#mitúLIFE

7 Home Remedies From My Colombian Abuela (That Actually Work)

All my life I grew up practicing my abuelita’s remedies. They cured anything and made everyone more beautiful… according to abuelita. But when desperate times called for desperate measures, I was forced to try these health hacks again. Turns out, being first-generation Latina has its benefits. Do try these at home!

Sore throat? Try gárgaras de agua y sal con limón.

Credit: Youtube / Giphy

Gargle warm, salted water with lemon to soothe your sore throat. Trust me, mi abuelita is practically a doctor. Works every time.

Stomach ache? Drink yerbabuena.

Credit: YouTube / Giphy

Making a tea with this will fix an upset stomach in a punch. You should always have this sweet-smelling plant at home; it works even better than “sana sana colita de rana.”

Feeling meh? Boil aloe.

Credit: Instagram / playing_plants

When you’re sick, boil aloe leaves and the sickness will leave your house. My grandma tells me to drink it, but the way it purifies the air is enough for me. (Keep in mind, though, that aloe has also been called a cure-all for all sorts of dubious things, so just make sure to do your research before using it.)

A sea salt scrub will keep your skin smooth and silky.

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Making some Peppermint scrub!!

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Abuelita always brags about her silky-smooth skin. Her trick? Use an olive oil and sea salt scrub to slough away dead skin and lock in moisture. I like using it with lavender-scented essential oil!

Vitamin E is your best friend.

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Credit: Toho /  High Steaks

Abuelita swears by vitamin E. And she’s got a point. Evidence has shown that vitamin E can help reduce extra scar tissue from growing around a wound.  You can take it in pill form, or by eating a variety of foods, like seeds, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. (Just don’t place it directly ON a wound.)

Té de manzanilla isn’t just for drinking.

Credit: YouTube / Giphy

Té de manzanilla, a true abuelita favorite, really can bring out the natural highlights in your hair.  Boil a tea bag let it cool, and then soak your hair.  Many Latin American supermarkets even sell a special shampoo de manzanilla, which also leaves your hair lighter.

Coughing up a lung? Try eucalyptus.

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Credit: Instagram / @skilladflorals

Eucalyptus can help ease a bad cough. Just make sure to dilute eucalyptus oil before ingesting it or placing it onto the skin. I like to use it dried leaf form, adding honey any time I make tea out of it.  As an added benefit, when you boil these leaves, your home smells like you’re at a spa.

READ: Types of Abuelitas Every Latino Has

I can’t believe I ever doubted mi abuelita’s Colombian healing ways.  Try them; I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Do you know any more natural remedies that help you?  Share them below!

Middle School Girls Formed ‘The Revolutionary Girls’ Baking Society’ After Principal Refused Request To Provide Free Tampons

Fierce

Middle School Girls Formed ‘The Revolutionary Girls’ Baking Society’ After Principal Refused Request To Provide Free Tampons

In recent years, there has been a movement among women’s rights activists to educate the public about the harmful cultural stigma surrounding menstruation. This movement, that pushes for “period equity”, aims to make it possible for all women of all ages to manage their period hygiene in a humane and dignified way. Although this mission seems simple, it is actually a deep-rooted and complicated one. 

There is almost a universal culture of shame that surrounds women and menstruation. So much so that according to UNESCO worldwide, lack of access to period products is one of the reasons that many school-aged girls in developing countries miss classes. One study by UNICEF showed that 35% of girls from Niger sometimes miss classes due to the shame surrounding their periods. Other cultures across the world isolate girls from their homes and families when they’re on their periods. In conclusion, the stigma surrounding menstruation combined with structural obstacles preventing school-aged girls from easily accessing hygiene products interfere with their education. And it’s a problem.

Recently, three middle school girls went viral with their creative response to their principal’s refusal to offer free period products in the girls’ bathroom.

According to a Tweet by reproductive rights activist and President of Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue, students at a middle school in the U.S. “organized for free tampons in the bathroom” because their school didn’t offer any. Apparently unmoved by the students’ display of activism, the male principal the students’ request. In his response, he stated that students would “abuse the privilege” of free period products in the bathrooms. Rightfully, the students took issue with this reasoning. Three of the female students responded with an eye-catching bit of activism: none other than tampon-shaped cookies, complete with blood-like frosting and strings.  

The Tweet describing the girls’ reaction to their principal went viral, racking up over 9,000 retweets and almost 60,000 likes. Not only were people outraged that the principal refused to provide period products to young students, but they were also upset that he labeled access to menstrual hygiene products as a “privilege”. As the non-profit organization PERIOD so eloquently states on its website: “menstrual hygiene is a right, not a privilege”.

Since the Tweet went viral, the girls that made the cookies have founded an organization called The Revolutionary Girls’ Baking Society, that aims to “bake a difference” through “one bizarre confection at a time”.

According to the newly-formed website, the three anonymous girls decided to form the society once they and their families were encouraged by “the groundswell of support” from the public. The website also provided an update to the situation at their middle school. According to the statement, the “principal and the school board are now working to make sure every girl in [the] town will have the products they need readily available so no girl misses a day of school”. The Society added that they “are very grateful that the school has taken our action seriously and is making a change”. 

Although it’s exciting that these young women were able to make a difference by their activism, the bottom line is, many young women are still negatively impacted by the stigma surrounding menstruation. “Period poverty” is real and it is globally pervasive–America is no exception. According to a recent study commissioned by PERIOD and Thinx, one in five teens has struggled to afford period products or were not able to purchase them at all. Keep in mind, menstruation is a bodily function that most women experience almost universally–the fact that there are still so many obstacles surrounding period management if proof of society’s inherent disregard for women and women’s health.

