October 2007 Issue

FOOD FUN FACT: Discount Website
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Detox Your Beauty Routine
FOOD CORNER: Millet Madness - Ultimate Comfort Food


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Discount Website for Supplements and Household Products

I use VitaCost.com to order all of my supplements and personal care products.  This site has many natural products like soap, detergent, lotion, toothpaste, etc. available at heavily discounted prices... and shipping is always $5, no matter how much you order.

Plus, I love the customer reviews... they've helped me make buying decisions.




Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who sent in emails and phone calls of support after reading my September newsletter about my Postpartum Depression struggles.  Your kind thoughts and wishes mean the world to me.

Some of you asked if I would share more writing about my son's birth and the resulting PPD, so I put some of my more recent birth/motherhood musings on my website. If you're interested in reading more, you can scan down to the Commentaries on Birth section on this page.


Detoxify Your Beauty Routine

A few years ago, if you looked in my pantry, you would have seen jars of grains, bags of nuts, and cans of beans.  If you opened my fridge you would have seen fruit, veggies, organic animal protein, and water.

In other words, my food was clean and green.

But if you looked in my shower, under my sink, or in my medicine chest... you would have seen a giant collection of toxic chemicals.

Up until a few years ago, all of the personal care products that I used (soaps, makeup, detergents, etc.) were toxic.

I never knew they were toxic, because they weren't packaged in bottles with the skull and crossbones "poison" sign on the front.

Oh no, they came in pretty pink, blue, and green bottles wrapped with pictures of happy women and flowers.  They smelled of apple orchards and pink bouquets, and they had promising marketing messages like "volumizing, cleansing, dermatologist-tested," etc.

I bet you have a few of these products in your

bathroom and kitchen, right?

But when I turned the bottles, jars and tubes around and started reading the ingredient lists, I was shocked to learn that I had NO IDEA what my beauty products were made of.  I couldn't pronounce 95% of the ingredients.  Some of the products had more than 25 ingredients in them.  What WERE all of these things... and more importantly, what the heck were they doing to my body?

About two years after I started eating a cleaner diet, I realized that all of my personal care and household products had just as much an impact on my health as the food that went into my mouth. 

And I realized that, just as I'd already cleaned out my pantry and fridge, I was going to have to clean out the rest of my house, too.


Your body absorbs everything it comes in contact with... whether that's through your skin, your mouth, your eyes, your nose, your ears, or any other bodily openings.  I want you to think about all of the non-food products that your body came in contact with today.  Let's run down the list. 

Did you use any of the following today?:

- shampoo

- conditioner

- body soap

- face soap or cleanser

- facial toner

- facial moisturizer

- sunscreen

- toothpaste

- tampons

- perfume or cologne

- body lotion

- makeup

- shaving cream

- hairspray

- hair mousse or gel

- hair coloring

- nail polish or nail polish remover

- antibacterial soap

- hand soap

- deodorant

- contact solution

- laundry detergent

- baby powder

- fabric softener

- air fresheners (for house or car)

- Lysol or other household cleaner

- dish soap

- Fabreze or other fabric freshener

- baby wipes

The list could go on and on, but my fingers are tired, so let's stop there!

Needless to say, if you're like most folks, you've used several products from the list above to make yourself look good, smell good... or not smell at all.

The problem is... if you're buying these products from the department store or the drugstore down the street, there's a high chance that the products you use on a daily basis are harming your body and wreaking havoc with your health.


Many brands of personal care products contain a plethora of toxic chemicals... and they're making you sick.  They have been linked to cancer, headaches, reproductive problems, dermatitis, rashes, excema, acne, other skin irritations, eye damage, inflammation, and a host of other health problems.

The beauty industry is not regulated, and they are not forced to comply with many safety standards. This means that you have to take extra care when selecting which products to use on your body and home.

The list of toxic chemicals found in personal care and household products is simply too long to highlight in this newsletter. They include ingredients like:

Parabens (petroleum-based preservative)

Laurel/lareth sulfates



DEA (diethanolamine)


Propylene glycol (used in anti-freeze and latex paints)

FD&C or D&C color (it's really coal tar)

Fluoride (toxic substance found in toothpaste)


If you'd like to read more about toxic ingredients in your care products, you can just do a Google search for "dangers of beauty products" and tons of information will come up.



** Even products that are sold in health food stores and claim to be "natural" can contain toxic ingredients - to be sure, you MUST turn the bottle around and read the ingredient list (just as I hope you do with all of the food you buy). **


If you're starting to feel overwhelmed, I totally understand.  That's how I felt at first. I couldn't tell what ingredients were good and what ingredients were bad for me... mainly because I didn't know what 90% of the ingredients in my shampoo, lotions, and other beauty products WERE!

