Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
Mother Earth Recommended . . .
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Last 2 days of the 15% off Medicinal Herb Sale

Hello All -

There are only 2 days left to take advantage of the 15% off medicinal herb sale here at Local Harvest!

This is a great way to stock on on all your teas, tinctures and pet needs for the winter months ahead!!

If you have any questions on remedies, please feel free to contact me!!

Thank you to all and many blessings for the seasons ahead!

Sharon Hubbs-Kreft

Amazing Grace Herbals

www.localharvest.org/store/M10524

 

 
 

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women who have touched our lives!!

Enjoy the day and relax  . . . garden, plant and reconnect with the best mother of all  . . . Earth!!

 

Many blessings and enjoy the day!

 
 

Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water . . first batch of the season

Hello all  . ..   due the beautiful weather here, I have an early batch of my Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water is back in stock!!!

This remedy takes quite a while to make and the batch turned out to be absolutley wonderful!!

May all of your senses and skin enjoy!!

Here is a link - http://www.localharvest.org/grandmoms-queen-of-hungarys-water-C4528

Peaceful Blessings !

 
 

Baby herbs popping through the soil

The spring sunshine has started to melt the snow and as I was weeding and working in the gardens this past weekend I happened to notice the new sprouts!

Already we have thyme, chives, lemon balm, fennel, cilantro, peppermint and chamomile sprouts!!

We are getting some heavy rains so radishes will soon be popping up too. How exciting to see the rebirth of the herbs and watch them slowly peek their little sprouts out of the soil.

If the warm weather keeps up, there may an early harvest of chives or maybe even some lemon balm. Ran is expected through the weekend so I am not anticipating any garden prepping this weekend.

Peaceful Blessings, happy seeding and happy weeding!

I would love to hear what you have sprouting too!!

 
 

Fiber . . how much . . how often?

What is fiber?

A variety of definitions of fiber exist. In an attempt to develop one definition of fiber that everyone can use, the Food and Nutrition Board assembled a panel that came up with the following definitions:

  • Dietary fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. This includes plant nonstarch polysaccharides (for example, cellulose, pectin, gums, hemicellulose, and fibers contained in oat and wheat bran), oligosaccharides, lignin, and some resistant starch.

  • Functional fiber consists of isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans. This includes nondigestible plant (for example, resistant starch, pectin, and gums), chitin, chitosan, or commercially produced (for example, resistant starch, polydextrose, inulin, and indigestible dextrins) carbohydrates.

  • Total fiber is the sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber. It's not important to differentiate between which forms of each of these fibers you are getting in your diet. Your total fiber is what matters.

You may also hear fiber referred to as bulk or roughage. Call it what you want, but always remember that fiber is an essential part of everyone's diet. While fiber does fall under the category of carbohydrates, in comparison, it does not provide the same number of calories, nor is it processed the way that other sources of carbohydrates are.

This difference can be seen among the two categories that fiber is divided into: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Sources of soluble fiber are oats, legumes (beans, peas, and soybeans), apples, bananas, berries, barely, some vegetables, and psylluim.

  • Insoluble fiber increases the movement of material through your digestive tract and increases your stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat foods, bran, nuts, seeds, and the skin of some fruits and vegetables.

How much do you need?

Adults - The National Academy of Sciences established an Adequate Intake (AI) level of 38 grams of total daily fiber for males 19-50 years of age and 25 grams for women in the same age range.

Children 3 to 18 years - A simple formula can be used to determine the number of grams of fiber recommended for children:

Child's age + 5 = fiber grams per day

As you gradually increae your fiber intake per day, you should also consume more water, juice or milk (daily fluids).

Beans and legumes are great sources of fiber and usually contain about 6-7 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked serving. They can blend into almost any meal, even mashed potatoes, soups, sauces or as a nice side dish. If beans make you "toot" check out my blog on why beans make us toot and my helpful suggestions to aid with cooking with beans and adding good fiber sources into your diet.

Happy Fiber Hunting and Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Herbs, supplements and picky pets!

So you have a picky pet that will not take anything, no vitamins, no tinctures, no oils, nothing . . . how do you get them to take what's good for them if they go and hide when they see you coming with the dropper? I get asked this question pretty much daily and decided to blog about it to help folks out that just are just at their wits end with picky pets.

Cats can be easier then dogs despite their independence! If you have a capsule (vitamin, probiotic, herbal supplement) first try breaking open the capsule and sprinkling it over the food. Most cat's will take it especially if you are mixing it with a canned food they enjoy. Tried this, still no luck, try adding the supplement to tuna juice. I know my cat's little jowels cannot water enough when she hears the can opener opening tuna! Tuna is pretty much a fail safe with any herbal remedy (tincture, tonic, infusion, decoction, oil) or supplement. Still no luck, try adding the remedy (whatever it may be) to a small amount of ground beef, turkey or chicken - cat's are carnivore's and should eat it with no problems and will never be the wiser to know they was something good for them in the "magic meatball"! If you have an ill cat that has difficulty eating, you may want to try a vitamin supplement with a milk base found at your local pet store, add the supplement ot remedy to the milk based product - added nutrition plus the remedy. Cat still fussy, tried all the above and she still runs away? Try adding your supplements to plain milk, however, if you cat suffers from feline acne, I do not recommend this. Dry food or kibble can always be soaked with chicken/beef or vegetable broth and then the supplements added too.

Dogs usually take almost anything you give them, I know my Golden Retriever takes any herbal remedy or vitamins with no problems but there are some finnicky pups out there. Same as with a cat, try sprinkling any capsule based remedy over the food first, if no luck add it to wet food or if your pet is on a "you cook for him diet" then add it right to the stew you are cooking up. If can still sniff it out, try putting the caspules, oil or tincture into a piece of bread, basically, let the liquid soak in the bread and then give it as a treat. Did that too  . . . ok, just as a cat, dogs are carnivore's too, so when all else fails, add the remedy/vitamin/medication or whatever you are giving to a meatball of your choice. This usually works every time! Try soaking the kibble in broth of your choice and add fresh or steamed veggies for a more enticing meal, most dogs love veggies so you should see him clean the plate.

For vegan pets - you can make a "cheat ball" - mix brown rice, grains or choice, coucous or even make a smoothie for your pet using plain yogurt. Add the supplement and watch them enjoy!

I like to recommend plain yogurt as a treat for pets because it is full of natural probiotics and will aid in their digestion and overall health. Cats love it as do dogs, some picky cats will eat a yogurt treat added with supplements of your choice but I have found that some will detect the scent especially if you are administering a strong aroma based herbal remedy.

Most of my pet remedies are organic vegetable glycerin based and I do this for many reasons but one of the one main ones is for ease of administration - how do you say? Simple, vegetable glycerin is thicker and stickier then water, alcohol or any other aqueous based tinctures so when you drop it out of the dropper it will stick to their fur! If all else fails and you are administering an organic glycerin based tincture, drop the directed dosage amount on your pet's paw, I promise, he will lick it off, it's in their nature so they will be getting the tincture despite their stubborness  . . problem solved  . . if you are administering a tincture made with another menstruum you may have to try th above suggestions as most will roll off the fur and your pet will not be getting the recommended dose.

My pet's are very good vitamin and herb taker's, it really is all they know but I get the occasional cold shoulder from my feline friend and have come up with lots of other ways too of getting the gooodies in! My cat and dog love Acidophilus, they both lick it off my hand like the world's best treat - you can try this with your pet too - especially cats's, I have rarely come across a cat that does not like Acidophilus (probiotics), scent is similar to milk and they usually will almost lick the skin off your hand being sure they get it all!!

I hope this helps answer the question . .how do I get this good stuff in my pet?

If you have any questions or need other suggestions, please feel free to email me at wintersaurora@yahoo.com

Peaceful Blessings to you and your pet!

 
 

Hidden Sources of MSG

The food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has been linked to many health concersn including migraine headeaches and even hyperactivity in children.

If you see the word "hydrolyzed" in any ingredient list on any food item, the product contains MSG. Some companies try to not use the term MSG and will use other terms such as hydrolyzed and terms from the list below to make their customers think the product is MSG free.

These terms are other hidden sources of MSG -

Autolyzed yeast, calcium caeinate, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolzed corn gluten, hydrolzyed protein (such as wheat, soy or vegetable protein),  monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate and textured protein

Please read all product labels and be sure there is not a hidden source if your favorite grocery item. The above are most commonly found in processed and boxed foods.

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

What's in your lip care products?

Your lip care products are just as important as your basic skin care needs and what you apply to your lips is even more important. Lip skin is very thin and does not have oil glands therefore, it needs deep moisture and added protection. Your lips can absorb harmful substances because of their thin nature so you must give them the beneficial nutrients they need to keep them healthy and safe.

We have all had our out bout with dry, cracked and chapped lips; cold and sun exposure can aggrivate this and can sometimes be the main cause. You should never lick your lips and this only irritates them and can cause further dryness and cracking. Water helps to moisturize the body from the inside out so be sure you are getting enough daily to also keep your lips hydrated. If you apply sunblock (natural based, see previous blog for more information on this topic) also apply a suncreen to your lips, preferably a natural balm that contains zinc oxide.

If your lips are dry and cracked all the time, whether you have been in or out of the sun, they your system may be low on B Vitamins. B Vitamins are essential for good skin and lip health. Ty eating B vitamin rich foods to give your system the extra boost or try a daily tea like Oatstraw with other added benefits.

Most lip care products you find in stores are loaded with things that you would never even think are in there like coal tar or synthetically products products made from petroleum or crude oil products! Yikes!! That's like slopping some oil from your car on your lips!!! Most of these products can cause sensitivities in some people and even allergic reactions in chemically sensitive people. Some symptoms of this are headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, sneezing, wheezing, lack of concentration, fatigue, lethargy, nervousness, irritability, confusion and on site swelling. Can't figure out why when you wear your favorite shade of rose that you get a littel edgy, you may possibly have a chemical sensitivity to the artifical colors and products used.

There are many natural brands of lip products out there that have all natural ingredients with no by-products or crude oil. Be careful too with your little ones, some toddlers love lip gloss and enjoy the flavor and may attempt to bite the tube or ingest the product itself - not good if you are using mass market products! It is still not good to let your little one eat the lip balm but if it is natural based you would feel a little better that they were not eating petroleum!!

Here's what your lip products SHOULD contain: Aloe Vera, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Natural Colors (beet powder, beta carotene, iron oxides, grape skin, turmeric, annatto), Peppermint, Shea Butter, Allantoin, Sweet Almond Oil (great for sensitive skin) and Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin A, Vitamin D.

Here's what your lip products SHOULD NOT contain: Alcohol, Cety, Cetearyl, Behentrimonium, Methosulfate, Lanolin (although naturall derived, this can cause allergic reactions, it is a powerful absorbing agent and can become contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides), Mineral Oil, Petroleum, Petrolatum, Preservatives . . basically anything you cannot pronounce or re-spell if you were asked to do so, these can lead to contact dermatitis.

I have more information on the specific ingredients listed above (good and bad), I just did not want a 5 page blog. If you would like more information, please email me and I will be happy to further educate on the chemcial hazards found in our products. wintersaurora@yahoo.com

Hope you enjoyed this "mouthful" and happy puckering!!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

What's in your feminine care products?

This blog is a little more focused for us ladies, sorry boys but you may not find this as intersting as the ladies or for some, you may not be interested at all. I am blogging about feminine care products because for most of us when that time of the month arrives, we grab for the same feminine products month after month, year after year and chances are they are the same as what you used when you had your first cycle. We tend to be bothered with menses and just want it to pass rather then trying to help ourselves stay well as we embrace its onset.

We all tend to follow the path of the female guardian who first informed you about your body and what will happen. Years ago, feminine products were made differently then they are today and you might be very surprised as to what you are actually using could be harmful. If you remember stories of your Grandmother (I know I do) and Great-Grandmother explaining how there was no such thing as feminine care products, they used rags and cotton towels as products; they were the best choices ever! Technology can be wonderful as well as harmful. We look for convienence rather then safety and who wants to be bothered with washing dirty towels or rags when we have an agenda that is non-stop.  

If you have a daughter or niece, you are likely to share with her what to do and what to use every month and she will take it with her through life as well. It is important to really know what you are using and putting close to your skin because vaginal tissue is very sensitive and can absorb chemicals, toxins and heavy fragrances into the body.

Most mass market feminine hygiene products have gone through a heavy bleaching process using chlorine dioxide. This process contains low level dioxins which are chemical contaminates deemed unsafe for human use by the EPA. Synthetic tampons that have received this process may contribute to varying uterine conditions such as endometriosis, cancer, immune system concerns, fertility concerns, fibroids, pelvic imflammatory disease as well as other female related health ailments.

Besides the bleach, mass market products may also be made with synthetic fibers like viscous rayon which may increase the risk for TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) as well as other bacterial illnesses or yeast.

If you product contains a fragrance, that perfumey aroma could be highly irritating to sensitive vaginal tissue and some also contain cancer causing parabens.

All of these chemicals could cause minor concerns like itching and discomfort and depending on the sensitivity of your system, it could develop long term concerns. Many of the products do not allow the skin to breathe, especially heavy pads with plastic weaves, these can lead to folliculitis in the groin area which can be very unpleasant.

There are many natural feminine care products that use organic cotton or sea sponge that work just as well as the mass produced products. There are even products that collect flow internally without the use of tampons or sanitary products. I urge you to please check your grocer, market or health food store for these products and give them a try. Feel good knowing you are doing the right thing for your body and you will be able to pass this information onto the next woman of the house so she can continue the natural traditions too.

Personally, I like Natracare products, you can find them in many stores and they are very reasonable. Honestly, I don't know why I decided to blog on this, I was researching a few things and came across some info and just wanted to share it and spread the world. As women, we need to protect every part of our body as well as embrace life's path, try a natural product and you will be surprised at how good you feel. This blog was not meant to offend anyone, I am a big supporter of public awareness and hope that it was an educational read.  :)

Peaceful Blessings and embrace life!

 
 

Natural remedies for teething infants

A teething baby and toddler can be more then a handful (trust me!) and I wanted to share some natural suggestions to help relieve pain from your little one as well as help yourself to de-stress.

When a baby firsts starts to teethe, there are tell-tale behavioral signs and changes. Most times babies will chew their hands or put anything they can find in their mouth as well as rub their gums on objects you would rather they stay clear of. Many babies will also drool, this is from the excess saliva to help the new tooth break through the gum. However, there are other signs too like diarrhea, diaper rash, fever and restlessness. I can tell you our daughter was the later, she never drooled but she pooped like crazy and was very restless.

Most pediatricians will encourage you to reach for the baby Tylenol and give it as needed. This may be necesary if your little run in running a mild fever but in most cases you can ease the irritability naturally. I will mention if you child does have a fever and it is over 101 and lasts for more then a few days, PLEASE contact your provider to be sure it is not something else like an infection or illness.

Chamomile Tea has been used in my family for years, especially for teething. You can use Chamomile alone by making a infusion of the flowers and giving it in a bottle or juice cup. Chamomile is gentle addition to many natural fruit juices for older infants and can also be made into ice cubes or popsicle sticks for molar pushing toddlers and for a great summer treat. Chamomile is used for its nervine properties and can bring relief to a restless body.

When the irritability is getting to you and you feel there is nothing more to do, you can add Catnip to the Chamomile. I offer this blend here in my Local Harvest store. "Catnip Tea". Catnip is also a nervine and can also help reduce a fever. This what I was given when I was a baby and this what we gave our daughter. It is very gentle on the system and can help balance the overall child so to say. You would blend both herbs and infuse them. You can also freeze this into chips and popsicles.

Another option is to freeze a cloth either dipped in water or dipped in Chamomile or Catnip/Chamomile. This is great for babies as there is less fear of choking. It will keep baby busy will numbing the gums and if you infuse the herbs you will giving a little bit more to aid in the teething process.

I would also freeze veggies and fruits like apples, broccoli, grapes, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, mango - basically any fruits or veggies I had around. When our daughter was a wee little one, I would add the veggies/fruit to a mesh bag and let her explore. She loved every flavor and again, numbed her gums in the process. As she got older, we eliminated the mesh bag and let her "enjoy" the frozen produce, meaning, basically, she was covered in juice as the produce melted!

Teething rings are great, especially the ones you can freeze. We found the fruit and veggies to work a little better but each child is different and you may come up with you own ways to help.

There are homeopathic remedies that work great too - Hyland's offers a topical teething gel which was fabulous. You can apply the gel to the gums and it works as good (if not better) then the conventional, alcohol based/benzocaine topicals. This worked well until our daughter got older and wanted to bite down on your finger to ease the pain but when she was a baby it worked great. Hyland's and Humphrey's also make homepathic teething pellets. These are phenomenal as well. They are safe for use as needed and one of the ingredients is Chamomile. For babies, you would have to dilute the pellets in water but for older babies and toddlers they can be given as direct oral. Our daughter loves Humphrey's "Very Berry" teething pellets.

I also offer Rosehip Syrup. My Grandmother always had this handy for when a friend or relative had a teething infant. Rosehips are loaded with Vitamin C which also boosts immunity and helps the body overall while it is preparing for new teeth. A child's immune system could be lowered due to the effects of teething and it is important to not forget the immune system.

Once the new little teeth have erupted be sure to exercise good oral care and take good care of those pearly whites. Brush them atleast twice a day and after a meal, even the first teeth can be cleaned with a finger brush, and try not to let your little one go to sleep with juice, milk or formula as the sugars from these drinks can lay on teeth as the child sleeps and can promote tooth decay. Of course, if you see any odd spots or strange marks on your little ones teeth be sure to contact the family dentist and have them take a look - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Enjoy your little one, everyday is a blessing and the adage is true, children do grow like weeds herbs!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Beans and why they make us "toot"

-          The scientific name for a group of vegetables that research has proven may provide protection against certain cancers. Cruciferous vegetables contain antioxidants (Beta Carotene and the compound sulforaphane). These vegetables, which are all high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kale, mustard greens, rutabagas and turnips. The health benefits of these vegetables seem to have been known for some time. Around 234-149 BC, Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman, wrote a treatise on medicine that included the following insight: "If a cancerous ulcer appears upon the breasts, apply a crushed cabbage leaf and it will make it well."  Today these vegetables have been found to combat cancer of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, colon and cervix. Many cruciferous vegetables cause flatulence after eating and may increase a feeling of bloat.

-          Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule also found in cabbage. An anti-oligosaccharide enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules. As a normal human digestive tract does not contain any anti-oligosaccharide enzymes, consumed oligosaccharides are typically digested by bacteria in the large intestine. This digestion process produces flatulence-causing gasses as a byproduct.

-          Though beans are good and good for you, they have the unfortunate side effect of causing the formation of gas in the lower digestive tract. This digestive dilemma can be mollified by adopting some or all of the following practices: Discard the soaking water prior to cooking: Some nutrition-in the form of minerals-is lost, but you are getting rid of up to 80% of the oligosaccharides that cause flatulence. The best way is to bring the beans to a boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and allow soaking for 4 hours, then draining and cooking in fresh water. Cook the beans thoroughly: You should be able to easily mash the cooked beans with a fork. Thorough cooking softens starch and fibers, making digestion more efficient, the main reason why refried beans are easier on the digestive system than whole beans. Give your body time to adjust: If you don't eat beans often, your body never fully adapts to the extra work required to digest the complex sugars in beans. Beginning with small amounts, try eating beans at least 3 times a week while gradually increasing quantity. Choose beans that are easier to digest: A general rule is that the sweeter the bean, the easier it is to digest. Adzuki, Anasazi, Black-eyed Peas, Lentils, and Mung beans top the list. The most difficult beans to digest include Navy, Limas, and whole cooked Soybeans. Cook beans with a bay leaf, cumin, epazote, or kombu: Certain herbs have gas-reducing properties, with epazote being one of the most effective. Add 2 teaspoons dry or 6 fresh leaves to a pot of beans before cooking. Kombu sea vegetable also works well and has the added advantage of replenishing some of the minerals lost in soaking. Add a two-inch strip per one cup of dried beans during cooking. Avoid beans that are cooked with added sweeteners: Some people who easily digest most beans have trouble with sweetened beans due to the added carbohydrates. If adding brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup to beans stresses your digestion, opt for plain beans instead. Try a digestive enzyme product: Digestive enzymes made from a safe, food-grade mold help break down the oligosaccharides before they reach the large intestine, which is where the flatulence problem begins. They are sprinkled on cooked beans or taken in tablet form with the first "beany" bite. 

