on, I leave purchasing another top or nothing at all. So what do I wear? I assure you, that I do not typically leave the house without pants on. I either wear a comfy pair of yoga pants (in solid colors that match everything) or I throw on a pregnancy belly band over some of my pre-pregnancy pants. Now, I have to admit, I am "lucky" because I had a huge stash of bigger sizes in my basement because 2 years ago I lost quite a bit of weight (when I discovered what I know now about healthy eating). So I just grab a box of the next size up, toss on a belly band, and throw on an extra long or maternity top. I grabbed mine at Target for $17 bucks, but Amazon also has a ton of different kinds as well. The great thing is that if I eventually do break down and buy maternity clothes, you can use the band to help you keep your pants up post-partum until you fit into your normal ones again.

  • Epsom salt: Not a new invention, by any means. But I have discovered that dumping 2 cups of Epsom salts in a warm (not too hot) bath feels good on my aching hips and lower back. Epsom salt is basically magnesium sulfate, which is a mineral your body needs to relax muscles and intestines (hint hint, if you are constipated). Bathing in the salt can help you to absorb some of that magnesium and relax tense muscles/intestines. ALSO, it helps with shrinking and soothing hemorrhoids if you have developed them during pregnancy or if you develop them during/after labor. You can use them as a bath or for use in sitz baths.

  • Rolling pin: Hand to partner, point to sore muscle, and let them roll out the tension. Give positive feedback sounds of relief...

  • Journal or sketch pad: Vent it out, draw it out, let it out. You are hormonal, emotional, excited, stressed, anxious, happy, sad, nervous, and sometimes just hungry and tired. I encourage you to let it all out. It basically just helps to write things down. You end up figuring out things about yourself you didn't know, and feelings you didn't know you had. With such a major change coming in your life, it is important to maintain your mental health. So write it out, draw it out, and let it out. It will be surprisingly therapeutic. I promise.

  • Pillows: Either a pregnancy pillow, or a body pillow, or a bunch of regular pillows/blankets. They will help you sleep better and feel less sore in the morning. Try to keep your spine in neutral and your hips aligned face forward. I stack up a folded up blanket and put it right above my hip to under my armpit, and it helps fill the space between my waist and bed, and keeps my hips in better alignment. Then put a pillow between your legs to keep your leg straighter.

Do you have an invention that you specifically like to help relieve aches/pains? I would LOVE to hear.

In health and wellness,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reality Check: Am I ready for this baby to be born?

A couple of weeks ago my friend began having some pre-labor contractions, etc. So I swung by to drop off some flowers and well-wishes and found her knee deep in baby clothes. She was so funny. She didn't want me to help (but I did anyway) and she, her mom, and I sat and discussed how time just "flies" by when you are pregnant. You think you will get to the little things like washing the baby laundy and putting the room together "next week" and then WHAM! Next week is here and you are wishing you set aside the time to take care of that stuff, read some of the books you bought that are still sitting in the Amazon box, and wishing you weren't feeling like you were running out of time and not "ready" for the baby to come.

Needless to say, I went home and pulled out all of my son's old baby clothes, baby gear, and went online to order those books from Amazon that I had meant to be reading. I also signed up for that Birth Refresher course to take next month. At a party the next week, her husband teased me that she "freaked me out". Sigh, my poor husband ratted me out. But honestly, it was sort of true! I think it was actually more of a reality check that this baby is really going to be coming out in 3 months (give or take). I think I have all the time in the world, but in those last few weeks, do I want to be freaking out or relaxing with my feet up?

Now, don't get my wrong, my freak out focus was on the physical needs of the baby (clothes, blankets, etc), but when I really thought about it, was it really about having all the "stuff" ready??? Ha, the answer was "partly". While having the basics done and ready makes things easier, it was really the emotional aspect of giving birth to a baby in 3 months that I was not really preparing myself for. The thing I really needed was to start thinking about facing my fears from my last birth and start taking measures to feel supported during/after labor.

