Growing your own loofah sponge

Growing your own loofah sponge

Body Brushing

 

 

 

 THIS SYMBOL REPRESENTS SKIN REGENERATION, EXFOLIATION AND BODY BRUSHING

 

 Whenever you see this symbol it is time to brush and exfoliate 

There is a new trend emerging –  growing your own loofah. It is such a great plant and totally compatible with the LWTM lifestyle philosophy.  You can eat this plant (as it is in fact a vegetable – a mixture between cucumber and courgette), but you can also grow your own body sponge and kitchen tool. When you buy it in your pharmacy or health food store you probably don’t realize that you can easily grow it yourself. This is how to do it.

 

Where does the Loofah plant come from?

The Loofah plant originates from South Asia and looks quite similar to a  large, wide cucumber. It does need a lot of warmth and sunshine to grow, so a sunny spot is a must. If you are a keen gardener you can propagate the seeds in a heated propagator. But for most amateur gardens you can buy a little plant in April and keep it initially indoors on a sunny windowsill. As they grow, you can transplant them into a larger pot.  You can keep your plant indoors, ideally in front of a sunny window or eventually you can transplant it into your garden. 
But first, the plant needs well established. The earliest you can plant it outdoors in late May (I am talking here Northern European climate – if you live in a sunny spot, it could be earlier). It is important that there are no more frosty night left once you transplant it outside, as otherwise, this plant will wilt.
In the wild, a loofah plant can grow up to 10m, but even if you grow it in a very big pot, it will never reach this height, as the root growth is restricted.

Can you eat them?

Yes, they are just like a climbing courgette or pumpkin with yellow flowers. They also need stalking. You can also eat the yellow flowers (similar to courgettes). But you can only eat the plant when it is still young, small and tender  (early summer).  Once the loofah grows bigger it becomes quite rough inside and is no longer used for food. In this instance, we want the loofah to stay on the plant as we want a big, rough-fiber skeleton to develop. In fact, if you have lots of fruits developing, you can eat a few and keep the 3 strongest on the plant until early autumn. The foliage will then turn brown and dry up. This is because the plant ages and dehydrates. Once it has grown to a decent size and it looks fairly dry and solid, pick it off the plant.

 

Make your own loofah exfoliating sponge

Many loofahs you get to buy commercially have been bleached, so don’t be surprised if yours has a deeper tan colour than expected. Dry it in your airing cupboard or dehydrator until the skin is ready to peel off. You can submerge the dry loofah in a bucket of water and peel the rough skin off. Then you need to shake off the seeds from inside the plant. Keep them in a jar, ready to plant up in the next year (ideally end of January to end of March). You can give some seeds with these instructions to your friends, so they can grow their own loofahs.

In short, the loofah is a  really useful plant. When small you can eat it, once it is dry and rough, you can use the whole dried fruit as a  body sponge to get off any dead skin cells. Another use is in the kitchen. Cut the loofah into rings and you these to scrub your pans and dirty dishes, especially when food has dried on and is difficult to clean. 

 

 

 

Keeping fit and healthy from head to toe – Thighs and bottom and prevent cellulite

Keeping fit and healthy from head to toe – Thighs and bottom and prevent cellulite

Today’s highlighted body region contains the thighs and bottom. Pay extra attention to this region, exercise it, and look after it! Below you find some tips and recipes. You can do these also on other days, but use this symbol as a reminder, and after all, today is the best day to do it.

Increase your core strength

Apart from sitting on our bottoms (and being far too sedentary), it is the base of the spine and the epicenter of our core strength. This is the area where the body likes to store excess fat. If you want to stay in good shape, building core strength and staying in shape – especially as you get older – is very important.  Here are 5 core exercises to get you started. 

Combat and prevent cellulite

Another cause for concern, predominantly for women, is cellulite.

Cellulite refers to the dimpled or lumpy appearance of the skin, particularly in areas like the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. It occurs when fat deposits push through the connective tissue beneath the skin, causing the skin to appear uneven.

There are tons of creams, treatments, and else on the market. It is hard to completely get rid of cellulite. But there are a few methods to either lessen the appearance or prevent it altogether. But in essence, it depends on hormones, the lack of collagen, the lack of blood circulation, and age. So what can you do to prevent building cellulite?

1) Body brushing. A good body brushing routine will help you to keep your skin in good shape, keep the circulation going, and help toxins, hormones, and fats not to settle (as that is what cellulite is made of ).
2) Take a good collagen supplement as that will keep your tissue firm.
3) Drink a lot of water, dandelion, and nettle tea. It will hydrate your body and flush out toxins before they can settle.
4) Finally exercise. This is probably the most important tip – do lunges and squats. A running routine will pump blood around your body and a well-trained body has hardly any cellulite.

5) After you finished your body brushing and had a shower to remove the dead skin cells, apply a few handfuls of birch oil. I  particularly love the Weleda birch oil, which is a Biodynamic Skincare brand (established by Rudolf Steiner over 100 years ago). It keeps the skin smooth and nourished whilst improving your circulation and helping to prevent the appearance of cellulite.

6) Apply common Ivy compresses: If you have ivy in your garden you can try this recipe. Take 200g of ivy leaves and softly boil them for 2-3 hours on low heat. Strain the leaves, soak 2 flannels in this warm water, and apply to your thighs. You can reuse this mixture until it is used up, by reheating it. This should be an occasional treatment.

Kneipp Hot and Cold Body rinse

Regular hot/cold immersions will strengthen your immune system and are a great way to prevent varicose veins and tired legs. I have mentioned these Kneipp routines previously on the blog. Here are some practical applications. These should be done daily, not just today. 

An Introduction to LWTM

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Body brushing and exfoliation

Body brushing and exfoliation

Today is a great day to start a body brushing regime and do some exfoliation.  These are procedures best reserved for the time of the Waning Moon.  However, body brushing is useful daily, always before taking a shower or bath. 

It is fascinating that the epidermis (outer skin layer) grows and sheds in roughly the same time frame as one moon cycle. So it is not surprising that many traditions are still in use, making the Waxing Moon the time to heal and nourish the skin and using the Waning Moon to exfoliate and cleanse. 

Body brushing 

If you are new to body brushing – here is an article that explains how to get started 

Using a good body brush or loofah is essential. Did you know that a loofah is an actual plant? Here is an article that explains how you can grow your very own loofah.

Exfoliation

Don’t exfoliate too often. Once after the Full Moon and once near the New Moon is enough. Before you get into a shower or bath, apply a good body exfoliator to get rid of dead skin cells. 
You can use a mixture of honey slightly diluted with water and with added coarse sea salt. But there are many ready-made exfoliants on the market. Just make sure it is as natural as possible. If you want to try a homemade version,  here is a recipe for a body scrub made out of lemon, lime, and orange peels.

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