Friday, July 26, 2013

Baking soda... great for teeth, hair and skin

Another day to reach into the pantry and find an ever day household item that is great for your teeth, hair and skin. 

Baking Soda!

It all started with the ancient Egyptians who used natron, which is a natural deposit that consist of sodium carbonate decahydrate, and sodium bicarbonate. They used the natron in their soaps and as a deodorizer.

In 1846 The Arm & Hammer brand was created. In 1970 Arm & Hammer was the first sponsor of the first Earth Day and has since gained recognition for being an eco-friendly alternative to chemical cleaners.

Bicarbonate of soda is better known as Baking Soda, is a white powder with crystalline grains.  Its chemical formula is NaHCO3.  It is most commonly used as a leavening agent but over time it has grown in popularity because of it many usages. 

Lets talk about a few of those usages.  If you are looking to save a few dollars, you don’t like the taste of toothpaste, or want to move away for the chemicals in toothpaste such as sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives and artificial flavors then consider baking soda.

I remember growing up we would use baking soda in place of toothpaste from time to time.  I still do.  Just dip your toothbrush in baking soda and brush away.  You can amp it up a bit by using the following ingredients.

1/2 cup of baking soda
1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup of warm water

Mix all three ingredients together and store in a container so the ingredients do not dry out. Dip tooth brush in solution… brush!  If you have a squeeze bottle that is even better.

***remember to check with your dentist to make sure this a safe change to make for your teeth.

Tired of using costly hair shampoos that are filled with chemicals?  Try using 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 8 oz of warm water.  Use in place of your shampoo.  It will help remove the residue from shampoos, conditioners and styling products.   Your hair will feel lighter and more manageable.

Want a great mouthwash or better yet you want a mouth wash that you know what is in it? Rinse your mouth after brushing with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of warm water. Swish and spit.

It is also great for soaking your retainer, mouthpieces, and dentures. Use 2 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 oz of water to help loosen food and neutralize odors.  It is also safe to brush these items with baking soda.

Looking for a safe, gentle and inexpensive scrub?  Mix 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water together.  Gently rub in a circular motion on your face to remove dry skin.  Your skin will be left soft and smooth.  Since this is a very gentle scrub you can be use it every day to remove make up and keep your skin feeling great.

Baking Soda is great in the bath.  Add ½ to 1 cup soda to your bath to neutralize the acid in your skin.  It helps wash away oils and perspiration that is on your skin and leaving it soft and smooth. You can also add Epsom salt, another inexpensive ingredient, to give your bath an extra boost.

Have sore ache feet?  Soak your feet in 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a bucket of warm water.  Make a little of the scrub paste mentioned about and give your feet a gentle massage with it.  You will have happy toes when you are done.

You can have great looking skin without a lot of expense.  You will be surprised with the compliments your get!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar... what doesn't it do?

What isn't vinegar good for?  The list seems endless from culinary uses to health and beauty. A great balsamic vinegar on caprese salad will put a smile on anyone’s face.  Got a sun burn, put vinegar on it… did it every year when I was young.  Got a bee sting, make sure the stinger is out and apply full strength vinegar.  Got stung by a jelly fish… vinegar!

But one of my favorite things to use it for is on my hair.  With all the chemicals and fragrance oils that are in over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners people are trying DIY beauty aids.

After shampooing, combine ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and 1 cup warm water if you have dandruff or frizzy hair. Vinegar is also a natural detangler.

If you have oily hair use one part ACV and one part water to get rid of the oil.

I know what you are thinking… "I am going to smell like a pickle".  Once your hair is dry the smell of vinegar will be gone.

It is great for your skin.  If you have acne use one part AVC to 2 parts water. Wash your face as you normally would.  Afterwards dab the water and vinegar mixture on your face with a cotton ball.  Repeat in the morning.  The vinegar will help balance the pH on your skin. Again, once the vinegar dries the smell will be gone.

Many people will use it as a deodorant. Wipe your arm pits with a moist cloth with vinegar and stay fresh for hours.

Problems with smelly feet? Soak your feet for 10 minutes every night in one ounce vinegar and a gallon of water.  No more stinky feet.

Want to do a natural body detox? Add 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a 1 or 2 liter filtered water bottle. Drink this throughout the day to cleanse your body and kidneys all day long.  

