Why using shampoo without silicone in is a must!

We all want healthy hair that is smooth, shiny and free of frizz. The trouble is, the ingredient that is added to our shampoos to give us the look could be damaging your health and maybe the environment… Silicone! We take a look at why using shampoo without silicone in, is a must do!

 

What is Silicone

Silicone is created in a laboratory, a man made oil and most are water insoluble and are not biodegradable.

wash down the drain

So when the residues from the products that contain these silicones are washed down the drain and into the water supply, which in turn could end up in rivers, lakes and oceans, these silicones effect not only our bodies but all life on the planet.

 

List of ingredients to look out for to find shampoo without silicone…

The culprit is silicone but on the labels you will not see it listed as that. It will be shown as one of these in the list of ingredients below.

Or anything ending with the suffix cone or siloxane, such as…

  • Dimethicone
  • Methicone
  • Trisiloxane
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Dimethiconol
  • Cycomethicone

So try to avoid products that contain any of these. Be careful of greenwashing too! The process some brands use of marketing a product as green, natural and pure when it’s far from it!

 

The most common silicone in shampoo

The most common silicone added to shampoos is Dimethicone, this one ingredient is hard to remove, preventing essential oils and moisture penetrating the hair shaft.

shafts of hair

If this is not enough, it could also be responsible for itchy scalp, rashes and any burning sensations when a shampoo containing this ingredient is used.

Dimethicone can cause irritation to the hair follicle, which could lead to hair shedding. Always try and find a shampoo without silicone!

 

Hair might be shiny but bad something bad is building up!

These silicones give the hair shine, free of frizz and a smooth appearance but on the other hand are water insoluble and over time they build a layer of a plastic type barrier that will not allow moisture to penetrate.

The silicones become hard to eliminate from your hair weighing it down so it looks dull, lifeless and greasy.

It can also lead to brittle hair and a dry itchy scalp or hair even hair loss.

 

No more colouring

Colour treating your hair could become troublesome as the waterproof film that comes from the silicone build up could decrease the length of time  the dye then remains in the hair and in turn, the uptake of the colour on the hair shafts.

This also applys to any conditioning products that you might use. This could be a sign of dangerous levels of silicone in the hair.

 

Other issues with silicone build up

Blow dryers and heat – treating the hair can bake the silicones into the hair making them really hard to remove.

blow dry hair

A more serious effect of silicone build up is cancer, as silicones are not entirely suitable for human hair or skin due to the molecular differences of the oil.

 

How to remove silicone from your hair

To remove these silicones from the hair, some people use a shampoo that contains a harsh ingredient that does more damage and creates a vicious circle.

The shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulphate, a foaming agent, which strips the hair of it natural oils which protect the hair and scalp.

This leads to dry, damaged, brittle hair so a silicone shampoo is used to give a temporary fix making the hair appear healthier.

By using shampoos that do not contain either silicone or SLS ingredients, moisture can then penetrate the hair shaft allowing the natural oils that are produced by the scalp to penetrate and bring a balance to the hair by nourishing and hydrating it.

 

Natural oils return

As the natural oil production returns to normal, hair needs washing less frequently as it is less greasy looking and not weighed down by unnatural ingredients.

Natural shampoos and conditioners, those products containing plant oils and essences are similar to the oils of the hair and body so are matched to the natural balance of the body and being natural are better for the environment.

You may also like to read our article…. ‘7 natural hair care tips to help you grow the healthiest hair you’ve ever had’.

 

Let Us Know

Have you had problems with silicone build up in your hair?  Did you even know about it?

We’d love to here your thought and any suggestions of great natural shampoo without silicone in, that you love to use….

 

 

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Vitamin E

We take a look at the wide range of health benefits this essential vitamin offers and also list some foods rich in Vitamin E.

First off, what is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is made up of compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols and there are four of each type in vitamin E.

Most studies have focused on the tocopherol compound but more recently the compounds tocotrienol are being researched.

So to get the most benefit from Vitamin E you need to eat foods containing both compounds.

 

The Health Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important vitamin for the very young, the elderly and pregnant women.

By eating a healthy diet full of foods rich in Vitamin E, you should easily get enough of this very important vitamin.

pregnancy

During pregnancy it is vital that you get enough vitamin E for the development of the infant.

Vitamin E protects critical fatty acids and the control of inflammation. It is recommended that pregnant women make sure they are eating enough Vitamin E rich foods to help prevent abnormalities.

Research has shown that the tocotrienols in Vitamin E could protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Along with the taking of vitamin C, E can decrease the risk of developing some forms of dementia.

 

Vitamin E for the Skin

Age related macular degeneration is another age related condition and this could be helped, by taking vitamin E with vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc.

Vitamin E acts as a natural anti-aging nutrient. It strengthens the capillary walls, improves elasticity and moisture in the skin.

Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory properties in Vitamin E help maintain a healthy and youthful skin.

Taken with Vitamin C it can help to decrease the signs of eczema and acne as it helps with the healing process of the skin by speeding up cell regeneration.

Vitamin E is very effective when used on sunburnt skin as it absorbs into the epidermis layer of the skin. Sunburn is one of the leading causes of skin cancer.

 

Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant

According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant that may contribute to the reduction of free radical damage, which forms as a part of normal body processes.

healthy heart

These free radicals weaken and break down healthy cells, which can lead to heart disease and cancer.

Cholesterol, occurs naturally in the body, produced by the liver and is required by the body for the normal function of the hormones, cells and nerves.

But if the cholesterol oxidizes it is dangerous, studies have shown that Vitamin E can fight cholesterol oxidation due to the antioxidant it contains that reduces free radical damage, which is caused by cholesterol oxidation.

 

A balanced body

A healthy body is a balanced body, a hormonal imbalance can lead to PMS, urinary tract infections, changes to the skin and allergies, weight gain, anxiety and fatigue.

Vitamin E can help maintain a balance to the hormones naturally, this will lead to less of the conditions mentioned above.

By taking a vitamin E supplement several days before your menstrual cycle is due, PMS symptoms like anxiety, cravings and cramping can be reduced,

The powerful antioxidant in vitamin E also helps your hair. It decreases the damaged caused by the environment, promoting the circulation to the scalp keeping the scalp from becoming flaky and dry by promoting moisture retention.

Several drops of vitamin E oil used on dull, dry hair makes it look healthier.

Muscle strength can be improved by keeping your vitamin E levels good.

By promoting blood circulation it means you feel less fatigued after exercise and gives you greater physical endurance and more energy.

 

Foods Rich in Vitamin E

Getting more Vitamin E into your diet is fairly easy. The list below of foods rich in Vitamin E are shown in highest to lowest order….

 

Nuts & Seeds

almond nuts

  • Sunflower seeds gives the highest amount, just have a snack or sprinkle on a salad
  • The next highest provider of vitamin E is Almonds making it great snacking food.
  • Another nut, Hazelnuts followed closely by peanuts.

 

Fruit & Vegetables

avocado

  • Mango, nutritionally rich fruit. Known as a super fruit.
  • Avocado, a carbohydrate but full of healthy fats. Listed in our 21 superfoods post, numerous studies show it to be very beneficial to our health
  • Butternut Squash it has a sweet, nutty taste and extremely nutritious.
  • Broccoli as well as being a good source of vitamin E it is also very full of dietary fiber.
  • Spinach can be eaten cooked or uncooked. Delicious in a salad. Another good source of dietary fiber.
  • Kiwi full of anti-oxidants and dietary fiber. This fruit has more vitamin C than an orange.
  • Tomatoes known for their anti-oxidant content. Eating tomatoes has been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extract are shown to lower total cholesterol.

 

Other sources of Vitamin E

Wheat germ

  • Plain wheat germ, highly nutritious, it can be added to smoothies or your dessert and even can be used in place breadcrumbs in recipes. Add a tablespoon of wheat germ oil to a recipe to get enough vitamin E in your diet.

 

Our diet should give us the all the Vitamin E that we need and it is recommended that we get our vitamins from the food we eat, so over consumption is prevented.

Reports from the NIH state that high dosages of vitamin E in supplement form can have dangerous side effects, so please always consult a health professional.

 

Some delicious recipes for Vitamin E

Have a look at these recipes. All containing foods rich in Vitamin E and offering some interesting ideas for getting more vitamin E into your diet….

 

1. No-Bake Vegan Almond Joy Bars

vegan almond bars
Image courtesy of: Running on Real food

Treat yourself to a delicious Almond bar with this scrummy recipe from ‘Running on Real Food”, although they have chocolate in they are a better dessert option due the wholesome ingredients.

 

2. Braised Broccoli with Orange and Parmesan Recipe

broccoli for Vitamin E
Image courtesy of 101 cook books

This Braised Broccoli recipe from 101 cook books not only uses tomatoes but broccoli and almonds a delicious way to get vitamin E rich foods into your diet.

 

3. Chilled Cucumber and California Avocado Soup

Avocado for Vitamin E
Image courtesy of Naturally Ella

This lovely summer soup recipe from Naturally Ella uses avocado, perfect for adding Vitamin E.

 

Let Us Know…

We’d love to hear if you try and enjoy the recipes above.

And please do let us know about your fave recipes that contain any of the foods rich in Vitamin E listed above in the comments below…

 

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The Health benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is an essential vitamin. We take a look at the health benefits of this vitamin, at some wonderfully tasty foods rich in vitamin c and some recipes to help get plenty of it into your diet.

The anti-oxidant properties in vitamin C are also good for food preserving, if you see ascorbic acid on a label the shelf life is being extended by using Vitamin C.

 

Vitamin C is vital for our bodies

teeth

Vitamin C is a vital vitamin our body needs to help it make collagen, which is a component of the blood vessels, teeth, gums, skin, bones and cartilage.

It builds a strong immune system, most important in helping wounds heal and its anti-oxidant properties soak up the free radicals, which can damage the body’s cells.

This vitamin cannot cure a common cold but by taking vitamin C when you have a cold it has been shown to reduce the amount of time that you suffer.

Vit C is also great for controlling asthma symptoms, to reduce hypertension and combat strokes.

 

Heart & Skin

Use of vitamin C to prevent heart attacks has yet to be proved but some studies suggest that this vitamin may prevent them by helping to stop a build up of bad cholesterol, thereby slowing down the hardening of the arteries.

A Johns Hopkins study has shown vitamin C to have a modest result in lowering blood pressure.

As vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant higher levels of vitamin C have been linked to a reduction of wrinkles and skin dryness.

Slowing of the aging process, which is caused by the oxidative formation of free radicals and the effect that they have on the body. Stress, poor diet and pollution all contribute to oxidative damage.

Vitamin C helps to protect and stimulate the production of white blood cells protecting them from oxidative damage thereby helping them to function efficiently.

 

Eyes & Vit C

vitamin c for eyes

The National Eye Institute have found that vitamin C taken in doses of 500mg per day in conjunction with taking vitamin E, zinc and beta carotene supplements, slowed the progress on age related macular degeneration by 25%!

At risk persons of developing age related macular degeneration has been shown to have a reduction of 19% by slowing the visual acuity loss.

Smoking can cause a vitamin C deficiency so smokers are often advised to take a supplement.

 

Vitamin C deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency can show as bleeding gums and gingivitis. Poor healing of wounds and bruising, as well as dry, splitting hair and rough, dry, scaly skin are also signs.

Scurvy which presents a lot of the symptoms listed above, is now unheard of in the UK, BUT it is when the connective tissue, blood vessels and bones weaken and is caused by a deficiency in vitamin C.

The estimated number of adults, thought to suffer from a deficiency of vitamin C is 40% men and 38% women, but by eating the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables a day this can easily prevent the need for supplements.

 

Foods rich in vitamin c

Our body cannot store vitamin C so we need to include food in our daily diet, which contains this vitamin.

It is easily destroyed by heat and water so by eating the food rich in this vitamin raw or al dente we gain the most benefit.

In fact steaming vegetables is an excellent way to retain the maximum goodness.

The main foods rich in vitamin C are fruit and vegetables, plus superfoods such as Moringa. These ones listed are the best….

 

Fruits

berries & Fruit

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Citrus fruits and their juices, like oranges, lemons and grapes

 

Vegetables

vegetables

  • Potatoes
  • Red and green peppers
  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Mange Tout
  • Chilies
  • Parsley
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Tomatoes

 

The best fruits and vegetables for excellent vitamin C levels are…

kale

  • Kale, one cup equates to 134% of your daily value
  • Broccoli give 107% of your daily value when you eat half a cup cooked.
  • Oranges, one large gives you over 100% of your daily value.
  • One fruit of Guava also gives over 100% daily value.
  • A quarter of a cup of raw Red Peppers also give over 100% of your daily value.
  • But for green peppers you need to have a half a cup of raw chopped to give you over 100% of your daily value.
  • Dare I say Brussels Sprouts, but by eating half a cup of cooked sprouts you get 80% of your daily value of vitamin C.
  • Grapefruit, you need to eat half a cup of this fruit to give a daily value of 71%.
  • Strawberries half a cup will give you a 70% of your daily value.
  • Kiwi one fruit gives a daily value of 33%.
  • Moringa Oleifera – 7 times more Vitamin C than oranges

 

By including two to three of the foods rich in vitamin c from the above list, you’ll soon be getting your levels of vitamin C, required by the body.

 

 

Healthy Recipes to get Vitamin C from

To help you include vitamin C into your daily regime we have looked for recipes that include the ingredients that give the highest levels of C vitamin.

Here are 4 fantastic recipes that all contain foods rich in vitamin c…

1. Sesame Delicata Squash Kale Salad

As kale, part of the cabbage family, gives the highest at 134% for just one cup.

Have a look at this delicious squash and kale salad with sesame seeds from Naturally Ella.  A fantastic way to include kale into your diet…

sesame-delicata-squash-salad
Picture Courtesy of Naturally Ella

 

2. Gluten-Free Triple Berry Crumble Bars

This delicious gluten free triple berry crumble bars recipe has two of the high value vitamin C ingredients Strawberries and oranges. Make and enjoy!

gluten free bars
Picture: courtesy of Fitfoodiefinds

 

3. Brussel Sprout Slaw (with cranberries and pecans)

Can Brussels Sprouts ever be described as being delicious, this recipe from Lexis clean kitchen could 100% change your mind!

Brussels-Sprout-slaw
Picture: Courtesy of Lexis Clean Kitchen

 

4. Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons

Or with the warm weather in mind have a look at this lovely Caesar salad from Naturally Ella, with Kale…

vegan salad
Picture:Courtesy of Naturally Ella

 

Let Us Know…

Do you think you get enough Vitamin C? Have you tried & enjoyed the recipes included.

We’d love to hear any thoughts in the comments below….

 

 

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Indian food doesn’t need to be unhealthy

When people think about Indian food, I’m guessing they tend to immediately think ‘Unhealthy’. Whether it’s palak paneer or stuffed aloo parantha, this cuisine is famous for being extremely delicious yet quite unhealthy at the same time. I’m keen to change this misconception, so here’s 3 healthy indian recipes that can help prove that theory wrong.

 

The diversity of Indian Food

Like me, many people are die-hard fans of this cuisine due to its exotic Indian spices . Each spice being different from the other in numerous ways.

indian spices

Having a diverse culture, India is blessed with extreme taste variations in food, which I believe cannot be compared to any other country in the world.

However, in this modern world, people want to eat healthy and organic food in order to avoid health issues and Indian food tends to be something they then avoid or eat less of.

The traditional ways of preparing Indian food is not only something to behold and one of the main reasons I love and admire Indian food so much, it is also the biggest factor when it comes to ensuring the Indian food you eat is healthy.

 

Good news

Well, I have good news for all those who are health-conscious and love Indian cuisine….

 

To turn Indian recipes into a healthy dish, you only need to make a few small tweaks to the recipe.

 

Tips on how to make Indian recipes healthier

So, here are few quick tips on how to make every Indian dish a healthier one:

  1. Even the famous Indian restaurants do this. This cuisine is often misunderstood, thinking all it requires is a lot of butter. But, that’s not the case. Traditional dishes were made of vegetable oils, a much healthier alternative.
  2. When using tomatoes, cook in a pan for 20-30 minutes on a low flame. This lowers the acidity, so there is no need to add sugar.
  3. Garlic and ginger are used in most dishes, so make a paste and keep them frozen. This is a quick, easy and healthy way to use them.
  4. Bake samosas instead of deep-frying them.

 

So what makes Indian food so irresistible? 

Made with rich sauces and traditional ingredients, Indian cuisine is made with such strong, unique flavours it offers a very diverse, delicious taste. I make Indian dishes in a very traditional & healthy manner meaning I can enjoy the food I love without having a guilty conscience.

Strangely it’s the mismatch of flavours that ends up being one of Indian foods biggest strengths. Some of the ingredients used are so varied and different it’s hard not to be pretty shocked when you know the extreme combinations. They should not work together BUT just do!

 

 

authentic indian food

 

A need for healthy eating 

Pace of life, growing stress issues and obesity are making it vitally important to eat a healthy diet. Whilst people know this fact, they do not tend to know the best food items that can help them achieve this goal.

A healthy diet should include consumption of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats, high quality proteins and water.

The nutrients included in food are essential for the support of day-to-day activities. It protects the cells from the environment and even repairs them.

Protein rebuilds injured tissue and promotes a strong immune system, whereas, fats fuel the body.

Vitamins and minerals function throughout the body to support the bodies processes.

In addition to this, calcium and phosphorous are essential to strengthen the body.

A healthy diet will offer all these.

So lets take at look at 3 scrummy healthy indian recipes that help you gain many of the above….

 

3 fantastically delicious and healthy Indian recipes

Some Indian dishes, tweaked to maximise health benefits:

 

1. Indian-Spiced Eggplant & Cauliflower Stew

eggplant

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of gram masala, 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 large onion (sliced), 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 1 15-ounce of chickpeas (can), ¾ teaspoon salt, 15-ounces of diced tomato, 1 1-pound eggplant, (cut into big chunks), 3 cups of cauliflower florets. ½ cup of water (mineral is best)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven over medium heat.
  2. Add garam masala, mustard seeds, curry powder and toast,
  3. Stir them all until the spice turns dark. Transfer all of this to a bowl.
  4. Add garlic ginger, oil, and salt to the pot and then cook until it softens. Around 3-4 minutes should do it.
  5. Stir in eggplant, tomatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower, water and the spices.
  6. Keep it simmering.
  7. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender (takes 15-20 minutes).
  8. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

When it comes to healthy indian recipes this one is one of the most simple, yet tasty to make.

 

2. Lemon Rice – Healthy & Tasty    

Ingredients: 

¼ cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of canola oil or grape seed oil, ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, 2 cloves of garlic (sliced), ½ teaspoon of black mustard seeds, 1/3 cup cashew or peanuts, ¼  tablespoon of ground turmeric, ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 small serrano or green Thai chilli, 3 cups of cooked brown basmati rice.

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the salt and lemon juice in a bowl until dissolved perfectly.
  2. Heat oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add a few mustard seeds when these pop and sizzle , reduce the flame to medium, quickly add the chilli pepper, cumin seeds, garlic, nuts, cumin seeds, and curry leaves.
  4. After this, cover the pan as needed. Stir and cook until nuts turn brown for say 2-4 minutes.
  5. Remove it from heat and stir in turmeric, lemon juice and rice. Enjoy!

 

3. Tandoori TofuIndian Grilled Tofu

tofu

Ingredients: 

½ teaspoon of ground coriander, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric, 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2/3 of a cup of nonfat yogurt, 2 14 ounce packs of extra-firm Tofu, 6 tablespoons of sliced scallions, fresh cilantro for garnishing.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill at medium temperature.
  2. Put paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, coriander, cumin and turmeric in a bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat and then add lemon juice, garlic and the spice mixture. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Cut tofu into 6 pieces; pat dry.
  5. Use about 3 tablespoons of the spiced oil to brush both sides of the tofu.
  6. Sprinkle remaining ½ of the salt over them.
  7. Oil the grill rack. Grill the tofu for at least 3-4 minutes per side.
  8. Combine the left over spiced oil in a small bowl along with the yogurt.
  9. Serve the grilled tofu with the yogurt sauce.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy.

 

Enjoy the taste of authentic indian dishes from the comfort of your own home!

 

Onions play a huge part

Onions are used in most Indian dishes, however, not many people know about its huge health benefits and how to best preserve it.

onions

Onions are rich in flavours and are high in antioxidants, such as flavonols (builds cellular antioxidant level), quercetin (lowers blood pressure), and diallyl sulfide (a compound that is responsible for promoting a healthy heart and strong immunity level).

Onion also offers Vitamin C which is very important for health. Healthy indian recipes must have onion in!

 

How to choose the best onions? 

Buy onions that are firm and do not include cuts, sprouting or bruises. The skin of the onion should be strong and shiny, it must also be tightly closed to the neck.

The smell of an unclosed onion should be mild, as strong odours indicate spoilage.

 

Storing your onions

Onions need to be stored in a cool, dry place and most importantly, well-ventilated. However, most important is that onions must be kept away from sunlight as it makes the onions bitter.

Moisture rots onions, so avoid damp places.

It is not advisable to keep the onions in the refrigerator as the lack of air circulation can spoil onions.

 

Indian food does not have to be unhealthy

Hopefully by now I have convinced you how healthy Indian can be with the right ingredients and by using more traditional cooking techniques.

And if you have never tried Indian food, you’re missing out! Every dish has something unique about it and it will be a new taste sensation!

Why not start by trying something at an Indian buffet restaurant, explore this cuisine and find the dishes you love the most. If not every dish, I’m sure you will find something you love.

Healthy Indian recipes come in all shapes and sizes and I have only just touched the surface with these 3 ideas.

 

Let Us Know

What healthy Indian recipes do you know and love? Please let us know in the comments below….

 

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What is Vitamin A good for?

What is Vitamin A good for? Well, the health benefits of Vitamin A range from maintaining healthy vision, immune function, healthy skin and cell communication.

Vitamin A, is a group of fat-soluble compounds and is a powerful antioxidant, which reduces inflammation and free radical damage.

By filling our diet with antioxidants that Vitamin A help supply the aging process can be slowed naturally.

 

Two Types of Vitamin A

There are two types of vitamin A…

1. Retinoids – comes from animal food types

2. Carotenoids comes from plant foods. Beta-carotene is amongst this type of vitamin A

The A vitamin is most important for strengthening our body’s immunity against infections, several of the immune system functions are dependant on getting sufficient Vitamin A.

 

The Health Benefits of Vitamin A

Here is some of the biggest health benefits of Vitamin A….

The immune system is boosted by the beta carotene contained in vitamin A, which as we have mentioned above, is a powerful antioxidant.

If there is a deficiency of vitamin A in the body respiratory infections can occur, common colds and flu as well as more serious illnesses like cancer and autoimmune diseases.

A vitamin A deficiency in children has been found to make them more vulnerable to infections like measles and diarrhoea.

This vitamin is critical for the normality and maintenance of organs and especially the heart, lungs and kidneys as it supports the cell growth in our bodies.

 

Eyesight

eyesight

Vitamin A plays a crucial role in our vision as it contains a critical component which supports the normal functioning of the retina.

It also helps with vision in dim light.

A deficiency of vitamin A could lead to a thickening of the cornea and possible blindness.

Macular degeneration, (age related blindness) could be prevented by beta carotene.

The National Eye Institute sponsored a study into Age Related Eye Disease and found that persons at high risk of macular degeneration, who all took a multi vitamin that included vitamin A along with vitamin C and E plus zinc and copper over a 6 year period, had a 25% reduction in the risk of advanced macular degeneration.

 

Skin Care

skincare

Our skin is dependant on vitamin A by supporting the skin cells internally and externally thereby helping skin regrowth and the healing of wounds.

A deficiency of vitamin A would result in the scaling, thickening and drying of the skin.

 

Retinoids

Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A (retinol) that mediates the functions of vitamin A required for growth and development.

Research into retinoic acid, which is important in cell development, has found that the molecular mechanisms in the acid could control cancer cells.  More research is required, as so far the results are inconclusive.

Retinoids are used orally and in cream form for the treatment of acne and even wrinkles.

A review published in the Dermatologic Therapy put forward…

“Retinoids are capable not only of repairing photoaged skin at both the clinical and biochemical levels but their use may prevent photo aging.”

Poor complexion can result from a lack of vitamin A, the lines and wrinkles are kept at bay as this vitamin helps collagen production and even contributes to healthy hair.

 

Other Health issues

The mucous membranes of the respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts could also be affected by becoming hard and dry.

Studies have been carried out on vitamin A as a treatment for other conditions like HIV, cataracts and some forms of cancer.

The University of York have carried out a study say indications are, that vitamin A could help in the treatment of certain forms of cancer like lung, bladder, breast, prostrate and ovarian by controlling and suppressing malignant cells.

Most of us get enough vitamin A from our diets but if you suffer from a digestive disorder or your diet is poor a supplement might be required.

However, this is best to be recommended by a doctor as too much vitamin A can lead to a toxic reaction.

 

Foods rich in Vitamin A –  Retinoid & Bete-Carotene

Now you know the health benefits of Vitamin A, it’s time to make sure vitamin A is included in your diet….

These foods will help do just that…

 

For the retinoid form of vitamin A include:

Dairy products

Eggs and Milk

  • Cheese including blue cheese, cream cheese, Feta cheese, roquefort, cheddar, camembert, limburger and goats cheese.
  • Eggs (hard boiled)
  • Fortified spreads
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt

 

Meat & Fish

trout

  • Liver including goose liver pate, liver sausage lambs liver and beef liver.
  • Tuna, trout,
  • caviar, salmon and mackerel

 

For the Bete-Carotene form of Vitamin A include:

To make sure you are getting enough of the Bete-Carotene form of vitamin A make sure you eat these, although the vegetables are a richer form of beta-carotene the fruits will provide good amounts.

 

Fruit and Vegetables

papaya

  • By eating the Swiss chard, spinach red pepper, and romaine lettuce raw the amount of vitamin per serving is better.
  • Squash, winter squash and sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Red peppers
  • Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens and collards
  • Cos or Romaine lettuce
  • Dried Prunes
  • Cantaloupe and water-melon
  • Mango, papaya, guava, passion fruit and apricots
  • Grapefruit, tangerine and nectarine

 

4 Delicious Recipes packed full of Vitamin A

Here are six wonderful recipes that have ingredients from the vitamin A foods that are shown in the lists above….

 

1. Spinach and Feta Pie with an Oat crust

spinach feta
Picture: Green Kitchen Stories

You must try this lovely Spinach and Feta Pie with an Oat crust recipe from Green Kitchen stories.

It includes eggs as well as spinach and feta cheese.

 

2. Grilled Mediterranean Cedar Plank Salmon

pink salmon
Picture: Skinny Taste

Salmon is sooooo good for you and this deliciously simple recipe from Skinny Taste is packed full of flavour!

 

3. New & Improved Sweet Potato Brownies

sweet potato brownies
Picture: Deliciously Ella

What better way is there to get children to eat vegetables than disguised as a cake!!

This superb recipe from Deliciously Ella for sweet potato brownies will have them fooled, and I am sure sweet toothed individuals will love them too!

 

4. Deviled Eggs

devised eggs
Picture: 101 Cookbooks

This egg recipe from 101 Cook books is for boiled eggs and includes yoghurt so just the thing to improve your vitamin A intake.

 

Let us know…

We hope you enjoyed reading about the health benefits of Vitamin A and some of the recipes mentioned above.

Now it’s time to go boost the amounts of vitamin A in your diet!

We’re sure you have lots of favorite recipes that you also use and would love to hear any ideas in the comments below….

 

 

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The health benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K, is an essential vitamin for our body’s health, but this vitamin is mostly overlooked. So we thought it would be a good idea to look into the health benefits of Vitamin K. We have also listed 10 fantastic foods rich in Vitamin K to help you get this essential vitamin into your diet.

 

Studies into vitamin K

A review in 2014 shows that vitamin K can improve bone density and thereby minimize the risk of Osteoporosis and the incidents of fractures.

Bones

Studies into vitamin K have shown that this vitamin could possibly help protect against cancer like leukemia, prostate, lung and liver cancers although this claim needs more research.

However, Vitamin K does protect against heart disease and varicose veins by reducing arterial calcification.

 

 

Different types of Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in our body’s blood clotting ability and modifying the protein ingested.

There are two types of vitamin K that are essential for our body, Vitamin K1 and K2….

 

K1 – phylloquinone – Goes to the liver and this helps with the blood clotting function.

When we eat green vegetables this is where we get K1 from as it occurs naturally in plants.

Studies show that vitamin K1 has had some success in the treatment of liver cancer.

 

K2 – menaquinone – This goes to the bones, blood vessel walls and tissues in the body but not the liver.

K2 is produced by the bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Research has shown that K2 and vitamin D helps to prevent the calcification in the coronary arteries, as it is a hardening of the arteries that is a common cause of coronary artery disease.

 

Trials into Vitamin K

There have been a number of trials carried out in Japan that show vitamin K2 can reverse bone loss. And in some people suffering with osteoporosis bone mass can be increased.

Evidence from the Japanese trials has shown that vitamin K2 can reduce vertebral fracture by 60% and also an 80 % reduction to hip and no-vertebral fractures.

Studies in the Netherlands have also shown that K2 controls the building of bone.

A German research group in 2008 found that K2 helped protect against prostate cancer

 

 

A list of 10 foods rich in Vitamin K

So it would seem that this mostly overlooked vitamin is not one you want to be deficient in!

To make sure you are keeping the vitamin K levels up in your body make sure you include these foods rich in Vitamin K below in your diet :

 

1. Spring onions

Spring onion

Also called scallions, these tender onion bulbs are rich in vitamins including vitamin K. They have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for many years.

 

2. Kale

kale

One of the super healthy greens, an extremely nutritious plant and an excellent source of vitamin K as well as being packed full of other vitamins and minerals.

 

3. Broccoli

Another super vegetable which is related to cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts. It is packed with nutrients including vitamin K.

It is also high in protein and fibre and is delicious raw as well as cooked.

 

4. Spinach

Spinach

Believed to be Persian in origin and by the 12th century Europeans were aware of its health benefits.

Also known as Goosefoot this leafy green vegetable is packed full of nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin K, this can be eaten raw or cooked on its own or included in other dishes.

 

5. Prunes

Dried prunes are a rich source of nutrients, one prune contains 5% of the daily intake of minerals and vitamins that is recommended.

They are rich in vitamin K and for bone health this fruit is exceptional.

Prunes work well in both sweet and savory recipes.

 

 

6. Brussels sprouts

brussels-sprouts

This small cabbage like vegetable is packed with nutrition.  A cup a day will give you your daily requirement of vitamins K and C.

Another vegetable full of protein and antioxidants.

Try roasting them as this brings out the sweet nutty flavor.

 

7. Cucumber

Belonging to the same family as the melon, cucumbers are rich in vitamin K.

Ongoing studies are showing that cucumber could help with blocking cancer cell development.

The anti-inflammatory that is contained in cucumber helps to protect the nerve cells from age related decline.

 

8. Cabbage

cabbage

Like kale and broccoli, cabbage is packed full of nutrients and vitamin K. These cruciferous vegetables are being researched for their cancer delaying properties.

Try to eat cabbage raw as cooking does cause a loss of nutrients.

 

9. Dried basil

This aromatic herb that is part of the mint family is another that is high in vitamin K.

Basil is an important medicinal plant that has been used in Ayurvedic herbal treatments for thousands of years.

Phytochemicals contained in basil have in clinical studies shown a natural prevention to cancers.

 

10. Asparagus

Asparagus

One of the top 20 foods that have high vitamin and mineral content. It can be eaten raw or cooked it has a unique savory taste.

A cup of asparagus contains 70% of your daily need of vitamin K.

Add to an omelet or great with scrambled egg.

 

 

4 delicious recipes packed full of Vitamin K

To help get more of the vitamin K rich foods into your diet have a look at these 4 recipes below:

 

1. Soy Coleslaw with Cabbage

Soy Coleslaw
Image: Shaun Hill & Great British Chefs

Cabbage is best eaten raw to keep the highest value of nutrients, so why not try this lovely soy coleslaw recipe by Shaun Hill from the website Great British chefs.

 

2. Shaved Brussel Sprout & Carrot Salad

shaved brussel sprouts
Image: Brooklyn Supper

This scrummy recipe from Brooklyn supper has shaved Brussels Sprouts in, allowing this not so popular vegetable to come into its own along with the Cara Cara, Avocado and orange tahini dressing.

 

3. Spinach and Kale Soup

Spinach and kale soup
Image courtesy of Green Kitchen Stories

Kale and Spinach are two foods rich in Vitamin K, so this recipe courtesy of Green Kitchen Stories seems like a no brainer if you’re looking to top up on Vit K!

 

4. Spring Onion Miso Soup with Quinoa & Radish Relish

Spring onion miso soup
Image: Whats Cooking Good Looking

This super delicious recipe from Whats cooking good looking has Spring onion, which contains really good levels of vitamin K, along with one of our fave superfoods Quinoa.

 

 

We’d love to know your thoughts….

If you know other foods rich in Vitamin K, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

We’d also love to know any recipes you cook and love that can help get this essential vitamin into your diet….

 

 

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Natural ways to help your hair

Do you ever feel like your hair just won’t grow any longer? Or that it looks flat and lifeless recently? They’re common issues that can be remedied with these 7 natural hair care tips, a little bit of effort, along with a few lifestyle tweaks – some of which you may not have heard of before!

 

Switch up your hair care routine

To have the locks you’ve always dreamed of, consider switching up your hair care routine; that doesn’t just mean changing your shampoo and conditioner, but styling appliances, avoiding synthetic chemicals and silicone in your shampoo along with changing your diet can all contribute to poor hair growth.

 

Looking good takes a lifestyle!

 

A natural approach to hair care

Hair care

Taking a holistic, natural approach could be the answer you’ve been waiting for to turn your hair troubles around:

 

7 natural hair care tips…

 

1. Switch to organic shampoo

While your conventional shampoo might contain an ingredient or two that promotes healthy-looking hair, organic shampoo is much more likely to contain natural ingredients selected for their hair-nourishing qualities.

Scientists have found that organically produced ingredients contain higher levels of nutrients than their conventionally grown counterparts.

The key is to go organic – not just natural – because the more nutrient dense, the better for you!

If you really want to step your shampoo up another notch, look for ones with ingredients like horsetail extract and rosemary – botanicals that have demonstrated their ability to promote healthy hair and hair growth.

 

Other benefits of switching to organic

Another benefit of organic shampoo is that it will cleanse your hair of product build up.

This is often a side effect with synthetic shampoos, where the product coats the hair instead of cleaning it, which over time builds up and weighs the hair down.

Organic shampoo cleanses and nourishes the hair, which should result in hair that is genuinely healthier, while as i said above synthetic shampoos coat the hair only giving the appearance of healthy hair.

 

2. No SLS!

Unbeknown to many, there are ingredients lurking in conventional shampoos that do your hair absolutely no favors and can actually be detrimental, not just to your hair but to your body as a whole – just another reason to go organic!

A form of marketing called Greenwashing, sells the product as natural and chemical free when this can often be far from the truth!

Genuinely organic formulations forgo the use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides, many of which have toxic effects and indirectly disrupt hair growth.

One of the top ingredients to avoid in conventional shampoo is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Just like a flower in the soil, when it comes to growing healthy hair, you need to create the right environment for that to happen.

But the American College of Toxicology found that SLS irritates and even corrodes the skin…so perhaps one to leave out of your shampoo!

 

3. Restrict heat

cut back on hair drying

We all know that using heat, with straighteners and hair dryers can damage your hair, but cutting out styling tools completely can seem impractical.

Instead, we suggest restricting heat whenever you can, by setting yourself goals.

If you cut down on how many times you wash your hair per week, blow-drying will consequently be reduced.

Wearing no-heat hairstyles more frequently, such as tying your hair back for a set amount of times per week will also limit the use of heat and the resulting damage.

Every effort you make counts – your hair will thank you for it!

 

4. Cut down on washing your hair

It might seem counterintuitive, but washing your hair too much strips it of its natural oils, leaving it feeling dry, prone to an itchy scalp and other issues.

Let nature take its course and limit washing your hair to 3 times per week.

 

5. Essential Oils

One of my fave natural hair care tips, use the power of essential oils!

Essential oils are attributed to a wide variety of wonderful benefits, especially for the skin and hair.

The best way to use them to benefit your hair is to have them present in your shampoo or a hair mask.

peppermint plant

In a study that tested peppermint oil versus a leading brand of hair loss treatment, peppermint oil promoted significantly more hair growth!

Tea tree oil is another great essential oil to consider. An organic tea tree shampoo can help related issues, like fungal dandruff or itching! It can also be balancing for greasy hair and help build more time in between washes.

Try adding a drop or two of your oil of choice into your shampoo, conditioner or in a hair mask and see the effects for yourself.

 

6. Eat well

Hang on“, I hear you say, “these are hair care tips!but…

If you ever needed an excuse to get munching, here’s one! Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important steps to take if you want gorgeous hair.

Vitamin C, zinc, biotin, Vitamin E and vitamin A are all essential nutrients recommended for healthy hair. You can find these nutrients in a range of foods, but especially in fruit and nuts and seeds like oranges, almonds, pumpkin seeds and tomatoes.

Remember that beauty really does come from within!

 

7. Natural hair masks

Treating yourself to a hair mask once a week can be a great way to replenish lost moisture and leave it feeling lovely and soft.

This is especially important for those of you who live in a colder climate, where skin and hair are at the mercy of the elements, resulting in moisture loss and therefore also needing a moisture-boost more regularly.

coconut oil for hair

Coconut oil is an excellent addition to your diet and your hair care routine.

Try using it as a DIY pampering hair mask, leaving it on your hair from root to tip for as long as you like, from a few hours to an overnight treatment, making sure to thoroughly wash it out afterward.

According to a number of personal testimonies, coconut oil has helped speed up hair growth and improved the condition of hair.

Research also shows coconut oil can help with the prevention of hair damage and reduces protein loss and moisturizes the hair fibres. *

 

D.I.Y Hair care and Beauty recipes

If creating your own hair or face mask, from natural products is something that you’re interested in, you may like to check out our article below that has 11 super easy to make homemade beauty recipes included….

11 easy to make DIY Beauty Products

 

Get healthy hair naturally!

With these hair care tips, healthy hair is only a few steps away and the best thing about taking a natural approach is that it does your entire body the world of good in the process!

 

Love natural? make sure you read our article on the benefits of using 100% natural soap

 

Let us know

We’d love to hear about & learn any natural hair care tips or advise that you use to get your hair in great condition and full of life….

Please join the convo in the comments below….

 

 

Sources used…

Rele AS1, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92.

 

 

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The Health Benefits of Vitamin B

What is Vitamin B good for? Well, it’s very important in keeping you energised and maintaining cell health. We take a look at the health benefits of vitamin B as well as foods and recipes to help you get it into your diet naturally.

 

Different types of Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a group of eight vitamins B-12 cobalamin, B-9 folate, B-7 biotin, B-6 pyridoxine, B-5 pantothenic acid, B-3 niacin, B-2 riboflavin and B-1 thiamine.

The B group of vitamins are water-soluble, can be destroyed by cooking and alcohol and are found in everything from mushrooms, beer, yoghurt and even chocolate.

Processed foods have less of the B vitamin and are therefore less nutritious, so always go for whole grain variety of flour, bread and rice.

 

A well-rounded diet

As long as you eat a varied & well rounded diet containing fruits, meats, vegetables and grains you should be getting all of the vitamin B you need.

well rounded diet

A poor diet for several months could mean that you will be B deficient, as the body does not store most of this vitamin. B-12 is the exception to this rule though as it is stored in the liver.

A bad diet could mean you are missing out on the big health benefits of vitamin B!

Not all types of vitamin B do the same thing and therefore the different types of vitamin B come from different foods.

For example, if you want to boost your B-6 you can do no better than the lowly baked potato which will give you 35% of your daily requirement of B-6 plus it has potassium and fibre to boot.

 

A list of foods rich in Vitamin B

Below is the list of the foods that are a rich source of the B vitamin in all of its different forms….

 

Vitamin B-12 rich foods

Vitamin B-12 is found mostly in meat and dairy foods. This B vitamin helps growth, red blood cell formation and regulation of the nervous system.

Those on a vegan diet could be at risk of deficiency of this B vitamin.

Eggs and Milk

Include the following foods in your diet for a good source of B-12 vitamin…

  • Eggs, cheese and milk
  • Red meat, kidney and liver
  • Shellfish and fish

 

 

Vitamin B-9 foods

Vitamin B-9 also promotes the red blood cells like most B vitamins. This B vitamin, also known as folic acid helps reduce birth defect risks.

whole grains

B9 is found in the following foods…

  • Whole grains and fortified cereals
  • Meats, liver & kidney
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fish
  • Leafy green vegetables, beets & legumes

 

 

Foods that are a good source of Vitamin B-7

Vitamin B-7 is the beauty vitamin due to its association with healthy nails, skin and hair. It helps to control high blood glucose levels so could benefit in the control of diabetes.

In pregnancy this B vitamin is vital for the growth of the baby.

cauliflower

Get your B-7 vitamin from….

  • Pork, chicken and liver
  • Fish
  • Egg yolks
  • Nuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Barley

 

Vitamin B-6 rich foods

Vitamin B-6 turns the food you eat into energy.

It also helps the body to fight infection and a deficiency of B-6 can result in anaemia, nausea, depression and skin disorders.

watermelon

So include the following in your diet to get B-6…

  • Tuna and salmon
  • Chicken breast, ground beef and beef liver
  • Potatoes, spinach and chickpeas
  • Watermelon
  • Whole grains & cereals

 

 

Foods rich in Vitamin B-5

Vitamin B-5 is also known as Pantothenic acid from the Greek word “pantothen” meaning” from everywhere”.

A small amount of B-5 is found in most food groups. It breaks down fats and carbohydrates into energy and is responsible for the production of testosterone.

B-5 has been shown in studies to reduce skin spots that are signs of aging skin and also promotes healthy skin.

Legumes

Get your vitamin B-5 by eating….

  • Legumes
  • Avocados
  • Yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Meat

 

 

Vitamin B-3 rich foods

Vitamin B-3  is a digestive aid, promotes a healthy appetite and converts food to energy.

A deficiency in this B vitamin can result in abdominal cramps and nausea.

fish

To get your B-3 eat the following….

  • Wheat & barley
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Chicken, red meat and liver
  • Moringa

 

 

Vitamin B-1 and B-2

Vitamins B-1 and B-2 both help convert your food to energy. B-1 has neurological benefits and B-2 maintains healthy eyesight.

B-1 known as thiamine is in most whole grains and breakfast cereals. Moringa Oleifera is also a great source of Vit B2 having 50 times more than bananas.

greens

To get B-2, riboflavin into the diet eat…

  • Milk and eggs
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Moringa

As most foods like milk and cereals are fortified with riboflavin and thiamine B-1 and B-2 deficiency is rare in the developed world.

It can be a problem in people who abuse alcohol.

 

A varied and healthy diet

As long as you have a varied and healthy diet and include the foods mentioned above your body should be getting enough of the B vitamin.

To make sure that you are getting enough into your diet have a look at some of these delicious recipes below that are vitamin B rich.

If you are over 50 or an athlete there could be a need to take a vitamin B supplement but a doctor’s advice should be sought if you feel you are vitamin B deficient.

 

3 Delicious Recipes packed full of Vitamin B

1. Grilled Salmon and Pesto

salmon for vitamin B
Photo by Emily Miller

This grilled Salmon and pesto recipe gives you high levels of B vitamins, a 3oz serving of salmon give you a 100% of your B-12 requirement.

This recipe contains B1, B3, B5, B6 and B12 and is easy to make, full of flavour and the added bonus of not being high in calories!

 

2. Pork Belly Ramen with Spring Greens

pork and greens
Picture by Brooklyn Supper

This fantastic Pork belly ramen recipe from Elizabeth at Brooklyn Supper is the perfect choice, as the pork and dark greens will really help boost your B vitamin levels.

 

3. Whole-Grain Raspberry Energy Bar

healthy Snack bar
Picture by Perry Santanachote

This delicious snack bar recipe courtesy of Daily Burn and Perry Santanachote is low in calories but high in taste and perfect for breakfast or as a dessert, try serving with yoghurt.

This easy to make snack bar has B1, B6, B9 and B3 as well as the B vitamins they have healthy fats too

 

Let us know…

We’d love to hear if you tried any of the above recipes and any other facts you know about Vitamin B, including any health benefits that you have found in the comments below….

 

 

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Natural remedies for seasonal allergies

The allergy season is once more with us. If you are one of the thousand of allergy sufferers whose spring and summers are miserable because of pollen & seasonal allergies, here are a few suggestions which could help alleviate some of your suffering.

 

How to alleviate your suffering

By wearing a hat, with a large brim and sunglasses. Not as a fashion statement but as a way to stop the pollen from blowing in your eyes.

It is the pollen that makes your eyes itch and then water.

sun hat and glasses

Instead of taking your jog or walk in the day when the pollen from trees is released, exercise outside in the evening when the pollen is not being emitted from the trees and flowers.

After being outside where your clothing has become infested with the pollens that are in the air, which in turn you then take home with you, launder your clothes and take a shower.

If you are taking medication for hay fever try taking the pills at night to see if this will help with the runny nose, sneezing and scratchy throat caused by the hay fever.

Make sure you have a cleaning appliance that has a HEPA filter fitted, so when vacuuming the pollen that has settled in the home is stirred up, which in turn aggravates your symptoms.

 

Acupuncture

acupuncture

New research that was published in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’, has found that Acupuncture could help relieve hay fever.

It found that sufferers who had acupuncture took less medication.

The researchers from Charite-University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany are not sure why but the thinking is that acupuncture can curb inflammatory immune-system substances involved in allergic reactions.

 

Try a Saline Rinse

Before the pollen season starts try a spritz of saline rinse up the nose to wash the pollen out. This could lead to a reduction in the amount of medication that you might have to take.

A study has shown that by using the saline rinse twice a day for three to six weeks, nasal congestion was lowered by hay fever sufferers.

 

Your Diet

A reduction of the amount of monounsaturated fats in your diet, that are found in dairy and meat products, could mean that you might not get hay fever.

A study has shown adults with a diet high in monounsaturated fat are three times more likely to experience hay fever.

A daily dose of fish oil supplement has also been found in studies to help control the chemical leukotriene, that contributes to the allergic reactions in people with allergic asthma.

 

9 natural remedies for helping with Allergies

More and more people are looking for a more natural way to treat their allergies, so here are a few suggestions to try and see if any work for you….

 

1. Honey

honey

Try taking a daily tablespoon of local honey. The nearer to your home the honey is produced the better as this helps the body to adapt to the allergens in the local environment .

Start taking the honey about a month before the pollen season starts.

This ancient remedy helps the body build a tolerance to the local pollens.

A 2011 study published in ‘Archives of Allergy and Immunology’ reported that sufferers from birch pollen were helped when given birch pollen honey before the pollen season started.

Sufferers used 50% less antihistamines compared to a group on conventional medicines!

 

2. Probiotics

A diet that contains foods that boost the bacteria in the gut helps to balance the immune system as new research has found that the presence of beneficial gut bacteria reduces the number of allergies that can be experienced.

80% of the bodies immune function is stored in the gut so by taking a good quality probiotic capsule makes sure we are getting the good bacteria required.

 

3. Stinging Nettle

stinging nettle

Dating back to medieval Europe, stinging nettle has a history of medicinal uses like relieving joint pain.

The University of Maryland Medical Centre have done studies and suggest that stinging nettle can effectively treat insect bites, joint pain, sprains and strains, urinary tract infections and hay fever.

Research has shown that nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine as it helps the body block the production of histamine naturally.

So before the hay fever starts take a freeze-dried preparation as a tea or tincture or if this is not possible, there are some wonderful nettle teas available in our marketplace.

Capsules made from dried nettle leaves are an easy and effective option too.

 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Another age old remedy that has a variety of uses, allergy relief being one of them is Cider Vinegar.

It has the ability to reduce mucus production and it cleanses the lymphatic system making it helpful for allergy sufferers.

The best Apple Cider Vinegar is one contain the “Mother” of vinegar, drink a teaspoon of this in water, three times a day at the first sign of your allergy.

Use an organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains the colony of beneficial bacteria (“Mother”) always check the label for this.

 

5. Eucalyptus Oil

eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil can be used in various ways to help in the allergy season.

Used in a diffuser or with your laundry detergent as an antimicrobial addition.

Add 25 drops of oil to your laundry detergent in the allergy season for an eco friendly addition to your wash.

An Egyptian study has shown that eucalyptus oil is one of the most potent in the killing of the highly allergic house mites.

If you are suffering major allergy symptoms, mix eucalyptus oil with coconut oil and use behind the ears and on your chest.

Use in a diffuser during the day or whilst sleeping.

 

6. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense

Another great immune booster is Frankincense essential oil. In a study published by Phytotherapy Research it was discovered that when mice were given frankincense orally, multiple levels of their immune system were stimulated.

So for the seasonal allergy sufferer the use of frankincense will boost your immune system.

Use in a diffuser for a couple of hours a day or rub on your chest or behind your ears.

 

7. Bromelain

Published in the journal ‘Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ a study into Bromelain on mice showed interesting results.

A reduction of allergic sensitization and a marked decrease in the development of allergic airway disease.

This suggests that bromelain helps to modulate the whole immune system.

It does more than mask the unpleasant symptoms experienced from seasonal allergies such as stuffy/runny nose, itchy eyes etc. Bromelain does seem to actually prevent seasonal allergies by going to the root cause an over sensitive immune system.

 

8. Spirulina

spirulina

The Conquistadors recorded that the Aztecs used spirulina as a staple in their diets as a primary source of protein.

But it is also known that spirulina can reduce inflammation that causes sinus problems.

In numerous studies it has been shown to be effective in reducing itching, nasal discharge, sneezing and nasal congestion.

 

9. Eyebright

Researchers have found that Eyebright, (part of the Figwort family) aids not only eye problems but can help with a number of other health conditions including seasonal allergies.

The natural astringent-tannins contained in the herb could help reduce mucus discharge and the flavonoids and defensive compounds in Eyebright could help in the treatment of allergies.

A great way to fit it into your diet is to drink eyebright tea two to three times a day.

 

Allergy Season

So as the allergy season returns do not automatically reach for the harmful chemicals for relief try a few of our natural suggestions.

 

PLEASE NOTE: If you are taking prescribed medication always consult with your doctor first.

 

Remedies for Seasonal Allergies Infographic

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Love natural remedies and suffer from Bed Sores? If so don’t miss our fantastic guide to natural remedies for Bed sores article.

 

Let Us Know

We’d love to know any other natural remedies for seasonal allergies that you know of, use and love in the comments below….

 

 

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Knowing your Blood Pressure

Knowing your blood pressure could save your life! We look into how to lower blood pressure naturally by eating the right foods and living the right lifestyle.

 

Measuring blood pressure

Systolic pressure is always mentioned first and is the measurement of the blood through the arteries and ideally should be 120 or less but if your readings are between 120 – 139 this is seen as normal to borderline high blood pressure.

Readings of 140 and above are seen as high blood pressure.

Always make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly by a medical professional.

 

measuring blood pressure

The diastolic pressure or bottom reading is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This reading should be 80 or less.

Readings of between 80 – 89 is normal but higher than ideal. Over 90 for repeated readings is seen as hypertension.

 

Do you have hypertension or high blood pressure?

How do you know if you have hypertension or high blood pressure? You tend not too!

Nearly one third of people with high blood pressure are un-aware.

This is why it is called the silent killer. Hypertension is the number one cause of heart related disease.

If you would like to keep a constant eye on it you can buy a blood pressure monitor like this best selling Omron from somewhere like amazon at a very good price for example this best selling monitor.

BUT as we said before if you feel unwell or think you may have high blood pressure, you MUST always get a medical professional to check your blood pressure.

So let’s look into how to lower blood pressure naturally….

 

How to lower blood pressure naturally

Is there a way to control high blood pressure without chemical intervention?

You can help using natural ways and prevention is always better than cure…

  • Weight – being overweight makes the heart work harder so even a small loss in weight can make a difference.
  • Salt – recommended daily intake of salt is less than 6g. There is a link between salt intake and blood pressure.
  • Stress – increases blood pressure. Over time high stress levels can cause hypertension.
  • Alcohol – Blood pressure can be raised by too much alcohol so moderate the drinking of alcohol. NHS recommended limits are three to four units a day for men and two to three units daily for women.
  • Caffeine – Found in coffee, tea, cola and some medicines and energy drinks. More than four cups of coffee could increase blood pressure, try decaf.
  • Exercise – Lower the risk of blood pressure by taking regular exercise. A 150 minutes exercise a week is recommended by the NHS.

 

Weight and High blood pressure

High blood pressure and being over weight are intrinsically linked. Increased body fat means the heart has to work harder when circulating the blood round the body.

If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 25 to 28 losing a couple of pounds makes a difference to the blood pressure.

A study done in 2014 showed that anyone gaining 5% of their body weight showed a slight rise in blood pressure. The greatest increases in blood pressure were seen if extra fat was added to the belly area.

By eating a healthy diet including vegetables, fruit, healthy fat and high quality protein as well as avoiding processed foods that contain sodium and calories you can really help lower blood pressure naturally.

That along with activity that improves lean muscle mass and sustains the metabolic rate.

 

Exercise

bike ride

Exercise is a great way to lower blood pressure. It does not have to be in a gym if you have an aversion to classes or expensive gyms, a brisk walk, swim or bike ride is a great way to try and help lower blood pressure.

As long as you break into a sweat it means you are exercising hard enough.

In a 2015 study of over weight, diabetic adults showed that a few minutes of daily exercise lowered their blood pressure.

A study in Brazil on older women with hypertension showed that a weight training programme significantly reduced the diastolic and systolic blood pressure which was maintained for an hour after the training finished.

 

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can mean cravings for junk food, over eating and an increase in stress levels.

You can also benefit from an afternoon nap, if you have time.

Adults with high blood pressure who took an hour long daily siesta saw a drop in the systolic rate of on average 5% when compared with those who did not nap.

 

Stress

Stress can be a killer as it causes the blood pressure to rise in the long and short term, so find a way that you like to relax, try yoga and meditation these have all been found to be good choices. Even just having a good laugh!

 

Relaxing with Music

relax with music

Try relaxing with music and slow breathing for 30 minutes a day to bring down blood pressure.

Researchers at the University of Florence tried soothing classical, Indian or Celtic music with 28 adults that were taking medication for hypertension.

Their average systolic readings decreased by 3.2 points in a week.

 

Drinking alcohol

Drinking alcohol can have benefits to hypertension sufferers and lower the risk of heart disease but more than one drink a day for women and two for men could have an opposite effect.

One drink equates to 12oz of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5oz of a spirit. As well as being the cause of other chronic conditions high consumption of alcohol increases blood pressure and is detrimental to your health.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that regular binge drinking in young adults have shown them to be suffering with prehypertension which can lead to hypertension.

 

Try these 11 foods that can help lower blood pressure

There are a number of foods that can help you avoid hypertension and will even help lower high blood pressure.

Research has shown that a diet rich in foods containing potassium, magnesium and calcium but low in sodium could help to bring your blood pressure to normal.

 

1. Flaxseed

A 2013 study has shown that flax seed can reduce blood pressure even if taking medication.

The four compounds contained in flaxseeds, alpha linolenic acid, peptides, lignans and fiber could singularly or all be responsible for the reduction in blood pressure this is yet to be proven.

 

2. Olive Oil

Rich in polyphenols Olive oil has been found by Spanish researchers to have an effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a four month period.

 

3. Beetroot

beetroot can lower blood pressure

The nitrates in beetroot have been shown by Australian researchers to reduce systolic pressure over a 24 hour period, six hours after drinking beetroot juice.

 

4. Chocolate

Must contain at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols this has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressure in anyone suffering from hypertension.

The polyphenols contained in cocoa products are associated with the formation of nitric acid. This substance widens the blood vessels thereby easing blood flow.

But it must be remembered that chocolate also contain sugar and caffeine so no more that one square a day.

 

5. Salmon and other fatty fish

fish

Has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids which has the effect of lowering blood pressure.

Eating fatty fish three times a week has been linked to the diastolic pressure being reduced.

Further research is needed to confirm the amounts you need though.

 

6. Hibiscus

Loaded with anti-oxidants like phenols and anthocyanins hibiscus has been shown in a 2010 study to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking three daily servings of hibiscus tea.

Do not exceed this amount as the manganese, copper and iron content could go above recommended levels.

 

7. Pistachio nuts

A 2013 study carried out over a 4 week period has shown that by eating a serving of Pistachio nuts (unsalted) daily reduced the systolic blood pressure.

It is not clear exactly as to why, was it due to an increase in the volume of blood pumped from the heart or did the nuts reduce the constriction of the blood vessels.

 

8. Sunflower seeds

sunflower-seeds

A delicious snack and rich in Vitamin E and magnesium. A quarter cup makes for a delicious, nutritious snack.

 

9. Beans

All kinds pinto, lima, kidney and all colours, rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium all excellent at lowering blood pressure and improving the health of the heart.

 

10. Whole grains

Three servings of whole grains has been found to lower systolic pressure. The research is not clear as to why but the findings  point to cholesterol levels benefitting from eating whole grains.

 

11. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice has been found by British researchers to be linked to the lowering of both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking more than a cup of pomegranate juice a day, for four weeks.

The research is not clear on why but it is thought to be the potassium or the polyphenols found in the juice of this fruit.

 

Changes in your Diet

Any changes to your diet if you are on medication should be discussed with your doctor as some foods may have adverse effects.

 

How is your Blood pressure?

Do you suffer from high blood pressure?   If you already take natural measures to keep your blood pressure low we’d love to know what you do….

If you have any other tips on how to lower blood pressure naturally we’d love to know in the comments below….

 

PLEASE NOTE:- The advise above is NOT meant to replace medical advise given by a medical professional. You MUST always seek medical advise from your doctor if you think you have a problem linked to blood pressure.

 

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Detox your home & purify the air you breathe

Research by the American Society for Horticultural Science has shown that ozone is a main component of not only outside air pollution but also inside our homes and offices. As we spend nearly 80 to 90 per cent of our time inside it is imperative to our health to find ways to eliminate ozone. So we thought we’d look into the best indoor house plants to help purify the air and detox your home.

 

Research into house plants & air purification

Detox your home

The toxic effects of ozone on our health include lung capacity reduction, inflammation and pulmonary edema.

University researchers have found that common house plants can reduce the concentration of ozone and improve the quality of air indoors.

Other studies show that our homes contain harmful VOCs like formaldehyde and xylene.

Dr. B. C. Wolverton who researched the creation of a breathable environment for the NASA lunar habitat discovered that pollutants like ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde can be filtered out of the air by house plants.

Volatile organic compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic compounds that become vapors and gases. Widely used household products that are sources of VOCs in our living areas are:

  • Moth repellents
  • Air fresheners
  • Paints and paint stripper
  • Cleansers
  • Disinfectants
  • Dry-cleaned clothing
  • Pesticide
  • Wood preservers
  • Aerosol sprays

 

A great reason to try to make your own DIY Cleaning products

 

Symptoms of toxins in the air

The five main toxins that can be found in the list of products above and the symptoms that can be experienced are outlined below:

  • Xylene – The cause of throat and mouth infection, headache, dizziness and heart complications. This toxin is found in paint, vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke.
  • Benzene – To be found in plastic, detergents, furniture wax, pesticide, vehicle exhaust, glue and paint. This toxin can cause headaches, eye irritation, drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Ammonia– This toxin can cause eye and throat irritations and is to be found in window cleaner, floor wax fertilizer and scented salts.
  • Formaldehyde – Can be found in paper bags, tissue, waxed paper and synthetic fibers. This toxin causes nose, mouth and throat irritation.
  • Trichloroethylene – Found in varnishes, paint and paint remover as well as adhesives and lacquers. It causes symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

 

Pollutants 10 times higher indoors

VOC concentrations are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors and are emitted by a variety of products numbering in the thousands.

Studies have found that concentrated pollutant levels can remain in the air way after product use.

Exposure to VOCs can result in the following symptoms, although not too much is known about the amount of VOCs used in the home that can affect our health but short-term exposure of the listed toxins can cause:

  • Headache
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Conjunctival irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Discomfort of the nose and throat

 

Air purifying house plants can help counteract these harmful VOCs from our home environment plus they are a good-looking, help make you feel good, reasonably priced and powerful filters, purifying the air in our homes.

 

A study by N.A.S.A

The study that NASA carried out shows that common household plants can filter and purify the air in our homes and offices and remove the harmful toxins.

NASA suggests that every home should have 15 to 18 plants to purify the air you live in and breath.

If you live by a busy road have lots of plants to counteract the exhaust fumes.

 

Several studies have shown that 89% of harmful VOCSs can be eliminated by certain plants.

 

The 18 best indoor house plants to detox your home….

Orchids

Orchids purify the air

These truly beautiful plants are remarkably easy to look after despite their reputation for being difficult to grow.

They remove xylene, found in paints and glue, from the air. So after decorating buy an orchid for decoration and to clean the air around.

Also removes alcohols, chloroform, acetone and formaldehyde from the air.

Orchids can also be used in the bedroom as they give off oxygen at night.

 

Peace Lily

peace lily

Another beautiful flowering plant which will thrive in a shady corner whist removing harmful toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde, acetone, benzene, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air in your home.

This plant can survive low temperatures and being water deprived.

 

Anthuriums

anthurium

The large dark green leaves of this plant clean the air of toluene, xylene, ammonia and formaldehyde.

But this house plant has exotic looking flowers so good-looking as well as hard working.

 

Philodendrons

Philodendron

Rid your environment of xylene with a Philodendron. One of the best indoor house plants if you have a small amount of time on your hands as it requires very little care but is an attractive addition to any room.

 

Fern

fern

Bring a bit of the prehistoric into the home, survivors from prehistoric times the large fronds of a fern suck up the pollutants found in paint, nail polish and glue which are toluene and xylene.

A natural air purifier the fern restores moisture to the air.

 

Palm

palm

Palms are easy to grow and brighten a drab area so this make them a popular choice of house-plant.

A natural air purifier, as well as removing benzene and formaldehyde it removes carbon monoxide so if there is a smoker in the house the addition of a palm to the home is a must.

 

Schefflera

Schefflera

Another good choice of plant if there is a smoker in the house, the waxy oval leaves of the Schefflera removes the nasty toxins of benzene, toluene and formaldehyde from the air.

The plant is hardy and long-lasting, as long as the leaves are kept dust free. Wipe the leaves to keep them looking glossy.

 

Aloe Vera

aloe vera for bed sores

Well known for its health benefits its ability to heal wounds and reduce inflammation Aloe Vera can remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde and purify the air in your home.

At night this plant absorbs carbon monoxide and releases oxygen so it’s one of the best indoor house plants for the bedroom.

 

Spider plant

spider plant

Easy to grow Spider plants are good for removing formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide. So a great plant for sheds and garages as they help to eliminate the pollutants from exhaust fumes and DIY products.

 

Geranium

Geranium

A very decorative plant that removes formaldehyde in the air they can live with little water and sun but they do need lots of light to bloom.

Also a great plant to repel mosquitoes.

 

Azalea

Azalea

With so many varieties to choose from you are sure to find one for you. Azalea’s remove toxins like formaldehyde from the air.

 

Golden Pothos (also known as Devils Ivy)

Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos removes carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air so improves the quality of the air you breath. Can tolerate shady areas and little water but this plant is toxic so needs to be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

 

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Sun loving plants that brighten any room these plants help to combat benzene and remove ammonia from the air indoors.

 

Tulips

tulips

Effective in cleaning formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the air this lovely looking plant comes in a large variety of colours and types so beautiful and a hard worker.

 

Lavender

Lavender

A great air purifier, with a sweet smell that soothes and calms. Lavender cleanses bad smells and lowers carbon dioxide levels.

 

Dracaena Reflexa

pleomele

Easy and slow to grow as it can tolerate low and bright light areas it absorbs toluene, xylene and formaldehyde.

 

Weeping Fig

weeping fig

A low maintenance and popular plant, that tolerates indirect sunlight.

Pollutants like xylene, toluene and formaldehyde are filtered out of the air by this plant.

 

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

Perfect for the bedroom a Gerbera Daisy, which loves direct sunlight removes trichloroethylene a chemical that is released from dry cleaning, adhesives and varnishes.

 

Best indoor house plants – Infographic

We’ve put together an infographic featuring 18 of the best indoor house plants for purifying the air in your home.

Please feel free to share…

We only ask you please include attribution to https://www.calmhappyhealthy.com/ with this graphic.

best house plants

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Worried about looking after your new house plants?

Fear not, there are some wonderful books guiding you through all of the essentials such as soil, watering, placement, food and more….  (please note these are amazon affiliate links BUT do not affect the price you pay in any way)

House of Plants – living with succulents, air plants and cacti  –   by Rose Ray, Caro Langton & Erika Rax

House Plants: How to look after your indoor plants – by Isabelle Palmer

The House Plant Expert: The world’s best-selling book on house plants – by Dr D.G Hessayon

 

Let us Know

We’d love to know which houseplants you have in your house. Do you have a view on the best indoor house plants?

Let us know in the comments below…

 

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Why should you stop eating Sugar?

Obesity in the Western world is becoming a major health issue and one of the biggest culprits is sugar consumption. Over consumption of sugar means it’s essential we all start to look into ways of cutting out sugar using a healthy sugar-free diet plan.

“Free sugars” are the sugars being over consumed. Free Sugars are the additional sugars added to our foods and drinks and even found naturally in honey, unsweetened fruit drinks and syrups.

This over consumption and a more sedentary lifestyle is seen as one of the biggest contributors to current obesity issues, making is essential that we all look for the healthy food option.

 

Studies into sugar

sugar free diet

Many studies have been carried out to conclusively clarify if a diet high in sugar, especially refined sugar, is responsible for the causes of obesity, tooth decay, dementia, a causal factor in the occurrence of diabetes, dementia, sugar addiction and cardiovascular disease.

The average consumption per year in the western world is 33.1kg but these studies have remained fairly inconclusive due to the difficulty of finding a population that does not consume or is largely free from any sugar consumption.

Studies are mainly inconclusive and can even be deceptive depending largely on who carried them out. Be it independent sponsors or even funded by the sugar industry.

 

Sugar intake – recommendations

The World Health Organisation has a recommendation that free sugar consumption should be reduced to 10% of the total daily energy intake.

They also state that a reduction to less than 5% of energy intake brings additional health benefits especially in dental health.

The daily average energy consumption by an adult, due to sugars is 260 calories that equates to a large chunk of the recommended daily allowance of calories for an average healthy, physically active adult, which is 2000 for women and 2500 for men.

The UK government recommends that no more than 5% of the daily energy (calories) intake of an adult should be made up of free or added sugars, this is 30g of added sugar or seven sugar cubes.

For children aged 4 – 6 the figure is 19g and 24g for children aged 7 – 10.

 

The various labels for sugar

Sugar is the name given to the sweet, short chain, soluble carbohydrate that is found in the tissue of most plants but is extracted from the sugar beet and sugar cane plant as these have sufficient concentrations for extraction.

quitting sugar

But in the food industry sugar is shown on labels under many different names such as :-

  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn sugar
  • Molasses
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Isoglucose
  • Levulose
  • Maltose

So when buying ready-made items be aware of what is on the label! The higher up the list of ingredients that sugar sits, the more that exists in the product.

Ingredients contained in the product are listed in order of weight, so the main ingredient will be listed first, so the lower down the list the sugar contents are the better.

 

A guide to how much sugar

As a guide, high sugar content is more that 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of food and low is 1.5 grams per 100 grams of food.

So a good way of knowing what percentage of the product you are buying is sugar is to use the 100g section of the nutritional information. If the product states that it has 7g of sugar, then that product is 7% sugar.

Unfortunately as sugar is a food preserver most shop bought products will contain some sugar of sorts.

Be aware that not all healthy food products are as healthy as they say they are. Foods labelled low-fat or low in sugar can often contain lots of artificial sugars.

And products you may think are good for you like fruit juices and smoothies can actually contain more sugar per 100ml that some of the fizzy drinks brands on the market!

So make sure you control your portions, the smaller the better.

 

Cutting out sugar – is a no sugar diet possible?

So what happens if we cut sugar from our diet altogether?

sugar withdrawal

Firstly we would like to stress – always take medical advise before embarking on a dramatic change to a diet. If you need medical advise you MUST seek that from your doctor.

Cutting out sugar altogether from our daily diet can have dramatic effects on our bodies based on the number of years we have eaten sugar and the amount consumed.

Gaining a sugar-free diet is not easy to achieve but any steps you can take to get a little closer to that will benefit your health in the long run.

 

Withdrawal symptoms from a sugar-free diet

The possible withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced and which can vary in intensity and severity in the individual are:

Appetite: An increase in cravings for carbohydrates. Changes to the amount of food required could be more or could be less but this should balance out.

Anger: Irritability and anger could be experienced if you go “cold turkey” and withdraw sugar with no cutting down the amount consumed slowly. Dopamine the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure in the brain may be influenced by the cutting out of sugar, as the stimulation is not the same.

Sleep: Sleep can be affected in the withdrawal period due to the changes in energy levels and mood. Insomnia can result from a change to the sleep pattern. So consider relaxation exercise’s.

Shaking: The “cold turkey method of cutting sugar consumption can cause some people to experience “the shakes”. This symptom should subside as the body adjusts. It is experienced in the person who had a high sugar consumption before cutting sugar altogether.

Weight: A loss of weight is generally attributed to the removal of unhealthy foods and sugar rich drinks from the diet.

headache from sugar withdrawal

Headaches: The cause of headaches experienced when sugar is removed from the diet is the detox of the sugar from your body, as refined sugar is a toxin.

Mood: Mood can change when sugar is removed from your diet, minor depression, negativity and anxiety can be experienced as the body adjusts to the removal of sugar, but after a short time the brain will adjust.

Dizziness: Most people will not feel dizzy when sugar is removed from the diet, but in extreme case of withdrawal dizziness can be experienced.

Fatigue: As sugar can provide short-term bursts of energy when it is removed altogether a feeling of lethargy and general fatigue can be experienced in the first weeks of withdrawal. Once the first couple of weeks have passed energy levels should become normal.

Flu like symptoms: A low grade flu-like symptom is one of the more severe reactions to cutting out sugar from the diet, but everyone is different. If this is experienced it should subside after several days.

Cravings: One of the more obvious effects of removing sugar from the diet is the craving of it. These cravings can become intense and difficult to ignore. But by removing the sugar substances from sight and remaining strong and focused eventually the cravings will subside.

 

Withdrawal from sugar

There is no exact time for sugar withdrawal, it is dependent on the sensitivity of the person and the drop in dopamine levels and adjusting to doing without and craving sugar.

The length of the withdrawal period is variable for some they just feel better in a few days whilst others take up to a month to feel completely detoxified.

blueberries

To help in this withdrawal period it is recommended to consume lean protein, fruits like blueberries and apples and for extra nutrients eat nuts.

If you have been a drinker of sugary soda/ energy drinks caffeine withdrawal could be fairly large.

 

Beginning to remove sugar from your diet

Removing sugar from a daily diet has been tried by a number of people and their experiences are on-line for you to read but here are a few of their findings…

After the initial detox, the majority of people found their cravings for the sweet stuff disappeared after 4 weeks. They also found…

  • They had clearer skin
  • Their mood stabilized
  • Sleep improved
  • Craving for sweet foods diminished
  • Loss of body fat
  • Levels of energy improved
  • All round improvement in well–being and happiness
  • General weight loss
  • Improvement in asthma condition
  • Eating patterns adjusted and the urge to continuously eat disappeared

 

There are lots of sites to be found on the internet and books on sugar free diets that provide helpful advice and recipes for cutting out sugar from your diet.

But one thing is for sure, the cutting down and eventual removal of free sugar from the diet can only be a good thing.

By removing one serving a day of a carbonated beverage a weight loss of 1.1lb in six months can be achieved. That might not sound like much but most people have more than one sugary drink a day.

 

Head towards a sugar-free diet (Free sugars)

The complete removal of sugar from the diet is dramatic and if you feel that this is not for you try a more subtle approach by following a simple and slow sugar-free diet plan like the one below:

  • Stop using shop bought jars of sauces and dressings and cook fresh sauces where you are in control of the ingredients
  • Go for water or lower fat milks or no added sugar drinks. Limit the unsweetened fruit juice (150ml a day) as this still contains high amounts of sugar
  • If your preference is a fizzy drink add sparkling water to fruit juice
  • Reduce the amount of sugar that you take in your tea or coffee
  • Same goes for your breakfast cereal, reduce the amount of sugar you add until you can cut it out altogether
  • Instead of honey or jam on your toast, slice a banana or use a low-fat cream cheese
  • In your recipes, half the amount of sugar, it works for most recipes
  • Buy and eat unsweetened yogurt
  • Check those labels, pick the ones with less added sugar
  • Pick whole grain cereals not the ones coated in sugar or honey
  • Choose the tinned fruit that is in juice and not the syrup ones
  • Reduce intake of high glycemic fruits such as bananas, grapes, cherries and mango

Sugar occurs naturally in fresh milk and fruit and these sugars do not need to be removed from our diets.

It is the free sugars (not to be confused with “total sugars” that you will see on food labels) that are added to cakes, biscuits, chocolate and some juice and fizzy drinks.

One can of cola contains up to nine cubes of added sugar.

Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in most foods, the main value of these foods is to provide energy but sugar (free sugar) is added to lots of foods and these contain lots of calories and very few nutrients so have little benefit to the diet, so choose wisely what you eat.

 

A quick roundup

For a quick & easy roundup, we’ve put together an infographic of this article, please feel free to share…

(click on image to see full size pdf)

We only ask you please include attribution to https://www.calmhappyhealthy.com/ with this graphic.

guide to a sugar free diet infographic

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Share you experiences of quitting sugar

Have you tried cutting out sugar?  if so what was your experience? Have you got close to a sugar-free diet?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

 

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Why carry on exercising outdoors in Winter?

That’s a great question! It’s hard to think about the benefits of exercise when it’s cold, wet and probably dark so it’s understandable you’re thinking why on earth would I want to go out and exercise in this.

However, once we’ve shown you the huge benefits of exercising outdoors in the cold we think you’ll be whipping on your running gear before you can say ‘Wow it’s cold’.

Just make sure you don’t forget to warm up and do your stretches before and after!

 

Get our free 20 min warm up exercise routine infographic. Print, hang up and work out to….

(please click on image to view full size pdf)

20 min work out

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5 benefits of exercise you’ll get when it’s cold

We’ve listed 5 great reasons why you’ll reap the benefit of exercise in the winter months if you carry on doing it outdoors .

It does not have to be running just as good for you would be a long walk, this way you can stay wrapped up and warm and still get your heart pumping.

Or why not try cycling, fast walking or if you’re in the right location how about a winter sport like snowboarding (you don’t have to be near mountains with plenty of dry slopes available.

 

1.  You’ll burn more calories

Go for a walk even when the weather is really cold – your body has to work overtime to regulate its core temperature and you may burn up to 50% more calories than you would on the same walk in summer!

But remember, go a little slower until you get warm and keep up the hydration.

benefits of exercising outdoors this winter

 

2. Elevate your mood and become invigorated

Your level of endorphins increases the harder the body has to work, so you should be left with a stronger sense of happiness after working out in the cold.

 

3. Boost Vitamin D levels

If you can get out during the daylight hours and it’s sunny then you’ll benefit just as much from winter sun as summer sun when it comes to boosting your Vitamin D levels.

 

4. Strengthen your heart and lungs

The cold air makes the heart work harder to pump the blood through your veins, strengthening it.

 

5. Make spring exercise easier!

By exercising in the cold winter days and nights your endurance performance will increase meaning when spring arrives exercise should feel that little bit easier.

 

Make sure you warm up, stretch and wear the right clothing

It’s essential to make sure you perform full warm-up and cool-down routines, the former to keep your internal body temperature elevated, and the latter to reduce unnecessary tightness than can be brought on by a chill in the air.

Here’s a video from Psychetruth showing how to do full body stretches for beginners…

 

Here’s examples of some of the stretches included, for full regime please watch the video above

1. Start with the neck muscles first forward and back then left to right.

benefits of exercise
Neck Stretches by Donnie – courtesy of psychetruth

 

2. Hold you knees and feel your shoulder stretch by putting all of the weight in your hands

benefits of exercise
Shoulder Stretches by Donnie – courtesy of psychetruth

 

3. Move from Left to right and back again with arms held out high for Rib isolations

benefits of exercise
Rib Isolations by Donnie – courtesy of psychetruth

 

4. A Flat back stretch

benefits of exercise
A Flat back stretch by Donnie – courtesy of psychetruth

 

Wear the right clothing

The right clothes when exercising outdoors in winter are essential –  they must assure thermal protection without overheating.

Up-to-date research recommends using three layers of clothing which create two successive air layers…

1st layer –  for the ones that’s touching the skin, avoid cotton. Synthetic fabrics such as Gore-tex, Polypropylene and Lycra are best – they do not retain perspiration and do not transform themselves into cold wet compresses for the chest and back, here’s a great example.

2nd layer –  warmer materials such as wool or fleece can be used

3rd layer – the fabric for the last layer has to be water and windproof. Gore-Tex is a fabric used widely for providing protection from the rain and wind. Something along the lines of this breathable Karrimor would fit the bill plus it’s nice and bright for safety.

Give special attention to protecting the head, neck and hands. Especially the head with a hat made of the same types of fabric as the 1st layer: scientific studies have proved that the skull allows the greatest heat loss.

For protecting the neck, it is good to wear polo necks or scarves made of the same material as the clothing’s last layer.

Avoid wearing several pairs of cotton socks does, too as they forbid eliminating the perspiration.

 

Make sure you also…

1. Beware of Ice!  Let’s make sure you reap the benefits of exercise without doing yourself harm.

2. Make sure you hydrate before, during and after your workout – cold as well as heat tends to dehydrate

 

If these recommendations are respected, we can not only train and reap the benefits of exercise during the cold season we can also LOVE doing it!

And if you really just cannot bring yourself to exercise outdoors this winter, why not book yourself a Fitness break to somewhere warm?

 

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Can you drink alcohol AND be healthy?

It is upon us again, the season of festivities and parties where alcohol flows freely, so the question arises can we drink and be healthy? We look into this and compile 7 healthy alcoholic drinks recipes for you to try out.

Orange in drink

It is a known fact that too much alcohol can have disastrous results, an unpleasant hang over, blackouts to more serious life threatening diseases.

And at the very least, regretting your actions the next day.

Ethanol (alcohol) is the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, this is the ingredient that makes you drunk and is produced when the yeasts digests the sugar contained in grapes or grains

The alcohol consumed by us is then metabolized by the liver.

Over time, consuming too much alcohol can result in an increase of fats in the liver cells, which in turn means the liver cannot function efficiently.

 

So can we still have a good time without a risk to our body?

Alcohol, even a small amount is never going to be good for you.

However in moderation and if you are sensible, plus use a few of the tips and ideas below, you should still be able to have some fun, release some tension (which if held in can be just as unhealthy) and keep it as healthy as possible at the same time.

It’s a good idea to mix your alcohol with water or fresh fruit juice (no added sugar) as it is the high sugar content in other normal mixers that makes the body struggle to process all of that sugar.

 

Be careful what you mix

Do not mix spirits, stick to one kind of alcohol per evening. Mixing types of spirits is hard on the head and stomach.

It is wise not to mix the grape (wine) and the grain (beer) but if you do it’s best to start with Beer, then wine.

The clearer spirits are easier on the body, so vodka, light beer and gin are better and have a lower calorific value than whiskey or red wine.

 

Eat a healthy meal before drinking AND the day after!

glass of mineral water
Drink lots of water, before, during & after

If you know you are going to be drinking, eat beforehand. Eating a snack or meal before a drink gives your body time before having to process the alcohol.

The starch or dairy in the meal coats the stomach and helps to prevent nausea and headaches.

Give your liver a rest and have days in between drinking bouts where you have no alcohol at all.

 

The day after

Eat healthily the day after you drink. You might have a hang over but it’s essential to eat healthy food that will replace the lost minerals and vitamins that the drinking depleted, meaning you lost essential nutrients.

Drink water before, during and after drinking alcohol. Dehydration is caused by drinking alcohol as it is a diuretic (the increased production of Urine), so keep yourself hydrated by drinking water in between drinks.

 

Always best to drink less

No one likes to admit that they might be drinking too much and over the festive periods, it’s easy to drink a lot more than you usually might. Just keep it in mind and as we said above, try and break it up a little.

If you really want to have a tipple though, these healthy alcoholic drinks recipes might be just what you need…

 

Some healthy alcoholic drinks recipes

If you are having guests over this festive season try a few of these healthy recipes :

 

1. Pear Rum Punch

If you like Rum this delicious Rum punch recipe from ‘Eating Well‘ will be right up your street! Be a little careful though, as it can pack a punch if you drink too much of it, as the name suggests.

pear rum punch
Image courtesy of ‘Eating Well’

Ripened pears, pureed will make a naturally sweet base for this rum punch.

1 750ml bottle of sparking wine, Prosecco for example.

½ cup dark rum

4 cups of ice

To garnish, thinly slice pears and add pomegranate seeds.

To make the pear puree which is the base for this punch combine three medium ripe pears, chopped and peeled with ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar.

Bring these ingredients to the boil in a medium saucepan.

Simmer over a reduced heat until the pears are soft (about 5 minutes).

Transfer to a blender.

Puree till smooth.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to a day.

 

To make the punch

In a bowl or pitcher mix the puree, rum and sparkling wine.

Add the ice and garnish with pear slices and pomegranate seeds (optional).

Serve over ice or straight.

 

2.Grapefruit Mocktail

grapefruit
Photo courtesy of Health.com

This alcohol-free grapefruit cocktail recipes from Health.com and Bridget Rush is scrummy! Slightly sharp but light & refreshing at the same time.

It could also be used as a mixer for a spirit such as vodka.

3oz Red grapefruit juice

2oz seltzer

3oz cranberry juice

wedge of lime

sprig of mint

In a shaker with ice, mix the grapefruit & cranberry juice .

Pour into a tall glass

Add the 2oz of seltzer.

Add the lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

 

 

3. The Ghost of Christmas Sparkling-Wine Cocktail

christmas
Image courtesy of ‘Eating Well’

A delicious recipe from ‘Eating Well’especially if you like Cinnamon and Honey!

The base is a cinnamon-honey syrup and topped with cranberry.

Prepare the Cinnamon Honey Green Tea syrup:

Boil ¾ of a cup of water in a small saucepan.

After removing from the heat add 6 green tea bags, leaving to steep for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bags and stir in ¾ cup of honey.

After cooling, refrigerate for at least an hour.

Just before serving stir in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

This makes about 1 ½ cups.

(The syrup without the cinnamon can be made up to a week beforehand.)

 

To make an individual cocktail :

1 ounce of the Cinnamon-Honey – Green Tea syrup

1 ½ ounces of vodka

1 ounce of lemon juice

3 ounces of sparkling wine (Prosecco for example)

Ice and fresh cranberries are optional.

 

4. Bloody Mary

This lovely Bloody Mary from Greatist is simple, quick to make and fairly healthy.

bloody mary

¾ cup of low sodium, no added sugar tomato juice

Juice of ½ lemon

Dash of hot sauce

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Fresh Ground Pepper to taste.

1 shot of vodka

Use lemon wedge and celery to garnish

As an optional extra for protein, add a cocktail shrimp.

5. Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

For a warming cheer try this mulled wine recipe courtesy of Eating Well that serves 8.

To a bottle of dry red wine add…

1 cup of water

3 whole cloves

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

2 strips of fresh lemon and orange peel

In a large saucepan add all the ingredients, over a low heat bring to a simmer and them let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

 

6. Low Calorie Pina Colada

A delicious Pina Colada from Fitnessmagazine and low calorie at the same time!

1 ½ ounces cononut flavoured rum

3 ounces pineapple juice

4 ounces sparkling water

1 tbsp Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut Lite

Pour ingredients over ice and stir

low calorie drink
Image courtesy of Fitness Magazine

7. Pomegranate Champagne Punch

punch
Image courtesy of ‘Eating Well’

Our last recipe and another cracker from ‘Eating Well’, and this one can also be made as a non-alcoholic version.

Either version is a lovely drink for that festive toast and the children can be included (Non Alcoholic only of course!).

In a large bowl or pitcher add…

2 cups of champagne, 1 cup of pomegranate juice, 1 cup of Soda Lime Mineral water, ½ cup of Citroen Vodka.

Serve over ice with a twist of lemon.

For the non-alcoholic version make it with 2 ½ cups of soda lime mineral water and 2 cups of pomegranate juice.

 

Enjoy yourself but take care and be healthy!

Most of all, enjoy yourself and remember everything in moderation!

These are just a sample of the healthy alcoholic drinks recipes that are available.

What healthy alcoholic drinks do you enjoy? We’d love you to add more recipes in the comments below…

 

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The health benefits of nuts

We’ve put together a guide covering a variety of the most popular, healthiest nuts available, taking a look at the wide-ranging health benefits of nuts.

Nuts are a very nutritious but underrated healthy snack offering various health and nutritional benefits. They have been linked to weight control, lowering cholesterol and heart health.

They have even been linked to helping lower cancer risk.

However the fat and calorie values are a worry, so as with everything moderation is the key.

 

Fibre, Vitamins & Minerals

A handful (about 30g) of unsalted plain nuts in your diet give you a vitality boosting snack providing protein, fibre, valuable vitamins and minerals as well as unsaturated fats. Avoid nuts covered in salt.

pile of mixed nuts

All nuts contain fibre, fibre makes you feel fuller and helps lower your cholesterol. It can also help with type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented by eating more fiber.

The good fat in nuts, unsaturated fats (mono and poly) is thought to lower cholesterol levels too.

Plant sterols added to foods like orange juice and margarine to help lower cholesterol, is found naturally in some nuts.

 

The healthiest nuts?

So which are the healthiest nuts? They all offer different health benefits so let’s take a look at a few of them….

 

1. Almonds

Almond nuts have extensive health benefits and can be used as a healthy solution for constipation, coughs, anemia and diabetes.

almonds

These nuts are low in carbs but high in protein, fibre and healthy fats so are ideal for diabetics and in helping to manage weight as the fibre and protein are known to increase satiety making you feel fuller thereby eating less.

Almonds give protection to the heart as the skin is full of flavonoids and magnesium helping to lower blood pressure. They also lower the bad cholesterol in the blood.

If dairy foods cannot be tolerated almonds are calcium rich so ensure you get enough of the bone building mineral needed.

Almonds are high in Vitamin E which can help improve the look and condition of the skin and have a big impact on the condition of your hair.

 

2. Walnuts

Walnuts have many health benefits including the improvement in the metabolism and the control of diabetes. These nuts also have anti-inflammatory properties and aid weight management.

walnuts

These nuts are useful in the fight against cancer as walnuts contain a superior antioxidant.

They are also heart friendly as they contain mono-unsaturated fats and studies have shown these help lower bad cholesterol.

Being packed full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; both well known for having weight burning properties, they can be a great snack for mums hoping to  loose a little weight after pregnancy.

Also if you do not like oily fish walnuts are rich in omega-3 so offer a great alternative, plus they taste delicious!

 

3. Hazelnuts

Sweet and nutritious, Hazelnuts are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium these minerals provide many health benefits including blood pressure regulation.

Hazelnuts

Being gluten-free they are an ideal alternative food source for gluten sensitive sufferers.

An excellent source of Vitamin E which is a powerful soluble antioxidant which protects the skin from harmful oxygen free-radicles.

These nuts are rich in a folate that helps keep the levels of the amino acid homocysteine normal. This amino acid has been linked to Parkinsons and heart problems.

The nutty aroma of hazelnut oil is used for cooking as well as a carrier oil in aromatherapy massage.

 

4. Cashews

Crunchy and delicately sweet, cashews have the lowest fibre content of any nut but are a good source of protein and iron and zinc minerals.

cashews

Cashews are ideal for vegetarians as a handful a day provide enough minerals to prevent deficiency disease.

Cashews are rich in heart friendly mono-unsaturated fats and help to lower harmful cholesterol.

Age related memory loss is improved by the levels of the mineral magnesium contained in cashews.

The nut butter made from cashews is delicious on crackers or bread.

 

5. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts have been used by native Amazonians for a long time providing them with proteins, fats and essential nutrients. For anyone who has celiac disease brazil nuts are gluten-free and are used in the preparation of gluten-free foods.

brazil nut

Selenium, the mineral which is ideal for anyone suffering from low thyroid function is contained in brazil nuts, this mineral also supports body immunity, helps to prevent coronary artery disease and cancers. It also helps to heal wounds.

Three to four brazil nuts a day give you all the selenium required by the body.

Brazil nut oil is extracted from these nuts and is used not only as a cooking oil but also as a carrier oil for aromatherapy massage oil, with its emollient properties helping to protect the skin from dryness.

 

6. Pecan Nuts

Richly flavoured Pecan nuts are one of the most popular edible tree nuts, they are rich with many nutrients that are essential to your health so by adding a handful of pecan nuts to your diet, it will help give you sufficient levels of minerals, protein and vitamins.

pecan nuts

Plant sterols are packed into Pecans, compounds that effectively lower cholesterol levels.

They are rich in antioxidants that prevent the hardening of the arteries.

They contain the healthy fats that are contained in olives and avocado, this is called Oleic acid.

Pecans are also a good source of vitamin B so help us fight fatigue as this vitamin helps the body access the energy in our foods.

 

7. Chestnuts

No only do Chestnuts have the lowest fat and calorie content out of all of these nuts but they also have a number of important health benefits they help to manage diabetes, help boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

chestnuts

Chestnuts are high in starchy carbs and fibre and raw chestnuts are a good source of vitamin C.

Other nuts have higher protein contents than that of chestnuts but they do have B vitamins including B6.

For people on a gluten-free diet flour made from ground chestnuts can be included in their diets for cakes etc.

 

8. Pistachios

Recognised for their wholesome nutrition properties pistachio’s have good sources of proteins, fats and minerals.

Pistachios

B6 is important for keeping hormones balanced and pistachios are rich in this vitamin as well as the important B-complex vitamin group.

The antioxidants that protect eyes, lutein and zeaxanthin are contained in pistachios, the only nut to contain these antioxidants.

Research suggests that these and other anti oxidant compounds contained in pistachios may help reduce the free–radicles in the body protecting the body from cancers, infections and disease.

A serving of 30g of these nuts contain three times more fibre and potassium than the same weight of plums.

Pistachio oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils, having a pleasant nutty aroma. It can also be used as a carrier oil used in massage therapy’s.

 

9. Macadamia Nuts

Sweet and delicious these nuts are a rich source of fibre but are high in calories and fat, supplying good levels of the mono-unsaturated fats, which are heart friendly.

macadamia nuts

One of the most popular, edible nuts packed with the health benefiting minerals, magnesium, potassium, selenium and calcium which are essential for wellness.

Very useful in savory recipes this nut is gluten-free but only buy in small amounts and store carefully as these nuts can go rancid!

 

10. Pine Nuts

A sweet and scrummy nut, pine nuts are small edible seeds that are crunchy and butter textured. They come from the female cone of a pine tree.

pine nuts

Pine Nuts are one of the gluten-free tree nuts and like a few of the other nuts mentioned above, they are a fantastic source of vitamin E.

They are also packed full of calories with 100 g of dry-kernels providing around 673 calories mainly coming from fats, mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid which has been known to help with lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good  cholesterol at the same time.

They have numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and are a great source for vitamin B.

One of the best sources of manganese, which helps with the bodies resistance against infectious agents and oxygen-free radicals which are harmful, this wonderful nut also supplies us with high amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc and selenium.

 

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How can bamboo help save the planet?

Can Bamboo really offer mankind a sustainable future and help save the planet? We thought these questions were well worth looking into…

Bamboo is extremely hardy and can grow in tropical and temperate zones from sea level up to 12000 feet above. It was one of the only plants to survive after the atomic blast in Hiroshima!

With plastic waste becoming a huge problem and forests disappearing at an alarming rate, now really is the time for mankind to look for a more sustainable option and we think Bamboo is the perfect alternative.

 

Some facts about Bamboo

bamboo forest

Research in Japan has shown that bamboo can absorb up to 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year, producing 35% more oxygen that the same area of trees, which means this plant can be crucial when it comes to stabilizing the earth’s atmosphere.

Soil damaged by over grazing and adverse agricultural practices can be repaired by planting bamboo with its root network helping to prevent soil erosion.

With more that 1500 species of bamboo growing at different levels and habitats it has been used for more that 4000 years by humans for numerous purposes including paper, medicine, food, weapons and construction.

Even Edison used a bamboo fiber as a filament in his light bulb as it conducted an electrical current that lasted more that 1200 hours, better that any other material of the 1880’s. So can it help save the planet?

 

What can Bamboo be used for?

Once we started to look further into this question it started to become clearer that the answer was, ‘Just about anything!’

 

A man is born in a bamboo cradle and goes away in a bamboo coffin. Everything in between is possible with bamboo.

 

Flooring

In the Western world the uses of bamboo have previously been limited to items such as garden canes, conservatory furniture and fishing rods but this is now changing.

When layers of bamboo are glued together it becomes an alternative to wood and when used for flooring it is very eco-friendly, durable and shrink resistant and also as hard as most oak flooring.

 

Houses

When it comes to building it’s not just flooring that bamboo is good for. As this video shows, in countries like Indonesia they are already making houses, factories and other large-scale buildings purely from bamboo.

This video with Elora Hardy and her forward thinking sustainable construction company called Ibuku is a fantastic example of how strong, flexible, durable and adaptable bamboo really is and how ideas like this can help us all save the planet…

 

Clothing

Bamboo can be made into a very strong and durable fabric, this fabric can then be used to make a variety of clothing from activity wear to scarf’s and gloves.

It is breathable, antibacterial (so odour resistant), absorbent and fast drying. The thermal control of bamboo clothing keeps you more comfortable than cotton or polyester clothes, so is perfect for exercising.

For allergy prone and sensitive skin bamboo clothing is perfect as it is anti-static.

For the sun sensitive clothing made from bamboo is ideal as it cuts out over 97% of the harmful UV rays.

 

Reusable Bamboo Kitchen Towel & Tissue paper

Another fantastic use on this wonderful plant can be found in reusable kitchen towel & toilet paper. A great example is this Ecoegg kitchen towel that can be used up to 85 times! So saving paper waste from throw away paper kitchen towel that can only be used once.

 

Fabrics

The extremely soft fabric made from bamboo fiber blends not only have antibacterial properties but also are naturally antifungal, hypoallergenic and deodorizing.

So the fabric is ideal for towels, wash cloths, dish cloths and bath mats.

Oriental rugs often use mango wood in the process, buying a rug made from bamboo will help to save precious trees.

 

Musical Instruments

bamboo flute

The light durable qualities of bamboo when finely crafted make beautiful wind instruments.

The most well known example is probably a flute but this amazing plant can also be used to make other instruments such as drums or didgeridoos.

Believe it or not there are also headphones and speakers made of bamboo which produce a very rich natural sound.

Bamboo Brushes

A wide range of brushes are made from bamboo wood rather than traditional wood. They make extremely good bath brushes, skin and nail brushes, bamboo toothbrushes, hair brushes and combs.

They also work very well for pet brushes, basically anything that has a wooden handle can be swapped for bamboo and go a little way to help preserving forests around the world.

 

Beauty Products

Finely milled bamboo powder is used in skincare products which exfoliate the skin. The smooth grains are rich in essential minerals so is ideal for using on sensitive skin.

Bamboo sap is derived from the stalks of the bamboo plant and this sap is very hydrating so is used to aid skin regeneration, skin quality, making it smoother and stronger.

The sap is rich in amino acids and minerals so valuable in medicinal healing of the skin.

 

Food

Bamboo skin has antioxidant properties and this prevents bacterial growth and can be used as a natural food preservative.

bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots are used in Asian foods. There is even a bamboo beer, which is a blend of hops, malt and bamboo.

 

Fuel

In China and Japan this plant has been used to make charcoal for cooking, this process has been done for centuries.

A by product of this charcoal process is pyroligeous acid which contains 400 different chemical compounds and has many purposes which includes in cosmetics, deodorants, insecticides and food processing.

Medicine

black bamboo

Ingredients from the shoots of the black bamboo have helped to treat kidney disease in China.

Cancer and venereal disease has also been treated with the root and leaves.

It has been reported that water from its side leaves have effectively treated bone disease in Indonesia.

Kitchen utensils

Bamboo is harder than maple so is perfect for cutting boards. Bamboo kitchen utensils are long lasting and durable, they are stain and odor resistant and easy to clean.

Bamboo cooking utensils will not scratch non-stick pans and they are inexpensive to buy.

To keep your utensils in good condition oil occasionally especially if they are washed a lot but when the useful life of your bamboo equipment is finished they are 100% biodegradable.

 

Mobile Phone Cases

In recent months bamboo phone cases have started to appear on the market and it seems like a no brainer to us. Tough, durable and eco friendly! No better way to protect your phone.

 

Even Bikes!

bamboo bike

Yes you heard us right, bamboo bikes not only exist but are becoming more and more popular. The bamboo is also meant to be naturally flexible enough to act like suspension making it a smoother ride.

 

Everything is possible with Bamboo

Whilst not all bamboo species are suited to all applications as you can see it can make a big contribution to a greener and cleaner environment.

As well as the environment, using bamboo can help save the forests of the world, offering a sustainable future and protect the habitat of animal species who live in them. We think all this goes a long way to helping mankind save the planet.

As you can see this fantastic plant makes a wonderful, sustainable and very useful alternative to wood and plastic.

 

What do you use?

Have we missed anything? please let us know in the comments below if you know or use any other amazing bamboo products…

If you enjoyed this you may also like to read our mammoth 93 Natural Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes article.

 

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8 Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits

Natural Himalayan crystal rock salt was formed in the foothills of the Himalayas millions of years ago. The way that this natural rock salt can clear a room of ions built up over time, due to the amount of electrical devices in our homes is one of the biggest Himalayan salt lamp benefits.

himalayan salt lamp

Scientific research has shown that the amount of negative ions in a room can affect our emotional and physical wellbeing.

The less negative ions surrounding us the worse we feel, with one-third of the population particularly sensitive to negative-ion depletion.

Just remember how good you feel when you visit the seaside or take a walk after a storm this is the effect that negative ions have on our wellbeing.

Cleaner air leading to greater health benefits are made possible by using a Himalayan Salt Lamp in the home or even office.

So there seems to be no reason not to get a salt lamp to sit along side your house plants, both working together to help purify the air in your home. Read more about how house plants help purify the air we breathe at home here.

Asthma and Allergies

A Himalayan Salt Lamp is like having an open window, like a big source of fresh, clean air. You can help gain soft, fresh air in any room you chose to add one.

This is due to the warm salt chunks removing the contamination in the air caused by dust, pollen and cigarette smoke.

By attracting the moisture in the air that contains the contaminates the salt lamp then evaporates the moisture back into the room but keeps the particles of dust and pollen in the warm salt chunk.

asthma

Allergy and Asthma sufferers can benefit from using a HSL as the salt lamp removes the particles of dust, mould, mildew, pet dander from the air in the room and the symptoms that cause allergies should decrease.

Asthma suffers should see benefits after several weeks.

Coughs

Our homes and offices are filled with electronic devices and these give off positively charged ions, which are not good for us.

By breathing lots of positive ions the hairs in the windpipe become sluggish, not working as effectively to keep the airborne particles from the lungs and causing those irritating coughs.

So by using a HSL the positive ions are removed from the air and are replaced by negative ions helping to keep the lungs clear.

 

Sleep Disruption

Research has shown that colour affects our bodies and some doctors advise not to use blue light after sunset as it can disrupt sleep hormones.

Lot of modern light sources are blue such as cell phones, tablets, TVs and computers which all emit blue light.

screens

The warm orange glow of a Himalayan salt lamp is similar to candle glow of a campfire and so makes a great nightlight and does not have a negative affect on sleep.

 

SAD

SAD or seasonal affective disorder affects many people in the northern hemisphere, when the days get shorter many people feel lethargic and depressed.

The warm glow given off by a Himalayan Salt Lamp is close to the warm glow of sunshine so they can relieve the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

 

Concentration and Mood

The lack of negative ions in our bodies affects our concentration and mood. So by using a Himalayan Salt Lamp at the end of the day it can help by adding negative ions to our body which improves blood and oxygen supply to the brain and other organs.

The boost of serotonin can then possibly help to increase happiness and lift your mood.

 

Environmental Light Source

The lamps can use a low-wattage bulb which consume a small amount of energy, some are even powered by a lit candle. This makes them very environmentally friendly.

environmental light bulb

 

 

Electromagnetic Radiation

Our lives are filled with electromagnetic radiation given off by the electronic devices in our homes and offices.

We use cell phones, TVs, computers and other appliances daily and the radiation given off by these device may be invisible but is known to cause chronic fatigue, increase stress levels and decrease the body’s immune response.

So one of the most important Himalayan salt lamp benefits is that it can neutralize the electromagnetic radiation as they emit the negative ions into the air.

By placing the HSL next to your TV or any other electrical device, this will help to reduce the dangers to you and yours.

 

Energy Levels

The invigorating feeling we get when we spend time in the countryside or at a beach can be had by using a HSL to gain Himalayan salt lamp benefits in our home or office.

Keeping an HSL in a room where you spend most of your time will in several weeks make you feel better.

The positive ions are replaced with negative ones and this will improve the constant tiredness we can feel but have no explanation for.

 

Breathe freely

breathe freely

Salt miners rarely suffer from respiratory disorders and it has been proven that the curing properties of salt are the reason for this.

The air we breathe is paramount to our health, well-being and efficiency in our everyday lives.

So getting yourself a Himalayan salt lamp can go a long way to helping you and your family breathe more freely at home in the knowledge ions have been rebalanced and dust has been cleaned from the air.

Your Thoughts…

Do you use a Himalayan salt lamp at home and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

We’d love to know in the comments below…

 

 

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Can’t sleep? Try these natural sleep remedies

Big day tomorrow, interview, exam, vacation? Do you always struggle to sleep the night before a big day? No need to worry as it is perfectly natural. Try these 10 natural sleep remedies to calm those nerves and get a good nights sleep.

Our brains will just not shut down and the more we fail to relax the more stressed we feel leading to a sleepless night, tossing and turning. The trick is to stop, breath, relax and try to be calm, switch the brain off.

Impact of not sleeping

Tired at work

Studies have been carried out into sleep deprivation and the cost to the economy. In the UK 200 thousand working days are lost at a cost of £40 billion.

The calculation is based on the productivity of tired employees or days lost due to absence.

The main impact of sleeplessness is on the person’s health, getting less than six hours of sleep per night could result in an early death.

 

Recent study into sleep deprivation

Marco Hafner a research leader at Rand Europe, recently stated in this study that sleep deprivation influenced not only the health of the individual but also a country’s economy!

For example it states that the UK loses 200,000 working days a year, costing £40bn, no small figure! which is why the report also suggests nap rooms at workplaces and encourages employers to promote the importance of a good nights sleep.

 

Ways to relax

There are many ways of relaxing but the same method does not work for everyone.

Try one or several of these ideas and see if they can help. There are some easy things you can do to make sure you are ready for sleep…

 

1. Reflexology – massage this point

Reflexology dates back thousands of years, a gentle massage technique linked to our inner workings.

With hundreds of touch points all over our bodies, the ancient Chinese created a technique to apply pressure to these points and help cleanse organs, fix illness and improve blood flow.

A touchpoint that can help you sleep better and relieve stress is on the inside of your lower leg, just above your ankle (four fingers above your ankle in fact) and is called the San Yin Jiao spot.  This accupressure point is also very good for relieving menstrual cramps.

Here’s a video to show you where the point is…

 

2. No caffeinated drinks after 5.30

cup of coffee

Try not to drink any caffeinated drinks after 5.30pm in the evening. Instead of the evening coffee have a chamomile tea. There are many blends of herbal tea for sleep problems and stress relief

Also avoid excess alcohol as alcohol may induce a sleepy feeling but this is short-lived and the result is sleeplessness.

 

3. Meditation

Meditation is another good way of calming the mind, listen to soft music and let go of all your thoughts of the day and put plans to the back of your mind while you immerse yourself in the piece of music, thinking of nothing.

This simple chant from Sandra Pawula to aid meditation and relaxation is something well worth trying before bed.

“I say “no” to stress and “yes” to ease” repeat over using mala beads if you have them to help you keep count of the number of repeats that you have set for yourself to complete.

 

4. Read a Calming Book

read a book

Reading a good book is a simple but effective way of relaxing and clearing the mind.

The bedroom should be as dark as possible so the screens of any televisions, laptops, tablets or mobile phones in the room should be turned off.

Or why not try Journaling, to help write everything down from your day and empty the mind.

 

5. Breathing Exercises

Learning and then using some simple breathing techniques is one of the most effective of our natural sleeping remedies if done correctly.

If you do not know any breathing techniques and would like to learn we have an article here that is well worth reading…

8 Breathing exercises to help reduce stress

 

6. Set an Alarm and have faith in it

Alarm Clock

And whatever else, do not watch the clock as this makes us more awake as we have to use a great deal of mental awareness to read the clock.

When you set your alarm clock you are mentally telling yourself that you are allowing yourself maximum rest for those hours, so try and stick by it!

 

7. Make sure it’s dark

The bedroom should be really pitch black dark and also cooler than the rest of the house. Try not to have your heating on whilst you are sleeping as getting hot and sweaty disturbs your sleep.

If you have street lighting outside the bedroom then try heavier curtains or blackout blinds. It is light that triggers the brain into thinking we should be awake, the natural rhythm of our bodies is set by the sun and daylight hours.

 

8. Exercise the day before

Exercise the day before

Make sure you get enough exercise in the day to use up all of your energy.

Gentle yoga exercise’s are a good way of getting the body ready for sleep and make sure you always end with a long relaxation sequence, getting the mind ready for sleep.

 

9. Nice Warm Bath

One of the easiest and most enjoyable of our natural sleep remedies…

Simply to take a nice warm bath using a relaxing scent like lavender or any other calming essential oil. The body is hardwired to think it is bedtime, as the body cools down it is getting ready to sleep.

 

10. Your bed is for sleeping!

Your bed is for sleeping do not confuse your body by spending hours watching videos, reading talking on the phone or surfing the net. These activities just confuse our brains into thinking we should be doing one of these activities and not sleeping.

If you find yourself tossing and turning get out of bed and relax, try meditating, have a warm drink like milk or herbal tea.

Staying in bed in an anxious state makes this place traumatic and not the haven of relaxation it should be.

 

How do you make sure you sleep?

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get to sleep so hopefully the natural sleep remedies above could help you combat the difficulties you might experience occasionally if not every night.

Please do let us know any other natural sleep remedies you use in the comments below.

What do you do to help yourself sleep if tomorrows plans are making you anxious?

 

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Happiness in Life – what is happiness & where does it come from?

First off, it’s worth mentioning, this article is in no way trying to tell you how to be happy or anything as condescending as that! It is more about, us all taking a minute to stop and think, to question… what is happiness? Is there any meaning to it, formula for it or even a type of genetic makeup that leads to true happiness in life?

We have compiled some must watch videos that offer suggestions, ideas and possible answers to those very questions above…

 

Research on Happiness

Here are 6 fantastic, informative and some lighthearted videos to help us all do a little research into Happiness

 

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

 

A Harvard study of 724 men has been carried out over a period of 75 years too find out about their lives.The lessons learned over those years is that good relationships with family & friends make people happier and healthier.

This video talks about loneliness being toxic, how it can make for an unhappy and unhealthy life for some people. You can be surrounded by humans but can still feel lonely.

Relationships are good for us, try to pick up friends and family that you have not spoken to for years, make time for others and let relationships thrive!

 

good relationships crucial for happiness

Want to be Happier? Stay in the Moment – Matt Killingsworth

 

This video touches on the research that has found that when we all allow our thoughts to wander, it can make us unhappy.

By training our minds to keep our thoughts in the present it has been shown we are much happier.

 

Dalai Lama’s guide to happiness

 

We are all the same, by thinking we are something special we make a prison for ourselves.

Warm heartedness and warm smiles make us and others happy. Friendship is essential.

This video really is a wonderful and cheery lesson in happiness and warm smiles!

 

 

The Surprising Science of Happiness – Dan Gilbert

 

Interesting look at what we think will make us happy but when we get them we are still not happy.

This video uses research on happiness to help explain why the brain reacts in this way and how we can find happiness.

 

 

The Happy Secret to Better Work – Shawn Achor

 

A very light-hearted look at the way we are all programmed to aspire to sometimes impossible goals which can lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

By learning to become satisfied with our achievements we can find happiness and keep negativity at bay.

 

The habits of happiness  –  Matthieu Ricard

 

All the trappings of modern life will only bring us a moments pleasure and happiness.

Happiness is a sense of well-being.

All emotions are fleeting, we can train our emotions with mind training.

It takes time but with meditation we can train our minds to deal with destructive emotions by using happy thoughts and visual pictures such as destroying anger in the same way we melt frost.

We need to take time in our busy lives to meditate.

 

Your Turn

We would love to hear of any other great videos you know of and love about Happiness in life and thoughts on ‘What is happiness’.

Please share your thoughts below….

 

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93 natural cleaning recipes

In everyday life we are bombarded by chemicals, they are literally everywhere. In plastic, cosmetics, car fumes and cleaning products. So we decided to look into natural cleaning recipes – homemade natural cleaning products that really work.

Ways to try & help reduce the amount of strong, harmful chemicals we come into contact with everyday.

We knew there were lots of great DIY / homemade cleaning product recipes out there and thought it was about time they were compiled into one big resource…

 

Homemade natural cleaning products for the whole house…

natural cleaning products

We have split the 93 natural cleaning recipes into four main sections

  • Whole House
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Laundry

To try to help you find the recipe / homemade natural cleaning products you are after faster we have also created a contents section below, linking to the main sections and sub sections.

Contents Section

The contents section below is broken down into 4 sections with all sections and sub sections clickable, jumping you directly to the natural cleaning recipes of your choice.

Above each section there is a clickable link to take you back to the top of the page to view this contents section.

 

Section 1.

Whole House Cleaning Products

household cleaners

All purpose cleaners

1. All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

Ingredients List

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1tbsp baking soda
  • 1 litre hot water
  • ½ a lemon

How to make

  1.  Just mix ingredients together for a handy mixture to clean freshen and disinfect around the home.

Thanks to  simplebites.net

 

2. Acid All Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients List

¼ cup Distilled white vinegar

½ tsp liquid detergent

¾ cup Distilled water

22 drops of essential oil of choice.

How to make

  1. Just mix ingredients together in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Spray generously and wipe using a clean cloth.

All purpose homemade natural cleaning products tend to serve many purposes but this all-purpose cleaner is great for cleaning if there is sickness in the home as it deodorizes and naturalizes.

Thanks to  Naturallybubbly.com

 

3. All purpose cleaner

Ingredients List

1 cup of vinegar

2 cups of water

½ lemon

How to make

1. Just mix ingredients together to make a handy general cleaner

Thanks to  Ethicalconsumer.org

 

4. All purpose cleaner

Ingredients List

2tbsp castile soap

Water

10-20 drops Tea Tree oil

How to make

  1. In a 32oz spray bottle fill with water to about 2 inches below the fill line.
  2. Add 2 tbsp castile soap
  3. Add an essential oil you like such as tea tree, peppermint or citrus.10 -20 drops
  4. Shake gently to mix.

Thanks to  Liverenewed.com

 

5. All purpose cleaner

Ingredients List

Herb infused distilled white vinegar

Herbs that have disinfecting qualities are orange, grapefruit or lemon peels, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary or pine needles.

Distilled white vinegar

Essential oil of choice for cleaning purposes Lemon, Orange, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Pink Grapefruit and Eucalyptus are good.

1 Spray bottle

How to make

  1. To ½ a cup of the dried herbs add 11/2 cups of the distilled white vinegar in a clean airtight jar. Leave this solution for about 2 weeks shaking the jar every couple of days
  2. Strain this infusion through a fine mesh sieve or a coffee filter into the spray bottle using a funnel.
  3. To this strained liquid add 1 cup distilled white vinegar. This increases the potency of the cleaning power of this spray
  4. Add the essential oils drop by drop 30 to 50 drops in all and can be a mixture of oils eg: lemon, tea tree and rosemary, so 10 to 15 drops of each.

This cleaner is one of those great natural cleaning recipes that will keep for months and clean and disinfect your bath, sink and counter tops.

Thanks to  Crunchybetty.com

 

6. All purpose cleaner

Ingredients List

1 Quart warm water.

4 tbsp baking soda.

How to make

  1. Mix the ingredients together.
  2. Pour solution onto a clean cloth or sponge.

This cleaner is ideal for the counters in the kitchen or bathroom also the inside of the fridge and your kitchen appliances.

Thanks to  Goodhousekeeping.com

 

Window cleaners

7. Window Cleaner

Ingredients List

3 tablespoons white vinegar

3 litres water

How to make

1. Just mix ingredients together in a spray bottle.

Thanks to  Ethical Consumer

 

8. Window Cleaner

Ingredients List

1/4 cup of white vinegar

2cups warm water

1 tbsp of corn starch

How to make

1. Just mix ingredients together using a sponge to apply or put ingredients in spray bottle.

Dry and buff with crumpled newspaper.

The addition of corn starch is an effective addition.

Thanks to  crunchybetty.com

 

9. Window Cleaner

Ingredients List

120ml of White or Apple Cider Vinegar

240ml of Water

120ml rubbing alcohol (70% concentration)

1-2 drops of Orange essential oil. This helps give the solution a pleasant aroma.

How to make

1. In a spray bottle mix the ingredients.

2. Use by spraying ingredients onto a cloth

Thanks to Anglianhome.co.uk

10. Window Cleaner

Ingredients List

½ cup distilled white vinegar

½ tsp Dish soap or detergent

2 cups distilled water

A few drops of essential oil (Lemon is good with vinegar).

How to make

1. In a spray bottle mix the ingredients.

2. Spray the glass and clean with your squeegee.

Great to use for cleaning your car windows.

Thanks to naturallybubbly.com

 

Disinfectants

11. Disinfectant 

Ingredients List

16oz water

3tbsp liquid Castile soap

30 drops tea tree oil

How to make

1. In a spray bottle mix the ingredients.

2. Use by spraying ingredients onto a cloth.

Thanks to imperfecthomemaker.com

 

12. Disinfectant 

Ingredients List

½ cup vodka or alcohol

½ cup water

15 drops Lavender oil

15 drops Rosemary oil

15 drops Eucalyptus oil

25 drops Wild Orange essential oil

Glass spray bottle

How to make

1. In the glass spray bottle mix the ingredients.

2. Always shake the bottle before and during use.

Other oils that can be used in this spray are tea tree, lime, thyme or lemongrass.

Thanks to thegreenbacksgal.com

 

Dusting Sprays

13. Dusting Spray 

Ingredients List

2 cups water

1tbsp Castile liquid soap

15 drops Lemon essential oil

How to make

1. In a spray bottle mix the ingredients by shaking gently.

2. Use by spraying ingredients onto a cloth and wipe down surfaces to dust.

Thanks to liverenewed.com

 

14. Dusting Spray 

Ingredients List

¾ cup water

1tbsp Olive Oil

30 – 40 drops lemon essential oil like Lemon, Orange or Clove oil

2 tbsp vodka (or white vinegar)

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp liquid glycerine

1.4 tsp Xanthan gum

½ tsp emulsifying wax melted

How to make

1. In a blender put the water, vodka, glycerin, white vinegar and essential oil, run blender on high to mix.

2. With the motor still running add the xanthan gum and the melted emulsifying wax. Keep the blender mixing for a further 10 – 15 seconds until the mixture is slightly thickened.

3. Pour into a spry bottle and use weekly.

This mixture will last up to 3 months.

Thanks to nourishingjoy.com

 

15. Dusting Spray 

Ingredients List

¾  cups Olive Oil

¼ cup Distilled white vinegar

30 – 40 drops lemon essential oil if used try Orange, Lemon or Clove.

How to make

1. In a spray bottle mix the ingredients and shake vigorously.

2. Use by lightly spraying the mixture onto the furniture and then rub over with a dry soft cloth.

Thanks to nourshingjoy.com

 

Foaming Hand Soap

16. Hand soap 

Ingredients List

Soap dispenser

Castile soap (Peppermint or plain)

Distilled water

Essential oil (Peppermint or Tea Tree)

How to make

1. Mix ¼ part castile soap to ¾ part distilled water.

2. Add the essential oil of choice (tea tree for disinfection or peppermint with the peppermint soap)

3. Pour mixed ingredients into soap dispenser. (try to get a foaming soap dispenser)

Thanks to thehumbledhomemaker.com

 

Glass Cleaners

17. Glass Cleaner 

Ingredients List

¼ cup white vinegar

1tbsp corn-starch

2 cups warm water

How to make

1. Mix ingredients in spray bottle shaking well as the cornstarch can settle.

2. Spray onto glass or mirror.

Thanks to  crunchybetty.com

 

18. Glass Cleaner  (Alvin Corn)

Ingredients List

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup white rubbing alcohol

1tbsp corn-starch

2 cups warm water

How to make

1. Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well as the cornstarch can settle.

Not mixing the ingredients well can cause a blockage to the spray.

Thanks to crunchybetty.com

 

19. Glass Cleaner  

Ingredients List

½ cup white vinegar or cider vinegar

¼ cup white rubbing alcohol

1 – 2 drops Orange essential oil (optional but does gives a fresh fragrance)

2 cups water

How to make

  1. Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray onto a soft cloth and the window or glass.

Thanks to goodhousekeeping.com

 

20. Strong Glass Cleaner  

Ingredients List

1 cup rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)

1tbsp clear non-sudsing ammonia

1 cup water

How to make

  1. Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well.

Great for cleaning those dirty windows.

Thanks to hgtv.com

 

Air Fresheners

21. Air Freshener  

Ingredients List

1 & 1/2 cups of water

½ cup white vinegar

12- 15 drops of a pure essential oil like Lemon, Orange, Lavender or Grapefruit (or a preferred scent)

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well.

A stronger version can be made, by using a higher ratio of vinegar to water and using extra drops of essential oil.

Thanks to www.keeperofthehome.org

 

22. Air freshener  

Ingredients List

4 tbsp natural fabric softener or eco-friendly

Water

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Put all ingredients in spray bottle and add the water.

Simple and easy to make but an effective air freshener

Thanks to keeperofthehome.org

 

23. Air freshener  

Ingredients List

1 tbsp vodka

11/4 cup water

4 tbsp dried basil

5 drops Lemon essential oil

16oz. Spray bottle

Coffee filter

Funnel

How to make

  1. In a pan bring ½ cup water to the boil.
  2. Add the 4 tbsp of dried basil to the boiled water to steep.
  3. In another pan add ¾ cup of water to boil.
  4. Line the funnel with the coffee filter and put the funnel into the spray bottle.
  5. Pour the basil water into the funnel making sure the coffee filter catches the basil.
  6. Remove the filter then pour the second pot of boiling water, vodka and essential oil into the funnel.
  7. Put the top of the spray bottle on and shake to mix..

Thanks to viralnova.com

 

24.  Gel Air freshener  

Ingredients List

Heat Proof jar

4 packs unflavored gelatin

Water

Salt

Food colouring

30 drops of essential oil of choice (if a stronger fragrance is required used more essential oil)

How to make

  1. Clean jar(s).
  2. Boil 1 cup of water.
  3. Pour the gelatin into the boiling water.
  4. Keep whisking so it does not clump.
  5. Once dissolved add 1 cup cold water and tbsp. of salt.
  6. Mix in the colouring and essential oil and stir.
  7. Pour into the jar(s).
  8. Leave overnight to set.

This mixture makes up to a pint so it is preference if you want to make 1 jar or several jars.

Thanks to viralnova.com

 

25.  Essential Oil air freshener  

Ingredients List

4oz blue or brown glass spray bottle (essential oils degrade plastic)

3 fl oz distilled water (a combination of 1.5fl oz of vodka and 1.5 fl oz of distilled water can be used

the alcohol could make the fragrance last longer) NB do not use isopropyl alcohol

6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil

2 drops Tea Tree oil

5 drops Lavender essential oil

5 drops Orange essential oil

How to make

  1. Pour distilled water into spray bottle.
  2. In a well ventilated room and using gloves add the essential oils.
  3. Shake well.

This makes 3 fl oz of natural air freshener, shake well before each use. Do not spray near face, food or furniture. Not to be taken orally or sprayed in excessive amounts as the oils are highly

concentrated so make sure any guests are OK with essential oils.

Other suggested combinations are:

10 drops Sweet Orange essential oil

6 drops Lavender essential oil

4 drops Lemon essential oil

3 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

8 drops Bergamot essential oil

7 drops Lime essential oil

2 drops Rose essential oil

6 drops Lemon essential oil

7 drops Orange essential oil

6 drops Bergamot essential oil

Thanks to verywell.com

 

Room Diffusers

26. Room Diffuser   

Ingredients List

Small vase or small necked bottle.

Baby oil

Essential oil of choice

Bamboo skewers or rattan sticks.

How to make

  1. Pour the essential oil into vase (bottle).
  2. Fill the vase or bottle with the baby oil.
  3. Put the sticks into the mixture.

The oil mixture will diffuse into the room through the sticks.

Thanks to viralnova.com

 

27. Room Diffuser   

Ingredients List

Glass jar with narrow opening  (or reuse a used oil diffuser bottle).

Sticks (can be purchased in high street stores) .

¼ cup carrier oil (eg: Sweet Almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or Safflower oil).

20 – 25 drops of your chosen essential oil.

How to make

  1. Mix the carrier oil and the essential oil in the glass bottle.
  2. Put the reeds sticks into the oil mixture.
  3. The oil will travel up the sticks to fragrance the room.
  4. Turn the sticks every several days to refresh the scent on the sticks.

Some ideas for fragrance combinations:

Bergamot & Patchouli

Cinnamon & Wild Orange

Grapefruit, Lemon & Lime

Lavender & Eucalyptus

Juniper Berry & Lavender

Peppermint & Wild Orange

Lavender, Lemon & Rosemary

Thanks to  Theprairiehomestead.com

 

Carpet Cleaners & Fresheners

28. Carpet Cleaner  

Ingredients List

Baking Soda

How to make

  1. Sprinkle baking soda generously onto carpets.
  2. Leave for 15 minutes
  3. Vacuum

Odor free carpets.

Thanks to thegreenbacksgal.com

 

29. Carpet Cleaner  (Stain remover)

Ingredients List

Distilled white vinegar

How to make

  1. Use vinegar directly onto spot. Stain and odor disappears.

Make sure colour does not bleed from carpet on a test area.

Thanks to thegreenbacksgal.com

 

30. Carpet Cleaner (Stain remover)

Ingredients List

Distilled white vinegar

Water

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in the spray bottle.
  2. Leave for a couple of minutes.
  3. Then using a sponge or soft cloth clean with soapy water.

Thanks to eartheasy.com

 

31. Carpet Cleaner (Heavy duty stain remover)

Ingredients List

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

¼ cup salt

¼ cup borax

How to make

1.Mix ingredients into a paste

2. Rub paste into stain

3. Leave on for a few hours

4. Vacuum off.

Thanks to eartheasy.com

 

32. Carpet Freshener

Ingredients List

½ cup baking soda

20 – 40 drops of essential oil of choice

How to make

  1. Mix baking soda and essential oil in container that has a lid with holes in (a shaker lid).
  2. Let the mixture rest for 24 hours so baking soda takes in the fragrance of the oil.
  3. Sprinkle over carpet and leave for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Vacuum as normal.

Please Note: Do not use Tea Tree oil if you have pets.

Thanks to keeperofthehome.org

 

Moth Repellant

33. Moth Repellant

Ingredients List

Muslin Bags

Dried Herbs (Lavender, Cinnamon, Cloves, Thyme, Spearmint, Rosemary)

Red Cedar Chips

How to make

  1. Put the red cedar chips into the muslin bag.
  2. Blend the herbs, using equal parts.
  3. Add the mixed herbs to the bags.
  4. To settle the herbs in the bags, tap the bag on your counter.
  5. Lastly add the cinnamon stick.
  6. Tie the bags to close and squeeze so the oils are released from the herbs and cedar chips.
  7. Give the bags a squeeze on a regular basis to release the fragrance.

Other insect repellant herbs are ginger, citronella and tansy,

Thanks to  gardenista.com

 

Brass Cleaners

34. Brass cleaner

Ingredients List

Lemon

Fine grain salt

How to make

  1. Using half a lemon.
  2. Sprinkle the fine grain salt onto the surface.
  3. Using the half of the lemon as the scourer rub the brass item all over gently squeezing the lemon as you go round.
  4. The tarnish will go as the abrasiveness of the salt works.

Thanks to  apartmenttherapy.com

 

35. Brass cleaner

Ingredients List

Lemon

1 tsp baking soda

Small bowl

How to make

  1. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the bowl.
  2. Then add the baking soda, this will fizz but it will settle when it is mixed.
  3. Mix into a paste.
  4. Using a soft cloth or your fingers work the paste over the brass.
  5. Rinse off thoroughly making sure there is no paste left.
  6. Buff the brass piece with a clean dry cloth.

Make sure the item is brass before using these cleaners.

Thanks to  apartmenttherapy.com

 

 

Section 2.

Kitchen Cleaning Products

kitchen cleaners

Natural cleaning recipes for the Kitchen…

Antiseptic Cleaning Clothes

36. Antiseptic Cleaning Clothes

Ingredients List

Squares of cotton cloth (Old T-shirt or cotton sheets)

Container (re-use an old wipe container)

1 cup water

¼ cup white vinegar

8-10 drops Lemon essential oil

8-10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

5-7 drops Tea Tree essential oil

How to make

1. Roll cotton squares at an angle so when a square is removed the next one is ready. If you reuse a baby wipe box there is no need to roll.

2. Mix the ingredients together and pour over cotton squares.

3. Wash the used wipe in the normal way ready to use again when making another batch of disinfecting cleaning cloths.

Thanks to  liverenewed.com

 

37. Antiseptic Cleaning Clothes

Ingredients List

Squares of cotton cloth (Old T shirt or cotton sheets)

Container (re-use an old wipe container)

1 cup water

2 tbsp castile soap

8- 10 drops tea tree essential oil

How to make

1. Roll cotton squares at an angle so when a square is removed the next one is ready. If you reuse a baby wipe box there is no need to roll.

2. Mix the ingredients together and pour over cotton squares.

3. Wash the used wipe in the normal way ready to use again when making another batch of disinfecting cleaning cloths.

Thanks to  liverenewed.com

 

Floor Cleaners

38. Floor cleaner

Ingredients List

2 gallons water

¼ cup lavender castile soap

A few drops of essential oil such as Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint or Eucalyptus.

How to make

1. In a bucket mix ingredients.

Any floor can be cleaned with this solution.

Thanks to  liverenewed.com

 

Dishwashing Detergent

39. Hand Dishwashing detergent

Ingredients List

1/8 cup water

½ cup castile soap

4 drops of essential oil such as lemon, or orange.

1 tsp white vinegar

How to make

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in an old dish detergent bottle.
  2. Use as normal for hand washing dishes.

Thanks to  thehumbledhomemaker.com

 

40. Machine Dishwasher detergent

Ingredients List

1 cup salt

2 cups borax

2 cups of baking soda

How to make

  1. Put the salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the borax and baking soda
  3. Mix with a whisk, make sure all the clumps are removed
  4. Store in an airtight jar
  5. Use two tbsp per wash
  6. Put white vinegar in the rinse compartment

Thanks to  humoroushomemaking.com

 

41. Machine Dishwasher detergent

Ingredients List

8 oz castile soap

1 cup water

2tsp lemon juice

Glass jar with a lid, that holds about a quart.

How to make

  1. Put all the ingredients in the jar and shake.
  2. Use tbsp. of the mixture per wash.
  3. Use white vinegar in the rinse aid compartment.

Thanks to  drkarenslee.com

 

42. Machine Dishwasher detergent

Ingredients List

4 Cups liquid castile soap

1 cup water

1tbsp lemon juice

1 cup white vinegar

1tsp Tea tree oil.

Recycled squirt-top bottle.

How to make

  1. Using a funnel pour the castile soap, the vinegar and the water into the squirt bottle.
  2. Add the tbsp. of lemon juice.
  3. Finally add the tea tree oil, 1 tsp is approx. 7 drops.
  4. Screw the top on the bottle and shake thoroughly.

Keep this mixture in the fridge, using about 2tbsp per load. A 55oz ketchup bottle is ideal for this mixture.

Thanks to  potholesandpantyhose.com

 

43. Dishwasher cleaner

Ingredients List

¼ cup powdered lemon or orange drink.

How to make

Pour this powder into the detergent dispenser, then run the empty machine on a normal cycle.. The powder contains citric acid or citric acid crystals so will help clean the inside of the dishwasher.

Thanks to  goodhousekeeping.com

 

Chopping board Cleaner

44. Chopping board deodorizer

Ingredients List

Salt

Baking soda

Lemon

How to make

  1. Sprinkle the board with baking soda and salt.
  2. Using a mostly squeezed lemon half scrub the board, the mixture will froth.
  3. Concentrate on the stained areas.
  4. Leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Rinse well.

This will clean deodorize and disinfect wooden cutting boards.

Thanks to  crunchybetty.com

 

Grease Cleaners

45. Grease Cleaner

Ingredients List

½ cup of sudsy ammonia

Water

How to make

  1. Mix the water with the sudsy ammonia (sudsy ammonia has detergent in this helps remove grease) in a 1 gallon container.
  2. Dip sponge in the liquid and wipe over surface.
  3. Rinse area with clean water.

This can be used on cooker hoods, grills or greasy floors.

Thanks to  goodhousekeeping.com

 

46. Grease Cleaner

Ingredients List

1 cup of distilled white vinegar

Warm water

Natural liquid soap

1 tbsp baking soda

Essential oil

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. In the clean spray bottle add vinegar, 1 – 2 drops of liquid soap and baking soda.
  2. Fill up the spray bottle with warm water.
  3. Shake bottle vigorously.

Spray onto surface and then wipe with sponge or cloth, clean cloth with water and wipe surface again.

For extra greasy areas mix baking soda with water to make a paste, apply to greasy are and let it dry. Then clean the paste off with a damp clean sponge or cloth.

Thanks to  thekitchn.com

 

Marble Cleaners

47. Marble Cleaner

Ingredients List

1 – 2 drops of mild dishwashing liquid ( not citrus scented)

2 cups warm water

How to make

  1. Mix the water with the dishwashing liquid
  2. Clean the marble surface with a sponge.
  3. Rinse area with clean water to remove soap residue.
  4. Buff with a soft cloth.

Do not let the marble surface air dry.

Thanks to  goodhousekeeping.com

 

Oven, Stove & Crock pot Cleaners

48. Crock Pot Cleaner (Slow Cooker)

Ingredients List

Water

Distilled white  vinegar

How to make

  1. Fill crock pot to 2/3 water
  2. Top it up to ¾ with distilled white vinegar.
  3. Turn unit onto high for a couple of hours let it cook stuck food off.
  4. For stubborn stuck food do again

Thanks to  humoroushomemaking.com

 

49. Oven Cleaner

Ingredients List

2tbsp borax

2 tbsp Castile soap

¼ cup water

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Dissolve the borax in the water.
  2. Stir in the Castile soap.
  3. Pour mixture into the spray bottle.
  4. Spray the bottom of the oven and leave for 20 minutes.
  5. Wipe off.

Use a second application for stubborn stains and an abrasive pad.

Thanks to thegreenbacksgal.com

 

50. Stove Top Cleaner

Ingredients List

Table salt

Baking soda

Water

How to make

  1. Using equal amount of the ingredients.
  2. Mix to a paste.
  3. Use to clean the top of the stove.

Thanks to commonsensehome.com

 

51. Stove Top Cleaner for removal of grease

Ingredients List

4 parts Baking soda

1 part washing soda

How to make

  1. Mix together the ingredients.
  2. Store in a jar with a shaker top.
  3. Use to clean the top of the stove.

Thanks to commonsensehome.com

 

Pots and Pans Cleaner

52. Metal cookware cleaner

Ingredients List

½ cup Baking soda

1 tsp liquid dish soap

1 – 2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide

Scrub sponge.

How to make

  1. Mix together the ingredients in a dish until the consistency of whipped cream.
  2. This mixture is then spread on the pot or pan to be cleaned leaving for several minutes.
  3. Gently use the scrub sponge to remove the stain and make it sparkle.
  4. Clean off with warm water.

Thanks to popsugar.com

 

Sink Cleaners

53. Stainless steel sink cleaner

Ingredients List

Baking soda

White vinegar

Soft sponge.

