In The Cabinet of an ND Student….. ACV

As I move through this amazing program at CCNM I am realizing more and more that supplements (while they do definitely have their place) are often still inferior to proper lifestyle: a whole, balanced diet – which most of us do not have – moderate exercise and spiritual + emotional balance. This is what our bodies were designed to do – to move and to be nourished by plants + animals that exist naturally on this earth. The concept of a whole, healthy lifestyle is what motivates me to make small changes that add health benefits to my regular routine. These things can be both affordable and easy to fit into a busy lifestyle.

Organic non-distilled Apple Cider Vinegar has found a spot in both my kitchen and my bathroom. Apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice that is allowed to ferment past the cider stage until it becomes vinegar. It contains pectin, vitamins B1, B2, and B6, biotin, folic acid and vitamin C. It also contains some phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. (1)


For me, the fact that apple cider vinegar has so many great vitamins/minerals makes it an excellent substitute to balsamic or regular vinegar in my kitchen! I use it in salad dressings and it is also great in the crock pot when cooking meats as it helps to tenderize and gives some great flavour.

My favourite dressing is below – I usually have it over kale or arugula and add walnuts or pine-nuts and whatever other veggies I have in the fridge.


Olive Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

1 Tbsp Dijon

Sea Salt + Pepper to taste


This literally takes 3 minutes. Add all your ingredients and whisk until combined! Drizzle over whatever delicious salad you’ve created.

TIP: if you’ve made a kale salad, massage the dressing into the leaves the night before you serve! Kale is quite tough and the ACV will help it soften without wilting it and make it so tasty. Using Kale this way makes this salad perfect for lunches because it will last (dressed and all) for a few days in the fridge!


Your skin is your largest organ. Not only is it a major detox route for the body, but it is also a protective layer against the elements and the many organisms we encounter on a daily basis. The pH of our skin (away from cosmetic products and water) has been shown to average about 4.7, which is quite acidic. (2) A 2006 study stated that not only the use of cosmetics (body wash, soap, shaving cream etc) but also exposure to tap water has a profound influence on the pH of our skin. (2) In fact, an increase in skin pH (making it more alkaline) can be seen up to 6 hours after exposure to tap water. (2) Furthermore, skin with a pH of below 5 was shown to be in the best condition. This was measured using biomarkers of barrier function, scaling and moisture. (2). What I found even more interesting in this study was the fact that a skin with a pH of between 4-4.5 was able to maintain the adhesion of its resident microflora. (2) Microflora are important in maintaining the control of and balance between the many bacteria that exist naturally on the skin. Healthy microflora help to prevent opportunistic infection with commensal bacteria such as Staphylococci, Candida etc. Commensal bacteria are organisms that most commonly live in harmony with humans, in the GI tract, the respiratory tract and the skin for a few examples. However, if conditions change (immune status, microflora etc) some types of commensal bacteria are capable of causing disease. What I am getting at here is that we live in a very sterile world and we expose our skin to a barrage of creams, soaps and scrubs that may be changing the pH of our skin in undesirable ways.

The pH of Apple Cider Vinegar is somewhere between 4-5, making it very similar to the pH of the skin.  There was a great article a while back in Alive Magazine regarding the uses of ACV for skin health. (3) I have since tried and loved the following routine when my skin is feeling tight, itchy and over cleansed….

ACV Bath

1. Pour a bath – not too hot as this tends to dry already irritated skin

2. Add 1 cup (250ml) of ACV

3. Soak

TIP: ACV can be pretty smelly – but you dont want to counteract the effect by using a scented wash afterwards. If you don’t love the smell, just shower off after your soak (without using any products).

ACV Hair Rinse

This is probably my favourite use for my ACV! About 2X/month I give my hair a rinse with 1part ACV and 1part water (I do 1 cup of each because I have alot of hair). Make sure to combine them first and then just flip your head over in the shower and pour your mixture over your scalp + hair. You’re hair will love you for this! it really helps to remove built up product, add shine to your hair and help to reduce itchy + dry scalp. Remember it is acidic, so it is not good for people who have severe dryness (like eczema or psoriasis on their scalp).

TIP: DO NOT get this rinse in your eyes – even diluted it is acidic and STINGS.

Have you guys used ACV? I know its found a permanent place in my cabinet despite the fact that my husband detests the smell. I’d love to hear your experiences as always.


Reminder: this post is not meant to be construed as medical advice, but only as informational and based on personal experience. For more clarification on this please refer to the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.


1. Apple Cider Vinegar Monograph: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database


3. The Cultured Word on Apple Cider Vinegar, Alive Magazine.

Photo credit 1: artizone / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit 2: rikomatic / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit 3: Steve A Johnson / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit 4: Ravailz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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