Are Lipsticks And Lip Balm Safe?

Many lipsticks and lip balms sold in the US contain cadmium, chromium (carcinogen), lead (neurotoxin), aluminum & at least five other toxic metal ingredients. Some are at levels that can cause potential health hazards. It’s especially important to consider switching because we absorb lipstick directly into our mouths. Manganese is one of the other metals found in many glosses, balms & lipsticks. It’s directly associated with toxicity in the nervous system. Recent studies show that more than 400 brands contain twice as much lead as previously thought. 

There are NO standards for safe cosmetics in the U.S. whereas Europe has banned lead in cosmetics & limited the use of many other metals. What makes it even more dangerous is that we not only absorb these ingredients, we also are ingesting them when we eat or drink. Even though the FDA may report that these levels of chemicals are ‘safe’ do you want to be a guinea pig? Also, what about all the other toxic chemicals you may be ingesting or breathing in every day and what level is that adding up to? It is hard to avoid all toxic ingredients; try your best and read the labels. It’s safe to say, that switching to an eco-conscious lipstick is a great first step to cleaning up your cosmetic shelf. Click here to see some recommended brands from our Guru Store!

On a side note and as I write this, I realize that I need to get rid of some of my lipsticks. Typically they are good for 1-2 years and I know a few of these are older than that! If they smell, changed texture or are dried out, toss them.


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The Green Living Gurus

10 Ways To Detox Your Home For Beginners

Food of course is important for good health and your surrounding environment is just as crucial. You already know that eating the wrong foods can make you ill, but did you know that a toxic home can too? Our homes can be filled with hundreds of toxic chemicals.  These  chemicals get trapped in our homes especially in colder weather climates where windows are shut for many months. It has been reported that indoor air is 3-5 times more polluted than outdoor air and there is actually a sickness called “Toxic Home Syndrome” when your home can make you sick. Diseases such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, reproductive conditions, birth defects and others have been linked to environmental toxins.  They can seep into your bloodstream and damage your health.

Be proactive and detox your home!! Below is a list to start in detoxing your home. We have links to all kinds of products that you can buy in our store or go online and search for some yourself. Thankfully, awareness of the chemicals in our environment is growing and the public is demanding changes. The ideas of “nontoxic” and “natural”, are moving to the mainstream. But be VERY careful – these words are also used by companies wanting to fool you so read and know your ingredients!

  1. Get as much fresh air in your house as possible. Open your windows when you can to get the air moving in your home. Even if it is cold, do it for 10 minutes. This is my favorite time to open up windows and doors!!!
  2. Get rid of artificial air fresheners that bring toxic chemicals in your home. We list alternatives in our store or use essential oil diffusers like DoTerra.
  3. Look at your laundry detergent ingredients and think about switching over to a few less toxic laundry detergent. Stop using dryer sheets and purchase wool dryer balls that are a great natural alternative.
  4. Look at the ingredients on your personal care products and slowly replace one item at a time with more nontoxic options. This can be overwhelming so take it slowly. Take baby steps because it can be overwhelming.
  5. Make sure you change or clean the filters in your furnace and in your air conditioner. Also, don’t forget to clean the tops of ceiling fans as well. These get covered in dust and you don’t want to circulate this throughout your room.
  6. Buy organic food as much as possible.
  7. Avoid processed foods which often contain unhealthy fats, refined oil’s, unhealthy levels of added sugar and sodium, which are sometimes very hard for our body to digest.
  8. Assess your pans and make sure any nonstick pans are not scratched, which could be leaking chemicals into your food and air . We prefer stainless steel or cast iron pans.
  9. Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn’s which could be getting into your house and look for more organic options and alternatives.
  10. Do not store your food in plastic containers and switch over to glass containers that you can find at target Walmart or anywhere else and in our store of course too!
The Green Living Gurus

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Is Your Laundry Detergent Toxic?

Changing from conventional laundry detergents in favor of greener, cleaner choices should be a #1 priority for getting toxic chemicals out of your home and life!! This is for your health & well-being! The simple truth is most of the main stream and big-name detergents are loaded with dangerous ingredients.  That includes Method, Tide, Arm and Hammer and many others. Some of the ingredients vary from each product, so always check your labels!

Just think about this: the idea of saturating your beautiful clothing, sheets & towels in chemicals, is not the same as cleaning them. You are actually dirtying them. You are soaking chemicals into your clothing, they are then ‘baked’ into your clothing in the dryer, along with breathing them in as you sleep, and on your clothes that you wear all day. Also, pregnant mothers can pass these chemicals on to their babies through their breast milk.

Here is a quick list of the some of the culprit chemicals in some detergents that we researched. Thanks to many of you that shared the detergents that you were using and here are some of the ingredients that are red flags

1. Dioxane – a carcinogenic and a solvent used in paints & varnishes. It can be absorbed through your skin. Tide was banned in Europe because of this ingredient.

2. Phosphates – are commonly linked to cardiovascular disease.

3. Formaldehyde  – which is another known carcinogen

4. Ammonium Sulphate– this laundry additive is so toxic, some of it’s manufacturers recommend not using it indoors

5. Synthetic Fragrances – which trigger chemical sensitivities, allergies & are endocrine disrupters

6. Fragrance – always be weary of this word as it most likely is a chemical

7. Natural, Free and Clear – always doubt these words in ingredients. Products use these words to get you to think they are good for you. It is all about marketing.

This is just a handful of the culprits!

Hopefully you have heard enough to make the switch in your life today. We mainly use either Seventh Generation, Zum Clean, Molly’s Suds or Biokleen and our clothes are just as clean without the nasty chemicals and cancer causing ingredients. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and can absorb these chemicals.  We have a number of laundry detergent options approved by the Gurus in our store and other various options to make sure your clothes are clean without using toxic chemicals! Click here to view the list.


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The Real Story About Cosmetics And Toxic Chemicals

This video will tell you all you need to know about the story of toxic chemicals in cosmetics. More info is coming out about toxic chemicals and cancer causing chemicals in cosmetics every day and we want you to know the truth..

To understand why there are so many chemicals in cosmetics, one needs to look at the history. It is quite fascinating. So, as we have mentioned before, all the cosmetics in our store have been researched by the Gurus and we feel they are the least toxic to our beautiful bodies and we encourage you to shop them.  Thank you to  story of cosmetics.org for all of this fine research. We couldn’t have said it better!


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Elevating Your Feet: Why 20 Minutes Is Equivalent to 2 Hours Of Sleep!

My Mother always had a ‘slant board’ in her bedroom that we often would lay on. She would tell us that elevating your feet for 20 minutes had so many benefits including being equal to about 2 hours of sleep. Well this came in handy in college when sleep was at a premium! This theory started back in the 1950’s and was known as the Hollywood Slant. Thanks to Kartina Holte of  Edelweiss Patterns for the attached article on the subject.

I have been preaching this for years and have so many friends still doing it. I practice this almost everyday. As you elevate your feet(and hopefully doze off) the blood flows through your body to your brain and up to your head. I consider this a Re-Charge if you are tired and need a boost. Also, think about how your legs get tired and swollen towards the end of the day. Elevating your feet will rejuvenate your organs and body. You can buy a pillow wedge as we have listed in our “sleeping aides” section of our store, or you can use pillows or sometimes I even lay on the floor with my feet on the bed. We hope you enjoy this great Guru tip!

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I wish I still had my Moms slant board that looked like this!!
A trip with friends and elevating our feet for some much needed recharging!
A trip with friends and elevating our feet for some much needed recharging!
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Ithaca College 1981 – my freshman year elevating my feet!

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The Green Living Gurus

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Helping to guide people to a green living, chemical and toxic-free lifestyle is my true passion. I have had a dream of pursuing this for over 40 years. If I can help one person eliminate or reduce toxic chemicals from their life, I will be happy but my dream is to help thousands learn about how chemicals can be causing a multitude of damage including causing cancer. While growing up, my mother always instilled a healthy diet and lifestyle.  While all the fast food chains starting to “pop” up all over, she was always against fast food and processed foods. Everything was made from scratch, and mostly organic. With this as a base, I graduated from Ithaca College in 1985 with a BS in Business and a minor in Health with dreams and plans to start a Health Food supermarket (aka Whole Foods). I had always had plans of owning a health food store, but once out of college, I found another true love of work and have been planning events in Buffalo for over 35 years. Even though event planning is in my blood, creating awareness of home toxins is in my heart. After college and going on to educating myself further on healthy living  for the past thirty years, I am now  trying to help others learn from my knowledge and experience. Shop our store to learn more about items that we recommend.  See the link below.

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Why You Should Never Drink A Slurpee

SlurpeesYesterday I was getting my car washed and took pictures of the “slurpee” drink they were selling. I am always amazed that these drinks are even on the market. I feel so bad that people drink these and give them to their children and have no idea how bad they are for you. They are all artificial which means yet another dose of chemicals they are adding to their bodies.

The ingredients in these drinks are filled with food dyes, artificial sweeteners, sodium benzoate, glycerin (found in soap), and artificial flavors – do people really think there is any cherry, lime, raspberry or orange in these drinks? The food dyes alone can be causing allergic reactions, ADHD, infertility, skin conditions and known carcinogens.

Or you can drink ‘healthy’ as seen in one of the juices pictured  – available in just about every store now and containing carrots, apples, cucumber lemon, beets celery to name a few of the nutrient filled ingredients.


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4 Tips For Cleaner and Greener Carpets and Rugs

Keeping carpets clean and stain free is a challenge, especially in high traffic areas that become the stomping ground for winter’s mix of slush, sand dirt and stains.

Before you know it, your carpets are shades darker than they were just one season ago. Here are my favorite natural spring cleaning tips to liven up your carpeting:

1.Vacuum first

It’s important to vacuum regularly – try for once a week if you can – which keeps deeply embedded dirt, sand and dander to a minimum. Use the changing of the seasons to do a thorough, detailed vacuum of the nooks and crannies: Under furniture, around furniture legs and across your baseboards.

2. Clean stains

While we all do our best to deal with carpet stains as they happen, there are always those pesky spots we didn’t have time to tackle or that take several treatments.

  • Throw a solution of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into a spray bottle and spray the stain.
  • Place a damp rag on top of the spot.
  • With your iron on the steam setting, iron the rag for about 30 seconds.
  • Voila!

Depending on how long the stain has been there, you might have to repeat these steps. Click here for some non-toxic cleaner options from our Guru Store

3.  Steam clean

Mix equal parts water and vinegar and add to your steam cleaner just like you would any cleaning solution. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you’re concerned your carpet’s going to smell like salad dressing. For high traffic areas that need more power, use a higher ratio of vinegar to water.If you don’t have a steam cleaner, rent one from home depot.

4. Keep your carpets fresh

Between deep cleans, you can prolong the freshness of your carpet by creating your own carpet freshener. Mix the below ingredients and store in a shaker:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil

Before your subsequent vacuuming sessions, lightly sprinkle the mix onto your carpet, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum as per usual. (Just make sure to do this on a dry day so the baking soda doesn’t pick up any moisture.)


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Top 10 Ingredients To Avoid

1. Artificial Colors are chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color. Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.

2. Artificial Flavorings are cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors and are linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma. They can also affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.

3. Artificial Sweeteners include Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Saccharin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol. These are highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving that can negatively impact metabolism. Some have been linked to cancer, headaches, dizziness and hallucinations.

4. Benzoate is a preservative and can also be listed as BHT, BHA or TBHQ. These are compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid and may result in hyperactivity, angiodema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and urticarial. They can also affect estrogen balance and levels.

5. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is a chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks that increases triglycerides and cholesterol. BVO can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar that is used to sustain freshness in baked goods. It mixes easily in beverages to keep them sweet. It can predispose the body to turn fructose into fat and it increases risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease as well as stroke and cancer. Another problem with HFCS is that it isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.

7. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a flavor enhancer used in lots of restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and many other processed foods. Eating food with MSG can actually stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and even difficulty breathing.

8. Olestra is an indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked which inhibits absorption of some nutrients. It has been linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.

9. Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (palm, soybean and others). These are industrially created fats used in over 40,000 food products in the U.S. because they are cheaper than most other oils. They contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to higher risk of heart disease.

10. Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate is used to preserve, color and flavor cured meats and fish and is also used to prevent botulism. Nitrates can combine with chemicals in your stomach to form nitrosamine which is a carcinogen.


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Are K-Cups Safe?

I always question anything that saves time in our modern world of using plastic for everything. I have often questioned k-cups and wondered what could be leaching out from these small plastic containers that are heated to brew coffee. Most people know to never heat anything in plastic but now these small little containers made of plastic – are they releasing chemicals into our coffee? As a person that could never conceive, I always question the effects chemicals had on me now knowing that many are known Endocrine Disruptors. I will never know why I couldn’t get pregnant and it always makes me always wonder. Environmental Working Group has prepared a list of 12 hormone-altering chemicals that are endocrine disruptors:

BPA, Dioxin, Atrazine, Phthalates, Perchlorate, Fire Retardants, Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFC’s), Organophosphate Pesticides, Glycol Ethers

Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors

Plastics will always be a part of our lives. We can’t avoid them. But we can and should question anything our food comes in contact with, especially plastic. Many studies link chemicals in plastic to cancer and many other illnesses. I want to help people make the best health-related decisions possible, based on the available evidence at hand. Click here for chemical free coffee options from our Guru Store

USA Today: Study: Most plastic products trigger estrogen effect


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Sugar – The Bitter Truth!

This is a great video on the affects of sugar. It will open your eyes!

Sugar: The Bitter Truth (University of California TV)


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Candles.. Are They Toxic?

I am often asked about candles. Candles can be toxic. Many are made with paraffin wax..which is a petroleum by-product..which then releases carcinogenic soot when burned. Soot can cause respiratory problems and will aggravate the conditions of those who already have asthma, lung, or heart problems. Many are also scented with synthetic oils which can irritate your lungs and could cause other health problems. Some candles have lead in their wicks which can be even more toxic. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.

What are the options you ask?

There are soy and beeswax candles and even GMO free ones. Make sure it says 100% because some manufacturers still use paraffin and mix it with beeswax or soy to save money. Stay away from paraffin! Look for ‘scented with natural essential oils’ and ‘lead free wicks’ and ones made with cotton. Click here to view some toxic-free candle options from our Guru Store


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