We’ve already discussed why it’s best to avoid chemicals and toxins in and on our food…
Molecules that are unknown to our body are invaders. The body, as amazing as it is, does not tolerate invaders. The immune system attacks them. The constant barrage of chemicals and toxins causes the immune system to be in a constant state of red alert, a pro-inflammatory state where necessary health-promoting processes (digestion, building muscle and bone, etc.) are thrown by the wayside. Bad for (the life longevity) business.
What about products we use for self-maintenance?
Soap? Shampoo? Cologne? Perfume? Deodorant? Toothpaste? Shaving cream? Aftershave?
What about household cleaning products?
All purpose-cleaner? Window cleaner? Dish soap? Laundry detergent? Pet deodorizer?
If it’s unnatural and known to cause damage, do you want it in your body?
Most people don’t either. But healthcare practictioners and the government ignore these issues for people. So we become ignorant too.
Well, let me be the one to tell you. They’re killing you… slowly. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health.
Old Spice: Those Creative Marketing Bastards
While I really want to tell you that I use Old Spice Deodorant and want to endorse their product because of the best marketing I’ve ever seen, I don’t.
Here’s a brief rundown of the ingredients in “Old Spice Deodorant Original”:
- Dipropylene Glycol
- Propylene Glycol (a petrochemical which can be made from oil … The Environmental Work Group (EWG) has made a database of chemicals with their risk of health effects)
- Sodium Stearate
- Fragrance (in any form is harmful … often masks phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system and your hormones [From the Dirty Dozen in Chemicals in Cosmetics]. The only fragrances that are safe are essential oils, which are oils extracted from plants)
- PPG-3 Myristyl Ether
- Tetrasodium EDTA
- Violet 2 (According to this article, FD&C colors are made from coal and are known carcinogens in animals. Apparently, 5% of people get asthma-like symptoms from food coloring)
- Green 6
You can go to the cosmetics database made by the EWG and read up on any chemical in any product. For some of these ingredients, there are minimal studies on the risk of use. I see this as “not enough research … yet” to validate how dangerous some of these substances are.
An ingredient with a name that is not familiar is good enough reason to avoid it (ie. coconut oil is familiar, because it is tangible. It is oil from a fruit I’ve tasted before).
And don’t get me started on antiperspirants,the greater of two evils (Darbre 2009).
With an Old Spice product that has known nervous system, endocrine system, pro-inflammatory, cancer-causing agents in it … doesn’t it make sense to stay away from conventional products?
Use Your Toothpaste As Deodorant
What’s the answer then? There are health advocates that help consumers determine how to choose a natural deodorant. But if I don’t research it myself, I don’t trust it. There is often evidence that refute the claims made by these supposedly “organic” companies.
The answer is often the simple one when we can see clearly enough not to complicate it. Nature always holds the answers. When a culture can survive many generations with healthy older populations, let’s copy what they do.
Coconut oil! Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years for multiple purposes. Antimicrobial. Antiviral. Antifungal. Plenty of healthy saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides which speed up metabolism. Some exotic cultures use the stuff for every purpose imaginable. They live long lives and don’t have obesity issues. Good enough for me!
- Cook with it. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and won’t burn. Because “smoke” implies burnt oil. When oil is burned, it becomes carcinogenic.
- Brush your teeth with it. When combined with a little baking soda, it is an effective toothpaste. Your teeth will feel clean and refreshed. You can add an essential oil for some flavor.
- Use it as deodorant. Again, combined with baking soda, it very effectively keeps odor at bay. Although the better your diet, the less you have to worry about odor. The more your body has to detoxify the food you eat, the worse your B.O. and the worse your breath.
- Rub it all over your body. Instead of sunscreen, eat your antioxidants and put some coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil on your body, and stop worrying about skin cancer. Skin cancer is associated with burns and the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. diet, very sad!). Use as moisturizer as well!
Some Other Natural Substances for Everyday Use
- Baking soda as shampoo. One tablespoon in a cup of warm water rinsed through the hair does the trick.
- Apple cider vinegar as conditioner. I was skeptical about this one … I now love the way my fingers slice through my hair after using a little A.C.V. Same deal … one tablespoon in a cup of water. No, there is no lingering smell!
Going Natural is a Process
I can only speak about things I’ve tried. There are apparently natural, one-ingredient things to use for every imaginable household task. Making lifestyle changes such as eating more paleolithic foods or using natural substances takes time. You make small changes, see the results of those changes, and adapt. If it works for you, continue to use it. If it doesn’t, let it go. In this way, we can start to build the type of lives that we imagine for ourselves around things we appreciate.
People may give me funny looks when I say I brush my teeth with the same thing I put under my arms. But when you value health and happiness (H&H), and the natural lifestyle that brings you H&H, you’ll do what it takes.
What natural substitute do you use instead of a commercial product? Please comment below.