Eureka! See The Amazing Detox Face Mask You Make At Home

homemade_bentonite_clay_mask

This past year my favorite bentonite clay company discontinued their detox facial scrub and I was sooo bummed! I used it in the shower a few times a week for years! I’ve taken it upon myself to come up with a comparable product that I can make at home with my own ingredients. The scrub Living Clay made had crushed walnut shells to exfoliate and peppermint oil to invigorate. Our basic recipe has none of those so is good for sensitive skin as well. Then you can customize it for exfoliating, invigorating or soothing depending on what extra ingredients you add.

The basic detox facial mask uses a bentonite clay paste for the detox part of the recipe. Bentonite clay is an amazing natural detoxing agent that works by binding to bacteria and toxins on the surface of the skin and deep in the pores to extract them out and wash them away. It also has antibiotic properties to aid healing and fight infections. People have also observed a soothing effect from using a bentonite clay mask. Make sure to always hydrate  bentonite clay in a glass jar because it can pull impurities from plastic once it is rehydrated.

Manuka honey is added for its many potential medicinal properties. These include:

  • Antibiotic properties to help alleviate blemishes
  • Anti-inflammatory to sooth skin
  • Helps balance skin’s pH
  • Contains amino acids to help slough away dead skin cells
  • Promotes collagen growth for firmer, younger looking skin
  • Natural humectant to draw moisture into the skin, which enhances skin elasticity and cell regeneration
  • Promotes healing

I added Walkabout Emu Oil to further sooth, heal and moisturize the skin. Potential benefits of emu oil for skin include:

  • Naturally high in antioxidant Vitamin E
  • Contains Omega 3, Omega 6 & Omega 9 which are vital to healthy skin
  • Super noncomedogenic moisturizer
  • Anti-inflammatory to soothe skin
  • Promotes cell regeneration & healing

Basic Detox Face & Body Maskeasy_homemade_face_mask

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tb Living Clay Bentonite Clay Powder
1 1/2 Tb Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey
1/2 Tb Walkabout Topical Emu Oil
1 1/2 Tb warm water

Directions:
Mix the bentonite and water to make a paste first. Then add the honey and emu oil and mix thoroughly. Make sure to always use glass whenever possible when bentonite clay is activated with water – it can pull impurities from plastic as well as your skin. And stir with a wooden stirrer as it can also pull things from metal. this recipe makes about 2 oz of finished product. Store in an airtight glass container. As all ingredients have very long shelf lives, it should keep for months.

Once made, it can be used as a daily cleanser that you put on and wash off right away, or as a deep cleansing mask that you let dry on your face before you wash it off. For best results, use a hot washcloth to rehydrate the mask for easier removal. Your skin will feel wonderful after!

Natural Invigorating Face & Body Scrub

If you want to make this an eye-opening morning scrub, then add these additional ingredients: 1 tsp coffee grounds & 6 or more drops peppermint essential oils.

So, I knew right away there was no way I was getting crushed walnut shells for my recipe, so I searched for alternative exfoliants. My first thought was sugar, because I’ve seen that used quite a bit. But, I don’t eat white sugar because it is toxic, so why would I put it on my skin?  I used coffee grounds instead. Coffee grounds are a good alternative because the caffeine can enhance fat metabolism and increase circulation, which may help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Use this all over and the exfoliating properties will certainly make your skin soft and smooth!

I used peppermint oil because it is super invigorating and leaves the skin feeling tingly and refreshed. Different brands have different quality oils. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on high end essential oils to get a quality peppermint oil.

Super Soothing Facial Mask

To make this a soothing face mask, use calendula tea instead of water, and add 6 or more drops of either lavender essential oil, calendula essential oil or a combination of the two. Calendula has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and healing properties to soothe sensitive skin. Lavender oil also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which help with healing of many skin issues. And it smells so nice, it helps us feel relaxed and refreshed all at the same time.

Great Homemade Gift Idea!homemade_gift_idea

Need stocking stuffers or like to make nice gifts for others? You can make a big batch of this and fill multiple jars to give as gifts. It’s easy enough for kids to make! A little fabric and ribbon and, voila! You have a great little gift for loved ones.

 

All You Need to Know about Manuka Honey

Wedderspoon_manuka_honey_sale
By Lynn Gamwell

Peaceful Planet has added three new Wedderspoon Manuka honey products to our line up to accommodate every use and taste. We would like to introduce you to these exceptional products as well as to clarify some of the health claims and authentication confusion surrounding different brands of Manuka honey.

What is Manuka Honey?

Made from the flowers of the New Zealand Manuka trees, Manuka honey has long been credited with exceptionally high anti-bacterial activity and extraordinary nutritional value. Shown to combat even highly resistant strains of bacteria such as E. Coli, MRSA, and Staph; no known strain of bacteria has been found to resist this super antibiotic honey. Pure Manuka honey also carries with it abundant antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and bioflavonoids, making it one of nature’s true super foods. Because of these highly sought after properties, it’s benefits and applications are numerous.

Benefits of Manuka Honey

  • Antibiotic
  • Antiviral
  • Antifungal
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Antioxidant and nutrient rich
  • May be applied topically to help heal wounds or as a beauty treatment
  • May be used topically to help prevent and eliminate acne
  • Used for all digestive disorders
  • Absorbed gradually as a complex sugar

Manufacturing Differences

Several companies market Manuka honey however, the processes used to manufacture and produce the final product differ markedly. Peaceful Planet has chosen to sell Wedderspoon’s Manuka honey because we believe it is the purest, most healing, and most ecologically sustainable honey available. Some companies pasteurize their honey with heat thereby damaging the fragile nutrients and antibacterial potential in the pollen and the propolis. The fact that Wedderspoon’s honey will return to solid form in the bottle demonstrates that it is raw, not heated. It therefore retains all the healthy properties it is known to possess.

One of the most important components in high quality honey is methylglyoxal, or MGO. It is this compound that imparts such strong antibacterial and antiviral activity to the honey. Wedderspoon’s grading system reflects the integral MGO content found in the natural honey. Some brands of Manuka honeys are known to artificially add MGO, impairing it’s levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Honey that is denatured in this way may have an inflated MGO rating, although it may not be as nutritionally valuable.

Finally, all Wedderspoon Manuka honey products are grown, collected, and packaged for market in New Zealand. This source to final product process ensures strict control over the resulting high quality honey. There is no contamination or degradation that can occur as with some other Manuka honeys which are not produced in New Zealand. Wedderspoon honeys are repeatedly tested for purity, pH, phenolic compounds, chemical residue, and live enzymes as well as pollen count thereby ensuring the powerful nutritional punch of each batch.  Wedderspoon honeys are certified non-GMO and many are organic.

Grading Systems

There are various grading systems for Manuka honey making comparisons tricky. For a comprehensive look at all the different systems you may want to refer to our previous blog, Decoding Manuka Honey Designations: What do the numbers mean?   The most important thing to understand is that Wedderspoon is adopting one of the three strict systems which are certified by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, the country’s main food legislation entity. Wedderspoon is in the process of switching from listing “Active” amounts of pollen to the “KFactor” grading system which is a standardized term designating the percentage of pollen that is certified to have come from the Manuka flowers. The higher the KFactor is, the higher the percentage of certifiable Manuka pollen you get. Peaceful Planet carries Wedderspoon KFactor 16 in which 75% of the pollen grains are Manuka, and the new limited edition KFactor 22 in which 90% of the pollen grains are from Manuka flowers.

Raw Manuka Honey Products

Wedderspoon_Manuka_KFactor_22_sale

Peaceful Planet has just added Manuka Honey KFactor 22 to our inventory. We are thrilled to offer our customers Wedderspoon’s exceptionally high Manuka pollen count honey for the ultimate in therapeutic health benefits. Since the Manuka flowers are seasonal, this very pure, primary source honey is only available in limited quantities and is a bit more expensive. But if you are considering buying Manuka honey as a medicinal food or topical treatment, you may want to consider going the extra mile to get this top of the line product. If you are looking for a great product with high Manuka pollen count but are consuming it in quantity and using it as a staple food, we also carry Wedderspoon Active 16 (soon to be KFactor16). This high grade,75% guaranteed Manuka pollen grains, honey still carries many of the same antiinflammatory, antimicrobial properties of the K22 but is a more economical choice.

Peaceful Planet is now carrying Honey On the Go by Wedderspoon  as a convenient way to carry individual portion sizes of raw, unpasteurized Manuka for travel, lunches, or anytime you want an extra boost of energy. Organic Manuka Honey Lozenges in Lemon and Eucalyptus are a must have for the medicine cupboard. They offer all natural immune strengthening and throat soothing relief from colds or irritants. Containing only Wedderspoon Manuka honey, rich bee propolis (for extra antiseptic, antiinflammatory, healing qualities), naturally sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic brow rice syrup, and either eucalyptus oil or lemon oil, these lozenges bring tasty relief. You will never go back to drug store lozenges again!

Choose Your Manuka!

With all these delicious and healthful Wedderspoon Manuka honey options to choose from you will never be lacking for the right treatment or sweet precaution. So stock up on Manuka honey from Wedderspoon and while supplies last, grab some KFactor22. Bee Well with Wedderspoon!

 

Decoding Manuka Honey Designations: What do the numbers mean?

Manuka_Honey

Manuka honey isn’t ordinary honey. It’s a superfood that is excellent for the digestive system, as it is naturally antimicrobial and contains enzymes that can help restore gut health. It contains unique beneficial factors that set it apart from other types of honey, and it is naturally anti-inflammatory. Amazingly, manuka honey can kill antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains and superbugs, including MRSA, E. Coli, and Staph. Unlike prescription antibiotics, no bacteria has been found to develop a resistance to manuka honey. You can even use manuka honey topically for cuts, scrapes, burns, wounds, rashes. It is also used for skin health — it tightens and softens the skin and provides anti-aging benefits. For those who suffer from acne, manuka honey is great for clearing skin. Dr. Oz recommends using manuka honey to relieve symptoms of heartburn and calm the inflammation associated with acid reflux. Manuka honey is a great natural remedy for digestive ailments such as nausea, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis.

High-quality manuka honey benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Full of beneficial enzymes

But how exactly is “high-quality” determined? Different brands of manuka honey have different grading systems… so how do you compare them? How do you know which is best? Manuka honey nearly always contains a number between 1 and 30. This number is a designation of the activity level of the honey, although the specific factors measured will vary depending on the symbol preceding it, and some may list no symbol at all. In general, manuka honey 10+ is considered the minimum therapeutic level, and the higher the number, the more potent the product (and the higher the price). A number of 15 or higher should be potent enough, as numbers above 20 are rarely found and considered to be a bit overboard and unnecessary.

We’ve listed some of the common manuka honey designations, along with their meanings, below. Keep in mind that these designations are simply trademarks or labels and do not necessarily signify that the honey is authentic or high-quality manuka honey. Additionally, heating destroys many of the beneficial compounds, so any manuka honey that does not specifically state “raw” or “unpasteurized” may not offer the same health benefits as unaltered, raw manuka honey.

Hydrogen Peroxide Activity (HPA)

Hydrogen Peroxide Activity is one measure of antibacterial activity in manuka honey. Hydrogen Peroxide Activity levels are quickly reduced or destroyed by heat or light, rendering most honeys quite low in HPA by the time it reaches your house, regardless of the HPA number on the label. Peroxide activity is not unique to manuka honey — other types of honey also have hydrogen peroxide activity when first collected from the hive.

Non Peroxide Antibacterial Activity (NPA)

The Non Peroxide Antibacterial Activity level is the activity level remaining once the Hydrogen Peroxide Activity has been destroyed. The NPA level is stable and not reduced when exposed to light, heat, water, blood, saliva, or body tissue, and is an indicator of how effectively the manuka honey will combat infection or inflammation. The NPA level is equivalent to the non peroxide antibacterial level of a phenol solution. NPA 10+ indicates that the manuka honey has the same non peroxide activity level as a 10% phenol solution. NPA is unique to manuka honey, as other honeys do not have these special properties.

Manuka Honey Active Levels (Active, TA, BioActive)

Activity levels attempt to determine the total amount of antibacterial activity in a jar of manuka honey. This term can be misleading and confusing, as it may refer to a variety of factors depending on the brand. Sometimes Active or TA (Total Activity) levels combine both the HPA and NPA levels, which can artificially inflate the rating as the HPA level is not a useful indicator of the honey’s effectiveness. Some manuka honeys list Bio Active levels. Manuka Honey Bio Active 5+ simply means the honey is guaranteed to have a total antibacterial activity level of 5 or higher.

