Friday, July 31, 2015

Garden Update & Harvest

 7/30/15 - Today's Harvest...9 cucumbers, Green onion, 1 large tomato, Sweet pepper, 5 color Chinese peppers, ground cherry tomatoes

7/30/15 - Today's Harvest...Cherry tomatoes, 2 zucchni, lettuce
 7/30/15 - First large tomato!
7/30/15 - 7 Five color chili pepper
7/30/15 - First sweet pepper
7/30/15 - First cherry tomatoes

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Conscious Box 2015 - Gluten-Free

July Conscious Box 2015 - Gluten-Free

How Does Conscious Box work?

Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

  • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
  • From organic food to vegan beauty products, you’re sure to find new favorites!
  • Discover ethical and purpose-driven businesses of all sizes!
  • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
  • Easily earn points you can apply to full size products for unbeatable discounts!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

If you notice deep pores on your face, you will love love love this deep pore cleansing mask recipe. While you will notice a reduction in the appearance of your pores almost immediately, there are also other powerful benefits from using this mask that every skin type can benefit from!
  Deep Pore Cleansing Mask (Just 2 Ingredients!) by Primally Inspired

The raw apple cider vinegar in the mask restores your skin’s natural pH, which is amazing for all skin types.  If your skin’s pH is out of balance, then you will most likely break out, or your pores will get clogged or your skin might get itchy and dry. But when your skin’s pH is in balance, your skin will be at the perfect place of not too dry and not too oily. That is skin heaven and the apple cider vinegar in this deep pore cleansing mask helps us get there :) 

*Important note – make sure you get apple cider vinegar with “the mother.” The bottle should also say RAW apple cider vinegar.  I use THIS kind, which can easily be found at most grocery and health food stores. 
The healing clay (sometimes called green or bentonite clay) in this deep pore cleansing mask recipe is made up of minerals from the earth. It removes impurities from under the skin, giving you one of the best deep cleanings you can get! It also promotes circulation which helps with healthy cell turnover.
I personally use THIS healing clay. THIS is another option from a great company, too!

So as you can see, this deep pore cleansing mask packs a powerful punch! Use it one to two times a week (if you have acne prone skin, you can use it up to 3 times a week) and in two to three weeks, sometimes sooner, you’ll notice far less breakouts, smoother, more even skin and a huge reduction in the appearance of your pores.  It’s easy, it’s very inexpensive and it will seriously give you one of the best facials you can get. Your skin will love you for it!

Deep Pore Cleansing Mask (Just 2 Ingredients!) by Primally Inspired

Deep Pore Cleansing Mask Recipe:

Makes enough for 1 mask. Once the ingredients are mixed together, you must apply it right away.



2 teaspoons healing clay (I use THIS)
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar (I use THIS)
Optional: 3 drops of essential oil (not necessary, but I sometimes use it for an added punch!)


Essential Oil Suggestions:

Lavender for normal or sensitive skin (My favorite! I use THIS one)
Tea tree for acne prone or oily skin
Sandalwood for dry skin
Frankincense for aging or mature skin 



Mix the clay with the apple cider vinegar until it forms a smooth paste.  Add any essential oils if you are using them and mix again.  It’s best to use a non-metal bowl and utensil. The clay works so well at pulling toxins, that it can actually pull the metal out of your dishes. 

Apply the mask to your face, avoiding eyes, nostrils and mouth. Let it dry and harden on your skin for 10 minutes. Leave on for no longer than 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water and apply moisturizer. I love to use Argan oil (I use THIS Argan Oil) as my moisturizer. You can read more about why I use Argan Oil in my blogpost HERE.

You will feel a tight, pulling sensation while the mask is on your face. Once you rinse it off, your face may look flushed because of the extra blood flow to your face. This is normal (and a sign that it worked well!). The redness will subside in a few minutes, up to an hour, and you’ll be left with beautiful, glowing skin.

How often should you apply this deep pore cleansing mask?

Once or twice a week. If you have very oily or acne prone skin, use it three times a week.
I’ve been using this deep pore cleansing mask faithfully once a week for the past couple of years. Don’t tell him I told you, but my husband also loves using this mask. I usually mix up enough for both of us so we look ridiculous together. But we both are at skin heaven (you know, that wonderful place that’s not too dry, not too oily and no breakouts) because of it! :) If you give this mask a try, keep me posted on your results – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Homemade Flea Powder

Kelly from Primally Inspired
Homemade Flea Powder – Flea, Tick, Ant, Mites, Fly, Mosquito and other Insect Repellent. Ditch the toxic chemical repellents and kill fleas and other insects naturally with this homemade flea powder!

Ever since I posted my success with a natural tick repellent (see that post HERE), I’ve been getting tons of questions asking about a natural flea repellent or a natural flea powder.   

And I didn’t have any experience with any of the natural flea repellents out there so I couldn’t make any personal recommendations to you……until now.  
My big boy just turned 5 at the beginning of summer (isn’t he so handsome?!). And we’ve been blessed with not having any flea issues during those past 5 years.  
But at the end of April, we moved into an older house even deeper in the woods of Pennsylvania. And soon after we moved in, we discovered that it was totally infested with fleas. UGH!

My poor buddy was being eaten alive by these nasty fleas.   Ohmigosh, it was so horrible. I literally felt sick to my stomach watching him scratch and itch. His poor tail was raw, red and inflamed from him chewing on it so much.  

I absolutely hated the idea of putting any sort of toxic chemical flea treatment on my dog. Those products are the #1 cause of pet poisonings.  Did you know that on those commercial flea and tick repellents, there’s a big warning to not let it come into contact with human skin. So somehow it’s ok to put all over my dog?!! I don’t think so!  

I needed to do something and using toxic chemicals was going to be my very LAST resort.  Once I realized that we had a pretty major flea problem, I broke out my holistic pet care books (THIS and THIS) and consulted with a holistic vet friend.  

And today I’m giving you my homemade flea powder recipe that I now swear by. This flea powder worked at getting rid of a pretty major flea infestation in our home.    

And I didn’t have to use any toxic chemicals!!!! Bonus – this flea powder also works at repelling and killing ticks, flies, mosquitos, ants, spiders and other bugs. This is awesome stuff!  

*Note: If you don’t want to make this recipe yourself, you can buy Buck Mountain Parasite Dust HERE – I based my homemade flea powder off of this product. But it is much more cost effective to make it yourself, especially if you have a flea infestation because you are going to need a lot of it.  


Ingredient List and Benefits of Homemade Flea Powder:

This homemade flea powder is composed of Diatom Flour, Neem Powder, Yarrow Powder and Eucalyptus Oil. All 4 ingredients are traditionally used as very effective insect repellents and recommend by many holistic vets as a successful flea and insect killer and repellent.   


Food Grade Diatom Flour (also called Diatomaceous Earth or DE)

Diatomaceous Earth is soft powder made up of fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Under a microscope, DE is very sharp, allowing it to puncture the exoskeleton of insects and causing them death by dehydration. Diatomaceous Earth kills insects by physical action, not chemical. It’s important to note that DE particles are so small so it just feels like a fine baby powder to humans and pets. It is a simply a mineral silica. Food grade, fresh water DE is harmless to humans and pets. For more information about the safety of food grade DE, see the end note at the bottom of this post.  


Neem Powder

Neem is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine.  It has been used for centuries as a very effective herbal insect repellent, repelling fleas, ticks, lice, mites, ants and mosquitoes. Neem has a few natural active ingredients that make it so effective . For example, the compound in Neem, Azadirachtin, disrupts the metamorphosis of insect larvae. So by inhibiting molting, Neem keeps the larvae from developing and they die without producing a new generation. Azadirachtin is so repulsive to insects that they would rather starve to death than touch anything with traces of neem.  Another neem compound is called salannin and it’s equally as effective of a repellent. In a few studies, it’s even been proven even more effective at repelling biting insects than those repellents containing the chemical concoction of DEET.
Neem also has many moisturizing properties and helps get rid of excess dryness and scaling. It helps soothe irritated skin. The anti-bacterial properties of neem prevent development of any further skin infection. Because Diatomaceous Earth can by very drying, Neem helps protect your pet from excess dry skin.  


Yarrow Powder

Yarrow’s most ancient use and most famous use in the herbal medicine world is as a natural wound healer. It’s also considered a sacred herb by many cultures around the world because of it’s healing ability.  Yarrow is a wonderful anti-inflammatory for skin conditions and soothes irritated skin. It is also anti-microbial and has pain relieving properties. Because pets with fleas tend to get secondary infections from flea bites, Yarrow protects your pet from those secondary infections and also helps soothe red, irritated skin.  


Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus citriodoro) is a natural bug and insect repellent. There is evidence that the components in eucalyptus oil are as effective and sometimes more effective than DEET.  Eucalptus oil also has antiseptic properties for healing after bites.  

Homemade Flea Powder Recipe:


1 cup Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (find HERE)
1/2 cup Neem Powder (find HERE)
1/2 cup Yarrow Powder (find HERE)
20 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil* (find HERE)  *Leave out the essential oil if using for cats. 



Mix all ingredients together and put in a shaker top container. I used a mason jar with a shaker top lid (I got my mason jar shaker top lid at Christmas Tree Shop, but you could make your own by drilling holes in a regular mason jar lid).   
Apply from head to tail along your pets spine in dry conditions. Brush your pets fur going the opposite direction so the powder comes in contact with the skin. Avoid the eyes and nose. Rub the powder on the belly and legs. Try to get the flea powder on as much skin as you can.
I have found that brushing the fur in the opposite direction and applying the flea powder with a cosmetic puff (like THIS) works really well. I also found the fleas seem to like the tail, the area right above the tail and the belly/groin area so I made sure to pay extra attention to those areas to get them well covered.  


How often to apply flea powder?

To use this as a general repellent (with no serious flea infestation), applying once a month during active flea season (end of spring/summer) is sufficient. If the pet gets a bath or gets wet, it will need to be reapplied.  


If you have a flea infestation:

You will need to apply more often, depending on how bad of an infestation you are dealing with. I applied every other day until I saw no more traces of fleas (now I’m just using it as maintenance). Some are successful with applying as little as once a week, but others need it more often – it just depends on the level of infestation. Also remember to reapply if your pet gets wet (important!).   
If you have a flea infestation, you will also need to apply this flea powder to your floors, windowsills, door sills, pet bedding, sofa, etc. Focus your efforts where your pet spends the most amount of time, since fleas and their eggs will be the most concentrated in those areas. Just apply a light dusting to the areas in your house and leave it there overnight. Vacuum in the morning or sometime the next day. Do this once a week for 4 weeks if you have a flea infestation.  

This flea powder works amazingly, BUT, it will not work overnight if you have a flea infestation. You must be diligent about applying it to your pet AND applying the powder to your home and vacuuming at least once per week for 4 weeks in a row to get rid of an infestation.  

You can even use this flea powder it in your yard to repel and kill fleas, ticks, spiders, ants, mosquitos, etc!  

I also leave a little bit of this flea powder in my door and window sills  to prevent spiders, ants and other bugs from entering.  

Based on my research and the advice of my holistic vet friend, I’ve learned some really great tips and other options about how to get rid of fleas naturally, including a few options that are holistic vet recommended that you can purchase if you are not a do it yourself-er. That is covered in PART 2 that you can read HERE (this post was already long enough :) ). 


End Note: Is Diatomaceous Earth safe?

Somewhere along the line, a rumor was started that Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth was harmful to your lungs if breathed in.  This is true for Crystallized or Filter Grade Diatomaceous Earth where it can cause a disease called silicoses if breathed in for very long periods of time. But this is NOT true for food grade Diatomaceous Earth, which we are using (it’s very important to make sure your DE is FOOD GRADE!). Food grade DE is processed and shaped differently than crystallized diatomaceous earth and is not harmful to pets or people. Food grade DE is recognized as safe for animal and human use, safe for consumption and even safe for those pregnant and nursing. Like any dusty product, you probably want to wear a dust mask if you will be breathing it in for a long period of time such as when dusting your yard. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

10 Vitamin-Rich Foods That Literally Save Your Vision


You may already be stocking up on carrots to keep your vision in great shape, but did you know there are dozens of other foods that can reduce your risk of vision loss? Poor eyesight is often associated with aging and genetics, but experts suggest that eyesight damage can be prevented with everyday foods. Adding a few leafy greens, dark chocolate and garlic to your daily plate are just a few ways to keep your eyes – and body – in good health.

