CLEAN LIVING ( will no longer use Palm Oil in its soaps, for the following reasons:

1.  Friends of mine just returned from southeast Asia, where they visited Indonesia, Borneo and Sumatra – countries where Palm Oil production is very big business. Unfortunately, the palm forests are the last habitat of the Orangutans (remember the orange-ish pal of Clint Eastwood’s movie?).  In Indonesia, they’re being handcuffed and forced out of the forests, but in neighboring countries companies are actually paying bounties for the head of mother Orangutans.

2.  Yes, there are now Palm Plantations, but many of those are being created by the destruction of natural rain forests – the “Lungs of the planet” – to the tune of 300 football fields worth per day!

3.  Yes, but there are some plantations that are reclaiming land that was originally cleared for cattle raising – great, yes?  But some of those have now been accused of importing people from neighboring countries to work them.  When these immigrants arrive, their passports are taken away, and the workers are paid pitiful wages that will never enable them to leave.

So Clean Living is replacing palm oil in all of its soaps.  Our new formulas take a little longer to cure, but they exhibit the same hardness and skin-pampering that they’ve always offered.

Jim Derner, Owner

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Answer to a question

Organic Cherries & Antioxidants

A reader wrote in a question regarding Organic Cherries – are they really better for you than the cherries that have been sprayed with pesticides.

The answer:  Yes, they are and here’s why.  Two studies completed recently – one on Tomatoes and the other on Strawberries found that these fruit, when raised without pesticides revved up their production of antioxidants, seemingly to ward off damage caused by invading insects.  More antioxidants means less free radicals inside those who’ve consumed them.  And fewer free radicals means less oxidative damage to your cells.

And, depending on what you’re eating – Tomato Sauce / Watermelons / Strawberries (or any berries for that matter), you may be protecting your skin from damage from within and from without (the sun, for instance).  So, with organic fruit, more spots on them might mean fewer spots on you (e.g., freckles).  Enjoy

Jim Derner, Owner of CLEAN LIVING

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Continuing with my “Sun Protection Diet”, I’ve become increasingly drawn to usefulness of Chocolate – specifically DARK (i.e., 72% or higher) Chocolate.

Outside of its benefits to helping your skin cope with the sun’s rays, Dark Chocolate also provides these “wins”:

1.It’s good for your heart – lowering blood pressure, blood flow and may prevent clots.

2. It increases blood flow to the brain, helping cognitive function, plus it helps soothe your troubled mind.

3. It helps prevent blood sugar spikes – again though, we’re talking about 72% Dark Chocolate or higher!

4. It’s loaded with Anti-Oxidants

5. It hardens tooth enamel

So Dark Chocolate provides many benefits, but I really can’t stress the Dark part enough, as SUGAR and MILK both impede the absorbtion of Chocolate’s benefits..  But, the question came to me – how to enjoy eating it, if it’s not like what we’ve been raised on?

So I searched online and found a recipe that I want to share with you.  It uses the following:

– Organic Cocoa Butter (yes, it’s fat, but the “good” kind)

– Organic Cacao Powder (non-alkaline)

– Coconut Nectar (very low on the Glycemic index = tastes sweet, but absorbs slowly)

– Virgin Coconut Oil (Optional – will give your mouth that creamy feeling)

– Superfoods, like dried Goji Berries, Cherries, Spices (Cinnamon, Chili Powder) Maca, etc.(also Optional)

You’ll have to goof with the quantities of each element, according to your taste, but I found that you’ll want to use about:

– 100 gms of the Butter

– 80 gms of the Powder

– 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons of the sweetener (Nectar).

Heat the Cocoa Butter (low heat) until liquid.  Stir in the Cacao powder until smooth.  Remove from heat and continue stirring for one minute.  Then add Coconut Nectar and blend completely.  If you’re adding spices, now is the time to stir them in.

You can find nifty molds at any kitchen supply store (S&F, B,B & Beyond, etc.), which are those red silicone molds.  They come in heart shapes, triangles, muffins, I even found some in leaf patterns.  

