Archive | HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Organic Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eben and I are a little obsessed with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. It’s only September 9th and we have already baked a huge batch. They are delicious. We have been baking these together since he was a toddler and now that he is a teenager, we have the recipe memorized. They make our house spell like pumpkin heaven. You should definitely make a batch – here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups organic flour
  • 1 tsp organic baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic baking soda
  • 1 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp organic nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic butter
  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1 egg or egg replacer
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin
  • 2 cups organic chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Combine organic whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix together.
2. Add butter and sugar in a stand mixer, mix well. Add vanilla, egg and pumpkin and mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well on medium speed. Add organic chocolate chips and stir together.
3. Bake in traditional oven at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.
4. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and enjoy.

What is your favorite fall cookie?

 

How to Make Organic Instant Oatmeal for Cool Fall Mornings

how-to-make-organic-instant-oatmeal-for-cool-fall-mornings
I love oatmeal on cool, crisp fall mornings! Am I the only one? You can make your own organic instant oatmeal packed with flavor in a few simple steps taking your regular oatmeal from ho-hum to yum-yum. Read on to learn how you can make organic instant oatmeal and wake up to goodness tomorrow.
Step 1: Bake It!
Preheat the oven to 350°, spread 4 cups of organic old-fashioned rolled oats on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Step 2: Pulse It!
Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

Step 3: Mix It!
Mix in a cup of your favorite oatmeal add-ins such as; almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and coconut.

Step 4: Store It!
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Step 5: Boil It!
Stir boiling water into a cup of your organic instant oatmeal until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 6: Enjoy It!
Oatmeal is my favorite on cool, crisp fall morning – top with a honey too!

 

How to Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider

Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider
Have you checked out the price of organic apple cider at your local grocer? Wow! $7.99 a gallon. Instead, of breaking the bank, make your own! It’s perfect for filling up reusable mugs and snuggling up with your family this fall!

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts organic apple juice
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • Place all whole spices in a tea infuser, these will be removed before serving
  • 1 tsp organic whole allspice
  • 1 tsp organic whole cloves
  • 3 organic cinnamon sticks (broken up)
  • 1/8 tsp organic ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Stir everything together in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea infuser and serve in mugs.

Serves: 8

Enjoy a hot cup of apple cider by the fire with a good book or your family. You could also enjoy a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie to go with it.

How To Transition To A Natural Beauty Routine In 5 Easy Steps

With mountains of information out there about unregulated beauty products and the potentially harmful ingredients we use every day, there are plenty of reasons to simplify your beauty routine. The tricky part is getting started. By taking small steps and forming an understanding of what you really need to feel refreshed and beautiful, you can create an effective routine that is as chemical-free as possible.

These five easy steps can guide you toward a more holistic approach to beauty. You will feel clean and radiant as a result.

Step 1: Tune in to your body’s natural chemistry.

Before you decide which products to include in your natural beauty tool kit, learn how your body naturally behaves. When you are lathering your skin and hair with artificial ingredients, it is easy to completely throw off this natural balance. Take a break from or cut down on these products for a week, and notice the natural texture of your skin and hair. This will inform what you are trying to calm with your products.

Step 2: Simplify your entire routine.

Once you have a better understanding of your body’s natural chemistry, decide which products you actually need. If you have been using multiple types of face moisturizers, you likely will be able to cut down to one. Do what you can to simplify your makeup routine and cut down on the products you put in your hair.

Step 3: Read labels.

When you do buy products from the store, take the time to read ingredients. Many natural beauty gurus choose to cut out parabens and phthalates, so avoiding these can be a place to start. The same goes for when you go to a beauty salon. A 2016 survey by YouGov found that 96% of women groom their bikini area in some way. So, if you choose to schedule regular waxing appointments, find a salon that uses more natural ingredients in their wax.

Step 4: Make your own care products when possible.

For every product that you buy from a store, you can likely make your own. For example, if you are one of the 32% of people who are concerned by the look of your teeth, take a moment to consider your whitening options. Rather than reaching for a synthetic whitening kit, you may want to make your own charcoal whitening product or try oil pulling.

Step 5: Embrace your natural beauty.

Remember that the most important part of starting a more natural beauty routine is learning to love your natural beauty. For some people, this may mean more makeup-free days. For others, it may mean switching to their natural hair texture. It is up to your to define your own natural beauty. Stick with whatever makes you feel most radiant.

When working on your natural beauty care routine, remember to be patient with yourself. Forming new habits takes time, and completely changing your beauty habits is no exception. When you are liberated of chemicals and other harmful ingredients, you will feel more healthy and beautiful overall. And that is simply priceless.

How You Can Use Natural Products To Care For Your Teeth

Few things warm up a room more than a bright smile. Many studies have shown that nonverbal cues are actually four times more impactful on first impressions than verbal cues, and a healthy looking smile has a lot to do with that. There’s a reason we respond so positively to people with happy smiles.

But your oral health is much more complex than the shine of your pearly whites.

In fact, the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth are actually tied to other aspects of your health, so it’s important to prioritize oral hygiene. But as any green gurus know, taking care of your teeth can be difficult to do naturally. Fortunately, with the right tricks, you can overlook the chemical-filled hygiene products and take the natural route instead. Follow these tips to take a more natural path to your dental health.

#1: Eat well and stay hydrated.
As with many other aspects of your health, what you put in your body directly impacts your health. Drinking enough water will help clean food particles from your teeth, as can eating crunchy fruits and vegetables. Avoiding sugar and consuming acidic foods and drinks in moderation are also a must.

#2: Try oil pulling.
This natural method involves swishing olive or coconut oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. By doing so, you can reduce bacteria, whiten your teeth, control bad breath, and curb sensitivity. Of course, you have to be willing to swish olive or coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes.

#3: Drink tea after meals.
Herbal and green tea are great for controlling bacteria and for removing food particles from your teeth. While black tea is certainly a healthy option for reducing plaque, it can also stain your teeth like coffee.

#4: Choose low-chemical care items.
With all the natural methods in the world, brushing and flossing are still an essential part of oral health. Just try to choose toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss that are made of more natural ingredients and materials.

#5: Stock up on herbs.
Certain plants and herbs have healing properties for the mouth. Cloves, for example, can help control toothaches. Cinnamon is also known to reduce bad breath. You may find your own herbal tips and tricks as you start your natural oral care journey.

While the above methods and other tricks can be effective in supporting your oral health, it is still essential to visit a dentist regularly. A recent study found that 84.7% of children ages two to 17 visited a dentist between 2014 and 2015. But are you doing the same as an adult? Even if you think you have your oral health under control, nothing can replace professional care and the advice of your dentist.

With a combination of at-home natural care and professional care, you can keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Remember that not every method will work for everyone, so feel free to try out different natural methods to find what works for you. Your teeth will thank you for it.

3 Efficient Ways To Add Some ‘Green’ To Your Cleaning Routine

These days, more and more of us are slowly but surely changing our day-to-day routines to adapt to the needs of our beautiful Mother Earth. But despite all the progress we’ve made, many people are still wary about ditching their chemical-filled cleaning products for more environmentally-friendly alternatives. However, the truth is, there are countless ways to clean using natural substitutes that are just as effective as traditional, store-bought solutions. Even better, these tips can also save you money.

Here are some tried-and-true ways to add some ‘green’ into your cleaning routine.

Floors:
Hardwood floors are one of the most popular types of flooring. So popular, in fact, that data from the National Association of REALTORS found that 54% of home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring. And while most people choose artificially lemon-scented polishes, you may be surprised to learn that you can make your hardwood floors shine like never before using nothing more than tea bags. Just boil some water and add two tea bags, letting them steep for a few minutes. Get a soft cloth damp with the tea and wash away. Soon enough, your floors will look like new!

Windows:
It’s true that flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. But instead of using harsh, ammonia-based cleaning agents, consider using a mixture of vinegar and warm water to get your windows and other glass surfaces sparkling clean.

In fact, vinegar has a number of viable uses in the green cleaning realm. Baking soda and vinegar isn’t just for home science projects; this mixture can also be sprayed on almost any bathroom tile, making it easier than ever to wipe away dirt and grime. Bathroom surfaces should also be disinfected with rubbing alcohol at least once a month to prevent excessive bacteria buildup. The average child catches between six and 10 colds a year, so it’s easy to see why parents are reluctant to give up their chemical cleaners. Even so, you can keep household surfaces disinfected without resorting to toxic chemicals.

Laundry:
Laundry is one aspect of keeping clean that traditionally uses harsh chemicals. If you’re seeing the word “fragrance” listed as an ingredient in detergent, fabric softener, or even air freshener, be aware that it’s basically code for harsh chemicals (magical smelling harsh chemicals, to be fair). Luckily, baking soda makes an effective and safer option for laundering and air-freshening. To make DIY laundry detergent, Natural Living Ideas recommends dissolving one cup of baking soda and one third cups of salt into two cups of warm water, pouring it into a gallon container, adding one cup of liquid Castile soap, and filling the rest of the container with water. One quarter of a cup is enough for one full load.

It’s also important to note that some products labeled with ‘fragrance’ can affect fertility rates in women. One in eight couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy as it is. Ovia Health says, “Chemicals called phthalates, used in various products to make smells last longer, are often found in the synthetic fragrances of common laundry detergents. These products can disrupt important hormones that cause ovulation, so try more natural brands instead. Other chemicals found in laundry detergents can lead to reduced sperm count — stick to vegetable-based products to minimize chemical presence.”

Ultimately, cleaning green is more than just substituting products for other products. It’s all about staying vigilant, being aware of which ingredients can be dangerous, and thinking critically to come to a more eco-friendly solution.

Families That Garden Together Stay Together (And Learn Healthy Habits While Doing It)

In the U.S., physicians and families alike are making efforts to fight the obesity epidemic, but an increasing reliance on technology, our national love of junk food, and lack of physical activity makes it a bit of an uphill battle. The typical American dieter makes four weight loss attempts every year, but placing severe limits on caloric intake is only a short term solution. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 75% of Americans aren’t eating their daily recommended doses of fruits and vegetables.

Whether family members need to lose the winter weight or simply want to live a healthier lifestyle and enjoy more time together, many experts are proposing a tactic that might surprise you: starting a family garden.

Statistics show that pre-teens and teens spend an average of six to nine hours per day looking at TV, computer, phone, and gadget screens. Those activities lend themselves to a sedentary lifestyle for kids and adults alike. But other promising data shows that families with kids are gardening far more now than they were just a decade ago. From 2008 to 2013, the National Gardening Association found that gardening activities among families with children increased by 25%. And in the spring of 2014, the number of people who gardened within the past 12 months amounted to 113.5 million.

This involvement has a huge impact in multiple areas. Scientific studies have proven that when children are involved in gardening, their fruit and vegetable intake — not surprisingly — increases. Taking part in the process allows them to enjoy the literal fruits (and veggies) of their labor and feel more connected to the produce they come across outside the home. Plus, preparing and eating nutrient-rich meals together as a family can develop a foundation of lifelong healthy eating habits and weight maintenance.

Gardening can even improve academic achievement. Multiple studies cited in the Review of Educational Research found that children who garden at school had a higher affinity for science. Another Chicago-based study found that just being near green spaces — in this case, seeing them from apartment windows — can help improve children’s self-discipline in educational settings. Even when gardening at home, the lessons learned there can translate into multiple educational areas. Parents can easily interweave nutrition lessons as you plant the backyard garden.

Plus, spending time in nature has been proven to produce calming effects in both children and adults. Parents of children with ADD and ADHD reported that “green activities” have a consistently positive effect on their kids’ symptoms. Children who don’t have these conditions can use gardening and other outdoor activities to work off excess energy, develop stronger immune systems, and just recharge.

For families that don’t have a large outdoor space to devote to gardening, other outdoor family activities can be a good substitute. Taking nature walks or biking trips can allow for both physical activity and appreciation of nature. Since 36 million Americans ages seven and up rode a bike at least six times in 2015, it’s a popular alternative or supplement to digging in the dirt.

But in many ways, gardening has those other activities beat. Not only is it physical and rewarding work that can promote better nutrition, but it’s a great way for children to feel connected to the world around them and engage all their senses. Sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch are all involved in gardening. And by allowing kids to have a direct effect on how their garden grows — by picking out seeds, planting and watering them, and helping to harvest and prepare them — that will set the stage for a balanced lifestyle that values both hard work and healthy food.

Although many children recognize produce at the supermarket, that’s often not enough to convince them to try (and stick with) these healthy foods. Gardening at home or school makes kids much more likely to consume fruits and vegetables. More than 30% of schools in the U.S. now have gardens (a 12% increase from 2006), but whether kids garden at school, in a community garden, or right in their own backyard, they’re bound to live healthier lives — and their parents will too!

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