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

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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!

UPDATED – “Hyperthyroidism, Multinodular Goiters, and Hyperparathyroid Tumors, Oh My!”

auto-immune, cancer, crunchy, Graves Disease, healing, health, homeopath, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, nutrition, parathyroid, thyroid, tumor, wellness

 

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My goiter from Graves’ Disease (a/k/a Hyperactive thyroid)

 

**UPDATE 12/15/17:  I was diagnosed last month with hyper-parathyroidism.  My Endo referred me to a surgeon, but I decided to pick my own.  I wanted the best.  I believe I found that in Dr. Steven DeJong at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.  I saw him a couple weeks ago, and after reviewing my 4D CT scan, Ultrasound and bloodwork, he believes I have 2 parathyroid tumors, and said that my thyroid/goiter and nodules are so large, that they are around the size of his fist!  And it is growing downwards into my sternum.  Yikes.

Dr. De Jong said I need to have a total thyroidectomy, and a sub-total parathyroidectomy.  Meaning, my whole thyroid/goiter is coming out, and he’s hopefully going to leave 2 parathyroid glands behind (that is, if they are normal once he gets in there).

So!  “Eviction Day” is set for January 11th.  Eviction Day is what people with parathyroid tumors affectionately call surgery day.  😉  I’m finally kicking out the beast that is wreaking all of the havoc in my body.  I am excited!…but of course a little nervous.  I’ve never had surgery before, but the thought of a 2-3 inch incision on my neck gives me the heebie jeebies.

Here I was thinking it would be a quick, non-invasive surgery like all the others with parathyroid tumors, but no.  Mine will be a regular surgery, with an overnight stay, but only 2 weeks recovery.  Not too bad.  Due to the overnight stay, all of my time off of work will be short-term disability pay, and I don’t have to use ANY personal, sick or vacation time!  Thank you Lord!  After surgery, it’s life as usual…except that I’ll apparently feel 20 years younger and my brain fog and body aches will be gone!!

I’m ready to kick butt at the gym, grow my essential oils business, ace my Aromatherapy Certification course and finish learning the basics of the Norwegian language.  It’s been so hard to do any of those things due to body aches and memory/brain fog/confusion problems.  But I have high expectations for goals and accomplishments in 2018!

I just want to offer up a bit of advice…  ANY TIME you have blood work done, always look at it.  If ANY of your numbers are in the abnormal range, and your doctor does nothing – get a 2nd opinion.  It could save you decades of pain.

**UPDATE 10/11/17:  I went for a physical the other day, at my family doctor’s office, and they sent me for bloodwork.  I’ve been experiencing diabetes symptoms, and it runs in the family, so I wanted to get checked out.  While my blood tests came back mostly normal for diabetes (even though it revealed that I’m pre-diabetes), my doctor was concerned that my calcium level was high.  What the heck could high calcium do!?  Well, I’ll tell you why you should be concerned if your calcium level is ever higher than a 10.

Anything above 10 on your blood work is considered high.  Mine was 10.7 on this current test.  In 2015 it was 11.0 and in 2014 it was 10.8.  I am not sure why my doctor didn’t say anything about my level being high in 2014 or 2015, but I’m grateful that he looked into it further this time.  With the latest symptoms I’ve been experiencing over the past year or so, he decided to send me back to the lab for a PTH test (parathyroid hormone test).

Apparently, if both your calcium and parathyroid levels are high, you more or less have a parathyroid tumor called an “adenoma.”  They are almost always benign (less than 1 in 2500 are cancerous), but this little bugger wreaks havoc on your body.  It basically pulls calcium out of your bones (even your teeth!), and the calcium floats around in your blood stream because you are unable to absorb it.  This causes many frustrating symptoms that make you feel ill just about all of the time.  There is a more scientific explanation at Parathyroid.com, they are experts and only deal with parathyroid diseases.

I’ve had all sorts of symptoms that I’ve never been able explain for about 9 years now.  It’s so frustrating to have your thyroid checked yearly, only to get a normal result – but you still know there is something wrong with your body.  Doctors begin to think you’re making it all up!  After my doctor ordered me to get the parathyroid blood test, I Googled “parathyroid adenoma” symptoms – I have just about all of them.  It also went on to say that there is a quick procedure to remove the tumor (less than 20 mins!), with a small incision on your neck and a quick recovery, as opposed to the old school surgery with an 8″ incision!  (yikes!!)  They say that once the troublemaker tumor is removed, you are cured.  You are basically supposed to feel normal again within hours, days or months (depending on how sick you were and for how long).  I cannot contain my excitement!!  I don’t even remember what “normal” feels like!!  I’m basically praying I have this tumor, so that I can get it taken out.  😉

I got the results of my PTH tests back and my level is 110 pg/mL.  Normal levels are between 15 and 65 pg/mL.  So, it looks like I have the tumor.   I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist.  I am assuming he will diagnose me with hyperparathyroid adenoma, and when he does, I am scheduling the surgery ASAP.  I am aching (no pun intended) to feel better!

I will update again after my appointment with the endocrinologist.  Hoping for a diagnosis so I can finally get the tumor out and be done with this part of my life.


 

(Original blog)

Back in 1996, when I was in high school, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, called Grave’s Disease (a/k/a hyperactive thyroid) and was told I also had toxic multinodular goiters on my thyroid.  The goiter was benign, thank God, but the symptoms of the disease were rough on me as an already self-conscious teenager.

[The thyroid is a small gland in the neck just below the Adam’s apple.  Its primary function is to produce hormones that influence most of the metabolic functions of the body.  Three primary thyroid conditions, of which I will mention later, can occur for a variety of reasons and each carry their own set of annoying symptoms.]

So, at 16, my daily life was filled with nervousness, anxiety, shakiness, excessive sweating, losing hair around the hairline, large eyes and pupils, feeling sick if I hadn’t eaten, and basically looking anorexic due to the inability to gain weight.  I also had a lump growing on my lower neck called a goiter.  Just lovely.

At times it was hard to sleep on my stomach because my pillow would push against my tender goiter.  I started sleeping with a stuffed bear under my chest to lift up my neck.  This would relieve any pressure on my goiter.

There were one “bonus” in having a hyperactive thyroid – I could eat an entire pizza every day of the week, or 2 pints of Hagen Daaz ice cream in one sitting, and not gain an ounce!  Being skinny may sound like a good thing, but it’s not in this case.  And I can’t tell you how many people have asked me “how can I get a hyper-thyroid!?”  Trust me people, you don’t want one!!

One particularly hard part about having this disease as a teen was that kids at school would ask me if I were anorexic.  A friend once approached me in the hallway at school, and asked if I were sick because I had a lump on my neck (goiter).  I didn’t “fill out” the school bathing suit in gym class like the other girls, because I was too skinny.   That was embarrassing, to say the least.

Finally, after a year or so on antithyroid medications – Synthroid and PTU – my doctor scheduled me to have the radioactive iodine treatment (“RAI”) at the Nuclear Medicine department of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.  This was to try to stop my thyroid from producing too much thyroid hormone.  This treatment is serious business – the doctor dons protective gloves and drops a radioactive iodine pill down your throat.  You aren’t even allowed to touch it.  You are then instructed not to sit by anyone who is pregnant for 3 days after treatment (!?!).  You are to flush the toilet 3 times each time you go, and eat with paper plates and plastic forks.  They don’t want any of your bodily fluids touching someone else.  (And maybe my future children will have 3 heads?)

I wondered, if the radioactivity in my body could harm someone else just by sitting next to them, what radioactive residue could it leave behind that might wreak havoc in my future?  While the future of my health is unknown, I am thankful that my thyroid has currently, and for the past 22 years, not given me any trouble since RAI treatment.  This is actually pretty rare because most people end up turning hypo (underactive) after this treatment, and need to take Synthroid for the rest of their lives.  I am basically cured, hopefully forever, of the overproduction of thyroid hormone in my thyroid.  I still have goiters, and I still get yearly blood tests.  So, it’s not completely out of my life.

My goiter isn’t as noticeable now, but I still get a tad self-conscious when I wear a short necklace, which accentuates my lump.  Sometimes I feel the necklace is like a blinking arrow on the Vegas strip, directing your gaze to my lovely lump!  (Said lump is depicted in the photo at the top of this page).


TYPES OF THYROID DISORDERS

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a where the thyroid is not producing enough of the thyroid hormones, which may lead to a variety of symptoms, such as:  obesity, joint pain, infertility, heart disease, tiredness, depression, lack of concentration, feeling cold, constipation, muscle cramps, weight gain, increased menstrual flow, more frequent periods, itchy skin and thinning hair.  It is most common in women, over 50.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

This is where the body attacks the thyroid tissue.  This results in inflammation and damage to the tissue.  Which then results in reduced amounts of the hormones normally generated by the thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid increases your metabolism, like you wouldn’t believe.  It causes sudden weight loss (I was 96 lbs my senior year in high school), a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness and irritability.  More symptoms include: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, bulging eyes, weakness in arms/legs, shaky hands, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, racing heartbeat, premature grey hair, lighter menstrual flow, less frequent periods.   All of which I experienced as a 16 year old.  Ugh…

Various forms of hyperthyroidism include:

Graves’ disease
Toxic adenomas
Subacute thyroiditis
Goiters/Nodules


 CONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS

Antithyroid Medications
Thyroid Removal
Radioactive Iodine (RAI)
Alternative wellness support (i.e., essential oils, healthy eating, supplements, lemon tonic (see my blog on these), etc.)


ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THYROID

While I am not on any thyroid medications, I do try and support my thyroid with a natural approach.  There are a few essential oils can be a huge help in supporting your endocrine system, especially your thyroid.  Some of which include:  Myrtle, Lemongrass and Frankincense.

Myrtle oil is what they call an “adaptogen” type of oil.  It has been discovered through research that myrtle oil has the ability to support the natural balance of the thyroid hormone – whether under-performing or over-performing.  (see research by Dr. Daniel Penoel).

Rub 1-3 diluted drops of myrtle oil onto your big toe, or on your neck below where the Adam’s apple would sit, once or twice a day. You can also intensify this thyroid support by blending lemongrass or frankincense – they are both the “intensifiers.”

Should you wish to make a rollerball bottle, for easy application, of myrtle and lemongrass, or lemongrass and frankincense, be sure to dilute it as follows:

Add 10 drops of an essential oil to any 5mL roller bottle.  Add 20 drops of an essential oil if you are using a 10mL roller bottle.  Then, you would fill the remainder of the roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil.  This is roughly a 1:10 ratio.  Or see chart below.  The colored drops show how many actual drops of oil to use in the corresponding bottle size, and the gray drop shows the percentages it would represent for each of those colored drops.  I hope it makes sense.  (It confused me at first!)  (See note in red below)

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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.



If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, please make an appointment with a good Endocrinologist.  They will take the appropriate blood tests to see if you have low or high thyroid hormone levels.

Blessings and good health to you!

Karen

A Day in the Life – My Oiling Routine

calming, cats, clean, cleanliving, diy, do-it-yourself, empowerment, essential oils, felines, health, holistic, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, immunity, natural living, non-gmo, pure, recipe, relaxation, soothing, wellness

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Every time I introduce someone to essential oils, they ask how they can incorporate them into their daily lives.  Easy peasy.  You just start with one oil at a time and work your way up as you learn more about each oil.  Otherwise, you may become overwhelmed with the vast amount of information out there, and the plethora of uses for each and every oil, and then throw your hands up in defeat.  It is so sad to see that happen, and I’ve seen it happen, because essential oils and aromatherapy are so beneficial to our bodies.

When I first start using essential oils in 2014, I started with oils that would help my mood issues.  I started using calming and uplifting oils every morning and every night on the bottoms of my feet, or on the back of my neck.

Then, I started using peppermint oil for various reasons, such as to give me a chill and cool me off during the 90+ degree weather in the summer (I also hot flash like I’m menopausal!), as a breath freshener, and in my homemade toothpaste and deodorant.  I use it for clearing my nasal passages by breathing it in deeply a few times, from a drop rubbed between my palms.  And, it’s great for keeping away the spiders!

Next, I added frankincense to my regimen for its relaxing and mood-lifting properties, and also to help build and maintain a healthy immune system.  This oil is a part of the big leagues.  It is one of the best oils to promote cellular health, and I had to have it.  What I love about “frank” is that it acts as an “intensifier” to the other oils you’ve applied.  That’s right, it helps them become more effective.  How awesome is that?  It’s no wonder it was given as a gift to baby Jesus, it is highly valuable!

I also started using melaleuca (“tea tree”) oil to cleanse and rejuvenate my skin when it got too oily, or if I had a blemish or two.  Just dab a tiny bit of oil on it 3 times a day, and it will start to dry up.  And, if I have a canker sore, I dab melaleuca on it a few times to help ease that nasty sting – and it even seems to “cauterize” the sore, for lack of a better word.  This helps your body repair itself.

Below is a step-by-step list of my own personal daily oiling routine (I don’t always follow this routine religiously, but you get a nice little picture of how you can incorporate oils into your own life):

1.  Every morning, after showering, I apply 2-3 drops of calming and uplifting blends (comment below for my favorite brand!), and I layer 2 drops of frankincense over those.

I will also cup my hands over my nose/mouth and breathe in the remaining oils deeply for added olfactory benefits.  Various oils, when inhaled, help to relax, calm and promote an overall feelings of well-being.  And believe me, I have ALL of them in my arsenal.

I also put 2 drops of frankincense under my tongue for to promote cellular health, or a specific blend of oils that also help in that area. (email me to find these oils).

2.  Before brushing my teeth, with my homemade toothpaste (see recipe here), I will add a drop of peppermint oil to my toothbrush for added freshness.  The toothpaste already contains a little Peppermint oil, as well as a immune system enhancing blend of oils, to provide a soothing protection for my mouth, gums and throat, and to strengthen teeth through remineralization of surface tooth enamel.

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3.  After lunch, rather than chewing Trident (like I used to do 4x a day!), I place one drop of peppermint oil on my tongue and swallow.  This provides the mouth with a burst of freshness, if you do not have a toothbrush with you at work.  Trident, and many other gums contain aspartame, saccharin and other nasties that are not good, especially if you’re chewing it as much as I did.

4.  Not long after lunchtime, I may or may not need to rub a drop or two of a digestive-soothing oils onto my belly.  If I was a good girl and ate healthy, I don’t need the tummy taming oils!  These digestive enzymes aid in the proper digestion of foods that are hard to digest (i.e., meats, dairy, etc.), and soothe the occasional stomach upset.  They also support a healthy gastrointestinal tract.  These enzymes are phenomenal for one other reason – they also aid in digesting gluten!  I’ve never seen another product out there like that.  Pretty sweet, and incredibly helpful.  Comment below for my favorite digestive enzymes.

5.  As the 3:00 p.m. crash closes in on me, I whip out the peppermint oil as a pick-me-up.  After rubbing only a drop to the palms of my hands, and breathing in deeply, I am more alert and ready to take on the afternoon.  You can also place a drop on the back of your neck or on your wrist and breathe in deeply.  (If you have sensitive skin, be sure to dilute peppermint oil – it is a “hot” oil and you may feel a burn!)  Lemon, or any of the other citrus oils, will also help wake you up and even uplift your mood.  (NOTE:  When using citrus oils, do not let it be exposed to the sun for 12 hours or so, because they are photosensitive and can cause severe burns).

6.  After work, I may rub another drop or two of calming and uplifting oils (email me for these) on the back of my neck, and breathe it in from my hands.  This is to either help me relax or lift my mood for the evening.

7.  If I am wired from working the 9-5, I will put a drop of frankincense on the roof of my mouth, and rub a blend of oils such as: peppermint/cypress/basil/lavender on the back of my neck to promote relaxation of tense muscles.  This helps me begin to relax.

8.  Just before bedtime, I will wash perform my daily skin care regimen, and then I’ll gently rub an anti-aging blend of oils (diluted in evening primrose oil) onto my face before applying a light layer of night cream.  This blend contains anti-aging skin-supporting oils, such as frankincense, lavender, myrrh, helichrysum, sandalwood, etc.  Very soothing, great for those fine lines and wrinkles and does not clog pores!  And believe it or not, it actually minimizes the red scars that you get from blemishes (the ones that usually stick around a looooong time).  LOVE, gumdrops, unicorns and lollipops – that’s what I think about that!

9.  Then, I brush my teeth again with a drop of peppermint or a thieves-type of blend onto my toothpaste (I don’t always do this – I’m lazy a lot of the time and skip this step).

10.  And last, at bedtime, I rub  calming and soothing blends of oils onto the bottoms of my feet and big toes.  I may add in a little vetiver oil (a sedative oil) too.  If there’s any left on my hands, I’ll rub it across my pillow.  The best oils for sleep are lavender, a certain pre-made calming blend, ylang ylang, roman chamomile, sandalwood, cedarwood and vetiver.  I am sure there are more, but those are the best that I know of!

I am wary of diffusing oils throughout the night, because a particular cat of mine hates the scent of essential oils (as most cats do – since many are toxic to them).  He retaliates by leaving me a liquid “present” on my bedspread.  So far I’ve had to bring my bedspread to the laundromat 3 times ($8 each time!) to clean/dry it because it’s too large for my own washer/dryer.  Now I only diffuse oils at bedtime if I need help with respiratory issues.

Our bodies were created to heal themselves during sleep, so it is important to always be able to reach a deep REM sleep.  For general physical and emotional health, and also for skin health.  When using my favorite sleep oils, I wake up more refreshed from having a deeper sleep, and it does not make me drowsy.

Then, I wake up and do it all over again…

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I don’t even remember what life was like before using essential oils, to be honest.  They’ve become such a staple in my life and I know that I will always use them.  It’s so exciting to have everything I need for every issue you could think of, right at my fingertips.  It’s empowering, and fun, and I get to use my creativity when blending.

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, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

BEST Homemade Deodorant – Better than Tom’s!

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This is by far THE BEST deodorant I have ever used.  No joke – and it comes from my very own kitchen.  I’ve tried so many natural deodorants, regular deodorants, etc., and they all make my pits smell funky.  I used to always think homemade products weren’t as effective – that was until I found the magical world of essential oils. 😉

First, some info:

Antiperspirants:

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade, you already know that antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, which stop you from sweating.  This may sound great to you, and give you confidence at a sweltering mid-summer BBQ party, but it is actually not a good thing.  Your underarm sweat glands are there for a reason – to release the sweat and toxins from your body to keep you healthy.

Did you know that whatever we put on our body is absorbed through our pores, and enters our blood stream within approximately 26 seconds?  Many products out there contain formaldehyde, parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum, etc., which soak right into your pores and swim around your blood stream looking for organs in which they can attach themselves and eventually mess up your body.

Not only do antiperspirants contain aluminum, they also irritate sensitive skin.  Even “all natural” brands can give people rashes or contain ingredients that aren’t 100% pure!  It’s just so hard to find real natural products, you know?

Deodorant:

Deodorant is a completely different product altogether.  Deodorants do not contain aluminum, so they allow you to sweat.  But they do somewhat mask the scent of your body odor – so at least you don’t stink!

Years ago, after going to a nutritionist, I learned that aluminum has been linked to many health issues, and that I would be better off making my own 100% natural deodorant.  To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of using only a deodorant, and letting my sweat flow freely (Update: been using this now for a couple years and will never go back to store bought deodorant).

I first started out with drugstore deodorant.  Then, I learned more about harmful chemicals in our products, so I began using Tom’s natural deodorant from the health food store.  Tom’s didn’t mask the odor at all.  Maybe it’s worked for you, but as for me, not a fan.  Then, I joined Arbonne, and started using their all natural Pure Mint deodorant.  I love the smell of their deodorant, like sweet mint gum, but it was a little too pricey for my budget.

I ran out of my last stick of Arbonne deodorant yesterday morning, so I decided to make homemade organic deodorant last night.  I am happy to say that it works like a boss!  It has been almost 9 hours and no pit odor.  All you need are a few ingredients and 5-10 minutes to make your own.

I chose lavender, melaleuca (tea tree), wintergreen and/or peppermint oils.  The lavender and melaleuca have odor-masking properties.  Wintergreen is cool and has that minty/cooling scent that I loved in my old Arbonne deodorant.

Below is a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make this deodorant.  The full recipe will be posted at the bottom of the page.  It makes an invisible-solid deodorant, that should last up to 3 months!  I had enough to fill up 2 deodorant sticks, and a 4 oz. glass jar.

First, I collected all of the materials I would need.  Small pot, measuring cup, all-natural beeswax, organic cold-pressed coconut oil, arrowroot powder, aluminum-free baking soda and my essential oils.  That’s it.

Next, heat up a small pot on the stove at a very low temp for a couple of minutes.  Once the pot is heated, drop in the coconut oil, add the beeswax and melt together at very low heat.  Once they have melted together, turn off the stove.

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Next, whisk in arrowroot powder and baking soda.  Once smooth, let it cool for about 15 minutes so that it isn’t hot.  Then, you can stir in your essential oils (so as not to be damaged by high heat).

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Take an empty deodorant stick container, or a small glass tub, and pour in the mixture until it tops off.

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Replace the lid and place it in the fridge to cool for a half an hour.  That’s it!

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Store your deodorant in a cool, dry place so that the coconut oil doesn’t melt during the day and leave you with a mess!  The bathroom is fine, unless your home is very warm.  In the summertime, storing it in the fridge would give you a nice, cool application.

You can experiment with your own oils.  Just be sure to have some oils with cleansing and odor-masking properties, such as melaleuca or lavender.  The one I made doesn’t have a strong scent, which is great for those who usually buy unscented deodorants from the store.

DIY DEODORANT RECIPE:

1/2 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil
1.5 Tbs of organic beeswax pellets (I bought these)
1/4 cup Alumimum-free baking soda (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or food grade Diatomaceous Earth, if allergic to arrowroot)
15 drops of melaleuca essential oil (see note in red below)
15 drops wintergreen, spearmint or peppermint essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil

Heat up a small pot on the stove on very low heat.  You don’t want it bubbling, just warm enough to melt your ingredients.  Drop in the solid coconut oil, and beeswax pellets, and stir until melted together (the beeswax helps keep the deodorant firm, so that it doesn’t drip down your sides).

Stir in arrowroot powder and baking soda.  Let cool for about 15 minutes so that it isn’t hot, and then mix in your essential oils.  Pour into an empty deodorant stick tube, or in a glass jar with a tight lid.  Place in fridge to cool for 30 minutes.  Store in a cool, dry place so that the coconut oil doesn’t melt.

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, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

If you need to purchase glass jars, roller ball bottles, deodorant sticks, etc., you can do so here:  www.aromatools.com or www.bulkapothecary.com.  Both are great stores.

Please let me know if you try this recipe and if you liked it.  Also, if you use different essential oils, I’d love to know which ones so that I can try it too!

 

The Most Popular Oils

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The Popular Group of Heathers from 80’s Movie, “Heathers.”

If you have ever seen the old classic 1980’s movie “Heathers,” you’ll understand why I named this blog “The Most Popular Oils.”  I’ve dedicated this entire post about the most popular essential oils, because everyone in the essential oil community wants them.

I have compiled a list of uses and applications for frankincense, peppermint, lemon and lavender oils so that it’s all in one central place.  You’re welcome.

FRANKINCENSE a/k/a “FRANK”:

Frankincense does have some wonderful health benefits:

1.  Helps build and maintain a healthy immune system.
2.  Promotes cellular health.
3.  Reduces the appearance of blemishes and rejuvenates skin.
4.  Supports healthy immune system function.
5. Promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction and overall wellness.

PEPPERMINT:

1.  Promotes healthy respiration function and clear breathing.
2.  Alleviates occasional stomach upset.
3.  Frequently used in homemade toothpaste for oral health and fresh breath, and homemade deodorant for fresh feeling.
4.  Keeps away spiders!
5.  Cooling of body temperature, like in a 90+ degree summer day!

LEMON:

Here are a great list of ways lemon oil can be used:

Stinky Laundry.  Lemon essential oil takes out ALL odor when you forget and leave your load of laundry in the washer way too long.  Just a few drops added to your detergent.

Remove Sap/Stickiness. Whether the sap is on your carpet, clothes or seeped into your skin, lemon oil is excellent for removing pine gum and tree sap.

Removes Grease. You just fixed your bike. Your hands are black and greasy. Soap alone won’t remove the grease, but lemon oil mixed with your soap will.  Lemon oil is a great de-greaser!

Disinfect.  You can add lemon oil to a spray bottle of water and attack what may be living in your range hood, on your tables, countertops and other surfaces. For some extra chemical-free firepower, a little vinegar is a traditional favorite.

Bathroom Cleaning.  Go gas mask free and clean with lemon oil.  Just a small amount of lemon oil will go a long way in removing hard water build up.

Nourish Leather.  Use a lemon oil on a soaked cloth to preserve them, and prevent leather from splitting.

Silver Tarnish Removal.  A lemon oil treated cloth is a great remedy for the early stages of tarnish on silver or other metals. You may not eat on silver every day, but bracelets, earrings, necklaces often need some love.

Furniture Luster. Bring your furniture back to life with lemon oil! Just add a few drops of lemon oil to olive oil for a non-toxic furniture polish. Lemon oil leaves a beautiful shine, prevents fine wood finishes from drying out, and replaces lost moisture in antique woods as it penetrates worn finishes.

Stainless Steel De-Smudger. You don’t need to hunt down that “single use” stainless steel cleaner anymore. Multi-use lemon oil is great for cleaning stainless steel appliances.

Clean Granite/Porous Stone. What is living in the pores of your natural stone counters or floors? Lemon oil cleans deeply, seeps into stone and leaves you with a “real fresh lemons” aroma, rather than that fake lemon chemical smell.

Energize your Brush.  If your toothbrush seems a bit tired, add a drop of lemon and peppermint oils to chase away that run-down feeling.

Mold/Stink.  Moldy kid’s sneakers, a baby’s blowout, potty training … it all adds up to an less than desirable aroma.  Diffuse or spray lemon oil and neutralize odors at their source.

Scuffs/Gunk.  Got a scuff mark that just won’t go away? Lemon oil lifts scuff marks.

Mildew & Musty Things.  Things get stored away. Things get old. Things don’t see the light of day.  Chase away that “old smell” and inject new energy with a good lemon oil wipe down.

Disinfect Cutting Board.  Cutting boards can harbor bacteria in your kitchen.

Aphid Invasion.  Aphids are those pesky little bugs that dine on your roses and other plants.  Lemon oil (or peppermint) with water in a garden spray bottle are a natural pesticide that kills aphids and their larvae on contact, but leave your plants looking lovely.

Spot-Free Dishes.  Add a few drops of lemon oil to your dishwasher soap container with each load.

Refresh Stinky Washcloths. When your kitchen washcloths smell foul and could use a boost, add lemon oil to your detergent, soak overnight, wash, dry and your kitchen will smell so much better.

Wake up.  If you have a hard time waking up, place a drop of peppermint oil between your palms and breathe in deeply a few times.  Rejuvenating!

Desserts. There are an infinite number of ways lemon oil can add a bit of freshness to your sugary savors: lemon frosting, lemon meringue, sour cream lemon pie, lemon cakes, lemon tart glaze, lemon squares, lemon cookies, lemonade.

Dinner.  With lemon oil, there are countless ways to make the bland zippy, or the blah peppy:  Roasted salmon & asparagus with lemon oil, Linguine & shrimp with lemon oil, Lemon oil drizzled over vegetables (especially broccoli),  Lemon garlic shrimp  … or to add a fresh kick to an already great salad.

Preserve Fruit.  Use lemon oil in a spray to keep your cut fruit fresh until serving.

Nervousness.  When combined with lavender oil and diffused into a room, you’ll find you feel less nervous and your mood uplifted.

Moodiness.  Chase away the moody blues (not the band), with a bit of blah-reducing lemon oil.  Diffuse it or apply topically.

Hard Skin.  Next time you notice hard, crusty skin on your feet, (e.g. corns, calluses or bunions) regularly add a few drops of lemon oil for softer skin.

Brighter Complexion.  Lemon oil can help remove dead skin cells and exfoliate.  For a homemade exfoliant, add 4-5 drops to a small amount of oatmeal and water for a homemade scrub.

LAVENDER:

Soothe Skin.  As long as the skin is not broken or raw, lavender can be used to bring soothing comfort to irritated skin.

Massage.  Lavender oil can be used to bring relaxation during massage.

Calming Nerves.  Dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and rub onto bottoms of feet or on pulse points.  Also either diffuse with an essential oil diffuser or rub onto palms and breathe deeply.

Bedtime & Kids.  Rub a few drops of oil on the soles of the little one’s feet, diluted in a carrier oil.  Also touch the under-side of their nose so they can smell it and develop a calming routine with a familiar smell.  It’s a great routine and provides peaceful memories for little ones as they grow older.

Bedtime & Adults.  Many adults suffer from not being able to relax enough at bedtime in order to sleep through the night.  Diffusing lavender in the bedroom can help promote calm, restful nights.  Also rub a drop onto each big toe.

Insect Repellant.  Lavender oil is a unique insect repellant that is safe, effective and has no side effects.  Before reaching for the next can of over-the-counter bug spray, try essential lavender oil.

Insects & Moth Repellant.  Place a few drops on a cotton ball for closets and linen drawers to ward off insects and moths.

Fabric Deodorizer.  Place a few drops on cloth or laundry drier sheet to freshen laundry scent and naturally deodorize.

Child’s Pillow.  Place a few drops on your child’s stuffed animal or pillow to help comfort them at night.

Romance and Social Settings.  Diffuse the lavender oil to set the mood for a nice romantic evening or for a relaxed social event.

Day Spa.  Lavender is a nice oil for diffusing, cleaning the air, and bringing balance to any atmosphere.  Diffusing it in a certain area of your day-spa can really bring a sense of balance and tranquility.

Infused Tea.  Use lavender in a cup of hot tea can help as a nice wind-down drink after dinner or with a decaffeinated tea before bed.  It can also be used with a nice Chamomile tea or “Sleepy time” tea before bed or when trying to relax.

Breads & Cooking.  Experiment with lavender oil (digestible kind) in your fruit breads and other dishes. It can provide a wonderful complexity and aromatics to some of your favorite dishes.  Try adding a drop or 2 to a few bites before adding it to a complete recipe to be sure you like it first.  There is a delicious lavender & lemon pound cake on Pinterest.

Relaxing Bath.  Try adding several drops to a warm, relaxing bath, while playing some soft music and lighting some nice candles.  A little extra time on those days when you really need a break after work or from the kids can really bring you back to a sense of normalcy.

Studying.  Inhale some drops of lavender before and during a test, and during study, to help an older student feel relaxed.

Presentation & Job Interview Nerves.  Put a drop or two of lavender under the nasal passages to promote a calm before a presentation before peers, colleagues or before a big job interview.

Bath Salts.  Mix with pure bath salts or epsom salts and wrap up to use later.  They make great gifts!

Feminine Issues.  Using very warm compresses, apply lavender oil around the abdomen while inhaling the diffuse vapors to help calm and relax the mind and body.

Improve Concentration.  Because of its ability to stabilize mood, reduce nervousness/restlessness, and help calm the nerves, lavender has been reported by many to help improve the ability to concentrate and focus.

Deodorants.  Lavender oil is great in homemade deodorants. Some ancient civilizations used essential oils for bathing and beautification/perfuming processes weeks and months before weddings and other ceremonies.

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, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

I hope this helps you in some way!

Blessings

 

Homemade Toothpaste with Coconut Oil

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Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your store bought toothpaste?

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Yeah, I didn’t either until I started caring more about what I put in and on my body.   The ingredients listed below that I am most concerned about are the sodium laurel sulfate, carrageenan, “flavor,” and sodium hydroxide. According to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002487.htm, sodium hydroxide is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners, including flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, cements, and may also be found in certain household products, including:  aquarium products, drain cleaners, hair straighteners, metal polishes and oven cleaners, etc.  Sooooo, why is it in our toothpaste?!

So, over the weekend, I ran out of toothpaste.  I need to save money, so I figured I’d make my own toothpaste.  I found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a little bit to my liking.

You simply mix all of these ingredients in a bowl, scoop it into your container, and you’re done!  Tada!  My, my, that is some tasty-looking frosting toothpaste.  It is about the same consistency as store-bought toothpaste.

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Peppermint Toothpaste

1/4 cup + 2 TB coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp bentonite clay (I used liquid bentonite)
½ tsp liquid pure stevia
10-15 drops peppermint essential (see note in red below)
5 drops thyme essential oil
5 drops of myrhh essential oil

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil and baking soda.  Mix thoroughly.  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix.  Store in a jar or a squeezable bottle.  (Note: When mixing bentonite clay, please use a wood or plastic spoon.  Bentonite clay should not come in contact with metal because it deactivates the clay’s detoxifying properties.  Bentonite clay isn’t necessary for this recipe, it is an added benefit).

So, how simple is that?!

UPDATE:  Since I started using this toothpaste, my mouth and teeth feel cleaner, my teeth look whiter, and my lips aren’t so dried out.  Usually, I apply chapstick as much as 20 times a day!  But, I feel that the coconut oil provides the needed moisture.  I am loving this toothpaste – my husband even loves 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, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.