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Lack of Healthy Beauty options for Black Women

Featured, Info & Tips, Lifestyle, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

Recently the Environmental Working Group did a study on the market for black cosmetics. According to the studies less than 25% of products marketed to black women score low in potentially dangerous hazardous ingredients. This means that the majority of products currently on the market targeted at black women contain ingredients that can potentially cause serious harm to our health. They also updated their Skin Deep database to include over 1,000 products marketed to black women. This is awesome news because now you can check the hazardous levels of the products you probably use regularly.

I’ve been pushing the green lifestyle for a while now and it amazes me just how much women of color are still not aware. Even in my everyday life I meet women who have no idea that their personal care products are not safe. The looks on faces is one of shock and astonishment when I proceed to tell them that they cannot trust crafty marketing or even the government for that matter when it comes to beauty product shopping. Just a few days ago I was having a conversation with a black woman from my church about Secret deodorant. I stopped using traditional deodorant and actually go without most days. I wrote an article on the blog discussing the dangers of using traditional deodorant and natural alternatives. To sum it up I explained to this woman that she should stop using Secret deodorant because of the aluminum and other carcinogens that are linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Thankfully her response was one of gratitude as if I saved her life. In actuality I pretty much did in the long run.

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Even though I’m still able to educate people I come in contact with in person and online via this blog; what that conversation and EWG’s report tells me is that there is still more work to be done. Research has mostly focused on chemical hair straighteners for black women and girls. As a woman sporting her natural hair, I think it’s awesome how the natural hair movement has exploded. However it’s bigger than just our hair. While it’s great that we are embracing our curls and staying away from parabens and sulfates in our hair products, what about our lipsticks, lotions, etc.?? And truth be told not even all the natural hair products are actually “natural”. You still have to read your labels and be cautious when purchasing those items as well. It’s sad that it feels like you need a degree in chemistry in order to buy beauty products but unfortunately until better regulation is in place this is what we have to do. We have to continue to educate ourselves about the ingredients in everything that we use.

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image from ewg.org

As I look around at the various blogs, events, and social media platforms I don’t really see a wealth of information about being conscious when it comes to every other beauty product that is used in the black community aside from our hair. This gives off the message that all we are focused on is our hair. So as long as our hair is slayed then we’re good. Sorry (not sorry) ladies but this is not enough! With black women being the highest on the list of fibroids, infertility, and other health concerns we should be much more prevalent about the practices of our whole body not just hair.

source: ewg.org

source: ewg.org

“This report makes clear the lack of safer alternatives for black women. Demand for these products is increasing and the cosmetics industry needs to provide healthy beauty options for black women” –Women’s Voices for the Earth. This is one of the many reasons why I created my holiday gift guide featuring black owned green beauty brands. While there aren’t as many as others there are still options.

You may be reading this article and thinking; well what can I do about it. Continue to support green beauty bloggers like myself and other organizations such as Women’s Voices for the Earth and Black Women for Wellness. Stay up to date on what hazardous ingredients are by checking websites and databases like Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep and the ThinkDirty app. Think twice before just picking up an item at your local retailer and placing it in your shopping cart. Take the time to read the label, read the ingredients in the product. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is look it up through one of the databases I mentioned. If you see that a product has harmful ingredients start looking for safer alternatives. Start supporting organic natural beauty brands like the ones I mentioned in my holiday gift guide.

Major companies only see and understand money. People always tell me that buying organic or going green is expensive. I admit that yes at times it can be a bit pricier than traditional items. However I believe in the buying power we have. The beauty industry is a trillion dollar business with black women accounting for the majority of that. If more people made conscious decisions when it comes to buying beauty products a lot can change. If you can get companies to stop using sulfates I believe we can push them to create all beauty products without toxic ingredients. Trust me they will take notice of people opting not to buy toxic beauty products when they start losing money.

 

Have you read EWG report? What are your thoughts?

Resource: ewg.org Big Market for Black Cosmetics but less Hazardous Choices Limited 

Healthy Habits Every Chica Should Have

Blog, Faith, Featured

This platform is about living healthy in all aspects of our lives; mind, body, and soul. I like to discuss a variety of topics from healthy foods, natural beauty, and inspiration. Over the years I’ve heard from dozens of women about issues they face when trying to better themselves. I thought I’d share a collection of things that I think are useful for every woman, myself included.

 

1. Start fresh every single day. Leave yesterday where it is and let tomorrow worry about itself. Instead focus on the current day.

2. Try adding a Meatless day to your weekly routine. Eating plenty of leafy greens and fresh veggies is something everyone needs more of. No matter what your dietary habits are try skipping the meat and junk food just for 1 day out of the week.

3. Put away your phone when you’re out with friends or family. This digital age we live in has everyone with their phone practically glued to their hand. Let’s not get all wrapped up in social media and technology that we forget just how important real relationships are.

4. Exercise can be fun and not a time commitment. You don’t have to have a gym membership to get amble exercise. There are DVD’s, dancing, jogging with friends, any psychical activity that gets the heart rate going and keeps you moving.

5. Drink more water. I know this is talked about several times over but unfortunately most people still aren’t drinking enough water. This cannot be said enough! Try drinking a water with or between meals instead of juice or soda.

6. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’, chances are you may lose. Stay in your own lane. The wonderful thing about life is that there are no 2 people alike. This also means no 2 lives a like. Life is a personal journey. Focus on making yours the best IT was meant to be.

7. Never grocery shop on an empty stomach. I talked about this on the blog and in my e-book. Shopping on an empty stomach you’re not thinking clearly and you’ll likely buy things you don’t need and spend more money than intended.

8. Keep healthy snacks at home and work. This will lessen the chances of you reaching for some artificial junk. Out of sight out of mind.

9. Stop beating yourself up. Hey, we all make mistakes; learn from it, grow, heal, and keep moving forward.

10. Consolidate and pay off debt. Less debt means less stress. Life is hard enough without adding a mountain of debt to the equation. Try to get rid of things you don’t need. Live within your means and watch your spending habits.

11. Don’t over do it with the alcohol. It’s ok to have a glass of wine or the occasional mixed drink to celebrate or even relax. But alcohol by no means should be your source to have fun or fix your problems.

12. Make your home a place you want to be. We function better in an inspiring place. Spruce up your living area. This doesn’t require a lot of money but it does require your imagination. Get creative, it gets the juices in your brain flowing and brings positive energy in your life.

13. Listen to your body. Being healthy is all about being in tune with your body’s needs. It will tell you what it needs and what it doesn’t like. The key is are you paying attention.

14. Read labels on food, beauty products, and everything you purchase. I’m a sucker for reading labels. If it’s going anywhere near my body I want to know what’s in the stuff and if it will do more harm than good. Don’t just look at the claims on the box do your due diligence.

15. Floss after every brushing. This one is obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even think about their oral health. Oral health is just as important as the rest of your body. Take care of that smile!

16. For every 20 minutes you stare at a computer screen (or any LCD screen for that matter) look away for 20 minutes. Too much stimulation from staring at a screen can actually kill brain cells and strain eyes. Step away for a second refocus then come back.

17. Count to 10 when your angry. The bible talks about being slow to anger and not to go to bed with anger. Don’t let things allow you to explode, you might say or do something you’ll regret later.

18. Don’t skimp on sleep. We all need our beauty rest. I know life gets crazy, deadlines, children, etc. but you’re no good to anyone including yourself if you don’t allow your brain and body to rest.

19. Have an attitude of gratitude. No matter what is going on in your life there is always something positive to be thankful for. Just the fact that you are alive to read this is enough to give thanks. Not everyone woke up today.

20. Meditate and pray. Personally I think this is just as important as healthy eating and exercise if not more. Your mental and spiritual health helps guide you through life. You’re not alone. I like to have my daily chat’s with God it keeps me focused and helps me maintain.

