Saturday, October 1, 2011

Becoming a Smart Consumer

Being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatments has completely changed me as a person.  I have become more patient, appreciative, spiritual, and confident.  I also place greater value on my health and realize the importance of taking care of my body.

We make decisions each day that contribute to our health.  The obvious one is in the amount and types of food we consume.  I used to think that healthy eating involved just eating as few calories as possible.  But I have learned that this idea is very far from the truth. 

What is true is that nutrient-dense foods, rather than “empty” calorie foods, can do wonders for our health.  A natural, plant-based diet is favorable to eating pre-packaged, processed, and fatty foods.  Many processed meats (lunch meat, ham, hot dogs, etc.) contain nitrites that are used as preservatives, which form carcinogenic compounds when they are cooked.  Carcinogens are directly linked to cancer.

Another serious issue to think about is the way that the food industry has allowed animals to be raised on modern-day, corporate farms.  The majority of our cows, chickens, etc. are being pumped with hormones, spending their lives in stress, and being confined to small, filthy places.  When most of us think of farms, we picture healthy animals peacefully roaming around and grazing in grass.  However, this is no longer the reality of the farms that produce most of the meat found in our grocery stores.  From a health standpoint, it is not good for the animals themselves or for the humans who eat them and ingest those hormones. 

Since all of the nutrients found in meats can be found in other foods (the one exception is B12, which can be taken as a supplement) I have decided to cut out most meats from my diet.  I do still eat chicken and turkey on occasion, yet I try to eat organic and free-range if possible.  My goal is to discover more vegetarian options and recipes and eventually eliminate all meat from my diet.  Here is a video advertisement for sustainable farming from Chipotle (I got this from a friend on facebook):

Okay, so it is kind of cheesy, but I like it!

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, I love supporting local farms by buying produce at farmer’s markets.  The healthiest choice is to avoid items that are grown with pesticides.  Fruits and vegetables that are sustainable, locally grown, and also in-season definitely taste the best!

The final change that I have made for my health involves my use of cosmetics and personal beauty products.  After learning about parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben) and their strong correlation to breast cancer, skin damage, and infertility, I no longer use products that contain these or other questionable ingredients.  I threw out almost all of my old products, and replaced them with only a few essentials that contain safe, natural ingredients.  It was a simple change, and I feel so much better knowing that my skin isn’t absorbing any of those harmful chemicals.

I realize that some people may think, “using a shampoo won’t hurt me, that is a bit extreme.”  But what if you use that shampoo (combined with conditioner, soap, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, all containing harmful ingredients) every day for weeks, months, even years?  The combination and repeated use of these products is what becomes dangerous for your health.  Since there are other options available, why not just purchase the products that do not contain these chemicals?  They may cost a dollar or two more now, but think about the money that you may save in doctor’s bills down the road.

Many people are surprised to learn the meaning behind those long, hard-to-pronounce ingredients listed on the back of their products.  If you are interested, this website rates products according to health, environment, and society, giving them an overall score.  This video shows an informative cartoon about how the cosmetics industry is poorly regulated.  This book goes into detail about the chemicals/ingredients found in our products and it also recommends alternatives that listed by category.

In case anyone was wondering, here are some of my favorite natural products that I have recently started to use (and love):

Shampoo: Aubrey Organics Camomile Luxurious Volumizing Shampoo

Face Soap: Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn and Cucumber Facial Cleansing Cream

Body Soap: Aubrey Organics Herbal Liquid Everyday Body Soap

Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine Whole Care

Eyeshadow: Bare Escentuals: bareMinerals eyeshadow (color: Shantung)

Sunscreen: Kiss My Face Spf 30 for Face and Neck

Hand Sanitizer: Burt's Bees Aloe and Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer

Baby Wash and Shampoo (for Ryan): Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash

What products/brands do you like to use?  Also, I am looking for new, yummy vegetarian/vegan recipes... do you have any favorites to share?  I know that there are a lot of healthy eaters! 


  1. I will try some of those products. Thanks.

  2. I can sign my name under every line of this post LOL
    I think it's so important to minimize the use of ( not avoid completely, because that's impossible)all the horrible chemicals they now put in personal products.
    I did a post on products I use here:

    I really like Aubrey Organics, but I don't use it right now because they have vitamin A in them ( I will once I am not pregnant).

  3. Great post! It is really sad & scary that there are so many chemicals in the products we use & foods we eat.

    I like Seventh Generation all natural cleaning products (they even make baby diapers without bleach). You can also make your own natural cleaning supplies with vinegar & baking soda.

    I'm putting Green Cooking Pots on my Christmas list (cookware made without chemicals).

    I also try to make a lot of stuff from scratch to avoid unnecessary additives/processing: i.e. peanut butter, hummus, breads, spaghetti sauce,pasta etc.

    Good luck with your healthy endeavors!!!

  4. @Anonymous- So glad that I could help!

    @Elena- Yes, that is a very good reminder to be careful about vitamin A during pregnancy!

    @Alexis- Thanks! We have been using Seventh Generation diapers and cleaning supplies this past month. I checked out that cookware and now I really want it!! I guess it will be on my wish list too!

  5. I love Burt's Bee products. I use their After Sun Soother lotion after a day out in the sun. It's really refreshing and replenishes your skin so you don't get that dried out icky feeling after prolong sun exposure.

  6. I would think the Seventh Generation Diapers is one of the top choices in the market. Rash free, chlorine free and on top of that - environmentally friendly. My baby stop developing rashes ever since I used it. Read more about the Seventh Generation Diapers.


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