The Holistic Chick Online

Heathy and Holistic Inside and Out…Don't Drink Coffee While Riding an Elliptical.

Cold Weather Aches and Pains…

Arnica Warm Salve by Owens Acres

Arnica Warm Salve by Owens Acres

Pressure changes make my head hurt.

Let me rephrase that.  Pressure changes feels like a nail is being pounded into my left temple.

Cold Weather makes my neck, hands and knees ache.

My solutions?

Topical pain relief.  You don’t have to smear over-the-counter horrid smelling gels or creams, do a search online and find organic alternatives.

Sombra Warm Therapy in the roll-on container is a big help for the pain I get from bone-spurs in my neck, and it travels easily in bags and purses.  Also, Arnica Warm from Owens Acres, or the plain Arnica, work on the creaky knees.  The plain arnica balm I use as a hand moisturizer for my achy hands.

The head?  Hands down, Headache Balm from Owens Acres.  I don’t leave home without it.  In fact, I just ordered five more.  Apply it over your eyes, beneath your nose, behind your ears and breathe it in.    It works so well I don’t have to take pain killers, and I think we all know of that pain that is so miserable we reach for the bottle of ibuprofen.

So!  Even though it’s cold, we can keep the garbage out of our bodies while remaining comfortable.

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I Give You…Carrots and some Fun Carrot Facts.

English: A bunch of carrots (Daucus carota), w...

English: A bunch of carrots (Daucus carota), washed and placed on a wooden cutting board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Glorious carrots! Thanks Liz!

Image of "baby-cut" carrots

Image of “baby-cut” carrots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baby-Cut carrots, the popular snack, are a bit lower in vitamins and minerals than your standard carrot.  The majority of nutrients in carrots and in and just below the skin, and whittling a mature carrot into a baby-cut carrot eliminates the most nutritious part of the carrot.  I used to love baby-cut carrots, but once I tasted a carrot with its dark green, lush greenery still attached, I haven’t gone back.  Besides, a plastic bag of baby-cut carrots costs more than a simple bunch of carrots.  Save some money, grab a knife and    cut your own carrots, and taste what a carrot really tastes like.

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Sugar/Stevia Blends Question..and that new sugar, Nectresse

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have noticed that both Domino and C&H brands have both come out with “light” versions of sugar, a stevia/sugar blend.

Both brands claim the same for their products:  half the calories of sugar, a half a teaspoon of “light” equals the sweetness of one teaspoon of plain sugar, with no artificial ingredients.

No artificial ingredients.

If you check out the ingredients for both products, they are exactly the same:  Sugar, Stevia, Natural Flavoring.  I can’t locate what the natural flavoring is.

Also, on the S&H FAQ Page, there is this disclaimer:

Q. How much stevia is used in C&H® Light?

Since C&H® Light is a proprietary blend of sugar and stevia, we are not at liberty to share the particulars with the public. C&H® Light is an all natural, reduced calorie sweetener that has met with all FDA regulations and contains no known allergens.

-from www.chsugar.com

There’s no way to find out the ratio of sugar to stevia, and who knows what “natural flavors” mean, so I guess I will be leaving this on the shelf.

Oh, I also came across Nectresse, made by the makers of Splenda.  The first ingredient is erythritol, a sugar alcohol.  Next ingredient is sugar, third is Monk Fruit, last is molasses (from http://www.nectresse.com/faq#32).

Nectresse sounds good, looks good, is marketed really well, but is it really beneficial for us?

 

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My Posture Sucks.

Bad posture

Bad posture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a huncher. No matter how much I try to keep my back pressed up against the , back of my chair, I eventually find myself practically laying on my computer keyboard with my nose pressed against my monitor.  Even worse, it’s totally an unconscious thing.  I have no idea I am leaning forward until I stop and completely redirect my mind to what my body is doing.

Earlier today, I was typing a Google search entry and I realized I was nearly laying the upper part of my body on the desk.  Horrified at myself, I straightened up and heard a cracking sound in my neck as I did so.  No pain, but it’s not a sound you want coming from any part of your body.

