Welcome to Your Comfort For Life

Wellness Strategist & LifeStyle Mentor – let’s plan your next steps!

2020 Holiday Guide & Intentional Planning

Holidays 2020 will be a historic year as many of us are revising how we will celebrate with our loved ones. Both my parents moved here from Western Europe. When we were young kids, holidays were an intimate gathering of four for the first decade and a half. Once my sister and I began families, our dinner table expanded. Something that we both had envied other families we knew as we grew up. I describe some ways our dinner table and food looked different at the holidays in my friend Tiffany Hinton, @GFMomCertified’s 2020 Holiday Guide. This is a link to her newly published virtual Holiday Guide in Natural Awakenings Magazine @NAChicagoMagazine – you can check it out at:https://issuu.com/gosail6…/docs/gfm_holidayguide_2020-2/40 Inside this issue, you will find my Turkey Bone Broth Recipe and an article that describes how Christmas looked (and tasted) when I was young.

Go to https://www.instagram.com/gfmomcertified/ to view our Virtual Launch Party from November 20, 2020 starting at 11 AM CT. Tiffany and I had our LIVE Conversation at 11:30 AM CT discussing holiday meal prep, what to do with your leftover turkey carcass (bone broth, of course) and favorite holiday celebrations. There are nine fast-paced videos full of information, recipes, crafts, gift making and fun to have a great 2020 holiday season!

This year has in some ways improved my communication with family. Being first generation American, other than my sister and her family, most of our relatives are overseas. We just connected with cousins in California….otherwise all my cousins are in Europe. Over the years we have been blessed to physically visit with each other but less than a dozen times. With everyone staying home for the pandemic, we all learned how to use video communication – which has been a gift to visit and see my cousins! This year I have “virtually seen” my family much more than years past. This week I will be intentional in planning time with them and others we treasure so we will “see each other” for the 2020 holidays.

What strategies will you be employing this year to be sure to touch all your loved ones for the holidays? #bonebrothmealsheal #wellnesslifestylestrategies

Wellness Habits: My Daily Strategies

A few years ago, I used to catch every cold or flu exposed to – it wasn’t a matter of “if” I would be sick but how long it would take before I was sick. I have struggled all my life with an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Which I have inherited from both sides of my family. I have been a caretaker for almost three decades for family members who have the disease. Then after two car accidents 23 months apart, this disease plus a new diagnosis of Fibromyalgia started me on my personal wellness journey. Armed with what I have learned these last almost three decades, I am honored to share my experience and resources to help others navigating their own wellness adventure.

I am relieved to say that I am not panicked as I would have been in the not so distant past. Rather, I am confident that I have as fair a chance of not getting sick as anyone else. The following personal practices evolved over the years as I was blessed to serve as a lay pastor at my church plus as an author/educator who has been speaking and meeting with thousands of people six to eight times a year at the Nourished Festival – a conference supporting people who are navigating alternate eating lifestyles and pursuing natural wellness therapies.

I originally wrote this article as a note for family members before embarking on a journey together – which would include air travel and time with our precious grandchildren. We have been looking forward to this treasured time away with family. I knew some of my sanitation habits may seem a bit much for some (not any more with Covid-19) so I just wanted to explain the “why” to them. It really helped – If you haven’t already, I encourage you to open lines of communication with your friends and family when your habits do not match up – when people understand “the why” they are ever so much more kind.

Here is a quick checklist of what I do when interacting with the world. While I was writing this for family, realized you (my audience & friends) may value this information too. *Reminder that I am not a licensed medical professional or doctor. I am licensed in the professional beauty industry and have been teaching some of these concepts for decades (see example in the photo at top.) This article illuminates what works for me and my family. Feeling safe affects our daily life and I thought this may help you too! This is personal experience that you may use as “cliff notes” to help you find habits that may serve you and your family. Always consult your doctor and health professionals regarding what might be best for you.

