Health and Natural Lifesyle

Making Sense of Plastics


Do you wonder if it's safe to drink water from the bottle stored in the car for a couple of weeks, or is it safe to use plastic containers in the microwave?

And do you know what those numbers mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers?

Plastic use with our food can be dangerous. The information we need is out there and the answers are hard to ignore.

But how do we reduce our plastic use without becoming completely paranoid?

It's a good idea to take small steps.  Changing out all our plastic containers for glass or some other safe material is easier when we don't have to make a large investment to do it.

In our house we have followed these guidelines:

If you do use plastic products, use products with codes #2, #4, or #5
Whenever possible use safer materials: glass, stainless steel, silicone, bamboo or wood (coated with a food-safe, non-toxic finish), ceramic (with lead free glaze)
Do not store oily, greasy or acidic foods in plastic containers - Opt for glass instead
Never re-heat food in a plastic container, heat can cause plastic to degrade, which can cause chemicals to leach from the plastic into food
Do not put plastic containers in the microwave. “Microwave Safe” only means that the item will not melt or crack
Preferably wash plastic items by hand instead of the dishwasher.  High heat and harsh detergents can cause the plastic to wear down more quickly
Do not use scratched, cloudy or badly worn plastics with food or beverage
If you wish to make a difference to the environment, try sending Type 1 and 2 plastics for recycling as much as possible. Reduce consumption of Type 3 to 7 plastics, in view that toxins are usually released in their production, use and disposals


So, what do those numbers found on the bottom of plastic containers mean?

PETE - polyethylene terephthalate.

Considered 'low risk' of leaching into foods.

There are concerns about 'antimony trioxide' in this plastic which will dissolve into whatever is stored in it over long periods or when heated. Hence the warning.  "Do not drink from plastic water bottles that have been stored in the trunk of your car all summer!"

This plastic is used in the manufacture of containers for soft drinks, water, beer, mouthwash, peanut, salad dressing and vegetables. This plastic is also used for food trays advertised as safe for oven use.

HDPE - high-density polyethylene

Considered 'low risk' of leaching into foods.

Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners

PVC - vinyl, polyvinyl chloride

To soften into its flexible form (plastic wrap), manufacturers add DEHA and DEHP to soften this plastic.  According to the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term DEHA and DEHP exposure has the potential to cause reduced body weight and bone mass, damage liver and testes, and cause cancer.

Also found in: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping, cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries.

PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins.  The manufacture and incineration of PVC also releases carcinogenic dioxins into the environment and food chain.

If you must cook with PVC, don't let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.

PVC is rarely recycled

LDPE - low-density polyethylene

A flexible plastic with many applications

Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet

Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

PP - polypropylene

Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles and margarine tubs

Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid.

Hazardous during production

Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

PS - polystyrene

Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases, Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys)

Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products

The foam products are commonly used and known under the trademark Styrofoam.  Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don't accept it, though it is gradually gaining traction.

Benzene (material used in production of Polystyrene) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens.

Other.   A wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7 such as Polycarbonate, acrylic, polylactic acid, fiberglass.  Recycling code number 7 also includes plastics used from plants and are compostable but number 7 is predominantly polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.  Polycarbonate harbors Bisphenol A (BPA). Studies have shown that BPA damages the reproductive systems of lab animals by interfering with the effects of reproductive hormones and has other serious health effects.

Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, 'bullet-proof' materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon, some baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans.

Natural Flu and Cold Remedy

Cold and Flu season is definitely upon us and yesterday morning I woke with a tickle in my throat and a bit of a congested chest.

I had seen a recipe for 'Nature's Flu Shot' at that I wanted to try so if you can ever say it's a good time for starting a cold this was that time.

Using a combination of two recipes I found at the website I was able to utilize some ingredients I already had in my kitchen.

1/3 cup of lemon juice
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tsp. ginger powder
2 TBS. honey
3 cups of pineapple juice
1/4 tsp cayenne powder

Cayenne helps the elimination of toxins.  Honey and garlic are natural antibiotics.  Ginger has strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

The recipe suggested drinking 1 cup 3 to 4 times a day.  I drank half a cup 3 times yesterday and I will finish off the last of it today with another 2 half cups.

NOTE: This can be kept up to 2 days refrigerated (without the garlic.)  It's suggested you add the fresh garlic as you go.  Use a BPA-free container.

The spicy taste was a little shocking at first but I got used to it.

I drank a couple of half glasses yesterday and one this morning.  Today I feel great.  No tickle in my throat and no congestion at all.  My husband drank a full 8 oz. glass each time (he's bigger) and he too feels great this morning.

The content included in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding medical conditions.

Maroma Perfume Oils

There are numerous reasons why people wear perfume.  They can make us feel energized or peaceful, bring a certain memory to mind, and even give us the ability to show individuality through fragrances.

Many years ago I found the perfect scent and I enjoyed wearing it because of it's subtlety.  One of the hardest things to give up once I began using only natural and organic products was that perfume and I refuse to throw it away.

Recently we found alcohol-free Maroma perfumes created with the natural fragrance of essential oils.  These were a perfect choice for me.  Just as with any perfume, apply a little of these concentrated fragrances on the pulse spots of your body.

Check out our website and you'll find their cost is greatly less than those of the well known perfumes on the market.  My favorite is Night Jasmine and at this value I intend to try several different scents. The fact I can carry a solid in my purse to refresh during the day or evening as well as keep the liquid perfume at home is an added bonus.

These fragrances combine the use of traditional essential oils with a sophisticated European methodology. The results are highly concentrated, alcohol free aromatics that, when applied to the skin, remain vital much longer than standard perfumes.

Purple Prairie Hand Sanitizer

When soap and water are not available, Purple Prairie hand Sanitizer is the product I rely on to keep my hands clean and...

...I'm surprised at the feedback we are getting for this product

"I'm very happy with the Hand Sanitizer and I love it because it is all natural.  It helped my blisters and rash heal, reduced the itching, and relieved the swelling.  This product has also helped the Varicose veins which really popped out during my bout with Shingles.  They are going back down and returning to normal.  Being that it is a sanitizer it helps because with Shingles you have to keep the area very clean.  It is better than the other recommended creams because it doesn't soil your clothes and bedding.  I really do like this product and can't get over that it has helped my varicose veins so quickly." MB.

"I have been rubbing Purple Prairie Hand Sanitizer on to my feet each morning and evening for several months and I am glad to see the unknown spots and redness have completely disappeared.  Even the calloused areas of my feet have softened."  MM.

Healing properties of the ingredients in Purple prairie Hand Sanitizer

Lemon is rich in acid; germs need an alkaline environment in which to thrive and multiply

Research and experments have proved Tea Tree Oil kills bacteria and fungi.  The Oil contains terpenoids which have been found to have antiseptic and anti fungal properties.  Tea Tree Oil is also used to treat acne and other skin infections and to prevent bug bites and stings.

Lavender Oil - antiseptic

Antimicrobial properties of Black Willow Extract kill bacteria on the surface of the skin and the anti-inflammatory factor reduces inflammation.  B-hydroxy acid, (salicylic acid), increases cell renewal.

This information is not meant as, and should not be used as a substitute for appropriate medical care.  Always consult your physician for treatment

How Do Natural Deodorants Work?



We sweat!  There's no getting away from it.

In my search for alternatives to the standard deodorant/antiperspirants available I found excellent information about body odor at Mother Nature Network and  The Mayo Clinic Staff also have great tips on things you can do on your own to reduce sweating and body odor.

I settled on Purple Prairie All-Natural Deodorant and my husband uses it too.  He likes the fact that, not only is he reducing the number of chemicals absorbed into his body, but this deodorant actually works for him and does not leave him smelling pretty!

The ingredients in completely natural deodorant stop odor by killing bacteria and also have wonderful benefits for the skin of the underarm.  They contain nutrients needed by the skin and can promote healing of the sensitive underarm area

  • Jojoba Oil: Balances the moisture in the skin preventing it from being too dry or too oily. Due to its antimicrobial properties, it helps to encourage healing of the skin. It prevents the growth of some bacterial and fungal microbes. Jojoba Oil also contains nutrients, like vitamin E, B complex and the minerals silicon, chromium, copper and zinc


  • Coconut Oil: The lauric acid in coconut oil kills odor-causing bacteria


  • Zinc Oxide: Effective for healing the skin as it repairs skin cells. It reduces skin irritation and inflammation. Kills bacteria which causes underarm odor


  • Cypress Oil: Among its many therapeutic properties, cypress oil acts as an astringent, antiseptic and deodorant


  • Beeswax:  Beeswax is an emollient and an emulsifier.  It is sensitive to melting causing it to easily be applied.  Beeswax has an irritation potential of zero and will not clog the pores.  It also has general healing attributes as an antiseptic and antibiotic and is softening to the skin


  • Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil: Acts as a conditioning agent and is soothing to the skin


  • Cocoa Butter: Moisturizer


  • Tea Tree Oil: Has a long history of traditional use.  Australian aborigines used tea tree leaves for healing skin cuts, burns, and infections.  Tea Tree Oil contains terpenoids which have been found to have antiseptic and antifungal properties


  • Lavender Oil: An antiseptic


  • Palmarosa Oil: Antiseptic, antiviral, hydrating

Sun Screen/Sun Block

"The Best Sun Screen is the One You Will Use."  Dr. Doris J. Day, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

Are you using Sun Screen or Sun Block?

Sun Screens:  Also known as Chemical Sun Screens, are absorbed by the skin and typically contain ingredients like benzones, aminobenzoic acid and cinnamates.  To use a Chemical Sun Screen correctly, rub it into your skin, then give it 20-30 minutes to fully absorb before you go into direct sunlight.  Also, make SURE you reapply every hour or two at least, because once the sunscreen absorbs far enough into your skin, it not only stops working but actually interacts with the sunshine to cause free radicals and oxidation in your skin.  Look for antioxidants such as green tea in the ingredient list.

Sun Block:  Also known as Physical Sun Block, sits on top of the skin and contains inorganic compounds like Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide that are not absorbed into the skin.  The problem with Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide is that they are very chalky and opaque.  Physical Sun Blocks begin to work right away and do not need to be rubbed in quite so vehemently, nor do they cause problems if you forget to reapply.

The Food and Drug Administration lists Titanium Dioxide as one of the most effective active ingredients for sun protection.  Zinc oxide also provides physical protection from damaging rays, absorbing primarily UVA light rather than scattering or reflecting it.


Broad Spectrum:  Under new rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration, 'Broad Spectrum' on the labeling of Sun Screen or Sun Block must mean it has equal protection against UVA and UVB and only those with an SPF of 15 or higher will be able to claim protection against skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. These new rules are in effect June 18, 2012.

SPF:  Primarily a measurement of sunburn protection.  Theoretically, if your skin would normally burn after ten minutes in the sun, wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun for 10 minutes x 15 (150 minutes) without burning.  This is a rough estimate.  The safety of your sunscreen depends on your own skin type, whether you are in water or not, how much you sweat, and the intensity of sunlight.  Also, there have been questions as to whether a higher SPF is beneficial as users may tend to stay in the sun too long.

Micronized: e.g. Micronized Zinc Oxide.  Micronization is the process of reducing the average diameter of particles, usually to a size larger than nano-particles.  The larger sized micronized particles appear to be both safe and effective.

The terms 'sunscreen' and 'sunblock' in the name of the product are mostly used for marketing purposes. What is more important than the labeling on the front of the bottle, is the ingredients on the back. Check them out carefully.

In addition to sunscreens, practice 'sun smart' behavior including avoiding the midday sun, staying in the shade when you can, and wearing a hat and sun protective clothing.

Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are great and healthy.  I use chickpea flour with whole wheat and made them with the sugars.  My daughter-in-law, who gave me the original recipe, successfully made them with maple syrup.

2 cups (500 mL) quinoa flour

(or 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup whole wheat

or 1 cup chickpea flour, 1 cup whole wheat)

2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) butter

3/4 cup (185 mL) white sugar

3/4 cup (185 mL) packed brown

(or 1/1/4 cup of maple syrup to replace all sugar)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups(375 mL) peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter with both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and add the peanut butter, mixing well. Gradually add the flour mixture and blend well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 20 mins.

