This post was provided by our friends at ParaGuard.
Is it really important to wash your hands if they seem clean? Is hygiene truly so important, or is some of it simply hype?
Tiny organisms, invisible to the naked eye, are present everywhere. Belying their tiny size, those microorganisms can cause big problems. Germs and other organisms that live on our hands can be there even though our hands do not seem dirty. Using soap and warm water provides strong protection against many unwanted microorganisms, including pinworms.
What Are Pinworms?
Pinworms, a kind of parasite, are tiny worms that infect the intestines, often in children. Most children will have pinworms at least once in their lifetime. The worms are very small, less than a half-inch long. They come into the body when a child touches something that has a pinworm egg on it and then puts his hand into his mouth. The eggs go through the digestive tract and develop into worms in the small intestine. When the worm matures, it moves into the large intestine. After several weeks, they move lower down in the intestine where they come out of the body through the anus, usually at night, and lay more eggs. This process takes 4-6 weeks.
The eggs and worms are so small that they can be everywhere. Pinworm eggs and pinworms can be present in the kitchen, in beds, on clothes, towels and even tableware. The eggs can survive like this for two weeks. When an egg gets onto a hand, which then enters the mouth, the entire development process for the worm begins. Having worms is not always an indication of poor hygiene. Once present in the digestive tract, pinworms will affect children who bathe every night equally to children who roll in the mud.
Pinworms spread easily from one child to another. It is therefore common for children to pick it up in school. Although it is very rare, pinworms can be ingested from the air. Many times, a child will infect themselves over and again through lack of hygiene.
Pinworms are thin and white. They can be visible on paper or clothes. The eggs, however, are only visible with a microscope.
Not all people with pinworms have symptoms. The chief symptom is itchiness—an itch so bothersome that it may wake up the patient in the middle of the night. When a child wakes up at night and nothing seems to be wrong, it may be an indication of pinworms. Itching the anal area, in which pinworms are present, may cause a secondary infection when the skin around the anus becomes irritated.
Remedies for Pinworms
Because parasites have become such a major issue, Advanced Nutrition by Zahler went on to create a solution: ParaGuard. This formula contains many herbs that fight all sorts of parasites and is especially effective against pinworms. Its active ingredients include oregano oil, peppermint oil, garlic bulb, wormwood herb, pumpkin seed and fennel seed, and others long known to be effective in treating parasites. ParaGuard should be mixed into a drink and taken three times a day at mealtimes.
ParaGuard is also available in the form of a softgel, making it easy to take even for the picky eaters. The softgels contain many potent herbs, such as Green Black Walnut Juglans Nigra Hull, Quassia Amara Wood and Wormwood Artemisia Absinthium Herb. This powerful blend of herbs is a fierce enemy and brave warrior against parasites.
There are other types of parasites that can enter the body that one should be aware of. These parasites may cause unexplained headaches or fatigue. ParaGuard has been a potent healer for people experiencing fatigue and headaches with no apparent reason for these symptoms. It can also be used as a cleanser and detoxifier.
The best way to prevent worms is through hand washing with warm water and soap after using the bathroom, before eating, and after playing outside. It is important to keep the nails short, avoid biting the nails, and not to scratch oneself. Pinworm eggs can live on clothes, and it is therefore imperative to change clothes every day, and to wash nightclothes and bedding every few days.
To check your child for pinworms, you can try using the flashlight test. Make sure your child is calm and the room is completely dark. Shine a flashlight on the child’s anus. The light will cause pinworms, if present, to move around. If you see any tiny white worms, call your doctor.
To help treat a pinworm infection, eat more fruits and vegetables and increase fiber intake to promote better defecation and more possibility of worm elimination. Garlic may also help fight pinworms. Try eating more garlic, or rub over the area where the itching occurs. Probiotics, which are “good” bacteria that live in the intestines, will retard the proliferation of pinworms in the intestines, and therefore taking probiotics orally can be very helpful as well.
They say a clean home is a happy home, but perhaps the same can be said that a cleansed home makes for a happy person.
Our home is often a reflection of who we are, both physically and spiritually. And while we want our homes to be joyous and comforting, sometimes negative energies can find their way in.
Perhaps you’ve moved into a new apartment and something feels off, or your home still carries the emotional weight of a loved one who passed away there. Whatever it is that’s causing a negative energy in your dwelling, there are ways to give yourself, and your home, a new beginning.
Lorrie Webb Grillo, certified feng shui practitioner at Thriving Spaces in Denver, Colorado, explains that negative energies in homes can vary from person to person, and even room to room.
“Have you ever walked into a room where someone was in a heated argument? Most of us can immediately tell that something uncomfortable was going on; the air feels charged,” Webb Grillo says. “That’s the impact of negative energy.”
She notes that negative energy can manifest itself as a “heavy” feeling in the air and even as dulled sounds in spaces where the energy is “murky.”
Cleansing Negative Energy
This is where the art and science of feng shui—and how it can help cleanse negative energies—comes in. “In feng shui, we believe that everything is alive with energy and everything is connected, hence our homes have energy and we are in a relationship with them,” Webb Grillo says.
In other words, how one person copes with a negative space can vary wildly from that of another, and so will their cleansing methods.
The first part of any negative energy cleansing, she says, must begin with acknowledging that it’s there and the root of what caused it.
For instance, when it comes to a household that has experienced a death, the energy “is usually that of sadness and grief, which are not necessarily negative, as they are appropriate for the experience,” Webb Grillo says. “The space cleansing involves acknowledgement, expression of farewell and release.”
