Super Simple Toothpaste

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No, that is not a jar of some sort of weird white ketchup–it is a jar of my homemade toothpaste, which uses four simple, non-toxic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, especially if you’ve tried out my no-bake mint chocolate pie.

Most commercial brand toothpastes contain questionable ingredients such as fluoride, which is a particular concern for those with children, who often swallow a certain amount of toothpaste when learning to brush. For a fascinating–and disturbing–article on the transformation of fluoride from a toxic-waste problem to a health boon, check out this article put out by the Weston A. Price Foundation. It’s a tale of industry and academic collusion to find a productive use for fluoride, a by-product of aluminum processing.

Even fluoride-free toothpastes can contain flavorings and dies that aren’t sufficiently tested for safety. So-called natural toothpastes such as Earthpaste and Uncle Tom’s of Maine are better options than standard commercial brands, but they are quite expensive.

My personal solution to the toothpaste issue is to make my own using the following four ingredients:

  • Aluminum-free baking soda
  • Celtic sea salt (or another higher-end salt)
  • Filtered water
  • Peppermint extract

Simply combine 4 parts baking soda with 1 part salt, add just enough water to turn pasty while stirring up the mixture, then add a few drops of peppermint extract and stir one more time to distribute the flavor. A drop or two of essential oil (peppermint or lemon work well) can be used in place of the peppermint extract, you’ll just have to be more careful about not swallowing the toothpaste since most essential oils are not intended for ingestion.

The reason I use a higher-end salt for my toothpaste (and for flavoring my food) is because the cheaper sea salts are often harvested from more polluted parts of the ocean, meaning they can contain trace amounts of toxins in them–or so I’ve read. Since salt doesn’t get used up very quickly, I don’t mind spending a higher price for higher quality.

Compared to $3-4 per tube for natural commercial toothpastes, this toothpaste costs just pennies to make and can be mixed up in a matter of minutes. I prepare a new batch about once each month and have never had a problem with bacterial growth even though I dip my toothbrush straight into the jar. A salt and baking soda mixture isn’t exactly the sort of environment in which microorganisms thrive 🙂

Note that this toothpaste is not going to be the smooth, gelled toothpaste you’re used to from commercial manufacturers. It will be grittier and grainier but it’s SO incredibly cheap and easy that I’ve never minded. The mangy munchkin loves it, and although I’m trying to teach her to spit it out rather than swallow it, if she does ingest a small amount–even if she ingests the whole kernel-sized amount I put on her brush–I have nothing to worry about!

 

No-Bake Mint Chocolate Pie

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This dessert was such a hit yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner that I decided to share it with everyone in time for Christmas, when it would make a great addition to holiday traditions. Sprinkle this little piece of delectable pie with some crushed candy canes and you’ve got yourself a festive treat that’s actually pretty good for you!

I’m proud of this pie because it’s my own creation, whereas many of my other recipes are modifications of meals I’ve come across elsewhere. The amounts in the recipe below are approximations since I’ve never actually measured anything when making it:

  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bar dark chocolate or about 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 18 mint-chocolate sandwich cookies (I use Newman-O’s)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

To make the crust, crush the sandwich cookies and mix with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish. For the filling, combine the first four ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the filling onto the crust and refrigerate for several hours until the filling is firm. It’s THAT easy!

Not only is it easy, it’s pretty healthy as far as desserts go. In my post on chocolate brain pudding, I mention the health benefits of dark chocolate and coconut. If you really want to make this pie good for you, skip the crust and pour the filling on its own into a pie dish; you’ll eliminate the refined sugar and carbs found in the cookie crust. Another alternative would be to cut the number of cookies in half, in which case you’d have less of a crust and more of a light cookie crumble embedded in the pie; or simply sprinkle a handful of crushed cookies on top of the pie as a decoration. There are lots of possibilities!