DIY Natural Electrolyte Drink

 

We’ve been living with the stomach bug in our household for two weeks now. It’s something that I knew would probably be showing up, as we decided to take the kids for a weekend to an indoor water park in the Poconos. If you know anyone who has ever taken little kids to one, then you know it’s more than likely for young kids to contract one of these when there. The kids had fun, but perhaps it wasn’t worth the consequence, as I honestly didn’t think it would last this long.

The good news is that though the only ‘cure’ is to let it run it’s course, there are natural steps that can be taken to ease the pain and discomfort. Most people know that keeping hydrated is key, however, it’s important to take small sips every few minutes instead of gulping something down as there is a greater chance that it will stay down and be absorbed into your system. Electrolytes are important when you are losing a lot of fluid, but choose your drink of choice wisely. Avoid Gatorade because it contains artificial ingredients and too much sugar, which will make it harder for your immune system to work against the virus. Instead, opt for coconut water, which naturally contains electrolytes or make your own electrolyte drink.

Natural electrolyte drinks are also great to drink while exercising, participating in sports or when feeling run down.

Homemade electrolyte Drink

 

 

Natural Electrolyte Drink Recipe:

1 quart of filtered water
⅛-1/4 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
¼ cup or more of lemon juice
1-2 TBSP honey

Mix all ingredients and drink to your health!

 

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The Stars of Sleep

The Stars of Natural Sleep Remedies
It happens to us all. Sometimes there are nights where it seems impossible to either fall asleep AND stay asleep. We can will ourselves all we want, but when it comes down to it, the sleep process involves a lot more than willpower.
There are actually four different chemicals that aid in proper sleep. The first, tryptophan, is what is needed to start the process of sleep. Tryptophan is the only one of the four chemicals not produced naturally by the body. This is one chemical that you must consume. Once it’s consumed, it gets converted into 5-HTP, which then converts into serotonin. The serotonin then converts into melatonin. It’s the melatonin that tells our body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake. If you don’t get enough tryptophan to start your sleep process, your body will be lacking in the other three essential sleep chemicals.
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, make sure that you are consuming foods that contain tryptophan. These include: cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, oats, peanut butter, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy, and turkey.
Once you know that you are eating foods that give your body the tryptophan it needs to start you on your sleep journey, you can look further into how to naturally increase your sleep time and quality. Many answers can be found in plants and minerals.
Stars
The Two Stars of Sleep Remedies 
These two seem to be the most powerful of natural remedies. In fact, the first, tart cherry juice, has been found to provide better sleep than Valerian Root, a commonly prescribed natural sleep aid. 
Tart Cherry Juice – Two studies, one performed in 2009 and one in 2011, show that drinking tart cherry juice every day increased melatonin levels and provided participants in the study with more sleep time and better sleep efficiency. Why does it work? Cherries help to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that coverts to serotonin, which then coverts to melatonin. Cherries are also a source of naturally occurring melatonin. Concentrated tart cherry juice is the best as it is a much smaller serving size with a lot less sugar than the not from concentrate. This ‘remedy’ is particularly helpful for staying asleep through the night.
Magnesium – Magnesium plays a huge roll in calming the nervous system, thus getting the body ready for sleep. Surprisingly, many people are deficient in this mineral. If you are experiencing muscle spasms or heart palpitations, these could both be signs that you need more magnesium in your diet. Magnesium can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, dark chocolate, avocados and bananas. Though important to ingest through foods, you can also get it through soaking in an Epsom salt bath. In this way you are absorbing the mineral into your skin. Make sure to follow the dosage directions that come with the salts.
Two Herbal Remedies for Sleep
These two provide great sleep on a lesser scale of potency than the two aforementioned remedies. While the cherry juice and magnesium can both be used with children, these two herbals/oils can be used on very young kids and babies as well.  
Chamomile – Chamomile contains properties that act as a mild sedative and helps to aid in calming. The properties of the plant can be used in two ways to induce sleep. It can be made into a tea, or the essential oil can be used on the bottom of the feet or diffused in the air. Chamomile is great for inducing sleep.
Lavender – For sleep purposes, lavender is best used as an essential oil as it is the inhalation of it that helps to reduce stress and to provide a calming and sedative effect. It can be diffused or put directly on the soles of the feet to be absorbed into the skin.
It’s important to note that a great night’s sleep starts with your sleep environment and the routine you have for getting to sleep. Please see “Bed-time Tips for Your Child” for more information on this because the same tips that apply to children also apply to adults!
Resources
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. NCBI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Journal of Medicinal Food. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/
Lavender, University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender

DIY Mattress Freshening

At least one third of our lives is spent sleeping on a mattress. Add in time spent reading, watching television, cuddling, nursing, and playing on one and the amount of time that we spend on our mattresses increases significantly.

