Taking Care of Ourselves, our Families & our Environment

Sunday, February 28, 2016


It’s almost time to dig out your gardening gloves and tools to prepare for spring planting. Whether you’re a beginner gardener or someone who’s been at it for years,  tips always help to make gardening easier.

  • Place egg shells around the bottoms of plants to add calcium to the soil. The shells also discourage pests and small bugs.
  • Garden markers can help you easily identify what’s planted where.

  • Make your spring gardening chores easier with a DIY watering can made from a half gallon plastic milk jug. Heat a strong needle and poke holes through the plastic cap. It’s a nice size for watering seedlings and small plants.

  • Start your seeds in eggshells. By starting your seeds instead of buying plants that have already begun to grow, you can cut your gardening costs.

  • Plastic forks inserted stem side down into the ground can help keep little critters (like bunnies) away from small plants. 

  • Epson Salt! Because it is rich n magnesium ad sulfate, it is great for plants. a) You can mix it into your soil to help seeds germinate better. b) You can mix a couple of Tablespoons into your watering can once or twice a month. c) Tomatoes and peppers benefit the most because they both tend to grow well in a magnesium rich soil.
  • Save veggie cooking water. Let it cool, and then use it to fertilize your garden.
  • Not everyone has the skills, tools, materials, or time to make a raised wooden garden bed. How about a cinder block bed?

and http://www.listotic.com/20-insanely-clever-gardening-tips-and-ideas/8/

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oh, Those Dandelions!

Vitamins in Dandelions

Only in the twentieth century did humans decide that the dandelion was a weed. Before the invention of lawns, the golden blossoms and lion-toothed leaves were more likely to be praised as a bounty of food, medicine and magic. Gardeners used to weed out the grass to make room for the dandelions. 

In my work with WoodlandsMamas I am learning more about natural approaches to life. I am starting to routinely ask myself, "Why did God make this?" and "Is there a way to do this/make this/fix this that does not use chemicals?"  Today the journey lead me to dandelions.

 Dandelions are among the most expensive items in the grocery store. The roots are dried and sold as a no-caffeine coffee substitute – for $31.75 a pound. Dandelions out-price prime rib, swordfish and lobster. They appear in produce and other sections, and even at the liquor store. 

You can enjoy a complete meal, from salad greens to dandelion quiche, followed by dandelion ice cream, washed down with dandelion wine. If you over-indulge, a cup of dandelion tea is the perfect remedy, since dandelions help the liver flush hangover-inducing toxins from the body.
This resilient, nutrient dense plant actually has great medicinal value

In traditional herbal medicine, the root and leaves are used to treat: liver disease, constipation and poor digestion.   Dandelion is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels. It functions as a mild diuretic, and contains many nutrients, including vitamins.

A time-tested herb long used for the treatment of various ailments, the dandelion is generally recognized as safe to consume. However, it may cause mouth sores in some individuals and interact with other herbs and medications. Consult a health care provider for advice before using any alternative supplement.


They have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C (19mg per cup)  than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse . The dandelion also has folic acid, B6 and trace amounts of B1, B2, B3 and B5.   To balance the bitter taste of the dandelion, it can also be added to green salads, teas and soups. The French have a well-known soup called creme de pissenlits (cream of dandelion soup), which is easy to make. 
My grandmother made dandelion wine -- that works for me! LOL

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are important nutrients. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which are lost when heated, fat-soluble vitamins are not lost during cooking and are stored in the liver and fat cells for future use by the body. 
According to HealthRecipes.com, the leaves of the dandelion contain more vitamin A than the equivalent amount of carrots. One cup of dandelion greens can yield 7,700 IU of vitamin A. Other notable fat soluble vitamins in the dandelion include vitamin E and vitamin K.


The dandelion contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These nutrients are important for bone health. One cup of dandelion leaves contains 103mg of calcium and 20mg of magnesium. Potassium, another mineral in the dandelion, is needed for healthy kidneys; one cup of dandelion leaves contains 218mg of this vital nutrient. Trace amounts of zinc, copper and selenium are also present in the dandelion.

