I would like to introduce you to this fun little book called “Clean Body” by Michael DeJong. It’s chock-full of natural body cleaning techniques using homemade remedies out of olive oil, lemons, baking soda, salt, and vinegar. It’s a very quick and entertaining read but makes a great case for leaving your traditional store bought, chemical-laden, body products behind claiming that all you need for a truly clean body can be found in a handful of products right in your kitchen.
Here is excerpts from the book to give you a taste of some of the quick and easy recipes you will find:
- Mix together equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and salt to create a wonderful skin softener. Mix the two, so that the salt soaks up the olive oil, and then scrub your entire body, head to toe. Expect to be energized as well as exfoliated. Massage the mixture into your body and wash off thoroughly. You’d pay good money for this treatment if you were at a spa!
- Liberate yourself of dead skin cells with this awesome all-over exfoliator. Blend three quarters of a cup of sea salt or coarse kosher salt, three tablespoons of baking soda, and one-quarter cup of olive oil in a bowl. Jump into a warm-to-hot shower, douse yourself down, dip a washcloth into the mixture, and scrub everything you can reach with the all-over exfoliator. Rinse well. Find your newly revealed, stunningly soft skin sparkling fresh and re-energized.
Reprinted with permission from Clean Body, copyright 2009 by Michael DeJong, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Note: Occasionally Rhaya and I receive offers to review products for the Green-Lemonade blog. If we think it’s relevant, sometimes we accept the product and agree to write a review IF we end up liking it and think our readers would appreciate our opinion about the product. We don’t, however, receive any sort of kick-back beyond the initial free product for our review or a product to give away to our readers in conjunction with the post.
I know what you’re thinking… not another post about bringing your own bag! Alas, it’s true. I think a big reason that we keep coming back to this simple act is because it’s so easy to do! Perhaps the hardest part is remembering to take your bag with you. I’ll admit, I always have multiple bags on hand at the grocery store, but there are occasions when I make quick trip into Target, only to realize at checkout that I forgot my canvas bag in the car, resulting in trying to carry it all in my arms, awkwardly out to my car. However, all that has changed since being introduced to Joey Totes.
These little machine-washable totes fit EASILY into my favorite purse and are always on hand for any unexpected trips into a store. The pouch the bag comes in is actually attached TO THE TOTE, so that re-stuffing is a breeze. Then I just toss it back in my purse. No trips out to my car, no hanging it on the door knob. Thank you Joey Totes!
Even though most of our waste goes into recycling or the compost, our trash and garbage can will occasionally smell a little… funky. Until now, I’ll admit that I had some trouble finding something all-natural that could resolve the worst offenders, but as I mentioned last week, I wasn’t going to let that be an excuse to turn to something that is not environmentally-friendly. Thankfully, I was able to find something that set aside all arguments AND smells. Hello, What Odor?
I must admit, I did not know that Billy Mays had an infomercial for this product and also did not know they will pay bloggers to endorse it (Liz and I don’t ever get paid for any of our product reviews, including this one), but putting that aside, I do admit that this solution, which is non-toxic, biodegradable and does not contain “parabens, artificial fragrances or phthalates” really does what it promises and eliminates the odor without using masking agents to just cover it up. As I said, we only use it in our trash can, but it certainly has more uses than that.
Facing the Facts
I have to admit that Liz is more of the resident expert around here when it comes to all natural makeup, beauty and other skin products. And now even my husband is choosing more wisely when it comes to what he’s using on his skin.
Admittedly, I always try to pick out the most all-natural products I can find (especially those that aren’t tested on animals) but I get lost in a sea of information about parabens, phthalates and petroleum byproducts. So it’s nice to find a product that eliminates all those hard to pronounce (much less understand) ingredients and still has very satisfying results.
Lavera offers a line of skin care for a variety of skin types, and for the past couple weeks, I have been thoroughly enjoying a few of their products, especially the Facial Moisturizer and Self-Tanner. Aside for the fact that these products are free from parabens and synthetic ingredients (not to mention award-winning) I just enjoy the fact that they smell great, work even better and take the guesswork out of what I am putting on my face.
If you are shopping around for some better skin solutions, check out the Lavera web site and you may find just the right products for you. They also currently have a giveaway for a chance to win $223 worth of products.
Every Man Jack (or Andy)
Let face it dudes, when it comes to grooming products, cost and convenience often wins out. At least that is usually the case with my husband, Andy. I have a feeling he is not alone in these decisions, which is why the male market is certainly ready for Every Man Jack.
Available at Target, this line of inexpensive men’s products “contain no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, dyes, phthalates, synthetic fragrances or testrasodium EDTA, are never tested on animals” and are packaged in 100% recyclable materials. Not to mention, their natural scents are certainly interesting (Spiced Pepper, anyone?) Overall, Andy said that for someone like him, whose fairly sensitive skin doesn’t agree with bar soap and generic aftershave, that the products from Every Man Jack not only felt good on his skin, but also on his conscience.
Last year, we mentioned Twist products for the first time and since then, they have become a regular part of our kitchen clean-up routine. Since then, Twist has come out with some new products that go beyond the kitchen, including the Bamboo Cloth shown in the photo above.
This cloth is made from 82% bamboo, 18% corn and is 100% bio-degradable — not that you’ll be tossing it anytime soon, considering it’s strong enough to be cleaned in the washing machine. Soft to the touch, the Bamboo Cloth is perfect for dusting and cleaning furniture. And as with all the Twist products, the packaging is as eco-friendly as what’s inside. So check out the Twist web site for locations and start “Twist”ing to add some green to your clean.
Miso + Mochi = Yum!
Miso soup topped with Mochi, a daily staple for me lately. It started innocently enough with a simple recipe for Miso soup that I found right on the South River Miso jar, but it has now evolved into much more once I discovered how good it is with a little toasted Mochi on top.
This is really a combination of several recipes, fully adaptable to the veggies and greens you may have on hand.
Simple Miso & Mochi Soup
makes 1 BIG bowl or 2 smaller bowls
1 serving of Mochi (original flavor) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup thinly sliced vegetables (onion, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage etc.)
1.5 cups water
1 serving firm tofu cut into bite size cubes (optional)
handful of spinach or other hearty greens
1 Tbsp. miso paste (I recommend South River or Westbrae Natural)
Preheat oven to 450 and toast the Mochi until nice and puffy (about 10 min). Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in the oil until tender. Add the water and tofu and simmer for 5-7 minutes. While the veggies and tofu simmer, put the miso in your soup bowl and add a little lukewarm water, stir to dissolve the miso (you don’t want to put the miso into the hot water directly because it kills all the active good stuff in it). Just before removing the veggies and tofu from the heat add the spinach, cover, and let it wilt in the steam of the pot. Add the contents of the pot to the miso in your soup bowl and stir until the miso is mixed well. Top with Mochi and enjoy!
Whole Foods recently stopped carrying the South River brand of miso which prompted me to switch to the Westbrae Natural miso which I like just as well. As a bonus though, on the Brown Rice Miso container there is a recipe for a “Sweet ‘N Tangy Miso Spread” that is fabulous on toast, apples and carrots. Here’s the basic recipe: Mix 1/4 cup tahini, 3 Tbsp. of brown rice syrup and 2 tsp. of the Mellow Brown Miso with a wooden spoon, taste and add more miso or a couple drops of lemon juice if necessary.
Spray & Go
I’m typically a soap and water type of gal, but I always like to keep hand sanitizer in my car for those moments when a sudsy solution isn’t available. The two issues I had with the generic hand sanitizer available at most places was that one, the small sizes resulted in so much waste, and two, the ingredients were far from natural.
That being said, I was very eager to pick up this hand sanitizer from CleanWell from a nearby natural health store (it’s also available at Target and Whole Foods). The formula is all natural, biodegradable and cruelty-free. And the spray bottle (which is recyclable) makes the small bottle last a long, LONG time.
So, if you like are like me and like to have something sanitizing on hand for sudden sticky situations, pick up some CleanWell hand sanitizer for an easy-to-use and environmentally-friendly solution.
Santa Cruz Organic: A Win-Win Drink Choice
Fair Trade and Organic? Tea and Juice? Sweet and healthy? Yes and yes. Santa Cruz Organic offers fair trade and organic tea juice blends that rely on natural flavors for a light and sweet taste. Furthermore, 100% of the energy used to product their products is offset via renewable energy certificates. Try their Lemon, Mango, Peppermint or Raspberry Tea for a refreshing way to quench your thirst with an antioxidant kick.
About Fair Trade Certified Teas
Tea, like coffee, can make a weighty social impact on the way from the plant to your cup. Fair Trade Certified teas guarantee fair wages for employees in a work environment that is safe and sustainable. Fair Trade premiums encourage workers to help themselves and their community through democratic participation.
About Organic Teas
For the same reason that you want to choose organic fruits and veggies, there are also some strong reasons for choosing organic teas. The absence of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers in growing the teas also keep the soils and waters surrounding them free of all of these chemicals as well.
What’s Your Cup of Tea?
How you make your tea has as much to do with the flavor and overall experience of the tea as the variety of tea you start with. And since this is “Tea Week” at Green-Lemonade, we wanted to start by giving a brief introduction to the most common varieties of tea and the best way to brew each.
Tea is a product of the Camellia sinensis plant and the variety of tea is determined by the level of processing it undergoes as described below. The most common varieties of tea, as outlined below, include black, green, oolong, white and herbal, but keep in mind that there are a number of different blends within each variety as well.
And before you brew your perfect cup, it’s important to note that while sometimes less convenient and more expensive, loose leaf tea is usually more flavorful and fresh than the bagged variety found in boxes at the grocery. Investing in a nice tea infuser, brew basket, or some paper filters will get you on your way to making the most of your tea.
Common Varieties of Tea:
Black Tea – Black tea requires the most processing, undergoing a full oxidation process that produces stronger more robust tea with the most caffeine content of all varieties. Some of the most common blends of black tea that you may have already tried include Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Black tea should be brewed using freshly boiled water (212 degrees) and steeped for 3-4 minutes.
Green Tea – Green tea known for its health benefits because of its high concentration of antioxidant power in the form of polyphenols. More delicate than black, green tea is dried, not “fermented,” and is often described as having a light, green, or even slightly grassy taste. Because of it’s delicate nature, when brewing green tea it’s important to note that the water should not reach a full boil (around 180 degrees) and it should only be steeped for about 1-2 minutes. For more scientific information about green tea check out this article.
Oolong Tea – Oolong tea falls somewhere in-between black and green teas on the oxidation scale. Oolong tea should be brewed using water heated to just below boiling and steeped for 2-3 minutes.
White Tea – White tea is the least processed of all tea. For white tea, the tea buds are plucked very early and then dried. This tea is therefore the most delicate and has a much lighter, slightly sweet, flavor without the “grassy” undertones of green tea. White tea should be brewed with water with a temperature at just below boiling and should be steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Herbal Tea – Not necessarily a true “tea” as I’ve listed here, herbal tea does not come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis. Herbal tea is the result of an herbal infusion created by pouring boiling water over fresh or dried flowers, dried fruit or herbs and letting it steep for 5-7 minutes. As you can imagine, there are countless blends of herbal teas, check out this list or make your own.