Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

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4/3/2015

While we live our bodies are moving particles of the earth, joined inextricably both to the soil and to the bodies of other living creatures. It is hardly surprising, then, that there should be some profound resemblances between our treatment of our bodies and our treatment of the earth” ~ Wendell Berry

There is immense power in the integrity of my fertility whether or not I desire to create a baby. Being aware of the nuanced phases of my fertility not only helps me avoid,or achieve, conception, it connects me to the rhythmic nature of divine creative energy and the opportunity to thrive in harmony with it.

I experience and respect my cycle as a micro of the macrocosm of all creation.

I know myself to be Mother Earth embodied. The forces of nature whisper Pablo Neruda’s poetry to my ovaries:

“I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees.”

Samantha Zipporah

I honor the blossoming, the fruit, the fall, and the fallow within.

There they are: the four seasons in cyclical perfection within the four weeks of my cycle. I feel the playful sweet sparkling momentum of spring as my body prepares for ovulation and an autumnal deep dive of release before I bleed.

Fertility Awareness

The first steps on my path to fertility awareness were motivated by a desire to smash the patriarchy, not flowery poetry. As an angsty activist teen in “abstinence only education” Idaho I volunteered at Planned Parenthood and held office in Boise State University’s radical political student group. I was offered the pill to manage my painful, excessive, and irregular cycle. I refused it. The thought of giving the pharmaceutical industry access to control my hormones seemed to me like surrendering my vitality to the nefarious powers of patriarchy and consumer capitalism. I saw suppression of my ovulation as a path to subjugation, not liberation.

"Merely external emancipation has made of the modern woman an artificial being. Now, woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation, if she really desires to be free." ~ Emma Goldman

I learned about fertility awareness as a method of contraception from a library book at Aprovecho Research Center, where I interned studying alternative technology, organic gardening, and sustainable forestry. Here I discovered the importance of observing, honoring, and integrating the cyclical beauty of nature in all aspects of my life.

Our bodies are ecosystems and our fertility is an energy source. The biochemical implications of our fertility offer potential to create life in whatever form we choose ~ be it human, intellectual, artistic, or otherwise.

The havoc created by man’s attempt to dominate nature is widespread. This abuse of power is paralleled in industrialized agriculture, the medicalization of birth, and the pathologizing of our fertility. Menstruation, pregnancy, and birth are commonly treated as diseases to be cured with pills, synthetic hormones, or surgeries.

The pesticides and hormones used in conventional food systems have devastating effects on human hormonal health. To address the symptoms of imbalance, allopathic medicine prescribes birth control where whole food diets, herbs, and lifestyle changes would improve balance. In the forward to one of my favorite books, “Woman Code” by Alisa Vitti, the luminary Dr. Christiane Northrup writes, “giving birth control pills to women to regulate their periods, improve their fertility, or enhance their sex drive is akin to putting a piece of tape over the flashing indicator light on the dashboard of your car and pretending you have addressed the engine problem rather than looking under the hood and dealing with the underlying issue.”

Healing the earth demands that we cultivate reverence and respect for the cycles of the womb. Our fertility does not simply mirror nature, it is part of nature.

May we find nourishment, synergy, and inspiration from life’s cyclical beauty in all its forms.

For a sassy & simple guide to practicing fertility awareness please check out my e-book, Ovulation Awareness: Know Your Cycle, Know Your Self.

Other suggested reading includes:

“The Way of The Happy Woman” by Sarah Stover

“Woman Code” by Alisa Viti

“Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler

Guest Blogger: Samantha Zipporah is a full spectrum doula & holistic sexual health educator. She has been supporting peers with fertility & pregnancy experiences for over a decade in personal, professional, & clinical contexts. Sam's approach is grounded in a solid understanding of biochemistry & biology & nourished by playfulness, sass, & reverent spirituality. Photo courtesy of Samantha Zipporah, Mother Earth embodied.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



4/1/2015

7 Surprising Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are one of the more popular recent super food trends. But are they all they have been cracked up to be? While some proclaimed benefits of chia seeds may be a bit exaggerated, these seeds are packed full of vital nutrients like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and should not be overlooked as a healthy addition to your diet.

What Is Chia?

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant from the mint family, Salvia hispanica L. They can come in white, black, or dark brown varieties. The word chia is derived from a word that means oily, as chia seeds are rich in fatty acids. They can be eaten whole or milled into a ground powder. To take advantage of the many benefits of chia seeds, simply add the seeds or powder to almost any meal.

