Friday Roundup - March 18, 2016

What I've been reading, writing, thinking about and indulging in this week

Measuring toxic cosmetics: This new study showed a large drop in detectable chemicals in the bodies of teenage girls just three days after they quit conventional personal care products. This study is also notable because the teenage subjects helped scientists to design it!

More teenage health issues: growing numbers of teenagers are using the Pill and other hormonal contraceptives, for birth control and for issues like menstrual regularity, cramps and acne. This article by naturopath Dr. Lara Briden gives some of the reasons why that's not great news.

Technology Pick-me-up: I probably look at my phone between 1 and 2 gajillion times a day. While I work on keeping technology in its place, I also tricked out my phone with some thoughtful and pretty wallpapers I found here.

Organs at Play: The Awkward Yeti is a favorite comic of mine, following the adventures of impulsive Heart and sensible Brain. This strip called 'overindulgence' features a guest appearance by Liver and made me laugh out loud.

I'll be gone on a ten day meditation retreat starting next week, so no Friday Roundups for a bit. I'll be back to rounding up on April 8!


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Detox Your Skin Part II: Three ingredients to avoid

I've been sharing lots of information about the toxic ingredients in conventional cosmetics and skin care products this month - it's a big part of the reason I started to make my own skin care products, and if you're reading this, you're probably considering making your own or purchasing natural options like Angelica & Peony. In an earlier article, I suggest 4 easy swaps to make that would eliminate many of the most dangerous chemicals from your daily routine. On last week's TCMTalk, I covered three of the nastiest chemicals that are found in many products, and wanted to share that info with you here on the blog (watch the episode here).

Some facts: (I'm trying a new thing where you can tweet info directly from the article - click the birdie to tweet!)

  • @@The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 chemicals every day@@
  • @@Less than 20% of the chemicals in American personal care products have been assessed for safety by the industry@@
  • @@Only 11 chemicals are banned for use in skin care in the US, compared to 1, 328 in the EU@@

Do we have to prove to a scientific certainty that a chemical is dangerous in order to want to avoid it? NO! There are completely safe and natural alternatives - what is the risk in NOT exposing ourselves?

The Gruesome Threesome (these are just a few of the chemicals found in common products. Check out for more information on this issue and the science behind this article)


Where are they found: this family of chemicals is found in shampoos, lotions and washes that contain water, where they act to prevent microbe growth

What's the concern: reproductive and hormonal disruption, cancer link.

Extra ick factor: @@Parabens are found in the urine of virtually all US adults, and at higher concentrations in women@@ Parabens have also been found in breast cancer tumours and inbreast tissue. They cross through the skin and into the body.

BHA and BHT:

Where are they found: used as a preservative in makeup, skin care, shampoos, deodorant, sunscreen

What's the concern: endocrine disruption and organ toxicity. both the European Union and Environment Canada concluded that there is a strong link to endocrine disruption and toxicity in mammals and banned or restricted these chemicals.


Where are they found: listed under many names including phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance. Under US regulations ‘fragrance’ can be listed on products without the ingredients specified, and generally contains a variety of chemicals that you don't want to come in contact with. In general avoid products that list ‘fragrance’

What's the concern: Cancer and reproductive harm. The male reproductive system is especially vulnerable, and baby boys can be exposed in the womb or through breast milk.

There’s more if you can stand it - check out Chemicals of Concern from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for an ingredient breakdown

Check out my article for how to start swapping your conventional skin care for non-toxic alternatives. It’s easier than you think!


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Friday Roundup - October 16

What I've been reading, writing, thinking about and indulging in this week

Toxic Beauty Companies: It's October, which among other things, is 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month.' There's been lots of great discussion in recent years about the problem with 'pinkwashing.' This searing indictment from Peggy Orenstein is one I reread every October. This year Breast Cancer Action, an organization I got to know through my volunteer work at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, is raising the roof about an especially egregious 'pinkwash.'

Cosmetic companies donate products to people in treatment for breast cancer, and those products both CAUSE cancer and even interfere with treatment. If you're as horrified by that as I am, sign the BCA petition here, and of course, kick those toxic products out of your own bathroom, purse or gym bag! Breast Cancer Action believes 'Breast cancer is a social justice issue and a public health crisis' and I agree!

Homemade hotsauce: I love hot sauces and fermented pastes of all kinds. But a lot of my favorites have junk in them that I'd prefer to avoid. (oh Oyster Sauce, we have to break up!) This week I snagged some organic red jalapenos and in just a few minutes, whipped up my own completely natural and additive free chili paste. I've been having it on everything and have to make more! I used this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo, but made it a little chunkier than her 'sriracha' version. I also succumbed to the hype and bought some Red Boat Fish Sauce, the 'champagne of fish sauce' Honestly, it's not hype - this stuff is incredible!

Busy, busy bee! That's me! Fall is bringing me lots of opportunities and I'm working hard to share the word about Angelica & Peony. I'll be at the Patchwork Show  on October 25 in Jack London Square, and I'm excited to announce I'll be at the Opal Street Center on November 14 for a festive herbalist and maker fair with an amazing group of healers, more deets soon. My friend and colleague Denise Cicuto L.Ac and I have been having so much fun doing Periscope live broadcasts together, that we're going to make it a regular thing - catch us Thursday, October 29 at 4 pm PST for our next installment (and email or comment if you have questions about Chinese Medicine, natural health, gynecology or skin care that you'd like us to tackle!)

Have a great weekend!

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