Health

Apple Cider Vinegar: Is It Really a Magic Cure-All?

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Health | 36 comments

Apple Cider Vinegar: Is It Really a Magic Cure-All?

I first learned about Apple Cider Vinegar from my readers when I posted Salad Dressing Doesn’t Require Chemicals. The salad dressing recipes included used plain white vinegar but several commenters suggested using apple cider vinegar instead, claiming it was a superior product. Apple cider vinegar’s greatest claim to fame is its alleged health benefit. However, as with many natural health products, there have been few in-depth scientific studies done to support that. Any claims made are mostly based on folk medicine. That doesn’t mean they don’t work – many old-time remedies are very effective, something world health organizations are starting to acknowledge. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As always – if you have chronic health problems or are taking any kind of medication, do not take ACV without checking with your doctor first. Apple cider vinegar is not a cure-all but rather, when used right, an effective way to maintain the body’s pH balance in order to prevent disease. Unless advised to do so by a medical or homeopathic doctor, apple cider vinegar should not be used to treat disease. Do not overuse. Start slow with ½ to 1 tsp. per day and slowly work up to no more than 2 Tbsp. a day (although I personally think for long-term use 1 Tbsp. (3 tsp.) a day should be the maximum, but that’s just me – I tend to err on the side of caution). Always dilute apple cider vinegar. Drinking it straight can lead to loss of tooth enamel and burn the mouth, throat and esophagus. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits: Leg cramps. I can personally vouch that this works. I add 1/2 tsp. to my cup of honey-lemon tea twice a day, once just before bed. May help balance blood sugar levels. High blood pressure – has been shown to lower blood pressure. May lower cholesterol which in turn reduces risk of heart disease. There is some evidence that apple cider vinegar may slow the growth of cancer cells. More studies are needed. Weight Loss. Believed to suppress appetite if taken before a meal. Sore Throat. Gargle with a diluted solution. Try a warm drink made with 1 cup warm water, 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, add honey to taste. Upset Stomach. Make a mint tea and add 1/2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar to settle the stomach. Honey may be added. Can get rid of that bloated feeling. A honey-lemon-apple cider vinegar tea works well to clear congestion and get rid of phlegm. Helps rid the body of toxins. Apple Cider Vinegar Precautions: All natural products used to promote good health should be taken with the same care as prescription medicines. Apple cider vinegar is no different. This is not a product where ‘if a little works, more will work better’. It won’t and excessive intake can create serious health problems.   For anyone taking diabetic medicine or insulin, apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels too much, leading to hypoglycemia or even insulin shock. Patients taking diuretics may be monitored for low potassium. Apple cider vinegar can lower potassium even more. DON’T USE it straight as a tooth-whitener or a mouthwash. This practice can do serious damage to tooth enamel and mouth tissue. Apple cider vinegar can help balance your body’s pH level which should be around 7.45. Overuse can disrupt this balance and actually create health problems. It’s easy to check pH levels with an inexpensive litmus test, available at Pharmacies. What kind of Apple Cider Vinegar should you use? When using apple cider vinegar to promote good health and prevent disease it just makes sense...

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Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 in A frugal Life, Health, Smart Shopper | 36 comments

Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart

Do you know how many celery stalks you need for 1 cup chopped celery? Or how many cups of lettuce in 1 head of Romaine? This vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart provides the answers. By all accounts we will be paying more for all fruits and vegetables this year. With the Canadian dollar trading at $0.74 compared to the US dollar and with much of our produce imported from south of the border Canadians especially will be caught by the price increase. Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to find the best buy but how can you do that when you can’t compare sizes? Fresh produce is sold by the pound or kilogram; frozen produce is sold by the ounce or gram while canned goods are sold by ounce or millilitre. Trying to figure out the best deal using those measurements is a bit of a nightmare. The vegetable measure – cup equivalent chart takes the guesswork out of comparing. Once you know the size equivalent in cups it becomes much easier to compare prices and find the best buy. Example, I gathered prices for fresh, canned and frozen beans and easily worked out the best price using cup equivalency: 1 lb fresh green beans @ $3.49/lb = 3 cups or $1.17/cup;  15 1/2 oz. can of green beans @ $1.79 = 2 cups or $0.90/cup and 750g frozen green beans @ $2.97 = 5 cups or $0.60/cup. Easy to calculate and see that in this case, the frozen green beans is the best buy. There is one other advantage to knowing the cup equivalents: Since recipes usually call for cup measurements of vegetables, knowing the cup equivalent let’s you know exactly how much you need, thereby eliminating waste and saving you money. Because there is such a variance in the size of vegetables the cup equivalent is not exact but is close enough to provide a base for comparison.  The vegetable cup equivalent shown is for trimmed and chopped vegetables unless otherwise noted.     Vegetable Measure – Cup Equivalent Chart ASPARAGUS 1 lb/450g: 12-15 large/16-20 small spears 14-16 oz/398-455ml: 12-18 spears 10 oz/280g 16 oz/450g FRESH CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 3 Cups 2 Cups 1¼ Cup 2 Cups BEANS 1 lb/450g: 30 to 40 beans 15 1/2 oz/440ml 14 oz/400g 1¾ lb/750g FRESH CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 3 Cups 2 Cups 1¾ Cups 5 Cups BEETS, Superfood 1 lb./450g: 5 medium 16 oz/455ml FRESH CANNED 2½  Cups 2 Cups BROCCOLI, Superfood     1 lb/450g Florets 1 Medium Bunch, chopped stalks and florets 10 oz/280g 16 oz/450g FRESH FRESH FROZEN FROZEN 2 Cups 3½ Cups 1¼ Cups 2 Cups BRUSSELS SPROUTS 1 lb/450g: 28 to 36 sprouts 10 oz/280g FRESH FROZEN 4 Cups 2 Cups CABBAGE 1 HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Shredded 1 lb/450 g Shredded 1 lb. Cooked FRESH FRESH FRESH 8 Cups 4 Cups 2 Cups CARROTS 1 lb/450g: 6-7 medium or 4 very large 1 lb/450g grated 1 lb/450 g pureed 16 0z/455ml FRESH FRESH FRESH CANNED 3 Cups 2½  Cups 1½ Cups 2 Cups CAULIFLOWER  1 medium HEAD = 2 lbs/900g Florets 1 lb/450g Florets 16 oz/450g FRESH FRESH FROZEN 1½ Cups 3 Cups 4 Cups CELERY 1 Bunch = 1 lb/450g = 8-10 stalks 2 medium stalks, no leaves FRESH FRESH 4 Cups 1 Cup CORN 2 medium EARS husked, kernels 12 0z/350ml kernels 16 0z/454ml creamed 10 0z/280g kernels 16 oz/450g kernels FRESH CANNED CANNED FROZEN FROZEN 1¼ Cups 1½ Cups 2 Cups 1¼ cup 2 cups KALE, Superfood 1 lb/450 g raw leaves 1 lb cooked 15 0z/427ml 10...

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Lemons for Health, 20 Reasons Why

Posted by on Jan 10, 2016 in Health | 50 comments

Lemons for Health, 20 Reasons Why

It was really difficult for me to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day until I discovered that adding lemons made the water more palatable. I freeze  lemon slices and use them in place of ice cubes. A friend of mine prefers to add the lemon slices to hot water for a hot drink. Either way, it does make it easier to get your 8 cups a day. But lemon does more than make water taste better. It really is a health superfruit that boosts immune system health, which of course prevents many illnesses from taking hold. Lemons are loaded with nutrients that boost the immune system, making it a great preventative. It is high in vitamin C, and also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin E along with many important nutrients and minerals. Lemons contain flavonoids which are believed to play an important role in fighting cancer, heart disease, and some degenerative diseases. Lemons also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. For the greatest health benefit use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Once a lemon has been juiced it loses Vitamin C rapidly, reducing its effectiveness. To easily make a hot lemon drink, simply juice a lemon over a tea cup (use a strainer to catch the seeds). You can add the juiced lemon – I do – then pour in enough hot water to fill the cup. Cover the cup with something (to keep in the heat) and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the lemon and stir in a teaspoon of raw honey.   Lemons for Health: Lemon’s antimicrobial properties reduce the effects of cold and flu. Hot lemon tea can soothe a sore throat, cut phlegm, reduce mucous buildup and relieve coughs. A gargle with lemon juice can also soothe a sore throat – gargle, then swallow the juice. Lemon’s  antibacterial properties will go on to kill more germs. Reduce chills with hot lemon tea. Treat fever with a cup of Vitamin C rich lemon tea. This replaces the fluids lost through sweating. Asthma and allergy sufferers may find relief from a hot lemon drink (without honey) taken before meals and before bedtime. Gargling with lemon juice stops gums from bleeding, prevents toothaches and eliminates bad breath – swallow the lemon juice to kill more bacteria, then rinse well with clear water to remove any remaining acid from teeth. Gargling with hot lemon water may help speed the healing of canker sores. Lemon is a great blues chaser. Sit down with a cup of lemon tea and take time to really smell the aroma for a quick mood lifter and to reduce stress and depression. Lemon’s antiseptic properties supports a healthy digestive system – valuable in the prevention and treatment of constipation, flatulence, heartburn and indigestion. Drinking lemon juice daily may deter the formation of kidney stones and gall stones. Lemon juice is a diuretic which flushes out toxins from the body and cleans the blood. It is believed this may soothe symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. Lemon juice maximizes enzyme function which contributes to detoxification. Lemon tea taken daily may help control diabetes, high blood pressure and prevent stroke. Lemon juice stops internal bleeding. To stop a nose bleed, drop some lemon juice on a cotton ball and place it inside your nose. Stop the bleeding and disinfect cuts and scrapes by applying lemon juice to a cotton ball, place on cut or scrape and hold it firmly in place for a few minutes. Soothe and ease skin rashes, including poison ivy rash, with lemon juice. Lemon juice will also provide...

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Spice Tea – Yummy Cold and Flu Blaster

