Updated: Sep 13
GUEST BLOG TAKEOVER (this post is sponsored): Caitlin from Fatskn
Read the Ingredients: Your health is your responsibility.
The EU law bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. Canada bans upwards of 500. In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics.
While the EWG is often a source of some good info, products like Vaseline and CeraVe still score well even though they are made from petroleum.
Badges like “USDA Organic” and (Canadian equivalent) also vary in their particular regulations, as well as standards for organic goods from varying countries.
“NON-GMO Project” badge still allows synthetic pesticides, hexane, RoundUp and more.
Even grass fed doesn’t guarantee grass FINISHED.
Or how about the raw milk brand in the US that va**** its animals for the big C?
My point being that you can no longer rely on a simple sticker or badge to tell you whether or not what you’re buying is good for you. You need to delve down into the brands, the farms, the ingredients.
Most cosmetic companies have isolated different proteins and acids so ingredients are a bit harder to decipher and quickly understand. Sometimes this also means they’re synthetic or created in a lab – much like vitamins and supplements. Which isn’t necessarily to say that that’s bad, but the more I learn the more I eschew isolated nutrients and vitamins and try and find them in whole food. (For example I just learned about Citric Acid last week aka MCA (manufactured citric acid). Spoiler alert: you’re going to want to start canning your own tomatoes).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year, it’s that we don’t know everything we think we know about the human body and all its miraculous functions. Quite a few things that I formerly took for absolute truths have been completely upended. Things like Vitamin B, C and D supplementation, sunscreen, sunglasses. And then there’s the whole germ vs. terrain theory, but that’s a topic for another day 😉.
I fell in love with saturated fats about 5 years ago when I went whole foods Keto. I dipped my toe into the world of the gut microbiome, epigenetic, thyroid health, and natural fertility from podcasts by Dave Asprey (@daveasprey , Bulletproof Radio), Katie Wells (@Wellness Mama), Lisa Hendrickson-Jack (@fertilityfriday). At that time, people like Katie (@holistico.katie) and this whole world of young, passionate, expert gut/metabolic educators/advisors didn’t exist (or I hadn’t found them yet). I was so proud of all the things I cut out (sugar – including fruit, gluten, dairy, processed foods, lectins, nightshades). I definitely OD’d on nuts/nut butters/nut flours/nut milk which (looking back) explains all the stomach issues I continued to have.
Tallow, butter, pastured bacon, cocoa butter, and coconut oil are still my ride or die. When I sought skin care that aligned with the same conditions I placed on food, I kept coming up short. Coconut oil made me break out, so I grabbed some tallow from the fridge and started experimenting.
A year later, I completed my first pregnancy and unmedicated birth with zero stretch marks and started using my tallow balms on baby from day one. Nightly baby massages became part of our bedtime routine, especially given that we live in a very cold, very dry climate.
After exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months, my daughter’s first foods were whole foods (on top of breastmilk for another 6 months): raw, free-range egg yolk (I couldn’t find soy-free at the time), grass-fed steak cooked rare, avocado, pureed pumpkin (for the iron – which I wouldn’t do again), smoothies with blueberries, banana, bone broth, steamed kale (which I also wouldn’t do again). Even with these whole foods, she still developed some super mild eczema (which now I would chalk up to her standard vaccines which we did up to 1yr) which I treated solely with tallow. Now at 2.5yrs, she still has a bit of chicken skin on the back of her arms and we’re currently working with a naturopath in Calgary to gently detox with homeopathic treatments some of her lingering heavy metals.
I think we’ve been misreading a lot of the signs our bodies have been telling us over the last half century. We live in pain because it’s considered “normal” and try to cover up instead of finding the root cause for skin issues. Learning about tallow and how it interacts with your body’s natural sebum was eye-opening for me. Sebum is a latin word which literally means suet or tallow (suet is a particular type of tallow – the “hard” fat: it’s more stable at room temperature and generally considered higher quality. All of Fatskn’s tallow is suet tallow). Studies on the use of tallow with acne are fascinating: because tallow is almost bio-identical to our skin’s natural sebum, long-term use actually show the ability to reduce acne. Instead of drying out the skin with cleansers and toners which causes the body to overproduce oil, tallow helps the body regulate itself and slowly heal. It gives it what it needs and encourages it to heal itself, instead of working against it. And this message here - giving the body what it needs and allowing it to heal on its own terms – this is a foundational principle to how I have come to view health. Support your body. Love it. Nourish it. Give it time in the sun. Feed it good food – fat, sugar, salt, meat, raw milk, eggs, oysters, liver, bone broth. Give it ingredients it can use (both topically and internally).
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