The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Until recently, I’ve only know paprika as a topping sprinkled on deviled eggs and potato salad. Honestly, I didn’t think it added anything more than decoration.

After becoming plant based, I noted that several of my favorite recipes include paprika, not as a garnish but as a crucial ingredient. I’ve come to respect and appreciate this spice and use it almost every day.

But what is paprika exactly? And are there any health benefits associated with it?

My curious mind wanted to know.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

What is Paprika?

Paprika is a reddish orange ground spice made from dried peppers. Although it can be made from any variety of peppers, red bell peppers, chili peppers and cayenne peppers are most commonly used.

The spice originated in Mexico. Explorers transported it to Europe, Africa and Asia in the 1400s. Currently, Hungary produces the highest quality paprika and chefs there are well known for their Hungarian goulash prepared with the spice.

Paprika is extremely high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamins B6, C, E and K, iron, niacin and potassium. The spicier versions contain capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin is an important component in the prevention of diseases.
The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Health Benefits of Paprika

Paprika fights inflammation and disease in the body, offering the following health benefits.

Powerful Antioxidants

Paprika is rich in carotenoids, a pigment found in the peppers. This compound prevents oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body and helps to fight disease. Antioxidants protect the skin from aging, improve respiratory health and lower inflammation throughout the body. The high levels of vitamin A decreases inflammation as well, lowering the risk of disease since inflammation is often a root cause.

Hair and Scalp Health

Paprika’s rich source of vitamin B6 helps to prevent hair loss. It’s also involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to hair. And the iron in paprika stimulates hair growth by improving the transfer of oxygen to hair follicles.

May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer

The capsaicin in spicy paprika possesses the potential to prevent and/or treat gastric cancers. Capsaicin appears to limit and suppress cancerous tumor growth. This is good news, as gastric cancers are the second most common cancer, world wide, and the second most common cause of cancer related deaths.

Supports the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin B6 in paprika lowers high blood pressure and heals damaged blood vessels. The carotenoid capsanthin can increase good cholesterol. These benefits keep the heart strong and working well.

Improves Eye Health

Paprika’s antioxidants and vitamin B6 keep eyes healthy and slows the onset of eye related diseases such as macular degeneration.

Treats Diabetes

Paprika helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in treating diabetes. Spicy paprika benefits the whole digestive process.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Uses for Paprika

Beyond sprinkling paprika on foods as a garnish, try adding the spice to vegetables, sauces, soups, salad dressings, chilies, salsa, rice dishes, beans, goulash and any tomato based recipe.

I add a heaping spoonful of paprika to the blend of spices coating Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes. My Meatless Dirty Rice recipe includes paprika as well. I’ve played around with a vegan goulash recipe too, featuring green peppers, brown rice macaroni, tomatoes and…paprika. Recipe coming soon.

I’m grateful for curiosity today. Paprika is good for me, contributing to my overall health and wellbeing. As I empty the current spice jar of paprika, I’ll purchase a spicier version, after discovering that capsaicin ups the health benefits considerably. I found this two pack  of Hungarian Paprika, containing a sweet version and a spicy one. How perfect!

How will you get your paprika today? Do you have a favorite recipe that contains this important spice? I’d love to know about it!

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

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I just completed a nine day liver detox, following the guidelines in the Liver Rescue book by Anthony William. For the last six months, my mother and sister and I met once a week to discuss the book and share a plant based meal together.

The book club and the cleanse have been amazing and healing experiences. I appreciate the insights and wisdom that Anthony shares and the compassion he offers to those who are chronically ill or in pain.

Today I share a brief review of Liver Rescue and a general overview of the liver rescue cleanse, known as the 3:6:9. For information about the cleanse and the importance of caring for the liver, please visit the Medical Medium website. His book Liver Rescue is available HERE or pick up a copy from your local library.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Review

This in-depth book focuses on one organ in the body…the liver. We can feel other organs and systems in the body working. The heart pumps, the lungs draw in air and expel it, the stomach rumbles when it’s hungry. We are aware of our brains, our bones and our skin, and we use our senses to perceive the world around us.

What we are very unaware of is how hard the liver works to keep the body healthy and functioning as it should.

This hefty book astounded me. The liver processes fats, stores glucose, glycogen, vitamins and minerals, disarms and detains harmful substances and filters and screens the blood. All of these functions, and more, are designed to protect the body from toxic matter and protect the pancreas from excess fat.

If we all consumed wholesome foods the liver and its functions would never enter our thoughts. We’d enjoy health and vitality, as we are meant to do. However, we don’t eat wholesome foods. The typical American diet is high in fats, sugar and additives. The liver stores those excesses, to protect the body from the negative effects of a poor diet.

Additionally, the liver harbors residue from years of pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, plastics, gasoline, DDT, smoke, fumes, heavy metals…the list goes on and on. Viruses like to take up residence there too, to feed on all the toxins.

The liver stores all those substances for as long as it can. Like any storage container, eventually it runs out of space. As the liver struggles, it gets sluggish or fatty. And then we begin to get sick.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

My Thoughts on the Liver Rescue Book

By the time I reached the end of the book, where the cleanse is detailed, I felt wonder and appreciation for my hard working liver. I used to think that cirrhosis or a fatty liver or liver cancer signified an unhealthy liver. However so many of the ailments and symptoms we commonly have today are connected to the health of the liver.

Improving liver health is the key to healing many disorders including:

  • skin conditions, rashes, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
  • adrenal problems, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, gout and heart palpitations
  • hormonal problems, mood struggles, rapid aging, brain fog and weight gain
  • high blood pressure, dirty blood and high cholesterol
  • bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gut problems, food sensitivities and gallbladder infections

I’ve experienced some of these problems…and never connected them to my liver. And the liver/pancreas relationship interests me especially, as my father died of pancreatic cancer.

As I read the book, I not only developed respect for my liver and all that it does to keep me healthy, I felt compelled to ease its work load. I’ve been eating plant based for almost three years now. I’ve received much healing. It was time for me to focus on this little understood and under appreciated organ next.

The 3:6:9 liver rescue cleanse is purposefully placed at the end of the book. I felt ready to do the gentle cleanse, and give my liver a much needed healing break.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Mornings begin with hydration and easily assimilated nutrients.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

The Liver Rescue 3:6:9 Cleanse

Rather than giving a detailed description of the cleanse, I’ll share my experience of it. It’s important for everyone to read through the information in the rest of the book first, instead of jumping right into the cleanse.

The cleanse is divided into three sections.

Days 1 – 3

The first phase is gentle, prepping the liver to release the toxins it has stored. The focus is on hydration and fruits and vegetables. Fat intake is lowered and certain foods such as dairy and gluten avoided.

I found this phase to be very easy to comply with, as this is the way I eat anyway. Reducing fat intake meant I cut out avocadoes and my spoonful of organic peanut butter on gluten free crackers with afternoon tea. The only fat I consumed, during this phase, was a small amount of coconut oil on oven roasted potatoes.

I included two or three apples a day, for snacks. Apples are not my favorite fruit. However, I came to enjoy them very much during the cleanse.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Afternoon tea during the liver rescue cleanse. And a typical meal during phase one: oven roasted potatoes, sautéed veggies and spinach.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Days 4 – 6

The second phase is designed to allow the liver to begin cleansing itself. All fats are eliminated, giving the liver a break from processing and storing it. Raw and steamed vegetables are included that contain powerful liver purging compounds.

These three days revolve around very specific eating plans, designed to provide optimal nutrients that the body needs during a cleanse.

I did not experience any problems during this phase. The foods are wholesome and nutritious and I could eat as much of the specified foods as I desired. I confess I missed my potatoes a wee bit, however I could feel positive differences in my body already. Committed, I continued on.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue CleanseA meal during phase two: steamed Brussels sprouts and asparagus with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. A big liver rescue salad accompanied each lunch and dinner.

Days 7 – 9

The final phase enables the liver to purge itself of stored toxins. Days 7 and 8 are similar to the previous three, although potatoes make a welcome comeback on day 7 only. Day 9 is liquids in the form of juices and blended fruits.

I experienced low energy and a sense of unsettledness on day 7. As my liver purged, it seemed I could feel toxins being sent out for elimination. Suddenly all the liquids drank during the cleanse made sense!

By the next day I felt fine. My appetite steadily decreased throughout the cleanse and the specified foods during this final phase satisfied me completely. I didn’t mind the day of liquids at all. Fruit smoothies became my meals and between them I sipped on juice blends.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

After the Liver Rescue Cleanse

Today I did a mental and visual scan of my body. I felt cleaner and leaner and centered. I didn’t weigh before starting the cleanse. However I can tell I dropped weight, perhaps five or six pounds. I noted feelings of lightness and wholeness and wellbeing. My mind is clear and my energy level back up.

I continued the Liver Rescue Morning, with my lemon/lime water, celery juice and breakfast smoothie. That will always be a regular part of my day. I intend to continue other aspects of the cleanse as well, such as a second glass of lemon/lime water in the early evenings, and more apples for snacks.

I’d like to repeat days 4 – 9 once a month for several more months, to give my liver a chance to fully purge and heal. I’m in the process of eliminating chemicals and toxins from my life by switching to plant based cleaning products and toiletries. I can’t avoid every harmful substance out there, however I can be mindful and support my liver so that it can more easily do the many functions that it performs.

With my appetite low, I focused today on simple meals and plenty of fluids. And I prepared oven roasted potatoes, with a very small amount of coconut oil. They tasted marvelous.

My liver feels healthier and happier. And that makes me happy too.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

Check out my Amazon Storefront, for copies of all of Anthony’s books.

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Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

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In my former life, before adopting a plant based lifestyle, I often enjoyed California rolls dipped in soy sauce. Now, mindful of what I eat, it’s not difficult to create or find simple, nori wrapped veggie rolls. What about the soy sauce though?

Typical soy sauce is made from soybeans. And that can pose a health problem, since most soybeans today are genetically modified. GMO products may increase inflammation in the body and present other health risks. There are debates about the effects of GMOs on health and opinions on both sides. For optimal health, I tossed my bottle of soy sauce.

However, I’m grateful for Bragg Liquid Aminos, a delicious product made from verified non GMO soybeans. Curious about the company and the origins of the sauce, I  hit Google. And by the way, this isn’t a sponsored post. I really appreciate this healthy alternative to soy sauce and want to share it.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

What is Bragg Liquid Aminos?

This liquid protein concentrate is derived from non GMO soybeans. It really does contain naturally-occurring essential and non essential amino acids, 16 of them to be exact.

Bragg does NOT contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial coloring, gluten or alcohol. It is not fermented. Simply made, Bragg Liquid Aminos’ ingredients are non GMO soybeans and distilled water. Like traditional soy sauce, liquid aminos taste salty, with the flavor derived from naturally occurring sodium in the beans. No salt is added.

For those wishing to eliminate soybeans entirely from their diets, Bragg also produces an Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Who are the Braggs?

When I took the photo above, of my bottle of liquid aminos, I noticed for the first time the picture at the top and the names. Obviously, these are the Braggs who created this wonderful product. But who are Patricia and Paul C. Bragg? My curiosity led me to discover more about them.

Paul

Paul C. Bragg founded the company in 1912. As a teen, he suffered from tuberculosis. As a result, he developed his own eating, breathing and exercise programs, rebuilding his body and reclaiming his health and life.

Reading that, I felt impressed already.

