Switching To Natural Cosmetics In 5 Easy Steps

In our quest for a clean and toxin-free lifestyle, we often forget that our skin is actually our largest organ. Our pores provide our bodies natural ways to shed impurities from our system but can also absorb harmful chemicals. It is interesting to observe vegan health crusaders who would not touch processed food with a 10-foot pole but cover themselves with harmful chemicals via body products and make up. Wake up, kittnes!

Getting your beauty routine down to a more natural way does not have to be difficult or break the bank. In fact, there are five easy steps you can employ which can have a significant effect on what you are putting on your face and body.

1. Check for red flags.

If you are worried about some of the brands you are using, do a quick cross-reference on the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep. If the product is a level 1 or 2, it’s probably not worth throwing away immediately. Anything higher on the scale means that the products are relatively safe to use. You might find yourself blown away by the levels of certain toxins in some of your beauty mainstays.

2. Start with the products that stay on your skin the longest.

Face moisturizer is the number one place to start as it immediately gets absorbed into your skin and you (should) use it twice daily. Next up is foundation, or any other make up that you directly apply to your face. Take into account how close each product is to your skin’s surface, and how long it sits on skin. Ex. shampoo is rinsed out after a minute or two but your face and body lotion linger around all day long.

3. Forget the front of the package.

Just because something says it’s natural doesn’t mean anything. This is all part of a strategy called “greenwashing” used by the beauty industry and is simply a marketing tactic. Even labels like “cruelty-free” and “organic” are beginning to lose some of their meaning so don’t trust the packaging.

4. Read ingredient labels.

Remember to READ, READ, READ. Begin by scanning for the biggest offenders: fragrance, parabens, sulfates, phthalates. Then take into consideration what the active naturals are and where they fall on the list. If the first ingredient is water, the formula isn’t going to be as concentrated and give you as much bang for your buck. If the front of the package touts rosemary and it’s one of the last ingredients, chances are only a drop went into the vat and therefore will not have a huge impact on your skin. Learn how to make sense of labels and remember that the fewer ingredients, the better. A general rule to use is that if you can’t pronounce a product ingredient, it is not something that you want to take part in.

5. Find brands you trust.

Just like getting to know the farmer’s at your local market, learning more about the mission and people behind your cosmetics is the best way to navigate the landscape. Chances are, if you believe in the mission behind a company, you can trust their products a bit more as well. Not suggesting blind brand alliagence, just an educated choice.

3 cheers to transitioning to natural and sustainable products for a health, happy and pretty face :) Check out the Skin Deep site to see how your cosmetics stack up.

Cut the Risk of 5 Different Cancers by Eating These Beans

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The link between eating beans and lowered risk of cancer was established several years ago. In a broad-reaching study using data from 41 countries, researchers found that eating beans reduced incidence of death from breast, prostate, and colon cancer. As the years have gone by, more and more studies have linked bean eating with reduced risk for many other types of cancer. Here is why you should be eating more beans. Here is why you should include beans in your meals every single day:

1. Eating Beans Stops Breast Cancer

Recent data from the Nurses Health Study II, among the largest and longest running investigations of factors influencing women’s health, was evaluated to see which flavonol-rich foods were protective of breast tissue in premenopausal women age 26 to 46. Researchers found that among the major food groups tested, beans and lentils were most protective, while tea, onions, apples, string beans, broccoli, green pepper and blueberries showed no ability to provide protection.

Beans and other legumes are a food staple in many regions of the world, where they are consumed quite frequently and in large quantities to provide low glycemic energy, protein and fiber. Almost across the board, incidence of breast cancer is significantly lower in these regions.

2. Men can Benefit from Frequent Bean Eating Too

Lifestyle factors play a role in a diagnosis of prostate cancer, just as they do in a diagnosis of breast cancer. French researchers assessed the association of fiber and prostate cancer in 3313 men followed for a median time of 12.6 years, during which 139 developed prostate cancer.

When the researchers compared men in the highest quartile of consumption of dietary fiber, such as found in beans and other legumes, to consumption of men in the lowest quartile, they discovered that risk of prostate cancer was cut almost in half in those eating the most beans and other legumes. However, no association between lower prostate cancer risk and consumption of cereal, vegetable and fruit fiber was observed. Study authors suggested the mechanism of action was reduction of inflammation.

3-5. Beans Stop Renal, Gastric, and Colon Cancer

Plant-based fiber-rich foods such as beans and legumes have a positive effect on renal (kidney) carcinoma and the chronic conditions associated with it, according to recent research. Significantly lowered risk of renal cell carcinoma was observed  in those eating beans and other high fiber foods.

Women who ate four or more servings of beans and other legumes weekly had their risk of colon cancer lowered by one-third, in a study with 35,000 participants. A related study found that people who once had colon cancer were able to reduce their risk of recurrence by 45 percent by frequent bean eating.

There’s a Secret at Work in These Studies

What’s the secret that lets beans turn out results like these?

It’s called inositol hexaphosphate, or IP6 for short, and it’s a powerful cancer fighting compound found in abundance in beans.Another feature of beans known as inositol pentakisphosphate (IP10) is so powerful that was found to inhibit the growth of tumors in mice all by itself!

The Best Beans To Eat To Lower Cancer Risk

Beans and all the legumes are anti-aging superstars because of their high antioxidant levels. Pinto, kidney, and red beans fill three of the four top slots for overall best antioxidant protection, beating out other fruits and vegetables, according to the Department of Agriculture. If they had rated black beans, they surely would have taken the fourth slot.

Why these particular beans? As it is throughout the plant world, color is key. The darker and more intense the color, the greater the antioxidant protection to be had by those eating them.

So load up your plate on this animal-free protein source, kittens and watch your health glow!

Which Dietary Factors Affect Breast Cancer Most?

A cancer diagnosis can be a teachable moment – the medicine is right at the end of your forks, ladies and gents:

Key points:

-Breast cancer risk is reduced by over 60% for women who followed these recommendations.

-Greater adherence to these guidelines can also significantly our risks for other types of cancers.

-Mortality of survivorship also increased for those who ate more plants and less animal protein.

-The same diet that can be used to prevent cancer in the first place can also be used to save your life once diagnosed.

-Following these recommendations can help our longevity in general.

For links to all the cited sources, a written transcript, commentary from Dr. Greger, as well as discussion and Q&A about this video, go to: nutritionfacts.org/video/which-dietary-factors-affect-breast-cancer-most

Coconut Oil: Your Natural Healing Potion

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My own sad lips => happy lips after three applications of coconut oil.

One of the best natural cures for chapped winter lips comes in a jar of oil. Coconut oil is your one-stop beauty healing potion with the power to defrizz your hair, heal your ravaged lips and keep you from getting scorched by the sun while hitting the slopes. It is a true winter miracle :)

Here are some additional benefits that you may not know about:

-Shaving cream – Store bought shaving cream is an expensive cocktail of chemicals that you don’t need to get a clean shave. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is inexpensive, naturally antimicrobial, and smells divine. Plus, it has skin-soothing properties will leave your legs looking hydrated and feeling great.

-Body and hand lotion – An animal study found that when applied topically, virgin coconut oil can speed up wound healing, and a human study found it to be effective in increasing hydration and reducing water loss in seriously dry skin. A great recipe for body and hand moisture!

-Body scrub – It’s wonderfully moisturizing, great for the skin, inexpensive, and blissfully absent of chemicals you can’t pronounce! A definite win over $30 Sephora body scrubs.

-Eye makeup remover – Coconut oil works wonderfully in removing your eye makeup at the end of the night – it even works on waterproof mascara! Put a little on a cotton ball and gently sweep it over your eyes, paying attention to your under-eyes as well. The oil does a great job breaking down waxy, inky eye makeup, and leaves the delicate area hydrated too.

-A natural cheekbone highlighter – Who doesn’t love a little shimmer and shine? You don’t need expensive, store-bought products to achieve the same dazzling effect. Simply sweep a small amount of coconut oil on top of makeup and leave it alone. It looks like your skin but glowier, which is why many natural makeup brands use it as a base ingredient in their formulas.

Want to learn more? Read up on 101 uses for coconut oil from Wellness Mama.

What’s in Your Salad? A World of Difference

There is a wide variety of the choice for which leaf lettuce to choose for your salads. Heading to the salad section can almost be overwhelming as many leafies peer out at you waiting to be explored. While all have some nutritional benefits, some are much greater than others. Check out the infographic below that lists the five most popular lettuce options; then compare their value in the A, B, C, and K vitamin levels. The graph shows the % of your daily needs (on a 2,000 calorie diet). The column for kale is off the charts.

Next time you make a salad, think about switching out the standard head lettuce to something more beneficial. Like and share this post if you enjoy spring mix, romaine, spinach, or kale in your salads.


Getting Naturally Pretty with Apple Cider Vinegar


ACV is widely used as a do-it-yourself beauty and health remedy, yet many people have no idea of the power it holds besides an afterthought for your evening salad dressing. Behold, the numerous uses of Apple Cider Vinegar!

Health Benefits: The main way in which ACV has the power to help and heal you is by maintaining homeostasis in your body. It balances the inner ecosystem – making the internal pH more alkaline. Disease prefers an acid environment, provided by processed food, artificial sweeteners, etc. It can cure sinus infections, headaches, sore throats, and even the flu. It can also help you lower cholesterol and blood pressure, often in just a few short weeks of use. It can also help you slim down by breaking down fat cells. it kills Candida (and yeast infections) and fungus, and populates the gut with friendly microflora (good bacteria and yeast). This usually stops sugar cravings as well. If you would like to kick up your diet a bit, try adding some organic ACV to your morning juice or your lunchtime drink.

Beauty Benefits: It provides a rosy complexion; is used as an aftershave, teeth whitener, facial toner, age-spot lightener,  and an effective hair rinse (for body and shine). lt can clear up acne, contact dermatitis, warts, varicose veins, and other skin problems. It can encourage hair growth: ACV will stimulate hair follicles, and can also treat dandruff and an itchy scalp. You can give yourself an at-home pedicure by soaking your feet in equal parts warm water and ACV. Its anti-fungal properties will keep your feet healthy, soft, and clean. It will help with varicose veins because of its high levels of vitamins, which will work to deter and reduce the veins. You can also target age spots: mix 1 tablespoon orange juice with 2 tablespoons ACV to fade age spots. It also soothes sunburns, and even relieves swelling in hands and feet. It has been proven as a safe and natural way to even out skin tone from bumps and acne to moles and skin tags.

Not only does this vinegar have a multitude of health and beauty functions, it is also very accessible and affordable.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 10.31.31 PMI found the all natural raw, unfiltered brand (pictured above) at Whole Foods for $4.69. You will be able to find this at any health food store and even some supermarkets, but want to make sure that you go for an unfiltered option that is as raw and organic as possible. With all of the health and beauty benefits discovered, I would definitely classify that as a beauty bargain :)

4 Homemade Vitamin Waters for Detoxification


You may have noticed that the Vitamin Water brand is filled with chemicals and sugar, right? While staying away from 99% of the “health” drinks available at our local supermarkets can seem like a challenge, finding ways to make your own vitamin waters is a simple and affordable alternative to promote natural toxin removal and abundant daily hydration.

I have been experimenting with my own vitamin waters over the last few weeks and have come up with four easy-to-make recipies sure to satisfy your thirst (and sweet tooth as well). Feel free to make a big pitcher in the morning and then sip on these naturally sweet treats throughout the day. They are far more fun than filtered water (also can ease with taste for those who are naturally water taste picky) and are great at keeping you away from soda or processed juice sweetness.

Check out a few of my favorite finds as well as their not-so-hidden health benefits:

(1) Green Tea, Mint & Lime – wonderful to aid in fat burning and assist with digestion, combating headaches and congestion; also a natural breath freshener and metabolism booster.

(2) Strawberry/Kiwi – promotes cardiovascular health, immune system protection, blood sugar regulation and aids digestion. Also is sweetly delicious!

(3) Cucumber/Lemon (or Lime) – supports water weight management, reduces bloating, assists with appetite control, hydration and aids smooth digestion.

(4) Oragne/Lemon (or Lime) – aids proper digestion, contains added vitamin C, supports immune defense, reduces heartburn. This one will give you a zesty morning kick!

Feel free to try out your own flavors and combinations but adding a little sweet kick to your daily waters will ensure that you are enjoying what you are drinking and staying energized and hydrated throughout the day :)

Reversing Heart Disease with a Plant-based Diet

Dr. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic discusses how he set up his wildly successful 25-year study proving that a natural, plantbased diet can stop and reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn’s diet program the same diet used by former President Bill Clinton to reverse his heart disease.

Study Results: After a few drop outs a few years into the study, of the remaining 18 people, 12 years after the study, only one had experienced a heart problem. This person had strayed from the diet for two years, experienced chest pain, and then went back on the diet, which eliminated the chest pain.

Amazing, right? Those are the same people who had gone through 49 coronary events before the study. Now they had none! It is amazing, but it makes so much sense. A healthy, plant-based diet is what humans were made to eat, and when you are kind to your body, your body will be kind in return.

Guess what else happened with those patients… their heart disease not only stopped progressing, but it actually reversed as well!

Of the 18 members in the study, eleven of them had their hearts x-rayed, and Dr. Esselstyn found that 70% of them had new openings in their clogged arteries. This is absolutely astounding data since these patients did not take any medicine and simply followed a natural and nutritious plant-based diet.