Sunday, October 31, 2010

Flax Seed

I have been curious if I can eat my Flax Seeds whole or should I be grind them????

It is recommended you grind the seeds (or buy ground flaxseed) because whole seeds simply pass through the body. Grinding the seeds just before using them best preserves flavor and nutrition, but pre-ground seeds are more convenient. Keep them refrigerated. There are no nutritional differences between brown and yellow seeds.

We have 2 coffee grinders, so I am going to use the blade grinder just for my flax seeds (the guide to my burr coffee grinder suggests not using it to grind anything except for coffee beans as the taste may transfer back and forth between the beans and the seeds).  So, thank goodness we have 2.  :-)

Health experts recommend an intake of 2 to 4 tablespoons per day. Please note, however, that flaxseed is high in fiber—you should generally start with about 1/2 to 1 tsp per day, and gradually add more until you reach the recommended amount. Give yourself about a month to get to the recommended amount per day. When adding fiber to one's diet, it is important to drink an adequate amount of fluid—about eight glasses of water per day. 


Most people eat 1/8 cup to 3/8 cup per day (20 to 70 grams) depending on age, weight and health objectives. It is recommended to  use a stainless steel 1/8 cup measuring scoop and take 1 to 3 scoops per day.

Sprinkle ground flax seed on your cereal and salads.

Substitute flax seed mixture for eggs in home baking such as muffin and pancake (1 tbsp milled flax seed, plus 3 tbsp water = 1 egg). Final products will have less volume and taste gummier.

Include in other recipes when a nutty flavor is preferred

1) Put it On or Mix it In With Other Foods Terms...

Such as:
•Yogurt and fruit
•Cottage or ricotta cheese and fruit
•Yogurt or ricotta with a sugar-free syrup or agave syrup
•Smoothies and shakes
•Mix it into pancake or muffin batter, or other baked goods (you'll probably need to add a little more water)

2) Make a Sweet or Savory Instant Porridge or "Mush"
The idea here is to pour boiling water over flax seed meal to make a kind of porridge that can be flavored in many ways, both sweet and savory. The amount of water will vary according to taste, but about twice the amount of water as flax seed meal is a good starting place. I also like to add a pinch of salt, and if I am going to the sweet side, a little sweetener as well. Let it thicken for a couple of minutes while the seeds absorb the water. If it's too thick and "gel-like", add more water.

Here are some ideas for "mix-ins" for flax meal.
•Peanut butter and cinnamon
•Any nut butter
•Cinnamon, sweetener, and butter
•Chopped Nuts
•Chopped Apple and cinnamon
•Chopped Peaches
•Sugar Free Maple Syrup
•Other sugar-free syrups
•Sugar-free jam
•Unsweetened coconut (not from a can)
•To make it deluxe, add sugar-free chocolate with the coconut
•Coconut milk and sugar-free jam (raspberry is good) (not from a can)
•Shredded cheese
•Shredded cheese and chiles (or pepper cheese)
•Cheese and chives
•Cheese and garlic

3) Flax Seed Recipes
Flax seed meal can be the basis for some yummy recipes.  Click yummy recipes to recipes for the items listed below.
•Flax Seed Focaccia-Style Bread
•Flax Seed Pizza Crust
•Miracle Brownies
•Apple Flax Muffins
•Chelsie's Cinnamon Flax Cranberry Muffins
•Low-Carb "Doughnut" Muffins
•Garlic Parmesan Flax Seed Crackers
•Flax Seed Peanut Butter Hot Cereal
•Hot Pumpkin "Cereal"
•Satisfying Breakfast Shake
•Berry Protein Fiber Shake
•Flax Meal Breakfast Microwave Pudding 

Milled means ground.
It's sounds like next time I am buying already ground.....less work for me.  :-)  But whole seeds can be used in breads, cookies, salads, yogurts and cereals and I do like the flavor.  It just makes sense, as tiny as the seeds are I am not crunching every single one of them, meaning my body cannot process the ones I eat whole.

For more recipes you can buy "The Amazing Flax Cookbook" by Jane Reinhardt-Martin or her first book "Flax You Way to Better Health."   
Should I Eat Flax During Pregnancy?

Flax seed is a phytoestrogen, which is a plant estrogen.

Pregnant mothers and their children are especially sensitive to hormones. Human studies have not been done on the effect of flax and pregnancy, however animal studies have been completed. High estrogen levels are needed by the mother to prepare the uterus for the growing fetus, on the other hand, too much estrogen given to pregnant animals can reduce litter size and the birth weight of the offspring. Therefore, until human studies have been completed, I would advise to refrain from eating flax when pregnant.


Remember: Flax seed is very high in fiber. Drink lots of fluid while eating flax.

Top 10 Healthy Foods

If you could eat foods that were tasty, nutritious and helped reduce your risk of disease, what more could you want? The August issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers its 10 top picks for healthy foods:

1.  Apples: Apples are a good source of pectin, a fiber that can lower cholesterol and glucose levels. They're also a good source of vitamin C -- an antioxidant that protects your body's cells. Vitamin C also keeps your blood vessels healthy and aids in the absorption of iron and folate.

2.  Almonds: These nuts are packed with nutrients -- fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. They're also good for your heart. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol levels when substituted for other fats. Most almonds are considered low sodium, with less than 140 milligrams of sodium an ounce.

3.  Broccoli: Besides providing calcium, potassium, folate and fiber, broccoli contains phytonutrients -- compounds that may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Broccoli contains the antioxidant beta-carotene and is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

4.  Blueberries: They are a rich, low-calorie source of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Regular intake of blueberries may improve short-term memory and reduce the cellular damage associated with aging.

5.  Red beans: Small red, pinto and dark red kidney varieties -- are an excellent low-fat source of antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber and copper. They're also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and thiamin.

6.  Salmon: This fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to provide heart benefits. Salmon is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein. If possible, choose wild salmon, which is less likely to contain unwanted chemicals such as mercury.

7.  Spinach: It's high in vitamin A, and also is a good source of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, riboflavin and vitamins B-6 and C. The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system and help prevent certain types of cancer.

8.  Sweet potatoes: The deep orange-yellow color of sweet potatoes tells you that they're high in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium. And, they're fat-free and relatively low in calories.

9.  Vegetable juice: This beverage is an easy way to include vegetables in your diet since it contains most of the same vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Tomato juice, and vegetable juices which include tomatoes, are good sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer. Be sure to select the low-sodium varieties.

10.  Wheat germ: The germ at the center of the wheat seed is a concentrated source of nutrients. Two tablespoons provide a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Sprinkle over cereals, yogurt and salads. Or use it in muffins, cookies and pancakes.  (My note:  Ground or milled wheat germ preferred.)

Mayo Clinic

Wheat Germ

I saw where Wheat Germ was a great addition to your diet, so I did some research and bought some Raw Wheat Germ Bulk from Whole Foods.

Wheat germ is a good source of:

* B vitamins such as folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6
* Calcium
* Complex carbs
* Fiber
* Iron
* Magnesium
* Manganese
* Omega-3 fatty acids
* Phosphorous
* Potassium
* Protein
* Selenium
* Vitamin E
* Zinc

It is one of the secret foods that is good for your skin and has anti-aging properties. 

Wheat germ also has a phytosterol content which has been shown to lower cholesterol and promote a healthy heart. In addition, wheat germ is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as being important for nervous system functioning, and help elevate mood.

Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber which has many benefits including improved bowel function and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and prevent weight gain.

WG is much lower in fat than granola.

How to make WG a part of your life...
*Eat wheat germ for breakfast as your cereal with brown sugar and milk
*Sprinkle wheat germ on top of your yogurt
*Sprinkle 2 Tbsp on the top of your cereal for breakfast
*1 Tbsp in your ViSalus shake
*1 Tbsp onto of your oatmeal

A two tablespoon serving of toasted wheat germ contains approx 50 calories and 1 gram of fat (polyunsaturated fat. (The good fat polyunsaturated fat).

Store in your refrigerator because it will go rancid quickly, especially in the raw form.

Pizza Recipe
You can use it to make pizza too:

- 1/4 cup of wheat germ
- 1 egg
- garlic powder
- 1oz. of grated cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
- pizza sauce
Mix the egg and wheat germ with the garlic powder. Brush olive oil over a baking tray and spread the wheat germ mixture. Bake.  Flip it over and add the pizza sauce and cheese the cook in the oven to melt the cheese.  This recipe was missing some info...baking times...will have to play with this one.

As a snack chop up small slices of banana and the coats them in the wheat germ- It makes a super healthy snack for baby and the little one can pick up the banana bits herself since it is coated and not as slippery.

We should be consuming approx 25-50 grams of fiber a day. A quarter of a cup of wheat germ will provide you with around 10 grams.

Wheatgerm tea
No real recipe here....cup your hand...see the natural bowl it makes...fill that twice with wheat in a deal pot or bowl....add around 2 cups of boiling water...let steep for 15-30 minutes, depending on how strong you like it....strain and drink plain.
Savory Wheat Germ Scones

These savory scones are very versatile and can be served warm for breakfast or as a dinner dish. They make excellent snacks.
Preparation time: 15mins
Cooking time: 12-15mins
Makes: 6 to 10, depending on size
7 oz self-raising white organic flour
4 oz wheatgerm
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 oz coriander or flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
1 1/2 oz butter
3 oz grated cheddar cheese
1/4 pint soured milk
Additional milk or single cream, for glazing

1. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. Mix the flour, wheat germ, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, coriander or parsley.

3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs in consistency.

4. Stir in the cheese, then mix in the sour milk using a fork to make a soft dough.

5. Turn out onto a gently floured board and kneed very lightly to make a smooth dough. Pat down to a 1 inch thickness and cut out either 6 large 3 inch or about 10 small 2 inch scones.

6. Place on the prepared baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake in a preheated oven, 425 degrees Fahrenheit, for 12 - 15 minutes, depending on the size of the scones. They are done when they sound hollow if tapped on the base or when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Wheat germ can be added to baked goods - some breads enriched with added wheatgerm have a characteristic soft, springy center. It can be used in biscuits and cakes or sprinkled over cereals and yogurts or other deserts as a topping. It can also be added to salads and soups.

When used in homemade meatloaf and burgers, it acts as a binder and extends the recipes without being intrusive in texture or flavor. It can also be mixed with herbs and spices for use as a coating, where breadcrumbs might otherwise be used, on fish or fishcakes, chicken or rissoles.


Note:  If you have a gluten intolerance (such as Celiac disease) or are cooking for someone who does, you should avoid wheat germ.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MSG (Monosodium glutamate, Glutamic acid)

Ok, so I have heard stuff about's bad for you...look for it on labels...don't buy foods with it in them...Chinese restaurants use a ton of it in their food...they change the name around so it is sometimes hard to find when reading labels...all of this has been nothing but confusing to me.  So, here I go....researching away.  I hope you learn something from this post, because I can TELL you I DID!!!  :-)

Ok, let's start with the definition taken from Wikipedia...
It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer.  Trade names of monosodium glutamate include Ajinomoto, Vetsin, Accent and Tasting Powder. It was once made predominantly from wheat gluten, but is now made mostly from bacterial fermentation; it is acceptable for coeliacs following a gluten-free diet.

Modern commercial MSG is produced by fermentation of starch, sugar beets (which are GMO), sugar cane, or molasses. About 1.5 million tonnes were sold in 2001.  Although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, MSG is now used by most fast-food chains and in many foodstuffs, in particular, processed foods.

Examples include:

Prepared stocks often known as stock cubes or bouillon cubes.
Condiments such as barbecue sauce and salad dressings.
Canned, frozen, or dried prepared food
Common snack foods such as flavoured jerky, flavoured potato chips (crisps) and flavoured tortilla chips.
Seasoning mixtures

Fermented products such as soy sauce, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce have levels of glutamate similar to foods with added MSG. However, glutamate in these brewed products may have 5% or more of the D-enantiomer.

It appears that in 1995 our FDA concluded that MSG is safe for us to eat when "eaten at customary levels."  Some people do have an intolerance to MSG when eaten which can worsen asthma.  And read more below.  But wow did I find a different take when I clicked on Glutamic acid (the chemical name for MSG used in flavoring).

In 2008 the New York Times published an article that linked MSG intake to an increase in body weight.  The study concluded that for every 0.04 ounce daily increase in MSG intake, B.M.I. went up by 0.61.

Words to look for if trying to stay away from MSG...
hydrolyzed vegetable proteins
autolyzed yeast
hydrolyzed yeast
yeast extract
soy extracts
protein isolate
disodium inosinate
disodium guanylate
ribonucleotides (are usually used in synergy with monosodium glutamate-containing ingredients.) 

I know that is a lot of science, but I like science, you can skim the info above if you want.  :-)

Glutamic acid (MSG) stimulates specific receptors located in taste buds.  Which in Japanese means umami also referred to as "savory" or "meaty".

There is a term called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome," which is defined as, this syndrome, which usually begins 15 to 20 minutes after an individual has eaten the first dish of a food with MSG, lasts for about two hours, without hangover effect. The most prominent symptoms are numbness at the back of the neck, gradually radiating to both arms and the back, general weakness and palpitations." Guess I need to pay attention the next time I get talked into going out to eat Chinese, huh'?!

More symptoms have included burning sensations, numbness, tingling, feelings of warmth, facial pressure or tightness, chest pain, headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, bronchospasm in people with asthma, drowsiness, and weakness.

Scientists are particularly concerned with potential effects in infants and young children...very concerned about potential brain damage.  WHAT???!!!???!!!  Take a look at your Goldfish crackers and snack foods we give out toddlers....and think about what we eat when baby is in our bellies!

In 2008 American and Chinese researching found direct correlation between MSG intake and obesity in humans!!!

As, I research there are studies that show MSG is bad and studies that show that it is not.  I am choosing to believe that it is and not allowing it to come into my home. is the BIG problem...the FDA has declared that if MSG has been added to a food it must be labeled as such in the ingredient listings ...MSG or Monosodium glutamate.  But....the FDA does not require foods and ingredients that contain glutamate as an inherent component to be listed it on the ingredients list.  Examples include tomatoes, cheeses, meats, hydrolyzed protein products such as soy sauce, and autolyzed yeast extracts. These ingredients are to be declared on the label by their common or usual names.  Which are.....
disodium inosinatedisodium guanylate and hydrolyzed protein.  So...there's more for you to look for.  :-)

Happy label reading.  :-)

More side effects related in MSG intake
heart irregularities

Click here to read more detailed info on where MSG is hidden from a Truth in Labeling Campaign.  This also teaches you what ingredient labels to look for.  Or click here for the list of hidden names for MSG.

I can tell you that the Cheddar Ducks from Meijer's Organic line are what I am giving the kids right now.  And I am in the process of switching my crackers and snack crackers to either Meijer Organic brands or 365 brand from Whole Foods. 

I read my taco seasoning ingredients and there was MSG.  Oh, how comforting.  Now, it's another topic of discussion what I am going to do when we go out to eat.  Oh boy....sometimes knowledge is stressful.  LOL  Just kidding.

Give me some feedback on this one.  :-)

Homemade Playdoh

My friend LE has made this and I ran across the recipe today on the Internet, so I thought I would post it.

Homemade Playdoh
1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt (seems like a ton, but I have never made this so we will see)
1 Tbsp oil
Food coloring

Mix and knead together.  This playdoh is not sticky and does not dry out.

Let me know what you think!!

Homemade "Cream of" Soups

Ok, I have to admit, I LOVE Cream of Mushroom, Chicken and Celery soups for cooking.  LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!  But now that I am no longer buying anything in cans....I needed to do some research.  I found 3 recipes that look really good and are really easy for each of the 3 "Cream of" soups and can be frozen.  Let me know if you try them before I do in your recipes.


Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
Yield: 3 cups (about 2 cans)    Prep time:  5 minutes    Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth (can be left over from an oven roasted chicken, refrigerate, fat removed)(Meijer and Whole Foods sell this for a good price)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder (or diced onions)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour

1.  In a medium sized saucepan, boil the chicken broth, 1/2 cup of milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer is using fresh onion and garlic).
2.  In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour.  Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

Soup can be made in larger batches and frozen and used later in recipes!!  How awesome is this!!!!  Just make sure if you are freezing, either use glass to freeze (allow space for soup to expand) or let it cool first then place in plastic containers that do not have the numbers 3, 6, 7 or nothing. 

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
Prep time: 5 minutes    Total Time:  20 minutes   Serving:  1 Serving makes just about 2 3/4 cups

2oz fresh mushrooms (Recipes calls for 8oz, that was just way too much for us.  8oz container will make us 4 batches.)
2 Tbsp onion, chopped (I used 3-4 dashes of minced onion) (or you can use 1/4 tsp onion powder)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (Fresh tastes awesome!!)  (or you can use 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbsp butter (if using fresh mushrooms, onion and garlic.)  (Cut back to 1 Tbsp if using powdered onion and garlic.)
1/2 cup flour (using different amounts at different times, see below)
2 cups organic chicken broth (Meijer brand organic and 365 brand at Whole Foods, good prices)
1 cup light cream (I did not use light.  Just my preference.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1.  Cut the mushrooms into slices or diced them very fine (I diced). 
2.  Melt butter in large frying pan (I did 4 batches and used a big stock pot instead of a frying pan.)  Add onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook until onions are soft and mushrooms are sauted.
3.  Blend in 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour and stir until all flour is dissolved.
4.  Add in the chicken broth and heat until slightly thickened, while stirring frequently.  Use a whisk to break up any clumps.
5.  Stir cream with additional 2 Tbsp flour and seasoning.  Add this cream mixture to the soup.  Heat till soup thickens, stirring and whisking frequently (milk can scorch).
6.  Let soup cool.  Stirring occasionally.
7.  Freeze in 1 1/2 cup amounts for later cooking!!  (A regular can of cream of mushroom soup is 10 3/4 oz.  I have to look the next time I go shopping to see what a Family Size can is.)

Homemade Cream of Celery Soup

4 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 ribs and one inner rib celery, chopped
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped (or ¼ tsp onion powder)
4 TBS all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur's all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup chicken or light-colored vegetable stock
3/4 cup room temperature milk

1. Puree or mince celery and onion in food processor
2. Heat oil in a medium sized pot over medium-low to medium heat. When oil is hot, add celery and onion and saute gently until soft.
3. Slowly mix in flour, mixing very well to avoid lumps. It will look like a big, green pancake. Stir while cooking until it begins to color slightly.
4. Slowly whisk in broth, and stir until smooth.
5. Slowly whisk in milk. Let mixture cook without boiling until thickened the way you like it.
6. This looks like a 1 or 2 serving recipe. Will know more when I prepare it.
Once again let me know if you make this before I do.  And I will be either making this earlier in the day for that nights dinner or freezing this in 1 1/2 cup containers. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Products we "THINK" we Need in our Life

Ok, so I am soooo in love with this is an amazing web page and I feel pretty good about what I realized tonight!  I am on the right path for has blogged about the same topics I have been writing about!  Very cool and reassuring.

Tonight I read an article that went into details about products that we have decided that we "MUST HAVE!" in our lives.  This article debunks that idea.  I think this way of thinking is refreshing and is going to save us money!  Woo hoo!!  Click Here. for full article.

Lip Balm  I have to admit it...I have totally been addicted to my lip balm...that is until I realized what was in my lip balm.  Guess what????  Many lip balms/salves contain alcohol, which can dry out your lips. And so you reapply, thinking you're adding in much-needed moisture that can only be provided by the stuff in the tube. Not so. Left alone, most lips can maintain their own moisture balance just fine. If you must use lip balm, however, go for something with just a handful of truly nourishing ingredients like the ones from Buddha Nose or Burts Bees'.

Foot Cream The skin on our feet may feel thicker than the skin on our forearms, but that doesn't mean it needs its own product category. Instead, pick a sustainably harvested allover lotion like Alaffia's shea butter lotions, or Whole Foods' super-affordable Everyday Shea, slather that on your feet, and then put on some cotton socks if you really want to lock in moisture.  I can't wait to try this Everyday Shea from Whole Foods!

"Shaving Cream Another thing you don't need. Yes, it's nice to have something between the blade and your face or legs, to ensure a close shave and the least amount of discomfort possible, but there are so many other things you can use that don't contain harsh sulfates and foam boosters. For legs, I like using the conditioner left on my hands after I apply it to my hair. Shaving oils are also great for face and legs—but so is any old oil you have lying around, if you can get past the putting-oil-on-your-face thing (a stretch for some, surely). Even a simple three-ingredient soap works well."
Body Wash is often packaged in plastic and loaded with chemicals you would not want near you if you knew what they were. Again, simpler is better. An all-purpose soap like Dr. Bronner's can be used for body, hands, hair, clothing, and even your toilet. Right now I am using Whole Foods brand 365 body wash herbal mint and I love it.  I have had a bottle of Dr. Bronner's for a while now and can't wait to try it as my body wash too. 

I am thinking all of this can save me and you some serious money!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hair Spray

A couple of new recipes I am wanting to try....

Grandma's Hairspray

1 T Sugar
1/3 to 1 C hot water
1/2 t oil of choice (I like lemon)

Mix well and pour into spray bottle. Use sparingly at first. Less water for stronger spray. Your hair will really shine. (06/18/2004)

I am trying this one again, but putting the orange in my bullet blender first before boiling.  I hope this works this time!
1 lemon or orange (I am using an orange)
2 cups water
Rubbing alcohol optional
Use a food processor or blender to release all the oils and juice from the flesh of the Lemon or Orange. Use orange if you have dry hair. Place this is a sauce pan (I used stainless steel) and bring to a gentle rolling boil and BOIL IT UNTIL IT REDUCES TO ONE CUP. Cool and strain and place in a spray bottle. Store in the refrigerator and it will last for 2 weeks. OR add one ounce of alcohol as a preservative and then it can be stored for up to 2 weeks unrefrigerated.

I will keep you posted.  :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Make Your Own Beauty Products from Scratch

I am in LOVE!!!!  Check out this website.  This is one of the coolest websites I have found!!!  I am still hunting for a good, extra hold homemade hairspray though!!  LOL

Here are a few recipes for making your own beauty products at home.  I will post a new blog as I use and try these.  Enjoy!!

Simple body scrub
Many body scrubs, even the ones that claim to be sugar- or salt-based, actually contain beads made out of polyethylene, which is environmentally deplorable (it all goes down the drain, remember)—to say nothing of the preservatives, fragrance, penetration enhancers, and sulfates that typically bulk up these products.
In a bowl combine the following....
1/4 cup of any oil you like (I like olive best)
1/8 cup of coarse brown sugar
1/8 cup salt
Any essential oil you love. Vanilla seems to me the can't-beat option for smell, but go with your favorite. And if you have dry skin, a sunburn, or eczema, leave out the salt and double up the sugar.  Combine and scrub away!

Honey face wash
In the palm of your hand, combine...
1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered honey
1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, mix it together, and apply to damp skin.
The honey is antibacterial while also soothing dry skin, and the baking soda is gently exfoliating without tearing or irritating your face. Cheap, too.

One-ingredient eye liner
This is as easy as it gets: Grab a capsule of activated charcoal, which you can get at most pharmacies and any health food store. Instead of ingesting it for your tummy ache, dump out the contents on a clean surface, moisten the tip of a makeup brush with water, and sweep it on like you would any other eye liner. It goes on easily and lasts just as long as regular powdered liner—minus the preservatives, artificial dyes, fragrance, and other chemicals.

Because fragrance is protected under trade secret laws, there is literally no way to know what is in that perfume or cologne you think of as your signature scent. But if a recent study is any indication (and it is), there are some things in there we shouldn't be too happy about. Instead, make your own! Combine essential oils you like—cedar, ylang ylang, vanilla, lavender, citrus oils—with a little bit of vodka, and keep it in an airtight container. You can experiment and tweak it as the seasons change—lighter in summer, heavier for winter—without having to drop another $80 on potentially dangerous chemical cocktails.

Shave oil
Outside the shower, grab an oil you like—olive, argan, jojoba, and coconut work well—slather it on the area that needs a shave, and go for it. Oils are hard for some people at first: We are hard-wired to think oils on our face are a bad idea, but if you use a skin-compatible oil like the ones listed, it won't clog pores or cause breakouts. (In fact, some people find the opposite happens!)  (This is what MK has been saying on her blog.)

Yogurt face mask
This one raises some eyebrows—putting yogurt on your face sounds a little gross at first—but it can be a great skin-brightening, moisturizing mask on its own for sensitive skin.
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup non-instant oatmeal
Mix and apply. The lactic acid in the yogurt softens skin gently, and can be great for dehydrated and congested skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and rinse. No need to wash after.

This is a series inspired by No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics, a book by GOOD's features editor Siobhan O'Connor and her co-author Alexandra Spunt."

The Five Worst Environmental Pollutants in Your Beauty Products

I was researching for a new recipe to try for my hairspray and found this on Whole Foods Markets website.  This info was taken from GOOD.

This is serious stuff.  Read on....

1. Antibacterial Compounds

Triclosan and chlorphenesin are often the active ingredients in antibacterial soaps. They do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance. These ingredients are also known to cause aquatic toxicity. A recent FDA advisory panel report even stated that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soaps. Triclosan and chlorphenesin are not allowed in any products sold in Whole Foods Market stores.

2. Synthetic Chelators
Chelators, such as the commonly used trisodium EDTA, are used in personal-care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They are problematic for two reasons. First, there is environmental research data showing that chelators do not readily biodegrade in the environment. Second, since the function of synthetic chelators is to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials, there is no real need for these ingredients in high-quality natural products to begin with. So shop wisely and you won’t run into this one.

3. Petroleum-derived Ingredients
One-hundred-percent petroleum derived ingredients, such as mineral oil and petrolatum, come with some unpleasant environmental realities. For one thing, they are derived from non-renewable resources. These ingredients are also bad for functional reasons, since they form a barrier when applied to skin that does not allow it to breathe. Finally, they often contain impurities as a result of the manufacturing processes—which is something consumers have almost no way of knowing about, but should guard against. Other ingredients to avoid in this category are parrafin, lily white gel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, alkyl benzoate, and ammonium polacrylate.

4. Chemical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have some human-safety concerns, since many have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Every year, gallons of chemical sunscreens wash off people’s skin and into the oceans, which can be toxic to marine life. Physical sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are safer alternatives for humans and the environment.

5. Aerosol Sprays
Aerosol sprays like those used in hairspray are the gases that propel the product out of the can. Fortunately, since the late 1970s, consumer aerosol products made in the United States have not contained ozone-depleting CFCs. All consumer—and most other—aerosol products made or sold in the United States now use propellants such as hydrocarbons and compressed gases like nitrous oxide that do not deplete the ozone layer. While aerosol spray cans produced in some other countries might still use CFCs, they cannot legally be sold in the States.


I am getting ready for a Whole Foods trip and wanted to do some research on healthy snacks, so I am researching nuts.  I thought I would share my info.  I found it on Whole Foods website Click here or read below.

"Consistent evidence shows that all manner of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews, promote healthy arteries and cholesterol levels when we consume them in moderation. Eating a small handful of nuts about five times a week is perfect.

A Guide to Nuts:

Almonds: Thankfully calcium-rich, sweet almonds — sold whole, shelled, raw, blanched, sliced, slivered, dry-roasted, you name it — are available year round.

Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts only come from magnificent, large trees that grow wild in the Amazon rain forest. Similar to coconut in texture, the sweet, rich meat of Brazil nuts is eaten raw or roasted.

