About livecleannourish

Hi, I'm Ania. I'm a natural living, primal advocating mom of a crazy toddler.

3 clean living apps to reduce toxins in your household and beauty products

I find eating clean and avoiding food based toxins to be pretty straightforward. In general, if it’s packaged or there are ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not healthy. There are exceptions to the rule, but in general, it’s simple enough.

Eat real food.

Shopping for household, cleaning and beauty products is much less straightforward. Herbs and essential oils are generally a safe and clean addition to a product but if their scientific names are used, they aren’t easy to pronounce and aren’t easily deciphered from their synthetic counterparts.

It can be very difficult to understand what the ingredients mean.

In America and in other western countries (but less so), there’s a mentality of something is safe until proven unsafe. However, the approach should be to assume something is unsafe unless proven safe. The FDA rules for labeling and use of chemicals makes it very clear that anything can be used UNTIL it’s proven unsafe. To me this is even more reason to live a clean, toxin-free life. Personally, I’d rather be safe than sorry, even if 90% of this stuff ends up being perfectly fine.

Luckily, there are a few apps that can help you make your shopping decisions. These apps offer the ability to look up how toxic a product or its ingredients are. All of the apps utilize published scientific literature to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government.

They should be used a guide and not an end all be all, but they can help put you in the right direction. You may get different ratings for the same products with different apps. This is why I typically recommend cross referencing an item if you have any concerns. They also have different algorithms for their decisions and don’t always look at the same factors.

There are a few key flaws to be aware of:

  • Some products are not listed, or sometimes only a few versions of a brand are listed.
  • Brands that fully disclose ingredients are compared with brands that are not disclosing all of their ingredients. The FDA leaves it up to companies to ensure they are properly labeling. In addition, some compounds have more data available than others. An item may score really well because it has no known toxic compounds.. when in reality, it may have one… research simply hasn’t proven it yet.
  • Scores are based on ingredients being present but there’s a difference between an ingredient being 1st on a list and last on a list in terms of their quantity in a product. Quantity matters. In addition, sometimes 2 ingredients will formulate synergistic toxicity where they are more harmful in the presence of each other.
  • Finally, a few of the apps evaluate food products. For instance, Good Guide evaluates food products based on a nutritional evaluation of a product’s ingredients. I haven’t extensively explored this portion of their app, but from what I have explored they base this on government guidelines and I wouldn’t suggest using this feature. For instance, I saw a perfect score for a processed box of Chex cereal and decided to stop looking. Just focus on beauty and household products!

The 3 main apps are Good Guide, EWG Healthy Living and Think Dirty.

Good Guide

Good guide has rated over 75,000 household, food, and beauty products. These products are ranked by health, environmental, and social factors. You can search by product name or scan the UPC code for an instant look.

They rank health, environment, and social separately which is unique. This is where good guide excels. For instance, palm oil is generally safe but perhaps that palm oil is contributing to deforestation in Indonesia, if so, I’d like to know. I find social and environmental factors equally as important in my decision making process.

EWG Healthy Living App (previously Skin Deep)

The EWG Healthy Living app from the Environmental Working Group rates over 120,000 food and personal care products. You can search by ingredient, brand, product name or simply scan the barcode on your phone.

EWG also lists a data availability rating so you can tell if their ratings are based on a lot of sound scientific research or perhaps just one or two studies.

You may be familiar with EWG from their EWG Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. EWG is a reputable organization that is leading in their industry.

Think Dirty App

The Think Dirty app is another way to learn about toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products. You simply scan a UPC much like the other apps.

They base their rankings of a given product on the potential health impacts of the published ingredients. Ingredients are evaluated for carcinogenicity, development and reproductive toxicity, and allergenicity and immunotoxicity.

There are a few flaws to this app to be aware of. One downside is the way they rate allergenicity. What is an allergy to one person may be perfectly fine for another person. They also rate against companies due to potential impurities, even though some companies may have received a certificate proving their ingredients are not contaminated.


I think all of the apps do a good a job in aiding consumers to make smart choices and buy safer products. Their differences are minor, so to some it may simply be a matter of preference. The main thing I want to make sure you take from this is that you need to draw your own conclusions. These apps are a tool and a resource to guide you, but don’t take the information as fact. There are many flaws in the process.

I’m strongly committed to buying products that are clean and free of toxic ingredients. I’m also committed to buying products that are created in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

I think you should be too.

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By |2018-01-25T18:00:42+00:00July 10th, 2017|Clean|3 Comments

Can we be too clean?

Please note: This is just my opinion, please make your own conclusions. I’m not responsible for any dirt you eat as a result of this.

Modern sanitation has been the impetus for ridding the world of major diseases and bacterial infections. It is LIFE SAVING, there’s no denying that.

But can we be TOO CLEAN?

Many people believe that your environment needs to be as clean and sanitary as possible. But did you know that children kept in ultra clean environments have higher rates of respiratory conditions such as asthma and hay fever? You’ve probably heard that having a dog or being around farm animals reduces risk of childhood illnesses. That’s because having access to beneficial bacteria is good for you and having the occasional access to mild viruses helps build your immune system.

Our water is sterilized, food sanitized, we wash our hands constantly and we don’t have access to some of the ways humans traditionally acquired beneficial bacteria (being outside). I’ve had food poisoning in the developing world far too many times and very much understand the necessity for clean water and food. Let’s not change that. Work with patients? Hanging out at an airport? Visiting the restroom? By all means, wash your hands. It’s the incessant hand washing that I believe could be doing more harm than good (especially considering many people use hand sanitizer with triclosan… but that’s another story). When I go to playdates I often see moms washing their children’s hands every other minute (or at least it seems that way)… it’s like the second they touch something they must have acquired a deadly disease and must be sanitized.

Let them build their immune system, let them get exposed to the world.

According to Jack Gilbert, author of ‘Dirt Is Good’: Why Kids Need Exposure To Germs:

“In the past, we would have eaten a lot more fermented foods, which contain bacteria. We would have allowed our children to be exposed to animals and plants and soil on a much more regular basis. Now we live indoors. We sterilize our surfaces. Their immune systems then become hyper-sensitized. You have these little soldier cells in your body called neutrophils, and when they spend too long going around looking for something to do, they become grumpy and pro-inflammatory. And so when they finally see something that’s foreign, like a piece of pollen, they become explosively inflammatory. They go crazy. That’s what triggers asthma and eczema and often times, food allergies.”

We’re built to be exposed to bacteria all day everyday, and much of that bacteria is beneficial. The gut microbiome is essential to the immune system and does a lot of the work to keep your body healthy and distinguish between friend and foe. By sterilizing everything and having no exposure to natural soil, we are sterilizing ourselves in unnatural ways. We’re meant to get exposure to pathogens at an early age to build our immune system in ways that help us for the rest of our lives. Without these natural exposures, the immune system never learns how to respond to its environment and can eventually overreact to non-threatening stimuli and to our own bodies.

Ask your grandparents if they remember a time where allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disease was commonplace.

Not to say that this is the only cause of modern ailments; these are multi-factorial problems. But science certainly shows there is a relationship between the bacteria we are exposed to and our susceptibility to certain diseases.

The conflict between cleanliness and exposure can be difficult. You want to be exposed to good bacteria in your environment, especially dirt. You also DON’T want to be exposed to bacteria and viruses that can cause major illness, which in rare cases, can come from dirt. It’s a balance between doing what is genuinely protecting yourself and being unnecessarily clean. Ever hear the story about doctors who would go from the morgue to deliver babies because they didn’t understand germ theory?

It’s a balancing act.

We have to live with the downside of our modern living. We’re too clean and our bodies don’t understand how to work in our ultra clean environment. BUT, no one wants a horrible flesh eating parasite either.

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By |2018-01-25T18:01:14+00:00July 16th, 2017|Clean|4 Comments

Little known iPhone hack for better sleep

iphone hack for better sleepI’m more addicted to my iPhone than I care to admit.

I’m fully aware that artificial blue light at night suppresses the secretion of melatonin. It’s not good for our circadian rhythm, it’s not good for our health, and some research even shows that it can increase the risk of major chronic diseases, including cancer.

It’s complicated so I won’t get into the details of why you should avoid blue light at night. If you’d like a quick catch up, please read the following article from Harvard Health Publications:

Why you want to avoid blue light at night

So you want to use your iPhone at night but you don’t want to be exposed to blue light?

What I used to do is wear fancy amber tinted glasses, but now that I co-sleep with a toddler, that doesn’t work very well. There’s no way my toddler is wearing amber tinted glasses. Not because I wouldn’t think to do such a thing, but because he’ll rip his and mine off in 2 seconds flat. I’m usually on the phone AFTER he falls asleep, but the light still brightens up the room and I think he’ll wake up in a second at the opportunity to play with my glasses. I want my baby to have his melatonin! In addition to having a lamp with an amber light bulb…

I utilize a little known iPhone hack to make my screen red.

This is not to be confused with the iPhone’s nighttime mode which tints your phone (that’s useful too), this makes your phone RED. Your entire screen is overlayed with a red filter. You must have ios 10 installed for this to work. I have an iPhone 6, I haven’t confirmed it works on earlier versions but I assume so.

The way this is done is using the iPhone accessibility features. First you’ll set up your color tint, and then you’ll enable an accessibility shortcut to switch back and forth in 3 easy clicks. (There are many steps so this is not something you want to do every night!).

iPhone Settings -> General -> Accessibility

And then follow the directions below:

Step 1: After getting to the Accessibility screen (iPhone Settings -> General -> Accessibility), Turn ON Display Accommodations

Display accomodations iPhone

Step 2: Select Color Filters

Color Filters iPhone

Step 3: Turn ON Color Filters

Color filters iphone

Step 4: Select Color Tint, and drag Intensity and Hue to the far right side

Color filters iPhone

Step 5: Access Accessibility shortcut at the far bottom of the Accessibility screen (iPhone Settings -> General -> Accessibility)

Accessibility Shortcuts iPhone

Step 6: Select Color Filters

Accessibility shortcut iPhone

Now, click 3 times! Clicking 3 times should take you back and forth between regular lighting and red lighting! Magic!

Turn on your new found red screen while you lay in bed on your iPhone, and let your melatonin thrive!

p.s. The setting will turn your phone screen red, therefore, anything that is red on the screen (i.e. a red button) will no longer be visible.

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By |2017-12-19T17:11:31+00:00July 3rd, 2017|Live|3 Comments

Dairy free pesto recipe

This is a guest post from Wendy at www.PlantsAreMyMedicine.com.

Wendy is an herbalist and publisher who homesteads in Southern Georgia. She teaches herbs, plant medicine methods, and how to make herbal remedies for your family.

Let’s get to the recipe

There are moments in your life when clarity of just how Alive you are comes crashing into your kitchen. Ok, well, it does for me anyway. One thing I love about living in the south is that I can grow my favorite basils for so much longer than I could in the Pac NW. There just isn’t enough sun up there.

I’ve made a TON of pesto, in many forms, many ingredients, and this is my favorite. I am a Pesto Junkie. To save yourself from becoming a Pesto Junkie, just pass this recipe over. I wouldn’t want to be a bad influence. (Evil Grin)

In your food processor throw in:

1 and 1/4 cups of basil (pack in there, stems and all)

1/3 cup of raw nuts of your choice (for the one pictured, I used a combo of cashews and walnuts)

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoons of water (sometimes I’ll use coconut water or orange juice)

1/2 teaspoon of good salt (not table salt… think Himalayan Pink Salt, chunky Sea Salt)

1 clove of garlic (or more if you like)

Zest of 1/2 a lime

Squeeze juice from half a lime right into the processor.

Turn it on and let it whirrrrrrl.

*Freeze in small batches to add to winter soups. (I’ve seen people use ice cube trays?) I just create dollops on a cookie sheet and then put them in a freezer bag after they have frozen.

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By |2017-08-10T23:25:27+00:00July 5th, 2017|Nourish, Recipes|1 Comment

Primal peach pepper pork chops

The following is a summer time guest post recipe from M. Leigh from The Healthcare Maquis.

Peaches are in season, and what better way to enjoy nature’s bounty than to work it into as many meals as you can, while you can.

The name of this recipe is Primal Peach Pepper Pork Chops. Do not let the title fool you. It is not about the pork chops. It is not about peppers, it is all about the spicy peach sauce.

What I love about this recipe is that it is a cook once and eat twice type of meal, which I love all year around, but especially when it is hot outside.

This recipe is flexible. I grilled everything. However, if you do not/can not grill this recipe is just as good on the stovetop or in the oven or broiler.

The ingredients are adaptable as well. If you like blow your head off spicy, add more ginger and hot pepper. If you have a sensitive palate, reduce the quantities to your liking.

Let’s get started.

Peach Pepper Sauce


● 1 pound of peaches, peeled, cored and diced
● ½ of Jalapeno pepper
● Juice of ½ Lemon
● 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
● 1 teaspoon of finely minced ginger
● ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
● Dash of salt
● Stevia or other sweeteners optional

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan on medium high until the contents begin to simmer. Add a few tablespoon of water if the mixture begins to get dry as it cooks.

Cook for about 15 minutes or until the peaches are soft. Take off heat and let cool for about ten minutes. After the ten minutes are up, taste for sweetness. If you would like, you can add a sprinkle of stevia/sweetener of choice to balance out the spicy, tart taste.

The mixture is ready to be blended. A immersion blender is the best for this, but if you have a conventional blender or a Ninja style blender that would be fine as well.

Warning, When using a conventional blender make sure:

● The mixture has cooled some
● You crack the lid
● You use a towel to cover the lid to let steam escape

The heat causes pressure to develop and it could explode. Safety first, last and always.

After you blend the sauce, taste again for sweetness, and you are done. The sauce can store in the fridge for a few days.

Although you do not need a recipe for cooking basic pork chops or peppers, here is what I did and some other alternatives.

Grilled Pork Chops with Peppers


● Bone-in Pork Chops, not thin sliced, not thick cut, but the standard grocery store cut
● Salt and Pepper to taste
● A combination of your favorite bell pepper, red, yellow, and orange work best on the grill

Prep the pork chop with simple salt and pepper. The sauce will be flavor enough by itself. The peppers are sliced into bite size pieces that would not fall through the grill grates.

Grill the pork chop on a 350 degrees flame over direct heat. Cook on each side for ten minutes. Take the chops off the grill, tent with parchment or cover with a tea towel to rest. Next, grill the pepper pieces, turning frequently to prevent burning (charring is good, but set on fire is bad). Remove pepper pieces, and serve.

If you can not grill, another option is to prepare on the stove top. You could pan sear the chops, and then saute the peppers. In the oven, you could bake/broil the chops and peppers at the same time.

Voila’, dinner is served. Pour a little sauce on top or serve on the side, and you have taken boring supermarket pork chops and leftover peaches and elevated to another level.

But wait there is more. I promised you cook once, eat twice. You can put the same meal on top of a bed of spinach the next day.

I hope you try this recipe, and it adds a little pizzazz to your weekday round-up.

I would also love if you stopped by and checked out my site, The Healthcare Maquis. I believe that freedom begins with health and wellness. I would love to join you on your journey to liberation.


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By |2017-08-10T23:23:00+00:00July 12th, 2017|Recipes|0 Comments

Why you should never use products with “fragrance”

fragrance is toxicThe Short Answer:

There’s no regulation on the term “fragrance,” and it usually includes volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s), phthalates, and formaldehyde, all of which are linked directly to deleterious health outcomes.

Stay away from this stuff!

The Long Answer:

According to the FDA, specific ingredients in “fragrance” and “flavor”, although complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemicals, do not need to be listed because they are considered “trade secrets.” The law does not require FDA approval before they go on the market. “Companies and individuals who manufacture or market cosmetics have a legal responsibility for ensuring that their products are safe and properly labeled.” Companies certainly aren’t creating large scale double blind studies on the safety of their products…

Essentially, they can put whatever they want in these products and they aren’t being regulated.

The ubiquitous “fragrance” can literally contain anything, many of the common ingredients are known and validated by science to cause health problems.

Some of the most offensive ingredients, VOC’s, phthalates and formaldehyde are known to aggravate asthma, cause hormonal and reproductive issues, birth defects, developmental disorders, and have been linked to neurological damage and even cancer.

Many air fresheners, an everyday product that contains “fragrance”, contain phthalates and according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC, an international environmental advocacy group), “phthalates are hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. NRDC’s independent testing of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent (12 of 14) of the products tested, including those advertised as ‘all natural’ or ‘unscented.'”

SC Johnson, makers of Glade and other household products, now list their fragrance ingredients on their website. They are doing it in an aim to be more transparent. Previously, the ingredients for their products only included “fragrance” or “fragrance oil” (the products still only contain those words but they’ve expanded what you can find online).

When you click Fragrance Oil to delve deeper and see what that entails… these are the real ingredients in “fragrance”

(e)-1-(2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexen-1-yl)-2-buten-1-one; [(3,7-dimethyl-6-octenyl)oxy]acetaldehyde; [1-methyl-2-[(4,4,5-trimethyl-3-bicyclo[3.1.0]hexanyl)methyl]cyclopropyl]methanol; 1-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-3-en-1-yl)2-buten-1-one; 2,4-dimethyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde; 2,6,10-trimethylundec-9-enal; 2,6-dimethyl-7-octen-2-ol; 2-phenoxyethyl isobutyrate; 2-t-butylcyclohexyl acetate; 3.alpha.,4,5,6,7,7.alpha.-hexahydro-4,7-methano-1h-indenyl propionate; 3-hexenol; 3-methyl-2-butenyl acetate; 4,4.alpha.,5,9.beta.-tetrahydroindeno(1,2-d)-1,3-dioxin; 4-methylanisole; 5-methyl-2-(2-methylpropyl)-1,3-dioxane; amyl cinnamal; benzaldehyde; benzyl acetate; benzyl butyrate; butyl ester of pvm/ma copolymer; cyclamen aldehyde; decanal; dimethyl heptenal; dipropylene glycol; ethyl 2-methyl-1,3-dioxolane-2-acetate; ethyl 2-methylbutyrate; ethyl 2-methylvalerate; ethyl butyrate; ethyl isovalerate; ethyl linalool; ethyl methylphenylglycidate; ethyl salicylate; ethyl trimethylcyclopentene butenol; ethyl vanillin; gamma-decalactone; gamma-nonalactone; gamma-undecalactone; geranyl acetate; hexenyl acetate; hexyl 2-methylbutyrate; hexyl acetate; hexyl butyrate; hexyl propionate; indole; isoamyl acetate; isoamyl allylglycolate; isobutenyl methyltetrahydropyran; isobutyl methyl tetrahydropyranol; isopropylphenylbutanal; lauraldehyde; linalool; methyl anthranilate; methyl benzodioxepinone; methyl Ionones; methyl n-methylanthranilate; nona-2,6-dien-1-ol; nonadienal; phenethyl alcohol; ppg-2 methyl ether acetate; terpineol; trans-hex-2-en-1-ol; undecylenal

I won’t lie and pretend I know what any of that is or whether any one item is definitively bad. But I have no doubt in my mind that this is not something I desire to breathe.

Candles are another everyday product that almost always contains “fragrance”. In a 2009 study by South Carolina State University “The paraffin candles we tested released unwanted chemicals into the air. For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma,”

Scented candles and incense could be linked to increased risk of cancer according to a 2001 EPA study

It gets better.

In a 2014 Scientific American Study, “The first study to explore the relationship between phthalates during pregnancy and future childhood asthma reveals a strong link between the two”.

According to the daily mail in 2005, “Chemical sprays, plug-ins and gels for home perfuming are hugely popular but investigators warn that they can include an array of hazardous substances which may cause lung damage and tumours, interfere with our hormones and cause such lifelong problems as asthma. Last month, a study involving Public Health England’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, warned that plug-in air fresheners produce ‘considerable’ levels of formaldehyde: described by the US government’s National Toxicology Program as a known ‘human carcinogen’. It is most closely linked with cancers of the nose and throat and at the very least, it can also cause sore throats, coughs, scratchy eyes and nosebleeds. It is not the only chemical to fear in air fresheners. Other basic ingredients include petroleum products and such chemicals as p-dichlorobenzene, which hardly bring to mind summer meadows, vanilla pods and sultry spices.”

I hesitate to use the word “toxic” because it conjures up an image of woo woo anti-science chemical-phobio. I find that image grossly unfair, giving it’s the very same science showing how bad this stuff is. But I’ll say it here:


Now, what is a person to do? Forever live in a scentless world? Luckily there are safer options.

To help rid smells, if weather cooperates, you can open a window… that’s the best method. In addition to opening the window, houseplants help to clean air in the home.

To cover smells and create a scent, the next best option is to use a diluted essential oil (not all are the same so do make sure the mixture you use is indeed considered safe), a soy/food based candle, or dried flowers. Not potpourri you find at the store… that likely has added “fragrance”.. and you all know what that means.

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By |2017-08-10T23:26:11+00:00June 20th, 2017|Clean|1 Comment

Top 5 “healthy” foods that aren’t healthy at all

There are many foods that people typically view as “healthy” that are far from it.

There’s so much misinformation out there, particularly about whole wheat products, low calorie products, and low fat products.

Here are just some of the many grocery store items that are often perceived as healthy but are anything but:

1. Triscuits

Triscuits sound healthy right? Let’s examine the ingredients:

Whole Grain Wheat: if you’ve read anything from me you know my opinion on wheat, but that’s not the point of this article so let’s move on to the rest of the processed crap:

Vegetable Oil (Soybean or Canola): Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 inflammatory oils, are typically genetically modified, and usually laden in pesticides. Petroleum is often used to extract the oil, yum. As for soy, the highly processed form found in soybean oil is hazardous to health. It is full of phytoestrogens which serve as estrogen mimickers in the body. Excess estrogen levels increase your risk of cancer, PCOS, and other hormone-related disorders. Approximately 90% of soy is genetically modified. In addition, its high levels of phytic acid make it difficult for your body to absorb vitamins and minerals.

Here’s a list of 160 studies compiled showing adverse effects of soy.

Maltodextrin (and dextrose): A highly processed thickener, filler or preservative which is often derived from corn (genetically modified) and is high on the glycemic index. In studies it is associated with autoimmune disease and an inappropriate immune response to bacteria (leading to diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease). A few studies looking at those effects:

Crohn’s disease-associated adherent-invasive Escherichia coli adhesion is enhanced by exposure to the ubiquitous dietary polysaccharide maltodextrin.

Deregulation of intestinal anti-microbial defense by the dietary additive, maltodextrin.

Hydrolyzed Corn, Wheat & Yeast Protein: Hydrolyzed is ultra processed by definition. This creates free glutamic acid, AKA MSG. MSG is an excitotoxin that many believe plays a role in the development of neurodegenerative disease.

Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate: A flavor enhancer. Is it bad for you? Maybe, maybe not. It’s generally associated with MSG and was certainly made in a lab somewhere. It’s certainly not food.

Natural Flavors: This can literally be anything as there is no regulation on the use of the term.

Granted, the plain versions of Triscuits are much cleaner. So if you’re gonna eat it, don’t buy a flavored variety.

2. Yoplait Yogurt

Don’t you love the Yoplait yogurt commercials where women are trying to get into their itty bitty teeny weeny pocka dot bikini’s and eat yogurt all day? Sure, if that’s all they eat all day they may lose weight, but at what expense?

Low fat milk: That’s a debate for another day. Fat is healthy, great for your brain cells, yada yada. The milk in this yogurt comes from cows who don’t have 2 inches to spare and shoved full of antibiotics. Same goes for all commercial diary.

Sugar: Sure, sugar in moderation is fine. 30 grams of sugar in a “healthy” yogurt? I’d save my sugar for a real dessert that tastes good.

Corn starch: Corn in my yogurt? Lovely.

Natural Flavors: Oh, the always elusive “natural flavors.” Again, this could be literally anything.

Let’s get real people. This stuff is junk. It’s no health food.

3. Basic wheat bread from the supermarket

Of course as a person of the paleo persuasion I don’t advocate eating wheat at all, but again, that’s for another time and place. Let’s assume you believe wheat is good for you. Bread should be flour, eggs, salt, yeast, and maybe some spices and an oil. Am I missing something? Here’s what’s in this “heart healthy” whole grain bread:

Cane Refinery Syrup: A heavily refined sugar that is used to replace high fructose corn syrup. There’s not much information on its health effects, but I wouldn’t trust the stuff. Why there needs to be multiple forms of sugar in bread, I’m not sure.

Soybean oil: Please see above.

Dough conditioners: Dough conditioners make it faster and cheaper for companies to make bread. Monoglycerides and diglycerides may contain trans fat but legally don’t have to label it. I don’t think I need to argue that trans fat is bad for human health.

According to a lot of misinformed people, this stuff is one of the healthiest foods out there. The average whole wheat item from the grocery store is chock full of processed ingredients. If you’re gonna eat bread, at least buy or make the real stuff.

4. Nutrigrain bars

That’s a lot of ingredients for one bar, especially a bar that arguably doesn’t even taste good (I mean who actually likes this stuff?). Soy and canola, per the usual for processed food. There are a few new items yet to be discussed:

Carrageenan: This additive causes intestinal inflammation in the following studies:

Exposure to common food additive carrageenan leads to reduced sulfatase activity and increase in sulfated glycosaminoglycans in human epithelial cells

Prolongation of carrageenan-induced inflammation in human colonic epithelial cells by activation of an NFκB-BCL10 loop.

Guar Gum: not much available on this but some link it to gastrointestinal distress.

Artificial food dye: is linked to hyperactivity in children:

Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for

What’s the point in eating it?

5. Alternative milks

Alternative milks are something even those natural minded tend to drink. Will it kill you? Certainly not but it does have more emulsifiers and preservatives than I’m comfortable with. It also has the ubiquitous natural flavors. All in all, it doesn’t compare to some of the crap on this list but it needs to be brought to light because of its view as a healthy drink. Malk milk does not use artificial ingredients and there may be others but this is the only brand I’m familiar with without artificial preservatives.

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By |2017-12-19T17:12:30+00:00May 17th, 2017|Nourish|2 Comments

Why the Natural Health movement isn’t so natural

Nothing natural about veganismNatural living and natural health are very important to me.

However, in many of my natural health groups I often find that I have opposite viewpoints to a large faction of the group on a few key aspects. One is the high conspiracy woo factor, but that’s for another time and place. The second is something that isn’t natural at all but for some reason is toted as THE thing to do when going natural.

The movement is largely dominated by plant based diets

We are biologically omnivores, there’s nothing natural about veganism.

Hear me out.

First, I’d like to say that I respect those who choose to live a plant based diet on ethical grounds. While I don’t think it’s necessary because there are options of exclusively eating meat raised on local farms that you self procure – that’s another story for another article. But even if it’s an ethical decision with merits, it’s not natural.

Natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind (Thank you Merriam-Webster)

The human race is an omnivorous species. That is a biological fact. We are born with biological needs from animals.

Hence, the idea that we can live as vegans is a modern concept created by humankind.

The entire history of the human species has evolved eating plant and animal products. Eating meat makes us human, it’s how we’ve evolved into the advanced creatures we are today. According to the journal Nature, we were able to evolve larger brains because we ate meat. No traditional culture has ever subsisted on a purely vegan diet.

There’s nothing natural about many vegan foods (I understand not every vegan eats these foods) and there’s nothing natural about plant based agriculture.

Vegan diets often replace meat and dairy with artificial substitutes. The creation of meat free dairy free foods usually requires thickeners, stabilizers, and highly processed additives. There’s nothing natural about fake foods such as most veggie burger and butter substitute brands.

On top of that, cereal grains and soy are often a major component of the diet.  Not only are they not optimal for human health, they aren’t farmed naturally. Grains and soy are mono crops that have depleted soil across the planet through mass farming techniques. Alternatively, sustainable agriculture through grass grazing animals helps nourish soil, a system that is used in most traditional cultures. Do you have your own garden? Do you use manure or buy compost with manure already in it? Most likely. Why? Because it helps the soil! Soil is naturally supposed to have animal byproduct, which comes from naturally grazing animals.

If you’re living a natural lifestyle it absolutely does not mean that you need to or should be a vegan. It does mean that you shouldn’t eat meat or animal products that come from animals treated unethically and not raised on a proper pasture eating their natural food.


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By |2017-08-10T23:27:33+00:00June 23rd, 2017|Nourish|2 Comments

4 sources for ethical meat

sources for ethical meatIn most places in America it isn’t difficult to procure ethical meat. My family lives in the Denver metro area… which lucky for us is full of choices. Some of the meat we’ve purchased over the last few years include a ¼ cow, ½ hogs, full chickens, lamb meat by the pound and large orders of grass fed ground beef. All the animals we source come from small farms implementing sustainable practices. Our animals are treated well and live good lives.

There are numerous ways to access sustainable meat but it varies by where you live:

1. Purchase by the animal from local farms

This is the best option, however it requires a large investment up front and freezer space, so this option isn’t for everyone.

Local farms often sell animals whole or by the ¼ or ½. This is the most economic option because you will get the best price per pound. Price is often by hanging weight, which is the animal weight before being butchered. Make sure to understand how the individual farmer prices their meat, as it does vary.

My recommendation for finding farms:


This site lists farms in the United States and their various products. You can search by location and by the specific item you are looking for. Not only can they help source meat but eggs, dairy, honey, fruit and vegetable products! In addition, their site covers grass fed basics, reasons to choose healthier animals, environmental benefits, benefits for farmers and more.

Not everyone has 3 freezers and can store large quantities of meat. So that’s the major downfall of this method.

2. Farmer’s markets

This isn’t available to everyone but some cities have great farmers markets where you can purchase ethical meat. The main caveat is that this option is usually more expensive. When you buy by the pound it tends to be that way. I would visit all your local markets and see what you can find. I often buy chicken meat from farmer’s markets because chicken is cheaper in general so I find it more affordable. I’ve also splurged on some goat meat and wild caught salmon! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just because it’s at a farmers market doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sustainable. I wouldn’t fret over the “organic” label, small farms often can’t afford to get certified but they still might be following organic practices. Again, just ask questions.

3) Delivery Services

This is typically the most expensive option but the most convenient. Various farms sell their meat online and ship regionally or nationally. I’ve never found an economical option that compares to the prices we get from local farms, which is why we have never used this option.

Eat Wild has a list of farms that ship sustainable meat.

Some other options include:

U.S. Wellness Meats

Butcher Box

And many many more!

4) Grocery Store

This is my least favorite option as it’s tough to know the source. Usually if they sell to a grocery store they are mass producing which means it’s less likely to be as sustainable as a local farm. This isn’t a guarantee as some grocery stores will sell from local farms, it’s just more likely. That being said, you can almost always find grass fed ground beef, wild caught fish and organic chicken. Some of the other meats may be more difficult.

Sometimes I buy mussels from the standard grocery store. After doing some research, I think it’s OK to buy oysters and mussels that come from farms instead of being wild caught. For more on why I came to that conclusion, read Mark Sisson’s article, Farmed Seafood: What’s Safe and Nutritious. Basically the gist for these particular animals that are farmed live similar lives to the wild caught animals and don’t need to be fed soy or corn as these animals fend for themselves.

Well that’s it folks. I’m sure there are other sources out there but these are the most common.

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By |2017-08-10T23:29:35+00:00June 19th, 2017|Nourish|1 Comment

Misconceptions about the paleo diet

paleo misconceptions

I have never read an article criticizing the paleo diet where the author actually understood what the diet is. They always list what they think the paleo diet is – and get it grossly wrong or provide common misconceptions.

It is frustrating to say the least.

The diet is about nutrient density and eating real foods that your body understands. It’s not about replicating the diet of the caveman, it’s about utilizing ancestral wisdom to guide and influence our decisions. It’s not a one size fits all diet, it’s not meat heavy (at least it shouldn’t be), and there are many shades of paleo.

It mainly involves eating meat

This is the most common misconception and the one I hear the most. Does the paleo diet include high quality, ethically treated animals foraging on natural food? Yes, it does. Is that all we eat? Nowhere close.

In its essence, the paleo diet isn’t a high meat diet, it’s a high veggie diet. Or at least it’s supposed to be.

Sure, many people eat too much meat, but that doesn’t describe the diet as a whole.

But isn’t red meat bad for you…

Yes, red meat from cows shoved full of antibiotics and hormones, put unnaturally into small spaces, and fed processed food their bodies don’t understand is bad for you. When you see a study touting the dangers of red meat it almost universally does not account for the difference between a pasture raised animal ruminating on a natural diet and the sad state of the meat that comes from factory farms.

It’s a fad diet

Eating whole real food that our bodies understand is not a fad diet. Most people that I know who choose to eat a diet that resembles the paleo diet began due to health issues. Eating real food heals, plain and simple, and that’s no fad. The paleo diet focuses on optimal human nutrition through eating foods that are nutrient dense.

It’s unhealthy because cutting out entire food groups is unhealthy

Paleo asian dishHumans have evolved for hundreds of thousands of years yet only in recent history introduced grains and even more recently introduced many of the processed foods you see today. Consequently, there is no biological basis for needing these foods.

Most people think this because of its place on the food pyramid, which was largely the result of heavy lobbying many years ago and not based on any legitimate science. Big Agriculture has a lot of clout in government dietary recommendations; a sad truth, unfortunately. For more information on this topic, check out Denise Minger’s book, Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health

There are no essential micronutrients, amino acids, or fatty acids found only in grains, dairy, or legumes. However, these do exist in animal products. Yes, you can live a full life as a vegan but that doesn’t change the fact that plant based diets lack essential nutrients such as Vitamin B12 that cannot be found in plant products. There are health consequences to choosing to go against biology. Choosing a plant based diet for ethical reasons is one thing, but choosing it for health reasons is another. Why I don’t think a vegan diet is natural.

A post from Chris Kresser, Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan diets.

It’s one thing – you can eat this and can’t eat that

Among paleolithic people, no one group ate the same diet. Diets varied based on availability. No one is claiming to eat an exact diet.

Most of this misconception comes from older books and blogs on the paleo diet. Today, the paleo diet is largely seen as a template. You eat foods based on an ancestral perspective but you’re not tied down rigidly to those principles. I eat bananas, yet I don’t believe there are any natural occurring banana trees in the continental United States. I eat white rice. Oooh it’s a grain, it’s not paleo, I’m a cheat, a lie! Organic white rice is generally clean, not inflammatory like many other grains, and it is a real food without processed additives. My body handles it well, it doesn’t make me sick, and I have no problem occasionally adding it into my eating template.

The paleo diet, lifestyle, template – whatever you want to call it, is not rigid. Its principles are flexible and are based on individual biological needs. Everyone has their own path to optimal health.

The quality of the foods we’re eating and their nutrient density is by far the the most important factor.

The paleo diet is a diet

Yes, I often call it a diet, because that’s how people understand it. But it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

The paleo diet is literally trying to replicate the caveman diet

That would be impossible. The plants and animals we see today aren’t the plants and animals of the past. The tomato of today did not exist 10,000 years ago. Cavemen weren’t eating cows.

We get it.

It’s not about complete replication, it’s simply about eating foods our bodies can recognize, are nutrient dense and aren’t inflammatory or otherwise harmful to our health (I’m talking to you, white frosting filled donuts of my past).

I, and most of my paleo peers, enjoy modern life. I prefer not cooking my food over a fire and I enjoy flying to exotic destinations on a plane.

I’m perfectly content with the benefits of modern living.

But with modern living comes modern disease. And this is what the paleo lifestyle is about… minimizing the effect of everyday burdens on our bodies.

Didn’t cavemen only live to 30 years old

Yes and no. Was that their average lifespan, yes. Is it fair to compare? No.

These statistics factor in infant mortality and death rates were extremely high under the age of 5. Without modern advances in medicine, minor infections and diseases often had disastrous results. In addition, shelter, weather, predators, etc. played a role.

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By |2017-10-10T22:32:20+00:00June 12th, 2017|Nourish|2 Comments

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