Evil Rooster in a Crockpot!

Who doesn’t love a tasty (and healthy) barbeque recipe?! As a family trying to eat healthy and be cautious about unhealthy industry feeding standards (like Confined Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO), we have always wanted to grow our own food including meat.

 

We tried SO hard to live with an evil rooster. We let him grow up and thought he might be a good addition for our laying flock’s protection. Well, we were wrong. After he attacked me and knocked me flat on my A*S*S, it was time to go. Yes, it was quite embarrassing and I was hoping the neighbors did not see this pathetic sight…me. When I fell over, all I could think to myself is, “Get up woman! This thing is going to gouge your eyes out!”. I know that sounds dramatic (and I am sometimes). So, anyway…

 

Back to the recipe, even though he wasn’t a good addition to our flock, he was a tasty Sunday dinner! Also, I got a new Honey Barbeque Recipe out of it! This one I had to write down! We have been raising laying hens for a year and a half now and it is amazing to walk out and grab eggs out of your own backyard! Have you ever imagined what “sunshine” tastes like? It would be a homegrown egg.

 

Honey Barbeque Recipe:

  • 4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
  • 2/3 cup of raw, local honey
  • 1 cup of organic ketchup
  • 1 cup of amino acids
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 4 T of fresh parsley (chopped finely)
  • 1 T of hemp seeds (optional)

 

Whisk ingredients thoroughly to combine. Pour over chicken pieces in a crockpot. Turn crockpot on with cover for 4 to 5 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. (Let the internal temperature of the chicken get to 165°F be your guide on cooking time). Hemp seeds are optional (can be replaced by sesame seeds).

 

This was a great meal and a recipe I am going to keep with me! For more information about the dangers of eating animals that are forced into Confined Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO. Please visit this link CAFO.

Your choices do make a difference in your health!

~Kenna

Benefits of Coconut Oil

I am in love with coconut oil! Seriously, coconut oil is not a fad. It is an amazing tropical oil that provides HEALTHY fats into your diet and a great chemical-free way to moisturize your hair and skin! I use it in A LOT of my DIY’s for beauty products, recipes (or general cooking), and it tastes amazing! Just like everything else all coconut oil is not created equal, so make sure you are getting the good stuff by looking for 5 main things when buying coconut oil (this is my favorite):

 

Coconut Oil MUST be:

  1. Organic (Why? No pesticides or other toxins. Not to mention you are voting with your dollar, so choose organic when you can.)
  2. Cold-pressed (Why? Made by using low temperatures that will not change, deplete, or ruin the integrity of the oil.)
  3. Unrefined, Extra Virgin (Why? Not processed, so nutritional value of healthy fats remain in tact.)
  4. Non-GMO (Why? Controversial studies may lead people to believe GMO’s aren’t dangerous, but I would like my food to be as God intended. I support technology, but not in this case. GMO’s are NOT food. Please don’t eat them. They ruin your gut flora, which is at least 60% of your immune system!)
  5. One ingredient, it needs to should say “Coconut” and that is all. (Why? No fillers, additives, or preservatives.)

By making sure your coconut oil are these 5 things above, you will get the most benefits from it!

 

It is difficult to know where to start when talking about coconut oil because there are a million uses!

 

What makes Coconut Oil so AMAZING?

 

Coconut oil has the highest concentration of lauric acid on earth! So why do we care about that? Your body converts lauric acid into a monoglycerides that can literally destroy viruses like flu, measles, many others. There have even been studies done showing success against HIV! That is huge!

 

Also, coconut oil is made up of medium chained fatty acids, which allows it to enter cellular membranes. This enhances cell function. Your body is made up of tons and tons of cells and coconut oil can help your cells function optimally. Cells will be able to utilize oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, which means a healthier you!

 

Coconut Oil is the best oil for cooking. It stays stable at a temperature as high as 350 degrees F. People believe olive oil is good for cooking, but I do not recommend heating olive oil. Any type of smoking oil is rancid oil, purely toxic for your body. Instead, use coconut oil for cooking and leave olive oil for cold salads. Coconut Oil is so good on popcorn (instead of using butter) and, of course, some sea salt, it will make your heart skip a beat! Ok, that is a bad analogy because coconut oil actually promotes heart health! That’s right! No artery clogging here! Coconut Oil also supports immune health. My kids will just take a spoonful of coconut oil for a snack practically every day.

 

“Coconut oil should be used externally to promote skin health and internally for overall health!”

 

Coconut Oil for Beauty:

Use Coconut Oil as:

  • Carrier oil for essential oils (you can add other healthy skin promoting oils like lavender, geranium, Melrose, Frankincense. Not a member of Young Living yet? Join here and give me the honor of being your sponsor!)
  • Moisturizer (face and body)
  • Body scrub (add sugar)
  • Facial Exfoliator (add baking soda)
  • Primer (lightly applied before foundation)
  • Make-up remover replacement
  • Conditioner replacement
  • Shaving cream replacement

 

Coconut Oil for Health:

  • Massage oil (I massage my kids’ backs and necks if they have a cold. This helps loosen up congestion and helps their glands to keep infection moving through their body. Also, if they have not been able to eat much, coconut oil is absorbed through their skin to help with energy levels to keep them healing. I like to use a couple drops of Young Living R.C. oil or Thieves oil when they have a cold. These oils are awesome for cutting colds short!)
  • Promotes thyroid function
  • Promotes a healthy heart
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Promotes healthy brain function (there is research that coconut oil helps reverse, yes, reverse, dementia and Alzheimer’s.)
  • Promotes oral health and overall health (One key way is through oil pulling. This is a great way to detox!)

 

What is Oil Pulling?

My teeth started throwing me for a loop when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby. I felt like plague was building up and discoloring my teeth near my salivation glands, so I was looking into natural ways for whitening your teeth. But I stumbled onto something much bigger and more beneficial than I first thought! Oil Pulling! This was first done with sesame seed oil, but there are a number of reasons to believe even more benefits can be had by using Coconut Oil instead. I felt the claims were hard to believe at first. I started looking into it more and went to a few sources I trust. I was stunned at the health benefit claims, which is backed by research that oil pulling can provide! I am always looking for methods of detoxing that I can do on a daily basis. Oral health benefits seemed very believable, so I thought I would give it a try! Also, the health of your mouth is a mirror to the health of your internal organs. Keep that in mind before you disregard oil pulling!

 

 

I frequently hear comments about ‘Why do I need to detox?’. Well, to put it simply, you are burdened with toxins (worse than when your mother was a child) EVERY DAY!. Stop worrying about toxins and do something about it!

To oil pull, simply put 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth. I almost chew on it to get it to melt and then just casually swish it in your mouth. Now, this isn’t an aggressive swish just casual (in a relaxed manner). At first, I struggled with it, wanting to eat the oil when it melted because I love the taste, but I lessened the amount of oil slightly until I got the hang of it. You swish it around for about 20 minutes for maximum results, but even 5 minutes is better than not doing this at all. Then spit the oil out in the trash can (NOT IN THE SINK! Your plumbing will be mad at you!). Then rinse your mouth out and either brush your teeth (with non-fluoride toothpaste) or go about your day. The ideal time to oil pull is in the morning before you eat anything.

 

 

“Pulling with coconut oil actually gives me an energy burst, so if you are cutting back on coffee, this can help!”

 

5 Steps to Oil Pulling:

  1. Put 1-2 Tbsp of coconut oil in your mouth (Best time to do this is in the morning, but don’t not do it because the morning does not work for you. – ‘don’t not’ that’s a fun double negative).
  2. ‘Chew’ on the oil until it melts.
  3. Gently swish it around your mouth for 5-20 minutes (not aggressively, this is a relaxing yet effective activity).
  4. Spit it out in the garbage (do NOT swallow it because there are toxins in it and don’t spit it in the drain! It will solidify in your plumbing, so don’t do that.)
  5. Rinse your mouth with clean water or brush your teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste. (Young Living has an awesome Thieves toothpaste!)

 

What Do I Do to Achieve Optimal Benefits with Coconut Oil?

  1. The Coconut Oil I use is ALWAYS organic, unrefined, cold-pressed, non-GMO, and extra virgin.
  2. Coconut Oil is the ONLY oil I cook with.
  3. Coconut Oil is my ONLY moisturizer and I use it daily.
  4. I do oil pulling with Coconut Oil once per day in the morning for 20 minutes.
  5. I simply eat 2-3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil every day because it is an amazing healthy fat that does NOT make you fat.

 

If you want to kick your detoxing up a notch with oil pulling, put a drop of Young Living Peppermint Oil in your mouth with the Coconut Oil. Peppermint oil is great for focus, alertness, and allergy relief and it is just plain refreshing! If you want more information on why I choose Young Living, click here to be directed toward my blog post solely on essential oils.

 

So, again, I am not a doctor, but during my research, I read a few books on this and I always practice what I preach. This was my favorite book, Coconut Oil Miracle. I thought it was an interesting read if you want to learn more!