So, like any savvy blogger, I hit the web to see what I could find on ergonomics and improving my posture, not only for sitting but for standing and walking as well.  From what I can tell so far, I am so out of alignment my knuckles might as well be dragging on the floor.  The amount of information I found was staggering and inconsistent: sit up straight, do NOT sit up straight, walk carrying weights (also known as the Farmers Walk), do not carry anything heavy.  Sit with your feet beneath your hips, pretend there’s a string attached to your head from the ceiling, do a body check every five minutes to see where you are in your posture.  Use wrist rests when typing.  Don’t forget all of the products that you can purchase to help you with your, including someone to massage you if you’re stiff.

First of all, the massage sounds good.  My shoulders bear the weight of all my stress and they are hard as rocks, to the point where I don’t like them being touched, even a simple tap can hurt.  I’ve been massaged before, and it’s not a big thrill for me because I have a difficult time with being touched.  Same reason why I’ve never had a pedicure.  The thought of someone touching my feet frankly freaks me out but that’s a post for another day.

Anyway…I came across a website about sucking in your gut, and how it’s actually beneficial.  It doesn’t solve all problems, but it helps strengthen lower back muscles as well as your core.  The best website I found for information was here.  Yes, it’s a blog about the raw food diet, which is not a turn off for me, I have actually found quite a bit of useful information.

So first things first, I am going to work on strengthening my core.  Then maybe my lower back won’t ache when I walk or sometimes, even stand.  Sadly, I am parked in front of a computer over 40 hours a week at my jobby-job, and I have got to do something before I turn into a mushroom.

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I Turned Down a Product Review and Mango Butter is Awesome

Rose Geranium, image from Wikipedia

I got an email this morning, asking me to do a product review on a 100% natural skin care boutique.  According to the email I could pick one of the many products offered, full-sized, and all I needed to do was do a product review of whatever I chose, with a link back to the site. I checked out the offerings on the website, and to be honest, I wasn’t really impressed.  There were several brands available, but really high-end brands.  I mean, we’re talking costly.

I surfed the website for a bit and decided no, no review.  I sent an email back thanking them for considering me, but I was sure they could find another blogger in the natural blogging sphere who could better suit their request.

I couldn’t justify reviewing, thus recommending, a product that I wouldn’t purchase on my own.  I scoured the entire website and found nothing that I really wanted to try.  There was one brand that I will not use, and the others, well…$36.95 for an exfoliator?  No.  If I don’t pay for it myself, how can I recommend it to others?  One of the last things I am going to buy is a 1.69 ounce jar of an exfoliant for nearly $40.

So I passed.

Now on to something more affordable:  The All Natural Face makes does Body Butters.  I purchased one a while ago, and picked the Rose Geranium scent (there are two fragrance “lines”, one made with fragrance oils and the other line made with Essential Oils) grateful it was an option because Rose Geranium has tons of benefits, check out The Mountain Rose listing here.  Now, not only is the Rose Geranium a benefit, but I found out tonight that there’s more.

There are four ingredients in their Body Butters:  Organic Mango Butter, Organic Vegan Coconut Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, and the Rose Geranium Essential Oil.  I never really knew what Mango Butter was or did.  I have plenty of products that contain Mango Butter, and I know its good for my skin, but I never really looked into it.

Mountain Rose Herbs has a whole listing of the properties and the goodness of Mango Butter here.  I had no idea of the array of benefits of Mango Butter, which makes me love the Body Butter from The All Natural Face even more.

Oh, and the 2 ounce jar I purchased?  It was $6.50.  Also comes in a 4 ounce jar for $12.

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EPIC FAIL: Breakfast

English: american breakfast

Image via Wikipedia

Eating breakfast has never been a popular thing for me.  Yes, I know it’s good for me, I’ve read all of the benefits of eating breakfast and the bad things when you don’t.  Heck, even my Nurse Practitioner tells me I should eat breakfast.  Might as well admit it, every doctor I have had has been trying to get me to eat breakfast.

