Is Your Candle a Cancer Stick?

Everyone loves the flickering light and gentle aroma of a candle, but are they really a safe part of your chemical-free home? The answer may surprise you.

Candles create an ambiance that we love to enjoy in our homes especially in the fall as the holidays approach. We use them to relax in the bathroom or to scent the air of our living spaces. We even give them as gifts during the holidays. However, studies show that they create toxic emissions just like cigarettes do that are detrimental to your family’s health. So what’s the big deal, you ask?

First, paraffin wax is made from petroleum products which create indoor pollution and contain known carcinogens. Read that – ‘known to cause cancer’. The problem is that they do not burn at high enough temperatures to combust hazardous molecules such as toluene and benzene – chemicals known to cause damage to the brain, lung and central nervous systems. And there are numerous other nasty chemicals released in the smoke. Researcher Amid Hamidi from the University of South Carolina said, “Lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub may cause problems.” If you wouldn’t allow someone to light up a cigarette in your home, then maybe you shouldn’t light up a candle in your home for the same reasons.

Second, candle wicks are frequently made with a lead core, and as much as 30% continue to be sold even though this was banned in 2003. Burning lead wicks releases five times the amount of lead considered safe for children by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Given that lead is a brain toxin, carcinogen, and hormone disruptor, I am not sure I would consider ANY level to be "safe".

Thirdly, fragrance has been found by the EPA to contain potentially hazardous chemicals such as acetone and phthalates – known endocrine disruptors and respiratory irritants/allergens. Phthalates are listed on labels as fragrance. While we want to freshen the air with fragrances that we love, those chemicals cause respiratory or organ problems. Just walk down the grocery aisle for air fresheners and see if your lungs, eyes, and nose react. Does it take your breathe away or make your eyes water? Even if your nose and lungs seemingly approve, your hormones are taking a beating that over time could contribute to infertility, early menopause, or other frustrating imbalances. Phthalates have also been found to cause cancer. Not the impact we want for our kids, is it?

Are there safe alternatives? Researchers suggest that soy or beeswax candles are safer. The problem lies in that many still contain some paraffin waxes and all contain fragrances. Even those labeled as 100% soy still contain some amount of paraffin. Personally I feel that using soy is a vote for Monsanto who produces GMO soy seeds that are extremely harmful for food not to mention the chemical glyphosate and the whole controversy surrounding it. Google “harmful effects of soy and glyphosate” and you will see words like obesity, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Enough said.

Those that claim to use essential oils or “natural” fragrance are waving huge red flags. The majority of essential oils in the US are adulterated with unknown additives or solvents (as much as 95%), or they are synthetically produced in a lab. You don’t know what you are getting and the potential is great that it will make you sick. It is legal in the US to put only 5% actual essential oil in your bottle and then label it as “100% pure”. Yikes! What to do?

Solution Found That Enhances Health!

The only truly safe alternative that we have found for our home is to diffuse therapeutic grade essential oils from a trusted source that uses no additives or solvents. That source is Young Living. Their Seed to Seal guarantee ensures that you truly get 100% actual essential oil and nothing else in the bottle. A few of their oil blends may contain small amounts of carrier oil to hold together a blend and allow for ease of topical application. No chemicals, no pesticides, no herbicides, no solvents, and no YUCK!

What is “diffusing” and why is it safe? Our diffuser of choice utilizes ultrasonic technology to break up a mixture of essential oils and water into extremely fine microparticles and disperses them in the air. It creates a cold water vapor and does NOT use heat which damages the potency of the oils. Diffusing also releases negative ions which clears the air of unpleasant odors and pollutants, unlike candles which produce harmful positive ions. The diffuser itself is made of polypropylene that is safe to use with essential oils and won’t emit plastics into the air.

Plus, we can choose from hundreds of oil fragrances offered by Young Living and create our own favorites! These oils offer not only a spa-like atmosphere, they also offer health benefits when inhaled. They can support focus for a task, calming at the end of the day, or an atmosphere of peace in your home. They may boost immune systems and support various systems of the body according to the Essential Oils Desk Reference. These oils are safe for the reasons listed above thanks to the Seed to Seal guarantee which we have personally witnessed at several of their farms and distilleries. You can learn more at seedtoseal.com.

While there are several diffusers to choose from, the new Desert Mist Diffuser offers 11 different lighting options including a romantic candle flicker! Talk about ambiance of the healthy kind without fumes, smoke, or toxins! This diffuser runs longer (up to 10 hours), is easy to use and clean, and features a beautiful design that will look elegant in any home or office. Ditch the toxic candles and switch to the safe Desert Mist Diffuser. You will love it!

Some favorites we enjoy diffusing are Lemon, Frankincense with Tangerine, RC blend, Thieves blend, and Citrus Fresh blend. With fall around the corner, here’s a Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe to try. You won’t even miss your old candles and may wonder why you didn’t kick them out of the house sooner!

Check out our facebook page Naturally Alive with Brenda for more Autumn Diffuser blends and ideas on how to kick the chemicals out of your home! To get started, learn more here.

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Two Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid Like the Plague!

Are you aware that many sunscreens contain ingredients that disrupt hormones or cause cancer? What!? Isn’t that why you were applying them to start with – to protect your skin from the potential of sun damage and skin cancer?

You need your fun in the sun and beachtime, just make sure to do it safely. Everything you put on your skin absorbs into the bloodstream in about 6 seconds and begins to circulate throughout the body within minutes. Can you see how important it is that you make sure what is in your body is safe!

To truly protect your family and littles, you need to use sunscreens with safe ingredients. Environmental Working Group (EWG) has taken the guesswork out of it for you by publishing a list of safer sunscreens. After testing 1,500 products, they found 75% of them provide inferior results or contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. These two ingredients should be avoided like the plague!

Of all the beach and sports sunscreens tested, 40% contained oxybenzone. Oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions and laboratory studies show it is a weak estrogen making it an endocrine disruptor in females and males. Other studies have linked it to more health issues including low birth weights.

EWG found that 14% of the sunscreens they tested contained an “inactive ingredient” - retinyl palmitate. This is a form of vitamin A which you would think is good for the skin. Right?! Wrong! When put on sun-exposed skin, it has been found to speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. The very thing we are trying to avoid in the first place. While the FDA is waiting to make up their mind, you should stay away from products with this ingredient.

On the EWG website you can find the 230+ sunscreens that passed the safety test, as well as a list of the worst choices so you can see if your brand is on the wrong end of the spectrum. You can even look up the specific ingredients and find out why they are good or bad. Now EWG makes it easy to find the sunscreens you want with direct links to Amazon!

My family loves Badger brand for our fun in the sun. I just restocked for the summer because these quality products do have expiration dates. As with all sunscreens, you will need to reapply if you are spending a lot of time in and out of the water. When you notice that your sunscreen is separating or becoming watery, it is time to get a fresh one for maximum protection. Some are thick cremes that require a little elbow grease to rub into the skin while offering superior protection over the spray on types.

Speaking of spray ons, aerosols pose an inhalation risk, do not provide even coverage, and contain more bad ingredients. The FDA is currently reviewing safety data on sprays. Avoid them like the plague, too. If you must use one, spray it on your hand and then apply to the skin.

We also love sunscreen made with therapeutic grade essential oils added. Skin loving oils such as Carrot Seed, Helichrysum, and Lavender are a great addition to your DIY recipes with a natural lotion or coconut oil base. Or, place some of your favorite purchased sunscreen in your palm and add a few drops of these oils, mix in well and apply. We only use this brand because of their Seed to Seal promise of purity. We have found that other oils may be legally diluted by 95% while their label says they are “100% pure”.

Whatever you choose, have fun with your family and littles all summer long with safe products that contain natural ingredients that truly protect your chemical-free lifestyle.

Shortly after this was originally posted, our favorite oils company introduced a Mineral Sunscreen!! Woo-hoo! We tested it out and love,Love, LOVE it! I will share our story in a separate blog post here.

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Secret Weapon to Whip Alligator Skin!

Does your skin look more like a scaly reptile than a Disney princess during the winter months? Between dry blowing winds outside and dry heated air inside, it’s no wonder your skin is crying for help! You need a secret weapon for regaining that baby’s bottom smoothness again.

Have no fear! Help is on the way! It’s super easy and only takes four ingredients. The hard part will be choosing which essential oil to add! So, just how do you whip alligator skin? Your secret weapon is . . . whipped body butter, of course! Whipping this makes all the difference in the world. It’s light and fluffy, and feels luxurious when you smooth it on. Use it after you shower to hold in moisture, or at bedtime to rejuvenate your skin while you sleep. You will love how it soaks in without leaving you feeling like a greased little piggy.

You will be a hero to your friend’s skin, when you make this and give it as holiday gifts. Just put in pretty, little half-pint or pint jars, or tins, and tie on a ribbon! How easy is that? Great for teacher or co-worker gifts and won’t hurt the budget. Your recipients will act like you gave them diamonds, darling!

We choose to use only the best therapeutic-grade essential oils from Young Living because everything you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream. If your essential oil bottle has a warning label that says do not ingest, then you don’t want to put that on your skin (or breath it in). We trust the Seed to Seal promise because we have personally witnessed it at Young Living’s farms around the globe. You can learn more at SeedtoSeal.com. When you decide to make the switch from fake oils to real whole oils, then connect with me on facebook or Click Here to get them at my cost.

Choose oils that help create youthful healthy looking skin such as: Lavender, Frankincense, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Myrrh, Peppermint, Gentle Baby, Geranium, or Patchouli.

Great for men, too! Make him a jar so he won’t swipe yours! Choose manly scents like Frankincense, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Myrrh, Valor II, and the ever-popular Shutran.

This could become your new daily fragrance sensation in the place of toxic synthetic perfumes! You can go with one essential oil or create your own combination. Try fragrant favorites like: Abundance, Sensation, Purification, Ylang ylang and more! Have fun with it!

Here’s that secret weapon recipe. Bye-bye alligator skin. You’ve been whipped!

Whipped Body Butter

  • ½ cup unrefined shea butter
  • ¼ cup expeller-pressed coconut oil
  • ¼ cup sweet almond oil
  • 10-20 drops essential oils

Combine first three ingredients in a double boiler or pan over medium-low heat. Stir until mixture is liquid and remove from heat. Allow this to cool and partially set. You can speed the process by placing in refrigerator for a few minutes if you are in a hurry. Once partially set, place in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and add your essential oils. Whisk cooled mixture until it takes on a fluffy consistency similar to whipped cream. Spoon into jars or tins with a lid and store in a cool place. Enjoy! 

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Two Surprise Health Champions for Guys AND Dolls!

This morning women and men will get up and get ready to start their day with a deodorant that likely contains aluminum salts. In my hometown, the shelves are lined with them. And sadly, natural options are rarely found on those same shelves.

It doesn't take long to research the harmful effects of aluminum on the body, especially breasts, kidneys, and the brain. Scientists have found a link to diseases of these organs, yet we still purchase these deadly deodorants and slather them over our pits daily.

It's time to wake up to natural options that are free of heavy metals and petrochemicals like parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. It's time to vote as a consumer with your dollars. When you stop purchasing the chemical-laden versions, you send a message to those manufacturers.

More and more companies are making deodorants "free" of these harmful ingredients. You still MUST read the full ingredients list for possible hidden offenders. Other questionable ingredients may be added that are just as harmful to health. Avoid ALL harmful ingredients and not just the aluminum.

We want to share two surprise Health Champions with you that will leave you cheering! You do have easy access to both of these natural options. Before we reveal these Champions, you need to understand a couple of important misconceptions about natural deodorants.

First, they are NOT antiperspirants which literally clog the pores to prevent sweat from coming out of them. This is not healthy! Your lymph glands suffer the immediate consequences and then the rest of your body suffers. Remember sweat is GOOD for you! It means your pores are open and are detoxing in a healthy manner. Yay for sweat!

Secondly, natural deodorants will help your body to detox. This means that when you first switch to one, your pits will go through about a two-week detox as those aluminum salts and petrochemicals are finally released from your body. Your lymph glands, breasts, kidneys, and brain will thank you! So, do not be alarmed by redness of the skin or body odor during the first two weeks as your body expells those toxins that are clogging your lymph nodes. Say to yourself, "oh goody, this is working!"

Now for our Health Champions! Did you know that Young Living was the first to formulate deodorants exclusively with therapeutic grade essential oils and all-natural ingredients? AromaGuard provides two safe alternatives to commercial chemical-laden versions that is free of aluminum salts and petrochemicals. Both are appropriate for guys AND dolls. Don’t let the picture lead you to believe one is for guys and the other for dolls – you have choices!

What I love is that these Champions don't cost more than the newer natural options coming into the market today -- they cost less! (Not to mention the savings in future medical care not needed.) If you are new to natural deodorants, then try the blue label Meadow Mist which has therapeutic grade essential oils like Lavender, Lemon, Tea Tree, and Ylang ylang (to name just a few). This is our family favorite! It may support a more gentle detox as you switch.

Another great option is the green label Mountain Mint which has therapeutic grade essential oils like Peppermint, Rosemary, and Lemon (among others). Both Champions feature natural skin-soothing properties like coconut oil, vitamin E, and beeswax. Your pits will love this!

While both of these Champions are fabulous options for good health and especially for women's breast health, Ladies, you can support a healthy detox by applying this deodorant beyond your pits. Do this at bedtime when your body is resetting: Apply Meadow Mist over all those lymph nodes in your upper arms and around the entire breast. Here’s how: raise your arm, then start applying it from the underside of your arm near the elbow down across the pit and continue down the outside of the breast going underneath the breast, then back up between both breasts over the sternum and circling across the top of the breast back toward the armpit. You will be amazed at how great this feels!

All guys and dolls need to take the best possible care of your breast health by choosing to use a safe, natural deodorant. It matters! Our choice is Young Living because of their Seed to Seal guarantee. As witnesses to this process and the integrity of this company at three of their global farms, there is no comparison for our family and our budget. We believe that you will love it, too! Learn more here.

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Wow Your Guests with NingXia Lemonade!

Your guests will go back again and again for more of this refreshing treat! The best part is that it has whole food ingredients, like Ningxia Red, which is sooooo good for you. Ningxia Red is made from squished wolfberries (goji berries) so you get the pulp, skin, seeds, and juice. High in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, it provides a pick-me-up without spiking your blood sugar and is a tasty and colorful addition to this recipe. Click here to learn more about this amazing superfood.

Make your lemonade ahead and chill in the fridge for your special event. It's quick and easy with the help of an electric juicer. Here's how!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large lemons, plus one for garnish
  • 2/3 cup Young Living Blue Agave
  • 2 drops Lemon Vitality essential oil
  • 1 bottle Sparkling Cider (apple or other flavor)
  • 2-3 oz. NingXia Red nutritive drink
  • Filtered water

Combine the juice of lemons with next four ingredients in a gallon pitcher. Mix well first, and then add filtered water to fill pitcher. Chill in refrigerator until cold and serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices or mint leaves. Optional sweeteners are honey or stevia. Adjust the tartness/sweetness and water to your taste preference. We added ice cubes to our dispenser and it did not taste watered down at all. Enjoy!

For more mouth-watering recipes using therapeutic-grade essential oils, visit me at NaturallyAlivewithBrenda.com!

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Top 3 Reasons Your Kids Want You to Green Your Cleaning

Your kids may not pay much attention to what cleaning products you use. And, you probably have days where you feel like they do everything in their power to make messes just for you to clean. In spite of that, I believe that your kids DO want you to green your cleaning. How can they want something that they do not know about, you ask? It's all about how it affects their quality of life and their future. So here's my top 3 reasons your kiddos want you to go green with your cleaning.

Reason #1: Health first!

Most cleaning products are loaded with toxic synthetic chemicals that reek havoc in the body. These chemicals can cause respiratory issues, hormonal imbalances, organ damage, allergic reactions, and worse. They have names like parabens, triclosan, phthalates, fragrances, etc.  Even if you don't have symptoms now, the long-term effects of exposure will surface eventually. It's like a dripping faucet in a glass. Today there is not much water in the glass. But we all know that given time the glass will eventually fill up to overflowing. So ask yourself, would I have wanted my parents to use toxic chemicals that they knew could make me sick one day? Of course you wouldn't! And your kids feel the same way. You are becoming an educated consumer so that you can avoid the toxins. Also, be aware that some manufacturers claim to be using natural or green ingredients when in fact they are continuing to add synthetic chemicals to the same bottle. You want to go with a full disclosure company that you can trust. 

Reason #2: Safety today!

Those toxic cleaners might look like something good to eat to a toddler. You do your best to keep them locked up. Next thing you know you are calling Poison Control in a panic! Followed by instructions for ipecac or a visit to the ER for pumping. Yikes! Your kids do not want to go through all that drama and trauma. This is not a worry when you switch to safe, green cleaners. Our favorite cleaner is Thieves Household Cleaner (THC) and it is so gentle that it can be ingested with no harm. Not recommended, but no need to call Poison Control if it should happen. It has plant-based ingredients that are gentle yet effective for all your cleaning needs. No undisclosed chemicals in this bottle. So you can spray the messy tray of your toddler's high chair for a quick clean-up while he is still sitting in it with no worries. In fact, it sounds like a great excuse for you to start teaching HIM how to clean as early as possible! 

Reason #3: Saving bucks! 

Another reason we love THC. Every surface in every room with just one easy to use cleaner. It's a concentrate so you just add 1 teaspoon to a 16 oz. spray bottle of water to use for light degreasing for a cost of $.14 cents. Add an extra teaspoon for heavier degreasing needs. BOOM! One bottle just saved you $100 on a year's supply of Windex, Mrs. Meyers, and Swiffermop cleaners that you eliminated from the budget because you replaced them with THC. We could also estimate that you will save $100s in reduced visits to the ER, doctor's office, and drug store, too. Extra money in the budget means more family fun like Disneyworld or Dollywood! Or you can save it for a college education and go to the beach instead. Either way, your kids will be glad you saved all that extra money for them and maybe helped them avoid student loans. Just sayin'!

There are probably more reasons, but these 3 will earn you major brownie points, mom! Green your cleaning today. Learn more about Thieves here!

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