 

 

 

Hopefully these tips were helpful to you

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My Healthy Grocery Staples

Blog, Featured, Health

My grocery list may change from time to time depending on what is in season, what is on sale or my taste buds! There are a few items that I always make sure I have in my kitchen stock. These are items that I like to call my “staples”; products that I use several times for multi-purposes. Today I’m sharing this with you. Hopefully it will inspire you to create your own must have list or borrow some from mine 🙂

 

Apple Cider Vinegar- This is a powerful natural astringent and cleanser. I use this to wash my produce when I come home from the grocery store. I just place the fruit or veggies in a bowl filled with water and add a few tablespoons of ACV. I let it soak for 15-20 minutes then rinse. I’ve also used this as a facial toner; it’s great at evening the skin tone and giving you a nice glow. During my detoxes I’ll add a few teaspoons or cap full to a glass of water and drink that first thing in the morning; this helps to clear out my digestive track

 

Coconut Oil- This staple is like one of those stuck on a deserted island type of things. The many benefits of coconut are incredible it’s such an amazing plant; that’s why I wrote about it here. I use raw unrefined/ extra virgin coconut oil on my hair, skin, teeth, everywhere! It can moisturize like no other oil because of it’s properties it can penetrate the hair shaft and skin layers to soothe and soften. I also use it in place of butter when cooking or baking. Coconut oil is also a wonderful source of healthy fats which we need in our diets. Such a great all purpose oil.

 

Leafy greens- One can never have enough leafy greens in their diet. I always have some sort of leafy green in my fridge from spinach, kale, dandelions, collards, cabbage, etc. I add them to my smoothies in the morning, use them in salads, steamed veggies. I recommend ingesting leafy greens in at least one meal per day if not more. The chlorophyll in dark leafy greens has so many vitamins and minerals; it’s like a powerhouse of nutrients for your body.

 

Flax seeds- Good source of micro-nutrients and omega 3’s, and ALA. I love adding these to smoothies, salads, soups, snacks. Sometimes I grind them up and use them like you would flour. I’ve made baked crusted tilapia with toasted flax seeds, so delicious. Plus I love that nutty flavor.

 

Coconut Water- A natural source for electrolytes. I like to use this in place of water for drinking in smoothies or by itself. If you work out a lot of even if you drink Gatorade this is a great natural alternative minus the artificial colors and added sugars.

 

Lentils- A part of the beans and legume family another source of protein. If you are a vegan or vegetarian this is perfect. I still eat chicken and fish but not every day and lentils are my go to for my meatless days. I like to make stews and lentils burgers, which are my absolute favorite. You can pretty much season and flavor it anyway you like and it’s always delicious and super easy to make. Plus lentils cook pretty fast so you can have a hot meal in 30 minutes. Hows that for healthy fast food!

 

Quinoa- Another one of my favorites and protein source. Quinoa is a super food because the health benefits are endless. I like to make a large pot and use it for a variety of meals through out the week. In morning with a bit of almond milk and frozen fruit, makes a yummy breakfast. For lunch is pairs well with salads. It can also be used as a rice substitute. I like the taste of quinoa so much that I’ve eaten a large bowl of plain quinoa with seasoning.

 

Oatmeal- I eat this for breakfast with a little fresh fruit. I also like to grind this up and make pancakes with some mashed bananas or almond milk. Ground oatmeal can be used in place of flour; a healthier option than using traditional white flour. For extra fiber you can add some oatmeal to your smoothies.

 

What are some of your healthy grocery staples? Let me know in the comments down below.

 

 

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Blood Orange Smoothie

Blog, Featured, Health

Blood oranges have the highest amount of Vitamin C than any other citrus fruit. There are many benefits of eating blood oranges such as cancer and diabetes prevention, hair loss, and so much more.

 

Ingredients

2 small blood oranges, peeled and sliced

1 cup of frozen strawberries

1 small frozen banana

1 handful of spinach

2 cups of water

 

Enjoy!

I love making smoothies so if you have any smoothie recipes you’d like to share or see in this blog let me know in the comments 🙂

 

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12 Tips to Staying Happy

Blog, Faith, Featured

 

 

1. Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up in the morning. This will help flush out toxins from your body and get your day of to a fresh start.

