Body & Beauty: Edible Body Care  

In choosing what foods to put IN our bodies I always recommend focusing on “whole foods” i.e. items with easy to identify ingredients such as: carrot, onion, rice, and avoiding items with long chemical names that your grandmother never heard of. Recently I’ve been thinking, why not use the same standard for what we put ON our bodies? So I decided to experiment with using only edible products on my skin. The results: fabulous!

Why not? These days thousands of manmade chemicals end up in our bloodstream no matter how clean we eat or how scrupulously we care for ourselves. Much of this, such as the air we breathe, we have very limited influence on. But we do know that many of the compounds we rub on our skin can be absorbed and show up in our bloodstream. Why not try to reduce the chemical load on our bodies and our hardworking livers where we can?

For example, a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a successful mastectomy. She went through her cabinets throwing away all the lotions and makeup that contain parabens, which if you read the labels, is all over. Parabens have been shown to display estrogenic activity and can potentially disrupt the delicate balance of the body’s hormonal system, including the ovaries, thyroid, and hypothalamus. Certainly, more research is needed, but I’d rather not play guinea pig in the meantime. And parabens are only one class of compounds frequently used in skin and body care products.

I started to experiment with the body since the face is a little trickier and also the body’s surface area is so much larger. I found that I LOVE my simple edible body care and see no reason to go back to the packaged stuff. In my humble opinion, it works better than many packaged products and is completely in line with my values of quality, simplicity, freshness, effectiveness, and purity. Plus, it feels, smells, and tastes delicious and luxurious.  Go on, take a few minutes and pamper yourself!

Some favorites:
Body Moisturizer: Organic Raw Coconut Oil. This is a popular natural moisturizer in many tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Put a little on right after drying after a shower and let it absorb while you brush your teeth. Towel off afterwards so it doesn’t make your clothes greasy. It can be solid at room temperature so if it is just rub it between your palms for a second to liquefy it. Coconut oil also has anti-fungal properties so can be helpful for people with yeast-related skin rashes (in addition to a yeast and sugar free nutritional program). It makes a fabulous lip moisturizer. As with most oils, use caution before or during sun exposure.

Exfoliating Body Scrub: Sugar, Cinnamon and Olive Oil. This one feels and smells amazing. And, this is a great thing to do with that sugar in the kitchen cabinet that I, or one of my colleagues, probably told you not to eat!

Recipe: 2 tbsp sugar, 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix well. Then step in the shower before rubbing this on so you don’t make a mess. Start rubbing onto dry skin on the extremities first and then work your way to the trunk of the body. Take your time and enjoy this. Then turn on the water and shower as usual. You can skip the soap except on the armpits and crotch. The oil will absorb into your skin while you shower and you’ll come out with your skin feeling smooth and smelling delicious! In Chinese medicine, Cinnamon is considered a very warming and invigorating herb that also tonifies yang, so it is best for those with a cold constitution and/or poor circulation. Not for use before or during sun exposure or for those with “heat” conditions such as rosacea, or red rashes. Also be careful not slip in the tub because the oil can make it a little slippery.
There are many other easy, edible, and effective body and skin care recipes. I’ll have more of them coming later. The point for now is to experiment with this, enjoy and have fun!


Food & Nutrition: What to Eat for Breakfast

Many patients struggling with infertility and other chronic health issues get much healthier and feel much better when they eliminate foods they don’t tolerate well, often gluten and dairy. The question remains: what do I eat for breakfast? I have a delicious suggestion to try out: Chinese congee.

This is what millions of Chinese eat every morning for breakfast. It is very tasty and quick and easy to prepare. You take leftover COOKED rice (brown is best, though white is traditional) and add ½ cup to 1 cup of additional water per cup of rice and warm it up so it becomes sort of soupy and soft, kind of like oatmeal. This should take 3-20 minutes depending on how soft you like the rice. How watery or thick you make it is up to you. Then you take all kinds of savory or sweet items and put them on top: meat, fish, egg, vegetables, nuts, seaweed, lotus root, jujube. There are no rules. I generally use whatever is in my refrigerator. This is a great way to be creative and have fun!

That said, there are some ingredients that are traditionally used for congee. My very favorite is Chili Bamboo Shoots. These are tender young bamboo shoots in chili oil. You can get them and other congee classics in Chinatown at Kam Man Food Products.

In Chinese medicine, congee is considered a very nourishing food and is often used to prepare medicinal foods specific to the patient’s constitution. To read more about congee and more recipes click here.

 

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