To make things easy for myself, I adopted two simple rules of thumb that I use to evalute the products that I use in my home and on my body.  The rules are quite simple, really:


1. If I wouldn't eat the product, then I won't put it on my body.

2. If it contains ingredients that I can't pronounce (or explain) then I don't use it on my body or in my home.

*There are a few exceptions to these rules, as I'll show down below (I do have my weaknesses!)


Transitioning to healthy beauty products takes time.  Ideally, you'd throw everything away and start fresh... but let's face it, beauty and grooming products are expensive... and we each have our own favorites. 

If you'd like to transition to beauty products that won't harm your skin and the rest of your body, here's a game plan that you can follow:

1. Pick one personal care item to start with.  My suggestion is to start with the item that you'll be replacing the soonest.  Or you can start with something easy, like the soap you use when you wash your hands.  Just pick something, and vow to replace it with a cleaner alternative the next time you go to the store.

2. Read the ingredient list on that item now (before you run out of that item or go to the store).

3. If you don't know what one (or several) of the ingredients are, do some research before you replenish that item. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently compiled an amazing database that ranks thousands of personal care products.  On their site, you can search for your shampoo or your soap... as well as search by ingredient. You can access the EWG Cosmetics database here.

4. If your product isn't ranked low on the toxic scale, then find another product to use.  You can use the database on the EWG site to find cleaner alternatives.


Today, I'll come clean and share with you the brands that I'm using right now (I'm still in the process of switching everything out, as you'll see, and I can still get cleaner in a few categories... but I'm pretty happy with the level of cleanliness of the products I'm using right now):

- shampoo - I've tried many of them, and it's tough to find a natural shampoo that works well - the one I'm currently using is by Aubrey's

- conditioner - I'm currently using one by Giovanni and I like it

- body soap - we use Dr. Bronners gentle soaps (or no soap at all)

- face soap or cleanser - I use Dr. Hauschka's milk cleanser

- facial toner - I don't use toner anymore

- facial moisturizer - I use Jurlique calendula cream (an all organic cleanser)

- sunscreen - I rarely use sunscreen (I'm only out for about 15-20 minutes at a time and I don't use sunscreen so I can absorb maximum Vitamin D... if I'm at the beach all day and need sunscreen, I use Dr. Hauschka, California Baby, or Kiss my Face paraben-free brand).

- toothpaste - I've used Weleda, Desert Essence, and Tom's of Maine... like 'em all, but many toothpastes have laurel sulfates in them, so I'm thinking of making my own concoction with baking soda and other ingredients

- tampons - I use Natracare or Seventh Generation brands to avoid toxic chlorine

- perfume or cologne - I stopped using perfumes a few months ago... I used to spray perfume on my clothes to avoid direct contact with my skin, but then I realized that everyone in my home was still inhaling them... now essential oils provide my only "scent"

- body lotion - I use 100% organic coconut oil and shea butter... sometimes I'll use Shikai Dry Skin therapy on my hands

- makeup - I have been avoiding makeup lately

- hairspray - I don't use this anymore, either (unless it's a really special event like a wedding)

- hair mousse or gel - ditto on this one

- hair coloring - I just started getting my hair highlighted a few months ago... I'm not sure I will keep up with it... it feels a bit too strange to me to get rid of the rest of the junk and keep the hair dye going, so I'll probably stop soon.

- nail polish or nail polish remover - there are a few non-toxic brands from the heath food store that I like to use on my toes, but every once in a while I will head to the nail salon for a proper pedicure - I never put any polish on my hands, though

- antibacterial soap - we stay away from this like the plague

- hand soap - don't use it much, but I like to mix Dr. Bronner's with water and put it in a pretty container -I also like Pangea

- laundry detergent - we used to use Seventh Generation fragrance-free, but now we've stopped using detergent completely (I sometimes add a few drops of orange essential oil to the water, and I haven't missed detergent at all - the only clothers that sometimes need a second wash are the ones with Ev's toughest stains on them). 

- fabric softener - we don't use this one anymore either, and I've not had any problem with static, ironically enough

- deodorant - this one is tough - I'm one of those women who sweat like a man (Is that too much info? If so, sorry!)... I've tried lots of different deodorants, many of which are pretty awful. I've found that I can often get through the day without deodorant if I take a shower in the morning... but if I'm working out or going to be out with other people all day, mixing some baking soda with water works wonders! I do my best to stay away from all anti-perspirants, which contain aluminum. Aluminum has been tied to so many different health problems, and I simply don't want it absorbed directly into my open pores.

So, that's a glimpse into the Collins family medicine chest.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

If you haven't already switched your personal care products to healthy, clean ones... please start doing so as soon as you can.  You may have to use www.vitacost.com or go to a health food store to find good products (it's harder to find non-toxic products at a regular drugstore or department store).

I will warn you... it's kind of addictive, once you start to make the switch.  You'll start to notice how SMELLY and STRONG all of your old products were.

I rarely go to the drugstore these days.  The last time I walked in, I had to turn around and walk back out, because it smelled so strong and toxic to me.  Same thing happened when I walked past The Body Shop this week (which I used to love!).  Your nose and eyes will love it once your products are clean!

As always, never hesitate to email me if you have any questions or need help - I've been traveling this clean beauty journey for a while, so feel free to lean on me.


If you got this far, thanks for reading...

If you would like to email me with your thoughts about this commentary, please give in to the temptation... I'd love to hear from you.



P.S. If you liked this issue of "Nourishing Nuggets" please forward it along to friends, family, and colleagues.  It's a great way to show people you care about their health.




FOR WHO: Moms, dads, parents-to-be, grandparents, or any practitioners interested in holistic parenting

WHEN: Tuesday, November 6 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Advanced Health & Wellness - on Route 114 in North Andover

WHAT: Our topic is "Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaners for Your Home" and our guest speaker is Melissa Kaye of Healthy Homes Cleaning


For more info on HMN, contact me or check out our HMN website.




If you are looking for inspiration around healthy living, please check out the archived copy of all past teleclasses that I keep on my website.



See my Upcoming Events page for upcoming corporate lectures.





Do you ever feel intimidated by the health food store?


Are you looking for some new cooking inspiration?

Are you trying to convince your kids or spouse that healthy eating is the way to go?

If any of these questions rang true for you, I want to introduce you to a DVD that has helped hundreds of my readers.

My "Healthy Shopper" DVD is a fun, information-packed DVD that follows me through Whole Foods as I give a condensed version of my traditional health food store tour.

Curious? Want to learn more?

Here's the main DVD page, where you can find out all the details.

Here's a testimonial from a busy mom who bought the DVD:

"I was REALLY IMPRESSED with your DVD. It was not only full of great information and tips, but it was beautifully produced too. I was surprised by how professional it was!

Not only did I like it, but my 5 year-old-son and my 2 year-old- daughter loved it too! You're a celebrity at our house now. My kids want to meet you and "play at your house" (the highest compliment) but more importantly -- they want me to bring home some beets & daikon radish to try! (I bet you didn't even realize you were making a kid-friendly video!)."

- Sarah Zeldman, Solutions For Busy Moms

To learn more about the DVD or purchase your copy... click here.






RECIPE: Millet Madness - The Ultimate Comfort Food

This recipe is adapted from Cynthia Lair's book "Feeding the Whole Family."

I love this dish because it is so easy to cook, and it's so versatile.  It's perfect for a cold fall day, when you want to heat your body up.

My husband loves this dish - it's a man's meal.  My son loves the millet/cauliflower mixture, so it's a toddler meal as well.

You can find millet (this is a yellow grain that looks like birdseed) in the bulk section of your health food store.  You could also substitute rice or quinoa for the millet, if necessary.



1 cup millet

1 head cauliflower, chopped

3 cups water

1 T. olive oil
1-2 onions, sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste



1. Put the water, millet, and cauliflower in a pot of water on the stove to boil. Add a pinch of salt.  I cook this in my rice cooker, to save time.

2. Once water boils, turn it down and simmer the mixture until the water is all absorbed (about 20-25 minutes).
3. Swirl the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onions, garlic and peppers.  Cook until the onions carmelize into that delicious brown color.

4. Once the millet mixture is done, put in blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You can also simply use a spoon to mash the mixture into mashed potato consistency.

5. Spoon the onion/pepper mixture on top of millet puree.  Add salt and pepper to season.

** For a full meal, you could add strips of grassfed beef or free range chicken to the skillet and cook it along with the onions and peppers.



Check out other

Delicious Fall Recipes!





Christi Collins, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

**Are you wondering what a Holistic Health Counselor is?  This description may help!

Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and earned a B.A. in Honors in Communication Arts from Villanova Universty.

Christi's goal is to help people fall in love with "The Big Three": Healthy Eating, Juicy Living, and Guilt-Free Self-Care.

She works with very busy women who are struggling to eat healthy and take insanely good care of themselves... without feeling stressed or guilty about it.

Christi is a three-time marathoner and triathlete, an avid pianist, and a newly converted Red Sox and Patriots fan.

She is the author of the forthcoming book "You Don't Have to be Superwoman to be Healthy: 50 Ways to Reclaim Your Health."

To read more fun facts and stories about Christi, click here.

Christi can be reached by email or phone (978.494.0144).

To visit her website, click here.

Here are the latest pictures of Christi's baby, Evan!



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** First, I wish to tell you that I'm writing this newsletter based on my own personal experiences.  In no way does this generalize what every woman feels about her birth experience or motherhood. I am simply being honest about how it was for me. There is so much more to this story that I can share in a small newsletter, but I did my best to provide an honest picture... in order to help those who might need to feel less alone in their own similar journeys. **