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Paleo Diet Primal Is Your Deodorant Toxic Antiperspirant spray-min

Is Your Deodorant Toxic?

When you put so much care and effort into your Paleo nutrition and fitness, are you equally aware of the health and beauty products you use, like your deodorant?

Deodorant and antiperspirant are something most people use – and apply directly onto their skin every day, but is commercial deodorant safe?

Shop brought deodorants often contain parabens – a chemical that has been associated with cancers. Deodorants often also contain aluminium, which is used to stop perspiration – but has been linked to dementia, brain disorders and breast cancer.

It is also common for deodorants to contain alcohol, which can be drying for some skin types.
While aluminium free and paraben free deodorants are available, these can still come with added alcohols or other chemicals that could build up in the body. There are many natural deodorants available, for example made from crystal stones. However – you could make your own natural alternative!

Deodorant For Women

Ingredients:

  • Five teaspoons of distilled witch hazel
  • 5mls (0.17 fluid ounces) of vitamin E oil
  • 10 – 20 drops of geranium essential oil
  • 10 – 20 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
  • 5 drops of clary sage
  • One small spritzer bottle

Directions:

Add the witch hazel into a small mixing bowl and then add in the vitamin E oil and blend it together using the end of a pipette, a teaspoon, or a small wooden spatula.

Next add the essential oils and remember to build them gradually until you have the desired scent. Once ready, pour into the spritzer body and use when need. This can be stored in the fridge for a cooling effect.

Deodorant for Men

Ingredients:

  • 5 teaspoons of distilled witch hazel
  • 10 – 20 drops of sandalwood essential oil
  • 10 – 20 drops of pine essential oil
  • 5mls (0.17 fluid ounces) of vitamin E oil
  • One small spritzer bottle

Follow the directions for the deodorant for women.

If preferred, just use the sandalwood essential oil on its own.

Solid Deodorant

Warning: Take care when heating and pouring the cocoa butter to ensure it doesn’t get on your hands as it will be extremely hot.

Ingredients:

  • 30g (1.05 ounce) of cocoa butter or shea butter
  • Essential oils as listed in the above recipes
  • 5mls of vitamin E oil
  • Square soap mould or massage bar mould

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan by lightly heating it on a hob or in a microwave oven until melted.

Stir in the vitamin E oil and then added in the essential oils.

Pour the mix into soap or massage bar mould. For a smooth bar, use a soap mould.

Leave the bar to cool overnight and it will be ready to use the next morning.

Bicarbonate of soda can also be used for a simple, effective deodorant.

Note: Pregnant women should take advice before using essential oils.

Do you use commercial deodorant or antiperspirant – or perhaps you go without entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – and whether you’d try making a natural alternative – in the comments below.

Paleo Diet Primal Is Your Deodorant Toxic Antiperspirant spray-min

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet

Instead of using herbs just to add flavour and colour to your cooking, do you ever add them for their medicinal benefits? Since ancient times herbs have been used as medicine in cultures all around the world.  Many modern medicines use active ingredients which come directly from plants – so there’s clearly a lot to be gained from plant medicine.

25 Reasons You Should Get More Herbs In Your Diet paleo primal health nutrition-min

Here are 25 herbs that you probably have in your kitchen – and what they are claimed to be beneficial for.

