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Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

Weight loss is on many minds most of the time, but with beach season.. and bathing suit season…. just around the corner it’s everywhere.

Here are my 3 favorite tips to remember when starting your weight loss adventure.

Eat Your Vegetables

So often I hear my clients say “I eat lots of vegetables. Tons.” Only to find their food journals show a very different situation. Often, vegetables are consumed at lunch and at dinner. And that’s it. But if you make sure you are eating at least one vegetable at each of your 5-6 meals, you can drastically change your health and your waistline. When building your meal or your snack start with vegetables. It should be the largest portion on your plate.

Bonus tip – Don’t forget the protein. Protein is essential for building muscle. And muscle burns fat! Be sure you are getting protein with each meal also.

Drink More Water

Again, people often think they are getting plenty of water, but the reality is that most people spend their lives dehydrated. Staying well hydrated is essential for proper body function. Keep water in your car, your bag, your desk, next to your bed and drink, drink, drink.

Bonus tip – Oolong tea has the ability to help boost metabolism and keep you well hydrated. It’s great warm or cold. Try adding a cup or so a day.

Sneak in Extra Exercise

You are going to the gym 4 – 5 days a week. You are eating healthy. You are drinking lots of water. You want to see bigger results. Perhaps you don’t have time to get to the gym as often as like. Try squeezing in bits of exercise through out your day. Do some squats while brushing your teeth. Take 3 minutes to do a few Burpee’s. Do some static lunges in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Find ways to work in some extra exercise and you will start seeing bigger results.

Bonus tip – I keep free weights under my coffee table. During those rare occasions I’m watching tv I can pull them out and do bicep curls, overhead extensions, shoulder presses… all from my couch.

A healthy body isn’t all about vanity. To live well, we must be well. 

Live Well!
~S 

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There are so many skin care products on the market these days. Thousands.

Many of them are cleaner and less toxic than others. There are some really great products out there that are made from all natural products. But they are often very pricey. You can use simple ingredients, many you will find in your kitchen already, to replace most of these. For cheaper. With less chance of contamination or added harmful preservatives and toxins.

We’ve been over this a few times before, haven’t we?

There are two simple items that work great for removing eye makeup.

  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil

Both can be simply applied gently and removed with a cloth or cotton ball.

Using Coconut Oil

I buy coconut oil in large batches. Then I scoop out containers for different areas of the house. I keep one next to my bed and one in the bathroom for removing eye makeup and a few other uses you can read about in For the Love of Coconut Oil. (coming soon)

To use coconut oil as an eye makeup remover take a small amount… I mean small. Like half a pea size and place in the palm of your hand. Rub it in a very small circle with the tip of your finger to soften it. Now gently spread it over the eye and work it in small circles. Then simply wipe off, gently moving from the outside of the eye toward the inside corner with a cloth or cotton ball.

Using Jojoba Oil

This might be a bit easier than coconut oil only because it’s one less step. But different skin types take to different ingredients… differently. We are all different.

With Jojoba oil simply dab a bit on a cloth or cotton ball and gently wipe across the eye from the outside corner to the inside.

There are lots of other options for eye makeup remover, like vitamin E oil, and well, many other oils too, but these two are my favorites. Right now anyway. These things change now and then.

Isn’t it nice knowing there is only one safe, edible ingredient in the things you need and use? How about knowing you can save a ton of money over the course of a year switching to that one safe ingredient?

What is your favorite eye makeup remover?

Live Well!
~S

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Yesterday I spent the day with a bunch of lovely ladies. It’s rare that I have such an opportunity. And I cherished every bit of it. I forget sometimes just how important spending quality times with friends can be. It’s easy to get wrapped up in work and family. Then all of a sudden you realize you haven’t even seen someone you adore in months.

There was  one particular friend yesterday I hadn’t spent any time with in years. Years. It’s sad. We were once together every day. She was an intricate and very important part of my life. The kind of friend who is always there for you. The kind of person who is simply honest and caring and kind. How do these things happen? Because we let them, really.

I am blessed to know so many beautiful people.

I was chatting with one lovely momma about sunscreen. With temps unseasonably warm, it’s about time we talk about it here too.

We know we have to protect our skin from the suns rays, but what we might not know is that many of those products sought to do so, are loaded with harmful toxins. That’s right. There are dangers in sunscreen. Organic Lifestyle Magazine did a tremendous amount of research on the subject. You can read about it here.

   “The shocking truth is the fact that both petrochemical sunscreens (avobenzone, methoxycinnamate, padimate-o and the like) and physical sunblocks (chemically-reacted synthetics titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are not natural and have been found to generate free radicals when exposed to sunlight, which then can attack the nuclei of your skin cells and cause mutations. That’s right, they can cause skin cancer. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals have been found to pass through the skin and mimic the effects of estrogen, which may disrupt the delicate balance of the body’s natural hormones.”
~Organic Lifestyle Magazine

Even more alarming, since the increase in the use of sunscreen, skin cancer rates have risen. Many reports show that sunscreen actually increases cancer risks. Interesting isn’t it? For hundreds of years there was no sunscreen and there were few cases of skin cancer. And people spent far more time in the sun than we do now. The Environmental Working Group reports that only 39 of the 500 products they examined were considered safe and effective.

Did you know your diet can have a drastic affect on your reaction to the sun’s rays? Wholesome foods help our bodies immunity and ability to respond to toxins and other harmful invaders. Build your strength from the inside out. I will keep saying it, a healthy diet affects all aspects of our lives!

Ok, so now what? Even zinc oxide, used in most homemade recipes, is listed here as unsafe. This was my biggest dilemma in determining the safe route for my family. I have scoured reports and articles, books and magazines. I found that uncoated non-nano sized particles of zinc oxide are the safest form. These are found in diaper rash cream and calamine lotion.

And I have come to some delightful conclusions….

  • We need some sun! Many people are vitamin D deficient because they are so afraid of the sun. But it’s actually ok to get out and get a bit of sun.
  • There are a number of natural ingredients that do protect us from the sun
  • We don’t need to slather on all those toxins to be “safe”
  • The very best protection comes from hats and light clothing

Natural Protection From the Sun

  • Coconut oil – I love this stuff!! I use it for so many things. Check out For the Love of Coconut Oil (coming later this week). It’s also great for your skin AND has a natural SPF. This is my first choice for sunscreen. I just slather it on. It can be used alone or added to other ingredients.
  • Raspberry Seed Oil – This has the highest SPF of 30-50 and is very nourishing to the skin. It helps fight free radicals and is an antioxidant.
  • Sesame oil – has an SPF of 30
  • Carrot Seed oil – has an SPF of about 20
  • Lavender, myrrh, peppermint, chamomile and marjoram are excellent added protection and skin nourishment.
  • Green and Black tea – the tannin’s are great at absorbing UV rays, offer excellent protection and are great for the skin.

A Few Natural Sun Protection Recipes

  • 15 drops lavender oil, 2 drops chamomile oil and 2 drops marjoram oil, 1 tablespoon avocado oil.
  • 1 t coconut oil, 1 t raspberry seed oil, 10 drops lavender oil
  • 1 t coconut oil, 1 t carrot seed oil, 1 T Shea Butter

Get creative! You can mix and match with whatever ingredients you have or are readily available.

Homemade Sunscreen

1 ounce oil or oil blend (I prefer coconut and raspberry seed)
1 ounce beeswax
1 ounce butter blend (shea, mango, cocoa)
1 teaspoon vitamin e oil
0.30 ounce zinc oxide
30 drops essential oil (lavender, peppermint, carrot, myrrh, coconut extract for scent)
*Do not use citrus oils – they can cause burning 

Melt oils, butter and beeswax. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then add vitamin E oil, zinc oxide and essential oil.

*Be sure to wear a mask when handling zinc oxide and always use bowls and utensil that aren’t used for cooking. 

Stir until zinc oxide is dissolved. Pour into a used deodorant container or purchase a new one from your local herb store.

An Alternate Sunscreen Recipe

1/4 c oil (grape seed, coconut or blend)
1/2c water
5 tsps zinc oxide
3T aloe vera gel
1T beeswax
1/8 t vitamin E oil
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
*essential oils for scent

Heat oil and beeswax just to melted. Remove from heat and cool slightly, add vitamin E and essential oils.  Put in a bowl that won’t be used for food. Add zinc oxide. Now heat water and aloe vera gel. Add to bowl and mix well. This makes a lotion. It can be thinned or thickened by adding more or less beeswax.

SPF 20 as is. It can be increased by using raspberry seed oil or adding more zinc oxide.

If you aren’t into making your own sunscreen you can check how your brand fared here

Do you have a favorite sunscreen recipe?

Live Well!
~S 

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Did you know that eating fat doesn’t make you fat? It’s true!

That stuff they call margarine isn’t real food either. It’s gross, it’s harmful and you should stop using it! But you don’t really use that junk, right?

Real food is always better. Always. But even the ones you think are real and wholesome aren’t always as they seem. Take butter for instance. Did you know that butter, yes, the real kind, usually has added preservatives? It’s sad but true. But there’s hope.

Making butter is ridiculously easy! 

Cream, a mason jar and twenty minutes easy.

Fill a mason jar half way with heavy cream.

Put the cover on.

Now shake the day lights out of it!

Shake, shake, shake…

Shake, shake, shake….

The cream will get thick. Keep shaking.

When you think something MUST have gone wrong, keep shaking.

You are almost there….

And then all of sudden, it will happen! The thick cream will separate – buttermilk and butter.

Strain the buttermilk….

But save it for something else like soaking chicken or making biscuits.

Now you have to rinse the rest of the buttermilk out of the butter.

Add some salt if you like and roll into a log and refrigerate.

You have butter!

AND buttermilk!

This butter doesn’t have preservative like that other stuff, as I mentioned, so you want to use this within two weeks.

It isn’t always cheaper to make your own butter but it can be. It depends on the cost of cream and the amount of fat. Some cows produce a fattier milk. If you are lucky enough to know someone with goats (or even better, have your own!) butter can be made with goats cream too. It will be a bit different, but just as good.

I got about 3/4 of a  pound of butter from one quart of milk. Plus about 2 cups of buttermilk. That is a savings over purchasing butter and buttermilk separately. And I don’t get the preservatives.

There is an easier way….

You can use a blender, mixer, hand mixer or food processor and cut the time in half.

There can be mistakes…

The second time I made butter, or attempted to make butter, it was a disaster. We took turns shaking the jar, the mister, babes and I. How fun! We sat and watched TV, chatted and made butter together. But in our fun we somehow missed the separation phase and just kept shaking. We ended up with what looked like chunky whipped cream. Which is just what I turned it into, with a bit of honey (or sweetener of choice) and a bit more whipping.

What happened? We shook the buttermilk back into the butter. Yes, it can happen. I had no idea. I also don’t know if the process can be altered again. I had had enough shaking for the night and never cared for the experiment to be finished.

Now let’s get a wee bit technical…

I’m not saying go ahead and smother everything you eat in butter. I’m not Paula Dean. Although I do love her to pieces. I’m just saying butter isn’t as scary and horrible as we tend to think. And it’s way better for you than something bugs won’t even touch! (Some still claim this isn’t true,but I tried it once and found the margarine free of ants and butter loaded with them. I did not, however, leave it long enough to find out if they moved over once the butter was gone.)

  • A 1994 Harvard Medical Study showed that eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53%
  • More recent studies have shown a strong link between consuming trans fat and earlier death
  • Butter does not contain trans fat – margarine does (minus a few newer varieties)
  • Both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits – margarine does not, unless they are added
  • Butter tastes better!
That old urban legend about margarine being one molecule away from plastic is truly false, however, real food is always best. Something made with “ingredients” like margaric acid, used in making margarine, is not.
If you aren’t into making your own butter at least opt for the real thing. Ditch that tub of tasteless, dyed stuff.

Tomorrow we will talk about flavoring your butter!

Live Well!
~S 

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I am often asked what crazy things I’m up to. It seems to entertain some that I do these, apparently, strange things like make my own sauerkraut and beer. And for others, they have said it makes them tired just hearing about it.

I don’t think I’m the kind that never shuts off. But I do like to be busy. And I do like the feeling of taking an active role in the creation of the things my family uses. I know what’s in them. I know that harmful chemicals and other potential toxins aren’t slipped in. That they are not only better for my family, but the environment as well. I know that they are fresh and wholesome.

It’s a bonus that I am usually saving money as well. And this one is a perfect example.

Laundry detergent can be filled with stuff  like alkyl phenol ethoxylates, ammonia and phosphates. The results can range from skin irritations to immune disruption, poisoning and even cancer.

Did you know that even Seventh Generation is considered toxic and potentially harmful?

Read more about it here.

Making your own laundry soap is super easy. It’s fast and it’s CHEAP!

Here’s what you need –

2c finely grated castile soap – 1 bar (I use Kirk’s for this. It’s the cheapest I have found)
1c baking soda
1c borax
1c soda ash (super washing soda)

*essential oils of your choosing if you would like to make it scented. I prefer lavender or grapefruit.

Grate the soap very fine in a food processor or with a hand grater. Mix everything in a large bowl, adding the scent a little at a time to be sure it gets mixed well.

Makes – 5 cups

Use – 1/8c per load

Cost – 2-6 cents a load!
The higher being with a heavy amount of essential oils and top price for the products.

That’s it!

You can make it a liquid soap by adding water and heat. Use a 5 gallon bucket to mix and store it in.

For liquid soap –

1 bar grated castile soap
1/2c borax
1c washing soda
1/2c baking soda
3 gallons water

Add the soap to 6c water in a pan. Heat until the soap melts. Add the sodas and borax and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat. In a   large bucket add 4c hot water. Add the soap mixture and stir. Add remainder of water and stir. It will take about 24 hours for the soap to gel.

Use – 1/4 – 1/2c per load

Cost – 2-6 cents per load!

Now let’s compare….

Tide Laundry Detergent costs $17.97 for 96 loads. 19 cents per load.
Contains (ingredients list)  ethanol, phospates, alcohol sulfates, benzene sulfonic acid and other potentially harmful chemicals.

Home-made laundry soap costs approximately $10.04 or less for economy sizes. Roughly 5 cents per load.
Contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium carbonate (washing soda), sodium tetraborate (borax), coconut oil and vegetable glycerin.  And takes an extra 10 minutes to prepare.

And to add to the fabulousness (it’s a word. sort of) of home-made laundry soap, it works just as well. Swear!

Oh, and you get to scent it any way you like. I love that part.

Have you made your own laundry soap?

Live Well!
~S 

 

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For those of you who remember The Migraine Chronicles – Take 1, I’d like to update you.

For those of you who don’t, go look. We’ll wait…

Back already?

Ok, here goes. I was super excited to share with you the fabulous news. Well, until last week that is. That’s right. I hadn’t had a single migraine since writing episode one! And since starting the supplements. I was taking magnesium and evening primrose daily. Every day. Or. Well. Almost every day.

Like with most things, I start out all gung-ho. Staying on tract. Doing everything right. Sticking to the plan. And then it starts to go south. But I had done quite well this time. I was determined to figure this thing out. And I guess by forgetting to take the magnesium and evening primrose I did just that.

All of sudden, there they were. I mean I literally blinked my eyes and they appeared. Vision spots. It was like a movie playing in slow motion. Nnnoooooo! And I was stumbling through the house, racing for the herb cabinet. Racing for the magnesium. And the ibuprofen.

It was terrible. Full bore sickness, pain, horror. Ok, ok, I’m feeling a bit dramatic today. But it was bad. Made worse by the realization that I did this to myself. I hadn’t taken either magnesium or evening primrose is two weeks. Sigh.

I really think it’s the magnesium doing the trick on the migraines, but the evening primrose has absolutely been helping with hormones and the other crazies I won’t go into detail over.

Did you know this was evening primrose?

Yup, you’ve probably seen it growing wild on the side of the road.

It works wonders for women’s health. It’s also great for inflammation. Especially for rheumatoid arthritis. Which is why it probably helps with the migraines. It also is used to treat eczema.

So, needless to say, I am back on track. Taking these supplements daily. Or, as often as I can remember.

Have you had any luck with either of these supplements?

Live Well!
~S 

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You heard right.

Whole Living With Stephanie is currently searching for Guest Bloggers! AND small companies interested in sharing their wears, plus a little about themselves and their business.

The BRAND NEW site will be up and running soon and so many new things are coming our way.
(…including a new name! sshhh.)

Do you have a blog you want to promote? Are you a budding writer? Do you have a product you love or create that you would like to get in front of hundreds of people a day?

Well, here’s your chance. Just send me an email with some details of your work. I will have a limited amount of space and do ask that all be of the same mindset we share here – green, handmade, natural lifestyles, great writing, wellness, holistic ideas… the options are truly endless. Jewelry makers, crafters, artisans or even just those who welcome the chance to share a favorite recipe, home make-over or thrifting find. You can promote your blog or not be a blogger at all. Have a local book club you would like to promote? How about a design company looking to expand?

You don’t have to be a writer so don’t fear. There will be interview options and articles written for those who prefer.

Let’s share what we do!

Live Well!
~S

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