A NonToxic Life || BEAUTY

Sunday, June 4, 2017





Have you seen a ton of companies claim their beauty products as natural and gentle on the skin? Well, unfortunately, the term ‘natural’ doesn’t always imply products that are made with nontoxic ingredients that are derived from plants. The phrase ‘natural’ is NOT regulated by the FDA meaning that the definition may vary from brand to brand. With the FDA not regulating the word natural a lot of companies use the term to trick consumers into thinking that they are buying products that won't put their health at risk.


When I started doing the research and reading the ingredients of my skin care products I was shocked and disgusted. So many products that use marketing to con their way into my bathroom cabinet, that's ending in 2017.

This post in an introduction into how to shop and incorporate nontoxic beauty products into your regime. If you're on a budget like myself I understand if you don't throw all your products out and start from scratch, but when your products empty I highly considering you swap what's in your routine with healthy, nontoxic products.


A lot of popular brands use ingredients that increase the risk of cancer and disrupt reproductive functioning which can lead to a plethora of health conditions. Unfortunately, products that are marketed to black women are higher than products geared towards white women.

First things first, let's define some terms that I've been throwing around.

Non-toxic beauty is defined as a beauty routine (hair, body, and skin) that includes products that do not disrupt the bodies natural functions and endocrine system.

When I say natural products I consider products with no ingredients that are toxic, free of carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, immune disruptors (immunotoxins) and hormone disrupters. 


Some ingredients to avoid when shopping for beauty and health products are:

PARABENS:
Hormone disruptor, carcinogenic - can increase the risk of breast cancer. Commonly found in a lost of skin care and hair products marketed towards black women.
*also known as ethylparaben, butylparaben

PROPYLENE GLYCOL:
Carcinogenic - has the ability to impact nervous system and liver function. Found in deodorants and hair products.

PARFUMS/FRAGRANCE:
Allergen and respiratory irritation - commonly found in a lot of skin care, body butter, lotions and hair care. Often times fragrances are made of a combination of synthetic chemicals that are not specifically listed in the ingredients list.  


PHTHALATE:
Hormone disruptor, carcinogenic and development disrupter - found in a lot of lotions, body care, and skin care.

ALUMINUM:
Hormone disruptor, carcinogenic - increases the risk of breast cancer. Commonly found in deodorants and beauty products.

DMDM HYDANTOIN:
Hormone disruptor, carcinogenic - used as a preservative and formaldehyde-releasing ingredient. Commonly found in skin care and beauty products. 


As far as brands, there are a lot using the 'natural' marketing tool to bamboozle consumers into buying their products when in actuality, they contain high levels of toxic ingredients. I'm going to list some bands to avoid completely if you're looking to create a nontoxic beauty routine.

BRANDS TO AVOID:

Herbal Essences
Neutrogena Naturals
Simple
LUSH
Aveeno
Origins
Creme of Nature
Curls
Carols Daughter


BRANDS TO SUPPORT:
Toms
Herbivore Botanical
Shea Radiance
FitGlow Beauty
Alba Botanica 
Zoe Organics

**I'm looking for more, please be patient. I will be adding to this list over the next few months as I familiarize myself with more beauty brands.

If you feel overwhelmed by realizing that a large portion of your beauty products contains toxic ingredients it's understandable. I suggest transitioning into the lifestyle to avoid burdening yourself with redesigning your entire hair, skin, and body regimes.

If you’re using nontoxic beauty products feel free to share your favorites below or tweet them to me! If you're looking for more resources and ways to evaluate your own products download the ThinkDirty app! 



With love,
Breanna 
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#Adulting || LIFE

Friday, June 2, 2017






Entering post-grad life was a shock to me. As someone who has a delayed reaction to any change and tends to be reflective after the fact, the first month since graduation was taxing on me. So much change happening at once was difficult for me to process, almost as if time was moving but I couldn’t get a grip on what was going on.

If you're anything like me, or my group of friend from undergrad, the day after commencement felt surreal. Of course, everyone was excited to close that chapter in life but we quickly realized that the space we shared for the last 5 years together would soon be a memory. Some of us were going back home in hopes of securing a job soon in this awful economy, which isn't getting better with these yt people's  president but I'll save that for another day, a task that heightened anxiety for some. A few of us were leaving home, again, to pursue higher degrees, which meant leaving our comfort zone. While some of my peers had jobs and were ready to acclimate into adulting the best they could. However, you look at it, the few weeks after undergraduate commencement can be an emotional roller coaster.


