Wednesday, December 31, 2014

**REVIEW** Nutritional Yeast Flakes (by Sari Foods) ****UPDATED****

What if I told you about an edible product that:
And, wait. What if I also told you that adding this product to your diet might help:
  • Fight aging, promote cellular repair, and guard against free radicals
  • Curb appetite and promote natural and healthy weight loss
  • Boost immune system, energy levels and overall sense of well-being
  • Increase memory, clarity and mental function; eliminate brain fog
  • Improve sleep; reduce insomnia, depression and ongoing fatigue
  • Balance hormones, improve mood and reduce feelings of irritability
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers
Since this was the first I was hearing of nutritional yeast, I wanted to check out some information. When I saw how it's "often high in B-12" (and could potentially cause some calcium deficiency), I wanted to know more about it. I am still reading what doctors have to say about nutritional yeast flakes, but at least one of them has a positive take.

But back to the flakes I am getting to try out.

Okay, so first thing that you could say is that I copied all of that right off the back of the package of the product. I did, yes. This package:


This is Nutritional Yeast Flakes from Sari Foods. It's the first time I've heard of what I think must be a real "wonder food", but I wanted to give it a try. Let's face it, if the flakes do even half what the packaging claims, it's worth trying out, right?


I noticed two things right off when I saw the package. First, it was "Ancient Egyptian Superfood", then it was "P.S.: Tastes like cheese!"

Okay.

By the way, this is what the flakes look like:



Ingredients: Large nutritional yeast flakes (deactivated, dried yeast. Free of Candida Albicans.
They are flaky (obviously) and a little bit powdery. (Once I opened the package, I ended up storing the flakes in a plastic baggie because the original package seal was loose and prone to spilling.)

Once I got over my irritation with the package's seal, I looked around for something to try the flakes on. Usually, I try stuff by adding it to my coffee but, since I'm not interested in cheese-flavored coffee, I needed to go a different route.

First, I just dipped a finger into the flakes for a little raw taste test. And, um... No. There was a cheese-like flavor, but "like" yeast-flavored Cheese Puffs dust. Ick.

So, I moved on to adding the flakes to food. What better food to add something "cheese-like flavored" to than a burrito? Amma rite? Obviously. This way, the flakes weren't half-bad. Usually, for my version of the home-made burrito, I take a flour tortilla, add some seasoned ground beef (or taco meat), lettuce, tomatoes and a quarter to not-quite-half-a-cup of cheese. Just roll that bad boy up and get busy. This time, I used only a sprinkle of cheese and added roughly a tablespoon of the yeast flakes.

The verdict: Not bad. Not bad at all. I could get used to eating the flakes on the right food - which is great because I'll be get rid of some fatty stuff and (hopefully) benefiting from the flakes.

So far, all I've found to use it on is the burritos (and I love) those burritos. I think the trick is to use the flakes on any food that is bland and needs some added bang, or on foods that are well-seasoned and compatible with the cheese-like flavor. I have a holiday visitor who made the excellent suggestion for using the flakes on some homemade kale chips. That got me to thinking that the flakes would also be delicious when sprinkled on popcorn (similar to the way I use Parmesan cheese).


However you decide to use them (and there are plenty of recipes floating around), the flakes are worth checking out. Sari Foods will also email you an ebook of recipes for the yeast flakes and their other products.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

UPDATE: One of my regular (a favorite) blog readers had something to say about nutritional yeast that I want to share with you. The following are her comments/experiences (BTW: Thanks, dollface!)
I love this you have to be very careful what you choose to put it on...but overall it is delicious and it does taste like cheese especially when used on top of pasta dishes. it is very beneficial to a nursing mother it certainly helps increase your milk supply. I used brewers yeast, ground flax and natural oats to help with my milk supply with J. but the Brewers yeast was the most beneficial! One time while I was nursing I got a flu so terrible I was dehydrated and had to go in for fluids. I was so worried about my milk supply and we were running low on the stored bottles we had. I ate Brewers yeast on 2 meals in one day and the next day it was like everything was back to normal I even had extra. Brewers yeast is just another name for this.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

**REVIEW** Simple Health Yacon Syrup

This is not the first Yacon syrup that I've tried, and I will start off by saying that it's certainly not my favorite. It's a taste issue.



I love the benefits of Yacon syrup, so let's get to those first, as listed on the product description for Simple Health's Yacon Syrup:
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • non-GMO with no Fillers, no Binders and No Artificial Ingredients
  • No blood sugar spikes, as it is low GI and high in FOS, so it does not elevate blood sugar levels and helps regulate insulin levels. 
  • Diabetes friendly
  • Naturally boosts metabolism
  • Aid weight loss because it's very low in calories and reduces cravings
  • Reduces constipation and digestive distress
  • Yacon Syrup is high in soluble fiber, which will leave you feeling relieved, light and energized.
  • Increases immunity and brain function, decreases inflammation, as it is high in prebiotics, which help stimulate good bacteria in the gut, and it is also known to increase absorption of dietary minerals
  • Our Yacon Syrup is naturally grown and ethically sourced, with no added preservatives
If you only get half these results, that's worth giving Yacon syrup a try. My problem with this particular one is that it's just not as nicely flavored as others I've tried. There's not a bad flavor, but I picked up a distinctive tang or wine-like flavor that didn't compliment certain foods. Also, I didn't like it in my coffee - which is most important to me. The other syrups I used had a mellower flavor - more maple than wine - and mixed well with everything that I use honey or raw sugar on. With this one, I needed to use it on things that covered the syrup's flavor. I was able to use it in some oatmeal and that was a little better.

Because its taste is where I had issues with this one, let me say that I think it's a matter of preference. I had one person try this one against another Y. Syrup and they said they didn't detect much of a difference. All I can say is that I did. If I am going to use something consistently, I need to like it. I'm sorry to say that this is not one that I myself would prefer.

Since the new year is rushing toward us, using Yacon syrup might be one way to meet those health and weight-loss resolutions. I have recommended Yacon syrup to a family member who is having sugar issues, and I will continue using Y. syrup for my own health goals.

Simple Health has some recipes you can try and, if you aren't happy with the syrup, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 29, 2014

**REVIEW** Pure Body Naturals Peppermint Oil

Since I was able to use and review Pure Body's Lemon Oil (and am loving it), I noticed when they posted another product. At first, I wondered if I'd be able to find any use for a big bottle of Peppermint Oil -

Pure Body's Peppermint Oil. Nice, big bottle, just like their Lemon Oil. 4 ounces might not sound like a lot, but this stuff is so concentrated that I'll be good for a while.

Of course, I did find a way to use the Peppermint Oil. There are about 3 million of us here in the house for the holidays, and... Okay - there are really only 13 of us that have been hanging out under one roof but, still. What happens when 1 person out of 13 catches a nasty cold? That 1 person plays tag and passes their cold around to the rest of us. That's what happens.

By Day 4 of our family festivities, I think it was 3 of us who were down for the count. Enter me. And my magic Peppermint Oil. And a q-tip.


oil & q-tip











Plus

a stuffed up sniffer














That really helped get the sick folks around here breathing better. Then, because we were taught by my Mama to do hot liquids for a cold, when my turn came around, I put my oil to use again. Since I already had the Lemon Oil, I added a drop of it with a drop of Peppermint Oil into my tea. 

I love this oil. Both of them, actually - the Lemon and Peppermint.

I was so busy finding uses for the oil on my own that it wasn't until yesterday that I got around to paying attention to the other many different uses. Pure Body's list includes:
  • Quick Relief from Stress
  • Migraines
  • Headaches & Anxiety
  • Helps Treats Indigestion, Nausea, Diarrhea, Heartburn, IBS and More
  • Delivers Fresh Minty Scent & Aroma For House, Home & Office 
  • Also Serves as great repellent to SPIDERS, MICE, FLEAS & ANTS
    If I check other sources, I find more:
    • As a fragrance in soaps & cosmetics
    • As a flavoring in foods & beverages
    And the oil MIGHT  help with:
    • Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine
    • Gas
    • Colds
    • Coughs
    • Inflammation of the mouth and throat
    • Sinus and respiratory infections
    • Menstrual problems
    • Liver and gallbladder problems
    Of course, you have to use some common sense before you go off using any product. Also, I did see somewhere (probably online) a warning that some essential oils can break down the rubber in the stoppers they come with. To remedy that, I replace the stopper with the screw-on cap when I'm not using the oils.

    By the way, I just mixed some of the 2 oils together for a hot tea. Getting some double benefits in the fight against whatever this nasty cold/virus is that I have.

    A couple of final notes: This product is suitable for vegans/vegetarians, and Pure Body offers a Lifetime Money-Back promise if you are unhappy for any reason. I guess you could beat that with a stick, but I don't think you'll want to.

    Peace
    --Free


    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Sunday, December 28, 2014

    **REVIEW** Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator

    I originally wanted to test this product because we happen to have 2 small (indoor) dogs and 2 cats. What I ended doing was testing it on a tougher kind of odor: vomit and diarrhea.

    First though, despite the name, I used the Angry Orange  Pet Odor Eliminator as a sort of room fragrance - for after cooking and after having a houseful of folk sleeping off their crazy celebratory night on the town. In other words, I had a bunch of drunk people spread throughout the house for a weekend. Drunk people tend to cook large quantities of food, then leave all the leftovers out overnight until they sober up. Drunk people also emit a lot of subtle smells for some reason. It's not like they're all normally stinky folk or anything, but... LOL

    Simple bottle. Powerful stuff.
    By the way:
    GRAS = Generally Recognized As Safe

    Anyway, I was walking through the house with a spritzing bottle of diluted Angry Orange. When the drunks (and the rest of us) woke up in the morning, we got to breathe in the amazingly fresh orange fragrance instead of, well, the alternative.

    And, about the scent: this stuff is wonderful. It's not harsh or chem-smelling at all. It's softer than most rooms sprays I've ever used, but the scent lasts. That was the first thing I liked. And, when the initial fragrance does abate, you're left with an absence of all that was stinking up the air.

    I've been trying to think of ways to describe the fragrance - because it's not just the "regular" orange scent you get with most air fresheners. It's more like fresh-peeled oranges and I want to say there is a honey-ish undertone. The scent is very soothing and refreshing. It's just nice. Really nice, no exaggeration.

    While I was so pleased with the fragrance that I was spritzing it around my room every morning, regardless of what was in the air, the big test is what convinced me of the odor elimination power. So let's get back to that.

    If you have children, you know that when they get sick, things can really go sideways. Not major sick - just the usual colds and viruses that turn those little bodies into huge repositories of ick. And sometimes that "ick" comes out in nasty ways.

