Oct 19, 2011

Baby Soft Hair

I rarely do beauty posts, because... well, I've had 2 kids and stay at home and frequently feel less than beautiful.  So, I've been going to the gym a lot and a good friend taught me how to make eyeliner work for me, so I thought I would try out a  Beauty post today.
Coconut oil is amazing.  You should be eating it, using it somewhere on your skin and now you should be using it in your hair.   (I also have a great recipe for facial cleansing wipes and baby wipes with CO to share later.)  It's so simple to refresh and soften your hair.  It takes a couple extra shampoo's, but that is all.
Step one.  Coat most of your hair, but not your scalp in extra virgin coconut oil.
See?  Super coconut oily!















This is a sufficient amount of coconut oil.  It will look oily, but doesn't need to be dripping with it.  I used about 2 tbl, and I have quite thick hair. 

Now let it sit for at least 5 minutes and then hop in the shower.  You will probably need to shampoo it at least 3 times or more, if you use a natural, gentle cleanser like I do.  
If you don't get it out of every square inch of hair, you will end up with this after you dry it. 














Still oily.  Not super great for styling. 
Here's how your hair should look after washing it enough times. 













..........................................................................
..............Oh sorry, I got distracted because I was petting my super soft hair................... 
It is super soft and dries very quickly after a Coconut oil treatment.  It seems to really help the hair retain enough moisture to repel water.  After it's dry you can get to styling just like normal, except that your hair now feels more fabulous than should be legal! 














Look at how happy I am with my fabulous hair!

If this doesn't work for you, then here are a few of my suggestions.  You are using a shampoo that is way too harsh and is stripping your hair so much that not even coconut oil can save it. Switch to a more gentle, natural shampoo.  If you are one of those people that has to wash their hair everyday or else your hair gets super greasy then you are definitively using a much too harsh shampoo. It is stripping your hair of it's natural oils so severely that your body produces extra oils to compensate.  Switch to washing your hair at most every other day and switch to a more natural shampoo and conditioner.  I don't know what kind because I don't use shampoo.  I use an all natural bar of glycerin soap and no conditioner.   I don't need it!  

If you can't get all the oil out no matter what you try, then you probably really suck at washing your hair, or you need to use hotter water to assist the soap in removing it from your hair. 
-Val 

Sep 12, 2011

Sprouted Grain Tortilla's

There is a food movement, where people only eat raw/ live vegetable foods.  I think eating raw foods is very beneficial to our diet because of the phytonutrients and enzymes that you cannot get from cooked food, however,  most people cannot eat 100% raw all the time.  I really like to try new foods and experience different cultures, so for me, eating a raw diet would make this impossible.  So, I try to incorporate as many raw foods in to my daily diet as possible.  Sprouted tortillas are not 100% raw, unless you use a dehydrator instead of a skillet to cook them.  I used a skillet but feel like the low temperature I used in combination with the short cooking time preserved many of the health benefits.  Here is my recipe:
  
First you have to sprout your grains. I use a hemp sprouting bag.  I sprouted about 1 cup of red wheat and 3/4 cup of brown flax seed.  Refer to this article on sprouting wheat.  You only need to sprout it for about 24 hours. when your seeds have sprouted and have a little tail on them, then you simply put them in the food processor or a meat grinder with salt to taste, I used about 3/4 tsp.  
I removed one side of the tin foil and placed the tortilla on the grill with the tinfoil side up.  Once the tortilla set a little, it was easy to peel off the other side of tinfoil.

After they are all set, put them in a plastic bag,
 or tortilla warmer to retain their moisture. 
  You only need to cook them until they set, they do not need to brown at all.  The less you cook them the more nutrients they retain.  For dinner, the night I made these,  we cooked up onion and bell peppers on the grill and seasoned them with chili powder and lemon juice.  They were like vegetarian fajitas and they were delicious!  The flavor is different than whole wheat tortillas.  They are nutty, and quite tasty.  They are grainy but since the grains are sprouted, they are soft and more chewy than gritty like whole wheat flour. Enjoy!

Jun 13, 2011

My "Cure" for Allergies

This morning I woke up with itchy eyes, and an itchy throat and even the end of my nose itched like the dickens, this soon turned in to puffy eyes and continual, ridiculous sneezing.  I did not reach for the over the counter allergy drugs though... I did something much more instantly effective for me and with no drug related side effects.   I grabbed my bottle of organic lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil and peppermint essential oil.  I used one drop of each in the palm of my hand then dabbed it carefully around the bone structure of my eye sockets.  Within seconds the itching stopped.  Then I put some all over my nose and under the nostrils.  My sneezing stopped after just two more sneezes.  My sneezes were about 5 seconds apart so this is pretty fast.  I had to reapply the oil to my nose one more time about 10 minutes later, but then I have been allergy free for the rest of the day.  The peppermint can make your face feel cold or tingly and make your eyes water, but that is only temporary and goes away after about 10- 15 minutes.  Just keep it away from your actual eye to avoid serious burning sensations in your eyeball!  I will be putting this on my face before bed tonight and hopefully tomorrow morning I will wake up allergy free!  Every year around this time, those dang cottonwoods make my allergies go crazy.  They seem to be the only thing left that I am allergic too after cleaning up my diet.  I think it's because they are the Devil's trees...  What are you allergic to?

