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Do-it-Yourself Honey Banana Facial Scrub

I love using different types of natural facial scrubs because it helps remove dead skin cells on my face. It also helps to clear up any pesky breakouts that may be occuring. Here is a fabulous “recipe” for making your own homemade Honey Banana Facial scrub! It’s a fun and affordable way to pamper yourself! 

Honey Banana Facial Scrub

  • 1/2 C oatmeal, coffee grains, or sugar granules
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 ripe banana

Mix all of the ingredients together to form a thick paste. Massage all over your face, focusing on the areas that need attention. Avoid your eyes! Leave on for a few minutes before washing off with a soft cloth and warm water.

References: Fleetwood, Jenni. The Book of Honey. 2009. Image from 2 modern blog

Natural Therapies for Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. Everything seems to “stress us out” and with good reason as we live in a very stressful world! The term “stress” refers to any reaction to a physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think, or feel. Obvious sources of stress include deadlines at work, relationships, financial issues, and much more. Other sources are less obvious and include things like traffic, noise, crowds, pain, extreme temperatures or weather changes, unwelcomed changes, and much more. Some people handle stress well but for others it can be devastating. Stress can cause fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, teeth grinding, cold hands, and much more. Here are some nutritional and natural therapies that can help in relieving stress and bring peace to your busy life.

  • Chamomile is a gentle relaxant. It is a good nerve tonic, soothing to the digestive tract, and a pleasant sleep aid.
  • Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that helps to act as a sedative and nerve tonic. Passionflower is also calming and a potent addition to any antistress formula.
  • Include plenty of “good fats” in your diet from foods like avocados, coconuts, olives, nuts, and fresh fish. Get your omega-3 fatty acids by adding flaxseed oil to your daily smoothies. Make sure you pick a good quality organic oil that has been expeller cold-pressed to retain all of the nutrients. I recommend using Barlean’s Organic Flaxseed Oil.
  • Eat plenty of leafy green veggies, fresh fruits, brown rice, and raw nuts.
  • Stay hydrated during the day by drinking plenty of water. One of the signs of dehydration is anxiety, so it is important to keep your fluids up. Avoid processed and refined foods full of sugar.
  • Eat a diet that is composed of 50 to 70 percent raw foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only supply valuable vitamins and minerals, but are rich in flavonoids. Many of these flavonoids scavenge and neutralize dangerous free radicals in the body.
  • Avoid processed foods and all food that create stress on the digestive system. These foods include artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, fried foods, junk foods, sugar, white flour products, and foods that contain preservatives.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine as it can contribute to nervousness and will disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and any mood-altering drugs. These substances may relieve stress temporarily but they do nothing to really address the underlying cause.
  • Get regular exercise. Go for walks in the morning and evenings. Take up yoga, bike riding, Pilates, swimming, or any activity that you enjoy!
  • Practice deep breathing. Holding your breath and slowing releasing it is good for helping you get through stressful situations.
  • Monitor your internal conversations. The way that we talk to ourselves can play a big part in how we feel and act. Start utilizing positive self talk.
  • Aromatherapy is wonderful for helping calm and stabilize your moods. Essential oils affect both the mind and the body. Some that are very good for relaxation include chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, lavender, and sweet marjoram.
  • Try not to take life so seriously. Learn to laugh!


Do-it-Yourself Stretch Mark Cream

If you’ve had children or lost a lot of weight, you may be familiar with stretch marks. They cannot be removed but some will fade over time. This is a great cream that you can make from the comfort of your own home to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It’s from a fabulous book, Natural Beauty at Home. Check it out!

Do-it-Yourself Stretch Mark Cream

  • 1/4 C cocoa butter
  • 1 Tbsp. wheat germ oil
  • 1 tsp light sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp apricot kernel oil
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil
  • 2 tsp. grated beeswax
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Mix together all ingredients except the vanilla extract. Heat the mixture gently until the cocoa butter and beeswax have melted. Stir well. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if desired. Allow to cool completely. Store in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Massage into your skin.

References: Cox, Janice (2002). Natural Beauty at Home. New York, NY. Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Do-it-Yourself Avocado Banana Face Mask

Pamper yourself with a fabulous face mask! It’s easy to make and is perfect for hydrating dry skin. Enjoy!

Avocado Banana Face Mask

  • 1/2 an avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed

Mix the two ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Spread on your face and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse your face clean and pat dry. Simple and easy!

References: Cox, Janice. Natural Beauty at Home. 2002

Natural Remedies for Bruising

Bumps and bruises are a fact of life! Many of us accidently walk into things, fall off our bikes, trip while walking, or do something that will inevitably leave a bruise. A bruise occurs when the tissues underlying the skin become injured. This skin isn’t broken, but the capillaries below our skin’s surface rupture, causing blood to drain into the surrounding areas. This blood seeps into the layers of the skin and result in pain, swelling, and that “black-and-blue” mark. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to help bruises and prevent them from happening.

  • An ointment can be made by adding one part cayenne pepper to five parts melted Vaseline. Apply this to the bruise (after it has cooled) once a day for about two days. Oil of oregano has also been useful in helping to heal bruises.
  • Fresh parsley leaves that have been crushed and applied directly to the bruise have been known to ease the discoloration of the skin in a few days.
  • Eating an abundance of dark green vegetables, buckwheat, and fresh fruits can be very helpful. They are high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids which help prevent bruising. Studies show that people with vitamin C deficiencies bruise more easily than others.
  • Dark leafy greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and spinach are good sources of vitamin K which is important for blood clotting and healing.
  • It has been shown that taking aspirin or ibuprofen for the pain can actually worsen the discoloration due to their blood-thinning qualities.
  • Eating plenty of foods that are rich in zinc has been shown to aid with blood clotting. Chicken, eggs, soybeans, and wheat germs are good sources of zinc.
  • Alfalfa supplies beneficial minerals and vitamin K which is helpful for healing.

References

Balch, P. A (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, NY: Penguin Group

Natural and Nutritional Therapies for Healthy Nails

If eyes are considered the “windows to the soul” then the nails are the “windows to the body.” Nails are very useful in serving as an early warning system to evaluate health. Since the nails are one of the last areas in the body to receive nutrients carried by blood, nails show signs of trouble before other tissues do.  White spots on nails have linked to zinc or thyroid deficiency. White bands or ridged nails have been linked to zinc, iron, or protein deficiency. Black bands signal low adrenal function or injury to the nails. Discolored nails could be a deficiency of vitamin B12 or a signal of kidney or liver issues. Yellow nails could signal vitamin E deficiency, poor circulation, lymph congestion, or too much nail polish. Here are some natural and nutritional ways to keep your nails healthy and beautiful!

  • Proper nutrition is the key to good nail health! Eat lots of vegetable protein and calcium-rich foods such as whole grains, sprouts, leafy greens, molasses, and fresh seafood.
  • Eat sulfur-rich foods such as onions, sea vegetables, and broccoli.
  • For discolored nails, rub lemon juice on the nail base. White vinegar removes dark polish stains but use it once a week to avoid having your nails dry out.
  • To help with the color and texture of your nails, mix honey with avocado oil, egg yolk and a pinch of sea salt. Rub the mixture onto your nails and leave on for about 30 minutes before rinsing.
  • Fake nails or tips add weight to nails and prevent them from thickening naturally. Try not to keep your nails constantly polished. Allow them to breathe at least one day a week.
  • Nail colors can penetrate the nail to the skin and cause allergic reactions. A simple manicure without polish is just as beautiful as fake white tips!
  • If you have a nail fungus, try applying castor oil or tea tree oil daily to your nails for six weeks. You can also soak your nails in a bowl of Grapefruit Seed extract solution.

References

Page, Linda. (2006). Healthy Healing. Healthy Healing Inc.

All about Kombucha!

Tea has always been one of the world’s most popular drinks. The varieties of tea available are endless! You can walk down your local grocery store aisle and become overwhelmed with their selection. Even though tea is extremely popular, many people have never heard of kombucha.

The kombucha mushroom (commonly referred to as a Scoby or Mother) is actually a colony of yeast and bacteria. If the thought of drinking little micro-organisms frightens you, don’t worry. Kombucha has been checked by the US Food and Drug Administration. They are the good kind of bacteria! The Scoby culture resembles a large pancake and is very gooey to touch.  It is what sits inside of the jar of fermenting tea for weeks at a time.

During a week or two of fermentation, many samples are taken to taste for some desired balance between sweet and sour. Eventually the liquid is tapped but some is retained to keep the pH low to deter contaminant microorganisms. The mother will eventually produce a “daughter”, which can easily be directly handled, separated like two pancakes, and moved to another container. The yeast in the tapped liquid will then continue to live. A second wait time for about a week produces more carbonation.

Proponents of kombucha claim that it is a panacea for any disease. True kombucha drinkers enjoy this beverage on a daily basis. Others cannot stomach this strong tea. Love it or hate it, here are some of the health claims that have been associated with kombucha.

  • Kombucha has been advocated for bronchitis, asthma, and muscle aches.
  • One study shows the tea contains a strong antibacterial component effect against antibiotic-resistant strains of staphylococcus.
  • There are claims that kombucha can increase your energy, sharpen your eyesight, and help promote clearer skin.
  • Kombucha can help promote good liver and gallbladder activity.
  • There are reports of adverse effects such as stomach upset and allergic reactions. If your body tends to be sensitive, try drinking kombucha in moderation.

References

Page, L. (2006). Healthy Healing. Healthy Healing, Inc.

(2010). Kombucha. In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from Wikipedia.com database.

Natural and Nutritional Remedies for Indigestion

Indigestion is extremely common in the United States. Almost everybody has suffered from an occasional bout of this frustrating condition whether it was caused by eating too much, eating on the run, or eating the wrong mix of foods. Symptoms include pain in the upper part of the torso as well as nausea, bloating, or burping. In some cases, people experience the feeling of heartburn, which causes a burning sensation in the throat. People who are prone to indigestion may suffer from a condition called hydrochloric acid (HCL) deficiency. Levels of HCL can diminish over time, especially when we age. To find out if you are HCL deficient, talk with your natural health practitioner. Here are some natural remedies to help curb the effects of indigestion. Burp!

  • To help improve digestion, try eating a yogurt that contains live cultures called acidophilus. This is “friendly bacteria” that works hard to keep your stomach happy and healthy!
  • If you are prone to indigestion, try eating well-balanced meals with plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Fresh papaya contains papain which is a good source of digestive enzymes. Pineapple also contains bromelain which has the same effect on the digestive system.
  • For disorders such as gas, bloating, and heartburn, try brown rice and/or barley broth. Use 5 parts water to 1 part grain, boil it uncovered for 10 minutes, put the lid on, and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Stain and cool the liquid. Drink it throughout the day.
  • Limit your intake of lentils, peanuts, and soybeans. They contain an enzyme inhibitor.
  • Do not eat dairy foods, junk foods, or processed foods. These cause excess mucus formation in the stomach.
  • Avoid bakery products, beans, caffeine, carbonated beverages, citrus juices, fried or fatty foods, pasta, peppers, potato chips, red meat, tomatoes, and salty/spicy foods.
  • Chew your food thoroughly. Digestion is a north to south process.
  • Eat your meals in a relaxed state. Turn off the TV to enjoy a peaceful and slow meal.
  • Pay attention to food combinations. Proteins and starches are a poor combination as are vegetables and fruits. Milk should not be consumed with meals.
  • Many people take antacids to relieve their indigestion. This can actually make matters worse. Antacids neutralize the acid in the stomach, preventing proper digestion and interfering with the absorption of nutrients. Antacids are useless for gas and bloating.
  • Most antacids in the United States contain aluminum compounds, calcium carbonate, magnesium compounds, or sodium bicarbonate. The aluminum-based antacids can cause constipation. Sodium bicarbonate can cause gas and bloating.

References

Yu, W. (2007). What to Eat for What Ails you. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Balch, P. A (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, NY: Penguin Group