When I was in my 20’s I worked in demanding jobs and I would either not eat or grab something so I could continue moving.  Back then I could handle it (or so I thought) but then I was told I wasn’t getting enough nutrients and my body was in a constant starvation mode, so whatever I ate my body kept because it never knew when it was getting more fuel again.  Did I learn? No, not yet, not 20 years later.  Now, if I don’t eat I start feeling really ill, but I can still push myself to not eat until the afternoon.

Granted, in real life I work swing shift at my jobby-job, so I don’t start work until 230 in the afternoon three days out of the week.  I am generally out of bed around 10 or so, plenty of time to hop online and whatnot before I have to get ready for work.  Even with a couple of hours at my disposal I still don’t eat.

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Image via Wikipedia

Why?

The thought of anything other than coffee first thing out of bed makes me nauseous.  Sadly, I can consume coffee like no tomorrow, until my stomach starts to complain and I start getting that ill feeling from not eating.  Two weeks ago, I completely overdosed on caffeine, so I started drinking half decaf.  Then a week ago I started off my week telling myself that I would make a real effort to eat breakfast, instead of starving myself until 4 in the afternoon when I took my first break at work and could run to Starbucks for a bagel with cream cheese.

I didn’t go nuts on the breakfast.  I did oatmeal with raisins, which I do love.  I ate it.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I ate it.  I didn’t feel great while I was eating it but it did make a difference as the day went on.  After the first day, I figured I could get used to eating in the mornings.  So I had more oatmeal with raisins the second day.  It was easier getting down than the first day, and I did feel decent as the day went on, again.

Alas, that was it.  I lasted two days.  I didn’t eat breakfast for the rest of the week.  EPIC FAIL.  I will try again Monday.

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My “Why I Do Not Drink Milk” Story

Deutsch: Ein Glas Milch English: A glass of mi...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I was asked what I thought about milk.  Not raw milk, I’ve no experience with that at all.  I’m talking about the pasteurized stuff that comes in the gallon jugs at the grocery store,  that comes in chocolate or strawberry flavors, that is served in our schools, that is heavily advertised with pretty people wearing milk mustaches have never seen a product so heavily advertised as being the best thing for our bodies.  It is believable, really, until you see the ads are sponsored by the dairy council?

Hmm.

My Milk Story starts with no politics, no indignant feelings towards dairy lobbyists, nothing like that.   I simply could not drink it.

I don’t recall if I was lactose intolerant when I was born, or why my mother didn’t give me milk when I was little.  Up until the age of 13, when it came to milk I drank soy baby formula in cans.  Prosobe, I think it was called, I don’t even know if it’s around anymore, but that’s what I drank, ate my cereal with.  I remember the smell of it vividly, and I also remember how to make it:  one can, along with three cans of water, made a pitcher.  We’re not talking fancy vanilla flavored soy or anything like that, this was the 70’s and soy was NOT flavored back then, and it didn’t come in half gallons.  I drank that stuff until I was 13 years old, when I decided it was time to be a grown up and drink real milk for a change.  I latched onto the cow and didn’t let go for five years.  I drank milk like it was going out of style.  I could never get enough of it.

I should stop here and let everyone know that other than a case of the chicken pox, I don’t recall any other childhood illnesses while I was drinking baby soy formula.  No ear infections, croup, none of that standard stuff kids always get.

Then I spent five years drinking cow’s milk.  Those five years were the sickest years of my life.  I was always coming down with throat infections.  Not strep, it was never strep, just some sort of infection the emergency room doctors couldn’t figure out, no matter how many throat cultures they did.  I would get antibiotics and they would send me on my way.  Also, during that time period I got the one and only ear infection I would ever have in my life.  It was the most painful experience I have ever had.  Having all four wisdom teeth dug (literally) out of my head at the same time was no match for this ear infection.   The pain was horrific. I was stuck on horrid amounts of antibiotics for that as well.  I will never forget that first night on antibiotics, I didn’t want to miss a dose so I stayed up all night, talking on the phone with my friend Patrick who was sweet to stay up with me.  We were on the phone until five in the morning.  I never forgot that.