Apply vinegar to a cold sore to help it heal quickly and relived the pain and discomfort.

Apple Cider Vinegar is great for keeping fruit fresh. Mixture of one part ACV and 10 parts water. Dump your fruit into the mixture and swish in the water. Drain, rinse and put in the fridge. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit. Fruits will last a week or two longer.  This is especially great for berries. 

So what else does it help with?
  • Upset stomach 
  • Bladder infection
  • Hiccups
  • Chronic fatigue and nighttime leg cramps.
  • Yeast infection
  • Tires achy muscles, hands and feet.
  • Poison Ivy
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Kills weeds

So before you run to the store for something expensive that could be loaded with unwanted chemicals, do a little reach.  Odds are you already have what you need in your kitchen cupboard.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Food For The Skin

Ever wonder why, even though you use natural or organic skincare that is either homemade or bought, your still have skin issues?  Consider the foods you consume on a daily basis.  Your skin grows from the inside out.  As new skin cells develop, old cells die and flake off.  So it only stand to reason what you consume will affect your skin.  As the nutrients from the foods you eat pushes through your skin so do all the toxins they carry.
I am not here to preach.  I am the first to raise my hand that I use a busy life, stress, convenience of prepared food to get though the day from time to time.  However I know not to fool myself when I do not take time to eat right.  I know why I don’t feel good or why I am having trouble with my skin.  I know I put nothing bad on my skin.  So I know when I break down and have a soda, I am going to get a “zit” somewhere on my face.  Never fails. 

One day I said no more Coca Cola.  I have given it up before but not for the reason I was going to give it up this time.  I wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to understand food and how we got so far away from home cooked healthy meals. It was hard because I like my Coca Cola.  I am sure at one point it was what flowed through my veins.  Again, I will say I am not perfect.  About once a month I have one and once a month I get my zit!

To make the change in my life fun I decided with my sister to start a cooking/food business, 2 Prickly Pears.   This time I had someone to learn things with and have a good time doing it.  Here are things I had to consider when I changed my eating habits and how it affected my skin. 

Make sure your diet contains antioxidant foods to help fight free radical damage.  Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta carotene, zinc and omega 3 are known to help nourish and protect the skin.

Vitamin C which is naturally found in the skin helps the skin fight off free radical damage.  Remember sun destroys vitamin C so it is important to replace what the sun takes if you are someone who is in the sun a lot. 
  • Items for the grocery list: citrus fruit; oranges, grapefruit, clemanintes, lemons, tangerines either in fruit or juice form.  Beets, bell peppers, blackberries, broccoli, Brussels sprout,  cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, fennel, green beans, kale, kidney beans, kiwi, kohlrabi, mangoes, mustard greens, okra,  papaya,  parsley, pineapple, plums,  raspberries, rutabagas, strawberries, snow peas, sugar snap peas, summer squash, tomatoes, turnip greens, watermelon, white potato, winter squash.

Vitamin E helps protect cell membranes and guard against UV radiation damage and aids in the skins aging processes. 
  • Items for the grocery list: asparagus, almonds, almond butter, avocadoes, beet greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, canola oil, cranberries, collard greens, dandelion greens, flaxseed oil, hazelnuts, mangoes, olive oil, peanuts, peanut butter, pine nuts,  red bell peppers, raspberries, spinach, Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, spinach, sunflower butter, tomatoes, turnip greens.

Selenium which helps in the elasticity in the skin and aid in sun damage to the skin. 
  • Items for the grocery list:  asparagus, barley, beef- grass-fed ,broccoli, brown rice, chicken, crab, cod, eggs, mushrooms, garlic, mustard seeds, oysters, tilapia, tuna, scallops, shrimp, spinach, turkey, venison.

Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body which helps grow and repair of body tissues, including your skin.
  • Items for the grocery list: Apricots, asparagus, butter head lettuce, butternut squash, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cherries, collard greens, kale, mangoes, mustard greens, pink and red grapefruit, pumpkin, red bell pepper, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon.

