Get your ‘Green’ on WITHOUT the toxins!

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I know it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon of all the fun green coloured treats on St. Patty’s Day. But did you know that food colouring can be quite toxic to your body, especially yellow colouring (which is often mixed with blue to make your lovely green hues)?

There have been studies done which demonstrate not only carcinogenic and disruption of certain natural functions in animals, but ADHD like tendencies in children exposed to drinks containing food colouring. (Please do some basic research on the topic if you have the time, it’s best not to blindly trust my blogger opinion). So, if you are overloading on these colourants on holidays like today, you could be dealing with toxic bods and some hyperactive kids to boot. Doesn’t sound very celebratory to me!

Never fear, though, as always, I have some alternatives for you!

Today, for breakfast, we made “green eggs” (minus the ham) simply by adding some pureed kale to our scramble. You can add pureed kale to a lot of dishes (including just a bowl of yogurt) to green it up! It really doesn’t add a lot of flavour (or texture, if you puree it fine enough) and you are adding lots of great vitamins and minerals instead of yucky toxins. Spinach also works, but I find kale to be slightly superior if you have the option! If you want a burst of flavour, add some pesto!

Apparently matcha (a kind of green tea) can also be sprinkled into icings and sauces to add a green hue without much flavour. You can buy a box of the tea bags, and just rip one open when you need it – or make the tea and use the water (although you might get a little more of a yellowish hue this way).

If you are making a milkshake or a dip, you can also add avocado for a mild flavour and a decent colour burst. Make sure you add some lemon juice as well so your avocado doesn’t brown as fast! Or just serve up some fresh guacamole as a dish on its own 🙂

If you want to keep it even more simple, just serve some foods that are naturally green, such as those listed above, or: cucumber, celery, green salads, zucchini, grapes (pleeeeeease make sure these are organic), green apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and seaweed. Serve up some minty cocktails if you are wanting an alcoholic drink (mojitos, anyone)? The leaves are so vibrantly green you shouldn’t need a colorant to add more!

So we’re keeping it safe by lowering our toxins (green should really be a healthful food option, should it not?). BUT, please also remember to keep it safe this St. Patty’s Day by NOT drinking and driving – find a safe way home by deciding on a designated driver, taking transit, calling a cab, or a volunteer designated driver service. Plan ahead so you aren’t stuck with a difficult decision!

Got stank? Baking soda!

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So everyone has odour issues in their home from time to time. Whether it’s pets, sports equipment, work boots, or anything else – say goodbye to that oh so toxic Febreze, and say hello to benign baking soda! Today I will share with you a few non toxic odour busting tips.

1). LITTER BOX STANK – Oh kitties, how we love you. Yet a stinky litterbox often comes along with your cute furry self. A quick solution to an unusually stinky box (I’m not promising your cat’s poops will smell like roses, here), is to sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda in with their litter. I find this to be extremely helpful, when I remember to do it! Keep a leftover spice shaker filled with baking soda near your cat’s box so you have it handy!

2). STINKY SHOE STANK – Oh husbands, how you work so hard on the construction site, (insert sweaty job here), all day, and how we love you for it. Oh children, how we love watching you score those goals at your soccer game. But how we do not love your stinky shoes! Sprinkle some baking soda in those puppies and let them sit. I guarantee that smell will be greatly reduced! Shake the leftovers out when ready to wear them again. If some is leftover inside, no biggie, it will keep on doing the trick on those sweaty feet and socks that are shoved inside 😉

3). STINKY UPHOLSTERY – Oh comfy couch, how we enjoy spending time relaxing with you. Yet you often hold an unpleasant taint from the traffic of many many bottoms and footsies. Sprinkle baking soda generously on the sitting surface and let sit for an hour or so. Vacuum me up and your relaxation zone should smell much more fresh! If you find you are needing some sort of scent, simply fill a spray bottle with water, and add about 10 drops of your essential oil of choice (I prefer lavender) to each cup or so of water. Spray away – don’t go too crazy, it IS water, so it WILL make your couch a bit damp for a short time. Make sure you do this AFTER you vacuum up your baking soda, or else you will have a squelchy mess on there that you will have to allow to dry out. Spray this anywhere you would like to add a refreshing scent!

#3 works for your car, too!

And there you have it! Three odour busting tips that should hopefully have you putting down that febreze bottle for good. Did you know you can also fight BODY stank with baking soda? Check out my odour busting deodorant recipe HERE. If you have any other odour dilemmas you need help with, please feel free to ask me in a comment. Don’t forget to share with your friends, and like me on Facebook for more quick tips and non toxic solutions!

Is your laundry toxic?

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There is much discussion online about the toxicity of commercial laundry detergent – and after some research, while my son was still in cloth diapers and developing rashes, I decided to make the switch to a homemade recipe – some of the commercially available “less toxic” alternatives still have some major chemical offenders in them, or at the very least, are super expensive, and usually contain a scent of some kind.

For a thorough discussion of the toxicity of many household products, especially laundry detergent, see this article. Since this guy breaks it down like nobody’s business, rather than discussing the dangers of commercial detergent, and dryer sheets, I am instead going to give you a safe, easy alternative – proven gentle for even my little guy’s tush.

What you need (click on “Sourcing Ingredients” in the page header for links in regards to where to buy these if you have trouble finding them, or click the affiliate links below):

Baking soda
Washing soda
Soap flakes
White Vinegar
OPTIONAL: Borax*

*Disclaimer: There is some controversy as to the relative safety of Borax – I fall on the side of it being safe enough for my family, and definitely much safer than the alternatives in commercial detergent. However, you may choose to do some research first. I have found this article to be amazingly helpful.

So all you are going to need to do is combine your ingredients (I use an old big honey tub – some relatively large plastic or glass container that can live in your laundry room is best!) at the following ratio:

For very sensitive skin, or very dark colours: 2 parts baking soda, 1 part washing soda, 1 part soap flakes. Stir or shake well to evenly distribute. About 3 tbsp per average load – but experiment with quantity if you find it is not enough / or too much (ie. there is residue on your clothes).

For tougher jobs, and lighter colours: (Read: construction clothes, stinky sports gear, tough stains / dirt). Combine 4 parts washing soda, 2 parts soap flakes, 1 part borax. Again, combine and mix well to distribute the ingredients. Three tbsp per load or so. The vinegar rinse, as described below, is especially helpful for these tough jobs.

Add a tablespoon of borax* to a load if you want some extra whitening power and are using the sensitive skin recipe. Add 1/4 cup vinegar to your rinse cycle (when the water is full) if you want to completely strip any residue at all from the clothes. Vinegar also acts as a natural fabric softener / anti-static agent. It won’t leave a scent – if it does, you’ve added too much. You can even add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to the rinse cycle if you would like a mild scent to your clothes. I add tea tree when dealing with a particularly nasty load (read: poop or puke).

IMPORTANT: DO NOT add the vinegar to your wash cycle, or it will neutralize the cleaning ingredients.
*If someone still develops a sensitivity, remove the borax.

And there you have it! I hope your laundry washing days are a lot less toxic. And dryer sheets? I find I don’t need them at all with this detergent, and the vinegar rinse. Still, if you find things still come out a bit clingy – see this link to make your own felted dryer balls!