The Difference Between Natural and Organic


Recent investigation into so-called natural companies has led people to ask, “Are these natural brands that I have come to trust truly safe?”

There is a great misconception around the word “natural”, but the veil of deceit easily falls when the ingredients are scrutinized. The fact is, any company can add “natural” to their packaging; there are no regulations for the word “natural”. This is why it is so important for consumers to investigate further and see more than the pretty packaging. Reading the ingredients list and checking for harsh chemicals, preservatives, etc. is the only way to know if the product is safe for you and your family.

A prime example of this “natural” confusion would be with the company Tom’s of Maine. Tom’s has done a great job at marketing themselves in a way where consumers believe they are using a more natural product when buying their toothpaste or deodorant. One of the ingredients in Tom’s toothpaste is Sodium lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is also a common ingredient in conventional toothpaste such as Colgate and Sensodyne. SLS is a known skin irritant; it is the chemical that companies use to cause an irritation to see if their lotion or medication is effective. It has also been shown to promote hormonal imbalances, and even early asthma and allergies in children. The reason this chemical is so popular in cleaning products is because it is a foaming agent, and many people think the amount of suds and bubbles equals a products effectiveness at cleaning. If you look at ANY type of cleaner in your home (laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap, hand soap, etc.) you will find SLS somewhere near the top of the ingredients list. This Wall St Journal Article sites some companies that have been using the “greenwashing” tactic to trick consumers into believing they are safe (and paying a premium for them), when they actually use some of the same ingredients (such as SLS) that conventional cleaners use:

When a product is ‘Certified Organic”, or uses certified organic ingredients, there are regulations applied. These products have been through a certain level of testing and passed the criteria to be labeled as such. The Clean Living Collection uses Certified Organic ingredients because we can trust that these materials are nontoxic and have not been sprayed with pesticides or genetically altered. In the future, we plan to get the Clean Living Collection itself Certified Organic; we believe the certification is important because it says right away, “I do not have harmful ingredients, I am safe.”

Nut Milks

I wanted to take some time to thoroughly explain the most efficient way to make nut milks. I know that this is the topic of tons of other blogs, but some of them tend to leave out important details or steps. Here, I will go over how to make the perfect nut milk, and explain why some steps are more important than you may think!

Step 1) Choose which nuts/seeds you will be working with. The possibilities are endless, you can use almost ANY nut/seed you have on hand (cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts…). For the following example, I had just bought organic almonds and walnuts, so I made a combination nut milk using both!

Step 2) Soak your nuts! Soak the nuts in filtered water to get them soft, plump, and ready to milk. You should ALWAYS add about a teaspoon of sea salt during the soaking phase. Nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients (phytates, tannins, goitrogens) and enzyme inhibitors, which make them hard on our digestive systems. Salt neutralizes these inhibitors, allowing our bodies to fully access the nutritional benefits of the nuts/seeds! Exceptions: hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and oats; if using any of these, skip steps 2-3. The soaking time varies between nuts/seeds being used. See below for a link to The Blender Girl’s page, where she details the importance of soaking, and also posted a chart for how long different nuts or seeds should be soaked. I soaked mine overnight, for about 10 hours.

Step 3) Rinse the nuts in a colander and discard the soaking water. It contains all of the harmful enzyme inhibitors mentioned above, so you want to rinse VERY thoroughly until the water runs clear.

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Step 4) Blend the nuts with fresh filtered water. I use a Vitamix, but any blender will do! Add 2-3 cups of water (depending on how thick you want your nut milk) for every 1 cup of nuts/seeds. In this batch, I soaked 2.5 cups of nuts, and added 6 cups of water (this was the PERFECT amount for a completely full Vitamix). Blend for 1-2 mins (depending on quality of blender), until you can tell that the nuts are fully incorporated.

Nut Milk

Step 5) Strain the mixture with a cheese cloth (or nut milk bag).






Step 6) Add in any flavor enhancers of your choice. For this large batch, I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 Tbs maple syrup. After straining, you can even blend in some dried lavender flowers, dates, or raw cacao powder.  Adjust to your own taste and see what you like!

Step 7) Pour into container for storage. Will last about 3-5 days refrigerated.

Nut Milk Container


Body Scrubs

Scrubs cleanse and exfoliate your skin, leaving it extremely smooth! There are two types of scrubs: salt and sugar. Salt scrubs are more intense exfoliators, making sugar scrubs more ideal for sensitive skin. I recommend starting with a lighter sugar scrub, and working up to a salt scrub if you need the extra exfoliation.

Basic Scrub Recipe: 2 parts sugar/salt:1 part oil; can also add 10 drops of essential oil (e.o.) per 1/2 cup sugar:1/4 cup oil mixture

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Tooth Powder

One of the most common DIY oral care products is the coconut oil toothpaste, which consists of: coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil. I tried it… 3 times… ick. It was really salty and bitter from the baking soda. I experimented with adding stevia to sweeten it but it it still tasted quite unpleasant (I don’t normally use stevia and don’t really like it anyways, so I should have known I also wouldn’t like it in the toothpaste). I also tried changing the flavor to wild orange essential oil, but it was still terrible. My brother would still use it because he liked the idea of using something more natural, but the flavor was so bad that he could never brush his tongue! I had to find an alternative.

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Shampoo & Conditioner

Finding a natural hair care routine that does not include conventional store bought shampoo and conditioner was tricky.

Store bought shampoo contains many harmful substances, one problematic ingredient is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS is included in many cleaning supplies because of its foaming ability (think toothpaste, laundry detergent, hand soap…). Many people associate sudsing ability with cleaning efficiency; this is a completely psychological effect of using products that contain SLS (bubbles do not equal clean!). There are many serious problems that SLS has been shown to cause, skin irritations and hormone imbalances being some top concerns. More info on SLS:

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