Dandelions have sunk their roots deep into history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. Dandelions probably arrived in North America on the Mayflower – not as stowaways, but brought on purpose for their medicinal benefits.
Dandelions were world-famous for their beauty. They were a common and beloved garden flower in Europe, and the subject of many poems. In the terrifying New World, the cheerful face of the dandelion would have been a sweet reminder of home. In Japan, whole horticultural societies formed to enjoy the beauty of dandelions and to develop exciting new varieties for gardeners. 

To top it off, Discovery News is highlighting an interesting development in the field of rubber. According to new research being done in Ohio, dandelion root sap could be made into a rubber of equal quality to traditional rubber from trees, at a lower cost!
Take another look at those little yellow plants!  WoodlandsMamas sure is!


Recipes for Dandelion Wine:
Recipe for Dandelion Soup:
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/295557-vitamins-in-dandelions/#ixzz1MGL1UnZt
Graphic of boy: Paul Viant/Photodisc/Getty Images

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

12 Habits to Make You Healthier

Cut back on meat.
Not only are our factory faming methods wreaking havoc on our already fragile environment, but meat is very hard on our systems. Meat is the hardest of all foods to digest (starch coming at a close second). The harder something is to digest, the more fat will be stored in our bodies.
If you choose to eat meat, try cutting back to a few times per week, and always choose local and organic. This way, at least you won't be ingesting hormones and god-knows-what. Quick food for thought: some of the biggest, sturdiest animals on earth (elephant, cow, gorilla) eat plant-based diets, and they're doing just fine!

Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol isn't just terribly dehydrating, it's also either filled with gluten, sugar or both, which drastically speeds up our aging process. This leaves the skin looking dull and extra pounds feeling much too at home.

Honor your digestion.
Good digestion is typically overlooked and is one of the key factors to feeling and being your healthiest. Practice eating things in their proper order, chew thoroughly and notice how much better you start to feel during and after your meals. Bloating should go down and energy levels should go up.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Drink a lot of water. Divide your body weight in pounds by two. This number equals the amount, in ounces, you should be drinking, which will efficiently hydrate you without drowning the nutrients out of your system. Try infused water for a bit of diversity without any extra harmful ingredients.

Pretend you're allergic to dairy.
Dairy is one food group that should be avoided at all costs, especially when it comes from the local supermarket. Puss, blood and antibiotics are only a few of the terrifying ingredients in our highly processed milk, cheese and yogurt these days. Not only does milk actually leach calcium from our bodies, but dairy causes us to form mucus and is terribly difficult to digest.

Ditch caffeine.
Caffeine of any kind wreaks havoc on our system. It causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released, making it very difficult to shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy balance.

Eat the rainbow.
Make sure especially to consume LOTS of dark, leafy greens. Add as many different colored fruits and vegetables as possible to your diet.

Break up with sugar.
I'm sure you've heard tons of preaching on this subject lately. I'm going to contribute to that. 

Sugar leaches minerals and nutrients from our body and turns straight to unhealthy fat when digested. Work on conquering that sugar addiction and use healthy sugar substitutes like raw honey, organic maple syrup, organic stevia and coconut nectar as much as you can. Remember, choosing artificial sweetener is actually WORSE for you than sugar, so please don't go there.
Use only coconut or grapeseed oil for high-heat cooking.
Not doing this will deprive your body of the nutrients it craves and will actually allow carcinogens into your system. Otherwise, enjoy other healthy oils such as olive oil, hemp oil and avocado oil, as well as coconut and grapeseed oil, in the raw.
Our bodies are made to move. We aren't meant to be sitting in a chair all day long. Many of us don't have much of a choice in that, but we do have some control. Get up and do some stretching at least once an hour. Move any way that your unique situation allows. Clean the house, do the dishes, walk to a restaurant, do a few standing jumping jacks — whatever suits you. On top of that, do a more intense workout at least three days per week (e.g. go to the gym, take a movement class).

Use natural beauty and home products.
Non-organic beauty products (everything from makeup, nail polish, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, candles and cleaning solutions), when applied to our skin, leaches dangerous toxins into our bloodstream in a mere 26 seconds. Whether applied topically or through the air, these toxins will make us age faster, can make it impossible to shed extra pounds, can cause disease and can totally confuse our hormones.

Practice gratitude. PRAY
Above all, remember to be grateful for all the positive aspects of your life! It takes work, which is why it's called a practice. Remember to offer up the good and the bad.
" . . . you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . "  Genesis 50:20

Thursday, February 12, 2015

8 American Foods Banned In Other Countries

You have heard, "innocent until proven guilty," right? It is an approach that works well for our justice system, but it is not a good approach for our diets.
Thinking that things are safe just because they are on a store shelf, allows dangerous chemicals to permeate our food supply. Because most people expect organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect us, it is surprising to learn how many everyday foods contain additives that have been banned in other parts of the world. 

While the human body is resilient, the fewer known carcinogens and toxins you can expose your family to the better - especially when there are so many healthy and affordable alternatives readily available. My company has been a Godsend to us because we learn about these things before the mainstream public. I am passionate about getting the word out. People have a right to know!

Here are 8 products you should eliminate from your home and diet.. 

Finding substitutions
Giving up products your family loves might be easier with a few recommendations. Here are some substitutions on which you can rely.
1. Wild Salmon
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines offer several sustainably harvested choices for salmon lovers including wild-caught Alaskan Salmon, Washington Salmon, and Oregon Salmon. 
2. Soda
Try a natural soda like Zevia or make your own seltzer and add fresh organic lemon or organic lime juice
3. Bread
Many commercial bakers, including Best Foods, Inc. (maker of Arnold, Entenmann’s, and Orowheat brand breads and rolls), Pepperidge Farm, and Pillsbury, have switched to bromate-free processes. In addition, some supermarket chains, like Giant, do not use bromate. Bromate is listed as a carcinogen in California, and Proposition 65 requires baked goods sold in California to bear a store-level cancer warnings if they contain dangerous levels of bromate. As a result, most California bakers have switched to bromate-free processes. Many breads throughout the United States are now being labeled bromate-free. If you do not see a label that makes it clear a product does or does not contain bromate, try to avoid products that contain “enhanced flour" to be safe. 
4. Jello 
Love Jello but don't want the artificial dyes? Mama Natural offers her DIY organic jello recipe using juice. 
5. Chips
Go to any natural food aisle and you'll find a host of olestra-free and artificial dye-free chips. Some of our favorites include Terra Chips (made with vegetables and dyed with juice), Stacy's Pita Chips, and Good Health Avocado Oil Kettle Chips.
6. Cereal
Cereals are another product category with dozens of delicious toxin-free options - including "junk food" cereals that kids love like Cinnamon Harvest Kashi and Gorilla Munch. Make your own corn tortilla chips!  They taste better and they have no preservatives.
7. Milk
When it comes to milk, look for milk that specifically states it is rBGH-free or buy organic (which has to be rBGH-free by law). It is more expensive, but worth the extra cost if you can afford it. Try almond or coconut milk -- you might just love it!
8. Chicken 
As with milk, the most "natural" (a.k.a. containing the fewest chemical additives) version of chicken is organic. For ethical reasons, you should also consider buying humanely raised meat and poultry when possible. 
By keeping an eye out for some of the most dangerous chemicals, and making a few substitutions next time you shop, you can reduce your family's exposure to dangerous chemicals and help support companies that are working to provide safer and more sustainable food. 

Thank you to Green Mom and her guide for the succinct organization of the basic info!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Do You Need A Detox?

Our bodies naturally detoxify everyday as part of a normal body process. Detoxification is one of the body’s most basic automatic functions of eliminating and neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin. Unfortunately in this day and age, with the pollution found in the air, water and food we eat, our bodies have a hard time keeping up. Our chemicalized diet with too much processed foods, vegetable oils and trans fats, non-organic foods, caffeine and alcohol radically changes our internal ecosystem.

Body systems and organs that were once capable of cleaning out unwanted substances are now completely over-loaded to the point where toxic material remains inside our tissues. Our bodies try to protect us from dangerous substances by setting it aside, surrounding it with mucous and fat so that it will not cause an imbalance or trigger an immune response (some people carry up to 15 extra pounds of mucous that harbors this waste).

Detoxification through special cleansing processes is the best way to assist your body’s natural self-cleaning system. It is especially important for immune-compromised diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and chronic fatigue. However, even if your diet is good, a spring cleanse can revitalize your system and rid your body of harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Here are some simple detox tips to get you started...

4 Simple Detox Tips

1. Drink More Water

Too often we misinterpret thirst for hunger. Our signal for thirst may cause us to eat as we mistake it for hunger pains. Reach for water first and make sure you are well hydrated before eating any meal throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Where possible make sure to drink your water at least 30 minutes before eating as this will allow time for the water to properly penetrate the cells of your body and hydrate your stomach lining in preparation for proper digestion. I like to add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to my water or green it up with barley grass powder, wheatgrass powder, spirulina or chlorella.

2. Add A Green Juice To Your Day
Green juices are an amazing way to add life giving and detoxifying plant chlorophyll to your bloodstream. As Jason Vale says in 'Hungry For Change', "juicing is the ultimate fast food, it is a 15 minute nutrient express to health". Some of my favorite and simple green juice recipes include:

Green Juice Recipe Ideas:

- Celery, lemon and pear (or apple)
- Celery, cucumber, lemon (leave the skin on) and pear (or apple)
- Celery, cucumber, kale, lemon and pear (or apple)
- Celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley and pear (or apple)

I also like to stir whatever green powders I have laying around the house into my juices to green them up even more! Again try barley grass, wheatgrass, spirulina or chlorella powders.

3. Add More Parsley and Cilantro (Coriander) To Your Diet 
Parsley and cilantro (coriander) are very powerful natural green plant foods for detoxing heavy metals out of your body. Add these amazing herbs to juices, salads, soups and meals.

 Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium source) or macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine source)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium sources)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (corriander)
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 2/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (Vitamin C source)
  • Big pinch of sea salt and or dulse flakes to flavor
Soak the seeds and nuts over night to release the enzyme exhibitors. Process the parsley, cilantro (corriander) and olive oil in a blender until chopped. Add the garlic, nuts, and seeds, salt / dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Store in dark glass jars if possible. It freezes well also if needs be. Enjoy!

4. Breathe Deep Into Your Abdomen 
Deep breathing, where you fill your belly and expand your diaphragm downwards, is one of the most powerful exercise you can do to activate your lymph system which helps to detoxify your body. Think of your lymph system as your own personal garbage removal system (which most of us will need in full steam after the holiday season). Practise 10 deep slow breaths counting 4 seconds in, 8 seconds hold and 8 seconds out. You can do this exercize watching the TV, walking the dog, during meditation or whilst practising yoga.

According to the 'Tao of Breathing' up to 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs and the rest through the urine, skin and feces. When the efficiency of our lungs is reduced due to poor breathing less oxygen is available to our cells, it slows down the flow of blood which carries wastes from the kidneys and lungs. Our lymphatic system which fights off viral and bacterial invaders is weakened along with a slower digestive process.

Breathe long slow and deep in a mindful state as often as possible.

source: Hungry for a Change

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's in Your Lipstick?

Many of us are diligent about avoiding toxic household products, but perhaps do not realize
that products we use on our skin have the potential of being absorbed into our body and may affect our health.  USA Today reported on a University of California, Berkeley study that tested thirty-two commonly sold lipsticks and found that they contained lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, and five other metals.Cadmium is a known carcinogen.
But impurities in lipsticks are not our only concern. Medical Daily reports on research showing that chemicals in some cosmetics and plastic may be causing early menopause. Early menopause increases risk factors for cardiovascular disease and bone loss. Some of the chemicals in question are phthalates.

A compelling study shows that phthalates found in baby care products can be absorbed through a baby's skin and detected in their urine. It is suggested that phthalates affect the development of the reproductive system.

An explanation about phthalates, their health risks, and some of the places they hide can be found on the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families website.

A company I recommend is Melaleuca. This company carefully formulates cosmetics with colorants and ingredients that are pre-screened for such impurities as lead and other metals. In addition, all  products are phthalate-free and BPA-free. Their Sei Bella skin care and cosmetics line offers a full range of colors and products for all skin types. They contain natural antioxidants and soothing vitamins. Choosing this kind of healthy product line can help us avoid potentially toxic chemicals.

• Richard M Barry
• Medical Daily Report
• Safer Chemicals Healthy Family