Monthly Archives: May 2012

Apple Cider Vinegar – More than topical

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In the years before medicine when fermentation began apple cider vinegar came about.  Hippocrates (460 -377 BC) prescribed it for curing persistent coughs.  Makes a bit of sense since it would certainly cut the phlem.   It’s been used to relieve sunburn and insect bite pain, shine metals, kill annoying plants, clean the coffee pot and in our salad dressings.   Most of it’s original medicinal uses have been disproved but a few have medical backing.

One of the original uses of vinegar was sterilization and that remains true though we now have far better products.  Yet in a pinch like alcohol – vinegar will certainly take out a few germs.  During the era of the black plague vinegar was used as the base with herbs added to it for disinfection as well as a remedy to fight the plague.  Though it is doubtful that the herbs contributed much – though they were all disinfecting and antimicrobial – the fact that vinegar was used to clean potentially did help in stopping the spread of the disease.

Prior to hypoglycemic agents, diabetics used vinegar teas to control their symptoms.[21] Small amounts of vinegar (approximately 25 g of domestic vinegar) added to food, or taken along with a meal, have been shown by a number of medical trials to reduce the glycemic index of carbohydrate food for people with and without diabetes.[23][24][25] This also has been expressed as lower glycemic index ratings in the region of 30%.[26][27]

From our friends at WebMD –

But there are some medical uses of vinegar that do have promise, at least according to a few studies. Here’s a rundown of some more recent ones.

  • Diabetes. The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%.
  • High cholesterol . A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people.
  • Blood pressure and heart health. Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason.
  • Cancer . A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.  Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
  • Weight Loss . For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread.

While the results of these studies are promising, they are all preliminary. Many were done on animals or on cells in a lab. The human studies have been small. Before we will truly know whether vinegar has any health benefits, much larger studies are needed.

If you’re thinking about trying apple cider vinegar, talk to your doctor first. It’s always worth getting an expert’s advice. Your doctor can also make sure that the apple cider vinegar won’t affect other health conditions or the effectiveness of the medicines you take. Trying to control a serious medical condition on your own with an unproven treatment is both unwise and dangerous.

Over all if you are looking for some nice alternatives from cleaning to health apple cider vinegar deserves a look.  The doctors weren’t wrong about “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Why would we consider it’s fermented form to be any less valuable?

A bit of vinegar and oil dressing added to my salad seems like a small change for the great benefits that potentially await.

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DIY Deodorant – Smell better plus health benefits?

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A journey to health and odor free clothing.

I became curious when my friend found Lush Deodorant and we began talking the health benefits and the smell benefits of natural deodorant if I could just make my own.  A quick online search and sure enough many people have been doing it and successfully for a variety of reasons including nursing moms wanting to avoid aluminum on little hands.  A quick review of the Lush Deodorant site brought to my attention that I was on the right path.  What I love about the Aromaca deodorant was the sweet lemony/citrus smell with the hint of patchouli.  Yet on myself I wasn’t so sure that’s what I wanted.  I wanted neutral, neutral, neutral.

Passionate HomeMaking inspired me with her recipe:

5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder. Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire. It should be about the same texture as the store bought kind, solid but able to be applied easily. You can either scoop this into your old dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. After applying the product, you can just rub the remains into your hands as a lotion! This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

And being me I began to modify based on my own cupboard!

I had coconut oil but also shea butter, vitamin E and aloe.  I had paraffin wax and corn starch along with baking soda.  And I began to concoct.

I used equal parts coconut oil to shea then added just a teaspoon each of vitamin e and aloe.  I added 6 tablespoons of the paraffin and two days later watched the gooey mess that was my deodorant.  I then remelted everything (did I mention this is the best part – you can try again!) and added more paraffin I didn’t measure it well but I’d guess I added close to 4 tablespoons) with which I got a too solid bar that I couldn’t apply – fail!!!  Remelt!  Added 2 more tablespoons of each coconut and shea and matching baking soda and corn starch.  A much better mixture but still a bit hard.  After living with it a couple more days – REMELT!!

In the end here is my recipe.

My Skin Care Base

6 tablespoons coconut oil –

Coconut oil has also been shown to be anti-fungal when used topically. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/24540-coconut-oil-topical-health-benefits/#ixzz1uzp5Vq7E

4 tablespoons shea butter –

Raw, unrefined shea butter is good for dry skin, skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, sunburn, blemishes, cracked heels and skin, itchy skin, frost bite, stretch marks, scars, chapped lips, eczema, small wounds or scrapes, diaper rash, hair moisturizer, burns, athlete’s foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis, muscle fatigue, pets’ (dogs and horses) dry skin, sunburn, scrapes, and as a natural mechanics lubricant.  Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/024157_butter_shea_skin.html#ixzz1uzr8jc00

2 tablespoons vitamin e –

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, using vitamin E in the form of alpha tocopherol cream, can reduce the depth of wrinkles, reduce facial lines and reduce the roughness of your skin.  Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/259045-what-are-the-benefits-of-topical-vitamin-e-oil/#ixzz1uzru722S

2 tablespoons aloe –

Aloe Vera sap helps to stimulate cell renewal, contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it moisturizes and nourishes the skin.  Read more: Aloe Vera Topical Benefits | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_4744388_aloe-vera-topical-benefits.html#ixzz1uzsm3c1z

2 tablespoons castor oil – do not use if pregnant

Topical application of Castor oil through massage or packs has been shown to be an effective remedy for: skin keratosis, ringworm, fungal and bacterial infections, sebaceous cysts, warts, muscle strains and spasms, itching, reducing inflammation, and relief of pain. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034558_castor_oil_health_benefits_blood_flow.html#ixzz1uzuHJIMb

2 tablespoons lanolin

Lanolin is used in burn dressings to support the wound healing process, as an antimicrobial and disinfectant in topical products used to treat acne and in deodorizing toiletries, among other applications.  Read more: Information About Lanolin Properties | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6707301_information-lanolin-properties.html#ixzz1uzwYOJcv

Melt in double boiler mixing well.  Place in jar.

This becomes my skin care base.

From here I begin to create other products including the deodorant above.  For experimenting with paraffin additions to help in the summer melt down I suggest beginning with a 1:2 ratio 1 part paraffin to 2 parts oil much like the beeswax in the recipe below.  Then adjust to fit your personal preferences.

Lip Balm and Skin Cream

2 Tablespoons beeswax (about 1 oz)
4 Tablespoons oil mixture
12 lip balm containers or 1 clean recycled stick deodorant container
dropper

Directions:

1. Melt beeswax in a small pan or crockpot over low heat. Add oil until all ingredients a melted.Add a few drops essential oil if desired. I did not use any essential oil and it is smells wonderfully like honey!
2. Using a small medicinal dropper, pour the melted liquid into your lip balm containers or upcycled deodorant container. Add a few extra drops to the top after filling each container as the ingredients will shrink as they cool.
3. Cool completely to harden. Cover with cap and decorate or label as desired.

I do NOT add tea tree to my products for several reasons – one tea tree is very dangerous on any open wound.  I also have found notations that it encourages hair growth.  I prefer to minimize the hair on my legs and under my arms so this was a factor for me.

I do not normally add any essential oils to my mixes just for neutrality.  This allows me to wear any fragrance I choose any time.

Strawberries – Inside and Out

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The strawberries are arriving from the Sacramento Valley.  Bright red and delicious they often don’t make it past a day on the kitchen counter.

Should they make it past day one though I have several favorite recipes.

First, as my son chooses only the nicest berries, the neglected and bruise are trimmed and placed in a jar of water for fresh strawberry flavored water.  A refreshing drink in the heat of the summer.

Next comes just a wonderful blended strawberry smoothie.  It’s pretty basic and very easy.

Just Strawberries

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Add the water and strawberries to the blender first.
  2. Then pour in the honey and lastly add the ice cubers.
  3. Blend on low and gradually move to high until everything is a red fruity liquid.
  4. Then blend on high for another 30 seconds to aerate.
  5. Enjoy your strawberry smoothie.

Feel free to bump this smoothie up.  Add a scoop of Multi-Vitamin, Soy, Vitamin C or other Smoothie Essential Boost.

How about just a bowl of berries before yoga or the gym?

— . . —  — . . —  — . . —  — . . —  — . . —  — . . —  — . . —

BUT what about the outside?

Strawberries make a very effective mask for softening skin!!

Wash and hull a handful of strawberries.  Mash them with a wooden spoon into a glass custard cup.  Now pat the mixture onto the face and neck area.  Allow this to dry before rinsing away with warm water.

Strawberry and Cream Facial Mask

Wash and hull a handful of strawberries.  Mash them with a wooden spoon into a glass custard cup.  Mix in an equal amount of cream.  Now pat the mixture onto the face and neck area.  Allow to sit 30 minutes before rinsing away with warm water.

Vitamin C – in Summer?

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Vitamin C is an amazing vitamin.  It has healing values . .. . These healing values keep you healthy when you are adventuring.

However, summer brings its own challenges in relation to vitamin and mineral intakes. When the sun starts to shine people want to pack as much into life as possible – walking, cycling, horse riding, sailing, swimming, sunbathing, summer concerts and country shows. Meals may be rushed and appetites reduced.

Summer also brings the risk of heat stroke –

“Hyperthermia in its advanced state referred to as heat stroke or sunstroke, is an acute condition which occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It is usually due to excessive exposure to heat. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body eventually become overwhelmed and unable to effectively deal with the heat, and body temperature climbs uncontrollably. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Doctor George A Poda tells how he remembered a World War II story about using vitamin C for heat stroke. “Army personnel stationed on the Egyptian coast were then having a bad time with the heat. Some smart Army doctor thought of giving them vitamin C and after that their problems disappeared.”

Vitamin C has shown its ability to improve heat tolerance even with mine workers. The results were so impressive that the South African mining industry instituted a program which provides each mine worker with 200 to 250 milligrams of vitamin C daily.

Vitamin C influences the part of the brain and nerves that influence the body’s heat-regulating centers. Supplements, including the simple addition of lemon juice to water, are effective and beneficial in preventing heart stroke.  Read more: What Vitamin Can Help Prevent Heat Stroke? | eHow.com

Sunscreen is the most important way to protect yourself from damaging rays of the sun, but Vitamin C will also help protect against UV damage.

The Lining Pauling Institute May 1997 – Last year, a group of scientists led by Dr. Mark Levine in the National Institutes of Health reported the results of their study on the optimal intake of vitamin C in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with the title, “Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: Evidence for a recommended dietary allowance.” Their careful study concluded that the current RDA for vitamin C of 60 mg/day should be increased to 200 mg/day, exactly the same recommendation proposed by chemistry Nobel laureate Linus Pauling nearly twenty years ago.

Linus Pauling Institute Recommendation

For healthy men and women, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends a vitamin C intake of at least 400 mg daily. Consuming at least five servings (2½ cups) of fruits and vegetables daily provides about 200 mg of vitamin C. Most multivitamin supplements provide 60 mg of vitamin C. To make sure you meet the Institute’s recommendation, supplemental vitamin C in two separate 250-mg doses taken in the morning and evening is recommended.

From Smoothie Web – my favorite site for smoothie ideas –

I suggest adding a scoop of  and to make a smoothie to fight the summer heat.

Ginger Jolt Smoothie

December 27, 2011 · Filed Under Apple Smoothies, Healing Smoothies · Comment

Adding to our newest category, Healing Smoothies, this smoothie helps relieve pain due to stomach ache, nausea or queasy feelings in your tummy. The ginger is the key ingredient so don’t skip it and drink it slowly so your stomach ache doesn’t get worse from drinking too fast.

Ginger Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and crushed.

Nutrition Information:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Magnesium: 30 mg
  • Potassium: 400mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Total fat: 1 g

Ears, Eyes, and Fun in the Sun

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Ears, Eyes, and Fun in the Sun

Loud music, allergies and the sun all come together at outdoor concerts.  It’s time to take some precautions and respect our ears and eyes.

First don’t skip the sunscreen!!

Sunscreens now come in so many flavors and kinds it’s hard to figure out which one to use. So I went to the experts – the American Cancer Society!

Read the labels. When choosing a sunscreen product, be sure to read the label before you buy. Many groups, including the American Academy of Dermatology, recommend products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The SPF number represents the level of protection against UVB rays provided by the sunscreen – a higher number means more protection.

When using an SPF 30 sunscreen and applying it thickly, you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in the sun. So, 1 hour in the sun wearing SPF 30 sunscreen is the same as spending 2 minutes totally unprotected. People often do not apply a thick enough layer of sunscreen, so the actual protection they get is less.

Sunscreens labeled with SPFs as high as 100+ are now available. Higher numbers do mean more protection, but many people mistakenly think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating would give 3 times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. No sunscreen protects you completely. Regardless of the SPF, sunscreen should be reapplied often for maximal protection.

The SPF number indicates protection against UVB rays only. Sunscreen products labeled “broad-spectrum” provide some protection against both UVA and UVB rays, but at this time there is no standard system for measuring protection from UVA rays. Products that contain avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide can provide some protection from UVB and most UVA rays.

Most sunscreen last just 2-3 years so check the expiration!!

The American Cancer Society has a bit to say about protecting our eyes as well.

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays

UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Research has shown that long hours in the sun without protecting your eyes increase your chances of developing eye disease.

The ideal sunglasses do not have to be expensive, but they should block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. Before you buy, check the label to make sure they do. Labels that say “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements” mean the glasses block at least 99% of UV rays. Those labeled “cosmetic” block about 70% of UV rays. If there is no label, don’t assume the sunglasses provide any UV protection.

Darker glasses are not necessarily better because UV protection comes from an invisible chemical applied to the lenses, not from the color or darkness of the lenses. Look for an ANSI label.

Large-framed and wraparound sunglasses are more likely to protect your eyes from light coming in from different angles. Children need smaller versions of real, protective adult sunglasses – not toy sunglasses.

Ideally, all types of eyewear, including prescription glasses and contact lenses, should absorb the entire UV spectrum. Some contact lenses are now made to block most UV rays. But because they don’t cover the whole eye and surrounding areas, they are not sufficient eye protection when used alone.

Ears, Eyes, and Fun in the Sun

Hearing is the key to the world

One in every six people worldwide is affected by hearing loss – the equivalent of people who own a car. As the population ages – and noise pollution in the world increases – more and more people will be losing their hearing. The consequences of untreated hearing loss can extend as far as complete social isolation. It is estimated that the number of those affected by hearing loss will rise to around 1.1 billion by 2015.

Doctors believe that heredity and chronic exposure to loud noises are the main factors that contribute to hearing loss over time. Other factors, such as earwax blockage, can prevent your ears from conducting sounds as well as they should.

Hearing protection can slow the rate of loss.

“EarPeace” by Jay Clark

EarPeace improves any loud live music or nightlife experience. EarPeace is high fidelity hearing protection that turns down the volume without distorting the sound, it’s virtually invisible, comfortable, reusable, and comes in fantastic packaging.     http://www.earpeace.com