Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Does Your Healthy Home need a Detox?

The benefits of eating clean, nutritious, whole foods are clear--the fewer toxins, chemicals, and junk you feed your body, the more vibrant a life you'll lead. While the phrase "you are what you eat" stands true, the state of your environment can also impact your health. Here's what I have learned lately about detoxing my home.

Cleaning Products
Toxic chemicals are widely used in generic cleaning products. The first step in your home detox is to read labels and question the "brand I always buy". Not all cleaning products list their ingredients. I would certainly avoid anything with a danger, hazard, or poison label. Ingredients like ammonia, DEA, APEs, and TEA are also bad for your home. Although even the most natural cleaners contain small amounts of hard-to pronounce ingredients, choose cleaning products like you would food. Opt for short ingredient lists (five or less) and make sure you comprehend most of the terms used on the label. Plant-based ingredients are the best choices, followed by solvent and phosphate-free products.

Making Your Own
Alternatively, you may make your own cleaning products. Baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and cornstarch are pantry staples that can also double up as cleaning supplies. Combined with hot water and elbow grease, you may never need to use a chemical cleaner again!

Furniture and Textiles
Mattress manufacturers often add flame retardants in order to comply with fire regulations. Regardless of the chemical concoction used, retardants are known to cause poor brain development as well as learning, behavior, and memory problems in children. Carpets also contain their own chemical load--stain resistance treatments, antimicrobial properties, antistatic agents, etc. In reality, they are all toxic.

Be a conscious consumer and choose a mattress made from natural materials like untreated cotton or wool. Also ensure they are free from synthetic materials like foam, glue, and moth-proofing chemicals. Use the same standards when choosing bedding, curtains, and rugs. Clean carpets with a plant-based detergent, or if you're moving homes or renovating, opt for hardwood floors instead.

Refresh your home with Paint
Springtime is often the cue for homeowners to clean and refresh their home. Nothing says fresh and new like a new coat of paint! Be sure to use no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. Many companies advertise no-VOC, but this may only be the base white paint. Once color is added, it's no long no-VOC. Here is a link to more information.

A truly clean, green home can't be achieved overnight--so if you can't incorporate these suggestions now, that's okay. Begin with small changes and watch them make a big impact over time.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Exercise Good Ideas

It has happened to me again. After 30 years of this type of thing, you'd think I wouldn't be so surprised. Today I had another exercise-induced Good Idea. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you are taking a nice, long walk through a tree-filled park, and like a bolt from the blue, a great idea comes to mind. Or perhaps you are riding away on the stationary bike and you forgot your ear buds, so you are just minding your own business, thinking about silly little things. Then, without any warning, the solution to a nagging problem is handed to you from the heavens! I've been known to say, "What?"

What is it about exercise that gets the good idea juices flowing?  When I was a young mom, 30 or so years ago, I started a small in-home business that I named Gifted Ideas. I did this because I kept coming up with genius new product ideas while I was pushing one of my kids in a stroller around the block. Genius may be an exaggeration, but they did certainly feel like little gifts.

In questioning how this happens to me and lots of other people, I learned from Leo Widrich that our brains are much more active during exercise than they are when we are on the couch. Belle Beth Cooper agrees. She says, "A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance, compared with those who are sedentary. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, even so-called fluid-intelligence tasks." There you go.

Crochet Brain, filled with great ideas!
Our brains truly are amazing in their ability to support us and our best interests. They secrete a particular type of protein that acts like a memory enhancer as well as a reset switch. This same protein will add endorphins to your blood and increase your good mood, which is perhaps why I believe my ideas are so wonderful. All I have to do to get these great ideas flowing is to get off my couch, perhaps even out of my fiber art studio, and move my body for 20 minutes. The next time I get a great idea while exercising, it will not be a surprise. My memory enhancers will make sure I don't forget how all of this works. That's the plan.

Thanks for stopping by,