Solutions for Winter Dry Skin

A question from one of our Healthy Moms from HealthyStepsforMoms was what lotion should she use for her dry skin during the winter.

I have an simple idea that has helped me a lot, but it wasn’t my idea – I got it from my friend who has the most beautiful skin.

This is the story. I was at a gathering and I asked my friend who has such soft, clear skin what kind of lotion she uses. I knew she made a lot of her own lotions and beauty creams, and I wanted her recipes.

She took me aside, and seemed a little embarrassed and said quietly, “Christina,I don’t use soap anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I replied a bit puzzled.
“I don’t use soap in the shower anymore.”
“Ok, that is great…. All I want to know what kind of lotion you use to keep your skin moisturized. Mine gets dry in the winter – what is your lotion recipe, I know you have a good one.”
“I don’t use lotion – I don’t need lotion – because I don’t use soap in the shower anymore.”
“What?” Now I was really confused. “What do you mean?”

So she explain to me the secrets of fat, which I’ll share with you!

Every cell in our body has a membrane that is made of special fat cells. These fat cells are very important in lots of ways.

Now, the reason why soap cleans is because it breaks down fat. Think of your dishes and how the liquid soap breaks down that fat on the plate.

When you are taking a shower and scrubbing up – you are breaking down your fat molecules on the out layer of your skin, leading to dryness.

That is the opposite of what you want, right!

What I did before I knew the Secret of Fat was to try another soap or another type of skin or hand lotion.

We are going to go about this differently! And you’ll find it works great, saves you time and money.

You’ll save time because you are not going to have to “loob up” after your shower or at bedtime and you’ll save $$ because you will not have to spend $ on different body lotions and hand lotions anymore.

We are going to do what my friend shared with me – remember she doesn’t use soap anymore! Instead of cleaning with soap – we are going to clean with fat.

I’m not suggesting we grab the fat from our hamburgers – I’m talking about using some of the basic ingredients you find in your lotions – fatty oils such as coconut or olive or grape seed oil or avocado.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is!!

  1. Get wet
  2. Oil up
  3. Rinse off
  4. Dry off
  5. Get on with your day

Your recipe will be determined by you – how oily or how much scrubby exfoliation you want and what aroma you want.

If you think I’m kinda crazy and you are not ready for this yet – try it just for your hands first. Keep this mix by the sink, and use this to wash your hands with instead of soap. See how your hands feel after a week. Then you might be open to trying it in the shower 🙂

Points to make:

  • This is great for a daily hop in the shower to get ready for the day.
  • If I’m in the garden and muddy – soap is nice. (I love black liquid soap.)
  • Use a spoon to take some of the scrub out.  That way it doesn’t get all watery.
  • Take care of your hair first! You don’t want to put your oily hands in your hair.
  • Adding a good quality Omega vitamins is also helpful in keeping your skin moisturized.  (This is my all time favorite Omega)
  • This is for generally dry skin. If you are dealing with more than that, remember skin health is directly related to gut health.
  • This is not meant for your face as the face has such delicate and different skin then our bodies.

Here is the basic recipe to make a small batch.

You can double and triple as needed. Also you should play and adjust to amounts to find texture that feels good for you.

2 tablespoons of fat (mix or use 1, coconut, avocado, safflower, grape seed)
1-3 tablespoons of salt (epsom, Himalayan, sea)
1-2 drops of Essential Oils
Lavender, geranium to support skin
Eucalyptus to support respiratory system
Thieves to use with hand scrub – protects and supports immune system.

I hope these Healthy Tips help you on your wellness journey too!

If you use a tip, I’d love to hear how it supported you. If you have any questions – please ask away!

Click here to join!

Would you like to join our Tribe of Healthy Moms who are taking steps on their health and wellness journey?  We’d love for you to be a part of this fun and supportive private facebook group!

Why Reducing Toxins or “Ick” = Weight Loss

An easy way to reduce the “ick” is to make your own yummy…!

One way to be more healthy is to reduce the number of toxins and man made molecules in our body. Why? Because when you reduce toxins and man made molecules that are currently in your body or being added to it you will
1. Have less tax on body, liver and kidneys.
2. Your body will need less fat cells

What?? Less fat cells? What are you talking about Christina?

Can you believe that your body doesn’t know what to do with many of the toxins, man made molecules or “ick”, as they are added to your body. It is kind of like me and my kitchen drawer. I bet you have one too. I end up with stuff in the house that I’m not sure what to do with, – do I throw out or keep it? In my indecision, I toss it in the kitchen drawer of “stuff”. This is the drawer of stuff that I will “deal with later”. Yeah, you know how that goes, later is never….

So our bodies do the same thing with molecules it does not recognize. Your body tosses these molecules in the “kitchen drawer” or fat cell to deal with later, which is really never because there is so much other stuff to do! So when that fat cells gets full, well it has another one and another one and another one available!

If you have a goal of weight loss, then along with exercise, you must also reduce the toxins in your body and reduce the toxins you are adding to your body. As those fat cells get empty, they get smaller and your body doesn’t need them anymore. We see this is inch or weight loss!

A natural “side effect” of reducing toxins or icky molecules in your body is weight or in loss!

What I get so jazzed about is that I have great ways to reduce the toxins currently in your body and I have lots of ways to reduce the toxins you are adding to your body!

You have a lot of control over what you add to your body. The trick is knowing what is the good stuff and what is the bad stuff, right!! Ok, so I can help you there too :). Lets get started.

When you buy processed foods from the store there is going to be a certain amount of man made molecules, toxins or “ick” contained in them. Sure, some food will have more of these molecules than others and some will be more harmful and unhealthy than others. But the more we can make at home, the more control we will have in what goes in our foods and what goes in our bodies! Makes perfect sense!

It seems to be a common theme that when people want to be more healthy or loose weight they start eating more salads. You’ve noticed that too, I’m sure. It hurts my heart when someone sits down with a salad announcing they are “eating more healthy!” and then they pull out a store bought salad dressing that contains preservatives, sugar, unhealthy oil and other “ick” molecules.

So let me show you a super easy recipe so you can make your own salad dressings! Not only is it crazy easy, saves you money, tastes great, gives you healthy fatty oils, but it also give you control of what you put in there – so it will not contain any man made “icky” molecules!!

What you need:

An oil
Make sure it is a good quality, organic oil. I love avocado or grape seed because these oils are good for high heat cooking which means they are more stable and will not go rancid on the store shelves. Grape seed oil has high levels of vitamin E, supports the immune system and increases the blood circulation.  Avocado has high levels of vitamin E, has been shown to reduce inflammation and boosts nutrient absorption of certain good molecules.

I’m not such a fan of olive oil any more because it is delicate. Most of the healthy molecules in olive oil are not active anymore when we get it home from the store. Olive oil is also notorious for being cut with other cheaper oils.

An acid/vinegar
There are many to choose from, so have fun! Again get a good quality one. White wine vinegar is smoother, apple cider can be sweeter, lemon juice is tasty too, and of course there is Balsamic vinegar. When you get Balsamic make sure it is not colored from caramel color. I really need to try rice vinegar and coconut vinegar! Do you have any favorites I didn’t mention?

Yummies to add
Now you can play and make it fun. You can add fresh herbs from the garden or dried herbs. I love adding parmesan cheese. Can’t forget to add some pepper, maybe salt.

If I don’t have fresh herbs I will add a tiny bit of essential oil. With your first try at adding essential oil, just put a toothpick in the essential oil and swirl that around in your dressing. Add from there. You most likely will not be adding more than 1 drop of essential oil. Also, make sure the bottle says that is for internal consumption!

Basic recipe:
3 oils to 1 vinegar.
For a family of 3 I usually make 9 tablespoons of oil to 3 tablespoons of acid/vinegar.
Then you can add the yummies that would complement your salad or meal.

