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

carrots

There has been a lot of information about carrier oil SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and Carrot seed oil comes out pretty high (source). Beta Carotene and Vitamin E are super at preventing your skin from burning in the sun. Taken orally and applied topically as a natural sunscreen. Carrot seed oil is a powerful antioxidant when cold pressed (source) especially in fat oxidisation- which is really useful when applied to skin because all cells are made of fat and protein. So protecting that is what we want our sunscreen to do. Add that with other Vitamin E oils like Wheat-Germ and Avocado you have a deeply nutritious blend

coconut

Coconuts have been described as the original sunscreen. With a lower SPF factor but many other nutritional benefits when applied topically it is an ideal addition. Over time the coconut oil has been replaced by chemicals. Basically a fat barrier is what the skin needs to protect it- coconut oils Medium chain fatty acids are a perfect fit for this. Plus the anti bacterial and microbial benefits all together you have a match made in heaven!

lavender

on its own I think you have a great product but if you like a smell and to double up as a skin protector/ bug repellent/after sun these essential oils are key.

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

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

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

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

Recipe for Natural Sunscreen

In a 30 ml bottle mix the following;

10ml Carrot seed oil

10 ml Coconut oil

5ml Avocado oil

5ml Wheatgerm oil

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

5 drops Chamomile (Roman) essential oil

1-2 drops Geranium essential oil

(add some rescue remedy too if you like)

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

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

What does it do?

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

sun

Where is it found?;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!!! But be Safe!

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

teeth

I just made my second batch of home-made toothpaste. I started making it because buying fluoride  paraben and other nasty free toothpaste is difficult over here (I bought Aloedent in the UK) and really really expensive. Making your own is easy. I have to say my teeth definitely feel different and I can see my gums improving. I have very fine chips on the back of my two front teeth I was starting to worry about (it was a ‘Hey Big Spender moment swinging a caribou on a string at Drama School- another story!) They were starting to feel very thin- It feels completely different and the best way to describe it is stronger. 3 weeks on and I can hand on heart say I love this tooth paste!

My 3 year old was also spending a lot of time eating and sucking the toothbrush- now she just gets in there and cleans and spits which makes me happier. She also only complains about it to her Dad who also is wary of it- she just sees me get on with it- and there is no alternative which is sometimes a brilliant way to get kids to just get on with it!!

I took my inspiration from these blogs;

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/04/rethinking-oral-health-care-a-homemade-toothpaste-recipe-for-tooth-remineralization.html

http://familysponge.com/health/coconut-oil/homemade-toothpaste-coconut-oil/

and Ramiel Nagal’s book  Cure Tooth Decay

I use;

In a glass Jar

2tbs coconut oil

2tbs calcium and magnesium powder (I use  this)

2tbs baking powder

1tsp salt (I use Pink Himalayas Salt)

8 drops Raspberry Medicine Flowers

10 drops of Mint Medicine Flowers

Mix it all together with a chopstick and put the lid on the jar!

Done and it lasts ages! (beware it is grey!)

Spring bloom

 

Why does a change of season suddenly bring with it so many symptoms of illness? What can we do to recognise our body’s reaction and how can we boost immunity naturally?

A change of season, especially in Hong Kong, not only brings about a change in temperature but also a change in humidity, daylight hours and atmospheric pressure. Your body will have to adapt to these changes in a number of ways. The key to doing this is using foods and nutrients to strengthen and boost our immune system.

Illnesses during change of seasons are natural and integral to the body developing and reacting to the changing atmospheres around us. They are a way of purging the body (of mucous and waste products for example) and are normally signals to rest and recuperate. For example the lungs have to massively change to compensate for the added water levels in the air with the change of humidity and temperature. The little hairs in our lungs (Cila) are affected. Getting muck (mucous) out of our system is the body’s way of adapting and spring cleaning. So children and adults alike may sneeze, get runny noses or coughs. These symptoms can be likened to a cold, but may very well have no bacteria or virus involved. It is important to know the difference and seeing a professional (whether a doctor, naturopath or homeopath) to help you to do that. To interrupt this can then lead to more serious symptoms, but supporting it you can adapt and allow the season to change with little disruption.

From winter to spring we get lighter mornings, we wake easier and seem to have more energy. We are programmed to operate at full function in daylight. Sunlight on our skin will also provide us vital vitamin D (but only by not wearing sunscreen, try and go 10 mins with 40% of your body in full sunlight a day. As soon as you feel the heat starting to get a bit intense on your skin, cover up or return to the shade see here) Vitamin D is vital for a healthy immune system.  Our body clocks react to daylight. We are supposed to slow down and stock up in the winter ready for spring’s re-awakening. However daily hum drum does not change through the seasons anymore and the toll on our body is seen with more winter colds/ illnesses as the immune system is dampened in the cold weather and if we do let our bodies rest, then we start to become deficient in vital nutrients used up by the will to keep going.

Stress is a major factor in immunity – take time to relax when you start to feel run down. Illness is generally a signal to slow down and rest. Pushing through an illness is another way of suppressing signals and may also cause future long term damage. Viruses and bacteria are around us all the time; they are in our homes and outside. They are necessary for human existence. They are opportunistic so when you are run down, going through a change (in pregnancy or environmental change of season), stressed, malnourished, or tired you are at your most prone to illness. By adding foods and nutrients like vitamin D, C, E, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants daily; you can help prevent illness by providing your body with the means to heal and strengthen from within.

Foods in season are around to help support this change of season and boost the immune system. Foods in season right now are all your leafy greens, beetroot, strawberries, pumpkin, papaya – foods bursting with Iron, Beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Papaya also has vital enzymes to help us absorb our food so is great to have at meal times. All perfect to help boost immunity and rid and protect our body from toxins. Another great reason to eat local organic produce and go strawberry picking in the New Territories!

Here are some Natural remedy recipes to allow you to keep the Spring in your step!

Ginger tea

Ginger, lemon and orange curd

Honey and onion Elixor

Drinking Greens

ginger-tea-ginger

Ginger Lemon and Honey Tea

This is a good morning or end of the day tea. It is cleansing, boosting and healing. Use good quality ingredients and you will get the best out of it. Using raw or Manuka (at least 10+) Honey for the best benefits, but add honey after water has cooled somewhat to prevent scalding and killing the enzymes.

 

Thumbnail of ginger, grated or finely chopped skin on, Whole lemon cut into quarters, tbs raw or Manuka honey.

 

Add to teapot and add hot water. (Can also add Calendula flowers, camomile flowers, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, raw garlic crushed, cloves, turmeric- powdered or root grated and cloves as necessary and to taste)

 

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‘Gluten free’ seems to be the new buzz. Leaving grains out of the diet is a big part of the Paleo diet that you may have heard people talk about. There are those of us who may be Celiac (5-10% of the population are) and those who may just be a little sensitive to it and by largely avoiding it can see numerous health benefits. People with sensitivity can range from feeling very ill to completely symptomless. What is it and why should we get caught up in the buzz?

Gluten is found in grains (wheat, rye, spelt, barley, kamut, semolina, durum) and can be present in oats through cross contamination. It largely adds texture and chewiness to foods (like a glue!). It is also a thickener and in some cases a flavour enhancer so is found in a multitude of products. In susceptible people the Gliagin (secalin in rye or hordein in barley) portion of gluten (a chain of amino acids essentially the protein part) can damage the lining of the small intestine where most of your food absorption takes place and create an immune response.

It is this immune response and inflammation that is what causes the damage rather than an action actually done by the Gliagin.  These individuals may find absorbing vital minerals (iron and calcium), vitamins (mostly b vitamins like niacin and folate), proteins (essential amino acids) and essential fats (mostly fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K) difficult.   This may cause malnourishment which can then lead to a whole host of symptoms you may not have associated with gluten insensitivity such as iron (anaemia) or Vitamin D deficiency. Gluten can also contain opiod-like proteins making gluten products such as bread addictive to some people.

Most individuals who do have an intolerance will also have an intolerance to dairy products (70% of the population cannot digest lactase in milk). This is mainly due to the damage to the small intestine which produces the necessary enzymes to break down the components in milk that people are intolerant to. So generally it is recommended to reduce these products at the same time – this can make some people’s lives even more difficult. Other food intolerances may also be experienced because of gluten’s resulting inflammation increasing the permeability of the gut which results in a greater opening of food into the blood, which in turns triggers an immune response.

Celiac disease  is genetic and so if a child is diagnosed it is possible one of the parents is also and vice versa. It is difficult to test for as in order for the marker to show up, gluten must have been eaten recently. An elimination diet is where I would start. Normally when eliminating it from the diet obvious changes should be noticed within days. However it could take up to 4-6 weeks for the digestive tract to heal before any real change can be experienced.   Changes you may experience are less abdominal bloating, less pain in the abdominal area after eating, less urgency in needing to go to the toilet, less gas and firmer stool. However increased energy, better skin, a reduction in psoriasis or eczema, less headaches, improved sinus’, enhanced breathing (asthma may be reduced), enhanced sleep and mood is also reported by those with either celiac or an intolerance to gluten.

Gluten is found in many products you may eat everyday such as sausages, seasoning mixes, gravy powders, soy sauce, ketchup, instant coffee, salad dressings, processed meats (including vegetarian imitation meat), cheese and ice-cream. Of course it is also in the obvious breads, pastas, cakes, beer and cereals. So going completely Gluten-free can be a massive change to a family’s lifestyle. This is especially the case when it is a child who is experiencing these symptoms.

