DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract OR Vanilla Infused Bourbon

vanilla insta extractI won’t tell if you “accidently” pour too much “vanilla extract” into your morning coffee. It will be our little secret…

If you happen to still be buying imitation vanilla extract, here are a few things that could be in it: chemically synthesized vanilla flavor from cloves or a paper byproduct, toxic blood-thinning substance from the Tonka bean, corn-syrup, sugar, or a vanilla-like substance from coal tar or rice bran. Guess what is NOT in it? Vanilla.

OK! Real vanilla extract only has two ingredients. Alcohol and vanilla beans. You can use anything from top-shelf to bottom-shelf booze for this. Vodka, bourbon, rum or brandy are all good choices. Go with something nicer if you’re planning to slip some into your morning coffee, if not, bottom-shelf vodka works just fine for extract. Continue reading

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

Citrus Peels

Citrus Peels

Vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner. It will kill most molds, bacteria and viruses. It’s safe and gentle enough for home-cleaning purposes. While this will not kill every germ, I’ll take the risk to avoid the harmful chemicals that most cleaners contain. Don’t forget that soap and hot water are STILL well-documented for the preventing the spread of pathogens, like salmonella. Studies are suggesting that allergies are due to a lack of exposure to parasites by creating a sterile home environment. Other studies indicate that prevalence of toxic fumes from cleaning products and flame-retardants are contributing to childhood asthma. Raise your hand if you’ve cleaned a tiny bathroom with bleach? Ack! Unlike these toxic cleaners, vinegar cleaners will not aggravate your skin and lungs. Vinegar is a weak acetic acid. It kills germs by denaturing (chemically changing) their structure. Continue reading

DIY Ayurveda shampoo

shampoo ingredientsI hate buying shampoo and conditioner. Even the organic, SLS free, phthalate/paraben free kinds have a bunch of funky ingredients. Those brands sure aren’t cheap, either. It’s one of the only remaining conventional beauty products that I’ve been purchasing.

I wash my hair a lot. I’m just not one of those people that can go several days without a shampoo. I run and do a lot of sweaty yoga nearly every day. I live on an island with blazing heat and lots of humidity. 2-3 showers a day just to keep cool during the hottest bits of summer. My hair is prone to being oily in a pitta provoking climate like this one. Continue reading

The bee’s knees for your face

honeyHoney. Put it on your face. Like right now.

I’ve been reading up on mead lately. It’s got me thinking about how awesome bees are and how I used to use honey on my face. Somehow, during the move to Okinawa, I forgot how great honey was as a cleanser and moisturizer. I’m bringing that back this week!

I used local unfiltered wildflower honey. It gave my face a very gentle scrub since it still had propolis and other hive particles in it. Honey has anti-bacterial properties as well as antioxidants. It smells nice. Oh, and my favorite part is that it’s FOOD, so it’s nourishing for your skin. It makes my skin feel dewy. Continue reading

DIY Deodorant

Deodorant

Deodorant

Deodorant. Why make it yourself? Well, have you looked at the ingredients on your deodorant label? Even the natural stuff has some funky ingredients. You wouldn’t put these in your mouth, why put it on your body? Consider the amount of time you wear deodorant. 8, 10, 12 hours a day? That adds up to a lot of exposure time to toxic chemicals over the span of a week. Plus, it’s cheap. I like that.

Sweating is a necessary function of the body. Sealing that off that by applying anti-perspirant doesn’t make the body happy. You want a happy body, don’t you? This deodorant soaks up a modest amount of sweat. I’ve found that I’ve stayed pretty dry even in the high humidity of Okinawa. And, my pits smell awesome! So, there’s that. Continue reading