Posted on

CHALLENGE DAY 20

Today’s challenge is to D.I.Y.

We are super addicted to packaging in modern society.  The item we are really purchasing is sometimes wrapped in plastic and again in a plastic container.  And, again, plastic (although recyclable in most cases) is not biodegradable.  So, today I’d like you to invite you to make something on your own that you normally buy in a container.

Try making your own.

Here are some examples of products you can make at home:

bread, yogurt, jam, frozen fruit, juices, granola, trail mix, tea, nut butters, canned veggies/fruit, household cleaners

To make this easier, I am providing a couple recipes, but feel free to do your own research and get creative!

When I was growing up, my mother made her own bread, refried beans, cookies, cakes, etc.

As I’ve become a mother, I’ve learned about canning, juicing and making my own household cleaners and tea.

Yes, it’s more time consuming than just running to the store.  But, can you turn it into an exercise in Mindfulness?  Being aware that by making your own bread, you know where the ingredients came from, you know how it was handled and prepared.  And, you can put the love in!

I keep a little spice container by my cooktop labeled “LOVE” and as I am cooking, I sprinkle a little into the dish I am preparing.  It’s technically empty, but it is a reminder to get present to what I am doing and be Mindful of my current activity.  Sometimes I’m in a rush and forget.  But on those days, the meals are definitely not as delicious to my family or myself.

(I’m not making this up…)

Is THIS why your mum’s meals taste so good?

One of the world’s best chefs says you can taste the love in really good food

How does one put love into their cooking?

COOKING WITH LOVE VS. HALF-ASS COOKING

As always, if this challenge does not work for you today, please do one of the Optional Challenges today!


Here are a couple recipes to get you started (hopefully with ingredients you already have at home):

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

CHALLENGE DAY 16

Go Green with your Products!

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners#.WtWL7ojwaUk

 

Today’s challenge is to go green with your products! This has many elements.

One way is to purchase more ecologically friendly products using Environmental Working Group’s web site or

Try Buycott or Think Dirty apps as a guide

&/OR

try using more natural everyday household items

(like coconut oil instead of body lotion,

baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar for cleaning, etc.).

I’m not saying to go replace all your current cleaners right now, but maybe spend 10 minutes going to ewg.org’s web site and investigate a few of your more frequently used products.  Make a plan to swap those out for more eco-friendly choices.  Or, maybe try natural products like baking soda (scrub) and lemon juice or vinegar (disinfect & shine) to clean your sink or tub next time.  You may be surprised!  Thieves Oil works great for antibacterial cleaning.  A combination of clove, peppermint and tea tree essential oils mixed with 3/4 water ant 1/4 witch hazel in a spray bottle works wonders on floors (and yoga mats) for antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial cleaning.

Here is a web site you can check out for other recipes for D.I.Y. cleaners:

41 DIY Homemade Cleaner Recipes

Or, maybe your activity today is to install

one of the apps mentioned and check out a few items in your home or at the store.

 

For more on how to swap out your cleaning products for less toxic ones,

you can also dig deeper and read my blog post “Taming the Toxins in Your Home”.

 

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

To Dishwasher or Not?

A little boy unloading a dishwasher

In 2000, I did something not most people do. I read my dishwasher’s user manual…cover to cover. I wouldn’t have thought that doing that would have such an impact on my life, but it did. I learned how to properly load a dishwasher and learned it so well, I can load any dishwasher now and pack it to the gills and the dishes (pretty much, mostly) always come clean. It saves time, water, energy and detergent to have this important skill.

The most important thing to know is that you do not need to clean your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. If you’re trying to be more green, this is simply wasteful. Most dishwashers today are energy efficient and designed to save water. They are also very efficient at cleaning dishes – if you know how to load the machine.

Having said all that, I learned it is important to get STARCH and EGG off dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. So, scraping rice, bread crumbs, pasta and such off before putting dishes in the machine helps. Also, rinsing egg yolk off with cold water is important so it doesn’t get cooked on by the machine. Just a quick rinse gets most pasta, egg and tomato sauces off to the point that the energy and water efficient machine can take it from there.

Then, if dishes are loaded so the water can get to them, they come clean. So, the art is in the loading. Dishwasher user manuals come with a diagram, but the gist is…load glasses, bowls, etc. face down towards the sprayers. More dirty dishes should be near the middle of the spray jet fan. Glasses and dishwasher-safe plastics should be on the top rack and plates, cutting boards, pots and pans should be on the bottom.

As for detergent, Trader Joe’s dishwasher tabs get a good rating on EWG.org’s web site and do a good job. Seventh Generation’s powdered dishwasher detergent works well. You don’t need super strong detergents to get the dishes clean.

Here are more suggestions on detergents from EWG’s web site:

http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2012/12/greener-holiday-dishwashing-ewg

Two ways to save extra energy are to run the “eco/light” cycle and skip the heated dry.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty details about how much water and energy is used, I’d recommend reading this article:

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

Except that she’s using Cascade and Rinse-Aid products, I find this video helpful:

http://lifehacker.com/the-proper-way-to-load-your-dishwasher-for-the-cleanest-1284209586

The tip about running the water to hot and the disposer (to clear the drain) before starting the dishwasher is a great tip which I do because it helps the dishwasher do a better job. I disagree with her about sharp knives. I put them in the top rack, sharp side down and they come clean and don’t get damaged.

Some say to hand wash dishes to improve immunity. It can also be meditative to wash dishes by hand. Personally, I do a bit of a hybrid as there are always dishes that need to be washed by hand…like delicate glasses and some pans that simply do not fit once the dishwasher is loaded.

Please follow and like us:
Posted on

Taming the Toxins in Your Home

Did you know that most of the cleaners on the shelves of your local store have hazardous ingredients?

Many of us grew up using off-the-shelf products to clean our homes, deodorize the air, rid our home and gardens of pests (insects, weeds, bad odors, etc.).  But, did you know that most of the products on store shelves these days have products that are causing all sorts of havoc on our bodies and our environment?

Let’s take this well-known carpet cleaner as an example:

IMG_1452

Resolve Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner may be effective at removing those annoying stains in your carpet, but it contains many toxic ingredients that are difficult to pronounce such as methylchloroisothiazolinone.  Some you can pronounce, but they still are caustic.

Some side effects of the ingredients in this product include:

*Asthma / Respiratory Issues

*Skin Allergies and Irritation

*Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity

*Negative Environmental Impact (Especially to Aquatic Life*)

*Damage to DNA

*If you eat fish, think about what that means.

Simple Green Naturals CarpetA safer alternative is Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care

 

 

 

 

I will delve more specifically into other products in a later post.

Some other products considered to be hazardous are:

  • Automotive Fluid
  • Auto Batteries
  • Chlorine
  • Bleach Cleaners
  • Corrosive Chemicals
  • Drain Openers
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Fluorescent Tubes
  • Fertilizers
  • Gasoline
  • Glue Adhesives
  • Herbicides
  • Hobby Chemicals
  • Household Batteries
  • Insecticides
  • Latex Paint
  • Mercury
  • Mercury Thermometers
  • Mercury Thermostats
  • Motor Oil & Used Filters
  • Muriactic Acid
  • Oil-Based Paint
  • Paint Thinner
  • Pesticides
  • Polishes
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Rust Remover
  • Stains Spray
  • Paint Stripper
  • Varnishes
  • Waxes
  • Weed Killer
  • Wood Preservatives

If you’re like most people, you don’t have time when shopping to read labels.  And, you probably don’t have time to deal with safely disposing of your hazardous chemicals.


Here is the SustainableThree solution in three steps:

  1. To tame those toxins, a quick and easy option is to contact Waste Management At Your Door.  You can arrange to have your household hazardous waste collected here:  http://www.wmatyourdoor.com/public-access/lookup-collection-availability-in-your-area.aspx
  2. Purchase environmentally-friendly products.  I like to use Environmental Working Group’s web site’s search engine to figure out what’s toxic and what’s not:  http://www.ewg.org/
  3. Make your own!  This may sound tedious, but it’s actually quite easy and will save you lots of money.  Often, more environmentally-friendly products are more expensive than their toxic counterparts.  You most likely only need to make up batches a couple times a year.  For example, a 32oz/1L. spray bottle of the name brand glass cleaner will cost you about $4. But, if you make your own using white vinegar, water, a drop of dish-washing liquid and some essential oils, the cost is about $0.60 (including the cost of the water.

Here is a great site for recipes  to make your own, eco-friendly cleaners:

http://greencleaning.about.com/od/InsideYourHome/


Here are some examples of common products and their eco-friendly counterparts:

Most Products People Use to Clean:

  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner

THIS:

Seventh Generation ToiletSeventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Received an “A” on EWG.org’s web site

 

NOT THIS:

Lysol Toilet CleanerLysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Received an “F” on EWG.org’s web site

  • Window Cleaner

THIS:

WFM-Glass-Cleaner-UnscentedWhole Foods Market glass cleaner, unscented

Received an “A” on EWG.org’s web site

 

 

NOT THIS:

Windex Glass CleanerWindex Original Glass Cleaner with Ammonia-D

Received an “F” on EWG.org’s web site

  • Cleanser

THIS:

Bon-Ami CleanserBon-Ami Powder

Received an “A” on EWG.org’s web site

 

NOT THIS:

Comet CleanserComet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder with Bleach

Received an “F” on EWG.org’s web site

  • Dusting Spray

THIS:

Sadly, EWG.org does not list an “A” rated dusting spray.

Here’s a good option:

Citra WoodCitraWood Natural Wood Polish

http://eartheasy.com/green-home/non-toxic-home-cleaning/citrawood-natural-wood-polish

 

NOT THIS:

EndustEndust Multi-Surface Dusting and Cleaning Spray, Lemon Zest

Received an “F” on EWG.org’s web site

 

I was shocked at what I found on EWG.org’s web site.  Many products that I considered to be environmentally-friendly failed when compared to some products which I would have thought to be toxic that weren’t. (i.e. Trader Joe’s “Next to Godliness Environmentally Sound Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder” received a “D” while their “…Concentrated Monodose Pacs” received a “B”, so it’s good to take a little time to research your products before you buy them.

Give me your specific questions about specific issues/products you are concerned about and let’s start a conversation!  Click here to ask your questions or express your concern.

BONUS:

If you shop often on Amazon.com, they will donate a portion of your purchase amount to  EWG.org (http://www.ewg.org/).  Use the link below to support them when you shop!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F&tag=wwwewgorg-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957

Please follow and like us: