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!