Tag Archives: holistic living

The Ancient Cleanse

I have to start this by stating as I have many times before, that this is not my recipe.  I cannot for the life of me find the man that I got it from but it is pure magic when trying to cleanse the body.

I would also like to note that before doing this cleanse be aware that their are side effects to cleansing that are sometimes not very pleasant…headaches, nausea, cramping, blurry vision….what do you expect, you have been toxic for a while.  That is why you need to jpay attention to your body and adjust your cleanse if you are moving too quickly.

How do you know you are moving too quickly?  You experience any symptoms that make you feel uncomfortable…if you do then you need to slow down by simply eating some food.   Make sure it is still healthy alkaline foods but it will help the process slow down.  Also make sure that you drink lots and lots of water.  This will help with the symptoms as well since it is flushing those nasty toxins out.

Shilajit will also help since it will give you the minerals that you need to remove the toxins as well.  Read more about Shilajit Here.

ANCIENT CLEANSE INSTRUCTIONS: The cleanse is really simple, All you have to do is blend three servings of juice in the morning and drink it throughout the day.  It will keep you full and for those sugar and protein cravings, you get to snack on apples and almonds throughout the day as well.  I found that this greatly helps with the cravings and need to just simply chew something.  You will also drink water with lemon throughout the day to help flush toxins and keep you well hydrated.

Supplies you will need to have on hand

  • Blender
  • Distilled Water
  • 3 Mason Jars (16 oz) or equivalent
  • Raw Honey
  • Organic Raw Cacao Powder

 These items will be your snacks throughout cleanse

  • Raw Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Lemons with Distilled Water
  • Organic Apples

These items will need to be fresh so will require stopping by a store a few items throughout 10 day cleanse

  • 2 bunch of Organic Kale
  • 2 bunch of Organic Spinach
  • 3 bunch of Organic Cilantro
  • 3 bunch of Organic Parsley
  • 2 bunch of Organic Mint
  1. Combine one handful of each-kale, spinach, cilantro into blender
  2. Add one half a handful of each-parsley & mint into blender
  3. Add 1tbs raw honey and 1tbs cacao to blender
  4. Add distilled water and blend
  5. Pour into mason jars and consume throughout the day.

DIAPERING & SKINCARE


This blog is an excerpt from another blog that I did all about Newborn & Baby Skincare.  If you would like to read the entire article click here.   This article will focus specifically on diapering and pampering your baby’s bottom.

DIAPERING

I must admit that I did not make an investment in Newborn cloth diapers.  I did receive 2 as a gift but obviously that isn’t enough for a full day.  You should actually have enough for 2 days incase something comes up and you can’t get to the wash, that means 24 minimum.  I did use the NB cloth diapers I had daily along with disposable ones.  Ok so this isn’t a blog about cloth vs disposable diapers (I’m working on that one too…so many blogs so little time) but I do need to address possible diaper allergies since we are on the topic of skincare.

Contact dermatitis

Disposable diapers are quite possibly the reason for your little ones red bum.  No seriously, they are filled with materials that are not only possible allergens but also known to be toxic.  Irritation caused by constant contact to these irritants or allergens is known as Contact dermatitis.

Common Allergens in Disposable Diapers that cause Contact dermatitis:

  • Dioxins-the residue left over after using chlorine to make the diaper material white.  According to the WHO (World Health Organization) Dioxins are highly carcinogenic and exposer can cause skin reactions, altered liver function and disrupts the immune, endocrine, nervous and reproductive functions.
  • Sodium Polyacrylate-this super absorbent compound is a mixture of cellulose from trees and crystals from polyacrylate.  You may have seen it before, it looks like little jelly crystals on the baby’s skin.  It was removed from tampons because of toxicity concerns, only to be reintroduced in diapers.  There are not long term studies but it is said to be linked to skin irritation and respiratory problems.
  • Tributyl-tin (TBT)-according to research published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, tributyl-tin can trigger genes that promote the growth of fat cells, causing obesity in humans.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)-These include chemicals such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. According to the EPA, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some VOCs are even suspected of causing cancer in humans (EPA.gov).
  • Other Yucky Stuff-Other skin irritating chemicals often used in disposable diapers include dyes, fragrances, plastics, latex and petrolatum’s. Adhesive chemicals are used in the sticky tabs to close the diapers and dyes are used to color and make the patterns and labels that mark diapers. Perfumes and fragrances are used in some disposable diapers to help mask odors.

