Safer Nail Polish Options

A few moons ago I became more conscious about the organic and natural movement in food and have never looked back. While I still indulge in plenty of “bad” food, for the most part I’ve made a commitment to eat natural and chemical free. Over the past year, this has extended to other parts of my life including anything from cleaning supplies, make up, toothpaste even toys.

The reality is once I researched the harmful chemicals that exist in day to day products, it was difficult to turn my back on this new found knowledge. I also told myself I wouldn’t “preach” about my lifestyle. I am happy to share about it and educate if people are interested but it is not my place to tell anyone that my lifestyle is any better than theirs.

I could write blogs upon blogs on natural living but today I will focus on a simple fashion statement that is bold, beautiful and typically full of chemicals: nail polish.

Nail polish lies in our fingernails and virtually touch everything that we eat, utilize and much more. The idea especially crossed my mind when I realized that when I painted my daughters’ nails, they were being introduced to these chemicals. In particular, my youngest Mackenzie who as any other 5 year old puts her hands in her mouth.

What kind of chemicals am I referring to? The worst offenders are typically broke into several categories “Big 3” “Big 5” and “Big 7” and when looking for toxic free options you’d like to make sure they at the very least fall into the “Safe 3” category which indicates 3 of the top chemicals in nail polish have been removed from the formula.

Some toxins found in nail polish include:

  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – Common plasticizer, which increases the flexibility and fluidity of a product.

Why a concern? Potential links to cancer including potential problems in the endocrine system, an increased risk of diabetes in women, nausea, potential birth defects.


  • Formaldehyde – Naturally occurring organic compound that is a gas at room temperature.

Why a concern?  A known carcinogen . Health concerns include allergic reactions, breathing issues (coughing, asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, etc.).


  • Methylene Glycol/Formalin – An organic compound of a solution in water of formaldehyde.

Why a concern? It is a known carcinogen. Health concerns include allergic reactions, breathing issues (coughing, asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, etc.),  it’s an irritant, and can cause vomiting. 


  • Toluene – Derived from petroleum and commonly used as a solvent to dissolve or combine other chemicals.

Why a concern? It can  cause dizziness, dry skin, it’s an irritant,  headaches, liver and kidney damage, nausea, numbness, and has been linked to birth defects.


This is just a small list of potential hazards in conventional nail polish but you get the idea by now.
Some safer alternatives I recommend and absolutely swear by are: 

Pacifica Beauty (seriously my ultimate favorite brand for so much)! They have 7-free nail polish at a reasonable price for what you are getting!

Zoya Nail Polish (Okay they are tied for #1 spot)- THE best color selection ever, 5-free nail polish and they have some of the best deals I’ve seen monthly. 

Honeybee Gardens– Beautiful nail polish colors and other make up options. 

Kure Bazaar– Upto 85% natural nail polish, again the selection is amazing.

Priti NYC– Vegan, gluten and cruelty free, most importantly free of virtually any harmful toxic and a color palette to rave about for days!

Investment

I know what you are likely thinking. You seriously pay $9-$20 for nail polish? The answer is yes. Am I very well off? Not exactly. When I first had the desire to buy this type of nail polish, I struggled with the concept of paying this much for a bottle of nail polish when I can buy it elsewhere for $3, that coupled with having a family and an overbearing amount of student loan responsibilities made me feel as buying nail polish at these prices was not a smart investment of my money.  It was then that it hit me.  I’ll be spending  maybe $13 more than usual, okay got it. If I bought 3 or 4 bottles over a few weeks, months the amount of additional money spent would have been minimal or quickly spent on other items and yet I am investing in a safer consumer product for myself and my family that could potentially prevent me from being exposed to harmful chemicals.

The numbers started to make sense.

I ask you to take a look at newer alternatives and remember true beauty doesn’t need to be toxin

filled. Natural is beautiful!


Running Wild

The older I get the more I love sports. I wasn’t very sporty growing up having battled extreme asthma as a child, managing to breathe was challenge enough , I didn’t need to add sports to the mix. However, I outgrew my asthma and eventually realized I actually love some sports. I love volleyball, soccer, figure skating, freesbe but I especially love running. 
Why do I love to run? There’s a lot of physical benefits to the sport, of course, but who cares about those. It’s the benefits outside health which are the fun ones.
Individuality
In general I live life at the beat of my own drum. I’ve always been independent and enjoy going at my pace. In running, you do your own thing, you run at your own pace, you stop when you feel like it, you can run fast, slow, not run, swirl around. There is no team alignment which is fabulous to me. I don’t have to wait for someone to make a move, I don’t have to react, I just go. I’ll run in group practices here and there but nothing beats the freedom of running on your own.
Freedom

Running is a very freeing sport. When I run I feel like I’m running towards the other end of the world. It’s always an adventure, who will I bump into? How far will I run? How far into town can I go? Should I run by the lake? I never set a path to my running, I set an idea of where I’ll go and just run. I don’t let apps map any runs, I let my feet figure that out for me. There is something utterly freeing about running, it’s like going back to caveman time to the “fear or flight” attitude. Plus, in some twisted way it’s almost like traveling without the expense and the planes. If you can’t manage to go across the world or even to the closest metropolitan city, then running is about as good of a cheap substitute as you will find.
Zero Coordination Required
This might be my favorite reason! I am the least coordinated woman alive. If someone says right, I’ll look life. With running, I am under zero pressure to carefully figure out where my next move ought to be. I just move and go from there. No judgement, no expectations, win win!
Music
When I run I can listen to all my favorite music from Biggie to some obscure indie rock band, running synchronizes perfectly to so many songs, it’s like long lasting dancing party. 
You Set Your Distance
I am known to always say “I would never run a marathon, never”. I have many marathon running friends and I admire their determination and strength endlessly. I know if I really, really, really, REALLY tried and trained I could do it, however, I see no joy in running 26+ miles. None.
Blame my ADD personality? But after 3.5 miles, I’m golden. That is a perfect amount of time to run. After that, my interest is long gone, I’m ready to go home, shower and eat! Unless there are super fun obstacles, more than 3.5 miles will never happen for me!
Some Runs are Just Wild
This past weekend I competed in the most fun race I’ve yet done! A mud race in Killington, Vermont.
The race included obstacles such as climbing up ropes, sliding down crazy distances to fall into a pit of mud and oh right–the never ending hiking UP a mountain. Yes, UP..a..mountain. I lost the friend I signed up to run with but made an amazing new friend from MASS who happened to share my fear of height + speed. I love heights, I love speed, I don’t love them together. As we were both mutually screaming sliding down a gigantic tub of mud, she screamed “hold my hand now” which I will never forget. It was an amazing moment, a complete stranger and I clicked just like that having known each other all of 5 seconds. Just like that I made a new friend!
Some pictures of my “Dirty Girl” 5K Mud Run. I can’t wait to run it again next year!!
It was a blast. What is your favorite type of run?!

Sliding down the mud comes with consequences:

Gluten Free Challenge

Over the last few years I’ve become more and more aware about nutrition, food systems and my overall health. While I’ve always had a leaning towards the natural, being in my early to mid 20’s and dating my husband who back then worked at a bar did not make for healthy, nutritious meals every day of the week.
If gravy and cheese lathered fries at 3:00 am count as healthy..then I was somewhat healthy.
Through different life experiences I’ve found out more about the challenges in today’s food systems, I now walk through grocery isles and I am shocked at the amount of unnecessary, man produced items littering the shelves. More importantly, I’ve realized our body actually only needs major key nutrients to thrive on which can be obtained from the most basic of food staples: fruits, vegetables, meats.
I will go down the list of all the changes I have made and will continue to make to my diet in my future blog posts and hope to inspire others to make healthy decisions about their nutrition.
Of all the bad eating habits culprit in my eyes (by far my largest challenge) is gluten. 
Gluten is included in a large chunk of foods in society, from breads to cookies, it is in every food item you can imagine. Not a native food staple to our ancestors, gluten which derives from wheat did not make an appearance into (wo)man’s diet until several thousand years ago.
That is right, somehow generations of humans managed to survive not eating gluten yet it is now ingrained in most of our day to day foods . Are you shocked?
While I will not go into a lengthy scientific explanation, it is my personal belief that gluten can be linked to many forms of inflammation in the body. Inflammation usually expels out trouble for your body in the shape of illness but also in the vain of gaining unnecessary weight and being bloated.
While I am naturally a “skinny” person, when I’ve managed my gluten intake I’ve noticed my body becomes more toned up, I feel healthier, more aware, energetic,etc.
I’ve tried to give up gluten in the past and have lasted a shocking 3 days. Yep, that’s how far I made it before I broke down and had to reach for the bread and cheese. That’s not good. If you can’t give something up for more than 7 days, there’s a problem there. 
After this weekend’s 4th of July holiday, I indulge in about every gluten packed food available and it was fantastic! However, all things in moderation. I’d like to take this week to “cleanse” my body and go gluten free at least until this upcoming Sunday (sorry baseball game, can’t eat healthy then).
It is my hope that I can train my body to slowly but surely give up gluten and move towards a more natural, raw foods diet. It will not be easy but I know it’s achievable. 
Have you been feeling not so great lately? If you are in need of a change, I invite to join me and give up gluten until this Sunday at 6 pm. This means no pasta, cookies, bread, crackers, anything with flour basically. 
Let’s see how far I last this time!