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3 Ways To Start Using Epsom Salt for Better Recovery and More

A while back I posted an article on why you should consider supplementing with magnesium. 

Turns out there are a lot of reasons. It is required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, in particular those processes involved in energy production, and according to an article posted over at Ancient Minerals, an estimated 75% of Americans have daily magnesium intakes less than the RDA. The RDA is just a MINIMUM nutritional requirement that was originally introduced in the 1930’s to prevent diseases such scurvy, rickets and pellagra. For optimal health,   the nutritional recommendations are actually much much higher than the RDA, often 300-1000% higher! So, when we see that 75% of Americans are below the MINIMUM recommendation for magnesium, we know most people are no where near having optimal levels of this vital nutrient.

If you read my last post on magnesium you would also know that it plays a role in almost every cell and organ in our body, one of its major roles being in our skeletal muscles.

Magnesium is commonly known as the “Natural Relaxant Mineral”, responsible for making our muscles relax. So, a deficiency of magnesium may lead to symptoms such as twitches, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, back and neck pain, tension headaches, constipation, and more.

If you workout regularly, you most likely are all too familiar with many of these symptoms. In fact, intense exercise and excessive sweating are two major contributors to the body using up its magnesium stores which makes it that much more important for you to increase your magnesium intake if you workout regularly, especially if you do lots of high intensity type workouts such as CrossFit.

Of course a great place to start with increasing your magnesium intake is whole foods, unfortunately with the gradual decline of our soil, food quality is just not the same as it used to be, therefore it is not always enough to just rely on even the best of food sources. Excellent sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds (preferably soaked overnight to release enzymes that bind to magnesium and prevent absorption), leafy greens and dark chocolate (80% or higher).

So because food isn’t always enough we have the option to turn to supplements to support a whole foods diet however, supplementing with oral magnesium, even in its most absorbable form (magnesium citrate) may not be enough either.

In the last post I told you all about my favorite oral magnesium supplement, Natural Calm. This is one of the most absorbable oral forms of magnesium (magnesium citrate), however according to a post titled Magnesium Absorption and Bioavailability, only 20-50% of orally ingested magnesium is typically absorbed. Typical absorption involves 40% magnesium intake absorbed in the small intestine, 5% absorbed in the large intestine and 55% leaving the body as waste. All of this will vary between each individual and largely depends on the integrity and health of the individuals gut.

So what is the best way to increase magnesium levels in the body then?!?!

The answer may lie in avoiding the gut altogether and applying magnesium transdermally (aka. via the skin, the largest organ in our body). When magnesium is issued to the body transdermally, it bypasses the digestive tract and goes directly into the tissues via the skin where it is quickly transported to cells throughout the body. Transdermal magnesium also is beneficial for those who may have low tolerance to oral magnesium as it will avoid problems of gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea.

One of the most common, convenient and affordable ways to supplement with transdermal magnesium is with Epsom Salt.

So What Is Epsom Salt??

The name is slightly confusing as it’s not actually a salt. It looks like salt, but it is actually a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. You can find Epsom Salt at most any grocery store in the pharmaceutical department or health food stores, or you can order it online as well through amazon or vitacost.

Here is the brand I buy and what it looks like.

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The benefits of using Epsom Salt are numerous, including but not limited to

  • reduction in sore/achy muscles, spasms, cramps and general muscle tension
  • reduced headaches/migraines
  • improved sleep
  • improved energy and mood
  • reduced anxiety
  • increased athletic performance
  • a natural detox, pulls toxins out of the body

If you’re looking for a solution for better workout recovery, Epsom Salt may be your answer when looking at all the benefits it can have on the skeletal muscles.

In addition to relaxing the muscles we see it helps with sleep and detoxing the body both of which are also essential for optimal health and better recovery in the gym.

Everyone wether you work out at at high intensity or not would benefit from using Epsom Salts regularly for its wide variety of benefits to the body. Remember, 75% of Americans are deficient in magnesium which means a majority of you need to find a way to increase your levels and this is a great way to do that!

Below are three ways that you can easily start using Epsom Salts in your weekly personal care routine

Soak with it in a Hot Bath

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Pour 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt into a nice warm bath and soak in it for about 20 minutes. This would be a great thing to add to your bedtime routine as magnesium is very calming and could help you wind down before you hit the pillow.

Here is an interesting study I found on the absporption of magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) through the skin. In this study participants soaked in an epsom salt bath for 7 days straight and urine and blood samples were taken to measure the level of the participants magnesium levels.

The results of the study reported changes in magnesium levels in blood before and after the testing period. Blood levels showed an average increase of 10 ppm/ml after one day of soaking, and 36.3 ppm/ml after seven days, indicating an increase in blood magnesium concentration after prolonged soaking.

The study concluded that bathing 2-3 times per week in a 1% solution of magnesium bath salts would result in health benefits related to an increase in magnesium levels.

Use it as a Foot Soak

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While it would be nice to take a warm bath every night, this may be more convenient for most people as you can do this while watching TV, sitting at the computer, nursing your little one, etc..

Pour 1 cup of Epsom Salt into a large bowl of warm water and soak your feet in it for about 20 minutes to receive the same benefits of soaking in a bath.

Use it in a Homemade Body/Facial Scrub

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I recently posted on how to make the above homemade coconut sugar body scrub. You easily could replace the sugar in this recipe with Epsom Salts as it would have the same exfoliating effect as the sugar with an extra added mineral boost!! Only downside to this is you can’t eat it..maybe that’s a good thing actually lol.

Now go buy you some Epsom Salt and start adding one or all of these into your weekly personal care routine!

 

 

DIY Handsoap and Body Wash Using Castile Soap

In a previous post, I shared with you all how most all commercial home cleaning and personal care products are toxic to our bodies and can cause just as much damage to our health as eating junk food daily.

Companies are allowed to use almost ANY ingredient they wish in their products. The governent doesn’t review the safety of products before they are sold. This should definitely concern you in light of the fact that our skin is the largest organ in our body and can absorb up to 60% of what we put on it. That’s a lot..especially when you think about how often we put these products on our skin (make-up, body washes, hand soap, lotions, sprays/perfumes, deoderant, etc.) For most people these are applied daily.

If you would like to know more about what ingredients are in your personal care and home cleaning products, you can visit www.ewg.org. They launched what’s called Skin Deep in 2004 which consists of a database of tons of products and their ingredients with ratings of the product and its individual ingredients safety. I think you would be surprised if you went and searched all of the common products you use on a daily basis.

In the world we live in today, it’s almost impossible to eliminate all toxins from our lives, but the more we can limit them, the less stress we will be putting on our body and the healthier we will be.

Now again, don’t read this and think you have to go remove all commercial cleaning and beauty products from your home at one time. Small changes over a longer period of time is more realistic for most people. Just start with one thing and when you’re ready move on to the next. Every little change you make towards a healthier cleaner lifestyle will make a difference in the long run.

Today I’m sharing with you all a handsoap and body wash recipe that are both SO SIMPLE..and extremely budget friendly.

The first recipe is a natural handsoap that requires only 2 ingredients.

 

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In this picture above I used a typical handsoap dispenser, but when I make this again I will be purchasing a foam hand soap dispenser. The consistensy of this soap is very liquidy and not nearly as thick as most commercial hand soaps. Once you lather the soap in your hands it becomes nice and soapy, but with this type of dispenser its hard to keep it all in your hands without most of it just dripping off your hands. I am unaware of where to find a foam dispenser in Paris, Texas but you can order them cheap online through amazon.  So, once you have your soap dispenser, you will then need only two more things

  • Castile Soap (You can find this at most health food stores, but I found that it was much cheaper to order off of Amazon or Vitacost. You can purchase any scent you like, or purchase one that is unscented and add in whatever essential oil you like to make it smell good.)
  • Water

In about a 1:10 ratio of soap to water, fill your soap dispenser, shake well and you are DONE! How easy is that? When you purchase a large bottle of castile soap like the one pictured above, it will last you forever if you’re just using it to make hand soaps. Castille Soap has no toxic ingredients in it and is made from pure oils so is perfectly healthy for your skin and will leave it feeling nice and smooth. There are good natural personal care brands out there like Meyer’s, which I also love, but if you can take the time to make this it will be much cheaper in the long run! It might seem pricier up front, but it will last you awhile.

The second recipe I’m sharing with you all is a simple body wash using only a couple more ingredients with slightly different ratios.

 

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First, you will again need to purchase a dispenser that you would like to use in the shower. Ideally it would be in a glass container, but that just scares me in the shower. I’m too clumsy and would probably drop it and break it. I bought the dispenser pictured above at Hobby Lobby for like $2 I believe. I probably will buy a bigger bottle next time I make this because I feel like I went through it too fast. For the body wash you will need:

  • 1 part castile soap
  • 1 part water
  • 1 part organic coconut oil (adding coconut oil will provide extra natural moisturizing benefits as well as antimicrobial and disinfectant properties)
  • 5-10 drops lavender oil (Not only does lavender smell amazing, but it is known to have natural calming effects which would make this a great body wash to use to help you wind down at night either in the shower or in a nice relaxing bath)

Make sure to melt the coconut oil before mixing all of this together in a bowl, then pour into your soap dispenser. Make sure to shake it well before every use. It will spread further over your body if you use a washcloth or sponge.

