College O'Natural

My life as an earth-wise health-conscious college student. DIY, budgets, and the occasional rant!

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Hey guys it’s been awhile. Sorry I haven’t posted anything, the weather has been crazy making school crazy as well. Not to mention I’ve been sick and am now again. But I’m finally back! Woohoo.

Now let’s talk Stevia.

As far as I’m concerned, stevia is GOD. An all natural, zero calorie, low glycemic index sweetener, HECK YES!!

But with all foods, you still need to be careful. Just because a package says stevia doesn’t mean it’s 100% stevia.

Food babe, did this article not too long ago that I recommend everyone read. At the bottom she tells what brands are good and bad.


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Poll Answer

Ascorbyl Glucoside is the correct answer. It is a stable form of Vitamin C made by combining with glucose.


Mineral Oil is on Nature’s Pulchritude’s Beware list.

Mineral Oil aka Parrafinium Liquidium – This is a petrochemical typically derived from crude oil.  It can be found in high concentrations (one of the first 5 ingredients, more on this later) in a variety of lotions, hair lotions, ‘grease’ and conditioners (deep, leave-in, and rinse out), however it appears in highest concentrations to products marketed toward African-Americans.  Mineral Oil prevents moisture from entering or leaving the hair shaft.  This can often lead to hair breakage and clogged pores on the scalp.

Toluene is the Avoid list.

Toluene – Commonly found in nail polish.  Toluene is an extremely volatile chemical (it likes to vaporize and mix with air) therefore its greatest threat is through inhalation exposure (the fumes you smell when you paint your nails).  Inhalation of toluene can cause dizziness, nausea, or even death at high doses.  This ingredient has been phased out of many nail polish formulas, but not all.

Nature’s Pulchritude

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Potassium sources

The answer is—

White beans
Then spinach then sweet potatoes then bananas

Surprising I know.

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Anti-wrinkle/aging cream

Hey guys!

Here early this morning as per request of my mom.  She’s been buying Orgin’s Plantscription creams and serums for some time now and liked them.  However, recently she’d been having allergic reactions and didn’t understand why. Being the diligent and wonderful daughter I am *cough, cough* I looked into the ingredients to these products seeing as she has had sensitivities in the past.

The main ingredient in these products is a plant called Anogeissus.


This is an African tree that has actually been considered sacred among different African cultures. If you want to learn more about the science behind this tree I invite you to read the Environmental Journal article I read.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this plant or Orgins, in fact I like Origin’s products. The problem arises if you have sensitivities to tannins. Anogeissus’s leaves are very rich in tannins.  Tannins, are astringent compounds found within plants that often give a bitter taste. This blog does a great job in outlining where you can find tannins and more about sensitivity.

Now Mom hadn’t known for certain if she had a sensitivity to tannins, but I had suggested to her that it might be a possibility because she would sometimes react to red wine. A lot of red wine is heavy in tannins because they help with the ripening process. She has also had reactions to tea, another source of tannins.  However, all of these were minor reactions where she just cut out whatever it was that she was drinking before.

You may be thinking, but she had been using that serum and cream for years without any reactions. You’re right, she had zero problems before now. But allergies are funny that way. Everyone always assumed if you’re allergic, you’re allergic all your life. WRONG. While it is most common to develop them as a child, it is a definite possibility to develop them later in life as well.Why does this happen?

Most likely, you were always a bit sensitive to these foods but never knew it. With allergies, the usual problem is the proteins within the food. These proteins, your body cannot process properly, there aren’t enough or any of the enzymes needed to breakdown the incoming proteins. Because of this there is a build up in your system. As long as these levels remain relatively low, your body doesn’t usually react in an obvious way. Over time though, you eat more and more of these foods and eventually hit the threshold. Once that threshold is hit, histamines are produced and sent out causing reactions. Now you’re overly sensitive to this food. Each time you expose your body to this food, the sensitivity increases and histamines are sent out more rapidly.

With mom, she’d just started drinking wine. She had never liked it before but realized this may have been because she had only ever tried cheaper wine. And, she prefers red wine, high in tannins. So this face cream she had been using for years with the addition of the tannins from the wine = reaction. Her tannin threshold had been met.

(by the way this is my personal theory developed through research and what I already know, not a doctor’s opinion)

Now what?

  1. Stop using cream
  2. Stop drinking wine for a little while

Once the reaction has gone down she can slowly add the wine back.

I told her all of this as well as gave her a list of ingredients that were astringents, high in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory.

“To mix how?” she asked.

Well, I don’t know. I’ve never made a cream before. So I researched and found these two.  Of course there are tons more on the internet, but these have the ingredients I’ve found to work best and the first one even has scientific evidence posted in it!! YAY!! So take a look.

Anti-aging organic cream


Anti-aging salve

Now, these are the most convenient forms of anti-aging steps. However, if you truly want results you’ll use masks. At least once a week if not more.

