Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sale Ends January 1st, 2013

For the remainder of 2012, Digestive Enzyme Evaluations are available at a significant discount!  While this is generally a $50 service, until the end of this year, they are only $35.  Getting a Digestive Enzyme Evaluation helps to determine which formula(s) of digestive enzymes would serve your unique digestive needs the best.

Gift Certificates are available for all services offered!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Drink Your Friendly Flora!

I am super excited to tell you all about my latest venture in finding yet another path to homeostasis!  

Recently I learned about a wonderful beverage called "Water Kefir."  This refreshing and effervescent beverage is loaded with probiotics aka 'friendly flora'.  Friendly Flora are beneficial bacteria that we need in our intestines to keep the harmful bacteria from getting out of control.  When the harmful bacterias get out of control, it can result in serious illness.  

The milk kefir, which can be found in most grocery stores, is very similar in the benefits it provides.  For vegans or those with an intolerance to lactose, water kefir is a much more desirable option.  Unlike milk kefir though, water kefir can't be purchased at the store.

If you want to enjoy the numerous benefits of water kefir, you will have to make it yourself.  Don't feel intimidated though.  Think of it as 'empowering' because you are taking your wellness into your own hands!  It's very simple and honestly, it's one of the most interesting things I've ever made.  Coming from me, that says a lot because I always have a jar or two of something strange looking brewing!  

It's good to start out with 3 tablespoons of what is called "kefir grains."  I suppose that term was coined because "3 tablespoons of little bacteria globs" sounds less desirable.  Here are the two sets of instructions that I read before I got started.  The first one holds excellent information but I mostly follow the instructions of the second source.
  1. Water Kefir
  2. How To Make Water Kefir
water kefir grains
If you have a healthy batch of 'grains,' they will multiply rapidly.  For example, I started with three tablespoons which were gifted to me by a dear friend.  Within five days I had nine tablespoons!  It's really amazing to watch and be part of the whole process...making it, drinking it, and sharing it.  I am giving away all my extra kefir grains to anyone who desires to make their own water kefir (I only ask that recipients pay the postage.)  If you would like a starter batch, 3 tablespoons, just email me!

Be well!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts of Health and Wellness - part 4

Lindt Gift CardsIf there is a chocoholic on your shopping list this holiday season, yet you don't want to contribute to the over consumption of unhealthy treats, you can still give him/her a bit of guilt-free indulgence.  According to recent studies, dark chocolate may lower blood-sugar, lower LDL (bad cholesterol), and raise HDL (good cholesterol.)  It also contains serotonin which acts as an antidepressant.  Chocolate, in moderation, can actually be good for you!  

All chocolate is not created equal though.  There are several chocolate manufacturing companies who's business practices are highly unethical.  Fortunately, there are companies that you can feel good about buying from.  My personal favorite is Lindt which, also owns Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.  Just click on the image above and you can get your chocoholic a gift card so he/she can choose from a variety of decadent confections!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gifts of Health and Wellness - part 3

Books can make great gifts.  My most favorite of my expansive collection are easy to spot on the shelf because their bindings are nearly unbound from being read so much.  Below are a few books that I believe anyone could benefit from having on his/her shelf.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gifts of Health and Wellness - part 2

While dedicated tea drinkers will enjoy their favorite beverage any time of year, I find a hot cup of tea especially enjoyable during the cold winter months.  If there is a tea enthusiast on your shopping list then you can count on Mountain Rose Herbs to provide a superior selection of teas and tea making supplies for you to choose from.  I have been buying my supplies from them for at least ten years and I have never been disappointed!  Just click on the banner below and enjoy your shopping experience!

Mountain Rose Herbs

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gifts of Health and Wellness - part 1

The gift-giving holiday season is upon us once again!  When I purchase a gift, I like to buy things that will be useful or enhance the quality of my loved one's life in some way.  This generally isn't expensive yet is always very appreciated.  

Throughout this holiday season I will be writing a series of posts called "Gifts of Health and Wellness," in which I share information about products, publications, and services that you can feel good about giving to your loved ones.

