The Hidden Cost of Fad Diets

It seems like every month, magazines are touting the next great diet. One month it’s the ketogenic diet, the next everyone’s talking about going paleo, and the next month some doctor is warning against eating white food. A girl could get dizzy trying to keep up, and your bathroom scale dial is probably spinning wildly. Does your weight control plan consist of shifting from one fad diet to the next? Serial fad dieting has serious consequences you should be aware of. Before you jump on the next diet bandwagon, read this.

The Risk of Malnutrition

Fad diets very often restrict one or more food types. Doctors, nutritionists and most physical fitness experts, on the other hand, stress the importance of eating a diversified diet that gives a person the best chances of getting all the necessary nutrients that their body needs to function at its peak.

When you drastically restrict your food intake or completely eliminate one or multiple foods, you run the risk of malnutrition. It may seem unheard of to have malnutrition in an age when so many foods are at our disposal. However, malnutrition is more common than you think, even in first world countries like the United States. A Journal of Nutrition study conducted in 2015 revealed that 85% of Americans don’t receive the FDA’s recommended daily vitamin and mineral intake. Malnutrition can lead to muscle loss (remember, your heart is a muscle, too), fatigue, headaches, and even disease.

Your metabolism is a finely tuned operating system—when you eat right. When you constantly jump from one diet to the other, however, your body doesn’t know what the heck is going on out there. One month it’s enjoying processing that fresh-squeezed orange juice you made, and the next month, all you’re glugging down is some chalky protein powder shake that has no vitamin C at all. Scurvy, anyone?

The healthiest diets don’t exclude entire food groups. If you feel you must diet, choose one that incorporates all whole food groups.

The Risk of Obesity

That’s right. Fad diets can contribute to obesity. Many fad diets have less than optimal calorie counts. If you’re used to plenty of calories at each meal sitting, you could end up feeling deprived the whole time you’re dieting. Even if you see some weight loss on the scale, you might not be able to shake the constant hunger pangs and feelings of deprivation and resentment toward those who seem to be able to eat as much as they like and still stay thin.

You’re human. You don’t like feeling hungry all the time, and really you shouldn’t have to. So, eventually, your brain starts coming up with reasons why you should eat more. It will validate the upcoming binge. Then you cave. As you binge, you savor every delicious bite. You overeat. The next morning, you feel guilty and perhaps ashamed. You decide that it feels better to eat than to starve, and you relax the reins on your dieting. You may even give up altogether. Finally, you weigh yourself again and find that amazingly, you weigh more now than you ever have!

This is how some studies have shown that starving yourself on fad diets can end up making you even fatter than you were before.

Opt for diets that have allowances built in for in-between meals snacking, and the occasional indulgence. This will give you the best chances for sticking to the plan and achieving the weight loss you desire.

Of course, the best diet is no diet at all. Making an eating lifestyle change is better than “going on a diet.” Be present when you shop for food, and when you eat. Note how you feel after each meal and avoid things that make you feel grumpy, bloated or tired. When you start to look at food as nourishment instead of as treats or rewards, you may not be tempted to go on another fad diet ever again.

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Feel Fresh With These Homemade Toothpaste & Mouthwash Recipes

Read the labels of commercial brand toothpaste and mouthwash, and you’ll see plenty of ingredients that you may not like. Worse, many of these ingredients have been clinically proven to cause harm. Although you wouldn’t normally swallow toothpaste or mouthwash, why subject your body to potential health risks?

Pesticides in Commercial Toothpaste and Mouthwash

If you’re worried about a moth invasion inside your tube of toothpaste, you might not mind having a pesticide as an ingredient. Otherwise, not so much.

Triclosan is added to toothpaste and mouthwash as a purported germ-killer. It’s a pesticide that has been approved for use by the FDA in products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Yet, it’s efficacy for killing germs in humans has never been clinically proven. It has, however, been scientifically proven to be an endocrine disruptor. Young children are especially susceptible. That’s something to think about, right?

If you want to ensure only natural ingredients in your toothpaste and mouthwash, try these homemade toothpaste and mouthwash recipes. Ingredients for the following homemade toothpaste and mouthwash recipes are easy to find, and the instructions are simple to follow.

Homemade Toothpaste, Version 1

First off, this is more like tooth cleaner than toothpaste. You’ll be storing it in a sealed jar, which you can keep on your bathroom sink at room temperature.

Ingredients to make homemade toothpaste:

  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/8 cup filtered water, more or less

Put the baking soda in a sealable container. Stir in the tea tree oil with a spoon. Add the filtered water, a little at a time, until a paste is formed. Stir well.

Homemade Toothpaste, Version 2

This isn’t really a toothpaste recipe, so much as a tooth polishing trick. But it comes from Catherine Zeta Jones, whom I adore, so I’m including it here. According to one interview, Catherine said she polishes her teeth with crushed strawberries. Apparently, the malic acid in the strawberries helps to whiten teeth. I tried it, and by golly, it works! Just crush a strawberry in a little bowl and use your toothbrush to polish. Tastes great, too!

Homemade Mouthwash

Remember that mouthwash should never be swallowed. Just rinse, swoosh and spit out. Even though the following recipes use natural ingredients, you still shouldn’t drink mouthwash.

You can store this mouthwash in a Mason jar, re-use an old empty container of mouthwash or even use a used water bottle that’s been cleaned and sterilized.

Ingredients for Homemade Mouthwash:

  • 8 ounces of rum or vodka (for tincture)
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves or clove powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried Peppermint Leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dried Plantain Leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary Leaf
  • 15 drops of Cinnamon or Peppermint Essential Oil (or more to preference-optional)

Directions:

  1. Place herbs in a pint size mason jar. Pour enough boiling water over herbs to just dampen all of them. (this helps release the properties of the herbs).
  2. Pour the rum or vodka into the jar with the herbs and hot water.
  3. Cover tightly and put in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. Each day, shake the jar to help the herbs infuse into the alcohol mixture.
  4. After 2-3 weeks, use cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer to strain the herbs out of the tincture. Discard the herbs and pour the tincture into small dropper bottles or other glass jar to store.
  5. Add the essential oils, return lid and shake well.

Homemade mouthwash recipe sourced from WellnessMama.

 

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4 Distracting Things to Do Until Your Food Cravings Pass

Food cravings can sabotage your health and weight loss goals. We all suffer from food cravings at some point, but it is possible to get through them without succumbing to the temptation. Experts say that food cravings usually go away after 15 minutes. Here are some ideas for distracting activities that will not only make the time fly by, but maybe even cut that food craving time in half.

Play Tetris

A surprising study conducted late last year at the University of Plymouth indicates that playing the video game of Tetris for as little as three minutes can reduce cravings by one-fifth. There’s something about this game that makes players forget about whatever food craving they were experiencing. This is the first test of its kind, so it’s possible that other video games can achieve similar results, though that hasn’t yet been put to the test. In the meantime, why not download this Tetris game on your smartphone so it’s ready to play when your next food craving rears its ugly head.

Have Sex

Food cravings can sometimes occur from the desire to fill something that’s missing in our lives, such as an emotional connection with another person. Having sex instead of binging on a bag of chips will not only keep you busy for 15 minutes (longer if you’re lucky), but it may also help to show you that a real emotional connection is available to you. And by the way, your partner doesn’t have to know that you’ve made a choice between him/her and a Milano cookie. That can be our little secret.

Use Aromatherapy

There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence to suggest that aromatherapy can reduce or eliminate food cravings. The next time a craving comes upon you, try brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste. The fresh taste in your mouth and your minty breath may inspire you to want to avoid ruining that fresh-brushed taste and smell. You can also keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil in your medicine cabinet. Whenever a food craving occurs, just pass the jar under your nose. Some people say that the peppermint scent will rid you of cravings and refresh your senses.

Exercise

One of the best ways to avoid the temptation of a food craving is to exercise. The activity will take your mind off whatever is in your kitchen, and the knowledge that you’re getting in better physical condition will give you willpower to resist food cravings. To make it work, keep your gym bag in the car or closet, ready to go when cravings hit. If you don’t have a gym membership, a brisk walk or jog through the neighborhood will accomplish the same thing. After as little as 15 minutes, your food cravings will likely vanish.