Manuka Honey: What is MGO?

If you see the designation MGO 250+, this means that the honey contains a minimum of 250mg/kg methylglyoxal. Methylglyoxal is one key component of manuka honey thought to be responsible for manuka honey’s antibacterial benefits. Manuka honey must contain at least 100mg/kg to have consistent antibacterial properties. An MGO of 263 might be roughly equal to UMF 10 or NPA 10, although since it is only a measure of methylglyoxal it does not always reflect the honey’s actual NPA. Many brands of manuka honey focus only on methylglyoxal levels, even adding chemicals to artificially raise their levels, when there are many other factors that give manuka honey its unique qualities. High levels of methylglyoxal can in fact destroy manuka honey’s naturally-present antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, denaturing the honey.

Manuka Honey UMF: What does it mean?

UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. This is a quality trademark that can only be used by licensed New Zealand brands who have met set criteria. The UMF grading system measures the presence of DHA (dihydroxyacetone), leptosperin, and methylglyoxal — the NPA levels — to determine whether it is, in fact, manuka honey. If you’re looking at UMF-labelled honeys, you’ll want to choose one that is at least UMF 10+. A honey labelled 10+ is a honey that has been determined to have at least a rating of 10, never lower, but it may be higher. Manuka Honey UMF 16+ is a better rating than UMF 10+. Since the UMF grading system is based heavily on methylglyoxal levels, it is a rather limited designation that does not take into account antioxidant levels, pH, purity, and other factors. UMF 10+ is equal to NPA 10+.

Manuka Honey KFactor Rating

This is a designation now used by Wedderspoon, as they are abandoning the sometimes-ambiguous “Active” label and switching to “KFactor” ratings. Rather than just testing for methylglyoxal or a limited number of components, Wedderspoon separates their batches of honey using a complex rating system that takes multiple factors into account, testing for:

  • Purity
  • Live enzymes
  • Over 250 chemical residues
  • Pollen count, 70% or higher
  • pH level consistency
  • Antioxidant levels
  • Phenolic compounds

These measurements were previously designated as Active levels but are now listed as KFactor instead to more accurately reflect the numerous unique manuka honey factors in Wedderspoon manuka honey.

Which manuka honey is best?

Unfortunately, because a variety of rating systems are used, it’s hard to compare, say, “Manuka Honey UMF 15+” to “Wedderspoon Manuka Honey KFactor 16” as “UMF 15+” and “KFactor” are the results of measures of very different components. The designation 16 doesn’t automatically mean that Wedderspoon’s honey is better than a UMF 15 honey, and at the same time, the lack of a UMF designation doesn’t mean a product is lower quality or less effective.

We chose Wedderspoon manuka honey because they test every batch for multiple properties to determine that you indeed get the highest quality manuka honey available. Since heat and light eliminates nutrients and can kill off the beneficial enzymes in honey, we looked for a completely raw, unpasteurized, pure manuka honey. Wedderspoon makes the only Non GMO Project verified manuka honey available, setting it apart from other manuka honey brands.

Manuka Honey Recommended Use & How Much to Take

For general health and immune system support, take 1-2 teaspoons a day.

For digestive problems, oncoming cold or illness, or infections, take up to 3 teaspoons a day.

For wounds, apply a layer of manuka honey every 12 hours, covering with a bandage.

For skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosea, or psoriasis, apply a layer of manuka honey for skin conditions to the area and cover with a bandage so that it stays on for at least an hour a day.

Note: Be sure to avoid giving any kind of honey to babies under 1 year old, as their undeveloped immune systems may make them susceptible to botulism, which can (rarely) contaminate honey.

How to Take Manuka Honey Orally

Make sure to use manuka honey in its raw state — putting it in your tea or baked goods will destroy many of the beneficial compounds. You can take manuka honey by the spoonful, spread it onto bread or crackers, or drizzle it over fruit, yogurt, or cereal. You could also mix it into lukewarm (under 95°F) or iced tea, or add it to your herbal medicinals.

By Ali Wetherbee

The Natural Remedies Your Natural First Aid Kit Is Missing

Natural_First_Aid_Remedies

By Ali Wetherbee

So you have the basics — some bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, and a thermometer — but what are some natural remedies you can include in your natural first aid kit or medicine cabinet? What can you use to replace chemical-laden over-the-counter medicines and ointments from the drugstore? Below we have some of the best natural, herbal, and homeopathic remedies to help you build a natural first aid kit to be prepared for common injuries and ailments. Keep a small kit of essentials in your car, bag, or backpack to naturally treat minor injuries on the go. At home, consider creating a “healing basket” full of your favorite natural remedies, herbs, salves, teas, tinctures, and hot/cold packs or hot water bottles, so you’ll have everything on hand when anyone in your family becomes ill or injured.

Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel: A Natural Antibiotic

Sovereign_Silver_First_Aid_SpraySovereign Silver is the top-selling colloidal silver nationwide. Silver is a natural antibiotic, making this homeopathic First Aid Gel the perfect substitute for OTC antibiotic ointment, burn cream, and calamine lotion in your natural first aid kit. Use it on cuts, scrapes, burns (including sunburns), bruises, rashes, acne, and bug bites and stings, to prevent infection, soothe pain, and reduce swelling, redness, and inflammation. While you’re at it, grab a bottle of Sovereign Silver Fine Mist Spray, too, and keep it in your natural first aid kit for internal use in treating bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

Blue Ice Calm Balm: Natural Remedy for Muscle & Joint Pain, Colds & Congestion

Blue_Ice_Calm_BalmPetroleum-based vapor rub does not belong in a natural first aid kit. Toss the vapor rub and replace it with this all-natural Calm Balm from Green Pasture. Rub it into the chest to ease stuffiness and chest colds, or use it on sore muscles and joints for relief of aches and pains. Blue Ice Calm Balm is made from nutrient-rich oils (high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil) and menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oils. Plus, you’ll get a dose of vitamins A, D, and K right through your skin!

Bentonite Clay: Draws Out Toxins

Bentonite_Liquid_ClayLiving Clay Bentonite Clay is an excellent product to have on hand in your natural first aid kit because it can treat a variety of ailments. If you’re suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or food poisoning, take some bentonite clay to speed recovery. Bentonite clay is able to bind to or absorb toxins and bacteria so that your body can eliminate them quickly. Bentonite clay can also be used for heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, and indigestion, as it has an alkalizing effect, reducing acidity in the body. Use bentonite clay externally on burns, cuts, stings, and bites (including bites from bugs, spiders, and snakes) to help draw out toxins. This is also a soothing, natural anti-itch relief for those with rashes, chicken pox, poison ivy, or skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

Natural Calm: Natural Relief for Constipation

Natural_Calm_PacksMagnesium is a gentle, natural laxative, and these Natural Calm packs will fit neatly into your natural first aid kit. Natural Calm magnesium is better absorbed than milk of magnesia, and much safer than OTC habit-forming laxatives. No one enjoys being all stopped up, so this is definitely one you’ll want to add to your natural first aid kit! Start with a small dose and work your way up until things are moving along well again. As a bonus, magnesium can also reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, helping you relax and sleep better, and it can ease muscle pain and stiffness.

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey: Natural Remedy for Infections

Wedderspoon_Manuka_HoneyHoney in your natural first aid kit? Yes! Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Active 16+ is a highly bioactive manuka honey with antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Manuka honey has even been found to kill antibiotic-resistant bacterial superbug strains like MRSA. Use it either internally or externally to eliminate infections naturally. Take a spoonful up to three times a day for digestive issues and infections. Externally, you can apply a layer of manuka honey to wounds or skin infections or rashes to speed healing, prevent infection, and reduce scarring.

Walkabout Emu Oil: Soothes Muscle and Joint Pain

walkabout-australian-emu-oil-topicalYou may also want to add a bottle of Walkabout Emu Oil to your natural first aid kit. Walkabout Emu Oil is available in a topical formula, perfect for rubbing into sore muscles and joints. Whether you have a recent injury, shin splints, or growing pains, this oil (which, yes, is indeed from emus!) reduces inflammation and soreness. What’s more, emu oil can also be used for sore gums, bruises, cuts and scrapes, burns, and bites, as it is also antibacterial, reducing pain, swelling, and scarring.

Natural Sweeteners 101

natural_sweeteners_manuka_honeyBy Ali Wetherbee

Why choose natural sweeteners? There are many reasons to avoid highly processed sugars. They are bad for your teeth, spike blood sugar and insulin, have been implicated in heart disease, can lead to obesity, and may cause mood and behavioral problems. Refined sugars go by various names, including granulated sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, dextrose, and maltodextrin. Products with unspecified “sugar” in their ingredient lists often contain sugars derived from genetically modified sources. More than half of the sugar in the United States, including white granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and brown sugar, is made from sugar beets, and 95% of sugar beets in the U.S. are grown from GMO Roundup-resistant seeds. While it may be wise to limit sugar consumption in every form, there are many GMO-free and natural sweeteners available for moderate use. Some of these so-called “natural sweeteners” are not as great as their labels suggest, but others may actually have benefits to your health. So how do you know which natural sweeteners to seek out and which to avoid? Read on to find out!

Natural Sweetener #1: Raw Cane Sugar

Though not actually a raw food, this natural sweetener is a minimally processed extract of sugar cane. The molasses is retained, leaving this sugar brown in color. Because only water is evaporated, the nutrients are also retained, so turbinado sugar contains some calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and other trace minerals. Raw sugar is vegan-friendly, since no animal by-products are used (white sugar is usually decolorized with bone char). Rapadura, Demerara, turbinado, muscovado, and sucanat are varieties of raw sugar with varying amounts of moisture and variations to the drying process. Raw sugars, although similar in appearance, are different than brown sugar, which is simply processed white sugar with some molasses added back in. Rapadura and sucanat retain higher amounts of molasses than some of the other varieties, and rapadura is probably the least refined of all the cane sugars.

Natural Sweetener #2: Molasses

molasses

Molasses is the by-product of sugar refining. As the sugar cane is boiled and sugar is crystallized, the remaining syrup is removed and sold as molasses, a natural sweetener. “First boiling” molasses is a light-colored syrup, and “third boiling” yields the dark blackstrap molasses, which is an excellent source of iron, calcium, and magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B6. Nearly all the nutrients that are stripped out of white sugar end up in blackstrap molasses, making this a nutrient-dense natural sweetener.

Natural Sweetener #3: Honey

Honey is the food produced by bees from nectar through regurgitation and evaporation. It is low glycemic. Some of the many benefits of honey include its antibiotic, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, and its high levels of antioxidants. Raw local honey may help those with seasonal allergies. Did you know honey can even be used externally on cuts, wounds, and burns to speed healing? Manuka honey is best for this purpose, as it is a medical-grade medicinal honey. Honey should not be given to infants, because in rare instances it has been known to cause botulism, so choose a different natural sweetener for your little ones.

Natural Sweetener #4: Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made by boiling sap from maple trees. It contains a variety of nutrients and more minerals than honey — calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Maple syrup is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Just be sure that the product you purchase contains 100% pure maple syrup, since there are many look-alikes on the market. Look for Grade B, which has a higher mineral content and more robust flavor than Grade A varieties.

Natural Sweetener #5: Stevia

stevia_plant

Produced from the leaf of the stevia rebaudiana plant, this natural sweetener is a popular sugar substitute since it contains zero calories. Research finds that stevia may help lower high blood pressure, with no effect on normal blood pressure. In diabetics, it lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. Stevia may also reduce LDL cholesterol and arterial plaque build up. Stevia adds a natural light sweet taste to several of our protein powders and supplements.

Natural Sweetener #6: Agave Nectar

Made from the Mexican Agave cactus (the tequila plant), agave nectar is sweeter than sugar. Because it is low in glucose, it is low glycemic, a vegan alternative to honey, and often marketed as a health food product. The fructose content, however, far exceeds that of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is linked to numerous health problems. Agave nectar is hard on the liver, and increases the risk of heart disease and fatty liver disease. It may also lead to insulin resistance. Furthermore, it seems that the production of agave involves some questionable chemical processes very similar to the production of HFCS, so most natural food experts now recommend avoiding agave altogether, as it is not truly a natural sweetener.

Natural Sweetener #7: Palm Sugar

Palm sugar, or arenga sugar, is obtained from the sap of the flowers of several species of palm trees, which is then boiled down to a syrup. Palm sugar from the coconut palm is specifically known as coconut sugar, coconut syrup, or coconut nectar. Palm sugars contain iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, and other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They also contain inulin, a fiber which slows the absorption of glucose, and is low in fructose. One notable fact about palms is that when the sap is used for sugars, those flowers will not produce fruit. So while this is a healthy natural sweetener, no coconuts will grow on trees used for coconut sugar, making this practice ultimately unsustainable.

Natural Sweetener #8: Yacon Syrup

The yacon plant is a South American root vegetable that looks similar to a sweet potato. The juices of the root are extracted, filtered, and evaporated until it reaches a thick, dark syrup state. The end result is a natural sweetener that is an excellent source of inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and contains only a third of the calories in sugar. The FOS in yacon can help regulate digestion by increasing stool bulk and feeding healthy gut bacteria. Even better, earlier this year, Dr. Oz introduced yacon syrup as a potential weight loss aid. He asked a group of women to eat one teaspoon of yacon syrup with each meal for four weeks, and a whopping 73% of them lost weight! Other research supports Dr. Oz’s results, including a Clinical Nutrition study in which women who used 3-4 teaspoons of yacon syrup a day, cut calories, and exercised, lost an average of 33 pounds and 4 inches off their waists — while those who exercised and cut calories without taking yacon syrup lost nothing. Additional benefits of yacon syrup include lowered insulin levels, better cholesterol, and more frequent bowel movements.

Natural Sweetener #9: Brown Rice Syrup

brown_rice_syrup

To make brown rice syrup, cooked brown rice is treated with ezymes to break the starches down into sugars. The result is extremely high in glucose, and thus high on the glycemic index, but very low in fructose. Brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener that is vegan, gluten-free, contains some B vitamins and vitamin K, and very small amounts of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and manganese. A warning: brown rice syrup can contain significant amounts of arsenic, and foods and baby formulas made with this syrup have also been found to have arsenic. Brown rice syrup is also known as “brown rice malt syrup” or simply “rice syrup.”

Natural Sweetener #10: Barley Malt 

Barley malt syrup or granules are produced from sprouted barley and contain mostly maltose, some glucose, and very little fructose or sucrose. Barley malt is a natural sweetener containing complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, making it closer to a “whole food” than most sweeteners. Aside from fruit, barley malt may be one of the healthiest natural sources of sugar. While barley malt is more slowly absorbed by the body than simple sugars, it is not low glycemic. It also contains small levels of gluten, which may be a problem for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Natural Sweetener #11: Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, derived from cane sugar or corn starch but also naturally found in fruits, that is usually produced by a yeast fermentation and crystallization process. It is very low calorie (0.24 calories per gram, compared to 3.9 calories per gram in white sugar). Erythritol does not cause blood sugar or insulin elevation. In large amounts, it may cause digestive distress.

Natural Sweetener #12: Xylitol (Birch Sugar)

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from birch mark, and is low in calories, with 2.4 per gram. Good for dental health, it has been found to reduce cavities, repair enamel, and prevent decay, which is why it is often added to chewing gum and toothpastes. Xylitol may also improve bone density and protect against osteoporosis. It does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels and is not easily converted to fat. Birch sugar can also help control yeast issues and candida. Xylitol can cause digestive issues when consumed in excess. It is also lethal to dogs, so keep it away from your family pet and wipe up any spills or crumbs immediately.

Recommendations from Dr. Oz Part 3: Nature’s Remedies

Dr.Oz_natural_remediesBy Ali Wetherbee

Most of us have aches and pains and or various ailments, but prescription pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter drugs can have serious short and long-term side effects. In Part 3 of our Dr. Oz series, we’re giving you the rundown of Dr. Oz’s natural remedies for pain, heartburn, IBS, and more. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to go back and take a look at our burnout busters and weight loss advice.

Probiotics for Pain Relief

More than 100 million Americans live with chronic pain, including back, neck, and facial pain, arthritis, and severe headaches or migraines. Persistent, unmanaged pain can lead to lost productivity, poor sleep, low energy, disability, depression, poor physical health, and an overall lack of enjoyment of life. Probiotics may help those with chronic pain by reducing inflammation, according to a recent study on patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Oz recommends 1 probiotic capsule a day for improved pain management. Mercola Complete Probiotics contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, has no artificial ingredients, and is free of dairy, gluten, corn, and soy. Other pain relief advice from Dr. Oz includes arnica gel, which has been found to be as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain, and ice massage. Ice massage involves freezing ice in a paper cup and then wrapping it in a towel and massaging the painful area, reducing swelling and encouraging the removal of toxins from the area. Dr. Oz also recommends those with chronic pain take a daily omega 3 supplement to reduce inflammation. Green Pastures Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil is an excellent source of omega 3, is raw and all natural, and comes in a variety of flavors. It’s also available in unflavored or orange-flavored capsules.

Turmeric for IBS

If you have pain and digestive issues that come and go — but never really go away — you could have irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. IBS symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. Attacks can be triggered by certain foods or stress and anxiety. Turmeric has been used to treat intestinal issues in Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years, and recent studies have shown it to reduce symptoms of IBS by 50%. The curcumin in turmeric reduces inflammation and abnormal contractions of the bowel muscles. Dr. Oz recommends 60mg, 3 times a day, taken before meals. Mercola Curcumin Advanced is 100% organic and made from raw turmeric with no fillers.

Manuka Honey for Heartburn

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Over 20 million people suffer from heartburn, the burning sensation caused by stomach acid traveling up the esophagus. Dr. Oz recommends taking a teaspoon of manuka honey at the first sign of heartburn. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of medicinal honey can ease your symptoms. Pacific Resources UMF 15+ Manuka Honey is raw, organic, medical grade honey harvested from New Zealand, where manuka flowers are bountiful. Dr. Oz also cautions that skinny jeans may worsen heartburn. Tight clothing puts pressure on the abdomen, slowing digestion and causing acid reflux. Carbonated beverages, salt, chocolate, caffeine, citrus, tomatoes, as well as pain relievers and cigarettes, can all trigger heartburn flares. In addition to manuka honey, Dr. Oz suggests eating a banana a day, which thickens the mucosal lining of the stomach and esophagus to create a natural protective barrier. Orange peel extract can also help by speeding up digestion — take 1000 mg every other day, up to 20 days.

 

More Dr. Oz Advice:

Recommendations from Dr. Oz Part 1: Rhodiola for Stress and Fatigue

Recommendations from Dr. Oz Part 2: CLA for Weight Loss

Boost Your Metabolism & Burn More Calories, the Dr. Oz Way

Dr. Oz 2 Week Diet: The New Year’s Two Week Rapid Weight Loss Method Part 1

Dr. Oz Two-Week Rapid Weight-Loss Diet Part 2: Recipes and Shopping Lists

 

Easy, No-Bake Perfect Protein Energy Balls

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by Colleen Russell
Ensuring that a child with food allergies gets an adequate amount of protein can have its challenges. Since the Peaceful Planet Protein Powder line began expanding, I have been experimenting with recipes that can be easily protein-fortified with a few scoops of plant-based protein powder. This gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free energy ball recipe is the easiest thing to come out of my kitchen in years, and the kids devour them. The no-bake energy balls are jam-packed with protein from all-natural, food-based sources with zero artificial ingredients. Whip up a batch for the beach, a road trip, or a picnic at the park and rest assured that you will have energy for all of summer’s adventures.

Perfect Protein Energy Balls Recipe

Ingredients
2 C Gluten-Free Old-Fashioned Oats
2 C Toasted Coconut Flakes
1 1/4 C all-natural peanut butter
1 C Ground Flaxseed Meal
2 T Chia Seeds
5 Scoops Perfect Plant Protein Powder
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Rasins
2/3 cup Raw Honey
2 t vanilla extract

Instructions
1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix with a stand mixer and paddle blade on medium, or stir by hand until combined.

2. Roll granola mixture by hand into 1 inch diameter balls and place on a plate.

3. Refrigerate energy balls for 30 minutes.