Caring For Pets Part I

January 10, 2013

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Our Dog Pippin

For many of us, loving, adorable furry creatures play a large role in our lives. Believe it or not, the products used to groom your pet have a big effect not only on the health of your animal, but on the health of your family as well. How many times a day to we pat our companions? Massage their backs? Kiss their faces? The products we use on them penetrate both their skin and our own; so it makes sense to buy the least toxic products available.

I am all about going completely natural. However, I don’t think it wise to ever disregard the advice of a skilled veterinarian. During summer months, I do apply a topical flea and tick preventative. If your dog dies from Lyme disease after all, all your efforts to safeguard his health by using natural products won’t matter one bit.

The products recommended in this article are one that I believe are priced fairly, highly effective, and non-toxic.

Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Shampoo and Conditioner sold by the Only Natural Pet Store is an organic shampoo infused with essential oils known for warding off fleas and ticks. We saw a noticeable decline in the amount of bugs buzzing around him while in Maine this summer; it wards off mosquitos. Perhaps most importantly, however, it smells great and is extremely antibacterial due to the tea tree content.

* They also make a Herbal Defense Essential Oil mixture that you can apply directly to your dog’s skin (or massage into their coat) that works very well.

herbal

When extra flea and tick protection is needed…..the Herbal Cedar Collar is an inexpensive alternative to the pesticide collars sold to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. The essential oils are embedded into the plastic. It is waterproof, adjustable, and completely non-toxic. Each collar lasts at least six weeks.

earthbath

Earthbath’s All-Natural Dog Shampoos and Conditioners come in nine different varieties (Hypo-allergenic, Green Tea Leaf, Mango Tango, Oatmeal and Aloe, Eucalyptus and Peppermint, Tea Tree and Aloe Vera, and Light Color Coat Brightener) all of which are non-toxic, smell great, and are extremely effective.

coconut oil

For dry paws, I am all about the extra-virgin coconut oil. If your dog is a licker, it is no big deal. In fact, ingesting coconut oil will benefit your dog or cat’s health, rather than harm it. Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that aid digestive health; the fatty acids are great for your dog or cat’s coat. Plus, the oil is absorbed quickly and heals cracks (caused by salt and other environmental conditions) within days.

Combating Adult Acne

October 9, 2011

 

Acne post-teenage years can be a problem that many of us choose not to speak about. How does one rub an antioxidant cream into an inflamed, broken out mess? Suki offers an effective solution. My fiancee and I are in love with the whole product line, having tried just about everything they make. The Bio-Active Purifying Face Serum keeps my acne prone face crystal clear. Blemishes and wrinkles prevented in one fell swoop!

Suki products can be purchased at Whole Foods; however, the more expensive serums and moisturizers can only be found online at Suki, Saffron Rouge, and Future Natural.

 

 

 

Shopping for all natural cosmetics can be difficult. Outside of Whole Foods and your local health food store, options can appear limited. Shopping for high quality brands must often be done online. These are my favorite sites, the ones from which I order products and samples.

 

1. Spirit Beauty Lounge

Very much like Sephora, except the products featured here are natural, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. Stock up on Rahua Shampoo, skinnyskinny soaps, and RMS makeup. You can also order a sample of any product on the website! Products arrive in a timely manner and are beautifully packaged. This is a U.S. site; the owner lives in Brooklyn.

 

2. FutureNatural

An amazing site that has every natural product you could ever dream of! They have an incredible selection of organic perfumes, makeup, and skin care products. Stock up on Zoya nail polish, incredible bath salts, and more. They also have a men’s section! U.S. based site.

 

3. Saffron Rouge

The site sells only fair-trade organic beauty products and it sells a lot of them!!! It also has a beautiful aromatherapy section and a large selection of organic perfume and cologne. All orders over $50.oo qualify for free shipping! U.S. based site.

 

4. skinbotanica

Pick up your John Masters Organic Shampoo, Weleda foot cream, and Eminence Organics face masks. The site carries a huge variety of natural and organic brands. Right now, you can receive 20% of your entire order with the code BESTSELL 20. Pick up gifts for everyone on your list!!

