Some of the most toxic things I used to do was clean my house. I know it sounds crazy but dipping my hand in bleach water and scrubbing the tub with conventional cleaning products wasn't the best thing for my health. You see everything I touched, was absorbed by my body. So technically I was doing more harm than good. These cleaners contain ammonia, artificial fragrances, and various other chemicals you don't want in your body.
That doesn't mean never clean again.. It means clean differently. Be careful what you buy... or make your own. It's easy to make your own cleaning spray both for disinfectant, glass cleaning and even scrubs for the bathroom! All you need are some good glass containers like the amber glass bottles and mason jars in which store the supples!
All Purpose Cleaner
One thing that sounds crazy to me now that I never thought about being natural was arts & crafts supplies. I had the wood easel, woodtoys but not once did I think about the paint, play dough or crayons my daughters had. One day, during naptime, I fell down a rabbit hole of natural reading and realized I wasn't as crunchy as I thought. There could be harsh chemicals and heavy metals in the art supplies my kiddos were using. At the time iI didn't know there were chemicals (toluene, xylene, lead, cadmium, hexane, talc, etc..) that were in conventional art supplies.
Why? From what I learned, companies the chemicals preserve art materials and can make them easier to use. But some of these chemicals are carcinogenic (or suspected to be so or not tested enough to be sure one way or the other). Those chemicals can get into the blood stream through skin contact, inhalation and through the experimental nature of kids putting everything in their mouth. Uh, no thanks! I definitely didn't sign up to hang VOCs up as part of my kids final masterpiece. That's why I live my crunchy life to keep as much as the stuff away from our family as possible. So it was time to find the most natural products available for art time with the kids!
While I have found some great recipes for DIY play dough and honestly it seems like an awesome idea I may try out one day with 3-year-old Ivy, I'd rather buy it! And if you're like me here are my picks for play dough, paint, chalk and more:
Where to buy?
Do you ever feel like your energy is stuck? You get enough sleep, you eat well, you're happy but yet..., you feel off? Your physical body may be find but your energy (and spirit) could need some care. Cleansing your chakras is a good way to help fix your energy. I like to do this onechakra at a time using the 7 chakra system. This can help you let go of old hurts, physical pain, focus, cleanse and create a sense of positivity.
Recently, I've had a ton of changes (job change, move, back to school and more). So I figure it is a good time to focus on my chakras and ensure my energy is flowing to get me back on track. Each week or as my body directs me I will be focusing on one chakra at a time to cleanse and align my body and mind. So we start.... at the bottom with the root chakra.
The Root Chakra (Muladhara) is the first chakra. It is located at the based of the spine. The root chakra is our survival center and the most instinctive of the 7 chakras. I've heard this referred to as the flight or fight chakra. This chakra creates a feeling of safety and security when balanced. It is like creating a foundation for the body. You start here at the root chakra and build up.
When unbalanced in the root chakra, one may cling to old beliefs of toxic behaviors. Feelings of fear, insecurity, guilt and not belonging all stem from the lack of balance in the root chakra. When balanced, the root chakra helps with feelings of safety, security, set-assureness and strength.
Crystals & Color
The root chakra is symbolized as the color red. While many believe crystals have to match the color of the chakra, this isn't always the case. It is more about the energy associated with the crystal. The healing frequency of the crystal will resonate with the vibrational frequency of your chakra and can help activate and balance your chakra.
Crystals that are a good match for the root chakra are:
There are many other stones great for the root chakra. This list is just a few.
To use the crystals for healing you can wear them in everyday life. Use them during meditation whether you're simply holding the stones, placing them on or near the chakra or arranging them in a formation to cleanse. Personally, I hold the crystal meditation and/or place is on my skin as a lie down.
Words are power. You're heard that before, I'm sure. But, it's not just words that contain power but also sounds and vibrational frequencies. Each chakra has a specific mantra to chant. The root chakra's mantra is: LAM. You can chant "Lam' silently or aloud to help cleanse the root chakra.
It is also helpful to use affirmations to help focus yourself on your intention.
Start or end your meditation or day with one (or more) of these affirmations. Write it on a post it note and stick it to your door in the car.
