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Beautiful Skin Cocktail

By Aromatherapy Recipes Naturally Nurturing Skin
on November 29, 2011
1 comment

Easy recipe for beautiful skin!


I love that some things are easy in life because so many aren't. This is one of those easy things and it really does make a difference in the look and feel of your skin. I know I have days when my skin looks vibrant and other days when it just looks drab (today for instance) - which is why I started reading one of the books on my shelves. I use the same facial regimen every day that I know to be effective and healthy, but sometimes you just have to start from the inside to achieve that healthy look. You need a juicer though - the kind with names like Champion that extracts the juice from the vegetable or fruit and expels the pulp. We got ours used for about $25.00 - just let people know you're looking for one. Or you can opt for a new one. I have an article somewhere that I wrote about which brands and types are available. Will have to find that.This recipe was adapted from Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing For Life by Cherie Calbom, MS.


1 cucumber, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
2 to 3 carrots, scrubbed well (peeled if not organic), tops removed
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/4 green bell pepper (Opt for the red if available, more vitamin C and phytonutrients, see below)

Cut fresh produce to fit your juicer's feet tube. Juice ingredients and stir gently to blend. Pour into a clear glass (I like to see the colors shining through) and drink as soon as possible. Precious vitamins and minerals are lost with each passing minute. Savor the taste - don't just gulp it down.  This should make 1 to 2 glasses.

Why this cocktail? 

Well, many reasons but I'll address mostly the benefits from bell peppers. However, carrots also contain a huge amount of carotenoids and vitamin A and contribute a great deal to healthy skin plus helping protect skin from UV damage. Below are other benefits from this particular juice:

1.  Silicon - cucumber, parsnip and bell pepper are good sources of the trace mineral silicon, which is recommended to strengthen skin, hair, and fingernails along with bones. In studies silicon has been shown to reduce signs of aging such as improving thickness of skin and reducing wrinkles. Silicon - not to be confused with silicone, refers to natural materials whereas silicone refers to man-made materials. Silicon is a nonmetallic element with the atomic weight of 28. Silicon increases absorption of calcium. As we age, silicon becomes depleted, so it can be an important addition to our diet as we age. There is no daily intake requirement but it is important that silicon be consumed on a daily basis.

2. Vitamins -  Bell pepper contains more than 30 different carotenoids. Carotenoids provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Bell pepper is also an excellent source of vitamin C - two times the amount of vitamin C found in your typical orange. Red peppers have twice as much vitamin C as green ones. Go for the red! Every good Nebraskan knows that!! 

Bell pepper is also a good source of another antioxidant vitamin--vitamin E. German researchers report that the antioxidants vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids - lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene - improve various aspects of skin health and reduce the effects of skin aging. "Subjects supplemented with the antioxidants in both groups also experienced a significant increase in skin density and thickness. In addition, roughness, scaling and wrinkling of the skin improved in both groups of subjects receiving the antioxidants." (1) 

Bell peppers contain a substantial amount of vitamin A with ripened red peppers having almost 16 times the amount of vitamin A than green bell peppers. According to WebMd, vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue. "Without it you'll notice the difference." (2). Although being pharmaceutical-minded, they also recommend topical vitamin A creams. I have no doubt that increasing your intake of natural vitamin A would be much better - Mother Nature really does know best. 

Increasing our regular intake of antioxidant phytonutrients can decrease our oxidative stress and lower our levels of inflammation, both of which contribute to dry, aging skin and wrinkles.This is but one of many juicing recipes that can be easy and very inexpensive to do. There are many other health benefits beyond healthy skin, but usually the health of our bodies is directly reflected in the healthy appearance of our skin.

Thanks for listening!



1.  Source: Heinricha U, Tronniera H, Stahlb W, Béjotc M, Maurettec JM. Antioxidant Supplements Improve Parameters Related to Skin Structure in Humans. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2006;19:224-231.

2.  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition?page=2

Hexane in that veggie burger?

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 03, 2011

Is there hexane in that veggie burger?

And do you know why hexane is used as compared to cold-processed or expeller pressed oils? Are  you worried about hexane residue in your veggie burger?  And as importantly, is there hexane in the oils you use to cook with or used to make your personal care products? We don't think it's a high risk in your veggie burger and the link below shows why, but we do buy and use 100% certified organic cold pressed oils and expeller pressed oils for all of our personal care products. These oils are always more expensive, 2 to 3 times for some oils and butters. We do that because these processes are done at lower temperatures and this retains the vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients in the oils, not so much because we're concerned about hexane in non-organic oils. We're much more concerned about pesticide and herbicide residuals in non-organic oils. Below is some information about the different types of oil processes - things you might want to consider when purchasing your oils for cooking or your creams, soaps and cosmetics.

Why do we buy oils that are expeller pressed?

Our first choice is always cold pressed, but that's not always available in some oils. If we can't find cold-pressed for a particular oil, then we look for expeller pressed oils and butters. This is a process that does not use chemicals to extract the oil - which means, no hexane is used. Additionally, no external heat is applied in order to extract the oil. There is friction and, therefore, higher heat from the higher friction is required in some nuts or seeds that are harder and require more friction in order to extract the oil. So basically, expeller pressed means that the oil is extracted without using hexane or other chemicals. Using chemicals and high heat is a common practice for many conventional oils you find on the grocery stores and your cosmetic counters.

Why do we pay extra for cold pressed?

Well, cold pressed is just that - cold processed where temperatures are controlled to ensure that the seed or nut does not go higher than 100-120 degrees F (some are even processed as low as 80 to 90 degrees F).  By cold pressing, the key nutrients, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients are left intact. Obviously, this is a more labor intensive and expensive process, but worth it we think and definitely the "gold standard" for all oils. When we add these oils to our products, we also are very careful about keeping these oils at low temperatures, as we also do when infusing our organic herbs into the oils.

Avocado oil was the one that was the most obvious to me and finally convinced me we needed to change. We previously purchased a "cosmetic" grade avocado oil and when I asked the supplier if it made a difference whether I purchased the organic or cosmetic grade, he said no. I then asked was this oil "food grade" and he said no. It was then that I knew we should be purchasing not only food-grade oils, but certified organic ones. I decided to sample some of the different oils and purchased a certified organic cold-processed, unrefined avocado oil that is a beautiful deep green, thicker, and it seems obvious to me would contain far more nutrients than could possibly be retained in a high heat process used for cosmetic grade oils and butters. The picture here clearly shows the difference, even in spite of my amateur photography. The oil on the far right is our certified organic extra virgin olive oil, the same that we use for cooking and for our creams and soaps (30% in our soaps). The oil on the far left is the cosmetic grade Avocado oil we used before we knew better, and the middle avocado oil is our certified organic unrefined avocado oil. I'm visual and this was an obvious no brainer for me. The lesser grades of olive oil are also very thin and clear in color but that is what is used in most of the cosmetics and soap on the shelves today - and, unfortunately, in a lot of the extra virgin olive oil you probably pay a lot for at the grocery store - even the health food store. Not ours. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and more true to their natural seed, nut or fruit.

The cosmetic grade oils are refined at temperatures as high as 450 degrees - these oils are not a food grade oil. Some oils are "partially refined" which can include deodorization and bleaching. And, finally, and important we think, is that certified organic oils and butters are rigorously analyzed for chemical, pesticide or herbicide residue. We do not purchase oils that have been processed through high heat extraction as these methods produce unhealthy oils - if we can't eat it ourselves, we don't use it in our products.

So what about hexane in our veggie burgers?!

The link provided below gives a good analysis of whether this is true and to what extent it should influence  your purchasing habits. We do think it's important to look at the label and compare the oils you use for cooking as we believe it makes a difference in the content of vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients retained. Obviously, you're probably not going to know what type of oils are used in your cosmetics and other personal care products- except ours of course. And that's even assuming the product contains real oils and butters or just lots of synthetic chemicals to try to accomplish the same feel at a much lower cost - to them, not usually to you. But that's another story for another day.

Thanks for listening!

Foods That Fight Cancer!

By Healthy Planet Blog Cancer Counsel
on June 07, 2011

Do you know which foods fight cancer? 


I know most of us have heard that turmeric is a very good choice to include in your diet to fight cancer, but actually getting enough into your diet is fairly difficult unless you eat a lot of Indian curry-type dishes and/or take supplements. I'm always looking for ways to easily fit foods into my diet that have been proven to increase my body's ability to fight off cancer. I came across this article just after admiring my swiss chard and kale growing in flower boxes on the deck. I have plans to grow larger amounts in the garden but never quite got the chance. The farmers' market, of course, is a great place to find foods that fight cancer. I will put out my seeds soon for my fall crop.

According to recent research funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research, dark green leafy vegetables are a great way to incorporate cancer-fighting components into your diet. Included are spinach, kale, romaine lettuce (not so dark, but full of the properties you're looking for), leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens (love this coming from a Southern girl), chicory and swiss chard. They didn't mention bok choy, parsley, cilantro or basil, but I'm thinking those would be included but will check.

These particular foods are excellent sources of fiber, folate and lots of carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin, saponins and flavonoids. According to AICR's report, "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective", these foods can protect us against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. I know we've all read that research has shown that carotenoids in particular are very good antioxidants that fight the free radicals we are bombarded with every day. Additional research has shown that these dark green leafy vegetables can also help stop the growth of some breast, skin, lung and stomach cancer. Folate was identified as decreasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Most nutrition experts will also tell you to "shop the rainbow" - meaning the darker the color, the more antioxidants are included. An easy example is that red peppers are a better choice than green peppers; however, both are very good choices. In our green leafy choices, the dark purple kale would be better than green kale - although, again, both are very good choices. We prefer red cabbage over green cabbage for that reason as well.

AICR is our chosen choice for donations and if you take a look at their website and what they offer, I think you can see why. They, like us, believe that health begins and ends with good nutrition. Finding the correct and reliable information about that is not always easy. We believe that AICR provides a very good balance and evidence for all that they report. They have funded additional research on the subject of dark green leafy vegetables and why they fight cancer. Also read the full list of their recommendations for cancer prevention. You will see as you click the subjects we've mentioned such as fiber, folate, carotenoids and flavonoids, you will be taken to a page full of research showing why they are making these recommendations. And for those of you who think you can't or won't eat collards or mustard greens, you'd be pleasantly surprised at some recipes. AICR has provided one in particular for this subject and it can be found here. We will also post this recipe on our blog section under healthy recipes - and I'm going to try it out this week. I personally love them just raw, steamed or lightly sauteed - add a little balsamic vinegar.

So - let me know what you think about dark green leafy vegetables. Take a stroll down the tables at your local farmer's markets and see the vast array of vegetables that are available.

Thanks for listening!

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