Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Herbivoracious, vegetarian cookbook

I must tell you about my new favorite cookbook! It is called Herbivoracious, and it is by Michael Natkin. The recipes are so yummy! If you are thinking, I'm not a vegetarian, I wont want that. Well, if you like incredibly delicious food then you are wrong, you do want it! I don't mean to sound pushy about this, but it is such a fresh take on vegetarian food, that it is now a go to cookbook in my kitchen along with Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller, and my Good Eats cookbook. So ya, this is epic. Their is Native American, Mexican, Indian, and so many more flavors incorporated into these recipes. I highly suggest you go here and check out his online recipes, then go here and consider buying the book. Go Here for some pictures of recipes in the book.
I suppose that's enough crazy cookbook lady for one day. Time to go make lunch! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The safe and toxin free home: Beauty care

Everybody likes to look be clean, look and feel their best, and smell good. Well, what if the products that you think are making you clean are really harming your skin and making your liver and various organs dirty by overloading them with toxic chemicals? What if the products that make you look "good" and give you confidence making our feel good, are really making your organs look not so good making you feel tired, cranky, unbalanced, dizzy and just plain old bad. What if the products that make you "smell good" are actually giving you those chronic headaches, making you sneeze and are causing asthma.  If your beauty prodocts contain Triclosan, SlES, SLS, Petrolatum, PEG compounds, Fragrance, Parabens, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl phthalate, DEA, MEA, TEA, Cyclomethicone, Siloxanes, Coal Tar Dyes, BHA, BHT and many, many,many others. (further reading on chemicals go here to thegreenbeautyguide.com) These chemicals can cause Asthma, skin burns, cancer, brain disorders, dizziness, alzheimers, toxicant to the immune system, and the list goes on, and on. 

Here is an interesting video.

It is so easy to make many of or your own beauty products. Some are a bit more time consuming than others. I love making my own facial masks and face and body scrubs. Toners are also super easy to make. I prefer buying the other stuff, but that's just me. If you have a lot of time on your hands lotion is easy to make and you get to customize your own personal scent. My favorite beauty recipe books are Return Beauty and EcoBeauty. Return to beauty even has food recipes to make you beautiful from the inside out. They both have a wide array of products to make that are so easy. 

Here are my beauty recipes. They work for all skin and hair types. 

Dulse Hair rinse. 
This Hair rinse makes my hair so clean. It get rid of all the build up on my scalp, and makes it shiny, soft, and easy to comb. 
In a mason jar fill up about a couple of inches with Apple cider vinegar (don't substitute any other vinegar) and put in a couple tbsp of Dulse (ground up sewed) Put on the lid and shake. While in the shower fill the jar up with about 1/2 cup of water. After you shampoo your hair lightly put the hair rinse in and let it set while you finish your shower routine.Then rinse well. Don't worry if you don't get all the dulse out. It blends in fine with the hair, and comes out when you brush it (after it is dry). It may take another shower to get it all out, but it is so worth it! Your hair will be so happy. 

Oatmeal cookie face wash. 
Equal parts dried goats milk and oatmeal flower (add some oats that you ground in your food processor for more exfoliation). Put a Tbsp of the mixture in your palm, and add a bit of water so that it is a smooth, runny paste. Rub gently with your fingertips in circular motions on your pre-moistened face. Works good, smells good and cheep. 

Yogurt and honey face mask:
Yogurt takes away dead skin cells, and the honey is antibacterial. They combine to create one amazing zit fighting, skin softening mask! Combine equal parts honey and plain yogurt. Apply to face and let it set for 10 to 20 minutes. Then wash of with a warm washcloth. While you wait add some vanilla and chopped nuts or fruit to the leftovers, and enjoy. 

Facial scrub:
1/4 cup of honey with jojoba beads and cherry extract and powder is my favorite. But for something a bit more easy to obtain, use 1/4 cup of sugar plus 1tbsp of almond oil. The honey with jojoba beads work better for me because my skin tends to be a bit oily. 

Green tea toner:
Green tea in a spray bottle, sprayed on your face. Tightens up the skin. (plus, no drying alcohol!)

Body scrub:
1/2 cup of salt. 1/4 cup of olive, almond, avocado, or sesame oil. 5 to 10 drops of essential oil of choice. For a cooling and cold fighting scrub do eucalyptus and peppermint. For a spicy sweet scrub try cinnamon and vanilla. If you want something that goes with your lotion, add the essential oil that is in the name of the products to your scrub. Such as Lavender=lavender, A forest lotion=pine and or cedar.  Easy and fun.

For my makeup I use 100% pure. Made up of fruits, veggies, and grains. I use'd to use mineral makeup, but many of them have chemicals similar to arsenic in them, and the loos powders are not good for your lungs. 100% pure also has lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc. They are cruelty free and use organic ingredients. I like the idea of being able to eat it, and for it to actually be good for me. (not that I actually eat it. ha!) Their mascara dosn't work very well for me, so I use the shear miracles brand. It is more expensive than other brands, but for me it is worth it. Her makeup is a mineral brand that isn't harmful. Another mineral makeup that isn't harmful is afterglow

I also use shear miracles for my shampoo. Their is nothing bad in it at all. It takes some getting used to, because it doesn't strip your hair of all the natural oils. It actually levees some so that your hair is healthy. Oil is good for my hair? YES! IT IS! Who would have thunk it? 

For shaving cream and body wash I use African Black soap from my local health foods store. It also works for shampoo for all hair and skin types. Conditioner works great for shaving cream also, but the African Black soap is cheaper. 
For lotion, I use sesame oil, or MSM lotion. (you can get MSM lotion at therawfoodworld.com) MSM also has shampoos, soaps, sunscreen etc. 

For sunscreen I use a big hat, and coconut oil (which has a 5 spf). Sunscreens are very harmful and odly enough can cause cancer. I recommend that if you absolutely must ware sunscreen, to use MSM or Badger brands. They both have zinc oxide which isn't great, but is a much better alternative to the other brands. (If you know of any other brands that are good I would love to know!) On a dietary note, if you eat raw vegan,  then you shouldn't get sunburned. My mom did this diet a couple years back and she, who burns like leaf didn't get sunburned at all. If you ware Linen clothing then that works great. I like to ware a loos fitting thin, linen long sleeved shirt if I need to be outside for a long time. 

Wellness should start at home. So why not consider what you put on yourself every morning. You know you love trying new shades of lipstick, and new lotions, so why not give it a try? If you don't think you can afford it, try Sally hansen makeup. It is definitely not the best, but a bit better than most with cheaper prices. (I couldn't find the ingredients listed online, but their are no parabens, which is a plus) Then again, buying makeup that is more expensive is cheaper than hospital bills. Just a bit of food for thought. Have fun exploring new beauty products! 
Gorgeously GreeCheat sheet to bring with you when you go shopping. 
This website has a list of other websites that have helpful resources and information. gardenofbeauty.net

Monday, September 17, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: cleaning supplies

First things first. Why dose anyone need so many different types of cleaning supplies? Personally I have no space for that many in my world. All I need is baking soda, vinegar, borax, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, various types of essential oils and herbs. and dish soap (castile soap is great, I just don't use it enough so it take up too much space for me. lol). All of those things are multi-taskers both for cleaning and other uses, like making tasty food, get rid of bee stings, help with burns, cuts and other ailments. Basically, my medicine cabinet, and cleaning supply can be kept in my kitchen. With the exception being that I would keep the borax, baking soda, and alcohol up higher if any kiddos came over. But you really shouldn't need to keep it up way high, just high enough that a four year old or so cant get to it easily. The borax and baking soda can only cause problems if ingested in high, HIGH quantities, and over a period of time. Messes with ph and things. Still, they are so much safer than bleach, ammonia or other awful cleaning products. 

The typical household has 3 to 25 gallons of toxic materials most of which are found in cleaning supplies  Toxic cleaners can cause burns to the eyes, skin, throat and the esophagus. Also, cancer, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, increased birth defects, and respiratory problems. If you mix bleach with your toilet bowl cleaner you could be releasing toxic gases, the same goes for anything that you mix to combine bleach and ammonia, or chemicals that react similarly with these chemicals. No law requires that manufacturers list their ingredients on labels or to test their product for safety. "While cleaners are the only household products regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, their sellers aren’t required to reveal these products’ ingredients. These ingredients are considered “trade secrets,” so government regulations are actually designed to protect this proprietary information, not to protect human health or the environment." (life.gaiam.com)

I put vinegar in a spray bottle with some water and use it as a multi-purpose cleaner. The studies done on this wonderful substance have bean rather, well, vague. They will say that it kills about 80% of germs, but this is without studying it fully, or very well. Where as bleach has had extensive tests done on it. But, seeing as how bleach causes respiratory problems, cancer and brain damage I would rather go with an 80% killer that I can add some essential oil or peroxide to if I want a super germ killer, than a 99.9% germ killer that also kills me. Another thing is, that bleach also kills the good bacteria, where as the vinegar, who dose kill e-coli also leaves those good for you bacteria. When I need to cut up a chicken (which is, um well, never, but I did at my moms before I was married) I scrub my cutting board with salt and spray it with vinigar to wipe it down. I also wash it off under hot water. But I alwaise wash my cutting boards to get rid of odors and such from garlic and such that can transfer to apples and other foods. If you need to whiten a cutting board, start cleaning it with hydrogen-peroxide. Killd germs very well, and can lift away stains. Baking soda also works great at scrubbing those plastic ones that are all porous, and get so yucky sometimes. I will put various esential oils in my spray bottle with the vinigar. Such as Lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, or lavender depending on my mood. When I want to do a deep cleaning of my kitchen nothing beats making my own blend of oil tea with herbs and water. Here is the how to video. Unlike this lady, I use lavender instead of the cinnamon and clove. I like the smell better and it work just as good for my purposes. I dont know if the disinfectant properties are the same as when using therapeutic grade oil, but it works so, so ,SO good at taking baked on food and grease off the stove. It basically boosts the cleaning ability of the vinegar in a spray bottle. It gets sticky stuff of of floors, and well, it just gets everything SO clean!