Yoga can also help you to align your chakras as well. Here are a few poses to help!
Scents, besides just smelling good, help to activate the mind and body. Essential oils are a great way to help align and cleanse the chakras. Plant therapy has a chakra set specifically for this purpose. It runs about $50 but they website usually has a promo code for new customers! Young Living recommends itsHarmony blend for the root chakra.
But if you want to take it one oil at a time or mix your own set, here are essential oils that are good for the root chakra:
So how do you add all this up? One section may be for you and others may not. This is not something that is super easy and you may feel like you're not achieving success but stay persistent and learn more. Life is a marathon right? There are also Ayurvedic, holistic and other types of shoppes that will help you in your chakra cleansing. Take time to visualize a swirling ball of red at the base of your spine. Happy balancing.
* There will be a video coming soon with me explaining and showing all of these steps!
It's back to school season and that means.... LUNCH! Every mom's favorite time of the year. (I'm lying. I hate making my kid's lunches but that is another story). We're all about the healthy snacks... but not about the plastic waste.. (yay environment!!) So what do you do, besides let the kids starve?
Here are a few mom approved alternatives to plastic ziploc baggies!
Stasher Silicone Bags
Mini Mason Jars
Lunchskin Paper Bags
Beeswax Wraps & Bags
There are also many off-brand reusable baggies available on amazon and other retailers that are a bit cheaper so it might not hurt as much if they don't make it home one day.
Eczema sucks. There I said it. It sucks. My husband's daughter is plagued by eczema. Yes, I know its all about what you eat and you can help correct eczema through an all clean diet. But what about when a flare up happens? How do you manage the skin?
When our 6-year-old's eczema was really bad when she'd come to our house it was my mission to fix it! That meant some extreme measures. So here are things I did that actually worked!
Bathing: Only used castille soap for bath time and not too long in the tub. My fav castille soap is Dr Bronner's. We'd use the unscented kind for her skin.
Then came the real work. Buttpaste. Yes, I'd lather her whole body in buttpaste. It sounds crazy but it works. On top of the buttpaste to seal it all in, I'd add Aquaphor then put her pjs on. ( I wouldn't recommend Aquaphor now in my current crunchy level of living)
Then repeat. When she woke up, we'd do it all over again (just a bit lighter on the application if we were leaving the house). Her eczema was healed in less than a week. Her skin was amazing again. I do admit we'd reapply during the day as needed or whenever I'd notice scratching.
What I learned from this is the zinc was the true cure for the skin. Since that original time I've found Wedela Skin Food. This product is amazing also! It contains Zinc Sulfate and tons of other awesome ingredients for the skin that truly help. Yes it is crazy expensive but it works!
Another product our family loves for eczema is Thena Healing Cream. This is a very natural lotion to help keep the eczema at bay and is very light.
I've got a new favorite essential oil! (I say that with each one I buy) But ya'll turmeric is awesome! It's helps with skin, hair and overall health. I originally got it for my young mildly achy bones. My knees and shoulders tend to hurt (yay high school sports) and I read that turmeric oil, beyond just being amazing in curried chicken, could possible help my joints. AND IT DID. Yes, I start off smelling like I'm seasoning chicken to cook for later but that's okay because I don't hurt. (priorities right?)
SO I began looking into turmeric to see what else it could do. Did I want to diffuse it? Was it kid friendly? Or was it just for my bones? The answer my friend, is for so much more: hair, skin, digestive, depression, and so much more. The warm, spicy, earthy, orange oil is very useful.
Chemical Makeup of Turmeric
So we know that essential oils don't just smell good, they have good chemicals in them that do awesome stuff. It's that chemical make up that allows the essential oil to do certain biological properties that they contain.
Turmeric has a lot of chemical components (over 300) including: turmerone, curcumin, alpha-turmerone, beta-turmerone, ar-tumerone, zingiberene and 6-gingerol. Its major compounds are sesquiterpenes meaning they are able to pass through the blood brain barrier delivering nutrients and oxygen to the brain. So let's begin there.
