September Updates from Non Toxic U

Hello Everyone,

I had a great time at “Meet BABI” this past weekend. It was wonderful to connect with such an amazing collection of birth educators, midwives, doulas, lactation specialists and other valuable resources for parents seeking a greater connection to their births and their parenting experience. I definitely left with a happy feeling that even this hippy can connect with a broad community of like minded people :-)

Back to school is in full swing, and I know that those of you with grade school aged children are doing the happy dance at the idea of having some kid-free time on your hands. I am keeping September relatively low key so we can gently settle back into the school year. October will be full of great classes focusing on boosting immunity and first aid.

For now, here is what’s left of September:

Cleaning, personal care and introduction to Essential Oils – September 21st. Private class.

Mini consult and non toxic replacement make and take – September 25th, in Los Gatos.
Once you sign up for this class, you will send me 3 products that you currently use to clean your house and I will provide a comprehensive analysis on each product along with suggested replacements and a DIY replacement for one of those products that we will make in class. This class requires advanced registration, as I will need some time to pull together reports and data sheets, as well as time to get the required supplies together. Cost is $30

Kombucha workshop at The Daily Method (TDM) in Willow Glen – October 4th at 1:00pm
This workshop is free to TDM customers that have signed up for their 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge. There are other great informational classes available during this challenge, so please check it out. There is a $100 30-day introduction where you can take unlimited TDM classes, or you can chose a new client introductory package of three classes for $45. Please go to their website for more information http://www.thedaileymethod.com/willowglen.html

That’s all for now folks. I’ll be sending another update in October. As always, please reply with “unsubscribe” if you wish to be removed from my once a month updates. Oh, and if you’re in the neighborhood, please like NTU on the Facebook http://www.facebook.com/nontoxicubiz

August Updates From Non Toxic U

Is it really August already???

My August is very full already, which only really leaves room for 1 or 2 individual classes or trainings. Keep in mind that I can do these over Skype or Facetime as well. Neither of us has to go anywhere, and we can stay in our PJs :-)
I just led one of my favorite classes to date on the 1st. It was a Mom’s Night Out spa night. I gave a little talk about personal care products and the questionable ingredients we are exposed to, then everyone made their own custom face mask and cleansed, steamed, masked, rinsed toned and serum’d and then made their own personalized sugar face/body/hand sugar scrub. The hostess of this class also brought in a masseur who gave 8 minute chair massages, which were heavenly! For $20, attendees got to make a custom mask and sugar scrub, and left with samples of an anti aging face serum and body butter, as well as a deeper understanding of why what we use on our bodies matters (massages were an additional cost). So fun! I have to say, the mom’s night out events are my favorite :-)
Here is what’s happening for August:
Thursday, August 14th @ 6:00pm: Cleaning your house the non toxic way” – This is a make and take class. Learn what ingredients to look out for in common household cleaners, and what you can do to replace toxic cleaning chemicals with effective non toxic alternatives. You will be making an all purpose cleaner and a “febreeze” air freshening/linen/body spray. Cost for this class is $15 per person, there are 6 spaces available for this class.
Thursday, August 21st @ 7:30pm:  LAS MADRES AUGUST SPEAKER EVENT Reducing Your Family’s Toxic Exposure” - I will be leading August’s speaker night for Las Madres, an organization of a wonderful network of parents that offers many different types of support and fun events for families. This event is free to Las Madres members. If you are not a member of Las Madres and are interested in learning more about the organization, please go to http://www.lasmadres.org. EVENT DESCRIPTION: We are exposed to thousands of chemicals everyday, in our water, in our air and in our homes. Many of these chemicals are highly toxic, and have a negative impact on our health with links to cancer, asthma, infertility, hormone disruption, skin lesions and other autoimmune responses. While it is not possible to totally control what we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is possible to limit our exposure and improve our overall health easily and affordably by taking a look at what we use in our homes and on our bodies and making some changes. After the short presentation, you will be making an all purpose cleaning spray to take home to get you started on “cleaning up your act.”
Thursday, August 21st @ 6:00pm: DIY Probiotics – Fermentation Basics” - Learn why probiotics play such a vital role in your overall health and how you can easily integrate them into your life by making your own probiotic rich foods and beverages. This is a make and take class and you will be making either a sauerkraut or kimchi style ferment, as well as sampling other fermented foods and beverages. The cost for this class is $35.
Please respond to this email for registration information on these classes, as well as location details.

Fermentaholic – A Look at Fermented Foods

***Here is a blog from earlier in the year… Enjoy.

 

How many ferments are too many? I say, there are never enough!!! If there were a way to ferment this post, I would do it. Currently I have 6 ferments going; water kefir, beet kvass, hard apple cider, two different sourdough starters and Sally Fallon‘s heavenly fermented raisin chutney. I do love me some fermentin’ and at times my kitchen counter looks like one big science experiment. It ain’t pretty, but it sure is fun. Fermenting and fermented foods have been around since humans. Well, technically it was happening before then, but controlled fermenting of foods and beverages didn’t begin until humans got involved. It is arguably the oldest form of food preservation there is. The benefits of fermented foods are widely debated among health practitioners, nutritionists and scientists. The biggest benefit is that it is an easy way to preserve fresh food for later consumption. It certainly was handy before we came up with a little thing called refrigeration.

I began my foray into fermenting at home shortly after joining a CSA. A large box of seasonal/fresh veggies each week for one or two people is a lot to get through and sometimes it requires some method of preservation so things can be eaten at a later time. Also there are veggies that are just kind of meh, and need improved flavor to get me excited about eating them. Sauerkraut it a perfect example of turning cabbage (meh), into enjoyable yumminess. I eat it very regularly and so does my three year old. Incidentally it is the only way I can get the kid to eat cabbage. The great thing about kraut is that the act of fermentation makes the nutrients in cabbage more bio available (fact), and much easier to digest (fact). If you eat cabbage this way, you will never again do the cabbage flatch. This is what I call the intestinal gas often times associated with consuming cabbage. I am embarrassed to add that I also do the dumb dance (the cabbage patch) when I let one rip after eating cabbage. And I wonder why my kid thinks farting is funny…

Let’s do a quick run down on the pros and cons of fermented foods. I will also note where things should be taken on with a fair amount of skepticism. Everyone makes up their own mind about things, and I will leave it up to you to do your due diligence and form your own educated opinion/theory.

First the PROS:

As in Probiotics (meaning pro life) to start with. Many studies have been done on beneficial bacteria in the gut. They promote good digestive health. They improve immune function. They even keep the bad bacteria in check. PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), have released several studies on gut bacterium across many different health related issues, including the reduction in diet related obesity. You should check out their website if interested. Plus it is fun to say… PNAS! PNAS! PNAS!

Fermenting foods also makes nutrients in foods more bio available to you. The act of fermentation breaks down the cellular walls of the food, thus making nutrients available for your body to absorb and use. Chewing food does the same thing, but on a much smaller scale. The macrobiotic diet espouses the benefits of chewing your food thoroughly for the same reason. Adding acids such as lemon juice, or vinegar to vegetable preparation is beneficial in doing the same thing, as well. I love having different options available to me, don’t you?

(put your skeptic hats on) Fermented foods have also been associated with panacean claims such as curing cancer, removing heavy metals from your system (detoxifying), curing autism, curing diabetes and the common cold, as well as many other claims. Folks, there simply isn’t any real data supporting these claims. Integrate these foods into your diet as complimentary to the treatments recommended by your doctor for these conditions.

Now the CONS:

A natural byproduct of fermentation is alcohol. This is exclusive to sugar based ferments (kombucha, wine, beer, etc.) The harmful effects of alcohol on your body are well documented and can be easily found by doing a google search. With that said, the amount of alcohol found in fermented foods is very minimal unless the ferment in question happens to be beer or wine (which both happen to have their own health benefits).

Fermented foods have a high salt content. Many fermented foods use salt to create an inhospitable environment for bad bacteria, such as botulism. This is not across the board for all fermented foods, just the ones that use salt. If you are in a position to watch your salt intake, you should probably avoid ferments that use a heavy amount of salt in the fermentation process.

