Saturday, October 27, 2018

Natural Wellness Through Cocoa Butter

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa Butter is the natural fat extracted from cocoa beans. It has a silky texture, mild cocoa fragrance, and hydrating properties.  Researchers have determined that cocoa butter has numerous applications to help with natural wellness and beauty.

To make cocoa butter, cocoa beans are first fermented then roasted. At this point, the cocoa “butter” (which isn’t actually the kind of butter made from any type of milk at all) is able to be separated from the rest of the beans, leaving behind solids that are used for other purposes. Many brands deodorize and de-colorize cocoa butter so the product is a yellow-beige color and smells pretty neutral, not much like cocoa liquor or chocolate.

Uses For Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in many skin care products as well as a food or supplement additive as it helps stabilize products’ textures. Because it remains solid at room temperature but melts at higher temps, such as those within the human body, the pharmaceutical industry uses it as a digestible base for certain medicines. Cocoa butter has a melting point of around 93–101 degrees F, which means it becomes liquid once ingested or sometimes when rubbed into the skin — exactly why it has such an attractive “mouth feel” when added to chocolate or when used in lotions.


  • Cocoa butter is rich in Vitamin K and fatty acids enabling it to help repair dry skin while you sleep. 
  • Cocoa butter can hydrate your lips, providing a protective layer of hydration.


  • Applying cocoa butter to a pregnant belly or any stretched skin can reduce stretch marks over time. It is advised to apply the cocoa butter after a shower when your skin is moist.
  • Pure cocoa butter (without added fragrances or colors) can soothe burns, eczema, dermatitis, and rashes to help speed healing. 
  • Cocoa butter as a shaving cream hydrates while allowing the shaver to do its job. 
  • Cocoa butter melts in hot water so it can be added to bath as a soothing bath oil. Just be careful to clean your tub after so you do not slip!


  • To reduce friz, rub a dime size amount of cocoa butter into your hair before styling. 
  • Melted cocoa butter can be massaged into the hair and scalp as a deep conditioner. Use it up to 20 minutes before your shower, then rinse off.

Read more in Jenny Ivy's article, 10 ways to use cocoa butter for beauty and health,  at Delicious Living and at Dr. Axe.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Understanding CBD Oil

Many products are entering the marketplace containing CBD oil. In order to know what I am getting when I purchase products with the supplement, I did some research.

What is CBD Oil?

 Marijuana and hemp are derived from different parts of the cannabis plant.  Cannabis that is grown for industrial use is what has been legalized in a handful of states and, most recently, in Canada. This plant contains less than .3% THC and is used for supplements, oils, clothing fibers, paper, and more.

CBD oil is also known as hemp oil. It is extracted from the hemp portion of the cannabis plant. CBD offers health benefits, but includes none of the psychoactive properties of THC, thus products containing hemp/CBD extract can be legally sold, used and shipped nationwide.

Why Use CBD Oil?

Cannabis products work on the body’s innate endocannabinoid system, a recently discovered whole-body system, similar to your nervous system or cardiovascular system. Cannabinoids don’t just come from the cannabis plant, we also make them in our bodies. The ones we make are called endocannabinoids (endo meaning coming from within). The well-known “runner’s high” is actually an endocannabinoid, which increases in the blood during aerobic exercise and then crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. One of the primary jobs of the endocannabinoid system is to keep the body in balance, a state known as homeostasis. The ES has a profound effect on sleep, appetite, exercise, pain, inflammation, female reproduction, metabolism, anxiety, and immunity.

The cannabis related products unlock the body without providing a high like THC does. The FDA has begun to approve pharmaceutical-grade CBD for medicinal purposes as it has been proven to be an anti-inflammatory, aid sleep, reduce anxiety, ease chronic pain, reduce nausea from chemotherapy, and more.

What CBD Oil Products Should I Purchase?

CBD Isolate is similar to the drug the FDA is about to approve.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil is an industrial, hemp-derived oil that is found in mainstream, over-the-counter products.

Are There Any Precautions I Should Take?

Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate products like CBD oil. States are struggling to put regulations in place, but they don't have the deep pockets of the federal government.  According to WebMD, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn't contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label.
Nearly 43 percent of the products contained too little CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said.

Studies on CBD also have raised concerns about possible interactions with other drugs. There is also concern about long term use and organ damage. There also is some indication that CBD might harm the liver. About 10 percent of people taking CBD in studies had increases in liver enzymes, which would indicate possible liver damage.

What is the Bottom Line?

CBD oil is new to the market and we will know more after more and more people use the product. Consult a doctor who knows your medical history and has read up on CBD Oil to advise you what might be best for YOUR body. 

More information can be found at WebMD , Better Nutrition, and  Delicious Living Magazine

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Lemon A Day ... Keeps the Allergies at Bay

I start each day with HOT WATER and a WEDGE of LEMON. I learned about this Ayurvedic technique at a workshop and have been a fan of it ever since. Not only is the warm liquid soothing to start the day, but also the health benefits are amazing! I know lemon water works as it has helped me tremendously! My food allergies have been minimized, my skin is clearer, and my digestion improved.

Hot water with lemon at the start of your day is beneficial. It does the following:
·      Boosts immune system
·      Sparks metabolism
·      Is a gentle diuretic
·      Removes toxins/fights allergies
·      Aids digestion/elimination of waste
·      Clears skin
·      Balances the body’s pH level
Lemons are an inexpensive item in the produce section of the store. Depending on the size of the lemon, you could get 4-6 days of lemon wedges from a lemon. Lemons will keep in the refrigerator, stock up a bit when they are on sale OR find a friend with a lemon tree and do an exchange!
NOTE: If you find the lemon too bitter you could add ½ tsp of local honey to the water.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Natural Beauty Starts With Natural Foods

The saying You Are What You Eat has some traction. The foods you eat fuel your body and nourish your organs. When you make healthy choices, your results are more often than not a healthy and energized body. Genetics do play a role in our health, nutrition can help us fight our "inheritance" as long as we can!

Natural Beauty Starts From ...


 Skip or limit your consumption of refined sugars, fried foods, and alcohol. Instead, get your daily calories from whole foods following some of the guidelines below.


Hydration is important for keeping skin cells healthy, lubricating joints, and promoting healthy digestion. Most people are familiar with the target for hydration: 8 glasses (8 ounce) of water a day. This number is just a target. The Mayo Clinic has a great resource for hydration which will help you decide what you need based on your activity level and climate in which you live. A good rule of thumb to use to know if you are hydrated is to look at your urine. Clear urine is a common sign of hydration.

Brassica Vegetables

You may wonder what vegetables fall into this category of plants from the mustard family. They are  cruciferous vegetables including: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnip/turnip greens, and bok choy. These vegetables help detoxify the body and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. More resources can be found here.

Read my recipe for Cauliflower Steak (pictured to the right).


Turmeric can help fight UV rays and is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. I love adding turmeric to rice. My recipe can be found here.
Cocoa is an anti-oxidant that promotes circulation which brings nutrients to the skin.

Omega-3 Rich Foods

Salmon and avocado provide generous amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids to nourish the skin and make it supple

Green Tea

Drinking green tea provides the body with an anti-oxidant to protect it from UV damage and protect collagen. If you are a coffee drinker, consider swapping your last cup of coffee for green tea each day to begin to integrate tea into your daily routine. 

Dark Red and Purple Fruits/Vegetables

These fruits provide anthocyanins which fight UV rays, support skin elasticity, and provent collagen breakdown.  Foods high in anthocyanins include: black raspberries, black currants, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, black plumbs, red radish, and red raspberries.

Read more at Delicious Living Building natural beauty from the inside out.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Chemical Free and Clean Nail Salons

A Manicure or Pedicure is a Decadent Treat!

Many people enjoy getting pampered with a manicure or pedicure.  The opportunity to have one's arms and hands or legs and feet massaged draws some people into a salon. Others enjoy being pampered as it is difficult to properly cut their own nails, cuticles, and remove calluses on their own.

I am in no way advocating that you forgo your manicure or pedicure. I want you make informed choices as you pamper yourself so that you leave relaxed AND healthy. For whatever reason you enter a nail salon, you need to be aware of some risks you may be taking.

Enjoy the Process

Look for salons that embrace innovative brands that are natural and not chemical based. When you transition from chemical based nail polishes to natural ones, it is suggested that you let your nails "rest" for a week or two to be ready for the change. Communicate your needs with the esthetician and relax!

Take Care of Your Nails At Home

Many estheticians recommend massaging oil (neem, coconut, jojoba or even olive) into the nail and cuticle regularly.This simple treatment at home will help maintain the work done by the professionals!

Dermatologists recommend applying lotion to the nails after a pedicure as the treatments can be drying.

Eat a nail boosting diet. The proper amount of iron and protein will keep your nails strong. Having enough zinc in your diet will keep away the lines and white spots that may form on a nail when there is a deficiency.  Eating a diet that includes good fats and adequate hydration will ensure that your nails do not split or peel

Be Aware of Potential Dangers


Chemical based nail salons use caustic chemicals that have been documented to cause medical problems for some workers. Some salons are well-ventilated and the chemicals are not in high concentration in the establishments. If you enter the salon and are greeted by a strong chemical smell, you know the salon is not well-ventilated and you will be inhaling chemicals for the duration of your relaxing treatment.


Bring your own nail polish. Do not use the polish the salon has available as the brush MAY have been used on a previous client(s).

Spa Tubs, Sponges, and Nail Files

Make sure the spa tub in which you will soak your feet is clean. If the water is filtered properly you will NOT notice any debris. If you do, ask for a clean tub with fresh water.
Make sure the salon uses a fresh nail file and a clean sponge for your treatment. This will ensure there is no cross-contamination with previous clients.

Jessica Rubino's article for Delicious Living: Nontoxic solutions for healthy nails

Oral Care is Total Body Care

Oral hygiene is something our parents taught as as children. Many of our parents instructed us on the technique we should use to brush our teeth and how long we should brush our teeth. Some of my friends had parents who set timers so they did not rush through the process. The importance of flossing was stressed to remove food from between teeth in an effort to avoid cavities.

Oral Care and Total Body Care

As we became adults we learned that oral care is much more important than having teeth that LOOK GOOD. Oral care is a large component to complete care of one's body. According to Jessica Rubino in her article for Delicious Living Magazine, "science shows there is a connection between periodontal disease (which can stem from severe gum-tissue inflammation caused by bacterial buildup) and cardiovascular disease". Now we KNOW we need to keep our smile looking good to keep our body feeling good.

The Oral Health Nevada infographic above charts the health risks associated with improper oral care.

According to the American Dental Association, medications can affect oral care. Some medications cause dry mouth, some can cause abnormal bleeding, while others alter taste buds while you are taking them.

Oral Care Ingredients

If it is important that we care for our teeth to protect our overall health, shouldn't it be important to consider WHAT we are using to care for our teeth. Many people pick a toothpaste and mouthwash for the flavor it provides. Some people are sold on the "whitens teeth" message on the packaging. Some people go for terms such as "fights bacteria" or "freshens breath".

What is important for consumers to consider is WHAT is in the product to back up the package claims. Consumers need to look for NATURAL INGREDIENTS rather than rely on caustic synthetics. Manufacturers that use natural products such as xylitol, neem, sea salt, peppermint and even cocoa are favored in lieu of triclosan, alcohol, artificial colors and fragrance and other potentially harmful ingredients found in conventional oral care products.

The Environmental Working Group created a Cosmetic Database to analyze products available in the marketplace. Check out their site for product reviews for oral care products and other personal care items.

Personal Preference

I recently switched to natural oral care products and have loved the feeling of clean teeth without the chemical taste in my mouth. The products are out there. Next time you need to purchase oral care products, give a natural product a chance!

If you wish to read the full article: Bruch up on healthy oral care.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sunscreen Selections

Sunscreen is a summer staple. For people who live in a temperate climate, it is a regular purchase as sunscreen shields the skin from harmful UV rays. Studies have shown that regular application of sunscreen prevents premature signs of aging (wrinkles and fine lines) as well as reduces the rick of developing skin cancer.

Studies have shown the benefits of using sunscreen outweigh the negatives of not applying the product. With so many sunscreens to pick from, how do you know what one will provide you with the best protection? Many researchers agree, a lotion is better than a spray as the spray can accidentally be inhaled or ingested.

What to look for in a sunscreen


Oxybenzone is considered the most troubling chemical additive in sunscreens. It is known to cause skin irritation in some people but, the biggest concern is that it is known as a hormone disruptor. Oxybenzone is easily absorbed in the skin and can even be passed from mother to child through breastfeeding.  When you are applying sunscreen to prevent one problem, you do not need to apply sunscreen and invite in a different problem. There is a push for all sunscreens to be oxybenzone free by 2020.


A high SPF value does not mean you can apply less and stay in the sun longer. That myth needs to be debunked. What one needs to look for is a BROAD SPECTRUM SPF that shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen needs to be applied thoroughly and often.

Minerals: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide

Minerals do not break down in the sun so they provide the skin with greater protection than many chemicals alone can and with a less worry. According to the Environmental Working Group, zinc oxide is an ideal choice for sun protection as it is stable in sunlight and can provide greater protection from UVA rays than titanium oxide or any other sunscreen chemical approved for use in the U.S..Today, sunscreen makers use zinc oxide nanoparticles to formulate lotions with less white tint. Look for products that have at least 15-20% mineral content.

What Should I Purchase?

The Environmental Working Group created a guide that you can find here. The beach and sport sunscreens listed meet the EWG's strict standard for Ingredient hazard and product efficacy:
  • Health Hazards
  • UVA Protection
  • UVB Protection
  • Balance of UVA/UVB Protection
  • Sunscreen Stability

Want more information?

Read Jessica Rubio's Article Not all mineral sunscreens are created equal at Delicious Living.
Read the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens (Updated 2018).