May 1st, 2012 § § permalink
In my ongoing quest to make our lives healthier, I have switched our family away from mainstream soaps and body washes. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the ingredient in soaps, detergents, and even toothpastes that causes them to foam.
Check out this info from Kitchen Stewardship (where Katie references an article from Natural News) :
Sodium lauryl sulfate did not start off as a detergent that was meant for use in consumer products. It was initially sold as an industrial strength detergent primarily used for heavy duty cleaners and degreasers. It is now found in products which are in close and frequent contact with human skin. The reason it is used in so many products today is that consumers have come to expect abundant lather in products that are supposed to cleanse in some way. It is one of the most largely manufactured chemicals in the United States since many companies use it as a cheap lathering agent.
The other reasons listed for sodium lauryl sulfate’s transgressions include:
- irritates and dries out skin
- allows toxins to penetrate
- is toxic
- erodes eyes, gums, and hair follicles (yep, gum disease from toothpaste and hair loss from shampoo…makes sense, right?)
So, because of these concerns, we have switched to natural body washes, and I make our own toothpaste. But I haven’t been really happy with the alternatives- the natural body washes were more expensive, even with buying them through our natural foods co-op. Plus they didn’t smell as fragrant, and of course, didn’t have the great lather we were used to. So I began thinking of alternatives.
I looked up how to make your own body wash, and it is pretty common sense: grate a bar of soap in some hot water, mix and pour into your bottle.
I have not dived into soap making yet, because to be honest, the lye part of the process scares me, so I used 2 soaps: a piece of Zum Bar soap I got from our local grocery store. (They sell in bulk in the natural section, or you can purchase regular bars). I love that they are a a local company, and their soaps are so fragrant, I actually associate the smell with health food stores)
Katie also had a bar of lavender goats milk soap she hadn’t used yet that a homeschooling friend made. She makes a wonderful variety of soaps, we even gave them as Christmas gifts last year. Her company is called Red Shed Soap company. I used this to make Katie’s body wash.
According to the recipe, for 3 ounces of soap, (grated) **you can add 1 cup of hot water. I think you can add more than that, as ours gelled up to a really thick consistency. I am happy to be saving some money, at least half off of what I was paying for body wash. And I know we are using less because of the better foaming. Plus, I dilute it by 90 percent and use it in a foaming pump for a hand soap, so that saves even more! (Make sure you use hot water so the soap dissolves well, or it may clog your pump)
Over all I am really pleased with the ease of the process and the results. Really fragrant, body wash with great lathering at a much cheaper price. You will definitely notice a difference even in the way your skin feels. My husband said it first you might think it feels dry, but we all agree now that it just feels DIFFERENT, not dry.
Let me know if you give it a try!
** Remember the old Salad Shooter? I will never be without one in my kitchen. I use it to grate cheese (straight into freezer bags, and freeze), and I use it to grate the soap for this recipe too.
January 26th, 2012 § § permalink
Over the past few years, our family has been eating fewer processed foods, preferring to eat things that are made from scratch with natural ingredients. Pardon the pun, but it is a process, and one that I think should be taken slowly.
The slow approach is best for a couple of reasons. Even though I have a very “all or nothing” personality, I do acknowledge that when changes are made over a period of time, you are more likely to stick with those changes, and it will be easier to get others on board as well. Everything in moderation!
As you make slow changes, you can learn about WHY you are choosing to do things like replace soda with tea or kombucha, eat organic apples instead of ones sprayed with pesticides, and the benefits it will have on your health. It is really important that you research from multiple sources, and understand for yourself, instead of just taking someone else recommendation.
Lastly, it just makes financial sense to change slowly. Sadly, in America, it is much cheaper to eat chemically processed junk food, than to eat a real nourishing diet.
I will not promise you that if you make these changes, you will instantly feel like a million bucks, or you will lose a ton of weight. But I can share with you, that when I slip up, and I have even small amounts of certain foods (non dairy whipped topping or eat a cupcake with shortening based frosting, or meat that has fillers) my body within minutes reacts and I get a headache and don’t feel well. So I know that even the small changes we have made are positive ones, and my body is taking notice.
To help those of you who may be interested in moving your family away from processed foods, I offer you the following 14 step plan by Lisa Leake. I saw her article in the Miami Herald posted on Facebook, and there are some wonderful baby steps you can take each week to remove processed foods from your families diet.You can read the entire article HERE
You should also check out Lisa’s blog, 100 Days of Real Food. It is a wonderful source of real, nourishing food recipes and ideas. There is also information about 100 days of real food on a budget.
For now, here are the 14 weekly steps. I would love to hear from you if your family is going to give it a try, so please leave me a comment below.
- Week 1 (this week): Eat two fruits and/or vegetables with every single meal.
- Week 2: Only drink beverages without refined or artificial sweeteners.
- Week 3: Eat meat that’s been locally raised and limit consumption to
3 4 servings throughout the week.
- Week 4: Avoid both fast food and deep-fried foods.
- Week 5: Try two new whole foods you’ve never had before.
- Week 6: Avoid low-fat, lite and nonfat food products.
- Week 7: All grains consumed must be 100-percent whole grain.
- Week 8: Stop eating when you feel full.
- Week 9: Avoid foods with refined or artificial sweeteners.
- Week 10: Avoid foods with refined or hydrogenated oils.
- Week 11: Eat at least one locally grown or raised food at each meal.
- Week 12: Avoid all sweeteners even if they are natural.
- Week 13: Avoid foods with artificial additives and colors.
- Week 14: No foods out of a package with more than 5 ingredients.
January 24th, 2012 § § permalink
I LOVE the GNOWFGLINS site! It is packed full of information and resources that I turn to often as we continue to add more healthy food to our family’s diet. And I am super excited that a brand new eCourse has been added to site today, Fundamentals 2. If you are not familiar with the site, monthly memberships start as low as $8 a month, and with that membership, you can take any or all of the current 5 traditional foods classes. You have access to videos, downloads, and forums to ask questions, it is a WEALTH of information!
Be sure to check out the link above for more info on the newest class, and then have some fun looking around the site, or maybe signing up for a free webinar.
****Please note: GNOWFGLINS logo used with permission, the only affiliation I have with GNOWFGLINS is that I am a very happy eCourse member ****
January 24th, 2012 § § permalink
I read on a friend’s Facebook status this morning that it is Peanut Butter day, and so it seemed like a good time to try making peanut butter in the Ninja.
I added (2) 6.5 oz cans of peanuts, a few raw almonds, 2 tbs coconut oil, and 4 tbs raw local honey and let the Ninja do its magic.
But, I really should have used the smaller food processor bowl, as the peanuts on the bottom got blended well, but I was having to scrape the sides constantly.
So I transferred the mixture over, added a bit more coconut oil, and processed it some more. And this is the end result:
I am not a true fan of peanut butter, but this is pretty good stuff. I think it may even be worthy of the strawberry jam my cousin sent for Christmas,
Now go enjoy some peanut butter (high fructose corn syrup free of course,
January 23rd, 2012 § § permalink
Stephanie at Keeper of the Home posted an EXCELLENT resource that proves that eating real, nourishing food can be done frugally as well. She provides a shopping list of what she would buy if she only had a $250/month food budget, as well as a menu plan of how she would use those items. A great read for those who are new to nourishing food, and veterans alike.
Check it out HERE
February 9th, 2010 § § permalink
As part of the Real Food Challenge at Nourished Kitchen, today she took a break to discuss GMOs.
What is a GMO you may ask? According to Wikipedia, Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering.
Doesn’t sound too appetizing to me. Some examples of GMOs are soy, corn, and canola.From the email: Canola, soy, corn and growing number of other crops have been genetically engineered, and, for this reason it’s critical to purchase your food from organic sources and avoid processed foods – many of which contain GMO-deriviative ingredients.
From the email: Alfalfa is a crop primarily fed to beef and dairy cattle. It relies on open pollination by bees. Alfalfa, like many other crops including soy and corn, has been genetically engineered to withstand heavy application of herbicide. This Roundup Ready Alfalfa was originally approved by the USDA without adequate time to judge its environmental impact or the effects on farmers not wishing to grow GE alfalfa and organic consumers. A lawsuit was filed by alfalfa growers and activist groups, and the result was that the USDA had to take a closer look at the genetically engineered crop.
I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t want to consume anything that has been fed RoundUp.
February 2nd, 2010 § § permalink
So I am hoping to learn a lot from the 28 Day Real Food Challenge at Nourished Kitchen. If you are even slightly interested in moving your family to a whole food diet, you should really sign up, there is so much to learn and it is great for beginners like me. My goal is to make at least 5 changes to our diet in the next month, because even little steps help, right?
Day #1Goal Clean out your pantry of any processed unhealthy foods. These include:
- Vegetable Oils: Soybean, Cottonseed, Canola, Corn
- Sugar: White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Turbinado, Agave Nectar (including “raw”), Sugar in the raw (This surprised me, I thought agave nectar was a good thing)
- Stevia: white stevia powder, stevia liquid (This did too, white stevia is overly processed)
- Shortening (excluding palm shortening)
- White flour: all-purpose flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, white rice flour,
- Soy foods: soy sauce, soy flour, soy milk, soy lecithin, isoflavone-enriched foods and supplements
- Dried Pastas and Noodles (I’m in trouble now)
- Iodized Salt
- Refined Sea Salt
- Meat & Dairy Replacements: TVP, veggie burgers, vegan cheeses, sour creams, rice and nut milks, vegan sausages (Sour cream? Really?)
- Processed cheeses
- Skim and Low-fat Dairy: cheese, milk, yogurts etc.
- Boxed cereals, crackers and cookies
Ok, so like I said, I am of the baby step mentality. (I know, so unlike me, LOL) I will get back on the wagon when it comes to using whole wheat flour, and investigate an economical source of green stevia, and plan on growing my own stevia plants this summer.
October 30th, 2009 § § permalink
At Keeper of the Home, Stephanie is giving away a wonderful food dehydrator and I wanted all my friends to have a chance to win it as well.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, I don’t dehydrate that much, but you can do so much more with it, including make yogurt, granola, and use it for your bread rising.
Head on over to Keeper of the Home to learn more about it, and for chance to enter to win.
August 31st, 2009 § § permalink
My friend Margie forwarded me this great email all about bananas. I love tips like these, and asked her permission to post it here. Thanks Margie!
After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.
But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia : High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips.. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady..
Ulcers:The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance.. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!”
August 26th, 2009 § § permalink
my breakfast this morning- blueberry raspberry yogurt
I absolutely LOVE making things from scratch! And one of the things that I am so excited to make on my own for our family is yogurt. For years I thought you needed a special yogurt maker, or that the process was really difficult. Not so.
Commercial yogurt is overly sweetened and very expensive. I can make a gallon of homemade yogurt for the cost of the milk that I use. (Currently 2.18 for a regular gallon, or 4 for local raw milk) Consider that a single serving size container of Yoplait costs about 55 cents, that is a pretty significant savings. And that’s not even talking about the health benefits,
There are several excellent ways to make your own yougurt, the process is the same for all of them. I have made it in the crockpot with good success, I actually made some ricotta style cheese that way as well. I think my crockpot was a little too warm and maybe took it to the next level. Well that and I whisked the mixture when it was done which caused the whey to separate It was AWESOME cheese though. *wink*
Without a doubt the easiest way time wise, and clean up wise, for me, has been using a small insulated cooler to make the yogurt. Once the yogurt is made, it has to sit in a warm environment to culture. I put my two quart jars of yogurt, along with two quart jars of boiling water in a small cooler (think Playmate size) with a towel folded and layed on top of the jars. It works like a charm.
Here is the rest of the process, it is SUPER easy. You will need:
Milk (NOT ultra pasturized- Horizon organic is one that is)
small container of plain yogurt with active cultures (you can use your own yogurt for a starter next time)
an instant read thermometer (totally worth the money)
Heat your milk in a large pot until it reaches at least 185 degrees. Turn off the heat and let the milk cool until it reaches 110 degrees (30-45 mins)
Place a couple of cups of the warm milk in a small bowl and add 2-3 tbs of plain yogurt. Stir until well combined, and then add that mixture back to the pot, stirring well to incorporate.
Pour warm milk/starter mixture into jars and place in a small cooler with jars of boiling water. Cover with a towel and close cooler. Let sit for 6 hours then refrigerate yogurt.
The result is wonderful creamy yogurt. It is very tart, as there is no sweetner in it (and it makes a great substitute for sour cream in some dishes).
I store it as is, and then each of us adds our flavoring as we get ready to eat it. We also add a touch of sweetner, although I would love for us all to be able to break that habit,
If you like thicker greek style yogurt, just strain it in some cheese cloth for a few hours.