Spray on Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

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So while I simply love my original recipe for natural deodorant, I do find that some people aren’t able to use it because of their sensitivity to baking soda and / or corn starch. If over-applied, even individuals with lower sensitivity may find they need to take a break from it every once in a while, as baking soda does tend to be mildly abrasive. So I have a great alternative for you – which has been working very well for my hubby who works long, sweaty days outdoors in construction – is there a better test for this, really? I even enjoy alternating using my baking soda deodorant with this one once in a while, if my pits need a vacay from the baking soda. And it is incredibly easy to make!

All you need is:

A small spritzer bottle,
One part freshly squeezed lemon juice,
One part alcohol free witch hazel like THIS one.

Combine in the bottle, shake and spray! If you don’t have witch hazel around, you can even skip it altogether and just use the lemon juice, although I think the witch hazel does improve the effectiveness, as well as being tonifying for your skin. The shelf life will also reduce without the witch hazel. This recipe DOES need to be kept in the fridge, which is one reason why my first recommendation is always my original recipe. But I personally don’t find it that inconvenient to just spray it on in the kitchen instead.

You can even just rub some juice from a sliced lemon on your armpits, if you don’t have a spritz bottle. Yup, just a lemon. Just rub it on there and go. Keep the slice in a container (you might want to mark it: “this lemon for armpits only”) in the fridge. My husband found this somehow unappealing, and thus this recipe was born. But hey, if it works for you, and is easier, go for that option instead!

Give it a few minutes to air out on your pits, to avoid rubbing it all off on you shirt when you put it on. And do beware of freshly shaven armpits, the lemon juice might give you a bit of a sting if you’ve nicked yourself anywhere!

How easy is that? No aluminum or other toxic ingredients, incredibly cheap, and amazingly effective. Hope you have success with it!

Three Amazing Chia Recipes!

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I love the versatility of this seed so much that i decided to post about some of my favourite uses. As you can easily google the health benefits of chia, I won’t spend much time detailing its nutritional profile, but will say this – it’s another “super food”, loaded with healthy omega 3’s, calcium, manganese & phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids. You can count on chia as a brain food that gives you an energy boost, as well as keeping your bones & teeth healthy. Apart from just adding it to a lot of recipes & baking, I have a few favourite uses for chia that I would like to share with you.

ONE: As a thickener in recipes calling for things like corn starch or pectin. Jams, jellies, sauces and other dishes that need thickening or a little extra cohesion benefit from added or substituted chia. I personally don’t like using corn starch (because of its low digestibility) or pectin (because of the cost, and it being an extracted ingredient rather than a whole food). I haven’t figured out a super reliable substitution rate, but I would say a safe assumption to start with would be a sub of 2:1 of chia to starch or pectin. If you don’t want the minor seediness that comes with whole chia, you can grind it in a coffee grinder to get the thickening benefits without the seedy texture.

A recipe for quick chia jam:

Combine in a saucepan / small pot:

1 cup of (I use frozen) berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry – whatever you like, or a combination).
2 tbsp of chia seeds
Simmer until reduced (and thawed if frozen) for 5 minutes.
If you want a jam with uniform texture, use your hand blender to lightly puree the mixture while still in the pot. If you like it chunky, leave it! For the pureed jam, simmer for another 5 minutes or so after pureeing; for the chunkier jam, give it about 10 minutes on the stove (or longer) to soften up the lumps a bit. After your jam has finished simmering, stir in:

Approx 1 tbsp raw honey (to taste – however sweet you like it – the chia adds a mild sweetness as well).

You can use the jam warm, or transfer to a jar in the fridge. After some time in the fridge, it will thicken even further. And voila! A jam with added protein and omega 3, without the use of other thickening agents or sweeteners. This jam also freezes very nicely.

TWO: For a homemade hair gel. That’s right, I said it! Hair gel! Chia makes a wonderful plant based jelly when combined with any liquid. For a hair gel, you can combine:

1 cup of water with
2 tbsp of whole chia seeds

Simmer in a small pot for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring fairly constantly to separate lumps. Remove from heat and stir in:

2 tbsp aloe vera gel (food grade please)

– and let cool. Once cooled, get out a jar for storage and place fine meshed cheesecloth over top. Begin pouring mixture over the cheesecloth, and when enough accumulates on the top, squeeze the gel through the cloth into the jar – the leftover grit and seeds will stay in the cheesecloth. Continue until you have strained it all. If you have a very fine mesh strainer, this would work as well – but it needs to be very fine or you will get chunks in the gel.

