Whole Lemon-ade

 

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Man was it HOT today. Lemon’s are amazing- just using the juice loses a lot of lemons amazing proerties. Using the whole lemon, pips peel and all you are getting the lemon’s oil, fibre, antioxidants, Vitamin C, A and even calcium. Plus the scent of lemons lifts moods and enhances that cleansed feel.

I made this in my high speed blender as it needs to be able to process the peel, pith, skin and pips.

 

1 Whole Lemon (organic and un-waxed)

3 Cups of Water

Coconut Sugar (optional- to taste)

I used 2 tsp of Cocobono Coconut Ginger sugar (contact me to source some) and 2 tsp of Coconut sugar as I like my lemons tart. Whizz it all up and the use it like a cordial. I added fizzy water and ice to mine and store the rest in the fridge to use. Super refreshing for my kids too!

Carrot and Coconut Oil Natural Sunscreen

Carrot and Coconut Oil Natural Sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen is top of my list of things to take in my bag whilst out and about or on holiday. I make 30 ml bottles so they are easily portable and I can have one in my handbag, nappy bag, beach bag and pool bag!

When you are looking for a sunscreen for you and your family, you want one that is going to protect and nourish the skin. Most sunscreens on the market contains all manner of things and certainly do not nourish the skin. The toxic impact of slathering all that cream all through the day is really high. Also we forget how incredibly nourishing the suns rays really are. Fundamental to our immune system is being able to produce vitamin d from the UVB rays which most sunscreen’s filter out. Going natural is easy and very effective. However the best and safest sun protectors are clothing like swim t’shirts and staying in the shade- hence the umbrellas rain or shine here in Hong Kong!

carrots

There is a lot of information about different carrier oil’s and their SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Carrot seed oil comes out pretty high (source). With Beta Carotene and Vitamin E, both powerful antioxidants, they can prevent your skin from burning in the sun. This is true for both taking them orally and applied topically as a natural sunscreen. Carrot seed oil is a powerful antioxidant when cold pressed (source). It is particularly good at preventing fat oxidation. This is useful when applied to skin, because all cells are made of fat and protein. Protecting and nourishing our skin at the same time; what we want our sunscreen to do. Adding other oils can help boost its spf and nutrient levels; especially those that contain Vitamin E like Wheat-Germ and Avocado.  

coconut

 Coconuts have been described as the original sunscreen. With a lower SPF factor but containing many other benefits,  it is an ideal addition. Coconut oils contain Medium chain fatty acids, and are a perfect fit providing a protective fatty layer to the skin. Plus the anti bacterial and microbial benefits make it a match made in heaven! Bacteria help to balance the skins external and internal environment, clearing away the dead cells and also stimulating new ones- a deep rich tan can be achieved without damage by including coconut oil in the mix.

lavender

This blend on its own is a great product but you can add essential oils which helps it to double up as a skin protector/ bug repellent/after sun. 

Lavender is a natural pain reliever, calming, antimicrobial and antiseptic perfect to ease burns and inflammation and balance and cleanse the skin. Gives it that comforting herby lavender smell.

Chamomile is also a pain reliever and calming. It is also soothing and relaxing. Gives a warm sweet note too.

Geranium is anti-inflammatory and regulating. It is a powerful smell that insects hate but blended with the above give a nice rosy-minty hint to the oil

In the past I have often also added Neroli (very restorative for skin), Frankincense (again to restore and heal skin), lemongrass (protects from bugs) and grapefruit (although not great in the sunscreen it awesome in a bug repellent and aftersun). Please consult a professional Naturopath or Aromatherapist if worried about using essential oils.

 

Recipe for Natural Sunscreen

In a 30 ml bottle mix the following;

5ml Carrot seed oil

15 ml Coconut oil

15ml Sweet Almond Oil

(optional other oils include; 5ml Avocado oil 5ml Wheatgerm oil)

5-10 drops Lavender essential oil (lesser amount for young children)

5 drops Chamomile (Roman) essential oil

1-2 drops Geranium essential oil

(add some rescue remedy too if you like)

Apply often, safe for all ages (for babies best to use plain oil blend) especially if feeling burning, stay in shade at hottest times of the day or covered. See 5 ways to Stay Sun Safe for more info. Eating foods rich in carotenes (sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin- yellow/orange foods, also spinach and collards) and Vitamin E (avocado, nuts and seeds) will help protect you from the inside. Enjoy the sun but NEVER EVER Burn. 

Vitamin D

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We hear a lot about Vitamin D nowadays. It has been linked to greater immunity, curing cancer, better mood, stronger bones, enhanced digestive health and the list goes on. There are more indications that skin cancer and breast cancer may occur in Vitamin D deficient people. This is seen in countries that have a population used to wearing sunscreen and also milk drinking populations (Vitamin D is reported to be found in milk and dairy products- especially butter). Lets have a look at what it does, where you can get it from and why you may need it. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I  look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.

What does it do?

Vitamin D plays a big role in bone growth and development (hence why Rickets may come from a Vitamin D deficiency- interestingly more cases are being seen because our kids are not outside as much and when they are they have sunscreen on so the skin is unable to produce vitamin from the UV rays) and in the absorption of calcium (why most calcium supplements will contain vitamin D). It also lays a vital role in healthy teeth and gum repair. Taking it alongside vitamin A has shown to boost the immune system and is used in cases with asthma and allergies. It is used in many autoimmune diseases, works by helping to maintain heart muscle action, blood-clotting and is very useful for those with Diabetes. It stops the over proliferation (over production) of cells so may be used by cancer patients. It also plays a role in helping muscle spasms to relax.

sun

Where is it found?;

Vitamin D is stored in fat. This is one of the reasons that it may rise to toxic levels in your body. Unlike water soluble vitamins- fat stored vitamins do not get passed through your urine- they can be stored in the body and potentially clog up the liver. This is only really an issue if your body has a excess of fat, a insufficiency of nutrients necessary to break down and process the fat and also the mechanisms in place to utilise the fat for energy. Vitamin D also has several actions within the body which make storage necessary. It is made through the action of sunlight on your skin. It is also contained in eggs, oily fish (herring, tuna, cod, halibut), Fish liver oils (especially when fermented), butter and full fat milk (as it is stored in the fat- so skim milk doesn’t naturally contain it) and sprouted seeds.

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How do we Make it?-For the skin to produce Vitamin D from sunlight you need the following to be working together- the skin, bloodstream, liver and kidneys. The skin ‘catches the UV rays and converts then into a cholesterol which is then converted in the liver and kidneys. (5 ways to  be Safe in the Sun) The active form of Vitamin D is called D3 (which the kidneys will make) hence why we generally find this form in supplements. The darker your skin- the less Vitamin D you will produce. When Vitamin D is ingested, bile is needed to break down the fat it is stored in. A protein is then needed to carry it to the liver, where it is then stored till it is needed. The Vitamin D found in plant and meat sources is different because the fat they are in is different. Both plant and animal sources can be used – however the one contained in animal fat resembles our own more closely so requires a little less to convert it.

What should we take it with?- Vitamin D is best taken along side Magnesium and Calcium for bone and muscle health. However new studies suggest that Vitamin D must be taken with Vitamin K2 to maximise Vitamin D and Calcium’s roles and absorption.

5 Ways to be Safe in the Sun…

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The sun is back here in Hong Kong, and I hear it is coming out where you are too. I love the sun and I rarely apply sun tan lotion as I have a healthy respect for it. I certainly do not use a product full of chemicals and petrochemicals (here) If I am going to be lying out in it- rare as i mostly prefer at least the top half of me to be in the shade- I will apply sunscreen (a natural one- naturally!) otherwise I abide to these 5 ways to keep myself and my kiddies burn free and Vit D rich.

1. Sunscreen– I like to use a mix of carrier oils with aromatherapy as my sun cream. Carrot and Raspberry seed oil having the highest SPF (sun protecting factor). I have quite olive skin that seems to soak up the sun, but my son is quite pale (and not 1 yet) so I am more vigilant with him. My daughter has the same skin as me. Our general rule is 10-20 mins in the sun without any barriers to soak up the vitamin D. Never Ever burn. If you feel yourself burning apply straight away (and you should seek the shade or wear a layer). The same mix of oils is also my after-sun  in the bath for the kids and slapped on for us. the oils I use are also anti-bug ones so it is an all in one product. Perfect for taking out with you and taking on holiday! This is a great link to what oils have what SPF (http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/carrier_oils_and_spf).

2. Cover up– hats long sleeves etc. But watch the sunglasses, Vitamin D is also produced through the Iris and by constantly wearing sunglasses you are missing that vital gateway to healthy Vitamin D levels. Limit your time in the sun– Its a no brainer that keeping out of the sun at the hottest points (recent studies are saying 10am-4pm) but then again that’s almost the whole day! So dipping in and out (and not just of the pool) for example go in for lunch and yes a siesta (another luxury that is far off in the future for me!) and then enjoy it again. There is nothing worse than a sun hangover- you can always have too much of a good thing!

3. Shade seeking– Its cooler in the shade but beware you can still burn so be aware of how you are feeling (and if you are going to go to sleep on your lounger- a luxury I will have to wait for a while to indulge in again- make sure you have applied or get someone to apply some cover for you ) NEVER EVER Burn! Be especially careful at the beach or where there is a lovely breeze as you may not feel that burn.

4. Keep hydrated– Coconut water is brilliant for this- it replaces all your electrolytes and is so delicious in the sunshine. Of course beware of drinking alcohol (even in the coconut water!) and ensure you maintain your water intake. That groggy  feeling after a day in the sun is generally dehydration. A good soak in the bath is a good way to rehydrate (and with the oils of course)

5. Know what to do after a day in the sun– Don’t forget natures wonder product- Aloe Vera. It is not a coincidence that it thrives in hot desert like conditions! Break it open and apply the cooling gel straight away or after a shower. If you do burn a nice hot shower or bath is the way forward (not a cold one!), Aloe Vera and coconut oil with some Lavender and Calendula tincture will do wonders. Calendula and Camomile tea or essential oils and tinctures with lavender are also good at reducing the inflammation burns produce and calming and encouraging new skin growth. Re-hydrating and ensuring plenty of rest afterwards will allow you to enjoy the sun day after day (which is what we hopefully have to look forward to till December now!)

Enjoy!!! But be Safe!

PS Sunscreen recipe to follow (includes carrot seed oil, wheatgerm oil, avocado and coconut oil- Lavender, Camomile, Geranium and either Lemongrass, Neroli, Frankinsence or Grapefruit essential oils depending on my mood!)

Skin Treatments

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I have had many of you ask me about skin issues. What to use on the skin, how to soothe skin, protect skin, replenish skin and how to heal skin. So here are some insights into nutrients to nourish skin from the outside and some ways to keep it healthy on the outside. Of course everyone is different, this is generalised information. If you want a more personal plan please contact me. Also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a chronic issue or a condition getting worse, please contact your professional.

The previous post (here) mentioned nutrients necessary to build and repair skin from the inside. This post is about nutrients that can soothe, nourish, moisturise and balance skin from the outside.

oats

DRY SKIN (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Essential oils: Carrot seed, Jasmine, Frankincense, Neroli, Geranium, Sandalwood, Chamomile, Lavender and Rosemary.

These oils must be diluted in a carrier oil first before added to the bath or to the skin. Good oils for dry skin are Sweet Almond, Avocado, Wheatgerm, Rose Hip, Peach or Apricot Kernal and Coconut.

Coconut oil used externally can help to strengthen skin and can speed up healing whislt helping to repel germs and bacteria from entering the body. 1 tsp a day should be enough to cover the whole body. Massage into the skin, especially into the dry areas. Some areas may need a little more until they even out.

Cocoa butter; a rich nourishing moisturiser again used sparingly

Baking soda in the bath can help detox the body through the skin but can also help adjust the ph of the skin and makes it feel really soft afterwards.

Oats equally are very soothing when used as a scrub (dry oats mixed with some oil and essential oils mentioned above scrubbed on dry skin) or in the bath (add to the foot of a pair of tights or in a pop sock with a knot in the end. Use it like a sponge in the shower direct on the skin or hang over the taps when filling the bath). Oats are very mucilaginous so the gel will help calm and soothe any irritations and can form a protective layer on the skin making it feel soft and smooth afterwards. Both are good in dry red irritated skin .

Scrubs; As a scrub the oats help to stimulate oil production and help to gently ex foliate dead skin cells. You can also add ground sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, mixed with water, yoghurt or honey or puréed banana or avocado or egg yolks can be used on the (damp) face and body. You can also use salt/sugar scrubs. In dry skin conditions use equal part sugar to oil (see here for some ideas) and add a couple of drops of the above essential oils. Use extremely gentle, circular motions for ex-foliation and move towards the heart.

Dry skin Brushing; use a skin brush or a dry towel/flannel on dry skin gently brush skin towards the heart. Again ex-foliating and promoting oil productions and the elimination of toxins

Raw apple cider vinegar applied topically diluted in the bath can relieve itchiness and flakiness of dry and irritated skin. 2 cups in your bath water will have great effect.

calendula flower

IRRITATED SKIN; (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Calendula tincture and balm applied topically can be anti-bacterial, anti microbial, soothing and restorative, nourishing and strengthening. (see here to buy some ready made)

Chamomile; Both the tea and the essential oil (diluted) used topically can soothe and replenish. Use either with a little cotton wool to the area or in the bath. 2 cups of tea in bath water should be good.

Apple cider vinegar and oats as above

Try this hair tonic- brew some nettle tea mix with a teaspoon cider vinegar and a couple of drops of chamomile and add to a spray bottle. Spray or mix into scalp leave for 10 mins and then rinse out.

Lavender; in the bath or used directly on the skin, especially burns, cuts, scars, weeping eczema or psoriasis.

Comfry root cream

Olive oil can calm down and allergic skin rash

All of the above plus aloe vera gel are great on burns esp sun burn. My after sun consists of Sweet almond, avocado and wheatgerm oil, chamomile, lavender, geranium and neroli , Calendula tincture and Bach Rescue remedy.

bentonite clay mask

OILY SKIN; (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Essential oils; Citrus oils, lemongrass, sage, basil, ylang ylang

Clay masks can draw out excess oil

Corn meal and oat meal scrubs (gentle as you do not want to over stimulate oil glands)

Aloe vera is very toning

Rose water.

Try not to think that oil produces oil. Using an oil as a moisturiser can allow the body to moderate oil production and help protect the outer layer. Coconut oil used in sparingly can help the skin balance oil production.

Some recipes;

  • Herbal Hair rinse;

3-5 drops of your choice of essential oil depending on skin condition

1 pint of herbal tea (calendula, calmomile, oat straw and peppermint for example)

4 tbs vinegar or lemon juice.

After shampooing mix in water bottle and pour through hair. Leave for 5 mins before rinsing.

  • For dark hair add 2 drops of rosemary essential oil to your hair brush and brush through for glossy look to your hair
  • Pregnancy stretch marks oil (for pre and post natal);

1/2 once of cocoa butter or coconut oil

4 ounces of sweet almond or olive oil

15 drops lavender

5 drops neroli

5 drops frankinscense

5 drops camomile essential oil

1600iu Vitamin E Capsules

Rescue remedy and Crab apple Bach Flower Remedies

Use daily

  • Massage Coconut oil onto moles, bruises and cuticles to protect and heal.

Let me know what works for you….

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