By Anne Custer
Ever read a label for a product and wonder how to pronounce the ingredients? Many times these unfamiliar words are additives and chemicals that damage our health over time. These synthetic chemicals can be skin irritants, skin penetrators, and are carcinogenic. In foods, these toxins get into our systems through digestion and can cause a multitude of issues including vision problems, cancers, respiratory diseases and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fainting and delirium in large doses.
These toxins build up in our body because of the volume of our exposure. In 2002, it was found that there were approximately 100,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States. This number grows each year as new chemicals are registered for use in foods, medications, and healthcare and hygiene products. The Federal Food and Drug Administration recognizes many of these chemicals as GRAS, or generally recognized as safe. Generally, really, FDA?! Our European counterparts have banned many chemicals and additives that we allow in foods because of health concerns. Since these toxins are a foreign substance, they cause an inflammatory response in the body. This chronic inflammation can lead to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, asthma, and arthritis, among other inflammatory conditions. In addition, excessive toxins in the body can cause gastrointestinal problems, skin issues, cognitive function, and hormone imbalances.
The best way to stay away from these chemicals and additives is to not buy them! It sounds much easier than it actually is because these hide in many products we use daily. There is still a need or want for these things though, so I recommend making your own products or finding a safe alternative. Many things we use daily can easily be made at home with a little time and TLC. Overall, it’s cheaper and ensures you aren’t exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
Some overall tips while shopping for food and beauty products: if you can’t pronounce more than one or two ingredients, don’t buy it. If you don’t have time to make homemade products, don’t beat yourself up! Try your best to find healthy and safe alternatives. Try to eat as clean as possible; if you don’t buy packaged foods and stick to organic produce and bulk items, you will avoid consuming most chemicals and additives. Simplify your beauty routine to decrease the amount of products you need to buy and/or make. Figure out what is most important to you and stick to it! Finally, do your own research and educate yourself. There’s so much information about this topic out there and I can only tell you so much in this short blog post!
Here are a few recipes for homemade beauty products! A piece of advice: coconut oil has a plethora of uses including moisturizer, make-up remover, shaving gel, hair conditioner, and many more. It appears as the base of many homemade beauty products because of its versatility and amazing properties!
- 3 T Coconut Oil
- 3 T Baking Soda
- 2 T Shea Butter
- 2 T Arrowroot (optional) or organic cornstarch
- Essential Oils (optional)
- Melt butter and oil in a double boiler until barely melted
- Remove from heat and add baking soda and arrowroot (add more baking soda if you don’t have arrowroot)
- Mix well and add essential oils
- Pour into glass container and let cool.
- ¼ cup of coconut milk
- ¼ cup of liquid castile soap
- 20 drops of essential oils
- Combine all ingredients in bottle or jar
- Shake well before each use!
As for food, most packaged products can be made easily at home. Here are a few of my favorites!
Easy Hummus Recipe
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of tahini
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 2 T olive oil
- ½ t cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 T of water
- Combine tahini and lemon juice in a food processer for 1 minute, scrape, and then 30 seconds more.
- Add olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt.
- Add half of the chickpeas, blend, and then the rest of the chickpeas.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until smooth consistency in achieved.
- 1 cup raw almonds-soaked overnight in salted water
- 4 cups water
- Optional for flavor/sweetness: agave, vanilla beans, honey, cinnamon, etc.
- Rinse almonds well before blending with water in blender
- Blend for several minutes until smooth
- Strain mixture through kitchen towel or cheesecloth
- Pour into glass jar and refrigerate!
For more information and where I got the recipes and information, visit: