Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ink Pink You Stink?

The vegan lifestyle eventually brings to light many issues of healthy and joy-full living that require some deliberate choices. As I refine habits and cut out the stink in my life (figuratively speaking), I have found it opportune lately to address the stink, literally.

I have been looking into smells, deodorants, sweating for health, etc. Here are some interesting things I've come across.

You may have seen stickers and shirts touting claims that Vegetarians/Vegans Smell/Taste Better. Is it true? I'll address the taste factor some other time, but the smell thing has some pretty strong truth as I see it.
Inspire To Act wrote this blog post on how, as we clean up our diets, our bodies are cleaning themselves. Take a look at her tips that address exercise, diet, and more. (The sauna is my new best friend!) Vegetarians and vegans often notice over time that body scents becomes less malodorous and actually more sweet/earthy. I can definitely vouch for this assertion. I enjoy the way I smell after a good workout. It's a scent that reminds me of the smells of playing in the garden, rather than any type of traditional "body odor" type smell.

Related to body scent is the debate surrounding the possible ill effects of standard deodorant/antiperspirants. Many sources claim that inhibiting sweat is unhealthy, and there is also contention about the possible relation of the aluminium in antiperspirant/deodorants being connected to breast cancer and Alzheimer's.

There are several alternatives to traditional deodorants and antiperspirants. Some people just happily go without. If that's not your style, consider either homemade products or one of the many natural formulas available.

I recently read this article about healthier deodorants. The author, Marisa Belger, shares the
top five ingredients to avoid:

Parabens: These preservatives come in several forms (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl) and have been found in breast cancer tumors — though the link to cancer has yet to be substantiated. Parabens are found practically everywhere. Really, spend five minutes in your bathroom today and you’ll find parabens lurking in products in the medicine cabinet, the shower, and your makeup bag.

Aluminum and friends: Aluminum should be wrapped around sandwiches and not absorbed into the body where, as I mentioned earlier, it has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease. But aluminum is a key ingredient in antiperspirant and may look like any of these on a label: aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly or any other aluminum compound.

Triclosan: Sounds like a toilet bowl cleaner, but it’s really a chemical that is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. It’s thought to contain carcinogenic contaminants and is stored in body fat. Also look for triclosan in antibacterial soaps.

Talc: This seemingly benign duster of baby bottoms is often contaminated with asbestos (which is carcinogenic). The catch? The amount of asbestos in talc is unregulated, so you don’t know how much asbestos you’re in for when you buy products containing talc.

Propelyn glycol: As a “penetration enhancer,” propelyn glycol sounds as if it should be sold with Viagra, but it is actually believed to be a neurotoxin that may cause kidney or liver damage.

Belger recommends Dr. Haushka's and Weleda products. These brands both look lovely, but I decided to give a budget model a try first. After a few less than stellar experiences, I found a deodorant I like and I have been very pleased with the results.
I started with Tom's of Maine deodorant in the Lemongrass scent. Verdict: sticky going on, sticky after just a little while of wear. Thumbs down, and that's no great loss, as Tom's is now owned by Colgate anyway. There are much better ways to go...
I bought Desert Essence Roll On at my local health food store and love the stuff so far. Natural roll-ons seem to be the way to go in terms of comfort and ease of use. Desert Essence is also a family-owned company, which I like. A little dusting of Lush or Burt's Bees Baby Powder (sadly now owned by Clorox*), but I'm still using a giant canister that I got brand new at the Goodwill for $1.99 a long time ago) and I have been happy and smelling great. Secret, Degree, and all the rest get the big kiss off for now!! Let's just hope these great results hold up in the blazing Southern summer weather coming up!
*P.S. This is an interesting take on the "Big Green" situation of giant, animal-testing, chemical-laden corporations buying out the smaller green businesses. Aveda is owned by Johnson & Johnson, Odwalla is owned by Coke, etc. etc. The author makes some good points. Hmmm...


Bianca said...

I use natural deodorants, like right now I'm using a tea tree/lavender stick by Earth Science. They don't work quite as well as the mainstream brands, but I just apply several times a day and it seems to work okay that way.

If I skip deodorant though, I totally stink. I couldn't go without. Though I once did a Native American sweat lodge and you sweat so much in those, that you come smelling okay.

jAe said...

when i think about what's in them, i'm horrified at how liberally i applied Teen Spirit, Secret, and the like to my pits. and did you ever notice that they were way worse for leaving yellowy pit stains on white tees than you get now with the natural stuff?

i've also had to try many different kinds before finding ones i like. roll-ons for the most part seem to be a better bet if i want to avoid stickiness. my fave these days is made by Druide, but it's a Quebec company, so i'm not sure you can find it outside canada. i also liked the kiss my face roll ons and.... heck, i can't remember what i used before that.

if you're interested in more info about sauna detoxification programs, i highly recommend getting your hands on Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur's books.

Sal said...

I found this interesting. I looked into more natural deodorants a while ago and even thought about making my own (I used to make all my own products before I got lazy) but most recipes I found had beeswax in! boo.

Maybe it's time to get on it again!

I tried those crystal deodorants too - I didn't like them.

J'Hab@lavidaveggie said...

Tom's is owned by Colgate? Burt's by Clorox?? Bastards! Thanks for the info - looks like it's time I gave the crystal deodorant another shot. And I hear ya on the good sweat - I wear heavy cotton hoodies while running to stay warm and get a good detox in with my workout.

pixiepine said...

Thanks for the book recommendations...I made a request at my library for one.