Easy Breezy Non-Greasy Whipped Body Butter

aromatherapy, body butter, clean, cream, creamy, diy, diy lotion, do-it-yourself, essential oils, healing, health, holistic, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, natural living, naturopath, popular oils, pure, recipe, remedy, restoration, restore, soothing, Uncategorized, wellness

 

The other day I posted a luxurious body cream recipe containing water-based ingredients.  It’s a little more involved that your typical body cream.  Who has time for that!  So, in the alternative, I wanted to give you another recipe that is simple, contains very few ingredients, and effective – AND NON-GREASY. 

The other day I had to formulate a tummy tightening/stretch mark blend for one of my Aromatherapy course case studies, and I ended up loving the end product.  I don’t yet know if it will tighten saggy skin, or lighten stretch marks (because there isn’t much out there that can do that!) – but it is super hydrating and velvety and will make the perfect every day moisturizer.

If you’re into DIY personal products, you’ve most likely seen a bazillion recipes for whipped body butters containing coconut oil.  I’m sorry guys, but I’m soooo over that stuff… Really, it was a great discovery for me over 5 years ago, but I’ve moved on to something more sophisticated (i.e. LESS GREASY!!!!) – Babassu Oil.  Yes, I do have a Silky Whipped Body Butter recipe that contains coconut oil, which is very good, but only before bedtime…under socks and pajamas.  For years I brought that stuff to every “Make & Take” essential oils class that I taught.  From this point forward, I’m using this newer, snazzier, simpler body butter recipe.  And you may want to as well!

This recipe does not contain any water-based ingredients, such as aloe vera, hydrosols or distilled water.  This means that no preservatives are needed!  Raw oils and butters do not need preservatives and so your end product should last you a much longer time (12 months or more) if stored in a dark, cool area (Antarctica has nothing on my house!  I just keep it on my nightstand).  And if you add essential oils with antibacterial properties to it, it couldn’t hurt!

While water-based body creams soak in to your skin a tad quicker, I usually make up every excuse in the book NOT to make them because of the possibility of bacteria and all the stress of sanitizing everything with alcohol first.  I also hate having to use up an expensive bottle of natural preservative before it expires. Ironically, natural preservatives don’t stay preserved very long…go figure.

This body butter has a light, fluffy, almost whipped cream-like texture.  It soaks in pretty quickly, but is thick enough to create a great moisture barrier – keeping moisture inside where it belongs. It leaves my skin moisturized all day and incredibly velvety.

How is this possible?  The Babassu Oil.

If you hadn’t read about Babassu Oil on my other blog, here are some of the benefits:

  • It is light weight
  • It doesn’t clog pores
  • It soaks in faster than coconut oil
  • It is less greasy/messy than coconut oil
  • It has a very mild scent
  • It mixes better with essential oils
  • It helps heal damaged skin
  • It reduces redness & inflammation
  • It cools on contact
  • It repairs, softens & shines hair
  • It nourishes your scalp
  • It promotes healthy nails & cuticles
  • It locks in moisture
  • It helps prevent body odor
  • If you have the food grade, it’s a healthy alternative to other cooking oils
  • It improves pet health
  • It rejuvenates wooden surfaces

Read more about this oil’s benefits HERE

Just look at these photos.  Doesn’t it look scrumptious?  Like a white buttercream frosting?

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So, let’s crack on already!  (Sorry, I’ve been binge watching “Being British: Joel & Lia” YouTube videos lately, and am starting to use their slang!)

Easy Breezy, Non-Greasy Body Butter

(Makes just over 4 oz body butter)

2 Tbs (1 oz) sweet almond oil (substitutes w/ jojoba or apricot kernel oil)
6 Tbs (3 oz) raw mango butter (substitutes w/ raw shea or cocoa butter)
1 Tbs (1/2 oz) babassu oil  (I found mine here)
120-180 drops of your favorite essential oils (it mays seem like a lot, but for body oils and butters, it’s the recommended amount)

Before you start, you will want to liquify the babassu oil.  It’s a solid in cooler temps, but melts when you put the bottle in a hot water bath. So, fill a large bowl with hot water, and let your bottle of babassu sit inside it for a bit until you can get it to melt a bit.

In a double boiler (or a pot full of water, with a smaller pot sitting on top of the water), melt the raw butter and the babassu oils together. Add sweet almond oil and stir until fully melted together. Let sit to cool in the pot, or pour into a clean mixing bowl, until it’s thickened and no longer clear. You can refrigerate it, but make sure it’s cooled down first, so that it doesn’t create condensation on the lid.

If you refrigerated your mixture, let it sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes to soften it before mixing.

Add your essential oils to the cooled mixture. Beat the mixture for a few minutes with an electric mixer until white and fluffy.

SUGGESTIONS FOR USE:
(body only):

  • Hands, feet & elbows before bed (add Frankincense, Lavender & Tangerine)
  • Moisturizer after shower (add Lavender, Jasmine & Bergamot)
  • Hand cream at work or your kitchen/bathroom sink (add eucalyptus & orange)
  • Hydrate aging/crepey skin (wrinkly) (add Cypress, Frankincense & Helichrysum)
  • Massage a dab onto dry/split ends hair before bed.  Wash out next day (add Lavender)

My favorite EO aroma combos:

Frankincense & Lavender
Tangerine & Bergamot
Clary Sage & Lavender
Clary Sage & Rose
Jasmine and Lavender
Cypress and Lavender
Hawaiian Sandalwood
Rosemary & Peppermint
Litsea, Eucalyptus & Orange
Rosemary and Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus & Orange
Lemon & Lime
Patchouli & Lavender
Vetiver & Lavender

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Body Cream Perfection!

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This lotion/cream recipe is literally perfect!  (Too bad I can’t take credit for the original recipe, as it was created by well-known herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, but I’ve done some tweaking to make it my own).  I hope you love it as much as I do!  Difficulty level is a little higher, but your skin will thank you for the efforts! (I’m going to post an easier version shortly).

When my Aromatherapy instructor shared this recipe with us, I was thinking we were sort of special – but apparently there are many variations of it all over the Interwebs…  This cream has probably been made a bazillion times by people all over the world.  So, while we weren’t especially special, this recipe is truly special!

What I love most about this recipe is that you can change it up with different base oils and/or hydrosols, to suit your needs and it always turns out perfect (but make sure you don’t replace a liquid oil with a solid-type oil, or the results won’t be so perfect!).  It yields approximately 16 oz. of cream, so make sure to have the appropriate containers.

Let’s get started!

FIRST!  Let’s extend the shelf life of our cream by disinfecting all utensils, bowls, spoons, blender, etc. with 70% rubbing alcohol.  Put the rubbing alcohol in a clean spray bottle and spray all items to disinfect them.  Lay them on clean paper towels to dry, or hand dry them.  Bacteria from the tap water could cause nasties to grow in your luxurious cream (this is another reason why we use distilled water or aromatic hydrosols versus tap water).

Preservatives are a must with any type of cream with a water-based ingredient, such as aloe vera gel and hydrosols.  There is a longer shelf life for body butters made with oils and butters only.  This recipe contains aloe vera gel and a hydrosol, so it will grow funky stuff within weeks if not preserved!  I’ve found some natural preservatives on the market to help increase the shelf life of our cream.

Leucidal SF or Leucidal Complete are nice, broad-range and more natural preservatives used mostly in creams and lotions.  Leucidal also provides extra silkiness to your cream.  Who doesn’t want silky skin!?  I sure do…especially since I recently hit 40!

One of the main base oils I chose to use instead of cocoa butter (and am currently obsessed with) is the incredible, but somewhat pricey, Babassu oil.  It is like coconut oil in that it is a solid and melts when warmed in your hand, but it seems to get a bit harder when cooled.

Babassu oil comes from the nuts of the babassu tree in Brazil.  It has so many benefits.  Here are a few to persuade you into loving it:

It is light weight
It doesn’t clog pores
It soaks in faster than coconut oil
It is less greasy/messy than coconut oil
It has a very mild scent
It mixes better with essential oils
It helps heal damaged skin
It reduces redness & inflammation
It cools on contact
It repairs, softens & shines hair
It nourishes your scalp
It promotes healthy nails & cuticles
It locks in moisture
It helps prevent body odor (this would be great in my Deodorant recipe!)
If you have the food grade, it’s a healthy alternative to other cooking oils
It improves pet health
It rejuvenates wooden surfaces

…just to name a few. 

You can read more about Babassu oil HERE.  I may replace coconut oil in all of my recipes with babassu from this point forward – if I can find a good quality, lower-priced supplier.

Below are photos taken step-by-step as I moved through the process. The actual recipe is at the bottom:

Gather all ingredients, sterilize and dry. Ignore the shea butter. I ended up changing the recipe and replaced it with a more liquid oil.

Measure all aqueous ingregients into a sterilized measuring cup.

If using babassu oil, you may need to liquify it by placing in a bowl of hot tap water.

Melt all oils (babassu oil, almond oil, beeswax), minus essential oils, in a double boiler until completely combined.

Fully melted!

Pour hot oils into sterilized blender and cool until room temp. Blend on high and slowly pour in water ingredients through the hole on blender lid. When fully combined, scrape into a sterilized, glass bowl.

Fold in your essential oils with a sterilized spoon until combined. It is a tad blue because I added a few drops of skin-nourishing Blue Tansy essential oil to my cream.