-Val

BTW- About essential oils, I used to buy DoTerra oils and before that I bought Be Young oils.  This is my opinion about those companies.  They are multi level marketing companies which means their prices are super inflated, and if you sign up to get the wholesale pricing you are still paying a lot of money towards the commission of the person you are signed up under and the person they are signed up under and so forth.  They make a lot of claims about their oils being the purest in the world and the only ones that are tested etc.  I would say all those things too if I was trying to sell something in the essential oil market for 3 times what you can buy it for elsewhere.  I do think the oils are very high quality and have never had any reason to doubt the purity of the oils.  I now buy my oils from rose mountain herbs online.  I am enjoying paying a fraction of the price I was before and and still enjoying the same therapeutic benefits of the oils. They make the same claims about testing, origin and purity as the other companies but they can also certify theirs as organic, which none of the other MLM type companies can do.  So save yourself a lot of money and buy from rose mountain herbs.
* by saying this is my "cure" for allergies, I mean that this is what works for me. I am not claiming that this is any sort of cure in the way that the FDA can come and take your children for claiming, because they have not evaluated the effectiveness of my claims. ** I am also not claiming that the FDA takes children but making a facetious comment that is probably untrue.    

Jun 9, 2011

Mashed Cauliflower Delicious and not at all what you thought it would taste like.

Cauliflower is a great alternative to mashed potatoes because unlike potatoes it is low in simple starches and therefore low in carbohydrate.  Keeping carbohydrates low is important to easily maintaining a healthy weight or for those trying to loose weight.  I will elaborate in a later post.  The secret ingredient to my mashed cauliflower may sound naughty, but I assure you it is perfectly legal... it is potatoes... I know I basically said potatoes are bad, but I only use a negligible amount and it really makes the texture better.  Here's the recipe:

1. Large head of cauliflower.
2. 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3. salt and pepper to taste
4. 1/3 cup sour cream.  Use Daisy brand sour cream or a local organic brand they are the best.

Boil the Cauliflower in cut up pieces.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  Boil it for about 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very fork tender.  Drain the cauliflower very well in a strainer or colander the put it in a food processor with the potato flakes and salt and cream.  Puree it very well while it's still steaming hot.  As it puree's the potatoes will absorb the excess water in the Cauliflower.  This should make about 3-4 servings depending on the size of your cauliflower.  I think its just as easy if not easier than making regular mashed potatoes.  Add chives, onion powder or any other flavor you love in your potatoes.  Enjoy!

Apr 5, 2011

Sprouts: A how to guide to the easiest, sprouts in the world!

If you have ever tried a sprouting jar you know that sprouting beans, grains and seeds can be a stinky and time consuming affair.  They can mold and rot within hours and only a lucky few can get their sprouts to an edible fruition.
Why sprout at all? Some may be asking.  Sprouts are healthy little packets of vitamins and minerals.  They are tasty, healthy and can be made in to yummy things like Malt and Sprouted flours.  They make great additions to salads, breads or just for snacking.
You can sprout anything that is a whole seed, grain or legume. Even peanuts!
If you use a hemp sprouting bag it is as easy as washing your hands.
I bought a sproutman hemp bag from rosemountainherbs.com  Within 24 hours I had little sprouted lentils.  All I had to do was soak the lentils overnight in a bowl of water, then put them in the bag and dip it in fresh water every morning and night then hang up to drip, until my sprouts were the desired size.  Then I tried wheat.  I got lazy and didnt soak the wheat like the instructions said and it still worked!  I let the wheat sprout for 3 days and then put it on a cookie sheet and let it dry in the oven at 170 F for about 5-7 hours.  Then I put it in a metal colander and stirred it with my hands until the little sprouted stems all fell off.  I then ran it through my wheat grinder.  It had a wonderful malt taste.  I used it up very quickly adding it to smoothies 1/4 cup at a time.  It can also be used in place of flour for a nice loaf of sprouted wheat bread.  This adds vitamin C that the grain only develops when it has sprouted.  If you are going to use it to sprout for wheat bread, I would recommend getting 2 bags, as you will go through the small amount of flour it makes very fast, and it takes days to make more.  Try it, it is easy and a great way to add greens to your diet!
The Sprout House Hemp Sprouting Bag Kit for Sprouting Beans and Grains
Sproutman Hemp Sprout Bag
Hemp Sprout Bag - by Sproutman
-V


      

Mar 5, 2011

Chap Split?