The first product which I fully endorse is "Dr. Christopher's Cayenne Heat Ointment."  This is a product which has a permanent home in my refrigerator.  I honestly don't remember the original reason I purchased this ointment.  It sat in my refrigerator completely untouched for many months.  Then I got one of those nasty colds where all your muscles ache.  The muscles in my back hurt so bad that I couldn't lay down to go to sleep.  My Herbalist brain went on auto-pilot and I went to the refrigerator and slathered myself in Dr. Christopher's Cayenne Heat Ointment.  It was amazing!  It brought me such instant and long-lasting relief that I slept like a baby.

Dr. Christopher's Cayenne Heat Ointment can generally be used in the same way as any over the counter ice/hot type ointment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Special - Gift Certificates Available

For the remainder of 2012, Digestive Enzyme Evaluations are available at a significant discount!  While this is generally a $50 service, until the end of this year, they are only $35.  Getting a Digestive Enzyme Evaluation helps to determine which formula(s) of digestive enzymes would serve your unique digestive needs the best.  For example, I take one multi-enzyme formula for my slow digestion and another which has extra herbs added to strengthen the respiratory system because I have asthma.  I hardly ever have gas or wheeze now thanks to these amazing digestive enzymes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Congratulations to the winner of a FREE Digestive Enzyme Evaluation!

The winner of a FREE Digestive Enzyme Evaluation is, Fred Johnston from Pennsylvania!  Fred will receive a very detailed survey in the mail within a few days.  When he returns the completed survey, I will analyze the data provided and determine which Digestive Enzyme formula(s) would be best for Fred's unique digestive needs!  

This is usually a $50 service but because Fred took advantage of this contest, his evaluation is free!  Congratulations, Fred!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Am My Own Science Experiment

I just had a really interesting experience in being sick and I am super excited to tell you about it!  

First, since adopting a holistic lifestyle about ten years ago, I have only been sick a few times.  Previously, I would be laid up in bed a couple times a year with some type of unpleasant illness.  Also, for as long as I can remember, any type of cold, flu, or virus that I've ever had has always turned into a respiratory infection which came with a cough that lingered for what seemed like an eternity.  It even evolved into Pneumonia twice!

Secondly, in July of this year I started incorporating plant-based digestive enzymes into my daily health maintenance routine.  Shortly after I started taking them I noticed, and people around me noticed, that I seemed to have more energy.  I actually felt lighter in my body.  

Then, about a month ago, I decided to switch up the enzyme formula I was taking.  There are lots of different formulas because everyone's dietary needs are different.  As Dr. Loomis says, "people can not be standardized."  Instead of taking just the more basic formula, I started taking the enzyme formulation that is specifically designed for people with respiratory issues.

Charity Jane (Great-Niece) Jane Hash, CNHP (Great-Aunt)
Shortly after starting the new enzyme formula, I was exposed to a baby with a runny nose.  She really did not act like a sick baby so I just chalked up the runny nose to the fact that she is teething.  I just couldn't resist the cuteness of my great-niece, even with a runny nose, and spent the afternoon playing, squeezing, and kissing the sweet little germ spreader.

About 24-hours later, I felt like someone punched me in the face.  My eyes were swollen, tearing, and red.  I was sneezing like mad and could do nothing but nap.  I think I went through two whole boxes of tissue.  This lasted about four days.  During this time I maintained my daily health maintenance routine plus my 'sick routine' which involves eating raw garlic and diffusing lots of Eucalyptus Essential Oil.  

As each day passed, I waited for the sickness to creep into my lungs like it always has...but it never did.  This is the first time ever in my life that a cold did not turn into a respiratory infection of some type and the only thing I'm doing different is taking digestive enzymes.  It's now day-5.  Aside of the dry and peeling nose from all the wiping and blowing, I am completely healthy again.  The sickness never found its way into my lungs.  I am at a loss for words in trying to express what a huge personal breakthrough this is.  

As I mentioned on another page within this website, I have a condition known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta aka O.I.  Those with this diagnosis are prone to respiratory issues, like I mentioned experiencing earlier in this post.  The leading cause of death among those with O.I. is respiratory failure.  If I have discovered a way to prevent getting lung infections, I just may have added a few more fun filled years to my life!

Monday, October 1, 2012


October is my most favorite month of the year!  I love all the warm colors of the foliage, the cool crispness in the air, and the crunch of the leaves under the wheels of my chair.  Another reason I love October is, my birthday is this month!  A lot of people are shy or uncomfortable about their age but not me!  Doctors predicted I would only live three days.  That was 38 years ago.  Guess they were mistaken!  I'm so happy to be alive, healthy, and full of vitality that I'm going to celebrate by giving away a gift that may improve someone else's life, health, and vitality!  

I'm giving away one FREE Digestive Enzyme Evaluation which, is regularly priced at $50!  By filling out a very detailed survey, you will be providing me with information to make an educated recommendation regarding an appropriate Digestive Enzyme formula or combination of formulas for your unique digestive needs.  To enter this contest, send me an email at and tell me why you'd like to have a Digestive Enzyme Evaluation.  The winner will be announced on here and by email, Tuesday, October 30th, 2012.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Very Herbal Weekend

I have had a very busy yet rewarding weekend of tending to my homemade, organic, herbal formulations!  Being healthy does not mean you have to make everything yourself.    I tend to purchase formulas that are exceptionally messy to make like, ointments.  I truly enjoy making most of my home remedies myself though!  Some of my recent formulations included a nutritional supplement, herb infused oil, and three tinctures which will be components used in yet other formulations!

For my nutritional supplements I decided to use equal parts of alfalfa, kelp, and rose hips.  It wasn't hard at all to decide which herbs to use in this formula that I put into capsules.  If I were to purchase pre-made vitamins, I would buy VITALERBS from the Dr. Christopher product line because I truly believe they are the best herbal multivitamin that you can buy.  The first three ingredients in these vitamins are alfalfa, kelp, and rose hips!  This tells me that Dr. Christopher felt very strongly about the nutritive value of these three herbs.  In doing my own research, I completely understand their value and decided to use them in my formula too.  They really give me a serious energy boost!

The herb infused oil I started is grapeseed oil and comfrey leaf.  When I say that I "started" it, I mean that I put the herb and oil in a glass jar.  A few times a week I'll make sure the jar gets a good shaking!  In six weeks I'll strain the plant matter from the oil and do lots of wonderful things with my lovely, hand-crafted comfrey oil.  I can't wait to use it in my skin smoothing bath scrub!

I also started one tincture and strained two others.  The tincture I started is made of comfrey and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Some of this will be used in a cough syrup I'll be making.  I am aware that the FDA does not approve of comfrey being used internally.  However, I have consumed comfrey for years and believe it has improved my health greatly.  This will also get a good shaking a few times a week until I declare it 'ready' in six weeks.  One of the tinctures I strained provided me with an excellent learning opportunity.  Never, ever again, will I use "POWDERED" white oak bark to make a tincture.  Instead I will only use cut white oak bark for this purpose.  Straining the powdered white oak bark tincture, made with grain alcohol, was like straining mud.  It took a ridiculously long time and looked rather gross.  The other tincture I strained was wild cherry bark in grain alcohol.  This will go into the previously mentioned cough syrup with the comfrey tincture.

I hope you enjoy and learn from my experiments in my laboratory a.k.a. kitchen.  I'll be sure to let you all know how the cough syrup turns out.  If you are interested in making your own tinctures, infused oils, and capsules then I suggest getting a good herbal 'how to' guide.  The one I use is "The School of Natural Healing" by Dr. Christopher.  It is full of amazing formulas that have improved my quality of life.  

Also, once you decide which formulas you're going to make, you'll need some supplies.  All the organic herbs, capsules, and capsule making tools discussed in this post were purchased fromMountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c.

Enjoy and be well!

Jane Hash, CNHP

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Relationship With Food

This evening I visited one of my favorite websites, Natural Health News.  In flipping through their many informative videos, I came upon one entitled "The Wisdom of Raw Foods."  One prospective discussed in this video, is that many of us are more careful about the fuel we put in our cars than the fuel we put in our bodies.  Weather you are an omnivore, vegan, or vegetarian there is a lot of information in this  video that you may find helpful and interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Free Herbs All Year - Home Grown

A happy, healthy herb garden can easily produce more than you can use during the growing season.  Luckily, there are lots of different ways to preserve your home-grown herbs so that you can enjoy their culinary and medicinal benefits all year long!