Pour into glass cosmetic jars if you prefer, but make sure your hands are clean when you scoop some out.

Or pipe into lotion containers. It’s much more sterile this way, since your hands never touch the inside.

I had on hand three 4oz lotion squeeze bottles, and one 2 oz round cosmetic container.  I filled all containers the top, and there was enough remaining for me to apply to my super dry arms and legs.

This recipe is velvety, silky and luxurious, and I slather it on after the shower (make sure to have clean & dry hands before putting them into your jar, or use a utensil to scoop it out)

ROSEMARY GLADSTAR’S “PERFECT CREAM” (my personal variation)

Group 1 (Waters)
2/3 cup white rose water/hydrosol (or you can used distilled water)
1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel (no junk from a drugstore – the real stuff)
48 drops of essential oils of your choice (or less)
1/2 oz. Leucidal Liquid SF (natural preservative/antimicrobial)

Group 2 (Oils)
3/4 cup apricot kernel or sweet almond oil
1/3 cup Babassu oil (or shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter)
1/2-1 oz grated beeswax
1/2 tsp. Vitamin E oil

FIRST, see my note above about cleaning everything with rubbing alcohol and drying with/on paper towels.

  • Combine your hydrosol, aloe vera gel and preservative in the glass measuring cup and set aside (cover with saran wrap if you have cats in the home – their fur gets into everything!)
  • Measure the babassu/mango/shea butter (whichever you chose), and beeswax into a double boiler and heat on low until melted completely.  Transfer the melted liquid to your blender, cover with a paper towel, and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to help cool it down.
  • When oils have reached room temperature, secure lid and turn blender on high. Add the water/aloe mixture through the hole at the top of the blender in a slow and steady stream.  (Adding slowly is KEY to getting the waters and oils to emulsify well).  When 3/4 of the water has been added, monitor the cream in the blender. At a certain point, it will thicken and pull above the blades, no longer accepting more liquid.  If okay, add the rest of the liquid.
  • Scrape as much out of the blender as you can, into an alcohol disinfected bowl, and gently fold in your essential oils with to make sure all oils and water are incorporated evenly.
  • Transfer to disinfected storage jars.  The cream will thicken as it sets.
  • Label your jars with all of the ingredients used and store in cool location (the fridge is best!).  Use within 3 months, or until you see mold!  If you added preservatives, it should last 6 months to a year in the fridge.

Enjoy!

How I Ditched My Acid Reflux Medication

Acid Reflux, apple cider vinegar, aromatherapy, essential oils, GERD, gut health, healing, health, holistic, indigestion, natural living, peppermint, pure, recipe, Uncategorized

About 5 years ago, my insides felt like they were coming undone. I had horrible heartburn, nausea, pain under my rib and sometimes food that I’d just eaten kept coming back up over, and over again. After a quick visit to the gastroenerologist, I was diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and was prescribed a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) drug called Omeprazole. I was overjoyed to find a solution to my problem and so I began eating whatever I wanted and life was good.

Heartburn is one thing, but GERD is a whole ‘nother ballgame. It makes you afraid to eat because of the wrath you feel on your innards. I enjoy pasta, pizza, Mexican food, cheese, whole milk, heavy cream, cheesecake, you name it – I eat all of that stuff and there was no way I was giving it up while I’m still young.

You may have GERD if you have at least 4-5 of the symptoms below (but not always):

Common symptoms include:

Frequent heartburn
Trouble sleeping from heartburn
“Vomit burps”
Sore/scratchy throat
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Feeling like there’s a lump in your throat
Damaged teeth from stomach acid
Chest pain
Bad breath
Nausea
Vomiting

During the years I was taking Omeprazole, it gave me my life back, at least that’s what I thought. My doctor gave me a prescription with unlimited refills. So, month after month, year after year, I continued to refill my prescription. I can’t remember the last time I was actually in to see the doctor. Out of the 4-5 years of taking Omeprazole, I believe I only saw him 3 times. Once for our initial consultation and diagnosis, and then for 2 colonoscopies (oh yeah… aren’t you jeally?).

Not long ago, a friend from my oils company, who also happens to be a Nurse Practitioner, posted an article on Facebook about the dangers of Omeprazole. And that natural means could be used to ease symptoms. I’d never heard of there being any issues with acid blockers, but I read the article anyway and then shrugged it off. There was no way I was ever going to discontinue Omeprazole. Picture Gollum from the Lord of the Rings holding a prescription Omeprazole bottle – that would be me. It would take an elephant tranquilizer dart to the neck to pry “My Precious” Omeprazole from me.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m making my usual errands, stopping at Walgreens to refill my Omeprazole prescription. There was a problem. The pharmacy assistant said that they have to contact my doctor to refill the prescription. What? That’s weird, I thought. I forgot about it until a week later when I get a message on my doctor’s online medical portal stating that he’s no longer going to refill my prescription because PPIs aren’t recommended for long term use. Okay then, why did you allow me to refill it for 4-ish years!?!? Also, the doctor recommended using over-the-counter omeprazole, as needed. My initial thoughts were, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!” Now what do I do?