If you think about the activities that take place in the bed, be it a bed you sleep alone in or one that you share with another adult and/or children, you will see how a mattress needs to be refreshed every now and then.

Many mattress are found to contain sweat, blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, along with dirt and dust. Some without a good, natural moisture barrier also contain mold and mildew.

Gross to think about? Absolutely. The good news is that it’s easy to freshen a mattress, even though it’s not something many of us think to doYOU SAID THERE'S

Here’s How You Can Freshen Your Mattress

1. Start with washing all of the bedding including the mattress protector. In order to insure that any nasty germs are killed off, add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to your laundry detergent. Tea tree has been proven to kill off everything from the flu virus to MRSA!

2. Vacuum the mattress in every crease and crevice with the upholstery attachment. This will get rid of any dead skin cells, dust and other debris that have made their way there.

3. Mix some baking soda with 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of lavender oil. You can use a mason jar, shaking the mixture to combine the oils with the baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over the bed and let it sit for a few hours. The baking soda will neutralize and odors and absorb any moisture. The oils will help to kill any germs on the surface of the mattress.

4. Vacuum up the baking soda once again using the upholstery attachment.

5. Spot clean any stains. The stains on mattresses are usually those of body fluid, and if you are finding them after freshening your mattress for the first time, then they have most likely been there for a while. You may not be able to fully remove them at this point, but here are some recipes to try. Please note that you do not want to get a lot of fluid on your mattress, so use as little as possible when cleaning it.

For blood: Make a paste of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1 tbsp liquid dish soap and 1 tbsp of salt. Rub it in, let it sit and then scrape it off.

For urine and sweat: Mix 3 tbsp baking soda into 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 2 small drops of dish soap. Mix until the baking soda is dissolved and dab this on the spot.

For vomit: Make a paste using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Set it on the stain, let it sit and then scrape it off.

If you needed to do any spot treatments, wait until any damp spots on the mattress are dry before putting any bedding back on.
When you are sure that your mattress is dry from any spot cleaning, put all of the bedding back on and relax knowing that you will sleep ‘fresh’ tonight!

 

 

 

Eco-Friendly Easter Eggs

We now have only 2 days to prepare for the annual celebration of egg hiding and discovery that we call Easter.  For those of us who would like to try something different and leave behind the fizzy Alka-Seltzer-on-steroids dye tablets, I have just the thing for you.  From the folks at DIY-Enthusiasts, I found several eco-conscious egg decorating ideas that have brilliant results.

Making Egg Dye from Plants, Fruits and Herbs

natural dye eggs

(Photo Credit: kitchn.com)

Making your own natural egg dye is a great way to teach children about green living, and the results are just as fab, if not more so, than the store-bought alternative.  The recipe to make dye is essentially 1 cup of each particular veggie or fruit per 1 cup water.  For herbs (say for example, turmeric) you’ll only need a few tablespoons of the ground herb.  You can also use tea bags to make your dye, in which case you’ll only need 1 bag per 1 cup of water.  Boil the dye material in the water for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is a few shades darker than your intended final color, strain the solids and then chill the dye.  Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to each cup of strained dye liquid after chilled and you’re ready to go!

Here are some ideas for colors and what to use.  Please note that the color listed is the color you’ll get if you’re using white eggs.  Brown eggs will result in a different color!

Blue: Purple Cabbage

Gray: Dried Hibiscus Flowers

Pink: Shredded Beets

Mustard Yellow: Ground Tumeric

Lavender: Red Onion Skin or Grape Juice or Red Zinger Tea 

Orange: Yellow Onion Skin

Brown: Coffee

Rich Yellow: Carrot

Pale Green: Spinach

Various Shades: Bags of Chamomile or Green Tea

Decorating with Seeds, Cereal and Pasta

WTF Easter Eggs

(Photo credit: DIY-enthusiast.com)

This is an advanced move, no seriously, it’s difficult.  To start, you use raw eggs, but blow the egg yolk and whites out so it’s an empty egg shell.  (This is accomplished by poking a small hole in each end of the egg and blowing out the insides.)  Totally easy, right?  I remember trying this when I was 10, it didn’t go well.  Just be prepared for a certain level of…frustration.  That being said, the end result is spectacular, I mean, just look at that photo!  If you have the patience of a saint, some experience with mosaic tile laying, a full set of surgical tools and 2 assistants, you can create works of art that will rival the ones in the photo.  

