Propylene Glycol: Is it more than PG:13?

Once again I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last past. We have a lot going on in our lives right now so blogging has been on the back burner. But today I want to talk about an interesting chemical called propylene glycol. First of all, does this even sound like something you want to ingest? Is it something you have in your kitchen cabinet to cook with? Um no. So why do companies use it and what is it?

PG is a petroleum based chemical found in antifreeze. It has lubricating properties and is approved by the FDA as a common food additive. PG acts a humectant that preserves moisture. It can also act as an emulsifier. It can also be a flavor carrier and stabilizer.

So it this stuff safe? Not really. Repeated small doses can cause throat irritation, headache, backache, and kidney problems. According to “In large quantities, studies have shown that it can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.” The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) even states that exposure to PG can cause skin, liver, and kidney damage!

All kinds of foods and body care products contain PG. I’ve seen it in salad dressing, protein bars, soda, gum, cake, ice cream, deodorant, vitamins, medicines, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Even Chick-fil-a’s Peach Milkshake contains propylene glycol. 😦

Propylene glycol in cake mix (among other yucky yucky things).

Propylene glycol in cake mix (among other yucky yucky things). recommends avoiding PG in all your body care products and cosmetics. They state that it is a known skin irritant, possible endocrine disruptor, and possible neurotoxin.

Even if our food/cosmetics only contain small amounts I still feel that this additive should be avoided. At what point is it too much? And even if you think PG is safe in your body care products be careful. Propylene Glycol is a penetration enhancer meaning that it helps OTHER chemicals absorb into your bloodstream. And usually products that contain PG also contain other harmful chemicals like BHT, parabens, and pthalates. You DEFINITELY don’t what those in your body!

Propylene Glycol in my kids' (former) vitamins.

Propylene Glycol in my kids’ (former) vitamins.

The good news is that you CAN find foods and products without propylene glycol. In fact, I noticed in Whole Foods the other day that several body care products even advertise “PG free.” Especially when it comes to food strive to make better choices. Buy PG free salad dressing (got some a while ago at Trader Joe’s) or better yet, make your own! Oil and Vinegar make a great dressing! Don’t drink soda. Make your own protein bars. Chew healthier gums like Spry (which I plan to review on here soon so keep your eyes open!). Buy organic ice cream (the Publix Greenwise Organic Vanilla Ice Cream is amazing!!) or make your own.

The PG free deodorant my hubby is currently using.

The PG free deodorant my hubby is currently using.

I hope this was helpful. Just know when you see PG listed on an ingredient list that it needs more than “parental guidance.” It needs “parental avoidance!” πŸ™‚ Ok, that was cheesy. But you get the picture. πŸ˜‰

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Baby Steps Update

So I’m doing terrible at this blogging thing so far. I was hoping to post every other day or so but life has been so crazy it’s hard to find time. Each time I write a blog post on a certain topic I spend several hours researching and I read and research at least 8-10 sources/articles. I don’t want to post something that is incorrect or something one random source reported. I try to be as accurate as possible so it takes quite a while to actually research and write a post. πŸ™‚

We have been making some progress in our desire to change what we eat. We are trying to buy more organic foods and make better choices. We have not had fast food since April 8 (except on the way home from our trip to the beach this past weekend we had to eat at Taco Bell because there were very few choices where we were. I got the cantina bowl but never could find the ingredients listed online).

So if you are wondering what baby steps are they are basically steps in the right direction toward where you would like to be (aka what you would like to buy and eat some day).

Right now we can’t afford $4 organic eggs so our compromise is cage free eggs (yes, I’m aware that since they are not organic their feed could contain GMO). The cage free eggs at Trader Joe’s are $2.69. In case you’re wondering here is a good post from about the difference between Conventional, Cage Free, and Free Range eggs:

Eggs we currently buy

Eggs we currently buy

Eggs we would like to buy (or local eggs if possible)

Eggs we would like to buy (or local eggs if possible)

Right now we can’t afford organic butter ($4.79 for organic butter is a culture shock considering I used to get margarine for about $0.05). We stopped buying nasty stuff like Smart Balance several months ago. Then we started buying real butter (like Land O Lakes butter). Then we took another baby step and started buying butter that is hormone/anti-biotic free (it’s $2.79 it’s now up to $2.99 at Trader Joe’s). Eventually we will get to the organic butter but right now our budget doesn’t allow for it.

