Getting Healthy

Twenty-Two Tweaks and Twists

We just covered how to make your own healthy deodorant with healthy natural ingredients…

…specifically the baking soda that we actually just bought as we get ready to learn how to deep-fry and make such unhealthy foods as French fries and fried onion rings.

But before we continue on our detour off the Raw Foods Pyramid into the forbidden world of deep-frying, I thought that this might be a good time to talk about a few of the worst and most commonly used unhealthy ingredients that the health and beauty and home products that most of us have simply been buying because “that’s what our mom always used to use” actually contain…

1. Artificial Colors…

  • What is it…The letters “F” (food) and “D”(drugs) and “C” (cosmetics) followed by a color and number, such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, represent artificial or synthetic colors that are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources.
  • Why to avoid…suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant, and contributing factor to ADHD in children

2. Artificial Fragrances…

  • What is it…”fragrance” is a catchall term for the thousands of hidden chemicals used to make fragrances smell good. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list the actual ingredients in a product’s “secret formula,” meaning you as the consumer could actually be putting tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health without realizing it
  • Where it’s found…found in many cosmetics and skin care products including perfume, cologne, conditioner, face creams, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, body wash and moisturizers
  • Why to avoid…allergic reactions, headache, aggravated asthma, dizziness, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system

3. Benzophenone…

  • What is it…preservative commonly used to keep cosmetics and nail polishes from breaking down when they are exposed to ultraviolet light
  • Where it’s found…lip balms and nail enamels
  • Why to avoid…carcinogen

4. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP)…

  • What is it…a masking agent
  • Where it’s found..in many cosmetics
  • Why to avoid…believed to alter the function of hormones

5. Formaldehyde…

  • What is it…a potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Carcinogens (IARC)
  • Where it’s found…nail products, body washes, conditioners, cleansers, eye shadows, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos
  • Why to avoid…has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, known to cause allergic skin reactions, may also be harmful to the immune system

6. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (FRP) …

  • What is it…preservatives used to help prevent bacteria growth-including sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, methenamine, Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
  • Where it’s found…widely used in US products
  • Why to avoid..known human carcinogen, can trigger allergic skin reactions

7. Homosalate…

  • Where it’s found…sunscreens, liquid and powder foundations with SPF
  • Why to avoid…may negatively impact the function of hormones, makes it simpler for your body to absorb pesticides

8. Hydroquinone…

  • What is it…a skin bleaching chemical
  • Where it’s found…found in a lot of cosmetics, such as foundations, that have skin lightening properties
  • Why to avoid… can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps…may also trigger the development of cancer or irritation of the respiratory tract, as well as the toxicity of organ systems.

9. Lead…

  • What is it…a neurotoxin
  • Where it’s found…hair dye and lipstick
  • Why to avoid…known carcinogen

10. Mercury…

  • What is it…known allergen
  • Where it’s found…mascara and some eyedrops
  • Why to avoid…impairs brain development

11. Mineral Oil…

  • What is it…by-product of petroleum
  • Where it’s found…baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels
  • Why to avoid…creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.

12. Oxybenzone…

  • What is it…active ingredient found in chemical sunscreens
  • Where it’s found…sunscreens
  • Why to avoid…: linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight

13. Parabens…

  • What is it…estrogen-mimicking preservative used widely in cosmetics used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant, body washes, deodorants,cperfumes and other scented products, facial cleansers, and spray tan products
  • Why to avoid…linked to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count…may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorder

14. PEGs…

  • What is it…polyethylene glycol, synthetic petroleum-based chemicals
  • Where it’s found…often used as a creamy base in moisturing cosmetics such as scrubs, body wash, makeup, toothpaste …recognizable as the tiny plastic beads seen in face scrubs, lip scrubs, and exfoliating washes
  • Why to avoid…skin-irritating carcinogen

15. Petrochemicals…

  • What is it…ingredients like mineral oil, paraffin, or petrolatum jelly that are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks
  • Where it’s found…mascara
  • Why to avoid…may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities

16. Pthalates…

  • What is it…a group of chemicals used to improve the performance of some skincare and cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…used in hundreds of products, including nail polish, perfumes, lotions, moisturizers, fragrances, deodorants, and hair spray
  • Why to avoid…have been linked to increased risk of cancer–including breast, liver, kidney, and lung,—early breast development in girls, reproductive birth defects , endocrine disruption, damage, cancer

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17. Propylene Glycol…

  • What is it…a small organic alcohol
  • Where it’s found…commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
  • Why to avoid…has been associated with causing both dermatitis and hives

