Most moms are into saving a buck. Well let’s be honest, what person isn’t into saving where they can? So when it comes to remedies and ways to get stuff done around the home let’s use the best natural stuff that you probably have on hand already. If you do not have these things in your cabinet, I suggest that you acquire them and keep them in stock. There is nothing worse than running out of baking soda mid recipe because you used the last of it in the laundry yesterday. Get rid of the heartburn medication, or the $160 teeth whitening program and gain the knowledge to stop becoming a consumer junkie! Some of these are just tips I use daily and work wonders for me and others are actually proven and published methods of common uses to these items. I only wish to help lessen the load of stress while keeping the joy of health and wellness ever-growing.
I know we just got done hearing about the coconut craze. Coconut water this and coconut oil that. Well I’m here today to tell you again that it works! Seriously, if you have yet to go out and get a jar of virgin coconut oil; go and do it now then come back and read what I have to say. There has been so many studies and proven research done on the power of coconut; it gives you no reason to believe you would not benefit from using it at all. After my showers I use a base coat of coconut oil to moisturize my skin. Most often I add things like eucalyptus and lavender to the coconut oil to make it more fragrant and to receive the benefits from the essential oils. In my years of doing this I notice compliments like; “Your skin is as soft as a baby!” and ” What do you use? You are soooo soft.” Well yea, I rub pure coconut oil on me, so you best believe I am soft! It has also started helping to reduce the appearance of my cellulite and stretch marks. Even though my theory on this is because of the application of the oil and doesn’t necessarily mean that the coconut oil is the one helping the skin, but hear me out. If coconut is a hydrating fruit with water in its genetic structure then why wouldn’t it in return hydrate the skin when applied over time? Right? I think I am onto something here. It plumps the dermal layer (see diagram to right) so that the dimples of the skin are less visible to the eye.
There is also a trend now with oils like coconut where you swish in your mouth a tablespoon to help pull impurities out of the body. This method is called oil pulling. There are studies that show that it can help reduce your swelling of gums and get rid of bacteria causing issues in your mouth. One way I use oil pulling is to prevent any further pain and swelling to a recurring abscess that grows in a pocket where I had a wisdom tooth removed. Back then I thought removing the tooth would solve the problem. Here I am 2 years later though, and that same side of my mouth is giving me problems. I am not inclined to go to the dentist again and again for them to tell me the same thing and not have any results. So I find homeopathic ways to treat my symptoms. Swishing the coconut oil helps me avoid seeing the dentist, saving myself money and avoiding further pain .
This powerful kitchen staple has saved me several times, mostly with oil spills. I simply dust baking soda generously on any oil spots (we used it on butter stain the other night) and let it sit until laundry day. Baking soda is also good for removing bee stings or applying to any bug bite in general. You simply make a paste adding equal parts water and baking soda until desired texture is achieved. The benefits doesn’t even stop there! I also use it to strip my hair every so often. For this I take a tablespoon or so and mix it with shampoo, wash, then I give a rinse with a hot water and vinegar solution I make prior to shower. If you feel bubbling and foaming that is the vinegar and baking soda mixing, perfectly normal and safe, but not color safe. This strips the hair of ANYTHING! Because that is the power of baking soda! I use it for cleaning, deodorizing or even teeth whitening; it is just so versatile, there is not much it will not clean.
I have never seen anyone who uses vinegar for actually eating. If you do, please leave the recipe in the comments below. Vinegar became important to me when I learned about its cleaning properties. I am a huge advocate for anything “green”, and I will substitute any harsh cleaner in my home with an organic, if possible. ‘What does vinegar clean?” you ask. Well, just about anything. In fact, I haven’t found anything a vinegar solution won’t sanitize. That is right I said SANITIZE. For all you bleach freaks and your alcohol sprays… you don’t have to kill every bacteria to be considered clean. Get rid of the dirty ones with a vinegar solution like this great recipe I use as an all-purpose cleaner. You can keep it in a bottle, ready to go under the sink. Like I do!
- Baking Soda
- Lemon Rind
- Essential Oils ( I use bergamot)
- Spray Bottle
Add vinegar and lemon rinds to a jar. You can soak the lemon rinds in vinegar for effectively up to 2 weeks. Drain the solution. At this point, just put all ingredients in a spray bottle. Don’t worry about how much is too much. You are using all natural products so add to your liking. Dilute as needed, add essential oils as needed, just play around till you find YOUR right cleaning spray. Now that you have your solution you can use it on pet stains, food ready surfaces like a cutting board and use it to clean your dog’s dishes. It is SAFE!