The birth of my first baby did not really go as I had "planned", and could quite frankly be described as traumatic. I really wanted to give birth naturally, and I thought that I would be supported by the midwives I was seeing. I also thought it was such a natural event, that why give it another thought? Needless to say, none of the midwives were on duty when my water broke, and the OB/GYN didn't give me much in the way of options at the hospital. It was pitocin, then laboring on my back with monitors on, and then an epidural because my labor wasn't progressing. After I left the hospital stunned, sore, and feeling like a failure, I also struggled with breastfeeding and didn't really have the breastfeeding support I really needed. So, when I saw my friend who said "I am not ready for this baby to come out", I knew I felt the same way about my baby--both physically and emotionally. I also knew I didn't want a rerun from my last birth experience.

So how am I preparing mentally for giving birth to this baby now, you ask? Well, I did buy some books that I am thoroughly enjoying and thought I would share them:

The first on the list is "Birthing from Within" by Pam England and Rob Horowitz. This is unlike any other birth/labor book I had ever seen or read. It does talk about the process of childbirth, but it comes at it holistically and considers how fears/emotions/environment can affect the natural process. Yes, it is really touchy feely and goes into a lot of art, but it was surprisingly really helpful. There are art exercises to help you start thinking about your mental/emotional blocks and fears about giving birth and becoming a mother/father. My husband is even enjoying it! We do some of the artwork and then describe what we did. It has helped me understand some of my fears with going back to a hospital setting and then coming up with ways to alleviate or minimize those fears. It has also helped my husband and I communicate and get in touch with our current impressions of birth and how we can honestly support each other the best way possible.

"The Birth Partner, A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions" by Penny Simkin. The book is very informational into the physical nitty gritty of what is happening physiologically--which in the end is helpful when the doctor/midwife/nurse is using the technical birthing jargon while you are in the hospital. But it also is a good guide for husbands and birth partners to prepare for what to expect from the mom and how to support her along the different steps of the way. When you combine this knowledge with the knowledge you get about yourselves/each other from "Birthing From Within", you may feel a lot better and maybe even start looking forward to labor!

"Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally" by Janet Balaskas is pretty practical. It goes in depth on how you can physically prepare your body for the physical process of labor while you are still pregnant. The stretches are awesome, and align really well with my prenatal yoga class. Then it goes into actual birthing positions that help you use gravity and how your body is made in order to help move your labor along. After reading this book, it is no wonder to me why my labor wasn't progressing while laying flat on my back in a hospital bed!

"The Nursing Mother's Companion" by Kathleen Huggins. I have read the first few parts about pregnancy and the first week. I plan on using this book more as a survival guide as I move along through the different stages.

So, now I am reading, stretching, relaxing, researching, and cleaning a little bit each day to start physically and mentally preparing for this baby! I find that it has less to do with stressing over getting the "stuff" prepared-- like buying the right care seat and bouncy chair--but more about feeling like you are a bit organized and mentally ready to face labor and being a mommy (in my case again).

So what things have you done to start thinking about what labor will be like? Have you started getting yourself and your thoughts organized about having the baby and having a support network to help you during/after labor? Maybe today is a good day to start!

A side note: early last week my friend sent me a note for the flowers and she put a PS that her house was in tip top shape. I think this was her way of feeling ready for the baby. She did all this before she went to the hospital to give birth to her amazing little 9 lb baby boy :)

In health and wellness,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chemically Speaking Bonus Part: Managing Indoor Pollution

As Richard pointed out in a comment on my post about beauty products, there are many sources of chemical exposure in the form of indoor pollution. Richard specifically mentions formaldehyde, there are a number of other ones to point out. While cleaning supplies, household paints, and pesticides/insecticides account for some of this pollution, you should be aware of some of the other sources and take measures in your home to reduce it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside the typical home is on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air just outside—and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated.