  
    I have been meaning to post on this through the whole winter but kept forgetting.  Here is a super awesome tip for those of you (if you are like me) that get those awful splits on your fingers and hands in the winter.  (No that is not my finger thank goodness.)  You know, the really deep ones that hurt like crazy and always seem to find their way on the places of your hands you bend, move or use the most?  This tip is awesome.  I discovered it this year and have been amazed by how well it truly works.  When I used to get one of these splits, sometimes multiple at at time, they would hurt for days, sometimes a week or more!  They seem to kind of start healing and then get worse again a few times over the whole healing process.  I have even had them "heal" for the most part only to re-open in the exact same spot again a few weeks later.  The remedy of the past was to glue them shut with crazy glue.  Don't do that.  First of all it seals in any germs you might have and can cause infection.  Second, it doesn't allow any air into the cut.   And third, why would you want to put that stuff into your body...gross!  Lotions and creams don't cut it for me, even the most expensive kinds that are meant for super dry skin.  When it comes to winter, my hands are dry, dry, dry no matter what I do.
So here is what you do next time one of these rears its ugly head.  Take some Natural Ice Original chap stick, another brand would probably work but I swear by this one and it is great for lips too.  Rub it on and into the crack.  That is it!  Usually, after only one application it quits hurting and heels in a day or two, no joke.  I most always never have to apply it more than once, maybe twice.  It works IMMEDIATELY with the pain and heels it right up.  Even if the split is still open and still there, it won't hurt anymore and it will heal super fast.  I figured if it worked on cracked lips, why not cracked fingers or hands and boy did it.  So give it a try if you have a split or two.  Cheers!


-Liz-          

Feb 22, 2011

The Exactitude of Trans Fat Free Labeling

Trans fats are altered fats. A scientist adds molecules to them in a lab to make the oil more solid at room temperature much like the natural way butter or animal fat is.  It is spreadable and transparent.  This process is call Hydrogenating.  Transfats are typically high in calories, as are all fats, but it also has been shown to lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol. In fact, hydrogenated oil's trans fats raise your bad cholesterol higher than eating a high cholesterol food, like eggs.    

FDA regulation states that a manufacturer does not have to list trans fats on a nutrition facts label if it is less than one gram per serving.  In fact they are even allowed to label on their box that the product is trans fat free! Here's the problem with this regulation, and it only effects your health.  It is recommended that we eat NO transfats.  Not even one gram.  Suppose a box of crackers has .75 grams of transfats per one serving, that the manufacturer has decided is 10 crackers.  Suppose now that those are 1 inch by 1 inch cheese crackers.  I don't know about you, but I would never only eat 10 of those little crackers.  I would probably eat 2-3 times that ammount, and for a serving size this may be reasonable.  It is not, however, reasonable when the manufacturer is trying to hide the trans fat content in their food.  So if I did eat 30 crackers I would have consumed 2.25 grams of transfats and that was only with my first snack of the day!  I will still eat another 2 servings after lunch and tomorrow I will finish the box off.  (Don't worry about my cholesterol, I do not buy these crackers.  I am sacrificing my pretend self for the sake of this article.)  You can see how this would really add up.
How do we know when a product really has transfats in it then?
Well, I am happy to tell you that there is a way to know and it is easy and fast.  All you have to do is look for the word HYDROGENATED in the ingredients.  If it is there, then it contains trans fats and you should shun this product.  A little trans fat in your crackers, a little in your bread, some in your soup, a bit in your donut, it all adds up over the course of a day and it will cause you health problems.  There are a lot of natural products available that contain healthy oils and fats.  Please read your labels and be aware that the price of food is the same with any goods... You get what you pay for!  For more information on fats, which are bad and which are good see my article You Mean I Can Eat Fat?.  Our bodies need a proper amount of fat to work well so a non fat diet is NOT recommended.

-Val      

Feb 21, 2011

Quinoa (Keen-wa)

Quinoa is a grain like seed grown in the high Andes mountains. It is low on the glycemic index and also considered a perfect protein.  It is 12-18 % protein which is twice than brown rice and also contains twice the fiber of brown rice.  It's also easier to cook (if you buy the pre-rinsed variety) and in my humble opinion, tastes much better.  If you are a diabetic, it is a much better choice than rice, as long as you keep the servings to an appropriate amount, being that it is still a carbohydrate.  I buy a nice big bag at Costco that lasts my family of four a few weeks.  I like to mix it with oatmeal for breakfast. I cook 4 cups of quinoa at the begining of the week and save it in the fridge.  For breakfast I mix it with some cooked oatmeal.   I also put it cold in to my salads.  I really like it with lemon juice, salt and butter, like a quinoa pilaf.  I have also heard that some people even use it for baking and breads.  Here's how I have found to best cook it.

