Let’s get real—makeup and beauty products are expensive. In 2017, sales of prestige makeup in the U.S. totaled $8.1 billion, according to research by the NPD Group (1). That figure was up 6 percent from 2016. In fact, a survey conducted by Groupon revealed that women spend an average of $225,360 on beauty products in their lifetimes (2).
When shopping online or visiting cosmetic counters or specialty retailers, women are faced with a staggering amount of products and choices. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But before you empty your wallet to try that new contour powder or that trendy lipstick color, take stock of what you have and consider using your makeup in multiple ways.
The following seven beauty hacks will show you how to get creative and make the most of your makeup.
7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Makeup
Use Liquid Lipstick to Color Correct
Before you purchase a color-correcting product to combat dark circles, try using a red or orange-colored liquid lipstick. Dab a little bit of the lipstick under your eyes and blend it out, or use it over dark spots on your face to help balance out the darkness before you cover problem areas with foundation and concealer.
Liquid lipstick formulas are recommended over regular lipstick formulas because they dry down and won’t smudge and smear easily. If you’re using liquid lipstick to color correct dark circles under your eyes, make sure the formula is eye-safe.
Use Eyeshadow to Contour and Highlight
Sure, eyeshadow is meant to go on your eyes, but there are no rules that say you can’t use the powders on other areas of your face. Look for a matte-brown eyeshadow in your collection that is approximately two shades darker than your skin tone and use it to contour out your cheekbones, jawline, forehead area and nose. Make sure to blend it out so that there are no harsh lines, and look for a slightly cool undertone in the eyeshadow so that the shade doesn’t look too orange or warm on your skin.
You can also use a metallic or foiled eyeshadow as a highlight. Look for high-shine gold, light pink or champagne shades in your collection and dust some on the tops of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and your cupid’s bow. Avoid using shadows with too much glitter, as these will emphasize texture on the skin.
Use Concealer as an Eyeshadow Primer
There are tons of eyeshadow primers on the market that are meant to help your eyeshadows last longer and resist creasing. But what most cosmetic sales associates won’t tell you is that concealer works just as well to create a smooth surface and prime your eyes. Make sure to use a light application, blend it evenly across your lids, and set the concealer down with a translucent powder before applying your eyeshadow.
Use Eyeshadow to Create Your Own Lip Gloss
You can create a unique and personalized lipstick shade by combining your favorite eyeshadow or pigment with some clear lip gloss, balm or petroleum jelly (or a petroleum jelly substitute). To do this, lightly scrape the eyeshadow with some tweezers so that it becomes a loose powder. Scrape it over a small mixing bowl or use the back of a mirror or makeup palette as a mixing area.
Once you have about a dime-sized amount of powder, add your gloss, balm or jelly and use the end of a makeup brush to mix it together with the eyeshadow powder. Use a lip brush or your finger to apply the color to your lips.
Use Lipstick as Blush
There’s no need to go out and buy cream blush if you already own some pretty lipstick shades. Lipstick can easily be applied to your cheeks to create a natural flush. It’s best to use semi-matte shades that have a little bit of sheen, since matte formulas may look chalky on the skin. The easiest way to apply lipstick as blush is to sweep your finger across the product, warm it between your fingers, and dab the product onto the apples of your cheeks. For a more natural look, use a damp makeup sponge to sheer out the color. If you’re using lipstick as blush, apply it before you apply powder to ensure a smooth finish.
Use Mascara as Eyeliner
Since mascara is already eye-safe and formulated not to smudge and smear, it makes a great eyeliner if you’re in a pinch. Use an angled brush and dab it onto the mascara wand until the flat side of the brush is covered. Then use the brush to create a wing and drag it along your lash line. You can also smudge it out to create a more smokey look.
This is an awesome way to get more use out of colored mascaras that you may not use on a daily basis.
Use Eyeshadow to Fill in Your Brows
Makeup store shelves are filled with brow powders, gels and pomades, but if you’re in a hurry and need a quick way to fill in your brows, eyeshadow works just fine. Make sure to use a matte shade—without any shimmer or shine—and find a color that complements your skin tone and hair color. If you have blonde hair, use a warm taupe or light brown color. If you have brown hair, stick to a medium brown shade. Redheads should use auburn brown eyeshadows, and those with dark brown or black hair should use deep, chocolate brown colors or even matte black shadows.
Use a small angled brush and dip it into the eyeshadow powder, making sure the end is coated. Then take the tip of the angled brush and apply the powder into your brows using short, quick, upward strokes. Repeat this motion until your brows are filled in and look full. You can clean up the edges with concealer if you need to. Set the powder in place with a clear brow gel or a clear mascara so it stays put throughout the day.
Grandmothers are known for their folksy fixes—some of which are more legitimate than others. Have a cold? Chicken soup may actually reduce inflammation, so go ahead and take her up on a nice big bowl. Have a fussy baby? Think twice before opening the “magic teething whiskey.” Have a bad hair day? Start taking notes, friend.
Yes, grandmothers are the original beauty hackers—from skincare shortcuts to blowout-saving secrets, they know a thing or two about looking good for less. Here are seven simple, straightforward and thrifty vintage beauty tricks the experts (and, likely, your grandma) still use today.
7 Beauty Tricks You Need to Know
Don’t tell your gloss, but shine-free lips are having a moment. The low-key matte look, which first surfaced on Instagram and runways, is now officially out in the wild. If you’re not quite ready to trade in your favorite cream shades, try the trend using this old-school trick from Elizabeth Johnson, co-owner of Delaware-based cosmetics boutique Houpette.
“After applying the lipstick, place a tissue over your lips and let it stick,” she says. “Then, brush setting powder on top of the tissue over your lips. It will mattify the lip color and make it more long-wearing.”
These days, a brow pencil is a beauty basic. But before beauty megastores and one-click shopping, a little repurposed eye shadow did the trick just fine. Despite the hundreds of options available in 2018, Johnson still finds herself subbing in shadow when she wants to perfectly match a client’s hair color.
“There are so many more shades available!” she says. “Take an angled brow brush and apply the eye shadow starting in the middle of the brow arch, working back toward the start of the brow and then, finally, through the brow to the ends.” (Eye shadow is messier than a pencil, so make sure to tap any excess pigment off the brush prior to applying.)
Have unruly brows? Skip the specialized brow gel and use Johnson’s quick fix: lip balm. Take a small amount on your fingertip, dab through your brows, then comb through gently with a clean spoolie brush.
Grease Be Gone
Dry shampoos are a great way to freshen up your hair between washes. But, as your grandmother would be obligated to point out, the main ingredients are baby powder and corn starch—both of which were used to extend expensive salon blowouts long before dry shampoo (and hand-held hair dryers) hit the market. Simply sprinkle some powder or starch at the roots, comb through, and be on your way.
Dark circles have never been in style. Although there are endless illuminators (and, ahem, filters) on the market, take a cue from Old Hollywood makeup artists and try using red lipstick to brighten things up. Johnson recommends opting for a coral shade and dabbing a tiny bit under the eye where the purple undertones are prominent, keeping the application light and sheer. Then, top with your usual under-eye concealer and setting powder. “Voila—dark circles no more!” she says.
Something to Smile About
Before modern teeth whitening treatments, Hollywood stars turned to their kitchen cabinets for a brightening boost. Baking soda, which is still used in many whitening toothpastes, releases free radicals that break down stains on tooth enamel. Brush it on a couple times a week, rinse thoroughly, and smile often.
The Magic Eraser
Grandmom used petroleum jelly for everything—including removing her eye makeup. As strange as it sounds, petroleum jelly swipes off makeup like magic, and at a fraction of the cost of specialized makeup removers.
However, petroleum jelly can easily clog pores and lead to acne, depending on your skin type. And, as a byproduct of the oil refining industry, it’s an unsustainable resource with varying degrees of purity. For a gentler, more Earth-friendly alternative, try coconut oil, suggests Philadelphia-based makeup artist Deanna O’Hanna. Simply whip the coconut oil in your palms to get it to an almost liquid state, then gently rub onto your face, paying special attention to any areas that have more makeup (such as your eyes). Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and say goodbye to those wasteful makeup wipes.
A Freezing Facial
Legendary screen queen Joan Crawford was known for her high-maintenance beauty routine. While we wouldn’t recommend her “secret” to a sculpted jawline—chewing gum, constantly, to strengthen the muscles—her DIY facial stands up today. After removing her makeup, Crawford would splash her face with ice water 25 times to reduce puffiness and tighten skin. Model Kate Moss still swears by the trick and takes it one step further, filling a sink with ice cubes and submerging her face for a quick refresh.
Intermittent fasting is the newest healthy eating craze. But the unique aspect of this diet is that you keep track of when you eat, not how much. In fact, it’s technically not a “diet,” since you can eat whatever you want when you’re not fasting. Yet, people that take part in this style of eating often lose weight (1). And studies suggest that intermittent fasting may help you live longer (2) and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease (3).
So, What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that involves abstaining from food for a set amount of time. The fasting periods can range from 12 hours to a full day. Because your body has a break from actively digesting food, your body can burn more fat during the fasting portion.
The dietary approach dates back centuries but became trendy recently. “Many religions fast for various reasons and have been doing so for years,” says registered dietitian Amanda Barnes. “Intermittent fasting gained popularity in 2012 with the book The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley. The book touted that fasting two non-consecutive days per week leads to weight loss and other benefits.”
3 Intermittent Fasting Methods to Try
According to Barnes, there are three different ways to approach intermittent fasting:
Alternate day fasting or 5:2: You eat whatever you want five days per week, but don’t consume any calories two non-consecutive days per week.
Modified fasting: Similar to the 5:2 method, you can eat whatever you want five days per week. On the other two days, you can take in 20 to 25 percent of your daily caloric needs (approximately 400 to 600 calories).
Time-restricted fasting: You fast between 12 to 18 hours per day, but can eat whatever you want during your non-fasting time. Many people skip breakfast and then eat between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day.
What Intermittent Fasting Enthusiasts Love About It
If people you know eat this way, you’ll know about it. Let’s just say people who practice intermittent fasting tend to become devoted to this method of eating. It’s like the CrossFit of nutrition plans. Here’s what intermittent fasting fans love about it:
Weight loss: Studies consistently show that fasting leads to weight loss, although Barnes points out that most studies on intermittent fasting have been small (usually 100 participants or less). “If you’re skipping meals or eliminating a day of calories overall throughout the week, you’ll consume fewer calories, which will naturally lead to weight loss,” says Barnes.
Lack of meal prep: Most methods of eating healthfully include some form of meal prep or planning. With the time-restricted method of intermittent fasting, you’re eating one less meal per day. That’s one less meal to think about, shop for or prepare.
No forbidden foods: Unlike other popular diets, no foods are off-limits, and you don’t count calories. You can eat socially, drink cocktails and have dessert (as long as it’s during your eating window, of course).
How to Practice Intermittent Fasting
Before starting any new eating pattern, it’s important to talk to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you. And certain people should avoid intermittent fasting entirely. “Fasting can affect blood sugar levels and leave certain populations more at risk. If you’re pregnant, have any health conditions, especially diabetes, heart conditions or are prone to low blood sugar, this diet is risky,” says Barnes. She also recommends that people who take medications (especially those that need to be consumed with food) consult with a doctor before attempting intermittent fasting. “And anyone with disordered eating should avoid following any strict diet, intermittent fasting included,” adds Barnes.
Once your health care provider gives you the go-ahead, here’s how to start:
Pick the method that works best for you. Look at your current schedule and eating habits to decide which strategy fits into your life. Do you have some jam-packed work days where you barely have time to eat? Maybe you try the modified fasting method (where you eat limited calories two days per week). If you’re never in the mood for breakfast, you might want to try the time-restricted approach, and only eat in the afternoon and early evening. Start with the system you think will work best, but don’t worry, you can switch to another method if it’s not sustainable for you.
Know the obsessive food thoughts will pass. Many newbies to this eating style admit that the first few days can be rough and fantasizing about food is common. But by a week into intermittent fasting, hunger pangs should subside, your energy levels should be consistent and you’ll have a better idea of whether this eating style is something you’ll want to stick with.
Take it slow exercise-wise: Most people who practice intermittent fasting work out regularly. “You might feel hungry after a workout, so it might not be enjoyable to do it on a full fasting day. Walking, yoga and stretching might be better on fasting days to avoid any negative side effects,” says Barnes. If you do time-restricted fasting, it might be best to save your exercise session for right before you break your fast for the day.
Don’t forget to drink up: It’s important to stay hydrated while fasting, so even though you’re not eating, keep your water bottle handy. And during fasting times, you’re allowed to have tea or black coffee. “Keep in mind that caffeine can have greater effects on an empty stomach, so you might be more prone to shaking or anxiety if you consume too much. Again, listen to your body and how it’s feeling with a new routine.”
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), according to the American College of Gastroenterology (1). That equates to between 25 million and 45 million people. And if you’re one of them, you know just how painful and uncomfortable the chronic symptoms can be.
People with IBS suffer from abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation and urgent bowel movements. And while IBS is considered a functional gastrointestinal disease (in the sense that it’s not life-threatening), it remains important for people suffering from IBS to find relief for the triggers and symptoms.
One way of potentially alleviating IBS symptoms is to consider a low-FODMAP diet. “Studies have now been conducted worldwide showing that a low-FODMAP diet is effective in managing IBS symptoms,” says Dr. Marina Iacovou, senior research dietitian and project manager at Monash University in Melbourne Australia—a leading research university for FODMAP studies. “The diet has been shown to be effective in 3 out of 4 people, or approximately 75 percent.”
So is a low-FODMAP diet something that you should try? It gets a bit complicated, so let’s break it down.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are a group of fermentable short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are indigestible or poorly absorbed by some people.
“As FODMAPs travel through the gastrointestinal tract, they draw excess fluid into the small intestine and generate gas when they are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine,” says Dédé Wilson, co-founder of FODMAP Everyday and author of The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step. “This fluid and gas build-up can lead to symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal bloating and distension, pain, flatulence and nausea, as well as diarrhea and constipation.”
Understanding the Different Types of FODMAPs
A key part of being on a low-FODMAP diet is understanding the types of FODMAPs and what foods they are commonly found in.
This term encompasses fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides, says Wilson. Common foods that are high in these FODMAPs include wheat, onions, garlic, beans and cashews.
Wilson explains that when it comes to FODMAPS, disaccharides usually refer to the lactose found in dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, custard, puddings and certain types of cheese. Lactose intolerance is not uncommon. According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it’s estimated that nearly 30 million to 50 million American adults have sensitivities to lactose.
“This references the simple sugar called fructose,” says Wilson. “Fructose is a problem when it is present in greater amounts than glucose in foods.” Some examples of foods containing monosaccharides include apples, mangoes, pears, asparagus, agave and honey.
Polyols are commonly known as “sugar alcohols,” but these compounds are neither sugar nor alcohol. “They do taste sweet, but they won’t get you drunk,” says Wilson.
Polyols such as sorbitol and mannitol occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, blackberries and peaches. But Wilson says commercially manufactured polyols such as xylitol, maltitol and isomalt are also found in sugar-free gum, candy and other processed foods, as well as some dietary supplements and medications.
Stages of a Low-FODMAP Diet
There are multiple stages of a low-FODMAP diet. The first two phases refer to an elimination phase and what’s called the “challenge” or reintroduction stage. These stages take place before settling on a long-term dietary plan.
“The elimination phase is a brief two- to six-week phase where FODMAPs are eliminated from the diet to calm the digestive system,” says Wilson. “Its brevity is important because this phase eliminates certain sources of fiber and prebiotics, and following any very restrictive diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.”
Because of this, Wilson explains that it’s very important to work under the supervision and guidance of a registered dietician or gastroenterologist before starting on a low-FODMAP diet.
Iacovou agrees. “It is very important for people to reach a state where their symptoms are well-controlled and not troublesome,” she says. “It is equally as important that they eventually identify which foods are key triggers for their symptoms.”
Once the elimination phase is complete, individuals can start to reintroduce FODMAP foods back into their diets. The “challenge” or “reintroduction” phase may take several months and is meant to identify the specific types of FODMAPs and foods that trigger IBS symptoms. “Eventually foods can be reintroduced into the diet at a dose that is well-tolerated,” says Iacovou. “Every individual will be different, as symptoms and tolerance levels vary between people.”
Following the elimination and reintroduction phases, it’s important to work with a registered dietician or gastroenterologist to figure out how a lower-FODMAP diet can work long term. “The goal is to always eat as broadly as possible without triggering symptoms, and this can mean constant vigilance,” says Wilson.
Foods to Avoid on a Low-FODMAP Diet
During all stages of a low-FODMAP diet, no entire food group is off limits. While not a complete and comprehensive list, Wilson and Iacovou say that the following are common high-FODMAP foods that should be avoided during the elimination phase and may be troublesome for people with IBS:
But it’s important to keep in mind that the amount of FODMAPS in certain foods are related to portion size. “The same food can become high-FODMAP if too much is eaten,” says Wilson. “Almonds are a perfect example. Ten whole almonds are fine, but 20 are not.”
Working with a registered dietician or your gastroenterologist is imperative to incorporating the right recipes and portion sizes that work for you.
The list of low-FODMAP foods is extensive, and individuals on this diet have plenty of options. “People can still eat a complete, nutritionally-balanced diet that is based on their habitual diet,” says Iacovou.
But according to Wilson, some of the most common no- or low-FODMAP foods include:
One of the biggest risk factors of a low-FODMAP diet, says Wilson, is when people self-diagnose and attempt to embark on this type of eating without working with a medical professional. “Risks come in applying the diet incorrectly,” she says. “This can happen if you use disreputable or incorrect sources. People download apps because they are free, make recipes because they are called low-FODMAP, and believe what they read on blogs. Unfortunately, there are many sources presenting information that is not accurate.”
Iacovou also says that the low-FODMAP diet should not be followed long-term. “Eventually people will reach a point where their diet is personalized to a tolerance level that controls their symptoms,” she explains. In addition to potentially altering gut bacteria composition, she says, unnecessary long-term restriction can compromise social activities and initiate food fears. Because of this, the low-FODMAP diet is not recommended for individuals at risk of or who have eating disorders.
Because of its complexity, the low-FODMAP diet isn’t meant to be the next diet trend. “It is not the next ‘fad’ diet or for anyone seeking the next best ‘healthy’ diet,” says Iacovou. “The low-FODMAP diet is a way of eating for people diagnosed with IBS to reduce their symptoms that would otherwise be problematic on a daily basis.”
In fact, says Wilson, people shouldn’t start on a low-FODMAP diet until they have a formal IBS diagnosis from a gastroenterologist and the diet is explicitly suggested by a doctor.
If a low-FODMAP diet is recommended, individuals should keep track of their symptoms and how they feel during each stage of the diet. Wilson says that personal feedback is imperative to success. “This is a learning diet and while it is always best to work with a registered dietitian, ultimately you are going to be able to give yourself the best and most specific feedback,” she says. “You are in charge, and after years of feeling like food has been charge, it’s an incredibly empowering position to be in.”
What makes a “superfood” so super, anyway? Well, sometimes it has more to do with the super-powered marketing team behind the product than the food itself. (Seriously, have you ever tried to enjoy powdered seaweed?) So, starting right now, let’s take back the word “superfood” and redefine it as a food that’s super good for you and also tastes super delicious. Here is our list of top 10 superfoods to work into your diet today.
Top 10 Superfoods
Sick of brown rice? Yeah, so are we. That’s why you should try this supergrain, which has a satisfying chewy texture and is a touch nuttier-tasting than brown rice. Even better, at 7 grams per ½ cup (cooked), freekeh contains twice the protein of quinoa. The same amount also has 8 grams of fiber (a medium Red Delicious apple has 5).”Freekeh has three times the fiber of brown rice,” says Valerie Goldstein, a New York-based dietitian. Serve cooked freekeh as a simple side to steak, pork chops or salmon. It’s also great mixed into meatballs and meatloaf.
Maybe your grandfather was on to something. These little fish contain a boatload of omega-3 fatty acids, a good kind of fat that research shows may help your heart. Canned sardines have 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per 3-ounce serving, according to Seafood Health Facts (1). Salmon, by comparison, has 1,500 milligrams of omega-3s. But here’s the catch: Salmon is tricky to cook correctly; canned sardines are already cooked. To make them taste great, try a few stirred into your next batch of pasta with red sauce.
You may have seen this yellow-orange powder in the spice aisle. It comes from a root that looks similar to fresh ginger, though it tastes more like an Indian curry. Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may help fight inflammation, according to a 2017 review of studies published in the academic journal Foods (2). Never tried the spice? When you fry up your next round of over-easy eggs, put a shake or two of ground turmeric into the butter. Then slide the golden eggs onto toast and enjoy.
Chocolate is great for your heart, your brain and your happiness (everyone already knows that last part). But there’s a catch: It’s dark chocolate that produces the cardiovascular and neuro-protective benefits, according to a 2017 study review by Italian researchers (3). That’s because milk chocolate strips out the beneficial compounds within cocoa beans called flavanols. Cacao nibs are the dried seed of the cocoa bean. Yes, they are bitter like dark chocolate, but they taste excellent on a peanut butter and banana sandwich, stirred into oatmeal or mixed into homemade granola.
These shelled creatures contain a sea’s worth of vitamins and nutrients. There’s zinc, which helps support immune health. There’s iron, which helps your cells do their many jobs. And there’s vitamin B12, which aids your metabolism. “Oysters are pretty much pure protein on a calorie budget. Six medium oysters have around 45 calories and 5 grams of protein,” says Abby Langer, a registered dietitian and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto. If you’re squeamish about raw oysters, consider starting first with canned, smoked oysters. Their flavor is meaty and they taste satisfying atop crackers with a little lemon juice, sea salt and fresh chopped chives.
These teardrop-shaped seeds may look small, but they’re mighty. Eat 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and you’ll consume 6 grams of stomach-filling fiber—about as much as one medium pear. They’re also a good source of lignans, compounds that may help protect against cancer, diabetes and kidney disorders, according to a 2015 review of studies by scientists in the Middle East (4). Plus, “Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based omega-3s, which can help prevent heart disease, among other benefits,” says Langer. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest than whole, she says. Sprinkle them over yogurt, into smoothies or even atop a salad for a nutty taste.
We’re not just talking about those white button mushrooms you’ll find in salad bar buffets and atop pizza. We’re talking about the varieties you’ll now see at most good supermarkets: shiitake, oyster, cremini, enoki, chanterelle, porcini and more. Shrooms are the only vegetables that contain vitamin D, a nutrient you usually derive from the sun. But many people lack the vitamin D—and that’s detrimental because D can help defend against cancer, hypertension and diabetes. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so saute mushrooms in coconut or olive oil to help increase absorption,” Goldstein says.
