Wednesday, March 22, 2017

19 Personal Care Products I Use or Like

Body care products on wooden table over gray backgroundA few years ago, I wrote a long post listing cosmetics, soaps, and other personal products made with healthy, non-toxic ingredients. It’s a sad thing when you basically have to assume the worst about the average product designed to be slathered all over the largest organ of your body—your skin. But that’s the situation in which we find ourselves now.

Today’s post is an update of sorts. What products am I using? Which ones have I used? And are there any others that I can safely recommend? It won’t be as comprehensive as the last one. It will be more personal.

In fact, let’s just go through an average day and week of personal product use. I’m pretty spartan, as you’ll see. I’ll also include other products I like (but might not always use) where applicable.

I wake up and brush my teeth. I don’t use toothpaste usually, just a swish of hydrogen peroxide while brushing. For guests and those times I do feel like toothpaste, I’ll use something like Squigle Tooth Builder or Claybrite. Squigle uses xylitol to discourage pathogens from setting up shop and adds minerals that presumably aid in re-mineralization. Claybrite also uses xylitol but throws in mineral-rich clay.

I take a shower. Most of my showers are water only. Maybe I’ll wash the armpits and other hidden regions if the situation calls for it, using AOBiome’s Mother Dirt Face and Body Cleanser (if I’m not very dirty) or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap (if I am). Mother Dirt Face and Body Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that doesn’t destroy your precious skin biome. Dr. Bronner is that soap that comes in the crazy bottle featuring a veritable infographic. Both use inoffensive ingredients.

I spend so much time in the ocean or my saltwater pool and hot tub that I’m not ever really “filthy” enough to require a full-body scrub down. As long as you’re not just sitting in your own filth for days on end, you can get away with going easy on the soap.

About once a week I’ll shampoo my hair with AOBiome’s Mother Dirt Shampoo. Like the body wash, the stuff is designed to cleanse without negatively impacting the live surface bacteria living on your scalp. It actually supports your native skin bacteria, helps it do its job. Each ingredient was hand-picked and independently verified not to destroy the skin biome.

The next two bits will draw gasps of disbelief. That’s okay.

Next, I shave. Do I dip an oak-handled lathering brush into a mason jar of bespoke artisanal shaving cream? Do I slather on the Primal Kitchen avocado oil? Does it involve coconut? Pastured egg white meringue, perhaps?

Nope (although I do use the avocado oil for something which I’ll get to later). I use good ol’ Gillette Foamy, the same stuff I’ve used since I was 14 years old. Old habits die hard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t obsess over everything. Nothing—and no one—in this life is pristine.

Then I apply a little Bleu de Chanel deodorant under my arms. It provides enough fragrance that I never have to use cologne. I’ve also used Primal Pit Paste and Schmidt’s. Both work well and have great ingredients—and I have them both in my medicine cabinet—but i’m just so used to the Chanel. Once, when I was camping, forgot my deodorant, and really needed it, I mixed equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Worked great, albeit messily.

And finally, a couple times a week I’ll spray myself all over with the Mother Dirt Mist and Live Probiotic Body Spray, which colonizes your body with the same ammonia-consuming bacteria abundant in soil and fresh water. Ammonia is the smelly byproduct of skin bacteria. It’s what makes us stink. Back when the product was just coming out, a NY Times writer tried it for a few weeks, foregoing soap, shampoo, and deodorant entirely. Her skin improved. Since she was no longer washing away natural oils, she was more moisturized than before. She had a smell, but not a bad one. Just a “natural” one. 

Another benefit of using this spray is that the bacteria convert ammonia into nitric oxide, which our body uses for endothelial health and general vascular function. More nitric oxide, better blood flow. I’ve noticed a definite effect.

To style my hair, I don’t really do a whole lot. I find that the constant exposure to salt water really helps my hair stay manageable sans product (beach hair is best hair). If anything, I might tousle it with a little avocado oil and towel dry it. Once every few days I’ll use a tea tree oil gel.

Another “hair product” I do endorse is collagen powder. Ever since I started taking 20-40 grams of collagen every day to help heal my Achilles tendinitis, I noticed a strange but welcome side effect: stronger, thicker hair.

If I’m spending a long time in the sun and need sunblock, I use Epicurean. It contains zinc oxide, a physical barrier to UVB and UVA (for when you’ve had enough of each). If you’re going to use sunblock, just pick one that uses zinc. They don’t exactly rub in and disappear like typical sunblocks, which is why they’re so much safer.

At night, before bed and after my swim and sauna, I’ll rub some Primal Kitchen refined avocado oil on my skin. I swim and sauna (yep, that’s a verb) every night but rub the oil probably every other night.

I don’t wear makeup. From the women in my life who do, I’ve seen a lot of Dr. Hauschka and 100% Pure products. Both look so clean you could probably make salad dressing out of them.

I’ve also heard good things about Feather Eagle Sky skincare products and oils.

As you can see, I’m not big on personal care products. I use what I like, and I tend to use them sparingly. But I know many readers have been curious, and many of you are probably experts in your own right, so let’s hear it:

What do you use?

What do you endorse?

What’s missing from my list?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!

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Monday In Meals (When I Didn’t Food Prep)

Hi, guys! Happy Hump Day!

Here’s the next edition of Monday In Meals, which just happens to be a “special” edition because I didn’t have much food prepped and ready to go this week. I was out-of-town and didn’t get my act together until late in the day on Monday… well, yesterday… sort of. I’m leaving for San Diego tomorrow afternoon, so I only did a little prep because I’m fairly positive Mal and Quinn will order food/wing it/not eat while I’m away. Anyway, here’s a recap of what I ate throughout the day on Monday when I didn’t meal prep. I also include some staples that I like to have in my kitchen when I’m unprepared and need a healthy meal ASAP! Would love to hear your favorites, too! 🙂

Monday In Meals_March 20

My favorite staples for QUICK & EASY meal prep:

  • ground meat (chicken, turkey, sausage, beef) <— cooks fast
  • frozen veggies
  • frozen shelled edamame
  • riced cauliflower or broccoli (both fresh and frozen)
  • canned tuna or salmon
  • eggs and liquid egg whites
  • high-protein pasta
  • sweet potatoes/potatoes <— a big batch of roasted potatoes will go in all sorts of meals throughout the week
  • buffalo sauce
  • avocado or guacamole
  • hummus
  • silicone non-stick baking mats <— not food, but life-changing for quick prep!

Question of the Day

What are your favorite staples for quick and easy meal prep? 

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Can’t We All Just Get Along? Our Strength Programs Are Not Very Different

Written By: Kevin Cann

I was having a conversation with some of my co-workers, teammates, and training partners at Total Performance Sports last week. All of my training partners are multi-ply powerlifters that follow some type of Westside Barbell program.

If you have not heard of Westside Barbell, a simple Google search will show a lot. There is even a documentary titled “Westside vs the World” coming to theaters. This gym is home to some of the strongest men and women to ever step foot onto a platform. Even with this success, they still have enough haters out there that they feel they need to a title a documentary “Westside vs the World.”

I am a raw powerlifter that is coached by Boris Sheiko. Boris Sheiko is known for his success as a powerlifting coach in Russia, accumulating over 40 gold medals in the sport. His programs are well known for the high total amounts of volume in the competition lifts and competition lift variations.

One of the coaches was describing the differences in our training styles as being “totally opposites” of one another. At the surface it would seem that this is true, but when you dive a little deeper, each training method has a lot of similarities. This can be said about any successful training program.

The big word that gets thrown around out there is periodization. There are three “big” types of periodization that are often discussed in personal training and exercise science textbooks. These three are linear, daily undulated periodization (DUP), and conjugate.

Linear periodization is increasing intensity and/or volume of a specific exercise from week to week. Exercise selection would not change. An example would be if we squat on Monday, bench on Wednesday, and Deadlift on Friday. Week 1 we perform 3 sets of 5 at 80% of 1RM for all three lifts. Week 2 we would either increase the sets, reps, or the training intensity.

This would be difficult to follow over the long haul as fatigue will accumulate quickly, as well as the risk of injury due to adaptive resistance to training the same movement patterns day in and day out. This is why early specialization in sports is fought so hard against by those coaches in the field. If we constantly perform the same patterns over and over we are more prone to overuse injuries within those patterns. I have never seen a true linear program because it is near impossible to do.

DUP attempts to address the issue of not being able to continuously increase volume and intensity by alternating higher volume and lower volume days, or higher intensity and lower intensity days. This is important to utilize if you train each lift more than one time per week. Attempting to progress in a linear fashion from day to day would be extremely difficult, even for a beginner.

A conjugate program, like a linear program, does not exist on its own without other elements. This would be constantly changing exercise selection to continuously provide new stressors to the body. However, if we ever repeated the same exercise twice we would need to use the same intensity, sets, and reps for it not to possess the other programming elements. Westside is often referred to as a conjugate program.

In a typical Westside program there is a max effort lower day, max effort upper, dynamic effort lower, and dynamic effort upper. Max effort days you work up to a max single with the variation being used that day and dynamic effort is referred to as speed work. Volume on dynamic effort days will be higher with intensity dropping to 60% to 75% of 1 RM. This alone brings a DUP element into the training since volume and intensity changes within the week.

They may use the same variation for a 3 week period as well. Each max effort day they will attempt to beat the previous week’s best. The dynamic effort days will increase in intensity over this period as well. This right here brings a linear element into the program from week to week.

All 3 of these elements also exist within my programs from Sheiko, there just may be a little bit more variability to it. Sometimes my exercises progress from week to week for the linear element. I may perform squats at 75% for 5 sets of 3 on week 1 and 80% for 5 sets of 2 on week 2. However, sometimes it will be linear from 4 week block to 4 week block.

I may do 65% 5×5 squats on day 1 of week 1 of block 1 and 70% for 5 sets of 4 on day 1 of week 1 of block 2. Sometimes it will even be in the reverse order where 70% for 5 sets of 4 will be performed first and later in the training block or in the next block in the same spot I will perform the 65% for 5 sets of 5 with chains. There is an example of conjugate in my blocks.

Sheiko uses a lot of variations, so conjugate elements can be found day to day. I also tend to have one light day and one heavier day for each lift. The light day is technique work and the heavier day utilizes the competition lift with weight of at least 80%. This is very similar to the Westside split of max effort and dynamic effort. The only difference is I do not work up to a max as technique is very important to Sheiko and my lighter days are on the upper end of the dynamic effort range. When we throw bands and chains on exercises it tends to be a bit higher. Overall intensity for the week is probably very similar.

All good programs contain elements of all 3 types of periodization elements. How much of each they contain may vary, but ultimately they contain them all. As a meet gets closer my conjugate elements will go away to focus more on the competition lifts and after the meet, when the next meet is far off, the conjugate elements will increase. So competition schedule will affect how many elements of each is utilized.

If you are a strength athlete, look at your current program and see if all 3 of these elements can be found in it. If not, I would suggest finding a new coach. A program missing linear elements, will be missing out on the overload principle, without undulating your training it will be difficult to train each lift more than once per week and success will stall due to fatigue, and missing conjugate elements can lead to the athlete getting bored and injury due to pattern overuse and adaptive resistance.

Before you go to the interwebs to trash other programs, understand that they are not that different from yours. Coaches and athletes tend to agree on 99% of all things training related, but will wage wars over the 1%.



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