As I stated in a previous post, I’ve been doing a lot of research on such things as nutrition, and the benefits of natural, healthy living. I find the research fascinating, and there are many ideas and useful information that I am trying to incorporate into our daily lives. Some ideas I’ve implemented immediately, while some have gone through a process of trial and error. Some have been embraced with open arms, while others have been met with turned-up noses and a strong disliking. Some are very practical and easy to incorporate, while some just aren’t realistic for our family at this point in our lives. It has been an interesting journey, and I am learning/incorporating more every day. Here are some changes we have made, along with family reactions and practicality. :0)
*The Toaster Oven
The microwave is one of those daily-used items in most American kitchens, that we use automatically without thinking of the health implications. (I know this point is about a toaster oven. I’m getting there…) Microwaves significantly decrease the nutritional value of the foods up to 60 to 90% of the normal level. There is reduction in vitamin B 12, that is necessary for red blood cell formation and building up nervous system. The flavonoid content of the food decreases by 97% when cooked in microwave oven. Flavonoids contain anti cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. There is significant decrease in vitamin C, vitamin E, essential mineral and lipotropic factors in food. Glucosides, nitrilosides, alkaloids present in the vegetables are damaged significantly. The dangers of heating plastics in the microwave cannot be ignored. The cancer causing compounds in the plastic containers and plastic wraps percolate into the food cooked in microwave oven. Bisphenol A is a chemical toxin present in plastic bottles that can percolate into foods and cause cancer, early puberty, obesity and diabetes. The radiations decrease the immune system of humans and regular eating of microwave cooked foods causes memory loss, emotional problems and decrease in IQ. Microwave cooked food also can lead to decrease in hormone production. (Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/dangers-of-microwaves.html)
In light of the above information, and other controversies surrounding the use of the ever-popular microwave, we bought a toaster oven. This would be one of those ideas that hasn’t exactly gone over well with all members of my family. I, myself, love it. Yes, it does take longer, and you need to give yourself more time when preparing meals, but really, how many of us need to slow down and enjoy life a little more, anyway? And is a few more minutes of our time worth all of the health benefits in the long run? I believe so. I use the toaster oven for reheating foods, melting butter and coconut oil, defrosting, etc. Ours has the options of Bake, Slow Bake, Convection Bake, Broil and Defrost. The only aspect that I don’t like, is that the heating element is exposed at the top. So if you stick your hand in to retrieve an item, and you inadvertently hold your hand too high, or at the wrong angle, you are going to fry the skin off of the top of your hand, which hurts like a big dog. Trust me.
What in blazes is Kefir? Kefir contains beneficial yeast, as well as probiotic bacteria. These combine to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. Kefir is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins. The beneficial yeast and bacteria contain lactase, which is an enzyme that consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process, making it more digestible for those that are lactose intolerant. Kefir can be used in place of buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream and even mayonnaise in many recipes. It is like an effervescent, drinkable yogurt. Some don’t find the taste palatable, so it is best to mix it in to recipes, or to make into smoothies.
Kefir can be purchased at most supermarkets, but it can also be made at home, for a much more frugal option. It is made from gelatinous particles, called “grains.” They look like small pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower. These grains, when placed in milk or water, ferment the product, which incorporates their friendly organisms. Fermentation generally takes 12-24hrs, and then the grains are strained, added to a new base, and the process begins again. If you haven’t had Kefir before, I suggest trying some from the supermarket. Or, come visit me and I’ll whip you up a yummy Kefir concoction. :0)
*Oil Face Wash
Yes, you read that right. Contrary to popular belief, oil does not create greasy skin or acne, and when mixed properly, it can even combat it. My daughter and I have been using it for a good two months now, and absolutely love the results. Our skin is smooth, clean and clear. (or clearer) My reasons for using it are twofold: 1.) It’s cheap. I don’t know if you’ve purchased facial cleanser lately, but Oh. My. Goodness. It’s crazy expensive. Even if you’re a dork like me and use coupons. 2.) I know exactly what I am putting on/in my skin, unlike many popular face wash brands, which contain upwards of 24 ingredients – ¾ of which you can’t even pronounce, or know what they are.
This contains 3 simple ingredients: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), castor oil and tea tree oil. The tea tree oil acts as an astringent. If acne isn’t an issue, feel free to leave it out. However, I purchased a tea tree oil with essence of lavender, and it smells heavenly.
For dry skin, mix 3 parts EVOO with 1 part Castor.
Oily skin, vice-versa: 3 parts castor with 1 part EVOO.
For acne-prone skin, add a few drops of tea tree oil.
Use a dime to quarter sized amount and apply to dry skin. I keep mine in a food-decorator-type squeeze bottle, and just squeeze out the amount I need each time. Massage with fingertips. Wet a washcloth with hot water (as hot as you can stand w/out hurting yourself) and lay it over your face for about 1min. (this opens your pores and creates a nice “facial” effect). Wipe completely off – you may need to rinse the washcloth and wipe again.
That’s it. Simple. Healthy. And cheap. Bonus.
So that’s a start for now…I’ll leave you wondering what other crazy things I’ve come up with until the next post….:0) Also, if you have any ideas, thought, suggestions that you have tried and liked/disliked, I’d love to hear about them.
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