  1. Basil: full of minerals and a natural antioxidant
  2. Black pepper: anti bacterial, antioxidant and helps to stimulates digestion
  3. Cardamom: fresh breath
  4. Cayenne pepper: antibacterial, rich in beta carotene (pre cursor to vitamin A), reduces pain and helps stimulates metabolism
  5. Celery: stimulates the appetite, diuretic, detoxifing, helps with constipation, relieves rheumatism, helps with kidney stones and eases arthritis symptoms
  6. Chili pepper: rich in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and natural antioxidant
  7. Cinnamon: regulates blood sugar levels, powerful antioxidant, regulates cholesterol metabolism and promotes good circulation
  8. Clove: powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mildly anesthetic
  9. Coriander: rich in iron and magnesium, prevents gas, prevents urinary infections, regulates blood sugar level and a natural detoxifier of heavy metals
  10. Dill: anti bacterial, antioxidant and contains a lot of iron
  11. Fenugreek: relieves constipation and said to stimulate muscle growth
  12. Ginger: antiseptic, calms the stomach, anti-inflammatory and an effective natural remedy for motion sickness
  13. Ginkgo biloba: stimulates the circulation, anti-aging and improves memory
  14. Garlic: anti bacterial, anti-viral, lowers blood pressure and has natural antibiotic properties
  15. Mint: rich in vitamin C, calms the stomach and intestines and relieves headaches naturally
  16. Mustard seed: rich in selenium, omega-3, phosphorus, vitamin B3 and zinc, helps against cancer and is a natural anti-inflammatory
  17. Nutmeg: anti-inflammatory and helps to regulates sleep
  18. Oregano: anti bacterial, strong antioxidant and useful as preservative
  19. Paprika powder: anti-inflammatory and a natural antioxidant
  20. Parsley: detoxifies, helps with kidney stones and a natural antispasmodic
  21. Pepper: contains a lot of capsaicin (the ingredient that ensure the ‘heat’), clears stuffy noses, relieves pain and said to be beneficial for prostate cancer
  22. Rosemary: keeps the genes young, strengthens the immune system, improves the circulation and stimulates digestion
  23. Sage: improves the memory, anti-inflammatory and a strong natural antioxidant
  24. Thyme: antiseptic and a natural anti bacterial
  25. Turmeric: often called Curcuma, yellow root or curcumine. Very strong antioxidant, is said have a role in cancer prevention, help with skin infections, anti-inflammatory and relieves arthritis symptoms.

Which herbs do you use in your cooking? Have you ever used plants and herbs for health reasons? Was it successful? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments below! And please remember – seek medical advice before using herbs for medicinal purposes!

Paleo diet but it's natural nature food products label labelling

But it’s natural!

If you’ve strayed from the perimeter of your local grocery store, you can’t have missed the endless products screaming at you that they are “natural”. The labels often heavily feature the colour green, which we associate with nature, and may even show images of endless fields in perfect sunsets. Often the packaging will be brown and have a recycled feel – it’s natural after all. Buy it! Buy it!

But what does natural actually mean? If something is natural, it has to be good for you, right? My view of “natural” is something that hasn’t been altered at all and is entirely in its natural state, like an organic banana. A survey last year by the Consumer Reports National Research Centre found that 60% of respondents actively looked out for “natural” labels, with 66% of those people believing it meant the product contained no artificial ingredients, no pesticides and no genetically modified organisms. Surely that’s a pretty reasonable understanding of a “natural” food?
Paleo diet but it's natural nature food products label labelling
Alarmingly there are no official definitions about what “natural” means on food labels, nor are there any Australian food standards governing how and when the term may be used.

Looking in my local Coles supermarket, I found a Jalna Fat Free Natural Yoghurt, in which the first two ingredients are “Pasteurised Skim Milk and Non-fat milk solids”. I also found a Natural Muesli by The Muesli Company, which contains Preservative 220, rolled oats and dried fruits (processes which surely take the raw ingredients away from their original, natural state?).

Another favourite, is Water Thins Natural Mini Crispbread. The ingredients… Wheat Flour, Cheese Powder [Milk Solids, Cheese Solids (Milk, Salt, Starter Culture, Enzymes), Mineral Salts (339, 331), Salt, Food Acid (330)], Salt, Vegetable Oil, Raising Agents (500), Rye Flavour. Salt? Perhaps the salt is natural? And how about Natural Glace Cherries? Guess what they contain? Cherries (60%), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Food Acid (330), Natural Flavour, Natural Colour (163), Preservatives [202, 211, 220 (contains sulphites)]. So, I suppose they’re 60% natural…

None of the products I’d found mentioned being organic (which is what I’d consider natural) – and as for processed ingredients, additives, flavourings and preservatives, “natural” seems to be a total farce.

So what’s the answer? Well – as I’ve spoken about before – if it has a label, it’s far less likely to be natural and healthy than something with no label. And if the label makes health claims, you should probably not buy it.

What would you expect a “natural” food label to mean? Do you think there should be more rules about the labels food manufacturers are allowed to put on their products?

Homemade Moisturiser Recipe skincare paleo-min

Paleo Skincare – Homemade Moisturiser Recipe

Everyone loves to pamper their skin, and in the colder months a moisturiser can be especially useful help prevent dry, flaking skin caused by cold winds and heating. Unfortunately the many commercial brands of moisturiser seem to come with so many added chemicals. Moisturisers often have harmful chemicals such as parabens added in order to preserve the life of a product. When you’re being so careful to have a clean, natural Paleo diet – the last thing you want to do is let these chemicals soak into your skin.

Homemade Moisturiser Recipe skincare paleo-min

You can use coconut oil on your skin, but if you’re after something a little different, you might like to try making a homemade moisturiser.

The following recipe uses natural ingredients only and is designed to be kind and gentle to the skin, while also nourishing it through all of the seasons. Once set, this moisturiser is harder and firmer than traditional moisturises and can be used as a balm for the lips, elbows and any other areas of the skin with dry patches.

Natural skin moisturiser

Ingredients:

  • 28g (1oz) of Shea Butter
  • 21g (0.75oz) of cosmetic grade beeswax
  • 20 mls of vitamin e oil, wheat germ oil or almond oil
  • Essential oils:
  • For greasy skin ad 10 – 20 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil
  • For dry skin add 10 – 20 drops of lavender or geranium oil
  • For sensitive/combination skin add 15 – 20 drops of camomile essential oil
  • Storage jar

The more oil added, the stronger it will smell so add the oils gradually first and build up to the desired strength.

NB: Be careful when making this as the beeswax can get very hot; take care not to get it on your skin.

Add the Shea butter to a saucepan and melt it on low on an oven ring or melt in the microwave. Once it has melted, give it a stir and then add the beeswax. Melt the beeswax either on an oven ring or in the microwave. Mix the Shea butter and beeswax together and then add your oil. Stir in your chosen carrier oil and then add the essential oils.

Once it has all blended together, add the mix to a small glass jar. Be careful not to touch the sides of the jar as it will be extremely hot. Leave it in its place to cool down. It is probably best left until the next morning.

Once ready the mixture can be used like a salve to soften skin and moisturise.

NB: Pregnant women should take medical advice before using essential oils.

Natural alternatives to soap paleo healthcare skincare recipe-min

Natural Alternatives To Soap

So you’re careful to eat a natural paleo diet, but what skincare products do you use? Have you looked at the ingredients in the soap you use?

While soap is considered a necessity by most people for keeping clean, if often comes loaded with chemicals. Soap can also be very drying to a lot of skin types and strips the skin of its natural moisturisers and of its natural defences.

While there are many natural soaps based around essential oils and herbs, there are alternatives to keeping your skin clean without the need for soap.

Essential Oils

For some added fragrance when it comes to bath time, try adding some essential oils to the bath water. Camomile or lavender make an ideal combination if for relaxing, peppermint oils are good for stimulating and lifting your mood, and ylang ylang and geranium essential oils will increase your feeling of well-being.

Natural alternatives to soap paleo healthcare skincare recipe-min

Epsom Salts

Some people find that once they have stopped using soap their skin becomes much drier. For some people this might be temporary, while for others the skin can continue to remain dry. Adding some Epsom salts to a tub of bath water will help soften the skin. Epsom salts are also believed to have many health benefits. The magnesium content helps to relax nerves and muscles and reduce stress. Epsom salts are also thought to reduce toxins in the body and relieve muscle cramps and pain.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great on the skin – and if you have dry skin, applying coconut oil will certainly help.

Instead of using soap, try filling a muslin cloth with your selected herbs and then add in five to ten drops of essential oils. Tie the muslin cloth to the bath tap and let the aromas spill out.  The muslin cloth can also be used to exfoliate the skin and slough away dead skin cells without the need for an exfoliator, which can be damaging to some skin types.

Do you use a commercial soap, or have you found a more natural alternative? Share your suggestions and recipes in the comments section.

Paleo Diet Primal Better Skin Care Acne Eczema Spots Breakouts-min

Paleo for Better Skin

I’ve read about so many people going onto a paleo diet and noticing significant improvements in their skin. With a few tweaks, eating this way seems to have helped a lot of people suffering from acne, eczema, spots, redness, blemishes and breakouts.

Paleo Diet Primal Better Skin Care Acne Eczema Spots Breakouts-min

What causes skin problems?

It seems that a lot of issues are down to inflammation. Of course, grains are inflammatory, so removing them from the diet – and being very strict and vigilant, especially where gluten is concerned, will make a big difference.
Gut health and permeability also appear to be significant factors in skin. Heal your gut – and heal your complexion.
Hormones are another big factor. Eating foods like soy can interfere with hormones – so obviously following a paleo protocol (and ditching those legumes) will mitigate this issue.

Natural skin care

The chemicals in many of the commercial products are frightening. Lots of people on the paleo community swear by coconut oil.

Eat more fat

Getting over fear of fat seems to have helped many people with their skin issues. Try to get more fat in your diet – from good Paleo sources, of course.

