Guide

Natural Toothpaste with Activated Charcoal & Coconut Oil

We’re so excited to start a new section of our website that goes beyond food & herbal medicine and shares our journey towards natural and sustainable living. For so many of us, our inner and outer worlds are bombarded with hundreds of toxins & chemicals on a regular basis. From hormone-dirsupting plastic packaging , to the incomprehensible lists of ingredients in cosmetics, food and household products that can cause imbalances in the body. The damage these chemicals cause us, whether noticeable on the surface or not, is a direct reflection of the harm they are currently causing to the earth around us.

We are such believers that we can vote with our money. By choosing to support natural & organic, we send out an important message to the world, as well as to the industries creating these products. Since switching all of our products to natural alternatives a few years ago, we really believe that making this change is simpler than it might seem and feels so empowering too. Even if you start small, we all have to begin somewhere and it can be as basic as buying a natural shampoo when you next run out or buying some essential oils that you love to make some products at home. We wanted to begin this series with one of our favourite and most effective natural recipes for this natural toothpaste with activated charcoal. It’s easy to make, shockingly black and is an amazing teeth whitener too!

Natural Whitening Toothpaste Activated Charcoal Coconut

Why should we avoid toxic chemicals in toothpaste?

Some people might wonder why it really matters if your toothpaste contains chemicals if we only use it for a short time and don’t actually swallow it. But even for the 4-5 minutes that we brush our teeth every day, our mouths can absorb toxic ingredients into our bloodstream and the balance of oral bacteria can become disrupted. We spit the chemicals down the sink, which goes back into the water system, and when the toothpaste tube is finished we throw the plastic in the bin and it goes to landfill. Times this by billions of people and we suddenly have a lot of chemicals and packaging causing harm to the planet. It’s a good example that our choices, however small, are not as insignificant as they might seem.

Some common harsh chemicals used in commercial toothpastes are sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), triclosan, parabens, diethanolamine and titanium dioxide. All of them are pretty nasty ingredients for their own reasons, and if you’re interested in learning more we really encourage you to do some research as there is so much information out there. This is a quick and simple article that explains these chemicals in more detail. Palm oil is also a common ingredient used in toothpastes and we really recommend reading this article if you’re unaware of why we need to stop supporting the palm oil industry.

Non-toxic Toothpaste Ingredients

So now onto the recipe! This toothpaste only requires 4 ingredients:

Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) - Bicarbonate of soda helps effectively clean and polish the teeth in a non-abrasive way. It helps to neutralise food acids and bacterial acidity.

Coconut Oil -
Coconut oil not only helps form the great texture of the toothpaste, but it’s been shown to significantly improve oral and dental health. It’s anti-bacterial properties help reduce plaque buildup and it can help reduce inflammation. It’s also been known to naturally whiten teeth, which is an added bonus!

Activated Charcoal Powder (optional) - Activated charcoal is a popular ingredient right now for it’s claim to be a natural teeth whitener. Although there aren’t any studies to prove this, many people (including us!) notice a difference using this ingredient. We only use a very small amount of charcoal powder in our toothpaste so that we don’t damage the enamel of our teeth. If you don’t want the toothpaste to be black or you don’t have any of this, you can leave it out of the recipe.

Essential oils of:
Peppermint -
The cool flavour of peppermint helps to keep breath fresh for longer. This is a familiar and well loved flavour to include in toothpaste and also has antibacterial properties.
Clove-
Clove has been used as an ingredient in oral care for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years. It’s highly anti-inflammatory and helps freshen breath.

Natural Whitening Toothpaste Activated Charcoal Coconut
Natural Whitening Toothpaste Activated Charcoal Coconut

Natural Whitening Toothpaste with Activated Charcoal

Ingredients
1/2 cup of coconut oil (in non liquid form)
1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda
1-2 teaspoons of activated charcoal (2-3 capsules)
2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil
2-3 drops of clove essential oil

Method
1. Add the coconut oil to a bowl and using a fork, whip the coconut oil until it becomes soft and smooth.
2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and activated charcoal powder and thoroughly mix. The charcoal can be a bit messy so use with care.
3. Finally, add the drops of essential oil to the toothpaste and stir through. Transfer the toothpaste to a jar.

** If you live in a hot climate and your coconut oil is already liquid, then thoroughly combine all ingredients and place the toothpaste in the fridge for a few hours until set**

Some Tips for Use
* To apply your toothpaste to the brush you can either use a small spoon or dip the toothbrush in the jar.
* When you spit out the toothpaste make sure to aim straight for the plug otherwise it can cause quite a mess if you’re not careful! Of course, you can rinse the sink with water straight after but we thought you may appreciate a warning.
* If for some reason your toothpaste separates or dries out a few weeks after you make it, you can simply use a fork to whip the ingredients together and add 1-2 more drops of essential oil.
* If you’ve been a life-long Colgate user, it may take a while to get used to a completely different toothpaste experience. It definitely took us a few days to adapt to this and we kept an open mind throughout. Good luck and happy brushing!

Natural Whitening Toothpaste Activated Charcoal Coconut

-We’d like to close this by stating that neither of us are dentists, so if you do have a history of dental/oral issues please consult a professional if you’re concerned about changing your toothpaste -


We hope you enjoy this new series on the blog. We’d love to hear if you’ve changed any of your products to natural alternatives?

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Herbal Infusions for Vibrant Health - Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

I once read a wise herbalist recommend drinking herbal infusions instead of water and this advice has stuck with me ever since. Once I felt the potency of these infusions for myself, I understood how they could lead to more vibrancy, more energy & better immunity. Herbal infusions are also delicious, refreshing, calming, hydrating, beautifying - the list goes on, and there’s an abundance of herbs and combinations you can enjoy. We hope this post inspires you to try making your own infusion and enjoy all the beautiful herbs that are growing this Springtime!

herbal infusions

What exactly is a herbal infusion?
A herbal infusion or herbal brew is when a herb (or combination or herbs) are steeped in hot water for a long time (between 4-12 hours). Unlike a herbal tea bag, this is a strong brew, meaning that much more of the plant’s medicinal qualities, vitamins and minerals are extracted by the water. Steeping the herbs in a closed jar stops the water-soluble vitamins from escaping in the steam. It’s common to brew the herbs overnight, & then strain away the plant matter the next morning. You can then drink this infusion throughout the day, or refrigerate it and drink it within 2 days.

What herbs can you use?
There are so many delicious and nourishing herbs that you can work with. Our advice is to do some research on some different herbs in your area or that are available for you to buy dried and see which ones you feel most called to. Some of our favourites are nettles, lemon balm, chickweed, red clover, dandelion, oat straw, hibiscus, comfrey leaf, rose petals & raspberry leaf.

Recipe for Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

This is one of my favourite infusions as it’s so delicious and mineralising. Nettles are full of vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. It was the first herb that I infused and remains my go-to ally! Oatstraw helps regulate the nervous system and has an incredible sweetness to it. I find it such a calming and soothing herb to work with.

*note - this recipe uses dried herbs. If using fresh (which I really enjoy and recommend), then you want to use a lot more plant matter. If using fresh I will fill the jar 2/3 full with fresh herbs, depending on how much I can forage.

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Oatstraw

  1. In a large mason jar (that holds around 1 litre) add 4 tablespoons of nettle leaf and 2 tablespoon of oat straw. (you can also use a French Press and adjust the amounts depending on how large your container is).

  2. Bring water to boil and then fill the jar up to the brim.

  3. Cover and steep overnight (or between 4 - 12 hours).

  4. Strain the infusion, composting the plant matter. Enjoy 2-3 cups a day. The infusion will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.


If you have any questions regarding herbal infusions please comment below <3
Is this your first time trying herbal infusions? If not, what are your favourite herbs to work with?

Travel Essentials - Herbal & Sustainable Products

In a few days we leave for a 6 month trip to India and Nepal. Our packing pile is growing taller and we’re beginning to feel so excited about all the adventures to come. We wanted to share with you some of our travel essentials that we’re bringing with us to keep healthy and happy on the road. If you’ve been to India, you’ll know how shocking it can be to witness the huge amounts of rubbish on almost every street corner. We feel determined to travel as sustainably as possible during this trip and avoid using single use plastics. We intend to tread lightly and respectfully, doing what we can to help the situation rather than adding to the problem. Another big priority is caring for our bodies and keeping energised. The inconsistency of travel can be a real stress to the body, so we have some natural remedies and products to help us feel our best.

If you have any more tips or recommendations we would love to hear from you! We also have this post with some extra tips about how to stay healthy while backpacking.

Travel Essentials Herbal Natural Remedies Supplements

Herbal Remedies / Supplements

ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OILS:
Lavender
for burns, cuts, stressful moments & sleepless nights.
Tea Tree Oil incredibly antibacterial. SO healing for cuts, infections, bites etc.
Lemongrass Oil is amazing as a natural insect repellent

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL | a natural remedy for food poisoning, indigestion, bloating or to take at any sign of a stomach issue.

PROBIOTICS | a good quality probiotic to help strengthen our gut flora - an essential for us in somewhere like India, where digestion is put under a lot of stress.

WORMWOOD CAPSULES | a herb to help clear parasites or toxins if we’re feeling unwell or have a case of ‘Delhi belly’

ADAPTOGENIC TINCTURE | on our last trip to India we ended up feeling quite burnt out and exhausted. This trip, I wanted to bring some adaptogens to strengthen our bodies and help adapt to the stresses of travel. We’re bringing this tincture of schizandra, rhodiola, gotu kola and siberian ginseng,

B COMPLEX VITAMIN | In more attempt to avoid burn out we’ll be bringing some B vitamins to help with energy. I like this variety which is especially high in B6, as it helps the liver flush out excess hormones caused by stress.

INSECT REPELLENT | On our last trip we made a really effective natural insect repellent using essential oils. We found we had so many less bites than fellow travellers who were using harsh, toxic DEET on their skin. We use a recipe from the book ‘A Fragrant Pharmacy’ which combines a ratio of the following essential oils with distilled water and witch hazel (or high-proof vodka) - 8 drops lemongrass oil, 4 drops thyme oil, 4 drops peppermint oil & 4 drops lavender oil.

GOOD QUALITY SALT | It can sometimes be really difficult to find high quality salt abroad, and we’ve found it to be really helpful for dehydration. On days when we’ve been walking around in the heat and sweating a lot, we add a pinch to our water to remineralise.

NATURAL REHYDRATION SOLUTION | We will bring a homemade elcoctrolyte mix in case of diahorrea or dehydration. There are hundreds of recipes online for these but the basic ingredients are good quality salt, bicarbonate of soda, sugar (we’ll use coconut sugar) and dried ginger.

Travel Essentials Sustainable Zero Waste

Sustainable Travel Essentials

KLEAN KANTEEN BOTTLES | We love Klean Kanteen bottles - we both have a 40z (1.2 litres) and one 900ml bottle which we use every single day. They are incredible quality and we can tell they will last a life time.

SURVIVAL PRO WATER FILTER | After a lot of research we’ve just invested in this water filter for our trip. This filter not only makes tap water safe to drink, but it also filters out heavy metals. We really want to avoid buying any plastic bottles during our trip and this felt like the best solution for our health and the planet.

MENSTRUAL CUP | Buying my moon cup is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! A menstrual cup is an essential to avoid using tampons or pads that will go to landfill.

STAINLESS STEEL CUPS | we love to be able to make herbal teas in the mornings so these mugs are really useful. Also really handy if we go out for juice and the only other option is plastic cups.

METAL STRAWS - We plan to always keep these in our day bag to avoid ever using plastic straws. They come in a sweet little cotton bag too!

CUTLERY, KNIFE & TUPPERWARE | All of these are so useful if you ever plan to cook when travelling or want to store snacks for journeys. We use this opinel knife which is really high quality and perfect for chopping fruit. You can purchase bamboo cutlery or we bring fork/spoon from home.

COTTON BAGS | Another absolute essential which we always have with us if we’re abroad or not! We use these whenever we buy anything to avoid plastic bags.

BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH | We love these sustainable toothbrushes with charcoal bristles.

Natural Toiletries

Travel Essentials Natural Toiletries

NATURAL SUNCREEN | We swear by This hemp sunscreen for body and I love this for face.

ANTIBACTERIAL SPRAY | This Dr Bronner’s lavender spray is really useful for train/bus journeys.

LIVING LIBATIONS SOOTHSAYER SERUM | Living Libations is my favourite ever company - their products encompass all of mama nature’s beauty. This serum has been so healing for my skin the past few months and is rich with high quality oils of sandalwood, frankincense and rose. It’s a higher price range but is so potent that only a few drops are needed.

LYONSLEAF BEAUTY BALM | This calendula infused balm is ideal for travel as it is multi purpose. I love to use it as a cleanser, which I remove with a hot flannel, and it feels like it melts away all the stress from the day. It can also be used as a moisturiser and to help heal scars or cuts!

GUA SHA | Gua sha and jade rollers have had a lot of publicity recently. I started using this gua sha a few months ago and really love the ritual of massaging my face and neck with it. Not only does it feel incredible to really take the time to care for your skin, but it’s great for draining the lymph and moving circulation around the body. This video shows the technique I’ve been following.

What are some of your natural or sustainable travel tips? We would love to hear any recommendations from you below!

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Inspiring Documentaries & Videos

As we enter into Autumn where we live - the days getting shorter and the morning air feeling crisp on our skin- there’s a tendency to spend more time indoors, turning inward and reflecting. We try and get outside as much as we can, to really feel the elements rather than hide away from them. But some days when its howling with wind or our bodies really need to rest, there’s nothing more inviting than a warming hot chocolate and a day of documentaries. We compiled this list of our favourite documentary films and videos to share with you. We believe film is such a powerful way to educate and inspire… some of these videos have been truly life-changing and eye opening for us. If you have any other recommendations we would love to hear from you below or on instagram.

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TRAVEL / NATURE / ENVIRONMENTAL

Tribe with Bruce Parry
Tales by the Light
SEED : The Untold Story
BBC Living with Nomads
Planet Earth
Blue Planet
Terra
Cosmos : A Space Time Odyssey
Alone in the Wilderness
Virunga
Before the Flood
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Sequel
Black Fish
DMT The Spirit Molecule
Colombia Wild Magic
Juliette of the Herbs
Jane

HEALTH / LIFESTYLE
Cowspiracy
What the Health
Forks Over Knives
Resonance: Beings of Frequency
Down to Earth
Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
Minimalism
Ram Das: Going Home

HUMAN RIGHTS
The True Cost
Daughter's of Destiny
The Ascent of Woman

*photo source - tumblr* 

What are your favourite documentaries/films?
We’d love to hear from you!