Friday, November 25, 2011

Flu Busters!

Tis the get sick.
Here are my top five household remedies to help you get through the next few months.....

1. Garlic: Stock up on garlic’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-oxidant properties. It is stocked with nutrients (especially vitamin B6, C, and manganese) and highly beneficial sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin - which are also found in onions and other similar-looking plants. In addition to being an important food that fights those nasty bugs, studies also show it to enhance immune function. .
2. Lemons:  Not only does this citrus fruit give you a good dose of Vitamin C, the vitamin of the season, but it also has antimicrobial effects to help your body get rid of foreign invaders. As with so many “healthy” foods, lemons (and it’s green relative, the lime) have antioxidants to help protect your cells so that they are stronger and more apt to defend. Add lemons (and garlic) to dressings, sauces, tea, and water.
3. Honey: You may have heard that you should be decreasing your sugar intake when you’re sick. It is true: sugar can impede our immune response. But honey is different! You need to get RAW or unpasteurized honey as it contains propolis, a natural antimicrobial (it will attack everything from viruses, bacteria, and fungus).  And the soothing properties? Honey is also anti-inflammatory, which is why you’ll find it in a lot of natural cough and throat syrups and lozenges too. Use it with your hot lemon water, add it to herbal tea, or coat your garlic with it! Remember not to give honey to gives 1 and under and I still stick by an older blog post on my homemade onion and honey cough syrup!  and here is the research on honey's anti-spasmodic properties!  
4. Ginger: It can be added to smoothies, made into tea, add it to stir-fries, and pile it in soups! From a Western-medical standpoint, it’s properties are anti-nausea, digestive, and cardiovascular benefits.  From a Chinese Medical perspective, fresh ginger root is a warming food that stimulates sweating.  Ginger can warm you up from the inside out, and prevent this invasion. You can make your own ginger (simply grate some into a mug) with lemon and honey, and get three powerful foods in one!
5. Green Tea:  Green tea protects our cells with it’s high anti-oxidant value, boosts the immune system with it’s catechin content, and will warm you up when you have the chills. Research shows that it will reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms. If you don’t want to drink it, I still have good news. An interesting study recently found that gargling with green tea tends to help prevent flus. Note: green tea does contain caffeine, but in amounts much less than coffee.

Monday, November 14, 2011

and then he turned six.....

one excited bday boy!

we had a really busy weekend!  2 parties for the newly six year old boy; one for friends and one for family.... there was lots of fun to be had and way too many presents (which is always very kind and generous but also makes me feel rather spoiled in our western culture.....)
This year I made chocolate cupcakes (I cheated and used an organic cake mix) and made the vanilla icing.   The icing was super easy and really yummy and had all relatively good ingredients.
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
we are currently in a star wars phase (i hear this can last into adulthood....)
here they are all dressed up!
and being eaten up!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not to Judge.....But...

I was at a birth all day today and at one point the mom-to-be asked for her make-up bag to get her lipbalm.  I expected lip balm and then she pulled out a small tub of vaseline!  In my head I am thinking, YUCK! (and I am really trying not to judge!) but that is petroleum! let me dissect the ingredients.
Mineral Oil: it is produced as a by-product of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil.  It is the left-over liquid and it is inexpensive. It is actually more expensive to dispose of it than to purchase it!  It is often found in baby products (what do some apply to newborn bottoms?  vaseline!) Mineral oil acts as a thin layer on the skin.  It is difficult to absorb and clogs the pores.
Paraffin: is also derived from petroleum and can be found in creams and skin care products (like vaseline) to act as an emolliant but it can also be found in crayons and the coating on fruits and vegetables, keeping them shiny and stopping them from spoiling quicker. 
Microcrystalline Wax:  is produced by de-oiling petroleum, as part of the refining process.  It has tiny particles that make it more flexible (and thus smoother) then parrafin wax and it is used as a binder.

To summarize by-products of crude oil!

Some wonderful alternatives are cocoa butter, shea butter, natural lip balms found at your local health food store (there will be so many to choose from), even straight up olive oil on your lips (or overall skin, even a baby's bottom!) is way way better then vaseline.  You could also, look for healthy alternatives for your baby's bottom, face, and skin in general. 
Here are some examples:
raw cocoa butter (smells like chocolate!)
my all time favorite; Evan Healy's Fair Trade Whipped Shea Butter
 if you must have a vaseline than pick up the un-petroleum jelly made by Alba Botanica