crunchysquared

Where healthy meets thrifty, with just a splash of crazy


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DIY Homemade Sunscreen – Plus, Tips to Skip the Sunburn this Summer!

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In the spirit of summertime, and keeping with my recent post on hydration and electrolyte drinks, we’re going to be tackling another summertime staple.

 

The most controversial of all…. SUNSCREEN!

 

It seems that there are basically two camps when it comes to this gooey white slathering:

Camp Number One: Those who won’t touch it and would prefer to cook themselves into a crispy crunchy potato chip first.

Camp Number Two: Those who, whether they enjoy its greasiness or not, endure it for fear of skin cancer and feeling like a molting lizard for a week.

 

What if I told you that I stand in Camp Number Three? What camp is that, you ask? You guessed it… the DIY camp! Yes, of course you can make your own, effective, non-toxic sunscreen. It’s easy, affordable, and safe. Not persuaded yet? Let me explain why my camp (Number Three) beats the other two hands down!

 

So, nobody likes a sunburn. I don’t burn easily at all, but occasionally, there are those times that I’m in the sun long enough to get lightly toasted. And there are other people (and babies!) who can get pink after just a short jaunt in the sun. No matter what your views on the causes of skin cancer and such, I think we all can agree that burning your skin is not healthy – or fun. So if you are in Camp Number One, that leaves you with few options. Either hide from the sun (not so easy or fun in the summertime), which leaves you vitamin D deficient and bored, or cover your skin carefully with hats, long sleeves, etc.

 

Maybe I’m intolerant, but that sounds ridiculously uncomfortable. Sun is already hot, without adding extra clothing. Just saying.

 

Then there’s Camp Number Two. Their sunscreen slathering does give more freedom for fun, but at what cost? Do our attempts to protect ourselves and our children end up doing the opposite? To remind you of what I’ve said before: what we put on our skin can affect us more than what we eat, because our liver is not able to filter out the toxins for us before they infiltrate our body.
Just another warning: sunscreen often gives a false sense of safety, making people think they can stay in the sun longer than their skin will actually tolerate, leaving them still burnt in the end. So no matter what sunscreen you use, be careful!

 

Ok, so to clarify things, there are two types of active ingredients in sunscreens: chemical (think Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, and many other hard-to-pronounce ones…) and mineral (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide). Let me start by tackling the chemical ones.

Oxybenzone is found in almost 70% of non-mineral-based sunscreens on the market. It is a chemical that disrupts hormones and can cause skin sensitivities. It is associated with endometriosis and mimics estrogen in the body.

Another popular active ingredient in sunscreens is Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate). This chemical also disrupts hormones and causes skin sensitivities. It affects the thyroid and reproductive system and was found in mothers’ milk in laboratory studies. This means that it not only penetrates the skin and becomes systemic, but it can also harm a baby if the mother applies it to her skin.

These are just a couple of the many dangerous active ingredients found in sunscreens. Then, if you add in the inactive ingredients, it frankly is just alarming. The preservative, methylisothiazolinone, or MI, causes skin sensitivities, has been named allergen of the year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and is deemed unsafe by European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. Retinyl palmitate is a known skin cancer hazard. I’ll spare you the laundry list of other active and inactive ingredients that all can cause harm in one way or another. I think you get the idea!

Feeling alarmed yet?

Here’s what we recommend:

 

First of all, eat a healthy diet high in antioxidants and vitamin c (Baobab powder or Camu Camu is a great source!). This helps prevent oxidative damage that increases your risk of skin cancer. Seriously, you can help protect your skin from the inside out.

 

Secondly, be aware of how long you’re in the sun. Even with sunscreen, you can crispify yourself.

 

But lastly, use a natural, homemade sunscreen, which is what this post is mostly about anyway! So you have a few options here. If you’re a super purist, you can just use a blend of natural oils that have natural SPF. Or, if you want higher SPF, you can add zinc oxide to this blend. Zinc oxide is generally considered harmless and is the active ingredient in most natural sunscreens. However, in the name of full disclosure, it is still generated in a lab and there are not a lot of studies on it to date.

Still, if you’re looking for good SPF, it is definitely your least toxic option. So what we’ll do is post the sunscreen recipes below, with zinc oxide as optional, and you can make your own decision. : )

OR, if you just aren’t up for making your own yet, Badger Balm is a pretty good option as well!

 

OK, so since we like to give you guys options, we’re offering two different recipes for you to choose from! The first one is our recipe of choice, but it has more ingredients. The second one works also, but has less ingredients and may be a good starting point for those of you not fully ready to dive headlong in this venture! haha.

 

SUNSCREEN RECIPE #1 (Favorite but more complex):

 

Ingredients:

¼ cup coconut oil SPF 6
¼ cup shea butter SPF 6
2 tbs Beeswax (pellets or shaved) to help make it waterproof

Directions:
Slowly on low temperature warm the above ingredients until melted then remove from heat and cool a little

Add:

3 tbs zinc (optional) SPF 12-14
3 tbs almond oil SPF 5
2 tbs. avocado oil SPF 6
1 tbs. jojoba oil SPF 2
1 tsp red raspberry oil SPF 25
15 drops carrot seed essential oil SPF 35
8 drops lavender essential oil SPF 6

Mix well and put in the refrigerator for about 15-30 mins until it starts to thicken some
Take out and mix well with a mixer so it is mixed well and pour into your container

SUNSCREEN RECIPE #2 (Simple):

 

Ingredients:

½ cup coconut oil or shea butter (or 1/2 of each) SPF 12
2 tbs Beeswax (pellets or shaved) to help make it waterproof

Directions:
Slowly on low temperature warm the above ingredients until melted then remove from heat and cool a little

Add:
3 tbs zinc (optional, though very recommended in this version) SPF 12-14
6 tbs. almond or avocado oil SPF 10

Mix well and put in the refrigerator for about 15-30 mins until it starts to thicken some
Take out and mix well with a mixer so it is mixed well and pour into your container

****Red raspberry, Carrot and Lavender Essential Oils are all optional but give greater SPF

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Either recipe: reapply about every 2-3 hours or more often if being rubbed a lot in the water. If you don’t use beeswax, reapply after being in the water every time.
You can up your zinc for more SPF – just be sure not to use nano zinc.

 

 

 

SOURCES:

http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/

http://time.com/3056125/you-asked-is-sunscreen-safe-and-do-i-really-need-it-daily/

https://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/

 

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.


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Super Simple Swapouts! Dishwasher Detergent Edition!

When I think of ways to detox my home, dishwasher detergent isn’t the first one that comes to mind. It actually took me a little while on my journey to think of it as a potential concern. But, it does affect you, and is a super cheap and easy swap out. If you’re looking for a simple baby step in the world of crunchy DIY, here it is!

 

Think about after your dishwasher runs (or while it is still running!). It is a steamy cloud of ‘fresh’ detergenty smell. So, not only are you inhaling whatever it is made of, but there’s bound to be at least some residue on your dishes. As I said, not a huge health crisis, but still not the best for you.

 
Most detergents actually contain highly concentrated levels of chlorine – so toxic that they can be deadly if swallowed in large amounts. There are also multiple hormone disruptors and carcinogens. You know, the usual gunk that gets thrown in most conventional household products. Yet, we use it to wash the dishes we eat off of, and over time, it can build up on them. Then, we are consuming this toxin…every day! Yuck!
Not to mention, the swap we’re offering today is not just healthier, but more economical as well.

I know many DIY and healthy dishwasher detergent recipes call for multiple ingredients and more complex concoctions, but we’ve tried it multiple ways and found this to work just as well, if not better. It’s also cheaper, safer, and simpler! No prep required!

 

This super simple swap out is just 2 ingredients! Washing soda and citric acid.

All you do is fill the prewash compartment on your dishwasher with washing soda and your secondary wash compartment (the one that flips open during the wash cycle) with citric acid. If your prewash compartment is small, or just doesn’t exist, shake a few tablespoons of washing soda in your dishwasher before starting it. I (Amberlyn) honestly don’t measure it that precisely…just eyeball it. Mama (Sheila) has measurements nicely written on the lid of the containers that she stores the two in and measuring utensils all conveniently inside. So, whichever floats your household’s boat! : )

dishwashing detergent collage
Now, about these two ingredients…

 

Washing soda is usually manufactured by Arm and Hammer and can be bought at Walmart or ordered online here or here. Or, it is also known as soda ash and can be bought in bulk at a pool store or ordered online here.

Citric acid can be food grade or industrial grade, since you aren’t eating it. But the cheapest option I’ve found is here.

 
Also, adding vinegar to the rinse compartment (if you have one) helps greatly with getting your dishes cleaner.

*Optional: I add a few drops of a citrus essential oil to the washing soda to help get the dishes extra clean. Plus, it smells nice! : )

 

 

 

SOURCES:

http://mamashealth.com/doc/cleanprod.asp

http://readynutrition.com/resources/epa-the-greatest-exposure-to-toxic-chemicals-is-right-inside-our-own-homes_03092014/

 

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.


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Summertime Refreshment – Electrolyte/Detox Drink Recipe

’Tis the season for much sweating… Especially if you’re a fellow Floridian sweltering in the rapidly approaching summer heat. And when we sweat, we lose not just water, but minerals as well.

Whether we are outside sweating, or even just inside living day-to-day (even though I highly recommend more of the outside and sweating than being inside), we need hydration and minerals. We live in a mineral-depleted society due to poor diet and poor farming habits that leave the soil – and fruits of the soil – lower in minerals than in years past.

Adding minerals is important in any diet, but especially active people or those struggling with adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, or other endocrine-related health problems.
Most people realize they need some minerals. This is why the sports drink industry is thriving. What they don’t realize often, is that all sources are not created equal. When it comes to sports drinks, the health costs tend to outweigh the benefits.

Vitamin Water (Refresh Flavor): reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose, cane sugar, less than 0.5% of: citric acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), natural flavors, vegetable juice (color), gum acacia, magnesium lactate and calcium lactate and potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources), vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate), glycerol ester of rosin, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin).

Okay, let’s break that laundry list of ingredients down! Basically water, sugar, natural flavors, gum acacia, and some vitamins/electrolytes. Sounds harmless enough, right? Well, except when you realize that one bottle of the stuff has 33 grams of sugar…about a soft drink’s worth! (If you’re not sure what’s so bad about sugar, click here). To make things worse, all of those vitamins are synthetic. Aka, man-made. Unfortunately, synthetic vitamins don’t function in your body like natural ones, and can actually be hard on your body to process. They tend to be more toxic than nutritive. Oh, and ‘natural flavors’ aren’t always so natural. They can be so processed and lab-extracted that they barely resemble their original forms.
YUCK!

Then there’s the classic… Gatorade!

Gatorade: Sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, glycerol ester of rosin, natural flavor, yellow 5.

Although Gatorade has made recent moves to be ‘healthier’ by removing brominated vegetable oil from their drinks, they still have a long way to go. (Brominated vegetable oil, by the way, is a flame retardant and is banned for consumption in over 100 countries. So I’m not too impressed that they took it out…).
Anyway, we’re looking at the same issues as Vitamin Water with the high sugar content and synthetic vitamins, as well as not-so ‘natural flavors’. However, we have even more nasty to contend with. Glycerol ester of rosin has been declared unsafe by the European Food Safety Authority, and yellow 5 is a known carcinogen.

Honestly, it’s kind of a bummer that you can’t even trust something as widely-promoted as Gatorade or as healthy sounding as ‘Vitamin Water’. So what’s a poor, health-conscious dehydrated soul to do? MAKE YOUR OWN OF COURSE! : )
It’s easy peasy! Trust me! If you can turn on a blender or shake a bottle, you can make it! It’s yummy, COMPLETELY healthy, and fairly simple! It also serves as a gentle detox, with cleansing ingredients like ACV (apple cider vinegar) and lemon juice. Win-win!
Oh, and you can always customize it to your taste! Not sweet enough for you? Add more honey! Don’t like lime? replace it with lemon! You get the idea…

 

This drink mix is zingy with a hint of sweet, and perfect for quenching your thirst on those sweaty summer days!
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Enjoy and stay hydrated!

ELECTROLYTE/DETOX DRINK CONCENTRATE:

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups organic lemon juice
1 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar (we recommend Braggs brand)
1 cup raw local honey
¼ cup organic lime juice
1 tsp. Himalayan Salt or Real Salt
1 ½ tbl mineral drops (we recommend Concentrace brand) optional

Put all ingredients in the Vitamix or other blender and blend up. (Or, if you’re lazy and don’t want to clean the blender, you can just put them all in a jar and shake).
Then add to a gallon jug and finish with water for a ready-to-drink mixture.
Or, skip adding water and store in a quart jar for a concentrated mixture to add in water as you want it.

DRINK UP!

SOURCES:
http://www.vitaminwater.com
http://drbenkim.com/articles-vitamins.html
http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/14/health/feat-natural-flavors-explained/index.html
https://studiovhealth.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/toxic-chemicals-anyone-i-mean-gatorade/
Nina In New York: Gatorade Removes Potentially Toxic Ingredient Also Found In Flame Retardant. Yum!
http://www.pepsicobeveragefacts.com/Home/Product?formula=33877&form=RTD&size=20
http://www.foodchemadditives.com/side_effects_info/757
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/Gum-rosin-not-safe-as-food-additive-says-EFSA
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx#!

 

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.

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Baby or Personal Wipes Recipe (And why you might want to make your own!)

Do have any idea what is in your wipes? I didn’t until recently. Knowing what they’re used for, you’d think they’re pretty harmless, right? Think again.

You may think to read the ingredients of what you eat, but it is just as important (or more so) to read what you put on your skin. Sometimes it can actually be more dangerous to put a toxin on your skin than to eat it. This is because when we consume something, our liver can filter it out, while whatever goes on our skin goes straight into our body with no filter.

So what is in those wipes? I grabbed the ingredients off a couple top brands. They both seem to be a pretty good representation. And to be fair, I even looked at the ‘natural’ version of Huggies baby wipes. The results we were still alarming:

Cottonelle Wipes: Water, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Butoxy PEG-4 PG-Amodimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Malic Acid, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Polysorbate 20, Lauryl Glucoside, Fragrance, Sorbic Acid

Huggies Natural Baby Wipes: Water, Phenoxyethanol, Amoimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Malic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate

While some of those ingredients are fairly harmless, or even beneficial (aloe, water, etc), most are downright harmful! There are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and many other dangerous chemicals.

Just to give a few examples:

Sodium Benzoate is a toxin that attacks our DNA, changing the mitochondria. Parkinsons, ADHD, asthma, hypertension, and liver disease are just a couple of the ways it harms the body long-term.

Phenoxyethanol is a scientifically proven skin and eye irritant. It is also an endocrine (think adrenals, thyroid, etc) disruptor, and can damage the brain, nervous system, and bladder.

Those are just two of the multiple ingredients. You could look up each one and find a wrap sheet on most of them. And most people are putting them every day on theirs and their babies’, *ahem* sensitive areas. Yikes!

Now, there are a few expensive, natural, less-toxic brands out there. But, in true crunchysquared form, we are suggesting you make them! It’s simple and inexpensive.

(If you simply don’t have the time or interest in making your own wipes, Poof brand wipes are a terrific alternative. Their only ingredients are: 100% Sustainable Plant Materials, Deionized Water, Aloe Vera Extract, and Non-GMO Glycerin (vegetable). Natracare brand is another option, but not quite so pure in its ingredients list. Nothing horrible chemical-wise, but a longer list with a couple questionables. I’d still be more comfortable using them than most brands though.)

images.duckduckgo.com

BUT, if you are ready to DIY, the following recipe can be used as a personal toilet wipe or a baby wipe. We’ve blended many recipes and tweaked them until we created this one.

BABY/PERSONAL WIPES RECIPE:

Ingredients:

1/2 a roll of paper towels, cut down the middle with a knife, blade, saw, or whatever you can hack through it with. (Select-a-size works best. We have used Viva and Sam’s, but are transitioning to Bamboo. More on that soon.)
1 1/2-2 cups of water that has been boiled and cooled to warm (boiling makes it sterile and keeps it from mildewing or growing bacteria)
1 tbs Castile soap (we like Dr. Bronners unscented or almond and scent with our own Young Living essential oils). Cleans skin
1 tbs expeller pressed coconut oil (from Wilderness Family Natural or Young Living’s V-6 blend oil). Conditions skin and is anti microbial
1 tbs witch hazel. Tones and cleans skin well
1 tbs natural aloe (not with preservatives. We like this one). Conditions skin
1 squirt vitamin E oil. Helps preserve and is great for skin
6-8 drops Essential Oil (we usually use Young Living’s Lavender or Citrus for personal care and Lavender or Gentle Baby blend for baby wipes)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place paper towels in a plastic bag or container, then pour the mixture over them evenly. When they are evenly soaked, pull out the cardboard center and that should start your roll. Leave them to finish soaking up the water.

 

 

SOURCES:

http://healthwyze.org/reports/204-are-you-getting-enough-sodium-benzoate-in-your-diet

https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/huggies-baby-wipes-safe-or-toxic/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/488257-the-dangers-of-sodium-benzoate/

http://www.productstewardshipatkc.com/ourbrands/consumer/cottonelle/Wipes

http://www.organicapoteke.com/blog/2010/06/natural-skin-care-the-dangers-of-phenoxyethanol/

 

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.

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