How to Survive Your Detox

IMG_0736.JPEG

It's January, a new year and new resolutions and I'm sure lots of people (myself included) are trying a little detox from the holidays. Maybe a body reset to clear all those cookies, treats, drinks and snacks from your body. Or perhaps you're just wanting to feel a little happier and lighter?

Now whether you're doing a juice cleanse, a food cleanse or just cutting out some of your favourite indulgences, the detox process can be a little unpleasant to say the least.  So here's my top 5 tips to help get through your cleanse and on to a happier, less-toxic you!

5 Ways to Survive your Detox

  1. Water - wow, I can't stress this enough!  Water, water and more water.  If you are doing a cleanse you need to flush those toxins from your system and the best way to do that is with lots of water.  Start your day with 2 cups of water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it to boost that liver detox.
  2. Rest - yes, you will need rest.  As your body goes through the detoxification process it releases lots of icky stuff from your cells.  And as those toxins get released they can cause some unpleasant side effects.  Can you say tired, cranky, headaches and mood swings?  So if you are feeling like you're dragging your butt, than take that cue from your body and take a break.  Have a nap, put your feet up for 20 minutes and give yourself a few moments to recharge.  Detoxing is hard work!
  3. Tea Time - depending on what type of program you are doing you most likely will be reducing your food intake, or altering it significantly.  So stock up on some yummy herbal (non-caffeinated) teas.  Having a big mug of hot delicious tea can really help stave off those cravings and a lot of the herbal teas also contain ingredients that aid in the detox process.  Look for all-natural, caffeine-free and preferably organic teas.
  4. Support - one of the hardest things about doing a cleanse is doing it alone. Team up with a friend and tackle the challenge!  That way you can support each other but also have someone who knows exactly what you're going through.  Don't have a buddy?  Try finding a support network online instead.  The Internet is full of various groups and message boards for everything and it's a great way to ask questions, get feedback or vent.
  5. Exercise - now that may be the last thing you feel like doing starting a cleanse, but getting moving can really help your body and mind through the detox process.  Even if it's just a walk outside, getting your body moving and your lymphatic system pumping will help get those toxins moving out of your system. Breaking a sweat is a great way to get rid of more of those nasties and it's also great for helping with any irritability, moodiness or crankiness.

So who's doing a cleanse or detoxification this month? How's it going? What has been your biggest struggle?

Surviving Christmas Dinner

It's Christmas time and it's a time for joy and spreading cheer and enjoying time with family and friends.  Well, at least that's how it's supposed to be.  But it can also be an extremely stressful time, trying to make everything perfect for that giant family gathering, shopping for gifts and just trying to keep everyone in the holiday spirit.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus there's always something that ends up getting in the way of your holiday cheer.  Maybe it's the cousin that has a bit too much to drink, or the disapproving in-laws or the weird uncle who always makes a scene.  Everyone has got the same things to contend with during the festivities.

So here's a few tips to help make it through the next few days with a smile on your face and joy in your heart!

5 Tips to Surviving Christmas Dinner
  1. Have a Game Plan - whether it's trying to get the food done or wrangling unruly relatives, make sure you have a plan on how to tackle these challenges.  Make sure your homestead is all on the same page and delegate tasks to each family member so you're not the only one trying to put out fires.
  2. Smile - no matter what, keep a smile on your face.  It's contagious! So even if you over cook the bird or someone spills wine on the carpet, keep those pearly white shining.  In the words of Bobby McFerrin "Don't worry, be happy!"
  3. Get Guests Involved - got a passive-aggressive Mother-in-Law or judgemental sibling?  Try involving them in the preparations.  Nothing shuts down those snooty stares or backhanded compliments faster than having them give you a hand.  Let those naysayers help with the gravy or share their opinion on seasoning.  Maybe all they wanted is to be included and they'll be less likely to complain later if they were involved in the first place.
  4. Don't Take Yourself too Seriously - try to enjoy the day, afternoon or evening.  Have a glass of wine (or 2) and loosen up.  We are all guilty of over thinking and reading too much into things.  So maybe your Mother didn't mean anything by that comment and maybe there wasn't a tone coming from your cousin?  And don't forget to laugh!
  5. Normal is Boring - everyone has unique and interesting guests that they are required to have for dinner.  So embrace those colourful characters!  Maybe stop and listen to your weird Uncle's stories and laugh at you Grandpa's inappropriate jokes.  After all, it's one day a year and really, it wouldn't be Christmas if you didn't have some great stories to tell your friends!
Feliz Navidad,
post signature
photo credit: dane brian via photopin cc

Tip Tuesday - Do You Know What's in Your Dryer Sheets?!

Do you use dryer sheets or fabric softener?  You may want to rethink that decision after reading this.  I haven't used dryer sheets in over a year and I never used fabric softener (mainly because I was too lazy to add it to the wash).  Why did I ditch the dryer sheets?  Well there's a few reasons...

1.  Fragrances - I have mild asthma and usually it's kept in check fairly easily.  But an attack can be brought on just by a smell or scent.  Strong perfumes or colognes will start me coughing in a matter of moments and same goes for dryer sheets and detergents too.  Not to mention that fragrances can contain 10's to 100's of chemicals, most of which are trade secrets and are known to be allergens and toxic.

2.  Toxic Chemicals - In order for you to enjoy long lasting fresh smelling clothes, dryer sheets are coated with a slew of noxious chemicals.  They coat your clothes when heated the dryer covering them in a toxic film.  And how lovely is this...your sweet smelling clothes then transfer those nasty compounds to your skin throughout the day and then they are absorbed into your bloodstream.  Ewwww!  No thanks!  And not only do they pollute your body, when you're dryer is running all those horrible substances are venting outside into the environment and adding to our pollution problem.  Check out this list of some of those awful chemicals that your dryer sheets are dispensing:
  • Benzyl acetate:Linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benzyl Alcohol:Upper respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol:On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
  • Limonene:Known carcinogen
  • A-Terpineol:Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
  • Ethyl Acetate:A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list
  • Camphor:Causes central nervous system disorders
  • Chloroform:Neurotoxic, anaesthetic and carcinogenic
  • Linalool:A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
  • Pentane:A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

Wool Dryer balls by RubyJune
3.  Wasteful -apart from being completely toxic and disgusting , dryer sheets are disposable and generate entirely too much waste.  And add to the fact that they really don't do a very good job and they just end up in the landfill; I would say they are a waste of time, resources and money.  Why not opt for a more eco-friendly solution for drying your clothes?
  •  I love hanging my clothes on the line.  A breezy day is great for softening your clothes and the smell is divine.  
  • Weather not cooperating? Why not use an indoor drying rack?  Awesome in the winter to add a little extra humidity to your home. 
  •  And what about vinegar? Add some to the rinse cycle to soften fabric and eliminate cling.
  • Woolly Balls...do you have any?  I do!  And I make them too! Wool dryer balls are a natural, eco-friendly way to eliminate static, soften your clothes and improve your dryer's efficiency.  Bonus!

So scrap the softener...ditch the dryer sheets.  Your body and your wallet will thank you!

post signature
photo credit: mysza831 via photopin cc

Tip Tuesday - Save your Sterling, Sinks and Pans with Soda

Do you have Baking Soda in your house?  Did you know it's a little powerhouse and cheap too!  Ditch those nasty chemicals and put the Soda to work.  There are a million different ways you can use Baking Soda in your house. How do you Soda??  Here are 3 of my faves:


1.  Clean your Silver - I remember this from Science class.  Super easy and it actually works!
Can you see the 1/2 I did?

What you Need:
1 piece of aluminium foil
1 litre of water
1 tablespoon of baking soda
A big pot - one that's large enough to hold your tarnished treasures
Tongs to fish out your now sparkly silver

How to do it: Put the water, baking soda and aluminium foil into your potBring to a  boil.  Carefully place your tarnished items into the put.  Only a couple at a time.  It shouldn't take long to come   clean but really yucky ones may need some extra time.  Fish out your silver with the tongs and dry them off with a soft cloth.  And admire your teeth in your new shiny silver!

2.  Clean your Drain

This is super easy and cheap!  Two things I love!  Pour 1/2 a cup of Baking Soda down the drain in question.  Then pour 1 cup of vinegar.  Let it sit for an hour or so.  And then run some hot water down the drain.  Voila!  Told ya it was easy!

3.  Clean your Burnt Pans

Recently I've had a bout of burning pots and pans.  I don't know why.  It's something I haven't done in years.  But for some strange reason I've done a lot lately. I burned quinoa, lentils and potatoes.  Some of them were so bad I thought I would have to toss my pots in the garbage.  But I was able to salvage them. Yay for Soda!

What you need:

1 cup of vinegar
2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 cup of water approximately - depending on how big your pan is
Your burnt stainless steel pot or pan
A scrubby as you may still need a little elbow grease

How to do it:

Cover the bottom of your pot/pan with water.  Then add your vinegar and bring it to a boil.  You may notice it looking cleaner already. Remove from the stove and add your soda.  And watch the bubbles start working! Then empty out your pan and scrub as usual.   You can add a little extra soda to add some scrubbing power.   And that's it.  You can even make a paste of soda and water and use that to scrub if you don't want to use the stove.  But it will decrease the time and effort required to eliminate the evidence of forgetting a pot on the stove.  Hubby doesn't need to know that I could've burned the house down.  :)

Not bad for 1st time given it's never been polished. Time for round 2!
Happy green cleaning!  One other thing before I go...I use just ordinary Arm & Hammer Baking Soda for cleaning.  But when it comes to beauty or health products and baking I always use Aluminum-free Baking soda.



post signature

Tip Tuesday - Downsize Your Vanity with One Item

Oh Coconut Oil....how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways....

And there's probably a thousand of them.  I've been a coconut oil addict for the past few years and I'm OK with that.  So I thought I would share why I feel this way about coconuts.

We use unrefined Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in our house.  We have a giant tub in the kitchen and a small container in the bathroom and the baby's room.  It's possibly the most versatile thing I've ever used.

So here's a few things we use it for....think of all the products in your home it can replace!  :)

1.  Cooking - coconut oil can replace butter, margarine and vegetable oils for baking, frying and cooking in general.  Especially delicious when used for making popcorn!  Great in the fry pan as it has a high smoking point.
2.  Lip Balm - skip the Vaseline or various lip balms in a tube.  Just a little bit to soothe your lips...and it tastes delish!
3.  Body Cream - so lovely to spread over all your parts especially after getting out of the shower.
4.  Face Cream - I use it as a face and eye cream.  Some people advise to put it on at night but I do it during the day with no complaints.  A little goes a long way.  It's so soft and luxurious and leaves my skin feeling nourished and looking great!
5.  Can help lower cholesterol - coconut oil is considered a healthy fat and can actually help lower your cholesterol.  Put it in your smoothie or use it in a stir fry.
6.  Diaper cream - yes you can chuck your icky petroleum based diaper cream and use some coconut.  With it's anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties it's great for baby bums
7.  Deodorant - use it on it's own as a natural deodorant or why not make your own with some lovely oils for a yummy smelling armpits!
8.  Sunscreen - yes you can use it as a natural sunscreen and to build up your own sun-tolerance.  It's got about an SPF 4.
9.  After Sun Care - spent a little too much time outside?  Then rub on some coconut oil and turn that pink into a lovely golden brown.
10.  De-frizz - use a tiny dab on those split ends or frizzy hair post-shower and enjoy gorgeous shiny locks
11.  Shaving Cream - perfect 2-in-1.  Shave with is and no need to moisturise after as it's already done!
12.  Foot Care -slather it on to those tired toes and go to sleep with some light socks and wake up to beautifully moisturised feet.

OK...so you probably get the point by now, I could go on and on. A simple Internet search will give you thousands of uses for this amazing oil.

So why not ditch some of those gross chemically products and just use one. Think of the space you'll you'll have in your vanity or pantry! What's your fave way to use Coconut Oil?

Cuckoo for coconut,
post signature







photo credit: Swami Stream via photopin cc

Tip Tuesday - Seasonal Gardening

With Labour Day fast approaching and summer slowly slipping away, I thought it would be fitting to discuss seasonal gardening tips.  I have to admit, this summer I did not tend to my garden as much as I had hoped.  That being said I'm getting all geared up for my Fall planting.  I don't do too much to the gardens this time of year but here are two of my staples that I do at the end of each summer.

1.  Mums....yup...Mums - I love them!  So many gorgeous colours and they just never seem to stop blooming.  I have two cast iron urns on the front step that I like to fill will plants each Spring and Fall.  This Spring I thought I would plant my herbs in them. It was great in the Spring, but once the sweltering heat and unrelenting sunshine on the front of the house started it was all over.  I think all that's left standing is my Rosemary and Curry.  There might be a few scraggly bits of Basil and Parsley hanging on for dear life.  So this weekend I will be switching over my dried herbs to some glorious mums.  What a quick and beautiful way to welcome in the Fall by changing over your pots.  Now...just to decide on colour?  Perhaps I'll let the kids decide...what do you think?

2.  Clover.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I plant Clover.  I try to do it twice a year, but this year being so busy with adjusting to life as a family of 4 I will only get to it once.  Why you ask?  Well, Clover is green...in the colour sense, but also in the eco-friendly sense.   Clover requires much less water than traditional grass and is much more drought tolerant.  And an added bonus, if you let it flower it's great for the bees!  Plus it will crowd out the other unsightly weeds that we try so hard to eliminate. Clover also puts nitrogen nutrients back into the soil - bonus! So we sow it in the Spring and Fall into our lawns.  I don't have time to worry about pulling weeds or how perfect my sod looks.  But love the look and feel of Clover and so happy my kids get to see actual honey bees.  I still remember the first time I asked at a Big Box store if the sold Clover...they looked at me like I had 2 heads and the lady behind me offered me hers from her yard.  So spread the word...Be Clever...plant Clover!

Do you have any end of summer gardening musts?  What plants do you use to make the season change?

Planting love...and Clover,

post signature

Surviving Your Family Vacation 101

We just returned from our family vacation and I thought it only fitting to share with you some very important things I learned over the past 5 days. And just for a little back story - for our holiday we decided to take a road trip to Ottawa, ON which is approximately 640 kms from our house with our 2 small children.

1.  Your hotel can make or break your trip.    Trying to get kids to fall a sleep in the same room is next to impossible and if you've shared a room with your kids you know that they are the loudest sleepers on the planet.  So after a little searching I found the Albert at Bay Hotel; essentially like little apartments. And all for the same or less than you would pay for a hotel room! We had a full kitchen, balcony and a living room/dining room and a separate bedroom.

2.  Calculate your travel time wisely.  So when we were younger we would take road trips all over.  And it was quite easy to drive for 10+ hrs without kids.  But this holiday was our first significant road trip with 2 kids in the car.  The girls have always been great in the car, but I was definitely nervous about the 6+ hrs of driving each way.  After over 1500 kms in the car I think it's fair to say that when travelling with small kids you need to add an extra 30% to your estimated driving time.  We stopped twice each way for approximately 45 mins to an hour to stretch, visit a washroom and get the wiggles out.  Use this handy equation to stay sane: Estimated travel time + 30% car-free time = happy travels.

3.  Schedule downtime.  This is a very important vacation must.  We all try to cram in as many sights and sounds and activities as humanly possible into our holidays and I'm no exception.  We were gone each day by about 9am and didn't get back to the hotel till past bedtime just about each night.  The girls were great and were happy to hop from one adventure to the next.  But by about day 2 or 3 I could tell they were tired and on the verge of a melt down. Instead of more sight-seeing we took a drive to the Gatineaus and had a picnic on the beach and spent the afternoon watching the kids play in the sand and splash in the water.  It's imperative the incorporate some chill time with the kids.  We were tired and they were tired and what better way to rejuvenate then with a little nature.

Mosaika at Parliament Hill
4. Skip the souvenirs and stock up on memories.   I've come to the realisation that 'things' don't make you happy.  And really they just take up space and its just more stuff to clean and organise.  So rather then spending money on some terribly over-priced, tacky knick-knack, why not take that money and use it for something you and your kids will really enjoy.  Or even better, save your money and find some really cool FREE events to check out and make some family memories instead. Check out the local tourism sites for local events and festivals and for great coupons!

5.  Enjoy each minute.  We can get wrapped up in schedules and time lines and agendas.  We went on our vacation with nothing scheduled other than our hotel and tickets to the Museum of Civilization.  Each day was a new adventure and we took our time and enjoyed each minute.  If we were having fun we stayed and played; if it wasn't our thing or the kids were not interested we moved on.  We kept it simple and fluid and relished each moment.

NOTE: we’ve added this post to the Sunday Traveler link up extravaganza. Check it out for other travel tales and inspiration.

post signature                                                        

Tip Tuesday: DIY Face Mask

Recently I found myself with a few kid free moments at home.  So I decided to treat myself to a face mask.  I was reaching for the almost empty tube of store bought clay mask when I thought - hey, I'm sure I can make my own.  So I did.  And it was super easy AND made my skin feel and look wonderful.

Thanks to homemadefacialmasksforacne.blogspot.ca for this super easy recipe.  Check them out for tons of other face mask options.


Are you ready?  Here it goes!

1 teaspoon of yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of chopped hazelnuts
4-5 drops of lemon juice




And there you have it!  Mix it up and spread it on your face.  After 10 minutes rinse it off with warm water.

The honey has astringent properties and also helps increase your skins healing abilities.  The yogurt helps to close pores and exfoliate the skin. It also helps to stimulate collagen production.  What a bonus!
And it's all natural (provided you use natural ingredients) and contains no nasty chemicals.  This is a definite keeper!

post signature

Foodie Friday: Entertaining Friends

I love entertaining and visiting with friends. However, with 2 kids and 2 dogs I find that those occasions seem to be fewer and more far between than I would prefer.  That being said, I thought I might share some of my tips and tricks when entertaining friends.  

Very important - have good friends! I'm serious!  Don't go overboard trying to impress someone you don't really know or like just to 'keep up with the Joneses'! Your real friends will love and appreciate your efforts regardless of how regal or casual they may be.

Keep things simple.  You don't want to be spending your night fussing over the stove.  You want to enjoy laughs and some quality social time with your friends.  After all, isn't that why you have them over?

Have a little something for everyone.  We have friends who are vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, sugar-free, with kids, without kids, with pets and without pets.  So it's crucial to cater to your guests - within reason.  I always make sure to have a vegan option - this covers your vegetarians and vegans all at once.  I always have gluten-free and sugar-free choices as that's what we subscribe too.  But I make sure there is something sweet and glutinous for those who enjoy it.  Everything I serve is kid-friendly...well my kid friendly.  I don't believe in cooking a dinner for the kids and then having one for the grown-ups.  Another key is finding out ahead of time if there are any allergies or definite No's from your guests. 

I do like to expose my friends to something a little new or different.  Whether it's a unusual cheese or a desert I made, I try to expand their palate and or mind without coming off as pushy.  A lot of times I won't mention that something is gluten-free or sugar-free until after it's consumed.  At which point I will reveal my secret recipe.  I'm always surprised by peoples reactions when I tell them there's no wheat or no sugar in something. I like trying to show people that you can eat well and it can still taste good.

Lastly, entertaining friends is really a misnomer.  I don't want to put on a show for my friends and my friends don't expect me to.  I want them to come over and have a good time and leave with full bellies and  full spirits.

A little less entertaining and a lot more enjoying! 

post signature 

Tip Tuesdays - hints for being happy, healthy and green!

Each Tuesday I will be sharing a tip with you.  It will be some lovely tidbit of knowledge to help improve your homestead in some way.

From food to gardening; family to health and everything in between.  These will be pieces of info that I have found and used and have improved my life in some way.  (work smarter, not harder....right?)

One of the first things we learn is to share - so please enjoy my weekly tips and share them with your friends.  And of course, I would love to learn more so please share any lovely things you have discovered to keep things happy, healthy and green!

Spread peace and granola.

Jen