Archive for the ‘Personal Care’ Category

Just a quick note to apologize for the lack of posts over the past few days.  We’ve been fighting off sinus infections/colds in our house; we tend to take turns getting sick so it drags out over a few days.  We’ve recovered surprisingly quickly…much faster than we did before switching to whole foods!  Usually my kids would take one to two weeks to get rid of a hacking cough: we did it this time in two days!  Here’s how:

  • Breakfast: Banana (minerals, energy), Homemade Yogurt (probiotics, protein) flavored with Cranberry Jam (anti-infection), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Morning Snack: Hard-boiled eggs, 2 each for children, 4 each for teens and adults (vitamins), Sliced & Cored Organic Apples (fiber & vitamins), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Lunch: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with extra fresh, grated Garlic (minerals, vitamins, gelatin, natural antibiotic), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Afternoon Snack: Grapes and Chips (Granny came to visit so chips became whole foods temporarily 😉 ) Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Dinner: Whole Grain Rotini Pasta (fiber) in Organic Spaghetti Sauce (vitamins) with Ground Turkey (protein) and Steamed Broccoli (vitamins & minerals), Grapefruit Juice (ran out of Honey-Juice!)

So what is this Honey-Juice, you may ask?


Honey-Juice | A Helping of Hope

Honey-Juice helps to soothe sore throats and fight off colds!  Give 4 oz. (1/2 cup) to children over one year old every one to two hours.  Grapefruit Juice provides vitamin C and has an amazing ability to strip infection and film off the throat.  Honey soothes sore throats and has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (it also kills infectious amoebas, viruses, and reduces fever).  The added salt makes the liquid electrolytic, so it is more easily absorbed and better hydrates.

    • 1 cup Grapefruit Juice
    • 1 cup Filtered water
    • 1/4 cup Honey
    • 1/4 tsp Real Salt

Mix ingredients in a small pan (avoid nonstick) on medium heat until warm to the touch (do not over heat or allow to boil: high temperatures will kill off enzymes in the honey).  Sip before giving to children to ensure a safe drinking temperature.


Did we use OTC drugs? Yes, somewhat.  Since I do not have a stocked apothecary (!) I still use Tylenol and Ibuprofen to help reduce fevers and Children’s Mucinex at night to help suppress the coughing (here is a better, all-natural option I need to try).  As a rule of thumb, I avoid drugs unless the fever approaches 102F and/or at night; a good night’s sleep is essential to getting better.  One day I hope to have natural remedies that are as effective as OTC drugs, yet without the artificial sweeteners and synthetic, side-effect inducing ingredients.  Until then, I use them sparingly and prayerfully, relying as much as possible on nutrition and physical rest.

Helping of Hope.  Right Choice: rely on good nutrition and rest to get well.  Medicines deal with symptoms, they do not typically give your body what it needs to function properly.  Supplements are not as well absorbed as vitamins and minerals in food and can be very expensive.  Antibiotics kill your body’s natural ability to fight infection and shut down your digestive system so you can’t get nutrients from your food.  Do as much as you can (with food and rest) as soon as you can to avoid having to take medicines, supplements, and antibiotics or it may take you several weeks to get back to normal.  Bright future: FASTER recovery time, less money spent on OTC remedies, no antibiotic-resistant illnesses, healthier immune system!

I hope this Christmas finds everyone well and not sick. If you find yourself ill, try the Honey-Juice!  It works wonders…

If you liked this…natural remedy? post (!), please share with a sick friend using one of the many options below.  Thanks!


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You’ve won this wonderful all-natural cleaning and personal care package!

CONGRATULATIONS STAR SCOT! You’ve won the NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package Giveaway. Star had 30 entries, more than any other contestant. Star: make sure to send me your mailing address (I have already sent you a confirmation email that you can reply to) so I can pass that info on to NaturOli. Thanks to everyone who participated! I hope I can bring another giveaway soon.

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Give yourself a kick-start to a new all-natural cleaning regimen!
(Shampoo Bar not shown, but included)

As an affiliate of NaturOli, I’m thrilled to announce that my first giveaway is a personal care and cleaning product package sure to give you a HUGE helping of hope as you see how easy it is to switch from expensive and dangerous products to all-natural, frugal ones.