What did you add?
You can tell my salad dressing tends to be lean towards the Mediterranean or Italian taste. That is my background and what I grew up with. We’d all love to learn what spices and yummies you add to your basic salad dressing.

Keep it in fridge and add to it later
If you don’t use it all at one meal, don’t throw it out! Just put it in your fridge and add to it later. It keeps forever and this gives time for the flavors to mingle.
Enjoy!!

If you tried this – let us know your thoughts!
How easy and delicious was it? What spices and yummies did you add?

Join the Tribe!
I enjoy our tribe of Healthy Moms who are all on a journey to improve their health. The goal of HealthySteps for Moms, our private FaceBook group is to support busy moms who want simplified health tips for themselves and their family. 

Want to join our supportive tribe of Healthy Moms?  We’d love to have you!  Just click the picture on the side to bring you to our page.

Toxin Free Laundry Detergent

Making Healthy Changes? Take a Look at….

If you are taking steps to reduce toxins in your home and body than one of the first things you should look at is your laundry detergent. Really, laundry detergent? Why…

Most store bought laundry detergent contains chemicals we don’t want to expose our family or ourselves to. And, if you think about when you are exposed to these chemicals that stay on your clothes after washing them you realize that you are exposed to these chemicals 24/7! Yup, unless you live in a nudist colony most people wear clothes throughout the day and then you slip in your bed in sheets that you washed in your laundry detergent… So yes 24/7.

You are also exposed to these chemicals while they are being washed and the whole time your clean clothes are hanging up in your closet, or in a pile on the floor ;)!

What are these chemicals I’m talking about?

Here are just 3 common chemicals that should cause some concern:

Fragrances
Fragrances is really a code word for “man made chemical that smells”. These chemicals are made from petroleum and are in the petrochemical family.

A study found the 30% of the population is affected by these man made smelly chemicals and they are a common cause for allergic reactions or skin rashes.

Many people report that after being exposed to these molecules it lead to hay fever symptoms, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, head aches, nausea, seizures and more.

Not to mention these molecules are linked to cancer and they are hormone disruptors, which means they mess with our hormones whether the smell make you dizzy or not!

You know how each detergent has their own smell? I’ve found many people who are attached to their brand’s aroma, “But it love the smell of ——, it is the smell of clean for me!” But this smell you are emotionally attached to is the molecule we are talking about here! If this is you, don’t worry, you are not the first person to feel this way about a detergents smell. Any you know what, once they realized that the smell was bad for them, they got over it and you can too!

Optical Brighteners
Can you believe when you purchase something with “whiteners” you really are not making your clothes cleaner, these molecules are simply tricking your eyes to make your white clothes look cleaner!

These optical brighteners are molecules that are meant to stay on your clothes after washing. They absorb ultraviolet light and emit it back as visible blue light. The blue masks the yellowing that may be happening to your white clothes!
How about that! And these molecules often are the culprit of eye or skin irritation.

SLS
Sodium Laurel Sulphate is what makes the bubbles in our products that make it look like it is doing a good job cleaning.

There are 16 thousand studies on the toxicity of this chemical.
SLS is an estrogen mimicker, which is a hormone disruptor and messes with your hormones too! This molecule causes skin and eye irritation and is a possible carcinogenic – which means it may cause cancer!

I hope you see now why I am suggesting you take a look at your laundry detergent if you are making healthy steps and want to reduce toxic chemicals in your home and body.

Getting rid of those unnecessary unhealthy molecules is pretty easy, here are some options that we have tried with good success.

Soap Nuts
These things really are from a tree, and they looked like empty dried grapes and have a sharp vinegar-like smell. They work great!

Soap nuts are pretty inexpensive. When you purchase soap nuts they should come with 1 to 3 little bags that you’ll use for washing. You’ll put about 7 nuts in a little bag and that is what you’ll drop into the washing machine. That will keep any little nut pieces from getting lost in your clothes. The first time you use the soap nuts, you need to either soak the nuts in hot water until they are soft or just toss them in a hot load.

They will keep doing a good washing job for about 5-7 loads. You’ll know when it is time to change out your nuts when they get thin and the shell is only left in the bag. Toss the shell in the compost or trash.

Sometime I may add some vinegar and baking soda just for added washing power when dealing with an extra dirty load.

Make Your Own
It is not difficult to make your own detergent. It just takes a few ingredients, a big pot and time. Here is a link for a good, simple recipe.

EWG
If you want to keep on buying your laundry detergent at the store, then check out where your favorite detergent stands with The Environmental Working Group. They will give you the low down on how toxic it is. And then you can find a healthier option.

Companies are smart and they do a good job at making the product labels look cleaner and greener then they really are. So don’t do what I did, just because it is from a “green” company doesn’t mean it is “green”.

A good example is 7th Generation. Their Natural Laundry Detergent Powder Free & Clear had an A rating by EWG, but their Baby Detergent was rated low by the EWG because it contains SLS.

Support Your Green Friends
You might have a friend who sells a very good laundry detergent in their at home business. I know a few companies that are focused on clean living and they have fantastic laundry detergent!

My favorite is Young Living Thieves laundry detergent. It is plant based, free of the icky chemicals we mentioned, is infused with a killer essential oil blend and is very concentrated (you can do 64 loads with one bottle). We use this with our massage sheets and we’ve never had a problem with oil stains. Good stuff!

Which One Will You Choose?
I hope this was a helpful healthy tip to support you on your unique path to health!
To make your life a little easier, you’ll notice I put links to the cleaning products mentioned. Now you don’t have to dig for them and when you purchase from a link you’ll be helping us so we can keep on sharing HealthySteps tips. Thank You!!

Please let us know healthy laundry detergent option you choose – nuts, make your own or purchase! I’d love to know what you thought of your natural option too!

For more HealthySteps tips to support you on your unique wellness journey, add your name and email here.

Thieves Laundry Detergent

How to Make Yogurt at Home

Why would you want to make yogurt at home – you can easily pick some up at the grocery store!
I like to make it at home because it is SO easy, saves me money, reduces my family’s sugar intake and supports their gut health.  We get good fats by using grass fed milk and we eliminate stuff like stabilizers, thickeners, etc which is used to increase shelf life. 

We get to eat just pure, good for you yogurt!

So, making your own yogurt is an easy way to cook for your family and know you are giving them GOOD food to support their health.

If you want to make it sweeter, you can add honey or maple syrup and some fruit!  Oh so yummy… it only take 12 hours… 🙂

Homemade Toothpaste that is Amazing!

I am thrilled to share with you this fantastic homemade toothpaste recipe that is SO simple (2 to 3 ingredients) and works great!  It does not cause irritation to the gums, like baking soda can, it can be sweet so little ones will like it and it makes your teeth simply squeaky clean!

In this video I’ll share the ingredients, what to look for when you are shopping, and how to mix it all together!!

Recipe for Homemade Toothpaste:
4 Tbs Calcium Bentonite Clay Powder
4 Tbs filtered water
2-4 drops essential oil or mint extract
2-4 Tbs Birch Xylitol, to taste
Mix in glass or ceramic container until you have a paste.  Keep lid on to prevent from drying out.

Ditch the Dryer Sheets – Bring on Dryer Balls!

If you are on a path to be more healthy, loose weight or cleanse then you should think about taking steps to reduce the amount of toxins that enter your body.  Why add more when you are working hard to remove what you already have!  Making small changes like this will not only help you, but those in your family will benefit too!

In this video I’ll share why dryer sheets are not so great!  I’ll give you a simple and cost effective non-toxic alternative to replace dryer sheets.

If you are adding essential oils to your dryer ball, make sure they are essential oils that are not diluted with base oil.  The base oil will stain your dryer balls.  A pure essential oil will be easily absorbed into the wool without staining of the ball or your clothes!

 

This is a great choice for dryer balls!

Reduce Toxins in Your Home and Body – Air Fresheners

The EPA says that “People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.  So, for many people, the risk to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”  And if you can believe it, a lot of that pollution is being brought into our homes by us!  We actually are voluntarily spending money on these toxic products and bringing them into our homes.  Many of the man made chemicals found in these products can inhibit the overall health of the user – us, our loved ones and pets!

Why is it important to reduce toxins in our home?  If you are on a path to be healthier, on a cleansing program or on the Triplex, then it is your goal to reduce the toxic load in your body.  Why add to your toxic load while you are working to reduce it?  We want those toxins out – and we don’t want to add them back in!

In this video I’ll share how and why air fresheners are negatively affecting your health.  I’ll also give you six ideas on how to freshen your home naturally and with no toxins!

Here are the links I mentioned in the video.

  1. 15 air cleaning plants: http://www.mnn.com/health/healthy-spaces/photos/15-houseplants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality/golden-pothos
  2. Baking Soda Boxes: http://www.greenideareviews.com/2012/07/25/diy-baking-soda-air-freshener-review-does-it-work/
  3. My Friend’s clean burning candles: http://www.pldcandles.com

This is a fantastic option as an essential oil diffuser.  It is a great price and works well.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and how this post helped you on your health journey!

Many Thanks,
Christina

Home Made Bath Salts and Scrubs

We have completely become a “Make Your Own Body Scrub” family 100% of the time now! Why? Well the first reason is because it is so stinky easy, the second is I can easily tailor each scrub for each person and season and third because it is a very doable way to reduce toxins that are coming into my home.

Toxins? Really?
Yup, sorry to say but in common store bought bath scrubs there are man made chemicals that are not supporting the health of our bodies at all! All those cute, smelly, glittery, colorful, fruity, flowery shower and bath scrubs have “yuck”in them. I’m going to concentrate on telling you about just two of them; phthalates and SLS.

Phthalates are those man made molecules that give the wonderful smell to our bath products. These smelly molecules are well known for causing skin or respiratory irritation, they are hormones disruptors (so that means that they are messing with our hormones) and they have been labeled as carcinogenic (can cause cancer) “with exposure over a long period of time”.

What would you consider “exposure over a long period of time”? Well, when you consider that you are being exposed to these molecules every time you take a shower with products that contain phthalates, put on perfume that contains phthalates, use hand soap that contains phthalates and breath air fresheners that contain phthalates – I’d say you are being exposed to palates for “a long period of time”. This is why it is important to get these guys out of your house! Making your own scrubs is one easy way to do it!

Another common molecule is Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is what creates the bubbles in our cleansing products, gives the lubrication in shaving cream and keeps all the ingredients mixed in the bottle. This molecule goes by many names and has cousins. SLS has been debated a lot – is it bad for us or isn’t it? Depending on what you read, you’ll get different answers. The one statement that sticks out for me is the statement from Dr. Mercola.

But high levels of SLS intake, either orally or through the skin, are not ordinarily experienced in normal cosmetics use it’s the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are the real concern. And there is a serious lack of long-term studies on ALL of the chemicals in these products so we don’t really know what the long-term effects are. It’s not just repeated exposure to one chemicals it’s the combined effect of thousands of little chemical exposures, day in and day out, that is of concern.
(Read Dr. Mercola’s full article.)

So to eliminate my family’s gradual and cumulative effects (this is becoming a common theme!) to Sodium laurel sulfate we just have chosen to reduce exposure to it as much as possible! So check out how easy it is to make your bath scrubs and reduce your “gradual and cumulative effects” too!

Great For Every Season!

One of the reasons I really like my scrubs is that they make my skin feel great. I get some gentle exfoliation going on with the Epsom salt and the oil hydrates my skin. I rarely find myself putting on lotion anymore, even in the dry winter.

In the summer, I add less oil and really enjoy the scrubbing from the salts. It is perfect after a day of working in the yard, as it makes all the itchiess go away.  I really like to add peppermint essential oil to summer scrubs for that “peppermint patty cool” feeling.

In the winter I like to add essential oils to support our respiratory and immune system like Thieves, one of my favorites blends from Young Living Essential Oils.  In our winter scrubs I’ll add more oil to help combat dryness.

Of course if you need some relaxation before bed – make a scrub that has Stress Away blend or Lavender.  You can also toss some of this in a bath for the same “oily” support.

Just 3 Ingredients for Your Scrub

All you need to make your bath scrubs is Epsom salts, safflower oil and essential oils! Three ingredients and you are done! Of course, you can always switch things up a bit. Some people like to add pink sea salt with their Epsom salts or mix coconut oil with safflower oil. It is up to you. To keep things easy, this is what we do. You’ll be amazed at the precision necessary for measuring out ingredients 😉

Step 1

The main ingredients you need are:

  • Epsom Salt
  • Safflower Oil
  • Essential Oil
  • A glass container with a lid.

If you want to get fancy, you can always change up the “salt”.
Pink Himalayan salt adds color and minerals. 
You can also add Kosher or Sea salt for more exfoliation.

Make sure the container you are using is glass so that it does not break down from the essential oils.
You also want a lid so that it does not dry out or the essential oils evaporate.

I prefer a smaller container so I can mix up a new scrub weekly. 

Step 2

Add Epsom salt first, and fill your container to almost full.

Step 3

Then add your oil.  You don’t want to put too much oil because then it will be to oily. 
Just like any recipe, start with less and then add. 
In this jelly jar I guess I added about 2 table spoons. 

You can us other oils too.  I like Safflower oil because it absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave a heavy sticky feeling. 
I avoid olive oil because of that. 
Other oils I like are coconut oil, avocado oil and grape seed oil. 

Of course, you can mix your oils and find a blend that you really like or just simply use what you have on hand.

Steps 4 and 5

After you add your safflower oil then just put in a 2-3 drops of your chosen essential oil in the safflower oil.

Put the top on and then…

“Shake it, shake, shake, shake it like a polaroid picture!” to get it all mixed up.

Steps 6

Open it up and check it out.

All of the oil and salts should be mixed up nicely.

You don’t want it dry and you don’t want it too wet.

You’ll have to try it out to see if your bath scrub Goldie Locks is happy!

Use a spoon to scoop some out in your hand so the container doesn’t fill up with water and you don’t feel so icky if you share.

All you need to do is jump in the shower like usual, get all wet and scrub up with your home made scrub!  Then rinse off!  How easy is that??

Kudos to your for decreasing the “cumulative long term effect” of SLS and phthalates for you and your family!!  Way to go!!

Where to Get Your Ingredients.

You can find canning jars at Walmart for around $8 for a dozen.
You can find a 4 pound bag of Epsom salts, also at Walmart for $6.
We always get organic Safflower oil because our skin is the largest organ of our body and can absorb some toxic molecules easily. We have found good organic safflower oil at Whole Foods.
We are also pretty picky on our essential oils too and only get Young Living Essential Oils.

If you are new to Essential Oils and want to “take the leap” and get your feet wet, I recommend the “Premium Starter Kit”.

 

 

 

 

Register here for More
HealthySteps Tips
!

Toxin Free Deodorant

Are you concerned about the chemicals that are found in your self care products?  You are not alone!  More and more people are doing the research and finding out that a lot of their store bought products sitting in their bathrooms are not supporting their health at all – in fact, many of these man made molecules may be even harming your health.

Dr. Mercola has a great article giving some facts on what is in self care products and why you should make a change.

We have been making our self care products for a long time.  We’ve been experimenting for a while, and have found that this Pit Paste works the best for us.  I’ve shared this simple recipe with others who have been pleasantly surprised at how well it works to reduce odor.   Let us know how it works for you!

STAY IN TOUCH