Paul originated and opened the first health food store in the US and pioneered health programs on radio in the 1920s. He established the first health restaurants and spas and created many health related products including herbal teas, supplements, vitamin drinks and seven grain cereals and crackers. And…he created a healthier soy sauce. Throughout his long and healthy life he worked with celebrities, athletes and leaders, teaching others how to live in optimal health.

Patricia

Patricia, Paul’s daughter, took the company over from her father. And like her father, she is a health crusader and advocate.

Patricia conducts health and fitness seminars world wide. She’s authored 10 self health books and continues to teach and promote the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Uses for Bragg Liquid Aminos

Use liquid aminos in place of regular soy sauce.

  • Sprinkle over salads
  • Add a punch of flavor to potatoes, beans or rice
  • Season stir fries
  • Use as an accompaniment for veggie rolls
  • Combine with other ingredients to make a flavorful sauce or marinade

My favorite ways to use Bragg Liquid Aminos include stir fries and as a sauce to dip veggie rolls in.

Try this easy to make sauce to add to a vegetable stir fry:

Combine 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, 1 teaspoon raw organic honey and 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger in a small bowl. Drizzle over stir fry just before serving. Mmmm…perfection.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Order Bragg Liquid Aminos or Bragg Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos below or look for both in your local grocery store.

 

 

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6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

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Starting a new health practice can feel overwhelming. And the vast amount of information available confounds the best intentions.

I made a radical shift due to declining health and wellbeing. However, I understand that most people are not losing the ability to walk or living in chronic pain. Those conditions highly motivated me to discover a way to heal.

For those interested in taking smaller albeit intentional steps toward wellness and vitality, these six simple way to improve health offer easily implemented actions with big results.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Eat More Fruits & Veggies

One of the greatest positive impacts on health is including more fresh fruits and veggies in the diet and eating less animal products. Meat, and dairy products such as cheese, are high in fats and unwanted additives which contribute to inflammation and a host of ailments in the body. Eggs feed viruses such as strep and Epstein Barr.

If it feels difficult to give up animal products entirely, focus on having meatless meals a couple of times a week. Or try having only fruits before noon. A fruit smoothie for breakfast is perfect. Or perhaps commit to veggie bowls for lunch three days a week. Start where you are…and select two or three ways to include more whole plant based foods on a weekly basis.

Another tip is to plan meals around vegetables instead of considering them a side dish. As fresh produce becomes plentiful and cheap this summer, plan lunches and dinners around nature’s bounty. A plate heaped with freshly steamed veggies or hummus and raw veggies makes a great meatless meal.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthAloo Matar with peas, potatoes and tomatoes in a curry sauce makes a filling meatless meal.

Try Veggie Noodles Instead of Pasta

Spiralizing vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots is another great way to include more veggies in meals. The spiralizer quickly transforms vegetables into mounds of fresh noodles that replace traditional wheat pastas.

No need to cook the veggie noodles. They are tender and subtly flavored. Top with homemade marinara sauce, basil pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes or a spicy curry sauce.

These fresh and tasty meals are my favorite way to use vegetables right out of the garden. Pick up a spiralizer here.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Drink Water & Unsweetened Herbal Tea Instead of Sugary Drinks

Instead of reaching for a soda or a sweet tea, grab a water or herbal tea. Those sugar laden drinks add calories…more than you realize…and dehydrate the body at the same time.

Break the habit. Sugary drinks are addictive. Sugar is addictive. That’s why we crave it.

Flavor water with fruits, cucumbers or herbs and increase the health benefits. And herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love this hibiscus lemonade during the summer! Bonus tip: grow your own herbs in containers or in the garden.

Hydrate First Thing in the Morning

Connected to ditching the soda and sweet tea is the practice of hydrating first thing each morning. Drinking 16 ounces of lemon or lime water after awakening helps to flush toxins from the body, improves digestion and aids the liver.

I find it easiest to keep a prepared pitcher of lemon/lime water in the fridge.

For an amazing health boost, drink 16 ounces of freshly prepared celery juice about 20 to 30 minutes after the lemon or lime water. Celery juice is truly a miracle elixir, healing people around the world. Anthony William has a new book releasing, featuring celery juice. You can pre- order it HERE.

I use a centrifugal juicer like this one.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Keep Junk Food Out of the House

Having cookies, ice cream, donuts, chips and other high calorie, low nutritional value foods in the house greatly increases the likelihood of eating them. It also increases the likelihood of weight gain and the disorders that come with eating too much sugar and too many processed foods.

Instead, stock up on fresh fruits, nuts, avocadoes, hummus, veggies and nut butters that are sugar free.

There are many recipes available for healthy snacks, to consume as occasional treats. Try vegan oatmeal cookies or wild blueberry banana bread, made with gluten free flour.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthLemon balm tea and wild blueberry banana bread.

Walk in Nature

Walking is one of the best, and easiest, activities to improve health, tone the body and maintain weight. Get outdoors to help the body destress and to benefit from fresh air and a mood boost.

Instead of walking on a treadmill daily or doing loops around a gym, head to a park, a wooded trail or simply stroll through your neighborhood.

Walking in nature is a meditative experience that grounds and centers the body and allows the mind to quiet.

Improve Health

These simple ways to improve health bring their own rewards.

Try one or two actions daily or create your own unique plan for implementing all of them.

And perhaps the sense of euphoric joy and wellbeing that comes from improved health will guide you toward the next step in creating a healthy lifestyle that supports and nourishes you.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Check out my Amazon Storefront for herbal teas, health books and kitchen appliances and tools that can assist your healing journey.

 

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Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

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As one who lives a plant based lifestyle, I’m frequently asked this question:

“But…what about protein?”

Ahhh, protein. It is essential to our diet, along with fats and carbohydrates. Proteins are made of amino acids that the body breaks down to use for growth, metabolism and repairs.

How much protein do we really need though? The recommended average is 42 grams per day. However, on a typical American diet high in meat, eggs and cheese, the average person eats upwards of 80 grams of protein a day…way more than needed.

