The BEST CLEAN & CRUNCHY Gift Giving Guide 2019-2020

The holiday season sneaks up faster and faster every year, and we’re caught scrambling for meaningful gifts to choose for our friends and family.

It is important to choose something thoughtful that:

They don’t already have.

They will actually like. 

They will use. 

  THE PERFECT GIFT

Gift-giving is not limited to Christmas or “The Holidays,” though. There are many times throughout the year that we need to come up with a great gift for someone we love: Birthdays, Homecomings, Mothers and Fathers Day, Retirement and other occasions. 

It’s always a good idea to have a few GREAT GIFTS up your sleeve. 

The past few years I have built my own business, and I have come to appreciate how much work and effort goes into building something from the ground up. Because of this, I am much more likely to purchase from small businesses.

One reason I like to patronize small businesses is because I know how hard small business owners work for every sale, and how much those sales mean to them. Another reason is because the product quality often far exceeds anything I could have purchased at a box store. The value is usually much better than with cheaper, cookie-cutter products as well.

I’ve put together a list of great gifts that prioritize CLEAN & CRUNCHY, and many of them are through small businesses of people I know. Because when we help each other, we all win!

(I’ll also sprinkle in a few gifts you can buy on Amazon–because sometimes we just need a gift within a couple of days!)

The last section will highlight some great “token” gifts and stocking stuffers that are natural, crunchy, and safe–and that are actually very useful!

Here are the top 10 BEST GIFTS for the 2019-2020 seasons. 

10. This GORGEOUS SELENITE LAMP

You’ve probably heard of Himalayan Salt Lamps, which are amazing, health-promoting and gorgeous! But many people already have a Himalayan Salt Lamp, or maybe Salt Lamps are not some peoples’ style… This elegant Selenite Lamp is much more versatile and useful, because it has a dimming switch and it can serve as a bedside lamp! 

Ever since I got mine I use it instead of my bedside table lamp–even for reading–because it’s so bright with a clean, white light. 

While Himalayan Salt Lamps are great (I have a few!), they are a little bit hippie, and don’t provide a lot of light, so I really love this Selenite Lamp for both health benefits, an elegant addition to any decor, and a useful reading lamp for the bedside. 

9. CBD BODY BUTTER AND OIL… PERFECTLY PACKAGED WITH JADE MASSAGE STONES

Swoon! Jade massage stones! 

Whether or not you have jumped aboard the CBD wagon… this is a gift of epic proportions! 

CBD-infused massage oil and body butter… this isn’t just any CBD oil. My friends who regularly use CBD oil say this works incredibly well for any kind of chronic or acute musculo-skeletal pain, from neck or back pain, sciatica, sore muscles– both the cream and the oil soak in beautifully and target inflammation for immediate, long-lasting relief! 

Packaged in a gorgeous gift box with these amazing jade massage stones… this is a gift they will be talking about for years to come! Get one for every member of the family–because if you leave someone out they will be jealous! 

Heck, I’m jealous! This is a must-have… I will be ordering more, because this exclusive holiday-only set is sure to sell out quick and who knows if they will ever have it again?! This is at the top of my Christmas list and will be remembered by anyone who receives it.

8. Essential Oil Gift Sets
Beautiful and functional Essential Oil Diffuser and Humidifier

Don’t love making your own gifts, but love the idea of helping others cut our harmful fragrances and promoting healing in their homes? 

I love giving gift sets that include a couple of great quality essential oils and a diffuser of some sort, from a high-end room diffuser to diffuser jewelry like this necklace or this bracelet set. They make unique stand-alone gifts, prizes, stocking stuffers… or make a great addition to a gift basket or care package.

7. Don’t Forget the Pets! 

Many people who don’t have children consider pets their “children.” 

If you are going to a holiday party or spending Christmas morning with family or friends who don’t have kids but who cherish their pets, it is a great idea to bring gifts for their “children.” 

Why not get the best pet care line out there to pamper their kids, just like you would do if they had human children? They will LOVE you for it–you can thank me later!

This fun holiday set is the perfect way to pamper pets: luxurious, concentrated pet shampoo and a deodorizing spray, as well as a multi-functional tote for pet necessities!

6. If they don’t have a weighted blanket yet… Trust me, they want one.
Great Quality With a Washable Cover–and a Discount!

Weighted blankets have become very popular–and for good reason! There is nothing more comforting than to feel its weight cocooning you on a chilly night!

I love this particular weighted blanket because it’s great quality and it has a washable cover and glass beads inside! I don’t know about you, but whenever I get something that I can’t wash I start to worry. So the washable cover makes this a win-win!

And when you add this one to your cart there is a $20 discount coupon you can apply at check-out! (Check the box on the product page, but hurry before it’s gone)!

5. The gift of clean, pure water, any place & time!

Concerned about water quality and fluoride levels

This Epic water filter eliminates 99.99% of the contaminants, pollutants, chemicals, pharmaceutical drug remnants, and bacteria in our water supply, whether you live in a big city or use well water.

I love Epic water filters because not only do they filter out 3000% more contaminants (over 200 of them!) than other leading water filters, they last much longer too (150 gallons) so they end up being much cheaper as well! The no-guess digital filter reader also tells you when to change the filter, so there is no guessing.

Did you know that water quality can vary widely from area to area, and city to city? if your water quality is exceptionally bad, any filter you use won’t last as long (but it’s super important to filter your water in this case).

If your water quality is better, it’s still important to filter it to eliminate chemicals that have been added, such as chlorine and fluoride–but congratulations, because your filters will probably last longer than expected! Check your water quality here to see what kind of water comes out of your tap.

Ok, so now that you know why you should filter your water, which water filter should you choose? The options are dizzying, and range from just a few dollars to thousands. So how do you know which filters are best and how to choose?

Until recently, there were several good options out there, but most could not filter out fluoride, which is a neurotoxin and a huge concern. Your options were limited to Reverse Osmosis systems, which are great, but which also filter out trace minerals that we need (so those had to be added back in). What a hassle! There were a few options that could filter fluoride with extra filters, but that got very pricey, and they are big, bulky, on-the-counter units that take up a lot of room and require a lot of effort in refilling them and waiting for the water to be ready.

Epic water filters use coconut carbon, and can bind to even the smallest fluoride particles, eliminating 99% of them, along with all other contaminants. The good news is that they don’t bind to or filter out necessary minerals, so we still get those in our pure, delicious, clean water!

I also love all of the options, which make them ideal for gift-giving. If you are looking for a no-hassle under the sink option that only needs to be changed once every year or more and doesn’t take up counter space, this is the one for you.

If you

want an easy pitcher that you can refill and store in the fridge,

this one is perfect: no installation required, and the included monitor tells you exactly when to change the filter!

Need a few stocking stuffers for the kids or a great gift for the outdoorsy type or person on the go? Epic has a wide variety of personal water bottles with filters inside! They can be filled in water fountains or the outdoor bottle can be filled in a natural water source to make it clean and safe for consumption. You can even buy a filter that works with Hydro-flask bottles!

 

4. The gift of emf protection!
Whole house plug: protects up to 5000 square feet: just plug it in and go!

We are all noticing 5G towers going up all around us, and for many of us this is raising real concerns about what EMF radiation is doing to our bodies and our minds.

If you or a loved one has these concerns, you may have been wondering what you can do to protect your family from any harm that may come from this untested radiation exposure. 

This site has research-backed devices, pendants, cups, bracelets and jewelry that has been tested and proven to mitigate and neutralize the documented harmful effects of EMF radiation.

Phone stickers: a must for anyone with a smart phone. Discreet, with comprehensive protection!

Check out the “facts” section of their website for more information about what EMF radiation is and why you should arm yourself with protection against it.

And if you have a “crunchy” family member who seems to have “all the things,” or just really loves to have crunchy gadgets, this site is full of great, functional and attractive items that will also provide health benefits and EMF protection for the user.

I always wear this pendant–it protects a 20-foot radius around me!

For example, how cool is this whole house plug that protects your entire house, office, RV or other building, up to 5000 square feet? Just plug it in and forget about it: it’s the easiest, most effective way to protect your family from EMF radiation exposure for years to come.

Click here to order… use coupon code FREEDOM at checkout for 10% off everything on the site! 

 

3. A Whole New Outlook 

Do you have a loved one who suffers from depression? Anxiety? ADHD? 

Feel like superman: conquer the world!

Or a child in your family that suffers from focus issues or migraines? Difficulty concentrating in school or other brain issues? 

Why not give them the gift of health this year? 

Science is discovering that the gut-brain axis is more prevalent than was previously thought… to the extent that they are now uncovering specific microbiota that directly affect brain health and mental wellness! 

This is revolutionary because  children, women and men can heal their guts and reclaim mental wellness! If you or a loved one suffers from brain fog, fatigue, migraines, depression, stress, insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, digestive issues like IBS or reflux, hormone imbalance, weight gain or any number of health issues… the health of your gut is the key. 

The children’s protocol is yummy! It comes in a naturally-fruit-flavored probiotic drink, pixie-stick mood pouches and yummy methylated vitamin chewables. The adult protocol is a drink and two supplements to support gut health, brain health, and the pathway that connects the two. 

Check out the science here, and get your loved one (or yourself!) the gift of health this year. And take the mental wellness assessment here

2. The Only Natural High-Performance Skincare on the Planet

Finally! Naturally-based Performance Skincare!Do you struggle with finding a skincare regimen that really works and doesn’t have toxic ingredients? Most people do… which is why this brand new skincare line is going to change your life, and could be the perfect gift for the acne-prone teen or aging mom in your life (or even yourself)! 

Check out those results after just one week! What a transformation!

We’ve all heard about anti-aging skincare, and we’ve heard about natural skincare, but for the first time ever, there is high performance anti-aging NATURAL skincare…and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

Whether the issue is acne, wrinkles, dark puffy circles, fine lines, dark spots, saggy skin or anything in between–you need to know about this natural skin care line! 

She has eczema and after just 4 days of use, she is comfortable going to work without makeup for the first time!

It’s been selling out ever since it was released and has been featured in several fashion magazines and “best product of the year” websites… so get it while you can! 

The packaging is gorgeous and will make the perfect gift for anyone! 

And did I mention there are discounts available (nobody pays retail!)? I’d love to discuss which line will work best for your needs and how to get the best deal possible! I can also get you a $20 credit towards a (future) 2nd purchase!

1. easy, affordable, whole-food meals all year long: in clay! 

Do you have a crunchy mom in your life that is hard to shop for because she is so picky about ingredients and anything she uses? 

Do you know a chef who will only use the best materials to cook with, because he knows the material you use makes a huge difference in the final flavor, texture and nutrient content of his creations? 

Do you want to get your mother or grandmother something that makes cooking at home easy, quick and non-toxic

Use coupon code NOURISH10 at checkout for 10% off any purchase!

If you are looking for a gift for the hippie, chef or foodie in your life, you may have just found the perfect gift: a VitaClay Multi-Cooker

 

The inner pot is made of organic, unglazed zisha clay, and the muti-cooker machine is very versatile: it has a rice maker, yogurt maker and slow cooker all in one! It can even reheat foods (it re-steams rice so it tastes freshly cooked), steam veggies, create simple one-pot meals, and cook the best bone broth you’ve ever tasted! 

Material really does matter when cooking, and using non-toxic cooking materials is key: it’s those little exposures of chemicals, heavy metals and toxins on a daily basis that make the biggest difference in our health. 

VitaClay Stock Pot: Great for Large batches of broth, soups and stews!

 

VitaClay is the gift that keeps on giving–your loved one will not be able to stop talking about this amazing gift! And watch the site for sales and specials approaching every holiday–use code NOURISH for 10% off at check-out as well! 

Stocking Stuffers and Secret Santa Gift Ideas

Sometimes you just need something a bit smaller–whether you are looking for an addition to a gift basket or care package,  you need fun stocking-stuffers or even a great Secret Santa gift, here are a few ideas that are clean, crunchy, fun and easy on the wallet.

Massage Roller Ball

This massage roller ball is useful for anyone who ever has musculoskeletal pain. Whether you know a gym rat or someone who loves to play sports, a weekend hiker or someone with arthritis, this massage roller is affordable, but it’s something they probably don’t already have! 

There are cheaper versions (get a few for small gifts for co-workers or acquaintances) and higher-end versions that are higher quality and do a little bit more. Either way, your friends are going to love you for this special gift!

Chocolate candy. Real Food ingredients.

Candy–Without the Baddies!

If you are a parent, you probably fill stockings full of candy and presents. But if you are trying to make things more natural this year, you may be wondering if candy is a thing of the past–and how to preserve your children’s childhood without giving them toxic treats.

Organic fruit-flavored candies of all varieties!

Fortunately there are lots of options for occasional candy treats: organic, no toxic artificial dyes or GMOs; they are something you can feel good about putting in your kids’ stockings.

Finally! Real Food Marshmallows that taste AWESOME!

 

My two favorite brands are Unreal Candy and YumEarth. Between those two I can cover most of the candy options that kids (and adults) love! And if you are looking for marshmallows with great ingredients, check out Smashmallows!

 

 

Great (Affordable) Home-made Gifts for Everyone! 

If you are even a little bit “crunchy” (natural), you probably have collected a few essential oils. Essential oils are super versatile and also very healing. 

Good quality essential oils provide a plethora of benefits, from adding a non-toxic pleasing aroma to yourself,  your beauty products and your household, to boosting cleaning power in natural and homemade cleaners, to promoting healing and immune system response during cold-and-flu season, to promoting feelings of calm, courage, and inspiration. 

Essential oils are so great because they are so versatile: there are thousands of essential oils, and everyone has a favorite fragrance, whether it’s citrus, mint, vanilla or floral. The combinations of different oils are endless, so everyone can find their own, unique favorites. 

You can make easy (cheap!) gifts for everyone on your list, from perfumes to deodorant, from a home-made poo*pourri spray to healing balms, lip balms and bug repellents. 

Check out 15 gifts and stocking stuffers you (or your kids) can make for everyone you know this year–quickly, easily and affordably! 

But don’t pick up cheap essential oils from the dollar section… many are diluted or are just fake artificial scents–which defeats the whole purpose! These are the best quality oils around, so if you are going for benefits, go for these.

Great Water Bottles that Filter Themselves!

So many options!

Whether you need fabulous stocking stuffers for the kids or a great gift for workout fiend or the hiking aficionado… Epic has a wide variety of personal water bottles with filters inside! They can be filled in water fountains or the outdoor bottle can be filled in a natural water source to make it clean and safe for consumption. You can even buy a filter that works with Hydro-flask bottles!

 

A Fun, Healing Drink for the Kids!

 All the latest science is talking about gut health.

Every health article I read lately talks about how gut health is the key to everything, and even science around mental health is all about the gut-brain axis and healing the gut to heal the brain and the mind.

If your child had sleep issues, focus issues, ADHD, mood problems, aggressive behavior, headaches, anxiety, or even severe issues like Autism spectrum or other diagnosed mental issues, gut health is key.

But where to start? 

The science is showing specific microbiota that are responsible for mental wellness: did you know 90% of our brain’s serotonin is created in the gut??

This is big news! That means we can heal our guts (and our children’s guts) to achieve mental wellness! Focus, attention, calm, sleep, happy children! All of it!

I love this yummy drink for kids: they can just drink this once a day and heal their guts, AND their brains! Lots of people are cutting down or eliminating meds just by healing their guts! I’m excited about this… so discuss the results I’ve been getting (for me and for my son), hit me up and we can chat!

If you would rather look at the adult gut-brain axis healing protocol, you can see that here.

Take the Mental Wellness Assessment for you or your child here.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

 

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Eyeing that Instant Pot? Why Stainless Steel Isn’t as Safe as You Think (and What to Use Instead)

When I learned about the dangers of aluminum cookware and non-stick coatings, I was eager to find safe alternatives that I could use without the risk of exposing my family to dangerous heavy metals or toxic chemicals.

I began researching all the options: from stainless steel to glass, copper and ceramic. I made a lot of rice, so I wanted a rice cooker (they make the best rice!) but it was very difficult to find a rice cooker that was not non-stick-coated aluminum.

I first began looking for rice cookers with stainless steel inserts, because I knew that was safe. My research, however, led me to the facts, which are not always as simple as we think.

Stainless steel is safe… sometimes.

As with everything else, manufacturers eventually will cut corners and produce inferior products that save them money in production and increase their profits. Stainless steel is no different.

Instant Pots are all the craze right now–and why not? They make cooking easy, quick and fun again! They don’t heat up the house and they create delicious meals in minutes! They’re programmable and they come in huge sizes–perfect for any family! Most importantly, they are made of stainless steel, so they are completely safe!

Not so fast. 

With every material, there is some kind of trade-off…so it’s good to be informed as to the benefits and the risks associated with each material.

I’m teaming up with Kara at Deep South Crunchy Mom and Sarah at Clean Living With Kids to bring you a series on truly safe cookware.  We want you to have all of the information: risks and benefits, so you can decide for yourself what are the best materials for your family.

See Kara’s post about cast iron here,

And Sarah’s post about glass here.

What’s Wrong With Stainless Steel?

At first glance, stainless steel seems like the perfect solution: it’s hypo-allergenic, it doesn’t rust, it isn’t breakable, and it doesn’t have any heavy metal issues.

Upon closer examination, we will see that not all stainless steel is created equally.

Cheaper grades of stainless steel are not as pure as we have been led to believe, and they can leach nickel into our food. Nickel is a heavy metal, so this is not ideal. (Read more about nickel toxicity here).

How do I know if my stainless steel is safe?

It can be very difficult to determine what grade of stainless steel you are using…. and this is where it gets confusing. There are quite a few grades and classifications of stainless steel (read about them here), and each grade is a different combination of metal alloys.

Bottom of my one stainless steel pot (I use it for popcorn)

Manufacturers don’t often disclose what grade of stainless steel they are using in the cookware that we buy at the store, but a general rule of thumb is: the more expensive it is, the higher grade it is.

In general, stainless steel cookware is either of the 300 or 400 series, and often you can see the grade stamped on the bottom of the pot. Usually these numbers look something like 18/10 (most common), which indicates it is 18% chromium and 10% nickel.

To me, 10% is a lot…especially when it can leach into my food. So I try not to use this kind of stainless steel on a regular basis. I have one stainless pan (pictured) that I use just for popcorn or for steaming things in a separate bowl inside of it.

I’d be particularly wary of cooking anything acidic (tomato sauces, anything with citrus) in low-grade stainless steel, as it would more readily leach the harmful nickel into your food, especially with high pressure or long cooking times.

Check your stainless steel pots and pans for this mark to see what grade your pots and pans are. They are likely this 304 18/10 grade, as that is the most common and most affordable. If you didn’t pay $300 to $400 for each of your pans, it’s not likely they are a high enough grade that would eliminate the nickel (18/0).

If Stainless Steel isn’t Safe, What Can I Use?

I know this is frustrating. It seems like nothing is safe any more, so why even bother? What can I even use?

I have a few things that I use that are safe:

I’m also not a fan of glazed ceramic, like is used in slow cookers and other baking dishes, because it has been found that trace amounts of lead exist in all of those glazes. Now, trace amounts might not matter too much when it’s in your drinking glass… but I don’t want my hot food stewing in something that has any lead in it for hours on end.

So in my house, I primarily use these three materials, and my favorite is clay.

Unglazed clay is great for a lot of reasons, and my favorite way to cook with it is VitaClay.

  • Pure Zisha clay has no lead or heavy metals (3rd party lab verified)
  • No glaze means no added lead
  • Clay has excellent thermal heat retention properties
  • Clay has excellent nutrient retention properties
  • Clay preserves texture and flavor better than any other material
  • Clay employs infrared heat to cook the food faster and more safely than other methods

VitaClay is my favorite because it is a multi-cooker, and it makes cooking easy, quick, safe, and non-toxic! Plus it doesn’t heat up the house or run up the utility bills.

VitaClay is a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, broth maker, steamer, and reheater in one. It can do almost all of my cooking tasks quickly and more easily than with other methods.

The food in VitaClay comes out tasting better than cooking with any other material I’ve used, including stainless steel, non-stick, glass and cast iron. For some reason, food just tastes better when cooked in clay.

VitaClay is the best of all worlds–delivering safe, delicious food, home-cooked without the hassles, the stress or the mess. Most meals can be put together in less than 10 minutes, then VitaClay takes over, and dinner is ready when I am. It even has a preset feature that allows me to have steel-cut oats ready when I wake up in the morning!

And if you’re still thinking that Instant Pot will cook your food faster and more easily, think again! We tested several dozen recipes in both VitaClay and Instant Pot, and in most cases, the meals were cooked faster (not to mention with better results) in VitaClay! Why? Because that “15 minute” recipe quickly becomes 55 minutes when you take into account the 20 minutes it takes to pressurize and the additional 20 minutes it takes to de-pressurize. VitaClay, not being a pressure cooker, has none of that extra time added on and still cooks 50-75% faster than other slow cookers and multi-cookers.

VitaClay is truly my favorite kitchen appliance: it has replaced my slow cooker, my rice cooker, my yogurt maker, my microwave, and my stock pot… just to name a few. And the results are always better in clay.

Right now you can get 10% off any VitaClay cooker on the website with code NOURISH10 at checkout. So start saving today! If you’d rather order from Amazon, check it out here.

 

And please, if you do decide to use the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, always follow these safety tips to avoid explosions, burns or serious injury.

Resources:
Here is more information about Stainless Steel Cookware and the different grades that can be found.

Here is the 3rd party lab testing that has been done to ensure the unglazed clay used in VitaClay pots is free of lead and other heavy metals.

Check out Kara’s post at Deep South Crunchy Mom about the benefits of cast iron and why you should replace your non-stick pans STAT.

Check out the post from Sarah at Clean Living with Kids on glass bakeware and why glass is a great cookware option opposed to glazed ceramic, aluminum or other non-stick options.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Not Another MLM!?! Is Network Marketing a SCAM?!

You’ve seen it a hundred times.

Your good friend Kathy is just a normal person, minding her own business… then

BAM!

Kathy joins an MLM company.

You avoid talking to her.

You ignore her messages in your inbox.

You may even unfollow her on social media so you don’t have to see the posts about her products.

You are convinced that MLMs are bad news. You haven’t ever actually done business with one before, but you’ve heard a lot of rumors. And they aren’t good:

  • The products are overpriced
  • The reps are obnoxious
  • They have bad business practices
  • MLMs are a scam

While some of this may be true of some companies or some reps, it is important to note that Network Marketing (previously known as Multi-Level-Marketing) is none of these things in and of itself.

Network Marketing is just a way that some companies do business.

It’s simply a different marketing strategy.

Just as most companies employ “conventional” marketing techniques like TV commercials, billboards, internet banners and other such methods, Network Marketing companies employ an equally valid marketing technique:

Word of Mouth

It is well-known in the world of retail sales that the gold standard of advertising is word-of-mouth advertising for a couple of reasons:

  1. Word of Mouth advertising is free
  2. Word of Mouth advertising is incredibly effective:
    • If your mom tells you she just had the best burger of her life at the new restaurant on the corner…what will you be having for lunch tomorrow?
    • If a guy you meet at work tells you Lasik eye surgery changed his life and he hasn’t had to use glasses for 13 years, are you likely to consider it for yourself?
    • If you watch a girl at church go from a size 18 to a size 6 and she tells you it’s because she started drinking a certain brand of shake, how likely are you to look up that specific brand as soon as you get home?

Word of Mouth Advertising is powerful. When someone you trust tells you that a product is good, you listen. And you are much more likely to buy that product than if you just saw it on a TV commercial.

And that referral didn’t cost the company anything!

Companies all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the most influential marketing of all, but they all use different ways to entice people to recommend their products.

Some companies offer affiliate programs to bloggers or social media influencers. For example, if you sign up as an affiliate for Amazon, you can create product links that generate a commission for you whenever someone buys. The larger your referral sales, the higher the commissions.

If you like to look at reviews before buying a product, you have probably seen reviews that said, “I received this product for free/at a discount in exchange for my honest review.” Companies are desperate to harness the power of word-of-mouth. So desperate, they are willing to give their products away for FREE to get it!

If every company in the world could use the power of Word-of-Mouth marketing for every product, they definitely would.

What Makes Network Marketing Different

Network Marketing companies harness the power of Word-of-Mouth marketing instead of traditional marketing methods—and they use those billions of dollars of advertising budget to pay a grassroots army of reps, who live and work among the masses.

People like your cousin Lucy or your uncle Marvin.

People you trust.

People you love.

And if your mom is selling a great shampoo, wouldn’t you much rather use your dollars to support her than buy an inferior quality product from a big box store?

The strategy is genius if you think about it: the product has to be great, or they won’t find people to recommend it to everyone they know.

Because of this, the products from network marketing companies are often far superior to anything you can buy on the mass market.

BUT…??

Now let’s look at a few of the objections that may pop up in your mind when considering a network marketing company or opportunity:

Objection #1: The products are overpriced.

I used to think this too.  After all, why would I buy a $30 face wash or a $50 supplement when I can get what looks like the same thing for ¼ the price at Target or on Amazon?

It looked like those multi-tiered compensation plans just created a bunch of needlessly expensive products.

Then I did some research.

I started seeing products I really wanted to try from network marketing companies that I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Sure, there is a supplement that says it does the same thing on Amazon a lot cheaper, but when I look at the reviews on that product it doesn’t seem to be working for people. When I find one online that does have great reviews, it is even more expensive than the “expensive” network marketing product I was trying to avoid! And often the network marketing products last a lot longer or include freebies with a purchase… and they want to give me a discount!

When I really started looking into it, I realized the products weren’t overpriced after all. They were often better quality than what I could get anywhere else, and they were cheaper!

Almost every network marketing company offers discounts on their products based on an automatic shipment, and most also offer wholesale pricing to distributors, or to people who want to buy a bundle of products initially.

Quality matters. I have come to learn that I get what I pay for. People aren’t buying expensive things because they are stupid. They are buying more expensive things because there is value there.

Have you ever purchased a cheap product from a retailer and it barely survived the ride home? Purchased a supplement or protein powder of inferior quality that did nothing for you—or worse—made you sick?

These products have rave reviews for a reason. People are paying their prices for a reason. The quality demands it.

Did you know there is a 70% mark up on any product you buy on a store shelf? There are a lot of expenses that go into a product that have nothing to do with its quality:

  • Manufacturing
  • Advertising
  • Distribution
  • Retailer Mark-up

You are never paying what it costs to make the product because there are so many steps (and people who need to get paid) in-between.

So if you are buying a bar of soap that costs $1, think about it: what kind of quality can it possibly have? It cost the manufacturer 20-30 cents to make it. Are you willing to wash your body with something that cost 20 cents? If you’ve ever tried to make soap, you know it costs more than $1 just to make it with the raw materials, not even including the effort, marketing and shipping. So that soap you thought was such a good deal? Watered down and likely toxic. All so you could save $1.

The businesses that create products are doing it to make money. Everyone has to make a living. So if they are selling cheap products, it’s worth considering what you are really spending your money on. If it’s an inferior quality product with toxic ingredients that will last you a week instead of a month, are you really getting such a good deal?

Story Time

Once my husband purchased “cheap” underwear at Target. He expected that maybe it wouldn’t last as long as the ones he usually bought, but what he didn’t anticipate was that he couldn’t wear them at all. They were itchy and uncomfortable, and he threw the whole package away. Did he save money or waste it? Now he only buys quality underwear, even if it costs three times as much. They are comfortable and they last 2-3 years, so for him that is the value that matters.

When you do a bit of research, you will find that most network marketing companies provide products of superior quality which present a better value than cheaper products offered in stores.

Another example: for years I looked for a natural shampoo that would make my hair healthy. I tried every product on the market: whatever I could find at my local health food store, at salons and online. Nothing ever worked for me.

My hair was damaged, frizzy, thin and unmanageable. I was frustrated because I was not willing to compromise on ingredients. I only wanted to use something natural… but nothing natural ever worked!

I heard about a hair care brand called MONAT, but I balked at the prices. Why would I pay so much for shampoo? When I looked at salon-quality brands, however, they were even more expensive—and filled with toxic ingredients I didn’t want to use!

So I tried it.

Guys.

From the first wash, I could see, feel, smell the difference. My hair was smoother, shinier, more manageable without me doing anything different! Not only that, but that handful of hair I used to shed in the shower? It was reduced to just a few strands.

Photos on the left: before MONAT. Photo on the right: about 11 months of exclusive MONAT use.

I was hooked. How could I not use this stuff? I had been looking for it for YEARS.

And as it turns out, the first bottle I ever purchased lasted me almost a YEAR. That made it cheaper than anything I’ve ever used before: even the clearance stuff of the store shelf at a big box store!

Some things are more important than saving a little cash.

We have to consider the quality of the product.

If I’m faced with a crappy cup of coffee or no coffee at all… I choose no coffee. Every time. It’s not worth it to me if I don’t like it.

The experience also counts for something. Just walking into a locally-owned coffee shop relaxes me. I feel comfortable and wanted: it makes me want to stay awhile. On the contrary: walking into a convenience store is harsh and sterile. I want to get out of there as soon as possible!

I will happily go out of my way to go into a locally-owned coffee shop and pay four times the price of a cup of coffee—because cheap gas station coffee isn’t worth getting at all.

This is the whole idea behind Network Marketing. What if, instead of buying from a corporation, we could buy from our friends… our family… our neighbors?

What if we worked together and helped each other? When all of my friends have small businesses, I can get everything I need from my circle…. I don’t  have to step foot into Wal-Mart or Target if I don’t want to. I get the best products for a great value and the best possible customer service—because I’m shopping with my friends.

Objection #2: The reps are obnoxious.

Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with people who were involved with Network Marketing companies. Maybe they hassled you and bothered you and spammed you with information you didn’t ask for.

Maybe someone sent you a friend request on social media, only to immediately send you a cold message asking you to buy their products or share their business with your friends.

These are not good business practices; they never were. Not only are they annoying, they simply don’t work. Irritated people will not become your friends, your customers or your business partners.

But think about it: just because some people do it wrong doesn’t mean you should never do business with anyone involved in Network Marketing.

As we discussed above, the quality of many products from Network Marketing companies is superior to anything you can find in the store, and often at a better value.

Why would a bad experience with one person or company prevent you from benefiting from great products or even a business opportunity you could really use with another person or company?

Most companies appeal to consumer wants and needs through advertising.

Network Marketing companies appeal to consumers through relationships.

It’s like the difference between going to a gas station for coffee or stopping in at a locally-owned coffee shop.

Sure, you may pay more for the coffee from the coffee shop, but you probably get better quality coffee (that tastes better), a more inviting atmosphere, and you can sit and chat with the owner while you are there.

Which one is really the better value?

Objection #3: Pyramid Scheme! 

We’ve all heard that MLMs are “pyramid schemes.”

But this isn’t accurate.

From Wikipedia: A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products.

Pyramid schemes are illegal, and don’t involve any products or services. They ask for money from participants, and promise that everyone will make much more money than they “invested.” No products or services are exchanged.

Example: Sally tells Bill that there is an investment opportunity that is really easy. All he has to do is invest $1000 and recruit 2 or 3 other people to do the same, and he will make back $5000. Sound good? Maybe, but it also sounds very sketchy.

Pyramid schemes are illegal for a reason: they are a true scam. People at the top make all of the money, and people at the bottom are left holding the bag when the whole thing collapses.

Network marketing companies aren’t like this at all. There are true products and services involved, and that is what you exchange your money for. Just like when you walk into a store and fill your cart then pay for it… you do the same thing with network marketing companies.

The ONLY DIFFERENCE between network marketing companies and other companies is the way they market their products. That’s it. Just the advertising. Everything else is the same.

Now let’s do a little exercise.

Pull out a piece of scrap paper and draw the organizational layout of the company you work for. Or of Sony. Or Ford.

There’s a guy at the top, right? Usually the CEO. Then a couple of people under him, and a few people under them, and on and on and on.

What shape does your drawing make?

Pretty much every company makes this shape: with the people at the top “making the most money,” and the people at the bottom “doing all the work.”

So next time you are tempted to yell “pyramid scheme…” think about it.

The thing I like about network marketing is that it is a level playing field. Literally anyone can be successful, with little to no start-up cost.

Do you have to work hard? Yes.

Do you have to be determined and persistent? Yes.

But is there any limit to what you can accomplish? No.

Sounds kind of like the American Dream to me. 

The tax savings alone make it worth joining a network marketing company, because when you do, you are “starting a business” in the eyes of the IRS, and that means tax deductions, which can get you a fat return check in April.

Besides tax savings, residual income is definitely something you want–and network marketing companies provide that in spades. Would you like to work once and get paid forever? That’s the kind of potential we are talking about here.

To Recap….

Network Marketing is a business model that involves marketing primarily based in Word-of-Mouth advertising. Network marketing companies harness word-of-mouth marketing over traditional mass-marketing methods.

And in the process, they partner with individuals like you and me. They allow us to be their spokespeople, which is way better than hiring celebrities and purchasing TV spots or internet banner ads.

Better for them, and better for us.

It’s better them, because they pay out their “advertising costs” on commissions.

Instead of spending millions of dollars on an advertising campaign, they will pay out millions of dollars in commissions to regular people like you and me.

That advertising money is spent either way. But when it’s spent on commissions rather than advertising, everyone wins.

The company gets more effective advertising, dollar for dollar. And we have the opportunity to build residual, passive income and become financially independent.

Once you understand what Network Marketing is, and what it is capable of giving you, I think you will believe (like I do) that it is the best business model there is.

What Do You Think?

Did you learn anything new about Network Marketing or MLM business strategy?

Will you think differently about it the next time you hear someone say, “I don’t do MLMs,” or, “That’s a pyramid scheme?”

 

 

More Resources

Residual Income: How to Get it in 5 Steps

You Need a Side Hustle: Tax Advantages to Having a Home-Based Business

How to Get the Best Hair of Your Life–And Make Money Doing It

Save the Most Money Possible on the Best Natural Haircare and Skincare

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

 

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo by Skin Science: An Honest Review

I am a sucker for natural products. Anything that claims to use the power of nature to work wonders on my skin, my hair, my body, or my overall health has me entranced, and I have to try it. 

Hair History

For years, I bounced from shampoo to shampoo, looking for natural products that would make my hair healthy, shiny, thick, smooth and manageable. I tried everything I could find: online, at the health food stores, and even in salons. Nothing ever worked for me: my hair was thin, fine, frizzy, flat, weak and pathetic. It was very frustrating. 

About two years ago I found a product that transformed my hair: it is now thicker, longer, healthier, shinier, smoother and so much more manageable than ever before. My shedding is down 80% and my hair is 2-3x thicker than it’s ever been. It would never grow past my shoulders and now it’s half-way down my back. It’s just overall better. 

That doesn’t stop me from seeing ads for other products that come out, however. 

I’ve been eyeing this WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo by Skin Science for awhile: the ads are everywhere and they look really good! I’ve even had a couple of friends say they love it.

Apple Cider Vinegar is making people’s hair thicker, shinier, longer, healthier! It’s getting rid of dandruff and build up! (Basically everything my current shampoo has done for me. But this one looks like it might be cheaper, and what if…?)

So when I was offered the chance to try it, I thought this would be a great time to compare it with my current routine. 

Full disclosure: I love my current hair products. They have done wonders for my hair. I don’t think I’ll ever switch. But if I found something I liked better, that was just as natural and cost less, I absolutely would switch. And I would promote that shampoo instead of the one I have been talking about. 

So let’s see how this one shakes out. I will try not to compare too much with what I’m using, but I’ve been using it for almost 2 years, so some comparison is inevitable: I am used to my hair being the way it is, so I have to compare my experience here with that. 

Let’s see how it goes! 

First Impressions

  1. Large Bottles, Low Price
    My first impression is that at first glance it appears to be very affordable. The bottles are 16.9 ounces and I paid $29.99 for a shampoo and conditioner set (they’re about $20 each if purchased separately on Amazon).

Over the past couple of years I have realized that fluid ounces of hair product + price is not always the most accurate indication of value. Most shampoos I’ve looked at are heavily diluted, so it’s necessary to use an entire handful to get a good lather on my head. If that’s the case, 16.9 ounces may not last as long as it looks. If I’m using almost an ounce of product for each wash, it will last me less than 20 washes.

2. The Ingredients

I also had to look at the ingredients. I have become somewhat of a shampoo ingredient guru over the past 20 months with countless hours of research under my belt, and I can recognize the main offenders of toxicity and build-up in hair care products pretty quickly. 

I noticed the claims of WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo by Skin Science (from the official Amazon store):

  • BEAUTIFUL, STRONG HAIR: WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is able to balance the pH level that closely resembles human hair to help obtain the silkiest, softest, glossiest hair. Use twice a week to be less prone to breakage, split ends, and thinning hair.
  • CLARIFYING CLEANSER: Detox your hair & scalp – cleaning the buildups caused by dirt, dust, filth, dead scalp cells and styling product. Raw apple cider vinegar ensures removal of toxin in damaged hair. Helps rejuvenate & refresh for men and women.
  • MAXIMIZE HAIR SHINE: Improve your hair cleansing routine with our deep cleaning shampoo to get the best results possible. You’ll reduce dandruff, flakes, and frizz while enhancing shine and gloss to your hair. Get the best hair nourishment available.
  • SLOW DOWN HAIR LOSS: Saw palmetto helps slow down hair fall and male pattern baldness, reducing the amount of hair strands falling during a shower. With a little patience, your hair will have more volume and will feel softer, thicker and natural.
  • NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Our WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is hypoallergenic, sulfate and paraben free for moisturized and hydrated hair. Massage scalp and stimulate hair follicles to be less prone to breakage, split ends, and thinning hair. Cruelty Free.


Sounds pretty good! I did notice that there were no claims to not contain any PEGs or petroleum derivatives, silicones, waxes, gums, phthalates or harmful fragrances. 

This distinction is important for a few reasons: 

PEGs or Petroleum derivatives are the most toxic ingredients in most hair and body care products. All of the problematic ingredients: sulfates, parabens, phthalates, harmful fragrances, harsh sulfates and other toxic chemicals are most often derived from petroleum. If you see a guarantee that there is no petroleum or PEG (petroleum derivatives), pay attention! 

Harmful fragrances (derived from PEGs) cause a lot of problems! Many people have become very sensitive to artificial fragrances and with just a passing exposure can have symptoms like migraines, dizziness, nausea, or worse! Even if you don’t have a fragrance sensitivity, these fragrances can cause hormone imbalance (endocrine disruption) and absorb into our bloodstream, causing more health issues over time (and sometimes building up to result in the fragrance allergies listed above). 

Silicones, waxes and gums are not necessarily toxic, but they are deadly for your hair! These artificial (and sometimes even natural) ingredients build up on the hair strands and in the hair follicles. They are in most hair products for a reason: they make hair feel soft, silky and smooth by coating the hair strand with a waxy, plastic-like substance that glosses over the imperfections and damage of the hair cuticle. The problem with them is that they build up on the hair strands and on the scalp over time, causing issues like dry, brittle, frizzy hair, dandruff, oily scalp, and even hair thinning over time! That’s the opposite of what we want from our shampoo!

Phthalates, parabens and harsh sulfates are also commonly derived from petroleum (PEGs) and therefore carry the same health consequences listed above. I have seen some sulfates that can be derived from other sources, like coconuts (as in the case of Dr. Bronner’s Sal’s Suds), but for the most part, ingredients like SLS are toxic and will damage your health and your hair in the long run. Your best bet: find products completely free of PEGs or petroleum products of any kind. 

Overall, Wow Apple Cider Shampoo and its accompanying Conditioner are not as bad as many mainstream products, but I was not impressed with them as a whole.  

3. Where is it Made?

The bottle indicates WOW Apple Cider Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science are made in India. I do like that my current shampoo is formulated, manufactured, processed and shipped from start to finish on American soil. Not only is it a point of pride and provides jobs for American workers, it makes the products more Eco-friendly as well, cutting down on pollution from shipping and other environmental footprints. 

4. Is it Eco-Friendly? 

As it contains petroleum derivatives, that already makes it less than ideal from an ecological standpoint (as well as a health one). The bottles do have a “1” plastic recycle code, which means they are recyclable. Hooray! But the fact that they are less concentrated means they use more plastic than necessary, and more bottles need to be used and recycled than if it were more concentrated. So overall, not terribly impressed with the eco-footprint, especially combined with the fact that it is made in India and shipped to me across the world, containing mostly water. 

Testing the Product

Without further ado, let’s see how the product works!

The First Wash

I followed the instructions on the bottle, which advise to use a “generous amount” of shampoo, lather on the scalp, and allow to sit on the scalp for up to 5 minutes for best results, then rinse and follow with conditioner.  

In doing this I noticed I used 5-6 times as much product as I usually do to get a good lather on my scalp. It definitely is not nearly as concentrated as the products I have been using.

The Fragrance

The shampoo smells like apples, and the conditioner smells like coconuts. 

But not like smelling an actual apple or coconut… more like smelling an apple or coconut candle. Very artificial fragrances. I am not chemically sensitive to most fragrances unless they are in my face and I’m breathing them in heavily for over an hour, but I can usually spot harmful artificial fragrances just by their overpowering, artificial-smelling scent. These products do not even claim to eliminate harmful fragrances, so it’s clear that the fragrances are not natural or safe. 

Shedding

My primary concern before using my current shampoo and something that is very important to me is shedding. Since I was a teenager I would shed handfuls of hair in the shower every time I washed, and then I would be shedding hairs all day long: every time I ran my fingers through my hair I would get 4 or 5 hairs. In order to prevent my hair covering everything, I made constant trips to the trash can to throw away the hairs that were inevitably in my hands every few minutes. 

Shedding I have experienced over the past two years with my current products and routine, washing 1-2 times per week.

 

The shampoo I’ve been using for the past couple of years cut that shedding down by about 80%, which also has made my hair much thicker as it’s grown out without all of the constant fallout. I was very curious to see what happened when I used this shampoo, and a little bit worried because I don’t want to lose all that hair again after growing such a thick, healthy head of hair over the past 2 years! 

 

 

 

Shedding from shower using WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner.

In the first wash, I did experience about twice as much shedding as I usually do with my current shampoo. Not as bad as before, but still not exciting to me. 

Tangling

My hair type is fine and thin, so I have always had some issues with tangling and knotting, especially when my hair is damaged and I need a haircut. With my current shampoo regimen I almost never have any tangling. If i do have tangling (once every month or two) I use the detangling spray from our junior line and that takes care of it. 

Shedding when combing out numerous tangles after using WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner.

With Wow Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and their accompanying conditioner, my hair felt more coated than I am used to, and it was much more tangled. When using my wet brush to brush it out, I lost about the same amount of hair I had lost in the shower when I was washing! 

To be honest, the shedding alone makes me hesitant to use this product again, but I want to use it at least a few times for a fair review. 

 

 

 

Results

My main requirements are low shedding, no frizz, manageable, thick, healthy hair with shine and volume, that will grow past my shoulders. Of course I don’t want to add build up to my hair if i don’t have to either.

Knowing the detriment of buildup to my hair health, why would I? 

For the purposes of review, I did everything the same as I normally do it with my hair: I most often air dry by twisting my hair up into a bun and allowing it to dry in loose curls that way. So that is what I’m doing with WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science

Here are my results: 

  1. Shedding. As I discussed above, the shedding has quadrupled in just one wash. Not loving it. 
  2. Frizz: More frizz than normal, but not terrible. Definitely not as bad as before I started using my current products. 
  3. Manageable: Slightly less manageable overall. My hair felt coated and heavy and didn’t “fall” in the effortless way I am used to. I found myself brushing it every few minutes to try to get it to lay down and look decent. Finally I gave up and pulled it into a pony tail. I can’t remember the last time I needed to do that before day 5 after washing. 
  4. Thick: I’d have to use it for a good year to see the difference in how it grows out, but if the shedding is increased, my hair will not be thicker. 
  5. Healthy: My hair is already healthy, as it’s been growing out with my current products for almost 2 years, and getting better and better with time. It will probably take a year or more of exclusive use to see if there is a real difference. 
  6. Shine: I didn’t notice any difference in shine compared with my current routine.
  7. Volume: Volume was decent in the first wash. 
  8. Growth: Again, impossible to say for sure unless I use it for a long time. 

Overall, on day 2 (the day after my wash) my hair felt heavy and coated. I was surprised that it didn’t look terrible, but it didn’t feel good either. It was a little more frizzy and less manageable than I am used to, and the artificial fragrance lingered and was nauseating after a while. 

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo  by Skin Science promises to remove buildup and resolve scalp itchiness and dandruff… yet, my hair and scalp felt coated and less clean, and my scalp itched a little bit (it usually doesn’t itch at all). So that is a concern with continued use as well, because buildup can have that effect. 

Cost Analysis

I had to use a full handful of this product to get a lather all over my scalp. I would say I used at least an ounce of product, but to be fair, let’s say I will get about 20 uses out of this bottle, which means it will last me about 10 weeks if I wash my hair twice per week. 2.5 months for a bottle of shampoo that cost me $15 comes out to $12 per month for both shampoo and conditioner, or $1.50 per wash. Not a bad value!

Also a lot more expensive than what I am currently using and what is giving me much better results. The first bottle of my current product lasted me more than 10 months… roughly 4-5 times the 10 weeks this may last if I can stretch out washes to twice a week (doubtful since I already want to wash my hair on day 2).

Even with a lower cost per bottle, this still makes WOW Apple Cider Vinegar 2-3 times the cost of what I am using now.


Given my current experience and how it compares to my regular shampoo in terms of cost, safety of ingredients and results achieved, there is little chance I would ever use this product long enough to see what happens with continued use.

I will probably use it one more time, for the sake of a reasonable test period, but I really don’t want to. I will probably have to wash sooner than the 4th or 5th day (the soonest I usually have to wash with my current routine), which will be an added cost of time and money (if I’m washing more often than twice a week as I do now, the bottles will not last even the projected 10 weeks, which is much shorter than I’m used to already). 

Side Note: My Skin

Another thing… when my hair feels dirty and oily, it makes my skin feel oily and dirty too, which for me usually results in breakouts. As another uncomfortable side effect of using this… definitely not persuading me to continue. 

Conclusion

I stated from the beginning that I love the hair products I’m using now, but after using them for almost two years, I thought it would be fun to try something else that claims to do the same things, and might be cheaper. 

My conclusions for this test of WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science are: 

  • It leaves my hair feeling heavy and oily
  • I have slightly more frizz than I’m used to. 
  • My hair is noticeably less manageable than normal.
  • Volume and shine seem about the same. 
  • I will need to wash more than my normal 1-2 times per week. It’s only the 2nd day and I already want to wash my hair because it doesn’t feel clean and it’s making my skin feel oily and clogged. 
  • It is much more expensive than what I am currently using because it is much less concentrated and I will have to wash quite a bit more often. At most, if i wash 2 times per week, these bottles will last me 10 weeks. My first bottle of what I am using now lasted me more than 10 months, 4-5 times longer. Even at retail price, my current products are half the price of these and give me much better results. At the wholesale price I pay, WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science are about four times the cost of what I am using now. 
  • The ingredients of WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science are not as clean as the products I am using now. They use toxic PEG (petroleum derivatives), harmful artificial fragrances, and ingredients that build up on the scalp and hair cuticles. After almost two years of researching the ingredients in hair products, these do not impress me, especially for something that claims to be all natural and pure. 

 

Bottom Line: While WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner by Skin Science is less toxic than most mainstream brands of hair care, it does not match up to my current hair care on any level: not in terms of cost, performance or toxicity. 

 

Want to know what I’m using instead? Check out this review.

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

The Truth About Fluoride

No matter where you live or what you believe, you’ve probably heard conflicting information about fluoride.

We are all taught from an early age that fluoride is beneficial for teeth and that it can prevent tooth decay. We hear this from the dentist, from our parents, on TV, and we may even be exposed to an advertising campaign aiming to make sure we know all the wonderful benefits of having fluoride in our toothpaste and in our water.

We also hear conflicting information, however: and usually this information comes from less… “reliable” or “trusted” sources.

Perhaps you heard it from your conspiracy theorist uncle, or you saw alarmist posts on social media. Maybe you’re noticing the products on the store shelves that boast a lack of fluoride (fluoride-free toothpastes and water filters that can remove the fluoride from your water).

Is All Fluoride Created Equal?

First of all, I have been researching natural health and how to heal ourselves without meds for over a decade. During that time I have discovered that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Fluoride is no exception. It’s not a clear-cut case of “Fluoride: bad, ” as it turns out.

This fact was discovered by my friend Kara over at Deep South Crunchy Mom when we were discussing Kombucha. She told me that in an effort to cut back on coffee, she was now drinking Kombucha every morning and it was doing wonders for her gut health and energy levels. I told her I had read on the blog Cheeseslave that there were high levels of fluoride in Kombucha, both because tea leaves tend to absorb fluoride from the soil, and because fluoride is a byproduct of the kombucha-making process.

Kara was devastated (but not for long). She knew the fluoride in our water and toothpaste was bad (see below) but thought there had to be some difference between naturally-occuring fluoride in tea and kombucha, and the nasty industrial waste product found in our water supply or even the pharmaceutical grade fluoride found in our toothpaste (which is still a neurotoxin).

See what she found here.

Then, if you are curious about Kombucha and what it can do for you, head over to my friend Sara’s blog Clean Living with Kids, to learn more about Kombucha and how to make it.

What is the Truth About Fluoride?

If you’re here for the first time, you may not know it, but I have been researching health, nutrition and the big industries in America for over a decade. (Read here about how I got started on this journey).

I have learned a lot of very eye-opening information during this time, but the number one thing I’ve learned is:

We can’t trust everyone, especially those who are profiting from our trust.

Have you ever heard the term, “Follow the money?”

It may seem cliche, but this phrase one of the truest statements you will ever hear regarding the dangers in our food and water supply as well as a lot of the other dangers in our society today.

If you hear of a “conspiracy” in any area of society, whether it pertains to food or politics or anything else, and you think, “Why would they do that?” The answer is almost inevitably: “Follow the money.”

A Brief History of Fluoride

Fluoride was first added to the U.S. water supply in 1945 in an effort to combat tooth decay.

It seems strange that this was the goal, however, because the year before (1944) the American Dental Association found that fluoride was actually detrimental to teeth and could cause decay and other issues.

The 1944 the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that using between 1.6 and 4 ppm (parts per million) fluoride in water would cause 50% of adults to need false teeth. On top of that, the world’s largest study looked at 400,000 students, revealing that tooth decay increased in over 25% with just 1ppm fluoride in drinking water. (Source 1)

To understand why a chemical of then unknown risk was added to our water supply for seemingly no good reason at all, we have to understand the mindset of the scientific community in post World War II America:

“The history of community water fluoridation is a reflection of the post WWII era of the 1950’s when many thought chemicals in one form or another could solve almost any problem. Our gaze was focused on the beneficial properties of the chemicals, not on the potential hazards. A classic example is DDT, that in addition to being a potent pesticide, almost killed off predatory birds and more recently was found to be harmful to humans.”  –Steven Gilbert, Ph.D., founder and director of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders (INND) (Source 2)

Since that time, it has become widely known that fluoride is a neurotoxin, yet it is still added to approximately 70% of US water supplies. Why?

Any dentist will tell you it is beneficial for our teeth. But is it?

And what are the potential hazards of this chemical?

And how is it produced?

We’ve already discussed that the American Dental Association has known since 1944 (the year before water fluoridation began) that fluoride is actually not beneficial for dental health. So why have they been adding it to water supplies ever since?

In 1945, a large quantity of hydrogen fluoride was produced as a byproduct of industry from DuPont’s Deepwater, New Jersey, plant. The huge quantities of this chemical byproduct were a problem: they had no good way to dispose of it, so they proposed a solution: add it to the water supply. After the government was convinced that fluoride was good for our dental health and that it should be added to water, they continued to do so, finding other sources, like the fertilizer industry, which produces phosphates as an industrial byproduct.

Again from Dr. Gilbert:

Many are surprised to learn that unlike the pharmaceutical grade fluoride in their toothpaste, the fluoride in their water is an untreated industrial waste product, one that contains trace elements of arsenic and lead.

Without the phosphate industry’s effluent, water fluoridation would be prohibitively expensive. And without fluoridation, the phosphate industry would be stuck with an expensive waste disposal problem.”

Studies Proving Harm from Fluoride Ingestion

If you thinks this smacks of conspiracy, take a look at this. When European countries such as Germany, the UK, Italy and France did a risk analysis of fluoride, they all concluded that it was a dangerous toxin and that any potential benefit was not worth the risk.

They further concluded that adding fluoride to drinking water has no measurable benefit to dental health at all. It doesn’t even make sense to take it internally when it is only supposed to help prevent enamel erosion and decay.

Dr. Gilbert explains that the U.S. government’s decision to fluoridate drinking water was the result of two short-term studies that compared cavity rates in a city with water fluoridation (Muskegon/Grand Rapids, Michigan) with the cavity rates in a city without it (Kingston/Newburgh, New York).

These two studies were set to run 10 years, but when early results showed cavity reduction, the U.S. Public Health Service approved water fluoridation after five years — with no data or safety studies on long-term toxicity.

A more recent study done by researchers collaborating in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico shows that fluoride levels ingested by a pregnant mother is inversely proportional to the IQ of the child she is carrying. Because of reports of neurotoxicity from fluoride, these researchers wanted to do a study that measured the actual effects on prenatal brain development when the pregnant mother ingested differing amounts of fluoride. The study included 299 participants and the results were astounding: for every increase in maternal urine fluoride by0.5mg/L, the IQ of the child she was carrying was lowered measurably and significantly (Source 5).

Okay, so we shouldn’t fluoridate our water… but what about toothpaste?

If you are thinking that maybe fluoridating the water supply went too far, but we should still harness the dental health benefits of this chemical at the dentist and when we brush our teeth, think again.

Remember, it’s never a good idea to put a neurotoxin in your mouth.

Let’s look at this logically. Pick up a tube of fluoridated toothpaste and look at the back. There is probably a warning on the back that it is “harmful if swallowed,” and that you should call poison control:

Wait…what?

You should call poison control if you swallow something that you put in your mouth every day? Does that sound reasonable to you?

How much fluoride is worth calling poison control?

The amount of toothpaste that the package itself says it harmful to swallow (and that poison control should be enlisted) is the amount in one use: a pea-sized amount (as listed on the package).

Do you know anyone who uses a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when they brush their teeth? Do you? These are the images we see every day, on every package of toothpaste, and on every television commercial:

To me that looks like about 6 peas lined up together, and one source said the “pea-sized amount” is about the size of a split pea: much smaller than you would think!

So if more than a tiny pea-sized amount of toothpaste, a product we put in our mouth every day at least once, is swallowed, we are supposed to call poison control. Because fluoride is toxic. Does that sound okay to everyone?

Add this to the fact that the fluoride found in toothpaste is actually pharmaceutical grade, and the fluoride found in our water supply is an industrial waste product (most recently being purchased by our government from China’s industrial waste supply, because not even China thinks fluoride is safe enough to put in their water supply)….

 

…and to the fact that fluoride doesn’t even benefit our teeth! The evidence that there is any benefit to dental health at all is sketchy at best, and far outweighed by the toxic nature of the chemical itself.

Which really begins to beg the question… why are we being poisoned with fluoride?!

Is it Really That Bad?

At this point you may be thinking, “Okay, I’m sure fluoride is toxic at high levels, but surely we aren’t ingesting anything significant in our drinking water, right?”

Wrong.

And that is why adding fluoride to drinking water is so dangerous. The amount of water people drink on a daily basis can vary widely from person to person, and the toxicity of even just a minute amount can affect a baby much more than it can affect a 200-pound man.

So how can the government be so irresponsible as to allow a known neurotoxin to be added to our water supply? And why would they tell us it’s good for us?

The world’s largest study looked at 400,000 students, revealing that tooth decay increased in over 25% with just 1ppm fluoride in drinking water. How much fluoride is in our drinking water? A minimum of 1ppm.

And how much fluoride do you have to ingest for it to become toxic? Well, that depends what you mean by toxic. The minimum lethal dose of fluoride is 5 milligrams of fluoride for each kilogram of body weight. And how much fluoride does the average fluoride toothpaste contain? About 5 mg in a tiny pea sized dollop (which we 10x every time we brush our teeth).

For an adult, one swallow is not a lethal dose of fluoride, but consider that many children’s toothpastes are also fluoridated:

“Most disturbing, however, is the fact that even bubble-gum and fruit-flavored toothpastes for children contain sufficient amounts of fluoride to kill a child. Indeed, as shown in the following table, an average-weighing 2-year-old child could die from ingesting just 40% of a “Colgate for Kids” bubble-gum flavored toothpaste.”  (Source 6)

So… we make children’s toothpaste taste like candy and then put enough fluoride in less than half a tube of it to kill them.

Perfect.

Another disturbing fact is that fluoride builds up in the body. It is not flushed out like you may think. This means the effects of this poison are cumulative.

Now that 8 glasses of water we drink every day doesn’t seem so harmless, does it? That tiny bit of toothpaste we swallow twice a day just got a lot more intimidating.

 

The Plot Thickens…

Don’t forget to check out my friend Kara’s post about why not all fluoride is created equal…

And if you are curious about Kombucha, check out Sara’s post about the benefits of Kombucha and how to make it yourself.

Resources and Citations

  1. https://www.naturalnews.com/036280_history_water_fluoridation_FDA_approval.html
  2. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/05/23/statement-opposing-fluoride.aspx
  3. Hazard Profile on the Fluoridation of Drinking Water 
  4. Health Effects Database
  5. Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico

  6. What is a Lethal Dose of Fluoride?

  7. How Fluoride Was Sold to America and How We Bought It
  8. More Fluoride Resources

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract: Quick, Simple, Economical!

Vanilla Extract is the BEST.

It adds so much depth of flavor to anything–without sweetening!

This moderately-priced vanilla extract on Amazon is $16 for 4 oz.

Vanilla extract is not just for baking–it’s also great for coffee, chai lattes, hot cereals, pancakes or waffles…pretty much anything that isn’t savory.

Vanilla extract can be purchased at any store, but there are a couple of problems I’ve found with it:

  1. It’s not cheap. A tiny bottle is several dollars, and it doesn’t last long. And if you want organic? It can be $10 for a couple of ounces!
  2. I have read that many vanilla extracts are fake (using artificial flavorings and colors), which is a huge no-no. The caramel color in these flavorings alone is a carcinogen, and the cloying, chemical flavors are even worse.

Like many things, I was intimidated to make my own.

It’s probably really hard, right?

Uh, no. It’s like the easiest thing. Ever.

Crazy, right? I just had to get past my own mental hurdle and look it up, and I found out it’s so simple.

Plus I can make a huge jar of it for a few dollars… and make it organic! Instead of paying $10 for 2oz.

This organic vanilla extract recipe is easy, affordable and it tastes great!

All you need is a glass jar, some vanilla beans, some hard alcohol (several types can be used: it’s fun to experiment!) and time.

Here’s how to make your quick, easy, home-made organic vanilla extract: 

Ingredients:

  • This jar of high-quality vanilla beans is $16 and will make several large jars of extract. (30-40oz). That makes it 10x cheaper than buying organic extract on Amazon!

    Glass Mason Jar

  • 1-3 organic vanilla beans (depending on the size of the jar)
  • High-quality unflavored alcohol (vodka, bourbon, rum, etc)

Directions:

  1. Cut the vanilla beans open long-ways and pull them open so the small seeds are all exposed.
  2. Using a spoon or knife, scrape the seeds out
  3. Put all of the vanilla bean pieces and seeds into the jar
  4. Fill the jar with the alcohol
  5. Cover and shake to incorporate the vanilla into the alcohol
  6. Write the batch date on the jar
  7. Put the jar in a cupboard or another cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks
  8. Strain and enjoy in your recipes, coffee, tea and other goodies!

Additionally, vanilla has some impressive health benefits, so feel free to use your new homemade vanilla extract in everything!

What is your favorite way to use vanilla extract?

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Dirty Benefits: Diatomaceous Earth

When we think of something as “dirty,” we often think it’s something that needs to be sanitized, sterilized and washed clean.

Our “culture of clean,” complete with an unlimited supply of antibiotic soaps, gels and hand wipes, is new to our bodies and our microbiome.

What is our microbiome? It’s all of the symbiotic organisms that live on and in our bodies that keep us healthy. That’s right: our bodies are host to trillions of bacteria, both “good” and “bad.”

I’ve seen estimates that indicate: by mass,
our bodies are
made up of up to 90% bacteria!

That gives me a different perspective on germs, dirt and what it means to be “dirty.” It makes me think that maybe dirt isn’t the enemy we’ve always thought it was, and that being “squeaky clean” is not all it’s cut out to be.

In this series on dirt, I’m partnering with Deep South Crunchy Mom and Clean Living with Kids to talk about different types of dirt that are actually really good for us!

Bentonite Clay, Activated Charcoal and Diatomaceous Earth are three of the many beneficial forms of “dirt” that can contribute to our health and well-being. We’re going to talk about how we use them and how they’ve helped us.

The best thing about each of these “dirts” is that they are very affordable,  incredibly powerful and effective for so many things!

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

From Wikipedia, Diatomaceous Earth is “a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 μm to more than 1 mm, but typically 10 to 200 μm.”

Why do we care about diatomaceous earth and how can we use it?

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are a type of unicellular micro-algae that are crucial to the Earth’s atmosphere. It is estimated that diatoms produce 20% of the world’s oxygen and that the shells of dead diatoms can be found half a mile deep at the bottom of the ocean!

How is Diatomaceous Earth Used?

Diatomaceous earth can be found in many of the products we use every day. Since it is a mild abrasive, it can be found in polishes, toothpastes and as a filler in cat litter for its odor and liquid-absorbing properties. It is also used in filtration products and insecticides, as well as a filler, absorbing agent and even an activator in blood clotting studies! I’ve even seen it used as a filler in foods such as commercial breads.

Commercially, diatomaceous earth has a lot of applications.
But personal use is where it gets really interesting.

I first learned about diatomaceous earth when I was researching parasites in the body and how to kill them.

A parasite is any organism that lives inside of and benefits
from another organism while causing the host harm.

Often we think of parasites as only something people in third world countries have to deal with. After all, we wear shoes and we don’t eat contaminated food, so we should be clean, right?

WRONG.

Everyone has parasites (we get them through food and water–they are impossible to avoid), and traditionally it was known that people needed to do some kind of parasite cleanse at least once a year to keep them in check.

These days we don’t even think about parasites, or even admit that we have them.

Unfortunately, when unchecked,
parasites can cause all kinds of health issues.

In fact, if you have any of the following health issues, parasites could be to blame:

  • Digestive problems
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Rashes (including eczema and psoriasis)
  • Anal itching
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • Poor concentration or lack of focus
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Stubborn belly fat
  • Post nasal drip
  • Anxiety
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle pain, cramps or unexplained soreness
  • Irritability
  • And many more!

As you can see, parasites can cause a lot of different health problems.

If you’ve never done a parasite cleanse and you suffer from any of these issues, it’s very likely that parasites are to blame.

We won’t get into the different types of parasites we host, but you can learn more about that here.

Here’s where diatomaceous earth comes in very handy.

Diatomaceous earth particles are tiny: if you buy a bag you’ll notice it’s like a bag of dust (don’t breathe it!). These particles are also sharp, and have a cage-like structure. This allows diatomaceous earth to do several things when we consume it:

  • The abrasive nature makes it a great “scrubbing agent” for the intestinal walls. Over time, mucus builds up there and can make us sick, so periodically cleaning out this mucus is vital to good health.
  • The sharp edges physically cut any larger intestinal worms that are present, eventually killing them and allowing them to be expelled by the body
  • The cage-like structure works to trap smaller bacteria and toxins within it, to be flushed out by the body.

Diatomaceous earth makes for a very effective (and very affordable) parasite cleanse that is really easy to do.

So let’s get to work! First step, buy food-grade diatomaceous earth

I have been following a 90-day protocol that calls for diatomaceous earth to be taken once a day first thing in the morning, at least an hour before eating anything.

 

Here’s what I do: 

  1. Mix one heaping teaspoonful into a glass of water (don’t breathe it!).
  2. Drink the water (it tastes a little chalky, but there is no real flavor, good or bad)
  3. Drink plenty of water after that, and wait an hour before eating.
  4. Do this every morning for 10 days in a row, then take the rest of the month off.
  5. The following 2 months, do the same thing: 10 days on, 20 days off.When I first did this I took it more than 10 days (approximately 3 weeks of taking it every day in the morning) and I got a really bad sinus infection, which I think was due to detoxing “too much” or possibly the mucus being washed away just overloaded my body. Either way, from now on I’ll take the assigned breaks so that doesn’t happen again.

Herxheimer Reaction

If you’ve never done a parasite cleanse before, start slow.

Take a quarter or half a teaspoon the first day and work your way up. If you begin get a bad reaction: headaches, nausea or some other discomfort, you may be experiencing a Herxheimer Reaction.

If you do experience this, simply back off: lower the dose until the symptoms subside, and then work your way back up to a higher dose.

The most important thing to remember is that if you get a bad reaction, that means it’s working. It also means you have a lot of things to clean up (which you may already suspect) so quitting will not benefit you. Any short-term discomfort will be well worth the health you experience after the cleanse. 

To lessen or prevent a herxheimer reaction, I recommend using Bentonite Clay.

(Learn more about the benefits of bentonite clay here).

To prevent a herxheimer reaction, I take one teaspoon Redmond Clay in a glass of water (give it a couple minutes to sink to the bottom of the cup, then stir and drink it fast) before I go to bed at night. This will help clean up any toxins that the parasites are excreting when they are being killed by the diatomaceous earth (they get mad when they are dying)! 

Other Benefits of Consuming Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth contains elements that benefit us in so many more ways than just killing intestinal parasites! It contains a high concentration of silica (in fact, diatom cell walls are actually composed of biogenic silica). Silica is a powerful detoxifier, and can help the body:

  • Clean the blood
  • Improve heart health!
  • Neutralize free radicals
  • Supplement calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals
  • Kill viruses
  • Detox heavy metals such as aluminum
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Keep joints, tendons and ligaments healthy and pain-free
  • Grow hair faster and longer
  • Protect skin, teeth and nails
  • Maintain anti-aging benefits
  • Improve digestion
  • Improve liver and colon function
  • Improved energy
  • Improved immune function (get sick less often)!

