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  • 19 Apr 2016 10:00 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Baking Soda - Take the baking out of the soda and see what happens!

    The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is just the best smell you could imagine emitting from the kitchen on a Sunday morning, and then to bite into that soft springy sponge is absolutely delightful, all thanks to the amazing rising properties of baking soda. Of course, these cupcakes are organic and gluten free, boasting succulent medjoul date chunks and wholesome nuts and seeds. 

    Baking soda is one of those ingredients that has been known for years for its medicinal benefits yet it's many uses has only recently been forgotten. Only as early as the 1950s when doctors still prescribing baking soda mixed in water for colds and upset stomachs, but then

     the new age pharmaceutical era took over nobody reached for the mere baking soda anymore.

    Baking soda is also popularly known as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. It's natural mineral form is called nahcolite, which is a component of the mineral natron found in many mineral springs. Ancient Egyptians were known to use the mineral natron to paint hieroglyphics and for making soap. However, it wasn't until the 1800s when two New York bakers started to manufacture and market this compound as baking soda. It went on to be introduced into cookbooks and later in the 1920s Arm & Hammer started advertising it as a medicinal agent. 

    Baking soda is amphoteric i.e. it reacts with both acid and alkali bases.  As a rising agent it works by reacting with the acid components in the batter releasing carbon dioxide, causing the batter to expand, giving that soft leavened texture on baking. However, baking soda, when mixed with water gives an alkaline solution so it’s great as an antacid, combating indigestion, heartburn and even ulcers. All you need to do is mix ½ teaspoon of it in half a glass of water until fully dissolved and simply drink. 

    Researchers have also found that adding a one half cup of baking soda to bathwater soothes itchiness and irritation in patients with psoriasis. When mixed with water and applied as a paste, it also helps reduce itchiness from insect bites, sunburn, allergic rashes, and reduces discomfort on skin exposed to poison oak or ivy. That same paste also makes a nice, gentle face exfoliant as well as being an effective cleaning and scrubbing agent for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. 

    When mixed with coconut oil it becomes a known absorbent of musty smells and so makes a great underarm deodorant. You could make it more effective and long lasting by adding some arrowroot powder or corn starch plus an essential oil of your choice. Adding coconut oil to baking soda also has a positive effect on oral health. As a toothpaste, its mild abrasive action helps to remove plaque, plus polish, clean, whiten, and deodorize your teeth, while it's anti bacterial action kills bacteria which causes tooth decay. 

    Sodium bicarbonate has also been shown to slow down the rate of decline in kidney disease. Those that have chronic kidney disease, which is often caused by diabetes or hypertension, have a hard time removing acid from the body. This often results in a condition known as metabolic acidosis. Baking soda buffers these acids and helps keep the body pH in check. This pH balancing effect has also shown to help those with cancer, although it's still unproven, oral sodium bicarbonate could make tumours more alkaline and inhibit metastasis (the spreading of the tumour). 

    There has also been mention in the sports arena that baking soda can have a positive effect on athletic performance. When taken orally in liquid form before intense exercise, it appears to buffer the lactic acid that builds up in muscles, delays fatigue, and thus enhancing athletic performance.

    These are some of the amazing benefits that baking soda can offer. It has a variety of uses for a number of conditions as well as being a handy household detergent. Its topical use remains safe and nontoxic. Oral use is also safe, provided you don't exceed the recommended doses, as this could upset the body’s acid-base balance. Larger amounts can even cause temporary nausea and diarrhoea. 

    Don't let the word 'sodium' deter you into thinking it will raise your blood pressure, it won't.  Even though it contains quite a bit of sodium, the hypertensive effect comes from the combination of sodium and chloride in table salt, which is salt that has been chemically produced. 

    Now that you know this nifty little ingredient is more than just a raising agent be sure to take it out of your kitchen cupboard and discover its full potential!

    Recipes for Health

    Razor burn soother

    Razor burned skin can be painful, not to mention unsightly. Soothe your sensitive skin with a solution of 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Allow the solution to dry on your skin (it will take about 5 minutes), and then rinse with cool water. Men can also use this same formula for a pre-shave or after-shave treatment on their face as long as they avoid the eye area.

    Removing product build up

    Get rid of extra product build up in your hair by sprinkling about a penny-size of baking soda into your palm along with your favourite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. The baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable. 

    Sources

    http://www.alternativehealthzone.com/nutrition-tips/health-benefits-of-baking-soda

    http://www.myhealthylifeteam.com/the-magic-baking-soda-things-you-didnt-know-baking-soda-could-do/

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/27/baking-soda-natural-remedy.aspx

    http://www.drwhitaker.com/7-baking-soda-health-benefits/

  • 19 Mar 2016 5:41 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Home is where the vinegar is!

    Vinegar is one of those condiments whereby for many it's an acquired taste. Whether you love it on your chips or loathe it. Nevertheless, it has become a must-have item in many kitchen cabinets today. A home without vinegar is not a home at all, some say.  Vinegar is said to have been discovered around 5000 BC, when unattended grape juice turned into wine and then vinegar. Hippocrates used it to disinfect open wounds while other practitioners in the 1700s used it to treat poison ivy and a whole host of other conditions. 

    Vinegar means “sour wine” in French and can be made from almost any carbohydrate that can be fermented, including grapes, dates, coconut, potatoes, beetroot, and, of course, apples. Traditionally, vinegar is made through a long, slow fermentation process which can take weeks or even months. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, thus turning the sugars into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobactor). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.

    The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a non-toxic slime made up of yeast and acetobacter, known as the mother of vinegar. The 'Mother' of vinegar which resembles a cobweb is an amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar and is responsible for most of its health benefits. It also indicates that your amber coloured vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming. 

    Why choose Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

    All vinegars seem alike. However, according to many studies and researches, ACV encompasses more benefits than other vinegar types especially in the field of health and medicine. It has been perhaps the most versatile type of vinegar and is considered a pioneer in health benefits through oral consumption. ACV also contains higher levels of vitamins and minerals plus multiple types of antioxidants called polyphenols which have proven health benefits.

    Distilled or white vinegar is a clear, colourless vinegar made from ethanol or laboratory-produced acetic acid and then mixed or diluted in water. It is good for pickling and household cleaning but not a very good vinegar for cooking because of its harsh taste. Red wine vinegar, used in cooking, is usually processed and pasteurised. 

    Balsamic vinegar is traditionally produced in the city of Modena, Italy. It is made from a concentrated grape juice that is fermented and aged for at least 10 months to develop its flavour. It's health benefits are somewhat similar to ACV, however, it can be quite expensive to buy compared to ACV which is widely available in its unpasteurised probiotic form. 

    Overall, ACV, the cloudy looking, mild tasting vinegar is the better choice especially if you are planning to consume it. 

    Benefits and Uses

    ACV can not only add another dimension to your cooking, it’s useful for health purposes, cleaning, garden care, hygiene, beauty and much more. 

    It is rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties. 

    It is useful in treating diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels; heart disease by lowering triglycerides and VLDL (damaging form of cholesterol); weight loss by increasing the feeling of fullness, increasing metabolism, and reducing water retention. It is great for colds, sore throats and other infections, due to its anti bacterial properties and its ability to break down mucous and reduce mucous formation. 

    No digestive problem nor acid reflux is a challenge for this vinegar as it rebalances the ph levels in the stomach. The pectin contained in it also soothes intestinal spasms. Skin irritations and wounds, such as insect bites, cuts, poison ivy and sunburn are easily treated. It can even remove warts thanks to its high acetic acid levels. Simply place an ACV soaked cotton wool directly over the wart and leave it there overnight. Repeat this until the wart turns crusty, then dark and eventually falls off. 

    For a great energy boost try taking diluted ACV (1tbsp ACV in half a glass of water) first thing in the morning. The potassium and the enzymes in the vinegar will banish fatigue and the amino acids may prevent the build up of lactic acid in the body causing tiredness, aches and pains. 

    You can use it to marinate and ferment foods. It is great in sauces and soups, and is a nice dressing on salads. It is a vital ingredient for a home-made bone broth as it has the ability to extract the essential minerals from the bones during cooking. 

    ACV is a great natural cleaning aid for your household appliances. It is also great at killing weeds in your garden and neutralising odours in your home. Due to its anti microbial properties it kills unwanted bacteria and pesticides around your fruit and vegetable. By just adding a small amount of ACV to water (1:10) and washing your fruit and vegetables in that solution, you can be rest assure that there will be no nasties lurking around. Just be careful not to wash fragile fruits like berries since they will get damaged in the process. 

    ACV is a natural alternative to many of your beauty regimes. It can balance the ph level of your scalp thus preventing dandruff. It's a brilliant facial toner and cleanser aiding in the prevention of acne. Its anti inflammatory properties will also aid in fading away acne scars and other bruising. It kills odour causing bacteria so would be great as an underarm deodorant. It is one of the go to products for oral health treating bad breathe, whitening teeth, gum disease, tooth ache and so on. However, it is important to dilute the vinegar as the acidity can damage the teeth as well as the tissues in your mouth and throat. 

    ACV really is an all rounder condiment, and not only should it be in your kitchen cabinet but in your bathroom cabinet and garden shed as well. So, what they say is true: A home without vinegar is not a home at all. Remember to buy the ACV which contains the 'mother' in the bottle and err on the side of caution when consuming it, always diluting the vinegar before ingesting it. 

    Recipes for Health

    Dandruff treatment

    Mix equal part ACV and water and pour into a spray bottle. Spritz on your scalp and wrap a towel around your head. Let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour and then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results. 

    Remedy for indigestion

    1 tsp raw honey

    1 tsp ACV

    1 glass of warm water

    Mix these ingredients together and drink 30 minutes before your meal. 

    Why not make your own ACV by following the instructions on this link: www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/make-raw-apple-cider-vinegar/

    Sources

    §  www.rd.com/health/wellness/apple-cider-vinegar-benefits/

    §  articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/21/apple-cider-vinegar-uses.aspx

    §  en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider_vinegar

    §  www.livestrong.com/article/212202-difference-between-cider-vinegar-distilled-vinegar/

    §  www.youthhealthmag.com/articles/16986/20150602/how-is-apple-cider-vinegar-different-from-other-types.htm

    §  paleoleap.com/what-about-vinegar/

  • 19 Feb 2016 8:43 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    The coconut palm is truly an amazing tree. In many parts of the world it is known as the "tree of life" or "the tree that provides all the necessities of life". It is a source of food and drink to nourish the body, medicine to maintain and restore health, and material to build shelter, clothing and tools. It grows abundantly in the tropics and the coconut is its prized possession. Coconuts, in its natural state, are much larger than how we see in it the supermarket. They are in fact, encapsulated in a thick smooth green husk which, when dehusked, reveals the hard brown 'seed' we recognise. 

    Coconuts can produce a variety of edible products, such as coconut meat, water, milk, cream and oil as well as sugar, vinegar and wine. Coconut oil is extracted from coconut meat or flesh, which is the inner soft white portion. However, there are several ways in which the oil is extracted which also defines the quality of the oil. The majority of the coconut oils on the market, that are mass produced, are made from the dried white flesh known as copra, which is reconstituted with water and heated to separate the oil from the rest of the coconut. This oil is then refined, bleached, and deodorised, yielding a poor quality oil with less nutritional value. So when choosing to buy coconut oil look for the unrefined, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil. This type is produced from fresh coconuts where the coconut meat is milled and passed through a cold press expeller. Here, the oil is literally squeezed out, passed through a filter to remove any sediments and you are left with a clear, fragrant oil which hardens when cooled. 


    Coconut Cures

    Coconut oil has taken the spotlight in recent times for its numerous health benefits. This may come as a surprise to some of you since coconut oil is 92.1% saturated fat. In the past, it was heavily scrutinised on the assumption that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol, in turn, causing heart disease. What is not known is that there are different types of saturated fat just like there are different types of polyunsaturated fat. The type of saturated fat in coconut oil does not raise blood cholesterol. The reason for this is because it is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which make it different from other oils giving it its remarkable nutritional and medicinal properties. In fact, the unique combination of the MCFAs in coconut oil allows it to be easily digested and provides quick nutrition for the body without burdening the digestive tract. The ease of its digestion means it also improves the absorption of other nutrients. So when added to your diet it can improve the absorption of minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well some B vitamins (the fat soluble vitamins) such as vit A,D,E,K and beta carotene. 

    The MCFAs is the livers preferred choice for fuel to produce energy so coconut oil can boost your energy levels, make you more alert, and is a great substitute to caffeine. It may not give you that kick you get from your morning coffee, it is more subtle, yet lasts for hours rather than minutes. The best thing about changing to coconut oil is that you don't develop a dependency to it nor do you get the lows and withdrawal symptoms. So why not try adding a dollop of coconut oil to a nourishing smoothie, warm herbal tea, hot chocolate or juice to wake you up before you head to work. 

    Surprisingly to some, coconut oil is now known as the 'low calorie fat'. Instead of being stored away in fat cells, it is utilised as an energy source. When added to a meal it satisfies the hunger faster resulting in less snacking between meals. It also increases metabolism, thus, burning more calories faster! A study has shown that on obese individuals coconut oil had a greater effect on increasing their metabolism which, in turn, leads to weight loss. Yes, weight loss! The best thing about this is that the more body fat you have, the greater the effect coconut oil has on stimulating your metabolism, the more weight you lose. All of this without breaking a sweat!

    Coconut oil stimulates the thyroid function which, in turn, improves a host of symptoms such as migraines, pmt, anxiety, depression, irritability, memory loss, insomnia, constipation, food intolerances and the list goes on. The MCFAs has powerful antimicrobial properties with the ability to destroy fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites without harming the good bacteria living in our bodies. This means it is able to treat infections like pneumonia, meningitis, food poisoning, conjunctivitis, oral and gum disease, candida, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, and even SARS and AIDS.

    With all the benefits I've mentioned so far it shouldn't astonish you to know that it also has gut healing, anti inflammatory powers. By just adding coconut products to your diet you may be able to protect yourself from ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease and so on. It's antioxidant properties protects us against conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, kidney stones, gout, lupus, PMS, arthritis, ageing, skin diseases, sun burn, diabetes, food allergies, hay fever, asthma and even cancer. 

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of some of the amazing things coconut oil can do. By just adding one or two tablespoons to your diet you will be treating any underlying illnesses plus optimising your health at the same type. Be sure to get the best quality coconut oil you can afford and get the whole family involved in consuming this delicious exotic healing oil. 


    Recipes for Health

    Health tonic

    All purpose health tonic packed full of vitamins and minerals that will give you the energy you need to start off the day. A great way to add coconut oil to your diet and a brilliant substitute to your morning coffee.  It can be taken at any time of the day and can be served hot or cold. 

    §  1 cup fresh vegetable juice (such as carrot, beetroot, celery, chard, spinach, cilantro, bell peppers and courgettes)

    §  ½ cup hot water

    §  2 tbsp coconut oil

    §  ¼ tsp onion powder

    §  220g / 1 cup tomato sauce

    §  1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

    §  ¼ tsp sea salt (otherwise Himalayan or Celtic salt)

    §  Pepper to taste (optional)

    Heat water, coconut oil, and onion powder until the oil is completely melted. Stir together the hot water mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable juice, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. The beverage should be warm enough to keep the coconut oil melted. If the flavour of the tonic is too strong, dilute it with a little more water. Stir and enjoy. 

    Clove ointment

    This ointment is good for bacterial infections. Use topically on the skin or gums. Good for fighting gum disease and dental plaque. Apply the ointment with a cotton swab to the affected area. 

    §  1 part essential clove oil

    §  10 parts virgin coconut oil



    Sources

    o   Coconut cures, 2005, Bruce Fife ND. 

    o   Scalding, L., et al. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium chain and long chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 1130-1133. 

    o   Blog.lucybee.co

  • 19 Jan 2016 5:48 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    With the cold days hitting us everyone heads for the natural remedies for colds, coughs and sore throats. One common condiment is honey. But not just any honey, RAW honey. Since honey was discovered we've all known its benefits for soothing an itchy throat but only recently have people taken a particular interest in raw, unadulterated honey. What's the difference? You may ask. Well, it's actually honey for starters.

    Raw honey is made from the nectars of flowers. Worker bees gather the nectar and place it in their honey sac where it mixes with acid secretions and deposited in the honeycombs cells. Bees then fan the deposit with their wings to reduce the moisture content from 40-80% to 18-20% before the cell is sealed with beeswax and the honey is complete. The Bee Keepers then remove the honeycomb frames and scrape the sealed beeswax to release the honey. It is then placed into a honey extractor which spins them so that the honey flies out into the big canister. It is then passed through a screen to remove any remaining beeswax before it is stored into jars. Nowadays most honey found in the supermarkets have been heat treated for longer shelf life, and filtered, leaving no traces of bee pollen and lack beneficial vitamins and enzymes which make honey, well, honey. Other natural constituents are also removed in the process.


    Benefits

    Raw honey contains up to 80 different substances important to human nutrition. Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains: All of the B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese. The live enzyme content of honey is one of the highest of all foods. It contains over 5000 enzymes including amylase, a digestive enzyme for carbohydrates. The benefit of ingesting naturally occurring enzymes such as amylase is that it reduces the burden on the body to produce these enzymes itself to digest the food.

    The two key beneficial components are bee pollen and propolis, however, there are other substances in honey not yet identified, which may also be responsible for its positive effects.

    Bee pollen is a super food containing all the nutrients required by the human body. It contains 22 amino acids and 27 minerals and an array of vitamins, essential fatty acids and bioflavonoids. It's great for a healthy heart, weight control, beauty, allergies, anti-aging and much more.

    Propolis contains antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties demonstrating its effectiveness in cancer treatments, allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol, ulcers and many other illnesses and infections. It provides natural defences against cell damage by neutralizing unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Its antioxidant level is equivalent to that of spinach, or even strawberries, and unique to honey is Pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

    Raw honey does not ferment in the stomach so it can aid in stomach upsets and diarrhoea. It is also alkaline forming unlike processed honey and processed foods, which are acid forming. For this reason it aids in balancing our body ph levels preventing an environment in the body which is a breeding ground for bacteria and other illnesses. It also heals wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers, sores and scrapes and can provide a protective barrier for wounds.

    With raw honey having all these health benefits and tasting so good you almost want to have it with every meal and snack. However, regardless of it being one of the healthiest sweeteners out there, it is still high in natural sugars and should be consumed in moderation.



    Types of honey

    There are more than 300 types of nectar sources collected by bees worldwide. Thus, they are able to make more than 300 different varieties of honey. Each variety has its own texture, taste, colour and flavour depending upon the region, floral source and even treatment. To learn about the specific health benefits for some of the common types of raw honey, click on the link below:

    http://naturalon.com/huge-list-of-22-types-of-honey-and-their-medicinal-properties/view-all/


    Recipes for Health

    Brightening facemask for scars and dark spots:

    • 2 tsp raw honey
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

    Mix together and apply to face for 20-30 minutes and then wash off with warm water.

    Cough Syrup

    • Raw Honey
    • Onion (chopped)

    In a jar, add chopped onions until it covers the bottom of the jar. Then top with 1 tbsp honey or enough to barely cover the onions but not completely. Make more layers of onion and honey until it is one and a half inches away from the top of the jar. Let it sit for 24 hours. An amber fluid develops and the onions float to the top. Strain the onions out. Store the syrup in the fridge. Take a tsp of it when needed.


    Sources

    Purehealingfoods.com

    Organics.org

    Permaculturenews.org

    Swansonvitamins.com

    Livingthenourishedlife.com

  • 14 Jan 2016 10:41 PM | Simply Hijama (Administrator)

    Watch this space for our new monthly blog on various health topics!

    We take promotion of health and prevention of illness very seriously. We don't believe in promoting a single therapy, health should be maintained holistically. We will be looking at various remedies; natural and allopathic, as well as addressing a number of health issues.

    The blog will be written by Aliya (Umm Omar). Aliya is a BSc Honours graduate in Nutrition from Kings College London university. She used to work for the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) as their Press Officer, Researcher, and headed their Marketing and Promotions department. She was the editor for the ION E-Newsletter, and has published a retrospective study on vitamin B6 in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. She has also co-authored other publications in collaboration with Patrick Holford. 

    Coming soon......

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