eco beauty: 6 natural products for pearly whites

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i love to brush my teeth. judge me not. i'm a simple girl with simple pleasures. i just love the idea of a mini before and after, the way you feel after you've organized your closet or cleaned your room, you know, that post-laundry, fresh-sheets high. only this is a petite detox party happening in your mouth. less visual, more oral of course.

so why choose green oral care? there are some ingredients you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley and certainly not in your medicine cabinet. the e.p.a has added fluoride to their list of developmental neurotoxins and identified fluoride as an endocrine disruptor. what does all this mean? if you're trying to lead a healthy life - and who isn't? - this is not an ingredient you want in your morning routine where ingredients are absorbed through the walls of your mouth + into your body.

fluoride has an adverse affect on normal function of the thyroid. this means thyroid function is reduced: our thyroid regulates our weight, fertility, optimal brain development + energy levels. that is not the before and after we want, my friends. 97% of western european countries do not fluoridate their water. here is a  brief history of fluoride and how the u.s.a. came to fluoridate their h2o - it follows the same trajectory as lead and asbestos - and a recap of some facts about the hazards of fluoride. another ingredient to steer clear of is triclosan: read why, my friends, and it's not just because it sounds ominous. 

i set out to find a natural + effective toothpaste that would taste great, too. plant-based products contain known adaptogens + healthy ingredients like dead sea salt that are rich in mineral content + can actually restore minerals to your teeth. here today, 6 ways to keep your pearly whites + your gums clean, healthy and strong.

toothpaste

i've tried a lot of toothpastes over the last five years, and i admit that there are a number of flouride-free options today with flavors for miles. dr. brite offers a toothpaste with certified organic ingredients including coconut oil + aloe vera juice. they have a traditional mint flavor for from-the-meadows fresh breath or a soothing coco chai flavor that really makes me happy. i like my toothpastes like i like my teas, not too sweet, and the familiar taste of chai is truly relaxing + calming. is it weird that i look forward to brushing my teeth now? methinks not!

mouthwash

it took me a long time to find a mouthwash that was natural - made sans alcohol, chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, cocamidopropyl betaine, parabens, formaldehyde + saccharin, all ingredients that can change the pH of the mouth + throat and are associated with increased risk of mouth and throat cancers. dr. brite provides an organic, plant-based option: a fluoride-free, alcohol-free mouth rinse free of gmo ingredients. conventional mouthwashes - the ones that make your eyes tear as if you were chopping a field of onions - kill bacteria in your mouth without distinguishing between harmful bacteria and the the helpful flora which we need to fight bath breath. this is a gentle alternative; do a little swishing with natural ingredients like aloe vera juice for a squeaky clean mouth. now you can say "happy healthy hippo" within an inch of the nearest bystander + experience only positive repercussions.

dental floss

eco dent provides a vegan waxed floss using vegetable waxes. rice bran for the win. this floss really works and it comes in a paper box so we have a plastic-free option here. i've been using this floss for some time, and if you're a flosser like me, who revels in healthy gums, then you've found a product that works just as well if not better than conventional flosses. unflavored, mint, cinammon + cranberry flavors on the menu.

teeth whitener

smart ash is an all natural + organic teeth whitener that safely lifts stains using activated coconut shell charcoal. it's a very black powdery product that does work, however it's a highly messy process though. you've been warned! my sink looked a little jackson pollock-esque post cleansing, but does it work? it really, truly does! another fantastic option that produced super fast results is dr. brite's teeth cleaning pen. it's a compact product, and i'm hoping they'll introduce refills, because i would absolutely love to continue using these little miracle workers. look no further for polishing teeth and lifting stains.

bamboo toothbrush

choose a biodegradable bkind bamboo toothbrush over plastic toothbrushes. 4.7 plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills and oceans every year. that's per year, boys + girls. bamboo toothbrushes are widely available at local markets and easily available online. they keep hazardous waste out of our oceans and landfills - and away from animals who mistake them for food and digesti them. smile squared is another favorite of mine with a social mission as well. this is an easy and inexpensive switch for a greener + kinder smile!

diy

i admit, i am not a diy-er, as soon as i hear the words tablespoon or teaspoon, i fall into a deep coma. however, this is the first time i decided to try and the ingredient list had only, well, about 3 ingredients listed. use 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda with sea salt + 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. mix it up, brush it up! it's inexpensive, and if you go easy on the sea salt, it's completely palatable! 

i did receive product for review for this post. all views are honest + my own.  

