Tag Archives: toxins

Clean Cosmetics – How Far Have We Come?

I don’t know if I can thoroughly express the pivotal change in my life when I began learning about conventional cosmetics and the potential health implications they can have.  It was definitely an overwhelming, and scary realization that this could possibly be true.  I then set out in search of alternatives and was so fortunate to discover a few local manufacturers that could answer my questions, and in turn I could begin to trust.

My health, as I’m sure yours, is most important to me and I’m not willing to knowingly compromise it, especially when I have a choice!  It’s been said that by the time a woman heads out the front door, she has spritzed, sudsed, and slathered herself in more than 127 different chemicals, many of them more toxic than beautifying.

After the book came out “There’s Lead In Your Lipstick” by eco-expert Gillian Deacon, many women started questioning if the health conditions, including cancer were possibly related to the unimaginable amount of toxins, parabens, hormone disrupters and synthetic chemicals they had allowed  into their bodies through the use of conventional products.  We naively trust that there are regulations and systems in place to protect us but unfortunately those systems are only about regulating the “safe amounts” of the known hazardous ingredient into a specific product. As far as my research and knowledge, there has never been a study that shows the “safety” of the possible 127 chemicals taken in at one time.

Our skin is our largest organ (yes, it’s an organ!!) and it’s absorbing all that we put on it, which ends up in our blood stream! 

EWG (The Environmenal Working Group) has compiled an electronic database (the skindeep database) of ingredient labels for body care products and cross-linked these ingredients with large databases describing chemical toxicity and then rates them on the hazards.  This is a great resource when you are starting out, or expanding your knowledge on potentially harmful chemicals.  They rate the ingredients/products on a scale of 1-2 Low Hazard, 3-6 Moderate and 7-10 High Hazard…look up fragrance and it’s an “8” score! Eliminating “fragrance” in my opinion,  is the place to start if you start anywhere!

About FRAGRANCE: The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.

Thankfully, we have options!  It may take some work to find them, but I see more and more companies beginning to make some changes.  It is however up to us as consumers to continue to DEMAND that our health not be compromised by the ingredients manufacturers CHOOSE to use! How? We simply don’t continue to support them!

Pure Anada Cosmetics has been my go to as a trusted source for safe cosmetics and skincare products.  They are a manufacturer in Modern, Manitoba and have been influential in setting the bar in my opinion, for transparency and proving natural cosmetics can stand up to conventional products.

Candace Grenier is the creator behind Pure Anada and has taken the company from home hobby to a leader in eco-certified organic cosmetic manufacturing in Canada!  FYI – only approximately 5% of cosmetic companies actually manufacture their own products and there appears to be some sort of trade secret protection when it comes to fragrance and flavour. Yet another reason Pure Anada became a company I chose to support and trust for the past 7 years!

Of course we’re not just talking makeup here!  The cosmetic umbrella includes shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, toothpaste, deodorants, lotions, scrubs, face cleansers, bar soap, moisturizers, shaving cream, lip balm, nail polish, diaper cream, nipple cream, massage oils & MORE!!!

At Generation Green we know how overwhelming and confusing all the information out there can be, not to mention how “greenwashing” (FYI: those bunny ears on products only mean they didn’t test it on an animal, not that it’s safe), same goes for the words “natural” and “organic” (no regulating on those words!) BUT, WE ARE HERE TO HELP!! It’s one step at a time and one change at a time!  It started with cosmetics as my focus and grew into Generation Green over almost 7 years!  We are still learning, still growing but the more we know, the better we can make informed choices!

 

Natural Living Series – Source of Disease

Focus: The Source of Disease

When looking for ways to begin achieving optimal health, we believe the number one thing you need is a really good probiotic! Let’s explain why…

 

If you have ever been to a naturopathic doctor, they will tell you that almost all disease can be traced back to our gut.  It is absolutely fascinating when you start looking into exactly what is going on in your body, in your digestive system to truly understand and believe this statement.

Adding a probiotic is like sending in the Calvary! Our intestines and colon are filled with so many types of bacteria that it’s impossible to know about them all (there is over 400 different species of bacteria) but we do know about how bad things can become when we don’t keep that army populated!  The goal is to keep more good than bad bacteria living in us (gut flora balance).  Our “good” bacteria can de destroyed by things like antibiotics, stress, alcohol/drugs and poor diet.  Two of the most common types of  bacteria that you can find in a probiotic are Acidophilus & Bifidus.  Acidophilus has the job of keeping things clear for these little hairs called Microvilli that are along the wall of the small intestine, and are assist in moving the food along.  Acidophilus bacteria is our number one defence of disease in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the vagina.  Bifidus has the job of re-populating the friendly bacteria, lowers the PH level (an acidic environment is necessary in this area otherwise it would be a breeding ground for bad bacteria).  Bifidus will also prevent gas & bloating.

Now let’s get into which probiotic to choose.

Most people think they need to look at the total number of bacteria it shows on the bottle (for example: 10 billion active cells), but while that is important and something to consider, really we need to look at what the different strains of bacteria are included in the probiotic.  Now remember I mentioned there are over 400 different species of bacteria, but we are going to want to look for the most important known strains and what we personally are in need of:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – these guys colonize on the walls of the small intestine, support nutrient absorption and help digest dairy if that’s part of your diet.
  • Bifidobacterium longumScavengers of toxins! Mostly found in adults digestive tract and have been said to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – As we age this one is important for breaking down complex carbs, fat & protein but their most important job is protecting us from germs.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – known as the travellers best friend because they help with the dreaded diarrhea that can otherwise ruin a trip!  Also shown beneficial to women with urinary tract infections.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum – Promotes healthy levels of bacteria in the gut, can help with lowering cholesterol and another good one for women in minting a healthy vaginal flora.

Another important thing to look at when you are selecting a probiotic is the expiry date.  Remember these are live cultures you are ingesting and you want to be sure they stay that way!  Some of those live bacteria won’t make the journey past your stomach acid but you can help by taking the probiotic with a meal.  Food will temporally reduce the acidity level of your stomach giving better odds for survival.  Also making sure you are ingesting a good amount of bacteria (called CFU’s or Colony Forming Unit) starting at 10 million and then you can increase as needed.

We really like the probiotic options available from Natural Factors, but another favourite that is fairly new on the market is Wholy Biosa 10+ Artisan Probiotic Drink from Innotech NutritionThis triple fermented probiotic drink offers up 10 Billion bioactive cultures, and has a ph of 3.5 so it can survive stomach acid.

Another great habit to get into is adding in probiotic type foods like; cultured vegetables (think sauerkraut & kimchi), yogurt, kombucha (easy to make or a great Canadian brand we like is Tonica), kefir drinks and more!

So to sum up, our intestines have the huge job of not only assisting in breaking down the food but also absorbing the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats.  Probiotic’s (our army) work at keeping the spaces clear to allow all those good things to pass through into our blood stream, which then carries off to our organs, tissues, brain, etc. Getting the picture here now?

In my next post, I am going to talk about dirty colon’s and how we can safely clean them out.

 

juice-cleanse

Green Carrot Juice Co. Detox!

Detox me please!

I had been feeling tired and a little sluggish no matter how much I slept, and basically not really myself, so I decided a juice cleanse sounded like a good idea! Not to mention, I have been taking an online nutrition course, and was having a real good understanding of what our body does for us, therefore thought I should show it some love!

I had attempted a juice cleanse only one other time, but found it very time-consuming as I was using my home juicer, and because I’m on the go (boys play hockey, need I say more!), not very convenient.

I had been wanting to visit the Green Carrot Juice Company, to try out their fresh pressed juices, then I saw the twitter feed that they were now offering juice cleanses, (you can do either a 1 day or a 3 day), it was kinda of like the universe telling me that is what I needed!  Since I’m an “all in” kind of person, I opted for the 3 day!

Green Carrot suggests you prepare yourself before the cleanse by eating lighter each day, eliminate starchy foods and adding in lots of veggies!

Morning Greens
Morning Greens

Received my juices (they deliver!), cracked open the “Morning Greens”, which is a combination of Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Ginger & Lemon.  Was expecting it to taste “greenie” so prepared myself, but was pleasantly surprised by how delicious, not to mention fresh it tasted! Slurped that down no problem, while I read through the little booklet of instructions and tips.

There are 6 juices for each day, so you want to spread them out, with the last one being 2 hours before bed.  Drink lots of water throughout the day, and be prepared for a headache!

Next up is the one they call “Amp”, Apple, Mint and Pineapple! A refreshing blend that had me envisioning warm tropics, sitting in a law chair with an umbrella drink! Love it!skd187377sdc

juicing
Beet It! Beautiful Color!

Mid afternoon is another “Morning Greens”, followed by a “Beet It” which is made up of  Beet, Carrot, Orange & Ginger.  The “Beet It” was probably my least favorite but not in bad way, it was just a strong beet taste, that overpowered the other ingredients.

Dinner, early eve I was able to enjoy “Hardcore Greens”  loaded with Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Parsley, Spinach, Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Ginger, Lemon, Lime,  Flax oil and Aloe Vera! Were talking loaded here!  Taste was okay, you know this one just has to be good for you!

Finally, finishing off with “Bliss”, which is basically your little treat for making it through the whole day!  Bliss contains a delightful combination of, Almond milk, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Organic Cane Sugar & Medjool Dates! YUM is all I can say!

I also started taking a probiotic to help repopulate the good flora and keep the ol’ bod in balance!

A couple other recommendations from Green Carrot are to Dry Brush (we have wonderful Merben dry body brushes available at Generation Green), as well they suggest sweating either with sauna or steam room, or even light exercise will help flush the toxins out, just remember to rinse off otherwise it’s being reabsorbed into your body.  Also, massage! Speaking my language here! Apparently if you let your massage therapist know you’re doing a cleanse, they can massage the liver and that could increase the effects of the cleanse.

The little booklet that you get with your cleanse, also gives you great tips for post cleanse, and easing back into eating.self_care_tips_women_entrepreneurs

So how did I do?  Well, I did start getting a headache mid afternoon on day 1, but since I was expecting it I managed through, even while working a 12 hour shift! I wasn’t hungry at all actually, which was very surprising!  Just needed lots of bathroom breaks 😉

body-is-a-machine
Our bodies our machines!

Day 2 I woke with a bad headache, that just kept getting worse, but I still really thought I could manage with it. Especially after a visit to my store from Obby (owner of Green Carrot).  Unfortunately, by late afternoon I was in pretty rough shape and needed to eat 🙁  I did continue drinking the juices for the day as well as the next, as they really are quite delicious, but added in some light meals as well.

I had originally thought that doing the cleanse while at work would be a great distraction, but maybe with my next attempt I will opt for the cozy confines of home, really making the whole process a nurturing, self-care event.

I really do support the idea of giving your body a break once in awhile by doing a cleanse like this one, but I also think it’s important that everyday we think about what we are putting into our bodies, as most disease and health issues start within your gut. Although each of our organs has a specific function, they also function as part of a group, very much like a machine that we need to maintain, service and keep well fueled!