There are a few ways to tell if the irritation is caused by Contact dermatitis.

  • The rash can take up to 2 days to appear after contact with irritant
  • Redness is accompanied by bumps, puss or blisters that cannot be resolved with diaper rash
  • No matter how many times you change your little ones diaper or how dry he/she is, the irritation will not go away
  • Irritation is not limited to areas that pee and poo are present, ie the area on the tummy where the waist band rubs
  • Irritation is only present on contact areas and does not spread

This can most easily be remedied by changing the brand of diapers that you use.  We have been using Babyganics brand diapers, they are free of chlorine, latex, petroleum and fragrances.  I started with Honest and they work about the same but Babyganics is more pocket friendly.  Of course the best, most earth-friendly option will be the cloth diapers.  Cotton or Bamboo fabrics are best for babies sensitive skin.

Irritant Diaper Dermatitis better known as Diaper Rash

Irritant Diaper Dermatitis or Diaper Rash is caused when moisture is trapped between two skin surfaces.  It is due to infrequently changed diapers, diarrhea, new foods and allergies.  My lil guy goes through about 8-12 diapers a day.  I simply change him as needed when he is awake and every time he wakes up from a nap.  That being said, he still sometimes has a little red on his bottom after a poo.

Diaper rash usually clears up in 1-3 days when diaper is kept dry.  Topical ointments can be applied to provide a barrier from the moisture and to help soothe the irritation.  Most over the counter products will contain petroleum jelly.  Harmless right?  Wrong!!  Although it has been used as a cure all for many years, it is a by-product of the oil industry and has been known to have carcinogenic effects.  This simply stated means that it has the potential to cause cancer.  Its purity cannot be guaranteed as the refining is not regulated.  Petroleum jelly also clogs the pores not allowing skin to breathe, one of the skins most important functions.  So my take on this is stay away from it.  There are plenty of unharmful and renewable natural alternatives.

I like coconut oil because it is anti-bacterial  & anti-fungal and use it on a regular basis just for general maintenance.  It works great for minor irritations caused by wet diapers.  When my LO has his poopie days (breastfed babies do not necessarily go #2 everyday) he gets a little irritated on his bum.  On those days I use Baby Bee Bum Butter from Walnut Hollow Workshop.  Love this stuff, it makes his bum go from red to taupe in no time flat.  Even better all the ingredients are natural & beneficial.  You can get it from the Fredericksburg Farmers Market.

BABY BEE BUM BUTTER
BABY BEE BUM BUTTER

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are full of the nasties…there are some good brands that have natural ingredients with out all the toxic ones.  I found an awesome blog from Safe Mama, that goes over all of the ‘Safer’ baby wipes.  These are however very expensive.  An alternative is to just make your own at home.

I don’t use anything special to wipe his bum only simple ingredients.  I mix some castile soap and water on a baby wash cloth (I use different wash cloths for diapering and bathing).  I wipe his bottom, let it air dry and toss the soiled wash cloth in a wet bag for washing within 48 hours.  I like this option for two reasons, 1) It is earth and tree friendly and 2) It is inexpensive.

That being said, disposable wipes are so convenient, especially when you are out and about and they still save tons of money.  Here is a recipe for Natural Homemade Baby Wipes from Wellness Mama that I just love.  I actually recommend you bookmark her site, it is great.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to always make small batches.  Enough for 1 to 2 days only, after 48 hours water will start to grow bacteria even with essential oils.

THANK HEAVEN FOR LITTLE…BOYS!  Just not their circumcisions…Ouch!!

No seriously!  I’m glad I have 2 boys.  Ok well except for the circumcision part…ouch!  I’m not going to get into my opinion on this but since it is such a common practice and it is skin, I will get into the care.  When my first son was born, he was circumcised in the hospital.  I can only imagine being whisked away from your mothers arms and taken into a room with strangers that hold you down and cut off a piece of your skin.  Only to be left with a raw, tender wound that is left to sit in a closed diaper, stinging every time you pee.

I’m not judging either way….one of my boys is circumcised, the other is not.  If you do choose circumcision it does require special cleaning & care for the first 7-10 days.  Since the wound will most surely come in contact with urine & poo, it is imperative that you clean the area well.  Do not use soap.  All you need is warm, NOT hot, WARM water.   You should come home with a peri bottle.

