Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Stinky Diaper Pail? There’s An Oil For That! Check Out These DIY Diaper Pail Deodorant Disks!

As you all are aware, I have a bright, bubbly, beautiful (almost) 8 month old daughter.  What that also means, is I’m up to my elbows in stinky diapers!  Even thought it’s not so crunchy, we decided that the best decision for our family was to use disposable diapers so we have a Diaper Genie in our daughter’s nursery.  The Diaper Genie comes with this little packet of carbon that is inserted into a little container in the lid of the diaper pail to help control odor.

Great idea! I loved that it helped control the odor without harsh chemicals.  But after 6 months or so, it was no longer up to the challenge of keeping the stink contained so I set out to find a refill…. Guess what? These things aren’t sold in stores. Not Babies R’Us, not Target, not Walgreens… not anywhere I could find.  Why? I can’t possibly say.  Seems like a failed execution strategy to me.  But I’ve got this great kit of essential oils and I thought for sure there is some way I can DIY something to work in place of the carbon insert so I headed on over to my trusted Pinterest to find a recipe.  As always, I wasn’t disappointed and found this gem of a recipe!

DIY Diaper Pail Deodorant Disks: 

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of Baking Soda
  • Distilled (or boiled) water
  • Essential oils of your choice – I chose Young Living’s Purification, a blend of Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavandin, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Myrtle specifically designed to help eliminate odors!
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper (or silicone) muffin cups

Directions:

Add a few drops of your desired essential oil to a small amount your distilled water (If you don’t have distilled you can boil tap water but make sure to wait for it to cool before adding your eo as heat can destroy the therapeutic properties of essential oil).  Mix the water with the baking soda and gradually add a little more at a time until you get a thick paste. I used 3/4 cup of water and it was TOO MUCH!!!  I actually added more baking soda and it was still too much. In hindsight, I’d probably start with 1/4 cup and add more until desired consistency (this is especially important if you use silicone muffin cups – since I used paper the excess water was able to seep through the paper – I removed from the tin and set on a paper towel to absorb the extra water).   Press a bit of the paste into lined muffin tin, about 1/4″ per disk.  Let dry 24 hours.  Remove from muffin cup.  Place in diaper pail.

I had an old Crystal Light lemonade container left over from when I rid my house of processed foods a year or so ago that I had been hanging on to but wasn’t sure why.  It was the perfect size for storing my deodorant disks! So I put a pretty label on it and set it up in the nursery so I have easy access to the disks in order to replace them once a month or so.

Use cloth? These deodorant disks can also be used for cloth diaper wet bags and BONUS you can crumble them up and throw them in the diaper wash after they start to lose their effectiveness.  The baking soda will help deodorize and soften your cloth diapers!

Source: Diapers, Dirt, Donuts, Doodling & Digital’s blog Stinky Diaper Pail? Make Your Own Deodorant Disks.

Have you made DIY diaper pail deodorant disks? Tell us about your experience below!

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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DIY & Natural Teething Solutions for the Natural Family

My little girl is growing up… I’m not sure I’m quite ready for this yet.  But there’s nothing I can do to slow it down so I am bracing myself for all that is to come.  Currently, we are teething.  Honestly, we’ve been pretty lucky so far compared to some of the mamas in my beloved Sugar Plums support group.  When we went to the pediatrician for her 4 month checkup I mentioned that I thought she was teething.  My pediatrician, who is pretty conservative with recommendations (which is one of the reasons we chose him – but sadly he’s not super hip on homeopathic or naturally minded interventions), assured me that all babies drool and chew on things like she had been and that it could be a couple weeks or months before she started “officially” teething.  Well in this case, Mommy was right.  2 weeks later her first tooth was visible.  1 week after that it had already cut through and her second tooth was visible.  She’s currently 5 1/2 months and both teeth are well on their way and I suspect that the top two teeth won’t be too far behind either.  We’ve been lucky to have very little irritability or sleep disturbances, no fever, and none of the diaper rash that is commonly associated with teething babies so far.  But I can tell she is uncomforable and while it was initially okay to let her gnaw on our fingers or hands those new little teefers are sharp! So we’ve been trying to find natural teething solutions to help her out.  Today I thought I would share some of the things we’ve been doing with you!

 

teething oil

1. Homemade Teething Oil – Given my love of essential oils, one of my first strategies to help alleviate some of the discomfort that my little one was having as a result of cutting new teeth was to turn to my go-to resource for essential oils and babies: Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern.  In the book, she suggests using Orange, Frankincense, or Copaiba oil diluted 1:30 with a carrier oil applied directly to the affected area.  I had Frankincense on hand as one of the Everyday Oils collection I got as part of Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit (message me for more information on how to get your new and improved Premium Starter Kit and wholesale membership!) and I had an empty 5 ml amber glass bottle (which holds an estimated 100 drops) so I put 3 drops of Frankincense in the bottle and almost filled the bottle with olive oil as my carrier oil (I figured this was easier than dropping out 33 drops of my carrier oil but feel free to be more exact if you’d like).  Olive oil is a key ingredient in our regular recipes in our home so figured it would be a good oil to get her used to tasting.  Plus, I figured it might taste better than the Frankincense and mask the flavor better than say coconut oil.  But you could use a carrier oil of your choice.  I just rub a little of the Teething Oil on my finger and let her gnaw on me for a min to get the oil to the affected area.  It does seem to provide some relief.  I wish I had Copaiba (now available as part of the new PSK and on my wish list for sure!) to help boost the power of the frankincense and provide added relief.

 

DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant

2. DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant for Wooden Teething Rings and Toys – You’ve probably seen the wooden teething rings and toys that are available online and through local boutiques.  They are really popular among the crunchy granola parenting crowds.  In fact, one of my best friends bought me this great organic wood owl rattle that had been treated with organic jojoba oil/beeswax polish.  It’s beautiful and we love it! (You can buy the same rattle here) But of course I thought to myself, surely I can DIY some sort of similar all natural wood sealant and create my own wooden teething rings and toys.  So I set out to the amazing Google and found a recipe  from The Modern DIY Life blog that worked beautifully!

DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant:

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Olive Oil – We use the Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Costco
  • Beeswax – I prefer the Beeswax Pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs because they melt really easily, but you could shave off bits from a solid block if that’s what you have on hand
  • Double Boiler
  • Glass Storage Container or Jar with Lid
  • Wooden Teething Rings (or toys) – I bought my untreated wooden teething rings here from Amazon

Directions:

The basic recipe is 1 part beeswax to 3 parts olive oil (although you could use jojoba or another oil if you preferred).  You want to combine your beeswax and olive oil in double boiler, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly melted.  Dip your teething rings or wooden toys into oil/wax mixture and set out on wax paper to dry.  Pour the remainder sealant in your glass container for future usage.  I used a paper towel to wipe off excess sealant and rub the rest into the wood really well.  When it is no longer wet to the touch you are done! Now you can use the toy or make a craft with your finished product.  See the next two teething solutions for ideas of what you can do with natural wooden teething rings! 

Teething Necklace 1 Teething Necklace 2

3. DIY Teething Necklace – This is a necklace that you wear while holding baby, nursing, or even babywearing.  Not only does it give them something to fidget with and help entertain them but it is made using wooden teething rings (sealed using the sealant recipe above) so it is perfect for those new little chompers to gnaw on!  Mine was inspired by these on Etsy! So if you don’t want to DIY it, go on over to Life Circles Necklaces and order you one (she also sells Baltic Amber necklaces – see below for more info)!

DIY Teething Necklace:

Supplies:

  • Wooden Teething Rings, sealed using recipe above
  • Donut gemstone bead – I get mine at Fire Mountain Gems.  Since my Pepperlonely wooden teething rings had an inside opening of 38 mm I purchased a donut bead (I used Labradorite because it’s one of my favorites!) that was 30 mm in diameter to make sure it would fit
  • Organic bamboo, cotton, or hemp cord

Directions:

I cut a length of cord a little longer than I wanted it.  I looped it through itself around the donut and tied a knot around the teething ring.  Tie a knot at the end.  Easy Peasy! Honestly, I wish my cord was a bit thicker.  I expect that it will eventually break.  I may actually try braiding pieces to have a thicker cord.  You can also had wooden or silicone beads to the cord to jazz it up a bit!

Teething Necklace 3 

She had no problem figuring out what this necklace was for! Perfect jewelry for babywearing! 

 

 

wooden teether

4. DIY “Rabbit Ear” Wooden Teether – I kept seeing these awesome “rabbit ear” wooden teethers on etsy and on the Aden & Anais swaddle b/s/t Facebook groups online (I’m a total A&A junkie!  We especially love the bamboo swaddles!) and thought surely these can’t be that hard to make!  I made mine up as I went, but here is a great step by step tutorial I found on Pinterest.

DIY “Rabbit Ear” Wooden Teether (with optional Crinkle)

Supplies:

  • Pattern
  • Material for “Rabbit Ears” – I chose a patterned cotton for the front and Minky for the back, both of which were scraps from other projects.  You could use pretty much anything you had on hand. I’d consider using terry or fleece for the back and have seen super cute teethers made out of muslin swaddle scraps! Or if you had wrap scrap materials on hand you could make a teether to match your favorite babywearing wrap!
  • Crinkle material (optional) – I upcycled the packaging from baby wipes.
  • Teething ring, sealed using sealant recipe above
  • Sewing Machine – although I suppose you could sew it by hand… I wouldn’t want to
  • Thread, Pins, Scissors, etc.

Directions:

  1. I started by drawing out a pattern on a paper bag (I always use paper bags to create my patterns on – it’s a great way to upcycle plus it’s tough enough you can draw, erase, and pin to your fabric while cutting without it tearing apart).  My pattern is about 12″ long, about 2.25-2.5″ wide in the middle with the “ears” being about 3″ wide and about 3″ from tip to where it narrows in the middle.  Honestly, in hindsight, I’ll probably lengthen the pattern a bit and make it a bit skinnier in the middle next time I make one.  Feel free to play around with the dimensions.
  2. Cut your fabric and crinkle material using the pattern.  Place your fabric together “right side” to “right side.” Pin it together with the crinkle material behind the “wrong side” of one of your pieces of fabric.  Do NOT put the crinkle material in between your fabric as you want it on the inside when you turn your rabbit ears rightside out.
  3. Use your sewing machine (or sew by hand) to sew around the edges of your material using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Leave a section open on one of the ears.  Flip your fabric rightside out through the opening.  You may need a pencil or something to help you get the points of the ears situated right.  Close opening – I chose to sew it up by hand.
  4. Use your sewing machine (or sew by hand) to stitch around the outside of the fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance, to give it a finished look.
  5. Loop the fabric around the teething ring and pull the ears taught

** If you have a serger you could actually serge the edges of the material together instead of all the sewing and flipping rightside out that I did.  But I don’t have a serger and honestly don’t sew enough to justify the cost.  However, I’ve seen really cute teethers made this way.

 

teething biscuits

5. Homemade Teething Biscuits – They aren’t super pretty but they are super healthy and avoid all the junk in store-bought teething biscuits – like enriched flour (which means they have to add back in nutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc), sugar, or preservatives like tocopherols.  I found lots of teething biscuit recipes on Pinterest (my go-to resource for all things DIY) but really liked the recipes I found on Mama Natural’s blog.  To see the original recipes, check out her blog post How To Make Healthy Teething Biscuits.

Basic Teething Biscuit Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. steel cut oats (grind oats in blender till they’re a flour consistency)
  • 1 c. organic apple sauce – I made my own (see my DIY Baby Food Recipes blog post for directions and other recipe ideas!)
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (optional – I left this out)

Substitutions:

Use 1 cup mashed bananas or pumpkin puree instead of apple sauce

Directions: 

Mix dry ingredients. Add in applesauce (or banana or pumpkin puree), vanilla extract, syrup, and melted oil. Mix well with spoon. I formed shapes I liked – the original author suggests “date-like” shapes but I preferred to make little rectangles, onto a greased baking sheet.  I greased with coconut oil but you could also use parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Make sure to flip them halfway through so that you have a nice golden crisp on both sides of the biscuits. The original author suggests that you store in uncovered dish for at least 24 hours which will harden them further. You can also put in freezer and serve cold for extra teething relief!

**The little one LOVES the teething biscuits! And honestly, they taste good enough for me to eat like a cookie! Feel free to modify the recipe to make healthy cookies for the whole family! 🙂

 

amber necklace

6. Baltic Amber Necklaces (or Bracelets) – I’ve left the Baltic Amber necklaces for last because there will inevitably be some skeptic who yells at me about them stating that not only do they not work but they are dangerous.  So I’ll share what I know, including the pros and cons that I’ve researched and trust that you will do your own research and make the decision that best fits with your family’s beliefs and needs.  So here goes!

First off, lets address a common misconception: Baltic Amber teething necklaces are NOT for the baby to chew on.  If they can chew on the necklace, it’s too long!

Proponents of Baltic Amber teething necklaces will tell you that Baltic Amber has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, is electromagnetic and produces natural organic energy, is anti-microbial, contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals, has a slight sedative effect, and activates the solar plexus and root chakras.  Now you may immediately write it off as hippy propaganda and while the science is debatable there is some truth to these statements. First off, the Baltic Amber teething necklaces are thought to work on one of two mechanisms:

1) Baltic Amber contains succinic acid (true) which is suggested to have the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects (some evidence – mostly anecdotal but there are a few, and far between, empirical studies researching this claim).  Succinic acid is a natural ingredient in many fruits and vegetables (true) and an additive in many vitamin supplements and food products (true).  Also known as Succinate, succinic acid can often be found as an ingredient in OTC supplements used to treat arthritis and joint pain (true).

  • Proponents of the Baltic Amber teething necklaces suggest that when the amber is worn against the skin the body heat activates the succinic acid which is then absorbed by the skin and has an analgesic effect.  There is no doubt that amber does indeed contain succinic acid but the question arises as to whether body heat is sufficient to release the succinic acid and/or whether or not the succinic acid can be absorbed through the skin to have the same affect as taken internally as a dietary supplement.

2) Baltic Amber has an electromagnetic charge (true) which reduces pain and inflammation (debatable). There are a great deal of products on the market that claim to use electromagnetic energy to reduce pain (true).  But some studies claim that there is no significant reduction in pain using electromagnetic pulses and may, in fact, contribute to electro-sensitivity (true).

  • When amber is rubbed it does tend to produce an electromagnetic charge which will attract light bodies and magnetic iron ore.  Ancient Greeks suggested that when rubbed long enough amber would even produce an electric spark.  The question becomes, however, whether or not the rubbing of amber against the skin produces enough electromagnetic energy to be comparable to electromagnetic pulse therapy.

But the anecdotal evidence is strong. Baltic Amber specifically is a resin from pine trees that grew in Northern Europe around the Baltic sea as many as 300 million years ago.  It is harvested from the Baltic Sea floor by scraping the floor with nets and collecting the resin from tangles in seaweed and sand at ebb-tide. Baltic Amber has been used throughout history for pain management.  It is highly prized among the Nordic people, Celts, Mediterranean peoples, Arabs, Egyptians, Chinese  and Greeks for it’s beauty as well as healing properties. Those who subscribe to the idea of Chakras claim that it helps balance the Chakras by filling the body with vitality, alleviating stress, and drawing disease out of the body.  Because it is non-toxic, mother’s have been using Baltic Amber to treat teething pain for many years.

Risks with using Baltic Amber teething necklaces: I would be remiss if I did not address the risks involved with using Baltic Amber teething necklaces.  These are definite concerns and the biggest argument against using teething necklaces on babies and children.  As a result of the risks below Canada and Australia now require warnings on amber teething necklaces and France and Switzerland have even outlawed their sales in pharmacies.

