Hello! Thank you for being here. It is very powerful, responsible and necessary to educate yourself about the ingredients you welcome into your home and body. Here you will find information, explanation and external resources to continue your learning, self loving and protecting our natural world. Cleaning up never felt so good! At Meraki Farmacy we think it is a basic human right to have access to products that are safe, healthy, nourishing and affordable. We think environmental destruction and exploitation is not worth any price. We make good choices for our bodies, our families, and this planet we call home. We offer the basics in self care, the things we use the most often for the span of our lives: soap, toothpaste and deodorant. If you are looking for cosmetics and other skin regimen products please look for small, local businesses and crafts people. It takes a bit of effort to find them and the rewards are huge. There are so many amazing people with similar philosophies making varieties of products you can feel good about. When you find them, let me know so I can share their radness. If you are one of these makers, PLEASE contact me so I can include your creativity, passion and contact information as a resource and person to support!
Phlox here at the Farm
As I said I make the essentials. I make the things that we use at least once a day. I make the things that most people use as their basic self care regimen. Because we use these products every single day it is so very, very important that we use natural and safe ingredients. It is the incremental, daily, lifelong exposure to toxic, hormone disrupting materials that slowly and surely erodes our health. There is something called bioaccumulation; the increasing concentration of a substance as it moves up the food chain, or the human body. When we are exposed to teeny amounts of toxins in food AND air AND water AND self care products we are at risk. Our bodies absorb these hazardous substances at a rate that our body can not metabolize. Little amounts add up. Toxins used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are linked to diseases and disorders of the body and mind: irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson's disease, thyroid dysfunction, depression, infertility, diabetes, allergies, asthma, eczema, learning disabilities . . . . I am taking a breath. Are you breathing? Breathe. If you want more right now, I rather enjoy the startling reality check from 2007 (!) from Pamela Heyen here. My intention is to educate, advocate and create, not scare you. Unfortunately this is the reality of the world currently. But there are shifts. Big shifts. Educating yourself is the first step. Reclaim your safety, your power, your health. That is what we are here to do, even with soap and toothpaste and deodorant. Every little bit of saying NO to those harmful things adds up to a whole lot of YES to awareness, self love, advocating for others and transforming this way of making things. They will follow the money, right back to healthy, natural, respectful, nourishing products. We must. Whenever you start thinking your actions and choices don't add up, I hope you remember otherwise. Nothing is more vital than what you do.
Now that I have made my point (I can keep going .... ) let's break Meraki Makeries down! Please note a complete list of ingredients is found on the online store and on every product.
First up is the one and only Teeth Paste, a cleanser for a fresh mouth! In the Teeth Paste there is NO:
Instead I use * Organic mineral compounds *Coconut Oil *Certified organic essential oils
Let's review why we brush our teeth and what is needed from a product for healthy teeth and gums. We learn about the importance of brushing teeth as soon as we have some, right? We use toothpaste and brushes to remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of our teeth to prevent disease and decay. Reasonable! Oh, so very reasonable! But by what mechanisms? With what chemicals? To achieve the goal of removing bacteria and plaque to prevent disease and decay you need a few basic things that are readily, easily provided by natural, plant based materials. 1) Abrasive: you need something with a little grit, right? Something to scrub without damaging sensitive gums, something to hook those little buggers so you can spit them out! 2) Anti-bacterial: a substance that kills bacteria. 3) Something that holds it all together in a gel or paste so you can get it on a brush and into your mouth without too much effort or mess that also preferably doesn't taste awful or cause any harm. Am I missing anything? I mean, the essentials? The point of it? I don't think I am. Great! Should be pretty simple and easy! And at one point it probably was! As we moved into industrialization, seeking greater efficiency, lower costs and higher profits the crafting and making of, well, everything changed. Including our toothpaste. Bigger populations, ability to ship and transport materials across the globe also changed the way we make things. I am not saying these things are bad. I am saying that something is lost when we mass produce things. I am saying mass produced synthetic chemicals are not often recognizable to their natural counterparts. I am saying some things need to be made in smaller batches by actual people with natural and safe materials! I am saying that I don't think we need artificial sweetener like saccharin in toothpaste. Personally, I think the addition of flouride in toothpaste at this point is far more dangerous than it is beneficial. (I highly recommend you explore this with great critical thinking and discernment, while remembering our little talk about bioaccumulation). Harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate are not okay in my mouth or on my skin and hair (another chemical that is cheap, easy to use and found in allthethings). Thickening agents for that perfect only-could-be-toothpaste consistency? It's achieved by mass produced gums, colloids or synthetic cellulose. I am not convinced I need this in order to have healthy teeth and gums. I am not okay with being part of this massive machine of toxin producing, intense using of water, fossil fuel, plastics, synthetics that erodes me AND nature. Most certainly not when there are perfectly good - better than good! - alternatives.
Oral hygiene is serious. We all want a healthy beautiful smile. We don't want to have or be around bad breath. Root canals suck. We don't have to sacrifice our integrity or safety to achieve oral health. I offer you an alternative.
You will notice that Teeth Paste is not white. or fluffy. or in a squeeze tube. or like any commercial toothpaste you have used. The primary ingredient is DIATOMACEOUS EARTH, a gray/brown organic mineral compound that consists of diatoms, tiny skeletons of little, old plants!How rad is that?! Mostly silica, it provides that abrasive characteristic we need to dislodge debris and gently scrub our teeth and gums. It also is made of calcium and trace amounts of other elements the human body needs. It is why the color of the toothpaste is not white but burnt umber. Or chocolate-y grey. It kind of looks like soil. Take a look here. It may turn some people off, but listen, just keep reading . . . Come with me while I drop some science magic! We are going to revisit some Science 101. That bacteria and stuff in your mouth and gums has a positive chemical charge. The easiest way to remove them is with a negative charge. Guess what those little plant skeletons aka diatomaceous earth have?! YAS! A negative charge! Diatomaceous earth (DE) acts like a MAGNET and grabs that yuck and holds onto it, even all the way through your entire digestive tract! Some people eat a teaspoon of DE every day for this exact reason! Some of the nasties DE attracts and retains are:
Pesticide and drug deposits
I am just going to pause for a moment and let that all sink in ...... You are in love, aren't you?! DE also solidifies tooth enamel, prevents decay, inhibits bleeding gums and gum atrophy, successfully fights ulceration of bones and teeth, and remineralizes teeth with calcium! To be totally clear, DE is food grade and perfectly safe for human and animal ingestion! Wait, I can eat the teeth paste? YES! You don't have to! But you can. And I feel really good about that. I immediately think of kids when I make it. How weird is it to try and get kids really into toothpaste and how it's so important, in hopes they will form healthy oral care habits, and then warn them BUT DON'T SWALLOW IT! How weird is that? Why are we putting something in our mouth that we don't actually want to ingest? Remember, digestion starts in your mouth, with your saliva, as soon as something is in there. Seriously. So even if you aren't swallowing tooth paste, why are we putting anything in there that we would get a little nervous about ingesting twice a day? I find that suspect. So I made something that is not only completely safe but is incredibly beneficial for teeth and gum health. Other ingredients include coconut oil which is also antibacterial, antifungal and acts as that "something to hold it all together". Because that is one of the many medicines of coconut oil. I know many people who swear it fixes everything from a broken tail light to a broken marriage. But that's for another time! I use peppermint essential oil, trace minerals and a tiny bit of baking soda for some abrasive action. I have been using it for a year and my teeth are whiter, my gums are healthy and it's rather fun to brush with tiny plant skeletons!
Are you ready for more?! Let's take a look at my 1st born, The Pit Stick, a responsible deodorant! First of all, sweating is necessary. Any product that prevents your body from sweating is detrimental to your health. PERIOD. If marketing and advertisers got you thinking sweating is BAD or somehow makes you less of a human being, or specifically is un-ladly-like, oh, dear, please stay awhile! We will stop that violence against you right quick. Echem. Seriously, though. Sweating is how your body regulates your temperature. We don't want to stop perspiring. But, if you are concerned about that under arm smell that is a result of bacteria, genetics and nutrition, I got something for you. Before I get ahead of myself and tell you about the radness that is my little shvitz balm let's take a quick look at the nasty stuff that we have to SAY NO to if we want to protect our body after another quick BIO 101 review:
Your armpits are sensitive skin laying on top of a major entrance ramp of the lymphatic system highway. Anything that is going on your skin here has to know that, honor that and respect that! If you shave your underarms you may sometimes have nicks and cuts, direct pathway to the blood stream. I want to make sure anything going there is best for your skin, blood, breasts and lymphatic & endocrine systems!
Parabens are a group of preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus and yeast that are used in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products. Biopsies of breast tumors show some of these parabens present. Now, many will argue that there is not evidence that parabens cause cancer or promote tumor growth, but their presence makes me quite outraged, especially if and when there are safe alternatives. From the Breast Cancer Fund's website: "Parabens are estrogenmimickers (agonists), with the potency of the response being related to the chemical structure (Darbre, 2008). Parabens can bind to the cellular estrogen receptor (Routledge, 1998). They also increase the expression of many genes that are usually regulated by the natural estrogen estradiol and cause human breast tumor cells (MCF-7 cells) to grow and proliferate in vitro (Byford, 2002; Pugazhendhi, 2007). Nevertheless, parabens as a class do not fully mimic estradiol as regards these changes in cellular gene expression, nor are the effects of all parabens identical (Sadler, 2009)." The take away? Don't use things with parabens in them! The other scary item found in anti-perspirants is aluminum, which basically clogs your pores and prevents sweating. I trust you see why this is also not okay.
Instead I use *Plant oils and butters *Natural clays *Beeswax *Certified organic essential oils One of the natural clays I use in the Pit Stick is the lovely and luxurious kaolin clay which is very, very sweet and gentle on your skin. It is really just a lovely clay that feels smooth, sexy and wonderful :) I also use bentonite clay to help detox your skin, especially after you maybe have been using those scary things talked about above. Coconut oil, of course, holds it together with beeswax while both lend their antibacterial, antifungal medicine. Ah! I am geeking out, I really love it, believe in it and want all you babes and gents to stop using bad, bad stuff and fall in love with the Pit Stick!
Let's take a look at "soaps" vs. soap. I make SOAP which is made from fats (plant oils or animal fat), water and lye. If you have never looked into soap making, or haven't since you first watched Fight Club, look into it. It is so fascinating and there is a HUGE population of craftspeople that make incredible things! But get your essentials here! I use fats from plants - oils and butters. Often I infuse plant parts into the oils (this process takes all that medicine from the leaf or stem or flower and puts it into the oil). Most freequently I make infusions (really, really strong teas) from the organic herbs/flowers I grow here & mix with lye (necessary) to make a solution, Or coffee, coconut milk, beer or simply distilled water. I combine the plant oils with the lye solution and BAHM! We have soap! Most mass produced commercial soaps don't use any actual plant based oils and butters. It is cheaper and easier to mimic the plant characteristics and synthetically create the acids that are used in soap to clean, condition, produce lather, make a hard bar that lasts just long enough. Check out soap labels and commercials next time you are in that aisle or watching television. Do they ever call it soap? I don't think they do! Because technically what they make is not soap. It's detergent. It's "washings". Many ingredients used are effective at cleansing skin, but equally effective at drying, irritating and stripping natural oils from skin. Your skin is your biggest organ! It is the barrier between you and the world! Why are we treating it like a pair of muddy jeans or whatever is currently scary dirty in your laundry bin . . . . .
Soap making is truly an incredible craft and a complicated science. I am always learning. I highly recommend reading this here blog post from a wicked smart maker for a thorough and well put together explanation on many of the ingredients in commercial "soaps".
In the meraki farmacy soaps there are NO: sodium lauryl sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, artifical dyes or fragrances, harsh chemicals, alcohols, preservatives, synthetic acids, animal fats or animal testing. Each soap has its own recipe, but I use: *Plant oils and butters (see individual products) *Local VT honey *Organic flowers and herbs grown here! *Organic oats, coffee, herbal teas * Sodium hydroxide (lye)
I grow a lot of food, flowers and herbs organically here. Besides eating, preserving, admiring, making teas and medicine often I infuse the flowers and herbs in water or oil to use in soaps and salves. These infusions bring a whole nother level of radness to the Makeries! They are medicine, truly. And increases the overall Meraki, don't you think? Some examples of my plant friends are below. I use CALENDULA infusions because she is so pretty and provides great medicine *emollient *antiviral *antinflammatory *antiseptic *heals cuts, scrapes and rashes *exfoliates
I use MINT infusions and essential oil because it's superb at *relieving itchy skin *helping heal insect bites (and is equally awesome as an insect repellent) *strengthening skin * gently exfoliating *mild astringent
I use LEMON BALM infusions because bees love her, she smells divine and she is *anti-inflammatory *antibacterial *stimulates circulation *is soothing and toning to skin * is an antioxidant
Other plant friends who share their medicine for Meraki - yarrow, orange, hyssop, cinnamon, comfrey, rose hip, coconut, tea tree, lavender, poppy, coffee, oat, bergamot, rosemary, lemongrass. Lots more as we move through the seasons.
To go into all the oils and butters used in soap making would take a lifetime! As I have stated there are many wonderful soapmakers in the world, probably a lot more in your community than you may think. With brevity, I formulate recipes with different oils for their cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing, humectant (draws moisture from air), emollient (softens and smoothes skin) characteristics, and the ability to form a protective but breathable layer over the skin to prevent moisture loss (beeswax and olive oil provide this). For exfoliants I use organic coffee grounds, poppy seeds and rolled oats. All essential oils are certified organic and are proven to have antibacterial and antifungal activity, promote oral health and provide very subtle fragrance in the products. No actual fragrance oils are used.
On my process and intent I use certified organic whenever I can currently. My goal is to honor my principles while keeping the makeries affordable. As a small business owner I take my responsibilities seriously and look forward to a not-so-distant future where everything is organic, just as in the not-so-distant past. I do not use lard from animals, palm oil (you can read about why here), anything I can't easily pronounce or identify in original plant form. I never, ever test on animals or use products that have been. I superfat the soaps, which means I use a formula and recipe so that all the lye is saponified. This means there is no excess lye in the soap that can cause irritation and damage to your skin. I do use plastic containers for some products with every intention on finding and using sustainable containers as soon as possible. Unfortunately it is very hard to find other options that are made in America, which is another thing I try to do. Please trust I take this seriously and am working on solutions. In the meantime I use recyclable plastic and highly encourage you to reuse the jars/tubes. We will find a way to eradicate plastic!
When I make any Meraki product I first make sure I am grounded and in a loving place mentally, emotionally and that my body is very calm and centered. Because I make everything by hand I think this is really important. I play music, concentrate on the purpose and intent of what I am making and put all my personal merkai into each and every stick, bar and jar. When I harvest flowers and herbs used to make infusions I follow a ritual: I sit with the plant and hang out in joy and gratitude, ask permission to harvest and ask the plant how it would like to be used. Sometimes it wants to be a tea, sometimes it wants to be dried and stored for later, and sometimes it wants to be used in whatever way I determine is best. Every once in a while the plant would like to remain as is, outside and growing still. I honor whatever the plant wants. I say thank you and always leave a good portion of the plant to continue growing. I create every recipe. I create the labels, packaging, website, blog and social media posts. I grow the plants and herbs from organic seed using organic methods. My hands make and shape everything. I put my all into each aspect of this .... thing... in hopes of providing health, happiness, inspiration, information and joy in any way I can. I test every product before I make it available. I have 100% confidence in what I use, what I make and I use only Meraki products! Nothing is ever tested on animals and I am deeply committed to only using suppliers that adhere to the same principle. I can personally attest to the efficacy and safety of each product and will provide the opinions and experiences of folks that have used Merkai for you to read, of course. I can't wait to hear your feedback! I am always open to hearing what you need and want, am eager to make some personalized formulas and continue to expand what I provide, including baby specific formulas and liquid soaps for home and clothing cleaning.
I am very, very happy to have you here! Thank you so much! LOVE,
lioux & the plants
calendula (calendula officinalis)
lioux (boss ass babe officinalis)
lemon balm (melissa officinalis)
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