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What Happened After I Quit Sugar

quit sugar

Okay so the title may sound a little overly dramatic, but about 2 months ago I decided that I wanted to quit sugar (added sugar to be exact) and simple carbs completely. Not that my diet consisted of massive amounts of sugary sweet treats, but on occasion I would enjoy frozen yogurt with WAY too many rainbow sprinkles from one of the 50 ice cream shops near my apartment. One night I was up way past my bedtime, doing nutritional research, finding ways to improve my diet even more and decided I needed to eliminate sugar, not because I wanted to play some twisted game of deprivation with myself, but because I wanted to take another step and improve myself for the better.

I’ve known for a while that sugar does absolutely no good for my skin. I was born with eczema and while most people that are born with it, grow out of it, I never did. I’m able to keep it at bay through a healthy diet, fish oil, and a probiotic supplement, but whenever I have sugar, it exacerbates my symptoms. So if it will make me break out in rashes, who knows what else it’s doing. I should also note that right before I decided to eliminate sugar, I was beginning to notice that I was suffering from an increase in breakouts after eating anything with added sugar.

What exactly did I cut out of my diet?

I removed any occasional dessert that I would eat. I also removed ketchup and sauces which almost always have added sugar. I never usually have simple carbs, but I reinforced my habit of avoiding breads, pastas, crackers, cereal, etc.

What am I eating?

My only real carbs right now consist of sweet potatoes, fruit, and plain (unsweetened) oatmeal. Now I am not saying this will always be the only carbs I’ll ever eat as I do like homemade popcorn while watching a great movie on a cozy rainy night 🙂 and even a nice warm cup of tea with honey, but for right now, I’m keeping it simple and clean to test the results on my skin. Let me just say that after 2 months I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner.

Here’s everything I experienced after I quit sugar:

  • My body looks and feels great
  • My sugar-related breakouts are no more
  • I literally don’t bloat anymore (seriously…)
  • I crave sugar and carbs even LESS
  • I’m sleeping better
  • I feel clear headed
  • I’m more energized
  • I have better control over my eczema
  • My body feels balanced (you know that feeling where your body just feels off? Yea that went away)
  • My cravings for salty snacks have practically disappeared
quit sugar

Feeling good and my skin is looking great! (Photo = unedited!)

Some other benefits that you might see when eliminating added sugars and simple carbs are:

  • Weight loss
  • Improvement of some autoimmune disease symptoms
  • Decreased risk of cancer
  • Decreased occurrence of common colds and infections
  • A healthier heart
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Decreased irritability and better moods

I truly think it’s worthwhile to give sugar elimination a shot. I vouch for the results 100%. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, especially if you are someone who has a carb-heavy diet or regularly eats sweets. Our brains become addicted to sugar much like a drug so the more you consume, the harder it will be to give up. My diet was not carb or sugar heavy so eliminating added sugar and simple carbs wasn’t too difficult of an adjustment.

If you want to give it a shot, you can most definitely go cold turkey (more power to you!), but for anyone else, try making weekly adjustments. One week try swapping your bagel or sugary yogurt in the morning for fruit and protein. The next week, try swapping your soda at lunch for ice-cold water (yum ☺). In another week, skip the sandwich at lunch and go for a salad loaded with protein and veggies or use giant lettuce leaves in place of your lunch wraps.

Would you ever give up sugar and simple carbs or have you already tried it? I would love to hear your thoughts! xx

~ Letisha

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

As a lover of all things dairy, transitioning to a dairy-free lifestyle has been tough. I am a sucker for everything related to cheese and ice-cream. It doesn’t help that I live across the street from a froyo joint and countless restaurants with cheesy goodness.

My love passion for dairy took a backseat, however, when I began experiencing extreme stomach discomfort after an innocent bowl of coconut flavored frozen yogurt. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. Could it be that my beloved dairy was causing me harm? No, it couldn’t be! Could it?

It wasn’t long before I realized that my body just couldn’t comfortably process dairy. I tried everything from cheesy pizza, frosted cakes and those fancy Starbucks drinks. Like clockwork, I would be doubled over with sharp pains and an upset stomach. This is not ANY way to live, even if you once loved dairy. 🙁

After quitting dairy, I have experienced zero stomach discomfort. My cystic acne has also subsided. Before giving dairy the boot, I refused to admit that it was making my acneic skin worse. If you do suffer from acne, I highly suggest eliminating dairy to see if it is negatively affecting your skin.

The transition to a dairy-free life has certainly not been an easy one. For the first few weeks I craved froyo like nobody’s business. I wanted ALL the froyos. Once the cravings subsided I began experimenting with different dairy alternatives.  Some have an acquired taste, but I found that all of them were very comparable to cow’s milk.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of going dairy-free, check out these 10 dairy milk alternatives for those giving milk the boot:

Rice Milk

Rice milk holds a special place in my heart. Currently my favorite dairy-free alternative, rice milk is mild in taste and easy to digest. Rice Dream, my brand of choice, is fortified and contains 30% daily value of Calcium and 25% daily value of Vitamin D and B12. This lovely alternative to cow’s milk has a delicious nutty flavor that goes well in cereals and smoothies.

Almond Milk

For those without a nut allergy, almond milk is a great dairy-free, soy-free and lactose-free option. Made by straining almonds and water, most almond milks are primarily water with other thickening agents. Fortunately, unsweetened almond milk is full of healthy fats!

Cashew Milk

Similar to almond milk, cashew milk is a blend of cashews and water. If you prefer the taste of cashews this creamy milk is for you. If you looking to obtain more nutrients from your milk, try making your cashew milk at home.

Hazelnut Milk

Like most dairy-free alternatives, hazelnut milk doesn’t contain much protein but is full of nutrients that our body needs. This low calorie alternative is also a great source of vitamin D and E, calcium, and riboflavin, which is naturally occurring in hazelnuts.

Coconut Milk

If you’re someone who loves the taste of coconut and enjoys milk with a thicker consistency, coconut milk is a great alternative. Consisting of good fats (medium chain fatty acids), coconut milk is highly nutritious. Our favorite brand (So Delicious Coconut Milk) is fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients — we’re talking vitamin A, B, B12, C, and D, calcium, zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, and selenium. Not to mention, it’s dairy-free!

Hemp Milk

Made from hemp seeds and water, hemp milk has somewhat of a nutty flavor. Full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp milk provides our bodies with a burst of vitamins and nutrients. Much like other dairy-free alternatives, hemp milk contains vitamins A, B12, D, and E, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc.

Soy Milk

Produced from soybeans and water, soy milk is the most widely consumed dairy alternative. Unlike its alternatives, soy milk is actually a common allergen. My sister and I no longer consume soy milk due to an adverse reaction (itching of the mouth and hives). This is not to say that soy milk won’t work for you. It’s best to find the healthiest option for your body.

Flax Milk

This low calorie option, much like its competitors, is filled with essential vitamins and nutrients (vitamins B12 and D, as well as calcium). If you’re someone looking for more protein in your diet, flax milk can also be infused with protein (5g to be exact). The taste is a bit unique and may take some getting used to, but it’s worth a try!

Sunflower Milk

Made from sunflower seeds and water, sunflower milk is a unique way to enjoy the pleasures that come with drinking cow’s milk without actually consuming it (such as enjoying a bowl of cereal or milk and cookies). Sunflower milk can be easily made at home or purchased at natural health food stores.

Oat Milk

An easy and inexpensive dairy alternative to make at home, oat milk is great for our skin and hair. Those with gluten allergies should avoid oat milk unless it is specifically a gluten-free version. Oat milk is naturally high in sugar though so be sure to limit your intake! You can also use a homemade version topically for added skin benefits!

What is your favorite dairy-free alternative? Have you given cow’s milk the boot?

-Zeena

Facial Steaming: The Key to Flawless Skin

Facial steaming comes with a plethora of benefits, and like most facials, when done correctly steam is the perfect addition to any beauty regimen.

Clogged pores? Gone. Dry skin? See yah! Blackheads? Blackheads, who? 

Transform your skin in just 5 minutes with a bowl of steamy water and a towel. Beautiful skin is that easy, people! 🙂 Now, let’s talk benefits.

Benefits of Facial Steaming:

Unclog Pores

Steam softens the dead skin cells and gunk from your pores making it easier to remove. After steaming, apply a mask to gently exfoliate softened debris. Be careful not to force open a pore that doesn’t want to be messed with. It won’t be pretty, trust me.

Increase Blood Flow

Steam increases the blood flow to the skin, which brings with it plenty of oxygen and nutrients improving the overall appearance of your skin.

Increase Perspiration

Simply put, steaming will make your face sweat. This increase of perspiration from your pores brings out the dirt and oil. Once on the surface of your skin, this can be easily washed or exfoliated away.

Remove Dry Skin

Removing dry skin is even easier when it is softened by steam. Somedays it seems no matter how much I scrub my skin, dry spots remain. Steam makes removing dry skin 100x easier. Halle-luh-yer.

Relaxation

Okay, this is a bonus benefit however relaxation speaks volumes when it comes to the appearance of your skin. When I’m stressed, my acne flares, causing the overall appearance of my skin to look not-so-good. Steam facials can be very relaxing, especially when you add calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile to the water.

Ready to get started? Here are the steps:

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Make sure there is enough water to fill a good size bowl without overflowing. Once the water begins to boil, carefully pour the water into the bowl. Add essential oils or dried flowers for added relaxation benefits. Place a towel over your head and the bowl, preventing the steam from escaping. Allow the steam to penetrate your skin for about 3-5 minutes or less depending on how your skin reacts to steam or heat. Be careful not to steam too long to avoid damaging your skin. After steaming, cleanse your skin or exfoliate, depending on your preference. Everyone’s skin is different! Then, mask, tone and/or moisturize. Wallah!

**Like most treatments, too much of anything is never good. Avoid oversteaming your face. Make sure you keep your face a safe distance from the steam to avoid burns (about 12-18 inches away). Steam is very dangerous. Wear oven mitts while handling the hot bowl and pot.  Be careful!

How do you steam?

XOXO

You’re Invited!

Brown & Coconut is proud to be participating in the first ever Mall Street Market, an indoor market featuring a local collection of New England sourced makers, artisans, and foodies!

Come stop by The Mall Street Market to say hello and check out our brand spankin’ new line of all natural skincare! After years of preparation, we are so excited to finally share this exciting time with you! You can find us every Sunday this May from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston).

Click here for more event details.

Can’t wait to see you there! xoxo

~ Letisha & Zeena

Exciting News from Brown & Coconut

Exciting News - The Official Brown & Coconut launch

Hello lovelies! We have some news for you all that we are super excited about! After a long journey, we are happy to announce the Brown & Coconut launch of our plant-based skin care.

The Start of Our Journey

When we began our blog 3 years ago, we wanted to share our health and beauty journey with you. Throughout our journey, we often found that what we were looking for in quality skincare, we weren’t finding. Instead, we were surrounded by products that contained ingredients we were allergic to or ingredients that are known to be highly pore clogging. What’s worse is we found too many products that claimed to be natural that weren’t. And as acne sufferers with very fickle skin, we are extremely cautious of what we put on our faces. So what did we do? We began crafting our own skincare.

It reached a point where we found that our products worked better than anything we’d ever bought. We realized we can’t be the only people who want quality, natural skin care that’s really going to work, that are going to be gentle enough not to disturb our skins delicate balance, but strong enough to make a noticeable difference.

An all new Brown & Coconut

Finally, we are thrilled to be able to officially announce the launch of Brown & Coconut skincare!

We’re ecstatic you joined our journey as bloggers and wanted you to be the first to know about our official Brown & Coconut launch. ☺ In the next few weeks, you’ll see our website transition from its current look, to a new one. All of the content from our blog will still be there, but the new site will include our shop. We will of course let you know once the switch has officially been made. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates and surprises!

