Tag Archives: Natural Remedies

My dog wants to lick my face mask…

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Because it’s EGG!

(For me) part of self-care includes face masks. I started using them after my sisters in Korea gifted me some. Since the ones they gave me are kind of expensive, I only like to do them when I am with someone else. I think of using them as a special treat, and treats are much better when shared I find. Maybe that’s just me…

Overall, I don’t do face masks often enough, but when I do them on my own I like to put funky stuff on my skin. I like to experiment outside of the package and create my own concoctions or try out homemade remedies… or maybe something that’s been sitting in the fridge for awhile.

One of my favorite and easy “recipes” is just an egg white – yep that’s it.

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Wash your face with lukewarm water, pat dry, and apply the egg white to your face with a brush or your fingers. Avoid the eyes of course, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash it off and you will notice your skin feels fresher and softer!

Unless you rubbed it all over your body, you probably will have leftover egg. You can keep it in a mason jar and store it in the fridge for later use. I won’t tell you how long I will let it sit in there…you see for yourself what is good for you ūüôā

I like to follow it with a little bit of jojoba oil to moisturize and I’m good to go.¬†I find moisturizing afterwards is essential to locking in the nutrients and keeping my skin feeling good all night. My favorite kind of jojoba oil is Aura Cacia’s brand.

Jojoba oil

Even though my face feels amazing every time, I don’t do it often enough…so I’m hoping as part of my new self-care routine I can incorporate a face mask at least every other week!

Up next will be the honey-based face mask. Stay tuned…you may just see a picture or two, depending on how generous I am feeling ūüôā

Henna Attempt #1

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It’s no secret that I have gray hair. I started getting¬†flecks¬†of gray when I was about 16, and every year thereafter I sprouted more. I didn’t realize how gray my hair had become until I looked at an up close shot of my head the other night. (I included the photo below). Wow! For those of you who see me every day maybe this isn’t news, but it was somehow news to me, and I see myself every day. Makes me wonder what else I am not noticing about myself on a regular basis…

Anyway, as you know, I try to be as natural as I can be when it comes to my lifestyle and that applies to beauty products as well, and it’s not easy. Often times I go without more than I find myself discovering safe and healthy products. For me, going more natural does not always go hand in hand with a beauty/self-care routine that works. I’m still definitely in the testing phase, and let’s just say over the past year, I’ve cracked eggs on my head, gone without shampoo, poured coffee into my hair, created oatmeal exfoliators, etc., etc.! Some of these beauty remedies have had more success than others. All have been fun to try.

Henna dye is another to add to my list. This past weekend my friend and hair enthusiast, Colleen came over to my house with a block of henna. Our goal was to see if we could use it to cover some of my gray. Colleen picked up the dye from Lush. We both had no expectations. Our only thoughts we had were based on the little reading we did, so we figured it may smell like cow manure and it was probably going to be very messy. To a degree we were right on both accounts.

Before going on, let it be known that just because henna is a natural product does not mean that there are no implications with using the product. There are pros and cons to using henna. One of the cons is that henna is a permanent hair dye and it reacts with your current hair, so there is no guarantee on what color it will look like and you cannot simply go over to a local hair salon to “fix” your dye experiment if it goes wrong. (Beware to those who already have colored your hair as there can be problems). I’m lucky that we didn’t have any big surprises, especially since I need to take a photo for my work badge in a couple days.

Below are the pictures that tell the story.

1. The goods: 1 block of henna, vaseline for the hairline (does the petroleum cancel out the goodness of henna’s natural properties? nah! If you are a purist, Lush does sell a product that does the same job), comb,¬†not pictured:¬†gloves, hair clips, towel, saran wrap, tarp to cover your workspace.

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2. The mixing process:¬†Chop block up into thirds with a knife and cutting board. Place in a heat-resistant glass bowl. Cover with boiling water (from teapot). Break it up and mix it with a wooden utensil. We used a paint stick. Lush recommends a wooden spoon. Mix until it’s the consistency of yogurt or brownie batter. To keep it warm, place bowl over hot water (on low). See photos below.

photo (17)Don’t be surprised if you smell something weird. We still haven’t figured out how to describe the smell. It was not cow manure, but two different people stopped by while in the process and both immediately commented on the weird smell in the house. One said, “rotting compost”, but we all have not come to an agreement on how to describe the smell.

photo (20)Colleen adding a little more water to the mix.

3. The application process: Clip up the hair in sections. Make sure you are wearing gloves, and work the henna into the hair starting from the bottom of the head moving your way up. (Keep adding water as you need Рwe found the henna dries up fast).

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4. Wrap it up! Once you have the whole head covered, wrap the head in saran wrap (to keep it moist) and then a plastic bag (for extra support). You could be cuter with it if you had to go out in public and use a scarf as a head wrap. I was fine with the plastic bag look since I had nowhere to go.

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5.¬†Wait and wash, wash, and did I say wash?¬†The packaging says to wait 1-2 hours. We waited for 1.5 hours. Some people leave it in overnight. It’s hard to say if we waited any longer if we would have seen different results. I may try to wait it out a couple hours longer my next try. And with the washing, just be ready to clean up a mess in your tub!

6. Results:¬†The photos don’t do a great job of showing the results because when we took the first photo we were in daylight and the second photo it was dark and my hair was very shiny reflecting more light on the camera lens. I am still unsure how to describe the results, I would say a lot of the gray is still there, but my hair looks more blended overall. I think there is a brownish hue to my hair and it lightened it a bit which would be contrary to the “blue-black” color I used. I am curious if part of this was a reaction to previous chemicals in my hair. It’s hard to tell because wherever there was gray there were no chemicals. Will be interested in asking staff at Lush.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Overall, like some other people’s experiences, I was unable to get full gray coverage. I definitely had a reduction in gray and an overall more uniform hair color, but a significant amount of grays are still there. My husband thinks the grays look darker, and he would probably know better than I would considering a night ago I didn’t even realize how much gray hair I had ūüôā

I will keep you posted on round 2 if I see different results. I am not discouraged enough yet to throw in the towel. I am a little nervous because I am a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up end of May and didn’t consider the implications of not being able to go to a hairdresser if henna doesn’t work. Regardless I am considering making a stop at Lush to set up an appointment with them sometime late April. Apparently they will do a free application of the product if you schedule ahead. I know this will save Colleen and my kitchen from a future mess.¬†I will keep you posted on the results!

If you want to read more in depth about henna and it’s benefits, check out this helpful article.

Natural Approaches for Alleviating Chronic Arthritis & Body Pain

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While weather in Minnesota has been mild, forecasters assure that winter’s icy temperatures¬†are on¬†the way. Many of us can¬†already feel our bones and joints creaking or aching in the cold,¬†which often makes us feel less motivated to¬†achieve¬†the¬†daily dose of¬†movement our bodies need (that’s code for exercise).¬†Whether you suffer from seasonal stiffness or full-fledged arthritis, here are some general tips and tricks to help you identify ways to treat your arthritis and chronic pain.

“Knowledge is power.”

1) Understand your condition. The more you educate yourself about your condition, the easier it is to understand and address your pain. Arthritis comes from the Greek word, arthron (joint), and “itis” means inflammation. This condition can be acute or chronic, and there are varying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and Lyme’s disease. While arthritis is a fairly complex condition, if you look closely you will find common causes of arthritic pain to be related to inflammation, biochemical imbalances (hormones, nutritional deficiencies), structural misalignment, emotional issues, stress and trauma. Approaching all of these factors at once is intimidating and overwhelming, however, with an open mind and positive attitude you may discover that researching the causes can provide you with information that may likely improve your condition.

2) Get tested for food allergies.¬† Many people suffer from food allergies today, and many people live without even knowing that they are allergic to something. Allergies lead to nutrient depletion and inhibit proper function of the immune system. When your body is not getting adequate nutrition and your immune system is not¬†working properly, you will likely experience¬†more pain and inflammation as well as chronic disease. People who experience chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia should especially consider food allergy screening. By educating yourself and understanding what your body needs and doesn’t need, you are empowering yourself to understand and address your body’s pain.

3) Get tested for heavy metals. Heavy metals also wreak havoc on the immune system and hormonal system. Many chronic illnesses like arthritis, fatigue, autoimmune disorders and cancer are linked to elevated levels of heavy metals. Hair testing is an inexpensive route to go but should not be the only method if you suspect heavy metals are part of your problem. Be sure to do a urine test with a practitioner who has experience with this kind of screening. Common heavy metals include Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickel and Aluminum. For more information about these pollutants and their effects, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website.

4) Have your thyroid and adrenals¬†tested. People with chronic illnesses often have low hormone levels. Depressed hormone levels inhibit the body’s natural production of chemicals necessary for healing pain. Arthritis and pain patients may be at risk for low-functioning thyroids. One at home measure to check your thyroid is through monitoring the basal body temperature. Take your temperature first thing in the morning. A hypothyroid individual will consistently get readings of a temperature lower than 97.8 degrees. If you keep getting low readings, it might mean it’s time to bring in a professional and assist that low-functioning thyroid. Also, there is a close interaction between the thyroid gland and the adrenal gland. Inadequate production in one gland means poor consequences for the other. You can take a saliva test to give yourself a glimpse of your adrenal/thyroid health and discuss further options with a health professional.

“You are what you eat.”

