Dirty Benefits: Diatomaceous Earth

When we think of something as “dirty,” we often think it’s something that needs to be sanitized, sterilized and washed clean.

Our “culture of clean,” complete with an unlimited supply of antibiotic soaps, gels and hand wipes, is new to our bodies and our microbiome.

What is our microbiome? It’s all of the symbiotic organisms that live on and in our bodies that keep us healthy. That’s right: our bodies are host to trillions of bacteria, both “good” and “bad.”

I’ve seen estimates that indicate: by mass,
our bodies are
made up of up to 90% bacteria!

That gives me a different perspective on germs, dirt and what it means to be “dirty.” It makes me think that maybe dirt isn’t the enemy we’ve always thought it was, and that being “squeaky clean” is not all it’s cut out to be.

In this series on dirt, I’m partnering with Deep South Crunchy Mom and Clean Living with Kids to talk about different types of dirt that are actually really good for us!

Bentonite Clay, Activated Charcoal and Diatomaceous Earth are three of the many beneficial forms of “dirt” that can contribute to our health and well-being. We’re going to talk about how we use them and how they’ve helped us.

The best thing about each of these “dirts” is that they are very affordable,  incredibly powerful and effective for so many things!

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

From Wikipedia, Diatomaceous Earth is “a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 μm to more than 1 mm, but typically 10 to 200 μm.”

Why do we care about diatomaceous earth and how can we use it?

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are a type of unicellular micro-algae that are crucial to the Earth’s atmosphere. It is estimated that diatoms produce 20% of the world’s oxygen and that the shells of dead diatoms can be found half a mile deep at the bottom of the ocean!

How is Diatomaceous Earth Used?

Diatomaceous earth can be found in many of the products we use every day. Since it is a mild abrasive, it can be found in polishes, toothpastes and as a filler in cat litter for its odor and liquid-absorbing properties. It is also used in filtration products and insecticides, as well as a filler, absorbing agent and even an activator in blood clotting studies! I’ve even seen it used as a filler in foods such as commercial breads.

Commercially, diatomaceous earth has a lot of applications.
But personal use is where it gets really interesting.

I first learned about diatomaceous earth when I was researching parasites in the body and how to kill them.

A parasite is any organism that lives inside of and benefits
from another organism while causing the host harm.

Often we think of parasites as only something people in third world countries have to deal with. After all, we wear shoes and we don’t eat contaminated food, so we should be clean, right?

WRONG.

Everyone has parasites (we get them through food and water–they are impossible to avoid), and traditionally it was known that people needed to do some kind of parasite cleanse at least once a year to keep them in check.

These days we don’t even think about parasites, or even admit that we have them.

Unfortunately, when unchecked,
parasites can cause all kinds of health issues.

In fact, if you have any of the following health issues, parasites could be to blame:

  • Digestive problems
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Rashes (including eczema and psoriasis)
  • Anal itching
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • Poor concentration or lack of focus
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Stubborn belly fat
  • Post nasal drip
  • Anxiety
  • Grinding your teeth at night
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle pain, cramps or unexplained soreness
  • Irritability
  • And many more!

As you can see, parasites can cause a lot of different health problems.

If you’ve never done a parasite cleanse and you suffer from any of these issues, it’s very likely that parasites are to blame.

We won’t get into the different types of parasites we host, but you can learn more about that here.

Here’s where diatomaceous earth comes in very handy.

Diatomaceous earth particles are tiny: if you buy a bag you’ll notice it’s like a bag of dust (don’t breathe it!). These particles are also sharp, and have a cage-like structure. This allows diatomaceous earth to do several things when we consume it:

  • The abrasive nature makes it a great “scrubbing agent” for the intestinal walls. Over time, mucus builds up there and can make us sick, so periodically cleaning out this mucus is vital to good health.
  • The sharp edges physically cut any larger intestinal worms that are present, eventually killing them and allowing them to be expelled by the body
  • The cage-like structure works to trap smaller bacteria and toxins within it, to be flushed out by the body.

Diatomaceous earth makes for a very effective (and very affordable) parasite cleanse that is really easy to do.

So let’s get to work! First step, buy food-grade diatomaceous earth

I have been following a 90-day protocol that calls for diatomaceous earth to be taken once a day first thing in the morning, at least an hour before eating anything.

