Archive for the ‘Holistic DIY Remedies’ Category

Add some ground cayenne pepper to soups and stews. It helps the body release toxins.

Sniffles, coughing, sneezing and general sickliness is par for the course this time of the year in Ohio. Between kids going back to school, the weather changing from warm to brisk, and the shortening amounts of daylight, it’s no wonder Fall is rampant with sinus issues, allergies, and colds. It seems like everyone has something and if you don’t yet you soon will fall prey to this season’s avalanche of health concerns.

But, what is there to be done? Certainly you can load yourself up with over the counter pharmaceuticals at the first itch in your throat. But what if you pursue a more natural approach to healing? What if you, like thousands of others, believe in holistic prevention? Our bodies were designed to combat dis-ease. They were meant to come into contact with dis-ease and fight off the infection naturally, thus boosting the immune system and providing the body with a lifetime of antibodies; something that vaccination and medication cannot ever do.

With the threat of H1N1 (erroneously termed ‘swine flu) people are in full panic mode. But the simple truth is that there are some very simple and natural steps a person can take to prevent the onset of any dis-ease, from the common cold, to yes, even the dreaded Swine Flu. These easy steps boost your immune system, giving it a jump start on prevention, without the side effects of medications or vaccines.

What are the measures that can be taken to counter becoming ill?

1. Eat a balanced diet

2. Stay hydrated

3. Be active

4. Practice good hygiene

5. Get a good night’s sleep

6. Don’t stress

7. Be positive

I know the steps read like a common sense guide to being happy and healthy, but really, that’s exactly what they are. Not only are you treating your health, holistically (all encompassing) but you are doing from the inside out. Our bodies are awesome machines, but when we neglect certain gears in our machines, it affects the whole thing.

By eating a well balanced diet we make certain our bodies get the nutrients they need to function at their very best. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins sugars and lipids are all necessary beginning at a cellular level. If we ignore these needs or if we over indulge we risk off setting the delicate balance and doing more harm than good.

Our bodies are more than 80% water. Having said that, it is critical the body stay hydrated. In a day we lose more fluids than we may think. Thus it makes sense that we have to refuel with that liquid gold, water, every now and then. The general consensus is eight glasses of water per day however, we can supplement by eating fruits and drinking other fluids that have a water base.

It’s no secret that activity is better than a sedentary lifestyle. It gets us moving, gets the blood flowing and just plain feels better than being parked on our derrières for hours on end. Get up and move every 30 minutes. Even with a desk job just get up and walk for a minute or two, it will do you good. Get active with a group, learn to dance, chase the kids or play fetch with the dog!! There is no excuse for obesity (aside from a medical condition) in this world, it compromises the immune system and makes you feel terrible, inside and out.

I can’t say enough about practicing good hygiene. The number one cause for the eradication of dis-eases is the better living conditions we have today. Keeping yourself and your home clean and fresh is a great way to stave off infection and dis-ease. Hand washing is imperative, but too much can actually be counter-intuitive. We do have a plethora of good bacteria on our bodies that help with protecting it from illness as well.

We all need it and most of us, sadly, do not get enough of it. No, not sex: sleep. 24 hours in a day is barely enough to get everything done and when the days become shorter it seems like we get less done. Busy minds, babies crying, dogs barking, neighbors mowing the lawn at what seems like the crack of dawn, are all things that hinder our restfulness. To combat such interruptions, a person needs to get on a schedule and stick with it. We are, after all, creatures of habit. So go to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time every day. Eight hours of sleep is recommended for adults, but anything from six to nine hours is sufficient.

The last two things that will help keep a person healthy and happy are often over looked. People feel overwhelmed and stressed more than not. But this does nothing to help the immune system, in fact, when frustrated, depressed, anxious and upset our physical bodies actually begin to mirror our emotional health. Joy, laughter, love and compassion make us feel healthier and feeling good is the first step to BEING healthier.

