Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Organic!

We all want to get healthy and stay healthy. Then we must support the organics industry and buy their products. Things have really changed drastically in the past twenty years, and there are more organic products at reasonable prices than ever before. There are plenty of choices for every health conscious consumer.

My favorite organic product is organic coffee. This is an example of taking a good product and making it even better through offering the organic version of a popular product. Couple that with supporting indigenous populations to keep the organic farming methods alive and that is a winning combination.

Household cleaning and laundry products have experienced a virtual revolution in the past twenty years and these products are now available side by side with the products of the non-organic industry leaders at nearly every grocery store in the United States. Isn't it great to have the choice?

Be good to your skin with organic makeup products. This industry is accomplishing the difficult feat of blending UV protection and natural cosmetics into reasonably priced products. You now can find organic foundation, organic eye makeup, organic mascara, and organic lipstick. On a related note, there are also organic hair coloring systems.

Love yourself, love your dog. Love your dog by purchasing organic dog food. With the tragic loss of so many pets in 2007 due to the tainted dog food from China, it is no wonder the organic pet food industry has enjoyed a sharp spike in sales recently.

Keep organics a viable option by shopping organic!

How to Make Candles at Home

Candles, candles, candles! You cannot have too many of them, they make a perfect consumable gift, and you can make them yourself at home. Candles are the natural choice for gift items any family that is living naturally.

Always make soy candles or beeswax candles, the natural alternative to the cheap paraffin candles that emit harmful substances into the air as they burn. The flame on a beeswax candle burns steady and clean!

There are many resources for learning How to Make Candles at Home. Both instructions and availability of candle making supplies are prolific on the internet. If your town is too small to have a candle making supplies outlet your best bet is to shop online.

We always recommend the beginning candle maker try votive candles as a beginner project. Votive candles make great centerpieces and burn for an extraordinary long time. They are a welcome gift and are easy to make.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Health Benefits of Exercise

There are so many health benefits of exercise, where do we begin? Let's begin with the obvious, the physical component of the Health Benefits Of Exercise. Your heart will get a huge amount of benefit if part of the exercise you do is aerobic. Your muscles will receive another large section of the benefits of exercise. And your bones will get strengthened. Another physical benefit that is not easily realized is the mental health aspect. Neurons stay connected and new neurons are grown during the exercise process.

Add another important aspect to the list of the health benefits of exercise. It is your state of being, your temperament, your mood. We all feel better after exercise. No matter what is troubling us, a good workout on a treadmill or a walk in the neighborhood, or a long swim, to name a few, will all make us feel more able to face whatever is troubling us.

Weight loss is one of the direct health benefits of exercise. Exercise builds muscle, and muscle keeps the metabolic rate high. Exercise is also a natural appetite suppressor, so that is an indirect useful benefit for any weight loss goal.

No matter what your reasons for starting an exercise program, you will get the benefit of physical and mental health improvements.

Natural Holidays

We are all for gift giving but feel things have gone overboard, and we want to give out some ideas for keeping your holiday spending in line without diminishing the holiday warmth. There are so many opportunities for sharing joy without spending a lot of money doing it. A hand made gift means a lot these days, and the time you spend making the hand made gifts can be a great time of bonding for your own family.

Let's start with birthdays. Today's birthday parties are now being hosted at restaurants or special party facilities, so the home-made, at-home birthday party is a rarity any more. All the more reason to cherish them and keep making them happen. Our own children have many fond memories of the home-made birthday parties we have all created together. The child picks out a theme, and then the fun begins as the whole family hunts through books and websites, collecting directions for crafts, decorations, games and party favors related to the theme. My wife is a talented artist and enjoys creating one of her special pin the _____ on the ______ a variation on pin the tail on the donkey. Our son's favorite was her "Pin the wheel on Lightning McQueen" game for his 'Cars' themed party.

Birthday cards are becoming more and more rare as people turn to emailed greetings. Store bought cards are still nice, but even better is to make a card yourself or order a hand made card directly from the artist. Many talented artists now offer hand made cards direct from their own websites. Support an artist and buy a nice collection of hand made cards to keep in the house so you will be ready for the next occasion.

People just have so many possessions these days that our homes are becoming filled with clutter. Keep from adding to your friend's clutter by giving a consumable gift. There are wonderful gifts in a jar recipes for soups, bath salts and potpourri, for example. You can find online directions for making your own jar candles, which is a very useful and beautiful gift.

Another favorite consumable gift is a food gift such as a small plate of mini cupcakes. This is especially nice at Valentine's Day, when you can bake up a big batch of red velvet cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes are a deep rich chocolate cupcake, and for Valentine's Day you can always put on red icing or white icing with red hearts. Red velvet cupcakes have been a favorite for a very long time. We recommend baking up a large batch at Valentine's Day, making mini cupcakes, and give a mini cupcake along with a hand made Valentine's Day card. Now that is a winning combination!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to Cook Naturally

Many people know how to cook, but few know how to cook naturally. The trick to cooking naturally is get the flavor into the food without using artificial flavors and too much oil. The basis for natural cooking is to let the natural flavor of the food be retained and enhanced mildly. It is best to start out with the best ingredients you can find, and these days that means organic produce, chosen in its own season and at the peak of freshness. Cooking naturally means waiting until June for strawberries and forgoing asparagus in December. There is a time and a place for all flavors.

Always use an iron skillet or iron pot for your stove top cooking. It is indeed a natural source of iron. You will always have just the right level of iron in your system if you use iron cookware. If it is too heavy to use 100% iron cookware, then buy the lighter-weight combination iron and ceramic cookware sets that are so brightly colored and very popular.

Some basic principals for natural cooking are: broil don't fry, bake don't fry, and grill don't fry. Deep frying food is the number one way to take healthy food and make it unhealthy.

One easy way to cook naturally is to use an old stand-by, a slow cooker such as a Rival crock pot. Crock pots burst onto the culinary scene in the 1970's, fell out of favor, but are back with a vengeance as home cooks seek healthy and inexpensive methods of cooking for the family. A crock pot can turn a cheap cut of meat into a delicious entree. Save money and get healthy with a crockpot in your kitchen. The best ones have a removable crock for easy cleaning. Nothing smells better than a fresh crockpot of soup waiting for you when you return home from a long day at work.

Hat's Off to the Pampered Chef Company!

We just love the Pampered Chef® company. Not only does the company care about heart health, it also actively supports women's health. Every May since 2000 the company has featured pink kitchen gadgets, pink cookware and pink bake ware at special fundraiser cooking shows. Pampered Chef® Independent Consultants educate millions of people across the United States on breast cancer awareness through the Help Whip Cancer® campaign. Consultants provide one-on-one education through special fundraiser cooking shows and educational materials. The campaign is shared with people who may have family members or friends who have been touched by breast cancer. For every pink Pampered Chef® item sold, the company donates one dollar to cancer research. Just another good reason to buy Pampered Chef® products.

Heart Healthy Cooking

We have all heard about the importance of heart health and how to maintain it through our diet. A lot of what we do in the kitchen depends on the kitchen tools and knowledge we own. It takes both to succeed. To follow the principles of heart healthy cooking requires cookware of such heavy gauge that only the minimum amount of oil is necessary to keep the food from sticking to the pan. Any food made in the heavy-gauge cookware can be low-fat. And low-fat food is the focal point of heart healthy cooking.

Any recipe can be changed to a low fat recipe if your cookware is of heavy-gauge construction. Be sure to use the healthiest oil possible, such as olive or canola oil. And use as little as possible. Before you reach for the oil bottle, you should try a water saute to get things going. Use the oil sparingly, as a moisturizing agent or browning aid. A good oil can add desirable flavor, but don't let that overpower the flavors of spices and other components.

Take Good Care of Your Skin

Although genetics does play a part, we do have a big part to play in the natural health of our skin. Some people are prone to acne, while others never have to deal with it. The last thing you need to be doing if you have acne is to seek any kind of harsh acne treatment. The milder the better. There are so many products available on the market that were not available even five years ago. Fortunately for we who seek the natural alternatives, there are numerous companies offering mild yet effective acne treatments. Tea tree oil is one amazing alternative, and there are several acne treatments on the market which have tea tree oil as an ingredient.

Now let's talk about makeup. Some of us choose not to wear it very often, if at all. We recommend wearing makeup as infrequently as possible, and when you do feel the need to use it, always choose a natural mineral makeup with sun protection. Again, the choices are widening for those seeking natural beauty products, and there are quite a few good mineral makeup products available at reasonable prices.

Although my wife has completely switched her makeup to mineral makeup, when she was using liquid makeup she always liked the Mary Kay brand. She is glad to see that company is now offering mineral makeup also. She has given it a try and is quite pleased. She still uses the Mary Kay Day Cream, as it makes a nice skincare product in general and allows her mineral makeup to get applied more evenly.

If you are fighting acne, realize that mineral makeup can help with you in your overall plan of acne treatment. Mineral makeup should be one of your major components of any acne treatment plan.

Whenever possible, try to make your own home version of the remedy or product you need, so as to avoid those 'inert' ingredients. Often it is the inert ingredients which irritate the skin and can cause a reaction. Here is our favorite internet resource for natural skin care, the lifelong beauty section of Prevention. If making it yourself is not your thing, then read labels carefully even on a product that claims to be natural. One person's natural is another person's poison!