One thing you can count on is, the more often you can resist your food cravings, the less frequent they will become. Remember, all you have to do is get through the next 15 minutes without giving in. After that, it will get easier as time goes on.

 

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2 Super Easy Ways to Get a Base Tan

Getting a base tan is essential for certain situations. Maybe you’ve been invited to join your boyfriend’s family on their boat in the Bahamas. Or, you’re going down to Florida to visit Disney World. Maybe it’s just that upcoming 4th of July BBQ. Whatever the occasion, you don’t want to show up with your lily white legs while the rest of the girls show off their golden tans. Here are two easy ways to get a base tan.

Method #1: Fake It

Since the dawn of time, women have been faking beauty features they lacked for one reason or another. During WWII, when silk was hoarded for making paratrooper parachutes, women found their lingerie drawers woefully lacking in silk stocking. Not to be caught out walking around barelegged, clever women of the time simply sued an eyeliner pencil to draw that telltale line that simulated a silk stocking seam up the backs of their legs. The effect was surprisingly realistic.

Which brings us to method number one of achieving a base tan. There are lots of great fake tanners on the market, so there’s no reason to resort to those orangey self-tanning lotions that you might have tried in high school.

Here are two of our favorites:

Art Naturals Sunless Tanning Lotion works for light, fair, medium and sensitive skin. It contains jojoba oil, so it moisturizes while it’s making your skin look tanned. You get an instant tint to your skin without the sun, and you can build it up to look darker with each application. I like that the packaging is BPA and paraben-free, and that the kit comes with an application mitt.

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner is an organic, natural sunless tanning lotion that works within 4-6 hours to give your skin a sun-kissed natural glow. Works on skin tones from light to medium and is okay for use on sensitive skin. I like it because the ingredients are all organic, including coconut oil, argan oil and aloe vera. Its non-streaking formulation works to give you a fake base tan for between four and seven days.

Method #2: Build It

You can build a real base tan if you have enough sunny day with which to work your tanning magic. Seven sunny days should be long enough to implement this build-it method. Remember, the goal is to build a healthy base tan without burning or otherwise damaging your gorgeous skin.

First, arm yourself with a 6-day, descending supply of sunblock. On day one, use the sunscreen with the highest SPF. On day two, use the next lowest SPF, on day three, the next lowest, etc. On the last day, which will be day seven, switch to a Hawaiian Tropic sun oil that contains all natural oils but no sunscreen. By the end of day seven, even the fairest in all the land (you!) will have achieved a base tan you can be proud to show off in shorts and a sleeveless top.

You may notice that I’ve left out the option of tanning beds in this list. The reason is that the CDC has specifically called out tanning beds as potentially more dangerous than outdoor tanning. Because tanning beds operate on a timer, and users normally stay in the tanning bed until the timer goes off, the odds are greater that a burn will develop. Outdoors, you can regulate your skin exposure, but inside a tanning bed, it’s much more difficult to do so, if not impossible. I recommend one of the above methods instead of resorting to a tanning bed. Whichever of those two methods you use, you will be occasion-ready with glowing, tanned skin that everyone will envy!

How to Start Eating Healthier

You may want to start eating healthier, but getting the ball rolling can be an uphill endeavor. These little ideas will help get you motivated to start eating healthier.

Make a List

When you get hungry, the last thing you feel like doing is running down a mental list of available healthy foods to eat. That’s why you probably end up grabbing whatever is closest to you and chowing down, vowing to start eating healthy tomorrow.

Instead, sit down and make a list of foods that you determine to be healthiest for you and your goals. Don’t just write a shopping list. Make a list of actual meals that you can prepare and eat. Include what day you’re going to have them, and what time. The more prepared you are when hunger strikes, the more likely you will be to have something ready without having to think too hard about it.

Buy a Cookbook

Flipping through a cookbook with enticing photographs of healthy food will get you inspired to start eating healthy. Buy a cookbook or two that has nothing but healthy food recipes. Make sure it has a photo for every recipe, so you can visualize yourself dining on the healthy options. Put bookmarks on pages that really make you want to get up and start cooking. These are the dishes that will offer you the best motivation to start your new healthy eating plan.

Buy Some New Clothes

Wearing the same clothes everyday when you already feel unattractive can keep you in a negative rut that’s hard to get out of. Put on your best outfit and go shopping for some new clothes. Buy a few that fit you now, and something special that you can work toward fitting into after you’ve achieved your weight goal. The change will help you to see yourself as someone new and fresh who is capable of switching eating habits for the better.

Stop Looking in the Mirror

If your appearance really gets you down, stop obsessing over your flaws in the mirror. Seriously, you don’t need a visual examination over every wrinkle or bulge. Just stop looking in the mirror, get dressed, and be on your merry way. Wait at least a month before you give yourself a once over again. This time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, instead of walking away thinking how bad you look.

Buy a Cool Scale

If you’re trying to lose weight (or even gain weight), having a cool scale will make the process easier to measure progress. Get yourself a digital scale that measures ounces as well as pounds. They even have scales that speak your weight, if that’s what you need to keep motivated to eat healthier. Just don’t weigh yourself everyday, because daily fluctuations in weight are normal, and have little to do with your eating habits. If you gain a couple ounces after eating healthy all day, you could lose motivation to continue to eat healthy. Every three days or so is sufficient to track your progress and measure your results.

Choose Restaurants

If cooking isn’t your thing, choose some local restaurants that serve healthy foods with wholesome ingredients. Keep a list of these restaurants at hand so that when you come home late from work and don’t feel like cooking, you’ll have a backup plan that doesn’t involve Domino’s Pizza.

Invest in Partitioned Storage Containers

If you’re short on time like most of us, you need some quick options for meals every now and then. Invest in some portioned storage containers so you can make your own version of TV dinners. Instead of pudding and mashed potatoes, fill them with things like brown rice, steamed broccoli and turkey breast. Prepare them ahead of time and stack in your refrigerator or freezer. Just pop one in the microwave when all you can think about is flopping on the couch in front of the television.

The key to getting the ball rolling to start eating healthier is to be prepared. When you stock up on the tools that will help you reach your goals, get ready for instances when there’s no time to cook, and be kind to yourself by not obsessing over your image, you stand a pretty good chance of improving your eating habits for good.

How to Transition to a Healthier Diet

Almost everyone has goals of eating healthier, but the reality is often too difficult to manage. It seems like life always tempts you, right?

One morning you wake up bound and determined to start eating healthier, and you feel like this is the day! This is the first day of the rest of your life! Then the monkey wrench gets tossed. At work, it’s someone’s birthday (isn’t it always?). A giant slice of frosted chocolate cake with gorgeous pink and green flowers is thrust into your shaking hands. A paper cup with bubbles of champagne popping delightfully above is handed to you with a cheery “Bottoms up!” You can already feel the bubbles tickling your nose. What else is a girl to do but wish her boss “happy birthday” and indulge a little?

Naturally, this leads to a massive sugar craving that hits you like a freight train. When the crew invites you for drinks and apps after work, there’s no resisting the temptation. Several hours and two blooming onions plus more than your fair share of nachos later, you’re lying in bed feeling sick to your stomach and sick of your weakness. Maybe tomorrow will be better….

Steady on. You know, you don’t have to go full in when you want to start eating a healthier diet. In fact, some studies show that transitioning slowly may yield longer-lasting results. So how about taking it nice and easy and trying these ideas for transitioning into a healthy diet.

START WITH ONE

That’s right, just one tiny little “tweak” in your diet can snowball into a whole new healthy you! The trick is to just let yourself think that’s all you’re doing – ever. If you get the idea that this is the start of having to give up every little goodie you love, it might not work. Say to yourself, “I’m willing to do this one little thing, but THAT’S IT!” When you start to feel better about yourself both mentally and physically, you’re ready for the next step.

ADD IN A NEW EXPERIENCE

One of the best ways to make a change in your life – diet or otherwise  – is to initiate some kind of change. To help transition to a healthier diet, add in a new experience to your life. It can be anything really. Try eating your lunch on a bench in the park instead of in the office kitchen. Or start bicycling to work instead of driving. Or try going to the movies by yourself one night a week. Anything that will help your brain take notice that you’re changing. Believe it or not, this will help you make that healthy transition into eating better.

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How to Get the Ball Rolling on Eating Healthier

You may want to start eating healthier, but getting the ball rolling can be an uphill endeavor. These little ideas will help get you motivated to start eating healthier.

MAKE A LIST

When you get hungry, the last thing you feel like doing is running down a mental list of available healthy foods to eat. That’s why you probably end up grabbing whatever is closest to you and chowing down, vowing to start eating healthy tomorrow.

Instead, sit down and make a list of foods that you determine to be healthiest for you and your goals. Don’t just write a shopping list. Make a list of actual meals that you can prepare and eat. Include what day you’re going to have them, and what time. The more prepared you are when hunger strikes, the more likely you will be to have something ready without having to think too hard about it.

BUY A COOKBOOK

Flipping through a cookbook with enticing photographs of healthy food will get you inspired to start eating healthy. Buy a cookbook or two that has nothing but healthy food recipes. Make sure it has a photo for every recipe, so you can visualize yourself dining on the healthy options. Put bookmarks on pages that really make you want to get up and start cooking. These are the dishes that will offer you the best motivation to start your new healthy eating plan.

BUY SOME NEW CLOTHES

Wearing the same clothes everyday when you already feel unattractive can keep you in a negative rut that’s hard to get out of. Put on your best outfit and go shopping for some new clothes. Buy a few that fit you now, and something special that you can work toward fitting into after you’ve achieved your weight goal. The change will help you to see yourself as someone new and fresh who is capable of switching eating habits for the better.

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Super Easy Ways To Get A Killer Base Tan

Getting a base tan is essential for certain situations. Maybe you’ve been invited to join your boyfriend’s family on their boat in the Bahamas. Or, you’re going down to Florida to visit Disney World. Maybe it’s just that upcoming 4th of July BBQ. Whatever the occasion, you don’t want to show up with your lily white legs while the rest of the girls show off their golden tans. Here are two easy ways to get a killer base tan.

Method #1: Fake It

Since the dawn of time, women have been faking beauty features they lacked for one reason or another. During WWII, when silk was hoarded for making paratrooper parachutes, women found their lingerie drawers woefully lacking in silk stocking. Not to be caught out walking around barelegged, clever women of the time simply sued an eyeliner pencil to draw that telltale line that simulated a silk stocking seam up the backs of their legs. The effect was surprisingly realistic.

Which brings us to method number one of achieving a killer base tan. There are lots of great fake tanners on the market, so there’s no reason to resort to those orangey self-tanning lotions that you might have tried in high school. Here are two of my favorites:

Art Naturals Sunless Tanning Lotion works for light, fair, medium and sensitive skin. It contains jojoba oil, so it moisturizes while it’s making your skin look tanned. You get an instant tint to your skin without the sun, and you can build it up to look darker with each application. I like that the packaging is BPA and paraben-free, and that the kit comes with an application mitt.

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner is an organic, natural sunless tanning lotion that works within 4-6 hours to give your skin a sun-kissed natural glow. Works on skin tones from light to medium and is okay for use on sensitive skin. I like it because the ingredients are all organic, including coconut oil, argan oil and aloe vera. Its non-streaking formulation works to give you a fake base tan for between four and seven days.

Method #2: Build It

You can build a real base tan if you have enough sunny day with which to work your tanning magic. Seven sunny days should be long enough to implement this build-it method. Remember, the goal is to build a healthy base tan without burning or otherwise damaging your gorgeous skin.

First, arm yourself with a 6-day, descending supply of sunblock. On day one, use the sunscreen with the highest SPF. On day two, use the next lowest SPF, on day three, the next lowest, etc. On the last day, which will be day seven, switch to a Hawaiian Tropic sun oil that contains all natural oils but no sunscreen. By the end of day seven, even the fairest in all the land (you!) will have achieved a killer base tan you can be proud to show off in shorts and a sleeveless top.

You may notice that I’ve left out the option of tanning beds in this list. The reason is that the CDC has specifically called out tanning beds as potentially more dangerous than outdoor tanning. Because tanning beds operate on a timer, and users normally stay in the tanning bed until the timer goes off, the odds are greater that a burn will develop. Outdoors, you can regulate your skin exposure, but inside a tanning bed, it’s much more difficult to do so, if not impossible. I recommend one of the above methods instead of resorting to a tanning bed.

 

 

4 Distracting Things To Do Until Your Food Cravings Pass

 

Food cravings can sabotage your health and weight loss goals. We all suffer from food cravings at some point, but it is possible to get through them without succumbing to the temptation. Experts say that food cravings usually go away after 15 minutes. Here are some ideas for distracting activities that will not only make the time fly by, but maybe even cut that food craving time in half.

Play Tetris

A surprising study conducted late last year at the University of Plymouth indicates that playing the video game of Tetris for as little as three minutes can reduce cravings by one-fifth. There’s something about this game that makes players forget about whatever food craving they were experiencing. This is the first test of its kind, so it’s possible that other video games can achieve similar results, though that hasn’t yet been put to the test. In the meantime, why not download this Tetris game on your smartphone so it’s ready to play when your next food craving rears its ugly head.

Have Sex

Food cravings can sometimes occur from the desire to fill something that’s missing in our lives, such as an emotional connection with another person. Having sex instead of binging on a bag of chips will not only keep you busy for 15 minutes (longer if you’re lucky), but it may also help to show you that a real emotional connection is available to you. And by the way, your partner doesn’t have to know that you’ve made a choice between him and a Milano cookie. That can be our little secret.

Use Aromatherapy

There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence to suggest that aromatherapy can reduce or eliminate food cravings. The next time a craving comes upon you, try brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste. The fresh taste in your mouth and your minty breath may inspire you to want to avoid ruining that fresh-brushed taste and smell. You can also keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil in your medicine cabinet. Whenever a food craving occurs, just pass the jar under your nose. Some people say that the peppermint scent will rid you of cravings and refresh your senses.

Exercise

One of the best ways to avoid the temptation of a food craving is to exercise. The activity will take your mind off whatever is in your kitchen, and the knowledge that you’re getting in better physical condition will give you willpower to resist food cravings. To make it work, keep your gym bag in the car or closet, ready to go when cravings hit. If you don’t have a gym membership, a brisk walk or jog through the neighborhood will accomplish the same thing. After as little as 15 minutes, your food cravings will likely vanish.

One thing you can count on is, the more often you can resist your food cravings, the less frequent they will become. Remember, all you have to do is get through the next 15 minutes without giving in. After that, it will get easier as time goes on.

 

 

Homemade Cleaning Products You Don’t Have To Fear Using

Whether you are looking for homemade cleaning products for health reasons or to save money, you’re in luck. There are homemade alternatives for just about any cleaning chore you face in your home. The best part is, you can look forward to the same or better results that you would achieve with its commercial counterpart.

Laundry Detergent

The following recipe for homemade laundry detergent has been making the rounds around the Internet for a while. There are variations, but the one I’m sharing with you now has been tried and tested by me. It’s currently my go-to laundry detergent. Why is it so great? It’s inexpensive, lasts a long time, and actually works. Note: If you can’t find the ingredients at your supermarket, head to the cleaning aisle of your local hardware store.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Washing Soda
  • ½ cup Borax
  • 1/3 bar Fels-Naptha soap

Grate the Fels-Naptha soap using your kitchen box grater. Fill a stock pot with six cups of water. Add the Fels-Naptha and bring to a boil. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Add the Borax and the washing soda to the water and mix with a spoon. Pour the water into a large bucket. Add a gallon and a half of tap water to the bucket and stir. Allow to sit undisturbed overnight. In the morning, you’ll find that it has set into a gelatinous consistency. Use as you would any commercial brand laundry detergent.

Fabric Softener Crystals

You’re probably familiar with those awesome new fabric softener crystals that add fragrance and softness to your laundry load. Unfortunately, they also lighten your wallet with their exorbitant cost. Now you can make a version yourself for pennies.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Epsom salt
  • 8-10 drops fragrant oil

Just mix the two ingredients together into a bowl and mix well. Use about 1/8 of a cup per wash load. If you desire a stronger fragrance, add a few extra drops of fragrant oil.

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