Fitness

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

The struggle has been real in finding a natural deodorant that actually works. I’ve tried most of the deodorants stocked at Whole Foods, but still haven’t found one to properly do it’s job. (The fact that the natural/organic deodorants are more expensive and packed with fillers doesn’t help either.)

Why is there a need for a natural deodorant?

Since our skin is our largest organ, we need to take measures to ensure that what we put on it is as natural as possible. Here are five harmful chemicals found in deodorant that can play a part in the diminishment of our health.

1. Aluminum Compounds

Aluminum compounds are added to deodorant to block the pores from sweating. Aluminum, like other heavy metals, may interfere with the ability of estrogen receptors to correctly process the hormone and are linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

2. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. This chemical disrupts hormonal balances and can lead to early puberty in children and hormone-related cancers in women and organ toxicity. The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.

3. Propylene glycol

When this chemical is paired with other chemical additives, it can be extremely dangerous. This ingredient causes damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart. Even in small concentrations (2 percent or less), propylene glycol provokes skin irritation in those with sensitive skin. Moreover, some manufacturers have made deodorants with 50 percent propylene glycol content. Believe it or not, you’re likely to find this in many “natural” deodorants.

4. Triclosan

Triclosan is classified as a pesticide according to the FDA. Although the FDA uses are not regulated under pesticide law, EPA considered these exposures in the aggregate risk  assessment. In deodorants, triclosan is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative, and reacts with tap water to create chloroform gas, a potential carcinogen. This chemical can also possess endocrine disrupting properties that has shown up in human breast milk and blood.

5. Steareths

Usually listed with a number (like steareth-15), these additives come from a cheap process that makes harsh ingredients more mild. The process (known as ethoxylation) produces carcinogenic 1,4-dioxanes during manufacturing.

FINALLY- A DEODORANT THAT WORKED FOR ME

I finally have found a simple DIY recipe that calls for basic ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

20 drops of your favorite essential oil  *I like to use lemon as it has a fresh scent and also has antibacterial qualities*

6-8 tbs solid coconut oil

Directions:

Combine baking soda and arrowroot (or cornstarch) Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Combine the coconut oil by the tablespoon and work it in with a fork until the mixture is firm but pliable. It should be about the same consistency as commercial deodorant; solid but easy to apply. If it’s too wet, add more arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Scoop the mixture into a small container with a lid (like a 4-ounce Mason jar, or buy empty deodorant containers off of Amazon, which is what I do.) Apply with your fingertips if in a jar, or use like regular deodorant if you buy the empty containers. I store mine in the fridge, to avoid any melting.

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Many women face daily insecurities, thinking that they should look, feel and act different than how they really are.

Faced with constant examples in the magazines, social media and standards for the perfect “model,” women begin to think that they need to be thinner, have bigger lips,  lots of muscle mass, or have the in-season handbag.

Where are the positive influencers to tell us that we are good enough the way we are?

I am here to tell you that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Every morning you need to look in the mirror and say, I AM GOOD ENOUGH.

Caring for your health has to start on the inside, and accepting our bodies, and loving our bodies, is the first step to any real change.

You must first love yourself in this exact moment, exactly the way you are, in the place that you are.

Let your motivation for change come from a place of love.

Don’t get caught up in the race of trying to look like the girls in the magazines or on social media. Let’s face it girls: body angle, salt/water manipulation and Photoshop is what you are seeing on the pages. Very rarely you see a model who isn’t touched up in some way.

Instead, look inward at WHY you want to make the changes you desire. To de-stress.  Lower cholesterol. Improve energy levels. Increase your mobility and strength. Maybe it’s just to have an overall healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately teleportation isn’t a viable option when it comes to meeting our health and fitness goals. It’s a road that takes dedication, consistency and self-education.

So instead of pining for a chiseled six pack right off the bat, let’s start at the foundation for now, and build from a place of love and acceptance.

YOU ARE ENOUGH

The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

 The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

Technology brings information right to our fingertips, at any given point in time. Trivia night is no longer fun at the local bar, as any answer can be found out in less than 2 seconds with a smart phone.

As our heads drop deep into our phones and our thumbs move quickly typing out work emails or messages to friends. texting is adding extra unnecessary stress to our bodies.