Gelatin

Another paleo skin cure seems to be bone broth. Regularly consuming a high quality home made bone broth could be what is standing between you and beautiful blemish free, glowing, skin!
Liz Wolfe has produced a natural, paleo skin care guide, called “The Skintervention Guide“, so if you’re still have problems with your complexion – and want to find a natural solutions, you can check it out here.

Has your skin changed since you went paleo? Please share your tips in the comments below!
Is your bed bad for your health mattress paleo natural-min

Is Your Bed Bad For Your Health?

Sometimes the simple things that we use in our everyday routine are things that we don’t think twice about – but can be very dangerous. Even more frustrating, when you follow an otherwise health Paleo lifestyle. Have you ever given any thought to the mattress that’s beneath you as you sleep each night?

Mattresses are often made with ployurethane foam (petroleum based material that emits formaldehyde), formalize (which is linked to asthma and lung cancer), and boric acid (roach killer). Formaldehyde is highly toxic and classified as a probable carcinogen. If you have a mattress like this, when you go to bed at night, you are lying in these chemicals. Mattress companies often claim that they have the best mattress – and they mainly focus on comfort. You will see several commercials advertising that their mattress will adjust to your back and help you get a better night sleep, but they never really mention just how clean and non toxic their mattress is, do they?

In 2005 a memory foam mattress was sent in to be inspected and the lab was able to find 61 different chemicals used in the mattress. Comfort doesn’t mean anything if you are lying in a pile of dangerous chemicals.

Is your bed bad for your health mattress paleo natural-min

What are some of the things that these harmful chemicals can cause?

It has been reported that a toxic mattress can cause respiratory problems, reproductive toxicity, allergies, asthma, SIDS, and many more complications. It’s scary to think that going to bed could be a dangerous activity!

Why would companies add these chemicals? They add them because they are flame retardants. In the 60’s, governments insisted that mattresses had to include flame retardants – and they had to pass flammability tests. It wasn’t such a huge problem when they first passed the law, but now companies are using more and more dangerous chemicals. Arlene Blum, a biophysical chemist stated “Instead of adding new fire retardant chemicals that may ultimately be shown to cause health problems, we should be asking whether we need to use these chemicals or if there are other ways to achieve equivalent fire safety.”

The mattresses that are being made today, especially some of the popular memory foam mattresses are considered to be more dangerous than the ones that were made within the past 50 years.

So what can you do about you mattress?

There are some companies that make organic natural mattresses. Before purchasing a mattress you want to triple check what exactly is in it. Some companies claim that they have a natural organic mattress – but are not willing to back it up. Companies have slowly started to realise the dangers that their mattresses are causing and are changing the chemicals that they are putting in mattresses – but this is not happening fast enough.

You are far better off getting a safe organic mattress. There are companies that sell mattresses that are completely natural and toxin free. Organic wool has natural fire resistant properties and it has been successfully used to pass flammability tests.
When you lie down to sleep at night the last thing you need to worry about is if it is safe or not. Night time is when you need to relax both mentally and physically. Don’t let your mattress ruin your health!

What type of mattress do you sleep on? Will you buy an organic mattress when you replace yours?

The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners sugar stevia healthy agave-min

The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners

Whenever I write about sugar, I get a lot of spam comments trying to advertise brands of “natural, healthy” sweeteners that, apparently, are simply bursting with healthiness. I’m also constantly aware of people choosing artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar; as well as people choosing “natural” sweeteners over artificial, or just regular sugar.

So what is the difference between all of these types and brands of sweeteners? Are there really new natural sweeteners out there, or is it just clever marketing of an existing product, with a new brand name?

The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners sugar stevia healthy agave-min

 

Natural Sweeteners

A natural sweetener, by definition is one that is unprocessed, and naturally occurring in nature – in the same state (or requiring minimal processing that you could do yourself). A lot of sweeteners sold as natural, actually require a lot of refining and processing to get to the state they reach us in – far from natural.

Stevia

One of the most talked about sweeteners, Stevia is actually a herb. It has a natural sweet taste, but no actual sugar molecules. The green leaf Stevia plant is therefore a great alternative to sugar. Unfortunately, far more readily available than the green leaf versions, is the white powdered form of Stevia (i.e. branded as Natvia, Truvia or Sun Crystals). This is very processed, and definitely one to be avoided.

