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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Make The Perfect Sweet Potato

I love sweet potatoes and wanted to make them just like chop house or longhorn's but without all the sugar...these are so easy and so good! I have a lot of people ask me how to bake here it is....

Queen B's Sweet Potato
Large organic sweet potato ( potatoes are on the dirty dozen and can have 37 different pesticides)
Organic butter

Preheat oven to 400. Line foil on the bottom rack of your oven to allow potatoes to drip. Wash the potatoes and place them directly on the top rack of the oven.  Bake for at least 1 hour.  Test them with a fork if needed. A fork should stick in them like they do butter and they skin will pull away from the potato. Add butter, sprinkle with truvia and cinnamon. YUMMY and HEALTHY!!

foil on the bottom rack (yes my oven is dirty, it gets lots of action)

The potatoes are place directly on the rack above the one with foil

Finished product..with truvia, cinnamon, and butter

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What is gluten and is it a problem???

What is gluten, and why is it a problem? Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains such as barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and sometimes oats (because wheat and oat fields are often rotated).  The prefix of the term "gluten" gives away its definition. Think of gluten as a glue-like substance that gives wheat and other products their chewy structure.
Although the science is much more complex than the definition, gluten can be defined, in lay terms, as the sticky protein substance in wheat.

So what is up with this big "Gluten Free" craze and all the gluten free products everywhere.

First off..there are a group of people that their bodies can not digest gluten.  It is a disease called Celiac Disease.  Approximately 1 percent of the population suffers Celiac Disease, a condition that triggers diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating when gluten is consumed.  Symptoms of Celiac Disease include frequent diarrhea, constipation, boating, unintended weight loss, anemia, unexplained fatigue, headaches, mouth ulcers, bone or joint pain and, in children, a failure to grow.
This immune disorder is diagnosed through a blood test and intestinal biopsy.  It is believed that ssymptoms of gluten sensitivity can include a wide range of other health issues, such as arthritis, acne, eczema, lupus, migraines, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowl, restless leg syndrome, depression, autism, dermatitis herpetiformis, etc. 
Gluten is extremely difficult to digest, and when an intolerance to it develops due to over-consumption or heredity, it irritates the lining of the intestinal walls, destroying the cilia that absorb nutrients, and causing inflammation and irritation of the bowels. Scientist believe that it is very under diagnosed and more of the population has it unknowingly.

Should I Go Gluten Free???
More and more groceries and health food stores stock gluten-free products. That’s good news for people with celiac disease, who for health reasons should not eat wheat with gluten.
Yet, most of the people who reach for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat. "The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier." according to Web MD.
In fact, it isn't healthier food.  For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for others, unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber and will have added ingredients like sugar....

Some people may be sensitive to gluten but don’t have outright celiac disease. These people may feel better on a diet with less gluten.

Personally, I don't go gluten free. I don't have a problem with wheat or whole grain digestion at all. Actually, it helps my digestion (if ya know what I mean :D ). 

Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. grain products.

Some people think that gluten free products will help you lose weight.  There is no evidence currently that supports that. If you do lose weight from going gluten free, it is most likely because in order to go gluten free, you are eliminating starches and carbs.  Some people have gained weight going gluten free. Huh? Yes! If you take something know the make it taste right you have to add stuff back in. They may contain additives and look at the sugar grams.  Gluten free foods are not very tasty so some add lots of sugar to improve the taste and texture.

If you honestly think that you have a gluten problem, check with your doctor and get tested.  Otherwise, personally, I see no advantages of going gluten free.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If Life Gives You Lemons, You just got a healthy treat :D..Top Reasons to Love Your Lemons!

