Organic Natural Clothing

We’ve touched on organic food, skin care, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, supplements…now let’s talk clothes!

What Makes Clothing Organic?

People are generally not aware that most clothing items, while being processed, are treated with toxic chemicals. Items such as dry-fit shirts and other clothing with anti-wrinkle features are given even more of these chemicals.

In order to carry an organic label, clothing and home textiles must be made from materials raised or grown in compliance with the same standards as apply to all organic products. Namely, they are farmed without the use of synthetic chemicals. Soil quality, pests, diseases and other issues which arise in farming are managed by natural methods.

 

Materials used may include:

  • Cotton
  • Jute (a vegetable fiber)
  • Silk
  • Ramie (from nettle plant)
  • Wool
  • Linen (from flax plant)
  • Tencel (obtained from wood pulp)
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo
  • Leather
  • Organic recycled fibers

*Synthetic fibers, such as acrylic, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon, are big no-nos in the world of organic clothing!

Organic Natural Clothing is Fashionable But Pricy

In the past, organic meant that garments were baggy (from lack of strength and stretchiness that many synthetic fibers have) and their colors were dull and had a tendency to fade. However, as interest in clothing produced by organic means grew in the early 21st century, manufacturers began improving their techniques. As a result, many organic garments are now durable, long-lasting, ecologically friendly and fashionable. They come in a variety of styles, from workout (i.e. yoga pants) to red carpet wear.

However, organic production is more expensive than other farming methods. Also, many organic producers are concerned with issues such as animal treatment and worker welfare. As a result, the procedures they follow to ensure ethical integrity often mean a higher price tag.

Who Would Benefit From Organic Clothing?

As long as you don’t mind paying a little more, really anyone would benefit from organic clothing since it’s chemical-free and each purchase supports organic farms (and their reduced pollution methods). Someone with eczema or any other skin allergy would especially do well to avoid chemicals and synthetic fabrics which don’t “breathe” and are known to irritate sensitive skin. Since 10%- 20% of infants will develop eczema (though most will outgrow it by their tenth birthday) and the same chemicals are used on conventional baby clothes, parents may be drawn to organic baby clothing. Finally, the ethical standards of many organic producers make these clothes appealing to vegans and vegetarians or anyone wanting to avoid supporting “sweatshops”. With all these benefits and price being the only possible con, organic clothing is a purchase worth considering.

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Organic Health Supplements

The health benefits of vitamins and minerals include prevention and treatment of various problems including heart disease, high “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, and eye and skin disorders. Most vitamins facilitate many of the body’s mechanisms and perform functions which cannot be done by “regular” nutrients.

And if you buy an organic supplement, you get the above plus the added benefits that come with organic, such as increased antioxidant power. Many organic brands also include additional “superfoods” in their multi-vitamins or as separate supplements. I will be highlighting five of these supplements.                                                                                                                                

Magnesium

While this one is a “traditional” mineral, studies show that about 50% of people in the US and Europe don’t consume enough and may not realize its importance.

Magnesium helps with:

  • food to energy conversion
  • creating new proteins from amino acids
  • creating and repairing DNA and RNA
  • the contraction and relaxation of muscles
  • regulating neurotransmitters
  • moving blood sugar into your muscles and disposing of lactate, which builds up in your muscles during exercise (when you might need 10-20% more magnesium) and cause pain
  • can improve exercise performance for athletes, people with chronic diseases and the elderly
  • reducing insulin and stress hormone levels
  • improving mood and brain function and reducing the risk of depression
  • treating type 2 diabetes
  • lowering blood pressure
  • preventing chronic inflammation
  • preventing and treating migraines
  • reducing insulin resistance
  • improving symptoms of PMS

Co-Q 10

It comes in two forms- Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone. Ubiquinol has already been reduced to a strong antioxidant and is more easily absorbed then Ubiquinone. If the label doesn’t indicate which type it is, it is probably Ubiquinone as this is the conventional form.

Co-Q 10 aides in:

  • maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol
  • supporting optimal functioning of the heart muscle
  • assuring circulatory health
  • may also help support the health of vessel walls
  • helping the mitochondrial enzymes convert dietary nutrients into
    Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)- the human body energy reservoir
  • safeguarding the authenticity of the mitochondrial membranes
  • fighting gum disorders
  • fighting diabetic neuropathy
  • boosting immunity
  • weight loss
  • fortifying hair
  • keeping skin healthy and young-looking (can reduce signs of aging in the skin when directly applied)
  • treating various medical conditions, including inherited and genetic disorders

Omega 3s.

Found mainly in fish (but also in flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts), Studies indicate that most people don’t consume enough (especially when compared to the amount omega 6s generally consumed).

Omega 3s:                                                                                    

  • can Improve eye health
  • decrease hyperactivity, aggression, impulsiveness and restlessness
  • fight depression and anxiety
  • help reduce triglycerides, blood pressure, plaque, inflammation and the risk of blood clots
  • raises “good” HDL cholesterol
  • helps reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases and mental disorders
  • fights age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease
  • aids in improving bone and joint health
  • helps skin stay soft, moist supple and prevents wrinkles and acne
  • may improve sleep
  • relieves menstrual pain
  • may help prevent cancer
  • may reduce fat in the liver

They also promote brain health during pregnancy and early childhood, resulting in:

  • higher intelligence
  • better communication and social skills
  • fewer behavioral problems
  • decreased risk of developmental delay
  • decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy

Turmeric

An old Indian spice which contains a powerful medicinal compound called Curcumin, Turmeric helps with:

  • reducing blood cholesterol
  • relieving itching caused by chronic kidney disease
  • reducing osteoarthritis pain
  • reducing symptoms of depression
  • fighting type 2 diabetes
  • treating viral infections
  • relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
  • fighting Alzheimer’s disease
  • relieving arthritis
  • preventing and fighting cancer
  • treating IBS
  • preventing and treating headaches
  • preventing acne

*May not be safe for pregnant women and people with gallbladder issues or blood clotting issues.

Maca

One “superfood” we’re hearing mentioned more, Maca is a cruciferous vegetable which mainly grows in the Andes of central Peru. It comes in three types- red, yellow and black- and is a good source of carbs, is low in fat and contains a fair amount of fiber. It also is high in some essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, copper and iron as well as various plant compounds, including glucosinolates and polyphenols.

In addition, Maca:

  • is an adaptogen (it can help your body “adapt” to stress)
  • helps balance hormones as it supports your endocrine system
  • naturally boosts libido
  • helps improve fertility or treat infertility problems
  • may improve energy and stamina
  • can improve symptoms of menopause and help protect bone health
  • can improve mood and decrease anxiety and depression
  • helps improve learning and memory
  • boosts sports energy and improves performance
  • can help protect skin from the sun when directly applied

Big Health Bonus

These supplements/superfoods help out with everything from your heart to your hormones; with many of them offering benefits that address the same type of health issue (depression, for example, is helped by four out of these five I’ve listed). Knowing all of this makes me never want to go back to taking a “generic” multivitamin again! There’s been an increase in various health ailments that seems to have coincided with everything being more processed; it’s time to reverse this awful trend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toxins in Toothpaste

Toothpaste has come a long way (and not in a good way). In the 1800s, chalk, salt and soap were sold together to clean teeth. While not too tasty, chalk has calcium, salt has trace minerals and soap helps kill bacteria. Not only was this mixture effective, it was also chemical and toxin-free!

Today’s leading toothpastes contain a number of toxins that, in the long run, may outweigh any beneficial ingredients. However, there are also now more brands of toothpaste that are trying to “return to their roots” so to speak by going toxin-free and including effective ingredients. Below, I’ll be listing common toxins in toothpastes and alternatives.                                                                                                                                                    

The Toxins

Triclosan- fights gingivitis but is an endocrine disruptor and causes resistance to antibiotics.

Flouride- a neurotoxin.

Propylene Glycol- toxic to organs, causes skin and eye irritations and is also used in paints, antifreeze and deicers for airplanes.

Diethanolamine (DEA)- has been linked to stomach, liver, bladder and esophagus cancers.

Artificial sweeteners and colors- may be contaminated with heavy metals or made from petrochemicals.

Carrageenan- a known carcinogen that causes inflammation.

Lead- any explanation needed?

Glycerin- an odorless liquid, while not a toxin itself, coats your teeth like bubble wrap and blocks them from re-mineralizing and maintaining the needed balance of nutrients. It also inhibits the natural flow and protection of saliva and would take about 20 rinses to get off!

The Alternatives

Organic toothpastes consist mainly of natural oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, cinnamon and lemon, along with herbs. If you find a toothpaste that has coconut oil, tea tree oil and/or cacao extract bromine in it, even better. Coconut oil encourages saliva production, eliminates toxic bacteria and stimulates the salivary glands. Tea tree oil, also used in some mouthwashes and as a toothache remedy, helps keep your teeth clean and germ-free. And naturally occurring cacao extract bromine has shown to be better in repairing and re-mineralizing teeth than fluoride.

Here’s To Good Oral Health

Most of us probably wouldn’t want to start brushing our teeth with chalk, salt and soap, but thankfully, we don’t have to. We have an increasing line of toothpastes with appealing flavors, but importantly, safe and effective ingredients.

Non-Toxic House Cleaning Products

Commercial cleaning products are no one’s favorite things to smell. We’ve also been warned that they are potentially harmful to the long-term health of people as well as the environment. But unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t require manufacturers of cleaning products to list their ingredients on labels.

However, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined the safety data of over 1000 ingredients used in commercial cleaning products. They found that more than half of these products contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to the lungs (With this in mind, the US National Center for Health Statistics states that 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis). The EWG also found that 1 in 5 of these products have ingredients that can trigger asthma, even in individuals who are healthy.

Along with organic food and skin care, there has been an increasing demand for non-toxic house cleaning products. In this post, I’ll be listing common toxic ingredients and contrasting them with what is in organic cleaning products.

Toxins Commonly Found in Commercial Cleaners Include…

  • Dioxane and Formaldehyde which are carcinogens (known to cause cancer)
  • Perchloroethylene (PERC) which is a carcinogen and neurotoxin
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) which are known asthma triggers
  • Triclosan and 18 other anti-bacterial compounds which are linked to endocrine disruption and antibiotic resistance
  • Chlorine and Chloroform (found in Chlorine Bleach) which are linked to respiratory and neurological effects and cancer

*Hydrogen peroxide-based products are often recommended for use in place of chlorine-based products

  • 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve) which is a skin and eye irritant
  • Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether (also DEGME or Methoxydiglycol) which is linked to reproductive health effects
  • Fragrance which may contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, including phthalates (an endocrine disruptor) is an allergy and asthma trigger
  • Ammonia which is a respiratory and skin irritant
  • Borax has been listed by the EU as toxic to human reproductive systems

And in Organic…

Organic cleaning companies, on the other hand, make their products using plant-derived ingredients and essential oils. These products have been shown to work just as well. And as you clean, you and your loved ones can breathe easy while enjoying the light natural scents they leave behind.

*When shopping for “Green” or “Non-toxic” cleaners, look for products that are labeled: petroleum-free, biodegradable, phosphate-free, VOC-free and solvent-free.

Clean and Healthy

With this (pretty scary) information in mind and all the non-toxic cleaning products that are now out, let’s strive not only for clean homes but better health!

The Benefits of Organic Skin Care

We hear not only a lot about organic food but also about organic skin care products. So what’s in them and what makes them different?

What Makes a Skin Care Product Organic?

As with food, the terms “organic” and “natural” are not interchangeable. A product can be both “natural” and “organic”; however if a product only has “natural” on the label, it can mean that it was only made with some natural ingredients. The USDA guidelines require that organic skin care products be made of at least 95% organic ingredients from plants sources. These ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic or petroleum-based fertilizers or GMO. They are also farmed using methods that recycle sources and promote biodiversity.

As a side note, The FDA pays little if any attention to what goes into skincare products. Regulations are few and, for those that are in place, there are loopholes that companies can use to get around them. In other words, companies can basically use whatever ingredients they want in their products. This includes dangerous chemicals, known irritants, and unnecessary fillers. Also, many major brands, recognizing the increasing popularity of organic, are putting a “natural” or “organic” label on their products without changing the formula. To be sure the product is organic, look for the USDA certified organic label.

What Makes Organic Skincare Better?

Most skincare products are designed to do a simple job such as give you smoother skin, make wrinkles less visible, and diminish sun spots and blemishes, and they may deliver in the short-term. However, in the long run, using them can also result in cutting oxygen exchange to the skin, premature aging, increased risk of sun spots and skin drying up from sulfate ingredients. In other words, the very things we were trying to avoid (and then some) catch up with us.

Studies are showing a connection between illness and chemical ingredients such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, harmful colorants and fragrances, propyl, methyl, ethyl and petroleum by products such as propylene glycol. Synthetics are not necessary in skincare, are often fast acting and invasive and can be harmful. Exposure can result in skin irritation, chronic headaches, cancers, breathing disabilities, hormone disruption, etc.

Organic skincare products, on the other hand, contain natural antioxidant agents found in plants. Antioxidants are very effective in the skin healing process and body repair. The human body is often exposed to harsh environmental effects, resulting in cell damage. Organic products are known to repair cell damage in the body and sometimes slow down the rate of injuries. Companies such as My Organic Zone feature organic skin care products including their Dead Sea Mud Mask and Arabica Coffee Scrub, both of which are rich in antioxidants and minerals.

Easy Choice

 

It’s easy to forget that our skin is a living organ- a sponge that researches have found absorbs more than 50% of what is applied to it. The absorbed substance then goes into the bloodstream and ultimately is circulated into the entire body system. So when considering which skin care products to use, we have either non organic products which have chemical ingredients known to be potentially damaging, or the natural ingredients of organic products that not only are beneficial to skin in the long-term, but are harmless if absorbed into the bloodstream.

This is what piqued my interest not only in organic products but in the variety of organic brands there are.

The Benefits of Organic Food

Organic food products have dramatically increased in popularity in recent years, largely due to their personal health benefits. So what are those benefits specifically? Let’s have a look.

The Good Stuff That’s in it

Studies have shown not only that consuming organic food can lead to a greater intake of antioxidants, but also that antioxidants from organic foods tend to have a greater impact on health. This is likely because foreign chemicals not used in organic farming are not interacting with the many vitamins, minerals and organic compounds essential for nutrition.

As a result of the feeding requirements for organic livestock farming, such as grass and alfalfa being primarily used for cattle, higher levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meat, dairy and eggs. An increased amount of time grazing on grass also results in larger amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in animal products. CLA is another heart-healthy fatty acid. It can boost cardiovascular protection and is found in higher levels in breast milk and in meat from animals that were raised free-range or cage-free.

The Bad Stuff That’s Not in it

Chemicals. Fertilizers and pesticides that are prohibited in organic farming contain powerful chemicals such as organophosphorus. This unnatural mineral compound is not required by humans and has been linked to a number of developmental disorders, including autism and ADHD. But more than 80% of this material in our bodies is from pesticide coating on the foods we eat.

GMOs. In testing done on animals, the consumption of genetically modified food resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of the immune system. It also increased the rates of birth mortality, certain sexual dysfunctions and allergen sensitivities.

Too Many Antibiotics. Most everyone has been vaccinated and taken antibiotics at some point. But non-organic food sources, especially livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics in feeding their animals. By consuming this “extra dose” of antibiotics, we may actually be weakening our immune system and possibly reshaping it so many times that it will eventually be unable to defend itself.

In comparison, materials and practices for organic crop farming may include:

  • Plant waste left on fields (green manure), livestock manure or compost to improve soil quality
  • Plant rotation to preserve soil quality and to interrupt cycles of pests or disease
  •  Cover crops that prevent erosion when parcels of land are not in use and to plow into soil for improving soil quality
  • Mulch to control weeds
  • Predatory insects or insect traps to control pests
  • Certain natural pesticides and a few synthetic pesticides approved for organic farming, used rarely and only as a last resort in coordination with a USDA organic certifying agent

One such farm is Braga Organic Farms. They are family-run and directly sell their nuts and dried fruit mixes, along with olive oil and jams.

Practices of organic livestock farmers include:

  • Healthy living conditions and access to the outdoors
  • Pasture feeding for at least 30 percent of livestock’s nutritional needs during grazing season
  • Organic foods for animals
  • Vaccinations

                                                                                                                                       

So What Products Qualify as Organic?

The USDA Guidelines are as follows:

100 percent organic. This description is used on certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat or other single-ingredient foods. It may also be used on multi-ingredient foods if all of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. These may have a USDA seal.

Organic. If a multi-ingredient food is labeled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. The non organic items must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients. These also may have a USDA seal.

Made with organic. If a multi-ingredient product has at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients, it may have a “made with organic” ingredients label. For example, a breakfast cereal might be labeled “made with organic oats.” The ingredient list must identify what ingredients are organic. These products may not carry a USDA seal.

Organic ingredients. If less than 70 percent of a multi-ingredient product is certified organic, it may not be labeled as organic or carry a USDA seal. The ingredient list can indicate which ingredients are organic.

Note: “Natural” on a food label means that it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It does not refer to the methods or materials used to produce the food ingredients.

Summing It Up

After reading about the negative impact that non-organic ingredients can have on my well being, I definitely feel motivated to keep making changes so that at least a good portion of my diet is organic.

About Me

Hello! My name is Emily and I am here to help guide you through the ever expanding world of natural and organic products.

My Story

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly interested in consuming and using products that are better for me but have frequently found myself overwhelmed by how many brands and categories there are in this business. I wonder, “What make them different from each other?” and “Which would most benefit me?”

So I started researching and comparing.

What’s In “What’s In This?”

I started this site to share what I have found and, hopefully, save you some time. Please feel free to reach out to me at emily@whats-in-this.com with any questions.

All the best,

Emily

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