Category Archives for "Health & Beauty"

Review: Cariloha Bamboo Bed Sheets, Towel, and Skirt

Growing up in the Philippines, I was surrounded by bamboo and we used many things made out of bamboo, from furniture, to coin banks, to cooking implements.

So it was a pleasant surprise when I began seeing fabric products made out of bamboo.

And the benefits of fabric made from bamboo are numerous: they’re incredibly soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and provide UV protection.

And bamboo is probably the most ecologically sustainable source of fiber. You see, bamboo grows without the need for pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. And, because they mature fast, they’re very easy to replenish.

I had the opportunity to try bamboo fabric products from Cariloha, a US-based company specializing in leisure wear and other products made of a proprietary blend of bamboo.

Resort Bamboo Bed Sheets – Blue Lagoon

Cariloha Resort Bamboo Bed Sheets - Blue Lagoon

Source: Cariloha.com

The Good:

  • Incredibly soft and luxurious – These sheets are so soft that my children wanted to sleep on our bed. Hubby and I had to beat them away with a stick, LOL! These sheets are as soft as my high-thread count cotton sheets. No, maybe softer.
  • Cool to the skin – These sheets are perfect for summer, because they keep you cool and wick moisture (sweat) from your skin, so you stay comfortable as you sleep.
  • Impressive packaging – The sheets come in this beautiful, sturdy, and reusable box. It would make an impressive gift:
Resort Bamboo Bed Sheets Box

Source: Cariloha

The bad:

  • Wrinkly – Probably because they’re ultra soft, they wrinkle terribly. Reason why I couldn’t take any photos of mine. Even if I ironed or steamed mine (which I would never do, lazy as I am), the sheets wouldn’t have stayed nice and smooth.
  • Expensive – They cost more than some cotton sheets with upwards of 1500 thread count.

The Bottom Line:

  • If you have sensitive skin, want natural, eco-friendly sheets, and are willing to pay for quality, then these bamboo bed sheets are a good alternative to cotton or silk sheets.

Bamboo Bath Sheet – White

Cariloha Bamboo Bath Sheet

Source: Cariloha.com

The Good:

  • Soft and thick – Like the bed sheets, this towel was super soft and luxurious to use.
  • Versatile size – Until I received this bath sheet, I didn’t know towels came in this larger 40″ x 70″ size. It’s great for swimming. It will keep up with you as you dry off, get wet again, dry off again…. And you can use it as a beach towel.

The Bad:

The Bottom Line:

  • I’m not picky when it comes to towels. A towel only needs to be reasonably soft and absorbent. But if you’re the type who wants the most luxurious towel, or you only want sustainable products, then you should definitely check out the Cariloha bamboo-cotton towels.

Bamboo Burnout Reversible Skirt – Merlot

Bamboo Burnout Reversible Skirt - Merlot

Source: Cariloha.com

The Good:

  • Super soft and comfortable – This is now my most favorite skirt! Although I made the mistake of requesting this longish skirt (I’m petite) instead of the shorter cotton-viscose skirt, and even though it’s too loose for me now that I’ve lost some weight, I still love wearing this skirt! It’s super soft and cool, and the A-line style is so easy to move in, even in the hottest of days.
  • Value – This is a reversible skirt, so it’s like getting two skirts for the price of one. And if you happen to buy it when Cariloha has a sale, then it’s an even better deal. This is also a good skirt to pack during a trip, since you get two skirts but without the bulk. Here’s what the other side of my skirt looks like;
Bamboo Burnout Reversible Skirt

Source: Cariloha.com

  • Crease-resistant – I was surprised that this skirt isn’t wrinkly at all (probably because it’s mixed with polyester). This is another reason why this should be your go-to travel skirt.

The Bad:

  • Not 100% natural – This skirt is 35% Viscose from bamboo and 65% polyester, so it’s not made with 100% natural fabric. That can be a deal-breaker for some.

The Bottom Line:

  • If you don’t mind some polyester in your clothing, you’ll enjoy this soft, cool, and flattering skirt that retains the hypoallergenic properties of bamboo fabric. If it’s important for you to use only natural fiber, then the Bamboo Sinclair Skirt, which is 60% organic cotton and 40% viscose from bamboo, is a better option. Although I suspect it doesn’t flow as nicely as this one. Also, the Burnout skirt’s reversibility is a unique feature that makes it particularly useful.

If you want to give Cariloha bamboo products a try, remember that they offer two guarantees:

There’s a 90-Day Satisfaction Guarantee, which says if you don’t love the product, you can return it within 90 days for a full refund (less shipping charges).

And then there’s the Lifetime Quality Guarantee. You read that right, a lifetime guarantee. At any time after purchase, if you’re not completely satisfied with the quality of the product, you can return it and exchange the item(s).

I think it’s great that companies like Cariloha are providing various products made out of bamboo and other natural fibers. Now those with sensitive skin, those who value natural fibers, and those who want to use ecologically sustainable products have more choices. Cariloha proves that eco-friendly products can be good for you, good for the environment, and look good all at the same time.

Have you tried bamboo-based fabric products before? What do you think of them? And what are your favorite bamboo-based fabric products?

PS: I received these products for free to review on my blog. Nevertheless, I’ve provided my honest opinions about the products.  :

3 Options for Nasal Irrigation

Neti pot

I used to get allergic rhinitis several times a year. And it always involved appointments with a specialist, ear and sinus infections, and, finally, having to take antibiotics. Several times a year.

Until I discovered nasal irrigation.

Nasal irrigation is, quite simply, the cleansing of our nasal passages with warm salt water. It flushes away irritants and excess mucus, soothes the mucus membranes, and reduces inflammation.

Since I learned how to do nasal irrigation, I’ve been able to shorten the duration of colds, head off sinusitis infections, and avoid antibiotics altogether.

There are several ways to do nasal irrigation. Here are three I’ve tried. They’re all effective but you may choose to use different ones, depending on the situation:Continue reading

Green Smoothies Without Recipes – An Easier Way to Get Healthy

Have you ever tried to incorporate green smoothies into your daily diet, but failed?

I know I have.

I bought a Ninja Master Prep (QB900B) and books with green smoothie recipes. I even paid for a green smoothie recipe app.

But after trying a few green smoothies, I could not make a habit of drinking them.

Guiltily, I kept my mouth shut when hubby put the blender away in the pantry. It had been gathering dust on the kitchen counter. I could not protest.

But recently, I joined the 30-day Green Smoothie Challenge and learned something that has changed the way I do green smoothies profoundly.

From Jada and Jenni, the creators of the challenge, I learned a formula for making a green smoothie with whatever greens and fruits I had on hand. It’s not really a recipe, but it’s more of a template.

I realized the reason I couldn’t keep making green smoothies before was because I would run out of this or that ingredient — and therefore not be able to follow the recipe anymore. Then, by the time I did get a particular ingredient, the others would have gone bad in the fridge.

But not so with this formula. As long as you have a steady supply of green vegetables and fruits, you always have what you need to make a green smoothie.

Green Smoothie Master Recipe

Here’s the Ultimate Green Smoothie Master Recipe (explanation follows):

green-smoothie-formula

  • 1 cup liquid – You need some sort of liquid to make the greens easier to blend. If you don’t have anything else, use plain water. My favorite liquids are coconut water (so sweet and nutritious) and coconut milk beverage (unsweetened). Of course, you can also use whatever non-dairy milk you have on hand. You may need to use more than 1 cup of liquid, depending on the consistency you’re aiming for, but 1 cup is good to begin with.
  • 1 cup greens – Beginners can start with baby spinach and kale. Explore different kinds, as there are so many to choose from: bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, and lettuces. Dandelion greens are also incredibly nutritious, apparently. Now I can’t wait for them to pop up on my yard! (Note: Don’t consume one green veggie for days on end, to reduce the likelihood of getting too much of a good thing.)
  • 1 1/2 cup fruits – As you can see, a green smoothie has more fruit than veggie. The fruits mask the taste of the vegetables, which makes the green smoothie a lot more palatable. This is why even my kids drink them! Certain fruits, such as bananas, apples, and pears, also give the smoothie a pleasant, creamy texture. Of course, when you get more accustomed to the veggies, you can reverse this formula and start adding more and more green vegetables vs fruits (more on that below).
  • Optional boosters – These are add-ins you may want use to boost the nutritional value of your green smoothie. For example, I began the Green Smoothie Challenge in earnest, because I had been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Having discovered that 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts contain 30% of the RDA for iron, I started adding it to my smoothies. Other boosters include flax seeds, chia seeds, protein powders, acai powder, etc. Note that adding these optional ingredients could increase the amount of liquid you need for your smoothie.

Now that you have this green smoothie master recipe, I’m pretty sure you could easily create a green smoothie any time.

Basic Green Smoothie Recipe

For example, here’s one I whizzed together based on what I had in my fridge:

green-smooothie-recipe

Here’s a green smoothie I quickly created using the “Green Smoothie Master Recipe.”

 

Anemia-Buster Green Smoothie

This green smoothie was made with:

1 cup coconut water

1 cup baby spinach

1 banana (I counted this as 1 cup of fruit)

1/2 cup green grapes

3 tablespoons hemp hearts

This smoothie turned out to be very creamy and very smooth. It certainly didn’t taste like a vegetable drink.

Now that I’ve been drinking quite a number of green smoothies, I’ve become more adventurous. Inspired by a recipe in 365 Vegan Smoothies, I made this green smoothie. As you will notice, it has twice as much vegetables as in the Master Recipe:

anemia-buster-green-smoothie

This is what I call “Anemia-Buster Smoothie,” because it has more than 50% the RDA for iron (based on my own estimates).

Anemia-Buster Smoothie

This iron-rich green smoothie has:

1 cup coconut milk beverage

1 cup baby kale

1 cup baby spinach

1 orange (segments only)

1/2 avocado

1 banana

3 tablespoons hemp hearts

Baby kale and baby spinach are both rich in iron, and the vitamin C in the orange enhances the absorption of iron. I thought the amount of liquid in the orange would let me use less than 1 cup of coconut milk beverage. But then again, the avocado made the drink too thick, so I still ended up using about a cup of liquid.

Green Smoothie Preparation

In case you’re wondering, this is how I blend all the ingredients:

First, I pour the liquid. Then I drop in my booster, which is usually hemp hearts. This lets them soften in the liquid so they get ground into smaller pieces better. Then I add the greens, pushing them in with a spatula. Finally, I add the fruits, sliced into about 1/2- to 1-inch pieces.

I close the lid of my blender, and pulse a few times until all the ingredients have settled on the bottom of the jar and have been chopped into smaller pieces. Then I pulse in longer spurts (I can only keep the Ninja running for a maximum of 15 seconds at most, at a time). One or twice, I open the lid and scrape the sides of the blender jar, then pulse some more.

Sometimes, I taste a small amount of the smoothie and add a bit more liquid if it’s too thick. After one or two more pulses, it’s ready!

By the way, according to Health Canada, one serving of fruit or vegetable is equivalent to 1 cup. Therefore, one serving of this Green Smoothie Master Recipe contains 2 servings of vegetable and 3 servings of fruit. Isn’t that an easy way to get more fruits and veggies into your diet?

As I mentioned above, I started drinking green smoothies daily so I can get my iron levels up to normal — and at the same time overcome the tendency of iron pills to cause constipation. So far, I’ve been successful in the latter. I’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out if my iron levels have gone up.

An unexpected benefit of all these green smoothies is that I’ve been eating a lot less chocolate and non-nutritious foods. This is because 16 oz of green smoothie is very filling. In fact, I have to drink it in place of a meal. It makes me so satiated that I have not been looking for my usual chocolaty after-lunch treat. Well, that certainly was NOT part of the plan! But if it means getting healthier without feeling deprived, well, then I’m all for it.

Do You Drink Green Smoothies?

How about you, do you drink green smoothies regularly? If so, what recipes do you rely on? Do you use a similar master recipe? What are your favourite ingredients? What benefits have you experienced so far?

Do share your experiences, tips, and advice in the comments below.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Do You Know How To Protect Yourself?

In fact, I have been all too aware of breast cancer.

In the past year, two people close to me have been diagnosed with breast cancer, gotten mastectomies, and gone through chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

And then a few weeks ago, another person I know was found to have pre-cancerous calcifications in her breasts. She will have a double mastectomy to avoid cancer altogether.

Anyway, I’m telling you all this to let you know that we can do something to avoid cancer.

I came across an article that was empowering, because it gives us many different ways to reduce our chances of getting breast cancer. They all boil down to avoiding cancer-causing toxins in our food and environment:Continue reading

September 26, 2013

My Almost 100% Natural Anti-Acne Skin Care Regimen

For years now, I’ve been battling adult acne, and I’ve been looking in vain for skin care products that are natural and toxin-free.

Unfortunately, every time I switch to natural, organic products, my skin would break out again. I simply haven’t been able to find a product or combination of products that would help keep my adult acne at bay.

Until now.

After months and months of trying different products, I’ve finally found a skin care regimen that’s mostly natural and organic and free of the Dirty Dozen.

Below are the products I use, why I use them, and the effects they’ve had on my skin, as far as I can tell. It’s a pretty long list and I’m quite shocked that I would need so many skin care products on a daily basis! But keep in mind, I have combination skin, which means I practically need two sets of products: one for my acne-prone T-zone, and another for the rest of my face.

Natural Anti-Acne Products

Continue reading

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