Let’s say you’re dealing with getting rid of the energy an ex-lover left behind. “The energy is held in some of the ex’s things—and removing their stuff is a powerful and successful way to release negative energy,” Webb Grillo explains.
While you can practice cleansing on your own (more on that in a bit), experts like Webb Grillo are often called in to help those who need guidance. After the feng shui consultant is told about the negative energy and what caused it, a ceremony takes place.
“I usually write out the ceremony in advance with some information from the participants and make sure that they have time within the ceremony to express themselves,” she says. “It is most powerful when they speak their stories and acknowledgments aloud.”
Using a process from Denise Linn’s book Sacred Space, Webb Grillo abides by these four steps for a ceremony: preparation, purification, invocation and preservation.
“This means you prepare yourself and the space for the clearing, you determine what it is you are clearing, you are grateful for what you are asking to bring in, and you ‘invoke’ or acknowledge that you have done so and have something in the space to preserve the cleansing,” she says.
So, a cleansing can vary from removing items that carry a negative energy (like your ex’s clothing or furniture that belonged to a deceased loved one) to bringing in new, positive things in (like a plant or a crystal, which Webb Grillo says “can preserve a space and encourage a fresh energy to circulate.”)
Tools to Clear Negative Energy
Even if you don’t use a feng shui consultant, you can create your own ceremony, as well as incorporate helpful tools into your cleansing.
“The burning of sage or incense literally eats up the oxygen in the space and this clears [negative energy] out,” Webb Grillo says. You can also get this from candles (a natural one, without synthetic scents) or essential oils. “Citrus oils bring in fresh, positive energy,” she says.
If you don’t want to burn sage for a cleansing ceremony, Webb Grillo recommends that you “leave a bowl of sea salt in a silver dish to sit and absorb” what’s hanging in the negative space.
“Leaving the salt there for a week would be a good time frame, then washing it down the sink, acknowledging that the salt holds the ‘old’ energy that is being discarded,” she says.
And, believe it or not, something as simple as clapping or ringing a bell “can be a great way to bring a fresh energy” into a space harboring negativity, she says.
While a ceremony with a feng shui expert can take about an hour, Webb Grillo notes that if you do it on your own, it can be even shorter, but the positive results can last a lifetime. Plus, space cleansing doesn’t have to be a one-time thing! Whenever you feel any sort of negative energy, whether it’s one corner of a room or your entire home, you can practice the art of feng shui and cleansing.
“When our homes are cleared and cleansed, we feel uplifted and happier, [we are] able to achieve our dreams and goals,” she says, “That’s what feng shui helps us to accomplish.”
From detox teas to cleansing kits complete with supplements and drink powders, detox diets and body cleanses remain a popular trend. Detoxes and cleanses promise to remove toxins from your body, help strengthen your immune system, boost energy, lead to weight loss and even brighten skin. But before you jump on the detox bandwagon, it’s always important to make sure anything you put your body through is safe, healthy and meets your specific goals.
5 Things to Consider Before Doing a Detox or Cleanse
While most detoxification and cleansing kits provide specific instructions and supplements to help you along the way, you should also factor:
How long the program takes. Some can take as little as three days, while others can last for months.
How it integrates into your current routine and diet. Will you be able to eat during the cleanse or will you strictly consume what’s provided for you? How many meals, drinks and supplements will you be consuming and at what intervals?
How it will impact your day to day and mood. If the cleanse requires you to stop eating entirely, will you be OK with that?
Your current health state. Do you have specific health needs that need to be factored in? If so, consult a doctor before you decide to go on a cleanse.
How much it costs. Cleanses can be pricey. Will the cleanse you’re considering fit into your current budget?
Cleanse Your Body Naturally
Did you know that your body naturally detoxes itself? “Detox is a key component to optimal health and happens naturally, but must be done with the right foods and supplements,” explains Dr. Lori Shemek, a certified nutritionist, psychologist and weight loss expert. “Your body is an expert at knowing how to detox.”
Eating the right foods and making good lifestyle choices will reduce inflammation of the body and is the best thing to do for a healthier you. “You can support liver health [for starters], with a healthy diet high in antioxidants and eat foods that are high in sulfur (like cruciferous veggies),” Shemek says.
“When thinking about a detox, a fad program is not the way to go,” adds Rachel Kreider, a registered dietitian and supplement formulator for BodyBuilding.com. “Look at your overall food intake and look for places where you can make changes to clean up your act.” In general, you should avoid foods that are high in fat, high in simple carbohydrates and fried.
Types of Cleanses and Detoxes
If you still want to kickstart your health or reset your body with a trusted cleansing program, here are your options:
Juice Cleanses: Lasting anywhere from a few days to several weeks, these are typically programs where you’d consume only fruit and vegetable juices while abstaining from eating food. You can either buy the juices from a trusted provider, or follow a recipe that may include kale, pineapple, lemon and ginger.
Smoothie Cleanses: Like juice cleanses, smoothie cleanses also last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The main difference with these is, they’re generally higher in fiber, protein and calories than their juice counterparts. Some are vegetable-and-fruit-based, while others come with powders to blend with water and enjoy. You can also follow smoothie recipes that include kiwis, celery, spinach and kale.
Soup-Based Cleanses: While most of these require you to use a recipe and make your own soup (like the cabbage-soup diet and the chicken detox soup), some companies offer programs to warm your tummy when juicing is not for you. As far as duration goes, soup-cleanses can last anywhere from three days and up.
Tablets and Capsules: Many cleanses involve taking tablets or capsules to activate your body for detoxing. For example, activated coconut charcoal products promote your body’s natural detoxification process by capturing and eliminating unwanted toxins. Other products may use a blend of herbs and botanicals, such as cascara sagrada powder, licorice and ginger root, to proactively eliminate toxins from the body.
To make the right decision for you, Kreider warns, “Anything that is making promises of curing or preventing any health condition is something that should be a red flag.”
Shemek also cautions on doing detoxes and cleanses too often. Doing so will ultimately slow down your metabolism, which can then lead to weight gain.
Precautions for Detoxing and Cleansing
If you have diabetes or a kidney disease, are going through chemotherapy, are pregnant or are dealing with an eating disorder, you should absolutely not be doing any detox or cleanse, Shemek advises. Also, if you are trying to put on muscle mass, you’re not a good candidate either, as these types of programs promote muscle loss.
“Those under the care of a physician for any reason should consult their physician with the details of the program they’re considering before engaging,” Kreider adds.
If weight loss is your goal, you may drop a few pounds and water weight, but it’s hard to keep those pounds off once you’re off the cleanse, unless you make healthier lifelong choices.
“Fruit juice is high in sugar fructose and fructose is a burden to our liver,” Shemek explains. “Not only is fructose the only sugar metabolized by the liver, in excess, it also promotes an inflammatory condition called ‘glycation,’ which caramelizes the tissue of the liver and other bodily tissues.”
The liver is our number-one fat-burning organ and when compromised, weight loss and optimal health stalls.
Detoxes aren’t limited to body cleanses…you can (and should!) detox your home of harmful chemicals.
There are synthetic chemicals in everything from cleaning products to personal care items, and those chemicals can affect everything from how well you breathe to the health of your pregnancy to your focus at work.
Common Household Toxins
There is substantial evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders, according to the collaborative organization Project TENDR (1). The group identifies these seven pollutants that affect children’s development (2):
Combustion-related air pollutants, which include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
If you have dust in your home—and if you don’t, seriously, what’s your secret?—chances are you’re being exposed to toxic chemicals. In a 2016 meta-analysis of the composite of dust in U.S. homes, researchers reported that “some phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants and phenols are consistently found in 90 percent or more of dust samples across multiple studies” (3).
As scary as all this sounds, we’ve got you covered!
“It’s pretty normal if this all starts to feel a little daunting when you first begin to look into it,” assures Katie Hussong, a registered nurse and holistic health and culinary nutrition coach in Baltimore. “The best approach, I think, is to focus on one thing at a time, to really take the time to understand it, and then to create a healthy swap. Little by little, these small changes can have a huge impact, and it can be an incredibly empowering and enjoyable process.”
So how can we reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals? Here are some smart, simple ways to eliminate toxins at home.
How to Detox Your Home
Learn what you’re facing. “Most folks simply don’t realize how harmful so many products and practices can be,” Hussong says. “We shouldn’t have to think about the chlorine and fluoride in our water or how the germs on our shoes, the closed windows and excessive time spent indoors, or the harmful endocrine disruptors in our favorite skincare, haircare, deodorant, perfume, cookware, cleaners, candles and furniture are all negatively impacting our health.”
Scan your home and make note of potential toxins. You can check the ingredients in your personal care and cleaning products on websites like the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Figure out the biggest offenders in your home, then make a plan to address them one step at a time.
Tackle your personal products. Sunscreen, toothpaste, face wash, lotion—anything you put on or in your body should be detoxified first since it gets directly absorbed. This can seem like an expensive proposition, but focus on one swap at a time. As you use up one product, replace it with a toxin-free alternative. Try using the Think Dirty app to find cleaner options.
Swap out your cleaning arsenal. “Harmful, hormone-disrupting, toxic, synthetic fragrances and chemicals are everywhere, and most of them come from the personal and cleaning products we bring into our homes with the best of intentions,” Hussong says. Eliminate chemical products as you finish them up. Use the EWG list or make your own non-toxic cleaners. Use wet rags to collect dust instead of spraying an unnecessary, chemical-laden dusting product. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
Toss your dryer sheets. “In the laundry room, get rid of those dryer sheets (one of the most toxic items in our homes) today,” Hussong advises. As an alternative, she suggests purchasing (or making your own) organic wool dryer balls. “It’ll cost you less than $20, and they’ll last you years and years. You can also add essential oils to the balls for your own real fragrance, courtesy of Mother Nature. It’s easy to DIY your own laundry detergent and fabric softener, too, if you’re up for it.” You can also use vinegar for a fraction of the cost.
Eat clean. Choose fresh fruits and veggies that have lower levels of pesticides. EWG has created shopper’s guides to help identify which produce you should buy organic and which are safe to buy conventional.
Furnish wisely. When it’s time for a new sofa, or you’re decorating your child’s bedroom, look for products that don’t have toxic flame retardants (4).
Use essential oils. “Because of their many diverse properties—antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, soothing, uplifting, cleansing, etc.—we can use high-quality, ethically-sourced essential oils to replace so much of the toxic stuff we bring into our homes, slather onto our bodies, and put into our air, and it can be easy, fun, and super cost-effective,” says Hussong, who is also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate.
Purify the air. Make sure your HVAC, vacuum, air filter and so on utilize HEPA filters. Open windows on a nice day to let fresh air in—and toxic air out. You can also harness nature’s air purifier—plants!—by scattering them around the home. Or, work in essential oils. “Instead of that plug-in air freshener or candle laden with toxic hormone-disrupting chemicals, imagine being able to put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in the diffuser to shift the aroma, energy and mood of your home after a long day of work,” Hussong says. “As they diffuse, the natural antimicrobial properties of the oils will also work to cleanse the air of germs and odors.”
Creating a Healthy Home
Bottom line…yes, our homes are probably full of toxins. But, just like a detox or cleanse for your body, you can detox your home with these simple swaps. Make them one at a time to avoid burnout. Then, when you find one thing that works, keep it up, then shift your attention to the next offender on the list!
“That’s the beauty of the world of natural health. One door opens another, which opens another, and so on. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about progress and creating safe habits that support lifelong health, happiness and vitality,” Hussong says. “And here’s the thing: Once you know this stuff, you can’t un-know it. But there’s power in that, because as the great Ms. Angelou taught us, we do the best we can until we know better. And then, when we know better, we do better.”
Feeling sluggish, bloated or like you’re caving in to unhealthy temptations lately? A cleanse or detox may be the jumpstart you need.
Whether you use commercial detox products, make your own juices or just try to eat cleaner for a set number of days, a detox can help you hit the reset button and get yourself refocused on eating healthfully. “Our body regularly and naturally cleanses our system, but eating cleaner or doing a cleanse can help with the process,” says Yami Mufdi, a National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) certified personal trainer and certified yoga instructor.
Although a cleanse can be a solid nutrition booster and inspire you to make healthier choices, you may worry that a detox could derail your fitness progress. But with the right frame of mind–and routine–you can keep your workout plan intact.
Why You Should Exercise During a Cleanse
Let’s face it: Exercise you do while cleansing is not going to be your typical sweat session. Some people feel lighter and euphoric while on a fast, while others feel tired, grumpy and just plain hungry. It’s likely you’ll experience all of these feelings at some point during the detox process. But, continuing to work out is key. Here’s why:
It keeps up the habit. “It’s easy to use a cleanse as an excuse to fall off the wagon, but once you start skipping workouts, you might not get back on track,” says Nikki Walter, certified group fitness instructor and Bodybuilding.com team athlete. Even worse, your guilt from bailing on exercise could send you right into a cheat meal as soon as the cleanse is over, undoing all of your hard work.
It gives you an energy boost. Light exercise has been shown to fight fatigue. If you’re feeling tired, getting in light physical activity can help give you the lift you’re missing from caffeine (which is usually a detox no-no).
It may help you focus. Unless you’re at a health spa where you can target 100 percent of your energy on detoxing, you’re going to have to keep up with work and other responsibilities. “When you’re carb- or protein-depleted, like during a cleanse, it’s easy to get overly emotional or to lose focus. Getting in moderate physical activity can help you handle those emotions and regain your ability to think straight,” says Walter.
How to Work Out While Detoxing
Although working out during a cleanse is beneficial, there are some important things to keep in mind:
Check in with yourself. Before you exercise, take stock of how you’re feeling. “On Day 1 of a cleanse, you might be able to do a HIIT workout. But by Days 4 or 5, if your cleanse lasts that long, you’ll likely be lacking stamina, so opt for a restorative routine like Yoga Flow,” says Mufdi.
Take it easy. Avoid getting your heart rate up too high or doing any strenuous workouts. “When your body is working to detox and flush toxins from your body, your muscle tissue may not be able to repair properly,” says Walter.
Amp up your daily activities. In lieu of a hard-core workout, consider intensifying your everyday tasks. Speed walk with your dog or go further than usual. Play catch with your kids. Sit on a yoga ball at the office or walk to work. You’ll get the benefits of exercise, without pushing yourself too intensely.
Mix it up. A cleanse is a great opportunity to try something new fitness-wise. Yes, you can still go to your usual classes and just take it easier, but you could also check off exercises from your fitness-routine bucket list! Try low-intensity (but still good-for-you!) workouts like Tai Chi, water aerobics or aerial yoga.
Use the gym in new ways. Although it’s important to keep up your routine, you can actually do that without working out. If you’re feeling low on energy, try taking advantage of aspects of the gym that you may have overlooked before. Relax in the sauna. Soak in the pool or hot tub. Or schedule a body fat analysis with a trainer at the gym. You’ll keep up your routine of physically going there, but you can use resources that may be more enjoyable for you while cleansing.
A Yoga Flow Routine You Can Do While Detoxing
Try this gentle Yoga Flow workout from yoga instructor Yami Mufdi to increase energy, keep up your exercise habit and get in a good stretch. Move immediately from one pose into the next. Before you begin this routine, check with your health care provider.
This is also known as Sun Salutation A. Repeat it twice.
Begin in Mountain Pose. Inhale.
Lower torso into a Standing Forward Bend. Exhale.
Push up with your thighs and lift palms off floor to move into a Half Standing Forward Bend. Inhale.
Step back and lower chest and torso to mat to move into a low plank Chaturanga. Exhale.
Lower belly to floor and lift torso into Cobra. Inhale.
Pushing up with arms, place weight on feet to move into Downward Dog. Exhale.
Standing Forward Bend
Half Standing Forward Bend
Low Plank Chaturanga
From Downward Dog, lift your right leg skyward to move into Three-Legged Dog. Inhale.
Exhale and draw your right knee into your chest and shift forward. Plant your right foot in front of you, into a Crescent Lunge. Reach arms toward the sky. Inhale.
Lower your torso and place hands on the mat to move into Lizard Pose. Exhale. Stay here for 3 breaths.
Exhale. Twist toward the right, sending right arm up toward the sky to move into a Low Lunge Twist.
Lower right arm back to the mat. Move right leg back into Downward Dog. Inhale. Exhale.
Step your right foot forward between your palms. Turn your left heel in and lift your torso up. Square your hips. Lift your arms skyward to move into Warrior 1. Exhale. Hold this pose for two breaths.
