The DASH diet—short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—is a healthy-eating, heart-conscious plan that aims to treat or prevent high blood pressure by lowering sodium intake and increasing the consumption of nutrient-rich foods. According to the Mayo Clinic, following this diet will give you results in just two weeks; over time, your systolic blood pressure could drop as much as 14 points.
The short answer: Yes. The slightly longer one: This "diet" wasn't intended for weight loss, though you will see losses as you eat better and eat less, especially if you specifically design your daily meal plan with fewer calories. One 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight followers of the DASH diet who also exercised lost an average of 19 pounds over four months. While exercise is not a DASH requirement, it certainly aids your weight-loss efforts. Check out these 37 diet secrets from nutritionists.
Are there any other benefits to following the DASH diet?
Aside from lowering blood pressure, Healthline reports the DASH diet can lower cholesterol levels, as well as reduce your risk for cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. According to a study by Rush University Medical Center, it can also lessen your chances of developing depression by 11 percent. While those results indicate that the happy meals you eat on the DASH diet could take the place of a happy pill, more research needs to confirm this benefit.
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So, what exactly will I be eating on the DASH diet?
Instead of outlining an approved list of foods, the DASH diet focuses on the number of servings in different food groups. That said, you'll generally be shifting your focus from meats, dairy, and unhealthy treats to whole fruits and veggies, with the other stuff sprinkled in. What does that translate to for a real meal? According to MedicineNet.com, if you're following a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet, your menu might look like this:
Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal with chopped pecans, ½ a chopped apple and cinnamon, black coffee
Morning snack: half of an apple with 1 tsp peanut butter, large glass of water
Lunch: spring greens salad with mixed vegetables, grilled chicken breast and vinaigrette dressing. Drink unsweetened iced tea or water.
Afternoon snack: unsweetened fruity iced tea or carrot sticks with hummus
Dinner: spiralizer-made zucchini pasta with marinara made with ground turkey and Italian spices, sparkling mineral water
Dessert: strawberries, 1 tbsp. vanilla yogurt, a dusting of cocoa powder
If I'm cutting out salt, how can I add flavor to my meals?
Spices and herbs are great, flavorful substitutes for straight-up salt. Lisa Mikus, a registered dietitian with Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services and coauthor of Everyday Diabetes Meals: Cooking for One or Twosuggests these tweaks: "Try adding cinnamon to your oatmeal, cook salmon with lemon and dill, use dried rosemary on potatoes, and cook chicken fajitas with garlic powder and cumin." While dried-spice blends can be a good addition to your pantry, make sure the ones you choose don't contain salt.
Who is the DASH diet best for?
The DASH diet, which was developed with funds from the National Institutes of Health, is particularly recommended for anyone with high blood pressure or even a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. That said, following it—or even incorporating some of its principles—can be good for almost anyone since it's a healthy lifestyle choice, not a fad diet. After all, if you're regularly eating out or eating a lot of processed foods, you're likely consuming too much sodium. And research indicates that aside from the obvious health problems, a sodium-heavy diet could lead to overeating and weight gain.
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Are there any dangers associated with it?
You need some sodium in your diet, and the standard DASH diet allows up to 2,300 milligrams per day. (The lower-sodium version recommends 1,500.) So make sure you follow the guidelines and don't go overboard by cutting out all salt. Mikus adds that DASH might not be the optimal choice for high-endurance athletes who sweat excessively or for people with hypotension or chronic gastrointestinal conditions in which malabsorption is an issue. Here are eight signs that you're on a diet that's not right for you.
How hard is it to maintain the DASH diet?
On the good, stress-free days when you have the time and energy to cook at home, it's relatively easy. But as with any diet, there are challenges when you want to grab something on the go or eat at a restaurant. Mikus advises: "Read the nutrition facts panel when available, ask for dressings and sauces to be put on the side, and avoid [food] with words such as fried, battered, or creamed."
I've heard that this is the best diet out there. Is that true?
U.S. News & World Report named the DASH diet as the "best overall" diet for the eighth year in a row, though this year it's sharing the honors with the Mediterranean diet. The two approaches are similar in the types of foods they recommend—though the Mediterranean diet adds more healthy fats such as fish and olive oil—and they both lower blood pressure and cholesterol. While the DASH diet is a proven plan, the "best" diet is the one that makes you want to follow it over the long haul.
Thinking about adding fennel seeds to your diet? Excellent choice! But what’s the deal with them and what are their health benefits?
Fennel seeds might be pretty small, but they add a kick to dishes and they pack a massive nutritional punch. Among its nutrients are magnesium, selenium, iron, vitamin C, manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium and copper. Over the years, they’ve been studied extensively, with researchers finding that fennel seeds can relieve digestion, prevent diabetes and treat asthma. In India, it’s common practice to chew on a few seeds after a meal but there are other ways to get your fennel fix. For example, you could toss a few into your dishes, while they’re cooking to add some extra flavour. Here are 10 must-know health benefits of fennel seeds.
Fennel Seeds Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is now the biggest killer of American adults and in 2008 was responsible for 1 in 4 deaths. That’s a super scary number but those deaths and heart disease itself can be prevented if you maintain the right lifestyle. It all starts with your diet, of which fennel seeds should play a key role from now on. Because they’re rich in potassium, fennel seeds help to lower high blood pressure. Meanwhile, their dietary fibre content can contain bad cholesterol buildup.
Fennel Seeds Boost Digestion
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of fennel seeds is that they boost digestive health. This will be music to the ears of many of you because indigestion is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctors. Whether you’re suffering from bloating, gas, heartburn or constipation, fennels seeds can help. It’s all down to their anti-spasmodic properties, which can also help to ease the symptoms we associate with irritable bowel syndrome. There has also been speculation that fennel seeds can treat ulcerative colitis and diarrhoea but the research is tentative.
Fennel Seeds Can Treat Asthma
People who struggle with asthma will tell you how, at times, it can affect the quality of their life. Fortunately, there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms, and chewing on fennel seeds is one of them. This is because they contain phytonutrients that clear sinuses, which in turn eases symptoms we associate with asthma. In addition to this, fennel seeds contain expectorant agents that can treat congestion, coughs and bronchitis. That said, there have been studies that show fennel seeds can actually aggravate asthma. The best thing to do is to speak to your doctor before consuming some.
Fennel Seeds Boost Brain Function
Fennel seeds can give your brain a major boost, with studies showing that they improve cognitive performance. This is largely down to their high potassium content.
Fennel Seeds Can Reduce The Stroke
Heart disease is now the biggest killer of American adults. In 2008, it claimed the lives of 25% of Americans. Following hot on its heels is stroke. In other words, stroke is proving to be unstoppable. However, there is a way to prevent it, and it starts with your diet. Eating more heart-friendly foods – such as fennel seeds – can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Fennel seeds are good for your heart because they contain lots of fibre, which can help to lower your bad cholesterol levels. This is important because the higher your bad cholesterol levels are, the more at risk you are of stroke, atherosclerosis and heart disease. As well as chewing on fennel seeds, you should also exercise regularly to improve your cardiovascular health.
Fennel Seeds Look After Your Eyes
We all care about the health of our eyes. But how many us can say that we’re doing enough to preserve our vision via our diet. What you eat can literally make or break your long-term vision, and because fennel seeds can boost the proper dilation of your blood vessels while alleviating eye pressure, they should be a mainstay of your diet from now on.
Fennel Seeds Reduce The Risk of Colon Cancer
Thanks to their high fibre content, fennel seeds are able to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
Fennel Seeds Can Combat Bad Breath
Bad breath isn’t nice when it happens to us and it can affect out self-esteem. However, if you happen to get bad breath after a meal, the simple solution is to chew on a few fennel seeds afterwards. Munching on these chewy seeds freshens up your breath and gets rid of any nasty smells that could ruin your (and other peoples’!) day. More than that, because fennel seeds contain anti-microbial agents, they can also eradicate the germs that cause non-food related bad breath. There are other ways fennel seeds can help you orally. For example, their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents can ease sore gums.
Fennel Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight
One of the main reasons people put on weight that they subsequently find hard to shed is because they eat too much during meal time. This is where fennel seeds come in handy. Because they suppress appetite and make you feel fuller, they can prevent you from eating too much at the dinner table. When it’s time to stop, they’ll let you know! As well as this, fennel seeds fire up your metabolism, which in turn ensures you burn more fat faster. And because fennel seeds are a diuretic, they also help to cut down water retention which reduces bloating and further weight gain.
Fennel Seeds Can Help To Ease Menstrual Issues
There are a few reasons for why your menstrual cycle might run into problems, especially with timing. A poor diet rich in sugar and bad fats is one, while stress is another. Fennel seeds, on the other hand, can help to keep your menstrual flow in check so that you’re always “on time.” It also contains phyto-oestrogen’s that reduce issues like breast enlargement, menopausal disorders and pre-menstrual syndrome. Moreover, fennel seeds can also ease a painful menstruation and may even be able to boost lactation in mothers who are nursing.
Experts explain why the calories you get from a burger and salad are not the same and how it affects your body.
Recently, while fielding questions from a client, nutritionist Geetali Nagpal was left stupefied. "If it's merely about the number of calories consumed, why can't I get my daily quota of 1500 calories from vodka instead of resorting to this diet that you've prepared for me?" asked the client. It took the 29-year-old nutritionist some effort to explain the detrimental consequences of her client's theory -chief among them, an addiction to alcohol. But Nagpal admits that similar queries about substituting healthy meals with unhealthy, calorie-dense foods that are more palatable are not uncommon. "For years, we've been told that weight loss can be condensed to the simple formula of the number of calories burnt minus those consumed.
This implies that if an individual burns 2000 calories in a day, and consumes only 1600, she would lose weight, irrespective of whether those 1600 calories came solely from chocolate pastries or nuts and grains. Unfortunately, our body doesn't work on the principles of mathematics," she points out. Nagpal adds that if weight loss was merely dependent on calories, then consuming a cheeseburger or an ice-cream which contains a sizable number of the allotted calories -a demand she claims is common among dieters -shouldn't alter the programme. "But it evidently does," she adds.
Nagpal informs that a gram of carbs and proteins have four calories each, but the same quantity of fat has a whopping nine calories."These figures would indicate that a low-fat diet would outperform those with restricted carbs, but that doesn't actually happen. Popular nutrition plans, like Paleo diet, are comparatively high in fat and provide excellent results," she says.
BLAME IT ON THE CARBS
Irrespective of whether an individual gets his/her daily quota of calories from cheeseburgers or legumes, says celebrity nutritionist Sandeep Sachdev, the process will lead to a drop in weight if the number of calories burnt is higher. "But such weight loss is due to the loss of muscles and not fats, which is an undesirable result," he informs. Sachdev adds that a high fat percentage in one's body can be as deleterious as obesity, even if the weight is within the ideal limit.
Highlighting the manner in which the body assimilates calories from different foods, Sachdev states, "Carb-dense foods like burgers, chocolates and sugars are the first sources of energy that the body turns to in order to perform its regular functions. This is followed by fats and then proteins, which are the building blocks of your muscles. A carefully-crafted nutrition plan should prevent the body from chewing off proteins to source energy, since this leads to muscle depletion. "The body is incapable of consuming carbs in the absence of fats and proteins, and hence carves off its own muscles to meet its protein requirement," adds Sachdev. The depletion in muscle mass, he points out, may result in weight loss, but can spike the fat percentage to dangerous levels.
What's more, high-carb eaters are increasingly more likely to develop diabetes and other chronic diseases. "Sugary foods and beverages affect the insulin regulation system and signal the body to store more fat, which, in turn, can also cause cardiovascular problems," says Nagpal.
Dietitian Kajal Shammi Khaturia claims that dieting trends usually single out one macronutrient as the culprit of all follies. "While fats were seen in a negative light a while ago, carbohydrates are now being considered the most notorious element of our diet.
But we need to remember that they are also our primary source of energy and fuel our daily activities."
She, however, adds that because carbs form a pre dominant part of the Indian diet, one tends to consume more than they think they have. "I have heard people claim that they strictly follow a `no-carb diets', but indulge in salads and sprouts. These meals too include carbohydrates. They are a part of almost every meal."
BECAUSE MASS MATTERS
Aside from the quantity, the quality of food consumed directly affects the rate at which the body burns calories. Foods with a high-glycemic index, like sugar and breads, says Khaturia, slows this process, making the body lethargic and reducing the number of calories that it can naturally shave off. "On the other hand, diets that are rich in proteins boost the BMR, since the body expels more energy in attempting to metabolise and store the food. When you compare the two diets, the difference in the number of calories shaved off each day can be significantly different," she says, adding that proteins also keep individuals satiated for longer, compared to carbohydrates.
BALANCING THE SCALE
The most delectable array of foods, says Khaturia, often have a high glycemic index, and keep you craving for more. "Individuals may claim to stick to the required number of calories, but such foods are designed to make you feel hungry easily. It is unlikely that a person living off sodas, chocolates and breads will be able to stick to a restricted calorie intake," she states.
THE CALORIE TRAP
A gram of sugar, whether it comes from carrots or candies, has the same number of calories, but the way it affects the blood sugar, hormones, metabolic rate and satiety is significantly different, Khaturia informs. "Limited portions of healthier meals will keep you satiated for several hours, while an exaggerated quantity of their unhealthy counterparts will leave you scouting for more. All these factors play a vital role in defining the success of a weight-loss program in the long run."
DIET CHEAT CODES
For those who wish to break the monotony of a sugarless diet with a hint of sweet, Sachdev offers respite."The body is capable of burning off calories immediately when its energy reserves have been depleted. This makes for the best time to occasionally indulge in your cravings," he says, adding that post workout or a full night's sleep are ideal times of the day to dig into a sweet treat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans get 71 percent of their daily sodium from processed and restaurant foods, and only a small amount of the sodium we consume each day is coming from our salt shakers. (1) I am not here to demonize salt or sodium in general. In fact, sodium is essential to our bodies functioning properly, and it’s one of the nutrients we need so we don’t end up with an electrolyte imbalance. The problem is that many people are consuming way too much sodium on a daily basis, filling up on unhealthy sodium-rich foods, which is why a low-sodium diet may be the right way to go.
Sodium can naturally be found in some healthy foods, but processed foods and the meals people eat when they go out (especially fast food) are known for being overloaded with added salt. If your sodium levels are too high, first and foremost, cut out those unhealthy processed foods — and if you want to get your sodium levels back on track, a low-sodium diet may be your best bet.
Are you interested in following a low-sodium diet? If so, it’s important to know high-sodium foods vs. low-sodium foods. If you’re just looking to reduce your sodium intake, I’m about to tell you some of the easiest and healthiest ways to do just that.
What Is a Low-Sodium Diet?
A low-sodium diet restricts the intake of sodium that can be found in salt and other sodium-rich foods. How does it compare to low-carb diet and low-sugar diet? A low-carb diet restricts the intake of carbohydrates, especially high-carb foods like bread and pasta. A low-sugar diet typically limits the intake of added sugars while a sugar-free dietis one that typically stays away from all sources of added sugar as well as hidden sugar foods. A sugar-free diet plan sometimes even encourages a reduction in high-carb foods (like fruits and grains) that can still be healthy but do contain natural sugars.
People with high blood pressure or heart failure are some of the people who are most commonly asked by their doctors to limit their daily salt intake. The best and healthiest way to do this is to eat a well-ba lanced diet that is focused on fresh, whole foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables are naturally low in salts while processed foods, canned foods and fast food are some of the worst offenders that should be avoided. (2)
How many grams of sodium per day is typically OK? According to the CDC: (3)
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. Based on these guidelines, the vast majority of adults eat more sodium than they should — an average of more than 3,400 milligrams each day.
Is salt bad for you? The short answer: No, it’s not bad for you in the right amounts and in the right form. Heavily processed table salt, processed foods and fast foods are the top things I always advise avoiding as much as possible. Salt contains sodium, and for this reason it often gets a very bad rap. But the truth is that we absolutely need sodium to be healthy so while some people may benefit from a low-sodium diet, it’s important to go about it in a healthy way. Sodium helps maintain blood and fluid balance, it’s needed for muscle contractions, and it also helps with nerve signaling. Put simply, sodium is an element that the body needs to work properly. (4)
When it comes to addressing high blood pressure, the focus is typically on reducing salt, but it’s crucial to know that our bodies need a healthy balance of both sodium and potassium. Research has demonstrated that when it comes to high blood pressure, increasing potassium intake and weight loss for people who are overweight are both key. (5, 6)
Best Low-Sodium Foods
My nutrient-dense foods list has a lot of great low-sodium foods to choosefrom each day. Here are some more ideas for foods naturally low in sodium: (7, 8)
As you can see, there are many things on this list that are perfect low-sodium snacks. Many people wonder about the sodium in eggs. One egg contains around 70 milligrams of sodium. So it’s not zero, but it’s pretty low. (9) It’s surprising yet true that bread can be an unexpected source of sodium, which is why you will likely see a low-sodium bread option at your local grocery store. If you’re looking to consume more low-sodium foods, then sticking with fresh, whole foods is a generally helpful guideline.
When using salt, I highly recommend completely avoiding processed table salt and opting for a more natural salt, such as pink Himalayan sea salt. True, high-quality pink Himalayan salt is one of the purest salts you can purchase and is very different from table salt, which is very heavily processed, eliminating its other minerals.
Worst Foods High in Sodium
There are actually foods that don’t taste salty but may still be high in sodium. There’s also many foods that taste extremely salty because they are overloaded with added sodium.
A report by the CDC in 2010 called out five foods that give Americans most of their sodium: yeast breads, chicken and mixed chicken dinners, pizza, pasta dishes, and cold cuts. (10)
The most common form of sodium is sodium chloride, or table salt. Sodium is also naturally found in many healthy foods. For example, milk, celeryand beets all naturally contain sodium. Drinking water also typically contains sodium, but the amount depends upon the water source. Softened water has sodium added to it.
If you’re watching your sodium daily intake, it’s helpful to know the top offenders when it comes to some of the highest sodium foods: (11)
Processed meats, including cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, ham and salami
Bacon fat or salt pork
Shortening and lard
Garlic salt or seasoned salts
Olives and pickles
Soy, teriyaki and worcestershire sauces
Canned or instant gravy mixes
Bottled salad dressings and salad dressing mixes
Meat tenderizers and marinades
Many snack foods, such as chips and crackers
Sodium preservatives or flavorings, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Barbecue and steak sauces
The Low-Sodium Diet Plan
If you’re someone who could benefit from a sodium detox of sorts, here are some healthy ways to cut down on your sodium intake and follow a low-sodium diet:
Eat less processed food: This is by far my favorite way to reduce unhealthy sodium intake.
Eat more fresh produce: Make fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables staples in your diet to avoid added salt and up your intake of vital nutrients.
Choose proper protein: Whether you’re on a low-sodium diet or not, getting your protein from fresh meat and fish is highly preferable to processed versions of these proteins that are known to be overloaded with added sodium.
More home-cooked meals: If you or someone else in your household is doing the cooking, you’ll have a lot more control over the ingredients going into your meals compared to eating out or eating pre-made meals.
Read labels: Being a careful label reader is another top way to avoid high-sodium foods and reduce sodium daily intake. In addition to sodium or salt, also look for other sodium sources, including MSG, baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, baking powder disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, or sodium nitrite. (12)
Get creative: Remember that salt isn’t the only way to season your foods. Adding antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, such as garlic, pepper, fresh lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, is a healthy way to up the flavor content of your foods without adding additional sodium.
Salt shaker location: If you are really struggling with consuming too much sodium, it’s a good idea not to keep the salt shaker front and center where you are eating your meals.
Careful with canned foods: Canned beans and vegetables are typically loaded with added salt so if you must use canned goods (rather than fresh, frozen or dried) make sure to rinse the contents of the can well to get rid of as much sodium as you can.
Avoid softened water: Refrain from using softened water for cooking and drinking since it contains added sodium.
Avoid certain medications: It may be surprising, but people on a low-salt diet also need to watch out for surprising sources of sodium, such as antacids.
If you’re looking for low-sodium recipes, keep your eye out for ones that include whole food ingredients naturally low in sodium, and if salt is included, don’t worry because you’re in control of just how much salt will go into the recipe.
Here are some of my favorite low-sodium diet recipes:
Even though you should be thoughtful about the sodium in food and your intake of sodium per day, you should also be aware of the dangers of a low-sodium diet, no-salt diet or salt-free diet. Some studies have linked over-restricting salt to an increase in insulin resistance, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels, among other significant health concerns. A few studies have even found that a low-sodium diet may be bad for the heart. (13, 14)
Common signs of low blood sodium or hyponatremia include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy and fatigue, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, and coma.
The Cleveland Clinic advises not use a salt substitute unless you first check with your doctor or dietitian due to potential drug and/or nutrient interactions.
The Mayo Clinic also points out that some salt substitutes or low-sodium salts contain a mixture of table salt and other compounds, such as potassium chloride. With these products, it can be easy to overdo it and end up getting too much sodium. Even though potassium helps balance sodium, getting too much potassium can be a bad thing if you have kidney issues or if you take medications for high blood pressure or congestive heart failure that cause potassium retention in the body.
Sodium is essential to the body in small amounts, but many people today are getting too much sodium in their diets from processed foods and eating out. A low-sodium diet done right can help.
When using salt, stay away from processed table salt and opt for a true, high-quality pink Himalayan salt.
Foods low in sodium include things like fresh or frozen fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.
Other healthy low-salt foods for a low-sodium diet include eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, homemade meals, soups and stews (you’re in control of the salt content!), as well as unsalted nuts, seeds and beans.
Cooking at home is an easy way to control the salt content and other ingredients in your food whether you’re on a low-sodium diet or just aiming to eat healthier.
In addition to sea salt, healthy additions to recipes like garlic, herbs, spices and apple cider vinegar are easy ways to up the flavor content of a meal without increasing the sodium content.
Be a careful label reader to avoid products with high levels of added processed salt.
Research points toward serious health dangers of restricting salt too much so be careful not to limit your intake too much.
If blackheads and blemishes are getting you down, this simple homemade acne mask that includes just two ingredients is for you! Start to unclog your pores as well as draw impurities out of your skin today with our simple DIY acne mask routine!
Homemade Acne Mask
This basic DIY acne mask is listed on the bentonite clay bottle, and I have to admit that was a little unsure about it. I mean, apple cider vinegar on my face? Since I really wanted to find an easy way to combat breakouts I decided to give this bentonite clay mask a whirl. I love experimenting with beauty products and I’ve been on a mission to find ways to treat my mild acne issues.
DIY Face Mask for Acne
This bentonite clay face mask can do so many things, including:
Draw impurities and toxins out of skin
Heal and regenerate skin tissue
Unclog and reduce the look of pores
Exfoliate, prevent blackheads
Even out skin tone
Leave skin feeling soft and glowing
If you don’t already have apple cider vinegar on hand and need to pick some up (it’s super inexpensive), finding one that is 100% natural and NOT made with apple juice concentrates will give you the best results.
You’ll want to mix equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar together, I used 2 tablespoons of each; this will create a nice, thick acne face mask. You’ll want to leave the face mask on your face for 10 to 20 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, stick to the shorter timeframe. To be on the safe side, it may be best to start with 10 minutes and work your way up to 20 if you enjoy the results. This acne face mask did leave my face a bit red at the very top of my forehead, but it wasn’t bothersome and the redness faded within 20 minutes.
This easy homemade acne face mask has an almost frothy texture that went on like a mousse and felt quite nice. The vinegar smell wasn’t nearly as intense as I had feared, and after a couple minutes wasn’t even noticeable.