Now let us go further into detail about this white vinegar. It has the power to do away calcium deposits if left for an extended period of time, it can break down the buildup. I run it through my washer machine and dish washer. Another great tip is to fill up a bag with vinegar and tie it real tight on a shower head or faucet with a rubber band, letting it sit and dissolve away that blockage that has your water just not at the pressure it could be. Also, a little known secret for puppy training. Dogs avoid vinegar due to its pungent odor So if your puppy is having problems chewing, perhaps spray a little vinegar on those said items. Now I’m not expecting you to spray your undies with vinegar or anything, just start with the couch legs or your favorite pair of shoes. It might just work for you too!
I figured this one deserves its own category since there is no other fruit out there like it… lime may be a close second. Citrus in general has some pretty awesome powers, but specifically lemons. Lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. They are also used as a weight loss aid by adding the juice to water and drinking it to help cleanse the liver and aid in digestion. Lemons contain many great substances like citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and pectin which fight infection and help improve the immune system. Its strong acid level will allow it to lighten dark spots of ANY kind. The list begins at lightening the skins dark spots, it can even zap a zit, it will lighten your hair when left in and set in the sun, can lighten and brighten your whites, and it has also been used in dental health! Moving on to its cleaning abilities (which I’ll start by saying how much I enjoy the smell of lemon.) I add it to the cleaner I personally make because I feel as if, out of all the fruits, it has more ability to disinfect and improve the overall quality of the surface being cleaned. I want to give you the actual statistics on how harmful your cleaning products can be to you and your family. On Organicconsumers.com you will not only find numbers and health risks, but you will see at the bottom of the page suggestions for cleaners on every dirty job in your home. Try the alternatives and save your friends and family.
Lemon also is a great bug deterrent. Once I had a trail of tiny little ants in which for a year I could not find their entry to try to seal them out. I simply applied a few drops of lemon oil to the trail and now I haven’t seen the vermin since!! Another tip, when placed in garbage disposal or dishwasher it can help deodorize, along with any where that needs its scent neutralized, i.e. trashcan or laundry. Also the acid from the lemons when rubbed directly onto surfaces such as copper, chrome, or stainless steel will polish and make it shine like new! I can keep going and going with lemon, so I’ll stop here and leave you with this- If life hands you lemons you can do about a 100 things with them, so let the benefits begin!
I left this one for last because it is probably my biggest passion in the whole wide world. There are endless amounts of benefits that plants bring us and we have extracted that and made it available to the everyday commoner to use. So why are we not using these everyday? Well, my guess is that you just don’t know where to start. There is no great way to say it- this is an investment. This is where you do not want to just stumble into your regular old corner market and buy that tea tree oil on the back counter display that has probably been sitting there for a few years. Instead, do your research and see what will serve you best with your needs. I have worked with people who have used a variety of trusted brands and I say, use what works for you. It starts as simple as using them for aromatherapies. Nowadays, the best way to really get benefits from aromatherapy is to have a diffuser for your oils. This allows the oil’s best properties to be released into the air for everyone in the home to breath. You may rub some on your hands and do deep breathing also, but note that most essentials oils are not safe to apply directly to skin without a base oil i.e. coconut oil, olive oil, or any virgin oil you like. (Some oils come with a base pre-added such as Aveda singular notes) When added to your base oil, you can now apply them to the bottom of your feet or to your chest… well basically about any where. I drop my favorites in my coconut oil for a great moisturizer and aromatherapy fix. Now there is skepticism on whether it is safe or not to ingest essential oils, but in my own home I ingest edible grade oils through dilution (either cooking with them like in a soup or adding them to a gallon of water and ingesting over time.) Since essential oils are very powerful (for example one drop of oil can equal up to 75 cups of tea, says one blogger [http://www.granolaliving.com],) you don’t one to over do it, a little goes a long way. Later, I’ll compile a more in-depth look at essential oils and their uses but here is a quick look at what I use and for what.
- Eucalyptus- a much newer oil to the aromatherapy family, eucalyptus has antiseptic, anti inflammatory, decongesting, stimulating and many other qualities to benefit from. I have found in my profession it helps people with arthritis and sore muscle issues.
- Lavender- This oil can date back to the beginning of time. Its most popular properties is its calming and sleep inducing properties. I use it for a stress fix in my baths or in my coconut oil at night. Using it in diffuser or spray for the room will get you in that mind-set of relaxation.
- Lemon- Words like “restorative” and “tonic” are just the start. Antiseptic, astringent, antiviral and it is a febrifuge, also known as a fever reducer. Like I said, lemons are your greatest essential you will need in your home.
- Peppermint- Your next best friend, peppermint, can help reduce pain, help clear congestion, stop stomach problems and from my own personal usage help the cramping from menstruation.
- Tea Tree- The most important trait here is the antimicrobial… meaning it will fight and stop the growth of microbes such as e. coli. It is also an antiseptic, fungicide, and an antiviral. I have had great success using this oil to battle acne which is from its antibacterial property.
On another note, tea tree and lavender are the only two oils that can be applied directly to the skin without a base, but always do a skin patch test before applying to be safe.
Stay tuned for more awesome tips and green living! Don’t forget to share!