Honey

Raw Honey is a great natural sweetener. Using a local honey is even supposed to reduce hayfever. Whilst honey is natural (and in fact the only sweetener I use), it still produces an insulin effect and is definitely best suited for occasional use – as are all forms of sweeteners.

Maple Syrup, traditionally made Agave Nectar (Miel de Agave), Sorghum Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Molasses, Date Sugar, Cane Sugar, Fruit Juice, Muscovado and Sucanat are also natural sugars – but, again, no sweetener is the healthier choice, even if they are natural! Incidentally you might have seen Brown Rice Syrup in you health food shop – and whilst it too is “natural”, it contains malt and is therefore a source of gluten!

Not So Natural?

Agave Nectar is another one that seems to be thought of as another supremely healthy product. Agave is natural, in that it comes from the juice of the agave plant. It has a low glycemic profile, which means less of an insulin spike. However, this is because Agave nectar contains only 10% glucose – which means the other 90% is fructose, which comes with all sorts of health issues and is definitely to be avoided. Not only should Agave be avoided for its high fructose concentration, but it also contains saponins; toxins that have less than desirable effects on the body. Agave Nectar is produced in a not too dissimilar way to High Fructose Corn Syrup – yet at least HFCS is seldom marketed as a healthy sweetener.

Turbinado Sugar and Sugar Alcohols (i.e. xylitol and erythritol) are also not natural; but often sold with impressive health claims.

Artificial Sweeteners

The chemical sweeteners really are a no brainer. Recognised as toxins in the body – and in many cases not established enough for us to really understand their impact, I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to consume these. There is also a lot of research into the insulin response, with many suggesting that the sweet taste, even in the absence of sugar, is enough to trigger an insulin response.

Artificial sweeteners include Aspartame (sold as NutraSweet or Equal), Saccharin (Sweet n Low), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame-K (Sunette or Sweet One), Sorbitol, Mannitol and Tagatose.

Sweeteners – Are They Paleo?

Whilst the natural sweeteners are without doubt less harmful than their chemical or processed alternatives, they still aren’t “Paleo”. As an occasional treat Raw Honey is the only sweetener I would suggest.

Ultimately, it’s best to give up the need for constant sweetness. Since doing so, I’ve found my taste buds have changed and I no longer crave sweet things like I used to. Try giving up sugar; after a few weeks you’ll be glad you did!

Have you given up sugar? If not, what types of sweeteners do you use?

No shampoo no poo natural health beauty paleo-min

No Shampoo?

The one Paleo area I’ve been completely avoiding has been the whole No Shampoo & No Soap issue.  I recently had my hair done for my Birthday and I was quite shocked by the number of products I was smothered in (my hair didn’t look that amazing after either):

  • Shampoo
  • Colours for highlights
  • Shampoo
  • Toner
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Leave in conditioner
  • Spray to make my hair soft
  • Spray to give my hair volume
  • Wax to give my hair texture, and
  • Hairspray

No shampoo no poo natural health beauty paleo-min

This trip to the hairdressers has forced me to think about the other chemicals I expose myself too.  It’s all well and good being strict with my nutrition, but surely reducing exposure to chemicals like this, is of great importance too.

The ingredients list in a typical bottle of shampoo or shower gel often reads like a chemistry text book.  Given that skin is our largest organ, it’s a reasonable assumption that chemicals are going to be able to transfer from the products to your blood stream.

Shampoo

I just looked up the ingredients of a Pantene shampoo I often use.  I can’t even pronounce some of these chemicals: –

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium Edta, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone

When researching the ingredients used in commercial shampoos and soaps all sorts less than favourable articles came up.  Many of the chemicals are irritants and have many properties I just don’t want in my system.

A lot of Paleo people go entirely without shampoo and soap, but I just don’t think I’m ready to go this far, yet.  My main problem with camping is not being able to wash my hair every morning; the thought of voluntarily doing this from the comfort of my home isn’t a terribly attractive proposition!

The harsh chemicals in shampoo seem to strip away the scalps natural sebum, drying it out – and greasy hair appears to be the scalps compensation for this overly dried out scalp!  From what I’ve read and from speaking to Paleo friends who’ve gone no ‘poo, it seems like the first week or two is not a good look – but then your hair is supposed to become soft, shiny and wonderful!

A lot of people use natural products such as eggs, apple cider vinegar and baking soda, so perhaps that would be a good place to start.

What are your thoughts on giving up shampoo?  Or perhaps you have some top tips for conquering my shampoo habit?