Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Need last minute Holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank??? Here’s a DIY Holiday Gift Guide to help!

DIY Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are fast approaching and everyone is out shopping for the perfect holiday gifts! But who wants the headache and hassle of fighting for a parking spot at the mall, sorting through hanger after hanger, or stopping at every kiosk to find a gift for those hard to shop for people on your list? Not me.  I worked retail enough years that I refuse to go to the mall or other retail establishments during this time of year on principle alone.  The past couple years I’ve moved more towards DIY holiday gifts.  Not only are they often much more affordable alternatives to traditional gift ideas, nearly everyone loves that you put time and love into handcrafting items for homemade gifts! But where to even start? I’ve taken some of the guesswork out of it for you and scoured Pinterest looking for some of the best DIY essential oil holiday gift ideas and tried out most of them so you don’t have to experiment! I shared these recipes with my friends and they were a huge hit! Below you will find gift ideas for nearly everyone on your holiday list!

Essential Oils 102: A DIY Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts for Her

For Any Woman

Peppermint Pedicure in a Jar

1. Peppermint Pedicure in a Jar:

For presentation I packaged each of the following recipes in a 1 oz plastic container (I bought a 10 pack at the Dollar Tree).  I spray painted the lids with a sparkly red paint and got little sticker labels at Michael’s craft store to label each one.  I used a wide mouthed Mason jar and sprinkled a bit of fake “snow” in the bottom then put all three small containers down in the jar.  I hot glued Christmas ribbon around the lid of the jar.  I found cute “For Your Mistle Toes” FREE printable labels/tags from: http://www.anorganizedfamily.com/2012/12/for-your-mistle-toes.html

ForYourMistleToes

I printed the tag then “laminated” with packing tape, punched a hole in the corner, then tied onto the jar with curling ribbon for a finishing touch.  You could also package with nail clippers, pumice stone, or even cute Holiday socks!

1a. Peppermint Foot Soak:

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 Peppermint tea bags (I used Celestial Seasonings but you could use any brand of tea)
  • 1/8 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Epsom Salts
  • Food Processor
  • 1 oz containers with lid

Directions:

Cup open your tea bags and combine all three ingredients in food processor.  Blend on high for about 1 minute until all ingredients are turned into a powder.  Pour into your containers. Makes about 8 oz.

To Use: Add 1 Tbsp to warm water to soak feet.

Source: http://4hatsandfrugal.com/2013/06/peppermint-foot-soak.html#comment-12705

1b. Peppermint Foot Scrub:

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1-2 cups of Epsom Salts (you could also use coarse sugar)
  • ½ cup warmed Coconut Oil (you could also use grapeseed, olive oil, or other carrier oil of your choice)
  • 10-15 drops of Peppermint essential oil
  • Mixing bowl
  • 1 oz containers with lid

Directions:

Mix ingredients together well in bowl to desired consistency (more or less Epsom Salts) and spoon into 1 oz containers.  Makes between 8-16 oz depending on how much salt you use.

Modified from source: http://blahblahmagazine.com.au/homemade-foot-scrub/

1c. Peppermint Foot Cream:

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup raw Shea Butter
  • 2 oz Sweet Almond Oil (you could substitute jojoba or grapeseed oil if you are concerned about nut allergies)
  • 20 drops of Peppermint essential oil
    • Alternative oils: You could also use 20 drops of Lemon essential oil to make a “Lemon Custard Body Butter” or 20 drops of Lavender essential oil for a Calming Nighttime Cream!
  • Double boiler**
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixer (stand up or hand would work)
  • 1 oz containers with lid (or larger 8 oz container if you do a body butter variation with alternative oils)

Directions:

Add Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and Sweet Almond Oil to double boiler and heat until melted and stir.  Pour into mixing bowl, put in fridge and let cool until you can see your fingerprint in it (this could take anywhere from a few hours to overnight).  Add essential oils and use mixer to whip until it is light and fluffy like cake icing. Portion into containers. Makes about 8 oz.

**Don’t have a double boiler? No problem! Check out this homemade double boiler alternative from TipNut!

Source: http://unskinnyboppy.com/2014/09/diy-body-butter-using-essential-oils/

Peppermint Pedicure in a Jar Inspired by: http://www.thegunnysack.com/peppermint-pampering-gifts-in-jars-for-homemade-christmas-gifts/

 

Lemon Sugar Scrub

2. Lemon Sugar Scrub

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1  cup of Sugar
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil (can substitute EVOO, especially for acne-prone skin)
  • 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey (optional)
  • Mixing bowl
  • 4 oz glass jar or decorative glass storage container

Directions:

Mix ingredients in mixing bowl and store in 4 oz glass jars (makes 2). Lemon Scrub can be used on both the body and face. It’s ideal for rough spots like feet, knees, elbows and hands. It’s also great for nail beds and cuticles.

As a body scrub: Apply to body, paying extra close attention to elbows, knees, feet and hands (nails and cuticles especially), and rub in circular motions for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse. Enjoy the silky softness of your impossibly smooth skin.

As a face scrub: The lemon and sugar scrub is also great for the face, but use with gentle circular motions. This scrub is ideal for people who suffer from breakouts and acne as all of the ingredients are highly beneficial to acne-prone skin. Lemon tightens pores and evens out the skin tone, sugar removes dead skin cells and cleans pores, olive oil heals acne scaring, and honey prevents future breakouts.  To use, apply to clean face in gentle, circular motions. Be cautious of using on open wounds, as lemon has a tendency to sting. Leave on for 7-10 minutes and rinse with cool water.

Source: Modified from several sources

You can even print FREE cute stickers using this link here: http://cincyshopper.com/diy-gifts-lemon-sugar-scrub-in-a-jar-with-free-printable-labels/

 

For the Bath Junkie

Lavender Bath Salts

3. Simple Bath Salts Recipe

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salts
  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • 10 drops of Lavender, Stress Away or other essential oil/blend of your choice
  • Dried lavender buds (optional for use with Lavender eo) – I would include a small cotton muslin bag with the bath salts if I added dried lavender
  • Natural Food Coloring (optional)
  • Mixing bowl
  • 8 oz glass or metal storage container

Directions:

Mix ingredients together in mixing bowl and add to decorative 8 oz container or jar.  Optional, include a small wooden spoon and small cotton muslin bag to finish off your presentation.

Candy Cane Bath Salts

4. Candy Cane Bath Salts

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 3 pounds Epsom salt
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil (original recipe creator used sweet almond oil)
  • 10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4-5 drops red food coloring (natural is best)
  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • Air-tight clear containers for storage – I found these cute “milk” bottles in a 6-pack at Michael’s for $9.99 and they always have 40-50% off coupons so these are really affordable!
  • Labels (optional – visit source website for free downloadable labels)

Directions:

Divide the Epsom salt evenly between two large mixing bowls. In a small bowl, combine carrier oil and peppermint essential oil. Pour half the oil mixture into each of the two bowls of Epsom salt. Mix with clean hands. Add the red food coloring to one of the two bowls of Epsom salt and mix using clean hands until color is distributed throughout. Layer the bath salts in the clear containers alternating between red and white until the container is full. Seal container, label and give to a very lucky recipient.

Note: The red food coloring will tint the bath water, but original recipe creator reports having had no issues with it staining her bath tub. If you’re worried, you can easily leave out the food coloring and still get the same muscle-relieving benefits.

Source: http://www.brokenplowblog.com/2012/12/04/handmade-holiday-candy-cane-bath-salts/

Lavender Bath Bombs

5. Lavender Bath Bomb

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1/2 cup powdered citric acid (found with the baking or canning supplies in “most grocery stores” – although I can never find it.  I bought mine on Amazon)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil (more or less based on your preference)
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond oil
  • Blue and red natural food coloring (optional)
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Large glass bowl
  • 4 (4-ounce) silicone molds
  • 1-2 tablespoons dried lavender buds (optional)

Directions:

  1. If using, sprinkle the dried lavender buds into the bottom of the silicone molds (they’ll show up just at the tops of your finished bath bombs). Add the citric acid and baking soda to the glass bowl. Use a whisk to combine the mixture.
  2. Add the essential oil and almond oil to the mixture. Drop in about 4 to 5 drops each of the red and blue food coloring (if using). Use the spoon to combine the mixture very well.
  3. Add a few spritzes of water to moisten the mixture. Don’t use too much at once. Use the spoon to mix the ingredients well. The mixture should be the consistency of slightly wet sand, and should clump in your hand if you squeeze it.
  4. Use a spoon to transfer the mixture to the silicone molds. Pack it in very tightly, all the way to the top.
  5. Lay a few paper towels on a flat surface, carefully turn the mold over, and pop out the bath bombs.
  6. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and transfer the paper towels and bath bombs to the baking sheet.  Cover with a few more paper towels and allow to dry overnight.

Celia’s Note: This recipe was a bit like a science experiment.  I had two failed attempts and had to really tweak my third attempt to get the bath bombs pictured above.  Citric acid fizzes when exposed to water so make sure to really use the spray bottle sparingly.  Also, if its humid outside (and let’s face it, it’s ALWAYS humid in Alabama) it may affect your product as well.  I found another recipe that recommends baking the bath bombs to help dry them out.  Preheat oven to 170° and then turn OFF.  Put bath bombs in oven to dry for 45 minutes.  I still had to remove the bath bombs twice during this time to press them back down into their molds before they dried out.  Read all about my Lavender Bath Bombs: Pinterest Fail!

Source: http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/1028461/diy-lavender-bath-bombs

For the New Mom

Diaper Bag Essentials

6. Diaper Bag Essentials

Mix and match the following recipes to create an on-the-go Diaper Bag Essentials gift bag for the new moms in your life! You could find a cute cosmetic bag just big enough to hold the items you choose so she can just throw the whole thing in the diaper bag and be ready for whatever comes her way! It’s a thoughtful gift idea she can use throughout the year! Also a great gift idea for the next Baby Shower you are invited to!

DIY Hand Sanitizer
6a. Thieves Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Pure Aloe Gel
  • ¼ teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
  • 6 drops Thieves essential oil blend
  • Distilled water – I had planned to use purified bottled water
  • small squeeze bottle – I used a cleaned recycled hand sanitizer bottle

Directions:

Start with filling your squeeze bottle with aloe, about ⅔ full. Next, add the Vitamin E.  Add 6 drops of Thieves Essential Oil and give it a shake. Lastly, add a little distilled water until it is to the consistency you like.

Read my original blog post Is your hand sanitizer drying out your hands? Here’s an alcohol free DIY Thieves Hand Sanitizer recipe!

Recipe Source: http://www.eatcraftparent.com/2014/06/non-toxic-hand-sanitizer-with-essential-oils/

Don’t want to DIY it but love the idea? Check out Young Living’s Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier!

Lavender Tea Tree Diaper Rash Cream

6b. Lavender Diaper Rash Ointment

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 cup organic, raw unrefined shea butter
  • 1/2 cup organic, raw coconut oil
  • 5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
    • Other optional oils to add are Roman Chamomile, Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifola) for a bad diaper rash, or Gentle Baby essential oil blend
  • 1 tbsp. beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax
  • For Disposable Diapers – 3 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (optional – you can use arrowroot or cornstarch if you prefer not to use zinc oxide)
  • For Cloth Diapers – 3 tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable glycerine or aloe vera gel (optional, for added nutrients and skin protection)
  • Double boiler**
  • Mixer (stand or handheld)

Directions:

In a double boiler, place the shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil in the top pan and bring to a boil. Leave in the pan long enough to melt all the shea butter and beeswax (5 minutes or less).

Remove from the heat and add essential oils.  Mix well and place in the refrigerator for a few hours – one to two. The cooling step is a very important part of the emulsifying process and cannot be skipped!

Once cooled (it will be harder), scoop into your mixer. A hand mixer should work just fine, too. Then, add the 3 tbsp. of zinc oxide  (or arrowroot or cornstarch) and the 2 tbsp. of optional vegetable glycerin and beat for 5 to 10 minutes. The beating lets oxygen circulate through the cream to fluff it up and thicken it.

It will look creamy and oily when you’re done, but after several hours it will thicken up A LOT. It’s just as thick as store bought ointment and way less toxic!

Celia’s note: I’m sad to say I’ve had several opportunities to use this recipe since I originally made it and it is WONDERFUL!!! I added Tea Tree oil to mine and it has done wonders to help alleviate discomfort and knock out diaper rashes on my little one in a day, maybe two if its really bad.   I now keep a jelly jar on the changing table and a small recycled Gerber baby food jar in my diaper bag (the image above the “Diaper Bag Essentials” heading is actually my diaper bag stash).  I’m about to transfer a jar into a plastic container to send to daycare because it works better than the store bought stuff! I will never run out of this stuff!!!

Source: http://mymerrymessylife.com/2012/07/homemade-diaper-rash-cream-green-non-toxic.html

ouchie

6c. Ouchie Roll-On: For Life’s Little Scrapes and Bruises

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 20 drops of Lavender oil
  • 15 drops of Frankincense oil
    • Bonus: 30 drops of Tea Tree oil
  • Carrier oil of your choice (I prefer fractionated coconut oil)
  • 10 ml glass roll-on bottle (with steel roller ball if possible)
  • Small funnel (optional)
  • Pipette (optional)

Directions:

Using the small funnel (optional – but I find it much easier) add essential oils to 10 ml roll-on bottle.  Use pipette (optional) to fill the roll-on the rest of the way with carrier oil of your choice).  Shake well before use.  Apply directly to the affected area.

Read my original post Ouchie! For Life’s Scrapes & Bruises

Stain Remover on the Go

6d. Stain Remover On-the-Go

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 capful Thieves cleaner
  • Distilled water
  • 10 ml glass roll-on bottle (with steel roller ball if possible)
  • Small funnel (optional)
  • Pipette (optional)

Directions:

Using the small funnel (optional – but I find it much easier) add 1 capful of Thieves cleaner to roll-on bottle.  Use pipette (optional) to slowly fill the roll-on the rest of the way with distilled water.  To use:  Rinse stain with cool water.  Gently shake roll-on and apply directly to stain.  Wash normally when you get home.

Source: I wish I knew… I found that picture above being shared over and over in Facebook groups I’m a member of and for the life of me I cannot find the original source.  If it is your image and/or recipe, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Thieves Household Cleaner is not currently a part of the standard Premium Starter Kit as most of the suggested oils in these recipes are but you can add it to your order at signup if you are interested.  I promise, you won’t regret it! A little goes a long way and I use it to clean everything!!!  Kitchen counters, bathtub, shower curtains, high chairs… I even add it to my laundry! Or you can get started with the Thieves Premium Starter Kit that includes TWO of each of the following: 14.4 oz Thieves Household Cleaners, Foaming Hand Soaps, Thieves Sprays, and Thieves Waterless Hand Purifiers, plus a 15 ml bottle of Thieves essential oil blend, AromaBright Toothpaste, and Fresh Essence Mouthwash with a BONUS Stress Away essential oil blend and roller fitment for easy application.   That’s enough to share with your friends and family for more Holiday gift ideas!!!

 

Gifts for Him

For Any Man

Vapor Discs

7. Homemade “Vicks” Vapor Shower Discs

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Baking Soda (approximately 2-3 cups)
  • Water
  • 15-20 drops of R.C. essential oil blend
  • 15 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin liners
  • Mason jar or other cute packaging container – here are mine all wrapped up!

Vicks - wrapped

Directions:

Add Baking Soda to mixing bowl.  Slowly add water until you’ve made a thick paste.  Just a little water goes a long way.  You want it to be the consistency of putty.  Add essential oil blend.  Spoon the mixture into lined muffin tin and let sit for 12-18 hours until hardened.  (You could also bake them to speed up this process, approximately 20 minutes at 350° – but if you do this add the essential oils after the discs come out of the oven to avoid damaging the therapeutic properties of the oils).

To Use: Place one shower disc anywhere in the bottom of your tub and let the steam from your hot shower release the essential oils to create an invigorating shower experience.  Especially enjoyable during the changing of the seasons or anytime you might suffer from a stuffy nose or congestion to help open up the sinuses and breathe easier!

Modified from source:  http://beingfrugalbychoice.com/2012/03/homemade-vicks-vapor-shower-disks.html

This is practically the same recipe but with different oils as my Diaper Pail Deodorant Discs.  Super easy recipe to follow and so worth it (plus another gift idea for the new mom)! Check em out!

Icy-Hot Muscle Rub

8. “Icy Hot” Muscle Rub

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • ½ cup Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Beeswax Pastilles (or grated beeswax)
  • 2 tsp Cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp Ginger or Tumeric powder (Optional alternative: I bet Ginger essential oil would be an awesome addition!)
  • 15 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops Lavender essential oil
  • Double boiler**
  • Glass or metal containers to package

Directions:

Add coconut oil and beeswax to double boiler.  Bring water to a boil and stir until all beeswax is melted.  Add cayenne and ginger (or turmeric) powders and stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes but not long enough to harden.  Add essential oils and mix well.  Pour into decorate glass or metal storage containers.

Note: This will have an “icy hot” sort of feel to it.  Since peppermint oil is a “hot” oil and the recipe calls for cayenne pepper, have your friends or family do a patch test first to see how their skin will react to the rub.  You can always add less essential oil and/or cayenne or more coconut oil and beeswax (try to keep the same proportions to maintain consistency) if they have sensitive skin.

Modified from source: http://draxe.com/homemade-muscle-rub/

Ache Away

9. “Ache Away” Roll-On

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 10 drops each of PanAway essential oil blend, Peppermint, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils
  • Carrier oil of your choice (I prefer fractionated coconut oil)
  • 10 ml glass roll-on bottle (with steel roller ball if possible)
  • Small funnel (optional)
  • Pipette (optional)

Directions:

Using the small funnel (optional – but I find it much easier) add essential oils to 10 ml roll-on bottle.  Use pipette (optional) to fill the roll-on the rest of the way with carrier oil of your choice).  Shake well before use.  Apply directly to the affected area.  Great for use on sore muscles, a crick in your neck or even a headache!

Note: Peppermint and PanAway are “hot” oils so have your friends or family member do a small patch test first to see how they react.  You can always add less essential oils or more carrier oil if they have sensitive skin.

 

For the Lumber Sexual

Black Spruce Beard Balm

(The image above is the recipe I made for my husband.  It is a modification of the recipe below because when I went to make it I realized I was out of Stress Away!!! It was a sad, sad day… However, I’m pleased to report that my husband LOVES this stuff!!! It’s a tried and true recipe for the bearded men in your life, approved by my not-so-crunchy baby daddy!)

10. Stress Away Beard Balm

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 Tbsp Beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax
  • 1 tsp Shea Butter
  • 1 tsp Jojoba  Oil or Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 tsp Argan Oil
  • 4 drops Vitamin E Oil (or the oil from 2 Vitamin E capsules)
  • 2-3 drops of Stress Away or other essential oil blend
    • Customizable with other oils! Feel free to change it up by using other essential oils of your choosing.  Some suggestions are:
      • Northern Lights Black Spruce (pictured) smells amazing! Nice and woodsy, sure to please any outdoorsman!
      • Sandalwood and cinnamon oils combined to give a sexy spiced winter aroma
      • Eucalyptus or tea tree oil can be added to combat blemish prone skin
      • Peppermint oil can be used as an extra anti-itch ingredient
      • Geranium oil is fantastic to calm reddened or inflamed skin
  • Double boiler**
  • 2 oz tin or other storage container

Directions:

Melt beeswax, shea butter, and carrier oils in double boiler.  Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Add Vitamin E oil and Stress Away essential oil blend (or your choice of essential oils). Stir mixture well, pour into container and allow to solidify overnight.

Modified from source: http://www.beautybythegeeks.com/diy-beard-balm-for-men/

Check out http://www.jebiga.com/10-diy-beard-oil-recipes/ for more DIY Beard oils, balms, butters, and mustache waxes for the Lumber Sexual in your life!

 

For the Preppy Businessman

shaving cream image

11. Shaving Cream

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • ½ cup Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup Shea Butter
  • ¼ cup Sweet Almond Oil (or jojoba or grapeseed if you are worried about nut allergies)
  • 2 tsp Vitamin E oil (about 2 capsules)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Baking Soda (you could substitute Arrowroot powder or Kaolin clay if your man has a baking soda sensitivity)
  • 10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice
    • Stress Away would smell lovely and is a “Dude Approved” fragrance
    • Lavender would help soothe skin irritation
    • Peppermint would be a nice and uplifting way to get his morning started
    • Other options and combos may include: Sandalwood, Peppermint & Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Orange & Clove… the possibilities are endless!
  • Double boiler** (or microwave safe dish)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixer (stand or hand)
  • Small airtight container or jar (I love the moustache ribbon in the source image above!)

Directions:

Place Coconut Oil and Shea Butter in double boiler (or microwave safe dish) and heat until melted.  Remove from heat and add Sweet Almond oil and essential oils of your choice. Stir until well blended.  Place in fridge until mixture is almost solid. Remove from fridge, add baking soda, and whip until light and fluffy.  Transfer to container or jar.

Recipe and Image Source:  http://www.couponsandfreebiesmom.com/2014/11/homemade-mens-shaving-cream.html#_a5y_p=2813726

Young Living also has Brand NEW Shutran Shave Cream for men and Mirah Shave Oil for women that they just added last month! (Note: at the time of this blog entry my website does not currently have these products listed but you can still purchase them at signup if you are interested).

 

For the Motor Head

Hand Degreaser

12. Hand Degreaser

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp Epsom Salts (I found that 2 Tbsp was too runny)
  • 4-6 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 2 oz glass bottle or salve jar

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz glass bottle or salve jar.  To use, shake bottle or mix ingredients, dump out a little on hands and rub together.

Modified from source: http://www.abundanthealth4u.com/v/vspfiles/downloadables/AbundantHealth_Holiday_Gift_Guide_2014.pdf

 

Gifts for the Whole Family

For Anyone

Orange Cedawood Lotion Bars

(A modification of the recipe below)

13. Lotion Bars:

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons of raw honey (optional)
  • 2 oz* Beeswax pastilles
  • 2 oz*  Shea Butter (or Cocoa Butter – would be nice for a subtle hint of chocolate, especially with Peppermint essential oil)
  • 2 oz* coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6-10 drops of essential oils of your choice
    • Lavender and/or Frankincense to soothe cracked and irritated skin.
    • Lemon for an energizing fresh citrus fragrance
    • Peppermint for an uplifting scent and holiday favorite
    • Other nice fragrance combinations: Orange & Cedarwood or Northern Lights Black Spruce for a manly fragrance; Abundance for a hint of Fall; Gold (Honey), Frankincense & Myrrh for a special Christmas blend
  • Double boiler
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin liners (paper or silicone)
  • Mason jar or other large jar to gift multiple bars to single person/family or small container or tin to gift one to a single person or as part of a gift basket

*Note: 1 oz is approximately 2 Tbsp

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt together the beeswax,  shea butter, and coconut oil until they become a smooth, uniform liquid.  Remove from heat and add the olive oil, honey, and essential oil drops. Mix well. In a muffin tin lined with muffin liners (reusable silicone works great!), ladle the mixture evenly between the lined cupcake wells. Allow to set (or harden) on the counter for 7 to 8 hours, or pop in the fridge to speed up the process.

Celia’s Note: I’ve found that my honey tends to settle out of the mixture when cooling.  It was less likely to happen when the bars cooled in the fridge but still settled some.  I just wipe with a damp paper towel to get the sticky off then allow to dry before packaging.

Modified from source: http://www.thankyourbody.com/orange-honey-lotion-bars/

 

raspberry-mint-lip-balm-1(Color optional)

14. Raspberry Mint Lip Balm (with SPF)

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 Tbsp Red Raspberry Seed Oil (sadly, this does not smell like raspberries but that does mean that it’s man friendly if you leave out the tint!)
  • 1 tsp beeswax
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 1/8 – 1/16 tsp Pink Mica (optional if you want a tinted lip balm) – I got mine on Amazon (Rose Red Mica Powder). They have a variety of color choices.
  • 5 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • Double boiler**
  • Small tins or lib balm tubes for packaging

Directions:

Add Red Raspberry Seed oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil and Pink Mica (optional) to double boiler and heat until melted.  Stir well and remove from heat.  Let cool a moment then add Peppermint essential oil.  Stir until well mixed.  Pour into tin or lip balm tubes.

Note: Red Raspberry Seed oil has an approximate SPF of 28-50 so it will help protect your lips from the sun!

Recipe and Image Source: http://jenniraincloud.com/raspberry-mint-lip-balm-w-spf/

 

Winter Wellness Gift Basket

15. Winter Wellness Gift Basket Ideas:

Mix and Match the following gift ideas to create the perfect Winter Wellness gift basket for the whole family!

 

15a. Thieves Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

see recipe above under “Diaper Bag Essentials”

Breathe Easy15b. Breathe Easy Roll-On

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 15 drops each of R.C., Peppermint, Lemon, and Frankincense
  • Carrier oil of your choice (I prefer fractionated coconut oil)
  • 10 ml glass roll-on bottle (with steel roller ball if possible)
  • Small funnel (optional)
  • Pipette (optional)

Directions:

Using the small funnel (optional – but I find it much easier) add essential oils to 10 ml roll-on bottle.  Use pipette (optional) to fill the roll-on the rest of the way with carrier oil of your choice).  Shake well before use.   Apply to chest to help you breathe easier or to bridge of nose for more severe congestion.  Note: Be careful to avoid eyes as Peppermint is a “hot” oil and can burn or cause your eyes to water.

 

15c. Homemade “Vicks” Vapor Shower Discs

see recipe above “Gifts for Any Man”

Thieves Lozenges
15d. Thieves Lozenges

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • ¾ cup of Raw (preferably local) Honey
  • 15 drops Thieves essential oil blend
  • 5 drops Lemon essential oil
  • Powdered sugar to coat
  • Pot
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Parchment paper or non-stick food mat
  • Knife or scissors
  • Glass jar or other storage container
  • Wax paper to make wrappers (optional)

Directions:

Bring honey to a boil and heat to 300° (use candy thermometer).  Let cool slightly and add Theives and Lemon essential oils.  Stir until combined. Once it has thickened slightly, place on parchment paper or no-stick food mat and roll into a long tube while it is still warm.  Cut into small pieces and coat lightly with powdered sugar (helps prevent them from sticking together).  I’ve also seen other sources suggest pouring into a small candy mold or rolling into little balls.  You can wrap individually using small pieces of wax paper (optional) or just package unwrapped in glass jar or storage container.

Source: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/481814860110843414/

 

Love this idea but not a candy maker? Young Living takes the guess work out of it and made them for you! Check out their Thieves Hard Lozenges!

 

Thieves Tea
15e. Bonus idea: Thieves Tea for Winter Wellness:

Include a 15 ml bottle of Thieves (+ optional Lemon essential oil) and Thieves Tea Recipe Card with your favorite Herbal Tea Sampler

Thieves Tea recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water or your favorite herbal tea
  • 1 drop Thieves essential oil blend
  • 2-3 drops Lemon essential oil (optional)
  • Raw honey (to taste)

Directions:

Heat water or brew tea as directed.  Add drops of essential oil(s) and honey to sweeten to taste.  Drink as often as necessary for immune support.  (Optional: Add 1 drop Frankincense oil and/or Peppermint oil for added support).

email me at ShadowHawk1231@gmail.com for a printable recipe card pdf file

 

Thieves Diffuser
15f. Bonus idea:

A Dewdrop, Bamboo, or even Rainstone or Aria Diffuser with essential oils of your choice (Thieves, R.C., or Christmas Spirit are wonderful gift ideas for the holiday season) are always a welcome gift!

 Gifts for the Kids

Sensory Play-Doh

16. Sensory “Play-Doh”

Ingredients & Supplies (makes one batch):

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • Natural food coloring (your choice)
  • 10-20 drops of essential oils (depending on how strong you want your fragrance).  Oil and color pairing ideas below (but feel free to use your imagination!):
    • Lemon essential oil and yellow food coloring
    • Orange or Citrus Fresh essential oil and orange food coloring
    • Frankincense or Thieves essential oils and red food coloring
    • Peppermint essential oil and blue or green food coloring
    • Stress Away or Peace & Calming essential oil and green food coloring
    • Lavender or Valor essential oil and purple food coloring
  • Mixing bowl

Directions:

Stir together salt, flour, cream of tartar and oil in a big bowl. Add the boiling water and keep stirring until it forms a dough. When it’s mixed pretty thoroughly and has had a chance to cool a bit, add the essential oil and food coloring. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed into the dough. This takes a while, but keep working at it! And be careful, because it could still be really hot!

Note: ALL of the above ingredients are SAFE to ingest so if you have a youngster who still occasionally likes to eat play-doh, you can rest assured that while this play dough is definitely salty, it contains no harmful chemicals!

Celia’s note: The above recipe makes one BIG batch! I divided my batch into 6 smaller batches before adding my essential oils and food coloring. I used a couple drops each of food coloring and 2-3 drops of essential oil. My mom had also found me some Gerber plastic baby food containers (see pic) from one of her friends that were the perfect size for storing a little of the play-doh. I will tell you that after sitting for a week my dough got a little sticky but this is easily solved by adding a bit more flour. Also, my natural food coloring seemed to color shift over time. So be aware of these issues and maybe do a test batch before wrapping up. I probably wouldn’t make it too far ahead of time. I have no idea how long it would last (certainly not as long as store bought play-doh) but it’s easy to mix up a new batch if necessary!

Inspired by source:  http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/52159/lemon-essential-oil-playdough?utm_source=loveandmarriageblog.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange

Also check out http://loveandmarriageblog.com/10-essential-oils-playdough-recipes/  for even more sensory play dough ideas using essential oils (ß she even has a link to free printable play dough mats that you can include for the kiddos!)

Sensory Bath Crayons

17. Sensory Bath “Crayons”

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Glycerin Soap (I found mine at Michael’s but you can get some really nice soap options on Amazon)
  • Natural food coloring
  • Couple drops of Essential Oils of your choice. Oil and color pairing ideas below (but feel free to use your imagination!):
    • Lemon essential oil and yellow food coloring
    • Frankincense or Thieves essential oils and red food coloring
    • Peppermint essential oil and blue or green food coloring
    • Stress Away essential oil and green food coloring
    • Lavender essential oil and purple food coloring
  • A microwavable bowl
  • Silicone Mold(s) – you can find Jello brand molds in cute shapes and sizes that would work as well
  • Packaging materials of your choice – I found these clear plastic treat baggies at Michael’s in the cakes and candies section, they also had ones with cute little holiday pictures, and used curling ribbon to tie them off.

Directions:

Most of the Glycerin soap comes in a block that can be cut into little cubes, something like 1-2” square if yours doesn’t.  I would start with maybe 2 cubes in your microwavable bowl.  Heat for approximately 30 seconds until all the soap is melted.  Once melted, add a few drops of your natural food coloring and essential oils of choice (you can always add more if you desire a richer color or stronger scent.  Remember, richer colors are likely to show up better when coloring but a little essential oil goes a long way!) and stir until well mixed.  Pour into your silicone mold.  The size and shape of your mold will determine how many crayons you will get from each batch.  Repeat with desired color and fragrance combos.  Let cool for several hours (you can put in fridge to speed up this process) until your crayons are hardened.  Once completely cooled package in multi- or single color packages.   I packaged my crayons in a clear plastic bag tied with curling ribbon since the colors of the crayons were so pretty to begin with!

Modified from Source: http://www.bathactivitiesforkids.com/2013/03/homemade-bath-crayons.html

Monster Spray

18. “Go Away Monster (Sleepytime) Spray”

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 4 oz Distilled Water
  • 4 oz Unscented Witch Hazel
  • 16+ drops of Lavender essential oil
    • Bonus:  You could also include several drops of other “sleepytime” oils like Cedarwood, Peace & Calming, Gentle Baby, Valor, etc.
  • 8 oz glass spray bottle
  • A cute label (email me at ShadowHawk1231@gmail.com for a high quality png of the image I made that you can print out on sticky paper)

Go AwayMonster Spray

Directions:

Mix ingredients in an 8 oz glass spray bottle.  Print a cute label on sticky paper and add to bottle. Shake well before using and spray around your child’s room at night, especially under the bed and in closets, to scare away the monsters and promote a restful night’s sleep!

 

 

 

 

 

Where to buy your Supplies:

PSK with Diffuser Choices

 Young Living essential oils:

I only use Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils because of their commitment to quality and Seed to Seal guarantee.   All the primary oils suggested in the recipes above are part of Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit. The PSK comes with 11 essential oils and blends:

  1. Lavender
  2. Lemon
  3. Frankincense
  4. Peppermint
  5. Copaiba
  6. DiGize blend – for tummy troubles
  7. Thieves blend – for wellness
  8. Purification blend – for all things stinky
  9. PanAway blend – for aches and pains
  10. R.C. blend – to breathe easier
  11. BONUS: Stress Away blend – the name says it all!

Plus, you get to build your dream kit by picking a diffuser of your choice (additional cost for some of the diffuser options), plus awesome samples, an attachable roller fitment so you can easily apply your favorite oil, and 10 sample bottles!

The baseline kit with the Dewdrop diffuser is a small investment of $160 but the retail value of everything you get above is over $330!!! That’s a savings of over $170! Say What!?! Plus, think of all the money you can save this year by making all your own DIY Holiday Gifts for everyone on your list! It’s a no brainer!  Send me a message or email me at ShadowHawk1231@gmail.com to learn more about how you can order yours today and save an additional 24% off retail on all future orders or to ask ANY questions you may have about essential oils or DIY home, health, and beauty products!  Ready to order now? Visit my page How to Get Essential Oils at Wholesale Pricing to sign up today!

Carrier Oils:

I prefer Carrington Farms brand of Coconut Oil for cooking and DIY beauty products available at Costco.

For fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond, Red Raspberry and other carrier oils I have had really good luck with the Dr. Adorable brand of oils available for purchase on Amazon.

Beeswax and Butters:

Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon both have a good selection to choose from.  If you are an Amazon Prime member you will enjoy the free 2 day shipping, especially as the holidays rapidly approach!

Glycerin Soap:

Michael’s has clear Glycerin soap for approximately $9.99 per package (make sure to check out their website for coupons – they often have either 40 or 50% off a single item!).  You can also find some really nice soap options on Amazon if you want a more gentle formula or extra ingredients like goat’s milk, etc.

Natural Food Coloring:

I ordered mine on Amazon (India Tree Natural Decorating Colors) although natural food/health stores may have some.  I honestly didn’t look really hard.  I know Kroger does NOT have it.  I just bought a set with the primary colors and mixed my own secondary and tertiary colors myself.

Citric Acid:

Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon both have Citric Acid for a reasonable price.  I got mine at Amazon (Food Grade Citric Acid) because I had another order ready to process and I have free shipping through Prime.  But my next order will likely be from Mountain Rose Herbs (Citric Acid) because I have some other supplies I need to order.  It’s a little cheaper at MRH but you will have to pay shipping so unless you have a bunch of stuff to order it’s not really worth it in my opinion.

Glass Spray Bottles, Roller Bottles, and other Packaging:

I’ve found that Kroger often has the Mason or Bell canning and preserve jars (4 oz and 8 oz) for pretty cheap.  I’m sure WalMart would have them for a good price too if you shop there.  Target doesn’t have a very big selection although they do have a few canning supplies.  They were a bit more expensive as well.

Michael’s often has really cute supplies for packaging (plus, they always have coupons on their website).  I got several of my glass jars for this class there. Always check their discount aisle right as you check out.  I also shop at Michael’s for ribbon, tags, labels and stickers to use to put the finishing touches on my gifts.  You could be as rustic, vintage, modern, or fancy as you can imagine with just a few extra supplies!

Shop around for the best prices on roller bottles (make sure they have stainless steel rollers because citrus and other oils can break down plastic over time and you want to be able to reuse them) and spray bottles.  Quality and prices vary greatly so make sure to read reviews if you are shopping from a retailer not on this list.

  • If you are a Young Living wholesale member, there is a secret Facebook group ran by another YL member that has really excellent selection of products for a good price. She buys in bulk so her items are usually pretty inexpensive and always the best quality.  She also offers multiple item discounts to buyers as well.  PM me on Facebook and I’ll add you to this group.
  • Amazon always has a good selection and the benefits of free 2 day shipping with a Prime membership often make Amazon the best choice, especially this close to the holidays.
  • A lot of YL members swear by Glass Bottle Outlet although I’ve never shopped there.
  • Life Science Publishing (they are the publishing company that puts out the Essential Oil Desk/Pocket/Quick Reference Guides) also has some supplies.
  • Abundant Health is another popular supplier of essential oil references and supplies.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

Need last minute Holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank??? Here’s a DIY Holiday Gift Guide to help! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures

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10 Day Detox: My Daily Journal and Meal Plan

If you follow my blog you’ve already seen my recent blog posts My New Adventure: The 10 Day Detox and Oily Support for Healthy Weight Management: A Supplement to My 10 Day Detox.  If you haven’t already, please check out my two previous blogs for more info on the detox itself and how I’m using essential oils to provide support on my detox adventure. This post is my daily journal and meal plan for those who are interested to know exactly what I did, my progress along the way, and my ultimate results.

As much as I don’t like following pre-made meal plans that come with diets I did make my own Meal Plan before I started my detox to help with grocery shopping and help the hubby, who is the primary cook in the house, know what to cook that would be allowed given the restrictions of the detox.  But I’ll tell you this, be flexible.  I wound up getting sick in the middle of my detox and we altered the meal plan significantly from it’s original plan to what you see below.  Figures that the week that I really try to start getting healthy and focus on me is the week that I get sick after almost 2 years of being overall healthy and not needing a Dr.  I tried desperately to avoid taking any medication since I was on a detox and trying to get sugar and other toxins out of my system but here’s the thing, when you need medicine, you need it.  I’m a firm believer in Western Medicine, but with a holistic approach.  When the oily remedies aren’t helping or the pain is bad enough it’s time to rely on medicine.  I just think that overall we tend to over-Rx and overuse medicine without first looking for other solutions.

So without further ado, here is my daily journal and what I ate.  I will share my results at the end.

Day 1: Monday, September 21, 2015

We went shopping over the weekend and stocked up on lots of healthy fruits, veggies, lean meats, healthy fats, and other ingredients to get started off right this morning.  I also ordered a Glucomannan fiber  supplement from Amazon which arrived on Sunday.  I forgot to discuss this in my intro blog to the 10 Day Detox but Dr. Hyman recommends adding Glucomannan, what he calls the “super fiber” supplements to your daily regimen as a way to get your daily fiber intake and promote a feeling of fullness.  Glucomannan comes from the root of the Konjac, or Elephant yam, native to Asia.  It is making it’s rounds through the weight loss circles because it can absorb up to 50x it’s weight in water which helps promotes satiety and pushes more calories through your colon rather than letting them be absorbed and lowers the energy density of the foods you eat.  Which is basically a fancy way of saying that it fills your stomach up with zero calorie fiber so you feel more full and don’t overeat or aren’t tempted to keep eating after you’ve already eaten your allotted amount for your meal. This was important to me because portion control is a really difficult thing for me to master and I have concerns that I will feel super hungry by cutting so many things out of my diet for this detox.  My goal is to take between 1-3 Glucomannan supplements approximately 30 minutes before meal times per the recommended dosage. (Read more about Dr. Hyman’s thoughts on Glucomannan here: The Super Fiber that Controls Your Appetite and Blood Sugar)

So, armed with a fridge full of healthy food and my new fiber supplement I geared up to face my day.  First thing in the morning I weighed myself and took measurements of my bust, under my bust, my waist, hips, thighs and upper arms just so I had a point of comparison.  Even though I am doing this detox to help break my sugar addiction rather than to specifically lose weight, I certainly wouldn’t complain if I lose some weight along the way so thought it would be nice to have some objective data. Oddly enough, I was at my lowest weight since well before I got pregnant with my daughter when I started the detox!  I did pretty good sticking to my original meal plan that I had set for myself.  I did skip my afternoon snack because I elected to take off work early to go visit family.  Overall I’m impressed with my resolve.  But it’s always easy the first day of any new diet because you are super excited and optimistic about the results.  I did have a pretty major craving after dinner but was able to resist. We shall see if I can keep it up.  I did have a little bit of a headache around my morning snack and again before bed. Wasn’t super bad and I was able to help minimize the discomfort with my Headache Remedy roll-on essential oil combo.

Day 1 Meals:

a.m. – 1 Glucomannan supplement and 8 oz of water when I first woke up

Breakfast – Smoothie.  Dr. Hyman’s detox breakfast smoothie didn’t sound super appealing to me and I had heard many people say that they didn’t care for the taste so I found an alternative breakfast smoothie recipe from Smart and Savvy Mom’s blog when she did the 10 Day Detox.  Here is her Strawberry, Banana, Almond Smoothie recipe.  I modified it slightly by using Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk instead of the Soy Coconut Milk that she used as I didn’t want the added sugar since that was my main issue.  I also added 1 tsp of Brewer’s Yeast and 1 Tbsp of Flax meal to my smoothie to help keep my milk supply up since my caloric intake would be decreasing without all the added sugar.

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water.  Since I didn’t have my essential oils order in yet to do my Oily Support supplements I added 2 drops of Grapefruit oil to my water to help boost my metabolism and keep my blood sugar within normal limits.

Morning snack – 1-2 servings of mixed nuts (Seriously, 1/4 cup of nuts is almost nothing!)

11:30 a.m. – 1 Glucomannan supplement (made sure to drink a fair bit of my water from that morning when I took it)

Lunch – Salad with tuna.  I threw together a bunch of salad ingredients that I liked all of which are included on this cheat sheet to Dr. Hyman’s Super Salad Bar.  For dressing I just used my homemade balsamic vinaigrette but you could pretty much use any oil and vinegar based homemade dressing recipe you wanted. I also had another 20 oz water with Grapefruit eo with my lunch.

3:00 p.m. – Left work early to go visit family so didn’t have an afternoon snack.  Did however have another 8 oz of water before I left.

5:00 p.m. – 1 Glucomannan supplement and 20 oz of water.

Dinner – Baked chicken, sauteed kale, steamed green beans, and side salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Finished my water from before my meal.

Total Water Consumption = 76 oz

Day 2: Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I know I said I wasn’t doing this for weight loss and that you should never weigh yourself daily because of natural weight fluctuations but I totally couldn’t help it and weighed myself this morning.  Down almost 2 pounds in 24 hours! Say what!?!  Probably just a fluke or normal weight fluctuations but hey, I’ll take it.  Hope I get some good results by the end of this!

My Essential Rewards oils shipment came last night so before bed I got to make my Oily Support supplements in anticipation of today.  I was super excited to add NingXia Red and my new oily supplements to my routine today.  I decided to up my Glucomannan from 1 supplement to 2 to see if that helps promote more of a feeling of fullness today.  Totally forgot to take it before lunch.  Need to figure out a good way to help me remember.  My biggest struggle today was that I woke up with a headache that has pretty much persisted throughout the day.  Even though I didn’t drink a whole lot of caffeine I did drink 1-2 cups of coffee daily.  I wonder if I’m having caffeine withdrawal headaches? It’s possible it could be sinus stuff too.  My poor little booger is living up to her name and has been super congested, snotty, and generally under the weather so I may be fighting off whatever she has.  Either way, the Headache Remedy roll-on is helping some but not a lot and I’m resistant to the idea of taking medication since the whole point of a detox is to rid your body of toxins.  Will see how long I can handle it before I give in. But, no sugar cravings today!

Day 2 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and  1 Oily Support supplement with 8 oz water; 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with 1 drop DiGize added (I find it’s best to add the essential oil first then add the NingXia red – otherwise the oil sits on top and DiGize can be a bit hot on the lips).

Breakfast – Smoothie with Brewer’s Yeast and Flaxseed Meal added

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

Morning snack – probably more like 3-4 servings of mixed nuts… I portioned out a small amount but still felt hungry so I portioned out another bit.  Going to have to work a bit more on self-control.

11:30 a.m. – totally forgot my Glucomannan supplements

Lunch – Salad with leftover chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. 10 oz water with 4 drops of Slique Essence essential oil blend

2:00 p.m. – 20 oz water

Afternoon snack – raw veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas and bell peppers) with hummus

5:00 p.m. – 20 oz water

7:30 p.m. – 2 Glucomannan and 1 Oily support supplements with 8 oz water

Dinner – baked salmon and leftover kale and green beans from last night. 20 oz water. Ate later than I wanted to but our daughter got sent home sick and hubby (who usually cooks for the family) wasn’t able to prepare food before I got home from supervision because she was being super needy all afternoon and evening.

Total Water Consumption = 96 oz

Day 3: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Down another pound today! Woo-hoo! I seriously can’t stay off the scale now and that’s counter to my entire philosophy.  I really think obsessing over numbers on the scale is a bad idea in any diet or lifestyle change, but alas… here I am.

Our daughter is home sick today so I called in to stay home and snuggle with her.  Threw my routine off a little bit but I was pleased overall with how well I ate even though I had a bunch of food not on my diet plan staring me in the face all day.  Honestly, I didn’t have any cravings for junk until right before bed.  That time of night is pretty much my Achilles heel it seems.  Did well and resisted though.  Go me! Headache not as intense as yesterday and was intermittent instead of persisting throughout the day. Thinking it’s caffeine withdrawals. 😦

Day 3 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and 1 Oily Support supplement with 8 oz water; 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with 1 drop DiGize added

Breakfast – Smoothie with Brewer’s Yeast and Flaxseed Meal added

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

Morning snack – raw veggies with hummus

12:15 p.m. – 2 Glucomannan with 8 oz water

Lunch– salad with tuna and balsamic vinaigrette. 20 oz water with 4 drops Slique Essence

Afternoon snack – seaweed snacks from the local Asian market (yum!)

3:30 p.m. – the hubby watched the baby and let me take a nice, relaxing detox bath! 20 oz water during my bath.

5:00 p.m. – 2 Glucomannan and 1 Oily Support supplement. Finished water from bath.

Dinner – baked salmon, baked eggplant, and steamed broccoli. 20 oz water

Total Water Consumption = 96 oz

Day 4: Thursday, September 24, 2015

Headache is back today. But it’s coupled with considerable pressure in my head and sinuses as well as a bit of a sore throat.  Lovely.  Hoping my NingXia Red helps provide some immune support and I think I’ll diffuse some Thieves tonight to help me fight this crud.  Busy at work so no real time to snack but honestly I’m just not that hungry today.  As much as I’d like to think that this is because of the detox I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t feel well.

Took off an hour early today and found out when I got home that I was running a 100.5° fever! No wonder I wasn’t feeling well! Reluctantly took some Tylenol but wanted to see if it would help bring my fever down.  Seemed to help for a bit.

Day 4 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and 1 Oily Support supplement with 8 oz water; 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with 1 drop DiGize added

Breakfast – Smoothie with Brewer’s Yeast and Flaxseed Meal added

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

11:00 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and 20 oz water

Lunch – Salad with leftover salmon from last night and balsamic vinaigrette.  Ate less than half of it because I wasn’t feeling well and it was decidedly not appetizing.  Did eat a handful of mixed nuts to make sure that I had some food on my tummy for energy to get through the rest of the day. Finished water from before lunch.

1:00 p.m. – 20 oz water with 4 drops Slique Essence

4:30 p.m. – unsweetened herbal lemon ginger herbal tea with 2 drops Thieves oil.  Skipped the Glucomannan and Oily supplements because I honestly wasn’t very hungry at all and didn’t want to fill up on fiber with no real substance.

Dinner – homemade chicken and vegetable soup, with homemade chicken broth (because my husband loves me!). 20 oz water

10:30 p.m. – 8 oz water

Total Water Consumption = 96

Day 5: Friday, September 25, 2015

Figures the week I’d start trying to take better care of myself would be the first week in almost 2 years that I get sick.  The little one didn’t want to sleep in her crib last night so I wound up on the couch with her and was having alternating chills and sweats all night long.  I was still running a 100.3° fever this morning so called in to works and went to the Dr. Sure enough, bacterial sinus infection (thank goodness not the flu and the rapid strep was negative too). Got a round of antibiotics to help clear it up. So my goal was to relax and take care of myself today. Skipped my supplements because I wasn’t particularly hungry to begin with and wanted to make sure I ate enough food.

Day 5 Meals:

 5:30 a.m. – shot of NingXia Red with 2 drops DiGize

Breakfast – Smoothie with Brewer’s Yeast and Flaxseed Meal added

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

11:00 a.m. – warm detox bath and 20 oz water

Lunch – leftover chicken soup. Finished water from when I had my bath.

3:00 p.m. – unsweetened lemon ginger herbal tea

4:00 p.m. – 20 oz water

Dinner – leftover chicken soup. Finished water from earlier.

After dinner snack – cheated a bit and had a peach. It was one of the few things that was appetizing to me today and in the grand scheme of the glycemic index not too terribly high. 10 oz water.

Total water consumption = 70 oz

Day 6: Saturday, September 26, 2015

Still feeling under the weather but woke up with no fever! Yay! Have very little appetite today but no sugar cravings. And much to my surprise, I’ve lost almost 8 lbs in 6 days! I’m sure part of the reason my weight loss is that significant is because I haven’t eaten a whole lot the past couple days due to not feeling well, but if I can beat the sugar cravings and get back to eating well maybe I can lose a few more!  TMI alert – my stomach got really angry after eating the bacon and eggs this morning.  I desperately wanted something other than a smoothie and didn’t want to get hungry in the middle of shopping at our big bi-annual Kids Market consignment sale this morning.  My mom thinks it’s the antibiotics that upset my stomach not the bacon but I’m not so sure.  This is the first grease I’ve had in awhile (since even before starting the detox).  Of course it could be because I pretty much ate nothing but liquids the past 24 hours too.  Will have to see what tomorrow brings.

Day 6 Meals: 

5:30 a.m. – shot of NingXia Red with 2 drops DiGize

Breakfast- bacon and scrambled eggs with 1/2 peach. 20 oz water.

7:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

Lunch – the last of the leftover chicken soup. 20 oz water.

Afternoon snack – raw veggies and hummus

4:30 p.m. – unsweetened lemon and ginger herbal tea

Dinner – “Italian” meatloaf (made with almond flour instead of breadcrumbs and a homemade tomato sauce instead of ketchup) with sautéed kale and baked zucchini. 20 oz water.

Total water consumption = 80 oz

Day 7: Sunday, September 27, 2015

Feeling a little bit better than yesterday but still not well.  Didn’t have a headache for most of the day.  Did have one hit in the late afternoon that was pretty bad and broke down and took some Ibuprofen and took a relaxing detox bath.  That helped and my headache went away for the rest of the day.  No sugar cravings today but still not much of an appetite.  I’m pleased to report that whatever upset my stomach yesterday didn’t bother me today.  I did make some bacon as an experiment and it didn’t bother me so who knows what it was yesterday?

Day 7 Meals:

7:00 a.m. – shot of NingXia Red with 2 drops DiGize

Breakfast– bacon and scrambled eggs. Glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

10:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

Lunch – leftover meatloaf and a few raw veggies with hummus. Finished water from earlier.

1:00 p.m. – 20 oz water

3:30 p.m. – unsweetened peppermint herbal tea

4:00 p.m. – detox bath.  20 oz water.

Dinner – baked chicken, sauteed Brussels sprouts, and steamed yellow squash, carrots, and onions.  10 oz water

Total Water Consumption – 70 oz

Day 8: Monday, September 28, 2015

Feeling a little bit better but still not 100% yet.  Had to return to work and anticipated that my appetite might return today so I resumed taking my fiber and oily supplements.  Trying to get back on track with the Meal Plan I had made after several revisions due to not feeling well and working in some chicken soup for some comfort food.

Day 8 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and 1 Oily Support supplement with 8 oz water; 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with 1 drop DiGize added

Breakfast – Smoothie.  Ran out of Brewer’s Yeast but added Flaxseed Meal

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

10:30 a.m. – handful mixed nuts

Lunch – salad with leftover chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. 20 oz water with 4 drops Slique Essence.

4:00 p.m. – 10 oz water

5:30 p.m. – 2 Glucomannan and 1 Oily Support supplement. 20 oz water.

Dinner – turkey stuffed poblano peppers with broccoli, green bean and avocado salad. Finished water from earlier.

Total Water Consumption = 78

 Day 9: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nothing new to note really.  Haven’t had any sugar cravings for a couple days now so that’s good.  I’ve also noticed that I’ve been actually physically hungry, rather than what I call emotionally hungry lately.  I can’t remember the last time that I felt hunger pains before I thought about food.  So I guess that’s good that I’m not constantly obsessing over food and what my next meal will be!  Got sick midday, had to leave work early and couldn’t even think about food in the evening.  Poor hubby already took the day off to take the baby back to the pediatrician and I couldn’t even give him a break when I got home from work.  He did great with the bedtime routine and let me crash around 7:45.  He takes such good care of me. I got a keeper!  Love my man so much!!!

Day 9 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – 2 Glucomannan supplements and 1 Oily Support supplement with 8 oz water; 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with 1 drop DiGize added

Breakfast – Smoothie with Flaxseed meal

8:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

10:30 a.m. – handful mixed nuts

Lunch – couple bites of salad greens with leftover ground turkey and broccoli, green bean and avocado salad from last night.  20 oz water with 4 drops Slique Essence.  Something got the better of me and I was unable to keep lunch down. Went home from work sick.  I swear, this has not been my week!

2:00 p.m. – 20 oz water

3:30 p.m. – unsweetened peppermint tea

Dinner – couldn’t even fathom eating food.  Waves of nausea kept hitting me all night long.

6:30 p.m. – 8 oz water

Total Water Consumption = 78

Day 10: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Holy smokes! I lost 10.1 lbs!!! Say what!?! I’m sure part of it is because I was sick yesterday and didn’t eat much though. No nausea this morning but boy did my milk supply take a hit from yesterday. I’m sure I’m borderline dehydrated.  Even drinking water wasn’t super appealing yesterday evening but I tried to drink enough to get by.  Decided to skip the supplements today because I didn’t want to add anything to potentially upset my already delicate stomach.  Poor hubby woke up with a fever himself this morning so now he’s taking a sick day for himself.  Apparently we are just sharing germs among the whole family…

Day 10 Meals:

5:30 a.m. – shot of NingXia Red with 2 drops DiGize

Breakfast – Smoothie with Flaxseed meal. 16 oz water.

9:00 a.m. – 20 oz water

Lunch – I couldn’t even look at the salad mix at home after eating so much of it and having stomach upset after eating it so I ventured out to the cafeteria on campus for lunch.  It is really hard to find food that meets the detox’s restrictions in a college cafeteria, or any buffet style restaurant I would assume.  They have a soup and salad bar so I figured I’d be safe there.  Unfortunately they only had really small side salad plates (I had to go back twice!) and both their soups had either rice or potatoes in them… Bummer.  But I was good overall.  I did cheat and used the Italian dressing which I’m sure has added sugar in it but I desperately wanted something other than oil and vinegar, which is the basis of my balsamic vinaigrette that I make.  16 oz water.

5:30 p.m. – 20 oz water

Dinner – Baked chicken, steamed broccoli, and blanched green beans. Finished water from earlier.

7:00 p.m. – 10 oz water

Total Water Consumption = 82 oz

So this was really not my week.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so sick and I hate that it fell during the week that I was trying to do a detox to break my sugar addiction because I don’t think this really reflects my every day appetites.  But alas, when picking baby up from day care you often bring home more than just the baby.  I guess we were overdue.  It’s a lesson in being flexible I suppose. I am pleased to report, however, that I feel like I’ve managed to overcome my sugar addiction.  There has been A LOT of stuff in the house that is not on my diet plan (Did I mention the hubby got donuts the day he took the baby to the pediatrician) and I’ve done well to not only avoid eating it but haven’t really craved it.  There were a few evenings, especially early on that I really wanted something sweet after dinner.  I’m not sure why but it seems that before bed is my Achilles heel when it comes to sugar cravings.  But I’m reasonably confident that I can grab a piece of fruit or have a hot cup of tea with honey to satisfy my sweet tooth instead of eating something loaded with processed sugar. So that’s a win!

Also, my hunger cravings in general don’t seem to be bad.  I love food and honestly could eat all day, even when not hungry.  But lately I’ve found myself actually getting physically hungry rather than “emotionally hungry” or just thinking about food.  So that’s a huge change.  My portion control seems to be a bit better under control as well.  Of course several days I was sick so it’s not an accurate reflection of my appetite but by the last day I was more or less back to normal and these changes appeared to be lasting.

Which brings me to my weight loss.  Overall in the past 10 days I’ve managed to lose 10.1 lbs.  In addition, I’ve lost 3″ off my waist, 1.5″ off my hips, 2″ off my bust, 2″ from under my bust, and .5″ from my upper arm with no loss from my thighs. Even though this wasn’t my main objective, I’m really pleased with the results.  I honestly didn’t expect such dramatic loss.  I can only hope that by getting back into a clean eating/whole foods lifestyle that I’ll be able to keep it off and hopefully lost a bit more.

The question remains as to whether I will pursue the Transitional phase of the diet or not.  I’m seriously contemplating just adding back fruits, legumes, starchy vegetables, and gluten free grains (like quinoa) and continuing to abstain from dairy and gluten.  I haven’t decided yet and am still researching the pros and cons.  I admit, I miss cheese. And really I didn’t eat a ton of dairy or gluten anyway.  So we shall see.  If the research indicates that I might be able to shed a bit more weight by remaining dairy and gluten free for awhile I might just try it.  See resources below for more information on dairy and gluten.

 

Have you done the 10 Day Detox? What were your results like? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below to share your story!

 

Resources

Dr. Hyman on Dairy:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/24/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs-2/

Dr. Hyman on Gluten:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/12/04/gluten-making-sick-can-going-gluten-free-help-lose-weight/


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Oily Support for Healthy Weight Management: A Supplement to My 10 Day Detox

Sadly, my September Essential Rewards order processed a couple days later than expected so it did not arrive in time to start my new weight management routine or my 30 day NingXia challenge on the same day as my 10 Day Detox but better late than never! I’m excited to tell you all about my new oily routine to help support my healthy weight management goals as a supplement to my 10 Day Detox.

NingXia 30 Day Challenge

First up is NingXia Red.  I’ve been hearing so many things about this great product since I joined Young Living.  I tried the samples in the Starter Kit but didn’t really know a whole lot about what it was or why I need to take it until recently. Have you ever heard of the Wolfberry or Goji berry? The wolfberry is a “superfruit” that has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to help strengthen the body, promote fitness, prolong life, and ease transitioning of the seasons. In addition, Wolfberry supports healthy eye function and some research suggests that they may even help improve vision imperfections common with Type 2 Diabetics!

NingXia Red is Young Living’s propriety blend of Wolfberry with pure Orange, Yuzu, Lemon, and Tangerine essential oils, along with blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices to deliver a whole-body nutrient infusion.  The wolfberry and other superfruits provide sustainable energy and also contains powerful antioxidants to help support a healthy immune system by preventing free radical damage and oxidative stress.  The citrus oils contain d-limonene a powerful component that can help support GI and other bodily systems.

Now that I know a little bit more about NingXia Red I figured it was a good time to take the 30 Day NingXia Red challenge.  Not only could I use a bit of a sustainable energy boost as I give up coffee during my detox but the added nutritional benefit couldn’t hurt either. Not to mention, everyone around me is getting sick lately with the changing of the seasons so a little boost to immune support seems like a good idea!

More about the Wolfberry here from the National Institute of Health – Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects of Chinese Wolfberry.

More about d-limonene and how it helps support various body systems here from the National Insitute of Health – D-Limonene

DiGize Support

In addition to my shot of NingXia Red each morning I’ve decided to add a couple drops of DiGize to help support my digestive system.  DiGize is Young Living’s proprietary blend of Ginger, Anise, Fennel, Peppermint, Tarragon, Lemongrass, Patchouli, and Juniper essential oils.  It contains naturally occurring constituents like menthol, citrol, and zingiberen which can help soothe stomach discomfort, calm burning sensations after meals, and promote regular movements and healthy GI function.

My GI tract function is hit or miss and honestly I don’t really know what all sets off discomfort or irregularity.  I’m actually kind of hoping that after my 10 Day Detox when I add back dairy and gluten per Dr. Hyman’s recommendations that maybe I’ll discover the root cause.  But since a detox is all about flushing toxins from the system I figure a little boost to the Digestive system might help rid my system of sugar and unwanted toxins in a more efficient manner.  I’ve heard lots of personal testimonials about people taking DiGize daily either before meals or in a capsule as part of their vitamin and supplement routine.  I highly recommend searching some of these out to find out how DiGize has helped others maintain a healthy digestive system and minimize discomfort!

 

Weight Management Support

Lastly, is my weight management routine.  There is lots of information on the interwebz about essential oils for weight loss.  In fact, Lemon, Peppermint, and Grapefruit have long been dubbed the “weight-loss trio.”  The idea of taking essential oils to help reach and maintain a healthy weight seemed a bit too good to be true but I did a little research and was surprised by what I found about these oils and how they can be used along with proper diet and exercise to help support healthy weight management goals.  First a little about the individual oils then I’ll tell you how I use them.

Lemon – Lemon is well known in diet and weight loss circles as having a natural detoxifying effect on the body. In fact the Master Cleanse diet that was so populare several years ago is based on this premise. Lemon essential oil contains limonene which helps aid in healthy digestive function, cleanses and revitailizes the urinary tract, supports a healthy immune system and can promote healthy, younger looking skin.

More about limonene from WebMD

Peppermint – Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for supporting normal digestion, including promoting healthy intestinal function and gastrointestinal system comfort.  Peppermint may also act like a diuretic to help flush the toxins from your system!

Grapefruit – Grapefruit helps promote healthy weight management by supporting proper metabolic function and reducing sugar cravings.  Like Lemon essential oil, Grapefruit oil contains limonene and also helps cleanse the system and aids in digestion and immune system support. (Note: consumption of Grapefruit, or other citrus oils, may increase photosensitivity.  Always wear sunscreen!)

 More about Grapefruit essential oil from Dr. Axe

Cinnamon Bark – Cinnamon Bark contains the naturally occurring constituent cinnamaldehyde which stimulates metabolism, helps support healthy blood sugar levels and promotes a healthy immune response.

Ocotea – Ocotea is an essential oil extracted from an Equadorian tree, Ocotea Quixos.  It is also known as “fake cinnamon” and like cinnamon Ocotea may help support healthy blood sugar levels.  In addition, Ocotea has the highest level of alpha humulene of any Young Living essential oil, which is a compound that helps aid the body’s natural response to irritation and injury. Ocotea also has natural cleansing and purifying properties and can help promote relaxation as well.

More about alpha humulene here from The Leaf Online – Terpene Profile: Humulene

Slique Essence – Slique Essence is a unique blend of Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lemon, Spearmint and Ocotea essential oils with stevia extract.  It is part of Young Living’s Slique line of products designed to help promote satiety and support healthy weight management.  They also offer Balance Complete meal replacement shakes, Slique protein bars, Slique tea, Slique dietary supplements, Slique gum and a Slique Complete kit of products to help you find the right solution for your weight management needs.

 

 

Oily Support

So how am I using these to support my healthy weight management goals?

First thing in the morning I take a 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with a drop or two of DiGize to help provide some energy and support my digestive system during my detox.

In a vegetable capsule (which I also ordered from Young Living) I combine 3 drops of Lemon, 3 drops of Peppermint, 3 drops of Grapefruit, 2 drops of Cinnamon Bark, and 2 drops of Ocotea and fill with carrier oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil).  I take a capsule in the morning before breakfast and in the evening before dinner.  To make it easy I’ve been taking them at the same time as my Glucomannan fiber supplement, about 20-30 minutes before meals.

In the afternoon after I finish lunch, I add 4 drops of Slique Essence to my water.

 

Want more information on how essential oils can help you achieve your weight management goals? Check out this article from Natural Living Ideas: The Complete Guide to Using Essential Oils for Weight Loss

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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My New Adventure: The 10 Day Detox – to help break my sugar addiction and get back to a Clean Eating/Whole Foods Lifestyle!

As a general rule I don’t believe in dieting because I don’t believe that it is sustainable.  I’ve done the yo yo dieting trying everything from Atkins to South Beach to Weight Watchers and had some success with them all.  But inevitably I always wind up gaining more weight back and have watched the scale slowly creep up my whole life.  In January of 2014 my husband and I made an agreement to be more conscious about the food we were eating and to start focusing on clean eating and a whole foods lifestyle. Pretty much synonymous in their meanings, clean eating and whole foods “diets” are really more about lifestyle changes. The basic concept is to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.  This essentially means having an awareness of what you are eating, reading labels, and focusing on eating real food that hasn’t been processed, refined, enriched, or added to.  It cuts out pretty much anything artificial and minimizes exposure to unnecessary additives and preservatives.  And ultimately it means that you spend more time preparing and cooking in your home.  We’ve enjoyed our transition over the years and take pride in viewing our grocery cart (or Costco flatbed as is more often the case) filled to the brim with fruits, vegetables, organic meats, and whole grains and it has inspired some pretty creative recipes and regular menu additions thanks to my awesome hubby and his intuitive approach to cooking (something I lack).  This lifestyle change was so beneficial that when I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 12 weeks pregnant with my daughter that I didn’t have to make too many changes to my regular eating habits to keep my blood sugar within normal limits.  As a lucky silver lining, I only gained 17 lbs during my pregnancy which melted off pretty quickly thanks to breastfeeding.  And I’m blessed to be under my pre-pregnancy weight by 10 or so lbs at 8 months postpartum.

However, the unexpected (although really I should’ve anticipate it) side effect of being forced into avoiding certain foods is that after my daughter was born both myself, and my husband, have been on a pretty constant carb and sugar binge since January.  I’m a firm believer that almost anything in moderation is okay but I admit I have a full on sugar addiction.  I literally crave sweet stuff morning, noon, and night.  While my husband has impulse buys at Kroger and will happily help me eat the oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies I was making to help boost my milk supply he has a job where he runs 100 miles per hour all day long and walks, no kidding, an average of 10 miles a day.  I… do not.  I sit at a desk in between counseling sessions where I sit in a chair opposite my clients and listen to them tell me about their problems.  It’s a pretty sedentary job.  And exercise? Forget about it. That’s the equivalent of a 4 letter word in my vocabulary.  About the only exercise I get is walking up the 3 flights of stairs to my office in the mornings. So, needless to say, that even though I’ve been blessed to have not gained any weight during these last 8 months I won’t be able to keep this up for long before it catches up to me.  So I started trying to figure out how to break my sugar addiction to get back on track.

My research led to me Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox Diet.  Dr. Hyman is the author of another book called the Blood Sugar Solution.  I was intrigued by his approach because he focuses on helping you break your addiction to sugar and to make positive lifestyle changes to prevent disease and maintain a healthy weight.  Given my risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes (family history, GD during pregnancy, weight, etc.) I liked that he stresses the importance of foods that help keep your blood sugar within normal limits and lowering your risk of diabetes and other diseases.  Once you get past the initial “diet” phase of the detox what he suggests is pretty similar to the lifestyle I was leading last year.  So it seemed like a good fit for me.  I figure I could do 10 days, right? Guess we shall see.

So what’s the 10 Day Detox all about? Basically it cuts out all sugar, carbs, starchy veggies, and foods that tend to increase inflammation and cause GI distress for 10 days.  In addition, Dr. Hyman encourages other healthy lifestyle practices including exercise (ugh!), detox baths, mindfulness meditation, journaling and relaxation exercises to help you along your journey.  I’m cheap frugal so I didn’t want to buy the book (and lets get real, I’d read it then it would sit on a shelf and collect dust for 10-20 odd years before I got frustrated with the clutter and decided to purge my home of junk).  I’m sure his publisher would tell you that you need to buy the book and in fact, you may find it easier.  I’m sure it’s full of a wealth of information and guidelines, recipes and meal plans but I’m stubborn and decided to research until I was blue in the face to avoid spending the 16 some odd dollars it cost to buy the book.   So if you are like me and just want the bare bones and to figure it out on your own without someone telling you specifically what to eat and when, here’s what I learned.

The first 10 days you get none of this:

NO Caffeine, including tea, soft drinks, coffee, lattes, etc.; NO Alcohol, including beer, wine, or spirits; NO Sweetened beverages, including juice; NO Processed foods – if it comes in a box or a can, unless it is a whole food in a can like tuna, don’t eat it; NO Sugar or anything that has added sugar in the ingredients (read carefully!); NO Gluten, including wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, and oats; NO Flour or any food made from flour, including crackers, pasta, bread, pretzels, etc.; NO Grains – no rice or even quinoa during the first 10 days; NO Starches, including sweet potato, potato, squash, parsnip, beets, etc.; Beans and legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, kidney beans, etc.; and NO Dairy, including yogurt, sour cream, cheese, milk, etc.

A little of that:

Fruits – in moderation, low-sugar fruits, single portions, including berries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi, lemon, and lime

And unlimited amounts of non-starchy veggies, including:

Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Bean sprouts, Beet greens, Bell peppers (red, yellow, green), Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger root, Green beans, Hearts of palm, Jalapeño peppers, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Onions, Parsley, Radicchio, Radishes, Shallots, Snap beans, Snow peas, Spinach, Summer squash, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Zucchini, etc.

In addition, you are encouraged to stock up on lots of foods that will help detoxify, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy weight loss, including:

Lean proteins (preferably organic, grass-fed and sustainably raised) like chicken, turkey, salmon, omega-3 eggs, tofu or tempeh; Extra virgin olive oil; Extra virgin coconut butter (often called coconut oil); Other healthy oils that you like (walnut, sesame, grape seed, flax, or avocado); Nut butters (raw if possible; choose from almond, cashew, macadamia nut or walnut); Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts; Seeds: hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, Tahini (sesame-seed paste — great for salad dressings and in sauces for vegetables); Canned full-fat coconut milk; Unsweetened hemp or almond milk; Almond meal; Apple cider vinegar; Balsamic vinegar; Low-sodium, gluten-free tamari; Low-sodium broth (vegetable or chicken); Dijon mustard; Sea salt; Black pepper (peppercorns that you can grind fresh); and detoxifying and anti-inflammatory dried herbs and spices, including turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, paprika and parsley.

 

Dr. Hyman recommends a prep phase where you rid your home of the tempting ingredients you aren’t allowed to eat and start to taper yourself off of your daily caffeine intake.  I’m a bad example and totally skipped this step.  It didn’t seem fair to hubby to make him completely follow the diet just because I wanted to detox so there’s plenty of stuff I can’t eat in the house for him to indulge on for lunch, snacks, and add-on items for his dinner to ensure that he is full enough and doesn’t want to kill me! lol!  And I only really drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day and no other caffeine so I decided to go cold turkey.

The first 10 days is the actual detox phase.  It is the most restrictive phase of the diet.  After the detox is what Dr. Hyman calls the transition phase where for the next 6 weeks you pick the plan that best meets your needs. There are several options including the Super-Advanced (if you need to lose 25+ lbs or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure and are wanting to get off your medications), the Advanced (which is basically the Super-Advanced but adds legumes), and the Basic Transition phases (Chewfo has a good breakdown of the Transition phases).  While I could probably stand to lose 25+ lbs I honestly don’t have it in me to stick to such restrictive diet.  Even the Basic Transition phase continues to prohibit dairy and gluten but does add back in legumes, gluten-free grains and starchy veggies in moderation.  Truthfully, here at the beginning of my adventure my plan is to pretty much skip the transition phase.  Although I do think I will follow the guidelines suggested for adding back dairy and gluten after the transition phase to see how my body reacts to these things after not eating them for awhile.  I’m curious how my GI tract and any general inflammation (like carpal tunnel) may react.  But I guess we will get to the end of our 10 days and see how it’s going.  If I have some crazy amount of weight loss and am feeling great I may just try the Basic Transition phase out at least until our vacation (because really? Who diets on vacation!?!).

 

Words of Warning: it is generally NOT recommended to attempt any detox or cleanse while pregnant or breastfeeding.  The main reason why is because if you consume too many toxins for your organs to safely process your body has a fail safe system where it attaches a buffer molecule to temporarily reduce the toxicity and stores the toxins in your cells as a way to keep them out of your blood stream and away from your organs.  A good detox is designed such that it knocks these buffer molecules lose and releases the toxins in your cells into your blood stream to be sent to your liver to be processed.  Once they have been entered into the blood stream they are not only released through urination, bowel movements, and the skin (acne anyone?) but they can also then pass through the placenta if pregnant, or breastmilk if nursing.  Since you are obviously trying to rid your own body of nasty toxins you most likely are concerned enough to not want your baby exposed to them either.  In addition, during a detox you run the risk of dehydration or too little nutrition which can impact your milk supply if nursing.

“But wait, are YOU still nursing!?!” you may ask.  Ah! You’re paying attention! I am still nursing my 8 month old daughter.  However, I have done my research and made an educated decision to go ahead and commit to the 10 Day Detox even despite this.  Because I tend to follow a clean eating whole foods lifestyle as a general rule and have long since cut out processed foods, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and most of the toxic junk people are usually trying to rid their systems of I figure that a sugar detox for me will have much fewer nasty toxins being released into my system than the average person.  I already drink nothing but water throughout the day and it’s a pretty easy fix to bump up my water intake to prevent dehydration.  And lastly, I’ve created my own meal plan to follow that ensures I will get enough nutrition throughout the day, without calorie counting, by adding in healthy snack options and also adding in some Brewer’s Yeast and Flax meal to my morning smoothies to help boost supply.  I also researched to some degree the 21 Day Sugar Detox which is safe to follow while breastfeeding.  Overall, the similarities between the 21 Day Sugar Detox and the 10 Day Detox Diet are remarkable.  The breastfeeding modifications for the 21 Day Sugar Detox pretty much just ensure that you are eating enough of a caloric intake to support both you and your baby.  So I figured that was a pretty easy modification to the 10 Day Detox while only restricting my diet for 10 days instead of a full 21.  If I have good luck with the first 10 days, I may just consider pushing another 11 for good measure.  But I know me, and that seems really overwhelming, so I’m taking it in baby steps. However, you should do your research, and a lot of it, before committing to any detox diet if you are breastfeeding (and I wouldn’t recommend it at all if you are preggers).

 

So there you have it.  Today is the start of my new adventure on this 10 Day Detox.  I’ll be adding additional posts about my Oily Support for Healthy Weight Management and my Daily Journal and Meal Plan over the next 10 days so stay tuned to hear how it goes! Wish me luck!

 

Have you done the 10 Day Detox? I’d love to hear how it went for you and any tips or tricks you learned! Comment below!

 

Want to know what online resources I used to research the 10 Day Diet without springing for the book? Check out these websites:

Dr. Hyman’s website (lots of general info and some good recipes too):

http://drhyman.com/

Dr. Oz’s episode on the 10 Day Detox (The first link has several other links embedded that you can click to take the Toxicity Quiz, get the link to the Meal-Plan One Sheet quick reference, and to get Dr. Mark Hyman’s breakfast smoothie recipe):

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/10-day-detox-diet-jump-start-guide

An alternative to Dr. Hyman’s breakfast smoothie (note: I chose to use unsweetened Almond milk instead of the Soy Milk listed in this recipe as the Soy Milk she used has added sugar):

http://www.smartandsavvymom.com/2015/01/10/strawberry-banana-almond-smoothie-my-go-to-detox-smoothie/

A good Food List to help get you started understanding what’s allowed and what’s not during the 10 Day Detox:

http://www.chewfo.com/diets/the-blood-sugar-solution-10-day-detox-diet-by-mark-hyman-2014-what-to-eat-foods-to-avoid-food-list/

Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox One-Week Quick Start Recipe Guide:

http://10daydetox.com/toptenfoodlies/_downloads/ONE-WEEK_QUICK_START_RECIPE_GUIDE-ONLNE.pdf

An ingredient cheat sheet for Dr. Hyman’s Super Salad Bar:

http://www.foodily.com/r/whx6k3y7jc-dr-hymans-super-salad-bar-by-shashi-srikantan 


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The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant

Before I started my WordPress blog I had a Facebook page where I was sharing about my adventures and DIY ideas. This past Spring I shared a post per special request about my Quest for the Perfect Deodorant.  I never shared it here but it seems pertinent to do so in order to give you some background on just how long I’ve been seeking the what was starting to look like the Holy Grail of deodorant recipes. So here’s my original post:


(5/1/15) The Quest for the Perfect Deodorant:
There was a lot of hype on the interwebz about the dangers of antiperspirant a couple years ago, theorizing that your deodorant caused everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, science has pretty much debunked most of these rumors. But the gist of these rumors was that the active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum chlorohydrate, was the culprit.

In the 1960’s researchers found high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, the safety of any household or cosmetic product containing aluminum was called into question. Since then, no sound scientific study has been able to prove that aluminum is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease (remember correlation does not equal causation). In fact, most researchers point out that the aluminum chlorohydrate in deodorants doesn’t enter into the body at all. It works by reacting with the sweat produced in your underarm area to form a plug or sorts into the sweat duct effectively blocking the sweat from being released. Which brings me to the rumors about breast cancer risk.

In the 1990’s a group of researchers theorized that aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants was linked to breast cancer because the majority of breast cancers develop in the upper, outermost portion of the breast, the area closest to the armpit. Two theories emerged: 1) because antiperspirants block the sweat we are preventing the body from its natural ability to rid itself of heavy metals and thus leading to cancer, and 2) the chemicals in deodorant and antiperspirant are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving, and that these chemicals supposedly interact with DNA to interfere with estrogen levels and can lead to cancer cell growth. Again, neither of these hypotheses have been supported through peer reviewed research.

There is some legitimate risk concern over aluminum possibly leading to dementia in patients with kidney disease, however. This comes from several studies showing that dialysis patients given aluminum hydroxide had difficulty ridding the aluminum from their system due to improper kidney function and leading to higher percentage of these patients developing dementia. This lead to the FDA requiring the warning you may have seen on antiperspirants that says “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.” Despite this relationship, however, most doctors believe that the likelihood of absorbing enough aluminum through the skin to harm the kidneys is unlikely.

My quest for the perfect deodorant began when I wanted to decrease the number of chemicals and questionable ingredients in my skincare and beauty products several years ago. Even if aluminum chlorohydrate doesn’t lead to cancer or Alzheimer’s there are still a lot of other questionable ingredients in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, including:

Phthalates– chemicals used to soften and increase flexibility in plastics that may* cause endocrine disruption or hormone imbalance. (* this relationship is largely unknown and more research is needed)

Propylene glycol– also called antifreeze. There is a lot of debate about adding this ingredient in skincare and beauty products. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) propylene glycol carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.

Formaldehyde – recognized as a known carcinogen but commonly added to help kill germs.

Parabens – a preservative used in pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and even the food industry. There is some concern that Parabens cause estrogenic disruption but this is largely unsupported by the research.

Antibacterial Substances– There is emerging concern that antibacterial substances, such as triclocarban (commonly found in soaps), can be endocrine disruptors and thus negatively affect the immune system

So, armed with a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce I declared that I would give up my beloved Secret Clinical Strength deodorant. I don’t know about any of you but I sweat… like a man – there is no “glisten” where my pits are concerned. And, I stink. I said it, I can have pretty wicked BO… So giving up my Clinical Strength deodorant that I had used for years was no small feat. I tried lots of products that claimed to be “better” than other deodorants that had more chemicals. Even falling victim to the “Natural” marketing campaign (which if you didn’t know marketers can put the words “natural” on pretty much anything when there may be nothing “natural” about that product – it means zilch in the real world…) and landing on Secret’s Natural Mineral Antiperspirant and Deodorant for a couple years thinking it was a better alternative.

Once my blinders were removed I transitioned to Tom’s of Maine deodorant as a healthier choice and was terribly disappointed because quite frankly it didn’t really work for me (hindsight is 20/20 and a lot of why I think it didn’t work was diet – more on that in a minute). So by that time I was getting into the whole crunchy granola lifestyle and thought “what the hell, why don’t I just make my own deo!?!” So I tried one of the most common homemade deodorant recipes out there:

• 1/4 c. baking soda

• 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

• 5 Tbsp. coconut oil

• Essential oils (optional – I used 3 drops of lavender, 4 drops of sweet orange, and 2 drops of tea tree)

Mix everything together very well in a small container. Pack it in an old deodorant container and use it just like you normally do.

And you know what? It worked!!! I was thrilled! But after using it for a while I discovered that, like many people out there, my skin is way too sensitive for baking soda as a deodorant. My pits turned an angry shade of red, peeled, and itched like crazy. Nothing so sexy as walking around scratching your pits like a monkey all day. So I tried decreasing the baking soda and added more arrowroot powder and much to my dismay I continued to have the same reaction, although slightly less severe. Saddened by this turn of events, I continued my quest.

Next I tried Milk of Magnesia (MoM) – yes, the same stuff you use for constipation and heartburn, but hear me out. Because the active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide, is alkaline it helps balance the acidity of the sweat and sebum (skin’s natural oils) mixture. This worked okay, but I wasn’t a super huge fan of having to rub a quarter sized dollop of MoM on my pits and wait for it to dry. Some critics of MoM as deo point out, however, that an inactive ingredient in MoM is sodium hypochlorite, which is essentially bleach and while this does a fantastic job of killing bacteria, it is a known skin irritant. These critics will often advocate for using magnesium oil (which can be purchased in an aerosol spray) as an alternative or even just increasing your magnesium through supplements to decrease body odor (but I take a mag supplement daily and still need deo).

Next I was led to the Natural Crystal deodorant, which is basically a “salt” crystal, or potassium alum. It has also received a lot of criticism for being a type of aluminum but since I know that the aluminum-cancer/dementia risk is slight (see above) I wasn’t particularly concerned. Again, I was surprised by how well this actually worked for me! But again, sadly disappointed when my pits started itching. Not as bad as BS but still not sexy and super annoying.

So feeling dismayed I went back to Tom’s of Maine. I was pleasantly surprised that it was working better than it did a couple years ago and I credit our change in diet/lifestyle as the reason behind this change. We gave up processed foods, cut back on sugar (although admittedly I’ve relapsed since the little one was born), and traded in “white” foods, like sugar, rice, potatoes, bread, etc. for whole and ancient grains, sweet potatoes, and sugar alternatives, like honey or agave nectar. I haven’t found a whole lot of evidence to support my claim that my healthier diet changed my BO (because I still drink caffeine and eat lots of garlic and onions as well as other BO-causing spices like curry) but that’s my anecdotal evidence for ya!

That said, I still wanted to get away from having to purchase store-bought deodorant and continued my quest for a homemade recipe that didn’t irritate my armpits. My recently re-ignited passion for essential oils lead me to search for new recipes. Below is what I discovered!

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant:

A  fellow essential oil enthusiast recently shared with me that she was having luck using Rosemary oil as a deodorant alternative. Now, Rosemary essential oil is technically classified as a dietary supplement but I’m all about experimenting and finding new ways to use essential oils.  My friend had said she just dropped a few drops in her hands, rubbed them together and applied neat to her pits. I admit, I was super skeptical that one single oil, let alone something I associated more with cooking than sweat could tackle this challenge. But, willing to try pretty much anything, I added Rosemary oil to my Essential Rewards order back in July and gave it a whirl.


This stuff is amazing! For a month and a half I wore nothing but Rosemary oil, neat, as a deodorant alternative and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t stink! I still sweated but the Rosemary oil is a natural camphor so it provides a nice cooling sensation in warm summer breezes which was nice. But I did want to try to find something to provide some wetness protection.  I had such a bad reaction to Baking Soda in my deodorant that I wanted to find something else to help absorb sweat and set out to look for alternatives.  While scouring the interwebz I stumbled upon Simple Life Mom’s blog post and recipe for a Detoxing Homemade Clay Deodorant.  She skips the Baking Soda and adds Bentonite Clay to help absorb wetness and odor.  In addition to soothing the skin, the clay also helps detox heavy metals and other toxins from the skin!  The blog was originally published  on my daughter’s birthday so I thought that perhaps this was kismet.  I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided to give it a whirl.  Since I’d had such good luck with the Rosemary essential oil I knew I wanted it to be included and decided to add a bit of Lavender essential oil as well to help with any skin irritation that I might have from the Arrowroot powder or Bentonite Clay.  Here’s the recipe with my essential oil ratios:

 

DIY Rosemary & Lavender Detoxing Deodorant (for sensitive skin):

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay (Simple Life Mom suggests substituting Kaolin or other clay if you desired to have a whiter deodorant)
  • 5 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 tsp Beeswax (I used pastilles because they melt easier and get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I use Carrington Farms brand and get it at Costco. That big ol tub is only like $14.99 and we use it for cooking in addition to my DIY projects.)
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops of Lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Combine Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter in double boiler.  Heat on high and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Combine Arrowroot powder and Bentonite Clay in bowl.
  3. Pour oil mixture into powder mixture and stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Add essential oils and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour into empty deodorant container (mine was gifted to me but you can find them on Amazon or at other online aromatherapy supplies dealers websites)

 

I’ve used this new deodorant for a week now.  I’ve made sure to wear every color and style shirt conceivable and the verdict is I freakin’ love this stuff!!! I feel like my long quest for the perfect deodorant is finally over.  This, my friends, is my holy grail of DIY deodorants!!! I absolutely love that I get the fragrance of the Rosemary essential oil, with just a touch of the Lavender, in addition to the wetness protection from the Arrowroot and Bentonite Clay.  It goes on smoothly which I also really like. For what it’s worth though, I have two (small) constructive criticisms of the recipe. First, it does show up on black (but not white as I feared) fabric.  It is not any more visible than a white solid deodorant, however.  But if I was going to wear a black tank top, or little black dress if you’re more fashionable than me, I would probably just use my Rosemary oil neat to avoid the powdery bits.  And second, because it is pretty soft, which makes it glide on easily, it does tend to ball up a little bit in the creases of my armpit.  However, this is very short lived as the melting point of the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter is pretty low so after 30 minutes to an hour it is all absorbed and no more balls or clumps.

So there it is.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  Comment below with your results to help keep the conversation going!!!

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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Stinky Diaper Pail? There’s An Oil For That! Check Out These DIY Diaper Pail Deodorant Disks!

As you all are aware, I have a bright, bubbly, beautiful (almost) 8 month old daughter.  What that also means, is I’m up to my elbows in stinky diapers!  Even thought it’s not so crunchy, we decided that the best decision for our family was to use disposable diapers so we have a Diaper Genie in our daughter’s nursery.  The Diaper Genie comes with this little packet of carbon that is inserted into a little container in the lid of the diaper pail to help control odor.

Great idea! I loved that it helped control the odor without harsh chemicals.  But after 6 months or so, it was no longer up to the challenge of keeping the stink contained so I set out to find a refill…. Guess what? These things aren’t sold in stores. Not Babies R’Us, not Target, not Walgreens… not anywhere I could find.  Why? I can’t possibly say.  Seems like a failed execution strategy to me.  But I’ve got this great kit of essential oils and I thought for sure there is some way I can DIY something to work in place of the carbon insert so I headed on over to my trusted Pinterest to find a recipe.  As always, I wasn’t disappointed and found this gem of a recipe!

DIY Diaper Pail Deodorant Disks: 

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of Baking Soda
  • Distilled (or boiled) water
  • Essential oils of your choice – I chose Young Living’s Purification, a blend of Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavandin, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Myrtle specifically designed to help eliminate odors!
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper (or silicone) muffin cups

Directions:

Add a few drops of your desired essential oil to a small amount your distilled water (If you don’t have distilled you can boil tap water but make sure to wait for it to cool before adding your eo as heat can destroy the therapeutic properties of essential oil).  Mix the water with the baking soda and gradually add a little more at a time until you get a thick paste. I used 3/4 cup of water and it was TOO MUCH!!!  I actually added more baking soda and it was still too much. In hindsight, I’d probably start with 1/4 cup and add more until desired consistency (this is especially important if you use silicone muffin cups – since I used paper the excess water was able to seep through the paper – I removed from the tin and set on a paper towel to absorb the extra water).   Press a bit of the paste into lined muffin tin, about 1/4″ per disk.  Let dry 24 hours.  Remove from muffin cup.  Place in diaper pail.

I had an old Crystal Light lemonade container left over from when I rid my house of processed foods a year or so ago that I had been hanging on to but wasn’t sure why.  It was the perfect size for storing my deodorant disks! So I put a pretty label on it and set it up in the nursery so I have easy access to the disks in order to replace them once a month or so.

Use cloth? These deodorant disks can also be used for cloth diaper wet bags and BONUS you can crumble them up and throw them in the diaper wash after they start to lose their effectiveness.  The baking soda will help deodorize and soften your cloth diapers!

Source: Diapers, Dirt, Donuts, Doodling & Digital’s blog Stinky Diaper Pail? Make Your Own Deodorant Disks.

Have you made DIY diaper pail deodorant disks? Tell us about your experience below!

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant

Before I started my WordPress blog I had a Facebook page where I was sharing about my adventures and DIY ideas. This past Spring I shared a post per special request about my Quest for the Perfect Deodorant.  I never shared it here but it seems pertinent to do so in order to give you some background on just how long I’ve been seeking the what was starting to look like the Holy Grail of deodorant recipes. So here’s my original post:


(5/1/15) The Quest for the Perfect Deodorant:
There was a lot of hype on the interwebz about the dangers of antiperspirant a couple years ago, theorizing that your deodorant caused everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, science has pretty much debunked most of these rumors. But the gist of these rumors was that the active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum chlorohydrate, was the culprit.

In the 1960’s researchers found high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, the safety of any household or cosmetic product containing aluminum was called into question. Since then, no sound scientific study has been able to prove that aluminum is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease (remember correlation does not equal causation). In fact, most researchers point out that the aluminum chlorohydrate in deodorants doesn’t enter into the body at all. It works by reacting with the sweat produced in your underarm area to form a plug or sorts into the sweat duct effectively blocking the sweat from being released. Which brings me to the rumors about breast cancer risk.

In the 1990’s a group of researchers theorized that aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants was linked to breast cancer because the majority of breast cancers develop in the upper, outermost portion of the breast, the area closest to the armpit. Two theories emerged: 1) because antiperspirants block the sweat we are preventing the body from its natural ability to rid itself of heavy metals and thus leading to cancer, and 2) the chemicals in deodorant and antiperspirant are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving, and that these chemicals supposedly interact with DNA to interfere with estrogen levels and can lead to cancer cell growth. Again, neither of these hypotheses have been supported through peer reviewed research.

There is some legitimate risk concern over aluminum possibly leading to dementia in patients with kidney disease, however. This comes from several studies showing that dialysis patients given aluminum hydroxide had difficulty ridding the aluminum from their system due to improper kidney function and leading to higher percentage of these patients developing dementia. This lead to the FDA requiring the warning you may have seen on antiperspirants that says “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.” Despite this relationship, however, most doctors believe that the likelihood of absorbing enough aluminum through the skin to harm the kidneys is unlikely.

My quest for the perfect deodorant began when I wanted to decrease the number of chemicals and questionable ingredients in my skincare and beauty products several years ago. Even if aluminum chlorohydrate doesn’t lead to cancer or Alzheimer’s there are still a lot of other questionable ingredients in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, including:

Phthalates– chemicals used to soften and increase flexibility in plastics that may* cause endocrine disruption or hormone imbalance. (* this relationship is largely unknown and more research is needed)

Propylene glycol– also called antifreeze. There is a lot of debate about adding this ingredient in skincare and beauty products. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) propylene glycol carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.

Formaldehyde – recognized as a known carcinogen but commonly added to help kill germs.

Parabens – a preservative used in pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and even the food industry. There is some concern that Parabens cause estrogenic disruption but this is largely unsupported by the research.

Antibacterial Substances– There is emerging concern that antibacterial substances, such as triclocarban (commonly found in soaps), can be endocrine disruptors and thus negatively affect the immune system

So, armed with a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce I declared that I would give up my beloved Secret Clinical Strength deodorant. I don’t know about any of you but I sweat… like a man – there is no “glisten” where my pits are concerned. And, I stink. I said it, I can have pretty wicked BO… So giving up my Clinical Strength deodorant that I had used for years was no small feat. I tried lots of products that claimed to be “better” than other deodorants that had more chemicals. Even falling victim to the “Natural” marketing campaign (which if you didn’t know marketers can put the words “natural” on pretty much anything when there may be nothing “natural” about that product – it means zilch in the real world…) and landing on Secret’s Natural Mineral Antiperspirant and Deodorant for a couple years thinking it was a better alternative.

Once my blinders were removed I transitioned to Tom’s of Maine deodorant as a healthier choice and was terribly disappointed because quite frankly it didn’t really work for me (hindsight is 20/20 and a lot of why I think it didn’t work was diet – more on that in a minute). So by that time I was getting into the whole crunchy granola lifestyle and thought “what the hell, why don’t I just make my own deo!?!” So I tried one of the most common homemade deodorant recipes out there:

• 1/4 c. baking soda

• 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

• 5 Tbsp. coconut oil

• Essential oils (optional – I used 3 drops of lavender, 4 drops of sweet orange, and 2 drops of tea tree)

Mix everything together very well in a small container. Pack it in an old deodorant container and use it just like you normally do.

And you know what? It worked!!! I was thrilled! But after using it for a while I discovered that, like many people out there, my skin is way too sensitive for baking soda as a deodorant. My pits turned an angry shade of red, peeled, and itched like crazy. Nothing so sexy as walking around scratching your pits like a monkey all day. So I tried decreasing the baking soda and added more arrowroot powder and much to my dismay I continued to have the same reaction, although slightly less severe. Saddened by this turn of events, I continued my quest.

Next I tried Milk of Magnesia (MoM) – yes, the same stuff you use for constipation and heartburn, but hear me out. Because the active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide, is alkaline it helps balance the acidity of the sweat and sebum (skin’s natural oils) mixture. This worked okay, but I wasn’t a super huge fan of having to rub a quarter sized dollop of MoM on my pits and wait for it to dry. Some critics of MoM as deo point out, however, that an inactive ingredient in MoM is sodium hypochlorite, which is essentially bleach and while this does a fantastic job of killing bacteria, it is a known skin irritant. These critics will often advocate for using magnesium oil (which can be purchased in an aerosol spray) as an alternative or even just increasing your magnesium through supplements to decrease body odor (but I take a mag supplement daily and still need deo).

Next I was led to the Natural Crystal deodorant, which is basically a “salt” crystal, or potassium alum. It has also received a lot of criticism for being a type of aluminum but since I know that the aluminum-cancer/dementia risk is slight (see above) I wasn’t particularly concerned. Again, I was surprised by how well this actually worked for me! But again, sadly disappointed when my pits started itching. Not as bad as BS but still not sexy and super annoying.

So feeling dismayed I went back to Tom’s of Maine. I was pleasantly surprised that it was working better than it did a couple years ago and I credit our change in diet/lifestyle as the reason behind this change. We gave up processed foods, cut back on sugar (although admittedly I’ve relapsed since the little one was born), and traded in “white” foods, like sugar, rice, potatoes, bread, etc. for whole and ancient grains, sweet potatoes, and sugar alternatives, like honey or agave nectar. I haven’t found a whole lot of evidence to support my claim that my healthier diet changed my BO (because I still drink caffeine and eat lots of garlic and onions as well as other BO-causing spices like curry) but that’s my anecdotal evidence for ya!

That said, I still wanted to get away from having to purchase store-bought deodorant and continued my quest for a homemade recipe that didn’t irritate my armpits. My recently re-ignited passion for essential oils lead me to search for new recipes. Below is what I discovered!

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant:

A  fellow essential oil enthusiast recently shared with me that she was having luck using Rosemary oil as a deodorant alternative. Now, Rosemary essential oil is technically classified as a dietary supplement but I’m all about experimenting and finding new ways to use essential oils.  My friend had said she just dropped a few drops in her hands, rubbed them together and applied neat to her pits. I admit, I was super skeptical that one single oil, let alone something I associated more with cooking than sweat could tackle this challenge. But, willing to try pretty much anything, I added Rosemary oil to my Essential Rewards order back in July and gave it a whirl.


This stuff is amazing! For a month and a half I wore nothing but Rosemary oil, neat, as a deodorant alternative and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t stink! I still sweated but the Rosemary oil is a natural camphor so it provides a nice cooling sensation in warm summer breezes which was nice. But I did want to try to find something to provide some wetness protection.  I had such a bad reaction to Baking Soda in my deodorant that I wanted to find something else to help absorb sweat and set out to look for alternatives.  While scouring the interwebz I stumbled upon Simple Life Mom’s blog post and recipe for a Detoxing Homemade Clay Deodorant.  She skips the Baking Soda and adds Bentonite Clay to help absorb wetness and odor.  In addition to soothing the skin, the clay also helps detox heavy metals and other toxins from the skin!  The blog was originally published  on my daughter’s birthday so I thought that perhaps this was kismet.  I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided to give it a whirl.  Since I’d had such good luck with the Rosemary essential oil I knew I wanted it to be included and decided to add a bit of Lavender essential oil as well to help with any skin irritation that I might have from the Arrowroot powder or Bentonite Clay.  Here’s the recipe with my essential oil ratios:

 

DIY Rosemary & Lavender Detoxing Deodorant (for sensitive skin):

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay (Simple Life Mom suggests substituting Kaolin or other clay if you desired to have a whiter deodorant)
  • 5 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 tsp Beeswax (I used pastilles because they melt easier and get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I use Carrington Farms brand and get it at Costco. That big ol tub is only like $14.99 and we use it for cooking in addition to my DIY projects.)
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops of Lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Combine Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter in double boiler.  Heat on high and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Combine Arrowroot powder and Bentonite Clay in bowl.
  3. Pour oil mixture into powder mixture and stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Add essential oils and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour into empty deodorant container (mine was gifted to me but you can find them on Amazon or at other online aromatherapy supplies dealers websites)

 

I’ve used this new deodorant for a week now.  I’ve made sure to wear every color and style shirt conceivable and the verdict is I freakin’ love this stuff!!! I feel like my long quest for the perfect deodorant is finally over.  This, my friends, is my holy grail of DIY deodorants!!! I absolutely love that I get the fragrance of the Rosemary essential oil, with just a touch of the Lavender, in addition to the wetness protection from the Arrowroot and Bentonite Clay.  It goes on smoothly which I also really like. For what it’s worth though, I have two (small) constructive criticisms of the recipe. First, it does show up on black (but not white as I feared) fabric.  It is not any more visible than a white solid deodorant, however.  But if I was going to wear a black tank top, or little black dress if you’re more fashionable than me, I would probably just use my Rosemary oil neat to avoid the powdery bits.  And second, because it is pretty soft, which makes it glide on easily, it does tend to ball up a little bit in the creases of my armpit.  However, this is very short lived as the melting point of the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter is pretty low so after 30 minutes to an hour it is all absorbed and no more balls or clumps.

So there it is.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  Comment below with your results to help keep the conversation going!!!

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures