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Thanks to a request by Canton Pixie, I made the effort to find out how to set up subscriptions by email for new entries to this blog.

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Manuka honey for dry skin & coconut oil for dry hair

While we are on the subject of skin care, thought I’d slip in a post to say how terrific I’ve found manuka honey for seriously, critically dry skin connected with the kind of skin problems you might have as a result of food sensitivities.

I mentioned coconut oil for dry skin in my previous post, but I recently discovered that manuka honey (edible, straight out of the jar) is much much more effective. I knew about it as a wound dressing, but never thought to use it more generally on the skin. The downside is that it is of course, very sticky and messy, much more so than coconut oil.

Coconut oil is still a good natural moisturiser if you want something straightforward as an alternative to commercial lotions loaded with chemical additives. And also a good choice if you have candida problems.

One thing I found coconut oil was excellent for: conditioning extremely dry hair caused by perming, bleaching etc. No expensive serums and treatments needed :).

Epsom salt body scrub

Those of you who have read Sue Dengate’s books on food intolerances or the discussions on the Failsafe food intolerance discussion lists will have come across mention of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) as one way of counteracting food reactions. This article explains how sulphates form a key element in a particular detoxification pathway in the body, which “processes other phenolic compounds including salicylates (salicylates are a subset of phenols), artificial food colorings, artificial flavorings, and some preservatives.” Sulphates are not necessarily absorbed into the body well via the gut, so skin absorbtion by using Epsom salts is a good alternative.

Epsom salt is also a magnesium compound and magnesium is helpful in reducing muscle aches and stiffness as well as the tension that causes teeth grinding (see here, here and here).

The Epsom Salt Industry Council summarizes the health benefits:

Magnesium:

  • Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
  • Help muscles and nerves function properly
  • Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
  • Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
  • Make insulin more effective
  • Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
  • Improve oxygen use

Sulfates:

  • Flush toxins
  • Improve absorption of nutrients
  • Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
  • Help prevent or ease migraine headaches

There are also beauty benefits to using Epsom salt because it can be used for exofoliating, as I learnt when I chanced upon this recipe for a DIY Epsom salt bath scrub on a great Singapore beauty blog which has a focus on natural & DIY skincare. She liked the Epsom salt scrub so much that she declared it her bath staple. (If you want to know where in Singapore to get cosmetics and toiletries with minimal/no chemical additives, you’ll find many suggestions on the Viva Woman blog.)

However, I would suggest leaving out the food colouring, and perhaps another option to jojoba/olive/almond oil might be coconut oil. Read about the benefits of coconut oil for skin here, here and here. I also happen to need to use up a huge 1 litre bottle of virgin coconut oil from Nature’s Glory :); I only use it occasionally or sparingly in baking and cooking as it imparts a very strong and distinctive flavour.

If you’re wondering where to get Epsom salt in Singapore (as I was for a long time), Viva Woman tells us “S$4.60 from Guardian Pharmacy”.

Dualock 550ml bento box

Dual Lock 580ml

Dual Lock 550ml

On Boxing Day last year, my Asvel bento box died. The sad thing was, it wasn’t totally dead, just that a miniscule knob that held the hinge mechanism of the lock-tight lid broke off and that was the end of the lid.

So instead I turned to using this shallow Dualock box from Lock ‘n’ Lock. The shallow shape is ideal for packing bento, as I explained here. At 550ml, it’s relatively close in volume to the 630ml capacity of the Asvel one, and it has a watertight lid.

Japanese guidelines state 630ml as about the ideal size box for an adult woman’s meal, hence this is a standard size for many Japanese boxes. That’s true if I have white rice or a noodle dish. However, I’ve found that for a meal with brown rice, I usually can’t finish that amount of food, and instead, this 550ml box provides exactly the right amount for me.

I’ve since acquired a brand new Asvel box, but I shall continue using this one a lot more from now on, especially since I have brown rice for most of my meals.

Curious what’s for lunch inside the box :)?

 Aubergine & pork brown rice bento

Aubergine & pork brown rice bento

Brown rice, stir-fried pork (shabu-shabu or sukiyaki cut from the supermarket), with pan-fried brinjal (local aubergine).

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