Some things that can be done:
  • Test for radon, formaldehyde, mold, lead, and asbestos.
  • Use up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors and ensure you change the batteries according to the package directions or guidelines put forth by your state.
  • Ensure your home has proper ventilation systems
  • Use air purifier, preferably HEPA to reduce airborne pollutants and allergens.
  • Change the filter on your furnace regularly, which blows air throughout your home.
  • Keep indoor plants, which have been shown to drastically reduce indoor pollution and increase oxygen.
  • Use greener household cleaners/detergents.
  • Use fragrance free products.
  • Remove or properly store paints, polyurethanes, and other household chemicals.
  • Air out your home regularly, by opening windows and running fans (not during pollen season if you have environmental allergies like I do).
  • Avoid purchasing furniture/building materials made with pressed wood--especially baby furniture. Find out what types of chemicals are used in the types of furniture bought. Some glues contain formaldehyde.
  • Hold off on any major building plans in your home while pregnant including ripping up carpet or remodeling--if you do choose to paint, use no-voc paint and avoid being in contact while painting is occurring and until the area can be properly ventilated.
  • Let all new furniture, etc have time to gas off before exposing self or baby.
  • Avoid using regular dry cleaners. If necessary, minimize and remove all plastic coverings/materials before bringing item into your home. Research more "environmentally-friendly" dry cleaners that use less toxic chemicals.
  • Avoid using vinyl or PVC near self/infant as these materials also let off toxic gases.

Some more resources on indoor pollution and ways to circumvent known issues:

In health and wellness,


Chemically Speaking Part 3: Greening Your Clean

So, as a continuation of the chemicals topic (in addition to making beauty products less harmful and eating a more organic diet), this post has all the information I have collected from a variety of sources on helping you to use/find greener cleaning products for your home.

The household cleaning agents we use contain hundreds of potentially harmful substances. The harmful components in many household and personal care products can cause dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions, and eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation; some can cause cancer.

Many of these cleaning substances are used by pregnant women, and when inhaled, get into our systems and in turn, get through to your growing baby as well. My rule of thumb is that if it is really strong-smelling, you probably do NOT want to be inhaling it. More specifically, pregnant women are warned to stay away from insecticides, pesticides, bleach and ammonia. These inhalants can be really nasty and cause birth defects.

So what should we do? Our nesting instincts are bound to take over and encourage us to clean the house from top-to-bottom. So what should we use? The answer is greener, less harmful, and more mild cleaning solutions (like the ones grandma used to use).

Another bonus to working on greener cleaning solutions is that you are starting the baby-proofing process early. According to the World Watch Institute, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10 percent of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers in 2000, accounting for 206,636 calls. Of these, nearly two-thirds involved children under six, who can swallow or spill cleaners stored or left open inside the home. Do not under-estimate the will of a young toddler who really wants to see what is under your sink. So why not ensure that the products under there are less harmful/toxic?

  • Less expensive. The amount of products you need for green cleaning is way less than your different cleaners for all different types of surfaces in the house!
  • Better for YOU and for BABY
  • Smells better and improves the air quality within your home. Less chemicals for you and your baby to breathe in and absorb.
  • Eco-friendly: Most store bought household cleaners are not good for the environment.
  • Greener or homemade products are less harmful to the world. They also use less packaging, so there is less packaging waste. You’re not buying new bottles over and over and sending those chemical covered plastic bottles to landfills!

Rules of thumb:

  • Avoid use of insecticides and pesticides in your home. If you have an infestation, you should contact exterminators that use greener/less toxic products.
  • Chlorine bleach is harmful, so avoid any cleaning products containing bleach.
  • Fragrances can mean up to 200 chemicals in a product. Avoid purchasing products with fragrances and dyes.
  • Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can do the job in most cases!
  • Greener cleaning products have come to market, but can be more expensive. Seventh Generation is a brand I like and trust.
  • In the rare instance you need to use a hazardous product, use as little as possible and dispose of it in a way that will cause minimum harm—for example, by bringing it to a hazardous waste recycling or treatment center.

Making Homemade Cleaners:

You will need:

  • distilled white vinegar
  • lemon
  • baking soda
  • olive oil
  • Water
  • liquid castile soap
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • borax (only for laundry detergent)
  • washing soda (only for laundry detergent)

Furniture polish:
½ cup distilled white vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil

Marble counter tops: 1 TBS castile soap, quart warm water, rinse and then dry with a cloth

Glass and all purpose cleaner:

  • Get old glass cleaner bottle when runs out
  • Fill ½ distilled white vinegar and ½ water.
  • Use on anything. Especially good for high chairs and toys that your baby may touch or put their mouth on!

