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5 Healthy Documentaries on Netflix You Must Watch

Health, Healthy Home, Info & Tips, Lifestyle

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle I’m a total documentary nerd. Like any other nerd I enjoy a good Netflix and chill night. Netflix is great for binge watching your favorite classic sitcoms and learning something new by watching documentaries. If you’re new to the non toxic lifestyle or even if you’re a pro you must watch these 5 healthy documentaries on Netflix. These will open your eyes about the food you eat and even the personal care products you use.

 

  1. Hungry for Change– This documentary exposes hidden secrets about diet, weight loss, and the food industry as a whole. It creates a conversation about why you crave bad foods that ultimately provide no nutritional value.
  2. The Human Experiment– This talks about the many hidden dangers in our personal care and household cleaning tools. You hear from real people whose lives have been negatively effected from the poisonous chemicals and what current legislation looks like to protect us from them.
  3. Food Choices– I loved this one because it takes an in depth look at what it means to eat a plant based diet. Redefining what a vegan or vegetarian is and whether or not it’s truly healthier. This documentary also shed like on fad diets like the paleo diet and others that have gained notoriety.
  4. Forks over Knives– This is a classic documentary that discusses processed foods and gives you a behind the scenes look at just how produce is grown and the inhumane way animals are treated prior to landing on your plate.
  5. Minimalism– Great documentary that makes you wonder exactly how much stuff do you really need in order to live a happy life. In a time where people collect the latest gadgets, clothes, and other items it looks at the lives of 2 men who have decided to cut out all the excess.

 

Have you watched any of these documentaries? If so what are your thoughts? Please share any other documentaries on healthy living in the comments.

 

 

How to Detox Naturally

Fitness, Health, Info & Tips, Lifestyle

I hope your new year is off to a great start!

Now that the holidays are over it’s time to transition back into regular life. I don’t know about you but I do indulge a bit during the holidays. You know how it goes; baked mac n cheese, spiked egg nog, sweet potato pie, or whatever your family likes to throw down.

Just to help me reset on focus I like to start the new year on a detox. Going on a detox helps you to recover from the holidays, remove toxins from the body, and get focused for the new year.

So here are a few tips on how to detox naturally.

 

My first tip is to stay away from processed foods. During the holidays we eat a lot of sweet treats and deserts. So cutting out all sugars and processed foods and sticking to a plant based diet is ideal during a detox. Make sure you eat plenty of fresh organic fruits and veggies.

It is important that you stay hydrated during your detox. This helps flush out toxins from the body. During the holidays you’re running around buying gifts, traveling, spending time with the fam so it’s harder to make sure you drink enough water. While I’m detoxing I make sure I increase my water intake. Drinking infused water is a great way stay hydrated and also add flavor to your water. You can add your favorite herbs and fruits to really make the water taste delicious. You can get a water infuser like this here.

For me a detox is not only about my physical health but also my mental and spiritual well-being. At the beginning of the year I like to pray and get closer to God. It really helps me to set the tone for the new year. I love collecting journals so I’ll write down any goals I want to accomplish in the new year. I also like to read inspirational books or devotionals.

Overall during your detox you want relax as much as possible. Work on being a better you from the inside out. I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any detoxing tips you want to share leave them in the comments below.

 

Natural vs. Organic vs. Cruelty Free vs. Vegan

Health, Info & Tips, Skincare

So if you’re new to this world of green living I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms organic, vegan, and cruelty free. But maybe you’re not sure what this all means and what you should be looking out for. It can get confusing when you’re trying to make healthy purchasing decisions. I’m here to help clear up any misconceptions and equip you with the knowledge and understanding that may make it a little easier.

Now that all these terms are trending you are seeing them everywhere. It’s hard to come by a product and not see it labeled as natural, organic, vegan, non-GMO, or something along those lines. Trying to decipher between all these labels and chose the one that best suits you can be a daunting task. So overwhelming that it’s tempting to give up and just go the most economical option that makes you feel safest. Hopefully I can clear up a lot of common misconceptions and give you some practical knowledge so that you feel confident the next time you’re strolling through the isles of your local grocer.

 

“Natural”- People often assume if a product is natural then that means it’s also organic however this is false. The term natural is often used by manufactures as a marketing ploy to make you think the product doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. There is no regulation from the FDA about labeling a product as “natural”. This means that anyone can use that term without any stipulation. This is also why it is important to read your ingredient list and labels carefully. Something labeled as “natural” can contain artificial ingredients, pesticides, hormones, and other additives. Some manufacturers cover this by including one ingredient that is natural and or plant based. Currently the only terms that are regulated are USDA Organic, Cruelty Free, and Non-GMO.

Source: usda.gov

Organic- The term organic basically means to be derived from living matter. Simply stated organic means to be grown or produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms. The easiest way to tell if a product is organic is to look for the USDA seal. The USDA Organic Program is a government-approved certifier that takes the manufacturer through a rigorous process that examines the farming practices the ingredient or animal derived from. Unlike the term “natural” only organic offers government-backed assurance that products are grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones.

Source: peta.org

Cruelty Free & Vegan Cruelty free is means that no ingredients in the product were tested on animals. Vegan means that the product does not contain any animal ingredients. Just because something is cruelty free doesn’t automatically mean that it’s free of animal derived substances, even if they don’t appear in the final product. The most common cruelty free & vegan label is verified by PETA; People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. You’ll know by the bunny symbol in the logo. When a product has this label a company or manufacturer is agreeing not conduct or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and do not contain any animal by-products. PETA requires companies to sign a statement of assurance and they pay to license the cruelty free bunny logo on the label.

Source: nongmoproject.org

Non-GMO- This labeling is something fairly new seen on the market. The Non-GMO Project was founded in 2005 as a non profit organization aiming to provide labeling for products that did not contain any genetically modified organisms. In case you’re not familiar with the term GMO essential it’s an organism that has had it’s DNA altered or modified in some way. In common terms it’s when scientists get involved to create or duplicate something derived from nature, or in others words trying to recreate nature through genetic engineering. The mission of the Non-GMO project is to preserve and build sources of Non-GMO products and educate consumers. Currently in the US the most common items that are genetically modified are soy and corn. This is because of the mass production, feeding, and use for agriculture purposes. As a general rule of thumb if you are eating or using a product that derives from corn or soy make sure that it has the Non-GMO Product or USDA Organic label on it. For meats and dairy look for that label as well or animals that are 100% grass fed or pasture-fed.

 

Here are some final tips and food for thought. When shopping look for any of the afore mentioned labels. Another work around is to shop at your local farmers markets. You’re more likely to find non-GMO food from local farmers. Most large industrial farms use some form of GMO. I love farmers markets because not only are you supporting small businesses in your community but you can talk to the famers directly and ask them questions about their farming practices.

 

Do you have any tips? Please share them in the comments below.

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.

createher-stock-care-free-curls-19

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.

ewg_bwc_straightners_c02

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 

Four Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Health, Info & Tips, Lifestyle

For some the holidays can be filled with great joy and gladness. The music, the Christmas decorations, spending time with family and loved ones can bring a smile to one’s face. For others this can be a time of sadness or anxiety for various reasons.

Much can be said about anxiety which is defined one way as “painful uneasiness of mind usually over an anticipated ill.” A second definition is “an abnormal apprehension and fear often accompanied by physiological signs, such as sweating and increased pulse, etc.” For many people, anxiety is occasionally experienced when attempting to do something like public speaking or when they find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. For others, anxiety is a disorder that manifests itself in a variety of symptoms, including difficulty breathing and even insomnia. If you suffer from anxiety in any of its forms, you know how painful and limiting it can be.

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Healthy Pantry Makeover

Health, Healthy Home, Info & Tips, Lifestyle

A healthy beauty routine starts in the kitchen. You’ve heard that old saying “you are what you eat”. If you want outer beauty then you must look at nourishing the body from the inside out. Did you know that your hair, skin, and nails are the last parts of the body to receive nutrients? Your body gives whatever nourishment to the vital organs first then the remaining nutrients go to the outer areas. That’s why it’s important that your diet has an ample supply of fresh leafy greens, veggies, and antioxidant boosting fruits like berries.

 

Your kitchen is the go to place for the foods to make meals and snacks. Most of your foods should be whole unprocessed foods. Foods without ingredient lists or heavy handed health claims on the labels are the best choice. Fresh food and items without a shelf life are a good way to go.

 

Below are a few ways you can start to give your panty a healthy makeover:

 

  1. GET A CLEAN START

Clear out all your shelves of your pantry, kitchen, cabinets, and refrigerator. You won’t be able to see what you’re working with until you’ve completely removed everything. You don’t have to throw everything out at once but it’s best to know what not to buy again and what needs to be swapped with a better choice when you go grocery shopping. By emptying your pantry you may uncover a few hidden gems that you’d completely forgotten.

 

 

  1. SORT AND PURGE

Go through everything to see if it loosely fits within the suggested items above. IE fresh whole foods or grains like wild rice, quinoa, spelt, amaranth, etc.

Items you should also toss include:

  • can goods
  • bags and boxes with rips or tears
  • spices older than one year
  • items that are expired
  • anything with an infestation

 

Inspect ingredient labels- look for these artificial food colors, sweeteners, flavor enhancers, preservatives, hydrogenated or highly processed oils and fats, GMO’s (genetically modified), high fructose corn syrup, sugar.

 

Ditch the junk- It’s better not to have those items in your kitchen to tempt you and learn to find healthier choices to snack on. Get rid of the potato chips, candy bars, cookies, etc especially any with the ingredients we have discussed so far.

 

Bypass BPA- I stopped buying canned good and plastic for this reason. Shop labels that say BPA free or buy items in glass containers instead. BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical also known as bisphenol-A, a synthetic oestrogen

 

dried-oranges-in-an-old-jar-picjumbo-com

 

  1. ORGANIZE 

Once you’ve purged your pantry, organize your remaining items grouping like items with like items. For example snacks in one area (crackers, nuts, dried fruits), containers of cut carrots, celery, snow peas on a low shelf in the fridge. Keeping your pantry organized in this way will make it easier to identify the items you need when heading to the store or preparing healthy meals.

 

  1. CLEAN

Obviously before restocking your pantry make sure you thoroughly clean out the space. Start at the top shelf wipe down all surfaces with a warm, damp cloth. If any of your food containers are sticky or dusty wipe them down before placing them back in the cupboard.

Amazing Beauty Products from your Pantry

Health, Healthy Home, Info & Tips, Lifestyle

I’ve reviewed a few natural and organic beauty brands on the blog but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the DIY days. Products that are already formulated for you without having to do anything extra are great. However you can find great beauty products right in your own kitchen. I’ll bet most of you already have some of these items on hand. Fruits, veggies, and herbs can fight wrinkles, dry skin, dullness, and even dark spots! Here are a few natural beauty products that you can find at home:

 

Potatoes– Oh I love potatoes! Although I’ve made a commitment to stay away from this starchy veg for a while or at least not eat them all the time. But it’s actually the starch from the potatoes that can help alleviate puffy eyes. Potatoes contain an anti-inflammatory astringent that reduces the puffy areas around the eyes. I’ve used this trip myself many a times and trust me it works.

 

Brown Sugar– With the summer basically around the corner we all want that beautiful healthy skin glowing in the sun! Clear glowing skin starts with a regular exfoliation sessions. No need to spend crazy amounts of money buying those scrubs when you can take a half a cup of brown sugar and mix it your favorite oil like olive or coconut oil (melted). Bring this mixture into your next shower and scrub your body with it after your normal rituals.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar– I know ACV is very popular amongst the natural hair community even though many hair stylists are saying the total opposite. Read here for more info on that… Back to the matter at hand apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent and toner. You can actually apply this to your face with a cotton ball after a cleansing. This will help restore your skin’s pH balance, tone, hydrate, and can even help with removing unwanted dark spots.

fruit-on-counter

Strawberries– Oh how I love berries and if you are following me on social media then you know how I’ve been on a berry binge for the last few weeks. Not only are the filled with antioxidants for healthy skin but strawberries also contain malic acid which is a natural teeth whitener. You can make simple at home toothpaste using strawberries by crushing a strawberry in some baking soda and coconut oil. Mix the ingredients together until they form a paste. Brush teeth as normal. Over time this will actually brighten your smile and promote fresh breath.

 

 

Avocados– Not only are they a healthy fat which is delicious when eaten but avocados are a natural moisturizer as well. You can use fresh ripe avocados as a hair conditioner to provide moisture or even a facial mask to hydrate dry skin. Just be sure that the avocado is masked and blended well if using it in your hair; you don’t want chunks of avocado left in your hair! As a mask simply mash an avocado with a fork and apply it to your face for 10 minutes. The natural fats and vitamins will relieve dry skin.

 

 

Those are just a few of my at home natural beauty items. Have you tried any of these? If so let me know in the comments.

 

 

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Why Women of Color Should Opt for Non-Toxic Cosmetics

Body, Health, Info & Tips, Lifestyle, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

When I refer to women of color I don’t just mean those of Black or African decent. The term includes women from a wide variety of backgrounds including Latina, Native American, Asian, and Indian. As a fellow brown girl my passion and drive for creating this blog is to serve as a resource and motivation to chose organic and all natural options when it comes to cosmetics. My goal with this blog is to at least get women to consider their health when purchasing beauty products and to show that there are safer alternatives.

 

Cosmetics are a $71 billion industry. Of that number women of color spend close to three times as much than any other group. Cosmetic products marketed to women of color have improved in providing safer ingredients. The natural hair care industry has grown from only a select few companies to several; most of which are now offered in local beauty supply stores and big box retailers. I remember a time when there were only a select few available exclusively online.

 

According to the Environmental Working Group many ingredients used in traditional personal care products are known carcinogens, which have been linked to breast cancer. Unfortunately in the United States there is no system in place to regulate potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics. Cosmetic companies are not required to have their products tested for safety by the FDA or any other agency. This means we as consumers have to be careful to read our labels and understand the ingredients in the products we use in and on our bodies daily.

 

The average US woman uses beauty products that contain nearly 200 different chemicals. Of these chemicals many include parabens, mercury, artificial dye, phthalates, formaldehyde, and toluene. All of these substances have been proven to cause many adverse health risks with prolonged use. Some of these health concerns are fibroid tumors, infertility, birth defects, hair loss, cancer, and this is just to name a few! Women of color are at a greater risk for these fibroids, breast cancer, and other diseases.

 

I often hear women of color especially in the black community stay away from certain ingredients in their hair care products but why not extend that to your makeup, skincare, and other beauty products. While it may sound overwhelming at first you can make small changes one product at a time. As a woman of color I understand where the challenge comes to finding cosmetics that are a perfect match. Hopefully this blog will introduce you to some natural alternatives that won’t compromise your health in the name of beauty.

 

Here are some resources if you want to do more research:

Story of cosmetics

Safe Cosmetics.org

Environmental Working Group

 

 

A few things before you go…..

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Follow me on Instagram

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Subscribe to my YouTube Channel