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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MEADOW MUFFIN MOMENTS, WEEK EIGHT February 19 - February 25

Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much


February 19

"We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I'm not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for all that."
Toni Morrison

Whether a woman works outside the home or is an at-home-mom, we all tend to be busy 24/7 and become very proficient jugglers. We pride ourselves on calling it multitasking, but if we are trying to get a hundred things done at once and nothing really gets finished or done correctly, than that is a sign to start crossing some things off the list BEFORE we begin. Besides, creative projects should be fun, not just something else to say we accomplished.

February 20

"Make it a rule of life never to regret and never look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it is good only for wallowing in."
Katherine Mansfield

Everyone makes mistakes, that is the only way to really learn and become good at something. Looking back and taking what we've gained from those experiences to move on is one thing, but to look back and torture ourselves for past decisions or outcomes, is only going to drain our energy reserves for the present. To become aware of any harm done to ourselves or loved ones as a result of how we've lived out lives should tell us there is still time to make amends. Too many people wallow in the past and their last days of life are spent wasting precious time.

February 21

"When women take on a career, they don't discard their female values, but add them onto the traditional male values of work achievement and career success. As they struggle to fill the demands of both roles, women can't understand why men don't share this dual value system."
Susan Sturdinent and Gail Donoff

The same skills that work in the running of a home and personal lives are not the same skills that work in business. Women who expect things to operate on the same value system in both worlds are in for a rude awakening when they enter the workforce. Women cannot let pressure to conform effect who they really are, they just have to know what works where. Trusting ourselves can be a great contribution to our work.

February 22

"Thrice welcome, friendly Solitude, O let no busy foot intrude, Nor listening ear be nigh!"
from Ode to Solitude by Hester Chapone

Don't let anyone belittle your right to a slice of time for yourself and the importance of solitude. Everyone needs to periodically be left alone, there is nothing selfish in demanding a piece of the day for your own needs, to just "be". It is easy to go go go, but we also have to remember that we are setting an example to our children. We have to give the message that it is important to take care of ourselves as part of self-value with good mental and physical health.

February 23

"Lying is done with words and also with silence."
Adrienne Rich

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Addictive behavior puts us out of touch with ourselves, and when we are out of touch with who we really are, we cannot be fully honest with others either. We have to stop letting fear rule our lives. Fear of losing our jobs, spouse, and what we've accomplished. Allowing ourselves to be real isn't a bad thing!

February 24

"We're swallowed up only when we are willing for it to happen."
Nathalie Sarraute

Taking responsibility for our actions does not mean we are to obsess over the word blame. Accountability and blame are not the same thing. Blame puts one in the victim role and robs us of power. Accountability is when we realize that we have choices in life and some of those choices may have been mistakes. We need to realize that we shouldn't blame ourselves for our lives, but we should claim our lives and move on. Take the good, the so-so and the bad with it.

February 25

"Iron, left in the rain
And fog and dew,
With rust is covered. -Pain
Rusts into beauty too."
Mary Carolyn Davies

A life without pain is a life of nonliving. It takes pain for us to realize the full extent of being human. When we fight pain, we lose the possibility of experiencing the process of its rusting "into beauty too". Pain is our own. We may not have asked for it, but it is ours to handle, and in doing so, there is the possibility of a redirection in life.


To read the previous weeks' posts:
Week 1 January 1 - January 7
Week 2 January 8 - January 14
Week 3 January 15 - January 21
Week 4 January 22 - January 28
Week 5 January 29 - February 4
Week 6 February 5 - February 11
Week 7 February 12 - February 18




MEADOW MUFFIN MOMENTS, WEEK SEVEN February 12 - February 18

Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much

February 12

"What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want."
Mignon McLaughlin

What we do becomes who we are. Every step along the way in this road of life is a journey from which countless steps were taken, and those steps left behind footprints. Those footprints often came with consequences, some of which we may not have done again if given the choice. But what is done is done and hopefully we are wiser in the end. And then again, maybe we wouldn't change a thing.

February 13

"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."
Lillian Hellman

Moral slippage is when over time we begin to compromise our standards to get ahead. That may entail getting into the pattern of not being true to our own moral expectations. To wake up one day and not like who we have become doesn't fit the mold of "being all we can be". We have to value ourselves enough to realize that our personal morality is one of our most precious assets, and nothing is worth losing that.

February 14

"Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed and unaggressive."
Leslie M. McIntyre

Wow, what recipe for a guilt trip! Meeting the expectations of others can be enough to destroy a person. What could possibly be left to give to those who mean the most to us if all of our focus is spent trying to be what others think we should be. Just who are these "others" anyway? Society? Time to look at the forest for the trees.

February 15

"You can't start worrying about what's going to happen. You get spastic enough worrying about what's happening now."
Lauren Bacall

Too much on one's plate can eventually have us questioning our own sanity. Those around us seem to be alright, so what's our problem. When things build up to that point, it is time to start making time to sit down and talk to people. We soon learn that we aren't alone, we aren't losing it, we just need to prioritize before we really do break down.

February 16

"It's our illusions about our illusions that hang us up."
Anne Wilson Schaef

Addictions lead us into a life of illusions. We have an illusion of control, perfection and power. To live that way only results in our missing out on what a rich life really is; in reality.

February 17

"Living in process is being open to insight and encounter. Creativity is becoming intensively absorbed in the process and giving it form."
Susan Smith

Life should be a process, open to chance encounters and new ideas. To think things have to happen in a certain way for ensured success in meeting our goals puts our life experiences into a pigeon hole. Some of the best memories we have in life happened when things didn't exactly go as planned. We have to be open to cultivating our conscious creativity. Creativity makes for a very interesting person.

February 18

"We have come to a place where frantic and panic seem integral to being a woman, especially a professional woman."
Anne Wilson Schaef

Women who do too much tend to become nervous wrecks and frantic about just about everything. We are sure we forgot something, we are sure if we were just more organized things would go easier. Part of healing ourselves is to take the words panic and frantic and send them packing.



To read the previous weeks' posts:
Week 1 January 1 - January 7
Week 2 January 8 - January 14
Week 3 January 15 - January 21
Week 4 January 22 - January 28
Week 5 January 29 - February 4
Week 6 February 5 - February 11




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stop the Fight to Saying Goodnight, Stress, Diet & Adrenal Fatigue



Often we think that the reason we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is that we just have too much on our schedules and our thoughts just won't give us any peace. But there is a lot more to it than being "in our head". Continuous stress can wreak havoc on our not only our emotional state but our physical bodies as well.

When we are under stress our adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol. This corticosteroid increases blood sugar by stimulating the liver to make glucose. To control the amount of blood sugar, the pancreas then releases insulin. Insulin brings down the blood sugar levels. This is fine for "fight or flight" when short spurts of instant, quick energy are needed. But when the body is under constant stress, the adrenals become exhausted and cannot produce enough cortisol to keep up with the demand. This constant increase in blood sugar results in the increased demand for insulin. If the body cannot keep up, the blood sugar remains too high and the body is at risk for adrenal fatigue. According to the Mayo Clinic, adrenal fatigue is term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, anxiety, digestive issues and sleep problems. Natural healers often use a saliva cortisol test to evaluate adrenal function.

Too many of us automatically reach for the coffee pot or energy drinks in our efforts to perk up during those mid-day slumps. To stimulate already exhausted adrenals only makes things worse.

Poor diet choices are another reason for adrenal issues and sleep disturbances. Foods that are lacking in necessary B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and zinc result in the body making up for that by depleting its own stores to digest these "empty" foods. Reaching for simple carbohydrates for a snack is a bad habit that only backfires.
High sugar levels put added stress on the body by increasing cortisol levels. The increase in cortisol results in the release of insulin by the pancreas to get the sugar levels down. The constant fluctuation can interfere with the body's ability to handle sugar, and we end up feeling tired, depressed and trouble concentrating. If glucose is too low and not at optimal levels, the body will burn fat, the end result being acidic. There is a shift in potassium and sodium levels causing the pH to drop below 7.4.  The body should be slightly alkaline for optimal health.

When my children were small I loved the books by Dr. Lendon Smith. He was a pediatrician who believed that nutrition plays a major role in behavior. He strongly encouraged parents to observe more closely what their children were eating before being so quick to label them as a behavior problem. One food in particular that he wanted adults as well as children to have handy during the day was a baggie of whole, raw almonds.

Almonds are considered king of the nuts.  Containing protein, fiber, essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. While almonds do have fat in them, it is monosaturated fat, which is the good type of fat. They help you feel full, don't cause a large increase in blood glucose levels, which make for a perfect snack.
  

As far as helping with sleep, almonds contain a great source of tryptophan, which helps to relax and calm down. Snacking on some almonds instead of potato chips or cereal as a before bed snack can be a great help for people who have trouble sleeping.

Other foods to help with sleep are those rich in:

Calcium increases the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a neurohormone that is released at nightfall. It is an antioxidant hormone that calms down brain activity.
Foods include:
milk, yogurt, almonds, spinach, kale and figs

Magnesium
A raise in calcium levels should always include a raise in magnesium as well or kidney stones could form. Studies have shown that magnesium promotes the slow wave or deep sleep.
 Foods include:
leafy green vegetables
brown rice
unrefined wheat bran
almonds
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds

L-Tryptophan
Tryptophan, an amino acid, improves sleep by way of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known to improve mood, so can promote sleep by relieving depression. Melatonin is the hormone released from the pineal gland during the night and helps promote sleep.
Foods include:
dairy
soy
eggs
seafood
oats
lentils
beans
nuts

Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are nutrient-dense foods and include whole grains and vegetables.
These foods are low-glycemic, which means that they provide a stable glucose level and do not cause insomnia through glucose-fueled highs and sugar crashes.

Foods rich in B vitamins
B vitamins are the most important vitamins to sleep health. Some B vitamin deficiencies are known to cause insomnia.
Foods include:
liver, beef, poultry, seafood
leafy vegetables
legumes, nuts, whole grains, seeds

Massage, bath oils and linen sprays can also help with sleep and anxiety issues. 
Combine any of these with a hot cup of chamomile tea and a nice dollop of raw honey.


Ease the mind for rest Massage/Body Oil



Nerves, Tension Bath Oil




Sweet Dreams Air/Linen Spray
For more information on Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Dysfunction:
Founded by Dr. Poesnecker in 1968, The Clymer Center was one of a kind in that they specialized in Chronic Fatigue and Adrenal Dysfunction. Back before most doctors had even heard of these conditions, this center was helping people uncover the underlying cause of their symptoms. Rather than going through the whirlwind of various specialists for symptoms that include depression, anxiety, insomnia, skin flairs, exhaustion, menopausal issues, fertility problems, and autoimmune conditions, these professionals get to the bottom of where it all began. Rather than treat each symptom as its own condition, they help the patient get the immune and hormonal systems back into balance.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES USING COCONUT OIL



 Here is a perfect example of how to take a recipe and make it healthier. The original recipe for these Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies is delicious but it always bothered me to be serving my family solid vegetable shortening.

We know that shortening is a trans fat known as hydrogenated vegetable oil, and although we are aware how harmful it can be, we often use it for our baked goodies simply because that is what the recipe calls for.

Now that we know that coconut oil is, in fact, a healthy addition to our diets, using it as a butter or shortening substitute in our cooking and baking is wonderful. I used unrefined virgin coconut oil and didn't notice a disagreeable coconut taste to the cookies. It is there very subtly, but unless I confess that I made the switch I doubt anyone would even notice.


The butter or shortening ratio to coconut oil isn't exactly a 1:1 ratio. There is no water content in coconut oil, so being more dense use slightly less. This recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of shortening which is 12 oz. For greasy or sticky ingredients I like to use one of those push-up sleeve type measuring containers. I just shaved off 1 oz per cup so I added enough coconut oil to reach the 10.5 oz. mark.

Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid at room temperature but will melt at temperatures above 76 degrees F. You may need to soften it a bit before trying to blend with the other ingredients or you'll just be beating hard lumps. If you put the coconut oil in a metal or glass bowl and stick it in the preheating oven for a few minutes, it'll soften up quickly.

First I'll give the original recipe:

1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and peanut butter.
Add brown sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well.
In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt.
Add this dry mixture to the peanut butter mixture.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
You may find it easier to just use your hands to form the dough balls.
Flatten with a fork  (dip the fork in a bit of water so it doesn't stick to the batter).
Bake at 350 degrees 12 - 14 minutes depending how crisp you like your cookies
Let cool a bit on pan before removing or they'll fall apart.
Makes about 5 dozen

Here is the healthier version:

1 1/2 cup - 1 1/2 oz so use 10.5 oz unrefined coconut oil
1 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  (natural doesn't have added hydrogenated oils to keep it blended)
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs (free range is best)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats or rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Follow the same directions as above

ENJOY








Friday, February 20, 2015

Lemons, Radiant Skin, Improved Health

Lemons have so many health benefits that it is wonderful to hear of their use in ways other than as lemonade or added to a cup of tea. More often, restaurants are even offering a wedge of lemon for glasses of water.

The juice of a fresh squeezed lemon in water has many medicinal values. Stimulating to the liver, digestion and elimination are improved, which has a cleansing effect on the entire body. Drinking lemon water helps to remove metabolic and acidic wastes from the system. By decreasing underlying causes of inflammation, the body becomes more alkaline which is ideal to help with chronic conditions. For example, if uric acid is reduced, the pain of gout resulting from urate crystals irritating the joint lining can be relieved. It may be confusing to understand since lemons on their own are acidic. Lemons contain both citric acid and ascorbic acid, which once metabolize in the body, actually alkalize the blood. Disease, or dis-ease, occurs when the body pH is acidic for too long.

With so many people trying to lose weight, using lemon water as a digestive aid and liver cleanse can be a wonderful start to using lifestyle rather than fad diets to lose the weight and keep it off. By just tweaking our daily rituals and routines to better focus on aligning the body with nature's rhythm, we can achieve our goals without the usual yo-yo of dieting. One more perk is that lemons are high in pectin fiber which help fight hunger cravings. 

Reoccurring bladder infections can be remedied with lemons! By increasing the rate of urination, toxins are flushed out at a faster rate, which helps maintain a healthy urinary tract.

Proper hydration is so important for a healthy body. When your body is not getting enough fluids you'll feel the effects. Always feeling tired, sluggish, brain fog, constipation, trouble sleeping, and inability to handle stress could all be signs that your body needs more water. Daily lemon water helps the lymph system by replacing lost fluids  from normal body functioning.

Warm lemon water stimulates the bowels, which can be a godsend for people struggling with constipation. Heartburn, belching and feeling bloated can all be helped as the digestive system becomes regulated and a balance in digestive flora is achieved.

  Promote immunity and fight infection with such good things as bioflavonoids, magnesium, limonene, calcium, vitamin C, pectin and citric acid. Many people take vitamin C to help prevent a cold, and vitamin C also enhances iron absorption which is very important in immune function. Potassium stimulates brain and nerve function, as well as control blood pressure. Lemons reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body which is very necessary for people with respiratory or lung conditions.

 Ever wonder why citrus is considered such a "happy" aroma? It all has to do with atoms. The energy received by food in the body comes from atoms and molecules. When food enters the digestive tract, a reaction occurs when positive charged ions interact with negative charged enzymes. Lemons contain more negative charged ions, which provides the body with more energy. The scent of lemon energizes the mind, mood and body

Lemons are a great home remedy for beautiful skin from the inside out, as well as topically to treat blemishes. By adding lemon water to your daily routine you will be getting this important antioxidant so vital for a healthy and glowing complexion.

All the rage right now is the use of vitamin C serums in skin care to fight wrinkles. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to combat free radical damage which is the cause of aged skin. Vitamin C is great in treating and preventing acne, as it kills certain types of bacteria. Applied directly to age spots, vitamin C serums can help reduce hyperpigmentation. As a healing agent, it can even help with the appearance of scars.

Note to remember about ascorbic acid: If you plan on making your own vitamin C serum from purchased powdered ascorbic acid, remember that vitamin C oxidizes fairly quickly. Once ascorbic acid is added to water it is no longer stable. If the serum turns yellow, don't use it. You certainly don't want to be adding free radicals to your face. Make a fresh batch of homemade serum on a weekly basis and only make small amounts at a time.  Here is a recipe for a homemade serum:

 (1/4 tsp.  ascorbic acid powder, 4 tsp. distilled water,  3/4 tsp. glycerin)

 

According to Nancy Hearn, CNC from Water Benefits Health there is a method to how much lemon water to drink and how often.

