Friday, April 22, 2011

40 Tips for Making Everyday Earth Day

It's Earth Day.  So what?  I know there are a lot of people that feel kind of like that.  But, just like dieting, this day is not so much about making a choice that doesn't feel natural to you to begin with.  It's about making a change in your lifestyle.  Here's a quick list of some ways to make a change today.  Some take a little more effort than others, we'll admit that; but all were included because they are easy to implement.  Choose one; choose all.  What's important is making the choice to live mindfully.

  1. Replace paper coffee filters with a permanent filter that can be washed and reused.
  2. Use reusable rags instead of paper towels.
  3. If you do use paper towels, purchase a brand that lets you select the size of towel you use each time.
  4. Keep drip pans on your stove clean. Clean drip pans radiate more heat, so your stove doesn't have to work quite so hard.
  5. Purchase reusable water bottles and coffee cups and USE THEM!
  6. Use a water filtration system with your tap water instead of purchasing bottled water.
  7. Store leftovers and/or bulk food in glass or porcelain containers.
  8. Use rechargeable batteries.
  9. Purchase fresh produce instead of canned and use a local farmer's market when possible.
  10. Make your own baby food from your fresh produce. It tastes better and is better for baby, too!
  11. Choose soy or beeswax candles instead of petroleum-based paraffin wax candles.
  12. Wash most of your laundry in cold water. Most detergents today are designed to work just as well at this temperature.
  13. If possible, hang your clothes to dry.
  14. Install a dual flush upgrade to your toilet. Kits are available in most home improvement stores for around $20 and install in about 10 minutes.
  15. Plug the bathtub before turning on the water for your little one's bath.
  16. Use a washable shower curtain liner instead of a plastic disposable one.
  17. Use a razor with refillable blades.
  18. Choose body oils made from the seeds of fruits and nuts instead of baby oil.  Baby oil is just scented mineral oil - a byproduct of gasoline production. ick
  19. Repair worn shoes instead of throwing them out and buying new ones. It's cheaper and you'll still have the shoes you love!
  20. Discover the joy of resale shops! You'll be amazed at the gems you can find from clothing to curtains, to holiday decor and everything in between!
  21. Install a programmable thermostat.  It's easier than you think!
  22. Install an attic fan. They're easy to install and can lower the temp in your home significantly on hot days.  You can even purchase a solar powered model!
  23. Don't throw out your magazines when you're done reading them.  Share them with a friend!
  24. Purchase exercise equipment secondhand. It's cheaper and there are a lot of lonely treadmills out there just waiting for a new home.
  25. Unplug your appliances, when possible, when you leave on vacation.
  26. Quit using disposable pens. Find a pen you love and just refill the ink cartridge.
  27. Opt for e-billing and online financial statements.
  28. Use direct deposit if it's available to you.
  29. Pay your bills online.
  30. Don't throw away your old cell phone. E-cycle it or donate it to a charity (women's shelters are often in need of them)
  31. Set outside lights on timers or motion sensors so they are only used when you really need them.
  32. Plant native plants in your landscaping. They are better suited to your climate and less likely to die and need replacing.
  33. When possible, choose to plant drought resistant plants.  Once established, they'll require less water.
  34. Grow something edible, whether it's a basil plant on your kitchen windowsill or a full vegetable garden.
  35. Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water your gardens. There will be less evaporation and no wasted water on leaves and foliage.
  36. Maintain your vehicle - regular oil changes, keeping the air filter clean, checking tire pressure - for optimum performance and longer life.
  37. Limit car idling time.  An idling car emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 32 mph!
  38. Use mass transit or carpool.
  39. Learn a skill.  Sewing, knitting, wood working, plumbing, electrical, etc. You can make gifts, repair items, build what you need, etc.
  40. Use em naturals products!  They're all 100% natural, good for you, and good for Mother Nature, too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Choose Natural Products?

I was at the grocery store recently to purchase items for a homemade pizza dinner.  As I contemplated my many shredded mozzarella cheese options, something caught my eye... A bag labeled "Mozzarella Cheese Style Topping".  Huh?  Intrigued, I picked up the package and checked out the ingredients.  Hmm... not even enough stuff in there to be considered actual cheese.  Artificial flavoring, yes; but no real cheese.  Now, I ask you, would you buy that and feed it to your family even though it's a bit cheaper than real cheese? I didn't.

Life is full of choices and, when it comes to what we put in our bodies, many of us will make that choice to eat the real cheese instead of the imposter.  What about those products you put on your body, though?  The moisturizers, the soaps, etc?  When it comes to these products, you'd really be amazed at what is passed off as natural and "good for you".  Lotions with alcohol in them (it will actually cause your skin to become drier, thus needing more of that lotion!), soaps with harsh sulfates, and don't even get me started on anything with petroleum jelly in it! 

While on the surface (of your skin) they may seem harmless, all of the chemicals, sulfates, synthetics, and parabens don't just remain there.  They soak in; they absorb.  What do our bodies do with them then?  Well, since these imposters aren't recognized by our bodies, they are taken in as toxins.  Fortunately, the human body is designed to flush out these toxins.  Unfortunately, living in our world today, we take in toxins from so many different sources that our bodies are easily overwhelmed and cannot properly eliminate all that we absorb.  The result? Toxins that are retained in our body fat and in our organs.  They deplete our energy stores, lower our metabolism, and, ulimately, end up in our blood stream.

The solution?  Go natural!  Whether it's ingredients in your food, your moisturizer, or in your laundry detergent, natural is better.  Real cheese tastes better, right?  Well, real moisturizers moisturize better.  And for longer!  Detergents without sulfates and chemicals get your clothing just as clean but won't aggravate allergies or sensitive skin.  Not even all "clear" detergents can boast that.

Finally, natural products are not only better for us as individuals, but they're also better for the environment.  There are no chemicals to leech into our groundwater; they aren't filling our air with toxic gasses.  By making natural choices, we're taking care of our own health, but we're also taking care of the health of Mother Nature.  It's a win-win.

So, celebrate Earth Day by making a natural choice.  Read labels and choose to use products that contain ingredients you can pronounce.  And, above all, live mindfully! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Get Soaked

I'm not sure about you, but I'm a water baby.  Being in water, whether it's a pool, lake, or other body of water, just makes me feel calm.  So, it's no surprise that I love a good bath.  There's just something about sinking down to my chin in warm water that makes everything right in the world.

That's why I'm so in love with our bath salts and our milk & honey bath powder.  If I'm physically worn out from a day of working in the garden or just chasing the kids, the mineral rich bath salts ease away the aches and pains of the day.  You wouldn't think that something as simple as that would work, but it really does!  

And, when I just want to feel indulgent, the milk & honey bath powder does it for me.  We all know that milk baths are great for the skin (Cleopatra taught us that), but do you know why?  Milk contains lactic acid which is a wonderfully natural exfoliant.  It will leave your skin silky soft without all the harsh scrubbing (because, really, I find loofahs rather scratchy).  So, why include the honey?  Well, honey is a humectant.  That means it helps retain moisture.  Combined with the milk, the benefit is skin that is not only soft but will stay that way!  Plus, it smells divine!

Try one (or both!) today; but beware.  Once you try them, you may end up loving the bath so much that you may not want to get out!