In addition, animal products are high in fats and cholesterol and contribute to some types of cancer and other diseases.

While important, we don’t need as much protein as we think we do. And it turns out, it’s not difficult to get the protein we need from plant based sources.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

Top Sources of Protein for Plant Based Diet

Here’s a list of foods that are naturally high in protein and other good for the body nutrients. Adding these foods to the diet on a daily basis supplies all the protein that the body needs for health and wellness.

Green Peas

One cup of green peas contains 8.6 grams of protein, along with fiber, antioxidants and crucial nutrients such as vitamins C and K, and manganese. Try adding peas to soups, salads, hummus and stir fries or simply pair with a plain baked potato.

My favorite green peas recipe is Aloo Matar.

Lentils

With 18 grams per cup, these little powerhouses are packed with protein and also with fiber, iron, zinc and potassium. Lentils have less than a gram of fat and no cholesterol, making them a healthier source of protein than chicken, beef and fish. Add them to soups, curries and casseroles.

I love this curry dish…Madras Curried Lentils.

Quinoa

Quinoa, which is actually a seed, provides 8 grams of protein per cup and all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs. Substitute quinoa in recipes that call for rice or other grains or add to salads, stir fries and veggie bowls. I recently found a chili recipe with quinoa in it, that I’m excited to try.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians Quinoa

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds, which come from a variety of the cannabis plant, are excellent sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Their protein…3 tablespoons equals 10 grams…is considered perfect, as it provide all 20 amino acids and also the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce.

Sprinkle hemp seeds, which cannot make you feel high, over salads, gluten free pasta bowls, veggies or smoothie bowls. My favorite way to incorporate the goodness of hemp seeds is to include a couple of teaspoons in my morning smoothie.

Chia Seeds

These health boosting seeds provide 4.7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. They are also rich in antioxidants, omega-3, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Add to smoothies and salads or make chia pudding. Replace an egg in a recipe by combining 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water and allow to set for 15 minutes.

Legumes

Beans are an amazing source of protein. Two cups of kidney beans contains a whopping 26 grams of protein. Chickpeas offer even more, with 29.2 grams in two cups. Beans are easily prepared at home, on the stove or in a crockpot or pressure pot.

Add to rice dishes, make chilis, or try out my new Stuffed Peppers recipe, with black beans.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians Legumes

Gluten Free Oats

Oats “stick to the ribs”, meaning they keep us full for a while. And it’s true. Oats provide 12 grams of protein per cup and offer 8 grams of fiber. Look for gluten free oats, to receive the most health benefits. Oats are naturally gluten free however they are often processed in facilities that also process wheat. Pick up a package of gluten free oats HERE.

Try these wonderful Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Spinach

Dark green leafy vegetables contain protein, with spinach coming in at 2.1 grams per 2 cups. Spinach is also rich in vitamins and iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. For the most nutrients, consume spinach raw. Add to smoothies, juices and salads.

And try out this delicious raw spinach soup, from Anthony William.

Broccoli

This green cruciferous vegetable packs 8.1 grams of protein in one cup. It’s also a great source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Broccoli is excellent in stir fries, veggie bowls and casseroles.

Try out this healthy macaroni and broccoli bake.

Other veggies that provide 4 – 8 grams of protein per cup include asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

And while fruits are not as high in protein, they do provide some. On the list, offering 2 – 4 grams per cup, are guava, blackberries, nectarines and bananas.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

Other Healthy Sources of Protein

This list shows how easy it is to get enough protein by eating wholesome, healthy foods. I purposefully left soy products off the list, as much of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified. Like corn, GMO soy can cause inflammation in the body. Non GMO soy is a good source of protein. It is just more difficult to find.

Other excellent sources of protein include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts and nut butters. Nuts should be consumed occasionally, as they are higher in fats and calories. In nut butters, look for products that contain the nut only and sea salt. Avoid products with hyrdrogenated oils and sugar.

How do I get my protein? This is how. And I’ve never felt better.

What’s your favorite high protein food on the list?

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

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8 Pain Relieving Techniques

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Last week, I shared a post offering healthy alternatives for pain relief, rather than reaching for over the counter meds. Read 7 Natural Pain Remedies.

This week I offer, as promised, techniques for calming inflammation and soothing discomfort, with these 8 Pain Relieving Techniques. The remedies rely on alternative health practices that not only reduce pain, but boost general health as well.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine, used for centuries for health benefits. Long thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points balance the life force, or Qi, that flows through the body.

Acupuncture reduces back pain, relieves neck tension and headaches, and soothes joint pain.

I’ve not experienced acupuncture personally, however I know many who have. They shared positive benefits, after their treatments, including pain relief.

In the Joplin area, check out Aiming’s Acupuncture & Herbs.

Massage

At one time considered a luxury experience, massage is now recognized as beneficial for a variety of health reasons. Pain and muscle tension bring many people to a qualified massage therapist, seeking relief.

Massage eases the pain of headaches, fibromyalgia, myofascial discomfort and muscle tension. It is also effective for soft tissue strains and injuries, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint pain and nerve pain. Massage lowers anxiety and stress as well.

Typically a massage lasts for 30 – 90 minutes.

In the Joplin area, check out my amazing friends Margit at Massage Therapy in Motion and Cindy at Therapeutic Massage.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Reflexology

This ancient healing practice is based on the principle that the feet contain reflex points that correspond to the body’s systems, organs and glands. When pressure is applied to the reflexes in the feet it relieves pain and other disorders in the affected area in the body.

Reflexology relieves pain throughout the body, and is especially beneficial for migraines, headaches, neck pain and back pain.

In the Joplin area, try out JJ Relax Station, Chinese Foot Reflexology & Table Acupressure. Or check out this Reflexology Chart and find a partner to exchange foot rubs with!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are gaining popularity for improving health and wellbeing, and for good reason. There’s an oil for everything!

Try these essential oils for pain relief of these disorders:

  • Lavender – headaches, muscle tension, inflammation
  • Marjoram – muscle spasms, headaches, toothache
  • Peppermint – muscle spasms, headaches, muscle tension
  • Rosemary – joint pain, headaches, muscle soreness, rheumatism
  • Arnica – inflammation, swelling

As a general rule, dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or argon oils. Add 15 drops of essential oil to 6 tablespoons of the carrier oil. Massage onto temples for a headache or the affected area for pain relief.

Connect with my friend Marijo for pure, high quality Young Living Essential Oils.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Ice/Heat

This is an old technique, however it is an effective one. I felt it must be included in the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques as I use it any time my darling left knee gets a twinge.

Icing and applying heat soothes stiff joints, relaxes muscles, eases pain and reduces inflammation and swelling.

Specifically, ice calms injuries and relieves pain, inflammation and swelling. Heat relaxes muscles, increases blood flow, and soothes pain and stiffness.

Use an ice pack or simply a bag of frozen veggies for icing. For heat use a heating pad or a damp towel heated in the microwave or oven. Wrap a dry towel around the ice source and the heating pad or damp towel, to protect skin.

Follow this routine:

  • Ice joint or affected area for 10 minutes
  • Apply heat for 15 – 30 minutes
  • 30 minute break with no ice or heat
  • Repeat process 3 times
  • Take a 2 hour break

Meditation

This mind and the body quieting technique eases stress and relaxes muscles, reducing pain caused by tension. Meditation is especially helpful for easing tense muscles in the back, neck, shoulders, scalp and face.

Reducing the inflammation response in the body is another benefit of meditation, which improves pain and calms swelling as well.

Check out my simple meditation to ease pain, relax muscles and improve overall health and wellbeing.

8 Pain Relieveing Techniques

Reiki

This healing technique taps into the body’s energy field, working at a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Reiki practitioners typically place their hands on or above the affected areas of the body that need a boost or relief from pain, offering energy to the body as needed.

Reiki encourages the body to heal itself, with practitioners serving as vessels through which the energy flows.

 Change in Diet

It is essential that I include this last suggestion. I suffered with chronic pain for more than 20 years, after a car accident. During those two decades I saw doctors, specialists, neurologists, chiropractors and pain management doctors, and I spent five years in physical therapy. I tried meds, injections and exercises, and I wore a TENS unit for a year. My condition continued to deteriorate, making walking nearly impossible. Not once did anyone suggest that I change my diet.

Margit helped, with massage and energy work on my left leg. I ultimately discovered, through Anthony William, that my sciatic nerves were severely inflamed due to the shingles virus. A virus can’t be eliminated with antibiotics, steroid injections or pain meds.

It can be starved by eliminating the foods that it feeds on and by supporting the body’s healing abilities with nutrient rich, plant based foods.

To heal chronic pain (and disorders) caused by shingles or Epstein Barr eliminate gluten, dairy products, eggs and sugar, as these foods feed inflammation and viruses.

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat, processed foods, canola oil and GMO foods such as corn and soy.

This blog, Journey With Healthy Me, was born from my desire to help people live healthier, more vibrant lives, free from pain and disorders. Read about the beginning of this Journey here.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Healing Journey

It’s amazing what that change of diet, which quickly became a lifestyle, did for my health. My chronic pain disappeared. So many other disorders cleared up. It’s an ongoing journey.

When I occasionally experience pain, from a twisted knee or tight muscles or a headache from long hours on the computer, I brew a cup of herbal tea…and try one of the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques.

Do you have natural pain relieving techniques that you use, in place of over the counter meds, pain pills or injections? I’d love to hear about them, in the comments below.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Check out my Amazon Storefront for healing herbal teas and Anthony William’s books.

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CBD Infused Water

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

CBD Living sent me this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

When CBD Living contacted me about trying their CBD Living Water, I immediately answered yes. Healers have used cannabis for centuries because of its health benefits. The medical community is coming to realize that because CBD (cannabidiol) and other compounds in cannabis are similar to the chemicals created in our own bodies, they are integrated better than many synthetic drugs.

Missouri recently joined 29 other states, legalizing medical marijuana. Almost overnight, it seems, CBD stores popped up around Joplin, selling oil and other products. And sales are strong for good reason. CBD oils, tinctures and products are hot items that are helping many people feel better.

CBD infused water intrigued me. I agreed to try it and report my honest experience.

CBD Infused Water

What are the health benefits of CDB?

Before trying the water, I researched the health benefits of CBD.

CBD is not the same as THC, the psychoactive compound known for producing mind altering effects. You don’t get high from CBD. Instead, this component of cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant and antioxidant.

Health benefits of CBD include:

  • Reduces anxiety and may be effective for people with social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Helps to fight cancer by inhibiting cancer cell migration and invasion.
  • Treats neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Early studies show that CBD may be promising for treating resistant seizures. Other benefits include increased alertness, better mood and improved sleep.
  • Promotes cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of diabetes.
    Relieves pain and inflammation, which is the most common reason for CBD use. It is proving especially helpful for chronic pain and inflammation.

CBD Infused Water

CBD Living Company

With those facts about CBD out of the way, allow me to introduce you to the company and their CBD infused water.

CBD Living was established in 2013 and they are headquartered in Corona, California. Their hemp is organically grown in Colorado, at a state licensed farm.

CBD Living offers an array of products including CBD infused water, capsules, gummies, patches, soaps, bath bombs and more. The secret to their superior products, according to their website, lies in the use of nanotechnology that reduces CBD into nano-sized droplets, without the use of emulsifiers. This process allows CBD to absorb into the body more efficiently.

The proprietary technology increases the CBD bioavailability up to 90 percent, delivering CBD directly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are located primarily in the brain, while CB2 receptors are predominately located in the immune system.

CBD Living pays above market rates to their extractors and manufacturers. Their products are all fair trade and never tested on animals.
For more info, visit their website at www.cbdliving.com.

CBD Infused Water

CBD Infused Water

I received six bottles of CBD Living’s CBD infused water to try. Each 500 ml bottle of water contains 10 million nanograms of highly absorbable and bioavailable CBD.

CBD Living Water is made with 100% organic, natural hemp CBD extracts using nanotechnology to infuse the extracts in 9+pH alkaline water. Vitamins, minerals and nutrients are infused as well. The bottles are BPA and BPS free.

Each bottle contains two servings, taking the guesswork out of dosage. Bottled water means convenience and portability. Grab a bottle and go…to the gym, on a walk, or to tackle the errands on the to do list…and stay hydrated while experiencing the benefits of CBD.

CBD Infused Water

My Experience with CBD Infused Water

I’m drinking half a bottle of CBD Living Water a day. And this is what I notice.

I immediately feel more relaxed, without being drowsy. It’s a mellow feeling. Or what I call an overall sense of blissful wellbeing. I sleep well at night. And I love that the water is alkaline and infused with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It feels healthy for me on multiple levels.

The biggest impact I’ve noted is pain relief in my neck. After a horrific car accident in 1995, I suffered with years of chronic neck pain. The twisted, messed up vertebrae freak out doctors and chiropractors when they look at my x-rays.
Switching to a plant based diet helped tremendously, eliminating the nagging chronic pain. Lately however, long hours spent on my computer during the day aggravates my neck, resulting in moderate pain and stiffness by bedtime.

I drank my first half bottle of CBD Living Water at the end of a long day working online. (The taste is great, like good quality water.) Within 15 minutes, I realized I had no pain in my neck. None. The discomfort completely disappeared. Ten days later, sipping on half a bottle of water a day, I am still pain free. I seem to have greater range of motion in my neck as well, without the cracking and popping that normally accompanies turning my head.

That’s exciting to me. That’s encouraging to me. And sipping on water is such a simple and easy way to ease pain and improve health and wellbeing. Thank you CBD Living, for letting me try your product!

CBD Infused Water

Purchasing CBD Living Water

Click this link to order CBD Living Water, available through the company’s website. Then check out the many other products, from CBD dark chocolate to pet products to cough syrups.

Sign up on the website to receive their newsletter and enter for a chance to win a care package. You’ll also get a 10% off code for signing up.

CBD Living Company
Worldwide Shipping 100% Natural 0% THC

 

 

 

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Smudging Sage for Health

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Smudging is a Native American custom, used for centuries in spiritual practices and purification rituals. I’ve used a smudge stick, or sage stick, for years to clear negative energy from spaces and objects. Recently I discovered that smudging provides health benefits as well.

Sage, an aromatic herb, is typically used for smudging, although cedar and sweetgrass may be substituted. The Latin word for sage, salvia, means “to heal”. Discover the ways that smudging can improve health and create space in your life and home for positive energy to flow.

Smudging Sage for Health

What is Smudging?

Smudging is the process of burning dried herbs, usually white sage, and using the smoke to cleanse the body, a space or an object. Three common types of sage create a smudge or sage stick: white sage, white prairie sage and garden sage. Most smudge sticks available for purchase are made from white sage or a blend of the three.

Sage is a great anti-fungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial herb. Consuming sage heals fungal infections such as athlete’s foot from within the body. It also clears fungus, mold and heavy metals from the intestinal tract.

Plus, sage offers healing properties when burned.

Purifies the Air

A study from 2007 found that burning sage for an hour decreased airborne bacteria by 94%. And the cleansing effect lasted for more than 24 hours. The smoke also repels insects.

Neutralizes Positive Ions

Burning sage releases negative ions capable of neutralizing positive ions that fill a space due to allergens and heavy emotions. Common allergens include pet dander, pollution, dust and mold. A build up of positive ions, not to be mistaken for positive high level energy, also occurs due to anger, stress and tension.

As the sage smoke changes the ions from positive to negative, a sense of clearing fills the room, along with a lightening of mood.

Dispels Negative Energy

Past traumas, bad experiences, abuse, great sorrow and strongly spoken words can linger in a space, creating a heavy negative atmosphere. The accumulation of positive ions can almost be felt. Think of the expression, “The tension was so thick in the room you could cut it with a knife.”

Smudging clears the air, literally. And into that cleared space, fresh higher level energy can flow.

Smudging Sage for Health

Cleanses Items

Items can accumulate negative energy too, just as rooms and houses can. Bathing a vintage piece or a yard sale find in sage smoke neutralizes the energy surrounding them. I am sensitive enough that I can pick up a candlestick at a flea market and tell immediately if there is negative energy clinging to it. I can feel sadness or anger or despair. If the energy is too strong, I won’t buy the item. I don’t want to bring that low level energy into my home.

However, a cocoon of mild negative energy can be dispelled with smudging. I’ll smudge as soon as I get the item home, and then smudge the house, for good measure.

Improves Mood and Soothes Stress

According to a 2014 study, sage is rich in compounds that stimulate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors elevate mood levels, reducing stress and anxiety, and easing depression.

These compounds also help with insomnia. Improved sleep results in increased energy and greater alertness. The compounds also improve brain function and cognitive abilities. Additionally, smudging heightens intuition and raises awareness.