Soaps for cleaning dishes: water and castile soap

Mildew and mold:
use a mixture of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt

Baking soda and cornstarch are both good carpet deodorizers.

Clogged Drain:
Pour a quarter cup of baking soda down the clogged drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Close the drain tightly until fizzing stops, then flush with boiling water.

Bathroom: Baking soda and castile soap on tub, toilet, and counter. Makes a gritty scrub. All purpose cleaner on everything else!

Laundry: If anything avoid fragrances or colors in your detergents!

We typically use Sun Free, which is a good plant-based detergent. I have read up on it and it is supposed to be very good on cloth diapers as well. I will let you know once baby comes :)

I have also heard of Charlie's Soap, which I also plan on trying ( and heard it works well.

But, here is a homemade detergent recipe, that I have also used:

  • 1 oz liquid castile soap
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • ½ cup borax
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar

    Use castile soap as base and combine with washing soda and borax (for the stains and bleaching), and either baking soda (reduced static and softens fabrics) or vinegar. Add juice of a lemon to brighten whites.

In conclusion, I hope this information helps you begin to think about how you can reduce the amount of chemical exposure you have during pregnancy. Happy cleaning!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chemically Speaking Part 2: Eat Organic or Not?

By now you are probably thinking that I am a crazy chemical-free woman who will launch into a tirade about pesticides--how they build up in our bodies, are bad for the environment, and that we do not truly know what levels are really and truly "safe" for adults nevermind the smaller bodies of children, infants, and fetuses and that while you are pregnant and nursing you should never let an unorganic morsel of food ever cross your lips. Well, while much of that is true, I am not here to lecture anyone and I am not going to pretend to eat 100% organically all the time. Because that would be a big lie.

Honestly, eating organic 100% of the time would be pretty close to impossible and would probably make your life close to miserable, and would be pretty darn expensive. There are plenty of places that it wouldn't be possible--either the food isn't available, or you are out to eat, or you are eating in someone else's home, or you just can't afford for everything to be organic. So what is a pregnant girl (and any mom for that matter) to do?

The answer is that it is up to you, and my blog today is more about giving information on how to make more informed choices about it. I basically use the following guidelines when purchasing food organically/locally, etc. I suggest you try some of them (one at a time) and see what works for you.

Buy local. The first thing is that whenever possible, I buy directly from the farm. It is fresher, the produce/animals are treated better, and the food has used a lot less gas to get to me (which means a smaller environmental impact). Find a farm you know, like, and trust. Ask about how they farm (with or without chemicals). Many farms offer CSA shares (community supported agriculture) where you buy a share in the farm for a particular season and then go pick up your goods each month/week. The great thing about going to the farm is that I spend less time and money at the grocery store (where I am sure to pick up junk I do not need). So while it may appear that the tomatoes are a little more expensive, I save money in the long-run. If you are interested in finding local farms and farmers markets please visit for more local information.

There are times when I do need to go to the grocery store or supplement things I cannot get at the farm and/or farmers market. AND, I know that not everyone has access to local food sources. In those cases, I use the following basic guidelines:

  1. Buy organic when you are higher on the food-chain as much as possible. This is the case with non-fish animal products such as beef, pork, chicken, dairy, and eggs. The higher up on the food chain you go, the more likely they have consumed more toxins in their food (similar to larger fish having higher concentrations of mercury), and therefore the more toxins are passed on to you. Since toxins are stored in body fat-- milk and butter are the #1 things I would look for organically, followed by higher fat meat and eggs.
  2. Choose which vegetables/fruits you purchase organically based on how contaminated they are as well as how often you eat them. If you eat something everyday, you should go organic. The 12 Most Contaminated fruits/vegetables should be bought organically whenever possible. They include: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. The top 12 least contaminated can be traded off in order to save your pocketbook a bit. You can buy them organically, but are less important than the others. These include: onions, avocado, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwis, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papaya.
  3. Try to buy as local as possible--the closer you are, the less mileage it took to ship the food to you so the fresher it will be. I typically try to keep it to Massachusetts, if not available, I choose the east coast option when available, then within the country. The exceptions I make to out of the country is whether we can grow it here or not (coconuts, pineapple, bananas) and I buy these items less frequently. I typically skip the asparagus from Peru until I can buy it in-season from the farmers market or someone more local.

