Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Home’

6 Morning Hacks to Make Waking Up Easier

6 Morning Hacks to Make Waking Up Easier

Find the right alarm clock. Traditional alarm clocks don’t always do the trick. The snooze button feature often means trouble for the notoriously nocturnal folk. Instead, try a non-traditional alarm, like a light alarm, or — on the other side of the spectrum — the Shape Up clock. Whatever works for you, invest in it, and never miss out on your day because of that pesky snooze button again. (One helpful tip: make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Otherwise, waking up will remain a struggle you won’t win.)

Un-batten the hatches. Open those shades, sailor! Let the sunlight shine through! The sun’s rays inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Letting the sun hit your skin means you’ll wake up faster and more completely than if you were to spend your mornings in vampiric darkness.

Hydrate, hydrate! Drink a glass of room temperature water the moment you open your eyes. One, it will rehydrate you after a long night of snoozing, which in itself will revitalize your sleepy lids. But equally importantly, drinking a bedside glass of water can prevent you from hitting the snooze button too many times by converting your bladder into an alarm clock fail-safe.

Step outside for a minute. Weather permitting, of course. In the winter, I find the best way to wake up is to stick my head out the door and take 10 big gulps of fresh, crisp oxygen. It’s actually rather pleasant and can lift the dream fog from your mind. If you want to double the benefits, try fitting in some exercise to get your lymph and blood flowing. While your coffee maker is percolating, strap on the nearest pair of sneakers and take a quick stroll outside. Whether it is a shuffle to the end of your driveway, a walk with your dog around the block, or, if you’re lucky, a good jog at the local park, exposing yourself to the morning sunlight and invigorating air can wipe away all signs of sleepiness. Getting some movement in piles on clarity and endorphin-related happiness, meaning those pre-coffee hours don’t have to be spent in groggy misery!

Pre-prep a healthy breakfast. If you’re not a morning person, you may be tempted to grab a sugary pastry in lieu of a more nutritious mouthful. Spiking your body with sugar will only lead to more fatigue and cravings when you crash in a few hours. Instead, stick with a light, nutritious breakfast, while still challenging the ease of a drive-thru pastry. Just as you would organize your clothes and belongings the night before an important day, try prepping your breakfast the night before. Scramble some raw eggs and store them in the fridge in a container; chop up some veggies; get out the pan. That way, in the morning, all you have to do is toss it all in a skillet , and you’ve got a tummy-pleasing veggie omelet in the blink of one of your bleary eyes!

Set a goal. Even if your goal is to watch old re-runs of Friends when you’ve finished your day, give yourself something to look forward to in your schedule every day. It might be a cooking class, a lunchtime yoga class, a special salmon dinner, a nature walk, or drinks with a friend. Having something to look forward to will make it much easier to wake up in the morning, and will even invigorate the rest of your life. Talk about a win-win!

Mornings don’t need to be a struggle. With just a few simple tweaks, those wee hours can be a meditative and relaxing experience. And who knows, with any luck, mornings might even become your favorite part of the day!

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

30 Uses for Coconut Oil

30 Uses for Coconut Oil

For decades, coconut oil was maligned for its high saturated-fat content. Now, however, it’s becoming the darling of many health experts.

This is because in the past decade or so, the supposed dangers of saturated fats have been seriously called into question (for more on this, see “A Big Fat Mistake“).

Meanwhile, recent research has also revealed that most of the saturated fat found in coconuts — lauric acid — is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), a type of fat particularly coveted for its health and fitness benefits.

“MCTs are fats that digest and absorb more rapidly,” says Adriane Angarano, CN, a Seattle-based functional and holistic nutritionist. “They go directly to the liver to be utilized for energy instead of stored as fat.”

Research shows that eating MCTs helps you burn more calories, satisfy hunger more quickly, and assist in regulating weight better than the long-chain triglycerides predominant in most vegetable oils.

In studies on rats, virgin coconut oil has been shown to reduce blood serum levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It also appears to help blood coagulation and improve antioxidant status.

Nutritionists say MCTs can also play a key role in higher-fat, lower-carb diets, which seem to help epilepsy, cancer, and Alzheimer’s patients.

Organic, extra-virgin coconut oil — the gold standard in terms of flavor and nutrition — also has rich anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.

Plus, it serves an amazing number of non-edible purposes. In coconut-loving Malaysia, the word for coconut tree translates as “the tree of a thousand uses.” Here are just a few.

