All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

When a few magical things are happening for me simultaneously, I feel like a total goddess. Don’t you just love that feeling? You are head to toe sparkly and move through your day floating on air. First thing I need to feel this way is glowing skin. I can achieve this by drinking plenty of water, breaking a sweat nearly every day and using an ultra moisturizing face cream every night. Next thing I need is flowing, shiny, effortlessly lustrous hair. I achieve this by washing my hair only twice a week, rinsing with apple cider vinegar and touching up with dry shampoo when I feel a little greasy. Finally, I feel my most goddess like when my teeth are ultra white. There are few things on earth more attractive to me than a pearly set of chompers. Aside from a nice eager pair of listening ears and a beautiful compassionate heart of course. 🙂

I have used practically every whitener on the market today to attain those pearly whites. Unfortunately, most commercial teeth whiteners contain abrasive chemicals that strip your teeth of their enamel leaving them more sensitive to hot, cold and cavities. I know a lot about cavities. I’ve suffered through roughly 15 cavities in my 30 years in this body. I finally decided that it was time for me to find a better way.

A few months ago, I began experimenting with activated charcoal for it’s teeth whitening abilities. Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities allow it to bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque… hello naturally glistening smile! Eagerly, I made my own paste using coconut oil and activated charcoal; I began brushing with it every few days before my regular brushing routine in the evening. I noticed a slightly whiter smile after the very first brushing but after a few weeks, I began to notice my teeth appeared to be getting MORE yellow. I was puzzled, a little disappointed even but resolved not to write the stuff off before doing a little more research. After some investigative googling, I discovered that coconut oil can actually yellow your teeth. AHA! That meant that activated charcoal was still on the table for an effective natural whitener.

After further internet exploring I concluded that bentonite clay would be a fabulous little addition to the activated charcoal paste. Bentonite clay binds to unhealthy substances around the teeth, on the tongue and gums, and helps to remove them before they create plaque. It is also full of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to teeth and gums.

Another powerhouse for strengthening and cleaning teeth is arrowroot powder. Arrowroot powder is excellent for maintaining a balance between acid and alkaline levels as it is rich is many minerals including calcium. These minerals will help to remineralize the tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Winning!

With their powers combined, these three can conquer even the most intense surface stains and leave behind an absolutely beautiful white smile. Now, I have a pretty bad ass little whitening powder that is all natural and completely free of chemicals, preservatives or fragrances… all that yucky stuff you don’t want anywhere near your mouth. I’d love to share my recipe with you all. Hopefully you will find it as illuminating as I did. 🙂

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1 tsp activated charcoal
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

Process

  1. Mix first three ingredients together in a glass jar or a tin… whatever you have on hand
  2. Add in peppermint essential oil and stir together
  3. Before each use, liberally wet your tooth brush, sprinkle some powder onto your brush and brush like normal
  4. After a few minutes, rinse out your mouth
  5. You can be finished here or you can brush again with your regular toothpaste if you so desire.

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My hubby has dealt with yellow teeth for… well forever. He started drinking black tea at a pretty young age, this is common in Armenian households, so his teeth bear the stains of this. Here is a photo of his teeth in the late summer of last year,

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Here is a photo of his teeth today, after brushing with my whitening powder every few days for two weeks. I personally can see a big difference!

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Enjoy dazzling the world with your beautiful white smile! Please let me know how this works for you if you try it.

XO ~ Sam

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Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. 😊

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

Health is something that I don’t often fully appreciate until it’s compromised. I guess that is one perk of not being well; when you get well again you are so grateful for your vitality that you vow to take better care of yourself from then on. With my health being less than optimal these last few months I decided I needed to get myself back on track. I took myself to a naturopathic physician to find a solution. A bunch of tests were taken and a few things were discovered. First discovery, I have borderline hypothyroidism, which I will get more into another day. Second, my cortisol levels are too high, which I am now controlling with magnolia root. Third, I tested in the high range for a few toxic metals; aluminum and lead. High levels of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s. High levels of lead in the body has been linked to nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. The aluminum is from using aluminum based non stick cookware and the lead is from using store bought makeup. Crazy isn’t it? I have since thrown out all my cookware and replaced it with either stainless steal or cast iron to reduce my aluminum exposure. I started making my own makeup a few months ago but I didn’t replace everything. Now that I have these results back I am newly committed to replacing all of the toxic makeup in my makeup bag. The only makeup that I use is lipstick, concealer, mascara and very occasionally blush/bronzer for a little sparkle. I made my own organic blush from beets and hibiscus a few months ago so I’ve got that covered. Next and arguably most importantly on my list is lipstick. I wear it nearly everyday and the store bought lipsticks contain unnatural dyes filled with lead. Considering the fact that this stuff goes on your lips, it is safe to assume we ingest a bit of it every time we put it on. I’m done poisoning myself. I can give my lips the color I love without sacrificing my health to do it. I measured, melted and mixed some of my favorite natural ingredients and created a really beautiful, deep red lip color with a hint of purple. I’m simply in love and frankly I’m never buying a lipstick again.

‘Wine Tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

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Ingredients – makes about 2-3 lipsticks depending on size of container. I used .15 ml Chapstick tubes

  • 2 grams beeswax  (I use a scale here because hard beeswax is easier to measure this way)
  • 1 tsp mango butter
  • 1 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp meadow foam seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin e
  • 3/4 tsp Australian red reef clay
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay 
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used Ylang Ylang)

Process

  1. Melt together butters/oils in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling tea kettle
  2. Take off heat and add in vitamin e
  3. In another bowl mix together red reef and bentonite clay 
  4. Add melted oils/butters to clays and mix until well combined 
  5. Add in essential oil and pour into tubes
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes to harden
  7. Apply to lips
  8. Leave natural lipstick marks on a lucky lover

DSC_1066 The rich burgundy color evoked images of me with a wine stained mouth in the rolling green hills of France; hence the title of the lipstick. If your lip color can transport you all the way to Burgundy, you know you’ve got a winner. 😉 If you like your lip color a little less dramatic, just use a little less red reef clay. Enjoy your gorgeous red lips without sacrificing your health. XO ~ Sam

Homemade Dill Pickles.

Homemade Dill Pickles.

It’s official, I’m never buying pickles again. Making your own is so stinking easy that paying for store bought pickles just feels wrong. The process literally takes 10 minutes. Chop cucumber, heat vinegar mixture, add it all together in a mason jar and store in fridge for a few days. If I’d known how simple it was I’d have been making pickles ages ago. Plus, being the control freak that I am, I just love that I know exactly what is going in there. I made plain old dill pickles this time but next time I’m going to get creative… I’m dreaming up a mix of indian spices for my next pickle concoction. Stay tuned for that!

Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

• 5 Persian cucumbers
*I get mine from Trader Joes. I use Persian because they are conveniently small. Less work for me! Just cut in half and you have perfect pickles!*
• 1/2 bunch dill
• 4-6 cloves garlic
• 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• black pepper

Process:

1. Cut your cucumbers to your preferred pickle size
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2. Chop dill

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3. Peel garlic cloves
4. In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt.

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5. Bring everything to a simmer and let sugar dissolve.
6. Pour warm mixture over cucumbers, dill and garlic.
7. Grind black pepper over everything, seal jar and put in fridge for 3 days or more before enjoying.

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NOTE* I couldn’t wait more than 3 days to try them and although they were tasty, they definitely needed more time. They were lacking a little vinegar kick. Leave sealed in jar for 4-5 days before diving in.

Happy Pickling lovers!

Second Chance Granola

Second Chance Granola

If you cook at home a lot, you are forever stuck in a revolving door of food shopping. It seems like almost as soon as I buy certain things, they’ve been eaten and we are making a trip to the store for more. Granola is one such item. My husband is obsessed so we always keep it in the house. When I purchase granola I make sure to pick the option with the lowest sugar, which at our local health food store is still about 7 grams per serving. For the most part I like to stick to the rule, don’t eat it if it has more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. I make exceptions of course because rules are meant to be broken from time to time. 😉 I know that making food at home is always the healthier option and I wanted to have control over what was going into this breakfast staple of ours, so I tried to make a batch a few months ago. Long story short, I flambéed it (not a good look or taste for granola… Charcoal and milk anyone?) My ego was so bruised that I haven’t tried again, until now. These days I’m feeling loads more comfortable in the kitchen. A few years ago I was like a baby deer with a spatula, fumbling around, tripping over myself and making a huge mess in the process. I can’t even begin to tell you all how many times I’ve burned myself. (Egg white is my best friend. More on that in another post) The moral of this sad story is, ‘If at first you burn the crap out of your hand, spill the dinner all over your shirt or over cook the granola, try try again.’ -anonymous. Thankfully, I listened to this wise poet and came back to the granola. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. Success never tasted so good!

Second Chance Granola

• 3 cups Rolled oats
• 5 tbsp Coconut butter (I used coconut butter because it contains the fiber of the coconut, use oil if you’d like)
• 1/3 cup Maple syrup
• 1 tbsp Cinnamon
• 1 inch grated ginger
• 1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
• 1/2 cup Sunflower seeds
• 1/3 cup Mulberries
• 1/4 cup Raisins
• 1/4 cup Hemp seeds
• 1/4 cup Chia seeds
• 1/2 cup Coconut flakes

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees
2. Add coconut butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and grated ginger to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, mix for a few seconds and turn off heat.
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3. In a big bowl, pour maple syrup mixture over your oats and stir until oats are evenly coated.

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4. Add pumpkin & sunflower seeds and mix again.

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4. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 30-35 mins, stirring granola a few times after the first 15 mins. (I used coconut oil to grease)

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5. Meanwhile, toast coconut flakes on low heat until they just start brown. Take off heat before they burn; they burn quickly.

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6. In a bowl, add coconut flakes, hemp and chia seeds, raisins and mulberries.
7. When oats are finished mix them together with your dried fruit and power seeds and store in an airtight container. I used mason jars.

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This recipe is another one that you can use as a jumping off point for your own experimentation. Don’t have mulberries? Use any dried fruit. Don’t like dried fruit? Use nuts instead. Incorporate flavors you love. Play! Leave your ego out of it. It really has no place in the kitchen. Humility, perseverance and love for food and the people you are serving, that’s all you need. That’s what cooking is all about. It only took me a few years and some burns to figure that out. 😉