5 Health Benefits of Gardening

In honor of Earth Day fast approaching, we wanted to share with you five amazing health benefits of gardening. Working in the yard will often make you break a sweat, but there are also some unexpected benefits for your body and wellbeing. So go ahead and get your hands dirty and give back to old Mother Nature!   Reduces Stress In a Dutch study, participants performed a stressful activity and then were assigned either 30 minutes of gardening or reading indoors.  While both activities reduced stress, gardening had a significantly bigger impact on mood and lowering cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Also, since it reduces your stress and anxiety levels, you’ll be able to fall asleep easier, alleviating any sleep problems.   Decreases Risk of Heart + Lifestyle Diseases A Stockholm study proved that consistent gardening cuts stroke and heart attack risk by up to 30% for those over 60 years old! And since gardening keeps you active while reducing your stress levels, it can also help prevent diabetes, obesity, and other associated lifestyle diseases. BONUS: Eating your fruits of labor is nutritious too!   Sharpens Your Mind According to a long-term study, daily gardening is the single biggest risk reduction for dementia! Gardening involves so many of our critical functions that its benefits are likely to represent a synthesis of various aspects and therefore can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s.   Makes You Happy For anyone battling depression, gardening is something to definitely add to your daily routine. Horticultural therapy is on the rise because of its proven results for patients with depression and other mental illnesses. The... read more

Our Top Eco-friendly Baby & Mom Items

All parents want the best for their baby, and our top eco-friendly finds make it easy. Whether you spend a little or a lot, the choices below will give you and your baby a healthy start while giving back to mother nature.   Crib Sheets Your baby is going to spend A LOT of time in her crib. You’ll want to make sure the crib sheets you choose aren’t made with any synthetic fibers that could irritate your baby’s skin and affect her breathing. Your little one will love sleeping on Little Unicorn cotton muslin crib sheets. They are made out of 100% cotton muslin and get softer with each wash. Plus, there are so many cute prints to choose from!   Onesies Your newborn’s skin is so sensitive and delicate. You want to make sure that what you’re dressing your baby in is not only sweet looking but made out of comfortable 100% organic cotton. We love the quality and reliability of Burt’s Bees Baby onesies.   Teethers Plastic teethers can contain BPA, PVC, phthalates and even lead if they are from China. So instead of reaching for a plastic or gel one, you should look for teethers made of unpainted wood, 100% natural rubber, organic cotton and silicone. Check out Finn + Emma’s adorable teething ears.   Pacifier Natursutten’s toxic-free baby products, like this pacifier, are made from pure natural rubber from the Hevea brasiliensis tree – aka there’s no BPA or phthalates. There are various nipple sizes and shapes so you can choose what’s best for your baby.   Baby Wrap Babywearing is such an easy... read more

5 Natural Ways to Boost Milk Supply

Breastfeeding is super rewarding but it is also a lot of hard work! On top of being exhausted you may find that your milk production isn’t quite where it should be. Don’t give up just yet! Here are five natural methods to help boost your milk supply so that there’s one less thing on your plate to worry about. Herbal galatagogue Galata-what?! This is the name for an herbal substance that has properties to increase milk supply. The most popular is fenugreek, which is often used in teas. Fenugreek stimulates sweat glands - milk ducts actually operate and function the same as sweat glands. Mothers generally notice an increase in production 24-72 hours after starting the herb, but it can take two weeks for others to see a change. Unfortunately while it usually works well, most women do not like the taste. Check out our tasty nursing tea here Lose the binky/pacifier When your very young baby spends time sucking on a pacifier, it is time lost on stimulating your milk production. While it’s difficult those early months to constantly be attached to your baby, it really is the best thing to soothe and nurture them while keeping your supply up. Eat oatmeal Oats are a milk-making miracle food. While it has yet to be proven exactly what about oats causes a spike in milk production, it’s a fact for many women that a bowl of oats in the morning means full breasts at night. Granola, oatmeal cookies, or an oatmeal-based muffin work too! Water Water is an essential aspect of ensuring you will have an adequate milk supply. It... read more

Harmful Ingredients in Household Products

Here at Anna Naturals we strive to change the perception of natural products being less effective than regular, synthetic options. If you’re ready to start swapping out your cosmetics, skincare and under-the-sink products then let us help you out! Here’s a starter list of harmful ingredients, why to avoid them and some helpful tips for alternatives! As you then work on replacing all the items you tossed, you’ll find that many companies are slowly moving to becoming more transparent…and you can always count on us for leaving out all that toxic crap in our products! Parabens: (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): These preservatives are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine/hormone disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, deodorant/antiperspirant Tips for avoiding: Look for products that contain only natural preservatives like essential oils, extracts and vitamins.   Sulfates: You’ll likely see this listed as either SLS or SLES. These can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, hand soap Tips for avoiding: Many shampoos are now being more clearly marketed as sulfate-free. But it’s still best to buy any type of wash that is purely organic and natural.   Fragrances: This is a catchall ingredient that is often an engineered scent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are... read more

Beginner’s Guide to Oil Cleansing

    You may or may not have heard about the benefits of cleansing your face with oil, but this natural cleansing method is becoming very popular amidst the chemical-ridden cleansers on the market today. It may seem counter-intuitive to add an oil cleanser to your skincare routine if you already have oily skin, but it goes back to the basic principle of “like dissolves like”. Using natural oils will help to balance the oil in your skin, dissolve oil trapped in pores, and maintain enough moisture that your skin isn’t overproducing oil. Now that we’ve established how oil cleansing works, let’s talk about how to actually do it and what oils are best for each skin type. Cleansing the skin with oil is a two part process. First, apply about a quarter sized amount of oil to a dry face and massage in a circular motion for two minutes. Then, place a washcloth under very hot running water, ring it out and place it over your face for one minute. Gently wipe the oil away when finished. It’s important to note that when starting an oil cleansing routine you may go through an adjustment period where your skin gets a little bit worse. This is completely normal, and will resolve itself within a few days (for some stubborn skin types it could take up to a week). So, what type of oil is right for you? Most oil cleansers start with a castor oil base. This is because castor oil is a natural astringent and will help in the cleansing process. What oil you choose to pair (or simply... read more

How to Blend Essential Oils

  Essential oils, when used properly, can do so many amazing things. From healing to happiness, cleaning to calming…essential oil blends are turned to for natural remedies all the time. What you may not know, though, is that there is some science behind creating essential oil blends. A science that is crucial to creating a blend that is not only effective, but pleasant and balanced as well. The four parts of an essential oil blend are the personifier, the enhancer, the equalizer, and the modifier. Together, these four characteristics will combine to create a well-balanced, enjoyable blend. Let’s break each part down and learn a little more about their importance: 1-5% = Personifier: The first oils added to your blend. These are the strongest, longest lasting oils and should be the dominant therapeutic benefit. 50-80% = Enhancer: The next element to add to your blend, making up the majority of the finished product. Not quite as strong as personifiers, these oils should still have a hearty scent but not overpower your personifiers. 10-15% = Equalizer: Next you will add even more subtle oils, ones that have a shorter duration so they won’t last as long as the previous two. The purpose here is to create balance and synergy between all the oils used. 5-8% = Modifier: The final addition should be very subtle and short lived. These oils are meant to create harmony throughout and leave your entire blend consistent and pleasant. When making your own blends, it’s important to follow the steps above so that you end up with a harmonious blend where all the oils work with one another - rather than against.... read more

Healthy Alternatives to Some Favorite Snacks

  We all love snacking - a little bit here, a little bit there… but none of it is usually all that healthy. Luckily, there are some better alternatives to let you snack without feeling guilty. Plus, lots of these are great options for tasty snacks for the kids, too! Instead of apple pie throw apple slices in the oven and bake them with some cinnamon. For an extra treat, eat them with a little bit of yogurt for some sweetness with the tart apples. Instead of potato chips dip some pieces of pita chips in hummus. Whole grain pita chips are much healthier than potato chips, and hummus is rich in protein and comes in a variety of flavors. Instead of milk chocolate reach for a small piece of dark chocolate instead. You’ll still be able to enjoy a sweet snack, and dark chocolate has the added bonus of antioxidants as well. Instead of candy put together a small fruit salad. It’s a great way to get some natural sugar and avoid the high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients in regular candy. Instead of cheesecake have some yogurt. Put some graham cracker crumbles and strawberries on top and you’ll have a tasty treat without all the calories and fat of a real cheesecake. Instead of french fries bake some sweet potato fries. They are delicious, you can add a tiny bit of salt, and being baked instead of fried makes them a WAY healthier option. Instead of cookies grab some rice cakes and add peanut butter. The peanut butter makes for a nice treat and the rice cakes will be... read more

7+ Natural Ingredients You’ll Love

It’s no secret that we LOVE natural ingredients - it’s all we use in our products! There are a lot of choices out there for natural ingredients, and all are great for one thing or another, but today we are sharing with you our favorites. From butters to flowers, here are the ones that top our list: 1. Coconut oil Why we love it: moisturizing, nourishing, anti-microbial With its earthy and soothing fragrance, this very versatile oil forms a barrier on the skin and absorbs quickly. Rich in Fatty acids, Capric acid, and Vitamin E it’s easily one of our go-to ingredients for skincare. 2. Shea butter Why we love it: improves elasticity, anti-inflammatory An essential ingredient in belly butters and stretch mark creams, shea butter is known to improve skin’s elasticity in both women and men. Rich in Vitamins A, E, and F it’s perfect for lotions and body butters. 3. Jojoba oil Why we love it: moisturizing, soothing, nourishing Considered a premium carrier oil due to its high stability and lightweight texture, jojoba oil absorbs easily into the skin and delivers instant hydration and moisturization. It has the ability to mimic and balance the skin’s natural oil content and to help remove excess oils. 4. Calendula Why we love it: antibacterial, healing, soothing Calendula has amazing healing properties. The petals can be used to make calendula oil infusions, which can then be put into almost any skincare product. Calendula is probably best used for chapped and otherwise irritated skin, and can also speed the healing of skin wounds and burns. 5. Rosewater Why we love it: fragrant, moisturizing, toning Clearly,... read more

5 Ways to Take Care of YOU During the Holidays

The holidays are such a beautiful time of the year. Yet for many of us, it is also a time of hustle and bustle which can leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. This is the perfect time to introduce some self care habits into our daily routine. Our favorite thing about self care? It’s also a gift to everyone around us. When we’re feeling our best, we have that much more to give to those around us. Here’s five of our favorite self care tips that we hope make your holiday season filled with peace, love and joy :) Morning Routine: Start each day with a routine that fills your heart and sets you up for a great day. Pick a few things that you want to do every morning and watch how your day is transformed. It doesn’t have to take long, even five minutes will get the job done! Some ideas: Drink a glass of lemon water, journal three things you’re grateful for, read something that inspires you for 15 minutes (not email), review your goals for the day, enjoy a cup of tea, etc. Unplug: Take time each day to be completely unplugged and allow yourself to just be in the moment with yourself or the people around you. This is one of the most easiest ways to recharge and enjoy the beauty of the season. Gratitude: Each day write down three things you are grateful for. This is one of the most powerful ways to increase your joy each day! Give yourself Permission: Listen to your body and pay attention to the things that matter... read more

Breastfeeding Tips: How to read infant hunger cues

Breastfeeding Tips: Reading infant hunger cues   For many first-time breastfeeders, it may be difficult to know when it’s time to feed your baby. You’ll hear about schedules and hours, probably be given a chart to track when and how long your baby nursed. What will likely give you the most success, though, is to learn your baby’s hunger cues and feed according to them. What are hunger cues? It’s your baby’s way of non-verbally telling you that they are hungry. These cues may present themselves when the baby is asleep OR awake, so by learning how to identify them you’ll be able to know when it’s time to breastfeed WAY before the more obvious crying (which is a late cue, by the way!). There are three types of cues your baby will give to let you know they are hungry. They are early cues such as smacking lips or making sucking sounds, mid cues such as bringing their hands to their mouth, and late cues like crying - at which point you will need to calm baby down before feeding. Once you can pick up on the early and mid cues, you’ll have a sense of when it’s time to breastfeed. Okay, okay - we’ve blabbed enough already. Here are the three types of cues and what to look for from baby: So as you can see, the hunger cues are broken into three distinct phases - each of which making it more difficult to establish a good latch while breastfeeding because baby will be increasingly more frustrated. By learning the early cues you’ll be able to feed baby... read more

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Pregnant? Download our Pregnancy Yoga Guide for tips and moves you can use during each trimester of your pregnancy.