Rocky Gorge WellNews June 2023 Edition
Welcome to the June edition. We look forward to sharing more articles later this summer.
Protection: “The Three P’s”
As the weather warms and we spend more time outdoors, please consider “The Three P’s”:
- Protect your fluid levels through hydration.
- Protect yourself from insect bites.
- Protect your skin from overexposure to the sun.
Minty Bug Spray
With tick-borne diseases on the rise and the annoyance of mosquitos, gnats, and flies, it’s wise to have on hand a protective product free of harsh chemicals. This do-it-yourself spray recruits the powerful phenols and other compounds of mints by using their concentrated forms – essential oils – and combining with other plant oils to make you smell nice but not so pleasant to insects. These oils are a great investment, will last for years, and can be used for other purposes.
You will need:
One 4-ounce plastic or glass spray bottle
Distilled water or witch hazel
Essential oils of the following: Peppermint or spearmint, thyme, basil, rosemary, and lavender, eucalyptus
Optional: Geranium, lemongrass, or citronella oils; tincture of yarrow, which boosts tick repellent properties
Pour 3 ounces of water or witch hazel into the bottle. Add ½ teaspoon of glycerin, which helps the solution stick better to your skin. Add 5 drops each of the oils and optionally, a splash of yarrow tincture. Label your bottle and keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Shake the bottle well before spraying on all exposed skin, under necklines, sleeves, and pants cuffs, and even on your clothing, socks, and headgear. If you’re out for more than two hours, a second refresher should be applied.
It’s not just sunburn! Cases of skin cancer are on the rise. Your first line of defense in limiting sun exposure is to wear hats and lightweight breathable long-sleeved garments. Make sure that you keep hydrated. There are many effective sunscreen products available commercially, many of which are composed of natural ingredients and free of harsh chemicals. It’s nice to have plant-based alternatives that you make yourself. These oils will also heal and protect your skin. Be sure to apply products recommended by dermatologists.
Homemade Sun Protection
Several based oils are believed to have SPF (sun protection factor) levels. Here are some defense oils to apply pre-sun and during sun exposure.
Almond oil: SPF5
Avocado oil: SPF 4-15
Coconut oil: SPF 2-8
Jojoba oil: SPF 4
Sunburn Relief Oil Blend
Into two tablespoons of coconut oil add 40 drops of Carrot Seed Oil. Blend well and apply to scorched skin areas.
Aloe plants are hardy succulents that live happily on a bright window sill. Slice off a leaf close the base of the plant, then cut off a 1–2-inch segment. Slice it open and apply the fresh gel to burned and irritated skin. The cut leaf will last for a couple of weeks.
Sunburn Relief Spray
Into 1 cup of distilled or tap water add:
2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel
2 ounces pure witch hazel
10 drops lavender essential oil
J10 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops frankincense oil
Pour into a spray bottle and shake well. Shake well again before skin application.
Contact Abby if you want to order the abovementioned essential oils.
Herbs for Summer: Let a Smile be Your Umbrella
Last summer we looked at the Umbellifer family, named because the shape of their flowers and seed heads resembles umbrellas.
Many foods in our diet are part of this group: celery, carrots, parsnips, fennel, and caraway. The three following herbs will brighten your summer recipes. They are abundant in vitamins and micronutrients and good sources of bone-building Vitamin K, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential minerals.
Cilantro and Coriander
A popular ingredient in cuisines worldwide, cilantro, or Chinese parsley, refers to the leafy herb. Its seeds are a spice called coriander. Both are extremely aromatic but used differently.
Originally from the Mediterranean, cilantro is found in Latin American, Indian, African, and East Asian dishes. Tear up fresh leaves and use them in guacamole, tacos and enchiladas, chili, salsa, and grilled corn. Add to steamed rice and seafood. Mince it into mayo with a splash of lime juice, and a dash of chipotle.
Some studies suggest that cilantro may detoxify heavy metals from our tissues and help regulate blood pressure, alleviate GI issues, and reduce nausea. Some people are genetically disposed to dislike the flavor. However, some of those same people are still able to enjoy the fragrant flavor of coriander seeds.
Coriander seeds, either fresh or dried whole or ground, enhance a variety of dishes. If you grow cilantro, freeze some of the green seeds to be crushed later into chili and other dishes. Dry the rest and use for flavoring and for sowing future crops.
Dill is native to western Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. The herb’s grassy flavor finds its way into pickles, chicken soup, and potato, cucumber, chicken, pasta, and egg salads, just for starters. Fresh dill complements salmon, chicken, sauces, dressings, and dips, such as yogurt-based tzatziki. Fresh is superior to dried. You can freeze the fresh leaves, but a pinch of high-quality dried dill will do in a pinch.
Dill leaf is an anti-inflammatory herb that soothes digestive disorders, lowers cholesterol, and helps eliminate toxins. Just a small quantity of the seeds adds intense flavor.
Underappreciated parsley isn’t just a garnish. It’s a flavorful, versatile herb high in Vitamin C and fiber. It eases digestion and neutralizes mouth odors, especially garlic breath. Raw minced parsley adds color and bright flavor to innumerable dishes, such as meats, fish, grains, pasta, as well as chicken, tuna, egg, and potato salads. It’s so nutritious, no wonder it’s included in juicing diets. A bunch of parsley is inexpensive, hardy, and can last for weeks in the fridge. Pick out yellowed pieces before storing loosely in an open plastic bag.
Foods for Summer Brightness
Similar to pesto, chimichurri is a vibrant green sauce made with pureed parsley, cilantro, and garlic, to which olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and are added. It’s an intensely delicious condiment for grilled chicken and steak as well as veggie dishes.
Snappy Refrigerator Pickles
These crispy pickles don’t require complicated canning methods. They will keep for a couple of months in the fridge, but you can enjoy them as early as the next day.
You will need about four 8-ounce or two 16-ounce glass jars, preferably wide-mouthed, with secure lids.
6-8 Kirby unpeeled cucumbers or 3-4 thin-skinned unwaxed cucumbers
One small sliced yellow onion
Several sprigs of fresh dill
4-6 peeled garlic cloves
2 c water
2 c apple cider or white vinegar
1 TBSP coriander or mustard seeds
1 TBSP peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP Kosher or coarse sea salt
Make the brine by combining the water, cider, salt, seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool completely before pouring over the cucumbers, garlic, onion, dill. Refrigerate immediately.
*Note: For extra crunch, place cucumber slices in a colander and cover with ice for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Summer In the Studio
If you need a summer tune-up, we are scheduling sessions throughout the season. please contact Abby to arrange private in-person, Zoom, and hybrid sessions, or join our classes in the studio.
We wish you a safe, healthy early summer and Happy July Fourth!