Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Natural Hangover Remedies

As the temps warm up, more people just wanna have fun in the sun. And who could blame them after the polar vortex of a winter we just had. 

So, now that we can go out and play, most are ready to take it up a notch and party -- I mean bar-be-que, picnic, luau, fish fry, clam bake -- whatever you call it when you're letting your hair down and cutting loose for a while. Which in most cases involves drinking and hanging out until the sun comes up. But, once the sun rises and the hangover has set in, you're feeling icky.

The classic hangover symptoms -- headache, nausea, groggy feeling -- made you promise you'll never do it again.

Let me first tell you that Amour All Naturals isn't the natural health police. Everybody is at different stages in embracing holistic health, and some aren't ready to go all the way, while others may be gung-ho yet fall-off every now and then. Whatever stage of the process you're in, you're here and on your way, which is a good start. If you fall off the wagon, get up, hop back on and keep on riding like it was part of the journey.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
With that being said, I will share with you (in my non-judgmental voice) the side effects and health risks associated with alcohol.

Alcohol consumption prevents the the body from absorbing nutrients as it compromises your immune and nervous system, digestive track and organ function.  Binge, habitual and heavy alcohol drinking can increase one's risk of dysfunctions like: stroke, dehydrated skin, heart disease, ulcers, aged skin, anemia, pancreatitis, dehydrated skin, dementia, liver damage, sexual dysfunction, osteoperosis, cancer (stomach, colon, breast, liver, etc.) and oh yeah, did I mention... aged skin. 

Which is why it is important to cleanse your system after even light to moderate alcohol consumption. Whether experiencing a full-on hangover or a little discomfort, here are some natural ways to help you avoid the side-effects and get you feeling better fast (in no particular order):

1. Vitamins: You've heard it before, but take your vitamins, because alcohol zaps your body of nutrients. When this happens, vitamins B and C are sure to come in handy. Vitamin B complex, specifically B12, plays a helpful role to improve the nervous system, which in turn will help reduce some of your grogginess. If you can stomach it, eat a hearty meal (smoothie, avocado, eggs, toast, fruit, etc.) to help further coat your stomach and add to absorption. Vitamin C gets your immune system moving and fighting off the impurities that alcohol left behind.

2. Water:  Rotate between a glass of water and alcohol to help prevent from feeling icky in the morning. Water helps to flush away toxins left behind from alcohol when you have a glass in between drinks. Alcohol absorbs the body's fluids, resulting in dehydration. If you forget to sip water in between drinks, have a glass or two before you drift off to sleep, rather than waiting the next day.

CREDIT: Crisco 1492
3. Coconut Water: Speaking of dehydration, it's important to get some electrolytes in your system. One of the best natural sources is found in coconut water. Drink coconut water to restore the electrolytes in your system and to get re-charged.

4. Golden Milk (turmeric milk): One of nature's best anti-inflammatories is turmeric. Too much alcohol indulgence can lead to bacteria passing through the bloodstream and intestinal track in which case creates irritation and inflammation throughout the body and organs. To alleviate some of this inflammation here's a recipe to make turmeric milk or a more quickie recipe consists of boiled water poured over some turmeric (grounded, dry or fresh) steep, then add local raw honey for taste.  

5. Herbal Tea: Now that we're talking about tea... have a cup of ginger or peppermint (which helps support digestion) milk thistle (which helps support liver). Tea helps to alleviate stomach bloatedness, stimulate proper liver function which in turns helps to filter out excess toxins.

CREDIT: Evan-Amos
6. Banana: Alcohol depletes the body of potassium, so replenishing the stomach with potassium helps to gently coat the intestinal lining. Bananas also are a good source of B6; and are great antacids which help remedy upset stomach and heartburn.

7. Feverfew: Suffering from a headache, but don't want to further damage your liver and digestive track? Then, steer clear from over-the-counter pain killers containing acetaminophen, doing so can further cause liver damage when combined with alcohol. So, bust out the tea kettle and make yourself a pot of feverfew tea to help ease your headache naturally.  

Each person's body responds differently, so use these suggestions as a guide; but find the natural remedy that works best for you. Personally, I find relief from taking bentonite clay after a meal the next morning, but there's no medical proof or research backing its effectiveness. 

A quick Internet search shows others who also claim to feel better after flushing with bentonite clay. With this in mind, make adjustments as needed, pay close attention to your body and you be the judge. You've got this!

- Avec Amour

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Natural Diaper Rash Remedies

Image courtesy of ImageryMajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Baby making season is over... now here comes the BOOM!

Your pride and joy has arrived or is on the way, so give baby the best care with natural body care products that nourishes the skin. Unfortunately, we live in a time where even mainstream baby care products are laden with yucky chemicals. You have to play inspector gadget about the mystery ingredients lurking in food and products you use everyday. Trust me, I know the feeling... sometimes it seems that there's no use in trying to eat right, live healthy 'cause it appears that we're just one more environmental hazard away from dooms day.

The truth is, the strides you take do matter, no matter how small they seem. Every step in the right direction leads you closer to improving yourself and your family. Plus, you'll be a shining example to baby as to how to navigate the changing landscape of healthy eating and living.

