Category: Blog

10 Toxic Ingredients To NEVER Put On Your Skin!

10 Toxic Ingredients To NEVER Put On Your Skin!

Did you know the United States has only banned 8 toxic chemicals and restricted 3??? For comparison, the European Union has banned almost 1,400 toxic chemicals!! There are so many toxic chemicals in products we use every day that cause anything from allergies and skin irritation, to cancer! How is that even legal??!!!

The FDA does not regulate cosmetics. According to the FDA, cosmetics products do not need FDA premarket approval and companies are the ones who should be ensuring their products are safe for consumers. The problem with that is the FDA does not require them to submit any data proving their products are safe. So it’s just us taking cosmetics companies’ word that their products are safe. (Most companies don’t do any third party testing. If they’re not getting their products tested by anyone outside of the company, what are they hiding?)

Clearly, just because a product is sold on shelves at the store DOES NOT mean it’s safe or that it’s been through any safety testing! Again, HOW IS THIS NOT ILLEGAL??!!!

This is exactly why we consumers need to take our health and safety into our own hands and really research products and ingredients to make sure we’re using safe products that won’t cause us long term harm.

Lucky for you there’s people like me who LOVE to research products and ingredients, so we’ve done the leg work for you! Even though there are THOUSANDS of toxic chemicals you should be avoiding, I’ve narrowed today’s list down to 10 super common chemicals that are found in many makeup, skincare, and other cosmetics products which you should NEVER put on your skin! The skin is our largest organ and it absorbs everything…also, what our skin absorbs goes straight to our blood stream, unlike food where our liver filters out a lot of toxins.

This is why we need to be extremely aware of what goes on our skin!

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES):

These 2 ingredients are very similar. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the parent chemical of Sodium Laureth Sulfate. They are commonly used in soap, facewash, shampoo, and toothpaste. These chemicals are what creates a lather and suds. These chemicals can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide which are carcinogenic. On top of that, they are extremely pore clogging (which is ironic as they are found in many acne face washes…) and they strip the skin of its natural moisture leaving it feeling dry and irritated.

Parabens (and other hormone disrupting chemicals):

Most people have heard of parabens, but a lot of people don’t know why they’re bad. Parabens are the most well-known, common preservative in cosmetics. They’re also hormone disruptors. They can lead to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and really any type of hormonal cancers. Parabens mimic estrogen so they can even make PMS symptoms like period cramps and hormonal acne worse! Also these (and other hormone disrupting chemicals) can even lead to early puberty in girls! Stay away!

Phenoxyethanol:

When highly corrosive phenol reacts with cancer causing ethylene oxide, you get phenoxyethanol. Phenoxyethanol is unfortunately commonly found in many “natural” and “toxin free” products as it’s a preservative that isn’t parabens. Phenoxyethanol causes skin irritation in concentrations as low as 1%…(if you don’t know what that means, it means it barely takes any phenoxyethanol to cause a reaction.) My TOXIN FREE MASTER LIST is full of products WITHOUT phenoxyethanol (and every ingredient on this list.)

PEG’s:

PEG’s are also known as polyethylene glycol. PEG’s are harmful because they are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which, as we know from SLS/SLES, is a carcinogen. This one is usually super easy to spot on an ingredient label as it’s usually labeled PEG-number. Just stay away from this one!

Mineral Oil:

Mineral Oil is made from petroleum oil and contains PAH’s which are carcinogenic. This ingredient can cause skin cancer! Unfortunately, I’ve seen it in a lot of skincare products including products from my dermatologist. (And people really think Big Pharma and the medical industry is out to help us and it’s not just a big money making business that keeps people sick for profit…but I digress *sigh*.)

Retinol/Retinyl Palmitate:

This is another chemical that is in a lot of skincare products, especially products prescribed from dermatologists. Again, this chemical can cause skin cancer! Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate are vitamin A and they have anti-aging properties which is why they’re in skincare products (including sunscreen.) When this chemicals reacts with the sunlight, it mutates and can cause melanoma! What the heck??!! Get this stuff out of skincare products please!

