How to Lighten Your Hair Naturally

How to Lighten Your Hair Naturally

Highlighting or lightening your hair is a perfect way to refresh a look, particularly at the beginning of a new season. However, most lighteners used in salons or sold in drugstores contain an array of chemicals, which can strip the hair of its shine and wreak havoc on the scalp. In addition, heading to a salon for a professional service can be quite expensive.

Instead, men and women can try one or more of the following options for easy, all-natural, non-chemical hair lightening. The results will be a subtle shade lighter and brighter, not a drastic change. For increased lightening, one can mix two or three of these options and sit in full sun for about one half hour.

Lemon Juice

One of the most popular natural lighteners, lemon juice can create lighter colored streaks due to its citric acid. However, because it can be harsh to the hair, it should be diluted with water or olive oil by mixing 1 cup lemon juice to ¼ cup water or olive oil, for or a softening effect.

Honey

Honey is much less harsh than lemon juice and even comes with its own conditioning properties. It works similarly to hydrogen peroxide, but should be mixed with water in a ratio of one cup honey and ¼ cup water before use, in order to reduce the stickiness.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has become so popular that some hair product brands are creating shampoos and conditioners with this botanical ingredient. It is particularly useful for blondes who can use a cooled pot of chamomile tea to soak their hair.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the best lightening choices for brunettes because it will not turn the hair orange. However, this common kitchen spice will need something to stick to in the hair. One can rub conditioner throughout the hair first before distributing a mixture of one part cinnamon and one part water from the root to the end of each strand. For best results, cover the hair with a plastic bag and sleep with the mixture on the hair for 6-8 hours.

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 References

Walling, Elizabeth; Lighten Hair Naturally at Home to Avoid Toxic Chemicals; Natural News; accessed October 21, 2014

Saul, Ilana; Beauty DIY: Natural Hair Lighteners; Lauren Conrad; accessed October 21, 2014

Krause, Rachel; 4 DIY Ways to Lighten Hair Naturally; Yahoo Beauty; accessed October 21, 2014

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What to Say to Someone with Depression

What to Say to Someone with Depression

Depression is often more serious than an outsider might think. Although some may look at the depressed person’s circumstances and feel a response roll right off the tongue, it pays to stop and think about what to say before offering unhelpful or even hurtful advice. Advice and comments must always be made in a non-blaming manner.

Here are five great examples of what to tell someone who is feeling depressed:

“You are right. This is discouraging.”

A person who is feeling depressed needs to be validated and receive empathy. At this point, the individual does not need a problem-solver nor do they need to be told what they should be doing. They simply need some basic understanding and a listening ear.

“You are a valuable person.”

Along with validation, the individual needs to comprehend that the way he or she is feeling does not affect personal value. This can help a depressed person believe in themselves and regain some hope.

What can I do to help you out?”

People who feel depressed sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed, getting out of the house or caring for daily needs. A little help getting groceries, cleaning the house or running errands can mean a great deal to them. You can also offer to drive them to a doctor’s appointment or to a hospital, if necessary.

“I am here for you to do what you want to do.”

This can be a great way to give the individual a nudge in the right direction. It can be an offer to take a walk together, watch a movie together or some other favorite activity.

“Remember that this is a temporary circumstance.”

A depressed person may think that the way he or she feels will “last forever.” This phrase can give them some much-needed perspective on the situation.

Click here to check out iHerb’s products for depression support! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Grohol, John M., Psy. D.; 6 Things to Say to Someone with Depression or Who’s Depressed; Psych Central; accessed September 24, 2014

Stewart, Kristen; 7 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone with Depression; Everyday Health; accessed September 24, 2014

Smith, Melinda, M.A., Suzanne Barston and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.; Helping a Depressed Person; Helpguide; accessed September 24, 2014

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Fall in Love with a Healthier Pumpkin Pie

Fall in Love with a Healthier Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a wonderfully versatile dessert that can be made several different ways. Some recipes include rich, high-caloric ingredients, while other recipes incorporate low calorie and low sugar options. This healthier recipe, while lighter in calories, is in no way lighter in taste or flavor.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar or 1/2 tsp. stevia
  • between 2 and 4 Tbs. of water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Once combined, add in the oil and stir. Slowly add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms, adhering well but not sticky.
  2. Press the dough into a 10-inch pie pan and then place it into the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for approximately 15 minutes. The dough will rise, so be sure to use pie weights during the baking process, or simply pat the finished piecrust down after removing it from the oven. Allow it to cool before adding the pumpkin pie filling.

Pie Filling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine all of the ingredients and blend using a mixer until smooth. Once the ingredients are well-incorporated, pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan with crust.
  2. Bake for approximately 25-27 minutes. Take the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool. Once it cools, place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours (uncovered) to let it fully thicken. Serve after cooling.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

References

Katie; Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe; Chocolate Covered Katie; accessed October 4, 2014

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Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk: What’s the Difference?

Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk: What's the Difference?

To get a better understanding of the differences between coconut water and coconut milk it’s helpful to learn the exact properties of each.

Coconut water is actually the liquid that’s found in the cavity of the coconut. Coconut water contains beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is especially praised for the percentage of potassium, magnesium and manganese it provides. It is also a good source of vitamin C, riboflavin, calcium and fiber. It is important to note that coconut water is high in sodium.

Coconut milk is derived from what is known as the meat or the flesh of the coconut and has a rich, creamy taste. The Med-Health website touts a variety of health benefits associated with coconut milk, such as its high content of magnesium and phosphorous. Coconut milk may help prevent osteoporosis, reduce inflammation and assist in the absorption of vitamins.

A major difference between coconut water and coconut milk is the calorie content of each. Mother Nature Network shows just how extreme that difference is in their analysis of each. One cup of coconut milk contains about 500 calories and 50 grams of fat. If you want to use coconut milk in cooking because of its high nutritional value and taste, but are watching your saturated fat, you can opt for less rich, low-fat coconut milk.

On the other hand, one cup of coconut water contains only 45 calories. Coconut water is an alternative to higher-sodium sports drinks and is praised for its ability to combat dehydration. On the other hand, coconut milk is often used in moderation in smoothies, mixed beverages and in recipes, as a substitute for milk.

Although there is a distinct difference between coconut water and coconut milk, both can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle diet plan provided they are used in the most beneficial manner.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Coconut Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Nuts, Coconut Milk; Self Nutritional Data: accessed December 12, 2014

Zelman, Kathleen; The Truth about Coconut Water; WebMD; accessed December 12, 2014

Nelson, Jennifer; Coconut milk or coconut water: What’s the difference? Mother Nature Network; December 12, 2014

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iHerb Wants to Reward You Contest: Win $300 or $150 iHerb Rewards Credit

iHerb Wants to Reward You Contest

For the last several weeks, iHerb has been sharing information with you regarding our Rewards Program. First, we discussed different ways you can earn Rewards. Then we showed you how to attract more Rewards Customers through the use of various iHerb tools as well as through social media.  To review all those articles, please visit the iHerb Rewards Category on iHerb’s Healthy Haven Blog.

This whole time we focused on how “iHerb Wants to Rewards You!” Well, now we really do want to Reward you through our iHerb Rewards Blog Contest. One lucky Rewards Customer will win $300 iHerb Rewards Credit while two will win a $150 iHerb Rewards Credit.

You can earn entries via the widget below.  Mandatory entries include:

(+1) Visit iHerb on Facebook

(+2) Visit iHerb Rewards on Facebook

(+1) Follow @iHerb on Twitter

(+2) Follow @iHerbRewards on Twitter

Optional entries include the following, but can not be used until the mandatory entries are done via the widget below.

(+2) Follow iHerb Rewards on Pinterest

(+4) Tweeting a Message

(+2) Leaving a Blog Comment by Sharing your Rewards Code

(+4) Leaving a Blog Comment by Posting a link to a photo that you shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram or Pinterest of products you’ve purchased from iHerb with the hashtag #iHerbHaul. (ex: http://instagram.com/p/wVPwAEHBcy)

Please enter only if you’re an active iHerb Rewards Customer and if you’re not one yet, we encourage you to become one. Click here to learn how to become an iHerb Rewards Customer. 

Contest runs from, December 12, 2014, 10 am (PST) to January, 02, 2015 , 11:59 pm (PST). Winners will be announced the week of January 5, 2015.

Please note that this blog contest will be running not only on the main iHerb Blog, but also on the international blogs for our Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish speakers.  You can only participate in one of our blog contests. For example, if you enter the contest on our Chinese blog, you can’t enter the blog contests on the Japanese blog, Korean blog, etc.

Good luck and to all our participants, we wish you and your family Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

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Beneficial Supplements for Children’s Eyesight

Beneficial Supplements for Children’s Eyesight

Although many children have good eyesight, a surprising one in twenty preschoolers have some kind of problem with their vision. While most concerns are not serious, some will require medical intervention to prevent future problems. For example, children with nearsightedness or farsightedness will most likely need to see an ophthalmologist to be fitted for a pair of glasses. Other vision problems that children may face include color blindness, crossed eyes, a lazy eye or astigmatism. In fact, if some problems are not addressed early, other problems can develop later in life, such as macular degeneration or cataracts.

When looking at supplements for children, parents should keep in mind that many vitamins and other nutrients can be received through healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats. However, because some children can be rather picky eaters, ophthalmologists may recommend a particular supplement or daily children’s multivitamin. These top options are vital for children’s eye health.

Vitamin A

Possibly the most important supplement for vision at all ages, vitamin A is particularly necessary for retinal health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night vision problems and may even cause complete blindness in serious cases.

Vitamin C

Often thought of for its role in immune health, vitamin C is actually quite important for visual health as well, even through old age, because it can reduce problems such as poor eye pressure and macular degeneration.

Vitamin E

Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E should also be included in one’s diet or as a supplement from childhood on. It is known for decreasing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

DHA

This omega-6 fatty acid is found primarily in cold-water fish and in fish oil supplements but is particularly important for eye health during the first year of a child’s life. In fact, it is found in most infant formulas.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Children’s Supplements! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Dakota, Milo; Vitamins for Children’s Eye Health; Livestrong; accessed October 20, 2014

Nurmi, Deborah; Children’s Vision and Eye Care Basics; WebMD; accessed October 20, 2014

Eyesight and Food; Eyerobics; accessed October 20, 2014

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Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Herbs and Supplements

Five Kinds of Cheese High in Probiotics

Five Kinds of Cheese High in Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria commonly found in the intestines. They help digest food completely and fight against unhealthy bacteria that can compromise a person’s immune system. Excessive amounts of probiotics can cause bloating and stomach upset; however, when eaten in small to moderate portions, probiotics have a wide range of healthful effects.

Dairy products are an excellent food source, and many are aware of the beneficial properties of yogurt for fighting against a variety of infections, such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections and diarrhea. Cheese is also an excellent source of probiotics. Although not every cheese is a top contender, these are a few of the best options.

Cheddar

A delicious yellowish-orange cheese that comes in a wide array of flavors — from mild to sharp, cheddar originally hails from England. For the best flavor, cheddar may be aged up to six years.

Swiss

A white cheese known for the characteristic holes that form during the fermentation process, Swiss also comes in a mild baby Swiss variety. It is made from cow’s milk and originally came from Switzerland. Another type of Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk, Gruyere, is loved for its semi-soft texture and nutty flavor.

Gouda

Gouda is one of the best sources of probiotics because the bacteria in it can mostly survive the trek through the acidic stomach and make it unscathed into the intestines.

Feta

A favorite raw cheese of many, this chunky option has a distinctive taste and aroma. This soft Greek cheese has traditionally been made from sheep’s or goat’s milk but can also be made from cow’s milk. It is often used to top Greek salads.

Provolone

A delicious Italian cheese, Provolone is loved for its smooth texture and mild taste. It is often used on cold cuts.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Probiotics! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Food Sources of Probiotics; Probiotic Now; accessed September 15, 2014

Girdwain, Jessica; 10 Unexpected Sources of Probiotics; Woman’s Day; accessed September 15, 2014

Casto, Rae; What Raw Cheese Has Probiotics?; Livestrong; accessed September 15, 2014

Types of Cheeses; International Dairy Foods Association; accessed September 15, 2014

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition), General Health

How to Curb Food Waste at Home

How to Curb Food Waste at Home

Most of us don’t have money to throw away, and throwing out spoiled or unused food is doing exactly that. One of the best methods to encourage yourself begin to reduce waste is to start adding up what poor food management costs you over a period of time, such as one month. Trust me, you will be surprised.

Here are some areas to focus on to reduce your food loss.

Learn the Shelf Life of Foods

One of the best ways to reduce waste is to learn what you can stock up on. Products that you can store for several months can be bought on sale and stored in your pantry. Make sure you have a system in place so that the oldest is used first. You may want to label the purchase dates of your food.

Storing Your Food

One of the largest areas of food loss is storage. Food should be stored right away after a meal. To be a success with this, you need to have proper, sealed storage containers in various sizes. Label your containers. If you will use the stored item a few days, then don’t freeze it. If you don’t use the item within two days, and the item is in good condition, freeze it.

Meal Planning

Plan to use fresh items first. You might want to use more fresh items on the weekends or on the days you don’t work if they involve more time to prepare. Plan a strategy to use up leftovers. For example, a left over roast can be used for lunch sandwiches for several days, or cut up in small pieces and stored to make a soup or stew in the future. One or two days a week, you should cook up your leftovers into a stew, sauce or soup. You can store these foods for those days when you don’t have time to cook.

Learn to Share With Others

Bring leftovers to work or share with friends. Keep track of when you will be away, and buy less for these times. If you see items that will expire soon, don’t be afraid to give these to a food bank or other organization. They will thank you.

Start a Compost Heap

Many people recycle food by turning it into compost, which is good for the environment and eventually helps grow new food. Even if you don’t want to garden, a compost pile requires minimal care. This is a great place to put food scraps and expired items without filing up the local landfill.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

Resource

Tips to Start Saving Money and Stop Wasting Food; the kitchn; accessed on Nov. 20, 2014.

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition), Healthy Home and Garden

Detoxify with an Epsom Salt and Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

Detoxify with an Epsom Salt and Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

A hot bath for relaxation and to help you unwind after a long day is wonderful, but a long soak can help you get rid of toxins in your body as well. Pores open during a hot bath and tend to release toxins. The benefits of a detox bath include softer skin, pain reduction, decreased stress and overall good health.

An Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar bath is particularly beneficial for detoxing the body and you might already have these products in your home. First, the Epsom salts raise magnesium levels. Many people are deficient in magnesium — an important trace element. A study at the University of Birmingham in the UK recently found that magnesium levels in the blood increase after an Epsom salt bath. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for detoxification, so increased amounts can help cleanse the body from the outside in.

Apple cider is also a known detoxifying agent. In addition, it supports healthy skin. Many people are familiar with the popular use of apple cider vinegar on sunburns; it draws out toxins, aids with pain reduction and encourages healing.

In addition to detoxifying benefits, an Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar bath can help with pain reduction and may help resolve chronic skin issues such as eczema and skin irritation. Detox baths will make you sleepy, so reserve your soak for just before bedtime.

In order to make your very own detox bath, follow these steps:

  1. Dissolve 1/2 cup of Epsom salts in about a quart of boiling water.
  2. Run a hot bath, as hot as you find comfortable.
  3. Add the Epsom salt solution along with 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar.
  4. If you like, add up to ten drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or rose.
  5. Soak for up to a half hour.

This bath will leave your skin and entire body feeling cleansed and refreshed. A detox bath is a great way to aid a detox regime or merely to relax.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Detox Bath Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Reed, Daniel; The Tao of Detox; accessed November 24, 2014

Waring, RH; Report on Absorption of Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts) Across the Skin; University of Birmingham; accessed November 24, 2014

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Filed under General Health

The Ancient History of Mistletoe

The Ancient History of Mistletoe

Mistletoe has been revered for thousands of years. The plant itself is attractive, and its leaves are shiny and evergreen. One might not realize that mistletoe grows as a parasite on trees. It obtains nutrients by growing roots in the skin of the tree and it obtains more sunlight in cool weather when deciduous trees lose their leaves.

Pagan Magic to Modern Tradition

Early people thought the plant had miraculous properties. The berries were eaten and because they contain a very sticky fluid, they were also used to make glue. Aside from these uses, what superstitious people saw was life in the middle of winter growing out of a dormant deciduous tree. Evergreens in general were important symbols of survival in winter, but mistletoe was especially revered and hung in homes.

From this beginning as a good luck charm and a sign of fertility, different towns and countries formed their own customs surrounding hanging mistletoe. It was preserved as a way of ensuring health through the cold winter months, and the Catholic Church did not vigorously persecute the tradition. As a general rule, they allowed people to keep natural objects as good luck charms and healing agents.

Evergreens and trees have long been signs of longevity. Oak trees grow large, live for hundreds of years and support large colonies of mistletoe. A person kissing under the mistletoe, which was traditionally hung in winter rather than just for Christmas, was hoping to ensure a long and fruitful relationship with a woman.

Peace and Goodwill Among Anglo-Saxons

The cultures that became Germany and Britain had their own customs. Trees with mistletoe were places for peaceful gatherings, and people were supposed to greet each other warmly underneath this Northern European equivalent of an olive branch. Because wishing well was desirable in a social setting, it was hung in doorways and between rooms, prompting guests to shake hands or share a social kiss.

For this reason, a boy could kiss a girl in a social way without it being considered erotic or provocative. Because the other party was obliged by custom, it was a convenient way to approach a member of the other gender and test the waters.

Because of the rustic and romantic appeal of the tradition, kissing under the mistletoe has survived the ages. As Washington Irving wrote in the 1800s, “young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under [mistletoe], plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”

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Reference

Misteltoe: The Evolution of a Christmas tradition; Smithsonian Magazine; Accessed Nov. 20, 2014

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