Author Archives: Susan Bame

About Susan Bame

Writer, Mediator, Facilitator, Teacher, fascinated with indigenous forms of conflict resolution. I love watching people become empowered. I have a master's degree in conflict resolution and a personal interest in organic food, detoxing and healing the body, alternative holistic approaches to health, self-empowerment and win-win solutions through mediation, Structured Water™, and energetic healing. I lived on the Omaha Reservation in northeast Nebraska for ten years, worked with Native families in the area, and have a great interest in Native history, culture, practices, traditions, stories, and current affairs.

Simple Natural Magnesium Oil

Could you be low in magnesium?  I was.  I’ve been doing my voiceprints since December 2016 and by looking at my readings for the muscles, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, genomes, and a ton of other stuff in my body, I learned that I had low magnesium levels.

Then I did some research on how to add magnesium to the body.  Magnesium supplements that you take orally may not be very effective, I learned; the best way to take magnesium is transdermally — through the skin.  One way to do this is by spraying on magnesium oil.

I priced magnesium oil on Amazon and at the local stores and looked up recipes on how to make it and what it actually is.  Magnesium “oil” is not an actual oil.  However, when you blend magnesium chloride flakes with water, the result feels oily — thus “magnesium oil.”  I learned that I could buy magnesium chloride flakes, about a pound for $10 from Amazon, and the easy recipe is simply to mix 1 part magnesium chloride flakes with 1 part water; you decide the “parts.”  So if you want a cup of magnesium oil, blend a cup of each together in a mixing bowl of some sort, stir, and you’ve got it.  That’s all there is to it.  One pound of magnesium chloride will give you magnesium oil for a year, maybe more, depending on how often you use it and how many times you find yourself giving some away to your friends who need it!

I put my magnesium oil in 4-oz. cobalt blue glass spray bottles, and I’ve started adding some various essential oils, just for their various skin benefits.

When your body needs magnesium you will know:  applying magnesium oil will make your skin sting and burn.  Once you’ve “topped off” your body’s magnesium levels and you’ve got enough magnesium in your body, you won’t get the stinging and burning anymore.

I was *really* deficient in magnesium, so I started taking epsom salts baths — epsom salts is magnesium sulfate — almost every day of the week.  My regimen was very hot water, 4-5 cups of epsom salts, 40 minutes of soaking.  I would set a timer on my phone for 40 minutes, because usually by that time the water was beginning to get just very comfortable and I was falling asleep.  Otherwise, who knows how much longer I would have stayed there!

Epsom salts baths are VERY helpful if a person has sore muscles, head pain, or any one of those many low-magnesium symptoms listed on the link above.

In this process I learned that I could go to the local agricultural supply store and buy a 50-pound bag of magnesium sulfate for $20 — 50 pounds got me a LOT of 4-to-5-cups-at-a-time baths — or I could buy a 5-pound heavenly eucalyptus scented bag in the pharmacy for about $10 each.  One five-pound bag of wonderful scented epsom salts got me two to three baths.

I took the epsom salts baths many times a week for a month or longer, until I kind of forgot about it.  Every time my body starts aching a little bit, I know it’s time for another hot epsom salts bath.

But the real reason I wanted to post this was to mention magnesium oil as a deodorant!  I use the spray bottle of magnesium oil with added essential oils as my deodorant.  For deodorant, I go back and forth between magnesium oil and the baking soda / coconut oil / shea butter deodorant recipe; sometimes I’m in the mood for the magnesium oil spray, sometimes I want the deodorant butter.  I like choices.

I also keep a little roll-on bottle of magnesium oil in my car, on the dashboard, in case I’m driving somewhere and I start feeling those achy muscles — which, by the way, I haven’t felt now since the end of June, once I quit eating all sugar!   But that’s another post.  That’s a Very Exciting post!

So try magnesium oil.  Put it in a little sprayer bottle or whatever you’ve got handy.  Use it for achy muscles, for deodorant, for migraines, any other kind of muscle pain in your body.  See if this helps.

And here’s the recipe:
One part magnesium chloride flakes
(the “part” depends on how much you want to make — one tablespoon, one cup, one quart, how much do you want?)
One part water
~Pour into a dispenser of your choice~

optional:  essential oils of your choice



Homemade Natural Dish Soap

I finally found a good recipe on someone else’s blog for making my own dish soap.  I tried it and it works!  Very fast and easy.

1/2 cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon citric acid
2 teaspoons white kosher salt
a few drops of essential oil if you want a scent

Now that I’ve made it a few times, here’s what I do:  I add all of the ingredients into a recycled orange juice bottle, and shake the bottle.  I use Himalayan pink salt and no essential oils, and watch as the liquid thickens up right in the bottle.  I don’t have to do anything, like heat it in a pan, although you can do that.  After a few minutes, when the bubbles go down a bit, pour about half of the recipe into the bottle used for dishwashing soap.  Perfect.  You’ll have some stored as a backup for when that amount runs out.

The interesting thing about this is if you use Himalayan pink salt, don’t use essential oils, or the mixture will get watery.  If you leave the oils out of it, it will stay nice and thick.

If you use white kosher salt and use essential oils, no problem; it will stay thick.

Of course I want it both ways!  I want the pink color AND I want it thick and good smelling.  Well…I can’t.  I’ve tried it.  Add the oils to the Himalayan pink salt mixture and ew…runny.  Still works, but runny.

I’m really tickled to find a homemade natural dish soap that I can make that works!  And I can put the scent in it that I want.  The bottle of Sal Suds is about $20 from Amazon, and will make you a lot of dish soap.

I must confess:  now that I’ve come up with this lovely dish soap recipe that actually works, I’m enjoying hand-washing dishes again — especially now that I’ve completely repopulated my cupboards with handmade La Chamba earthenware cookware from Colombia.

I adore it!

La Chamba ware is much healthier than the “stainless steel” pans I bought years ago from Martha Stewart; much healthier than the non-stick stuff I’ve bought over the years.  And they don’t go in the dishwasher.

I think I’ve run my dishwasher about three times since I bought the LaChamba ware.

I Am Gaining Thinness!


October 2015, just a few months before the pain became unbearable. “No more sugar or grains!!” it was telling me.

I have to thank Jonette Crowley for that title.  She made that comment years ago and it’s always stuck with me.

I noticed in January 2016 that suddenly my body felt very achey.  The muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons were all very sore and tired all the time.  I thought it was a passing thing, that it would be here for a few days and then gone.  It felt like I’d been out playing really rough football for weeks on end and the body had just had enough and needed a rest.

But no, the body kept aching.  I tried various approaches, various supplements, various meditations, and nothing worked.

Inflammation:  could that be it again?  I looked up my symptoms, and by golly, if you look at the symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, I was identifying with just about all of them.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do.

