Refresh: The wonders of Bicarbonate of Soda!


The wonders of Bicarbonate of Soda.

I’ve been using bicarbonate of soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) for about 3 years now. I drink it and I clean the house with it and there aren’t many products you can say that about! Here’s a wee shortish Blog on the wonders of my good friend, bicarbonate of soda!

Debbie Jenner Pilates Company
Photo: Debbie Jenner – Aluminium-free bicarbonate of soda

Before I go any further, sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are the same thing, Americans tend to call it baking soda, Ozzies and Brits call it bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder is something else…

How did I stumble across the wonders of ‘b of s’? Well a few years ago I began to experience what looked like osteoarthritis in some of my fingers. I basically had swollen and stiff joints in my phalanges! I thought first of all: ‘oh well here we go, something I’ve inherited from my mum, there’s not a lot I can do about it, its inevitable’, but then with my interest in nutrition I discovered that by consuming neutralising ‘b of s’ in a hot drink first thing in the morning I could halt and in fact lessen the discomfort and swelling. And recently osteoarthritis has been classed not as heriditary per se, but as a lifestyle ailment. I was probably consuming too much acidic food and drink or not enough alkaline things. Bicarb is alkaline and a neutralising agent. And do you know what? It works.

So each morning I start my day with a concoction (great word that) of hot water, lemon juice, fresh ginger and/or sometimes turmeric and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Lemon by the way, despite being a citrus fruit is not acidic, however I no longer add it every day as my teeth were beginning to suffer, it attacks the enamel and I was getting a nagging soreness. But that’s over now I’ve cut back. I do notice the bicarb consumption if I don’t take that for a few days. Sometimes its difficult when you’re on the road, and sometimes I just don’t feel like it, but if I omit it from my routine for a few days I can feel my fingers getting stiff again… I must add I do buy a brand that has no aluminium in it which brings me to…

I’m on a quest to lessen the consumption of or exposure to toxins and heavy metals in my life, so not just nutritionally, but environmentally, and in this case by that I mean the interior of my home. One of the things I’ve done is ditch all my cleaning products bar white vinegar, lemon juice and yes, bicarbonate of soda! That’s all I need. General household cleaning products are basically toxins; mixes of all kinds of harmful man-made chemicals. They have been proven to disrupt the endocrine system and can lead to all kinds of illnesses. But just by using the trio of bicarb, lemon juice and vinegar I have a toxin-free, shiny house that doesn’t stink of chemicals and its healthy too! All I do is make a paste out of the bicarb, smear it on where I want it, leave it for a while, or if its the oven leave it overnight and then wipe off all the grime later with warm water and a cloth. And hey presto – it really works. And digressing again, in the case of windows and mirrors there is no better way to clean them than with white vinegar and newspaper – believe me I’m an ex-exercise studio owner who for thirty years had wall to wall mirrors, and cleaned them myself each week.

So what makes Bicarbonate of Soda so special?

Bicarbonate of soda has the chemical compound of NaHCO3 and is basically a salt made up of sodium, and bicarb ions. For all you nerdy chemists here’s a link to the science of bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate. For ignoramusses like me, its simply a mineral compund that works, and my best tip is to buy 2 sorts; aluminium-free for consumption, and a cheaper version for the cleaning. The list of uses is endless… here are a few more things it can be used for; killing weeds, whitening laundry, getting the pong out of smelly trainers or the stain out of carpets, cleaning the loo, putting on insect bites, unblocking drains, brushing your teeth, and adding it to your bath. And I could go on…

If you’ve achy joints, give it a go for a fortnight and let me know what you think… If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to all the cleaning products you have in your cupboard make the shift to ‘b of s’, vinegar and lemons, be amazed by the results and see how much money you also save in the process!

Til the next time!



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