Fragrance:

Fragrance can cause so many issues. It’s just a big pool of up to 3,000 chemicals which aren’t required to be listed on the ingredients label. These 3,000 chemicals just hide behind the word “fragrance.” Many of these chemicals are toxic and can cause anything from allergies and skin irritation, to organ toxicity and cancer. Since every one of these chemicals hides behind “fragrance”, there’s no way to know whether the fragrance in your products contains these toxic chemicals (but it probably does since it’s a great way for companies to sneak super toxic chemicals in a product and not have to disclose them. And if you question the company, they come back with “it’s a proprietary blend, so we can’t tell you, but we assure you it’s safe! Yeah right!)

Urea:

Mainly imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea however, just look for the word Urea on an ingredient label…that’s an easy way for me to remember and spot these ones. These chemicals release FORMALDEHYDE! You know, that stuff they inject into dead bodies to preserve them and that stuff those animals you dissected in biology are soaking in. Yes the same formaldehyde… As most people know, formaldehyde is extremely toxic and cancerous! The longer the product sits on a shelf (or in your bathroom, or wherever), the more formaldehyde it contains. Seriously, stay away from all these toxic chemicals, but especially this one!

Talc:

Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was talc and fragrance. They stopped making and selling it because it causes CANCER! If Johnson & Johnson (which is a shady, toxic company) stopped selling their talc powder, why are some supposedly “toxin free” companies still using talc?? (I won’t say who, but you probably know someone who sells it…) Talc is contaminated with asbestos which causes cancer. Unfortunately, even “asbestos free talc” has been found to contain asbestos fibers. This is one ingredient I just wouldn’t play around with, especially since there are so many products that are made without talc.

Aluminum:

This is one ingredient that infuriates me. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer, it’s been found in breast cancer tissue, and it’s the main ingredient in DEODORANT (or more specifically, antiperspirant.) And as we all know, you apply antiperspirant in your armpit which is right next to YOUR BOOBS! I even remember reading a magazine article that talked about preventing boob sweat in the summer and they suggested applying antiperspirant right under your boobs! Please don’t do that ladies!  Not only that, but aluminum can also cause Alzheimer’s. I’ve also seen aluminum in powder cosmetic products like face powder and eyeshadow so it’s not just deodorant you need to look out for. Aluminum can also cause oxidative skin damage (which causes aging), so you definitely want to keep it off your skin!  

If you’re panicked because all your products contain some of these ingredients, don’t be! I’ve created a Toxin Free Master List with products that don’t include any toxic ingredients in them! The list has products for every price point and it has products in just about every personal care category!

My ALL TIME FAVORITE makeup and skincare company is Crunchi! They’re so transparent about the sources of their ingredients and they do third party testing. In order for Crunchi to use an ingredient, the ingredient has to be proven safe already! Their products are the cleanest I’ve found which is why I’ve become a Crunchi advocate. Click here to learn more about Crunchi.

Don’t let all the toxins in our everyday lives scare you…let it empower you to take control and only give money to brands who value your health! Purchasing power can go a long way! Stay healthy friends!

How To Stay Positive (When Life Really Sucks…)

How To Stay Positive (When Life Really Sucks…)

I’m going to be super real with you all…my life has been a bit of a disaster. I know everyone has their struggles and you can’t compare your struggles to mine and I can’t compare mine to yours. I just know I’ve been through a lot!

All my friends tell me how positive I am and how happy I am despite my life literally falling apart. And I really do think I am a positive person and I’m overall, genuinely happy!

Let me give a run down of my life from the beginning just to give a frame of reference.

Everything was pretty good until high school. I didn’t have many friends in high school, I was super shy, and I was so insecure. I had severe cystic acne which made me even more self-conscious. Click Here to find out how I cleared my cystic acne. I ate lunch by myself my sophomore and senior year (because I only had literally 4 friends and if they weren’t in my lunch period, then I ate by myself.) My senior year, one girl talked the entire table I sat at (which I sat at the end of the table, minding my own business) into getting up and moving to a different table as soon as I sat down. Then she told my sister, who she was friends with, how “funny” it was that she got the whole table to do that to me. High school girls can be so mean!

I made it through and I held out hope that life would get easier. My senior year of college, I started dating my boyfriend CJ. We had a great relationship and we were planning on getting married. Unfortunately, he passed away super unexpectedly. I had no idea what to do…my life completely fell to pieces. (After he passed, I wrote a handful of posts about that. If you go back far enough on this blog, you’ll find them.)

Also, at the time, I was captain on a pro cheer team and about a month after CJ passed, I got the email that this team wasn’t bringing their cheerleaders back. The one thing I had to look forward to was gone too.

After he passed, I didn’t feel mentally capable of living on my own.

I moved back home with my parents. I really didn’t want to as I was 25 and that’s not what 25 year old’s do. But 25 year old’s also don’t lose their boyfriend/almost fiancé tragically either.

My job at the time was less than supportive, so I quit before they fired me. I got a new job almost an hour away, which was a better environment for me mentally. After about a year there, the commute was really draining me.

I thought about moving out of my parents house again to be closer to work, but a year into the job and this job was draining me too. I didn’t want to jump the gun and move, then get a new job in a different city and have the same commute situation. So I waited it out and got a new job!

I started this new job in February 2020…right before COVID shut downs. By March, I was working from home and by April, I was out of a job.

So here I was at 28 years old, single, living with my parents, and unemployed. What a catch, right??!

Don’t worry, I have a different job now which is actually perfect for me (even though I took a massive pay cut, but I enjoy it so much more!) I’m also  dancing on a team again! (Virtually though, but I still love it.)

Through everything, I definitely hit rock bottom many times, but I’ve always managed to pick myself up and make the most out of the one life I have to live. It’s okay to have moments in life where you’re upset and down, and it’s okay to live there for a minute, but you can’t stay there.

I used to believe everything happened for a reason. I don’t believe that anymore however, I do believe you can find a reason for everything.

If you’re wondering how I stay so positive and genuinely happy through everything, here it is…

1. Life has seasons.

Everyone’s life is different and everyone’s journey is different. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Especially with social media where everyone posts their highlight reel, just know that there’s probably something in their life that they’re struggling with. So don’t compare your life to theirs.

2. Animals are the best therapy.

Less than a month after losing CJ, I got my puppy! She gave me something to look forward to when I had nothing else. She gave me a reason to wake up in the morning when it was the last thing I wanted to do. My dog kept me busy and gave me something to love which I needed.

3. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

If you don’t love yourself, you won’t take care of yourself. I realized this when I started working out with my trainer about 8 months after CJ passed away. Working out made me feel good physically, it made me feel good about myself since I was doing something to better myself. It also made me feel confident in my body (which I had let go and over indulged for months on the adult beverages.) I felt healthy and happy with the progress I was making, which I could see through my weekly check-in photos.

But whatever taking care of yourself looks like to you, do it. For me, it was exercise, but it might be something else for you. When you take care of yourself, you’ll also love yourself more.

4. Along with loving yourself, is eating healthy.

Someone who loves themselves and wants to take care of themselves doesn’t down and entire pizza and drink a 6 pack of beer constantly. Someone who loves themselves eats to fuel their body. Properly fueling your body helps you feel better, you won’t have brain fog, you’ll have energy, and you’ll be happier! That’s not to say never eat pizza. It’s just saying to love yourself enough to take care of yourself, which also means treating yourself to the occasional treat!

Because I felt great about myself, the way I felt physically, the way I looked, I had so much more confidence and I felt happier with myself!

5. Surround yourself with good energy people.

Have you ever hung out with someone and after an hour, your energy is just drained and you feel exhausted? Stay away from those people! Surround yourself with people who radiate good energy and good vibes. It will make you feel better and more energized!

6. Break free from toxic relationships.

Whether it’s a significant other, friend, even family, someone who doesn’t bring good vibes into your life and drains your energy has no business being close to you. Don’t even feel bad about it! You need to prioritize yourself and do what’s best for you!