Nutrition & Cooking

Coconut-Oil

  • Instead of butter, fry or scramble your eggs in coconut oil, and try slathering it on toast.
  • Stir a spoonful in your oatmeal or spread on pancakes for a lower glycemic load.
  • Making your own granola? Baking treats? Swap in coconut oil instead of typical vegetable oil or shortening.
  • Whirl into smoothies for longer-lasting energy and an instant hit of cholesterol-improving lauric acid.
  • Even unrefined coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point, making it great for higher-temperature cooking, such as stir-frying or sautéing. Try cooking your dark leafy greens using coconut oil and a little sea salt.
  • Make theater-style popcorn by heating kernels in coconut oil in a heavy kettle.  Once popped, drizzle a mixture of melted coconut oil and butter over the top.
  • As an alternative to a latte or coffee with cream, in a blender combine 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon unsalted grassfed butter, and 1 cup of coffee until it’s creamy and no oil is floating on the surface, about 20 to 30 seconds. Spike with vanilla or cinnamon, if desired.
  • Mash into sweet potatoes or use to cook sweet-potato fries for a rich, nutty flavor.
  • When making homemade mayo, replace half the olive oil with coconut oil. Or replace the oil in your favorite homemade salad dressing.
  • For a quick treat, melt and mix with dark chocolate to make fudge or bark. Or pour the liquid mixture over a scoop of cold ice cream. It will harden instantly, like on a classic dipped cone.
  • Eat it by the spoonful, right out of the jar — a quick supplement and snack combined.

Body Care

Coconut-Oil-and-Bath-Products

  • Mix a little baking soda with coconut oil for a quick homemade tooth polish.
  • Make a chemical-free deodorant from solid coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender. (For a recipe,  see “Homemade Deodorant: B.O. No Mo’“.)
  • The natural analgesic properties of virgin coconut oil can help take some of the sting out of bug bites, chicken pox, and poison ivy, and aid skin in healing faster. Coconut oil is also a natural sunburn soother.
  • Skip petroleum-based lip balms and create your own from coconut oil, beeswax,  and vitamin E. (For a simple recipe, see http://j.mp/c2lipbalms.)
  • Massage your hair and scalp with coconut oil prior to shampooing to promote hair health.
  • Use as an all-over body moisturizer to smooth dry skin and add sheen. Slather on after your shower, or try adding a few tablespoons to your bath. Great as massage oil, too.
  • Use as a shaving cream — great for chemically sensitive folks.
  • New parents use coconut oil to help combat diaper rash. Not only does it sooth a baby’s bum, it also contains antibacterial agents that fight infection and promote healing.

General Health

Coconut-Oil-and-General-Health

  • Consider taking coconut oil as a supportive treatment in preventing and fighting systemic fungal conditions, including athlete’s foot and vaginal yeast infections. The oil’s caprylic acid helps degrade the cellular membrane of theCandida albicans fungus, limiting its ability to colonize.
  • To help relieve seasonal allergy discomfort and itch, try rubbing a little oil in your nostrils. It’s also a good immune-system booster and a strong anti-inflammatory, both of which can help ease allergy symptoms.
  • For earaches, melt a little bit of coconut oil, cool to room temperature, place in an eyedropper, and put several drops in the affected ear. The oil’s antimicrobial qualities can help fight low-grade infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory coconut oil can help canker sores and cold sores heal faster.
  • Allow a tablespoon of coconut oil to melt in your mouth, then swish it around for 10, ideally 20, minutes to draw out impurities and moisturize oral tissue. Then spit it out and rinse with water. Known as “oil pulling,” this ancient practice has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Research has shown it effectively combats bad breath and plaque.
  • Try coconut oil as an acne preventive. A 2009 study found that lauric acid can kill the bacteria that promote inflammatory acne. Rub a bit onto vulnerable areas.

Household

Coconut-Oil-and-household

  • Season your cast-iron pan with solidified coconut oil. Coat interior surface, then let the pan sit in a 300-degree-F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Create a quick furniture polish by mixing 3/4 teaspoon coconut oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice. First remove dust, then rub in coconut mixture with a clean, soft cloth, and buff to a gleaming shine.
  • Combine 1/4 cup of coconut oil with 20 drops of citronella oil for a nontoxic bug repellent.
  • Gum in your hair? Unknown sticky substance on the couch? Combine coconut oil with baking soda and rub.
  • Use it on your dog to ward off fleas, soothe dry skin, and smooth fur. (Some pet owners also mix coconut oil into pet food for an extra boost of nutrients and healthy fats.)

Leesa recommends using organic coconut oil!

By Sheila Mulrooney Eldred, Experience Life.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

 

8 Great Benefits of Onions

8 Great Benefits of Onions

A quick glimpse at their incredible health benefits:

  • The phytochemicals in onions improve the working of Vitamin C in the body, thus gifting you with improved immunity.
  • Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.
  • For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections.
  • Do you enjoy sliced onions with your food? If yes, rejoice! Raw onion encourages the production of good cholesterol (HDL), thus keeping your heart healthy.
  • A powerful compound called quercetin in onions is known to play a significant role in preventing cancer.
  • Got bitten by a honeybee? Apply onion juice on the area for immediate relief from the pain and burning sensation.
  • Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers.
  • Those bright green tops of green onions are rich in Vitamin A, so do use them often.

My favorite way to enjoy onions is to slice them really thin, squeeze some lemon juice on top and add a little salt. Sprinkling a few freshly washed cilantro leaves adds fragrance and flavor to this simple, quick salad, without which no dinner of mine is complete.

Leesa recommends eating only organic onions!

By Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

6 Morning Habits You Need to Dig Into

6 Morning Habits You Need to Dig Into

Stop snoozing. You and your snooze button have quite the relationship, but it would be better if you got up as soon as your alarm goes off. It may take some serious discipline at first, but the snooze disturbs sleep often enough to make you feel more tired than if you had simply awoken, albeit a little groggy, on time. If you fall back into deep sleep and the snooze interrupts your cycle, you will be worse off. Don’t talk yourself out of it, just get up when your alarm tells you to. If you get really good, try using your internal clock to wake up, not an alarm, for better circadian rhythms.

Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm. There is a reason that sayings like this exist. Rising with the sun encourages creativity, productivity, and motivation. Waking up with a positive view of the quiet world is a gift. Likewise, this means going to bed earlier, as skimping on sleep is not the answer. Waking up with the sun is also great for balancing your hormones, as the sunlight hitting initiates all sorts of hormonal responses –like shutting down sleep-inducing melatonin production — that are essential for internal balance.

Take a deep breath and check in with yourself. The first thing you should do, once you’ve sat up out of bed, is a take a few deep inhalations to check in and ground yourself for the day. Take 10 breaths and clear your mind. Step outside onto your deck if you have one and feel the crisp morning air caress your face. Take your time and enjoy the quietude of morning before you bustle off to work or peruse the internet.

Get some exercise. Whether it’s 15 minutes of yoga/stretching or an hour long jog, working out in the morning has some major perks. It gets your blood flowing and helps you become more awake and energized throughout the day. It also ensures that you fit in some form of physical activity without getting stressed or too busy. Once you’ve exercised, your day will seem to open up with ample energy and less stress.

Drink warm water with lemon before coffee. If the first thing you do when you wake up if brew a pot of joe, try this instead. Not only will it wake you up on a more natural level than caffeine, but it will hydrate your dehydrated body and gently arouse your digestive system. Water in the morning also boasts other benefits, like clearer skin, better weight maintenance, increased nutrient absorption, and balanced lymph.

Eat when you’re hungry. There’s no need to shove breakfast into your mouth the second you awaken. Sure, many seem to say that eating breakfast within an hour of waking is important, but if you aren’t hungry or have a hard time eating that early, don’t sweat it. Your body will tell you when it’s time for food. Let it complete its nighttime clean-up before you overwhelm your digestive system with a hearty meal. Your body WILL survive in the interim.

Not everyone is a morning person. If you are a night owl and regularly stay up well past midnight working or unwinding, then so be it. But for most with traditional 9 to 5 jobs, waking up even an hour earlier could jumpstart their energy and productivity, allowing them to relax and de-stress at night. Seize your day! Utilize the morning hours and feel great all day.

By Jordan Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member Inernational Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

10 Ways to Reuse Banana Peels

10 Ways to Reuse Banana Peels

But there’s good news: We are seeing a lot of action to reduce the amount of food we toss. A French grocery store started selling ugly fruits and vegetables at discounted prices. An American beer company created a reverse food truck that collects food donations and reroutes them to the local food bank. Europe is considering eliminating those misleading “best before” dates stamped on food.

All good news. But what can you do in your own home? How about looking for inventive ways to use food parts you would normally chunk. Let’s start with banana peels!

Sustainable America developed this infographic revealing all things banana eaters need to know about their beloved yellow fruits, including 10 things to do with the peels. Apparently we throw away 25% of the bananas we bring home, and we send 780 million pounds of banana peels to the landfill every year in the U.S. But check out these brilliant ideas for using those seemingly worthless peels — from feeding and fertilizing your plants to tenderizing meat. Keep reading past the infographic for additional ideas I discovered for using those peels.

10 Ways to Reuse Banana Peels

 

Amazing stuff right? But here’s more: After a quick search, I uncovered a great source of information for eliminating waste in all aspects of your lives: Trash Backwards. In their list of 20 ways to use banana peels, they suggest using them to whiten your teeth, control aphids in your garden (I will be using this tip), and to cure hemorrhoids (I hope I don’t need to use this one).

These ideas have inspired me to pay a bit more attention to what I throw away (food and non-food alike) and see what I can do with it. What type of waste do you want to find new ways to repurpose? Let me know and you may see a future blog post with inspiration written just for you!

By Mary Gerush

Eat Drink Better

At Eat Drink Better, we are passionate about food and drink! Whether we’re talking recipes, food policy, food justice, or anything in between, it all comes back to caring about what’s on our plates and its impact on our bodies, society, and the planet. At Eat Drink Better we accept all food philosophies that are aimed at creating healthier people and a healthier planet. We hope you’ll find recipes and information here to help you eat and drink…better! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member Inernational Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

According to a recent study, the temperature of your bedroom actually has a direct impact on your fat composition, and potentially your metabolism. How so? It turns out that cooler temperatures result in an increase in brown fat, a metabolically active fat that, until recently, was not thought to exist in adults. Brown fat has been shown to burn ordinary white fat and increase insulin sensitivity. Adults contain mere teaspoonfuls within their necks and upper backs, but according to a study published in Diabetes, it can be altered by changing your sleeping habitat.

In the study, five young, healthy men slept in a controlled room with a controlled diet for 4 months — the first and third months spent sleeping at a neutral 75 degrees, the second month a cool 66, and the final month a very warm 81. Their findings were quite astounding. The men, while remaining neutral in the 75 degree bedrooms, actually doubled their levels of brown fat and improved their insulin sensitivity during their month in the 66 degree bedroom. This is because cooler temperatures, while still being above shivering, activate brown fat deposits, which start increasing and fervently burning fuel. Their ignition also improves the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is an important finding for diabetes and insulin resistance research.

On the other hand, the volunteers’ time spent sleeping in the 81 degree bedroom actually reduced their initial quantities of metabolically active brown fat, meaning they had less than they started out with. Luckily, this study shows that brown fat levels are not stagnant, and may be adjusted as easily as turning the thermostat down while you sleep. Plus, the lower heating bill can’t hurt in the winter!

Brown fat is mostly found in great quantities in infants and young children, gradually decreasing with age, as the elderly show the least amount. How else can you increase the brown fat you do possess? All-mighty exercise actually has the potential to morph some of your white fat into brown and burn more calories. It also helps to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and keep a positive outlook on life if you are looking to shed some pounds. If nothing else, that will help with anything.

Leesa recommends Taking Dr. Oz’s Sleep Quiz ….

By Jordan Corrmier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

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How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

Like many of you, I dislike driving in heavy traffic. But unlike many of you, I usually don’t have to. I live and work in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and my job is just steps from my home. Driving in the mountains can be challenging, but that’s mostly because of twists and turns in the roads, not traffic.  For occasional business meetings and appointments, I venture down into Silicon Valley and even into San Francisco. As I crawl through town after congested town, or sit bumper-to-bumper on traffic-jammed highways, I’m always struck with how lucky I am that I don’t have to deal with this daily grind. I’m also filled with compassion for all of you who do.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help make your morning and evening commutes considerably easier – on your mental, emotional and physical health.

The Tolls of Traffic

On a recent weekday morning, a list of travel advisories for metropolitan areas around the country popped up on my kitchen television.

  • Washington, D.C.: Expect delays. Allow 3 hours.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana: Expect delays. Allow 2.5 hours.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: Expect delays. Allow 2 hours.

With light traffic, the typical commute in most urban areas would take about a half-hour. But, as you well know, light traffic happens mostly in the dead of night, not during the morning rush hour.

In 2011, we Americans whiled away 5.5 billion hours of our time, burned through 2.9 billion gallons of fuel, and shelled out $121 billion of our hard-earned money driving in stop-and-go traffic on our nation’s highways. These stunning figures appear in the 2012 Urban Mobility Report of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Today the high dollar cost of traffic congestion can be quantified, thanks to GPS-enabled vehicles that collect data nationwide. But what about the mental, emotional and physical tolls on all of us who collectively spend those 5.5 billion extra hours a year behind the wheel?  Although quantitative data on the costs to our health and well-being is less plentiful than data on the costs to our pocketbook, what is available shows that we are paying a very high personal price as well.  Traffic dwellers are more prone to stress, distraction, aggressive behavior, elevated blood pressure and larger waistlines, says one study released last year.

Heart-Traffic Connection

Even more alarming news came from the American Heart Association. A study has found a link between traffic and heart attacks. “People who have had a heart attack are likely to report having been in traffic shortly before their symptoms began,” stated a release from the Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. The association cited a German study that identified simple exposure to traffic as the key contributing factor in heart attacks. “Driving a car was the most common source of traffic exposure, but taking public transportation or riding a bicycle were other forms of exposure to traffic,” the association reported. “Overall, time spent in any mode of transportation in traffic was associated with a 3.2 times higher risk [of heart attack] than time spent away from this trigger.”

The Texas Transportation Institute found that an automobile commuter in Washington, D.C., spent an average of 67 hours in traffic each year. That’s about one and a half traditional work weeks! Commuters in the San Francisco-Oakland and the Los Angeles areas spent 61 hours each; those in the New York City area, 59 hours.

