The Maids of Portland, Maine

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Worth Knowing- The Top 10 Genetically Modified Foods

It is important for people to be in the know to make more educated buying decisions because we now live in a world that is overrun with ingredients that are mislabeled and genetically modified .Most people are unaware of the corruption behind their food and personal products and the FTA is as corrupt as the food it deems safe. Please note below the 10 most genetically modified foods and with that knowledge, it is our hope that you can learn how to replace these with local or homemade products!

1.) Corn- The Fda has declared that genetically modified food is safe for human consumption. What they do not tell you is that this alerted corn has been injected to create its own insecticide. Mice fed with GM corn were discovered to have smaller offspring and fertility problems.

2.) Soy- Soy has been genetically modified to resist herbicides. It has been found that hanpsters fed with GM soy were unable to have babies and suffered a high death rate.

3.) Cotton- Cotton has also been designed to resist pesticides  It is considered food because its oil can be consummed. Thousnads of indian farmers working with GM cotton suffered severe rashes after exposure.

4.) Rice- Rice has been genetically modified to contain high amounts of Vitamin A. In China, the GM corn has been linked to allergic reactions.

5.) Tomatoes- To prevent rotting and degrading, tomatoes now have beem genetically engineered for a longer shelf life. Some animals that consumed GM tomatoes died withina few wekks of ingesting them.

6.) Rapeseed- Rapeseed oil is used to process cooking oil and margarine. Honey can also be produced from GM rapeseed.It has been discovered that as much as 1/3 of the total pollen present in Canadian honey amy be from GM pollen.

7.) Dairy Products- As many as 22% of the cows in the US today are injected with a genetically modified bovine growth hormone that stimulates milk production. This growth hormone has been found in humans and has been associated with breast and colon cancer.

8.) Potatoes- Health risks were revealed when mice that were fed GM potatoes had these toxins in their body for some time.

9.) Peas- A gene from kidney beans is now injected into peas creating a protein that functions as a pesticide. These peas have been found to cause immune responces in mice and humans.

1.) Papaya- GM papayas were created to prevent the ringspot virus in India. Who knows what they do to humans!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Products You Should Avoid Having In Your House

It is very upsetting to note that, given poor government regulations, many cleaning products available on the market today contain carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, methylene as well as reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Other products contain ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain damage as well as allergies and asthma. In addition to cleaners there are also a host of products that often contain carcinogenic and you should avoid having them in your home at all cost!

1.) Air Fresheners- Air fresheners contain napthelene and formaldehyde. It is best to remove bad odors, not mask them. Several ways to do this is: Open a window, empty the garbage frequently, burn 100% pure beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks, use an open box of baking soda for really smelly rooms and use indoor plants to clear carbon dioxide and other toxins. Perfume the air with natural scents. Simmer cinnamon and cloves, fresh ginger or herbs in water on the stove top. Or, simmer water with a drop or two of your favorite pure essential oil.

2.) Art Supplies- Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens. I painting and print making, ready-mixed water based paints or ink can be used. Ventilate the space thoroughly whenever using any solvent and use lead-free enamels whenever possible.

3.) Automotive Supplies- Most are toxic. Keep them safely away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.

4.) Carpet and Upholstery Shampoos-Use only wet-clean natural ingredients.

5.) Flea, Tick and Lice Control- Avoid linden-based pesticides.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cleaning Mold Naturally and Safely

It is probably no surprise to hear that mold is associated with respiratory health problems. It is often prevalent in our bathrooms because they are the dampest rooms in the house and the grout between tile is usually the first place that mold breeds. You may be surprised to learn that there is one product that can help you keep your grout looking great and it's safe to use. It is also odorless and inexpensive. That product is hydrogen peroxide!

To reduce mold from your grout combine one cup water and 1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the moldy areas and do not rinse off. It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide loses its mold-busting power when exposed to air, so mix up only the amount you want to use per treatment.

To keep mold from occurring in the first place, make sure you have installed an exhaust fan that has enough air movement to remove the moisture and be sure it is vented to the outside. Think about leaving a light on in your bathroom as mold dislikes light. Also, change your towels and rugs frequently to reduce moisture.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Is Your Home Causing You Health Problems?

According to the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency, the air inside our homes is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air! Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors so we are actually getting the majority of our chemical exposure in the very place we thought was safe. Relative to their body size, children are more susceptible to indoor air pollutants than adults. Their newly developing organs and respiratory systems are more vunerable to certain chemicals.

Where do these pollutants come from? A common source of indoor air pollution is mold which is a result of excess moisture. The excess moisture could result in mold in your walls and floors. This is usually a result of poor drainage or lack of vapor barriers. In addition to improving both of these, you may want to run an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. Other sources of indoor pollutants are paints that emitt harmful VOCs into the air, and chemicals that get released into the air by furnishings, cleaning products, office products and other everyday products. Chemical exposure from indoor air pollutants has been linked to eye, nose and throat irratation, headache, dizziness, nausea, wheezing and even cancer.

What can you do? Pick paints that are low-emitting such as UL's GREENGUARD Certified paint. Make sure your cleaning supplies are safe and easy. Make your own using baking soda and vinegar. Try to choose fragrance free products. When you buy new furniture- allow it to air outside for at least two weeks. Always paint a baby's room one month in advance so it has time to air out. Buy cotton shower curtain liners to eliminate the toxic fumes plastic ones give off up to two weeks after it has been hung.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Organic or Not Organic- That is The Question

Well.... A new study from Stanford has created quite a buzz. The study says that there is a lack of nutritional benefit from eating organic food. It states that "Organic foods are not necesarily 100 percent free of pesticides. What's more, as the researchers noted, the pesticide levels of all foods generally fell within the allowable safety limits."

Do we really trust the FDA to set "safe limits" for pesticide residue in our food? NO! You can bet that the chemical and biotech lobbies have a strong foothold in the FDA with which they can control standards to suit their needs, rather than protecting consumers. The Institute that conducted the study got its biggest financial backing from a company called Monsato. Monsato is the single largest biotech donor in the fight against labeling food with GMOs in California.

Charlotte Vallaeys, the Director of Farm and Food Policy with the Cornucopia, said of the Stanford study,"Consumers should not lose sight of the important impacts of organic agriculture, which produces foods without the use of toxic pesticides that have been linked to an array of health problems, including cancer and ADHD in children. This study confirmed once again that organic foods contain significantly lower levels of pesticide residues, and that alone should be enough reason for every family to consider exclusively purchasing organic foods.”

And... as a consumer Jo put it,"It is highly doubtful that the food industry, basically the farmers, can produce organic foods fast enough and in vast quantities to meet the current world needs in supply and demand. This is probably why so many in the food industry are largely reluctant to roll back to the days when most all crops were organic, that, and of course, the fast money they make today in going with the flow. If you don't live on a farm it is most difficult to grow your own crops in modern urban town USA, particularly without violating some City Code of Law, and if you don't live next to a farm, well it becomes even more difficult and expensive to obtain organic corps (fresh vegetables and fruits) for your dinner table. Not to mention how difficult it would be for the food industry to roll back their current processes, not because they don't want to, or because the Government won’t allow it, but it is basically because of you, the share holders who have a huge stake in the food industry who just won't tolerate change in the large profits now flowing in, plain and simple."


Friday, August 24, 2012

Shower Curtains and Low Birth Weight- The Connection

Have you ever noticed the noxious smell of a new shower curtain? This odor is plastic softener, a potently hazardous chemical compound that may do much more than just soften shower curtains. Many daily household products sold by companies today are sprayed with a host of chemicals designed to keep the plastic soft, sterilized and not flammable.

In a study done by a group of environmental agencies, such as The Center for Health and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition, it was found that the coating on shower curtains can release as many as 108 volatile organic chemicals and that some of these chemicals cause developmental damage to the liver  and central nervous system, respiratory and reproductive systems. In addition, 28 days later after the shower curtain had been unwrapped and hung, some chemicals were still found in the air. Another study showed that these chemicals, phthalates, have a devastating effect on the health of new born babies. If a pregnant woman breathes these chemicals during her shower, it may interfere with the development of her fetus. It was found that during the first trimester, the fetus was particularly vulnerable to what the mother was breathing.

So, become informed! Look for labels that say PVC or "vinyl" and avoid them. Shop for a shower curtain that is made from natural fibers such as cotton. The EPA has publicly shown that 7 of the chemicals in shower curtains are hazardous air pollutants, yet companies are still selling them to uninformed consumers.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Guess What? Cleaning is Good For Your Health!

A new study by Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, shows that cooking, cleaning and even washing dishes are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. Study author Aron Buchman says that " These results provide support for efforts to encourage physical activity in even very old people who might not be able to participate in formal exercise but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle." There are other health perks related to cleaning and those are:

1.) It Burns Calories- Taking out the vacuum can help you lose those extra pounds and reduce stress. You can burn an average of 250 calories an hour during a cleaning frenzy-even more if you are really moving.

2.) It Reduces Stress- An article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that 20 minutes of activity-including house work- cuts anxiety and stress by as much as 20 percent. A clean and clutter-free home is a great anxiety reducer- especially if you always have unexpected guests.

3.) It Helps Your Allergies- By purging your home of dust, dust mites and dander you can improve or avoid allergies and hay fever. Some of the best ways to control allergies are by vacuuming frequently, washing your sheets and curtains often, cleaning out your fridge and sink as well a thorough dusting throughout the home.

4.) It Improves Concentration- Do not be bogged down with lots of clutter. A clean and organized home helps you to focus on what is most important which means your concentration is improved. You will feel more optimistic and in control.

5.) It Gives You an Outlet For Your Anger- Cleaning is a productive way to vent when you are angry and lets you avoid from saying things or doing things you shouldn't.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Do You Know What Is In Your Fabric Softener?

Almost everyone today adds chemical fabric softener to their laundry. Print ads tell us that the softener will keep our clothes from being hard, but will also address static cling. Have you ever asked yourself, "What exactly is fabric softener?"

Fabric softener is a combination of chemicals that coat the surface of textiles with a thin layer of lubrication, thus keeping laundry soft and reducing static cling. When fabric softener was first introduced, it was made of a combination of soap and oil or other natural oils. Today, these softeners are made of noxious chemicals masked by a large amount of fragrance.

Here is a partial list of some of the toxic chemicals that can be found in today's softeners:

     * Alpha Terpineol: can cause central nervous damage and respiratory problems
     * Camphor: causes central nervous disorders, and is easily absorbed through the skin
     * Chloroform: a carcinogenic neurotoxin
     * Benzyl Acetate: linked to pancreatic cancer
     * Benzyl Alcohol: respiratory tract irritant
     * Ethyl Acetate: a narcotic on the EPA's "hazardous waste" list
     * Limonene: a known carcinogen that irritates eyes and skin

If you are using liquid softener, you are pouring toxic chemicals into the ocean. Dryer sheets are even worse. When those chemicals are heated, you breathe the chemicals into your lungs. The "fresh from the dryer" smell is toxic!! For an alternative, reach for dryer balls or add a 1/4 cup of baking soda to your wash cycle.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Truth About Teflon

Is Teflon an additional health hazard in your home? When Teflon-coated pans are heated, within five minutes they reach 750 degrees F. The Enviromental Working Group reports that the degradation of the synthetic polmer (PTFE) leads to a litany of toxic compounds which include highly lethal and corrosive gases as well as a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB. PFIB is ten times more lethal than a chemical warfare agent used in WWWI and WWWII known as phosgene. These toxic compounds do not break down further and linger in your home.

It is a well known fact that PTFE is toxic to birds. It causes the exposed lungs of birds to hemorrhage, to fill up with liquid that leads to suffocation. What are the effects on humans? Teflon toxicity causes a temporary, intense, though not very serious flu-like syndrome. Experts call this polymer fume fever. Since the fever mimics the flu, most doctors do not make the connection to overheated Teflon. In a study that tested the milk of 45 nursing mothers, PTFE residuals were found.

Dupont, aware of the hazards associated with heated Teflon, required workers to wear respirators as early as 1962 in poorly ventilated areas.. During that year, Dupont tested on volunteers Teflon-laced cigarettes. Nine out of the ten volunteers became very ill with flu-like symptoms. Despite these results, Dupont repeatedly denies knowing about any serious Teflon-induced health effects. Both Dupont and the government lack the data needed to know with certainty that Teflon in home cookware is safe.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fight Pollen the Natural Way

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Along with the chirping birds and flowers blooming comes sneezing and wheezing. Instead of reaching for medications to control allergies, try these natural approaches...
1.) As much as you can, keep all doors and windows of your home closed. Turn on your air conditioner and remember that during pollen season, it is important to change the air conditioning filter at least once a month.
2.) As soon as you arrive home, take off your shoes and wash or rinse your hair. Skin and hair hold a lot of pollen and if not removed, can cause you problems while you are sleeping.
3.) Use a vacuum with hepa filtration and buy hepa filters for your air conditioner. Use a dehumidifier which kills pollen spores and other allergens.
4.) Eat foods that contain natural antihistamine properties such as apples, garlic,onions and citrus.
5.) Before pollen season starts, jump start your immune system by ingesting 1 to 2 teaspoons of locally produced bee pollen.
6.) During the peek pollen-producing times, avoid the outdoors. This is usually in the mornings.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let's Be Friends!

                           Hello and Welcome To The Maids!

We hope that things are going well for you! From the beginning, The Maids has consistently put our fans (aka loyal customers) interests first with each home that we clean. We know that you want a clean home from top to bottom for your family to enjoy. In the age of never-ending impersonal communication, get to know your team in Portland by becoming one of our Facebook fans. As a fan, you will get the scoop on all of what we do. We'll share expert cleaning tips, inside information and news about what is happening. We take pride in the important conversations that take place on our Facebook wall and social media sites and invite you to join in the fun!                                     

                                           See you on the web!!!                                    

Monday, May 14, 2012

Does an Apple A Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

Did you know that the average apple is sprayed with pesticides seventeen times before it is harvested? Unless your apple is pesticide free, it is not only sufficient to keep the doctor at bay, it is more likely to keep the doctor on call. You may be thinking that the dose is so small that it really does not matter, however it has been found that some toxins are more harmful in smaller doses! In a study by the EPA, it identified more than 55 pesticides that can leave cancer-causing residues on food. And, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the use of pesticides has risen more than tenfold since the 1940s. On an average year, 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used in agriculture in the United States alone.

While pesticides  kill pests quickly, increasing research shows that they may harm or kill humans slowly. Pesticides are not easily washed off produce and the same is true once ingested. Fat-soluble pesticides are attracted to the fat stores in your body. In fact, even though DDT was banned in Canada and the United States over three decades ago, it is found in 100% of human fat samples tested by the EPA.

The best way to avoid pesticides on your produce is to buy organic food. It is more expensive and perhaps to lower the cost you could get to know the local food growers in your area that offer pesticide free produce. Avoid spraying your house and lawn with insecticide and choose natural alternatives to bug spray. Plant you own garden and grow blueberry bushes so that you may control what you are exposed to!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring Clean Your Home Naturally With Lemon!!

It's that time of year again, time to clean your living space. Using harsh chemicals can contaminate your home with toxins, defeating the purpose of all that dusting, washing, scrubbing and polishing. Exposure to these harsh chemicals can also have adverse effects on the health of your family. Some household cleaners can cause mild irritation, and they have also been linked to asthma and cancer. Every year thousands of children are poisoned by ordinary household cleaners. Not only do they make thousands of children ill each year, they also pollute our air and water, pack landfills and contaminate water sources.

Luckily there is an alternative provided by nature that is simple, easy to use and disinfects naturally and that is LEMON! Lemons are natural disinfectants with a wonderful smell that people associate with cleanliness. >You can use a lemon to remove stains from counter tops and cutting boards. Slice a lemon and pour the juice onto the stain. Let the lemon sit for awhile and wipe clean. For granite or marble surfaces try club soda instead. > Dip a sliced lemon in salt and use that to scrub copper-bottomed pots and pans. This trick will also help to dissolve soap and hard water stains in sinks. > Drop a whole lemon into your garbage disposal and turn it on to eliminate odors and bacteria. > You can also use lemon to brighten your whites and give them a fresh smell. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle and volia!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tips on How to Get Rid of Bugs Naturally

Here are a few simple tricks to get rid of those pesky bugs that munch on your plants. The are easy to make and are earth friendly.

1.) To Get Rid Of Ants: To get rid of ants, spray their routes with apple cider vinegar. This will cover up their pheromone tracks, which are invisible, so that they can not find their way back to their foraging sites. Mix together equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture into a salt shaker and sprinkle the mixture directly onto ant hills and trails. Into the areas where ants invade, shake diatomaceous earth. When the ants climb over the earth, their bodies become desiccated.

2.) To Get Rid of Aphids: Believe it or not, many aphids and mites can be eliminated by a strong blast from a hose. This blast breaks and dislodges their sucking mouth parts. Also, aphids are drawn to the color yellow. If you set a yellow pan of soapy water near the infested plants, the aphids will enter the water and die. Also, if you buy the larvae of ladydird beetles and release them into your garden, they will eat hundreds of aphids in one day.

3.) To Get Rid of Grasshoppers: On cabbage worms, loopers and grasshoppers sprinkle non self-rising white flower in the early morning when your plants are covered with dew. This will cause the pests to petrify. Rinse plants off the next day.

4.) To Get Rid of Beetles: Early in the morning, and armed with a bucket of warm, soapy water, take a long-handled spoon and gently whack the flower that is infested with the beetles. The beetles will drop straight down into the suds. One of the beetle's biggest enemies is the spined soldier bug which you may purchase from a nursery. Release them into the garden and let them take control.

Friday, April 6, 2012

For those spots in your home that get cleaned only occasionally The Maids offers 3 non-toxic recipes for wall cleaning, window cleaning and oven cleaning.
~*~ Most of us do not wash walls on a regular basis, but over time dirt and grime build up on walls. Take a closer look at your walls, and if they need some cleaning, here is an easy method to use...
1 quart warm water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons biodegradable liquid soap ( such as castile)
2 sift cloths
First start by removing excess dust from the walls by using a towel wrapped around the head of a broom. Then mix the above ingredients in a clean bucket. Wash the walls from the botton up to prevent streaks. Use a clean, soft cloth to dry as thoroughly as you can to prevent mildew! For oily stains, make a paste of 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Pat the mixture on the stain with a damp sponge. Let it dry then brush away with a soft dry cloth.
~*~ To keep your oven working its best, it is wise to keep it clean. Avoid the harsh chemicals that are associated with conventional oven cleaners with this following recipe...
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup washing soda
1 box baking soda
Scant 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
10 drops thyme essential oil
10 drops lemon grass oil
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn off and keep door open. Combine the salt, washing soda,and baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. Spread the paste over the walls with a sponge and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. In a spray bottle combine the vinegar and oils and shake. Spritz the walls with this mixture and wipe clean.
~*~ To make windows shine use this following recipe...
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 quarts water
2 small buckets
Lint-free cloths
Fill each bucket with a quart of warm water. Mix vinegar and water in one of the buckets and shake gently to mix. Start at the top of the window and work down using this solution with a clean cloth. Rinse with warm clean water from the other bucket. Wipe off any excess water with a squeegee.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are Breast Cancer and the Enviroment Related?

Women today are more likely to develop breast cancer than any previous generation. Hard to believe despite the decades-old war on cancer. It is well known that risk factors such as early menarche, later menopause, childlessness and delayed childbearing are established, but these established risk factors do not account for all breast cancer cases. Does the enviroment play a part?
Since World War II, breast cancer incidences have risen. Many people feel the rise is because that is when industry began pumping out pesticides, plastics, solvents and other chemicals that leave residues in our soil, water and air. Studies in labs show that these chemicals can cause tumors in breasts, hasten their growth, or leave mammary glands more susceptible to carcinogens.
It is interesting to note that breast cancer rates declined in the United States between the years of 2003 and 2004, which is attributed to women forgoing hormone replacement therapy after a study reported that it can cause breast cancer. The goal is to find ways to have the disease not to develop at all, and if we are to genuially hope to defeat the disease, one must look at all factors- enviroment included.
~Silent Spring Institute

Monday, March 12, 2012

Consumers and Toxic Chemicals

It's is time to become more serious about shielding consumers from toxic chemicals. Common- sense controls on chemicals used in everyday products merit everyone's support. Industrial chemicals are widely used in everyday products like furniture, food packaging, personal care products and toys. These chemicals, can and do, leach out and enter our bodies, putting our health at risk.
> The plastic hardener bisphenol-A, commonly used in baby bottles and canned food lining, is an endrocrine disruptor and can cause neurological damage, especially in young children. A study done in 2011 found BPA in the bodies of 96% of pregnant women. Campbell soups have promised to remove their BPA lined soup cans, but gives no time frame for it's elimination and replacement.
> Phthalates, a plastic softener commonly found in air fresheners and plastic school binders, has been linked to birth defects and is found in the bodies of 99% of pregnant women.
> Testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found more than 212 industrial chemicals in the bodies of most Americans, including at least 6 known carcinogens and dozens that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other adverse health effects.
> As consumers we rely on the manufactures to both adequately test the chemicals in their products and label accordingly. It is astounding to note that in the last 35 years, only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals currently used in commerce have been tested for their threat to human health and also to the enviroment. So, we can safely say that the vast majority of chemicals on the market today remain untested!!! That is frightening!!!
> How can this happen? The Toxic Substance Control Act is completely ineffective in preventing large companies to test their chemicals before they are used in consumer products. What needs to take place is the passing of the Safe Chemicals Act which would ensure that chemical manufacturers would provide the EPA with minimum test data for all the chemicals they produce. We urge you all to support this important public health legislation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh Those Winter Blues!!!

Winter is in full force and we find ourselves combatting the lessening of light that we experience during the winter months. So how do we beat the winter blues? We know we can not beat them , so let's join them by embracing these 5 ways to prevent the blues from coming on and to get yourself back to normal if they are already there.
a.) Excercise: Excercise is a great way to not only relieve stress, it also is important to staying healthy and maintaining your weight. Excercise will increase your energy level and your mood.
b.) Eat A Healthy Diet: What you eat has an affect on not only your mood, but on your energy level as well. Try to include a lot of complex carbohydrates into your diet, such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies and fruit. These healthy foods provide your mind and body with nutrients, as well as, help to stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels. Try to avoid processed foods that are devoid of nutrients and zap your energy. Don't forget the importance of keeping hydrayted.
c.) Get Some Sun: Vitamin D improves your mood. Similar to excercise, exposure to sunlight releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Get outdoors as often as you can. Get as much sunlight into your home as possible. Read by a sunny window.
d.) Relax: Set some time aside to simply relax. Try to spend a few minutes a day doing nothing. Read a good book, sleep in, go to bed early and possibly try meditation excercises or yoga.
e.) Have Something to Look Forward to: Winter can seem endless and having something to look forward to can lift anyone's mood. Plan a trip, a day at the spa, go out for lunch or plan a special day with your loved ones.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What to Eat To Prevent Colds and Flu

Here's a list of what to eat and drink to help prevent colds and the flu this winter season :
1.) Drink Green Tea: Eating fruits and veggies are one of the best ways to keep germs at bay this winter, as well as drinking green tea. Green tea is the best food source of catechins, which are plant compounds that halt oxidative damage to cells. If you flavor it with fresh pomegranate or ginger, you will add an extra anti-inflammatory nutrient punch!
2.) Make Some Chili: If your chili contains ingredients like garlic, onions, pasta, mushrooms or veggies, you have added immune boosting ingredients that will give you the comfort you crave during chilly winter months.
3.) Use Lots Of Spices: Some immune-supportative spices include tumeric and ginger. Try adding a pinch of cayenne to soups or stir-fries. These spices are traditionally used in cooking to get one's blood flowing and to promote healthy circulation.
4.) Include a lot of Vitamin C and Healthy Fats into Your Diet: Vitamin C is an extra cold-fighting antioxidant and nuts, like cashews, provide your body with healthy fats.
5.) Protect Yourself with Nutient Rich Foods: You can strenghthen immune cells by eating foods that are nutrient-rich and full of antioxidants like mushrooms. red bell pepper, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, beans, nuts and whole grains.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Natural Alternatives To Toxic Fabric Softener

According to the Allergy and Environmental Health Association, both liquid and dryer sheet fabric softeners are "the most toxic product produced for daily household use." Most of the popular brands of fabric softeners contain many neurotoxins (substances that are toxic to the brain and nervous system) and other types of toxins. So, you're ready to forego commercial fabric softeners but you still want soft clothes. What are your options? Well, here are our 6 suggestions to detox your laundry:
1.) Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water in your washing machine and let it dissolve prior to adding your clothes. This is my preferred method since the baking soda acts as a water softener and helps makes clothes super soft.
2.) Some people toss tennis balls or other rubber balls into the dryer with clothes. I'm not a huge fan of this method since the heat of the dryer can cause the rubber to off-gas onto your clothing. If you have an allergy to latex, this is definitely not the method for you. Plus, I wouldn't choose this method if you're drying delicate clothing items.
3.)Adding a cup of vinegar to the wash water can also soften clothes but I don't find this method as effective as the baking soda technique.
4.) To help with static, there's the aluminum foil ball technique. Tightly scrunch a piece of foil to form a ball. Throw it in with clothes in the dryer. There is some possible concern with increasing your exposure to aluminum (which has been linked to some brain disorders). It can also snag delicate clothes.
5.) Try to keep synthetic fabrics out of the dryer since they are the culprits when it comes to static. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen are best dried on their own.
6.) And, of course there are natural fabric softeners available in most health food stores. I must admit, though, that I don't find them necessary. I try to purchase clothing made of natural fibers as much as possible and find my clothes are soft regardless whether they go through the dryer (free of fabric softeners) or are hung to dry.As you can see, there are plenty of options when you want soft clothes and to be free of toxins.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Five Simple New Year's Resolutions That Will Bring Your Diet into Balance

It seems like every January we make New Year's resolutions to eat better and save money, bur never follow through. But, let's break the habit this year by creating several super easy-to-do things to make a difference in your diet, and the planet.
~*~ Resolution: Incorporate three different colored foods a day into your diet. If you plate is looking pale, that means you are probably not getting much nutritionally from your food. One surefire way to make sure you are eating right is by keeping it colorful. Brightly colored foods like carrots, beets and spinach are nutrient-rich and packed with powerful antioxidants.
~*~ Resolution: Trade in the Twinkies for natural sweets. Packaged, processed, high-fructose corn syrup-rich treats gratify for seconds, but leave us feeling sluggish and bloated. This year, swap one of your go-to packaged sweets for the natural sugars of fresh and dried fruits.
~*~ Resolution: Cook at home one night a week. Eating and cooking at home saves money and keeps you in control of what you are putting in your mouth. Not sure what to make? Try a smoky root vegetable gratin or a hearty vegetarian chili.
~*~ Resolution: Take advantage of the delicious seasonal foods around you by inviting friends and family to a " garden to table" party, featuring locally sourced seasonal dishes. Link up with a local farmers' market for yummy seasonal fare, and encourage guests to bring their own dishes.
~*~ Resolution: Start a container tomato garden. Growing your own food is a great way to get hands-on with your diet, and tomatoes are chock-full of antioxidant-rich lycopene and vitamin C.
Plus, they taste great and can be used in everything from sauces to salads and sandwiches.