  • Strangulation – the most common cited example of strangulation hazards and teething necklaces comes out of Australia where a young mom let her daughter sleep in her amber necklace and went to wake her from a nap to find that the toddler had gotten her arm twisted up in her necklace and cut her airway off.  Thankfully the mother found her daughter in time and she did not suffer any lasting consequences of the very scary event.
    • Some proponents of Baltic Amber teething necklaces will tell you their child sleeps in their necklace nightly and not to worry.  You can find blogs and forums all over the internet with similar stories of no harm done.  They argue that teething pain is still painful while their child is sleeping and that they want their child to benefit from the jewelry 24/7. But realistically, it only takes once and those who are proponents but advocate for safe use of Baltic Amber jewelry will suggest removing necklaces at night and during nap time, as well as any time your child is not directly supervised.  They suggest if you want your child to wear the necklace 24/7 to remove it from the neck and place it wrapped around your child’s ankle under a sock or in footed pajamas during nap and night time.
    • However, a correctly fitted Baltic Amber teething necklace would not allow enough room for a child to get their arm up under the necklace.  Find out how to get the proper fit here.
    • Some retailers also offer bracelets and anklets as suitable alternatives.
  • Choking hazard – amber teething necklaces do contain lots of small beads, this is true.  Therefor it is a logical conclusion that small parts = choking hazard.  If a child were to swallow several small amber beads all at once there is a definite risk of choking.
    • However, a well designed genuine Baltic Amber teething necklace from a reputable retailer is knotted in between each bead.  The idea being that the string would break if pulled hard enough, thus reducing the risk of strangulation, and if so only a single bead would fall from the necklace leaving the remainder knotted on the string, thus reducing the risk of choking hazard.

For what it’s worth: In my investigating the pros and cons, risks and benefits of Baltic Amber teething necklaces, I could not find a single documented death from either strangulation or choking related to wearing an amber necklace. That doesn’t mean the risks are worth considering when making the best, informed choice for your family but it is food for thought.

My little one has worn her Baltic Amber teething necklace every day since she was 12 weeks old.  She is now 24 weeks old, has cut both of the lower two front teeth and is working on cutting one, or both, of her two front upper teeth as we speak.  Compared to some of the other mothers I’ve met, my daughter seems to suffer much less from teething symptoms than other children her age.  She does drool some but not as much as others, is sometimes a little fussy (who wouldn’t be?) but is easily consoled with one of the above mentioned methods, never turns away the boob or solid foods, doesn’t tug on her ear as is common with teething pain, has had very little sleep disruption, and doesn’t have the often associated symptoms of diarrhea or diaper rash.  Overall, we love our Baltic Amber necklace (I actually have an adult sized amber necklace that I love as well) and I recommend any parent of a teething infant or toddler to do the research on them as a viable, natural alternative to medications like Tylenol for teething pain management.

For more information on Amber Teething Necklaces visit Amber Artisan’s website.  I did not buy our teething necklace from them, it was a gift, but they do have a beautiful selection of different genuine Baltic Amber necklaces, bracelets, anklets and other jewelry.  There are also tons of websites that give anecdotal evidence of the pain relief provided by Baltic Amber.

For a skeptic’s perspective visit Science Based Medicine.

 

7. Other Not-So-Natural Teething products we love:

  • Terry Cloth Teethers – Ask any grandmother or mother over the age of about 50 what they used when their children were teething and almost unanimously they will tell you they put a damp washcloth in the freezer and pulled it out for their children to chew on.  But we were gifted a Sassy Terry Teether that is shaped like a bunch of grapes.  It is designed to be wet and put in the freezer just like grandma’s remedy.  It is also available in a watermelon shape but we prefer the grapes because the little grape knobs are easy to chew on.

sassy grapes

  • Baby Banana Teethers, available as a banana or a corn cob (we have the corn cob) – this was one of those things that one of my Sugar Plum mamas, from my internet support group, said “go buy” and nearly all 120 members rushed out to buy right away, it’s that awesome! Seriously, they should give us compensation! This is a BPA-free, silicone teether toothbrush that is not only great to chew on but helps remove plaque and tarter from those little chompers to help promote good oral hygiene even before they can say “toothbrush!”  You can buy them as a set or separately.  Here they are together on Amazon: Baby-Banana-Brush-Bundle-Cornelius

banana corn cob teethers

So that’s that! What are some of your favorite teething home remedies, natural or not-so? Share below to keep the conversation going!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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Are you brushing your teeth with toxic toothpaste? (Plus a DIY Thieves Toothpaste recipe!)

In 2013 I had to have oral surgery, a gum graft behind my lower front teeth to correct a receding gum line… Having only had 2 cavities in my entire life (don’t hate me) I was devastated.  (Interesting side note: according to my dental hygienist, apparently people who are not prone to cavities are often prone to periodontal disease… who knew?).  As a result of my gum loss I developed sensitivity to heat/cold as well as when brushing my teeth.  So like all good little patients I began using the recommended toothpaste, Sensodyne. It helped but is expensive compared to regular toothpaste so when I would run out I would often just use what we had on hand and my sensitivity would come back.  By this point I had started to embark on my crunchy journey so I started doing a little research into toothpaste.

What I first discovered is that my Sensodyne did not have one ingredient common in nearly all toothpaste brands, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).  SLS, along with Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS), are detergents that are commonly added to personal hygiene products such as shampoo, toothpastes, mouthwash, body wash, soaps, etc. to help create a lather and make the products more effective at cleaning.  In fact, these ingredients are so effective that they are often included in industrial strength detergents and engine degreasers!!! Say what!?! By this point I had already begun my low-poo journey (more on that at a later date) because I wanted to avoid SLS and similar sulfates in my shampoo but I was still putting it in my mouth!?! So naturally, I vowed to never use an SLS toothpaste again! But my research wasn’t over yet.

Next I began to read about fluoride.  I’m a child of the 80’s and remember getting fluoride gel treatments as a regular dental procedure to help strengthen my teeth.  Walk down any toothpaste aisle at the supermarket and it’s all about “Now with added Fluoride for extra cavity protection!” So, fluoride is good right? Not necessarily.  Fluoride does help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities but in excess can be toxic.  In fact, before it was used in toothpaste it was also used as an insecticide and rat poison.

But first, a history lesson: Tooth powders and toothbrushes came into popular use in the 19th century in Britain. By the 1900’s a mixture of using a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was the general recommendation for use with a toothbrush.  Pre-mixed pastes were available but did not gain in popularity until after WWI, most likely due to lack of financial means, access, and/or education on proper dental care.  Fluoride was first added to toothpaste in the 1980’s by a German company based on the research of chemist Albert Deninger.  Surprisingly, a similar recipe was developed by a US company in 1937 and was highly criticized by the American Dental Association (ADA). It wasn’t until the 1950’s that a fluoridated toothpaste was approved by the ADA and Proctor & Gamble’s original Crest formula entered the market as the first fluoridated toothpaste in America.

As awareness of the potential benefits of fluoride for dental health began to spread, the US Public Health Service (PHS) realized that many American’s didn’t have the financial means to purchase the new fluoridated toothpaste or access to proper dental care and in the 1940’s and 50’s they started added fluoride to community drinking water under the assumption that it was the main way that many US residents would have access to fluoride.  Since that time the incidents of dental decay have, in fact, decreased in the US and thus “led to the development of fluoride-containing products, including toothpaste (i.e., dentifrice), mouthrinse, dietary supplements, and professionally applied or prescribed gel, foam, or varnish. In addition, processed beverages, which constitute an increasing proportion of the diets of many U.S. residents, and food can contain small amounts of fluoride, especially if they are processed with fluoridated water. Thus, U.S. residents have more sources of fluoride available now than 50 years ago (CDC, 2001).”

But is the decrease due to the addition of fluoride in the water or to increased education about proper dental hygiene? During the same time frame, the incidents of dental decay has also decreased in most industrialized nations, including France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Iceland and Greece – yet the ONLY one that adds fluoride to the public drinking water is the US.

Why is this a concern? The PHS has set recommendations for the “optimally adjusted concentration of fluoride” in public drinking water as ranging from 0.7 ppm to 1.2 ppm.  Being aware that too much fluoride can be toxic, and having a responsibility to protect the safety and quality of our drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come in and set a maximum limit of 4 ppm and a “secondary limit (i.e., nonenforceable guideline)” at 2 ppm (CDC, 2001).  This doesn’t take into account any of the additional fluoride that we are exposed to in our daily diet and hygiene.  So clearly, we are getting more than the “optimally adjusted concentration of fluoride” daily.

So what happens if we are exposed to too much fluoride?  Ironically, too much fluoride can cause your teeth to yellow and crumble.  In addition, it can enhance the absorption of aluminum which presents concerns of Alzheimer’s disease, and has even been linked to cancer deaths (I don’t know the specifics of these studies so I can’t comment on the research).  And the FDA knows that fluoride in excess can lead to significant health problems, as evidenced by the FDA’s warnings on toothpaste read: “Keep out of the reach of children less than 6 years of age. In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact poison control center immediately.”  In fact, the ADA advises to only use a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste with children 24 months and older (although they are now encouraging prevention beginning even younger than 2 due to a rising number of cavities in youth) to prevent enamel fluorosis, a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by the consumption of excess fluoride during tooth development. Since children often do swallow their toothpaste while learning about proper dental hygiene, several non-fluoride children’s toothpastes have entered the US market.

Another concerning ingredient in traditional toothpaste is Triclosan.  Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is also often found in soaps, hand sanitizers, as well as detergents and other cleaning agents. It has received a great deal of media attention lately because it has been linked to health concerns, such as liver and thyroid dysfunction.  In addition, the American Medical Association has even discouraged the use of Triclosan in the home as it’s antibacterial properties may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Given the concerns with a number of ingredients in traditional toothpaste I thought surely I can DIY this… besides, plenty of people brush their teeth with baking soda – hell, it’s even an added ingredient in many toothpaste brands. So I set out to find the perfect toothpaste recipe.  I’ve been using the same recipe for over a year now and I’m proud to say that I have no cavities and even my dental hygienist approves! I’ve recently modified my toothpaste recipe to add Thieves oil because it helps kill germs and bacteria that can thrive in the little nooks and crannies between your teeth.  Below is my new and improved DIY toothpaste recipe!

DIY Thieves Toothpaste:

Ingredients

  • 4-6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons baking soda
  • ½ – 1 small packet of stevia powder (1 packet = 1 tsp)
  • 2-5 drops Thieves oil – buy it here
  • 10-20 drops of peppermint oil* – buy it here

(oils can be adjusted to taste)

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, using a fork.

*Add about half of the amount of peppermint oil to start, and test the toothpaste to see how much you want/like. Using part spearmint oil will make the toothpaste not as “hot” as using all peppermint oil.  The stevia gives a sweet taste (which most toothpastes have). The baking soda taste isn’t over-powering, but it is there — and the toothpaste definitely works well! It doesn’t foam, however. Since coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, the toothpaste becomes liquid when you brush, and coats the teeth well. The oil is very runny, though, and doesn’t leave the mouth feeling greasy in the least. It will, however, stick to your bathroom sink if you use cold water to rinse. I definitely recommend using warm water with this toothpaste!

Note: If you are a nursing mom you may want to avoid using peppermint oil as there is some evidence that it can cause a decrease in your milk supply.  That stated, I’ve used it every day since I had my baby and haven’t noticed any difference (but I produce milk like a Jersey cow!).

