Juice Monkeys – the fruit and veggie kind!

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Colin and I recently starting juicing. When I talk about juicing, I don’t mean a glass of orange juice from the grocery store, I am talking about freshly pressed juice from a variety of fruits and vegetables. We had been considering it around the time that we first watched “Hungry for Change,” but had pretty much just been making smoothies with spinach and parsley thrown in for good measure. We have a juicer, but it collected dust in the cupboard until we watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”
I know, I know, it seems like we make a lot food decisions based on documentaries. But look at it as an hour or two contains A LOT of information, and it is up to you what you do with that. We decided to make some changes with our eating.

What makes a lot of sense to us about juicing is what is in the juice itself – veggies and fruit. We have been making decisions to include more and more veggies in our diet, but juicing is like “extreme veggie eating,” and here is why:

1. Freshly pressed juice contains a lot of macronutrients. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals and other health and immune boosting components.

2. You get the health benefits of so many more vegetables and fruit than you would EVER be able to consume in one day. Just think, for breakfast, would you be able to eat an apple, half a grapefruit, half a cucumber, 4-5 leaves of kale, a handful each of parsley and spinach? I highly doubt it! By juicing, we remove the insoluble fibre, but keep the soluble fibre and all of the nutrients intact, and you can consume all of that in your juice!
If you want more info on the benefits of juicing, go here

So with all of this lovely knowledge, we had to decide how we were going to bring it into our diet. Although in “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” Joe goes on a 60 day juicing fast, we knew that wasn’t for us. So we started slowly. We made juice the night before and had it ready and on-hand to replace our breakfast.
This is a great way to introduce fresh juice. It replaces a meal many of us are likely to skip anyhow, and it is a great grab-and-go option. Another choice is simply to include a nice tall glass of freshly pressed juice as a snack, or along with your lunch. It is better than not at all, and will kick start you getting all of those amazing nutrients!

After a few days of juice as breakfast, we decide to take the plunge…in the shallow end…and we are currently on a 5 day juice fast/cleanse. A big part of why we are doing this is to detoxify and clean out our bodies. Rather than get into detail here on this 5 day program, check out the Reboot website!
I would rather leave it to the experts to explain all of the dirty details, instead of missing something vital here!
Once we have finished this 5 day plan, I will let you know how it went, and how we feel.

So, onto the fun part, juicing! Here is my advice. I hope it helps!

1. The first thing you will need is a good quality juicer. Don’t feel like you have to break the bank, but do some research and make sure it can handle leafy greens and firmer fruit, like apples. You don’t want to try and start juicing and all you bought was a citrus juicer!

2. Try to juice organic produce when you can find it and if you can afford it. It means that no pesticides etc will be in your detox juice, when that is the garbage you are trying to get out of your body anyways!
If you can’t go organic, be sure to wash all produce very well before juicing. It is best to leave the peel intact on apples, pears and carrots if you can, so scrub away!

3. Beets hold a lot of dirt, so either peel them or scrub them well, organic or not. Muddy tasting juice isn’t enjoyable for anyone!

4. Citrus fruit – to peel or not to peel? Again, if it is non-organic, scrub well. Some citrus fruit may even be waxed, so check for that before juicing. Otherwise, it is a personal flavour decision. I enjoy the fresh, bright flavour of lemon rind, but my husband finds it too sour and prefers to peel lemons. As far as oranges and grapefruit go, we have peeled them every time.

5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your juicer. Know what it can handle, how you are supposed to juice certain items.
I got out juicer for free on Freecycle, so I had no instructions. If you happen to be sans instructions as well, it is usually a good idea to start with an easy to juice item, like a cucumber, follow with all the leafy greens, then apples, and end with easy juicers with a lot of liquid, like cucumber, pineapple or citrus fruits. This makes sure that cleaning your juicer goes much easier and nothing gets clogged up.

6. Experiment! It is just juice! Try a little ginger, it is full of healthy benefits. Be brave and juice some garlic! Whaaaaaaat???!!! I know…people do it. I have not yet been that brave!

