Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tea Time!

This past weekend, hubby and I had the pleasure of taking our first visit to The Whistling Kettle in Ballston Spa.  I highly recommend it.  The food was very good, the service excellent, the atmosphere nice, (the bathroom clean), and the words.  There are no words.  Hubby chose chamomile and I chose Vanilla Silk Oolong.  Bliss!  (Also recommend the Garden Panini.)
While there, I grabbed their 2013 catalog and was intrigued by all the different teas and information within it.  I thought I was fairly up on teas, but apparently, I am quite the novice! 
It got me thinking about different ways people nurse, improve, and maintain their health.  Some follow certain diets.  Some are big on exercise.  Some follow alternative practices.  Some swear by Shakeology.  Some use herbs.  And some drink tea. 
Teas are very medicinal and the practice of taking time for tea is a great way to relieve stress and unwind.  To pause, rehydrate, refresh and enjoy some fellowship is a great health benefit.  Add to that the benefits of actually drinking tea and you have a healthy double whammy!
I encourage you to visit The Whistling Kettle in person or online.  Get their catalog.  They not only describe the teas, but offer the suggested serving size, water temperature, and steeping time for the best of each tea.
Share in the comments your favorite tea and why!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Clean Those AC's!

My two youngest children have had a phlegmy cough for a while now.  I thought it was summertime allergies, but they just got worse.  No one else is catching it, so it isn't a cold.  Cooler weather moved in and so our window AC units turned off....and so did the coughing!  BINGO!

I pulled out the filter and cleaned it off and replaced it, but when I turned the unit back on, the boys started coughing again.  I turned it off and turned on a fan, instead, thanking God that the nights are cool (seriously, our house BAKES without AC units).  The coughing stopped again, so today, I am going to clean the whole unit.  If that doesn't work, I'm going to consider the unit unhealthy and purchase a new one.

Storage, rain, humidity, dust, dirt, bugs and even mice can do a number on AC units.  Clean them the best you can and use them only when necessary. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Few Lies About Treating Acne-Prone Skin

Before I begin this post, I want to make it clear that I am not a doctor and this post is based on my personal research over the years and personal experiences.

Our bodies react to different health and environmental factors differently.  Poor diet and chemical overload affected my skin, whereas I know someone who lived and it affects their digestive system. 

I was a teen of the '90's and tried following all the mainstream, magazine advice on treating acne, to which I was heavily afflicted with.  All their tricks didn't work, and oddly enough, as I started my quest to better health (because of my acne), I found out doing the opposite of their advice worked far better.

Lie #1:  Chocolate and French fries don't cause acne. 
Ok, just because you eat one French fry, you're not going to find one new pimple on your face.  But the overall assumption of the 90's was that diet doesn't really affect your skin.  Actually, it does.  A poor diet high in processed foods and chemicals CAN hurt your skin.  And even if there isn't a totally direct correlation, a diet rich in wholesome, natural foods CAN heal your skin!  You are better off eating a healthful diet.  Since I changed my diet, my skin has improved greatly.
 healing the gut.
Lie #2:  Oil is bad for oily and acne prone skin

All the advice I read in the 90's said to dry out the skin and pimples, usually with harsh, commercial chemicals.  Instead, I ended up with peeling, oily skin.  Not a pretty combination.  The drying agents just tricked my already overly productive sebaceous glands to go into over-over drive.  I remember the first time I read about using oil on oily skin.  I thought they were nuts!  I remember buying my first bottle of sweet almond oil and being afraid to use it.  I finally put a few drops in my palm and gently massaged it into my face...and surprisingly, my face remained balanced and less oily all day!  Over time, it improved greatly and my acne reduced greatly.

Lie #3:  Don't use anything rough or textured on your acne-prone skin
I remember the days of gently patting my skin dry as if rubbing it would suddenly cause an outbreak of acne.  That's what the experts said.  It would irritate the skin.  Fact is, my skin broke out because it needed exfoliation so badly!  What causes acne, after all, but clogged pores.  What causes those clogged pores, but dirt, skin cells and dirty skin oils that get trapped in pores.  How do you get rid of pore-clogging skin build up?  YOU EXFOLIATE!  Not with harsh chemicals, mind you, but with an exfoliating wash cloth or bath mit or what have you. 
Lie #4:  You have to use commercial acne skin care products to have clear skin
No, you don't.  If it works for you, great, but for me, going as natural as possible has worked better than any commercial acne-prone skin care product and they don't leave me with red, itchy, peeling skin.  Olive oil makes a great make-up remover.  By the way, I use mineral based make-up.  An all natural soap or castile soap with a facial brush makes a great cleanser.  Witch hazel or rose water makes a great astringent.  Sweet almond oil or virgin coconut oil makes a great moisturizer. 
Lie #5:  Stay out of the sun.  The sun causes acne.
I do not advocate hours of sunbathing or tanning booths.  However, I do believe in the healing power of the sun.  As soon as it gets warm enough in the spring, I start with just 5 minutes of indirect, unprotected sun exposure once or twice a week.  I slowly increase sun exposure over time, but never enough to burn or turn my skin leathery.  Never hours.  Hey, if the sun can bleach and disinfect cloth diapers, why not help heal our skin?  It does help my skin. 

I certainly hope if you suffer from acne, you find relief and healing.  Our bodies are wonderfully made.  I hope you find your healthy (what works for your unique body) and clear skin.  It is still a battle for me, but one I win more often than lose.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pasta Alternatives

Eating processed, white-carb heavy pasta may not fit into your dietary lifestyle very well.  But, who doesn't get a hankering for an Italian dish?  I'm not one to spend the money on processed, wheat-free pastas, and although the following alternatives may be just as expensive in some cases, they're healthier.

Quinoa - just make sure you soak it in water and whey, lemon juice, or vinegar.

Spaghetti Squash

Buckwheat (not the flour, of course, the whole buckwheat)


A vegetable variety, stir fried or steamed

Do you have any other pasta substitute ideas?

Do you make your own pasta?