Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIY Pore Cleansing Strip

Photo by by NickPiggott
Those pore-cleaning strips from the drug store are a rip-off at about a $1 each. Save yourself the cost and make your own at home.

To make your own pore-cleansing strip, you'll need: 
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin 
  • 1.5 tablespoons milk
  1. Mix the milk and gelatin together in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. 
  2. Apply the mixture over your nose, chin and/or forehead using a clean cosmetic brush. (Clean your brush right away.)
  3. Let the mixture dry for 10 to 15 minutes. A stiff film will form in the areas you applied the mixture. 
  4. Peel the film off your face.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Natural Household Cleaners E-Book Review

The Peaceful Housewife's "Natural Household Cleaners" e-book offers great solutions for those looking for earth-friendly and simple homemaking techniques.  The  e-book features over 30 recipes for household cleaners, laundry solutions and pest sprays using items you may already own, like Borax, bars of soap and vinegar.

I like to no-nonsense style of the e-book--there is no lecturing about why the reader needs to be earth-friendly or why everyone should follow this lifestyle. The author simply lists the recipes in a manner that is easy to read and follow. One of the greatest benefits of this e-book is that I can use the recipes if I am ever in a pinch (like running out of cleaner, but need one immediately).

Presently, the Natural Housewife sells the e-book for $3. Check out her blog.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Benefits of Going Gluten-Free

Image by cbertel
It is no secret that I am on a gluten-free diet that is strictly wheat-free. While I (thankfully) do not have Celiac Disease, wheat produces incapacitating migraines that every part of me hates. While reading the May 2011 issue of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, I came an article by Sussanna Czeranko, ND, BBE about the consumption of wheat and its ill effects.

Early Concerns
In her article, Czeranko states that early naturopathic doctors believed "...the introduction of white flour and white bread as an abominable travesty to health." While milled wheat was once naturally laced with wholesome bran, manufacturers began to eliminate the additional fiber source because they thought it reduced the quality of their products. Consequently, farmers began to change the way they grew their wheat crops. In 1910, concerned naturopathic doctor N.F.W. Hazeldine stated, "...(white flour) is nothing but ground wheat which has been robbed of all its nutritive and digestive values, and as such is most destructive to the health." 

ND B. Lust voiced this concern: “White flour. That concentrated essence of death has so little food value that we have to stuff ourselves with four or five times the amount needed in order to get sufficient nutrition to survive hence the bowels, overworked, give out, and chronic constipation is the result.”

Vitamin-Enriched White Powder
While wheat in and of itself is not evil, there is evidence that shows that white flour does not adequately provide the nutrients and minerals your body needs. To help address this issue, the food industry has added supplements to some of their white flour products to help increase their value as a food product. If the wheat was not stripped of its natural nutrients to begin with, food makers would not need to spend the money to add supplements.

Gluten-Free Benefits
Nevertheless, when you can't eat wheat, the only solution that remains is to find alternatives. Many people in this situation report that making the transition to a gluten-free diet is tough, especially when walking by a bakery. However, the transition came with positive consequences, including:
  • Healthier eating habits
  • Improved blood sugar regulation
  • Increased energy
  • Weightloss
  • Less digestive problems
  • Decreased consumption of empty calories
  • Creativity in the kitchen
  • The joy of trying new foods
For many, the decision to live a gluten-free is more than a lifestyle choice; it's a health need. For those looking to improve their diets, the choice to eliminate wheat or other gluten products can be highly beneficial.

Hazeldine, N. F. W. (1910). The wrapping of nothingness; or what is pure bread? The Naturopath and the Herald of Health, 15(8), 479-480.

Lust, B. (1922b). Whole wheat bread. Herald of Health and the Naturopath, 27(5), 227-229.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How our community garden grows

Because my husband and I rent our home and cannot plant fruits and vegetables in the ground, we have rented a couple plots at our local community garden. All the plots in this garden must practice organic gardening techniques, which is good because I want to eat some of the fruits of our labor right off the vine.

This is how our garden grows:

The Community Garden
24 June 2011
1 July 2011

24 June 2011
1 July 2011

24 June 2011
24 June 2011

1 July 2011

Bean Sprout


Monday, June 6, 2011

Streak-free windows

Photo by Ricardo Diaz
I learned an easy way to have streak-free windows and mirrors while living in Latin America. Not only will you get streak-free results, but this method will show you a new way to reuse your newspaper before throwing it into the recycling bin.

Things You Need:
  • Your favorite window-washing solution
  • Several sheets of newspaper

Steps to Take:
  1. Wad up a few pieces of newspaper into separate wads
  2. Spray the windows and mirrors as normal
  3. Use a wadded piece of  newspapers to wipe the surface as you would with a paper towel. 
  4. Recycle the newspaper
While this method seems unconventional, it works well and does not leave fluff on the surfaces you clean, unlike paper towels. The only drawback is that you end up with newspaper ink on your hands, but you can wash it off with warm soap and water. However, the ink will not stain your windows or mirrors.

Give this method a try the next time you clean your glass surfaces. Let me know how it goes. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Sugar-Free Pineapple Zucchini Cake
Photo by Meng He

Trying to get rid of the white sugar in your cupboard? Rather than throw it away, use it to pamper yourself in a calorie-free way by making yourself a luxurious sugar scrub.

This is what you need:
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular (white) sugar 
  • 1/2 cup almond or olive oil
  • 2 pipets (droppers) full of Vitamin E oil. You can also pierce four Vitamin E capsules
  • 2 drops of your favorite essential oil, like lavender (Alternatively, you can also use a couple drops of your favorite food extract, such as vanilla or mint)
  • 8 oz. plastic container with a lid (do not use glass)
What to:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl 
  2. Place the mixture into the plastic container and cover it with the lid
Use this sugar scrub as a way to exfoliate your skin and practice aroma therapy at the same time.

Do not use the scrub on your face, as the sugar crystals may be too abrasive. Be careful while walking in your shower or tub after using this or any type of oil-based scrub because the oil can make the floor slippery. After your shower, consider wiping down your tub with your regular cleaners or even a bit of dish soap (which cuts grease) mixed with warm water. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Take Time for Yourself

Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit

Taking time for yourself—it sounds impossible, especially if you have a family. Taking time for yourself, however, is one of the most important natural remedies to helping you stay focused, sane and fulfilled. The tricky part to doing this is when you want to put your family first without sacrificing yourself.
“The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment.
It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought.”
~Thomas Moore
Taking time for yourself is about self-nurture; not taking a moment to tie up loose ends in your day. It is about doing something (you enjoy) because you want to, not because you have to. Marianne Legato, author of Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget, states: 

"If you never have any time except reactive time -- things you must do for others -- you don't have a sense of control. You are interrupted all the time. Your brain has trouble resting even during sleep. Such chronic exhaustion increases the release of stress hormones, and your blood sugar rises.

“If this is your normal state, then the physical consequences increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and memory problems. If that's not enough to scare you into taking some time for yourself, consider this: The hormonal effects of always being on edge help deposit fat right around your waist.”

