Tag Archives: health

8 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

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Balancing work and home life can seem next to impossible especially if you throw kids in the mix. Lost time with friends and loved ones is the first victim of life lost in a rollercoaster of PTA meetings, soccer practice, dental appointments, and the dry cleaners. Throw in a full time job, chores, grocery shopping and you can kiss any down time you have left, goodbye. Life is a balancing act and the best way to get through it, is with a plan of action. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve balance.

Set priorities…

Do you really need to bake 32 muffins for the third grade Valentine’s day party? How about saving some time and purchasing them just this once? Enlist your partner to switch off taking the kids to school or watching the baby. It’s okay to skip scrubbing the tub one week. I promise. The kids will grow up just fine if they buy lunch at school once in awhile. Give yourself a break! These little chores you skip will still be there, but your piece of mind won’t be.

The most important event in your calendar…

When scheduling your appointments, don’t forget to add a bit of downtime in between work and home commitments to enjoy yourself. Make a list right now of the 5 things you need more of in your life. For me it’s things like dancing, time with friends and family, spending time outside, and exercise. I’m a much happier and better me with these things included. Now, go to your calendar and actually schedule your list items. Now, it’s up to you to honor it but you won’t have any trouble once you get the hang of it. Balance feels awesome.

Some fun ideas…

Enjoying a night out with friends can vastly improve an overworked body and mind. While you are out on your adventure, plan the NEXT excursion. Always have something to look forward to. Do something you enjoy every day. Watch a movie, go to the library, work on a hobby, or take a relaxing bath. Keep this time protected from other responsibilities. This is YOUR time. No interruptions!

Work for pleasure…

If you find that the only fun you have is outside the office, maybe it’s time to reconsider your career. I know, easier said than done, but really all it takes is the courage to change your circumstances and taking the first step. How empowering is that!

Time is money…

How much is your time worth per hour? Choose an amount. Then add up all the time you spend on things someone else can do for you. It’s a lot. Most of us are on a budget, but in many cases it is worth paying someone else to do things for you. It’s not extravagance, it’s just smart because what you end up with is time to spend with the people you love and do things that make you happy.

Some “let someone else do it” ideas…

Have the groceries delivered. Look for a local CSA that delivers. Local, organic food delivered…doesn’t get better than that. NM people check out Skarsgard Farms. How about paying the extra fee to have the Christmas gifts wrapped? Have the neighbor kid mow your lawn and help with yard work. How about using the loose-change-jar once in awhile and have your house cleaned? Better yet! Have the kids clean the house while you sit by the pool!

Move it…

Exercise is a very powerful tool especially if it’s done in the morning. It impacts your whole mood and puts a positive touch on your entire day. Schedule at least three, twenty minute workout routines a week, and I promise you you’ll fly through your workweek (and you won’t jiggle). Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, get some extra sleep, and voila! Your energy will get a serious makeover.

Be smart with technology…

Stay off the computer, your smartphone, anything where you can access messages, social media, and emails when you first wake up. I am so guilty of this. Nobody should be reading anything that may contain negative or depressing news first thing in the morning. Not to mention, your morning hours are the most productive. Don’t waste your best on Facebook. Save it for after lunch.

Track your time…

Lastly, track your time. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how much time we waste during the day on frivolous activities. Cut out unnecessary time on the computer, phone, or errands that can be skipped or combined.

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton

 

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Adventures in Making Tallow Moisturizer

This is a blog about my adventure making tallow moisturizer (the best moisturizer I’ve ever used). Tallow is rendered beef fat, which is a little scary, so it took something serious for me to even try it. You can buy similar moisturizer already done for you for ~$30, or you can make your own. Feeling frugal and looking at it as a potential learning opportunity, I went for the diy option. Oh boy, it was an adventure…but an oh-so-worth-it one. Here’s what happened…

Why I ventured down the tallow road in the first place…

I hear your skin freaks out when you’re pregnant. For the most part, (and I’m totally bragging here) my skin was amazing. Better than it’s ever been….ever. No zits. I’m 32 and still get zits so this was a welcome 9-month reprieve. You’d brag too.