I have to say, this DIY acne mask felt great on my skin. I could almost feel the dirt and oil being sucked out of my pores like a sponge thanks to this absorbent and healing clay. Over time I have found that my blemishes have began to disappear and the texture and tone of my skin has improved. I use this homemade acne mask on my skin about twice a week for best results.
If blackheads are an issue, I would also highly recommend that you try our DIY peel-off charcoal face mask. It’s quite powerful in removing tough blackheads.
Where to Buy Bentonite Clay
Honestly, this was the first thing I asked when I first heard about this wonderful acne skin treatment from a friend. After scouring local shops, I ended up ordering my bentonite clay from Amazon. This particular brand of bentonite clay comes very highly recommended and has thousands of positive reviews and testimonials. It’s what I buy and will continue to buy because simply, it works.
If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Instagram and don't forget to say hello! You can also tag your recipes and crafts with #DearCrissy. I'd love to see how you've been inspired! 💗
Chapped, peeling, flaky lips aren’t fun to look at, but they feel even worse. Fortunately, a DIY lip scrub featuring benefit-rich coconut oil, honey and chocolate (!) is all you need to return your lips to a smooth, hydrated state.
Just like your skin, your lips need exfoliating, too. If you get rid of the dead skin often found on the surface of your lips, it will bring out your fresh, supple skin. This will make the lips soft and smooth helping cosmetics, such as lipstick, lip liner and lip gloss, stay on the lips far better. Exfoliating the lips also helps provide hydration by creating more moisture to the lips.
Making a DIY lip scrub is so easy, saves time and ensures that only the best ingredients are used. Everything you need for your DIY lip scrub is probably right in your cupboard. You can use most anything with a grainy-like texture like sugar, salt, coffee grounds and even used coffee grounds.
Let’s start by getting together everything you need. Grab a small bowl that is good for mixing ingredients, such as a ceramic or glass bowl, a ¼ cup measuring cup, measuring spoons, a fork and a regular spoon.
Next, measure out each ingredient listed below and set aside. You are going to love the softness and nourishment that these ingredients provide!
Lip scrub is similar to the body scrubs you are familiar with, typically made up of a gritty substance. While store-bought body scrubs are probably unsafe if ingested, lip scrubs are usually safe and are generally made to taste sweet, enhancing the scrubbing pleasure.
So let’s start combining ingredients. Place the sugar and the superfood-blessed cacao nibs into the bowl and blend with a spoon or fork. Make sure it’s well blended using either the fork or spoon. I have chosen honey as part of this recipe because it’s full of anti-aging antioxidants to help your lips have a more youthful appearance. Simply add the honey to the dry ingredients and blend well.
Then add the olive oil and coconut oil. Adding natural oils like rosehip, olive, coconut or grapeseed oil also acts as a moisturizer for the lips — in addition, the oils will protect your lips from the heat or cold. Stir again making sure everything is evenly blended.
Next, transfer to a small glass jar with a lid. You may want to label your DIY lip scrub … and keeping it in the fridge can help preserve it.
But before you put it in the fridge, let’s use it and exfoliate those lips! To use, apply a small amount with a soft toothbrush or washcloth to the lips. Gently massage in a circular motion, for about 20 seconds. Rinse and apply your DIY lip moisturizer or your favorite lip balm, such as my Homemade Lavender Mint Lip Balm. Enjoy the feeling of those super soft lips!
DIY Lip Scrub for Smooth Lips
Total Time: 10–15 minutes
Serves: 20–30 applications
1/4 cup coarse sugar or date sugar
1 cup local honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon finely ground cacao nibs
Grab a small bowl that is good for mixing ingredients, such as a ceramic or glass bowl, a ¼ cup measuring cup, measuring spoons, a fork and a regular spoon.
Measure out each ingredient listed below and set aside.
Place the sugar and the superfood-blessed cacao nibs into the bowl and blend well with a spoon or fork.
Add the honey to the dry ingredients and blend well.
Add the olive oil and coconut oil.
Stir again making sure everything is evenly blended.
Transfer to a small glass jar with a lid.
To use, apply a small amount with a soft toothbrush or washcloth to the lips. Gently massage in a circular motion, for about 20 seconds. Rinse and apply a lip moisturizer or balm.
In the Everyday Roots Book I begin the chapter on weight loss by stating that I believe there are only two ways to truly manage weight, through exercising and eating healthy. There simply is no magic shortcut, and while this may seem obvious to some people it is overlooked far, far, too often. Now you’re probably wondering, if diet and exercise are the only ways to lose weight, why did you write this list? Because there are still natural remedies and recipes that will help you reach your ultimate goal. If you use these in addition to eating better and getting some exercise, they can speed up the process. There are many different contributing factors to losing/gaining weight, so the below remedies cover a wide range.
Before you go on you should have a simple understanding of the process your body goes through when dropping the pounds. Fat (along with protein and carbohydrates) is stored energy, plain and simple. Calories are the unit that is used to measure the potential energy in said fats, carbs, and proteins. Your body will convert fat to usable energy through a series of chemical processes, and any excess energy (calories) that you don’t need will be stored away. To lose weight, you must expend more energy (or calories) than you take in. When you are using more than you taking in, your body draws on stored fat to convert it to energy, which makes the fat cells shrink. It doesn’t disappear; it simply changes form, like water to steam. While this is the basic process, you also have to take into account genetic and environmental factors. How well the above process takes place does vary from person to person.
1. Cinnamon Tea
Blood sugar has a direct impact on your weight as it affects how hungry and how energetic you are (if you have energy you’re much more likely to exercise!)
If your blood sugar is balanced you are less likely to have a disproportionally large appetite, and your body will be more apt to use fat (energy) rather than storing it.
While debate about its effectiveness drags on, more and more preliminary studies are coming out showing that cinnamon can help manage blood sugar levels, so why not whip up a spicy cinnamon tea?
You will need… -1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon -1 cinnamon stick -8 ounces of fresh water
Directions Place the cinnamon in a mug and cover with 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes before straining. Drinking 1-2 times a day.
2. Green Tea & Ginger
Green tea has long been debated as a weight loss aid, and more research is needed to confirm or deny how well it works. While some studies have turned up nothing, others have identified three main components in green tea that could help manage weight-caffeine, catechins, and theanine. Caffeine is just an overall boost to your system, and speeds up a number of bodily processes, including metabolism related to weight (technically speaking, metabolism refers to any and all biological processes in a living organism needed to sustain life.)
Catechins are considered anti-oxidant flavonoids, and are superior in green tea rather than black tea due to a difference in processing (black tea is fermented.) While the mechanism is yet to be determined, in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that catechins can help lower the absorption of lipids (fats) via the intestinal track. Theanine is an amino acid in green tea that can encourage the release of dopamine, the chemical that makes you “happy” and relaxed. If you tend to eat due to stress, this may be useful. It also counters the caffeine so you don’t get all jittery. The ginger added to green tea will help improve digestion and add a little flavor-no sugar or milk in this tea!
You will need… -1/2 inch of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped OR ½ teaspoon ground ginger -1 teaspoon of green tea -8 ounces of fresh water -Raw, organic honey (optional)
Directions Place green tea and ginger in a strainer or sieve and cover with 8 ounces of boiling water. Steeping green tea for too long can leave it with a bitter taste, so don’t exceed 3-4 minutes. You can stir in a little raw honey if you really need to sweeten it, but avoid milk or sugar at all costs. Drink 1-2 cups daily on an empty stomach.
3. Rose Petal Water
The benefits of rose petal water are backed more by anecdotal evidence than anything, but that’s no reason to shrug off this mild yet refreshing drink. Rose petals act as a very gentle diuretic. Diuretics encourage your kidneys to put more sodium (salt) into your urine. This excess salt in turn draws water from your blood, decreasing the amount of water in your circulatory system. This is not “permanent” weight loss-just water weight-but the action encourages you to drink more and keep your system flushed clean and hydrated. Staying hydrated, believe it or not, can be hugely beneficial to losing weight.
You will need… -Handful of fresh or dried rose petals -Distilled water (roughly 1-2 cups) -A pot with a tightly fitting lid Note: Be sure, especially if using fresh rose petals, that they have not been treated with any sort of chemical (insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.)
Directions Place the pot on the stove, put in the rose petals, and add just enough distilled water to completely cover them. If some float to the top it’s not a big deal. Cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid and simmer until the petals lose most of their color, about 15-20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a glass jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Drink about ½-1 cup every morning on an empty stomach.
Ginseng is any one of 11 perennial plants with fleshy roots belonging to the genus Panax. While there are different kinds of ginseng, the two that you should use –also the ones that have had the most controlled double-blind studies done on them-are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng.) While widely known as a stimulant to speed up a sluggish metabolism, that description doesn’t do it justice. Ginseng’s greatest quality is that it can help fight fatigue and boost energy as well as mental alertness (in a randomized double-blind study in 2010 290 cancer patients at the Mayo Clinic were given ginseng daily and it was found to fight even the crippling fatigue caused by chemotherapy.) This is huge when it comes to weight loss-without energy, it’s hard to exercise. Without exercise, it’s near impossible to lose weight-at least in a healthy way. In addition to boosting energy, there is tentative evidence that it can help manage blood sugar, which also affects energy levels as well as appetite.
You will need… -1 teaspoon of chopped American or Korean ginseng -8 ounces of fresh water -raw honey/lemon to taste (optional)
Directions Roughly chop the root and measure out 1 teaspoon per cup of water. Bring water to a boil and then pour over the ginseng, allowing it to steep for 5-9 minutes. Strain, add honey or lemon if you like, and drink 1-2 times daily.
5. Dandelion and Peppermint
Dandelion and peppermint tea is a fabulous drink that will help keep your liver healthy. The liver is an incredible organ. Not only is it the only way to truly detoxify your body, it is also plays a central role in many metabolic processes-a lot of which affect weight. In terms of fat metabolism, the liver is full of cells that break down fats and turn them into usable energy. These cells are also responsible for the flow of bile, which helps breakdown and absorb fats. In the metabolism of carbohydrates, the liver helps keep your blood sugar steady, therefore keeping energy levels up and regulating appetite. The list goes on, but the point is helping your liver helps your weight, as it plays a crucial role in managing fats and their absorption. Dandelion and peppermint both help your liver. Dandelion has hepatoprotection constituents, with hepatoprotection meaning an ability to prevent damage to the liver. Peppermint and dandelion both automatically stimulate the production of bile in the liver, helping with digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Mix these two together, and you have a powerful liver protecting tea!
You will need… -1 teaspoon of dried dandelion leaves -1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves -8 ounces of boiling water -Lemon to taste (optional)
Directions Pour a cup of boiling water over the dandelion and peppermint and steep, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Strain, add lemon to taste if you like, and drink a cup twice daily. You can also make this with fresh dandelion leaves/roots and fresh peppermint, just use a rough handful of the fresh leaves for the amount. If you do use fresh, be absolutely certain that there have been no chemicals applied to them- this is especially important for dandelion. If you use dandelion on a regular basis, I suggest growing your own.
6. Sip on Sage
We live in a hectic world, and most of us are stressed about one thing or another on a daily basis. The thing is, our bodies weren’t made to handle constant stress, and it can have damaging effects on a wide variety of functions-including weight gain/loss. When under stress, the body releases cortisol, a steroid hormone that is part of the fight-or-flight response. Cortisol can effect blood sugar level (therefore appetite), and cause energy to be stored more readily as fat. Neuropeptide Y is a neurochemical that is also related to stress. When released, it causes growth of fat tissue (energy is stored easily as fat around the abdomen) as well as an increase in appetite. One way to fight this underlying stress can be to ingest more sage, which has calming effects on both the body and mind. Making a calming sage tea, or even just adding it in dishes you cook, is one way to help combat your stress levels.
You will need… -A handful of fresh sage OR 2 teaspoons of dried sage -8 ounces of boiling water -Lemon to taste (optional)
Directions Pour boiling water over sage and steep for 4-5 minutes. Strain, add lemon to taste if you like, and drink 1-2 times daily.
7. Chew Gum
Chewing gum is a great way to trick your brain (and your stomach) into thinking it’s getting more than it is. The flavor of the gum reduces appetite and curbs the urge to snack on something unhealthy, and also stimulates the flow of saliva, whose enzymes help break down starches and fats.
You will need… -1 piece of natural sugar free gum
Directions When you feel the need to start munching, pop in a piece of gum instead.
8. Have a Routine (and stick to it)
Having a routine is, in my opinion, in the top three most important things you can do to lose weight, right up there with exercise and diet. If you don’t stick to a routine, you won’t see results, and you’ll be discouraged. Several years ago I saw a personal trainer and, after paying a decent sum of money, I figured out that it was the routine of going to see her made the biggest difference. It’s probably the single hardest thing you’ll do when you try to lose weight, but once those habits become hardwired into your brain, things will only get easier.
9. Just Add Water
Staying hydrated is an important aspect of weight loss that people often brush off-you don’t want to gain water weight and feel bloated right? Either that or you hear that you should drink ice cold water to burn more calories. Not exactly. The idea that ice cold water burns more calories because your body tries to “warm it up” first may technically be true, but the effect is miniscule (like 8 calories miniscule.) Rather, you need to be hydrated for your body to run smoothly, and that includes burning fat. It flushes bad stuff through your system, and also helps curb appetite. And don’t fret about water weight-if you are staying hydrated, your body is less likely to retain water since it simply doesn’t have the need to-similar to how eating more can make weight loss easier, within reason. I should also say-DO NOT BUY INTO SPECIALTY WATERS! Get your vitamins through your diet or supplements. Those waters are not better for you-in fact some are so loaded with flavoring and what not they rival soda.
You will need… -8 ounces of fresh water
Directions Drink at least 8 cups of fresh water every day.
10. Coconut Oil (as a replacement fat)
In the 1970’s and ‘80’s, saturated fats got shoved into the spotlight as the main cause for obesity. Coconut oil, being a saturated fat, was tossed along with the rest of them. The healthier alternative that we created? Trans-fat. One could say that backfired a wee bit eh? Coconut oil isn’t just any old saturated fat though; it contains unique fats called medium chain triglycerides that help you use energy (aka calories) more efficiently. MCT’s are indeed a saturated fat, but they are not the same as many of the other saturated fats we hear about-those fats are long chain triglycerides. Why does the length matter? Its chemical makeup is what determines how our body processes it and breaks it down. MCT’s are not broken down in the intestines, and therefore do not get stored away immediately as fat. Instead, they absorbed intact and sent right to the liver, where they are used as energy. Now sitting around eating coconut oil isn’t going to make you lose weight, but using it as a replacement fat can be a good choice. In addition to that, just plain coconut oil is an incredible appetite suppressant (it’s almost scary, actually.) Tack on that it can raise energy levels and you are more likely to get out, move around, and exercise.
As far as studies on it go, here are some that I mentioned in The Everyday Roots Book. In 2002 the Journal of Nutrition concluded that it can aid weight loss when used in place of long chain triglycerides. It was also shown to strongly curb appetite and it appeared to increase the burning of calories. In 2003 Obesity Research found that it may help burn calories, probably due to the fact that it boosted energy. In 2010 the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition also found that it could help boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
You will need… -2 tablespoons of good virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
Directions Twice a day, take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. You can take it before, during, or after a meal. If you tend to struggle with proportions, I suggest taking it before you eat, or if dessert is your demon, take it right after dinner. In terms of substitution I’ve used it in place of olive oil and love it.
11. Plain Yogurt and Honey
This is an awesome breakfast/snack. It’s one of those “I wouldn’t guess this is good for me!” type foods. The probiotics in yogurt do wonders for the digestive track and maintains a healthy balance of gut flora that optimizes digestion and the breakdown of certain substances (like fat.) When you digestive track is running smoothly, your body is processing things better and it’s not as likely to pack on the pounds. The honey is just a little added (healthy) sweetness to satisfy any cravings you might have. The beautiful thing here is that you really don’t feel like you’re getting shorted any flavor or fullness when you eat it. For optimum weight-loss awesomeness, try low fat yogurt.
Note: There was once a time when certain large companies began to add so much sugar to their yogurt the amounts surpassed those found in sugary breakfast cereal, like Lucky Charms. People were gobbling it up and wondering how it could be so tasty and good for you, when really the image and wholesomeness of yogurt was simply being abused. Read the nutrition label first.
You will need… -1/2-1 cup of plain (not vanilla) yogurt -1 tablespoon of organic raw honey, or to taste
Directions Eat this for a snack or breakfast, adding on the honey for flavor. Feel free to try adding fresh fruit or even oats for a little variety.
12. Get Enough Sleep
Our body is a cohesive unit, a complex system, not just individual parts. Everything has to be working harmoniously for things to be balanced and correct-like your weight. Studies have shown that even just a little bit of sleep deprivation over the short time frame of 4 nights results in increased insulin resistance, and essentially ages the metabolism 10-20 years in that time frame. The fat cells sensitivity to insulin dropped by 30% to levels usually seen in people who were obese or diabetic. By getting the right amount of sleep, you’re doing more than just resting your body-you’re ensuring that all systems are go, and that you have the best chance possible to succeed at losing weight.
13. Black Pepper and Lemon Juice
This spicy little concoction contains black pepper and lemon juice to create a drink that can help you keep ahead on your weight loss battle. Black pepper contains a naturally occurring chemical compound called piperine, which is responsible for giving it its pungent flavor. Several new studies have shown that piperine can interfere with the genes that control the generation of fat cells, as well as reducing fat levels in the blood stream and enhancing the absorption of nutrients from our foods. Lemon juice can help aid in digestion and give your G.I. track a helping hand when it comes to breaking down foods.
You will need… -Several sprinkles of freshly ground black pepper -Juice of half a lemon -Fresh water
Directions Mix lemon juice with water and sprinkle in black pepper (about 3-4 turns of the pepper grinder.) Drink once daily after a meal.
14. Bottle Gourd Juice
Bottle gourds are old-world hard-shelled fruits that anecdotal evidence suggests can help you lose weight. People who swear by it find that, due to its high fiber content, it creates a sensation of fullness and curbs appetite. It also has high water content (always a good thing) and has a number of great nutrients. If you do decide to drink bottle gourd juice, do not do so in such a way that you use it to “starve” yourself (see below.) Your body needs all the (good) food and nutrients it needs to maintain a balanced diet, however, it’s a great way to help resist cravings and potential snacking sprees!
You will need… -1 cup of bottle gourd juice, chilled -A little lime juice
Directions When you feel the urge to snack, drink a glass of cold bottle gourd juice with a dash of lime juice added.
15. Eat More (and figure out why you’re eating in the first place)
Deprivation never works. It is a painful struggle that will almost always result in failure. Instead of starving your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, eat “more” good stuff. Break your meals down to 5 or 6 small ones a day to reduce snacking (which is when a good chunk of weight gain takes place for a lot of people) and to prevent your body from storing more fat-which is does when it feels “starved.” Also ask yourself why you’re eating in the first place-we so often eat out of boredom or nerves or stress. Wait until you feel a rumble and let your stomach tell you when it needs to eat.
16. Apple Snacks
An apple a day keeps the weight at bay! While not overflowing with nutrients like other fruits or vegetables, apples still have a number of benefits that can contribute to weight loss. First, they are packed with fiber, which helps curb appetite, so eat one when you feel the urge to snack on some less-desirable foods. Second, they can help regulate blood sugar levels, and therefore help regulate your appetite and energy levels. Third, the pectin in apples can lower cholesterol, and serve as another way to help regulate blood sugar, by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. Finally, apples are a naturally low-sodium food, which can help prevent excess water retention and water weight.
You will need… -1-2 fresh apples
Directions Rinse and slice an apple, and eat one to two daily. Leave the skin on, as that contains a good amount of fiber.
17. Add in More Asparagus
Pay attention to seasonal fruits and vegetables, and pounce on the asparagus when it comes along. Asparagus is nutrient dense and, like apples, contains a lot of fiber to help curb appetite. It also contains a host of vitamins that work together to metabolize blood glucose, therefore regulate blood sugar. If you find yourself feeling puffy or bloated, asparagus is a mild diuretic that can help reduce bloating and leave you feeling your best. Try eating asparagus steamed on the side of your favorite dishes-this vegetable doesn’t need much to make it taste good
You will need… -1 bunch of asparagus -some water
Directions Wash the asparagus and lightly peel the stems if they are thick. Place in a pan with ½-1 inch of water, and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Turn the heat to medium high and steam for 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.
18. Put Your Fork or Spoon Down Between Bites
Your brain lags behind your stomach by roughly 20 minutes, which ,means that it isn’t the best thing to rely on when it comes to letting your know when you’re full. To avoid over-eating, and thus consuming extra un-needed calories, slow down your eating by putting your fork or spoon down between bites. You might feel a little silly at first, but it can really help when it comes to managing your weight.
19. Snack on Flax
Flax seed has been known to help with digestive ailments for centuries, and this goes hand in hand with weight loss. Flax seeds are high in fiber, as well as mucilage, which helps lower cholesterol. It has also been proven to lower blood sugar levels. With such a high amount of fiber, flax seeds also act as a natural gentle way to regulate bowel movements and help promote healthy gut bacteria, both which work well to help you manage weight. It is important to eat flaxseed ground, as it tends to pass through the digestive track undigested if eaten whole, thus depriving you of its nutritional benefits.
You will need… -1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
Directions Once a day eat a tablespoon of ground flaxseed-sprinkling it over cereal or oatmeal if my personal preference.
20. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle contains active flavonoid compounds collectively known as simirilyn. Simalrilyn helps to protect the liver which is a vital organ when it comes to managing weight and encouraging weight loss. When your liver is bogged down and sluggish, weight loss can be slowed by up to 30%*. The simarilyn in milk thistle can help reverse this. There are several ways to take milk thistle, however I recommend a capsule form (make sure the source is reliable) or as a tincture, since milk thistle does not impart its benefits when steeped in water (such as when made into a tea.)
You will need… -Milk thistle capsules or tincture
Directions Follow Directions on the packaging for dosage.
21. Go Ahead, Eat That Chocolate
Remember deprivation hardly works? When you get the urge for a sweet treat, turn to dark chocolate. It will help curb your craving thanks to its insulin-resistance lowering flavonoids. The healthy fats in dark chocolate can also slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, preventing “insulin spikes.” Studies have shown that eating some can help put a stop to cravings for sugar, salt, and fat. However, the chocolate must be 70% cocoa, otherwise it has too much milk or sugar added to be beneficial.
You will need… -70% dark chocolate
Directions Directly after a meal, eat a piece of dark chocolate roughly the size of your thumb to glean its benefits.
22. Join the Navy… Beans
Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you…lose weight? Apparently, since the protein in navy beans can take a while to digest, therefore reducing appetite and aiding in weight loss management. The fiber in navy beans can also help lower cholesterol.
You will need… -1 cup of dried navy beans -3 cups of water
Directions Prepare the navy beans by adding 3 cups of fresh water to a pot for each cup of dried beans, so that the liquid level is about 1-2 inches about the beans. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. Skim off any foam that develops, and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours until tender. Add to a salad or enjoy as a dish on its own.
When you’re trying to figure out how to lose weight, know that there really is no magic thing that works for everyone. Yes, diet and exercise are vital, but people are different, bodies are different, and you have to take into account things such as genetics, health conditions, gender, and age. You might be glaring at your co-worker chowing down on donuts at the office while you pick at a salad and wonder how they manage to stay so fit when they eat whatever they want-but don’t let this drag you down. The journey is different for everyone, but there is always a way to complete it. And when in doubt, simplify the situation-eat good food, get proper exercise. We’ve turned eating and weight loss into a science that delves into such minuscule things we feel like we aren’t capable of eating right or losing weight without professional help. Assuming you have no outstanding condition that complicates the situation, you can reach your goals on your own! It may be difficult, but hey, that’s where things like these remedies can lend a helping hand.
Weight Loss Tips
-Weight isn’t everything. Muscle does weigh more than fat, and being fit and healthy is more important than being incredibly “thin.” Healthy looks good on you, and don’t forget it!
-Never underestimate stress as a cause of weight gain. The body cannot perform any function, including burning fat for energy, optimally when under stress.
-There are no super-foods. Don’t rely on one thing to help you lose weight-always maintain a balanced diet.
-Don’t eat before bed. Your metabolism slams on the brakes when you go to sleep, so eating at night makes weight gain tough to avoid.
-Get a buddy to make goals that the two of you strive towards. When you lose willpower or motivation, a friend can be all that stands between success and setback.
-Read a book called Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us In by New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss. Just do it. It will give you something new and tangible to hold onto when you are trying to avoid junk food. At the risk of sounding corny, it actually changed my life.
-Along the lines of the first tip-manage your weight to be healthy, and ultimately, happy. Ignore images of perfect figures. Forget about the silly things society bombards you with, telling you what you should look like. To say that’s easier said than done is the understatement of the century, but do try to keep it in mind. When you are healthy, and happy, you truly glow from the inside out.
Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything 🙂 Meet Claire
We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:
You've tried everything, but this time it is going to be different. You're finally getting down to business and losing the weight you've gained, whether it was from too many slices of pizza and beer in college, stubborn pregnancy weight, or that "food baby" you've been growing with pints of ice cream. You've had enough, and although you know there's no easy fix, we asked certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition to share the one simple thing you need to do to jump-start your weight loss and start seeing results.
We might as well have asked our mothers, because her advice is the same: to "eat more vegetables." There are so many reasons to eat them — they're low in calories and many are also low in carbs. The high water content and all the chewing it takes to break down vegetables in your mouth can help you feel full faster, so you eat less food overall. Plus the high amount of fiber in veggies will keep you feeling full for longer to prevent snacking later.
Eating more veggies is a growing trend, and the good news is that plants are becoming the new meat, moving veggies from the side of the plate to the center. The easiest way to eat more veggies is to include them in every meal and snack — even breakfast. Not sure how to snack on veggies aside from hitting the salad bar or ordering a side of sweet potato fries? Check out the ideas below to get you on board the all-day veggie train.
Lush, shiny, manageable and healthy hair can be yours, with coconut oil!
You can even clear out commercial conditioners, shine, and styling products, and replace them with this all-natural solution. Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial properties, lauric acid, and medium-chain fatty acids that strengthen hair, condition the scalp, and help to regrow hair.
While I have supported the internal health benefits of coconut oil for quite sometime, it’s time to bring light to coconut oil’s other uses, one of which is using it as an all-natural, multi-tasking hair care product. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, the nourishing benefits coconut oil for hair keeps your hair strong, shiny and looking great!
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair
If your hair is dry and brittle, chances are you are not consuming enough fresh water. Water helps to keep the entire body hydrated, including hair and skin. As we age, hormone health plays a significant part in the health of hair as well.
Eat for your best hair health by including lots of healthy fats, drinking plenty of water, and using natural hair care products, including coconut oil for hair, instead of dangerous chemical laden shampoos, conditioners or styling agents.
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. When used on hair, it improves scalp health, fights infections and fungus, supports hair growth, all while adding volume and shine without the common harmful chemicals.
If you look on the ingredient labels of many of your favorite cosmetics and hair products, you will find coconut oil listed. However, most cosmetics and hair products also contain other ingredients that can be harmful to your health, while actually damaging your hair and skin.
The harsh chemicals in commercial hair care products can leave your hair flat, dry, and damaged. Adding coconut oil in small amounts simply isn’t enough. So avoid traditional products and add coconut oil to your regimen along with your favorite natural organic shampoos and products.
While some of these healthier hair products may cost a little more, the good news is that food-grade coconut oil is safe, affordable, and can effectively replacemany hair care products in your cabinets.
5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Hair
Coconut oil is free of the scary chemicals that lurk in commercial hair products, and is an excellent conditioner, for all types of hair. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, coconut oil out performs sunflower oil and mineral oil, and is the only oil that reduces protein loss.(1) Avoid all beauty products that contain mineral oil, especially for children.
It is the protein loss in hair that leads to dryness and breakage. The lauric acid has a low molecular weight, and is able to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil helps to prevent damage from combing and brushing, and it is safe to use on children. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner, or used as an intensive conditioner for a couple of hours, or overnight. The key to using all natural coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner, is finding the right amount for your hair. A little goes a long way.
For short hair, start with just a ¼ teaspoon, warmed in your palms. For longer, thicker hair, you may need up to a ½ tablespoon. You want to use sparingly on thinner hair, as it can weigh hair down if too much is used. Pay particular attention to ends and the shaft of the hair. Smooth through hair, and proceed to style as normal.
As an intensive conditioner to restore hair, after washing with a gentle natural shampoo, apply 1 teaspoon (for short hair), 2 teaspoons (for shoulder length hair) and 1 tablespoon (for long hair) after warming in the palm of your hands. Apply to hair shaft and ends, and then rub into scalp. Cover with a shower cap, and leave on for 1-2 hours, or overnight. Wash with gentle shampoo, and style as normal.
For dry or damaged hair, add a couple of drops of sandalwood essential oil and/or geranium essential oil for both leave-in and intensive coconut oil for hair conditioning treatments. These essential oils support moisture retention, and work to increase the moisturizing and conditioning effects of the coconut oil for hair.
2. Hair Growth
Coconut oil is a safe, effective, and reasonably priced solution if you have thinning hair. It can actually help grow hair, longer and thicker. The essential nutrients including the lauric acid, penetrates the hair shaft improving the overall health of the hair.
The health of hair is often a result of internal issues, and incorporating natural hair loss remedies will help. Foods high in Omega-3 fats, pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds, and green tea, and all help support healthy hair growth, from the inside out. Before trying prescription hair growth preparations that only work for 50% of individuals (2) and only works with continued use, modify your diet, and use coconut oil for hair conditioning and styling. The harsh chemicals can cause scalp irritation and even hair growth where hair is not desired.
HAIR GROWTH TREATMENT:
When massaged into the scalp, coconut oil helps to improve blood circulation, supporting hair growth. It is important to massage the coconut oil into the scalp with gentle pressure for 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times per week. If you want to just focus on scalp conditioning and hair growth, you will only need 1 teaspoon.
However, if you want the benefits of a deep conditioning, follow the steps above. Instead of using sandalwood essential oil, add 4 drops of rosemary essential oil, which is known to increase new hair growth over 20%. Rosemary oil also helps to increase circulation in the scalp, and when used with coconut oil can produce fantastic results.
After massaging the oils into the scalp for 10 minutes, place a shower cap on, and allow the heat of your body to work with the oils to improve scalp health. Follow with a gentle cleanser like my Homemade Rosemary Mint Shampoo. It smells great, and is gentle on all hair types.
Rich with vitamin K and vitamin E, coconut oil helps to reduce dandruff, and make hair follicles healthy. These treatments are not just for thinning hair; if you are experiencing hair fall while washing, brushing, or style, these treatments with essential oils can help.
People have used coconut oil for skin for hundreds of years to fight dandruff. This unsightly, and often itchy, condition can be caused by dry skin conditions, sensitivity to the harsh chemicals in hair care products, and commonly yeast-like fungal (Malassezia) infections.(3)
Coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids including lauric acid and capric acid, have strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties that target the fungus and help to kill it as well as viruses and bacteria that may be lurking on your scalp.
Many prescription and over-the-counter dandruff shampoos can actually make dandruff worse, and don’t fix the root cause of the flakiness. If the problem is fungal, or if the problem is dry skin, topical applications of coconut oil will make a difference.