Extend your arms into a T position and rotate your torso to the right into Warrior 2. Exhale. Hold this pose for two breaths.
Rotate to the opposite side. Hold for two breaths.
Twist back to center. Drop arms to sides and raise back leg parallel to floor to move into Warrior 3. Hold for two breaths. Exhale.
Lower raised leg to move into Mountain Pose. Inhale.
Repeat entire sequence on the opposite side.
Low Lunge Twist
Warrior 2 (Right)
Warrior 2 (Left)
Move into Downward Dog. Hold for three breaths.
Lower your bottom to the floor, into Seated Position.
Lay back onto floor. With shoulders on mat, lift torso skyward into Supported Bridge. Hold for as long as feels comfortable, taking deep breaths.
Lower bottom to floor. Lift bended legs and grab feet with hands to move into Happy Baby. Hold as long as you’d like, breathing in and out.
Lay on your back in Savasana. Inhaling and exhaling until you are ready to resume your day
Here’s why you should drink apple cider vinegar, and how to get your daily dose.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Of all the claims made by apple cider vinegar proponents, this one has the most meat to it: One study by researchers at Arizona State University found that the glucose levels of participants were 34 percent lower than the controls when they drank 20 grams of apple cider vinegar mixed with 40 grams of water and one teaspoon of sugar during a meal (1).
A separate study found that patients with diabetes who consumed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed woke with improved fasting glucose levels (2).
It’s not a direct link, but for some of the same reasons apple cider vinegar helps with your blood sugar levels, it can also help with your waistline. Glucose levels were lower after participants in the Arizona State study drank vinegar because it contains acetic acid, which increases insulin sensitivity and can slow the absorption of calories from a meal.
Additionally, lower glucose levels have been linked to feeling more full and, presumably, eating less. To date, however, there isn’t much data linking apple cider vinegar directly to weight loss.
What’s the Best Way to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar?
The most basic way you can get your daily fix of apple cider vinegar is by taking it straight up as a shot. But not everyone enjoys that burning sensation in the back of their throats, especially first thing in the morning!
If a shot of ACV is too strong or sour for your taste, you can try diluting it with water, seltzer or tea and sweeten it up with a bit of honey to make it more palatable.
If you’re feeling even more creative, you can incorporate apple cider vinegar into everything from smoothies and detox drinks to cocktails and mocktails.
Here are some ACV drinks you can enjoy equally for their taste and their health benefits:
In a mug, add whiskey, lemon juice and turmeric sipping vinegar.
Top with hot water and mix well.
Add one star anise and serve.
Other Ways to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re still not keen on drinking apple cider vinegar, there are other ways to consume it. For example, you can work it into a marinade or sauce for a little extra zip.
Of course, salads are a great vehicle for apple cider vinegar, and a tasty vinaigrette or dressing might make you more likely to eat nutritious leafy greens and veggies. Combining vinegar with oil also helps balance the pH level and prevent tooth enamel erosion from the acetic acid.
If you can’t stand the taste no matter how you prepare it, apple cider vinegar capsules might be your best bet. Keep in mind that the amount of acetic and citric acids in commercially available apple cider vinegar tablets reportedly varies dramatically between samples (3). This means dosage information on apple cider vinegar capsule packages may not be accurate, and taking too much can cause digestion issues.
Known for its cult following among beauty bloggers and Whole Foods shoppers alike, Aztec Secret is a bentonite clay that has been used to “beautify and refresh” the skin for centuries, according to its packaging.
“Bentonite clay comes from volcanic ash and gets its name from Fort Benton, Wyoming, where several volcanoes are present and the clay is still harvested today,” says Stacey Rex, creator and owner of Pure Stella Skin Care in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Bentonite clay is known to have an abundance of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, iron and potassium.”
A specific type of bentonite is found in Death Valley, California, and is the clay used in the famed Aztec Secret (not-so-secret) product. When combined with a liquid, like water or apple cider vinegar, the clay becomes a powerful—and cheap—detoxifying mask.
“It is a great mask to deep cleanse the skin, draw out impurities and tighten the skin while delivering minerals that nourish the skin,” says David Pollock, a beauty industry chemist and founder of justaskdavid.com. “It is a bit old school, but there is a reason it is a classic: It works and it’s affordable.”
To use the clay, mix the original recipe—equal parts clay and apple cider vinegar combined into a face mask—or try one of these five other ways to use it.
As a Hair Treatment
Bentonite is traditionally used to help draw dirt, debris and excess oil from the skin, says Crystal Baldazo, an esthetics master educator at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Chicago, but it can also be used as a treatment on the hair and scalp.
“I have a friend who uses this to detox her scalp and hair as a clarifying treatment—she swears by it,” Baldazo says. “As a clarifying treatment, mix it up in the same way as the face mask and apply it to the area, [then] let it sit for 20 minutes [before rinsing].”
Silica, another mineral found in bentonite, is known to build strong hair and nails, Pollock says.
As a Spot Treatment
The beauty of the clay is that it can be used as a mask anywhere you need it—even as a spot treatment for breakouts and newly-formed blemishes. As a spot treatment, mix the clay as you would a face mask (just use less), then dab a small amount onto the affected area and leave it on overnight before rinsing off, Pollock says.
As a Bath Soak
Part of the reason the clay works is that, when added to a liquid, it takes on an “electric charge” that allows it to absorb and remove impurities and chemicals from the body, Rex says. This is how the clay brightens your complexion.
If you’re looking to level-up your bath, Rex recommends adding 1/4 cup of the clay to bath water for a detoxifying soak.
To Treat Bug Bites
Bentonite’s ability to draw out toxins (what doesn’t this stuff do?) also makes it perfect for taking the sting out of insect and mosquito bites, Rex says.
She recommends combining the clay—again equal parts liquid and clay—in a small silicone bowl, mixing with your fingers, then dabbing onto bites to lessen the pain.
As a Mask Mix-In
Although the clay is beneficial enough on its own, adding a few ingredients can enhance the benefits of the mask and makes for an easy DIY, Pollock says. Here’s one to try:
1 tablespoon of manuka honey
2 tablespoons of bentonite clay
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons of purified water
1 teaspoon of activated charcoal (optional)
Mix the ingredients together into a paste, then apply and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing, he says.
“Let [the mask] sit until fully dry so that it can draw out impurities and tighten the skin,” he says. “Follow with a serum and moisturizer.”
Because the clay can be a bit drying on its own, consider mixing it with Greek yogurt, honey or a combination of water and jojoba or a non-comedogenic face oil, Rex says. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil to the mix for aromatherapy benefits, she adds.
Keep in Mind
Because the clay is stimulating (the Aztec Secret label proclaims, “FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE!”), expect your face to be pink or red when you take it off, Baldazo says.
“The pulsating lets you know that your blood flow to the area is increasing and increased blood flow to the face helps with oxygenating the skin, making it look more youthful and giving it a glow,” she says. “The redness or pinkness of your skin after the removal is an indication of the same.”
Be sure not to leave the mask on too long, Rex adds, as the clay can begin to extract moisture from your face if it becomes too dry.
Most importantly, while some people (i.e., celebrities) extol the benefits of consuming bentonite clay internally, you must find a food-safe clay version before trying to eat or drink it, Rex says. Speak with a doctor, esthetician or dermatologist if you have questions about food-safe clays.
Clay masks are definitely having a moment in the wellness spotlight! You may have seen people with grayish-greenish, mud-slathered faces in your social feeds all in the name of #selfcaresunday. Believe it or not, clay masks have actually been used for centuries to beautify, refresh and heal a variety of skin and health issues. There are a number of clays on the market that boast their own set of health benefits, but the most popular of which is bentonite clay.
What is Bentonite clay and how does it work?
Also known as green clay, bentonite clay is composed of aged volcanic ash. It’s known for its unique ability to produce a negative charge when hydrated, allowing it to act like a magnet and bind to heavy metals and toxins, which typically have positive charges. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and may help balance gut bacteria when taken in small doses.
Best ways to use
Face mask: To detoxify skin and remove impurities, mix up a paste of clay and water. Typically a teaspoon of water to a tablespoon of clay works best, but it depends on how thick of a paste you prefer. Swapping apple cider vinegar for water will deepen the cleansing effect, but might not be a good choice for sensitive skin!
Skin Irritations: Applying a mask of bentonite clay and water to skin irritations may help them heal faster. Clay is able to bind to bacteria and toxins living on the surface of the skin, making it an excellent antibiotic treatment to reduce redness, itchiness, and help fight allergic reactions.
Detox Bath: Add 1/4-1/2 cup of clay to a bath for a relaxing and detoxifying soak. This can help soften skin and soothe any irritations by removing impurities.
Detox drink: A daily dose of bentonite clay may help balance gut bacteria and relieve indigestion. Start small by stirring a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon to see how your body reacts, before increasing to 1 teaspoon.
A few words of caution…
Never mix bentonite clay with metal utensils! It can bind to toxins in the metal which will then end up on your skin.
Always do a skin patch testbefore applying a face mask or treating skin irritations. Bentonite clay is ideal for normal to oily skin types and may be too harsh for those with dry or sensitive skin.
As with any supplement, check with your doctor before ingesting bentonite clay as a detox drink, as it may interfere with any existing supplements or medications you’re taking.
Have you ever tried healing clay masks? Share your experience in the comments?
You’ve seen Kombucha lining health store aisles, maybe mispronounced it a few times and probably tried it at least once…but what exactly is it and why is it so popular? Kombucha (Kom-booch-uh) is a fermented tea that originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C. and was revered for its health-boosting and gut-healing properties. It’s made by mixing black tea (or green tea) and sugar, then fermenting the blend into a fizzy, probiotic-packed wellness drink. Fermentation, by definition, is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms.
For Kombucha, fermentation happens through “SCOBY”—an acronym for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY is part of the brewing process and a new layer of SCOBY will grow on the surface of the original used to begin the brew. For your first batch, you need to purchase a SCOBY from a reputable source. Once added to the tea-sugar blend, SCOBY breaks down most of the sugar in the mixture. The batch is left to ferment for 1-2 weeks and is then transferred to bottles where it sits for another 1-2 weeks to encourage carbonation. During bottling, different flavors are infused to create a refreshing, bubbly, health beverage. Kombucha is popular because it combines the health benefits of tea with those of probiotics and healthy bacteria!
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Packed with antioxidants, enzymes and organic acids such as acetic, caprylic and more
Contains B-Vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B12
May reduce heart disease risk
Improves digestion and supports a healthy gut
May have immune system boosting & antiviral properties
Antioxidants in Kombucha may help protect the liver
Herbs, spices, fruits or flavoring of your choice (optional)
Clean all surfaces, utensils, pots, jars & hands with soap & water—leaving no residue behind. Always use glass vessels and wooden or plastic utensils.
Bring ¼ gallon of filtered water to a boil.
While the water is heating, prepare your tea. If you are using loose leaf tea you will need a mesh tea ball. The tea for this step should be simple & unflavored. Earl Grey and other flavored teas are not recommended.
Once the water has reached a boil, steep six tea bags (12 grams) of black or green tea in hot water for 20 minutes, mixing frequently. Make sure to do this step in a pot that can withstand high temperatures.
Remove the tea bags and stir 1 cup of sugar into the pot. Mix this for a couple of minutes to help the sugar dissolve.
Pour your mixture into your 1 gallon, glass fermentation jar.
Fill the jar with 8 cups of cold, filtered water.
Use your thermometer to ensure the temperature reads between 68-84 degrees F before adding your SCOBY or Kombucha culture.
Once the temperature is right, add your culture to the mixture.
Cover your fermentation jar with an organic cotton cover and seal it with a rubber band.
Place your mixture in a warm place out of direct sunlight & with plenty of airflow (not in a closed cupboard). The best temperature for this process is between 72 and 80 degrees F. Make sure to check the temperature gauge frequently & adjust locations as needed.
After a couple of days you will begin to notice a cream-colored layer growing on top of your brew. This is your new culture! Your batch should be ready in about 9-14 days depending on the temperature, water quality & your taste preference. Cool temperatures slow fermentation while warm temperatures speed it up. The typical fermentation period is about 7-10 days.
If your batch is too sweet, put the cloth back on and let it brew a few more days. If it is too tart you can sweeten during the bottling process.
After you have made your Kombucha, it’s time to bottle it!
Bottling & “Second Fermentation”
Remove the SCOBY & place into a glass or porcelain container. Pour some of the Kombucha liquid on top, enough to cover your SCOBY. This will be the starter liquid for your next batch and keeps the SCOBY fresh.
Add your brew to a 32 oz. glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Your brew may contain brown blobs, strands, or debris after removing the SCOBY & that it is perfectly fine! It’s just parts leftover from the mother SCOBY. If you don’t like the blobs, you can use a strainer if when pouring your Kombucha into the bottle.
It’s best to leave an inch or less of air at the top of the bottle. This should allow for the appropriate amount of carbonation.
You can use crushed leaves of fresh herbs, ground or whole spices, fruit purees, veggie juices & host of other options to flavor your brew. Add the individual flavors directly into your Kombucha bottle and cap. If your lid is metal, be sure to place plastic wrap in between the lid & your Kombucha.
If you are looking for a carbonated beverage, let the sealed bottle continue to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days. Then put the mixture into the fridge & enjoy. If you don’t like fizzy drinks or carbonation, you can just put the flavored bottle straight into the fridge after bottling. You can strain out the fruits, herbs etc. after if preferred.
Always use caution when brewing your own Kombucha & be careful about fermenting it too long.
Never touch the Kombucha or SCOBY with metal as it may kill it.
Look out for mold! Brown, clear and cream are acceptable colors for your SCOBY. Black, green, blue or white, fuzzy mold & dark, round spots should never be present. If you see any of those make sure to throw the culture and brew away.
If you ever have any reserves about your Kombucha, reach out to someone for help. You should also check the pH of your Kombucha using test strips to make sure it’s between 2.5-3.5—the ideal range for Kombucha.
If you are brewing for the first time & nervous about making your own Kombucha, there are an assortment of kits you can purchase which provide you with everything you need to brew your own. They also come with easy-to-follow instructions that make the process very enjoyable!
It’s recommended to start with a little Kombucha a day & gradually work your way up to drinking more. Stick with about 8 oz. per day or less, especially in the beginning.
If you are pregnant, breast feeding or have underlying health conditions, make sure to check with your health care provider before trying Kombucha.
Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar which, when fermented, turns into alcohol in very small amounts. However, only about 1% of Kombucha is believed to be alcohol.
Performing regular body cleanses and detoxes are essential for good health and healing, but some people tend to think detoxing should be a one-time event, ranging from 24 hours to 2-weeks. Detoxification doesn’t always have to be a dramatic juice cleanse or intensive fasting. In fact, we should be making smaller lifestyle choices every day to continuously clear the body of toxins since we are often in contact with harmful organisms and pollutants. In order to prevent a buildup of these toxins, here are 10 easy ways to make every day a detox.
1. Natural, organic foods
Eating whole, organic foods is one of the best ways to improve your body’s detoxification process and reduce the intake of toxins. Choose fresh organic vegetables and fruits instead of fast food, processed food, GMO products and pesticide contaminated foods.
Exfoliating your skin is also a simple way to detox your body. Removing toxins present in your skin creates better circulation through daily oil massages and skin brushing. Before taking a shower, take a dry loofah sponge and brush your body to improve results.
3. Drinking water
You can purify your body by drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated all day and having adequate amounts of water is essential as your body needs water to produce saliva, help with perspiration and remove plenty of toxins each time you go to the bathroom.
Exercising helps you sweat and consequently release toxins through your skin. Sweating it out in the sauna can also help your body eliminate waste through increased body temperature and perspiration.
5. Herbal tea
Drinking herbal tea can offer different cleansing benefits as these infusions are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are high on health benefits. Look for ingredients such as ginseng, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass and cinnamon.
6. Purify the air
Breathing clean air is another way to reduce your exposure to toxins. Clean up the air in your home and keep up a high-quality, toxin-free air by reducing smoke, fumes, mold, and microorganisms.
7. Vitamin C
Increasing vitamin C intake is especially helpful for detox since it induces the production of glutathione, which is a compound that flushes toxins out. Try to eat fruits high on vitamin C such as oranges, pineapples, and papayas regularly.
Probiotic supplements are one of the best ways to enhance detoxification. These products, as well as digestive enzymes, can help your body digest and process the food you’re eating.
Hydrotherapy is an effective way to detox the body. While hot water relaxes blood vessels and dilates them, cold water stimulates them, and this process may decrease inflammation and naturally remove toxins from tissues.
Increase fiber intake as the kidney and liver are crucial for the filtration of the toxins in the body and thus promote overall cleansing.
What are some little steps you take every day to keep your body as toxin-free as possible? Let us know in the comments.
The term “superfood” is definitely overused these days. Everything seems to be a superfood but when it comes to chlorella, the endless list of health benefits that this algae can provide speaks for itself. Green shakes have been a hot topic as a refreshing cold beverage may be one of the best ways to ensure you get your daily dose of nutrition. Let’s look at 8 benefits of a daily chlorella shake.
The phytonutrients in chlorella promote detoxification, especially heavy metal excretion such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium. Plus, chlorella’s high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to detoxifyradiation by protecting the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.
Chlorella can be helpful in weight control by promoting weight loss and regulate hormones. Known to reduce body fat, chlorella supplements can help regulate your metabolism, total cholesterol, blood glucose levels, improve circulation, and boost energy levels.
4. Immune System
Chlorella can enhance immune system functions as this algae is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid, zinc, and vitamins A, C, B6, B12, and E.
Chlorella has an alkalinizing effect upon the body, promoting the growth of lactobacilli in the intestines and, as a result, improving overall bowel health. It’s also packed with protein, a 100-gram serving of chlorella contains over 58 grams of protein.
Chlorella supplements may help regulate cholesterol levels as studies have shown that taking 5–10 grams of chlorella daily lowered total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high blood pressure and/or slightly elevated cholesterol. It contains niacin, fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants, all known to supporte healthy cholesterol levels.
Chlorella has some components that can help reduce inflammation. Research suggests that the antioxidants in chlorella may have anti-inflammatory effects, which can possibly improve asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory diseases.
Apple cider vinegar has been a fountain of health benefits for quite some time now. Loaded with acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, enzymes and polyphenols, apple cider vinegar is known to help weight-loss but it can also help with so much more. Let’s look a 5 benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Support Weight Loss and Metabolism
The number one health benefit from apple cider vinegar continues to be weight loss. Researchers have concluded that consuming apple cider vinegar could promote weight loss by reducing sugar cravings, improving detoxification, and reducing body fat up to 10%.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels and fight type 2 diabetes, characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. When avoiding refined carbs and sugar, apple cider vinegar may have a powerful positive effect on regulating blood sugar levels.
3. Detox Your Body
Used by many detox products, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a liver and lymphatic tonic which can help detox your body. It helps balance your body’s pH and stimulates cardiovascular stimulation, bowel motility and lymphatic drainage.
4. Kills Bacteria
Acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar has the ability to kill pathogens, including bacteria and, at the same time, foster the growth of beneficial bacteria. Because acetic acid kills unwanted bacteria when it comes into contact with it, it essentially acts as a natural antibiotic.
5. Digestive Support
Apple cider vinegar is known to reduce bloating. Vinegar increases the acidity in the stomach, which allows it to digest the food you’ve eaten and helps propel it into the small intestine.
2017 has started and, as we know, losing weight and eating healthy are among the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Some people may not know that one of the most important steps of starting a weight-loss diet is to detoxify the body. So, in order to help you start a healthy 2017, Lucky Vitamin is introducing a top-quality brand of detox products: Detoxwater.
Detoxwater is your healthy hydration alternative that not only quenches thirst and tastes delicious but also delivers the plethora of health benefits associated with drinking the most premium aloe in the world. This ready-to-drink beverage is made with vitamins, electrolytes, and the highest quality aloe vera and was created to help promoting wellness from the inside out.
With only 30 calories per bottle, Detoxwater delivers the clinically proven benefits of pure aloe juice, an ingredient known to support immune function, healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and improved skin elasticity. It’s the perfect beverage to replenish and restore your body with electrolytes, vitamin c, and a full range of vitamin B.
Each bottle contains 350mg of ACTValoe which are aloe gel flakes with no less than 10% aloe polysaccharide by dry weight. Essentially, that’s like drinking a shot of the most extensively researched and clinically-proven pure aloe vera juice. Certified USDA Organic, OU Kosher, vegan, and gluten-free, Detoxwater is available in three delicious flavors: Original Lychee and White Grape, Mangaloe, and Pinamint, a mix of pineapple and mint, flavors.
Lucky Vitamin is introducing Restore supplements to our customers. Created and developed to help restore gut health, Restore produces a unique soil-derived mineral supplement that helps maintain a healthy immune system through strengthened gut health.
The company believes complete well-being begins in the gut and is fully dedicated to provide a product that can enhance gut health by creating an environment where good gut bacteria can flourish.
Restore is easily added to your daily health plan to provide support for natural healing from environmental exposures. This supplement is the first supplement on the market that functions as an antidote to glyphosate and gluten toxicity at the tight junction.
Restore is a new generation, earth-derived supplement that promotes an optimal gut environment. It is not a probiotic. It is not a prebiotic. Rather, it is a carbon rich, alkaline liquid, with lignite derived trace organics and essential trace amino acids. With 70% of the immune system located in the gut, this optimal gut environment leads to great gut health. Restore is the first dietary supplement that delivers a balanced family of bacterial metabolites to promote a healthy firewall of tight junctions in the gut wall and blood brain barrier. Restore provides the communication network to support the return of biodiversity to the gut ecosystem that supports normal immune function, reverse fatigue, and help you reclaim mental clarity.