Choose to Live Beautifully Campaign

Hello!

I wanted to share this wonderful campaign that EcoTools is doing called Choose to Live Beautifully with you!

The first time I had ever heard of EcoTools was once last year when I was in Wegmans.  When I saw these EcoTools makeup brushes made of recycled aluminum, bamboo handles, and synthetic bristles I knew that the next time I needed brushes I would be buying them from this company.

Fast forward to yesterday when I randomly came across this awesome little campaign by EcoTools called Choose to Live Beautifully (I don’t quite remember how I ended up finding it~ all I know is that I started out looking for bamboo toothbrushes 🙂 ).

What you do is you send in a  new or used beauty product (limit two products per person) and you will then receive a coupon (up to 2 coupons) for a free product, worth up to $7.99!   And you know what else?  All donated products are recycled by Recyclebank! 

The only thing I can’t tell you is when this campaign ends~I searched all over and it does not seem to be listed anywhere.  However, I believe it is by the end of this month (the three stops they are making during this campaign around the USA are all this week~ two have already happened).

Now if only their products were made in the USA and not in China, I would absolutely love this company! (I believe that since we are trillions of dollars in debt to China that I personally do not want to add to that debt.  This is the reason why I try to buy as little made in China as possible).

Some examples of beauty products you can send in are cosmetic brushes, body washes, bath sponges, body lotions, body scrubs, body butters, body mists, and hand creams.

Please mail your beauty products, along with your full name and your mailing address to:

Choose to Live Beautifully Campaign

c/o Skirt Public Relations

2320 North Damen Ave, Suite 2D

Chicago, Illinois 60647

If you would like more information on the Choose to Live Beautifully Campaign, please go to http://choosetolivebeautifully.com, or go to http://www.ecotools.com.

This is a wonderful way for you, and for you to be kind to Mother Nature, to recycle one or two beauty products that have not worked out for you, in one way or another.  Just please, make sure they are products that you would have probably thrown away, not products that you would have used, but you are going to send in just to receive the coupons.  Both my mom and I found products that we were planning to throw away before I found out about this campaign.  So, we happily sent them to this campaign instead of sending them to landfills.  Mother Nature will love you for it!

So, make sure you send in a product, or two, to this campaign soon if you want to be a part of this!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: I am not affiliated with EcoTools, or with their Choose to Live Beautifully Campaign, nor am I being compensated by them.  I will be receiving two coupons from them, but they are from me participating in this campaign, not because I have this blog.

The Different Perceptions of Co-Washing and Wen

Wen or Co-Washing?

In the past couple weeks, while I was talking to different people about Wen and Co-Washing, I began to notice a similar theme.  All of them seemed to be able to accept Wen more than Co-Washing, even after I pointed out that both work exactly the same on my hair, and the price of the two is essentially what is different. I think they believed me, but they were still not really convinced that it would be true for their own hair.

Which got me to thinking: Why does Wen have a more acceptable perception than Co-washing?

It seemed like an interesting question to me.  After all, to me, when I heard about Co-washing one month after starting Wen, I immediately thought that it was probably the same exact idea. 

But, did I start co-washing immediately after I heard about it?  No, I didn’t.  It took me six more months after that and spending lots of money on Wen Cleansing Conditioners to take the leap myself to finally try Co-washing. 

So, why is Wen more Acceptable than Co-washing?

I think it all has to do with how they are advertised. 

After all, Wen by Chaz Dean is advertised to be a Cleansing Conditioner.  With Wen, you don’t need shampoo!  That kind of comment, makes you wonder whether it truly works, but it is advertised that it is supposed to be used by itself, or with other Wen products.

How is conditioner advertised?  Use after your shampoo of the same brand! 

So, why wouldn’t someone question if Conditioner Washing really worked when we have been told all of our lives that conditioner was used for one thing, and one thing only~ to be used to moisturize your hair, after shampoo. 

Co-washing does go against everything that we are told about clean hair from when we are young. 

What happens to our hair when we normally shampoo our hair and then use too much conditioner?  We believe our hair will become oily, greasy, and weighed down.

But, I am here to tell you (after Co-Washing my hair for three months now) that Co-Washing does NOT make your hair oily, greasy, or weighed downas long as you use the right conditioners and cleanse your hair once a month~ and these are the SAME conditions (no pun intended 😉 ) that Wen users need to follow as well

However, with Wen you use different Wen products. 