Don’t want cancer haunting you? Eat more of these. Pumpkin seeds contain gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that may fight cancer better than other nuts and seeds, according to the USDA (5). “Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, which helps us relax and can also assist with sleep. They’re a source of zinc, and contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats,” Langer says. They’re crunchy and satisfying as a snack, but they also add a pop of nuttiness to soups and stews. And to think that you toss them in the trash every Halloween…
These big, beautiful, two-toned root vegetables contain glucosinolate, a compound also found in broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables like these may help reduce your risk of several cancers, including bladder, breast and prostate cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (6). Save the turnip greens too! They’re delicious sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper as a simple side dish.
First off, no, partaking in hemp will not produce, ahem, similar effects to partaking in marijuana. Though they come from the same plant, hemp seeds do not contain the “high” producing THC. These seeds do contain protein (about 9 grams per 3 tablespoons) and magnesium, which helps regulates blood pressure. “Hemp hearts are also rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which may help lower inflammation and promote satiety,” Goldstein says. Try hemp hearts in your baking. They’re good in muffins, banana bread and cookies.
Dish soap isn’t just for dirty dishes…it’s also for do-it-yourself fixes! Here are five clever hacks you need to try—all featuring LuckyPlanet dish soap, made with plant-based, natural ingredients.
Dish Soap Hacks
Fruit Fly Trap
Your fruit bowl is stocked after a big grocery haul. Too bad the fruit flies got the memo. Get rid of these pesky party crashers with a simple bug-banishing potion! Pour a few tablespoons of LuckyEats apple cider vinegar into a mason jar and add a couple drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap (it breaks the surface tension). Cover the jar tightly with plastic wrap and poke several small holes in the top. Place the trap near your fruit bowl and watch as the fruit flies begin to congregate inside the jar. They simply can’t resist the alluring scent of apple cider vinegar! Say bye to fruit flies.
Make summer bubble time even more special by using this DIY, kid-safe formula. Start by filling an empty jar with 2 cups of water, then mix in ¼ cup LuckyPlanet dish soap. Next, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin and 2 teaspoons of white sugar. Gently stir the mixture. Seal and let sit for a few hours before your bubble-blowing extravaganza!
Is your favorite ring starting to look a little dull? Restore the shine with this DIY jewelry cleaner! Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. Drop in your jewelry and let it soak for a few minutes, then gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth. Put your bling back on and admire the sparkle! This method works great for silver or gold jewelry but is not recommended for fragile gems like pearls.
You’ve just concocted a tasty keto breakfast smoothie, but you’re dreading the cleanup. Don’t be a victim of blender buildup. Try this easy fix! Simply fill the blender halfway with warm water, then add a couple drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. Put the lid back on and fire up the blender for a minute or two to loosen up the gunk. Pour the messy contents into the sink and rinse well with water. No need to scrub!
We know you’re busy, but it’s important to squeeze in some time for self-care. Why not treat yourself to an at-home manicure? After you’re done shaping and buffing your nails, try this simple manicure soak. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. (Maybe even add a few drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil while you’re at it!) Soak your fingertips in the mixture for a few minutes to soften your cuticles and remove any dirt or debris. Breathe deeply and relax!
In most areas of my life, I try to be conscious about what I put in and on my body. I buy organic groceries when possible, seek out natural beauty products, and use environmentally friendly cleaners around the house. One glaring exception to my green routine? Antiperspirant. Like paying taxes or pretending to care about other people’s vacation photos, I consider smelling good to be part of the social contract.
Like most conventional antiperspirants, my trusty brand—which has been keeping my pits spelling like a tropical smoothie for 10-plus years, thank you very much—uses a questionable cocktail of chemicals to block sweat ducts and kill bacteria. Although the research isn’t conclusive, ingredients including parabens and aluminum have been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, and some question the wisdom of trapping toxins beneath the skin’s surface. As for me, I’m wary—but the last time I tried a natural deodorant, the options were limited and, quite literally, stunk.
These days, however, natural deodorants are more refined, and there are a ton of formulas to choose from depending on your body’s unique chemistry. With this in mind, I reluctantly agreed to hand over my go-to antiperspirant stick for two weeks and try out three natural deodorant alternatives.
Making the Switch to Natural Deodorant
First up was Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Sensitive Skin Formula in Coconut Pineapple. As much as I loved the idea of replacing aluminum and artificial fragrances with Schmidt’s plant-based powders and essential oils, I was skeptical—my life, after all, is pretty active. Most days, my morning begins around 6 a.m., when my 11-month-old daughter shoots up out of her crib like a cross between Dracula and the Energizer Bunny. Before noon, we’ll walk the dogs, cover every square inch of the playground, splash around in the pool, make a mess in the garden, and find a new way to avoid napping. The afternoon brings more of the same until my husband gets home from work, at which point I either go on a run or hit up a yoga class (full disclosure: sometimes “yoga” is a glass of wine in the shower). In short, my summer is a sweaty, messy, potentially smelly one.
To my surprise, Schmidt’s was up to the task. It glided on smelling absolutely heavenly, then kept my underarms neutral throughout the day. Like all natural alternatives, Schmidt’s is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, so it doesn’t actually prevent perspiration—but that said, I wasn’t unreasonably sweaty. After using it for a week, there was only one occasion when I felt the need to reapply multiple times (and in all fairness, nothing in Philadelphia smelled particularly fresh that day—East Coast humidity is the real deal).
Feeling good about the experiment, I decided to try out two cream deodorants for the second week: Primal Pit Paste’s Level 2 formula (which promises to stand up to high-level stinkers such as crossfitters and teenagers) and PiperWai, a charcoal-based paste that my friends and coworkers have been raving about for years. Although not quite as convenient as Schmidt’s traditional stick, I didn’t mind rubbing in either of the creams—they went on smoothly and didn’t leave any sticky residue on my fingers. While I loved the strong tropical fragrance of Schmidt’s, the cleaner, less flowery scents of Primal Pit Paste and PiperWai were also refreshing.
Both Primal Pit Paste and PiperWai did the job reasonably well. However, by the end of a long, hot day, I noticed a smell unless I had reapplied. According to the very small group of people I’m comfortable asking to sniff me, I didn’t smell bad—the word “natural” was suggested—but I also didn’t smell like nothing, which is what I’m going for.
Am I ready to permanently break up with my conventional antiperspirant? Maybe not—on the hottest, stickiest, down-and-dirtiest days of the summer, I’ll probably still reach for it from time to time. But it’s great to have a few more options, and Schmidt’s has officially been promoted to my pit crew.
Americans are odor-obsessed. There’s no other way to explain the fact that the domestic deodorant and antiperspirant market is projected to hit nearly $3.5 billion in 2019 (1). For those in search of alternatives that are less irritating or potentially toxic, there is some good news: The natural deodorant market has grown steadily in recent years to reach $42 million in late 2017, according to research firm Mintel (2). Granted, sales are a mere fraction of the overall market, but the fact that major players like Procter & Gamble and Unilever have acquired natural brands (Native and Schmidt’s, respectively) suggests that the alternatives are gaining traction as more people become concerned about what’s going into their bodies—and on to their underarms.
Like any strong face wash or laundry detergent, traditional deodorants and antiperspirants use strong chemicals to get the job done. “Depending on a person’s skin sensitivity, sometimes these harsh chemicals can cause skin irritation,” says Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Tess Mauricio, CEO of MBeautyClinic.com.
An even greater concern is whether one of the main ingredients in your favorite antiperspirant could down the line negatively impact your breast or brain health. If you’re one to err on the side of caution, or if your pits react negatively to the ingredients in conventional antiperspirants and deodorants, a switch to natural varieties may be in order.
How Does Natural Deodorant Work?
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the sticks and sprays that banish odor and sweat, it’s important to define the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. “An antiperspirant literally stops the flow of sweat by blocking underarm pores, whereas deodorant, which kills bacteria on the skin, covers up any smells that come with sweat,” says Caitlin Hoff, health and safety investigator at ConsumerSafety.org. “Some brands will combine the two for maximum protection from sweat and odor.”
The problem with blocking the pores in your underarms, says Dr. Mauricio, “is that they are then blocked from performing their intended function—purging toxins and regulating temperature.” Natural deodorants cover smell from underarms with antimicrobial ingredients such as sage or other essential oils as well as powders like baking soda or arrowroot that absorb odor.
The first natural deodorants to market may not have been nearly as reliable as conventional brands. In fact, many provided little more than a momentary blip of scent. But over time, chemists have experimented with various natural ingredients, and Dr. Mauricio believes that natural deodorants have definitely improved as the natural beauty space has grown. Those white streaks natural deodorants used to leave on your T-shirt? That’s caused by baking soda, a common deodorizer. “But this ingredient isn’t as commonly used in natural deodorants today,” she says. A good thing, since, for some people with sensitive skin, baking soda is a known irritant.
Hoff believes a lot of the negative reviews of natural deodorants early on came from a lack of understanding of the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants. “Many people try natural alternatives and find the product lacking because the deodorant didn’t stop them from sweating or the antiperspirant didn’t cover up the odor well enough,” she says. Hoff suggests that you read labels and know exactly what your natural product claims to do.
Ingredients to Avoid in Conventional Deodorant
So, just what has a growing percentage of Americans up in arms about the antiperspirants and deodorants they trusted for years to fight both odor and wetness? In a word, aluminum. Conventional brands contain aluminum compounds for the purpose of blocking sweat ducts. “Aluminum is the most controversial ingredient when it comes to antiperspirants,” says Hoff. She cites claims that the metal contributes to the development of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney disease. However, she cautions, “there is little evidence proving a link between antiperspirant use and these diseases.” Nor has it been proven that, as was once rumored, cancer-causing substances in antiperspirants are absorbed through razor nicks from underarm shaving.
Backing up Hoff’s claims, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that “there are no strong epidemiologic studies in medical literature that link breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use.” In fact, the ACS website cites one study published in 2002 that compared 813 women with breast cancer and 793 women without the disease (3). The researchers found no link between breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use, deodorant use, or underarm shaving.
“Researchers have found that even after shaving, the body doesn’t absorb enough aluminum to do significant damage,” says Hoff. In fact, one study that looked at how much aluminum from antiperspirants containing aluminum chlorohydrate is actually absorbed when applied to the underarms (4). The researchers found that only a tiny fraction (0.012 percent) was actually absorbed.
The potential link between aluminum found in antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s first emerged during the 1960s and ’70s. Since then, however, studies have not confirmed the connection, and according to the Alzheimer’s Association, few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.
That said, aluminum can cause skin irritation, “which is one reason that some people prefer to use aluminum-free traditional deodorants or natural deodorants,” says Hoff.
When it comes to skin irritation, another major culprit in traditional deodorant is the catch-all term “fragrance.” The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has confirmed that, more often than not, this term refers to not one, but multiple ingredients. Unfortunately, this blanket term found on a multitude of deodorants gives little information as to whether the ingredients are synthetic or natural, or if they could produce an allergic reaction. More often than not, it’s a cocktail of chemicals that comprises the scent.
A few known irritants found in some traditional deodorants include parabens, compounds used as preservatives that can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells; propylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze that allows the deodorant to glide smoothly over the skin’s surface; and triclosan, which was originally developed as a pesticide in the 1960s and has since made its way into cosmetics, deodorants, soaps, and lotions thanks to its ability to kill germs and odor-causing bacteria. In 2017, the FDA banned the use of triclosan in soaps and antibacterial washes due to concerns over long-term health effects. However, triclosan is still allowed in deodorants.
If the thought of having suspect ingredients touching your skin is a turn-off, you should definitely consider switching to natural alternatives.
Types of Natural Deodorant
Natural deodorants come in many formulas, including sticks, creams, charcoal, sprays, and roll-ons. Here’s what you need to know about each:
Sticks. Many of the natural stick deodorants on the market use waxes like beeswax and cadelila so that they go on smoothly and leave skin moisturized. Depending on the brand, ingredients run the gamut from coconut oil, shea butter and fruit oils to peppermint, eucalyptus and kaolin clay (to absorb sweat and moisture). If you’re skin irritates easily, look for brands that make sensitive skin formulas.
Creams. Most are comprised of some combination of the following ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, clay, corn starch, and essential oils. They are very similar to a moisturizer with the addition of odor-zapping powders and antiseptic ingredients like coconut oil, neem oil, and essential oils. There’s far more flexibility as to what ingredients a cream can contain since it does not need to retain its shape like a stick. In addition, far more product makes contact with the skin (and stays there!) as it gets absorbed and creates an emollient layer, much like a body butter.
Charcoal. If odor’s your true nemesis, activated charcoal deodorant may become your new BFF, and it will keep you dry all day. Unlike other natural deodorants, activated charcoal is carbon-rich so it can extract oil and dirt from clogged pores. It can also absorb 1,000 times its own weight in moisture.
Sprays. One big benefit of dry sprays is that they don’t feel wet or sticky when you apply them. Plus, the natural sprays available today dry fast and don’t stain.
Roll-ons. These deodorants glide over skin, which is great if your pits are on the sensitive side. Another bonus: The Internet is filled with recipes for DIY natural roll-ons, which include ingredients such as baking soda, corn starch, essential oils and distilled water. So if you’re looking to save a pretty penny while still smelling fresh, this could be a good option.
Before you rush off to purchase (or produce) your own natural deodorant, Hoff offers a caveat: “As a consumer, you should scrutinize a natural deodorant just as much as a traditional one for the ingredients used rather than blindly following labels. Just because a product claims that it’s “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it is. Read up the ingredients and confirm that they are safe for you and your family.”
How to Transition from Conventional to Natural Deodorant
When switching over to a natural deodorant, it’s wise to allow for a transition period. “The period of transition from a traditional antiperspirant to a natural deodorant can be a smelly experience,” says Dr. Mauricio. “Thankfully, its short lived! Your underarm pores will unclog and detox themselves for three-ish weeks, releasing all the toxins you’ve trapped there since you started wearing antiperspirants.” However, she adds, as soon as your body adjusts, “you’ll experience minimal sweat and minimal smell (yes, even less than the days when you forgot to apply your antiperspirant).”
Patience is key here; you are going to sweat and smell more than usual for about two weeks. Still, it helps to remember that you are only resetting your bodies natural functions, so you’re really just getting things back to working the way that they’re meant to function.
If time is of the essence, you can jump start the transition process by exfoliating your armpits and using a clay mask. Exfoliation helps by opening your underarm pores so they can more quickly clear and the clay mask starts the detox/deodorization process by helping to remove some of the harmful toxins clogged in your underarm sweat glands.
If you can possibly help it, don’t default back to your antiperspirant just because things get uncomfortable. Like everything else in life, good things—and far better results—come to those who wait.
They say a clean home is a happy home, but perhaps the same can be said that a cleansed home makes for a happy person.
Our home is often a reflection of who we are, both physically and spiritually. And while we want our homes to be joyous and comforting, sometimes negative energies can find their way in.
Perhaps you’ve moved into a new apartment and something feels off, or your home still carries the emotional weight of a loved one who passed away there. Whatever it is that’s causing a negative energy in your dwelling, there are ways to give yourself, and your home, a new beginning.
Lorrie Webb Grillo, certified feng shui practitioner at Thriving Spaces in Denver, Colorado, explains that negative energies in homes can vary from person to person, and even room to room.
“Have you ever walked into a room where someone was in a heated argument? Most of us can immediately tell that something uncomfortable was going on; the air feels charged,” Webb Grillo says. “That’s the impact of negative energy.”
She notes that negative energy can manifest itself as a “heavy” feeling in the air and even as dulled sounds in spaces where the energy is “murky.”
Cleansing Negative Energy
This is where the art and science of feng shui—and how it can help cleanse negative energies—comes in. “In feng shui, we believe that everything is alive with energy and everything is connected, hence our homes have energy and we are in a relationship with them,” Webb Grillo says.
In other words, how one person copes with a negative space can vary wildly from that of another, and so will their cleansing methods.
The first part of any negative energy cleansing, she says, must begin with acknowledging that it’s there and the root of what caused it.
For instance, when it comes to a household that has experienced a death, the energy “is usually that of sadness and grief, which are not necessarily negative, as they are appropriate for the experience,” Webb Grillo says. “The space cleansing involves acknowledgement, expression of farewell and release.”
Let’s say you’re dealing with getting rid of the energy an ex-lover left behind. “The energy is held in some of the ex’s things—and removing their stuff is a powerful and successful way to release negative energy,” Webb Grillo explains.
While you can practice cleansing on your own (more on that in a bit), experts like Webb Grillo are often called in to help those who need guidance. After the feng shui consultant is told about the negative energy and what caused it, a ceremony takes place.
“I usually write out the ceremony in advance with some information from the participants and make sure that they have time within the ceremony to express themselves,” she says. “It is most powerful when they speak their stories and acknowledgments aloud.”
Using a process from Denise Linn’s book Sacred Space, Webb Grillo abides by these four steps for a ceremony: preparation, purification, invocation and preservation.
“This means you prepare yourself and the space for the clearing, you determine what it is you are clearing, you are grateful for what you are asking to bring in, and you ‘invoke’ or acknowledge that you have done so and have something in the space to preserve the cleansing,” she says.
So, a cleansing can vary from removing items that carry a negative energy (like your ex’s clothing or furniture that belonged to a deceased loved one) to bringing in new, positive things in (like a plant or a crystal, which Webb Grillo says “can preserve a space and encourage a fresh energy to circulate.”)
Tools to Clear Negative Energy
Even if you don’t use a feng shui consultant, you can create your own ceremony, as well as incorporate helpful tools into your cleansing.
“The burning of sage or incense literally eats up the oxygen in the space and this clears [negative energy] out,” Webb Grillo says. You can also get this from candles (a natural one, without synthetic scents) or essential oils. “Citrus oils bring in fresh, positive energy,” she says.
If you don’t want to burn sage for a cleansing ceremony, Webb Grillo recommends that you “leave a bowl of sea salt in a silver dish to sit and absorb” what’s hanging in the negative space.
“Leaving the salt there for a week would be a good time frame, then washing it down the sink, acknowledging that the salt holds the ‘old’ energy that is being discarded,” she says.
And, believe it or not, something as simple as clapping or ringing a bell “can be a great way to bring a fresh energy” into a space harboring negativity, she says.
While a ceremony with a feng shui expert can take about an hour, Webb Grillo notes that if you do it on your own, it can be even shorter, but the positive results can last a lifetime. Plus, space cleansing doesn’t have to be a one-time thing! Whenever you feel any sort of negative energy, whether it’s one corner of a room or your entire home, you can practice the art of feng shui and cleansing.
“When our homes are cleared and cleansed, we feel uplifted and happier, [we are] able to achieve our dreams and goals,” she says, “That’s what feng shui helps us to accomplish.”
From detox teas to cleansing kits complete with supplements and drink powders, detox diets and body cleanses remain a popular trend. Detoxes and cleanses promise to remove toxins from your body, help strengthen your immune system, boost energy, lead to weight loss and even brighten skin. But before you jump on the detox bandwagon, it’s always important to make sure anything you put your body through is safe, healthy and meets your specific goals.
5 Things to Consider Before Doing a Detox or Cleanse
While most detoxification and cleansing kits provide specific instructions and supplements to help you along the way, you should also factor:
How long the program takes. Some can take as little as three days, while others can last for months.
How it integrates into your current routine and diet. Will you be able to eat during the cleanse or will you strictly consume what’s provided for you? How many meals, drinks and supplements will you be consuming and at what intervals?
How it will impact your day to day and mood. If the cleanse requires you to stop eating entirely, will you be OK with that?
Your current health state. Do you have specific health needs that need to be factored in? If so, consult a doctor before you decide to go on a cleanse.
How much it costs. Cleanses can be pricey. Will the cleanse you’re considering fit into your current budget?
Cleanse Your Body Naturally
Did you know that your body naturally detoxes itself? “Detox is a key component to optimal health and happens naturally, but must be done with the right foods and supplements,” explains Dr. Lori Shemek, a certified nutritionist, psychologist and weight loss expert. “Your body is an expert at knowing how to detox.”
Eating the right foods and making good lifestyle choices will reduce inflammation of the body and is the best thing to do for a healthier you. “You can support liver health [for starters], with a healthy diet high in antioxidants and eat foods that are high in sulfur (like cruciferous veggies),” Shemek says.
“When thinking about a detox, a fad program is not the way to go,” adds Rachel Kreider, a registered dietitian and supplement formulator for BodyBuilding.com. “Look at your overall food intake and look for places where you can make changes to clean up your act.” In general, you should avoid foods that are high in fat, high in simple carbohydrates and fried.
Types of Cleanses and Detoxes
If you still want to kickstart your health or reset your body with a trusted cleansing program, here are your options:
Juice Cleanses: Lasting anywhere from a few days to several weeks, these are typically programs where you’d consume only fruit and vegetable juices while abstaining from eating food. You can either buy the juices from a trusted provider, or follow a recipe that may include kale, pineapple, lemon and ginger.
Smoothie Cleanses: Like juice cleanses, smoothie cleanses also last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The main difference with these is, they’re generally higher in fiber, protein and calories than their juice counterparts. Some are vegetable-and-fruit-based, while others come with powders to blend with water and enjoy. You can also follow smoothie recipes that include kiwis, celery, spinach and kale.
Soup-Based Cleanses: While most of these require you to use a recipe and make your own soup (like the cabbage-soup diet and the chicken detox soup), some companies offer programs to warm your tummy when juicing is not for you. As far as duration goes, soup-cleanses can last anywhere from three days and up.
Tablets and Capsules: Many cleanses involve taking tablets or capsules to activate your body for detoxing. For example, activated coconut charcoal products promote your body’s natural detoxification process by capturing and eliminating unwanted toxins. Other products may use a blend of herbs and botanicals, such as cascara sagrada powder, licorice and ginger root, to proactively eliminate toxins from the body.
To make the right decision for you, Kreider warns, “Anything that is making promises of curing or preventing any health condition is something that should be a red flag.”
Shemek also cautions on doing detoxes and cleanses too often. Doing so will ultimately slow down your metabolism, which can then lead to weight gain.
Precautions for Detoxing and Cleansing
If you have diabetes or a kidney disease, are going through chemotherapy, are pregnant or are dealing with an eating disorder, you should absolutely not be doing any detox or cleanse, Shemek advises. Also, if you are trying to put on muscle mass, you’re not a good candidate either, as these types of programs promote muscle loss.
“Those under the care of a physician for any reason should consult their physician with the details of the program they’re considering before engaging,” Kreider adds.
If weight loss is your goal, you may drop a few pounds and water weight, but it’s hard to keep those pounds off once you’re off the cleanse, unless you make healthier lifelong choices.
“Fruit juice is high in sugar fructose and fructose is a burden to our liver,” Shemek explains. “Not only is fructose the only sugar metabolized by the liver, in excess, it also promotes an inflammatory condition called ‘glycation,’ which caramelizes the tissue of the liver and other bodily tissues.”
The liver is our number-one fat-burning organ and when compromised, weight loss and optimal health stalls.
Detoxes aren’t limited to body cleanses…you can (and should!) detox your home of harmful chemicals.
There are synthetic chemicals in everything from cleaning products to personal care items, and those chemicals can affect everything from how well you breathe to the health of your pregnancy to your focus at work.
Common Household Toxins
There is substantial evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders, according to the collaborative organization Project TENDR (1). The group identifies these seven pollutants that affect children’s development (2):
Combustion-related air pollutants, which include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
If you have dust in your home—and if you don’t, seriously, what’s your secret?—chances are you’re being exposed to toxic chemicals. In a 2016 meta-analysis of the composite of dust in U.S. homes, researchers reported that “some phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants and phenols are consistently found in 90 percent or more of dust samples across multiple studies” (3).
As scary as all this sounds, we’ve got you covered!
“It’s pretty normal if this all starts to feel a little daunting when you first begin to look into it,” assures Katie Hussong, a registered nurse and holistic health and culinary nutrition coach in Baltimore. “The best approach, I think, is to focus on one thing at a time, to really take the time to understand it, and then to create a healthy swap. Little by little, these small changes can have a huge impact, and it can be an incredibly empowering and enjoyable process.”
So how can we reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals? Here are some smart, simple ways to eliminate toxins at home.
How to Detox Your Home
Learn what you’re facing. “Most folks simply don’t realize how harmful so many products and practices can be,” Hussong says. “We shouldn’t have to think about the chlorine and fluoride in our water or how the germs on our shoes, the closed windows and excessive time spent indoors, or the harmful endocrine disruptors in our favorite skincare, haircare, deodorant, perfume, cookware, cleaners, candles and furniture are all negatively impacting our health.”
Scan your home and make note of potential toxins. You can check the ingredients in your personal care and cleaning products on websites like the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Figure out the biggest offenders in your home, then make a plan to address them one step at a time.
Tackle your personal products. Sunscreen, toothpaste, face wash, lotion—anything you put on or in your body should be detoxified first since it gets directly absorbed. This can seem like an expensive proposition, but focus on one swap at a time. As you use up one product, replace it with a toxin-free alternative. Try using the Think Dirty app to find cleaner options.
Swap out your cleaning arsenal. “Harmful, hormone-disrupting, toxic, synthetic fragrances and chemicals are everywhere, and most of them come from the personal and cleaning products we bring into our homes with the best of intentions,” Hussong says. Eliminate chemical products as you finish them up. Use the EWG list or make your own non-toxic cleaners. Use wet rags to collect dust instead of spraying an unnecessary, chemical-laden dusting product. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
Toss your dryer sheets. “In the laundry room, get rid of those dryer sheets (one of the most toxic items in our homes) today,” Hussong advises. As an alternative, she suggests purchasing (or making your own) organic wool dryer balls. “It’ll cost you less than $20, and they’ll last you years and years. You can also add essential oils to the balls for your own real fragrance, courtesy of Mother Nature. It’s easy to DIY your own laundry detergent and fabric softener, too, if you’re up for it.” You can also use vinegar for a fraction of the cost.
Eat clean. Choose fresh fruits and veggies that have lower levels of pesticides. EWG has created shopper’s guides to help identify which produce you should buy organic and which are safe to buy conventional.
Furnish wisely. When it’s time for a new sofa, or you’re decorating your child’s bedroom, look for products that don’t have toxic flame retardants (4).
Use essential oils. “Because of their many diverse properties—antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, soothing, uplifting, cleansing, etc.—we can use high-quality, ethically-sourced essential oils to replace so much of the toxic stuff we bring into our homes, slather onto our bodies, and put into our air, and it can be easy, fun, and super cost-effective,” says Hussong, who is also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate.
Purify the air. Make sure your HVAC, vacuum, air filter and so on utilize HEPA filters. Open windows on a nice day to let fresh air in—and toxic air out. You can also harness nature’s air purifier—plants!—by scattering them around the home. Or, work in essential oils. “Instead of that plug-in air freshener or candle laden with toxic hormone-disrupting chemicals, imagine being able to put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in the diffuser to shift the aroma, energy and mood of your home after a long day of work,” Hussong says. “As they diffuse, the natural antimicrobial properties of the oils will also work to cleanse the air of germs and odors.”
Creating a Healthy Home
Bottom line…yes, our homes are probably full of toxins. But, just like a detox or cleanse for your body, you can detox your home with these simple swaps. Make them one at a time to avoid burnout. Then, when you find one thing that works, keep it up, then shift your attention to the next offender on the list!
“That’s the beauty of the world of natural health. One door opens another, which opens another, and so on. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about progress and creating safe habits that support lifelong health, happiness and vitality,” Hussong says. “And here’s the thing: Once you know this stuff, you can’t un-know it. But there’s power in that, because as the great Ms. Angelou taught us, we do the best we can until we know better. And then, when we know better, we do better.”
Despite the rise in popularity of buying fresh fruit and vegetables, experts believe frozen produce is just as healthy
Obsession with fresh produce has led to a dramatic spike in food waste
When asked to choose between fresh or frozen produce these days, the average consumer is likely to opt for fresh. While some might even believe fresh produce is “obviously” better than frozen, the theory may not actually hold up to scrutiny, NPR suggests. Despite cultural beliefs, there is very little scientific evidence to suggest that frozen fruits and veggies are less nutritious than their fresh counterparts. In fact, fixation on fresh produce has led to an increase in food waste in recent years.
“About 43 percent of all food waste occurs in consumers’ homes,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, advocate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a 2017 interview with the Washington Post. “It’s the largest single contributor to food waste, and much of that will be fresh product.”
While most people buy fresh produce thinking it will be consumed in a timely manner, evidence suggests otherwise (1). Most fresh produce has a short shelf life and the average consumer tends to buy more than needed in a single trip. Worse still, fear of “imperfections” with fruit and veggies has lead to perfectly-fine items being left to rot on the shelves (2).
Consumers who recognize their own wasteful tendencies might hesitate to switch to frozen due to the current cultural climate of “fresh is better.” In truth, most frozen produce options contain an appropriate dose of vitamins and nutrients (3).
The best way to judge frozen purchases is by looking at the ingredients. Frozen products that contain exclusively produce will boast much more nutritional value than options containing processed seasonings or sauces (4). Additionally, frozen produce prepared through blanching methods should be avoided, as this might reduce the nutritional quality of the product.
Fresh produce might be all the rage, but there is little evidence to suggest frozen produce isn’t just as good. Consumers who want the health benefits of fresh produce without the fear of it going to waste in a crisper drawer may find frozen options offer a practical and efficient choice.
If I told you that the secret to improving your physical and mental health and well-being can be found in an ancient Hellenistic philosophy dating all the way back to the third century B.C., you’d probably say, “Are you high?”
On the contrary, I’ve stopped using mood-altering substances like Xanax as a direct result of this philosophy I’m referring to. I’m talking about Stoicism, a remarkably old practice that’s currently enjoying a modern revival thanks to high-profile devotees ranging from self-help gurus like Tim Ferriss to celebrities like Anna Kendrick and Michele Tafoya.
What Is Stoicism?
For most people, Stoicism is greatly misunderstood. The word itself often conjures up images of an emotionally constipated individual who represses her feelings, is indifferent to pain, suffering and even joy, and is, well, stoic in the face of everything life throws at her.
Modern practitioners of the ancient philosophy, however, know just how silly such characterizations are.
At its core, Stoicism is a simple and logical idea. At the risk of sounding like an idiot, here’s a Netflix-style plot summary of a system originally founded by Zeno of Citium: Most things in this life are out of our control. What we can control, however, is how we react to all the out-of-control things that happen to us during our time on this planet. Therefore, how we react to all the things we can’t control, not the things themselves, ultimately determines how happy and fulfilling our lives will be.
Of course, even those wise, ancient Greeks and Romans recognized just how difficult this simple idea was in practice. That’s why stoics from Seneca to Epictetus put together a small library of practical tips and techniques to help.
And those very same techniques are precisely what modern Stoics swear by.
Imagine the Worst-Case Scenario
One of the most popular Stoic strategies is something called “premeditatio malorum” or, if you’re not one of the few people left who speak fluent Latin, “the pre-meditation of evils.” Basically, with this practice, you visualize all the worst possible things that could happen to you in any give situation.
For example, say you’re a runner. Running is your passion; you live to run. You have a 13.1 or 26.2 bumper sticker on the back of your Subaru, you have a winged foot tattooed on the middle of your thigh, and you devour Runner’s World with a religious zeal bordering on fanaticism.
Try a little pre-meditation of evils right before an evening run. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you? As you’re running on a public road, a car fails to see you in time and drives right into you at a high rate of speed. You survive the collision but lose feeling from the waist down and are told you’ll probably never walk again—and running, well, that’s out of the question. It would be horrible and tragic, but you’d find a way to survive and adapt.
Why on earth would someone willingly subject themselves to something like that?
For one thing, research shows that if you practice these negative visualizations regularly and with enough fervor, you’ll learn to appreciate what you have more. After all, if you can truly envision your life without working legs, just think how relieved and blessed you’ll feel when the visualization is over, and you’re back to having the legs of a runner again. This practice will also prepare you mentally for all the negative circumstances you’ll face at some point down the road.
Focus on What You Can Control
Another simple practice that can improve your physical and mental health revolves around focusing on the Stoic principle of control, or lack thereof.
Let’s use health as an example.
When it comes to our health, we spend so much time and energy worrying about factors that are beyond our control—why doesn’t my body look like [insert name of co-worker, celebrity or ex’s new foot model partner here] or what happens if I get [insert name of incredibly rare condition or disease I just found out about here]?
Remember, stoicism is all about accepting that many things are beyond our control and working to make the most of the few things that are. If you can learn to focus your efforts on making the body you were given look, feel and operate as efficiently as possible, without getting bogged down in the many, many aspects of the human condition that are beyond your control, well, then, you’ll be taking a Stoic approach to your health.
And chances are, you’ll be happier because you did.
Diarrhea can be caused by anything from digestive problems to food poisoning to too much caffeine. But when you’re stuck on the porcelain throne, you’re not so much concerned about what caused your condition. Instead, you want to know how to fix it. Fast.
We caught up with Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in New York City and self-proclaimed “poop expert,” to help you do just that.
Here are six tips on how to get off the pot and back to feeling like yourself again.
1. Reduce Stress Levels
If your belly starts rumbling before a job interview, a public speaking event or a long flight, it could be a symptom of stress. In these cases, meditation, visualization and other relaxation techniques could help settle your stomach.
“The calmer you are, the calmer the stomach will be,” Malkoff-Cohen says. But she warns that this won’t help with all cases of diarrhea. “If you get E. coli, singing Kumbaya won’t help.”
2. Eat a Bland Diet
Sticking to the BRAT diet (which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) is Malkoff-Cohen’s top tip for anyone experiencing stomach issues, especially diarrhea. These foods contain fiber, pectin and other ingredients that have a binding property, which can help firm up your stools.
“Those foods will help clog you up, if you will,” Malkoff-Cohen says. “Think about it: You use applesauce as a binding ingredient when baking.”
3. Avoid Fats and Dairy
Eating high-fat foods makes your digestive system work harder and can lead to loose stools, which is the last thing you want when you have the runs, Malkoff-Cohen says. It’s also wise to avoid dairy when you’re dealing with diarrhea, she says. Milk products contain lactose, a natural sugar that can be harder to digest when your stomach’s fighting a bug.
“When your digestive system is already on the fritz, why add anything into the mix to complicate things?”
4. Embrace Probiotics
Diarrhea is sometimes a symptom of an imbalance in your gut flora. Probiotic supplements can help strengthen the good bacteria in your gastrointestinal system and shorten a diarrhea spell, she says.
5. Be Careful What You Drink
You want to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea, but some drinks can make your symptoms worse, Malkoff-Cohen advises.
Coffee, tea, soda and alcohol are all diuretics. Drinking these can cause you to lose fluids. You also want to watch out for drinks that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, including many sodas, juices and energy drinks. Large quantities of fructose can cause gas, bloating and, you guessed it, more diarrhea. Finally, any food or drink sweetened with sorbitol and other artificial sweeteners can have a laxative effect on the digestive system.
“Say no to all sugarless items,” Malkoff-Cohen says.
6. Try Over-the-Counter Remedies
Over-the-counter medicines like Pepto-Bismol and Imodium A-D can help bring fast relief when you have diarrhea, Malkoff-Cohen says. Both drugs slow peristalsis, the involuntary muscle movements responsible for digestion. Pepto-Bismol also reduces inflammation and kills bacteria that may cause diarrhea, she says, while Imodium A-D reduces the frequency and volume of your stools.
Pro tip: “Beware, the next poop you have after ingesting Pepto-Bismol may be very dark or even black,” she says. That’s because Pepto-Bismol contains bismuth. When the bismuth mixes with small amounts of sulfur (which can be found in saliva and the gastrointestinal tract), a black chemical compound called bismuth sulfide is formed.
“Do not freak,” Malkoff-Cohen assures. “It is both temporary and harmless.”
Sales of milk alternatives have risen remarkably over the last five years while traditional dairy milk sales have dropped significantly
Plant-based milk options provide many of the nutrients found in dairy milk, but further research is required before bold claims can be made
Traditional dairy milk has long been considered a healthy source of calcium and protein. Still, there has been a pushback in recent years against dairy, and many consumers are turning to plant-based alternatives like soy or rice milk. Dairy alternatives were initially products aimed at individuals with lactose intolerance, though other factors like vegan dieting and animal cruelty concerns have contributed to this shift.
Whatever the exact reasons are for the change in consumer attitudes, it seems to be taking a toll on the dairy industry. Dwindling dairy sales and rising sales of milk alternatives were recently reported by CNBC. The report explains that shoppers are far more likely to gravitate toward almond milk, hemp milk or coconut milk.
Despite the push away from dairy, some experts warn there needs to be more research on milk alternatives before any claims can be made about any actual health benefits. “Nutritionally, cow’s milk and plant-based drinks are completely different foods, and an evidence-based conclusion on the health value of the plant-based drinks requires more studies in humans,” according to a 2016 study testing the health benefits of traditional milk (1).
While there might not be a ton of hard data, milk alternatives still contain a number of essential vitamins. A study released in 2017 compared the nutritional value of cow’s milk with alternatives like soy and almond. Soy milk was found to be rich in protein and a glass can provide the body with a comparable level to that of the same serving of dairy milk (2). Almond milk also proved to be low in calories and balanced in nutritional value. Still, allergies to soy or almond can prevent consumers from taking advantage of these alternatives.
Until more research is conducted, consumers are left to their own judgment on which milk alternative fits their needs best. And, of course, which tastes best with a little chocolate syrup mixed in.