Use chia to boost your intake of these vital nutrients

Fiber. Chia is one of the richest known sources of dietary fiber. One serving of chia seeds (about 28 g) contains 9 g of dietary fiber. The recommended fiber intake is 28 to 36 g per day, but most people eat much less, about 15 g. In just one serving of chia seeds, you can get at least one quarter of your daily value. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, promote healthy digestion, and prevent disease (including heart disease, cancer, and stroke).[1] It can also help to detoxify, as it binds to toxins and helps move them through the digestive system. Read more about the importance of fiber here.

Protein. Chia is also full of protein.[2] In one serving, you get over 4 g of protein. Chia can be a great source of protein for vegetarians or vegans who may be at risk for consuming too little protein.

Calcium. Chia seeds are rich in calcium,[3] a mineral essential for healthy bones. A serving of these seeds contain more calcium than milk, making it a good choice for those avoiding dairy products.

Omega 3s. Chia has some of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of all foods. It is particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).[3] Although conversion of ALA to the more beneficial eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is inefficient in humans, eating 25 g per day of chia seeds can significantly increase the concentration of both ALA and EPA in the blood.[4,5] Milled chia seed seems to deliver ALA to the body more efficiently than whole chia seed.[4] For other omega-3 rich foods, read more here.

Antioxidants. This tiny seed has a large antioxidant capacity, which can help to protect from oxidative damage and disease.[6] Antioxidants in chia include quercetin, caffeic acid, and more.[2]

Chia Seeds for Human Health

The many nutritive qualities of chia seeds listed above have great potential for providing a variety of health benefits to humans if added into the diet. Although human studies are still in their infancy, some of the potential benefits of chia seeds include lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and more.[2,3,7,8]

For example, in one study, people with type 2 diabetes were given either 37 g of chia daily or placebo. Those receiving chia showed reduced blood pressure by 6.3 mmHg.[3] In another study, intake of a meal containing chia led to lower blood sugar after the meal and prolonged feelings of satiety.[7]

One of the biggest claims surrounding chia seeds is that they can aid in weight loss. While researchers believe that high fiber and protein content may help to make you feel full longer,[7] there are no studies showing that chia intake is associated with weight loss just yet.

How To Add Chia to your Diet

Chia seeds can be added ground or whole to almost any meal for a wholesome, nutritious addition to your diet. Try sprinkling them in your morning oatmeal or cereal, baking them into your homemade granola, using them as a salad topping, or blending them into your smoothie. They are also gluten free.

Use Chia as an Egg Substitute

Do you have an allergy or intolerance to egg? Mixing chia with water creates a gel that has significant binding properties, and so can be used as a great alternative to eggs in baked goods. For detailed instructions, read 5 Simple Substitutions for Egg- and Dairy-Free Recipes.

References

[1] Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Sep 15;180(6):565-73.

[2] J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:171956.

[3] Diabetes Care. 2007 Nov;30(11):2804-10.

[4] J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):700-8.

[5] Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Jun;67(2):105-10.

[6] J Chromatogr A. 2014 Jun 13;1346:43-8.

[7] Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr;64(4):436-8.

[8] Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(1):41-50.

Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



4/1/2015

 Ripe green apple with slices. @alphacell

As part of the second year apprentice program I run at our farm we have a book club of sorts. For each month I have named a different book that I think is valuable for advanced work in clinical herbalism. Last month we read Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss’ original work detailing a lost history of early botanical medicine and home healthcare. As we talked I found myself fascinated by his insistence that people need to eat whole fruits. In today’s language most people hear that as advice to eat the apple rather than the juice or a concentrate of some sort. What Jethro meant was actually the WHOLE fruit, blossom end, core, peel, seeds and all!

The message that I remember while growing up in our food culture was that we should never, ever eat the seeds of a fruit. The message I received in my own house was that if I ever wasted the peel it would be a long time before I saw another delicious (fill in the blank with your skinned fruit of choice). So when I got married and found my husband peeling an apple in the kitchen I descended like a vengeful goddess of frugality. My children have also been forced to eat the peel with the flesh. I believe it tastes better that way.

The idea of eating the whole fruit was intriguing to me. When one of my students merely shrugged and said she always ate her apples that way I knew some research was required. The logic is there for us all to see. When you eat a strawberry or raspberry do you cut out the seeds and eat just the flesh? We know there are antioxidant benefits from eating grape seeds and there are bioflavonoids in the white pith of citrus fruits. We have quite a list of evidence that eating the whole fruit is beneficial.

The day after class I was traveling and I had taken an apple with me. Before I would have worried about what to do with the core. Would I find someplace to compost it rather than just throw it away? Should I keep it and compost it at home? Would someone think I was littering if I threw it out the window as I drove? This time instead of puzzling over the core, I bravely dove in and ate it! I enjoyed the textural variety found in the crunch of the seeds and core. I especially enjoyed the feeling of satisfaction of starting with a whole apple and having absolutely nothing left in my hand when I was done. No waste! My frugal heart rejoiced and the next day I ate an entire pear.

Since my culinary adventures had been satisfactory I wanted to look into what the research has to say. Actually, small amounts of cyanide appear to be potentially beneficial. As Paracelsus said, “poison is in everything and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” This is true here as well. In large doses, cyanide is undeniably deadly. In our day to day diet, there is evidence that it can be beneficial for maintaining healthy blood pressure. They can be part of the chemical reaction which forms vitamin B12. Most shocking is that there is some research that suggests that some seeds contain a vitamin that only unlocks its cyanide component when it encounters a cancer cell. Fascinating!

In addition to apple and pear seeds there are small bits of cyanide in some bacteria, fungi and algae as well as spinach, bamboo shoots, almonds, lima beans and tapioca. I suppose it isn’t a bad idea to overdo any of these foods in combination, but there is little chance that anyone is gong to overreach the beneficial level simply by eating. Now I’m off to the kitchen for an apple snack...


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/24/2015

Abdominal Massage for Constipation

Having trouble finding relief from chronic constipation? Natural, first-line approaches include drinking plenty of water, increasing fiber intake, and identifying food intolerances. But if these strategies haven’t worked for you, don’t give up just yet. You may benefit from abdominal massage for constipation.

Causes of Constipation

Constipation can be caused by a dietary change, medication use, daily routine disruption, surgery, or emotional stress. In these cases, constipation is usually considered acute and can be resolved relatively quickly without treatment. If your constipation is long-lasting and bothers you on a regular basis, however, it could be caused by an underlying medical condition, poor diet, or other factors requiring your attention.[1]

Visit your doctor to discuss your symptoms and possible causes as your first step in managing constipation. You may be prescribed a laxative, but these should only be used as a last resort and should not be used regularly. Increasing your dietary fiber intake should be tried first, and you should stay well hydrated. But if this doesn’t help, you might find abdominal massage to be the treatment option you need to find relief.

What Is Abdominal Massage and How Does it Work?

Abdominal massage is the use of massage therapy techniques on the abdomen, focusing the touch over organs of the digestive tract. Compressing and releasing sections of the intestines and other digestive organs can stimulate digestion and help promote bowel movements. Abdominal massage can be done by a professional practitioner, but it can also be easily taught. Parents can learn to perform abdominal massage for their children, and in some cases, you can do it for yourself.[2,3]

Researchers believe that abdominal massage increases the contraction of muscles in the digestive tract that push waste through the gut (a process called peristalsis).[4] Bowel movements are also associated with parasympathetic nervous system activity and massage may stimulate this division of the nervous system, helping to stimulate activity in the digestive tract.[5]

The Effectiveness of Abdominal Massage

Abdominal massage stimulates peristalis, decreases transmit time in the colon, and increases bowel movement frequency.[2,5] It has also been effective at resolving constipation in those cases when diet and even laxatives have not helped.[4]

In one randomized controlled trial, participants who were assigned to receive 15 minutes of abdominal massage five days per week reported significantly less severe gastrointestinal symptoms, less severe constipation, and more bowel movements than the control group after eight weeks of treatment.[5]

Abdominal massage can be an effective and safe treatment for children with constipation, too. In one study, parents were trained to complete abdominal massage for their children for 20 minutes each day. After six weeks, the children had improved quality of life, reduced laxative use, and improved frequency and consistency of bowel movements.[3] Exercises to train the abdominal muscles and breathing exercises can be used in conjunction with abdominal massage to effectively relieve constipation in children, as well.[6]

In one study where massage was found to improve constipation symptoms and abdominal pain, participants were also asked about their feelings regarding the intervention. Many participants were skeptical at first about getting the treatment and about whether it would be effective, but none reported discomfort during the therapy and most described their experience as a satisfying one that not only positively changed their bowel habits, but also influenced “the whole person.”[7]

Soaking in Epsom salts, using castor oil packs, supplementing with magnesium, and taking probiotics are other effective, all natural constipation remedies to explore.

Speak with your doctor about your constipation. Ask them if they know how to perform abdominal massage. You can also search for massage therapists who are trained in abdominal massage for constipation. See if you can find a practitioner who can teach you how to use abdominal massage yourself at home to find relief.

References

[1] J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Oct;15(4):436-45.

[2] Nurs Times. 2011 Mar 29-Apr 4;107(12):20-2.

[3] Community Pract. 2014 Dec;87(12):25-9.

[4] Nurs Stand. 2014 Jul 15;28(45):37-42.

[5] Int J Nurs Stud. 2009 Jun;46(6):759-67.

[6] Colorectal Dis. 2013 May;15(5):e250-5.

[7] J Clin Nurs. 2012 Mar;21(5-6):757-65.

Chelsea Clarkis a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


3/23/2015

Wonderful Skin Care

My father used to say “keep it simple” a lot, but with the addition of one word. His rendition was "keep it simple, stupid!” Whenever we would come to him with a question or quandary, often his suggestion would include those four words.

When looking for body care products, I am all about keeping it simple. Organic, pronounceable, and everyday identifiable ingredients are a must for me. The only products you will find in my bathroom are toothpaste, soap, lotion, deodorant, hair care, and lip balm. (Although I did borrow my sister’s makeup products once for my wedding in 1989.) When possible, I like to buy local or at the very least from a socially responsible company. I tend to be the 1960s archetype of NW native female: Birkenstocks, greying hair, minimal cosmetic fuss.

Lucky for me, I was turned onto a small skin care company the other day by my sister. Her husband is dealing with a skin cancer issue, and she has been looking for a natural way to aid in his post-surgery healing. She found Wonderful Skin Care. Unfortunately, it's not local to me, but if you want to support the company and try their products, you can visit their website. On the upside, it is made with minimal ingredients, most of which you probably have in your own kitchen (and are listed on their website). It’s wonderfully supple and easily absorbed by my skin. After applying the products, my skin doesn’t feel heavy or oily. My skin soaks up the balm, and it goes about its work of softening and moisturizing.

The company has an equally lovely inception story. The founder was inspired to find a better skin care regimen after a terrible allergic reaction a few years back. As a persistent self-starter, the founder sounds like my kind of person. I truly appreciate people who work to solve problems and further share their findings! This is the same outlook that inspired the parenting book I wrote for our daughter, Carly. I saw a problem, or perhaps many small problems, and knew that there was a simple way to break them down and rebuild together.

Here's to more people taking on the challenge of resolving and sharing.

What do you see as a problems in your community? How can they be resolved? Are you willing to spend the time, energy, and effort to sharing your solution?


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/16/2015

graveyard

Recently I wrote about death and the process of dying. Since that post, I had the honor of attending one of those folk’s — a friend and former boss of mine’s — memorials. Each time I attend a celebration of life, funeral, or memorial, I am reminded of how we touch each others lives.

When my friend Glenn’s widow was planning her husband’s event, she was trying to determine how many would attend, so she’d have some idea of how many to plan for, how much food and how many beverages to buy. Friends suggested she should plan for a couple of hundred. In reality, many more than that attended. Ultimately, I won’t remember many showed up, but I will never forget what was said by many who came.

“One time when we were at dinner,” one person said, “he asked the waitress to let him pay for the check for the strangers dining at the table next to us, anonymously." Another offered, “He saved a boat of stranded fisherman, and made sure that no one would repeat the story, because he didn't want credit." Later, as I reflected on all the stories told at the event, I was deeply moved by how this man truly touched and enriched other humans’ lives, both those he knew and those he didn’t.

A twenty years after I’d worked for him and had gone to work for a competitor, my team needed help understanding Glenn’s business practices and why they worked. I took my team on a tour of Glenn’s company, and he offered suggestions. My team was bewildered. When they asked why he would be so generous, he answered, “friendship and collaboration.” Glenn was clear that for our county to be strong and financially healthy, manufacturing must be done here. His thinking was that there is plenty of business to share and “many hands make light work.”

This is the second boss that I have lost in my life. Both had great impact on me and taught me an enormous amount about the manufacturing business. At the funeral of the first boss who passed, I remember being struck by the same profound spirit of generosity. There were people at that funeral who had been down and out on their "luck," and he had continuously helped them out with the same caveat of confidentiality. Both these men had tremendous hearts and were happy to share as long as no credit was given.

