Organic Ayurvedic Goodness for Your Skin and Hair

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Ayushi Skincare on The Organic Beauty

At The Organic Beauty, we’re obsessed with all things Ayurvedic.  From the keen insights the ancient science gives us into how to eat for our bodies, to the amazingly potent beauty ingredients that fill our favorite products — Ayurveda, sanskrit for life knowledge, is truly where it’s at in natural beauty and radiant health.

So you can imagine how excited we get when we discover a beauty brand that is making amazing use of potent Ayurvedic ingredients and philosophy in creating effective products that are also organic, vegan, handmade, and cruelty-free.  It almost seems too good to be true!  But alas, it is no dream. It’s Ayushi, and we just can’t get enough.

From head-to-toe, Ayushi has you covered, with powerful herbal ingredients infused into natural beauty products you’ll keep coming back to.

Continue Reading…

Yes To… Everything!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

One of our all-time favorite drugstore natural beauty brands has done it again!  (And again, and again, and again!).  The nourishing, beta-carotene rich Yes to Carrots collection of skin and haircare products has always been there for us in a pinch, when we’re stuck in an unfamiliar town and need to grab some face wash at the local CVS.  All the products are paraben, SLS, and pthalate-free, and feature some potent, organic ingredients.  They are such a major standout among all the chemical and carcinogenic crap products available at most drugstores and box stores, and beauty editors have been noticing, and unloading a bunch of awards on some of the standout products below.  So we have been super excited to witness the growth of the brand to feature lines specific to different beauty concerns, all packing the same powerful botanical punch.

While Yes to Carrots is still a great go-to for dry skin, we love the soothing, calming, and gentle Yes To Cucumbers line for sensitive skin.  For anyone with skin prone to redness, the Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes are the perfect solution for refreshing and cleansing the skin while on the go… I always have a pack in my travel bags!  The whole line features soothing and calming organic ingredients like cucumber, aloe vera, green tea extract, and spirulina.

For acne-prone skin, the Yes to Tomatoes line really delivers.  I’m a huge fan of the Repairing Acne Lotion for controlling and treating mild breakouts.  It’s loaded with acne-busting, natural salicylic acid and witch hazel, healing organic aloe, anti-inflammatory organic tomato extract, and antioxidant and anti-microbial pomegranate extract.  For major, day-ruining zits, I love the Roller Ball Spot Stick.  The roller ball minimizes transfer of bacteria from your hands to an already problematic pimple, and the super potent ingredients also include soothing and anti-inflammatory ginger and bisabolol and healing tea tree oil, in addition to an even higher concentration of acne clearing salicylic acid.  The stuff really works!

The two new additions to the line are no less stellar than their veteran cousins. Yes to Grapefruit is a potent line for dull and uneven skin.  The Daily Facial Scrub is perfect for bringing out skin’s natural luminosity.  Loaded with brightening and smoothing organic grapefruit peel extract and lemon balm, as well as healing and nourishing organic sunflower seed oil, it removes impurities, improves tone and clarity of skin, and lightens scars and dark spots.  For uneven skin on the rest of your body, try the Dark Spot Correcting Body Lotion, with masterwort and capsicum fruit extract to soothe and protect skin.

The other new kid on the beauty block is the Yes to Blueberries collection, perfect for preventing aging and the formation of fine lines.  Blueberries are bursting with skin protecting antioxidants which reverse the signs of aging, so it makes perfect sense that they would be the headliner for this potent line.  Other ingredients like organic cotton thistle, wild acacia and paracress flower are clinically proven to hydrate aging skin, reduce fine lines, and boost natural collagen production.  The whole line is great, but we’re particularly into the  Deep Wrinkle Filler and Brightening Eye Roller, which both noticeably perk up skin.  Check back in to enter to win our giveaway of a collection of six Yes to Blueberries products for face and body!

We are so thrilled that there are non-toxic, natural beauty products like these in the mass market.  It is now easier and more affordable than ever to find safe products that are just as effective as their chemical and carcinogenic counterparts.  Alright ladies, no more excuses!  Clean out that medicine cabinet and say yes to restocking with products tailor-made for your skin concerns, that are actually good for your skin!

The Healthiest (and Yummiest) Snack Bars!

The Healthiest (and Yummiest) Snack Bars! | The Organic Beauty BlogThose of you who are no stranger to The Organic Beauty know that I am not a huge proponent of snacking. Excessive need for snacking means you’re not getting enough substantial nutrition, and it can lead to weight gain from unnecessary added calories, as well as constantly fluctuating blood sugar. That said, sometimes you really need a frickin’ snack! Maybe you didn’t have time for a big healthy lunch, or don’t want to arrive at your nephew’s birthday pizza party famished. It’s times like these (hopefully not too often!) that you want to have access to a delicious, nutritious and quick snack that get’s the job done, without setting your diet back.  An ideal snack bar gives you a good bit of protein to keep you full, fiber to keep things moving, and healthy carbs to give you energy.  I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 snack bars that fit the bill…  Plus, I’ve added the snack bars you should avoid at all costs, just for good measure.

  • LARA BARS:  These are consistently my number one top recommended snack bar.  They are made of nothing but nuts and dried fruit… no additives, no sugar, no chemicals, no crap.  Simple, whole food ingredients means more complete nutrition! This also means they’re gluten-free and vegan.  A typical Lara Bar provides you with a full serving of fruit, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, making it the perfect snack!  My favorite flavor is Cherry Pie… delish!

  • JOURNEY BARS:  These are a relatively new bar on the market, and I have to say, I am super impressed!  The bars are savory, which means you’re not getting that god awful blood sugar spike, and come in yummy flavors like Rosemary, Hickory Barbecue, and Coconut Curry (my current fave).  The bars feature amazing organic, gluten-free whole grains like amaranth and millet and savory spices and herbs that do great things for your body.  They also pack about 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

  • BUMBLE BAR:  Here’s another delicious, organic, gluten-free bar filled with nutritious seeds, grains, nuts, and dried fruit.  The bars come in great flavors like Awesome Apricot (my favorite), Chai Almond, and Lushus Lemon, and many are sweetened with naturally low-glycemic sweeteners like organic agave or organic brown rice syrup.  They pack anywhere from 4-7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and an average of 7-10 grams of sugar!

  • PURE BAR:  These are another line of delicious, organic snack bars that have perfectly simple and pure ingredients.  Dried fruit, nuts, brown rice protein, and agave make up the vast majority of their bars, that come in flavors like Banana Coconut, Wild Blueberry, and Dark Chocolate Berry (that last one is more of a dessert bar, but I’ll tell you what, it is sooo good, and still super healthy!).  They have around 6-7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants!
  • RISE BAR:  Rise has three different lines of breakfast bars, energy bars, and protein bars, all with simple, healthy ingredients like organic fruit, nuts, and whole grains.  Depending on your needs, you can select bars with as much protein as 20 grams (in the Almond Honey Protein Bar),  and all the bars have about 4 grams of fiber and are sweetened with healthy brown rice or tapioca syrup, or honey!  The bars are designed to keep you sustained and energized for 3 hours, which is definitely the mark of a great snack!
Now what you don’t want out of a snack bar is unfortunately what the vast majority on the market have to offer:  chemical additives and sugar replacements, processed or refined carbs, processed soy, processed dairy, and all kinds of other allergens (I love this image on the left from A Healthy Kitchen, which illustrates all the harmful crap found in most “diet” bars).  As with anything you put in your body, LESS IS MORE!  Any product with a super long list of ingredients is no good for you.  A good rule of thumb is to only eat foods with 5 or less ingredients, and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, stay away!  Anything with “hydrolyzed” or “partially hydrogenated” ingredients typically means a low quality product.  Some bars to stay away from are:
  • “Diet” and meal replacement bars like Atkins Meal Advantage, Zone Perfect Bars, South Beach Diet Bars, Slim-Fast Snack Bars, Balance Bars, Nutribar, Special K Meal Bars — which are all full of tons of processed soy, fake sugars, chemicals and additives.
  • Protein bars and sports bars like Pure Protein, PowerBar, Solid Protein by Nature’ Best — also full of processed soy, palm and canola oils, dairy, and unhealthy chemical sweeteners.
  • Pseudo-healthy bars like Kashi Go Lean bars, FiberOne Bars, Think Thin Bars — which, although slightly better than the bad guys above, are still full of processed ingredients, unhealthy oils, and sugar substitutes.
If you’re trying to bulk up your muscles and are working out a ton, a much healthier alternative to protein bars is a great shake with organic rice or hemp protein powder, fruit, and water or a nut milk!
Bottom line, derive your nutrition from REAL FOOD, not fake food substitutes.  If you need something quick to grab and go, grab something that is REAL FOOD (i.e.: nuts, fruit, whole grains) and not a food facsimile!  Just because something is “high protein,” “high fiber,” “low calorie,” or “sugar free” does not make it healthy — in fact, usually, it means the exact opposite!
Natasha Uspensky, chhc
Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor

Yummy Cold-Busting Salad

I finally broke down and got my first cold of the season last week, and though it thankfully only lasted two days, my poor fiancé caught it and has been suffering for a good 4+ days. In an attempt to make him something comforting and immunity boosting, while making use of the relatively meager contents of our fridge, I concocted the following super healthy dinner salad for him. Low and behold, today he’s on the mend!  This recipe is a perfect example of how we can use food as medicine.  There are more essential vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in this salad than you could ever dream of getting from a supplement, and being in whole food form, the delivery system to the parts of your body that need it are much more efficient.

This delicious salad features:

  • Kale, which is full of SUPER high in vitamins C, A, and K, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavanoids which boost immunity and the body’s natural detoxification.
  • Fennel, which is loaded with vitamin C, and immunity-boosting phytonutrients, including anethol, which has major anti-inflammatory qualities.  Plus fennel has antimicrobial qualities, which are perfect for beating colds!!
  • Orange or grapefruit, whose unique citrus flavanones combine with the super high levels of vitamin C which produce extraordinary antioxidant and immune-supportive results.  Plus, the zest ensures that you get the amazing benefits of herperidin, an incredibly anti-inflammatory flavanone that is only found in the peel and white pith of the citrus fruit.
  • Garlic, which is an anti-inflammatory, ant-bacterial, and anti-viral superstar, and is one of the best foods to eat when you’re sick. It’s also very high in selenium, B vitamins, and helps your body to metabolize iron!
  • Flaxseed oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are very anti-inflammatory, and is also high in thiamin and manganese.
  • Raw apple cider vinegar is a true wonder tonic that helps your body beat just about anything.  It’s loaded with potassium, which helps cure sinusitis and runny nose symptoms; and it has massive antibacterial and anti fungal properties, which are obviously hugely beneficial for beating a cold!
  • Himalayan salt supports respiratory health and clears up congestion, is a strong natural antihistamine, eliminates persistent dry coughs, and provides your body with all the necessary trace minerals it needs to heal and be healthy!

Cold-Busting Fennel, Kale and Orange Salad

Serves 2

About 5 leaves of organic kale, ripped apart into pieces (or about half a package of washed and cut kale)
One large organic fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
One large (or two medium) organic orange, cut into small chunks (a grapefruit will also work)
Zest of the above orange (make sure it’s organic and washed!)
3 cloves of organic garlic, pressed or minced
2 tbsp flax oil
1 tbsp raw organic apple cider vinegar
Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pour flax oil over the orange zest and pressed garlic while you prepare everything else.  This helps to release some of the super healthy compounds that speed recovery!  While the oil is infusing, rip up your kale and combine with the sliced fennel and orange.  Try to use a cutting board that has those little gutters around the sides so you can reserve the juice from cutting the orange and pour it over the vegetables.  When your veggies are ready to go, pour the flax oil with orange zest and garlic over the salad, along with the vinegar.  Feel free to add more vinegar if you like your salad a little heavier on the dressing.  Season liberally with himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper.

