Subscribe to feed Latest Entries
Friday, September 19 , 2014

3 Stretches to Ease Plantar Fasciitis

Your feet have good reason to get sore, especially if you hit the pavement all day in not-so-supportive shoes. If it seems like your feet (or one foot) just won't stop aching (in the heel area, or between the ball of your foot and your heel), you may have plantar fasciitis, when the plantar fascia (the ligament connecting your heel and the front of your foot) is yearning for relief! Here’s what to do…

If it's a dull foot ache, you may be able to relieve the pain with some good shoes...some rest…and some stretches. You can purchase shoe inserts (insoles that support your arches) over the counter, or ask your podiatrist what inserts would work best for your feet.

Our favorite stretches: Here are three stretches from two renowned foot experts who are well-acquainted with plantar fasciitis...

Stretch #1: Rest the affected foot on the thigh (or knee, if that's as far as you can reach) of your other leg...grip the base of the toes...and pull the toes toward the shin until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat twice daily. This technique works to relieve tension and tautness in the plantar fascia.

Source for Stretch #1: Stuart J. Mogul, DPM, attending physician, Lenox Hill Hospital and podiatric surgeon in private practice, both in New York City. He is author of Perfect Feet (Stewart, Tabori and Chang).

Stretch #2: Lace your fingers between each toe (imagine holding hands with your foot)…or use physical toe-separator products, such as pedicure toe dividers (available at drugstores) or gel-filled YogaToes (available from YogaPro.com, 877- 964-2776). Open your toes with your fingers or with the separators for five to 30 minutes at least five days per week.

Caution: People with rigid bunions should not use YogaToes—they may strain the ligaments and cause additional pain.

Stretch #3: If you are a runner or a jogger, you’re probably familiar with this stretch—take one large step forward and bend your forward knee. Press the heel of the rear, straight leg onto the floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch leg positions. For added stretch, bend the rear knee as well. Perform this stretch twice daily on a regular basis.

Important: If your foot problems seriously affect your ability to walk or don't heal or improve after three weeks of home care, see a podiatrist.

Source for Stretches #2 and #3: Sherri Greene, DPM. She has practiced conventional and holistic podiatric medicine in New York City for more than 15 years. Her treatment modalities include reflexology, herbal medicine and essential oils. DrSherriGreene.com

More natural help for pain…

Natural Relief for Painful Muscle Cramps

Fast Help for Pain

7 Ways to Heal— and Prevent— Back Pain


Thursday, September 18 , 2014

Elegant Way to Serve Butter

Are you planning a special dinner party or another event where you want every element to say “elegant”? Here's a special touch for the table that's fun to do.

Serve a bowl of butter balls instead of putting out sticks or individual pats of butter. Simply place a melon ball scooper in very hot water for about five minutes. While it warms up, prepare a bowl of cold water with lots of ice cubes in it. When the melon baller is warm, scoop out the butter balls from a large container of slightly softened butter, and drop each of them in the bowl of ice-cold water. Let them sit in the ice water for 10 minutes or so, and then remove the balls carefully with a spider strainer or a slotted spoon. Keep the balls cold in the refrigerator until you're ready to put them on the table for your guests.

Ways to save on entertaining…


Wednesday, September 17 , 2014

Nourishing Makeup Remover

Does it feel like you're slathering harsh chemicals onto your face when you use commercial products to remove makeup? If you’d like to pamper your skin with a healthful, homemade makeup remover, try this nourishing combo...

Instead of using plain soap and water or harsh commercial cleansers, remove your makeup with a natural whole-milk mixture. In a small jar, warm two to three tablespoons of milk (10 seconds on high in the microwave), add one-half teaspoon of castor oil (found in most drugstores) and shake well. Dunk a cotton ball (not a tissue) into the mixture, and gently apply to your face. Leave on for 30 seconds so it has a chance to sink in, which will make makeup removal easier. Then take your cotton ball and start cleaning, using upward and outward strokes. Avoid getting the mixture into your eyes. Then give your face a rinse or two with warm water to remove any milk residue.

This combination of milk and oil is said to take off more makeup and city dirt than the most expensive professional cleansing products ever could. And it does so naturally, not chemically.

Complete the treatment by sealing in moisture with a thin layer of castor oil applied to the face, making sure to avoid the eyes.

Note: Some people's skin is sensitive to castor oil—if you notice any irritation, you can try extra-virgin olive oil in this formula instead.

More help with cosmetics...

Tuesday, September 16 , 2014

You’re Cooking Bacon Wrong

What beats the smell of bacon and coffee on a sunny weekend morning? Here are some tips for perfectly fried bacon...

First, rinse the slices in cold water before frying, and they won't curl in the pan. To minimize the shrinkage of the bacon, do not preheat the skillet. Just plop the bacon into a cold pan, and turn the heat to medium. Try to turn the bacon only once to keep the slices as flat as possible. (We know that's hard to do!)

If you throw a few celery leaves into the pan along with the bacon, the grease will stay in the pan instead of splattering. Another way to prevent splatter is to add a thin layer of water to the pan with the bacon before you turn on the heat. Check this tip out here.

And don't forget to save the bacon fat for delicious (and cheap) future frying!

More help in the kitchen...


Monday, September 15 , 2014

Easy Jar-Opening Trick

Vacuum seals on jar lids are great for keeping food fresh...but they can really be a hassle when you're trying to open the jar! Here’s how to double your lid-removal grip...and all you need are a few common household items...

Put a thick rubber band around the lid of the jar and another rubber band around the middle of the jar body. Grasp each band with a hand, twist...and enjoy whatever is in that jar. You can also get a good double grip with rubber gloves, but we think the bands provide a better hold. And we usually tend to have more rubber bands available than gloves on any given day.

More ways to make things easy...


Friday, September 12 , 2014

New Use for Your Tissue Boxes

Instead of having plastic produce bags taking up lots of space in a drawer waiting to be recycled or floating around loose in a cabinet, do this...

Pack your stash of plastic bags into an empty tissue box. If you do not want to use the cardboard kind, look for a decorative tissue-box cover that matches your kitchen (or wherever you need to keep a store of plastic bags). Even the bottomless covers will hide the bags away—you just can’t move them around too much. Try to use the largest tissue box or cover you can find— the small ones tend to multiply as you collect more and more plastic bags.

More help with home organization...


Thursday, September 11 , 2014

3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Fridge Bins Clean

Do you hate pulling out those cumbersome fruit and vegetable bins to clean them? So do we! Here's what to do…

For easy cleanup (and to prevent messes), line the fruit/vegetable and meat drawers with old plastic place mats (or even with cheap new mats from the dollar store). You may have to cut them to fit, but considering how easy they are to wipe clean, it will be worth the effort. You can easily remove the mats to clean them rather than pulling out the entire drawer.

If you don't want to bother cleaning place mats, line the drawers with paper towels. They will provide some protection and help absorb moisture, which means that the fruit will last longer.

Some people try to line drawers with plastic wrap, but we've found that the paper towels are much more cooperative.

More help with cleaning your kitchen...


Wednesday, September 10 , 2014

Clean Your Pewter with Cabbage?!

Did you just inherit a beautiful candelabra (or maybe a set of tankards) that looks tarnished beyond repair? Don't despair! Here's what to do...

Use a large, outer leaf of a cabbage as you would use a cloth to rub the pewter clean. We find that the large white cabbage leaves work the best. Then buff the pewter with a soft cloth.

If a pewter object is badly tarnished, use #0000 (super-fine) steel wool dipped in olive oil and cautiously scrub off the tarnish. Then wash, rinse and buff dry with a soft cloth.

More household magic...


Tuesday, September 09 , 2014

Remedy for Aching Hands

Ouch! That was a rough patch of lawn mowing or tennis playing! Now your hands feel like they've been through a wringer. Here's what to do...

If your hands are feeling achy, try this solution. In a bowl, combine three cups of hot water, three tablespoons of witch hazel and one-half cup of Epsom salts. Make sure the water isn’t hot enough to burn, then dip your hands in the solution for about five minutes...enough time for the magnesium sulfate in the mixture to penetrate and ease the pain in your joints.

More natural help for pain...


Monday, September 08 , 2014

Easily Disinfect Your Countertops

If you like your countertops and other kitchen surfaces clean and disinfected but don't like that harsh, bleachy smell, here's a better way to clean.

Keep two spray bottles handy—fill one with 3% hydrogen peroxide and the other with white vinegar. Lightly spray your counter with the peroxide, and wipe it clean. Follow up with a light spray of the vinegar, and wipe it clean. Then relax, knowing that your countertop and other kitchen surfaces have been treated with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial agents. Yes, your kitchen will smell like vinegar for a little bit, but it will dissipate quickly.

Note: Do not use peroxide and vinegar on a regular basis to clean marble or unsealed granite countertops (most granite counters have a coat of protective sealant). Both solutions are acidic and could discolor these surfaces over time.

Where the germs lurk...