Roll the dough into 10 - inch (2.5 cm) balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. (They will spread and rise a lot so keep them fairly far apart) Flatten the balls with a fork in a crisscross design.

Place on the center oven rack and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies brown slightly on the edges and puff up.

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 1 minute on the pan before transferring to a rack to cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (I freeze all cookies)


Soy Candles

       Purple Prairie Bontanicals
           Soy Candles found at
                our Online Store

A relaxing evening enjoying the aromatherapy benefits of a lit candle filling your room with a bright, uplifting, feel good aroma.  It sounds wonderful and is something most of us enjoy though, It is important to keep on hand a natural and cleaner candle for use in your personal space.

Soy oil candles burn cleaner and longer than paraffin-based candles.  They are soot free and do not emit harmful toxins (like Benzene).

Even "food grade" paraffin contains several known carcinogens (identified by the Environmental Protection Agency), such as benzene and toluene. These are released into the air as a paraffin candle burns. Some other air contaminants in paraffin fumes include methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and naphthalene - substances found in paint, lacquer and varnish removers.

Soy oil burns cooler and remains warm to the touch.  The oil can be massaged into dry or irritated skin and can also be applied as a soothing remedy to sunburned skin, eczema, psoriasis, and poison oak.

Find "Purple Prairie Botanicals"
Soy Candles
at our Online store -

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon - great on your morning cereal and even better on Cinnamon Toast.

Now research is showing that it is also good for us.  Only one teaspoon  contains 28 mg. of calcium, almost one mg. of iron, over a gram of fiber, as well as vitamins C, K, and manganese.

Less than half a teaspoon a day reduces blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes (US Agricultural Research Service) and when daily cinnamon was stopped it was found that blood sugar levels increased.

Cinnamon also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect and has been used for indigestion, gas, bloating, stomach upset and ...diarrhea.

The Cinnamon commonly found here in the United States is "Cassia' or "Chinese" Cinnamon but The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin, Germany have recommended that large amounts of the Cassia Cinnamon be avoided due to its high levels of Coumarin, an anticoagulant.

A Cinnamon "lover" might want to try the more delicate tasting "True" Cinnamon from Sri Lanka which contains lower levels of Coumarin.

Continue to enjoy your cinnamon knowing you are doing your body good!

What Do You Know About Your Sunscreen?

ItsNaturallyPure has received a large supply of the hard to obtain natural and organic sunscreen and it’s time to think about how much we know about the sunscreen we use.  What does it mean to us when the products are SPF 15 or SPF 30; which should we use; and what is the danger of using a higher SPF?


SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measurement of sunburn protection primarily from UVB rays. If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, wearing an SPF 15 sunscreen would theoretically allow you to stay in the sun for 150 minutes (10 x 15) without burning.


This is a rough estimate.  The safety of your sunscreen depends on your own skin type, whether you are in water or not, how much you sweat, and the intensity of sunlight. Note also that these ratings can be confusing or misleading at times.  For example, the SPF rating tells you about UVB protection, but nothing about protection from UVA rays which cause photo-aging and cancer. In addition, The Food and Drug Administration has expressed concerns that current testing methods may not be able to accurately reproduce SPF values for high SPF products.


The American Cancer Society recommends that people use a sunscreen with SPF of at least 15; the American Academy of Dermatology opts for 30.  Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before sun exposure; apply 1 ounce for your entire body; and make sure to reapply every 2 hours, after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.  Most people put on only a 1/4 to 2/3rds of the amount of sunscreen which is recommended to reach the product's SPF rating.

Pick the SPF appropriate for your skin type and sun exposure but remember that UVA protection in U.S. sunscreens maxes out at about 15.  Higher SPF products will not fully protect your skin from photo-aging and cancer.


The danger of using a higher SPF sunscreen is the false sense of security it gives us.  There is a tendency to stay in the sun longer with a single application and to extend time in the sun well past the point when users of low-SPF products head indoors.