Understanding Labels & Nutritional Claims

August 18th 2018

In this edition of the Mother's Market Radio show, our own Kimberly King will chat about nutritional labels and claims with Alicia Voorhies, Director of Marketing for Earth Mama. She'll help you make sense of the claims made by manufacturers and marketers of the brands you come across every day.

The advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of mother's market and kitchen mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition.

Hello, I'm Kimberly King, and welcome to the mother's market radio show, a show dedicated to the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of the human condition. On today's show, when we go shopping, it's important to read labels to understand what's in the products we buy, and these days these labels can be a challenge, listen, close and learn what to look for so you can get what you're looking for.

Plus later will tell you what's new at mother's market, but first up, Alisha for he is a registered nurse and admitted research, he thoroughly enjoys her role as director of marketing for Earth Mama, helping us spread the word about safe Natural Personal Care and effective verbal support for mamas and babies, she's passionate about natural remedies and truly safe skin care for options, the most fragile people on the planet, Alicia is an established expert on toxic plastic and endocrine disrupting chemicals, then has authored many guides to say for choices over the last 11 years. And we welcome her to the mother's market radio show. How are you?

Good morning, I'm doing great, how are you doing?

Good, thank you. Why don't you our audience in a little bit on your mission and your work before we get to today's show topic.

Okay, I would love to... Earth mom organics is absolutely a mission-based company, I enjoy being able to help educate everybody about choosing safer products because that's what we do, our goal is to make sure that people are safe, especially moms and babies, to provide herbal remedies for the common discomforts of pregnancy, wonderful.

Well, today we're talking about the importance of knowing how to read personal care product labels, which is so important, and so Alicia, if you're a consumer and you're trying to avoid toxic ingredients, what is the first thing to look for?

It's so important to educate yourself about reading labels and basically to become a label sloth, there's a lot of great marketing going on out there, as we all know, natural doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot anymore, and there are really no regulations governing the ingredients that you're finding in personal care products, so there are several thousand new chemicals that are completely untested on humans coming onto the market every year, and there's really nobody to say, Hey, wait a minute, you really shouldn't put from aldehyde in the baby lotion.

Yeah, yeah, but would it even be... It would be in a label, you would see the one, sometimes it's a contamination issue, a cross-contamination or a combination of preservatives that can actually put off and create from Althea.


Oh my goodness. It gets tricky.

Wow, well, so what are the top ingredient to avoid, obviously from our mind... Yeah, that's kind of a hard win though, you know, so it's important to have a trustworthy product manufacturers, sometimes that's where I start, but when it comes to it, you can really look at a label and you can actively avoid ingredients like parabens, which is often found in petroleum-based products, but it's a preservative that you'll find quite often and lotions and things like that.

Actually, all petroleum is something that I personally try to avoid, there's paraphernalia, petroleum and mineral oil, and a lot of our skin care products... One thing that it does is it kind of suffocate your skin, you know, it creates a layer, so your skin really is an amazing organ that needs to be train order to function... Right, and to heal properly, it needs to breathe, and you can imagine what they're taking gasoline, right. And they're trying to filter it, and they're getting a lot of the problematic ingredients out, but you still have it still petroleum... You know what, I never even thought about that, but that's a Hutterites, isn't it?

Like so like Esalen kind of thing.

That's what you're gonna talk about, exactly.

Yeah, and why do that when you've got plants that are just beautiful and available everywhere, you know... Right, right.

It's so true.

Wow, and you write, your skin does need to breath... Yeah, and another big one is talk, and this has been recently in news, I don't know if you've heard about it, yeah, they're finding asbestos, which she now has been causing lung cancer and all kinds of things and people... And it's in baby powder, and it's inviting care products, and you're putting that on the most sensitive parts of your body, the mucosal layers that absorb even more than the other parts of your skin, because it's been in the news and so Bentley have they taken that ingredient out, no, not yet, because it's not regulated that you don't have to... And so that's why it's important to be able to know like, Hey, I'm gonna watch this label and just make sure you go grab your stuff and flip it over and look for these.

So obviously, you're here to say that there are companies that make these products without all of this... Absolutely, it's totally doable, obviously, or... Yeah, okay.

Yeah, so being an ingredient detective requires a lot of knowledge, which is why you're here, and this is the slow thing that you've come up with and that you've researched, what is your favorite resource to help simplify this learning process?

Honestly, there are some amazing apps out there, but the one that I enjoy the most and I think is the most thoroughly based on science is the Environmental Working Group, Skin Deep Database, and we often run campaigns at Earth mama where we say, Hey, what's your score? And it's really great because they provide a database of product ingredients, and you can actually go grab your product and put it in their search bar, pull it up and then get a hazard rating on the individual things that might be problematic that you would go... Man, I didn't even think about that being in there, so maybe your skin care product is rated a six when you could do way better and go for one. That's right, to one and the Athan is called... It's the Environmental Working Group, Skin Deep Database.

Okay, yeah, so if you go to ewg dot org, you'll find it.

Okay, okay, that's right.

It really is helpful.

You mentioned that what goes on... Goes, Wait. What goes on goes in... Right, and I love that slogan.

What goes on, goes in, does that mean everything I've put on my skin is soaking in... Yeah, that's a really good question, and it's definitely something to be thinking about because there are chemicals that are too large to go into the bloodstream, but there are plenty that are small enough to penetrate, and there is even a study in 2005, the mental working group published that looked at toxic chemicals that were found in umbilical cord of babies, newborn babies, and obviously they haven't been exposed to these chemicals... Right.

So mama, most have been... And it's amazing to think that they found 400 chemicals in 28, seven of them are actually toxic, so the problem is they can cause damage to the baby growth development issues and even birth defects, and that's scary, but we can do something about it. So it's something I started, I kinda had my own aha moment as a nurse, I used to give medication constantly on transdermal patches, which you know that that's completely developed to go on your skin and straight into your blood stream... Right, right.

So we know that we do absorb a lot of what we put on our skin.


Yeah, so that must have been... Yeah, that a house have been still arming for you.

Why is it even more important to use safe products with babies, as I mentioned, they're already pre-exposed, which is kind of a bummer, but then they're also eating and sleeping and growing five times as fast as an adult, so they're processing more and their bodies aren't really quite developed enough with an immune system and ready to go to just handle all of these toxic chemicals, so you have endocrine disrupting chemicals that are flipping switches, and there is no... I got started on my journey way back in 2006 when I found out about BPA is pale and baby bottles, and it was interesting because the doctor who was a natural path said, you really need to pay attention to this because it's coming out of the plastic and it's like giving your child a little dose of estrogen every day, well, you're gonna change things when you have that constant exposure... Yeah, and again, it's another moment to be fortunate, you don't need anything about that right now is natural, the same as organic, that's a really key question because what does that fine line... It really is, and I think to see everybody that's trying so hard to make a difference, but it does get a little tricky when you're staying in store aisle and you're going, Okay. It says it's natural.

Yeah, so hopefully it is, but really... Who is that it says on the label? Is that really what's in the bottle, and that's kind of the point that I was at a couple of years ago, and the bummer is that natural doesn't really offer any guarantees either, because it's still not regulated, just like regular personal care products, whereas organic on the other side is actually regulated because it's a certification process where a third party actually comes in and looks through every record that you have, they pop in, you get little pop quizzes, so you don't get to just grade your own paper with a red pen that you found in the kitchen drawer, somebody else is actually grading your paper, so that is the difference, is that organic is regulated and natural... Yeah, you're submitting yourself to it, it's almost like a self-regulation, does that mean even like if you go into... Because I noticed that the trend seems to be... Even if you go into a regular grocery stores and people seem to be getting on board, the organic transit... Absolutely the case, and I would love to go in more depth on on how you can tell if the product actually certified organic. So that's tricky too.

Is it... Yeah, it is that... So just going back to even that environmental working app, can you do that in a curator, you can surely pull it up and at least find out about House or ratings of the ingredients that you see.

But if you see a company that has... A good example is, I get sucked in by this too, and I've been doing this for a long time, it has organics in the name of the company, right?

And so you're like, Oh gosh, thank God, they're making a door there finally, and you look at it and it says 100% organic, and I just took a product home probably last week, got it home, and I flipped it over and I was like, Oh, there's no... Certifying body on here, there's no... It's not really certified organic, they're just saying that it is, and so the one trick to that, and it could simplifies it, when you're standing in the store aisle, is to go ahead and turn it over and just look to see who is certifying that claim, and then you know that somebody has actually verified that what is on that ingredient panel is actually what's in the bottle, so there has to be some sort of a stamp of a certification on there.

Yeah, exactly.

And then that way, you know that they have actually tracked every one of those ingredients all the way back to the farm, were originated at that as very inept process piece of advice there.

It does sound so tricky, and so that's really what you just were kind of saying, That's that marketing lingo right there.

Exactly. Well, it doesn't look like little stamp of it, there are several different certification bodies, there's NSF, which is amazing, there's the USDA certified organic, there's QA, there's organ tilt, but you can absolutely will say certified organic by, and then it will give you the third party certified right. On the label, and you said something about farms too... Well, it always have some sort of a farm Osorio, you'll know that they have tracked that essential oil that herb, that plant butter all the way back to where it was grown, so that we know that it was grown without toxic pesticides and herbicides and... Just another quick question regarding, we usually feel more comfortable if you're in the organic or the health food, if we've been used to shopping organically, but if we switch over and we shop in the regular reserve there, right over there are here and there's another fine in... I would tend to probably not flip over and look if I go into the organic stores, but I should do that always.

I think you should just because... I don't know, I love knowing that I have a trustworthy claim that I can actually believe what this person is saying...

Yeah, I guess I kind of think they've probably already done the order, it's still gonna be safer... I'm sure it is, yeah. Well, this is great information, so right now we need to take a quick break, but more in just a moment, so don't go away more with Alicia, we'll be right back.

And welcome back to the mother's market radio show. And we wanna remind you that if you've missed any portion of today's show, you can find us on iTunes by searching mother's market or download the show from our website, mother's market dot com, click the link for radio and listen to the past shows, plus download our Healthy Recipes and money savings coupons, all available at mother's market dot com. And now, back to our interview with Earth mama's Director of Marketing, Alicia wares, and we're talking about the importance of knowing how to re-Personal Care Product labels, and Lisa, thank you, you are the sloth behind the scenes here, but you're giving us all this great information, so why would a company bother becoming certified organic if it's such an expense in an ordeal for the company to go through?

That's a great question. Earth mama's founder, Melinda Olson had an epiphany one day many years ago, and she was standing in her kitchen still making small batch products, and she ran out of certified organic all the Holst, the base for one of the products, and she glanced over and saw that she had some regular olive oil and she was like, You know, just hit her, I could totally put that in here, nobody would know.

So then she decided, You know, the mission of the company is to do the very best by the most fragile people on the planet, pregnant mamas and brand new babies, and she said she decided that day, it's something that she is taking to task. She was gonna go out there and learn how to do... To formulate products and to choose the very safest and the best ingredients that she could, and she did it.

You know, it's so funny, we were just having this conversation of being the best that you can pay her were just talking about that, and I think that can apply to everybody, just really, always being the best and don't cut corners, and so that's nice that that becomes a mission statement, and if you kind of live by that... That's great. So that's nice, and you're right, really she's using that for moms and babies, so starting at the very youngest, you talked about the importance of avoiding products that include fragrance on the label, so are there health concerns about using products with racemic ALS? Yes, fragrance is another one of those tricky things that I tend to see around the natural products industry too, I think it's gonna be one of the last frontiers that we tackle in personal care products because people are very married to the same old sense you think about it, I mean, just trying to break my family from the tide habit, that was really hard because they're used to that, this is the fresh clean smell that my close should have, but you know fragrance, it turns out is a trade secret, it's protected. And it does not have to be disclosed to consumers, you'll see it on a label also called perform or perfume, and it's kind of like a nesting doll, an ingredient that can hide thousands of different chemicals legally, so some of those can be parabens or halite, things that cause them to fix, they're called exit VES, so that you know how when you're in a gathering of people and someone walks in and you smell her perfume and they leave, and the perfume stays or about 30 minutes, that's what those chemicals do, so they fix it to the air molecules into your clothes, into your hair, it's very interesting. So the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that one-third of the substances used in fragrance in its industry are actually toxic, and the Environmental Working Group, of course, degrees, they say that the word fragrance on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various sent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance disperses, and there are all kinds of different things like dial Talat, and that fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and even potential effects on the reproductive system, really, that's worrisome. And the fragrances are everywhere, they're in everything. And they've been around obviously for a.Man, I have just a little personal story, my mom and I just... Like I said, a personal story, but she loves her perfume, and she's my grandma and my brother-in-law and sister, my brother and sister law, every time my mom got us to go visit them, she's like, Oh my gosh, grandma was coming with all this perfume and their little girl has cereal palsy and she's very, very sensitive to my mom's perfume, and she's like, Oh my gosh, this is gonna really upset with the allergies and everything else, and so as you mentioned all of that, she just makes sure to make sure Gratiot with the Toyota, I inherited my grandma suitcases, just as a strange little side, if still smell like her, it's 10 years and they still smell a curry was an STI later, it had to be right. White shoulders, I think hers was a shoulder, and I love the smell, but it always smiles. A grandma's perfect.

Oh my gosh, I'm blown away every time I open it.

I'm there. It is again, I mean, those are powerful, it is powerful.

And it's kind of sad to me. I don't know if there are perfumes now being developed because I'm on for them too, but are there that you know of that aren't toxic?

I will tell you, I have become so unsure of fragrance chemicals because I cannot get a straight answer from anybody that I just avoid them and I stick with essential oils, that's kind of my rule, and it's just... The best that I can do at this point is I really hope that we can make more headway at some point with... There are some companies, some of the Procter and Gamble that they have actually said, We're gonna start disclosing our chemicals or fragrance chemicals that will happen down the road, even when they start disclosing and they're gonna be 100 ingredients long, and that's gonna... You wanna talk about having to be a detective slut... Don't know, we'll see what happens.

Yeah, we call you back for that. originate a lot of studying through... You're gonna be busy lady.

So I guess this kinda goes with the next, so natural fragrance, oils are nature identical fragrance about the botanical fragrances. Are those okay?

Yeah, we're getting back into marketing buzzwords that point you're in a... Thesz right now, I know, I tend to do that. Sorry, I think we won't have you back on it, this is your last time or not... Vitis is a warning.

Yeah, but you know, honestly, when it comes down to it, it's just a different way to say fragrance really so... Yeah, not even the flowery fragrances that to botanical and touch, it's all marketing, and it's just a fancy buzzwords that I... I, I know, and you know what, I'll tell you another story. It's kind of embarrassing about how I get bamboos to... I was just at the grocery store and I had to give up plug-ins... Oh yeah, you just can't do those because they're so full of fragrance and they gave me headaches and everything else, and so I gave them up, and then I was walking down the store aisle the other day, and I saw that one of the big companies actually looks like they're coming out with one, it's made with essential oils, Nishi can do this, 'cause it had a really big on the front essential loyal made with essential oils, so I flipped that bad boy around and looked at the ingredients, and of course, the first one is fragrance and then it says in the little teeny writing, made with real lavender Engel oil 2, so we're just gonna put a drop in here and then call it good and Colin marketed as an essential oil.

So again, realising, yes.

What about candles?

'cause there's... I don't know if you... What about that? I love candles and I've had to do my homework, but honestly, if it's not an essential oil, I just don't do it anymore, and it's interesting, there's a whole big world about essential oils too that we can talk about...

Okay, now in the next one, two, that even unseated products can still have... Contain fragrant chemical, yeah.Fragrance chemicals are even in unseeded fragrance-free things, and you know why? You take a natural oil states coconut... You can smell coconut. Right, but have you ever put a lotion on that's fragrance-free, it has no smell whatsoever, but it has coconut oil on it... Yeah, okay. Well, it's that kind of idea, like the natural oils sometimes do have their own inherent sent... And people don't like it.

Yeah, so they use fragrance masking chemicals than... To its emits still chemical.

Yeah, so you just have to watch for it. It should still say, fragrance on the back, and that's the hilarious part. I was again, at the store and almost got... Bamboos will begin to booked it around 'cause it said fragrance-free, and I was like, Cool, I can definitely do this one, and it said fragrance... Run a label really?

Even though it said, fragrance for you on there.

Oh my gosh, yeah.


Are all essential oils the same... Yeah, that's a really good question, and it's something that I think is important for everybody to know.

I kind of visualize it this way, on the other side of the garden, far, far away from the fragrance chemical aisle at the store, you'll find essential oils, and the great that part about them is that they distill a plan's vital energy into a highly concentrated form and the benefits of the plant are also concentrated, it's really an amazing process, it takes a lot of rose petals to make an ounce of essential oil from Rose, and it's a beautiful thing, and it's a great... They're very powerful, and there aren't any additives aloud, you just pure essential oil, if it says that that's what it is, and that's a good thing to know.

Earth maps a high priority on using organic essential oils though, because we wanna make sure that there aren't any pesticides or herbicides that have been sprayed on the rose petals or whatever it may be, and then distill down and highly concentrated.

So it would be kind of a bummer if you find a natural deodorant that you really love, they've done an amazing thing, and it has essential oils, and then later you find out, Well, I'm still spreading on my underarm is really sensitive skin, it is very highly absorbing and you're still putting pesticides on there, so anyway, that's just... We kind of saw a need that niche recently, and so we came out with a surfed organic deer at that only uses essential oils that are organic for the scent... For breastfeeding and pregnant mamas. Right, and those lemnos... You gotta love your lymph nodes, you know, take care of those lymph nodes, and your baby's face is right there right on the little head.

Yeah, carry insurance.

Wow, I'm still thinking, I was kinda going back with the... Thinking about the rose petals, 'cause before you said that with the essentials, it does probably take a lot of those, but it's organic and I can't even imagine... I was just imagining how wonderful that must smell... It does smell wonderful. And you know the other thing too about kind of a side note about being... Making a commitment to use certified organic ingredients, no matter what... Have you guys heard recently about the vanilla scarcity... No, oh my gosh, there's just a Madagascar, they had huge natural disasters and it just took out a lot of the vanilla I... Yeah, so it would have been easy to substitute that and not go with organic, and we don't do that if it cost seven times more that... It's the commitment that we made. So, well, thank you, this has been very interesting information and thank you for your time, great advice, and we appreciate your knowledge and look forward to having you on again, we will let you back... Oh, God.

But in the meantime, you can get more information on Elisha, and the website is Earth mama organics dot com, so if you look forward to your next visit, thank you so much.

Thanks for listening to the mother's market radio show, and for shopping at mother's market, the advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of mother's market and kitchen, mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition E-