So, I hope you are not too overwhelmed by all this information. Typically, it is better to follow an 80-20 rule, where in your home you do the best you can, and when you are out you pick the best from what is available. It is definitely a summary of how I make my decisions at the grocery store for fresh food because there are lots of things that play into the decisions. There are tons of books and resources on the subject if you are interested in more information. Here is a list of my personal favorites:

  • Food, Inc a movie
  • Real Food, by Nina Planck
  • Real Food for Mother and Baby, by Nina Planck
  • In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
  • What to Eat, by Marion Nestle
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver
I will talk about processed food in a later blog, but hopefully the question of whether or not to buy organic has been peaked in your mind for all your fresh food options... I tried to make it straight forward and brief, and help you keep as many chemicals off your plate as you can. At the end of the day, do the best you can. That is all anyone can ask of you!

In health and wellness,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chemically Speaking, Part 1: In the Name of Beauty

So, not that we do not have enough to think about with our diet, exercise, and getting all the baby stuff ready for the little one's arrival...but something else to think about is all the chemicals that we use on a daily basis that we inhale, put on our skin, and consume in our foods. I don't know about you, but I think I want my baby to be as protected as possible from all the junk that is out in the atmosphere. We do filter some of the toxins out in the world, but unfortunately, we do not filter everything 100%. A study done by the Environmental Working Group found 232 known chemicals in the umbilical cords of babies between Dec 2007-June 2008. Ewwwww.

Okay, so what is a pregnant girl to do? I know everyone says "you can't control everything"...and honestly I know that and I do not pretend to try. There are environmental toxins out in the air (pollution) that I have very little power over. However, there are a few ways to significantly reduce the amount of chemicals that enter your body and I will cover them in my next few blog postings:
  1. Pay attention to the ingredients in your beauty products
  2. Eat organically (or from local farms that use as little chemicals as possible)
  3. Change up some of your cleaning supplies
Part 1: Beauty Products
Unfortunately, beauty products are more than skin deep. Skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs many toxins found within the body. 60% of what is put ON your skin is absorbed into the blood stream

The average person uses nine personal care products a day. Since the cosmetic/toiletries industry is not well regulated, many of the ingredients are not tested for toxicity (especially healthy doses for growing fetuses). Once and a while exposure may be fine, but the products that are used most often are the ones you should focus on first. I started with deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotions, since I used them the most often. But you should also check your make-up if you wear it daily.

Below is a list of chemicals that are best avoided by anyone, including the pregnant variety. I took it directly from "Dirty Dozen" an article on The Dirty Dozen Chemicals in Cosmetics by Catherine Zandonella September 18, 2007

1. Antibacterials: Overuse of antibacterials can prevent them from effectively fighting disease-causing germs like E. coli and Salmonella enterica. Triclosan, widely used in soaps, toothpastes and deodorants, has been detected in breast milk, and one recent study found that it interferes with testosterone activity in cells. Numerous studies have found that washing with regular soap and warm water is just as effective at killing germs.

2. Coal Tar: Coal tar is a known human carcinogen used as an active ingredient in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams. Coal-tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1, used in toothpastes, and FD&C Green 3, used in mouthwash, have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies when injected under skin.

3. Diethanolamine (DEA): DEA is a possible hormone disruptor, has shown limited evidence of carcinogenicity and depletes the body of choline needed for fetal brain development. DEA can also show up as a contaminant in products containing related chemicals, such as cocamide DEA.

4. 1,4-Dioxane: 1,4 -Dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and a possible human carcinogen that can appear as a contaminant in products containing sodium laureth sulfate and ingredients that include the terms "PEG," "-xynol," "ceteareth," "oleth" and most other ethoxylated "eth" ingredients. The FDA monitors products for the contaminant but has not yet recommended an exposure limit. Manufacturers can remove dioxane through a process called vacuum stripping, but a small amount usually remains. A 2007 survey by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that most children's bath products contain 10 parts per million or less, but an earlier 2001 survey by the FDA found levels in excess of 85 parts per million.

5. Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde has a long list of adverse health effects, including immune-system toxicity, respiratory irritation and cancer in humans. Yet it still turns up in baby bath soap, nail polish, eyelash adhesive and hair dyes as a contaminant or break-down product of diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium compounds.

6. Fragrance: The catchall term "fragrance" may mask phthalates, which act as endocrine disruptors and may cause obesity and reproductive and developmental harm. Avoid phthalates by selecting essential-oil fragrances instead.

7. Lead and Mercury: Neurotoxic lead may appear in products as a naturally occurring contaminant of hydrated silica, one of the ingredients in toothpaste, and lead acetate is found in some brands of men's hair dye. Brain-damaging mercury, found in the preservative thimerosol, is used in some mascaras.

8. Nanoparticles: Tiny nanoparticles, which may penetrate the skin and damage brain cells, are appearing in an increasing number of cosmetics and sunscreens. Most problematic are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, used in sunscreens to make them transparent. When possible, look for sunscreens containing particles of these ingredients larger than 100 nanometers. You'll most likely need to call companies to confirm sizes, but a few manufacturers have started advertising their lack of nanoparticle-sized ingredients on labels.

9. Parabens(methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-): Parabens, which have weak estrogenic effects, are common preservatives that appear in a wide array of toiletries. A study found that butyl paraben damaged sperm formation in the testes of mice, and a relative, sodium methylparaben, is banned in cosmetics by the E.U. Parabens break down in the body into p-hydroxybenzoic acid, which has estrogenic activity in human breast-cancer cell cultures.

10. Petroleum Distillates: Possible human carcinogens, petroleum distillates are prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics in the E.U. but are found in several U.S. brands of mascara, foot-odor powder and other products. Look out for the terms "petroleum" or "liquid paraffin."

11. P-Phenylenediamine: Commonly found in hair dyes, this chemical can damage the nervous system, cause lung irritation and cause severe allergic reactions. It's also listed as 1,4-Benzenediamine; p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine.12. HydroquinoneFound in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers, hydroquinone is neurotoxic and allergenic, and there's limited evidence that it may cause cancer in lab animals. It may also appear as an impurity not listed on ingredients labels.

12. Hydroquinone: Found in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers, hydroquinone is neurotoxic and allergenic, and there's limited evidence that it may cause cancer in lab animals. It may also appear as an impurity not listed on ingredients labels.

If that wasn't exhaustive enough, also steer clear of the following:
  • Phthalate—diethyl-, diethyl hexyl-, dibutyl-
  • Silicones (si--, tri--, dimethicone)
  • Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)
  • Tolvene
  • Glycol Ethers

While it sounds daunting, it is not as bad as you think. I found the following work for me, that I picked up at Whole Foods--just to help you get started:

  • Shampoo and conditioner and shower gels: Whole Foods 365 brand . I like the grapefruit, but they have a lot of other flavors. The awesome news about these, is that they are great AND they don't break the bank.
  • Deodorant: Lafe's Roll-on Liquid. I like the fresh scent. I tried a lot of others--and at the end of the day I was stinky (not to mention they went on sticky). This is the brand I recommend to all my clients, and all of them have agreed. I was referred to this one from both my cousin's wife and the woman working at Whole Foods.
  • Toothpaste: I find Tom's of Maine to be fine. My son will even use it too!
  • Lotion: I just stopped buying it. Instead, I use coconut oil. I have heard sesame and olive oil also work well.
  • Chapstick: Burt's Bees
  • Make-up: I don't wear make-up more than once every 3-6 months, so I put it as a lower priority in my quest for natural products. I have heard that Aveda and Jurlique are supposed to be all-natural.

I hope you found this enlightening and helpful. I know this was one of the last things I switched over to natural, after spending a fair bit of time working on my foods, mostly because I was a little intimidated. But happy hunting and go slow--switching out 1-2 products at a time, and you will find what works for you!

Stay beautiful!

In health and wellness,