1 cup of dry quinoa
2 cups of Pacific Free Range Chicken Broth (only kind I've found with out MSG)
1-2 cups water

I start out with the 2 cups of broth and bring it and the quinoa to a boil.  I let it boil for 10 minutes.  Usually after the 10 minutes I have to add more liquid to keep it from burning.  I would start with 1 cup and wait 5 minutes, then if it's dry after 5 minutes add another cup and let it cook 5 more minutes.   You want the quinoa to be dry after 20 minutes, like rice.  You do not want it to be wet and gooey.  After 20 minutes of  cooking, cover the pan, remove it from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Then fluff and serve or save.   If you do not have or want to use chicken broth just use all water.  Eat it with any meal you would use rice or in place of potatoes.  It goes wonderfully with so many things.  I don't know if I will ever eat rice again!
-Val

Feb 19, 2011

A WARNING about HCG

The short answer to the question of HCG is no. Absolutely not.  The long answer is as follows.
HCG is a hormone treatment combined with a restrictive 500 calorie diet.  You can take pills or injections and the end result is that you loose weight. Are you kidding me?  You will lose weight on a 500 calorie diet no matter what! Dr. Weil reports on his website that there were studies done on a test group.  They were both given the HCG diet and half of the test subjects were given a placebo instead of the HCG.  Guess what?  They both lost weight... The same percentage of weight.  What is frightening to me about this diet is:

1.  A 500 calorie a day diet will destroy your metabolism.  I have a wonderful doctor named Dr. Rodier.  He practices in Draper, Utah.  He believes in treating the causes of illness and disease, which is mainly poor diet and bad lifestyle.  He takes many patients that are a lost cause for other doctors who can't do anything else but write prescriptions.  He told me that he has taken many patients to help them with the side effects of the HGC diet.  When your body is deprived of calories it will start to use the reserves of fat, but it will also start to deplete muscle mass and halt immune functions.  It will lower the metabolism greatly because it goes in to famine mode combined with the muscle loss.  Once you are in famine mode it is very difficult not to gain weight with normal eating because your body wants to store every spare calorie it can just in case there is another famine.  This is why restrictive calorie diets lead to "yo-yo" and roller coaster weight loss.


2. So called competent physicians are handing it out like candy.  Medical doctors and Chiropractors are offering this diet miracle to patients.  I know some doctors are really dense when it comes to nutrition but come on.  If your chiropractor or doctor is offering this treatment I would suggest asking for a refund for all of your past treatments and then run for the hills.
   
3. It's only treating a symptom of weight, not a cause.  For most people eating unhealthy is the root cause of the weight problems.  Over eating is just a symptom of underlying problems, such as sugar addiction, emotional problems or just plain laziness.  If you treat the cause of weight loss, which is almost always lifestyle, you will eliminate the weight problem.  Assuming of course this person doesn't have an endocrine disorder or some other disease.  Most people don't put on the extra weight overnight and it is ridiculous to assume or try to force the weight off overnight.  Change your life and it will change your size.  It will probably eliminate a bunch of other problems too, like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression...

-Val

Dr. Weil's report: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400413/Pregnancy-Hormone-for-Weight-Loss.html

Feb 17, 2011

A Practical Lesson of Evolutionary Nutrition:

Imagine a small, early history, hunting gathering village of people; our earliest known ancestors.  They gathered nuts, seeds, roots, berries, grasses, greens and herbs on a daily basis.  Often they had a small amount of game meat to eat.  They didn't salt their food, they didn't sweeten their food, they didn't add oil to their food.  They ate the food as it came out of the earth.  Raw, fresh and the truest sense of organic.  They worked hard gathering, walking and hunting their game, then cooking and making camp.  Now imagine centuries later, a small faming village.  They still gather what they can but they also cultivate their own vegetables and raise animals, like goats for milk and meat.  The goats eat their natural diet of grass and herbs.  They walk everywhere they go.  They are all strong and healthy, even the old.  When a villager is deficient or has a disease they increase a certain food, or add certain herbs to increase health and wellness.  No one craves sugar, or salty snacks.  They eat to live.  They eat moderately and mindfully of what will be available in the future.  This is how our bodies evolved and were meant to survive.
  Imagine many, many centuries later, people spend much of the day sitting.  They need food so they go to a grocery store where they can buy endless possibilities. The food is processed to the point where it's origins are uncertain.  They purchase nothing that is in the same form it grew in. Meat is from farms where the animals don't ever see the light of day, are sickly and given high doses of medication and they eat grain and feces of other animals.  Then they purchase milk from equally sick, medicated and undernourished animals.  They are fat but lack the proper nutrition to produce quality milk.   The isle of sweets is filled with the high calorie, nutrient deficient cakes, cookies and candies.  Each single serving containing an entire day or weeks worth of sugars to our early ancestors.  People trying to avoid the high calories go for the artificially sweetened products. These are products produced to allow people to eat endless amounts of sweet satiating, nutrient deficient delicacies.  With out even knowing where the food came from or what it contains the carts are filled to the brim with food that is high in calories, fats and chemicals and is practically void of any real nutrients that your body needs for energy on a cellular level.  An occasional few make it to the produce section where they buy genetically modified vegetables and fruits, that are twice the size they are meant to be and half as ripe.  They are laden with unnatural chemicals to increase shelf life and destroy diseases proliferated by under nourishing the soil and thereby causing disease in the plants.  They have absorbed the chemical pesticides or have a layer coating the outside that is not water soluble and cannot simply be washed away.  They go home and eat the sweets first and let the vegetables sit in the refrigerator until what little nutrition was contained in them  is destroyed.  They can't figure out why they don't have energy to make it through the day and they can't figure out why they are so overweight or suffer from headaches or chronic diseases.  It may not be obvious to all, but people were not meant to eat the modern day diet.  If you go to the source of our food it is clear that our animals and crops are just as vitamin and mineral deficient as  we are.  Our ancestors did not count calories.  They did not watch their carbohydrates or worry about how much protein they were getting.  They may not have been as lucky to have the sanitary and comfortable conditions we have now but they certainly had more energy to work harder and did not get the cancers and chronic conditions we face today.  If we are not feeding our cells with energy to repair and replicate we will feel very run down and unenergized.  Our cells are not looking for calories in and calories out.  They are looking for vitamins and minerals that are from plant sources, making it easy for our bodies to digest and use them.  Feed your body what it has cleverly evolved and been created to eat.  Not Wonder Bread...  Not Chips Ahoy...  Not Dunkin Donuts...  Not baked potato covered in sour cream, bacon bits and cheddar cheese...
-V

Feb 8, 2011

Micro Recipe: Brownie Pudding

There are a few reasons I came up with micro recipes.  For one, it's  great way to have portion control.  For another it can be cooked in the microwave, but the namesake really comes from how small the recipe is in terms of volume.  This recipe is an adapted version of my mom's 9x13 pan size.  This one can be done in the microwave in literally 1 minute!  It can also be cooked in the oven the good ole' fashioned way.  If you have ramekins you can make lots of little individual servings. I just cook mine in the microwave in a really big mug.  If you only have small mugs, I would recommend using 2 mugs or you run the risk of it boiling over the sides.  Put a plate under it, if you are unsure. 
4 TBL all purpose flour
3 TBL white sugar or splenda
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Mix above dry ingredients
add to above
2 TBL milk, almond milk, soy milk or water
stir into a nice batter, and divide into 3 ramekins 2 regular mugs or 1 large mug

Then mix
 3 TBL brown sugar
1 TBL cocoa powder 
7 TBL hot water 
pour over the batter mix equally.  

For the microwave, microwave each mug 1 minute or until it bubbles to the top of the mug about to spill over.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until the batter rises to the top and has fully cooked.  Eat it warm and gooey.  It is easy and yummy, yummy delicious.  I have made this recipe a million times in the oven and you cannot tell the difference from the oven to the microwave in terms of taste and texture.  No, it's not healthy but sometimes it's mentally healthy to have a treat!   
-Val

     

Healing Crisis

Have you ever changed something in your diet or lifestyle and expected to feel better but ended up feeling worse?  To most physicians this would be an indication to stop the new change and revert back to your old ways.  To a natural practitioner this is a good sign and completely expected, especially with those who are changing destructive habits and diets.  It's called a healing crisis and it means that your body is cleansing itself of the old and replacing with the new.
The symptoms may include but are not limited to, acne, weight gain or loss, boils, fevers, aches, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, diareah, gas, bloating and more.  Pretty much you feel like crap!  Not a professional term but an altogether true to heart way of explaining how one may feel.  What is beleived to be happening is your body is replacing the malnourished, diseased and under productive tissues with new healthy and nurtured tissues.  A cleansing effect takes place.  The body starts to expel toxins through the liver, kidneys, colon and skin.  You may experience tenderness in your kidneys as they work hard to cleans the released toxins or boils on the skin as your body may expel toxins from it.  It is usually short lived around 1 to 3 weeks and then you will begin to feel better slowly and with continued efforts to change your habits and lifestyle and you will eventually feel great!
Imagine your body as a car engine, (much more simplistic than the body's systems but just go with it) when you put good, high quality gas and oil in your engine, it runs cleaner and smother.  Some oils actually clean deposits off your engine. Cheap gas (cheap food) will make your engine run, but with less power (energy).  Eventually putting too much stress (lack of sleep and high stress) on your engine without properly fueling it (high quality foods and herbs), cleaning it and maintaining (proper sleep, exercise and nutrition) it will shorten the life of your car (you!).
-Val

Kicking Against the Pricks

I honestly don't even know what a prick is, but it sounds uncomfortable to kick.  This discomfort is something I have been experiencing most of my life.  I am very impatient, especially when it comes to life moving along.  I don't like transition periods and I don't like that stagnant period between transitions. I suppose the only period I tolerate is when things are on the up and up.  Enjoying the journey, as they say, is something I've only recently adopted.  It certainly doesn't come naturally to me to enjoy waiting for the next exciting and new thing in life to come along.  But alas, at least I have learned it, as infrequently as I follow it.  There are 3 things in my adult life that have been consistent and ever present that I enjoy.  In no particular order they are cooking, silversmithing and natural health studies.  I am almost 30 and I stay at home with my kids.  I know that my kids wont be home forever and therefore I do not intend to be a house wife forever either.  I feel it is very important to stay home with my kids and raise them.  I certainly don't want to miss any important moments.  Yet sometimes it is hard.  I find myself getting down in the dumps, depressed, BORED.  I try to keep myself busy and my mind active with activities here and there.  Crafting, learning, watching hours of BBC classical period dramas...  
The outside world on the tv is continually telling me to get a career and be successful.  Oh do I ever want to be successful.  Here's the thing about being successful.  It is like being skinny, it is all relative.  Relative to whom you ask, whom you live by and where you live.  To a 500 lb woman struggling to loose weight, I bet 350 lbs sounds sweet.  To that 350 lb woman I imagine 180 lbs would be fantastic.  To that 180 lb woman 145 would be great!  To me 145 lbs is fat and I'm sick of it!  So it goes success.

When I look at my mother though, I see success.  She never had a fabulous career or made a lot of money or was super skinny and fashionable.  She raised 7 kids!  She is still married to the same man after 4 decades!  She reads every book before I even know it exists.  She helps everyone around her and is always charitable.  She is smart and sturdy little lady who just keeps on going and learning and doing.  I know that according to "the world" she is not much of a fantastic success, but if I could just be half the woman she is by the time I am her age I would feel successful.  There is no denying she is a successful human being.  Yet here I am "kicking against the pricks" trying to accomplish things I know will largely make me successful in others eyes and not my own.
My sister and I had a conversation this morning about how I am frustrated that I cannot find a decent school and degree combo that I want.  One school has the program I want but is not accredited, the other school may have the accreditation but does not have the kind of program that I can believe in.  I have been searching for the right school and the right program for years.  I didn't even know what I wanted to do exactly until very recently.  Still I am not completely certain how it will all pan out.  My sister implored me to stop kicking against the pricks.  Just enjoy what I am doing right now and when it's time to go to school the stars will align.   Sometimes I want to kick the pricks to spite my foot. I suppose I will always have the personality that will kick the pricks occasionally to make sure they are really there.   Then I will look at my sore foot and remember that life was much better before I started kicking said pricks.  Thank you sister for reminding me that I have to enjoy the journey and work toward my goals at a more patient pace.  That I cannot want something and receive it at the same time; there is little to learn if there is not some adversity along the way.  Thank you mother for your shining example of a well adjusted, successful mother who tells "society" what for instead of letting society determine your worth.
-Val

Jan 25, 2011

It's Snot Going To Keep Me Down!

-Refer to blog article How and Why to use a Neti Pot under Health articles-

No, a neti pot is not some strange illegal drug or ritual teapot...it is used to irrigate the nasal passages.  It sounds drastic but is quite fantastic!  Sounds sick but it does the trick!  Okay, enough of the corny rhymes...  But it really does work!  I have been using a neti pot for the past 5-6 years.  I originally started using it when I had a sinus infection and wanted to try and rid it without the use of antibiotics.  I had a full blown sinus infection and guess what, it worked.  I have used it 3 or 4 times since for the same reason with the same results.  I have also used it during times of heavy allergies or exposure to chemical pollutants like paint etc with great results.  Recently I came down with a very nasty flu.  Just as I started to feel better, I started to feel really cruddy again.  I developed a secondary infection in my sinuses.  It was a doozie too.  A NASTY one.  I did my neti pot 3 or 4 different times over a 5 or 6 day period with no results.  It got to the point where the infection was making me useless.  I was just about to throw in the towel and go see a doctor and beg for some antibiotics when my hubby who works in a pharamcy said, "I can't remember what it is...some lady comes in and she was telling me about something she put in her neti pot for her sinus infections because she gets them chronically and it helps her clear them right up!...Oh yeah, it was apple cider vinegar!"  ACV?  I can do that, I have a long standing relationship with ACV and I love the stuff.  But wait...pour vinegar in one nostril and through my BRAIN, okay my sinuses, and out the other nostril!!??  That sounds painful!  So I did some digging online to see if anyone else had done such a thing.  I found a lot of people who had!  I came across a recipe for 8 ounces of water, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of ACV.  I decided to give it a go.  After all...if you have ever had a sinus infection you will know...I figured it couldn't be worse than the aching molars, pounding sinus pressure, popping eyeballs and carnival ride-spinning head!  What would a little burning be to that!?  So, I gave it a go.  It wasn't bad at all, in fact I didn't feel much.  I will be honest, using a neti pot is SICK!  So sick that you would never admit to using it if say, you were running for Miss America or trying to win on Americas Next Top Model or competing on the Bachelor (not that I qualify in any of those areas)...you would get kicked out, let go, butt fired...whatever if anyone knew you did such a barbaric, disgusting thing.  But hey, it works so who gives a flying cruddy right?...  Right??  When you use a neti pot you look something like a mix of Disney's Quasimodo with Disney's Mrs. Potts shoved up your nose!  You breath through your mouth and sound surprisingly much like Darth Vadar while nasty boogers and snot flood out your nose into your sink or tub.  It is SICK!  But when you are done you feel like a million bucks and it is so good to flush that stuff out of your system.  Back to the story...after ONE flush with ACV I felt much better.  I did it daily for three days and it completely cleared my really, really bad sinus infection.  Remember I had been using my pot already but it wasn't cutting it and was ready for antibiotics.  So, file away one more bit of knowledge...ACV added to neti pot gets rid of sinus infection...check!  If you have issues with sinusitis and infections, I suggest you try this.  Pay no heed to all I have said about how you look, feel, sound and what you see while using your neti pot because the results are worth it!  ;)  Cheers!

-Liz-

I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts!

It has been a very long while since I posted last.  I have had a few subjects I have wanted to post on...but little time.  So, with that said, I figure I better just sit and write a little.  So, raise your hand if you like coconut?  I do, in some forms.  Mostly with chocolate and nuts.  Hehe.  I also have come to really love coconut oil.  If you haven't heard much about it let me give you some info on it here and now.  :)  First of all, coconut oil has been used for a VERY long time on many islands.  There was a study done on it quite awhile back, to decide on its health benefits and risks.  To make a long story short it was found to be very unhealthy and it was suggested not to use for cooking.  BUT, that trial was based on hydrogenated coconut oil and ALL hydrogenated oils are very unhealthy.  Many today believe that unrefined, organic coconut oil is very healthy.  I personally choose to eat it in small amounts as I believe all things in moderation are beneficial.  But here is where my true love of this great oil comes into play.  It has so many more uses than just a cooking oil.  For instance, it is an amazing toilet cleaner.  Just kidding.  It may be, I have never tried it but it really is incredible for a lot of various things.  Coconut oil is believed to have anti-fungal and an anti-bacterial properties.  Now, I don't know if it truly is BUT I make a diaper cream out of it for my baby and it works SO well.  I take some coconut oil, about a tablespoon full and I mix in about 4-5 drops of lavender oil.  My baby tends to get really bad sores on his bottom from certain foods he eats.  I try to avoid those foods but sometimes I am unaware of a food that may cause this since he is still so young and trying new foods all of the time.  Sometimes he just gets bouts of stomach upset and after what seems like 30 dirty diapers in one day, he develops a very sore bum!  When he starts this cycle, I put on some of my homemade cream and it works SO well and incredibly fast.  Much better than anything else I have ever used AND it brings him instant and I mean instant relief.  The other thing I love it for, and some of you may think it strange, is homemade deodorant.  Now before you pooh pooh it...let me explain.  I try to always be on the look out for natural remedies or the such since you never know when you might have to rely on them.  So I figure I might as well know as much now so if that time comes, I will have an arsenal of things I know work that I can get my hands on or make myself.  PLUS I like to be as natural as possible for health reasons.  Now this is strictly for odor protection, it is not a antiperspirant which I do not believe in anyhow but it REALLY works.  It consists of coconut oil, corn starch, lemon juice, mineral salt and lavender oil.  You make it into a paste, pack it into an empty deodorant container and wha la.  Homemade deodorant.  Here is the best part, you use it daily, it takes hardly ANY, you barely even roll a layer on and it keeps you odor free.  It contains no harsh chemicals or dyes or scents and it helps with razor rash as well.  I love it.  The next thing I love it for is to rehydrate my hair.  I take the oil (coconut oil is a solid, not a liquid, it is close to the the consistency of Crisco but once you touch it it turns to liquid very fast from your body heat) and I rub globs of it into my hair from root to tip.  I make sure all of my hair is well coated.  Then I tie my hair up and leave it in for 3-6 hours.  Then I wash it out.  Takes two shampoos.   It makes your hair SO soft and water resistant.  If you use it every week you will notice your hair is super soft, dries VERY quickly and lays smooth.  The fact that your hair absorbs the oil making it difficult for it to absorb a lot of water when you shower is a good thing.  Water is what dries our hair out on top of perms and colorings and styling.  I did it every week for a month and my hair got to the point where it dripped no water after a shower, blow dried in about 1/3 of the time it usually did and if felt like rabbit fur, it was SO soft.  I haven't been as diligent with it as of late but I really need to get back to doing it weekly.  The next thing I love using it for is just a general skin lotion.  It works super well on feet, hands and if you are a nursing mom...well, you know where.  I would avoid putting it on your face as it would most likely clog your pores.  So, try it out!  You can get it online, in a lot of stores and of course most health food stores.  Remember, you want unprocessed, extra virgin coconut oil.  Cheers!