However replacements are easy to find. Try to stay focused on what you can eat and with a little creativity and patience, it can be easy to make little changes here and there to greatly reduce if not remove Gluten from your diet.

All nuts, rice and beans can still be eaten as can seeds like quinoa, amaranth and millet; also fresh fruit and vegetables as well as all fresh meat, fish and eggs.  Flours like rice, tapioca, quinoa, chickpea, coconut and almond are a big favourite in my house! Gluten free All Purpose flour can replace normal flour in almost all recipes and you can also buy Biscuit and Baking gluten free mixes, pancake mixes and pizza base mixes around Hong Kong. Gluten free pasta is readily available and almost indistinguishable from wheaten pasta. Bread can be hard to replace but I have found adding a vegetable such as courgette, banana or pumpkin can have a big effect on the graininess and crumbliness you normally find in readymade and homemade gluten free breads.

We’ve put together some great gluten free recipes to help you to create food that tastes great and is good for you.  Check them out here.

Pumpkin bread

Quinoa Flatbreads

Chia porridge

Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Bread

Banana Flax Crackers

Lentil Burgers

Cookies

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Pumpkin donuts

Beetroot brownies

gingerbread

Mince Pies

Soda Bread

Eating out can be a challenge but many places if you call ahead can make changes for you. Join Gluten Free in HK if you are on facebook for some great advice and support. Also Healthy Living HK has great tips from people making the same changes. Personally I am 80-90% Gluten free and feel 100% better for it, as does my waistline as my body shape has completely changed. Contact me for any further tips and recipes.

Article written for The Hub

Does that look so bad!

I had a tough time adjusting after my daughter was born. I felt weepy, resentful, confused, out of control and I had no idea what mothers instinct felt like. All I felt was very overwhelmed and under-slept! I thought ‘no wonder people are labelled with Post Natal Depression’.  The immediate change in your life, so completely, is very difficult to adjust to. Your body is still not yours. You are breastfeeding and your needs are very low down on the list of things to do. It was not until a year had past that I started to feel like myself again. My blood sugar levels were all over the place, my moods were awful, I was constantly confused, groggy and I had zero energy. I was on fish oils, calcium, zinc, pro-biotic capsules and magnesium and I felt like these nutrients were keeping me together.  I had heard of Placenta Encapsulation whilst studying to be a Naturopath; however children were off of my radar then, so it was one of those things that came and went.

When I became pregnant with my second baby I was watching a programme (in the UK) on alternative parenting and one of the women was a Placenta Encapsulation specialist. A friend of mine had said she had contacted her local one and that she was going to do it. I looked into it and was very interested. Thinking about how I felt the first time round, I knew with a toddler and a baby I was worried I would not have the time or energy again to be able to look after them and nurture them both. When I was moving to Hong Kong in the middle of my pregnancy, I was so relieved to find someone did it here. When I met Lizzie I was convinced it was for me.

However I was still undecided whether I would have the smoothie. I was happy taking a powder in a capsule, however knowing the fresh one was in the drink I was worried it would taste like blood, metal, liver… I remember reading someone saying that right up to their birth the thought of drinking their placenta in a smoothie was too much to think about. The minute her child was born she craved it. I was sceptical. However the very same thing happened. I had a home birth here, so when my husband asked me what I would like to eat/drink after labour- it was the first thing that came to mind.  Bless my husband he was going to have a go but it completely eluded him so when Lizzie arrived I had had no sleep and was still on an adrenaline rush! She made me two smoothies, I drank one straight away (promise you taste nothing but fruit) it was actually the most delicious thing- I had the other one a few hours later. My pills arrived a few days later and I started taking them. The energy, combined with calm is truly remarkable. It was so completely different. I felt like me, I felt whole again.

I unreservedly recommend it. It makes sense. The nutrient deficiencies I see on a regular basis post partum (especially post partum hypothyroid/hyperthyroid) alone recommend it. There is no easier way to replenish what your body has lost, than to put it straight back in again. I also have the homoeopathic pills which I have given my daughter when she has started to feel the pressure of the change for her. Her reaction after taking them was also obvious, calmer and back to her loving self. She felt part of it again and it has helped us to grow into being a family of four from 3. I wish I had done it the first time, but having felt how I did, it might not have been so obvious feeling the opposite?

Benefits:

Everything it is suggested it is good for has been and still is experienced by me;

Increased energy

Balance (both mood and hormones)

Very fast milk supply (the next day and even through mastitis and feeding from 1 boob for months, I met demand)

Lighter post bleeding (only heavy for a couple of days and gone completely much quicker)

Quick healing (from tearing and abdominal muscle tone and separation was back before 6 weeks- That was also due to exercises!)

I took them 2-3 times a day for the first 6 weeks and now I take my pills every now and then, when I feel run down, like everyone wants a piece of me, stressed and angry. They do calm me down. I took them with me on my recent trip to the UK at Christmas and took one a day and my milk supply did not suffer from the jet lag at all. My friend I mentioned at the beginning is saving hers for her menopause, so is not taking them any more  However I believe that by taking them all when needed  post-partum  you will replenish your body and not need them during menopause (a time hopefully too far away for me to consider freezing them for that long). If not I will still always have the homoeopathic potency to use and the mother tincture. I use the mother tincture also at times of need and also put a little in the bath. Again I fell nourished and energised, generally nicer and calmer!

Nutrient Value of a placenta useful post-partum:

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common post-partum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing,
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against post-partum infections.

(source)

Benefits that attracted me as a nutritional therapist that you can’t get from any other supplement or food!

The best thing I have read about placenta encapsulation and echo here is-

What’s the harm!

In my opinion, it’s ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

To see how contact IPEN or in Hong Kong see here

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

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

oats

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

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

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

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

Cocoa butter; a rich nourishing moisturiser again used sparingly

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

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

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

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

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

calendula flower

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

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

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

Apple cider vinegar and oats as above

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

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

Comfry root cream

Olive oil can calm down and allergic skin rash

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

bentonite clay mask

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

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

Clay masks can draw out excess oil

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

Aloe vera is very toning

Rose water.

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

Some recipes;

  • Herbal Hair rinse;

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

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

4 tbs vinegar or lemon juice.

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

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

1/2 once of cocoa butter or coconut oil

4 ounces of sweet almond or olive oil

15 drops lavender

5 drops neroli

5 drops frankinscense

5 drops camomile essential oil

1600iu Vitamin E Capsules

Rescue remedy and Crab apple Bach Flower Remedies

Use daily

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

Let me know what works for you….

green drink

I love smoothies and juices (as long as the fibre remains) . I have a smoothie with a protein powder and milk kefir in the morning and I make a green juice in the afternoon to wake me up till dinner! Its a fine line between juice and cold soup sometimes! Coincidently I make mine in my Cuisinart Soup Maker as it has a pretty powerful motor and blade needed to cut through the greens and so I don’t have to peel my apples and pears. I have also made great green drinks with a normal smoothie maker like a Kenwood Smoothie to Go. I just used my green powder. So there really is no excuse! Updated- I now use a German Pool but Ice needs to be added as the motor will heat things up!

You need a liquid base.

Anything goes really here- coconut water ( I have been using coconut Kefir too), Water, cooled herbal teas of your choice (rooibos has a lot of antioxidants in it) or even green tea or tulsi tea (for a calming feel). I have also bought fresh juices (without sugar added) like carrot, watermelon, kiwi, mango when I have been out and not finished them so have thrown them in the juice too. This is helpful when you don’t have a super powerful juicer but want carrots in your juice. You can also use nut milks (here for almond), oat milks or any other liquid not mentioned.

Then you need your greens.

The less full on flavours are spinach, pea shoots, bean sprouts, bok choi, lettuce and frozen peas,. The more earthy or spicy flavours are kale, Swiss chard, rocket, mustard leaves. Try them see what you like. Give them a wash first and greens are more likely to be heavily sprayed so buy organic where possible. I also love broccoli in my juices. A handful should do (40% green to 60% fruit is a popular ratio)

Then your fruits.

I find the juicer fruits better as there can be a lot of fibre in the greens so mixing with a fruit that is going to add some more liquid works well for consistency I like watermelon, honeydew melon, apples, pears and Kiwis. However berries pack a great punch to the juice. Banana’s, mangoes add a lovely sweetness (and smoothness) and pineapples add a great tropical tone! You can go sweet or savoury depending on what you prefer. You could add tomatoes peppers, lemons, herbs (coriander and sweet basil are my favs), radishes any salad ingredient really! Experiment!  I find cutting up fruit and throwing them into bags and in the freezer makes the whole process easier quicker and more like a shake.

Your fats

Chia (soaked in a little water before hand makes the juices a little more jelly like), sesame seeds, ground nuts or nut butter, flax oil, or coconut oil can give your juice an added dimension

Added extras.

If you really want it to pack a punch then adding a green powder (spirulina chorella) Maca powder, cacao (although this doesn’t really temp me with the greens  apparently it is nice!) Protein powder (hemp, pumpkin seed, pea), camu powder (for some extra vit c), goji berries, manuka honey, oats (will really bulk it up!) ginger also gives it real zing both health and taste wise!

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And Voila!! Let me know your favourite…