How to make

  1. In an empty sink sprinkle the baking soda round the sink.
  2. Using the soft sponge in a circular movement scrub the whole of the sink.
  3. Pour the vinegar into the sink, to rinse off the baking soda, this will fizz.
  4. Lightly rub the sink, then, rinse the sink with water.

Thanks to popsugar.com

 

54. Stainless steel Sink rust cleaner

Ingredients List

Baking soda / Cream of tartar

Lemon juice

Soft sponge.

How to make

  1. Mix 1 tbsp of cream of tartar with a few drops of lemon juice to make a paste.
  2. Onto the rust spots smooth this paste on.
  3. Give the paste a hard rub with a soft sponge

For the baking soda recipe make a paste of equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice and scrub stain with a damp sponge. For tougher stains leave on for 15 – 30 minutes and then clean off.

Club soda will clean rust with a soda dampened cloth buff the rust stains.

Thanks to stylemepretty.com

 

Crystal Cleaners

55. Crystal Cleaner

Ingredients List

This Natural cleaning recipe uses Distilled white vinegar

Plastic tub

How to make

  1. Fill plastic tub with vinegar
  2. Put your cloudy crystal into the vinegar.
  3. Leave for 30 minutes.
  4. Wash in mild soap and the air dry.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

Silver Cleaners

56. Silver cleaner

Ingredients List

1 cup white vinegar

1 tsp salt

¼ cup flour

How to make

  1. Mix together the salt, flour and vinegar into a runny paste.
  2. With a soft cloth rub the silver item with the paste.
  3. Leave for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Wash in mild soap and then dry.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

57. Silver cleaner

Ingredients List

1 sheet aluminum foil

Non aluminum dish

1 tbsp baking soda

1 quart hot water

How to make

  1. Line the non-aluminum dish with the foil.
  2. Mix the quart of water with the tbsp. of baking soda.
  3. Leave silver items to be cleaned soaking for half an hour.
  4. Buff the silver items with a clean dry cloth.

For antique silver cleaning contact a silversmith. This method removes the tarnish but could also remove the patina. Do not use on pieces that have a raised design or cemented items.

Thanks to  yankeemagazine.com

 

58. Silver cleaner

Ingredients List

1 cup white vinegar

1 tsp salt

¼ cup flour

How to make

  1. Mix together the salt, flour and vinegar into a runny paste.
  2. With a soft cloth rub the silver item with the paste.
  3. Leave for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Wash in mild soap and then dry.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

59. Silver cleaner

Ingredients List

1 cup white vinegar

1 tsp salt

¼ cup flour

How to make

  1. Mix together the salt, flour and vinegar into a runny paste.
  2. With a soft cloth rub the silver item with the paste.
  3. Leave for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Wash in mild soap and then dry.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

Copper Cleaners

60. Copper cleaner

Ingredients List

Lemon

Course salt

How to make

  1. Cut the lemon in half.
  2. Dip into the course salt.
  3. Rub into the tarnished copper piece.
  4. Squeeze the lemon and dip into the salt again and continue rubbing until tarnish is removed.

Thanks to  organicauthority.com

 

61. Copper cleaner

Ingredients List

Flour

Salt

White vinegar

How to make

  1. Mix together equal parts of flour, salt and white vinegar to form a grainy paste.
  2. Rub this paste all over the copper item using an abrasive scrubber

This method should bring up the heavily tarnished items bright and shiny.

Thanks to  organicauthority.com

 

Section 3.

 

Bathroom Cleaning Products

bathroom cleaners

Homemade natural cleaning products for the Bathroom…

Grout Cleaners

62. Grout Cleaner

Ingredients List

1.75 litre water

80ml lemon juice

60ml vinegar

120ml baking soda

How to make

1. In a bucket or large bowl mix the ingredients together.

2. Apply to the grout and leave for 1 minute.

3. Remove with a scrubbing-brush

Thanks to  anglianhome.co.uk

 

63. Grout Cleaner

Ingredients List

1 part Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)

1 part water

How to make

1. Mix together in spray bottle

2. Saturate grout and wait 45 minutes

3. Sponge down and rinse well.

Thanks to   wellnessmama.com

 

64. Grout Cleaner

Please Note: (Do not use on marble, limestone or travertine tiles as it is acidic)

Ingredients List

Lemons

Baking soda

How to make

1. Mix ingredients to a paste and apply to the dirty grout.

2. Leave to allow the paste to work.

3. Scrub then rinse with warm water.

Thanks to   integrity-tile-and-grout-cleaning.com

 

Soft Scrubs

65. Soft Scrub

Ingredients List

1 tbsp water

¾ cup baking soda

¼ cup of castile soap

How to make

1. In a large bowl mix the ingredients together.

2. Add water and mix until a soft paste like consistency.

3. As it can dry out make in small batches but keep in airtight container. (the amounts should be adequate for up to 4 cleans)

4.  Using a sponge clean bathroom. Can be used to clean the toilet and tiles.

Thanks to

 

66. Soft Scrub

Ingredients List

Storage container to hold 2 -3 cups

1 1/2 cups baking soda

½ cup liquid laundry soap

10 drops tea tree oil (for disinfecting, lavender or rosemary can be used – this ingredient is optional)

How to make

1. In a large bowl mix the ½ cup of laundry soap.

2. Add the ½ cup baking soda.

3. Sir briskly to combine to a cake icing adding a little water if requires to get the correct

consistency. Store in an airtight container, if the mixture becomes too dry add water.

4.Scoop onto a damp cloth and use on sink, bath and taps.

5. Rinse off and use a dry cloth for a gleaming bathroom.

Thanks to  keeperofthehome.org

 

Shower Cleaner

67. Shower Cleaner

Ingredients List

Warm water

2- 3 tbsp natural dish soap

Vinegar

Spray bottle

How to make

1. In a 32oz spray bottle, fill half way with vinegar

2. Add the 2-3 tbsp natural dish soap, this helps remove soap buildup and dirt.

3. Fill the rest of the bottle with warm water

This can be sprayed as a Daily shower spray or used a s a shower cleaner, Spray the shower cleaner a few minutes before getting in the shower and rinse while you are in the shower. Or spray your shower walls after the shower has been used.

Thanks to  liverenewed.com

 

All Purpose Bathroom Cleaners

68. All purpose cleaner

Ingredients List

Glass jars

Citrus fruit peel (orange, lemon, lime)

1 tbsp salt

Vinegar

Distilled water

5 – 10 drops of essential oil (optional)

Spray bottle

How to make

1. Cut citrus peel up and fill the glass container with a tight fitting lid.

2. Add enough salt to the jar to cover the peel; and leave for 20- 30 minutes..

3. Add water and vinegar to jar(1/2 and ½) and let it sit for 2 – 3 weeks.

4. Strain the solution into a spray bottle. Adding the essential oil at this point if you want to.

This is a useful solution for not only the bathroom but the kitchen as well.

This solution can replace the vinegar in the Hand Dish Detergent (see Hand dishwasher detergent)

Thanks to  lexienaturals.com

 

69. Bathroom cleaner

Ingredients List

2tbsp white vinegar  (optional)

½ cup baking soda

½ cup washing soda

½ cup liquid castile soap.

10 drops of peppermint essential oil

10 drops lemon essential oil

25 drops tea tree essential oil

How to make

1. The baking soda, washing soda and liquid soap are mixed together in a medium size container. It should be mushy and pasty

2. The essential oils are then added and mixed thoroughly.

3. The vinegar is optional, but if you do use it add it now, the mixture will fizz but will calm down.

To use scoop out a little with the cleaning sponge and scrub your bath, sink and tops.

Thanks to  crunchybetty.com

 

70. Bathroom cleaner

Ingredients List

2tbsp liquid castile soap or dishwashing soap (optional)

¼ cup baking soda

1/8 cup fine sea salt

1/8 cup lemon juice

White vinegar

How to make

1. Mix all the ingredients using just enough of the vinegar to make a paste.

The amounts for this recipe are just enough for one use. If you increase the amounts to make more it would have to be kept in the fridge. The mixture has salt in so try a little on an inconspicuous area just in case it scuffs any surface.

Thanks to  crunchybetty.com

 

71. Bathroom cleaner

Ingredients List

½ cup vodka

10 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops of lemon essential oil

11/2 cups boiled and slightly cool water

½ cup White vinegar

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Mix all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake gently.
  2. Spray the surfaces and leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Wipe off with a clean cloth.

This mixture will last up to 2 months if it is kept in a cool dark place.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

Toilet Cleaners

72. Toilet cleaner

Ingredients List

½ cup baking soda

1 cup distilled White vinegar

1/2tsp tea tree essential oil

How to make

  1. Add the distilled white vinegar and the essential oil in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the vinegar and oil into the toilet bowl. This should also be used to spray on the toilet seat, lid and handle.
  3. Leave for several minutes,
  4. Sprinkle the inside of the bowl with the baking soda.
  5. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush.
  6. The vinegar solution should be wiped off the toilet seat, handle and lid with a dry cloth

Thanks to  diynatural.com

 

73. Toilet cleaner

Ingredients List

3/4 cup borax

1 cup distilled White vinegar

10 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops lemon essential oil

How to make

  1. Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle or a bowl.
  2. Spray or pour the mixture into the toilet bowl after flushing.
  3. Ideally leave overnight or at least several hours,
  4. Sprinkle the inside of the bowl with the baking soda.
  5. Scrub the toilet bowl with a toilet brush. And flush to rinse.

This is a heavy-duty toilet cleaner and will eliminate odors and leave the bowl sparkling clean.

Thanks to  diynatural.com

 

74. Toilet cleaner

Ingredients List

Baking soda

1 cup distilled White vinegar

How to make

  1. Decant vinegar into a spray bottle
  2. Put baking soda in a shaker top jar.
  3. Spray vinegar into toilet bowl and leave for several minutes,
  4. Sprinkle the inside of the bowl with the baking soda and scrub with toilet brush.
  5. Flush to rinse.
  6. For the outside of the toilet spray with vinegar, leave for a few minutes ten wipe clean.

An easy everyday toilet cleaner

Thanks to  diynatural.com

 

Bleach

75. Bleach

Ingredients List

2 cups hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)

2 tbsp lemon juice or ½ tsp citric acid

2 cups water

10 drops lemon essential oil.

How to make

  1. Pour ingredients carefully into a quart bottle

This will keep for 3 – 3 months if the bottle used is opaque. Using an old peroxide bottle is an idea.

Thanks to  nourishingjoy.com

 

Mold & Mildew Cleaners

76. Mold /Mildew cleaner

Ingredients List

Tea tree oil

Spray bottle

Water

How to make

1.Mix 2 tsp Tea Tree Oil with 2 cups water

2. Spray moldy/ mildew area with spray and allow to air dry

3. Do not rinse, as the tea tree smell will dissipate.

Thanks to  life.gaiam.com

 

77. Mold /Mildew cleaner

Ingredients List

Grapefruit seed extract

Spray bottle

Water

How to make

1. In spray bottle put 2 cups of water plus 20 drops of Grapefruit seed extract.

2. Spray moldy/mildew area.

3. Let the spray mixture dry and do not rinse

This mixture is odour-less so is an alternative to the tea tree mixture and spraying neat white      vinegar.

Thanks to  life.gaiam.com

 

78. Mold cleaner

Ingredients List

Hydrogen peroxide

Spray bottle

Water

How to make

1. Mix 1 part Hydrogen peroxide to two parts water in a spray bottle.

2. Spray moldy area.

3. Leave 1 hour before rinsing off.

This mixture is good for mold on grout.

Thanks to  eartheasy.com

 

 

Section 4.

Laundry Cleaning Products

laundry

Homemade natural cleaning products for the Laundry…

Detergents

79. Detergent

Ingredients List

½ cup of Borax

½ cup of washing soda.

½ cup of dishwashing liquid

4 cups of hot water

Gallon size container

How to make

  1. Mix the borax, washing soda and dishwashing liquid with the warm water
  2. Pour the mixed ingredients into the gallon container and fill with cold water.
  3. Shake well before using as contents settle.
  4. For normal usage a ¼ of a cup is sufficient but for heavily soiled clothes use a 1/3 of a cup
  5. For a white wash add oxygen bleach to the laundry detergent in the washer.

Thanks to  onegoodthingbyjillee.com

 

80. Detergent

Ingredients List

½ cup of Borax

1 bar of soap.

1 cup washing soda

Essential oils

5 Gallon size container

How to make

  1. Grate the bar of soap, coarsely
  2. With several cups of water heat the soap and water until dissolved
  3. Add the soda and borax and stir in these are dissolved.
  4. Fill the container with hot water until ¾ full then pour in the mixed ingredients.
  5. Let it sit overnight, this detergent will be gel.
  6. Use ¼ to ½ cup to the load of washing

Thanks to  theprairiehomestead.com

 

Laundry Soap

81. Laundry Soap

Ingredients List

3tbsp of Borax

2 tbsp Dish soap

3tbsp washing soda

4 cups boiling water

1 Gallon size container

How to make

  1. Put all the ingredients into the gallon container and add the boiling water.
  2. Swirl the container until the ingredients are mixed and dissolved.
  3. Let the mixture cool.
  4. Fill container up with cold water.

Use ½ – 1 cup per load.

Thanks to  onegoodthingbyjillee.com

 

Wool Wash – Hand Wash

82. Gentle wool wash (hand wash)

Ingredients List

4 cups of pure soap flakes

1 cup dentured alcohol

1 tbsp essential oil (Lavender or Eucalyptus)

4 cups boiling water

Large glass or plastic mixing bowl

Whisk or blender

Large container for storage.

How to make

  1. Put soap flakes and boiling water in the mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk or blender
  2. The denatured alcohol and essential oil is added and mix well.
  3. This mixture is then poured into the storage container.
  4. Leave over night and the mixture will firm up.
  5. Use 1 tbsp of the wool wash in luke warm water, swishing the garment in the warm water and wool wash.
  6. Rinse well.

Thanks to laundry.about.com

 

Stain Removers

83. Stain remover

Ingredients List

Borax

Washing soda.

White vinegar

Water

Spray bottle

Toothbrush

How to make

  1. Put the borax or washing soda (either one ) into a  container that has a mesh top to shake contents out.
  2. In the spray bottle mix white vinegar and water a ratio of 1: 1
  3. Shake the borax or washing soda onto the stain.
  4. Spray the stain and the borax or washing soda creating a paste.
  5. Scrub the mixture into the stain.
  6. Leave for 10 – 20 minutes
  7. The wash clothes as normal.

The vinegar smell washes out

Thanks to  theartofsimple.net

 

84. Stain remover

Ingredients List

2/3 of a cup of dish detergent

2/3 cup of Ammonia

6 tbsp baking soda

2 cups of warm water

How to make

  1. Mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use a funnel to pour into a spray bottle.
  3. Shake the bottle well as any settled ingredients mix in.
  4. Spray onto the stain and wash as normal.

Do not use if any items to be washed have any chlorine bleach on them.

Thanks to  mykitchenescapades.com

 

85. Stain remover

Ingredients List

¼ cup liquid Castile soap

21/4 cup liquid vegetable glycerin

5- 10 drops lemon essential oil

11/2 cups of warm water

Plastic or glass spray bottle (the plastic one can be a squeeze bottle)

How to make

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Shake well before use.
  3. Apply to stains and rub lightly into the stain or spot and allow to soak.

A glass spray bottle is recommended if the lemon essential oil is used.

Thanks to  theprairiehomestaed.com

 

86. Stain remover

Ingredients List

1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent

1 cup regular liquid chlorine bleach

1 gallon hot water

How to make

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a stainless steel, enamel or plastic bowl.
  2. Soak stained clothes in the liquid for 15 – 20 minutes (longer if still stained).
  3. Wash garment as normal.

Do not use on non- bleachable garments.

Thanks to  goodhousekeeping.com

 

87. Stain remover

Ingredients List

Hydrogen Peroxide

Distilled white vinegar

How to make

  1. For stains like chocolate, blood, or red wine pour the hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain.
  2. For deodorant stains rub with distilled white vinegar.
  3. Wash garment as normal.

Thanks to  thegreenbacksgal.com

 

Linen Sprays

88. Linen Spray

Ingredients List

1-2 cups Vodka (1 part)

1 part water

10 drops essential oil – Spearmint

10 drops essential oil – lavender

(Also try Lavender and Rosehip essential oil)

How to make

  1. Mix the vodka and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Add the essential oils.
  3. Shake thoroughly.

Shake the spray bottle before use to make sure it is fully mixed when sprayed. This can also be used as a room mist

Thanks to   Offbeat Home & Life

 

89. Lavender Linen Spray

Ingredients List

Small glass jar with snug fitting lid

2 tbsp witch hazel or vodka

6 tbsp water

10 drops essential oil – lavender

Small funnel

Blue glass spray bottle

How to make

  1. Mix the witch hazel or vodka and the lavender essential oil in the lidded jar, shake well for 15 – 20 seconds.
  2. Add the water to the jar and shake well for 15 – 20 seconds.
  3. Put the funnel into the spray bottle opening and pour in the combined ingredients.
  4. Spray pillows and bedding.

Thanks to   backtoherroots.com

 

Fabric Softeners

90. Fabric Softener

Ingredients List

2 cups of white vinegar

3tsp eucalyptus essential oil

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. In the spray bottle mix the oil and vinegar.
  2. Shake well.

Spray the wet clothes that are in the dryer. Make sure the clothes are completely dry to avoid a vinegar smell.

Thanks to crunchybetty.com

 

91. Fabric Softener

Ingredients List

3 cups of distilled white vinegar

5 – 10 drops essential oil (optional)

½ cup baking soda

4 cups water

1 gallon plastic container

How to make

  1. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into of the gallon container.
  2. 1 cup of water is now added and mix by agitating the container to dissolve the baking powder
  3. Add the rest of the water, 3 cups.
  4. The 3 cups of distilled white vinegar is added slowly so it does not fizz over.
  5. Lastly add the optional essential oil, your favorite scent.

Add this into the softener dispenser of your machine ½ cup per load.

Thanks to laundry.about.com

 

Wrinkle Remover

92. Wrinkle Remover

Ingredients List

1 cup distilled water

1 cup distilled white vinegar

6 – 8 drops essential oil

Spray bottle

How to make

  1. Mix all ingredients in spray bottle and shake well.

Colourless essential oils are best for this recipe so the clothes are not stained. So try peppermint,

lavender, rosemary, juniper or sage these will give a light fragrance to the clothing.

Thanks to  diynatural.com

 

Laundry Bleach

93. Laundry Bleach

Ingredients List

31/4 cups water

½  cup hydrogen peroxide

5 drops lemon essential oil

2 tbsp lemon juice OR ½ tsp citric acid

How to make

  1. Mix all ingredients in a quart bottle (to make a gallon multiply the amount of ingredients by 4).

Use 1 cup per load of laundry. This is a less potent recipe than the home-made bleach recipe so as it does not bleach your coloured clothes.

Thanks to  nourishingjoy.com

 

D.I.Y Natural Beauty Recipes

If you enjoyed making a selection of these you may also want to turn you hand to trying make some DIY Beauty product recipes here.

 

Let us know your favourite homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes

We hope you found good use for our compilation of homemade natural cleaning products.

We would love to hear about any others you know of. We’re keen to make this the best resource out there so please do let us know in the comments below and we will add them…

 

 

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