Healers often talk about the power of a positive attitude. A person who is ill and very cynical takes almost twice as long to heal than one who is optimistic!! So smile!! Laugh!! Get some hugs from loved ones. It’s medicine for the soul.

These are simple steps to implement into your daily life, steps that will help you to feel better and BE healthier too. In addition to being as easy as a smile, they are also inexpensive which is a bonus if finances cause you some stress. Dis-eases are everywhere, but they are avoidable because prevention is key. And if by chance you do fall ill, eat some soup, stay hydrated and ride it out, because in the end you have built up a lifetime supply of antibodies for that particular dis-ease and that is what holistic health is all about.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy autumn,



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I take my mission to live more naturally pretty seriously. It’s never been a fad for me. I didn’t just jump on the, “green,” bandwagon because it was cool (ask my friends, they can tell you I never do anything just for cool points. I’m anti-cool, lol). I’ve cut nearly all the chemicals out of our lives, I admonish convenience even though it requires more time and energy and I strongly dislike buying anything I can make myself. My motto? Simple, natural, frugal and healthy. There are items, however, I have been less inclined to give up. My hair color, for instance. I am dying to dye (lol!) my hair with henna the next time around though, so maybe I’m evolving!

When I first heard that there was aluminum in deodorant I was shocked. I didn’t know! I mean, deodorant is such a staple item I never questioned it. I did my research and found that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s and brain disorders and there is a possible link to breast cancer. So aluminum is a toxin? In 1993, the World Health Organization said, “There is a suspected link between Alzheimer’s disease and the toxicity of aluminum.” The Agency for Toxic Substances and & Disease Registry reports that “Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory and neurological problems.”

Well that’s no good…

And the problem isn’t just with the aluminum, but with how the deodorant works. Aluminum compounds or aluminum salts, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body.

Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. What’s more, “antiperspirants are designed to be absorbed”; the aluminum and many other chemicals are taken into the body and may affect the endocrine and lymphatic systems, as well as being a potential risk factor in breast cancer.

Oh no… It’s really one thing to have this substance ON the skin, but to be absorbed? That’s so much worse.

So what does the frugal, crunchy person do? Deodorant without aluminum cost significantly more. Some might argue the cost is worth the benefit and of course, I agree but I still wondered if there was something better and more cost effective to keep me from being the stereotypical smelly hippie. More research!

What I found were testimonials from other people who use grain alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in a spritzer in place of deodorant. The alcohol works to break down the bacteria that thrives in the warm, damp arm pit. Sweat itself doesn’t stink, you see. The bacteria that feeds on what our bodies secrete is to blame for the dreaded body odor. The bacteria munches it then emits an odor! We didn’t learn this in biochem! The alcohol creates an environment that is uninhabitable to this bacteria and the smell is averted.

My interest was piqued for several reasons. The anti-chemical reason was the first, obviously. The other reason this theory fascinated me was because I am a huge proponent of treating the cause of something by working with the body and it’s amazing functions rather than merely using the proverbial band-aid to fix a broken arm. In addition, using deodorant clogs pores and prevents the body from releasing toxins causing them to build up in the body and changing the physiology of how they are removed- much to our body’s disdain.

I love the human body. Anatomy and physiology has always interested me. I believe in holistic treatments when available. So the alcohol works with the body and it’s functions- not against it. Score for A/P nerds everywhere.

The only supplies needed: a small spray bottle and some Isopropyl Alcohol

I started my experiment several weeks ago. I wanted to give my hypothesis a nice long run and put it through all of the paces. Did I mention this experiment started during one of the hottest heatwaves we have seen in NE Ohio in a long time? Perfect timing, I’d say. I picked up a travel size spray bottle for about 88¢ and already owned some isopropyl alcohol. It costs about $3.00 for the big bottle so I was already seeing savings.

I used it once a day for two weeks and I was pretty impressed. My mom had always told me to never use deodorant over night- but hippie husband is like sleeping next to a volcano, so I had started breaking that rule nine years ago (were you as pained by that statement as me? Especially after what we now know about deodorant. Exactly.) After the initial two weeks, I would apply the alcohol twice daily. Once in the morning and once after my shower in the evening. It’s been incredible.

First, no smell. Second, no white residue on dark clothing. I haven’t picked up a white shirt yet (I want a brand new one for this next bit of the test) but I have read that the alcohol trick keeps the whites from being stained as well! I’ll keep you all updated about that one!

I can say that there is an adjustment. I’m not going to lie, it’s a big change. Using isopropyl alcohol means I smell pretty strongly like the stuff until it dries. It takes just a minute or two, but it is there. This is one of the main reasons people use grain alcohol, it doesn’t have such a pungent odor. The other thing I learned the hard way is that after shaving when applied it can burn for just a second. I have yet to find a solution to mitigate this one. It’s nothing bad and not intolerable- you just notice it. The image of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone always springs to mind and by the time the image goes away, so does the burning.

I also noticed that I smell human. Not floral or like baby powder. Now when I sweat there is a slight salty scent- one I don’t even notice until I stick my nose in my arm pit anyway. And I did this move a lot throughout this experiment, I assure you. I like smelling real. Like an ocean breeze on a deserted tropical island.

All in all I think this is advantageous to anyone trying to live more naturally and frugally. It’s hippie tested and approved!! In the words of LeVar Burton from reading rainbow, “don’t take my word for it,”! Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!



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I promise, my intention isn’t to make anyone feel stupid here. We are all learning. I’m not without my faults- in fact the first time I attempted cooking for my husband (then boyfriend.. Wow, has it been nine years already?) I burned the bread and forgot the cheese and lunch time was announced by the smoke detector. Stop laughing. What I am saying here is that we all have to try new things, to step out of our bubble of comfort so that we can grow.

I’m going to let you in on a secret- you can do this simple, natural lifestyle thing. You can. You know how I know? Because I can cook now- food my husband and children will eat and the smoke detector hasn’t gone off in years (reminder to self, replace the batteries). So yes, you can do this.

Here is something super simple for you to try.

Make your own Garlic Oil

Okay, so yes, besides being delicious it’s also super good for you. Various garlic health benefits have long been claimed and the “stinking rose” treatment has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) down the centuries. It’s been considered by many to be a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing or treating everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague!

Much of that is at best unproven, however there are some very positive garlic health facts that are now widely accepted. Amongst the most interesting potential applications are suggestions that garlic might be able to assist some people in the management of high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant “superbugs”.

And that’s just a few benefits of simply ingesting this clove of awesomeness. Garlic oil is also used for ear infections, candida yeast infections, boils and even acne. Plus, you know, it keeps the vampires away.

Making garlic oil takes five items. Garlic cloves, olive oil, a container (I like to use a small mason jar),  a bottle for the end product (baby food jars work really well for this but I it’s been quite some time since there were babies around this house) and something to strain the oil with such as a cheese cloth, old tee shirt, or coffee filter

Still with me here? I know you just glanced at your kitchen considering everything I said. Honestly, gathering the materials is the most difficult task.

Once you have your items together, crush the cloves (I use an entire garlic bulb) and place in the container. Cover with enough olive oil so that it is one inch higher than the garlic. Seal it up and fogedaboudit. Shake it daily for three days. On day three, just strain the oil  into the jar you plan to store it in.

Garlic Oil

Voila! That’s it! Now you have garlic oil to add to your cooking, apply to your skin or drop in your ears. Painless, right? I told you.

Garlic Oil for Ear Infections

Warm garlic oil to a comfortable temperature (you want to use warm garlic, but be sure it isn’t too hot!)  Place 2-4 drops in the ear 2 or 3 times a day.  Lie on your side for 5-10 minutes so the oil doesn’t run out.

Now that you know how to make garlic oil you are force to be reckoned with! You are unstoppable. Try making other oils, basil, rosemary, clove- the possibilities and combinations are endless!

Happy kitchen concocting,


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