Keep it in the fridge and use as needed – it will work like a “wet” hair gel. Both the chia and aloe are very conditioning for your hair, so it also makes a great dry hair treatment!

THREE: Chia fruit juice jelly: A really fun, refreshing light snack that is super easy is this chia seed jelly – a little like a slightly softer jello :). Combine in a jar:

1 cup of your favourite fruit juice (my favourite for this recipe is grape) with
2 tbsp of ground or whole chia seed (depending on the texture you would like).

Stir well until distributed evenly in the juice. Let sit on the counter for five minutes in the sealed jar. Give it a good shake or another stir, and place in the fridge for several hours (I let it sit overnight). It’s perfect for a hot summer day, especially to get some fun fluids and vitamins in your kidlets.

And there you have it! My favourite chia based recipes both for on your bod and in. Also check out my recipe for chia rice pudding HERE. A yummy gluten free breakfast! What are your favourite uses for chia?

“Beauty” Regimens I No Longer Perform

20140528-215510-78910454.jpg…….because it’s unnecessary, and I don’t care what “you” think. That’s right, I said it. I really don’t care what you think, and I don’t think anyone should have to care about it. And if it bothers you that I don’t do these things, well, I think you are sweating the small stuff, baby 😉 Let loose, and check out what I don’t worry about in terms of my beautiful body anymore:

Shaving. Yup, I don’t shave. Anywhere. I personally think it’s ridiculously unnecessary. Sure, if you have hair somewhere that is functionally or hygienically getting in your way, take it off. Like a beard, for example – I get that. It gets food in it. It hangs in yours or your girlfriend’s mouth, yeah. If I had a beard I would probably trim or shave from time to time so it didn’t get out of control. If you are a championship swimmer and you want to cut a few millisecs off your time – raze away. But do I need to spend countless hours of my lifetime stripping minor, non-irritating hair from my pits and legs? And other uncomfortable areas? God, NO! My hubs does NOT care (really, he really really doesn’t) and I don’t think he should. My legs are actually softer without shaving, and I certainly don’t have stinky armpits. In fact, the hair actually binds to my deodorant to make it more effective, IMO. Be strong and resist the brainwashing, ladies! We don’t need to be hairless.

Styling my hair with product. I keep my hair on the short side, although I am waffling on the style lately. My hair has very little volume, and has a lot of weird little flicks and waves in it. But I am NOT spending my time putting product in it anymore. 1). Because I can’t get behind using the kinds of toxic products that it takes to give my limp hair more shape, 2). I can’t be bothered to waste my time making alternative products for it, because I don’t care. If it’s clean and brushed, it is soooo not my problem if you think it looks ‘weird.’ It’s hair. It’s unique. It doesn’t need to look like the overly coiffed hair in commercials. But just FYI, I will eventually be posting a recipe for chia hair gel. It is pretty cool stuff…and fun to make with the kids. Stay tuned.

Applying make-up. So you may have noticed I don’t have any make-up recipes on the site yet. I confess, it’s because I don’t wear it. Ever. My complexion loves me for it. No pimples, no problems. Why do we need to look like dolls? Why? Make-up is super time consuming and annoying to apply (especially eyeliner, holy hell), and creates a vicious cycle of clogged pores and irritated skin cells that fight back and then need to be squelched again under another layer. I really don’t get the whole make-up thing. Well, okay, I do, I guess, maybe you want to impress someone….and I will probably figure out some basic recipes for those of you who may need it. But I am not rushing on that, because I really don’t think you need it. And I will probably only go as far as lip tint, rouge and mascara. I would be more thrilled if y’all would just let your natural loveliness out 🙂

For fun, check out this article on “How to Liberate Yourself From Make-up”.

Dying my hair. So I think it goes without saying that if I am not styling my hair with product, I am certainly not dying it. Dying your hair is an incredibly toxic process (Don’t believe me? Read THIS). It was fun in my youth to play around with crazy colours, but that is soooo done. And I am not interested in covering my grey, which has actually started to come in, by the way (hmmmm, maybe kids really do give you grey hair). You know, I actually kind of like it! I look at it as my wisdom and experience shining through. I earned that grey. And I wouldn’t cover it up for a minute. I think we need to remember that we can age gracefully and without shame. Be proud of your grey – it’s who you are, and it’s beautiful.

So okay, maybe I am extra crunchy for being this way. Then CRUNCH AWAY, I say. Take control of what is really important in your life, like eating healthy, staying active, respecting the earth we live on, being mindful and present, and enjoying each moment and person in your life like this is your last day on earth. And lastly, being kind and compassionate to one another, and teaching our children to do the same. When you think about how important all of these things are, make-up and hair dye seem a little ridiculous, don’t they?

What parts of your beauty routine have you thrown to the curb?

Busting Odours In Your Home….Naturally!

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Although many families turn to commercial odour fighting products like Febreze, Glade plugins, and the like, I often stop to wonder how many consider the negative impact of these kinds of products? Advertising makes these solutions look borderline miraculous. Yet, solutions that appear miraculous often come with a price. And in this case, like many others, the price is your health.

Of course, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at THIS article on Care2 listing some of the very toxic ingredients in Febreze, and THIS article speaking to the concerns surrounding Glade. And these are just common brands. For a breakdown of the general risks surrounding commercial air fresheners, seeTHIS excellent article.

Anyway, now that we’ve spoken to the dangers of these popular chemical deodorizers, what alternatives do we have? Of course, as you know by now, that’s what I’m all about. So here we go!

Keep your home clean. For goodness sake, this is number one. If you think you can cheat and just mask odours by spritzing something that smells nice on top of them, well, you’re in for a wake up call. The most important step to eliminating odours in your home is regular cleaning (with natural products, please). Take the trash and compost out regularly, and clean your pet’s litter box daily. Don’t let spoiled food sit in your fridge. This should all hopefully be commonsensical, but I feel I need to say it!

Open your windows regularly. Allow regular air circulation in your home. Stale air can really add to the problem. If you get the air moving, you will notice a lot less odour problems!

Use baking soda in your deodorizing routine. Sprinkle some (and allow to sit for a time) on your carpets, couches, and pet beds before vacuuming. Keep a shaker of it to add to your cat’s litter box after cleaning. Keep an open box / bowl / mason jar with cheesecloth on top in your fridge or in other problem areas (you can even add several drops of essential oil to your baking soda to give it an extra scent). And you can sprinkle it into stinky shoes or work boots, nasty gym or hockey bags.

Soak problem items in vinegar. For items that will tolerate being soaked in a solution of vinegar and water, let them sit for a few hours prior to washing. If you choose to soak them in your washing machine, make sure you drain the water before adding your detergent, or the vinegar may cancel out its cleansing effects.

Rub lemon on problematic surfaces. If you have stinky cutting boards or countertops, or pans that are holding a stank, slice open a lemon and rub it on. Let it sit for a bit, wash it off, and you should be good to go. You can even use raw lemon as a natural personal deodorant!

Keep natural, essential oil based scented oil reed diffusers in your bathroom and other problem areas. You can make your own oil diffusers by adding 10-20 drops of the essential oil of your choosing (citronella, lemon, rosemary, and orange oils are the most potent varieties) into 1/4 cup of a carrier oil (sitting in the bottom of a small jar) like olive or grapeseed. Place some bamboo barbecue skewers in the jar with the oil, fan them out, and voila. The skewers will absorb the oil and diffuse it into the air naturally. Refresh every two weeks to a month or so.

If you are looking for a scent burst, fill a small spritzer bottle with water and some essential oil. A good rule is about 10-20 drops per half cup of water. Lightly spray your mixture into your bathroom after a BM, on your bedsheets or pillow to freshen them up, or anywhere you need an extra scent lift. Keep in mind this IS water, so it will dampen material a bit. Don’t go crazy with it.

If you really want a strong, consistent blast of scent, consider purchasing an Aroma Diffuser like THIS one from Young Living. You add essential oils to it, and it puffs out a constant stream of water vapour infused with the oil. Most of them come with timers that have an auto shut-off. These diffusers are also helpful to have when using essential oils therapeutically, like eucalyptus for a cold – so this would be a purchase with multiple benefits.

