Product Review: Tom's of Maine toothpaste

So I decided to go ahead today and buy a tube of fluoride-free toothpaste. Yes, I know, finally. The information about the negative effects of fluoride on teeth are all over, and aside from that, there are less ingredients in Tom's of Maine. Less ingredients is a good thing, at least to me.

Options and availability

The first thing I did was look at the different options available at the store. There were 4 different types of ToM's toothpaste, and 4 of them contained fluoride. This was news to me, as I thought all of ToM's toothpaste was fluoride free, but alrighty then! The fluoride free option is fennel flavoured. Which I know I had heard of before, but didn't know what exactly it was. So in terms of fluoride-free options, my experience was 1/4 (25%) which isn't a great ratio.


To be honest, I love my minty toothpaste. There is just something classic and timeless about mint toothpaste. That being said, the only mint option of ToM's toothpaste was fluoridated, so I opted for a no on that one. Instead it came in fennel flavour. It honestly reminded me of black licorice and anise flavouring. Not a very strong or overwhelming taste, just average, but not what I expected. It also made my tongue go numb. I'd give it a 50% or so.

Clean feeling after brushing

The best part of this toothpaste was how clean my mouth felt afterwards. I go to the dentist regularly, and I brush and floss my teeth at home, but I have never felt like my mouth was so completely refreshed. Despite not having that minty after taste, it was as though my cheeks, gums, and tongue had just been created and never seen bacteria or food before. 100% on that aspect, for sure!

What about packaging?

As is often the case, the type of packaging of a product significantly impacts my overall opinion of the product. In this case, I was fairly impressed. The tube is made of metal which I believe is recyclable (based on Beth's assessment) as long as you remove the plastic cap and plastic threading that the cap screws onto. That sounds like a pain in the ass, but we'll see. The tube also came in a cardboard box, which was tossed in the recycling after I read the information. 75% on packaging, points gained for minimal plastic, points lost for extra packaging in the form of the box and the inconvenient recyclability.

Overall impression

Based on the percentages given, the average grade of this product is 62.5%. Which is better than a fail, but there is certainly room for improvement. This is true in terms of a few things. Specifically, there should be more flavour options in the fluoride-free category. Not everyone will appreciate fennel (myself included) and those who don't like it may not decide to suck it up in the face of a healthier toothpaste option. The second would be to remove the sodium lauryl sulfate from their product, as this chemical is "highly irritating and dangerous" according to the ACT report. SLS can cause serious irritation, skin erosion as well as being able to mimic estrogen.

That being said, it is a very cleansing toothpaste and I can say that the only other time my mouth feels as clean as it does with Tom's of Maine is right after I leave the dentists. I would recommend this to someone looking to improve their oral health without having to make their own toothpaste. It is a step towards healthier personal care without taking too huge a jump, and feels very much like mainstream toothpaste.

Have you ever used Tom's of Maine oral care products, or any other "natural" toothpastes? Share your oral care regime or your favourite products below.

Simple Steps To Following Your Dreams

A small trickle of water can wear away at a rock until there is a huge crevice becoming deeper by the day. It is for this reason that you should always do what you feel is right. Following your dreams and doing what you believe is right will be difficult in the beginning and will become easier the more you stay true. No matter what your goals or dreams are in life, it is always possible to move towards reaching them. It may seem completely out of reach, but by making conscious decision each and every day to move you in the right direction you bring those goals closer to your grasp with each decision and action you accomplish.

A few ways to keep your head on straight when heading towards your goals are:

- Pick one important action regarding your goal that you will accomplish today. No matter how big or small this action is, as long as it moves you towards your goal it is a good choice. This way you will know that each day when the moon is at its peak that you have done something to stay true to your goals and beliefs that day.

- Reassess your priorities regularly. By this I don't just mean write a list of things that are important to you, I want you to go a step further. Write out or think out why these things are important to you. If you have productivity as a priority, why is it important to you to become more productive? Is it simply because you might be able to make more money or look better to your supervisors, or is it deeper than that? Consider all the aspects, and be sure to follow your heart.

- Find a buddy. Another person who has a similar goal to you, who is working towards the same thing as you, or possibly someone who has attained what it is that you are reaching for. Stay honest with this person and hold them to the same standard. By having someone who is on the same path as you, or who has walked that path previously, you open the lines of communication. You make it easier to follow the path because you won't be walking it alone.

Your dreams can be as big as you can imagine them, and you can still attain them. It takes some work, some patience, and the knowledge that this dream will move you one step closer to self-satisfaction. Every single action you accomplish is an action towards personal success. Only you can measure your personal success, so take the leap and start working towards that dream.

Go one step backwards in that if you aren't ready to take and make big actions. Using just your words and thought, start thinking as if you were following your dream. If your dream is to be a doctor, start learning everything you can about health and related topics. Become an expert, and be able to talk freely and openly about the knowledge you have. If your dream is to become a construction worker, start thinking like one and getting little bits of experience in it by doing your own home repairs and offering to help those you know with their minor repairs.

By thinking positively as though you are following your dream, you are mentally setting yourself up for success. Positive thinking is one important part of being able to feel confident in making life changes, no matter how minor or drastic. Keep the level of optimism above the average no matter who you talk to, they will catch your positivity and carry it with them as well.

Love what you do, and do what you love. At least part of your time in each day should be spent doing something that has real value to you. Find what that is, and follow it. You will never regret it.
Every dream has a reality, have you started making yours?

Movie Day: Yogi Bear

E received the movie Yogi Bear from M's parents as an Easter gift. My initial thoughts were 'great! a kids movie that isn't based on looks, shape, and can focus on nature and a funny (yet stupid) bear'. Yogi Bear is a classic kids character, along with Boo-Boo. A pair of brown bears that can talk, Yogi is *obsessed* with stealing picnic baskets. I used to watch the cartoon on the television back in my kid days, and I remember thoroughly enjoying that show.

I have now watched the movie twice, and have formulated a few thoughts about this movie that I think are important to list for various reasons.

1. There is only one female character. This bothered me at first, and to tell the truth it still kind of grates. On the flip side though, it is entirely thanks to her that the conflict was resolved. If Rachel (female character) had not been there videotaping for a documentary, they never would have been able to knock the mayor down and show the people of that city what a corrupt leader he was. So although there was only one female, she was super important.

2. Lots of nature focus. There is a clear depiction of the importance of nature in the world today, including and especially in big cities. It's easy to lose focus on nature when you don't see it around you, but having a huge national park nearby can keep people grounded and appreciative of the real world as well as the industrialized world.

3. It's okay to be different and be yourself. Yogi Bear is known as a different sort of bear. He can talk and think, and plan. His plans might not always work, but he keeps trying anyways. Perseverance is one of his main qualities no matter how many failures he experiences. Ranger Smith is also a different sort, very nature based and eco-nerdy. And he's okay with that! He is attracted to Rachel because she is much like him, and they have many things in common that are different from the norm. Ranger Jones is different as well, and while he tries to fit in and fast-track his way to success, he ends up seeing the error in his ways and follows his heart to do what is best in the end.

This movie is a lot of fun, a few silly laughs, and some horribly over-acted characterizations. But it stands out as a true nature film where they showcase the importance of honesty, nature, and friendship. I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys children's movies, especially those cartoons from 20 odd years ago made into live-action movies. Important lessons in movies are hard to find in this day and age, and Yogi Bear definitely nails a few of them.

This review was completely of my own opinion. The links in this review are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase this movie, a portion of the proceeds will go to keeping SimplyGreen afloat. I recommend searching second hand stores and used movie shops first though. Thank you for your support!

Weight Does Not Equal Perfection

I’m finding myself getting very irritable of late. Like I’m stuck stationary when I want to be moving forward. I stopped writing for almost an entire week, and have been feeling kind of stuck. This is very hard to break through, and despite being able to talk at length with people about the things that are on my mind, I haven’t been able to put it into writing. I’m not really sure why exactly; maybe I was piling too much freelancing on my plate. I have regained some semblance of control over that and allowed myself to take a break over the weekend. I’m feeling much better now about writing and the flow of words, and I plan on making sure that this lesson stays forefront in my mind.
There was a whole different source of frustration for me fairly recently, and I did know that it would happen. Being around people who are so vastly different from me in almost every way is very challenging and emotionally draining. It takes a lot of effort not to snap or freak out about things that I cannot control. It’s not that these people are bad people, they are just different from myself and I am pretty firmly set in my ways and my thoughts.
There was also the rampant focus on weight in terms of how it impacts physical appearance. There is so much more to a person’s appearance than just their weight. Every compliment that was shared during the weekend had relevance to that person’s weight and/or how much weight they had lost. Sure, some people need to lose weight, but it’s not a matter of numbers or girth, it’s a matter of health. The focus being on just size is frustrating and aggravating.
I once believed that to be considered a healthy weight, you had to be a size 6 or less. Now I’m sitting comfortably in a size 10 (or so) and I’ve never felt healthier. Sure I have a little bit of weight on my hips, legs, and stomach, whatever. I eat pretty much whatever I want and don’t fluctuate in weight. I eat healthy foods, and I try to get in a little bit of activity every day. Some days are better than others, but I don’t beat myself up over it. If I’m feeling particularly ‘bleh’ then I know it’s either time to eat some food, or time to get my body moving.
I don’t beat myself up about having any extra weight either. It’s healthy to have a little bit of flub. It helps keep me warm (that was certainly a huge challenge when I was size 3-6) and if I get sick I don’t worry about eating, I can focus on relaxing and healing. Even after I got my wisdom teeth removed, I had lost about 10-15 pounds. Once my mouth felt better and I could eat properly again, I ate whatever I wanted and my weight went right back up to where it was. No muss, no fuss. This is where my body wants to be, so why should I fight it? Just to fit within someone’s ideal of what a perfect woman looks like? No thanks. I’m perfect the way I am, because I am perfectly Laura. Why would I want to be anyone else?
Fighting with self-image is a huge challenge that many girls, women, and even boys and men go through. For what? So that companies make money trying to tell you that you will feel better about yourself if you lost 5 more pounds, if you fit into that lower size, if you buy this, buy that. F*ck it! Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and I stand by that. Take the focus off of appearances, and worry more about actions and words. Take the focus off of being “beautiful” and “pretty” and focus more on being “confident” and “comfortable” with yourself, your children, your family and your friends.
When E comes to me in the mornings after she’s gotten herself dressed, she asks me: “Mommy, do I look beautiful?” and I always reply “You look very comfortable and ready for your day.” She smiles and gives me a hug. Because being comfortable and ready for your day is more important that being fancy, stylish and pretty. Being dressed to be able to take on your day and show it that you’re the boss is both essential and freeing. When you don’t have to worry about how you look beyond being appropriately clothed, you have more time to focus on what really matters, like play, work, fun, and learning.
In the morning when I get dressed, I choose clothes that are comfortable. Always. If I’m not going to be comfortable in my clothing, I won’t be able to focus on my daughter, my wife, my job or my friends. I will be too busy worrying about if there are wrinkles in my clothing, or how much I have that this shirt chafes, or how much I’m going to need to soak my feet at night after wearing a horrid pair of shoes all day. Why bother? There are so many more important things in life to experience, so many positive things, to worry about focusing on something as silly as looking perfect. Because perfect is different to everyone, and just because the magazine or advertisements say that you’ll be perfect in a size 0 doesn’t mean you will be.
Feel confident in your own body, because it is perfect for you. What else can you ask for?