Nov 30, 2015

Elderberry Syrup: Remedy for Cold & Flu

image from Wikipedia
Homemade elderberry syrup is a part of my family's winter health regimen.  We each take a teaspoon a day (when I can remember!) When cold or flu symptoms appear we take up to 4 doses a day.  The syrup is soothing for a throat that is irritated from coughing.  My kids love the taste very much.

You can purchase elderberry syrup at Whole Foods or Amazon but it is much more cost effective to make your own.  You may recognize the berries, some people even wild harvest them.
Elderberries are known for their high values of vitamin A, B & C as well as their immune building properties and have been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years for healing.

The day I made our year's worth of syrup (yes, it will keep for a year in the fridge if you use local, unprocessed honey), I stopped at Water Buffalo on Rodney Parham for 8oz of dried elderberries.  Water Buffalo is a brewing and gardening store.  You can also buy berries on line.

I followed this recipe from Wellness Mama and also read about it from The Healthy Home Economist, who drizzles it on pancakes.
I like to store the final syrup in a wide mouth mason jar.  You will want to stir the jar before spooning your daily dose.

Shortly after making this batch, my youngest children came down with something that resulted in coughs, fevers and occasional ear aches.  My daughter requested the magical onion for her sore ear.  I am amazed by the results -- and we escaped the doctor's office (and antibiotics), again!

I'm always on the hunt for home remedies that work.  Tell me, what is working for you these days?


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Nov 12, 2015

Cooking Class in My Kitchen

Chicken pot pie is a comfort food that many people love and it can be made very nourishing.  It is a recipe that is easy to double and freeze half.  

When: Monday, November 30, 2015 at 6:30pm
We will start by enjoying a hot chicken pot pie together.
Where: my kitchen, near I-430 & Rodney Parham
Cost: $30 per person, which includes a small chicken pot pie to take home
What to bring: The knife used most in your kitchen.

Some of the culinary topics covered:

- cooking / deboning a whole chicken
- taste testing: crock pot vs. oven roasted chicken
- knife skills
- bone broth basics and why homemade broth is so good for us
- creating cream of chicken / mushroom soup from scratch
- making a pie crust from scratch

Class size is limited to 6 people.  This would be a great class for mom and daughter to take together.  Or a fun gift to give to the person who has everything.  Contact me if you are interested in other group cooking lessons.

luvmyhub AT

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Nov 9, 2015

More About Natural Deodorants.

I love it when people give feedback to this blog.  I learn so much from you readers! There were some comments posted on my previous post about natural deodorant that I thought were worth posting again.  After reading a blog post, on another blog, I do not usually go back and read the comments and assuming the same for you.

The first comment is from the creator of the deodorant I am currently wearing.  (note: I am not compensated in any way for promoting this brand.)  I learned a few things in her comment:

O'Brenda November 7, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Thanks so much for mentioning my deodorant (Ziryab's Body Brew - named after the slave, musician and inventor who is credited with inventing deodorant among other things.) I started selling it because it changed my life.

However, it's good to know that some people can't wear baking soda deodorants as easily as others. My deodorant works by raising the alkaline under the arms so that the smelling acid-loving bacteria can't grow. Baking Soda is super effective because of its high alkaline level. Alum salt works the same way but its alkaline level is lower. I use a little in my Mineral Deodorant (an alternative for people who can't take the higher alkaline level of the original; deodorant) but focus on the high alkaline minerals of magnesium and calcium. I chose to add a little Alum because it is my understanding that unlike the Aluminum in antiperspirants which works by entering the pores and when wet, swells and plugs your pores, preventing you from sweating. I'm no scientist but I believe Alum works only by raising alkaline. Aluminum is the third most prevalent mineral on earth, so by itself, it probably doesn't pose too much of a health risk. That said, there is a great article here that stresses the need for us to reduce our exposure in other ways including environmental activism. Anyway, I will continue to research and decide whether to take Alum out entirely from Mineral Deo (there is none in my original deodorant featured here.)

When trying natural deodorants with baking soda, there is a chance you will rash either at first or sometime during your early use of it. If so, don't give up on the deodorant too quickly as there are things you can do like wear less, and as above, do not overlayer. You can also apply a soothing coconut oil or aloe on first and avoid use after shaving, Good luck to everyone in finding the perfect deodorant for you. There is one!

Another commenter wrote:

Tonya November 4, 2015 at 8:46 AM

I recently was reading that aluminum pans only secreted aluminum if they were scraped (like with a knife or metal utensil). It would be interesting to read more and see if there is more about this.

Another brand of natural deodorant to try:

mhutsell November 6, 2015 at 8:38 PM

My fav deodorant is Pit Paste. I have tried MANY kinds and always end up back at pit paste. It does not feel sticky going on, it smells nice (lavender is my fave), and works well. Like you, I have to reapply if I am going to be sweating a lot. By the end of the day if I haven't reapplied, I might notice a smell but then I just wash my pits before bed. Like you I prefer the hassle to the toxins!

Martin Eisele sent an email saying:

The Arm & Hammer product contains triclosan which is under review by the FDA. Animal studies have shown some links to hormone disruption, among other things, but inconclusive on humans.  Read more in this article.  Besides hand sanitizers and the like, you can find it in toothpastes such as Colgate. Conspiracy theorists claim it is a sister chemical to Agent Orange, but chemicals similar in structure may be completely different. Chemical, nonetheless.

Thanks everyone for your input!

Finally, after publishing the previous post, I thought of another way I reduce aluminum: by using aluminum-free baking powder. I buy Rumford brand (in the red can), which is also GMO-free.  The Kroger nearest me does not sell it anymore but some larger Krogers will sell it.  Otherwise, look for it at Whole Foods and Drug Emporium.

If all of this talk of toxins stresses you out, let me be the first to say: do what you can, when you can then rest knowing what you've done is good enough.  There is more to this world than stressing about what goes into your body.  Jesus said, "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth."

On the journey with you,

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Nov 3, 2015

Natural Deodorants:: A Review

It not unusual to talk with someone who has a loved one suffering from dementia.  Both of my grandmothers showed signs before passing on.  From the limited research I've done (please do your own), aluminum in the brain seems to be a common factor among Alzheimer patients.  Most every deodorant - antiperspirants in particular - are made with aluminum or some derivative (check your label).

If you apply antiperspirant every day, I'm thinking there is a possibility that antiperspirant could be contributing to the increase in aluminum deposits in the body.

[Just so our terms are similar: deodorant helps you smell better, antiperspirant keeps a person from sweating.  I recognize there are times when it isn't cool to sweat, like on your wedding day.  For the most part though, you should encourage sweating.  That is one way to remove toxins from the body.]

One baby step I am taking toward cleaner living is to reduce my intake of aluminum by choosing to wear deodorant without antiperspirant.  I have not found a "normal" or store bought women's deodorant without antiperspirant.

There are several men's deodorants without antiperspirant.  I have worn this on occasion but I don't really like smelling like men's cologne.

I've tried several natural deodorants.   None will ever have to stink-stay-away-power that a chemical laden antiperspirant wields.

Note: I am not a very sweaty person even when exerting.   Most of my life is in a climate controlled environment.  Plus the people closest to me are children who emit smells of their own.  I figure, what do I have to loose when experimenting with deodorants?  Believe me, I have experimented for years with varying amounts of success.  At the bottom of the post I will tell you my favorite natural deodorant.

Here is a bit of advice I can give for those who desire to make the switch to a more natural remedy.

Start with clean pits -- use soap and water, daily.  When I used conventional deodorant/anti-persperant there were occasional days when I would not shower but reapply.  Woah Nellie! You cannot get away with that trick when wearing natural deodorants.  Start with a clean slate everyday. Sometimes on super sweaty days I need to grab a washcloth mid-day and reapply.  That small inconvenience is one price I am willing to pay to keep toxins out of my body.

If I remember correctly, the first few days after switching from conventional antiperspirants to natural deodorants, the detox effect was particularly, um, pronounced.  As in, your body is working hard to detox through your pores and you might have a stronger body odor in the beginning.  Don't give up!  It doesn't last forever.  The winter (now!) is a perfect time to make the switch.  In fact, there have been winters where I have not worn any deodorant at all.  I'm keepin' it real today!

When trying to decide which natural deodorant to use, the first step is similar to eating packaged food.  Flip it over and read the ingredient label.  Above is Burt's Bees, a container I bought at the beginning of my journey and knew next to nothing.  For those of you who have essential oils, you can make this one.  But it didn't work for me.  At all.  It smells nice when applying though.

Below is a product from Arm & Hammer that I can buy at Kroger for about $1.  For the most part, I like its effectiveness.  I don't like the long list of ingredients.  Aluminum and parabens aren't mentioned but there are several other shady ingredients.  I have used this deodorant on and off for years.
[EDIT: a reader wrote to say:
 The Arm & Hammer product contains triclosan which is under review by the FDA. Animal studies have shown some links to hormone disruption, among other things, but inconclusive on humans. Read more here.  Besides hand sanitizers and the like, you can find it in toothpastes such as Colgate. Conspiracy theorists claim it is a sister chemical to Agent Orange, but chemicals similar in structure may be completely different. Chemical, nonetheless.   -- Martin Eisele]

The next product is local.  Everything I've purchased from Tammy Sue I love.  This deodorant worked well for me - I love her ingredients.  However, the price point was a little high at $7.
Recently a friend emailed me to tell me about the below deodorant she has been buying on Etsy.  It was recommended by her naturopath.  I read some of the reviews and decided to give it a try.  I'm sold.  And, I've even convinced my husband to wear it!  The pictured 2 oz travel size liquid bottle costs $5 has worked for my husband and I for a couple months and we have several more weeks usage left.  I like it so much I just ordered a 16oz refill.

What about a crystal rock like this one?  The website rightly states there is no aluminum in the crystal.  However, this article explains that alum contains aluminum and if you want to avoid aluminum in your bloodstream, you should avoid the crystal deodorants.

Other places to reduce your aluminum intake: I don't use aluminum cookware in my kitchen.  I will, however, use aluminum over food and I will cook on occasion in disposable aluminum pans.  I also use aluminum-free baking powder.  Look for the red can of Rumford brand.

My husband and I are also refusing vaccines for our children (yes, there is aluminum in vaccines -- going directly to your blood stream ---scary!!  A two month old vaccinated baby will have 705-2125mcg aluminum in their blood stream, by 18 months a fully vaccinated child will have 2795-6830mcg of aluminum.  Read more stats here.  PLEASE EDUCATE before you vaccinate.)

As for homemade deodorants: I've made a few recipes and was never satisfied for various reasons.  If you have one that works for you --WAHOO!  A friend of mine uses equal parts coconut oil and arrowroot powder.  I tried this for a few days and liked the results.  I didn't have problems with stains on my clothes.  My complaint was more along the lines of messy application.

Have you tried any of the ones pictured above?  Do you have a solution that you could share?


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