Thursday, December 19, 2013

Try Spicy Coconut Sugar In Holiday Beverages

Kiwi cocktail and Kiwi Christmas Tree
Try Kiwi for Christmas

Hot chocolate made with coconut sugar is a Heavenly taste sensation.    Here are some other Winter Holiday beverages that are supremely enhanced by just a dash of the hearty sweetness of coconut sugar:
  • Mulled Wine

  • Spiced Tea
  • Sherbet Punch Drinks
  • Egg Nog

  • Latte

  • Coco Mocha

Cup Hot Chocolate with cake and cookies
Traditional Hot Chocolate

Serve-up a new, different taste sensation for your Holiday guests with the sublime sweet flavor of coconut sugar, along with the sweetner you normally use.

Try A Gentler Coconut Oil Scalp Massage

If you are prone to winter scalp itch, like me,   a coconut oil massage spells relief.   
 But I lighten-up on the essential oils I use with the massage during winter. 
I try never to further irritate a mildly itchy scalp with heavy duty essential oils like Tea Tree,  Mint or  Eucalyptus  during really cold spells.  

I use these milder essential oils during winter to soothe my scalp:

  • Lavender

  • Chamomile

  • Ylang-Ylang

  • Rosemary

I wait until cold temperatures moderate a little, before using strong essential oils, like lime, in my massage.



How To Avoid Winter Scalp Itch

Also I wear a warm but breathable hat during winter. I usually avoid wool. Or I wear a light scarf beneath wool or other natural fiber caps. 
Blow Dryer Too Hot???
You can also save your scalp by lightening-up on winter hair care, like dialing down the heat on your blowdryer. 
Either change hair products or space-out the timing for doing your hair. Hair sprays formulated with alcohol really irritate my scalp year round.

Also I cover my head with a light silk scarve INDOORS, to shield my scalp and hair from  the furnace’s dry heated air.

In any case as soon as the humidity drops in winter, along with cold temperatures outdoors, I get dry ALL OVER my body.  I usually realize this when I start scratching my scalp.

 How I Saved My Scalp With Coconut Oil

So then I do a light massage:  1 teaspoon of coconut oil plus 1 drop of essential oil … I only use, maybe,  ½ of this mixture for my scalp massage.  I use the rest on my feet and hands.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Walmart VS. Whole Foods For Coconut

My receipts with coconut purchases in Nov and Dec 2013

Which store is the best place to buy fresh young coconuts? Who is the winner?

 The Whole Foods store I shop at is near affluent Dearborn Park, on Roosevelt Road in South Loop, Chicago.   I shop at the new Walmart in Pullman next to the Ford (Calumet) Expressway on Chicago's  southside.

The good news is that coconut oil, coconut water as well as fresh coconuts are now widely available in the  Chicago metro area at BOTH grocers.  And both stores’ prices are sensible and reasonable.

Of course, Whole Foods was the pioneer in making coconut products available to metro Chicago residents and stocks more fresh coconut in it’s stores. Walmart, the new entry into the city,  has more locations thus actually may provide  more coconut products to a wider swath of metropolitan residents.

The winner for the cheapest fresh coconut prices is Whole Foods, by 0.99 cents per coconut.  The winner for the making more coconut products available closer to more city’s residents is Walmart.

We all win by making coconut a part of our  lifestyle for cuisine, health and beauty rituals.

(Disclaimer – I have no affiliation with either Whole Foods or Walmart.  I purchased the fresh young coconuts with my own money solely for my own use.  I did not make the purchases for the purposes of comparing prices or the stores – I noticed the difference afterwards, while reviewing my recent purchases.)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Christmas Gifts For Your Coconut Lover

Christmas lights on palm trees in Miami, Florida
Christmas in Miami,  Florida, USA

Here are 5 tips for Christmas presents for that Coconut Lover in your life:

  • Fresh coconuts from Whole Foods that can yield over a cup of fresh coconut water... the price is much cheaper than at online stores.

  • Heavyweight Zwilling Butcher Knife by J.A. Henckels to hack open fresh coconuts

  • Carol’s Daughter’s Monoi Oil for hair moisturizing

  • A bag of spicy-tasting Coconut Sugar

  • The original, authentic Monoi Tiki Tahiti oil in Sandalwood,  a surprising fragrance flavor twist for skincare.

Your Coconut Lover will really appreciate finding any of these gifts under the Christmas tree.

How To Protect Yourself In A Purple Chemical World

Chemicals, Chemicals! Everywhere!

My sister, the biochemist, told me one day ‘Chemistry isn’t poetry.’

Back in the day, I never used Dippity Do.  I used the purple hair setting lotion that’s been ubiquitous in salons and sold at drugstores all over Chicago for years.  I used it often at home and every hair stylist I ever went to used the purple stuff.

I used the purple stuff from my teenage years until about 10 years ago – many, many decades.

I Like Reading Labels

Funny, every time I picked-up the bottle of purple stuff I was drawn to read the ingredients list and one word in particular ALWAYS stuck-out to  me.  It’s such a pleasant sounding word, so melodious – not frightening at all.

 I love words, I love English.

But the purple lotion ingredient sounded like Japanese Haiku - futuristic Haiku.

The purple stuff made my scalp itch horribly. I regularly yanked-out hairs from inflamed follicles. But my relaxed hair had firm curls no matter the weather or how high the humidity climbed.

My sister told me that chemical and scientific words have to be treated differently-every suffix and prefix has to be carefully considered to completely understand the chemical’s function. And so I looked-up the lovely sounding chemical term on the purple lotion’s bottle. 

The term is “q-u-a-t-e-r-n-i-u-m 15”

 Cosmetic Ingredient Research

I discovered that Quaternium-15 is a preservative that releases formaldehyde. Apparently, I had been having an allergic reaction to it for years.

The resource I used is “Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me” by Paula Begoun. Paula first published this book in 1991.  I used the 2000 edition.

I stopped using the purple stuff immediately.  (Note-it’s still sold in stores and still has the formaldehyde forming ingredient Quaternium-15).

Nowadays, I use Paula’s book and  internet resources to look up each and every unfamiliar chemical that I come across on cosmetics’ labels.

Cosmetic Ingredient Research Case Study

I had to do this recently for a hair coloring product.

I have 10% gray hair, but it ALL seems to be at my temples and along my front hairline. I was so tired of wearing headbands all the time.

I used some lightweight color products without ammonia or peroxide with great success for a few years.  But after a time, the color treatments just didn’t seem to cover or even “camouflage” the gray.

I knew that it was time for stronger coloring products.  But just having gotten on the highway to leave relaxers behind and go ‘au natural’, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I figured I might mess-up the natural texture of my hair with stronger coloring products before I could really appreciate my true hair type.

Then the girl at the hair products store told me I could buy a product to make the temporary color stronger and last longer. It was the tiniest little packet of chemicals, the size and thickness of a sticky note. And it only cost $5.

 I looked at the ingredients list and one word in particular dredged-up something in my distant memory – something about severe allergic reactions and deaths.  I declined to buy the little chemical packet!

Phenylenediamine or Paraphenylenediamine or PPD are the terms for this particular chemical.

Who’s Responsible for Your Safety?

I decided to use a gray-covering hair powder that I saw on a TV shopping network.

When it was delivered, I noticed many chemical terms on the label that I had never seen before.  I pondered whether ‘the shopping channel would sell something with dangerous chemicals.’ And, ‘Surely their quality department has examined the chemical list for dangerous stuff.’


I looked-up each and every long, complex chemical word on the hair powder’s ingredients list.  All the chemicals seem OK for cosmetic use. I used Paula Begoun’s "Cosmetic Cop" website at to check-out the terms.

Today, there are many, many internet websites that are available for use by ordinary women not just biochemists, to research cosmetic chemical terms. But Paula Begoun was a pioneer with her book 25 years ago.

 I am responsible for taking steps to keep myself safe. What about you and your children?

Thank you Paula Begoun for keeping me informed and for helping me to protect myself all these years.


Merry Christmas All

Here's a  truly spirit stirring acappella version of "Carol of the Bells" by Beyonce and Destiny's Child from back in the day. Enjoy the Christmas Music!