I decided that I should give this egg decorating method another try.  It’s been 28 years since my last attempt to disembowel a raw egg and decorate it, and I figure with this much life experience it’ll be “in the bag” this time around.  Here goes!

Because this is an eco-friendly DIY project, I selected my seeds and beans from the bulk section at Whole Foods, because when you buy in bulk you reduce your carbon footprint.  I chose “Lundberg Family Farm” Organic Olde World Pilaf, baby lima beans, and sprouted mung beans.  I also picked up some chocolate covered chia seeds to give my egg that healthy but “fun” design element.  Note: don’t use chocolate covered anything in this project, the chocolate melts.  Also, don’t use sprouted mung beans, their skin falls off, it’s no good.

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Removing the innards of the egg was less tricky than I remembered.  I took two thumbtacks, poked holes in each end of the egg, one larger than the other.  Here’s the important part: you must stab the inside of the egg with a chopstick to break up the yolk, otherwise it will NOT come out.  After “scrambling” the inside of the egg, blow into the smaller hole and the insides will come out of the other one.  This process is not for the faint of heart.

Decorating the egg.  If you use Elmer’s glue, you have to glue one side at a time, allowing the first side to dry completely before attacking the second side.  The egg decorating process will then take at least a day.  If you use Krazy Glue or a hot glue gun, you will achieve a quicker and higher success rate, but the toxicity level of your faux fabergé egg will be increased.  I elected to use Krazy Glue, in the interest of saving time.  I also attempted to create an egg with Elmer’s and sadly I don’t recommend it; the decorations oozed all over and I was unable to achieve any sort of “design.”

That aside, I think my egg turned out OK!  This is the “good” egg. 😉

IMG_3240

I hope you enjoy trying some of these eco-friendly egg decorating techniques.  I can honestly say I had a great deal of fun preparing mine! 

Here’s a link to the full article on DIY-Enthusiasts: Eco-Friendly Easter Eggs

DIY Fruit Facials for an At-The-Spa Glow!

facemask

(photo credit: themissinformation.com)

OK, we have all committed the crime of going to the grocery store (albeit with the best of intentions), and buying far more fruit than we can consume before it starts to go bad.  Well, redemption comes in the form of glowing skin!  Now, instead of composting the fruit or just feeling guilty about it, or making more banana bread than is safe for human consumption, you can use your left over fruit to make amazing DIY fruit facial masks!  We have also included some non-fruit masks, because of their awesomeness factor.  Store-bought facial products are primarily so expensive due to the cost of their fancy packaging.  With just a trip to the grocery store, you can produce a DIY treatment that rivals a $300 facial.

For the following recipes be sure to use organic fruits, raw unfiltered honey and organic food products!

Cleanse and Nourish with Bananas

Vitamin packed bananas cleanse and nourish the skin and work well with oily or combination skin.  Use those bananas for a rejuvenating facial!

Ingredients:

1/2 ripe banana

2 tablespoons of raw unfiltered honey

2 tablespoons of organic lemon or orange juice 

Directions:

Blend ingredients together and smooth over the face.  Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse off for an instant glow!

Coffee & Cocoa Facial Mask

Has Friday night yet again sought revenge upon you in the form of a puffy face come Saturday morning?  Fear not, we have just the thing for you!  When you need to pull out all the stops, use this coffee and cocoa mask to de-puff and detox your skin.  Sorry, it won’t help your liver, however it WILL rehydrate your skin and bring it back to that healthy glow we love and respect.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee

2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons of plain yogurt or sour cream

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together and smooth over the face.  Leave on for 10 minutes and when rinsing, gently massage the face to exfoliate.  

Lemon & Strawberry Skin Brightening Mask

Strawberries contain natural salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and remove the skin of dead cells.  Lemon juice helps tighten up pores and decreases the appearance of brown spots over time.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mashed organic strawberries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Mash all of the ingredients together, apply evenly over face and let sit for 8-10 minutes.  Remove with a warm, damp washcloth and rinse with cool water.

Avocado & Honey Mask

Avocados are rich in vitamins A, B, D and E, to moisturize, heal and reduce fine lines.  You an also use avocado and honey to soothe sunburned or dry skin.  Coconut oil prevents infection and provides powerful antioxidants to prevent cell damage!

Ingredients:

1/2 very ripe avocado

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions:

Mash the avocado until it’s a smooth paste, then blend in the other ingredients.  Smooth over the face, avoiding the eyes, and leave on for 10-15 minutes.  Remove with a warm wash cloth and rinse with cool water.

We hope you have fun with these facial ideas and that your skin looks its absolute best!  For these and more natural facial ideas, visit our friends at http://www.pioneerthinking.com, and don’t forget to use your sunscreen!  See our previous post on DIY sunscreen to protect that beautiful, fresh skin!

DIY Sunscreen? Don’t Mind If I Do!

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So, you likely already know that traditional sunscreens are highly chemical and may actually cause quite a bit of harm.  Well, it’s true.  Traditional sunscreens contain a variety of chemicals which are present to protect the skin, but actually encourage skin damage via free radicals.  With Summer right around the corner, we are here to help!  Get sun-kissed, healthy skin, have some fun (and be the envy of your friends) by making your very own natural sunscreen!

Here’s a quick recap of the scary stuff that lurks in traditional sunscreens:

Oxybenzone – According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 56% of beach and sport sunscreens contain oxybenzone, whose primary function is to absorb UV rays, but some research shows it gets absorbed through the skin.  “The EWG and other toxicology experts believe that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.”  (CNN.com)  Yikes!  Scary, right?

SPF 85? – Quite a few sunscreens boast extremely high SPF protection levels, which give consumers a false sense of security.  For example, a sunscreen with SFP 30 blocks only 1% fewer rays than does an SFP 50.  Also, keep in mind that SPF only blocks UVB rays.  (CNN.com)  

Octinoxate – Octinoxate is the ingredient that acts as an accelerator for the OTHER nasty ingredients to be absorbed into the skin at a faster rate.  Not only is octinoxate likely to contribute to premature aging, but it also causes hormonal disruption.   Insert scared emoji face here.  (Women’s Health Magazine)

Retinyl Palmitate – AKA Vitamin A Palmitate.  Sounds ok right?  Well, retinal palmitate is an antioxidant, and it’s present in sunscreen to reduce the aging effects of UV exposure.  However, when exposed to UV rays, the retinol compounds break down and produce nasty free radicals that are toxic to cells, damage DNA and may cause cancer.  (Women’s Health Magazine)    

So basically, the chemicals in sunscreens get absorbed into the skin and create cell-damaging free radicals when exposed to the sun; not exactly anti-aging!  Lucky for us, making your own sunscreen is easy, fun and works great.  We found a fantastic recipe from Scratch Mommy, who also sells this product through her website if you’re not ready to make it yourself.  Click here to go to the Scratch Mommy site.

Ingredients:

  • 90g Coconut Oil (raw, organic and unrefined)  
  • 65g Carrier Oil (your choice – raw, organic and unrefined apricot, almond or jojoba, all work well)
  • 28.5g Beeswax
  • 27.5g Shea Butter (organic and unrefined)
  • 40g Zinc Oxide
  • 1/2t Vitamin E

Tools:

  • Double-boiler (a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water works)
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Mask (you don’t want to breath zinc oxide!!!)
  • Containers (mason jars are great, but if you’re at the pool or beach you’ll want to go plastic)

DIY Time:

Place your glass bowl on the scale and measure all the ingredients (EXCEPT the zinc) into your bowl, one-by-one, hitting tare in between each.  Place the bowl onto the double boiler, melt the ingredients completely and stir with a metal whisk.  Carefully remove and wipe down condensation (you don’t want H2O in the mix).  Place the bowl on the scale and hit tare.  Now, add the zinc oxide slowly until you reach 40g.  Whisk again and carefully pour into your container(s).  Let the liquid cool off and firm up, and you’re ready to go!

If you want to, you can add some essential oils into the mixture while it’s melting to give your sunscreen a refreshing scent.  However (and this is really important) some essential oils increase photosensitivity.  Here’s a list of ones NOT to use:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Wild Orange
  • Bergamot
  • Tangerine
  • Fennel
  • Ginger

Now, get out there and hang ten!  Sun’s out buns out!  😉


This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. Through this site and linkages to other sites, My Green Mattress provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.