Because of that ear infection, I developed sensitivity to penicillin, and I can no longer take it.  Period.  As well, that ear infection left me hard of hearing in both ears for two months afterwards.  Hard to listen to your Sony Walkman when your ears are inflamed.   Shortly after that episode, my mother began seeing a health guru, who got her to change her diet, got her to take out her aggression towards her mother by beating pillows, and got her drinking rice milk and eating all sorts of veggies.  Mom was meditating for an hour every night and doing yoga.  She seemed so healthy so I decided I would somewhat follow her route.  The first thing I gave up was milk because I found out how awful it was for humans, how it caused ear infections and the like.  An ear infection was something I was determined never to experience again.

Therefore, I gave up milk, and then the coughing started.  I coughed constantly for just over a month.  I went to the doctor and I was told my body was getting rid of all of the casein that had built up in my lungs; it was very common for people who quit the dairy to go through a detox process.  The garbage coming out of my chest was thick and just nasty, and that was only after drinking milk for five years.  Five years!  I know people who have consumed milk for years, even decades, and I had all those problems after only five year

I was sold.  I wasn’t going to touch milk again.  It was easy, no milk and no ice cream, but cheese was tough.  I had tried my mom’s cheese alternatives, almond cheese and soy cheese and just no.  I went back to my soy milk and figured that was a major step.  My mother, who never got the taste for soy, drank rice milk.  I admit, soy is an acquired taste.  I can’t deny that.  Texture as well.  Major breakthroughs have been made when it comes to soy milk, but I never did buy the ads that said it tasted just like milk.  It doesn’t.  Not at all, and the texture is wrong.

So there I was, on my non-dairy kick.  By this time, I was in community college, and I was given an assignment to write a paper on something (I really don’t remember what) so I chose to write about how cow’s milk can negatively affect our health.  We had to read our papers aloud to the rest of the class as part of the assignment.  One of my fellow students actually started crying because I would dare suggest not giving children milk, which is what they needed to grow into strong, healthy adults.  She would not listen to a word I said, and thought I was Satan incarnate for even thinking milk was not healthy.  I told her I was allergic to it, she said that there must be something wrong with me (it’s called Lactose Intolerance, but I might as well have spoken Klingon to her).  I tried to reason with her by giving her facts, but she didn’t want to hear anything bad about milk.  As I recall, she left the class in tears.  She didn’t speak to me for the rest of the semester.

All that over milk.  Wow.

The events I mentioned above occurred about 20 years ago.  I never had one of those odd throat infections nor have I had an ear infection since I stopped drinking pasteurized cow’s milk.  I know of the political and health reasons to not drink it, but for me, I don’t have to hop on a single bandwagon.  Simply, milk does not do my body good.

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Owens Acres has a Facebook Page, and how’s your January?

Bitter orange foliage, blossoms and fruit

Neroli Blossoms and Fruit Image via Wikipedia

YES!  Owens Acres now has a Facebook page.  Head on over and check it out.

How is the winter season treating everyone?  The Solstice has come and gone, so the days are slowly becoming longer, the holidays are over, life has gone back to some sort of  “normal”, and I couldn’t help but do the “air quotes” after I typed that.

January can be a bit of a let down for some after the hustle and bustle of December, for some it can be a relief.  The holidays were something to look forward to, be it wanting them to get here or wanting the madness to end, and there isn’t that festive level of hope going on in January.  A lot of us are dealing with dreary weather, dark days, cold, colds in general.  Spring is still a quite a ways off and other than that hope of Spring, there’s nothing going on.  Well, other than coping with the aches and pains of the cold weather, I personally deal with bone spurs in my neck and sore hands.  Oh, and year round hayfever.  These days it seems like my eyes will not stop watering.

Oh, the thrill of tax season.  How could I forget that?  *rolls eyes*

I have, so far, stayed well.  Vitamin C every night, plenty of tea with hibiscus in it, rest, hand-washing…I’ve not caught the Kennel Cough that goes around work every winter.  I am keeping myself sane with the wonderful scent of Neroli, which I just discovered a few weeks ago.  Its sweet and cheery smelling, and that’s been keeping the spirits uplifted.  I have indulged in Owens Acres Neroli Goddess Butter, Neroli and Myrrh Solid Perfume, and other citrus scented products.  The brighter the essential oil the happier I am.  I went over t Etsy, put Neroli into the search engine and came up with 454 items, if you’re curious.

Bottom line:  take care of yourself.  There’s only one of you, and you’re worth it.

The proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.    -Frank Herbert

 

 

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***headdesk***

So who is doing what to survive the holidays?

There’s no way around all of the stuff that is throw at us:  the ads, the shopping, families, friends, work, weather, the madness in general.  Working in a customer service oriented job adds to the mayhem (I know this for a fact) because everyone has agendas, schedules, reasons, excuses, you name it to be difficult.  Stress hits nearly everyone.  I haven’t found a way to avoid it, short of crawling under a rock until Spring hits.

I spent nearly all day pulling together my shopping list so I could get my holiday shopping done.  I followed the “Support Indie” mantra, and I am so very grateful the shop owner let me send her an email with my choices instead of checking boxes and going back and fourth from the order page back to the product pages on her website.  No big deal for small orders, but for my big holiday order it takes up quite a bit of time.  So I got that done.

So lo and behold, right after I send my email I check my personal Facebook page and a dear friend of mind posts on my wall that my Christmas present is coming in the mail.  Oooops!  So another email to the shop owner, throwing on one more item for her to ship to my friend directly.  **big hugs to Owens Acres**

The shopping part isn’t that big of a deal for me.  Its everything else.  Schedules, work, traffic, weather…especially weather.  This past week I was lucky to have dry but below freezing temperatures driving to and from work.  I was also lucky this weekend, I didn’t have to work and why do I hear the sanding truck outside on our street?  Oh yeah, it rained and its like 25 degrees out.  Yay.

Work is something else.  Anyone who works any sort of customer service this time of year deserves a healthy dose of extra good karma.  Some people just…wow.  To top it all off, there’s the co-workers as well.  For me, at least, that’s a whole different category of mayhem.

Oh, and of course, trying to not get sick on top of everything else.  My work place is a hotbed of disease.  Colds linger for months as it gets transferred from one person to another.  Last year I was sick for two whole months.  The year before I was diagnosed with asthma, which turned out to be seasonal asthma only.  This year I have been taking my Vitamin C with Rosehips and Echinacea regularly (I know Echiniacea has been given a bad rap, but hey, it works for me) and trying to get enough rest and drinking tea and trying to eat decently.  So far I have been lucky to avoid any sickness, while the people around me have been dropping like flies.

Sometimes I want to simply disengage from everything.  Certain people with their issues and their dispositions and quirks and such are beginning to wear at me.  I wonder if its possible to stay in bed from now until the New Year, give everything and everyone a chance to calm down…

…and I wonder if a pony will fit in my stocking.

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Some Great Information Regarding Headache Balms and Why Peppermint Works for Headaches

1887 illustration

Peppermint: Image via Wikipedia

My last post was about my own survival products which I pack with me everywhere.  Included in my list was Owens Acres Headache Balm.  To be honest, I swear by this stuff, for my headaches, pressure “issues” and the pain from the bone spurs in my neck, which also makes my head hurts.

One of my readers asked about the Headache Balm and how  it works, and dear Laura from Owens Acres popped in and answered, better than I ever could have:

Hi, Laura Owens from Owens Acres. The Headache Balm works just like a lotion, it it absorbed into the skin and the peppermint relieves the pulsing and pounding when applied directly. Secondly anything you put on your skin is absorbed into the blood stream – hence why you want natural or organic products. Peppermint relaxes blood vessels and airways and has a natural cooling affect.

Want to test this theory? Rub a drop of Peppermint Essential oil on the top of your foot. In a couple of minutes you will taste it in your mouth!

Peppermint inhaled will also help a headache or nausea/vomiting.

Hope the info is helpful!

Thank you so much, Laura!  I did the Peppermint Essential Oil test on the top of my foot, and she was right, I tasted it in my mouth not too soon after.

I just ordered another tube of Headache Balm from her, I really hope eventually she makes it in a bigger tube, I can’t live without it. Well, my head and sinuses can’t live without it.

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