Even if you don’t think you have any parasites (trust me, you do), there are plenty of reasons to consume diatomaceous earth on a regular basis! 

But wait…there’s more!

Diatomaceous earth has even MORE benefits and uses than we’ve already described. So why isn’t everyone talking about it and using it every day?

It’s cheap, effective and easy to use–so get some today!

Other Great Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

  • Dust your pets with it to keep fleas away
  • Use it in your garden as a fertilizer
  • Use it to purify drinking water
  • Put it in your detox bath to purify the water
  • Put in pet food to kill parasites
  • A non-toxic insecticide
  • Put a thin line of diatomaceous earth around the outside of windows and doorways to prevent insects from coming in the house
  • In homemade toothpaste as a mild abrasive
  • As a facial exfoliator

WARNING:

You may have noticed in a few places in this post that I warned to always be careful not to inhale diatomaceous earth.
Here’s why: The fine particles are very sharp and dust-like, so they become airborne easily, and if breathed into the lungs can cause damage. So just be careful not to breathe it–and don’t dust it in places where pets or babies will be sniffing around.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

How to Purchase MONAT for the Best Price Possible

I’ve been using MONAT exclusively for the past 20 months… and my hair has been literally transformed.

My hair before was thin, flat, frizzy, dull, lifeless, weak and wouldn’t grow past my shoulders. I had to was it every day.

My hair now is full of volume, shine, manageability (just run a brush through it and go out the door!), thickness, and strength! I regularly go a week without washing my hair, and it’s grown halfway down my back!

Before MONAT I had terrible shedding: handfuls in the shower, and then I was shedding all day long, every day.

Now: I shed just a few hairs in the shower when washing, and rarely does a hair fall out during the day. Because of this fact alone, my hair has grown out at least twice as thick. I have thicker hair now than I ever thought possible!

Photos on the left: before MONAT. Photo on the right: about 11 months of exclusive MONAT use.Needless to say, I never want to use anything else…and I think everyone should try it too.

If you’ve been watching awhile you may be curious. You may want to try it but be hesitant.

At first glance, I thought this stuff was too expensive. I wasn’t going to try it. But then my friend who was using it talked about how concentrated it was, and how she was spending less money with MONAT than the other brands she had been using. She broke down the cost to about $12 per month. That didn’t sound bad, so I tried it. And as you can see, I am so glad I did.

Guys… my first bottle lasted me almost a year! I was shocked. I was amazed. I was sold for life.

I don’t care how cheap your current shampoo is… it is probably more expensive than MONAT when you factor in how long it lasts. The average bottle life is 4-6 months, for people who wash almost every day.

And most people find themselves washing less frequently with MONAT too: it just feels and looks clean longer (which also contributes to a longer life of each bottle).

Since MONAT offers a 30 day money back guarantee (even if your bottles are empty), there is no reason not to try it: you’ll save money, and you’ll love it: GUARANTEED, or your money back!

Is a Guarantee Important?

Personally, I always look for money-back guarantees in the products I buy for a few reasons:

  1. I want to know if I don’t like it I can get my money back. I like to buy quality products and that sometimes means they are pricey. If they are worth it, I will know that when I try them.
  2. Most things I buy these days are online. There is no real way to know for sure if something is as good as its claims until I try it. There has to be a guarantee.
  3. I want to purchase from a business that stands behind its products. If they are asking me to take all of the risk (buy with no guarantee), do I really trust this company?
  4. It tells me that this product will for sure be good. How can a company stay in business if they have a money back guarantee and their products aren’t great? They’d go out of business! You are literally guaranteed to love it.

3 Ways to Buy

Now that you know that you can save money with MONAT and that it’s guaranteed you will love it, let’s do it!

You will save money with MONAT over what you are doing, even if you buy retail. The prices are comparable with salon brands, but last much much longer (and what salon brand do you know that is money-back guaranteed??).

But who wants to pay retail?

Fortunately, there are a few great ways to get discounts:

  • Sales 
    MONAT has great sales, usually at least twice a month.  This summer sales have been ongoing–often overlapping! Sometimes concurrent sales can be combined for the best discounts I’ve ever seen!Reach out to me: Text “SALES” to  802-227-7051 and I’ll update you on the current offers!
  • Be a VIP Customer
    MONAT has the best customer loyalty program I have ever seen. Here are the benefits:

15% discount on all products — for life!
Access to all of our flash sales (2-3 every month) — save even more!
Free shipping with flash sale and flexship orders
No requirement to buy monthly — push your flexship out every 2 months — indefinitely
Free Only-for-You product with every flexship order ($25 value)
$25 in product credits every year on your birthday
Earn $20 in product credits for every referral

😍 How to Sign Up as a VIP Customer

Text “VIP” to  802-227-7051 and I will give you a link that will get you $20 off your second order too! I’d also love to chat with you to help you choose the best products for you at the best price possible. 

  • Get it Wholesale: Be a Market PartnerI think being a Market Partner (also called wholesale customer) is the best value overall and gives you the most flexibility with no commitment at all.

Here are the benefits:

✅ Wholesale prices — 30% off all products, all the time
✅ Access to all of our flash sales (2-3 every month) — save even more!
✅ Free shipping with flash sale and flexship orders 
✅ No sign up fee
✅ No minimum orders, ever
✅ No minimum sales, ever
✅ No automatic shipments
Tax deductions on your side hustle business (you can potentially save thousands of dollars on taxes)
✅ Earn commissions for every referral 
✅ Opportunities to earn cash bonuses every month
✅ Earn free products
Earn free vacations

And if you don’t want to earn money with it, you don’t have to! (But if you do want to, it’s a great business to be in. And what do you have to lose? You have to buy shampoo anyway so why not get it wholesale and get paid to tell your friends about it!) You can just be a wholesale customer with no requirements, minimums or expectations.

Just wholesale discounts. And whenever there is a sale, you get the sale discount on top of your wholesale discount–so you are saving money twice!

To become a Market Partner there are no fees or requirements: just buy a wholesale product pack and you are in!

There are 4 options. Check them out here!

To discuss which option is best for you and which products you should start with for your hair needs, text “MP” to 802-227-7051 and I’ll be happy to discuss any questions you have!

To review, there are 3 ways to order: 

One thing is for sure: you should try MONAT.

You won’t regret it.

And if you don’t like it, there is always a 30 day empty-bottle money-back guarantee! 

Text me today to find out how you can have the best hair of your life, and maybe even earn a living doing it!

 

More Resources:

Get Residual Income in 5 Easy Steps

Why Everyone Needs a Side Hustle (Hint: Save money on taxes and get a bigger refund!) 

What’s So Great About MONAT? 

Link to order MONAT as a Retail or Wholesale Customer

Referral Link to Order as a New VIP Customer (to get $20 off your 2nd order)

See What Sales Are going on Now (click “Start Now”)

Heard Rumors About MONAT? Find the Truth Here

Resesarch on the Safety and Effectiveness of MONAT’s ingredients

Spreadsheet listing MONAT shampoo ingredients and SkinDeep Ratings

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Make 15 Non-Toxic Products with Essential Oils in Under a Minute (for less than $1!)

Perfume is everywhere: it’s an ingredient in laundry detergent, many body care and cleaning products, and it’s even a thing we pay big money for to spray on our bodies so we can smell it all day long!

We buy air fresheners for our cars and for our houses, and we love candles and room or linen freshening sprays to eliminate (or mask) unwanted odors and keep everything smelling fresh and clean.

But perfumes, when they are made with artificial fragrances, present a constant exposure to toxic fumes that can wreak havoc on our hormones and our health. (To learn more about this: watch the documentary STINK! on Netflix).

People who are allergic to perfumes may get migraines or feel dizzy or nauseous when confronted with an overpowering fragrance from any source. These people often have to avoid fragrances of any kind in every product, which can be difficult!

Luckily for us, nature has a solution: Essential Oils!

Essential oils are nature’s perfume, and unlike toxic artificial fragrances, are actually really good for us!

There are all kinds of benefits to smelling (and even topically using) essential oils, from boosting immunity and healing disease to balancing hormones, stress relief and help getting to sleep at night.

I love this article by Dr. Axe that expounds on the benefits and uses of essential oils. 

If you have never used essential oils, you’ve probably heard a lot about them and may even be intimidated.

Where do I start?

Do I need them?

Which ones do I use and how do I use them?

If that’s you, check out this great post from Clean Living with Kids that will help you decide on the BEST essential oils to start with, and why.

 

I stood on the sidelines for awhile before trying essential oils at all. Then finally, I decided to just dive in and try it!

Now, several years later, I have built up quite the collection of essential oils, and I recently bought a shelf just for them.

In this post I want to share my experience and a few easy recipes that have saved me hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars on products that I wanted to ditch anyway (because of toxic ingredients, including the dreaded fragrance).

I’m not recommending any specific brand, and I think there are a lot of great options out there, especially if you are using them in the recipes like the ones I’ll share below.

If you are applying them topically or diffusing them, it’s best to make sure they are organic or at the very least that they are pure.

Quick tip: Not all essential oils are created equal. If you see “essential oils” at the dollar store, they probably aren’t the real thing. There is no regulation in essential oils, and some manufacturers have been known to cut their oils with chemicals or not use essential oils at all—replacing them with chemical fragrances.

 

Well, that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? So whichever brand you choose, be sure it’s from a trusted brand so you know for sure you are getting what you pay for.

Essential oils have all kinds of great uses, and a few limitations. Check out this great post from Deep South Crunchy Mom detailing the best ways to use essential oils topically, diffused and which ones are safe for kids.

Easy Ways to Use Essential Oils Every Day

I love to drip them into my Epsom Salt stash for a relaxing, aromatherapy experience every time I take a detox bath. Just a few drops of your favorite scent will make the whole batch smell great! I also use them in my home-made deodorant recipe. I make a different scent for my son, my mom, and myself…because we all have different favorite scents, of course! I even use them in my own skin-care recipe (I’ll share that recipe with you in a different post).

Here’s a list of all 15 recipes. If you want to jump down to one, click it here:

🌎
BODIES AND KIDS

In the summertime, it’s important to have a couple of things handy at all times: insect repellent and after-sun spray.

🌱

Insect Repellent

When I first started searching for a recipe for insect repellent, I was surprised to see that a wide variety of essential oils provide insect repelling benefits. So I usually just mix up whichever ones I have. The most important ones to include are citronella, peppermint, lavender, and lemon eucalyptus.

Here is a basic recipe that is super effective at repelling all the bugs! With just a few inexpensive bottles of essential oils you will be bug-free for years to come!

Ingredients


Directions:

  1. Add the witch hazel and essential oils to the bottle (it should be about half full)
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and shake well
  3. Shake well before use. Spray on skin or clothes before going outside!!!
    🌱
    Soothing After-Sun Spray

    I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen, so I usually wear hats or hang out in the shade, so on the rare occasions I get a little pink, this after-sun spray comes in very handy! It’s cooling and soothing, and brings immediate relief.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix Aloe and essential oil drops in the spray bottle then fill to the top with distilled water.

Shake well before each use and mist on sun-kissed skin as needed.

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Anti-bacterial Hand Spray: Safe, Effective, Chemical Free!

Waterless hand cleaners are all the rage, but did you know the chemicals in them are dangerous and are absorbed into the bloodstream in less than 30 seconds? Also these harsh chemical anti-bacterial agents have contributed to the sharp rise in superbugs in recent years.

Essential oils are nature’s anti-bac. I love to use the immunity blend for mine (also called onGuard and Thieves with other brands). See the fascinating story behind this blend here.

This recipe is really easy!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • A few drops of vegetable glycerine (optional: for moisturizing)
  • 20-30 drops Immunity blend of your choice (including Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus Essential oils)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into the spray bottle and carry wherever you go.
  2. Shake well before using: spray liberally onto hands or surfaces that may harbor germs (such as door knobs, handles, purses, counter-tops, etc)

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Go-to-Sleep Roll-on or Spray (for kids big & small!)

Insomnia plagues children and adults alike. There is nothing worse than laying in bed with your eyes wide open, hoping sleep will come.

You’ll be surprised how well this quick, easy, inexpensive trick works every time!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle or roll-on bottle
  • Magnesium oil
  • 20-30 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Fill container to the top with magnesium oil and essential oil drops. Shake well.
  2. Shake well before using and apply to the bottoms of the feet at night.
  3. The spray can also be used as a linen spray to lend a fresh, soothing scent to your pillow and bedding for better sleep as well.
  4. This gentle, fast-acting formula of magnesium and lavender absorbs into the bloodstream quickly and your child (or you!) will be in dreamland before you know it!

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Fever Reducer Roll-On

 

Say goodbye to over-the-counter drugs! You probably heard about the Tylenol recall a couple years back. Despite being cheap and easily-obtained, over-the-counter drugs are not safe for anyone: especially children.  Each drug has its own dangers, and acetaminophen is particularly dangerous for children when they are sick: it blocks the production of glutathione in the body, which opens up detoxification pathways. Stopping detoxification is the last thing you want to do when you are sick–so here is a great recipe for a roll-on that can help reduce a fever if you are concerned.

(Also, see this post about why you may not want to reduce the fever at all, as well as some other easy, non-toxic fever reduction methods).

Ingredients:

  • Reusable Roll-on bottle
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • Distilled water or Fractionated coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Fill the bottle with distilled water or fractionated coconut oil and top with essential oils
  2. Apply to the bottoms of the feet every 15-20 minutes as needed.

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Migraine Roll-On

Headaches are the worst: when I feel one coming on there is nothing more I want to do than prevent it from becoming a full-blown, all-day affair. Headaches affect everything: productivity at work, ability to interact with people in social settings, and general ability to do anything at all.

I don’t get frequent headaches, but I had heard from a lot of people that headaches and even migraines can be relieved with essential oils. I’d heard simply putting peppermint on the back of the neck can make a big difference. The first time I tried it I was amazed how well it worked: my headache disappeared immediately!

I’ve also seen migraine blends that are mostly peppermint but have a few other ingredients as well. Here is a basic recipe that works for me, but feel free to play with the different oils and applying them different places to get relief.

Ingredients:

TIP: Because oil and water don’t mix, if you use water you will need to always shake before using. If you use fractionated coconut oil, the essential oils will incorporate into the oil and will have a smoother application.

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the roller bottle and shake
  2. Shake before using. Apply to the temples, back of the neck or other areas

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Perfume!

We all love to smell good, and to have pleasant smells around us wherever we go. Since conventional perfumes are not an option (and we should all avoid these toxic synthetic fragrances anyway), why can’t we harness the power of essential oils to be able to use “perfume,” and also get the benefits of essential oils (relaxation, focus, stress relief, healing, etc) at the same time?

The great thing is that an essential oil perfume is so easy to make and to use:

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Essential oil or essential oil blend of your choice (play with the combinations until you create your perfect scent!)

Directions:

  1. Combine water and essential oils (use about 10 drops per ounce).
  2. Shake and spray!
  3. This can also be used as a room spray, linen spray, bathroom freshener, or in place of any other “perfume” you would normally use!
🌱
Bathroom Stink Eliminator Spray

Have you seen the ads for Poo-Pourri?

Eliminate embarrassing smells in the bathroom with a simple spray.

Could it be possible?

Yes–actually it is! All with the power of essential oils.

And this two-ingredient recipe is so simple–just mix it up and leave the spray bottle in the bathroom or carry it wherever you go–and it costs just pennies and less than a minute to make!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Your favorite essential oils (citrus ones like lemon, bergamot, grapefruit and lemongrass work great, but others work too!)

Directions:

  1. Mix up 10 drops of your chosen essential oil for each one ounce of water in the spray bottle and shake to mix
  2. Spray 4-5 times in the toilet on the water before you go. The essential oils sit on top of the water and trap odors in. It’s like magic!

🌎

CLEANING RECIPES

 

🍋
All-Purpose Cleaner for Counter tops, Stove tops, Windows and More!

Move over, chemicals: the cleaning power of lemon and vinegar has entered the building! You will be shocked how well this simple combination cleans everything in the house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 part distilled water
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 10-30 drops lemon essential oil (depending on the size of the bottle)
  • Reusable spray bottle

Directions

Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake before using.

🍋

Ceramic (White) Sink Cleaner

If you have a white ceramic sink like I do, you already know how difficult it is to keep those clean and shiny! Every little thing stains and marks that white surface!

Here is a quick, easy way to clean those ceramic white sink surfaces as white as new. I do it on a weekly basis.

Ingredients:

  • Vinegar in a spray bottle with lemon essential oil
  • Baking soda
  • Scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda all over the sink, concentrating in areas with stains or marks
  2. Spray the baking soda with the lemon vinegar until it sizzles and looks wet
  3. Allow to sit until it dries, about 10 minutes
  4. Scrub out the sink with the brush.

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Oven cleaner

Commercial oven cleaners are highly toxic, caustic chemicals that can be dangerous to breathe, let alone use on something you use to cook your food. This easy recipe is similar to the sink cleaner above, and it really works well with no dangerous chemicals. Plus it’s a huge money saver, as all of the ingredients are incredibly cheap.

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle with white vinegar and orange essential oil
  • baking soda, it will fizz up
  • for tough stains, grab your orange essential oil bottle
  • small scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Spray entire surface of oven generously with the vinegar until it is very wet
  2. Sprinkle baking soda everywhere, concentrating on problem areas
  3. On stubborn stain areas, drop orange essential oil directly on top of the baking soda
  4. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes, then scrub away

🍋

Floor Cleaner

Floor cleaner is quick, easy and cheap: I throw a batch together every time I clean my floors: it’s just a matter of adding a couple ingredients to warm water!

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 cups of warm water
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Castile soap
  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (citrus oils like lemon and orange work fantastic for hardwood floors!)

Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients and use your mop or microfiber floor cleaner with your cleaning solution.
  2. You’ll be amazed how clean and shiny the floors are!

🍋

Cream Cleanser For the Bathroom Sinks and Showers

Similar to “Soft Scrub” this creamy cleanser can remove soap scum and other yuckies in the bathroom sink, tub and shower areas, including tile and grout.

It also makes an excellent non-toxic toilet cleaner, and leaves the whole bathroom smelling amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mason jar
  • 1.5 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid castille soap
  • 4 T water
  • 20-30 drops lemon and/or tea tree essential oil
  • scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a creamy paste
  2. Apply to bathroom surfaces and scrub

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Non-Toxic Shower Spray that Smells Great!

If you want to avoid having to clean your shower or tub altogether, this after-shower spray is a great non-toxic option. Just spray it in your shower after every use, and it will greatly extend the time between scrubbings. An added bonus: it makes the bathroom smell amazing!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a refillable spray bottle and shake well before using
  2. Use as an after shower spray to prevent soap scum, mildew and mold

🍋

Laundry Softener and Scent Boost

Two of the most toxic things in any household are fabric softener and dryer sheets.

Why?

The artificial fragrances used are strong and they are toxic. They also both put a film over clothing (for “softness”) that is very difficult to remove, even with multiple washings. This coating can irritate the skin and makes the harsh fragrances linger for a very long time.

I’ve personally never used fabric softener or dryer sheets, but one time a friend bought me a pair of leggings. We were going on a trip, so she washed them before we left and then gave them to me.

That was over a year ago, and I’ve washed those leggings multiple times, but I can still smell the strong fumes from the fabric softener on them.

Eliminating fabric softener and dryer sheets is easy: simply add vinegar to the fabric softener cup in your washer, and use these wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets. You’ll save time and cut this major offender of toxins out of your life.

As an added bonus: vinegar is antibacterial and anti-fungal, and it neutralizes uric acid! So use vinegar if you have broadsheets or dog beds that have been urinated on!

Wool dryer balls also cut down drying time, which can save you on energy costs!

If you like your laundry to have a great scent, here’s a recipe for a natural, non-toxic laundry softener and scent boost.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 10-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (some good choices are lemon, lavender, lemongrass, or another scent you prefer)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together well, evenly distributing the essential oils
  2. Add 1/4 cup to each load of laundry
  3. You laundry will smell great, and the baking soda is a cleaning booster! The Epsom salt helps to soften the fabric.
🍋 BONUS! Non-Toxic Foaming Hand Wash

Conventional hand soap has a lot of toxins that absorb into our bloodstream within 30 seconds of washing our hands, and the artificial fragrance is a problem as well as the anti-bacterial chemicals used, such as triclosan, which has created the surge of antibiotic resistant superbugs we are experiencing today.

Want a cheap, easy, safe alternative to paying $4-$5 per bottle for toxin-loaded hand washes?

Try making this quick, simple foaming hand wash in less than a minute, for less than 25 cents per bottle.

 

🍋 🌱 🌎

What are your favorite essential oils and what do you use them for?

Do you have any other recipes using essential oils you like to use?

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Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Grainless Blender Banana Bread that Actually Tastes Good! (Chocolate Optional)

Banana bread is one of my favorite things.

Also, I have trouble eating bananas before they get mushy… and I hate anything to go to waste! So a great banana bread recipe is definitely a must-have for me!

Recently I’ve been trying to eat less wheat, so I have been searching for alternative banana bread recipes: paleo, keto, grainless, whatever!

I found this one that uses Cassava Flour (the whole grain of the tapioca plant, as opposed to tapioca starch, which is white and processed), and I liked it, but it was a bit dense, so I tweaked it a little to make it lighter and fluffier.

Because of the Cassava/tapioca, it’s not keto, but it’s a great alternative if you are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, and it sure hits the spot!

Plus did you know that bananas that are turning brown have an anti-tumor factor? So your banana bread may just be preventing cancer as well!

 

This yummy grain-free paleo banana bread is:

  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Paleo
  • Bad fat free

    Grain free, gluten free, Paleo banana bread that tastes good!

Yummy Cassava Paleo Banana Bread 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven (I love my counter-top convection oven and use it constantly) to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep a standard loaf pan with parchment paper (I usually rub a bit of coconut oil on it–parchment is super non-stick without any toxins!)
  3. Mash or blend the bananas, eggs and other ingredients well (I just throw everything in a blender) –mix until smooth and incorporated. (Don’t over-mix).
  4. Pour batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Add chocolate chips on the top if using.
  5. Smooth the top, bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour – 75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let it rest 5 minutes,  then transfer entire loaf to a wire rack to cool completely and serve!

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!