When using the methods in this first video, I like to use a vacuum sealer instead of regular plastic baggies.  I think it preserves the freshness better.
This next video illustrates the drying method which I have used for years.  The only thing I do different is I hang my upside-down bundles of herbs inside a paper lunch-sized bag to keep dust and cat fur off of my herbs.
Experimenting with different methods of preserving your fresh, home-grown herbs is half the fun of growing them!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Aromatherapy and Asthma

My first step down the holistic path, over ten years ago, was learning basic Aromatherapy.    In conjunction with dietary and environmental modifications, Aromatherapy facilitated me in weening myself off of asthma medication which I had been on for half my life.  

Before delving into the fragrant world of Aromatherapy though, it is important to educate yourself.  My very first Aromatherapy book was, "500 FORMULAS for AROMATHERAPY."  To this day, I reference it often.

Friday, September 14, 2012

To Save Money, I Make My Own Dietary Supplements

Here is an excellent instructional video which shows the tools needed to make your own herbal capsules/dietary supplements and how to do it!  All needed supplies and herbs can easily be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Holistic and $15 Off for Four More Days! Get Your Discount Today!

Treat yourself or a loved one to a Virtual Holistic Vitality class!  All you need is a half-hour, and a computer with internet and speakers/mic.  This may very well be the most easy class to take advantage of in which, you get one-on-one attention from a Teacher who is a Certified Natural Health Professional as well as an Herbalist.  The best part of the class is the subject - YOU!  That's right!  All topics related to your health and overall well-being are open for discussion without judgement.  Also, out of respect for my students, I  have a very strict Student/Teacher Confidentiality Policy.  Since these classes only run 30 minutes long, here are a couple tips to help you get the most valuable information out of your class!

  • When scheduling your class, tell me what topics you are most interested in learning about. Here are some examples; weight loss, improving the quality of your sleep, and stress reduction.  This will insure that I will be prepared with nutritional information, meditation tips, or simply a few book recommendations.
  • Be sure you have a quiet space for your 30 minute class so that no one interrupts by knocking on your door or calling you on the phone. These 30 minutes are all about you!
For a limited time, you may schedule your Virtual Holistic Vitality class for only $35!! You may only schedule one class during this introductory offer.   Starting on Wednesday, September 19th, Virtual Holistic Vitality classes will go up to their regular price of $50. Contact me today to schedule your first Virtual Holistic Vitality class!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Which Multivitamin Should I Take?

"Which Multivitamin Should I Take?"  This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked as a Holistic Vitality Educator.  The formula which I recommend most often is Dr. Christopher's formula, 'Vitalerbs.'  The two main reasons I prefer this formula are:
  • The Dr. Christopher line of products have a long history of keeping generations of families healthy.
  • This formula is made from life-giving herbs grown with a great deal of care in nutrient dense soil, rather from chemical compounds formulated in a laboratory like many conventional multivitamins.

Manifesting Your Own Reality

It is my belief that most people truly want to be happy.  Yet, many are dissatisfied with his or her current lot in life.  This state of unhappiness could potentially lead to illness.  Therefor, it is important to recognize destructive behaviors and replace them with healthy and proactive ones before a serious health crisis occurs.

To facilitate in introducing the concept of 'Manifesting Your Own Reality,' I recently had an article published which is entitled "Making Your Wishes Come True."  The practices which I describe in this piece have served me very well in my own life.   As always, it is my hope that you find the information that I provide to be helpful.

Jane Hash, CNHP

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Introductory Offer on Virtual Holistic Vitality classes!!

This is likely the most convenient class for a busy person who wants to learn about making healthy lifestyle choices.  You won't even have to get up from your desk.  It's also the easiest class to fit into a tight budget.  Regardless of where you are located, video-chat can bring us together for a one-on-one, face-to-face Holistic Vitality Class!  All you need is a computer with a mic/speakers  and high-speed internet.  (Accommodations will be made for those with visual and/or hearing impairments.)

These classes only run 30 minutes long so here are a couple tips to help you get the most valuable information out of your class!

  • When scheduling your class, tell me what topics you are most interested in learning about.  Here are some examples; weight loss, improving the quality of your sleep, and stress reduction.
  • Be sure you have a quiet space for your 30 minute class so that no one interrupts by knocking on your door or calling you on the phone.  These 30 minutes are all about you!
For a limited time, you may schedule your Virtual Holistic Vitality class for only $35!!  You may only schedule one class during this introductory offer.  Starting on Wednesday, September 19th, Virtual Holistic Vitality classes will go up to their regular price of $50.  This gives you one whole week to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to do something kind for yourself.  You deserve it!  Contact me today to schedule your first Virtual Holistic Vitality class!
Jane Hash, CNHP
Holistic Vitality Educator

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm a LUSH Girl (Mostly Vegan Body Care) - part two

A few posts ago I gushed about LUSH, a company that makes personal hygiene products out of fresh fruits and vegetables.  They have been part of my daily bathing/beauty routine for at least five years now.  Just when I thought our relationship was perfect and couldn't get any better, LUSH gave me another reason to love them more!

You see, in the previous post I mentioned that I was promoting LUSH products completely commission-free.  At that time it was absolutely true.  After I published the post though I started thinking about all the people who I have converted from conventional products to LUSH products.  At the risk of bragging, I'm quite the effective LUSH pusher.  This product line really sells itself because of its superior quality and the care that goes into making the products.  Sometimes people just need a little convincing to give it that first try though because our society generally deems it strange to wash ourselves with fruits and vegetables.  Every time I have convinced a friend to give LUSH a try though, they became a repeat customer.

So, I decided to look for employment opportunities within the company.  They are a rapidly growing business which provides a lot of opportunity.  Due to geography and physical demands, the best way for me to join the LUSH team at this time is to be an affiliate...hence the random LUSH ads on my blog.  By being an affiliate, I'll get a commission when you make your LUSH purchases by going through the ads on my blog here.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on LUSH's job posting page as well so I don't miss an opportunity to be a greater part of the LUSH team!

Monday, September 10, 2012

'Jane Approved' Natural Living Products

Recently I signed up for an AdSense Account through Google, in hopes of generating a little cash from my blog.  That lasted about 24 hours because all the ads they wanted to put on my blog were contradictory to my blog's content.  I am a Holistic Vitality Educator and I will not have Domino's Pizza ads on my blog!  I may not be rich but I do have my integrity.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson.  I should only promote companies I trust and products that I actually use.  So, now I am in the process of becoming an affiliate of those companies whose products actually enhance the quality of my life.  Don't worry that my blog will become overrun with ads because there are few companies who live up to my standards.

The first ad you'll notice here is from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I have been a very satisfied customer of their for nearly 10 years.  Every time you follow their links here on my blog and purchase one of their fine products, I will get a commission for telling you how amazing they are!  WIN WIN!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Introduction to Lavender

Recently, I had an article published about the medicinal properties and uses of Lavender on a very informative website called, "Helium."  This site publishes a broad spectrum of articles written by a diverse collection of writers.  

Since Lavender is by far one of my favorite herbs which I use daily, this will not be the only occasion that I write an article about it.  However, this piece is a great first step for those who are just getting acquainted with this aromatic gift from Nature!  As always, it is my hope that you find this article interesting and informative!

"Medicinal Properties and Uses of Lavender" by Jane Hash, CNHP

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I'm A LUSH Girl! (Mostly Vegan Body Care)

My whole life I have struggled with very sensitive skin.  Nearly every soap or shampoo I've ever used has caused me a rash, dry patches, or painful burn looking marks.  I have had similar experiences with lotions and facial moisturizers.  Make-up is the absolute worst though.  I actually had to go to the E.R. once because of a reaction to lip gloss!  It looked like my lips were trying to swallow my face because they were so swollen!

All this changed a few years ago when I was introduced to a company called, LUSH.  I do not work for this company or own stock in it (but I would.)  Nobody is paying me to share this information with you.  I am just so grateful that this company exists that I want to tell everyone I know, especially those who have had similar experiences with sensitive skin.

It can be really depressing not being able to use fragrant lotions, sweet smelling shampoos, or something as simple as lip gloss.  It is also stressful and scary buying such personal hygiene items knowing that there is a good chance that it will harm you in some way.  Discovering LUSH products was truly a gift which I'm happy to share.  Over the past few years I have successfully used their shampoos, conditioners, lotions, make-up, soaps etc and my skin loved every moment!  