The Giveaway includes one (1) NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter Package, normally sold for $32.50.  You can click on the link for more information, but the package includes the following items that have reviews here on A Helping of Hope:

  • 1-oz Mini-Size of Extreme 18X Soap Nut Liquid Concentrate (Detergent and Cleaner) AND A Soap Nuts Laundry Soap Pre-Treat Stick, both reviewed here.
  • 2-oz Mini-Size of Extreme Hair Soap Nut Shampoo AND a Soap Nut Shampoo Bar, both reviewed here.
  • 4-oz NaturOli Select Soap Nuts, USDA certified organic, reviewed here.
  • A luxurious handmade Soap Nut Cleansing Bar.  This is an amazing and invigorating body cleanser.  It is not as drying as most soaps (even Dr. Bronner’s) and does an excellent job of cleaning dirty skin.  It is definitely **husband approved**; while it smells great, it is definitely not “girly”.

If you want to enter the giveaway (and who wouldn’t since it is free and only takes a couple minutes of your time?!), there are four ways to rack up the points (and your chance of success):

  1. (+10): like my A Helping of Hope page on Facebook
  2. (+5): like NaturOli’s page on Facebook
  3. (+5): follow @ahelpingofhope on Twitter
  4. (+5/day): tweet about the giveaway!

You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget/link below OR through my Facebook page under the Giveaways “tab” (picture menu)!  However, with FREE SHIPPING from NaturOli on orders $55+ ending tomorrow, don’t wait to win this amazing starter package.  Make sure to check out the NaturOli store and stock up on all-natural goodies today!  You’ll be glad you did!

Click here to enter the NaturOli Soap Nuts Intro Starter package Giveaway from A Helping of Hope

If you enjoyed this SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAY posts, please share it with all your friends using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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This natural wonder replaces the need for metals and parabens added to commercial deodorants!

Last week I mentioned that it was going to take Mama guts to switch to an inexpensive homemade hair cleanser and conditioning rinse (for an all-natural shampoo click here).  This week’s suggestion is likewise “gutsy”: switch from regular deodorant  to coconut-oil-based homemade alternatives!  It is actually super-easy and you can adapt the recipes to meet your personal needs/preferences.

Regular deodorants contain chemicals that are found in breast cancer tissues (parabens); they also include metals and minerals used in cosmetics that mimic estrogen and increase your risk of cancer.  Some deodorants contain aluminum, which is a neurotoxin (affects the brain, causing inflamation and degenerative disorders) and immunotoxin (supresses immune system).  All these chemicals build up in the body increasing your risk of chronic disease.

These ingredients are added to do “useful” things, but the cost of using them is too high!  There is an alternative that is NATURALLY antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing…without the use of toxic substances…Coconut oil!

Here is a basic recipe for Coconut Oil Deodorant:

  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (Refined or Virgin)
  • 1 tsp to 1 TBSP Aluminum-free Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp to 1 TBSP Corn starch or Arrowroot powder
  • 6-8 drops essential oils (I like lavender; tea tree oil has natural disinfectant properties that can help treat various skin conditions and has a pine-fresh scent; patchouli is gentle on the skin and has a manly, woodsy scent)

It’s easiest to mix the ingredients when the coconut oil is melted (above 78F, the oven with the light on should be sufficient to melt it); combine ingredients and pour into a small tub with screw-on lid.  The deodorant will solidify below 78F: rub your finger on it and then apply to your underarms.  Allow the oil to be absorbed into your skin before putting on clothing.

You can vary the amount of baking soda and starch depending on your deodorant needs (1 tsp to 1 TBSP);

  • BAKING SODA: increase if you need more odor control, decrease if odor control is not necessary and/or the baking soda irritates your skin (I had to use plain coconut oil during summer while I was shaving more frequently; baking soda on a nick is no fun!  It is recommended to wait 1-2 hours after shaving before applying deodorant with baking soda in it…I am likely to forget to put it on at all with a wait time that long; plain coconut oil lasted for eight hours of odor control for me, but that will vary from person to person)
  • CORN STARCH/ARROWROOT POWDER: increase if you need more moisture control, decrease if you don’t like the residue.  You can also “powder” your armpits with starch after applying the deodorant.  Currently, I omit starch altogether; as long as you give it time to be absorbed by the skin, coconut oil doesn’t leave a greasy or wet surface.

If putting oil on your armpits is a little too weird, here is a deodorant recipe using shea butter that is more solid, more moisturizing, and can be poured into an applicator.  I’ll have to give it a try!

I haven’t used regular deodorant for almost a year and I don’t miss it at all!  I love that I can go to my kitchen cupboard whenever I run out, grab a few ingredients and make up a fresh batch without spending $4/stick.  What I love the most is that my need for deodorant has decreased since switching to homemade.  I honestly think they put things in deodorant that make your skin smell worse over time: perhaps by over-drying or damaging the skin through toxin absorption.  I used to have to put commercial deodorant on within 5 minutes of showering *or else*!  Now I can go an hour or two without deodorant before noticing 🙂

Helping of HopeRight choice: skip the artificial ingredients, high cost (to your budget and health), and make coconut oil deodorant.  Bright Future: reduced risk of breast cancer, reduced risk of neurodegeneracy, a feeling of empowerment (!), reduced personal odor, and more money to spend on more important things!

If you enjoyed this Mama Mondays post, please share using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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As I wrote earlier this week, regular hair care products can be extremely hazardous to your health.  I provided an all-natural shampoo and conditioning alternative that works great and is probably cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.  However, it takes Mama guts to transition from store-bought care products to homemade.  There is an easy solution that is no compromise: a liquid shampoo or shampoo bar from NaturOli!  (I am an affiliate of their store and was given some samples to try: I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so and I’ll tell you why…)

NaturOli Soap Nut Shampoo EXTREME Hair

This stuff works great! No conditioner needed 🙂

I love my baking soda cleanser…but I had forgotten how good shampoo feels and how fast it is to use!  This trial-size bottle has lasted me for over two weeks.  My stepdaughter tried it and loved it.  One of the first things we noticed was how well it lathers; a little goes a long way!

The second thing we noticed is that it does a great job of cleaning and softening hair, so that we didn’t need to use conditioner.  I noticed a little static, but that was remedied quickly with my ACV conditioning spray.  My hair was very soft and easy to brush.

This shampoo is one of the safest ones to buy, rated at a risk factor of “1” by the Environmental Work Group (the chief concerns being the use of Guar Gum, Citric Acid, and Aloe Vera Gel…pretty tame, wouldn’t you agree?).

This trial size (2 oz.) is perfect for camping and travel: it costs $5.60.  Or, you can buy the regular size shampoo bottle (16oz) for $19.95.  That sounds expensive, but it does last a long time AND you really don’t need to buy any conditioner ($AVING$).

Next time I get soap nuts for my laundry, I’ll think I’ll get some shampoo, especially if we travel to see family at Christmastime (I have yet to try lugging around my baking soda cleanser bottle…I think this shampoo will work a lot better for us, don’t you agree? 😉 )  This would make a VERY thoughtful and unique gift if you’re trying to impress a health- or earth-conscious loved one in the upcoming festive Season!

NaturOli Soap Nuts Shampoo Bar – Saponin Secret

This little bar will work wonders for your entire family…including your dog!

This is the most surprising product of all, I think.  Not only is it very economical (you produce as much lather as is needed to wash your hair from the bar) and compact (no bottles; this should pose no problem through security check points!), but it works just as well as liquid shampoo.  The crazy thing?  It worked wonders not only on our hair, but on our dog’s coat too!

Our dog Zeus gets a terrible allergic reaction to Ragweed in Michigan each September.  It is especially bad after a heavy rain.  All his skin turns bright red, gets swollen, and he has usually licked himself raw by October.  Gross.  However, we used the shampoo bar on him and he instantly felt, looked and smelled MUCH better.  He was obviously relieved.  Whether you use this on yourself, your kids (they can have fun making the lather too!) or your DOG, you will be doing your skin, budget, and environment a huge favor!

The Shampoo Bar costs $5.75, and there is a citrus version I haven’t tried but has a low-risk rating by the EWG (there is no rating available for the regular shampoo bar, but I imagine it is fairly close).  This would make a great stocking stuffer and conversation starter!  Make sure you pick some up for your loved ones (bipedal and quadrupedal) today!

Helping of Hope: you don’t have to put cancer-causing materials on your precious skin just to look and smell good!  Buying all-natural personal care products like these can help save your immune system without breaking your piggy bank!

If you enjoyed today’s SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAYS post, why not share it with a friend using one of the may options below?  Thanks!

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Check out the system we have been using (and loving) for almost a year!

This week’s Mama Mondays post is going to take guts.  Mama guts.

Many women have a preferred hair-care regimen.  Few of us would continue with it, however, if we realized exactly what it is we are putting into our scalps.  To find out what your shampoo, conditioner, and hair-styling products are putting into your system, type it in the search field at the Environmental Work Group Cosmetic Database here (make sure you type in the brand first, followed by the name of the product). It has over 95,000 products and complete listings of ingredients and what those ingredients may be doing to you right now.

Here are some common  chemical components in conventional hair care products:

  • One of the worst chemical components of regular hair care products is the one thing we like most about them: the scent.  Artificial fragrances are dangerous neurotoxins that can impair your neurological (brain) functioning.
  • Another incredibly dangerous aspect of shampoos are the conditioning agents.  Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A Acetate) causes developmental and reproductive toxicity: this means it can cause cellular changes in you and your developing baby, increasing your risk of cancer and your baby’s risk of birth defects.
  • Those ingredients you can’t pronounce (or have no idea what they are)?  Most of them are immunotoxins, meaning they impair your body’s ability to fight off disease and cancer.

A lot of people are wondering why cancer is becoming more and more prevalent in our society.  Part of it may be living longer, better screening and diagnosis, etc., but I think the largest reason is because we are not only eating carcinogens in our diet, we are rubbing them all over the largest organ of our body: our skin.  We are literally bathing our bodies with cancer-causing products that weigh down our immune systems.  (I am not suggesting that all cancers are caused by our choices; cancer is endemic to an imperfect and fallen world that I believe God will heal and make new again.  However, since cancer is a reality of our present human experience, especially for wealthier nations, we need to be careful not to ignore our contribution to the problem).

Helping of Hope!  Right choice: find personal care products that use 100% from-nature (not “all-natural”, as the term can be misleading) ingredients that are non-toxic (some are listed on the EWG page in the link above).  Bright future: healthier immune system to fight off allergens, diseases, and cancers; reduced risk of allergic reactions, diseases, and cancers; healthier babies and longer lifespan.

For an option you can easily switch to TODAY, see my Baking Soda Hair Cleanser & ACV Conditioning Spray page.  Not quite ready to take the plunge to make your own care products?  This Saturday’s SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP post will offer a couple all-natural hair solutions that you’ll be glad to try; make sure you stop by on Saturday to check it out!

If you found this Mama Monday’s post informative and helpful, please share a “helping of hope” with your friends using the options below.  Thanks!



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This nifty tub of skin-saving ointment is a must-have if you want to avoid conventional, MRSA-creating antibiotic ointments!

Today’s product recommendation is an all-natural Amish remedy for burns and wounds.  I recommend it highly as a replacement for antibiotic ointments like Neosporin, which contribute to cases of MRSA infections.

While I wouldn’t recommend it as a cure for moderate or serious burns (putting anything on a burn could trap thermal energy, prolonging tissue damage), I have used it for minor burns from hot oil that splashed on my skin while cooking.  I held the burn under cold water, dried my skin, put on some B & W ointment and bandaids, and put an ice-pack on top of the bandaids to draw out the heat (thermodynamics: heat travels from hot to cold).

The result?  The B & W ointment provided noticeable comfort while I waited for the tenderness to go away (took 24 hours).  The best part about the ointment: no scarring, little evidence of blistering, and smooth skin.  The main ingredients, honey and lanolin (from sheep), do a wonderful job of keeping the skin moisturized while staving off inflammation and infection.  I agree that it sped up the healing: normally it would take 2-3 days to see my skin doing this well and even then I would usually have some evidence of scarring.

There’s another plus!  As you may have read in a previous STYDS post, I have a child with very sensitive skin.  We have been battling an eczema-like rash since summer, brought on by going swimming in a highly-chlorinated public pool once a week.  We have tried coconut oil and diluted tea tree oil to no avail.  I put this B & W ointment on a rash that covered half my child’s body; within two days she was better, with only a little scabbing left from scratches in her formerly itchy skin.  This stuff is amazing!

You can buy the ointment at several outlets online (I got mine from a friend).  Here are a few:

If you enjoyed this SHOP-TIL-YOU-DROP SATURDAYS post, please share using one of the many features below.  Thanks!


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