“This day in the life of” post is inspirational for anyone who has not yet embraced the sheer simplicity of good, home cooked food. The following piece is a day in the life of Arlene, a friend of All Just Choice…Continue reading
How to Easily Stop Mosquitoes Driving You Insane
I want a natural solution to stop mosquitoes from mauling my family
Mosquito season is still rampant here and my poor husband and kids are constantly battling the biting irritant. Especially when one finds its way into your bedroom and goes on a feeding frenzy while you sleep. That’s a nightmare when you wake up! We’ll continue to need protection all the way through November and sometimes beyond so the family will need to have a ready supply of repellent to ward off this tiny menace.
Why don’t I get bitten?
Before we get into solutions, have you ever wondered why some people seemed to get bitten more than others? I can sit outside and not even get touched and my family ends up with 20-30 bites. There is research that indicates blood type does play a role. Apparently type O is also universal for Open season lunch for mosquitoes. I have seen comments from people who are Type O and don’t get bitten. As with most things, it may be a combination of things. Body temperature and CO2 may play a role. Other people have found if the body is in balance with vitamin B1 and C, they are less likely to be bitten so boosting your B1 and C intake may be a good preventive measure.
Why do your bites swell up and mine don’t?
Of course the other aggravation is the variance in how people are effected by the bite itself. Some people swell much more the others. Those with sensitive skin seemed to be at a higher risk. One preventive measure to minimize the impact of the bite is to use a natural antihistamine to boost the system in preparation of the buggy season. Similar to taking bee pollen or local seasonal honey to ward off allergy attacks. However, how do you know when you have the right balance? Histamine creation also links back to gut flora. Balanced gut health could improve our body’s ability to maintain homeostasis even in the middle of getting mauled by mosquitoes. So what’s a body to do?
All indicators point to eating a balanced diet of whole foods and looking after your gut. Coincidence? I think not. There is a protocol that has proven helpful when dealing with allergic reactions called the “water protocol”. When your bug bite swells it’s a result of an allergic reaction, increased inflammation. According to the protocol, if you place some Himalayan salt on the tip of your tongue for a few minutes and then rinse off, it should help to bring the body in balance. It’s also said to work with sinus congestion and watery eyes and skin irritation from other seasonal allergies.
What about commercial repellents?
DEET has undergone a lot of scrutiny around the adverse effects of this chemical in commercial bug repellents along with other toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has gone on record advising, when used properly, the effects of DEET can be minimized and outweigh the potential of disease causing bites. Sorry, I don’t buy it. The “precautions” include: not spraying too close; use a minimal amount; make sure you bathe when you get home so it does remain on your skin too long; spray in an open area to avoid inhaling the contents. Seems to me anything which is suggesting limiting the amount of contact, should just be avoided. Especially when healthier nontoxic alternatives available.
How to protect your family?
For my family’s protection, I’ve done some research and discovered a combination that works. You can use any combination of essential oils with either an oil or water based blend. Experiment until you find one that works for you. Every body chemistry is different and people have their own fragrance preference. While lemon options do deter insects they may also invite a few bees so I tend to stay away from it in our repellent. Lemon does work great, along with peppermint to help the itch if you do happen to get bitten. A great tip if you’re out and have forgotten the spray and the little villains are on the attack, grab the lemon wedge in your water and rub it on your bites. It’ll provide quick relief.
What is my favorite blend?
I like the oil blend as I like the way it feels on the skin. If you’d like to opt for water based, swap out the 2 tablespoons of oil for witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or a blend of both in an 8 ounce container. Since water and oil do not mix, the witch hazel or alcohol will help as a binder. Alcohol is also a natural preservative. Add enough water to bring the mixture to 8 ounces.
My easy formula:
- 30 drops of basil oil
- 40 drops of lavender oil
- 30 drops of peppermint oil
- 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil ( can also use coconut, olive, almond, jojoba or a combination of oils)
Mix together and store in a dark , preferably glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. You can either use a spray nozzle or simple rub into your skin like a lotion.
Other essential oils that work well to stop mosquitoes:
- tea tree
- rose geranium
Precautions for pregnant or nursing women and children under 2 years of age.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, as with any essential oil, you should consult your healthy care provider before using them.
- When using essential or any type of lotion on children, extreme caustion should be exercised. Especially for those under the age of 2. Always consult your health care professional.
- It is recommended to always perform a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using an essential oil for the first time.
- Be sure to label homemade products with the ingredients and include the “creation” date.
10 Healthy Alternatives for Natural Weight Loss
Here are my top 10 healthy alternatives to common foods.Whether you’re looking to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle Keep in mind, you don’t have to replace everything all at once. You can even create a swap out list along side your grocery list and work the replacements into your meals over time.
Healthy Alternatives are not a compromise, they are a path to effortless weight loss
Replace sugar with Stevia raw honey or date paste
Stevia is all natural and has zero calories, carbs or sugar. Raw Honey has other health benefits, which include anti-microbial, heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory effects. It does break down in your body the same as sugar so while it has nutritional benefits, treat it as sugar. Date paste is an easy sugar alternative loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber.
Skip the soda and drink sparking water or Kombucha
There is nothing “good’ about soda pop and a healthy alternative is a vital change. Sparkling water will provide the fizz you may need without all the chemicals and sugars. Kombucha is a fermented beverage loaded with probiotics which are good for digestion and intestinal health.
Replace milk with almond milk
Unless you’re drinking Kelfir or milk from grass fed cows, skip the milk, period. Of course there is plenty of research around whether we should even be drinking it at all (not Paleo is only one), but that’s for another time. Almond or other nut milks contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. zinc,B-6, folate, riboflavin and others.
If you cant live without the mayo, at least try veganaise, they are less likely to contain GMO related fats and other chemicals. Read the labels! Outside of the caloric benefit of mustard over mayo, it’s healthy. It contains antioxidants along with turmeric (anti-inflammatory). Mustard seed has also been classified as a super food due to it’s nutrient dense anti cancer fighting benefits.
Replace store bought salad dressing for homemade vinaigrette
Store bought dressings are laden with GMO fats and other chemicals that have zero benefits to our health. With homemade dressings you have control over the ingredients. Use good fats, like olive oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil. You can even use just a good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Shop local farmer’s market for fresh in season produce instead of large grocery store chains
In season produce has more nutrients due to a shorter “shelf” life. When in season produce isn’t available, the next best option is frozen. It goes from farm to freezer keeping its nutrients.
Seasonal eating supports local farmers markets and keeps you fit for life Click To Tweet
Replace your table salt with Himalayan salt
The processing of table salt has removed all of it’s minerals. Himalayan rock salt contains over 80 minerals. Some of the benefits include balancing PH, increasing hydration, balance electrolytes, lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
Peanuts are actually legumes and are not Paleo. That could be enough but I’ll continue. Peanuts contain high levels of Omega 6 which can lead to inflammation. They contain aflatoxin with is actually a natural mold that is the source of people’s peanut allergies. These aflatoxins are also a potent carcinogen so replacing peanut butter with alternative nut butter will help cut down on your toxic load exposure from the environment. Almond butter is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant along with trace minerals and is more nutritionally dense then peanut butter.Healthy alternatives are not a compromise, they're a new experience.... Click To Tweet
There has been enough press around the hazards of GMO foods/oils. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that metabolize differently and has proven to increase energy, reduce candida (yeast), improve brain health, reduce hunger help with may brain disorders. There are about 100 more benefits of using coconut oil, but bottom line, it’s definitely earns it’s role as a superfood.
Use almonds instead of croutons on salads
Croutons are high in sodium ,carbohydrates and do not offer much nutritional value. Almonds are loaded with vitamin E, fiber, protein, healthy fats, manganese, magnesium, cooper, B12, phosphorus and loaded with antioxidants. It can also help with weight loss. Almonds contain many nutrients that are hard for the body to breakdown. Therefore, 10-15% of the calories can’t be absorbed.
Got Sunburn ? Quick & Easy Remedies with oils for natural sunburn relief
I hope everyone in the US had a great 4th of July celebration! While sunshine is a good source of Vitamin D, if you happened to get too much exposure and are nursing a sunburn today, here are some of oils I use for natural sunburn relief.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink water with lemon, mint and cucumber to rehydrate. Coconut water is also a great source of natural electrolytes.
Aloe Vera is a long time natural remedy for cuts and sunburns. If you have a plant at home, simply take an older leaf from the plant, slice it down the center and apply the sticky healing liquid directly to your sunburn
Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water. Place in a spray bottle and keep refrigerated. You can also add a mint tea bag. The cool spray will be refreshing and feel great on your skin.
A combination of 10 drops lavender, 10 drops helichrysum essential oil mixed with ¼ cup of coconut oil. Massage gently on sunburn area. Helps sooth, nourish and repair the skin.
How and why coconut oil pulling can super charge your health
Ok, so I’m not a poet, or a song writer, but I did want to take this opportunity to talk with you about “coconut oil pulling”, what it is, how to do it, and most importantly the results I’ve seen from pulling coconut oil.
coconut oil pulling – thousands of years of proof
Oil pulling is an Ayurveda (Indian) practice for oral health and detoxification that has been passed down for thousands of years. I was reading some articles on oil pulling a few months ago, and what intrigued me was a small, for want of a better phrase, “side effect” that was reported by a number of people that were advocates of this practice.
People reported they were experiencing an “over production” of saliva.
Well, for people living with Sjogrens this is a side effect we can use. Sjogrens patients who suffer from dry month produce 50% less saliva then those who do not have the autoimmune disease. Saliva aids the ability to clear food particles from our teeth; facilitates the ability to break down food for easier digestion; clear bacteria from our mouth; acts as a natural acid neutralizer; has antibacterial properties and that’s the short list.
Several studies recommend increasing saliva production to improve oral and digestive health.
So, I put the theory to the test and started oil pulling with coconut oil. I used one tablespoon of unrefined, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil and swished it in my mouth for up to 20 minutes a day followed by brushing my teeth. It’s not as bad as it first sounds, and you quickly get used to the different sensation that having a tablespoon of oil in your mouth brings. I started with 10 minutes and by the end of the first week was up to 20 minutes. It has become part of my daily morning routine.
Tip: it’s easier to complete 20 minutes if you do something else at the same time, I found I can shower, get ready, catch up on emails etc., so hardly notice the time go by.
The coconut oil pulling benefits were everything I could ask for and more. By the end of the first week I noticed my mouth wasn’t as dry and, as an additional benefit, my teeth were whiter. Now, I know the power of a placebo effect and I tend be a bit of skeptic. I needed real proof before I shared this revelation with you. My proof came in the form of my dentist at my next scheduled cleaning a month after I started oil pulling.
The hygienist wanted to know what I was doing because my mouth looked “normal”.
The dentist confirmed it. It was also the quickest cleaning I’ve ever had. Have to love that! When I told them I had started pulling coconut oil they both started to do it themselves. My dentist was fully aware of all the benefits, but never realized the positive impact it could have for someone with dry mouth.
My dentist now recommends it as a beneficial practice for oral hygiene going forward.
The interesting thing is it’s the “side effect” that allowed me to make the correlation. I have always been good at looking at features and benefits of various concepts, pulling those parts of each that demonstrate value and adapt it in a customized approach to each unique situation. These are types of health and wellness stories that I will continue to share with you and invite you to share your stories too. What “unforeseen’ benefits have you discovered in your journey to healthier living?
Each step you take towards healthier living is All Just Choice.
All Just Choice
*Side note: some people experience teeth sensitivity when they first do oil pulling. I experienced this myself for the first couple of weeks. My research indicates this is part of the detoxification process and effects some people more than others. Rinsing your mouth with salt water afterward helps. In addition, reduce the amount of time (example: 10 minutes) to give your body time to adjust.