 

2. Get up and move! Daily exercise boosts your energy levels, improves your mood, and relieves stress.

 

3. Get some sleep. A proper nights rest will give you more energy for the next day to do the things that make you happy.

 

4. Every morning make a list of 3 tasks you want to accomplish that day. Check them off the list once you’re done. This will leave you feeling good about yourself.

 

5. Work on important tasks for 50 minutes and then take small breaks in between to refocus.

 

6. Reflect and pray. End your day with prayer and meditation. Self evaluation can be positive.

 

7. Read more. Reading increases knowledge which helps you stay motivated and inspired.

 

8. Learn more. Watching tutorials and learning new skills increases your capabilities.

 

9. Brainstorming helps the blood flowing in your brain. Write down any new or inspiring ideas you may have in a journal.

 

10. Be grateful. Express gratitude for all that God has already done in your life.

 

11. Clean the area around you. Too much clutter can bread negativity in your life. Let go of things you don’t need.

 

12. Indulge in your favorite things. Surround yourself with things that motivate you and bring more happiness in your life.

 

 

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The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

Blog, Featured, Health, Natural Hair, Skincare

 

Those who know me personally know that I LOVE coconut oil. The coconut has become one of my favorite food because the meat and the oil extracted from it has so many health benefits that it can be labeled a super food. If i was stranded on a deserted island I would be okay with plenty of coconut. 🙂 Seriously, I use it on my hair, skin, and to cook with. Let me share with you some of my favorite coconut oil uses and benefits.

FYI: I always use Organic Raw Unrefined Coconut Oil to get the most beneficial nutrients.

 

HAIR

This is probably the most common way I use coconut oil as it is a great conditioner for the hair. I love adding coconut oil to my deep conditioners or use it for a hot oil treatment as it is the only oil that can penetrate into the hair shaft. That means super moisturized strong bouncy hair.

 

SKIN

Being that coconut oil is a great overall moisturizer you can also apply it directly to your skin in place of your regular lotion. Coconut oil gets deep into the skin tissues providing excellent hydration to the skin. This is an added benefit during the cold winter months when skin typically gets dry. I also like to add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to my DIY body scrubs.

 

MOUTH WASH

Yes you read right my friends! Coconut oil can be used as a mouth wash also known as oil pulling. Take about 1-2 tablespoons  of melted coconut oil and swish around your mouth. This helps pull the toxins from out of your mouth. Just be sure to spit it out and not to swallow after swishing! After repeated use of this method you will notice your teeth getting whiter and your breath fresher.

 

COOKING OIL

I stopped using butter several years ago for health reasons. I found that coconut oil makes a great substitute for butter. You can use it anywhere you would normally use butter even for baking. In fact it adds a little extra flavor to your dishes. As a cooking oil you can use it in any recipe that calls for some sort of vegetable oil. If you don’t want the coconut flavor in your food just use the refined version.

 

Do you use coconut oil? If so leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve incorporated coconut oil into your healthy lifestyle.

 

 

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Infused Water Craze

Featured, Health

 

So lately I’ve been getting questions about infused water so I thought I’d pop in to give some answers and a little inspiration via pictures of different infusions I’ve made and enjoy drinking.

 

Infusing water is really easy because you can get creative and use a mixture of your favorite fruits and herbs to make it your own. I love adding ice cubes to make the water infusion super cold and refreshing.

 

The longer you leave the fruit in the water the more intense the flavor. Of course you can eat the fruit after you finish the water or you can refill and enjoy some more. When making these water infusions I recommend that you use organic produce from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or your local farmers market. Only because I like to keep the skin on certain fruits while infusing so you definitely don’t want any pesticides or contaminates inside your water. Another tip is to use fresh spring water or filtered water. Tap water can sometimes also be contaminated with chlorine among other things.

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Hopefully these pictures will inspire you to start making your own infused water creations. If you decide to try this please let me know and feel free to share your own creations.

 

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