If you deal with similar issues due to your delicate skin and the harshness of most commercial personal hygiene items, I highly recommend giving LUSH a try.  Here is a video which explains even more reasons to love LUSH!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sex Positive Parenting May Reduce STD's in Teens & Young Adults

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2011 over 8,000 Americans under the age of 24 years old were diagnosed as HIV positive.  Many of these young people admitted to not using protection during intercourse.  This is without debate, a health care problem.  

There is always hope for a solution though and part of the solution may lie in the hands of those who are parents of teenagers.  Children need a trusted source of information to make educated decisions.  The objective of this post is not to blame parents but rather to offer assistance in dealing with these delicate matters.  

As a health professional who is childless by choice, I'm going hand off this topic of 'Sex Positive Parenting' to my colleague and friend who is the mother of two wonderful teenagers...Melissa Lopez, Sexual Health Educator.  She regularly posts these very helpful vlogs for the Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure.  Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube Channel so you will be notified of updates!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

EBT Health and Beauty Tip #3 - Home Sweet Home

The first two EBT Health and Beauty Tips that I posted were primarily about natural alternatives to beauty products that we apply to our bodies, externally and internally.  While this is valuable information it is important to be equally as thoughtful about the products we use to keep our homes clean and aromatically pleasing.  I like my home to be a clean, sweet smelling, recharging station for my soul.  This is why you won't find any conventional household cleaners in my cupboards.  Most of them are full of toxic chemicals and artificial scents.  Using my EBT card, I have purchased these few simple items that keep my home clean and fragrant all year long; white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, oranges, and Cinnamon sticks.

First, the formula that gets used the most in my house is what I call "Everything Cleaner." In case the name isn't clear enough, just about everything gets cleaned with this, counters, floors, cat puke marks etc.  All I do is take a spray bottle (what ever size is available) and fill it half way with white vinegar and the other half with water.  When it's in my budget to be particular about fragrance, I'll add a few drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil or a splash of lemon juice.  This multi-purpose cleaner only costs me pennies per bottle and will not cause any potential hazards to me or my cat.

Secondly, the 'dynamic duo' that I often rely on when my kitchen and bathroom drains get sluggish or if I get fresh blueberry stains on my new shirt is baking soda and white vinegar.  They are like magic together!  When I notice the water in my sinks is not draining as fast as it should, the remedy that has yet to fail me is about 1 heaping TBSP of baking soda, followed by a slash of white vinegar.  It foams up quite a bit and then fizzles out.  I splash vinegar on it two or three times, always waiting for the foaming to stop before the next splash.  Then it sits for at least an hour before it all gets rinsed down with very hot water.  Since I've implemented this procedure into my home-maintenance routine, I have never had to buy any conventional drain cleaning products. This 'dynamic duo' has helped me through more than just clogged pipes though.  While enjoying my before bed cartoons and munching on some tasty blueberries one evening, I somehow missed my big mouth and got blueberry stains on my brand new top!  Immediately I took it off, covered the affected area with baking soda, soaked it in white vinegar and left it in the sink over-night.  The next morning it went in a load of laundry (washed in cold water) and came out looking new again.  No stains!  I love this 'dynamic duo!'

Also, I notice that aromas can affect the way I feel.  Weather permitting, just opening the windows to allow fresh air in the house can often be enough to boost my mood.  Living in Ohio though, this is not always a possibility.  On dreary winter days when that fresh air scent has long gone, I can always rely on an orange peel and a few Cinnamon  sticks to add that needed zing to the air!  I start with a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water.  Then I add the peel of an orange or two and three or four sticks of Cinnamon. I let it simmer on the stove without a lid until about half the water is gone.  By that time my house smells delicious!  I will often set the timer in 30 minute increments, just to remind me that something is cooking in case I get engrossed in a project in another area of the house.  If the orange peel is from an organic orange and the water is distilled, I have been known to drink a cup of the leftover orange-Cinnamon water as well.

I really hope you have enjoyed this series of "EBT Health and Beauty Tip" postings.  Everyone has the right to be healthy and feel beautiful, regardless of socioeconomic status.  I don't consider having an EBT card a status symbol, something to be ashamed of, or something to depend on for a lifetime.  However, I have gotten where I am today because I take it upon myself to learn what my resources are and how to use my resources wisely!  Be well!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EBT Health and Beauty Tip #2 - Apple Cider Vinegar

You may not find this post as sensual as the last but it is full of guidance that you will be grateful for if you find yourself in a creepy crawly situation, with no cash in your pocket yet a few dollars on your EBT card.  I'm talking about head-lice.  I know this is not a pleasant subject but life isn't always pleasant.  

A topic such as this I feel is best explained by sharing a personal story...  

I believe that children are amazing gifts who deserve all the love and support the Universe has to offer...and they should belong to other people.  I prefer to have a cat instead.  Although, I fully embrace my title of "Aunt Jane" and I have several nephews and nieces who I love dearly.

Many years ago, one of my beloved little germ-spreaders came to have a sleep-over at my house.  We had lots of fun activities planned but didn't quite get to all of them because, shortly after her arrival I realized the poor child was infested with head-lice.  Off to the pharmacy we went!  

First, I was in shock at how expensive the lice removal treatments were that the Pharmacist was suggesting.  At that time I could not afford a $15 to $20 bottles of shampoo, plus the comb and special laundry treatment.  It all would have added up to about $50!!  I knew children were more expensive than cats but this was ridiculous!

Then I started reading the ingredients in the lice treatment shampoos and that is when I got angry.  They are full of potentially harmful pesticides.  One of the active ingredients in the most popular brand, RID, is Piperonyl butoxide.  Alone, it is considered to be "low toxicity" but when combined with Pyrethrum it becomes increasingly more toxic.  Guess what the other active ingredients is?  If you said "Pyrethrum," you were correct!  I did not know what I was going to do but there was no way I was going to put poison on a child who I love.

I took my bug-ridden, beautiful, bundle of joy home with me and I did some research online.  That is when I learned how amazing ACV is!  It does not necessarily kill the lice but it damages the shell of the egg so that it can't hatch.  Plus, it is completely free of poison!  So, I went back to the pharmacy and bought a nit remover comb.  Then I went to the grocery store and bought enough ACV to de-bug my little love-bug and to wash all my linens, plus the toys she brought with her.  The grand total was under $20 and I could pay for it with my EBT card.  

lice comb
We went back home and combed all the lice out of her hair with the nit comb.  Then poured straight ACV on her hair, blew it dry, did laundry, and ate popcorn (popcorn is a big deal at "Aunt Jane sleep-overs" because sugary treats are forbidden.)  No more lice, my house did not get infested, and my precious niece did not get poisoned.  

Although this was several years ago, I would estimate that in rinsing her long hair, we used about a half gallon of ACV.  In doing the laundry, I used about 4 cups of ACV per full load.

Since that time, I have learned dozens more seemingly miraculous things that Apple Cider Vinegar can do.  You will notice, like most things though, organic ACV is more expensive than conventional.  Since price is often the deciding factor in our purchases, I have a general rule that I follow.  If I'm buying ACV to use externally, I buy conventional.  If I'm buying it to use internally, I buy organic.  Both can be purchased using your EBT card.

To learn more about Apple Cider Vinegar, I suggest reading "Apple Cider Vinegar - Miracle Health System" by Paul C. Bragg.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

EBT Health and Beauty Tip #1 - Grapeseed Oil

The single most versatile item that I have ever purchased with my EBT card is definitely Grapeseed Oil.  This stuff is amazing!  It can be used in the kitchen, the bathroom, and even the bedroom.  My brand of choice is Spectrum Organics which I purchase at my local health food store.

While there are plenty of different culinary oils available at just about every grocery store, not all of them are for cooking.  Many of them lose nutritional value or become carcinogenic in the cooking process so, they are best used as condiments and added to already cooked or raw foods.  Grapeseed Oil is unique though.  It can withstand a much higher heat without losing any of its many healthful benefits which include being high in essential fatty acids.  Plus, it has a very light flavor that does not mask or alter the flavor of what you are cooking.  I like to use Grapeseed Oil in making stir-fry dishes because it really helps maintain the full flavor of the fresh and yummy vegetables! 

Grapeseed Oil has found a home in my bathroom as well.  It is an excellent beauty treatment for skin and hair because it is loaded with anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and antimicrobial properties!  Ohio winters can be painfully harsh on the skin.  Fortunately, a soothing Grapeseed Oil-Sea Salt Scrub always makes my dry winter skin feel better.  There are only two ingredients in this formula which can both be purchased with an EBT card.  First, I mix the two ingredients together.  Next, I get in the bathtub and moisten my skin.  Then, I rub the mixture into my skin in a circular motion from my hair line on my head to the tip of my toes.  Lastly, I take a long, soaking bath and just marinate in the scrub before rinsing it all off.  The silky smooth results are priceless!  I store any leftover Grapeseed Oil-Sea Salt Scrub in an airtight container and use it later in the week.  Here is the formula for the luxurious Grapeseed Oil-Sea Salt Scrub:

In addition to keeping my skin happy and healthy, Grapeseed Oil also helps me control my wild and curly locks that are prone to getting dry and frizzy.  I only learned this trick recently and can't wait to share because it is ridiculously easy!  First, I warm up the Grapeseed Oil (I do not use the microwave because it destroys the enzymes and nutrients.)  Next, I massage it into my entire scalp and make sure every strand of hair is coated.  Then, I put on a plastic shower cap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  This is a good time to have a cup of tea and a piece of organic free-trade chocolate.  Lastly, I wash and dry my beautifully soft and manageable hair!  Sometimes two washings are in order depending on how thirsty for Grapeseed Oil my hair happens to be that day.  Here is the super simple formula for my Grapeseed Oil Hair Conditioning Treatment!

  • a stainless steel pot
  • 4 to 6 TBSP Grapeseed Oil, depending on hair length
  • a spoon for applying to hair
After a healthy dinner and a spa quality beauty treatment, I'm ready for anything but sleep.  When I'm feeling healthy and beautiful, I'm generally up for some consensual adult activities!  Survey upon survey confirms that sufficient lubrication makes sexual activities more fun, regardless of your gender or sexual-orientation.  Most personal lubricants available for purchase though are full of things that could be hazardous to your health like, propylene glycol or parabens.  Fortunately, Grapeseed Oil can do anything a regular lube can do and it does it better!  I keep my bedroom Grapeseed Oil in a separate bottle from my kitchen and bathroom bottles for sanitary purposes.  Who would have guessed that a superior quality personal lubricant could be purchased with an EBT card?

There you go Folks.  These are just a few ways that Grapeseed Oil has improved the quality of my life.  It only costs a few dollars so, even when there are economic hardships, it is still posible to be healthy and beautiful!

Monday, July 30, 2012

EBT Health and Beauty Tips

While many of us are experiencing serious economic hardships, it is important to stay positive and not allow our economic status prevent us from being healthy and feeling beautiful.  

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 46.5 million Americans receive Food Stamps.  Recipients redeem these benefits with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.  This is indeed a concerning state of affairs but don't sacrifice your wellbeing.  Instead, learn to make the most out of resources available to you.

In my next several blog entries I will share with you my own personal tips, tricks, and formulas on maintaining beautiful skin, soft hair, and a clean house using items that you can purchase with your EBT card.  These items are not only going to be less expensive than their manufactured, brand name alternatives but they will be safer for you and your family because they won't be full of toxic chemicals!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The title of this entry says it all but since I am an educator, I suppose it is my responsibility to expound a bit.  "Homeostasis" is the state of optimal health and wellbeing.  If you were to make a list of all the traits and qualities that you find attractive in someone who you would consider going on a date with, I bet your list would look absolutely nothing like this:

  • poor posture
  • out of shape
  • over weight
  • low energy
  • negative attitude
  • rugged/patchy skin
  • dry/oily/thinning hair
  • strong body oder
The list of traits and qualities above are all symptoms of poor health.  It's nearly imposible to look good when you don't feel good.  Unfortunately, many of us get so used to not feeling good that we begin to recognize it as 'normal.'  I was 'normal' once and it was awful!  Then I learned that I deserved better.  You deserve better.  We all deserve the right to be healthy and to make choices that are healthy for our unique bodies and lives.  If the list above describes you then I suggest you stop being 'normal' immediately!   Instead, seek the guidance of a trusted healthcare professional or go to the library and do some research on how to make healthy lifestyle choices.  Remember, HOMEOSTASIS IS SEXY!