"If you weigh less than 150 pounds and are in good health, squeeze half a fresh lemon (about one ounce) in 8 to 12 ounces of filtered water and drink it first thing in the morning for the best cleansing benefits. If this is too strong, dilute it to taste.
If you weigh over 150 pounds, you could drink the same amount of lemon water twice a day.  Or you could squeeze a whole lemon (two ounces) into 24 to 32 ounces of clean water and drink this throughout the morning.
Our bodies can only metabolize about 12 ounces of water at a time. Thus, if you are drinking more than 12 ounces of lemon water, you would want to spread it out over a period of a few hours. You will still get most of the enzymatic properties of the lemon water if it is stored in a sealed container, preferably glass or stainless steel, and kept cold.
If you drink more than the recommended amount above, it is best to add it gradually over time since the lemon juice will accelerate body detoxification.
Too much lemon water too quickly can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms such as headaches, bowel changes, or fatigue.
It is also best to drink lemon water about 30 minutes before a meal to help your body get the most energy and nutrients from the food you eat.

We do not recommend children under 12 years old drink lemon water on a daily basis. In most cases, healthy children simply do not need it.  However, if a child is having issues with constipation or has cold or flu symptoms, you could add fresh-squeezed lemon juice (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) to about 8 to 12 ounces of water, which the child could sip on throughout the day. Adding sugar would defeat the purpose, but a small amount of honey would be ok as needed for taste."


 Below are a few other ways to incorporate the wonder of lemons in your lives

Once you try homemade lemonade you will not want to go back to the artificially flavored powder mix found at the grocery store. The following is the original recipe but we stretch it by using  five lemons which make about one cup juice to 2 cups sugar and 4 quarts or one gallon water.
 

Enough lemons to made 1 cup juice (about five large)

1 cup sugar

2 quarts water


The amount of water or sugar can be adjusted to your liking


Did you know that the lemon peels contain 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the juice?

Below is a great tip to using the whole lemon without any waste.


Use organic lemons if possible to avoid ingesting pesticides which may be in the peel.

Place the lemons in the freezer. When you have a need for lemon, get your grater and shred the whole lemon, peel and all. Use these shreds to top your food or drinks. You'll discover a new taste for lemon, as well as increase the nutritional value of your food or drink. Are you aware that lemon peels help to eliminate toxic elements from the body in addition to the boost in Vitamin C?



  
Honey & Lemon Syrup/Tea
Lemon slices to fill a pint size mason jar
Grated 1 inch piece of ginger root
Enough honey to fill the jar
This is an Asian remedy to combat a cold, cough, or sore throat. High in vitamin C and an immune system booster. Honey is a natural preservative, therefore this mix can be kept in the refrigerator and used as needed. Add extra lemon slices and top with additional honey as needed. The lemons sort of dissolve into the honey to form a marmalade like mixture. Just add a dollop to a cup and add boiling water, stir to mix. Don't offer honey to children under one year of age.


This recipe is another form of a nourishing hot tea to use when ill
 Lemon n' Honey Grog
1 cup water
1 whole clove
pinch of cinnamon
juice of one lemon
honey to taste
Put the water, clove, and cinnamon in a pot.  Bring to a boil and keep boiling for one full minute.  Turn of the heat and allow to steep for twenty minutes.  Strain, reheat it, and add the juice of the lemon and honey to taste.  Drink while hot.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Aloe Vera for Health, Beauty, First-Aid

ALOE VERA

 Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) was originally from North Africa but can be found in many hot, dry regions of the world. It is a very frost sensitive plant, and with its shallow root system it is easy to over water. Aloe is a member of the lily family (includes onions and garlic), and is called a succulent due to its thick, gel filled tubular leaves.

Every home should have a potted Aloe vera plant, if only for its availability as a first aid treatment. The leaf contains enzymes, essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6, as well as minerals iron, manganese, calcium and zinc. The gel penetrates deeply and easily into the layers of skin, therefore used extensively in skin care. With the same pH balance as skin, it is naturally hypoallergenic (which means it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction) and makes for an excellent moisturizer.

Aloe plants also make great houseplants for improving indoor air quality. They help remove benzene from the air, which is found in paints and household cleaners.

If you don't have the actual plant, then be sure to buy bottled Aloe that has been minimally processed. Commercially prepared Aloe vera gel often has artificial additives. Be sure it is 100% organically grown Aloe vera. The one used for my skin care is Real Aloe, grown in southern California.

Externally, it is used in beauty and skin care, but also is excellent to treat cuts, burns, eczema, stings, sunburn, itch, even relieves joint pain.The tubular leaves contain a thick gel which is odorless, tasteless and colorless but packed with healing properties. It's cooling touch eases pain and acts as an anti-inflammatory as it forms its own bandage. Just snip a piece of leaf off, squeeze out the gel, and apply. Being Aloe vera accelerates cell rejuvenation and improves blood flow, the formation of scar tissue can be reduced.

Internally, Aloe is very soothing for complaints with the digestive system. Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease, Diverticulitis, and Colitis all may benefit from Aloe but permission should be attained from a physician.
Informative article about the benefits of taking aloe internally.
Pregnant women must be aware that Aloe can stimulate uterine contractions so should be avoided during the pregnancy. Internal use should also be avoided while breast feeding since Aloe may be purgative to the baby (means it may be a bit too stimulating to the bowels).

Aloe for Sunburn, Bug Bites Itch
Here is a quick summary of how many uses Aloe gel or juice can have:
1. Burns
Make sure you are using
pure Aloe. Apply directly to the area of the minor burn or sunburn for cool relief.

2. Shaving irritation
Apply as an aftershave to relieve razor burn.

3. Hair
Aloe is very soothing for an itchy scalp. Also softens hair and helps with the frizzies.
Add some aloe to your shampoo or use as a leave-in conditioner.

4. Itch relief
Apply a bit directly to bug bites or to areas of rash or eczema.

5. Make a homemade hand sanitizer by mixing 2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol, 1/3 cup aloe and 10 drops essential oil of choice.

6. Mouthwash
Benefit gums and mouth care by swishing a bit of aloe juice around in your mouth or make a mouthwash by mixing 1 cup aloe juice, 1/2 cup distilled water, 2 tsp. baking soda and 10 drops peppermint essential oil

7. Moisturizer
A non-greasy, quick absorbing moisturizer. Great when a heavier, oil based moisturizer isn't needed.
Added to facial creams in place of water adds to the beneficial quality of the cream.

8. Soothe an upset stomach or help relieve heartburn
Aloe vera juice can be an aid for digestive issues.

 Though Aloe vera gel is used in many of our skin care products, this is a favorite:             
ALOE ROSE FACIAL WASH, CLEANSE, SERUM, MAKE-UP REMOVER


 Aloe Rose Facial Wash cleans and moisturizes without the use of soap, therefore very beneficial for those with dry or sensitive skin.
It is said that legendary Egyptian beauties attributed their flawless complexions to the use of three basics:  
Roses, Olive oil and Aloe vera gel.

A tropical plant, aloe is used in many formulas for reparative skin preparations, soothing astringents and sun products. Its gel is extremely cooling and refreshing.
Fresh rose petals are infused in the heat of the summer sun to bring you a pretty pale red rosewater. A touch of rosewater concentrate is added to further enhance the subtle fragrance of this soothing wash.
Vitamin E is added because in addition to being good for the skin by its aid in healing, it is an antioxidant which means it will help to prolong the shelf life of oil-based products.
Olive oil is a very stable nourishing oil used in many ways of daily living by those in the Mediterranean. It is therapeutic and lubricating for skin care.

Cleaning your face with oil may sound unappealing but contrary to popular belief, oil does not contribute to oily skin or breakouts. The sedum that the skin creates is there to protect the skin. When we use commercial cleansers to remove this natural oil, the body reacts by producing more oil. Dry skin is often the result of stripping away this natural barrier and things get out of balance. It is the same as how our hair adjusts to constant shampooing.

In washing our faces we want to remove the dirt and bacterial which builds up in our pores but we have to think about the chemistry behind it. Oil dissolves oil, like dissolves like. Water and oil do not mix; commercial cleansers contain ingredients to break up the oils but in doing so may strip away the natural protective layer. By using a nourishing oil like olive oil, the dirty oils are being replaced with beneficial ones.

The oil and water contents will separate so give the bottle a little shake before use.

Wet your face with warm water and massage a small amount of Aloe Rose Wash onto your skin using circular motions. Rinse and pat dry. Because olive oil is an oil it may feel as though it is not washing off but this feeling is temporary. Once you pat dry, your face will feel incredibly smooth.
OR
This blend also works great to use as you would a facial serum to cleanse your face without the need to rinse. Add a small amount to a cotton square and wipe over your face to remove dirt and moisturize at the same time. The aloe gives such a cool and refreshing feel and you'll be amazed at how it cleans by just looking at the cotton square or tissue that you use.

Very effective method to gently remove make-up





Monday, February 16, 2015

Rosewater, A Timeless Tradition in Beautiful Skin


Roses remind us of days past when roses were valued for more than just their beauty. Roses contain a substantial amount of vitamin C which results in an acidic rosewater helpful in reducing thread veins through the rose's tonic effects on the capillaries.
 By stimulating blood circulation, skin cells certainly benefit, bringing back that glow. Astringent and antiseptic properties make rosewater a favorite for those with sensitive skin who are seeking a gentle facial cleanser without added ingredients that could aggravate already irritated or dry skin.
Because rosewater contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties, it is one of the best and most traditional facial cleansers. Not to mention the beautiful, lovely scent.

Here is an explanation of these benefits:

Anti-inflammatory
An anti-inflammatory is a substance that reduces inflammation. Those with under-eye inflammation or on skin that received a bit too much sun can benefit from the application of rosewater.

Astringent
An astringent can be synthetic or natural. It is used to remove soap film, cellular debris and excess oil on the surface of the skin. Tones pores without irritating the skin, rosewater is a very natural way to cleanse the pores.

Anti-bacterial
Anti-bacterial means hostile to bacteria. Rosewater contains properties that help with problem skin.

Moisturizing
Rosewater contains natural oils that help keep skin hydrated without clogging pores.

Mood enhancing
Roses contain a relaxing and feel good aroma, sure to result in a little smile as one inhales.

Stimulates circulation
Rosewater stimulates blood circulation in the blood vessels. By stimulating the blood vessels of the underlying skin cells, improvement can be achieved for such things as: under-eye puffiness and dark circles, thread veins, aging skin and sunburn.

Rosewater is made from roses, distilled water, alcohol for preservation and a touch of rosewater concentrate essential oil for additional fragrance. Without any method of preservation, this would be like any other herbal infusion and spoil within days. The alcohol is added during the solar infusion process and is not at a high enough ratio to dry out the skin.
You can be assured these roses are absolutely free of the use of pesticides. They are picked from my own rose bushes or purchased from reputable, organic suppliers.



Below are facial care products utilizing the wonders of rosewater for organic, natural, gentle skin care


Rosewater n' Glycerin Splash

Rosewater Facial Toner


Elderflower & Rose Vinegar Toner

Aloe Rose Facial Cleanse, Serum
Rose Facial Cream






Sunday, February 15, 2015

MEADOW MUFFIN MOMENT WEEK SIX February 5 - February 11

Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much


 February 5

"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."
Charlotte Whitton

This quote may strike a nerve with some and only open up the battle of the sexes debate. But the point she is making is that women tend to feel they must work twice as hard and dare not admit just how exhausted they really are. Some women can pump out one task after another and appear unstoppable but at what cost to them? Women so often say they are 'tired of being tired' yet have a fear of giving a bit of it all up since, "My tiredness is mine, I've earned it".

February 6

"Neither reproaches nor encouragements are able to revive a faith that is waning."
Nathalie Sarraute

One of the problems with organized religion is that we are told what to believe, and feel to question is wrong as that must mean a lack of faith. That is very sad since sometimes beliefs can actually interfere with our connection with a power greater than ourselves. Faith is a very personal process. No one can give us the answers about our spirituality. Reading and thinking is great, but we must search inside ourselves and have our own understanding of God and trust our own knowing. Our spirituality is connected with who we are.

February 7

"Tension grew at home, and my work suffered as I committed to tighter and tighter deadlines."
Ellen Sue Stern

It is a myth that workaholics are always productive with a job well done. Maybe in the beginning, when we still feel in tight control. But over time, people get tired, whether they admit it or not. Health suffers, families suffer and the work suffers. Too much on one plate may end up with things getting done, but as the saying goes, it's half-assed.

February 8

"Well we start out in our lives as little children, full of light and the clearest vision"
Brenda Ueland

Once a person realizes to be a workaholic is an addiction, and treats it as such, he or she often looks back and experiences a moment of clarity for the first time in perhaps years. We realize how we have lost our focus in life with all the business and deadlines. It can be like hearing a lullaby from long ago. The words are faint but the melody dawns on us and becomes more apparent.

February 9

"Though a tree grow ever high, the falling leaves return to the ground."
Malay proverb

Personal success deserves recognition and due reward for our efforts. But we cannot forgot those who have helped us get where we are. There are those who perhaps stepped on anyone in the way to rise up the ladder, but for the most part, successful people have a support system, probably quiet and unnoticed in the background. Let us acknowledge and be grateful since our success also says a lot about them.

February 10

"Some people talk simply because they think sound is more manageable than silence."
Margaret Halsey

Some people find silence very unnerving. They seem to need to talk just to fill up the void. But endless chatter often results in no one really listening, we to ourselves or anyone who has to listen.
We have to realize that we don't have to fill up every minute, be it with sound or busyness.

February 11

"When Peter left me, the negative emotions that rose up in me and exploded in me were just horrifying. But God kept telling me that they were all part of me and I couldn't try to hide them under the carpet because I didn't like them."
Eileen Caddy

When pushed to the limit of exhaustion, pent up frustrations, or feelings of betrayal in relationships, we may see a side of ourselves we didn't think possible. While good to get it all out so those feelings don't simmer away, it doesn't have to become a meltdown or explosion. We have to be okay with having feelings and not be in the 'good little girl syndrome' all the time. We need to realize that the full gamut of emotions is totally normal. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we become aware of how we tend to deal with emotions.



To read the previous weeks' posts:
Week 1 January 1 - January 7
Week 2 January 8 - January 14
Week 3 January 15 - January 21
Week 4 January 22 - January 28
Week 5 January 29 - February 4

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar for Beautiful Skin and Hair, Back to Basics Beauty

 

When it comes to natural beauty there are basics that come to mind as favorites: honey, lemons, rosewater, aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar. Here we are going to focus on the benefits of using vinegar for beautiful hair and skin. Apple cider vinegar can be used to fight blemishes, revive a dull complexion, and help eliminate a funky scalp.

Harsh soaps and shampoos can strip hair and skin of its natural oils, resulting in an imbalance of skin pH and sebum production, thus depending on skin type can mean overly dry skin/hair or annoyingly oily skin/hair. Vinegar is naturally acidic, so as skin pH is put back in balance, skin remains at the optimum level between oily and dry.

It is best to use raw vinegar such as Bragg vinegar. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized and 5% acidity
(acetic acid) and have a pH of about 2.4 - 2.9. It contains the amazing Mother of Vinegar which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. Raw vinegars don't go through the processing and distilling of the typical clear vinegars, therefore raw vinegar still contains the living nutrients and beneficial bacteria of the "mother".


SKIN CARE
Good quality raw vinegars restore the natural acid balance of the skin, leaving it soft and smooth.
By promoting circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the skin, vinegar becomes a tonic for the complexion. When dabbed or sprayed on the face, vinegar creates a light layer on the skin, locking in moisture. Straight vinegar is okay for spot treating blemishes, but otherwise it is best to use it diluted with water or as part of a facial toner blend.

Vinegar acts as an antiseptic, meaning it prevents proliferation of bacteria, viruses and yeast that could trigger infection. The natural pH of the skin is what keeps bacteria levels in check. The acid mantle of your skin, created by oil and sweat mostly, is a protective barrier that fights bacteria. Disruption of the skin's pH can be detrimental to your skin, because p.acnes (bacteria) thrive in an environment only a little more alkaline than your skin's natural acidity. Once bacteria thrives it can lead to inflammation and generating more clogged pores.

As a facial toner, vinegar removes oily residue as it dissolves fatty deposits at the surface of the skin. Raw apple cider vinegar is a good remedy for blocked pores because it contains malic acid, a natural acid that loosens the outer layer of dead skin cells and prevents inflammation.


People use the terms toner and astringent interchangeable because they are similar, yet there are differences.

Toners are usually more gentle in that they contain floral waters, vinegar, witch hazel but little to no alcohol such as vodka as a main ingredient. Toners are used to clean and remove any dirt or soap residues after cleansing.
Astringents are used for that purpose too, but often containing alcohol, they are used to close pores and tighten up skin, better for people with oily skin. For people who have dry or sensitive skin, alcohol based astringents may be too harsh and dry things out further and interrupt the pH and cause problems.


Below, we have three toners using herbal vinegars. All are nice, it is personal preference. 


