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THE BEST NATURAL ORGANIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS

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Beautiful young woman applying organic cosmetics to her skinI love beauty products as much as the next woman.  What I don’t love, though, are all the chemicals, preservatives and other garbage added to a majority of these products on the market.  We put so many toxins into our bodies on a daily basis through the food we eat, the beverages we consume, pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies, why add to that level of toxicity with the stuff we put ON our bodies?  There are so many awesome, natural brands out there these days that there is really no reason to spend a fortune on department store brands…..especially when most natural organic brands are a LOT less expensive and the results you get are the same – if not better – than their unhealthy counterparts. It takes time finding the products that work best for you. I recently saw an article where Miranda Kerr shares her favourite KORA Organics products in an interview, which I thought was extremely interesting and worth a read! I have found that when buying products like the ones I will discuss with you, it is important to take time out to read the reviews that other people have written about them. If you get google reviews coming up for the products you are looking at, it gives reassurance that the products you are looking at are real and you can start to find out about other peoples experiences.

Now…it’s time to ditch all those toxic skin, hair and body products and try these instead.  Here are my favorite natural product companies and why I love them so much*:

PACIFICA – While I have not tried their makeup or skincare, I absolutely LOVE their amazing smelling  perfumes and body washes.  You will not believe that these are all natural – until you realize you don’t have the blinding headache you get from the commercial stuff anymore.  You will also be thrilled with the low prices!

What to try:

  • Hawaiin Ruby Roll-on Perfume for a delicious, fruity scent.  Don’t blame me if you look weird sniffing your wrist all day.
  • Kona Coffee Body Scrub – the scrub you will literally want to eat in the shower, it smells like the best coffee you ever had!

WELEDA – For those of you who love moisturizing body washes and body creams, this one is for you.  Rich smelling, lathering body washes and lightly scented creams feel and smell amazing.  Weleda also has some of the best skincare products for babies.

What to try:

  • Skin Food for ultra dry skin on knees, elbows and hands; has a light citrus scent.
  • Arnica Oil for massaging in to tired, achy muscles; take it with you when you get a professional massage and tell them to use this instead!  Sounds weird, but I do it all the time and even got a massage therapist to start using it in his practice.
  • Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for baby – a little more expensive than Johnson’s, but SO much better.

ANDALOU – Beauty products with 70% organic ingredients, I especially love their facial skincare products.  Very inexpensive, this product line is great for teens or those on a budget.

What to try:

  • BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask – Who doesn’t want to smell like a bowl of berries while relaxing with a facial mask?
  • Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – this one stings a little but in a good way because you know it’s working! It makes a tired face glow, so if you’re a Mom like me you might want to have a few of these on hand. happy
  • Chia and Omega Scrub – my husband’s favorite facial scrub, he keeps accusing me of using it up, but I’m partial to my Yum scrub (see below) so I’m innocent, I swear!

NATURES GATE – Another company with a long list of natural products, I really enjoy their shampoos and conditioners.  Some of them do not smell all that great, so definitely try before you purchase but the ones listed below are excellent and do not have that problem.

What to try:

  • Lemon and Clary Sage Volumizing Shampoo is fantastic for very fine hair and/or hair that lacks volume.  I use this on my youngest daughter who has fine hair and have really noticed a difference.
  • Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Shampoo and Conditioner is excellent for color-treated hair.
  • Aloe Vera Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for thick hair or normal hair that gets washed often.

YUM – For real beauty aficionados, this gourmet organic skin care line is simply put, the best that money can buy.  I love the high quality look, feel and results you get with these products.  Note: for customized recommendations and excellent pricing, purchase this line directly from Rina Deutch, my esthetician at Eizeh Yofi.

What to try:

  • Adzuki Blueberry Exfoliant, as I mentioned earlier in the post, is my all-time favorite facial scrub (I mean “exfoliant”, pardon me! winking ) Your face will feel smooth as silk from this product.
  • Bilberry Leaf Matte Moisterizer is excellent for normal to oily skin – just the right amount of moisture, without the shine or the weird “too matte” effect.
  • 23 Karat Intensive Eye Treatment does double duty as treatment for lines and dryness as well as having a subtle sheen that wakes up tired eyes.  Yep, I’ll need a case of this, please. tongue

HUGO NATURALS – This company makes their products with with 100% natural ingredients and no toxic chemicals whatsoever.

What to try:

  • Grapefruit Liquid Hand Soap – Wash your hands effectively but gently, without any harsh chemicals or strong detergents that dry them out.
  • Vanilla & Sweet Orange Shower Gel – a subtle scent with a rich lather, you won’t miss those chemical body washes.

UNDA – Not quite a beauty products line, Unda is the company behind many formulas used for Biotherapeutic Drainage.  However, I included them in this list as they have several beauty products I could not live without.  Note: Unda products can be purchased HERE.

What to try:

  • Homeofresh Chlorophyll Toothpaste – while I’m generally not a fan of the taste of non-commercial toothpastes, this one is the best by far with a refreshing flavor that mimics mint.  This toothpaste was designed for people taking Homeopathic remedies as mint can be an antidote for some, but it is widely used in Europe due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and ability to halt tooth decay with it’s natural plant extracts.  Personally I alternate this with regular toothpaste to get the best of both worlds.
  • Calendula Cream contains Calendula, an ingredient known to heal skin conditions and promote tissue repair.  This product is water soluble and can be used anywhere on the body.
  • Cicatrican cream is a natural alternative to antibiotic creams such as Polysporin.  Made with botanicals, it can safely be used as often as needed on all types of  cuts, burns, insect bites and minor skin infections.

GODDESS GARDEN – the best organic, all natural sunscreens for babies, kids and adults; protects from sunburn without the addition of toxic chemicals.

What to try:

  • Sunny Face Natural Facial Sunscreen – finally, a facial sunscreen that doesn’t feel icky or smell weird.
  • Sunny Kids Natural Spray Sunscreen – stop chasing the kids around to rub sunscreen on them and just spray them while they’re arguing with you that they don’t need it – yes, they still have to rub it in, but they’ll have no choice once you got it all over them.  You’re welcome happy

There you have my top natural organic beauty picks but keep in mind that there are many many more organic, plant based beauty product companies out there.  I’d love to hear about any brands or specific products that you have tried and what you thought of them!

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SHOULD YOU AVOID NIGHTSHADE FOODS?

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Nightshades

We know vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but what about nightshade vegetables?  And what the heck are nightshades anyway?

Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family of plants.  They include:

White Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peppers  – red, yellow, green, jalapeno; also includes paprika & cayenne pepper (but not black pepper or white pepper)
Eggplant
Nicotine
….and the lesser known nightshade, Goji Berries

So what is it about Nightshades that make them potentially problematic?

Plants produce alkaloids primarily designed to help protect them from insects. The active alkaloid in nightshades, is a drug-like alkaloid that may compromise function in the bodies of sensitive individuals. There is no solid research evidence showing an impact on the nervous system or joints, but it there are many people, especially those with joint pain, but also many with digestive complaints as well as nervous system disorders, who feel a lot better when nightshades are eliminated from their diet, as it seems to relieve a variety of conditions.

Some researchers believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact only be experiencing the effects of nightshade consumption; in fact, one in three arthritics will react badly to nightshades.  Though not yet understood how, nightshade foods may remove calcium from bones and deposit it in soft tissue, setting the stage for arthritis. For this reason, researchers have recommended that all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems like gout eliminate nightshade foods from their diet.

My Personal Experience with Nightshades:

As a young child I had psoriasis on one of my knees.  If you aren’t familiar with psoriasis, it is an autoimmune skin disorder that sort of looks like eczema but generally occurs on the outer elbows and knees (although it can occur anywhere on the body) as opposed to the inner elbows and knees as typically characterized by eczema.  There are many different types of psoriasis, but the common type has clearly defined borders and the skin flakes in round white patches, which causes it to itch – a lot.  Sounds delightful, I know.  🙄  It is notoriously difficult to treat, but a healthy diet and a well functioning digestive system is of utmost importance; I believe it is for this reason that mine cleared up almost 20 years ago when I began my journey towards living a healthier lifestyle.   Unfortunately, about a year ago I was hospitalized for a few days with a severe bacterial infection in my leg (that’s what happens when you scratch a cut on your leg with not-so-clean-hands, folks surpriseops: ) and was given massive doses of antibiotics; not surprisingly, since antibiotics destroy the balance of gut flora, especially at those high doses, the psoriasis returned.

Since many experts believe that Nightshades should be avoided not only by those with joint pain and problems, but by people with autoimmune disorders in general, I decided to give it a shot and gave up ALL nightshades for 3 months.  Want to know what that’s like? Well, never mind the fact that I LOVE eggplant and tomatoes/tomato sauce but eating at a restaurant or at a friends house became almost impossible.   Restaurants love using Paprika on EVERYTHING – and friends just thought I was more nuts than usual as I picked the peppers and tomatoes out of their salads.  I stuck with it, though, because I had to see for myself if this was a contributor to the problem.  After the 3 months although there wasn’t much of an improvement in my skin condition, I did learn that high amounts of nightshades, tomatos in particular, did make the itching worse.

So what’s the bottom line?

For as many articles as you will find that nightshades are bad for you, there are an equal number of articles you can find that say it’s simply not true and there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.  Ever the practical realist, here’s my simple take on it:

If you have any of the issues above, especially joint pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorder, eliminate nightshades from your diet for 3 months to see if it makes a difference.   Less than 3 months just isn’t enough to really come to a good conclusion, although if you are sensitive to them you should feel some improvement right away.  If it doesn’t make any difference at all, enjoy.  If it makes somewhat of a difference, than have them in moderation, cooked, for this lowers the alkaloid content by 40-50%.  If you have noticeable improvement in your symptoms, then obviously stay away!

Have you tried avoiding Nightshades and did it help you?

Share in the comments below!

UPDATE JULY/2014: I recently had a skin biopsy and, as it turns out, I was mis-diagnosed as a child and never had psoriasis.  What I have, in fact, is eczema.  While health experts believe that it the same leaky gut that contributes to both psoriasis and eczema,  there are other differences pertaining to these conditions and it may explain why avoiding nightshades did not work for me.

 

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BENEFITS & HOW TO: THE CASTOR OIL PACK

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castor oil packThe castor bean, also known as the Palma Christi due to its shape and healing properties, is a strong laxative if taken internally.  However, a more gentle use for the castor oil is in the form of a pack placed externally on the abdomen. The oil is absorbed into lymphatic circulation providing a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment which aids the body’s detoxification and elimination functions, enhances liver metabolism, balances the immune system, and improves lymphatic circulation.

The castor oil pack can be used for numerous symptoms and disease states. It can be used for almost all digestive disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, liver diseases, and gallstones), male and female pelvic complaints (such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, and conditions of the prostate), conditions related to hormonal imbalance (such as infertility and menstrual disorders), almost all inflammatory conditions, stress management, and most importantly general detoxification.  Because of all these benefits, in addition to using it myself quite often, I recommend it to many of my clients as well. happy

Here’s what you will need:

  • Organic castor oil  – it is important to use organic castor oil which will not contain pesticide residues
  • Cotton or wool flannel large enough to cover your abdomen
  • Old towel or plastic wrap
  • [easyazon_link asin=”B000BHDLQM” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Hot water bottle[/easyazon_link]

How to make the pack:

  1. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of castor oil onto the flannel, and then fold it in half to saturate it.  (Some people recommend boiling the flannel first to remove any impurities).  During the first several weeks you will have to apply a tablespoon of oil about every 3-4 days. Eventually the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every couple of weeks. The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil tomake a slight oil mark on furniture as if you were going to polish it.
  2. Lie on your back and place the saturated flannel onto your abdomen.
  3. Cover the flannel with an old towel or plastic wrap (saran wrap works well), as castor oil can stain other fabrics.
  4. Place a hot water bottle filled with hot water over the castor oil pack to aid the penetration of oil into the skin.
  5. Relax for 45-60 minutes.  This is an excellent time to practice visualization or meditation, do deep breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or sleep. You can also wear the pack all night long, using an ace bandage to keep it in place.
  6. Afterwards, you can remove the oil with warm water and soap in the shower or you can allow any remaining oil to absorb into your skin.
  7. Store the pack in a large zip lock bag. Reuse it many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months). Do not wash the flannel.
  8. For maximum effectiveness it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try using the pack for at least 4 consecutive days per week. The more often you use it, the more beneficial the results.

Caution:

Do not use during pregancy.  May be used during menstruation if desired but only without heat.

If you have used the castor oil pack or would like to try it, I would love to hear your feedback!  If you have any questions on how to use the castor oil pack, feel free to post them here and I will be happy to reply.

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THE BEST RICE COOKER

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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B000I5UEQM” cloaking=”default” height=”202″ localization=”default” locale=”CA” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21f8LN%2BMHYL.jpg” popups=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ width=”250″] I’ve had a few rice cookers over the years and all have worked reasonably well. There was the [easyazon_link asin=”B002RWJN7A” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Cuisinart 7-Cup Rice Cooker[/easyazon_link], the [easyazon_link asin=”B007WQ9YNO” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer[/easyazon_link] and the [easyazon_link asin=”B0048BPWQO” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Sunbeam 16 Cup Rice Cooker[/easyazon_link]. The problem I found with the Aroma digital rice cooker is that you have to set it for the type of rice you are cooking and it doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, especially if you add any other ingredients besides rice, as I often do. The Cuisinart and Sunbeam models have a button that you push down to cook and when the water is absorbed and the rice is done, the button pops up and automatically sets the rice cooker into warming mode.  I find the button style much easier to use because it doesn’t matter what type of rice or quinoa you are using and you can stir-fry onions or other vegetables directly in the rice cooker before adding the rice and water to the pot.

The issue with the above rice cookers and most other ones on the market today is that they are Teflon coated in order to make them non-stick. Whether or not you agree that heating Teflon can be hazardous to your health as well as the environment, the fact is that after some time the Teflon will flake off and bits of it will be going into your food. Do you really want to be ingesting that? Using Teflon coated pans at low heat temperatures with an exhaust fan and not using it at all once it begins to flake off is generally accepted as “proper use” by the manufacturers; however, rice cookers are boiling your rice so the temperature cannot be considered at a low setting.

Because of this I began searching for a rice cooker that was non-digital such as the Sunbeam and the Cuisinart, but not coated with Teflon. I also wanted the ability to steam vegetables in a basket on top, which most rice cookers have, but many are made of plastic and I didn’t want that leaching into my food either.

What I found is the [easyazon_link asin=”B000I5UEQM” locale=”CA” new_window=”default” tag=”reaheafit0c-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” nofollow=”default” popups=”default”]Stainless Steel Rice Cooker by Miracle Exclusives[/easyazon_link] which has all the components I was looking for – push button, stainless steel, no Teflon, and a large stainless steel steaming basket (not shown in the picture). I’ve had it for several months now and I am extremely happy with it. The only negatives I have to say is that I wish it came in black or silver in addition to white. That being said it actually looks a lot nicer in person than it does online. The other slight negative, depending on your expectations, is that because it is stainless steel it is not 100% non-stick. Sometimes rice does stick to the bottom a bit, but you just soak it for a few minutes and it comes off quite easily without any harsh scrubbing.

I’ve made quinoa, brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, and even steel cut oats in there and they all come out fluffy and delicious. For some recipes I’ve used my rice cooker with, check out:

COLORFUL QUINOA

STICKY SWEET BROWN RICE

MISO BROWN RICE

DELICIOUSLY SIMPLE RICE

I have used the steamer basket for all types of vegetables and even put raw eggs in the basket when cooking brown rice to make perfect “hard-boiled” eggs.

If you have this rice cooker or plan on buying one, I’d love to hear your comments below!

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CPR CERTIFICATION CLASS

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cpr

I’m happy to bring to you this important upcoming class taught by a terrific instructor! See below for details.

DATE:  TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014

TIME:  7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

COST: $58 CND EACH TO CERTIFY FOR THE FIRST TIME; $48 CND EACH TO RE-CERTIFY A valid Red Cross certification card must be brought to the class in order to qualify for re-certification.

If you always wanted to learn CPR but haven’t had the time OR you are in a field that requires you to re-certify your CPR training, this course is for you!

Taught by Valerie Wood, an experienced instructor from an authorized Canadian Red Cross provider (www.ert-cpr.com), this course will give you certification in CPR- level C/AED at the completion of the program.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

***THIS EVENT IS FOR WOMEN ONLY AND MUST BE RESERVED AHEAD OF TIME***

Space is limited so reserve your spot early!

In order to reserve your spot, please click the PayPal link below.  Alternatively, you may email info@realhealthfit.com with a valid credit card number and expiry date (it will not be billed if you cancel by Dec. 26 at the latest).

Thank you for your co-operation and we look forward to having you join us!


Certification Types



weight, Rebecca Lazar - CPR CERTIFICATION CLASS

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