7. Take time to yourself to do things you enjoy.

I love going to dance classes. Even if I don’t know anyone taking the class, I just think it’s fun to go! Also, having a night in just painting my nails and taking a long shower feels so good! Do activities that make you feel good and that you enjoy doing!

8. Don’t be afraid to say no.

After CJ passed away, I really learned to say no. I very quickly stopped feeling bad about it too. To this day, if I’m out with my friends and I’m ready to leave, I leave. People who love you will understand. I haven’t lost a single friend by standing my ground, and I’ve actually gained more friends! People will respect you more for having boundaries, so don’t do anything you don’t want to do!

My life isn’t exactly what I’d envisioned it being at 28 years old, but surprisingly I’m at peace with it. Getting your mental state in a good place is just as important, if not more important than eating healthy. Your mind is so powerful, so make yourself a priority! If you need to get professional help, than do it! Do what you know you need to do to get in a good place.

If you’re going through a rough time, just know this all will pass and looking back, you’ll realize how strong you are and that’s such a powerful feeling.

What Does Healthy Eating Really Mean??? | How To Eat Healthy

What Does Healthy Eating Really Mean??? | How To Eat Healthy

With the New Year approaching, almost everyone has some sort of Health goal as a resolution. Whether that be losing weight, going to the gym more, eating more vegetables, not eating so much ice cream, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a health goal as a resolution. Because I’m a Holistic Nutrition Coach, I’m going to focus on eating healthy.

***I am a Holistic Health Coach however, this blog is for informational purposes ONLY. For more information, please see my blog disclaimer.

I am completely aware that lower income people (especially in cities) don’t have the same access to healthy, fresh food as wealthier people or people living in the country where they grow their own food and raise their own meat (which is truly the best option!) But I do believe that lack of education on food and nutrition also plays a big factor into what people buy (not government recommendations on nutrition as they are paid by big agriculture lobbyists to make unhealthy processed food a part of the American diet. So awful!)

The majority of Americans have no idea what it means to eat healthy. People think eating healthy means choosing the low calorie cookie, drinking diet or zero calorie soda, getting low sodium canned soup and frozen meals, counting calories, eating no sugar snacks, eating low fat ice cream and yogurt…you get where I’m going. So much packaged and processed food has some sort of health claim.

Stay Away From Food With Health Claims!

I hate to break it to you, but any food with a health claim or low calorie/low fat/low sodium label is NOT HEALTHY! If you’re drinking zero calorie soda, it is NOT HEALTHY! People are so trained to count calories that they don’t realize the food they’re consuming, whether it be low calorie or not, can make them fat due to the chemicals causing cells to store fat. Also with the sodium thing, what do you think has more sodium…a low sodium frozen stir fry, or some baked salmon seasoned with Himalayan Sea Salt? The frozen low sodium meal definitely has a LOT more sodium.  

Also, 100 calories of Broccoli does not get processed internally the same as 100 calories of cake. The Broccoli isn’t full of added sugar and Broccoli is full of fiber, nutrients, and cancer fighting components. Cake is full of added sugar and refined carbs which get stored as fat. Cake has no nutritional benefits. Rule of thumb, STOP COUNTING CALORIES, START COUNTING CHEMICALS.

If you’re eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat, wild fish, sprouted grains, healthy fats, and natural sugars, there’s no need to count calories. Eat until you’re full! Your body will tell you.

***We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Please see this blog’s Disclosure for more information.

Some staples I always have in my kitchen, free of additives, preservatives, and added sugar are…

1. Avocado Oil: Avocado Oil is the healthiest oil to cook and bake with. It doesn’t have a flavor (in my opinion) and it has a smoke point of 520°F! I cook my eggs in avocado oil, bake my salmon in it, and if I’m baking and the recipe calls for oil, I add avocado oil.

2. Pasture Raised Eggs. Eggs are packed with nutrients and full of protein! Unfortunately they got a bad rep years ago for being high in cholesterol however, nutrition information is always changing and turns out, the cholesterol in eggs actually helps lower cholesterol! Pasture raised eggs are the best as they are the highest in nutrients. You can tell how nutritious an eggs is by how dark an eggs yolk is. The darker the yolk, the more nutrients! Pasture raised eggs from the grocery store have the darkest yolk I’ve seen (other than my uncle’s eggs. He raises chickens and his eggs have a red/orange color…super dark!)

3.Organic Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a healthy carb (so it gives you energy). Oatmeal is so versatile too! I eat Oatmeal for breakfast every morning (along with my eggs) and I also like to blend oats into a powder to bake with instead of flour! You can add oats to smoothies, make overnight oats for a quick breakfast, there are so many quick and easy ways to make oatmeal.

4. Tons of leafy greens! I like to get the packages of spinach, sweet baby lettuce, baby romaine, and kale. These are a staple in my fridge. I just grab a handful of a couple kinds to make a salad, I add them to smoothies, and I scramble them into my eggs for breakfast! Having plenty of leafy greens on hand makes you more likely to eat them. I try and get at least 5 servings of leafy greens a day.

5. Organic Quinoa and Organic Rice: I always have a big bag of each of these in my pantry. Every week, I cook a cup of (dry) quinoa or rice to store in the fridge all week. It’s so easy to add to every meal to get in a healthy carb.

6. Fruit. I always have apples, bananas, frozen fruit, and grapefruit in my kitchen. Frozen fruit is easy to throw into a smoothie, bananas and apples are an easy snack to grab and go, and grapefruit is a lower sugar, high fiber, super filling snack.

7. Nuts. I loveee raw almonds, but walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and cashews are great as well. Make sure you get organic nuts or you’ll be getting a good dose of pesticides as well. I like to eat almonds or nut butter with a fruit as an easy, filling snack. Nuts have protein and healthy fats and fruit is a carb so it’s a perfect, well balanced snack!

8. LAVVA Yogurt. This is the only yogurt I will eat. It’s pili nut and coconut yogurt. There’s no added sugar, no preservatives, no added colors, no added flavors, it’s just real food, dairy free yogurt. I don’t eat this every day, but it’s nice to have on hand as an easy snack.

9. Wild Caught Salmon. I always have frozen Wild Caught Salmon in the freezer. Wegmans has a big bag of it for $25. I’ll bake 2 pieces at a time and keep it in the fridge to eat for lunch or dinner through the week. Salmon is so healthy and it’s super easy and no mess to bake. It’s also full of Omega 3’s (which the Standard American Diet is sadly lacking big time) and protein. (Omega 3’s fight inflammation. Inflammation is the root of most disease and sickness. Too much Omega 6’s cause inflammation. It’s best to have a balance of the 2.)

10. Ezekiel Bread: This is the one thing I’ll eat that has gluten in it. Ezekiel bread is wheat free (not gluten free) and it’s made with Sprouted Grains which is the most natural, nutritious, healthy form of grains. This bread comes from the Bible verse in Ezekiel and it’s made with ingredients straight from the Bible. You can’t get better bread than that!

What are your health goals for the New Year??? Let me know in the comments!

How To Get Your Best Night’s Sleep | 10 Tips To Fall Asleep

How To Get Your Best Night’s Sleep | 10 Tips To Fall Asleep

One of the most important aspects of our health is getting enough (good) sleep! Not getting enough sleep can lead to anxiety, depression, lower immune system, heart disease, and more.

With our constant go-go-go lifestyles, it can be hard to turn your mind off and get a peaceful night’s sleep.

***I am a Holistic Health Coach however, this blog is for informational purposes ONLY. For more information, please see my blog disclaimer.

There are some things you can do and lifestyle changes you can make to give yourself a better chance of sleeping well at night! I’ve put together this list of 10 tips to help you get a good night’s sleep, so if you struggle with sleep at night, keep reading!

***We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Please see this blog’s Disclosure for more information.

1. Don’t drink anything at least 2 hours before bed.

Don’t you hate it when you’re feeling all peaceful, about to fall asleep, then you have to pee?? It’s the worst! I know for me, sometimes I’m so tired, have to pee, but don’t want to get out of bed so I just lay there not sleeping until I eventually get up to use the bathroom. If you don’t drink anything before bed, you shouldn’t have this problem. Also, if you do feel like you have to use the bathroom, instead of just lying there hoping you’ll fall asleep, just get up and go! You’ll sleep so much better! Also if you’re the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, this tip is for you!

2. Have a consistent sleep schedule.

Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning will help your body get into a good sleep rhythm. Once your body is used to this rhythm, you’ll sleep more soundly and get better quality sleep!

3. Turn off electronics before bed (or wear blue light glasses at a minimum.)

The blue light from electronics keeps our brain awake. Even if you fall asleep easily to electronics, you won’t get as quality of sleep as you would if you read a book before bed. Even better, don’t allow electronics in the bedroom! Your bedroom should be your sanctuary where you go for peace and calm. If it’s feasible, keep your electronic devices (TV, computer, iPad, phone, etc.) outside your bedroom. (This is one of my favorite books to read before bed.)

4. Meditate before bed to relax and clear your mind.

There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep while your mind is racing. Sitting with your feet flat on the floor or lying flat on your back in bed, focus on your breath. Focus of breathing in for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds. Focus on belly breathing vs. sternum/shoulder breathing. Focus on your belly expanding when you breathe. Do this for 5 minutes to start every night and work your way up to as long as you would like. This helps you clear you mind, focus your thoughts, and prevent your mind from racing when you’re trying to fall asleep. (Headspace is a great app for guided meditation.)

5. Understand your relationship with caffeine and alcohol.

So many people use caffeine to wake up and get going in the morning, and alcohol to wind down and relax at night. It gets to the point where your body is dependent on these 2 substances to function. Try weaning yourself off of this habit, and use some of the tips in this post to wind down at night, sleep well, and you won’t be reliant on caffeine in the morning to get going since you’ll be sleeping better!

6. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach.

When you go to bed on a full stomach, not only can it make it harder to get comfortable, but once you fall asleep, your body is using its energy to digest your food instead of repairing cells to keep you feeling optimal. This can make you feel more tired overall. Also, due to the possible discomfort of sleeping on a full stomach, you may not sleep as soundly. Avoid eating a large meal before bed and you should be fine!

7. Be mindful of your bedroom temperature and how your body reacts to different temperatures.

Sleep experts recommend to keep your bedroom temp between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Since we are all bio individuals and everyone’s body has different needs, this may not work for you. I know for me, I’m always cold, so if my bedroom temp is below 67 or 68, I can’t sleep because my feet get too cold and it makes me uncomfortable. Play around and find what works for you to get the best night’s sleep possible. (I love big, cozy blankets to stay warm in the winter.)

8. Make sure your bedroom is a peaceful atmosphere with good, positive energy.

Basically, get rid of the clutter. Clutter does not create a peaceful environment and it can be stressful to try and get a good night’s sleep in a room full of clutter. Spend one day, organize, get rid of things you don’t need, and make your room a safe haven where you can relax.

9. To go along with a peaceful vibe, Feng Shui it up!

The energy flow in the bedroom should be relaxing. Your bedroom should not breed negative energy if you want to sleep well. To start, don’t block natural light sources, use soothing and relaxing colors throughout the room like muted greens, greys, light blues, nothing too bright. Also, evenly distribute your furniture so one wall isn’t too furniture heavy. If your furniture set up feels wrong, rearrange until it feels good for you!

10. Make Lists.

For me, the one thing that keeps me up most at night is needing to do something in the morning, but getting scared I’m going to forget what I was supposed to do. Keep a notepad by your bed and write it down. That way, when you can’t get these tasks off your mind at night, just grab your notepad, write it down, and fall asleep!

Remember, everyone’s body is different, everyone’s body has different needs, and these tips may not work for you! If you have trouble sleeping, it won’t hurt to give them a try! My biggest advice though is to stop listening to “experts” and listen to your body. It knows what it needs. Experiment, try different solutions and see what works for you!

What are your best tips for getting a good night’s sleep? Let me know below!