Monday, August 21, 2017

Hydrogen Peroxide For Teeth Whitening, Hair And More

When I was a teen, hydrogen peroxide was my go-to teeth-whitener, and something I would spray on my hair to get that “sun kissed” look. Years later, you can still find a bottle in my medicine cabinet as an inexpensive way to whiten teeth, and disinfect cuts and scrapes.

What is hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a pale blue liquid, which appears colorless, and is slightly more viscous than water. It’s a weak acid made up of hydrogen and oxygen and a strong oxidizer often used as a cleaning agent. When used topically, hydrogen peroxide foams and fizzes due to the enzyme catalase, according to Medical Daily. This reaction has a bleaching and disinfecting effect that works for several applications.

Whiten your teeth

The most important thing people want to change about their smile is the whiteness of their teeth, suggests a survey conducted by Kelton Global for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). And almost 100 percent of those surveyed believe a great smile is one of their most important “social assets.” But why pay hundreds of dollars to whiten your teeth when you can have the same results for pennies? In fact, even professionally applied tooth bleaching products used by dentists contain hydrogen peroxide.
However, those peroxide concentrations range from 25 to 40 percent and are sometimes used together with a light or laser, which are supposed to accelerate or activate the whitening process. But, according to the American Dental Association, most studies report there is no additional long-term benefit with light-activated systems.

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda teeth whitener

Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to whiten teeth naturally.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to whiten teeth naturally.
Create a simple whitening solution with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to gently remove stains. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tbsp baking soda


  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Toothbrush


1. Add the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into a small bowl. Stir to combine into a paste.  
2. Dip your toothbrush in the mixture and start brushing.  
3. Allow the paste to stay on your teeth for about a minute, and then rinse thoroughly.
I personally use this homemade whitening paste, but only once or twice a month. If you have very bad stains on your teeth, you could use it initially once a week until you notice an improvement. More often, however, and the baking soda could break down the enamel over time, causing sensitivity. And of course, make sure to maintain your regular oral care regimen.

Remove earwax

All humans and other mammals have earwax. It consists of shed skin cells, hair and the secretions from glands of the outside ear canal. Although gross, it serves its purpose. Namely, protecting the ear canal against bacteria, fungi and water. But, too much earwax and your ears may feel full, affecting your hearing.
Although most experts agree that removing earwax is not entirely necessary, you may still want to clean your ears time and again. The problem is, rooting around your ear canal with a Q-tip can actually push wax further inside. So, instead of cleaning your ear out, the wax gets stuck. As a result, wax builds up on top of it, creating a dangerous blockage or “impaction,” according to NYU Otologist Dr. Erich Voigt, for
Hydrogen peroxide can safely remove earwax buildup, according to PubChem. Most over-the-counter wax removal drops basically contain oil and peroxide solutions. Hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen in the ear and foams, causing ear wax to soften and loosen. To use hydrogen peroxide at home, simply lie down on your side, with one ear facing up, says Healthline. Use an eyedropper to drop one or two drops of peroxide into your ear. Keep still for five minutes and then sit up. Blot the outer ear with a tissue to absorb any liquid that comes out. And then, repeat the process on the other ear.
A method that I prefer is using a Q-tip — soaked in hydrogen peroxide — to administer it into my ear. I don’t push it into the ear canal, but merely let it sit in the ear opening, and allow it to gently drip in. After about a minute or so, I dry my ear with a tissue.  

Lighten hair

Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water to get lighter locks.
Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water to get lighter locks.
Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that has been used to lighten hair for years. Peroxide penetrates the hair shaft and removes the natural pigment of the hair — hence the expression “peroxide blonde.”
Here’s what I used to do to lighten my locks. Simply dilute one part of three percent hydrogen peroxide with one part water, and pour it into a spray bottle. Wet your hair, and then spray the solution on your entire head or just the strands you want to lighten. Then, comb it through. Blow-drying your hair will accelerate the effect. Follow by washing your hair and deep conditioning it to prevent drying. This won’t give you a peroxide blonde look, but it will give you more natural highlights. You can also use this solution as a gradual lightener, over time.

