Do I … Smell?

Do you ever get freaked out, wondering if you’re actually poisoning your body with chemicals?
I’m kind of afraid to use deodorant.

For years I’ve been worried about getting cancer if I use deodorant right after I’ve showered and shaved. What happens when my pores are all OPEN, and I slather on some chemical right into my armpit, where all those LYMPH NODES are.  

Crazy or smart?

A lot of smart people were thought to be crazy during their lifetime, you know.

So sometimes I just don’t wear it.  Can we still be friends?

I have comforted self with soft and soothing words like, “you don’t smell; you don’t even sweat that much.  you’re just not a smelly person.  other people are, but not you.”

But then I started to worry.  What if it was all a big fat lie?  What if I really did smell and no one was telling me?  (like last week when I came home and the XS sticker was still on my chest.  Gee, that would have been nice to know!).

So I bought Tom’s, a “Naturally Dry” deodorant, just in case it was socially unacceptable to smell in public, and just in case I’ve been smelling for a long time and no one was telling me.   

I keep it on my desk, not in the bathroom, so that I’ll put it on sometime during the day instead of right after a shower, and then of course I won’t get cancer.  I have lots of interesting things on my desk.   

But then Food Babe had to ruin it again for me.  She’s ruined a lot of things.  She says we shouldn’t use anything with aluminum because it’s poison, and the first and only ingredient Tom’s lists is…. “Aluminum Chlorohydrate.” This is just something that helps you not sweat.  

Is that even a good thing – to prevent ourselves from sweating?

Who cares, you might say, as long as I’m not dripping from my armpits and stinking like a pigpen.

Food Babe uses something called “Pit Paste.”  Isn’t that appealing?  It has coconut oil and such things.

Now, we must take all things with a “fair and balanced” approach, correct?  Just because someone says it’s “poison” doesn’t mean it is.  I frequently tried many tricks on my brothers when they were little so I could have their dessert.  

But I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Food Babe’s research, even if it slants toward the extreme.

Along the same vein however, just because a company (who’s bottom line is MONEY) says something is “healthy” and decorates their package in smiling faces and salivating pictures and colors, doesn’t mean we should eat it or use it either.  
To be fair, sometimes it takes years for us to actually know an ingredient is even unhealthy, and it’s unfair to blame companies for having no way of knowing.  But if I were to go all Erin Brockovitch on you, there are a lot of slime bags out there who could sell snow to an eskimo.  (Thanks, Dad, for that line.)

Even Marie Curie didn’t know that Radium was poisonous, but lucky for the rest of us, her discoveries gave us radiographs and x-rays.  She died, by the way, of exposure from it.

There will always be casualties before science and public awareness catches up.  I just don’t want to be the one to keel over because I didn’t know Diet Soda was really just poison in special packaging and empty promises.

Until recently I could easily dismiss all that harmful mumbo jumbo as “conspiracy theory” akin to those conspiracists who don’t really believe anyone ever walked on the moon.  But I’ve started to wonder.
  • I don’t think it’s practical or sustainable for everyone in the world to eat organic, but I also don’t believe I should be eating pesticides.  I mean, a chemical that kills a million bugs can’t possibly be fertilizing my liver.
  • It’s better to eat local and more farm to table.
  • It’s better to eat whole foods rather than processed.
  • It’s even better to grow a few things in your garden rather than driving ten miles to get it elsewhere, after it’s been shipped half-way across the world.

Is Mac ‘n Cheese Poisonous?  

Food Babe has ruined Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese for me.  I already knew it was completely processed white flour, and totally devoid of anything resembling healthy, but I guess that wasn’t good enough.  I went on my merry way, indulging the cherubs every once in awhile, after they’d gulped down a green smoothie.

But Food Babe and 100DaysofRealFood went after Kraft with a petition to get harmful chemicals and colors out of their products.  Now I can’t walk by Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese without scowling at the happy boxes.  While my children plead, “please,please,please, just one box!!!” I yell, “RUN FOREST, RUN!”

And then there’s the cracker aisle. 

I’m now that mom talking about poisons while passing the Goldfish Cracker (I’m actually really annoyed I read that post this morning because I truly believe that Goldfish Crackers are a gift from God.)

Food Babe writes:

In actuality, they are nothing more than refined white flour colored with annatto, made with GMO oils and a certain special ingredient called “autolyzed yeast” that is actually a hidden form of MSG. This ingredient is probably the most disastrous because it stimulates the brain cells to remember a taste, make you want more and enhance the flavor of something that would other wise not taste as addicting.

Stimulating my brain cells to remember the taste??? Um, thanks, Food Babe, for ruining my life.

I’m still not sure I’m sufficiently won over.  I guess it’s true; My name is Amy.  and I’m a Goldfish addict.

Goldfish, the cracker made “with a smile” is actually being sued right now for claiming (right on the box!) that they make crackers with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Of course, we all hope Food Babe is just plain wrong.  

But in the mean time, thank goodness for Annie’s pasta and rabbit crackers!

Sunscreen?

Interestingly, my pediatrician warned me about being too diligent about sunscreen as many kids and adults aren’t getting the Vitamin D they need from the sun, and deficiencies are just as harmful as slathering on the chemicals.

Balance, friends, it’s all a balancing act.

Though our skin is waterproof, protective, breathable, and a self-healer, harmful chemicals travel through the skin and into our bloodstream.  So I wonder, what am I putting on my skin and what is it doing to my body?

We’d throw ourselves in front of a truck for our babies, but sunscreen?  We happily slather that onto our babies.  Food Babe names names like Coppertone and Aveeno!  Are they really toxic?  If you read this you’ll think so.  Here’s some alternatives…

  • Badger – Certified organic, several different SPFs and option for kids, babies and active people, unscented available
  • Aubrey Organics – SPF 26-45 available, unscented available
  • California Baby (Target carries this brand) – Formulated for sensitive skin, SPF 18-30
  • John Masters Organics – SPF 30, only one option available
  • The Honest Company (Online only) – SPF 30, only one option available
  • Seventh Generation – SPF 30, only one option available
This really isn’t a cleverly disguised post on me getting you to read Food Babe or making you paranoid, crazy, or delusional, but it gets me thinking about all the “stuff” I put on and in my body.

-Perfume
-Hair Dye (Consequences be darned – I’m not giving up my Clairol!)
-Hair Products (Um, I refuse to be Miss. Frizzle)
-Toothpaste
-The Body Shop
-Lotion
-Make-up
-Milk
-Yogurt (is Stonyfield really that much healthier or is that just advertising too?)
-Beef
-Bread (I recently discovered my most favorite, hearty, whole-grain bread had HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.  Dag nabbit!)

I could go on and on.  But I won’t.  I’m sufficiently freaked out.

I’m hoping it’s more simple than we’ve made it.  

I grew up in the last 70’s and 80’s where packaged everything was in full bloom.  Perhaps it’s just running it’s course and we’ll all be a little more prudent about what we’re putting in our bodies, selling, buying, and feeding our children.

If we don’t buy it, they won’t sell it.  We must be smart consumers – advocates for our own health!
What about you?  Do you ever feel duped? 

Are you smelly too?

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11 thoughts on “Do I … Smell?

  1. Eric Nelson

    WARNING! You are receiving your first Code Red Fanatic Warning! Please be advised that should you persist in posting fanatical blog entries, you will likely end up with hairy armpits, wrist and ankle-length clothing, and large stockpiles of ammunition. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lauren jonczak

    I have a friend that is also afraid of wearing deodorant and sunscreen. She is so worried about getting cancer. Can’t blame her, cancer is scary! I read an article that says that if you are a worrier you should start using sunscreen for kids, supposedly it has less harm chemicals and still protects you from the sun.

    Reply
  3. patricksnelson

    HAHA Eric. While I don’t share the same level of concern for these “poisons”, I suspect that there is some cause for worry. You make a good point about BALANCE. For example, drinking a diet coke once a day might be just what you need in the afternoon. It probably isn’t great for you… but I doubt it will kill you. Same thing with deordorant. I would bet that the benefits of not “pitting out” and not smelly nasty outweighs the small increased risk for cancer for most people.
    Riding horses, playing sports and traveling (cars, planes, trains, etc.) also increase your chance of injury and death. But the benefits of such activities, as a whole, outweigh the risks.

    Reply
  4. .....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies

    Hi Amy! I have missed you! We have been visiting my parents out in the country for a couple of weeks… With no Internet connection… Which is actually wonderful , but I have missed my bloggy pals! I feel like you have summed up my thoughts over the last year when it comes to food and things we put into and on our bodies. My concern over these issues started last summer when we realized that food dye was triggering my son’s cluster headaches. My pediatrician asked me to start paying attention to dye. I always thought my family had fairly healthy diets. But when you start looking at labels, you notice food dye is in so many things. Even some bagels… Which we ate almost every morning. Limiting the dye I bring into our home has helped my son feel much better. Thank you for your wonderful post!

    Reply
  5. .....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies

    Hi Amy! I have missed you! We have been visiting my parents out in the country for a couple of weeks… With no Internet connection… Which is actually wonderful , but I have missed my bloggy pals! I feel like you have summed up my thoughts over the last year when it comes to food and things we put into and on our bodies. My concern over these issues started last summer when we realized that food dye was triggering my son’s cluster headaches. My pediatrician asked me to start paying attention to dye. I always thought my family had fairly healthy diets. But when you start looking at labels, you notice food dye is in so many things. Even some bagels… Which we ate almost every morning. Limiting the dye I bring into our home has helped my son feel much better. Thank you for your wonderful post!

    Reply
  6. .....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies

    Hi Amy! I have missed you! We have been visiting my parents out in the country for a couple of weeks… With no Internet connection… Which is actually wonderful , but I have missed my bloggy pals! I feel like you have summed up my thoughts over the last year when it comes to food and things we put into and on our bodies. My concern over these issues started last summer when we realized that food dye was triggering my son’s cluster headaches. My pediatrician asked me to start paying attention to dye. I always thought my family had fairly healthy diets. But when you start looking at labels, you notice food dye is in so many things. Even some bagels… Which we ate almost every morning. Limiting the dye I bring into our home has helped my son feel much better. Thank you for your wonderful post!

    Reply
  7. .....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies

    Hi Amy! I have missed you! We have been visiting my parents out in the country for a couple of weeks… With no Internet connection… Which is actually wonderful , but I have missed my bloggy pals! I feel like you have summed up my thoughts over the last year when it comes to food and things we put into and on our bodies. My concern over these issues started last summer when we realized that food dye was triggering my son’s cluster headaches. My pediatrician asked me to start paying attention to dye. I always thought my family had fairly healthy diets. But when you start looking at labels, you notice food dye is in so many things. Even some bagels… Which we ate almost every morning. Limiting the dye I bring into our home has helped my son feel much better. Thank you for your wonderful post!

    Reply
  8. Andrea

    Curt prefers deodorant without antiperspirant. It seems to be a good balance. You still sweat, but don’t stink! He also calls mac and cheese “yellow death”! Maybe you two have more in common than you knew!

    Reply
  9. Lindsey

    I don’t think you’re crazy! I completely agree with all of this! The problem for me is that I am sweaty and smelly, but the deodorant doesn’t stop that anyways, so why use it! I’m trying to find something more natural – I’ll let you know what I discover! 🙂
    Oh – and we are definitely and Annie’s mac and cheese and cheddar bunnies family – although I’m sure there are things in there that are bad for you too!

    I can’t believe you’re leaving so soon! We’ll miss you guys!

    Reply

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