Then baby came out and the magic wore off. Pretty soon I developed dry patches on my cheeks. No big deal, I thought. I just have to change my moisturizer. So, I bought stuff with names called “deep repair” which had no effect. I even tried oil that comes from sharks. Knowing that our skin is a reflection of our internal health, I made sure I was hydrated and getting healthy oils….BUT NOTHING WAS WORKING!

In fact, the patches were getting worse and spreading and I was getting desperate. I was literally growing a force field on my face. I reached out to my smarter-than-me holistic FB friends and one gal recommended coconut oil (of which I’d heard a lot) and an alternative I’d never heard of, tallow.

Ok, duh. Why didn’t I think to turn to natural products instead of expensive BS deep repair creams? That’s what I’m all about after all. I’m blaming my baby brain. That night I started slathering coconut oil on my face because I honestly I had no idea what tallow even was.

Um, well my face didn’t like that too much. Not only did my force field get bigger but I developed a red bumpy rash all over my neck. Good lord, I was really good looking at that point. A quick google search confirmed that coconut oil can actually be drying on the face. Great. Not to diss coconut oil. My body loves it as a moisturizer. Not sure what happened there.

Ok, no more messing around, I decided…It was time to pull out the big guns. That night I started using the Oil Cleansing Method that we wrote about a few months ago. I really love it. Vanessa was so right about that … but even that wasn’t enough. It was time to try tallow. But now I’m a total OCM convert. Try it, you’ll love it.

How to Make Tallow Moisturizer…

Tallow, as I learned, is rendered cow fat so you can see why it took me a while to get to this point, right? I got a big chunk of cow fat from a farmer. It was good timing because the hubby and I were picking up our hog that same day so I just happened to ask if they had tallow and they did – I even got it for free.

This is how pretty it is…

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I couldn’t believe I was going to put this on my face either. Another google search revealed how darn good it is for our skin. Basically, your skin recognizes it because it’s so close to our biology and absorbs it – plus it’s full of great vitamins that the skin loves. Google it, you’ll see.

Next step is to cut it into chunks and put it in your food processor like so…

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When you’re done processing, it looks like this. I guess if you don’t have one, you can just chop small. It’s easier if it’s cold.

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Then you put it in your crockpot on low and wait for it to melt.

Note: All of the articles on tallow making talk about being extra careful not to burn it so I was scared to mess it up. I didn’t do anything extra careful and mine didn’t burn. I stirred it some and worried about it. That should work for you too.

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It melts pretty quick but I let it go a few hours. Next, I let the mixture cool down a little and strained it through cheesecloth into a bowl. Throw away the chunkies.

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Then I added some dried herbs like lavender and calendula both of which have soothing properties for the skin and put it all in a big jar. I should have just started with the jar instead of messing with the bowl. Live and learn. The herbs are easily found at a natural herb store.

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I thought I would have longer to let the herbs infuse but the fat solidified on me with the herbs still inside. I wanted them to diffuse longer so I heated it back up. This is where I hit a major bump in the road. I don’t recommend this approach.

I filled the crockpot with water. Placed my solid jar of fat inside, and set it to low. I checked on it a little while later and it was all melted…yay. BUT there was some oil floating in the water. Must have boiled over, I told myself.

Not so. I carefully removed the jar and to my great dismay only the top half of the broken jar came out. Oil in water mystery – solved. Darnit! I was left with a big crockpot full of water, oil, herbs, and broken glass. Now I’m thinking to myself that I’m a real genius and how much I freaking hate tallow.  What was I thinking trying to make moisturizer out of fat anyway???

I cooled off and decided that there had to be a way to finish this project after all the time I’d spent on it. Now my crockpot looked like this….a giant herby fat cookie floating in a bath. Image

I dislodged it. Poured out the water. Threw away the glass and remelted the herby fat cookie. I restrained the herbs out – let it cool a little and sighed with relief. By george, I think I’ve got it!

