The Ancient Paths Family Farm

Getting Back to Basics in Health and Nutrition

Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaners and Personal Products

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on December 19, 2007

Smoke Stack Does this make you think of “clean”? household cleaners - toxic

Some of the worst culprits contributing to environmental pollution are found right under our noses – under our sinks even. Petroleum based household cleaners can contribute to air and water pollution and consumers are often concerned about potential health problems stemming from the use of such products. There are alternatives to the traditional cleaners that are safer, cheaper and just as effective.

What are common ingredients in traditional cleaners?

  • Ammonia is toxic when inhaled in concentrated vapors and is considered a hazardous waste. Ammonia is found is all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, laundry detergents and metal polishers.
  • Chlorinated cleaners can be especially toxic. Some cleaners contain dioxin, a known carcinogen that can build up in the food chain, is stored in fat, and is believed to affect the endocrine system. Chlorinated materials are used in bleach, dishwasher detergent, and toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Glycol ether is a central nervous system depressant and can poison the kidneys or liver. It is often found in all-purpose cleaners and some laundry detergents as well as personal products, more info is listed below.
  • Oxalic acid is caustic and corrosive to skin and mucous membranes. It is commonly added to cleanser, toilet bowl cleaners and metal polishes.
  • Petroleum-based detergents contain neuro-toxins and central nervous system depressants. Exotic-sounding chemicals like nonyl phenol and alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs) are found in detergent, furniture polish, cosmetics and household cleaners, and contain environmental impurities.
  • Phosphates are added to dishwashing and laundry detergents because it acts as a water softener. Phosphates are released into the environment through waste water and are not removed by waste water treatment systems.
  • Sodium Hydroxide or Lye is in most oven cleaners. It is a corrosive poison and hazardous waste.
  • Formaldehyde is found in some air freshners and deodorizers as well as cosmetics. In its liquid state, formaldehyde, present in the ingredients DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15, can be absorbed through the skin and nails. As a volatile organic compound, or VOC, formaldehyde evaporates when the product is wet; levels drop sharply once it’s dry. The EPA classifies it as a probable human carcinogen.
  • Ammonium hydroxide and Perchlorethylene or Trichloroethane and Sodium hypochlorite are found in spot removers.
  • Diethylene glycol is found in window cleaner.
bubbly burn
As alarming as the above information may be, it is also alarming to discover what resides in our personal care products – shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics, etc. These are things that we use on a daily basis, often times several times a day.
  • Triclosan encourages the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, according to studies.
  • So-called coal-tar chemicals are found in many “FD&C” or “D&C” colors used in makeup and hair dye. FD&C Blue 1 and FD &C Green 3 are carcinogenic, and impurities in other colors — D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6 — have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
  • Widely used in shampoos, DEA is a suspected carcinogen, and its compounds and derivatives include triethanolamine (TEA), which can be contaminated with nitrosamines — compounds shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Contamination is more likely if the product also contains Bronopol.
  • Formaldehyde, listed above, is found in cosmetics.
  • Glycol Ether found in nail polish, deodorant, perfumes and other cosmetics, some glycol ethers are hazardous to the reproductive system. Other effects of overexposure include anemia and irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Avoid those listed on labels as EGPE, EGME,EGEE, DEGBE, PGME, DPGME and those with “methyl” in their names.
With all of this lovely information at my disposal I have tried to find household cleaners that will not make us sick or leave a negative impact on our property (septic system and livestock or garden) or in the health of our family. Sometimes science can truly be scary!

What We’ve Done In Our Home

Our family has switched all of our cleaning products and our personal care products to basic products that clean just as well as the traditional cleaners. What do we use?

Household Cleaners

  • Instead of a bleach product to clean counter tops, use hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Instead of a powder abrasive cleaner, use baking soda. Add water to make it a paste to use instead of the liquid abrasive cleaner.
  • Instead of other general cleaning products, we use Natural Green Soap.

Personal Care Products

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The Co-Op Advantage: All About Natural Cleaners NCGA
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Posted in Good Stewardship, Health, Product Reviews | Tagged: , , , | 38 Comments »

What is ORAC Value?

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on November 21, 2007

You may have noticed a little phrase on your supplement container that says something about ORAC value. Do you know what that is? I didn’t, so I looked it up. Here’s some of what I found:

What is ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity ?

There are several methods which have been developed to measure the total antioxidant capacity of biological samples. But the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) method is unique, acording to developer Guohua Cao.

ORAC measures the degree to which a sample inhibits the action of an oxidizing agent and also how long it takes to do so.
Then it integrates the two measurements into a single unit.
This provides an accurate and reproducible measurement for the different types of antioxidants having different strengths.

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This is it’s capacity for fighting free radicals which are the cause of cancers, reduced immune system capabilities and other diseases.

One of the best ways to fight free radicals is by choosing the right foods.
This is where ORAC is important. ORAC is a way to measure how many free radicals a specific food can absorb. The more free radicals a food can absorb, the higher its ORAC score. The higher its ORAC score, the better it is at helping our bodies fight diseases like cancer and heart disease and other diseases.

Interesting!

So the higher the ORAC value the more antioxidants our bodies are able to use to help our bodies do what they were created to do. This makes sense. The better we eat (among other things) the better our bodies can fight what needs to be fought and restore what needs to be restored.

ORAC VALUES
OF FRUITS & VEGETABLES
(per 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces)

ORAC values refer to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of a food, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By testing the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals, the DOA was able to determine each compound’s antioxidant capability. The ORAC values in the following chart reflect these findings.

FRUITS

ORAC VALUE

VEGETABLES

ORAC VALUE

Raisins 2,830 Spinach, raw 1,260
Blackberries 2,036 Alfalfa sprouts 930
Strawberries 1,540 Broccoli florets 890
Raspberries 1,220 Red bell pepper 713
Oranges 750 Corn 400
Cherries 670 Cauliflower 377

Source: Agriculture Research, February 1999

So how many of us are actually able to consume a good volume of these foods? And do those of us who do consume these foods compromise in other areas – such as fiber, protein, etc? How realistic is it for us to consume a good ORAC value in our daily diets with our fast paced and instant lifestyles?

Not all of us make our own breads or raise our own animals for meat and other products. Not all of us grow our own fruits and vegetables and amend our soils to ensure that our produce is able to grow in the richest of soils. So what do we do?

The Feast

Our family has been using a product that we really like. The product is called The Feast. What makes this product unique is it’s processing and it’s contents. This is a whole food product which is grown, mostly organic, in rich soil and juiced within hours of harvesting. The drying process is done at a low temperature so the vital nutrients in the foods are not destroyed. Then the powder of over 176 natural ingredients is mixed together into one product that you can add to your glass of juice as often as you like. Just two scoops of The Feast yield an ORAC value of 3,980. We think it tastes great in orange juice.

What have we noticed since we’ve been using The Feast on a regular basis? We have noticed a more regulated and balanced level of energy throughout the day. Where we used to have peaks and valleys of energy throughout the day we now notice that our energy levels are consistent through the day. We also have just come through the first bout of seasonal viruses. The mono virus was running through our home. YUCK! But this dreaded virus that often can take anywhere from a week to several months to kick and sometimes lands people in the hospital lasted only a week for each individual in our home who contracted this nasty virus. A week from start to finish. Amazing. Is this due to The Feast? I cannot say. But I can say that having a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy foods was very likely a major cause for this virus running so quickly through our family. Everyone is back to normal with no remnant effects of this nasty bug. We do honestly believe that with The Feast as part of our daily routine we were better able to fight off this nasty invader and return to normal health much quicker and without any lagging effects.

Another product with a high ORAC value is Beyond Berries . With an ORAC value of 4,410 according to the suggested use and being made of fruits and berries, it tastes great!

Beyond Berries

The Feast or Beyond Berries, along with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, is a good way to ensure that you are getting a good amount of antioxidants in your diet. And after learning a bit about the benefits of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) and it’s potential health benefits we are pleased that these products are part of our daily diet. I’m all for increasing my physical capacity for fighting free radicals which are the cause of cancers, reduced immune system capabilities and other diseases.

Feast - 5 to 9?

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Posted in Alternative Therapy, Health, Nutrition, Product Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Barley Grass

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on October 29, 2007

When a relative of mine was facing a possible diagnosis of cancer, I did a little “internet research” and was so impressed with what I found, I wanted to share it here. I learned about Barley Grass and I’m rather excited at what I found. I have known people to take barley grass and other related products but I never really asked why. This is certainly interesting! Here is some information about barley grass that I found:

Wheat grass/barley grass supplements are promoted for multiple uses. Claims have been made that they help prevent and fight cancer, lower cholesterol, detoxify many pollutants, protect against solar and other forms of radiation, boost energy and immunity, enhance wound healing, help with digestion, fight tooth decay and bad breath, promote healthy skin, reverse graying of hair and lower blood pressure, among other things.

THE EVIDENCE – There have been no clinical trials of barley grass. In an experiment at George Washington University, Goldstein and his colleagues exposed leukemic cancer cells to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them. Encouraged, the researchers then subjected brain cancer cells to the extract. It eradicated 30 to 50 percent of these cells. In a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90 to 100 percent.
Compare Curing Massive Cancer With Green Barley Pills.

In Japan, where barley grass extract is popular, there is anecdotal evidence that it helps the body heal from many illnesses. In one informal study, a Japanese dermatologist observed a group of 7.5 patients with skin diseases ranging from melanosis (darkening of the skin) to eczema. The patients who took barley grass extract healed faster than did those who did not. They also noticed improvements in appetite and bowel regularity.

WOW! I would love to see an FDA clinical study done with barley grass. None of these claims have been tested with US clinical studies nor are they FDA approved claims. These are simply observations that have been made by people who have either used the material in their diets or have done some sort of testing on their own. Like I said, I knew that some people would take these supplement products but I never really asked why. Learning why they are taking them has certainly been intriguing!

Even Oprah has information on barley grass at her website.

I have heard about a man in our area who was diagnosed with end stage cancer and sent home to die. He was quite ill and could not keep any food down, which only made his condition worse. Someone suggested that he drink a barley juice because he should be able to “keep it down”. After several months his physician called to talk to the man’s wife and ask why he wasn’t notified of the man’s death, the physician was rather insulted. The wife handed the phone to the man and apparently the Dr was speechless – the man was alive and seemed to be doing rather well. The Dr asked the man to come in for a check up, which he did. I’m not aware of what this man had been doing since the time he was expected to die and now, but he’s been cancer free for over 2 years now. He attributes much of his condition to the barley. I find this so interesting because apparently he wasn’t even looking for a cure, he just wanted to die without starving to death. Once he started to feel better, I am sure that he and his wife began to look into various things that would benefit him.

Barley Pure is a product that we do have available, if you are interested in trying it for yourself. This product is 100% organic and comes in both a powdered form or in a vegetarian capsule. I’d love to get you connected with a good barley product so you can see for yourself what impact it may have in your life.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Posted in Alternative Therapy, Health, Product Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Sweat Stains, pH Balance and Deodorant

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on October 16, 2007

If you’re like me you tend to sweat more than others. It’s a family trait, a genetic thing. I also do not wear white. It’s not that I don’t like white but white does not stay white on me. In a matter of time white turns to a dingy yellow. I’m not alone in this. I know someone who turns white shirts orange!

T-shirt sweat stain Dress Shirt - sweat stain

It’s rather bothersome and it can be embarrassing. And it’s not just pit-stains, it’s stains on any part of white clothing that rests against my skin. In doing some research several months ago I discovered that the yellow stain left behind by people like me is from an out-of-balance pH level. Apparently protein from the bacteria that normally lives on our skin will produce the yellowing stain. When the pH level is more neutral the bacteria will leave no stain, but if it’s off the stains will appear. (I never found a remedy for removing the stains that really works, only for not producing them) Apparently the darker the stain the more “off” your pH is. To find out more about pH and your health, see pH Balance and Health.

Anti-Perspirants and Deodorants

For quite some time now there has been a lot of speculation and study about long-term side effects of anti-perspirants and deodorants that use ingredients such as aluminum and zirconium. I’m sure you’ve heard the same things I have: “Aluminum causes Alzheimers Disease so stop using any anti-perspirant!” Whether or not the aluminum in the anti-perspirant does indeed cause some form of mental degeneration, I cannot say for certain and that is not the focus of this article. I do know that because anti-perspirants aid in the prevention of the body’s production of sweat in the areas it’s applied that the FDA considers any anti-perspirant a drug. Deodorant is simply a cosmetic, to keep you from smelling bad.

I’ve tried “all natural” deodorants before and I’ve found that either they stung and/or irritated my skin, they left a sticky residue or they didn’t last all day. Simply put, I haven’t liked them. So I’ve used a popular anti-perspirant/deodorant for as long as I can remember and have passed by those “all natural” deodorants in the stores.

It wasn’t too long ago that I read about a deodorant stone in a folk remedy book. I was intrigued and skeptical. Then I ran across one and decided to try it. Why not, right? I was very impressed! It wasn’t sticky or irritating or stinging, it didn’t smell (meaning it has no odor) and it did successfully keep me from smelling like sweat all day long. Even after exercising and sweating, it worked. The stone is made from a potassium compound and mineral salts that have been allowed to crystalize over time. Not only that but one stone will last as long as six commercial deodorant cans. This means that one stone can last for a year, on average. I like the monetary benefit in this product as much as I like the fact that it works and is a healthier alternative to your standard commercial deodorant.

Here is the product I’ve been using and some of the product information:

Deodorant Stone

URI DEODORANT STONE™
Natural Deodorant

URI Deodorant Stone™ helps combat body odors naturally by neutralizing and inhibiting odor causing bacteria. When moistened and applied, the Deodorant Stone forms an invisible layer of protection that leaves you feeling clean and smelling fresh all day.

One of the finest deodorant stones available, the Deodorant Stone is 100% natural, pH balanced, hypoallergenic, environmentally safe, non-staining and non-irritating. Never sticky or greasy. Contains no harmful chemicals, perfumes, oils, emulsifiers, alcohol, aluminum cholorhydrate or propellants.

Contains: Contains potassium sulfate and mineral salts which have been crystallized over a period of months.

If you’re interested in learning more about the URI Deodorant Stone and our experience with it, feel free to contact us through this link.

The Bottom Line

So, what are the results of my quest to wear white again (and keep the clothes white)? Well in past weeks I’ve been able to bring my pH from quite acidic to almost completely balanced. I’ve cut out some things from my diet (like soda) and I’ve added other things to my diet (see this). With these two things I feel different – more energy and more rested, not so worn out. I’ve switched to the deodorant stone and yesterday I just got a brand new white t-shirt to sleep in. I’ll follow up in a few weeks to let you know if there is any staining to be found on my new white shirt.

*** Update May 22, 2008 ***

I have not had a single white garment turn dingy yet! I have, however, had a light green t-shirt fade a little in the armpit area, but that is the only thing I have noticed. The deodorant doesn’t keep you from sweating, just smelling bad. My husband has told me that I no longer smell like anti-perspirant (I always used the unscented kind, still….). Bottom line after 7+ months – I’m thrilled with this product. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to maintain a more balanced pH and that I am now comfortable with wearing white again!

Posted in Alternative Therapy, Health, Natural Remedies, Product Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »