Archive for the ‘Toxic’ Category

Buying organic is expensive and difficult to maintain if you’re on a limited food budget.

Fortunately the Environment Working Group have compiled a shopper’s guide to the worst and best foods for containing pesticides. The Shopper’s Guide ranks pesticide contamination for 47 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Nearly all the studies used to create the list test produce after it has been rinsed or peeled. Contamination was measured in six different ways and crops were ranked based on a composite score from all categories.

So, next time you go shopping you’ll know which produce to buy organic, and which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are okay to buy if organic prices don’t suit your budget.

Fruits topped the list of the consistently most contaminated fruits and vegetables, with seven of the 12 most contaminated foods.


Buy these organic

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherrie
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (Imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear


Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado3
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papay
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

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The average UK woman spends around £90 a year on sanitary products and uses nearly 11,000 disposable pads and tampons throughout her lifetime menstrual cycle which end up in a landfill or the sea. In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year.

Switching to reusable sanitary towels, a moon cup or a sea sponge can save you money and help the environment

Reusable sanitary towels are easy to use and care for, and there is so much choice. If you prefer tampons, try a a menstrual cup, a washable crochet tampon, or sea sponge instead.

Menstrual cups – are a great alternative to tampons. They are folded up and inserted into the vagina to catch the menstrual flow. They can then be emptied into the toilet, rinsed and re-inserted up to every 8 hours. They can be used overnight and when swimming or exercising. There are many different brands on the market Mooncup, The Keeper and Femmecup to name a few.

I have been using a Mooncup for several years now. I had to upgrade post births, the words “bucket fanny’ came to mind although my husband assures me that everything is alright down there. I think they’re great. They can be a bit fiddly when first using but once you cut the stem to the right size and get the knack you’ll never go back. Mooncup is the first sanitary protection manufacturer in the world to be awarded Ethical Business status for its people and environmentally -friendly practices.

Sea sponges – women have been using these as tampons for centuries. Sponges are plant-like creatures growing in colonies on the ocean floor and they are highly absorbable. Easy to use, simply wet the sponge and squeeze out excess water and insert. Similar to a menstrual cup they can be removed, rinsed and re-inserted. They last for about year before needing to be replaced. These have not yet been tried out in the Mumzine office, but see what Earthwise girls had to say about them.  

Earthwise girls do a great range in reusable sanitary towels which are available in a variety of different colours, shapes and designs. They recommend buying 6 sanitary towels as a minimum if washing every day, although some women have more so that they can wash them all at the end of their period. They also stock storage purses and bags for your reusable sanitary towels to go in while out and about.

Also check out Ecomenstrual for a whole range of menstrual products.

Not convinced? If disposable is really the only way forward for you try Natracare organic cotton tampons and sanitary towels. Using organic cotton tampons avoids the risk of toxic shock syndrome. They do a great range in nursing pads and maternity sanitary pads too.

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My friend is due a baby in a few weeks and I have been in search of the perfect gift.  Check out our favourite finds…

Emma and Alice – Happy Hour Cot Pockets – £45 + P & P – This is our most expensive item but a real treasure and made entirely from recycled vintage fabrics and individually handmade and designed to order – so every one a total one off.

Sophie the giraffe from VUP Baby– £12.25 – Everywhere I go I see a baby with one of these in their mouths and it is only recently I realised Sophie the Giraffe is a teether (handmade in France) made of all natural flexible rubber and non-toxic food paint. Sophie has been part of babies’ lives for more than 40 years. She is lightweight and easy to grasp, and easy on teething gums. Plus her squeaker keeps baby amused.

Green Baby sheepskin boots – £19.99 – maybe its the weather but these cute boots will be a welcome addition for any new baby. Wide side fastenings with Velcro make it easy to keep baby’s feet warm and comfortable and get them on and off. High tops keep not only feet warm but also protect tiny ankles from the cold.

Merino knee length socks – £8.95 – I have written about Bambino Merino before but in this ffff-rrre-eezing weather I cant think of much better present than a pair of these cute socks for a new baby to keep their little legs cosy.  We are big fans of Bambino Merino, everything is 100% natural pure merino wool and the products are so soft to the touch,  I have just tried out a pair of PJ’s on my 3 year old daughter and I am green with envy!  The picture doesn’t do them justice – they are really lovely.

And one for mum…

Burts Bees Mama Bee oil – £9.35 – Burts Bees products are 100% natural and they invest heavily in looking after the environment and behaving responsibly. Plus all their products smell divine!  This rich, all over body oil with sweet Almond and Lemon oils soothes and hydrates dry, itchy skin. Also great for use as a comforting massage oil for you and Baby!

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According to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG), in the 2-5 minutes that Teflon coated cookware coated is heating on a conventional hob, temperatures can exceed to the point that the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases. At extremely high temperatures these coatings can release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens. When exposed to fumes of heated non-stick pans the lungs of birds have been known to hemorrhage and fill up with fluid leading to suffocation , a condition called “Teflon Toxicosis”.

For humans an effect called “polymer fume fever” has been acknowledged. This is said to be a temporary influenza-like syndrome, however, the long term effects of this exposure remain unknown. Additionally, when pans with these coatings get scratched during cooking, small amounts of plastic and leached aluminum cling to the food and are then eaten.

In 2005 s study by the Environmental Working Group in collaboration with Commonweal found perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA and a chemical found in teflon and a known carcinogen) in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. John Hopkins Medical Centre did a similar test in 2006 where PFOA was present in the umbilical cord blood of 99% of the 300 infants tested.

You can avoid exposures to the fumes from Teflon and other non-stick cookware by phasing out your use of these products.

What are the alternatives?

Cast iron – known for its durability and even heat distribution.  Maintenance wise it can be a pain as it rusts easily and needs to be seasoned (sealed) with oil and fat to give a non stick finish. Iron can also seep into your food whilst cooking. Some people cite this as a health benefit, however, the jury is out on this for me.

Enamel coated cast iron – for those who like the feel and heat distribution properties of cast iron but dread the seasoning process, ceramic enameled cookware from Le Creuset or World Cuisine are a good choice.  These surfaces are very durable, better at browning foods than Teflon non-stick coatings, and are dishwasher safe.

Glass – I remember my Nana using glass pots. Glass is inert and is therefore probably the safest material around. The two major advantages of glass cookware is that you can see the food you’re cooking and they can be easily transferred between the hob, oven, refrigerator and freezer. Another big advantage of glass pans is that they clean easily and can be put in the dishwasher. There is no need to worry about seasoning, worry about scratches, rusting or other damage. Chipping and cracking can be a problem, but only with very rough usage.

Stainless steel is a mixture of several different metals, including nickel, chromium and molybdenum, all of which can trickle into foods. However, unless your stainless steel cookware is dinged and pitted, the amount of metals likely to get into your food is negligible. Most chefs agree that stainless steel browns foods better than non-stick surfaces.

Hard anodized cookware – many health conscious cooks are turning to anodized aluminium cookware as a safer alternative. The electro-chemical anodizing process locks in the cookware’s base metal, aluminium, so that it can’t get into food, and makes for what many cooks consider an ideal non-stick and scratch-resistant cooking surface. If the surface becomes scratched your protection from the aluminium can not be guaranteed. There have been some studies that link absorption of aluminium to Alzheimer’s.

Dupont (makers of Teflon) are looking for a new material to substitute Teflon after being asked by the US federal government to eliminate any new emissions of the key Teflon chemical from its factories by 2010.  My thoughts, beware of any new substitutes until proven safe.

Source: Natural News, EWG

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For most of us, toxins build up faster than the body can eliminate them and we are left feeling lethargic, heavy, and irritable; with the toxic overload taking its toll on our skin, weight and immune function.

A detox is an effective way of re-energising. It needn’t be extreme, inconvenient or unpleasant. It is simply a period in which you aim to take some of the load off your body by limiting the amount of new toxins taken in, and assisting in eliminating the old toxins that have built up over time. The idea is to reset your body to a slightly alkaline state, giving your body and organs a fresh start.

Your detox program can last for 1 day, 3 days, a week or a month. You decide. However, during the winter I would recommend the maximum of a week.  For the rest of the month you could still follow the basics of avoiding alcohol, fizzy drinks, chocolate, processed foods, wheat and sugar.

What’s the perfect detox?

Start every morning with a cup of warm filtered water with squeeze of lemon. This will kick start your digestive system, purify the liver, and alkalize your system.

For breakfast, choose from fruit served at room temperature. Eat plenty so that you are not hungry. Miso soup or a vegetable juice.

For lunch and dinner have warm vegetable soups or vegetable stews. Steamed veg is good too. If you’re feeling really hungry, add grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and brown rice.

In between meals drink plenty of filtered water (at room temperature) and herbal teas such as nettle, dandelion, camomile or echinacea.

Juicing is really important too. Mornings are good time for fruit and vegetable juices in the afternoon. Have a least 2 0r 3 a day.

The occasional snack of sunflower and pumpkin seeds is allowed.

What foods should I avoid?

Animal products dairy/meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, carbonated drinks, fried foods and wheat

Supplements and therapies

The homeopathic remedy chelidonium 3x taken twice a day can help  stimulate and regulate liver function or you could try a milk thistle tincture like Bioforce’s complex.

Massages are fantastic for unblocking the lymphatic system and increasing blood circulation. There are many manual lymphatic drainage massage therapists. Find a registered one here.

If you can’t afford a massage, it is January after all, try skin brushing. Dry skin brushing speeds up the rate at which toxins are expelled from the body by stimulating blood cells and lymph tissue.

Saunas and steams are great to warm you up in winter, and help eliminate toxins through the skin. Try your gym or find a local Turkish bath.

Cleansing the colon

A good detox program should always include the elimination of existing waste in your colon. If you attempt to clean your liver, blood, or lymph system without first addressing a waste-filled bowel, the excreted toxins will get recycled back into your body.

Some people like to have colonic hydrotherapy. If you do choose to have a colonic make sure you take acidophilus to replace the bacteria that has been flushed out.

I prefer the more natural approach of a fibre colon cleanse such as Higher Nature’s Coloclear or psyllium husks. Toxic waste from the liver gets bound to fibre and then passes out of the digestive system. It sweeps the bowel of built up waste. Adding bentonite clay also helps draw out toxins from the bowel. Drinking plenty of liquid before and afterwards is essential with this method, or it could lead to constipation.

Linseed/Flax seeds may be better for a really sensitive digestive system and are just as effective. Soak 1 tbsp in filtered water overnight and drink the following morning. If  you suffer from stubborn constipation you may need to start with 2 tbsp a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once things get moving reduce to 1 tbsp.


Running, cycling and walking are great for detoxing. Exercise aids the lymphatic system. It increases your oxygen intake and circulation; and helps you eliminate toxins through the skin by sweating.

Yoga – There are certain yoga poses that are designed to stimulate and aid the organs of detoxification like the liver and the bowel. Find a local yoga class here.

Detox programs are not suitable for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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A recent study from Bionsen found that the average woman applies 515 chemicals to her face a day.

The study revealed that the typical woman uses about 13 different beauty products a day. Most of these products contain at least 20 ingredients and additives, many of which can have a detrimental effect on the body and skin. Perfumes alone were found to contain up to 400 different ingredients.

Additionally, in 2006 a survey by New Woman magazine revealed that British women spend £3,000 a year on beauty products and treatments, with 81 per cent of women wearing make-up every day. According to analysts Mintel, British women are the largest users of make-up in Europe so this is a big issue.

Top-selling perfume Chanel No5 has 250 additives and the best-selling foundation, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, lists 24 ingredients.

The most popular nail varnish, Rimmel, is mixed from 31 components while the top-selling body lotion Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Lotion has 32.

Other products that were tested include lipstick, body lotions and mascara which contained an average of 30 ingredients each. Aside from aluminum, many of these products contain other harmful ingredients like synthetic dyes, fragrances, and parabens. When applied continually, the many beauty products that women use are exposing them to wide range of carcinogens.

Click here for our recent guide on making your own toxin free beauty products.

For more information on this subject click here

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Most of us use many beauty products on a daily basis, often containing toxic chemicals.  Although the chemicals in any one product are unlikely to cause harm, think about how many products you use in a day, year, and over a lifetime. Small amounts of toxic chemicals add up and accumulate in our bodies through cosmetics and through other chemical exposures in food, water and air.

If you want to side-step some of this and/or save money, here are some natural toxin-free products you can make yourself.  There are no preservatives in these recipes so use within two weeks, and store in your fridge.  If you fancy giving it a go Baldwins (UK’s leading supplier of natural remedies, essential oils and other natural products) is a good place to get some of the ingredients.

Frozen egg & honey mask: Recommended for dry skin, this is particularly soothing on sunburned skin.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (manuka if you can stretch to it)
  • 1 cardboard loo roll

Instructions: Beat the egg until frothy. Slowly add the liquid coconut oil and honey, beating until your mask is the consistency of mayonnaise. Take the loo roll and strand it up in a clean bowl. Spoon mixture into the loo roll. Place tube, in the bowl, in the freezer overnight. To use, peel away just the top of the cardboard roll and smooth the frozen stick over your face (think of it as a push-up lolly). Leave on for 5-10 mins, then rinse off with warm water. Return the cream stick covered with plastic wrap and freeze between uses. Keeps indefinitely.

Silky Clay Mask for all skin types


  • 1½ teaspoons green clay (French is preferred)
  • ½ teaspoon kaolin clay
  • 1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 2 drops rose essential oil

Instructions: Mix clays together. Add aloe vera gel, rosewater and oils. Leave your mask on for 5-10 mns, then rinse off with warm water. Refrigerate mixture for up to four weeks.

Baking Soda Mask to fight acne: This is easy to make and can work wonders.


  • 1 tablespoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
  • 1-2 tablespoon water

Instructions: Mix a little together in your hands after washing your face and apply gently to your skin. Once you’ve coated your face with the baking soda/water mix, leave for 10 minutes. Rinse the mask off your face and feel how soft and clear it feels.

Banana Mask for oily skin


  • 1 banana, preferably ripe (You can keep ripe bananas in the freezer. Let it thaw before using.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (manuka if you can stretch)
  • 1 orange or a lemon

Instructions: Mix the banana and honey together. Add a few drops of juice from an orange or a lemon. Apply to face for 15 mins before rinsing with a flannel.

Orange Ginger Warming Foot Scrub

This warming foot scrub is great for the winter, and leaves your feet feeling soft and relaxed.


  • 1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1/4 cup sweet almond oil
  • 6 drops orange essential oil
  • 2 drops ginger essential oil
  • 1 level teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

Instructions: In a plastic bowl, mix together the sugar and almond oil. Add the essential oils and stir. Add the cayenne pepper last and stir well to mix. This is a scrub to do over the bath rather than in it – you don’t want a soak in cayenne pepper! Scoop up a handful of the scrub for each foot and massage vigorously.

Grapefruit Sugar Scrub


  • 1-1/2 cups white table sugar
  • 8 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 1/4 cup jojoba oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap

Instructions: Place sugar into a large bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Add the essential oil. Add the jojoba oil and castile soap next, a little at a time stirring each time. Mix well and pour into clean container. To use, stand in the bath or shower and massage the sugar scrub onto your body.

Softening Body Oil

Before taking a shower, brush your skin gently. This will stimulate blood circulation and aid absorption. For best results, apply oil while your skin is still moist after a shower.


  • 1 cup (237 ml) sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) jojoba or hazelnut oil (or combination of the two)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot kernel oil
  • Essential oil (optional) For an uplifting experience, try 3 drops of ylang ylang, 2 drops geranium and 3 drops orange or bergamot. For an exotic experience, try 3 drops ylang ylang, 2 drops rose, 1 drop patchouli and 1 drop geranium.

Instructions: Combine the oils in a sealed bottle and gently turn it several times to mix. Apply as needed.

Bath Biscuits


  • 2 cups finely ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons light oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 2 eggs 5-6 drops essential oil of your choice

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all the listed ingredients and form into a dough. Roll it gently in the palm of your hand until it forms a ball (one-teaspoon ball size) and put them on grease proof paper. You can sprinkle the balls with herbs, flower petals, cloves, citrus zest and similar aromatic ingredients. Bake your bath cookies for 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow the bath biscuits to cool completely. To use, drop 1 or 2 into a warm bath and allow to dissolve.

Source – Campaign for Safe CosmeticsThe Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working to protect your health by eliminating the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

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