Next I grabbed an old empty moisturizer tub and filled it up 1/4 of the way with olive oil. This helps keep the consistency workable. Otherwise it would be too hard to use. I also added Citrus Bliss™ doTerra essential oil and OMG it is amazing stuff. For all that work, and learning the hard way, it was worth it. Look how pretty now…

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Two days is all it took for the force field on my face to go away. And that was after weeks of trying other things. I swear my skin looks younger and I can hardly see my fine lines. I LOVE this stuff. I still have more fat sitting in the fridge and it’s going to make several more containers.

I might just start a tallow rendering business….ha ha, got ya.

In the end, I think it’s worth it to make your own but only if you learn from my mishaps. It’s better than spending $30 for someone else to do it, in my opinion. I’ll have enough to make moisturizer to last me a couple years now I bet. Think about how much that saves you in moisturizers that don’t really work. No brainer.

Try it out and enjoy your soft beautiful skin. Then let me know what you think.

 

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Filed under Clean Living Tips, DIY Beauty Recipes, Essential Oils

Makeover your Medicine Cabinet with Essential Oils

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Do you want safer, cheaper, more effective healthcare? We have two choices when it comes to treating illness…modern medicine or nature’s medicine.  Over the past few years I’ve slowly replaced all of my modern medicines with essential oils. I used them during my pregnancy to ease my symptoms and now that my son is born they’re helping him too. I love that there is a natural alternative for healing my family.

Modern vs. Nature’s Medicine

Modern medicine…

  • Designed to manage symptoms
  • Made from isolated synthetic agents
  • Side effects (some unknown)
  • 4.5 Trillion/yr. is spent on global healthcare
  • Are we healthier today because of it?

Nature’s Medicine…

  • Helps minimize symptoms, addresses the root causes
  • Made of hundreds of natural compounds found in plants that enhance physical and emotional health
  • Safe benefits without side effects
  • Pennies per dose, no time/$ at the doctor, and no copay

Did you know that essential oils are: 

  • 50-70 times more powerful than herbs
  • Inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses
  • The plant’s own natural medicine cabinet

There are three ways to use essential oils: 

1. Aromatic:

  • Breathe in or use diffuser to:
  • Kill germs in the air
  • Open airways
  • Affect mood, including depression

2. Topical:

Apply to head, feet, ears, chest, back of the neck, and or troubled areas. From the bottom of the feet, enter the bloodstream to affect the entire body within 30 seconds.

3. Internal:

  • Taking internally is specific to Doterra oils
  • Take under the tongue, in a gel capsule, or in water
  • Relieves issues in the digestive system, mouth, throat, and liver

MEDICINE CABINET SWITCHES

T = topically; I = Internal; A = Aromatic

Oregano: T, I

  • Cold/flu
  • Immune system support
  • Fungal/Bacterial Conditions

PastTense™: T

  • Headaches
  • Bumps/Bruises
  • Pains/Sprains

Breathe™: A, T

  • Asthma/Allergies
  • Respiratory issues
  • Cough/Bronchitis/Croup

Lavender: A, T, I

  • Anxiety/Stress Relief
  • Burns/Cuts/Wounds
  • Skin Soothing
  • Bites/Stings
  • Calming/Sleep Issues
  • Nose Bleeds

OnGuard™: ATI

  • Air/Surface Purification
  • Cold/Flu/Viruses
  • Toothache

Malaleuca: T, I

  • Skin Eruptions/Conditions
  • Yeast Infections
  • Wound Disinfectant
  • Cold/Flu/Cold Sores

Deep Blue™: T/LemonGrass: T,I/AromaTouch™: T

  • Muscle soreness
  • Arthritic/Chronic Pain
  • Ciculation/Inflammation
  • Pre-/Post-Workout Application

TerraShield™: A, T

  • Repelling Bugs/Other Pests

Solace™: T

  • Menstrual/Hormonal Issues
  • Cramping/Hot Flashes

Purify™: A, T

  • Bites/Stings
  • Air/Surface Purification

DigestZen™: T, I

  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Heartburn/Indigestion
  • Colic/Acid Reflux
  • Digestive Issues
  • Food Poisoning
  • Nausea/Motion Sickness

Frankincense: A, T, I

  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Brain Support
  • Cellular Regeneration
  • Moles/Wrinkles/Sun Spots
  • Wound Care/Scarring
  • Heavy Metal Cleansing

Balance™: A, T

  • Focus/Concentration
  • Mood Swings/Conditions
  • Nerve Related Conditions

Serenity™: A T

  • Anxiety/Stress/Calming
  • Sleep Support/Insomnia

Peppermint: A, T, I

  • Alertness/Focus
  • Oxygen Absorption
  • Digestive Support
  • Menstrual Conditions
  • Allergies/Respiratory Issues
  • Cooling

Slim & Sassy™: T, I

  • Metabolism Support
  • Cellulite Issues
  • Detoxification
  • Digestive Support
  • Energy

TerraZyme™: I

  • Digestive Support
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Food Allergy Issues

Lemon: A, T, I

  • Cleansing
  • Water Retention
  • Kidney/Bladder Conditions
  • Mood Elevation
  • Inflammation Aid

Zendocrine™: I

  • Eliminative Organ Support
  • Nutrient Absorption
  • Detoxification

Tips for treating with oils: 

  • Use common sense
  • Use the Modern Essentials Reference Guide (book)
  • Use oils frequently with an acute problem (every 15 minutes)
  • Use oils a couple times per day with a chronic problem
  • Use caution with sensitive skin, and keep oils out of the eyes and ears
  • For sensitivity, dilute or neutralize with coconut oil, not water

Yeah, but aren’t oils super pricey?

Believe it or not it’s actually cheaper to treat your family with essential oils than all that you would need from the drug store to treat the same symptoms.

Why doTERRA oils rule:

  • Plants are grown and harvested in their natural habitat
  • Each liter of oil undergoes multiple 3rd party laboratory testing
  • Tests ensure oils are pure, genuine, authentic, and potent
  • Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is beyond organic, verified pure, free of fillers, pesticides, and foreign contaminants

 Where can I buy doTERRA oils?

Right here. You can buy individual oils or purchase kits which include many of the oils discussed above and more.

This information is courtesy of doTerra International.

 

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Declutter Your Life

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Does this sound familiar? You walk into your house after an exhausting day, look around at the mess called your living room, and seriously consider walking back out the door. If you’re like me, it’s impossible to relax when my environment is cluttered with junk. Home is supposed to be our refuge – our safe haven from the frantic, loud, lightning-paced track most of us call life.

Clutter and disarray can certainly lead to some serious stress and anxiety for you and your family. It can even make you feel like your life is spinning out of control. So the question is: How do we go about decluttering our lives?

Start small and tackle one room at a time…. 

Begin in your bathroom. Start by choosing to clean one surface at a time. This will help prevent you from getting discouraged early on. I like to start with one cabinet or shelf. If I get discouraged I come back another day to tackle another one. Don’t forget to throw away or donate all the products you’re not using including all that old nail polish.

Donate, recycle, sell, or toss…

Just get rid of it. Your junk is taking up your precious mental energy. How about having a garage sale to earn a little extra cash while freeing up space? Ask your friends to help. Contemplate using sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook to sell unwanted items. Consignment shops are a great place to conveniently sell furniture and housewares for a small fee. Here are several areas where junk tends to accumulate.

Old Electronics: Recycle old appliances and electronics that are littering your garage and laundry room. You can check with your local government for pickup or drop off locations.

Books: Got stacks of romance novels leftover from the college days choking your bookshelves? Consider donating them to your local library or sell them online.

Unworn Clothes: If you haven’t worn it in the last few months (years?), you’re not likely going to know it’s missing. Say goodbye to that decade old bridesmaid dress and that frayed Snoopy t-shirt and say hello to tax deductions!

•Unused Kitchen Items: You can make some serious dough off the appliances you never use in your kitchen. Take those items (that are likely still in the box) and sell them. Don’t forget to declutter the spice rack and utensil drawer. While you’re at it, clean out the pantry and donate what you don’t use to a local food bank.

•Kid’s Stuff: I have never amassed so much crap as I did when I had a baby. Not only is your time more limited but now you have to organize a whole other person’s stuff too. There are many opportunities to sell/donate the items that baby outgrows. Try to stay organized along the way so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting project. I like to buy the XL ziplocks and throw in similar size clothing and toys that baby outgrows.

•Paperwork: I seriously dread our files. I know we’re harboring at least a ton of paper that we don’t need or ever look at but we’re afraid to throw it out. If you don’t need it for taxes, chances are you won’t need it – especially because everything is available online these days. Go ahead – go grab a trash bag and call the shredding company.

Try following these tips to keep your environment decluttered:

1.) Give away one item every day

2.) For every new item you purchase, donate or throw one out

These simple rules can be extremely helpful in keeping ahead of the clutter. Remember: stuff holds us captive! If you’re scared, try to remember that you’ll always have the memory in your heart and now you’ll have all that free space and peace of mind.

Declutter your mind and your senses…

Our society is overstimulated by noise and technology. Reduce the time you spend watching television and listening to the radio. The news can be so depressing!  Limit time on social media. Discovering that your second cousins’ dog had puppies is not as scintillating as you think. Don’t forget to take care of you! Meditate, start journaling, exercise, and have an adventure in nature!

Declutter your time…

Cancel part of your busy day and keep it that way. Schedule in the things that make your heart sing and make you lose all track of time because you’re having so much fun. Consider hiring someone to clean your home, do your laundry, or clean up your yard so you can spend your free time with the ones you love. It’s worth every penny.

“Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

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5 Surprising Sugar Bombs in your Kitchen Right Now

5 Surprising Sugar Bombs in your Kitchen Right Now

sugarsideways

We do sugar in this country like we do everything else…in a BIG way, but it hasn’t always been like this. The average American now consumes about 130 pounds of sugar per year. That’s 3 pounds per week or 3,550 pounds over a lifetime.  (Check out this infographic about our sugar consumption. It will blow your mind.)

You may be thinking, “There’s no way I eat that much sugar.” Most of us don’t consume that much sugar on purpose but it comes hidden in many of our everyday foods.

Excess sugar is definitely not our friend. It has been linked to weight gain, depression, low-energy, metabolic, heart, and cardiovascular disease, acne, hormone imbalances, inflammation, aging, and more. According to Corporate Health Magazine, a whopping 35-49 percent of children born after 2000 will fall into diabetic ranges. Yikes! Luckily, a little knowledge goes a long way and we have the power to reverse this frightening trend.

Here are a few surprising sugar bombs that may be lurking in your kitchen right now and simple ways to switch them out for healthier options:

Note: To turn grams into teaspoons simply divide by 4 for an approximation. For the items listed below, I also included approximate teaspoons as a measure we might know a little better.

1. Protein bars – These guys are often put in the fit and healthy corner but in reality can be loaded with sugar. A PowerBar contains 25g or 6tsp of sugar. There are three different versions of simple sugars in just the first five ingredients. That’s equivalent to a Hershey chocolate bar.

Sugar fix – If you must have a protein bar, look for a lower-sugar version with quality ingredients that you recognize. A better alternative is trail mix. Take a visit to your local bulk bins and put together your own personalized combo of dried fruits and nuts. Look for unsweetened dried fruits.

2. Yogurt – Yogurt is often touted as a health food but many are loaded with added sugars. Milk contains natural sugar called lactose, but usually above and beyond is added high fructose corn syrup or other forms of sugar. A blended Kroger yogurt has 33g or 8tsp of sugar and lists sugar as the second ingredient with a third add-in later down the list. To put that in perspective, there is the same amount of sugar in a Snickers bar.

Sugar fix – Unsweetened greek yogurt is an excellent alternative. If you need extra sweet, add a little bit of raw honey and/fruit. Greek yogurt is also higher in protein keeping you feeling full longer. Bonus!