    In my case, I had the chance to clean vomit and diarrhea of towels that draped the seat of my car. I thought I might have to take the ride in to be professionally cleaned. Since I had towels protecting the seats and floors, the main problem was the smell. Enter Angry Orange.

    Of course, I cleaned out all the towels, but that smell was hanging in the interior of my car so bad that it was impossible to ignore. I have a spritzer bottle that emits a real fine mist, but it only holds 10 ounces. The suggested dilution is 2 ounces of Angry Orange concentrate to 32 ounces of water. I was in a hurry so I used about a quarter of an ounce of concentrate to 8 ounces of water. Then I sprayed the affected areas of the car and prepared to wait. But there was no need to wait. I had to go back out to the car not 10 minutes after I sprayed and.... Wow. My car smelled better than it ever has. No kidding. Matter of fact, I am now keeping another spritzer bottle in the car just so I can periodically spray and enjoy the fragrance.

    So, I'm kind of hooked on this stuff. First, I just like the smell. Second, D.J. is only 3. I'm sure I will get plenty of chances to use the Angry Orange as an odor eliminator! In the meantime, I plan to keep using it around the house, in place of the canned air fresheners we usually buy.


    Lots of uses for Angry Orange, including:
    • to remove all types of Pet odor and stains including dog urine , cat urine, litter box odors
    • as a pet odor yard spray
    • a pet odor remover from concrete
    • removes odor from hard wood floors, tile & carpets 
    • for cleaning sinks, toilets , tubs & showers etc.
    • works on stainless steel 
    • to clean grills
    • to freshen garbage cans 
    The concentrate makes four 32-oz bottles to use and it takes only a couple of sprays to just add a nice fresh scent to the air (or to eliminate serious odor). That's more cost effective than buying lots of air sprays and other scenting products that, in my opinion, don't work as well or last as long. Plus, I cannot emphasize how good this scent is.

    Finally, and always an important factor: product is backed with a 100% money-back guarantee.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I
    only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    **REVIEW** Havens Arc Organic Argan Oil

    When I first got into oils for skin and hair care, I didn't pay much attention to argan oil. I don't know why. Maybe I thought the other oils were sexier-sounding or the benefits for them were just trending harder. (Then, of course, there was my run-in with an argan conditioner that was horrible. Turns out that was just a bad batch of something from a brand that otherwise has great products...)

    Anyway, I have since come to appreciate the benefits of a good argan oil. You can add it to your lotions and body butters for a little extra oomph.  Also, I live in a cold climate and I like the idea of nourishing my skin and hair with oil. This Organic Argan Oil by Havens Arc is a quality one. What I like about this one is that it's fast absorbing and I am able to use it on my hair while still damp from washing. I get a lot of moisture retention (which I definitely need with this "natural" hair choice I've made!) without any weighty greasiness.

    4 oz bottle size (with a dropper/stopper)

    Simple Ingredients List
    Notice that Havens Arc Argan Oil is described as:
    Extra virgin Grade I - 100% Pure, Certified Organic, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined and All Natural Argan Oil. No fillers, binders or artificial ingredients.
    The company explains that they produce their oil in small batches to ensure the quality of the product. And, before I go any further, let me mention that they offer a "Lifetime Money-Back Guarantee", regardless of where you purchase the product. I don't think that you're going to be asking for a refund though. This really is good quality argan oil and, even though it's produced in small batches, the 4oz bottle size is great. I needed a good size because I've found a few ways to use it.

    First, this argan oil turns out to be an amazing hand and cuticle treatment. What I did was rubbed on quite a bit of the oil all over my hands (making sure to soak my cuticles with it), put on a pair of latex gloves, then ran warm water over my gloved hands for a few minutes. I didn't let the water get too hot, but I had it as warm as was comfortable. Afterwards, I left the gloves on for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Then I removed the gloves and massaged the oil into my nails and cuticles, waited a couple minutes, then blotted the residue.  The results were nice. My hands and nails were moisturized and softer. After I used a little hand lotion (to sort of seal in the oil), my hands retained the effects for hours and hours.

    For my hair care, I don't like a lot of product build-up - especially of anything oily. Still, I need to keep my hair and scalp nourished so I get less breakage. Also, softer hair is prettier and easier to style, in my opinion. This oil is "light" enough that it doesn't weigh down my hair while adding needed moisture. Actually, I used it (sparingly) as a sealant after washing and noticed that my hair didn't lose its softness as fast as it dried. I did use other products on top of the oil, but I think the oil helped overall. I'm going to see how it works as far as helping keep down the amount of breakage I get.

    The other way that I used this argan oil is as a lip treatment. I don't know why, but I have to exfoliate my lips all the time (maybe because of the cold and chapping kind of weather we are having???) I made a scrub by dabbing some of the oil on my my lips - heavily - then dipping my finger into some sugar and (gently) massaging the mixture around. (Someone once suggested adding honey to any lip scrub, but I didn't try that with the oil.) The results were amazing! When I rinsed away the sugar and rubbed in the remaining oil residue, I didn't need balm or anything. Also, instead of blotting my lips afterward, I just kept massaging until the oil was almost completely absorbed.

    If you use it as a facial treatment, keep in mind that it is an oil. There will be a bit of a sheen on your skin until you rub it in well and let it rest. I recommend blotting well before applying makeup.

    I will have to keep using it for a while to see if I get the hair growth and nail strengthening benefits but, for now, I do like what it does as a moisturizer and softening agent.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.



    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas


    Hope your celebrations are wonderful & uplifting. Enjoy whatever it is you have planned. I will see you guys when I see you guys...

    xxooxxoo

    Peace
    --Free



    (that beautiful image is from here. Thanks to the artist!)

    Monday, December 22, 2014

    Tru Moroccan Conditioner Review

    **NOTE TO READERS: I already covered the review for this product here but the post had to be separated for sponsor's verification purposes**

    You have no idea what my hair has been through lately. I don't even think you want to know...

    Right now, I am struggling with a change in medication (plus, I've been on vacay to a different climate and am back here with the cold), and my hair is not happy. It's been kind of dry and kind of dull. Actually, it's been all kinds of dry and somewhat dull - which is, I guess, a natural thing for dry hair.

    Anyway, I am giving this shampoo a tryout:



    It'sTru  Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner for dry hair. My hair must have put in a call and these guys answered. Guess what? I like the results. A lot. To be honest, I've only used the shampoo once and the conditioner twice, but they tested well on this arid bush on my head.

    The shampoo has a nice smell (herbal?) but isn't perfumey. The consistency is thicker than my current product. I guess it has the thickness of a good syrup, if that makes sense. The conditioner is luxuriously thick - almost cream-like in texture. The scent is much fainter than the shampoo's.
    The conditioner is THICK
    Unless I use a good shampoo and conditioner, I get that "crunch" of dryness after washing. To test the shampoo, I let my hair air dry before re-wetting and conditioning. By itself, the shampoo is not super-moisturizing to "natural" (kinky/curly) hair, but it does not strip it. Used with the conditioner, the results were really good. I got moisture without my hair being weighted down. Unfortunately, I have let my hair get in such a state that I am going to have to do some more conditioning before I heal the damage I've caused.

    I did use the conditioner again (without shampooing) and I loved how intense a treatment I got without using heat or even leaving the product in for more than a few minutes. I was in a rush, so I just put the conditioner on and tied a plastic shopping bag over my hair for long enough to brush my teeth. I did a cool water rinse and let my hair air dry. Normally, I immediately spritz on a lot of StaSofFro (or rub in a little straight glycerin), but I wanted to see how my hair would look without it. While my hair stayed very soft for a few hours, it did eventually dry out. Way out. Again though, I think that this is because I've damaged my hair.

    Bottom line, this shampoo and conditioner duo did wonders for my super-damaged hair. I am going to keep using it until I get this mane back in shape. I can tell that, had I used this when I had my normally dry/slightly damaged hair, I would have gotten amazing results. As it is, the results are still pretty outstanding. I'm surprised that it took so long for my hair to get "crunchy" after a conditioning treatment and no backup product.

    To give you an idea of the damage I've done to my hair in recent weeks. I not only went from a cold/dry climate to a warm/dry one (with different water), I also applied a harsh chemical. Usually, I use a kiddie-strength texturizer to soften and define my natural curl pattern. When my local supply was out, I used a product I was unfamiliar with. It was supposed to be a "curl softener" but it felt more like a mild relaxer. Oh boy. So... I lost a lot of my natural curl and volume, plus my hair feels really stripped.

    I'm going to keep using these products and will try to remember to do an update on my hair soon. For now, understand that there is a reason I'm going to keep using this shampoo and conditioner: they are doing their job. I need them. I must get my hair back into shape, hopefully, in time for Christmas. Some of my out-of-state family is coming and I don't want to look frightful...

    The ingredients in these Tru Moroccan products seem to be just what I need.

    Shampoo:
    • 100% Organic Argan Oil
    • Organic Herbal Infusion 
    • Organic Aloe Kosher Vegetable Glycerin
    • Wheat Germ Oil
    • Vitamin B5
    • Organic Asparagus
    • Organic Cilantro
    • Organic Geranium
    • Apricot Kernel Oil 
    • Organic Rosemary 
    • Jojoba
    • Olive Oil 
    • Rose Hip Oil
    • Tea Tree Oil
    • Ethylhexyl Glycerin
    • Phenoxyethanol
    Conditioner:
    • 100 % Organic Argan Oil
    • Organic Herbal Infusion
    • Organic Aloe
    • Jojoba Seed Oil
    • Organic Sesame Seed Oil
    • Organic Avocado Oil
    • Organic Olive Fruit Oil
    • Organic Evening Primrose Oil
    • Organic Linseed Seed Oil
    • Organic Coconut Oil
    • Organic Shea Butter
    • Organic Starflower Seed Oil
    • Pro-Vitamin B5
    • Kosher Vegetable Glycerin (Plant Derived)
    • Palm Oil
    • Oatmeal
    • Citric Acid (Naturally Derived)
    The 2 ingredients that surprised me were the Cilantro (in the shampoo) and the Starflower - also known as Borage -  (in the conditioner), so I looked them up. That's what those links are about.

    Finally, for those who want to know, the shampoo and conditioner are made in the U.S. in an FDA Certified Facility. (For those who care, I will be checking into and blogging about what exactly it means to be an "FDA Certified Facility".)

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    **REVIEW** Pure Body Naturals Organic Argan Oil

    Let me just say right up front that I'm pretty impressed with Pure Body Naturals. No surprise that I really like the other product I've gotten from them to try out.

    Of course, argan oil  generally is getting to be quite popular for its uses in hair care and beauty routines. In some places, it's even used in and on food. I didn't know that before. When I opted to try out this Organic Argan Oil by Pure Body Naturals I was most interested in the products moisturizing properties for hair, face, skin and nails - as it's promoted for.



    I do like using oils in my beauty routine and this one worked really, really well on my dry fingernails and hands. It worked much better than any cuticle oil I've ever tried. For my hair, it was just a little bit too heavy. I have naturally kinky/curly hair and when I used this as a leave-in oil, it weighed down the curls.

    It was a wonderful skin moisturizer (especially after a warm bath) so, after about a week, I started to re-think the way I could use it for my hair. Instead of trying to put it into my dry (or semi-damp) hair as a leave-in, I used it as a rinse-out conditioning treatment. And... SCORE! I think I mentioned recently how I have damaged my hair into stubborn dryness... Well, this oil really helped add some moisture and shine that lasted after my hair was dry from the rinse. It also worked as a hair softener. I was pretty pleased with that.

    The argan oil has omega 3s that are so good for the skin. For facial use, the oil worked well (in my case) as a makeup remover. It's much cheaper than the makeup-removing oils that you can buy at the drugstores, and it worked so much better. Since I was wiping it off using my usual baby wipes, my skin retained enough of the oil for a moisturizing effect without the heaviness I got just using the oil as a leave-on treatment. Just like with my hair, it was too heavy for me unless I used it moderately.

    If you have a different skin type (or even a skin issue, such as eczema) you might want to work out your own ways of using the oil to get the benefits. I can tell you that I do like using it on my legs and the backs of my thighs - especially when I'm going to be wearing hosiery - to keep my skin from drying out and feeling abused.

    I did use the oil as an overnight facial moisturizer. I applied it sparingly and, by morning when I washed (baby-wiped) my face, my skin felt soothed and ready for my daytime face cream. I also plan to try it as an after-treatment when I use my konjac sponge. By the way, I did notice that, if you do want to wear it as a daytime moisturizer, you may want to blot well before applying matte makeup.

    Since this bottle is so big (4oz), I am going to be using some of the oil to mix and use with some of the stronger essential oils I'm trying out. I'm going to love having a Sweet Orange-scented/argan mix for my after-bath moisturizing...

    Once again, I have to give Pure Body Naturals credit for standing behind their product with a Lifetime 100% money-back guarantee. Simple, direct, and good.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    **REVIEW** Tru Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner for Dry Hair

    You have no idea what my hair has been through lately. I don't even think you want to know...

    Right now, I am struggling with a change in medication (plus, I've been on vacay to a different climate and am back here with the cold), and my hair is not happy. It's been kind of dry and kind of dull. Actually, it's been all kinds of dry and somewhat dull - which is, I guess, a natural thing for dry hair.

    Anyway, I am giving this shampoo a tryout:



    It'sTru  Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner for dry hair. My hair must have put in a call and these guys answered. Guess what? I like the results. A lot. To be honest, I've only used the shampoo once and the conditioner twice, but they tested well on this arid bush on my head.

    The shampoo has a nice smell (herbal?) but isn't perfumey. The consistency is thicker than my current product. I guess it has the thickness of a good syrup, if that makes sense. The conditioner is luxuriously thick - almost cream-like in texture. The scent is much fainter than the shampoo's.
    The conditioner is THICK
    Unless I use a good shampoo and conditioner, I get that "crunch" of dryness after washing. To test the shampoo, I let my hair air dry before re-wetting and conditioning. By itself, the shampoo is not super-moisturizing to "natural" (kinky/curly) hair, but it does not strip it. Used with the conditioner, the results were really good. I got moisture without my hair being weighted down. Unfortunately, I have let my hair get in such a state that I am going to have to do some more conditioning before I heal the damage I've caused.

    I did use the conditioner again (without shampooing) and I loved how intense a treatment I got without using heat or even leaving the product in for more than a few minutes. I was in a rush, so I just put the conditioner on and tied a plastic shopping bag over my hair for long enough to brush my teeth. I did a cool water rinse and let my hair air dry. Normally, I immediately spritz on a lot of StaSofFro (or rub in a little straight glycerin), but I wanted to see how my hair would look without it. While my hair stayed very soft for a few hours, it did eventually dry out. Way out. Again though, I think that this is because I've damaged my hair.

    Bottom line, this shampoo and conditioner duo did wonders for my super-damaged hair. I am going to keep using it until I get this mane back in shape. I can tell that, had I used this when I had my normally dry/slightly damaged hair, I would have gotten amazing results. As it is, the results are still pretty outstanding. I'm surprised that it took so long for my hair to get "crunchy" after a conditioning treatment and no backup product.

    To give you an idea of the damage I've done to my hair in recent weeks. I not only went from a cold/dry climate to a warm/dry one (with different water), I also applied a harsh chemical. Usually, I use a kiddie-strength texturizer to soften and define my natural curl pattern. When my local supply was out, I used a product I was unfamiliar with. It was supposed to be a "curl softener" but it felt more like a mild relaxer. Oh boy. So... I lost a lot of my natural curl and volume, plus my hair feels really stripped.

    I'm going to keep using these products and will try to remember to do an update on my hair soon. For now, understand that there is a reason I'm going to keep using this shampoo and conditioner: they are doing their job. I need them. I must get my hair back into shape, hopefully, in time for Christmas. Some of my out-of-state family is coming and I don't want to look frightful...