(put your skeptic hats back on) Raw foodies love to bash fermented foods as being low in nutrition and hard on digestion, despite the fact that there are scientific studies that prove otherwise. Many cruciferous vegetables are just fiber unless an acid is introduced or fermentation has occurred. The body simply can’t break down the cellular structure of these foods to access all of the nutrients inside. While a raw piece of broccoli may have more nutrients in it, they don’t do your body much good if they can’t be accessed though normal digestion. You can’t taste the doughnut if it’s wrapped in plastic, so whats the point in sticking it in your mouth?

There is also concern with harmful bacterias in fermented foods causing health concerns. One needn’t look very far to see higher incidence of this in conventionally grown vegetables, factory farm meats and dairy, and even heavily processed/pasturized foods that line our grocery store shelves

There is a wealth of information out there if you are interested in learning more, just seek it out. Beware of ambiguous references to “Bulgarian studies” and the like. Spend your time collecting facts and data. The once you’re done, sit down with a nice glass of red wine, slap some lacto fermented raisin chutney onto a Raincoast Crisp smeared with goat cheese (another fermented food) and pontificate on how you feel. If you follow this specific recipe, I can assure you, you’ll feel pretty damn good!

Image by Skepclectic Mom
This is my chutney on it’s way to becoming splendid.
Image by Skepclectic Mom
My new bubbly sourdough starter!!! I love her already.

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

 

The Dirt on the Dishes…

I am writing today to give you the dirt on the dishes. Or better, dishing the dirt on automatic dishwashing detergent, and why you can’t make a less toxic version yourself that won’t eventually ruin your dishes and possibly your dishwasher, especially if your water is hard.

Photo by Goedeker's

Photo by Goedeker’s

While on my journey to achieving a less toxic environment in my home while trying to maintain an acceptable level of performance from my cleaning and personal care products I have come across some obstacles. One of these obstacles is automatic dishwashing detergent. I am big on the DIY movement. There are not a lot of things in this particular area that I haven’t tried to make myself, and when I am unsuccessful I take it personal. In fact, I spend waste so much of my time on some things just trying to come up with something that is even remotely passable as effective and I fail… And this time I brought people with me (I’m talking to you Tracy and Ronda). You see, I thought for sure there had to be a more natural, less toxic DIY option for automatic dishwashing detergent. Well there is, but there really isn’t.

Let’s start by covering what the typical ingredients are and what they do. I took this directly from cleaninginstitute.org

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The Detergent

Automatic dishwashers require detergents with very special characteristics because of the conditions under which the detergent must work. One of its essential characteristics is that it must produce little or no suds or foam because too much foam can inhibit the washing action. Other important functions that a dishwasher detergent should perform are the following:

  • Make water wetter (reduce surface tension) to penetrate and loosen soil.
  • Tie up water hardness minerals to permit the detergent to do its cleaning job.
  • Emulsify greasy or oily soil.
  • Suppress foam caused by protein soils such as egg and milk.
  • Help water to sheet off surfaces of dishes, thus minimizing water spots.
  • Protect china patterns and metals from the corrosive effects of heat and water alone.

Ingredients

To accomplish these functions, the following ingredients may be included depending on the formulation and product form:

SURFACTANT (nonionic) _ lowers the surface tension of water so that it will more quickly wet out the surfaces and the soils. Lowering the surface tension makes the water sheet off dishes and not dry in spots. The surfactant also helps remove and emulsify fatty soils like butter and cooking fat. Nonionic surfactants are used because they have the lowest sudsing characteristics.
BUILDER (complex phosphates) _ combines with water hardness minerals (primarily calcium and magnesium) and holds them in solution so that the minerals cannot combine with food soils and so that neither the minerals themselves nor the mineral/food soil combination will leave insoluble spots or film on dishes. A builder helps maintain a desirable level of alkalinity, necessary for good soil removal.