18. Retinol…

  • What is it…Vitamin A compounds
  • Where it’s found…widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products, and makeup
  • Why to avoid…when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase risk skin sensitivity, skin lesions, and tumors

19. Siloxanes…

  • What is it…non-biodegradeable silicone-derived compounds
  • Where it’s found…common emollient used in makeup products to make the skin feel softer and smoother and to add moisture to the skin
  • Why to avoid…linked to tumour growth and skin irritation…also believed to disrupt the function of the endocrine system, interfere in hormone activity, and negatively impact fertility

20. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…

  • What is it…an industrial-strength degreaser that can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products, especially foamy soaps
  • Where it’s found…shampoo, body wash, foundation, face wash, mascara, acne treatment products, mouthwash, and toothpaste
  • Why to avoid…known skin, lung, and eye irritant…also has the potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen that can also lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage…has also been shown to cause or contribute to canker sores, disruptions of skin’s natural oil balance and eye damage,and cystic acne around the mouth and chin


21. Toluene…

  • What is it…petrochemical solvent, paint thinner, and neurotoxicant that is able to dissolve paint and paint thinner…often listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene
  • Where it’s found…found in nail and hair products
  • Why to avoid…affects the immune, endocrine, and respiratory systems…may also impair fetal development, linked to malignant lymphoma

22. Triclosan…

  • What is it…widely-used antimicrobial chemical…(found in liquid soaps as triclosan…and bar soaps as triclocarban)that are very toxic to the aquatic environment
  • Where it’s found…often added to cosmetics and other personal care items cease of its germ-resisting properties…especially in toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap, and hand sanitizers
  • Why to avoid…known thyroid and reproductive hormonal disruptor…could possibly impair both muscle function and the immune system…considered to be potentially irritating to the lungs, eyes, and skin
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Getting Healthy

Daddy Always Said, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

Most likely whenever you look at the ingredients label for any typical packaged food, you won’t have a clue what many of the ingredients listed are, and probably won’t be able to pronounce many of them either.

Those ingredients are most likely artificial chemicals that have been added for various purposes—such as to make the foods hopefully taste, look, and have the texture of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. These ingredients are also used to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product, increase shelf life, disinfect and deodorize, hide odors, and sweeten our foods.

Big food companies must think that they are doing both ourselves and themselves a huge favor…by making our foods more palatable, while at the same time making a larger profit themselves.

In fact, as consumers get used to the taste of a certain food, even more and more of these additives are usually added to those food items by the “food engineers” of these big -brand food manufacturers in order to keep them or make them even more addictive.

And as if that list of ingredients shown on the package that you just looked at isn’t long enough already, most also contain even dozens more additional chemicals that aren’t even listed on the label.

However adding all these additives can affect the health of everyone who eats that manufacturer’s products…including their own workers.

Health problems that can result because of all these additives include allergies, heart issues, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, and even cancer.

For example, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging periodically conducts laboratory testing of foods. One study involved the testing of thirty different macaroni and cheese products.

One chemical in particular, that the Coalition was looking for was phthalates, a hormone-disrupting chemical that manufacturers use when making rubber, plastics, adhesives, sealants, and printing inks…and that also poses a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children.

The Coalition found phthalates in 29 of these 30 items, including eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested.

Another study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those people who eat the most processed meats—such as hot dogs and bologna—have a 67% higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Sorry, Oscar Mayer, but my dad died from pancreatic cancer. Crossing hot dogs and bologna off my grocery list permanently.’

We should all learn how to avoid such additives.

One way is to refuse to buy products with ingredient lists that…

  • are longer than the Santa wish list of my “resident four year old”
  • contain the words “artificial flavor. “Artificial flavor” is not actually an ingredient. Who in the heck even knows what “artificial flavor” is?
  • have words that are too hard to pronounce
  • have words that have more than twenty syllables

What exactly do the words “artificial flavor” mean?

Just like we previously learned, when doing a previous “What Now” unit on taking the perfect cruelty-free shower…as far as health and beauty products are concerned, the word “fragrance” can be code-name for a whole slew of we-really-don’t-want-to-tell-you-because-if-we-did-tell-you-then-you-probably-wouldn’t-buy-this ingredients…and when it comes to food, the words “artificial flavor” are basically code-name for that exact same thing.

Any time that you see the words “artificial flavor” listed as an ingredient, you should realize that this is a proprietary blend of several different ingredients that are considered “trade secrets.” For “marketing” reasons, manufacturers can get by without listing exactly specific ingredients make up their “artificial flavor.”