If you prefer a body scrub to a more liquid body wash, check out this easy DIY coconut lime sugar scrub.

Enjoy!!

This Week’s Meals: 2/22-26

We are back home from a busy family filled weekend and I’ve got a whole other week of meals for you below and they are all whole30 approved!! It consists of everything that I ate last week for lunches and dinner’s Monday through Friday.

But first, I have to share with you all the loving that went on this weekend. We know how fast Harper is going to grow up so we are trying to take advantage of every opportunity we have to go see family. This weekend was spent with Luke’s Memaw and parents but also included a Face Time to my parents because we couldn’t leave them out!

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Harper Anne getting some lovin’ from her great grandma aka. “Mema”

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All smiles sittin’ on “Pops” lap enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon! We’ve been told they look like twins but I think it might just be the bald head..

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“Sher Bear” getting some cuddles as Harper falls asleep. She officially has found her thumb.

Sweet times.

Ok, now for what I ate last week. I hope you can use this for some meal prepping inspiration in your own kitchen this week (grab my FREE tips on meal prepping handout).  If I had to pick a favorite recipe from this week’s line up, it would definitely be the paleo shepherds pie. This was a new recipe that I tried the week before and it is so good! The reaction I got from my husband was “Dang, you seriously could make this EVERY week!”

My husband and I started a strict nutrition cleanse two weeks ago just to help ourselves get back on track and be more disciplined in what we are eating after the last crazy couple of months of figuring out this whole parenting thing. I by no means am restricting myself on how much I am eating since I am nursing, just getting rid of the junk. Even if I wasn’t nursing, I never restrict myself on how much I am eating. If I’m hungry, I eat. Period. When you eat good clean balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, your body tells you when you are hungry and when you are full and you should listen to those cues. Counting calories is just depressing and not realistic to do every single day, just eat real food people!!

 

Monday

Lunch: Paleo Tacos with a side of sauteed zucchini and squash

*I had a picture of this but then I got a new phone and it just seemed like too much work to transfer the pics over just for this blog. Sorry. They looked similar to this:

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I used our deer meat for the taco meat and this simple recipe for the seasoning:

  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

I served my tacos in large romaine letuce leaves, and topped them with salsa (look for no sugar in ingredients for whole30) and avocado slices.

This makes for a super simple dinner or lunch if you cook all your meat at the beginning of the week! You could add whatever fixings you like.

Dinner: Paleo Shepherds Pie 

*I had a picture of this too, but of course it was also on my old phone. Click on the link to grab the recipe and see a pic of it. Her pic is better than mine was anyways! This was my favorite new recipe this week!!

Tuesday

Lunch: Leftover Tacos and sauteed veggies

Dinner: Leftover Paleo Shepherds Pie

*I’m a big fag of leftovers. Not having to cook and do dishes every night is amazing. If your life is busy and you have lots of stuff going on in the evenings, then you probably should get used to making large batches of food and eating leftovers. It’s one of the most convenient ways to eat healthy throughout the week.

Wednesday

Lunch: Paleo Tuna Salad with a side of baby carrots

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For the tuna salad, mix all of this together and store in the fridge for up to a week to make 4 servings:

  • 2, 5 oz. cans of tuna (I buy Wild Planet wild caught tuna)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • black pepper/salt to taste
  • 2 T. olive oil

Dinner: More Leftover Shepherds Pie

*I doubled this recipe to make it last three meals (6 servings) for just two of us. We also eat pretty large portions so it might last longer for others.

Thursday

Lunch: Leftover tuna salad with a side of baby carrots

Dinner: Paleo Slow Cooker Chili

*This is an old favorite that I make regularly throughout the fall/winter months. It typically lasts 3-4 meals (6-8 servings) for the two of us.

Friday

Lunch: Leftover tuna salad with a side of baby carrots

Dinner: Pork Loin Roast with roasted potatoes and carrots, green beans and some fresh slices of strawberries, grapes and bananas for dessert

*We were at Luke’s “Mema’s” house Friday night so I don’t have a recipe for the Pork Loin Roast. She was so sweet to accomodate to our nutritional needs. It was perfect.

Now pick one or a couple of these recipes and get to cookin’ this week!!!

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