I served this salad with a bowl of vegetarian matzo ball soup (the ultimate comfort food).

Best Organic Beauty Products of 2011

2011 was a huge year for organic and natural beauty products.  Not only did a whole slew of incredible new products hit the shelves, but many conventional beauty companies came out with their own organic lines that really do meet our stringent standards for quality. Organic Beauty Talk released it’s super comprehensive list of all the best green and natural beauty and grooming products of 2011, and we have to say, we couldn’t even begin to review this many products throughout this crazy year!!  After having reviewed the whole list, we are way on board, and super excited to provide this reference to YOU, our fabulous readers.


  • Best Natural Facial Line for All Skin Types (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – OSKIA ($52-$83) & Zum Face ($9.50-$18)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Grateful Body ($18-$30)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Sensitive Skin (can also be used on all sky types) – Pai ($35-$50)
  • Best Natural Line for Acne/Blemish-Prone Skin (can also be used on all sky types including sensitive) – Dr. Alkaitis ($40-$80)
  • Best Natural Facial Cleanser for Acne/Blemish-Prone/Sensitive Skin – Orjene Organics CoQ10 OliveVitale Foaming Face Wash ($6.47)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Aging Skin – Trilogy ($24-$55)
  • Best Natural Spa at Home Line for All Skin Types (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – Spiezia ($37.50-$85)
  • Best Natural Facial Scrub for All Skin Types – OSKIA Micro Exfoliating Balm ($74) & Zum Lemongrass Sugar Facial Scrub ($12)
  • Best Natural Facial Exfoliator for All Skin Types – Living Nature Vitalising Exfoliant ($35)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask for All Skin Types – Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($55), Blissoma Clay Renewal Treatment Mask ($26.75)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask for Normal, Dry or Aging Skin – Annmarie Gianni Coconut Honey Mask ($29.95)
  • Best Natural Eye Cream – 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($19)
  • Best Natural Spot Treatment for Blemishes – Living Nature 100% Pure Manuka Oil ($19.95)
  • Best Natural Facial Sunscreen – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22), True Naturals SPF 20 ($17.99) & Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea SPF 45 Sunblock ($4.69)
  • Best Natural Loose Mineral Foundation – Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation ($22)
  • Best Natural Pressed Mineral Foundation – Tarte Pressed Mineral Powder ($30)
  • Best Natural Liquid Foundation – Organic Glam Luminous Antioxidant Foundation ($59.95)
  • Best Natural Bronzer – Alima Pure Mineral Bronzer ($17)
  • Best Natural Blush – Alima Pure Mineral Blush ($17)
  • Best Natural Eyeshadow – Alima Pure Mineral Eyeshadow ($11)
  • Best Natural Eyeliner – Lavera Soft Eyeliner ($14.50)
  • Best Natural Inner Rim Eyeliner – Tarte EmphasEYES Natural High Definition Inner Rim Eyeliner ($18)
  • Best Natural Mascara – Josie Maran GoGo Instant Volume Argan Mascara ($22) & Lavera Volume Mascara ($20)
  • Best Natural Lip Color – Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint ($24) & 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze ($15)
  • Best Natural Multi-Tasker – Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm ($34), Vapour Organics Aura Multi-Use Blush ($28), & 100% Pure Fruit Pigment Lip Cheek Tint ($15)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brushes – Alima Pure ($12-$29) & EcoTools (6.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Makeup Remover – Desert Essence Jojoba Oil ($5.89)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Nail Polish – butter LONDON ($14) & Zoya ($8)
  • Best Natural Body Soap – Dr. Bronner’s Soap ($3.99-$16.99), Moksa Organics Bar Soap ($6.50), Zum Bar Soap ($5.75)
  • Best Natural Body Oil – Shiffa Soothing Body Oil ($81), Weleda Pomegranate Body Oil ($28) & Moksa Organics Body Oil ($18)
  • Best Natural Body Lotion – Jason Vanilla Hand & Body Lotion ($5.47)
  • Best Natural Body Butter – Deep Steep Body Butter ($10.95)
  • Best Natural Body Scrub – Glowology  Exfoliant ($12) & Deep Steep Grapefruit Bergamot Sugar Scrub ($7.25)
  • Best Natural Hand Soap – Deep Steep Foaming Hand Wash ($4.37)