5) Eat well. Because arthritis and body pain are at the very least products of inflammation, eating an anti-inflammatory diet is very important. Support your G-I tract. Injured tissue heals with nutrients, not with drugs. In order to begin the healing process, we must provide the body with vitamins, minerals and other natural agents. Eat clean, organic foods when you can, and make sure this mixture includes a lot of colorful vegetables, healthy fats and healthy proteins. *Also, for those vegetarians/vegans out there, make sure to watch your protein intake. Protein is the second most common substance in our bodies. Therefore adequate protein intake is necessary to promote general health and a balanced system. While it is true leafy vegetables offer more protein than milk, animal protein is the only source of complete protein available that contains all the essential and nonessential amino acids, so be sure to supplement if you choose to avoid it.**For meat-lovers, be sure the meat you are eating is a quality protein. Always choose grass-fed beef over grain-fed, wild fish over farmed fish, organic chicken over “regular” chicken, organic free-range eggs over “regular” eggs…you get the point.

6) Drink¬†plenty of water. If anything else, drink a lot of purified water (and pure water does not necessarily mean bottled water). Dehydration acts as a tremendous stressor on the body and is a major factor that inhibits the healing process. All chronic disease is accelerated by inadequate water intake, and your body requires a sufficient amount of water in order to flush out toxins. Because we are made of over 60% water, help support your body’s functions by drinking enough.¬† There are various suggestions out there. One way to play it safe is to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water. To read more about factors to consider regarding how much water you need, check out Mayo Clinic’s recommendations.

7) Take a high quality¬†fish oil and find a well-balanced supplement. Obviously whole foods are the best source to get your nutrition, but following a strict organic diet with today’s fast pace society is not always possible. Therefore people suffering from arthritis, body pain and other chronic conditions should definitely consider taking fish oil and a high quality supplement as needed. Increasing the amount of Omega-3 fats in the diet can have a profound anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Wild salmon, cod and cod liver oil are good sources. Just be sure to get the first pressing so that you have the best quality oil, free of mercury and other toxins. Some good vitamins to support pain and arthritis include: Niacinamide (B3), Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C , Vitamin D, Vitamin E and minerals, Magnesium, Calcium, Selenium and Zinc. Other helpful nutrients include Glucosamine Sulfate and Chrondroitin Sulfate and herbs, Ginger and Turmeric (cur cumin).

8) Watch your sugar and refined carbohydrates intake. There is enough research out there to understand why you should seriously consider stomping out refined carbohydrates and refined sugars from your diet. This list is getting long enough, so just please trust the experts when they tell you that refined carbs and sugars lack vitamins, minerals and enzymes and have been associated with the rise of degenerative disorders. There is a reason that the Standard American Diet’s acronym is SAD.

“Keep calm and carry on.”

9) De-stress. So, you may be wondering how a person can de-stress when there are so many things to think about when dealing with chronic arthritis and body pain. Well, stress no more because as you already know, stressing out will not help your situation. Because stress perpetuates many chronic health conditions, be sure that you can recognize signs of stress in yourself and have an action plan ready to deal with your stress. For example, when I start to get stressed I notice like many people I get angry more easily. When I notice my mood shift in this direction, the first action on my list is to stop and write down why I am stressed out and what I need. Usually I need to slow down and cook a meal. For my husband when he is feeling stressed out, it often means he needs to exercise and get out in nature. Each person has their own way of de-stressing. Pay attention and find yours.

10) Practice Awareness. Try out a mind-body practice. The more you can be with your body and your pain, the better you will know how to handle your pain. Many studies show that people who practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Relaxation (MBSR) and other mind-body therapies are able to decrease symptoms of pain. If you do not have time to start a practice, try taking the time to breathe properly each day. It will do wonders for your health and awareness.

11) Make movement part of your life. For many people suffering from arthritis and body pain, movement is what is needed, but pain limits people in their mobility. Stretching is a place almost everyone can start. If possible, try to find 15 minutes a day to stretch. For people who want routine and guidance, finding a gentle yoga or tai chi practice might be a good fit to help with good stretching techniques. If you have access to the pool and enjoy swimming, water exercise is also great and low-impact. Try out different kinds of movement and see what feels best.   

12) One step at a time. Relax and take a deep breath. Remember that arthritis and body pain result from a complex web of systems that require a holistic healing approach. There is no one pill or remedy to cure it, but a little effort can go a long way. Listen to your body.  Take note and try out some of the above suggestions. Tell your health professional about it. See an alternative health practitioner. Hear what they have to say. Looking at a problem from a new perspective can be liberating.  Most important, never give up. Many people shut down when they hear about the multifaceted approach to treating chronic pain. Try not to be discouraged. Do one thing at a time and do it well. Do not worry about everything. You will find as you pay attention to one aspect of your health and well-being and you master it, the next one will come easier.

Mandala Reflections organized the above information from lecture, Community Health Talk Series: Overcoming Arthritis. I had the opportunity to attend the talk and wanted to report back on the event. The lecture was two-hours long and nothing short of 139, informative power point slides. The presenters included three women from O’Keefe Matz Functional Health Clinic¬†with backgrounds¬†in Nutrition, Chiropractic, Acupuncture,¬†Nursing, ¬†Massage Therapy and Yoga Therapy. For more information about these women, what they do and their events, please visit their Facebook page. For more wellness events happening in Minnesota, be sure to check this month’s January Happenings.