Healing wounds

Hydrogen peroxide can aid the healing process for wounds.
Hydrogen peroxide can aid the healing process for wounds.
Unlike using alcohol to disinfect a wound, using peroxide will definitely remove the “ouch” factor from the equation. Hydrogen peroxide cleans wounds by moistening and loosening dried blood and any dirt in the wound. It also removes dead tissue. Peroxide foams on contact, and the fizz produced helps to mechanically clean the wound. It’s for this reason that you should keep a bottle in your first-aid kit to clean a wound when no clean water is available.
But, here’s the thing: according to Sciencing, it can also destroy the cells called fibroblasts, which rebuild the connective tissue to heal the wound. So, for this reason, it’s not recommended for long-term use. In addition, although hydrogen peroxide is widely used as an antibacterial agent, it’s effectiveness is up for debate. Certain types of bacteria, such as staphylococci, have an enzyme called catalase, which breaks hydrogen peroxide down to water and oxygen, actually diluting it.
Research published in PLOS looked at the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide on wound healing. In agreement with previous studies, researchers found that wounds display a positive effect when treated topically with peroxide. But only when in lower concentrations were used. Subsequently, higher concentrations actually delayed healing. So, to clean and promote healing in wounds, stick to lower (three percent) solutions, generally found at the drugstore.
There you have it, some pretty good reasons to keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet.
— Katherine Marko

Top Reasons To Stop Eating Ramen Noodles

I remember my college days like a blur. With a stacked class schedule, heavy participation in athletics and student life, there was precious little time to think about healthy eating. My commitment to an ultra clean lifestyle came a couple of years after graduating when all of the residual impacts of not making nutrition a priority began to show their ugly faces.
My first year of higher education was spent in the dorm, squished in a little room without access to a kitchen. This made me a victim to whatever was being served in the student cafeteria, fast food and — of course — the infamous and very cheap Ramen noodles. I spent many a late night studying into the wee hours with my coffee and instant noodles there to comfort me. After all, they were so cheap and easy to make. Pop them out of the package, into a bowl and pour hot water over the top!
Today, some 30 years later, I sadly still see Ramen noodles as a staple in the lives of college students and others pressed for time. They are contraband in my house but not everyone knows the truth behind these insanely unhealthy processed noodles.
Let me enlighten you! Here are just a few reasons why Ramen noodles deserve no place in your pantry or dorm room!

1. Ramen noodles mess with female hormones

Ramen noodles may increase your susceptibility to metabolic syndrome.
Ramen noodles may increase your susceptibility to metabolic syndrome.
Most women have enough trouble managing the natural ebb and flow of their hormones. When you add instant noodles to the mix, you are really asking for trouble. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2014 studied the diets of 10,711 adults aged 19 to 64. One of the key findings of this study was that women who consumed instant Noodles two or more times a week were more likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a blanket term for a cluster of risk factors that significantly increase your odds of developing heart disease and other chronic ailments. While it may seem complex — and there are a lot of factors in play — there is one thing you can do from now on that will greatly diminish your susceptibility to this condition: eat real food.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are five main risk factors that characterize metabolic syndrome. They are high fasting blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high blood pressure and visceral fat (a.k.a. belly fat). Having three or more of these risk factors may be indicative of metabolic syndrome.
The NIH also states that individuals with metabolic syndrome have approximately double the risk of developing heart disease, and about five times the risk of developing diabetes, than that of individuals who do not have metabolic syndrome.

BPA and hormones

The styrofoam packages that the noodles are packaged in contain a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). Heating up products that have BPA can cause it to leach into the product and you may end up consuming some. In addition, the temperature of some products when packaged is high enough that the risk of BPA leaching into the product is significantly increased (this is particularly a problem for BPA-lined containers).
“BPA has been proven to mimic the function of natural hormones in animals and humans,” explained Ramji Bhandari, assistant research professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. “Fish and aquatic organisms often have the greatest exposure to such chemicals during critical periods in their development or even throughout entire life cycles. This study shows that even though endocrine disruptors may not affect the life of the exposed fish, it may negatively affect future generations.”

2. Ramen noodles are loaded with sodium

Ramen noodles contain too much sodium per serving.
Ramen noodles contain 875 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Just one serving of Ramen noodles contains 875 milligrams of sodium. This eats away pretty quickly at the recommended upper limit of sodium intake daily of 2400 milligrams.  Too much sodium causes blood pressure to increase because it holds extra fluid in the body and puts a tremendous strain on the heart. A diet rich in sodium greatly increases the risk of a number of deadly conditions including stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, stomach cancer and osteoporosis.

3. Ramen noodles contain TBHQ, a byproduct of the petroleum industry

If you eat instant noodles you are consuming TBHQ (Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone), often listed in ingredients as an “antioxidant.” What most people don’t realize is that this is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties, not a natural antioxidant. It is used because it prevents oxidation of fats and oils, which extends shelf life.
This dangerous chemical is frequently used in processed foods such as McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Wheat Thins, Taco Bell beans, Teddy Grahams and more. According to “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives,” just one gram of TBHQ can cause:
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Delirium
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feelings of suffocation
  • Collapse
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that animal studies indicate the following impact of prolonged TBHQ exposure:
  • Liver impacts at very low levels
  • Reproductive impacts at high doses
  • Biochemical changes at very low levels

4. Ramen noodles contain MSG

Ramen noodles contain MSG, a toxic ingredient that is highly addictive.
Ramen noodles contain MSG, a toxic ingredient that is highly addictive.
If you avoid Ramen noodles for just one thing, it should be the MSG. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is one of the most toxic ingredients in our food supply. Commonly known as “the flavor enhancer,” MSG is a neurotoxin. To some, it can be highly addictive. MSG is found in a large variety of processed foods, sometimes hiding under alternate names including yeast extract, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein and sometimes “natural flavors.” It appears frequently in frozen foods, salad dressings, crackers, packaged instant noodles, canned soups and processed meats, to name only a few.
The chemical breakdown of MSG is 78 percent free glutamic acid, 21 percent sodium and approximately 1 percent contaminants. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, “Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.”
He continues, “Abnormal functions of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.” Ingesting MSG throws off the balance of glutamate receptors in the body, often causing system-wide havoc.

More health problems from MSG

MSG has also been linked to many other health problems, including numbness, fatigue, eye damage, headaches, depression, disorientation and obesity. It has also been linked to cancers. It is imperative to your health to stop ingesting MSG, even though you may crave it, and the cravings may be quite strong for some people.
As people began to give MSG a bad rap, sneaky food manufacturers found ways of deceiving the public. They simply gave the additive a new name — or many! These include:
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Yeast extract
  • Soy extract
  • Protein isolate
  • Natural flavor, which often contains synthetic free glutamate

5. Ramen noodles contain bad fat

Although you may not think it, Ramen noodles are extremely high in fat. In one brick there is eight grams, four of which are saturated. Manufacturers pre-fry the noodles in fat that is often rancid. If you eat a 2000 calorie diet, just one pack of Ramen noodles provides 40 percent of your daily value of saturated fat. Not to mention, this is not healthy fat like that found in avocados or coconut oil. It is bad rancid fat that glosses your arteries and elevates bad cholesterol.

What happens when you eat Ramen noodles?

The viral video below shows just what happens when a pack of Ramen noodles hits your gut. The video demonstrates that the noodles are extremely hard to digest. This taxes your entire body.

Summing it up

Yes they are cheap, yes they are easy, but Ramen noodles or instant noodles of any kind are downright toxic and contain zero nutritional value. If you are a college student looking for brainpower or just love the taste of instant noodles, I encourage you to make your own. Here is a healthy recipe that I adopted after years of Ramen abuse. Enjoy!

Healthy Mason Jar Noodles

After you taste these delicious noodles, you will never open a Ramen instant noodle package again.


  • 2 free range chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 cups spinach, sliced thin

For the bouillon

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp powdered garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of powdered ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with sea salt and place in baking dish.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Let chicken cool and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  5. Heat coconut oil over medium heat and add chopped mushrooms. Saute until brown and soft.
  6. Peel the zucchini and cut crosswise. Use a spiralizer with smallest blade and spiralize. Set aside.
  7. Add chicken bouillon ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Use a whisk to mix together (you will have extra bouillon to save for something else later).

To assemble noodle jar

  1. Divide the chicken cubes into 6 pint-sized wide-mouthed jars.
  2. Add equal amounts cabbage, sliced greens and mushrooms.
  3. Top the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon bouillon powder.
  4. Stuff the rest of the jar with zucchini noodles.

To serve

When you want to enjoy this delicious Ramen noodle alternative, boil one cup of water and pour over jar contents. Let the jar sit sealed for five minutes and pour into a bowl. Yummy and healthy!
— Susan Patterson

This Is Why You Should Eat Lemons Daily

Alfred E. Newman had it right when he said,”We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Too true. So when life gives you lemons, eat them whole and fresh!

All about lemons

The lemon was first created as a cross between a lime and a citron, and all three grow on evergreen shrubs. The Arabs introduced this small citrus fruit to the Europeans, who then brought them to Spain in the 11th century.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, Christopher Columbus brought lemons with him on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. They have been growing in Florida since the 16th century.
Besides large amounts of vitamin C, lemons contain riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, calcium and folate. Lemons even protected miners against scurvy during the California Gold Rush. They cost as much as one dollar each in 1849.
Although we may not be overly concerned about scurvy in America today, here are 11 other great reasons why lemons should be a part of your healthy diet:

1. Free radical fighter

Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant found in nature. This vitamin neutralizes free radicals both inside and outside of cells. Free radicals are responsible for damaging cells and cellular membranes leading to inflammation, chronic disease and accelerated aging.
Free radicals can also damage blood vessels and alter cholesterol so that it builds up on artery walls. Vitamin C helps prevent this buildup and, consequently, helps to stop the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease in diabetics.

2. Immune system booster

Lemons are a natural immune booster.
Lemons are a natural immune booster.
When cold and flu season arrives, it is always a good idea to keep a bag of fresh lemons handy. The citric acid, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, calcium, pectin and limonene do a great job of boosting your immune system and keeping infections at bay.

3. Cancer protection

Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds including limonene, an oil that has been shown to halt the growth of cancer tumors in animals. In addition, they also contain flavonol glycosides, which stop the division of cancer cells.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that limonoids in citrus fruits protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry stated that limonoids can inhibit tumors in the mouth and stop the growth of cancer cells once a tumor has formed.

4. pH balance

Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem counterintuitive, as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized.
The minerals in lemons actually help to alkalize the blood. Most people are too acidic, and lemons reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people feel.

5. Oxygen uptake

Lemons have a purer concentration of negatively charged ions than any other fruit. Dr. Pierce J. Howard, author of “The Owners Manual for the Brain; Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research,” says, “Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They also may protect against germs in the air.” The first man to reach the top of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, said that he attributed much of his success to lemons!
LEMON FACT: One lemon tree can produce up to 600 pounds of lemons in a year.

6. Fiber

Most people fall far short of the 20 to 38 grams of fiber recommended daily. Without proper fiber, however, you can easily become constipated or develop hemorrhoids. Consuming adequate fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and diverticulitis.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association includes lemons on their list of superfoods because of their high fiber content. In addition, the pectin fiber in lemons can help keep you from getting hungry and overeating.

7. Mood and energy

Putting lemons in your water can help improve your mood and energy.
Putting lemons in your water can help improve your mood and energy.
Have you ever gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed?” If you are often lethargic and cranky in the morning, or any time of the day for that matter, you may want to consider munching on a lemon.
Our energy comes from atoms and molecules in our food. When positively charged atoms flood the digestive tract and mingle with those that are negatively charged, a positive reaction occurs.
Lemons contain more negatively charged ions than positive ions, which gives you a boost as the lemon enters your digestive tract. Just the scent alone of lemons can improve your mood and elevate your energy levels. Lemons also promote clear thinking and help reduce anxiety and depression.
Try this: Rubbing a lemon on your lips before bed and washing it off in the morning will help remove dead skin cells and make your lips soft.

8. Digestive health

Your body works hard to digest all that you give it. Lemon juice helps flush away unwanted materials and toxins left from the digestive process. Because lemon juice is similar in atomic composition to digestive juices and saliva, it does a great job breaking down material and encouraging the liver to produce bile.

9. Clear skin

Sometimes we forget that the key to clear and beautiful skin starts with great nutrition. Thanks to the vitamin C in lemons, these little citrus fruits can help decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemons help to push toxins from the body and support healthy liver function, which also keeps skin clear and supple.

10. Kidney stones

When you don’t have enough citrate in your urine, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones. Eating lemons on a regular basis can help raise the citrate levels in your urine. This may prevent stones from forming by coating very small stones and keeping other material from attaching to the small stones and enlarging them.

11. Blood pressure

Lemons are high in potassium, which is an important mineral that helps to keep blood vessels soft and flexible. This, in turn, helps to reduce high blood pressure. The vitamin B in lemons is also beneficial to heart health.

The difference between real lemons and bottled lemon juice

Real lemons contain about 139 percent vitamin C, while bottled juice contains 100 percent of the daily value. The calcium content in real lemons is seven percent, while in bottled juice it is three percent. In addition, bottled lemon juice may also contain fructose and other dangerous additives.

Lemon buying tips

As lemons ripen, their antioxidant powers increase. Choose lemons when they are ripe. Lemons with thinner skin will have more juice than those with thicker skin. Also, the heavier a lemon is, the more juice it contains. Don’t buy lemons that are wrinkled or dull in color.

— Susan Patterson

17 Amazing Uses for Epsom Salt… Some You Won’t Believe

Epsom salt, which is not really a salt at all but a mineral compound comprised of magnesium and sulfate, gets its named from a saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England.
Epsom salt has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, and also has many beauty, gardening and household uses.
Both magnesium and sulfate are readily absorbed into the skin, which makes their health benefits readily accessible. Over 325 enzymes in the body are regulated by magnesium, which also helps reduce inflammation, alleviates hardening of the arteries and improves muscle and nerve function. Sulfates improve the rate at which nutrients are absorbed and help to flush out toxins.
Here are 17 of our favorite uses for this versatile compound – we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
1. Soothe sore muscles
An Epsom salt bath is a great way to soothe sore muscles, cramps, bruises and joint pain. Because of this, it is a great after-workout soak. In addition, soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to relax and relieve stress. Add 2 cups of salts to a warm bath. Mix the salt in so it dissolves in the water. Soak for 10-15 minutes for best results.
2. Exfoliate skin
As we shed our skin naturally, the buildup of dead skin cells clogs pores and can cause blemishes. Exfoliation is necessary to keep skin healthy, glowing and vibrant. The best way to exfoliate with Epsom salts is to massage handfuls all over the body in the shower or bath. Your skin will feel soft and fresh with this homemade spa treatment.
3. Homemade hand wash
Mix ½ cup of baby oil with ½ cup of water, and add ¼ cup of Epsom salts and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Set this homemade mixture next to your sink for a nice bathroom hand wash.
4. Treat insect bites and poison ivy
A compress made with Epsom salts is a great way to treat mosquito bites, bee stings and poison ivy. Mix 2 tablespoons of salts with 1 cup of warm water. Soak a clean cloth in the mixture and hold on affected area to remove pain, burning and itching.
5. Clean your face
Your face need to be cleaned and exfoliated just like the rest of your body. Put a teaspoon of Epsom salts in your hand and mix with a little warm water. Scrub your face with the mixture then rinse clean. This facial cleaner not only exfoliates and rejuvenates but also helps remove blackheads and prevent acne.
6. Remove splinters
Splinters can be tricky and painful to remove. Skip the needles and soak your splintered skin in an Epsom salt bath. The salts will draw the splinter out and leave the area clean.
7. Lip balm
Dry, flakey, cracking lips are not only unsightly but also painful. Heal this uncomfortable condition with a homemade Epsom salt lip balm. Mix equal parts organic coconut oil and Epsom salts. Apply to lips generously to exfoliate and moisturize.
8. Tile cleaner
Bathroom and kitchen tile grime can be difficult to clean. Powerful tile cleaners are not only expensive, but also often contain harmful chemicals. Make your own hard-working natural Epsom salt tile scrub. Mix equal parts liquid dish soap with epsom salts. Scrub onto tiles with a sponge and rinse clean with water.
9. Insect killer
Mix ¼ cup of Epsom salts with 2 cups of water and place in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture around your home and garden to safely deter insects without the use of chemical insecticides.
10. Relieve constipation
Epsom salts are a great way to relieve constipation. Mix 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts in a glass of water. Drink entire cup for best results. If the taste is not appealing to you, try mixing with fresh juice instead.
11. Fertilize your lawn and plants
Epsom salts make a wonderful fertilizer for your lawn and potted plants. For greener grass, mix 1 cup of the salts for every gallon of water and spray over lawn area. To fertilize potted plants, simply sprinkle Epsom salts around the base of the plants once every week. This method of fertilizing also works great for tomatoes and other veggies.
12. Draw out toxins and reduce swelling
An Epsom salt bath is a wonderful way to draw toxins out of your body. Soaking in a bath for 10-15 minutes is also a great way to reduce swelling. Mix 1-2 cups of Epsom salts in a warm bath and mix to dissolve in water.
13. Boost your laundry
Epsom salts combined with a little essential oil makes a perfect fabric softener for your laundry. In addition, the salts will help remove detergent buildup from your washer. Mix 4 cups epsom salts with 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Add ¼ cup to each load of laundry.
14. Kill foot fungus and remove odor
Soaking your feet in Epsom salts not only reduces swelling and draws out toxins, but also zaps odors and foot fungus. Add ¼ cup to a large container of warm water. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes.
15. Sunburn treatment
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a great way to soothe skin irritated by sunburn. Mix 1 cup of salts in warm bath water. Mix to combine and soak in the bath for 10-15 minutes.
16. Hair conditioner
Epsom salts make a great deep conditioner to add volume and remove grease from your hair. Combine equal parts of organic hair conditioner and Epsom salts and apply liberally to hair. Let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse clean.
17. Soften your hands
You know that soaking your feet in epsom salts is healthy, but what about your hands? Soaking your hands is a great way to soothe rough skin, calm aching finger joints, remove nail polish and remove any dirt from under your nails. Add 1/4 cup of Epsom salts to a large bowl of warm water. Soak hands in mixture for 5-10 minutes.

-The Alternative Daily

Drink This Before Bed To Lose Weight And Boost Your Metabolism

When it comes to a bedtime routine, a warm glass of milk or a soothing cup a tea may be just the ticket before dozing off. But wouldn’t it be great if while you slept your body could simultaneously rest and burn stubborn body fat? Just because you’re asleep at night doesn’t mean your metabolism has to be, right? Here’s a nighttime elixir to help boost your metabolism and aid weight loss.

Coconut milk

This lactose-free and soy-free “milk” is quite a convincing alternative to regular cow’s milk. Though you may not save much in the way of calories, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of vitamins and minerals. You’ll get protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium. It also contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that the body uses for energy to aid weight loss.

Coconut oil

Along with milk and water, the all-powerful coconut churns out some pretty wonderful oil, too. According to researchers, the medium-chain triglycerides in this tropical treasure will reduce hunger and help prevent you from overeating — so no need for that midnight snack! The saturated fat content will also keep your resting metabolic rate higher and burn through calories, unlike butter or other forms of oil. And because it is a source of healthy fat, you don’t have to worry about typical fat scares, like high cholesterol or heart disease. Grab a spoon and dig in!

Ginger powder

Ginger is well known to soothe digestive distress, and many alternative health practitioners use it for weight loss as well. In one study, researchers found that ingestion of a single gram of dried ginger root lead to 13.5 percent more fat oxidation — the process of your body breaking down lipid molecules so they can be used up for energy.


Coconut oil and turmeric combined can help boost your metabolism.
Coconut oil and turmeric combined can help boost your metabolism.
The health benefits of turmeric are almost too numerous to count. In addition to reducing inflammation, the active compound in turmeric — curcumin — can block fat cells from forming and getting larger. In one study, researchers concluded, “The curcumin suppression of angiogenesis in adipose tissue together with its effect on lipid metabolism in adipocytes may contribute to lower body fat and body weight gain. Our findings suggest that dietary curcumin, present in turmeric, may have a potential benefit in preventing obesity.” Wow!

Black pepper

The active compound in black pepper — piperine — helps improve curcumin absorption, the compound found in turmeric that was mentioned above. In fact, it enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000 percent, so you get the most bang for your buck. Even a small amount of black pepper will do the job.

Raw honey

Among the dozens of reasons to love raw honey, one of the major benefits is its ability to dramatically improve digestion. Raw honey contains prebiotics, which provide plenty of fuel for the “good” bacteria in your gut. And when your gut bacteria are happy, your body can break down fats, proteins and sugars more efficiently, while absorbing more nutrients in your food.

Ingredients for Bedtime Metabolism Booster

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except the honey.
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
2. Carefully pour into a small saucepan.
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
3. Cook over low heat for five minutes until the coconut oil is completely melted.
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
4. Turn off the heat and add the honey.
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
(Photo by Leilani Hampton)
Carefully pour half of the mix into a mug and drink it right before bed. You can save the other half of the batch for tomorrow night. Bottoms up!
— Hilary Lebow

10 Ways Turmeric Might Be Superior To Modern Medicine

Health trends come and go, but turmeric’s place in the limelight is here to stay. You’ve probably seen it just about everywhere, from golden lattes to DIY face masks. And if you’ve dismissed this ancient Indian spice as just a health fad, it’s time to take a closer look at its wonder ingredient: curcumin. A tablespoon (or two) could be just what the doctor ordered.

Turmeric’s superstar ingredient

The use of turmeric dates back to nearly 4,000 years ago to the Vedic culture in India. Back then it was used primarily as a cooking spice, with some religious significance. Today, it has migrated across the globe for a range of applications, both culinary and medicinal. While there are some skeptics about its medicinal efficacy, there are thousands of peer-reviewed studies to date highlighting turmeric’s versatility in whole-body healing.
Turmeric can improve digestion, control unwanted facial hair, remove dandruff, enhance memory, fade stretch marks and much, much more. Is there anything it can’t do? Maybe, but this beloved Indian spice continues to surge in popularity year after year as the world discovers its numerous health benefits. Google searches for turmeric have increased 300 percent in the last five years, along with other superfoods like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. So go ahead — jump on the bandwagon.

Turmeric’s role in modern medicine

A healthy lifestyle with turmeric may help prevent disease and overmedication.
A healthy lifestyle with turmeric may help prevent disease and overmedication.
Let’s think about the modern medical system for a moment, and how it differs from alternative health. Consider this scenario: you’re tired, stressed and you’re eating out all the time. You come down with a nasty infection and head straight to the doctor. They prescribe you antibiotics. Over the course of a week, your meds wipe out the bacteria in your gut, both good and bad. You’re cured of the first infection, but get walloped with a second infection while you’re immune system is down, paving the way for more medications with more side effects. On and on until you’re 100 percent better… a month later.
That’s our modern medical system — a reactionary approach.
Now, consider this: All year round you eat organic, whole foods and stay away from junk food. You meditate, you hydrate, you exercise, you get eight hours of sleep a night. You lead a low-stress lifestyle, you supplement your diet with plenty of probiotics and you sprinkle turmeric on many of your recipes. When everyone around you gets an infection, you might get sick. However, because you’ve strengthened your immune system through the seasons, chances are your body will be able to fight off the infection on its own.
That’s alternative health — a proactive approach.
In the first scenario, you’ve caused your body unnecessary damage, which takes time and resources to fix. In the second case, you’ve relied on your body’s own faculties to take care of the problem before it strikes. That’s where turmeric fits in. It can be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to give your body the support it deserves. Here are ten ways that turmeric can improve your health:

1. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties

This sunny spice belongs at the top of our list for its inflammation-fighting powers. Chronic inflammation caused by a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle causes dangerous diseases over the long haul, including cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and more. Adding turmeric to your diet is a simple way to add a kick of flavor to your dishes while allowing your body to do what it does best: keep you healthy. Turns out, the active compound in turmeric — curcumin — is on par with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, without all the harmful side effects.

2. It’s an antidepressant

Yes, a simple spice may really be able to improve your mood. In one study, researchers tested stressed-out lab rats displaying depression-like symptoms along with adrenal issues, caused by a prolonged elevation in stress hormones. Surprisingly, they found that curcumin helped to alleviate negative physiological effects. “These results provide compelling evidence that the behavioral effects of curcumin in chronically stressed animals, and by extension humans, may be related to their modulating effects on the HPA axis and neurotrophin factor expressions,” wrote the authors. That’s fancy talk for curcumin’s powerful impact on the brain.

3. It kills cancer cells

Over the years, researchers have examined curcumin’s role in treating various forms of cancer. Several studies have found that curcumin can significantly inhibit the development and movement of cancer cells through the body. It does this by reducing the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, called angiogenesis. Curcumin may also contribute to the cancer cell death directly, though more research is needed in this area.

4. It reduces pain

The curcumin in turmeric can help to relieve pain.
The curcumin in turmeric can help to relieve pain.
Chronic pain is one of the biggest problems in our country, sending many towards over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. The problem is, they are more dangerous than you might think. For example, acetaminophen, sold under the name Tylenol, is associated with 50 percent of acute liver failure in the states. “Tylenol is responsible for more than 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and an estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure each year,” says a study published in Hepatology. Curcumin, on the other hand, may alleviate pain naturally, according to researchers.

5. It increases cognitive capacity

Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important neurologic growth hormone. Several studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric can increase levels of BDNF in the human brain, perhaps causing neurological disorders to delay or even reverse. Additionally, scientists now suspect that curcumin may improve memory and increase cognitive capacity, something we could all use a little more of.

6. It fights heart disease

Endothelial dysfunction is a common cause of heart disease. It occurs when the endothelium (the lining on your blood vessels) can no longer regulate blood pressure and clotting. Fortunately, researchers have found that curcumin can help your endothelium by raising nitric oxide availability and reducing oxidative stress, similar to exercise. Improved endothelial function means you have a lower risk of heart disease. Thanks, turmeric!  

7. It reduces symptoms of arthritis

In one study, researchers evaluated three groups of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. They gave one group 500 milligrams of curcumin, another group diclofenac sodium (50 milligrams), and a third group with the combination of the two. They found that the curcumin group had the highest reduction in tenderness and swelling of the joints. “These scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events,” wrote the study authors.  

