Posts Tagged ‘coconut oil’

Natural Teeth Whiteners

One of my readers contacted me about natural teeth whiteners.   Great question!

We all want whiter teeth, especially as we age, and teeth whitening has become big business. According the ADA, bleaching is the most requested procedure among patients ages 40 to 60. Americans spend billions on over the counter whiteners too. For those of us who want an alternative to chemical whiteners, there are several do-it-yourself options.

  1. Baking Soda – Or sodium bicarbonate has been around for a long time and as been accepted by the American Dental Association since 1931. It reduces stains and plaque through its gentle polishing action, as well as deodorizes the mouth leaving a clean feeling.  Here’s how: Put a little baking soda on a wet toothbrush and brush normally; for extra whitening make a paste of 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide.
  1. Strawberry Tooth Brightener – Strawberries have a slight bleaching action and if used daily can help get rid of stains from tea, coffee or cigarettes.  Here’s how: Remove the stem and mash the strawberry into a pulp, dip your toothbrush into the pulp, brush normally, then rinse.
  1. Oil Pulling – Oil pulling is an Ayurveda remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums. Oil pulling removes excessive and bad bacteria from your mouth, which also helps with detoxification of the entire body. And it whitens teeth and makes your mouth feel clean.  Here’s how: swish a teaspoon or two of coconut oil (sesame oil or olive oil) for approximately 20 minutes. Spit it out and rinse with warm water.
  1. Activated Charcoal – I haven’t tried this remedy yet, but charcoal is being used in everything now from soaps to toothbrushes to towels due to its antimicrobial benefits. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent porous substance that binds to tannins that stain and yellow teeth and pulls the toxins from the mouth to remove the stains.  Here’s how: Dip a clean wet toothbrush into the powdered charcoal and brush in small, gentle circles for 2 minutes. Spit and rinse well. (Be careful not to stain your sink!)
  1. Turmeric – Turmeric spice is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available and along with its numerous health benefits is reducing gum inflammation and teeth whitening.  Here’s how: Dip a wet toothbrush in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder and brush as normal. Allow the turmeric to sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes, then spit and rinse. Brush your teeth again using your regular toothpaste.  (It also can stain your sink.)

It’s important to remember that natural remedies take longer to work. So, give it a few weeks – you’ll be pleased with the results. Email me with which remedy (ies ) you like.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from: http://wellnessmama.com/35837/natural-teeth-whitening/, Baking Soda Bonanza, Peter A. Ciullo, Organic Body Care Recipes, Stephanie Tourles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wonders of Coconut Oil

Have you discovered the wonders of coconut oil?  For years, we’ve been told  that coconut oil is bad for you, but the reality is coconut oil has just the right kinds of fats, the same medium-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk and essential to optimum health and disease prevention.  Coconut oil is in fact a miracle oil and one of the earliest oils  used as a food and as a pharmaceutical.  People who live in tropical climates with a coconut-based diet have fewer incidences of heart disease, cancer, digestive complaints and prostate problems.

Coconut oil adds protective and healthful qualities when eaten internally and used topically.  How much do you need?  Two to four tablespoons is recommended daily, obtained from cooking, as a supplement, or through the skin. Use coconut oil in all recipes calling for butter, shortening or vegetable oil.   It’s an ideal all-purpose cooking oil and has 100% less cholesterol than butter.   You can also get the benefits from coconut milk which comes in a can and is found in lots of Thai recipes, or from  drinking coconut water, hailed as Nature’s Sports drink.   More potassium than a banana, it helps with rehydration, replenishment and concentration. (I also hear it helps alleviate hangovers.)

 

coconut milk
Coconut oil is known to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.  It stimulates metabolism so that you burn more calories (we all love that) and may promote lower cholesterol.  Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain fatty acids.  Research has shown that these fatty acids may help prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases too numerous to list here. Recent studies are showing its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut oil applied to the skin and hair absorbs quickly and not only adds luster and shine, but helps with dandruff, blemishes and other skin ailments.  It’s the only moisturizer you need and a must try for winter’s dry, chapped skin!  It is also anti-microbial and a natural germ fighter.  Coconut oil is also used for oil pulling, an age-old remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums; it also whitens teeth.

I keep one jar of coconut oil in the kitchen for cooking and one jar in my bathroom for use as a moisturizer.   As with olive oil, make sure you buy extra virgin, expeller pressed. You can purchase coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut water from Whole Foods, Trader Joes or natural food stores.

As you can tell, coconut oil is an extremely diversified and amazing product. I highly recommend replacing some of the fats you eat now with coconut oil.

 

Information compiled from The Coconut Oil Miracle byBruce Fife, C.N., N.D.  This easy-to-read and informative book explains very succinctly the benefits of coconut oil and is worth the read.  It also includes lots of delicious sounding recipes using coconut oil.

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Healthier Holiday Baking

 

What’s the holiday season without cookies, cakes, candies and other unhealthy treats!  Baking holiday goodies is part of the tradition, and a perfect family activity. While I totally believe in a little splurging, there are healthy baking substitutes where no one will know the difference.  I’ll skip the tip about substituting black beans and dates in place of chocolate when making brownies!  (However, if it sounds appealing, email me and I’ll send you the recipe – my husband loves them!)

 

Supermoist banana and almond cake.

  • Use coconut oil in all recipes calling for butter, shortening or vegetable oil.   It’s an ideal all-purpose cooking oil and has 100% less cholesterol than butter.   It contains the same medium-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk essential to optimum health and disease prevention.
  • Olive oil is a good cooking oil too and makes a delicious, guilt-free dessert.
  • Substitute flours made from nuts and healthy whole grains, like almond meal walnut meal or quinoa, considered one of the world’s healthiest foods due to its high nutritive value, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Nuts are super high in Omega 3’s, the right fats your body and brain needs.
  • For recipes calling for peanut butter, try healthier almond butter instead.
  • For a more nutritious sweetener, use honey, agave, maple syrup, molasses or organic cane sugar instead of refined white sugar.
  • Use almond milk instead of cow’s milk.
  • When baking with chocolate, try chocolate with at least 60% cocoa powder– it’s healthier and rich in cancer-fighting anti-oxidants.  Organic is preferable too!  (Cocoa powder is chocolate pressed free of the fat of cocoa butter.)
  • Moisten cakes and cookies with applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed pumpkin for extra nutrition.  Add nuts, dates, and other dried fruits to your baked goods.
  • Nutrient-rich chia seeds are a good thickener and make a yummy pudding!

Feel a little better indulging this holiday season with some of these baking tips.  Email me your healthy ideas too!  Have fun!

 

Listed below are three simple recipes for healthier holiday treats.

 

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for greasing (don’t use extra virgin)

6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons best vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups almond meal (flour) or 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

1 cup superfine sugar (or organic can sugar)

eggs

1 X 9-inch springform cake pan

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the pan with a little oil and line the base with parchment paper.

Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolaty, just runny, paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal (or all-purpose flour) with the baking soda and pinch of salt.

Put the sugar, olive oil, and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes, until you have a pale-primrose, aerated, and thickened cream.

Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal (or all-purpose flour) mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm. Delicious with ice cream too!

 

Coconut Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups grated or shredded coconut, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups coconut oil, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt and set aside.  Blend coconut oil, eggs, sugar, and almond extract.  Mix wet and dry ingredients together.  Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Flatten balls to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until pale tan. Transfer to wire racks to cool.  Each cookie contains 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil.

 

Date Balls

Simple to make and just as satisfying as a usual holiday cookie, date balls are perfect to bring to a party.  They are a great energizing snack too!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups raw almonds
6  dates
1 – 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (add 1 tsp at a time until there is a light vanilla flavor)
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional to roll balls in after; sesame seeds are good too)

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor outfitted with an “S” blade, or a heavy-duty blender, process almonds until coarsely ground. Add the dates and extract and process until mixture sticks together. Form the mixture into tablespoon size balls and roll in coconut or sesame seeds.

From deliciouslivingnutrition.com.

For more green living tips, go to greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

 

A QUOTE ABOUT EATING

“To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals.”

Benjamin Franklin

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of overindulging on fattening, processed, nutrient-poor foods.  You can serve healthy, organic, delicious and satisfying holiday treats instead.  Here are a few recipes for foods that are actually good for you.

Spicy Carmelized Pecans

From Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet

Use this healthful and easy to prepare treat in a salad, as an hors d’oeuvres, for a snack, or a homemade holiday gift.

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • Water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon or more cayenne, to taste

1.  Place the pecans in a large skillet or saucepan with water to cover.  Bring the ingredients just to a simmer over high heat.  Drain the nuts immediately, and set them aside.

2.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and cayenne.  Then add the nuts.

3.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook the nuts, tossing them constantly with a spatula, until they are a caramel color.  Remove from the pan to a platter, and let them cool in a single layer.  Store the nuts in layers separated  by wax paper.


Swiss Chard, Hummus and Avocado Hors d’oeuvre

I sampled this creative and oh so healthy hors d’oeuvre at Whole Foods the other day, and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was.

Smear fresh swiss chard with hummus and add slices of ripe avocado.  Roll us and slice into bite-sized pieces. Simple!

 

Cranberry-Banana Bread

From The Wilson Farm Country Cookbook

Quick breads are just that, as well as nutritious, and make a perfect holiday gift or a delightful addition to a holiday brunch, luncheon or dinner.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup mashed banana (one)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped organic cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  •  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  •   ½ cup chopped nuts

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer.  Stir in the banana, cranberries, water and vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and stir them into the batter.  Add the chopped nuts.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 55 minutes.

Dark Chocolate

Fill your  Christmas stockings or your bon bon dish with dark chocolates – the health benefits  are becoming well known.  Click here to read more.

You can indulge this season with the right foods!  Enjoy!!!