The downsides, expressed by Experience Life Magazine, are something to consider, and to be more conscious about the next time you go to text back your friend.

Excessive texting can result in pain in the outer thumb and wrist. This is called “texting thumb” and it’s from the way we hold our phone which constricts our flexor tendon.

Another hand injury that can result is carpal tunnel and tendinitis from gripping the phone with fingers, called “text claw”. The repetitive daily clenching can cause added stress and ultimate lead to injury.

If you have an aching sore neck or back, it could be to your habitual head-down posture exerting extra pressure on your spine. According to Kenneth Hansraj, an orthopedic surgeon, as we tilt our head forward, it exerts up to 60 pounds of extra pressure at a 60 degree angle. The normal human head weighs about 10-12 pounds. That’s a lot of extra weight.

The first time that I noticed pain in my hand related to texting was after I spent two months in Costa Rica, smart phone FREE. It was when I got back to the States, the texts came flowing in and my thumb got right to work. In one day my thumb was in extreme pain from constant texting. That really opened my eyes to the added stress that is put on your hand from this habit.

I’ve now turned into an avid user of voice recognition texting and have also began to raise my phone to ear level when I read any texts or emails from my phone. I don’t care if it looks silly, I’d rather save stress from my body.

A Dose of Dani

A Dose of Dani

A lot of you have been asking what I use in my daily regimen for vitamins or supplements. I don’t do a multi-vitamin because I get all the good nutrients and vitamins I need from eating nutrient-dense fruits and veggies :)

But here are some items that I like to add into my daily routine.

 Maca Powder- This nutrient dense whole food grown in the mountains of Peru is packed with vitamins, essential minerals and amino acids. Studies have identified four alkaloids in maca which are known to nourish the endocrine system. Its adaptogenic properties are commonly used to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. I like to add the maca powder to my protein shakes and green shakes.

Complete Omega- This Complete Omega offers omega-3s from fish oil, omega-6 GLA from borage oil and omega-9 oleic acids. This balanced blend promotes heart health, brain function, positive mood and offers support for healthy joints and skin. I like this brand Nordic Naturals because it is tested by a third-party certified lab for environmental toxins, including heavy metals.

Organic Acai Powder- This superfood native to South America is a complex blend of antioxidants including vitamins A and C , iron calcium and dietary fiber.   The acai berry fights inflammation and is notably rich in minerals and amino acids. This nutrient dense fruit also has omega-3 essential fatty acids which help with maintenance of mental and visual function. I like to add this in to my protein or green shakes.

Raw Probiotics-  I use the WOMEN brand that they have that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of women, supporting vaginal health and overall digestive function. It offers 32 “original” probiotics, minerals, prebiotics as well as dairy-digesting enzymes to help break down lactose and casein.

  • It supports colon health, bowel regularity and overall digestive function
  • supports gut-related immune system function and overall immune system health.
  • supports healthy microbial balance by promoting healthy bacteria in the gut
  • Supports healthy nutrient absorption
  • Supports vaginal health and thyroid function

Super Daily D3- I have this in liquid form and this vitamin supported healthy immune system function, a healthy cardiovascular system, muscle health, calcium absorption and teeth and bone health.

What do you use for your daily health fix?

Love Your Skin

Love Your Skin

As much as I stress the importance of fueling your body with quality, whole foods, I have also been on a personal mission to apply this mentality throughout all aspects of my life.

Yes, it’s important what we put IN our body. But what about all of the products used daily that we put ON our body?

I have a daily routine of using soaps, body lotions, face makeup, shampoo and perfume. Most of these products are all chemical ridden, and unfortunately tested on animals.

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs up to 60 percent of what you put on it.

With the average woman putting between 12-20 chemicals on her body due to beauty products, it’s worth it to me and my well-being to dig a little deeper into the ingredients in my beauty products.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s hard to just throw away your whole collection of lotions and perfumes you have collected and spent money on over the years, but I have made a conscious decision to buy beauty products that are chemical free and NOT tested on animals.

The best thing we can do as consumers is read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they continue to be widely used.

There is an app I found called The Think Dirty App, that helps consumers identify potentially toxic chemicals in your favorite beauty products, all by the scan of a barcode, and suggesting similar products that are cleaner.

This can help with making more conscious decisions of what we put on our bodies AND down the drains.

Over the past 3 months I have cleaned out my lotion and makeup drawer and have incorporated new products into my routine.

Kirkland’s Organic Coconut Oil– I buy this in bulk at Costco and it’s organic! Kirkland signature organic Coconut Oil is cold pressed and never chemically treated during production. Beside cooking with it as an olive oil and butter substitute, I use it as body lotion and makeup remover. It is easily absorbed into the skin and has a sweet coconut aroma. I couldn’t believe the first time I used it as makeup remover to take off my mascara, and how well it works.

Taspen’s Organics-  I have three products that I have been using from this family-owned business based out of Colorado. What I love about this company is they are passionate about safe, chemical free, organic products. Each of their products is made with high quality certified organic herbs, oils and pure essential oils. They do not contain GMO’s, gluten, parabens, petroleum, chemicals, preservatives, fragrances, synthetic or artificial ingredients and are not tested on animals.

  1.  Facial Moisturizing Cream- I use this product daily, both in the morning and night. I love that it contains high antioxidant and natural SPF containing oils.  I have the citrus scent, which is really refreshing and soothing. I am really in love with the way this makes my skin feel so hydrated.
  2. Water Resistant Sun Cream- I am a sunscreen junkie, as I’m scared to death of wrinkles. However, with the amount of sunscreen that I use, i know that I needed to find another alternative because sunscreen is FILLED with harmful chemicals. This sun cream has an equivalent to SPF 30 and needs to be reapplied every two hours.
  3. Restore and Revive Remedy Stick-  This is is my go to for scrapes, burns, cuts, dry/irritated skin and even works on my psoriasis. Basically an all natural neosporin!

Taspen’s Web site offers other products such as a facial toner, eye cream, body wash, insect repellant, diaper rash salve and baby powder among many other products.

Support local! Support organic! Support your body!

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I wake up and am immediately drawn to the ocean. I cross the railroad tracks, hike up the hill and stand against the railing that overlooks Beacons Beach in Encinitas, California.

I walk down to the ocean, find a big rock to sit on and stare dreamily out into the water watching the sunrise surfers hang ten.

I sit in a trance listening to the swooshing sound of the waves break against the shore, up onto the rocks and get pulled out again. I hear the seagulls in the distance, and I can pick up on the sound of a pelican swooping into the water for his breakfast.

The waves have me in a meditative state, and energy fills me to my core. I can’t help but smile, and not think of anything else but the present moment. I feel completely full, and the thoughts of everything else wash away. Meditating never seemed easier!

There’s something about being by the water that just makes me happier, and I’m a pretty darn happy person even away from it.

A popular belief is that salty air, which is filled with negatively charged ions, can help decrease blood pressure and elevate mood. Ocean visits were once a prescribed “cure all” for most illnesses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the ocean has healing properties. The way I feel around water is unlike anything else. But how silly would it be if we went to the doctor in the 21st century and were prescribed a walk on the beach, a swim in the ocean or to sit underneath a waterfall?

I’d take that prescription over our “pill nation” agenda any day.

What are negative ions?

An ion is an atom or molecule that has either gained or lost an electron. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, moving air and water. Nature provides both negative and positive ions, and it’s the negative ions that give us that feel good energy.

Negative ions are known to enhance mood, stimulate senses, provide relief from allergies and migranes, help promote alpha brain waves, help absorb oxygen into blood cells and balance serotonin.

The best generator for negative ions is lightening, ocean waves and waterfalls. They are also abundant in mountains and forests. (I knew I was meant to live in the Tropics…)

All of these areas have a higher concentration of negative ions than positive. The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At a large waterfall there is over 100,000. On the other hand, in a polluted city you will see levels below 100 per cubic centimeter.

It makes sense to me why I feel more alert, stable and energized when I’m surfing, climbing waterfalls and swimming in the ocean.

How does the ocean make you feel?

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body.

Magnesium plays a critical role in over 300 enzymes, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, regulates temperature, detoxes the liver and helps to improve muscle and nerve function.

Unfortunately, many people are magnesium deficient without even knowing, and the American lifestyle lends itself to magnesium depletion so rapidly that magnesium therapy should be an ongoing process for many of us.

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency are high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbances, insomnia, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, back pain, headaches, migraines, depression and hypertension.

Why are we deficient?

Due to diet, agricultural practices and stress, our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century.

Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from our soil with the use of pesticides that are sprayed on produce that we eat daily, and the American diet of refined and processed foods are stripped of their vitamin, mineral and fiber content. For consumers who love their sugar intake, think about this for a second. For every single molecule of sugar you consume, 50 times the amount of magnesium is depleted from your body.

Stress is a large cause of our levels dropping as well. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences lead to depletion of magnesium stores.

For those with a daily workout routine, you sweat out important nutrients during exercise. This is why sports drinks market themselves as an “electrolyte drink” containing magnesium, potassium and sodium. Many athletes suffer from muscle cramping, which is from losing these great nutrients during a workout. And guess what? Magnesium isn’t just a mineral, it’s an electrolyte. So you can get back your nutrients after a hard workout with a good bath soak.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. By using Epsom salt baths you can detox your body and experience amazing health benefits.

Our skin is a highly porous membrane and readily absorbs both magnesium and sulfate through the skin into the body’s blood stream. By using Epsom salts in your bathwater, it creates a process called reverse osmosis that pulls salt and harmful toxins out of your body, allowing the magnesium and sulfates to enter.

According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, researchers list health benefits from sufficient magnesium and sulfate levels.

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

Ready for a bath already?

I know what I’m doing this weekend! Spring is a time for detox and cleaning out, so start with your own internal system. Your body will thank you!

Add two cups of Epsom Salt and soak for 20 minutes, up to 2-3 times a week. Epsom salts are inexpensive and can be purchased at Wal Mart, Lowes and Home Depot among many places. Also, try to add magnesium rich foods into your diet such as roasted pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, brown rice and sunflower seeds.

Fit According to You

Fit According to You

Who do you look up to? When you look up to a role model they should be a positive, strong, motivational leader setting an example.

With social media everywhere,  sites get bombarded with pictures of “the perfect body.” Are these pages, pictures or people you are following making you feel good about yourself or just making you envious of what they have and bad about what you are currently rocking’?

What a drag to have an Instagram news feed that just leaves you thinking, “She’s so perfect, I look nothing like that,” or  “I will never be that thin,” or “I wish I had her life.”

When I use my social media, I follow people that have positive, encouraging posts that are going to inspire me to be the best version of ME I can be. They aren’t just endless selfie pictures showing off their abs and how “perfect” they are.

I want to be encouraged on a daily basis to make me feel like I can conquer the world. I don’t want to live by someone else’s standards. I want to make strides for myself!

“I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me”

My two favorite people to follow on Instagram are Yoga Girl and Emily Skye Fit. They are transparent and genuine, showing real life—the hard times with the good. They send out a positive message about loving yourself, including your flaws.

Always remember that there is no “perfect.” Every person that walks this Earth is different, and that’s what makes being YOU so special.

My idea of what fit is could be very different than my neighbors. And that’s OK! How boring would it be if everyone walked around looking identical and doing the same things.

One time I got wrapped up in this Yoga idea about wanting to be really flexible and good at it,  because my friends were excelling at it, and it looked cool to do. It’s like this yoga craze was happening and I wanted to be a part of it.

But I realized that yoga wasn’t really what my passion was, and I was being sidetracked from what I really wanted to do, weight lifting, because of the wants and looks of other people.

“This girl is in great shape, and she does yoga… I must do yoga too,” was the trap that I fell into often. And what a wrong mentality that is. Find out what you are passionate about and go for it.

(Granted, I need yoga in my life for both the mental and physical benefits, especially with all of the weight training I do. I am working on incorporating more yoga and meditation into my weekly routine,  but I focus most of my energy on what I’m happiest doing——–>Sweating and lifting weights.)

Maybe you try yoga and yes, it is your thing. But swimming, cycling, hula hooping, weight training and pilates can be an option for you too. Follow your heart on doing what makes you feel good, not what the seemingly perfect girl in the magazine is doing. Try out different methods of exercise and learn what works for you and your body. Afterall, it is FIT ACCORDING TO YOU!

*Photo- This is a photo of my best friend Stef, who found her passion in yoga and hula hooping. She followed her heart doing what she’s passionate about, and has sculpted shoulders and a rock solid core to show for it!