I clean my floors, cabinets, counter tops, tables, walls, stair railing, and windows with vinegar in a spray bottle. armed with either a rag, or my mop and just my trusty spray bottle, cleaning is so easy! My mop is flat on the bottom with a cloth on it much like this one,
 which I find works the easiest for quick cleaning. I just get out my spray bottle, put a damp re-attachable cloth on my mop, Spray the floor and mop. SO easy and their is no need for using gallons of water. 

To shine up my floor and wood surfaces I mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar. A little goes a long way. Dont worry if you feel like the floor has too much oil that you just couldn't seem so spread no mater how hard you try, this will be fine. The oil ends up soaking into the floor. I dip a rag into the solution and gently rub my wood surfaces with it to make them look good.

To clean my toilet I put a cup of baking soda into the toilet, scrub, then flush. Then I put a cup of vinegar in, scrub, then flush. The vinegar is important. It make the toilet so SHINY! To clean the seat and outside of toilet I just get out my spry bottle again and a rag. For my sink and shower I spray everything down with vinegar then dust everything in baking soda. Scrub everything with a rag, then rinse.

A note on Norwex cloths. They clean of all those icky germs. Dampen and clean all your surfaces. Removes dust, kills germs, viruses, mold, and not you. I love them for cleaning sinks, showers, and tubs. I need to get one but haven't bean able to since I got married but when I lived at my moms I used them for everything. They are absolutely brilliant at dusting and taking animal hair of of furniture. I wipe my counter tops with it and it gets rid of all the germs without any disinfectants. The Norwex cloths are so good at cleaning sinks and showers. I use just my cloth and nothing else, and their is nothing to rinse of when I am done. They are a bit expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. 

To remove sticky stuff, put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth then rub the sticky area. It will come off fairly quickly. 

To remove stains including blood from carpets, use borax. If someone happens to drop a plate of food on a carpet, spills their wine, or somehow gets blood on the carpet follow these steps. 

1. Pick up all of the food and blot the liquid with a clean cloth

2. Using a spray mister, apply ice water to the area

3.Shake borax right out of the box over the stain

4. Place a wet towel in the freezer for five minutes and then place on top of the area

5.Press the borax into the carpet by pushing down on the frozen towel

If you don't have time for all of these things, dab at the spill with a damp cloth, put borax on it, and then do step 5.

For a room deodorizer and a fabric fresher I put alcohol in a bottle with some sort of essential oil (whatever I want the room/fabric to smell like). I spray it in the room, then I leave the room. Alcohol is not particularly good for your lungs. The alcohol will leave very quickly, Like 30 seconds, then you can enjoy your fresh smelling room. Use the same mixture on your couch, bed linens, etc to kill bed bugs and the like. The alcohol works better than water because it dissipates faster so that you aren't left with a wet couch. 

***A Couple Quick Additions: to make your carpets smell good, and to to get rid of various bugs mix a cup of baking soda with 5 to 10 drops of essential oil. Sprinkle onto a carpet (I use one of those Parmesan sprinklers that are at pizza restaurant) let set for just a little bit, then vacuum. This will also make your vacuum smell good.

Also you could use cornstarch instead of baking soda and use it as a body powder/deodorant. Sprinkle some in your shoes also to get rid of stinky smells. 
I hope this helps, and stay healthy!***
More info and sources    webmd.com   rodale.com    organicconsumers.org

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: Laundry

For a quick overview article of toxic things in your home, and why they are toxic click here.
For an article on a study of products in the home and their toxicity click here. (Be warned, it may frighten you)

As I think back to when I first started helping my mom do laundry, the scent of Tide comes straight to my mind. This was back when we hadn't started using the clothes line, and my mom didn't react to chemicals like she dose now. However, when my mom started to become more educated from reading her many diet and health books over the years she started using a natural laundry detergent from the health foods store. Eventually she decided to get a clothes line, for the extra sunshine and to help the planet, even if it was just a baby step. My memories of helping my mom with the laundry as a middle schooler and up is of carrying the load out to the line, and hanging it up with her. She did the long and bulky things, and I did the many socks, t-shirts, and other lighter things. I absolutely LOVE the smell of the clothes when they come off the line. They even keep there lovely scent for a while after being hung up. Now the smell of Tide and other such products give me a headache and make me sneeze. If, and only when forced, when we go down the soap isle in most stores, we jog through. If we don't my mom's throat starts closing up and we both get major headaches.

Many people (from what I have read in articles and books) have headaches, chronic headaches in fact, from the fragrances that they ware. Not just perfume, but in their deodorants, lotions, and laundry soaps as well. Personally I think that this is so sad, that people willingly but oftentimes unknowingly subject themselves to pain in this way. Not only can you have reactions like headaches, but the toxins in your soaps, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets can cause throat, eye, and skin irritation, cancer, respiratory problems, and disruption of the endocrine system. Some are neurotoxins, some cause cellular changes, and others may cause mutations. (Personally I would rather not have my body mutated, my brain toxified, my cells modified, or have asthma, headaches, and all these other problems inflicted onto my body! Thank you very much.) Many of these chemicals are carcinogens (hazardous air pollutants) that are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no save exposure level. Which means that we are exposing ourselves and our children to chemicals that are in no way safe, ever.

"A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels."-ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) 

No laws exist in the United States that protect us from these products. The government doesn't even require that they label any harmful chemicals. You may read fragrance, and that can be any number of petroleum based chemicals soaking into your skin and reeking havoc on your body. Once while my mom was at work, she picked up the Pine-Sole bottle to read the ingredients. This cleaning product had bean bothering her for some time. Upon reading the ingredients to her shock, and mine it read secret ingredients. WHat! I mean really! Now I believe that the labeling has changed, but dose include fragrance. The only ingredient actually listed that isn't harmful is the Water.

 I encourage you to buy natural soaps, or make your own, and to not use toxic  fabric softener or dryer sheets. Both of them can be made naturally.  Be warned about washing soda if you do make your own, it can be quite harmful, causing many of the same problems you can and will find in the toxic soaps you are trying not to use.

I must warn you also about Borax. My mom doesn't like using it in things that you put on your skin, like soaps or lotions, and personally I don't see the point of it in lotion anywise. She is very, very sensitive to chemicals so she simply doesn't want to risk it. Now she wont have a problem, but she used to have major issued before she started doing hair without harmful products. Most people wont have a problem with it, but if you are way overloaded with toxins, and say you are detoxing out your sin in the form of a rash/pimple type deal, and you have some open soars, then please read up on borax and any other thing you might put on your skin (this includes non organic materials that have fire retardants and such). Borax works great at removing stains (even blood) from carpets and is awesome when mixed with powdered sugar to get rid of ants, but if you put it on your skin it may cause skin irritation. Also if you in hail it repeatedly it is not good for you lungs.  Basically it would be like inhaling baking soda, or putting Baking Soda on your skin. Borax doesn't cause long term damage, nor dose it build up in your system over time. It dose not penetrate your skin easily at all, unlike many, many other products in cleaning supplies.  However if you ingest it repeatedly (for some strange reason you may find the urge to do this) it might cause reproductive problems. (They fed it to mice to see what it did and they had some reproductive problems that may have bean caused by repeated Borax feedings. Wow, is that a strange thing to do or what? Who would eat that! I guess those ants in my pantry would if it tastes sweet enough.) Overall, if you want to use Borax but are apprehensive, do more research. Google tends to be  very user friendly. But, if you want to try it, then I really don't see any problems that you should come across. Personally I prefer something that isn't toxic to not soak into my skin, than something that is toxic to soak into my skin.
Well, have fun making soaps, or discovering the new world of the health foods store's isle of cleaning products that are far nicer to your body, and if you are with child, your babies body (seeing as how if you change to toxic free things your baby will have a higher chance of coming out with all of it's parts. Esp if it's a boy...if you get my drift, if not, email me and we can have a little chat.)

I use: Soap Nuts just nuts from and African tree. Works and smells amazing! You can use it as people soap too. put it in those scrubby bags that people put soap bars in, and scrub yourself. Then throw the bag in with your laundry to wash the clothes. (Great when traveling.) I also use Seventh Generation. I don't use fabric softener of dryer sheets. I just don't see the point, and i think my clothes feel better without them. Also I no longer have a dryer, so that could be part of it... The only reason why I use the Seventh Generation as well as the soap nuts, is because my father-in-law buys it. We share a washer, and since it is my bathroom he buys the soap. So for now I use the soap nuts for my underthings and dedicates. I just like the feel and smell better, and it seems to be more gentle. When I use the Seventh Generation I use like half or less of what it recommends. It cleans the clothes better, and my washing machine manufacturer says to use less, and I happen to like that rule.

More info: articles.mercola.com  wisebread.com  healingnaturallybybee.com
Fabric softener recipe  laundry detergent (you can use baking soda instead of washing soda) dryer sheet made with natural fabric softener  you can make a dryer sheet with non bleached muslin and a couple drops of essential oil.