Cashews: The cashew tree is related to poison ivy and poison sumac, but don’t be afraid! This rich, curved nut — which is actually lower in total fat than most nuts — is always a crowd favorite and particularly flavorful in cookies and cakes.

Chestnuts: The lowest in fat of all nuts, chestnuts are appreciated for their flavorful contribution to soups, stuffing and stews as well as the holiday tradition of eating them roasted. Chestnuts are available fresh only in autumn, but dried, canned and pureed versions are available year round. (Try classic chestnut stuffing to remind you just how good they really are.)

Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and are high in fiber to boot. While they’re identical nutritionally, brown flax seeds have deep, nutty flavor while golden flax seeds are mild. Add either to breads, cookies and smoothies or sprinkle on cereal and salads. (Try this whole grain flax seed pancake mix and you’ll forget all about those other pancakes.  Click Here.)

Hazelnuts (a.k.a. Filberts): Bakers and confectioners are partial to these nutrient dense nuts — which can be made into butter, flour, oil and paste — because their rich flavor and texture lend themselves so well to desserts and snack foods.

Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are a healthful food with an omega 3 profile very similar to flax seeds. They’re also similar in flavor to sunflower or flax seeds and can be used in or on baked goods, salads, yogurt and cereal.

Macadamia Nuts: These sinfully rich and creamy nuts have the highest fat profile of all nuts and are among the most expensive ones available.

Peanuts: Peanuts — which are actually legumes, not nuts at all — originated in South America but have become an important crop throughout the tropics and in the southern half of the U.S. They have a good deal of both protein and fiber.

Pecans: These natives to the southern Mississippi River valley are buttery and slightly bittersweet. They’re stand-outs in pies, quick breads, cakes, cookies, candies and ice cream.

Pine Nuts: Pine nuts — also called pinolos, pignon or pignoli nuts — are exactly what you think; they’re the edible seeds of pine trees. These delicious little nuts are the essential ingredient in fresh pesto and are out-of-sight sprinkled over salads.

Pistachios: Pistachios have beige shells with nuts that range from dull yellow to deep green. Primarily sold as a snack food, they’re easily adaptable to recipes where pecans or other nuts are used. (Want to make a pistachio-fueled splash? Serve milk chocolate panna cotta with blood oranges and pistachios.  Click Here.)

Pumpkin Seeds (a.k.a. Pepitas): Roasted pumpkin seeds are commonly eaten in casseroles, salads, soups and breads. Their rich, peanut-like flavor makes them a terrific snack food.

Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are frequently sprinkled on breads and cakes as a form of decoration, but they’re delicious and good-looking on just about anything. Look for black or white sesame seeds in our bulk department and grocery aisles.

Sunflower Seeds: Sunflowers belongs to the daisy family and are native to North America. Their shelled seeds are delicious eaten raw or toasted, added to cakes and breads or sprinkled on salads or cereals.

Walnuts: Walnuts have come into greater favor recently because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, a heart-healthy compound. In addition to their purported health benefits, walnuts add texture and toothsome flavor to pastas, salads, stir fries and desserts."

So, in a nut shell (ha ha)  I am buying me some Chestnuts and Walnuts on my next Whole Foods visit. LOL  I have recently started adding Flax Seed to my morning breakfast (whether it be cold cereal from Cascadian Farms, the junk cereals that I am eating to get rid of or Oatmeal) and I LOVE it!  I bought my Flax Seeds at Meijer made by Bob's Red Mill and will eat a tablespoon full of them everyday, just plain, I love the flavor.

"Tips for toasting nuts.
While nuts and seeds are certainly delicious eaten raw, toasting them brings out a tastier, richer flavor. To enhance their flavor or crisp them up, toast nuts on the stove or in the oven.

On the stove: Place a single layer of nuts in a heavy, ungreased skillet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat, shaking the pan and stirring the nuts until they’re golden brown and fragrant, then remove them from the pan immediately and let cool.

In the oven: Arrange the nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring them occasionally."

From what I read, keep all of your nuts in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how long you want them to keep.  It ranges from 6 months to a year, depending if you are keeping them in the refrigerator or freezer.  Click Here to see the full Storage Guide.