The Multipurpose Mask

Bentonite clay mask
Bentonite clay

So this week I started a fun new community page on my Starting From Soil Facebook. Folks can ask questions, share tips, and recipes relating to health and wellness.  You are all welcome to join! While on the topic of natural deodorants, arm pit detoxing came up and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to write about the benefits of bentonite clay and different ways it can be used.

The name Bentonite stems from where most of the clay has been found and is still harvested to this day, Fort Benton, Wyoming. The clay is composed of volcanic ash and has a number of beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silica, copper, iron, and potassium. This explains why it has been used in traditional healing methods for centuries along with using it as a detox method. When activated by liquid, Bentonite also has the ability to draw out toxins from the body by acting as a magnet to heavy metals, chemicals, and toxins.

Lets get to the armpit detox! Your armpits are an entry way for toxins, especially if you are still using an antiperspirant rather that a natural deodorant. So lets switch that around and let your armpits work as an exit point instead with a bentonite mask. This can be especially helpful If you are looking to make a switch from antiperspirant to natural deodorant. When transitioning, some can experience excessive sweating, odor, skin discomfort, and rash. A detox will help eliminate or shorten this pitfall… see what I did there 😉 If you have already made a successful transition and you just want an extra way to cleanse your body of impurities than this is for you too!

The recipe I am going to provide for you will give you enough to include a face mask in with your pit detoxing. I figure kill 2 birds with one stone right? Using bentonite clay topically has amazing benefits. Earlier, I mentioned this clay was rich in minerals, one of them being Silica, this mineral in particular helps with skin regeneration. Along with beneficial minerals and it being able to bind and release toxins from your skin it also has antibiotic properties and has been used to treat eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, reduce blemishes, unclog and tighten pores, removes dead cells, and leaves your skin feeling soft and fresh!

Although I use bentonite clay specifically for armpit detoxing and face masks there are lots of other ways this clay can be used. Unfortunately, our bodies are exposed to toxins all day, everyday… With that being said, toss some clay in your bathtub for a detox bath. You can also use bentonite clay as a replacement for baby powder, some folks even mix it with water and rinse their mouth with it daily to help fight bacteria. Bentonite clay has also been used to help relieve digestion by neutralizing gut bacteria and killing off viruses.  If this is something that you think you will benefit from, I would look into the liquid form of bentonite rather than the powder. It’s my understanding that if you take the powder form internally there is a possibility it may clump up and back things up a bit and we don’t want that to happen.

Ok, so here’s how to make the mask.  Mix 1 part clay to 3 parts water or apple cider vinegar. That’s it! I like to do a half and half mixture of water and apple cider vinegar, I find if I do all ACV it irritates my eyes and nostrils a little bit.  You will want to avoid mixing your mask with metal utensils. The clay has the ability to pull the metals from your utensil into your mask to avoid leaching mix with wooden spoon. Once the mask is mixed well use a clean brush to apply evenly to face first and then to armpits. Leave on skin for 15-20 minutes, if you have sensitive skin cut that time in half. Remove clay by washing with warm water.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon clay
  • 1 tablespoon ACV or water

Instructions

  1. Mix well with wooden utensil
  2. Apply evenly on skin with clean brush
  3. Let sit for 15-20 min
  4. Rinse with warm water
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Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Yesterday on my Starting From Soil Instagram I promised everyone my chocolate chia seed pudding recipe, so here it is! By the way if you are not following me on Insta yet you should be 😉 I love Chia seeds in general because of their cost efficiency. A small amount goes a long way and the shelf life is 4-5 years, plus, they are so versatile! You can throw them right into smoothies and jams, toss them in when making energy bars or cookies for added protein, and can be used as an egg replacement— along with flax— when baking. But one thing I would like to advise is, if you consume chia seeds unsoaked make sure to drink plenty of water. Chia seeds can absorb 10-12x their weight and can absorb that water from you during the digestion period. But I think it is safe to say we all probably need to drink a little more water anyway! But don’t let that turn you off, these seeds are a modern day super food! Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia Hispanica plant native to South America. They might be little, but are packed with antioxidants and loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats (Omega 3), that is just to name a few of their benefits.

I have fallen in love with chia pudding lately because of all the fun preparations. You can dress it up with fruit and granola and eat it for breakfast or drizzle it with chocolate and enjoy it for dessert!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons raw cocao powder
  • 4 heaping teaspoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (if you like it sweet double this)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of almond butter
  • 1 1/4 non dairy milk

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients up very well
  2. Refrigerate over night
  3. Enjoy! Don’t be scared to jazz this pudding up to your liking! I love adding bananas, strawberries and blueberries to it with more coconut flakes. I also love drizzling extra almond butter or maple syrup over the top!

This recipe fills up a 12 oz jar. It is enough for 2 breakfasts for me if I top it will fruit!

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

The Best Grain Free Granola

Grain Free Granola
Grain Free Granola

You guys have to try this granola!  I’ve made it a couple times now and it is my new go to. This recipe is completely grain-free and made mostly with nuts, seeds and some coconut! It is sweet, salty with the right amount of crunch that is perfect to add fresh berries to for breakfast or to yogurt for an afternoon snack. Now, this particular recipe is made with honey but can be made vegan with one ingredient swap, maple syrup.  Also, this recipe is Paleo as is.  It’s also a great way to use some of that almond meal we made last week! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. First, add all your dry ingredients to a bowl, followed by your wet ingredients, then, mix well. Spread onto a cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper which makes it easier for transferring into a jar later on. cook for  28-32 mins depending on how dark or toasty you like it! let sit and cook for a couple of minutes before transferring into an airtight jar. Makes about 6 cups.

Ingredients (Organic perferred)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Add all dry ingredients to bowl
  3. Stir in wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes depending on how toasted you like your granola
  6. Let cool for at least 5 minutes
  7. Add in raisins, dried cranberries, or goji berries (optional)
  8. Mix if you added dried fruit
  9. add to airtight container and enjoy

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Once you get a taste of this fresh, homemade almond milk, there’s no turning back. I remember the first time I took a sip of pure almond milk, I was blown away by the flavor and thick creamy texture. I had just realized that’s what almond milk is supposed to taste like. I couldn’t believe the difference in flavor and body between homemade and store bought. Plus, It’s just 3 ingredients.  Almonds, salt and water!

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Since this recipe is preservative free, it is good to keep note of the date your milk is made, the shelf life is 5 days and it makes about 4 cups. If you think you will not use 4 cups in 5 days then half the recipe so you don’t have spoiled nut milk on your hands. Nut milk does not require refrigeration, so feel free to pack it with you on your next picnic or for work/school lunches. Almond milk is low in calories, carbs, and sugars (if left unsweetened) and high in healthy fats. If you prefer vanilla or sweetened almond milk then play around with the recipe a bit. You can add a couple drops of vanilla extract or maple syrup before you blend.

As far as cost, I always purchase my nuts in bulk because they are cheaper and if you bring your own bag there is no package or plastic bag waste. Your milk will now be zero waste! My organic almonds are $8.99lb, each pound is about 3 cups of almonds. This puts the cost at $2.99 for 4 cups of fresh almond milk plus, I get to save my pulp and make something fun with it, so watch out for that too!

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Had I known how easy it was to make almond milk I would have been doing it a lot sooner! Just a couple simple steps.  So simple you can do them in your sleep… No really, you can just soak the almonds when you are sleeping! Take 1 cup of almonds and soak them in a bowl of water over night (or for about 8 hours). In the morning, strain, rinse, and place the almonds in a blender with 4 cups of filtered water and a pinch of salt. **If you will be enjoying your milk right away chill your water beforehand** Blend your almonds, water and salt for 45-60 seconds, then strain your milk with either a nut milk bag or fine strainer such as a chinois. I have tried both and personally think the chinois is more efficient. If using a nut milk bag you have to get a little dirty and use your hands to squeeze all of milk out of the bag and then clean the bag afterwards. With a fine mesh strainer, all  you do is run the milk through and let it sit and strain over a bowl for a couple of minutes. When you’re ready, transfer your milk into an airtight container or grab yourself a cookie to dip in your almond milk!
Preservative Free Almond Milk Hold on to all that left over almond pulp, keep it in your nut bag or strainer with a bowl under to catch any leftover excess liquid. Tomorrow we are going to dry that pulp out to make almond meal!

Ingredients

•1 cup almonds
•4 cups filtered water
•Pinch of salt

**optional for sweetened or flavored

•1/8 teaspoon vanilla
•2 teaspoons of maple syrup
Instructions

  1. Soak almonds in bowl of water for 8 hours
  2. Strain and rinse almonds
  3. Blend almonds with 4 cups of water for 45-60 seconds
  4. Strain almond milk with nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer
  5. Transfer milk to airtight container

Makes 4 cups of milk. Use within 5 days