Posted by on Dec 6, 2015 in Health, Recipes | 40 comments

Spice Tea – Yummy Cold and Flu Blaster

Since the cold weather has arrived I’ve replaced my morning smoothie with this Spice Tea, a variation of the popular Chai Tea. It’s made with everyday spices selected for their immunity boosting properties and specifically aimed at keeping colds and flu away. A great thing about this Spice Tea mix is that the ingredients are everyday spices and products found in most homes thereby eliminating the need to run to specialty stores. The basic Spice Tea Mix contains the following ground spices: 1 Tbsp. each of – Allspice and Cloves 1/4 cup each of – Cardamom and Nutmeg 1/2 cup each of – Cinnamon and Ginger Contents from 16 Tea Bags – Can be black or green Mix everything together and store in air-tight jar in a dark location. This makes slightly less than two cups or about 28 tablespoons mix. To make a pot of Spice Tea: 2 cups milk – whole, soy (best for lowering cholesterol) or rice milk (most hypoallergenic) may be used 2 cups water 2 – 3 tsp. raw honey 3-4 Tbsp. spice tea mix, more or less depending on personal taste. (Best contained, see note below). Directions: Put all the ingredients in a medium size saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the spice bag(s) and pour into a teapot (or straight into cups if preferred) and serve. Lightly sprinkle with favourite spice – our spice of choice is cinnamon, it really is yummy. NOTE: The first time I made this I added the loose spice mix right to the liquid in the pan. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize that the spices would expand the way they do and ended up with such a thick mixture that only half of it would go through the strainer. Because of my herbs I always have a quantity of self-sealing tea bags around and use them to make up spice tea bags ahead of time, filling them loosely to allow room for expansion.  The  large tea bag (pot size) is filled with 1/4 cup mix and the smaller ones use 3/4 Tbsp. mix. The same could be done using squares of cheesecloth, as shown. The packages will still need to be stored in an air-tight jar in a dark location. To make Spice Tea for one: 1/2 cup milk – whole, soy or rice milk 1/2 cup water Dab of raw honey 1 to 1 1/2  Tbsp. spice tea mix (2 tea bags). Directions: As above. Health Benefits of the Spice Tea components: BLACK TEA – Helps prevent cardiovascular disease; controls cholesterol; protects HDL the good cholesterol; strengthens the immune system; rich in the antioxidants that help cut the risk of cancer; promotes a general feeling of well-being. ALLSPICE – Soothes symptoms of colds and flu; relieves stomach related problems – constipation, flatulence, indigestion, vomiting; eases menstrual cramping; stabilizes blood pressure and blood sugar levels; anti-bacterial, kills germs on teeth and gums, relieves tooth ache. CARDAMOM – Immune system booster; soothes mucous membranes and lessens respiratory allergies; improves blood circulation; relieves stomach related problems – flatulence, heartburn, nausea, vomiting; increases appetite; supports the digestive system. CINNAMON – Natural pain reliever; fights colds, flu and sore throats; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal; stimulates circulation; helps detoxify the body; helps balance blood sugar levels; lowers cholesterol; helps relieve stomach problems – nausea, diarrhea; lessens menstrual cramps; calming agent. CLOVES – High in antioxidants that help support the immune system. An expectorant, helps clear mucous membranes and cut phlegm; warming, soothes symptoms of flu and colds; pain reliever – relieves toothaches...

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Lip Balm – So Many Uses, So Easy to Make

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Health, Recipes | 42 comments

Lip Balm – So Many Uses, So Easy to Make

Now that the cold weather has arrived many of us will have a lip balm tucked in purse or pocket. It works great at keeping those lips soft and kissable. But did you know that it’s also very useful in many different situations? And did you also know how easy it is to make your own all-natural lip balm that works better than many expensive products? Lip Balm for Skin Care: Winter cold and indoor heat combine to leave skin dry and cracked. Sometimes that needed lotion just isn’t available which isn’t a problem as long as lip balm is handy. Smooth lip balm over nail beds to moisturize rough cuticles; Smooth out those rough, scratchy elbows; Moisturizes and heals chapped hands, fingers and knuckles. Protect skin from windburn – apply a generous layer all over exposed skin; Protect from sunburn – does not have any SPF but good as an emergency use for short periods; Lip Balm for Grooming: The homemade lip balm (recipe below) is very much a gentle healing ointment. Soothes and moisturizes that fragile area underneath the eye; Gently removes eye makeup; Minimized fine lines around the eye; Blend with a little eye-shadow to make eye gloss; Remove mascara smudges; Protect your skin before colouring hair – first add a layer of lip balm to the hairline; Combat frizz and flyaway hair – put a dab on a finger and pat the hair down; Smooths eyebrows – keeps those stray hairs in place; Grooms the mustache and keeps it looking the way it should. Lip Balm for Emergency First-Aid: Dab a bit on a small cut to stop the bleeding and prevent infection; Prevent blisters from forming by applying a generous amount on the rubbed-raw area; Nursing mothers can relieve soreness by rubbing lip balm on nipples; Protect healing scars from sunburn; Soothe irritated skin from colds or allergies by applying some lip balm with a tissue in and around the nose. Lip Balm around the House: Keep zippers zipping smooth by running lip balm up and down the zipper a few times; Dab on a small hole in an umbrella – waterproof too; Lubricate drawer tracks with lip balm; Wipe lip balm all around the thread of light bulbs before screwing into the outdoor fixture – makes the bulbs much easier to remove; Remove label residue – leave it on for a few minutes to work, then wipe off; Coat screws and nails to ease them into wood; Unexpected meeting and your shoes are scuffed? No problem, simply put some lip balm on a tissue and wipe; Put a dab on the knot of shoelaces to keep them tied; Protect a dog’s paws by applying lip balm before heading out in the winter. Great little multitasker, right? Now for the recipe. All the ingredients can be found at a good health food store.Homemade Lip Balm – Ingredients: 2 Tbsp. beeswax, grated 2 Tbsp. coconut oil 1 Tbsp. cocoa butter (this can be replaced by shea or mango butter) 3 vitamin e capsules 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or any other pure extract of choice – I used peppermint. Directions: Put the grated beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter into a measuring cup Boil 1 cup of water in a small pan that is large enough to hold the measuring cup – once the water is boiling, remove from heat, place a canning ring on the bottom of the pan, set the measuring cup on top of the canning ring and return to low heat until everything is melted together Remove from heat and, using...

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Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 50 comments

Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

This is the time of year when herbs really come into their own and I consider myself fortunate to be able to harvest them straight from my garden. But it’s not necessary to have a backyard garden to benefit from the bounty. Right now you’ll find a great selection of the freshest herbs at the best prices at Farmers’ Markets, Roadside stands and even Supermarkets. Herbs are the most useful plants. For the longest time we thought using herbs was to add a basil leaf to tomato soup or to sprinkle chives on a baked potato. We have now become much more aware and accepting of herbs contribution to healthy living. Many of the herbs we use everyday have multiple uses – culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal. In this post I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to use Basil, Chives, Dill and Parsley. If you have no allergic reaction when using herbs in cooking or drinking, you should be fine using them for FIRST AID or cosmetic purposes. Unless you are trained to do so, NEVER use herbs to replace medical diagnosis or treatment. FOUR EVERYDAY HERBS. BASIL. This is one of the herbs that everyone knows and loves. It’s a pretty plant that grows equally well in the flower bed, the window box, the vegetable/herb garden or indoors during the winter. It’s also a must have plant for the pollinator garden. It is one of the most versatile plants with many uses – culinary, beverage, medicinal, cosmetic and even as insect repellant. Culinary Uses: Try basil with beans; pasta; chicken; fish; meatloaf; Italian cooking of all kinds; anything with tomato; and of course, to make pesto or boursin. Try the Mozzarella Basil Bread, below, with a salad for a fantastic low-cost summer meal. Mozzarella Basil Bread: 1 tsp. olive oil 1 large loaf unsliced French bread 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 + 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped 1/2 lb (225g) Mozzarella cheese, sliced 2 Tbsp. Mozzarella cheese, grated Directions: Brush 1 tsp. olive oil over the dull side of aluminum foil – large enough to wrap around bread. Slice bread partway into 1/2 inch/1cm slices, making sure not to cut all the way through. Mix together the ¼ cup butter, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. chopped basil – remove and set aside one Tbsp. of the butter mix and spread the rest between the slices. Place the cheese between the bread slices, spread the top of the bread with the reserved butter mix, then sprinkle with the grated mozzarella and the remaining 2 Tbsp. basil. Wrap in the foil and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. More Uses: I wrote an earlier post about basil and rather than repeat the information, I’m simply adding the link: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/culinary-cosmetic-antiseptic-and-more-basil-does-it-all/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHIVES. We grow garlic chives that have the pretty purple flower balls, like little lollipops, that the bees go crazy about. They are extremely easy to grow, indoors or out, and act as an aphid repellant (unfortunately not as eliminator) for our roses. Chives are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Culinary Uses: Chives are great added to butters, cheese dishes, dips, eggs/omelets, potatoes, salads, sauces, seafood, soups and vegetables. We enjoy the mild taste so much that we have completely replaced green onions with chives. Medicinal Uses: Chives are loaded with vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, Vitamin A and C and a host of other nutrients. Because of the high Vitamin C content, chives give chicken soup an extra boost when dealing with a cold. Added to...

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