If you’re an adult that has ever read a health blog, been to a restaurant, or seen the inside of a grocery store, you’ve likely at least heard about apple cider vinegar. In the past few years this stuff has been dubbed a “magical elixir” that promises a whole slew of things for your health and to flavor your food. Maybe you’ve dabbled in the ACV way of life but aren’t sure what it is and why you should care about it. ACV is part of my everyday routine and I’ve seen first hand the benefits of this golden juice.
First things first, let’s chat science real quick. What the heck is ACV? ACV is derived from apples. Shocking, I know. Through the process of fermentation, the sugar from the apples is turned into alcohol. No, I don’t recommend mixing this stuff with tonic if you’re trying to catch a buzz on a Friday night, k? The bacteria in ACV helps to yield acetic acid. The acetic acid is what does wonders for your body and is what also gives vinegar that sometimes unpleasant vinegary taste. Sciency, right?.
I use ACV in a variety of ways and it can sometimes replace other more expensive products or products that are full of nasty chemicals. If you google “uses for ACV” you’ll find yourself elbows deep in hundreds of claims and ideas. One disclaimer is that QUALITY DOES MATTER here. I only use Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar WITH the mother. It’s important to find a raw, organic, unfiltered brand if you want to benefit from all the goodness. A giant bottle is about $6 and lasts me several months. Other vinegar (white, red wine, etc) simply won’t work. ACV is the only alkaline-forming vinegar. Save the other stuff for cooking and cleaning.
Here are 7 ways I personally use this stuff on the regular…
1. Down the hatch– if you’ve seen my Instagram stories, you know that I take 2Tbs of ACV first thing in the morning. I put it in a shot glass and pretend I’m a freshman in college all over again. Err…a junior in college. Underage drinking is bad, mmmkay? I chase it with at least 20oz of ice water. ACV has probiotic properties, meaning the bacteria supports gut health and digestion. I swear I get sick less often because of this daily routine. I tested this theory once when I ran out of ACV for a week and bam! Guess who got a cold?! I work in education aka a giant petri dish, so it’s not always foolproof but I do notice a difference in my ability to stay healthy during cold and flu season.
2. Rub it on yo face!- This one is a game changer. I combine 2T ACV with 4oz of water and a few drops of tea tree oil to make a facial toner. I’ve tried soooo many toners and I have found that this 50 cent concoction works best. A word to the wise however, if you have sensitive skin you’ll want to dilute the solution even more. Too much ACV can cause significant redness. It’s not cute- trust.
3. Heartburn relief- If you’re like me and suffer with occasional heartburn that keeps you up at night, try taking a spoonful of ACV instead of popping a pill or eating a chalky hockey puck. It’s counter intuitive to think that drinking something that tastes acidic will help, but ACV is alkaline-forming (aka PH balancing) and will clear things up in a jiffy.
4. Cat-proof your shit– You all know how dearly I love Nancy Reagan, our fur child. However, I do not love when she chews on our fan cord at 2am. One day, in an effort to prevent Nancy from electrocuting herself, I rubbed ACV on the cord with a cotton ball. Bam! No more cord munching. She’s not fond of the taste but it won’t make her sick if she ingests a little bit. Problem solved.
5. Sore throat no more– My husband is the creator of this hack and since first trying it, I have never looked back. If you have a sore throat, boil one cup of water and add a tablespoon or two of instant Jello mix (I recommend strawberry). Once the powder dissolves, add 1T of honey and 2T ACV. Drink it quick-ish before the Jello sets up. The ACV will kill the nasty bacteria on your throat and the Jello will coat and soothe. Works like a charm!
6. Keep your veggies fresh longer- This was one of my FruGal Tips on Instagram a few months ago, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you have woody vegetables like asparagus you can store those suckers upright in a glass jar with 1T of ACV and about ¼ cup of water. Keep it in the fridge to keep your greens living a long and happy life. You can also wash your berries and fruits in a diluted mixture of water and ACV. Fill your sink with cold water and a splash of ACV. Soak your fruit, rinse thoroughly, then completely dry on a paper towel before they go back into the fridge. The ACV will kill all the ickies on the skin of the fruit.
7. Tenderize your meat chunks- When you slow cook meats like beef, pork, or lamb, you can add a tablespoon of ACV to the pot. The acid in ACV helps to break down the fibers of the meat and yield a more tender result.
There are endless ways to use ACV and I truly recommend that everyone have this in their pantry. ACV is especially FruGal friendly because it is one stop shopping for so many things from skincare to cooking. I buy my bottles on Thrive Market but they can be found in almost any grocery store. If you’re going to try ACV for the first time, start small. A lot of people are fond of drinking the stuff straight so consider mixing it into water or juice at first. Or, skip the morning method and use a splash in your next salad dressing or just use it to clean and store your produce.