The purpose of this list helps me remember to do these things when I have spent time interacting with people outside my home. It helps put my mind at ease that I have done what I need to and to relax. Through online and in person clients, I am meeting many people that are becoming hyper-vigilant and scared of everything. Living in extreme anxiety – I pray my list may help you create a plan with your health professionals and give you some peace!

1. Choose safe, non-toxic products to wash or sanitize your skin and the surfaces around you. This will help you keep your skin intact – let’s avoid red, irritated or chafed skin from frequent handwashing. Use cleansers that have skin conditioning properties will help keep skin pliable and healthy. There are many products out there to disinfect surfaces – many are toxic. Check labels and be wise what you bring into your home or vehicle. I have found I am extremely sensitive and test all products on a small patch of skin first. I test surface cleaners/disinfectants in a room I can move from before using extensively in my house or in my car. (Definitions for the difference between washing/sanitizing  and disinfecting are in my article “The Hand Towel Did It” June 19, 2019 on my website www.elizabethanthonygronert.com.)

2. Washing your hands after interacting with people or being outside the home is a best practice. I also cleanse/sanitize all items that my hands may have touched during my time outside the home! When I clean my hands, I also wipe down my phone, my glasses & case, water bottle or any container/tool contacted while away (like steering wheel and door handles of my car.)  

3. Instead of handshakes, I “elbow-bump.” This started years ago at church because I have arthritic hands and some people just squeeze uncomfortably hard or “wind up” for a powerful fist bump. This reduced the amount of palm to palm, finger to finger contact. Bonus!

4. I wear a long scarf  or jacket with pockets – yes, I have been called a “fashionista” but truthfully, it has become a simple way to open a door or hold onto a handrail for support. When I reach out, the scarf/hand in pocket protects my bare hands. Or in the winter, I wear gloves a lot. Both are simple to drop into the laundry when I return home.

5. Since I am always immune compromised with AS, I use these two additional steps. I blow my nose to clear the fine hairs that filter our air before taking into my lungs. And I drink plain water to cleanse the back of my throat of any germs collected there. Depending on my situation I just take a drink – stomach acid is one of our best defenders. Or I can swish with salt water and spit if home.

6. If I met someone who was ill or have a sick person in my home – I wash clothing, towels, and sheets separately. Do not commingle family laundry when there might be a “bug in the wash tub!”  

7. Take care of yourself. Eat well, stay hydrated, learn what are the best foods, nutrients and movement for your body to support a healthy immune system. Here are the big ones for me:

  • Daily Bone Broth: A few years ago, people started asking me what I had done to look visibly healthier. It launched my career into discussing and evaluating food choices with people. The primary thing that escalated these visible results to my skin, hair, nails, and balanced weight was my daily dose of eight to twenty ounces of my homemade Bone Broth. I control the ingredients according to my nutrition needs – need more iron, add this; need more vegetables, add that. The invisible benefit was my increased immunity and resilience.
  • Daily Smoothie: I feel better when I get most of my nutrition from my food. My smoothies are a mix of veggies and fruit from whatever is in season and in my fridge. And if I need supplements they are better received by my moody tummy if well mixed into my smoothie (can add to my bone broth too – things like turmeric!)
  • I make sure that I have at least half my body weight in ounces of water each day! If you add lemon to the water, it feels special and it aids your body flushing out toxins!

8. Ask your medical team if supplementation makes sense for you. I have an immunity boosting supplement that I take only when needed. It has been a game-changer for me. I take added supplementation:

  • If I have been around someone sick.
  • Will be traveling or overexerting myself.
  • And/or feel scratchy not feeling right.
  • It is a blend of vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and astragalus root. It has made the difference for me.

9. Essential oils (EO’s) are a medicinal gift from our ancestors. They can be diffused, diluted for application to skin and added to baths. After a day of physically being out and about with people, I use diluted Oregano EO on the soles of my feet when going to bed at night (my lucky husband!) Warning: EO are very potent and must be handled carefully. Please learn how to safely handle EO’s – consult your medical practitioner before use with children and especially do not use if pregnant or on a baby without expert help. Here are the things I evaluate before using an EO for my family:

·       Use essences derived from real plants, not synthetic.

