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Health Blog


Beets, Berries, Burdock.

Posted on March 9, 2016 at 12:54 AM Comments comments (237)

     In my effort to eat healthy and still not have to cook too many meals I have turned to smoothies. I can grab a bunch of powders, fruits and vegetables, throw in some cashew milk, hit blend and breakfast is served.
     My latest creation is to help detoxify the body while getting some of my daily dose of fruits and veggies. I begin with organic beet root powder because it is easier than cooking the beets and then blending them. I add 1 tablespoon of that, 1 tablespoon of organic burdock root powder, a piece of organic raw ginger, a handful of organic parsley, a handful of  organic kale, a handful of a mixed organic spring mix, 1 cup of mixed organic frozen berries (cherries, blueberries, and raspberries) and vanilla cashew milk. This sounds like it might taste bad but honestly berries seem to overtake the other tastes.
     The combination above seems odd but every ingredient has a medicinal reason for being there. Let’s begin with the beets. Beets are naturally rich in nitrates which helps to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Beets are also rich in iron, magnesium, A, C, B1, B3, and B6, calcium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, iodine, carbohydrates, protein and fiber. The next ingredient is the burdock root powder. Burdock roots help to support detoxification of the organs and elimination systems like the liver, kidneys, and skin. This root is also high in inulin which is a starchy carbohydrate that is a prebiotic and prebiotics are good for gut health. This root has been known to be effective for all sorts of skin disorders (acne, eczema, psoriasis) and because of its cleansing effect on the kidneys it is good for gout as well. Now for a quick disclaimer on these herbs:
Burdock root is a common vegetable and is considered to be safe for most people.
 People with skin conditions may see an increase in symptoms when they first start to take burdock. To decrease this effect, try combining it with more eliminating herbs as well as starting with a lower dose and slowly increasing the dosage.
There have been a few reports of adverse effects of burdock in people allergic to Asteraceae family plants.
Personal note on this- I have psoriasis and have seen a great improvement in just 3 days of drinking this smoothie. Hopefully this will only improve.
     Next up is ginger root. Ginger has great anti-inflammatory benefits from exercise soreness to rheumatism. This root can lower cholesterol and help prevent blood clots, and is good for upset stomach, cramps, coughs, and colds. Some studies now suggest it helps in the fight against skin, ovarian, colon, and breast cancers.
 The next ingredient is the handful of tasty berries. Blueberries and raspberries have vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, and fiber. Cherries have powerful antioxidants, reduce inflammation, are a natural source of melatonin, and help reduce belly fat.
     Next up are the vegetables, kale and parsley. I have to add that technically parsley is an herb but my brain identifies it as a vegetable so I have to hide it in my food well blended up so I will eat it.  Kale has vitamin A, K, C, B6, B1, B2, B3, magnesium, copper, calcium, and manganese. Parsley has folates, vitamin C, A, K, calcium, iron, and beta-carotene.

     The final ingredient, cashew milk, is probably the least healthy. Normally cashew milk is very healthy but as already mentioned, I avoid domestic manual labor whenever possible so I don’t make my own. I buy my cashew milk flavored with vanilla. It is unsweetened which is a little better but not as healthy as it could be. I am going to go ahead and rationalize (with myself of course) that the wonderfully healthy ingredients in this smoothie outweigh this one not 100% healthy ingredient. If you really want to go for it you can make your own cashew milk with soaked cashews and organic vanilla and this will be the breakfast of champions!

How To Reduce Scarring and Skin Pigmentation Issues Naturally

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 6:22 PM Comments comments (458)
     If you have acne scarring, discoloration, and/or wrinkles you know how frustrating it can be to get rid of them. There are numerous products on the market such as Retin A, alpha hydroxy acids, and hydroquinone creams that can be effective- but they often come with side effects. These side effects run from possible carcinogenic issues with hydeoquinone, to rashes and skin irritations with Retin A and alpha hydroxyl acids. So what can you use that doesn’t have any side effects?
      Two natural oils that have some proven skin regeneration abilities are tamanu oil and rose hip seed oil. Tamanu oil has the ability to promote the formation of new tissue, this process is called cicatrization. This oil contains natural lipids, glycolipids and phospholipids, which are all easily absorbed and utilized by our skin cells for repair and rejuvenation. It also contains anti-inflammatory agents and anti-bacterial agents which make it a helpful product for acne.
     Rose hip seed oil is high in vitamin C, as well as GLA (omega 6 acids) that are great for anti-aging. This oil has a high level of linoleic acid (47.4%) and linolenic acid (33%) this helps to renew tissue and to reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles and stretch marks.  While both of these oils are very moisturizing they absorb quickly so you aren’t left with a greasy feeling. I have mixed these two oils- 50/50 -as people have reported Tamanu oil as being too drying and rosehip as too moisturizing. The end result has worked wonders for my skin. Tamanu is a nut oil so if you are allergic to nuts this wouldn’t be the oil for you. I recommend an allergy test before applying this oil to your face. Put a small amount on the skin behind your ear and wait 24 hours. If you notice any redness or irritation please discontinue use.
     There some great scientific studies backing the claims of skin rejuvenation behind these oils. In 2002 a study was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. In this study participants that had visible scars applied Tamanu oil every day for a period of 9 weeks. The overall size of these scars decreased by an average of 2.8 mm length and 1.2mm in width. This oil has also been featured on Dr. OZ .
      Rosehip seed oil’s skin healing properties was first documented by a team of researchers in Chile in 1983. In this study the oil was applied to 180 patients over a two year period. These participants had surgical, traumatic and post burning scars as well as premature aging. The end results were a reduction in both scarring and aging.
     From my own personal use I can attest the skin renewing properties of both of these oils!  I have 1 oz bottles available on my products page. This cold process organic tamanu and organic rosehip seed oil mixed. $12.00

Natural Handcrafted Soaps

Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:24 AM Comments comments (110)
  You might think that soap is soap and it doesn’t matter what kind you use, if it all gets you clean.  But if you have any skin issues you may have discovered this really isn’t the case. I have had reactions to soaps since I was a child.  As soon as I began using handcrafted soaps I discovered it was actually the soaps that I had been using that was the problem. And when I looked at the ingredients in most commercial soaps I began to understand why.
     First let’s start with how soap is made. All soaps are made from oils and fats that react with sodium hydroxide (lye). These are a combination of solid fats like coconut oil, palm oil, and oils like olive oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil. In some commercial soaps they also use animal fat (sodium tallowate), usually from rendered beef fat.
I guess I should be thankful it was beef fat and not the fat from another animal - does  anyone remember the movie Fight Club? Scary thought!  Okay back to the process of how soap is made…. as these fats react with the lye they begin to saponify and thicken like pudding. This reaction of fats, oils, and lye mixing, is what makes soap.  The fats used in soap making contain glycerin as part of their chemical makeup (both animal and vegetable fats contain from 7% - 13% glycerin). Glycerin is highly "hygroscopic" which means that it absorbs water from the air. A lot of commercial soaps take the glycerin out of the soap. I’m not sure why they do this. The only thing I can think of is that by removing the glycerin they are possibly creating a harder soap with a longer shelf life because it doesn’t attract moisture and it won’t dissolve in water as quickly.  But by taking the glycerin out of the soap it makes it more drying to skin. Add that to the chemicals, dyes, and perfumes that are often in commercial soaps and its no wonder my skin reacted with rashes, hives and dryness. 
     By sharp contrast natural handcrafted soaps contain natural oils like coconut, palm and safflower (no animal fats) the glycerin is left in making them more moisturizing, herbs, no artificial colorings, and pure essential oils. Natural oils are very moisturizing, have antioxidants and skin nourishing abilities. Once I made the switch to natural soaps my skin was no longer a dry itchy mess and I discovered something else, my skin stopped breaking out as well. That could be attributed to the lack of animal fat. This ingredient, because of its high fat content, has been known to cause eczema and blackheads. Not exactly the combination for healthy skin that most of us are seeking. Sodium Tallowate (or animal fat) that is often used in commercial soaps can also be found in crayons, wax paper, paints, and more. Considering where else this specific ingredient is used makes it one that you probably don’t want to use on your face and body.
     Soon after I started using handcrafted natural soaps I decided to make my own. This would allow me the opportunity to create soaps for specific skin types. I combine specific herbs, clays, and essential oils to create handcrafted soaps that are both soothing and helpful to specific skin issues. The oils used are coconut oil, palm oil, and safflower oil.  No harsh chemicals, artificial colorants, fragrances, or animal fats!  I love creating new soaps and trying out different combinations to produce different results. If you think you skin would be happier with a natural handcrafted soap please visit our product page to see what we have to offer. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly I package all of our soaps in a biodegradable paper made from craftspeople in Nepal. Not only is it biodegradable but it also contains 16 different herbs—so plant the paper and create your own herb garden! Both your skin and the earth will be happier for it.

How To Care For Your Sensitive Skin

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 2:12 PM Comments comments (253)
      I have sensitive and reactive skin. Over the years I have learned what calms and soothes my skin and what triggers it. I also volunteer for the American Cancer Society and I often see the effects of cancer treatments on people’s skin.  The number one question I receive from people undergoing cancer treatments is what to do about their dry sensitive skin.  I always refer them to their doctor first, but I also offer up what I have found to be helpful in my own quest for calm skin.  I am going to share some of those suggestions with you today, but first I want to talk about some causes of sensitive skin.
     It all begins with the acid mantle. The acid mantle is your skins first defense against the environment.  It is a thin oily film that makes up the outermost layer of our skin.  The PH of this mantle is about 4.5 to 5.5. This slightly acidic PH helps to fight off harmful bacteria.  When this mantle is compromised it can lead to skin disorders like acne, dry and sensitive skin, eczema and more.   What is sensitive skin exactly? Sensitive skin tends to be thin and dry, prone to flushing from temperature changes and prone to allergic reactions.  If any of the above symptoms are familiar to you, then you know how difficult it can be to find products to help to soothe your skin.  
     The first recommendation that I have is a gentle cleanser.  Natural soaps are the best choice for sensitive skin.  These soaps don’t contain any chemicals and are rich in skin soothing oils.  Another choice is a green tea cleanser.  Products containing green tea have been proven effective in reducing inflammation.  Green tea has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help to calm sensitive skin.  Goat’s milk cleanser has also been proven effective in reducing inflammation in sensitive skin.  Goat’s milk’s PH is very low like our own skin’s natural PH. It contains alpha hydroxyl acids, is high in vitamins A, B6, niacin and minerals which help to nourish, rejuvenate and protect your skin.
     All of the above cleansers will help to maintain your skins acid mantle and therefore reduce redness and irritation.  To moisturize and protect is your next step in the battle against irritated skin.  A good moisturizer for your face and body when your skin is dry and sensitive is extra virgin olive oil.  Why olive oil?  For starters very few people will have any allergic reactions to extra virgin olive oil, it is high in antioxidants which help to protect skin, and is an anti-inflammatory so it soothes.  This is also a very cost effective beauty treatment.  My next recommendation is extra virgin coconut oil for skin health. Coconut oil is also high in antioxidants, which helps to prevent free radical damage to your skin, is anti-inflammatory, and easily available at most grocery stores.  You can generally use these oils on your face and body.  These two choices are great for most skin types but not all.
   If your skin tends to be acneic and sensitive, then I wouldn’t use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil on your face. I would use a good B-3 Serum.  Niacinamide (B3) helps to preserve two enzymes that help to contribute to the production of cell growth in our skin.  This in turn supports the skin’s barrier (acid mantle) and helps to combat inflammation in the skin that leads to acne, redness, and rosacea.  B3 has proven in clinical testing to be handled well by all skin types, reducing redness, increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture, and thereby allowing the skin to heal.  The concentration of B3 in these studies was a serum containing 5%.  I have personally seen the results of a B3 serum on my own skin and can concur with the above result.  My skin has been less irritated and less blotchy with fewer break outs and hasn’t been as dry as it normally is.  Overall I would defiantly recommend this to others who have experienced these skin problems in the past.  I love this serum so much I now carry it in the office and use it on my clients who have acne or rosacea. If you too have sensitive skins consider trying some of the suggestions above and see if you notice any improvements!
Another great blog with advice on skin health to check out is: