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DIY Facial Toner

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

I remember when I was a teenager, how I was always very conscious of what was going on with my face. It's probably because my Asian family was extremely blunt about the imperfections of hormonal acne, but hey, I'm okay now. I remember going through a 5 step facial regimen every night to ensure my face would be clear of any sign if pimple growth. Of course, it didn't really help much - nature has a way of being cruel sometimes. 

My skin has since greatly improved (largely because of a grown awareness of what can cause acne and other issues), but that does not mean I do not need to take care of my skin anymore! I have found that what I eat has a large effect on my skin, but washing the impurities off my face (which is exposed all day long, I might add!) at the end of the day helps as well. Since, as you know, I like to keep the chemicals off my face, I set out to find the perfect solution.

Affiliate links are used in this post

Easy, all natural, 3-ingredient DIY face toner. Love this stuff! | www.maplealps.com

One thing I love about this toner is how inexpensive it is to put together! I had all the ingredients already on hand so I whipped up a batch right away to use. Another thing I love is how clean it makes me feel! Seriously, not to be gross or anything, when I would see that extra dirt come off onto the cotton pad even after using my face wash, I rejoiced! It doesn't use any harsh ingredients like alcohol or fragrances.

I have heard mixed reviews about using a toner with witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, but I've found this mixture to be successful for me (that was my disclaimer). It has now been a year since first making and using a homemade face wash and this toner. I don't use it every day (you'll see one reason why in the next paragraph), but I have noticed a definite change.

I do have one thing I feel a duty to mention: You could truly call this potion a husband spray, because, like bug spray, my husband will not get too close when I use it. Unless your significant other enjoys the smell of apple cider vinegar, use at your own risk ;-)

DIY Facial Toner

DIY Facial Toner
Makes about 1/2 cup to use within 5 days

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Witch Hazel (Alcohol-Free!)
1/4 cup Distilled Water
Essential oils - lavender, lemon, tea tree (optional)

1) Mix apple cider vinegar and witch hazel into desired glass container.
2) Slowly add the water, and finally the essential oils.
3) You will need to give a good shake before using a cotton pad to wipe your face.
4) Do not rinse off

 

What kinds of homemade facial cleansers have you tried and loved? Let me know below!


 
 
DIY Facial Toner | www.maplealps.com

6 Natural Ways to Make Your Common Cold More Bearable

Health, Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

It is definitely that time of year when colds start trying to invade our space. I personally dislike colds even more than the flu, simply because I usually feel mostly well, and just have an annoying sore throat and stuffy (or runny) nose. At least if I have something worse, I just feel completely awful. I guess I’m just strange. Of course, as a teacher (and most everyone will have this problem), I’m exposed to a lot of different germs in a day (and the kiddos have been coming in lately with sniffling noses), and as life will have it, sometimes because of teaching demands, I sometimes don’t get the nutrients, exercise, or sleep I need.

Of course, the best thing to do for a cold is to prevent it. You can do this by making sure you are eating the necessary nutrients your body needs, getting plenty of rest and water, and making sure you are exercising regularly! These simple things will help you keep your immune system up and colds away!

Whenever we do get a cold, we start pulling out our natural remedies. Now, our remedies don’t necessarily heal our colds (though some of them may help shorten a few of the symptoms), but they definitely make the colds more manageable and bearable. I have friends who eat whole onions and others who make the most intense sounding concoctions, but I'm not at that level yet. Then again, my colds don't get too terrible...

Do take note that none of these remedies replaces medical advice, so if you think your cold is worse than a cold, please go to a doctor!

*This post contains affiliate links

6 Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable

Ginger Lemon Tea

 

This is a simple mix I like to keep in our fridge during sickness. It’s pleasant to sip on, tastes great and is good for you too:

Ginger
Lemon
Raw Honey

Slice the ginger and lemon and layer it in a jar, making several layers.
Pour raw honey (make sure it really is raw honey - bonus points for local too!) over the layers until the jar is filled.

Spoon out the mixture into your mug and add hot water when ready! Keep it in the fridge when you aren’t using it. I drink a few mugs of this each day I’m sick!

Note: ginger keeps well in the freezer, so go ahead and freeze what you didn’t use!

Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable | www.maplealps.com

 

Ginger Tea

 

If you don’t like the ginger/lemon mix, just plain ginger tea will do as well!

Add ginger (thinly sliced or grated if it was frozen) to a pot of water and boil! Strain into your mug and you will have a nice strong ginger tea! You can add a bit of raw honey to offset the spice if you like.

 

Sinus Bath Salt Mix

 

This is another great recipe to keep in your cupboard! Enjoy this sinus-clearing bath mix!

1 Cup Epsom Salts (try this one from Amazon!)
3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
3 drops of Lavender essential oil
3 drops of Peppermint essential oil

Put 2-3 TBSP in your bath water and enjoy your soak! Don’t forget to breathe in deeply!
 

Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable | www.maplealps.com

 

Stay Hydrated, Rested and Warm

 

Be sure to drink plenty (I’m serious!) of water and stay rested and warm. Sleep is not a bad thing at any time - especially when you’re sick. Use a hot water bottle (this one from Amazon is super cute) or heat pad (I have this adorable one) to keep you warm (and to help with those sinuses too)!

 

Eucalyptus Oil in Shower

 

Similar to a face steam (hot water + eucalyptus oil in a bowl and cover your head), put 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in the bottom of your shower to help clear your sinuses. It smells and feels great!

 

Avoid Refined Sugars

 

Sugar affects your immune system and keeps you from getting better! Avoid sugary treats! Opt for healthy Whole Foods instead.

 

 

 

Of course, I hope you are all able to avoid the common cold this year! It’s definitely my goal to stay on top of my health so I can avoid the annoyance of this little bug!

How do you combat your colds? I have friends who eat whole onions and others who make the most intense sounding concoctions.

I’d love to know your remedies too!


 
 
Natural Cold Remedies | www.maplealps.com

Spring into Health this Spring!

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps8 Comments

As I write this, I am watching the snow tumble and twist through the air. I thought Winter was starting to leave! The longer hours of sunshine, and the return of bright flowers have deceived me, but it doesn't matter. Spring has begun - snow or not. It begins in my heart. This is truly one of my favourite times of the year and always brings motivation for a fresh start and new beginnings.

We have talked about cleaning our homes, but today, I want to give you eight simple things to consider when cleaning up your health habits this Spring.

Important things for health that we often overlook | www.maplealps.com

 

Eat fresh, nourishing food

Make sure the food you eat is full of the nutrients you need. Fresh fruit and vegetables are becoming more readily available at this time of the year so take advantage of it (and can and freeze some for winter months too!). Add more whole grains and legumes to your diet, and reduce the amount of meat, dairy and sugar you consume.

 

Be physically active

Exercise is good for you! Don’t worry, I will not prescribe burpees and planks - yet. Start by taking a brisk walk or stroll through your neighbourhood every day, and watch your energy increase and feel better! Just being aware of your activity levels will help increase them. 

Spring into Health this Spring! | www.maplealps.com

 

Drink more water

Our bodies are made up of 70% water. It is important we replenish what our body uses on a daily basis. Water is needed to support our body’s systems to keep us healthy. Keep a reusable water bottle with you so you don't forget to hydrate!

 

Spend time in the sunshine

Sunlight is critical for the growth and support of plants and animals and is important for our bodies as well; helping with the maintenance of our hormonal and metabolic balance. Make the intentional effort to have moderate time in the sunshine.

Spring into Health this Spring! Sunshine and Air | www.maplealps.com

 

Avoid harmful substances and practice temperance

Staying away from the things that harm us and being moderate in the things that are good for us is important - yet sometimes easier said than done. Practicing self-control in all things is key to ensuring we stay healthy.

 

Get fresh air

When you think about it, air is more important to our bodies than food or water! We cannot survive long at all when our air supply is cut off. Be sure to breathe in fresh, clean air (travel out of polluted cities to find the best air!) - and breathe it in deep!

Spring into Health this Spring! | www.maplealps.com

 

Get plenty of rest

There are many different ways to get rest. Sleep helps our bodies restore themselves, so be sure to get plenty of rest each night. Make sure you give your body time to recover from a long week by taking a day of rest each week!

 

Have peace of mind

Trusting in Divine Power is also directly linked to our health. High levels of stress affect our physical being, but God gives us the "peace that passeth all understanding." (Philippians 4:7)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Will you be springing into health this season?


 
 
 

DIY Natural Toothpaste

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps51 Comments

You probably remember my last post about toothpaste, where I told about the dangers of commercial toothpaste and had tried to make my own for a few months just to see how it would be. Well, consider this a sort of update, because I now use a new recipe. I’ll tell you why and what happened.