I write this to not necessarily give advice because I haven't figured out how to fully navigate this 'adulting' life yet, but I am here to give reassurance to any recent grad that the feelings you feel are valid. So often people question why millennials do this or that, and I feel like it's because we're a generation that's changing the definition of success. No longer is there a cookie cutter path to 'success' after graduation so we're changing the norm, and that scares people. Fear does that, it causes you to reject the possibility or the potential of something to work out in your favor. What I do know is that we cannot continue the fear of the unknown to let us stifle our growth. Take the risk, whatever that may be for you. If it's moving across the country on your own to secure a job, you do that. If it's getting on a plane to a new place in order to find out what you truly want in life, you do that. If you're considering doing anything that is outside of your comfort zone this is that confirmation to do it. Again, I don't have all the answers, I don't even act like I do... but what I do know is that you cannot wait around for an opportunity, you have to create it. You waiting inside your comfort zone, after graduating, excepting a life changing moment is counterproductive. It's almost like praying when you're anxious or worried then you continue to worry after you've prayed. You can't do both, either you pray and give it to God or you worry and create a scenario in your mind.  You have to decide are you going to create your own opportunities or are you going to stay in you comfort zone and hope for something new.


I hope that this roller coaster of emotions is something that you're embarrassing, something that you're learning from. Life after undergrad is different but that doesn't make it any less amazing. You've just gotta find a way to have your actions align with God's will for your life. These are the words that I needed to tell myself when I first got on this post-grad roller coaster. I hope they're the words you needed to hear. Create your own definition of success and adulting, because at the day this is your life so you should live it in a way that brings you joy.


with love,
Breanna 
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#PlantBasedPath: Creating A Community || LIFE

Friday, May 19, 2017





Black Vegans aren’t unicorns, yeah we’re magical but we actually exist.





A few days ago I tweeted about how the Facebook community groups that I’m a part of, hosted by some of the most popular vegans on social media, have a tendency to very judgmental towards people who haven't fully adapted to a plant-based lifestyle. For the last 4 years since I’ve been on this vegetarian/vegan journey, I’ve come to notice how a large part of the community 'rubs me the wrong way,' as my momma would say. Due to the often rigid lifestyle rules, the judgment and the need to push thin white women as a face of the lifestyle over the years I’ve gradually pulled myself away from the vegan name and feel a lot more comfortable claiming a plant-based lifestyle.

In my mind being a plant based eater goes beyond self-control and the need to feel good, I view the ability to eat a plant-based diet as a privilege, a privilege that a lot of people in minority communities don’t have the option to partake in. It may be the sociologist in me, but I cannot judge people specifically in the African-American community, for saying a plant-based lifestyle isn’t possible to them when you look at the complexities of food insecurity, food deserts, economic inequality, and a lack of knowledge around nutrition. To some people eating foods of high nutritional value is an option that comes with associated risks and cost, whether that be the cost of the actually produce, the need to travel miles to access healthier options, or not being equipped with how to prepare plant-based dishes that appease to their cultural values or norms.

With all of that being said I’ve decided to partake in a series of post and tons of new content that push towards changing the perception of a plant-based lifestyle particularly in the black community.  I want people to feel accepted into this community regardless of their current size, body type, class status, or lifestyle. I want to change the face of ‘healthy’.

In order to build a community for everyone, at any stage of their plant-based journey, whether they’re entertaining the idea of becoming a vegetarian, pescatarian, or have been plant-based for a long period of time, I want this community to be for EVERYONE. I hope to inspire people at whatever age or body type to learn how food can be comforting and nourishing at the same time.

In order to get this motivation started, I’ve launched my food and lifestyle inspiration Instagram under the handle @plantbasedbre, where I show photos of the foods I eat on a weekly basis. I’ve also created a Facebook community aside from my Where She Begins page that creates a space for people to share their questions, experiences or thoughts regarding the transition towards a healthier version of themselves. For some that may be cutting or read meat, for other, that may be incepting at least 3 vegetables a day into their diet, while for other it may be kicking the need to emotional eating phases that a lot of plant based eaters deal with. 

I hope that whatever phase of your wellness journey you’re in this community inspires you. If you have any questions, comments or idea feel free to reach out to me directly or leave them in the comments below.

Don’t forget to follow @plantbasedbre onInstagram and join the Facebook community (before there becomes a fee)!

with love,

Breanna 
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