With Co-Washing, you may need to use one V05 brand conditioner, one Suave brand conditioner, and then, to cleanse your hair, either with a shampoo once a month, or (like me) Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner once a month.

It’s really the advertising that gets to us that makes us wonder whether Co-Washing will actually work as well as Wen!  So, if you’re trying to decide between Wen Cleansing Conditioners and Co-Washing, pick which one truly works in your budget because both work! 🙂

If you would like more details on the differences between Wen and Co-Washing, please click on the link to go to my Blog Posts on Wen vs. Co-Washing here: https://sunnymothernature.wordpress.com/category/wen-cleansing-conditioners-vs-conditioner-washing-aka-co-washing/

If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to leave them below!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim 

Please Note: I am not affiliated, nor did I receive compensation or products from, Suave, V05, or Wen by Chaz Dean.  All of the Suave, V05 and Wen I have bought and a couple were bought by my family for me for presents, and one Suave was bought by my boyfriend. 🙂

Day 27 of the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge aka the Real Food Challenge

Hi everyone!

Wow, so I started this challenge on April 23~ its almost been one month already!

I wanted to do another update on how this No Processed Foods/No Sugar/ Real Food Challenge has been going for me!

I probably have less negatives to mention this time around than any other time!  The only problem that I have been having since my last update (Day 19) was that I have been having trouble with leg cramps again.  However, I have, so far, not had any other full blown leg cramps, but I have felt that left calve muscle cramping up for the past couple of days.  This was especially true between Sunday and yesterday (Wednesday).  Tuesday driving home from my last final was the worst it felt.  It was so bad that I thought I would get a horrible leg cramp while driving.  Luckily, I didn’t.  Today my leg has been feeling a lot better though. 

Between various people I’ve talked to, we all came to the conclusion that my left calve muscle will tense up more when I’m stressed.  So, that could have been partly why I have been having so much trouble.  (Finals in college do not equal to low levels of stress 😉 ).

Basically leg cramps in calves can happen because of lack of sodium, potassium, or water.  So, whenever I have problems I try to get all three, which does help.  I do believe it gets aggravated with stress too.  Just something to keep in mind.

All the positives I have been having are much nicer though!

1. My acne has started to clear up again!  Right before Day 19, I had stopped using the Bareminerals Foundation in Fair again because I had started to break out so badly on my face and my neck (where I was using it).  And I wash my face twice a day (I do not sleep in makeup), so I knew it was not because I was not washing it. 

Once I stopped using the Bareminerals again, my face almost immediately started clearing up again!  And this was during my finals week, so there was no lack of stress.  I do like to mention when I have lots of stress just because some people will say to me that my acne might have gotten better or worse because of my stress levels, which is true

However, when I find that my acne is actually getting better when my stress levels are getting worse, that then is definitely saying something about this challenge and the positive effects that it is having on my body. 

So, anyone who is having trouble with acne definitely should consider trying to cut out processed foods and/or processed sugars from their food intake. 

I will keep you informed on how my skin is doing!

2. I have lost some weight.  I actually started following this because I was curious whether I was losing weight eating this way, and I found that I have.  At first, I do not believe I was, but I went from at the beginning weighing around 156 lbs. (I might have weighed a little more than that, I’m not sure, but I do know that I at least weighed that before I started this challenge.) to 150 lbs. now.  So, that’s at least 6 lbs. I’ve lost in almost a month without changes in exercise, or anything other than my food intake. 

(I do want to mention that I have never lost weight when I’m stressed.  When I am stressed I either stay the same weight, or I actually gain weight.)

My energy level is about the same though.  I do feel this is more from how much stress I was under from my finals and hopefully, it will begin to go up again once I have rested.

Here’s one tip on how to resist processed foods and processed sugars that has really helped me~

Read the ingredients on labels!  Every time I feel the urge to eat something processed, I read its ingredients and it immediately makes me not want to eat it! 🙂

Whenever I see high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, Red 40, Blue 1, hydrogenated oil, interesterified oil, etc. and many other words that I will probably never be able to pronounce on my food ingredient labels, it makes me not want to eat them because I don’t want them in my body. 

Hopefully that will help you resist too!

