Of biting bugs, none are more notoriously annoying than mosquitoes. Not only do they prey on human blood and leave behind itchy red welts, they can also leave behind a risk of disease. Worldwide, these pesky pests are responsible for serious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and chikungunya, while the most common risk in the U.S. is the West Nile virus. These diseases can be transmitted to humans through mosquito saliva after an insect feeds on an infected person or animal and then bites you.

To prevent the risk of these diseases as well as the annoying itch of even the most harmless mosquito bite, many people turn to commercial insect repellents containing DEET. While these products are effective at deterring mosquitos, they can carry a number of their own health risks to humans, particularly children. Overexposure to DEET has been associated with headaches, memory loss, fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, as well as tremors and shortness of breath.

If you are looking for ways to keep mosquitos away from you and your family without dousing yourselves in harsh chemicals, you came to the right place! Here’s a few recipes you can safely and naturally use to keep those annoying little blood suckers at bay:

DIY Repellent Sprays

There are a number of simple, effective, and all-natural sprays you can make to keep mosquitos away. Following are two that are especially easy to make:

Mix 1 teaspoon of lemongrass essential oil with 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil and four ounces of distilled witch hazel in a spray bottle. Spray on exposed skin as needed and enjoy the great outdoors DEET free!

Mix 4 drops each of citronella essential oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, and mint oil with ¼ cup of pure witch hazel. Apply liberally and laugh to yourself as those pesky predators want nothing to do with you!

DIY Repellent Body Oil

Another simple essential oil that is loved by humans but loathed by mosquitos is lavender. For a super simple body oil that will repel mosquitos, combine in a bottle 30 drops of lavender essential oil with two tablespoons of a carrier oil such as olive oil. Cap the bottle, shake well, and apply the oil to exposed skin. You will smell beautiful and be bug free!

Neem Oil

In tropical areas where malaria is a big problem caused by mosquitos, nature’s repellent isn’t far away. Neem oil, extracted from the Neem tree is harvested in the same climates and used to naturally keep mosquitos off and thereby control the spread of the disease.

There are two simple and effective ways you can use neem oil:

Apply to the skin as a personal protectant

Burn it, by simply adding it to your citronella candles, tiki torches, or even kerosene lamps.

With the craziness of our busy schedules, it’s sometimes difficult to prepare a healthy dinner. This is usually when we tend to make poor choices and resort to fast food, and quick convenient pre-made foods. These “foods” are laden with chemicals and fillers. Detoxing can give your body the chance to rid of these toxins, give your body a chance to heal and reboot your system to healthier lifestyle. Preparation is the key to successfully sticking to any cleanse and ensure you don’t cheat on those days when you really just want to quit. Sunday is a great day to do this. Expect to set aside 4-6 hours.

First up: grocery shopping. It’s best to buy all organic products and support your local economy. If you are on a budget, try H-Mart in Gwinette County or the Cobb International Farmers Market (these are cool places if you have never been. Its like taking a field trip to the grocery store because of all the worldly produce that they have. You can even buy an entire frozen goat if you ever find yourself in need of one). You really want to focus on buying twice as many vegetables as fruit and try to “eat the rainbow” of colors. If there are vegetables that you don’t particurally like, you can put those into the 2 shakes allowed each day.

Also, try to buy some produce that is less ripe so that you’re food isn’t rotten by the end of the week. Once you’ve shopped for all of your food, its time to cut it up and ration it out. This is the most important part! I promise you that Thursday Day 4 is the hardest day and if you don’t have something readily accessable, it will increase your chances for cheating. Cut up most of your veggies and package them into individual containers.

Then, each night you can put portions of what you want to take into your “to go” containers for tomorrow’s lunch. Last year, I decided to make a bunch of smoothies two days at a time. If you don’t have a lot of time to eat during the day, smoothies are a great way to get a variety of nutrients. If you need receipes, check out our pinterest page. http://www.pinterest.com/coreychiro/smoothiesdetoxing/

Just remember, that you cannot add anything except fruits and vegetables (and the protein twice per day). Use juicier fruits such as pomegranite, pineapples and oranges to make the shakes more liquefied. I have found that blueberries, strawberries and bananas tend to make the smooties frothy and when they sit in the refridgerator, they tend to get too thick. You usually have to reblend these, so eat these within a few hours.

Ideally, you want to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as you can. However, you can steam veggies for 4 minutes if need be. This can be your savior on those days when you really just feel like giving up and eating a cheeseburger. When I am feeling this way, I steam mushrooms, asparagus, onions, and broccoli and then lightly toss them in balsamic vinegar. Its amazing how you will realize just how comforting warm food can be and it be just enough to keep you going on.

Detoxing can sometimes render some unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. It is imperative to make sure that you are drinking A LOT of water especially the first 3 days and especially if you are used to having your caffeine in the morning or afternoon. Keep going, you will usually feel better the next day

Every year Rhonda and I embark on our yearly cleanse. This year, our new intern Allie and Pilates instructor Jennifer are joining us. We are inviting YOU to join us too! Our Standard Process Purification Program is a gentle cleanse (no, you won’t be in the bathroom all day) that lasts for 1-3 weeks depending on your goals. The cleanse provides a great way to reboot your system and get rid of those cravings you resolved to ditch. It consists of taking cleansing supplements and eating as many fruits and vegetables as you want.

Although it can be completed in 7 days, to get optimum results the full 21 days are recommended especially if your goal is weight loss. Please click the link below for a full description of what the cleanse entails. We decided to create this blog to offer tips, tricks and assistance through the process. Next week, we will be addressing the preparation process (grocery shopping, chopping and storing fruits and veggies).

The program is set to start on Monday, February 17th which allows for Sunday, February 16th as the prep day. The Purification Kit is available for $100 and includes the cleansing supplements, the dairy free protein powder, and our support and guidance. Please call the office to let us know you would like to join and we can tailor the program to meet the needs of your goals.