Many commercial shampooscontain chemicals that are harmful. These include parabens, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and many others. Dandruff shampoos are even worse, and contain ammonium laureth sulfate, magnesium aluminum silicate, and selenium sulfide.
And the majority of the time, these preparations simply do not work. The goal is to make the scalp healthier, free from fungus, and moisturized, to put an end to dandruff. Treating with coconut oil will not make dandruff go away overnight, but many can see results in just a week or so.
TO TREAT DANDRUFF:
Essential oils including lavender, wintergreen, thyme, and tea tree, all help to fight fungus and yeast. For an intensive dandruff treatment, after washing hair, mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with 5 drops of one of the oils mentioned above, or a combination, and massage into the scalp.
Be sure to really work the mixture into the scalp, from neck to forehead, and behind the ears. Cover with a shower cap, and if possible sit in the sun for 20-30 minutes to increase the heat, or simply use a hair dryer on a low setting to heat the cap.
Remove cap, and wash with a gentle natural shampoo. Repeat this 2 to 3 times per week, or even more often, as desired. Like with the conditioning or hair growth treatment, you can leave it on overnight. Just be sure to wear the shower cap to avoid staining bed linens.
Yes, coconut oil is a great styling agent, and free from the dangerous chemicals in conventional hair care products! This is one of the most overlooked coconut oil for hair uses. Hair dryers, flat irons, hot rollers, and curling irons zap the moisture out of the hair shaft causing it to be brittle and prone to tangling.
Coconut oil helps to prevent this type of thermal damage, and when used in the proper amount for your hair length and texture, tames fly aways, frizz, and more. People with thick curly hair often fight frizz in humid climates. Coconut oil helps to tame the frizz, by penetrating into the curls. It can be applied throughout the day for touch-ups, just be sure to use it sparingly.
TO TAME FRIZZ:
Start with a tiny amount (1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon) depending on hair, warming in palms. Smooth from root to tips, and blow dry and style as desired. It will take just a bit longer to dry your hair, but it will be soft, shiny, and manageable.
Disguise split ends, and nourish them at the same time by using just a tiny bit of coconut oil on just the ends.
TO PROTECT FROM THE SUN:
Hair, like skin, is prone to sun damage. Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen, with an SPF of 8.(4) If you are planning a day out in the sun, use it as a leave-in conditioner for all day protection. And, while you are at it, use it on exposed skin as well. Coconut oil is a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike.
Detangling hair is a chore; and can often cause breakage. Coconut oil improves hair break stress by penetrating the hair shaft. (5) It also surrounds the hair, and makes it easier to remove knots after washing, or in the evenings. Smooth a small amount through hair, paying particular attention to tangled areas and damaged ends. Use a wide-tooth comb, starting from the bottom, and slowly work your way up.
Using coconut oil for hair regularly will improve the overall health of the hair, and help to prevent tangles. If tangled hair is a continuing problem, trimming the damage ends will help.
NOTE: If you have thin or fine hair, apply coconut oil sparingly to hair for styling. Also, do not apply it to the scalp as this can weigh down the hair.
5. Lice Prevention & Lice Treatment
One of the best uses of coconut oil for hair is in the treatment and prevention of lice! According to a study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics, combination of coconut oil and anise spray is more effective, than the commonly used prescription lice treatment permethrin.(6)
In fact, in the controlled study, the coconut oil based spray was 82% successful and the permethrin was only 42% successful, and 33 of the 50 participants reported scalp irritation when following the conventional treatment.
Another study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal found greater success, although they added ylang ylang oil to the coconut oil and anise oil combination. The treatment was successful in 92.3% of children and caused no serious side effects.(7)
Because coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft, and the scalp, it helps to repel lice and can keep their eggs from attaching to the hair. With the addition of essential oils including ylang ylang, tea tree, and anise, lice don’t have a chance.
To keep lice at bay, use coconut oil as mentioned above as a leave-in hair conditioner, or to detangle and style hair. If there is an infestation of lice, mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of each ylang ylang, anise, and tea tree oils. Double the recipe for longer hair; this should be enough for shoulder-length hair.
Apply the solution all over the scalp, massage in, and pulling through the ends. Comb through the hair with a fine toothcomb. Cover in a shower cap, and allow to sit for 2 hours. If possible, sit in the sun or use a hair dryer to periodically warm up the cap. Carefully remove shower cap, and seal in zip lock bag for disposal.
At the end of 2 hours, comb hair once again, prior to washing and rinsing thoroughly, twice. While hair is still wet, combine 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water in a small spray bottle. Saturate the hair, spraying ½ the bottle on the scalp and hair. Lean over the sink and pour the remaining mixture over the hair, massaging lightly.
Rinse thoroughly and comb hair once again with a fine toothcomb. Follow with a light application of coconut oil, cover with a shower cap, or style as desired, and allow to remain on the hair until next washing.
As with most lice treatments, the process needs to be repeated every 5-10 days for a couple of weeks. This helps to ensure that all lice, and their eggs are eradicated. Between treatments, comb hair morning and night with a fine toothcomb, and use coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner.
As coconut oil both repels and kills lice, at the first notification of a lice outbreak, start using coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner.
Coconut Oil Hair Recipes
Coconut Oil Shampoo
Here is one of my favorite coconut oil shampoo recipes, that will leave your hair feeling soft and healthy. As every person’s hair is different, feel free to adjust the coconut oil level to suit your hair needs. For fine hair you may reduce the coconut oil amount as needed to 1/4 cup, and for thick dry or curly hair, you may need to increase this amount or add a few drops of avocado oil as well.
1 cup liquid castile soap
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
50-60 drops of favorite essential oils
Melt coconut oil and coconut milk together over very low heat, as to not damage any of the nutrients. Pour into a bottle with a secure lid, and top with the castile soap. Shake well. And then, shake some more. Add 50 drops of your favorite essential oils, and shake again.
Great essential oils for hair include lavender, wild orange, peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, clary sage, and rosemary.
This shampoo will not be as thick as commercial shampoos; squeeze on hair directly from the bottle. Wash, and rinse well.
Coconut Oil Conditioner
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon Jojoba oil
10 drops of your favorite essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until well combined. This may take several minutes. You want a smooth and creamy conditioner. In the shower, after washing hair with Coconut Oil Shampoo, use a teaspoon or two and smooth through hair. Allow to penetrate hair for the remainder of your shower, and rinse very well.
NOTE: If you color your hair, especially red, coconut oil may fade the color. For most hair types and colors, it will not.
BONUS: Coconut oil is a great base for natural hair colors as it penetrates the hair shaft. For darker hair, mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 cup of strong coffee, with 1 tablespoon of spent grounds, and apply to hair. Allow to sit for 45 – 60 minutes, the longer you leave it, the darker the results. Rinse well and style as desired.
For blonde hair, or to add subtle highlights, mix 1/2 cup of strong chamomile tea, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and ¼ cup coconut oil in a blender until emulsified. Apply to hair and roots and cover with a shower cap. Sit in the sun, or use a hair dryer to keep the cap warm for 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Rinse well.
Shopping for Coconut Oil
Using coconut oil for hair is one of the best things you can do to avoid harmful chemicals that are in many commercial hair care products. Protect hair from the elements, keep it strong, nourished, shiny, and manageable by using coconut oil for conditioning, styling, hair growth, to get rid of dandruff, and treat lice.
Look for extra virgin organic coconut oil; when you open the jar, the aroma should remind you of fresh coconuts.
Blackheads are something very few of us avoid unfortunately.
Using a natural chemical free oatmeal and yogurt based product is quick and easy to make in our own kitchens.
Using store bought cosmetics does not have to be the answer to blackhead problems which will often contain preservatives and toxins.
The health benefits of these ingredients are well known and when combined together with a few additional natural store cupboard favorites, make a powerful blackhead removing face mask which also gently exfoliates the skin revealing fresh new glowing skin.
Let's take a look at the skin benefits of oatmeal and yogurt followed by two recipes.
The first is an excellent blackhead remover and gentle skin exfoliator. The second is an antibacterial busting face mask perfect for oily or acne prone skin.