Some of my favorite simple ingredients and recipes for a (virtually) waste-free, cheap, and all-natural Toil-Free Kit.
1. Inner Detox Drink: Apple Cider Vinegar. Where to begin? My love affair with apple cider vinegar has been taken to the extreme at times. My taste buds tend towards the sour side of things, so in the past, I have probably overdosed on drinking this zippy elixir. However, it is an incredibly powerful yet gentle, all purpose yet site specific tonic for overall healthy and beauty. My mom gave me this old, folk remedy book on the wonders of apple cider vinegar, and it claims that if there was a fountain of youth, it would be flowing with this sour wine (the word ‘vinegar” is a derivative of “sour wine”). Just as it cleans your insides, it’s also an incredibly effective all-purpose cleaner for tiles, windows, mirrors, etc.
The power of apple cider vinegar (ACV) is in its perfect pH that quite magically accommodates both the needs of our inner and outer organs- namely our skin and our stomach and intestines (How does it do this!? The scientist in me wants to dissect, but I’d rather just marvel in its dizzyingly complex, soothingly simple perfection). In the body, ACV has an alkalizing effect, breaking down the build-up of toxins, kidney stones, and other inner-crud. It’s alkalinity aligns with our inner good gut-flora and rights the wrongs of the overly acidic (typically) Western diet (think red meat, cheese, processed foods, and stress- these all have acidic effects in the body). At the same time, ACV helps maintain the crucial “acid mantle” that covers the skin of a healthy body. Comprised of a delicate balance of sebum oil and perspiration, the acid mantle is the skin’s natural defense against dehydration, wind, sun, bad bacteria, attitudes, and fungi. Many popular soaps are alkalizing in nature, stripping away the acid mantle like turpentine on an oil canvas. This is bad! With no acid mantle of healthy protection, acne, rashes, and pimples run loose. So you scrub and scrub more with alkalizing soap products, only to be met by the same defeat. Stop the madness! Return to balance. Stop, drop, and ACV.
A strict (yet easy) regimen of drinking 1-4 tbsp of ACV throughout the day- with lots of water and fresh vegetables- is key to cleansing your skin. In order to dispel those pesky microbes that feed on your perfume-stank, simply mix a tbsp. with water (and juice or honey if you like sweet) and sip throughout the day. Drink hot or cold. Dilute it with water 1:4 and splash it on your face, your pits – get right to the source! Rinse it in your hair for a squeaky clean finish (it really will make your hair squeak!). For imbibing, I like Bragg’s raw, organic, unfiltered with the “mother” ; for body-washing, opt for the cheaper generic versions (but if you can afford it, stick with Bragg’s for everything!)
2. General Face Exfoliant/Cleaner/Moisturizer: Coffee grounds, honey, and coconut oil (1:½:2) – exfoliant scrub, anti-bacterial, moisturizing, and UV protection. I do this moisturizing scrub in the morning, in the shower, or before bed.
3. General Astringent/Freshener: Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil (1 c : 5 drops) – Perky face splash after Coffee-Honey-Coco scrub, after a work-out, feeling tired, end of day – it cools, refreshes, and cleanses. If I have time, I’ll boil lemon rind in water for an hour or 2, strain out the peels, and then add this to the mix in a 1:1 with the Witch Hazel.
4. Pimple Killer : Tea Tree Oil – place 1 drop on the crime scene and let it absorb overnight. This will dry out the infection and keep the bacteria at bay
5. Instant Stress Relief: Lavender Essential Oil (outer) and Chamomile Tea (inner) – for easy airplane flights and pre-date jitters, go for a drop of lavender oil on your palms and behind your ears and relax with a cup of Chamomile Tea. I find that adding local honey to my tea quells my anxieties even more.
6. Tooth-paste: 1 c coconut oil, 1 tbsp baking soda, pinch of good sea salt, 3-6 drops peppermint/spearmint/lemon essential oil. I love this stuff and since I’ve been using it, my teeth feel stronger than ever. I also highly recommend flossing regularly and brushing your tongue. Don’t spit this toothpaste down the drain though. For a gum-healthy punch, massage your gums with sesame oil once-a-day.
7. Shampoo: Dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 1 c of water. Work into wet hair like you would lather in shampoo. Then rinse with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I like ylang ylang and grapefruit; my mom prefers rosewood. Everyone is different- find the scent that most harmoniously merries with your microbes, pheromones, and all that other good stuff! You know the balance you need, it just takes time and practice to find it.
There are so many healthy, easy, cheap options out there for maintaining your inner glow. It’s fun to find the ones that work for you.
For all of these DIY recipes and their functions listed, remember that the list of benefits and effects in/on the body is no where near complete- nor can it ever be!
Be happy, be healthy, be beautiful- be you!
A wise person ought to realize that health is one’s most valuable possession. – Hippocrates
Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Remedies
To order high-quality, ecologically-grown essential oils and herbs- Rose Mountain Herbs
About the Writer
My name is Eileen. I work for Urban Green Lab as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Communications & Community Engagement. Urban Green Lab is Nashville’s only nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our city through sustainability. We fill a gap by offering programs that inspire people of all ages to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives through workshops and school programming . If you are interested in any of our programming and/or getting more involved, check out our website, Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Now go play outside!