Friday, August 6, 2010

Natural Deodorants

I am always on the hunt for a natural deodorant that not only smells great without heavy perfumes but is also strong enough for him too. My old standby has been T'eo by Lush which is a dry solid bar that you scrape to make a powder and rub on. It lasts for more than 24 hrs, keeps the pits dry and keeps odours at bay. The ingredients are as follows for T'eo

  • Sodium Bicarbonate,
  • Cream of Tartar (Tartaric acid),
  • Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca),
  • BlueWax (Specerit Blue C),
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia),
  • Magnesium Carbonate,
  • Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum),
  • Juniperberry Oil (Juniperus communis),
  • Lemongrass Oil (Cymbopogan flexuosus),
  • Fresh Grape Juice (Vitis vinifera),
  • Blue Cornflower Petals (Centaurea cyanus),
  • *Citral,
  • *Eugenol,
  • *Geraniol,
  • *Citronellol,
  • *Limonene,
  • *Linalool,
  • Perfume.
Pretty simple stuff that T'eo and smells great too!

  I am always on the hunt for the perfect deodorant and through Twitter I began following @Weleda.  Weleda assured me that their deodorants would indeed work for me and to give them a shot so I did.  I purchased a bottle of Citrus Deodorant Spray by Weleda at Whole Foods for 14.99 cdn + tax and hoped that Weleda could live up to the hype. The ingredients are as follows,
 Alcohol, water, fragrance, citrus medica limonum, peel oil, limonene, linelool, geraniol, citral, farnesol, synthetic additives including fragrance, color or preservatives and made without raw material derived from mineral oils.

  The first time using it it caused my armpits to burn so much I was actually tearing up a bit and continued to burn despite washing it off for about an hour and a half. I attribute this to my extremely sensitive skin and it has since stopped burning when applied. The smell was amazing! It smelled like Gin and Tonic which in my books is a wonderful scent, although I can't drink them. The next day I did not get as extreme of a burning sensation just mild and it ended quickly so was tolerable. I did housework, walked in 40 degree humid temperatures to the farmer's market, did errands and it held up pretty well. I still smelled great! I have now been using it for 5 days and these are my guidelines for use. If you are going to be working up a sweat you may have to re-use during the day, if you will be sitting in a cool office you will be fine. It will not last you 24 hrs like the Lush deodorant and I don't find I stay dry feeling with the Weleda like I do with the Lush ( Lush' T'eo being a powder helps keep you dry feeling). It is a good deodorant for someone who is not particularly odouriferous and who does not sweat a lot. It is easy to re-apply if needed and comes in an attractive 'perfume bottle' dispenser so popping it in your purse or bag is an option unlike the powdery solid deodorant which breaks easily if dropped. I give Weleda's Citrus Deodorant the thumbs up! Now to try to the Rose!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pursuit of Balance and Frugality

  I am always happy to find a bargain and even better find a little gem of a store or restaurant that one could make a habit of returning to again and again, making it your goto place. In honour of this I am going to attempt to  blog about all the restaurants in the GTA that have a kids eat free night. There is a webpage that has a small list but I know there must be more out there so I am on the search to find options for large families to eat at on a tight budget. Who knows maybe I will review a few too and give it a yay or nay I we end up eating there. Now being the healthy eating nut that I am will be looking for healthier alternatives to the regular fried kid's fare so if you have any suggestions please feel free to let me know!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From my email inbox; MSG a slow poison

This was sent to my email acct so I figured I would post it here. I have done zero editing just copy and pasted it.

MSG (a slow poison) - Very interesting

The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison. MSG hides
behind 25 or more names, such as Natural Flavoring." MSG is even in your
favorite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbucks coffee shops!

I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity
epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant
at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working
for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through
scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of
America .

In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice
and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice
is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these
creatures morb idly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first

The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats(and
perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents
they create: "MSG-Treated Rats."

When I heard this, I was shocked. I went into my kitchen and checked the
cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything -- the Campbell 's
soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen,Betty
Crocker H amburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared
meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the "healthy low-fat"

The items that didn't have MSG marked on the product label had something
called "Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein," which is just another name for
Monosodium Glutamate.

It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children
everyday are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different
names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they
don't catch on. (Other names for MSG are "Accent, "Aginomoto," "Natural Meat
Tenderizer," etc.)

But it didn't stop there.

When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what
menu items contained MSG. Many employees, even the managers, swore they
didn't use MSG. But when we ask for the ingredient list, which they
grudgingly provided, sure enough, MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were

Burger King, M cDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant -- even the
sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's -- use MSG in
abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was
in every chicken dish, salad dressing. and gravy. No wonder I loved to eat
that coating on the skin -- their secret spice was MSG!

So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat?
Is it a preservative, or a vitamin?

Not according to my friend John Erb. In his book The Slow P oisoning of
America , he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has
on the human body.

Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group
supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make
people eat more.

A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that
it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is
a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?

"Betcha can't eat [just] one," takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is
concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!

MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products.
It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more
of it than they would if MSG wasn't added.

Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive
substance. Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years
ago,MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals,
soups, snacks, and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.

The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim
it's safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it's safe when there
are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like

"The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of
exercise in obesity." Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT , Ribeiro IA. Res
Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002.

"Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in
both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats." Guimaraes RB, Telles MM,
Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.

'Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously
hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors."
Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fuji shima.
Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar.

"Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in
suckling period and subsequent development of obesity." Tanaka K, Shimada M,
Nakao K Kusunoki. Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct.

No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978.
Both the "medical research community" and "food manufacturers" have known
about the side effects of MSG for decades.

Many more of the studies mentioned in John Erb's book link MSG todiabetes,
migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's.

So what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping this fattening
and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we
now see?

Several months ago, John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of

the highest government health officials in Canada . While he was sitting in
the go vernment office, the official told him, "Sure, I know how bad MSG is.
I wouldn't touch the st uff." But this top-level government official refuses
to tell the public what he knows.

The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing issues with
their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may
hurt their profit margin. The food producers and restaurants have been
addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price
for it.
Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food

But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice!
What can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while our governments
are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us?

This message is going out to everyone I know in an attempt to tell you the
truth that the corporate-owned politicians and media won't tell you.

The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this
drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone. With any
luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation
protecting those who are poisoning us.

The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry. Imagine if big
tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on

If you are one o f the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and
you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the
National Library of Medicine at   HYPERLINK "" . Type in the words "MSG Obese" and read a few of the 115
medical studies that a ppear.

We the public do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not
approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic,addicted
sheep, feeding the food industry's bottom line while waiting for the heart
transplant, the diabetic-induced amputation, blindness, or other
obesity-induced, life-threatening disorders.

With your help we can put an end to this poison.
Do your part in sending this message out by word of mouth, e-mail, or by
distribution of t his printout to your friends all over the world and stop
this "Slow Poisoning of Mankind" by the packaged food industry.

Blowing the whistle on MSG is our responsibility, so get the word out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Creating your own cleaning products for pennies!

Being creative in the kitchen is always fun for me but I have found a way to be even more creative by customizing my own cleaning products.

I am not a flowery scent lover and most cleaning products have too much perfume or chemical toxicity to them. Even ones that claim to be green or natural aren’t entirely that natural so to be safe I have begun making my own. In the end I choose the scent if I want scented and it ends up costing me a whole lot less than buying pre-made stuff.

The multi purposes for baking soda! There are any uses for baking soda and this is my favourite cleaning product by far. I create a large batch of baking soda and essential oils for use on my carpets for deodorizing, scrubbing my pots and pans and tubs and for adding to laundry to freshen and clean. I get a large container with a tight sealing lid and a whole lot of baking soda from Costco. I mix up about 3-4 boxes at a time of baking soda with lime, lemon and tea tree essential oil (about 15 drops of each) and shake well. Seal with lid and let sit for 24 hrs before using. For laundry add 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup with 1/2 a cup of vinegar along with laundry detergent ( I will teach you how to make that next) to your laundry load and run through. Clothes are softer, less static-y, cleaner and fresher! For pots and pans I simply sprinkle the pan with baking soda and add some dish soap and a tiny bit of water, using a scrub brush I am able to clean them spic and span getting all the stuck on food off with just a little elbow grease. I also do the same for a bath tub and it does get rid of soap grime!

For DIY homemade laundry detergent for PENNIES go to this site..There are 10 recipes for laundry detergent but keep in mind you need a very large bucket(at least 5 gallons) and a long handled mixing stick or spoon.

For fabric softener if you add vinegar to your wash load you won’t need fabric softener and you will be helping to keep your machine clean at the same time. If you like fragrance from your fabric softener add a few drops of essential oil to a scrap of damp cloth into your dryer load for fragrance.

Steam mops are a fantastic invention! I use mine to not only steam the floors but my shower stall, mattresses, pillows, my sofa and carpets. Mine comes with washable microfibre pads that I always add a few drops of essential oil to to freshen my home while I steam. For ultra clean change the pads with every room.I also suggest when buying a steam mop that you look for ones that don’t soak the pads from the get go as this makes drying time a lot longer. My mop is the Smart Living mop and I highly recommend this mop. I always steam mattresses and pillows etc during a bout of illness to help slow the spread of germs and most of the time thwart the spread altogether.

I also make my own cleaning spray with 1/2 cup of vinegar in an empty, clean spray bottle fill the rest with water and put 15 drops of lemon essential oil. Cleans everything nicely and the scent is fresh.

I hope you find these household cleaning product tips useful and money saving! I would love to hear yours!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breastfeeding, Bullies and Births

I find that when it comes to the ongoing debate about breastfeeding that a woman can start to feel bullied by both sides. The pro-formula set tell you that their product is as good as breast milk or second to breast milk and the pro-breast feeders tell you only breast will do. Where I stand on the issue is a bit more complicated and has me feeling like both sides are the school yard bully.

When I was 15 I was pregnant with my first child, I was scared, naive but prepared to do the best I could and face the consequences of my actions. Out of fear I delayed letting people know of my pregnancy and did not get prenatal care until about 6 months along. Once the cat was out of the bag I sought proper care and thankfully everything was fine with my baby but I was another story. I have very severe asthma and at about 7 and a half months I had a very severe attack in which they were worried that my baby was not breathing. I was hospitalized and put on some heavy duty medication for the duration of my pregnancy. No one in the medical field could tell me that what they were giving me for my asthma was safe for my baby, no one would ease my mind. My entire late pregnancy I felt as if my doctors, the hospital where I gave birth (catholic hospital by the way) even when I delivered I felt as if they were punishing me for being so young and setting me up to fail. When I was hospitalized prior to the birth for my asthma attack they put me in a room with a man who was very sick and VERY contagious. He had some weird bowel/intestinal bug and frequently defecated in his bed and moaned constantly. Who puts a pregnant person in a room with someone who is contagious? During my labour they delayed and then 'accidentally' put the epidural in wrong so I had zero freezing, they left me alone in a room with a woman who was completely losing it during her labour to scare me while I was in early stages of labour. Once the baby was born they did not inform me of the state of my baby and made the assumption that I was giving my baby up for adoption and put me on a ward for heart patients without my child. When the 'mix up' was corrected they would not allow me to sleep with my baby, keep my baby in my room at night or even handle my child without supervision. They sent in countless chaplains to 'counsel' me, to pray with me and to try to talk me into doing the right thing. When it came time to feed my child because of the medication I was on they could not tell me how risky it would be for him to breastfeed so out of fear I opted to formula feed. I was 15, on social assistance, a single mom and formula feeding.

Fast forward to my pregnancy with my 5 year old, I was 32, educated, eating wholesome and organic foods with every intention of having a natural birth. I did everything right and found out that he was breech, I was adamant that I would have a natural birth! I went in to have the baby turned by the doctor...the pain was unbearable but I tolerated it with tears in my eyes and hand shaped bruises on my stomach to no success. I then had acupuncture done to turn the baby with some success but he turned back. Turns out he was breech because I had a uterine septum and he could not engage his head so I had a very unnatural C-Section. When it came time to nurse I tried so very hard, I went to the classes they held at the hospital, I went to outside breastfeeding counselling but that baby would NOT nurse. My doctor wanted me to prove to her that my child would not nurse so I proceeded to show her and she said she had never seen a baby fight so hard to NOT breastfeed in her entire career. So,for 8 months I pumped and supplemented with formula. I pumped so often I has blisters, I feel asleep many times with the pump attached only to wake up with sore nipples. I did WHATEVER I could do and still failed so now I was feeling the guilt and pressure of NOT being able to do what I wanted to do so badly. Something must be wrong with me right? When I would bottlefeed I would feel the judgmental eyes on me, I would see the looks passed and I would always get instruction or 'tips' on how to do it because after all that is what they are for and what is best for my baby. I would be a mess of tears and feelings of failure every single time I was given advice or told I must not be doing it right, that bottle feeding with formula was just horrible and why would anyone chose to formula feed.

Move on to my pregnancy with my 3 yr old. Everything did not go as planned but I was able to have a VBAC, I was able to enforce the no clamps or suction rule and I had a beautiful and eager to breastfeed baby boy. He seemed to be a natural, he also seemed insatiable and I was unable to master the left side we go again I thought. Once again I went to the classes, I went to the local LLL at the hospital, I talked to my doctor and finally after about 4 weeks got help from my friend. She came to my home and taught me how to handle the situation, to solve the very same problem many 'professionals' had failed to do. Yet again, the guilt from the inability to do it right hit me hard.

Many think because breastfeeding is natural that it just comes naturally but that is the furthest thing from the truth for many women. When women feel the need to sabotage someone else's self esteem because they cannot do something or do it as easily as they did it is destructive. It is destructive to be negative about formula feeding when sometimes it is just a necessity. It is destructive to tear at women who formula feeds especially when you have no idea of the circumstances. Yes breast milk IS best, yes it IS more budget friendly and yes it IS more convenient and if given the option I would have for every single baby but circumstances did not afford me that option every single time. Being a bully on either side is not productive it just adds further guilt and shame to an already volatile situation. Sometimes compassion goes a whole lot further, compassion can help relieve the guilt that a mother probably already feels when she is unable to do what is supposed to come naturally.

Now before we get into the advertising of formula or third world countries and formula I would like to stop it before it starts. I would also like to not get into hospitals pushing formula or any issues you may have with to formula companies, the freebies etc. This is solely about the pressures and guilt I felt with the whole situation.


It is a word that can be tossed around so lightly or a feeling that eludes you especially during a cold, dull grey winter month such as February. Oh February, how you have uninspired me. You are a short month but probably the most painful psychologically and I am glad you are over!
I spent most of February firmly planted in my head, not wanting to deal with anything or anyone who caused me stress. February made my neck cease up so badly I spent the last two weeks dealing with daily headaches and soreness. Today is March the 2nd so I will be visiting my chiropractor to adjust the February right out of me! Good riddance February!

Hello March, month of my birth, month of the pisces and the month that spring is supposed to....well, spring! March is a month that inspires hope, creativity and happiness because by the end of the month we hope that this grey shadow cast over us by winter is long gone and the flowers, birds and people are all peaking out from their hiding places. I like March even though every March I get older. When daylight savings time is in effect it allows for those of us who wake up to dark and finish work after dark to see daylight! The warmth of spring and summer affords us more outdoor time, walks along the boardwalk, more playtime in the park and the very best things in the world...ROADTRIPS!!! I am starting to feel inspired to start planning roadtrips, getting ideas and researching locations....this is the ultimate in family fun.

I try to plan trips that cost next to no money, only gas and maybe parking. We have picked up and gone to various beaches, Niagara Falls and various small towns in Ontario and loved every trip. I like taking the boys places where they can just run around and be boys without the borders of fences or traffic. This year will be no exception and my inspiration is bubbling! Yay for inspiration!

So I ask you dear readers...what is your inspiration? Do you have roadtrip inspirations for me?

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Honour of Family Day.....

I bring you the VERY BEST pancake recipe you will ever taste! You can vegan-i-fy it if you wish but it is mostly vegan!

1 1/4 cups soymilk unsweetened + 1 tbsp or lemon juice to create "buttermilk"
2 tbsp coconut milk powder to thicken butter milk
1/4 cup grapeseed oil ( light and has no really flavour to alter the taste of food but if pregnant do NOT use)
1 egg
1/4 cup of unbleached white spelt flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 heaping tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
pinch of salt

combine soymilk and lemon juice in bowl but do not mix together let sit
beat egg in separate bowl along
add in oil to mixing bowl and then egg, agave and stir together. add in coconut milk powder
mix together in separate bowl all dry in gredients but coconut milk powder and then gradually mix into wet mixture

use grapeseed oil to grease your frying pan or griddle as it is light and has a high smoke point

I personally like to combine blueberries, agave and maple syrup as a topping but the sky is the limit!