Talk to you soon!

Zeena & Letisha


 

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The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile, a daisy-like plant of the Asteraceae family, has been used for centuries for its vast health and healing benefits. Today it is used across the globe and only continues to amaze for its medicinal properties. Although there are a number of species, German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile tend to be the most sought after in the chamomile family. Chamomile is commonly used in the western part of the world in teas to help settle the stomach and aid in sleep, yet there are so many reasons to love chamomile that some may not fully grasp the scope of this flowering plant’s wonders. Read on for all of the amazing benefits of chamomile…

 

The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

  1. Heals common skin conditions — Helps to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and helps to heal damaged skin tissue.
  2. Reduces inflammation
  3. Reduces fevers
  4. Soothes the digestive system — Can help to alleviate gas, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness, and also protects against ulcers
  5. Helps to flush out toxins by inducing perspiration
  6. Fights allergens and infections — Anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal
  7. Alleviates muscle spasms
  8. Acts as a pain reliever — Alleviates pain from sore muscles, arthritis, headaches and migraines, as well as eases colic and teething pain in babies
  9. Can help to manage diabetes and regulate blood sugar
  10. Acts as a sedative — Calms nerves, reduces anxiety and treats hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep problems
  11. Prevents cell damage (from antioxidants)
  12. Anti-aging
  13. Stops the growth of and destroys human cancer cells

It should be noted that German Chamomile is known to be better suited for external uses while Roman chamomile is better suited for internal uses.

How do you use chamomile? Comment below, we’d love to hear!


A special thank you to Cara Cooperman for her knowledge, her love of chamomile, and for her inspiration! Studying to be a herbalist, and like us, she is a believer in using what nature has to offer, rather than pharmaceuticals when it comes to health and healing.  Learn more about Cara here and browse her website for tons of articles about natural and healthy living!

Smoke Hookah? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

Do you currently smoke hookah? If the answer is yes, you may want to reconsider after reading this.

Hookah, with origins tracing back to India, has been around for at least 500 years. More recently, it has made its way across the globe and is continuing to increase in popularity particularly among teens and young adults in the United States. Unlike cigarettes, which have become a social stigma in the U.S., hookah is considered more socially acceptable and a group activity despite both being vehicles for smoking tobacco.

It seems that many hookah smokers view this often social activity to be much less harmful than cigarettes or other tobacco products. Some hookah smokers make it a point to not actually inhale the smoke, arguing that this is completely safe and no damage is really done by simply rolling the smoke around the mouth and exhaling.

Unfortunately this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What is hookah?

Hookah consists of a pipe and a long flexible tube connected to an urn of water through which smoke passes upon inhalation from the tube. The act of the smoke passing through the water cools the smoke before it is inhaled.

Shisha generally refers to the tobacco that is smoked from a hookah pipe (yes, you are in fact smoking tobacco — this fact comes as a surprise to some hookah smokers). Shisha is often sweetened with molasses or honey and flavored extracts. During a hookah session, charcoal is used to heat the tobacco to produce the smoke for inhalation.

The Potential Dangers of Hookah

Tobacco, which naturally contains the compound nicotine is extremely toxic. It enters the body via the smoke you inhale and is absorbed by mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, and lungs.

So, even the hookah smokers that don’t inhale the tobacco smoke into their lungs, still absorb nicotine in their mouths.

It’s also worthwhile to point out the fact that it would be difficult to ensure that absolutely zero smoke slips past your mouth and into your throat while inhaling, so it is quite likely that your throat is exposed to the hookah smoke more than you realize.

Nicotine is extremely addictive and considered by the U.S. Surgeon General to be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. It’s side effects extend throughout the body, affecting the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

The immediate affects of nicotine include irritation of the mouth and throat, nausea, pain in the abdomen, an increase salivation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Longterm effects of nicotine include:

  • DNA damage
  • DNA mutations
  • An increase in cell growth

All of this essentially creates the perfect environment that promotes and accelerates tumor growth.

Nicotine alone has been linked to lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer, as well as coronary vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, and altered hormone production. Nicotine also causes a delay in wound healing and an increased risk of infection.What’s more is nicotine can also cause insulin sensitivity or resistance and poses an increased risk of smokers developing type 2 diabetes.

While smoking hookah, you are also inhaling carbon monoxide and other toxins that are a byproduct of the heated mixture. These toxins include Acrolein (irritates the nose, eyes, and throat), Acrylamide (damages the nervous system), Naphthalene (damages the red blood cells), and Benzene (linked to cancers such as leukemia).

One common misconception is that the water in the hookah urn absorbs or filters out all of the toxins in the smoke, but this is not the case. According to a report released by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 nonsmokers who were exposed to smoke from a water pipe. The results revealed that after an event in a hookah lounge, the levels of S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), a byproduct of benzene was 4 times higher than normal in the smokers and 2.6 times higher in the nonsmokers. The same analysis was done after a hookah smoking event that took place in a private home. The SPMA levels in the urine of the hookah smokers were 2 times higher than normal and levels were normal in the nonsmokers. It should be noted that there is no safe level of exposure to Benzene.

More research needs to be done to fully understand all of the risks associated with hookah, but what is currently known about hookah is definitely cause for concern.

Do you currently smoke hookah or have you in the past? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

~ Letisha

 

Sources:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hookahs-deliver-toxic-benzene-in-every-puff/
http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/04/105236/smoking-hookah-not-harmless-alternative-cigarettes
http://www.cdc.gov/features/hookahsmoking/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/

8 Fall Foods that Make Amazing Face Masks

8 Fall Foods that Make Amazing Face Masks

It’s no secret that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can offer a plethora of benefits to the body, both inside and out. Just during the season of fall alone, there are tons of fruits and vegetables that are staples of this season getting devoured by the masses. But in addition to eating these seasonal favorites, some skin benefits can be observed by slapping these foods on our faces. Fall Foods Facials, has sort of nice ring to it right? Read on for 8 fall foods that make amazing face masks.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is arguably one of the most popular fall foods. It gets served up in drinks, pies, soups, breads, cookies, muffins, cakes, you name it. I even saw pumpkin popcorn at the supermarket recently! This vegetable is a staple in many household during fall, and even winter months. And while it is oh-so yummy, it’s also a treat for your skin. Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A which helps protect your skin from loss of elasticity, wrinkles, and poor skin tone, all caused by damage from free radicals. Pumpkin also contains vitamin C, which again, helps fight free radical damage. What’s more is this orange veggie contains acne fighting, sebum balancing zinc, as well as, collagen and melanin regulating copper.

 

Sweet Potato

There’s no question that sweet potatoes baked in a pie are absolutely scrumptious (it’s my favorite pie in case you were wondering), but what is equally as delectable is this root vegetables benefit to your skin. Sweet potatoes, like pumpkin are a great source of skin protecting Vitamin A (also known as beta-carotene) and free radical fighting vitamin C.

Winter Squash

Like pumpkin and sweet potato, winter squash  is a vitamin A containing vegetable that fights free radicals and helps to keep your skin looking and feeling youthful. It also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.

How to use: Go straight for the gold with these vegetables and smear some mashed pumpkin, sweet potato, or winter squash on your face leaving it on like a mask. Go ahead, you know you want to…

 

Cranberry

8 Fall Foods that Make Amazing Face Masks

These tart little red berries are consumed year round in juices, cooked up in breads, savory dishes, baked sweets, sauces, and jams, but what can it do for you skin, you ask? Well, these yummy berries have not only been used in the treatment of oily skin, but are know for their ability to fight free radicals and prevent premature aging. Cranberries also possess antiseptic properties, making it them perfect for the treatment and prevention of acne and breakouts.

How to use: Take fresh (unsweetened) cranberry juice dabbed on a cotton ball and wipe over your face as a toner. You can also mix cranberry juice and a little honey to use as a face wash.

 

Apples

Apples are eaten year round, but definitely get more “air -time” during the fall. They get baked into all sorts of yummy fall desserts, they get made up into candy apples, turned into apple cider, and is it just me or does it seem like its not officially fall until you or someone you know has gone apple picking?

But what can these crisp, delectable fruits do for your skin? Well, for starters, apples contain collagen-boosting vitamin C, along with Vitamin A and E which together with Vitamin C, fights free radicals to help to prevent premature aging, including fine lines, wrinkles. Apples also contain copper, which helps to produce melanin which maintains your skin color.

It is said that some apples can offer limited protection from UVB rays. You should not use apples as a sunscreen replacement, however.

Note: Red Delicious and Granny Smith are said to be the most beneficial apples for the skin.

How to use: Blend your apple in to a pulp and spread across your face, you can also use freshly squeezed apple juice as a toner. Take a cotton ball, dab it in the freshly squeezed apple juice and wipe across your entire face. An apple pulp and honey mixture also makes for a great face mask.

 

Figs

8 Fall Foods that Make Amazing Face Masks

Figs are another festive food than can work wonders on your skin. Fig is not only hydrating, but an excellent exfoliant that gently works to remove dirt and debris, including dead, poor clogging skin cells.

How to use: Spread fig pulp directly on your face, for no more than 3-5 minutes. Due to the exfoliating enzymes in the fig, you want to be careful not to over-exfoliate your skin.

 

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is often used during the fall and even the holiday season to flavor both savory and sweet dishes, but did you know it can also help with pain and inflammation? This spice is the perfect remedy for those painful, swollen breakouts.

How to use: Mix a dash of nutmeg with a little honey and dab onto affected areas. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse.

 

Cinnamon

8 Fall Foods that Make Amazing Face Masks

Cinnamon is a spice widely used year round, but also makes an appearance in so many fall sweet treats. Not only is it delish, but it can be used on the skin to stimulate blood flow, bringing oxygen to the surface of the skin, helping to plump things up and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Cinnamon can also be used to clear up acne by drying out your breakouts.

How to use: Mix honey and just a dash of cinnamon and apply to the face, leaving on for a few minutes then rinse. Be careful not to overdo it. Cinnamon can be extremely irritating and drying. Do not do this mask more than once per week. As a spot treatment for acne, mix honey and cinnamon and dab just on the affected area, leave on for 10-20 minutes (depending on how sensitive your skin is) then rinse. Kick this spot treatment up a notch by adding both cinnamon and nutmeg to honey and applying to affected areas.

Which mask will you make this season?? Comment below!

~Letisha

7 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives You Need to Try

When it comes to brushing our teeth, we are not limited to just the tubes we see in the grocery store aisle. These toothpastes can be chalk full of chemicals that have no place in our body. NO PLACE.

A popular brand, that is no stranger to our households, totes the following inactive ingredients:

Hydrated Silica, Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, PVM/MA Copolymer, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cellulose Gum, Flavor, Sodium Hydroxide, Carrageenan, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Saccharin, Titanium Dioxide

Woah.

Not to mention the active ingredients, which include Triclosan, an anti-bacterial compound used in personal cleaning products.

In fact:

The state of Minnesota has banned the sale Triclosan from personal care cleaning products.

Procter and Gambled vowed to removed Triclosan from their products by 2014. (I hope they followed through!)

The hidden chemicals in toothpaste is scary stuff.

Fortunately, there is a plethora of ways you can clean your teeth without going anywhere near your current toothpaste.

 

Natural Toothpaste Alternatives:

  • Baking Soda + Water: Baking Soda polishes teeth, increases white appearance, fights bad breath, helps remove place, and improves dental health.
  • Bentonite Clay + Water + Essential Oils: Known for its abilities to draw out toxins, bentonite clay makes for the perfect teeth cleaning agent. Clay paired with minty essential oils (think Peppermint) will leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
  • Clay + Coconut Oil + Peppermint Essential Oil: While the clay draws out toxins, the coconut oil destroys bacteria and microbes. The addition of Peppermint Oil keeps your breath minty fresh.
  • Coconut Oil + Baking Soda: Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial works in conjunction with the Baking Soda to help polish and clean your teeth.

Not a fan of whipping up your own toothpaste? There is a plethora of pre-made, healthy options.

Too much of anything is not always a good thing. Limit brushing your teeth with baking soda to just a couple times a week; too much usage can result in damage to your teeth. As always, be careful with essential oils; too much can result in burns.

None of these recipes contain fluoride. It’s your choice if you prefer to use a fluoride toothpaste. These are simply alternatives you can choose from if you want to avoid chemicals in your toothpaste. Your choice! 🙂

Happy Toothpaste Trails!

9 Air Cleaning Plants You Need for Your Home

We live in a toxic world, plain and simple. From car exhaust to second-hand smoke, there is hardly a moment where our lungs are free from harmful pollutants.

Even in our homes we subject ourselves to the harshest of chemicals. Most of us probably use 3 or 4 chemical cleansers to rid kitchen and bathrooms of their major “yuck” factors. Then there’s the paint, air fresheners, and the bleach. The list of chemical contaminants in our homes could go on.

Fortunately, with the help of a few green leaves, we can clean the air in our home. Sounds crazy? Maybe not. A study conducted by NASA identified specific plants that are able to remove harmful contaminants from the air, including:

  • benzene (detergents, furniture wax, glue)
  • trichloroethylene (ink, paint, adhesive)
  • formaldehyde (paper towels, synthetic fabrics, paper bags)
  • ammonia (window cleaner, floor wax, fertilizer)
  • xylene (leather, tobacco, rubber)


Short term exposure to these toxic chemicals can lead to headaches, dizziness, heart problems, eye irritations, coughing, vomitting, drowsiness and confusion. Here are the plants you need for your home:

air cleaning plants

9 Air Cleaning Plants You Need for Your Home

Flamingo Lily: Featuring beautiful pink flowers, the Flamingo Lily will brighten any room in your home. The plant thrives in humid environments with indirect light. Allow the soil to dry in-between watering. In addition to its beautiful flowers, the Flamingo Lily can reduce lingering Formaldehyde, Xylene and Ammonia in the air.

Weeping Fig: Although it may takes a few weeks to adjust to your home, the Weeping Fig is great for reducing the Formaldehyde and Xylene from the air. It requires bright, indirect light and watering only when the soil feels dry.

Bamboo Palm: The low maintenance Bamboo Palm requires low to indirect sunlight and less frequent watering. This beautiful plant is effective at removing Formaldehyde and Xylene from the air.

Peace Lily: This beautiful sounding plant also produces beautiful flowers. While only requiring low light and weekly watering, the Peace Lily rids the air of Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Xylene and Ammonia.

Broadleaf Lady Palm: This tropical-looking plants is very easy on the eyes, but not so easy on the Ammonia, Formaldehyde and Xylene it cleans from the air.

Snake Plant: Relatively easy to maintain, the Snake Plant requires indirect sunlight and less frequent watering. Fortunately, Formaldehyde and Benzene do not stand a chance against the Snake Plant.

Boston Fern: Known as one of the better air cleaners, the Boston Fern can effectively remove Formaldehyde and Xylene from the air.  The Boston Fern thrives in humid environments with indirect sunlight. If you don’t exactly live in the ideal climate, try a humidifier to give the fern the environment it needs.

Spider Plant: Considered a great beginner plant, the Spider Plant can be easy to maintain. Bright indirect sunlight and adequate dry-out time between watering is the best for this plant. Spider Plants help clean the Formaldehyde and Benzene from the air.

Florist Chrysanthemum: This blooming plant enjoys a cool, bright location. The Chrysanthemum takes about 8 weeks to flower, but in the meanwhile, works its magic in reducing Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Xylene and Ammonia from the air.


 

*If you have pets, please do further research on any plant before adding it to your home. Some plants can be deadly for pets.

**Please make sure your home is well ventilated. These tips do not replace the advice of your doctor.

-Zeena