Let's Talk About Organic Feminine Hygiene Products

Organic Tampons.png

Ok, ladies. The time has come for this conversation. Yes, I am going there today. By the way, if there are any gentlemen reading this, you may just want to see yourself out now. No offense, but if you don't have a uterus and a vagina, this conversation isn't really for you. BUT...if you happen to have a preteen or teenage girl at home on the verge of puberty, then by all means, pull up a chair! 

So I don't know about you, but I've tried to cut out toxic chemicals from my environment wherever I can. I mean, we're talking deodorant, nail polish, skincare, etcetera. And it's no different when it comes to my downstairs mix up.  

Consider what's in regular tampons and pads: pesticides, chlorine, gmo's, dyes, fragrance, and that's just to name a few. 

Not to mention, the vaginal wall is extremely permeable, as is all skin, so it's incredibly easy for toxins to get into your blood stream through your vagina. 

So what's a gal to do? 

First, take back responsibility for your feminine care. Manufacturers are not required to tell you what's in tampons, so you have to do your own research to find good products to use.

Luckily, you've got a pal like me who's already done the research on and trying of organic products, and I'm totally willing to help a sister out! 

If you're a tampon and panty shield girl, then my favorites are Cora, Honest Company, and Natracare.  

Cora is fabulous because it's a subscription service. You can set how many tampons you need every period and how frequently you'd like to receive them. FYI, these are seriously the most comfortable tampons I've ever worn, and I feel like I've tried them all. Plus, when you buy from Cora, they send sanitary products to a girl in need around the world! Join Cora with my code, lesleigh2172, and you'll get one month FREE.

The Honest Co. is great for the same reason. I get my panty shields shipped with my son's diapers. Diapers for him, mini diaper for me. Win-win! ;-) 

Veeda was the first organic tampon brand I ever tried, and the reason is because it was hard to find an organic tampon brand that had plastic applicators. Something about cardboard applicators just rubs me the wrong way (both literally and metaphorically). They were a great intro, but the tampon was kind of uncomfortable, so I just keep them as backups now. But don't let my experience stop you from trying them. 

If you're more of a pad kind of girl, both Natracare and Seventh Generation make organic ones. 

If you're more of a menstral cup kind of woman, my favorite beauty vlogger, Jackie, has an entire video about her experience with the Flex cup. Many women are also quite fond of the Diva Cup. I, personally, have never tried either, but if you have, let me know what you think!

For my super green sisters, you can also buy reusable cloth pads, and sea sponge tampons. Yes, I said SEA SPONGE TAMPONS. I am not quite on that level in my hippie metamorphosis, but you do you!

Well, that's everything I have for you today on how to keep your vagina healthy. For more info on the toxicity of traditional tampons, check here and here

If you don't mind sharing, what do YOU use when Aunt Flo comes to visit? Let me know!

Cheers to freakin' weekend, 

LesLeigh J. 

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Essential Central: Thieves

Yo and hello!

So, in my first Essential Central post, I gave a very basic introduction to Essential Oils. If you've never heard of or used essential oils, then you must be living under a rock. But seriously, go check out that post first, then come back to this one IMMEDIATELY because we're discussing my favorite E.O. blend of all time!  

Most E.O.'s come in two categories: singles and blends. For example, lavender essential oil is a single, meaning lavender is the only oil in it. The oil we're talking about today, Thieves, is a blend, or a combination of a few different oils. 

Thieves is exclusive to Young Living, but you may be able to find a similar blend from a different company if Young Living isn't for you. Thieves is made up of cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary essential oils. 

Why you need it:

1. Thieves is a purifying oil. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which makes it ideal for cleaning and diffusing. 

In my house, we diffuse Thieves during cold and flu season to keep the germs at bay. Because of its spicy scent, it's also great to diffuse around Christmas time. Mix it with some Citrus Fresh to get a really clean and uplifting scent going in your home.

2. Thieves can be taken as a supplement. 

With the addition of Thieves Vitality to the Thieves product family, you can now safely ingest it on the regular. Do your research first, and always use a carrier oil, especially if you're new to using it. I like to add a drop to a vegetable capsule (which you can get at Sprouts), and just take it like I would a vitamin.