8. It can alleviate PMS symptoms

Turmeric may be able to alleviate PMS symptoms.
Turmeric may be able to alleviate PMS symptoms.
A study published in Neuropeptides found that curcumin contains properties that can alleviate PMS symptoms. The researchers conducted a trial on 70 young women. Half of the participants took curcumin for three menstrual cycles, while the other half took a placebo. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that PMS symptoms were “significantly reduced” for the curcumin group.

9. It can help irritable bowel disease (IBD)

Researchers have found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may prove beneficial for the GI tract, perhaps by blocking inflammatory cytokines. In one study, researchers gave patients 360 milligrams of curcumin three or four times a day over the course of three months. At the end of the study, they found that curcumin significantly reduced clinical relapse in patients with IBD. Though the research so far looks promising, more studies are needed to confirm the link.

10. It can treat skin issues

Turmeric may be able to provide therapeutic benefits for your skin health. In one meta-analysis, researchers reviewed eight studies on the topical application of turmeric and its effects on the skin. The skin conditions included acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis and vitiligo. Researchers noted “statistically significant improvement” in dermatological issues for the curcumin treatment group in comparison to the control group.

How to take turmeric

Golden milk is an easy, delicious way to get turmeric into your system.
Golden milk is an easy, delicious way to get turmeric into your system.
Before we discuss how to take turmeric, it’s important to discuss the important relationship between this trusty spice and black pepper. Black pepper’s main compound — piperine — increases curcumin absorption, the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for all the health benefits. In other words, black pepper can help enhance your body’s ability to process and use turmeric for all that it’s good for. These two go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Now, if you’re looking for some ways to incorporate turmeric in the kitchen, try some of these recipes:
If you decide to try supplements, find an all-natural variety of 100 percent turmeric. Check the bottle to be sure, but you can likely take capsules of 400 to 600 milligrams up to three times per day. You can also make a topical paste using turmeric powder and filtered water, say for knee pain. No matter how you take it, just make sure to get some turmeric into your life!
— Hilary Lebow

Monday, May 22, 2017

Job Posting - Municipal Services Specialist


Job Title:  Municipal Services Specialist
Employment Opportunities:  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is currently recruiting to fill one Municipal Services Specialist vacancy in Montgomery County.

Nature of Work:  This is advanced technical and administrative work in the regulation and inspection of highway related maintenance and construction projects within the municipal services function of a Transportation Engineering District.  An employee in this class functions as a District Municipal Services representative responsible for all highway related maintenance, improvement, and construction projects within an assigned group of municipalities.  Work involves the performance of independent advanced technical duties in the preparation of feasibility reviews to determine actual need, economic justification, and public necessity; development of recommendations on the amount of liquid fuel funds that should be disbursed; monitoring of construction operations to ensure compliance with specifications, regulations, and project safety; administration of the construction project records; and disbursement of funds to contractors.  Employees meet with city, county, township, and other municipal officials to discuss proposed projects, advise them on various aspects throughout the life of the projects, and provide technical advice in respect to problems and inspection activities.  Work requires the interpretation and analysis of contract requirements and municipal roadway construction or maintenance plans, specifications, and drawings, and the application of a variety of inspection and testing techniques.  Assignments require independent judgment in making on-site technical decisions.  Work is assigned with general instructions by a technical supervisor who reviews work for results obtained.

In order to be considered, applicants must meet PA Residency, pass the civil service exam for Municipal Services Specialist (2017-027), and meet one of the following requirements:  one year of experience as a Transportation Construction Inspector (Commonwealth Title); or three years of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; or two years of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; and an associate's degree; or one year of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs; and a bachelor's degree; or any equivalent combination of experience or training which included one year of experience either in state and/or municipal roadway construction inspection that included reviewing and interpreting plans, specifications, and cost estimates; or in work involving the interpretation and analysis of state regulations related to municipal construction funding programs.

Starting Salary:  $46,944 annually, with excellent benefits. 
Have job-specific questions about these opportunities?  Please call the PA Department of Transportation at (717) 787-1103.  Have questions about the application process?  Please call the State Civil Service Commission at (717) 783-3058.

How to Apply:  Apply online at  Log in to the Online Services section of the homepage and select View Open Announcements and Apply from the menu.  Reference announcement #2017027 Municipal Services Specialist to submit your application and schedule your exam. 

Veterans:  Pennsylvania law (51 Pa.C.S. §7103) provides employment preference for qualified veterans for appointment to many state and local government jobs.  To learn more about employment preferences and opportunities for veterans, visit the veterans section of the website at

PennDOT District 6-0
700 Geerdes Boulevard
King of Prussia, PA 19406