PERI BOTTLE

If you did not, you can get one from your local drug store.  Please don’t take the baby in a drug store, ever if you can avoid it.  Obviously because sick people go there to get medications & prescriptions.  Just put warm water into the peri bottle and squirt the area to remove any yucky bits.  Please be careful not to get the umbilical cord wet.  It is important that it dries, as noted earlier.

Let the area air dry, you can fan with a diaper too.  Change the diaper constantly,  sitting in urine is the worst thing for irritation.  It is very important to apply a lubricant that will keep urine off of the irritation as well as keep it from sticking to the diaper, ouch!  As noted previously I don’t use petroleum based products because of its carcinogenic nature.  Besides it is not a renewable resource therefore not earth friendly.  I don’t know about you but I would like my LO to have a planet to live on.  Anyways, enough on my tree hugging tangent…yes…I hug trees and so will my LO.

There are a few natural remedies to help calm the irritation and help the wound heal faster.  As I wrote earlier, Coconut Oil is like magic for irritation because of its calming & anti bacterial properties. You can simply dab some on a cotton make-up pad and apply to the tip at every change.  This will keep the area moisturized and from sticking to the diaper.  It will also keep the area germ free.

Coconut Oil & Organic Cotton Make-up Pads
Coconut Oil & Organic Cotton Make-up Pads

You can also melt some beeswax in a double boiler & add coconut oil for an extra barrier from moisture.  I would use a mixture of 1 part beeswax to 6 parts coconut oil.  You can adjust the formula but don’t make it too hard because you want it to smooth on easily with out much resistance on the skin.  Make sure you melt the beeswax first as it has a much higher melting point than the Coconut Oil.  Then add the Coconut Oil at the end.

Beeswax Melting with Coconut Oil
Beeswax Melting with Coconut Oil

Give it a good stir and pour into an airtight glass lid and it will keep for a year or two as long as you don’t introduce any water into it.  This mixture is great for a diaper rash ointment as well.

Beeswax & Coconut Oil Mixture Cooled
Beeswax & Coconut Oil Mixture Cooled

Herbs for the Maiden, Mother & Matriarch

By this point you are aware of how important hormone balance is in our bodies, if you are not, check out these blogs before continuing.

  1. What are “Female” Hormones?
  2. How to Know When Your Hormones are Outta Whack

Now that we have a basic idea of what hormones are and how they get out of balance, let’s look at how to get them back in order.  You know me, I’m all about the solution and not dwelling on the problem.

As you probably know there are three phases of a female’s life cycle:  The Maiden, The Mother and The Matriarch (or Crone, but I hate that term so I use Matriarch).  The first step to balancing hormones is by honoring the cycle that you are in.  Here is a brief description of these cycles:

  • The Maiden represents enchantment, inception, expansion, the promise of new beginnings, birth, youth and youthful enthusiasm, represented by the waxing moon;
  • The Mother represents ripeness, fertility, sexuality, fulfillment, stability, power and life represented by the full moon;
  • The Matriarch represents wisdom, repose, death, and endings represented by the waning moon.

There are many herbal remedies that nourish and support the female reproductive system in all the cycles of life: Maiden, Mother, and Matriarch. Since the beginning of time women have always reached instinctively for natural remedies to support their overall health and hormone balance.  It is only within the past few hundred years that we have gotten away from our natural roots and began to rely on modern “medicine”.  I use that term lightly because I don’t even see it as medicine, but rather a system that focuses on band aiding the symptoms and not treating the whole person.  This leads to a myriad of other symptoms, check out a commercial for prescriptions, have you seen even 1 without side effects?  I haven’t and generally the side effect symptoms are worse than the initial symptoms.  That being said, click here to read The Full Medical Disclaimer.

I do believe highly in Nature’s Medicine.  Our bodies are made of the same elements as nature and it is through Nature’s Medicine that we will heal ourselves.  There are many wonderful herbs, foods and elements that can help us maintain homeostasis and specifically hormone balance in each life cycle phase.  This blog will focus mainly on herbs to help balance the female hormones.  I will first go over which are good for females of all ages, then I will break down the ones that are best for the Maiden, Mother and Matriarch.

All Life Cycle Phases:

Alfalfa sprouts are a staple of salads and contain nutrients, but the leaves hold the best healing potential and contain phytoestrogens that are beneficial in menopausal and breast feeding women.  Sprouts in general are a great way to maintain balance without putting undue stress on your digestive system.