3. Thieves can be taken as medicine.

Whenever I feel a cold or sore throat coming on, I'll put a drop of Thieves on a spoonful of honey and swallow it down. It doesn't have the most pleasant taste, but it severely shortens my recovery time, so I'll take it!

4. You can clean with the different Thieves products.

Young Living has a myriad of products in their Thieves line. Everything from toothpaste, to dishwashing liquid, to bar soap and laundry detergent. You want to clean something with it, they pretty much have a Thieves product for it.

Pro Tips:

1. Make a DIY carpet deodorizer by mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of borax. Add 10 to 20 drops of Thieves (and whatever other oils you want) and let the powders absorb the oil. Sprinkle the mix on your carpets, wait for 10-20 minutes, then vacuum it up. You're good to go!

2. The Thieves wipes are kind of pricy, but you can make your own at home if you have the Thieves All-Purpose cleaner. Get some strong, durable paper towels and cut the roll in half. Put the half roll in a container and add two cups of water and a cap full of Thieves cleaner. Let them sit until they have absorbed all the liquid. Keep them sealed, and whenever you're in need a quick, antibacterial wipe, bust them out and get to cleaning. 

I am no E.O. expert, but I love what they've done for me and my family. They have improved our health, helped me out with cooking, and lifted my mood on more than one occasion, so they get an A+ from me. And Thieves gets an A++.

Which essential oils are you using regularly? Let me know!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

I Don't Want to Compete.

I read a post a couple of days ago, and it really resonated with me. It was one those posts where, you're reading, and all of a sudden you find yourself nodding along in agreement, almost like you're listening to a sermon or having a conversation with someone.  

I happened to read it after I had a hell of time making organic spaghetti with organic meat sauce FROM SCRATCH. And after reading it, I realized...I don't want to compete.  

I played soccer all through college. Before that, I was the commander of the unarmed drill team for my AFJROTC unit in high school. And many years ago, as a little tike, I competed in dance.  

I've always enjoyed the thrill of competition, and even more so the thrill of winning, but it's not so thrilling now as an adult. There is a significant difference between healthy competition and unhealthy competition, but because I'm competitive by nature, I often find myself in unhealthy competition.  

I'll find myself secretly competing with other wives, other moms, other Christians. Like...who can have the sexiest, most down-to-earth husband who rubs your back with one hand and does the cleaning with the other? And who can prepare an all organic, non-gmo, completely gourmet dinner while breastfeeding at the same time? Who can write the most profound, spiritual Facebook post that leads 20 people to Christ?  

Part of it is the advent of social media. But if I'm being completely honest with myself, social media isn't totally to blame.  

It's me. I'm my own worst enemy. I'm my harshest critic. I'm the most ruthless competitor against myself. And for what?  

Why do I run myself into the ground trying be some version of myself that I don't even care about?  

Of course, I think my husband's sexy. Of course, I want to be the best mom I can possibly be. Of course, I want to cook healthy, delicious meals. Of course, I want to show Jesus' love to those around me... 

So Why. Isn't. That. Enough?  

Like the author of the post said, what if I just want a simple life?  

One of the downsides of my generation (millennials) is that we all want to be great. We want to conquer the world, and make a name for ourselves. We want to be the best and brightest at everything.  

Don't get me wrong, that's admirable, when channeled in the right direction. And contrary to what many from older generations say, I do believe we actually work hard for the things we have. 

But what's our motivation to get those things? 

I don't want to live my life constantly trying to outdo everyone else.  And I don't want to spend my time always comparing my life to what others' lives look like. 

It's impossible to be THE best at anything. But I can always be MY best at whatever I'm doing. 

And if I enjoy what I'm doing, and I'm doing it for the right reasons, then I'm successful. If I'm always trying to be the best wife, mom, daughter, writer, and Christ-follower that I can be, then that's all that matters.  

I don't have to live up to the ridiculous expectations I've set for myself. I don't have to be a seven-figure "girlboss," who still manages to cook all of her family's meals and homeschool her children, while still having a deeply intimate relationship with her husband, and who makes it to church on time every single Sunday. 

Maybe that woman exists. Maybe she doesn't. But either way, I don't have to be her.