Pour your melted chocolate into them.  Then, if you’re using dried (any fruit has to be dried, or it will rot) fruit, poke them into the mold, so that the chocolate covers them.

Put the mold(s) in your fridge for at least an hour.  Then the finished product out onto a drying rack, in a cool place.  The “Cool” part is impt., as these chocolates are not “tempered”, so they will melt, even at the touch of your fingers.

But, what you’re left with will be natural chocolates that are actually good for you, and will help ward off Free Radical damage from sun exposure.  And – new bonus benefit – Dark Chocolate has been found to contain Resveratrol, which lengthens the life of your cells!


Jim Derner, owner, Clean Living

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Cherries are far more than a filling for pies, or something you pop in a cocktail.  They are a powerful source of Antioxidants that can have greatly beneficial effects on your skin and your health in general.

First, this being L.A., let’s start with the superficial benefits of Cherries – what they can do for your skin.  Cherries are a good source of Vitamin K – a vitamin that’s not as familiar to people as C or A, but should be.  Vitamin K can help strengthen the walls of your capillaries – like the ones beneath your eyes, so they don’t leak and create dark circles.  Vitamin K also helps maintain the elasticity of our dermis (skin), helping prevent sagging.

Cherries are rich in Beta-Carotene (a Vit. A precursor).  Vitamin A stimulates Collagen production.  Collagen, as you might know, plumps the skin, filling in lines, wrinkles and gives your skin a “dewy” appearance, because it binds hundreds of times its own weight in water. 

Beta-Carotene also is a terrific deactivator of free radicals caused by sun exposure.  Plus Cherries have three other powerful sun-coping antioxidants – Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Melatonin, which help prevent the breakdown of collagen.  So, it can be said that Cherries can give you a head start on summer.

Melatonin also works within the brain to bring about restful sleep.  It’s something we produce a lot of when we’re young, but, like most things, it fades as we age.  Eating cherries can help boost our falling levels of Melatonin, which means more (beauty) sleep.

And now on to the general health benefits of Cherries:  they are rich in Anthocyanin Glycosides.  (They’re found in the dark Red, Purple & Blue colors of fruits and vegetables.)  Studies have shown that Anthocyanins act as anti-inflammatory agents, blocking enzymes that contribute to Gout, Arthritis, wounds and bruises (wrinkles are actually “wounds”, btw).  Vitamin K, plus the presence of Anthocyanin Glycosides can help prevent the mineralization of your veins (help you avoid varicose veins) and the build-up of calcium in your arthritic joints.

So hold the Sundae, just give me a bowl of fresh cherries.

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Hidden Chemicals in Food – EWG

The EWG (Environmental Working Group – a Consumer Watchdog entity) has issued the following text and Dr. Oz segment on Chemicals in food.  Enjoy, if you can…


Sick of eating chemicals that have known health risks and not being able to do much about it? We are too. And so is a well-known medical expert – that’s why he invited me to appear on his show – and believe me, this is an episode you don’t want to miss.

Most of us are exposed daily to dangerous chemicals, so EWG has assembled tips on how to live healthier – and specifically how to avoid a bad actor: bisphenol A, or BPA.

Click here to see EWG featured on The Dr. Oz Show: Hidden Chemicals You’re Feeding Your Kids.

As a mom, I’m always thinking about the health of my family. It infuriates me that BPA, a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the endocrine system and has been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes and early puberty, is allowed in food packaging. We know that BPA ends up in our children. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found BPA in the bodies of nearly every person over the age of 6; EWG has detected BPA in 9 of 10 cord blood samples.

Why? Most canned foods are lined with a BPA-based epoxy that leaches into food and liquid in the can. This is not okay. EWG is working day in and day out to change the situation. But until the food packing industry and government listen – we’ve got you covered.

I hope you’ll check out our tips on how to limit your family’s exposure to BPA.  

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Citrus fruits are loaded with antioxidants.  Chief among them is Vitamin C.  Now everyone knows that Citrus Fruits provide Vitamin C.  But did you know what citrus fruit-derived Vitamin C can do for you?

Vitamin C is the major water-soluble antioxidant working in your body.  It quells free radicals that can damage DNA and create Inflammation that can impair organs, joints and blood vessels.  (Asthma and Arthritis are examples of inflammatory conditions.)  Vitamin C plays a major part in wound healing (and wrinkles are actually wounds, btw).  Along this line, Vitamin C is a major stimulant of Collagen production, so if you want your face to maintain that youthful plumpness, eat up!

Everyone over fifty seems to know their cholesterol count.  But it’s also important to know that cholesterol only starts sticking to your artery walls after it’s been oxidized by free radicals.  Vitamin C can neutralize those free radicals, and help prevent the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries.   Other antioxidants in citrus fruits include:  Lycopene, Limonin, Flavanones, Anthocyanins and various polyphenols.

Lycopene, found in Pink & Red Grapefruit, has been to shown to be of great value in reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer. 

And for those on a diet, various enzymes in Grapefruit have been shown to speed up metabolism.  Grapefruit also contain significant amounts of Salicylic Acid, which helps dissolve inorganic calcium  that can build up in joints, creating inflammation and pain.  And Grapefruit ranks among the highest in overall antioxidant activity – right up there with Raspberries and Acai fruit.  And, unlike Green Tea’s antioxidants, which only remain in the body 4-6 hours, some of Grapefruit’s antioxidants can continue working up to 24 hours.

Many people worry about the acidity of Citrus Fruits.  But there’s the paradox – citrus fruits once consumed, actually help alkalize your body.  And the reason Lemons are included in many natural detox formulas is because they help break up bile in the Liver.  Finally, recent studies showed that the Vitamin C consumed in the form of Orange juice is more bio-available that a Vitamin C supplement.  In other words – getting your Vitamin C from the whole food source yields greater benefits than popping a pill.  Besides which, a glass of OJ, or Grapefruit juice is a whole lot tastier, so drink up!

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What’s Up With That?!

Okay – a little background first:  For some reason, some magazine distribution service has assumed that CLEAN LIVING is a beauty salon, so they’ve been sending me a raft of (free) women’s magazines (e.g., Vogue, Harpers, Shape, Glamour, etc.).

Thinking that this is a great place to find health tips, I peruse all of them, looking for anything tweet-able.  But I seldom find anything to pass along.  Even when I check out the specific “HEALTH” sections, all they talk about is what products to use to achieve “Healthy-Looking Hair,” etc.

WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!  Shouldn’t you be looking for more from your magazines?!  I’d be pissed off if all I got from my MEN’S HEALTH was ways to simulate a healthy look.  Indeed, I’ve found more tips to pass along in one issue of that magazine than I’m likely to find in twelve issues of women’s magazines’ “HEALTH” sections.  

Ladies – “Man Up” and DEMAND MORE!

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Health Benefits of Kale

Talking about the Health Benefits of Kale brings the happy problem of “where to start?”  Kale is loaded with Vitamins, Antioxidants and compounds that lower Cholesterol and Inflammation.  It’s high in Fiber and Iron, low in Calories and a decent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Kale has more Iron than beef and is one of the best sources of Vitamin K.  Although Vit. K doesn’t get the same amount of attention as C, or A, Vit. K plays an important role in lowering your risk of chronic inflammation.  (And, as I’ve always reminded you, Skin Experts tell us that “Inflammation is 90% of Aging,” plus it’s also thought to be a cause of most of the major diseases.)

Kale contains some powerful antioxidants, including carotenoids (Lutein and Beta-Carotene) and flavenoids.  It’s the latter’s assorted bounty that is thought to be Kale’s suspected role in helping prevent Cancer and other, oxidative stress-related illnesses.

In lesser amounts, though still quite useful, Kale contains significant levels of Vits. A and C, plus Calcium, so it can be of help maintaining healthy eyes, cartilage, bones, etc.

A good way to get all the cholesterol-reduction benefits from Kale, is to steam it.  But if cooking’s too much work for you (I hate it) and you’re in Santa Monica, there’s a new place on Wilshire (Milo & Olive) that makes a tasty Steamed Kale with Ginger.  If you’re already familiar with Kale, you probably have your own favorite ways of using it.  If not, try adding Kale to your diet – it could literally save your life.


To sign up for Clean Living’s Newsletter (comes out 4x/yr) visit our website:

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If you’ve been reading my newsletter regularly, you might know that I’ve been working on a book about what to eat for better-looking skin, called CONSUMING BEAUTY.  And though I’ve tried to keep my focus on skin, it’s clear that what’s of benefit to your skin, is also of benefit to your overall health.

And as I have a number of good friends who have faced Breast Cancer, my attention has been drawn to those sections of the studies that address what to eat if you’re prone to, have had, or are trying to avoid the disease.  So here’s a short list, compiled from my research.  (I’ll send you the 1-page, small font compilation if you shoot me an email:

ANTI-OXIDANTS:  The usual suspects:  A, E, C & D, but there’s also a focus on the carotenoids: Lycopene (found in just about anything pink (grapefruit, watermelon), Orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, Oranges – duh), or deep red ( dark grapes, cherries, pomegranate).  Latest studies suggest that free radicals, caused by oxidation, might be the trigger beneath most forms of cancer.

CRANBERRIES:  Recent studies have validated Cranberries’ ability to not only cleanse your kidneys, but, more recently, on their ability to block or inhibit various cell mechanisms that can enable the formation of breast tumors. 

FOLATE:  Dark, Leafy Greens (Spinach, Asparagus) may offer some protection, especially for premenopausal women, a recent study concluded.

 CUCUMBERS:  Yeah, I know, like who thought they were good for anything other than reducing baggy eyes (really, it does work!), but Cucumbers are rich in Lignans, which can be transformed in our digestive systems into compounds that bind to estrogen receptors.  (Oh, and tell your balding mates that they can also bind to DH2 Testosterone – so great for receding hairlines and acne!!!)  Lignans can also be found in Flaxseed Oil and whole grains, like Oatmeal.

CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES: (So named because their leaves form a cross where they meet on the stalk.)  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, collard greens, arugala and radishes contain the phytochemicals isothiocyanates and indoles that may offer protection against breast cancer. A new study found an association between cruciferous vegetable intake during the first 36 months after breast cancer diagnosis and a reduced risk of cancer recurrence and mortality.

WHAT TO NOT EAT?:  SUGAR, especially of the High-Fructose variety.  60 MINUTES had a report and then a follow-up report on the rise of high-fructose corn syrup and the rise in the incidence of cancer, saying that cancer cells have a receptor site for fructose, on which they feed.  Read your labels before you buy that salad dressing, or peanut butter, or just about anything.

WHAT NOT TO DRINK?:  ALCOHOL – Make sure you limit your alcoholic intake to one drink a day – wine or whatever – or less.  If you are estrogen sensitive, alcohol is a major DON’T.

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The Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a rich source of Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants.  Recent studies have noted their ability to reduce LDL (which means, pomegranates can be good for your heart), as well as reducing the effects of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries – also good for your heart).  And, very recent studies are looking into whether Pomegranates can help to slow down tumor growth, esp. in breast cancer.

Even beyond these amazing things, Pomegranates contain significant amounts of Iron, Vitamin C, as well as a raft of anti-oxidants.  As Vitamin C (an antioxidant) is a stimulator of Collagen production, its benefit to the health of your skin is a no-brainer.  Iron is needed to transport oxygen, and oxygen also helps stimulate healthy cell functioning – also great for healthy skin.

The antioxidants in Pomegranates are way up there on the scale – in the neighborhood of raspberries, blueberries, etc.  As Oxidation leads to Inflammation, limiting oxidation is very desirable, not only for the health of your exterior (skin), but everything that’s inside, too. 

Pomegranate Oil (obtained from the seeds) is now an “it” ingredient in many high-end facial moisturizers.  Manufacturers claim that it stimulates collagen production and helps heal wounds, which are really what wrinkles are.

But apart from all of that, Pomegranates are great on salads, in juice form (our local market’s “Pomegranate / Apple / Cherry” is one of my faves) or just simply as a “peel & eat.”  Enjoy!

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