Some Updates

Wow.  I’ve been neglecting the blog.  January was busy, I guess.  And now February has been busy too.  I’ve been helping my husband with his blog and trying to workout and joined a book club so I’ve been sneaking in minutes here and there to read the book (tonight’s the night!  I’m hoping that the book club is nice.  I love reading and the last one I joined was pretty disappointing).  Today I thought I’d update on some of the natural product choice changes we’ve been making from The LIST:

#3: Stop Using SLS based shampoos and soaps.  Happy to say this is going well!  I’ve eliminated a bunch of products already: facial cleanser, shampoo, baby wash, bath gel, and toothpaste.  Yay for us!  We do use softsoap to wash our hands, though and I’m not sure but I’m guessing that also has SLS.  I need to look into that and also to see if Dove moisturizing bars contain SLS.

#4 – Begin Using a Natural Toothpaste.  We’ve been using a natural toothpaste from Trader Joe’s for several weeks now.  No complaints here.  My mouth feels clean and fresh.  The texture of the toothpaste is different from what I’m used to though.  It’s thicker, drier and grittier than the toothpastes we typically buy.  I haven’t heard any complaints from my husband either.  We’ll see if the dentist notices anything.  If not, then we’re sticking to it.  I bought a tube of Tom’s to try next.  I think I want to experiment a little and see what we like out there.

#14: Switch to cloth wipes.  I started using cloth wipes about two and a half weeks ago.  So far it’s going well.  I made up a solution of olive oil, baby wash, and water and have been spraying it onto wash cloths to wipe down baby.  I use them for both wet and dirty diapers.  It’s really not that bad.  I do still use disposable wipes but WAAAY fewer.  Sometimes on Karina’s crazy diapers, I’d use five or six wipes.  Now I’ll use a couple cloths and maybe a disposable wipe or two.  Much better.  And I really really like the idea that I’m not putting so many scary chemicals on her, like the kind that are toxic when inhaled.  Ugh.  I do use disposable wipes on the go, however.  I think now that I’m going to be using them more sparingly, I’ll buy the natural/flushable kind. I’m open to any recommendations if you have any!

On a side note, we’ve also switched the type of garbage bags we use.  We used to buy a big box of them for pretty cheap at costco.  We just started buying biodegradable garbage bags.  I’m not sure if my city shreds garbage before putting it in the landfill so I thought these couldn’t hurt help the contents of the bags biodegrade a little faster.  So far we haven’t had any issues with leaks or anything like that.  One thing that is a little more cumbersome is that the kind we bought don’t have drawstrings like the old ones did.  This makes things harder in two ways…first, I have to get a garbage tie and tie it up instead of grabbing the drawstring and tying up the bag on the way to the big garbage can in the garage.  Next, since there’s no drawstring, it slips out of the kitchen trash can more easily and I find that I’m having to re-fit it at least once a day.

Man. Being less green sure is easier.  Sometimes I think about whether or not I’d be more productive if I just trashed stuff like diapers and wipes and didn’t bother recycling.  I guess I would have a few more minutes in the day but that’s just not me.



#4 on the LIST – Begin using a natural toothpaste

I was shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day and saw that they had a number of natural toothpastes to choose from so I decided to pick one up. They had both Tom’s and a Trader Joe’s brand. I opted for the Trader Joe’s brand and picked this one:
Haven’t tried it yet but honestly, I grabbed it without much thought and without doing my homework first.  So I started looking at the label a little closer when I got home.  Here are some of the things it says:

  • Contains no artificial sweeteners.  Ya!  one of my goals with a natural toothpaste!
  • No Sodium Laurel Sulfate  Sweet!  Also on my list!
  • No Propylene Glycol Cool – according to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database: “Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin conditioning agent. It has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis as well as contact urticaria in humans; these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2%.”
  • Active Ingredient:  Sodium Monofluorophosphate .76% – anticavity toothpaste This doesn’t sound very natural but it’s basically fluoride.  I think for now I’m ok with using a fluoride toothpaste for me and my husband.  Baby’s toothpaste is fluoride free.
  • Inactive ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Hydrated Silica, Menta Piperita (Peppermint) oil, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Chrondos Crispus (Carrageenan).
  • All Natural.  No animal testing.  No animal products.  I like that.

I’m confused though.  I don’t understand the definition of “natural.”  So I thought I’d break down some of these ingredients (and PLEASE take this with a grain of salt.  I did this research at a very surface level.  I’m no expert with this type of thing):

  1. Sodium Monofluorophosphate: (MFP) – inorganic compound that is a salt, that is believed to protect tooth enamel from cavity causing bacteria
  2. Calcium Carbonate – commonly found in rocks, and is the main component of egg shells, pearls, snails.  According to wikipedia, the majority of calcium carbonate used is extracted by mining or quarrying
  3. Glycerin – This one confused me somewhat.  Again, according to wikipedia, glycerol is largely created as a by-product of soap making.  I don’t understand how this is natural.
  4. Sodium Bicarbonate – Baking soda…I’ve often wondered why this is considered natural.  Apparently it is commonly extracted from the ashes of many plants but is synthetically produced in large quantities for industry.  I wonder where the sodium bicarbonate in my toothpaste came from..
  5. Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate – A foaming agent and sugar replacer that is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe.  But I don’t see how it’s natural either.  My gut tells me it’s better than SLS and artificial sweeteners, though.
  6. Hydrated Silica – Found in opal.  Used as an abrasive to clean away plaque.
  7. Peppermint OIl – Not going to research this one 🙂
  8. Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate – Extremely mild, gently sudsing surfactant derived from the amino acid glutamic acid and coconut fatty acid
  9. Chrondos Crispus – Irish Algae used as a thickening agent.

Man a few minutes of googling and you learn a lot.  So I’m not 100% satisfied that it’s ALL NATURAL but I’ve drank the Kool-Aid for now and do think it’s better for me than my usual Colgate or Crest.  Aww…I’ve been a Crest kid my whole life.  Times are a-changing.  In case you’re wondering, here’s what’s in the Colgate tube in my cabinet:

  • Active Ingredients:  Potassium Nitrate, Sodium Fluoride
  • Inactive Ingredients: water, hydrated Silica, glycerin, sorbitol, PEG-12, PVM/MA copolymer, sodium laurel sulfate, flavor, poloxamer 407, trisodium phosphate, sodium hydroxide, cellulose gum, sodium saccharine, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide

Some of the same suspects but way more chemicals, especially in the inactive ingredients.  I’m glad I don’t swallow too much of this stuff.