Monday, July 2, 2012

A Blog to Remember

It's another long weekend here for us in Canada.  Happy Canada Day!  Normally I don't post on holidays, but today I have an announcement.  Lately I've been finding it harder to get my posts written about new and interesting things twice a week each week.  Now with summer here, I am thinking it is going to get even busier.  For this reason, I am going to be taking a bit of a hiatus from The Wife Life.  I will no longer be posting new material through the summer.  Come September I will see where I'm at and even where you are all at too.  Though I won't be posting anymore, I hope you will still come back for reference on different recipes, remedies, and everything else we've discussed over the last year a half.  Here are the most popular posts to get you started:

9. Lost My Marbles - how to make a fried marble necklace
8. The Scent of Home: Air Freshener - deodorizing spray recipe
7. Shampoo-yah - shampoo recipe
6. Natural Deodorant Stick Recipe - pretty well says it all
5. Milk, Beyond Nutrition - facial cleanser recipe
4. Lavender Love Lotion Bars - lotion bar recipe
3. A Lesson in Fat Cells - cellulite scrub recipe
2. Hair Raising Results - hot oil hair treatment recipe
1. Bye-Bye Blackheads - facial scrub recipe

I appreciate each one of you who have been reading and especially commenting.  It means so much to me.  I wish you all the best on your journeys towards ever increasingly more natural, healthy, eco-friendly lives.

I'd love to end off by hearing what your favourite post has been.

Thank you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Arnica Rescue

After my sister told me about arnica, and I found it in an ointment for 50% off at Saje, I knew I had to try it.  Arnica Rescue is an acute injury ointment.  It is 100% natural and contains only arnica montana flower, olive oil, and beeswax.

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy used for swelling, bruises, sprains, breaks, soft tissue, tendon, and muscular damage.  It alleviates swelling and reduces healing time.  It has been used and recommended by homeopaths for more than 200 years and is also frequently used by professional athletes.

I am currently using it on my bruised and swollen calf from white water rafting.  Using it as quickly as possible after the injury is ideal, and it has already done wonders for the swelling in my leg.  My first use for it though was much more interesting.  I have prepatellar bursitis in my knee.  This means my bursa (tiny fluid filled sac) on my knee is inflamed which causes severe pain when any pressure is applied to the area (at its worst for me, even the weight of my pants touching my knee causes pain).  The doctor didn't have any treatment options for me other than taking about 2,500 mg of ibuprofen a day and using a prescription anti-inflammatory cream.  I avoid pills and prescriptions unless really necessary, so I opted for my Arnica Rescue along with some ice.  The arnica ointment  has really worked well in relieving the inflammation as well as speeding up my healing time.

What do you use to relieve swelling?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Maple Granola

Brad and I used to be big cereal eaters until we learned that it's actually not so good for you.  As an adult I avoided high sugar cereals, choosing boxes that boasted of whole grains and high fibre.  I think pretty well everyone knows that Lucky Charms isn't the best option, but it turns out that even the "healthy" cereals like Vector or Special K, aren't good options either.  Commercial cereals are put through high heat, high pressure processes which strip the grains of most nutritional value they had.  It also destroys the structure of the amino acids which leaves them potentially harmful to our bodies.  Even the fortified cereals are pretty well useless, nutritionally speaking, because the vitamins added are man made.  The body treats many of these odd "vitamins" as toxins and eliminates them as quickly as possible.

Making granola is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time ever since I learned all this.  We've been buying muesli in place of cereal, but I knew it had to be overpriced compared to making it at home.  I always had it in my head that making granola would be some long, complicated process, so I put it off.  Well, I finally did it, and it was so easy!  This recipe has my own alterations from a recipe at Earthbound Farm's website.  You can add or remove any grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit as you like.

The Wife Life Maple Granola
-4 1/2 c steel cut oats (not quick cook)
-3/4 c raw sunflower seeds
-1 1/2 c raw almonds (coarsely chop)
-1/4 c flax seeds
-1/4 c hemp seeds
-2 tbsp ground cinnamon
-1 c maple agave syrup
-1/4 c honey
-1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
-1 c raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Place oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir.
3. Add syrup and oil.  Stir until moistened.
5. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 25 min until begins to brown.  Take out and stir.
7. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and dry.  Take out and stir.
8. Put the baking sheet on a cooling rack.  Add the raisins and stir.  Allow to cool.

We both really like this granola. We eat it just with milk (rice milk) in place of cereal for breakfast.  It's cheaper than buying muesli or granola in the store, and tastes way better than the store bought stuff too.  This size recipe lasted us about a month eating it 5 days a week each.  It's so simple to replace different seeds, nuts, etc to change it up sometimes too.  It would also be good served as a topping on different foods such as yogurt.

Have you made your own granola?  What do you eat for a healthy breakfast?

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fresher Night's Sleep: Mattress Cleaner

Baking soda has so many uses.  This weekend we tried out a new one to us.  Cleaning the mattress!  I have pretty bad allergies, so I am always somewhat concerned about dust especially in our bedroom (though most of the time not concerned enough to do much about it).  Our mattress is ooold.  It's the mattress I grew up sleeping on and brought along when we got married.  Since in bed is where I spend 8-10 hours a day, I decided it was high time to clean it and found a natural way to do so.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the natural mattress cleaner recipe. Thanks!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ethical Ocean: An Online Marketplace

I just discovered a new (to me) online marketplace that really piqued my interest.  It's called Ethical Ocean.  It does require you to sign up, though it is simple.  After signing up, you're asking to invite 2 friends to join as well, and this is my invitation to all of you.

To get a better idea of what the organization is all about, from their website, here is Ethical Ocean's vision:
Our purchasing decisions affect our society and the planet.
It’s up to each of us to know what we are buying and why—and how each product we spend our dollars on impacts other people, animals, and the environment.
But that doesn’t mean we have to know everything. We can share our knowledge, and ideas, to help one another choose wisely. That’s what Ethical Ocean is all about.
I love it.  To cultivate this vision, every seller and item on their website must qualify for at least one of three designations: Good for People, Good for Animals or Good for the Environment.  At present, they list more than 2300 products on sale from 210 ethical vendors and producers.  They have items in all the categories of fashion, health and beauty, kids and babies, electronics, home and garden, food and drink, and "everything else."  I was especially impressed to see an electronics section, as I know that they are a large problem area.

If this has piqued your interest as well, I encourage you to check them out here.

Where do you find ethically made and sold products?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oven Dried Strawberries

I have become quite adept at picking out fruit that is still good from the day old or discount section of the grocery store.  I get fruit from there then cut it up and freeze it or use it quickly for juicing (hey, juicing is another good idea for a future post).  For half price!  I get a rush when I get blackberries for a deal this way.  Last time I picked up 2 lbs of strawberries, but we already had plenty of frozen strawberries.  Wanting to try something new, I decided we should dehydrate them.  We don't have a dehydrater, so this is an in the oven method.

Oven Dried Strawberries

1. Quarter strawberries.  Spread out on a baking sheet.
2. Dry in oven at 210° F for 3 hours.  Leave oven door slightly ajar for the last hour.

They're not much to look at, but they taste amazing!

Soon after making these we went with a group of friends on a 24 km biking trail, and (along with other food) these were such a fantastic snack to bring because they are easy to eat on the go and share around.  Everyone agreed they are tasty.  These dried strawberries are chewy and sweet with a strong strawberry flavour.  Dried fruit of all kinds pack a big punch in a little package as well being high in fibre and nutrient dense.  I love to snack on these.

Have you ever dried your own fruit?

I'm now using a new platform, but you can still subscribe or just check in on your own as you wish.  I'm feeling enthusiastic about this new venture, and I hope you will join me!  You can hop on over to the new site here:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Norwex Series: Dry Mop

Today we are moving on in our Norwex series from cloths and onto mops, woohoo!  There is a telescopic handle which snaps onto an swiveling aluminum mop base that has velcro.  The velcro then attaches onto the different types of mop pads.  For a long time I have been using the dry mop pad.  It was one of my first purchases.  Before that I had been an avid Swiffer Sweeper user.  When I become more conscious of waste and disposable products, I knew the Swiffer had to go.  This was the perfect replacement.

The dry mop pad is ideal for sweeping and dusting.  Its fibres pick up the tiny particles of dust, dirt, hair, crumbs, etc.  Of course, using it on the floor is great.  On top of that, it also works well for cleaning ceilings, walls, fans, and high windows.

I love my dry mop pad.  I use it mostly on our floors, and it does fantastic picking up hair, dog fur, dust, and dirt in our house.  It's still quick and easy to clean off.  I use an old toothbrush to remove the dust and hair from the mop pad.  It doesn't need to be washed after each use, and when it does, it just goes in the washing machine.  The mop pad definitely saves a lot of waste from the one-time-use type of sweepers.

What do you use to sweep/dust the floors?

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Cream" of Broccoli Soup

We are vegetarians, and while I can't see us becoming vegans (at least not any time soon), we do have concerns about where our eggs and dairy products come from.   For this reason, we do our best to get higher quality, local, etc products or avoid certain items all together.  And sometimes it's just fun to try a vegan recipe.  This post is a little bit of both.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup (found at Take Part as part of their Meatless Monday recipe collection)

2 bunches broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
4 c vegetable stock
1 russet potato
salt and  pepper

1. Chop florets and stalk of broccoli.  Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add chopped onion, and sweat about 10 minutes.
3. Add stock and chopped potato.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until soft (about 12 minutes).
4. Stir in chopped broccoli.  Simmer until soft (about 10 minutes).
5. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth.
6. Salt and pepper to taste.  Optionally, drizzle with olive oil, good vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon.

Served with fresh home baked bread.  Yum!

I loved this soup.  To start with, it was so quick and simple to make.  It is definitely up there in my list of favourite soups in regard to flavour as well.  It was also satisfying and filling without being heavy.  It is perfect for dipping with bread.  It was a soup I couldn't get enough of.  As soon as one spoonful was in my mouth, I wanted another one.

I wanted to share this recipe because even though most of you out there are not vegetarians, I think that reducing meat consumption is a viable option for everyone willing.  If for one day a week everyone in the States ate meatless, it would be the environmental equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles.  Or, according to Rodale, if just one day a week every family in the US left out meat and cheese, it would reap the environmental benefits of taking the family car off of the road for five full weeks.

What is your favourite meatless, or even vegan, meal?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Norwex Series: Face/Body Cloths

This is definitely my most used Norwex product.  Yes, it is another cloth.  We'll move on soon enough, but their cloths are just so fantastic.  Without being too redundant, I just want to quickly mention that these cloths are also made of the higher quality microfibre.  They are woven with silver as well which makes them antibacterial.  You can read about those two components in more detail in the enviro cloth post.  These cloths however are designed for personal use.  (Yes, Norwex sells personal care items too!)  They are called body cloths, but I use them on my face.

The body cloths are ideal for regular body or facial cleansing.  Because of the silver again, all you need is the cloth and water.  Use them in the shower, in the bath, or at the sink.  I don't wear make up, but I have heard from others that they are incredibly effective even in removing make up (just with water).  They are also gently exfoliating.

I love, love, love the body cloths.  I recommend them to everyone.  As I've written about before (particularly here and here), I have a long history with unfortunate skin blemishes.  As such, I was wary of trying something that seemed so simple.  Yet washing my face twice a day with just water and this cloth works!  Another friend of mine who has shared my skin related woes has also converted to using just these cloths for her face as well with the same success.  I do still use a spot treatment, the natural zit zapper, but there are no cleansers, soaps, creams, or anything else that go on my face.  And my face is more clear than I ever could have imagined having before.  It's healthier for me, better for the environment, and inexpensive!  A one time purchase that will last years to come.  I'd say that's the best of all worlds.

What do you use to wash your face?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Norwex Series: Window Cloth

This is the second cloth from Norwex that I use regularly, the window cloth.  This cloth is also made of their higher quality microfibre which I discussed in more detail in the enviro cloth post.  This cloth has a different weave and is much smoother though.  It also has silver woven into the cloth making it antibacterial as well.  The silver weave was also discussed in greater depth in the enviro cloth post as mentioned above. 

The window cloth is perfect for any surface that needs to be polished such as windows, mirrors, faucets, jewelry, or any other shiny surface.  For light cleaning/polishing, spray water onto the surface then wipe with the dry window cloth.  For dirty objects, wash first with the wet enviro cloth, then wipe with the dry window cloth.  Just the cloth(s) and water, and the result is always a bright, streak-free shine.

I love using my window cloth because every time I wipe my bathroom mirror with it, the whole bathroom feels brighter and cleaner.  Plus, I know it's better for me and the environment than Windex or any of its competitors. 

What do you use for windows and mirrors?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Egg Shell Tea for the Garden

Brad and I have been composting for about 9 months now (something that I keep meaning to write a post on, it will come soon).  At first we put egg shells in along with our other food scraps, but lately we have found a better use for them.  I know that putting egg shells in your compost is great, but it drives me crazy how they never ever ever seem to break down.  For a while we went back to throwing them in the regular garbage, but I felt guilty about that.  Now we get the nutrients in a faster process.  I present to you, egg shell tea.

Just kidding.  But it is similar.

We crush and rinse the egg shells to make sure all the egg white is off of them.  Then we soak the egg shells in water for 2-3 days usually.  Then we use that water to water our plants.  I use it particularly for the spider plant, but also for the pot of spinach we are growing outside.  I have noticed a big growth spurt specifically in our spider plant since I began to water with the "egg shell tea."

Egg shells contain water soluble nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.  Soaking the shells allows me to quickly extract these nutrients and feed them to our plants.  Egg shells are also alkaline, and thus using this water somewhat increases the pH level of the soil which is beneficial to some plants.

How do you use egg shells?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Norwex Series: Enviro Cloth

When talking about Norwex, the Enviro Cloth is the perfect place to begin for it is the product with which the company started.  The Enviro Cloth is a microfibre cloth.  Norwex boasts of their higher quality microfibre.  Typical microfibre measures 1 denier while Norwex microfibre measures 0.14 denier (that's 1/100th the size of a stand of human hair).  Because of this, it picks up and removes dirt and bacteria much more effectively.  There is another extra-special component to the Enviro Cloth (as well as many other Norwex products).  Silver is woven into the microfibre of these cloths.  Silver is naturally antibacterial, and thus by using these cloths and water alone you will kill 99.99% of bacteria.  No cleaners required.  The silver also helps to keep the cloth itself clean, meaning you can use the cloth a few times and only rinse it out between washings.  It also keeps your hands safe from a transfer of germs while using it and prevents cross contamination between surfaces.  At every Norwex party I've been to, the consultant loves to shock the guests by informing us that we can safely use an Enviro Cloth to clean our toilet then go straight into the kitchen and wipe our counters.  They have done tests with results showing that not only is there no cross over of bacteria from the toilet to the counters, but the counters are left cleaner afterwards.

There are 2 ways to use these cloths: dry and wet.
Dry - dusting (though I don't use it for this, I will get to what I do use later in this series)
Wet - cleaning pretty well anything: counters, toilets, mirrors, sinks, walls, tiles, any metal surfaces, on and on

I love my Enviro Cloths.  The fact that it has replaced nearly every cleaner I could need has saved me so much money.  I know that it is so much better for the environment as well not putting anything down the drain.  Better for my health as well to not have my house contaminated with cleaner residues or inhaling their fumes.  The cloths' effectiveness continues to impressive me each time I use it as well, so I am not sacrificing cleaning power.  Plus, it is incredibly durable.  I know I will be able to continue to use my same original cloths years from now (and it's guaranteed with a warranty).

What do you think of the Enviro Cloth?  What do you use for general cleaning?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Norwex Series: The Company

I just went to a Norwex party this weekend, and it has reignited my love and enthusiasm for these products.  I have briefly referenced Norwex products before, but not in much detail, so now I have decided to have a Norwex series discussing the items I use.  Today I am going to start with the company itself.

As it reads on their website, "the Norwex mission is to improve quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning."  Their whole concept is to clean without chemicals.  They even take it a step further by doing a lot of their cleaning just with water alongside their cloths.  I love how the Senior Vice President words their theme as a "reverence for the value and beauty of all life on a healthy planet."

So, what are these products I keep going on about?  They have got everything you could need covering all the categories of:
-microfibre cloths
-mop pieces and accessories
-bath and body care
-home essentials
-kitchen cleaning
-personal care
-kids line

 The Norwex products will save you time and money, improve health, and help protect the environment.  Plus, they are the most effective cleaners I have used.  I can't wait to dig into them more during the following posts of this series.

Have you heard of Norwex?  Do you use any Norwex products?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Eat Green: Chlorophyll

When Brad and I signed up for a Nature's Sunshine discount card, we received a couple free gifts.  One was Nature's Sunshine Liquid Chlorophyll.  Now, I had only heard of chlorophyll before in my science classes.  Chlorophyll is the molecule in plants which makes them green.  It is also responsible for the process of photosynthesis, using the sun's energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar (for the plant) and oxygen (for us).  That was the extent of my knowledge on photosynthesis.  I had no idea why I would want to intentionally consume it.  The bottle of liquid chlorophyll sat around unopened for a while until I noticed them mentioning the benefits of chlorophyll in the Hungry For Change documentary.  In fact, they included it as #2 in the Hungry for Change 10 Step Action Plan.  I, of course, had always heard that you should "eat your greens," and now I know that chlorophyll is the reason why.

The Nature's Sunshine brand in particular isn't refined, highly processed, or sweetened.

So why should we make sure we get lots of greens?
-the Hungry for Change crew promoted chlorophyll for its cleansing and detoxifying action in our bodies
-is an antioxidant
-fights infections and promotes healing
-increases the quantity and quality of red blood cells (its molecular structure is identical to hemoglobin)
-binds to and removes toxic heavy metals (such as mercury from dental fillings, etc) in the body
-prevents cancer by protecting healthy cells from carcinogens
-treats bad breath by deodorizing the mouth and throat

How do we make sure we get lots of chlorophyll?
 -eat it in natural food sources: spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli, green peppers, peas, brussel sprouts, green olives, sea vegetables, algae, anything green
-drink it: liquid chlorophyll is a concentrated option that can be added to water, juice, or smoothies, and it is nearly tasteless, or juice your own green veggies

How do you eat (or drink) green?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Natural Drain Cleaner Fail

My husband is a scientist which means periodically we do science experiments in our house.  Yesterday we made a volcano in our shower drain.  Why, you ask.  Because I keep reading and hearing that vinegar and baking soda are the best non toxic drain cleaner.  I pretty well shed like a dog, and my hair has the nasty tendency to clog up our shower drain.  In the past a plunger has always done the trick, but that is no longer working.  I didn't want to use Drano, and I already had baking soda and vinegar in the house.

We put:
-1/8 c baking soda
-1/8 c vinegar
down the drain and shut the plug.  We allowed that to sit for about 30 minutes.  Then we poured hot water down the drain for about 2 minutes.  That step almost killed me with guilt for the waste of water.

The results: It didn't work.  Having the shower run for a few minutes still resulted in the tub filling up.  I have heard so many people talk about this though, so I know it must work.  I am turning to you now to ask for your experiences with this.

What did I do wrong?

I'm now using a new platform, but you can still subscribe or just check in on your own as you wish.  I'm feeling enthusiastic about this new venture, and I hope you will join me!  You can hop on over to the new site here:

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Power of Tea Series: Peppermint

Whenever I have an upset stomach of many kinds, I turn to peppermint tea.  I have used it to alleviate nausea from the flu, stomach muscle cramps or spasms, and even uneasiness from anxiety.  It can also relax a stressed out mind.  This is one tea that I will recommended to most anyone.  I actually use tea bags for peppermint tea, but this is how you could do loose leaf as well.

Peppermint Tea
-2 cups boiling water
-a few peppermint leaves

Peppermint tea has a refreshing minty scent as well as flavour.   It leaves a cool aftertaste similar to that of mint gum.  The high menthol content is believed to be the soothing component.  I find that it starts working quickly and effectively.  Here are some other benefits to mint tea also:
-eases vomiting
-controls intestinal gas
-freshens breath
-relieves symptoms of colds and allergies
-improves digestion
-treats irritable bowl syndrome

Do you drink peppermint tea?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Power of Tea Series: Ginger

At the beginning of March I had a killer cold.  At first I thought it was the allergy season starting, but then it got worse and worse.  I was constantly having to blow my nose but there was no relief in my congestion.  I could hardly get out of bed because of the pressure in my head.  This is when I knew it had to be more than just allergies.  I immediately began looking for a herbal tea to soothe my symptoms and help my body heal.  My choice was ginger.

Ginger Tea
-2 cups boiling water
-1 inch piece of ginger - I used fresh, but you could also use dried or powdered
-optional: honey, thought I don't find this necessary

The effects of the ginger tea were noticeable within the hour.  Ginger helps break up the mucus and flush it out.  I could breath much better through my nose.  I was still blowing my nose a lot, but I was getting some relief from it.  It helped significantly with my congestion.  I believe it also helped my immune system fight off the infection and get healthy quicker.  I sipped on this all throughout the day even taking it with me while going out.

I used ginger tea for its power against congestion, but there are also many other benefits.  Here are some:
-treatment for motion sickness (Gravol has even made a ginger chewable pill)
-heartburn relief
-treats nausea and morning sickness
-treats menstrual cramps
-sore throat relief - I have written about this before as well in this post

Have you ever had ginger tea?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Power of Tea Series: Cinnamon

I love tea.  It's been a sudden and powerful love that has grown quickly.  Actually I should be more specific.  I love herbal tea.  For years I never considered drinking tea nor coffee.  I still don't drink coffee.  First I drank it because it was something healthy and warm I could drink through the winter.  Now as I've gotten more into this natural lifestyle and home remedies, I have discovered the healing power of tea.  That is the inspiration for this series.

Cinnamon is such a wonderful experience for many of the senses.  Fortunately it also has many health benefits.  The first time I ever drank cinnamon tea was when I was sick with the flu.  I had read that it is helpful in alleviating nausea, and at 2 in the morning I was desperate for anything I could find in the house already.

Cinnamon Tea
-approx 4 sticks of cinnamon
-2 cups boiling water
-optional: add honey to sweeten, though I find this unnecessary

Simmer cinnamon sticks in boiling water.  Allow to steep and cool to a comfortable temperature for drinking. 
I think mason jars are perfect for making huge cups for tea.

It was very effective and quite tasty.  The smell of the cinnamon was the best part.  It had a soothing effect on my stomach and helped me be able to get back to sleep.  I was so happy with the results, I looked into cinnamon further and discovered that it has many other health benefits as well.  Here are a few:
-improves circulation
-eases cold symptoms
-eases flu symptoms and upset stomachs
-alleviates indigestion
-acts as an aid to menstrual symptoms
-even found to aid in weight loss

What are your thoughts on cinnamon tea?  What other teas would you like to see featured in this series?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hungry for Change Discussion

The evening after posting about the Hungry for Change free worldwide online premiere, I made it a priority to sit down and watch it myself.  I am so happy that I did.  I hope that some of you did as well.  Though it is somewhat advertised as a film about weight loss, which it certainly does discuss, I have never gone on a diet and have very little desire to lose much weight, and I still found tons of material I can apply to my life.

Hungry for Change was an inspiring and informative documentary.  On their website it says,
In 'Hungry For Change' you'll discover:
  • How to navigate your supermarket - what to buy and what to avoid
  • The real truth behind "DIET", "SUGAR-FREE" and "FAT-FREE" products
  • How to overcome food addictions and cravings
  • Why fad diets don't work
  • What food additives to avoid and how to read labels
  • What is fat and cellulite and how do we get rid of it for good
  • The most effective detox and cleansing strategies, and
  • How to eat for clear eyes, glowing skin and healthy hair 
And it delivers!  There were so many interesting and important topics discussed in detail using scientific facts to back up the message.  There were many experts, nutritionists, doctors, authors, people who experienced real life transformations and more who were willing to share their expertise in the area of food and its effects on our bodies.  The main point I think the film made was that there is no "diet," in the sense of going on a diet, that will have long term benefits.  Weight loss and management and health can only come from living a healthy, natural lifestyle and eating real food.

What I really loved about Hungry for Change was that it was an empowering film.  After watching I felt like I now possessed the knowledge and the practical tips to realistically change my life.  I think this should be mandatory viewing for all adults and even children.  There is still a promotion going on now where you can watch the first 20 minutes for free here online.  If you missed out on the full film, I think the 20 minutes are worth it.

Did you watch Hungry for Change?  What did you think?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hungry for Change Opportunity

Hey!  I don't have a blog post planned or written for today.  I've been feeling somewhat preoccupied lately.  I would like to take this opportunity though to tell you all about an amazing opportunity.  The new documentary Hungry for Change is available for viewing online for free!  It is just until the end of March though, so you've only got 3 days left.

Hungry for Change is from the makers of Food Matters which I raved about in this post.  While Food Matters focused on using food as medicine and treating chronic illness with diet and vitamins, Hungry for Change is more geared towards "created lasting weight loss, abundant energy, and vibrant health."

I have to admit I haven't found the time to watch it yet either, but I definitely will, and there will be a post to follow soon after.  Go to the page to view it for free here: Free Worldwide Online Premiere or check out the trailer below to spark your interest.  I want to hear your opinions on my blog post about it!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Next Generation Water Bottles

Yesterday was my birthday, and I am honoured to share it with World Water Day.  Brad got me a very fitting present to suit both occasions, a stainless steel filtered water bottle from The Water Geeks!  This is my sweet yellow one:

Apparently this brand is a pretty big deal in the States.  We are lucky enough to have a showroom here in our city in Canada.  Brad was able to go in a make an individual purchase there.  The filter eliminates chlorine, bad taste, odor, chromium, VOCs (volatile organic compounds, eg formaldehyde), and heavy metals in water.  I use it daily to filter our tap water.  It will also be great in the summer when going hiking or camping because I can put any fresh water from creeks, lakes, etc into the bottle and the filter will make it safe to drink.

You too can enjoy healthy, safer, great tasting water anytime, anywhere while also eliminating the cost and waste of bottled water.  This will save you time, money, and the environment.  One filter (which comes with your water bottle) can filter 400 full 24 oz bottles of water before needing to be replaced.  Plus, these water bottles are very reasonably priced, no more than a regular water bottle.  There are lots of different styles and other products as well.  I encourage you to check out their site here

Also, in celebration of World Water Day, here is a list of 10 simple, easy ways to conserve more water at Take Part, and a water footprint calculator from National Geographic.

How do you save water?

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Ingredient Headache Relief

This is a remedy I have been using for a long time now, but I always seem to forget to write about it.  Today I am finally exposing one of my most used natural remedies.  Through high school and college I used to have headaches quite frequently.  Each time one struck I would take 1000 mg (2 extra strength) of Tylonel. The drug in Tylonel, acetaminophen, can cause liver damage from chronic use or large doses.  I knew this wasn't good for me, but waiting out the pain of a headache for hours wasn't very appealing either.  I wanted to find an alternative, and it was one of the first things I looked up in my book 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.  Here is it.

The simplest, most effective way I have found to relieve a headache is a lavender massage.  I dab a couple drops of lavender essential oil on my fingers and use that to massage my temples.  I close my eyes and breath deeply while doing this.  I was shocked the first time I tried it by how quickly it works!  In my experience, this remedy is nothing short of amazing.  Lavender has soothing and calming properties which make it ideal as a tonic for the nervous system.  It emotionally refreshes and relaxes while physically relieving tension and pain.  I luckily do not suffer from migraine headaches, but I have read that lavender works to treat even those as well. Note:  Most essential oils cannot be applied to the skin undiluted, lavender is an exception.

Other options for its use would be to add the lavender essential oils to a carrier oil for a larger massage, make a soothing eye pillow containing dried lavender, a tutorial for which you can find here, or add a few drops of the essential oil to a bath and soak.

Warning:  There are certain circumstances where using lavender would be inadvisable, such as being pregnant or nursing or while taking certain prescription medications.  Always check first if you have concerns.

How do you treat headaches naturally?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Natural Zit Zapper

During boxing week sales after Christmas, I had to stop in at one of my favourite stores, Saje.  A bunch of products were on for half off, so I decided to purchase and try out the "Zap" roll on acne treatment.  It is an essential oil blend of tea tree, geranium, lavender, patchouli, and a few others.  This blend is specially designed to eliminate bacteria, reduce excess oil, and promote healing for blemishes.  It is used as a spot treatment on acne.  I have been using it twice daily, and it is amazingly effective!  I recently went for 3 weeks without washing my face at all, I only used this as a spot treatment as necessary.

I realize that most people reading this don't have access to a Saje store (since they are only in BC, Canada), though you can order online.  Another option I thought of though is to make your own!  I will admit, when I took my newly purchased Zap home and read the ingredients, I felt a little ripped off (and thankful I got it for half off).  I had lavender and tea tree essential oils at home already.

So, I recommend to any of you looking for an acne spot treatment to make your own version of this.  Simply combine tea tree and lavender essential oils, perhaps geranium or patchouli as well if you have them.  Then you can dab it on as necessary using a q-tip or some other reusable alternative I haven't thought of yet.  That is what I am planning to do when my Zap bottle runs out.

What natural treatments do you use on acne?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homemade Cracker Mystery

A while back Brad and I made homemade crackers.  They were crunchy and tasty, but I had completely forgotten about them until yesterday when I came across these photos in my "to blog" folder.


I scrambled to Pinterest to get the recipe for them again, and the blog has been removed!  I couldn't believe it.  Such disappointment.  So today I am turning to you.

I want to hear your homemade cracker recipes!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Message from the Movies: The Lorax

Last night my friend, her boy, Brad, and I ventured to the theatres to watch the film of The Lorax (not in 3D).  I love Dr Seuss' book and the environmental message it carries, and thus I had been really excited for the movie.  The Lorax, both book and film, have strong environmental themes regarding deforestation and water and air pollution.  It also speaks against greed and the capitalist system.

The Lorax is the guardian of the forest.  When a young man comes in and begins chopping down trees to make his thneeds, the Lorax tries to convince him to stop.  It is to no avail though as the young man's own desires outweigh his conscious as he does whatever he needs to continue "bigger-ing and bigger-ing" his company and wealth.  The forest, animals, and all of nature pay the price until there is nothing left.  In the film, history somewhat repeats itself as the citizens of Thneedville live their lives in completely artificial environments having to purchase even bottled air to breathe.  Until a couple of kids decided they do still care about the trees, that is.

I believe that caring is the ultimate message of this story.  That is what I hope children and adults alike will take away from the book or the film. Care about what you're doing to the planet and yourself.

Unfortunately at the end of the movie when I left the theater, I didn't feel quite as moved or inspired as I had hoped I would.  The movie was still enjoyable, and it carried a great message with it.  I just didn't find anything too special about it.  The Lorax certainly wasn't up to the standards set by WALL-E.  Now there is an environmentally charged film everyone should check out!

Have you seen The Lorax or WALL-E?  What did you think?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Antiperspirant Really Dangerous?

Well, I'm going to pretend that I'm not disappointed in finding only one comment on the Natural Deodorant Stick Recipe (despite the 226 pageviews it has received in one week), and I'm going to continue on with that topic.  In my last post, as I've mentioned, I gave a recipe for a homemade deodorant stick which my husband and I have both used to replace our mainstream antiperspirants.  Here is why people would even want to.  Clarification:  Antiperspirant is used to prevent sweating, while deodorant just masks the body odor.  When considering mainstream options, the deodorant is probably still not good to be putting on your skin daily.

While the American National Institutes of Health have not found any "conclusive evidence"  linking antiperspirant usage to breast cancer, there certainly appears to be a connection.  The American National Cancer Institute reports:
Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin's surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer.
 The aluminum compound found in many antiperspirants and deodorants is aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex, which is a known to cause cancer and has other health concerns as well.

As I've mentioned previously, we absorb everything through our skin.  There are all sorts of other chemicals and potentially toxic ingredients in mainstream antiperspirants and deodorants just the same as any other beauty or cosmetic product.  Check out EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see how your antiperspirant or deodorant rates.

According to the Live Strong website the aluminum in antiperspirants may also be linked to kidney problems.  A warning label is required by the FDA to be carried by any antiperspirants containing aluminum.  They say it is just a precaution for those with kidney disease, though I find it somewhat suspicious.

Though there are rumors saying otherwise, from what I have researched, a toxin build ups is not a concern.  I do wonder however if there is something wrong with prevent our body from doing what it is natural designed to do, which is sweat.

On another note, mainstream antiperspirants and deodorants are not cheap, and it only gets more expensive if you seek out store bought natural alternatives.  Making your own can save you $4-6 on each stick.

What do you think of antiperspirant?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Natural Deodorant Stick Recipe

Switching from antiperspirant to homemade deodorant was a crunchy leap I have wanted to take for a long time, but I was too scared.  Buying natural or crystal deodorant is another option, but I find them expensive and often the ingredients are not 100% natural.  Another preference for me was that it would be in stick form.  I found this recipe on Keeper of the Home which she has altered and worked on, and thus I trusted it would turn out well.  I have finally made the leap!

Natural Deodorant Stick
-1/8 c arrowroot powder
-1/8 c baking soda
-2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
-1 heaping tbsp beeswax
-2 drops castor oil (optional - helps it to slide on better)
-8 drops tea tree essential oil
-8 drops lavender essential oil
-up to another 10 drops of another essential oil for scent purposes

1. Add all ingredients into a small pot over medium heat on the stove.
2. Stir until everything has melted into a smooth consistency.
3. Have a container ready.  We emptied mainstream deodorant containers and washed them out in a pot of boiling water.  Make sure it is turned back down the bottom.
4. Pour the melted mixture into the container until full.
5. Allow to cool and set on the counter for a couple of hours.

It is a good idea to have a "detox" period of about a week where you use no deodorant or antiperspirant after quitting the mainstream stuff and before beginning the natural replacement.  I was happy to be doing this in the winter.  When you do use it, this homemade deodorant will be softer than conventional deodorant.  Be careful not to twist it up too high when using or to put on too much.  Also, this will not prevent you from sweating, it will only prevent you from smelling bad.  I have heard that your body will adjust as time goes by.  I am still waiting to see.

I have been really impressed with the effectiveness of this deodorant.  We made one for Brad as well, and it works even on his man sweat.  Neither of us have been smelly, in fact we can smell the scents of the essential oils we each used.  Mine is lavender scented, and Brad's is the spa spirit essential oil blend from the Spa Spirit Lip Balm post.  The only downside I have come across thus far is that our white shirts end up with yellow in the arm pits, but I haven't found it to be a big deal.  I am not sure what exactly causes this though.  Is anyone out there able to educate me?

Have you tried any natural alternatives to antiperspirant?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eating Animals

{Today is a "guest post" by none other than my most wonderful husband, Brad.  In one of his university classes, he was required to do a book critique.  He chose Eating Animals which I thought would fit in with the blog.  I asked him to write a post for us once he was done, and here it is.}

In Jonathan Safran Foer’s book titled Eating Animals he talks about his research on factory farming.  Foer spent three years researching this topic in order to write this book, but admittedly he has no background in the food industry.  He lived in New York City and admitted that he had never touched a farm animal.  He wanted to find out for himself and his family what meat is.
Foer is a vegetarian and wanted to research the ‘production’ of animals because he wanted to give his newly born son the best nutrition as he grew up. Whenever Foer told someone he was writing a book about ‘eating animals,’ they assumed that it was a case for vegetarianism. This is the assumption that in reading about how animals are treated it would lead one away from eating meat, most people know this to be the case.  Interesting, isn't it?

Throughout the book, Foer ends up telling several stories, each ending with the same horrific result.  The first story is about microbes.  People in the United States are prescribed 3 million pounds of antibiotics per year, while livestock are fed nearly twenty-eight million pounds.  The animals become resistant to the antibiotics and produce a new strain of germs which are resistant to the antibiotics.  Then new antibiotics are given to fight the new germ.  Humans then ingest the meat and the new strains of antibiotic resistant germs.  We now become resistant and when we try to treat illnesses, the drugs have a decreased effect on us, causing us to increase the amount of drugs needed.

He uses dogs as an example by saying that “no reader of this book would tolerate someone swinging a pickax at a dog’s face,” yet this is a common practice for how fish are killed.  Chickens are dunked in a bath to shock and stun them, pigs are electrocuted, and cows who have a bolt shot into their heads.  Often these methods do little more than put the animal through more torture as then they are put through the process of skinning and dismemberment alive and fully conscious.

A third story the Foer tells is about the waste that animals produce, and do they produce a lot.  One report that Foer states is that the excrement produced by pigs from a single company is as much as all human residents of the states of California and Texas combined.  Unfortunately, “concentrated animal feeding operations,” of CAFOs, have no waste-treatment systems.  The waste gets dumped into holding ponds.  This is just an open-air pit where all the waste from the animals is piled all year round.  To no one’s surprise, the waste in these ponds tends to seep into nearby streams and rivers which cause aquatic “dead zones.”  It is estimated that some thirty-five thousand miles of American waters have been contaminated.  To top off these ponds that are destroying aquatic life, humans who work with the ponds also die.  Either due to the effects of breathing it in for years, or falling in and drowning, this has happened on multiple occasions.

 Using these three stories to illustrate what factory farming is composed of, Foer asks us to make an informed decision if we want to support treating animals this way.  He is not saying that we should all become vegans, or vegetarians even.  He is saying that we should be informed about what we are supporting when we buy our meat, and decide for ourselves if we want to be support those companies.  I think that if more people were aware of the process in which their food went through to become their food, they might choose differently in what they consume.

What aspects do you take into consideration when choosing your food?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Herbal Fire Starters

On Whole Living's website they have a list of 25 Eco-Chic Ideas for Your Home.  Most of them are really fantastic, and I encourage you to check them out.  One that caught my eye was the herbal fire starter.  I thought this would be especially relevant for a winter post because I am sure some of you heat your homes with wood fires or have them occasionally as a treat.

Herbal Fire Starters
To make:  Bundle combinations of herbs and small pine cones in newspaper.  Tie ends with twine/raffia/hemp, etc.
To use: Place one fire starter underneath the log pile with ends sticking out.  Light newspaper end on fire.

We put ours in groups of cinnamon with sage and lavender with rosemary then secured them with hemp.

Herbal fire starters are a natural alternative to lighter fluid.  They also add a wonderful aromatic aspect to the fire.  Putting the bundles together was actually a lot of fun as well.  Brad and I made most of these as a gift for an outdoorsy friend and also a few for ourselves to enjoy this summer out at our fire pit or while camping.

As a side note, I want to briefly mention that wood fires do quite significant damage to the environment.  I encourage those who enjoy the warmth and coziness of a fire to look into composite logs.  There are many options made from clean burning renewable resources.

What is an eco-chic idea you've implemented in your home?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Listening to Your Body

{photo source}
I used to have a lot of issues with my arms and legs falling asleep and going numb.  I have always been easily susceptible to this, but when it got to the point where it was happening more severely and seemingly without cause, constantly throughout the day on a daily basis, I began to worry.  As I like to do, I decided to self-diagnose with the help of the internet (though not Wikipedia).  I came to the conclusion that my limb "paresthesia" (fancy word I learned on the internet) must be caused either by a vitamin deficiency or anemia.

Back story:  I already knew that I was somewhat anemic from various attempts to donate blood and a blood test.  My doctor told me that it wasn't severe enough for me to worry about or treat though.  I thought that seemed odd, but he is the one with the medical degree.

Later, I went to see a walk in doctor for a different condition (I work in a daycare and routinely contract unusual childhood diseases), and thought I'd mention the severe limb numbness I had been experiencing.  She told me not to worry about it.  I was told that unless it started inhibiting my ability to move and function (which it kind of did during the episodes), I shouldn't concern myself with it.  My body was telling me differently, and I felt as though that was an unsatisfactory response.

I had my vitamin levels tested privately (more on that to come in another post), and they were superb.  I ruled that out as being the cause.  The next time I was at Nature's Fare, I noticed a WomenSense IronSense vegetarian iron supplement on sale.  I bought it and began taking one a day.

Now my body is feeling better than ever.  I can sit cross legged, have a child sit in my lap without fear, and wake up without feeling as though my arms are missing.  Those were far off dreams even before it became so severe.  I can't think of the last episode and am thrilled with the improvement.  Especially because I was able to remedy the problem with a simple, somewhat natural solution.  In the summer I hope to be able to get my iron intake high enough from (vegetarian) food alone.

You may be sitting there thinking, "Hm, that was a moderately interesting story."  I'll tell you now that my purpose in sharing this tale is to encourage you to take responsibility for own health.  It is important to listen to your body.  When there are significant changes, be mindful.  Don't always take your doctor's first word as absolute truth.  When you have a concern, educate yourself, keep records, and think critically.  No one knows your body better than you.

Disclaimer: I am not encouraging hypochondria here.  Please do not interpret normal sensations or minor abnormalities as serious conditions or become obsessively preoccupied with your health.  Also, it is not always the right situation to go against a doctor's opinion.  They have studied for years, and they are professionals.  Just be analytical and reflective.

Have you ever questioned or even opposed a doctor's opinion?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Onion Cough Syrup

This is such a great, simple cough and cold remedy.  I first discovered it on Vintage Savoir Faire, a fantastic blog I read.  A while back Brad had a nagging cough, which was the perfect time to try it out.  Onion is a common home remedy for a variety of ailments.  Onions are high in the anti-oxidant quercetin which boosts the immune system.  Also, it is also known to be an effective expellant of phlegm.  Onion is similar in its healing power to garlic, though more gentle.

Onion Cough Syrup
-1 small onion
-container with a lid

Peel and slice onion.  Make layers of onion and sugar inside the jar.  Cover with lid.

Allow to sit 6-8 hours.  Take a spoonful of the syrup as needed.

Brad thought it was a good remedy.  It tasted pretty bad, but not unbearable, like sweet onion.  It was easy to make and easy to take.  He said it felt very soothing when he took it, and it helped quickly with the cough.  The biggest downside was his breath afterwards, haha.  The downside from my point of view is that it takes 6-8 hours to make.  Also, I have read that sugar suppresses the immune system, and thus I wonder if it is hindering the healing process.  Perhaps honey would work in place of it.

How do you fight off a cough?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chalkboard Organization

As we have been working to eliminate plastics and become more repurposeful in our house, we have been collecting jars for storage.  Between washing and keeping emptied ones and being given many from my generous mother-in-law, our fridge and pantry are full of them.  The only problem we were running into once not being able to tell the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats, baking soda and baking powder, etc.  Our solution (inspired by a pin on Pinterest) is chalkboard paint.

Simple to do, looks awesome, and is reusable!

How do you keep your kitchen organized?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cold Hands, Warm Heart - Hand Warmers

We only have one car, and thus Brad spends a lot of time outside waiting for the bus.  Usually this isn't a big deal, but at 6 in the morning through the winter, it's certainly not enjoyable.  For this reason, I made Brad hand warmers for a stocking stuffer at Christmas.  It was simple and cheap.  I had all the materials in my house already.  Plus, these use natural products and are reusable as opposed to the processed, disposable kind.

Hand Warmers

What you need:
-felt/wool/fleece (I used scraps of felt from another project. An old or worn out sweater or blanket would be another great option.)
-needle and thread

Cut fabric into reasonable size pieces.  I cut mine into circles 2 3/4 inches in diameter.  Sew two together along the edges leaving a gap of about an inch.

Carefully pour 1-2 tsp of rice into the packet.  Sew the gap shut and tie.
To use:
Warm in microwave/oven/toaster oven.  If using an oven or toaster oven, lay on the rack.  Place into pockets, gloves, boots, slippers or anywhere else for extra warmth.  Great for waiting for the bus, watching outdoor sporting events, engaging in winter sports, walking in cold weather, etc.  No chemicals and no disposal.

It's so easy.  Once they've warmed up, they hold their heat well.  I recommend them.

What have you done to combat the cold weather?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

We love making our own condiments.  I think it is because I once thought they would be impossible, but now  I am pretty well unwilling to buy most condiments.  Peanut butter is no exception.  After trying (and hating) natural peanut butter, I began to purchased the unsalted, unsweetened kind.  This was an improvement, but it still contained hydrogenated oil.  Making our own peanut butter was an empowering experience.  We didn't have or follow any recipe.  Just play around with the quantities until you get it how you like it.  Here's how ours went.

Roast plain, unsalted peanuts in the oven

Blend roasted peanuts in blender (or food processor) and add a little oil.

Optionally, add honey to sweeten.


I want to start this off by saying that I hate natural peanut butter, and our homemade peanut butter is not like natural peanut butter.  Our homemade peanut butter is delicious.  It just tastes like roasted peanuts.  It also has lasted a long time (couple months) without appearing to have gone bad, storing it in the fridge.

I'm not quite sure it worked the way it is really supposed to though.  The oil from the peanuts themselves never separated the way I have seen in natural peanut butters.  Also, our peanut butter is extremely thick and completely un-spreadable.  I mix one portion sized amount with more honey to make it spreadable and sweet as I use it.

Have you made peanut butter?  How did it turn out?

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Polite Title Regarding Diarrhea

At the risk of sharing too much information, I am still going to do this post, so be warned.  We have had a wicked bug going around the childcare centre I work at.  We've had different children and staff home sick everyday.  It got to me last Saturday (which made me mad because my weekend plans were ruined, and I couldn't even take the day off work).  I was hit with diarrhea.  In past years I would have immediately reached for the Immodium, but I decided to risk it and try some natural remedies from 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.

"Eat bananas and carob
Bananas and carob are both rich in pectin, which binds loose stools.  Eat a banana mashed with a tablespoon or two or carob powder: One serving may take care of the problem, or you may need more.  This is an especially good remedy for children."

Bananas also have a high potassium content which helps to replace electrolytes that are being lost.  We didn't have carob powder, and the only bananas we had were sliced and frozen, thus I decided to have a banana smoothie.  I had about 2 bananas worth of slices with rice milk (I am lactose intolerant, so this is all I have, but it was good as well because dairy products are a bad choice when suffering from diarrhea.) and a little bit of vanilla extract.  This was quick, simple, tasty and began to ease the problem within the hour.  I was still having less severe bouts though with a lot of stomach pain.
"Eat a brown apple
To help stop an attack of diarrhea, shred a peeled apple on to a plate, let it turn brown, and eat it.  Apples contain pectin, which helps bind loose stools."

Brad peeled and grated an apple for me and spread it out on a plate.  After waiting about 3 hours, it had turned brown, but not extremely.  I was surprised how long the process was taking, and this was the biggest disadvantage to this remedy.  When I am sick like this, I don't want to have to suffer through 3 or more hours first before getting something to help me into my system.  By the time I was able to eat the apple, I had already had the banana smoothie which was helping.  This did seem to continue to help though as well.
Other things I consumed include:
-peppermint tea to calm and relax intestinal cramping and gas - this was a miracle worker for me
-white bread sandwich for easier digestion - whole grains are so important usually, but when you're sick, don't make things harder on your digestive system
-mashed potatoes (white rice is another good option) - again low in fibre means easy digestion

Foods I avoided:
-gas producing foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage as they increase intestinal gas
-dairy products which become harder to digest as a result of less enzyme lactase
-fatty foods (even good fats) as they speed up contractions in the intestines

Overall it worked very well.  The original severity was eased fairly quickly, and by Sunday evening I was significantly better, and then well enough to go back to work on Monday.

What natural remedies do you know of for this ailment?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Classy Closets

For those interested in our minimizing efforts, I thought I would open up our closet to the public. This is the first area we turned to when we began our mission of decluttering.  Today I am debuting our new, pared down closet!  Brad's stuff on the left and mine in the middle and right.  When we had begun I had well over 100 pieces of clothing.  Now I believe I am down to about 70 or so, and I really tried to include everything.

It looks like nothing, but it really adds up.

-3 tank tops (everyday)
-3 t shirts (everyday)
-8 shirts (everyday)
-4 sweaters (everyday)
-2 exercise shirts
-4 tank tops (work)
-5 t shirts (work)
-4 sweaters (work)
-1 blouse (dressy)

-1 dressy dress
-1 casual dress

-4 scarves
-2 belts
-1 hat
-1 toque
-2 pairs of mittens
-2 pairs of pants (everyday)
-1 pair of jeans (everyday)
-4 pairs of shorts (everyday)
-1 pair of leggings (everyday)
-1 pair of exercise shorts
-2 pairs of pants (work)
-1 pair of jeans (work)
-4 pairs of shorts (work)

-1 pair of everyday shoes
-1 pair of flip flops
-1 pair of dress shoes
-1 pair of everyday boots
-1 pair of snow boots

-1 fall/spring jacket
-1 dressy jacket
-1 winter jacket
-1 snow jacket
-1 pair of snow pants
-1 bathing suit

I still feel like I could do even more, but I am happy with what I've done so far.  There are some factors I am not sure how to get around.  I have a completely different set of clothes for work and regular life resulting in 2 nearly full wardrobes.  Since I work in a daycare, I am unwilling to risk ruining my everyday clothes with paint, bleach, or who knows what else.  Also, I live in a place where the temperature can range from -20° to 35° C (-4° to 95° F) depending on the time of year, meaning I need clothes for all the seasons.  There are also so many pieces that only serve one purpose (like dress shoes or exercise shorts) which drives me crazy.

This is why no one can set a magic number for the "perfect" or "right" amount of clothes for a person to own.  Based on your life and circumstances, come up with a reasonable amount you're comfortable.  Work towards it over time.  Once you've achieved it, stick to a "one in, one out" system.  If you purchase or receive a new item of clothing, be sure to remove an old one (give it away, donate it, throw it away if it's in poor condition) before allowing the new one into your wardrobe.

Now this would really be a problem solver!  My mind was blown when a friend showed me this, and now I would like to show you all the Versalette.  According to the {r}evolution apparel website, "The Versalette is a multi-functional piece that can be worn over 15 different ways — with just a few adjustments. It serves as a dress, shirt, skirt, scarf, purse, hood & more. It’s a simply designed staple that makes travel, minimalism, and living sustainably just a little bit easier."  Check it out here:

{r}evolution apparel Introduces the Versalette from {r}evolution apparel on Vimeo.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Toilet Bowl Cleaner

I've previously spoken about what a danger household cleaning products are to our health and the environment.  You can check out this post for more information if you're interested.  Since learning all of this, I have been switching over my cleaning products.  When I ran out of toilet bowl cleaner, I looked around on the internet for a natural alternative.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the borax toilet bowl cleaner post. Thanks!