7. Don’t try to juice avocado or bananas!!! If you want these in your juice, you will have to blend them with your juice in your blender. This isn’t a bad thing, and it creates a thicker, more smoothie-like texture.

8. Put a bag in the part of your juice to catch all of the non juicy waste. Even better if the bag is compostable and you compost everything instead of throwing it away.

So now that you are a juicing pro, here are a couple of recipes:

The Jolly Green Giant: (a great all-around green juice)
5-6 kale leaves
2 handfuls spinach
1 handful parsley
1 cucumber
2 apples
1 cup pineapple
1 lemon
Juice it all up! Much better cold (refrigerated or poured over ice).

The Happy Place: (Great as “dessert,” or when one more glass of green juice might make you a crazy person!)
1 1/2 cups pineapple
3-4 oranges, peeled
1 large ruby red grapefruit, peeled
So good poured over ice, still frothy from the juicer!

Two great websites for more juice recipes:

http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/recipes/ (obviously)
http://www.juicemaster.com/recipes/

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Strawberry Jam!!

I walked into the grocery store the other day and sitting there in all their glory were flats upon flats of fresh, beautiful strawberries! And of course, strategically placed right in front of the main entrance. How could I resist? 6lbs for $7? Pretty good. I thought to myself however, “Don’t bother… It’s just the beginning of the season. They WILL get cheaper!” Did I listen? Nope! I bought a flat. I wanted to make some jam!!! (And eat some of course!)

I’ve been itching to start some canning for awhile now. Last season I didn’t get much in. Between a kid under 1 and a husband who works out of town, there really wasn’t too much free time for canning. So, this is the perfect opportunity to get a little started! Strawberry jam, so delicious! So, here we go!

If you do a lot of canning already, you probably have the basic instruments needed to do the job. But, just in case you’re new to this here’s a short list of some stuff that’s good to have on hand:

-For jam specifically, you need just the basic Water Bath Canner, which can be found at pretty much any big box store for a very decent price.

-Jar lifter – this isn’t necessary, but your job will be so so much easier with it

-Canning funnel – again not necessary but makes the job much easier

-Mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, etc

For strawberry jam you will need (besides the strawberries!)

-some lemon juice

-sweetener of your choice (sugar, honey, some people use white grape juice, stevia, or a combo of sweeteners)

-pectin. I use liquid pectin, but you can also get it in crystallized form as well. This is just a preference thing.

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Step 1:
Before I made my jam, I washed the strawberries of course. I chose to soak them in a cool bath with castille soap first, to get any dirt, grime or pesticides off as best I could. I let them soak for about half and hour then, rinsed them off really well in cold water.
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Step 2:
This step may look a bit different for each person depending on how you like your jam. I don’t like chunkies in my jam so I chopped up my strawberries in a blender until there were no large chunks. It’s a good idea to add a little water to aid in the chopping process. You don’t have to puree them as they will dissolve more during the cooking process.
If you don’t care about chunks, you can go ahead and just mash them up with a potato masher by hand. This shouldn’t take you very long.
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Step 3:
Add your mushed up strawberries to a pot with the sugar. Most recipes will have a 4 cups strawberries (measured after crushing) to 7 cups sugar ratio. I used 6 cups of strawberries (measured after crushing) so that’s 10 cups of sugar. I know! So much sugar. Welcome to the jam world! Strawberries especially require a lot of sugar. You can reduce the amount of sugar but you won’t get the same consistency. Even when using no sugar needed pectin (which I personally don’t like as I never find it makes very good jam). If you reduce the sugar you will usually yield a runnier jam. It will still be as tasty though! I usually do reduce my sugar to about 8 cups. The jam turns out soft but still thick and spreadable. *If you are new to jam making I would stick to the recommended amount of sugar. It can be difficult to get the correct consistency when you are playing around with the sugar levels and so I recommend having an idea as to what you’re trying to achieve before changing it.
If you are using crystallized pectin, you need to reserve about 1/4 cup of the sugar to mix with it. I do recommend reading the instructions that came with your pectin, though. 
You will want to bring this mixture to a boil. Try doing it a little slower, this will generally result in a better jam. Once it is boiling, continue to let it boil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
*I don’t recommend making batches bigger than this.
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Step 4:
Slowly add your pectin to the mixture. Return to a boil and keep there for about a minute or so. Remove from heat. Add about 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Because I didn’t use as much sugar, I added 2 packets of liquid pectin to my recipe. (It is technically a double recipe according to their instructions anyways). To figure out how much pectin you need is going to take a little experimentation on your part. It will really depend on how you like your jam. If you like it runnier, then you will need less pectin, thicker will need more pectin. I will tell you how to figure it out in the next step.
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Step 5:
Skim the foam off the top of the jam. This foam is nothing gross, don’t worry. It is pretty much just escaped air trapped in jam goo (great description!).
Now, this is where I like to test if my jam is ready. Take a glass of ice water and place a spoon in it. Once the spoon, is cold, scoop up a little jam and rest the spoon back on top of the ice. Once the jam has come down to room temperature, you can check it’s consistency. Touch it, tip the spoon around, etc. If it’s at a consistency you like, then perfect! You are ready for the next step. If not, return it to the stove and repeat step 4 but with about a quarter of a packet of pectin. Repeat the test. Continue doing this until you reach your desired consistency.
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Step 6:
Fill your jars with jam. Leave about a 1/4in headspace (unfilled area) at the top. Tighten caps to finger strength tight. You need them to be tight enough to not let water in, but to let air out.
Place them in your water bath canner and process for 5 minutes (or more depending on elevation. I recommend looking this up before you do any canning. It does make a difference.)
You should always wait until the water in your canner returns to a boil before starting the count.
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Step 7:
Remove jars from water bath and place in an area out of direct light. Let them seal and cool to room temperature before storing.
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You’re done! Yay! Jam can be enjoyed right away. No need to wait for this one! If any of your jars don’t seal, put them in the fridge and eat them immediately. They will keep in the fridge as long as jam does, but they will not keep stored with your other canning.

Written by Nicole

Homemade Vitamin Gummies for Kids

First off I want to thank the ladies at  The Eco-housewives for asking me to write a guest post! We went to high school together but lost touch over the years and it is nice to watch their families grow and get to know each other again!

I am married to a very hard working man who is father to my three children aged 1-4 years old. We currently live on the East side of Canada and I am loving the early(ish) spring that they have here! I am a stay-at-home mom and I’m looking into homeschool for my oldest this fall. I am also an active member of the Weston A Price Foundation and a doTerra independent consultant.

I was reading about how Wellness Mama makes vitamin gummies for her kids and thought that would be a great way to get my kids to take their fermented cod liver oil (FCLO).

Why don’t you just give your kids the yummy tasting regular cod liver oil you ask? Because the regular stuff is heat processed, bleached, and deodorized to remove that fishy taste and the vitamins (usually synthetic) are then added back in. FCLO is the old fashion processing techniques, which involves fermenting and a proprietary filtering method, all at low temperatures to preserve the fragile unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins. FCLO is also higher in the wonderful vitamins D, A, and K2 and therefore you can take a smaller does.

If you are interested in more information about FCLO you can visit HERE

So.

Now that you know how awesome the stuff is how to I get my toddlers to take it? I turn it into a candy of course! You could add any number of vitamins to these gummies but be aware that if you add too much oil they will not solidify well (which is why FCLO works well because you can use less!)

 

INGREDIENTS:

Small pot

Ikea ice cup trays (or other gummy sized moulds)

Coconut oil (to grease the mould)

2-3 ml FCLO (or other vitamins, minerals or supplements)

8 tsp of Gelatin

2 TBLS of Raw Honey

1/2 cup of liquid. You could use fruit juice, water Kefir or even Kombucha!

3-4 drop of doTerra essential oil in Lemon or Wild orange. (Optional)

***If you are adding essential oils PLEASE ensure that they are therapeutic grade and recommended for consumption. doTerra is one of the only oils on the market that can be consumed. If you are interested feel free to check out their website. (#342462)

http://www.doterra.myvoffice.com/kimbombak/

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PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

If you are lucky to have the awesome gelatin that dissolves easily in cold water then mix everything together really well (maybe in a Magic bullet?) and pour into your greased ice cube trays to set.

If Not……

Warm your juice and dissolve your gelatin.

 

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*This is a large batch because my kids eat lots of these!*

Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding your honey and vitamins and flavouring. If your mixture is too hot your essential oil will evaporate, your honey will no longer be raw and your vitamins may be compromised….so let it cool a little!

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*Measuring out the FCLO*

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*Mixing in the FCLO and the essential oils*

*Putting the liquid in the moulds*

*Putting the liquid in the moulds*

One child serving of FCLO is 1/4 tsp. I put 3 tsp into this recipe to get 12 large gummies…which last me 4 days. Pop them in the fridge to keep them fresh.

WATCH!

*See my babies gobble them up..yummy vitamins!*

*See my babies gobble them up..yummy vitamins!*

 

-Guest Post Written by Kim

The Great Big Microwave Challenge

The microwave. Fast, efficient…healthy?
This month, I am challenging all of you, along with the other Eco Housewives, to ditch your microwave for one month! It may seem like a major challenge, but really think about how often you use the microwave, and what simple changes you could make to cut it out. I bet you use it, and need it, less than you think!
I have been kicking around the idea of ditching our microwave for some time now, but have hesitated actually taking the plunge. I don’t have any extreme evidence against microwaves, but my biggest issues with them are:

• They ruin the taste and texture of food
• They don’t cook evenly
• People often microwave using plastic, which can leach chemicals into your food
• Microwaving can kill many of the vital nutrients found in food

For more information on some of my reasons for “quitting the microwave,” have a look here. Keep in mind that this is not our article and it might have a few extreme claims.

When it comes down to it, I don’t use my microwave much anymore. We reheat leftovers, thaw meat in a hurry, and pop the occasional bag of popcorn. Even after his initial shock when I told him about our month without a microwave, The Husband shrugged it off and said “we don’t use it much anyway.” Either that or he knows that I might give in to a toaster oven if we clear off counter space.
So the changes are simple enough – heat leftovers on the stovetop, plan supper and thaw the meat early, and make air-popped popcorn. Problem solved, right? For you, it might mean steaming vegetables on the stove, or heating milk in a hot water bath. Perhaps it even means bringing more raw food into your diet. I bet these changes aren’t as bad as you think!

So this is where the one month challenge comes in. Before we kick the microwave to the curb, I want to be sure we can 100% be without it, without MAJOR inconvenience. And I think you should give it a try too! It is just one month!
Here is the challenge, a month without the microwave, to see if this plan is going to work.

The Ditch Your Microwave rules:
1. Let us know, in the com
ments section, if you are in for the challenge
2. Put a “DO NOT USE” sign on the front of the microwave
3. Avoid the microwave whenever possible
4. Keep a list on the fridge for the times you give in and use it (this is not an easy out option!)
5. ABSOLUTELY NO PLASTIC in the microwave
6. Decide, after one month, if you can give the microwave the boot
7. Let us know how it goes! Are we crazy? Do you have a love/ hate relationship with your microwave too?
8. I will check back in at the end of May and let you know the outcome!

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Natural Cleaning Around the Home

Well, Spring has sprung in most parts of the Country so the Ecohousewives are in Spring cleaning mode! We thought we would be nice and share  some of our tried and tested eco-friendly cleaner recipes. We’ve been able to rid our homes of the chemical and petroleum-based ingredients found in most household cleaners by using some very common household ingredients.

Here is a list of ingredients and what their role is in our recipes:

1. Baking Soda: cuts grease, deodorizes, lifts dirt and whitens

2. Borax: Disinfects, fights mould and mildew,whitens

3. Essential Oils (e.g. lemon, lime, grapefruit, tea tree, lemongrass, lavender and eucalyptus): antibacterial, anti-fungal and/or cuts grease:

4. Lemon juice: Disinfects, whitens

5. Liquid Castille soap: Cuts grease, lifts dirt

6. Salt: fights mould and mildew

7. Olive Oil: lifts dirt

8. White vinegar: cuts grease, deodorizes, disinfects

9. Washing Soda: cuts grease, softens water, whitens

NOTE: Borax and Washing Soda are less toxic than commercial products, but are not harmless, so should be used with caution and only for heavy duty jobs.

We will try to hit everyone area in the house, but a lot of our cleaning is done with a simple all-purpose cleaner!

Kitchen

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All Purpose Spray (use on tubs,tiles, counters, microwave, floors etc)

Andrea’s Recipe

1 gallon hot water

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup liquid castille soap

1 Tbsp borax

10 drops essential oil (optional)

Aubrey’s Recipe

1 part vinegar

2 parts warm water

A small squirt of eco-friendly dish soap

5-6 drops tea tree oil (could use lemon instead, but she likes tea tree).

Mix well in spray bottle. Mixture needs a light shake before each use. I have tried using Castile soap instead of dish soap, but it reacts to the vinegar and gets clumpy and oily.

Nicole’s Recipe

2 cups warm water (I use filtered water that I boil)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp liquid castille soap (dr bronner’s is what I use)

15-20 drops essential oils as preferred (She uses lemon for it’s disinfectant properties

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Dish Soap

 

Liquid castille soap, and a vinegar rinse to sanitize.

Cutting Boards/Butcher Block

1 part vinegar

1 part water

Dishwasher Soap  

1/2 cup borax

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup white vinegar

Add dry ingredients to soap dispenser and vinegar to rinse dispenser

OR an Eco-friendly product such as Bio-Vert

Stainless Steel Cleaner

Andrea’s recipe

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp white vinegar

Drip olive oil onto rag. Rub surface to get rid of smudges. Drip white vinegar on the other side of rag. Wipe and let dry.

Nicole’s Recipe

1 part water

1 part vinegar

Ceramic Stovetop Cleaner

Wipe first with a General-Purpose Cleaner to remove loose dust and food particles. Sprinkle with baking soda. Mist with warm water. Let sit, then scrub in circular motions with a damp (use HOT water) dish cloth. If any burnt residue remains, scrape carefully with straight razor blade, then repeat cleaning.

Garburator

Sprinkle with baking soda, allow to sit and then pour some vinegar down there, let it sit longer then add boiling water to finish. Finally sprinkle some essential oils down there.

Bathroom

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All-purpose Scour (for tile, grout, tubs, sinks etc)

1 2/3 cups baking soda

1/2 cup  liquid castille soap

1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white vinegar

Toilet Scrub

Andrea’s Recipe

1/2 cup borax

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup white vinegar

(sprinkle dry ingredients onto surface, scrub, and chase with vinegar)

Aubrey’s Recipe

Sprinkle baking soda, pour in 1/4 cup vinegar. Let sit 10 minutes, scrub .

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Glass and Mirror Cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup water

*Before switching to this cleaner, I had to clean up the waxy residue traditional brands leave behind with a 5% rubbing alcohol-to water-solution.

Dusting

The three of us use microfibre cloths or the Norwex dusting mitt

OR

1 Tbp Apple Cider vinegar

2 cups water

1 dust rag

 

Jetted Tub

 

2 cups of white distilled vinegar

1 cup of salt

Fill tub with warm water about an inch about your highest jet. Add vinegar and salt to the warm water and run the jets for about 15 minutes.  Drain the tub, then rinse the surface and jets.  Wipe dry with a clean, microfiber cloth

Liquid Laundry Soap (use 1/2 cup per load)

7L hot water

1 cup baking soda

1 cup castille soap

1/3 cup coarse salt

or an eco-friendly brand such as Eco Max orange laundry detergent or Eos

Carpets and Upholstery

Deodorize using baking soda mixed with a little essential oil. Sprinkle it over the carpet, let it sit for at least half an hour then vacuum up.

Floors

Use a one part vinegar, one part water solution (with essential oils is desired). If extremely dirty use water with some dissolved baking soda first. Once a month wash with a hydrogen peroxide and water mixture.

Well that about covers it. Happy Spring Cleaning everyone! Oh, and if you have a favourite eco-friendly recipe, we would love it if you shared it with us!

– Collaborative post, written by Andrea

Cloth Diaper Obsession Turned Business

One of the only things I didn't make... A Grovia cover. How could I resist that super cute print!?

One of the only things I didn’t make… A Grovia cover. How could I resist that super cute print!?

I knew I was going to cloth diaper my son before I even became pregnant with him. From the time we began thinking about kids I knew that would be the case. I learned to sew as a small girl so, for me, it was also a no-brainer that I would make them myself. And luckily I wasn’t working so I had a lot of time to fill!

I started off with a simple pattern for fitted diapers and some covers. From there I tried my hand at AIOs (All in One diapers are a diaper that have an absorbent and waterproof layer all in one so you don’t need anything else). I made cloth wipes, two diaper bags, and a diaper change pad. I experimented with different types of fabric, and different diapering systems. To be honest, I was a little obsessed with making diapers and diaper related accessories.

My sons’s entire diaper stash is huge, and I made them all. Does he need as many as I made? No, definitely not. I made him swim diapers, and bibs. I made a lot of stuff! All that obsessive sewing did lead me to somewhere, though. I decided to start my own business! I love making cloth diapers, so why not share that love with everyone.

Little Black Cat Organics Facebook Page

Little Black Cat Organics Facebook Page

It was hard finding time with a very active baby boy getting into everything and a husband who works out of town but I have worked hard on perfecting a diaper that I could be proud to sell and discovering what fabrics I loved the most. I use only natural fabrics. With all my experimenting I’ve fallen in love with them. I mean I wish all my own clothing was only natural fabrics. They are breathable, gently on your skin, and good for the environment – with the exception of some fabrics which must be grown organically to be good for you and the environment. Cotton, for example, when grown and harvested traditionally uses various pesticides and chemicals and is not anywhere close to being “fair trade”. For this reason I try to also be socially responsible in my search and purchase of fabric. I buy all organic fabrics (and fair trade as much as possible) and try to buy local (which can be hard but you can at least support local small businesses that sell fabric). My favorite fabric has to be hemp. It is highly sustainable, grows very well without the use of pesticides or chemicals, grows quickly, and does not deplete soil nutrients, not to mention hemp fabric is super absorbent, soft, strong, antimicrobial, and mildew resistant! You can find almost any type of fabric you need made from hemp.

http://hyenacart.com/stores/littleblackcatorganics/

 

Basically, I stay away from petroleum fabrics (polyester, microfibre, etc). People like the “stay dry” abilities of them, but I’ve only found that they equal more diaper rash and less absorption. Synthetic fibres don’t actually absorb wetness. They trap it in between each fibre, which means they will be susceptible to compression leaks – leaks caused by putting pressure on the object, like a sponge for example. So I’m not so sure how much the baby actually feels dry – sure when you take the diaper off it feels dryish but it’s not being put under any pressure. And since when has your baby or toddler not spent their whole day falling on their butt, sitting on their butt, laying on their backs, moving around all over the place. Seems like the wetness would constantly be getting squished out of the traps. And besides, my son seems to not care either way. He has never made a fuss whatsoever about his butt feeling wet!

So it has taken me over a year to finally get set up. I’ve started small – with just the items I love to make most. But with more and more time on my hands as my son gets older and more independent, I’m exploring more things and will add more and more as I go. I’m excited to see where my small little business will take me!

Stop by and take a look if you have the time.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LBCOrganics

 

– Written by Nicole

The Ultimate Homemade Toothpaste

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The beauty about switching to a more natural choice for health and body care is that you open yourself to the option, in many cases, to be able to make it or buy it.
Some of us are extremely busy and prefer to head to the local health store and pick something up. I am often that way myself, especially until I have done the research to find the best way to make it. Enter natural toothpaste. I have to admit, I didn’t decide to switch because of the “great fluoride debate.” Instead, I wanted to access all of the amazing natural solutions there are for healthy, clean teeth without the processed items in commercial toothpaste.

My first try was pretty nasty-a blob of coconut oil mashed up with baking soda and a bit of stevia to sweeten it. My teeth felt clean but it tasted awful. Not to mention the fact that there weren’t many dental benefits to the mixture. So I started to look into it and found that there were so many options to make the switch from toothpaste. Some use the simple coconut oil/baking soda mix, some use a bar of soap (imagine the taste!), and others got really complicated!
I like to think that my recipe is the middle of the line. I was going to include calcium carbonate, and even found a recipe to make my own powder using egg shells…and then the egg shells broke my coffee grinder…so that was out. This recipe doesn’t make you ruin your only ticket to daily caffeine! If you can find calcium carbonate already powdered, feel free to use it in place of some of the baking soda.

The Ingredients:

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Coconut oil: This is key for developing the toothpaste texture. I also like to think when I brush with coconut oil I am getting some similar benefits to oil pulling.

Baking soda: Used to help scrub the teeth clean. Some people believe it is too abrasive, but overall it isn’t any more abrasive than other toothpaste ingredients. If you want to, feel free to use half baking soda and half calcium carbonate powder for a less abrasive paste.

Xylitol: Here it is – the wonder-paste ingredient! Xylitol helps to “remineralize” teeth. It also helps to prevent cavities and achieves this by slowing bacteria growth in the mouth, which decreases plaque and cavities! As a wonderful bonus, Xylitol sweetens the toothpaste without adding sugar!

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap: Don’t judge. Remember, there are people scraping a toothbrush across a bar of soap and brushing with it. I used it in my recipe because it helps to scrub things clean, it adds that “foaming effect” we all love our toothpaste to have, and the peppermint kind doesn’t taste very soapy. Yes I put some on my finger and licked it. It was minty. And the bottle says you can – so there.

Essential Oils: Of course these are in here! This is where you get to customize your toothpaste!

Peppermint: Prevents bad breath, antiseptic.
Cinnamon: Prevents bad breath, helps with mild sensitivity, fights bacteria.
Clove: Excellent for teeth with greater sensitivity. Dentists actually use clove oil as a numbing agent! If you have a toothache you can apply clove oil directly to the affected area!
Tea Tree: Prevents bad breath, helps with gum disease, gingivitis and inflammation, fights bacteria. If you can stand the taste! Pregnant or breast feeding women, and also children, should avoid tea tree oil.
* Remember, use essential oils sparingly, excessive amounts may cause irritation. Some people are sensitive or allergic to certain essential oils. Always make sure you use essential oils that are safe to ingest – some are processed and marked as external use only. Your health food store should be able to help you find the right quality.

The Recipe (yes, I made you read all that to get here):

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol
1 1/2 tsp Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap
3-4 drops of your choice of essential oils (total combined-I used cinnamon but need to make a peppermint batch for Picky Husband)

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Mash the coconut oil, baking soda and xylitol together until blended. Add Castile soap and oils and mix until smooth. If required, add in a few drops of water until you reach the consistency you like.
The toothpaste will have a slightly grittier texture from the xylitol. If you are like Picky Husband you can grind it in a spice grinder until it is finer.

This recipe fits wonderfully into a clean soap dispenser or a squeeze tube. You will want something with a wider opening so it is easier to fill. You can put it in a jar and then stick your dirty toothbrush into your clean batch of toothpaste if you want…but isn’t the whole point here to reduce bacteria?

Now go brush your teeth! And share – what was your essential oil blend? Have we won you to the green side?

 
– This post was written by Aubrey