I used to get so drunk off of sparkling apple cider as a kid!!! Who didn’t, on New Year’s? When you were allowed to stay up until midnight and drink bubbling sugar and wear a paper crown that came out of an indoor firework? Refills were free even in major metropolitan cities — you just had to say please — and if you passed out before the clock struck twelve there was always a kind soul who carried you to bed, tucked you in and didn’t say things like, “Get out of my cab or I’ll call the cops!”
Those were the days. Apple cider was so good back then. So I’m not sure what psychopath* decided to fuck everything up, take out the bubbles and add VINEGAR, but it happened.
And it’s trendy.
Any health food thing I get into, it’s because of my mom. She is the OG of green juice and has long been into all sorts of edible Ayurvedic medicines. When I complained to her about feeling lethargic, nauseated, and both grossed and broken out from a summer of internal destruction, she suggested I try apple cider vinegar. (“ACV,” as those in-the-know call it.) You can imagine how stoked I was that apple cider was the prescription. Party hats!
You can imagine my disdain when she clarified the word “vinegar.” Also, for it to be beneficial, it had to be organic (fine), unfiltered (annoying because I run everything through my Brita) and have a “mother”: “strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance,” per Google. “Stop being a baby, it’s good for you” per my mom.
It’s said ’round the internet to do the following things:
– Aid in weight-loss
– Clear up skin
– Help you detox and balance your digestive system
– Get rid of sore throats
– Act as a natural home cleaner
– Clarify your scalp and make your hair crazy shiny
– Get rid of the stink on your feet
– Soothe sunburns and bug bites
– Get rid of candida
– Soothe tired muscles
– Reduce blood pressure
– Lower cholesterol
– Stabilize blood sugar
I did not have a sore throat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a candida situation, sore muscles or fleas during my experiment, and blood sugar situation TBD. But no use in crying over spilled salad dressing! Here’s where apple cider vinegar helped me in every other way:
Apple Cider Vinegar tastes very bad and smells awful so I could understand how it might be an appetite suppressant. I gagged constantly around it at first, which made me not so in the mood for breakfast. If I moved my nose and food away from it, though, the hunger came back. I do not recommend nor endorse this as a weight-loss technique.
You can make a toner out of apple cider vinegar and water that every ACV-touting website I found seems to recommend (combine two teaspoons ACV + water in a bottle, shake it and apply with a cotton ball). This seemed like a lot of work so one night, when I had a pimple, I put the ACV on a Q-tip straight and tapped it on top of that sucker. The next day it had gone down significantly. I had a facial the following night, told the facialist about it, and she did not seem alarmed.
My fun roommate left cool things in the sink for 100 days while I was gone over a weekend. It smelled like my worst nightmares blended with dish soap, so I poured ACV over it. It smelled like vinegar ass. I avoided my kitchen for the evening (weight-loss!) and in the morning: nothing.
Hair Shine and Scalp Stuff
My scalp has been irritated all summer and my hair has taken a late-summer turn for the over-sunned and straw-like. I poured about two inches worth of ACV in my roommate’s fancy water bottle, added water (holds 17 oz total), shook it up and poured it over my head in the shower following a regular shampoo. Then I did a quick rinse, let it dry with ACV in the strands, smelled like an Italian hoagie for an interview and then, when it dried…mild smell. Insanely soft hair. Happy scalp.
I want to keep doing this to calm my head skin down because it helped, but the faint vinegar scent lingered well into the evening. Not sure it’s worth it. There has to be something on the market that smells better. I will say this: I once put avocado toast on my hair to smooth my split ends. That was way more gross. This worked just as well, if not better. (And definitely better than conditioner.)
I have a pair of white Jack Purcells that Leandra hates so I wear them as much as possible — without socks. They smell so badly and make my feet smell worse. On an episode of Dr. Oz that I accidentally watched, I learned this weird hack:
Soak unscented baby wipes overnight in a plastic bag filled with ACV. Take the baby wipes out and place them in your smelly shoes for the day. Leave the shoes anywhere you don’t mind hot-boxing in a stubborn cloud of vinegar.
Once dry, the shoes smell less. A little vinegar-y. I think Febreeze works better. You can use these same wipes to de-stink your feet, too. Just rinse them after to get rid of the balsamic drizzle. (“Just washing” probably does the trick, too, but Dr. Oz said the acids in the vinegar change the Ph in the skin, which makes it hard for the bacteria to grow there. Sounds ideal for someone with eternal stink-foot, regardless of shoe.)
Detoxing and balancing a pissed off digestive system
Note: not all doctors agree with this and most of the research I found included the word “may,” (“may aid in,” “may support…” which is like the online health community’s version of the legal jargon favorite, “allegedly.” Both cover asses. Maybe. Allegedly.)
This website explained the theory best as to why ACV may work in balancing a pissed off digestive system, which is that ACV helps improve digestion by increasing stomach acid. (I know that sounds like a bad thing but according to health blogs, it isn’t.)
Either way, my mom swears by it and she is not one to fuck around with digestion. She instructed me to drink a cup of hot water with three teaspoons of Bragg’s ACV, honey and lemon, should I find myself feeling sluggish and nauseated. It took me a few times to get the mixture right — and note that hot water definitely worked best. Cold was impossible to get down. I’ve been feeling permanently hungover lately due to fratty eating, lack of sleep and lots of travel, so when I tell you I’ve been looking for an elixir, know that I mean it vehemently. This ACV drink may be it. It calmed my stomach, made me feel less sloth-like in the gut and woke me up. (To the point where I was like, “Whoa, I haven’t had coffee yet?”).
Out of all of the above ACV hacks, this is the one I’ll keep up. Maybe three times a week? Four if I really need it, like if I ever slip back into my juvenile ways and get really wasted on a bottle of sparkling apple cider.
* If you’re to believe everything you read, Apple Cider Vinegar dates back to 400 B.C. A man named HIPPOCRATES (based on the name alone I wouldn’t trust him even though he’s considered “the father of Western medicine”) used to prescribe ACV to his patients. They’re not alive anymore, though, so what kind of doctor even is he?
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.