I’m a foodie, food junkie, gorger of goodies, cookie chomper, butter slurper, cheese muncher, pizza hoarder – you name it! Also, I eat out ALL the time – it’s one of the things my husband and I really enjoy doing together on our date nights. I’m a Yelp ‘Elite’ member, meaning I write Yelp reviews and get invited to all of Yelp’s free food tasting parties at various restaurants throughout the year. It’s my thing, and I love it. There is no way I could give that all up.

Within the days following my prescription cancellation, I ate food and got acid reflux all over again. I had bloating, gas, vomit coming up to my throat and excessive burping. I was not happy.

I began doing my research and I came to discover that there are a bunch of natural means to help with acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, licorice root, digestive enzymes, just to name a few. I’d already been using digestive enzymes, which helped my bloating greatly. I was seeing a glimmer of hope. Why hadn’t I done this in the first place!?

After more research, I discovered that I might have leaky gut. That’s a whole other issue to work on, and maybe I’ll do another blog on that some day. Leaky gut can be a cause of GERD, and needs to be taken care of.

I also recently learned that having LOW stomach acid can mimic the high stomach acid symptoms. Great…as if we needed more confusion. Oftentimes, people are diagnosed with GERD because of heartburn and acid reflux, and given a PPI prescription. This causes unnecessary harm to your body if you have low stomach acid because PPIs decrease stomach acid. What someone with low stomach acid should be taking is Betaine HCL with Pepsin (which is betaine hydrochloride with digestive enzymes). Betaine HCL with Pepsin helps aid your body in creating it’s own stomach acid. If you’re experiencing GERD symptoms, it wouldn’t hurt to test for low stomach acid before going to see a gastroenterologist. It’s a simple test, in which I’ll explain below:

TEST FOR LOW STOMACH ACID: When you first wake up in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of baking in 4-6 oz. of water and drink it down. After you drink it, check the clock. If you do not belch within 5 minutes, you have low stomach acid. If you belch within 2-3 minutes, you don’t have low stomach acid. If you belch a lot, then you have high stomach acid. Don’t mistake small burps for belching. We swallow air when we drink, and little burps might be caused by that. Do this for 3 mornings in a row so that you get a good average reading.

If you have low stomach acid, you would benefit by taking the Betaine HCL with Pepsin that I mentioned above. It must have Pepsin in it.A more reliable test would to be to do the test below. This also helps you figure out your personal dosage:

A more reliable test would to be to do the test below. This also helps you figure out your personal dosage:

Take 1 Betaine HCL with Pepsin pill with your largest meat meal. HCL helps break down proteins. If you don’t feel a burning sensation in your stomach, then take 2 pills the next time. Keep adding another pill on to the regimen until you feel a burning sensation in your stomach. Once you do, then you can decrease your dose by one pill and continue that dose for as long as you need to manage the symptoms. Once you feel the burn again, you will decrease by another pill, and so on, until you don’t need to take them anymore.

Obviously, if you have other worrisome symptoms, please make an appointment with a doctor. And before taking any new supplements, be sure to contact your doctor to be sure that there are no interactions with any medications you might be taking already.

My routine now consists of taking 1-2 Aloe Vera Gels by NOW Foods (I got mine HERE), along with 2 digestive enzymes from my company, before each meal – and BAM! – no acid reflux. Just like that. No vomit burps. No nausea. No bloat. It’s amazing. Aloe has such wonderful health benefits already, I’d never dreamed that it would help my stomach issues! You have to make sure to get the good stuff, making sure it does not contain any part of the plant that contains latex. I also take a good probiotic daily. With the American diet, I believe everyone should be on probiotics. They are necessary for maintaining a healthy gut. And last, I take Betaine HCL with Pepsin with each large protein meal.

I am literally overjoyed that I can finally use more natural means to ease my digestive discomforts. Omeprazole is a thing of the past for me – it’s one less prescription that I need to pick up at Walgreens. I seriously don’t even miss it! In fact, I wish I’d known this sooner so that I didn’t have to cause my body any more damage than it already has.

I should note that, as always, changing your eating habits and exercising regularly help greatly. I am in the process of finding a lot more GERD-friendly recipes to add into our family’s mix of meals, so that I’m not purposely provoking my gut. Eating smaller portions will help, and eating foods that are low fat, low acid, and avoiding caffeine, red meat, chocolate, alcohol, fried foods, processed foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic and citrus fruits. Basically everything I like and eat on a regular basis…

For those interested, you can read about Omeprazole’s harmful effects in this article. You will find plenty of information online by Googling: “dangers of Omeprazole” or “dangers of PPIs.” The stuff is pure garbage – plain and simple. If you’re currently on a PPI prescription for major digestive illnesses or ulcers – please stay on your medication and talk to your doctor about using natural means to manage symptoms. If you have acid reflux for other reasons, or occasional heartburn, you might just want to try this regimen. I swear by it.

Have you used any other natural means for GERD, leaky gut, or other disgestive issues? I’d love to hear your regimen.

Gut & Immune Support Lemon Tonic

anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, apple cider vinegar, cancer, clean, cleanliving, empowerment, essential oils, gut health, healing, health, holistic, immunity, natural living, natural medicine, non-gmo, nutrition, organic, recipe, remedy, tonic, Uncategorized, wellness

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I have to start out by telling you flat out that this tonic is pretty darn amazing.  I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because my results after drinking this tonic for about 6 months have been pretty life changing.  In my opinion, it’s a miracle drink – I can say that since I’m not trying to sell it to you. 😉

I’ve had gastric issues for about 6 years now, and nothing ever helped me.  I saw so many doctors and did so many tests to see what was wrong with me – I’ll be paying off those bills for quite a while!  What a waste – the results didn’t tell me anything helpful.

I had a laundry list of symptoms that were unexplained, so I started going to a nutritionist.  I went to her monthly for a couple of years to gently detox my system from heavy metals and other environmental toxins.  She taught me about making healthier food choices, and why whole foods and whole food supplements were important.  I felt somewhat better, but still had many unexplained symptoms.

When I first started making this drink, I only used warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar.  I drank it every morning before my breakfast for a couple of months.  At first, I wasn’t sure if it was helping my gastric issues.  But since I had read so many wonderful things about lemon water, I knew that if I kept drinking it I would benefit from it eventually.  I learned that raw, unfiltered honey has the most health benefits, so I started using that instead of the cheap-o kind I was using (think plastic bottle in the shape of a bear….horrible).  Then, I read that adding baking soda to lemon water has even more health benefits, even cancer prevention, so I started adding that to my drink.

All I can say is WOW!  I sure noticed some changes.  I no longer had excessive gas after every meal.  I wasn’t bloating as often.  I wasn’t burping as much throughout the day (I would literally burp every couple of minutes).  I also noticed that I didn’t have explosive bouts of diarrhea (sorry, TMI?) after eating ice cream or pizza.  My skin is clearer (but I also use Arbonne’s anti-aging skin care, which has something to do with that!), and I haven’t gotten sick in a while.  (UPDATE:  It’s now 3 years later, and I finally got a sinus infection…BUT!  I’d stopped drinking this for a few weeks prior!  I don’t think it’s a coincidence.)

I also now take digestive enzymes with every meal, to help my stomach break down the food.  And I take exemplary supplements from a company I represent.  I know that everything I’ve said have played their own part in my current wellness vs. 7 years ago.

I always recommend this lemon tonic to anyone who tells me that they have digestive issues.  I will probably drink this tonic for as long as I live.  Even if you don’t have stomach issues, there are so many other health benefits (listed below) that it doesn’t hurt to try it for yourself.  If you are consistent and drink this tonic every single morning before breakfast, you will notice changes eventually.  Still a skeptic?  Google “lemon honey water” and read on!  There are so many great articles by doctors and health and wellness practitioners praising lemon water.

So, you’re probably wondering, “Why lemon, honey, baking soda and apple cider vinegar?  What makes them so special?”  I have gathered some information and compiled it all here:

Lemon Goodness

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which enhances beauty by rejuvenating the skin from the inside.  It helps in weight loss, and is a very alkaline fruit (once it is in the body – otherwise it is acidic).

Lemons are a great source of polysaccharides, organic acids especially citric acid, lipids, carotenoid, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, bitter limonoids, potassium, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C.  Lemons also include volatile oil (in the peel – where the lemon essential oils come from), limonene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-pinene, citral, coumarins, mucilage, pectins, and bioflavonoids (pith and peel).

Honey Goodness

Honey is a great source of good carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids.  Honey contains small amounts of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.  It also contains vitamin C, and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.  The darker the honey, the greater antioxidants.  Honey also contains organic acids such as acetic, butanoic, formic, citric, succinic, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic and gluconic acids, and a number of aromatic acids.

Apple Cider Vinegar Goodness

(This will knock your socks off!)  I use Bragg’s organic ACV, which says “With the Mother” on the front of the bottle.  Seriously…you must use Bragg’s – it is the best.  All others I’ve tasted are disgusting.

“With the Mother” means that it still contains all of the good stuff, unlike other apple cider vinegars that are void of it.  ACV contains pectin, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and small amounts of minerals like potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.  It has a wide range of benefits, such as it:  helps stomach troubles, cures hiccups, soothes a sore throat, could lower cholesterol, prevents indigestion, clears a stuffy nose, aids in weight loss, gets rid of dandruff, clears acne, boosts energy, cuts down on nighttime leg cramps, banishes bad breath, whitens teeth, fades bruises, helps control blood sugar.  Amazing – and it’s only about $8 for a large bottle at the grocery store!

Baking Soda Goodness

Baking Soda isn’t just for baking cookies!  When consumed, it works by immediately kicking stomach acid in the face, which then helps relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain.  When consumed in a lemon tonic, it gets your digestive juices flowing, and will help your stomach in digestion.  If that wasn’t enough, it is also known to alkalize the body and help with kidney disease, cancer, athletic performance, skin conditions and can be used in homemade deodorants (RECIPE HERE) and toothpaste (RECIPE HERE).

In Summary, here’s a list of health benefits of this tonic:

  1. Enhances metabolism.
  2. Aids digestion.
  3. Cleanses the intestines, which improves the absorption of nutrients.
  4. Boosts your immune system.
  5. Cleans your urinary tract.
  6. Balances pH levels.
  7. Clears skin.
  8. Promotes healing.
  9. Freshens breath.
  10. Hydrates your lymph system.
  11. Aids in weight loss.
  12. Boosts energy.

I am sure this isn’t even an exhaustive list.  But it is a very good start!  I feel that everyone should drink this daily, and I hope you will give it a try.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, make sure you at least have water, honey, lemon and ACV.  Those are good enough in themselves for boosting your immune system.

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LEMON WATER TONIC

  • 8 oz. warm water
  • 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp raw, Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs raw, unfiltered, organic honey (the darker the better)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • Drop or 2 of essential oil of choice (see note in red below)

First, heat up the water in either a glass or ceramic mug, for 35-40 seconds in the microwave.  Next, stir in the honey until it is dissolved.  Then you can add in the ACV and baking soda.  (**you can toss in some of your favorite essential oils if you’d like!)

The last part is a little tricky.  Before you add the lemon juice to the mixture, be forewarned!   It can get messy if you don’t slooowly add it in.  The baking soda reacts to the acid in the lemon juice and foams up quick!!  I’ve had mine spill out onto my counter a few times.  If you slowly add the lemon juice, but use a spoon to break up the foam as you continue to pour the lemon juice, you should be alright.  I drink it with a stainless steel straw because the acid from the lemon can eat away at your teeth.  If you don’t have one, just sip it, but rinse your mouth with water from the faucet after you finish your drink.

So, if any of you start doing this daily, and notice some changes in your health, please come back to tell me about it!  🙂

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Blessings

Vegetable Enzyme All-Purpose Cleaner – And Baby Shampoo??

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UPDATE!  2 years after purchasing a gallon of Botanic Gold (n/k/a Enviro-One), we finally ran out.   We used it consistently for everything from foaming hand soap, to cleaning up cat puke, to all-purpose cleaner spray and more.   It has saved my family some pretty good coin over the past 2 years!  Just wanted to share because this stuff is awesome!!  It cleans grease and grime in the kitchen better than store-bought cleaners.  I spray it on my stove, counters, cat puke, etc., and within seconds, it wipes off so easily!   It’s our go-to for EVERYTHING.  For reals.

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Recently on Facebook, I came across an article stating that Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo contained formaldehyde, an ingredient that is not necessary in any of our personal care products.  J&J has since changed their ways, but I am still not convinced that using even their “Naturals Baby Shampooline is the best thing.  The ingredient list is posted below.  Pay particular attention to the bolded ingredient at the bottom:

Water, Decyl Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel, Corn), Cocoglycerides (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Sodium Coco-Sulfate (Source: Coconut, Palm), Coco-Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Glyceryl Oleate (Source: Sunflower), Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Glycerin (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Xanthan Gum (Source: Soy, Corn), Sodium Benzoate (Source: *), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose (Source: Plant, Mineral), Citric Acid (Source: *), Sodium Hydroxide (Source: *), Parfum (Source: Plant), * The remaining ingredients are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness.

First, what are these “remaining ingredients that are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness,” as stated in the last sentence?  I would sure like to know – I mean, if they are natural, why not include them on the label?

Second, why does a “natural” shampoo need all of those extra ingredients?  There are cleansers that are all natural, and don’t have a bunch of stuff added to them.  I understand many of their ingredients act as emollients, and help soften/moisturize skin, but they are not necessary.  All-natural oils, such as sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil, are a better substitute for retaining moisture in the skin, and can be added to a homemade shampoo for it’s added benefits.

The main reason I posted that listing is the bolded ingredient Sodium Hydroxide.  Why is Sodium Hydroxide concerning?  Because the New Jersey Department of Health has a “Hazardous Substance Facts Sheet” for this chemical, which is posted in industrial facilities so that workers know how dangerous it is:

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Sure, I know, this fact sheet is for factory workers who are dealing with the concentrated chemical in it’s purest form, but even a tiny amount of a toxic chemical has no place in a baby shampoo.  In my honest opinion.

Here is another clip from that same Fact Sheet:

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Billion dollar product companies like J&J claim that the actual amount of an otherwise toxic chemical is not actually toxic when a minimal amount is used in personal care products.  This may be true, but the question begging to be asked is – why is it used at all when there are more natural options out there?

Why do we blindly accept everything at the grocery store as safe, or even good, for us, just because it has pretty packaging, and the word “Natural” printed on it.  Does this make it actually good for you?  Not necessarily.

We are living in a time where we cannot trust multi-billions dollar corporations to have our children’s best interests at heart.  We are their advocates, nurturers, caretakers, etc., and need to be aware of these things.

By no means am I a “crunchy” person in all aspects of life, but I do try and cut out unnecessary toxins from my personal care, medication and cleaning products.  Every product that I make has a natural base (i.e., apple cider vinegar, or sweet almond oil, etc.) and then I add essential oils to it for its potent health benefits or cleansing properties.

Here is my proposition:  If you have the ability to make your own all-natural personal care and cleaning products for you and your family, then do it.  You will not regret it.

I don’t know about you, but when I make something in my own home, from all-natural ingredients that I choose, I know that my family is getting the best of the best.  Making your own personal products is not complicated, nor does it take up much of your time.  And it saves you money in the long run.

So, back to the lil ones.  Below is a super easy homemade baby shampoo recipe, that can also be used on their hair and body, and on yours too!  The base soap is an all natural botanical soap, made from plant enzymes, called Enviro-One, that can be used for just about everything:  skin care, brushing teeth, household cleaner, baby care, fruit/veggie washing, cleaning your toilet (!) and so much more.  (I love this stuff so much that I should get paid for how much I talk about it online!  (*hint, hint, Enviro-One executives*)

There are actually over 200 uses for Enviro-One all-natural soap.  I pick up mine at their website:  Enviro-One.  It is super concentrated, so it will last a very long time.  It may seem expensive, but when you use one part soap mixed with 10 parts water, and you can usually replace all of your cleaning and skin care products with it, it’s totally worth it in my opinion and experience.  My first gallon lasted me over 2 years.  (I have not been paid by Enviro-One to write this).

Just check out the back of the bottle – those ingredients!  Now that’s natural soap:

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Muuuuch better than the J&J, right?  I love how safe it is, and how much money it will save me.


 

Homemade Baby Shampoo Recipe:

– Plastic shampoo bottle
– Small amount Botanic Gold soap (see bottle for measurements)
1 Tbs of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil
– (see below for amounts) 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils per ounce of soap mixture (see note in red below)

Combine ingredients together in a plastic shampoo bottle, shake and you’re done.

Essential Oil Options:

Babies 3+ months (2-3 drops oil per ounce soap):  lavender, roman chamomile, frankincense.  Or you might want to use 1-2 Tbs of a hydrosol (lavender, german chamomile hydrosols are gentler than essential oils)

Babies 6+ months. (3-5 drops oil per ounce soap): tea tree, bergamot, tangerine, sandalwood, geranium, helichrysum, cypress, cedarwood

Children 2+ years (not more than 20 drops per ounce soap):  basil, clary sage, ginger, juniper berry, lemongrass, lime, myrrh, parchouli, ylang ylang.

Essential oils are not only added for their scent, but for the slew of health benefits the provide.  While certain oils would be added for their cleansing properties, others can aid in relaxation/sleep, calming, skin irritations, etc.  If essential oils are added, please be sure not to get the soap in or near your baby’s eyes.

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Blessings!
Karen

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

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My cup of deliciousness

Turmeric is all the rage these days, and I just had to try out a recipe for cinnamon-turmeric tea I found online.  It.  Was.  Delicious.  My husband even liked it – he said it tasted like Thanksgiving.  With flavors like clove and cinnamon, and it’s pumpkin-y color, you could make this healthy drink for your holiday party.

**Please read this great article on Authority Nutrition‘s website on the many benefits of turmeric.

After reading about the benefits in the article above, now it is time to make your own turmeric tea!  Gather up your ingredients and let’s get started:

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Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.

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Put 1/3 cup of tea in a mug and add some raw honey (even better, how about some local honey!). Then add in 2/3 cup of milk and stir well.

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CINNAMON-TURMERIC TEA

1-2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves (I had ground clove, so I used a tea sachet)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
4 peppercorns
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup milk of choice

(**Add some pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils for added health benefits!  (See note in red below).  My choices would be myrrh, clove or cinnamon bark.  But only a drop or two into the whole batch.)

Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.  Put 1/3 tea, 2/3 milk in a teacup.  Add raw honey and milk and stir.  Adjust to taste.

You can save the remainder of your tea mixture in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Just warm up a batch of the mixture each time, and then add the honey and milk.

(**turmeric tends to sink to the bottom.  Be sure to stir/shake well before each use).

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FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


To your health!

DIY Facial Serum

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Facial serums are an important part of a skin-care regimen, just as much as a good cleanser and moisturizer.  Serum will provide nourishment and soothing to your skin.

If you have acne-prone skin, you would benefit from a light, astringent serum to keep your face moisturized and nourished without clogging pores.  And you will also want to use as a toner, either Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, or organic witchhazel – or both combined (witchhazel-based toner is the best for your skin, as it will not dry it out like an alcohol-based toner would). Toner is always a must in any skin care regimen because it firms, tightens and tones the skin.

If you are 25 or older, I would highly recommend using an anti-aging facial serum.  It’s never too early to start nourishing your skin.  As skin ages, it loses its elasticity and starts to sag.  Without proper moisture and nourishment, you may end up looking like an American bulldog by the time you are 60.  Sorry, it’s truth – and the truth hurts sometimes…

Let’s get started!


FIRST, choose your carrier oil – which is your main ingredient.  It’s also known as a base oil.  Below are a list of very light base oils that will not leave your skin sticky or greasy.  I would try to always get organic or cold-pressed:

Argan oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
Jojoba oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
Apricot kernel oil (for any skin type, but especially dry, aging skin)
Sweet almond oil (thicker, and takes longer to sink in, but nourishing)
Grapeseed oil (for normal, oily, or acne-prone skin)
Avocado oil (for dry and aging skin)
Hemp seed oil (for any skin type, also very light)
Calendula oil (extremely healing to irritated, sensitive skin)

My favorite base oils are jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.  They are very lightweight and do not clog pores.


SECOND, you will choose an extra oil, for added nourishment (optional, but very beneficial).  Here are some extra oils:

Tamanu oil (good for acne-prone or oily skin, or skin with scars)
Sea buckthorn oil (for all skin types, but especially aging or dry skin)
Rosehip seed oil (regenerating, firming, anti-aging)
Carrot seed oil (super nourishing! – you only need a miniscule amount
Borage oil (high in oleic acids – for most skin types, especially oily & acne-prone skin)
Evening primrose oil (acne, aging, normal skin)
Neem oil (antimicrobial and healing – for acne and oily skin)
Emu oil (emollient, protective and nourishing – for dry or aging skin)


THIRD, choose your favorite essential oils that work best according to your specific skin care needs.  You will only need a few small drops of essential oil as they are super potent.  (See note in red below)

Here are the most-used essential oils in skin care:

Lavender (oily or dry skin)
Peppermint (oily or dry skin)
Chamomile (soothing for sensitive skin)
Rose (for aging, dry and normal skin) (Unless you are the CEO of Microsoft, you may not be able to afford this oil!  My company finally sells it, and it’s pre-diluted so it’s cheaper!  Hallelujah!)
Geranium (for dry, sensitive, aging, and normal skin)
Lemongrass (brightens/tones – for normal or oily skin)
Rosemary (moisturizes oily skin)

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


LAST, take the dropper top off of a 1-oz glass bottle and:

1.  Fill your bottle just under 2/3 of the way with your base oil.

2.  Add “extra” oil until the bottle is just about full (If you are using carrot seed oil, only use a few drops)

3.  Add 5-7 drops of essential oil.  (Less if you’re using peppermint!! – and make sure to keep away from eyes).  Put the cap on your bottle and shake well.  You should be able to smell the oils, but it should not be overwhelming.

Apply 2-3 drops to face and neck after cleansing, and before your moisturizer.  If you use toner, use it after the toner.  You will not need a moisturizer after applying the serum – it should give you enough moisture on its own.  Keep your serum out of the sunlight (use a dark colored class bottle, such as amber or cobalt blue).  Give it a little shake each time before you apply the serum, to make sure the oils are well combined.  It should be good for up to 12 months.

This recipe may need tweaking, to accommodate your skin care needs.  We all have different skin types, and an oil that is good for one may not be good for another.  I would suggest by making only a small amount at first.  If it ends up not working for your face, you can always rub it on your body to moisturize before bed, or add it to your whipped body butter (see my recipe HERE).  The mixture will still benefit your skin, and does not need to go to waste.

To learn more about essential oils, or the brand I use, comment below.  I’m happy to help point you in the right direction.

Blessings