Category Archives: Natural Alternatives

the real secret

I’ve been running around like a madwoman, and haven’t had time to invite everyone to join me on the make-your-own deodorant challenge. So I have to admit that I started it without y’all (sorry!) and it is so successful, I’m in shock. I was sure there must be something toxic about my recipe, it works so well, but my holistic doctor ok’ed it as of yesterday, so go for it!

Using natural deodorant has been a quest of mine for about two years. Many of the ingredients in non-natural deodorants have negative impacts on health, especially for women, who tend to shave before applying, allowing the chemicals to enter the bloodstream. Antiperspirants in particular clog the sweat glands, causing stagnation of toxins in the breast area. While there are no definitive studies that prove antiperspirant increases your risk of breast cancer, I’m not taking my chances.

I’m also trying to embrace sweating, as it is such an important part of clearing toxins from the body and also plays a role in making us attractive to other people. I’m super prissy about smelling bad, so if I can do it, so can you!

The challenge is to make and wear your own deodorant for a full week. Now’s a good time of year because it’s not super hot yet. However, I’m pretty sure it will work fine through the summer because all my running around has resulted in a load of sweating, completely BO free (and with a slight lovely lavender fragrance). Just a note, this is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, so it doesn’t stop sweat, just stink.

armpit.jpg

Natural Deodorant Powder

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
a few drops essential oils (I’m using lavender).

Place the ingredients in a glass jar (I’m using a parmesan cheese shaker).
Shake to blend (It doesn’t clump, don’t ask me why).
Sprinkle a light covering of the powder on a damp washcloth.
Pat on. Don’t rinse.

Putting it on damp is important, because baking powder can irritate your skin if you put it on dry (the same way sand would).

I found this recipe here.  The best part? NO WHITE RESIDUE! This is a natural, cheap deodorant. I’d love to hear how/if it works for you & your thoughts on the deodorant dilemma in general.

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dried up & scarred

I’m about to delve into finals period for my MFA, so likely might be a little sporadic until after the holidays, but I’ll be back full on in the new year (with the report on the full month of chlorophyll experiment, so far so good).

Heading into winter, I did want to mention a product I discovered last year, which was recommended to my mom for a scar by a natural skin care specialist. It’s rose hip oil. My mom used it on a scar from surgery, which all but disappeared, and I used it for the awful skin dryness that comes with winter, especially at the corners of your mouth.

rosa-mosqueta-rose-hip-seed_66c47cd6.jpgRose hip oil smells lovely & is pretty cheap. I bought an Aubrey version for about twelve bucks, used it all last winter, and just handed off more than half a bottle to my brother that was left over. There’s a ton of brands available, and as long as there’s nothing extra in it, they all should do the job.

Happy trots in the blustery wind!

gimme green

I first tried drinking liquid chlorophyll after discussing natural deodorants with another natural products fiend.  She told me, in fact, she didn’t use deodorant at all because she didn’t need it; she didn’t smell bad (and she really didn’t).  I asked how that could be and she told me for a long time she drank liquid chlorophyll (which among other things acts as an internal deodorant) and now just eats a healthy diet rich in leafy greens and presto! No BO.

What I didn’t realize is that liquid chlorophyll is a super concentrated dose of green goodness, including calcium and iron (which is why it is often recommended for women to replenish from menstruation).  It is also good for digestions and detoxifying your liver (and word on the street is it can improve the odor of your genitals).

Chlorophyll is available at health food and vitamin stores (it’s actually a whole food, not a supplement).  You can dilute it with juice or water, but I actually find the taste just fine (though kind of like nothing else).

People on various blogs and alternative health sites seem to see chlorophyll as a health miracle.  I’m going to try drinking it for a full month, and report back on my findings (and we’ll see about the no deodorant…).

are you clean inside?

ColonixThis is the cringe-worthy copy on the box of Dr. Natura’s Colonix, the three-month cleanse I just finished.  The graphic design is not much better (not the mention the name…).  Colonix, however, is great, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a natural cleanse, have never cleansed before, or want something fairly gentle.

Three months?  That’s crazy!

It really wasn’t.  Colonix consists of an herbal supplement, fiber, and a tea, plus an optional recommended probiotic supplement (which you could augment with kimchee or kombucha).  There are no specific diet requirement, though Dr. Natura advises eating healthy and avoiding all the things people normally tell you to avoid or limit (red meat, sugar, coffee, etc).  I personally drank a fair amount of ice tea and some alcohol (it was summer, man!) and it still worked great.

The idea of the cleanse is to eliminate all the gunk that’s stuck on the inside of your intestines (let’s not go into that), kill any bad parasites and let all the good ones flourish.  I can’t say I saw results immediately, but at the end of three months (recommended length for first time users), I’m pretty blown away.  My digestion is great (so great I don’t even think about it) and people keep telling me I look healthy (a feat for NYC!).  Another side benefit is my stomach is flatter.

There are loads of different cleanses out there, natural and not, and many don’t require you to buy specific products, but this one by far gave me the best results of the few I’ve tried.  As with any product, be sure to read up and google around to make sure it’s right for you, and follow the instructions.  My acupuncturist recommended this cleanse to me and said several of his clients have also found it beneficial.  If you want more info (it is a bit of a financial investment), feel free to contact me directly or comment.

*Word to the wise: While the testimonials on the sidebar are hilarious, do not look at the picture gallery on the website, unless you want to throw up.  Personally, I like to celebrate my inner cleanliness in the privacy of my bathroom, but not everyone feels that way.

compose yourself with bach

rescue_remedy.jpgBelieve it or not, school starts on Tuesday for me (year two of my MFA).  I love fall (what?  summer’s over???) because everyone suddenly gets filled with The Desire To Do, complimented by the crisp weather.  I used to have a lot of anxiety about going back to school as an undergrad, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been seized in that physical way that is oh-so-paralyzing.  Still, so many of us have anxiety about various areas of our lives and I wanted to post on a natural alternative for those who don’t want to go the pharmaceutical route.

I found the best relief for anxiety to be Bach’s Rescue Remedy.  It’s a natural formula made from the extracts of flowers, and has been around since the 1930’s.  I’ve found it to be readily available in most health stores and even my local drugstore carries it.  It’s non-addictive and, as the website says, safe for everyone including plants (that’s good because my cactus is stressed out).

Rescue Remedy is available as a liquid that you squirt under your tongue and it calms you.  Sound magical?  I can only say it worked for me.  I used to use it at the airport before they banned liquids, because I would get highly anxious about getting to the gate on time (Thanks, Dad).  I also used it successfully before a job interview (it didn’t make me too relaxed to perform well) and for general ‘I’m-freaking-out-here’ anxiety.  My mom found it helpful for stress when going to the doctor.

I know several other folks who have tried and liked Rescue Remedy, but I don’t know much about the other Bach formulations.  They do have several, including one for panic attacks and another for insomnia.  I would be very interested to hear if anyone has tried the one that’s supposed to stop you from “interfering with other people,” which includes Beech extract to help you “be less critical towards  other people and accept them as they are.”  Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

delicious accident

Sometimes lack of sleep results in brilliant accidental discoveries. After a night of not enough sleep, I was groggily exercising my morning routine, trying to get out the door and be on time to my summer job. I put some granola in a bowl and took out a cup for some ice tea (I’ve been making jasmine green ice tea, yum!). BAM! I poured the ice tea in the granola.

I was about to pour it out and start again when I thought, what the heck? I don’t have time, I don’t like to waste things, I’m just going to try it. And… DELICIOUS. This is a great alternative for no cow milk/no soy milk folks like myself (I usually use rice milk). I’m not sure it would work with cereals that are not as hearty as granola, but the possibilities for experimentation are endless. I’d love to hear your granola/ice tea combos. Did I loose my credibility with this post?

pineapple wisdom

juice_pineapple.jpgRecently, one of my girlfriends discovered that all of her wisdom teeth are impacted. Naturally, everyone had their wisdom tooth story to scare the living daylights out of her — the doctor left part of my tooth in there, I swelled up like a chipmunk for a week or my personal favorite – my own experience – I had a psychotic reaction to the general anesthesia. (I never do anything halfway.)

But! I hardly had ANY swelling. How could that be?

I drank pineapple juice the whole week before my surgery. I can’t remember who offered this wisdom, but pineapple juice is anti-inflammatory. It is the only natural source of bromelain, an anti-inflammatory and protein-digesting enzyme (which is also good for arthritis!). Never mind that I woke up screaming at the doctor that he was a jerk for not telling me about it. (He said he’d heard about it, but doesn’t tell people. What the #$%&?)

So if you’re about to lose your wisdom teeth, drink up – the worst thing that can happen to you is you drink delicious pineapple juice for a week and it doesn’t do the same wonders for your swelling. It will still be just as delicious – my favorite kind of medical advice.