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6 Wonderful Ayurvedic Home Remedies January 30, 2012

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 5:30 am

Got a pain or problem? Don’t dial the doctor just yet. Give these simple Ayurvedic remedies a chance to work their magic.

Aaah, My tooth Aches

Chew on a clove slowly, letting the juice penetrate the affected area.  Clove has been used since ancient times as a star treatment for dental problems. It contains a healing compound called eugenol that soothes inflamed nerves. But remember: your tooth is hurting because there is an infection somewhere. Clove will bring you relief from the pain, but do see a dentist soon.

Never Can Say Goodnight

Can’t sleep? You’re not alone. Thanks to the modern lifestyle, entire nations are groaning under a Sleep Debt that grows heavier by the night!

Try these two simple remedies:

  • Blend one cup of warm milk with four to five dates and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Sip at bedtime.Dates balance the nervous system, and milk contains a natural compound that promotes sleep.
  • Just before you get into bed, massage your palms and the soles of your feet with a good-quality warm oil, such as sesame oil. Relaxes the nerves and muscles  beautifully.

Ouch, I’m a Sitting Duck!

Piles can be a painful problem. And coupled with constipation…the ouch factor can get agonising.

  • Drink buttermilk spiked with freshly crushed black pepper and roasted and powdered cumin seeds.
  • Take two teaspoons of triphala churna or psyllium husk stirred in a glass of lukewarm water at bedtime, for easy bowel movement.

Uh, Uh, I’ve Got A Persistent Cough

Mix a little ginger juice with honey. Take this thrice a day for relief from cough. Ginger stimulates mucus to come out, and honey soothes the throat.

Can’t Stand this Muscle Pain

Make a poultice of heated mustard oil and turmeric with a pinch of salt. Apply to the aching or injured area and leave on for about two hours. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Mustard oil, with its warming nature, improves circulation and is a natural anti-bacterial agent.

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Plastic wrap alternatives December 10, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 1:05 am

Plastic wrap: it’s ubiquitous, convenient and horrible for the environment. Usually made from the petroleum-based plastic LDPE, cling wrap doesn’t decompose quickly and will be clogging up landfills for generations. If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option, consider some of these alternatives.

Reusable Containers

Rather than reach for the plastic wrap, ask yourself, “Can I seal this up in a reusable plastic container instead?” Often the solution is a simple as a piece of Tupperware or Pyrex, rather than a single-use piece of Saran wrap.

Bioplastics

Bioplastics are plastic-like materials made from plants like corn or soy. Cellophane, invented in the early 1900s, is the original bioplastic. The “cell” in cellophane stands for cellulose, a natural fiber derived from plants, making the substance entirely biodegradable. Despite its eco-advantage, Cellophane, the crinkly, crackly cousin to plastic wrap, does a poor job adhering to surfaces, limitings its use as an alternative.

However, bioplastics have taken off in the last decade as consumers clamor for more eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum based bags and plastic wrap.

Reusable Alternatives

While disposable cling wrap is certainly convenient, sometimes reusable options can be just as efficient.

Using a cotton and hemp-based fabric coated in sticky beeswax on one side,. Whether you want to wrap up a sandwich, a half of a cucumber or a bowl of soup, Abeego’s reusable wrappers have got you covered.

Reusable silicon bowl covers are another great, green way to quickly put a lid on things. And for a thriftier alternative, you could always just snap a shower cap around the bowl.

Food-Specific Alternatives

Consumers love plastic wrap in part because it can handle nearly any task thrown at it. While its versatility is unquestionable, consumers should consider a few food-specific alternatives that are both more eco-friendly, and do a much better job of keeping their food fresh.

After cutting open the packaging on a big block of cheese, most people reach for the plastic wrap to keep the rest fresh in the fridge. But a good cheesemonger will tell you that you should never store your cheese in plastic wrap. Cheese needs to breathe to stay mold-free, and if you really love your fromage, reach for some cheese paper, parchment paper or waxed paper, all of which are semipermeable, which will keep your cheese from being swallowed up in a disgusting green fuzz.

When it comes to meat, your butcher knows best, which is why he wraps your steak up in a sheet of butcher paper. While it’s nothing more than plain brown paper with a waxy coating on one side, butcher paper, much like cheese paper, lets the food breathe a little, because letting a steak stew in its own juices for a few days in the fridge does not make for great tasting meat.

Finally, for the bakers out there, plastic wrap has long played a role protecting moist dough as it rises on the counter. But rather than rely on cling wrap, reach for a clean damp tea towel instead. Put the dough in a bowl and drape the towel over the top; the moisture in the towel will keep your dough from drying out too much.

 

 

December 4, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 3:15 am
 

REUSE PLASTIC BOTTLES TO MAKE A RECYCLED CHRISTMAS TREE November 21, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 8:50 am

Draw big “v’s” onto the sides of a plastic milk bottle. When cut with a craft knife, these become your branches.

 

 

Paint and decorate your tree however you want.

Plastic drink bottles, cut in half and fringed from bottom to neck make great little trees when stacked onto a used CD stacker.

 

 

Reduce, reuse and recycle this Christmas. Make what you can out of trash and give landfill a welcome Christmas present of respite.

 

50 unwasteful ways October 18, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 8:48 am

We’ve all had it happen: half the loaf of bread goes stale because no one wants to eat sandwiches today, and the grapes we bought as healthy snacks for the kids’ lunches languish in the crisper. With a little creativity, and an eye toward vanquishing waste in our lives, we can make use of more of our food before it goes to waste. Here are a few ideas for you.

Using Up Vegetables

1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown.”

2. Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs.

3. Don’t toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.

4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers.

5. Roasted root vegetable leftovers can be turned into an easy, simple soup the next day. Add the veggies to a blender, along with enough broth or water to thin them enough to blend. Heat and enjoy.

6. If you’re preparing squash, don’t toss the seeds. Rinse and roast them in the oven, just like you would with pumpkin seeds. The taste is pretty much the same.

7. Celery leaves usually get tossed. There’s a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews.

8. Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer.

9. Canning is always a good option. If you’re doing tomatoes, you can use a boiling water bath. If you’re canning any other type of veggie, a pressure canner is necessary for food safety.

10. Before it goes bad, blanch it and toss it in the freezer. This works for peas, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.

11. Too many zucchini? Make dark chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini bread or muffins. If you don’t want to eat the bread now, bake it and freeze it, then defrost when you’re ready to eat it.

12.Pickle it. Cucumbers are the first veggie most of us think of pickling, but in reality, just about any vegetable can be preserved through pickling.

Ideas for Cutting Down on Fruit Waste

13. Make smoothies with fruit before it goes bad. Berries, bananas, and melons are great candidates for this use-up idea.

14. Jam is really easy to make, and will keep for up to a year if you process the jars in a hot water bath. If you don’t do the water processing part, you can keep the jam in the refrigerator for a month, which is a lot longer than the fruits would have lasted.

15. Dry your fruit and store it in the freezer or in airtight containers.

16. Make fruit leather.

17. Make a big fruit salad or “fruit kebabs” for your kids. For some reason, they seem to eat more fruit if it’s in these “fancier” forms.

18. Use up the fall bounty of apples by making applesauce or apple butter.

19. Don’t throw out those watermelon rinds! Pickled watermelon rind is a pretty tasty treat.

20. Make a fruit crumble out of almost any fruit you have on hand. Assemble and bake it now, or leave it unbaked and store it in the freezer for a quick dessert.

Putting Extra Grains to Good Use

21. Make croutons out of day-old bread.

22. Turn day-old bread into homemade bread crumbs.

23. Freeze leftover bread. This way you’ll have day-old on hand whenever you need bread crumbs, or croutons rather than using fresh bread.

24. All of those little broken pieces of pasta in the bottom of the box? Collect them and mix with rice and veggies for a simple side dish.

25. A few tablespoons of leftover oatmeal isn’t enough for a meal, but it is great sprinkled on top of yogurt.

26. Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup.

27. Made too many pancakes for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast, tasty weekday breakfast. Ditto waffles.

28. If you make plain white or brown rice with dinner, use leftovers for breakfast the next morning by adding them to oatmeal. This provides extra fiber and allows you to use up that rice.

29. If you our your kids don’t like the bread crusts on your sandwiches, save these bits and pieces in the freezer to turn into bread crumbs later. Just throw the crusts into a food processor or coffee grinder to make them into crumbs. Season as you like.

30. If you have just a smidge of baby cereal left in the box, and it’s not enough for a full meal, add it to your babies pureed fruit. It adds bulk and fiber, and keeps baby full longer.

Make the Most of Meat

31. Don’t toss those chicken bones after you eat the chicken. Boil them to make chicken stock.

32. Ditto for bones from beef and pork.

33. The fat you trim from beef can be melted down and turned into suet for backyard birds.

34. Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.

35. Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup the next day by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat.

Use Dairy Before It Expires

36. If you’ve got a few chunks of different types of cheese sitting around after a party, make macaroni and cheese.

37. Eggs can be frozen. Break them, mix the yolks and whites together, and pour into an ice cube tray. Two frozen egg cubes is the equivalent of one large egg.

38. You can also freeze milk. Leave enough room in the container for expansion, and defrost in the refrigerator.

39. Use cream cheese in mashed potatoes or white sauces to give them thickness and tang.

40. Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This is excellent as a coating for eggplant slices, pork, or chicken.

Herbs and How to Get the Most Out of Them

41. Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that type of herb.

42. You can also freeze herbs by placing them in plastic containers. Certain herbs, such as basil, will turn black, but the flavor will still be great.

43. Make pesto with extra basil or parsley.

44. Dry herbs by hanging them by their stems in a cool, dry location. Once they’re dry, remove them from the stems and store them in airtight containers.

Don’t Waste a Drop

45. Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea.

46. If there’s a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

47. If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).

48. You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy.

49. If there’s just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a cup of tea.

Finally….

50. If you can’t think of any way to use that food in the kitchen, compost it. Everything except for meat and dairy will work in a compost pile, and at least your extra food can be used for something useful. Such as growing more food!

 

30 ways to detox your home and body September 24, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 11:36 am

1.  Eat an organic diet as much as possible.  Most foods contain harmful pesticides and genetically-modified organisms.

2. Try to make a large component of your diet raw vegetables and juices.  It’s easy when you eat a large salad daily and drink a freshly-made juice.

3.  Engage in periodic cleanses or detox programs:  one day a week, a weekend every month, or a longer detox in the spring and fall.

4.  Sauna to help eliminate toxins through the skin in sweat.  Of course, consult your physician prior to starting a sauna regime.

5.  Stretch daily: yoga, tai chi, and qigong, are excellent.

6.  Avoid chemical cleaning products in favor of natural cleaning ones.  Baking soda, vinegar, or orange oil can replace almost any chemical cleaner.

7.  Avoid chemical pesticides at home. Use baking soda with sugar or peppermint oil.

8.  Read labels on food products and avoid those with which you are unfamiliar.

9.  Avoid synthetic chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics.  Read labels and avoid those ingredients with which you’re unfamiliar.  No label?  Avoid the product.  Definitely avoid any containing: parabens, diethanolamine (DEA), or phthalates.

10.  Drink an ounce of wheatgrass juice daily to supplement your diet.  Wheatgrass juice is nutritionally equivalent to many vegetables.

11. Take chlorella or spirulina tablets daily to supplement your diet and help round out the nutrients you .

12.  Exercise for 45 minutes daily.  Brisk walking, rebounding, running, cycling, cross-country skiing are excellent choices.  Be sure to consult a physician prior to beginning.

13.  Eat at least three of the best detoxifying foods daily.  Some of the best detoxifiers include:  broccoli, garlic, spinach, cabbage, sprouts, blueberries, ginger, and turmeric.

14.  Exchange massages with a partner.  Massage improves circulation and helps move lymph (lymph picks up toxins throughout the body so it can be eliminated).

15.  Kick the habit.  If you smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke, quit it.

16.  Cut back on alcohol consumption.  Alcohol must be filtered by the liver, which has over 500 other functions.  Even moderate drinking increases the risk of conditions like breast cancer.

17.  Toss out the toxins at home and in the garage.  Of course, dispose of them properly based on your community’s guidelines.

18.  Add a water filter to your tap water.  Even a Brita will help remove some of the impurities in your water.

19.  Toss the non-stick pans.  Teflon, Silverstone and other coatings emit harmful perflourochemicals (PFCs).  The EPA classifies them as carcinogens.

20.  Choose no-VOC paints for your home.  VOCs are volatile organic compounds, many of which are linked to cancer.

21.  Stop microwaving your food.  Microwaving changes the protein structure of food making it potentially-harmful to your body.  Microwaves also emit radiation that can be damaging to people standing near them.

22.  Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you heat your home with gas, oil, or other type of fuel.  Carbon monoxide is odorless but can cause health problems like headaches, fatigue, and even death.

23.  Eliminate mold.  A few drops of tea tree oil can be used on a cloth to wipe down walls, floors, and other surfaces to help kill mold.

24.  Switch from sponges to natural cloths for cleaning.  Most sponges have been treated with a chemical called triclosan, which is toxic to the skin and immune system.

25.  Turn the heat down on your stove.  When your cooking oil starts to smoke, it has become toxic to your body.  Choose only cold-pressed oils for cooking since most oils have been heated to high temperatures during processing and are already toxic to the body.

26.  Stop eating baked goods with artificial colors.  They may look pretty but research links food colors and artificial dyes to having toxic effects on the brain and nervous system, particularly among children.

27.  Stop using fragrances.  Most perfumes and colognes, scented candles, plug-in air “fresheners,” pot pourri, laundry soap, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are loaded with toxic ingredients that have been linked to hormonal imbalances, mood swings, fatigue, brain damage, and many other symptoms.

28.  Don’t heat food or store it in plastic.  Most plastic contains bisphenol-A (BPA) that migrates into the food stored in these containers.  BPA has been linked to thyroid and other hormonal problems.

29.  Don’t use mothballs.  Mothballs contain paradichlorobenzene which is seriously toxic.  Instead choose sachets made with natural herbs and essential oils like rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint, which are natural moth-repellants.

30.  Reduce the amount of meat in your diet.

 

27 uses for coffee other than in a cup September 15, 2011

Filed under: Going Green — rainbowyoga @ 12:19 am

Uses for coffee in the home

1. Skip the toxic abrasive cleaners for pots and pans and use a handful of coffee grounds instead.

2. Scour (non-porcelain) sinks with coffee grounds.

3. Clean old food off of dishes. Be aware not to use coffee grounds on materials that might be absorbent or porous so that you don’t end up with brown stains.

4. Scrub your grill or electric griddle.

5. Coffee grounds can also be used as a deodorizer. Place grounds in a jar or dish to absorb odors from refrigerators and freezers.

6. Leave a dish of coffee grounds out to absorb odors in rooms that have an unpleasant odor.

7. Deodorize a car that may have had one too many fast-food items left in it.

8. Place a layer of grounds in your ashtrays to greatly reduce the stench of old cigarette butts.

9. Rub on hands to remove food prep odors.

10. Use wet grounds when cleaning your fireplace or wood stove to keep the dust and ash from flying. You could also use wet grounds for the same purpose in a pellet stove, but take care to not allow the burn pot to get clogged, so I would use very sparingly in this case.

11. Use coffee grounds for natural ant control. Place dried grounds in the areas ants frequent. The smell is a deterrent.

12. Dye paper, fabrics, or other porous materials with a strong coffee solution.

13. Cover up scratches in furniture. Dab a strong solution of coffee onto the scratch. Naturally, this works best on darker woods.

Uses for coffee in the garden

14. Use coffee grounds as a non-toxic, fully degradable fertilizer. Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals. While you need to be aware that not all plants love coffee, such as tomatoes, most are enriched by the added nutrients.

15. Coffee grounds are an excellent nutritional addition to compost.

16. Use as a non-toxic bug repellant. Use a solution of coffee to spray your plants. The smell is too strong for most bugs. You’ll need to re-apply after a rain.

17. Use coffee grounds to keep cats from digging and pooping in your garden. Not only are cat feces bad for your plants, I personally hate the experience of accidentally scooping some up with my hands while gardening.

18. Use coffee grounds to deter slugs and snails. Both the smell and the abrasive surface help keep these pests out of the garden.

19. Coffee can add nutrients to acid-loving plants such as azaleas and roses. Simply pour any left-over coffee around the base of the plant. Coffee is acidic. Roses flourish in soil with a pH around 6.5. Adding coffee will raise the pH.

20. Kill ants outdoors too. Just place grounds on the hills.

A word on worms: they love coffee as much as we do. Theory suggests that besides the caffeine, the bacterium that grows on the many-sided grounds is not only a food source, but adds grit to their digestive system allowing them to digest better. Coffee-eating worms reproduce faster, which is great for oxygenating our gardens and compost. So, in terms of worms, you can:

21. Work grounds into the soil.

22. Place grounds into your compost.

23. Mix grounds and soil to help keep fishing bait alive longer.

24. Putting your bait worms in moist coffee grounds helps to mask human odor.

Uses for coffee as a beauty aid

25. Rub grounds through hair and rinse to add softness and shine.

26. Add highlights to brown hair by soaking in coffee.

27. Use grounds as a facial scrub or mask.

So drink up and enjoy the many benefits that come even after your cup is empty.