·       I dilute the essential oil with plain oil (called a carrier oil) especially for my grandchildren and those with sensitive skin.

·       I use filtered water in my diffuser, so I am only inhaling what I add to the water.

·       I always do a test with new EO’s and blends for 24 hours to check for allergies and sensitivities. ** FYI: Be careful when using or wearing an EO in public. Others like myself can be very allergic – I have had two severe reactions to others spraying EO homemade sanitizer on their hands and I happened to walk through the “mist” just as they sprayed.

10. Get outside – the sunshine always makes my day! You can look up on the internet the many different reasons why – all I know is if I don’t get outside and feel the sunshine on my skin for about 15 minutes (in the summer and winter) each day, it noticeably affects me. Try it for a week and see if it helps you too!

11. Finally, don’t share! Here are a few examples:

·       Don’t share your towels at home (yep – you read why in “The Hand Towel Did It!” my article on my website (June 19, 2019) www.elizabethanthonygronert.com

·       Don’t share personal care items like lip balm, toothbrush or nail clippers.

  • Don’t share water bottles, drinks or eat off the same utensils.

·       If you share a phone or keyboard, sanitize/wipe it down before using.

Since these strategies have become habit for me, it doesn’t seem like a lot – I just do it intuitively. But it does “look” like a lot of steps when I write it out here. There’s hope for anything new I start to improve my immunity and wellness – practice makes it routine.

I share this because I am reliably less affected by people that are sick than I used to be. It is worth taking these steps for me. Hope this information blesses you and your family! You have my permission to share with anyone you feel it would support!

Upper Arm Skin Bumps & Pimples

People ask almost every week about upper arm skin bumps or pimples. You are not alone – it is a common problem. This is a method that may resolve this annoying and sometimes uncomfortable skin condition.

For most, attention to the upper arm when showering or bathing will improve the appearance and feel of the skin. Generally, it is a buildup of dead skin “glued” in place by oils coming from the pores. The buildup on dry skin may just feel bumpy, even get a little red. Others may experience pimples that get inflamed. Most of these conditions itch which is your body’s way to encourage you to “scratch away” the buildup. Here are the general directions we have found works for many to care for this skin:

  1. First select a gentle, hydrating cleanser or body wash that will aid to soften and cleanse the area. Need a suggestion for products that are effective and affordable – pop me a text or message.
  2. Next use a washcloth or exfoliating cloth/glove with the cleanser or body wash in a circular motion all over the affected area. Some start with the washcloth, then graduate to an exfoliating fabric – the more sensitive the skin, the gentler the fabric you want to use. First time go gentle on the skin. As you continue to do this daily, you can be more firm.
  3. Be sure to rinse the skin thoroughly from any cleanser or body wash.
  4. Some find benefit using their facial toner to normalize the pH of the skin to receive the lotion without further irritation.
  5. Do not dry the skin – rather immediately apply a nourishing lotion to the wet/damp skin to further hydrate and protect the skin.

Within a week or two, you should see the upper arm skin becoming softer and smoother with less upper arm skin bumps & pimples. If the steps above does not get the results desired, we have found applying a pure essential oil like Lavender, Frankincense, or Melaleuca/Tea Tree to the skin before step 5. This can take some experimentation on which essential oil or blend of oils will give you best results. Reach out and take advantage of our experience to help with this! Reminder – sensitive skins may need the essential oil to be diluted by a carrier oil like Sweet Almond Oil. Also, be sure you are using a “real” essential oil and not a synthetic! After you have massaged the essential oil in, massage your lotion over to protect and seal moisture in.

If these skin bumps & pimples appear elsewhere on the body, the condition may be from acne or sport garments which may improve with the technique above but may benefit from different products. You can use the same general treatment as above but using an acne wash for cleansing the face, back, upper legs or buttocks. Then using the acne astringent to follow the cleansing to remove any cleanser residue and gently exfoliate. Then finish with an oil free moisturizer. Melaleuca (also called Tea Tree) oil is an excellent treatment for acneic skin and could be used before the oil free moisturizer. Again if you need help – I have a few lines of products that are clinically proven results and affordable.

Please let us know if you found this helpful. we love hearing from you and learning about your testimonials! We are here to discuss essential oils that may work best for your situation. We are not medical doctors or professionals – rather a licensed cosmetologist & esthetician with over 40 years of experience to share! You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). Perhaps we can be Journey Partners!

Don’t Skip Your Skin Care Toner!

Yep – we are moving from discussing healthy meals to healthy skin in this post! I am a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician with over 40 years of experience – I can’t believe I can say that! When I work with people, I find that time is always one of the reasons we don’t do “all of the steps” for an ideal skin care regimen. I totally get that. Too many steps cause people to not follow the program because, let’s face it –  Life is busy! But skipping your skin care toner is a bad choice long term! Here is why:

Since skin care toner will neutralize your skin back to it’s normal pH not only will your skin care products work better, they are less likely to irritate the skin. When the pH is normal, application of serums, lotions and creams are more effectively absorbed. If skin nutrition is applied immediately following cleansing, the skin may react negatively to those ingredients. By not using your skin care toner, applying treatments may cause skin problems instead of helping your skin like they were designed.

Use a cotton pad with your skin care toner to remove missed dirt, cleanser residue and give your skin a gentle exfoliation (dead skin cell removal) – FYI this is better than just misting the toner on your skin (which I know feels like a time saver but it is not a “skin saver!)

When hot outside, you can refrigerate your skin care toner for a cooling treatment after cleansing. But don’t put it in the fridge if that makes it more likely for you to forget or not take the time to get it!

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert).

Turkey Bone Broth White Chili Recipe

Many of you asked – so here I share one of our favorite nutritious recipes using our Turkey Bone Broth. (Download the “updated & complete” recipe on our website landing page here: www.elizabethanthonygronert.com )

After the bone broth is completed and before making any soups, we fill two old fashioned ice cube trays with the bone broth and put in the freezer. We use these cubes when boiling potatoes, cooking rice or the water when cooking/steaming vegetables! This adds wonderful flavor and loads of nutrition to the meal.

Turkey Bone Broth White Chili Recipe (using Elizabeth’s Turkey Bone Broth)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pounds organic ground turkey (I use organic turkey meat from carcass)
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans canned organic green chili peppers, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp Salt
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste (1/2-1 tsp)
  • ground white pepper to taste (1 tsp) (I do ½ black, ½ white)
  • typically, I use 3 beans: cannellini, navy beans, Great Northern white bean 2-3 lbs (soak beans while cooking down the turkey carcass for bone broth)
  • Turkey bone broth from cooking Turkey carcass for 10 hours with vegetables
  • Organic Carrots – food processor
  • Organic Celery – food processor
  • Organic Parsley – chopped/food processor

Follow Turkey Bone Broth directions (download here https://elizabethanthonygronert.com/ ) After removing the carcass and “cook down veggies”, after making the trays described at the top of this post; I usually divide the broth into 2 pots – half for this turkey bone broth white chili recipe and half for turkey bone broth vegetable soup recipe.

Drain the soaked beans. Then cover the beans with the turkey broth – the beans should have 1/3 to ½ more liquid in the pot than beans (liquid to cover additional veggies, and meat.) If you want thicker soup, puree some of the beans with broth to make the soup thicker and creamier. I food process the green chilies, too. Add the processed parsley, carrots, celery and any other veggies you want to the soup (my family prefers just the carrots and celery.) Cook them to the almost desired doneness. Add the reserved turkey meat and seasonings.  Cook for a few minutes to let the flavors brew. Taste and add more seasoning if needed – lately I have been adding in some powdered garlic. This dish always seems to taste best after a day of rest in the refrigerator.

Making this soup is a 2 day process for me – bone broth and soak beans on the first day. Then making the soup and storing on the second day.

Enjoy! Let us know how this dish blesses your family! We are here bringing your comfort for life! Kris and Elizabeth Gronert (847) 502-8394 elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com

Turkey Bone Broth – More than “Just Soup!”

(Full “updated” recipe available for free download on our website landing page – download here: https://elizabethanthonygronert.com/)

Thanks to our wellness friends, our soup making skills have moved up a few notches in our home. Grateful for the experience and generosity of my friend Tiffany Hinton, GF Mom Certified. Tiffany has been a valuable health coach and resource for our family. She has introduced me to the world where “food is medicine”. Particularly grateful for learning about Dr. Terry Wahls. I found Dr. Wahls book easy to read and have applied her wisdom to the way we shop and cook for our family’s health.

As a result, it’s not just great soup! We make incredibly nourishing, healing bone broth soups. Bone broth soups help reduce inflammation – an important every day therapy! This tutorial is for our “after Thanksgiving” Turkey Bone Broth Soup. Being an artist – I enjoy instructions so much more if there is a visual to go along. Therefore, photos have been taken at each step of this cooking adventure.

Thanksgiving day we smoked a turkey, baked a turkey and grilled a turkey breast (with the bones of course!) In this photo you will see the start of our Turkey Bone Broth. Here are the three carcasses covered by filtered water.

1128160954 My husband, Kris, installed a grow light by our sliding glass doors. Therefore, we are able to continue to have herbs, greens and tomatoes growing indoors. From this garden, I have added freshly picked organic parsley, thyme, sage along with some chopped garlic, sea salt and organic pepper to the pot.

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Whenever possible, we invest in organic produce. If I see any starting to go soft, where it may not be enjoyed fresh anymore, I place in a freezer bag. In addition, I have collected stems, leaves and even the roots of some of the organic plants we had in our outdoor garden this summer before it got cold and froze them. I use these vegetables in the “cook down” of the carcasses. We add these vegetable right away to enhance the flavor of the remaining meat on the bones. Some may prefer to wait till after the meat is collected (after 2 hours of cooking) which does make the process easier. We feel the flavor and nutrition added to the meat, is worth the extra work later when collecting the meat.

1128161050Because we still have organic Brussel sprout plants outdoors, decided to add some greens. Snipped off the top and added the leaves and stems with some tiny Brussel Sprouts! (I love these fresh leaves cooked in ghee with garlic too!)

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Let everything cook for about two hours.

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At two hours the meat should be starting to fall off the bone. Time to use tongs to grab the carcasses, loose meat and bones to glean the usable meat. I have a plate to collect the cook down veggies, cartilage, skin and bones that will go back into the soup pot to continue cooking for an additional 8 hours.

Most people don’t realize how much meat they throw away with the carcass! Look at all the meat recovered from the turkey carcasses! Place the recovered usable meat (I do not like any fat or chewy meat in my soup!) in a container in the refrigerator to add to the completed soups tomorrow. All scraps, cartilage, bones and cook down veggies go back into the developing broth to cook down for another eight hours. I personally do not cook longer. The broth gets a unique smell after cooking twelve hours. So we stop around ten hours. We love the taste, smell and nutrition after 10 hours of cooking!

Finally, after the eight hours (ten hours total) of cooking has passed, we will prepare to get the wonderful bone broth. You may wish to let the hot pot cool for a bit. Place an empty large pot in the sink with a colander on top. Then pour the contents through the strainer – the remaining bones, meat and vegetable parts will be caught by the colander with the nutrient dense bone broth going through into the pot. Throw the bones and leftover meat and veggies away in a safe container that animals cannot get into. Poultry bones are very dangerous to pets and wild animals!

Refrigerate the pot of bone broth overnight. Most broths when refrigerated get a layer of heavy fat at the top  – it is especially thick with turkey bone broth. I remove most of this really goopy fat from the broth before continuing.

This turkey bone broth is ready to use for sauces, gravies, cooking vegetables, potatoes, rice or making soups. I made 2 different soups from this pot of broth plus a tray of cubes to use for cooking veggies, potatoes, etc. to boost nutrition! The first soup was a turkey white chili and the second was turkey vegetable! My family raved about both – they keep getting tastier and more nutritious every year!

My goal is to have at least a cup of bone broth soup every day! So nourishing and I can really feel the benefits! Let me know what you think of this tutorial….happy to share the soup recipes with you!

Let’s connect if we haven’t already! Send us an email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living

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Where has the time disappeared to? Do you have the same problem? It has been a very full few months since I last wrote you. Some good news – new grandchild, visits with family, speaking at events and online. And some difficult times – loss of my father, continuing health challenges for myself & family members. During this time, we have been actively reaching out and helping people in their quest to be safe in their home. We have received powerful feedback that our Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living talk has empowered people and their families. The calls, text and emails keep coming for more opportunities to hear our talk. Watch our Event Calendar! There will be new dates consistently added where you and those you invite can attend a virtual presentation of Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens. Additional topics will be added as we serve others. While serving, we learn more of what we know or contacts we have that may bless you!

Have an event you need a speaker for? Our Talks can be customized  for your audience. Our current talk on Hidden Gluten, Allergens, etc. speaks to the Gluten & Allergy Free Community but can be modified for different groups. We have worked with those affected by cancer, auto-immune disease, autism, other behavioral and health issues. We have an eclectic background in coaching/mentoring small business owners, skin & personal care, personal image/brand, how to sleep more restoratively, and healthy lifestyle choices. We have worked with many other speakers that are advocates in the health and business world that you can trust.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Thank You Schaumburg GFAF Expo!

Schaumburg 2016 dates

Wow what a weekend! We want to thank the generosity of the Schaumburg GFAF Expo Vendors, the hard work of Jen Cafferty and Elizabeth Greifenkamp from Gluten Free Media Group (who created the GFAF Expos) and Otis Price from Willow Creek Community Church Care Center, South Barrington Campus. https://www.willowcreek.org/

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Lots of gluten free food was donated to the Willow Creek Care Center along with fresh fruits, vegetables and a wheelbarrow full of sweets – a display from Swerve!

Thank you to Kris Gronert, Tiffany & Will Hinton (gfmomcertified.com) for running around end of the expo to help Mr. Price glean all that was left for our friends this week at the Willow Creek Care Center. https://www.willowcreekcarecenter.org

Mr. Price shared with us that there is a waiting list for those with food allergies or are medically required to be gluten free. They were excited to contact the people who will be blessed by this donation.

Thanks again to everyone for working so hard after a long 3 day event to benefit people in our community!

Please contact us if you would like more information regarding the Care Center at Willow Creek Church (they are always in need of donations – especially special diets), Willow Creek Community Church or learn more about being Gluten free, Allergen friendly, Paleo, Keto or Plant-based at the Nourished Festivals held across the country including Schaumburg/Chicago!

Like this post, send us an email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Glowing, Nourished Skin Even When Cold & Dry Out!

Want to have glowing, nourished skin even when it is cold and dry out? Here are some “winterizing” tips to prepare your skin:

  1. Use only safe, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic products on your body. Unfortunately, many retail products still contain questionable ingredients. Check your product labels! Just because it is expensive or a “brand name” does not mean it is the best or safe.
  2. I know the air is colder but try not to raise the temperature of the water you use in the bath or shower. The hotter the water, the more it dries out your skin!20160110_105110
  3. Exfoliate and remove the dead skin flakes. This way when you apply moisturizers they will hydrate your living skin – not the skin flakes that are about to fall off! Use a fresh mitt or cloth in the shower with a moisturizing bath bar or body wash. Yep – that means 7 on the shelf  so you can use fresh each day. Used ones can be air dried, then placed in your washer on laundry day – just like you would a washcloth. Warm water wash and air dry – the dryer may get too hot for these fabrics.
  4. For any type of cleaning (personal hygiene or home cleaning) I recommend synthetic since natural fibers are not able to be cleaned effectively and definitely not disinfected. Natural fibers like a loofah take a long time to dry (if ever) and may grow microorganisms that are not good for anyone’s skin but especially bad if you are immunocompromised in any way. If you are not used to exfoliating (physical cloth rubbing skin to remove dead skin cells) you may want to start with a simple fabric washcloth. Some find the loopy soft plastic puffs or washcloths with a loopy plastic side a bit more effective. In a few weeks you may try the exfoliating gloves – caution – they may be too exfoliating for sensitive or thinner over-50 skin. Have thos annoying upper arm bumps? (which can occur on a number of body areas – see article on 3.31.2017 for more info). Exfoliating cloth/mitt is the best treatment for those bumps many people get on the back of their upper arm combined with hydrating body wash, then apply protective lotion/cream/oil over the moist skin.
  5. Another option for exfoliation are some of the wonderful salt, sugar and blend scrubs available. I prefer to use these products in the bath so the wonderful, healing ingredients can absorb nicely into the skin after your scrub. Really wonderful if you can find a kind soul to scrub your back too! There are many D-I-Y recipes online – salt or sugar are excellent exfoliators mixed with a healing oil like coconut or almond. For additional benefits, think about incorporating essential oils that leave skin dewy after the salt polish. To keep jars sanitary, use a spoon or spatula to remove what you need. Wash the spoon between uses to avoid contamination jars. I prefer to make things more liquid and put in a squirt bottle. Keep the nozzle free and clear of the skin. For more ideas on keeping things clean, check out my article “The Hand Towel Did It” on 6.30.2019.
  6. Turn your bath into soothing skin therapy by adding a capful of hydrating, calming bath oil. Add some Epsom salts for a healthy body detox plus the added magnesium and sulfur!
  7. After your bath and shower, best to let yourself air dry and apply your lotion while your skin is still moist. Be sure to use a moisturizer with a protectant so you don’t lose all the moisture in your skin back into the air. During the really cold or dry months, add your favorite essential oils, almond oil or other oils to boost the healing and sealing power! Lots of evidence that a relaxing bath, helps one have a good night’s sleep – proper sleep helps the skin look and feel it’s best too!

Using these tips your skin will be polished and nourished – ready for the cold and dry season. With skin being your largest organ, consider using these tips year round to keep it healthy and protecting you.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Cracked Heels Treatment that Works!

Are cracked, tender heels a problem for you or someone you love? Here are a few quick tips that I have successfully used when I was a caregiver for my mother and others that prevented or treated the cracked skin on their heels. The cracked, dried skin took time to develop and it will take diligent discipline to nourish the heel skin back to supple health.

If the cracks on the heel have bled or are tender, the priority must be to help them heal. If there is an infection or irritated fissure (broken, open wrinkle in the skin) or the person has medical conditions like Diabetes (which may slow healing on the hands and feet), please consult your medical professional first. Follow their instructions to healing this issue.

Once you have determined the area is not infected or has healed per your doctor’s instruction, you can start practicing better habits to keep the skin on your heels healthy. Read the labels on your products to avoid any allergens, gluten or any questionable ingredients. Clean the feet with a gentle, non-drying cleanser. Then place the feet in a tub to soak in a gentle, non-detergent bath with Epsom salts, essential oils and bath oil.  This will soften and nurture the skin. We have had excellent results adding melaleuca or lavender oil well dispersed in the water. Using a foot bathe with vibration or ability to bubble keeps the water blended. You want to monitor** that the essential oils do not collect around the ankles.

**Before using essential oils, learn basic safety and be aware of precautions. Do not use essential oils (EO’s) on babies, children, pregnant women or anyone with allergies before reading up on how to safely use them. Essential oils are the medicine that has been used for centuries. It is a gift to be used responsibly. I recommend AromaWeb.com as a resource (they do not sell essential oils) for general safety, EO constituents and useful recipes.

Melaleuca oil (also called tea tree oil) is a natural anti-inflammatory with antibacterial, antifungal qualities. It is also a natural antihistamine to reduce any swelling and redness. Apply the melaleuca oil or other EO of your choice then apply a protecting lotion/cream/oil over the EO to the areas of the foot needing healing. Cover the foot with a white sock (some prefer non-bleached or non-dyed sock.) Apply the EO and oil…or learn to make it into a balm or ointment for simplicity!) twice daily to speed healing.

Once any cracks or irritated areas have healed, we can now work to improve the skin tissue of the heel. Soak the feet in a tub with a soothing non-detergent bath oil – add essential oils  (Melaleuca, Lavender, Marjoram, Thyme are great ones to try!) and Epsom salts for added benefit. Once the skin has softened, follow the directions below the picture to gently exfoliate the heel using a pedicure paddle. Our favorite is Swedish Clover Föt File imported by Flowery.0 20150401_140848This paddle has a coarser side (raised nubs on handle) and a smoothing side (horizontal lines on handle). Depending on the thickness of the skin (as we mature our skin thins so be precise – stay on the thick bottom skin of the foot – usually has a yellowish tint.) Do not use this paddle on someone with diabetes or other medical condition without consulting their doctor first!

For most people, you can start with the coarser side to gently rub the thick skin of the heel (some have this this thick skin on the ball of the foot and big toe) to smooth, soften this heavy pad – when it is very thick, it wants to crack. By reducing the thickness, the skin is able to be more pliable. Be sure to stay on the thick padded parts of the heel, ball of foot or big toe at all times. Focus on the areas that want to crack.

Most common mistake people make using a foot file is removing too many layers of skin. You can always buff a bit more the next day or week. But if you remove too much, it can cause discomfort. Your body built this callous for protection. Usually to cushion a bone that is pushing against the shoe. Start by just a few swipes of the coarser side to soften. The 2nd most common mistake is many people forget to then go back and polish this skin smooth with the finer side of the paddle. If you skip this second step, your body may perceive the swipes from the coarser side as an injury and double it’s effort to replace the skin cells removed. So it is very important that this is always a two step process. Sand a few times, then smooth the skin. I keep my paddle on a suction cup hook in the shower so I remember to use once a week or so for maintenance. For those with very little callous, you may only need to use the smooth side of the foot paddle.

Rinse the feet. While skin is till moist apply your essential oils, ointment or heavy skin oil to the spots that tend to crack. Then massage the whole foot with lotion/cream. Depending on the lotion/cream you use, an all-over application of skin oil (coconut, almond or even olive oils works) may be required to prevent moisture loss. This will help the skin heal and regain its pliable, healthy state.

Application of the products after every bath and shower is suggested to retain the moisture in the skin to eliminate cracked heels forever.

Wash and disinfect the foot file between uses for same person. Washable/sanitizable nail files, cuticle pushers, nail clippers and foot files are personal care items one should not share. I have worked with families that have had a hard time eliminating athlete’s foot…..and it many times was due to the common use of same toenail clippers by all family members. Life gets busy and even though most of the people were diligent in their cleaning of the tools after use – there are so many nooks and crannies on the clippers and foot file that I recommend everyone have their own kit. These are inexpensive items to have a set for each person.

When choosing tools for personal care, I encourage you to use materials that can be reliably cleaned (sanitized) and disinfected. (For definitions of these terms go to my article “The Hand Towel Did It” dated 6.30.2019.) Metal, plastic and glass can be cleaned effectively. Items that cannot be sanitized properly are loofahs, sponge, natural sponge, pumice stones or natural wood. These are porous surfaces that over time may encourage growth of microorganisms that could cross contaminate (spread the germs growing on it to) your skin.

If you found this helpful, let us know. Reminder, if you have any medical condition – consult your doctor before trying any of our suggested treatments. These are cosmetic, skin quality suggestions only. In this article, we are sharing over three decades of success/experience as a cosmetologist/esthetician. Visit us on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert), send us an email at liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!