  • Best Natural Hand Cream – Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream ($12.50)
  • Best Natural Spray Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($95) & Tallulah Jane Hope Eau De Parfum ($48)
  • Best Natural Roll-On Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($38) & Pacifica ($12)
  • Best Natural Solid Perfume – Ituri ($30)
  • Best Natural Deodorant – Soapwalla Natural Deodorant Cream ($12) & Blissoma Natural Deodorant Spray ($9.25)
  • Best Natural Lip Balm – Organic Indulgence Lip Butter ($2.95)
  • Best Natural Body Sunscreen – True Natural SPF 40 ($17.99) & Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea SPF 45 Sunblock ($4.69)
  • Best Natural Cure-All – Pratima Healing Neem Oil ($29)
  • Best Natural Skincare Oils (for face, body & hair) – Kahina Giving Beauty Organic Argan Oil ($36-$82) & Now Foods/Solutions Oils ($5-$10)
  • Best Natural Essential Oils – Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils ($1.75-$45)
  • Best Natural Shampoo for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – Rahua Shampoo ($32) & EO Lavender French Lavender Everyday Shampoo ($8.99)
  • Best Natural Conditioner for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – Rahua Conditioner ($34) & EO Rose Chamomile Protective Conditioner ($8.99)
  • Best Natural Leave-In Conditioner for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – EO Lavender Coconut Style Nourishing Hair Cream ($8.99) & Giovanni Direct Leave-In ($4.71)
  • Best Natural Line for Curly Hair (including color treated hair) – SheaMoisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus ($9.99-$14.99)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Must-Have Product for Curly Hair – CURL-ease ($19.99)
  • Best Natural Hair Mask/Deep Conditioner/Scalp Treatment (including color treated hair) – Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Purification Hair Masque ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Facial & Shave Line for Men – Bulldog ($9.99-$13.99)
  • Best Ingrown Hair & Bump Preventer – SheaMoisture Tea Tree Herbal Bump Preventer ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Fragrance for Men – Tallulah Jane Yiska Natural Eau De Parfum Pour Homme ($48)
  • Best Natural Lines for Children/Baby – Erbaviva ($10-$22), Weleda ($7-$17), & SheaMoisture ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen for Children/Baby – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22) & Alba Botanica Kids SPF 45 Sunblock ($5.16)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Shoes for Women – Coclico ($149-$545)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Casual Shoes – Toms ($44-$69)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Line for Men – Threads For Thought ($14-$268)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Basics for Women – Threads For Thought ($10-$48)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Fashion Clothing Line – H&M Conscious Collection ($24.95-$79.95)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jeans – AG Denim ($148-$215)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Underwear & Tees – PACT ($10-$30)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jewelry – Kyler ($48-$138)
  • Best Natural All-Purpose Cleaner – Method All-Purpose Pink Grapefruit Surface Cleaner ($3.99)
  • Best Natural Glass Cleaner – Method Mint Glass + Surface Cleaner ($3.99)
  • Best Natural Dishwashing Liquid – Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid ($3.69)
  • Best Natural Powder Cleaner – Bon Ami Powder Cleanser ($1.09)
  • Best Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Greenworks Toilet Bowl Cleaner ($3.49)
  • Best Natural Candles – Aquiesse Soy Candles ($35) & Red Flower Petal Topped Candles ($34)
  • Best Natural Air Freshener – Neom Luxury Organic Room Mist ($26) & Pure Citrus Orange Air Freshener ($5.39)
  • Best Natural Reed Diffuser – Neom Luxury Organic Reed Diffuser ($56)
  • Best Eco Savvy Paper Products – Ecojot ($4.75-$17)
  • Best Natural Line for Pets – Castor & Pollux ($1.99-$40)
  • Best Natural Dog Treats – Cloud Star Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits ($3.99)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Pet Feeding Products – Ore Pet ($7-$25)
  • Best Pet Shampoo & Odor Remover – Fresh Wave ($13.99)
  • Best Natural Dog Spritzer & Deodorizer – Cloud Star Buddy Splash ($5.95)

How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals?

How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals? | The Organic Beauty BlogThis past Tuesday, I attended a conference put on by the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), entitled “Birth Defects, Learning Disabilities, Obesity and Breast Cancer:  How Can We Avoid the Effects of Toxic Chemicals?”  Although many of the chemicals discussed were those that we at the Organic Beauty have been writing about for some time (see 4 Steps to Naturalize Your Life), hearing first hand about the research and catastrophic effects these chemicals have on our bodies, and particularly children, was very jarring.

A panel of brilliant doctors, many of them young fellows in the Children’s Environmental Health department at Mount Sinai, spoke about the effects of endocrine disruptors (like parabens, DDT, phthalates, PBDEs, BPA and DBP found in common plastics, electronics, furniture and beauty products) on reproductive and neurological development, as well as cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  These toxins are ubiquitous, but it is with persistent, on-going contact that the long-term effects begin to manifest.  What struck me most was how preventable  these environmental causes of disease are.  By taking action in our communities and taking manageable steps within our own homes, we can significantly lessen our exposure to toxins that can not us sick, but make our unborn children sick as well.

So… what can you do?  Become an educated consumer!

  • Use glass or stainless steel instead of plastics, especially when storing or cooking foods.  If you must use them, avoid #3 and #7 plastics, which are chock full of pretty much every toxic chemical we should be avoiding. This handy saying helps you remember: “Four, five, one and two, all the rest are bad for you!”
  • Avoid using vinyl shower curtains.  Like many other products mentioned here, these contain phthalates, the fumes from which are then inhaled every time you enter your bathroom.  Phthalates disrupt development of male reproductive organs, lower sperm count, and damage the endocrine and immune systems.
  • Use natural beauty products.  I mean honestly, at this point there is no excuse not to!  There are countless affordable, natural products out there with ingredients that are recognizable.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t put it on your skin.  At the very least, make sure anything you put on your body and hair is paraben-free, phthalate-free, and SLS-free.
  • Clean your home with a wet mop and/or a vinegar solution, and when you must use cleaning solutions, make sure they are natural and non-toxic as well.  Everything you use to clean your house with is inhaled by you, your family, and your pets.  If it’s full of disease-causing toxins, that’s what you’re going to get…disease and toxicity.  Cleaning with homemade solutions is infinitely cheaper than store-bought as well!
  • Buy fragrance-free products, or those scented with essential oils only.  Nearly every common product with a fragrance, from lotions and shampoo to detergent and countertop spray, contain toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that increase risk of all manner of cancer as well as neurodevelopmental disorders like ADD, ADHD, autism, behavioral problems and lower IQ.
  • Only use DBP, formaldehyde and toluene-free nail polish.  There are loads of brands that are now free of these chemicals, so again, there really is no excuse to expose your body to these deadly, carcinogenic chemicals, especially if you are, or are around, a pregnant woman!  (Priti and O.P.I. are just a few of the safer brands)
  • Choose PBDE-free electronics and furniture (especially mattresses).  PBDEs are flame retardants that are found in most older, stuffed furniture items and rugs, and many electronics like phones, TVs and computers.  When buying any of these items, verify that they are free of PBDEs, which decrease thyroid hormone levels, damage reproductive systems, and cause neurological symptoms as well.  The EWG has a handy PBDE Guide everyone should check out! 
  • Avoid canned foods and beverages, unless they are BPA-free.  Almost all canned foods and beverages contain BPA, which can have devastating effects on the neurological and reproductive systems, and has also been linked to heart disease, intestinal damage, diabetes, and obesity.  So far, Eden Organics is the only brand that has made the switch to all BPA-free cans.  But Trader Joe’s and Wild Planet offers some, but far from all, products in BPA-free cans.
  • Wash your hands after handling thermal receipts.  Those smooth, warm, thermal receipts used by so many retailers are made up of nearly 3% pure BPA, which then gets onto your skin and even straight into your mouth.  Always wash your hands after touching the receipts, or forgo them altogether!
Dr. Philip Landrigan, who moderated the panel, added the following universal recommendations for avoiding exposure to these dangerous toxins:
  • REDUCE YOUR CLIMATE FOOTPRINT (which lessens universal risk of exposure)
  • USE INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (instead of toxic pesticides, sprays and fumes)
  • EAT ORGANIC WHENEVER POSSIBLE (which lowers exposure to pesticides by a whopping 90%)
  • JOIN A FOOD CO-OP  (or start one if there isn’t one in your area)
  • BE A CITIZEN!  (nothing will change if we don’t make our voices heard.  All of these environmental causes of disease are preventable, and with enough public pressure, we can get these toxins banned!)

Public Pressure For Better Ingredients!

Public Pressure For Better Ingredients! | The Organic Beauty BlogNew studies released recently both in the US and abroad are really starting to underline to degree to which the FDA has dropped the ball regarding health policy, and having any sort of real vested interest in the health of our country.  Major food manufacturers like Kraft, Wal-Mart, Mars Candy, and Coca-Cola are continued to be given the green light by the FDA to use toxic food colors, dyes, preservatives, and other carcinogenic ingredients in the everyday foods consumed by the majority of our country, while these same ingredients are banned from foods all over Europe.  Why is the FDA so blatantly ignoring research like the Southampton Study and studies done at the Center for Science in the Public Interest that draw clear parallels between ubiquitous food additives and cancer, childhood disorders like ADHD and autism, and serious food allergies?
In short, because they don’t have to.  The public pressure in the United States to change food policy is still so limited compared to other parts of the world that the FDA can afford to stay in the pocket of industrial agriculture and make claims that the levels of toxic chemicals in our food is “within acceptably safe limits” and that “more research is needed” to determine the dangers of these additives.  Really guys?
Public and governmental pressure in Europe has caused American companies to remove artificial colors and many toxic additives from the overseas versions of their products, but here under the watchful eye of the FDA, we are still feeding our children (and selves) toxic carcinogens.  Look at a comparison of the ingredients in the American and U.K. versions of Kraft Mac and Cheese:

  • U.S. Version of Kraft Mac & Cheese:  Enriched Macaroni Product (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cheese Sauce Mix (Whey, Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Contains Less Than 2% of Parmesan Cheese [Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Dried Buttermilk, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Blue Cheese [Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Sodium Phosphate, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Cream, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Enzymes, Yellow 5, Yellow 6).
  • U.K. Version of Kraft Mac & Cheese:  Macaroni (Durum Wheat Semolina), Cheese (10%), Whey Powder (from milk), Lactose, Salt, Emulsifying Salts (E339, E341), Colours (Paprika Extract, Beta-Carotene)

Kind of appalling, isn’t it?  We need to follow in Europe’s footsteps and put enough pressure on the FDA and our food manufacturers to show that Americans are, in fact, just as smart and savvy as our friends across the pond, and that are lives and health are worth just as much.  As a start, you can sign this petition from Healthy Child Healthy World to get Kraft to implement the same changes here in the States..

[From my feed on One Minute News]

Step One to Naturalize Your Life: Read Your Ingredients!

Step 1: Read Your Ingredients | The Organic Beauty Blog

With the effects of the somewhat recent trend toward all things natural and organic (not to mention local, seasonal, Greenmarket, etc., etc.), most of us have gotten used to reading the ingredients on the things we put in our bodies.  Most of us know to avoid high fructose corn syrup, bleached and refined sugars and flours, trans fats, and artificial colors and flavors.  But do you know that there are equally (if not more) harmful ingredients in your beauty and cleaning products?  Just as we read the labels of what we put in our pantries, we also have to read the ingredients of what we put in our medicine cabinets.

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