Friday, April 25, 2014

Are you using plug in or spray air fresheners?

 I stopped using all forms of air fresheners(commercial) long ago, Now instead, making up my own with essential oils. SO easy, and so much safer. Even most candles, unless beeswax, are carcinogenic.  But my new issue of Mother Earth Living really points out why we should avoid the ones we buy in stores. Do you have allergies? Asthma?  Watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing? Well, blame it one those plug ins or sprays.
They all contain formaldehyde, which is know to be  deadly for many of us.  It causes me to break out in a rash that sometimes lasts a year. My first rash appeared after a perm when I was very small, my gram was a beautician and the old perms were laced with formaldehyde.  The products offered to make our homes smell good are also full of petroleum and aerosol propellants.  I have misting fountains, which are just filled with water and a few drops of essential oils, I love lavender as it's so soothing, or rose, or a combination of floral and spicy accents, like cinnamon or cloves.  Experimenting is fun to create new smells. Also, you can take a jar, mason or such, fill it half full of baking soda and add 10 drops of essential oils, shake well, punch holes in the lid and just sit it where you want the scent. You may have to refresh the oil once in a while but this will last a long time.  If you need a fast fix, put a pot of water on your stove, add a few sprigs of rosemary a couple of lemon slices and a splash of vanilla, and simmer. This is used in the Sonoma stores to create a good aroma.  This too, you can tweak, using different citrus fruits and herbs.  To make a spray, in a spray bottle put 16 ounces of water, 3 ounces of vodka and 4 drops of essential oil of your choice, and add 12 ounces of rose water, heavenly. 86% of all air products contain phthalates, hazardous chemicals known to disrupt your endocrine system.
 I am making a serious effort to eliminate plastic in my house, so storage has become glass jars. I buy things in glass instead of plastic, and save every jar I get. When I cook soup or have leftovers, the canning jars come out and are filled and refrigerated. It's to the point that anything that comes in plastic has an odd taste that I no longer like.
  It's finally warmed up, hope it stays, 80 or so next few days.  The rain we  were to get overnight was just a sprinkle so far, should have gone to town but it was dark so decided to wait until tomorrow. Looks like the sun is trying to come out now, and that means watering my newly planted flowers and garden seeds. Still have not tried moving plants outside for the summer or putting out tomato and pepper plants, they are warning us of a possible frost late next week, hmm, not sure I will take them seriously this time, it will be May by then. Really long winter this year. Most of the time, plants come in in late November and go back out early April, not this year.
  Having some caramel cream coffee this morning, my daughter sent me a put on the stove old fashioned coffee pot and a variety of flavored coffees for my birthday, I was having trouble with my electric pots not working, guess what, it was me, not the pots, now I have them figured out and have had no more glitches.
  Thought for the week, if you are having allergies, bronchitis  or breathing and coughing attacks, put  a few teaspoons of thyme in a container,  add the juice of 1/2  of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of honey, steep for 10 minutes, strain and take 2 tablespoons every couple of hours  as needed.
  The redbud trees have faded, now the leaves are setting on. We still have dogwoods and my snowball bush is lovely. The peony my son in NE gave me a few years back has blooms for the first time, yeah, love those.   Can hardly wait for them to open.
  Easter is past, next big holiday will be July 4th. A few others in there like Memorial day.  But it makes it feel like summer is coming on.  Have a good week, stay well, get some fresh air and sunshine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

E Cigs, Diet soda, stop, read this first

  ABC aired a section this morning on what is now known about the E cigs, they are so dangerous. The nicotine in them is highly concentrated and causes stroke, heart attack, death.  They are not safe for people around the smoker either, on Monday there will be items aired telling of the dangers, so please, if you know some one who uses these, watch the news Monday for the full information.  These were put out without disclosing all the hidden dangers, and you need to read up on the data coming out.
  Also, a new study by the University of Iowa  is telling us that diet soda  causes a 50% increase in heart attacks, strokes, stomach bleeds.  The fake sweetening is to blame, a lot of them use aspartame which is a deadly substance, we have been warned to read labels and avoid this ingredient.  Aspartame turns off your sweet switch in the brain and makes you crave more sugar on top of the other dangers.  This increases your chance of high blood pressure, diabetes,  and high cholesterol. The caramel coloring, also a fake substance is not good, can cause stomach bleeding. To help get off the diet stuff, mix  seltzer water 50/50 with the pop, increasing seltzer as you go until you can quit the soda. If you have a family and want to see them grow up, get away from this stuff.
  If you are looking at improving your health,  there are 4 easy steps to follow, alla Dr. Oz.  Much more information available on his site, but here we go:
1.  No processed foods, they do not digest well, stay in your stomach way too long and cause all kinds of health problems. They are full of preservative, to make them shelf stable for years, so think about what they do to your insides.
2. Buy organic when you can, most thick skinned fruits and vegetables are safe as you peel them. If you are zesting citrus, get organic. Greens, potatoes, grapes, thin skins, buy organic. Cabbage you can peel off the outer leaves, and good news, bugs are not fond of asparagus so its safe.
 3, Make your water wetter.  Add a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice,  kind of like Gatorade, gives you electrolytes.
4. Eat at home, when you eat out you have no idea what you are ingesting, good tasting or not.  Eateries add lots of sugar and salt to get you
  hooked on their foods, and who knows what else. Like salads, if you get them dressed, the calorie count is through the roof, get dressing on the side.
  If you love ice cream here is a way to get your fix, and boy can you alter this to suit your taste. Freeze sliced bananas, toss a few in your blender or food processor with 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, one ingredient, organic milk.  Whiz that up then toss in what you like, honey and vanilla, fresh frozen fruit of any type, peaches, strawberries, blueberries etc.  Even nuts. Eat immediately.
  Last week was a bit strange. We had the blood moon on the first day of Passover, it was warm. Next day the temps dropped and there was snow in the air all afternoon. Too warm for it to stick, but looking out the window at all the redbuds, dogwoods and new green leaves, with snow everywhere in the air, was strange to say the least.,  There are to be 3 more blood moons this year. Maybe next time we will see it if the clouds stay away. 
  Going out to do some weeding today, before it rains(or snows) or whatever again. We are to have a beautiful Easter Sunday, that will be a nice change.  Last week when I got to church, there were several guys dressed in biblical clothes, one representing Christ, and they were walking a donkey around the parking lot. Fun.  Of course, today is Good Friday. . Hope we are all remembering the reason for this day and the coming Sunday.  Much more than Easter eggs and candy.
  Easter Blessings to you and your family.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Morning, cosmetic ideas, better health thoughts

  It's spring, the birds are singing away, the redbud trees are blooming, and the dogwoods are opening.  My snowball bush will have plate sized blooms soon, makes me think of that old saying, "God's in his Heaven, all's right with the world."  If only that was true, our world has so many problems, so much violence, sadness and hard to understand happenings. But it's all part of His plan so we have to accept and see past the badness.
  I see this morning that the FDA is okaying  sea food to be radiated. I don't eat that myself, but that would scare me away from it otherwise.  If you want the whole story, here is a link:   It is so hard to figure out why our government is trying to eradicate our population by adulterating our foods. My son has a blog, Of Mice and Mountain Men, that said it all quite well this morning, pull it up and give it a read.
  Dr.  Oz had a good show again this week, trying to help us veer away from drugs with so many side effects, and use the things the Good Lord has planted for us as cures.  His thinking is that these are  gentle, effective things with no side effects.   If you are having trouble sleeping, try a mix of valerian(300mg) Passion Flower(80 mg) and Hops (50mg). This is equal to Ambien and has none of the bad effects.  If you are one of the many suffering from stress, a few cups of chamomile tea a day will reduce that level. He was explaining how Butterburr can prevent migraines when I got a phone call and missed the rest of that, but you can pull it up and look it over in your search engine.  He has a good website.
  Have been looking for a way to make natural cosmetics, found some thoughts for you to try, I will be doing these with my sis soon.  Use 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot,( short explanation, this is a replacement for corn starch which is made from GMO laced corn, so much better to keep in your pantry for cooking too!) put in a bowl, and mix some spices.  Try a combo of nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa powder, beet root(recipe to follow), allspice, these will be very minute amounts,  when you get the pink, brown or rose you like, add to arrowroot and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of shea butter.  Will be a creamy powder.  Just as an example, for lips or blush,  3/4 teaspoon of allspice, 3/4 teaspoon beet root and 1/4 teaspoon of cocoa.  To get darker lip color, add more beet root and less cocoa. .  For brown eye shadow, a little cocoa can be enough, or you can tweak it. Raid your spice shelf and experiment, should be fun and cheap and good for your skin.
 Beet root powder is made from fresh beets, cook, slice thin and dry, in a dehydrator, or you can try pureeing them and spreading them on a sheet of parchment and microwaving them. It takes close to an hour to get them dry, and the parchment might catch fire, think I would rather use the dehydrator. Then you grind them up and keep the powder in a jar.  If you would rather just buy some, Mountain Rose Herbs has the best prices I could find.
  Planted a flower bed with seeds yesterday and found the neighbors cat using the bed as a litter box this morning,  chased it away but it will surely be back. Might explain why my seeds never grow. Will put some plants in next week, less room for digging then.
  Ran our of face cream this morning so getting ready to brew up a new jar full.  I now have a face wash, a toner, and a cream I love. Toothpaste not so much, can't come up with an effective sensitive tooth one, baking soda and peppermint oil works, but not to ease pain.  My grocery trips always find me buying vinegar and sometimes baking soda, the big boxes(4 pound) last a very long time. I make almost every thing I use now,  very effective for cleaning on the cheap.
  All for now, hope you are enjoying some warm spring weather, and some fresh produce. Take care, take charge, be well..

Friday, April 4, 2014

Staying Well, Sriracha Sauce recipe, dangerous cosmetics

  By now you know that I am passionate about staying well,  and if it means not eating or doing certain things, well, I only get one body and one chance, If it slips away, it's too late.   I volunteer for an agency here in town that cares for older, alone people. Several have asked me lately how big the bumps on my hands are. Truth is, I have none. I was so lucky to find a knowledgeable person when I was less than 20 years old, who told me how to avoid arthritis, achy joints and lot of other ills. I wish I had known more, like how to keep from having cataracts but that came into my vision(ha) too late. Although I am trying now to not get cataracts, I do have Fuchs.  But it's so easy, and cheap to protect yourself even if it does mean ditching all those processed foods. Our GMO crops are raising the occurrence of ADHD, Alzheimer's, gluten intolerance and all kinds of other health problems. Organic produce is not that pricy, and cooking from scratch is easy once you get the hang, and not that time consuming. You really are what you eat!
 I love watching The Chew, they  are so funny. And lately they talked about the stopping of making Sriracha because of dubious ingredient's, I had heard that there was fish sauce involved that was not safe. SO here is a recipe for you:
 1 pound fresno peppers
 2 habanero peppers
 2 tablespoons minced garlic
 1/4 cup white vinegar
 1 Tablespoon coconut or organic sugar
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 Cut up the peppers, mince the garlic and put in food processor. Pulse til broken down. Add the rest, in sauté pan cook 5 minutes, then store in glass container in frig.  I have never seen fresno peppers, there must be a good sub for them, let me know if you have ideas.
 I am seeing more and more folk convert to cleaning with natural stuff, like soda and vinegar, no chemicals, fumes etc. To clean your toilet bowl, just  put in 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup borax, and pour in 1 cup white vinegar. Let foam and sit for 30 minutes, swab and flush.
 There is not much you can not clean with soda and vinegar, so cheap and easy.
  ABC's GMA was warning about the lead content in cosmetics this week, over 400 lipsticks are super high in lead, the worst being L'Oreal. Perfume runs high in lead too, and if you use knock off brands they are really bad. There are some good ones, like Bare Minerals that are natural minerals. You can buy the minerals and make your own, but it's not that cost effective, just buy the good ones.
  Dr. Oz (4-2-14) had an interesting bit on a new study to lower cholesterol, we have been told an apple a day is effective, but this one says strawberries work too. In one month, you can lower the bad (LDL) by 14% by eating about 2 cups of strawberries a day. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and polyphenols.  And coming into the stores now. I love them in my Greek Yogurt, get Fage, which is one ingredient, organic milk. No added sugar.
  The weather changed, we went from cold to 80's just overnight, have been sleeping with windows open and fans on already. Sweating weather. Won't complain, ready for other than cold and snow. The trees are so pretty, blooming and fresh. Leaves on trees now, grass is greener. In fact we have thunderstorms moving in this morning, maybe hail and wind with them. We are between two mountains so usually we hear the wind blowing over the tops of the mountains but don't feel it much. Mountains are such wonderful things, love living here.
  Planted lettuce, arugula etc this week. See sweet potatoes coming up in my bed, must have missed a few last fall and they are growing. That solves the problem of replanting.
 Next time you shop, stock up on big boxes of baking soda, just over a buck, a big jug of vinegar, maybe some borax, and start green cleaning.  If you have a few essential oils, some peroxide and tea tree oil, you can do anything!!!!  Happy Spring.