I found someone’s videos on YouTube about cutting all — I mean ALL — grains out of her diet, not just “gluten.”  ALL grains.  This includes corn, wheat, rice, and all of those health-food-store grains that should be good for you like quinoa, amaranth, and millet.  She told the story about how the women in her family all suffered from this illness, the extreme joint pain, and they more or less just accepted it as “that is who we are.”  She was a young 20-something or 30-something mom with an 18-month-old and couldn’t hold him anymore because of her joint pain and weakness; that’s when she decided to take action and no longer accept that “this is the way the women in our family just are.”  She quit eating grains, dairy, and sugar, and ate only meat, vegetables, and fruit.  She cut out all of the filler.

Months later she was lighter, leaner, the pain had gone, she was able to be the mom she wanted to be, and was comfortable!

I had to remember back to when I was “eating for hives” in 2012.  I never felt better in my life.  I had all kinds of energy, I lost some weight, and my inflammation was gone.  Once I found the L-Glutamine and cured my leaky gut, I could eat anything once again without having my lower lip swell up like a balloon or having itchy red patches all over my body, and I regained all the weight I lost — and probably then some.  I could eat coconut cream pie!  With coffee and organic cream!  And I did!  And it was heaven!  I could eat a Five Guys burger with the bun and the fries and the ketchup and the Cherry Coke, and I did, and it was heaven!

I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that my legs and feet hurt now and then; oh, that was just from sitting on a hard kitchen stool too long.  I didn’t really notice when it hurt, getting up out of bed, or hurt getting up out of my Tiny Trailer and hobbling to the bathroom at the RV park.  That’s just “getting older.”  Right?

And suddenly in January in Oregon in the depths of the deep dark cold gray rainy days when I hadn’t seen the sun for months — in December it rained 29 days out of 31, thank goodness, and we needed the rain so badly — suddenly that pain hit hard and would not let go.  When you feel pain that intense, you do just about anything for relief.

I looked up, once again, the Blood Type O Diet and made my charts so I could see what was “beneficial,” “neutral” and “not ever again in THIS lifetime”, and then on a Sunday morning I got to work completely redoing my kitchen.  All of the “NEVER!” items got packed in tight above the refrigerator, where you have to really be dedicated to want to reach something.  I tossed some things.  I am so blessed to have a really wonderful pantry in this house, and on the top shelf of the pantry I put all of the “helpful” items in sort of alphabetical order.  On the shelf below it I put all of the “okay occasionally” items, and on the shelf below that I put the “neutral” foods.

I did the same in the refrigerator.  All of the “nope, not if you want to feel good ever again!” items I put on the top shelf and slammed them all together.

And that’s when I noticed:  I’d been eating cheese and bread and ice cream and pasta and rice almost to the exclusion of meat, vegetables and fruit.  I had to put away all of the cheese and the condiments and even the expensive health-food-store fermented food and multi-grain artisan local-bakery no-gmo-ingredients bread.  It broke my heart.

But…I could still eat.  This was May, and my “winter garden” was beginning to finally do something.  The kale and lettuce made it through the winter and started providing me with all the kale and all the lettuce I could handle.  I planted tomatoes and summer squash; the blueberries started coming on then too and every morning when I walked my dog past the garden we helped ourselves to fresh blueberries, one for me, one for him, one for me, one for him.

It didn’t happen within three or four days for me like it did for the young lady in the video; it took longer.  I’m glad to say now that a lot of the pain is gone.  It’s still there to some degree, but it’s lessening all the time.

Since sometime in May I have eaten NO grains at all except for a little rice at the sushi buffet; NO dairy except for a little butter or ghee; and NO refined sugar.  I use stevia leaf I bought in bulk years ago, or real maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar.  I have that here for my AirBNB guests, mostly.

What I noticed over these last few months is that I’ve lost my “hunger.”  I am convinced now that eating wheat and grains, not to mention sugar and dairy, “makes” a person hungry, or hungrier.  Now that I’m eating meat, vegetables and fruit, I’m much more satisfied with much less food, and I’m way less hungry.

One other interesting thing I’ve noticed:  the idea of going to McDonald’s or any other fast food place doesn’t even appeal to me anymore.  It’s like I’ve installed an inner button somewhere within myself that can “tell” when a food item has food value, and when it doesn’t.  I just don’t want to bother with food that has no food value since it’s a total waste of time and money.  I’d rather go out to my garden and grab a couple of spicy nasturtium blossoms and a few kale leaves for a quick snack.  Seriously.

Ah, the AirBNB guests.  I do provide a breakfast for them, and one day a few weeks ago I was eyeing the last little helping of organic cereal, and that last little bit of organic whole milk that needed to be used up, and the coconut palm sugar….and I decided to go for it.  I made myself a big bowl of cereal with milk and sugar and just enjoyed it.

I instantly regretted it.  For the next three or four hours I felt tired, weak, sluggish, couldn’t keep my eyes open but plodded through my day anyway, and decided never to do this to myself again.  I made a pledge to myself that I want to feel GOOD.  I want to feel good ALWAYS.  I choose for my body to feel healthy, energetic, flexible, comfortable, strong, and youthful, for the rest of my life!

The Blood Type O diet is very similar to the Paleo diet, which is basically “if the caveman didn’t eat it, I don’t eat it either.”  I’m drinking even more structured water than before from a pitcher of structured water with shungite soaking in it, and drinking lots of tea and smoothies.  I do drink organic coffee made with structured water in my French press.  This time I’m cutting out all coconut, so no coconut oil or coconut water or coconut milk.  The only oil I’m using is olive oil.  If I want “milk” I put half a cup of hemp hearts and 2 cups of water in the VitaMix with a pinch of salt and a bit of maple syrup, and voila, milk.  If I want bread I bake it with 5 eggs, flax meal, baking powder and a few other ingredients.

The body has been feeling better.   The weight didn’t instantly fall away, though, and I couldn’t quite understand that.  I ran across someone’s article about fasting and thought I’d give it a try.  That has seemed to be the key to the weight loss.  The writer advocates liquids only from 7 pm through 11 am the next day; solid food is okay to eat between 11 am and 7 pm.  During the “fasting” time a person can have juice, tea, coffee, smoothies, anything liquid.  That seemed pretty simple so I decided to add that to my way of life.  I remember decades ago the exercise trainer Denise Austin told viewers to eat dinner by 6 pm and not to eat anything after that.  I, of course, ignored that advice and ate pretty much anything pretty much any time of any day.  Typically in my life I would eat dinner at 10 pm, or have a big bowl of ice cream and go to bed.  I didn’t have a schedule when it came to eating.  I ate when I was hungry and I ate what I was hungry for.

Since I’ve added the “fasting” to my diet, the Thinness has appeared.  And again it’s not all falling off at once; it’s a gradual process.  I know I’m down at least a size from where I was in January.

Last summer I bought three Speedo bathing suits at the Goodwill because they were pretty:  one size 14 and two size 16s.  Mostly I wore one of the 16s when I’d put on a bathing suit.  This summer I’ve been sunning myself for 20 minutes a day during “peak sun hours” between 10 and 2, for the Vitamin D benefits, wearing my size 14 Speedo.  I noticed my body was changing for the better in how it looked in the 14.

A couple of days ago I bought a new Speedo in size 10 kind of as “inspiration” for Gaining Still More Thinness.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to get into it for weeks or months.  I tried it on yesterday morning and it FITS!  I look better in that one than I do in the 14.  My new “inspirational” size 12 shorts are a little more snug than I want to be wearing all day long, but my other clothes are getting bigger and baggier by the week.  Before long I will be down to the size 10 where I’m most comfortable, but I’m in no big hurry to get there.  I am enjoying these changes.

A week or two ago I ran across a few YouTube videos with a woman talking about having two years of intense pain that basically came from nowhere — hey, that sounds familiar — and she said she is now pain free.  I’ve been checking out her videos and I like them.  Recently she posted a body healing meditation that I’ve listened two a couple of times now, and I like it.  She recommends doing it once a week.  I’ll post it here and also in the Links over at the sidebar.

Here’s to Gaining still more Thinness, Flexibility, Ease, Grace, Youthfulness, Strength, and Joy!


And now an update.  It is July 2017.  I am a couple of weeks away from my 60th birthday.  A week to 10 days ago I discovered the YouTube channel of Dr. Eric Berg, who makes fantastic detailed videos about all kinds of health issues.  I’ve been doing BioAcoustics work since last October, and his videos are SO helpful to teach me what’s going on with the reports I can generate — what is cortisol?  Vitamin B12, what does that have to do with anything?  What’s an adrenal body type?  Why do I still have inflammation?

After watching a few dozen of his videos and looking at my own voiceprint charts and seeing sugar, sucrose, fructose, sugar sugar sugar…I decided I had to quit sugar.  Sugar, I learn, is an inflammatory.  I have an insulin problem.  I can see that in my voiceprint charts.  If I’m waking up to pee through the night, and I was, I need to quit the sugar and start consuming 7-10 cups of vegetables a day and some healthy fats.  This will help me get my adrenals back into balance and will help me drop that belly that magically appeared out of nowhere when I hit menopause.

Of course he also recommends getting pasta-cereal-bread-crackers — he’s got his cute little phrase — out of your diet completely.  I did that already.  Now I’ve hidden my collection of sugar in the pantry in a faraway place where I don’t see it every day.  And I have some fabulous sugars — coconut palm sugar (natural, wonderful); maple syrup and powdered maple syrup (organic); raw local honey (which I keep because I use it in recipes) (and binge on over winter, using it in tea).  I have to quit them all.  I thought that because I quit using white table sugar, I was doing the right thing.  Nope.  All sugars means all sugars.

What to use for sweetening?  I have stevia leaf.  Real leaf, something I bought from Frontier Natural Co-op, years ago.  It’s not manmade stevia, manufactured in some way; it’s the real leaf.  You can blend it in with your smoothie in your Vitamix when you’re blending the 7-10 cups of raw vegetables you harvested from your garden this morning with the wheatgrass juice powder you bought online at his recommendation.  Real stevia leaf is not glycemic, it’s very sweet, a little goes a very long way, and you use it *when* you need it and not before; it will taste great when you first use it, but after it sits around a bit it gets strange tasting.

So we’ll see how this goes.  I’ll update the photos.  Here’s me in December 2016, after going down two dress sizes since May 2016:







And these two are from a couple of days ago, June 2017, after stopping sugar for about two days.  I can tell I have lost some belly fat and I’m pretty sure I’m into ketosis — fat-burning, not sugar-burning.  I have all the happy signs of ketosis.  I’m not crashing in the afternoon, I’m able to go a loooooooong time between meals, I don’t have to eat until noon or after and I’m not hungry when I get up, I’m not getting up to pee at night anymore (after only a few days of this!) (yay!), I’m remembering my dreams after not remembering them for a long time.  My focus is good.  Inflammation is down.  Right shoulder pain is gone.  Any other complaints I would have had at this time last year…not there anymore.


And another Update!  It’s been just about six months since I posted my previous update. I’m doing Bulletproof Coffee in the mornings now, and eat one meal a day (usually).  I have no cravings.  No sugar, no carbs over Christmas; I wasn’t even tempted.  I have discovered that adding a few drops of stevia liquid and a few drops of peppermint flavoring to my morning coffee is Totally Awesome; my coffee blended in the Vitamix is a thousand million percent better than anything Starbucks or any other coffee shop ever had to offer.

And my photos now?  After six months of eating no carbs and no sugar — and frankly doing no exercise at all, here we go:

When I took the above photos (black top, black & white skirt) I was about a size 12-14.  Now I’m wearing a size 6-8 Lands’ End vest, size 10 (or 8) jeans (depending on the manufacturer), and I’m somewhere between a small and a medium.

I have not been a size small since junior high.  And that was for a very fleeting time.  Misses size 12-14 was always my average size, since about 10th grade.

I’m not done yet.  Once I totally get rid of that little poochy thing just below my belly button, and discover the waist I never had, I will be ready to eat some fruit again.  Not until then.

Less fat in my coffee would help speed things up; some actual exercise twice a week would speed things up too.  I’m in no hurry and I’m absolutely thrilled with how I feel and look.  I am so excited!!  I am pain free and drug free, and 60 and a half years old.

Mango Pineapple Fire Freeze

I visited Oregon four times in the summer and fall of 2014 before finally moving here in November 2014.  It was a hot summer and I discovered Dutch Brothers.  I’m not so excited about their coffee or their mocha, but man, that summer they had a frozen mango drink spiked with hot pepper that was absolutely to die for.  I ordered it every time I could, with whipped cream on top.  They were amazing.  Once I moved here…those awesome hot spicy frozen mango delights disappeared.  They didn’t make the next season’s menu.

I hadn’t really thought about them until tonight when I suddenly got the urge to take one cup of pineapple juice and three cups of ice and throw that in the VitaMix together.  Aha, I said to myself, then add some cayenne pepper and turmeric and it’ll be healthy — how about some ginger too!

I mixed that up until the blender stopped suddenly, then tasted it.  Whoa, this was great — but…could be better.  Mango.  Mango is what it’s missing.

IMG_1004I emptied the pineapple & crushed ice cube mix into a tall glass and pulled about 3 slices of dried mango out of the jar, put those in the empty VitaMix, added a cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon of the real herb stevia.  Not the white processed powdered stevia, but the actual herb plant stevia.  I’m following the Blood Type O diet at the moment, and most sweeteners are on the “nope” list.  Stevia is a natural sweetener and is okay to use.  I bought the stevia in bulk years ago and sweeten my yerba mate’ with it.

I blended that, added in the pineapple and ice and hot spice mix, blended that all together, and wow, amazing!  This is almost exactly what the Dutch Brothers hot spicy mango freeze tasted like.

It’s going to be 106 here on Saturday and 102 on Sunday.  I’m all ready for it.  Mango Pineapple Fire Freeze, here I come.

So here’s the recipe:

1 cup organic sugar-free pineapple juice
(I didn’t use a cup measure; I used one of the glasses out of my cupboard)
3 cups of ice from the ice-maker
approximately 1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
approximately 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
approximately 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2-4 slices of dried mango
1 cup of water IMG_1005
(less water, more ice, if you want it to be more like a slushy to eat with a spoon)
1/4 teaspoon stevia herb

Blend it all and enjoy its healthy hot & spicy deliciousness.

This is a perfect recipe for the Blood Type O diet, by the way!

Update:  It was so good I had to try it a second time.  This time I threw all of the ingredients into the VitaMix at the same time and turned it on.  It stopped quickly, and I stirred it up a little and turned it on again, and again the blender whirred for a bit and then stopped before completing the cycle.  This happened oh, a dozen or more times.  I added a bit more water.  That helped, but not much.

What I learned:  do it the way I accidentally did the first time, only in reverse.

Next time I whip it up here’s what I’ll do.  First add the dried mango slices, the pepper, ginger and turmeric and stevia, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of pineapple juice, and blend.  Then add one cup of ice cubes at a time and blend, going for three cups total, or to the consistency you want.


Almond Milk & Hemp Seed Hot Breakfast

IMG_0983I’m back to working with a Blood Type O diet due to inflammation in my joints and muscles.  I reorganized my kitchen cupboards and my pantry and my refrigerator to “hide” all grains (including rice), multigrains, breads, anything with gluten in it, and make the pantry more accessible to the stuff I need to be using.  I actually alphabetized my pantry shelves.  Seriously.  The dried blueberries sit on the shelf next to the almonds and are at the opposite end from the walnuts.  This is the only way I could think of to organize my shelves and know where stuff is, now.

So the top shelf in the pantry is for the “this is awesome for you” Type O Blood Diet foods.  The shelf below that is for the “neutral” foods.  The shelf below that is for the “only once in a great while” foods.  And the cupboard above the fridge, the one that’s almost impossible to reach unless I get on a 2-step stepstool, that’s where I keep the stuff that, so the theory goes, is going to make me hurt.

There’s a lot of fish and meat on this diet.  Meat for breakfast?!  Things like whole wheat toast for breakfast are forbidden.

For the first few days, a plate of tuna with olive oil and lemon juice and a sprinkling of my pink salt with dulse added in…that was just fine.  That and a banana, groovy.

This morning, I wanted oatmeal.  Or rice.  Or something like that.  Warm.  In a bowl.  A little bit sweet.

And this is what I came up with.

Start with:
3 cups water in the VitaMix
1/4 cup almonds
~~blend to make Almond Milk~~
Then add — and I didn’t measure anything, just threw it in, so my measurements are approximations:
1 Tablespoon blueberries-ish
6 apple slice rings-ish
1 teaspoon dried ginger-ish 
3 dates (make sure the pits are removed)
~~blend on the Soup setting to make it hot~~
Pour into your bowl or mug and add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of hemp seeds and eat like a very thin oatmeal, or drink like a very thick chai.

What else sounds good to throw into the mix?

Natural Iodized Himalayan Pink Salt — add Dulse!

A friend and I were discussing iodine recently and we both bought iodine supplements and started using it.  IMG_0876Today I did a little internet research, now that I’ve got my tiny and very spendy little bottle of liquid iodine that I’m taking a few drops of in water every morning, and came up with a cheap and easy way to add iodine to my diet:  dulse.

Iodine is one of those things that we really don’t get enough of in our western society.  Studies show that Japanese women have a much lower breast cancer rate than western women, and it’s probably due to the fact that they eat a lot of seaweed.


Dulse, seaweed, a natural source of iodine

Usually we get iodine in the food we eat; now, however, our soil is so depleted, there is no iodine in it.  Iodine is available in the ocean, so if a person eats seafood and seaweed frequently, they’re getting their necessary iodine.

In the United States, iodine was added to table salt in the past, and currently it sounds like the amount of iodine in table salt is vastly decreased.

I know personally over the past ten years I’ve changed my diet.  I eat more vegetables and less meat; I’ve chosen to use sea salt, celtic salt and Himalayan pink salt instead of the iodized brand of table salt I grew up with, and I never really thought about getting my needed iodine in some other way.

Until yesterday and today.

Pulverized dulse (the dark red), Himalayan pink salt, and Hawai'ian red salt, my new table salt mixture

Pulverized dulse (the dark red), Himalayan pink salt, and Hawai’ian red salt, my new table salt mixtureI mixed it all up, and now I have — taa-daa! — natural homemade iodized salt.

I threw a good handful of dulse into the Vitamix, mixed up 1 part pulverized dulse, one part Himalayan pink salt and 1/2 part Hawaiian red salt in a jar, shook it up, filled my salt grinder with the blend, and now I have — taa-daa! — natural homemade iodized salt.

How great is this!  Himalayan pink salt supplies 84 necessary nutrients; dulse supplies iodine and a whole lot of other nutrients, and Hawai’ian red salt supplies minerals and electrolytes, iron oxide, and rich flavor.  Win, win, win.  I get my salt, my nutrients, my iodine, and it tastes so good.

More uses for coconut oil!

Author: Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama.

My favorite coconut oil; I find mine on Amazon.  It smells SOOOOO good!

My favorite coconut oil; I find mine on Amazon. It smells SOOOOO good!

While traveling through Thailand, by partner and I joked about buying a coconut plantation because it seems that everything now-a-days is coconut based!

  • coconut oil
  • coconut butter
  • coconut shreds
  • coconut water
  • coconut milk and cream
  • coconut flour
  • and even coconut soya sauce (try it, it’s actually delicious)

Coconut (C. nucifera) belongs to the Arecaceae (Palmae) family and the subfamily Cocoideae.

The flesh of the coconut is very high in healthy fatty acids. The composition of fat varies depending on the type and processing of the oil. Medium-chain saturated fatty acids make up approximately 90% of coconut oil with a slight contribution of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

What’s so good about Medium Chain Fatty Acids?

Medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFA’s) are easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body, while freely crossing the blood-brain barrier in the unbound form, which means it can be used by the brain as an energy source but also for neurological health.

What’s also great is that virgin (unrefined) coconut oil is affordable, readily available, delicious and completely natural. It’s also…

  • Anti-carcinogenic (prevents the spread of cancer cells and enhances the immune system)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial/ Infection fighting (bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, parasites and protozoa)
  • An antioxidant (protects against free-radical formation and damage)
  • Improves nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes fat-based vitamins more available to the body – ie. vitamin A, D, E, K)
  • Nontoxic to humans and animals

1493Coconut Oil for Personal Hygiene and the Body

  1.   Age Spots (also known as liver spots) – applying coconut oil directly to the age spot will help it fade.
  2.   After Shave – coconut oil will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores. Great for razor burn!
  3.   Baldness – combine coconut oil with lavender, rosemary, thyme, cedarwood, Jojoba oil, Grapeseed/ castor oil and a little cayenne pepper. Apply three times a day (or before bed) to affected area of hair loss and massage in. Coconut oil and these essential oils supports cell regeneration.
  4.   Body Scrub – mix coconut oil and salt together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft. You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
  5.   Bruises – applied directly to the bruise, coconut oil enhances the healing process by reducing swelling and redness.
  6.   Bug Bites – when applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
  7.   Burns – apply to burn site immediately and continue applying until healed. Will reduce the chances of permanent scarring and promotes healing.
  8.  Chapstick – just rub a little into lips and it not only acts as a softening agent but it also has an SPF of about 4 so you get a little protection!
  9. Cradle Cap – having issues with dry skin on your baby’s scalp? Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby’s skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
  10. Dandruff – coconut oil soaks into the scalp moisturizing dry skin and relieves symptoms of dandruff. It also helps to control oil secretion from the scalp, another leading cause of dandruff.
  11. Deodorant – coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda.
  12. Diaper Salve – very comforting on a rashy bum with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
  13. Eye cream – apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
  14. Face Wash/ Soap – mix equal parts coconut oil with olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil and castor oil and use in place of soap when washing your face. Wet face, rub oil in and leave on for two minutes, rinse and pat dry. One teaspoon should be adequate.
  15. Hair conditioner/ Deep Treatment – use as a leave-in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest. For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap on to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
  16. Hair Gel/ Defrizzer – rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
  17. Healing – when applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.
  18. Lubricant – it is an all-natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant for masturbation and sex. Not compatible with latex!
  19. Makeup Remover – use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you would be amazed at how well it works!
  20. Massage Oil – pretty simple; grab some and rub!
  21. Moisturizer – simply scoop some out of the jar and apply all over your body, including neck and face. Often lotions are water-based and can dry out your skin even more.
  22. Nipple Cream – works great to nourish cracked, sore or dry nipples. Apply to a cotton ball and leave on your nipples between feedings.
  23. Acne Skin Fix – prone to oily skin or an oily T-zone? Use a pea sized amount underneath makeup or alone to reduce oil gland stimulation. Often acne prone skin is actually too dry, which signals your glands to produce more oil and clogs the pores.
  24. Pre-Shave – coconut oil will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
  25. Skin Conditions – coconut oil can relieves skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
  26. Stretch Marks – coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.
  27. Sun Burn Relief – rub liberal amounts of coconut oil into the affected area.
  28. Sunscreen – It’s not high, but coconut oil does have an SPF of around 4.
  29. Swimmers Ear – mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
  30. Tattoo Healing and Moisturizer – continued use of coconut oil on tattoos will help keep the pigment from fading. Used on new tattoos, coconut will hasten the healing process and decrease the chance of infection.
  31. Toothpaste – there are numerous recipes out there but I just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush.
  32. Wrinkle Prevention and Wrinkle Reducer – rubbing coconut oil on winkles and sagging skin helps strengthen the connective tissues to bring back that youthful look!

Coconut Oil for General Health and Wellness

  1. Breastfeeding – for breastfeeding moms, consuming 3 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily will enrich the milk supply.
  2. Bones and Teeth – coconut oil aids in the absorption of calcium and magnesium leading to better development of bones and teeth.
  3. Digestion – the saturated fats in coconut oil help control parasites and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.
  4. Fitness – coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat while increasing muscle.
  5. Insulin Support – Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose making it great for both diabetics and non-diabetic.
  6. Lung Function – increases the fluidity of cell surfaces.
  7. Nausea – rub some coconut oil on the inside for the wrist (PC 6) and forearm to calm an upset stomach.
  8. Nose bleeds – coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather such as extreme heat and extreme cold. This condition happens when the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air resulting to burns and cracks in the mucus membranes so bleeding happens. To prevent this just put coconut oil in you nostrils. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages.
  9. Gum Health – oil pulling with coconut oil offers a two for one health benefit!
  10. Stress Relief – relieve mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to the head in a circular, massaging motion. The natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing thus helping to lower your stress level.
  11. Vitamin and nutrient absorption – makes fat-based nutrients more available to the body – ie. vitamin A, D, E, K
  12. Weight loss – the saturated fats contribute to weight loss and controlling cravings.
  13. Mental Cognition and Productivity – medium chain triglycerides freely pass the blood-brain barrier and allows an alternate source of energy to improve cognition.

file000208864341Coconut Oil for Internal Health Problems

– when taken internally it is known for aiding, preventing, and relieving these health issues

  1. Acid Reflux/ Indigestion – if taken after a meal
  2. Adrenal and Chronic Fatigue
  3. Allergies – seasonal hay fever
  4. Alzheimer’s/Dementia – read my research here
  5. Asthma – even in children
  6. Autism
  7. Bowel function – constipation, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), gut infections
  8. Bronchial Infections and Cystic Fibrosis
  9. Cancer – has been shown to prevent colon and breast cancer
  10. Candida Albicans
  11. Cholesterol – improves HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) to LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) ratio in people with high cholesterol
  12. Poor Circulation – feeling cold all the time or edema, especially in the extremities, apply coconut oil to the skin in a light circular pattern towards the heart. Similar to dry skin brushing
  13. Colds and Flues – as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent
  14. Mild Depression and Cognitive Dis-ease – in conjunction with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), fish oil and other treatment strategies
  15. Diabetes – helps keep blood sugar levels stable and helps with cravings
  16. Epilepsy – known to reduce epileptic seizures
  17. Flaky, Dry Skin – poor oil intake often results in dry skin and dandruff
  18. Gallbladder Disease – dietary oils can help increase bile flow, which can be helpful for gallbladder issues, but possibly harmful (ie. Gallstones)
  19. Gas – foul gas is often due to imbalance in the gut bacteria. Coconut oil is a mild anti-microbial to help re-establish healthy gut flora
  20. H. pylori – oral intake. Occasionally, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
  21. Heart Disease – protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis
  22. Hemorrhoids – can applied externally or internally twice a day
  23. Hot Flashes
  24. Immune System Builder
  25. Irritable Bowel Syndrome – alternating diarrhea and constipation are key signs of IBS
  26. Jaundice
  27. Kidney Disease and Stones – aids in dissolving small stones
  28. Liver Disease
  29. Lung Disease
  30. Malnutrition
  31. Mental Clarity
  32. Menstruation Relief – regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow
  33. Migraines – with regular use
  34. Pancreatitis
  35. Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay
  36. Prostate Enlargement – BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia
  37. Stomach Ulcers – helps soothe stomach lining and limit H. pylori growth
  38. Thrush
  39. Thyroid Function – can help regulates an overactive or underactive thyroid
  40. Urinary Tract Infections and Bladder Infections

Coconut Oil and Topical Health Problems

– when applied topically it is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing these health issues:

  1. Acne – Often acne prone skin is actually too dry, which signals your glands to produce more oil and clogs the pores.
  2. Head Lice – topical application
  3. Allergies/Hay Fever – rub a little inside the nostrils for quick relief. The pollen will cling to the oil.
  4. Athletes Foot
  5. Toenail Fungus
  6. Back Pain and Sore Muscles
  7. Boils and Cysts
  8. Cellulite
  9. Circumcision healing – although I don’t support circumcision, coconut oil may help with healing.
  10. Decongestant – rub coconut oil on the chest and under the nose when congested from a cold or allergies
  11. Ear infection – place a few drops of coconut and garlic oil inside the ear twice daily for relief from pain. Also fights the infection itself.
  12. Genital Warts – genital warts often go away on their own after 2 years of the initial infection. Addition of topical coconut oil application over 6 month may be helpful
  13. Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Canker Sores – use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums
  14. Herpes – applied topically and taken internally
  15. Hives – reduces the itch and swelling
  16. Pink eye – applied around and in the eye

BONUS: Coconut Oil and Pets/ Animals

Check with your veterinarian but the recommended dosage for animals is 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily.

  1. Aids healing of digestive disorders – like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  2. Aids in arthritis or ligament problems
  3. Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
  4. Promotes the healing – when applied topically to cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings
  5. Clears up skin conditions – such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin
  6. Disinfects cuts – and promotes wound healing
  7. Great for dogs and cats for general wellness – Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
  8. Helps prevent or control diabetes
  9. Helps sedentary dogs feel energetic – Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older dogs.
  10. Helps reduce weight – increases energy
  11. Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  12. Makes coats – coat becomes sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
  13. Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections – including candida
  14. Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  15. Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  16. Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function

BONUS: Other Uses for Coconut Oil

  1. Chewing Gum in Hair Remover – just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It’s out!
  2. Goo Gone – just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
  3. Insect repellent – mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with DEET! Tons safer too.
  4. Moisturizing and cleaning leather products
  5. Oiling wood cutting boards and wood bowls
  6. Polishing Bronze – all you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your bronze.
  7. Polish Furniture – coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish wood furniture. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you’d like.
  8. Seasoning animal hide drums
  9. Seasoning cookware
  10. Soap making – coconut oil can be used as one of the fats in soap.

Did we miss any? Do you use coconut oil for something not on the list?

I am always excited to find new ways to implement coconut oil!


Original article and credits: via theheartysoul


Natural Homemade Tooth Powder

I have periodontal disease.  My dentist, years ago, offered to do the gum scraping the dental profession has to offer those with periodontal disease.  I decided to pass.  Dentist highly suggested I use dental irrigation and floss regularly, neither of which I did.  I bought the Water Pik and couldn’t stand getting water all over myself at the sink and used it about three times, then stuffed it back into the bathroom cabinet and — hey, I bought it!, so that has to be a good thing.  But you have to actually use it.

Recently it came up in conversation with a new neighbor, now that I moved — and in the move, ditched the old Water Pik — how she cured her periodontal disease with myrrh gum and a Water Pik.

Well, hmm.  I was thinking it might be time to look at that again.

I bought a water irrigator device for the shower!  Aha!  I won’t mind if water gets all over me in the shower. Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.28.18 PM That’s why you take a shower.  Okay, that’s Step 1; now how about that myrrh gum thing?

I found a recipe for myrrh gum tooth powder, since I didn’t know if my neighbor actually just uses myrrh gum or what she does.  Yes, later I found out that it’s possible to buy straight myrrh gum, little myrrh pellets in a bottle, and she chews on those.  That’s what she does:  myrrh gum and a Water Pik in the sink and she’s good to go.

I mixed up the tooth powder, and I wet my toothbrush, dip it into the tooth powder, brush my teeth with the myrrh gum tooth powder, then jump in the shower and rinse my teeth and gums with the Oral Breeze shower attachment.  It’s working for me.  I bought mine through eBay.  The same item is also available at Amazon at the same price.  Clicking on the photo should take you to the Amazon page to buy the Oral Breeze.  Again, I’m not affiliated with Amazon, eBay, Oral Breeze or anybody else; I’m just sharing what works for me.

I found the tooth powder recipe here and would suggest that readers go to the original page for the helpful tips and advice there.

The recipe uses “parts.”  I translated that to be “one tablespoon.”  I didn’t measure exactly, and some scoops with the tablespoon were a little taller than others.  I started filling a pint glass jar with:

IMG_0312Four parts clay (white or bentonite). I used bentonite clay since I have that already and use it in my remineralizing toothpaste recipe.

One part baking soda.  I use Bob’s Red Mill because it has no aluminum.  But I’m not sure about aluminum in baking soda.  Is aluminum added to other brands?  I don’t know.

One-half part white oak bark powder. I estimated at half a tablespoon.  I’d like to leave the original post’s comments here and I’ll quote them:  “For those of us with receding gums, loose teeth, or painful jaws, white oak bark provides huge relief and healing. Oak bark contains tannins which tighten loose teeth and gums, and over time can help the retain the elasticity of the tissue. White oak also contains high levels of minerals — calcium, manganese and zinc — which will strengthen the teeth and jaw over time.”  I bought my white oak bark powder from Mountain Rose Herbs, and I am not affiliated with them or with anyone else.

One-half part myrrh gum powder.  And here’s the main ingredient, the myrrh!  Again, I added roughly half a tablespoon.  Her description for myrrh:  “Myrrh preserves tissue, slowing its deterioration. So, if you have recession or infection problems, this ingredient is a must.”  Or, I’m guessing, a person could buy just the myrrh gum pellets and chew on them and call it a day.

One-half part clove powder.  I estimated half a tablespoon here too.  “Cloves are powerful pain relievers. In fact, if you have a painful tooth, you can place a few drops of clove oil on the affected area and the pain should quickly vanish. I like clove in this recipe because of its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.”

Xylitol for sweetening.  I used one tablespoon.  Do not give this recipe to dogs if you’re going to use Xylitol in it.

Peppermint oil for flavoring.  I dripped some into the jar and it probably ended up being 1/4 tsp to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid.

IMG_0313I stirred the peppermint oil into the powder with a set of chopsticks, then shook it up a few times and scraped the extra oil off the sides.  I noticed that my first recipe looks kind of red, and this recipe looks kind of gray.  The first time I added some cinnamon I ground up with my cinnamon grinder; I didn’t add that this time.  That probably accounts for the color difference.  I didn’t care for the grittiness in the first recipe, so we’ll see if eliminating the cinnamon takes away the grittiness.

On the original page where this recipe appears she gives some other tips and great information as well.  I’d suggest checking it out!

I’ve been using this recipe and the shower irrigator since sometime in November, which is several months now, and I can tell there’s a change for the better in my mouth.

A couple of other things I wanted to add:

>>using coconut oil to “swish” your mouth, holding the coconut oil in your mouth and swishing it around for a few minutes, is very helpful.  When my teeth are feeling really sensitive for whatever reason, if I swish with coconut oil several times a day over a few days’ time, that really helps.

>>I just tried my new recipe, *with* the peppermint and *without* the cinnamon from the grinder, and WHOOH!!!  Boy, is that peppermint oil refreshing!  I like this recipe a lot.

>>I also love a toothpaste recipe I’ve purchased at Ascended Health.  They put some amazing ingredients in their products, physical as well as energetic and etheric.  Highly recommend Ascended Health.  And again, I am not affiliated with Ascended Health or anyone else.  I just love their stuff.

>>One drawback to this tooth powder:  it’s drippy.  It’s not a nice sticking-together paste that foams, stays put in your mouth while you brush your teeth, and then you spit it out.  No, it kind of drips out of your mouth onto whatever you might be wearing at the time, and it’s dark in color due to the cinnamon and cloves.  It doesn’t seem to stain, though, and does come out in the wash.  Still, this is such a good recipe I’m willing to put up with the inconvenience.


Some updates:  My AirBNB guests love the homemade tooth powder I leave in the bathroom in small containers for their use.

Tonight I’m making a new batch and did a little searching around online for different recipes. As a result I’m adding tonight:  3/4 part Real Salt; a tiny bit of activated charcoal powder (my “part” to measure things tonight was a 1/4 cup measure, and I added 1 tsp. activated charcoal to the mix); 1 part powdered cinnamon; and 1 part mint leaves made into powder in the Vitamix.  The Vitamix reduced 1 part whole mint leaves into about 1/2 part powdered mint leaves.

I also ran across people using, among other things, some MSM crystals on a toothbrush (plain) and brushing with MSM; and I ran across a comment about Dr. Richard Schulze having healed his 9 mm gum pockets down to a 2 or 3 by brushing with cayenne.  I haven’t added either MSM or cayenne to my tooth powder recipe, but I might experiment with them individually.


Oh my, 3/4 part Real Salt was WAY too  much.  That pretty much ruined the batch.  I’m going to have to make a brand new batch because this was too salty.

What’s really in your shampoo


Today I sat in the sun on my front porch with my dog, and my new neighbor and her dog came along.  We had a nice little chat and ended up talking about what’s in shampoo, among other things.  I talked about my own journey into finding the homemade shampoo that works best for me.  Here’s an article from 2009, long before I ever got wise to making my own shampoo, and — spoiler alert — the author uses Sunlight Dish Detergent as his shampoo.

What’s really in your shampoo 

Sure, a couple ingredients clean your hair. But the rest are a veritable toxic dump on your head 

There are two types of ingredients in shampoo. One type cleans your hair. The other type strokes your emotions. I’m holding a bottle of Pantene Pro V, one of the world’s most popular shampoos. Of the 22 ingredients in this bottle of shampoo, three clean hair. The rest are in the bottle not for the hair, but for the psychology of the person using the shampoo. At least two-thirds of this bottle, by volume, was put there just to make me feel good.

 The world spends around $230 billion on beauty products every year. Of this figure, $40 billion go to shampoo purchases. North Americans blow almost $11 billion on shampoo and conditioner each year. So most soap manufacturers aren’t willing to rely on a product that merely works. The bigger job is convincing the consumer that their soap is adding value to the consumer’s life. So shampoo bottles include extra concoctions aimed at convincing the man or woman in the shower that the soap is more “luxurious” or “effective.” Because beautiful hair doesn’t just happen.

Have you got the greasies? One shampoo ingredient is all you need: detergent. Detergents are chemicals designed to bond to both water and grease. When the shampooer massages shampoo into the scalp, the detergent adheres to the grease. The detergent attaches to the rinse water and leaves, taking the grease (sebum) with it.

The most common shampoo detergents are ammonium lauryl sulphate and one of its molecular sidekicks, ammonium laureth sulphate. These viscous, yellow liquids, with the water of a shower, are enough to make your hair clean. They help stop the greasies.

Shampoo tends to use five factors to help the user feel good about it: shine, thickeners, lather, color, smell, coatings and exotic ingredients. Those ingredients, though they have nothing to do with cleansing, are part of the sell to convince you that something beautiful happens to your hair.

Consumers value shininess in nearly everything, including hair. For hair to shine, the cuticles of the hair must lie flat. Imagine a strand of hair as a stack of flimsy paper cups. When all the lips of the cup, called imbrications, lie flat, hair shines. Dull hair has the cups’ lips sticking up. To get imbrications to lie flat, hair needs to be exposed to mildly acidic substances, so substances like citric acid are added to make the imbrications lie down and give hair that shiny look and to let yourself glow.

Consumers believe that thick is better. Which may explain why George Bush was a two-termer. Shampooers trust the velvet heft of the shampoo in the palms of their hands. So five of the 20 ingredients on the list are there because they help thicken the soap. Thickness also guarantees that people use more shampoo than necessary. There’s salt, glycol distearate, cetyl alcohol, ammonium xylene sulfonate and others: body on tap.

And where would we be without suds? Cleaning agents do tend to foam a little when they’re used, but the bubbles don’t affect the cleansing much. However, the extra lather helps convince the shampooer that the soap is working. Lathering agents are added to boost the suds, chemicals like cocamide MEA. This little devil, besides being toxic in a few ways, also helps the lather to stay once it’s been raised, a sudsy Viagra, with the help of known associates like the plastic PEG-7M. Great lather for great-looking hair.

Consumers tend to believe that good things must also be pretty. So shampoo manufacturers add colors, like purple and green, with reflective particulates to form blossoming clouds. Colors are often a problem either for humans or for the environment, like good old red dye no. 3, banned in 1990, eight years after a number of reliable studies revealed its cancer-causing tendency. Don’t hate it for being beautiful.

Smell is important, because after the bathers have washed their hair, smell reminds them that the soap has done its job. Gee, some hair smells terrific. Smell is often associated with a brand, and smell helps to form the most intimate psychological connection a soap can make with its user. But the more “natural” the smell, the less natural the machinations behind it. That lovely apple smell has about as much to do with apples as Dick Cheney with world peace. And fragrance can be particularly dangerous because it’s not specifically labeled. It’s a combination of ingredients that could be harmless, on one hand or, on the other, noxious.

Once the natural oils have been removed from scalp and hair, shampoo often replaces them with conditioners derived from animals or plants. These conditioners coat the air and smooth its surface. The bottle of shampoo I’m holding uses dimethicone to coat the hair (it also helps to thicken the shampoo). It’s a silicone-based chemical that coats hair and skin. You’ll also find it in caulking, Silly Putty, and herbicides. No more tears. No more tangles.

Some shampoo sounds more like chicken marinade than shampoo, boasting of vitamins, minerals, protein and herbs. But, the vitamins and minerals and exotic extras play a useless role. So whether the shampoo brags that it is “infused” with real beer, exotic proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, or extracts from some fabulously endangered species, the additive saturates the users’ minds, not their hair.

All these ingredients would go bad were it not for preservatives, a chemical equivalent of the right to bear arms. Sodium benzoate, for example, is handy because it kills nearly every living thing that might start to grow in a shampoo bottle. Ironically, in most cases the detergents won’t go bad. It’s the psychological ingredients that need preservation.

And these chemicals are tough to track down because tracking chemical names, it turns out, is a little like tracking criminals. Most have several aliases and fake IDs, play a role in many different products, and are shifty when caught and questioned. Some have long toxicity records; others are suspects in a range of problems. Of the 22 shampoo ingredients in my hand, all except three have proved to contribute, or are suspected of contributing, to health or environmental problems. Most of these ingredients, though known toxins, are permitted for use, because the small quantities limit human and environmental exposure.

Most of the ingredients in shampoo “may” cause health concerns. The word “may” is used because most chemicals have never been tested. Of the more than 80,000 chemicals registered and used in the U.S. since World War II, fewer than 500 have ever been properly studied for their effects on humans and the environment. So it’s hard to say exactly how dangerous it is to use shampoo every day.

In May, 2008, Jane Houlihan, director of research for the Environmental Working Group, reported on the dangers of cosmetics and personal care products to a House subcommittee. She believes that these products, including shampoo, are the biggest source of human exposure to dangerous chemicals. According to Houlihan, “companies are free to use almost any ingredient they choose in personal care products, with no proof of safety required.” Consumers are not properly warned of possible dangers because of a “lack of standards and labeling loopholes.” Let’s just say that the less you hang out with any of these chemicals, the better off you are, we all are.

Mount Sinai Hospital reports that 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released in the U.S. each year, the equivalent of 37,100 tanker trucks of noxious chemicals. A lot of these chemicals are released from homes every day. Daily, 45 billion gallons of wastewater go down the drain to be treated at one of the 16,000 water treatment plants in the U.S. But wastewater plants are designed to handle only the major pollutants. They can’t remove the diversity of chemicals that humans flush every day.

This is the big problem with the shampoo ingredients: When a man rinses his hair, all the ingredients wash down the drain, carrying the grease to boot. And as one man’s shampoo travels down the pipe, it meets up with a woman’s, and so on, and so on, and so on. At least 350 million gallons of shampoo and its unregulated ingredients flow down U.S. drains every year. And many of these chemicals flow straight into our freshwater systems.

Shampoo, for example, contributes to high levels of estrogen and estrogen-like substances (endocrine disrupters) in freshwater downstream of sewage treatment plants that damage fish populations and cause male fish to grow ovaries, a sort of liquid feminism. My hometown of Calgary, Canada, studied the fish downstream of where we add our treated sewage to the river and discovered that female fish outnumber male fish 9 to 1. Estrogen runs through it. One study identifies more than 200 chemicals that are still present in wastewater after treatment. But the problem is likely much larger: environmental damage is difficult to estimate because we’re dumping chemicals into the environment that have never been studied.

As we get to know some of these chemicals better, we discover that they should not be trusted. Health Canada is proposing concentration limits for two common shampoo ingredients, siloxanes D4 and D5, aka, Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane and Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, respectively. D4 and D5 did make hair easier to dry, silky soft, and easier to work with. Also handy when making plastics and paint. Sometimes you need a little D4 or D5. Sometimes you need a lot. But Health Canada suspects that D4 and D5 are affecting fish and aquatic organisms. But, oh, how hair shines.

So I can live without the bottled psychology. My new shampoo, Sunlight Dish Detergent, has just four ingredients. It’s runny and slightly acidic, smells vaguely lemony, doesn’t foam excessively and looks anemic. It’s not perfect, just better. I need to apply it only once when I shampoo. With each shampoo, I use a 10th of the volume that regular shampoo requires. The bottle will last at least a year, as my last one did. And though its ingredients aren’t worth celebrity endorsement, my hair gets clean and I expose my body and the environment to less risk.

Vibrations and Healing

saw 005Lately I’ve been learning a lot, mostly through my dreams, about sound and frequency and vibration and healing, how they’re all connected.  Well, come to think of it, the YouTube videos I’m watching have a lot to do with this too.

This morning I was reminded, in my dream time, that whatever frequency I’m putting out is what I’ll get back, faster than ever before.  For example:  last night I was talking with some friends about periodontal disease.  We all have periodontal disease.  How do you fix that?  We were sharing our stories, talking about it, wondering what the right approach would be for each of us.

In my dream world I was reminded that if I’m at the frequency of “periodontal disease” and stressing about, talking about or worrying about “periodontal disease,” that’s what I’ll get more of:  more periodontal disease.

Instead:  sing a Happy Teeth song.  Whenever I’m tempted to give in to worry about periodontal disease, sing a Happy Teeth song.

There’s a lot we don’t remember yet about sound, vibration, and creation.  Thought, put into words, creates a sound, and sound creates reality.  If I put out the sound, the vibration, the worry, the fretting, the analysis about, “periodontal disease,” that’s what I’ll get back.  If I release the worry about periodontal disease and just focus on “happy teeth,” it will release the resistance I may have and the right information will come to me, I will attract the right dentist if I need one, and so on and so on.

This isn’t a perfect illustration of what I’m thinking about, but it shows that current research is going in this direction too:  sound, vibration, energy, creation…

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