Cleaning up Your Tooth Care Routine

Cleaning up Your Tooth Care Routine

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #9

Coming up for two years ago I decided that toothpaste wasn’t doing me or my family any favours. Despite cycling through various and increasingly expensive brands we still all had sensitive teeth, my husband’s teeth required frequent dental work and my daughters had tiny but resistant plaque deposits. At the time I was reading up a lot on the zero-waste movement and using bicarbonate of soda / sodium bicarbonate as a toothpaste alternative was recommended in order to cut down on plastic toothpaste tubes ending up in landfill. Hmmm…

So we tried brushing with bicarbonate of soda. Not a great taste and the powder was rather abrasive. But our teeth gradually became less sensitive, my husbands stains from his black coffee habit began to disappear (he has not needed any dental treatment at all since ditching toothpaste) and my daughters both lost those plaque deposits.

Thanks to zero-waste I also found out that billions of plastic toothbrushes are sent to landfill every year! These will not biodegrade in landfill, and many end up in the sea where marine life consume them. We immediately swapped over to bamboo toothbrushes which we chuck in our compost bin once the bristles become splayed.

Then last year I heard a ReWild Yourself podcast with Nadine Artemis and was inspired to buy her excellent book on Holistic Dental Care. And I was pleased to have it confirmed by her that quitting conventual toothpaste had been a Very Good Decision!Here’s a very brief lowdown on just some of the ingredients in toothpaste (taken from Artemis’ book)

Flouride: a massive disruptor of your body’s chemistry and damager of gums. Propylene Glycol: commonly used as an antifreeze and so irritates your mucous membranes. Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that interferes with your mouth’s natural microbiome. Ethanol: indicated in cases of mouth cancer. Detergents and surfactants: irritants and increasing skin permeability. Trisodium phosphate: can cause bleeding gums and inflamed nerves. Glycerin: coats the teeth and so blocks the saliva from remineralising the enamel.

Previous to reading her book I had been using coconut oil as an oil puller to good effect but the taste was tending to make me gag a bit so we started using salt water as a pre-clean mouth rinse. (In the picture above you’ll see a shot glass of pink Himalayan salt but you can use sea or rock salt too.) Salt rinse benefits? Wound healing, improves the mouth’s microbiome (i.e. makes the mouth’s environment inhospitable to “bad” bacteria but more welcoming to the “good” bacteria!), freshens breath, reduces inflammation and is pH balancing. A pinch of salt in a shot glass of warm water is all you need.

We’ve also experimented a bit with adding different ingredients to the bicarbonate of soda. Bentonite clay dulls down the salty taste and is a good detoxifier for the mouth. Xylitol doubles both as a sweetener and improving the mouth’s microbiome. Activated charcoal is a great tooth whitener. But when I got annoyed with having a bathroom cupboard full of packets of powder I opted to buy a ready made tooth powder. Our current jar, from Laila London contains: calcium carbonate, clove bud powder*, peppermint*, ginger powder*, lemon peel powder*, cinnamon* and activated coconut charcoal* (* certified organic.) It tastes great too!

Because I am rather finicky about oral care (seven teeth extracted due to overcrowding and both bodged and painful orthodontic work mean that the teeth I have left are rather precious to me!) I also use dental floss (I buy a silk floss rather than a plastic one) and a copper tongue scraper twice a day.

If you aren’t convinced that what you use to clean your teeth isn’t that important because you spit it all out anyway it’s worth remembering knowing this: the mouth spray is the fastest acting of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. One squirt to the side of the mouth and the nicotine is absorbed through the mouth lining and delivered directly into the blood stream where it starts to work on cravings in 60 seconds. Have a look at the list of toothpaste ingredients again. Think about whether you want to give them such a fast and effective delivery system to your entire body!

Tell me your tips for detoxing your oral health. I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Rethink Breakfast Cereals

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #8

So you’ve all heard about the origins of Kellogg’s corn flakes right? No? Mwahahaha! You’re in for a treat then. Dr Kellogg was a Seventh Day Adventist who believed that “Neither plague, nor war, nor small-pox have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism. Such a victim dies literally by his own hand.”

Yep, to cut a long story short, Dr Kellogg developed corn flakes to cure the life and soul destroying effects of masturbstion!

Quackery as it sounds though, he had a point. No! Not that having a sex drive is bad! In fact, having a healthy libido is a key sign that your health is generally doing ok. If your health is under par then your body won’t necessarily want to encourage behaviour that might end in pregnancy.  His point that cereals reduce libido though? That one. That’s the point I’d like to expand on. 

Until Kellogg began promoting his anti-libido cereals at the turn of the 20th century, western breakfast eaters were fueling themselves with either meat and eggs or some kind of porridge. Until the misinformed diet police started getting their knickers in a twist over fatty breakfasts we were breakfasting on just the right stuff for good energy and, yes, a healthy libido! Here’s why: cholesterol and saturated fats are vital components of all hormone production! And having a healthy sex drive is reliant on your body being able to synthesise sex hormones, namely testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and vasopressin. If Dr Kellogg wanted to reduce sex drive then restricting the ingredients of traditional breakfast fare was an effective measure!

And if you aren’t convinced by the whole libido argument. How about breakfast cereals messing up your stress hormone cycles? Starting your day with a carbohydrate based breakfast causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn increases your insulin production. Both of which interfere with your natural daily cortisol cycle. And when your cortisol levels are high then your non-emergency functions such as digestion, reproduction and wound healing are going to get suppressed. 

Those low-fat, added vitamins, superfoods enriched health claims on the side of the box aren’t looking so hot now are they?

What about those lovely, natural, fibre containing, organic and whole grain cereals from the health food shop? Well, it’s also worth noting that whole grains contain both enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion and phytic acid that combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc and blocks absorption of these vital minerals. So sorry, but these aren’t great either. And check the nutrition panel for sugar. Don’t be fooled by the wholesome sounding ingredients like honey, maple syrup or, I don’t know, enchanted fairy nectar. Every 4.2 grams equals one teaspoon of sugar. Add up the weight of your serving (I’m guessing it’s more than the suggested 30g.) Do the maths. 

So, what can you eat for breakfast? 

The first thing to remember is that the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mantra is misleading. Breakfast literally means to break your fast. There is no rule that says that this has to be as soon as you wake up, or even in the morning. It’s the quality that counts. Not the timing. 

But I’m not about to deprive you of “something in a bowl” of a morning so if that’s your bag you can always try my breakfast porridge, my chia breakfast bowl or my yoghurt breakfast bowl. And, when I get round to it I will blog a lovely sugar free and low carb granola post for you. Because I realise that was a cruel trick to post a picture of some healthy homemade stuff and not actually  give you a recipe. Sorry…

If a hot drink is the most you can face then Bulletproof coffee is great. Or, try my hot coconut and vanilla shake or my breakfast hot chocolate 

A weekend breakfast is the perfect time for a fry up. But if you are missing pastries or bagels then you could try my peanut butter muffins or my breakfast cheesecake. (I’ve also just realised I have omitted to write a recipe post for pancakes! Whaaat? I will rectify this soon. Promise!)

And, of course, there’s always bone broth! (How could I finish a post about breakfast without it?!)

Don’t Put Bleach in Your Vagina

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #7

Ok, so as far as witty, catching and soothing blog post titles go, this may not have been my best one. But I wanted to get the embarrassment factor out of the way first. If you can get past the title, and I really hope you can, you can manage the content. Still with me? Yay! Then let’s begin…

With the onset of menstruation now often beginning in girls around the age of 9, and menstrual flow apparently getting heavier in successive generations of women we, in Western society at least, are becoming increasingly exposed to a dangerous cocktail of chemicals, absorbent synthetics and bleaches in and around the vagina from the products we use every month. And these are damaging our health in a very real way.

Contrary to popular belief, vaginas are pretty good at looking after themselves. They have their own microbiome: colonies of bacteria that are responsible for monitoring infections, cellular health, lubrication and specific diseases. But unfortunately antibiotic use, certain contraceptives, deodorisers, “sanititisers” and all commercially produced tampons and pads all destroy this perfectly balanced eco-system. And that’s when things start to go wrong. Thrush, bacterial vaginosis, inflamed and sensitive genitalia, potentially even cancer.

And why? It’s to do with what materials are used in producing tampons and pads. Here are just a few of the problems: that pure looking cotton? Produced from GMO and heavily sprayed cotton crops. This cotton will have been bleached for cosmetic reasons and treated for bacteria, mould and fungus, not always effectively. Then treated with absorbency enhancers and possibly synthetic fragrances. And those pads? Those weird jelly like absorbency  crystals with “odour neutralisers” release toxic chemicals that have a direct path to your reproductive system. It’s no wonder that women are suffering an increasing amount of “women’s ailments.”
Now there are a ton of different ways to encourage your vaginal microbiome back to a healthier climate. But this is one of Flojo’s Easy Detox Tips so lets just choose an easy one for now eh? Here are your easy instructions for claiming back your vaginal health:

  1. Read through the recommended reading from the links below. Education here is everything.
  2. Next I’d really like it if you went online and found yourselves some washable pads. You’re looking for some that are some kind of cotton and bamboo mix, possibly with a charcoal layer to safely absorb odours and stains. They’ll have poppers to secure them to your pants (no more accidentally sticking the pads to your delicate bits!) and to fold them shut in between use. And all you need to do is chuck them in the washing machine at the end of the day – no fabric conditioner please – and they’ll probably be dry by the morning if you hang them out to air. Yes, they might feel like a large outlay at first but I figure the average woman (whoever she is!) should have broken even within a couple of years.
  3. Finally, have a look into a silicon menstrual cup to replace your tampon use. Yes, they are a faff to get the hang of for a few cycles but it does get considerably easier. And you can use them while swimming. And, most importantly, many women (myself included) note a significant decline in the amount of blood lost over a few cycles. Have a look for various online communities discussing the merits of the different brands and the different ways to fold and insert the cups if you are interested.

Recommended Reading

What Exactly Are You Putting up Your Foof

Wellness Mama: The Problem with Pads and Tampons

Meghan Telpner: Tampons

Podcast with Nadine Artemis: Self Care A Woman’s Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #6

Ok. I’m back in business. Made the decision, set some intentions and booked in some clients. And wow have I missed it! Seeing a nutritional therapy client transform in health, vitality and confidence in their ability to heal is profound and immensely rewarding.

As I scanned through a client’s food diary this week, making a few suggestions for easy swaps, it occurred to me that followers of this blog might find some of these ideas useful too. So, here’s a super easy alternative to the ubiquitous oven chip. Because your average oven chip, whether branded or supermarket generic; or even home-made is pretty much devoid of nutrients and is generally coated in sunflower oil which, while it sounds inoffensive, is an oil that is easily damaged by heat.

But these tawny babies are both properly tasty and sneakily healthy; packed with minerals and vitamins, cooked in coconut oil (which is one of the safest oils to cook with) and providing the all important perfect crunch to squish ratio.

While your oven is heating up to around 170c (these fries aren’t fussy and will happily adapt to whatever temperature your oven needs to be for other dishes) melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in a roasting tin. Meanwhile, give several organic sweet potatoes a quick wash and then cut into fries like so: Then stick them in your hot roasting tin and mix with the melted fat before sprinkling over generous amounts of sea salt and sweet smoked paprika.

Bake until nicely caramelised around the edges and serve (probably round about 30-40 mins). Appreciate that carby deliciousness. Feel smug that you are cramming some quality nutrients in with these as a side dish. Vow to never buy oven chips again.

You Have Mail!

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #5

Hi lovely people! How are you all getting on with your bite size detox tips so far? Any successes?

Now, this week might seem a bit random but before you wonder what mail/post has to do with detox, see if any of these scenarios sound familiar and note how they make you feel:

  • Tripping over the pile of junk mail that awaits your attention by your front door.
  • Having to open addressed post, that you have no interest in, in order to rip out your contact details before sorting the rest for recycling.
  • Trying to ignore the siren calls of the free catalogues which make you want to spend money on things you never knew you needed. (And still don’t!)
  • Recycling the freebie local newspapers and accompanying leaflets. (Did you read them? And if you did, was it worth it?)
  • Immediately throwing out the flimsy charity bags that get posted through your doors. You already give to charities. Just not these ones.

Do you recognise these irritations? Did they make you feel good? I’m thinking not. Does junk mail enrich your life? No? Can I get a Hell No? Ok. Let’s get rid of it. Let’s detox the letterbox’s equivalent of someone regularly popping tasteless junk food in your mouth without your permission.

Sorry, much of this advice is UK specific, but please post alternatives in the comments. And if it seems initially time consuming please remember that it will all be worth it in the end I promise!

  1. Print, fill in and send off this form to request that Royal Mail stops posting unaddressed post through your letterbox. It will take a few weeks to take effect but even then…
  2. Save the number 03452660858 because you may need to make a few follow up calls to make sure they actually follow through with your opt out request. It took me three phone calls. But it now works just fine.
  3. Contact the Mailing Preference Service to reduce the amount of addressed junk mail you receive. Those amazing credit card offers, specially for you? You really don’t want those!
  4. Put a sign on, above or over your letterbox requesting no unaddressed post or newspapers. For the first month I made a massive sign that actually covered the letterbox just to make things crystal clear. Sometimes even this didn’t work so…
  5. Be prepared to (politely!) phone or email the local paper’s editing teams or charity bases for anyone who abuses this. I’ve only ever had sincere apologies when doing this (the deliveries are usually contracted out) – and each time it has stopped the problem.
  6. Phone mail order companies you have accounts with and ask them to stop sending catalogues because you order online anyway.

And then look forward to less distraction, less wastage and less rubbish and recycling to deal with. Yeah that counts as detox! Great job, you’re saving the world too so bonus points for you!

The Best Body Scrub

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #4
Body scrubs. The tempting promise of smooth glowing skin. You step into the shower dry, jaded, grubby and flakey. Amidst birdsong and joyously dancing butterflies you close your eyes and feel all your worries and cares float away along with your crocodile hide and crone-like demeanour. You step out with the perfectly revitalised, radiant skin of a ten year old who bathes daily in spring water suspended with pearls, gold dust and the kisses of cherubic water sprites.

Or, more realistically, it probably goes a little something like this:

  1. Get warm and clean in shower before grudgingly turning water off so that your body scrub doesn’t get rinsed off before you’ve even started.
  2. Wrestle with a lid both encrusted with plastic microbeads (en route to soon be mistaken by sealife as tasty morsels, with hideous ramifications to the food chain) and slippery with that grey slime that mysteriously appears on all shower bottles.
  3. Squeeze or scoop out some lurid concoction of fake smelling oily and gritty stuff which you scrub hopefully into your elbows, feet and thighs for a minute before imminent frostbite necessitates turning the shower back on (or is this a UK specific thing?)
  4. After rinsing off most of it (accept now that you will miss a bit which will only become apparent when you towel yourself dry) you crash ungracefully onto the bathmat because your oily feet are now a health hazard.
  5. Moisturise all the bits that aren’t covered with a slick of mineral oil and pick exfoliating beads out from under your fingernails.
  6. Note that your skin feels disappointingly taut and more ruddy than rosy. What happened to the promise of revealed gleamingly nourished layers?
  7. Clean the residue of gritty gunk out of the shower stall or bath.
  8. Consider getting back in the shower to freshen up.
  9. Resolve to chuck that scrub out because your skin doesn’t look or feel any smoother or more toned. And the smell of your scrub clashes with both the body wash and moisturiser you just used. Only, obviously, you don’t chuck it out because it cost you good money. Sigh…

So? What’s the alternative?

Well, you could faff around with any number of lovely sounding homemade recipes involving coffee grounds, sugar or salt. But frankly my dears, I can’t be arsed with that.

So here’s my secret. Drum roll pur-lease…..

A washcloth. 

That’s it! Yes I know there’s also a bar of soap in the photo, but just a couple of cloths does not make for aesthetics. And I figured you might be fooled by the slightly scrubby looking texture of the soap and read the whole post in anticipation of a product recommendation. Which I’m not going to give because today is all about the poor under-appreciated washcloth. Anyway, you can still use soap if you like. Seeing as you’re probably getting washed in the shower at the same time. In fact, if it’s a decent natural soap you can use it on your face and hair too if you like.

I’m getting off task again. A plain ol’ wet washcloth rubbed in gentle circles over your face and body while warm water waterfalls down your back is kind to your skin, your wallet, the world’s precious oceans and your sanity. Try it. Like it. Appreciate the results and repeat. You’re welcome.

Related Posts:

Why I don’t buy toothpaste, cleanser, moisturiser, shampoo or conditioner. 

I Can’t Believe You Don’t Eat Butter

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #3

OK, this is a supadupa easy tip. Stop buying margarine, spreadable “butter” and any fancy schmancy low-fat, cholesterol-reducing, poly-whoodyamaflip tubs of yellow gunk! And, before you ask, even that one. And that one! Sorry, that ones gotta go too. I know it says pure/organic/healthy on the side. It’s still no good for you.

I don’t care what claims that crap makes on the side of its plastic tub; humans did perfectly well on good old butter from organically raised, pasture raised cattle for – like – ever without replacing it with bleached, purified, chemically interfered with, heated (and so damaged) artificial and additive-laden muck. The blame for the downturn in the general population’s collective health can largely be left at the door of the fake butter-peddling industry’s doors. And don’t be fooled by actual butter with “traditional values” packaging either. The nutritional content still doesn’t compare. A bit of research into seeing what commercial dairy herds are fed, how they are raised and how they are treated should put you right off.

Butter from organically raised dairy herds is the bomb! It has a great Omega 3 to 6 ratio, higher levels of vitamins D & K, more CLA (linked to weight loss) and tastes so much better than spreadable rubbish or inferior butter. Butter is a magnificent accompaniment to steaming plates of broccoli, asparagus or kale while carrots or cabbage sliced and gently fried in butter are far tastier than boiled. Not only does veg taste better with butter but the fat soluble vitamins,  such as A and D become more bio-available once served with the rich  golden stuff. In the meantime, I am more than happy to let my daughters eat it by the slice, happy in the knowledge that it’s a bonafide health food in its own right.

Further Reading:

Soil Association Definition of Organic Dairy Farming

Mark Sisson: Is All Butter Created Equal?