Natural Teething Relief

One of the worst things about being a mom is seeing your little one in pain. And cutting four teeth at once definitely did a number on my little girl. Like I do with most ailments, I try to go the natural route before reaching for the medicine bottle.

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Organic Hair Color

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not a big fan of coloring my hair, but when gray strands starting making an appearance right above my forehead, it was time to make a move. Thankfully, Richmond is home to Red Salon Organics which carries Organic Color Systems, a completely ammonia-free line of hair color. I was a little nervous to try out this organic line because gray can be tough to cover and organic products are typically not as powerful as their chemical-laden cousins. But my stylist said the gray wouldn’t be a problem so I went for it. The color turned out beautiful. It was like a lush shiny version of my own color. The best part is that you don’t leave the salon smelling like chemicals. The color has a slight licorice smell that I actually kind of like.

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Olive Oil as a Cleanser

Image courtesy of dusky/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This may sound a little counterintuitive, but I’ve been washing my face with oil. Not an oil wash from a cosmetics company, but olive oil from my kitchen cabinet. And I’ve been pretty pleased with the results.

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Flying Green

Our Little Jet Setter

We recently took Baby A on a cross-country flight to San Diego to visit her grandparents and other family and friends on my husband’s side of the family. I was a little nervous about flying with a 4 1/2 month old, but I have to say, it wasn’t that bad. I tried to stay as eco-friendly in the air and on vacation as I do at home. Here are a few of the little lifesavers I packed:

 

 

 

  1. Aden & Anais bamboo blanket- We literally don’t leave home without one of these. They are big, soft, breathable and beautiful.
  2. Lifefactory silicone teether – Made of food-grade silicone so you don’t have to worry about BPA. This ring bends and is skinny enough that it fits in tiny hands and mouths.
  3. MAM pacifier & holder – Sucking during take-off and landing helps baby’s ears so we brought A’s favorite paci from MAM. We love it because it’s BPA free and orthodontically designed. You can attach it to the holder and clip it on so it doesn’t fall on any dirty floors. We also removed the pacifier ring and used the holder with the teething ring.
  4. Dapple Pacifier wipes – Airports and airplanes are dirty so it was nice to have these individually wrapped wipes that are all-natural, food grade, fragrance-free and preservative-free.
  5. Earth’s Best Chlorine-free wipes – I make our own wipes at home, but the container is a little too clunky for my diaper bag. So these wipes from Earth’s Best are my go-to when traveling.

 

***Please note: I am not being compensated for posting about any of these items.

2012 Superfood: Chia

Photo credit: Gabriella Ruellan

One of the superfoods for 2012 that have been getting a lot of buzz are chia seeds. Yep, this is the same chia as the terra cotta pets that are popular holiday novelty gifts. Now, you can find bags of the seeds at your local health food store. I’ve been eating them for a couple years because of their amazing benefits. Nutritionist Lisa Suriano says that by weight, the seeds have more Omega 3s than salmon and more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal. The seeds are very small and expand with a gel-like coating when they get wet. They don’t have a particular taste, but add a little crunch as a topping when they are dry.

The easiest way to eat chia seeds is to sprinkle them over a salad or bowl of oatmeal. And because they will expand in your stomach, Chia seeds are sometimes used to help keep you full.

You can also expand them before eating. One of my favorite ways to eat the expanded seeds is by mixing them with low-fat coconut milk and agave syrup. You soak the seeds in the milk for at least a half hour and it creates a rice-pudding like consistency. This is a very low-glycemic snack that appeases my sweet tooth. The coconut milk adds calories and some fat, so I don’t make this too often. If you’re like me and like specific measures, here’s a link to the recipe.

Health Warrior Chia Bars

By far the most convenient way to get your chia seeds are in protein bars. Health Warrior Chia bars are only 100 calories and taste pretty good. Right now they have a peanut butter & chocolate flavored bar, with plans to add acai berry and coconut flavors soon. I found them at my local health food store and was really impressed with the non-processed ingredients.


‘Tis the Season for Dry Skin

Every time I hear the heat click on, I start thinking about how important it is to keep my skin moisturized this time of year. I’m one of those people who can tell it’s winter just by my extra-dry skin. Since I try to stay natural, I was really pleased to find out that you can use pure coconut or olive oil instead of a bottled lotion. When I was on vacation in Africa a few years back, I had a massage where the therapist used pure olive oil instead of the processed oils that are used in the states. After a quick shower to remove the excess oil, my skin felt soft for days.

Using oil tends to be a little more messy than a traditional moisturizer, but can be easily applied with a cotton ball or pad. If you decide to head to the kitchen cupboard the next time you need a lotion, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, use cold pressed oil. Cold pressed oils are made using low temperatures. That means more of the nutrients and antioxidants are preserved in the oil and will make it to your skin.

The oil will absorb better if your skin is slightly damp, so try using a couple drops after you wash your hands or get out of the shower.

There are a few downsides to using oil. One is that you don’t get the mix of oils and antioxidants you’ll find in a formulated moisturizer. That means you’re not getting a range of benefits. You can combat this by mixing a few different oils together.

The other thing to remember is that pure oil doesn’t contain SPF like many lotions, so it’s important to follow the oil with an SPF before heading outdoors.

Photo credit: m_bartosch