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, what do you reach for when your baby's bum gets an irritating diaper rash? Steroid pumped cream, an over-the-counter medication (safe for infants and children, of course -- side eye--), or better yet you might even rub on some petroleum thinking there's nothing wrong with either of these choices. And maybe there isn't anything wrong with giving an infant steroids that throws the hormones out of balance and disturbs body chemistry, oh and the side-effects but I won't go there today.  Maybe coat the baby's skin in petroleum oil, operative word here: petro as in gas. It's all good as long as it's in small doses, right?

In case you were wondering, I've compiled a quick and easy list of four natural remedies to help bring comfort the baby's tush.

List of natural remedies to treat the common diaper rash:
1. If your baby isn't allergic to coconuts, then relief may be a few steps away right in your kitchen. Try using coconut oil on sensitive areas. It contains antibacterial properties, and absorbs in the skin quickly, making it a great moisturizer for just about all skin types. 

2. Natural baby powder. I shared a talc-free DIY baby powder post earlier this year. Click here if you missed it. If you're in a pinch and don't have time to do it yourself, go to your local health food store or order the Redmond Clay brand. This is not an affiliate, I only share about brands that I like and trust. Based on their list of ingredients and reputation, Redmond Clay is all good in my book.

3. Give it some air --- as you know sometimes you have to let the under parts breathe and baby's are no different. After cleanup, let some fresh air naturally help heal the owwwee for a little while.

4. Add a few drops of neem oil to the babies bath. Neem is great for relieving skin inflammations, and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. If you want to read up on more information about neem, click here and check my past post.  

What are some natural ways you keep your baby bottom rash free? Please share below.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alternative Allergy-Fighting Rescue Remedies

Image courtesy of koko-tewan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ahhh, it feels good to welcome spring.

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the weather is juuust right. It feels all good in your world until.... the sneezing, coughing, itchy allergies come busting up your cool vibes. 

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net
What do you typically do when your allergies flare up? If you're like most people who're tired and fed up with having a runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes; you run to the nearest drug store make a beeline to the cold/flu aisle ask the clerk for the strongest, fast-acting allergy relieving meds. You might even buy the drug store brand,  thinking eh... what's the difference. After check out, you pop the pill(s) and wait for it to kick in... slowly but surely your allergies wear off, but uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh.... now... you're... feeeeeeeling.... sluggggish. 

Oh no! All you wanted was for your allergies to subside now you can't even operate a vehicle, or be productive for at least a few hours. What to do now?

Well if you want to avoid the above scenario, then let nature be your remedy to sinus and allergy relief.

But, first here's a quick recap about how allergies get all fussy in the first place. When an allergen invades your body, it attacks your immune system, causing it to produce antibodies that attach to cells that produce chemicals like histamine. Once histamine has been triggered, it sets off a full-blown allergic response and your body sends you several signs that the immune system and antibodies have been compromised.

Now back to the natural ways in which you can help curb flare ups and ditch the drowsy feeling, from OTC meds. Here are some useful remedies:

Vitamin C -- try liquid vitamin C as this helps boost the immune system and may provide more immediate relief considering this liquid vitamin is absorbed through the blood much more quickly than a pill (which gets filtered through the digestive tract and usually eliminated as waste). 
I purchase liquid vitamin C from my local health food store, but if you don't have any nearby here's a link to the brand I use and love... KAL's vitamin C is flavored and gives the boost your looking for.

Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stinging Nettle -- 
in Western herbalism this is one of the most talked about herbs that treat allergies. Homegrown right here on American soil. As it turns out, stinging nettle leaves has natural antihistamine properties, helping to reduce allergic responses like sneezing, itching and is safe for children. The best way to get these allergy fighting benefits is to take it in capsule form, freeze dried extract or using the leaves to make a tea infusion.

Steam -- boil a pot of water and add your favorite aromatic essential oil (peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree). Place your head just above the pot if you're dealing with a really serious bout and in need of immediate relief, otherwise allow the aroma to fill the room and breathe in deeply.

Quercetin -- this substance is commonly found in fruits and veggies like onions, tea, apples, tomatoes, citrus fruits and even red wine. It can be taken as a natural supplement, as it works as a natural histamine blocker, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and bioflavonoid (a group of vital vitamins that the body does not produce). With this combination, it's one of the best natural allergy fighters with a long-lasting effect. 

Butterbar -- its one of the most underrated herbs, but those who know about butterbur rave about it. Its allergy fighting compounds are comparable to that of leading drug-store brands minus the loopy feeling side-effect. Works pretty much instantaneously, declogging and opening up respiratory tracts.

Bee Products -- the solution may be right in your kitchen cupboard: local honey or bee pollen. Honestly, either of these would work, but you decide which one is best for you. Local honey and pollen works like a vaccine exposing an individual to small doses of local pollen that would usually trigger an allergic response. By taking small doses of honey or bee pollen daily, you build your body's defenses to similar invaders like local pollen. Side note, bees are becoming endangered species. So, to bee kind to bees, plant a flower every time you purchase a bee product.