Materials Needed for Smudging

The list is short and simple:

Smudging Sage

To smudge using a stick:

  • Light smudge stick and allow it to smolder. If the stick flames up allow it to die down before using. The stick should have embers and smoke, rather than burn with flames.
  • To smudge yourself, carefully waft the smoke around the body, using your other hand or a feather. Start at the feet and work up to the head and then move back down the body again. You are cleansing the energy around your body.
  • To smudge a space or a room, start in one corner and move slowly around the room, wafting smoke into all corners and closets. Make sure you move smoke over doorways and windows and over furniture in the room. Carry a fire and heat proof bowl or seashell with you, to collect ash.
  • To smudge an item, move smoke over and around the item. Start at the base and move to the top and then back down again.
  • When finished, allow stick to burn out naturally or hold smoldering end under running water, making sure all the embers are out. Allow sage stick to dry thoroughly before storing.

To smudge a room with dried sage leaves:

  • Light a small circle of charcoal, in a fire and heat proof bowl, and allow it to turn ashen.
  • Crumble dried leaves into bowl. Smoke will rise as the leaves smolder.
  • Add more leaves, as needed, allowing sage to smoke for an hour or more.
  • When finished, allow charcoal to turn to ash and cool completely.
  • Do not leave smoking sage unattended.

Smudging Sage for Health

When to Smudge

These are ideal times to smudge with sage:

  • When moving into a new living space
  • Before and after having guests in the home
  • During and after an illness
  • After an argument
  • When a house feels heavy or full of negative energy
  • When unusual things are happening in the home or it appears to be “haunted”
  • After leaving a negative situation…a bad job, an abusive or emotionally draining  relationship or an angry person
  • Before an extended time of prayer and meditation

I smudge at the beginning of a new year, change of seasons, after any negative experience and when I’m staying in an unfamiliar space. I can’t always carry a smudge stick or dried sage. Flying, for example, is not a good time to pack sage in my suitcase. However, when I stay in a vacation cottage or an Airbnb the first thing I do is smudge the entire space. I don’t know who has been there before me. And I don’t know what their state of mind was or what emotions they carried. Clearing the space means I will sleep better and have greater peace of mind.

Beyond being a spiritual practice, smudging sage clears the air, on so many levels. It contributes to health and wellbeing while raising awareness and increasing intuitive abilities.

Feeling out of sorts at home or fighting allergens? Unsure about the history of an antique you just purchased? Grab a smudge stick!

Smudging Sage for Health

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Is Milk Making You Feel Bad?

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The average American consumes a whopping 600 pounds of dairy products a year. And no wonder. Generations of children grow up, encouraged to drink their milk. We are taught that milk is good for us.

But…is it? Does milk do a body good?

There are signs and symptoms that indicate whether a dairy, or lactose, intolerance exists. Additionally, there is more to be aware of, whether there is an intolerance or not.

Check out these reasons why cow’s milk can be a health concern.

Is Milk Making You Feel Bad?

Milk Lactose

Lactose is a type of sugar found in the milk of most mammals. The enzyme lactase functions by breaking down lactose. Children usually fare well with milk, although dairy sensitivities seem to be occurring at earlier ages.

However, by adulthood 70% of the population no longer produces enough lactase to properly digest the lactose in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance begin to appear, ranging from mild to severe.

Is Milk Making You Feel Bad?

Common Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Digestive Disorders – Digestive distress is the most common sign that the body is not tolerating milk. Symptoms include stomach pain and bloating, diarrhea, increased gas, indigestion and, more rarely, constipation.

Digestive problems, due to lactose intolerance, are often material for jokes. (Think of the character Leonard, on Big Bang Theory!) However, the discomfort is no laughing matter.

Abdominal pain and bloating occur when the lactose, that cannot be broken down by lactase, ferments in the gut. As it ferments, the lactose produces fatty acids and gases, creating a host of problems. Those fatty acids increase the amount of water in the gut, which can cause diarrhea.

Other Symptoms – While digestive disorders are the most well known signs of lactose intolerance, dairy can contribute to other health issues as well. These include headaches, fatigue, loss of concentration, muscle and joint pain, mouth ulcers, eczema and an increase in mucus production and/or a thickening of mucus, causing congestion.

How do you know if milk is making you feel bad?

Typically milk related symptoms begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after drinking or eating food with dairy in it. As with testing for gluten intolerance, it helps to keep a daily food diary and note when symptoms occur, to see if there is a connection.

Try removing all dairy products from the diet for at least 10 days, and see if health improves while symptoms abate. It can take 10 to 21 days to eliminate cow milk protein from the body and experience changes. Give it some time.

Is Milk Making You Feel Bad?

Other Dairy Concerns

The symptoms of lactose intolerance are unpleasant. However, there are greater concerns connected with consuming dairy products.

Cow’s milk contains the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are necessary to keep the cows lactating. These increase the risk of hormone dependent diseases such as ovarian, uterine, breast, testicular and prostate cancers. Casein, the main protein in milk, actually facilitates the growth of cancer.

In addition to hormones, milk contains pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, pesticides and antibiotics. The high level of antibiotics in cows contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans. Because cows are fed GMO corn and soy, and gluten, those health busters are passed on to people, in the milk. These in turn create heightened allergic responses to allergens.

The fat in milk is hard on the liver, bogging down its functioning, while putting stress on the pancreas. Those who consume dairy products are more likely to develop Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. That dairy fat feeds inflammation throughout the body, and it is a favorite food source for viruses and bacteria living there. When trying to heal from any major illness or chronic disease, eliminating dairy helps the body to recover.

Cow’s Milk is for Cow Babies

All female mammals, including humans, produce milk for their babies. Each mammal produces a specific milk that is perfectly created for their offspring. It is designed to help the babies grow. Human milk is for human babies. And cow’s milk is for calves, which grow at a more rapid rate than humans.

No other species continues to consume milk past the weaning period, and certainly not from other species, except for humans. It is something to think about, in the quest for better health and well being.

Fortunately, for those who love their dairy products, there are healthy, plant based alternatives.

Watch for my blog post next week, comparing plant based milks that available.

Is Milk Making You Feel Bad?

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Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

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This time of year, with cold temperatures outdoors and hot dry air circulating indoors, many experience dry winter skin. For many years I slathered on additional moisturizing lotions during the winter months, and applied tons of lip balm. And yet I still struggled with skin that was so dry, it itched and burned. The corners of my lips would crack and get painful as well.

Since adopting a plant based lifestyle I learned an important truth about dry winter skin. Healing my skin begins on the inside. All that fancy, expensive lotion did little good in my battle against dryness.

A radical approach, to me at the time, included less moisturizers and more fruits, veggies, water and herbs to combat a yearly reoccuring condition. Check out my lists of healing foods to combat and heal dry winter skin, naturally.

Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

Healing Hydration

  • Water – We all know how important drinking an adequate amount of water is, for health in general and for the skin. Eight glasses of water is a good guide, just don’t guzzle it down. The body quickly eliminates excess water. Instead, sip on water throughout the day, allowing it to be absorbed more slowly. Fill a large water bottle, keep it nearby, and have a goal of emptying it by day’s end. Hydrating the body goes a long way in keeping the skin hydrated and supple, which helps to combat dryness and aging.
  • Herbal Teas – These healing drinks count as water as well. See the list below for the best herbs to help ease dry skin. Two drinks to avoid, if dry skin is an issue, are coffee and alcohol. Both dehydrate the body, and the skin, contributing to aging the skin’s appearance.
  • High Water Content Foods – Fruits such as watermelon and veggies such as cucumber have a hydrating effect on the body and therefore the skin. Check out the list of healing foods below. A very common food to avoid, to keep the skin supple, is processed sugar. It negatively affects proteins in the skin, aging it as well.

Heal Dry Winter SkinWater with cucumber makes a very hydrating drink.

Healing Foods

  • Celery – With its incredibly high water content, and vitamins A, C and K, celery, and specifically, celery juice, is so healing and nurturing to the skin. This green elixir is actually healing to the whole body. Don’t overlook what it does to keep the skin clear and vibrant. Drink celery juice every day, and watch what happens.
  • Watermelon – All melons have high levels of water that hydrate the body. They also reduce puffiness around the eyes.
  • Root Vegetables – These veggies, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are high in vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy skin. Plus they regulate oil production and prevent early aging.
  • Avocado – This superfood is rich with vitamins A, D and E, and good fats that give skin a healthy glow. Used as a mask on the face, avocado penetrates skins cells, helping to renew them.
  • Almonds – This nut contains vitamin E and has powerful antioxidant, anti-aging and even anti-cancer properties that support skin health.
  • Red and Yellow Bell Peppers – These veggies, high in vitamin C, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Berries – All berries are antioxidant, helping to nourish the skin while preventing signs of premature aging. They counter free radicals, which damage skin cells.
  • Cucumbers – This veggie has a very high water content, hydrating the skin and improving elasticity. Add sliced cucumber to water and sip on it throughout the day.
  • Walnuts, Hemp Seeds & Flaxseed – These are valuable as they provide plant based Omega 3s, which are vital to healthy skin.

Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

Healing Herbs

  • Dandelion – This plant is edible, from roots to bright yellow flowers. Dandelion is especially important as it detoxes the liver, and the health of the liver greatly affects the health of skin. When the liver is sluggish, toxins can show up as dry, dull or itchy patches on the surface of the skin. Use dandelion essential oil or brew tea from the leaves. The roots, which are more bitter, make a great substitute for coffee.
  • Burdock – This herb balances the liver and helps to move lymph fluid throughout the lymphatic system, which results in clearer, healthier skin. Drink as a tea or take as a capsule supplement.
  • Calendula – One of my favorite herbs to grow, this plant has bright yellow blooms that fight inflammation in the skin and promote skin cell repair. Use as an essential oil or drink as a tea.
  • Comfrey – A common herb, comfrey contain allantoin, which heals and repairs dry, damaged skin. Use as an essential oil or in tea form.
  • Lavender – Well known for its healing properties, lavender is soothing to the skin and helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Use in tea form or as an essential oil, adding it to skin serums and lotions.
  • Rose – This traditional flower has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiaging properties. It nourishes as it hydrates. Rose water is a gentle alternative to washing the face with soaps.

Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

Additional Tips to Combat Dry Winter Skin

  • Use a Cold Water Humidifier – The heated air in homes, during the winter, is very drying, and damaging to skin. Use a cold water humidifier while sleeping, adding a few drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Avoid Hot Water – Don’t wash the face with hot water. Instead, use warm water. And don’t wash the face in the mornings. Doing so strips the skin of natural oils that the body creates overnight. We think of this oil as a nuisance, however it is the best personalized moisturizer for our skin, as we created it. Smooth the natural oil over the face and neck. If you are prone to breakouts, or the thought of not cleansing your face in the morning bothers you, try using a gentle cleanser such as rose water. A microfiber cloth and water gently cleans the face, without using soap.

Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

My Results

I stopped using expensive lotions and moisturizers last winter, with a bit of trepidation I admit. Also, I switched to plant based shower soaps, shampoo and conditioner, and chemical free laundry products.

In the evenings before bed I use a Norwex microfiber cloth and warm water to cleanse my face, and apply a homemade skin serum that contains lavender, frankincense and calendula essential oils. Recipe HERE. I use BOOM makeup, with is made with simple, all natural ingredients. Review HERE.

The skin on my arms and legs used to get so dry during the winter months that I’d scratch them until I created painful welts. However, this is the second winter that I haven’t used any lotions on my body.

As a result of staying hydrated, eating foods with high water content and using healing herbs, I don’t need the lotions. My skin is healthy, supple and not a bit dry. For the first time in my adult life, I have not had dry cracks in the corners of my mouth, or chapped lips during the cold winter months.

My skin glows, with a health that begins with a nourished, healthy body. And that feels very good to me.

Heal Dry Winter Skin Naturally

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.