 

5. The Organic Pharmacy

A one-stop shop for everything on your list. They have everything from dandruff shampoo to anti-cellulite gel. I have never tried anything from this brand that I haven’t liked. My boyfriend is especially fond of the men’s face wash and antioxidant gel.

 

6. abc Home

Shop online, just like you would in their beautiful store, for natural, non-toxic beauty products from high quality brands including but not limited to Amala, Kahina, and Intelligent Nutrients. If you live in New York though, try to make it downtown to their store on Broadway and 17th Street; the store is breathtakingly beautiful.

 

7. BuyNaturalSkinCare.com

An online boutique for the amazing Eminence Organics line, this site is incredible in that it will provide you with samples of any of the masks or products . There are 36 masks in total. I always make sure I have a Seven Herb Treatment mask at home- it clears up breakouts and nourishes at the same time! Catherine Heigl raved to InStyle magazine about the products, saying that she couldn’t get enough of them; I am with her! I want all of them.

 

8.  The Nature of Beauty

A store with a large variety of high quality skin care products; I am a big fan of all the brands. The best thing about this site however, is the one cent samples and deluxe gift sets. For one cent, you can try most products. For five dollars, you can try five or more products from one line. Don’t waste your money buying products that might not agree with your skin type; sample until you get it right!

 

9. Indigo Wild

Home of Zum Bar soap (my boyfriend’s favorite soap!), this site contains all the famous “Zum” products. They have everything from face wash and body oil to baby products and bed bug spray. They even have Zum Bum- a special non-toxic spray to clean your dirty bum! Their products work, smell great, and come in creative packaging!

 

10. Bella Floria

This site contains natural products in a wide variety of price ranges; they have Hugo Naturals and Kahina Living Beauty. More importantly however, the site sells great, beautifully packaged gift sets such as the Woodsprite Organic Body Muscle Mender. They often have daily and weekly specials- so check back often!

 

The other day, I stumbled upon the coolest iphone/ipod app! The Chemical Maze is like Skin Deep, wikipedia, and a detailed food dictionary all rolled into one. To use, simply type in the name of the food additive or cosmetic ingredient you would like to know more about; within seconds, the database provides you with detailed information regarding the ingredient’s function, potential effects, and possible uses.

Reasons I’m loving this app…

1. Language is simple and understandable.

2. Smiley faces and frowns help you differentiate whether an ingredient is good or bad for you with the blink of an eye.

3. The app has a detailed glossary.

4. The app is inexpensive. It can be purchased at the Mac App Store for $ 5.99 .

 

* The app is baked on the bestselling book The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham.

Holiday Gift Guide

November 22, 2010

1. Balance Me Aromatherapy Bath Products

All-natural, completely non-toxic line of aromatherapy bath products that work. The company makes shower gel, creams, lotions, hair products, balms, and oils. They package gifts beautifully. Great buy!!

Free Shipping at Relief & Remedies

2. Wewood Watch

These watches are made completely out of wood and are 100% chemical free. A healthy, cool looking watch, that is a great gift for men and women alike!

3. Tom’s Shoes

Incredibly, comfortable shoes that are for a good cause. For every pair that you buy, Tom’s donates a pair to an underprivileged child in Africa. These are my favorite shoes- I wear my Tom’s every single day.

4. EcoSnugly Slipper Boots

Comfortable and stylish eco-friendly boots that are great for both inside the house and out!

5. Hello Rewind

Turn your favorite old t-shirt into a laptop sleeve that you will love!!

6. Organic Flannel Pajamas

Coyuchi makes incredibly comfortable organic flannel sheets- now you can wrap yourself and/or your significant other in the same warmth with a pair of organic flannel pajamas! Well-made and long lasting- a truly great gift!

7. Eco Hair Dryer

A low EMF hair dryer that is good for both you and the environment! Dries hair just as quickly thanks to negative ion technology, but still gives off significantly less radiation. A great buy!

8. Organic Fireside Cotton Throw

Who doesn’t love an especially warm blanket to snuggle up with in front of the television? You can feel better about your own health and that of the planet’s when you wrap yourself up in this organic cotton blanket.

9. Sound Oasis Sound Therapy System

The top of the line when it comes to Sound Therapy machines; this one is equipped with an alarm and can also be used as a radio. The sounds are incredibly real, varied, and soothing. My boyfriend and I have ours running every night- we sleep to the sound of waves lapping against the shore; my brother and sister also have one. If you know someone who lives in a city and isn’t sleeping well, this machine could be the answer.

10. Skin Actives Gift Certificate

This is the home of customized, all-natural, non-toxic skin care. If you know someone who is having skin issues or just plain interested in skin care- this is the gift for them. They can choose from hundreds of antioxidants, plant extracts, etc to build their own washes, scrubs, serums and lotions. An incredible deal and a thoughtful gift!

11. Rising Tide Fair Trade Bags

Great looking bags for all occasions made by women in India! Weekender bags, beach totes, etc.

12. BTC Morning, Noon, and Night Tee

An incredibly versatile red (festive) long sleeve organic tee that can be worn day or night.

13. Tata Harper Products

For that someone in your life who is incredibly worried about wrinkles and aging, this skin care line by Tata Harper is the ultimate in organic, non-toxic anti-aging skin care. Mentioned and reviewed in all the top magazines- it lives up to the hype- my boyfriend Will and I couldn’t believe the difference in our skin!

14. H. Gillerman Organics Remedies

These essential oil remedies really work! My boyfriend Will and I are huge fans of the sinus remedy and the True Relaxation Muscle Remedy. Pick out the remedies that suit the person for whom you are getting the gift- trust me, they will be truly appreciative!

Small Gifts

1. Widu Purse Brushes

Beautifully crafted Italian brushes that are free of synthetic materials. They come with a small twill bag to keep them clean in your purse. A thoughtful, small gift for someone you care about!

2. Red Flower Candles

Incredibly beautiful non-toxic candles that smell delightful!

3. Teko Socks

Socks made of organic wool or polyester. The company uses a chlorine-free bleaching process (chlorine bleaching creates toxins galore) and is dedicated to using the most sustainable practices available. Plus, these socks feel great and last forever! Great for athletes and non-athletes alike!

4. Garden In A Pail

Grow anything from tomatoes to flowers in a pail. The pail comes with pre-planted seeds- all you have to do is provide water and sunlight!

5. Thinksport Insulated Water Bottles

Vacuum sealed stainless steel water bottle that will keep liquid hot or cold for hours. There is even an internal removable mesh filter to stop you from consuming ice or tea leaves while drinking. A great, completely non-toxic choice.

6. No More Dirty Looks

Give a teen or woman in your life the gift of knowledge. The book by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt covers the history of the beauty industry, the toxins in everyday cosmetics, and details the fabulously safe alternatives.

Gifts for Children

1. Eco- Dough

A beautiful play dough made out of completely natural, non toxic ingredients and dyes from spinach, beets, and carrots.

2. Eco- Paint

Powdered paint made with flour, cornstarch, seaweed, and natural organic fruit and vegetable extracts. Completely non-toxic. Works beautifully.

3. My Daddy is a Pretzel

A book about yoga for little ones. Introduces several postures, complete with colorful illustrations.

4. Silk Fairy Wings for Girls

Beautiful fairy wings for girls who love to play dress up. Sarah’s silks produces wonderful dress up clothes for little ones- my three year old sister is a huge fan!

5. Junior Rhythm Pack from Jamtown

A wonderful music set complete with drum, book, gourd shake, learn along CD, carrying tote, and activity cards.

Eco-Friendly Wrapping

1. Living Ethos Gift Wrap

Beautiful gift wrap bags that can be used over and over again. Eliminate paper this Christmas! Save money!

2. Chewing the Cud Reusable Gift Wrap

Beautiful reusable gift wrap made out of 100% organic cotton with soy based inks. It is machine washable and wraps beautifully…will last for years! As much of a present as the present itself!

Eco-Friendly Cards and Gift Tags

1. Smock Paper

Absolutely beautiful cards and tags made out of luxury bamboo paper with vegetable-based inks. The cards and tags are original, creative, and beautifully made.

Loving Indian Healing Clay

November 21, 2010

I don’t think there are enough good things that I could possibly say about Indian Healing Clay. This clay is magical and shouldn’t be kept a secret! In order to make a mask, combine equal parts clay and raw organic apple cider vinegar . After 10-15 minutes, remove with warm water and a washcloth. Simple!

