All Natural Homemade Sunscreen

With summer approaching it is time to start stocking up on those summer essentials to keep our skin happy and healthy. But be wary of what you put on your body.

The average drugstore sunscreen contains toxic chemicals as well as endocrine disrupting chemicals that studies have shown to promote skin cancer growth as well as free radicals in the body. Many of these ingredients are even found in some “all-natural” sunscreens.

Making your own sunscreen is simple, but it does require some tools and materials that cannot be found at your local grocery store. If you prefer to stick with the store bought stuff or need some sunscreen on the go, stick to the brands listed here. These are the best on the market. My personal favorites are Badger and California Baby, both relatively easy to find at your local Whole Foods and some drugstores.

Be aware that the sun provides are bodies with vitamin D, an essential vitamin for health. We need about 20 minutes of full face and arm exposure (no sunscreen) every day  for adequate vitamin D absorption, even more in the winter months. As most people do not work outdoors, it can be a challenge to get enough sun, especially when the majority of people apply lotions or makeup with sunscreen on a daily basis. Vitamin D deficiencies have increased with the rise in use of sunscreen products as has skin cancer.

Do not use sunscreen every day and steer clear of any sunscreens with harsh chemicals. When planning for a long day in the sun, limit your exposure by wearing a wide brimmed hat and clothing that provides more coverage. In a situation in which sunscreen is required, either pick up one of the brands noted above or try this homemade remedy from Wellness Mama:

Homemade Natural Sunscreen Recipe very moisturizing and easy to make Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, almond or grapeseed are good)
  • 5 tsp Zinc Oxide (available online or in many stores on the diaper aisle, just make sure it is pure zinc oxide)
  • 1 TBSP Beeswax or emulsifying wax
  • 3 TBSP natural aloe vera gel (not the kind with alcohol or propylene glycol)
  • 1/2 cup distilled water or brewed green tea (strained)
  • 2-3 capsules of Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (optional)
  • Essential Oils of Coconut Extract for scent (optional) [Note: do not use citrus essential oils since they can actually cause burning]

How To Make Natural Sunscreen:

  1. Heat Oil and beeswax on double boiler until just melted.
  2. Remove from heat, and add vitamin E and essential oils.
  3. Put into bowl that will not be used for food, and add zinc oxide powder, set aside.
  4. In small pan, heat water or tea and aloe vera until just warm.
  5. Add the water/aloe mixture slowly while whisking vigorously or use an immersion blender.
  6. Add any additional essential oils or fragrances (except citrus)

Additional Notes:

  • This sunscreen is not completely waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming
  • Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask
  • This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF
  • Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen
  • I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
  • Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
  • I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.

Enjoy, stay safe, and have a wonderful summer!

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Raw Lemon Bars

The following text and images are courtesy of Oatmeal with a Fork. See the full article here. Enjoy! 

Thick Raw Lemon Bars

Lemon bars have always been a favorite dessert of mine.

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My mom got me hooked on them as a little girl, and I pine for them whenever I cruise by a bakery display…out of necessity is born a recipe!

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This raw version is made up of a chewy, sweet, and slightly tangy bottom layer topped with a rich and creamy layer of lemon-y goodness…the sweetness offsets the lemon enough to keep you from puckering, while still maintaining the citrus flavor that makes these bars so fresh and clean.

Thick Raw Lemon Bars
Prep time- 10 mins
Total time- 10 mins
Author: Lauren Goslin
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • Bottom Layer:
  • ¾ c. walnuts
  • ¼ c. unsweetened coconut
  • 5 soft dates (I used Medjool)
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 2-3 t. lemon zest
  • Top Layer:
  • 6 T. coconut oil, softened
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 3-5 drops stevia, to taste
  • pinch of turmeric, to enhance yellow ‘lemon’ color, optional
Instructions
  1. Process together the ingredients for the bottom layer.
  2. Make sure it is well combined, and press it into a small glass dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
  3. Place the coconut oil into a small bowl.
  4. Beat the oil with a hand mixer until creamy (about 1-2 minutes).
  5. Add in the lemon juice, zest, maple syrup, stevia, and turmeric (if using) and mix until combined and a bit fluffy.
  6. Spread the top layer onto the bottom layer.
  7. Place into the fridge or freezer until set (15-30 minutes)**.
  8. Cut and enjoy!
Notes
**If you store your bars in the fridge or freezer for a long period of time, you will need to set them out a bit in advance before consuming them, as they will need time to soften a bit.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 9 Calories: 179 Fat: 16 g Saturated fat: 8.9 g Unsaturated fat: 7.1 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 8.3 g Sugar: 3 g Sodium: 68 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Protein: 2.7 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Thick, luscious bars….

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…and the obligatory bite shot…

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I can see myself nibbling on one of these while sipping a cup of tea in the late afternoon…bliss.

