If I had to list four products that I could not live without, I would have to say: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil, Honey & Dr. Bronner’s Soap.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a readily available and affordable super product. I buy it in bulk very regularly and use it for everything
- Shiny, Tangle and Dandruff - Free Hair - Add 1/3 cup ACV to 4 cups of water and pour over your hair after shampooing. Leave in for a minute or so and rinse with cold water.
- Remove build-up from locs and scalp
- Stimulate Hair Growth & Prevent Hair Loss - ACV stimulates improved blood circulation to hair follicles – which is vital for encouraging hair growth and preventing hair loss. This blood also carries essential nutrients to the hair follicle cells, strengthening the roots and promoting growth.
- Facial Toner
- Acne: Mix one part ACV to 3 or 4 parts water. Apply to skin with a cotton pad, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse and repeat 3x a day.
- Sunburn Soother – Rub directly on sunburned area
- All-Purpose Cleaner - 1 part water, 1 part ACV, 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix in a spray bottle.
- Detox Bath - Add up to 1 cup ACV with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil to your bath water for relaxation and detox.
- Fruit Fly Trap – Place a thin layer of ACV in a cup with a drop of dish soap. Leave out on the counter and fruit flies will fly in and get stuck.
- Add to homemade marinade along with oil, salt, herbs, tomato paste (or Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce,etc).
- In place of balsamic vinegar in salad dressings.
- Boiling Eggs - Add a spoonful of ACV to the water when boiling hard shell eggs to prevent the shells from cracking letting the whites leak. It also adds flavor.
- Preservative – ACV does not spoil because it is a natural preservative. Adding it to food that needs to be stored can help preserve their taste.
- Fruit Rinse – ACV has acidic properties that helps kill bacteria and pests from fruits and vegetables. Wash or soak vegetables and fruits in a mixture of water and ACV especially if you eat the skin and it isn’t organic. Cider vinegar also prevents cut fruits from turning black when soaked in it.
- Upset stomach—holds antibiotic properties and pectin which can soothe the stomach.
- Bad Breath – Add ½ Tablespoon of ACV to a cup of water, and gargle for 10 seconds at a time until the cup is empty.
- Combat Exercise Exhaustion – Post workout fatigue can be cause by lactic acid build up, the amino acids in ACV serves as a great antidote. Add a tablespoon to a glass of water and consume after your workout.
- Yeast Infections - Add 1 ½ cup to a bathtub of water and soak for 20 minutes.
- Urinary Tract Infection - 2 tablespoons in a cup of water in the morning and evening when symptoms start.
Bragg’s or Homemade
One of the most popular and highest-rated varieties is from Bragg. Or, you can even make your own variety at home.
Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil, considered the best, this type of oil offers the most of the benefits. It is extracted from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the coconut. This type has been found to have the highest antioxidant levels. The extraction process does use heat but studies show that it does not harm the oil or reduce nutrient levels.
- Deep Conditioner - Because coconut oil comprised mainly of smaller medium-chain fatty acids, the oil of the coconut penetrates hair more deeply and faster than other conditioners. Add to an existing conditioner or bring to liquid form and apply to hair and scalp and deep condition.
- Fights Dandruff – Melt and lightly oil scalp with melted coconut oil after washing with a natural shampoo.
- Hair Coloring Base
- Protect from Sun Damage
- Helps Grow Hair
- Prevents Lice - If your kid comes home from school with lice, dip a fine toothed comb in coconut oil and run it through their hair. You can also use it as a precaution if there is an outbreak.
- Cradle Cap
- Soothes Rashes
- SPF Lip Balm - Coconut oil has a mild SPF protection
- Make-Up Remover
- Caring for Wounds - Antibacterial and antifungal properties make coconut oil an ideal salve for minor scrapes and scratches. (can be mixed with honey to form a salve).
- Skin Discoloration/Sun Spots/Age Spots - Coconut oil can help heal or lessen the appearance of a wide variety of skin blemishes, daily application can help fade sun or age spots.
- Puffiness and Dark Circles - Rub a little bit of coconut oil under your eyes nightly to reduce puffiness and dark circles in the morning.
- Insect Repellant
- Bee Sting Soother
- Athletes Foot – The anti-fungal action of coconut oil helps fight off athlete’s foot when applied daily after washing and drying feet.
- Prevent Stretch Marks
- Personal Lubricant (though not compatible with latex)
- Exfoliating Body Scrub
- Nipple Cream – For breastfeeding moms with cracked or chaffed nipples.
- Target Eczema and Psoriasis
- Make Homemade Soap
- Healthy Wood Polish - Coconut oil, instead of sitting on top of wood, sinks into the wood and keeps it looking “healthy” longer.
- Remove Chewing Gum
- Get Rid of Soap Scum: Soap is alkaline, whereas most oils are acidic. This is why soap works so well against grease and grime, which ismostly stuck to us with oil. Apply a thin layer coconut oil to the soap scum and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. Wipe away with the rough side of a sponge.
- Season Cast Iron Pans
- Cutting Board Conditioner
- Remove Rust
- Tupperware Stain Prevention
- Weight Loss when substituted for other fats in foods (ie butter, hydrogenated oils, etc)
- Coffee Creamer Replacement – Stir in a little coconut oil into your coffee for a sweet and healthy touch. Make sure to stir it in well.
- Popcorn Topping
- Added to foods or smoothies daily for energy
- In natural baking recipes
- Energy Booster
- Fungal Infections - The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are effective natural fungicides.
- Lower Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease
- Reduce Risk (or effect) of Alzheimer’s
- Fight Inflammation – Can suppress the natural chemicals responsible for mediating inflammation.
- Pet Care
- Food Poisoning Relief
Honey in the raw has multiple health benefits. Although most commercial honey is not beneficial to your health, raw honey is unheated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. Therefore, it is able to keep all of its nutrients intact, as they are not destroyed by processing. Raw honey contains bee pollen, is full of antioxidants, and has a high content of antimicrobial agents.
The best place to raw honey is from a local honey producer in your area. Many larger farmer’s markets may have a honey stand which may offer raw honey. It will likely be more expensive than traditional honey. Make sure to ask questions about where the honey is sourced from and if it has been processed. Natural grocers will also often have a great grade of minimally processed honey. Sprouts (my local natural grocer) even has occasional buy one get one sales and sometimes bulk stores will have a great option at an okay price. Be careful, honey is one of the foods faked by not so reputable dealers by substituting with corn syrup without informing the consumer.
- Condition Damaged Hair - A great natural conditioner, simply add a teaspoon to your regular shampoo to smooth your damaged locks. You can also combine it with olive oil for a deeper conditioning. Let it soak for 20 minutes with your hair wrapped in a towel before shampooing as usual.
- Hair mask – Raw honey hair mask can help boost shine, mix 1 tsp of raw honey with 5 cups of warm water, rinse thoroughly, air dry and style as usual.
- Acne – Add a small dab of honey, place a band-aid over the pimple, and take it off 30 minutes later.
- Facial - Combine 2 teaspoons of coconut milk with 2 tablespoons of honey. Cover your face with the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing off.
- Exfoliator – Honey makes a great exfoliator! Use honey on dry winter skin by adding two cups of honey to a bath, soak for 15 minutes, then add one cup of baking soda for the final 15 minutes.
- Boost Your Energy. Quit turning to coffee for your daily energy boost! Replace your cup of Joe with a cup of tea. Mix in a tablespoon or so of honey.
- Baking - Substitute Honey for Sugar inbsking. For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
- Make Almond Milk from Scratch.
- Eat it with goat cheese – A create a classic and quick hors d’oeuvre by putting a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers.
- Marinades – Add to your marinades
- Preserve fruit - Preserving fruits in a honey sauce. Take one-part honey to ten parts water and then cover berries.
- Heal Wounds, Cuts, Scrapes & Burns - A natural antiseptic, simply apply honey to the affected area.
- Sore Throats and Coughs - Combine honey with the juice of one lemon and drink.
- Remove Parasites - Combine equal parts honey, vinegar and water and drink.
- Relieve Hangovers - A few tablespoons of honey, which is packed with fructose, will help speed up your body’s metabolism of alcohol.
- Improve digestion – Honey dose not ferment in your stomach so a tablespoon or two can be used to counteract indigestion.
- Relieve nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
- Improve diabetes – Consumption of raw honey can reduce risk of developing diabetes and help aid medication used to treat diabetes. Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Add a little at a time and see how your blood sugar reacts to it.
- Lower cholesterol – It can help reduce cholesterol.
- Improve circulation – Raw honey makes your brain function optimally by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.
- Antioxidant support – Eating raw honey increases plaque-fighting antioxidants.
- Restore Sleep – Promotes restorative sleep. Add a tablespoon to warm milk to help increase melatonin and aid in sleep.
- Pre-biotic support – Raw honey is full of natural prebiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.
- Improve allergies – If sourced locally, raw honey can help reduce seasonal allergies.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is pure magic, I buy it in bulk and use it to make dish liquid, hand soap and a plethora of other household items. an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. Castile usually refers to any vegetable oil-based soap, versus animal (tallow) fat-based soap.
“Pure-Castile” usually means it is a real ecological and simple soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream during manufacturing and slower biodegradability. Many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even when they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever.
Dr Bronner’s soap is 100% true pure-Castile soap. The high foaming lather of these soaps is from their high coconut oil content, which makes a more luxurious and rich lather than any detergent can ever create.
- Coconut Milk Shampoo – ¼ Cup coconut milk,1/3 cup Castile soap, 1 teaspoon almond oil, 10-20 drops essential oil.
- Hand Soap - Dilute anywhere from 1 part Castile soap to 4 parts water through to 1:1. You can also use the full strength soap with a foaming dispenser. Add essential oils for added antibacterial and anti-fungal kick.
- Dental Cleaning - Put a single drop on your toothbrush (almond, peppermint, and citrus are nice flavors to use) and brush and rinse as per usual. Great for sensitive teeth and gums, and will also clean dentures effectively.
- Foot Soak - Add a tablespoon 15ml to a foot bath and relax! Peppermint is a great choice for hard or cracked heels, or use Tea Tree if fungal infections are a concern.
- Deodorant - Add 1-2ml to a spray bottle of water 125ml along with a teaspoon of Himalayan crystal salt. Rose, Citrus, Lavender or Tea Tree are effective in making deodorant!
- Shaving - Dilute one-part liquid castile soap to two parts of water and massage into skin as a shaving lubricant.
- All Purpose Cleaning Spray - ¼ cup soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. essential oils for added cleaning power.
- Ant spray (not on plants): ¼ cup tea tree soap in a quart of water. (This concentration will burn plants.)
- Laundry Wash - Use 1/4 cup for top-loading machines (1/8 cup for front loaders); adjust as needed depending on hardness of water. Add a dash of baking soda for added strength. Great for washing baby clothes. Add essential oils for added scent and power.
- Pet Wash - Wet the coat of your pet thoroughly then apply the liquid Castile soap by massaging a small amount in your hands until lather is formed, then washing the hair/fur and rinsing clean afterwards. Can also be added to wash water for ease of use (one squirt is plenty). Choose a stronger scent to help deter fleas and ticks, or mild if your pet has very sensitive skin.
- Homemade Tub Scrub - Fill a spray bottle with one third Castile soap and two thirds water. Spread baking soda liberally around the bath and spray the Castile soap mixture on. Scrub with a scouring pad or scrub brush.
- Mopping - ½ cup of soap in 3 gallons of hot water.
- Fruit and Veggie Rinse - 1 dash (about ¼ tsp.) in a bowl of water. Dunk produce and swish. Then rinse in clear water.
- Clearing Congestion - 1 tablespoon in a bowl of steamy hot water. Breathe in mist with a towel draped over the head.
These are the top products to keep on hand if you are trying to have a greener and sustainable lifestyle. Outside of raw honey, all these products are extremely affordable, especially when you consider how many other products you wont have to buy (detergent, hand soap, make-up remover, acne treatments, etc.)