Tag Archives: Health

Lemon and Cucumber Water

When the weather is crazy hot, like these days, and when I do not feel like drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, which I never feel like doing, the best way to change it is LEMON, or LEMON and CUCUMBER WATER.

My husband makes fun of me drinking water with cucumbers in it, but he says if that makes me to drink more water and keeps my headaches away… well… “suit yourself, honey” :)  (two things he hates dearly: lemon and cucumber!!!)

Yesterday I added a few raspberries to my jar and the water was even better. 

The water is so refreshing I want to drink it all the time.

This water does not only taste great but it is very good for you, too.

Cucumbers contain vitamin C and caffeic acid, two antioxidant nutrients that can help protect the skin from sun damage. Vitamin C boosts collagen and elastin, which helps keep skin looking vibrant while caffeic acid protects skin cells from UV radiation. Cucumbers also have natural anti-inflammatory properties and help to prevent water retention. Cucumbers also contain silica, an essential component of healthy connective tissue.

Lemon water suppose to help you to kick the coffee habit, but I am not really fond about it, as I DO LOVE COFFEE and do not plan to stop drinking it anytime soon :) Although, I have noticed that drinking it I do not feel tired at all during the day. 

Lemon water helps boost immune system and control blood pressure. It balanced pH in our bodies, helps with weight loss (helps fight hunger cravings), clears the skin. There is many more benefits of lemon water…

My recipe is very strong in lemon flavor, and only slightly cucumber-ish.

Ingredients:

3 quarts water

2 lemons

1/2 English cucumber

10 raspberries (optional)

Directions:

Wash lemons and cucumber. Slice one lemon and the cucumber. Put them in a container with water. Squeeze the juice from the second lemon and mix it with water.

If you use more fruits you can smash half of them to release the juice and put the purée in the water altogether with the non-smashed fruits. Mix it well.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.

There is a tremendous amount of recipes for this water on Internet. Some are with mint. Some are with lemon zest. Some are with cucumbers without peels. Some with natural sweeteners… etc.

For me this one works the best. Has the right amount of lemon and cucumber flavor.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day, my friends.

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Whipped coconut oil-cocoa butter body cream

Since the day I made my first cream from coconut oil I am in love in it. In coconut oil, I mean. It works wonderful and it smells pretty darn good, too.

Lately I run out of my last homemade body lotion and at the same time I run out of emulsifying wax as well, so I went without any lotion for a while.

Looking for an inspiration for a new homemade cosmetic I came across Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter. I instantly fell in love in this VERY SIMPLE recipe. So I’d decided to make it.  

By that time I didn’t have KitchenAid just a simple electric hand mixer.

The recipe is simple. You pour a certain amount of coconut oil to a bowl and whip it until it looks like whipped cream.

So, the first time it took me about 30 minutes to finally give up on this project. I whipped and whipped and whipped and the consistency hadn’t changed almost at all. I thought the cocoa butter I added to the mixture was the main problem. I ended up with something that had the raw honey consistency. I used it all anyway.

A few days ago I decided to try it again. This time in my KitchenAid. I thought: “oh well, at least this time I don’t have to stand and hold it for so long. I’ll just turn in on and leave to do something else.”

And I did that.

I pour about 1/4 cup of coconut oil to the mixing bowl, turned the mixer on and went to play with my kids. After about 10 minutes It looked at it and there was almost no changes in the oil. I turned a little more white and it looked more thick.This time I’d decided not to give up so easily.

I turned the mixer off and put the bowl to the fridge for about 5 minutes. It was a really hot day when I was making it so I thought maybe the warm temperature at the house is the main problem why my oil doesn’t want to get thick.

After 5 minutes in the fridge I whipped it again for about 5 minutes. Turned it off and put it back to the fridge for 5 minutes. While the oil was in the fridge I melted 2 oz cocoa butter (over double boiler). When it melted I put it to the fridge to cool it down and I took the bowl with coconut oil out.

This time while whipping the consistency finally started to change and it got to the point where it looked like that:

And then I got very excited. FINALLY!!!

It smelled wonderful. Just like a coconut. The scent was so vivid and strong. Normally you can’t smell that coconut strong scent in regular coconut oil but when you whip it, oh… it’s just amazing. I love it!!!

At this point I took the cocoa butter from the fridge, it was cold but not hard, it had the consistency of honey, and I added it to the bowl with whipped coconut oil.

Then I added about 6 capsules of vitamin E and a few drops of grapefruit essential oil and whipped it for additional 5 minutes.

This is what I ended up with: smooth and silky whipped cream that smelled like coconut. 

The thing is that I do store it in the fridge and at this point it’s hardened. It didn’t stay soft and silky. I didn’t want to keep it in room temperature because I am afraid it will melt in this hot weather we’ve got here. 

Now it has the consistency more like a hard butter. It’s not REALLY hard but I need a spoon or a knife to scoop it out from the jar. Whenever I take a shower I take that jar with me so it gets softer in the moist and hot bathroom environment and after that it’s easier to scoop it out. 

It’s easy to apply on my body because as soon as it touches the skin it melts beautifully and it’s absorbs really good, too.

So far I think, I have found my second favorite recipe for body lotion :)

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Spinach smoothie and beets-apple salad – because I need my iron.

Finally I know why I am so tired all the time. Why I breath like I 400 lb person trying to climb Mt. Everest every single time I’m doing more than just sitting. Why I want to sleep 24 hours a day (and it still seems not enough). Yes, first of all it’s called pregnancy, heading to the last month if it. Second of all it’s an iron deficiency.

On Monday I got a call that my iron pills are waiting for me in my pharmacy and I should go and get them. While I was trying to explain that I’d tried iron pills with my previous pregnancy and they did make me really sick (like vomiting, for example) and I had to stop taking them, the lady on the phone said: “You really must try it again”. She said if I won’t do it I probably will end up with blood transfusion during my c-section and there is not enough time to boost it up with iron rich food only.

So, here I am swallowing my pills twice a day like a good and reasonable woman. No sickness this time but mostly because I have it on VERY full stomach. I am not afraid to eat anymore because I got something stronger than milk and tums for my heartburn, as well. I wasn’t sure if I want it. My doctor said she’s going to give me the prescription anyway and I can do with it whatever I want but it’s not going to hurt the baby and I should use it because I look like I’m hurting A LOT (and she was right). So I got it.

And a miracle happened. Since yesterday late afternoon I haven’t have any pain and I am slowly forgetting what heartburn is and I’m learning how to enjoy my food again instead of being afraid of every single bite. 

Despite what my doctor said about being too late to boost my system with rich in iron food I’ve decided to change my diet anyway. Finally I have the motivation to try to cook with kale, collard greens, spinach and all kinds of beans and lentils. They’ve always intimidated me so I never cook with it. I cooked with spinach a few times and I really liked it but never was motivated enough to do it more often, though.

The first night I didn’t have any greens at the house, so I fixed myself a bowl of beets and apples salad. I was actually planning on making beets latkas but at the end I decided to go with more raw (not totally, though) and less oily plate. Good that I am not afraid of beets. In Poland we eat them a lot. Boiled, baked, raw, pickled… . So it wasn’t really hard to come up with something fast and enjoyable to my taste buds.

4 small beets, boiled, peeled and grated

2 apples, cut into desired size pieces (I cut one apple into very small pieces, and one into big) 

4 green onions (whole with white parts for spicy taste)

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into desired size pieces

Juice from 1 lemon

or

3 tsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Btw, I’m writing this post while sipping on my spinach smoothie.

Which is actually pretty delicious.

baby spinach and chia seeds

because if two year old eats a spinach smoothie it’s got to taste good. Right?

and if a dog’s looking at you like that while you’re eating your smoothie…

…it means something, too (that she actually wants to be scratched behind her ear.lol).

I made two versions of this smoothie.

First version:

1 banana

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup canned pineapple with juice (additional 1/4 cup)

2 handfuls baby spinach

 1 Tbsp. chia seeds

The first version wasn’t really my kind. I am no the biggest fan of the taste of banana in my smoothies. Their flavor always overpowers the rest of whatever you mix together.

So my second version didn’t have it. I mixed:

1 apple

1 handful frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/4 pineapple juice

2 handfuls baby spinach

1 Tbsp. Chia seeds

1 Tbsp. honey (definitely not going to use it next time – smoothie was too sweet)

As with today I can say that my iron rich diet is pretty delicious. I am really excited to try a few of the ideas I got from my friend how to cook/eat greens :) I’m going to try them all!

Have a great day, My Friends… and do not forget about your iron intake ;)

It's a Keeper

Cocoa Butter Coffee Lotion with a hint of grapefruit juice

Doesn’t that sound great!?!?!? :)

It feels even better!

I got very happy when I saw on Rebbeca’s Soap Deli News that she is talking about my coffee body lotion. Thanks a lot! It made me even happier when I saw my crochet camera strap cover being featured at J&M Eye Candy.

Back to my coffee lotion.

I just ran out of it and yesterday I made new jar. This time with cocoa butter and grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed) !

To those who made it, or want to try to make it – forget about my previous recipes, because I just made THE BEST COFFEE COCOA BUTTER (with grapefruit juice) body lotion EVER!!!!!!

Actually, I almost didn’t make it, or should say I almost failed to make it. It was my first time I was making lotion with cocoa butter. It didn’t want to thicken. I had to fix it and come up with new measurements. Now, proudly I can share it with you.

The directions along with the basic recipe how to make it step by step is here.

Yesterday I made a few changes that made all the difference. I added:

  • 3 tbs of cocoa butter and I melted it all together with e. wax and almond oil over double bath,
  • instead of using 1 1/2 cup of coffee I used 1 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (NO, THIS LOTION IS NOT STICKY because of that juice. It’s perfectly smooth and very creamy! )
  • I added the juice to the mixture after it cooled down a little, all together with vitamin E, and essential/fragrance oils (grapefruit essential oil and amber rose fragrance)

This lotion is AMAZING! After you use it you won’t need any perfumes! Seriously. It smells a little bit like coffee (not too much though) but the cocoa butter added delicate sweet scent to it, and it’s much better than my previous lotions. My skin is soooooo soft!

WHY GRAPEFRUIT JUICE?

Grapefruits are high in the carotenoid phytonutrient lycopene. Lycopene provides your skin with strong antioxidant protection against environmental damage. Lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals among the common dietary carotenoids. Lycopene also strengthens skin and helps to prevent wrinkles by enhancing its ability to produce collagen and reducing DNA damage.
Raw grapefruit contains the skin-cleansing enzyme, bromelain. This enzyme is found in the peel. Try rubbing the inside of the peel against your face as a cleanser. Bromelain also helps to reduce inflammation. Rubbing the peel over itchy inflamed skin, psoriasis or mosquito bites can help to alleviate the itching. Grapefruit drops are also available that will provide the same benefits when applied to your skin.
Grapefruit stimulates the circulation, tightens the skin and diminishes the cellulite.
WHY COFFEE?
One of the most beneficial ingredients in coffee is its caffeine. Just as drinking coffee wakes up your nervous system, it has also been shown to “wake up” the skin. Many anti-aging creams and moisturizers contain caffeine as an active ingredient for its anti-inflammatory qualities. Researchers at the Seoul National University reported in a 1981 study that caffeine reduces inflammation almost as well as aspirin. Coffee has also been added to many body scrubs to diminish the appearance of cellulite. In a 2007 study at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, researchers reported that topical creams containing caffeine decreased hip diameter in almost 70 percent of the subjects over one month.

Overall, use of skin care products containing caffeine will reduce and prevent inflammation and redness, leaving you with a beautiful, even skin tone.

:)
WHY COCOA BUTTER?

Those who had or have used PALMER’s cocoa butter formula know how good it is for you skin. Especially when you’re pregnant, or after being pregnant. It has many more benefits.

If you want to read about cocoa butter more go here, or here, and great info here.

Yesterday I went even further using my coffee. Instead of throwing out those used coffee grounds I made coffee sugar body scrub.

My recipe calls for:

whatever coffee grounds you’ve got left (in this case it was about 3/4 cup),

about 3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice (you can add olive oil instead)

This body scrub is very messy!!!

Used coffee filter went straight to my husband’s worm’s. YES, he keeps worms on our patio. It looks pretty gross. Mh… tell me more about it but, despite that look it’s nothing more than our food waste, coffee grounds, used tea bags, dirt from vacuum cleaner and shredded paper. The dark brownish matter is the soil… almost ready to be used. Few more weeks and we will be using it in our pots :)

This time I went totally green making this lotion  :) I’m happy about that!  As well, my husband should be proud of me that I take such a good care of his worms.  We used to fight about a few things that go along with having your own worm composting set up. A few months ago we compromised to a few things and it works since. It works really good! I feed his worms, he takes care of the rest of it. He acutally takes a very good care of it.

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Homemade lotion/face cream recipe

A few days ago my friend asked my why I look so much older than I used to (sigh!!!) Imagine! Maybe because people get older, and when they get older they look older. Maybe because I am not 21 anymore like all of his girlfriends. Maybe because I do not wear an inch of a make-up on my face every single day. And maybe because I like the sun and I am not a vampire as most of his friends think they are ;). So those are the main reasons why I’m getting old and it’s some how visible. :) Oh… and a year ago, I had a terrible labor after which I woke up with at least 10 grey hair (before I didn’t have a single one).

Not that I got very upset because of that but… hm… it made me think…

Maybe I really should start to use some sort of a face cream, anti-wrinkles/aging serum… ;)

Because it’s been a year when I bought a body lotion for the last time, I thought that I could do the same with a face cream. It’s a bit more complex thing to make a face cream than to make a body lotion. Face it more sensitive, you don’t want to clog you pores, and everybody has a different skin (oily, sensitive, dry, .etc). I do have oily face, so I was looking for something good for my skin.

So I did a research.

I have found a bunch of sites with bunch of recipes. Most of them had one or two ingredients that I don’t have, already. So I kept looking. On the bottom of my post I added a few related posts with the recipes I have found. Some of those sites have recipes for facial mask made from fresh avocado, egg yolks, honey… etc.

I recently ordered a few extra things from Mountain Rose Herbs. My last buy from them was a year ago, after I decided to try to make my body lotion. That time I bought emulsifying wax, 4 essential oils and something else… don’t remember what. I paid $35 for that package (35$ with shipping cost), my next purchase was a few days ago ($37 including shipping cost).

It’s really not that expensive when you have the bigger picture in you head. That supply of stuff last for a year or more.

1 oz to 4 oz of face cream costs from $10 to $30 and more.

Cream I made yesterday cost me about $4.50 for 6.8 oz. Next time, though, I’m going to add more great tea of some kind so juice to loosen it up more because the batch I made is too thick. At that point it will be much more than 6.8 oz for maybe about $5. In addition, everything that’s in your cream is fresh, you can pronounce its name and you know how it looks, and tastes… etc.

Right now, if you take your cream or body lotion and read the list of ingredients I wonder how many of it is understandable to you(?) hm?! What about “triethanolamine”, or “PEG-100 Sterate”, or “Propylparaben”, or “Imidazolidinyl”.

I’ll give you an example.

Pond’s cold cream. From what I remember this cream is made from: mineral oil, water, beeswax, borax, fragrance, and a few things to preserve the shelf life of this cream (you surely could skip that part)!

It costs about $7 for 3.5 oz.

Instead of buying that cream,

you can buy:

pound of borax for $3.50,

beeswax for $1.75 (1 oz)

carrier oil (from $5 to $20 for 8.5 oz)

the best carrier oil for making face cream are the grape seed and hazelnut oils.

From what I know mineral oil clog you pores so it’s not that good for face cream.

To make your own 3.5 oz ponds’ cream you will need:

1.4 oz (about 2 tablespoon) carrier oil = hazelnut oil $1.32,  grape seed oil = $3.30

1 tablespoon (0.5 oz) beeswax               = $ 0.80

1 tablespoon (o.5 oz) borax                    = $ 0.10

1/4 cup distilled water                            = $0.50 or less

                                                                     = $2.72                                                    = $ 4.70

cream like that is awesome to use on you hands, feet, face, and your entire body.

You can always add a few capsules of vitamin E. I bought my (buy one get one free in Wallgreens=$9.50), and it will take you forever to use it all.

If instead of just the distilled water you use brewed greet tea, coffee, fruit juice (grapefruit, orange, lemon) you’ll add more vitamins to the cream, and more anti-wrinkle effects :)

For less than $7 you could make rich, healthy, safe (for your kids to eat ;) ) cream.

Ok, back to my mixture.

You’ll need:

4 tablespoon of hazelnut oil

2 tablespoon of emulsifying wax

1/4 cup of green tea

1 or 2 tablespoon of aloe vera juice (fresh squeezed is the best)

4 capsules of vitamin E

1 tsp. citric acid

essential oils (optional!)

Directions:

take one (or two) leafs of aloe vera (from your garden or from your neighbour’s garden)

cut into pieces

blend it… I do not have a juicer, so I use blender and a strainer. works great.

and then, she {snapped}

separate the juice and set asaid.

in a glass container mix the oil and the wax

on the low heat over a water bath mix it until completely dissolved

meanwhile brew the green tea for about 10 minutes. one bag in 1/4 cup of hot water.

pour the tea, aloe vera juice and the wax-oil mixture into one glass container. stir every few times untill not so hot anymore.

if you add the vitamin E and essential oils to the very hot lotion they will lose their properties. That’s why you need to wait until the mixture cools down.

With a sharp knife cut vitamin E capsules and pour the liquid into the lotion mixture.

Add citric acid.

I added 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil, 3 drops of st.johns essential oil, and 5 drops of sweet orange essential oil.

Mix it well a few time until it cools down completely.

Face cream ready to use:

Because this cream came out so thick and rich I recommend add 1/2 cup of green tea instead of 1/4. Instead of just green tea you could add 1/4 lemon juice. That way you’ll get about 8 or 8.5 oz of cream.

One more thing. If you want to just try this recipe out, and do not want to spend you money on buying “special” oils, you can use olive oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil or almond oil. Those oils are easy to get in your grocery stores. If you use those oils instead of hazelnut oil, or grape seed oil, use that lotion on every part of you body except you face. It will clog your pores.

Keep your homemade lotion/cream in a glass (not plastic) jar in a fridge.

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ENJOY!!!