10 Foods That Naturally Save Your Vision For Long Time

It Used in numerous dishes to enhance flavors and aromas, garlic has been shown to have numerous benefits for your health. It can help enhance the flow of blood, bolster the immune system, and it is good for your eyesight. Garlic is rich in sulfur, a nutrient that helps the body produce antioxidants that can protect the lens of the eye.

Like spinach, kale contains zeaxanthin. This antioxidant helps protect against eye damage from factors such as sunlight, cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants, so eat up to help keep eyes healthy. Try this Strawberry Kale Smoothie, this Kale and Golden Beet Salad and this Mesquite-Avocado Kale Salad.

Like spinach, avocados are rich in antioxidants commonly found in the eye like lutein and zeaxanthin. Avocados are said to contain more lutein than any other fruit, which is important for improving your eyesight since lutein has the ability to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent macular degeneration, which can cause blindness. Try the green in this Vegan Spinach Dip, this Vegan Spinach ‘Chicken’ Curry and these 10 Flavorful Ways to Cook Spinach.

The most common food associated with improved eyesight is carrots. Carrots, and many other yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, contain beta-carotene, which is said to be good for the retina and can help protect your eyes from damage caused by the sun.

For the overall health of your eyes, you must regularly eat a variety of peppers including green, red, yellow, orange, and even purple, brown and black.
Peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C. While vitamin A helps preserve eyesight, vitamin C protects the eyes against cataracts.

Blueberries support healthy eye functioning through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, collagen-stabilizing, vasoprotective and rhodopsin-regenerating properties.
Eating blueberries regularly improves vision and strengthens blood vessels in the back of the eyes. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, which help lower both high blood pressure and inflammation and also prevent blockages in the arteries that feed oxygen to the retina.

High amount of sorbitol trapped in the cells of retina leads to cataracts, retinopathy and blindness. According to Indian Researchers, there is compound trans-anethole in fennel which blocks the conversion of sugar to glucitol in blood. In addition, Fennel also contains antioxidants and essential nutrients which slows down the progression of cataracts and promote healthy eyes.

Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the blood vessels of the eyes from free radicals, which can cause cancers and other health problems. Watermelon, apricots, papaya, and guava also contain lycopene. There are foods rich in other antioxidants as well, which have many of the same effects. These include cranberries, blueberries, green tea, and dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains.

Friday, July 24, 2015

8 Super Organic Herbs You Can Use For Medical Emergencies

Instead of synthetic chemical-based methods, supply your emergency herbal first aid kit with these unbelievable organic treatments.

Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treating and preventing disease.

Herbal medicine also called botanical medicine refers to using a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes.

Top 8 Herbs For Medical Emergencies

1. Aloe Vera

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Aloe Vera:
  • Antibacterial
  • Natural Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-fungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Analgesic
  • Circulatory Stimulant
  • Digestive Aid
  • Natural Laxative
  • Burns
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Home Remedies High Blood Pressure
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn and Indigestion
  • Candida Herbal remedies
  • Removing warts
Aloe Vera gel is especially good for sunburn, it helps to cool the burning sensation and heal the damaged skin to prevent peeling. And Aloe plants are easy to keep in your house, it need very little water.

2. Ginger

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Ginger:
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Helps heartburn
  • Aid digestion, relieve gas, digestive cramps
  • Stops nausea and vomiting
  • Colon Cancer Prevention
  • Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment
  • Migraine Relief
  • Menstrual Cramp Relief
  • Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy
A ginger tea is great to have at night to ease digestion, and fresh ginger can be eaten raw to relieve more intense indigestion.

3. Slippery Elm Bark

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Slippery Elm Bark:
  • Natural antioxidant
  • Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Cures sore throats
  • Heal wounds, burns, ulcers, psoriasis and other skin conditions
This is not such a popular herb, while it has incredible healing potential, especially in the digestive tract. It has been known to cure serious digestive problems like dysentery and stomach ulcers.
If you’re having trouble keeping food down due to nausea, mix a few tablespoons of crushed elm bark with water to create a sticky paste. This mixture will have a noticeable effect on your symptoms.

4. Milk Thistle

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Milk Thistle:
  • Protects from liver damage
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Protect against hepatitis
To treat or ease painful gallbladder attacks, make a tea with equal parts milk thistle and bitter aloes (about 1 tbsp. of each), and eat 1-2 cloves of garlic. The different healing properties of each of these herbs should aid the cleansing power of the milk thistle, and help to clear your system.

5. Garlic

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Garlic:
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Anti-fungal
  • Prevent prostate cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Fights free radicals
  • Reduces inflammation and pain
  • Cold and flu prevention
  • Kills leukemia cells
You can eat ½ to 1 clove of garlic every day to maintain your body’s immune system and prevent internal infections.
And you can make garlic oil to treat external mild infections such as ear infections: Simply chopped 2 cloves garlic and add it to a mason jar, then pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into the jar. Seal the jar tightly and store it in a cool, dry place. The oil will be ready in one week, and you can then apply the oil to the ear with a cotton swab or dropper.

6. Cayenne

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Cayenne:
  • Anti-catarrhal
  • Anti-emetic
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Carminative
  • Rubefacient
  • Sialagogue
  • Stimulant
  • Abdominal Distention
  • Colic
  • Diarrhea and dysentery
  • Dyspepsia
  • Flatulent Colic
  • Lumbago and Rheumatic pains
  • Tired painful muscles
  • Colds
  • Hoarseness
  • Tonsillitis
  • Hysteria and Convulsions
  • Nervous Depression
  • Alopecia
  • Chillblains
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Cholera
  • Diptheria
  • Typhus
  • Yellow Fever
  • Increased and more active circulation
  • Nephritis
  • Pyelitis
  • Tongue Dry and Harsh
  • Toothache
Cayenne can be rubbed right on an open wound, stop blood loss immediately.

7. Lobelia

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Lobelia:
  • Lessens inflammation
  • A powerful muscle relaxant
  • Treats various respiratory problems such as pneumonia, cough, asthma, congestion and bronchitis
For regular health maintenance, just add 5 drops of lobelia to water or juice and drink once a day.

8. Ginkgo

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Ginkgo:
  • Helps improve memory
  • Natural blood thinner
  • Treats dementia
Ginkgo seeds contain substances that might kill the bacteria and fungi that cause infections in the body.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to Increase Your Calcium Level

Calcium is a very important mineral that we need to stay strong and healthy. It is essential for bone and teeth health. It also helps control muscle and nerve functions, as well as regulates the acid/alkaline balance (called pH) in the blood.
Your body contains more calcium than any other mineral. Almost 99 percent of it is stored in your bones and teeth. The other 1 percent is present in the blood, muscles and other bodily tissues and fluid.

The amount of calcium you need depends on your age and sex. Here’s the recommended dietary allowance based on age:
  • 0 to 6 months – 200 mg/day
  • 7 to 12 months – 260 mg/day
  • 1 to 3 years – 700 mg/day
  • 4 to 8 years – 1,000 mg/day
  • 9 to 18 years – 1,300 mg/day
  • 19 to 50 years – 1,000 mg/day
  • 51 to 70 years – 1,000 mg/day (male), 1,200 mg/day (female)
  • 71+ years – 1,200 mg/day
A calcium deficiency can lead to thinning and weakening of the bones and osteporosis. Other symptoms of calcium deficiency are muscle spasms, memory loss, depression, numbness and tingling sensations in different body parts like the hands and feet.

You can easily correct a calcium deficiency by making certain changes in your diet and lifestyle.

how to increase your calcium level
Here are the top 10 ways to increase the calcium level in your body.


1. Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

calcium rich foods
To increase your calcium intake, the first thing you need to do is include more calcium-rich foods in your diet. Many foods contain a good amount of calcium. Some good choices are:
  • Skim or non-fat milk
  • Dairy products like yogurt and cheese
  • Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Sardines
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Soybeans and other soy products
Calcium-fortified foods are also good for increasing calcium level in your body as they have high calcium absorbability.

Some of the well-known calcium-fortified foods are soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, orange juice, breakfast cereals and breakfast bars. In fact, 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice or soy milk provides about 300 mg of calcium.


2. Enjoy Early Morning Sunlight

enjoy sun
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and regulates calcium in the blood. You should be getting between 200 IUs (international units) and 400 IUs of vitamin D per day.

Your body synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to the sun. So, make sure to expose your body to early morning sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes (without sunscreen) daily.

Avoid direct sunlight during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Opt for proper skin protection when going out in the sun during those hours.


3. Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin D

vitamin D
In addition to getting vitamon D through sun exposure, you must also try to eat foods rich in vitamin D.

Some of the vitamin D-rich foods are fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified cereal, cheese, liver, eggs, butter, margarine, shrimp and oysters. You can also take a vitamin D supplement after consulting your doctor.


4. Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods

magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is another nutrient required for calcium absorption. The metabolism of both these nutrients is closely related. The intestinal absorption and the renal excretion of these two ions are interdependent.

Without enough magnesium, you can have a calcium deficiency. As your body is not good at storing magnesium, it is essential to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet.

Some of the best sources of magnesium are spinach, Swiss chard, summer squash, turnips, mustard greens, broccoli, sea vegetables, avocados, cucumbers, green beans, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds and cashews.


5. Take a Daily Supplement

calcium supplement
To meet your daily calcium requirement, you can take a supplement. Calcium supplements are available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, liquids and powders.

The appropriate dosage depends upon your age and health status. Hence, never take a supplement without consulting your doctor. Try to take supplements with food or soon after a meal for better absorption.

Avoid high daily doses of calcium supplements, which may damage your heart and have other negative side effects.


6. Quit Drinking Soda

Soda, including diet and decaffeinated soda, can interfere with calcium absorption. Hence, it is better to avoid excess intake of soda drinks.

An excess of soda beverages leads to an increase in phosphate levels in the blood. This in turn can leach calcium from your bones and increase calcium excretion in your urine. High phosphate levels also prevent calcium absorption.

An occasional glass of soda is fine, but excess intake is not good for your health. Along with soda, you must try to drink alcohol in moderation only.


7. Avoid Excess Caffeine

Many people start their day with a strong cup of coffee. However, if you suffer from calcium deficiency, it is time to quit your coffee habit. Caffeine leaches calcium from bones, zapping their strength.

According to a 2006 study published in the Osteoporosis International journal, a daily intake of 4 cups of coffee or more may cause increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, especially in women with low calcium intake.

Do not drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day. To buffer the effects of caffeine, drink your coffee with milk. It is better to replace your regular cup of coffee with green tea or any other healthy herbal tea. Opt for decaffeinated iced tea or hot tea. At the same time, avoid excess intake of any kind of caffeine-laden drinks.


8. Avoid High Sodium Intake

eat less salt
Eating too much salt can contribute to calcium loss. Hence, when striving to increase your calcium level in your body, keep a check on your salt intake.

High levels of sodium prevent your body from absorbing calcium. In fact, it leads to calcium excretion through the urine. This in turn compels the body to use calcium by zapping it from the bones.

Use herbs and spices to flavor your food rather than adding salt. In addition, avoid processed foods, which are often high in sodium.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

5 Powerful Essential Oils that Clear Your Skin of Acne

Tea Tree Essential Oil
As many of us have experienced, breakouts aren’t only for teenagers. Those pesky pimples can pop up at any age. And for many reasons. Your diet, hormone balance, stress levels and genetic makeup could all be the culprits in preventing clear skin.

That’s not all though. Little things like cleansing your skin too often or scrubbing your skin too hard can also cause acne issues. And if you’re turning to harsh chemical washes, scrubs and creams to get rid of pimples, you could be making it worse. Instead, look to  essential oils. These five powerful acne-fighting essential oils can help clear skin naturally.

1. Oregano

Aromatic and flavorful oregano is a staple ingredient in the kitchen. But if you crave clear skin, you may also want to add it to your medicine cabinet, too. Oregano in its essential oil form is excellent for getting rid of pimples. The natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties of oregano oil make it handy for spot treating zits. Just be sure to dilute the oil before applying it to your skin. Mix together equal parts oregano oil and a carrier oil, like jojoba, olive or coconut oil. Then, dab the diluted mixture onto the trouble spot regularly until your skin clears up.

2. Tea tree

If you’ve ever experienced the powerful and antiseptic scent of tea tree oil, then you probably won’t find it hard to believe that tea tree oil contains some serious antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. I regularly use tea tree oil to thwart any acne flare-ups before they get nasty. Usually I take a cotton swab, dip it into a jar of tea tree essential oil and dab it on my breakout. Don’t do this if you have extremely sensitive skin. Also keep in mind that tea tree oil can dry out your skin—fast. If you haven’t used it before, I’d recommend diluting the tea tree oil with another oil, like jojoba, before applying.

3. Lavender

If you need a more soothing essential oil for fighting acne, lavender is the oil for you. Lavender essential oil can help calm skin and reduce blemishes at the same time. Incorporate lavender into your everyday beauty regimen to prevent breakouts before they happen. One option is to choose a face wash or moisturizer with lavender essential oil as an ingredient. Or, make your own moisturizer by combining jojoba, almond or grapeseed oil with lavender essential oil. (A blend of natural oils also works well to remove make-up!)

4. Bergamot

The citrusy scent of bergamot essential oil will perk up your skin in no time. Its revitalizing fragrance and antibacterial properties make it an excellent option to spot treat breakouts. It also blends well with other oils, which is handy for creating  your own acne treatment blend. Start by mixing bergamot oil with coconut, olive or jojoba oil. Then, mix in other acne-fighting essential oils that you’ve found work well to create a powerful personalized acne treatment.

5. Rosemary

Typically, we think of using rosemary to add flavor to potatoes or chicken, not for skin care. But this often overlooked herb does wonders for revitalizing skin. It’s well known for its abilities to reduce excess oil on skin. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory properties known to ease redness and puffiness, which is perfect for treating breakouts. Get glowy skin by regularly  using a cleanser, scrub or moisturizer that contains naturally astringent rosemary essential oil. Besides helping to clear skin, rosemary also improves circulation, which can help firm and tone. It’s a versatile oil that makes a great addition to your beauty routine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Garden update & Harvest 7/20/15

 7/20/15 - Today's harvest...1 Zucchini (3rd), Lettuce, 4 cucumbers, ground cherry tomatoes
 7/20/15 - Cossack ground cherry tomatoes
7/20/15 - Booming tomatoes!
 7/20/15 - Row 4
 7/20/15 - Row 2
 7/20/15 - Row 1
 7/20/15 - Beet
 7/20/15 - Zucchini
 7/20/15 - Lettuce
 7/20/15 - Lettuce and ground cherry tomatoes
 7/20/15 - Sugar snap peas
 7/20/15 - Curled Scotch kale
 7/20/15 - Peppers and tomatoes
 7/20/15 - Red onions and lettuce
 7/20/15 - Red Russian kale
7/20/15 - Cucumbers

Monday, July 20, 2015

Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health


By Dr. Mercola

Magnesium is a mineral used by every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles, and kidneys.1 If you suffer from unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms and eye twitches, low levels of magnesium could be to blame.
If you’ve recently had a blood test, you might assume it would show a magnesium deficiency. But only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a serum magnesium blood test not very useful.
Most magnesium is stored in your bones and organs, where it is used for many biological functions. Yet, it’s quite possible to be deficient and not know it, which is why magnesium deficiency has been dubbed the “invisible deficiency.”
By some estimates, up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of US adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.2
Even more concerning, consuming even this amount is “just enough to ward off outright deficiency,” according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor.

Magnesium Deficiency May Trigger 22 Medical Conditions

Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.3
Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body and plays a role in your body's detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. In addition, magnesium is necessary for:
  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
  • Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Dr. Dean has studied and written about magnesium for more than 15 years. The latest addition of her book, The Magnesium Miracle, came out in 2014 and in it you can learn about 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency triggers or causes, all of which have all been scientifically proven. This includes:4
Anxiety and panic attacks Asthma Blood clots
Bowel diseases Cystitis Depression
Detoxification Diabetes Fatigue
Heart disease Hypertension Hypoglycemia
Insomnia Kidney disease Liver disease
Migraine Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.) Nerve problems
Obstetrics and gynecology (PMS, infertility, and preeclampsia) Osteoporosis Raynaud’s syndrome
Tooth decay

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. An ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, including:

Numbness and tingling Muscle contractions and cramps Seizures
Personality changes Abnormal heart rhythms Coronary spasms


The Role of Magnesium in Diabetes, Cancer, and More

Most people do not think about magnesium when they think about how to prevent chronic disease, but it plays an essential role. For instance, there have been several significant studies about magnesium's role in keeping your metabolism running efficiently—specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation, and protection from type 2 diabetes.
Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged Americans.5 Researchers stated, "Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk."
Multiple studies have also shown that higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women,6 and research from Norway has even found an association between magnesium in drinking water and a lower risk of hip fractures.7
Magnesium may even help lower your risk of cancer, and a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors.8

Results from the meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor decreased by 13 percent, while the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent. The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

Surprising Factors That Influence Your Magnesium Levels

Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet.
However, most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium and other minerals, so getting enough isn’t simply a matter of eating magnesium-rich foods (although this is important too). According to Dr. Dean:
"Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we're lucky to get 200 milligrams.”
Herbicides, like glyphosate also act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in so many foods grown today. As a result, it can be quite difficult to find truly magnesium-rich foods. Cooking and processing further depletes magnesium.
Meanwhile, certain foods can actually influence your body’s absorption of magnesium. If you drink alcohol in excess, for instance, it may interfere with your body’s absorption of vitamin D, which in turn is helpful for magnesium absorption. If you eat a lot of sugar, this can also cause your body to excrete magnesium through your kidneys, “resulting in a net loss,” according to Dr. Danine Fruge, associate medical director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida.9 The following factors are also associated with lower magnesium levels:10
  • Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
  • Menopause
  • Older age (older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption)
  • Certain medications, including diuretics, certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin and tobramycin), corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone), antacids, and insulin
  • An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs your body's ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn's disease, leaky gut, etc.)


Calcium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D Must Be Balanced with Magnesium

It may seem like you could remedy the risks of low magnesium simply by taking a supplement, but it’s not quite that simple. When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1.11Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular. "What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don't have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They'd relax, contract, and create their activity," Dr. Dean explains.
When balancing calcium and magnesium, also keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D need to be considered. These four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance between these nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you're K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places, like your soft tissue.
Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification that may damage your heart.


Tips for Increasing Your Magnesium Levels

One way to really increase your magnesium, as well as many other important plant-based nutrients, is by juicing your greens. I typically drink one pint to one quart of fresh green vegetable juice every day, and this is one of my primary sources of magnesium. Organic foods may have more magnesium if grown in nutrient-rich soils but it is very difficult to make that determination. If you opt for a supplement, be aware that there are a wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market, because magnesium must be bound to another substance. There's simply no such thing as a 100 percent magnesium supplement.
The substance used in any given compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits. The table that follows summarizes some of the differences between the various forms. Magnesium threonate and citrate are some of the best sources, as it seems to penetrate cell membranes, including your mitochondria, which results in higher energy levels. Additionally, it also penetrates your blood-brain barrier and seems to do wonders to treat and prevent dementia and improve memory. If you take a supplement, you can use the “bowel test” to determine if you’re taking too much magnesium. Dr. Dean explains:12
The best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test”. You know when you have too much magnesium when your stools become loose. This, in fact, may be a blessing for people with constipation… [which] is one of the many ways magnesium deficiency manifests.”
Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption. Whatever supplement you choose, be sure to avoid any containing magnesium stearate, a common but potentially hazardous additive.

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium, and has stool softening properties
Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium Magnesium sulfate/Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as laxatives. Be aware that it's easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed
Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which like most magnesium supplements has laxative properties but is well absorbed and cost effective Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, and may be the best magnesium supplement on the market