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Top 10 Most Unhealthy, Cancer-Causing Foods

Perusing the internet, I came across this article from Natural News on the top ten cancer causing foods. After reading the list I can’t say I’m surprised, many of these we are all familiar with. Take a gander at the list and avoid! The following text is courtesy of Natural News and images courtesy of Natural News and Google.

cancer(NaturalNews) The statement “everything causes cancer” has become a popular hyperbole, and one that some people use as rhetorical fodder to excuse their own dietary and lifestyle failures, particularly as they pertain to cancer risk. But the truth of the matter is that many common food items have, indeed, been scientifically shown to increase cancer risk, and some of them substantially. Here are 10 of the most unhealthy, cancer-causing foods that you should never eat again:

1) Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). It goes without saying that GMOs have no legitimate place in any cancer-free diet, especially now that both GMOs and the chemicals used to grow them have been shown to cause rapid tumor growth. But GMOs are everywhere, including in most food derivatives made from conventional corn, soybeans, and canola. However, you can avoid them by sticking with certified organic, certified non-GMO verified, and locally-grown foods that are produced naturally without biotechnology (http://www.naturalnews.com).

2) Processed meats. Most processed meat products, including lunch meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, contain chemical preservatives that make them appear fresh and appealing, but that can also cause cancer. Both sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate have been linked to significantly increasing the risk of colon and other forms of cancer, so be sure to choose only uncured meat products made without nitrates, and preferably from grass-fed sources (http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/processedmeat050305.cfm).

3) Microwave popcorn. They might be convenient, but those bags of microwave popcorn are lined with chemicals that are linked to causing not only infertility but also liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in microwave popcorn bag linings as “likely” carcinogenic, and several independent studies have linked the chemical to causing tumors. Similarly, the diacetyl chemical used in the popcorn itself is linked to causing both lung damage and cancer (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400701/Microwave-Popcorn-Threat.html).

4) Soda pop. Like processed meats, soda pop has been shown to cause cancer as well. Loaded with sugar, food chemicals, and colorings, soda pop acidifies the body and literally feeds cancer cells. Common soda pop chemicals like caramel color and its derivative 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) have also specifically been linked to causing cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/031383_caramel_coloring_cola.html).

5) ‘Diet’ foods, beverages. Even worse than conventional sugar-sweetened soda pop, though, is “diet” soda pop and various other diet beverages and foods. A recent scientific review issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of more than 20 separate research studies found that aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, causes a range of illnesses including birth defects and cancer. Sucralose (Splenda), saccharin and various other artificial sweeteners have also been linked to causing cancer (http://www.dailymail.co.uk).

6) Refined ‘white’ flours. Refined flour is a common ingredient in processed foods, but its excess carbohydrate content is a serious cause for concern. A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Mile Markers, and Prevention found that regular consumption of refined carbohydrates was linked to a 220 percent increase in breast cancer among women. High-glycemic foods in general have also been shown to rapidly raise blood sugar levels in the body, which directly feeds cancer cell growth and spread (http://www.naturalnews.com/001812_cancer_prevention.html).

7) Refined sugars. The same goes for refined sugars, which tend to rapidly spike insulin levels and feed the growth of cancer cells. Fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are particularly offensive, as cancer cells have been shown to quickly and easily metabolize them in order to proliferate. And since cookies, cakes, pies, sodas, juices, sauces, cereals, and many other popular, mostly processed, food items are loaded with HFCS and other refined sugars, this helps explain why cancer rates are on the rise these days (http://www.naturalnews.com/038071_cancer_sugar_sweets.html).

8) Conventional apples, grapes, and other ‘dirty’ fruits. Many people think they are eating healthy when they buy apples, grapes, or strawberries from the store. But unless these fruits are organic or verified to be pesticide-free, they could be a major cancer risk. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that up to 98 percent of all conventional produce, and particularly the type found on its “dirty” fruits list, is contaminated with cancer-causing pesticides (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/).

9) Farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is another high-risk cancer food, according to Dr. David Carpenter, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany. According to his assessment, farmed salmon not only lacks vitamin D, but it is often contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), flame retardants, pesticides, and antibiotics (http://www.albany.edu/ihe/salmonstudy/pressrelease.html).

10) Hydrogenated oils. They are commonly used to preserve processed foods and keep them shelf-stable. But hydrogenated oils alter the structure and flexibility of cell membranes throughout the body, which can lead to a host of debilitating diseases such as cancer. Some manufacturers are phasing out the use of hydrogenated oils and replacing them with palm oil and other safer alternatives, but trans fats are still widely used in processed foods (http://www.naturalnews.com/010095_hydrogenated_oils_unhealthy.html).

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039970_cancer_junk_food_carcinogens.html#ixzz2QpaKX2Yx

Sweet Potato Fries

The following text and pictures are courtesy of Will Cook for Friends. This is an excerpt  see post in full here.

Sweet Potato Fries – The Quest for Crispy (FAK Friday)

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
How To Make Perfect Sweet Potato Fries
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
  1. Preheat the oven –  I found my fries baked perfectly between 425f. – 450f.. This temperature may vary depending on your oven, and also the pans you bake your fries on. I found with a black, non-stick coated pan, 425f. was plenty hot enough. With a thicker, non-coated pan, 450f. was the right temperature. Use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct – it isn’t uncommon for an oven to be as much as 30-40 degrees off.
  2. Use the right baking sheet – I found that a heavy-bottomed baking sheet with a shinier (not coated) surface did the best job making crispy fries. If you’re using a flimsier tray, try reducing the oven temperature a little and increasing the bake time.
  3. Cut the potatoes into evenly sized fries – this way they cook at an even rate. I found that the best size was just under half an inch thick. Much thicker and they didn’t get crisp, much thinner and they burned. Peeling the potato first is up to you, but keep in mind there’s a lot of good flavor (not to mention nutrients) in the skin. I also found the skin gave a better crunch to the fries. Just be sure to wash your potato and dry it well if you plan to leave the skin on.
  4. Use enough oil – one of the main reasons to make fries in the oven instead of the fryer is because they’re so much healthier, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid the oil all together. It does mean you can use healthier oil, though, like olive oil or coconut oil. Once the fries are cut, toss them in 1-2 TBSP to coat. Be sure to grease the pan, too, to keep them from sticking (or you could use parchment paper – I found it didn’t make much difference in terms of crispiness).
  5. Seasoning – After coating the fries in oil is the perfect time to season them, because the oil will help it stick. A pinch of salt is a must, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. If you’re in the mood for something spicy, try a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper. Want something sweet? A dash of cinnamon goes a long way. Some of my favorites are cumin and coriander, rosemary or sage, curry powder, paprika, garlic powder, and even nutmeg. Use whatever flavors call to you!
  6. Spread the fries into an even layer – space the fries out on the baking sheet with a bit of room  between each one. If the fries are crowding the pan they’ll steam themselves and become soggy instead of crispy. If you’re making a lot of fries, use two trays, or do them in batches. (Don’t put more than two trays in the oven at once, or else the amount of steam may cause them to get soggy.)
  7. Bake in the upper 1/3rd of the oven – you want the oven to be hot, but if the fries are too close to the heating element (at the bottom of most ovens) they may get burnt. I found keeping them on the top, or second to top rack, helped tremendously.
  8.  Flip the fries every 10-15 minutes – this will help them cook evenly, and also ensure they get caramelized all ’round. The side of each fry touching the pan will have the most browning, while the side on top will have a chance to dry out and release steam. Both are important! If you’re using two trays, be sure to swap their positions in the oven at this time, too. (I found my fries took about 30-35 minutes, though your time may vary depending on your oven, baking sheet, and the thickness of your fries.)
  9. If you’re using a gas oven – depending on your oven, you may find it necessary to crack the door ever few minutes, just for a moment, to let some of the steam out. Don’t leave the door open for a long period of time, though, because you don’t want the heat to dissipate!
  10. Once the fries are out of the oven – move them immediately to a cooling rack so that air can circulate around them. Keep them spaced out in a single layer (not piled on top of each other) so that they’ll hold on to the crispy exterior.
  11. Devour immediately – it doesn’t need to be said, but fries are best eaten fresh. Fresh, and before anyone else has a chance to get to them.

Braless is Best?

Words and photos below courtesy of Healthy-Living. See article here

Should you ditch your bra? Marilyn Monroe slept in a bra to keep her assets firm and perky, according to Hollywood lore. A new study out of France suggests it might have been more effective for the screen goddess to go “au naturel” instead.

Researchers spent 15 years studying the breasts of over 330 French women, and concluded that wearing a bra does not prevent sagging or ease back pain as commonly thought. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically—breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity, Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, from the University of Besançon, told France Info Radio. “On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.”

Taking measurements with a caliper, the researchers found that by not wearing a bra, muscles around the breast actually strengthened and the “nipple raised 7mm per year toward the shoulder.” However, the scientists did not recommend all women abandon their bras since their muscles had probably already degraded.

While the phenomenon of “bra burning” has been greatly exaggerated, in 1970s it was not only politically correct but also fashionable to go braless in the United States. Since then, women have been trussing themselves into increasingly structured—and expensive—undergarments. According to Business Week, the women’s intimates’ industry generates over $11 billion a year in revenues.

The results of the study may be intriguing, but it’s doubtful that droves of American women are going to ditch their bras anytime soon. For one thing, a study by the Center for Talent Innovation found that women who jiggle around the work place are deemed less worthy to become executives by both men and and other women.

Furthermore, the study focused on women ages 18 to 35. According to France’s English-language news site The Local, one 28-year-old participant reported multiple benefits: “I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have no back pain.” We’ll see what she says at age 50.

All Beautifully Strong

Check these sexy ladies out! 

My friend, Ashley, recently started a blog with her fitness model teammate, Christine, focused on eating healthy and getting fit. In doing so, they have created a community for women filled with practical advice and motivation in all things health and fitness, where women can share their stories of overcoming challenging and achieving success.

I love this blog!

To my followers, please check out Ashley and Christine’s blog, All Beautifully Strong, follow and comment!!

Ashley

Learn more about Ashley here.

Christine

Learn more about Christine here.