 

Your choices do make a difference in your health!

 

~Kenna

 

 

 

Homemade Baby Wipes!

So I just delivered my 3rd precious, little baby at home! Yes, it was a planned homebirth. First thing on my mind now (besides baby #4, Ha! Just kidding, Honey!) is how to make sure all products that I use are baby safe. I don’t mean “baby safe” like the baby industry wants you to believe is safe, but actual non-toxic baby products that you can feel good about putting on your baby’s skin. One of items we use most of is BABY WIPES.

 

Here is an easy recipe that smells amazing and is chemical-free for your baby’s butt (and hands and face).

What You Need:

Instructions (Easy-Peazy):

  1. I boil the water with a cover on, so water does not escape in the form of vapor.
  2. Let water cool, somewhat (warm to the touch).
  3. Add baby soap and coconut oil to the water (the coconut oil will melt if it is still warm. If you stepped away and it is cool, just melt coconut oil separately and add to mixture).
  4. Add Young Living Essential Oil (I love the Gentle Baby blend, but it is sometimes hard to come by. Lavender is nice on the skin as well.)
  5. Cut paper towels in half, so you have 2 rolls. Put one half aside for another batch. We cut ours with a saw, but an electric knife works. This would be cumbersome.DIY Homemade Baby Wipes
  6. Set the paper towel half in the baby wipe container (like the above picture).
  7. I put the mixture into a glass container with a pour spout.
  8. Slowly pour mixture all over the paper towels in the wipe container to saturate the towels.
  9. Slowly push the lid down on the paper towels (they will go slightly to the side). Flip the whole container upside down (I put mine on a towel to catch any small leaks). Leave upside down for about 5 minutes.
  10. Flip it back to right side up.
  11. Open the lid and slowly pull the cardboard round out. This should move out very easily. Discard the cardboard.
  12. Carefully pull the end of the paper towels from the center of the roll through the wipe opening. This is your first wipe! When the paper towels are first saturated, they tear too easily, but it only takes about a few hours and your non-toxic, homemade baby wipes are hands down better than anything you can buy and tear like standard wipes!

You can feel good about what you are putting on baby’s skin and know chemicals like chlorine aren’t going into baby’s precious little body.

Your choices do make a difference in your health (and baby’s)! Enjoy your homemade baby wipes!

DIY, Non-Toxic Tick Repellent using Geranium Essential Oil

My family and I decided we needed more room, so we moved to a town that is not so much considered a suburb.  It is beautiful! It is peaceful! And there are a butt-load of ticks! I never used to think very much about ticks, but these ‘black legged’ little blood suckers gave my husband lymes disease after living in our beautiful, woodsy new home for 3 months. What a nightmare! Luckily, my husband was able to combat the lymes diagnosis and it is acute not chronic. Chronic would mean it affects the nervous system.

 

However, my protective mama-bear instincts kicked in and I HAD to come up with a way to protect not only my children, but my husband. We absolutely love living out of the city limits, but my fear of ticks and any of the bacterial infections they carry (which there are MANY), I needed to come up with a way to combat this. It also needed to be a simple plan and something able to be habitual for us.

 

I like to come at things from many different directions. I don’t think one thing is the answer, but there are many factors and ways to fix problems.

 

Ward Off Ticks:

  1. Use Young Living Geranium Essential Oil.
  2. Garlic oil in Vaseline under window/door frames.
  3. Old-fashioned flannel drag and burn barrel.
  4. Add garlic and apple cider vinegar to your diet.
  5. Get chickens (not an option for everyone).
  6. Perform tick checks every day during tick season.

 

1) Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil is best known for skin healing properties. BUT there are so many uses. I will list a few:

  1. Tick repellent (I have a lot to say about this! Keep reading)
  2. Tightens saggy skin
  3. Promotes healthy skin and new skin cells
  4. Prevents bacteria from developing on wounds
  5. Promotes release of negative memories, balance of emotions
  6. Stops bleeding

 

I did not know what to do at first about ticks. A friend at work sent me an article about a woman who was diagnosed with lymes. Her and her dog were IN LOVE with the woods and hiking. They didn’t want to live in fear, so she came across geranium oil as their ticket to NO MORE TICKS. I then started researching non-toxic tick repellent dog collars and found that geranium essential oil was a popular ingredient and in some cases, the ONLY active ingredient in these non-toxic options.

 

We spent the rest of the summer putting Young Living Geranium Essential Oil on our ankles, wrists, and necks every time we wanted to go outside. With just this one change, I found zero ticks on anyone for the rest of the summer and fall. This was a little tedious to put the oil on before going outside, so I needed to come up with something more convenient for my husband and hyper toddlers. Again, I chose Young Living for many reasons, but the main ones, I trust their Seed to Seal Guarantee, purity, and the fact that not all essential oil brands can even be used on the skin. Look out for warnings from other brands that say “do not apply to skin”.

 

I decided to make a HUMAN-VERSION OF TICK REPELLENT BANDS/COLLARS. Here is what you need:

  • 2 T of Witch Hazel
  • 1 t of Garlic Oil (make your own):
    • Mince/press one clove and put it in 1/4 cup of olive oil, warm up oil for 15 minutes, pull off heat and cover, let sit for at least 5 hrs) – DO NOT use heat higher than 350 degree F for olive oil, this will ensure not going over its smoke point and causing rancid oil.
  • 5 drops of Young Living Geranium Oil (this is the KEY ingredient! If you are not already a Young Living member, please click on the link I have here to become one! I would love to be your sponsor and be available to help guide in an oil-infused lifestyle!)
  • Woven or absorbent band or “collar” (something convenient either stretchy or with a buckle)
  • Glass container (like a mason jar with lid)

Directions:

Depending on how many bands you use, you may have to up the volume to submerge them. I mix the witch hazel, garlic oil, and Young Living Geranium Essential Oil in a glass container (essential oils can react with plastic, so make sure it is glass). Then I submerge the absorbent bands and let them sit for at least 10 minutes. Depending on what you are using for your bands the time may vary, you can squeeze a little part of the band and see if it is saturated. If you do that, place it back in the mixture to re-saturate. When ready, pull the bands out and let them dry over night. They can be used the next day. Also, just seal up the leftover mixture in the glass container, put the lid on, and it will store just fine. Add to or replenish the mixture as needed next time, so it won’t go to waste.

Important: You should re-saturate your bands once per month, so the affects of the Geranium Essential Oil keep working for you. Ticks HATE geranium oil. Another tip, make sure you put bands on your ankles. This is the most likely way a tick latches onto you! (I have the urge to call ticks little bastards here, but I won’t. Well, not directly.)

 

2) Garlic Oil and Vaseline under window/door frames

You can call your DNR and ask or research online when ticks tend to lay their egg sacs in your area. You only have to do this once per year. This is the time you want to put use your homemade garlic oil (directions in this blog above) and Vaseline combination to stop ticks from laying the egg sac or suffocating the ones that have not hatched. I sound horrible writing that, but I don’t have much sympathy for ticks. Use about 1:3 ratio of garlic oil to Vaseline and with this concoction on your finger, just run your finger underneath window frames and door frames all along the outside of your home. This is a popular place for ticks to put their egg sacs. This will help decrease the population of surviving ticks in your yard.

 

3) Old-Fashioned Flannel Drag and Burn Barrel

 

This sounds kind of ‘rodeo’ or ‘country’ and guaranteed this WILL get you strange looks from neighbors if they see you do this, but it works.

 

Use a large piece of material that you don’t care about like an old flannel shirt or other material that is relatively tacky (I don’t mean tacky like ugly, I mean clingy). Put the material/cloth on the ground and use a broom or old shovel handle to move or rake around your yard with the material. The idea is to drag the cloth on the ground, so that ticks cling to it.

 

Do this in areas where you are most concerned about ticks, maybe children’s main play area, or under shady trees where you like to sit, or wherever. Ticks do like the perimeter of yards where there are bushes, trees, or shady areas. When done raking the material around the yard, promptly bring the material or cloth to a fire pit or preferably a burn barrel and burn the material.

 

Important: Do NOT touch the material when bringing it to be burnt. There will be ticks on it. Best time to do this is when ticks are active. For example, our tick season is usually mid-May to September. I do this the first time in mid-May and again, once per month.

 

4) Add Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar to your Diet.

 

Both garlic and apple cider vinegar are good for you, so these should be in your diet anyway, but even one more reason is that ticks do not like the smell or taste. This will help them to not like the taste of you. There is mixed research on the length of time required before a tick needs to be attached to you to pass on any of the bacterial infections they can pass on (including lymes disease), but all of the research seems to agree that the infected tick has to be attached to you for AT LEAST 24 HOURS before it is able to pass anything on to you or a loved one. Some research says more time, but nothing I have found says less than 24 hours.

 

Garlic:

When using garlic in your diet, it is good practice to press it instead of only mincing. This releases more of the wonderful properties garlic has. Also, before pressing and quickly throwing it in your food instead press it and set it in a side bowl for a few moments. This allows more time for the garlic to react with the air increasing its allicin that increases garlic’s infection fighting properties. Keep in mind, garlic loses potency quickly and all of the beneficial allicin will be gone in about an hour. Therefore, press garlic, let is sit for a few moments, add it to your food later in cooking and eat it within the hour. Dried, jarred, or powdered garlic does not have these benefits.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar:

There are many reasons to incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into your diet besides warding off ticks. Apple Cider Vinegar supports a healthy digestive system, aids in weight loss, detox’s your body, balances pH, and much more! Here is a recipe you will love!

Lemon Aid (AKA “Good Girl Moonshine”)

 

5) Get Chickens!

Chickens eat ticks. The less ticks the better. Enough said. :)

 

6) Perform Tick Checks Every Day During Tick Season

It is just good practice before pajamas go on, check your spouse and your kids for ticks and your spouse should check you. Again, ticks cannot pass on bacterial infections if they are latched on less than 24 hours, so even if a tick gets through this regiment I am posting about, be diligent about checking your family.

 

Educate yourself about lyme’s disease and its symptoms. Don’t fear it, do something about it. The sooner you catch it and treat it, the better off you will be.

 

During tick season, I have also added Young Living Geranium Essential Oil to my DIY Shampoo recipe for my family.

 

Your Choices Do Make a Difference in Your Health!!

Protein-Packed Cereal Recipe!

I have ALWAYS enjoyed a big yummy bowl of cereal for breakfast and in my lazier years, college and such, when there were more important things to worry about (so I thought), cereal made a tasty, quick, easy dinner! Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch was my weakness and then…I started looking at the ingredients.

 

Ingredient 1: Corn flour – Wow! This is a really bad start! Corn is one of the U.S.’s top GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), AKA not food.

Ingredient 2: Sugar – The anti-nutrient and catalyst for all chronic disease. Again, bad.

Ingredient 3: Peanut butter – But not just any peanut butter, it is actually listed out as peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated vegetable oil… So a little more sugar (represented by “-ose”) and trans fats (indicated by the word “hydrogenated”). But don’t worry, this isn’t the “serious” trans fat you should worry about, it is the “other” kind of trans fat. Cap’n’s got you covered. There’s a little asterisk that says “Adds a dietarily insignificant amount of trans fat”. I’m sure the person making this claim is more than qualified. (Yes, you caught me with an eye-roll, I mean I think my eyes are still stuck in the back of my head and I can’t stop with the sarcasm here.) This is a ridiculous claim. My goodness! Should I even continue looking at this? It is appalling.

 

And how many of us serve these sugary cereal breakfasts up for our kids?! We haven’t even touched on the fact that I was putting cow’s milk on my cereal as well. We’ll get into that another time, but at the very least, please make sure the cow’s milk is organic.

 

Here’s my journey through cereal…

 

Fair Cereal Option:

I liked the convenience of boxed cereal, so I took a baby step to a different cereal and yes, still peanut butter. It was Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins. Ingredients are hands down better than Cap’n Crunch and it still tastes good. Quick run-down:

Ingredient 1: Non-GMO corn meal (better)

Ingredient 2: Evaporated cane sugar (still sugar, but not as refined. I also don’t like the fact that it is the 2nd ingredient because that is the 2nd largest quantity of stuff in the cereal)

Ingredient 3: Peanut butter (peanuts and sea salt).

Obviously, there are more ingredients to share, but you can check out the box for more information. My point is this was “better” and helped me with my transition to a healthier option…I wanted to test myself more because I was still not feeding my body a healing-type food and this cereal is not organic. Too many unknowns for me. Next…I tried…

 

Good Cereal Option:

After more research about live food and the importance of sprouted, I went with Ezekiel 4:9 Golden Flax. Now these ingredients were impressive for a ‘processed’ food, but what a taste change from the normal, sweet breakfast I was used for…well, my whole life! I’m not going to lie, this cereal does not taste amazing and I found myself having to ‘doctor’ it up with organic raisins and walnuts.

Ingredient 1: Organic sprouted wheat

Ingredient 2: Organic malted barley

Ingredient 3: Organic golden flax seeds

This cereal is organic as well. More ingredients I did not list above, but my point here is from an ingredient standpoint, this cereal is good (not great), but definitely not-so-good from the taste side. Also, the price point on Ezekiel cereal was too high for my ‘taste’. I knew there was a better way to enjoy cereal. That led me to my own recipe.

 

My Protein-Packed Real-Food Cereal Recipe:

I decided after experimenting with all kinds of modifications I was making to the Ezekiel cereal, I would just use the extra ingredients I added and phase-out the cereal itself and I could make it GLUTEN-FREE…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic, raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup Organic, raw pine nuts
  • 1 T Organic, raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 T Organic chia seeds
  • ½ T Organic hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup Organic raisins
  • ¼ cup Organic wolfberries (Goji berries)

Young Living sells organic wolfberries at a reasonable price point (added the link above), but these should also, be available at your local co-op. This recipe is about 26-27 g of protein in one bowl excluding the fact that I pour Almond Milk on it. That is a nice chunk of protein for the day! I eat meat, but not every day. This helps me to stay full and still get a good dose of protein especially when I need it most, which is in the morning.

 

Possible modifications to this cereal: Anything you want, but I have some tips to sweeten it up especially for people just starting on their journey. Your taste buds will change and crave sweet less, but this doesn’t happen instantly. You can add more raisins, add raw organic honey, or use sweetened Almond Milk.

Caution: I came up with the quantities of each ingredient of my cereal recipe during my current pregnancy, so if this is too much or too filling, just cut back on the walnuts and/or pine nuts. :) I used to just throw the ingredients together and enjoy, but I wanted to give you an idea of the portions that I think are yummy.

 

I hope this helps you to see the importance about reading ingredients list of even those yummy tasting, go-to favorites of yours. It makes sense for your body and health to push yourself to find good options that you can still enjoy. Also, as you can see, this was a journey for me and not a quick one.

 

Your choices do make a difference in your health!

Get the “Poo” Out of Your Shampoo!

So, all bodycare products including shampoo have toxic chemicals in it. Yes, even baby shampoos like Johnson and Johnson (sorry, J&J, the truth hurts). I want to help minimize your chemical and toxin exposure by sharing a DIY Young Living Essential Oil Shampoo recipe with you! But first, why do we care what is in our shampoo, I mean, it’s not like we are eating it?

 

It may be shocking to hear that you might be better off eating the chemical-filled shampoo rather than letting it touch your skin (not that eating it would clean your hair)… My point is your body at least has stomach acids and your kidneys to help deal with and filter some chemicals out. However, when toxins touch your skin, you absorb it DIRECTLY into your blood stream! This causes practically instant mobility to all organs all over your body. I have bought shampoos that are better than standard brands, but still A LOT of words I cannot pronounce or understand.

 

What I do understand is that these are the top chemicals (just below) you want to avoid if you are not interested in DIY shampoo. You want to avoid them because they are immune and neurological disruptors. Last I checked, your brain is a BIG part of your neurological system and the control center of your body, so toxic shampoos directly on your head, not a good idea.

 

Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid:

  1. SLS/SLES – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate – I have trouble remembering this one, so I just remember “Sodium blah-blah-blah Sulfate”. I’m sure manufacturers will continue to spin the second word to continue to use these cheap chemicals in their products. Well, they can keep ALL of their products with this bad boy, it is a known carcinogen (STRONGLY linked to causing cancer). Oh, this one also leaves a residue on your organs for up to 5 days, so hope you are not washing your hair very often.
  2. Phthalates – Many of the ingredient lists affectionately call this “fragrance”. This sounds so harmless, but it is not. This ingredient is linked to birth defects.
  3. Methylisothiazolinone – Ingredient that may show up as MIT. This one is not strongly understood, but is linked to nervous system issues.
  4. Parabens – Ingredient that acts like the female estrogen hormone. Most people understand a hormone imbalance is trouble and causes cancer cells to thrive.

 

DIY Essential Oil Shampoo Recipe

Ok, enough toxin talk (for now). With toddlers, I have found showers are a luxury. Sorry, co-workers only popping in the shower every 3-4 days in this house. Ha! (Now I’m sharing too much)

To add shine, use Rosemary or Chamomile essential oil.

For dry hair, use Lavender, Rosemary, or Geranium essential oil.

For oily hair, use Rosemary, Peppermint, Cypress, or Basil essential oil

Cedarwood essential oil promotes hair growth!

 

Just mix all ingredients together with a mixer and add the essential oil(s) last (with the final mix). You can always add more essential oils, so drip slowly and consider the amazing fragrance and health promoting benefits as you determine your favorite combination. Store in a mason jar and they sell awesome pumps for these DIY’s. Yes, this shampoo will not be creamy like a typical store bought shampoo, but it works even better and no chemicals to worry about affecting your body!

 

Conditioner? I just use a TINY amount of organic coconut oil. I have long hair and I avoid my bangs because a small amount of oil like coconut oil does not dry well in hair. I prefer Carrington Farms. Put it in, leave it for 5-ish minutes and rinse it out. That’s it. Not too much coconut oil. Otherwise, you’ll be greasy. The amount of coconut oil will vary person-to-person and as your hair healthily adjusts to not being completely stripped of good, natural oils from your body, the amount needed may change as well.

 

With Young Living Essential Oils (of course, Young Living! It’s the best and highest quality. You can’t beat their Seed to Seal® Guarantee) in your DIY’s actually promote health and well-being instead of crushing it like standard ingredients mentioned above. I suggest Rosemary for all hair types. Rosemary essential oil helps with mental clarity and fatigue. Don’t let some of my suggestions stop you from experimenting with all kinds of combinations!

 

A few of my favorite essential oil combinations for shampoo that I didn’t mention above is the classic lavender & orange (more lavender than orange because orange can be very over-powering) or lavender & peppermint or just plain Thieves. For men out there, Cedarwood or Sandalwood Young Living Essential Oil is nice, more of a “woodsy” smell.

 

If you are already a Young Living distributor, Good for You! I hope you love this recipe. If you are ready to become one, please click here and I will be your sponsor. Otherwise, if you are unsure about these types of DIY’s, please be diligent by reading the ingredients list of the body care products you buy and share information about these types of issues that maybe others aren’t thinking of.

 

Cost of DIY Young Living Essential Oil Shampoo Recipe

When it comes to you and your family’s health, the DIY recipes I use and will continue to post, can literally be a life-saver and is priceless. However, looking at the financial aspect of better brands versus DIY Shampoo, a fair example is most brands that are conscious of eliminating or reducing toxic chemicals in their shampoo products would cost about $19.99/10 oz. bottle. My DIY Young Living Essential Oil Shampoo recipe costs me about $3.79/10 oz. I don’t think you can put a price on health, but heck, if it saves you money as well, why wouldn’t you try?

 

Your Choices Do Make a Difference in Your Health!

 

 

 

Mattresses! Mattresses! Toxic Mattresses!?!

I am in the market for buying new mattresses for my two toddlers. My husband who is amazingly handy is building beautiful bunk beds and we are going to have all 3 kids crammed into one room! It’s going to be great! (until they get older, but we will worry about that later.) Buying mattresses. This sounds so simple, right? I started researching mattresses (something I never really thought to do) just to see how they are made and what materials are in them and more importantly, what chemicals are used in mattresses.  We spend 33% of our lives sleeping, so for average lives that is 26.5 years!!! More than 2 1/2 DECADES with your face inches from or right on the mattress surface just drooling away, right? That is a long time, so my thought was do I know what I am buying? The simple answer was “No, not really” and we are all paying good money for mattresses that are supposed to last 10-20 years and NOT poison us.

 

Memory Foam (More like Toxic City!):

I started looking at different mattress companies and at first, I was focusing on memory foam because I thought all the hype about relieving pressure points and blah, blah, blah, could benefit my kids too. Most memory foams are made out of polyurethane, which the word ‘polyurethane’ doesn’t mean much to us in this ever PLASTIC world we live in.

I put together questions for mattress companies that claim to have “organic” and “non toxic” mattresses. After calling, emailing, and questioning them A LOT. I did not like the answers I was getting. Most of the customer service representatives did not have a clue what I was asking them, so they would send an email later with information. Very nice customer reps by the way, I wished I could purchase from them, but ALL of the companies I researched were leaving me nowhere, but confused and disappointed.

 

This is the first set of questions I asked about the so-called “organic”, “green”, “eco-friendly”, “non toxic”, “natural” mattresses I found (memory foam or standard spring mattresses):

  1. How does the material achieve flammability standards? (The right answer: Wool, PET fiber (no off gassing), or cotton with PLA fiber)
  2. Who is your INDEPENDENT testing company or certification? (The right answer: GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and GREENGUARD® – which is most stringent. Just CertiPUR is definitely not good enough, if you read their site, they say the mattress company may not express their mattresses are non-toxic)
  3. Are any of these chemicals present: PBDEs, PVC, phthalates, brominated or chlorinated fire retardants, antimony, arsenic or phosphorus, PAN (polyacrylonitrile), modacrylic, dimethyl sulfate, boric acid, and crystaline silica? (The right answer: Heck No! or just no will suffice) :)

I mention “off gassing” above. This is also known as “outgassing”. What this boils down to is that there are no VOC’s or chemicals released into the air that you are breathing in as you sleep and it is not polluting your inside air by being present in your home. Mattress companies may say “no off gassing”, but I would make sure they can back it up with INDEPENDENT certification that states EXACTLY that.

 

I later learned the best type of memory foam is 100% certified natural latex (not synthetic and not blended) and best flame retardant would be 100% certified organic wool. The problem with those answers is that some people are allergic to latex and wool. There are safe alternatives.

Flame Retardant to look for:

  • 100% certified organic wool (can’t have if you are allergic or vegan)
  • PET fiber (which is non-toxic and no off gassing)
  • PLA fiber (which is non-toxic and no off gassing)
  • Use of 100% certified organic cotton does NOT burst into flames like polyurethane does.

I cannot believe the trouble it has been to find a mattress to buy for my kids (and now question our king-sized mattress)! I wonder why all of these chemicals that can cause breathlessness, insomnia, asthma, and many more issues that are not yet understood are “acceptable” to put in mattresses. Then again why is it acceptable to put these chemicals in anything?

 

Crib Mattresses Are Usually Made of Polyurethane or Urethane (What to do?):

I checked my crib mattress (the same one that has been used by both of my kids). 34% Urethane!?! Oh my gosh! The POISON I have been reading about! Could I be more mad, first, at myself for not looking into this sooner, and second, at the company who makes it, and third, for our governmental standards allowing this to be commonplace!

I could purchase a new crib mattress, which runs around $250. On a budget, I needed to figure out what to do for my crib mattress! I ran into a blog by a woman named Valerie. Not only have I learned she is an amazing person with a beautiful mission, but she has guided answers for choosing actual safe, non-toxic, mattresses and solutions for people that “aren’t made of money”. I felt like I had to settle until I found her blog. Valerie’s blog is called www.healthychild.com. I purchased a 100% food grade polyethylene cover for our crib mattress. This cover is non-toxic, water proof, and no off-gassing. I checked out the SDS (safety data sheet) myself.

I found BabySafe® through Valerie’s blog and I found Serendipity mattress cover through a little more research as options for a safe crib mattress cover. The factors I found as important for a mattress crib wrap is:

  1. 100% polyethylene
  2. 5 mil thickness minimum

 

New Zealand SIDS Study:

There is a lot of information about New Zealand doing a SIDS study and trying to determine if wrapping your baby’s crib mattress properly could reduce the chances of SIDS. In short, the study is showing YES wrapping a crib mattress does reduce SIDS instances. Why is this not making headlines or why aren’t pediatricians giving parents a heads up about this? Admitting this kind of issue would be major liability. Can you imagine the uproar?! Please check out Valerie’s blog to learn more about this (www.healthychild.com). I think she states the findings very eloquently. This 100% polyethylene crib mattress wrap is a cheap and non-harmful precaution parents should be made aware of!

I believe there are more factors that can cause cases doctors are reporting as SIDS, but this information seems to have overflowing evidence to support a large percentage of SIDS could be eliminated from such a simple solution. Please share this information with others, so they can make an informed decision.

 

What Did I Do for Our Mattress Dilemma?

I ended up purchasing Naturepedic Quilted Organic Deluxe Cotton Mattresses (1-sided) for my kids. These were the most budget friendly with all of the certification and precautions I needed. This ensures my kids mattresses are safe!  It took me quite awhile to figure this out (after 3 weeks of research, emails, and phone calls). Also, I wrapped our crib mattress with a Serendipity crib cover. I was concerned this wrap would be crunchy and un-breathable. It is not crunchy at all and fits very snug. I put a 100% organic cotton crib mattress cover on it for breathability and added comfort.

Remember: This is the surface your kids are supposed to be resting on and allowing their bodies a good night sleep to heal from damage caused from other environmental toxins from the day (a normal occurrence). I feel very good about this research and I really wanted to share with you!

Another take away for me is just because we are not experiencing visible respiratory issues, does NOT mean our mattresses aren’t polluting our internal air quality or us. I am now researching an option for wrapping a king-sized mattress because no one sells 100% polyethylene, 5 mil thick mattress wraps for beds bigger than a crib mattress. When I find the right source, I will blog about it. I have a feeling it will be a DIY. Hey, I’m up for it!