Full of Bliss and Vinegar: How to Eat More Apple Cider Vinegar
Now how does that expression go? You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?
That may be true, but don’t dismiss this sour elixir.
Like other unassuming common household ingredients like baking soda and salt, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of those substances that can multitask like a boss. A quick Google search will reveal many a list titled “100 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar”. A quick conversation with anyone over the age of 70 (especially if they are European) will reveal that this remedy was used in their childhood to relieve anything from tummy cramps to warts.
I always keep a large bottle of the stuff in my fridge and most commonly use it with olive oil and salt to make a quick salad dressing. However, it is also indispensable for the rare occasion when I experience a bout of heartburn (perhaps a counter-intuitive remedy, as I will describe below), or have spent too much time lying in the sun on Cherry Beach.
Below is a short list of some of the uses for ACV, as well as some fun and easy recipes (two edible, one topical) to try at home.
Digestion & heartburn
We all know that acid is needed to break down food, right? However, what most people don’t realize is that heartburn is a sign of a poor breakdown of food. Instead of being broken down efficiently in the stomach by stomach acid, many people actually have insufficient acid production which means food sits around in the stomach and splashes up in the esophagus giving the sensation of heartburn. Although the conventional solution of giving an antacid provides temporary relief, nine times out of ten it is the opposite of what is needed. Most people who experience heartburn produce too little acid instead of too much! Therefore, the next time you experience heartburn, try taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (which is acidic) in half a cup of water. Most of the time, this remedy will supply the necessary amount of acid needed to encourage the digestive process and ease heartburn.
ACV works to clear skin in two ways. First, it has antibacterial properties so helps reduce bacteria on skin that can contribute to an infected pore (ie. A pimple). Second, it restores the necessary acidity of the skin which is called the “acid mantle”. The skin is healthiest when it is slightly acidic because this acid mantle acts like a protective barrier against foreign invaders. Bacteria and other contaminants are slightly alkaline in nature and therefore this acidic layer is unhospitable to them.
Moderate sun exposure is good for you but a sunburn never is. If you have been imprudent in the sun and now feel lobster-y and grumpy, mix equal parts ACV and water and gently pat over affected area with a soaked cloth. Alternately, add one cup of ACV to a lukewarm bath and take a soak, you pink crustacean.
ACV is rich in minerals, particularly potassium, and can sometimes help with cramps especially if they are associated with an electrolyte imbalance. Leg cramps, stomach cramps, and even menstrual cramps can be alleviated by applying a cloth soaked in equal parts ACV and warm water, and covering with a hot water bottle. Leave on for 5-15 minutes.
Please note that in all below recipes (and in all cases) I use organic, unpasteurized, naturally fermented apple cider vinegar. Good brands available in Canada are Bragg’s, Filsinger’s, and Spectrum.
Refreshing ACV Spritzer
2 cups Perrier or other sparkling mineral water
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5-10 drops of liquid stevia or 1 tsp or so of maple syrup, according to desired level of sweetness
Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime
Pour all ingredients to a large glass with a couple of ice cubes it in and give it a quick stir. Serve immediately.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dried nettle leaf
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried oregano
Add dried herbs to a clean jar, and pour apple cider vinegar over top. Secure the lid, and give the jar a good shake.
Keeping the lid on tight, allow to extract for 14 days in a cool, dark place. Be sure to shake the jar daily.
After two weeks, strain the herbs through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and pour back into a clean jar or bottle. Cap tightly and store for up to six months in a cool, dark place.
This herbal vinegar can be used in salad dressings, marinades, soups, or taken with a little water before a meal as a digestive tonic.
Anti-Acne Apple Cider Vinegar Skin Toner
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup witch hazel (water extract)
¼ cup distilled water (optional- add if skin is very sensitive)
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops thyme essential oil
Add all ingredients to a clean jar or bottle and shake. Shake before each use and apply with a cotton pad after cleansing skin and before applying moisturizer.
If you have seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (which, coincidentally, was filmed mere blocks away from The Big Carrot), you will remember the father who uses Windex for everything, including soaking his elbow in it to alleviate his arthritis. Well, that’s kinda how I am with ACV. Except that apple cider vinegar is way safer and better than Windex. Because, you know, drinking a whole bottle wouldn’t send you to the emergency room/morgue.
I hope you try this wonderful and affordable home remedy! Do you have any clever or delicious uses for ACV?
Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach