How toxic are your personal care products?

I was contemplating buying some nail polish online recently and was scouring the different ‘natural’ brands, but finally decided its was all too hard because I didn’t know what ingredients were safe and what weren’t. I was a very unsatisfied shopper! It was then I realised just how much my new understanding of toxins (and how adversely they affect my health) has changed my life. Out of interest, I started making a list of what personal care products I used to use and what I use now.  

 

When I look at my two lists I cringe. Holy-snappin-duck-tutles, I used to put a massive amount of chemicals onto my skin. Check out my list, how does it compare to yours?

 

How hippy

 

Did you know that our skin is our largest organ and that it absorbs approximately 60% of what is applied to it?

 

In less than 30 seconds, the toxins in our personal care products can enter our bloodstream and be cruising throughout our body causing all manner of problems – A disrupted endocrine system (read: hormones gone crazy), allergic responses, Oh, and cancer. But of course, there is no mention of that on your vanilla scented creamy body butter is there! You might be surprised to hear that the average woman applies 500 chemicals to her body every day. This is a serious problem, and when I first read about this, I was freaked out!

 

So what prompted my change? Knowledge baby, good old fashioned knowledge and of course, self love. Now that I’m clued up, there is no way that toxic crap is going on my body!

 

More and more people are understanding the importance of looking at the ingredients list on their food labels, but when was the last time you looked at the ingredients in your deodorant or shampoo? I challenge you to read it out loud, I bet you can’t even pronounce some of the ingredients! What the heck is Cyclopentasiloxane? Who knows, but it was getting smeared into my pits on a daily basis 18 months ago! How about Poloxamer 407? I’ve personally never heard of it but I was swishing it around in my mouth after I brushed my teeth with some Carrageenan and Sodium lauryl sulfate. Then I covered up my blemishes with some cyclopentasiloxane! And thats just 5 ingredients from 4 products I was using…. scary right?

 

Unknown

 

The sad thing is that not only do we have to deal with these toxic ingredients in our personal care products, but we also have to deal with misleading jargon such as ‘all natural’ and ‘organic’. There are currently no regulations that govern these terms on personal care products, which means thousands of unknowing women are leaving the store thinking they are going home to moisturise with a natural product, when in fact they are applying a (often expensive) cocktail of toxins to their face.

 

Know this about the beauty industry:

 

Less than 20% of ingredients have been tested for safety AND it’s not mandatory for companies to list ALL ingredients.  Say whaaaat? True.

 

So whats a girl to do in a material world? Go ale’ natural of course. Problem solved (wink wink) No but really, you need to become a label reading goddess. Ignore the crap on the front, thats just advertising. The good bits are on the back. Read every ingredient and if you don’t know what something is, head to the EWG’s Skin Deep Database and look it up. If your feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you can use my list above as a starting point.

 

As a last note, here is beginners list of things to avoid: 

 

“Parabens (propyl, isopropyl, butyl, isobutyl), Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), PEG, Ceteareth, Polyethylene, Petrochemicals, DMDM Hydantoin, Triclosan, Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol, and Oxybenzone. This is merely an entree into the lengthy list of chemicals we’re exposed to.” - The Holistic Ingredient

 

Now go take charge of your health (and your bathroom cabinet!) because your body deserves the very bloody best there is, and that does NOT include cheap, nasty toxins!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Love & Lifestyle

Rustic Baba Ganoush

Most baba ganoush recipes call for the pulp of the eggplant only, I prefer not to waste it and therefore end up with a much more ‘rustic’ style of egg plant dip. Its quite wonderful even if I do say so myself! If you would rather a smooth dip, just blend it more!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 smaller eggplants
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 garlic clove

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180deg
  2. Cut the eggplant into about discs about 3cm thick and place them onto a baking tray line with non-toxic baking paper.
  3. Place the eggplant into the over and roast until they are well cooked and gooey on the inside.
  4. Allow the eggplant to cool.
  5. Blend the eggplant and all other ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle or paprika or fresh parsley.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

afterlight-12

afterlight-13

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Emotional eating

I just read this beautiful, powerful quote and it was the inspiration I needed to get this post happening. I haven’t put anything onto this blog before that has made me quite so nervous about sharing, but here I am, ready and willing to bare something quite personal, with anyone who reads my blog. Which is scary because at the end of the day it can be read by anyone!… “Hey there, you… person I can’t see but know is reading this!”  *I’m waving with a goofy and nervous smile on my face…*

 

photo-28

 

Why am I sharing something that makes me so nervous? Because its one of those things that way too many people struggle with, yet no one seems to talk about it openly. At least they didn’t when it was an issue for me anyway. I’m bringing my courage to the table because on this blog, I want to talk about stuff that’s real. If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is that talking helps. Oh my god, it helps! So, if me showing my imperfections and vulnerabilities and risking being the talking point for people is going to help others, then so be it. I have bigger shoulders than I used to and I can handle what anyone wants to say about this post, whether it to me or behind my back – I’m cool with it. The point is that there are so many lessons to be learnt from this situation, for me especially, but maybe for you too.

 

Anyway, here goes:

 

I used to binge eat.

 

Because I was sad. Or angry. Or because I just couldn’t stop once I started.

 

Sometimes it would start with the intention of just eating one (usually something sweet like a Tim Tam) which would lead to another and then another and another and next thing I know, the whole packet is gone. Instant disappointment. Then anger. “I can’t believe I did it again even after I promised myself I wouldn’t. What the hell is wrong with me”. Then after the anger wore off, I would think ‘well stuff it I have already eaten the whole pack so what does it matter now, I’ll just enjoy it today and start fresh tomorrow’. So I’d go searching for something else. Not because I was hungry but because I was telling myself that from tomorrow I couldn’t have this anymore so I better really enjoy it all now.

 

Other times I would get food knowing that I was going to be able to eat it all without anyone knowing. So I’d scoff the whole lot and really enjoy it… Until shortly after and I started thinking about what I had just done. How I’d let myself down AGAIN.

 

Then there were the times where I’d had a bad day or something had happened that upset me or made me frustrated. So I’d turn to food for comfort. But I’d go a little crazy and eat a whole tub of ice cream, then some chocolate and some biscuits. And of course, I’d just end up either sadder or more frustrated because of how I dealt with my bad day, by bingeing!

 

On exactly six occasions, I made myself throw up.

 

Let that sink in for a bit. It’s pretty serious shit.

 

I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to get fat, that was never really an issue for me. I did it because I would freak out about the unhealthy crap I’d just put into my body. I’d feel guilty, I’d feel like a absolute fool. What damage was I doing with all that sugar and artificial crap? I remember waiting for my heart to race once the sugar set in. In hind sight, it probably had a lot to do with the stress of the whole situation, not just the sugar I had ingested. It was on that 6th occasion that I realized something was seriously wrong and that this wasn’t ok.

 

As you can see, I was in a viscous, unbalanced cycle of emotions and self punishment. It went on for months and months, maybe years but it wasn’t constant. I had ups and downs, good months and bad months. But it took a hell of a lot to get over it. LOTS of soul searching, help seeking, self honesty, journaling, digging deep, finding root causes, food education and even a little heart-wrenching counseling. But I did get over it, and here I am, able to talk about it, openly.

           3 flowers

 

What I’ve learnt

 

The universe will never give you anything you can’t handle. I really believe this and I also believe that everything happens for a reason.  We are given what we need at the time, not what we want. Everyone wants a picture perfect, happy life filled with glitter and unicorns that fart rainbows. But life doesn’t work like that, it just doesn’t. We are given situations to learn from and to grow from. This situation? Well the universe dished it up and (after a while) I handled it. And, I have learnt more about myself than I can possibly explain. Are you stuck in a situation? Know, that whatever it is, you can handle it.

 

The best lessons are learnt from shitty situations. When you emerge on the other side of something heartbreaking, or something so hard that you thought you may never get through it, you’re stronger, you’re wiser and you’re a better person. In any shitty situation, there is a lesson to be learnt, make sure you find it.

 

Tell the truth. To yourself. To your loved ones. To the world. This is what got me through this binge eating nightmare. Once I started being honest with myself about exactly what was going on, it got easier and I was able to fix it. The truth can honestly set you free. Find the truth then live it.

 

What I hope you’ll take away from this

 

Be nice to people, you never know what they are going through. People judge others every day, but being judgmental is weak and its the easy thing to do -its easier than helping someone or facing their reality (because it isn’t your reality its just so easy to turn a blind eye). People often struggle behind closed doors and do their best to put on a brave face. The next time someone seems short or snaps at you, or is too wrapped up in themselves to notice your new hair, just remember that you don’t know everything that is happening in their life, so be nice and react with love.

If this story hits home, then know your not alone. You are never alone. There is always, ALWAYS someone who wants to help and people that love you. And there are people who know what your going through and people that can help you get back on track. You don’t have to be a slave to a shitty thing like this. Seek help, I am so gosh-darn grateful to myself  that I sought help. You will be too. Hey, if you think it will help, email me!

 

Right now

 

I’m proud of myself. So. Bloody. Proud! And as weird as this will sound, I’m glad that this is part of my past, because in the end, I’m a better person for the journey I have travelled. I’m stronger, healthier, happier. And you know what, I’m so much more open than I used to be! This post was so easy for me to write just now, and I have that same goofy grin on my face I did at the start of writing this, except now, it’s a proud goofy grin, not a nervous one.

 

A special note to my dear family & friends:

Don’t be upset that you never knew about this. I used to be so withdrawn and I bottled EVERYTHING up, just ask my Husband! He had a hell of a time with me not talking about things. But, the past is the past and we are in the here and now. And right now, this issue is not an issue anymore. I’m kicking life’s ass, I promise.     – xxx -

12 Comments

Filed under Love & Lifestyle

Easy peasy nut bars

You’ll need

  • 2 – 2 ½ cups mixed nuts/seeds/dried berries
  • (I used cashews, macadamias, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, gogi berries and a few dried dates)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt or unrefined sea salt

Method

  1. Line a shallow container with baking paper (mine was 12cm x 20cm x 3cm)
  2. Use either a food processor or a knife and your chopping board to break the nuts and seeds down into your desired consistency. (I like mine crunchy, but I discovered the hard way that you can’t leave your nuts whole. My first batch didn’t stay together when I tried to cut them!)
  3. Heat the coconut oil and rice malt syrup over medium heat until hot and runny (they won’t combine completely)
  4. Add the coconut oil/rice malt syrup blend to your mix of nuts/seeds and stir well to combine.
  5. Allow to cool so that the coconut oil is no longer runny and the mix is a little sticky. Then stir the mixture again because the coconut oil tends to settle in the bottom.
  6. Pour half the mix into your baking paper lined container. Put another layer of baking paper over the mixture and press it into all corners (the baking paper allows you to press onto the mix without it getting stuck to your fingers.)
  7. Add the remaining mix and compact as best you can.
  8. Put in the refrigerate for about 2 hours to allow it to set.
  9. Use a hot sharp knife to cut into desired size. (You can heat the knife using hot water)

 

photo 1-4

photo 2-3

photo 3-4

photo 4-5

 

 

sign up after blog post

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipes

What’s Paleo and why I dig it

If you follow me on Instagram then you would see that one of my most used hashtags is #paleo. I often use the term Paleo to navigate my way to healthy, sustainable, fair, nourishing choices. And I find it an easy thing to reference back to when making healthy choices.

So what is it and why do I think it’s so fab?

Paleo is short for Paleolithic, an era well known as the time of the Caveman. There are many different shades of Paleo out there but the general idea is eating real foods that come from nature and require little or no processing. This means food-like-products made in a factory or foods that go through heavy processing are out. It takes into account the nutrient density of foods, where the food comes from (including how animals are raised and what they are fed) and whether or not the human body is designed to eat it.

When I think of Paleo, straight away I think of real food, eaten as it should be. And this makes me smile. And it makes sense.

 

 

General guidelines for eating the ‘Paleo’ way

  • The most well-known guideline is that grains aren’t eaten. Why? Because of their negative effect on the GI tract (and consequently the whole body) as well as the fact that any nutrients they contain can be obtained in higher quantities through other foods (I discuss nutrient density below). If you want the low down on grains I have spoken about them before here
  • Fruit and vegetables are piled high on the plates of those eating a Paleo diet -for their carbohydrates, fiber and wonderful nutrients (of which are all in balanced proportions that the body needs).
  • Paleo-goers don’t usually eat dairy, based on the idea that milk is for offspring, not humans and more importantly, today’s dairy is a very processed product (pasturised, homogonised, skimmed, fortified etc) Raw dairy however, is seen as a completely different food to modern dairy and therefor, some will still include it. Raw dairy, which is sadly not sold for human consumption is Australia, is a nutrient dense, natural, live food. I personally give raw dairy the thumbs up for anyone who can tolerate dairy. (If you want to help change the laws on raw dairy please sign this petition)
  • Animal products are enjoyed for their high nutrient values and nose to tail eating is embraced. When choosing animal products, grain fed is avoided because ruminant animals don’t have a natural diet of grains, they eat grass (and this is reflected in the health of the animal and therefore the quality of the meat/organs products)
  • Animal fats from pasture raised animals  are favored for both eating and cooking purposes (I have spoken about fats here and here) and seed oils like canola, sunflower, soybean, rice bran etc are avoided because of their inflammatory properties, the heavy processing required to make them and their current global GMO status.
  • Soy beans and soy products are not eaten because of the numerous detrimental health implications and their GMO status.
  • Seafood is eaten a-plenty! Sustainable options are sought.
  • Gluten, food additives and artificial flavors are avoided by cutting out processed foods.

Does this all sound familiar? You might have read something very similar in my food philosophy, no wonder I love the Paleo movement!

Paleo isn’t a diet, it’s a way of living. Really. Most paleo folk will embrace ‘natural’ into their whole lives, not just their diets. And this is why I REALLY like Paleo.

Its about saying no to the modern bullshit we are fed (excuse the pun!). Its about knowing what’s right for the human body, despite what Big Corporation and Big Pharma say.  And most of all, it’s about humans, animals and the environment co-existing in a healthy & happy way.

 

Your shade of paleo

 

Typically, a paleo lifestyle will include the use of natural products, avoiding all synthetic crapola, buying responsibly (especially animal products), managing stress, getting enough sleep & exercising in a smart way. All things that are really important, all things that I care about. Again, this is why I love Paleo in general.

One last note. I want to clear up the label of Paleo and to let you know that I don’t consider myself to be ‘Paleo’, Yes, I share most of the beliefs and most of the food I eat can be considered as Paleo (but certainly not all of it) but I don’t like labels and I certainly don’t follow the ‘rules’ of any type of diet. I do what works for me and my body. As should you.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Nutrition

My latest wellness unearthing – Meditation

Recently, I’ve been attending meditation classes, four so far and I’ve cried in two because I have been so overwhelmed with emotion. Good emotion. Its been amazing and to be honest, I’m a little hooked. Being in a room full of people who are all there for the same beautiful purpose is quite powerful. We are all simultaneously looking within, closing down from the outside world for just a little bit. Making peace. The room hums with an unseen energy that I can’t help but gravitate towards.

Last night, we did what was called Open heart meditation. The basic idea is that you smile during your meditation, and for me, it felt so good. I felt happy instantly from the physical act of smiling, as thought it tricked my mind into believing that something was occurring around me that I should be smiling for. Once you have established a constant smile that warms your insides, you move onto (while continuing to smile) holding your hand over your heart and asking it to release whatever it is that may be holding you back (say for instance, jealousy or judgment) and to replace these feelings with a source of love and light so that you can become all that you are.

BeStillDSC60LDSMOMTOMANY

Image via http://ldsmomtomany.blogspot.com.au

I started meditating roughly 6 months ago now, on and off but its only recently that its really starting to resinate with me. I don’t do it everyday or even every week for that matter because its not a routine for me, I do it when it feels right.  I started because I wanted to know myself better. I wanted to learn why I was feeling what I was. I would just sit with my eyes closed and just listening to my thoughts, observing them without judgement. My ego isn’t allowed in when I meditate, she’s forced out of town by virtue of pure love. I’ve learnt quiet a lot about myself…and my ego for that matter. But there is so much more to it than just listening to my thoughts and I still have so much to learn, so much to practice. So much to feel.

I bet you thought meditation was all about emptying the mind right? Focusing on, well, nothing. This isn’t the case. Sure, its how some (extremely well practiced) people meditate, but its not the only way. And this misunderstanding of meditation seems to be what turns so many people off it. But as you can see from the Open Heart Meditation I attended last night, it can also be a way to cleanse the mind (and heart). A very popular form of meditation is deep breathing, which is extremely relaxing and soothing. When I meditate on my breath I simply say the word ‘love’ when I inhale and ‘gratitude’ when I exhale. I imagine that I am literally breathing in love, and exhaling gratitude. Or sometimes, I count, ‘In, 2, 3, 4 Out, 2, 3, 4″ Another way to meditate is to use traditional mantra’s (or make up your own). In the morning, you can use meditation to set your intentions for the day. The mind is a powerful thing, don’t underestimate the influence of setting intentions and seeing them come true in your mind. There are endless forms of meditation to try; mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, visualisation meditation, and the more advanced transcendental meditation. The list goes on.

As for the benefits of meditation, I know I’ve only just reached the tip of the iceberg. But when something is so powerful that it makes you cry tears of pure happiness, I think you will agree that I’m onto something pretty special.

sign up after blog post

Leave a Comment

Filed under Love & Lifestyle