Category Archives: Nutritional Facts and Tips

Hair today, hair tomorrow

Having trouble with hair loss, fragile, damaged or thinning hair, or wish it would just grow?

I have had some real problems with damaged, fragile, thinning, and reluctant-to-grow hair.

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October 2010

A few years ago, my hair was down to my waist. However, the longer it was, the thinner it became. It became frizzy, dry, brittle and difficult to control. In an effort to make it smoother and straighter, I tried using a straightening chemical on it – something like a perm, only in reverse. That chemical completely demolished it! It broke, started falling out, and was so damaged I had to cut it all off!

I was devastated! I truly mourned the loss of my long hair. It took several months for me to accept how short it was.

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July 2015

It was during this time that I started looking around for some answers to help regain its health, help it to grow, and make it stop falling out. Did I need some sort of supplements? Did I need to change my shampoo? Did I need to change the methods I used while style it? Did I need to use some sort of special cream or something natural that would help? The answer to all of the above is, yes!

I am so grateful to my daughters who know more than I do and for my sisters’ wealth of knowledge, expertise, and talent as a hair dresser. She is extraordinary. As my sister and I have chatted during a cut and style, she has taught me some very valuable information that has made a difference to me. I will pass on what I have learned to you with the hope that it makes a difference to you too!

First of all, how often are you shampooing? I used to shampoo every day. I felt I needed a fresh start to the day. Washing your hair so often strips it of the natural oils that protect it. Yes, washing it less often at first will seem to make your hair way more greasy. That’s just because the natural oils are trying to replenish themselves according to how they have had to keep up while being washed so often. Give it a week or two. The oils will balance out, so the greasiness won’t last very long. I now shampoo 1-3 times a week. Of course, I have to wash it more often when I swim.
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Next, what shampoo are you using? Once upon a time, I was a die-hard Pantene girl. It made my hair feel great. I loved how it smelled and what it did for my hair. However, one of my (6) daughters and my younger sister, shared with me the secret of Argan Oil. One of the first changes I made was to add Argan Oil to my regimen after towel drying (yes, while I was still shampooing with Pantene). It took time, but eventually, I found the Argan Oil seemed to help make my hair a little stronger, less frizzy, a little softer, and more manageable.

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 3.58.11 PMMy next change was to switch shampoos. I switched to Organix Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner. When I made the switch, that was when I also changed to shampooing 2-3 times a week, and I didn’t really notice a big problem with greasy hair. (I also kept applying Argan Oil after towel drying). It seemed to adjust pretty quickly. I now switch between Organix and an organic vegetarian shampoo my sister gave me. Recently, I ran out of Organix and decided to try using the left-over Pantene in my bathroom cabinet. What a mistake! My hair was instantly dry, fly-away, and difficult to manage. It was shocking! I had even used my specially home-made all-natural hair mask before shampooing! (the recipe is coming later in this post).

At my last appointment with her, my sister also introduced me to a cream that helps strengthen the proteins (keratin). Things just keeps getting better and better! You need a fabulous hair dresser who knows her stuff!

It just so happened that when I made the switch to shampooing 2-3 times a week, I also found this awesomely amazing hair mask on Babilon Kay’s blog. Her posts are more for African-American hair. I tweaked it just a little to better meet my needs. I was desperate to get my hair to grow and become healthy, so I tried it. At first, I saturated it the night before I intended to shampoo. I have since come to understand that I really only need to have the mask on for 20-30 minutes. Nothing more is really absorbed after that.

Essential Hair Mask Recipe:

  • 1 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup cacao butter
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 Tbsp sweet almond oil
  • 10 drops essential oil (I use 10 drops of 3 different kinds of essential oils, making the total 30 drops). What essential oils may help with hair problems?

Directions

Place shea butter, cacao butter, and coconut oil in a microwaveable/freezer-safe dish. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between, just until melted. Add remaining ingredients. Blend well. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, until cloudy around edges. Whip mixture on high until it resembles cake batter. Place in a container. Does not need to be refrigerated.

To Use:

Apply mask to scalp and hair in small sections. Start at the root and apply a light/medium amount of cream from root to tip. (In my experience, the amount I have to use varies according to how dry my hair is that day. Some days it soaks up the moisture quite quickly, necessitating using more.) When the entire scalp and hair are covered, leave on for 20-30 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. You may need to shampoo twice to get all of the mask out. If you find your hair is greasy or heavy, too much mask has been left behind. A very effective agent to get the mask out is apple cider vinegar. Not only does it get all the mask out, it is also a natural conditioner that promotes growth.

I swim as part of my exercise routine, and I use this mask for protection against damage when I swim.