People who drive in large urban areas aren’t the only ones with traffic travails.  “Congestion is worse [than the previous year’s findings] in areas of every size,” the institute’s report said. “Big towns and small cities alike cannot implement enough projects, programs and policies to meet the demands of growing population and jobs.”

Angry man stuck in traffic

How Stress Affects Us

Anyone who’s ever been stuck in morning traffic has experienced varying degrees of heightened stress. In the most congested areas, that amounts to an astounding level of communal stress.

The detrimental effects of stress have been well documented by researchers worldwide. They range from irritability, muscle tension and mild fatigue to depression, sleeplessness, palpitations, memory loss and other cognitive malfunctions, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and the ultimate adverse effect, cardiac arrest.

  • Sources estimate 75 percent to 90 percent of visits to primary-care physicians are stress-related.
  • Billions are spent annually on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to treat stress symptoms.
  • A Harvard study showed people living in a state of high anxiety, a primary symptom of stress, were four and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death.

You Can De-Stress

You can take some obvious steps to avoid traffic: Move some place where there is less of it, change jobs, live closer to your job. If you’re like most of us who live in congested areas, however, you’re stuck – in traffic.

Before venturing out each day, you may already do some yoga, eat healthfully, relax for a few minutes, or shoot for that perfect window of time when you can merge easily onto the freeway. Good ideas. Now here are two more.

Build Coherence and Add Ease

Every day you can consciously add more coherence. We are coherent when our mental, emotional and physical systems are in balance. We feel better, think more clearly and react more appropriately.  When we are incoherent, challenging situations and activities –  including sitting in traffic – can derail us.  Another important state is what HeartMath calls inner ease.  with inner ease, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to flow through challenges:  big meetings, tough days at work or school, and yes, traffic jams.

Happy Guy Driving

Quick Coherence® Technique

Before leaving in the morning, take a few minutes to get coherent by doing the Quick Coherence® Technique.

Step 1: Heart Focus – Focus your attention on the area around your heart, in the center of your chest. 
Step 2: Heart Breathing – Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Breathe with ease until you find a comfortable rhythm. 
Step 3: Heart Feeling – While maintaining heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a time when you felt good inside and try to re-experience that feeling.

The Inner-Ease™ Technique

Sometime after you’ve reached your destination, practice this simple tool.

Step 1. Acknowledge Your Feelings – Are you frustrated, impatient, anxious, overloaded, judgmental, mentally gridlocked? Admit what you are feeling.
Step 2. Heart-Focused Breathing – Breathe deeply through the heart area, with ease and a comfortable rhythm. (See Step 2 of the Quick Coherence® Technique.)
Step 3. Draw in Inner Ease and Balance – Continue Heart-Focused Breathing and imagine with each in-breath that you are drawing in the feeling of inner ease and emotional balance.
Step 4. Anchor and Maintain – When the stressful feelings have calmed, make a heartfelt commitment to anchor and maintain the state of ease as you re-engage in your activities.

Learn more in the free download of The State of Ease booklet.

If you practice these steps faithfully both before and after your commute, I truly believe you’ll find yourself driving – and arriving — with much less stress. You may still be using up your money, time and gas, but you’ll be shoring up your heart, mind and body.

By Sara Childre

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chews ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

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20 Houseplants to Clear Toxins From Your Home

20 Houseplants to Clear Toxins From Your Home

 

Bringing a bit of nature into your home does more than brighten the atmosphere. Introducing houseplants into various rooms in the house can help reduce the chance of getting seasonal sicknesses such as the common cold, remove airborne contaminants (volatile organic compounds [or VOCs]), reduce the chance of headaches, lift your mood, decrease your blood pressure, reduce allergies, improve sleep and much more.

The 20 plants listed below are specifically known for their air purifying properties.  And while an open window may feel like all the fresh air you need, did you know that everything from toilet paper to common household cleaners can contain chemicals and release toxins like formaldehyde? Or that VOCs like benzene can be released into the air by everything from the paint on your walls, to the printed material found in your home?

So why not breathe a bit easier and enjoy the beauty of a new houseplant at the same time!

(All plants listed will clear CO2 and may clear more VOCs than noted.)

 

1. Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures): Clears formaldehyde and other VOCs.

2. Ficus alii (Ficus maeleilandii alii): Good general air purifier.

3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Clears benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.

4. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa): Good general air purifier.

5. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’): Clears formaldehyde.

 

6. Aloe: Clears formaldehyde and benzene.

7. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis): Clears formaldehyde.

8. Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii): Clears formaldehyde and xylene.

9. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’): Clears air pollutants and toxins.

10. Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium): Clears benzene.

 

11. Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): Clears trichloroethylene and benzene.

12. Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata): Clears xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

13. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina): Clears formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene

14. English ivy (Hedera helix): Clears airborne fecal-matter particles.

15. Azalea (Rhododendron simsii): Clears formaldehyde.

 

16. Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium): Clears formaldehyde and many other air pollutants.

17. Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’): Clears pollutants such as those associated with varnishes and oils.

18. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis): Clears formaldehyde.

19. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii): Clears benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

20. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum): Clears formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.

By Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

 

Leesa A. Wheeler

 

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

 

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

 

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

 

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Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source

Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source

 

You’ve got the sniffles. Your eyes are watery and you have a sore throat,  too. But, hey, it’s winter; what else can you expect in the thick of cold and  flu season, right? Maybe. But while you’re downing lozenges and soup broth,  consider this: Eye, nose and throat irritations, wheezing, coughing, skin rashes  and severe allergic reactions can result from extensive exposure to indoor air  pollution, which has also been linked to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

Indoor air pollution is in full effect during winter months especially, when  windows and doors are shuttered tight to keep the cold air out — but  inadvertently keeping bad air in, too. Toxins from cleaning supplies, mold, and  even the off-gassing of new paint all need to be circulated or  filtered out. To add insult to injury, houses more than 20 years old may harbor  lead-based paint or asbestos. All of this means indoor air quality can be many  times worse than outdoor!

Thankfully, we have control of our indoor air quality in ways we don’t have  outdoors. The best way to protect yourself and your family are by stopping  indoor air pollutants at the door:

  • Replace your central air and heating filters monthly. Clean the vents and  make sure they’re not blocked by furniture. HEPA filters are especially good at reducing allergens.
  • Make your home a no-smoking zone and consider restricting your pets from  certain rooms in the house (such as a nursery or bedroom) to keep sensitive  areas free of pet dander and tracked-in dirt.
  • Most store-bought candles contain harmful chemical components and artificial  scents that are released as the candle burns. Switch to natural candles,  such as beeswax and soy candles, or, better yet, use these directions to make your own using sand!
  • Many people do not realize the risks of a dirty chimney. Smoke backs up in a  sooty flue and is pushed back into the home. It is well worth the money to hire  a professional chimney sweep or the time to do it yourself. Follows these best burning practices — your family and Santa will  thank you.
  • Clean with nontoxic products. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and a few  other natural ingredients can replace most chemical cleaners. While nontoxic  cleaning supplies are available in stores, these recipes are simple and cheap to make at home.
  • Remove your shoes at the door to avoid bringing outdoor pollutants  inside.
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstery often to remove dust, pet dander and  other pollutants. One company offers a “cradle-to-cradle” carpet that improves air  quality.

If we have to spend more hours indoors during the winter months, they should  at least be fresh ones. Follow these tips and you’re on your way to a home you  can feel good breathing deeply in. As with all things, it pays to be proactive:  Change the filters, sweep that chimney, employ an army of houseplants to filter air for you and release a (clean) sigh  of relief.

By Shelly Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother  Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable,  self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic  Gardening content and the Vegetable  Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening,  small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and  cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The  Rowdy Radish.

Photo from Fotolia

8 Scary Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

8 Scary Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid
 

The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say  environmental  experts. We’re exposed to them routinely — from the  phthalates in synthetic  fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven  cleaners. Ingredients in common  household products have been linked to  asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders,  hormone disruption and  neurotoxicity.

Manufacturers argue that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t   likely to be a problem, but when we’re exposed to them routinely, and  in  combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately  gauge the  risks. While a few products cause immediate reactions from  acute exposure  (headaches from fumes, skin burns from accidental  contact), different problems  arise with repeated contact. Chronic  exposure adds to the body’s “toxic burden”  — the number of chemicals  stored in its tissues at a given time.

No one can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals altogether, but it is  possible  to reduce it significantly. In the following pages, experts weigh in on the  worst toxic offenders commonly  found in household cleaning products, and offer  ways to swap them for  healthier, safer options.

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

1. Phthalates

Found in: Many fragranced household products, such  as air  fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper. Because of proprietary  laws,  companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you  won’t find  phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a  label, there’s a  good chance phthalates are present.

Health Risks: Phthalates are known endocrine  disruptors.  Men with higher phthalate compounds in their blood had  correspondingly reduced  sperm counts, according to a 2003 study  conducted by researchers from the  Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention and the Harvard School of Public  Health. Although exposure to  phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it  can also happen through  skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant  problem, warns  Alicia Stanton, MD, coauthor of Hormone  Harmony (Healthy Life Library, 2009). Unlike the digestive system, the  skin has  no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to  organs.

Healthier Choice: When possible choose fragrance-free  or  all-natural organic products. Beth Greer, author of Super Natural Home, recommends bypassing aerosol or   plug-in air fresheners and instead using essential oils or simply  opening  windows to freshen the air. Besides causing more serious effects  like endocrine  disruption, “Aerosol sprays and air fresheners can be  migraine and asthma  triggers,”  she says. Also consider adding more  plants to your home:  They’re natural air detoxifiers.

Gender-Bending Phthalates

2. Perchloroethylene or “PERC”

Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet  and upholstery cleaners.

Health Risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the  chief  scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney  General’s  office. And the EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen”  as well. People  who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners  are located have reported  dizziness, loss of coordination and other  symptoms. While the EPA has ordered a  phase-out of perc machines in  residential buildings by 2020, California is  going even further and  plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023 because of  its suspected  health risks. The route of exposure is most often inhalation:  that  telltale smell on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner, or the   fumes that linger after cleaning carpets.

Healthier Choice: Curtains, drapes and clothes that are   labeled “dry clean only” can be taken instead to a “wet cleaner,” which  uses  water-based technology rather than chemical solvents. The EPA  recently  recognized liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) as an environmentally  preferable  alternative to more toxic dry-cleaning solvents. Ask your dry  cleaner which  method they use. For a safer spot remover, look for a  nontoxic brand like  Ecover at a natural market, or rub undiluted castile  soap directly on stains  before washing.

3. Triclosan

Found in: Most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps  labeled “antibacterial.”

Health Risks: Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial   agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Explains  Sutton: “The American Medical Association has found no evidence that  these  antimicrobials make us healthier or safer, and they’re  particularly concerned  because they don’t want us overusing  antibacterial chemicals — that’s how  microbes develop resistance, and  not just to these [household antibacterials],  but also to real  antibiotics that we need.” Other studies have now found  dangerous  concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic  to  algae. The EPA is currently investigating whether triclosan may also   disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function. It is a probable carcinogen. At  press  time, the agency was reviewing the safety of triclosan in consumer   products.

Healthier Choice: Use simple detergents and soaps with   short ingredient lists, and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan  for  home use. If you’re hooked on hand sanitizer, choose one that is  alcohol-based  and without triclosan.

4. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds,  or “QUATS”

Found in: Fabric softener liquids and sheets, most household  cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”

Health Risks: Quats are another type of antimicrobial,  and  thus pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed  antibiotic-resistant  bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant; one 10-year  study of contact dermatitis  found quats to be one of the leading  causes. According to Rebecca Sutton, PhD,  a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they’re also  suspected as a culprit for  respiratory disorders: “There’s evidence that even  healthy people who  are [exposed to quats] on a regular basis develop asthma as  a result.”

Healthier Choice: You don’t really need fabric softener  or  dryer sheets to soften clothes or get rid of static: Simple vinegar  works just  as well. “Vinegar is the natural fabric softener of choice  for many reasons,” explains Karyn Siegel-Maier in her book The Naturally Clean Home (Storey Publishing, 2008). “Not only is it nontoxic, it also removes  soap residue in the rinse cycle and  helps to prevent static cling in the  dryer.” White vinegar is your best choice  for general cleaning; other  types can stain.

Alternatives to chemical disinfectants abound, including antibacterial,   antifungal tea-tree oil. Mix a few drops of tea-tree oil and a  tablespoon of  vinegar with water in a spray bottle for a safe, germ  killing, all-purpose  cleaner. Add a couple of drops of lavender  essential oil for scent.

5.  2-Butoxyethanol

Found in: Window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.

Health Risks: 2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in  many  window cleaners and gives them their characteristic sweet smell. It  belongs in  the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents  that don’t mess  around. Law does not require 2-butoxyethanol to be  listed on a product’s label.  According to the EPA’s Web site, in  addition to causing sore throats when  inhaled, at high levels glycol  ethers can also contribute to narcosis,  pulmonary edema, and severe  liver and kidney damage. Although the EPA sets a  standard on  2-butoxyethanol for workplace safety, Sutton warns, “If you’re  cleaning  at home in a confined area, like an unventilated bathroom, you can   actually end up getting 2-butoxyethanol in the air at levels that are  higher  than workplace safety standards.”

Healthier Choice: Clean mirrors and windows with  newspaper  and diluted vinegar. For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple  cleaning  compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural  ingredients like ground  feldspar and baking soda without the added  bleach or fragrances found in most  commercial cleansers. You can also  make your own formulas with baking soda,  vinegar and essential oils. See “DIY Cleaners” on page 5 for a list of clean  concoctions.

6. Ammonia

Found in: Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and  jewelry; also in glass cleaner.

Health Risks: Because ammonia evaporates and doesn’t  leave  streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window  cleaners. That  sparkle has a price. “Ammonia is a powerful irritant,”  says Donna Kasuska,  chemical engineer and president of ChemConscious,  Inc., a risk-management  consulting company. “It’s going to affect you  right away. The people who will  be really affected are those who have  asthma, and elderly people with lung  issues and breathing problems. It’s  almost always inhaled. People who get a lot  of ammonia exposure, like  housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis  and asthma.” Ammonia  can also create a poisonous gas if it’s mixed with  bleach.

Healthier Choice: Vodka. “It will produce a reflective shine  on any metal or mirrored surface,” explains Lori Dennis, author of Green Interior Design (Allsworth Press, 2010). And  toothpaste makes an outstanding silver polish.

7. Chlorine

Found in: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew  removers, laundry whiteners, household tap water.

Health Risks: “With chlorine we have so many avenues of   exposure,” says Kasuska. “You’re getting exposed through fumes and  possibly  through skin when you clean with it, but because it’s also in  city water to get  rid of bacteria, you’re also getting exposed when you  take a shower or bath.  The health risks from chlorine can be acute, and  they can be chronic; it’s a  respiratory irritant at an acute level. But  the chronic effects are what people  don’t realize: It may be a serious  thyroid disrupter.”

Healthier Choice: For scrubbing, stick to Bon Ami or  baking  soda. Toilet bowls can be cleaned with vinegar, and vinegar or  borax powder  both work well for whitening clothes. So does the  chlorine-free oxygen bleach  powder made by Biokleen. To reduce your  exposure to chlorine through tap water,  install filters on your kitchen  sink and in the shower.

8. Sodium  Hydroxide

Found in: Oven cleaners and drain openers.

Health Risks: Otherwise known as lye, sodium hydroxide  is  extremely corrosive: If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, it  can cause  severe burns. Routes of exposure are skin contact and  inhalation. Inhaling  sodium hydroxide can cause a sore throat that lasts  for days.

Healthier Choice: You can clean the grimiest oven with   baking-soda paste — it just takes a little more time and elbow grease  (see  recipes in “DIY Cleaners” on page 5). Unclog drains with a mechanical “snake” tool, or try this approach from the Green Living Ideas Web  site: Pour a cup of  baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain and  plug it for 30 minutes.  After the bubbles die down, run hot water down  the drain to clear the  debris.

Beware of Greenwashing

If a cleaning product at your supermarket proclaims itself “green,” “natural” or “biodegradable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s  nontoxic. In 2010 the  environmental consulting firm TerraChoice Group  produced a report called “The  Sins of Greenwashing.” In it the group  found more than 95 percent of so-called  green consumer products had  committed at least one “greenwashing sin,” like  making an environmental  claim that may be truthful but unimportant. “CFC-free,” for example, is a  common one, since CFCs are banned by law. Donna Kasuska of   ChemConscious offers this advice: “When gauging ecological claims, look  for  specifics. ‘Biodegradable in three to five days’ holds more meaning  than “biodegradable” as most substances will eventually break down with  enough  time.”

DIY Cleaners

Clean your home safely — and cheaply — with the following recipes:

Basic sink cleanser – Combine ½ cup baking soda with  six  drops essential oil (such as lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime or  orange). Rinse  sink well with hot water. Sprinkle combination into sink  and pour ¼ cup vinegar  over top. After the fizz settles, scrub with a  damp sponge or cloth. Rinse  again with hot water. (From The Naturally Clean Home, by Karyn Siegel-Maier.)

Oven cleanser — Put a heatproof dish filled with  water in  the oven. Turn on the heat to let the steam soften any baked-on  grease. Once  the oven is cool, apply a paste of equal parts salt,  baking soda, and vinegar,  and scrub. (From Super  Natural Home, by Beth Greer.)

Bathroom mildew remover – Good  ventilation helps  prevent mildew and mold. When they do occur, make a spray  with 2 cups of  water and 1/4 teaspoon each of tea-tree and lavender oil. Shake  first  and spray on trouble spots. The oils break down the mildew so there’s no   need to wipe it down. (From Green  Interior Design, by Lori Dennis.)

Carpet shampoo – Mix 3 cups water, ¾ cup  vegetable-based  liquid soap, and 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Rub  the foam into soiled  areas with a damp sponge. Let dry thoroughly and  then vacuum. (From The Naturally Clean Home.)

Laundry soap — Try “soap nuts” made from the dried  fruit  of the Chinese soapberry tree. Available in natural groceries and  online, the  reusable soap nuts come in a cotton sack that goes into the  washing machine  with clothes.

Dusting — Skip the furniture polishes. Instead, use a   microfiber cloth. Made from synthetic fibers that are then split into  hundreds  of smaller microfibers, they capture dust more efficiently than  regular rags.  If necessary, a little olive oil makes a fine polishing  agent.

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

By Jessie Sholl, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.

 

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