Saturday, November 26, 2011

Odds and Ends

 Hi, hope you had a great Thanksgiving, no turkey overload. And if you shopped on Black Friday,  that you had a safe experience. Me, I went shopping the day before Thanksgiving and this week end am just staying put, making Boston Brown Bread. And listening to Christmas songs.
  This was a different Thanksgiving, helped the senior Center with Meals on Wheels. My time was mostly spent calling  about 140 people to be sure addresses were correct, and they would be home to get their dinners when delivered. I did go and help on Thanksgiving day too, what an amazing day it was. A lot of helpers were there by 6 am, sorting and marking the bags that would hold the dinner, and filling  to go dishes with dessert, cranberry sauce, rolls etc. About 9 am the turkey and mashed potatoes were put into the divided containers, and the bags were packed with information and booklets for the seniors. THen the delivery volunteers showed up and all the dinners were whisked off. By 11 am it was done, and a lot of food was left so that was sent to the city jail, and the police department. Nice to know so many got fed.
  Have a couple of ideas to add to you healthy living file. There is a new device that lets folk who don't like Neti pots still get the benefits, you put steaming salt water(be sure to use Himalayan Pink salt) in the device, suck it in to your mouth and exhale through your nose no liquid involved and it cleans out the nasal passages, thus helping your  immune system. The recipe is  one quart of boiled water, 1 teaspoon each of salt and soda, cool and use. Store in cool place,
  If you are having a bout with itching, brew up a good strong batch of mint tea and apply the cooled tea to the itchy areas.
 If you are wanting to cheat on your diet a bit during the holidays, these items could help.  Fiber One brownies are filling,  and artichoke pasta , I swear, tastes just like the real stuff. My grandsons have eaten large amounts of it and didn't know it wasn't the real stuff. Health Food Store has that. Try Blue corn chips instead of regular,  and for a treat, Kashi  Oatmeal Raisin Flax cookies, just don't eat the whole box.
  Last thought this week, if you overeat or need tummy help, try mixing  1 Tablesoon of ground candied ginger with 1 tablespoon of powdered orange peel, you can dry and grate your own,  and 3 tablespoons of crushed fennel seeds, mix and keep a container on the table, grab a small amount after a meal to soothe the tummy.
  Hope you are enjoying the end of fall, not rushing into the mad house of Christmas preparation, take care.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dump the Scary shampoo

  Have you ever read the label on your shampoo, conditioner or other purchased beauty products? One ingredient you will see a lot is sodium Laurel Sulfate. Not good, chemical. Hard on your hair and scalp. I wonder what our pioneer ancestors used way back when. They had no grocery store handy and had to rely on what was at hand. I have some thoughts for you to try, using basic, safe ingredients. I know, its not the "brand" we are used to, but much better for us, and the earth. And think of the containers you will keep from tossing into the landfill.
   A very basic shampoo to get the residue of old shampoos out of your hair is
1/2 cup baking soda
2 cups water
1 tablespoon powdered rosemary
 Place in plastic shaker container, like an empty squeeze catsup bottle. Lather and rinse well, it will not "lather" like regular shampoo but will clean your hair well.
  A vinegar rinse compliments this shampoo and adds shine, try:
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups of water well mixed and worked through hair, then rinsed
  If these sound too simple, a sudsy shampoo can be made like this;
  2 ounces of castile soap(available at Amazon)
1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil
4 ounces rose water
 combine and mix well, shaking before use.
  One last recipe, a bit more involved for shampoo is:
 1 and 1/2 ounce castile soap
1/2 ounce castor oil or if on east  coast, glycerin
1/2 ounce jojoba oil
1/2 ounce wheat germ oil
1/2 ounce of cocoanut, olive or avocado oil( I am allergic to cocoanut)
a few drops of tea tree oil, and
1 cup of tea, your choice, can be peppermint, chamomile, green or a combination of chamomile and lavender.
 Mix and shake before use. This needs to be stored in refrigerator between uses.
  Funny how simple this is, and how much better for you. We all reach for the "easy" stuff, off the store shelf, but consider trying one of these at least once before you say ugh and back away. Saves money, and our planet.
  It will be Thanksgiving before my next blog, so I want to wish you all a very Happy day, spent with family and friends. This year I am doing some volunteer work and will be sending dinners out to those who are alone and unable to fix thir own, should be rewarding.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Be Happy

  I am aware that this blog may get me into hot water, but it is only my opinion and the way I look at things. Every one has the right to their own ideas.
  Yesterday I watched an interesting show with Dr. Andrew Weil. I have his books on my shelves and have read his information for many years. By now you have gotten the impression that I am anti medicine. That is my choice and has worked well for me, I totally believe in preventing illness by being proactive about my health. And here I am, 74 years old and only taking one aspirin a day and my rack of vitamins that have been a part of my life for over 40 years.
  Yesterday, Dr Weil talked about depression. He bluntly stated that big pharma has mostly invented the illness to sell drugs. Drugs that don't work. They put you on one, if t doesn't help, they keep adding more. You might want to check into the side effects, totally scary. But there are so many things you can do to help yourself. Starting with diet. All health problems are caused by inflammation, and that comes from the foods you eat. Anything in a box or can, that is processed, is not good for you. I know, it's hard to give up all the Hamburger dishes, cookies,  quick fixes. But cooking with fresh fruits and veggies is not that hard and has so many benefits. Antioxidants,  also known as phytochemicals, are found in deeply colored foods.  They keep your body cells healthy.
  Some of the best ones are berrys. Blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and then head for quick stirfry made with red peppers, onions, garlic, any bright colored vegtable you like, add a little brown rice and you are good to go. It's nice to know that dark chocolate has been added to the list of good for you stuff, in moderation of course. Try adding spices to your dishes too,  cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, clove, cilantro, garlic, curry, red pepper flakes.
   I have a great dish I love, with cut up zucchini, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, simmered til tender, add garbanzo beans and you have a tasty meal.
  Exercise is vital, try and walk, or find something you enjoy that gets you moving. It will elevate your mood. It does take some mind retraining, and a little  meditation doesn't hurt.  Just thinking about what you are grateful for helps.
   There are a lot of herbal helpers too. I have been taking Ashwaganda, it helps relax you, I take it at bedtime to help me sleep. Sam-e is another great helper, but take it early as it tends to pep you up. Rhodiola is a mental clarifier that helps you focus and elevates mood.
  Touch is also a great healer, so hold hands with your honey, hug someone, whatever is possible.
   Depressed people tend to hunch over with their shoulders rounded so here's a way to help open up a closed in chest. Stand with arms out to the sides,  left palm up, right palm down. raise arms while inhaling, lower on exhale, repeat at least three times.
   Lastly, Dr Weil has a book out called Spontaneous Happiness that would be well worth the read. Here's hoping your 11-11-11 is filled with happiness. Take care, be well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A little Cleaning Savvy

  Have you ever thought about the products used to clean your home, and if they are toxic? Or dangerous to your pets and babies? Well, today is Friday and I have been cleaning this morning so thought I would share a few of my fave tips for eco friendly cleaning.
  To make a great scouring powder, mix equal parts of table salt and baking soda and put in a shaker container. Use like any other cleanser. Add  drop of lemon or scent of your choice if you want it to smell nice. I got lucky, about the time I started making this I had just emptied a plastic container of scouring powder so soaked it and cleaned it out and refilled it with my home brew. Works great. If thats not an option, use any empty container with a tight fitting plastic lid that you can punch holes into, hot nail works well. Even one of those potato chip cans might work, but be sure the lid will stay on or you will have a big clean up.
  To clean counter tops, fridges, exterior of stove, bathroom sinks etc, mix equal parts of water, white vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil is  antibacterial, so sanitizes.
  To make a good glass cleaner, add a few drops of lemon juice and a drop of detergent, like Dawn to a cup of water, put in spray bottle and have at.
  As I finish cleaning my kitchen or bathroom, into each drain I put 1/4 cup of baking soda followed by 1/4 cup white vinegar and let set for about a half hour, then rinse with hot water. This helps keeps drains free running and eliminates any odors. The salt and soda cleanser will do a good job on toilet bowls.
 Lastly, you likely know this but a piece of crumpled newspaper works very well in place of expensive paper towels for glass cleaning, actually makes glass shinier. I have also stopped buying those micro fiber cloths for my "dusting mop" and just bought a pack of cheap terry wash cloths, use one, pull it off and wash it. Reuseable for a very long time, and saves a lot of cash.
  Have a great weekend, we are still enjoying nice fall weather and pretty colors. It rained all night and many leaves are now on the ground. Change your clock this Saturday night.