Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Natural Deodorants: If I Can't Eat It, Don't Wear It

Over the last five years or so, I have been working off the philosophy of "If I can't eat it, don't wear it." Slowly I am finding alternatives for a lot of the products I put on my body in the past, but it feels like it is a constant job. I often refer to the Environmental Working Group for ideas on safe products and although Dr. Mercola's site can be a little over the edge sometimes, he provides a lot of good information about the safety of chemicals we put on our body.

Deodorant was one of the first things I decided to change. One of the articles Mercola shares regarding antiperspirant mentions how the aluminum in antiperspirants can mimic the estrogen hormone and since it is so close to the breast, it can cause breast cancer. Scary! My first attempt with natural deodorant was with the crystal body deodorant which works great most of the time and is very economical, but found it doesn't do so well in stressful situations. Next, I turned to baking soda. With baking soda you can just dab a bit under your armpits. You can even add an essential oil if you want something scented. It is that easy. Baking soda works pretty well but recently I have noticed a little scent making its way up to my nose - usually when I am in class teaching and have to stand close to students. So, I have been going back and forth between the crystal body rock and the baking soda thinking maybe if I mix things up, that will help.

Anyone else out there trying natural deodorants and care to share your experiences? I would love to hear what you are trying.

If you haven't tried natural deodorants, please don't be scared off by a little scent every once in a while. About 90% of the time the rock and baking soda do work wonderfully. Also, I have found some benefits to using natural deodorants. One benefit is I don't get stains in the armpits of my shirts that I used to get when wearing antiperspirants. Another benefit I have enjoyed with natural deodorants is how much I have learned about your own body. Antiperspirants stop sweating, which is a natural thing for our body to do. Once I stopped using them I was surprised to find which situations made me to sweat. Now, when I feel the sweat coming on, I think to myself, "What's going on? Are you nervous? Scared? Or just hot?" It really is fun to learn more about yourself this way.

Here is one more interesting article regarding body odor from The Natural News.com (like Mercola's site, sometimes they have great information and other times I could do without them.) I did find this information from the article kind of amusing:

And above all, if you want to eliminate body odor for life, avoid cheese, milk and dairy products. They make you smell like "milk and butter." The smell of these products is so bad that when U.S. soldiers were shipped off to Vietnam in the 1960's, the Vietcong could actually smell them thanks to their American diets. New arrivals were often put on new diets based on local cuisine simply to rid their bodies of the milk-and-butter smell, thereby reducing the risk of being literally sniffed out by the enemy.

Although I have eliminated dairy from my diet, maybe I still need to work on eliminating some other food choices so that I can eliminate the bacteria I smell during stressful situations.