-Liz-

Jan 24, 2011

Comprehensive Foot Zone Reflexology

I get so many questions about Foot Zone Therapy and there is so little information about it on the web or anywhere else, I thought I would post as much information about it as I can, based on the common questions I get.  First of all, foot zone therapy is not for the feet. It is for the whole body and performed on the feet.  The premise of Foot Zone Therapy is that all of the nerve endings in the body are mapped out on the feet.  This means that the nerves of the heart, lungs, pancreas, shoulder, spine, and everything else, have a corresponding representation on the feet.  This is the basis of Reflexology.

How it Works



Try it for yourself:  Find the corresponding point
 on your foot to an area where you have a known condition.
Using your pointer fingers large knuckle, or your thumb, apply
pressure to that zone on the foot.  You will likely experience
more than average pain there, feel the crackling, or feel a cystic
nodule in that area.  
When you apply pressure to that corresponding area, it sends signals to the brain releasing endorphins, relaxing the nervous system and re-establishing connections from the brain to that area in the body.  This process encourages healing and balances the body's systems.  The result is anything from pain relief to hormone balancing.  Your body will choose which systems are most imperative to improve.  You may not notice any noticeable results if your body is working on repairing and area like your kidneys or liver, since you will likely not feel any different.  However, people with back pain, knee pain and other noticeable pain will likely notice a change within 5-6 weeks of 1-2 Zones a week.
Many Foot Zone Therapist can feel the disruption in certain zones.  Disruptions are usually a lack of energy flow, a crackling spot or a cystic type nodule in the foot.  For example, while examining my sisters foot I noticed a disruption in her bronchial.  I asked her if she had been sick or had an irritation there.  She adamantly said no and thought I was fishing for results.  Several days later she sent me a message stating that she was so sick with a horrible chest cough.  Your body starts fighting off infection long before you start to feel it.  This disruption in her immune system showed up on her feet.  It is a strange and miraculous phenomenon.  We had no way of knowing that she would end up with a cough. Her body could have just as easily fought off the infection before it became a full blown illness and we would have never known why her bronchial was showing a disruption.  Foot Zone Therapy is not a way to diagnose conditions but a way to balance the body's nervous system so that proper energy and information can be received via the brain.  When this energy and information is able to flow freely, the body can heal with a higher potential. Even alleviating problems that you have had no success with using traditional western medicine.

Foot Zone therapy also releases pent up emotions that may be holding you back from healing.  It is common knowledge with massage therapists who do body work that you can retain memory of a traumatic event in a muscle or even an organ.  The Zone helps remove negative energy within a muscle and organ to facilitate healing.

Therapies to Consider in Conjunction
I recommend that at all times, and especially while being treated by a foot zone therapist, that you take a high quality multi vitamin supplement.  Even if you eat the best, organic foods available today, they are still deficient in vitamins and minerals because our soils are so depleted. Plant fertilizers are enough to make a healthy, large, green plant but not enough to enrich the vegetable in nutrients for you.  At a cellular level, your body needs nutrients to heal and repair.  When taking a high quality supplement on a consistent basis you will find that you have more energy and crave less junk food.  In addition your body will be able to complete repairs it has been putting off because of lack of nourishment.

What to Expect During and After the Zone
During a Foot Zone the therapist will systematically massage every single inch of your foot. That will cover every system and function in your body.  Many people feel sleepy and relaxed from the endorphin release during the zone.  Some people experience discomfort, particularly in a zone that correlates to an area of the body that is compromised.  After the zone, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water to facilitate detoxifying.  Once the nervous system is balanced the body will automatically start to detoxify areas of the body, including organs, there will be toxins from the feet released as well.  It is important to keep the kidneys and liver well hydrated so that they may do their job.  Some people will experience fever type aches and pains after a zone because of this toxin release.  Usually, a lot of water and an ibuprofen will take care of it.  Some people will experience better sleep after, some people worse.  It all depends solely on what your body is working on healing at the moment.    The worse off your health is to start with, the longer it will take to have results from Foot Zone Therapy, as with any treatment.


When to Seek Out a Foot Zone Treatment
The different conditions that it would be appropriate to seek a foot zone therapist for are: unrelieved pain from surgery or injury;  hormonal imbalances, insomnia, emotional stress, general stress, chronic fatigue, depression, fibromayalgia, headaches and more.  Conditions that a foot zone therapist cannot help you with are: current infectious illnesses, open wounds, broken bones that are not set and fevers.




Cost of a Zone
Most Foot Zone Therapists charge between $35 and $65 per session.  A session usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour.  Most Therapists like to sell packages because results typically take 5-6 weeks.  You will not be able to gauge the effectiveness of a zone for you after just one session.

How to Find a Zone Therapist
It can be difficult to find a Foot Zone therapist, since there are only over 600 in the western half of the USA and a majority of those can be found in Utah and Idaho.  I would check local free classified listings, check health food store bulletins and even search Google locally.  Sometimes a foot zone therapist will work with a chiropractor or with massage therapists.  If you are in Utah county or the southern part of Salt Lake County I can be of help to you.  See my Foot Zone Therapy page for details.

-Val