Monday, July 29, 2013

Going Green - Homemade Household Cleaning Products

In the process of making our home more eco-friendly we stopped using commercial household cleaning products and make our own instead.  In this post I will share what we use to clean our home and help keep it free of chemicals and harmful VOCs.  

For years I was using "green" cleaners thinking they were safe, but after reading the ingredients and doing some research, I discovered even these so-called "green" cleaners are toxic!  Household cleaners are one of the top indoor air pollutants.  They also leave behind a harmful residue.  Think about it...a toxic residue all over the kitchen counter you just cleaned, and now you are preparing food on it!  Another example is this residue on your newly mopped floors that your baby is crawling all over.  Nobody wants that!  It is so easy (and cheaper) to make your own.  I can now clean my house with 4 common ingredients: vinegar (distilled or apple cider), hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and coconut oil!!

For an everyday cleaner we use distilled white vinegar with several drops of essential oil.  This helps mask the vinegar odor and makes your home smell amazing!  You can use whatever essential oil you prefer.  Right now we are using peppermint oil.  I simply pour vinegar into a spray bottle and add about 20 drops of essential oil (until I can pass the spray bottle under my nose without smelling the strong vinegar).  I also use this mixture for our hardwood floors (I alternate distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar).  For our tile floors I fill the mop bucket with hot water, add 1 cup of vinegar (either distilled white or apple cider) and several drops of essential oil.  Vinegar also makes a great grout cleaner.  Simply spray the grout with vinegar and scrub with a toothbrush.  Your grout will look new!

Bathroom: I use baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  For the shower and tub I sprinkle baking soda over the surfaces, spray them with hydrogen peroxide and let them sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom.  Then I come back, scrub and rinse.  I use my everyday cleaner (vinegar) for the counters, toilet and mirrors.  The mirrors will look streaky at first, but they will dry streak-free simply by using vinegar.

Laundry: We use Dr. Bonners Pure Castille Soap for laundry detergent.  You only need a couple of tablespoons.  We use hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover and white enhancer.  Of course, no dryer sheets in our house.  They are full of VOCs and toxic chemicals.  We are happy without dryer sheets, but I have heard you can either add vinegar to your rinse cycle or wet a washcloth with vinegar (and essential oil if you want) and throw it in the dryer with your clothes as a dryer sheet substitute.  We also hang dry a lot of our clothes.

I use coconut oil as a furniture polish.  This is also a great place to use those socks with missing mates.  :)

Check out our other posts in the "Going Green" Series:

Enjoy and healthy regards!!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

5 Alternatives to Soda

We were at the pool the other day, and I saw one of the moms there drinking a diet soda.  In that moment it occurred to me that "I cannot believe people still drink sodas (diet or regular)!"  Neither one provides any nutrients.  In my health coaching I have been focusing on getting the children off of sodas, fruit juice and other sugary drinks.  Of course, I now realize (like with everything else I coach) I need to start with the parents.  If they are drinking it, their children will be drinking it too.  Since this encounter and realization I have been paying attention to how many people still drink soft drinks, and many of them drink diet sodas thinking they are healthier.  In this post I want to educate you on the downsides of soda, encourage you and your family to stop drinking them and give you some alternatives to enjoy in their place.
First let us begin with regular sodas.  The above picture shows the ingredient list for Coca~Cola.  After reading this list, I would like to point out that the three ingredients that Dr. Bill Sears says to always avoid are High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Artificial Colorings and Flavorings and Hydrogenated Oils (Trans Fats) (not applicable here).  Coke (and other sodas) have two of these three ingredients.  Our bodies do not know how to process these artificial ingredients and excitotoxins.  They cause a myriad of health problems including a rise in bad cholesterol, obesity, an altering of brain chemistry, headaches, mood swings, Alzheimer's disease, and the list goes on and on.  There are even studies linking these toxic ingredients to cancer!
Now, let us look at diet sodas.  Above is a picture of a Diet Pepsi can.  Read the ingredient list.  It is basically the same; however, they have replaced the HFCS with aspartame.  Therefore, it has many of the same health risks as regular soda.  Aspartame is another toxic ingredient.  It is an excitotoxin, which means it alters the chemistry of the brain.  (Note: "A child's growing brain is four times more sensitive to excitotoxins" ~ Dr. Bill Sears)  It has been linked to cancer and many other diseases.

In children, drinking these toxic substances can lead to symptoms of ADD and ADHD, developmental delays, learning disabilities, trouble concentrating, behavior issues, allergies, vision deficiencies and more.  Now that you never want to drink another soda again (or have your children drink them either), what should you have instead?  Drinks like Sunny D, Carpi Sun, or Gatorade are not any better.  I encourage you to read the ingredient list on EVERYTHING you consider purchasing.  Know what you are putting in your body and in your children's bodies.
5 Alternatives to Soda:
1 - Water
Water is the best thing you can drink.  It prevents constipation, cleans the body, feeds the brain and muscles (both are 70-75% water), curbs overeating and more.  I carry a Lifefactory (glass) water bottle with me everywhere I go so I can sip on it all day.
2 - Flavored Water (Homemade)
If you need some help adjusting to plain water, try flavoring it.  Add slices of cucumber, mint, strawberries for some sweetness, lemons or limes.  Get creative, mix flavors, have fun with it!
3 - Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great alternative to Gatorade.  It has electrolytes and is wonderful on a hot summer day or after you exercise.  (Read the label to find the one with the lowest sugar content and make sure it is pure coconut water.  Some brands are made from concentrate and have added sugar.)  My favorite way to enjoy it is right out of a young coconut! (picture above)
4 - Kombucha and Water Kefir
Kombucha is a probiotic drink that is often dubbed as the "healthy soda".  It still has some sugar, but is also has good bacteria that will help with the lining of the gut.  Use caution if you want to share with your children.  It does contain caffeine.  I've heard the rule of thumb is 4 years and older.  Ask your doctor, herbalist or holistic healer and use common sense when considering your children.  Kombucha can be homemade or store bought.  Water Kefir is another probiotic drink and is a better option for children.  Here is one link about water kefir:  I encourage you to do your own research to find a recipe you like and more information on water kefir.
5 - Agave or honey sweetened tea
We love making this in the summer at our house! Instead of making sweet tea with sugar, use agave nectar or raw honey instead. Spice it up by making sun tea or adding mint. 

For an additional option check out our Green Green Juice Recipe by clicking HERE!!!
Healthy regards!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Going Green ~ Creating a Non-Toxic Kitchen ~ Products I Love

In our efforts to have a "greener" and healthier house, we are ridding our kitchen of plastic, non-stick cookware and other toxic kitchen items.  We used to drink water out of plastic cups, plastic water bottles and plastic sippy cups.  We used plastic containers to store our food, plastic cooking utensils (spoons, ladles, and spatulas), and toxic non-stick cookware.

In my research I discovered that even plastic that is "BPA free" (bisphenol A) is still harmful.  When a product is BPA free it still has other bisphenols, which are equally as toxic if not more toxic than BPA.  In fact, many recent studies have shown bisphenol S (BPS) to be at least as toxic as BPA.  BPA is an estrogen-mimicking compound, and BPS has similar hormone disrupting characteristics.  However, BPS is more stable than BPA so it cannot biodegrade.  This means not only does it exist in our environment longer but it remains and builds up in the body longer.  There really is no "safe" plastic.

UPDATE 7.29.13: In conversations over the weekend, I realized I needed to add some information about plastic water bottles.  One of the most dangerous things you can do is drink out of a plastic water bottle that has been sitting in your hot car.  This produces similar effects as that of microwaving plastic, which is a big no-no.  The heat causes even more toxic chemicals to leak into your drink.

What we use instead:  (all of these items can be purchased at my Amazon store.

I just got Emerson a Klean Kanteen water bottle from Pottery Barn Kids, and he loves it!  You can also buy them here!

Lifefactory Glass Water Bottles:

Stainless Steel Containers:

Pyrex glass bowls:
Pyrex Mixing Bowls with Lids
Pyrex Glass Containers

Silicone ice cube trays:

Stainless Steel, wood and silicone utensils

Le Creuset Cookware:


We recently bought these stainless steal straws, and we LOVE them!  No more plastic straws in our house.  We use them for our green, green juice recipe HERE and our Low Glycemic Index Smoothies, recipe HERE.

I bought ours on Amazon: Coco Straws

Check out my other posts in the "Going Green" series and learn how to make your own shampoo and toothpaste:
Going Green - Homemade Toothpaste
Going Green - No Poo
Going Green - Homemade Non-toxic Household Cleaners

Healthy regards!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Going Green - Homemade Toothpaste

This post is part of my "Going Green" Series, in which we are making our own products in order to rid our home of chemicals and other harmful ingredients.  Read my other post from this series about making your own shampoo here:

During my health coach certification I quickly learned to read the ingredients list on EVERYTHING!!  When I read all of the ingredients in my toothpaste, I was shocked!!  I mean look at this list below!!  You don't have to read it all...simply skim through it.  There are parabens, dyes, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Flouride, the list goes on.

Sensodyne original flavor

Active Ingredients:   "Fresh Impact" Potassium Nitrate 5% Sodium Fluoride 0.15% w/v fluoride ion 5% Potassium Nitrate and 0.15% w/v Sodium Monofluorophosphate (Extra Whitening) or Sodium Fluoride (Fresh Mint, 0.15% w/v; Baking Soda, 0.15% w/v; Cool Gel, 0.13% w/v; Tartar Control, 0.13% w/v; Tartar Control Plus Whitening 0.145% w/v; Original Flavor, 0.13% w/v), or Sodium Fluoride 0.15% w/v fluoride ion (Fresh Impact). Sensodyne Fresh Mint, Sensodyne Fresh Impact, Sensodyne Cool Gel, Sensodyne with Baking Soda, Sensodyne Tartar Control, Sensodyne Tartar Control Plus Whitening, Sensodyne Original Flavor and Sensodyne Extra Whitening contain fluoride for cavity prevention and Potassium Nitrate clinically proven to reduce pain sensitivity for relief of dentinal hypersensitivity resulting from the exposure of tooth dentin due to periodontal surgery, cervical (gum line) erosion, abrasion or recession which causes pain on contact with hot, cold, or tactile stimuli.

Inactive Ingredients:    Baking Soda: Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Silica, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Titanium Dioxide, Water.
Extra Whitening:   Calcium Peroxide, Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, PEG-12, PEG-75, Silica, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Titanium Dioxide, Water.
Tartar Control:   Cellulose Gum, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Silica, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Saccharin, Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Water.
Tartar Control Plus Whitening:   Cellulose Gum, Flavor, Glycerin, Polyethylene Glycol, Silica, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Water.
Cool Gel:   Cellulose Gum, FD&C Blue #1, Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Silica, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol, Trisodium Phosphate, Water. Fresh Impact: D&C yellow #10 lake, FD&C blue #1 lake, flavor, glycerin, hydrated silica, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium saccharin, sorbitol, titanium dioxide, water, xanthan gum
Fresh Mint:    Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer, cellulose gum, D&C yellow #10, FD&C blue #1, flavor, glycerin, hydrated silica, octadecene/MA copolymer, poloxamer 407, potassium hydroxide, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, sodium saccharin, sorbitol, titanium dioxide, water, xanthan gum.
Original Flavor:   Cellulose Gum, D&C Red No. 28, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Peppermint Oil, Silica, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol, Titanium Dioxide, Trisodium Phosphate, Water. 
Even from a quick skim, I knew I wanted to use a more natural toothpaste.  Therefore, I started buying Tom's of Maine toothpaste, which still has some unfavorable ingredients like SLS plus it is expensive!  I quickly decided to make my own!!  It only takes a few minutes and is made with three simple ingredients: Baking Soda, Coconut Oil and Essential Oil  (I like Peppermint, but you can use Spearmint, Wintergreen or whatever you like).   I use a 50/50 ratio with the Baking Soda and Coconut Oil combined with several drops of Peppermint Oil.

In my most recent batch I used:

4 tsp Baking Soda (aluminum free)
4 tsp Organic Coconut Oil
10 drops Peppermint Oil (I now use Young Living Essential Oils)
Mix all of the ingredients in a sterile clean glass container.  (I bought this one at Target and really like it.  They have different color seals so you can differentiate between all of your homemade products).

I love it!  It will not suds up like regular toothpaste because of the lack of the cheap detergent Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but remember that this is a good thing!!  It simply takes a little while to get used to the new feeling.

UPDATE 7.6.13 ~ I have started squirting a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto my toothbrush after I put the toothpaste on for a little extra whitening power.

Check out our other posts in the "Going Green" Series:


Sources: and