*** Read a piece by TreeHugger on why it is important to avoid this particular ingredient, and why it is now banned in many places***
CORROSION INHIBITOR (sodium silicate) _ helps protect machine parts, prevent the removal of china patterns and the corrosion of metals such as aluminum.
CHLORINE COMPOUND _ aids in sanitizing, helps make protein soils like egg and milk soluble, aids in removing such stains as coffee or tea and lessens spotting of glassware.
SPECIAL ADDITIVES (sodium aluminate, boric oxide, aluminum phosphate, etc.) _ may be used to inhibit overglaze and pattern removal from fine china.
ADDITIONAL ALKALIS (sodium carbonate, trisodium phosphate) _ may be used to aid in handling greasy food soils.
PERFUME _ covers the chemical odor of the base product and stale food odors which might otherwise emanate from the dishwasher.
PROCESSING AIDS _ generally inert materials that allow the active ingredients to be combined into a usable form.

A Specially Formulated Product

There are no substitutes for an automatic dishwasher detergent. Only an automatic dishwasher detergent can be used in an automatic dishwasher. These products come in either powder or gel form. All other types of detergents or soaps produce too much suds and will smother the water action necessary for cleaning in the dishwasher. Furthermore, enough suds might be generated to cause a dishwasher to overflow. This could necessitate a service call and could be damaging to the dishwasher and the floor around it. No other type of cleaning product such as baking soda, borax, vinegar or hand dishwashing liquid can be substituted for an automatic dishwasher detergent. These other materials will not perform well and may be damaging to the items being washed or to the dishwasher itself.

*******************************************************************************

With that said, I have tried various combinations of baking soda, borax, distilled white vinegar, washing soda, citric acid, salt, etc. Each time I tweaked the formula, I had one or two loads of sparkling clean dishes, but then the buildup would progress to a point where I had to soak everything in vinegar to get rid of it. My girlfriend Ronda even had this to say in regards to substituting table salt with epsom salt;

“this morning I was looking for a diy for laundry water softener. Was hoping I could get rid of my big bag of Epsom salts… Sure enough, wellness mama had  recipe using salt, and somewhere in there is said you could substitute Epsom salts for the coarse salt. A comment at the very end of the post caught my eye. The poster said she had made the recipe using Epsom salts and used it on a load of darks. She could tell when she pulled the clothes out of the dryer that they had faded. (most likely they were actually coated with a film of soap scum) Hmmm. interesting. Now, I know that Epsom salt isn’t really salt. It’s magnesium sulphate. That’s why it works for soaks, baths. You wouldn’t just pour a cup of table salt into your bath. It’s also the reason why you gargle with salt and not Epsom salt, unless you want to release your bowels unexpectedly. SO, long story longer. I did some digging and found the link* above. It explains why you shouldn’t use Epsom salt in laundry (or dishwasher diy) because it actually makes the water harder. ACK!!! Now I know why my diy dishwasher soap was leaving a hard water type stain!!! Anyway, I’m off to buy some coarse salt at Smart and Final. Wanted to send this link* to you and see if you’d be willing to put it on your blog. Might save a few people from making a simple substitution mistake.  :)”

*original link is no longer available and has been replaced by a link with similar information.

Now Tracy on the other hand has had some success using Epsom salt, but still a problem with the buildup. It seems both Tracy and Ronda have a bit more fortitude when it comes to this particular quagmire and I wish them well. But I for one am calling it. I’m done… I quit! YOU WIN AUTOMATIC DISHWASHING DETERGENT MADE BY SOMEBODY OTHER THAN ME!!! DAMN YOU!!!

I will be blogging about this again should Tracy or Ronda come up with a breakthrough here, but until then I will be taking my ball and going home. I will be picking up some automatic dishwashing detergent on my way, non-toxic of course. I won’t even bother posting recipes, as I can’t endorse any of them currently.

P.S. There’s only like 6 that are trusted as really safe they are;

  • Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder, Free & Clear
  • Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs, Free & Clear
  • Green Shield Organic Squeeze Automatic Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Lemongrass
  • Nature Clean Automatic Dishwasher Pacs
  • Nice! Dishwasher Packs Single Dose Detergent
  • The Honest Co. Honest Auto Dishwasher Gel, Free & Clear

You can look up yours on the EWG website to see how it rates http://www.ewg.org

Photo by Sonny Abesamis

Photo by Sonny Abesamis

Reducing Your Family’s Toxic Load – Is It Necessary?