Blemish spot treatment
This herbal vinegar contains the healing and nourishing qualities of apple cider vinegar, soothing witch hazel, and various infused herbs such as lavender, chamomile, yarrow, calendula, roses, lemon balm and sage. Just apply to a cotton ball or cotton square and spot treat those blemishes. This blend has not been further diluted with distilled water, making it good for spot treatment of blemishes. To use as a daily toner, it may be best to add an ounce of distilled water to this 4 ounce blend. Due to the variety of herbs used for this blend, pregnant women may want to check with their physician before using or just use one of the two below.




Elderflower n' Rose toner
Roses and elder flowers have long been used by women for gentle, effective home skin and beauty care.  This facial toner consists of an apple cider vinegar floral infusion, diluted in distilled water to be a bit more gentle than the above blemish treatment, and added aloe, witch hazel and glycerin, all bring balance to skin pH.





Chamomile, Calendula & Nettles toner
This herbal vinegar blend contains three favorites: Calendula, Chamomile and Nettles.
Nettles are high in sulphur, good for those with oily skin. Nutritionally, nettles are a powerhouse for optimal health which shows in the appearance of vibrant skin and hair. Any herbal tea blends for vitality usually always contain nettles.
Chamomile is known for use as a relief from irritated, inflamed skin conditions. A soothing, calming aid for skin eruptions due to chronic skin conditions, and frustrating blemishes.
Calendula is known as a wound herb. An anti-inflammatory as well, this herb helps prevent the formation of scar tissue from those breakouts.



HAIR CARE
Many of our hair care products are strongly alkaline and cause a dulling buildup on the hair shaft.
Healthy hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale between 4.5 and 5.5. Apple cider vinegar has an acidic pH of 2.9. Apple cider vinegar rinses help to balance the pH and remove buildup, giving you a softer, shinier, easier to detangle head of hair. Rinsing will close the hair shafts resulting in a smoother surface. By closing the cuticles of the hair, light reflects off of it, which means shiny hair.

The way to use vinegar in hair care is as a vinegar rinse after shampooing.
Vinegar rinses can be used once or twice a week as needed but if your hair is dry to begin with take note how your hair responds and adjust the frequency.

Dilute:
1/2-1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water for short hair
 or
1-2 Tbsp vinegar to 2 cups water for long hair.
There are three choices for applying the vinegar:
Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz your hair throughout the layers. Massage it into your scalp, let it sit a few minutes and rinse (optional)
OR
Pour the vinegar/water mixture onto your hair and scalp. Repeat this again if desired. Let sit a minute or so and rinse with lukewarm water (a blast of cold water will seal the cuticles of the hair). Some people don't bother with a final rinse to wash out the vinegar. Leaving it in does help with tangles but for some this proves irritating to their skin.
OR 
You can just pour a tablespoon or two of vinegar directly onto your scalp, let it sit on your hair a minute or so, and then rinse. Vinegar is rather strong so use your own judgement which method to use. Some people find this undiluted method too strong for their scalp.

Periodic apple cider vinegar hair rinses will also help prevent or get rid of a flaky or itchy scalp.
For help with dandruff it is recommended to use the direct application method. Massage the vinegar thoroughly onto the scalp and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
The acids and enzymes in the vinegar kill the "bottle bacillus", a bacteria that is one of the causes for many scalp and hair conditions. The bacteria clogs hair follicles allowing dry crusts to form that itch and flake.

Note:
Vinegar will not strip hair color the way chemical lighteners will so it shouldn't remove hair dye. The effect of vinegar is more subtle.



A wonderful option for your vinegar rinse is to use an herbal vinegar.
The addition of herbs to the vinegar allows the rinse to enhance hair color, help bring out desired highlights, and condition hair at the same time.


 


Vinegar rinse for lighter hair
Chamomile and Calendula have long been used for home hair rinses to condition and try to keep that lovely blonde color from turning what we know as "dirty blonde".
Nettles are full of minerals, chlorophyll and antifungal properties used to prevent and treat scalp funk. Nettle is also a stimulant used to enhance hair growth.
Lemongrass and grapefruit essential oils are additional antimicrobial aides as well as offering their fresh citrus aroma.



Vinegar rinse for darker hair
Sage and Rosemary are often used to help darken greying hair and bring out auburn tones.
Sage, rosemary and nettles are a tonic for dry hair and itchy, flaky scalp. It is also said that these invigorating herbs enhance hair growth.
Basil and lavender essential oils combine for an uplifting, refreshing aroma.






Vinegar rinse for all hair types

Lavender has been called the 'mother of all essences'. Just as its skin-reparative properties have earned it a well-deserved reputation with skin care, lavender can also contribute to a healthy, conditioned head of hair. Its use helps to degrease oily hair and is among the list of herbs said to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.






If interested in the NoPoo method of cleansing your hair, go to this post. The NoPoo method doesn't use an actual shampoo. Baking soda is used followed by a vinegar rinse.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

MEADOW MUFFIN MOMENT WEEK 5 January 29 - February 4

Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much

January 29

"In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid."
Simone de Beauvoir

Are we really in control in this life? Sometimes not.
The definition of addiction is anything that controls our lives, over which we are powerless, and which is making our lives unmanageable. Compulsive working, rushing and constant busyness can be areas of our lives where we are the most powerless. Our greatest victory can be knowing when to quit.

January 30

"Human beings are an untidy lot. They'd lose their arms and legs if they weren't joined on right."
Elizabeth Beresford

We have to have an awareness of self. Addictive functioning ends up with our being so out of touch with what we are feeling that we are left without the energy to even notice the messages our bodies are trying to tell us. If we don't start paying attention, our bodies will get our attention however it must, and that can mean painful consequences.

January 31

"Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff."
Ntozake Shnge

Self-sacrifice seems to be a thing with women. We love too much, we give too much. We are often so generous, have such trouble saying 'no', have too little value of our time, that it may seem we have given little pieces of ourselves away.  The cumulative affect of years of giving away little bits of ourselves may result in feeling empty and angry. To share yourself, you have to have a self to share.