{an eco guide to feminine care products} 4 truly liberating girl products

okay eco boys + girls, today we're celebrating the female body + the "intricate ecosystem" within that brings us new life. here's a little secret i've shared with very few people: i love being a woman. i really do.

marilyn monroe once reflected, "one of the best things that ever happened to me is that i'm a woman." the fact that women can create a human being is truly magnificent, and the only way that can happen is by way of our monthly menstrual cycle. those close to me know that i hold no subject up so that it becomes unmentionable or taboo. so today we tour the feminine hygiene space + the many options available to care for her body via organic and resuable personal care products that are created sans pesticides, insecticides and dioxins: to keep her healthy, confident + empowered. 

healthy bodies + sound minds are entwined with daily decisions that we make + products that we buy. some female products, including tampons + pads, support us in our efforts to remain strong + healthy, while many of the conventional female products lining the shelves of pharmacies + stores contain endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive damage {including reduced sperm count}, cancer + developmental disorders. 

i'm bringing you four natural, nontoxic personal care products; each product is instrumental to remaining proactive in maintaining our reproductive  + neurological health. honestly, these products have simplified my life + given me so much peace of mind. let's explore the options: 

{a brief history, well, semi-brief}

"the female body is an intricate ecosystem. your vaginal tissue is delicate and absorbent—that’s why we regard a woman’s tampon choice as an essential health decision. but the feminine care industry lacks regulation. women don’t get the full picture on the products they use. both the materials and chemicals commonly found in most tampons—and their effects on women’s bodies—are largely hidden from consumers. that’s why women deserve better." molly hayward + morgan newman, cora co-founders

did you know that tampons are classified as "medical devices" by the fda, and as such there are no labeling requirements for ingredients? allergens + chemicals linked to cancer and toxity can be avoided if we know what our options are. *as women, we arm ourselves with information + we make healthy choices. here's the info + here are our choices.

dioxin

dioxin is a harmful by-product of the chlorine-bleaching process used in the wood pulp industry which includes the manufacture of feminine hygiene products such as pads, panty liners and tampons made from rayon or rayon/cotton blends. evidence is growing that even low levels of dioxin exposure may be linked to cancer {including breast cancer}, endometriosis, low sperm counts + immune system suppression. rayon + dioxin exposure over a lifetime of use increases chances of disease.

tampons

for centuries, women around the world have fashioned their own versions of tampons. ancient egyptian women created tampons from papyrus; while in rome, wool was used; in japan, paper; and in parts of africa, rolls of grass. the tampon that is similar to today's product was developed by a male doctor in denver, colorado, in the 1930's. it was composed of 100% cotton. today conventional cotton is grown using pesticides, insecticides + herbicides; exposure to tampon ingredients such as dioxins + furans {from the chlorine bleaching process} as well as pesticide/insecticide residue have a cumulative effect when absorbed by a highly permeable part of a woman's body.

pads + liners

up until the 1920's, external pads were made from cloth + laundered for reuse. nurses using surgical dressings made from a wood pulp derivative called alpha cellulose began using it, and eventually it came to be used to make feminine hygiene pads. disposable pads began to be manufactured to replace the homemade varieties. again, the developments and modifications in pads + liners may not have been in the best interest of the consumer. modern brands use a "dry weave cover" which is actually apertured plastic. women are generally unaware of this fact and are therefore compromising their health via continual exposure over a lifetime {plus, there's the environmental factor of disposing of used pads}.

"we believe every woman on the planet has the right to period products that perform without harming her body" molly + morgan, cora

rayon + dioxin

rayon is a wood pulp derivative that is commonly chlorine bleached and is more absorbent than cotton. dioxin, a byproduct of the bleaching process found in rayon + a toxic chemical compound, collects in the fatty tissues of animals including humans {dioxin is an unintentional byproduct of industrial processes such as waste incineration + fuel combustion; it can also be found in cigarette smoke + car exhaust}. bioaccumulation is a risk factor: considering a woman may use as many 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, she subjects herself to dioxin exposure. *

toxic shock syndrome

rayon itself may pose another risk. results of a study recently published in infectious diseases in obstetrics + gynecology* suggest that the use of all-cotton tampons may reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome when compared with rayon + rayon-blend tampons. the study included 20 varieties of tampons, a polyurethane contraceptive sponge, a latex diaphragm + a polymer menstrual collection cup. all-cotton tampons did not produce the dangerous tss toxin, staphylococcus aureus, while all other varieties of tampons containing rayon amplified production of the toxin tss=t1.

additives

surfactants are used in tampons to increase absorbency. surfactants are also used in consumer + industrial detergents and are considered pollutants. these surfactants, as well as synthetic fragrances, may pose additional health risks, although these additives are commonly used in feminine hygiene products. presently, manufacturers are not required by the fda to list ingredients; consequently, women may not be aware that they are using products containing rayon + other ingredients. 

four healthy alternatives to conventional feminine products:

hesta

honestly, this is where it all changed for me. these are my favorite! remember, forests are being toppled daily to make pads + liners; in a society that embraces disposable products, this is where we can bend our thinking. these super absorbent, organic cotton pads are reusable washable. that means you launder them, then hang them to dry, and then you do it all over again next month. i've not invested in disposable pads since the discovery of these soft, light + breathable options. starter sets + cute travel pouches available on hesta's site too.

natracare

natracare uses chlorine-free, organic cotton for their pads, shields + tampons and sources their raw materials from managed, scandanavian forests {conventional products are still being produced using wood harvested from endangered forests}. leaders in the world of feminine care, this ethical company saw a void in the natural feminine care market in 1989 + decided to create a solution: they offer products that are eco-friendly, biodegradable + provide protection sans irritation. available across the globe.

thinx

thinx are period-proof underwear made with technology built into the underwear that absorbs flow and wicks away moisture from your body, so you feel clean + so comfortable you might actually forget you have your cycle. now that's a great product. these undies are reusable: that means you wash them + keep them for next month {and save lots of money while you're doing so; invest in more than one to make life easier}. my bestie sent me a pair of these underoos for my birthday, and it is one of my fave eco gifts. make your gal pal smile, too: get her her very own pair. learn more about the work thinx does to educate + bring feminine care products to girls around the world here. 

 

cora

cora's aim is to offer women the safest, purest tampons without sacrificing performance. they want every woman + girl on the planet to have a safe + effective way to manage her period. i first learned of the global period crisis at cora's website, where i came to understand that 100 million girls across the world drop out of school when they reach puberty simply because they lack access to adequate menstrual products {with a large number represented in india + africa}. for every month's supply of cora you receive, cora gives a month's supply of sustainable pads to a girl in a developing country. what better way to empower another woman, than by aiding in the completion of her education? i've said it before, and i'll say it again: knowledge is power + education is liberation.

{don't forget the tip} some of you may be wondering: where's the cup?! i've actually never used a menstrual cup, but one of my best gal pal swears by them, so i'll be sure to try + add to the list if all goes well!

until next time, stay green, dear hearts!

{eco view} the human experiment: what every consumer should know

of course we all want products that keep us healthy, and as consumers, we hope that the companies in charge of producing the products we use daily, the products we buy for ourselves, our children + our families would make safety a priority. we want safe products that are not harmful to our environment, to our physical + neurological health and especially the health of our children. learn how conventional household + beauty products impact your health + safety.

knowledge is power, my friends. for green brands, take a look at the ethical brands page here at eco voyage. greener living = happier, healthier you!

{green heart series} meet thara of moss + stone

hurraw! today i'm excited to introduce a new series i’m calling the green heart series, in which an extraordinary sustainable living enthusiast is showcased each week. you'll meet passionate thought leaders, young activists and seasoned environmentalists, all working to disseminate information + create positive change. each is devoted to promoting social justice + human rights, protecting the environment and advocating on behalf of animals.

the people you will meet are compassionate, intelligent, driven, fierce + funny. they come from all walks of life and from all across the globe; they are a world of creators: writers, artists, photographers, singers, sewers, entrepreneurs, makers, dreamers and doers. they have also had a great impact on my life in numerous ways. they make me laugh, they make me think, they stretch my mind to new limits, and certainly, they galvanize me to live a more thoughtful life.

meet our first young eco hero, thara, healthy living aficionado + ardent animal rights advocate. find out which personal quality she would never change about herself, the private part of her life she chose to disclose in her quest to help others and what her parents had to say when she encouraged them to explore a plant-based diet.

i'd just returned home from a long day at work, when i tumbled across thara's food-centric instagram account; those that know me know that cooking is not my forte, so her

simple recipes were exactly what i needed. i follow lots of foodie ig accounts, but my surrealist rendering of their elegant meals, an unintentional dalí painting across my dinner plate, left me craving easy, no-fuss recipes. that night, i decided to peruse thara's youtube channel. i was exhausted, and i was hoping to find uncomplicated recipes + tips for healthy living, as promised by the raven-haired, melbourne-based vlogger and blogger at moss + stone. what i discovered so much more than this.

in one of thara's first videos, "five ways i'm treating anxiety + depression naturally," she shares, with unpretentious poise, honesty + maturity, her personal journey of being bullied, battling depression and how she now manages her anxiety naturally, holistically. 

in a world where speaking of mental health is taboo, i'm always struck by the valor + strength of those that choose to peel back the top lacquered layers of their lives in an earnest effort to aid + comfort others affected by the same conditions. i admire the courage with which thara unveils her symptoms + how she copes using a healthy diet, mindful meditation, mineral supplements, chinese medicine and earthing*. 

thara has been vlogging for over a year now, and whether she's unveiling a new nutrient-dense recipe for a berry smoothie or a plant-based chocolatey dessert, thara offers up healthy living tips that make eating right a snap + getting fit achievable. here, thara, shares a bit about her inspirations + motivations:

live / vivre

1/ what is one action you might encourage others to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

the biggest difference someone can make to the environment by way of cutting back greenhouse emissions, saving water, and stopping rain forest destruction is by going vegan. animal agriculture is the number one cause for the destruction of our planet - you can watch a documentary called cowspiracy to understand just how this is so, or check out their fact page here for information and sources. in a nutshell, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions; it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef  and 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk; and animal agriculture has been found to be the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

2/ what is your favorite eco online retailer or brick + mortar shop? my favorite online retailer is love child - it is a store run by two awesome aussie girls who sell some great ethical brands like her pony and kerol k, while emphasizing the necessity of living compassionate lifestyles in order to sustain our planet's resources and save innocent lives. 

flourish | fleurir

3/ what is one personal quality about yourself that you would never change?

i would have to say my empathy. it is what caused me to turn vegetarian at age 8 after seeing a documentary about meat production and the way animals were treated as commodities. it is what has made me become an animal rights supporter and environmentalist, as i care very deeply about other living beings and for the future of our planet. 

4/ share four things that make you really happy.

my cats (misty and casper); salted caramel coconut ice-cream; making my own herbal tea from the herbs in my garden; and farm animal sanctuaries (the work they do to help animals have a second chance at life is inspirational).

inspired | inspiré

5/ it takes a lot of time + dedication to create engaging videos or content. what motivates you to do so?

what motivates me to work on and plan this content is the fact that my small and humble amount of followers are so beautiful and supportive and really care about what i post. i value their opinions and love working with their suggestions to come up with posts/videos that i know they really want to see.

6/ which person do you most admire and why?

celebrity wise, i would have to say emily deschanel. i've loved her ever since my teen days when i first saw her on bones. In real life she has been a vegan for almost 20 years, and has spoken out about animal rights and environmentalism. she's a beautiful person inside and out, and is a talented actress too. hitting closer to home, i admire my parents a great deal. they worked hard to raise my sister and i in a foreign country, and sacrificed a lot so that we could receive a good education and made sure we were healthy with a roof over our heads. after watching documentaries like earthlings and cowspiracy, they too have become vegan and the amount of delicious food they make ahhhhh - i never want to leave home! 

wear | porter

7/ describe your favorite go-to ensemble from head to toe. do you have any favorite slow or indie fashion brands? 

my favorite go-to ensemble is always a vintage mini-dress (i have a huge collection in my wardrobe, all of them are op-shop finds) with a pair of sandals. if it's slightly chillier, than i opt for my high-waist jeans, op-shop sweater and a pair of comfy sneakers. my favorite brand would have to be her pony - they are melbourne-based and make some beautiful festival-style clothing. they are also vegan and cruelty-free, so i love the fact that they are showing people that you can be stylish and compassionate at the same time. for natural + cruelty-free beauty products in australia, change box is a subscription box that curates amazing products by companies that make a difference in the world for people, animals and the environment. 

interested in learning more about thara? click on over to follow her on twitter, ig, on youtube or at moss + stone.

{don't forget the tip} *every boy + girl should learn how negative ions ward off lethargy + headaches and promote focus while having a pronounced anti-depressant affect. negative ions are your friends: find out where you can stock up on these: watch thara's videos to learn more. 

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images of thara by michael blamey / emily deschanel via laika magazine / pig via mercy for animals / all other images via moss + stone}

{simple pleasures} rebondir dans graceland: bouncing into graceland

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Maybe I’ve reason to believe

we all will be received

in Graceland.
— Paul Simon

years ago i was lying across the cold vinyl of the physician's exam table, the crisp crepe paper roll beneath me sticking to my nervous palms. the doctor came in, he took my blood pressure first, then he took my wrist in his hand, placing his fingers over my radial artery to take my pulse. he looked perplexed, he took it again. then again. in all, he took it five times, finally stepping back, he said with incredulity, "these numbers indicate that you shouldn't be alive." 

but i was, and i am. and i'm so very glad to be here. 

over the years, before my diagnosis, i grew accustomed to the bewildered looks of nurses and physicians who couldn't seem to register that a girl as sick as me was still functioning in society. so during one of my umpteenth doctor's visits, when a p.a. took my stats, scratched her head, then got down on her knees mumbling, "hmph, the machine must be broken. these numbers aren’t right. let me check the chords," i knew i was going to have to explain that i was a very sick girl, and that my numbers weren't healthy numbers, and the doctors had yet to discover the source of my illness. the machine wasn’t broken, but i certainly felt broken. this was before my two operations. this was before my plant-based journey began. this was before i learned of the power of plants to heal + nourish our bodies, minds + souls. 

i believe life will always present challenges, and it's up to us to rise up to meet them. during these times, strength, wisdom + courage bubble to the surface. for me, my faith was an integral part of my healing. eventually i lost the ability to walk sans pain, and i didn't have the stamina to continue as a full time educator, so i turned to freelance writing + editing. and my writing took me down the path of sustainability.

on this path i've met so many sustainability superstars + cruelty-free crusaders: tenacious, talented women + men working to change the world one day at a time. because small steps lead to big change.

so if you ask me if i had to do it all over again, would i live this same life twice? the answer would be unequivocally YES. 

as i stood on this majestic mountain, not just walking again, but hiking again with my best friend by my side, i was reminded that i met her because life bent me in a different direction. and i can't imagine my life without her + so many others i've met on this adventure. it turns out i was heading exactly where i needed to be. and often i feel i've arrived bouncing into my own personal graceland

this week, i'll unfurl the green heart series in which i showcase a blogger + eco hero that is passionate about sustainable living + healthy eating, all of whom i was lucky enough to meet along this journey to health + wellness. 

i'm eternally grateful for life's trials + triumphs. today, fourteen simple pleasures that fill me with joy + gratitude: 

1/ health: the power of plants to nurture + heal never ceases to amaze me

2/ movies: watching movies on a plane is my fave; it's always better on a plane

3/ water: clean air in my lungs + running water  

4/ sky: a clear, saturated + spotless sky above

5/ baths: a long, warm soak with natural salts + oils

6/ nature: a single bloom pushing its way through concrete always moves me

7/ whistling: one of my favorite sounds, besides laughter, from family, friends or strangers

8/ life: the feel + smell of my pup when he sleeps next to me at night, even though he's a bed bully

9/ energy: the tremble of the ground beneath my feet as i wait for trains on platforms. i was at a train depot when i broke my foot this summer. there was no one around me, just a woman in the distance. i was thinking about how to get up two flights of stairs when she turned, walked the entire length of the platform + asked if she could help me. i wasn't sure how she knew i needed help. she didn't see me fall. i wasn't limping. i love when people are attentive, perceptive + sensitive to others' energy. 

10/ travel: meeting new people + learning their stories + soaking up their wisdom

11/ communication: when my mom uses emojis in her texts

12/ satchels: i absolutely love to find out what people carry in their bags

13/ botanicals: as an anti-materialist, i don't buy often, but boy do i love handmade soaps + oils 

14/ green hearts: all the lovelies i've met whom i'll be presenting here on this blog. so many fierce + kind hearts will be bouncing into your lives soon via eco voyage

"health is the greatest of human blessings." hippocrates

interested in learning more? read not just a pretty face + watch farm to fridge.