 

Here’s what I do: 

  1. Mix one heaping teaspoonful into a glass of water (don’t breathe it!).
  2. Drink the water (it tastes a little chalky, but there is no real flavor, good or bad)
  3. Drink plenty of water after that, and wait an hour before eating.
  4. Do this every morning for 10 days in a row, then take the rest of the month off.
  5. The following 2 months, do the same thing: 10 days on, 20 days off.When I first did this I took it more than 10 days (approximately 3 weeks of taking it every day in the morning) and I got a really bad sinus infection, which I think was due to detoxing “too much” or possibly the mucus being washed away just overloaded my body. Either way, from now on I’ll take the assigned breaks so that doesn’t happen again.

Herxheimer Reaction

If you’ve never done a parasite cleanse before, start slow.

Take a quarter or half a teaspoon the first day and work your way up. If you begin get a bad reaction: headaches, nausea or some other discomfort, you may be experiencing a Herxheimer Reaction.

If you do experience this, simply back off: lower the dose until the symptoms subside, and then work your way back up to a higher dose.

The most important thing to remember is that if you get a bad reaction, that means it’s working. It also means you have a lot of things to clean up (which you may already suspect) so quitting will not benefit you. Any short-term discomfort will be well worth the health you experience after the cleanse. 

To lessen or prevent a herxheimer reaction, I recommend using Bentonite Clay.

(Learn more about the benefits of bentonite clay here).

To prevent a herxheimer reaction, I take one teaspoon Redmond Clay in a glass of water (give it a couple minutes to sink to the bottom of the cup, then stir and drink it fast) before I go to bed at night. This will help clean up any toxins that the parasites are excreting when they are being killed by the diatomaceous earth (they get mad when they are dying)! 

Other Benefits of Consuming Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth contains elements that benefit us in so many more ways than just killing intestinal parasites! It contains a high concentration of silica (in fact, diatom cell walls are actually composed of biogenic silica). Silica is a powerful detoxifier, and can help the body:

  • Clean the blood
  • Improve heart health!
  • Neutralize free radicals
  • Supplement calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals
  • Kill viruses
  • Detox heavy metals such as aluminum
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Keep joints, tendons and ligaments healthy and pain-free
  • Grow hair faster and longer
  • Protect skin, teeth and nails
  • Maintain anti-aging benefits
  • Improve digestion
  • Improve liver and colon function
  • Improved energy
  • Improved immune function (get sick less often)!

Even if you don’t think you have any parasites (trust me, you do), there are plenty of reasons to consume diatomaceous earth on a regular basis! 

But wait…there’s more!

Diatomaceous earth has even MORE benefits and uses than we’ve already described. So why isn’t everyone talking about it and using it every day?

It’s cheap, effective and easy to use–so get some today!

Other Great Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

  • Dust your pets with it to keep fleas away
  • Use it in your garden as a fertilizer
  • Use it to purify drinking water
  • Put it in your detox bath to purify the water
  • Put in pet food to kill parasites
  • A non-toxic insecticide
  • Put a thin line of diatomaceous earth around the outside of windows and doorways to prevent insects from coming in the house
  • In homemade toothpaste as a mild abrasive
  • As a facial exfoliator

WARNING:

You may have noticed in a few places in this post that I warned to always be careful not to inhale diatomaceous earth.
Here’s why: The fine particles are very sharp and dust-like, so they become airborne easily, and if breathed into the lungs can cause damage. So just be careful not to breathe it–and don’t dust it in places where pets or babies will be sniffing around.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Make 15 Non-Toxic Products with Essential Oils in Under a Minute (for less than $1!)

Perfume is everywhere: it’s an ingredient in laundry detergent, many body care and cleaning products, and it’s even a thing we pay big money for to spray on our bodies so we can smell it all day long!

We buy air fresheners for our cars and for our houses, and we love candles and room or linen freshening sprays to eliminate (or mask) unwanted odors and keep everything smelling fresh and clean.

But perfumes, when they are made with artificial fragrances, present a constant exposure to toxic fumes that can wreak havoc on our hormones and our health. (To learn more about this: watch the documentary STINK! on Netflix).

People who are allergic to perfumes may get migraines or feel dizzy or nauseous when confronted with an overpowering fragrance from any source. These people often have to avoid fragrances of any kind in every product, which can be difficult!

Luckily for us, nature has a solution: Essential Oils!

Essential oils are nature’s perfume, and unlike toxic artificial fragrances, are actually really good for us!

There are all kinds of benefits to smelling (and even topically using) essential oils, from boosting immunity and healing disease to balancing hormones, stress relief and help getting to sleep at night.

I love this article by Dr. Axe that expounds on the benefits and uses of essential oils. 

If you have never used essential oils, you’ve probably heard a lot about them and may even be intimidated.

Where do I start?

Do I need them?

Which ones do I use and how do I use them?

If that’s you, check out this great post from Clean Living with Kids that will help you decide on the BEST essential oils to start with, and why.

 

I stood on the sidelines for awhile before trying essential oils at all. Then finally, I decided to just dive in and try it!

Now, several years later, I have built up quite the collection of essential oils, and I recently bought a shelf just for them.

In this post I want to share my experience and a few easy recipes that have saved me hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars on products that I wanted to ditch anyway (because of toxic ingredients, including the dreaded fragrance).

I’m not recommending any specific brand, and I think there are a lot of great options out there, especially if you are using them in the recipes like the ones I’ll share below.

If you are applying them topically or diffusing them, it’s best to make sure they are organic or at the very least that they are pure.

Quick tip: Not all essential oils are created equal. If you see “essential oils” at the dollar store, they probably aren’t the real thing. There is no regulation in essential oils, and some manufacturers have been known to cut their oils with chemicals or not use essential oils at all—replacing them with chemical fragrances.

 

Well, that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? So whichever brand you choose, be sure it’s from a trusted brand so you know for sure you are getting what you pay for.

Essential oils have all kinds of great uses, and a few limitations. Check out this great post from Deep South Crunchy Mom detailing the best ways to use essential oils topically, diffused and which ones are safe for kids.

Easy Ways to Use Essential Oils Every Day

I love to drip them into my Epsom Salt stash for a relaxing, aromatherapy experience every time I take a detox bath. Just a few drops of your favorite scent will make the whole batch smell great! I also use them in my home-made deodorant recipe. I make a different scent for my son, my mom, and myself…because we all have different favorite scents, of course! I even use them in my own skin-care recipe (I’ll share that recipe with you in a different post).

Here’s a list of all 15 recipes. If you want to jump down to one, click it here:

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BODIES AND KIDS

In the summertime, it’s important to have a couple of things handy at all times: insect repellent and after-sun spray.

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Insect Repellent

When I first started searching for a recipe for insect repellent, I was surprised to see that a wide variety of essential oils provide insect repelling benefits. So I usually just mix up whichever ones I have. The most important ones to include are citronella, peppermint, lavender, and lemon eucalyptus.

Here is a basic recipe that is super effective at repelling all the bugs! With just a few inexpensive bottles of essential oils you will be bug-free for years to come!

Ingredients


Directions:

  1. Add the witch hazel and essential oils to the bottle (it should be about half full)
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and shake well
  3. Shake well before use. Spray on skin or clothes before going outside!!!
    🌱
    Soothing After-Sun Spray

    I’m not a huge fan of sunscreen, so I usually wear hats or hang out in the shade, so on the rare occasions I get a little pink, this after-sun spray comes in very handy! It’s cooling and soothing, and brings immediate relief.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix Aloe and essential oil drops in the spray bottle then fill to the top with distilled water.

Shake well before each use and mist on sun-kissed skin as needed.

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Anti-bacterial Hand Spray: Safe, Effective, Chemical Free!

Waterless hand cleaners are all the rage, but did you know the chemicals in them are dangerous and are absorbed into the bloodstream in less than 30 seconds? Also these harsh chemical anti-bacterial agents have contributed to the sharp rise in superbugs in recent years.

Essential oils are nature’s anti-bac. I love to use the immunity blend for mine (also called onGuard and Thieves with other brands). See the fascinating story behind this blend here.

This recipe is really easy!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • A few drops of vegetable glycerine (optional: for moisturizing)
  • 20-30 drops Immunity blend of your choice (including Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus Essential oils)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into the spray bottle and carry wherever you go.
  2. Shake well before using: spray liberally onto hands or surfaces that may harbor germs (such as door knobs, handles, purses, counter-tops, etc)

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Go-to-Sleep Roll-on or Spray (for kids big & small!)

Insomnia plagues children and adults alike. There is nothing worse than laying in bed with your eyes wide open, hoping sleep will come.

You’ll be surprised how well this quick, easy, inexpensive trick works every time!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle or roll-on bottle
  • Magnesium oil
  • 20-30 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Fill container to the top with magnesium oil and essential oil drops. Shake well.
  2. Shake well before using and apply to the bottoms of the feet at night.
  3. The spray can also be used as a linen spray to lend a fresh, soothing scent to your pillow and bedding for better sleep as well.
  4. This gentle, fast-acting formula of magnesium and lavender absorbs into the bloodstream quickly and your child (or you!) will be in dreamland before you know it!

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Fever Reducer Roll-On

 

Say goodbye to over-the-counter drugs! You probably heard about the Tylenol recall a couple years back. Despite being cheap and easily-obtained, over-the-counter drugs are not safe for anyone: especially children.  Each drug has its own dangers, and acetaminophen is particularly dangerous for children when they are sick: it blocks the production of glutathione in the body, which opens up detoxification pathways. Stopping detoxification is the last thing you want to do when you are sick–so here is a great recipe for a roll-on that can help reduce a fever if you are concerned.

(Also, see this post about why you may not want to reduce the fever at all, as well as some other easy, non-toxic fever reduction methods).

Ingredients:

  • Reusable Roll-on bottle
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • Distilled water or Fractionated coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Fill the bottle with distilled water or fractionated coconut oil and top with essential oils
  2. Apply to the bottoms of the feet every 15-20 minutes as needed.

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Migraine Roll-On

Headaches are the worst: when I feel one coming on there is nothing more I want to do than prevent it from becoming a full-blown, all-day affair. Headaches affect everything: productivity at work, ability to interact with people in social settings, and general ability to do anything at all.

I don’t get frequent headaches, but I had heard from a lot of people that headaches and even migraines can be relieved with essential oils. I’d heard simply putting peppermint on the back of the neck can make a big difference. The first time I tried it I was amazed how well it worked: my headache disappeared immediately!

I’ve also seen migraine blends that are mostly peppermint but have a few other ingredients as well. Here is a basic recipe that works for me, but feel free to play with the different oils and applying them different places to get relief.

Ingredients:

TIP: Because oil and water don’t mix, if you use water you will need to always shake before using. If you use fractionated coconut oil, the essential oils will incorporate into the oil and will have a smoother application.

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the roller bottle and shake
  2. Shake before using. Apply to the temples, back of the neck or other areas

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Perfume!

We all love to smell good, and to have pleasant smells around us wherever we go. Since conventional perfumes are not an option (and we should all avoid these toxic synthetic fragrances anyway), why can’t we harness the power of essential oils to be able to use “perfume,” and also get the benefits of essential oils (relaxation, focus, stress relief, healing, etc) at the same time?

The great thing is that an essential oil perfume is so easy to make and to use:

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Essential oil or essential oil blend of your choice (play with the combinations until you create your perfect scent!)

Directions:

  1. Combine water and essential oils (use about 10 drops per ounce).
  2. Shake and spray!
  3. This can also be used as a room spray, linen spray, bathroom freshener, or in place of any other “perfume” you would normally use!
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Bathroom Stink Eliminator Spray

Have you seen the ads for Poo-Pourri?

Eliminate embarrassing smells in the bathroom with a simple spray.

Could it be possible?

Yes–actually it is! All with the power of essential oils.

And this two-ingredient recipe is so simple–just mix it up and leave the spray bottle in the bathroom or carry it wherever you go–and it costs just pennies and less than a minute to make!

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Your favorite essential oils (citrus ones like lemon, bergamot, grapefruit and lemongrass work great, but others work too!)

Directions:

  1. Mix up 10 drops of your chosen essential oil for each one ounce of water in the spray bottle and shake to mix
  2. Spray 4-5 times in the toilet on the water before you go. The essential oils sit on top of the water and trap odors in. It’s like magic!

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CLEANING RECIPES

 

🍋
All-Purpose Cleaner for Counter tops, Stove tops, Windows and More!

Move over, chemicals: the cleaning power of lemon and vinegar has entered the building! You will be shocked how well this simple combination cleans everything in the house!

Ingredients:

  • 1 part distilled water
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 10-30 drops lemon essential oil (depending on the size of the bottle)
  • Reusable spray bottle

Directions

Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake before using.

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Ceramic (White) Sink Cleaner

If you have a white ceramic sink like I do, you already know how difficult it is to keep those clean and shiny! Every little thing stains and marks that white surface!

Here is a quick, easy way to clean those ceramic white sink surfaces as white as new. I do it on a weekly basis.

Ingredients:

  • Vinegar in a spray bottle with lemon essential oil
  • Baking soda
  • Scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda all over the sink, concentrating in areas with stains or marks
  2. Spray the baking soda with the lemon vinegar until it sizzles and looks wet
  3. Allow to sit until it dries, about 10 minutes
  4. Scrub out the sink with the brush.

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Oven cleaner

Commercial oven cleaners are highly toxic, caustic chemicals that can be dangerous to breathe, let alone use on something you use to cook your food. This easy recipe is similar to the sink cleaner above, and it really works well with no dangerous chemicals. Plus it’s a huge money saver, as all of the ingredients are incredibly cheap.

Ingredients:

  • Reusable spray bottle with white vinegar and orange essential oil
  • baking soda, it will fizz up
  • for tough stains, grab your orange essential oil bottle
  • small scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Spray entire surface of oven generously with the vinegar until it is very wet
  2. Sprinkle baking soda everywhere, concentrating on problem areas
  3. On stubborn stain areas, drop orange essential oil directly on top of the baking soda
  4. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes, then scrub away

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Floor Cleaner

Floor cleaner is quick, easy and cheap: I throw a batch together every time I clean my floors: it’s just a matter of adding a couple ingredients to warm water!

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 cups of warm water
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Castile soap
  • 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (citrus oils like lemon and orange work fantastic for hardwood floors!)

Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients and use your mop or microfiber floor cleaner with your cleaning solution.
  2. You’ll be amazed how clean and shiny the floors are!

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Cream Cleanser For the Bathroom Sinks and Showers

Similar to “Soft Scrub” this creamy cleanser can remove soap scum and other yuckies in the bathroom sink, tub and shower areas, including tile and grout.

It also makes an excellent non-toxic toilet cleaner, and leaves the whole bathroom smelling amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mason jar
  • 1.5 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid castille soap
  • 4 T water
  • 20-30 drops lemon and/or tea tree essential oil
  • scrub brush

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a creamy paste
  2. Apply to bathroom surfaces and scrub

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Non-Toxic Shower Spray that Smells Great!

If you want to avoid having to clean your shower or tub altogether, this after-shower spray is a great non-toxic option. Just spray it in your shower after every use, and it will greatly extend the time between scrubbings. An added bonus: it makes the bathroom smell amazing!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a refillable spray bottle and shake well before using
  2. Use as an after shower spray to prevent soap scum, mildew and mold

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Laundry Softener and Scent Boost

Two of the most toxic things in any household are fabric softener and dryer sheets.

Why?

The artificial fragrances used are strong and they are toxic. They also both put a film over clothing (for “softness”) that is very difficult to remove, even with multiple washings. This coating can irritate the skin and makes the harsh fragrances linger for a very long time.

I’ve personally never used fabric softener or dryer sheets, but one time a friend bought me a pair of leggings. We were going on a trip, so she washed them before we left and then gave them to me.

That was over a year ago, and I’ve washed those leggings multiple times, but I can still smell the strong fumes from the fabric softener on them.

Eliminating fabric softener and dryer sheets is easy: simply add vinegar to the fabric softener cup in your washer, and use these wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets. You’ll save time and cut this major offender of toxins out of your life.

As an added bonus: vinegar is antibacterial and anti-fungal, and it neutralizes uric acid! So use vinegar if you have broadsheets or dog beds that have been urinated on!

Wool dryer balls also cut down drying time, which can save you on energy costs!

If you like your laundry to have a great scent, here’s a recipe for a natural, non-toxic laundry softener and scent boost.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 10-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (some good choices are lemon, lavender, lemongrass, or another scent you prefer)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together well, evenly distributing the essential oils
  2. Add 1/4 cup to each load of laundry
  3. You laundry will smell great, and the baking soda is a cleaning booster! The Epsom salt helps to soften the fabric.
🍋 BONUS! Non-Toxic Foaming Hand Wash

Conventional hand soap has a lot of toxins that absorb into our bloodstream within 30 seconds of washing our hands, and the artificial fragrance is a problem as well as the anti-bacterial chemicals used, such as triclosan, which has created the surge of antibiotic resistant superbugs we are experiencing today.

Want a cheap, easy, safe alternative to paying $4-$5 per bottle for toxin-loaded hand washes?

Try making this quick, simple foaming hand wash in less than a minute, for less than 25 cents per bottle.

 

🍋 🌱 🌎

What are your favorite essential oils and what do you use them for?

Do you have any other recipes using essential oils you like to use?

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Don’t Get Sick! Ward off Cold & Flu Season With Bone Broth (Recipe!)

Cold and flu season is upon us.

With chilly temperatures, heavy snow in some parts of the U.S. and cold rain in other parts, our immune systems are taking hits from all sides.

We’re  all looking for ways to prevent sickness this time of year.

When I was in college I would take an over-the-counter decongestant to delay sickness (it worked for a while, but then when it hit, it would hit hard). Now I look for more natural ways to boost my immune system throughout the year so I’ll be less likely to get sick in the winter time.

Even though I do get sick less, it’s hard to prevent it altogether. But there are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way that seem to really work, and I haven’t had much more than a sniffle for about 3 years.

The front line of defense during the winter is bone broth.

A traditional food of the highest degree, every society has relied on broth in some form for thousands of years, and for good reason.

Broth provides our bodies access to a rich source of nutrients that bolster our immune systems and nourish us at a deep level. When you make  bone broth, you use the whole animal (and veggie scraps), allowing you to reduce our waste while boosting nutrient intake.

Broth is versatile: use it as a base for soups, stews and grains.

This is an easy way to make every meal more nutrient dense. Drink as much broth as possible during the winter. I have a batch of broth going almost constantly in the winter, and I drink several cups per day, either plain with a little salt, or incorporated into other dishes.

Throughout the rest of the year I make bone broth–about a batch per week and still use it in all of my dishes.

It’s a great way to stay warm, hydrated and nourished during the cold winter months! VitaClay is an ideal tool for safely making nourishing bone  and vegetable broth—you can let it cook all night and all day and go about business as usual.

We have all heard chicken noodle soup is the best way to heal yourself of a cold or other illness. But why is this age-old recipe so effective? Is it the chicken? The veggies? The noodles?

The secret is really in the broth.

Traditionally every soup was  made with a base of broth, not water. These days we grab a bouillon cube to flavor soup and other dishes, but did you know that real, traditional bone broth is a very healing and nourishing food?

Make bone broth! It’s good for so much more than just flavoring–though it does that very well.

Make bone broth! Homemade bone broth will add a rich, velvety texture and a deep flavor to anything it touches. It’s also filled with nourishing minerals and proteins that build immunity at the cellular level.

For any soup, stew or chili recipe I use I make bone broth as the base, and I add it to a lot of other things as well. For example, I’ll add a spoonful to a stir fry that is getting dry, instead of adding water or more oil.

I also always use broth as a cooking liquid for rice, quinoa or any other savory grain: it boosts nutrition and adds a really great flavor. With broth and a little butter, rice becomes very filling–almost a whole meal by itself!

Whenever my husband eats rice from a restaurant, he comments that the rice I make tastes much better. 

How Can I Make Bone Broth?

The best part about bone broth is that it’s so easy to make, and practically free! The stores sell tetra packs of stock on the cheap, but if you want to get the deeply nourishing benefits of bone broth, the real thing is usually found in the freezer section of the health food store or you can order it in bulk online.

Bone broth is amazing because you can literally make bone broth from your “trash” –veggie scraps and bones (that’s better than free!). Save the bones and veggie scraps from meals during the week in a container in the fridge or freezer, and when you have a few handfuls, throw them in the slow cooker and get going!

Here is a quick, easy recipe for any type of bone broth:

Ingredients

  • Bones (soup bones or bones left over from this week’s dinners)*
  • Veggie scraps from the week’s meals (mushrooms, celery, carrots, etc)*
  • Eggshells, oyster shells, etc: these add calcium and minerals!
  • Seaweed strips (optional: these add lots of minerals and iodine)
  • Ginger and garlic–boosts the anti-oxidant and immune-building properties

*Scraps can also be frozen to use in a future batch of broth if it will be more than a few days until you can cook them. 

Directions

  1. Add bones, scraps and other ingredients to pot
  2. Fill the rest of the pot with purified water
  3. Cook on “soup” (for VitaClay) for 3-5 hours (up to 24 hours)
  4. Strain, bottle and freeze or refrigerate
  5. Use in everything!

I love to make bone broth in my VitaClay, because it is electronic and I can safely leave the broth cooking for hours and hours while I sleep at night or run errands during the day.

As a bonus, VitaClay does pretty much all of my cooking: it makes rice, quinoa, and other grains; it makes yogurt (!) and all manner of slow-cooking dishes, from roasts to stews, soups and beans and steamed veggies or fish. It’s truly a multi-cooker, and I don’t use anything else for any of these dishes.

If you want to make bone broth at home and hire your “personal chef” (VitaClay) to cook all of your meals for you, use coupon code NOURISH10 at check-out for 10% off any product on the website.

What if I Can’t Make My Own Bone Broth?

There are times we simply can’t make bone broth. It requires space, time, and tools that are not always available.

Maybe you’re traveling or staying somewhere other than home so you can’t make bone broth. Maybe you are moving or live in a very small space. Maybe you’re crunched for time and just don’t have the bandwidth to do one more thing right now. Whatever the reason, don’t let it be an excuse miss out on all the nourishing, healing benefits of bone broth.

I have recently discovered Fire & Kettle bone broth, and I’m in love. I keep this stuff in my pantry for when I run out of bones and broth or just need some quick and don’t have time to make bone broth.

I like Fire & Kettle because they have several options and flavor combinations, and they always use pastured, organic bones to make bone broth.

Never make bone broth from non-organic bones: the toxins build up in the bones and will be passed onto you so it’s important to get the cleanest source possible!

Plus, right now you can get up to three free cartons of Kettle & Fire Bone Broth when you order through my link. It’s a great time to stock up for those times you run out!

Check out the great flavors at Kettle & Fire and start getting your bone broth on. It’s something great to have on hand when you can’t make bone broth or if you run out. In the meantime, be sure to make a big batch so you’ll always have some on hand to use as a nutritious base for soups, stews, rice, stir fries and other dishes!

Also, if you have a dog chicken bones are great to feed them as bone meal after you make bone broth: you’ll know they’re ready when you can easily crush the bones with one hand.

These bones keep going, and going and going….!

Do you make bone broth? What is your favorite way to use bone broth?

How often do you make bone broth at home? 

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Disclosure: many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Ginger Tea: Your New Best Friend in the Winter (Plus a Hot Toddy Recipe!)

My step-daughter Lexi recently had an issue with her foot: it was swollen, painful and difficult for her to walk. Being in college, that is a big problem. She was forced to use crutches for several weeks, she was in constant pain, and she was at the mercy of whatever her doctors told her.

My husband and step-daughter on a daddy-daughter date in San Francisco.

It was clear her doctors didn’t know what was causing it: she was getting contradictory opinions and diagnoses, and all they could really do was prescribe pain meds.

My husband works out several times a week at the gym, as well as playing softball games twice a week, visiting the batting cages, playing flag football, and coaching sports teams. Needless to say, he often has sore, tight, or stiff muscles.

I’m usually cold. I have to carry a jacket everywhere, and when it starts to get cold in the fall I end up catching a chill and eventually getting a head cold or sinus infection as a result.

What if I told you there is a cheap, easy, and delicious way to relieve all three of the above issues, and many more?

GINGER

Ginger is a rock star in the world of natural healing and “food as medicine.”

  • Ginger is an anti-inflammatory: inflammation causes most of the pain and disease we experience
  • Ginger boosts the immune system: fend off that cold & flu virus going around
  • Ginger warms up the body: ward off chills and stay toasty in the winter!
  • Ginger breaks down toxic build-up in the body
  • Ginger improves cardiovascular health
  • Ginger relieves nausea and improves digestion: even nausea from motion sickness!
  • Ginger lowers cholesterol
  • Ginger works with fiber from your diet to cleanse your digestive tract
  • Ginger balances blood sugar
  • Ginger is a pain reliever: studies have found it even more effective than over-the-counter pain meds when taken every day!
  • Ginger can reduce the risk of cancer
  • Ginger is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal: it helps your body fight infections
  • Ginger can ease nasal discomfort: and serve as an alternative to decongestants and allergy meds
  • Ginger may rev up body fat loss: it ramps up your metabolism by raising your body temperature, encouraging your body to burn fat
Ginger does so many things!

So how can you get it in you? You can cook with it–I love the subtly sweet-hot flavor it adds to dishes. There are ginger candies you can eat as well–they’re a little spicy but pretty good! Or you can drink it as a tea!

Ginger tea is not actually tea, it’s an infusion of ginger in water. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients for Ginger Tea

  • Fresh ginger root
  • 4-5 cups Pure filtered water

Directions for Ginger Tea

  1. Cut the fresh ginger into slices, using about one inch total
  2. Add the ginger and water to a saucepan and boil for 10-15 minutes
  3. Strain out the ginger and use the “ginger tea” that results

You can also buy ginger tea bags, or other ginger-infused products such as these ginger-honey crystals.

Ginger tea can be enjoyed hot or cold: you can even make a big batch in the summer and refrigerate it for a refreshing beverage with health benefits, or use it to make ginger lemonade!

It’s great sweetened with honey and with lemon, or you can use the “ginger water” in other things: like if you make herbal tea (I love this one) at night, use the ginger water instead of regular water to add ginger’s health benefits without the flavor–you’ll just taste the tea!

You can also use ginger water as the base for soups, stews, or other beverages. It can be used in place of water in a lot of recipes, and be swapped out for water when making rice, quinoa, or oatmeal. You can even use it when you make hot cocoa!

Some people (and kids) don’t love the strong taste of ginger. My friend Jennifer over at Home on the Meyerstead came up with this really great honey-based throat elixir that is great for kids–it’s sweet and sour with a great flavor, but also has the benefits of ginger, along with lemon and honey! It’s delicious–so much better than cough medicine but works just as well–and it’s a great tasting and nutritious ready-made add-in for tea!

When I feel a chill or get a tickle in the back of my throat, I make this delicious hot toddy and it warms me right up:

Ingredients for Healing Hot Toddy

  • 2-3 cups hot ginger water
  • 2 T lemon juice (if using a fresh lemon, throw in the whole lemon slice to get some of the benefits of the rind and zest)
  • 1-2 T raw organic honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • A splash of whiskey (about 1 oz)
  • 1-2 oz Elderberry tincture or a spoonful of Elderberry syrup
  • 2 T Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of real salt (for electrolytes and flavor)

Directions for Healing Hot Toddy

  1. Add all ingredients to hot ginger water
  2. Stir and add to two mugs

I love this hot toddy because it warms my whole body up right away–

perfect if I’ve caught a chill.

It also tastes great! it’s like hot apple cider, thanks to the apple cider vinegar.

It’s the perfect immune-boosting nightcap!

It’s even better to pair up this hot drink with a detox bath at night before you go to bed or when you feel sick.

My step-daugter Lexi said the ginger tea helped relieve pain in her foot as it was healing, too!

Ginger is an age-old remedy that really works as a warming, soothing, anti-inflammatory food, and it’s very inexpensive and easy to use! Grab some ginger next time you’re at the store and get to healing!

 

Read more about how to boost immunity and stay well during the winter:

Caught a chill? Take a Detox Bath! 

Make Your Own Elderberry Tincture: Stay Healthy and Ward off Cold & Flu Season! 

Plus: Watch “5 Top Ingredients to Add to Your Detox Bath

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Disclosure: Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!