Reasons why I love this product…

1. There is only one ingredient (calcium bentonite clay) in this product. No fragrances, chemicals, or toxins of any kind.

2. Pores look significantly smaller after just one use.

3. It is a fabulous exfoliant- leaves skin super soft!

4. This product is vegan and wasn’t tested on animals.

5. One jar, which is less than eight dollars, will make up to 15 masks. The deal of the century!!!

Sugar and Aging

November 18, 2010

Glycation 101

During glycation, sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins such as collagen and elastin (the protein fibers that give skin its firmness and elasticity). As a result, skin becomes increasingly dry and brittle.

In addition, sugar affects they type of collagen you have in the first place. There are three types of collagen; type 1 being the most fragile (the most likely to wrinkle), type III being the most stable (the least likely to wrinkle). When there is a spike in blood sugar, type III transforms into type 1.

As if the above two paragraphs weren’t enough of  a bummer, glycated tissues go on to release AGEs or advanced glycation end products. AGEs negatively affect your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, making the skin more vulnerable to damage by UV rays.

The Good News

There are several things that you can do in order to slow down the glycation process.

1. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is believed to produce more AGEs than other types of sweeteners.

2. Supplement your diet with at least 1mg of B1 and B6 daily. In other words, take a good multi, if you aren’t already doing so. I recommend New Chapter. They make extraordinary vitamins out of organic whole foods.

3. Use topical antioxidants. Spritz green tea on your face; use lotions or serums with the vitamins C & E. I recommend The Organic Pharmacy’s Antioxidant Face Gel and/or The Organic Pharmacy’s Antioxidant Face Firming Serum. Of course, making your own masks with strawberries, resveratrol, or honey works too!

Sources: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21257751/, http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Glycation, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-glycation.htm

A Word on Toxins

Sadly, the majority of mainstream hair products contain numerous amounts of toxins in the form of synthetic surfactants (agents that help trap oil and dirt so that it can be washed away) and preservatives and additives. Make sure to read the ingredients in any hair product before you decide whether or not to use it on your body.

 

Synthetic Surfactants to Avoid

-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the detergent that makes shampoo foam. It should be avoided at all costs; it acts as a penetration enhancer for other potentially toxic ingredients. It is also linked with the carcinogenic compounds ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane.

Ethylene oxide causes brain, breast, and lung cancer in rodents and has been credited with causing lymphomas in exposed workers.

1,4 dioxane is credited with causing breast, nasal, and liver cancer in rodents.

 

Preservatives and Additives to Avoid

Parabens are bad news! Studies show that they mimic estrogen; they have been found inside breast tumor tissue. They also make you more sensitive to UV light.

-Diehanolamine (DEA) should be avoided. It reacts with preservatives to create NDELA, which is a recognized carcinogen. NDELA is readily absorbed through the skin.

-Phthalates are solvents used to help dissolve other chemicals within water. They are hormone disrupters; they induce hormonal changes when they come into contact with skin. Men with high levels of pthalates have a reduced sperm count, lower sperm motility, and more deformed sperm.

Phthalates are most commonly found in fragrances. Trade secrecy laws prevent the fragrance industry from having to disclose ingredients to cosmetic companies; thus, pthalates are rarely, if ever, listed on a product’s label.

-Acrylates are another carcinogenic compound. Watch out for acrylate polymer or copolymers.


Favorite Non-Toxic Products

Normal Hair

My all time favorite shampoo for normal hair is Rahua. I first tried this shampoo several months ago, when my step-mother brought it home from the hair salon in LA. It smells great, lathers well, and cleans without drying. Plus, it has the added benefit of being completely organic.

Rahua conditioner is beyond moisturizing; applying it simply smoothes out any tangles you may have. I use both the shampoo and conditioner every other day.

 

Dry Hair

My favorite shampoo for dry hair is John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo. Last winter, when my hair became dry and slightly frizzy from indoor heat, I washed with this shampoo several times a week. After a shampoo or two, you can literally feel and see an improvement.

I also use and love the Honey and Hair HIbiscus Reconstructor.

 

Oily Hair

To be honest, I have yet to come across an Aubrey Organics Product that I don’t like. I love this shampoo! Every now and then, I need a good clarifying shampoo to get the grease out; this one does the job beautifully. It foams like crazy ( a difficult feat for non-toxic products) and gets hair squeaky clean! For $ 10. 48, it is a bargain that just can’t be beat.

Dandruff

John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner works brilliantly for dandruff. Scalp regulating Zinc is the key to healing an itchy head. The shampoo doesn’t over-dry; which can, in turn, lead to more flakes.



Loving Pit Putty

November 15, 2010

I was thinking of just updating my old post on the best deodorants, but then I decided that Pit Putty is so extraordinary that it deserves a post all its own. This is the fourth day that I have been wearing it and I am hooked! Let me tell you why…

1. Pit Putty TRULY WORKS!! I don’t smell and I’m not sweating like crazy! It keeps me dry all day! I have two other deodorants that work well, but neither keeps me fully dry.

2. Pit Putty smells incredible! The fresh clove and lemon smells like a delicious baked good, the spearmint like a piece of good gum. It also comes in Geranium Lime.

3. Pit Putty comes in a stick. You don’t have to spray it, it isn’t watery; a couple light swipes and you are done.

4. I can pronounce all four of the ingredients.

5. The price. Spearmint Pit Putty is less than seven dollars!! One stick will last you anywhere from 2-4 months.

6. The return policy. If Pit Putty doesn’t stop you from smelling, Bubble & Bee will continue to provide you with different varieties of organic deodorant (free of charge) until you find one that works for you.

7. The name! Who doesn’t want to wear a deodorant with such a cool name?!

Pit Putty is sold online by Bubble & Bee.

Berry Good Skin

November 15, 2010

Many people reach for harsh over the counters skin care products in order to clear up a breakout. However, most commercial products are laden with toxic chemicals; why expose yourself to hidden carcinogens when you can make your own products that work twice as well?

When I feel a zit or two coming on, I head to Whole Foods to buy an organic box of berries.

 

Berry Good Benefits

-Strawberries are rich in salicylic acid. The acid is able to penetrate deep within the pore, exfoliating the dead skin cells that are built up within it. Strawberries, therefore, are especially great for improving the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads.

-Strawberries are rich in the antioxidant Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production. Collagen is what helps skin maintain its structure; a decrease in the protein leads to lines and wrinkles.

-Strawberries contain ellagic acid; it is this acid which helps protect the skin from UV rays. Overexposure to UV rays leads to a decrease in collagen production which, in turn, can speed up the aging process.

 

Buy Organic

Strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list; they are among the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues. Don’t upset your skin by smearing insecticides all over it; buy organic.

 

Favorite Skin Care Recipes

NOTE: Do not use strawberries on irritated or sunburned skin.

 

 

Strawberry Mask

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. mashed organic strawberries

1 Tbs. organic whole milk yogurt

1 Tbs. raw organic honey

 

Directions:

Mix the yogurt and honey in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash 2-3 strawberries.

Measure out 1 Tbs of strawberries.

Add to yogurt and honey mixture.

Mix well.

Apply to face for 20-30 min.

Remove with warm washcloth.

 

 

 

Eye Treatment (to get rid of dark circles and puffiness)

Ingredients:

2 strawberry slices

 

Directions:

Rest sliced strawberries on top of closed eyelids.

Remove after 15- 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Strawberry Body Scrub

Ingredients:

2 Tbs mashed strawberries

3 Tbs. sea salt

3  Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. olive oil

 

Directions:

In a bowl, combine strawberries, sea salt, sugar, and olive oil.

Mix well.

Use as a body scrub.

 

 

 

Strawberry Hair Mask

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. mashed strawberries

1 Tbs. mayonnaise

 

Directions:

Mix strawberries and mayonnaise together.

Apply mixture to hair.

Leave in for 30 minutes.

Shampoo and condition as usual.

 

Sources: http://www.ehow.com/about_6509423_strawberries-good-skin_.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellagic_acid, http://www.care2.com/greenliving/strawberries-kitchen-cupboard-beauty.html
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