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DIY Whitening Toothpaste; easy and all natural | www.maplealps.com

I’m still convinced that commercial toothpaste does more harm than good. As a matter of fact, my dentist told me that toothpaste is not even necessary. The hygienist recommended baking soda or just plain nothing and assured me that it was perfectly safe.

I had a good few months with the original toothpaste recipe, but once the summer got hot, I noticed fairly quickly that every time I went to the washroom to brush my teeth, my new amazing toothpaste was in liquid form! Keeping it in the fridge was annoying, because unless I remembered to take it out a few minutes before I was ready to brush, it was a solid chunk that I could not be broken down. Imagine my frustration!

I decided I wanted something a bit more pasty - something I could maybe even put in a tube to transport easier and use (since we travel often). After some research, I opted to try bentonite clay for it’s many benefits. Here are just a few:

Benefit One: healing and detoxing properties
Benefit Two: high concentration of minerals like calcium, silica, potassium, iron and magnesium
Benefit Three: alkalizing effect on the body

DIY Whitening Toothpaste; easy and all natural | www.maplealps.com

I came across an amazing article by Wellness Mama that you can read here for a more in-depth look at bentonite clay, it's properties, and a whack ton of uses! 

I added activated charcoal for some whitening power. I don’t know that I’ve necessarily seen a difference, and I only added a bit for fear of it being too abrasive, but I have heard good reports from others I know personally who use it. It's perfectly fine without the charcoal too.

This version of toothpaste is one I can definitely recommend. It was easy to make (no double boiler required), easy to put in a tube, tasted just fine, and felt more like toothpaste. The best part is that it doesn't melt in the summer heat, so I had squeaky clean teeth the whole season! 

2 TBSP bentonite clay
4 TBSP water
15 drops peppermint essential oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp activated charcoal (optional) 

Put dry ingredients and add water slowly until your desired paste consistency forms. Add essential oils and mix well.

Note: Be sure the clay does not come into contact with metal. Use glass containers and wooden or plastic to mix.

 

I have found that this works amazingly well and leaves my breath fresh and minty, and most importantly, my teeth clean! Just make sure to rinse your mouth out well when you're done! Oh, and don't forget to floss ;-) 

What about you? Do you make your own toothpaste? Did you know how easy it was?


 
DIY Natural Toothpaste | www.maplealps.com

DIY Muscle Rub

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps18 Comments

Sometimes, I get really excited when making up a new DIY or recipe. Today's remedy is no exception. It all started after week one of amping up my workouts to get ready for a Tough Mudder. I was sore, and I was miserable. I was also lacking in the coordination needed to apply essential and carrier oils to my sore muscles without a mess. That's when I knew it was time for a new DIY - for my soreness' sake!

Well, friends, I am happy to say that the results were as great, if not even better, than I expected! Mess-free AND effective is the real name of this easy DIY muscle rub. 

This post returns affiliate links.

DIY Muscle Rub. Easy and Effective | www.maplealps.com
 

This salve soothed my sore muscles perfectly, and I felt so much better after my long runs and hard workouts. Seriously, I do not know why I didn't consider making a balm sooner. Less mess, easier to apply with one hand, and crazy effective.

By now you can guess that I really enjoy making my own products. A lot of the ingredients I use are versatile and are found over and over again in different recipes, which I love, because it limits the amount of different things I need to purchase at one time. For this rub, I had everything I needed already in my cupboard. If you've made any of my other DIYs, you likely do too! In fact, this looks a lot like my Wonder Ointment - works great like it does too!

 
Easy, No Mess DIY Muscle Rub | www.maplealps.com
 

2 TBSP Beeswax
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Sweet Almond Oil
2 TBSP Shea Butter
10 Drops Wintergreen Essential Oil
10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil
10 Drops Pan Away Blend Essential Oil
 

1) Melt the beeswax using double boiler (glass container in hot water in pot on stove) on LOW heat. It will take some time for it to melt completely.
2) Add sweet almond oil, coconut oil and shea butter and allow to melt.
3) Remove from heat, pour into desired jar, and stir in the essential oils.
4) Allow to harden completely

 
Easy and Effective DIY Muscle Rub | www.maplealps.com

Will you be trying this for your sore muscles? I have a feeling I might need to bring it out again soon, after a tough mudder AND a move! Let me know if you try this!