I cringe every time I think about how my mom used things like Comet, Pine-Sol Zep, and Tide when I was growing up. Back then when I would smell those things, that meant mom was busy cleaning. I grew up thinking that was the “clean” smell. Now I have a totally different view of what clean is supposed to
smell like. It’s supposed to smell like the earth, a natural smell, I guess I’d say. The perfect way to make sure your living space is clean and healthy and germ-free is to use safe cleaning products that you can make yourself, using natural and inexpensive ingredients. It’s cost-effective, simple, satisfying and rewarding. Not only do essential oils help make your home smell good, many essential oils have strong antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which make them the best defense against those pesky germs! Time to clean out your cupboards of those toxic commercial cleaners, and replace them with better no-toxic DIY cleaning products.
DIY Essential Oils Recipes
Lemon All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
- 12 oz spray bottle
- 5 oz. distilled water
- 5 oz. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 15-20 drops Lemon Essential oil
- In a large measuring cup or bowl combine water and vinegar.
- Add baking soda a little bit at a time so that the mixture doesn’t fizz up and overflow.
- Add drops of oil
- Pour mixture in spray bottle
Lavender Air Freshener Recipe
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1 oz. (2 tablespoons) vodka or rubbing alcohol
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil (grapefruit would be another good oil)
Now, I used 30-40 teaspoon drops of lavender oil, because I wanted it to be slightly stronger, but you may want to test it with 20 drops first before adding more, just in case!
Spray this on anything. It is wonderful to spray on mattress (let dry for a moment) or in between the sheets.
Furniture and Stainless Steel Cleaner Recipe
- 1 cup oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)
- 1/2 squeezed lemon
- 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil
Add to bottle and use a few drops on clean towel to rub onto surface.
Powder Dishwasher Detergent
- 3 cups washing soda
- 1 cup baking soda
- 10 drops of lemon essential oil
Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. Drop back to 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you find spots on your dishes.
Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
- 1 gallon Jugs (I use old vinegar bottles)
- 3T Borax
- 3T Washing Soda
- 2T dish soap (I like to use Dr. Bronners)
- 10-20 drops of Essential oils (I always use a few drops of Tea Tree, then I mix it up with peppermint, orange, lemon or lavender oils)
Boil a pot of water and pour into jug. When it cools slightly pour in your ingredients (I use a funnel for this, makes it much easier) shake around until mixture dissolves. When the mixtures cools fill the jub with water. Use 1 cup per load.
4 Other Uses with Essential oils
- Add a few drops of rosemary into your shampoo/conditioner bottles. Rosemary helps stimulate the scalp and promotes circulation and hair growth.
- Add about 12 drops of your favorite oil to your bath to help relax. Wild Chamomile, Mellow Mix and Lavender would be great choices.
- Add a few drops to your favorite lotion or oil.
- Use in a diffuser.
What are your favorite ways to clean with essential oils?
Did you know that a low fat diet for children can cause more harm than good? Yep, low-fat diets do not meet the nutritional needs for children. Instead, they can lead to inadequate energy intake and can interrupt or compromise normal growth and development. When kids are eating a low-fat diet, they typically eat more high sugar and starchy carbohydrates, which can lead to blood sugar problems and decreased immunity. This is sad because many parents believe that good nutrition is all about low fat and low calorie instead of healthy fats and nutritionally dense foods. We need to stop this way of thinking.
Healthy fats are essential for children’s growth and development including their brains, which are made up of 60-70% fats. Good fats are also another source of energy, which kids need. If you have kids or spend time around them, you’ve probably noticed how they are always craving snacks that are sugary or sweet, that’s because sugars/sweets are fast burning sources of energy. Satisfying them with healthy fats is optimal, because they are a slow/long burning sources of energy.
For proper growth, kids need to absorb all of their nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and they can do this by eating healthy fats. If they are deficient in fats or not eating proper fats then they are not absorbing and using those fat-soluble nutrients vital for their development, especially vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also important for their immune function, which helps them to heal more quickly.
What are the best healthy fats for kids?
Healthy Fats For Cooking*:
- Avocado Oil (high heat point)
- Coconut Oil
- Butter/Ghee (learn to make your own)
- Duck Fat
- Red Palm Oil
*Always look for the words: unrefined, cold pressed, organic, and expeller pressed.
Healthy Fats for Dressings/Salads/Mayo/Raw*
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil (the mild flavor makes it wonderful for dressing and mayos)
- Sesame Oil
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) – this is not just for cooking or just to be used as an ingredient, it is also a wonderful supplement.
*These oils should not be heated; only use them when you’re not cooking them.
Foods That Contain Healthy Fats
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Whole Fat Organic Milk/Raw Milk
- Full Fat Yogurt
- Full Fat Coconut Milk, Coconut Butter and Coconut Cream
- Nut/Seed Butters (Sunflower Seed, Almond, Walnut, Cashew, Hazelnut)
Here are some tips to help get more fat into your children’s diet:
- Supplement with FCLO
- Add a few tablespoons of healthy fat of your choice in smoothies (I like to do coconut oil or coconut cream and a scoop of nut or seed butter)
- Heavily butter their toast or muffins with coconut oil or ghee
- Add healthy fats to their oatmeal (usually ghee or coconut oil)
- Make homemade mayo (I like usually avocado oil for this)
- Cook eggs in butter
- Sauté vegetables in ghee/coconut oil
6 Bad Fats to avoid:
- Trans fats! Hydrogenated fats and partially hydrogenated fats These fats are toxic and interfere with the essential roles in our body.
- Oils in a plastic clear bottle are already rancid from light exposure. These should be avoided.
- Any fat that says refined; stay away
- Also another tricky play on words to watch out for is Cold-Processed (they want to make you think it say’s cold pressed)
- Canola oil and cotton seed oils are highly processed oils and should be avoided.
- Soybean oil
Read my earlier blog post for more information about healthy oils (fats) we should be eating.
How do you get extra healthy fats into your kids’ diet?
Did you know you can make your own flavored gourmet salt blends? I didn’t until recently! To be honest, it never really occurred to me that I could make so many different kinds of blends until I started trying some! You could end up paying a pretty penny for fancy salt blends, but today I’ll give you some fun recipes so that you can make your own gourmet salt blends at home.
First, let’s ditch the table salt. Table salt is heavily processed and refined, which means it is stripped of all it’s minerals except for sodium. They also usually add an anti-caking agent like aluminum back in. Our bodies cannot break the chemical bonds that are to be absorbed and used by our body, which leads to many health issues. Instead we need to use sea salt. Himalayan is a good choice as is Celtic sea salt. Both of which have wonderful health benefits.
DIY Gourmet Salt Blends
Seasoned Salt Recipe
Before finding out about all these exciting blends, this was the only salt recipe I’ve made and keep on hand.
- 1/4 cup Onion Powder
- 1/2 cup finely ground Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoons Paprika
- 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
Mix well in a glass gar or you can give it a quick spin in your blender or food processor.
There are so many different combinations you can make. Start with the spices do you most use in your cooking. You can take a few of your favorites to make your own gourmet salt blend.
Some More Ideas for Flavoring Your Gourmet Salt
- Traditional Seasoning Salt: Salt, Sugar, Paprika, Onion and Garlic
- Lemon Pepper: Salt, Pepper, Lemon Peel
- Rosemary Garlic Salt: Salt, Rosemary, Garlic
- Celery Salt: Salt, Celery Leaves, Celery Seeds
- Tarragon and Wild Mushroom Salt: Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms, Salt, Tarragon, White Pepper
- Taco blend: Salt, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, Oregano
And here are a couple of other recipes I found and I cannot wait to try!
The sky’s the limit. Have you made gourmet salt blends before? Which spices did you use?
By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million (25% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, but did you know there are two types of arthritis? The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis, a degenerative arthritis (wear and tear of the cartilage) usually associated with poor nutrition and aging. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. That means that the immune system attacks parts of the body. The joints are the main areas affected by this malfunction in the immune system. Over time it can lead to chronic inflammation and joint damage. A lot of doctors just treat arthritis symptomatically, meaning they will give you medication to help with the pain. However, there is growing research that just making dietary changes, like adding these organic foods to your diet, can go a long way with both types of arthritis.
6 Organic Foods to Help Fight Arthritis
Turmeric has a high antioxidant value and helps to boost the immune system. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is popular among those with arthritis and joint problems.
2. Vitamin C Rich Foods
One important function of vitamin C is in the formation and maintenance of collagen, the basis of connective tissue, which is found in the skin, ligaments, cartilage and joint linings, bones and teeth. Vitamin C rich foods include organic:
- brussel sprouts
- dark leafy greens
Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water fish, olive oil, walnuts or freshly ground flaxseeds. You may also want to consider taking a fish oil supplement to help keep your protein intake low.
Ginger is another great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it’s said to be a superior anti-pain remedy, beating out over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil.
Berries including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries have anthocyanin’s which are a potent antioxidant responsible for the reddish pigment in foods, which may help reduce inflammation.
6. Blackstrap Molasses
High in valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, blackstrap molasses has been a cherished home remedy for arthritis for a number of years. As a dietary supplement (easily consumed as a drink), blackstrap can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, thanks to its vital constituents that regulate nerve and muscle function, and strengthens the bones. 1-2 tablespoons a day straight or mixed with warm water.
Though there isn’t an official Arthritis Diet (I don’t think), the following could benefit those with arthritis greatly:
- Avoid processed and fried foods, both of which promote inflammation.
- Decrease the amount of sugar you intake each day. The less sugar you eat, the less inflammation, and the stronger the immune system to defend us against infectious and degenerative diseases.
- Avoid dairy products. Dairy has a known protein called Casein which may irritate the tissue around the joints.
- Refrain from tobacco and alcohol use, which can lead to a number of health problems, including some that may affect your joints. Smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, while those who consume alcohol have a higher risk for developing gout.
- Drink your water. Water does more than hydrate you, it also helps lubricate our joints.
- Limit or eliminate nightshades from diet. They are known to contribute to pain, inflammation and arthritis. Nightshades include: tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.
Have you found anything to help alleviate arthritis pain? If so tell us what worked for you?
My pantry actually goes through many changes and gets plenty of makeovers. It really depends on my family’s ever changing way of eating and learning. It took our family five years to get from a fully stocked non-organic, chemically-laden, processed food pantry to an all-natural, organic pantry. That might seem like a long time, but back then it was a learning process for me. Those were the days long before Pinterest and blogging so it was a slow process. So how do you stock an organic pantry? It’s actually easier than you think. All you have to do is swap out your non-organic staples with its better-half: the organic version! I promise you, you can do it. It took me five years to figure this stuff out on my own, but now I’m giving you the tips and know how to start today!
First things first: go through your pantry and throw out all your outdated and expired items. Next, I strongly advise you to throw out any products that have these ingredients listed on the label:
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Aspartame/Sucralose (artificial sweeteners)
- Artificial Food Coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 etc.)
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
- Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
- Trans Fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)
* The above ingredients are all detrimental to your health; they are chemicals, preservatives, additives that have no business being in your body.
Now that you have cleaned your pantry, it’s time to re-stock it.
Here are fifteen essential go-to organic pantry items:
- Sea Salt
- Organic/Raw Honey – this lasts forever practically, even when it gets hard and crystallizes, it’s still perfectly fine to eat.
- Organic Flours (almond, coconut, all-purpose, or whatever your diet allows)
- Organic Oils (coconut, olive, avocado oils)
- Organic Baking Powder/Aluminum Free Baking Soda
- Organic Pasta (if you can eat grains)
- Organic Dried Beans (long shelf-life too)
- Organic Coffee
- Organic Tea
- Organic cornstarch or Arrowroot
- Organic Broth
- Organic Maple Syrup
- Organic Canned/Jarred Tomatoes
- Organic vanilla Extract
- Organic Spices
That wasn’t too bad was it? Now you are on your way to having an awesome organic pantry! The items above are my top picks for essential organic pantry items. What are your favorite pantry items and if you haven’t already are you going to make the switch to organic? Organic is always going to be worth it. It’s much better to feed you and your family food without the added chemicals, preservatives and additives.
I can’t lie – it can be tough living a healthy lifestyle. It can be downright confusing, even frustrating at times. Everyday there is something new to learn, something that you shouldn’t be eating, or should be eating, or something you once thought you should be eating, but shouldn’t anymore. It never ends. Bottom line is that unhealthy foods (sugar, processed foods, chemicals, additives etc.) are the reason why people are sicker and even fatter than ever before. How do you know what’s really good for you and what’s just junk food disguising itself as healthy? Check out some of these so-called health food products that may have had you fooled.
5 ‘Health Food’ Products to Avoid
It should really be called, “Sugarwater”. The first two ingredients in Vitaminwater are actually sugar and water. Go figure. The sugar they use in Vitaminwater is called crystalline fructose, a processed sweetener that has been linked to health problems. The sugar content of this drink is seriously disturbing. If you drink a bottle of Vitaminwater, you are actually ingesting 33 grams of sugar – that’s a little over 8 teaspoons in one serving (remember every 4g of sugar is equal to 1 tsp)! The “vitamins” in Vitaminwater, are not really vitamins. They are synthetic, meaning they are made by man. They are not the same vitamins our body can utilize as if we were getting the vitamins from our food. For much healthier options check out these recipes:
2. FroYo (Frozen Yogurt Shops)
Please don’t do it, don’t give into the hype! Frozen yogurt is a highly processed product.
I know, so sad, I can actually hear hearts breaking right now. These cute little frozen yogurt shops that keep popping up everywhere you turn…but don’t be fooled. Just because it’s “yogurt” does not mean it’s healthy. So, even though these little shops are fun and cute they are still serving highly processed dairy products with harmful additives like these:
- Guar gum
- Sodium citrate
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Cellulose gum
- Disodium phosphate
- Red Dye 40
Eek!!! That’s just to name a few! These are actually the ingredients I saw at our local FroYo shop.
What do you do instead? Instead get yourself some good plain Greek yogurt (Greek works best because it’s nice and thick) and instead of being sweetened with chemicals you can sweeten with maple syrup, raw honey or Stevia. And if you feel you’re missing out on the fun topping assortments they have at those shops, make your own little assortment using chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite), seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower), dark chocolate, granola, dried and or fresh fruits.
3. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
Regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat variety has more added sugar, and that is because they took out some of the fat, so they needed to replace it with something. Don’t be scared of fat. Every cell in our body depends on fat, good fats that is, and peanut butter is a natural source of this healthy fat “monounsaturated”.
Instead look for an organic peanut butter and if you want to sweeten it, stir in a bit of honey or maple syrup.
4. Energy Bars
Convenience does come at a cost. Most commercial energy bars are nothing more than candy bars with a few nutrients thrown in (which are most likely synthetic) and contain ingredients are bad for you like soy protein, gluten, chemicals, preservatives and other nasty hard-to-pronounce fillers.
There is good news here. There are a few good energy/protein bars that I have seen. You just have to read your labels, the fewer ingredients the better. Another good alternative to these energy bars is to make your own.
5. Fooled by Fat Free
Often times we see these labels (Fat Free) and we automatically think that these products are healthier choices than the ones without that label. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there too. Unfortunately that’s not really the case. If you think about it, if all the fat is removed from something, a lot of the taste of the product will be removed along with it (because good fat just tastes yummy). So what do the big food giants do to compensate? They add other ingredients like sugars, flours, chemicals, fillers and salt. These ingredients add the flavor back in, while keeping the calorie count high.
Fat free may sound like a healthy choice, but the reality is that our bodies need fat. And it’s not so much the amount of fat you eat that’s important it’s really the type of fat. Remember, there are good fats, and bad fats! When it comes to your health you need to be consuming the good fats which are things like coconut oil, ghee, raw nuts, avocados, and pastured free-range eggs.
There are many more junk foods masquerading around looking like health foods, which other ones have you been fooled by?
With the cold air and breezy winds, our skin takes quite a beating during the cold dry winter months. Chapped skin and lips are no fun, so how do we keep our skin moisturized all winter long? I have a few organic body care recipes I like to keep on hand, especially during the winter when we need to take extra special care of our skin.
You will find that I use coconut oil in all these recipes. There is no doubt in my mind that coconut oil is best skin care product you can use. That being said, a small amount of people are allergic to coconut oil, and can show irritation. Its stability, antimicrobial properties, moisture retaining capacity makes it an ideal protective agent against dry skin and cracking of the skin. Pair this with vitamin-E and it will add to this property greatly.
3 DIY Organic Body Care Recipes
This is a great all body moisturizer from head to feet to help protect you from the cold dry months. I would recommend putting this on right when you get out of the shower, which will help it to absorb into your skin better.
- 1/4 cup shea butter (It has natural antibacterial properties and is great for preventing stretch marks, for wound healing, and as an anti-aging treatment for skin. It naturally has an SPF of about 5)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup jojoba oil (you could use olive oil or almond oil)
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter
- Optional: 10-20 drops of essential oil. Peppermint, lavender, chamomile, tea tree
- Few Drops of Vitamin E
Gently melt and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture is liquid. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to partially set up. I usually stick it in the fridge and check every 10 minutes. Once the mixture is partially set, add the essential oils of your choice, and whip with a hand mixer or mixer (until the body butter is fluffy and stiff peaks have formed.) Spoon into your favorite container. I like to use mason jars.
Chap stick/Lip Balm Recipe
Don’t throw away your old chap stick containers…clean them out and save them to make your own healthy, organic chopsticks. This recipe is so simple and quick. My kids love to personalize them with their own choice of essential oils.
- 4 tsp Organic Coconut oil
- 2 tsp beeswax (used as a natural thickening agent)
- Add in: 1-2 drops of essential oils, we like peppermint and chamomile
- 6-8 drops of vitamin E
You can do this over stove top in a small double boiler pan, or you can do this with a glass measuring cup. Just slowly melt coconut oil, add in beeswax stir until combine and melted. Take off heat… let cool and add in essential oils and vitamin E. Pour into containers. I like to stick them in the fridge until ready.
Face Cream Recipe
- Coconut Oil
For most people, pure coconut oil is all that is needed for moisturizing the face. It is naturally full of collagen supporting lauric acid and is easily absorbed by the skin. Even for oily and acne prone skin, coconut oil’s natural anti-bacterial properties make it a great option.
I always put a tiny scoop on right after I wash my face or shower. I like to keep a jar of it in my bathroom, so I don’t forget.
4 More Tips for Healthy Winter Skin
- Pass on hot showers. I know nothing sounds better than hoping into a nice hot shower when you come in from the cold, hot water dries out our skin and strips it of our natural oils. Instead try a luke warm shower and limit that too 5-10 minutes.
- Water. Water is naturally hydrating, so keep up on your water during the winter months as well. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.
- Thermostat. When our home is too hot, it can make the air even drier. Keeping the thermostat at a comfortable temperature between 68-72 degrees F will help protect your skin.
- Change out of wet clothes. Wearing wet clothes and shoes can irritate your skin and cause, redness and itchiness. Make sure to remove wet gloves, socks, and pants as soon as possible.
If you don’t want to make your own products try these:
- Nourish – Organic Body Butter
- Andalou – Lavender Shea Hand Cream
- DeVita – Perfecting Time Moisturizer
- Dr. Bronner’s – Organic Lip Balm
What do you use to keep your skin protected from the winter cold?
Organic flaxseed has gained significant popularity among health-conscious Americans in recent years. However, despite the recent hype surrounding this little seed, a lot of people still have never heard of it. It may not exactly be a super food, but organic flaxseed certainly has many nutritional benefits. Although flax has been known to have been used thousands of years ago, even as far back as 1000BC because of its many health benefits, flax was until recently, relatively unknown.
Benefits of Organic Flaxseed:
1. Prevents Heart Disease
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered to be good fats and are important to our health, but they cannot be produced by our body. We must get them in from our foods. Because organic flaxseed is rich in omega 3, it can help to keep your heart healthy in a variety of ways, one way is that it helps fight inflammation in the body, which is a major cause of many diseases. Flaxseed also helps your heart health by naturally lowering your blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the chances of having a heart attack or congestive heart failure. The omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseed help reduce those risks.
2. Fiber Rich
Organic flaxseed is rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble types. While soluble fiber helps to maintain proper gut and colon health, insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. This property of flaxseed also aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for people suffering from blood sugar issues and diabetes.
3. Good Source of Protein
Organic flaxseed is a complete protein source, meaning that it contains every amino acid that your body can’t make on its own. It’s uncommon to find plant-based foods that are complete proteins, so flaxseed makes a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.
4. Boosts your Immune System
Organic flaxseed can help with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other immune disorders by building your immune system (which is mostly in our gut), healing you from the inside out, and preventing illness. Not only will you benefit from eating the nutrition your body is craving, but the flax lignans, omega 3, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals will help your body to heal and repair itself.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
Organic flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programs, for those trying to lose weight, since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to its richness in fiber, it keeps the stomach full and helps you to not over eat. Also the good fats in flax help keep you full for longer periods of time.
6. Helps to Fight and Prevent Cancers
Studies show that flaxseed may have a role in fighting cancer, particularly colon, prostate and breast cancer. The benefit is based on its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit the enzymes that promote tumor growth.
7. Boosts Brain Power
Your brain and body must have Omega 3 to function and survive, we must have fats. Omega 3 is one of those essential fats we need in order to prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as helping with many mental disorders, depression, ADD + ADHD, difficulty sleeping, etc. Also, kids need Omega 3 so that their brains can develop properly. The only way for our body to get Omega 3 is through foods we eat, but much of the food we eat is cooked and processed; which does not contain any Omega 3 in it. Flaxseed is the perfect way to get more Omega 3 in our daily diet.
How to Get More Organic Flaxseed in Your Diet
Flaxseed has a light, nutty taste. Here are some ways to add it to the foods you already eat and enjoy:
- Sprinkle flaxseed on your cold cereal or hot oatmeal at breakfast.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to the mustard or mayonnaise that you spread on your sandwich at lunch.
- Blend flaxseed into juice or smoothies.
- Sprinkle on salads or in soups.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your yogurt.
Do you take flaxseed daily? How do you use it?
The jam-packed parking lots, the shopping and crowds, the back-to-back diet-busting parties. The interminable chats with the in-laws, and even finances take a toll. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. That’s why I’ve rounded up some healthy organic foods that are perfect for beating those oh so common holiday blues.
First, What Does Stress do to the Body?
Stress is awful, it weakens your immune system, strains your heart, dampens your sex drive, creates aches and pains, and can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Your body can only work with what you feed it, so if you consume junk (processed foods), you’re going to feel junky in return. Filling and nourishing your body with the right organic foods can help keep your mood bright and the above stressors rolling off your back.
Foods That Add Stress to Body
So which foods should we avoid? The following foods increase stress and anxiety by either stimulating the brain the wrong way or putting the body under stress during the digestion process. Foods to avoid include:
- Coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and other caffeinated drinks
- Refined sugars
- Fried foods
- Foods high in polyunsaturated fats found in processed foods
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s get down to what foods will help you bust the stress.
Stress Busting Organic Foods
- Asparagus, yes I know, these skinny little stalks are known to make your urine smell funny. But they are high in folate, which is essential for keeping your cool.
- Turkey - here’s the reason you feel so relaxed after eating turkey. The acid known as L-tryptophan is releasing serotonin, a chemical that calms your brain. The best turkey to buy is pasture raised turkeys.
- Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidants and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are super rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in alleviating stress.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Greens carry lots of B vitamins, including folate, like asparagus, which is important for easing symptoms of depression, relieving stress, and reducing anxiety. Good choices are kale, spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard.
- Cashews are an especially good source of zinc. Just 1-ounce serving has 11 percent of your daily allowance. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it’s important to get some every day.
- Honey - You’ll get an instant kick and energy for the long haul. Plus, research shows that its antioxidant and antibacterial properties may improve your immunity.
- Chamomile tea – Probably the most recommend bedtime soothers around, but in addition to helping sleep it also helps calm the nerves.
- Fatty Fish like salmon, herring, and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B6 and B12. These essential nutrients promote healthy brain function and elevate your mood—two important aspects of fighting stress.
- Almonds & Sunflower Seeds – These easy-to-find crunchy snacks cut stress like a sharp knife. They contain riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and other important vitamins and minerals. Snacking on seeds and nuts throughout the day can prevent stress from building up. To maximize nutrition benefits, opt for raw varieties over salted and roasted.
- Pumpkin Seeds contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep, lowering depression and combating stress. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin (the feel good hormone) and niacin. Serotonin is also very helpful in helping us to have a good night’s sleep.
- Dark Chocolate, in particular, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols—two important types of antioxidants. You can safely allow yourself dark chocolate as a snack once a week, or as a conscious indulgence.
I hope you can incorporate some of these stress boosting organic foods into your diet and even your holiday meals to help you calm those holiday blues!
What are your favorite ways to relieve stress during the holidays?
One of the biggest complaints during winter season is having dry, chapped, itchy, and or sensitive skin. The reason is because in winter, there is cold, dry air and very little humidity. If we are not properly hydrated we lose moisture in our skin which leaves our skin feeling and looking less desirable. Before you decide to relocate to a warmer, more humid climate, take these steps to seal in the moisture and repair your winter skin.
Natural Body Care Tips for Keeping Your Skin Hydrated
The first and most important natural body care tip for hydrated skin is water. Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in America. We just don’t drink enough water here. Did you know water cannot be stored, it’s being continually distributed and regulated throughout our body. This nakes daily water intake essential for a healthy body and healthy skin. The rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day (Ex: A person weighing 160 pounds should drink 80 ounces of water each day). If you are one of those people who have a hard time drinking water visit my fruits and herb flavored water recipes and combinations post for tasty, easy ways to drink water.
Rethink Processed Foods
The second natural body care tip for hydrated skin may surprise you – its not about what you’re putting in or on you’re body, its what NOT to! Foods with refined (overly processed) sugars dehydrate your skin, making it dry and less clear. Combined with the winter elements, loading up on these foods (which are usually high in trans fats, MSG, etc.) will leave you feeling blue this winter season. Though I would love to tell you to cut processed foods out completely (we all get cravings now and then), try to limit your processed foods in your home and replace them with more nutritious, whole food options.
You might not like this natural body care tip but it does help a great deal. Even though there is nothing better than taking a long, hot, relaxing bath on a cold winter day, it doesn’t do any favors for our skin. Long hot baths and showers have a drying effect on our skin. To help limit that you can add some bath salts or even sea salt to your bath water and taking shorter and cooler showers. Also applying moisturizer to the skin (coconut oil is my top choice) within 3 minutes of stepping out of the shower or bath will help keep skin hydrated. Avoid using soaps and deodorants with fragrance, or alcohol because they can strip your skin of its natural oils.
Vitamins for Skin
In order for your skin to look great, it has to be healthy. Vitamin B helps to restore collagen (a protein that keeps it firm) in the skin, which is especially important as you age. So load up on Vitamin B rich foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds and protein (bone broth is excellent source of collagen) to keep your skin looking healthy and hydrated! Vitamin E (most abundant nutrient found in the skin) also helps with the formation of collagen, and therefore can reduce wrinkles, scaring and increase hydration. Fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil, and spinach are excellent sources of vitamin E.
Fruit, especially water-dense tropical fruit, is a great way to hydrate and protect your skin. Most fruit contains high levels of vitamins A and C, powerful antioxidant that replenishes nutrients in skin, promote collagen production, and help keep your skin supple and firm. Oranges, raspberries, cantaloupe, mangoes, pineapple, strawberries blueberries, watermelon, and grapefruits all contain skin-boosters, and are a tasty treat too.
Natural & Organic Moisturizers
When your skin needs a little extra in those cold, dry months and you reach for a body lotion, make sure you’re using ones with all natural and organic ingredients. Some conventional lotions contain ingredients that actually dry out your skin. Some of the better brands to look for are EO’s Everyone Lotion, Andalou Naturals, and Nourish.
I hope these natural body care tips help you to keep your skin hydrated and healthy all winter long. What are your favorite tips and tricks to keep your skin hydrated?