• chemicals
  • The EPA estimates that US sales of pesticides in 2000-2001 exceeded $11 billion dollars, thus representing over 2 billion pounds of pesticides being dumped on U.S. farm soil, homes, gardens, schools, golf courses and more. This number is about 7 pounds for every man, woman and child in the entire country.
  • There are over 21,000 different pesticides on the U.S. market containing over 875 active compounds. Many of these have been proven to have health implications while the effects of others are still unknown.
  • Lawn pesticides and herbicides can cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, developmental disorders, and will double the risk of canine lymphoma in dogs through exposure.
  • Since 1945, total U.S. crop losses from insect damage have nearly doubled. During the same time, insecticide use has increased tenfold. Today, seventy-one known carcinogenic pesticides are sprayed on food crops. (In Harmony’s report, “Pesticides: Losing Their Effectiveness”)
  • EPA estimates that there are approximately 20,000 physician diagnosed pesticide poisonings each year among agricultural workers. Of course, this does not account for those which are unreported.
  • Pound for pound, children absorb a higher concentration of pesticides and herbicides than adults.
  • According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, only 1% of all imported fruits and vegetables are tested by the Food and Drug Administration for illegal pesticide residues.
  • The CDC has gone on record as stating, “Pesticides are toxic to life forms by their very design.”

34 Reasons Why You Need Hydrogen Peroxide In Your Home

34 Reasons Why You Need Hydrogen Peroxide In Your Home

Hydrogen peroxide – chemically represented as H2O2 – is one of the most common household disinfectants in the world. In fact, odds are pretty good that you have a bottle in your medicine cabinet or under your kitchen sink right now. People typically use hydrogen peroxide for sanitizing small cuts and as a whitener for delicate items, however there is much more to this little brown bottle than most of us realize.

Read on to discover 34 reasons why you need hydrogen peroxide in your home.

Health & Beauty

1. Disinfect Small Wounds

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural anti-septic, therefore one of its most common uses is to clean wounds to prevent infection.

2. Bleach Your Hair

Because it is more gentle than household bleach, hydrogen peroxide is also great for lightening hair.

3. Just Add Highlights

To get a classic “sun-bleached” look, simply spray hydrogen peroxide over damp hair and let it soak in for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing out.

4. Whitening Toothydrogen peroxideaste

Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a homemade toothydrogen peroxideaste that will also remove stains from teeth when used daily.

5. Antiseptic Mouth Rinse

Use a cap full of hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse to help whiten teeth and kill germs that cause bad breath.

6. Disinfect Toothbrushes

Soak toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide to kill staph bacteria and other germs common to the bathroom environment.

7. Whiten Your Nails

Soak fingertips and toes in hydrogen peroxide to naturally whiten your nails.

8. Clear Up Acne

Use hydrogen peroxide as a face rinse to kill the bacteria that cause acne and help clear your complexion.  (Or check out these other 11 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Pimples Fast!)

9. Help Heal Boils

Pour half of a bottle (about 8 ounces) of hydrogen peroxide into warm bath water and soak to treat boils.

10. Soften Corns & Calluses

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water to make a foot soak that will naturally soften corns and calluses.

11. Remove Ear Wax

Put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into ears, wait a minute or two, then follow up with a couple of drops of olive oil. Wait another minute, then drain fluid from ears to remove ear wax.

12. Prevent “Swimmer’s Ear”

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in a small dropper bottle. Put several drops in each ear after swimming to prevent infection.

13 .Relieve Ear Infections

Put 6 – 8 drop of hydrogen peroxide in each ear to alleviate symptoms and help clear up an ear infection.

14. Kill Sub-dermal Parasites

Apply hydrogen peroxide to skin affected with mites or other parasites to kill them naturally.

15. Treat Foot Fungus

Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a dark colored spray bottle (light exposure weakens hydrogen peroxide) and apply to skin affected by foot fungus each night to stop fungal growth.

(Further Reading Top 10 Natural Remedies For Toenail Fungus)

Kitchen & Bath

16. Clean Tile Surfaces

Spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto tile to remove dirt and stains.

17. Whiten Grout

Mix hydrogen peroxide with white flour to create a thick paste. Apply to grout and cover with plastic wrap overnight. The next day, simply rinse with water for whiter grout.

18. Clean Toilet Bowls

Pour about half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into toilet bowls and let it soak for at least 30 minutes to clean and remove stains.

19. Remove Tub Scum

Spray hydrogen peroxide on soap scum, dirt, and stains in the bathtub. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes then rinse to loosen grime and make cleaning easier.

20. Control Mold & Mildew

Spray hydrogen peroxide on areas where mold and mildew are present to stop fungal growth and remove discoloration.

(Further Reading: 6 Natural Ways To Rid Your Home Of Mold & Mildew)

21. Clean Glass Surfaces

Spray hydrogen peroxide on dirty mirrors and other glass surfaces to loosen dirt and grime. Wipe away with a clean, lint-free cloth.

22. Disinfect Countertops

Spray hydrogen peroxide on kitchen and bathroom countertops to clean and disinfect.

23. Soak Dishrags & Sponges

Drop dirty rags and cleaning sponges into hydrogen peroxide and let them soak for 15 – 30 minutes to disinfect.

24. Disinfect Cutting Boards

Spray hydrogen peroxide on cutting boards to kill germs and bacteria from raw meat and other foods that may have soaked into the surface of the board.

25. Wash Fruits & Vegetables

Spray fruits and veggies with hydrogen peroxide and let soak for a minute or two before rinsing in clean water to remove dirt, wax, and other contaminants.

26. Clean Your Refrigerator

Spray hydrogen peroxide around the inside of your refrigerator and let is soak for a few minutes. Then wipe away with a clean cloth to remove food and disinfect.

Around the House

27. Whiten Laundry

About about a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash water and soak fabrics for 15 – 30 minutes to revitalize dingy or yellowed whites.

28. Remove Organic Stains

Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dish detergent and apply to organic stains (coffee, wine, blood, sweat, etc) to remove them.
Remember, hydrogen peroxide will bleach darker fabrics. Use this technique with caution!

29. De-Funk Musty Fabrics

Mix hydrogen peroxide with white vinegar and soak musty fabrics to remove unwanted odors.

30. Clean Rugs & Carpets

Spray hydrogen peroxide onto light-colored carpets and rugs to remove stains from mud, food, etc. Just remember that hydrogen peroxide will bleach some fabrics. You may want to test this technique in an inconspicuous area first.

31. Refresh Re-useable Bags

Spray hydrogen peroxide inside your re-useable cloth shopping bags to clean, disinfect, and remove food odors.

32. Disinfect Lunchboxes

Spray hydrogen peroxide into lunchboxes, coolers, and cooler bags. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe away to clean and disinfect.

33. Cleanse Dehumidifiers

Add a pint of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water and run the solution through humidifiers to disinfect and remove any mold or mildew that may be growing inside.

34. Improve Seed Germination

Soak seeds in hydrogen peroxide to remove fungal spores and increase germination rate. For more on using hydrogen peroxide to start seeds, check out this great article from Dave’s Garden.

Where To Buy Hydrogen Peroxide

Ready to try out some of these great tips and tricks? You can purchase 3 – 10% hydrogen peroxide at most food and drug stores. For cleaning purposes only, you may also want to try 35% hydrogen peroxide which can also be purchased from Amazon.

Remember to always exercise caution when using hydrogen peroxide – especially in higher concentrations – as the liquid and vapors can burn skin and lungs. Also, be very careful to never swallow hydrogen peroxide when using orally. Consumption of H2O2 can be severely detrimental to your health, causing dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and (in large enough quantities) even death. Hydrogen peroxide is for external use only!

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut Health


Fermentation (also known as ‘culturing’) is a food preparation technique that sees bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms partially break down food, increasing its nutritional content and digestibility while creating helpful enzymes.

This culturing process can feel like an art crossed with a science experiment – adding vague quantities of ingredients and slimy blobs of bacteria to an array of glass beakers, with sometimes strange outcomes. But don’t be put off … it’s all part of the fun, and the health benefits are enormous. As you feel your overall well-being improve, don’t be surprised if fermenting becomes something of a hobby!

Why Do We Need Fermented Foods?

There’s plenty of evidence to prove that the state of our gut influences our mental, physical and emotional health. Countless studies show that an overabundance of ‘bad’ bacteria is linked to digestive issues, skin disorders, ADHD, mood swings and anxiety, weight problems, food allergies and autoimmune disorders. How do these harmful bugs get so out of control, you ask? Poor diet, antibiotics (both those prescribed to us and those found in our meat and dairy), anti-bacterial cleaners and birth control pills all contribute to a lower level of beneficial bacteria.

Don’t despair, recent studies prove that by simply adding friendly bacteria back into our bodies we can force out the bad microbes, and so prevent or control negative conditions like acne,IBS, Crohn’s Disease and many neurological issues. While you could head to the health store for some probiotic pills, there is a much more effective and economical alternative – fermenting your own foods! This guarantees even greater quantities of healthy, living bacteria, plus you get several different strains of these microbes, for optimal gut health.

To get you started, try some of these classic cultures and you’ll be on the road to better gut health in no time!

1. Sauerkraut

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut Health

This lacto-fermented cabbage is probably the most well-known of all cultured foods, and for good reason – it’s an absolute powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, good bacteria and enzymes. It contains several times more Vitamin C than regular cabbage and studies even show links between increased Sauerkraut consumption and a reduction in the risk of cancer. You can easily whip up your own with just two ingredients to serve as a healthy accompaniment to so many meals.

Simply finely shred a head of cabbage, add to a mixing bowl and sprinkle over 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it’s all coated and some liquid is drawn out. Pack the cabbage into a sterilized glass jar and pour over any liquid left in the bowl, pushing down until the vegetable is submerged by liquid. Cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hours at room temperature.

Now, wait for five to ten days for the bacteria to do its thing. You should notice bubbles in the jar, proving good bacteria are alive in there, ready to help populate your digestive system. Taste regularly and, once the Sauerkraut is tangy enough for your liking, you can screw on the lid and store in the fridge for several weeks.

2. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented drink made with a starter known as ‘grains’ (which are not actually grains, but a symbiotic blend of bacteria and yeasts). There are two different types of Kefir – one made with milk, and one with water – both using separate types of grains.

Making kefir is simple; getting your hands on the grains can be a little trickier! However, seeing as the grains multiply with each fermentation, nice health-conscious folk often advertise their spare grains for free on sites like Craigslist or eBay. Alternatively, try your local health food store.

Milk Kefir

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut HealthTo make milk kefir, just add one tablespoon of milk kefir grains to four cups of milk, cover with a cloth and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. The milk will thicken, and become tangy like yogurt. At this point, just strain out the grains and store this probiotic wonder-food in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can immediately transfer the grains to a new batch of milk and begin the process again. The grains will multiply indefinitely so you can pass on good gut health to family and friends!

Milk kefir is great served on top of homemade granola, or blended with a banana and fresh berries for a healthy smoothie – the perfect start to the day! It’s also an ideal way to get beneficial bacteria into kids, with promising research showing that kefir may help protect against food allergies. And those who are lactose intolerant need not miss out – the bacteria breaks down the lactose sugars in the milk meaningkefir can usually be managed by most sufferers.

Water Kefir

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut HealthWhile water kefir doesn’t contain as many strains of bacteria and yeast as milk kefir does, it has much more than other cultured products like yogurt or buttermilk. It can be ‘double fermented’ with a fruit juice, to make a refreshing, sparkling drink that is a great alternative to soda, for both kids and adults. This kind of kefir is suitable for those on a dairy-free or vegan diet.

To make water kefir, bring four cups of water to a boil. Dissolve a quarter cup of organic sugar in this and allow to cool to room temperature, before adding to a jar with a quarter cup of water kefir grains. Cover with a cloth and leave to ferment at room temperature for 48 hours until it has a mildly sweet and tangy flavor with some bubbles. Strain out the grains, screw on the lid and store in the fridge for up to one week. Repeat the process again with a new batch of cooled sugar-water.

To double ferment, add the strained kefir to a quarter cup of fruit juice (but not citrus). Pour this into a flip-top bottle, close the lid and allow to stand at room temperature for another 24 hours before refrigerating.

3. Kombucha

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut HealthSweet, tart and fizzy all at once, Kombucha, like most other ferments, is an acquired taste. A mix of bacteria and yeasts transform simple tea into a (mildly alcoholic) probiotic drink. It’s high in a powerful antioxidant called DSL and also Vitamin C, which is why it’s believed to detoxify the body and protect against cell damage and inflammation while boosting the immune system.

To make your own Kombucha, you’ll need a ‘Scoby’ starter which you can find online (such as from here) or from other Kombucha brewers, and a half cup of pre-made Kombucha (store bought will work). Boil 4 cups of water and pour into a jug or bowl with two black teabags and a quarter cup of organic sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to steep for 30 minutes and then discard the teabags (or check out this list of 18 Genius Things To Do with Your Used Tea Bags).  Cool this tea infusion to room temperature, add to a jar with your Scoby and pre-made Kombucha. Cover with a cloth and ferment for a week, or more depending on your tastes. Decant the Kombucha into a glass jar and refrigerate for 24 hours, before enjoying your homemade brew and all its benefits. Remember to reserve the Scoby and at least a quarter cup of the liquid for your next batch!

4. Kimchi

5 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating For Better Gut HealthKimchi is a spicy and sour Korean dish made with fermented cabbage and various seasonings. It ends up with a higher salt content than that of Sauerkraut, but a lower level of lactic acid (meaning it’s slightly less tangy than its Polish equivalent). As both are loaded with probiotics and digestive enzymes, it’s a matter of personal taste. There are also hundreds of different varieties of Kimchi so make sure to experiment with flavor combinations.

To make a basic Kimchi, shred a head of cabbage into 2-inch wide strips, discarding the cores. Massage the salt into the cabbage and allow to stand for a few hours. Drain and rinse the cabbage well. Place in a clean bowl with 5 finely diced green onions and a cup of cucumber or radish, cut into matchsticks. In another bowl form a paste from 5 cloves of minced garlic, a 1-inch piece of grated ginger, a teaspoon of sugar, 3 tablespoons of (boiled and cooled) water and up to 5 tablespoons of red chili flakes. Add the paste to the bowl of vegetables and toss to coat thoroughly. Pack tightly into a sterilized glass jar and seal. Allow to ferment for up to a week, opening the jar daily to let excess gases escape and ensuring the vegetables are submerged under the liquid. Once fermented to your liking, refrigerate for up to a month.

Enjoy Kimchi in burgers, hotdogs, salads, sandwiches or simply on its own!

5. Sourdough Bread Starter

Not only is sourdough bread delicious, it’s simple to make your own at home, using a sourdough ‘starter’ in place of dry yeast. This starter culture is full of good bacteria, which break down starches in the grains, making sourdough easier to digest than commercially made breads. It has a lower GI than other breads and so doesn’t cause blood sugar to rise and fall so dramatically. It also inhibits phytic acid, an anti-nutrient, which means we reap more vitamins and minerals from sourdough including B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and more. In addition, the lengthy process of fermenting means gluten is broken down with one study showing that Coeliac Disease sufferers could actually tolerate sourdough bread made by slow fermentation.

Making a starter is simple – all you need is an organic, whole-grain flour (such as rye or spelt) and some filtered or boiled water. Add one cup of flour to half a cup of room temperature water and mix well in a jar. Set the lid loosely on the jar and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. Each day over the next 10 days, add in 2 tablespoons of flour and one tablespoon of water and mix well. You should notice the mixture start to bubble and rise, and it should have that lovely, familiar sourdough smell.

You can now use your starter in any recipe which calls for a traditional sourdough starter, remembering to maintain the starter by feeding regularly. If it will be a while before you use your starter, store in the fridge, feeding once a week. Make sure to allow it to warm to room temperature for 24 hours before using in a recipe. Sourdough starters can be handed down from parent to child, so look after yours carefully – you never know how long it will be around!

A Few Final Notes on Fermenting

  • Introduce fermented foods to your diet slowly – allow your body time to adjust to them and the effects of the bad bacteria dying-off.
  • If your ferments go moldy, smell rotten or feel slimy, its best to throw them out and start again (although don’t worry too much – the USDA state there never been a reported case of food poisoning from fermented foods).
  • Your ferments are only as good as the ingredients you use, so always strive for organic, local produce.
  • Feel free to play around with fermenting different fruits and vegetables, and flavoring with various herbs and spices, until you find your favorites.
  • If you’re pressed for time, or don’t trust your culturing abilities, you can pick up some fermented products from the refrigerated section of natural food stores – just make sure it says the product is unpasteurized. Pickled food is not the same as fermented!

June 1, 2015 by

9 Essential Oils For Hormonal Imbalance & How To Use Them

Hormonal imbalances go beyond menopause and hot flashes. Both men and women are affected by imbalances. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, mood swings and fertility problems. Left untreated, hormonal imbalances can lead to diseases like cancer and diabetes.

A 21st Century Problem
Today, the top two hormone imbalance culprits — stress and toxic chemicals — come from our modern lifestyle and the choices we make in dealing with our fast-paced life.

Toxic chemicals are in everything from water bottles to beauty products to the air we breathe. Dr. Theo Colborn PHD, winner of the TIME Global Environmental Heroes Award, founded TEDX, a nonprofit to raise awareness about the dangers of chemicals to the endocrine system. She’s compiled a list of scientifically proven chemical endocrine hormone disruptors, with more than 1000 known toxic chemicals and growing.

While we can’t control all toxic chemical intake, we can make lifestyle changes to reduce stress and strengthen our immune system against the daily attack from harmful chemicals. Making conscious lifestyle choices combined with the use of essential oils can bring balance to your hormonal systems.

June 2, 2015 by Cynthia Bowman
Natural Living