3. Cereal – So called “healthy” cereals can have as many as 6 health claims on the front of the box reassuring you that you’re doing the right thing by purchasing it. Yet, when you flip it over and read the label – the facts don’t lie. Raisin Bran, for example, contains 17g or 4tsp per 1 cup serving but that’s not from the raisins. It’s due to the added high fructose corn syrup and two other added sweeteners. The same goes for many of the packaged oatmeal choices out there. With that kind of sugar content, it would be like eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for breakfast.

Sugar Fix – Read labels in the store and find a low-sugar cereal that you like (hint: you’ll have better luck in a natural store or aisle). Another option is to make your own. I like to mix together raw nuts, chia seeds, rolled oats, and dried or fresh fruit drizzled with a bit of honey. As for oatmeal, choose the unflavored/unsweetened version and choose to dress it up yourself.

4. Drinks – I’m going to pick on Starbucks here because I know many of us share that addiction. One small glass bottle of vanilla cappuccino has 52g or 13tsp of sugar. The little flavored Via packets list sugar as the first ingredient before coffee – which means there is more sugar than coffee in the “coffee” drink.    Other sugary drinks to watch out for include:

  • Coke (20oz)………………………65g or 16tsp
  • Powerade (32oz)………………50g or 12.5tsp
  • Red Bull (12oz)…………………39g or 10tsp
  • Vitamin Water (20oz)………..33g or 8tsp
  • Fruit Juice (8oz)…………………24g or 6tsp

Sugar fix – Water is always the best choice. Try dressing it up with added fruit to make it more interesting. When you go to a coffee place opt for unsweetened drinks that you can sweeten yourself later if you desire. Tea can also be a great choice and has added health benefits. Cut fruit juices with soda water to decrease sugar levels.

5. Sauces – There is a reason why little kids (and some big kids) lick the ketchup right off the fries…you guessed it, sugar. Here are a few examples of sauces with higher sugar levels. One serving of most of these has as much sugar as a glazed doughnut.

  • Ketchup (1Tbs)…………………4g or 1 tsp
  • Spaghetti sauce (1/2cup)…..10g or 2.5tsp
  • BBQ sauce (2Tbs)………………11g or 3tsp
  • Teriyaki sauce(2Tbs)…………11g or 3tsp

Sugar Fix – Try to find alternatives like spice rubs instead of BBQ sauce or mustard instead of ketchup. Sometimes only these sauces will do so opt for the lowest sugar versions you can find and use sparingly. Unsweetened spaghetti sauce is rare but does exist (hint: you’ll have better luck in a natural food store or aisle). Or get creative and make your own healthier versions.

How much is ok…

The American Heart Association says that for most American women, no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. That said, your body doesn’t need added sugars to function and they add absolutely no nutritional value so avoid them when you can. The average adult consumes approximately 22 tsp while the average child consumes 32tsp per day.

Benefits of a low-sugar lifestyle…

  • Weight loss
  • Steadier energy levels
  • An overall feeling of greater well-being
  • More consistent moods
  • Clear skin
  • Alleviation of hormonal issues
  • Reduced chance for metabolic, heart, and cardiovascular disease
  • Stronger immune function
  • So much more

The Bottom Line…

“Sugar is not food. It’s a high calorie drug dressed up in the cutest way.” – Julia Ross

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Why Cut the Crap? – True radiant health comes from a mixture of healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The cost of our fast-paced and convenient life is toxins in and around us.  Ridding your home and family of  toxins that make you sick and drag you down doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In this series, you’ll learn the most efficient and easy ways to “cut the crap” so you can just enjoy your life.

 

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Filed under Cut the Crap Series - 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Lifestyle, Healthy Eating!

Easy DIY Household Cleaners That Save You Money

Easy Do-It-Yourself Household Cleaners That Save You Money

DIY Cleaners

It’s hard enough to make dinner. Why on earth would you want to spend time making your own cleaning products, you ask? It’s a good question. Making your own anything (especially the first time) can seem daunting and like too much of a hassle. I hear you but I can tell you that it’s not only easier than you think but also incredibly worthwhile.

Benefits of DIY Cleaners…

  1. Money saving
  2. Fast and easy to make
  3. Peace of mind
  4. Essential oils actually boost your mood – making you happy while cleaning, imagine that.

Here’s what you need to know about commercial cleaners…

If you were to go to your cleaning cabinet right now and pull out a few of your regulars, you’re likely to find 3 things on the label: directions for use, vague ingredients, and hefty warnings.

Vague ingredients are common on commercial cleaning products because they are not required to be specific. Lack of disclosure makes it very hard for a consumer to decide whether the item is actually safe to bring home.

The warnings are pretty scary. Common ones include:  “harmful if swallowed” “wear gloves when handling this product” “can cause damage to skin and mucous membranes” “keep away from pets and children”.

The truth is that even though we’ve used these products our whole lives and probably watched our parents do the same, they contain dangerous chemicals that can be absorbed and breathed in by every member of the family with a whole slew of side effects that often are not felt immediately.

The good news is that we don’t have to endure such hardcore products to have a clean home because we can achieve the same results for less money.  Sounds good eh?

The alternative…

Using a few common household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar mixed with essential oils will yield the same clean results without the chemical aftermath. Essential oils like lemon, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme are antibacterial and antiviral. Now that’s harnessing the power of Mother Nature.

What you need to get started…

You will need the ingredients in the recipes you want to try plus something to put it in. I invested $10 and bought a variety of glass spray bottles and other glass containers. Aromatools.com is one resource you can use. The best bet is to use glass because the essential oils will eat at plastic incorporating the same toxins you’re trying to avoid.

You will also need some essential oils. Just like with everything, you get what you pay for with essential oils. There are a few high quality brands out there. My favorite is Doterra. I have friends who love Young Living Oils. Both of these brands can be bought through independent consultants.

The in-between step…

If making your own cleaners is a little too out there for you, there are still plenty of options that you can buy with safer ingredients. Be sure to visit www.EWG.org to see which ones are the safest.

Recipes…

All Purpose Cleaner

2 cups boiling water

2 Tbs white vinegar

½ tsp Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 tsp baking soda

5 drops lemon essential oil

Mix baking soda, water and soap together with essential oil in a container. Place container inside a bigger bowl and add vinegar. Mix and add to spray bottle.  

Floor Cleaner

1/8 cup Castile Soap

1/8 cup distilled vinegar

1 gallon water

10 drops essential oil (lemon, maleleuca, lavender)

Combine ingredients in bucket and use to mop any floor.  

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

½ cup baking soda

¼ cup white vinegar

10 drops melaleuca essential oil (tea tree)

Combine all ingredients in the bowl right before toilet wash. Add to toilet bowl. Brush. You’re done.

Glass Cleaner

2 cups water

3 Tbs vinegar

¼- ½ tsp liquid Castile Soap

3-4 drops of lemon essential oil

Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to blend.

Wood Cleaner

¼ cup vinegar

¼ water

½ tsp liquid Castille Soap

1/8 tsp olive oil

10 drops lemon/orange essential oil

Combine ingredients and use in a spray bottle. 

My hope is that you have fun with these recipes creating safe cleaning products. It could be a fun way to get the family involved. Please share your DIY cleaning experience. If you have a favorite DIY cleaning recipe not listed here, I’d love to hear that too.

If you liked this article, be sure to sign up for my bi-monthly free health tips, right here.

Why Cut the Crap? – True radiant health comes from a mixture of healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The cost of our fast-paced and convenient life is chemical toxins in and around us.  Ridding your home and family of chemical toxins that make you sick and drag you down doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In this series, you’ll learn the most efficient and easy ways to “cut the crap” so you can just enjoy your life.

 

This blog has moved! If you liked this article and you want to see more great content visit www.hygealiving.com/blog or have them delivered direct to your inbox – sign up!

 

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Filed under Cut the Crap Series - 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Lifestyle, DIY Household Cleaners

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

little boy putting on sunscreen

I can hardly wait for the pools to open and that means it’s officially sunscreen season. We use sunscreen to protect us from the sun but with questionable ingredients and conflicting reports about if they really work, who in the heck knows what to buy.

As a confused consumer, I set out on the hunt to figure it out and discovered the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an unbiased citizen-funded advocacy and research firm. They just released their 7th annual Sunscreen Report. My hope is that this summary of their findings will leave you empowered to buy safe and effective sunscreen for your family and then forget about it and just have fun in the sun this summer.

What you need to know…

  • Less than 25% of the sun protection products on the market in 2013 are considered to have safe ingredients and contain broad UV protection according to the EWG.
  • Skin cancer rates have tripled over the last 35 years despite increased awareness of melanoma.
  • The current FDA definition of “broad spectrum” doesn’t include protection against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the body and are thought to cause more damage. In fact, most American sunscreens couldn’t even be sold in Europe because our products wouldn’t meet their more stringent safety and efficacy standards.
  • Even though there are “new” FDA rules in place, sunscreens are not better or safer now than in previous years.

What to avoid…

  • Spray Sunscreen – It’s convenient and fast but it’s also dangerous when inhaled. The FDA expressed concern for the efficacy and safety of sprays in 2011 but companies are still turning them out like crazy. Sprays make it easy to miss a spot. I’m sure we’ve all had the I-missed-a-spot stupid sunburn.
  • Super High SPFs – The EWG recommends avoiding anything higher than SPF 50. Most higher SPF sunscreens still only protect you from UVB rays which cause the sunburn but UVA rays tend to penetrate deeper causing more damage so we need protection from both. Not to mention that higher SPF sunscreens can give a false sense of safety tricking people into staying out too long and getting burnt anyway.
  • Vitamin A or Retinyl Palmitate – I’ve seen this ingredient in anti-aging beauty products for years – so what’s the problem? Several government studies have found that when exposed to the sun it has been shown to increase the rate at which skin tumors and lesions form. Yikes! This ingredient is found in 1 of 4 sunscreens on the market. While the FDA hasn’t ruled on this yet, EWG strongly recommends you avoid sun products that contain this ingredient.
  • Oxybenzone – If you flip over your sunscreen right now, you’ll probably find this ingredient lurking there. It’s found in nearly half of all products on the market. Oxybenzone is a chemical that mimics estrogen in the body after it’s absorbed by your skin. Data has shown a link to endometriosis in older women and lower birth weights when used by pregnant moms. Don’t forget that children’s bodies are much smaller and their chemical burden can be much higher, which is especially dangerous while they are still developing.

What to do instead…

The best way to protect your skin is to cover up with clothes, hats, and sticking to the shade as much as possible. When those methods absolutely won’t work, go for one of the EWG recommended brands so you know you’re getting the best protection and the least chemical toxins.

Some of the top-rated brands include…

  • Alba Botanica, Natural Very Emolient Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Aveeno Baby, Natural Protection Face Stick, SPF 50
  • Aubrey Organics, Natural Sunscreen for Active Lifestyles, Tropical, SPF 30
  • Burnt Out, Kids Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Coppertone, Water Babies Pure and Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (be careful here there are a lot of Coppertone brands that are not on the safe list)
  • Seventh Generation, Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • And lots more…go to www.ewg.org to see the full list

Where to shop…

I would start with your local natural foods/products store – they’ll likely have many of these brands. If local shopping fails you, you can definitely find these brands online. Where you’re not likely to find them is in your regular grocery and drug stores.

Here’s wishing you and your family a safe and sunburn-free summer!

Why Cut the Crap? – True radiant health comes from a mixture of healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The cost of our fast-paced and convenient life is chemical toxins in and around us.  Ridding your home and family of chemical toxins that make you sick and drag you down doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In this series, you’ll learn the most efficient and easy ways to “cut the crap” so you can just enjoy your life.

 

This blog has moved! If you liked this article and you want to see more great content visit www.hygealiving.com/blog or have them delivered direct to your inbox – sign up!

 

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Filed under Clean Living Tips, Cut the Crap Series - 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Lifestyle