Wednesday, 28 September 2011

How to Make Your Own Chocolate!

I love chocolate!  If you love chocolate too then let me tell you chocolate loves you as well - if you eat the right kind that is. A match made in heaven.

There is plenty of information available about the benefits of eating dark chocolate. It can be a fabulous stress reliever thanks to the high levels of magnesium it contains. If you are one of those unfortunate women who suffer PMS eating a little dark chocolate may help to even out the mood swings that hit when your progesterone levels drop. The magnesium in the chocolate is the mood leveler.

Studies have shown too that eating dark chocolate can really elevate your 'feel good' levels through the release of seretonin. Really when you think about it, eating a few squares of dark chocolate is like having a yummy health pill!  Magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, antioxidants - it's all there!

Eating dark chocolate regularly also has anti-aging effects, reduces our risk of heart attack and cancer and can even help us to remember things better. Gotta love that chocolate!

Anyway, I started thinking about chocolate and wondered how it was made so I started doing some research. One of the first sites I came across was one called Coconut Magic. They had a fantastic recipe for chocolate that I tried out. Not only was it scrummy, it was also healthy. I added some chopped macadamia nuts (1/2 cup) to mine.

Coconut oil is very healthy for you. Coconut Magic tells you all about the health benefits and uses for coconut oil. I am a convert!  Just so you know, I am not an affiliate - I simply like to recommend things that I like and know are good.

Try out this simple recipe

  • 5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 pinch of natural sea salt
  • 4-5 tbsp raw coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp raw honey

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and put it into the fridge or freezer. The coconut oil will solidfy and voila, you now have deliciously healthy chocolate chunks. They will last in the fridge for up to two weeks (are they kidding LOL - not in this house!)

This recipe can be found at

I did a bit of research on You Tube as well and found the following videos that I thought you might enjoy. I actually wrote down the recipe ingredients for you for the first video to make it a little easier for you.


  • 1 cup carob
  • 1 cup cacao
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup hemp seed
  • 1/2 cup cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp spirulina
  • 1/3 honey
  • few pinches sea salt
  • some shredded coconut to roll the balls in 

The next video shows you how to make your own home made block chocolate. So easy. You can add all kinds of things to personalise it to your taste. I used coconut oil and a good mineral sea salt.

What I like about making my own chocolate is that I know exactly what goes into it. That is pretty important given the sneaky things that manufacturers try to add in our food. The other thing is that home made chocolate tizzied up a bit with the addition of nuts, liquers, chopped glaced cherries, raisins and such would make a great personalised gift.

Why don't you head off to your kitchen to make some now!

Have a happy healthy day!

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Natural Approach to Cold Sore Treatment

Uh oh! You wake up and you can feel that tingly itching near your mouth or on your lip  that you know from experience means you are about to get a dreaded cold sore. Don’t you just hate that!

For the next week or so you are going to suffer all the various stages from the initial tingling and itching, to the clusters of blisters over your sore inflamed skin. You might even feel unwell and have a temperature or like you are getting the flu.  You don’t feel like being seen by anybody looking like that either and you feel embarrassed. It is pretty hard if not impossible to hide or cover up cold sores.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores are actually a visual manifestation of a virus that can lay dormant in your nervous system for years. The cold sore virus is actually called Herpes Simplex 1.

Cold sores can be triggered by a few things such as when you get sunburn, you are rundown and your immune system is low or when you are suffering from stress.

Tips to stop the spread of the cold sores
Cold sores are highly contagious so it is best not to be kissing people or sharing your eating and drinking utensils, your lipstick or your towels and such. Make sure you wash your hands often. Try to leave the sores alone apart from when you are treating them. If you release the liquid from the sores it can make them spread even more.

It is a good idea to keep a few new tooth brushes on standby for when you have an outbreak and also a couple of small tubes of toothpaste that only you will be using. Why? Well apparently the herpes virus can last for a week on your toothbrush. It is best to throw it away and use a new one. Use your own small tube of toothpaste as this too will have live virus on it where it touches the bristles of the brush when you are loading it up with toothpaste. I found that and other really good information at Mother Nature.

So what can you do to prevent or to treat cold sores?
There are some lifestyle changes that you can make which might help to reduce the occurrence of cold sores. Stress for example. Try to make some changes to your lifestyle and include some meditation, yoga or going for a walk. Exercise can help to reduce stress in general. You might want to look at your work – life balance to see if there are things you can do to cope without so much pressure.

If you know that getting too much sun can trigger off a cold sore then take suitable precautions such as wearing lip balm, a shady hat and not staying out in the sun too long.

Apparently it helps to avoid foods that are rich in L-arginine because it strengthens the virus. The bad news is that chocolate is one of those foods. Nuts, coconut, soybeans, oats and a quite a few other foods are high in L-arginine as well.  There is a list of L-arginine foods you can check out here.

The good news is that you can balance out the L-arginine by eating foods that are high in L-lysine as this makes the virus weaker. I actually found that a bit confusing as I found some of the same foods on both sides?? Chocolate was one of them. I think the key is to make sure that the L-Lysine rich foods  outweigh the intake of the L-arginine rich foods so that they work in synergy with one another to keep the balance and not stir up the virus.

What I did find though was a lot of testimonials that said taking a supplement containing L-lysine is apparently very effective, so either ask about it next time you are at your local health store or shop for it online. There are some supplements containing L-lysine that are specifically made to reduce the incidence of cold sores.

Also try to include in your diet foods that are rich in Vitamin C, Zinc and complex B vitamins as between them you will be providing your body with anti-virus tissue repairing minerals as well as vitamins that help stress reduction.

Natural remedies for treating cold sores
Some people swear by the lemon treatment. This should be used as soon as you feel the first signs of the cold sore coming on. Cut a very thin slice of lemon and place it over the affected area and leave it there for at least 15 minutes. Throw the slice away when finished and use a fresh slice for every new application.  It apparently stops the itching and is a remedy that has been used for many years in Europe.

Licorice (the botanical) not the commercially made type is apparently very powerful against cold sores. You can buy it in a delicious tea form from your health store.

Applying full fat milk with a clean cotton ball is another natural remedy that has been used for years with good effect. Recent studies have found that a substance called monocaprin, a fat found in milk and it has the capacity to kill the virus on contact. Amazing how so many of Grandma's remedies are now proving to have some basis.

If you have aloe vera growing in your garden, apply the gel directly to the cold sore. Reapply several times throughout the day. What I like about aloe vera is that it is very soothing and stops the itching and the burning sensation and it seems to heal skin beautifully.

Tannic acid in tea also is known to have anti-viral properties. When you make a cup of tea, pop the used tea bag into the freezer for a few minutes and apply it directly to the cold sore. Leave it there for up to half an hour. Repeat this every 3 or 4 hours using a fresh tea bag each time.

It is clear that the best way to deal with annoying cold sores is to take both a proactive and a reactive approach. Try to stay relaxed, fit and healthy and watch your diet to reduce the incidence of cold sores and if the pesky blighters do attack, immediately deal with them using some of the tips provided.

Cheers and have a healthy happy day!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Avocados For Fat Loss, Beauty & Health

I love avocados! They are an incredibly versatile anti-aging power fruit with nutrients that contribute to longevity, good health and to beauty as well. Including an avocado a day in your diet is a pretty smart thing to do for your health.

Health Benefits

Avocados are a wonderfully rich source of antioxidants, potassium, folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, copper, dietary fibre, magnesium, beta carotene, oleic acid and sodium.

Avocados have more potassium per ounce than you will find in bananas, so they are an excellent fruit to eat if you want to protect your heart and arteries, reduce high blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. Potassium is also credited with helping to reduce belly fat and fluid retention.
They also contain pantothenic acid, which is B5 vitamin. This acid is an important contributer to the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Also, if you are suffering from any kind of stress related condition and chronic fatigue, B5 can help to manage those conditions.

B5 is used by the adrenal glands to work with a range of hormones that manage stress hormones. The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress and this is one of the big contributors to belly fat. Belly fat is dangerous fat and can lead to all kinds of serious health problems including chronic fatigue, inflammation and lowered immune system.

I use every part of the avocado including the skin - yes, even the seed!  From my research, the avocado pit contains some powerful ant-cancer properties. Check out what Dr Tom Wu had to say about eating the seed of avocados.

"When I eat the avocado I always eat the seed. It is packed with very good nutrients. It has the life force. Is a very high Qi food! It is also the highest in soluble fiber. This soluble fiber binds to the fat and excess cholesterol. Then we can lower cholesterol and improve heart function naturally. we can improve the blood circulation by pulling out all the fatty deposits in our circulatory system with the soluble fiber of the avocado seed. Soluble fiber is very difficult to get in our diet. Oatmeal has some, but it cannot compare with the avocado seed. Any heart disease patient must eat the avocado including the seed." Source

In case you are wondering who
Dr Tom Wu is, he is a cancer survivor who was given no hope when he was 30 years of age. He had terminal lung cancer which had spread to other organs in his body and he beat it by changing his diet. He has continued to live a healthy life without so much as a cold well into maturer years. Dr Wu has been awarded by both the American Cancer Society and the United Nations "World Famous Doctor Award" for his breakthroughs with cancer and diabetes.

I have also read testimonials where people swear it has fixed their gout problems and others that talk about increased energy and feelings of well-being. I know that my chrons disease seems to be under much better control when I eat avocados including the seeds regularly and that I feel more energised.

The seed can be very bitter to eat, but cut in half and put into the blender with your other smoothie ingredients and you don't notice the taste. My blender isn't anything special and it handles doing that okay.

For those of you who have heard that avocados are full of fat and make you fat, check out this video.


The Vitamins A, D, E and omega 3 contained in avocados are anti-aging, softening and soothing to the skin.

Pureed avocado applied to burns, itchy skin and nappy rash will bring soothing relief. Even rubbing the inside of the avocado skin has positive effects. It can also reduce the occurrence of those unwanted age spots.

Let me share some beauty recipes with you.

Puffy Eyes

Apply mashed avocado under each eye with a gentle circular motion. Lay down and relax for 20 -30 minutes then rinse off with warm water and pat dry. The puffy appearance will be greatly reduced!

Hand Cream

Mash 1/4 of an avocado and mix into it 1/2 teaspoon of wheatgerm oil, 1/2 teaspoon of rosehip oil and 4 drops of essential lavendar oil. Apply to hands. It leaves them feeling very soft.

For a really nice avocado handcream that you can store in a jar or give as a gift check out the recipe here.

Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Blend together 1/2 an avocado, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply this mix to the roots of the hair first and work into the ends once you have done the roots. Pop on a shower cap or wrap your hair in plastic wrap and leave it in for around 30 minutes. Rinse it out thoroughly with warm water (not hot).

This leaves your hair incredibly shiny and silky soft and nourishes your scalp as well.

Night Moisturizer

Simply rub the face and neck with the inside of the avocado skin. Massage into the skin with your clean finger tips and leave on overnight. Wash off in the morning with warm water.


I think most of us are aware that avocado is an excellent substitute to use for butter when we are making sandwiches. We are also pretty familiar with using avocados in salads or as the main ingredient in guacamole. You can also buy avocado oil and that is excellent to use in salads as well.

Avocados are also a great healthy inclusion for your smoothies. They bring a nice velvety texture to them without any over-powering taste.

I am going to finish off with another video for you that demonstrates how you can use avocados to make a really yummy chocolate mousse that is tops for your health.


Cheers for now. Wishing you all a blessed day.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

How and Why You Should Make Your Own Safe Carpet Deodorizer

My nose tells me it is time to give the rugs and carpets a bit of a freshen up. We have two little dogs who love to roll around on the carpet and chase each other around the coffee table.That hint of  'doggy' aroma needs some attention!

I usually freshen my rugs and carpets about once a month and it seems to do the trick. I notice on the commercial carpet deodorizer's instructions that they advise you to use their product every time you vacuum. How very convenient for them!  How very costly for the user - and in more ways than one!

You really need to think about how you tackle this job safely. Safely??  Yes, believe it or not, most of the commercially prepared carpet deodorizers are very toxic. Have you checked out the ingredients list? If you have been sprinkling away merrily without a second thought, you might be shocked at what I am about to share with you.

These products smell like a field of flowers, but they may as well be a funeral wreath.
Carpet deodorizers often contain synthetic fragrances that irritate asthmatic lungs; phthalates which have been identified as hormone disruptors and have been linked to infertility, cancer and birth defects, and other nasties such as dimenthl ether which can lead to central nervous depression to the point of being incapacitated and can cause damage to the liver, cardiovascular system and the respiratory system as well. There is more....but I think you have the picture.

Do you really want to expose your family to eye, skin and respiratory irritations,headaches, nausea, vomitting, diarrhea and dizziness? Manufacturers do not have to declare all their ingredients either because they are 'trade secrets', so there will be another long list of toxic chemicals that we don't know about. The long-term effects of exposure to many chemicals is not yet known either.

Manufacturers and supermarkets are on to the fact that consumers are starting to become concerned about chemicals and the effects on their health so they are marketing 'green' products. Unfortunately a lot of claims are false and are just a marketing ploy.

I learned my lesson when I used a so called natural orange based cleaner to clean the bathroom and ended up having a terrible asthma attack. Not surprising when you discover that those orange or citrus oil cleaners contain nasties like D-limonene which is a sensitizer, a neurotoxin, can irritate the eyes and skin, shows evidence of carcinogencity and....oh look...can trigger respiratory distress when vapors are inhaled!

My point is that it is becoming harder and harder to trust manufacturers to do the right thing by consumers as far as toxic chemicals do. They try to bamboozle us with science and big words, they abuse the meaning of words such as 'organic', they hide ingredients under the claim of 'trade secrets' and are treating us like human guinea pigs.

Do you want your children and your pets to be exposed to toxic chemicals? They are usually the ones who are sitting, lying, playing on the carpet.

It is not safe for whoever has the job of sprinkling or spraying carpet deodorizer either because of the risk of inhaling the spray or fine powder. The 'fake' perfumes also cause the quality of the indoor air to drop. The house is already bombarded with chemicals and fumes that come from furniture, carpet, clothing and more.

I have the solution!

I am going to share some recipes with you that you can make in a jiffy – in fact you can even get the children to help you. The bonus of making these recipes is that they in fact provide a lot of benefits that commercially made deodorizers do not. You will be getting more bang for your buck PLUS you will be safeguarding your family’s health.

Steam cleaning is a good way to freshen up carpets and rugs and removing odours. I have one that cleans tiles, wooden floors and steam cleans the carpet and it works quite well as far as getting rid of carpet odours. It was not expensive to buy.

If you want to neutralize carpet odours it can be as simple as sprinkling either corn-flour (cornstarch) or bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) over the carpet. Leave it there for at least an hour while you go off to do other things. Vacuum and the odours will be gone. I usually do this once a week to stay on top of it.

Basic Mix

The basic mix that I use is 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda and 10 drops of essential oil (not the fragrance – the real stuff). You can add more if you like a stronger perfume and you can also mix different oils together. What type of essential oil you choose is dependent on what it is you are trying to achieve.

I use a glass jar as a container, pop the lid on and shake the contents to disperse the oil through the bicarbonate of soda. I like to let it ‘brew’ for around 24 hours so that the bicarbonate of soda really takes up the aroma of the essential oil. When I am ready to deodorize the carpet I simply pour some into a sieve and sprinkle it around.

Some people prefer not to use anything with an aroma. If that is you, either use the bicarbonate of soda on its own or power-up the effect of neutralizing odours by adding grapefruit seed extract in essential oil form. Grapefruit seed extract does not have a noticeable aroma but it has incredible effects on neutralizing odours.

Adding lavender to the basic mix is a wonderful way to perfume the room and it has calming, soothing and relaxing qualities.  This aromatic is a bactericide, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It it is also a natural insecticide and deters insects such as moths.

Lemon essential oil imparts a lovely fresh scent. Lemon oil has a calming and uplifting effect and has antiseptic and anti-viral properties. You could mix this with the lavendar and use on bedroom carpet for a relaxing night's sleep.

If you have inside dogs and cats and are worried about fleas, use either citronella essential oil or pennyroyal in your basic deodorizer mix. Both are powerful insect repellents and offer added benefits of being anti- microbial, antiseptic and anti- bacterial.

A word of caution before you rush off to put pennyroyal on your pets, I have read that using it directly on your pets can cause them some serious health issues, so to be on the safe side, please don’t go putting drops on their fur.

Tea tree oil is another great oil to use as it gives off a great clean spicy aroma, repels insects and is a very effective disinfectant as well as a deodorizer. Tea tree oil also kills mould spores. That is good to know as carpets can develop mould underneath and particularly in the underlay caused by spillages and carpet cleaning.

I thought you might enjoy this video too as it shows another great recipe for making carpet deodorizer which I have tried and found I really liked.

Before I go, those of you who read my Blogs know how much I love Helen Anderson's books. Helen's books are packed with genuinely useful, easy to follow tips for making green cleaners, growing organic food or using herbs and essential oils. I have all three of her books. Helen also makes it quite clear why we should be mindful of what goes into our bodies and onto our skin and exposes the risks we face from toxic chemicals.

I was excited to see that Helen is offering her book Green Cleaners, Quick Cash along with a bonus book called Go Green - Save Dollars for under $20 AND you can get it in Kindle version as well. Check out her offer here.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have enjoyed these tips and that you will try them out.

Wishing you all a happy day.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Hair Glorious Hair

There is something special about shiny healthy hair. You can understand why hair is called ' our crowning glory'. We women pay a fortune at hair dressers having it primped and preened and we spend just as much on hair products.

The men are coming on board as well and taking their hair styling and products quite seriously nowadays.

Our hair takes quite a beating when you think about it - blow drying, straighteners, curling irons, hair colours, hair products of all description and of course the elements such as sun and wind.Then to top it all off, we often lead stressful lives and don't eat as well as we should. This all negatively affects the health of our hair.

Your hair can tell the story of your health . I had some tests done on a hair sample to find out what my allergies were. Quite remarkable when you think about it.

I have always been proud of my thick shiny hair and was horrified a couple of years ago, when I started losing it in large amounts. It fell out everywhere and became quite sparse. You could almost see my scalp through the hair. After a blood test, I found out I was severely deficient in Vitamin D as a side effect of my Chrons Disease.

Thank goodness it is almost back to its former healthy state thanks to taking a holistic approach to addressing the condition. I now have a ‘halo’ of new hair growth. I have waist length hair and the ‘halo’ gives my hair a ‘shocked’ appearance that I have to slick down  and 'tame' with some coconut oil LOL.

I used a combination of diet, vitamins and minerals and some natural hair remedies to restore the health of my scalp and hair. My scalp had become dry and very sensitive. I actually went off to a Naturopath and had some allergy tests done and found out that I was allergic to the shampoo and conditioner I was using at the time. Little wonder when I read the ingredient list with the sneaky chemicals in the so called ‘natural’ hair care products. Grrrrrr!

By Special Request

Charlene is a wonderful lady I share similar natural health and lifestyle philosophies with and she asked me if I would write something about dry and sensitive scalp conditions and how it can be addressed naturally. It is quite a common problem. With the personal experience of my own hair dramas I feel I have something positive to share.

I have included some scalp moisturizing tips for you as well Char, so next time you are using your wrap to firm, tighten and tone, give your scalp and hair a treat while you are waiting for the wrap to do its magic.

I have done quite a bit of research about hair and it has been quite an interesting journey. It became apparent to me that having healthy hair and scalp entailed addressing both internal and external factors. For example, changing your shampoo to something that suits your hair will make a difference whereas feeding your hair and skin from the inside as well as addressing what products you use will significantly improve the outcome.

Vitamins and Nutrition for Healthy Hair

Our hair and our skins love healthy essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, salmon oil and evening primrose oil . I like to take Krill oil which not only helps my hair and skin but also seems to have reduced the inflammatory pain I was getting. No yucky fishy after- taste either.

The B group vitamins are extremely important for healthy hair, including B5 (Panthothenic acid), B3 (Niacin),  B6 (Pyridoxine),B7 (Biotin) B8, (Inositol) and B12 .

You can find the above in a Vitamin B complex supplement form or you can chose food sources such as eggs,milk, whole grains,beans, carrots, cauliflower, brazil nuts, oats, bananas, avocadoes, tuna, beef, liver, potatoes, wheatgerm, chicken,oats, turkey, green peas, lentils, sunflower seeds, walnuts,citrus fruits, brown rice and legumes.

A fantastic source of Vitamin B can be found in Brewer’s yeast which is rich in minerals (including GTF, or glucose tolerance factor, a biologically active form of chromium) and B-complex vitamins, as well as in protein, and provides all of the essential amino acids.

Brewer's Yeast can have quite a strong flavour in powder form, but I have found a very tasty way to have it every day. I have provided a recipe for a delicious green smoothie that is fabulous for hair a bit further down in the blog. Of course, you can always take it in tablet form. It does incredible things for your hair and skin.

Strong healthy hair and scalp also benefits from Vitamin A -but not too much or it can actually cause hair loss. Around 5,000 IU is adequate. Vitamin A particularly benefits the scalp because it helps to produce healthy sebum which is an oily substance that keeps the hair and skin moisturized.  

Vitamin C is another important antioxidant that is beneficial to hair and skin, so make sure you eat plenty of strawberries, kiwi fruit, pineapple, tomatoes, green peppers, rockmelons (cantaloupe) and dark leafy vegetables such as spinach. Make delicious tropical fruit smoothies to get a good variety of fruit into your diet.

Vitamin E is excellent for improving circulation to the scalp. If you are on medication for high blood pressure you should consult with your Doctor first to make sure it is safe to take the supplement. Try to include raw seeds, wheat germ oil, nuts, cold pressed vegetable oils and dark leafy vegetables in your diet. 

Minerals such as magnesium, zinc and sulfur as well as folic acid are also important for strong healthy hair growth.

My Fabulous Smoothie Recipe for Great Hair

  • Big handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Tablespoon of flaxseed oil                          
  • Tablespoon of Brewer's Yeast
  • Teaspoon of wheatgerm oil
  • 1 Cup of filtered water
  • Handful (about a dozen) dark red seedless grapes
  • Teaspoon of cinnamon powder
Pop all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Very tasty as well as healthy.

Spray Leave- In Conditioner for Sensitive Scalp

If you have a dry or itchy scalp, dandruff, want to reduce hair breakage and hair loss, promote hair growth and have shiny hair, this is the conditioner for you.

  • 2 cups of mint tea (use either fresh mint leaves or mint tea bags) cooled
  • 1 tablespoon warmed coconut oil (so that it is fluid)
  • 15 drops of Tea Tree essential oil
  • 2 teaspoons wheatgerm oil
  • 15 drops Thyme essential oil
  • 1/2  cup aloe vera juice
  • 2 Tablespoons glycerin
  • 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Mix well and pour into a spray bottle. Label it and keep it in the fridge.  Don't forget to shake the bottle well before each use. You can use this everyday if you wish.

Now if all of this seems like too much work I can highly recommend some natural hand made products of the highest quality and purest of ingredients to enhance the health and beauty of your hair. No, I am not an affiliate - I just know the products are excellent and that the distributor is a reputable passionate natural health advocate like myself, so am confident in recommending them.

Robin Adler is the founder of Toxic Beauty and she has some wonderful speciality treatment shampoos and conditioners for sensitive scalp available. Robin also has a great product called Infuse Hair Strengthener & Thickener which actually feeds the hair follicles, invigorates the scalp and restores it to good health, reduces hair loss and restores natural hair growth.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the blog. Please feel free to comment and share. I love to hear what you think.

Good health to you.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Air Fresheners - How Safe Are They?

You see the ads on the telly all the time - someone cooking fish or putting something into a smelly bin and they reach for the air freshener and spray it everywhere. Or there are the other ads where the air freshener is made to look like an ornament and it magically releases sweet aromas into the air every few minutes. Have you seen them? Even more pertinent - do you have them in your home?

There are numerous reports about the toxicity and health risks associated with the use of air fresheners. Frankly, it is very scary because literally millions of people use them. Even using an aerosol spray can to disperse the product into the air is dangerous, because they rely on chlorofluorocarbons which are toxic to inhale and are harmful to the planet.

A University at California Berkeley study in April 2006 found that many traditionally used floor, window and bathroom cleaners and air fresheners could create toxic conditions, either alone (especially in small spaces, like bathrooms), over extended exposure (say, by a cleaning professional) or when combined with high levels of ozone. Of particular concern were products containing glycol ethers and those containing terpenes, a class of compounds found in pine, lemon and orange oils that is similar to formaldehyde when mixed with ozone.

While some companies use terpenes as an active ingredient due to their solvent properties (think Pine-Sol), others use limonenes from orange and lemon peels simply for fragrance. Almost any product with a lemon or orange scent contains these potentially toxic compounds, says William Nazaroff, the study's lead author, even if the product calls itself "eco-friendly."

If you think it is safer to use plug-in air fresheners, think again. Recent studies show that these are also hazardous to your health and represent a toxic threat to the quality of your indoor air.  For example, formaldehyde is just one of the toxic chemicals used in some plug in air fresheners. Not only does it contribute to poor indoor air quality, but it is also a known carcinogen. What is more, there are concerns now being expressed that plug in air fresheners are also a fire hazard risk.  Fire investigators have found plug in air fresheners to be the alleged starting point for some homes that have caught fire.

So, do we have to live with the odors, germs and bacteria that are present in even the best kept homes?  Unequivocally NO!

My house always smells fresh and fragrant, but not at the expense of my health or that of my family. I will share with you how to make air fresheners that will enhance your home environment, make you feel good, reduce the risk of getting sick through air-borne viruses and bacteria, cost you hardly anything to make and are effective. As opposed to being harmful, these air fresheners will be conducive to your health and well-being.

Here is a recipe for making your own safe, natural multi-purpose air freshener

All Purpose Air Freshener
  • 1/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon essential oil                                      
  • 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sandalwood essential oil
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup vodka

Put all of the ingredients into a misting bottle. Secure the lid and shake well. Label and date the bottle and keep it in a cool dark place. Shake well before use. The vodka extends the life of this spray and it will last for months.

This spray smells absolutely wonderful and has many benefits. Use it to deodorize, lift mood, to ward off colds and flu, to breathe easier if you have a cold or asthma and to keep mosquitoes and flies away as well!

Have a blessed day everyone!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Make Your Own Safe Effective Glass Cleaner

The sun was shining and I could hear lawn mowers and other sounds of people happily taking advantage of the great weather to get outside in the garden to do a few chores.

What a beautiful day! A great day to take advantage of being outdoors. I must remember to go pick a few fresh herbs to use in our tea tonight.Then I thought about the new 'friends' I had made the other day. Some lorikeets had come to visit. I will make them up a dish of food, take it down, pick the herbs and take in some sunshine while I am at it to get my dose of Vitamin D.

I was walking down the stairs to my garden carrying my big container of chopped apples, bananas, pawpaw and bread, over which I had poured honey water and then sprinkled brown sugar on top. I was off to feed the lorikeets that love to visit when the banquet is on. They were waiting up in the mango tree.

My next door neighbour called out a cheery "Hi. How are you?" "Great thanks Jenny. And you?".  I saw Jenny carrying a bucket, cloths and a spray bottle. "I am giving the windows a bit of a clean" she said.

I made a mental note to have a chat with Jenny when we have our next coffee to share with her what I had found out from research about glass cleaners and give her a recipe for a safe cleaner she could use. Jenny suffers from asthma and her little girl from irritating skin rashes.

Have you checked the ingredients list on your window or glass cleaning products? There are a few nasties there that can have quite a harmful effect on your health.

Chemicals & Effects

For example, ammonia is found in many glass cleaners and the ammonia fumes can irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory system. Not a good chemical to have around if you suffer from asthma, bronchitis or emphysema.

Ammonia based glass cleaners accounted for 6,356 poison exposures in 2005. Source: Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poisoning and Exposure Database (2005)

Petrochemicals can also be found in some glass cleaners. They can cause allergic irritations of the skin, lungs, sinuses and eyes.

Butyl cellosolve is another chemical that can lurk in glass cleaners. This chemical can damage bone marrow, the liver, kidneys and the nervous system. Inhaling the chemical can cause irritation and tissure damage.

Ethylene glycol can cause developmental defects as well as reproductive defects.

Chlorine can irritate and damage the throat and eyes as well as affecting the respiratory system. It is toxic to the brain and nervous system and causes premature skin aging.

Now I am sure we have all used a manufactured window cleaner at one time or another and have felt the fine mist settle on our face and skin when we spray it, particularly when cleaning exterior windows. We have also used them in confined spaces such as bathrooms where the chances of inhaling the spray are fairly high.

Now that you know what is in glass cleaners, would you be happy to keep using such a chemically laden cleaning product?

You can purchase window cleaning products minus the chemicals, but a lot of them usually cost more. Most of us are watching our budgets with the cost of living rising across all fronts, so I thought I would share with you a recipe to make your own at home that is very effective, easy and cheap to make.

Make Your Own Glass Cleaner

It is easy to make your own glass cleaner.  The following cleaner can be used on glass and mirrors and is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, free of fumes and caustic chemicals and biodegradable.
Sparkling Windows Cleaner
·         ¼ cup of white vinegar
·         ½ teaspoon biodegradable liquid washing detergent
·         6 drops eucalyptus essential oil
·         2 cups of water

Put all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to blend. Label the spray bottle and store it in a cool dark place. Spray on surface and wipe off with newspaper for a streak free shine.

This recipe is provided with permission from Helen Anderson, author of "Green Cleaners - Quick Cash"

I love Helen Anderson's books and can recommend Green Cleaners - Quick Cash. Helen has provided information about the dangerous chemicals in household cleaners and  recipes for making your own safe cleaning products for any cleaning job in the house.

Cheers for now.