I love Lemons! They help add flavor and they have amazing health benefits!!  Pre-package, pasteurized, bottled up lemon juice does not have benefits like the whole lemon squeezed fresh. 
The lemons must be fresh--the heavier the better when choosing them at the grocery store. At about 50 cents each, lemons are an affordable health remedy worth trying. Known for their fresh, clean taste and antiseptic qualities, lemons just may be the natural answer to some of your health concerns.
Top 10 Reasons to Love Life's Lemons
  1. Weight Loss: you knew I was going to say this, huh....It’s amazing how a simple fruit like a lemon can be so effective in helping the body regulate its metabolism and sugar absorption,  that helps you lose extra weight. The secret lies in the “acidity” content in a lemon. Lemons are rich in citric acid, so when you drink a glass of lemon juice in plain warm water first thing in the morning, you put healthy natural digestive aid into your stomach. The citric acid, from lemons, end up interacting with the other acids and enzymes in your digestive tract which results in a healthy and problem free digestion. Same concept as my apple cider vinegar posting.  It is also a natural diuretic.
  2. Digestion:Lemons can also relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, bloating, gas and cramping. Drinking lemon water regularly will aid in the cleansing of the bowels, which helps eliminate constipation and diarrhea. A teaspoon of lemon juice in half a glass of water helps relieve heartburn.
  3. Stimulates the Liver: lemon water dissolves uric acid and other poisons in the liver.
  4. Helps Control High Blood Pressure:Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, due to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation. It also reduces mental stress and depression.
  5. Skin Care: Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can help to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your skin's glow, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin. It can also fade age spots!!! See below for homemade lemon age spot remover :D
  6. Fever and Flu Symptoms: Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.
  7. Sore Throat: Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.
  8. Antioxidant and Cancer Prevention:
    Lemons like oranges contain a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetinand naringenin are flavonoid glycosides commonly found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune system booster. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in the cells in-vitro studies.
  9. Fatigue: A small amount of lemon juice will quench thirst more effectively than many times the amount of water and help fight fatigue.
  10. Acne: Lemon contains citric acid, which can be effective in treating acne. The vitamin C found in citrus fruits is vital for that healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. 
    Mix one part of freshly squeezed lemon juice with an equal part of rose or honey water. Put the mixture on affected areas for at least half an hour. Wash it afterwards with water. This application should be repeated twice daily, ideally in the morning and the evening.
Lemons have many other uses as well! Clean with lemon oil, put it on canker sores, corns and calluses. Add honey and lemon oil to your bath water to treat eczema. Lemon water helps with arthritis pain and inflammation.

Lemon Age Spot Fading Scrub:Cut a lemon in half and put some sugar on it. Put it on your face and scrub away. Lemon helps with getting rid of age spots, light blemish scar coloring.  You could also put some lemon juice onto a cotton ball along with sugar and that should work fine too.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Mini Pizza's...A quick and healthy lunch idea!!

    These Pizzas are Quick and Healthy and your topping options and creations are endless!!

    Mini Pizzas
    pizza cheese
    organic no added sugar pizza sauce
    Toppings of your choice

    toppings here for one pizza are:
    organic portabella mushrooms
    onions and green peppers chopped
    nitrate free pepperoni

    Toppings for the other pizza here a( Margherita pizza) are:
    fresh basil
    heirloom tomatoes

    Directions: thaw English Muffins...Ezekiel Muffins come in the freezer section only.  They have these at Ingles.  I thaw them in the microwave on defrost for a couple of minutes.  Split the muffins in half. Place on baking sheet. Add sauce, cheese, the toppings. I sauted my mushroom,onions, and peppers before putting them on my pizzas.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. ENJOY!!

    My ingredients
    Peppers, onions,mushrroms in olive oil

    English Muffins Halfed
    Add your sauce
    Cheese (organic valley if you can find it is good)
    Add toppings..this is my version of combination pizza
    This one is tomato and basil...which is Margherita pizza
    Bake at 350 for 8 min...Yumm!!!


    Here is a fun fact...Margherita pizza is named after a appropriate that I love it..It has nothing to do with the drink margarita from Mexico.  This is an Italian story...It's history dates back to1889.  The Queen summoned the Chef Raffaele Esposito from his pizzeria to the royal palace, ordered him to bake a selection of pizzas for her pleasure. To honor the Queen, Raffaele decided to make a very special pizza just for her. He baked a pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese and fresh basil (to represent the colors of the Italian flag: red, white and green) and called it 'Pizza Margherita'...and so..this Queen B likes it too :D

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Homemade Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas!!

    I love gifts that are hand made and unique.  I am going to start posting some holiday gifts that are fun and healthy! Today, I am going to show you a quick and easy idea!

    Homemade Hand or Body Sugar Scrub

    Homemade Hand or Body Scrub
    Raw Pure Cane Sugar
    Carrier Oil Of Your Choice ( Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Apricot seed oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Light Olive oil)
    Essential Oil of Your Choice (Patchouli, orange, tangerine, lavender, eucalyptus, ect)
    Mason Jars or glass containers

    This is the recipe I used for mine..I named it "Peaceful" because the combination of the oils I used are supposed to give you a feeling of peace and relieve anxiety.

    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup or more of grapeseed oil
    5 drops of orange or tangerine essential oil
    2 drops of patchouli essential oil
    3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
    Mix all ingredients in a mason jar and made need to add more oil based on the consistency you would like. The sugar does absorb some of the oil.

