Friday, February 22, 2013

Using "Healthy" Oils

Over the past six months our family has taken on some (more) new eating habits and living habits.  We have tried to take our desire to be healthy people to a bigger level.  I've said it before and I will say it again, baby steps!

One baby step  has been to eliminate the use of oils in my cooking (as I have shared on my facebook page it is a step still in progress!)  I used to use Canola, Olive, Coconut and Grapeseed oils in my cooking and baking.  I used to buy them by the gallon!  I always bought high grade, organic, extra virgin (where applicable), you get the picture.  So when I realized we needed to give oils the oust I was left with LOTS of "healthy" oils still stocked in my pantry.  I could have given them away but since I already used oils in some other areas of my life, I decided to keep them and use them (just not for eating!)

Disclaimer:  I am in NO way AT ALL suggesting that cooking with oil or using oil in your diets is WRONG or BAD!  This is a personal decision for *our* family based on *our* needs.  Our needs include some addictions, struggles, and health problems that may not be present in your family.  I don't refuse to eat food at a friend's house because she cooked it with oil.  I don't condemn anyone for their use of "healthy" oils in any way they see fit!  I don't want anyone to feel attacked or discouraged by this post, but rather feel encouraged to pursue others ways to use the products that you already have on hand!

Now.  It has become quite a desire of mine to own items that are multi-purpose.  I love, love, love when a product can do more for me than just ONE use.  I can own a short necklace that I like and that matches one outfit perfectly, OR I can own an extra long necklace that I like that matches almost everything in my wardrobe, plus can be used as a "belt" around a dress or the front of a pair of jeans, or wrapped around my wrist as a thick multi-bracelet.  I could buy an expensive chemical cleaner to clean my kitchen floor OR I could buy white vinegar to clean my floor, and also use it to clean my counter tops, my table, my toilet, my sink, my shower, my windows, my fruits and veggies, to freshen clothing to extend times between laundering, to deodorize my furniture and carpet, to condition/rinse my hair----okay, sorry I get carried away and foamy at the mouth when I start thinking about all the ways I love my white vinegar :)  But the point is clear.  One product, many uses.  Simple.  Less things to buy, less things to store.

Well, I love coconut oil.  We originally started buying it about 2 1/2 years ago in anticipation for the birth of our first child.  The only intended use I had for coconut oil at the time was for that baby's bum if he happened to get any diaper rash.  Fast forward to the present and I LOVE coconut oil for many uses (although still love having a great remedy to soothe a little baby bum ;)

Here I share the ways WE use oils in our house.  There are TONS more ways to use these oils, so chat with friends, comment below, put Google to good use, get creative!  I am only sharing a FEW ways to use each, ways that I know work through experience.  I would be thrilled to know the creative ways you use oil in your home other than for cooking!

Olive Oil/Canola Oil
Favorite Use:  Hot Oil Conditioning for Hair
I am a little obsessed with having healthy and soft hair.  I used to love to buy those hot oil treatments for my hair.  Now I just use olive oil!  Put some olive oil in a plastic bag and then into a cup with hot water.  If you don't have plastic use a small glass/cup of oil and put into a larger glass or pan of hot water.  You just want to warm the oil.  While in a hot shower, get your hair wet and then apply a small amount to hair, trying to avoid your roots, rub through your hair concentrating most on your ends.  This will not in ANY WAY harm the roots of your hair it just will leave your roots feeling/looking a bit greasy until your next wash or two.  if you tendto have a dry scalp (like myself) you will benefit for adding the oil to your scalp and roots as well, but if your hair tends to be oily you can try to avoid the excessive.  Once your hair is oiled you will need to wrap it.  If you have long hair form a pony tail near the base of your head and then lightly twist your hair, bringing the end of teh pony tail onto the top of your head.  If you use plastics/disposables in your house plastic wrap/Saran wrap works wonders here.  It is a little awkward the first time to try to figure out how to wrap your head but cut off a long sheet that you can handle without it sticking to itself.  Start by wrapping your head from the back.  Apply as many sheets as neccessary.  If you don't have plastic wrap.  Get a bath towel (damp works best but you can also do it dry if you dont have a good place to hang the dame towel to dry afterwards).  Wrap your hair in the bath towel as you normally would after your shower, making sure all hair is in the shower.  Leave this set for ten minutes (longer if you have super dry/damaged hair).  I like to stay in the bathroom that is now warm and steamy!

Lice Killer!
I actually got lice a couple of years ago from a place I was working that lots of little ones running around!  I was pregnant at the time so I couldn't use any of the chemical commercial solutions.  I later found out a lot of those commercials problems are actually not even effective anymore.  The lice are becoming resistant!  I smothered my head with olive oil mixed with tea tree oil for several days in a row.  I also had a spray bottle with water, olive oil and tea trea oil that I spritzed on my hair several times a day.  Worked like a charm!  Good to know for little ones who get lice if you aren't able to shave their head and don't want to use the chemicals.

In place of "Pledge" for polishing furniture
-Place mall amount on a rag and using a circular motion onto your furniture.  This will need to soak in so if you have little hands or pets around you will need to do this once everyone's in bed or asleep or out of the house for a while.  Several years ago when I first started making our cleaners I combined olive oil with lemon juice in a spray bottle and it worked wonders.  I stopped doing that only because I just don't oil my furniture very often nor do I have as many pieces now that need the treatment.

Apply olive oil to your legs, under arms, face and not only will you get a nice close shave, but your skin will be mosterized too!

Make-up remover
Just a tiny dap under your eyes and rub with a nice soft cloth to remove make-up (and again moisturize your face)

Coconut Oil
Favorite Use:  Homemade deodorant
There are many reasons I would encourage you to at least TRY homemade deodorant (health, cost, reduction of waste) but I would encourage you to try it NOW while it is still winter.  It took our bodies a month or so to really adapt to using homemade after years and years of using the commercial stuff so mid-July is probably not the best time to give it a go ;)  Again there are many recipes but the one I use just contains Coconut Oil, Arrowroot (or you can use cornstarch), baking soda and I put drops of lavender and tea tree oil in as well.  We store ours in a wide mouth 4 oz mason jar.

Nothing fancy here, you can just use the coconut oil right on your skin in place of lotion.  One your lips in place of chapstick.

Diaper Rash Creme
If you use or plan to use cloth diapers you will not be able to use commercial diaper rash creams and coconut oil works wonders!

Wrinkle fighter!
Ditch the over-priced, chemical laden age-fighting products and put some coconut oil on your face, around your eyes, around your mouth to improve the health of your skin.  (Real aloe works great too!  Next holiday or celebration ask the hubs for a aloe plant instead of rose ;)

Massage Oil
For your, for your spouse, for your kids.  Everyone enjoys a massage.  Try it on your feet.  Look up baby massages online.  I know when my husband gave our newborns baby massages it helped to soothe and relax them so much.  (What a great treat you could give a close friend who is a new mom or mom of a fussy newborn!)

Coconut oil is great for nipple cream for breastfeeding mamas.

Combine lavender oil with coconut oil and rub on baby's feet (or your feet) to reduce a fever.
Combine eucalyptus oil with coconut oil and rub on your chest for help to clear congestion and improve breathing.

Grapeseed oil can be used in place of many of these as well for massage oil, skin treatment, hair treatment.  Grapeseed oils has a ton of health benefits and you can obtain many of them through absorption through your skin even without eating it.

Now I have shared some of the ways I like to use oils......your turn!

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