      I offer a tea called "I Had Beans!" here on the Local Harvest website, it can come in handy when you feel the rumble tumble in your belly after a delicious and healthy meal.

      Peaceful Blessings and Happy "Tooting"!

P

 

 
 

Are you getting your daily nutrients?

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is quite "sad" when you really look at what most American's comsume in a day. We have the poorest diets and are the highest for obesity and heart related conditons. As the fast food capital of the world, we need to ask ourselves  . . what are we doing?

SAD's are high in meats (especially red) and lack vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Without these essentials our metabolism becomes very poor and can result in serious health issues and concerns. Recent studies have shown that American lack the essential nutrients for healthy and balanced systems based on US Dietary Guidelines. Now you may say, "How can these studies be taken or even true?" Well, they are taken and are true, American's are the highest for heart disease and its no wonder with fast food hang out's on every corner.

There are basic nutrients and vitamins the human body needs on a daily basis to sustain health and balance within the overall system. Here they are, take note and see if you can try and get some more of them into you daily diet habits.

Vitamin A - This aids vision, reproductive function and the role in creating new cells. It can be found in dairy products, liver; precursor beta-carotene in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, collards, leaf lettuce, mango, mustard greens, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes and winter squash (acorn, hubbard).

Vitamin C - This aids in numerous, numerous functions (too many to mention) but mainly focuses on boosting immunity and supporting the circulatory system. It can be found in broccoli, brussel sprouts, citrus, red peppers, strawberries, apricots, cabbage, canatloupe, cauliflower, chili peppers, collards, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi fruit, mango, mustard greens, pineapple, plum, potatoes (skin on), spinach, tomatoes and watermelon.

Vitamin E - This aids in protecting the cell membranes from free-radical damage and can also act as a natural blood thinner. It can be found in egg yolks, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, wheat germ oil and whole grains.

Fiber - This aids in regulating bowel function, blood sugar and cholesterol. It can be found in brans (wheat, oat and others), apple, banana, blackberries, blueberries, brussel sprouts, carrots, cherries, cooked beans and peas (kidney, navy, lima, pinto, lentils, black-eyed peas), dates, figs, grapefruit, kiwi, orange, pear, prunes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

Calcuim - This helps maintain strong bones and teeth as well as helps to support healthy weight levels. It can be found in dairy products, leafy greens, sardines, tofu, soy.

Potassium - This aids in regulating blood pressure, fluid balance as well as cardiac electric impulses. It can be found in beans, fruits (banana), milk, mushrooms, peas and various vegetables.

Magnesium - This helps create energy, relaxes the muscles to reduce spasm and aid in insulin production. Most people notice they lack this one when there legs get achy and paired with Potassium it can help balance your overall mood too! It can be found in beans, dark green vegetables, fish, grains and nuts (almonds are great!)

Try whole grain muffins or bagels in place of a donut or even better add a piece of fruit in at breakfast. Instead of the same old caesar salad for lunch, spice it up with fresh herbs like Basil and Cilantro tossed with spinach - you will need less dressing because it will be so tasty and you will be helping you body get what it needs. Late night snacks a problem - get local - what's in season now - in New Jersey strawberries are in and tasty as ever, in a few weeks blueberries will begin - these are a better late night snack then the fat loaded ice cream. It is not to say to not enjoy but maybe try topping your vanilla sundae with fresh berries and granola in place of the high fructose sorn syrup laden choclate syrup! There are lots of little things you can do, be creative and you will be surprised what really tastes good blended together.

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Cooking!

 
 

Label Reading body care products

Do you ever take the time to read labels on your body soaps, lotions, shampoos or really anything you are putting on your skin? Skin is the largest organ and what you are applying topically is being absorbed into your system and is being utilized by other organs.

Reading labels on skin care products is very important, if you read what was really in there you may put it back. If a tomato was labeled with "Formaldehyde", would you buy it? Probably not, so why then do most people disregard what is in their body lotions? Most don't realize or look at foods the same way they do other products when in reality they are one in the same  . . . body products are food for your skin!

I become especially concerned with skin care needs when young girls begin to learn about cosmetics and all those scented body glittler sprays. Did you know that teenage girls can use up to 17 personal care products per day and adult women can use up to 12! That's a lot of snacks for your skin! I stress skin care with young women because most of the ingredients in drug store brands could intefere with proper hormone production and function during an adolescence time of growth. This change in levels could damage the reproductive system, bone growth, immunity issues and the exposure to these toxins long term in young women who begin breast development could increase the risk of cancer as they age.

These ingredients should be avoided so be sure to check your labels - Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Parabens (just look for this work mixed in with any other words you may not be able to pronounce), Peroxide, Phtalates, Sodium Laurel (laureth) Sulfate, Triclosan and Triethenolamine. I state it like this, if you can't pronounce it or try spelling it again, then chances are it's not the best for you. Sometimes companies mask good ingredients with their scientific names but these companies will also put in parenthesis next to the scientific name, the layman name so you know what you are really buying. (i.e.: Avenna sativa - Oat)

The above ingredients could be found in anything from soap, acne washes, shampoo, conditioners, hair spray, facial and body lotions to nail polish!

Try to avoid synthetic preservatives, heavy frangrances and chemicals - look for products containing pure essential oils and natural based butters and ingredients. Also, be aware - just because the front label may read "natural" be sure to actually read the ingredient list! Some companies boast they are natural because they have a few plant based ingredients but read deeper and you may find sodium laurel sulfate in the blend. In addition, avoid harsh exfoliating and tight firming lotions as well as chemical based anti-aging serums - these are loaded with parabens and synthetics unless they are a natural based product.

Did you know that one of the best forms of exfoliating your feet is a walk on the beach? Instead of the heavy pumice based foot cremes, salves and scrubs; if you live near the sea, take a stroll and feel how soft your piggies will be after!

There are many great natural skin products on the Local Harvest site but if you want to explore more and learn about how natural based soaps and lotions are made check out www.northerncatskillsessentials.com or for info on natural based skin care and products for young adults go to www.teensturninggreen.com

Any of the skin care remedies I offer like Grandmom's Queens of Hungary's Water, Astringent Herbs, Herbal Pimple Popper, Herbal Facial Steams or Herbal Hair Rinses are all 100% natural and the carriers I use are natural based and work with the body. I never use any chemicals or preservatives only mediums that are from the Earth to be used with gentle healing on various skin concerns. These are all topical and can be used in conjunction with my Liver Detox Tea or Skin Detox Tea for deeper skin conditions. Did you also know that may skin conditions stem from an overtaxed Liver? Read more about this if you view my Liver Detox Tea.

I hope this helps the next time you grab that watermelon scented lotion, it may smell wonderful but are the side effects worth it long term?

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Pampering!

 

 
 

What's in your sunscreen?

The warmer weather is here and as you reach for sunblock, please be aware of what it may contain. May studies have linked the chemicals found in many body lotions and sunscreens to contain xenoestrogens which has been found to cause many unwanted effects such as cancer.

So, what is a "xenoestrogen"? Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that have unintended and unknown effects. Some of these effects have been linked to fertility concerns, puberty problems, growth conditions and even cancer.

Read you sunscreen label carefully and avoid any that contain Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (aka: octyl methoxycinnamate) and Homosalate. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and can act as xenoestrogens in your body. You will want to be especially careful when using any of these chemicals on a child's skin. A baby and child's skin is much thinner and more sensitive then older children and adult skin and it can absorb quicker and deeper.

Parabens is another chemical to avoid; this is readily found in almost all body lotions and skin products. Parabens are presevatives, they can also act like xenoestrogens in the body. Look for skin care products that are "paraben free". You may pay a little more but it is quite worth it in the long term.

So what's safe? When purchasing a sunscreen look for natural mineral based products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (Jason's Naturals makes a great one!). Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, the higher the better and make sure it is labeled with broad spectrum, this means it will protect against both UVA & UVB rays which is very important.

You can also look for clothes and swim suits with an "Ultra Violent Protection Factor" or UPF of 50 or more. These pieces are readily available in today's market are great for infants and toddlers. Everyday clothes will only protect against the sun ray's so far. For example, a cotton tee has an SPF of about 7! Look for hats, shoes, tops, swimmies, shirts with UPF and don't forget your sunglasses . .  for your little one too!!! A baby is never too young to be protected.

Sunscreen and sun protective clothing should be worn year round, any season and any time. Even if it's hazy or overcast, the sun is still there and you can still get sun burn. Apply sunscreen about 20-30 minutes before you go out in the sun and reapply about every hour and half and always after swimming. Although we don't think of it, winter is also an optimum time to get sun burn; snow reflects the sun ray's, be sure to apply sunscreen.

Protection from skin cancer begins at birth and if you protect your little one now, there will be less of a chance later in life for problems. By chosing a safe sunscreen as I mentioned above, you are also giving your little one a great head start and yourself piece on mind from this day on that you are not only protecting yourself (and family) from the side effects of chemicals but you are also helping to prevent skin cancer.

Enjoy and worship the sun  . . . just be safe!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

Simple facts about Fructose

When I talk about weight loss with most the first thing I mention is reduce your intake of fructose and eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) products. With the commercials on television about how great HFCS is; many ask me why I say this, so let me explain.

Fructose is a type of sugar found in foods such as fruits. Most fruits contain fructose, this is what gives it is sweetness. Some fruits that are high in natural occuring fructose are peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums to name a few. The best way I describe a "frucky fruit" is this - any fruit you leave out on the counter and it ripens to the point that you have a gooey puddle under the fermenting fruit is "frucky". Fructose can also be added to many, many other foods and food products like juices, soda, sauces, breads, pasta and condiments. This form is fructose is usually processed and is called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS is manufactured and is about one half of fructose and one half glucose. Glucose is another sugar and another topic - let's focus on fructose here.

Fructose can increase appetite, did you ever notice you are never really "full" from a glass of soda or sweet juice, you tend to want to snack on something or follow it up with a glass of water? Research has shown that when fructose is consumed before or with a fat, that fat is more likely to be stored in the body rather then burned. Consuming HFCS is showing to cause resistance to leptin, a hormones that tells your brain how much fat is stored and also signals the feeling of fullness. With all that we eat and drink without label reading, we are causing our own problems.

By limiting your intake of sweet juices and sodas and by label reading for HFCS you could actually help yourself loose excess pounds naturally without any major changes to your system. An easy way to help reduce fructose is to add ice to a sweetened beverage or soda - simply water it down! HFCS is found in tons of products and you will be very surprised to see where it will come up next.

Breakfast a problem, have to have maple syrup on those pancakes? The organic brands can be very pricey - try agave nectar or local honey instead - delicious!!! You may never go back or even better, grind Fenugreek seeds to a powder and add it to your pancake mix - a natural maple flavor instantly and you are helping to aid in digestion, reduce gas and bloating as well as aiding in healing any inflammation to your lungs. If you are a nursing Mom - perfect - Fenugreek helps promote lactation and is safe to ingest. I will caution, don't add Fenugreek if you are pregnant as it can stimulate the uterus use the agave!!

Another concern I am asked is - "I don't eat a lot fructose and I am a label reader, no HFCS in our house but we do use white table sugar - no big deal, right?" Yes, very big deal - table sugar is equivalent to HFCS it's a 50/50 mix, just crystallized and not gooey!! It can have the same effect on the body as HFCS. My general rule of thumb is avoid any and all "white" products - flour, sugar, cakes, pasta (semolina), bread  . . . packaged and processed goods - instead of table sugar try stevia, demerara or take a look in the natural section of your grocer or market for pure cane sugars.

I hope this helped clarify a little bit about fructose basics. There is lots of info out there, don't be fooled, be a label reader and be sure to buy local - produce is always better fresh picked with care rather then in a can!!

Peaceful Blessings and enjoy trying some new flavors!

 
 
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