Ten Random Acts of Kindness

Ten Random Acts of Kindness

Being kind does not have to be difficult, expensive or even time-consuming. While people with larger bank accounts can afford to be more generous with their resources than others can, there are many ways to be kind that do not cost a cent. Others cost only a little money, but their reward is a feeling of joy in helping or encouraging someone else.

A popular phrase today is “random acts of kindness,” which can be demonstrated in one of the ten following ways or in a multitude of others.

  • Pay the toll for the person behind you. Think of the surprise and gratitude this person will feel when they find out that they owe nothing.
  • Help out with a neighbor’s garden. This is particularly helpful for neighbors who are elderly or who are going out of town.
  • Send care packages to family, friends or someone in the military. Items like favorite snacks and magazines are often much appreciated.
  • Send flowers to a loved one. Whether these are freshly picked from one’s garden or purchased from a delivery company, they will be equally appreciated.
  • Adopt a rescue animal. Hundreds of dogs and cats are waiting for loving homes.
  • Surprise a spouse or child with a loving note. Consider putting a note in a lunchbox or on top of a bed pillow.
  • Volunteer time at a nursing home or elderly care facility. These individuals may benefit greatly from having someone read to them, play games or just listen.
  • Add change to an expired parking meter. This can save that individual a pricey parking ticket.
  • Let someone ahead in line at the store. If someone only has a couple items, this will help speed up their day.
  • Babysit for new parents. Free babysitting is a welcome relief to new parents who often struggle to get out of the house.

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References

Kindness Ideas; The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation; accessed April 3, 2015

Park, Euna; 109 Random Acts of Kindness You Can Start Doing Today; Popsugar; accessed April 3, 2015

Misener, Jessica; 101 Easy Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness; BuzzFeed; accessed April 3, 2015

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Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Pasta

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Pasta
Photo and Recipe from Maggie Jones of the Home Sweet Jones Blog

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Pasta

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Toss whole tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cook on a foil-lined baking sheet until you can hear the tomatoes popping, about 10-15 minutes depending on size.
  4. Combine tomatoes and their juices with pasta. Season to taste and garnish with fresh rosemary, if desired.

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Pasta
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, mini heirloom, grape or cherry
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced OR 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Toss whole tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cook on a foil-lined baking sheet until you can hear the tomatoes popping, about 10-15 minutes depending on size.
  4. Combine tomatoes and their juices with pasta. Season to taste and garnish with fresh rosemary, if desired.

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.

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Do It Yourself Lip Gloss Using Beets

Do It Yourself Lip Gloss Using Beets

Beet red lip gloss is a popular fashion trend this year. However, you don’t have to wear your beet red gloss with a side of parabens and other harmful chemicals that are present in many cosmetic products. Homemade red lip gloss, using beets as a pigment, is easy to make and much more affordable than commercial versions. As a bonus, lip gloss made with beets is organic, vegan, and involves no animal cruelty. Here are the simple steps to enjoying your own DIY gloss.

Ingredients

Other Tools Needed

  • coffee grinder
  • fine strainer or muslin cloth
  • small lip gloss pots or lip balm containers

Instructions

Step One: Make Beet Root Powder

To make your beet pigment, slice a beet in thin slices and either bake at 350°F until crisp or place in a dehydrator at 100°F for 8-10 hours. Crumple the hard beet ‘chips’ into your coffee grinder and grind until they are a fine powder. This powder can be used as a lip gloss pigment and a blush as well. If you would like to skip this step, you can purchase beet root powder.

Step Two: Make the Lip Gloss Base

Heat one cup of water in a small saucepan. In a double boiler, add the grated beeswax and oil of your choice. Stir regularly until the beeswax is melted and completely blended with the oil. Then, add 1 Tbs. of the beet root powder and stir until completely and evenly mixed.

Step Three: Strain

Remove your lip gloss mixture and strain it. Then, pour it into your lip gloss containers while still warm. Once the mixture firms and cools, it should be a smooth and moisturizing lip gloss with a lovely shade of red pigment.

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

Resources

Crosby, Heather; Easy DIY Beet Blush and Lip Gloss: 3 Ways; YumUniverse; Accessed May 8, 2015

March, Laurie; Grow Your Own Glow: Sweet Beet Lip Gloss; DIY Network; Accessed May 8, 2015

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Filed under Women's Health/Beauty Info

Major Risk Factors for Stroke

Major Risk Factors for Stroke

Strokes are a devastating and sometimes deadly medical problem. Many people worry that they or their loved ones are at risk of having a stroke. People who know they are at risk can take preventative measures including being screened regularly by a doctor and reducing the number of risk factors.

Listed are the major risk factors for a stroke:

There are some risk factors that cannot be changed. Older people, especially people over the age of 55, are at risk. Women have a higher risk and are also more likely to die from a stroke.

Heredity is also a factor; people who have a family history of strokes may carry a gene that puts them at higher risk. Race is also a factor; African Americans have a higher risk than other ethnic groups. Sickle cell disease, which is more common in people of African descent, also may increase the chances of suffering a stroke.

In addition, having a history of cardiovascular events — especially a prior heart attack or TIA is a risk factor for stroke. People who have had a prior heart attack are more likely to have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions that can contribute to a stroke.

There are a few major risk factors that can be changed. It is very important to reduce these as much as possible, especially if you have some risk factors that you cannot change such as being female or having a history of prior heart attack.

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis, especially of the carotid arteries
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Untreated atrial fibrillation
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet, especially one that is high in sodium and low in fruits and vegetables
  • Sedentary lifestyle

These risk factors often can be removed or at least reduced, leading to an overall lower risk of stroke.

Companion Articles

Stroke Prevention Tips Especially for Women
Stroke Prevention Tips Especially for Men

Looking for vitamins, herbal supplements and other alternatives to help you keep a healthy balance in your life? Check out the thousands of products we sell at iHerb.com. Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get  you $10 off any first time order with a $40 minimum purchase or $5 off any first time order less than $40.

References

Editors; Understanding Stroke Risk Factors; American Stroke Association; Accessed March 20, 2015

Editors; Stroke Risk Factors; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Accessed March 20, 2015

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Filed under Aging and Health, Cholesterol, Heart and Hypertension Health

Natural Cold Sore Remedies

Natural Cold Sore Remedies

Cold sores, which are sometimes referred to as fever blisters, are a relatively common problem all over the world. The worst part about cold sores is that they can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, and many people describe them as painful, pulsating or tingling bumps that can appear on the lips or around the mouth as well as other areas of the body.

There are over the counter remedies to treat cold sores, but natural ingredients can work very well too. Use this guide to help you choose natural remedies for healing a cold sore quickly.

Lemon Balm Essential Oil 

Lemon balm essential oil can help to get rid of cold sores fast due to antiviral properties of the oil.  Melissa has a calming effect and makes the skin feel less irritated and painful. You can buy over the counter products with lemon balm for topical use — or you can use lemon balm essential oil mixed with carrier oil (such as almond oil) applied directly to cold sores.

Ice Cubes

Help heal a cold sore a little bit faster by applying ice cubes directly to the outbreak. When applied directly to the skin (for about 15 minutes) an ice cube can help to reduce swelling and provide temporary relief from pain. While that ice cube probably will not make your cold sore disappear completely, it should look and feel better after application.

Buy a New Toothbrush

If you have a reoccurring blister on the lips or around the mouth, you may want to switch out your toothbrush when the current outbreak is over. This is because, in some cases, your toothbrush can harbor the virus that causes the outbreaks.

Stress Reduction

Some people notice cold sores during a cold or flu, when experiencing a sunburn, or when fatigued or stressed. Be sure to get adequate rest and avoid staying in the sun too long without sunscreen. It is also helpful to use stress-busting techniques, such as exercise, meditation, reading or yoga.

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

References

WebMD Staff; Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center: Cold Sores; WebMD; accessed April 18, 2015

Prevention Editors; Kicking Cold Sores 101; Prevention; accessed April 18, 2015

WebMD Staff; Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Lemon Balm; WebMD; accessed April 18, 2015

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Key Ways to Prevent Bone Loss

Key Ways to Prevent Bone Loss

Loss of bone density is a normal part of aging, but it can lead to broken bones and loss of mobility, as well as complications like arthritis. Fortunately, nutrition can help build strong bones when you’re young and stave off the development of osteoporosis.

Read on to learn more about the essential vitamins and minerals for strong bones.

Calcium is considered the key to building and maintaining strong bones. While low fat dairy products are the most common way to consume this mineral, it’s also found in dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal. Most adults need between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day.

Vitamin D also helps to build strong bones while helping your body to use the benefits of the calcium you ingest. While you can get this nutrient from spending time in the sun, that carries risks of its own. A vitamin D supplement can ensure you get the adequate amounts.

Phosphorus is a mineral that helps make up the substance of your bones. It’s found in milk, seeds, many types of cheese and red meat. Note that it is absorbed into the bones with the help of vitamin D.

Magnesium is another mineral that promotes bone strength. The best way to make sure you’re ingesting enough magnesium is by taking a supplement or a multivitamin, however certain foods are high in this mineral, including halibut, mackerel, almonds and cashews.

Vitamin A is essential for the development and maintenance of skeletal growth. You can find this vitamin in foods such as liver, eggs, butter, green leafy vegetables and carrots.

Potassium, found in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, oranges, bananas, plantains and prunes, is also key for building strong bones.

By incorporating foods rich with these minerals and vitamins into your diet, you’re taking a proactive step to lower your osteoporosis risk. Your doctor will be able to perform a blood test for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, or a bone density test if you think you are at risk for osteoporosis.

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

References

Calcium, Nutrition, and Bone Health; American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; Accessed April 30, 2015.

Nutrition for Everyone: Calcium and Bone Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Accessed April 30, 2015.

Lawrence, Jean; Building Stronger Bones; WebMD; Accessed April 30, 2015.

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Filed under Aging and Health

Can Gymnema Help Diabetics?

Can Gymnema Help Diabetics?

Gymnema, a natural herbal supplement derived from the gymnema sylvestre plant, may be the solution millions of people with diabetes are seeking. According to health data, there are approximately 21 million Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics living in the United States, so a natural solution to controlling blood sugar is in demand. Gymnema, also sold as GS4, may be one such solution.

The gymnema plant grows in India as a large, climbing branch and has been used in Ayruveda, or traditional Indian medicine, for centuries in order to control appetite and lower blood sugar. It is only within the past several years, however, that this herb has come to the attention of Western medicine. Today, many herbalists and doctors are exploring the possibilities of treating Type 2 diabetics with GS4 instead of pharmaceuticals.

This herbal remedy is thought to work by blocking the sweet taste of sugar, helping users control cravings. Taking gymnema may help users avoid sugary foods, a large source of spikes in blood sugar levels that are dangerous for Type 2 diabetics.

Further, GS4 may also block the absorption of sugar into the intestines and stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. According to Dr. Julian Whitaker, The leaves of the gymnema plant contain gymnemic acids, which have been shown to slow the transport of glucose from the intestines to the bloodstream.

Between 200 and 600 mg daily is considered a safe dose of GS4. However, the supplement has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so further study is needed to determine optimal doses. GS4 should be used under a doctor’s supervision and blood sugar levels should be carefully monitored to avoid hypoglycemia or other problems in Type 2 diabetics.

Additionally, gymnema is not a substitute for diet and exercise. But, when combined with healthy eating and a reasonable exercise plan, GS4 may help Type 2 diabetics control sugar cravings, lose weight and become healthier.

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

References

Goldman, Rene; Is Gymnema the Future for Diabetes Treatment; Healthline; accessed May 1, 2015.

Whitaker, Julian; The Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre Extract; Dr. Whitaker; accessed May 1, 2015.

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Filed under Diabetes Management, Herbs and Supplements

Do It Yourself Wax for Easy Hair Removal

Do It Yourself Wax for Easy Hair Removal

If you’re interested in DIY hair removal methods, one of the simplest and most affordable methods is called “sugar wax.” If you’re concerned about chemicals in your beauty products or simply want to save money on salon treatments, follow the easy recipe below. While it may take a little bit of practice to get the mixture exactly right, in the long run you’ll find that DIY hair removal can save you time and money.

How to Make “Sugar Wax”

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • strips of fabric

Instructions

  1. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, and water in a pot on your stove top. Warm up the mixture on medium low heat as slowly as possible, until it reaches a slow, rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering the mixture until it looks like a smooth, golden, waxy substance.
  3. Time and temperature are not as important as color; you want the mixture to reach a dark golden color between honey and molasses.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a clean stainless steel bowl and allow it to cool.

How To Use “Sugar Wax”

  1. While you’re waiting for it to cool, clean and exfoliate your legs with a light body scrub for best results.
  2. Dry your body and then dust the skin with a thin layer of cornstarch.
  3. Spread the wax smoothly onto your legs, and then press a strip of thin cloth on top. Flannel works well as it easily adheres to the wax.
  4. Rip it off quickly and the hair should come off with it. For best results, do a small area at a time.
  5. When you’re finished, wash of the remaining hair remover and then treat the skin with jojoba or grape seed oil to minimize redness.
  6.  If you have leftover sugar wax after using what you need, you can store it in an airtight container.

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

References

Clayton, Lesley; Bikini Kill: DIY Wax Recipes for Hippie Hair Removal; Good: A Magazine for the Global Citizen; Accessed April 30, 2015.

Maslowski, Deborah; How to Make All Natural Wax for Leg Hair Removal; DIY Natural; Accessed April 30, 2015.

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Filed under Tips Or Usage Ideas, Women's Health/Beauty Info

What in the World is Periwinkle?

What in the World is Periwinkle?

While researching herbs and supplements, have you ever come across something and asked yourself, “what in the world is that?” This series of articles will give you insight about some of the lesser-known herbs currently available on the market. From there, you can decide whether it’s a natural remedy worthy of further exploration.

Today, it’s all about Periwinkle!

An herbal remedy with a long history in folk medicine, periwinkle is a small purple flowering plant native to Europe and Madagascar. There are two main types of periwinkle, one is an annual plant, Vinca major, which may have medicinal properties; and the other type, Vinca minor, a perennial, which is used mainly as a ground cover. The unusual name “periwinkle” may have been derived from the Russian pervinka, which has the root pervi, or “first,” as the annual plant usually flowers in early spring.

History

However, the two types of periwinkle are very different. When talking about herbal periwinkle, it most always refers to the European strain (Vinca major) first mentioned by Rome’s Apuleius in the 2nd century CE. In his Roman Herbium, Apuleius describes periwinkle as a treatment for demonic possession, devil sickness and to ward off snakes and beasts. While the demonic possessions may not have been entirely accurate, periwinkle has nonetheless carried on with us through history as a way to treat many different conditions.

Uses

As interpreted today, science has found evidence to support the flower’s ability to lower blood pressure, decrease swelling and dry out the tissues. A chemical component, vincamine, has even been singled out in laboratories, turned into vinpocetine and marketed successfully as a dietary supplement. Periwinkle concentration is mostly used as a way to promote brain health through increased brain metabolism and circulation. Others tout its ability to prevent memory loss and improve overall cognition. As far as physical aspects are concerned, periwinkle reportedly may be used for diarrhea, throat problems, menstruation, tooth ache and chest pain.

Cautions

Unfortunately, periwinkle concentration is still deemed unsafe for general usage. Though there is evidence of benefits in a laboratory setting, too many people still suffer side effects after taking it. These can include vomiting, nausea and general stomach issues. Worrisome issues involve damage to the kidneys, nerves and liver, on top of dangerously low blood pressure when it is taken in high doses.

While a small amount may not affect an average, healthy adult, there are those with certain conditions that should avoid periwinkle concentration altogether. Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid it. Because it dries out the tissues, it makes constipation worse for those suffering from it already. Individuals with already low blood pressure will suffer even lower pressure. Finally, those undergoing surgery should refrain from use at least two prior as the decrease in blood pressure can hamper the ability of the operating staff to accurately control blood pressure. It is wise to check with your health team before starting to take this herb.

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

References

Periwinkle; Web MD; accessed February 10, 2015

Periwinkle; Herbal Encyclopedia; accessed February 10, 2014

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Filed under Herbs and Supplements

Chocolate Cream Pie (Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Chocolate Cream Pie (Raw, Paleo, Vegan, Grain Free and Gluten-Free)
Photo and Recipe from Chanti Zak of the Naked Cuisine Blog

Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients
(serves 10)

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, pulverize the almonds and hazelnuts into a fine meal consistency. In a large bowl mix with sugar and 2 Tbs coconut oil. Press this mix into a pie plate making sure to bring it up nice and high on the sides and press firmly to set in place. Set aside in the fridge or freezer while you make the filling.
  2. In a blender or food processor add cashews, sweet potato, cacao, coconut oil, vanilla, salt and honey or maple syrup. Blend until smooth and add about 2 Tbs of the liquid from your coconut milk. Pour onto the crust and allow to set in the fridge for half and hour at least.
  3. To make the coconut whipped cream, add the separated cream to a stand mixer or whisk by hand until light and fluffy. Pour over chocolate layer and chill before serving.

Chocolate Cream Pie (Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds or almond meal
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbs. coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup raw cacao paste OR powder
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup sweet potato, steamed or roasted
  • 3 Tbs. maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 can coconut milk, thoroughly chilled to separate the coconut cream from the liquid
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, pulverize the almonds and hazelnuts into a fine meal consistency. In a large bowl mix with sugar and 2 Tbs coconut oil. Press this mix into a pie plate making sure to bring it up nice and high on the sides and press firmly to set in place. Set aside in the fridge or freezer while you make the filling.
  2. In a blender or food processor add cashews, sweet potato, cacao, coconut oil, vanilla, salt and honey or maple syrup. Blend until smooth and add about 2 Tbs of the liquid from your coconut milk. Pour onto the crust and allow to set in the fridge for half and hour at least.
  3. To make the coconut whipped cream, add the separated cream to a stand mixer or whisk by hand until light and fluffy. Pour over chocolate layer and chill before serving.

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.

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