All posts by Barbara

I'm now an author and publisher. I write a blog over at And I have a book published - “Lessons of an Opening Heart."

Trade Secret: Code for “You Don’t Want To Know”

Trade Secret or Hidden Ingredients?
Trade Secret or Hidden Ingredients?

Today, I’m talking about trade secrets today. What are trade secrets? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the Wikipedia definition of trade secret:

A trade secret is an invented formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, commercial method, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable by others, and by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.

That’s a mouthful, right? Take note of that last phrase: “by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.” I understand that a business might want an advantage over its competitors. But, to have and economic advantage over customers? That sounds downright sinister to me!

Why am I talking about trade secrets? Easy. The fragrance industry hides their ingredient list behind a claim that the list is a trade secret. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “A major loophole in federal law allows fragrance manufacturers to hide potentially hazardous chemicals in product scents, including substances linked to allergies, birth defects, and even cancer.”

Check your labels. If you have a cologne or perfume, you’re likely not even going to find an ingredient list on it. Check your personal care and makeup products. The most you’ll see is “fragrance” or perhaps “masking fragrance.” When it comes to household cleaners and such, they’re not even required to tell you their full list of ingredients.

The question you need to ask is this: “Why are they hiding their list of ingredients?” Trade secret? I call foul on that. Let me illustrate.

If I packaged my Cauliflower and Cheese recipe, I would have an ingredient list that reads as follows:

Cauliflower, milk, cheese, butter, egg, whole wheat flour, mustard, chipotle powder, sea salt, black pepper

Do you really think that someone else could reproduce my Cauliflower and Cheese dish from that list? Maybe, if they had the list plus the dish and a lot of expensive equipment. But I seriously doubt it. Many couldn’t even recreate it with the recipe. (It’s a great recipe by the way. Like Mac & Cheese without the guilt!)

What’s a person to do? Don’t buy anything with fragrance in it – unless the fragrance’s ingredients are listed. Why? Simple – we don’t know what’s really in it. And there are some scary ingredients found in fragrances. Don’t take my word for it. Go back to that EWG article I mentioned earlier. Read that to learn more.

I want to hear from y’all!
Are you concerned about fragrances? Do you avoid them or do you continue to use them?What would it take to get you to rethink using fragrances?

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Just Say No to Plugin Air Freshener

Just Say No to Plugin Air Freshener!
Just Say No to Plugin Air Freshener!
Hi there! They’re letting me write again on the blog. I wanted to tell you about my recent dentist visit. Thankfully it was just for cleaning and checkup. But it didn’t all go so well.

You see, as soon as I sat down in the waiting area, I smelled fragrance. I knew there had to be a plugin air freshener nearby, so, I moved to a new seat. I know they have them in their waiting room and it drives me crazy. Don’t they know how harmful air fresheners are? The saddest thing is they really don’t even ‘freshen’ the air, they pollute it.

Well, it got worse because when I went back for my cleaning, there was one in that room. Seriously, that room is like 8 feet by 6 feet. Who even thinks it needs an air freshener. I asked the dental hygienist to remove it and she did so, rather grudgingly.

After my cleaning, the dentist comes in to check everything out. She asks me if I have any complaints. I know that she means complaints about teeth that may be bothering me. Instead, I tell her my complaint about the air freshener. And I just happened to have this card with me so I gave it to her:

Could You Be Making Your Visitors Sick?
Could You Be Making Your Visitors Sick?
How To Really Freshen the Air
How To Really Freshen the Air

She actually thanked me and said she had not really thought about what chemicals might be in the plugins. And agreed that I was probably right.

Luckily, I never developed a migraine that day, although I did have a bit of a headache most of the day. Even so, when I got in my car, I could smell perfume from the plugins. It was in my hair and on my jacket. Probably on everything. Gross. I had to ‘wear’ that smell the rest of the day!

Have you ever visited a place that had too much air freshener? Would you be bold enough to let them know? I get so frustrated that I’m finally able to talk with people and suggest that they find a safer alternative.

Oh, before I go: Some have been asking if I was going to post my picture on here. Well, we’re having a bit of trouble getting the film developed, but it will be on here soon!

I want to hear from y’all!

Do you use plugins in your home? I would love to know why. And if you read the post that talked about air fresheners, did it change your mind?

Thanks for stopping by!

Toxins in Shampoo?

Toxins In Shampoo
Are there toxins in your shampoo?
Hey, everyone! Shirley here with my first official post.

I was talking with someone in the store the other day who was buying shampoo. I’ll call her Pearl. Here’s how the conversation went:

Pearl: “I never know which shampoo to buy. What do you think?”

Me: “It depends, how many toxins do you want to be exposed to?”

Continue reading Toxins in Shampoo?

Welcome 2015! Let’s Talk Toxins

Let's talk about toxins in 2015.
Let’s talk about toxins in 2015.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through the first month of 2015. I have put a lot of thought into this first post of the year because it coincides with a bit of a change. Actually, course correction might be a better term than change.

I am really excited about what is coming up for 2015.

After writing on a variety of topics on this blog, I have decided that in 2015 I want to focus on toxins. Specifically, the toxins that are so prevalent in our every day world. The ones in the products that we use in our home and the products we put on our body.

Why Toxins?

  1. I know first-hand the harm that they can cause to our bodies. Mine is in the form of headaches, migraines, and other neurological issues. The problem got so bad that it forced me to work from home rather than in an office environment.
  2. For others, they may be causing harm that isn’t readily visible.
  3. Continue reading Welcome 2015! Let’s Talk Toxins

2014 – Year in Review

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
I’m in the middle of planning out 2015 and one thing I like to do is look back at what happened in 2014. What posts were popular? What post got the most comments? And then decided what I can do with this information.

Here are the top 5 posts of 2014:

  1. Do Essential Oils Cause Migraines and Headaches? – I wrote this post because I am super sensitive to smells, even those considered natural. When I wrote it, I was pretty sure that there were others with similar issues. Sure enough, this post, originally published in November of 2012, is still my most popular one. It’s sad to think that so many have this sensitivity.
  2. Continue reading 2014 – Year in Review

Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Cornbread dressing, gravy, and green beans
Cornbread dressing, gravy, and green beans

Last week I wrote about our gluten-free Thanksgiving. In a comment on that post, Meghann mentioned that she would love my recipe for the cornbread dressing. So, I decided to post it here on the blog.

Background: My parents were both from Tennessee, so I grew up on Southern cooking. We always had cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving. In fact, I was well into my 30’s before I knew there was any other kind. I also grew up cooking and baking from scratch. So no bags of stuffing from the store at our house. I typically make my cornbread from scratch that goes into my cornbread dressing. But, as I said in last week’s blog post, I was going for the gluten-free experience so I used a mix purchased from HGD Foods for the 2014 cornbread dressing.
Continue reading Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Can Thanksgiving be Gluten-Free?

Can Thanksgiving Be Gluten-Free and Taste Delicious?
Can Thanksgiving Be Gluten-Free and Taste Delicious?
A few weeks back I posted a preliminary version of my Thanksgiving Meal plan. Perhaps you caught the mention there of a gluten free dressing I was contemplating. My son-in-law has a few health issues and is staying away from gluten as much as possible.

My original thought was that I would make two dressings and one of them would be gluten-free. Then as I looked at our menu, I decided to make the entire meal gluten-free. After all, what would it take to make dressing, gravy, and two pie crusts that were gluten-free? That’s all I needed because the rest of my menu is naturally gluten-free.
Continue reading Can Thanksgiving be Gluten-Free?

Helping Your Body Detox

Tips on  helping your body detox
Tips on helping your body detox
No matter what you do, in our modern world you are going to wind up with toxins in your body. So, I have assembled a list of tips for helping your body detox. Some of them are pretty easy. Perhaps you’re doing some already?

Helping Your Body Detox

  1. Go to bed by 10 pm every night and sleep in a dark room. Your body does the most repair between the hours of 10 pm and 1 am every night. Make sure you sleep in a dark room because even small amounts of light can disturb restful sleep.
  2. Upgrade your diet and cut out processed foods. Processed foods are devoid of nutrition, full of chemicals and rob your body of minerals. They clog your digestive tract and divert energy from healing to digestion. Also, consider going organic as much as possible to eliminate or reduce your pesticide exposure.
  3. Continue reading Helping Your Body Detox

Thank You for Reading!

Thank You
Thank You
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. What better time than this week to thank my readers? I sincerely appreciate all that have visited and commented on my blog.

I have a lot to be thankful for: my health, my husband, my family, my friends, my clients, and you – reader of my blog. Again – Thank You!

May you have a joyful and blessed Thanksgiving!

So, tell me in the comments …
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?