I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was writing to see if anyone had any tips for herbs or supplements that may be beneficial. I'm unsure about taking the synthetic hormones my doctor has recommended, but I'd also like to alleviate symptoms of fatigue and weight gain, so I'm torn. Any info, suggestions, words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks!

Shampoo & conditioner

Hi all! I need some help with natural shampoo/conditioner options.

Let me start off by saying that I haven't put THAT much thought into my current choices. I've been using Tresemme Naturals shampoo & conditioner for a while. It says 'lower sulfates' and 'no silicone' on the bottles, so I figured it was a little better than the regular drugstore stuff.

I think they changed their formula recently, because the products had a different consistency and my skin started breaking out around the sides of my face, shoulders, and down my back (where the products would drip when I rinsed them out). Not cool. To test my theory, I started bringing a big clip into the shower and clipping my hair up while the conditioner set. Sure enough, the breakouts calmed down within a couple of days.

So now I'm looking for alternatives. I've tried the baking soda/vinegar technique, hated it. I tried no poo, it was a disgusting mess. My skin is way too oily for that :/

Does anyone have recommendations for natural shampoo/conditioner or at least something gentle that will hopefully not make my skin so angry? Bonus points if I can find it in stores vs having to order online (located in Ontario, Canada). Homemade recommendations? Anything really. Price isn't really an issue. Obviously I'd prefer not to spend a fortune, but it's worth spending a bit more if it means my skin is happy!

Thank you :)

Mar. 6th, 2014

Hello, everyone!
I am here in desperate need to ask questions on behalf of my mother. Our russian blue cat Tookie is seventeen years old and has never been sick a day in her life. Recently, she has lot all appetite for food and has been quite lethargic. Knowing something was wrong with a massive decline in her behavior/activity level, we took her to the vet. The doctors were stunned by her incredible kidneys (which they said that most cats would be jealous to have), ran bloodwork and have not found anything wrong with her. They prescribed some steroids and pills, which we have fought against using (being a homeopathic family, naturally), and trying to find other means of care. One of our family members suggested a natural doctor who has been nothing but trouble - we literally think that she has not been even examining our case and story because she has been consistently backtracking her prescriptions....

She'll eat shrimp and tuna out of my hand, and drink water but it's not nearly enough to give her energy. Most of the day she spends lying and down, and has little energy to many things, so we have been giving her medicine through the mouth. She responds to some of the deep body massages I love to give her, purring and cooing, as well as responding to her name and sometimes getting playful with me. We plan on taking her back to the vet since many treatments seem to only temporarily increase her appetite before it disappears again. My main question is what do you think can be done to increase her appetite - we have tried many things such as natural probiotics, potato broth, pumpkin sauce, baby food. Do you have an elderly cat having experienced the same things? Any advice or support would be so so helpful. Thank you!

Legitimately Natural

A little back story:

About five years ago, I discovered I was allergic to wheat. Never went to an allergist, but I'd break out in hives when I ate my favorite snack of Trader Joes' raisin rosemary crackers and goat cheese. I have a patch of dermatitis herpetiformus on my ankle (no wonder the eczema medications I used never worked), and all the years of making my own whole wheat (supposedly healthier) baked goods exacerbating that patch finally made sense. I cut wheat immediately and completely. That patch on my ankle immediately went from constantly weeping a clear (possibly tmi, but also bloody) fluid to scabbing over. I went through withdrawal: dizziness, headaches, nausea, dreaming about eating pasta, pizza, effing french bread, and begneits. Since then, I've systematically cut smoking, coffee, shampoo (even the no-poo stuff has wheat germ oil), lotion, eating out anywhere (there's almost always a small reaction of itchiness if I eat food prepared by a non-dedicated gluten-free facility), and really any commercial products.

Three days ago, I stopped wearing deodorant. So far, no smell. I wouldn't have braved this venture if someone I was giving a massage to hadn't informed me that he doesn't wear deodorant at all. I didn't notice any unpleasant odor at all. And trust me, I would have!

This, paired with the rest of my cutting of gimmicks aimed toward getting us to spend as much unneccessary money as possible brought me to the conclusion that it really is just that. All these products are gimmicks. And they smell awful! I don't wash my hair. Not even the baking soda/ACV thing. And I've noticed that, as I cut each supposedly vital part of my hygenic routine out, I don't smell bad. According to every single person who hugs me, I smell good. Seriously, they all comment on how good I smell.

I think a major part of this has to do with diet. Take my dog as an example: she smells good. She gets a homemade meal every day. I'm able to feed her a raw diet for cheaper than generic store-bought dry food. No bad breath, either! Her general non-stinkiness paired with my own bring me to the conclusion that a sensible, balanced, preservative-free diet can render all those chemical-laden products moot. I guess it takes chemicals to fight chemicals.

To wrap this whole thing up, I want to say that even these so-called natural products you get at the store can be gimmicks. You can forego them completely, or make them yourself for a more affordable and more effective result. If you're getting frustrated that your no-poo method isn't working, try nothing at all. Seriously. You may be surprised. Yeah, you'll have to deal with looking like an oil spill victim for a short period of time, but after that? You'll never have to worry about it again. I haven't spent any money on hair products in over a year. My hair has cost me $0 in a year!
After a  nearly three-year battle with a mysterious rash around my eyes (initially diagnosed as eczema), I was told that I actually have periorificial dermatitis. Turns out the prescription steroid cream they gave me for "eczema" can actually make periorificial dermatitis worse.

The doctor asked me what I use on my face and I told her:
- Burt's Bee's Sensitive Skin cleanser
- organic aloe vera and either coconut oil or argan oil for moisturizer

She made a face and said I needed to stop those products and that they're probably making everything worse. She said she'd give me some much "simpler and gentler" products to use while they treat my outbreak with antibiotics, and once it's cleared up maybe I can switch back to my old stuff.

She gave me CeraVe brand cleanser and moisturizer, and maybe this is my own anxiety/crunchy-granola-ness, but the ingredients are pretty much my worst nightmare. Here's whats in just the moisturizer (the cleanser has even more ingredients):
Purified water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglceride, behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20 and cetearyl alcohol, caramide 3, ceramide 6-11, ceramide 1, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, dimethicone, polysorbate 20, polyglyceryl-3 diiostearate, potassium phosphate, dipotassium phospate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, disodium EDTA, phytosphingosine, methylparaben, propylparaben, carbomer, xantham gum

I fully acknowledge that I am not a chemist or doctor, but I really don't understand how that moisturizer is "simpler and gentler" than 100% organic coconut oil. I've never heard of most of those ingredients, and the ones I do recognize are ingredients that I've tried really hard over the past couple years to eliminate from my products.

Not to mention, although I've never seen this particular doctor before and I'm grateful she diagnosed me properly, this is still the same clinic that gave me steroid cream for "eczema" that never should have been prescribed at all because a) it makes it worse and b) shouldn't be used near the eyes because, as I was told today, it can cause glaucoma (!!). I also can't ignore the fact that aside from the dermatitis around my eyes, which began BEFORE I stopped using conventional products, the rest of my skin looks better than ever since I switched to natural products.

So I'm really torn. I'm definitely doing the 2+ weeks of oral antibiotics, and then the topical antibiotics, to clear up the outbreak. But I REALLY don't want to use the cleanser and moisturizer she gave me. I'm fine with just cleansing with water, but it's winter in New England and I need a moisturizer. Could coconut oil REALLY be making it worse or is it most likely fine for me to use?

Also, any advice for how not to mess up my body's good bacteria while taking the antibiotics? I can't remember the last time I've had to take them so I'm a little nervous about that too.

I'm an inquisitive idiot...

...with a question about hair care using baking soda. I've been using an apple cider vinegar rinse instead of conditioner for about a year now and love it. I'd like to start using baking soda instead of shampoo, but everything I've read about 'no 'poo' seems to indicate that people transition to only washing every few days instead of daily. Using baking soda on my hair daily worries me. This may seem like a silly concern but I work with a guy who is painfully losing all of his teeth because he brushed daily with baking soda and destroyed his enamel. Yikes!

I absolutely have to wash my scalp every day. I've tried many different methods over the years to stretch out the time between washes, including no 'poo, but none have ever worked for me. I don't wash the length of my hair every day, just the scalp. Has anyone gone no 'poo on a daily basis or is that just a bad idea?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.


I was recently diagnoses with psoriasis. Right now it's pretty bad (interrupting my sleep and interfering with my job bad) so I'm on steroids, which are working on the problem. But it's a chronic issue and I'm trying to find ways to manage it so that I'm not taking steroids often. I know sunlight is recommended, but difficult when, at the moment it's on my feet and I'm trapped in the dead of winter in a northeastern city in the US.

Natural cleaning products

What natural cleaning products do you use? Until recently I was just using baking soda and vinegar, but I was informed that together they create harmful fumes. Really?

Help! Scalp Eczema :(

Hello all!

My cousin has suffered from eczema for most of her life. About 10 years ago her scalp started to get irritated and have dandruff and she soon found out it was eczema on her scalp. It lasted for several years.. Itching, flaking and scabby. :(She used prescription OTC shampoos and they never worked. One day she tried Selsun Blue and it worked and never came back until now. This time around Selsun Blue is not working; worse it's drying her entire head out and it's extremely uncomfortable and frustrating.

She knows I have used coconut oil in my hair basically all my life so she came to me for advice. However, I mainly use coconut oil as a protectant after washing. I just use a small amount on the length of my hair, avoiding the roots and scalp.. Like a leave in conditioner. So I don't know much about using it on a scalp. I also don't much about it helping eczema.

So my questions are, could a hair oil like coconut oil or olive oil be beneficial to my cousin in her current situation? Have any of you experienced this type of eczema before, if so how did you cure it? Any other advise on this topic? Thank you!

Supplement Warning

The New York Times published an alarming story today about supplements causing liver damage: Spike in Harm to Liver Is Tied to Dietary Aids. From the article: "Dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries that turn up in hospitals, up from 7 percent a decade ago, according to an analysis by a national network of liver specialists."

This should serve as a reminder to the community to research ALL supplements before you take them. Just because it is being sold by your favorite store doesn't mean that it is safe!

This story is personal to me because the local naturopath in my area pushes supplements that have liver-damaging ingredients. "Pushes" is an appropriate word to use here because they frequently advertise the junk on the radio and internet. It makes me so angry that people go to them for help and end up in worse health as a result.

I'm not writing any of the above to scare people away from supplements and naturopaths. All I'm saying is do your own research before taking anything. I take several supplements myself, but only after doing a lot of research about them and the companies that produce them.

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