Note: It is always best to purchase Organic Alfalfa since it is one of the more highly GMO crops.

Asparagus racemosus known in India as Shatavari, has been a treatment for infertility and lack of libido in women for thousands of years, and is regarded as one of the most important herbal tonics for women.  In India, it is often boiled with milk and consumed.

Note:  They cherish their cows in India, we don’t here.  I don’t recommend use of milk unless it is raw and even then, in limited amounts.

Clary sage oil has a special affinity with the female system in general and is recommended for women who are experiencing hot flashes, pain and tension associated with menopause, menstrual problems and PMS.  It is also relaxing, soothing and tends to be earthy and grounding.

Note: Do not use during early pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage.

Red Raspberry Leaf is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium and B, C & E vitamins which are helpful for immune properties & energy.  It also provides ample blood flow to the pelvic area.  (I will get more into this herb in the Mother Phase however it is great for all cycles.)

CLICK HERE TO ORDER RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

 

THE MAIDEN PHASE:

Burdock (root) and Dandelion (root) are a great pair as liver cleansers and the burdock helps greatly with teenage acne.  Teas of these two roots are excellent with a little bit of honey to sweeten.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DANDELION ROOT TEA

Milk Thistle will help with adolescent surges and the emotional roller-coaster.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER MILK THISTLE EXTRACT

Pau d’arco from South America is rich in calcium and has positive effects on a growing endocrine system.

Siberian ginsing is a major endocrine gland tonics and have properties similar to the adrenal cortical hormone, this is great for exhausted teenagers.  It also supports the liver and bloodstream.

Wild Yams beneficially effect the adrenals, digestive system, liver and endocrine system.

 

THE MOTHER PHASE:

Avena Sativa better known as oats are an alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for both females & males.

Dong quai and wild yams (not to be mistaken for sweet potatoes), along with other estrogenic herbs can be used in combination to treat menstrual difficulties and other conditions where a woman’s hormones need to be brought back into balance.

Note:  Dong quai is not to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Galactagogues are those herbs that establish and promote the flow of mother’s milk. They often have high calcium contents and vary in taste. Below are a few examples of Galactagogues:

  • Alfalfa
  • Anise Seed
  • Basil
  • Black Seed Oil
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Borage Seed Oil
  • Caraway Seed
  • Castor Oil
  • Chaste Tree
  • Dandelion Root
  • Dill
  • Fennel Seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Hops
  • Jasmine Oil (not to be used during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass
  • Milk Thistle Seed
  • Sesame
  • Tribulus terrestris

Red Raspberry Leaf is a must for anyone trying to conceive as it clears toxins that can prevent pregnancy.  It also strengthens uterine walls making implantation easier reducing the risk of early miscarriage.  While pregnant Red Raspberry Leaf will continue to strengthen, and tone the uterus.  Trick is finding the right balance for your body, if you drink too much you can throw yourself into early labor.  I drank 1-2 cups daily until about Week 36 when I increased to 4-5 cups daily.  This worked well for my body however all bodies while similar are different.  I was lucky enough to have a healthy baby boy in under 1.5 hours.  I believe this was because the Red Raspberry Leaf had allowed me to dilate over time instead of all at once.  Just listen to your body and if you feel anything more than slight creamping, be sure to cut back on consumption.

Note:  Always consult with a licensed herbalist before taking any herbs during pregnancy.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

 

THE MATRIARCH PHASE:

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which disrupts endocrine function and prompts premature aging.  It stimulates blood flow to a woman’s reproductive organs and also helps to produce positive effects on hot flashes, anxiety and depression.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ASHWAGANDHA

Avena Sativa better known as oats are known as a libido enhancer and alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for sexual desire in both genders.

Black cohosh contains numerous chemical constituents, among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. This makes this herb useful for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and even the depression sometimes associated with menopause.

Note:  This is never to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Catuaba bark has been used by the Tupi Indians of Brazil for thousands of years.  It stimulates the central nervous system, thereby providing energy and a more positive mood.  It is also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Epimedium better known as Horny Goat Weed, it not only encourages blood flow to the reproductive organs but also has menopause symptom relieving effects.

Maca (root) also known as Peruvian Ginseng, has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the Andes, to treat infertility, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, sleep disruption and night sweats associated with menopause.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER MACA ROOT

Muria Puama this little known herbal gem calms the nerves, relieves anxiety and also increases blood flow to the pelvic area.

Red Clover greatly benefits the body’s arterial strength and flexibility while helping to relive menopausal symptoms.  It also helps to maintain bone strength.

Shilajit revered in both traditional Indian and Chinese medicine is used as a tonic, which aids in physical energy, mood enhancement and sexual drive.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER SHIAJIT

Suma known as South American Ginsing, is commonly used to improve the mood, stimulate sexual desire and encourage overall reproductive health.

Tongkat Ali used in Malaysia by women to stimulate libido, increase sensitivity to erogenous zones, supports energy levels, cognitive function and creates positive responses to stress.

Tribulus terrestis stimulates androgen receptors in the brain and encourages the body to use hormones more efficiently.

Now that you have this information you can start honoring the stage you are in by doing research on the herbs in the correct category.  Some herbs may have contraindications with certain medicines, so be sure to check with your physician before beginning any new herbs or adding to your current.

 

In this section, we covered the different phases of a woman’s life cycle as well as herbs to help with each of those cycles.  Next we will focus on how to balance your hormones through diet adjustments and lifestyle changes.

What are “Female” Hormones?

By: Stephanie Phillips

Hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate or change the functions of organs and structures throughout your body.  Hormones are created in small organs, called glands and move throughout the body, usually through the bloodstream.  The release of hormones is one ways that different parts of the body communicate with one another.  While hormones are present in both males and females, the main ones we will focus on in this blog are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as it relates to female development.  These hormones are created by the ovaries, two almond-shaped sex glands that are in the pelvis.  Your ovaries also produce a woman’s eggs.

During fetal development, the sex glands are relatively active.  By the time, you are born, every egg is fully formed and stowed away in the ovaries.  During infancy and childhood, or the Maiden Phase, they slow down production.  Then, when puberty hits, the sex glands kick back into high gear.  At this time, they begin to produce adult sexual development and urges.  Mood swings area also associated with puberty.  After this period, most women settle into a regular ovulation pattern.

As mentioned before, the ovaries make both estrogen and progesterone, along with other hormones in a cyclic fashion (ie. Why it is called the monthly cycle).  The levels of these hormones rise and fall with ovulation.  This takes between 21 to 35 days, and ends with a two to seven-day period of menstruation.  This is called the Mother Phase, since this is when your hormones have balanced out and your eggs have had time to mature.  This process will continue for 30 to 40+ years of your life.  It is important to remember that your cycle can be interrupted now and then, of course by pregnancy but also by stressful events.

Estrogen is the primary female hormone, building up the uterine lining, stimulating breast tissue and thickening the vaginal wall.  It also effects almost every organ in the body.  It plays a critical role in bone building and is thought to have very important effects on the cardiovascular system.

Progesterone, is also a very important hormone, especially when it comes to pregnancy.  It is produced only during the second half of the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterine lining for an egg to implant.  Progesterone also has other effects on any of the tissues that are sensitive to estrogen.

Testosterone, is also produced by the ovaries and plays a role in generating energy, developing muscle mass and stimulating sexual desire.

The balance of these hormones in your body at any given time is affected by many factors.  The pituitary gland, a gland found at the base of your brain, and your ovaries are constantly communicating via their respective hormones, dictating the changing hormone levels of your monthly cycle and the production of eggs.  The pituitary gland produces a follicle-stimulating hormone among other hormones.  Medications, stress, body weight (over or under), time of day and even time of the moth can all cause temporary changes in your hormone.

Once we reach the Matriarch Phase of life, permanent changes to the hormone levels and hormone balance occur.  The ovaries will slowly begin to stop releasing eggs, which at this point may no longer be viable.  When this happens they also quit producing their hormones.  This will usually happen over a period of time, beginning anywhere from the late 30’s to the 40’s and even early 50’s in some women.  Progesterone is the first hormone to slow down production, this can lead to heavier and more frequent periods.  This is known as “perimenopause”.

After that the estrogen production begins to taper off, this is what leads to the common discomforts and health concerns that are associated with menopause.  Fluctuating and falling estrogen levels disrupt your internal thermostat, causing hot flashes or vasomotor instability.  Your sleep cycles and some muscle tone are affected by the drastic reduction in estrogen, most notably muscle tone in the pelvic area.  Therefore it’s so vital to keep up those Kegel exercises.

This has been just a quick description of the female hormones and how they work.  Tomorrow I will put up a blog on How to Tell When Your Hormones are Outta Whack.