    The ingredients in these Tru Moroccan products seem to be just what I need.

    Shampoo:
    • 100% Organic Argan Oil
    • Organic Herbal Infusion 
    • Organic Aloe Kosher Vegetable Glycerin
    • Wheat Germ Oil
    • Vitamin B5
    • Organic Asparagus
    • Organic Cilantro
    • Organic Geranium
    • Apricot Kernel Oil 
    • Organic Rosemary 
    • Jojoba
    • Olive Oil 
    • Rose Hip Oil
    • Tea Tree Oil
    • Ethylhexyl Glycerin
    • Phenoxyethanol
    Conditioner:
    • 100 % Organic Argan Oil
    • Organic Herbal Infusion
    • Organic Aloe
    • Jojoba Seed Oil
    • Organic Sesame Seed Oil
    • Organic Avocado Oil
    • Organic Olive Fruit Oil
    • Organic Evening Primrose Oil
    • Organic Linseed Seed Oil
    • Organic Coconut Oil
    • Organic Shea Butter
    • Organic Starflower Seed Oil
    • Pro-Vitamin B5
    • Kosher Vegetable Glycerin (Plant Derived)
    • Palm Oil
    • Oatmeal
    • Citric Acid (Naturally Derived)
    The 2 ingredients that surprised me were the Cilantro (in the shampoo) and the Starflower - also known as Borage -  (in the conditioner), so I looked them up. That's what those links are about.

    Finally, for those who want to know, the shampoo and conditioner are made in the U.S. in an FDA Certified Facility. (For those who care, I will be checking into and blogging about what exactly it means to be an "FDA Certified Facility".)

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    **REVIEW** Living Natural Yacon Syrup

    In my quest to eat healthier, live healthier and stay in shape, I've tried making small changes in my life. One of the changes was trying to get away from so much processed sugar. I talked about this before. And then again. One of my favorite substitutes for white sugar is raw or brown sugar. A favorite  substitute for those sugars is Yacon syrup. I've tried others and now I've had the chance to try Living Natural's  Yacon Syrup.

    Yacon syrup has lots of benefits over the usual sweeteners a lot of us use. For me, the taste is the biggest positive. There is non of that metallic, artificial tinge or aftertaste.

    Living Natural's Yacon has an exceptionally nice taste because, to me at least, the molasses type flavor was a little more pronounced that in other syrups I've tried. The texture was a little different also - almost grainier-looking but not actually grainy at all.




    This is Living Natural Brand Yacon

    To compare a difference of textures, this is a photo what another brand of Yacon syrup I use:


    This one is darker & a tiny bit thicker
    As for quality and taste, both syrups I have tried are nice. The Natural Life syrup is (to me) slightly sweeter while the other one has a more wine-like undertone. The main thing is the benefits of using them as an alternative to sugar. Some info straight from the product page:
    • 100% natural with no additives or sweeteners and is extracted purely from the roots of the Yacon plant (Smallanthus Sonchifolius)
    • high amount of fructooligosaccharides. This natural soluble fiber has been shown to reduce symptoms of constipation and improve metabolism.
    • high in antioxidants and potassium and studies have shown it increases the levels of 'friendly' bacteria in the digestive system
    From my own use over the months of Yacon syrup, I can tell you that using it on a regular basis did decrease my sugar cravings. (I have not used white table sugar in a few years, but I don't even use my brown or raw sugar in my coffee now except on an occasional basis.) When I started using Yacon syrup some time back, I was still coming down off my prednisone weight of (I shudder to even type this) 204 lbs. I am down to the 160's and would be doing better if I had not gone back on a steady diet of bread in the past couple of weeks... Also, it helps if you actually use the Yacon on a regular basis.

    The suggestion is to use Yacon in beverages and I have grown to like the taste of it in my coffee. This time, I also tried adding a little bit to some rice (plain white rice with butter) and to some oatmeal. The taste was interesting and pleasant, but I had to experiment with how much to add to get the right amount of sweetness. (I ended up using about half a dinner spoon full.) Because Yacon has a distinctive taste, I got a sort of molasses-flavored treat with my oatmeal. I have to say that I like using this particular brand in my warm/hot food where I use the other brand in my coffees and some of my teas. I think it's going to come down to preference. Personally, I want to keep a variety around for my different uses.

    I'd also like to add (as I usually do) something about customer service. The product page has a nice message:
    When you order today, you're protected by our 100% quality and satisfaction guarantee together with our focus on exceptional customer service!
    Finally, I will say this about using Yacon syrup: Any one of us who is trying to revise our diet and lifestyle to be healthy know that big changes come from lots of small efforts. Using an alternative to white sugar is one of the best changes I've made. Lord knows, I'm not giving up sweets if I can help it. Using Yacon syrup is a good way to make a single but important effort. Did that make sense? I hope so!

    I will suggest to fellow healthy minded people that if you take one part of your daily diet that costs you the most calories from sugar, then use Yacon (or some other sweetener alternative) instead.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    ****REVIEW*** Living Natural's Yacon Syrup

    Since Living Natural's Yacon Syrup is not the first that I have tried, I was able to compare flavor and texture. It is a great-tasting Yacon syrup though, which is good because I know that taste varies among different brands and producers. This one has a really rich texture and flavor that I enjoy. One of the other brand of Yacon syrups (which I also liked) was the texture of table syrup and had a very mild flavor. This one has a different look (slightly lighter in color and sort of grainy-looking, even though it doesn't feel grainy) and the molasses-like flavor was more distinctive. I like using this one when I want to add a richer flavor to my beverages (okay, coffee). I like it best in hot coffee than any other drink although I have used it in hot and cold teas.

    Living Natural brand
    compared to...
    ...The other brand I like
    What I wonder, now that I have tried 3 different brands of Yacon syrup, is whether - brand to brand - they all have a difference in taste and texture. In general, like Yacon syrup for the benefits of using it instead of other sweeteners, but taste is important too. With the Living Natural brand Yacon syrup I have not been disappointed.

    I had my sister try this one in her coffee and she actually liked it (even though she is a Splenda user). One of the reasons I think she did like this one more than the first syrup she tried with me (and that I really liked a lot) is because of the stronger flavoring.

    There's a reason I want to get my friends and family to try Yacon syrup. Some of the benefits that I have heard of are:
    • Yacon root is a natural source of sweetener
    • In most cases, fewer in calories and more nutritious
    • Yacon syrup contains Fructooligosaccharide (or FOS)
    • There are indications that Yacon reduces blood glucose levels & weight loss
    • Has a good flavor & lacks the unpleasant after-taste of artificial sweeteners
    When my sister first tried Yacon syrup, she commented that she "could get used to it". And getting used to anything new is the main thing. If, like my sister, you have used artificial products -or table sugar, honey, and/or other sweeteners - you will need to get used to Yacon syrup. 

    A third brand of syrup I tried was not as much to my liking. It had too strong of a flavor (almost with a wine-like aftertaste) that some people might not mind. This Living Natural syrup is probably my favorite. Unlike some of the other sugar alternatives I've used, Yacon syrup has been easy to get used to though. I did have to learn how much to use and when to use it. For instance, I had been trying Yacon syrup for a while before I started using it regularly on my hot cereals. My sugar use is mainly in coffee, so that's where I started out. 

    Now that I am used to the taste and coloring of the Yacon syrup, I wish there were more products made using it as the primary sweetener.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Saturday, December 20, 2014

    **REVIEW** Pure Body Naturals Lemon Oil

    Wow. This:
    Pure Body Naturals


    When I applied to try this lemon oil, I was only thinking of using it for skin purposes (I'd heard lemon oil is good for softening calluses and for other body care issues), but then I started checking out some of the other ways it can be used. This is a list of what I've come up with:
    • Cleaning household items (stainless steel, counters, etc.)
    • Freshening the garbage disposal
    • Using with a diffuser to freshen a room
    • Adding to water in spray bottle to get rid of smoke & general funky stuff in the air
    • As a hair highlighter
    • In cooking and flavoring (I like mine in tea and water)
    • As a detoxifying drink (when used in water)
    • To cleanse the skin (and treat oily skin)
    • To freshen stale laundry
    The list goes on but these are the ones I just listed caught my interest right off.

    The first way I used it was on accident. I was opening the bottle because my sister and I were excited to see what the oil smelled like. As soon as I took off the lid, we could smell the scent without even getting our noses close to the bottle. That gave me the idea to put a few drops in a little glass bowl with some water. I set the bowl high up on a shelf (that my toddler nephew can't reach) and just let that fragrance go to work. Even such a small (diluted) amount immediately freshened the air. This is nice because when we have the windows shut against the winter air, all the cooking and other household odors turn stale. Another thing about the fragrance is that it's supposed to be soothing. What I can tell you for sure is that when I left a drop on a bowl on the windowsill overnight, I loved falling off to sleep with the calming scent in the air.

    My next use was as a detoxifier. I added one drop - just one - to a 33.8oz bottle of water. This lemon oil is so concentrated that I ended up using the treated water to treat smaller bottles of water. I`m going to work my way up to drinking the stronger-tasting 33 ounces next. I just wanted to give you an idea of how concentrated (I guess that`s the word I`m looking for) this oil is. 

    This much water with a single drop of oil
    The reason that I`m so happy with the strength of this oil is because with all the different ways I'm going to be able to use it, this 4oz bottle is going to last a while. I agree with the comment I saw another Amazon user make, saying that usually essential oils come tiny bottles. Not this one. And the quality is apparently not sacrificed for the size.

    As far as ingredients, there is only one: Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Peel Oil. That`s it.



    Usually, when I do a positive review of a product, I not only have to like the ite,, but I'm also thinking of the company and service. For this one, I think there are a lot of Pros (here comes another bullet list!):
    • The all-natural ingredients
    • Clear labeling and warnings
    • Labeling of Country of Origin
    • Bottled in the U.S.
    • Good length of after-opening time (PAO of 12 months)
    • Quantity and quality
    • Cruelty-free
    • Outstanding satisifaction guarantee
    , this is one of those products I've tried that I will be using from now on. I have a whole list of ways to consider using lemon oil.

    Pure Body Naturals is a brand you will want to keep in mind, not just for the quality, but also for the prices. If you have bought essential oils, you know what they can cost. Once you try Pure Body Naturals, I think you are going to be hooked like I am.

    If for any reason you aren't happy with the product, then you will still come away happy as a customer because of their "3 months 100% money-back guarantee". And you even get to keep what's left of your bottle. That's my kind of guarantee. There's no way you can lose by trying out the product.

    If there was one thing I`d like to see, it is a pamphlet of info for all the suggested uses of each essential oil. Still, this is such a good product that I don`t mind doing the searching for myself. I've just finished trying out Pure Body Naturals Argan Oil, which I will be blogging about shortly, and I only wish they made more products than they do. As a matter of fact, the next oil I`ll be trying from them is Peppermint. I can`t wait.

    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    Depression and Holidays



    This post is for anyone who might be struggling with emotional turmoil and depression. For a lot of us, tough times always feel tougher around major holidays.

    We think of holidays as being a time of joy and togetherness, filled with good times and high spirits. People who don't understand the "Blues" outside of the usual and "ordinary" type, might assume that a holiday will lift make everyone feel better.

    When you are dealing with any kind of depression - no matter the reason or source - it's easy to see only the downside to all that holiday cheer. While other people are gathering together, you might feel alone and forgotten - even while gathered with others. You see families and couples and friends and think of your own broken relationships. If you live in a snowy climate, you feel isolated. If you live in a sunny climate, you feel shut off from the seasonal spirit of things.

    It's not only people who are dealing with mental illness or other emotional issues who can feel this way. Depression can come from lots of sources: having your life thrown out of whack by some surprise circumstance, illness or personal loss. Depression is a form of mental illness.

    Let's stop and look at what that term means instead of just making snap judgments. This from NAMI is the best definition I've heard. The sentence is under the question of "What is mental illness":
    A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. (source)
    If we lived in a society that subsisted mostly on sugar (and we just might), lots of us would suffer tooth decay and obesity (and we just might). We do happen to live in a society that is stressful most of the time, is it any wonder that so many of us are suffering from mental stress?

    Times are just tough for a lot of folks and for lots of reasons. Money doesn't buy happiness, but poverty is no picnic either. Society is so fractured around us, with everyone feeling the pressure of belonging to (or being excluded from) some kind of group - racially, gender-wise; Boomers and Millennials and the Y's and Z's; the rich and poor and middle class; the "Singles" and the "Coupled Up"; Liberal, Conservative, Christian, Jewish, Athiest, and every other moral or religious or political persuasion.

    No matter who you are, or which "group" or "percent" you belong to, you might be feeling the Blues a little bit harder than at any other time of year. I have my own version of the Blues that hum at me constantly like I'm being serenaded by Mississippi John or Memphis Minnie, so I get it. Totally.


    What I want to say to anyone else who is dealing with their own Blues is that I hope you try to get through it one moment, one breath, at a time. I hope you don't let the cloud of your sad feelings overwhelm any light you have in you or around you.

    Here are some resources for anyone feeling troubled - and these are just some, not all. If you don't find what you need here, call your local clinic or hospital and ask if there is counseling available. There are also resources for those of you who know someone who might need help.

    And, finally, because I am a Christian, I turn to the Bible for reassurance. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Psalm 27:1. I remind myself of it when I just need to get through one more moment: "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?" (You have to know how awful my memory is to realize how much that verse must mean for me to have it memorized.) Here are 8 more verses that might be an encouragement to you. (And, if you are a person of faith, please pray for others.)

    Peace
    --Free

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    **REVIEW** Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale

    Since I have added to my diet tracking arsenal with their bathroom scale (and love it), I decided to try out this:

     The Smart Weigh folks produce this Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Tare, Hold and PCS (pieces) Functions.

    It`s a (heh heh) mouthful, right? But since I'm using it to measure what I will be putting in my mouth, I can't fuss. That`s what I will be using it for, but it has other uses - such as checking mail weight, jewelry, or any other item up to 2000 grams.

    My niece will want to borrow it to check mail weight (because of her business) but me - I`m strictly about the food. And, no, I don`t think I`m being obsessive. I just like the idea of being able to use this with recipes and checking on my intake of certain ingestibles. Then I have another niece who is way into baking and all kinds of ornamental food design. I have a feeling this is going to be a great gift idea for her.

    Whatever you decide to use it for - business, personal, or kitchen use - the features are so useful:
    • It`s small for storage (5 x 4 x 0.6 in./ 8 oz), but efficient
    • The LCD screen is easy on the eyes
    • Has an auto shut-off that will save battery wear
    • Looks great (better even than the pic I took)
    • The stainless steel tray is easy to clean
    • Easy to use (I figured it out in a couple of seconds!)
    • Accurate, with readings from 1 tenth of a gram to 2kg
    • Reads in grams, ounces, troy ounces, pennyweight, grains and carats
    • Has a "Hold" funtion that will lock the weight reading.
    My favorite feature: When you want to get the weight of something minus the container it`s in, you can use the Tare function. Coolness.

    If I get outside my selfish self for a minute, I can think how useful this scale would be to small business owners, bakers and cooks, and craftspeople. Back to me: just perfect for the kitchen - where I spend so much time thinking about food... To be fair, I have a family member with special dietary restrictions, so this will be handy for her.

    The fact that this has so many features, yet is still small and nice-looking isi what I really like. The design is sturdy and solid. It looks and feels very well-made. That surprised me because the price is so freaking reasonable.

    The only negative to this is that I have family already wanting to borrow mine. I'm going to remind them how afforable it is to get their own.

    Okay. There might be one more negative to having this scale. I mean, I don't always want to know how much that last grab of chips I scarfed down weighed out at...

    Seriously? But it was just a hand full
    Peace
    --Free

    DISCLOSURE:
    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.