Natural personal-care line founder, Shannon Drake shares the dirt on ingredients to watch out for in toothpaste to keep your pearly whites white, and your body safe from toxins 

Have you ever read the ingredients in your toothpaste? Scary right? Founder, chief beautifucication officer and lead dirty girl Shannon Drake will help guide you  through the top toothpaste ingredients to look out for: the good, the bad and the ugly! She developed this super-natural line The Dirt, only four years ago, and swaps out only all-natural ingredients completely natural and free of gluten, soy, corn and grain. Drake invented the first ever MCT (coconut oil) based toothpaste and top selling clay toothpowder, and has developed a cult following accross the country and beyond.
"I want to change our morning routine into a self care ritual. We are gifted these amazing human bodies for our short trip around the sun, when we take care of ourselves we are showing our appreciation for this amazing opportunity we are given. By changing our routines into a self care ritual we are fundamentally changing our experience of reality into one based around a pleasurable, luxurious, engaged human experience. As a long time practitioner of the paleo lifestyle I noticed  something about my favorite natural products... they were pretty lame. Many used ingredients that were highly processed, questionably safe and just seemed 'green washed'. I felt really let down," explains Drake, "Using the principals of the paleo lifestyle; a 'whole foods' life style based on clean eating and high nutrients I drew inspiration from my passion for studying traditional beauty secrets from around the world to craft high quality, beautiful and natural products for women, men and kids too."

Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly on toothpaste and what to look out for:

The Good

Coconut Oil - Everyone’s favorite oil, it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and helps to balance and moisturize the delicate skin on the mouth protecting against sores and dry mouth.

Bentonite Clay - An amazing edible clay that has been used to detoxify the body for hundreds of years!, It is a mild abrasive and is gentle on teeth.

Myrrh - Used since ancient times to heal and protect the gums, it is Anti-bacterial and naturally heals wounds and sores of the mouth like canker sores.

Clove - Is a natural toothache aide, a little bit of close will not only numb tooth pain but also helps to fight any infection that may be causing the pain.

The Bad

Artificial sweetener - Aspartame, saccharin, Sucralose, mother nature didn’t make these and you should avoid them in your toothpaste. They are associated with many chronic diseases like shrinkage of the thymus gland, reduced growth rate, dementia, some cancers and immune diseases. These sweeteners are in a lot of processed foods so many people already get a high dose of these sweeteners. They are easily avoided in toothpaste.

Artificial preservatives - Artificial preservatives can cause inflammation in some individuals, also some people have bad reactions to preservatives and may get dry chapped lips or break outs from these preservatives touching their lips during brushing.

The Ugly

Plastic Microbeads - Plastic is ruining our planet and while it may be hard to avoid completely it is easily avoided as an ingredient in toothpaste. sparkly bits, flecks or white dots clue you into plastic micro beads in your paste. Not only do these tiny beads get into our water system and poison fish but they also can wedge themselves in-between your teeth and gums, opening up space where bacteria can plaque can settle.

Propylene glycol -  When derived from petroleum Propylene glycol is an artificial substance the is not optimal for your system.

Triclosan - Used as an anti-bacterial agent triclosan kills not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria in your mouth. It also gets into the water system and kills microscopic organisms that are essential to the eco system. It was developed to be a pesticide and has been tied to endocrine disruption, thyroid disorders and one study showed it gave mice fetal bone disorder. People who use Triclosan toothpastes have been shown to have it in their urine, proving that although we spit out our toothpaste, the chemical ingredients still get into our system.

Click here to see our video with Shannon explaining the good, the bad and the ugly on toothpaste


Shannon's natural must-have solutions to keep your mouth minty fresh, teeth pearly white 

Oil Pulling Mouthwash - $40

Why yes, you read that right - this excellent elixir is both an oil pull and a mouthwash. Fancy a fix of fresh breath? Gargle a gulp for a stint to fend off the funk with clove and mint. On a quest to invest in your oral best? Savor a swig with glee to exile toxins with clove and sesame. So whether you need to rally for a stroll down makeout alley, or embark on a trek to dislodge bacterial drek, our Oil Pulling Mouthwash has that secret sauce that'll keep you saying 'dang, this stuff is BAWSE!'


MCT Oil Toothpaste - $10/$15/$30

The Dirt's MCT Oil Toothpaste, an effective and tasty alternative to synthetic oral care, is a small but mighty. The MCT Oil Toothpaste improves oral health through the use powerful, natural ingredients while building a unique flavour profile. For lovers of the classic toothpaste taste, Rose Cocoa Mint features a strong mint flavour.  Looking for a milder flavour? Give Sweet Cinnamon a try. Last but not least, Cocoa Mint boasts the unique flavour of both bold mint and sweet chocolate.