The moral of the story is...I don't want to compete with anyone anymore. And I don't want anyone to feel like they have to compete with me. I don't need to cross the finish line first. I just hope we all make it across.

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

What's the Deal with Algae Oil?

The Inspired Life-Cooking with Algae Oil

Here's the deal, folks. We all need fat. Yes, you read that right. We ALL. NEED. FAT. So all of these anti-fat diet fads are totally unhealthy, because the human body needs fat to sustain itself. 

Now, the deal is, we need good fat to sustain ourselves. There is a difference between good fat and bad fat, just like there's a difference in cooking your food in a healthy way and cooking it in an unhealthy way.

That brings me to our topic of discussion today: Algae Oil.

I first heard about it a few weeks ago from my mom, and I was intrigued. I mean, I thought EVOO and Coconut oil were as good as it got, but apparently I was wrong. So, like the naturally inquisitive person that I am, I quickly researched it, bought some, tried it out, and here we are today.

The Inspired Life-Algae Oil

When I started researching this magical fatty fluid, I started to feel like I was a little late to the game. Time Magazine wrote a post on it. One of my favorite health resources, Dr. Axe, wrote a post about it. But when it comes to good health, we can never share something too much, right?

At this point, if you're late to the game like me, I'm sure you're wondering...

What are the benefits of Algae Oil?

1. Algae Oil has the highest level of monosaturated fat (the good fat) of any cooking oil. In fact, just 1 tablespoon of AO gives the same about of good fat as 1 whole avocado!

2. Algae Oil has only 4% saturated fat (the bad fat) compared to Olive Oil's 14% and Coconut Oil's 87% (yowza).

3. Because of it's monosaturated fat content, AO helps to keep your heart healthy, it helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure level, and it helps to decrease blood clot production. It also helps reduce inflammation. 

4. Algae Oil is good for pregnant women. It has a high DHA (omega-3) content, so it's great for brain development. Eat up, mama's!

5. Because of the DHA (omega-3) content, it's good for eye health and brain health in adults. It helps to improve memory, and could be good for people suffering from Alzheimer's. 

6. It's a great alternative to fish oil, especially for vegetarians and vegans. 

When it comes to cooking...

Algae Oil has the highest smoke point out of the healthy cooking oils, and you can fry with it. It has a neutral flavor (kind of like vegetable oil), so it won't impact the flavor of what you're cooking or baking. I made a stir fry with it on Monday night, and it turned out great! 

Will I still use EVOO and Coconut Oil for cooking and baking? Absolutely! Sometimes, I prefer the flavor of olive oil in my food, especially when preparing anything Italian. And coconut oil can be great to replace vegetable oil in baking. 

That being said, I still give Algae Oil an A+ rating, and it has become a permanent member of my kitchen. I come from a family with a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's, so I need all the help I can get.

Will you try out Algae Oil? If so, let me know how it goes and what you think of it!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links*

Read the Ingredients: Propylene Glycol

Happy Thursday, friends!

Today, I'm beginning a new series called Read the Ingredients, where I will research and discuss common ingredients found in health and beauty products, as well as food. Basically, I'll pick an ingredient, let you know what I find out about it, and talk about whether or not it's a health risk.

First up to the plate: Propylene Glycol...

 Image of PG  via

Image of PG via

Propylene Glycol is a common ingredient found in liquid and cream products. It is technically an antifreeze, but the not the kind of scary antifreeze that comes to mind when someone says...well..."antifreeze."

1. Propylene Glycol is an antifreeze agent.

However, do not confuse it with its highly toxic cousin, Ethylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is not immediately toxic when you come into contact with it. Ethylene Glycol is used in radiators to help them maintain a certain temperature. Veterinarians often see pets who have been poisoned by ethylene glycol, because it has a sweet taste and pets may drink it if it's spilled on the floor.

2. Propylene Glycol is a byproduct of fossil fuels.

It is known as what's called a "third product." Basically, it begins with propene, which is then converted to propylene oxide, and then water is added, and you get propylene glycol. If sustainability is really important to you, and you want to stear clear of the fossil fuel industry as much as possible, then you may want to skip Propylene Glycol.

3. Propylene Glycol has been classified by the FDA as safe.

The FDA has said that propylene glycol is "generally recognized as safe" for food and other products. The FDA isn't foolproof by any means, and they don't always have everyone's best interests at heart, so I would take their classifications with a grain of salt. But do what's right for you and your family.