Cleaning Pic

Photo by Julie G

You have probably been reading a lot lately about the exponential increase over the last few decades to the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, and the legislation that is being proposed to make it easier for companies to market these chemicals to you without ever telling you what it is, or the possible side effects from using it. Is it really that important to reduce your family’s toxic load? The truth is as we learn more about what the FDA deems as “safe,” and are faced with the backtracking that is involved when something that was once approved as “safe” is now banned, or the lengthly list of ingredients that are banned elsewhere, but are approved for use here, one has to stop to consider whether or not these things are good for us, our children and our environment.

Hundreds of chemicals are found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns, and the lower you go down the socioeconomic scale in this country, the worse it is. How are the bioaccumilative effects these chemicals affecting us, and worse, how are they affecting our babies? Don’t worry, I will not be going down the smoke and mirrors legislation for Big Chem rabbit hole, and how they can sneak pretty much anything they want into your shampoo, lotion, or cleaning supplies without you really knowing any better. But what I will do is give you some options.

Women on average are exposed to over 300 synthetic and harmful chemicals every day, just by simply practicing common daily hygiene rituals. Many of these chemicals are linked to breast and other cancers. The exposure to men is lower due to the nature of common hygiene practices for them, but it is most definitely not in the safe zone either (I’m talking to you Axe body spray guy).

According to the EPA, our indoor environment is now at least 2-5 times more toxic than our outdoor environment. Between 6,000 – 10,000  calls are made to poison control every day. 25% of which resulted in either death, major, moderate or minor effects being reported. The top 3  exposure categories were pain killers, cosmetics/personal care products and household cleaning substances.

“EWG research into more than 2,000 common cleaning products lays bare the troubling consequences of the lack of federal oversight over the ingredients in cleaning supplies. Manufacturers can use nearly any substance they want, even those known to pose health or environmental hazards. And they can hide information about virtually all those ingredients from the eyes of consumers. The result is an unregulated industry and hundreds of potentially harmful cleaning products on store shelves.” (www.ewg.org)

Many of you are already using the Environmental Working Group’s database to learn more about the products you are using, and to shape your choices of what you will use going forward. If you aren’t, let me say that you should be. They have a very easy to understand grading system of thousands of household products that you can search to get the scoop on what’s in your cabinets. They will teach you that an “all natural” label means nothing and that “fragrance,” even on a product posing as natural could be anything, yes even synthetic. Please… Go… Now. No, wait! Please finish reading this, and then go.

Many people find that when they look into making the switch that it is too cost prohibitive. Or maybe they don’t feel like they get the performance they desire out of these products. Sometimes it is just too overwhelming for people so they press the snooze button for a later time when they feel like they can get a better handle on it. STOP! None of these things are real obstacles. There are many home made, extremely inexpensive and effective replacements for most of these products. And by the way, we are not talking about eliminating these things all at once, cold turkey. We are talking about reduction. Baby steps to a cleaner way of living. I hear after many classes that I teach how people started off so intimidated by this, but once they learned how easy and cheap it was they couldn’t believe they hadn’t made these changes sooner. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you here. This is important and deserves your time and consideration, albeit minimal.

In fact, I’d like to get your started right now. Here is a great recipe for do it yourself disposable, or reusable cleaning/disinfecting wipes. Enjoy! I welcome all questions, comments and feedback. I would love to hear from you and help you on your journey to “cleaning up your act.”

Best of Health,

-Adrienne

All Purpose Cleaning/Disinfecting Wipes

Ingredients:

1/2 roll of “select a size” paper towels

1 Cup distilled water

½ Cup distilled white vinegar

½ Cup rubbing alcohol

1 Tbsp. Sal Suds or On Guard cleaning concentrate*

20 Drops of Tea Tree (Melaleuca) essential oil*

Accordion fold roughly half the roll of paper towels and place into a gallon size zip top bag, or double the recipe and use the whole roll. Mix rubbing alcohol and essential oil to emulsify the two ingredients, then add the rest of the wet ingredients together and pour over paper towels. Let sit for a bit so that all liquid gets evenly absorbed. DO NOT use paper towels with print. The print will come off on your surfaces as you clean.

For a non-disposable/reusable wipe, cut up some old tee shirts into the size wipe you prefer and use in place of the paper towels. I would cram these in a glass canning jar and pour liquid over the top. Cap and store under sinks or close to the areas you typically would use them in.

*Affiliate link

No Plastic Bottles! Liberty Bottleworks – The Last Reusable Bottles I Will Ever Own…

Please re-read this post title in your best Joan Crawford “No..wire..Hangers! impersonation. Do it over and over again until you annoy every living creature in your home. It could buy you a minute or two of some peace and quiet. People are always afraid of crazy… Anywhoo, there has been a lot of chatter lately about BPA-free plastics, as it relates to safety. The overwhelming message is that using plastic, in all of its “food safe” forms, for anything food or drink related is not safe.

  bottles copy     bottle boxes      Inside Bottle

I recently discovered Liberty Bottleworks. They’ve got aluminum bottles that I feel so good about using I was moved to write this product review. I will do my best to illustrate why these are the last reusable bottles that I will ever own.

Since this is the first review I am doing for Non-Toxic U, let me start out by stating that: when/if I do a product review, it is not because somebody sent me their product for free and asked me to do so. That’s not to say that I won’t gladly accept freebies post-review. I like free shit, just like everybody else. I especially like free shit that I LOVE using. I will only write positive reviews about the products that I stumble upon organically and truly deserve to be evangelized. I will not go out of my way to do a negative review but will give my opinion on specific products, if asked. I have a lot of opinions—some of them suck. This one does not.

Now that that’s out of the way…

As you (the reader) know, I have been working on phasing out plastics in my house…especially, when it comes to our food storage and serving items. We have gone through many iterations of what we use for water bottles/cups, etc. Throughout this journey, I have learned that you will have great difficulty finding a less reactive stainless steel bottle that is made in the US, because the EPA simply will not allow much manufacturing of this material. Production of stainless steel is not a clean enough process to be done here, which is why the bulk of it is made in other parts of the world that have lower environmental standards. This has now made me rethink all of the stainless steel I use (sigh). Also, just because an aluminum bottle is made outside the US, it doesn’t make it inferior to an aluminum bottle made here. There are other reasons why they are inferior, but country of origin is not necessarily one of them. Glass is great, but glass and children at school don’t necessarily mix. Often, glass is not welcome in this as well as other types of environments. This is why I have to drink my Tecate out of a can at the swim up bar. So really, my only other option is a lightweight metal bottle.

I recently had the pleasure of purchasing three bottles from Liberty Bottleworks, after stumbling upon their product through another website. I ordered: “Kraken” and “No Evil” from the Kids Collection, plus one from the Artisan Collection named “Stellar.” The artwork on these bottles is so cute, or if you have an aversion to the word cute, just swap it with the word cool. The bottle tops on the kids collection, which I believe are the sport tops, are fantastic. My OCD-orally fixated-labrador, I mean, son has not been able to chew through one yet, and they are super easy for him to use. The coating on them makes them a snap to clean as well. They came shipped in cardboard only, without the use of synthetic packing materials, or additional outer boxes. Already off to a good start, in my book.

Since I had decided I was going to do a review, I put in a call to Liberty Bottleworks’ corporate office and spoke to Amanda Watson, Executive Sales Director, to find out more.  What was so special about their bottles and why I should be using them? When I got off of the phone I had decided that I had found my life partner and we would officially be spending the rest of our days together. No, not Amanda, the bottles…I am sure Amanda is quite a catch, but alas she is already spoken for.

I am almost 100% certain that I will not need to look any further for a solution. These bottles are;

- Made in America by Americans, in a zero waste factory in Washington’s Yakima Valley

- The only waste free factory in the world that produces reusable aluminum bottles

- Practices ethical discrimination by giving hiring preferences to our country’s veterans

- “Pure Shield” coating on the inside and out to prevent leaching into liquids as well as onto fingers and hands

- Specially designed closures that do not freeze onto your bottle, and can withstand pressure up to 50 psi

- Will continue expanding product offering

Let’s start with the first bullet point and work our way down. I know a lot of parents out there are taking a long hard look at their buying habits and trying to make a conscious effort to buy things that are made in America. The reasons to do so are many, but so are the challenges. Liberty Bottleworks provide excellent products at reasonable prices that you can feel great about buying and use for many, many, years to come. In fact, they’ll probably last longer than you.

No other manufacturer of reusable water bottles can claim such a small carbon footprint. They track all of their materials and ensures that all scraps are turned back into new bottles. Theirs is the only zero waste factory of its kind in the world. How awesome is that?

They hire veterans whenever possible… Enough said.

They have developed a special non-porous powder coating that they call “Pure Shield.” This FDA approved coating is applied to the inside and outside of their bottles to prevent any leaching into your liquids or onto your hands and lips. This isn’t such a big deal with water, but for juices, sodas and other liquids it is pretty important, as the PH of liquids can have a significant impact on the reactivity of aluminum. This powder in its raw state is completely edible and harmless. Even glass is not totally non-porous. You can put virtually anything that you drink in here and let it sit for long periods of time and not experience any staining or residual smells, once washed out.

They have also designed a closure that with a quarter turn, seals your liquidy goodness inside. These lids do not freeze onto your bottles, nor do they allow bacteria to enter. This seal can withstand pressure up to 50 psi—they are already testing beer growlers and have had success. Being a big fermenter myself, I had to put this to the test. I did a secondary ferment of my kombucha in one of these bottles, and after day 4 the lid was clearly stressed and getting a little wonky, but still did not break the seal on the bottle. I have no way of measuring the psi in my kombucha, but what I can tell you is that it is as fizzy as champagne and typically champagne runs at 70-90 psi per bottle. These bottles may not be the best choice in this type of fermenting, but I can definitely store my finished booch in one of their fine growlers without worrying about the high acidity leaching chemicals into my beverage, or heavy tea and juice stains left on the inner lining all while knowing without a doubt that it will remain fizzy and delicious until the last drop.

They are working on several new products while utilizing these same practices and I look forward to seeing what comes next in the way of their product offerings. I personally would like to see an entire line of to-go containers for food and beverages, but I do not own this company…nor do I work there. The best that I can do is, cross my fingers.

I really do love this company and their products. I encourage you to go and purchase these bottles to replace all of the ones you are currently using. I also encourage you to buy them as gifts for people you love so they too can have a safe bottle to drink out of.

Remember, I get no commission on these things—I just believe in them that much. Check out their facebook page for current promotions, if any. Give them a like and pass on their awesomeness to your other friends. One thing that resonated with me is that when asked if there was anything else she wanted to share about Liberty Bottleworks, Amanda simply said, “This is the first company I have worked for that does the right thing…just because it is the right thing to do and that is a really good feeling.” She clearly loves her job.

Well what are you waiting for?!? Go. Shop. When your bottles arrive take a giant gulp of non-toxic drinkatude and check one more thing off of your list of things to worry about. They also do custom bottles for a minimum order of 75. I am going to try and get our school to order some, and if NTU ever makes a profit, I’ll be placing an order as well.

My Dirty Mouth… Which is cleaner than it’s ever been!

Image

This is the Dirty Mouth in Question

Hi NTU readers. I just posted an article about Crest using polyethylene beads in their toothpaste as a colorant, and it got me thinking about my own toothpaste use and how my dental hygiene has evolved over the years. I have a dirty mouth (in more ways than one), there’s no disputing it… But you do too! The mouth is in fact one of the dirtiest places on our bodies, following only the belly button (unless you pay special attention to washing this particular area), or so I’ve read. So let’s talk about my dirty mouth… And yours.

As most of us did, I grew up in a house where dental hygiene was at least moderately important. As I got older and started kissing boys, sometimes for hours at a time (ahhh young love), a clean mouth was of paramount importance. Nobody wants any of the Snickers and Sprite you horked down in between periods, while fluffing your hair in the bathroom with your girlfriends and discussing important current events like “oh my god, did you see what she was wearing? Gross!” Anyhow, I didn’t give much thought to what I was washing the inside of my mouth with, because well, it’s toothpaste. It’s good for you, right?!

Then in my 20s my critical thinking abilities somehow magically appeared and all of the sudden I had questions. Lots and lots of questions. One of these questions was “why does orange juice taste so weird after I brush my teeth?” I largely ignored this phenomenon, but wondered the same thing each time I experienced this weird after taste with various foods immediately after brushing my teeth. It still didn’t occur to me to question the ingredients in my toothpaste, because it’s good for you, right?! 

Fast forward to several years ago, when I finally decided that it may be a negative thing to have this lingering after taste in my mouth long after the last bit of toothpaste was spat into my sink and washed away. So I looked… I looked at the ingredient list on my toothpaste and did some research on some of those ingredients and decided that I needed to break up with my toothpaste.

This breakup, as all breakups do, went through some phases. I will list these phases here;

Phase one – baking soda, the “I miss you so much baby” phase. If you have ever brushed your teeth with straight baking soda, you’ll agree that it takes a little getting used to. And when I say getting used to, I mean IT’S AWFUL. Gritty, weird tasting powder where a sweet, fresh minty wave of clean once was. I was really second guessing my choice here. I mean, was my toothpaste that bad? Couldn’t I overlook its shortcomings and learn to get along? After all, nobody is perfect right? I have to admit that me and my old toothpaste were on again/off again for a while after that.

Phase two – natural toothpaste, the “rebound” phase. Back when I made this change, there were limited options in the way of natural toothpaste. In fact, as far as I can remember the only one that wasn’t too hippy dippy and was the most effective out of the ones I tried was Tom’s. We were together for a long time and I grew as a person while we were together, but I was looking for something more long term. Dating Tom’s was expensive, and I was ready to settle down. No hard feelings, Tom’s was a great partner, and we still keep in touch via my husband, who has been with Tom’s for some time now.

Phase three – DIY homemade toothpaste, the “finding love again” phase. There are many different recipes out there for toothpaste and I encourage you to explore them. Kick the tires if you will. I have settled into a recipe adapted from a recipe from Wellness Mama. I get a lot of stuff from her. She shares information on tooth remineralization and the science behind it here. I will provide my recipe at the end of this post. What I have noticed is that the pains I had when eating sweets have completely vanished, and although I haven’t been to the dentist in, ahem, a few years, I can honestly say that my teeth and gums feel and look healthier than ever. The sensitivity has completely vanished and I couldn’t be happier. The only drawback to this recipe is that is is largely made up of coconut oil and therefor clogged my sink. I now swallow it, because I am too lazy to reach under the sink for the garbage can, and because for the first time in my life it is safe to do so and it is beneficial due to the ingredients used. I can teach you how to make this toothpaste, as well as many other personal care items in one of my classes. Go to http://www.nontoxicu.com for more information on the classes that I offer. For the record, there is no polyethylene used in this recipe. Enjoy.

DIY Remineralizing Toothpaste

5 Tbsp. Calcium & Magnesium Powder (why is this used?)

2 Tbsp. Baking Soda (why is this used?)

3 Tbsp. Xylitol – Non-GMO, and further refined with a food processor or coffee grinder. (why is this used?)

5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, mostly used for texture.

15 Drops Concentrace, for additional minerals.

10 Drops peppermint essential oil, you can find it **here

10 Drops On Guard essential oil, you can find it **here (why is this used?)

5 Drops Myrrh essential oil, you can find it **here (why is this used?) I just added this recently

You can also add **clove essential oil for further analgesic properties.

*The ratios of essential oils can be adjusted to your taste preference. You can also try other flavors like fennel, or cinnamon in place of the peppermint.

**If you choose to purchase essential oils through this link, I will receive a small commission. Thank you.