You can make a mask with any of these ingredients:


egg whites

tea (black, white, or green)


vanilla extract



Vitamin C powder

Vitamin E oil


**It is best to make this mask cold if you can**

The ratios really don’t matter, do what you like best. Leave on for 10-20 min and rinse.


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Face Scrub and More!!!

The rain this weekend ruined our hiking plans completely. So, instead I spent the day turning the kitchen into a mess experimenting.  By the end of it I’d come up with a few recipes.  Take a look at them below!

Just Add Water Face Scrub

Chai Body Scrub

Lotion Bars

Lip Scrub/Balm

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Do you know your meat?


Facing the Facts

So let’s be honest, meat is expensive; but, unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, it is also a must. Meat is a very important part of our diets, all  essential vitamins can be obtained through eating a colorful fruit and vegetable diet except for Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper cognitive function and chemical reactions in the body that produce hormones, proteins, lipids, and red blood cells, all very important.

Now, this does not mean you should go out and eat a ton of meat or even that you need meat everyday.  In fact, Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver which can store several years worth of it.  Being deficient is rare because of this and most commonly occurs in the elderly due to a lack of stomach acid which is responsible for absorption. However, being deficient is possible and not a good thing; it can lead to anemia, depression, fatigue, and dementia.

Basically what I am saying is, you need meat (or a B12 supplement, although it is often fortified into foods). Whether in large or small quantities, you will eventually have to purchase it.

My Chicken Story


I am a college student, a busy one at that. In a typical week, monday through thursday, I do not get home until around 6:30 from class, volunteering, and club activities. Once I get home I have oodles of homework to do, club organization stuff, and a social life to tend to.  Often times I leave again later that night to go to the gym or library.  All in all, I don’t have time to bargain shop.

When I first started college life I would buy bags of frozen chicken for meat. However, I ran into some problems.  One, I would never remember to pull the chicken out ahead of time to thaw and would then have to microwave thaw it.  This sucks because it makes the chicken tougher than it already is. Two, it’s not very tasty and the pieces always seem super small.

My next decision was to buy the raw chicken breasts packaged at Harris teeter. I would buy the split breasts with all the skin still attached for around four dollars for three big ones.  Its only the two of us, so one breast that size is enough for one dinner, especially since I try to not eat as much meat.  This worked great for awhile, we would buy multiple packets and when I got home I would cut off the fat, put them in portion bags, and freeze them. At times it seemed like a lot of work having to fix the chicken right after I got home, but it was so worth it.

However, then I got to thinking… Why is that chicken so inexpensive? What exactly is Harris Teeter brand chicken? Where does it come from? Am I poisoning myself?

Knowing What You’re Paying For

After some major reflection, I decided the best course of action would be to start at the sources.  I went to the websites of all the grocery stores in Wilmington in search of information about their meat. This is what I found:

Whole Foods definitely gave the most information.
Tidal Creek  was a hard one to judge but if you read their “buying policies” section and go into the store to look at the meat available it’s not bad.
Trader Joes has a letter to the customers admitting that they have antibiotic free and non antibiotic free options of which they label.  Nothing was stated about animal welfare though.
Harris Teeter states that “some” of their meat is higher welfare but what does that really mean? How much is some?
Lowes Foods didn’t give hardly information concerning their meat and was extremely unhelpful.

Why Animal Welfare is Important?

I know this seems like a common sense answer, and it is as far as morals are concerned. A life, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is important. Of course, we all know this, or at least I hope.

Nonetheless, animal welfare is important for more than just morals. It also affects meat quality and toughness.  I have attached two articles outline the effects of stress on meat quality. The first is from a guidelines for humane handling and the second is a study from the Elsevier journal.  I encourage you to read at least the abstract. If not I’ll summarize below.

Effects of stress and injury on meat and by-product quality

affects of stress on meat

Stress on the animals and inhumane treatment and abuse toughens the meat. Sometimes it does it to a point of making the meat nearly inedible. Pokes and prods leave marks on the meat where the glycogen in the muscle has been depleted, again making the meat tougher.

If you think about it, it’s not that hard to believe. What does stress do to humans bodies? It’s all the same.

Okay, so where should we buy our meat?

(I’m only talking about the grocery brand not the other brands they sell)

Where I buy my meat honestly depends on how much money I have to spend.  If you have a farmer’s market with a local butcher, price and quality will always be best there. You can’t beat local food.

If money is not a major issue, Whole Foods is always a great place to shop.  Another plus for them is their animal welfare rating system. They have stickers on their meat with different levels or “steps” of animal welfare outlined below.

Picture 1

If money is an issue, Trader Joe’s is a good option if you’re careful about which meat you choose.

Tidal Creek as far as money goes really depends. Because they are a co-op and buy their food from local and small farms, the meat prices fluctuate.  However, I always try to buy there if it has a local label.

Harris Teeter and Lowes are no-nos for me. Especially Lowes.

So is your meat Lady Gaga quality?


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What is the Total Truth about Carbs?

One of the blogs I follow just posted this article which I really enjoyed. I always try to explain how carbs aren’t only in bread.

What is the Total Truth about Carbs?.