December 30, 2012

Going Crunchy: Remineralizing Tooth Powder & Bentonite Clay

 The second in the series Going Crunchy.

Remineralizing Tooth Powder

Does it actually remineralize teeth?  I don't know.  We've only used it for a few weeks, but when I went to the dentist recently I was told I had a small cavity that the dentist wanted to wait to fill until after the pregnancy, so this is an interesting experiment.

I made remineralizing tooth powder using the recipe from Wellness Mama.  I gave each person in the family their own jar. Even though I mixed the powder in my spice grinder, it is a little gritty*, but that encourages good rinsing, right?  The taste is mildly minty with a little clove.  Surprisingly, all three of us girls like the taste.  I like the complexity that the clove adds and the girls appreciate that it is not too minty.  With the next batch, I'll add some spearmint essential oil in Jason's jar, because he'll appreciate a bolder flavor.

I've also started brushing my teeth with activated charcoal for its whitening properties.  It's messy, but Abby, our three year old wants to get in on the game every time I open the jar of activated charcoal, so most nights all three of us girls gather around the bathroom sink, brush with the activated charcoal, laugh about how creepy our black teeth look, then brush with the tooth powder.  (Abby says the tooth powder turns her teeth green, but it really doesn't.  We play along, so she'll keep brushing.)  Then we rinse well, wipe up the mess we've made and the girls get tucked in bed (theoretically).

All ingredients can be found at both S&S Produce and Chico Natural Foods.  Bentonite clay**, activated charcoal, cinnamon and clove are available in the bulk bins.  Xylitol can also be purchased at both stores, though not in bulk.  To make powdered mint leaf, I used dried spearmint leaf which I purchased in the bulk bins (but maybe you dried some from your garden this summer) and ground it in my spice grinder.  I made cal-mag powder by grinding caplets of a Cal-Mag supplement in my spice grinder.  Essential oils, which I did not use this time, are available at both stores, but you may be able to get a better deal from a reputable online company such as Mountain Rose Herbs.  Make sure that any essential oils you purchase are organic and therapeutic grade.

*Some dentists/hygienists/people on the web express concern that baking soda is too abrasive for teeth and/or gums.  I started brushing (mostly) with a paste of coconut oil and baking soda about a year ago, and at both of my dental cleanings since then my hygienist commented that my gums looked better than they had in the past.


**Bentonite Clay is one of those things I knew nothing about until this year, but it's readily available at natural foods stores and has multiple uses; I'm glad to have it on hand now.  The clay I get is powdered. 

I mix it with a little hot water (and sometimes coconut oil) to make a paste and spread it on itchy skin for our eight-year-old and me.  Some sites recommend wrapping the itchy area in plastic to keep the clay from drying out.  So far, we haven't tried this; we either apply it at night and leave it, or apply it about 20 minutes before a warm bath.

I've administered it to my three-year-old when she woke up complaining that her tummy hurt.  I gave her a 1/8 teaspoon mixed with juice.  She drank it, napped for an hour, vomited and felt much better immediately.  (She's more prone to tummy aches/vomiting than the rest of us, and generally, they are what my mom called "an 8-hour bug."  As far as I can tell the clay absorbed whatever was bothering her tummy and helped her to expel it, recovering much more quickly than usual.)

My husband has used bentonite clay to effectively relieve heartburn: just a 1/2 teaspoon dissolved in water, followed by a full glass of water.  

For myself, I use a Bentonite clay paste as a soothing facial mask. Make a paste with a little water, rub it on, let dry 5 minutes or so, remove with a warm wash cloth and follow with a moisturizer.

December 28, 2012

Going Crunchy: Invigorating Rosemary Mint Foot Scrub

This post begins the series Going Crunchy: Herbal Remedies and Homemade Body Care Items That I Have Made Recently.


This week in Chico certainly seems dark and cold. "Wintery" one might say.   Winter fruits and vegetables currently available at the market include mandarins, clementines, oranges (don't you just love a good piece of citrus in the winter?!), apples, root vegetables (carrots, beets and turnips mainly, but also limited quantities of sunchokes, potatoes, parsnips) winter greens (all sorts of kale, lettuces, collards, chard, broccoli) and green onions. Doesn't that list make you want to get in kitchen and saute some greens or at least peel an orange?

I haven't been cooking or blogging much, because this pregnancy has really sapped my energy and skewed my priorities.  Don't worry, we're still eating well.  We recently purchased a quarter beef from Alston Farms (gotta have plenty of that grass-fed, good-source-of-iron-and-healthy-fats beef) and Jason's been cooking lost of steak and organic potatoes.


Some of you may remember that one of my New Years Resolutions for 2012 was to make more homemade body care products and herbal remedies.  This pregnancy has motivated me to make more of these homemade necessities and nice-ities. (Any pregnant ladies ever feel like there are no truly effective drugs on that short list of "Medications that are Safe during Pregnancy?")  In the absence of food recipes, I thought I'd do a little series on some of the body care items and herbal remedies I've made recently.

Invigorating Rosemary Mint Foot Scrub

This is one of my favorites.  I don't have a source for the recipe.  I just used a common epsom-salt to-oil ratio and infused the oil with things I found invigorating.

In a small saucepan over low heat combine 1/3 cup oil (I use a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil) with a sprig of rosemary and a couple tablespoons dried mint.  When oil is warm, cover the pan, remove from heat and let the herbs steep an hour or more.  Strain the infused oil into a bowl and stir in 1 cup Epsom salt.  Mix with a spatula and transfer scrub to three 4-ounce jars for storage (or gift-giving).

I use about a teaspoon per foot in the shower most days.  Sometimes I also use this scrub as a body scrub.  I find the smell truly uplifting and invigorating.  The Epsom salt exfoliates and gives me a little dose of magnesium.  The olive/coconut oil moisturizes.  It's a pleasant way to treat your feet to a little pampering without requiring any extra time.


Stay tuned for Hard Lotion Bars (my other favorite!), Remineralizing Tooth Powder and Elderberry Syrup.