Image courtesy of keakguru / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just some helpful tips, if you reeally wanna stop flare ups, it may be best to stop eating (or drastically cut back the amount) the foods that cause them. Foods like dairy and other mucous producing foods such as: cookies, breads, cake, chips, white potatoes and refined: rice, flour, pasta. Eat more fresh produce, and you may notice improvements within a few days. 

Pay close attention to your body and make adjustments as you feel you need them. For best results, consult a qualified health professional.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eight Natural Tips for Oily Skin Types

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Life is best lived when you love the skin you're in, but it can seem grueling when you're plagued with problem skin. No sweat... this post will share eight beauty tips for helping you oily skin types. Although most of these recommendations can be used on the body, they are mostly for facial regimens. Alter the regimen to best suite your needs. Let me know in the comments below what you think, how your regimen is coming along or if you've made adjustments along the way. ~enjoy!

1. Choosing the right CleansersNatural soaps like Zum Bar's lemongrass soap are beneficial for your skin considering it uses whole ingredients and is free from toxic poisons. Personally, I love this brand and have only had great results from every bar I've used. I highly recommend using their lemongrass soap which specifically formulated for oily skin types. 

If your skin's still showing that extra layer of shine; use natural facial toner to help remove residual oil. A natural toner might be in your kitchen cupboard: mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water (distilled water if you wanna take it up a notch and get more nutrient absorption to your skin). Adjust this formula to best suit you. Toners are great astringents that helps to further cleanse impurities and constrict pores. 

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
2. Moisturizers Two words -- oil cleansing. Yes, oil... sounds a little ironic to use oil on already oily skin but this ancient remedy has proven to be useful for all skin types. It's a great way to naturally restore the oil balance on your face. Cover your face with coconut oil (do not pre-wet), let it sit for 2-3 minutes then, soak your wash cloth under steamy hot water. Ring out excess water from the cloth and gently remove the oil from your skin using a steamy towel. Be careful not to use the towel while it's too hot so as not to burn your skin. 

Oily skin types should specifically use coconut oil as this oil provides moisture without leaving the heavy greasy feeling. However, if you're allergic to coconut, try jojoba or grape seed oil instead. This is a two for one method, in that you get the benefits of cleansing and moisturizing all in one step.

3. Avoid carbonated drinks: When you think about it, anything that can clean the corrosion from a car battery, probably shouldn't be consumed at all. What's it doing to your insides other than causing your skin to speak up and act out with acne break outs.

4. Limit eating Fried Foods: Actually, it would be best to stop eating them altogether, but until you can gather the will power to do just that, cut back on eating fried foods for a while. To keep from having greasy looking skin, don't put grease in and it won't come out... or at least not as much ;)

5. Clay Play: Create your very own detox clay mask. This helps pull debris and oil buildup from your skin. Try bentonite or french green clay mixed with water, stir until it becomes pasty texture, then spread on face. Rinse away once it's semi-dry. Try this once or twice a week, as needed. Clay's negative ions pulls filth from the skin like a magnet, as most toxins have positive ions. Also, be sure not to use a metal spoon or utensil(s), because it will counteract the clay's ability to be effective.

6. Exfoliate: Body scrubs help to remove excess gunk from your skin. Using natural body scrubs will nourish your skin while getting rid of dead cells and buildup.  Exfoliating gloves are also useful, just avoid scrubbing too hard so you don't scrape your skin or cause excess oil production to flare up.

7. Calm down: Easier said than done, but our hormones kinda help drive the body's responses. Stress signals panic (adrenal glands) which in turn triggers oil (sebum glands) to go into overdrive. Find an activity that helps you to have a healthy de-stressing outlet: go for a walk, jog, exercise, enjoy your hobby, get some sunshine, hit a punching bag, fly a kite, take a nap. Be committed to chilling out, you'll find some great benefits to your health as well.

Credit: OpenStax College

8. Balance pHThe pH aka potential hydrogen helps the acid and alkaline levels to stay balanced in the body. These levels are based on a 0 to 14 scale, where six and below is an acidic, unhealthy state. Adjust your diet and beauty routine to achieve pH balanced skin. You may even be able to knock out blemishes like acne, sensitivities and uneven skin when your pH levels are balanced. Simple ways to do this is to drink lemon water, which helps the body flush toxins and aids in digestion (a HUGE factor for great looking skin). 

You also can apply lemon water or apple cider vinegar diluted with water topically as you would any toner. Eat alkaline rich foods. I'm not saying go overboard, or suggesting that you make this drastic change over night. In fact, don't; small, gradual improvements are best so as not to shock your body. Each day eat a little better, slightly more fresher, more organic, more lean (if you eat meat), more varieties of fruits and veggies. Before you know it, your pH will be balanced. 

As an added bonus: your healthy hair will thank you too. A balanced pH helps a lot of bodily functions, but I'll go more in depth about this topic in another post.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beauty Uses for Lemon by Gourmandia

Hey there,

I found this reeeeaally cool infographic by Gourmandia and had to share with the class (you!) ~ Enjoy

Lemon and Its Beauty Uses
by angelvicky.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.