You can also prepare a stovetop air freshener by simmering herbs and spices in water, in a pot on low heat. We all know how fresh baked goods can add a delicious scent to your home – this technique applies a similar strategy. A great recipe uses lemon rinds (or whole lemon slices) along with fresh rosemary branches in enough water to cover them. Keep adding water as it simmers down. Don’t let it burn out on your stove!! Keep a timer going if you are likely to forget.

Consider adding some indoor plants to your household. Plants keep the air fresh in your home. Not a green thumb? Don’t worry, there are lots of easy to take care of plants available. I personally love the philodendron family. Ask your local garden centre for plants that need minimal care.

Add a sachet of lavender blossoms to your car rearview mirror. You can also purchase natural deodorizing sachets, or make your own simple hanging freshener with essential oils like THIS one. You can use these same sachets in your underwear and sock drawers, or hang them in your closet. Another sachet idea is using a coffee filter with a string tied around it to contain baking soda with essential oils added.

And there you go, folks, a big list of great alternatives for you to use instead of the chemical laden commercial deodorizing products. Do you have any other natural stank fighting tricks you use in your home?

Check out my DIY Air Freshener & Deodorizer Pinterest board HERE for a bunch of other unique air freshening ideas!

Bay leaves in your pantry – More than just a seasoning!

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Thanks to my mother in law, I now have a new tip to pass on to you! While cleaning an older lady’s kitchen, my mother in law kept finding bay leaves here and there. When asking her client what she wanted her to do with all the bay leaves, she reportedly asked her right back – “Don’t you know about bay leaves? They’re for the bugs!” After some quick research, it seems that this “old wives tale” checks out – bay leaves actually do seem to keep pests out of your kitchen, and there’s an actual scientific explanation behind it.

Bay leaves contain – according to my sister in law, an entomologist, many natural insect repellents like alpha pinene, beta pinene and lauric acid. Who knew? Clearly not me, or I would definitely have some in my cupboards by now! By adding some bay leaves to your containers of flour, oats, rice, and other grains that you are storing long term, you may be able to avoid the dreaded pantry moth. And avoid the immense hassle and expense of throwing out contaminated food. It’s been suggested to use FRESH bay leaves if you can, and to replace them a few times a year. The older and dryer the leaves are, the more broken down the active repellents will be.

And there you have it! I hope this quick little trick saves you some possible future hairpulling that may have come from any unfortunate infestations!

Odour Busting Deodorant!

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It’s time for the big reveal of my amazingly simple deodorant recipe! This was one of the first home recipes I perfected. I have never really been happy with the results using commercially made natural deodorant, nor am I satisfied using aluminum laden carcinogenic antiperspirants. You won’t believe how effective this recipe is, and how easy it is to make! You can use it preventatively, OR as an instant odor neutralizer. You can even use it on stinky feet! As usual, it is super CHEAP to make, too – and you can keep it right on your bathroom counter.

Thus this great, incredibly effective easy recipe:

1 part coconut oil
1 part cornstarch OR arrowroot powder
1 part baking soda
OPTIONAL: 2 drops per 1/4 cup of ingredients tea tree essential oil (or another of your choice, although I recommend tea tree for its antimicrobial properties).

In a double boiler on low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the other ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and pour immediately into desired container – I choose to use a small mason jar and later apply with my finger. Others may choose to fill a toilet paper roll or old deodorant container and rub directly on your pits – I personally find I end up applying too much this way. Allow to set in the freezer to avoid ingredients separating / settling. Results in a very thick paste.

Apply sparingly – a little goes a long way (you don’t want to overapply this stuff or it may end up being a bit irritating)! Also works great for drying out pimples – apply a blob directly to the pimple and let sit overnight.

CAUTIONS / TROUBLESHOOTING:
Not little black dress friendly – may leave a white residue (should not stain your clothes, though).
May melt a bit in a hot environment, but does not change its effectiveness!
If you develop a rash, discontinue use for a 3-5 days, and try applying in smaller amounts at less frequent intervals. If it still bothers you, you may be sensitive to one of the ingredients – try my alternative spray on deodorant HERE.