Filed under: Going Natural
Apps to Help You Live More Naturally

smiling woman stretching on mat in the gym

“Keys? Check! Wallet? Check! Smartphone? Of course!”

For may of us, smartphones are our lifelines. We use them as MP3 players, game devices, social networking portals, and a rolodex. But sometimes the chime alerting us about another notification can feel a bit jarring. To pull back, and ensure our gadgets are working for our needs, try adding some apps that inspire healthy living and even reduce stress!

Here are a few we’re big fans of:

Stress Check by AIIR Consulting, LLC has you take a short assessment developed by clinical psychologists to gauge your current level of stress. You end the assessment by receiving a score, and based on your questions the app helps you identify where your stress is coming from (control, situational, interpersonal or physiological). Each time you take the assessment to measure your stress level, your “stress score” will be recorded within the app so you can see how you’re managing your stress levels over time. The free app is available for iOS devices.

Pocket Yoga by Rainfrog, LLC has consistently been rated one of the best yoga apps, and we can see why! Not only is the idea of a yoga app great for busy yogis who want to get in practice every day, but Pocket Yoga offers 27 practices to choose from at varying levels of intensity. Plus, the user experience really intuitive. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices and costs $2.99.

Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson guides you through a relaxing meditation to help you fall asleep. Looking at the reviews online, this app has even helped long suffering insomniacs get some shut eye. Available for $2.99 for Android and iOS devices.

WellnessFX lets you track your personal health goals and mark them as completed when you’ve accomplished them. Think of it like a digital health to-do list that you can take everywhere with you! This app is free and available for iOS devices. (The app developers are working on an Android version to launch in the near future).

OM Meditation: Mantra Chanting by Panagola guides you through various meditations using different mantras. An in-app timer allows you to completely let-go and enjoy meditation without interruption until the session is complete. This free app is available for Android devices.

True Food by True Food Network is an app you’ll want to open every time you visit the grocery store. The app will help you identify and avoid GMO foods using current updates from the Center for Food Safety. Find non-GMO brands, and if there is a brand you frequently buy that’s not on the app, simply email the company and they’ll work on adding it in their next update. This free app is available for iOS.

We love when our technology works to make us healthier and happier!

Tell us, what are your favorite health and natural-living apps? 

Get Glowing with a DIY Superfoods Facial

superfoods facial 1

At-home facials are one of the oldest beauty treatments in the book. Not only do they cleanse, clarify, moisturize, and help you de-stress, but they are inexpensive and easy to customize to your own preferences and needs.

This particular DIY superfoods facial introduces the use of those healthy superfoods we hear so much about. With this DIY mask you can bring a fresh update to your beauty regimen. Superfoods are all the rage these days, as they pack a lot of nutrients into a little volume. For this same reason, they are beneficial from the outside-in, too. They are powerhouses when it comes to nutrient content, but also gentle and completely natural which makes them especially great for environmentally damaged or sensitive skin.

Just like your favorite honest products, this recipe uses completely natural and plant based ingredients. Check out some of the awesome benefits of each below:

  • Avocado= Rich in vitamins A and C, and fatty acids. These soften and hydrate dry patches, and increase collagen production to reduce wrinkles.

  • Pumpkin= Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, plus zinc. These  hydrate and smooth skin, reducing damage caused by free radicals.

  • Raw honey= Naturally antibacterial, warding off and healing blemishes.

  • Paprika= Rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, which stimulates circulation and helps open pores for effective moisturization.

superfoods facial 3

Materials:

  • ⅛ cup organic pumpkin

  • ⅛ cup organic avocado

  • 1 tsp raw honey

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • medium mixing bowl

  • fork

superfoods facial 2

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mash with a fork or whisk. Stir until blended throughout.

  2. Wash face with warm water and pat dry.

  3. Use a small sample of the mixture to perform a skin patch test on your hand to make sure your skin will not have an adverse reaction. superfoods facial 5

  4. Smooth mask over face (avoiding the eyes) and leave on for 15 minutes. Your face will feel slightly tingly due to the paprika.

  5. Rinse off mask and wipe face clean with a damp washcloth or an Honest Baby Wipe. You can also apply a dab of Honest Face & Body Lotion to help seal in moisture. Enjoy!

superfoods facial 4

What are your favorite DIY beauty treatments? Share in the comments below!

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Make the Swap to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products (+ Giveaway!)

cleaning makeover 1

For the longest time, many of us used typical household cleaning products without thinking twice about what nasty chemicals we might be adding to our indoor air. (Perhaps a hint was how many of us had to hold our breath when cleaning!) Turns out, most household cleaning products are full of irritants that you don’t want to breathe or get on your skin.

Whether you love cleaning or not, it’s something we all to do keep our homes looking nice and feeling comfortable and we want to know we’re making our environment safer and cleaner. But cleaning with toxic chemicals actually adds pollutants to our home, so perhaps we’re eliminating bacteria but the trade-off is adding irritants and carcinogens to our environment. With non-toxic cleaning products you can keep your surfaces and air clean and safe!

Honest is continuously expanding its line of cleaning products. For those of us who enjoy cleaning (or at least enjoy lounging in a clean house when we’re done!), we’ve come up with some non-toxic DIY solutions, too.

But first, let’s break down some of the harmful ingredients in the most popular cleaners:

The nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products include fragrances (serious toxins!), VOCs, dyes, formaldehyde, and many more substances that are harmful to humans and the environment. Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned an independent study of 20 popular cleaning products from five companies. The analysis shows there were harmful chemicals in many of these products, and sometimes the manufacturer didn’t even list those chemicals on the product (like allergens in fragrance-free products). Check out what else is in some popular cleaning products:

Popular glass cleaners may contain:

2-Hexoxyethanol- A cleaning agent link to central nervous system depression and is an upper respiratory irritant.

Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate- A wetting agent that is hazardous to the environment and an irritant to skin and eyes.

2-Butoxyethanol- Confirmed animal carcinogen. Irritant for human’s eyes, skin, and lungs.

Popular all-purpose sprays may contain:

Phthalates – Even at very low doses, phthalates can cause hormone disruption and reproductive harm including birth defects.

Toluene – Toluene exposure has been linked to pregnancy complications, birth defects and developmental delays in children.

Ethanolamine – Human skin and respiratory irritant. Limited evidence of gastrointestinal or liver toxicity.

Popular wood polish/oil may contain:

Trisodium NTA – This corrosive substance causes injury to eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. It’s a possible human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde – Known human carcinogen. Respiratory and skin allergen.

Swap Out Guide

Considering what you now know about all the nasty chemicals in typical cleaning products, we bet you’re eager to swap those old cleaners out with new, non-toxic ones. Give your cleaning supplies cabinet a makeover with safe products like the ones below in this cleaning makeover guide.

 

Instead of typical glass cleaner use:

cleaning makeover glass

Honest Glass + Window Cleaner contains: water, alcohol denat. (corn-derived solvent), caprylyl/myristyl, glucoside (plant-based surfactant), acetic acid (plant-based vinegar).

(You can read about the ingredients we use, as well as some we don’t, and why in our Ingredients 101 series every Wednesday.)

 

Instead of typical dish washing soap use:

cleaning makeover dish soap

Honest Dish Soap contains: purified water, cocamidopropyl betaine (coconut-based cleanser), sodium coco-sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), cocamidopropylamine oxide (coconut-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), methylisothiazolinone (preservative), litsea cubeba oil, citrus limonum (lemon) peel oil, canarium luzonicum gum oil.

 

Instead of typical all-purpose cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover multipurpose

Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner contains: Purified water, sodium coco sulfate (coconut-based cleanser), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), phenoxyethanol (pH-sensitive preservative), citrus grandis oil (N.O.P. certified organic grapefruit oil), PPG-4 laureth/Myreth-5 (coconut-based cleanser), alcohol (fermented from corn sugars), methylisothiazolinone (preservative).

 

Instead of typical toilet cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover toilet

Honest Toilet Cleaner contains: Water, citric acid (plant-based pH regulator), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), gluconic acid (plant-based pH regulator), xanthan gum (natural viscosity enhancer), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.

 

Instead of typical bathroom cleaner use: 

cleaning makeover bthroom

Honest Bathroom Cleaner contains: water, ethyl alcohol (fermented from corn sugar), caprylyl/myristyl glucoside (plant-based cleanser), sodium gluconate (plant-based water-softener), sodium citrate (plant-based water-softener), potassium sorbate (plant-based preservative), citric acid (plant- based pH regulator), aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, mentha arvensis (wild mint) leaf oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.

 

You can also make your own cleaners with things in your pantry:

  • To remove mildew from a shower curtain, apply a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water, scrub with a brush.

  • To remove grease stains from cloth pour boiling water over the stain. For non-washable cloth, mix cornstarch, baking soda, and a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply to a grease stain and brush off when dry.

  • To naturally deodorize air without using a generic freshening spray, which typically contain all sorts of things you don’t want to breath, like phthalates and synthetic fragrances. In The Honest Life, Jessica Alba recommends mixing vodka with a few drops of essential oil and putting the mixture in a spray bottle. Vodka contains ethyl alcohol, which absorbs odors.

  • For alcohol, coffee, and tea stains, mix 1/3 cup white vinegar with 1/3 cup water, dab onto stain with a clean rag and wipe off.

  • To remove a tough fabric stain or carpet stain try mixing our liquid laundry soap with water and using a clean toothbrush to scrub the stain out. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

  • Clean copper pots with lemons and salt, or cover in ketchup and scrub with a scouring pad.

  • To clean stains from glass cookware, soak in a mixture of hot water and baking soda for about 20 minutes then scrub clean.

What are your safe cleaning tricks and tips? Also, we’d love to know which Honest cleaning products are your favorites! Tell us in the comments!

Giveaway

To enter to win this Cleaning Products Giveaway, simply enter a comment by using the Rafflecopter entry form below telling us how you’re honestly going non-toxic with your household cleaning products. You also have the option (although not required) to earn two bonus entries by liking our Facebook page and subscribing to our blog. No purchase is necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. The giveaway will run until 11:59 pm PST Tuesday, February 18th.  One winner will be chosen at random. Read the complete giveaway rules to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Finds: Organic Perfume, Just In Time for Valentine’s Day

Friday Finds

Love is in the air! So, it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts—whether you’re shopping for your significant other, your best friend, your sibling, or yourself (everyone deserves a sweetly scented treat now and then!).

A Perfume Organic creates organic fragrances wrapped in charming ecological packaging. Designer/perfumer Amanda Walker makes her delightful blends without acetone, dyes, synthetic chemicals, petrochemicals, and phthalates—the not-so-great ingredients found in conventional perfumes—so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

And bonus—the organic perfume boxes are embedded with flower seeds, so you can plant them! Two gifts in one!

Organic Perfume

Image courtesy of A Perfume Organic

Avoiding All Food Dyes Is Nearly Impossible, So Which Ones Are Harmful?

food dye

Do you avoid artificial food dyes? You’re not alone. More than 140,000 people have signed a petition to Mars, Inc. asking them to stop using neurotoxic blue food dye in their popular M&Ms candy. More than 210,000 people have signed a petition asking Kellogg’s to remove risky artificial food dyes in its fruit snacks marketed to children. And more than 350,000 people have signed a petition asking Kraft to remove risky dyes from its classic Mac-n-Cheese (Kraft Mac-n-Cheese is made with natural coloring for the U.K. market and the company’s agreed to use natural coloring in their “fun-shaped” Mac-n-Cheese).

With hundreds of thousands of people publicly demanding change, and likely millions more making the conscious effort to avoid food dyes, why does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to drag its feet on regulating risky artificial food dyes?

To its credit, the FDA has revoked approval of 91 dyes that were once widely used in food and beverages. There are actually only seven synthetic colors remaining that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the federal agency — Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6.

Here’s an infographic revealing where these dyes are typically found, the potential health risks, and a bit about their regulation:

dangers-of-food-dye 600

Interestingly (and not mentioned in this infographic), while we complain here in the U.S. about our lagging regulations, we have to give an empathetic nod to our neighbors to the north who don’t even have the right to know what food dyes are in their products. In Canada, the Food and Drug Regulations currently only require manufacturers to list “color” on ingredients labels. It’s completely voluntary to actually spell out which individual food dyes have been used.

It turns out, not surprisingly perhaps, that regulations are based as much on the politics of people as they are on the science of safety. And Europe, in this instance (and many others), has opted to be more cautious after reviewing much of the same science that the FDA found too “inconclusive” to take action on.

Eugene Arnold, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Ohio State University, says in a recent article from The Globe and Mail that there’s nothing wrong with being extra cautious while the jury is still out.

“The thing is, if you see smoke, even though you can’t see a fire, you want to evacuate the children from the building while you investigate,” he says.

The EU sees the smoke, many health experts see the smoke, millions of parents see the smoke, and industry is slowly shifting to meet the new demand for natural alternatives. After years of pushing, we have some good news—for the most part, consumers can avoid artificial food dyes (here are five easy ways).

Here’s the bad news—the scariest food dye problem no one’s talking about is that sometimes you can’t avoid them.

Rebecca, mother to a food dye sensitive child and advocate behind “Die, Food Dye,” describes this issue on her website:

Imagine your child has a painful ear infection or pneumonia, or they need surgery, and the only antibiotics and pain relief available contain red or yellow dyes. Pink liquid antibiotics, red allergy tablets, and purple cough medicines are the standard offerings in the U.S. Even “off-white” capsules contain yellow dyes, which are contaminated with carcinogens.  Synthetic flavorings are also petroleum-based and cause similar reactions to dyes, but are sometimes not even listed in the ingredients.

Unfortunately, families with sick kids cannot simply reach for an alternative brand of antibiotics, like they can with macaroni and cheese and candies. Pharmacies are limited in their ability to find dye-free medications such as amoxycillin, azithromycin, Tylenol, Zyrtec, Benadryl, and ADHD medications. Families whose children are severely reactive to synthetic colors must pay up to ten times as much to have their antibiotic prescriptions filled without dyes at a compounding pharmacy. Or they have to opt for traditional medications out of desperation, and watch their child suffer with horrific and painful side effects…

What makes this more unfortunate is that this specific use of artificial dyes is unnecessary. Safe dyes can be made using natural materials like turmeric and beets—there’s simply no need for us rely on risky artificial colors.

Risky, unnecessary ingredients have no place in products that are meant to save lives. Equally, they have no place in products created to promote healing or general health—pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements.

Do you agree? Join us in signing Rebecca’s petition and let’s #DitchTheDyes!