February 1

"How is my own life-work serving to end these tyrannies, the corrosions of sacred possibility."
June Jordan

Going through the motions of our everyday lives can become boring and tedious, and result in our questioning the purpose of it all. We have to know that even if what we are doing doesn't seem to have a great cosmic meaning, the way we go about it and the lives we touch give it all meaning. Regardless of what we do, we do have the opportunity to make it sacred work. Don't every undervalue the little things.

February 2

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."
Agnes Repplier

Why do some people have such trouble with happiness? Perhaps they are looking too hard to find it. Our happiness resides within ourselves. No one can give it to us. Success, money, recognition, respect, status, etc. can make us feel good, but it doesn't last. Happy people can of course have all those things, but happiness isn't a result of those things. We cannot think if we just make more money or meet the right person, we'll find happiness. Of course, those things will help us feel happier, but true happiness begins within us, with our attitude, not with happiness substitutes.

February 3

"And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total?"
Tillie Olsen

Here is the self-sacrifice thing again. Women feel guilty taking time out for themselves because they feel if they do so, they are taking time away from the children, spouses, or that never ending 'to do' list. We all know the advice that if we don't take care of ourselves, we'll be of little use to those we love. We often don't heed that advice until our health suffers and we're forced to just stop already. Moments alone and our need for them is not a waste of time, they are a life-giving force. Take those stolen moments and treasure them.

February 4

"Problems are messages."
Shakti Gawain

People often wonder, why does life have to be so hard! Problems give us the opportunity to learn something. If we don't get the message the first time around, no doubt we'll be given another chance. Schaef says: "The intensity of the whack alongside the head that life has to give us in order to get a lesson through to us is directly proportional to the height and breadth of our stubbornness and illusion of control." Once we get through those hard times, we look back and see just how much we've grown.


To read the previous weeks' posts:
Week 1 January 1 - January 7
Week 2 January 8 - January 14
Week 3 January 15 - January 21
Week 4 January 22 - January 28








Monday, February 2, 2015

MEADOW MUFFIN MOMENT Week 4 January 22 - January 28

Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much

January 22

"In the upper echelons of the corporate world, it helps to be good-looking...but only if you're a man. If you're a woman, attractiveness can be a handicap."
Diane Crenshaw

A childhood lesson that is usually traumatic enough to remember for a lifetime is when we learned that life just isn't fair. We are taught the Golden Rule which states to 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you', however in the doggy dog world, it doesn't always work that way. There are still many double standards in the world in the treatment between men and women and what often works for men may not work for women in the same situation. We have to see these obstacles for what they are and move on; to not take it personally but as a means of gaining strength.

January 23

"When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
Adrienne Rich

Another childhood lesson learned is that to be dishonest usually just snowballs into a tangle of untruths which in the end often backfire. However, to be called naive and "too honest" can be the start of convincing oneself that to survive in the world, one must learn just how much information to reveal and perhaps even lower our standards of what is "right" or "acceptable". We may convince ourselves that everyone lies anyway so it's no big deal. But it is a big deal. Truth is the path to being free, and until we start getting honest with ourselves and others again, we may lose touch with who we really are.

January 24

"...just a tender sense of my own inner process, that holds something of my connection with the divine."
Shelley

Shelley is talking about intimacy. Filling up our lives to the point there is no quiet time or time to tune into ourselves results in a loss of connection not only with our own selves, but with other people as well. To connect with the divine, something greater than ourselves, can only occur when we have the time and energy to just "be".

January 25

"When I am all hassled about something, I always stop and ask myself what difference it will make in the evolution of the human species in the next ten million years, and that question always helps me to get back my perspective."
Anne Wilson Schaef

To rehash past events, disturbing thoughts, or what to do's, over and over in our minds is a sure path to what they call "thinking yourself to death". To go over and over something in our minds results in our losing perspective on the importance of the problem. We often need to step back and detach in order to see the whole picture and realize how we make our lives insane with such obsessive, crazy thinking. We have to learn to trust a higher power, to just let go, to turn our problems over to "what will be will be".

January 26

"Humans must breath, but corporations must make money."
Alice Embee

We live in a society where money addiction is so rampant that we forget that money isn't really real. It is illusionary to think that financial security is a some thing to attain. Of course we need money to live and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem lies when we become so addicted to the process of making money that it becomes more real than our health, relationships and very lives. We never seem to have enough because we have this notion that more is better.

January 27

"It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes. It takes more gut and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own."
Jessamyn West

This shows how powerful pride can be and lead to one's own downfall. They say the best defense is a good offense. What that means is that is is very noble to be able to forgive others their mistakes when we feel wronged, but to feel the shame of having someone witness or know the truth about us can be hard to swallow. We tend to find fault with them in order to divert the guilt we feel with ourselves. But to claim one's own mistakes and own them can be very freeing. To be honest with oneself is a true gift to recognize.

January 28

"When I was sixteen, my mother told me that I was expendable and if I didn't work hard, companies could just get rid of me. I work sixty to seventy hours a week, never take time off, and my husband and I haven't had a vacation in twelve years. I'm a workaholic, and I love it."
Anonymous

To try to make ourselves indispensable is asking for a rude awakening. To work out of fear is no way to live. Obsessive working is different from  passion for our work. We may convince ourselves that we love what we do but what a crashing jolt should a company downsize and you find yourself let go. Not because you didn't perform well, but because business is business and you've become too expensive to keep on. Don't sacrifice your health and personal relationships only to find later that the one thing that shouldn't be expendable is oneself.

To read the previous weeks' posts:
Week 1 January 1 - January 7
Week 2 January 8 - January 14
Week 3 January 15 - January 21