–Modified from several sources, including http://www.tammysrecipes.com/homemade_toothpaste and http://www.growing4hisglory.com/homemade-thieves-toothpaste.html

See the CDC’s “Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States” (2001) here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm

Get more information about Triclosan here from the Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-triclosan

Read more about sulfates in your personal hygiene products here: http://slsfree.net/

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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Are you brushing your teeth with toxic toothpaste? (Plus a DIY Thieves Toothpaste recipe!)

In 2013 I had to have oral surgery, a gum graft behind my lower front teeth to correct a receding gum line… Having only had 2 cavities in my entire life (don’t hate me) I was devastated.  (Interesting side note: according to my dental hygienist, apparently people who are not prone to cavities are often prone to periodontal disease… who knew?).  As a result of my gum loss I developed sensitivity to heat/cold as well as when brushing my teeth.  So like all good little patients I began using the recommended toothpaste, Sensodyne. It helped but is expensive compared to regular toothpaste so when I would run out I would often just use what we had on hand and my sensitivity would come back.  By this point I had started to embark on my crunchy journey so I started doing a little research into toothpaste.

What I first discovered is that my Sensodyne did not have one ingredient common in nearly all toothpaste brands, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).  SLS, along with Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS), are detergents that are commonly added to personal hygiene products such as shampoo, toothpastes, mouthwash, body wash, soaps, etc. to help create a lather and make the products more effective at cleaning.  In fact, these ingredients are so effective that they are often included in industrial strength detergents and engine degreasers!!! Say what!?! By this point I had already begun my low-poo journey (more on that at a later date) because I wanted to avoid SLS and similar sulfates in my shampoo but I was still putting it in my mouth!?! So naturally, I vowed to never use an SLS toothpaste again! But my research wasn’t over yet.

Next I began to read about fluoride.  I’m a child of the 80’s and remember getting fluoride gel treatments as a regular dental procedure to help strengthen my teeth.  Walk down any toothpaste aisle at the supermarket and it’s all about “Now with added Fluoride for extra cavity protection!” So, fluoride is good right? Not necessarily.  Fluoride does help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities but in excess can be toxic.  In fact, before it was used in toothpaste it was also used as an insecticide and rat poison.

But first, a history lesson: Tooth powders and toothbrushes came into popular use in the 19th century in Britain. By the 1900’s a mixture of using a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was the general recommendation for use with a toothbrush.  Pre-mixed pastes were available but did not gain in popularity until after WWI, most likely due to lack of financial means, access, and/or education on proper dental care.  Fluoride was first added to toothpaste in the 1980’s by a German company based on the research of chemist Albert Deninger.  Surprisingly, a similar recipe was developed by a US company in 1937 and was highly criticized by the American Dental Association (ADA). It wasn’t until the 1950’s that a fluoridated toothpaste was approved by the ADA and Proctor & Gamble’s original Crest formula entered the market as the first fluoridated toothpaste in America.

As awareness of the potential benefits of fluoride for dental health began to spread, the US Public Health Service (PHS) realized that many American’s didn’t have the financial means to purchase the new fluoridated toothpaste or access to proper dental care and in the 1940’s and 50’s they started added fluoride to community drinking water under the assumption that it was the main way that many US residents would have access to fluoride.  Since that time the incidents of dental decay have, in fact, decreased in the US and thus “led to the development of fluoride-containing products, including toothpaste (i.e., dentifrice), mouthrinse, dietary supplements, and professionally applied or prescribed gel, foam, or varnish. In addition, processed beverages, which constitute an increasing proportion of the diets of many U.S. residents, and food can contain small amounts of fluoride, especially if they are processed with fluoridated water. Thus, U.S. residents have more sources of fluoride available now than 50 years ago (CDC, 2001).”

But is the decrease due to the addition of fluoride in the water or to increased education about proper dental hygiene? During the same time frame, the incidents of dental decay has also decreased in most industrialized nations, including France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Iceland and Greece – yet the ONLY one that adds fluoride to the public drinking water is the US.

Why is this a concern? The PHS has set recommendations for the “optimally adjusted concentration of fluoride” in public drinking water as ranging from 0.7 ppm to 1.2 ppm.  Being aware that too much fluoride can be toxic, and having a responsibility to protect the safety and quality of our drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come in and set a maximum limit of 4 ppm and a “secondary limit (i.e., nonenforceable guideline)” at 2 ppm (CDC, 2001).  This doesn’t take into account any of the additional fluoride that we are exposed to in our daily diet and hygiene.  So clearly, we are getting more than the “optimally adjusted concentration of fluoride” daily.

So what happens if we are exposed to too much fluoride?  Ironically, too much fluoride can cause your teeth to yellow and crumble.  In addition, it can enhance the absorption of aluminum which presents concerns of Alzheimer’s disease, and has even been linked to cancer deaths (I don’t know the specifics of these studies so I can’t comment on the research).  And the FDA knows that fluoride in excess can lead to significant health problems, as evidenced by the FDA’s warnings on toothpaste read: “Keep out of the reach of children less than 6 years of age. In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact poison control center immediately.”  In fact, the ADA advises to only use a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste with children 24 months and older (although they are now encouraging prevention beginning even younger than 2 due to a rising number of cavities in youth) to prevent enamel fluorosis, a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by the consumption of excess fluoride during tooth development. Since children often do swallow their toothpaste while learning about proper dental hygiene, several non-fluoride children’s toothpastes have entered the US market.

Another concerning ingredient in traditional toothpaste is Triclosan.  Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is also often found in soaps, hand sanitizers, as well as detergents and other cleaning agents. It has received a great deal of media attention lately because it has been linked to health concerns, such as liver and thyroid dysfunction.  In addition, the American Medical Association has even discouraged the use of Triclosan in the home as it’s antibacterial properties may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Given the concerns with a number of ingredients in traditional toothpaste I thought surely I can DIY this… besides, plenty of people brush their teeth with baking soda – hell, it’s even an added ingredient in many toothpaste brands. So I set out to find the perfect toothpaste recipe.  I’ve been using the same recipe for over a year now and I’m proud to say that I have no cavities and even my dental hygienist approves! I’ve recently modified my toothpaste recipe to add Thieves oil because it helps kill germs and bacteria that can thrive in the little nooks and crannies between your teeth.  Below is my new and improved DIY toothpaste recipe!

diy toothpaste

DIY Thieves Toothpaste:

Ingredients

  • 4-6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons baking soda
  • ½ – 1 small packet of stevia powder (1 packet = 1 tsp)
  • 2-5 drops Thieves oil – buy it here
  • 10-20 drops of peppermint oil* – buy it here

(oils can be adjusted to taste)

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, using a fork.

*Add about half of the amount of peppermint oil to start, and test the toothpaste to see how much you want/like. Using part spearmint oil will make the toothpaste not as “hot” as using all peppermint oil.  The stevia gives a sweet taste (which most toothpastes have). The baking soda taste isn’t over-powering, but it is there — and the toothpaste definitely works well! It doesn’t foam, however. Since coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, the toothpaste becomes liquid when you brush, and coats the teeth well. The oil is very runny, though, and doesn’t leave the mouth feeling greasy in the least. It will, however, stick to your bathroom sink if you use cold water to rinse. I definitely recommend using warm water with this toothpaste!

Note: If you are a nursing mom you may want to avoid using peppermint oil as there is some evidence that it can cause a decrease in your milk supply.  That stated, I’ve used it every day since I had my baby and haven’t noticed any difference (but I produce milk like a Jersey cow!).

–Modified from several sources, including http://www.tammysrecipes.com/homemade_toothpaste and http://www.growing4hisglory.com/homemade-thieves-toothpaste.html

See the CDC’s “Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States” (2001) here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm

Get more information about Triclosan here from the Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-triclosan

Read more about sulfates in your personal hygiene products here: http://slsfree.net/

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

Are you brushing your teeth with toxic toothpaste? (Plus a DIY Thieves Toothpaste recipe!) was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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Thieves Inspired DIY Foaming Hand Soap

For my next DIY Thieves inspired recipe I thought I would share my DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe! I’ve been using a DIY hand soap recipe for about a year but have never had a foaming soap dispenser and my recipe has never passed muster with the husband.  He complained often about it and would even walk into the kitchen to wash his hands with dishwashing liquid rather than use my homemade soap! So I knew when I got my Everyday Oils collection that I wanted to modify my recipe and invest in a foaming soap dispenser.  I have an abundance of Mason jars in my house because I believe in reusing/upcycling as much as possible and I had made Christmas gifts using Mason jars as the packaging last year.  So when I saw someone use a foaming soap dispenser top with a Mason jar I knew I had to have one! Once I ordered it off Amazon (from Jarring Creations – find her etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jarringcreations) I set out for Pinterest to find the perfect recipe for DIY foaming hand soap.  I knew I wanted a recipe that incorporated Thieves oil as an ingredient because of its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungal growth as well as its immune enhancing properties. My favorite that I found was from The Oil Dropper and I modified it slightly to make a bigger volume and added a few extra oils. And what do you know? The husband approves!

DIY Foaming Hand Soap:

  • 2-3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby mild castile soap – I used lavender Dr. Bronner’s, since it was what I had on hand, and filled up to the top of the “M” on my mason jar
  • 2-3 drops Organic Vitamin E oil
  • 4-6 drops Young Living Thieves oil – I also added a 3-4 drops each of Peppermint and Lemon EO, all part of the Everyday Oils collection.  You can buy one or the collection here
  • Add filtered water to your foaming soap container (slowly or it will create a lot of bubbles!) and Viola!

soap-close up

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


Leave a comment

Thieves Inspired DIY Foaming Hand Soap

diy foaming hand soap

For my next DIY Thieves inspired recipe I thought I would share my DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe! I’ve been using a DIY hand soap recipe for about a year but have never had a foaming soap dispenser and my recipe has never passed muster with the husband.  He complained often about it and would even walk into the kitchen to wash his hands with dishwashing liquid rather than use my homemade soap! So I knew when I got my Everyday Oils collection that I wanted to modify my recipe and invest in a foaming soap dispenser.  I have an abundance of Mason jars in my house because I believe in reusing/upcycling as much as possible and I had made Christmas gifts using Mason jars as the packaging last year.  So when I saw someone use a foaming soap dispenser top with a Mason jar I knew I had to have one! Once I ordered it off Amazon (from Jarring Creations – find her etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jarringcreations) I set out for Pinterest to find the perfect recipe for DIY foaming hand soap.  I knew I wanted a recipe that incorporated Thieves oil as an ingredient because of its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungal growth as well as its immune enhancing properties. My favorite that I found was from The Oil Dropper and I modified it slightly to make a bigger volume and added a few extra oils. And what do you know? The husband approves!