My stepfather taught me from a very young age that giving from the heart without onlookers or notoriety is the most rewarding way to give. After his death, I have often thought about the kindness that he showed to others when no one was looking. I am thankful for this profound lesson and modeling.

In thinking about my end, the thing I will consider is not how many or who will attend a celebration, or if there should be one at all, but how many lives I may have touched and have touched mine.  

What can you give? How will you be remembered? How do you remember those who have died?


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/13/2015

baskets of veggies

Sometimes I get asked the same question over and over again - "How did you get started with a more natural lifestyle?" And honestly, we're not completely there yet. I still have guilty pleasures like Oreo cookies, ramen noodles, and chocolate just to name a few (stop judging). The road to trying to live healthier hasn't been a bummer at all. In fact, I have really enjoyed it. It has caused me to do things I've never done before. It allows me to make home made things for my family, which I know they thoroughly enjoy. But most of all, it has caused me to realize that I can take control of my family's health, and ultimately, for almost all (non-life threatening) mishaps or sickness, I can tend to my family without ever having to step foot into a doctors office.

While I am for holistic medicine, please understand that I completely realize there may come a time when we have to make a visit to the doctor's office or ER. Though, I hope it isn't anytime soon.

Nonetheless, it's always the same look and questions, followed by the elephant in the room, "how do you afford it?"

Believe it or not, not everyone you know shells out an arm and a leg for a more natural lifestyle. We pay what we can and leave the rest for the following week or month. We do the things we can and we settle for that. Because in the long run, a few healthy changes are better than none!

Here are five quick and easy changes that you can make to promote healthy living in your home. Keep in mind that you might have some kick back and grumbling from others who might be living in your household, but eventually, they will come around...maybe!

Start Cooking from Scratch

I was amazed by how much healthier we ate when I cooked a meal from scratch rather than a freezer container. Sometimes this meant breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other times, it just meant dinner. I grumbled and complained at first, but eventually I came to really enjoy what I made, especially when we quickly realized that it tasted so much better than the other stuff. Now that I cook more often, many times I'm disappointed with restaurant food, and I've noticed my husband is as well. There have been numerous times when he'll say, "this is disappointing, you could make this better at home." We've grown to realize what "fake" tastes like, and it's amazing and disappointing all at once. There are certainly still our guilty pleasures which we know aren't the healthiest decisions for us, but darn it, we like them!

People often think cooking from scratch is more expensive than buying frozen or eating out. In some cases, it can be. But when bought in bulk (flour, sugar, herd and meat shares) it is often less expensive. Most of our meat is venison, which we kill ourselves. The remainder of our meat either comes from our backyard or from herd shares with other homesteaders. With that said, I understand that raising your own meat might not be possible for you right now. However, going in halves with someone else on a cow, or buying a whole hog from another farmer will typically last a family of 3-4 for 5-6 months. If it's a large cow, it will last much longer and will be much less expensive and healthier than buying meat from a store. Many times, even a specialty store or farm store can be much more expensive than buying meat directly from a farmer and having the animal processed yourself.

Start Using Essential Oils and Herbal Remedies More Often

Start little. Don't take it on all at once. Start with everyday nicks, bumps, headaches, and the common cold. And remember that you've spent a lifetime putting bad things into your body. Switching to all natural remedies and Essential Oils (EOs) might not necessarily work miracles right away. Prevention, however, is key when going completely herbal. While EOs and herbal remedies can heal just as well as antibiotics in some cases, their biggest miracle happens when you begin using them as prevention to illness and disease.

In any case, please do not douse yourself or your family members in EOs everyday, it's not healthy when using for prevention. I always tend to try herbal remedies before automatically going for the EOs. EOs are so potent and should be used sparingly unless actively treating an ailment.

We could talk for days about which EO brand to use, but ultimately, it's whatever your budget can afford and what is the purest. I tend to stay away from large multi-level-marketing companies just because there is too much hype around them. I have, however, used many of them and loved them. I do prefer the Nature's Oil EOs though, from Bulk Apothecary. It allows me to buy more for less, and the oils are equally as pure and therapeutic grade as MLM companies. Read more about why I use this brand here.

Make Your Own Toothpaste and Deodorant

I absolutely love my homemade toothpaste. I'll admit, when I first tried it, it took a bit of getting used to. But now, I couldn't imagine using regular toothpaste. In fact, I've tried, and my gums literally burned for about 3 hours after using it. That, my friends, is not healthy at all. The base for my homemade toothpaste is coconut oil, which has many benefits within itself. Coconut oil is believed to pull toxins from your teeth, gums and mouth in general. It also naturally cleanses bad bacteria in your mouth.

Did you know that most deodorants (for both men and women) contain harmful chemicals and aluminum? Many of them have been proven to promote memory loss, Alzheimer's. and cancer. If you know anything about simple science, then you know that these claims can be very much true. And I can attest to the theory of "clogged pores that hold toxins". One of the biggest issues I have had when using regular deodorant is that I have this awful brown skin under my arms. One of the major deodorant companies even made a new deodorant that was supposed to "get rid" of the brown skin that supposedly comes from shaving your arm pits. It worked, or did it? It certainly lightened my skin, but the brown never completely went away.

Fast forwarding to my very own homemade deodorant. The first three days of using it were horrendous because my body was literally ridding itself of the toxins that had been trapped beneath the layers of gunk that had built up in my pours. And guess what. After stopping the use of commercial deodorant, I no longer had brown marks under my arms. Amazing! I would eventually come to find that your arm pits shouldn't naturally "stink", and that the smell comes from toxins in your body. I started to take notice, and it was absolutely true. When I ate real, healthy home cooked meals, my underarms never stank (without deodorant). Whenever I ate something overly processed, or drank soda, I literally couldn't stand myself.

Since I am home all day (I work from home) I actually don't really ever use any kind of deodorant, and I don't stink...imagine that! However, when we go out, I tend to put a very thin layer of non-aluminum based all natural or homemade deodorant. You can read more about my homemade deodorant on my blog.

Add Organic Apple-Cider Vinegar (ACV) to Your Diet

Awhile back I read a book titled Folk Medicine, by Dr. D.C. Jarvis, M.D. I literally sat there with my mouth open most nights while reading it. I had often heard that Organic ACV (with the 'mother') was a healthy way to keep your body processing properly. But I never realized all of the other benefits and success stories. Many people I know take a small shot glass of ACV each day. A friend of mine recently started taking it when he found out he had an issue with his colon. He told the doctor to hold off for a few weeks before proceeding with anything, and he began drinking ACV each day (just a small cupful). When he returned back for his checkup and treatment options, the Dr was astounded to find that my friend was completely healed and there was absolutely nothing wrong with his colon. Incredible, huh? This isn't just a "story", this is truly a success story from a dear friend!

Rest More Often

Did she really just say that? Did she really just tell me to sleep? Yes, indeed, I did! Of course, don't be lazy. In the same respect, get on your feet anddo somethingduring the day and throughout the entire day. But keep in mind, our bodies were created to rise and sleep with the sun. Imagine a world without clocks, as our ancestors didn't have them. They rose early in the morning, as the dawn slowly came to meet the horizon. They worked during the day, and yes, sometimes they even took naps around lunch time. They continued working until the sun started setting. Then they came home, ate dinner, and guess what happened next...they rested. It doesn't mean they went to bed right away, but they did rest, and yes, many times they went to bed.

Now, I cannot imagine going to bed at 6 p.m. in the Winter time. But I will say that when I force myself to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. rather than 10 p.m., I am much more rested in the morning when I awake. And when I wake up at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., I'm much more prone to fall asleep quicker in the evenings, and am much less restless. Our bodies are the closest thing we own to all natural nature. Most of the time, it knows what it's doing. If you're tired, rest. If you're not tired, don't rest. Some of us need more sleep than others, some of us need less. But in the end, your body will literally start flying on auto-pilot if you don't start resting the proper amount of time that you should. In which case, you begin to open yourself up to colds, viruses, and bacteria, because your body is much too tired to fight them off.

All in all, making just a few simple and easy changes in your life can (and most likely will) eventually lead up to bigger changes in your lifestyle. The things listed above are simple everyday things that you do. They are not expensive and take little to no time to change. Your biggest change will be cooking from scratch more often, if you don't already. But while it may take a bit more time, you will thank yourself, a hundred times over, in the long run!

Amy Fewell is a work-at-home mom, homesteader, blogger and writer. Her and her family live on a mini-homestead in Virginia where they raise Icelandic Chickens, standard Rex rabbits, ducks, and more!  For more information about their homestead, visit them online at The Fewell Homestead.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.












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