    Tips: Regular white sugar is not good, it is not course enough.  You can find most of the carrier oils at the grocery store where the oil is. I chose grapeseed oil because I already had it and it smells good with the combo of oils I am using.  Essential Oils are sold at most health food stores. I got these at Mac's Medicine Mart locally on East Center Street in Kingsport.  For some good combinations of oils together, look at the booklets they have where the oil is sold.  They have lots of great tips in them. 

    More homemade healthy holiday gifts to come!!!

    My ingredients

    Pure cane sugar..I used organic

    Adding grapeseed oil

    Stir it to get the right consistency for you

    Add essential oil of choice

    Mix well

    This will have a cute little bow before it is given away!!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Hello Pumpkin Seeds!!....Good-bye Cute Halloween Pumpkin

    Pumpkin seeds are a very healthy and delicious snack. If you have a Halloween pumpkin, don't throw it out! Make something healthy!!

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
    This recipe is for the seeds from one large pumpkin.
    drizzle of olive oil
    sprinkled sea salt, cumin, garlic salt

    Clean the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin.  Pat to dry and let air dry for 30 minutes. Place on a pan sprayed with eat clean cooking spray.  Drizzle with olive and sprinkle with sea salt, cumin and garlic salt.  Stir around and make sure to try to make a single layer. Bake at 275 for about 30 min, stirring them around half way through.

    What is in for me????." Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, essential minerals, and compounds called "phytosterols."  Phytosterols reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood. WHF also states that they boost the immune system and lower cancer risks.


    Pumpkin seeds are loaded with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and other key nutrients that all have anti inflammatory benefits. This unique blend of healthy nutrients works together to provide a strong anti inflammatory response to the body. 

    Cholesterol lowering

    Phytosterols make up the cell membranes of plants. They can aid and assist cholesterol in the body by taking some of the work load ordinarily performed by cholesterol. So pumpkin seed oil benefits the body greatly by helping to reduce the body’s overall need for cholesterol.


    Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of L-tryptophan. A lot of people supplement with L-tryptophan because it generally promotes rest and relaxation. Apart from being a building block to serotonin, it’s also a building block to melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. When a person doesn’t have enough serotonin and melatonin, they can very easily begin to feel restless and anxious. Depression can quickly follow as well as fatigue and a number of other unpleasant conditions. Pumpkin seed oil benefits the body by giving it the building blocks to make more complex chemicals and help a person stay motivated, awake, and happy.

    Rich source of Minerals, Protein, and Mono-saturated Fats

    In addition to their above-listed unique health benefits, pumpkin seeds also provide a wide range of traditional nutrients. They are a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein, and zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.

    Prostate Health

    I don't have one of these, ha ha, but this really is worth noting for the men...It has been shown that pumpkin seed benefits and positively influences androgenic hormones and have even been suspected of inhibiting androgen receptors that can cause cancerous prostate cells to multiply. So pumpkin seed oil has numerous suspected benefits to persons suffering from prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. These findings haven’t been acknowledged in popular medicine, but more and more, studies are beginning to show the positive benefits of pumpkin seed oil on prostate health.

    Bye Bye cutie pumpkin

    Inside the pumpkin...gross

    scoop it out with a metal spoon..I broke this plastic one

    rinse and pick out pumpkin pulp

    Spread on paper towel to dry

    Drizzle with oil and then sprinkle with spices and salt

    Stir it all up

    Bake it in the over

    Enjoy and crunchy, yummy, healthy snack!!

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    My coupon round up for the week

    They do sometimes have coupons for the healthy stuff!!
    Here are some of the ones that I printed this week...

    Go to to print these coupons that can be used at any store, these are manufacturer's coupons :D

    Some other good healthy coupon sites that I like to use are:


    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Apple Cider Vinegar apple a day :D

    I'm sure you have heard of the apple cider vinegar diet. Well, apple cider vinegar really has a lot of benefits besides weight loss. I have been taking a 3 tsp in an 8oz glass of water before meals 3 times daily.  So, I am going to tell you what it is all about..

    Apple Cider Vinegar has been highly regarded throughout history. In 400 B.C. the great Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, used it for its amazing health qualities.

    Not all Apple Cider Vinegar is Created Equal
    First of all, not all vinegar is created equal..pretty much the problem with most foods.  You have to get unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized  organic apple cider vinegar to reap the benefits...just plain old vinegar won't do it.  Also, vinegar pills..not going to do it..The main reason is due to the "mother".
    This brown stuff at the bottom..that's the "mother"

    Many commercial apple cider vinegars have been pasteurized, filtered, refined or distilled in order to make the product look good, and thereby more appealing to the general public.
    Unfortunately this extra processing destroys much of the healthy goodness and thus many of the apple cider benefits that were in the product in the first place.
    The best type of apple cider vinegar to use is one made from cold pressed, organically grown whole apples, in which no chemicals or preservatives have been added, which contains the "mother of vinegar", and is not pasteurized. The "mother of vinegar" is a natural gelatinous substance formed during the last fermentation step. This is the part with the most health benefits.  The mother contains the enzymes and minerals. Remember that apples are one of the highest fruits in pesticides, so buying organic apple products is a must.

    Apple cider vinegar should be mixed with water, tea, or juice.  It can be used is salad dressings and other recipes.  For the best health benefits mix 3tsp-2tbsp in to 8 ounces of water. Undiluted it can erode tooth enamel and burn your mouth and throat due to it's acidic ph levels of 5-7.

    What's in it?
    Scientists have measured ninety different substances in apple cider vinegar such as thirteen types of carbolic acids, four aldehydes, twenty ketones, eighteen types of alcohols, eight ethyl acetates etc.

    It also contains important minerals, trace elements and vitamins (as listed underneath) as well acetic acid, propionic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids as well as roughage in the form of potash and apple pectin.

    Minerals and trace elements

    Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Chlorine, Sodium, Sulfur, Copper, Iron, Silicon, Fluorine.


    Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Provitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin D

    Health Benefits

    Weight Loss

    While it is not known why, many people claim that Apple Cider Vinegar promotes weight loss. Some theories suggest that ACV helps to speed up the metabolism, while others suggest that it burns calories. A number of nutritionists also believe that combining Vitamin B6 and Lecithin with Apple Cider Vinegar is highly effective for weight loss. A suggested remedy is to mix 2 teaspoons of ACV mixed with a glass of water and drink this before every meal or sip it slowly throughout the day

    Bad Breath

    Due to its acidic properties, Apple Cider Vinegar makes a wonderful remedy for bad breath or halitosis. Simply add 1/2 tablespoon of ACV into a cup of water and gargle the mixture in your mouth for 10 seconds at a time until the cup is empty.  

    Skin Problems and Infections


    Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural cure for acne.

    Dilute the Apple Cider Vinegar in water by one part of vinegar and 3 to 4 parts of water.    
  1. Apply the solution directly to your skin with clean cotton, and leave it there for about ten minutes.

  2. After ten minutes, rinse off the vinegar.    

  3. Repeat this three times a day. For severe cases of acne, the solution can be used overnight without rinsing.

  4. For more severe acne, the water ratio can also be reduced to 2 or 3 parts per one part of vinegar, but this stronger solution should not be left on overnight.

    Age Spots

    Apple Cider Vinegar contains sulfur that fights the effects of aging, which makes it suitable for treating age spots.   


    Many women have found that Apple Cider Vinegar can help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

    Stomach Problems

    Take orally mix 3 tsp with 8 oz water.


    Apple Cider Vinegar is frequently used as a natural cure for constipation.


    There are various causes for diarrhea, and although it should not be left untreated, it is often a natural way for the body to rid itself of harmful compounds and ingested materials. Apple Cider Vinegar is a fantastic natural remedy for diarrhea since the high pectin concentration acts as a protective coating which soothes the irritated lining of the colon. A suggestion is to add 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to a large glass of water, and drink this 3 times daily while the symptoms persist.

    Major Illnesses


    Apple Cider Vinegar may help to control high blood sugar levels, which is why it is often used as a natural treatment for Diabetes.  


    Lactic acid is released in the body during exercise as well as periods of stress, and this can lead to fatigue, which in turn can be combated by the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar. The enzymes, as well as the potassium contained in apple cider vinegar can also be of great help in the quest for more energy and vitality.

    Taken orally often helps relieve joint pain and stiffness.

    This is an exert from Tosca Reno's eat clean blogMany of us in North America are under the false belief that we have too much stomach acid and pop Tums and other acid reducing supplements. The truth is most of us DO NOT have enough stomach acid and this is where so much tummy trouble begins including carrying extra inches around your waist.


    I take prevacid, as well as my children do, every day for acid reflux.  I started taking Bragg's apple cider vinegar and stopped the prevacid this weekend on myself to see if I can cure it naturally.
    The truth tastes bitter, but it's not that bad..I just chug it.  I will keep you updated if it relieves my heartburn and maybe I will lose a couple of pounds as a bonus :D

    Click here for Bragg's website and  here for a good website with some more information, tips, and usage.
    I bought mine at Kroger's and I'm sure it's available a lot of other places locally. If you add agave, honer, or stevia to the mixture of vinegar and water, it takes the bitterness edge off :D

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    If you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin...

    Your skin is the largest organ in the body.  I often talk about eating clean, and not eating chemicals and toxins, but it can also enter your body by what you slather on it. Your skin absorbs 60% of what you put on it. If you wouldn't eat it, why would you put it all over your skin.  Now, by that, I don't mean..Would it taste good? I mean, it wouldn't cause you harm to eat it :D

    One of the first strategies you can use to improve your skin health is to make sure you are getting enough high quality omega-3 fats.

    Your skin has three jobs. It protects, produces, and absorbs.  Your skin grows from the inside out, so your overall nutritional levels really matter. It is not only the largest organ, it is the thinnest with only 1/10th of an inch separates you from all sorts of toxins. Your skin is highly permeable, allowing what you apply to your skin access to your bloodstream (and thereby to the rest of your body)… That said however, caring for your skin is not just an inside job -- it's an outside job too.

    Studies show that one-third of all personal care products contain at lease one ingredient related to cancer. That's nice.  Why do they do that ? Because, the chemicals are cheap, readily available and cause better absorption of the products in to your skin, nice....
    If you know me, you know I love products and make up.  I have really started looking in those bottles of stuff I slather all over me.  When I did the diet at Dr. Rogers office, the papers said not to use lotions with oil in them and other ingredients, that it would actually interfere with your weight loss. Hmmmm......I had never thought about the oil in my products actually causing problems with my weight, but that made me start to look at this topic.  Not only do these things cause weight gain, they cause hormone imbalances, cancer, asthma, immune system issues and the list goes on and on.  We all wonder why we have so many health problems on the rise when we are eating, breathing, bathing, brushing, and slathering on chemical toxins. This goes for anything you put on your body..shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, lotion, make up.  The governing bodies say "a little bit" is not going to hurt you. How much of  " a little bit" do you use everyday. I use all of these items everyday.
    Organic doesn't mean a thing, by the way.. You may assume that products with the word "organic" on them are safe to use, but they may still contain synthetic chemicals.
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certain requirements for an "organic" label. In order for a food to be labeled "100% Organic" it must contain only organically produced ingredients. To be simply "organic" it must consist of 95 percent organically produced ingredients; and to be labeled "containing organic ingredients" it must have 70 to 95 percent organically produced ingredients. The FDA has no such requirements when it comes to skin care products..

    Here is a list of the bad boys to avoid  in your skin care items:

  5. Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum -- Petroleum products that coat the skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins, which in turn accumulate and can lead to dermatological issues. Slows cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging. Suspected cause of cancer. Disruptive of hormonal activity. By the way, when there's an oil spill in the ocean, don't they rush to clean it up -- fast? Why put that stuff on your skin?

  6. Parabens -- Widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry (including moisturizers). An estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products contain parabens. Studies implicate their connection with cancer. They have hormone-disrupting qualities -- mimicking estrogen -- and interfere with the body's endocrine system.

  7. Phenol carbolic acid-- Found in many lotions and skin creams. Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death from respiratory failure.

  8. Propylene glycol -- Used as a moisturizer in cosmetics and as a carrier in fragrance oils. Shown to cause dermatitis, kidney or liver abnormalities, and may inhibit skin cell growth or cause skin irritation.

  9. Acrylamide-- Found in many hand and face creams. Linked to mammary tumors in lab research.

  10. Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)-- Found in car washes, engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners... and in over 90% of personal care products! SLS breaks down the skin's moisture barrier, easily penetrates the skin, and allows other chemicals to easily penetrate. Combined with other chemicals, SLS becomes a "nitrosamine", a potent class of carcinogen. It can also cause hair loss. SLES is sometimes disguised with the labeling "comes from coconut" or "coconut-derived".

  11. Toluene -- Poison! Danger! Harmful or fatal if swallowed! Harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) contains toluene. Other names may include benzoic and benzyl.

  12. Dioxane-- Found in compounds known as PEG, Polysorbates, Laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Common in a wide range of personal care products. The compounds are usually contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane, easily absorbed through the skin.

    Dioxane's carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965 and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages and liver are the most vulnerable. Dioxane is easily removed during the manufacturing process by "vacuum stripping". Warning: It is a synthetic derivative of coconut. Watch for hidden language on labels, such as "comes from coconut".

  13. Many companies are making a change to their formulas. here for the complete list of
    300 companies that have joined a group called Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that pledge to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from their products. These companies include Burt's Bees, Kiss My Face and Avalon Natural Products.
    I personally use YES to carrots and Tom's of Maine for several different products recommended by my dermatologist.

    For Christmas gifts, I plan on making homemade, healthy items, I have a recipe for some scrubs and lotions and I will post them after I make them :D