4. Propylene Glycol has been given a score of 3 by the EWG.

I personally trust the EWG more than I trust the FDA, and even though 3 is more toxic than 1, it's still considered a "fair" score. The only rub is, there is little to no clinical research done on propylene glycol's safety for humans. Most (if not all) lab tests have been done on monkeys, rats, and other test animals. 

5. Propylene Glycol can be a skin and eye irritant.

It is also used as a penetration enhancer, meaning that if it is, say, in your moisturizer, it is used to make the other ingredients penetrate deeper into the body. This doesn't sound too bad, but if some of the other ingredients are causing your skin to be sensitized, then the propylene glycol is only helping them along.

6. Propylene Glycol could be toxic to Infants.

Our kidneys and liver do the work of ridding our bodies of toxins. Infants' kidneys and livers don't work as well as ours do, so they have a harder time ridding their bodies of toxins. So pregnant ladies, nursing mamas, and mamas in general, be on the lookout for this ingredient in your health and beauty products, as well as the products that come into contact with your baby. 

I'd also note that if you have poor liver or kidney function, you should be aware of potentially harmful products that come into contact with your body. Good apps to have that can help with this are the EWG app and the Think Dirty app. If your products are in their system, they will tell you what the ingredients are and if they're harmful or not.

As always, don't take my word as law. I actually like researching this type of stuff, so I'm happy to share what I find, but always do what works for you. If you happily use products that contain propylene glycol, more power to you. To each his own, as they say!

I hope this post has been helpful, and if it has, feel free to let me know of any ingredient you'd like me to research for future posts!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

H2O...

H2O

Today, I want to talk about water.  

I know, I know, boring topic. But just hear me out, pals. 

The human body is made up of about 60% water. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, depending on how much you weigh and your lifestyle. Even so, more than half of our body is made of water, and still most people are dehydrated. 

We just don't drink enough water. And why should we, when there's so many other fun things to drink? I mean, there's soda, energy drinks, and don't even get me started on the alcoholic beverages.  

Well, for starters, we need water to live. And not just to remain alive, but to thrive. We lose water all the time. When we sweat, which is all the time, even if we don't notice it. When we cry. When we pee. And while we're on the subject of uh...eliminating waste, we also need water to poop regularly.  

Yes, I went there. The more dehydrated you are, the harder it is for you to poo. I learned this when I was pregnant. TMI? Alright then, back to my point.  

On average, we are supposed to be consuming about 30-50% of our body weight (in ounces) of water a day. So if you weigh 100 lbs, you should be consuming 30-50 ounces of water a day. Now weigh yourself and try to remember the last time you drank half of that number, in ounces, of water in one day.  

I for one know that I suck when it comes to drinking enough water, so I've decided to challenge myself. I'm a competitive person, and when something is a challenge, I like to do my best to rise to the occasion and be a conqueror.  

So, I did what any health-conscious millennial would do: I downloaded an app!  

This app is awesome. My husband actually showed it to me back in January, so I have to give him credit for finding it. It's called My Water Balance, and I love it because you can add in other beverages and it will add the amount of water in that beverage to your total amount of water for the day.

Basically, there's water in everything, so you don't actually have to consume straight water in order to get your ounces in. Don't get me wrong, you still need to drink good ol' fashioned H2O on the regular, but all 30-50 ounces doesn't have to come from straight-no-chaser water. 

I've challenged myself, starting Sunday, to drink nothing but water for 40 days. I will allow myself to cheat on Friday evenings with one non-water beverage, but mostly, I will be drinking water. They say it takes around 40 days to build or break a habit, so that's why I picked that number. 

I have many motivations for doing this. I mean, I need to be healthier over all, but also, dehydration contributes to a lot of health and beauty problems. Skin problems like acne, dryness, or overactive oil production can all be symptoms of dehydration, and there isn't a moisturizer or serum on the planet that can cure you like drinking water can.  

So there it is. I've put it out there for all to see, so I'm hoping that will keep me accountable!  

Are you drinking enough water? If so, how do you stay motivated to do so? Let me know! 

Cheers, 
LesLeigh J.