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Homegrown Programs 2017-09-26T15:18:59+00:00

Our Homegrown gatherings, tours, workshops and talks provide the support needed to turn inspiration into action and teach people how to live a more nourishing existence, while radically reducing their footprint on the planet. These programs grow hope, skills, community, habitat, policy change and engaged citizens who are feeding neighbors, forging connections and finding creative solutions to reclaim our future.

Feeling inspired to get involved? Check out the many ways to build your resiliency with our upcoming Homegrown Programs, Garden Wheel tool kit and Monthly Makers recipes…

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Homegrown Programs build household and community self-reliance by transforming our homes and landscapes into productive, resilient ecosystems.

Changing the world starts by leading with how you live. Daily Acts’ Homegrown Programs provide citizens support to turn inspiration into action to live a more nourishing existence, while radically reducing their footprint on the planet.

With a growing bounty of inspiring Homegrown Model Sites, Tours, Workshops and Community Groups like the Homegrown Guild and Petaluma Garden Wheel, our Homegrown Programs provide the skills, resources and connections to transform how you live.

No one alone has all the abilities, time or knowledge, but together as a community we grow whole.

Regardless of your resources and whether you rent or own, are urban or are rural, it’s about cultivating the resourcefulness, relationships and proactive audacity to turn large problems into elegant, tasty, eco-efficacious solutions. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being proactive and committed to learn, do and share what you live; and to keep growing.

Are you ready to join the Solution Revolution?

Check out these Project Profiles for inspiration from our latest Homegrown Program Series ‘Healthy Hearts, Happy Homes’, our answer to leading a toxic free lifestyle by making our own natural products.

Curious about our past program offerings? See below for an abundance of hands-on talks, tours and workshop topics…

  • Chickens, Bees and other Animal Husbandry
  • Personal Ecology
  • Eco-clothing
  • Food Preservation – Canning, Fermenting, Pickling and Dehydrating
  • Natural Building, Paints & Green Homes
  • Mushroom ID and Growing Practices
  • Permaculture Tours
  • Pollinators, Habitat and Wildlife Gardening
  • Propagation, Fruit Tree Pruning & Grafting
  • Seaweed Harvesting

Don’t see a particular skill or experience presented? Fill out this survey and let us know how we can expand our knowledge to provide the opportunity you are looking for.

Garden Wheel is a group of friends and neighbors that meets regularly to share resources, skills, potlucks and the joys (and burdens) of garden related activities; and like a wheel the group rotates to a different garden each meeting. Build community, lend a hand, and transform neighbors’ lawns into lunch!

Members of the Petaluma Garden Wheel, a community group facilitated by Daily Acts, met regularly one Sunday a month to support each other’s big projects, make communal meals or take bicycle tours.

Want to start a Garden Wheel in your neighborhood? Check out the tool kit (coming soon) for tips on how to engage your neighbors, organize a workshop or event and of course make it inspiring and fun! Remember this is just the kind of community building activity that makes a perfect action to register in our Community Resilience Challenge!

Take your new homegrown skills to the next level and turn some of that garden bounty into healthy solutions for your personal and home care. With so many of our products containing un-pronounceable words and scary ingredients, there is no time like the present to ditch the toxic for the natural and homemade. Plus it’s so easy!

Curious about what your favorite personal care products may contain? Look them up in the extensive Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Whether you’re looking for a DEET free alternative to keep the bugs away or a bathroom cleaner that does not contain bleach, there are many options that can be quickly whipped up. Our monthly makers videos below are not only informative but fun to watch (we hope) and demonstrate some simple DIY recipes that are a great starting place for nature-based self-care.

Last but not least, we truly believe that making together is way more enjoyable than making alone, especially when a second or third opinion is needed such as ‘Is my new homemade deodorant working?” We hope you’ll be inspired by the infinite possibilities, invite over some friends and make these recipes your own. Better yet, send us a video of your making or your latest recipe that you would like to share and we will spread the word.

If you are looking for more ideas to expand your pantry, keep your counter’s clean or boost your immune system then check out some of our favorite resources to engage your curiosity and get you making!

DIY books…

  • Rosemary Gladstar’s ‘Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health’
  • Christopher Hobbs & Leslie Gardener’s ‘Grow It, Heal It’
  • Jan Berry’s ‘101 Easy Homemade Products for your Skin, Health & Home’

Great websites…

For more tips on how to DIY your way to a more toxic free lifestyle check out these resources:

Herbal Honeys & Syrups 2017-09-26T15:05:38+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients – Makes 36 ounces

• Herbs, coarsely ground – 28 oz by volume (14oz/1.75 cups for each: tea & honey)
• Honey – 14 oz./1.75 cups
• Water – 24 oz./3 cups (for decoction and double boiler)
• Herbal tincture – 12 oz./1.75 cups (for syrup)

Equipment
• Measuring cup
• Clean mason jar(s) with lid(s)
• Thermometer for liquids (for honey)
• Double boiler (to heat honey)
• Label, permanent marker and clear packing tape
• Potato ricer or similar implement
• Cloth for straining: muslin, tighter weave cheesecloth, cotton gauze fabric or a clean t-shirt
• Glass bottle(s) to store finished product(s)

Note: You can prepare herbal honeys as stand-alone medicines and to sweeten teas and tinctures by following Step 3 below. Herbal infused honeys, made from dried herbs, have a very long shelf life.

This syrup contains equal parts (important to ensure proper preservation!), by volume, of:
• 1 part Herbal Honey Infusion (12 oz)
• 1 part concentrated Herbal Water Infusion or Decoction (12 oz)
• 1 part Herbal Tincture (12 oz)

Instructions
1. Gather & clean your supplies

2. Prepare the herbal tincture(s). To use homemade tincture(s) in your syrup, prepare it at least 4 weeks prior to making a syrup. You can also use store-bought tinctures or straight alcohol.

3. Prepare your herbal infused honey:
Coarsely grind dry herbs. Using a measuring cup, combine equal parts of herb(s) (14oz) and honey (14oz) in a double boiler and heat on low for 6 – 8 hours, stirring periodically. Honey temperature should not exceed 110-115 °F. If needed, add more honey to cover the herbs and replenish the water in the bottom pot of the double boiler.

While still warm, strain the honey through cloth. Press the honey from the herbal material by pressing with a potato ricer or similar kitchen tool or wringing out with your hands.

4. Make the concentrated herbal water infusion or decoction:
Measure dried herb in a measuring cup using 1 part herb(s) to 1 part water, by volume.
Example: 14 oz of herb(s) in 14 oz of water.

5. Combine honey infusion, water extract & herbal tincture:
Combine equal parts by volume. For example:
12 oz of honey + 12 oz of tincture + 12 oz of water extract (infusion or decoction)

6. Label syrup with: herb(s), date & alcohol percentage. Cover label with clear packing tape. Depending on the alcohol percentage of your tincture and whether you used fresh or dried herbs, the alcohol percentage in your finished syrup will be anywhere from 10-30%.

*Storage, Dosage & Safety tips:
If you used a tincture with less than 75% alcohol, keep your syrup refrigerated. The higher the alcohol content, the longer your syrup will keep. Look out for signs of spoilage such as bubbling, off smells or visible mold.

If you used a tincture with 75% or higher alcohol content, your syrup will have a final alcohol level of ~25% and should keep refrigerated for ~2 years.

Dosage will vary by herb. A general dose is ~1-2 teaspoons up to 3 x a day for a 150 pound adult.

Determining dosage in children by weight:
Assume adult dosage is for 150 lb adult. Divide child’s weight by 150. Take that number and multiply it by the recommended adult dosage. Example: for a 50 pound child, dose 1/3 the recommended dose for an adult. If adult dose is 2 teaspoons (10ml) of syrup, give 3.3 ml or ~3/4 teaspoon. Note that ½ of that dose is tincture so 1.1 ml in this example.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Do not give honey to babies under 1 year of age.

Alcohol-Free Syrups: combine the tea and honey, in equal parts by volume and omit the alcohol for a slightly weaker, alcohol free syrup. This must be refrigerated and will last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Reso

How to Make Herbal Tinctures 2017-09-26T14:43:53+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients

• Herb – washed if fresh or clean & dried
• Alcohol – amount will vary to cover total herb quantity
• Optional: for fresh roots – pruners to chop plant material and vegetable brush to clean roots.

Equipment
• Clean mason jar with new lid (no nicks!)
• Label, permanent marker and clear packing tape
• Amber glass dispensing bottle with polyseal cap
• Stainless steel funnel that fits into dispensing bottle
• Potato ricer or similar implements for pressing out the finished tincture
• Cloth for straining your herbal tincture: choose from muslin, tighter weave cheesecloth, cotton gauze fabric or a clean old t-shirt.

Instructions
1. Gather supplies & clean everything.
2. Chop plant material finely and place in an appropriate sized mason jar. Smaller pieces of plant material expose more surface area to your menstruum and extract more medicine.

FRESH flowers, seeds, leaves & bark: cover with menstruum leaving ~1 inch of liquid above the plant material.

FRESH roots: cover with menstruum leaving a ~2 inches of liquid above plant material.

DRIED flowers, seeds, leaves & bark: cover with menstruum, leaving ~3-4 inches of
liquid above the plant material.

DRIED roots: place in a mason jar large enough that the roots will fill half the jar and then fill jar almost to the top with menstruum.

The plant material may float, making it challenging to leave liquid on top. Sometimes you can press it down in a few days as the plant material absorbs the menstruum.

3. Place the lid on the jar and label with the following info using a permanent marker:
Common name, scientific name, date, menstruum & proportions
Optional but recommended: location herb was gathered or grown. Lot # (purchased herb).

Cover label with clear packing tape.

4. Keep tincture in a dark cabinet and shake daily for a minimum of 4 weeks. If you forget to shake it a day or two, do not worry. Frequent shaking = potent extracts.

Tips:      The tincture can sit for months before straining so, no hurry. . .
After a few days your tincture will be quite strong! If you need medicine immediately, just pour what you need and leave the rest to finish extracting.

6. Strain tincture by placing straining cloth in a ceramic or stainless steel strainer over a glass
container. After most of the tincture has passed through the cloth, the remaining saturated herb needs to be pressed or wrung out. You can use your hands (consider wearing gloves to avoid skin irritation from the strong alcohol. Pour into a labeled bottle and voilà!
Optional: for large batches use an apple cider press, wine press or tincture press.

7. Compost the marc. . . after straining the tincture, the remaining ‘spent’ herb is called the marc. It may be composted with other vegetable compost.

8. Store tincture in an Amber (Boston Round) glass bottle with poly-seal cap to exclude light and make pouring easy. The poly-seal cap is resistant to solvents. Label as outlined above.

Optional: write down medicinal actions on the label as well to help your learning of herbs.

*Safety tips:
Your finished tincture should contain at least 40% alcohol to properly preserve it.

Alcohol tinctures are flammable so store away from fire or flames, such as near the kitchen stove.

Keep your tinctures out of the reach of small children and always label each bottle!

Store tincture bottles upright. Do not store tinctures in tincture bottles with droppers for more than 2 years as the alcohol will dissolve the rubber in the dropper, contaminating the tincture with plastic compounds. If the rubber dropper top has softened, and/or your tincture smells of rubber, discard
all of it.

Harvesting, Drying & Making Tea! 2017-09-26T14:44:22+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients & Equipment

• Herbs!
• Kitchen or garden scissors
• Rubber bands and/or drying screens
• Clean glass jars for storing herbs
• Labels, permanent marker and clear packing tape
• Optional: for fresh roots – pruners to chop plant material and vegetable brush to clean roots.

Instructions

1. Gather supplies & clean everything: Your herbal product is only as good as your raw
materials, including clean equipment! Wash and rinse all equipment in hot water. For extra
precautions wipe down with alcohol and allow to air dry.

2. Harvest your herbs! Harvest aboveground plants & flowers after morning moisture has
evaporated. Use kitchen or garden scissors for tender leaves or stems and pruners for woodier
stems. Take care not to bruise herbs or restrict airflow (i.e. don’t stuff into bags).
Harvest roots of perennial herbs in fall or early spring and biennials in autumn at end of 1st year or
spring of 2nd year. Use a sturdy digging fork and replant root crown at original soil depth, buds up.
Garble your herbs by inspecting for insects, disease, etc. and removing damaged parts. Wash off any
dirt as needed and process roots ASAP – scrub with a vegetable brush to remove soil & chop roots.

3. Dry herbs in a warm location with good airflow out of direct sunlight.

a) Bundle herbs with rubber band: easy method – hang herbs in bundles on an indoor line.
• Gather herbs in small bundles, < 10 stems per bundle.
• Split bundle into 2 and loop rubber band around the stems of one of the halves.
• Circle folded rubber band around entire bundle until it is taught.
• Loop rubber band over a few stems to hold band in place.
• Separate bundle into 2 halves and place on drying line.

b) Drying loose herbs in screens or baskets: for loose plant materials such as flowers, roots, bark or
free leaves, place material, one layer thick, screens or baskets that allow good air circulation.
Periodically gently shake herb material. Tip: lay cheesecloth or muslin between screen and plant
material to prevent harvest from falling through screen.
Thoroughly dried herbs should crunch when rubbed between fingers. Store herbs in labeled, airtight
glass jars out of direct sunlight.

4. Making teas…2 types of water extractions:

Infusions: herbs (lighter parts – flowers, leaves, fruits, those with high essential oil content) are prepared with a French press, stainless steel or glass pot, or infuser. Bring desired amount of water
to boil, pour over herb and let sit covered for ~20 minutes. Strain & drink.
Decoctions: tea that is simmered in water (tougher parts – roots, barks, hard non-aromatic seeds,
medicinal mushrooms). Prepare in stainless steel or glass pot. Place herb in water and bring to a boil,
simmer with lid on ~20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, strain & drink.

To combine – prepare decoction first, turn off heat, then add herbs to infuse for ~20 minutes.

Teas stay fresh for about 10 hours at room temp and 24-48 hours in the refrigerator.

General Proportions & Guidelines:
~1 tsp – 1 Tbsp of dried, coarsely chopped herb or 2 Tbsp of fresh herb per 1 cup of water. By
weight this is anywhere from 0.5 to 5 grams of dried herb for every cup of water.
A typical dose is approximately 3-4 cups of tea. This dosing method is not exact and is not
appropriate for herbs that have high potential side effects.

Natural Skin Care Making 2017-09-26T14:46:24+00:00

How to Make Lotion

Necessary Equipment

  1. Digital scale
  2. Blender
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Pouring pot

Ingredients

  1. Waters
  2. ⅔ cup rose water
  3. ⅓ cup aloe vera gel
  4. Essential oils of your choice *optional
  5. Oils
  6. ¾ cup herb infused olive oil
  7. ⅓ cup coconut oil
  8. 1 Tbsp lanolin
  9. 1 ounce beeswax

 

Instructions

  1. Combine waters in a glass measuring cup, add essential oils – set aside.
  2. In sauce pan combine the oils.
  3. Over low heat them just enough to melt.
  4. Pour oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature.  The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisold and cream colored.
  5. When the mixture has cooled, turn on the blender at its highest speed.  Put the lid on and remove the glass center piece.  In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture.
  6. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream.  When the blender coughs and chokes and the cream looks thick and white, like buttercream frosting, turn off the blender.  You can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with the spoon, but don’t overbeat!  The cream will thicken as it sets.
  7. Pour the cream into jars.  Store in a cool location.

Recommended websites

How to Make Lip Balm

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp beeswax pastille
  • 2 Tbsp shea butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions

  1. Melt oils in double boiler or saucepan.
  2. Add essential oils
  3. Pour into lip balm containers

*this recipe makes about 12-14 tubes

 

Soap Making 2017-09-26T14:45:24+00:00

Soap Making

Necessary Equipment

  1. Several heat resistant bowls of varying sizes
  2. Digital scale
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Spatula
  5. Protective eye wear
  6. Rubber gloves
  7. Wisk
  8. Stick blender

Soap Recipes

100% Castile-Brine (Olive Oil Soap)

Ingredients

  1. Oils
  2. 33 ounces olive oil
  3.   Waters and Lye
  4. 10.9 ounces distilled water
  5. 1 Tbs Sea salt
  6. 4.2 ounces lye

Essential oils:

  • 1 ounce orange essential oil
  • .5 ounce black pepper essential oil

 

Goat Milk Soap

Ingredients

  1. Oils
  1. 22 ounces olive oil
  2. 8 ounces coconut oil
  3. 1 ounce castor oil
  4.  Milk and Lye
  5. 10 ounces milk (frozen milk)
  6. 4.3 ounces lye

Essential oils:

  • 1.5 ounces lavender

Instructions

*Precautions:

  • Always use safety goggles that offer adequate protection!
  • Wear chemical resistant gloves
  • Pour lye into the water – NEVER the other way around!
  • Mix the lye-water solution in a room with adequate ventilation.  Pour carefully and stir gently.
  • Have a vinegar/water solution ready to dip all bowls and utensils in after using
  • Always mix lye solution in a heat safe container that is quite larger than the amount of liquid you are mixing.

 

  1. Add the lye to the water/milk and stir gently until all of the lye is dissolved
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold all of the oils and the lye/liquid solution, measure out the liquid oils by weight.
  3. In a separate pot on the stove top measure out the solid oils and warm until they are a liquid.
  4. Pour the melted oils into the container with the liquid oils.
  5. Slowly pour the lye/liquid into the oils stirring slowly with a heat resistant spatula
  6. Use the stick blender until trace is achieved.
  7. Add essential oils mix together with wisk or spatula
  8. Pour into molds.
  9. For goat milk soap place in the refrigerator for 2 days.  Than let sit at room temperature for 3 days and then unmold.
  10. For all other soaps leave in the mold for 3 days and then unmold
  11. Allow the soaps to cure for another 4 to 6 weeks turning them every few days to ensure that they cure evenly.

Recommended Websites:

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar 2017-09-26T14:45:38+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Apple scraps from about 10 apples
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Water
  • Optional ¼ cup raw or unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar

Equipment

  • Wide mouth glass or ceramic container
  • Plastic or wooden stirring utensil
  • Weight to keep apples under water surface (small bottle or jar full of water, rocks, marbles)
  • Tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter
  • Rubber band

Instructions

  1. Gather supplies: Ensure you have all the equipment and ingredients necessary to make apple cider vinegar.

 

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your jug and fermenting equipment are washed and rinsed of all soap residue.

 

  1. Put apple scraps and water into wide mouth container: Add your apple scraps to your jar and cover with water. Determine what weight you will use to keep the apples below the surface of the water (a bottle or jar filled with water does the trick, but you can also use a fermentation weight, rocks or marbles in a cheesecloth).

 

  1. Add sugar or raw apple cider vinegar starter: Add either sugar to start the fermentation process or raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar as a starter culture.

 

  1. Ferment and keep apple scraps under surface of water: This process will take at least two-three weeks before it starts to taste like vinegar. Tasting it is the best way to determine if it’s to your liking. Be sure to use a plastic or wooden spoon. Keep out of direct sunlight or heat. The warmer it is, the faster it will ferment.

 

  1. Strain apples from mix and stir: Strain the apples out of your liquid and discard. Return the liquid to the container and allow to ferment another 4-6 weeks until it reaches the acidity you prefer. Stir periodically.

 

  1. Bottle and refrigerate: Once its finished, pour your apple cider vinegar into a bottle with a lid. Don’t use metal. Refrigerate to cease the fermentation process and preserve flavor. Enjoy!

 

Source: http://talesofakitchen.com/raw/homemade-organic-raw-apple-cider-vinegar/

How to Make DIY Red Wine Vinegar 2017-09-26T14:45:49+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Red Wine to turn to vinegar
  • Optional raw or unpasteurized Red Wine Vinegar

Equipment

  • Wide mouth glass or ceramic container
  • Plastic or wooden stirring utensil
  • Tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter
  • Rubber band

Instructions

  1. Gather supplies: Ensure you have all the equipment and ingredients necessary to make red wine vinegar.

 

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your jug and fermenting equipment are washed and rinsed of all soap residue.

 

  1. Pour red wine into wide mouth container: Red wine only needs access to air to turn to vinegar.
    This process alone will take at least two-three weeks before it starts to taste like vinegar. Tasting it is the best way to determine if it’s to your liking. Be sure to use a plastic or wooden spoon. Keep out of direct sunlight or heat. The warmer it is, the faster it will ferment.

 

  1. Add raw red wine vinegar as a starter culture: Optionally, you can add a raw or unpasteurized red wine vinegar as a starter culture to your red wine to speed up the process. This ensures that you colonize the exact bacteria you want in your red wine vinegar much more quickly. You can start checking your mixture within one week to determine if it’s at your preferable acidity.

 

  1. Bottle and refrigerate: Once its finished, return your new red wine vinegar to its wine bottle or another bottle with a lid. Don’t use metal. Refrigerate to cease the fermentation process and preserve flavor. Enjoy!

 

 

 

How to Make Home-brewed Kombucha 2017-09-26T14:46:02+00:00

What You Need

Ingredients – Makes 1 gallon

  • black tea (8 tea bags or 2 T. loose tea)
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 13-14 c. water
  • 1-2 c. starter tea or distilled white vinegar
  • Active kombucha SCOBY

 

Equipment

  • 1-gallon glass jug
  • Plastic or wooden stirring utensil
  • Tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter
  • Rubberband

Instructions

  1. Gather supplies: Ensure you have all the equipment and ingredients necessary to make your kombucha.

 

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your jug and fermenting equipment are washed and rinsed of all soap residue.

 

  1. Combine hot water and sugar: Heat the water until it is hot enough to steep tea, but not boiling. Add the white sugar to the heated water and stir to dissolve.

 

  1. Steep the tea: Add in teabags or loose leaf tea. If you are using loose leaf tea, a metal tea ball can be used but should be removed before adding the SCOBY. You do not want the tea ball to come into contact with the SCOBY.

 

  1. Cool the mixture: Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be.

 

  1. Remove the tea: Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid.

 

  1. Add in the starter tea: Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar may be substituted.

 

  1. Add your SCOBY: Add your active kombucha SCOBY to the mix.

 

  1. Cover: Cover the jar with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.

 

  1. Ferment: Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.

 

  1. Pour: Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the scoby and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.

 

  1. Enjoy: Your finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain.

 

2nd Ferment for Flavor

 

  1. Remove the SCOBY from the finished kombucha and set aside for a new brew.
  2. Add the desired flavoring and mix to combine. (try sweetened tea, juice, etc. – experiment)
  3. Bottle the flavored kombucha in airtight bottles leaving a few inches of head space.
  4. Leave the bottled kombucha to ferment for 2-4 days at room temperature. Taste to determine if ferment is ready. Should be bubbly and taste strongly of your added flavor. Do not leave too long on the counter or your bottle may explode.

 

Tips for a Toxic-free Home 2017-08-25T11:08:01+00:00

Tips for a Toxic Free Home

The home is the best place to affect immediate change by eliminating toxic chemicals and instilling new healthy traditions that your friends and family can model. From the outside landscape to inside your home, there are some really easy steps you can take to live toxic free.

Make your own Cleaning Products

  • Use common household items like baking soda, vinegar and lemons to make cheap and effective cleaners.
  • Find more easy DIY recipes at www.wellnessmama.com

 

FACTS: Pesticides are toxic chemicals for killing insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria and mold. Many solvents and carrying agents in common pesticides cause side effects and can be hazards to health.

 

Seek Pesticide Free Solutions

  • Prevent pests with good cultural practices – store food in tightly sealed containers, clean-up crumbs and spills, and seal cracks around doors, windowsills and baseboards. Repair drips and holes and get rid of standing water.
  • Use baits and traps instead of sprays, dusts or bombs.
  • Avoid chemical tick and flea collars, flea baths or dips.
  • Consult Earth Easy for more ideas on non-toxic pest control at www.eartheasy.com

FACTS: Pesticides are toxic chemicals for killing insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria and mold. Many solvents and carrying agents in common pesticides cause side effects and can be hazards to health.

 Ditch the Broom, Pick up the Mop

  • Avoid moving harmful dust around with a broom and bust out the mop.
  • Dust with a micro-fiber cloth or wet cloth and vacuum your house regularly (with a HEPA-filter vacuum if you can).

 

FACTS:  Dust carries harmful chemicals that shed off of household furniture, electronics, and other household products like lead pesticides and flame retardants.

 

Pick your Plastics Carefully

  • Use glass jars or ceramic bowls to store food.
  • Never microwave plastic!
  • Avoid plastics with recycle symbols #3 (PVC), #6 (polystyrene), and #7 (other) which have greater potential to leach toxics and are difficult to recycle.

 

FACTS: Plastic products can contain toxic additives such as phthalates, heavy metals and other compounds which leach out over time. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), known as the poison plastic, is found in plastic products from toys and cookware to shower curtains.

 

  • Leave your Shoes at the Door!
  • Take off your shoes before entering your house to avoid tracking in oils and chemicals from the street outside.
  • Use a door mat to catch dirt at the door.

 

FACTS:  Shoes can track in toxic chemicals like lawn pesticides, coal tar from a driveway, not to mention anything else on the street…why bring that in your house?

 

Read your Make-up Ingredients

  • Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone.
  • Check the Skin Deep database at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to find safer products.
  • Use fewer products, and use them less frequently to reduce exposures.

 

FACTS: Personal care products contain a wide variety of chemicals, including some known to be of concern, and many that lack research to prove safety for women’s health. These products are applied directly to our skin where they are easily absorbed into our bodies.

 

Avoid Lead Exposure

  • Keep children from playing around the edges of the home where old lead paint may be present in the soil.
  • Test the soil for lead if there are plans to grow edible plants in your landscape. Plant kale, sunflowers or mustard plants around your home to suck up some of the lead particles.
  • If you have lead in your house, put a fresh coat of paint over it, or hire a professional who is certified in lead abatement to sand and remove it for you.

 

FACTS: Lead can be found in house paint, dust and garden soil, especially in any home built before 1978 and is linked to poor brain developmental and other health issues.

 

Fragrance Free, the Way to Be!

  • Eliminate odor – Identify the smell and eliminate or prevent it.
  • Open a window – Ventilating your home with outdoor air has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with asthma, allergies and infections.
  • Reduce odors naturally – avoid air fresheners and set out a bouquet of flowers or simmer herbs or spices on the stove instead. Make your own air spray with water and essential oil.
  • Shop for cleaners, laundry detergents, and personal care products labeled “fragrance-free” Warning: “Unscented” does not always mean fragrance-free!

 

THE FACTS: Synthetic fragrance can be made up hundreds of chemicals, which companies are legally allowed to keep secret from consumers. Common fragrance chemicals include phthalates (linked to reproductive and developmental harm) and synthetic musks (linked to increased risk of breast cancer).

Exercise Green Purchasing Power 2017-08-24T15:16:29+00:00

Exercise Your Green Purchasing Power

As a consumer, there are many ways that you can support a healthier lifestyle by being mindful of product ingredients and the unintended results of your spending habits. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are strolling through the grocery or hardware store or perusing the cosmetics aisle.

Go “BPA-Free”

  • Ditch the canned foods when possible and opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Look for products packaged in glass or lined cardboard instead of cans.
  • Don’t take paper receipts at ATMS, grocery stores, etc. unless you really need them.

THE FACTS: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is commonly found in can liners and plastic products and coated on paper receipts. BPA exposure is linked to a host of hormone-related health impacts such as increased risk of cancer, infertility, obesity and diabetes. And unfortunately, recent studies find BPS — BPA’s replacement chemical — isn’t any safer than BPA.

 

Leave Triclosan on the Shelf

  • Avoid anti-bacterial hand soap with triclosan listed on the label.
  • Reduce your use of disinfectant products in general.

FACTS: Triclosan is a hormone disruptor that builds up in our bodies, and it’s been found in blood and breast milk. Studies show that it’s actually no more effective at removing germs or preventing illness than plain soap and water.

 

Purify Your Personal Care

  • Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone.
  • Check the Skin Deep database at cosmeticsdatabase.com to find safer products.
  • Use fewer products, and use them less frequently to reduce exposures.

FACTS: Personal care products contain a wide variety of chemicals, including some known to be of concern, and many that lack research to prove safety for women’s health. These products are applied directly to our skin where they are easily absorbed into our bodies.

 

Eco-Friendly Kids Toys Only

  • Buy less, shop used and choose natural materials like wood.
  • Avoid fabrics that may contain flame retardants and metal jewelry that may contain lead.
  • Consider a cardboard box with little treasures from around the house and let the imagination take flight!

FACTS: Made from petroleum, most plastic toys contain toxic phthalates, BPA, fire retardants, and other chemicals that are neither safe for your child nor eco-friendly.

 

Buy Organic, Buy Bulk

  • Buy organic whenever possible and download a copy Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to know which produce has the least pesticides.
  • Phase out excess packaging and harmful plastics, and save money with bulk purchases.

FACTS: As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, eye and lung irritation.

 

Feminine Care-Free

  • Switch to organic cotton feminine products or try a cotton free alternative, for more info visit wellnessmama.com

 

FACTS: Most pads and tampons contain dioxin residues from bleaching the cotton and are heavily sprayed with pesticides like organophosphates which can lead to neurological disorders.

 

Turn Down the Heat on Non-Stick Cookware

  • Keep the stove at or below medium heat when using Teflon or non-stick cookware.
  • Opt for cast iron or stainless steel pans for cooking when possible.

 

FACTS: Teflon releases perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) when heated to 450 degrees. PFOA is linked to developmental harm and cancer.

 

Conscious Clothing

  • Wear natural fibers and organic cotton or check out greenamerica.org for sweat-shop free and other non-toxic clothing options.
  • Avoid “nanotechnology”, wrinkle-free, spot -resistant and odor-resistant as these have been treated with chemicals.
  • Think ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – visit thrift stores, organize clothing swaps or make your own with natural garden based dyes.

 

FACTS: Consistent research has shown that cancer, hormonal dysfunction as well as immunity harm and behavior problems have been linked with wearing toxic fabrics and fibers.

 

Ditch the Dollar Stores

  • Avoid purchasing from these locations as they do not test their products especially hand sanitizers, cookware, and toys.

 

FACTS: 81% of products at Dollar Stores contain more than one hazardous chemical associated with cancer, obesity, diabetes, asthma, learning problems, lower IQ, birth defects and early puberty.