Zinc helps maintain the collagen that keeps your skin firm and aids in the skins renewal.  6 percent of the zinc in your body is found in your skin.  Keeping an ample supply of foods high in zinc is very important.  
  • Items for the grocery list: asparagus, Beans; black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans.  beef, black-eyed peas, cashews, clams, crab, lamb, green peas, lentils, lobster, oysters, miso, mussels, peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, venison, yogurt.

Omega 3 is so good for you inside and out!  A proper balance of Omega 3’s will help with the integrity of the cell walls which in return will help the cells retain moisture and prevent skin inflammation which is the leading skin disorders. 
  • Items for the grocery list: anchovies, chia seeds, collard greens, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, green beans, herring, kale, mackerel, miso, rainbow trout, salmon, sardines, seaweed, spinach, tuna, walnuts.

And… WATER!  

There is no way around it; try as you may you cannot replace the importance of water in your diet.   We need to make sure we get enough water in our daily diet.  Keeping yourself properly hydrated is so important.  Water help flush out toxins within the body.  Helps move nutrients through the body easily and smoothly.  

The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. The average adult human body is 50-65% water.  As our body expels fluid, which is what it needs to do, we need to replace it. The Institute of Medicine recommends 9 cups of fluid for women and 13 for men.  Some will say you can count the fluid in some foods as water or if you are a tea drinker you can count that.  I never do.  Water is water and that is what I count.  If I get in more then 9 cups of fluid in me, then that means I will go to the bathroom more.  

As you can see the list of foods do not contain fast food, junk food, greasy food or my beloved Coca Cola.  We all know the reason why.

It can be a hard change to make but removing the foods that damage your body is well worth it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Avocados... some call the perfect food.

As some of you know I co-own a business with my sister, Terry, called 2 Prickly Pears.   We take a simple approach to cooking, while educating about healthy foods and how to add them to your daily meal planning.   Along the way I have realized how many food we consume are also good for your skin.  I recently wrote an article on cooking with avocados,  on 2 Prickly Pear blog.  They are the perfect food and yet so many of us do not eat enough of them.  We also do not us them enough for our skin.

We are all guilty of spending more money, sometimes a lot of money, on our skin care items.  We all want to fight back the aging process.  Yet how many times do we spend money on something only to be disappointed in the results?  We get frustrated only to let the unfinished jar of cream sit… money down the drain. What if we watched what we ate and what we put on our skin?  I bet we would find some pleasing results that will not cost us a lot of money.

Let’s take a look at avocado oil and it benefits.  It soothes, protects and moisturizes allowing the skin to soaks in all the vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants the skin needs.  Kinda sounds like the commercials or sales pitches we hear all the time.  Only this time Mother Nature is providing the answer with no chemicals and not a lot of money.

Avocado Oil is high in vitamin E that is a powerful antioxidant which helps fight against free radicals that cause unwanted aging.  As the oil penetrates the skin it helps promote circulation to the cell walls keeping the skin cells healthy.  Your skin will be able to retain the water it needs to stay smooth and moist.   For those who have dry skin, natural skin cream that contains avocado oil will be beneficial.

Avocado Oil also contains sterolins and essential fatty acids.  Sterolins help produce collagen and reduce age spots.  Essential fatty acids helps promote cell function and reduce inflammation. 

Avocado oil is high in omega-3 and is very effective in protecting against UV rays.  For those sun lovers or those who are sensitive to the sun it's a good option in a sun screen to protect again sunburn or skin cancer.

I know many people who use avocado oil straight from the jar for their skin or they mash up an avocado for a natural facial mask.  You don’t have to buy a skin cream with it in.  Mother Nature already has it bottled up for you without a lot of work on your part.

Here is a facial mask recipe I have tried and love. 
1 avocado
1 banana
1 teaspoon Jojoba oil.  Or an oil of your preference that works well with your skin type
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a food processor combine all ingredients.  Apply to skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes.  Gently remove with a damp cloth.  You are sure to like the results of your skin.

You can also jazz up the mask with other ingredients.  How about Kaolin clay, ground almonds or oatmeal?  You can add so many things to a facial mask without spending a lot of money and most important… no chemicals!

And raise your hand if you tried growing your own avocado tree :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Great oil right off the vine... Grapeseed Seed Oil!

Lets just start with the benefits Grapeseed oil has.

  • Absorbs easily into the skin without leaving an oily residue.
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Great anti inflammatory properties
  • Rich in antioxidants, even more than vitamin E
  • Aids in healing psoriasis and eczema
  • Great moisturizer for the skin and scalp
  • Helps even out skin tone

I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

Grapeseed oil is one of the most versatile oils you can use.  It helps fight premature aging while it stabilizes collagen.  What’s not to love!  It is great for those who are dealing with acne issues.  Grapeseed oil has very small chains of molecules which allows it to absorb easily deep into the skin where it can destroy the bacteria that cause breakouts.

Because Grapeseed Oil is so good for acne it is one of the main reasons I use it in my scrubs.  It is a great astringent which helps firm and tighten the skin as it moisturizes.   It is a great alternative to the other oils on the market that are used in skincare.

It is worth a try.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Olive Oil and the reasons to love it.

Olive Oil is widely used in cooking but it benefits go way beyond the dinner table and kitchen.  Its usage dates back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome because of it health benefits for the skin and the body. Quality can make a difference.  Try to buy a good equality oil.  However you do not have to spend your life savings on it.  

As you determine what oil works best for you keep in mind the following:

  • Look at the expiration date of the bottle.  Buy as fresh as possible.
  • Choose a dark color container as light will begin to break down the oil.
  • Purchase small amounts and buy more often.   Olive Oil can last 3 months to 3-4 years.  Unless you are going to use a lot of it, it is best to buy in small amounts so you are not wasting your money.
  • Store in a cool dark location in your home.  Again, light and heat can damage the oil. 

But why is Olive Oil so good for your skin?  It contains hydroxytyrosol a very rare antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage to skin cells.  Olive oil is able to penetrate deep into the skin naturally without any harmful side effects which makes it ideal for all skin types.  It also contains vitamin A & E.

Olive Oil is popular in anti aging and anti wrinkle creams.  It creates a protective barrier on the skin that does not clog pores but helps the skin retain its own moisture keeping it hydrated.  Because of this reason Olive Oil is safe to use on your face.

For those who deal with eczema or psoriasis, Olive Oil can help relieve some the itching and irritation.  Add about a quarter cup of oil to your bath water or apply a small amount of oil directly on the skin.  It will not cure eczema or psoriasis but it is a healthy alternative to lotions that will only clog the pores in the area you are trying to treat.  Remember read the labels of the lotions you are using.  Odds are if you have not heard of an ingredient or cannot pronounce it, it probably will be harmful to your skin.  Do your research!

Olive Oil is great for shaving.  Apply a thin layer over the skin like you would with shaving cream.  You will find less razor rash, bumps and nicks on your skin.  I know many people will use my skin scrubs to exfoliate their skin and after rinsing off the scrub they will shave the unwanted hair.   The skin is left clean, smooth and moisturized.

Here are 101 reasons why Olive Oil is so beneficial from Robbins Family Farm

Like many of the oils I use, Olive Oil is good for your body both on the inside and outside.  It is one of Mother Nature’s rules.  If it is good for the skin it is good for you internally.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Shea Butter and it many uses...

Shea butter is so wonderful for the skin, which is why it is in so many skincare products and so recognizable.
Shea-Karite Tree

The Shea-Karite tree grows wild in the savannahs of west and central Africa.   It takes 15 years before a tree will bear the nuts that the shea butter is harvested from and about 30 years before the tree will produce quality nuts.   It is commonly referred to as the “tree of life” because of its many uses.   The nuts, root and bark are used for food and medicine.  Shea butter and it use dates back to the Egyptian queen Nefertiti and the Queen of Sheba.  The Shea tree is so revered it is forbidden for anyone to cut down or damage a Shea tree and, thanks is still given to it in many religious ceremonies.

Shea butter is an all natural product that varies in quality, appearance and smell.  This all depends on where the tree is grown and how the butter is extracted and refined.  Shea butter is solid at room temperature but will quickly liquefy near body temperature. It is best to store Shea butter in a cool, dry place.  Refrigeration is not required.

Unrefined Shea Butter

Refined Shea Butter
Raw or unrefined shea butter is creamy in color like whipped butter and has a nutty smell to it.  Refined Shea butter is white and the smell has been removed.   If you buy refined shea butter make sure it is filtered through clay and is not refined using hexane or other solvents.  Unrefined shea butter smell will diminish over time and in about 2 or 3 years it will lose it nutritional value.  If the butter begins to have a bad odor it is probably too old to use or has gone rancid.   
Shea Nut
Women are usually responsible for the process of making Shea Butter. This process takes place in the rainy seasons from May to August when the Shea nuts are harvested. Shea nuts are extracted from the fruit by crushing and boiling. Shea nuts are picked, cracked, grilled and pounded to extract the butter which is then boiled in water until the fresh shea butter rises to the surface. It is then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set. This many sound easy but it is very labor intensive.   Traditional extraction is a very long process.  It can take between 20-30 hours to extract 2.2 pounds, but through this process, shea butter retains more of its nutritional, skin care and medicinal benefits.

Some benefits of Shea Butter…

  • Soothing for many skin issues like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis
  • Helps with premature facial lines and wrinkles.
  • Helps protect against the sun
  • Contains five essential fatty acids, (a major amount coming from stearic and oleic acids), phytosterols, vitamins E and D, allantoin and vitamin A.
  • Stimulates collagen production.
  • It helps with cracked and peeling skin
  • Great as a skin moisturizer
  • Helps with dry scalp
  • Aids in diaper rash
  • Soften skin on feet
  • Helps with stretch mark during pregnancy
  • Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue
  • Helps restore elasticity to skin
  • Restores luster to hair
Not all Shea trees produce the same quality of butter. The varieties found in Northern Uganda and the Southern Sudan are of better quality but are very expensive due to political reasons and civil unrest in the areas.  Trees that produce a lower grade of butter that cannot be used in cosmetics or food are still put to good use.  This butter is commonly used as lamp fuel, candles, lubricants and weather-proofing. 

If you have never used Shea Butter it is worth giving it a try.  Make sure you do your research on the quality of Shea Butter you are purchasing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Wonders of the Aloe Vera Plant

I can say I am guilty of only knowing aloe vera as a topical treatment for skin.  I really knew very little about its benefits when taken internally until just a few years ago.  There was never a time there wasn’t an aloe vera plant in the house.  If I had a cut, scrap, burn, name it,  mom would break a part of the plant off and apply the gel to skin.  It never failed, it brought immediate relief and the sore was better in just a few days.  
I always preferred the aloe gel over the bottle of Mercurochrome…ouch!

Aloe Vera is another one of those wonder plants.   Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality”.  Now that is saying something!  It contains more than 20 minerals.  A few of them being: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese.  It is also loaded with several vitamins:  A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and B12 which is very uncommon in plants.

Other health benefits include: 
  • Helps lower cholesterol.
  • Helps stabilize blood sugar 
    • Studies have shown that those who drank aloe vera for 3 months saw a drop in their blood sugar levels and a boost in circulation.  Those who suffer from peripheral neuopathy, numbness of the feet and hands, could find aloe vera beneficial.
  • Eases inflammation and soothes arthritis pain.
    • For those making a dietary change by moving away from red meat, sugar, white flour, fried food and other foods that cause joint inflammation, will find aloe vera helpful in reducing joint pain.  However you have to make the move away from certain foods to make the aloe effective.
  • Helps with many types of kidney stones and will aid in some kidney problems.
  • Helps with ulcers, IBS, Crohn's disease, constipation and other digestive disorders.
    •  Aloe Vera is a gelatinous plant.  Like seaweed and chia as it moves through the intestinal track the gel absorbs the toxins and are eliminated through the colon.  It is great for the detoxification of the body
  • Aids in reducing high blood pressure naturally by treating the cause.
  • Aids in boosting the cardiovascular system and boosts the oxygenation of your blood.
  • Aloe Vera is a disinfectant, anti-biotic, anti-microbial, germicidal, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-fungal & anti-viral.  All this means it is great for the skin.  Unless you are allergic to aloe vera it is great to heal whatever skin issue you may have.
    • Helps with acne, psoriasis, and eczema as it contains two hormones called auxin and gibberellins.  Both of these hormones have anti – inflammatory properties and help stimulate the growth of new skin cells.
    • Keep the skin hydrated and elastic.
    • Helps the skin fight aging because of the vitamins and minerals it contains.

You can drink aloe vera juice daily.  It is recommended to drink between 2 to 8 ounces in the morning daily.  However you need to be the judge of that.  It can be added to your juice or smoothies or can drink it “as is”.  Some people love the natural taste of aloe vera gel.  As for me it has to go in something… the morning freshly made juice.  The most important thing to remember is to drink it in its purest form.  Be careful of the brand you buy.

***Remember if you are on any medication and want to add aloe vera to your diet or treat a skin issue you much check with your doctor to make sure the change is safe for you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ever considered using Hemp Oil?

I discovered Hemp Oil early in my research when I started my skincare line.  I wanted to make a lip balm that would glide on without dragging across your lips leaving a waxy feeling behind.  Hemp oil quickly moved to the top of my list to test in my lip balms.

I discovered Hemp Oil is nearly identical to our own lipids.  It has great natural penetrating qualities which enable to lubricate the surfaces between the skin cells.  It helps tone and detoxifies the skin while it moisturizes it without clogging the pores.

It evens skin tone and increases skins elasticity and helps calm irritated skin.  This makes it great for those who have eczema.  When used straight out of the bottle in it natural form it will bring relief to the itching and dryness that are the symptoms of eczema. 
Hemp oil comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and is high in vitamin D which helps absorb calcium; it contains anti-inflammatory properties not found in other oils and is high in vitamin E.  Also all 20 amino acids are found in hemp.  This includes the nine our bodies cannot produce.  

In a recent study conducted in Finland by researcher J. Callaway, those suffering from dermatitis saw significant improvement after using hemp oil for 20 weeks.   This is due to the balance of the Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is 80% essential fatty acid, the highest amount of any other oil.  

Like the other oils I have written about, Hemp Oil is also good to take internally.  Since it is high Omega 6 and 3 fatty acid with the ideal ration of 3 to 1, it is great for strengthening the immune system.  It also help with who suffer from anemia and cardiovascular diseases.  When you consume the proper amount of essential fatty acids they will help correct oxygenation and skin hydration, counteracting aging.

Hemp Oil has pleasant nutty flavor.  It is commonly used in place of olive oil in salad dressings.  For those watching their cholesterol levels it is a great replacement oil since it is helps lower cholesterol.   It is also low in carbohydrates which is beneficial for those who are diabetics.

Remember to always consult your doctor if you are considering changing your diet and are concerned if what you using is safe for you.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Upcoming classes this summer...

Some have been asking about upcoming classes I am teaching.  Here is what is happening May, June and July. 

Swanstone Garden in Green Bay, Wi

Phone # to sign up: 920-866-9367

"Artfully Crafted Skin Care Products"

Cost - $55
May 26th @ 10:00am
June 2nd @ 10:00am
July 20th @ 10:00am
July 28th @ 10:00am

Catalog is available online:  Spring/Summer catalog 2013


Sweet Willow Natural in Green Bay, Wi
Phone# - 920-608-0348

"DIY Facial Trio"
Cost - $45
June 5th @ 6:00pm
Click here to sign up online: DIY Facial Trio

Soap/Shampoo Bar Making
Cost - $55
July 17th @6:00pm
Click here to sign up online: Soap/Shampoo Bar Making

Make it a fun and great summer!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Nutty Worlds of Almonds

Roasted Salted Almonds
Almond Oil is my favorite oil to use in my skin care line.  It works well for all skin types.

But first let’s talk a little history.  Almonds date back as far as biblical times (1400 BC).  In the “Book of Numbers” it tells the story of Aaron's rod that blossomed and bore almonds. Almonds were seen as a symbolism of divine approval from God.  In Ancient Egypt it was considered a delicacy to use almonds in bread.  The Romans (100 AD) believed they had fertility power and would shower newlyweds with them.   In Swedish tradition it is common to hide an almond in pudding at Christmas time.  The person who finds it will receive good fortune for a year.  
Almond tree in bloom

Almonds ripening 
By 600 – 900 AD traders traveling the Silk Road between the Mediterranean region and China planted almond trees along the route where the trees flourished.   In the mid 1700 AD Franciscan Padres introduced the tree to California from Spain.  In time the ideal growing conditions were developed.  As a result Sacramento, and San Joaquin CA, has become the dominant production leaders of almonds.  It is ranked as the 7th largest US food export.

Almonds have wonderful nutritional value.  They contain vitamins E, A and B, manganese and magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and iron. The fats in almonds are mostly monounsaturated , which is the makeup of olive oil.   They are low in carbohydrates so for those watching their carb intake this is a popular snack.  Almond helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and other heart issues.  Almonds have a sweet taste to them but do not contain all those unwanted sugars, which makes it great for those who suffer from diabetes.
Almond Butter

Almonds are a great alternative when maintaining your protein intake as they are high in protein.  Because protein takes longer for the body to absorb it will help your body maintain its energy level and control your metabolism.

Almonds are also good for your skin because of the vitamins E, A and B it contains.  These vitamins are great for damaged skin and signs of aging.  Almond Oil is good for all skin types.  It is light in nature and easily absorbs into the skin without clogging pores and does not leave an oily residue as it rehydrates the skin.  It contains high levels of oleic and a linoleic essential acid which helps the skin stay smooth and supple and restores the skins natural elasticity. Almond oil and ground almonds are great in facial/body scrubs since they help exfoliate the skin and replaces oils the skin needs to stay healthy. 

Different forms of almonds to buy.

  • Whole almonds, raw, roasted and salted – great for eating.
  • Almond slivers – great for cooking and baking.
  • Almond butter – nice change from peanut butter.
  • Almond oil – great for scrubs, creams and massage oils.
  • Almond flour – great for baking.
  • Almond milk – great for sauces or to drink as is.

Almond Oil
Make sure you are purchasing almonds/oil/butters that are fresh and organic.   Most grocery stores with a natural section carry almonds in bulk, which is less expensive and a better quality.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Buzz About Coconut Oil!

Coconut Oil is all the buzz these days and is gaining momentum in the culinary and health worlds.  Several years ago coconut oil got a bad rap when claims it increased cholesterol and had a negative effect on the body.  Much of that has now been disproved.

Coconut Oil has proven to be a heart healthy food that helps the body run smoother.  When consumed in moderation it aids the body in resisting viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses.  It helps fuel the hormones of thyroid and controls blood sugar.   Studies have shown those who take coconut oils see an improvements in their blood sugar levels.  When the thyroid functions properly it increases a person metabolism, energy and endurance.  Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT (triglycerides). Lauric acid helps increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels.  When the thyroid does not function properly it produces higher levels of cholesterol.

Coconut oil is great for the skin and hair.  It is able to penetrate deep into the skin naturally without any harmful chemicals.  It helps strengthen the skin and tissue while it removes the excess dead skin cells that make your skin feel rough and look flakey.  Many over the counter skin creams contain a great deal of water that give the appearance of moisturizing your skin along with many harmful chemicals. (See the 5 part series "Do you know what is in your skincare?")  It is ok to have water in a skin cream.  However it is important to know what kind of water is being used and that it is not the main ingredient. When the proper ratio is used with other oils it can help create a silky smooth lotion.  Make sure you are using a natural skincare cream or use coconut oil right out of the bucket!

Hair loves coconut oil!   It helps with dandruff and scalp flaking.  Many dandruff creams and psoriasis treatments contains coconut oil since it promotes healthy and shiny hair.  Coconut oil helps repair dry and damaged hair.  It also helps control frizzy/curly hair, which is what I have when the warm weather hits.

Here is a treatment my friend does nightly before going to bed.
  • Take small sections of your hair and rub in the coconut oil. Make sure the hair and scalp are coated evenly.  You do not need much!
  • Wrap your hair in a shower cap or plastic wrap.
  • Keep treatment on overnight.
  • Shampoo and condition as usual in the morning.
  • Repeat this process daily until your hair reaches the desirable look and feel of your hair.  It could take 1 – 2 months depending on how damaged the hair is.  Be patient… it will be worth it in the end!

You can also put a very small amount on your hair after styling.  Remember… a little goes a LONG way!

Allergies are considered to be rare with coconut oil.  However it is important to check with your doctor if you are concerned about an allergic reaction or are concerned about including it to your diet.  Remember you know your body.  It will tell you if it doesn’t like something.

Coconut Oil!!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Circle Anu And Clairalience

The first package of goodies from Clairalience has been sent to Circle Anu in St Cloud Mn.  If the postman is correct the package should arrive on Thur.  We are very excited to be part of Circle Anu.  There is so much positive energy surround them!

If you havent been to Circle Anu (click on name to see their website) this is a great time to stop in and say "HI".  Check out the great things they have going on....

Belly Dance
Anu Tribe Dance Gatherings
Red Tent
Meditation Room
Book Clubs
New Moon Drum Circles
Reiki Healing
Discussion Groups
Class Gatherings
Holistic Parenting
Home School Groups
Wellness Living
Sage Womyn
Goddess Gatherings
Moon Celebrations

Now on the gift shelf you can find the following Clairalience items....

Sea Salt Soaps
Natural Soaps
Peppermint Lip Balms
Natural Lip Balms
Aloe Lotion Bars
Shea Lotion Bars
Shea Cream
Signature Cream

***Circle Anu . Holistic Wellness & Dance Center . 44 North 28th Ave suite M Saint Cloud, MN 56301 ~ 320.217.8584

Monday, May 6, 2013

What carrier oils are good for healthy skin?

I am always asked which carrier oils are the best to use for your skin.  A carrier oil is a vegetable oil produced from the fatty portion of seeds, kernels and nuts.  Each carrier oil offers a combination of therapeutic values.  Depending on your needs and how your skin reacts to the oil, will determine the value it can provide you.  There are many oils to pick from and a wide range in price. When deciding which one you want to use, make sure you are working with oils that are not overly refined because they will lose the healing properties.  

Here are a few I tend to like:
Hemp seed oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-aging, helps heal skin lesions, has antioxidants, prevents tissue damage, offers some protection against UV sun exposure and contains moisture balancing properties.  Hemp seed oil is 80% essential fatty acid, the highest amount of any other oil.  It contains the ideal ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6, which make your skin happy and leave it feeling soft.  Because hemp seed oil closely matches our own lipids, it is able to penetrate and lubricate the surface between each cell, allowing the essential fatty acids to enter our body.  For this reason hemp oil will not clog your pores like other oils, which makes it great for moisturizing your skin without a greasy build up.  All 20 amino acids are found in hemp.  This includes the nine our bodies cannot produce.  

Jojoba oil became important in the 1970s when whaling was banned and sperm oil became illegal to use.  The chemical composition of jojoba closely resembles that of the skin’s natural oil, so it is easily absorbed and rarely causes allergic reactions, even in the most sensitive individuals. Because it contains antibacterial qualities, it is a good choice for acne prone skin.  Jojoba oil has a very long shelf life, which makes it ideal for skin creams. 

Sweet almond oil is one of the most useful of oils. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E, and is very rich in essential fatty acids. It is great for all skin types and softens and conditions, helping reduce wrinkles.  Sweet almond oil is high in vitamin E, which the skin loves.  Vitamin E is known to help skin damage from ultra violet lights, prevent cell damage, and help fight some skin disorders.  It is a favorite among massage therapist because it helps maintain the moisture in the skin, but also helps relieve muscle pain.  Almond oil is a great treatment for dry skin; it relieves itchiness, soreness, rashes, dryness, irritation and burns. 

Sunflower oil is deeply nourishing with high amounts of vitamin A, D and E. It is easily absorbed and helps skin regeneration, which makes it good for damaged skin.  It is also good for treating dry and mature skin.  Sunflower oil contains a very high amount of vitamin E, which helps prevent skin cell damage caused by ultraviolet light, or UVA, from the sun. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin E may prevent scarring, smooth the appearance of existing wrinkles and generally improve the appearance and health of your skin.

Olive oil is highly compatible with our skin and is an excellent moisturizer.  The use of olive oil dates back 5,000 years and it is a favorite among soap and skin care product makers.  It aids in skin cell regeneration and cell membrane repair.  Olive oil is an effect treatment for skin and its elasticity.  It can be used to soften hands and feet, and is also great for scrapes and scars, particularly acne scarring.  Add a quarter cup to your bath or a small amount to your foot bath to relieve dry, itchy skin.   

There are so many more oils to pick from.  Depending on your price range and your intended use, you can pick from grapeseed, coconut, palm, avocado, apricot and pomegranate seed oils, and many, many more.  

Have fun experimenting to see which ones work best on your skin!