Posts Tagged ‘water’

22 Uses for Lemon Peels

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what to do with all those lemon peels? Don’t toss them, put them to work.  Lemons juice is about 5 to 6 percent citric acid and has a pH level of between 2 and 3. This low pH acidity makes lemon juice a great ally in breaking down rust and mineral stains, but gentle enough to not dull finishes. There is generally sufficient juice left in used lemon halves to tackle small tasks, and it all comes with its own applicator (the rind itself).Plus, the oil in the peel is perfect for clever culinary applications, and not bad in the beauty department either. Here’s what you can do:

1. Clean greasy messes
Greasy pans? Splattered stove tops? Messy counters? If your kitchen has been the victim of some sloppy sauteing, try using lemon halves before bringing out possibly toxic chemical cleaners. Sprinkle some salt (for abrasion) on a juiced lemon half and rub on the greasy areas, wipe up with a towel. (Be careful using lemon on marble counter tops, or any other surface sensitive to acid).

2. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot
For mineral deposit build up in your tea kettle, fill the kettle with water, add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well. For coffee pots, add ice, salt and lemon rinds to the empty pot; swish and swirl for a minute or two, dump, and rinse. Hello, sparkly.

3. Clean your microwave
All it takes is one exploding bowl of food to render the interior of your microwave officially gunked, sometimes gunked with cement-like properties. Rather than using strong chemical cleaners, try this: Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for 5 minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe away the mess with a towel.

4. Deodorize the garbage disposal
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal (and make your kitchen smell awesome at the same time). It is a great way to finally dispose of spent lemon peels after you have used them for any of these applications.

5. Polish chrome
Mineral deposits on chrome faucets and other tarnished chrome make haste in the presence of lemon–rub with a squeezed lemon half, rinse, and lightly buff with a soft cloth.

6. Polish copper
A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can also be used to brighten copper cookware, as well as brass, copper, or stainless steel. Dip a juiced lemon half in salt (you also use baking soda or cream of tartar for the salt) and rub on the affected area. Let it stay on for 5 minutes. Then rinse in warm water and polish dry.

7. Clean a stainless sink
Use the same method described to polish chrome, applied to any stainless sink.

8. Keep insects out
Many pests abhor the acid in lemon. You can chop of the peels and place them along thresholds, windowsills, and near any cracks or holes where ants or pests may be entering. For other ways to combat pests naturally, see 7 Steps to Chemical-Free Pest Control.

9. Make a scented humidifier
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air.

10. Refresh cutting boards
Because of lemon’s low pH, it has antibacterial properties that make is a good choice for refreshing cutting boards. After proper disinfecting (see: How to Clean Your Cutting Board) give the surface a rub with a halved lemon, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse.

11. Keep brown sugar soft
If your brown sugar most often turns into brick sugar, try adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to help keep it moist and easy to use. (For all recipes using lemon peel, try to use organic lemons–and scrub the peel well to remove any residues and wax.)

12. Make zest
Zest is the best! Zest is simply grated peel, and is the epitome of lemon essence–it can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. If you don’t have an official zester, which looks like a very fine cheese grater, you can use the smallest size of a box grater. To dry zest, spread it on a towel and leave out until dried, then store in a jar. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container. Use zest in salads, marinades, baked goods, grain dishes, etc.

13. Make Vegan Lemon Biscotti
Once you’ve made some zest, make these Vegan Lemon Biscotti cookies. Delicious.

14. Make twists
Strips of peel, aka twists, are good in cocktails, sparkling water, and tap water. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips, or use a knife and cut the peel into long strips, cutting away the white pith which is bitter. These can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or bag.

15. Make lemon extract powder
Make zest or twists (above) and dry the strips skin-side down on a plate until they are shriveled and dried up, about 3 or 4 days.  Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Use the powdered peel in place of extract or zest in recipes.

16. Make Lemon Sugar
You can make lemon extract powder (see above) and add it to sugar, or you can use fresh twists, put them in a jar with sugar and let the peel’s oil infuse the sugar.

17. Make Lemon Pepper
Mix lemon extract powder (see above) with freshly cracked pepper.

18. Make candied lemon peel
Orange or grapefruit peel can be candied too.  Yum. Candied peels are pretty easy to make, and can be eaten plain, or dipped in melted chocolate, used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes. These recipes for candied citrus and ginger use Sucanat, the most wholesome sugar you can buy.

19. Lighten age spots
Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots–apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. You can also try one of these 5 natural ways to lighten age spots.

20. Soften dry elbows
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows, just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (like you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.

21. Use on your skin
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic, then rinse. (And be careful around your eyes.)

22. Make a sugar scrub
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water and massage sugar mix all over your skin, rinse, be soft! You can also try any of these 5 simple homemade sugar scrubs as well.

via 22 Uses for Lemon Peels Page 5 | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

My Mom Made Me Fat

If it hadn’t been for the Big Macs that Joannie ate three times a week, she wouldn’t have gotten fat. But, if she hadn’t been exposed while in her mother’s womb to chemicals x, y and z, Joannie wouldn’t have had the propensity to get fat. And if Joannie’s mom had eaten more sensibly, both waistlines would be slimmer.First Lady Michelle Obama has, admirably, put her weight pun intended behind a campaign against obesity. But it’s a mistake to limit the remedy to better food and more exercise. Fat people most likely are programmed to become fat before taking their first sip of milk. The manmade chemicals we encounter every day are responsible for this reprogramming.Two of three U.S. adults are now classified as overweight. Type II diabetes has increased in like measure over the same decades, and so has heart disease. This is not a coincidence. These illnesses share common characteristics: they are triggered while in the womb by exposure to the same kinds of chemicals and the outcomes show up in adulthood. Scientists now call this pattern “the fetal origins of adult diseases.”The most likely culprits are chemicals now grouped together under the rubric “endocrine disrupters.” It’s been known for about two decades, though disputed by the manufacturers, that these chemicals alter the normal signaling pathways of hormones. They knock normal development off track. Bisphenol A BPA is right now the nation’s most celebrated endocrine disruptor.Pesticides are often endocrine disruptors. It’s just been discovered that a family of pesticides that’s among the most widely used in the world is connected to the three adult illnesses of obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease. This is the family of organophosphates, concocted from petroleum with an addition of phosphoric acid.

When lab rats are exposed to these pesticides through the mothers’ diet, at a time in their development equivalent to a human baby’s second trimester in the womb, their metabolism changes in two ways: their cholesterol and triglycerides rise. These abnormal and lasting changes are exactly the major factors that predict and lead, later in life, to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease (specifically, atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty material collects along the arteries and hardens artery walls).

These changes in metabolism happen at low levels, within the levels we are uniformly exposed to, which the Environmental Protection Agency declares as “safe” but are evidently not.  The changes are the strongest when the mother rats are fed a high-fat diet.  Human babies may even be underweight at birth (and there’s an epidemic of underweight babies in the U.S.), but quickly become overweight

Humans run into these pesticides in our food and water.  Of course, children continue to be exposed once they are born and are in fact exposed more than adults because they eat and drink more in relation to their body weight and have a higher ratio of skin. The other groups of people exposed most to organophosphates and other pesticides are the same groups with the highest rates of obesity – people who live in run-down inner-city neighborhoods, the poor, and farmworkers.  Again, not a coincidence but a connection, a trigger.

Dr. Ted Slotkin of Duke University, the researcher responsible for these discoveries, found another compelling clue: exposure caused harm to the rodent’s brain, as well as its metabolism.  Once the exposed lab animal was born and started to eat at will, its consumption of a high-fat diet reduced the adverse symptoms in its brain.  As Dr. Slotkin muses, “If you’ve got neurofunctional deficits, and they can be offset by continually eating Big Macs, then you will naturally (but unconsciously) select that kind of food because it will make you feel better.”  Unfortunately, increased fat will further harm the animal’s, or human’s, metabolism.

What this means for you? Particularly while trying to conceive, during pregnancy, while nursing, and for your children: avoid pesticides, eat organic foods.

For information about endocrine disruptors, read the new booklet published by the nonprofit Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative.

via My Mom Made Me Fat | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda

I don’t mean to sound seditious here, but I have a very rebellious plan to combat the ills that many corporations are perpetrating in the name of fighting grime and germs. We’ll call it Operation Baking Soda.

My main gripe is about the environmental pollutants from cleaning agents and personal care products that we are washing down our drains and in to our water systems, resulting in situations like the chemical triclosan (a pesticide added to many products as an antibacterial agent) being found in dolphins.

So the simple plan is to encourage everyone to use baking soda in any of these 51 applications. Besides showing kindness to aquatic life, we can also protect ourselves from the array of toxins in household cleaning products. Conventional cleansers can expose us to multiple chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, and other documented health problems.

Baking soda also makes a perfect stand-in for many personal care products, which are adding their own twist to the toxic tangle of pollutants and personal health (mainly in the form of synthetic fragrance (and it’s almost all synthetic), sodium laurel sulfate, and parabens).

So exactly how does baking soda fit into my scheme to make the world a better place? Baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate,  helps regulate pH—keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, it’s natural effect is to neutralize that pH. Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to resist further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering. This dual capability of neutralizing and buffering allows baking soda to do things like neutralize acidic odors (like in the refrigerator) as well as maintain neutral pH (like in your laundry water, which helps boost your detergent’s power). It’s a simple reaction, but one that has far-reaching effects for a number of cleaning and deodorizing tasks. And so without further ado, I’ll remove my scientist cap, put on my rebellious housekeeper’s cap, and get this folk-wisdom revolution rolling…

Personal Care
Make Toothpaste
A paste made from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes. (Or here’s a formula for a minty version.) You can also just dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into baking soda for an extra boost.

Freshen Your Mouth
Put one teaspoon in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up.

Soak Oral Appliance
Soak oral appliances, like retainers, mouthpieces, and dentures in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.

Use as a Facial Scrub and Body Exfoliant
Give yourself an invigorating facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. This is gentle enough for daily use. (For a stronger exfoliant, try one of these great 5 Homemade Sugar Scrubs.)

Skip Harsh Deodorant
Pat baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor.

Use as an Antacid
Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.

Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin
For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower. For specific tips on bee stings, see Bee Stings: Prevention and Treatment.

Make a Hand Cleanser and Softener
Skip harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean. You can try this honey and cornmeal scrub for hands too.

Help Your Hair
Vinegar is amazing for your hair, but baking soda has its place in the shower too. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly–baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.

Clean Brushes and Combs
For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

Make a Bath Soak
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration, and make your skin feel very soft. Epsom salts are pretty miraculous, read about the health benefits of epsom salt baths.

Soothe Your Feet
Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub. You can also make a spa soak for your feet.

Cleaning
Make a Surface Soft Scrub
For safe, effective cleaning of bathroom tubs, tile and sinks–even fiberglass and glossy tiles–sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. For extra tough stains, make a paste with baking soda, course salt and liquid dish soap—let it sit then scour off.

Handwash Dishes and Pots & Pans
Add 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder. Using a dishwasher? Use these energy saving tips.

Freshen Sponges
Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water). For more thorough disinfecting, use the microwave.

Clean the Microwave
Baking soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.

Polish Silver Flatware
Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining sterling and silver-plate serving pieces.

Clean Coffee and Tea Pots
Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a clean damp sponge.

Clean the Oven
Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with enough water that the baking soda is damp. Let set overnight, making sure the baking soda is damp before you go to bed. In the morning, simply scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum. Rinse.

Clean Floors
Remove dirt and grime (without unwanted scratch marks) from no wax and tile floors using 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water–mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse. Read Natural Floor Cleaning for more tips on avoiding toxic floor cleaners.

Clean Furniture
You can make a homemade lemon furniture polish, or you can clean and remove marks (even crayon) from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.

Clean Shower Curtains
Clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a clean damp sponge or brush. Scrub the shower curtain and rinse clean. Hang it up to dry.

Boost Your Liquid Laundry Detergent
Give your laundry a boost by adding ½ cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner, fresher, and brighter.

Gently Clean Baby Clothes
Baby skin requires the most gentle of cleansers, which are increasingly available, but odor and stain fighters are often harsh. For tough stains add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent, or a 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle for deodorization.

Clean Cloth Diapers
Dissolve ½ cup of baking soda in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly.

Clean and Freshen Sports Gear
Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons Baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts Baking sodato 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.

Remove Oil and Grease Stains
Use Baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.

Clean Batteries
Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc. because its a mild alkali. Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Please be careful when working around a battery–they contain a strong acid.

Clean Cars
Use baking soda to clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without worrying about unwanted scratch marks. Use a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs, and tar. For stubborn stains use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or soft brush. Here’s how Sustainable Dave washes his car.

Deodorizing
Deodorize Your Refrigerator
Place an open box in the back of the fridge to neutralize odors.

Deodorize the Cutting Board
Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub, rinse. For how to more thoroughly clean your cutting board, see How To Clean Your Cutting Boards.

Deodorize Trashcans
Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan to keep stinky trash smells at bay.

Deodorize Recyclables
Sprinkle baking soda on top as you add to the container. Also, clean your recyclable container periodically by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge. Wipe clean and rinse. Learn about how to recycle everythin.

Deodorize Drains
To deodorize your sink and tub drains, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water–it will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain. (This a good way to dispose of baking soda that is being retired from your refrigerator.) Do you know what you’re not supposed to put down your drains?

Deodorize and Clean Dishwashers
Use Baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.

Deodorize Garbage Disposals
To deodorize your disposal, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. Baking Soda will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain.

Deodorize Lunch Boxes
Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors. Read bout safe lunch boxes here.

Remove Odor From Carpets
Liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let set overnight, or as long as possible (the longer it sets the better it works). Sweep up the larger amounts of baking soda, and vacuum up the rest. (Note that your vacuum cleaner bag will get full and heavy.)

Remove Odor From Vacuum Cleaners
By using the method above for carpets, you will also deodorize your vacuum cleaner.

Freshen Closets
Place a box on the shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh, then follow these tips to organize your closet in an eco-friendly way.

Deodorizing Cars
Odors settle into car upholstery and carpet, so each time you step in and sit down, they are released into the air all over again. Eliminate these odors by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes (or longer for strong odors) and vacuum up the baking soda.

Deodorize the Cat Box
Cover the bottom of the pan with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning. You can also use green tea for this purpose!

Deodorize Pet Bedding
Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.

Deodorize Sneakers
Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Shake out before wearing. When they’re no longer wearable, make sure to  donate your old sneakers.

Freshen Linens
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for fresher sheets and towels. You can also make homemade lavender linen water with this formula.

Deodorize Your Wash
Gym clothes of other odoriferous clothing can be neutralized with a ½ cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle.

Freshen Stuffed Animals
Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.

Miscellaneous
Camping Cure-all
Baking soda is a must-have for your next camping trip. Its a dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste,f ire extinguisher and many other uses.

Extinguish Fires
Baking soda can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical kitchen fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), turn off the gas or electricity if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire–and call the Fire Department just to be safe. (And, you should have a fire entinguisher on hand anyway, here’s why.

Septic Care
Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely.  1 cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.

Fruit and Vegetable Scrub
Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse. Here’s another way to clean your vegetables as well.

OK, so there’s my 51suggestions (with a little help from the Arm & Hammond baking soda site, thank you). Do you have any tips or tricks that I missed, please share.

Related: 23 Ingenious Uses for Vinegar, 15 Brilliant Uses for Toothpaste, 14 Lovely Uses for Lemons

via 51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda Page 8 | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

How to choose a water bottle: Go with glass

Plastic water bottles? SO last millennium. Stainless steel? Better, but early on some were found to have traces of unhealthy BPA. The next wave in safe beverage containers: glass beverage bottles from Lifefactory, an eco-conscious manufacturer. Covered with a grippy, completely nontoxic silicone sleeve and incredibly durable (I tested it out by dropping mine from about 4 feet up), these glass bottles are BPA-free, phthalate-free, and PVC-free, and have a wide opening, great for adding ice, citrus slices, tea bags, or whatever. And check out the fun colors! Another bonus: The whole thing can go straight into the dishwasher. Lifefactory already makes a glass baby-bottle version, too, and now these adult-size bottles are getting good buzz. Get one for yourself and a friend to stay hydrated this summer.

via Delicious Living Blogs » How to choose a water bottle: Go with glass.

Flu Alert: 10 Warning Signs to Call the Doctor

Melanie Haiken, Caring.com

I know we’re all anxious about swine flu this season, but the truth is that for most people, the flu–no matter what type of flu it is–doesn’t pose a serious danger. Colds and flu normally cause what doctors like to refer to as “self-limited” illness–this means you feel sick but eventually get better on your own. Typically there’s really no point in calling the doctor, because antibiotics don’t work on flu since it’s caused by a virus. Anti-viral medications, such as Tamiflu, aren’t usually necessary to recover.

In some cases, though, the flu develops into something more dangerous, such as pneumonia or other complications.

10 warning signs that it’s time to call the doctor:

1. High fever: over 101 degrees for more than a day.
2. Fast, shallow breathing or rapid pulse.
3. Difficulty breathing: feeling like you can’t draw in a breath or get enough air.
4. Chest pain: sharp or stabbing pains or aches when you breathe in; gets worse with coughing.
5. Repeated vomiting and diarrhea.
6. Decreased urination (or decreased tears, in an infant)–this is a sign of dehydration.
7. Dizziness when you stand up–also a sign of dehydration.
8. Blue or purple discoloration around the mouth.
9. Mental confusion or disorientation (that wasn’t present before you got sick).
10. Convulsions or seizures.

If you have any of these symptoms, don’t wait to call, because once pneumonia or other serious infection sets in, things can move quickly.

People at higher risk for severe illness include pregnant women, young children, and adults with chronic illnesses or weak immune systems.

Those of us caring for older adults feel particularly worried, because seniors are generally at high risk for getting very sick from seasonal influenza. The H1N1 strain is a little different in this respect; adults over 60 seem to be somewhat protected from it. Still, when older adults get sick, we need to watch them carefully to make sure it’s not developing into something more serious.

If you have any doubt whether you need medical care, call your doctor’s office and ask to talk to the nurse for more information. The nurse will quiz you about the symptoms you’re experiencing or seeing and advise you on what to do next.

via Flu Alert: 10 Warning Signs to Call the Doctor | Healthy and Green Living.

Microwave-Free for 145 Days

Microwave-Free for 145 Days

December 7th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

On July 15th after making a post on the Dangers of Microwave Cooking, I decided to try going without a microwave oven for a while to see what it was like. For the past 145 days, I haven’t eaten any microwaved food at all — not even water.

Since reading those first few articles on the subject, I’ve browsed through a bit more info on the dangers of microwave cooking, but I can’t say I found anything that solidly convinced me one way or the other. From what I’ve read though, I can’t say that eating microwaved food is likely to contribute to optimal health. I find it interesting that microwave ovens are banned in Russia due to suspected negative health effects.

Like many of the personal experiments I run, this one gave me some interesting insights…

Easy to Transition

First, I was surprised at just how easy it was to let go of the microwave. It only took me a few days to get used to heating food on the stove instead of nuking it. At first I found it a bit more trouble to make a cup of tea, but now it seems normal to heat the water with fire instead of microwave radiation. I’ve found the time difference to be negligible, at least for the way I eat.

Healthier Eating

Secondly, I noticed almost immediately that I started eating different foods without the microwave. Obviously I dropped all frozen foods designed for the microwave, and I replaced them with more fresh foods, like stir-fried veggies. I also ate more raw foods. So this was a positive change because I was replacing dead, overcooked, nutritionally weak microwave meals with more whole, fresh foods. My overall diet became slightly healthier.

Better Tasting

Thirdly, I noticed that non-microwaved foods simply tasted better. I eat a lot of brown rice, which I tend to make in big batches, and I would often re-heat rice with the microwave throughout the week. Instead I began reheating it on the stove, and I found that stove-heated leftovers tasted much better. Also, certain foods that I would make in the microwave to begin with, such as oatmeal, tasted significantly better when make on the stove. I also preferred the texture of stove-prepared foods.

Better Feeling

Finally, I noticed that non-microwaved foods simply felt better to consume. I seemed to enjoy them more. I even noticed this with a cup of tea. I had been microwaving the water for my tea for years, and when I finally switched to the stove, I noticed the tea tasted about the same, but it somehow felt different. It was more satisfying, as if the tea was more energetic. I have no idea why. I never nuked the teabag itself, just the water. If you’ve been nuking hot beverages for a long time, I encourage you to try making a single cup on the stove for a change to see if you notice any difference.

Used Microwave for Sale

None of these are major differences by themselves, but taken as a whole, I found them to be more than enough to counter-balance the minor time savings from microwave usage. In fact, the taste/feel differences are strong enough that today I find the thought of eating microwaved food unappealing — even slightly repulsive. When I see something coming out of the microwave, I have an inner feeling of aversion to it, as if the dish has been sprinkled with rat poison. I sense that it just isn’t something I want to put in my body.

Running personal experiments like this helps me make decisions in the face of ambiguity. Now that I have a sense of what it’s like to live without a microwave for almost five months, it no longer matters to me if microwave radiation of food is harmful. I no longer need that piece of information to make the decision. The experiential data is enough that I’m happy to permanently dump the microwave. In order to go back to the old ways, I’d have to see new evidence that eating microwaved food was actually beneficial, and that doesn’t seem too likely.

via Microwave-Free for 145 Days.

Feng Shui Organizing Tips for Fall

From an interview with Feng Shui expert Betsy Stang.

This fall Feng Shui primer will help you nurture yourself and bring more prosperity into your life while you get back to work or school. The organizing guidance is rooted in honoring the seasonal changes, clearing out the old and bringing in the new, and as such connects you more deeply to yourself and the natural world around you. Welcome in the new season and get organized, too, with these fall feng shui tips:

As the days get darker as we move away from the Summer Solstice, an underlying fent shui theme for the fall is to organize in ways that will help you be warm and cozy.

Start Nurturing Yourself More – Clear the Kitchen
* Clear the clutter from the counters.
* Separate condiments from nutritional supplements.
* Organize your grains to reduce grain moths.
* Make sure you have one nice spot to feed yourself, one nice place to nourish yourself and those in your family.
* Bring into your kitchen the last of the local produce and ingredients for healthy soups.

Warm Up Your Environment
* Bring some warm tones into the house by switching some throw pillows or throws; this will make the home feel cozier.
* Pay special attention to bringing some warm colors into your bathroom so it doesn’t feel cold in the winter (if the colors are cooler to begin with, such as blues).
* Get your heating system checked; clean the chimneys and fireplace; maintain your hearth.
* Stock up on yellow and orange vegetables for autumn food.

Make Seasonal Changes at the Main Entrance, Inside and Out
* Make sure the front door entrance is clear. This is important at times of seasonal change since we tend to keep things there that we don’t need for the coming season.

Get Ready for More Time Indoors
* Organize the area around your desk, since you will be spending more time indoors.

* If you don’t know where to put your piles, put them in baskets.
* Put your favorite books in a nice basket with a cozy throw and establish a reading nook.

Move Out the Old to Welcome the New
* Go through the medicine cabinet and throw out all the medicines that have expired.
* Donate finished summer reading to the library or hospital.
* Recycle all your old newspapers and all other recycling. (It is hard to haul a lot in the winter.)
* Go through your closets as you are switching your clothes and take the time to put clothing aside that you are no longer going to wear and give it away. Except for formal clothes, if you haven’t worn it in two years let it move out of our life.

Establish Some Seasonal Fall Habits
* Flip your mattress to eliminate a groove from sleeping in the same spot; this is better for your spine.
* Replace your emergency water supply.
* Check your pantry for emergency food supplies (and make sure you have a non-electric can opener).
* Clean out and check your car, including tire pressure (which changes at different temperatures.)
* Check your light bulbs and replace with energy efficient light bulbs so you have enough light for the winter.

via Feng Shui Organizing Tips for Fall | Healthy and Green Living.

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

selected from Organic Spa magazine

Are you constantly walking around with your water bottle struggling to drink eight glasses of water a day? Most of us know that staying hydrated is good for our bodies. However, does it really improve our health, make us lose weight, or improve performance?

Water, including flavored varieties, flushes out waste materials to detoxify the body–definitely an important function. Water also maintains blood volume, allowing the body to consume adequate oxygen to improve physical performance. Contrary to popular belief however, recent studies show that drinking eight glasses of water a day does not contribute to weight control. This can only be accomplished by eating less and moving more.

The recommendation to drink eight glasses per day is a general guideline that does not take individual needs into account such as body fat percentage, caloric needs, kidney function or how much a person sweats. Older adults, young children, athletes, and those who do physical work in hot climates are at the greatest risk for dehydration. As we age or when physical activity is extreme, the thirst mechanism that normally guides us may not work. When in engaging in a high level exercise or when working in hot climates, it is good to drink eight ounces of water every 20 minutes to avoid dehydration.

For the average person, the general recommendation of eight glasses per day is fine. Tap water is fine for fluid replenishment.

However, it is important to remember that alcoholic and caffeinated beverages only count for half sue to increased loss of fluid from them. Save the sugary sport drinks for endurance activities but flavored, low-calorie waters may make it easier to achieve those eight glasses per day. With the long days of summer upon us, it’s a good idea to keep toting you water bottle around to stay hydrated.

via How Much Water Do You Really Need? | Healthy and Green Living.