Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have boomed over the last decade, and ironically enough this has introduced a number of new health concerns. That being said, keeping good hand hygiene (washing your hands with good old soap and water) is essential to stay healthy. Because I don’t always have access to soap and water when I travel here in India, I have learned to make my own hand sanitizer from all-natural ingredients, that I would like to share with you. But first a little background.
The antibacterial scam
While we are being bombarded with commercials, stating that antibacterial products are more effective than regular soap and water, the reality is more complex. Many antibacterial agents added in commercial products are strong chemicals that do more damage to our health than it prevents. Additionally, tests have shown no evidence they do a better job at cleaning your hands. If you want to read more on this topic, you can start by reading The dangers of antibacterial soap (Dettol).
It’s also important to understand that not all bacteria is bad – actually, we need them to stay healthy! We even need to be exposed to ‘bad’ bacteria to help build up our immune system, which usually happens as we grow up. Though the same process continues every time we get exposed to a new environment. My point is this: don’t take commercial companies on their word. Understand the science, and make an informed decision. I’ve concluded that the best option is natural soap, water, and homemade hand sanitizer.
Rubbing alcohol – a strong antibacterial agent, often used for disinfecting and sterilizing. It can be left out of the recipe, for a milder hand sanitizer.
Aloe Vera gel – a nourishing gel, that is mild on the skin. It can help treat small rashes and skin irritations.
Essential oil – a selection of EO’s with antibacterial properties – choose between tea tree, cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemongrass and Bergamot, Clove.
(Optional) Glycerin – a moisturizing liquid, known for its ability to ‘attract’ moisture from the air. Rubbing alcohol can be drying, and this is to counter that.
Note: the recipe is not adjusted to children. Do research child safe essential oils, to adjust accordingly.
1 tbs Rubbing Alcohol
5 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
20 drops Essential Oils of choice
1/2 tsp Glycerin
Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl and stir for a few minutes. Keep it in an airtight container. I have re-used an old squeeze bottle, which fits conveniently in my hand bag.
This was all for now. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below. I’d be happy to hear your favorite recipe for homemade hand sanitizer if you have any!
I don’t believe in living on diets, but on developing healthy habits and maintaining them. This includes eating whatever ‘bad’ food you have a weakness for, from time to time. Anyway, this post is not on my eating habits in general, but only one of them namely intermitted fasting. I actually started intermitted fasting by curiosity, but have since then experienced a lot of benefits attached to it, that I would like to share with you in this post.
What is Intermitted Fasting?
In simple words, intermitted fasting is fasting in intervals. Either by skipping one meal in a day, or fasting on certain full days of the week. There’s a lot of scientific backgrounds, that I’m not gonna get into – but if you’re interested you can read more here. The basic idea is that the digestive system and body is given a break and that you at the same time take in fewer calories. My confirmation of its validity comes more in the fact that it has been done for centuries in India, than the high amount of hype that is being made around it lately. So, I chose only to look at the benefits I myself have experienced and how it makes me feel. For a better understanding, I don’t eat lunch, meaning I only eat breakfast and dinner. The following is what has happened since I started this practice.
It makes you less hungry
I wanted to write this first, to ensure that you’ll keep reading! I admit there’s an adjustment period, but it can be managed by slowly easing into it. You can start by eating a smaller meal during your fasting time, and then work yourself down to just having a snack and then nothing. A great way to ease into it is to prepare chia seeds in water, with for example fresh berries and cinnamon, that you can drink through the day. Chia seeds keep you feeling full, and is loaded with nutrients.
It gives you more time
We spend a lot of time every day either preparing food or eating food. For some either is a recreational activity and for others a hassle that just needs to get over with. No matter how you feel about cooking or meal time, cutting down on one meal a day frees up time to spend on something else. This could, for example, be used to get in some exercise or put extra effort into your two other meals.
It allows you to eat better
Since you only have to cook two meals in a day, there’s more money and time to spend on them. I use the extra money I save to buy better quality foods, but also to treat myself to going out to eat or making something special at home. I think it’s important to note that when you only eat two meals and don’t snack in-between, these meals need to count. Both so that you won’t get hungry during the day, but most of all so that you’ll get all the nutrients you need to be healthy.
It makes you lose weight
I’m sure there are combined reasons for this. Even if you eat to your hearts desire during two meals, one can only ever eat so much in one go so you will be taking in fewer calories altogether. Additionally intermitted fasting lets the body enter into what’s known as a fat-burning state (which only happens 12 hours after a meal), as well as to increase the metabolism.
This is all I’ve noticed till now, but maybe in time, I will make a follow-up post after exploring it some more. Feel free to comment below with questions or your own experiences!
If you love it, share it!
Want to know more about fasting? I can highly recommend this book:
Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored, but has been written in collaboration between the co-founder of “Meri Gaiya” Rajesh Madan and myself. It is entirely our own personal perception of the matter at hand.
When I came to India, I discovered something about milk that I had never thought about – namely that there’s a big difference between pasteurised, homogenised and raw milk! Furthermore, organic and non-organic milk are two very different things too. Recently my understanding of milk deepened even more, when I found out milk from different breeds, contains different proteins, making them very different as well. So why does it matter if all these are different? From my own personal conclusion, I believe the kind of milk we drink has enormous implications for our health (as well as a number of other aspects – but that discussion is for another time). In this article I will focus on my new discovery, leading me to conclude – that we should all be drinking A2 milk over A1 milk. From here I will let Rajesh Madan explain:
A1 vs. A2
When Keith Woodford published the Groundbreaking Work “Devil in the Milk” in 2007, it put a stirrer in the world’s glass of milk, so to speak.
A professor of Farm Management and Agri Business at Lincoln University in in New Zealand, Woodford presents irrefutable evidence in his book that linked cow’s milk to numerous medical mysteries including diabetes and autism.
In “Devil in the Milk”, Keith Woodford brings together the evidence published in over 100 scientific papers. He examines the population studies that look at the link between consumption of A1 milk and the incidence of heart disease and Type 1 diabetes; he explains the science that underpins the A1/A2 hypothesis; and he examines the research undertaken with animals and humans. The evidence is compelling: WE SHOULD BE SWITCHING TO A2 MILK.
The book in itself is an amazing story of not just about the health issues surrounding A1 milk, but also about how scientific evidence can be molded and withheld by vested interests, and how consumer choices are influenced by the interests of corporate business.
So what exactly is A1 and A2 milk?
Originally, all animal milk was A2, including of course the cow milk. But then, a mutation occurs in the Bovine Population of Northern Europe and Voila! Cows started producing A1 milk.
India’s National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NABGR) had done a study in 2012 where they specified that the A1 and A2 variants differ at amino acid position 67 with Histidine in A1 and Proline in A2 variant. This polymorphism leads to a key change in the secondary structure of expressed β-casein protein. The variant A1 of β-casein has been suggested to be associated as a risk factor for the following diseases: Type 1 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome and neurological impairment including autistic and schizophrenic changes.
The Indian Village and the Cow
Needless to say, all indigenous breeds of cows in India produce only A2 milk.
The cow in fact had, and perhaps still has a central place in the Indian Rural Economy. The milk was treasured, the dung used as fertiliser to rejuvenate the soil, the dried dung cakes used as a cheap substitute for firewood, the male bullocks put to work in the fields, and then of course it fed the leather industry too. This bond of the farmer with the cow is so strong that the cow has came to be held as sacred in the Hindu way of living.
This sacredness turned beef consumption into a contentious issue in India. The ancient ayurvedic texts supported eating of beef: “The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual labor.” But over time, beef became a strict no-no in the diet of an Indian, except the lowest of the low classes of Hindus and those from other religions.
The invasion of the Western Cows
To increase the availability of milk for every Indian and also to increase the income of farmers, the Indian Government launched Operation Flood in 1970. The import of alien cow breeds like Jersey or Holstein Friesian was encouraged as they produce more milk.
That started the slow but steady downward slide for India’s 37 indigenous cow breeds. There was a relentless and reckless drive to cross-breed the alien varieties with the indigenous ones.
In 2013, Jay Mazoomdar wrote in Tehelka, an Indian News Publication: India is the world’s largest producer of milk. But in 10 years, we will be forced to start importing it. And the Indian cow will no longer exist.
Today, according to one estimate, only 5% of the total cow population is of pure indigenous breeds. But the good news is that over the last few years, awareness has grown on the harmful effects of A1 milk and efforts have gathered steam to promote and increase the indigenous cow population.
The A2 Ambassadors
Unknown to most, Desi Ghee made from A2 milk is lighter than the ghee from other sources. It can prevent heart blockages, help cure gastric problems and headaches. It also combats Asthma and Insomnia, besides lowering blood cholesterol and recovery of wounds.
Many ventures like ‘Meri Gaiya’ and ‘The Way We Were’ have come up in India which have taken it upon themselves to increase awareness about all the health benefits of cow ghee made from A2 milk and at the same time promote ethical dairy practices and conservation of indigenous breeds.
We felt passionately about our cause for the consumer’s health, farmers as well as cows. We put together a small capital to start our dairy last year with just 4 Desi A2 Cows. We made sure to feed them only with Organic feed and took care of them like part of our extended family. We now have 28 cows – Rajesh Madan
The fight to reclaim the health, community and environmental benefits of indigenous cow breeds and their milk products has begun in earnest. And in the years to come, it promises to gain momentum and turn things around.