Turmeric, the Brain & Cells
Turmeric is able to work on a cellular level and its molecules are small enough to pass through the blood brain barrier bringing nutrients and oxygen to the brain. Turmeric is able to help with cognitive functions and even may help with many issues that affect the brain. But why? Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) declining is a key issue when it comes to many disabling brain diseases like Alzheimer's. Turmeric can help BDNF to increase.
In it's conclusion, a 2010, study stated that curcumin (a component of turmeric) shows a strong chance of being able to prevent or event treat age-related brain diseases like stroke, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.
Ar-turmerone (an aromatic part of turmeric) hinders microglia which is a type of brain nd spinal cell that proves the presence of disease.
There have also been many studies that show turmeric may help against cancer this is because of the curcumin and one study suggests its pairing with turmerone. Thisstudy points out curcumin can selectively kill cancer cells and not normal cells. While many of the studies were looking for items to help create drugs to fight cancer, why not use the components where they are naturally found? In Turmeric.
Other health benefits on the cellular level:
Turmeric, Skin & Hair
Pimples, where? Not with turmeric. You can use it as a spot treatment or an all over face moisturizing mask. Turmeric also can help lighten scars and heal wounds, bruises and other skin issues. Of course to apply the essential oil topically you'll want to dilute in a carrier oil depending on the strength desired (usually 2%).
Here are a few recipes, mix with:
Turmeric & The Body
Turmeric, when ingested, helps with bloating, excessive gas, and cramping. The zingiberene and 6-ginerol help stimulate the digestive system and increase gastric juices. It also acts as an anti worm and parasitic compound.
When applied topically turmeric can help with arthritis and other muscle or joint pain. It inhibits actions of inflammatory compounds and prevents swelling.
Other health benefits for the body:
Remember, I am not a doctor. I am only sharing information I have researched and use for my own and my family's health. If you have any health concerns and want to use turmeric to help talk to your natural practitioner or family doctor.
Creativity, motivation, releasing anxiety and more… all areas where many claim incense can benefit (depending on what you’re burning). But there are also many ways you can burn in incense.
Cone, stick or resin? What type of incense do you use? Believe it or not, all incense is not created equal. Like anything, there’s a crunchy version and a synthetic version. While there are a few studies about the dangers of incense the main points I have about the incense is “What are you burning?” and “How’s the ventilation in the room?”
In order to not release dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air which can cause harm to your body. You don’t want these VOCs in your home! But there are ways to help purify the home… but I digress.
Direct burning is usually done in the form of incense sticks or cones in which you directly apply heat and burn causing the aroma. When it comes to cones in the cone actually burns the incense with less smoke as there is no wood to burn. You also have to make sure the incense is scented in natural incense and not synthetic which can also be harmful to your health. The wood inside the incense also needs to be “clean” wood as it burns as well.
Resin incense is the most common for of indirect burning. You put the resin on charcoal and burn the charcoal, in turn burning the resin. The traditional way would consist of taking coals from a fire putting it on a stone (or non-flammable surface), then placing the resins or loose incense herbs over the charcoal to release the smell. The important aspect here is to only buy the herbs or resin from place you trust. You have to ensure the product is pure. (Omg I sound like I’m talking about drugs “Make sure the product is pure”, but seriously that’s important). I get mine from my local health food store that I trust.
You also have to make sure the charcoal you’re using is pure also. I use this one made from coconut husks.
There’s also bamboo charcoal that is a better alternative than regular charcoal which often has additives to burn faster and longer, these can release VOCs into your home… (BOOOO!)
WHAT’S SO BAD?
Well, I don’t know exactly what could be in your incense but neither do you. The exact type of pollutants released into the air (and your home) depends on the chemicals present in the incense being burned. That’s why I’m a crazy person when it comes to gettin only pure and natural incense and charcoal. Whether you choose stick, resin or a cone incense, choose something clean and pure to the best of your ability and stay away from synthetic incense.
FINDING THE GOOD STUFF
Incense De Santa Fe
It’s a cone type incense in the shape of a rectangle. This company offers 7 different types of natural wood incense made in the US. There is also a sample back where one could try all the offering for a good price.
Its a modern twist on incense cones. Their most popular mix is called Blood Countess, a dragon’s blood resin and frankincense Combination to lift the mood and add some edge.
It’s a Japanese specialty brand that isn’t too pricey but has been around a very long time! These are natural and trusted brand.
This is the brand my local health food store and local Whole Food’s offer. It is a natural brand with ingredients I can understand (Yay me!). These also offer the tradition scents like frankincense and myrrh that aren’t blended so you decide for yourself on the scents you like.
Also check out your local health food store to see what they offer for incense, just make sure you read the packaging to ensure there’s no artificial or synthetic fragrances.
Not really crunchy related but this is my life. I will admit I was swindled by a moving company. ABC Moving got me. They gave me an estimate to move our items from Wisconsin to Delaware. They get to our house and of course the estimate goes up. So we pay it... then when they get to our house they demand more money. I almost about cried ya'll! Actually I did cry. Lets be real here. This post is to let you know, if you got swindled and just paid the people to get your stuff, you are not alone. Oh, and the icing on the cake, we are missing a box and our first TV we bought together was broken. Like we hired a moving company to ensure it was done right. I messed up crunchy friends. I messed up. Vent over. Return to the normal scheduled crunchy posts!
Now that the hubby, Jake, and I both have days where we are busy typing away on the computer for work, we have to remind ourselves to take time for our physical health. Yoga is now our thing. That's not something many couples will say and legit me actual yoga. But that's what we do. Yoga on demand with out matching mats. Those really make me happy because they have cute sayings on them. Mine says "I am love" and his says "I am strong" plus they are nontoxic fromAffirmats. Who woulda thought that yoga mats were sometimes made with toxic ingredients.... uh YUCK! But I digress.
I didn't think Jake was going to get into yoga and at first he didn't either, but now there are mornings he has our yoga mats out and ready before I am even awake. At first I am convinced he did yoga only for me and then when his muscles started shaking and he realized it was not all easy stretching he got on board.
It really connects us because according to the Peloton app we use (shout out the the yoga instructor Dennis for making yoga look easy), we are not yet intermediate in yoga and we can joke about how one class was hard or help each other keep our form. Honestly, it's great for us (and our 2 year old loves to jump in and try to do yoga (or knock mommy down) also! We even had to get her a yoga mat as well!
Do you and your significant other do yoga? Are there any great apps or on demand programs for us to try? Let me know!
It's my second year of being a crazy garden lady. This year I have less space since we moved to Wisconsin so I decided to do an indoor garden... starting slowly. I decided to get a nice little herb garden to ensure I'm responsible enough to grow my food indoors and water it. An indoor garden needs more care and love than your typical house plants.
In deciding to start my garden I went on my search for organic seeds and dirt. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I buy soil instead of digging up the back yard. But I believe this way, I ensure I know what is growing my food and I am able to have the healthiest food possible!
DO I REALLY NEED ORGANIC SEEDS?
That's the first think I tackled, finding good organic seeds. I found mine via the local health food store. They usually will have starter plants for the garden as well but the weather has been pretty crappy in the Milwaukee area (but I digress).
You need organic seeds because you know they haven't been genetically modified. There is no foreign DNA or anything mysterious in the seed. A good article about organic vs conventional seeds can be found on The Good Heart Life. I'll sum it up briefly. Organic seed means the crop was grown in an organic environment without pesticides etc therefore the seed is strong and designed to be grown in an organic environment.
THERE'S DIRT OUTSIDE... CAN'T I USE THAT?
Sure, but what's in that dirt? If you don't know then don't even chance it. OR you can test your soil. Since I'm planting indoors, I'd rather keep the outdoors outside and buy soil to go inside. You may say it's odd but it makes sense to me. More info on soil testing and organic gardening can be found on Beyond Pesticides. Buying soil allow you to choose the proper soil for what you're growing. Did you know different fruits/veggies need different nutrients in their soil? I didn't until I started learning and trying to understand why my garden last year didn't get the results I wanted.
That's the technical stuff... Then i got the cutest window planter from Target for $20 on sale. *doing a dance because I love a sale* Put it all together with water and you get my happy window! Let's keep this year's herb garden alive.
What are you growing this season? Share your organic gardening tricks with me in the comments!
I'm a mom of 3 girls and a husband who I converted to the crunchy life. I buy a lot and try a lot so you don't have to.