Food

5 household key ingredients my baby & I can’t live without…

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“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, says Hippocrates. In thy spirit I decided to write this article highlighting on the amazing properties these next few products have and the way I let them help my family and I. Surely most of them can already be found on the shelves of your own kitchen.

1. Coconut oil Coconut oil has been used for quite a while now, however I must say I’ve personally started using it about a couple of years ago (just before I got Lucas) but since then it’s been present on both my kitchen and bathroom shelves. The best news is that you’re not the only one who can benefit from its amazing properties. I have it on a daily basis but once in a blue moon even my partner makes good use of it too.  While for us coconut oil is mostly a cooking and beauty must-have product, I’m extremely confident in using it on my baby’s skin who can also fully benefit from its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s how and why the entire family loves it now…

  • Coconut oil is an amazing make up remover, leaves your skin soft and not greasy at all. Money saver, isn’t it?
  • Great boby moisturiser after a relaxing soaking bath
  • A tip I know from my grandfather as it’s great for hair loss prevention: boiling sage leaves in coconut oil and applying the result on the scalp before shower
  • Prevents hair damage. The regular use of coconut oil on hair helps reduce protein loss in both damaged as well as undamaged hair. Coconut oil is known to be rich in lauric acid and it easily penetrates inside the hair due to its low molecular weight. It can be used for both pre-wash or post-wash hair grooming
  • My favourite energy booster, try this in the morning, you will feel the difference: mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a tablespoon of chia seeds, leave it for a bit so the seeds get well soaked. 
  • Coconut oil naturally clears up cold sores
  • For my toddler I use it for gentle massaging sessions after each bath,  great for preventing dry skin, also helps with nappy rashes 
  • It was so efficient in combating cradle cap, I used a bit of oil on baby’s head for the few weeks after birth and it immediately started to diminish until it disappeared completely before he was two months. Must say I was so happy to see the yellow scaly patches go away!
  • It’s also highly efficient in solving baby acne problems, my sister used it for her toddler son and continues to use it even now when the problem is long gone
  • Although my partner is a believer in soap and water only, he now applies a bit of coconut oil himself after shaving and his skin gets extremely soft and clear. I personally recommend that you mums, get them daddies to help out massaging your baby after bath and then get them use coconut oil at least once a week, especially after shaving a long beard. It does magic 😉

Click here for more benefits explained 

2. Olive oil   Forget baking or dressing salads, olive oil is a miraculous must-have product for your kitchen and bathroom.  Not to mention it can save you a lot of money. There are some ideas of what you can have it for:

  • Face masks and creams. Ditch the expensive spa treatments and use it as an exfoliant to remove dead skin and preventing your skin from becoming dull. Mix a few teaspoons of olive oil with a teaspoon of sugar or salt, apply the mixture to your skin, then massage gently. I do this once every two weeks and I feel my skin getting more radiant with each exfoliating session
  • Hair mask for shine and frizzy hair. Try it as a conditioner too, olive oil strengthens the hair and makes it more flexible. It also prevents dry scalp
  • Furniture polishing, needless to say more
  • Treats diaper rush. I stopped using baby creams, olive oil is doing a very efficient job
  • Cures, prevents or reduce acne. If you are struggling with pimples and blackheads, using an olive oil and salt scrub helps some types of acne, so give it a go
  • It makes a great supplement for natural vitamins. Take two tablespoons as it can replace your daily vitamin E supplement while providing all the other benefits of olive oil
  • Massage for you and your baby. Olive oil is the world’s oldest massage oil. I alternate using both coconut and olive oils for massaging.
  • It minimises cellulite – Every month I mix coffee grounds with olive oil for a cellulite treatment session before a hot & cold shower 
  • Shoe polish. It’s been years since I lost owned a shoe polish product. A bit of olive oil on a cloth does the trick just well and I refuse going back to buying shoe polish kits. It’s just not worth it. 

3. Vinegar    As much as I love vinagar for cooking, I wouldn’t trade it for any other product when it comes to health. The one that I constantly have in my house is the apple cider vinegar and here’s some ideas of how it can be used.

  • Apple cider vinegar is a purifying agent and acts as an astringent, I use it as a toner for my skin and. It gives great results if you’re prone to breakouts or blemishes
  • Washing fruit and vegetables. It is one of the best natural agents for removing certain pesticides and bacteria from your fresh produce. Add a bit of the vinagar in the water bowl (I’d say about 10% vinegar) and place the veggies or fruit in the solution, swish them around, and rinse thoroughly (I wouldn’t use it on berries for example as they can absorb more of the vinagar and the taste would be compromised)
  • Wound cleaning. I read that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning. Didn’t try it yet, but I’ll keep this in mind…
  • Sinus congestion. It helps to break up and reduce mucous in the body and help to clear the sinuses. It also has antibacterial properties, making it useful for infections
  • Sore throats. Due to its antibacterial properties, it’s worth gargling with a mixture of about one-third cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water as needed
  • Energy boost. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that help fight fatigue. Plus, its amino acids may help prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your body, further preventing fatigue
  • Odour neutraliser. Apple cider vinegar in a bowl will help to neutralize odors in your home
  • Deodorant. I actually tried this myself a few times! Apple cider vinegar helps kill odor-causing bacteria, so dab a bit under your arms for a natural deodorant
  • Foot odor. Wiping your feet down with apple cider vinegar can help eliminating odor-causing bacteria and smells from your feet.

Click here for more health related benefits on apple cider vinegar

4. OatsI love oats, either for breakfast or as a beauty product. Because my skin is rather dry, this is something always present in my house. 

  • Skin benefits. Oatmeal bath is the best thing since sliced bread if your skin is really dry, itchy, suffer from rashes, peeling or when you suffer sunburn and want to soothe the redness. Oats not only contain fats that act as lubricants which moisturize dry skin, they are made up of complex sugars (polysaccharides), which leave a gelatinous film in bathwater and on your skin, helping to deal with dryness and itchiness
  • Facial mask. In order to avoid or prevent dryness you can make a facial mask by mixing a mashed banana with a cup of ground oatmeal and adding some lukewarm milk. Mix it well until smooth and apply it all over your face for 10-15 minutes. Use cold water to rinse it off
  • Treatment for dry or itchy scalp. Oats act as a natural moisturizer and can be applied on hair to get rid of dryness and itchiness. It makes hair soft and shiny. It is often used as an ingredient in shampoos.

Click here for more benefits of the oats 

5. Honey  This is indeed the liquid gold and one of the oldest natural home remedies. I’ve been addicted to it since I was a child and it’s part of the entire family’s healthy diet. 

Honey has an unusual chemical composition which means it never spoils. During excavations of early Egyptian tombs ancient pots of honey have been found perfectly preserved. It is uniquely low in moisture and extremely acidic, making it a forbidding environment for bacteria and microorganisms. Even more, bees add an enzyme, glucose oxidase, to it that creates hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, honey is hygroscopic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has remarkable debriding action. But here’s how I also benefit from its amazing superpowers even further.

  • Run a honey bath. If you run out of fancy bath salts and oils, add 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to your bathwater; it will moisturize and condition skin, and smell lovely too
  • Sleep like a babySo many studies’ results indicate that honey can improve the quality of sleep in children. If it works on me, how could I not try it to my child? It’s safe giving small amounts of honey to babies over one, so when I see lucas is slightly restless I try a bit of camomile tea with a touch of honey. It’s magic! 
  • First aid in cuts and burns. Can be a huge help for any cuts, burns or wounds as it’s able to absorb moisture form the air and start the healing process as its antibacterial properties prevent infection and anti inflammatory agent reduces swelling and pain and even helps reducing scaring
  • Dry elbows. I mentioned above that my face skin is a bit dry, but so my elbows sometimes suffer a bit because of dryness too.  What I often do is rubbing some honey on my elbows after a hot shower, leave on for up than hour then wash it off in the sink. Perfect when getting ready for summer
  • Get rid of spicy hot. If you have eaten anything spicy and find that you cannot get rid of the burning sensation in your tongue and throat, eat a spoonful of honey. It helps a lot
  • Weight loss. (My favourite as it’s the easiest trick!) Mix honey, lemon juice and warm water and take this as the first thing in the morning. One or two glasses, it gives your body a good cleanse
  • Digestion and reducing joint inflammationAdd honey to apple cider vinegar in equal proportion and then dilute with water, tip from my mum…

Click here for more about honey

Let us know of your own tricks using household products, anything that helps us save money with the same results when using expensive products 😉