These few simple changes have made an incredible difference in the rate of growth, texture, and manageability.

Some Reasons for Hair Loss and Other Problems

One of the resources for my information is the book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. The following excerpt is from her book:

“Baldness or loss of hair is referred to as alopecia. Alopecia totalis means loss of all the scalp hair. Alopecia universalis means loss of all body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. If hair falls out in patches, it is termed alopecia aerate. This condition is usually temporary and rarely leads to baldness. Factors that are involved in hair loss include heredity, hormones, and aging.

A less dramatic, but more prevalent, type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male pattern baldness. AGA is common in men. As the name implies, a genetic or hereditary predisposition to the disorder and the presence of androgens – male sex hormones – are involved in this condition.

Women sometimes have the same type of hair loss, but it is not usually as extensive and most often does not occur until after menopause. All women experience some hair thinning as they grow older, especially after menopause, but in some it begins as early as puberty. In addition, most women lose some hair two or three months after having a baby because hormonal changes prevent normal hair loss during pregnancy.

In addition to heredity, other factors that promote hair loss include:

  • Poor circulation
  • Acute Illness
  • Surgery
  • Radiation exposure
  • Skin disease
  • Sudden weight loss
  • High fever
  • Iron deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy
  • Ringworm
  • Other fungal infections
  • Chemicals, such as hair dyes
  • Vitamin deficiencies

End of excerpt

The Importance of Nutrients and Nutrition

I have done quite a bit of study and research into what vitamins and and minerals make up the hair and what supplements would make the greatest positive impact to help me reach my goals and dreams of healthy, beautiful, strong, manageable hair.

The following condensed excerpt is from “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC:

Very important nutrients the hair needs are:

  • Essential fatty acids (flaxseed oil, primrose oil, or salmon oil)
  • Raw thymus glandular
  • Bitamin B complex with Vitamin B3, B5, B6, plus extra biotin and inositol and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (those who are prone to kidney stones should check with their doctor first, as vitamin C may be contraindicated)
  • Vitamin E (those who are on blood thinner or anticoagulant therapy should check with their doctor first, as vitamin E may thin the blood further)
  • Zinc

Important nutrients the hair needs are:

  • Coenzyme Q10 plus Coenzyme A
  • DMG (dimethyglycine
  • Kelp

Some helpful nutrients are:

  • Copper
  • Dioxychlor
  • Grape seed extract
  • L-cysteine and L-methionine plus glutathione
  • MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
  • Silica (silicon)

Nutrient Sources

I am currently utilizing some really great sources for whole-food nutrients:

  • doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality
  • True Hope Freeminos
  • BioSil
  • Hair Force
  • Balanced diet
  • Plenty of water

Hair-Healthy Herbs:

Use apple cider vinegar and sage tea as a rinse to help hair grow

Ginko biloba improves circulation to the scalp

Green tea, pygeum, and saw palmetto may aid in reducing hair loss in men

Tea tree oil combats bacteria and mites that may cause hair loss. Massage 10 drops into the scalp, then shampoo in the usual fashion.

Phyllis A Balch, CNC, Also Suggests:

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetable and low in starch. This may help slow down the process of hair loss. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, many of which are antioxidants that may provide protection for the hair follicles and encourage growth.

Eat plenty of foods high in biotin and/or take supplemental biotin as recommended. Biotin is needed for healthy hair and skin, and may even prevent hair loss in some men. Good food sources of biotin include brewer’s yeast, brown rice, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.

Caution: Brewer’s yeast can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Start with a small amount at first, and discontinue use if allergic symptoms occur.

Include soy foods such as soybeans, tempeh, and tofu in your diet. Soy foods appear to inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone implicated in the process of hair loss.

Do not eat foods containing raw eggs. Raw eggs not only pose a risk of salmonella infection, but are high in avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and prevents it from being absorbed. Cooked eggs are acceptable.

Lie head down on a slant board fifteen minutes a day to allow the blood to reach your scalp. Massage your scalp daily.

Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica. Aloe vera gel, vitamins C and E, and jojoba oils are also very good. Conditioners containing chamomile, marigold, ginseng, and/or passionflower help to keep hair healthy as well.

Be careful of using products that are not natural. Allergic reactions to chemicals in these products occur frequently. Alternate among several different hair care products, using only all-natural and pH-balanced formulas. Nature’s Cabin carries a variety of natural hair care products.

Hair is fragile when wet. Gently pat wet hair dry and squeeze out remaining moisture with a towel.

Cover your hair when it is exposed to sunlight. Long exposure to sunlight and seawater can be damaging.

Avoid rough treatment. Do not use a brush or fine-toothed comb. If at all possible, towel dry only. Also, do not use a blow-dryer or other heated appliances; let it dry naturally. Do not comb your hair until it is dry, as it tends to break off when wet. Use a pick to put wet hair in place. Do not wear tight ponytails, cornrows, or other styles that pull on the hair.

Avoid crash diets and diets that neglect any of the food groups. These can cause deficiencies in nutrients that are detrimental to the hair.

If you are losing large amounts of hair, see a physician.

I also have made doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality Complex a part of my daily routine. This complex provides the full B vitamin complex. B vitamins are important for health and growth of hair.

 

 

Cardiac Surgery Caregiver Preparation

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As the caregiver for a cardiac patient, keeping myself healthy is as important as keeping my husband healthy prior to and during his procedure and recovery.

My husband and I are preparing for his double by-pass cardiac surgery that is scheduled for Monday, February 1, 2016. He was originally scheduled for last Friday, but another patient needed help first, so we were bumped. Just getting to this point has been a journey and an adventure. It took a few years to pinpoint the cause of his chest pain in the first place. He had a cardiac angiogram last October that showed his need for some re-routed plumbing.

It has been a real challenge to watch my husband, who tirelessly takes care of me and our family, become the one who needs to be taken care of. Now, it’s my turn to be the caregiver. I only hope I can give him the kind of care that he so compassionately, lovingly and patiently has given me.

There are some things that I am realizing are very important in the caregiver role:

Caregiver health matters.

As we approach his cardiac surgical date (with much anxiety) we are both very aware of every cough, sniffle, tickle, or any other malady that either of us may come in contact with. For him to catch a cold before his surgery could cause another postponement, which would of course bring more stress and lots of time to build up more anxiety about the whole procedure. That would also give him more time to have a heart attack and subsequently add problems, or worse, I could lose him altogether. We are both taking every precaution that we can take to stay healthy and avoid the cold/flu that is going around our community. It wasn’t until I started looking at my role as a caregiver, rather than only a wife, that it hit me how important protecting my own health mattered. This is not about being selfish or self-centred, but rather putting someone else’s needs above your own.

It is easy to overlook the health of the caregiver because all the focus is on the cardiac patient. However, if I were to contract a cold this week, incubate it for a few days, and then go see him after he has his surgery, then there is a great chance that I could share it with him in his weakened immunity state. He and I like to share with each other, just not viruses at such a critical time.

The danger in sharing that cold with him would be the possibility of pneumonia setting in, tearing his stitches, prolonging his recovery time, disturbing the breast bone that is trying to heal from being cut and pried open, or infection. The hospital staff want him to cough deeply several times a day to help prevent pneumonia during recovery, which is a risk to begin with when someone goes through by-pass cardiac surgery. Add in a virus and you have a recipe for disaster. As a caregiver, I want to minimize the amount of suffering and discomfort he has to endure.

What precautions are we taking?

That’s a good question. Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 9.21.25 AM

  1. Let’s start with eating healthy foods on purpose. I know, healthy foods can be boring, right? It’s so much more enjoyable to eat those chips, cakes, cookies, candies, pop, etc. We have been working on eating healthy foods on purpose for quite a while now. When I bake or cook something, our children ask if it’s healthy or not. If it’s healthy, they tend to shy away from it thinking it’s not going to taste good. True, some of my “healthy” experiments have made it to the family “remember when….” memories, but I have come up with some pretty tasty treats that also serve as nutritious and satisfying. I have found that when I choose to eat more nutritious foods, that I have more energy to fill the role of the caregiver. When I choose to eat whatever is around, I don’t have the same vitality, patience, ability, or stamina to take care of myself or my husband. Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 9.29.16 AM
  2. I put effort in to drink enough water. It may seem like a simple thing, but it is one of the major things that helps the body detoxify and boost the immune system. Drinking enough water gives the body all the hydration it needs to perform vital functions. Less water = less energy. Screen shot 2016-02-06 at 11.31.46 AM
  3. I like to add lemon essential oil and baking soda to my reverse osmosis water. Why? The lemon oil helps to remove toxins from the body. You can also add baking soda (1 tsp/4 Litres) to your water to increase the pH level of your water, which can be important to good health. Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 10.49.11 AM
  4. I include exercise. Don’t like to exercise? Don’t think you have time? Yes, being a caregiver can be demanding on your time, but even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes of yoga, pilates, TaeBo, TERRAfit (if you are interested in joining a 90-day TERRAfit challenge, please e-mail me at hopenaturalwellness@gmail.com. I am a TERRAfit coach and would love to help you reach your goals!), go for a walk, or go to the gym, DO IT. Sometimes, I struggle with getting my exercise in every day. Exercise helps to boost your ability to deal with stress. You are going to need all the help you can get in that department. Stress can be a contributor to illness.Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 11.09.23 AM
  5. I try to go to bed early enough to get the sleep I need. Sleep is a beautiful thing. I am an 8-hour creature. I just need it. On Guard+
  6. I take On Guard+ softgels. We love our essential oils. One of the products that we use is On Guard+ softgels. It is a blend of some powerful antibacterial, antiviral, oils that promote and support a healthy immune system. Mark was feeling a cold coming on just yesterday. I had him take On Guard+ softgels throughout the day to help support and boost his immune system. Today, there is no sign of a cold. As his caregiver, I have also been taking On Guard+ softgels because if he is feeling a cold coming on, there is a good chance that I may be carrying the virus too. If I boost my immune system to help fight off the bugs, then we are that much closer to keeping it away. We are continuing to take it daily as a proactive approach.Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 12.17.01 PM
  7. We have been limiting sick visitors to our home. Your friends and family may want to show their support by being around and helping out in any way that they can. Seriously, though, if they are sniffling, coughing, feverish and stuffed up, they will help out the most by staying home and getting better themselves. You will appreciate their visit and help more when they come back healthy. The last thing you want is to need a caregiver for the caregiver. Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 12.21.06 PM
  8. I try to manage my stress. Some ideas to manage stress are to: Read a book. Take a bath. Go for a walk. Do something you really enjoy doing, even if it’s just for a few minutes to help you decompress and relax. You are going to need every ounce of energy you can muster.Emotional Aromatherapy Title Line
    Passion
    Cheer
    PeaceConsoleForgive
  9. I like to use essential oils to help manage my mood/stress. Essential oils are aromatic compounds that come from plants that can help with the roller coaster of emotions you’re going through. Being a caregiver does not mean that you will be immune from the many emotions that can come with the heavy demands.  Essential oils can help with relaxation so you can get a good night’s rest. They can help ease anxiety, grief, fear, stress, depression, and more. Learn more about Emotional Aromatherapy.
    On Guard Oil
  10. I like to diffuse essential oils, like On Guard. If you do have a friend or family member who brings an illness to your home, set a diffuser with On Guard. Essential oils are naturally antiviral and antibacterial, some more than others. The On Guard blend is specifically designed to help clean the air of viruses and bacteria (especially when diffused). As the caregiver, you’ll be grateful you took the steps to ward off as many bacteria and viruses as possible. You’ll feel great knowing that you’ve done everything you can to keep your loved one as healthy as possible. On Guard Hand Wash
  11. I wash my hands often. Sometimes, I feel that’s all I’m doing. I like to use On Guard foaming hand wash. Washing your hands breaks the chain and helps to control the spread of viruses/bacteria. I have found that when I use the liquid soap we buy from Costco, my hands become dry and chapped from washing so often. However, when I wash using On Guard foaming hand wash, my hands don’t dry out because it is pH balanced. In fact, they are healthier and softer when I use the On Guard foaming hand wash. I feel so confident using this hand wash. I know that I am killing germs, viruses, bacteria, and everything else I can’t even imagine is there.
  12. Last, but certainly not least, I have faith in God and Jesus Christ. I live only a couple of blocks away from an LDS temple. I like to go there to ponder and pray. I trust that the Lord is watching over me and my family. I trust that He has a plan. My faith has brought great peace to my mind, heart, and soul. Whatever your faith may be, be sure to take some time to meditate, pray, and feel connected to whatever faith/Deity you may believe. This one item may help you to give the best, most loving service that you can as the primary caregiver of your loved one.          Click on the following link to watch a wonderful 3:25 minute video about faith.

 

Want to know more? e-mail me at hopenaturalwellness@gmail.ca. I would love to hear from you!

 

Muscle Density Broccoli Salad

 

It’s fascinating to look at why particular foods are chosen to help build muscle and burn fat naturally.

Muscle Density Broccoli Salad

What you need

Picture 46

1/2 pound cooked steak, cut in strips

1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped

1 cup green beans, cooked and cut

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup nonfat yogurt

1/2 tsp mustard

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 head of lettuce

1/2 tomato, sliced

Fresh parsley

Cooking instructions

In large salad bowl, combine steak, broccoli, green beans, celery, mushrooms, and onion.

In a screw-top jar, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, mustard, and pepper, and shake until thoroughly mixed for the salad dressing.

Arrange salad on a bed of lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato slices and parsley.

Serves 2

Nutritional information

240 calories

30 grams protein

20 grams carbohydrate

7 grams fat