As usual, the internet expressed its own opinion about a male authority figure asserting a harmful influence over girls’ bodies.

Twitter was pretty vocal about what many considered the principal’s ignorant comments about privilege and menstruation. 

This Twitter user was confused out how “abusing” tampons would work:

The fact is, due to their privilege, many men are ignorant to how expensive period products are and how they can be difficult to get your hands on–especially when you’re in a pinch. 

This Twitter user was frustrated with the principal’s lack of education on the topic of period poverty:

Once the principal’s argument was investigated further, it became obvious that it held no ground. 

This Twitter user exposed the double-standard and built-in misogyny of refusing to offer hygiene products to help handle a normal bodily function:

It’s brilliant arguments like these that expose the hypocrisy of structural sexism and how it works against women at all stages of their life.

Studies Say Latina Moms Struggle With Pregnancies In Ways That Are Unique To Themselves In Early Stages

Fierce

Studies Say Latina Moms Struggle With Pregnancies In Ways That Are Unique To Themselves In Early Stages

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By Diana R. Diaz

Welcome to motherhood! Whether you had a difficult pregnancy and delivery or not, you’ve officially crossed over into undeniably the best and hardest years of your life. As a mother myself (of boy-girl twins), I can tell you with all certainty, that nothing, I mean nothing, no book, no blog, no video, can adequately prepare you to ‘do motherhood’ the right way. Simply stated, there is no right way. Our bodies are different, our tolerance levels are different. 

I had a beautiful pregnancy and delivery but struggled tremendously in the weeks and months that followed. Sleep deprivation was harsh and my postpartum depression was oh-so-real. Most of which was triggered by the cultural pressure I felt to breastfeed when my body simply couldn’t. Inevitably I felt like a failure. Truth is, I tried. I tried a lot.  But with every attempt, I felt my mental and physical state take a toll for the worse. It led me into a very dark and lonely place. I share all about it in this video.  In retrospect, I realize that it didn’t have to be this extreme. And while there’s definitely no book with all the magic answers, here are my 3 Survival Tips for New Latina Moms to help you better cope with the unexpected twists and turns of early motherhood. 

1. Don’t Compare Yourself 

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Chances are, you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and quite vulnerable. And since this is your first time having a baby, you have no real measure or point of reference on how early motherhood ‘should’ be. With all this said, it can be easy to fall victim to the comparison game. You might’ve heard that your prima breastfed like a champ; that your tia used a specific baby formula that she swore by; or that your friend willingly and excitedly took 5 years off work to thrive as a stay at home mom. With the constant influx of information, you have to pause and remind yourself that your experiences are unique. As a new mom, you must harness the little energy you have and channel in the areas in your life that really need it. This way, your wellness remains a consistent priority. So next time, instead of thinking of how ‘fulana’ did something a certain way; pause and redirect your thoughts to: 

“Have I taken a shower today?” 

“Have I taken a few whole deep breaths today?”

“Have I looked in the mirror and told myself, wow good job today?” 

2. Breastfeed or Not – YOU Decide 

olaiasusperregi / Instagram

Listen, this isn’t easy. I personally wanted to breastfeed and dreamed of it being such a beautiful and painless experience. I went to all the classes and told myself, I will be like that woman smiling while simultaneously breastfeeding her newborn twins in the cover of a motherhood magazine. None of which actually happened because I soon learned I had hyper-sensitive nipples which made breastfeeding feel like death. Family and friends would kindly but firmly insist I keep trying. As a result, I fell into a feeling of deep sorrow. Ladies, don’t do this. YOU know your body better than anyone. If you are in unruly pain and you know in your gut that your attempts to breastfeed is deteriorating your mental and physical health, please listen to your body, even if it goes against what your mom, suegra or partner may think. Conversely, if you want to breastfeed and feel pressured to stop when you really don’t want to, listen to your gut. It’s important to note that all new moms struggle with breastfeeding. Some moms are total naturals. Other moms struggle a little in the beginning and soon get the hang of it. There are also a number of resources to help with breastfeeding and maternal wellness. My point isn’t to discourage breastfeeding, my point is to encourage self-awareness. 

3. Prioritize Self-Care

In the early months of motherhood, it’s easy to forget to think about yourself, or spending time away from your baby. For some, especially those part of the Latinx culture, this can feel like an absolute “sin”. Regardless, prioritizing self-care is vital to maintaining your mental and physical health. Self-care means different things to different people. Here are some easy ways you can prioritize self-care during early motherhood: 

  • Have a help plan. Yes, this means you should ask for help! Identify 2-3 friends and/or family members that can come and alternate once a week to help you with cleaning, cooking or babysitting while you do some self-care (not to be confused with friends and family that visit to meet the baby). 
  • If you can, hire help to clean and/or cook 
  • Take an extra-long hot shower with your favorite music on full blast 
  • Gym or yoga session once a week
  • Go for a long walk around the block with or without the baby
  • Go for a fast-food run and eat it in your car 
  • Sleep – preferably in a separate room or at a nearby friend’s house 
  • Say no to what doesn’t feel right in your gut 
  • Watch a feel-good movie 
  • Enjoy a pedicure or an actual body massage 
  • A quick drive to your favorite coffee place 

*shout out to my RAWW IG community for sharing their early motherhood self-care activities. 

Follow us on IG at @therawwnetwork