April 30, 2012

2nd Annual Earth Day Party 2012: A Natural You

So this year's Annual Earth Day Party was April 21st--the day before Earth Day (which was on Sunday). And the theme was "A Natural You"--Discovering ways to be more natural: for your health, hygiene and home. A chance for like-minded individuals to get together and chat, learn, eat and discuss about how to live more naturally and what that means.

(...and of course, I forgot to take pictures again...but next year I won't!)

We had fun chatting and sharing thoughts on more natural-type product options in the home for health. And there were quiz questions along the way. Quiz yourself and see how you woud've done:

1. What are the two basic functions of the liver?
     a) metabolizes food/breaks down fat and nutrients necessary
     b) to get rid of toxins and chemicals
    ...so if your body is too busy getting rid of chemicals and foreign things in your body, it can't break down the fat in your body. Hence why detoxing is important. And Detoxing can be as simple as using more natural skin/hair care/cleaning products, to eating more organic and less preservatives and such. The less chemicals we're surrounded by, the less our liver has to eliminate and more it can focus on it's main purpose of breaking down our fat.

2. What are the seven chanels of detoxification (ways our body eliminates toxins)?
As we work on each of these channels, we can better rid the toxins from each area...
1. Lungs - what we breath. get fresh air, don't smoke and get aerobic exercise
2. Liver - manager of entire detox process in body
3. Colon - last stop for toxins, before expelled (daily bowel movement). Keeping hydrated helps.
4. Kidneys - produces urine (waste) to expell
5. Skin - what we put on our skin--sweat removes toxins
6. Blood - regular exercise stimulates blood flow and helps the blood transport necessary things through it's system
7. Lymph - immune system and filters bacteria

3. What are three or more things to avoid in processed foods?
  a) high fructose corn syrup
   b) hydrogenated oils
   c) artificial sweetners
   d) processed soy products
   e) certain food dyes (like red. no.2)

4. True or False: Soaked/Sprout grains are better than whole grain foods.
Whole grains have phytic acid, which inhibits your body's absorption of the nutrients an minerals in the whole grain. So in order to maximize your body's use of the nutritional value of the whole grain, it's best to soak or sprout the whole grain, which starts the process of breaking down that pytic acid so your body doesn't have to work so hard. Picture eating a hard dry seed versus a moist seed that is just starting to sprout. The latter is easier for your body to digest.

5. True or False: when possible, choose vegetable oils over butter for cooking and baking.
Butter is actually a good natural fat, though could give cholesterol problems if over eaten. So although it could potentially be a problem if over done, it's better than any vegetable or canola oils, which are highly processed/refined and not as healthy for your body in their less-natural state. Extra-virgin and unrefined coconut oil are excellent options. And stay away from fake butters and margarines, including most types of shortening (although they have healthier types now)--anything fake plays a toll on our bodies' natural processes.

6. What am I? I can be used as a shampoo, deodorant/odor absorber, toothpaste, gunk remover, water softener, drain cleaner, etc?
Answer: Baking soda (I've tried half of these and appreciate knowing their use as an emergency, though I wouldn't always use them on a regular basis.)

7. What are the main culprits to avoid in laundry detergent?
worst: SLS, phosphates, NPE; other things if possible: enzymes, fabric whiteners, fabric brighteners, fabric softeners, fragrances, bleach

8. Which essential oil is most versatile and safe to use on anyone--therefore a great option to have in your home?
Lavender! It's mild and calming and can be used neat (on skin, undiluted) on children and prgnant women (which is not like many others). It can be used to calm emotions and help you sleep, or on your skin for cuts and cleansing. It also smells great and is a good air freshener.

Well, those were the questions. How did you do? Most of us only could answer a few. So this was a guide for our discussions about how to better incorporate things into our home and health that will better help us live more naturally.

Some products highlighted were the Norwex or E-cloth rags/towels (2 different brands) that wipe up 99% of bacteria and eliminate your need to use a cleaning product--just add water or use dry for dusting and it picks up everything. The rags with silver in them are more expensive, but teh silver is anti-bacterial, so it doesn't stay in the rag, like the general purpose e-cloth. Norwex is a multi-level marketing company that charges about $15 per silver rag--which Charise bought and uses and likes. I use the e-cloth general purpose for most things, but then a silver-containing anti-bacterial e-cloth for the wiping up raw chicken juice and such.

 Two brands. Two different options. I personally found a good deal online for two general purpose e-cloths for $8 and then also two polishing rags for $8 as well, since they were on a summer sale. And I use the polishing rag for windows and metal surfaces because it wipes them streak-free, very well. The siler-ion rags are about the same as Norwex...just a buck or two cheaper (so I did buy one of them).

I love not needing cleaner. In fact, cleaners take away the effectiveness of these rags, so don't use cleaners or detergent when washing them. You can just boil them in hot water most times and they should last you 600 washes at least. You can put them in the laundry with a touch of detergent if you have natural laundry detergent (free of any of those things listed in the question above about laundry detergents).
this is what I use...it's mostly coconut soap and does a fine job for basics everyday washing.

We also talked about what to avoid in shampoo products and such (see my post on it), and honestly the list is ridiculously long, so I just try to find shampoo with a few ingredients, and all of which seem pretty basic). making your own body wash or shampoo using just a spray bottle with water and some castile soap (plant-based, like Dr. Bronners) and then scenting it with essential oils for smell or for their properties (like rosemary for dry scalp, etc). And everyone got to make their own and take it home. Paul and I use these for body wash (and Paul for his hair too....though I personally don't like it on my long hair, so I use a plant-based shampoo I bought).

If you want, see the post on essential oils 101 to learn more.


We also highlighted some natural mineral makeups we use. Minerals are great because it doesn't clog your pores and actually reflects the light better from your face. I've been using it for three years now. I've tried Naked Minerals, Everyday Minerals, Ocean Mist Minerals and Signature Minerals. My favorite are Everyday and Signature. The latter having free samples online if you want to order some to try and just pay $5 shipping. I highly suggest it! After finding my perfect shades for basic foundation I just buy those powders bulk and pour them into my container whenever it gets empty. And I get enless supplies of their sample eye colors that last forever, since I don't wear much. It's a fun way to explore without spending a ton of money and on good natural stuff.

We touched on the no-no's of using anti-perspirant which has aluminum that clogs your sweat pores and gets locked in your shirt's armpit area--yuck. We talked about some natural deodorants to try. We've tried Kiss-My-Face, Tom's and a Deodorant Crystal--our favorite. But switching over will take a week or two transition and the anit-perspirant generally is so full in your clothes and such, that it's hard to get that out. So be patient in trying to explore and realize there are other factors to take into account including your body getting used to not having what it's use to, as well as what your clothes have been used to and might still trigger smells that have been accumulating for awhile.

Then we ate some energy bites from Ali and other various salads and pirate booty rice puffs, crackers, trail mix, fruit, etc. See Greek Salad or Fruit Salad Recipe if interested.

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