Detox Week 4: Castor Oil Pack

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This week on detoxing, I'm talking about my all time favourite oil… castor oil! Castor oil has been used for centuries in purifying the body. Contained in the castor seed of the plant, Ricinus communis, this oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which gives the oil its beneficial healing properties. The oil penetrates deep into the skin to provide a multitude of benefits. One of the greatest benefits castor oil has to offer is it's ability to assist in detoxing the liver.


DETOXIFYING THE LIVER

The LIVER is the body's detox POWERHOUSE. The liver is constantly working to detoxify the blood. A great way to assist the liver in detoxification is using castor oil packs. It involves placing a small amount of oil over the liver to aid in detoxication..

3 STEPS TO MAKING A CASTOR OIL PACK
1) Place 1 tsp of castor oil over your upper right abdomen just below the breast to the bottom of the ribcage.

2) Then place a flannel or cotton sheet over top followed by a source of heat (ie. hot water bottle) to allow for the oil to penetrate deep into the liver.

3) Sit and relax for 30-60 minutes while the oil stimulates the body’s natural detoxification process.

SOUNDS LIKE TOO MUCH WORK? OR YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME?
Instead… place some castor oil on your liver before bed and go to sleep, allowing your body to do the rest of the work! Make sure you wear a shirt you don't mind getting dirty… castor oil can stain clothing.



Detox Week 3: Infrared Sauna

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This week on detoxification I am talking about how to get your SWEAT ON! Skin is our MAJOR organ of ELIMINATION, but many of us do not sweat enough. This can be due to living a sedentary lifestyle or even wearing synthetic clothing that isn't breathable! Sweating is important to detoxification as it allows for the release of toxins built up in the body.

Saunas are relaxing, rejuvenating and will enhance sweating to allow your body to release toxins.  Best of all, a regular sauna treatment can help to restore the ability of the skin to release toxins. So why try using an infrared sauna? Conventional saunas tend to heat the body up from the outside in, whereas infrared saunas heat the body up from the inside out! Penetrating the skin deeply will allow the body to restore and function optimally. Here are some notable benefits to using an infrared sauna. 

BENEFITS OF INFRARED 


1) DIGS DEEP TO DETOXIFY 

An infrared sauna works deep to increase the body's core temperature thereby heating from the inside out. Our fat cells tend to store toxins, and infrared saunas have the ability to release toxins stored deep in the body. Infrared saunas also have the ability to release heavy metals such as mercury and lead that many of us can be exposed to. Unlike conventional saunas, the sweat you release during an infrared sauna treatment contains LESS WATER and MORE TOXINS.  

2) RELIEVES PAIN 

Infrared saunas works deep to penetrate tissues, joints and muscles allowing for your body to relax and experience less pain! 

3) REJUVENATES SKIN 

Infrared saunas work to promote blood flow and circulation resulting in increased collagen production. This will improve your skin tone, promote anti-aging and overall appearance of your skin. Ultimately, removing toxins from the skin will make you look fresh and ready for spring

4) PROMOTES RELAXATION 

Infrared sauna provides gentle, soothing and therapeutic heat allowing the muscles in your body to relax. The treatment promotes a sense of relaxation while detoxing the body leaving you refreshed! 

5) CAN HELP YOU SHED POUNDS 

Yup! That's right, it may help you lose some weight. Study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that a session in an infrared sauna can burn up to 600 calories. The sauna increases your heart rate, cardiac output and your metabolic rate meaning you'll end up burning calories during your treatment.

References
1. Benefits ISaunas S. Infrared Sauna Health Benefits – Sauna Benefits | Sunlighten [Internet]. Sunlighten.com. 2016 [cited 26 April 2016]. Available from: http://www.sunlighten.com/infrared-sauna-health-benefits.html
2. Dr. Brian Clement on Infrared Saunas and Detoxification [Internet]. Mercola.com. 2016 [cited 26 April 2016]. Available from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/21/dr-clement-on-detoxification.aspx

Detox Week 2: Dry brushing

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Did you know your skin is the largest organ in the body? Our skin will remove built up toxins and waste from the liver, kidney, lungs, lymphatics, colon, etc in order to maintain ideal health. Dry skin brushing involves using a brush with natural bristles over the entire body. It is a great way to encourage the removal of built up of toxins in our skin from the environment. Dry brushing works superficially since the pressure is very light on the skin it works to stimulate drainage from the lymphatic system. 

The lymphatic system is a extensive network of tissues, vessels and lymph nodes which all work together to make and move lymph throughout the body. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no pump! So fluid is bound to get stagnate. DRY SKIN BRUSHING is a great way to get your lymph moving! 

PROPER CIRCULATION OF LYMPH MEANS: 
- Your immune system will function optimally
- You won't feel as puffy
- Your digestion will improve
- You will have increased energy
- You will eliminate toxins, etc. 

What Materials will I need?
Brush with natural bristles (see picture above!). You can buy this from any grocery store or drug store in the beauty aisles. 

How do I perform Dry Skin Brushing?
1. Ensure you are dry brushing before your shower. 
2. Take your brush and use small circular motions across body towards the heart. Please see diagram above for direction of movement. Ensure you use light-medium pressure instead of pressing down too hard.
3. Start at the soles of feet and work your way up legs to the stomach and buttocks. Brush your hands and arms last.
4. Please ensure you avoid dry brushing sensitive areas such as nipples and face.
5. Take a contrast shower (hot and cold intervals) afterwards.
6. Make sure to end with a cold rinse in order to stimulate circulation of blood. 




How often can I perform Dry Skin Brushing?
Every 2/3 days

What conditions can benefit from Dry Skin Brushing?
- Dry skin 
- Tired or sore muscles
- Acute and chronic pain 
- Injuries related to sports 
- Post-exercise soreness 

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing
- Enhances oxygenation and detoxification 
- Boosts immune system 
- Tones and firms skin 
- Stimulates circulation 
- Encourages digestive function 

CAUTION: Avoid treatment if you have any of the following conditions
- Avoid broken, inflamed or sunburnt skin 
- Heart and circulatory conditions 
- Weak immuned system 
- Illness or fever 

References
http://www.cyndigilbert.ca/2012/06/27/dry-skin-brushing/
Picture from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d8/83/91/d883910437c3248a1924278c0445adee.jpg


Detox Week 1: Lemon Water

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Spring is in the air! Makes me think of birds chirping, flowers blooming and best of all cleaning! What better time to start of spring by purifying your body with a detox. The BEST way to start your day off with success during a spring detox is with some warm lemon water! Not only do lemons enhance the taste of water but can provide a multitude of benefits. Bottom line - lemon water is a gentle way to help the body detoxify and will allow you to get your daily water intake in! Check out some benefits of including lemon water in your detox routine…

1. Aids in Digestion 
One of the BIGGEST health benefits of drinking warm lemon water in the morning is that it aids in digestion throughout the day. Since it is acidic, lemons increase stomach acid in the body ensuring you digest your food optimally! It works to flush out the digestive system and rehydrates the body. It also helps in the production of bile which facilitates digestion and absorption of fats. If you experience indigestion, belching or bloating lemon water may be an ideal way to improve your digestion!

2. Naturally Detoxifies 
Lemon water assists the liver in cleansing the body from toxins. While you are asleep the body is working hard to restore and regenerate all functions. The liver especially works hard during the night in order to successfully carry out its functions of detoxification. The citric acid in lemons maximizes the function of liver enzymes in order to remove unwanted waste and toxins from the body. 

3. Natural Diuretic 
Lemons are a natural diuretic which can result in an increased rate of urination. This will allow for the removal of waste and toxins at faster rate, ensuring your urinary tract is stays healthy.

4. Boosts your Immune System 
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C, which is known to fight off colds.  There is approximately 30-50 mg of Vitamin C in a lemon. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning will ensure adequate absorption of vitamins and minerals in order to give your immune system a small boost.

5. Rejuvenates your Skin 
Lemon water flushes out unwanted waste and improves digestion which can result in healthier skin! Vitamin C works internally by producing collagen in order to provide you with healthy and glowing skin. 

6. Helps to maintain a health weight 
Lemons are high in pectin fiber which is known to fight hunger cravings.

7. Freshens Breath 
Not only does it freshen your breath but lemon water has been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Caution: lemon water can erode tooth enamel. Be sure not to brush your teeth right after drinking lemon water. Wait 15-30 minutes before brushing your teeth or consider drinking lemon water with a straw.

8. Recharges your body after a workout 
During a workout your body loses a lot of water through sweat. Drinking lemon water during and after your workout will ensure that your body is being replenished with the necessary electrolytes it needs in order to function optimally.

9. Hydrates 
Lemon water is able to hydrate the body and works on the immune system by replacing fluid loss. Particularly it is able to hydrate the lymph system which is a network that delivers lymph (ie. white blood cells) to all parts of the body. When you body is not hydrated you can start to feel sluggish, constipated, fatigued, decreased immune function and decreased mental clarity just to name a few.

10. Makes the body less acidic
You may be thinking, lemons are acidic, no? Yes, they are. But once they are digested and absorbed they become quite alkaline to the body. We know that being too acidic can dispose us to a variety of diseases so ensuring you get your daily dose of lemon water is a great way to start improving your health!

Choosing a Non-Toxic Nail Polish

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Toxins are bad all around. I have spent the last few years removing all toxins from my beauty routine. The one area I have recently been exploring is my nail polish. Did you know that 80% of cosmetics have been linked to various environmental and health concerns such as reproduction, cancer, asthma and allergies. Toxin exposure from your beauty products may also impact your hormones. This is why I have become determined to help you find out what to look for and which brands are the best!

LOOK OUT FOR THESE 7 TOXINS IN NAIL POLISH!

1. Dibutyl phthalate: this is a solvent for dyes and a plasticizer to prevent nails from breaking. It is known to be a possible endocrine disruptor meaning it can affect the hormones in your body.

2. Formaldehyde: this can be found in nail hardeners up to 5% and is known as a human carcinogen.

3. Toluene: this is known to be a skin irritant and can affect the nervous system through inhalation which may cause drowsiness, headaches and possible irritation to the respiratory tract. 

4. Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin: this is used to form a tough and shiny layer to your nail polish. It is a known skin allergen which may cause dermatitis.

5. Camphor: this is a plasticizer that makes your nail polish flexible after application. It may cause dizziness and headaches if inhaled.

6. Parabens: this is a preservative that can mimic estrogen in the body and cause hormonal disruption. 

7. Xylene: this is a solvent that prevents your nail polish from becoming gloppy. It is a known allergen and carcinogen. 

______________________________________________________________________________________

NAIL POLISH BRANDS THAT ARE "3 FREE" 
These nail polishes are free of the top 3 toxins 1) Dibutyl phthalate 2) Formaldehyde and 3) Toluene.
  • OPI (EWG score: 1-9)
  • Essie  (EWG score: 2-8) 
  • Butter London (EWG score: 3-7) 
  • Sally Hansen (EWG score: 3) 
  • L'Oreal Paris (EWG score: 4) 
  • Revlon (EWG score: 3-4) 

NAIL POLISH BRANDS THAT ARE "3 FREE" PLUS FORMALDEHYDE RESIN FREE 
  • M.A.C.
  • Wet n' Wild (EWG score: 4-5) 
  • NARS (EWG score: 4)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER INGREDIENTS?? These companies are "7 free" meaning they are free of all 7 toxic ingredients listed above. No EWG scores were found for these products but their sites list all ingredients. 
  • Pacifica 
  • MOOV 
  • Honey Bee Gardens 
  • Piggy Paint 
  • Scotch 

** NOTE: EWG score is from the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep toxin score. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

STAY TUNED… for my review on a few "7 free" nail polish brands.


References: 
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/toxics/how-to-choose-a-non-toxic-nail-polish/

http://www.freep.com/story/life/wellness/2015/05/09/chemicals-nail-polish/70956546/

Photo credit: Flickr.com user "amOunaĆ¢„¢ The Pretty Psychopath BFH" / Foter / CC BY-SA

Divine Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Bread

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With the summer now coming to a close, and autumn in full swing, everyone starts to pull out sweaters, jackets and cozy warm socks. It is especially fun to start digging out any and all pumpkin recipes at this time of year. This pumpkin bread has a bit of a twist to it. The chocolate swirl mixed with the pumpkin celebrates the new fall season. Pumpkin not only tastes good in desserts but it is also highly packed with nutrients. Pumpkin has well over 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Get your boost of antioxidants while enjoying this tasty dessert!


**TIP: When buying canned pumpkin make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin!**

Ingredients
1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tsp of pumpkin spice
½ cup roasted/canned pumpkin 
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
3 tbsp Enjoy life chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and pumpkin spice in your food processor and pulse for 1 minute.
3. Next, add pumpkin, honey and eggs and continue to pulse for 2 minutes.
4. Scoop batter into a bread loaf pan.
5. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips until liquid forms.
6. Add teaspoon of coconut oil to thin out melted chocolate so that it is easier to pour into the bread.
7. Drizzle chocolate over the batter and then use a bread knife to swirl the chocolate.
8. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let the bread cool for 1 hour and then enjoy! 

Adapted from:

SWEET TOOTH Almond Coconut Date Delights

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Ingredients: 
2 cups of medjool dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup raw coconut flakes
1/2 cup of raw almonds
Optional: hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds

Instructions: 
1. In a food processor, add cocoa powder, almond flour and cinnamon. Process until well combined.
2. Next, remove seeds from dates and add into food processor. Process until well combined. The mixture will look crumbly.
3. Put coconut flakes into a bowl. Scoop out a small handful of the mixture and roll into a ball.
4. Insert a whole raw almond into the center of the date ball.
5. Gently roll the date ball in the coconut flakes to coat the entire ball.

ENJOY!