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    My Top Three Practical Health Tricks

    June 11, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    I keep thinking I want to work these three tips into other posts, and I keep not having the opportunity to do so, so before I forget, here are three ideas from which I have gained much personal benefit. I thought I’d share, on the off-chance that they benefit you, too.

    Magnesium water (some call it magnesium oil) is easy to make! On your stove top in a small pan, heat equal parts magnesium chloride hexahydrate flakes and filtered water. Stir until the flakes dissolve. Let cool and it’s ready for use. I prefer to keep mine in a spray bottle.

    So what’s it good for? Aches and pains, mostly. Now, I’m not talking bruises, but more muscular pain. I have arms that ache from repetitive motions (such as milking goats). A little spray takes it away. I had what I thought was TMJ pain–basically a deep ache in my jaw by my ear. This spray takes that away, too. Muscle cramps? Also gone. When various children have come to me complaining of what seems to me like growing pains–those nighttime leg aches–I can take it away by applying magnesium water into their skin.

    I’ve gotten to where I put a few sprays into my palm and lather it on like lotion before bed. What can I say? I think it improves my skin. The only precaution I’d give is that if you’ve just shaved your legs watch out! It might sting a little. Also, the mixture was too alkaline for one of my children and I had to water hers down. If you try it, you might want to test it on a SMALL patch of skin before trying it on your whole body.

    For me, magnesium oil has seemed like magic. I thought I was getting old already, but it turns out a little magnesium makes me young again.

    I’ve made a lot of homemade toothpaste, and I like it. But sometimes I don’t want to bother with making batches of it, and I didn’t like my recipe so much in the summer because the coconut oil makes the mixture (which I made in the winter, granted) too runny.

    I finally ran out the other day, but didn’t have time to make a new batch before I needed to brush my teeth, so I looked around to see what I could cook up on my own and ended up with a winner!

    All I did was dip my toothbrush in a tub of calcium carbonate powder. If you look at most toothpastes, calcium carbonate is a major ingredient on the label. I did some research on this when I decided to be weird make my own toothpaste. Turns out some researcher somewhere proved that putting calcium in toothpaste helped remineralize teeth. Once that was known, most toothpastes added it. I consider it the most important ingredient on my list.

    My dentist says that it helps more if you leave it on your teeth rather than rinsing your mouth. This is only safe to do if your toothpaste does not have fluoride. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to swallow fluoride; it’s a neurotoxin.

    In addition to the powder, I’m only using one other ingredient: two drops of Uncle Harry’s Tooth and Gum Elixir. This is basically a mix of a bunch of essential oils, oils that are called for in my toothpaste recipe. It’s easier for me to just use a couple drops of this premade mixture, which I love, rather than making my own. By the way, I’ve found this to be very helpful in restoring gum health. I had some issues start with my (previously healthy) gums when I was struggling with my health a year ago. I’ve been trying to find something I thought actually improved them, and this is the only thing that has made a noticeable difference.

    This is my new go-to toothpaste solution!

    Do any of you have picky eaters? Well, years and years ago I had a couple children that I was trying to train to eat a bigger variety. Unlike their older siblings, they were not easy to train. I started researching to find solutions and came upon some research stating that vegetables taste bad to that people with zinc deficiency.

    I decided to do a zinc challenge. This usually requires the use of zinc drops. Here’s the deal with zinc, especially the liquid zinc designed for this sort of challenge: if it tastes bad, you don’t need it. In other words, you’re not deficient. But the converse is also true: if you can’t taste it, or if it tastes good to you, you are deficient. The same is true for your children, your spouse, or any other picky eater in your life. In general, picky eaters are zinc deficient — but not always, which is why the challenge test is important. If you use the drops I linked above, there are instructions on the bottle to explain how to do the challenge.

    Once I knew who in the family was deficient, I started giving them Zinc Liver Chelate by Standard Process. Now, these can be swallowed whole, but I requested they chew them — at least on occasion — because once it started tasting bad, I knew they were no longer deficient.

    So: no more picky eaters at our house, and I attribute this to the zinc. My child who was the pickiest was also the most deficient. He now loves Brussels sprouts and salad.

    Sadly, my husband still does not like black olives.

    So there you have it. My top-three practical health tricks — stuff that actually works in my own personal life. I’ve tried other weird things, but never noticed that they made a difference, so I’ll spare you the details. If you try any of these ideas, let me know how they work for you!

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  • Reply Brandy Vencel June 27, 2013 at 5:07 am

    I just noticed this comment. Sorry about the delay! I am on my Kindle so it is hard for me to research liquid zinc brands, but I did link one in the post above that sounded okay to me at the time…as long as you are not sensitive to sulfates. Amazon offered some other options on that page as well. I hope this helps a little!

  • Reply austen_n_burney June 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Do you have a brand of liquid zinc you prefer? Thanks for all the info!

  • Reply austen_n_burney June 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Apparently some eczema can be caused by zinc deficiency. We had my son tested and he was slightly loll ow. Not enough for the doc to worry, but I have been wondering. Would these work to make into a powder for a one year old?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      I did not know that about eczema! Come to think of it, though, their skin *has* improved over the last year or so.

      I can only tell you what I would do in regards to your son. If it were my child, I wouldn’t worry about buying the zinc chelate because he only tested *slightly* low which means you’d probably have a lot left over. But technically, yes, you could grind it with a mortar and pestle. I would probably do what I think is easier and just buy the liquid zinc for zinc challenge and encourage him to take a sip every now and then over the course of a week or so. When he starts to refuse it, the deficiency is gone!

      The liquid zinc alone can take care of the deficiency, it was just more efficient for me to use pills since I was working with multiple people over a longer period of time. I don’t remember how long the liquid is good for once you open it.

  • Reply Mystie June 12, 2013 at 12:44 am

    So is magnesium chloride amazingly better than magnesium sulfate (i.e. epsom salt)? I like an epsom salt foot bath, so I wonder if it would work the same?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 12, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Supposedly, magnesium chloride is easier to absorb through the skin. I don’t know for sure, of course, but my experience has been that while an epsom salt bath was mildly helpful with my achy arms, the spray takes it away completely. I suppose I should make a bottle with each and do a real test at the same strength! That would be interesting!

    • Reply Mystie June 12, 2013 at 1:46 am

      I figured the 88-cent per pound solution probably wouldn’t work so well as the $12 per pound solution. Drat. 🙂 Still, I will definitely try it!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 12, 2013 at 3:01 am

      It might…if you are more permeable than I am! 🙂 I will say that even though it is expensive, it doesn’t go very fast (and I use it liberally). I am still on my first bag and I’ve been using it for nine months so far!

  • Reply Anonymous June 12, 2013 at 12:14 am


    Do your children use this as well? Just wondering if you have a trick for lots of toothbrushes being dipped in a powder like this, and not getting spilled all over. This has always been my reservation for making my own.
    Julie in St. Louis

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 12, 2013 at 1:10 am

      My children do not use this, no…and for exactly this reason. 🙂 I have a toothpaste I buy for them, but when I first make big batches of my other (more complicated) homemade toothpaste, they each get their own jar. But that one has some liquid ingredients so there is much less mess. The powder…oh I shudder to think of it! 🙂

  • Reply Amber June 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    That zinc link to pickiness in eating veggies is fascinating!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 12, 2013 at 1:12 am

      Yes, I was pretty much shocked when it solved the pickiness problem!

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