And I do want to let you know that I did give myself three days before my Day 1 of this challenge to allow my body a little time to adjust.  Basically I switched over to the stuff that I was going to eat during the challenge, but I was still eating yogurt during this time because I wanted to eat it up before I officially started the challenge.  So, I was still getting a little bit of sugar before I cut it out completely.

And, I did not really eat a whole lot of sugar to begin with before my challenge, so I did not personally have some of the major withdrawal symptoms that some people do have while cutting out sugar. 

If cutting out processed foods, or processed sugars is too much for you to do, or if they are so immersed in your daily food intake that you don’t know how your body would react if you cut them out completely, take small steps. 

Cut one thing out from your food intake.  For example, you could cut out high fructose corn syrup, or all hydrogenated oils and interesterified oils (Interesterified oils I just found out about yesterday.  Oils that are interesterified are what companies are now using instead of hydrogenated oils because hydrogenated oils have been labelled as bad for one’s health.  However, interesterified oils are just as bad). 

Cutting out these ingredients may seem like something a little bit too small, but you may be surprised to find how often these ingredients are in food products. 

And be proud of yourself that you are taking a tiny step for your health!  I personally do not believe that any step towards better health is too small, as long as you keep taking more and more small steps. 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Organic Milk Reviews and Why I Switched

Hello!

I’m sorry it’s been another week since I last posted~ my last final was yesterday!  So, I’m going to be blogging much more frequently now 🙂

I’ve been trying to eat healthy and good quality foods, including a little bit more organic.  So, while I was looking into starting a No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge (which I’m doing right now) I started relooking at ingredient labels. 

Imagine my surprise when I saw nonfat dry milk in my Swiss 2% milk!  I did not like that.  Before this I had been drinking the generic grocery store brand’s 1% milk, and then the Swiss 1% milk, but I was having trouble with both of them spoiling on me within a couple of days (one time even the next day)!  That was when I went to 2%.

Once I saw the nonfat dry milk though, I decided to look into other options.  So, my dad and I were at the grocery store looking at all of the milk ingredient labels.  I questioned why some of the Swiss containers (the plastic gallon and 1/2 gallon jugs) had nonfat dry milk listed, but others (the plastic “water bottle sized” bottles and the cartons) did not.  So, I went to look at organic milks.

And what I found out later, after researching more, was that the FDA does not require companies to have on their labels whether or not they put nonfat dry milk in their regular milk!   

Apparently the only ways you can know if they add dry milk is if you call the company and ask them, or if they have more than 9g  of protein in each serving.

Why does it matter if there is nonfat dry milk in the milk? 

Well, for me, it’s just the fact that if I’m drinking milk, I want actual milk, not any nonfat dry milk in it.  If there is nonfat dry milk in it, it makes me not want to drink it. 

The actual reasons why are more controversial because some people believe nonfat dry milk is harmful to your health while others say that there isn’t enough oxidized cholesterol in nonfat dry milk to make a big deal of it.  More studies are needed to show whether there is enough oxidized cholesterol in nonfat dry milk, or not.

What it is though, is that nonfat dry milk is said to make you gain more weight in the long run.  For example, they are now saying it is better to drink whole milk instead of lowfat milk because the nonfat dry milk is added to a decent amount of lowfat and skim milks anymore. 

The other problem is that the process that makes milk into nonfat dry milk changes the cholesterol in milk to oxidized cholesterol.  This oxidized cholesterol has sharper edges than normal cholesterol.  So, your arteries than become irritated from the rougher edges, and start to create plaque.  This is the beginning of heart disease.  This oxidized cholesterol can even make other cholesterol in your body turn into oxidized cholesterol. 

All fun stuff right?..Yeah, not really.  So, when I realized this is what nonfat dry milk could possibly do, I was very happy to have already had the uneasy feeling about it and had already gone to organic milk a week before finding this stuff out.  I do not want to be the one they are testing this on. 

The Three Organic Milks

Ok, so I have tried three different organic milks, and there is a slight taste difference between the three.  Other than that, I find all three to essentially be the same and last for the same amount of time.  These last for the same amount of time (before they sour) that regular milk normally does~about a week.  (I personally am able to drink 1/2 gallon of milk within a couple of days though). 

I have tried Stonyfield Farms Lowfat Milk, Organic Valley 1% Milk, and Nature’s Promise 1% Milk. 

All three have a slightly different taste than regular milk does.  It could very well be the food that the cows are eating that causes this slight different taste, or something else.  However, this difference is not in a bad way at all.  It just takes a couple cups to get used to. 

How they rank (this is my personal preference, it could be a different ranking for you) :

1. Stonyfield Farms Lowfat Milk.  This one out of the three just tastes the best to me.

2. Organic Valley 1% Milk.  This is only slightly below Stonyfield Farms.

3. Nature’s Promise 1% Milk.  The taste in this one did taste a little bit worse than the other three.  However, it’s not such a huge difference that I wouldn’t buy it again.

I found that all three were very good quality organic milk.  All three were pasteurized (so you do not have to worry about that), and all three were available in my normal grocery store.  (You will have to check for availability in your own stores though. And if they don’t carry it, suggest that they do 🙂 ).

All three also are certified USDA organic.  Make sure that any organic milk you try is! 

So, why drink organic milk instead of regular milk?

Certified USDA organic milk is produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, and persistent pesticides.  This means that you, and your family, will not be consuming antiobiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides that are harmful to your health that can be in regular milk.

The FDA even has confirmed numbers that show 80% of all antibiotics in America go to animal agriculture.  This is a scary number of antibiotics that we, Americans, are consuming, not because we are sick and need the antibiotics to make us better, but because we are eating dairy and/or meat (beef, chicken, etc.).  

A way to avoid this amount of antibiotics is by eating organic dairy and/or organic grassfed meats.

So, try an organic milk instead of your regular milk!  There are many different organic milk brands out there other than just these three.  These three (other organic brands do as well) have whole, lowfat, and skim milk.  Organic Valley even has little packages of 1% milk and chocolate milk for your kids, or for yourself, to take for lunches! 

You and Mother Nature will smile a little bit more knowing that you are drinking something healthy for you. 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: I am not affiliated with Stonyfield Farms, Organic Valley, Nature’s Promise, or Swiss, nor did any of these companies give me free milk, or products, nor did any of these companies compensate me for my review.  I started trying different organic milks because I was curious, and because my first choice, Stonyfield Farms, was out of stock constantly. 🙂

Day 19 of the No Processed Food and No Sugar Challenge

Hello!

I hope everyone is healthy and doing well 🙂

I’m sorry it’s been about a week since I last posted a blog.  This past week was the last days of classes.  I just finished writing my final paper for my one class that’s due tomorrow, and I just have Monday and Tuesday, with two final exams, two essays, and a presentation, and I’m done with this college semester! 🙂

So, how has it been going with this challenge, for me?

It’s been going really well!  Basically I had two days last week (Thursday and Saturday) where I did end up eating not so great foods for one meal, each day.  Thursday was actually my Award Ceremony~ I received an Honors Program Graduate Award from my college.  I was expecting more people to receive it, but there were only two of us! (the guy besides me didn’t show).  But, I did end up eating a bowl of really good soup from Panera Bread.  I honestly haven’t been to a Panera Bread in years so I couldn’t resist! 😉

Then on Saturday, my parents and I went out to celebrate my mom’s birthday (which was on mother’s day this year) and mother’s day!  We ended up choosing Chipotle because it seemed like it would have the healthiest food that my mom could eat.  It was awesome!  I loved the food there!  Sadly, the food was SOOO spicy!  My mouth was on fire! ~ Luckily they had organic milk there.  But we all enjoyed ourselves, my mom, I think, especially 🙂

At this point in the challenge, I don’t think I’ve been having any mood swings because of the lack of sugar or processed food (I have been moody, but I think it’s stress related).  Also, I haven’t been having any cravings for anything.  The only craving I’ve had is the one when I was at Panera Bread, for Broccoli Cheese soup.

Sadly, my acne, and the tiny little bumps I get on my face, has flared up again.  I do think this is partly due to stress though, and I did start using my Bareminerals Fair foundation again.  So, I stopped using that foundation to see if that was partly it.  So far, my face does seem to be slowly clearing up again.  I don’t know what I think about that. 

And, just because I was curious, I did decide to weigh myself either on Day 12, or the day after, to see how much I weighed.  At that time I weighed 156 lbs.  I’ve weighed myself yesterday and today, and I now seem to weigh 152 lbs.   I do weigh myself around the same time every day, and for my height, this is considered in the normal range.  So, if you are considering doing this challenge for weight loss, it is a definite possibility.  Like I said in other posts, I normally gain 10 lbs. over the winter and so that is the weight that I don’t mind losing by summer.  🙂  However, I do think how much you could lose with this type of challenge depends on how much processed food and sugar you normally intake on a daily basis.  If it wasn’t too much (like me), then I don’t feel that there is going to be as big of a weight loss.  But if you do consume more, then you could lose much more weight than I probably will.  Just to keep that in mind 🙂

I do still feel like I have some more energy than I did starting this challenge.  However, I think since this is my last little bit of time in this semester, I am having a little bit more difficulty focusing.  (It probably didn’t help that the project I needed to finish first was the one I really didn’t want to work on 😉 )

So far, I also have not had anymore leg cramps!  I am really happy about this!  But I have been trying to make sure that I do get enough sodium.  There was one day where my left calve did feel a little off (like it was possibly starting to get a leg cramp), but luckily it went away.

Overall, I have been feeling really happy that I did take the plunge and start this challenge because I feel that it has been very beneficial.  I know that Mother Nature would approve 😉

 Once my finals are done, I have tons of blog posts that I want to write, so come back soon!  🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 12 of the Real Food aka No Sugar and No Processed Food Challenge

Hi!

So, I wanted to give an update on how things are going with my Real Food aka No Sugar and No Processed Foods Challenge.

It’s going really well so far!  I have been doing this challenge for almost two weeks now, and I have been sticking to it pretty well.  However, while I was petsitting this weekend, I did end up eating breaded chicken nuggets (as well as my normal vegetables, fruits, organic milk, etc.) every day.  Yet, that is my only real slip up so far.  And I did eat them consciously because I wanted to make sure that I did have enough meat and salt in my diet.

The other thing that happened was that on Saturday when I woke up, I had a horrible muscle cramp in my left leg.  It lasted for a couple of minutes.  Even a couple of hours after the initial pain, I could not walk with my left foot flat on the ground.  My muscle was just that tight.  I definitely feel it was because I must have not taken in enough sodium.  So, basically the first thing I did when I could move was get to the kitchen and eat things with sodium, or added sodium to foods.  By the middle of the day I could walk with my left foot flat on the ground again, and by the evening it was feeling much better.  The next day it was completely gone.

So, just make sure that you are still getting enough sodium.  Otherwise, you will end up having some leg cramps and those aren’t fun!

When my mom started having high blood pressure, not only did she cut back on sodium, but I did as well.  So, it is just so weird adding sodium to foods now.  I’m getting used to it though 🙂

The other thing that I noticed that I do feel might have happened because of the no sugar and no processed foods challenge was that for maybe the first week, or week and a half, I was getting very pissed off very frequently.  Sometimes, there was a reason, and other times, I’m not really sure if there were reasons.

I had read that some people who cut out processed sugars did have major emotional mood swings.  Not all did, but some did.  Luckily, I’ve (so far) just had the angry ones, which I’m perfectly fine with.  I’d rather have those than start crying about something.  I think I am over this now though, which makes me feel better. 🙂

Those are the two things that I’ve noticed that have been negative.

Yet, I have noticed things that are positive as well!  My skin, for one, has started to really clear up!  I do think this is also partly that I did take out some products from my routine that I thought were breaking my skin out.  However, I do feel that this has definitely helped my skin as well!  And no, my level of stress has still not changed~I now have less than two weeks left in this semester in college.  This equals lots of stress until the end of the semester.  🙂

Also, I do feel like my energy level has slowly been increasing, which is awesome!  I still do not feel that it’s where I want it to be, but it is getting there.

I did check my weight a couple of days ago (I don’t quite remember when) just because I was curious to see if I had lost any weight.  I don’t think I did though.  Like I said though, this is not my major concern.  I did want to let you know though, just in case this was one of the reasons you were thinking about doing this challenge.  However, it is only less than two weeks in.

Also, for the past year, I have been having trouble with my stomach (IBS).  I did get it in control in August 2010.  However, every now and then I will have trouble again.  So far, I have not been having trouble while doing this challenge!  That makes me very happy! 🙂

I will continue to keep updating on the positives, the negatives, and my progress with this challenge!  Stay tuned 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim