An honest review of non-toxic dishwashing soap

This is going to be an honest review of the different ingredients and recipes I’ve tried and used to clean our dishes.

I have to say dishwashing soap, whether in liquid form for handwashing or as tabs for the dishwasher, has been one of the MOST difficult products to replace on this non-toxic lifestyle journey.

You’ll notice these are all DIY or single-ingredient options. I could have explored store-bought products but, in all honesty, a lot of them have ingredients I don’t recognize, are expensive and just bring unnecessary extra packaging into our home.

More and more, I am seeing that my non-toxic journey is not only about reducing toxic exposure but also about lowering our environmental impact, living a minimalist lifestyle and keeping things all-around simple.

Our current dishwashing products look like this:

I’m happy for the most part with these products. Except, I was finding the Castile soap to be a more expensive option and it runs out quickly so I was finding myself buying bottles often. (Hello, plastic waste!) Plus, it’s not super effective at cutting grease.

Some of the challenges I still struggle with are:

  • Getting lip balm stains off glasses
  • Cleaning bowls that have dried oatmeal in them
  • Ridding dried up smoothie from our cups

So this past weekend, in an effort to address these challenges, and to step it up by reducing the ingredients I use and plastic bottles making their way into our cupboards, I started experimenting with washing soda and soap nuts (AKA soap berries).

Almost right away, I regretted making the washing soda. Turns out, it is super caustic and can irritate your lungs and skin. If using, you need to wear gloves to avoid making contact with it. No thanks.

The washing soda won’t go to waste, however. I do plan on testing it out to whiten laundry and in certain bathroom cleaning products.

But I’ve been super impressed with soap nuts. I already loved them for doing laundry but hadn’t thought about trying them for dishwashing. I ended up making the more complex recipe for using soap nuts, which involved boiling 10-12 nuts for an hour and making liquid. Next time, I plan on simply leaving the nuts in a mason jar filled with water and infusing overnight. Even less work!

So far, I tried the soap nuts liquid in the dishwasher and it worked as well as the dishtabs I was making. Unfortunately, it did not conquer the three challenges…

I also tried it to hand wash dishes with some added grapefruit essential oil to it. It worked well and was WAY more effective at cutting grease than the Castile soap. So I think I found my cheaper, more environmental option to Castile soap for liquid dishwashing.

(Oh, and I used some of the soap nuts liquid with extra water and essential oils to wash our floors. It made an amazing lather and worked great!)

So no need to say it but… I’m going nuts for soap nuts. Literally, folks.

I will keep trying to find the solution to the famous three challenges but, in the meantime, I will keep rinsing or soaking grimy dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I will also keep rewashing those 2-3 items that aren’t as clean as I like them. All in all, it’s still an extremely SMALL PRICE to pay for the health of my family and of the environment.

What are your favourite non-toxic dishwashing products and ingredients?


The Non-Toxic Bath

My favourite self-care activity is taking a super long, super hot bath. I literally stay in there for hours…

But the last thing I want to be doing is soaking in a bunch of synthetic chemicals that have carcinogenic, neurotoxic or hormorne-disrupting properties. Especially when my pores are wide open from the heat.

Sometimes, I’ll simply take a bath in water (seriously!). Other times, I’ll whip up one of the following recipes.

Espom + baking soda soak


  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda


Mix both ingredients in bath until dissolved

Fizzing bath bombs


  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup fractionated coconut oil
  • 8–10 drops of your favourite essential oil(s)


  1. Place citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch and oil in a bowl.
  2. Add 8–10 drops of the essential oil or blend of choice.
  3. Mix well with spoon until soft dough is formed. It should have the consistency of damp sand. Note: If the mixture is too wet, try adding a little more baking soda and cornstarch until consistency is correct. 
  4. At this point, you may add food coloring, dried herbs, or flower petals to mixture. 
  5. Place mixture in silicone molds. Let sit 24 hours before removing from mold.
  6. To use, drop in tub or shower and allow to dissolve.


Colourful bath bombs


  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 10–20 drops essential oil of choice
  • 100% pure witch hazel in spray bottle
  • Mold (Silicone or metal)
  • Natural coloring such as Mica


  1. In a large bowl, combine baking soda and citric acid. 
  2. Add ½ teaspoon natural coloring and mix well. 
  3. Stir in essential oils. 
  4. Spray the entire surface of the mix with witch hazel and mix with hands. Continue to spray and mix rapidly until the mixture holds together. 
  5. Quickly press the mixture into desired mold, making sure it is firmly packed. Let mixture set in mold for 20–30 seconds. Gently tap the mold to release bath bombs. 
  6. Let dry for 30 minutes or until they are firm and do not fall apart.


Essential oil bubble bath


  • 1 cup unscented castile soap
  • ½ cup vegetable glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 15 drops essential oil(s) 


  1. Combine castile soap, glycerin, and water into glass bowl.
  2. Add essential oils.
  3. Stir until well combined.
  4. Pour into glass container.
  5. To use, add ¼–½ cup of the essential oil bubble bath mixture to warm, running bath water.


Soap satchels


  • 4 small burlap bags
  • 1 natural soap bar of choice, grated
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned oats


  1. Place grated soap and old-fashioned oats into a small bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Divide mixture equally into burlap bags.
  3. When showering or washing hands, wet the burlap satchel and use as a loofah or hand exfoliator. Add a drop of grapefruit or wild orange for uplifting properties. 


Epsom salt bath


  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup fractionated coconut oil
  • 10 drops essential oil(s)


  1. Add essential oils to Epsom salt and fractionated coconut oil and stir together.
  2. Draw a warm bath and add ¼–½ cup of the mixture to the tub.


What is your favourite non-toxic bath recipe?


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Nutrition and non-toxic living

Although non-toxic living is my jam, I talk A LOT about food.

This might seem incongruent but, IMO, it goes hand in hand. You see, a good portion of our toxic exposure comes from the foods we eat. That could be from conventionally grown produce that is covered in pesticide-residue or packaged foods filled with additives.

You might think:

  • The pesticide amounts are so minute
  • Our bodies are designed to detoxify/eliminate bad stuff
  • It’s safe; otherwise, why would they sell it?

But really, who knows for sure?!

The lawsuits against a very large offender continue to this day…

The problem I see is that most of us have NO IDEA how well our bodies are metabolizing these toxins. Are you 100% confident your kidneys, liver, GI tract and skin are running optimally? I sure ain’t.

The more I research this area, the more I see our body leaves clues and we need to pay better attention to them. And the more I believe our detoxification + eliminative pathways are in need of more support.

Here are three ways to love on your detox organs:

  • Eat organic: one of the best things you can do is avoid conventionally grown food in the first place. I realize this is not realistic for all of us… it’s not always available and can be cost-prohibitive. Just do your best. If it has a thick peel, like melons or avocados, it’s usually not worth spending the extra buck.
  • Up your fruit intake: fruits are some of the most astringent and hydrating foods on the planet. They will help cleanse out your lymphatic system, which is basically your body’s sewage system. You want to make sure it’s not clogged up. Here are some of my favourites.
  • Use essential oils: essential oils are a simple and effective way to help move toxins out of the body and support your cleansing organs. My whole passion for oils and the reason I became an advocate + educator stems from a detoxification blend called Zendocrine I purchased for my son. I am currently obsessed with Juniper Berry to support my kidneys. I shop my oils here.
  • Rebuild with herbs: you can be rebounding to move your lymph or exercising to sweat out the toxins but if your eliminative pathways are blocked, you won’t get far. Herbs are a great way to support kidneys, liver, GI tract and any system in your body. Be sure to always check with your health practitioner before you begin using herbs if you have a medical condition, are on medications or have any concerns.

So now you better understand the two sides of non-toxic living: reducing your toxic exposure AND supporting your body’s natural elimination processes.

Got questions? Comment below.


PS – do you want to learn more about non-toxic living and the different ways you can support your health naturally? Make sure to join my email list to receive valuable information every two months.

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Essential oils and pets

Essential oils and pets

If you’re in my Rustik Health Education and Promos Facebook group, you might have read my post about the time I sprayed my outdoor cat with doTERRA TerraShield essential oil blend to help repel ticks (and insects in general).

At the time, I didn’t know the blend included catnip… so minutes after I sprayed “Kitterson”, he was licking himself all over! That was a fail.

As an essential oils educator, one of the top questions I get asked is if oils are safe to use around pets. Just Google the topic and you’ll find TONS of controversy and opposing opinions on this.

Here are my favourite sources on the topic to help you form your own opinion.

What a famed aromatherapist says…

British aromatherapist Robert Tisserand is said to have renewed interest in essentials oil when he published his book The Art of Aromatherapy in 1977. He has since written an authoritative book on essential oils safety, done many lectures and presentations, and written multiple research articles.

On his website, Robert Tisserand addresses the issue of essential oils and pets. He focuses specifically on cats, given cats almost completely lack important liver enzymes which support the metabolism of many essential oil constituents. Because of this, cats are at the most theoretical risk of toxicity (it’s much less of an issue with dogs). That being said, he believes a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat.

A small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat.

What scientific research says…

Ok, well… there isn’t a ton of research on essential oils and pet safety, and that is part of the issue. But one holistic British veterinarian did some great investigating and I recommend you read the article.

Here are the main takeaways I got from it:

  • In cases where toxicity was observed, applications were 5 – 10 times more concentrated than usual.
  • Given the lack of enzymes, one must consider the dose and frequency of essential use with cats to allow for proper metabolism.
  • The quality of the essential oils used matters.

There are a few oils that make the list as contraindicated for cats – but truly remain listed as contraindicated for almost all of the aromatherapy world. 

However, there are a few oils you would definitely want to avoid using around pets but these are the same oils you want to avoid yourself: Bitter Almond, Boldo, Calamus, Garlic, Horseradish, Mustard, Sassafras, Wormseed (Chemopodium), and Pennyroyal.

What the largest essential oils company says…

I know what you’re going to say.

Of course the largest essential oils company in the world is going to say oils are safe to use around pets. They want to sell more oils. And to that I would say the largest essential oils company in the world would not have become so if it was harming pets left, right and center 😉

Here is a great one-pager from doTERRA with tips on using essential oils with animals.

Do you use essential oils around your pets?


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Dehydrated juice pulp crackers

Hassle-free dehydrated crackers

Since upgrading to a better juicer, I am obsessed with making dehydrated crackers from the dry left-over pulp. I used to be intimidated by this but I gave it a shot, was quite successful and eventually developed my own recipes.

And by “developed my own recipes”, I mean I looked at different recipes online, got inspired and just wing it each time… I literally mix and match random ingredients, and eyeball the quantities.

Combine any of the following in a bowl:

  • Dry fruit and vegetable pulp (mostly vegetable)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dab of hot sauce
  • Sprinkle of nutritional yeast
  • Drizzle of tamari sauce
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, etc.)

Then, I flatten the mixture with my hands on parchment paper. I pop the tray back into the dehydrator and set the machine to 118F. I leave it for 4 hours, flip the cracker and then dehydrate for another 4 hours.

They don’t really look appetizing but they are a great replacement for the processed corn chips I used to dip in hummus or guacamole. Plus, they are raw vegan approved 😉

Do you have any dehydrator cracker ingredient ideas for me?


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Best summer detox foods

It’s summer up here in Canada so fresh fruit is the only food on my mind! When the sun is scorching, what better food to bite into than ripe, sweet and juicy fruit of any kind…

In general, fruit pack a powerful detox punch. Here are 3 fruits to focus on if you are looking to help your body cleanse and detox:


Apparently, the “grape detox diet” is a thing. You’ll find all sorts of stories about it by researching online. It usually calls for only eating grapes for extended periods of time (AKA a mono-diet).

Eating only one fruit in this fashion can certainly help detoxify by virtue of removing a huge burden from the digestive process. At this point, I can’t see myself trying or advocating a grape-only diet but I totally see why it’s a worthwhile indulgence.

Grapes are an excellent source of flavonoids and resveratrol, which support cardiovascular health, have antioxidant activity and demonstrate some anticancer effects.

Tip: grapes are often a heavily-sprayed crop. Although more expensive, it is totally worth buying organic if you have access and to truly support detoxification.


Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries… there are so many good things to say about all the different types of berries!

The dark-coloured berries are renowned for their super high antioxidant levels. Did you know that, according to ayurvedic tradition, the red-hued berries are powerful lymph movers?

“The primary function of the lymph is to remove cellular waste while circulating the immune system throughout the body.” (Source)

Unlike the blood, there is no “pump” in our bodies to circulate the lymph. So on top of deep breathing, rebounding, drinking plenty of water and etc., make sure you are consuming the right foods!


This is definitely the fruit of the season. Is there anything more refreshing than watermelon on a blistering summer day?!

Since getting a new juicer for my birthday, I’ve been juicing watermelon every morning and consuming a good 20 ounces. It is full of pure water to help you re-hydrate, contains an important antioxidant called lycopene and is also a powerful diuretic.

Natural, food or herb-based diuretics are valuable detoxification tools as they help the kidneys filter and pass more urine. This is one of the ways you remove waste products and excess fluid from your body.

Tip: add a drop of doTERRA lime essential oil for extra detoxifying power.

What is your favourite summer fruit?


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How essential oils work

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation or list of how essential oils work for the mind or in the body. But it gives you a general idea of what these amazing plant essences can do for you!

Here are 2 easy-to-remember ways essential oils work to positively impact your health:

Olfactory System

The most simple and popular way to use essential oils is by inhaling its beautiful scent. Okay, some of them don’t smell that great…

But remember! Regardless of what you think of the smell, that powerful aromatic compound is passing through your nasal cavity, getting picked up by your olfactory receptor sites and directly affecting the limbic area of your brain.

That means, you can use essential oils to positively impact your mood, enhance your memory and help manage your emotions. I love diffusing a citrus oil in the morning to take the edge off grumpy people and then a woodsy oil in the evening to wind down before bedtime.

Even though you’re just breathing it in, some of the essential oil components also get into your blood stream through the small capillaries in your lungs.

Passive absorption

Another way to use essential oils is topically. Essential oils are teeny, tiny molecules that easily pass through your skin. Some are said to even be able to pass through your blood-brain barrier!

They are so easily absorbed that your body doesn’t need to break down, convert or take up any energy to use them.

Although essential oils will make their way throughout the body, applying them topically can help you target a particular area of interest. I love rubbing them on my neck when I’m feeling tension, on my tummy when it’s causing issues or on my joints when they are sore.

What’s your favourite way to use essential oils?


Ready to start using essential oils as part of your lifestyle? Learn more.

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Super green and clean laundry routine

IMO, the easiest place in your home to eliminate toxic chemicals is your laundry room. And, it really doesn’t have to be complicated at all!

I literally only use three simple ingredients: soap nuts, vinegar and doTERRA Purify essential oil. No mixing required! Plus, two tools: a muslin bag to hold the soap nuts and dryer balls. Occasionally, I will use doTERRA OnGuard cleaner concentrate to remove tough stains.

To wash, put 4-5 soap nuts in the muslin bag and put 4-5 drops of essential oil on the bag. Throw this in the washing machine tub with your dirty clothes. If using the concentrate, apply to stains as soon as possible after they happen and let sit at least an hour before washing.

To dry, put 4-5 drops of essential oil on each dryer ball and throw into the dryer tub with your wet laundry. And that’s it, folks! The smell will be super light and clean.

The bottle of essential oil lasts me about two months and I’m only halfway through the 1 KG soap nuts bag I bought 6 months ago. I’ve had the dryer balls a good two years and they are getting quite tired… Buy the biggest tub of vinegar you can find and it will last you a few months.

So not only is this the purest way to do your laundry (and very minimalistic!), it’s also super cost-effective. You don’t have to worry about any of these products touching your skin or going into the earth.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it 🙂


PS – If you need help getting the essential oil and concentrate, send me an email or comment below and I’ll hook you up.

My natural home birth

My natural health obsession reached a peak when I became pregnant with my son. I was well on my way before then but the responsibility of creating another human being really kicked it up a few notches!

I knew right from the get-go I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital setting unless there was some sort of medical emergency that required it. And my health philosophy is all about being super (and borderline obsessively) proactive to avoid medical emergencies. When it comes to my health, I never leave anything to chance.

An acquaintance of mine that had gone through a couple of natural home births recommended I start drinking red raspberry leaf tea even before I became pregnant to improve fertility and especially during pregnancy to strengthen my uterus. I did this regularly before and throughout my pregnancy. In doing your research on this herb, you’ll see that conventional medicine says it can cause miscarriage in the first three months. If you read carefully, the research tested the isolated active component and not the whole herb. Be aware and do what feels comfortable and safe for you.

From a food standpoint, I avoided the usual list to steer clear of but on top of that I completely eliminated coffee and even chocolate. My boy didn’t even get chocolate cake on his first birthday… I made him “chocolate cake” using carob. I told you I was crazy right? I’m a lot more nutritionally lax with my son nowadays but it was really important for me to get him started right. I was also drinking a lot of fresh, homemade green juices.

It goes without saying I went the midwife route. I also hired a doula and took hypno-birthing classes. These are non-negotiable in my opinion. I have no doubt that the affirmations and visualization I learned to do through hypno-birthing were a big factor in my success and positive birth experience. I actually hate that as women we’ve been made to feel disempowered and scared of our own bodies when it comes to birthing. These exercises helped me ignore the fear-mongering that surrounded me.

In addition to mental exercise, physical exercise was a huge part of my pregnancy. I was doing spinning classes into my 8th month and my last gym workout was 4 days before I gave birth. I worked with the amazing Sarah Zahab to get the best pregnancy workout for my needs. I also religiously did my Kegels and deep squat stretches. Giving birth was probably the toughest workout I ever did and staying in shape throughout pregnancy was definitely one of the best decisions I could have made.

I really wish someone would have introduced me to the power of essential oils back then. High-quality mandarin and lavender are amazing health and mood supports during pregnancy. I’m certain I could’ve reduced a lot of discomfort with oils and I can just imagine how amazing it would have been to have a diffuser going during labour.

I rarely go into detail about how wonderful and empowering my birthing story was because I know that’s not everyone’s experience. However, I decided to share some of the counter-culture things I did to help others who want to follow this path and hopefully make a small impact in the birthing experience of these women.

We are STRONG. We are POWERFUL. We were MADE TO DO THIS. Please don’t ever let anyone take that belief away from you…

Sounds crazy (and by now you know I am crazy!) but I would totally give birth again tomorrow. Unfortunately, having another baby just wasn’t in the cards for me.

I would absolutely love to hear the positive home birth stories of other women! Feel free to share with us in the comments below and include any unconventional things you might have done during your pregnancy 🙂


My jade roller experience

I should first mention that I’ve had a love affair with jade for a long time. The colour is amazing and I’ve been lucky to be gifted beautiful jade jewelry over the years.

I’m not big into gemstones and crystals but I vaguely knew it had powerful healing properties. When I heard about jade rollers, I decided to take a deeper look. Turns out, jade is considered the stone of eternal youth. That statement in itself was enough to capture my attention!

The whole premise behind the jade roller is to apply pressure up and out across different areas of your face to increase circulation and lymph flow, smooth out wrinkles and give your skin a nice glow. It doesn’t take much more than two minutes to do so and I can attest to the glow!

To use, keep your jade roller in the freezer. The cooling sensation feels nice and can also help with any puffiness you may be experiencing. Prepare your skin by washing it and then applying a natural oil. I make my own skin oil and I’ve posted a couple of recipes here and here.

I highly recommend you use only the BEST essential oils as essential oils easily penetrate the skin and many can go into your cells… plus, the jade roller will further help enhance absorption. For good health and longevity, it’s extremely important for you to keep your cells healthy and toxin-free as much as realistically possible. Reach out to me to get started with the best essential oils and find out more here.

Wash your jade roller with mild and all-natural soap after each use, then put back in the freezer. And voilà! Repeat daily, morning and night.

Have you tried jade rolling yet?