How I Do It
Taking a cat nap
It is easy for me as a writer to tell you all about how to take time for yourself and list some ideas. However, it is also important to practice what I preach. As a workaholic, wife and caregiver, I must take a moment to let myself breathe every day. Activities I enjoy doing for myself include:
  • Breathing. I literally take five, ten or even twenty minutes to focus on my breathing and practice breathing exercises. This helps focus and center myself.
  • Taking a nap. Yes, it is a guilty pleasure that I utterly enjoy.
  • Playing mindless games on the computer. When I feel particularly stressed-out, mindless games help stop the racing thoughts about what I have to do and finish, and helps get my mind off my needles worries.
  • Crafting. Studies show that repetitive motions can be relaxing. I enjoy crocheting, knitting, embroidery and needlepoint while sitting in front of the TV.
  • Audio books. Perfect for when I want to unwind and just sit, I play an audio book on my MP3 player to help me focus on something enjoyable. I also enjoy listening to audio books while working out at the gym because the time seems to go by so quickly.
  • Reading. Popping into another world for a bit can almost feel like a vacation.
  • Meditation. Although it seems tricky to get into, meditation is one of the easiest, quickest ways to fell refreshed, fulfilled and relaxed. There are many ways to meditate that do not involve sitting on the floor and chanting, “Om.” For example, I like to go on a walk with the intent to be mindful of everything that pleases my eye, focusing on positive thoughts, praying and using guided imagery.
Solitude is a lost art. Taking time for yourself does not mean you must disconnect yourself from your loved ones. It is a matter of saying, “I am taking time for me so I can better serve you.”

Remember, visit to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The easiest way to save a life

It's easy!

If you could help save a life by simply giving an hour of your time, would you?

I learned about the importance of platelet donation after my sister was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in October 2010. With the help of God, the support of family and friend, a great team of doctors and nurses and the donors who gave their blood and platelets, my sister is thriving. After noticing the UNC Health Care Blood Donation Center after my sister received a platelet transfusion for the third time in a row, I decided to learn more about the process and made an appointment to donate some of my own platelets. The staff was very friendly, helpful and professional. They made the donation process a pleasure and something I look forward to doing again.

My Donation Experience
My arm: one poke, three tubes
After checking into the donation center, I filled out a health questionnaire in a private room. The questionnaire asked about past illnesses, vaccines, medicines I take and other health-related issues. After completing the questionnaire, a nurse took my blood pressure and temperature. He also made sure I was not anemic by picking the tip of my middle finger and testing the blood; the test took three seconds.

After speaking with the nurse, I picked out a movie, a snack and a couple of beverages. I sat in a comfortable lounge chair and put my right arm over a warm heating pad. A different nurse had me squeeze a warm stress ball full of gel and tied a tourniquet around my right bicep. She then said, “Squeeze the ball twice, and hold,” so I did. She then cleaned my skin and told me to breathe in as she stuck a needle in my arm. The needle didn’t hurt; I thought the nurse was scratching me with a cleansing pad when she stuck me.

Separating my platelets
Once the needle was in, the nurse held it in place with a bandage before she covered me with blankets because it was important for me to stay warm during the process. The machine next to me then began to whir and my blood began running through the plastic tubes in it. After a while, I could see my platelets fill the bag hanging next to me. During the 57 minutes it took to give my platelets, I watched a movie, ate my snacks, drank my beverages and texted on my cell phone. The nurse then removed the needle from my arm and wrapped it with a compression bandage. After I finished my juice, I was good to go on with my day.

Facts about Platelet Donations:
How it works
  • In 2009 UNC Health Care used an average of 350 platelets per month. However, the UNC Health Care's Blood Donation Center collects only 210 platelets a month.This deficit of platelets is seen in hospitals throughout the U.S.
  • It takes six to eight bags of donated blood to fill one bag of platelets. However, you can donate just platelets.
  • When you donate just platelets, you are only poked with one needle and the blood taken from you is returned with the same needle.
  • A lack of platelets in a cancer patient can cause bruising, hemorrhaging of the eyes, the inability for wounds to heal and blood blisters in the mouth.
  • It only takes an hour to donate platelets.
  • You can donate platelets every two weeks.
  • Blood type does not matter when it comes to donations.
  • Check with your local donation center to see if you are eligible to donate platelets. 

My platelets
The platelet donation experience was awesome and worth it. When I work, my time as a professional is worth a certain amount of money. A life, however, has no price and takes something as simple as an hour and a platelet donation to save.

Save a life today.