Butter we currently buy

Butter we currently buy

Butter we will eventually buy

Butter we will eventually buy

We are also currently buying the hormone/anti-biotic free cheese from Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe’s. Eventually we’ll get to organic cheese. πŸ™‚

Our favorite cheese

Our favorite cheese

$3.99/lb. is a great price!

$3.99/lb. is a great price!

You just have to do what you can to make better choices with the money and resources you have. I try not to let myself feel guilty for not buying the best of the best. I still looks for sales and deals on healthier items, read ingredient labels, and follow the dirty dozen/clean 15 when it comes to produce.

Food Babe recently posted an article about how to save on organic foods. I found it helpful so I wanted to share it. Just realize you may not be able to follow it perfectly. Just do what you can. She gives you over 75 tips!

We have greatly enjoyed meal planning and cooking at home (my hubby does a lot of the cooking. He’s amazing). We are also enjoying shopping at healthier stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Earth Fare. We have no desire for fast food and rarely eat out anymore. This has been an eye opening journey and I can’t wait to continue on it! Have you taken any baby steps to healthier living? If so I would love to hear about it!

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I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in almost 11 days. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. My husband graduated from college this past week so we had many fun activities going on. I am so proud of my hubby and all his hard work. It’s not easy completely an entire degree program all while getting married, having 2 kids, and working full time (including a couple years on 3rd shift!). He’s amazing. And God has been faithful to us.

Before I start discussing the topic I do want to wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s Day. Moms are special people. I have the greatest mom and mom-in-law in the world. Wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for them and their love and support.

Ok. So here we go. We’re going to discuss another mysterious ingredient lurking in our food.

What is TBHQ? TBHQ stands for Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (thanks goodness for acronyms, right?!). According to TBHQ is a synthetic antioxidant (derived from petroleum) that is used to extend the shelf life of oily and fatty foods. It’s derived from butane (which is toxic). This chemical is used in food (or food packaging) to preserve the food and keep it from changing colors or flavors. Many things contain TBHQ including body care products, mayonnaise, candy bars, cookies, crackers, etc. Also many fast food restaurants use TBHQ in their food including McDonald’s and Chick-fil-a (Why, Chick-fil-a, why?!).

The FDA regulates the amount of TBHQ that can be in our food to 0.02% (of the total oils in food). Consuming 1 gram of TBHQ can cause many adverse effects such as nausea vomiting, ringing in the ears, ADHD in children, asthma, allergies, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse. 5 grams of TBHQ is the lethal amount (so remind me again why only a little bit of poison is ok?!). reports that “long term, high doses of TBHQ in laboratory animals have shown a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in their stomachs, as well as cause DNA damage to them. It is also suggested that it may be responsible for affecting estrogen levels in women.”

Does this sound like something you want to be ingesting? Or something you want your small children to consume? No way. So steer clear of this nasty preservative. Hope this was helpful!

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Product Review: Lavilin Deodorant


Over the past month my family has made some major food changes. But since I started reading labels and researching nearly every ingredient, I couldn’t stop with just food. I started reading the labels on our body care products and what I found was disheartening.

I have known for a long time that conventional deodorant/anti-perspirant was not good for you. I have heard in the past that aluminum is not good for your body. But until recently, I didn’t really know what to do because me and my couponing self had over 20 free (or better than free) conventional deodorants. Since I recently decided that my health is more important than money, I decided that I could no longer use the “but I get deodorant for free and I have a shelf full of them” excuse.

Good bye, old deodorant!

Good bye, old deodorant!

And yes, the picture above is the deodorant/anti-perspirant that I have sitting in my bathroom at the moment. The stuff that’s open is being thrown away. The unopened ones are being donated.

Before I get to the actual review I need to just mention a couple things about conventional deodorant/anti-perspirant. Anti-perspirants contain aluminum or zirconium which cause our pores to close up and they keep our body from sweating (which is what the body is supposed to do; sweating is natural and healthy). Anyways, aluminum has been linked to Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. As I did my research on this I found that this issue is heavily debated. But you know what? I don’t want to be the guinea pig. I would rather err on the side of safety regardless.

Aluminum is not the only worrisome ingredient. Many deodorants contain Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Phthalates, and Triclosan- all of which are harmful chemicals that can cause endocrine disruption, central nervous system damage, birth defects, and even cancer.

Lavilin was recommended to me by my aunt whom I love and trust. She told me it was the only natural deo that worked for her and she has been using it for years. I decided I had to try it out. You can order Lavilin from Amazon,,,, etc. I have not seen it in any local health stores (I’ve checked them all). I ordered my Lavilin from since I have free 2 day ShopRunner shipping. Lavilin usually sells for around $11-$17. But when you realize that you only have to use it ever 3-7 days then the price doesn’t look so bad. πŸ™‚

Ok. So, after getting deodorant for free for 4 years it was a bit hard to pay $14 for one thing of deodorant. But let me tell you why I will never go back to the other stuff and what I love about my new deo.

What does Lavilin offer? Odor free up to 7 days. No alcohol. No aluminum. No parabens. No phthalates. No BHT. No petrolatum. Gender neutral (no distinct smell). Water resistant. Does it live up to this?

I first applied Lavilin on Thursday, April 18 (my wedding anniversary!). That same day my family and I walked around the zoo for 2.5 hours. No smell. Barely any sweat. That weekend my husband and I took an anniversary trip to Asheville, NC where we spent 7 hours walking around the Biltmore Estate in one day. It worked great! Let me just say that the deodorant did not start to wear off until Monday, April 22…4 days after I applied it! I reapplied a small amount that day (April 22) and I have had little to no wetness so far. After my second application (on April 22) it once again did not start to wear off until 4 days later on April 26! I applied it again on April 26 and then again on April 30. Today is May 2 and everything is still great! πŸ™‚

My hubby and me on our anniversary trip celebrating 4 years together!

My hubby and me on our anniversary trip celebrating 4 years together!

Lavilin really is water resistant. I have been showering and shaving as usual and it has not effected the deodorant at all. It does go on white but does fade throughout the day. It has not stained my clothes. There is no strong smell. And I also like how it’s applied. It comes in a little tub and the deo is the consistancy of thick lotion or cream. You use the small plastic applicator to apply it to your armpits (your fingers would work just as well). This makes it nice because you could share the Lavilin if you wanted to. πŸ™‚ I shared it with my hubby because I wanted him to try it. It doesn’t seem to be quite as effective on men. He applied it in the morning on April 18 and it lasted til April 19– a full 24 hours. However, that’s pretty good considering his conventional deodorant/anti-perspirant didn’t even last 24 hours!

So while the Lavilin did not last a full 7 days I think 4 days is pretty darn good! I think this tub should last me for a while. I would definitely recommend this product. Hope this was helpful!

UPDATE: I did not list the ingredients in Lavilin because there seemed to be a discrepancy online. There were 2 different ingredient lists showing up on different websites and I did not want to post the wrong one. From what I’ve heard Lavilin has changed it’s formula several times. While checking I noticed that the ingredients listed Tetrasodium EDTA (NOT good). I never remembered seeing that before so I made a few phone calls. I called the company directly (Lavilin) and had the employee pull the current ingredient list. She assured me that the old formula contained EDTA but the newest one does not. They dropped the EDTA and added a few other ingredients to make it easier to spread. I was relieved. So the information on is correct. Those are the correct ingredients. The ingredients listed on and are incorrect and not yet updated.

I then called to let them know the ingredients have changed. They said they had been notified but hadn’t updated their website yet. The girl sent her tech team a note to have it updated asap. She couldn’t verify exactly which Lavilin I received (new formula or old formula) but she was pretty sure I received the new one (sans EDTA). I wish I didn’t throw my box away. :/


Here is the correct ingredient list for Lavilin:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil & Hydrogenated Castor Oil & Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Zinc Oxide, Potato Starch (modified), Talc (pharma), Triethyl Citrate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Glycine Soya, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactose, Milk Protein, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Fragrance, O-Cymen-5-Ol

Lavilin works by eliminating bacteria. It’s bacteria that causes you to stink…not sweat. Lavilin uses essential oils to do this. And it does it wonderfully!

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Whole Foods Body Care Deal

Yesterday Whole Foods had an early bird special where they offered 30% off everything in their body care department. They only passed out the coupons until 1pm and you had until 4pm to redeem it. Of course you know how I love a good deal….so naturally I was there for my discount. πŸ™‚ The coupon could also be combined with store and manufacturer coupons and the 30% off came off before any other discounts.

The coupon

The coupon

I wanted to try out a few new products because I’m looking to replace all of our chemical-filled body care products one by one over time and also because I plan on doing product reviews here on my blog. πŸ™‚

Whole Foods prices really aren’t *that* bad. The body care products at Earth Fare and Garner’s (where I spent time checking prices the other day) seem more expensive overall. Just know that you still have to read labels. I noticed that most of the Whole Foods 365 brand products contain sodium benzoate unfortunately. 😦 Several items I got today (tooth paste, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner) have potassium sorbate. I’m still researching that one but it appears to be a safer preservative.

Here is what I bought at Whole Foods today:

Body care products from Whole Foods

Body care products from Whole Foods

The total of these products before coupons was $53.67 and after coupons the cost was $34.07! I saved almost $20! $16.10 was saved just from the 30% off coupon.

There is one last thing I wanted to add that I forgot to mention in my previous post about Whole Foods. If you have kids you need to sign up for the free kids club! Just ask the person at the desk near the door (produce side) and they will give you a card to fill out with your child’s name and birthday. Every time you come to the store your kids get to pick out something for FREE from the little red wagon. This is wonderful because it keeps them quiet for about 4.3 minutes. πŸ™‚ They also get a special treat on or around their birthday. (I heard that it may be free gelato).

The kids club wagon

The kids club wagon

This Friday, May 3, Whole Foods is having a one-day-sale for pasture raised whole chickens from Georgia for $3.99/lb. Don’t miss it! πŸ™‚

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Calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate. Huh?

As you can see from the title of the this post this chemical has quite a long name. Most often you will see it listed at Calcium Disodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, or just EDTA. It can also be listed as Diammonium EDTA, Dipotassium EDTA, TEA-EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tripotassium EDTA and Trisodium EDTA (well, there are many others, but I won’t list them all). Whew! So what does this crazy sounding chemical do?

EDTA is a chelation agent, meaning that it binds with heavy metals and deactivates them (one reason it’s used in hospitals for conditions such as mercury or lead poisoning). It’s used as a preservative in food because it prevents food from spoiling by adding oxygen to the molecular structure of the food. Sounds appetizing!

Do you want to know what this chemical is made of? Sure you do. It is primarily synthesised from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. You heard me right. Don’t believe me? Look it up (or click on the hyperlink in the previous sentence).

This lovely chemical is found in many foods such as: canned beans, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and even Papa Murphy’s garlic sauce (don’t even get me started on that toxic chemical dump sauce which also includes BHA and sodium benzoate).

EDTA is also found in most personal care products: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel, etc. This additive increases foaming, prolongs shelf life, and helps with skin penetration (making it easier for other chemicals to get to your bloodstream). Please be aware that many companies will advertise products as “all natural” and use Tetrasodium EDTA instead of parabens. Um. They are both equally bad in my opinion. Avoid them both.

Tetrasodium EDTA in Softsoap (that was previously in my kids' bathroom).

Tetrasodium EDTA in Softsoap (that was previously in my kids’ bathroom).

Tetrasodium EDTA in Trader Joe's "all natural" hand soap

Tetrasodium EDTA in Trader Joe’s “all natural” hand soap

According to EDTA “has been found to be both cytotoxic and weakly genotoxic in laboratory animals. Oral exposures have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.” If you look up the MSDS for EDTA you’ll see that it says:

“Potential Chronic Health Effects: CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available. The substance may be toxic to upper respiratory tract, skin, eyes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.”

So fantastic that the FDA (as far as I know) has not done enough research on links to birth defects, cancer, or reproductive problems. The MSDS actually says, “The toxicological properties of this substance have not been fully investigated.” Do you want to be the guinea pig?

OH! And lastly, EDTA is also an organic pollutant. It breaks down into Diketopiperazine. So it’s bad for your body AND bad for the environment. Double whammy!!

Now that you know the details on what this preservative does, look for ways to avoid it. There are many food items and products out there that do not contain EDTA. Just continue to read your labels. πŸ™‚

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Sodium Benzoate. It is really harmless?

Now that we’ve covered several of the healthier grocery stores in my area we’re back to discussing a common chemical found in many foods. I want to discuss Sodium Benzoate. This preservative also goes by other names such as Potassium Benzoate and Benzoate. This preservative is used in many processed foods such as jams, salad dressing, pickles, relish, fruit juice, margarine, and I even noticed it was in the pimento cheese from The Fresh Market. It’s also used in many medicines like Advil, infant and children’s vitamins, hand soaps, and even “all natural” toothpaste. This chemical is used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Sounds pretty helpful right? Wrong. This chemical can cause many problems.

Even Children's Advil contains sodium benzoate (along with other harmful ingredients).

Children’s Advil contains sodium benzoate (along with other harmful ingredients).

I noticed at Whole Foods the other day that even the "all natural" Spry toothpaste contains sodium benzoate.

I noticed at Whole Foods the other day that even the “all natural” Spry toothpaste contains sodium benzoate.

According to Sodium Benzoate “has the ability to deprive the cells of oxygen, break down the immune system and cause cancer.” The article goes on to say “While benzoic acid is found naturally in low levels in many fruits, the sodium benzoate listed on a product’s label is synthesized in a lab.”

Sodium benzoate can be very dangerous because when it is combined with or mixed with Vitamins C or E it forms benzene which is a known carcinogen (meaning it causes cancer). How many foods do you know of that do NOT contain any Vitamin C or E? …That’s what I thought. Most soft drinks contain sodium benzoate (go look at the label). Do you know what else they contain? Ascorbic Acid. What is that? You guessed it…Vitamin C. In fact, in 2005 a variety of beverages were found to contain benzene. The companies had to reformulate their drinks.

Can you believe that I also found sodium benzoate in my kids (previous) multi-vitamins. Guess what?! They also contain vitamin C!

Can you believe that I also found sodium benzoate in my kids (previous) multi-vitamins?! Guess what? They also contain vitamins C and E!

Not only can sodium benzoate form cancer causing substances but it has also been reported that it increases hyperactivity in children when combined with certain food colorings. Did you know that most pickles contain sodium benzoate along with Yellow #5? I don’t know about you, but my kids are hyper enough! I didn’t need them to be bouncing off the walls more than they already are! πŸ™‚

The foods that contain sodium benzoate are foods that have an acidic pH. In this post by Food Babe she says that you have to drink 36 glasses of water to re-alkaline your body after drinking only ONE diet soda. She goes on to say, “When your body is in an alkaline state your chances of developing disease is significantly lower than a body in an acidic state. This is because our bodies are made of up of billions of cells that are naturally alkaline according to it’s ph balance. When we consume more acidic foods (i.e. many of Coca-Cola’s low calorie drinks) vs. alkaline foods this upsets the balance and leads to all sorts of trouble for our bodies and the organs that regulate our metabolism and weight.” Interesting, huh?!

So why do companies use this food additive? Well, sodium benzoate is the cheapest mold inhibitor on the market. Why am I not surprised? It’s amazing though that other companies have found ways to have good quality food without the use of this dangerous chemical. Stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell pickles, salad dressing, jams etc. that do NOT contain this preservative (or artificial food dyes). And let me add that the pickles from Trader Joe’s are GREAT. And my kids highly recommend them. πŸ™‚

Pickles and relish from Trader Joe's that do not contain any "nasties."

Pickles and relish from Trader Joe’s that do not contain any “nasties.”

I linked to this article above in my post but wanted to post it again as I found it very helpful:

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