Dirty Balm Lip Treatment - $10

Can't get enough of the lip balm? The Dirt has got you covered with their Dirty Balm! You've tried every lip balm on the market but you're about to meet your match. The Dirt's lip balm uses traditional beauty secrets from around the world to provide the most effective lip care you have ever tried. This is the BEST lip balm on the PLANET!


Trace Mineral Tooth Brushing Powder - $30

Voted top tech beauty product of 2016 by Instyle on the Today Show,  give mom the  The Dirt's original and best spiced trace mineral tooth brushing powder! Did you know the glycerin in modern toothpaste can coat your teeth and prevent the natural process of re-mineralization that keeps your teeth strong and white? The Dirt is made to support your natural re-mineralization process and get your teeth back to their strong, sparkly selves. It has a sweet spiced orange flavour that will leave your mouth feeling clean and spicy!

Anti-Microbial Copper Tongue Scraper - $10

Give the gift of fresh breath with The Dirt's Copper Tongue Scraper. The Copper Tongue Scraper removes the gunk that brushing alone simply cannot. Why copper? Various forms of copper have been used for medicinal purposes throughout the history of mankind, the Egyptians used copper for their water pipes, ship builders used copper to keep algae off ships, copper has recently been tested in the fight against the deadly MRSA virus.


Clean Mint or Sweet Cinnamon Natural Breath Spray - $10

Looking for an all natural breath spray free of alcohol, artificial flavoring, GMO glycerine or xylitol? The Dirt has the answer for you! Their Breath Sprays use only MCT Coconut oil, therapeutic grade essential oils, and solvent free stevia extract to give you that fresh minty breath you crave, plus a pick me up of healthy essential fatty acids. What other breath spray can do that?  And in honour of Earth Day, their 1oz amber glass bottle keeps your spray fresh while looking sleek and reducing the use of plastic. Recycle the bottle or re-purpose.

Pair with their Toothpowder or MCT Coconut Oil Toothpaste for fresh breath that can't be beat!


About The Dirt: The Dirt Paleo Personal Care was founded to start a revolution. We were not satisfied with the natural product lines on the market, many a 'green washed' to look much safer than they actually are and most use soy or corn byproducts which are cheap and unnecessary fillers. We demand more!  We invented the first ever MCT (coconut oil) based toothpaste and top selling clay toothpowder, and has developed a cult following accross the country and beyond.

All of our products are Soy Free, Corn Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Cruelty Free and Natural. We don't use fillers, ever! Our essential oil blends are formulated to preform not just smell good (Sorry other guys). Everything about our product blends is intentional... and awesome.

Because, why should your healthy lifestyle stop at your plate? Fix your face! The dirt is 100% natural 200% kick-ass.

The line has been featured in many media outlets including InStyle, Vogue,  LouLou, Flare, Well+Good, Beauty Editor, The Kit, and The Today Show. Shannon is a great resource both on and off camera and is available for sound-bites or or interviews.

About Shannon Drake, owner and founder: I've been a long time practitioner of the paleo lifestyle. After sticking to an extremely healthy routine, I started to notice something about my favorite natural products... They kinda sucked. I felt let down, many used ingredients that were highly processed, questionably safe and just seemed 'green washed'.

Using the principals of the paleo lifestyle; a 'whole foods' lifestyle, clean eating and high nutrients I drew inspiration from my passion for studying traditional beauty secrets from around the world. I blended potion after potion until the ultimate formulas were created. 'The Dirt' Paleo Personal Care was born.

Ingredients: We're taking 'natural' to the next level. Our blends are made using the highest quality natural ingredients and they are also specially formulated to work with your body in very specific ways. We use essential oils for their healing properties, absolutes for their aromatherapy properties and oils and butters for their nutrients. While you may love a mint lip balm we would not recommend using menthol in a healing balm because it is a mild skin irritant. Likewise olive oil is high in Oleic acid which while moisturizing, can trigger acne in sensitive individuals. In a world full of amazing natural ingredients why settle for 'good enough' we strive for best.

What you will find in our line:

Pure, glorious essential oils
Natural high nutrient butters
Luxurious fatty oils (Don't fear fat!)
Mineral rich clays and salts

What you wont find:

Cheap fillers like soy bean oil or palm oil
Corn or corn by-products like Maltodextrin or xylitol
Harsh essential oils that can damage delicate skin
Gluten or Grains
'factory farmed' bees wax
Artificial preservatives

The line can be found online, and can be shipped Nationally in both the U.S. and Canada

Coco Joy - Enjoy the Holidays Without Sacrificing Those Classic Treats


The holiday season tends to be filled with delicious food, family gatherings and endless indulgences. It can be easy to overindulge on tempting sweets, so this season try something new with a fun, healthy twist on the classics by using coconut oil, coconut water and milk water from Coco Joy, first all-natural portfolio of coconut products.

  • Coconut Oil: Deemed a superfood, coconut oil is the perfect substitute for butter, margarine or shortening and also (melted) in any recipe that calls for oil. Coconut oil is almost 90% saturated fat, but don’t let this scare you. The saturated fat in coconut oil is called lauric acid, a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that appears to have a more neutral effect on heart health when compared to longer-chain saturated fats found in meats and dairy products.
  • Coconut Water: Coconut water provides nutritional values while also being a more satisfying alternative to plain water. Because coconut water is rich in potassium and magnesium, and naturally loaded with electrolytes, it is a great alternative to unhealthy sports drinks as well. Compared to other coconut water brands, Coco Joy is fat and cholesterol-free and has fewer calories, less sodium, no added sugar and no preservatives.
  • Coconut Milk: For those with dietary restrictions, coconut milk is a delicious alternative to traditional milk. Coco Joy Coconut Milk contains no dairy, lactose, soy, gluten or casein and is vegan friendly, thus a perfect substitute ingredient in recipes and equally satisfying on its own.

Below is a round-up of delicious holiday treats using Coco Joy Coconut Oil, Coco Joy Coconut Water and Coco Joy Coconut Milk,--

Hot Coco {Joy}


1 ¼ cup Coco Joy Coconut Milk; Divided

¼ cup Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder

¾ cup Coco Joy Coconut Water

3 tbsp. Sugar

½ tsp. Vanilla Extract Pinch of Sea Salt

½ tsp. Coco Joy Coconut Oil

Directions: In a small saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder, coconut sugar, salt, coconut oil and half of the coconut milk until well blended. Whisk in the remaining coconut milk until smooth, then whisk in coconut water until blended. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium low heat, whisking occasionally. Whisk in vanilla. Divide between two mugs. *Add ½ cup of Coconut Rum to spike your hot chocolate!

Santa’s Helper Eggnog


4 cans Coco Joy Coconut Water

6 eggs yolks

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

8 oz spiced rum



Coconut flakes

Directions: Bring coconut water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium high heat. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and pale. Gradually whisk half the hot coconut water into the egg mixture, then pour into pot with remaining coconut water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick and mixture nearly coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2-3 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in rum and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to overnight. Pour into a pitcher, serve over ice and garnish with coconut flakes and cinnamon.

Jolly Santa’s Cookies 


¼ cup Coco Joy Coconut Oil

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Desiccated Coconut Flakes

2 tbsp. Brown Rice Flour

1 ½ cup Peanut Butter

1 tbsp. Coco Joy Coconut Milk

¼ tsp. Sea Salt

100g Dark Chocolate, cut into chunks

¾ cup Sugar

Directions:  Preheat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Combine Coco Joy Coconut Oil and coconut in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until coconut is light golden brown. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, white sugar, coconut sugar, eggs, Coco Joy Coconut Milk, brown rice flour, and salt; stir until completely combined. Add coconut mixture, mix well. Drop by tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet. Press a chunk of chocolate onto each cookie. Bake until cookies are golden on the bottom, 10-14 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Naughty (Almond) and Nice (Apple) Cake


1 ½ cup Whole Almonds

2 tsp. Almond Extract

¾ cup Sugar

½ cup Coco Joy Coconut Oil

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp. Sea Salt

½ Red Delicious Apple; thinly sliced

2 tbsp. Brown Rice Flour

½ cup Sliced Almonds

2 tbsp. Corn Flour

2 tbsp. White Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Powder

3 Eggs

Directions: Preheat oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch spring form pan with coconut oil and line bottom with greaseproof paper. In a food processor, combine almonds, sugar, and salt. Blitz until almonds are very finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add cinnamon, brown rice flour, corn flour and baking powder; pulse until they are mixed through. Add eggs and almond extract; process until a think batter forms. Pour in coconut oil and process until batter is well combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Arrange apple slices over the top. Sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds, then with white sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 20 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the edge of cake before removing sides.

Snowball Truffles 


¾ cup Raw Unsweetened Cacao Powder

2 cup Raw Almonds

¼ cup Raw Cashews

½ cup Maple Syrup

¼ cup Coco Joy Coconut Water

1 Heaped tbsp. Coco Joy Coconut Oil

Pinch of Salt

Coating Options: Crushed Almonds; Cacao

Directions:  In a food processor on high speed, combine all ingredients and blend until you have a thick batter. Shape into small balls about 1 inch in diameter; roll in desired coating; place on a plate. Cover and keep in the freezer until ready to eat.


The Uses Of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many uses. Not only is it good for you but it is also affordable. You can use it as lotion, hair treatment and you can even cook with it.  It is available at most local grocers, walmarts, health food stores and even some pharmacies.

According to Dr. Oz “Studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.” He goes on to say that “one 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose.” These are all very good reasons as to why you should add coconut oil into your diet. The following are some of my favourite uses for coconut oil:

Lotion – Coconut oil is  very moisturizing. It absorbs well and it also has anti-bacterial properties that are good for the skin.

Baking – Slight coconut taste but its not harsh. It is less fat and full of good omegas. That makes it better for your stomach.

Frying – Much healthier to fry foods with coconut oil. It works as a better medium than butter, and it has a higher smoke point than animal based fats.

Butter Replacement – It makes a great spread. Wherever you put butter you can put coconut oil. Eventually you won’t even notice the difference.

Infections – When applied directly to injury sites, it provides a barrier from additional debris/dust/jerms to aid healing.

Energy Booster – Coconut oils contain and excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for boosting energy. Just put some on a table spoon and enjoy.

Hair Mask/Conditioner – Coconut oils can work as a great deep conditioner for the hair, and you can use it daily, as a rinse out; or weekly as a leave-in, under heat.

Sunscreen – Coconut oil actually contains roughly 5 SPF so if you don’t require a high SPF you can definitely lather on the coconut oil.

Base for Body Scrubs – If you mix coconut oil with sea salt it makes a great exfoliating scrub.

Toothpaste – Mix coconut oil, baking soda and mint extract together. Place a dab a little of the mix on your toothbrush and brush.

Deodorant - You can use coconut oil alone as a deodorant. However, it is more effective with combination of cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda.

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What Are The Best Foods For Digestion?

Do you suffer from indigestion, heart burn, bloating or gas?  You are not alone. According to Yahoo around 70 million of American’s suffer from different types of digestive problems each year.

It is important to your overall health to maintain a healthy digestive system. GESA reports that “Although the digestive system can withstand a lot of stress (from the foods you eat to emotional stresses), it can only do so for a limited period. Over time, the negative effects will accumulate and create health problems in the long-term.”  Therefore you should watch your diet and take preventative measures to limit the risk of problematic situations occurring.

Although the best way to diagnose and take care of digestive problems is to promptly report any that appear to your doctor, research on nutrition has found that certain foods effect your digestion positively than others. According to Inside Fitness some of these foods include the following five:

Alicia Bell - Karen Civil - Train It Right - Apple

Apples: This tasty fruit has a magic combination of both soluble and insoluble fibre helps you eat and digest quickly and easily.

Tumeric: Has been known to help with inflammation which can help smooth out the digestion process as your food travels through your system.

Almonds: These little nuts are filled with digestion enhancing fibre and calcium which also supports many functions in the body.

Peppermint Tea:  Is known to calm the stomach muscles and improve the flow of your bile. Try to refrain from the use sweetener or milk.

Coconut Oil: This natural oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids that can help with digestion. You can take it as a supplement, cook with it, add it to smoothies or even use it as a replacement for butter.

For more tips on fitness and healthy eating check out

Alicia Bell is a Toronto based Personal Trainer


If you don't you know


My newfound gem for healthy cooking? Coconut oil. If you are a fan of coconut, you will find that this oil adds a light coconut flavour to your food, not to mention the health benefits are abundant! Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat, which some might say are "bad" but the way that it reacts in the body is GOOD! Here's how it works: coconut oil is nature's richest source of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Due to the fact that MCTs have a shorter chain it is easy to digest and quickly burned off by the liver for energy but without the spike in insulin. This causes a metabolism boost and uses the coconut oil fat for energy, thus causing you to lean out. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil on practically everything! I sauté my veggies in it and even use it when cooking my eggs in the morning! Here is my favourite dinner recipe using this gem. This dish will pump up your metabolism and give you a healthy dose of your omega-3s!

(Serves 2)


16 ounces Atlantic salmon filets (with skin on)
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 lemon wedges


1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Smear 2 tablespoons coconut oil on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish
3. Place fish on top of the oil, skin side up
4. Place fish in oven for 15 minutes
5. Remove fish from oven and use a spatula to gently peel skin off of salmon
6. Place fish back in oven for an additional 15 minutes
7. Remove fish from oven and squeeze on your lemon
8. Sprinkle on your salt and cayenne pepper evenly
9. Cut into 2 servings and plate

That's it! Such a simple recipe and you can mix it up with different spices and flavours but don't forget the coconut oil!  Serve your fish with some nice green veggies and a salad to complete your meal. Enjoy!