Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Coconut Coffee Scrub

This is a mashup of a few coffee facial scrub recipes I found online. I either didn't have all the ingredients for one, or I wanted to include something extra to another, so I mixed these four ingredients together and bam! It smells good, it feels amazing, and it leaves the skin incredibly smooth.

Photo by Nomadic Lass, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr
Ingredients: Equal parts of the following items (about 2 tablespoons each is good for a small jar):

  • Used coffee grounds
  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Coconut oil
  • Raw honey

Mix together, rub onto skin, rinse off, and enjoy.

If possible, use organic ingredients. Coffee is one product that is heavily laden with pesticides, so at least having organic coffee is good. The coconut oil is better if it is extra virgin and not too refined. Raw unheated honey has antiseptic properties among other things and is great for nourishing the skin.

One article states that coffee grounds are safe to go down a sink drain, but you can use a drain filter if you want to be extra careful.

Results update: Before making this, I had hoped this scrub would help my skin because I have read that coffee products can help reduce facial redness, which is a big problem of mine. Obviously my skin was very red immediately after the scrubbing, but overnight my skin has already improved slightly from how it looked before I used the scrub. Not only is it still amazingly smooth but I need even less makeup to make my skin look normal.

Personal Testimonial: Itchy Skin Remedy

This issue is mildly embarassing, but I know that if any readers have the problem I had, this post could be very valuable. As a little background info, I had been eating very cleanly for a couple of years up until last summer, when I started falling off the wagon more often than not (eating fewer raw foods, too many carbohydrates, and more conventionally-raised meats than I would like to admit). Then in December I started having extremely itchy skin much of the time and all over my body. I couldn't sit cross-legged because it would make my legs itch. I would lose half a night of sleep sometimes because I would stay awake scratching.

I tried numerous remedies. Coconut oil, lavender essential oil, and some salve I found at the natural foods store worked temporarily, but the symptom was always back within an hour. I thought I noticed it worsening when I drank coffee, so I avoided that for a while and it helped just a little. I knew one factor might be that I was lacking fat in my diet - good fat, like raw milk and butter and avocados. I halfheartedly added more healthful fatty foods to my diet, but aside from the days when I would have large servings of raw ice cream, it wasn't enough. But keep in mind I was still eating junk food fairly often; I work in a sushi restaurant and almost every day I would end up eating rice, deep-fried sushi roll pieces, teriyaki, or some kind of sweet that a coworker brings in.

Then in May I was at a barbecue with a friend who is also very interested in health, and I mentioned the itchiness that had been affecting me for six months. So easily, I then learned the solution; she said I'm eating too many carbohydrates. I probably should have realized it sooner, given that I've spent many hours reading about natural health. Anyway, I was more than willing to cut out the junky carbs to see if I would improve. And I did. By eating mainly meat (organic and grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, organic chicken, and antibiotic- and hormone-free pork once in a while), healthy fats, vegetables, and fresh juices, I felt better and my itching disappeared within a few days. Now I could sleep. Now I could hang out with friends without feeling embarassed that I had to keep scratching every so often.

When I do have any of the offending foods, like when I go out to eat with friends, the itching returns, though just mildly, since my diet is clean for the most part. I don't have to cut out carbs entirely, either. If I need a treat, I can make chocolate with raw honey and other organic ingredients, have some nuts, make sweet green tea with honey, or find something else that doesn't include any grains or refined sugars. I could probably narrow down the worst offenders, but I find that I do just fine with avoiding all grains and refined foods as much as possible. It's not restrictive by any means, as long as you know your healthy alternatives (you can find a nourishing, grain-free version of almost any recipe online). But if you have to eat those ingredients, just be sure they're at least organic and GMO-free. There is plenty of evidence out there that pesticides and GMOs will do you far more harm than good.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vitamins: Cancer Cure or Cancer Cause?

A recent article featured on Natural News introduced readers to a few harms of many store-bought supplements. Indeed, it is not surprising that vitamins have been accused of harmful side effects when they are chemical concoctions as safe and edible as statin drugs.

Photo by Colin Dunn, CC-BY-2.0, via flickr
One ingredient mentioned in the article is sodium benzoate. When combined with vitamin C, it forms the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) benzene. Even on its own, sodium benzoate has been observed to increase the formation of free radicals, which damage your body on a cellular level.

Another ingredient you will want to steer clear of is magnesium stearate, which is a compound used to lubricate machinery in the production of pills and capsules. Vitamin manufacturers, in the kindness of their hearts, would be sure to use something nontoxic, right? Not quite. Magnesium stearate not only suppresses T-cells, impairing your immune system, but also reduces your body's absorption of nutrients. You end up blocking the very effect you hoped to gain from taking the supplement.

And if you happen to come across methylparaben on a supplement's ingredient list, don't even think about taking it. It has been connected to breast tumors, eye and skin damage, and fertility issues. Unless their parents dare to read up on prescriptions from their doctor, even babies are at risk of being poisoned by methylparaben and a host of other synthetics.

Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate react with other ingredients in the supplements to create carcinogens, and can stick around in the body for years, causing allergic reactions.

Need I also mention the detrimental effect of sugar and dyes in kids' vitamins? Although, considering the list above, they may actually be a couple of the safer ingredients you'll find in those cherry-flavored cancer-causing chewables.

As the NN article advises, be sure to know what you are taking. Research any ingredient you can't positively identify. And be sure to set a good foundation by eating a proper diet and leading a healthy lifestyle so your body can receive the optimal benefit from the quality supplements you may decide to use.

An Introduction

Welcome to Natural News and Review, a blog in support of the website Natural News and source of alternative health information. I have been reading about the subject for several years and, along with my family and many friends, experience abundant benefits from switching to an organic diet and less toxic lifestyle.

I admit that when I decided I wanted to be a writer, a fan site was not a medium I had in mind. However, in the case of this blog, it's showing much-needed support for a trustworthy but oft-attacked news source. I hope it also attests to the view that the things written by sites such as Natural News may actually not be "quackery" and "ethical violations" that ought to be censored just because they contradict what the mainstream news, medical profession, and government say. Considering recent events such as the persecution of raw milk advocate James Stewart and the possibility of a future ban of vitamin D, this is no time for natural health enthusiasts to be silent.

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