30
May

Balancing pH with the Right Foods & Alkaline Water

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

As I have mentioned before my “healthy diet” ideals are varied and spread out among numerous ideologies and theories. I cherry pick the things that appeal to me and work for me and I drop the things that don’t work so well. For instance I started out liking the WAPF way of eating but kind of moved away from it as I narrowed in on a grain free, dairy free diet. Yet I still love the bone broth, probiotics, and organ meats they promote so heavily. I like the variety of veggies and plant based foods that vegans and vegetarians eat but I am not so much a fan of all the grains they typically eat. Living off pasta, bread, and rice is not healthy in my opinion. I ended up deciding that for me the best diet is a nourishing paleo diet with lots of raw foods and greens. I adore green smoothies with things like spinach, collard greens, turnip or beet greens, parsley, mustard greens, wheatgrass, or wild greens like dandelion. Greens have tons of nutrients and you are also ingesting ALKALINE foods.

I used to think that to eat mostly alkaline you had to eschew meats and dairy. In fact that is what my Doctor told me after my cancer diagnosis….that cancer loves acidic body conditions and that I need to cut those things out of my diet. This is likely why I had that whole vegetarian stint that lasted a couple years. Now I know better and that what I should have removed was grains, sugar, and dairy. Meat is completely healthy and makes for a great balanced diet when you also load up on fresh fruits, veggies, and greens. The caveman diet is great. You just have to gnaw on some wild greens along with those babyback ribs.

The typical person on a SAD (Standard American Diet) is not striking a balance between acidic and alkaline foods. When our body is too acidic it is like giving your cells an acid bath and you are providing a hospitable place for things like Candida (yeast) and cancer.

I have pH testing strips at home that I use to test my pH a couple times a week to see how I am doing. I also use a water alkalizer. LOVE it! Alkaline water benefits can not be highlighted enough. When I get too acidic I start getting hives. I used to get hives pretty bad about once a month. Now I can go  8-9 months or longer without having an outbreak. That is an immediate benefit that I can see and measure. I get hives when I stop drinking my smoothies (with alkaline water and greens) and let my diet get out of whack. I have never been able to explain way they come on but I know from online searches that other hives sufferers also think it has to do with pH. I also see a big difference in my skin when I am not drinking alkaline water. If the outside cells of my skin react so favorably to an alkaline environment I can only assume the inside cells are swimming around in joy.

Below is a quick guide for keeping that alkaline balance. You don’t have to despair and avoid all foods that tend toward the acidic. I am not giving up meat any time soon! The fact is though that conventionally people eat the acidic foods in mass quantities and they do it the majority of the time. They are consuming alcohol, and coffee, and refined sugars, and lots of grains, and healthy portions of meat, and quite a bit of cheese and milk/cream. It is an acid overload and unless we want be to giving our cells a daily acid bath we need to be more aware of our choices. Hope it helps!

How To Alkalize your body by drinking ionized water and eating an alkaline diet.

1.  Stick to a diet which minimizes intake of acid-forming foods.
2.  Eat more greens.
3.  Drink at least 1.5 liters of alkaline ionized water every day.
4.  Aerobic activities and exercises will allow your body to release excess acid in sweat.
alkaline-water-diet-detox-food-ph-scale-300
9.0 PH: Lemons, Watermelon
8.5 PH: Bell Pepper, Kelps, Mangoes, Melons, Parsley, Papaya, Seaweeds
8.0 PH: Apples, Apricots, Grapes, Fruit Juice, Avocados, Bananas, Vegetable Juice, Peas
7.5 PH: Mushrooms, Onions, Almonds, Egg yolks, Tofu, Soy milk, Vinegar, Tomato, Cucumber, Coconut, Brown Rice
acidc-ionized-water-diet-detox-ph-scale-300
7.0 PH: The Neutral PH value.
6.5 PH: Distilled Water
6.0 PH: Purified water, Fruit juice with sugar, Cigarette tobacco, Wine
5.5 PH: White Rice, Beef, White flour, Sugar, Sweetened Yogurt
5.0 PH: Artificial Sweeteners, Refined Cereals, Pasta, Animal Products, Cheese, Meats, Beef, Pork, Chicken
4.0 PH: R.O. water, Coffee, White bread
3.0 PH:  Cola / Sodas, Beer, Hard Spirits

Image Credit: Bawell Ionizers

29
May

Zulily Wish List – Almost Summer Edition

by Tiffany in Children

I love, love love Zulily. Yes I have said it before. It’s still true. How else can I get great stuff for a fraction of the cost? AND because they have so many eco options I don’t have to feel guilty. After browsing today I formulated my wishlist for the summer months using all the stuff they have available right now. It changes weekly but it always good stuff. I just have to remember that for every new thing I buy, something old has to go!

Here is my Zulily Wishlist for the week. It centers around keeping the kids occupied during the summer and joining them in the fun if at all possible!

bird bingoBird Bingo – They have tons of educational games on sale and my kids would love most of them. Yet as much as my son would adore the Dinosaur Bingo I think the Bird Bingo is more practical for family play. Plus I really need to brush up on my bird names and learn to identify them. I have an irrational fear of birds, always have, so my lack of knowledge probably stems from that. I always say though that I wish I could identify more trees and birds. This game would help with that!

Taj Mahal & Maya Pyramid 3-D Puzzle Set – My oldest son loves puzzles and he loves travel. He has never had a 3-D puzzle though so I think he would get a real kick out of this. I would also love to put this together so maybe I need to get the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Statue of Liberty Kit or maybe the St. Peter’s Basilica 3-D puzzle.

Wildflower Bingo – Hours and hours of Bingo fun. After we learn about the birds we can learn about the wildflowers. Horsemint, Columbines, Firewheel, Antelope Horns, Eryngo…we will learn to identify them all. We already have a game that helps us identify herbs so this is right up our alley.

picnic tableBlue Picnic Table Set – Okay so it is possible that this one is mostly for me but I am not feeling guilty about that. We want a small table and chairs set or a small picnic table that can be folded and put away for winter months. This fits the bill. It is made of aluminum and not plastic so that is a bonus too. If I had this I could send my kids outside to paint and craft, play games with their friends, and we could all eat messy summer foods like watermelon and barbecue ribs outside where the clean up can be done by turning on the hose. Now that’s what I am talking about.

Junior Bean Bag Toss Game – A great outdoor game for kids and I love to send my kids outside to play in the summer. I do work from home after all and it is a big adjustment for me to have a bunch of noise and chatter during my work hours. Bored with the trampoline eh? Not in the mood to hit the pool for the 5th time today? Break out the bean bag toss game. Gimme 10 minutes to finish this project and I will join you.

Looking forward to summer yet???

29
May

Natural & DIY Dryer Sheet Alternatives

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Natural Dryer Sheet Alternatives

Dryer sheets have become one of those mass marketed products that we have become convinced we need. We need them to make our laundry smell fresh or we need them to keep static cling at bay. We need them to make our clothes soft and wrinkle free. Or do we? I used to be a die hard dryer sheet user. I was absolutely convinced once upon a time that any good housekeeper and laundry aficionado MUST use dryer sheets.

Then of course I learned the hard truth. Dryer sheets are rather toxic with some really nasty chemicals that we ought not to have any contact. We certainly should not allow them to marinate with our clothing and bed sheets, which then sit in close contact with our biggest bodily organ (our skin), for hours upon hours each day. When we use dryer sheets in the high temperatures of our dryers we are dispersing all their chemical nastiness into the air (via the vent) and into our clothing. That fresh smell and any perceived benefit come at a steep cost.

Here are some common dryer sheet ingredients…

> Alpha-Terpineol – linked to depression, headaches, and disorders of the nervous system and brain
> Quaternary ammonium – linked to asthma
> Acetone – linked to nervous system issues like headaches or dizziness
> Chloroform – Neurotoxic and carcinogenic
> Ethyl Acetate – linked to headaches and is on EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
> Benzyl acetate – linked to cancer
> Ethanol- Another EPA Hazardous Waste list offender and linked to brain and nervous system disorders
> Pentane – linked to headaches, nausea, fatigue, and depression
> Fragrance – Many ingredients in fragrances are kept secret but many that we know of are linked to asthma and other serious health issues

Natural Dryer Sheet Alternatives

When we read up on some of these ingredients we can only be left to wonder if it is really worth it. Of course the answer is NO. Our health is our wealth and once we know better it makes no sense to be spending good money on toxic products. This is especially true when there are cost effective and more natural ways to accomplish the same thing… fresh smelling, wrinkle free, and static free laundry.

Dryer sheets are also single use which makes them incredibly wasteful. So even though there are some more natural brands on the market I think it is still time to let them go for good.

Natural Alternatives to Dryer Sheets

Wool Balls – They roll around with your laundry and pound the stuffing out of them, making them soft and supple. Many like to add essential oils to them for scented laundry.

Dryer Sachets – Get some small cotton or muslin drawstring bags and fill them with dried herbs like Lavender. They can be reused many times before they lose their scent and effectiveness. Once they do lose their luster simply add new herbs and compost the old ones.

Vinegar – Wet a washcloth with vinegar and put in the dryer along with the wet clothing. This is cheap and REALLY effective.

Essential Oils – Put several drops of your favorite essential oils on a washcloth, clothing scrap, or orphaned sock and then add to dryer along with dry or nearly dry laundry. Use a no heat setting and let it run for 10 minutes for sweet smelling laundry.

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets – If like some of the more natural fabric softeners on the market (ie Mrs Meyer’s or Seventh Generation) you can use those to make homemade dryer sheets using fabric scraps like old t-shirts, cut into squares. Put the fabric scraps inside a glass refrigerator or food storage dish (or a plastic one if that is what you have) and saturate them with the fabric softener. Add one to the dryer along with the wet clothing with each load. You will likely find you can reuse them more than once.

Want to keep your laundry soft, fresh smelling, snuggle worthy, and static-free all without using conventional dryer sheets? Try these alternatives.

Natural Dryer Sheet Alternatives

28
May

WildCraft Board Game – 50% Off

by Tiffany in Children

wildcraft cards

I feel it is imperative for me to share every sale or product that comes our way from the company Learning Herbs. Last month or so it was their new book series for kids called Herb Fairies but the gem I have been going on about for years now is called WildCraft. I have long been a fan of this herbal learning board game (read a full review here). We have two of them actually, one for our home and one for grandma’s house. I am thoroughly convinced this is the coolest game ever… no seriously… coolest EVER. This purchase was well worth the money, even if it was a hair pricier than CandyLand.

CandyLand is obviously centered around candy. I will pass thank you. Wildcraft is all about real, valuable knowledge and skills that are quickly getting lost in the shuffle. It is a gorgeous game that teaches the players all about herbs and how useful and helpful they are. The players are on a mission from grandma to go and pick wild Huckleberries. They have to go up and down a long winding path to get them and along the way they find herbs (plants cards) and they they even run into some trouble (trouble cards). Some of the trouble you find would include sore muscles, an earache, a toothache, a hornet sting, splinters, and much more. But thanks to the herbs you have been collecting along the way you may just have an herbal remedy to help you. Step by step along the game board kids (and parents) learn about various herbs and their practical applications in health and healing. I know I want my kids to think of nature and natural remedies BEFORE they think to grab a pill bottle and this game is a great introduction to that.

Okay, rave reviews aside this game typically only goes on sale once a year, during the holidays. But for the next couple days (until May 30th) you can get it for 50% off. That means you can secure one for less than $20. To make the deal even sweeter they are also giving buyers access to a cool webinar on Learning Herbs with Aviva Romm, M.D. called Outdoor Kids: Herbal First Aid for Summer. Plus:

*  Dandelion Activity eBook
*  Herbal Roots Zine Kids Activity Magazine
*  The Herbal Gifts eBook. (Saves you more in gifts than you spend on the game.)
*  Mentoring Kids & Nature Connection with Jon Young (mp3)
*  Herb Fairies Activity Pack, with Book One and activity materials

Enjoy!

BUY NOW!

28
May

Doing Good – It’s Easier Now More Than Ever

by Guest in Social Good

charity

A guest post by Michael Fields

Did you know that you could help the world just by the purchases you make? Many companies that offer necessary products also do good deeds locally, internationally and for the world as a whole. Some businesses focus on minimizing their carbon footprint, while others focus on humanitarian efforts – and many do both. Here are just a few of some of the great companies that are using their powers for good.

Jatalo

Jatalo founder Aditya Viswanathan took a trip to India and learned that many local children couldn’t attend school due to the high cost of textbooks. This gave rise to the new company where backpacks equal textbooks. Jatalo supplies the textbooks for a full school year to one child for each backpack the company sells. These quality, fashionable backpacks feature ethnic color schemes that speak of the culture that inspired them. Not a bad way to give back, while also encouraging the pursuit of further education.

Yellow 108

This Los Angeles headwear company proudly wears the name of the cheeriest color on the color wheel, alongside the Pantone number that corresponds with it. The goal of the company is to minimize waste from green textile factories. All hats and accessories from Yellow 108 are crafted from salvaged materials, and two percent of all sales go directly toward local non-profit organizations that participate in socially responsible initiatives.

Warby Parker

Four close friends who had a vision to bring sight to the world founded Warby Parker as a place for customers to purchase quality, attractive eyewear at reasonable prices. How reasonable? Try 95 bucks – not too shabby for new pair of prescription glasses. In addition to keeping their overhead low and prices well below competitor’s rates, the company partners with non-profit organizations to donate a pair of glasses to those in need for each pair they sell – that includes their beautiful collection of vintage-inspired sunglasses as well, so even if you aren’t a glasses wearer you can still rock some shades and give back.

WeWOOD

Fashion, utilitarianism and green practices come together in the innovative designs of WeWOOD. After establishing their brand in Florence, Italy, the founders of WeWOOD opened a store in Los Angeles where they sell ornate wooden watches and other timepieces fashioned primarily from scrap wood. The company also partners with American Forests to assist with reforestation, and with each piece they sell – the company has a tree planted locally and abroad.

Two Degrees

Why go on a hunger strike when you can grab a snack and feed hungry children? Two Degrees Food focuses on providing healthy snacks to hungry guys and gals while working to feed the world’s children. For every vegan, gluten-free snack bar they sell, they donate a meal to feed a hungry child. By empowering consumers to feed the hungry, they achieve their goal of feeding the world through only two degrees of separation, quite the delicious trade-off.

Life brings each of us many opportunities to help others. When we join forces with others to do good in the world, the effects will be more far reaching than any of us could possibly imagine. By checking out some of these alternative options you are not only encouraging the growth of a new business, but you are truly giving back to the people that make up the world we live in.

Michael Fields is a brand new blogger writing about social good, gardening, the great outdoors, and anything else that may interest him along the way. Michael is a husband, father, and advocate trying to live a more socially conscious life every day. Connect with Michael via his blog, Mountains & Fields.