Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Apple (apple cider vinegar that is!) A Day Keeps the Toxins Away

Whenever I can, I try to go back to nature for the most non-toxic option possible; especially for the kids.  Baking soda, vinegar and lemons for cleaning, mint for ant control, brown sugar for exfoliating etc.   The sad reality is that with outdated chemical laws in the US and a ridiculously lax federal approach to regulating chemicals (The EU requires chemical companies to prove their chemicals are not harmful before  allowing them in the market.  In the US, the pressure is placed on regulators that must show ample evidence of danger before taking a chemical that is already being used out of the market ) the safest option will always be to choose products that come straight from nature.  

Sometimes, these natural alternatives work just as well or better than products you buy at a store, but, sometimes, they don’t work perfectly ( ie: almond oil for moisturizing.  I used it during my pregnancy, but it leaves me too oily for daily use now) .... BUT it really never hurts to try.

My new favorite product? Organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)

I have always had apple cider vinegar at home to cure sore throats.  At the first sign of a sore throat I start gargling with pure ACV (newbies might want to water it down with some water).  However, through the years, I have been told of countless uses for ACV that really work wonders, among them a friend from Chicago who's husband has been using it as a hair conditioner for years.  After inspecting the husbands healthy and shiny locks I decided to try it out on my hair.

So, for the last 3 weeks, almost everyone in my family has been using apple cider vinegar as our hair conditioner.   Instead of traditional hair conditioner I simply mixed 50% water and 50% ACV into a spray bottle and apply liberally after shampooing. Supposedly, this safe non-toxic alternative makes hair shinier, reduces frizz and seals your hair’s cuticles. Additionally it detangles and it is said to promote hair growth.  After 2 weeks, my hair looks just as healthy as it did with conventional conditioner.   Even though I was already using ‘non-toxic’ conditioner, I feel so much more comfortable applying ACV... I mean I KNOW there are no chemicals being sneaked in.   

My oldest son hated it.  I was especially looking forward to using ACV on my his curly (read:  very tangled) hair, however he absolutely freaks out every time I get the spray bottle near him, so I have given up for now (he just turned 5 - I will try again in a couple of weeks).  I suspect the smell got to him, or perhaps the vinegary fumes might have bothered his eyes.  ACV, however,  is ideal for young kids; there is absolutely no  need to apply chemicals on their hair, plus it helps detangle... I suggest start young or perhaps water down the ACV concentration so that the smell and ‘fumes’ are not as strong for little noses.  My 20 month old loves it since he gets to play with the spray bottle afterwards (obviously, no spraying in the eye area)  

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar::  MORE USES!

  •  Skin toner:  apple cider vinegar helps reduce skin inflammation, which is especially helpful for people who suffer from Psoriasis 
  •  Mouthwash:  similar to my sore throat cure, you can use a water and ACV mixure as a mouthwash to break down plaque and bad breath-causing bacteria.  The taste is strong and will burn:  start using a more watered down version and then work your way up to 50/50.
  • Lower blood glucose levels;  a (small)  study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication Diabetes Care1 found that taking vinegar before meals dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals.  In the study, those with pre-diabetic symptoms benefited the most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
  • Weight loss:  another small study showed that taking two tablespoons pure ACV before each meal, aids in weight loss after a couple of weeks.  
  •  Acid Reflux:  a couple of pregnant Non-Toxic Munchkin followers have sworn that organic cider vinegar has helped them deal with third trimester acidity.   A tablespoon of pure organic apple cider vinegar in the morning should do the trick.  (Before trying this, talk to your doctor since organic apple cider vinegar is unpasteurized).
  • Toilet cleaner:  Just place about a cup of organic apple cider vinegar in your toilet bowl, let it sit and after at least half an hour scrub with a brush.  When you use organic apple cider vinegar you are not only cleaning but disinfecting!

* make sure you rinse with water after using vinegar to eliminate acidity

Apple cider vinegar comes from aged crushed apples.  

Just like apples, ACV contains a whole lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals including magnesium , potassium, phosphorus, calcium, copper and iron

The difference between organic and non organic apple cider vinegar is that the non organic version has been pasteurized.  The heat in pasteurization destroys the enzymes that provide the health benefits, so it is best to buy the organic type.

Visually, it is easy to tell the difference since non organic version is bright and clear, whereas the organic version is a cloudy amber color (this cloudiness is usually referred to as “The mother of vinegar”).  When in doubt, read the label:  it clearly will be labelled as organic or not.

When using organic apple cider vinegar make sure to shake the vinegar well before using!

PLEASE NOTE:   apple cider vinegar is also said to be a blood thinner.   Before starting any new alternative regime it is always a good idea to consult a physician.

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