DIY Foaming Hand Soap:

  • 2-3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby mild castile soap – I used lavender Dr. Bronner’s, since it was what I had on hand, and filled up to the top of the “M” on my mason jar
  • 2-3 drops Organic Vitamin E oil
  • 4-6 drops Young Living Thieves oil – I also added a 3-4 drops each of Peppermint and Lemon EO, all part of the Everyday Oils collection.  You can buy one or the collection here
  • Add filtered water to your foaming soap container (slowly or it will create a lot of bubbles!) and Viola!

soap-close up

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

Thieves Inspired DIY Foaming Hand Soap was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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All About Thieves!

So I’m super excited to have Thieves oil in my collection now and decided to make this weekend’s theme all about this amazing blend because there is just so much you can do with it!

You may be wondering why it is called Thieves oil and the story is actually quite interesting! The Legend of the 4 Thieves says that during the Bubonic Plague in the 15th century 4 thieves ran around Europe robbing plague victims of their valuables but somehow never contracted the virus. When finally caught the courts wanted to know how they never got sick and the thieves credited an herbal blend they had concocted as keeping them healthy. The legend has spread through word of mouth over the centuries and as a result there is some debate to what the actual ingredients were that the thieves used in their concoction – some sources credit the thieves to creating a vinegar with garlic and herbs, including rosemary, sage, rue, and camphor. A pioneering American herbalist, Dr. John Christopher created his own, garlic heavy, formula and brought the story and his recipe to the American public in 1977 raving about the antiviral properties of his formula.  Later, a French aromatherapy doctor, Jean Valnet, inspired by the 4 Thieves Legend created an essential oil blend that he shared in his book The Practice of Aromatherapy in 1982. Gary Young, founder of Young Living studied under both Dr. Christopher and Dr. Valnet and created his own proprietary blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary – all known for their immune enhancing properties – published in his book Aromatherapy: The Essential Beginning in 1996.

Learn more about the history of The 4 Thieves Legend here: http://www.secretofthieves.com/four-thieves-vinegar.cfm

Now as with any blend of essential oils, you could make your own.  For me this wasn’t a good option financially because I would spend way more purchasing the ingredients than I would just buying the actual oil.  Not to mention there is a lot of trial and error when trying to emulate a proprietary blend. But if you wanted to give it a try, one of my favorite bloggers, the Hippy Homemaker has created her own Medicine Woman blend that is her version of Thieves oil.  Check it out here!

So, why am I so excited about Thieves oil? There are so many things you can do with it!!! Because of its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungal growth as well as its immune enhancing properties of Thieves oil it is well suited as an addition to household cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, mouthwash, lozenges, etc. Follow my blog this weekend and I will share some of my tried and true Thieves oil recipes with you! But first, lets talk a bit about Thieves Oil Safety.

Thieves Oil Safety

When learning about any new oil the first step is learning how to use the oil safely.  Despite the variety of uses Thieves oil is good for, it is no exception.  What you must first understand is what a “hot” oil is. Hot oils are oils that when applied directly to the skin can cause a warm or burning sensation.  Examples of hot oils are cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, oregano, thyme, Exodus II (YL blend), and Thieves.  As with any new oil that you apply topically, you should always do a skin patch-test.  A patch-test is usually done on the inside, upper portion of your arm.  Begin by combining 1 drop of your essential oil with ½ tsp of a carrier oil of your choice, rub onto the skin and wait 1 hour.  If no itching or redness occurs you are most likely not sensitive to that oil.  Thieves oil should never be used undiluted on the skin.

In addition to being a skin irritant, Thieves oil contains cinnamon bark, clove, rosemary, and eucalyptus oil which can be a lung irritant for some people.  Cinnamon bark and clove can both be upper respiratory mucous membrane irritants which can cause swelling or irritation in some people.  In addition, rosemary and eucalyptus both contain 1,8-cineole which is a natural, organic compound found in many plant oils that stimulates cold-receptors in the lungs (like menthol) and can slow respiration in young children.  Some herbalists and aromatherapists recommend avoiding using Thieves oil at all with children under 10 years old others say they use the oil safely with members of their family of all ages (I personally have used my cleaner with Thieves oil in it and have even diffused it around my 4 month old with no problems).  Do your research to make an informed choice for your family and before using any essential oil with young children. At the very least, Thieves oil should be used with caution around children and only when over-diluted compared to adult dilution ratios.

When used safely, Thieves oil can be used as a disinfectant, to clean around the house, to purify the air, to help with coughs and cold symptoms, to alleviate minor aches and pains, even as an ingredient in DIY bug spray and to help prevent fleas on household pets!

Here is a link to age-appropriate Thieves oil alternatives for anti-germ and anti-congestion recipes from other bloggers: http://www.learningabouteos.com/index.php/2014/01/28/age-appropriate-anti-germ-and-anti-congestion-recipes-and-suggestions-for-babies-and-children/ and http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/medicine-woman-jr/

Do you have a favorite use for Thieves oil? If so, share it in the comments below!

 

Want to give Thieves oil a try for yourself?  Send me a message to ask how I can save you 24% of retail!!!

Before I joined Young Living as a wholesale member I scouted out the oils they offered and had a wish list of a few oils that I wanted to try.  One that I had heard so much about was Thieves oil and naturally wanted to give it a try. My wish list grew and grew and eventually I realized that I might as well look at how the starter kit compared.  I was excited to learn that Thieves oil was one of the Everyday Oils collection that came with the Premium Starter Kit.  If there are several oils you may be interested in, send me a message and we can discuss what the best financial option is for you.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.