Some of you think I’m crunchy; some of you know of my love for Chick-Fil-A, which negates some of my crunchy hippie points. I don’t talk about my holistic-naturopath-weirdo habits very often, but today I’m making an exception. Let’s talk about the Hippie Medicine Cabinet.
You should know that I am a former hardcore over-the-counter remedy lover. Papercut? Advil, please. Back ache? More Aleve. Tummy rumbles? Tum-ta-tum-tum-TUMS. Allergies? Claritin-D, even if it made me hallucinate. Flu? Robitussin (which also made me hallucinate). Then I met my husband, the anti-medicine man (Did you know they have hippie tendencies in Jersey? Me either; I thought it was all Goodfellas and meatballs up there). At first I thought his papaya enzyme chewing was totally weird; but, the more I researched and educated myself, the more aware I became of what’s in some of the stuff we frequently take.
Let’s get holistic…
- Papaya Enzyme: This is the bees knees for stomach issues. It helps to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also tastes way better than anything else you can take. You can get it in chewables, or you can just eat raw papaya. Fun fact: It can also be used as a meat tenderizer. Important fact: You shouldn’t take more than a normal “food amount” while pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Drinking a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water can help with indigestion and relieve a stuffy nose. Sore throat coming on? Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with warm water, and gargle. Dandruff? Take that same equal parts vinegar-water mix, and spray it on your scalp. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. Acne? Splash some on your face as a toner. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties to help fight infection (tummy and throat troubles) and balance the pH of your skin (face and hair).
- Raw, Natural Honey: Not the stuff in the squeezy bear bottle, people…you’re going to find this in a glass jar, and more than likely you’ll need to hit up Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Mother Earth to find it. Raw honey has incredible anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Colds, sore throats, allergies, indigestion, ulcers…you get the idea. There are several types of raw honey; most of my crunchy friends look for Manuka honey, but I’m of the mindset that anything is better than nothing.
- Aloe Vera: Everyone knows about aloe vera and its ability to soothe and heal burns, right? I can’t begin to tell you the love I have for this plant. A few years ago, I used a stainless steel skillet to sear my porkchops, then toss them in the oven to finish baking. When they were done, I removed them from the oven (still in the skillet) and set them on top of the stove. Not five minutes later, I grabbed the handle of the skillet to move it, and burned off what I am certain to be 4,573 layers of skin. We slapped some aloe on that sucker, and the throbbing (which was intense) stopped within the hour. By the next morning, I had minimal pain, and my hand never blistered or peeled. That plant is a miracle worker. I have also given up porkchops.
- Yoga: So you can’t store this in your medicine cabinet, but it’s worth adding to the list of remedies. Aches and pains, headaches, allergies, digestion, energy, focus, there is absolutely nothing this practice can’t help improve. Seriously. Just a few stretches a day can work wonders. Add in a glass of red wine, and you’ll feel like a new person. Red wine is in hippie medicine cabinets, right?
- Water: Okay, another one you can’t exactly store in your medicine cabinet, but getting enough water is crucial to overall health. And this one isn’t really a hippie thing, it should be an everyone thing. You need 8-10 glasses of the good stuff daily. I’ve also heard that you should halve your body weight (your real weight, not the one you lie fudge by five pounds) and drink that number of ounces. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should at least drink 70 ounces of water daily.
Finally, coconut oil. This baby should have its very own special cabinet, with rainbows and sunbeams shooting out of it. If you don’t have a jar of organic coconut oil, we need to talk.
Have you ever seen the moving “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? You know how they use Windex for everything? Coconut oil is Windex for hippies (not for windows…I’m attempting a metaphor, people).
Things we do with coconut oil:
- Bake and cook. I know, this seems obvious, right? But really, it’s true. All the things Food Network shows you with olive oil are kinda wrong. Olive oil has a high smoke point, and can quickly turn rancid when cooked. For how many years did we use olive oil at high temps to cook things on the stove top? A million, and I do still use it on occasion. We just try to sub coconut oil whenever possible. If you get refined coconut oil, lots of the coconut flavor/smell has been removed, making it perfect to cook or bake most anything.
- Dry skin. Those harsh Florida winters can cause dry skin, especially for our kiddo. A couple dry patches on his cheeks showed up in January; rub some coconut oil on them a couple times a day, and they disappeared in no time. Bonus: His cheeks smelled like delicious macaroons, making them even more edible than normal.
- Eat it. No, really…have a shredded carrot salad with equal parts coconut oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing. Helps with digestion and keeping your hormones in check (read: no estrogen crazy pants). It’s also a natural way to get an energy boost, and it helps increase your metabolism.
- Give it to the dog. We have a Collie; they’re prone to dry skin, which equals dandruff. Maggie gets a teaspoon of coconut oil in her dogfood, along with a massage on her dry spots, to help keep her dandruff at bay.
- Oil pulling. Oh yes, I do oil pulling, and I cannot sing its praises enough. From what I’ve seen, oil pulling is also becoming a fad, with articles and blogs touting the miraculous things it can do (such as providing the winning Power Ball numbers, picking up your dry cleaning and sorting your recyclables). It’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not everything some folks want you to believe. The benefits I have personally experienced from oil pulling include healthier gums, clearer sinuses, and fewer sinus headaches. I used to wake up every morning with a wicked sinus headache, and green snot for days (lovely, right?) After a few days of oil pulling, the headaches disappeared and my sinuses are so much better. No pressure, no pain, no stuffiness, and minimal green snot rockets. It’s awesome, and if you think it’s weird, don’t knock it ’til you try it.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, a naturopath, or an super hippie. I’m just a mom (ha, JUST a mom…we are superheroes, are we not?) sharing her holistic thoughts. Take it with a grain of sustainably harvested sea salt. And get the damn coconut oil…you’ll thank me later. Next week we’ll talk oil of oregano and composting, m’kay?
Coconut oil 4EVA,