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27
JUN

The Ultimate Crystal Guide for Beginners

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Home,Mindfulness at 12:42 pm | By: Suki Eleuterio

Colorful or dark, shimmery or opaque, crystals come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Sprinkled throughout the earth, these precious gems possess the power to help you tune into your higher self, clear yourself of toxic energy and even mend a broken heart.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look through history. It’s easy to see how crystals have played an important part in our evolution. Crystals like amethyst, opal, amber and citrine have been carried as talismans, adorned in jewelry, used in healing ceremonies and activated as part of shamanic rituals and rites. They even decorated the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings. To this day, crystals are used in jewelry and technology, and line the homes of those of us who are fascinated by their spiritual energy.

Crystals are so much more than just pretty ornaments. Often discredited as “woo-woo” nonsense, crystals sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, when used correctly, crystals can be magical, uplifting and enlightening. If you’re anything like me, the pure beauty of these crystals draws you in. But maybe you’re left wondering, “What are these crystals and what do they mean? How do I use them? Do they really work or is this just some spiritual mumbo jumbo?”

Hey, it’s alright; you’re a crystal beginner! I was once in your shoes. I remember feeling the draw to be around these crystals, to bring them into my home, but never knowing what else to do with them. Ready to take your crystal knowledge to the next level? Consider this your ultimate crystal guide.

Crystal Guide: Choosing the Right Crystal

Just as every human being is a divine work of art, each crystal foraged from the earth has a distinct healing property and meaning. These crystals carry within them the wisdom and power of Mother Earth itself, and just holding them in your hand can be a transforming experience.

When deciding to buy a crystal, there are several ways to find the best one for you. The first way would be to research the healing properties of certain crystals. For example, if you’re looking for a crystal that is used to help with insomnia, you could try searching for “crystals to help you sleep.” The second and the more organic way is to simply purchase a crystal because you feel naturally drawn or attracted to it. Then watch as the crystal teaches you all you need to know.

I always say crystals will find you. Of my collection of crystals in my home, almost half of them have been given to me as gifts. Once you begin to believe in the power of crystals and accept their assistance, the exact crystal you need will step into your life.

Crystal Guide: How to Cleanse Crystals 

Before you bring a crystal into your home or life, remember to treat the crystal with care. Keep your crystals in a safe place and away from harsh sunlight. When I work with crystals, I like to begin by setting an intention. I ask myself, “What do I want to learn from this crystal?” or “Why am I adding this crystal to my collection?”

Once you set the intention, start by clearing the energy of the crystal. Crystals need to be cleared because they can absorb the energy of everyone who has touched or held them.

“Before using any crystal, the easiest way to clear them is to put them on a plate of non-iodized or kosher salt,” explains Alison Olkowski, a reiki master, life coach and sales manager at Crystal Vision LTC in Hollywood, Florida. “The other option is to place the crystal directly on the Earth, because the vibrational frequency of the Earth is 432Hz, which is a naturally cleansing vibration.”

Many people wonder why you need to clear a crystal before using it. “Everything has an energy field and crystals come into contact with many different energy fields in their lifetime,” Olkowski explains. “Cleansing resets the energy of the crystal back to zero, back to its natural state. Then you can set your intention and create a personal relationship with that crystal, one that best suits your energy.”

Crystal Guide: Charging Crystals

When I start working with a crystal, I like to carry it with me or take it along to important events. I might have the crystal in my purse, or if I feel I need extra support, I might carry it in my hand. Using your crystal in your daily life is the best way to build a relationship with your crystal and helps you to really start to feel its energy.

A beautiful way to arrange your crystals in your home is to try an altar or crystal grid. An altar is a spiritual way to invite more peace, love and happiness into your home. You can create an altar using crystals, pictures, candles, statues, feathers or anything that feels deep and meaningful to you. Clear a space in your home—maybe it is near the front door or maybe it is right next to your bed—and set up a little spot for your altar. As you place your crystals and spiritual items on your altar, notice how you feel. This is always a great time to do a little meditation or say a little blessing.

Another great way to decorate your home with crystals is to form a crystal grid. This is a geometric pattern that you can form using crystals; it’s done for the specific purpose of directing your energy toward a goal. As you create your grid, you don’t need to follow any particular pattern. Instead, just feel what feels right for you. Instead of putting your thoughts and focus into what the grid looks like, redirect your thoughts into, “What does this experience feel like?”

Crystals need to be charged in order to perform at their highest energies. My favorite time to charge my crystals is to use the power of the full moon. Every full moon (or even better, super moon), I take my crystals outside and let them sit under the light of the moon. In the morning, you can collect them again and take them inside. You can also charge your crystals using sunlight. Just be careful, because some crystals will fade after prolonged exposure to the sun.

Crystal Guide: How to Use Crystals 

Beginning Your Spiritual Awakening? Try Amethyst 

If you’ve been ramping up your yoga classes, you have a passion for Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and you just started reading Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back, it might be time to invite amethyst into your life. The name amethyst comes from the Greek word for “not intoxicated,” and it was a crystal known for invoking a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Often used to help reduce nightmares and insomnia, this brilliant purple crystal will take your meditations to a new level. Also known for enhancing psychic abilities, amethyst is perfect for the spiritual seeker.

How to use it: Place a small amethyst crystal on your third eye (the spot right between your brows), lay down and practice a one- to two-minute guided meditation (you can find them on YouTube). Notice any sensations you might feel as you meditate.

Suffering from Headaches? Try Apatite 

Oh no, you’ve found yourself in a bit of a pickle. It seems like everything is falling apart and no matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to get yourself out of this funk. If you’ve been suffering from headaches, confusion, uncertainty or doubt, it’s time for a problem-solving crystal like apatite to enter your life. This bright blue crystal, which is often associated with the throat chakra, comes from the Greek word for “to deceive” for its ability to act like a chameleon and resemble other stones. Apatite is a great problem solver; it is believed to help soothe headaches and clear away uncertainty and lower emotions. Apatite can help you see things from a new perspective.

How to use it: You can try apatite in one of three ways. The first is to create a crystal grid and put your apatite crystal at the center. Ask a question to the crystal as you create the grid and see how the crystal goes to work for you. Secondly, you can sleep with the crystal next to your bed and notice any dreams you might have. Finally, you can journal and place the apatite next to your journal, ask yourself specific questions and see what comes through in your writing.

Tired of the Toxic Friends? Try Black Tourmaline 

You’ve been thinking about the type of people in your life and the term “toxic friendship.” If you’ve been debating pressing the “unfriend” button, or you feel what everyone else feels, or you’re very sensitive to chemicals, allergens and toxins, black tourmaline might be your new best friend. This crystal can be used to clear toxic energy, purify your thoughts and psyche and even remove deep-seated fears. This is a very grounding gem and perfect for those moments when you feel the toxic energy of the world. Do you need a digital detox? Use black tourmaline to recharge your spiritual batteries and bring you back to the present moment.

How to use it: I like to use black tourmaline along with an affirmation ritual. Pick an affirmation you like, for example, “I am attracting healthy, happy relationships into my life,” and then make that affirmation part of your daily ritual. Hold the black tourmaline in your hand as you say the affirmation out loud. Take the crystal with you as you go about your day or place it next to your bed at night.

For Overcoming Obstacles, Try Bloodstone 

They say when it rains, it pours and sometimes you find yourself in circumstances beyond your control. Instead of turning to Facebook to vent your frustrations, why not pick out a beautiful bloodstone to help you overcome your obstacles? Used for thousands of years as a powerful healing crystal, bloodstone is thought to help detoxify the body and specifically to stimulate the blood-rich organs. Think about your liver, your spleen and your kidneys—the parts of your body that work to rid you of toxins. Use bloodstone to help you release and let go, welcome the change and rise above the fear.

How to use it: Bloodstone is a great stone to use during a full moon. Full moons are often chaotic, energy-packed times of the year. Sit down with your bloodstone and feel its calming energy. You can journal or meditate, think about the things you would like to let go of and watch as the crystal helps you through the tough times.

Been Wishing for a Baby? Try Moonstone 

Fertility, motherhood, nurturing and flowing—these are all qualities associated with the soft, semi-transparent crystal known as moonstone. Found all over the world and very popular in the ancient world, moonstone is tied to the concept of the “divine feminine” and the power of the moon. Often linked to fertility, romantic love and sensuality, women were known to carry moonstone as talismans or good luck charms.

How to use it: Wear moonstone close to your heart as a pendant or carry it with you in your purse or pocket. Set an intention with moonstone and be clear with the universe by asking for what you truly desire.

Recovering from a Broken Heart? Try Rose Quartz

The heart is one of our most powerful organs and one that can be so easily bruised. If you have ever been through heartbreak (because, let’s face it, who hasn’t?) you know that feeling in your chest when you just feel like your heart has been split into two. Rose quartz is a delicate, pale pink crystal that can help mend a broken heart. This crystal is great for attracting love into your life or to help your heart to heal from emotional pain or loss. It’s a powerful crystal and yet so subtle and divine. When you invite the rose quartz in, be sure to treat it with extra tender love and care.

How to use it: Place a few rose quartz crystals in your bedroom or around your house. When you pass the crystal in your home, pick it up or just stand by it and let the crystal be a reminder that you deserve love and that your heart will heal. Be open to the messages you might receive from the crystal or just acknowledging how the crystal makes you feel when you touch it or feel it.

Now that you know a little more about crystals and what they mean, which crystal will you choose to take home?




18
JUN

5 Dish Soap Hacks with LuckyPlanet

Filed Under: Home at 3:59 pm | By: Megan Sullivan

Dish soap isn’t just for dirty dishes…it’s also for do-it-yourself fixes! Here are five clever hacks you need to try—all featuring LuckyPlanet dish soap, made with plant-based, natural ingredients.

Dish Soap Hacks

Fruit Fly Trap
Your fruit bowl is stocked after a big grocery haul. Too bad the fruit flies got the memo. Get rid of these pesky party crashers with a simple bug-banishing potion! Pour a few tablespoons of LuckyEats apple cider vinegar into a mason jar and add a couple drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap (it breaks the surface tension). Cover the jar tightly with plastic wrap and poke several small holes in the top. Place the trap near your fruit bowl and watch as the fruit flies begin to congregate inside the jar. They simply can’t resist the alluring scent of apple cider vinegar! Say bye to fruit flies.

Bubbles
Make summer bubble time even more special by using this DIY, kid-safe formula. Start by filling an empty jar with 2 cups of water, then mix in ¼ cup LuckyPlanet dish soap. Next, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin and 2 teaspoons of white sugar. Gently stir the mixture. Seal and let sit for a few hours before your bubble-blowing extravaganza!

Jewelry Cleaner
Is your favorite ring starting to look a little dull? Restore the shine with this DIY jewelry cleaner! Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. Drop in your jewelry and let it soak for a few minutes, then gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth. Put your bling back on and admire the sparkle! This method works great for silver or gold jewelry but is not recommended for fragile gems like pearls.

Blender Rinse
You’ve just concocted a tasty keto breakfast smoothie, but you’re dreading the cleanup. Don’t be a victim of blender buildup. Try this easy fix! Simply fill the blender halfway with warm water, then add a couple drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. Put the lid back on and fire up the blender for a minute or two to loosen up the gunk. Pour the messy contents into the sink and rinse well with water. No need to scrub!

Manicure Soak
We know you’re busy, but it’s important to squeeze in some time for self-care. Why not treat yourself to an at-home manicure? After you’re done shaping and buffing your nails, try this simple manicure soak. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a few drops of LuckyPlanet dish soap. (Maybe even add a few drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil while you’re at it!) Soak your fingertips in the mixture for a few minutes to soften your cuticles and remove any dirt or debris. Breathe deeply and relax!




14
JUN

How to Cleanse Negative Energy from Your Home

Filed Under: Detoxification and Cleansing,Home,Mindfulness at 9:00 am | By: Aly Semigran

They say a clean home is a happy home, but perhaps the same can be said that a cleansed home makes for a happy person.

Our home is often a reflection of who we are, both physically and spiritually. And while we want our homes to be joyous and comforting, sometimes negative energies can find their way in.

Perhaps you’ve moved into a new apartment and something feels off, or your home still carries the emotional weight of a loved one who passed away there. Whatever it is that’s causing a negative energy in your dwelling, there are ways to give yourself, and your home, a new beginning.

Lorrie Webb Grillo, certified feng shui practitioner at Thriving Spaces in Denver, Colorado, explains that negative energies in homes can vary from person to person, and even room to room.

“Have you ever walked into a room where someone was in a heated argument? Most of us can immediately tell that something uncomfortable was going on; the air feels charged,” Webb Grillo says. “That’s the impact of negative energy.”

She notes that negative energy can manifest itself as a “heavy” feeling in the air and even as dulled sounds in spaces where the energy is “murky.”

Cleansing Negative Energy

This is where the art and science of feng shui—and how it can help cleanse negative energies—comes in. “In feng shui, we believe that everything is alive with energy and everything is connected, hence our homes have energy and we are in a relationship with them,” Webb Grillo says.

In other words, how one person copes with a negative space can vary wildly from that of another, and so will their cleansing methods.

The first part of any negative energy cleansing, she says, must begin with acknowledging that it’s there and the root of what caused it.

For instance, when it comes to a household that has experienced a death, the energy “is usually that of sadness and grief, which are not necessarily negative, as they are appropriate for the experience,” Webb Grillo says. “The space cleansing involves acknowledgement, expression of farewell and release.”

Let’s say you’re dealing with getting rid of the energy an ex-lover left behind. “The energy is held in some of the ex’s things—and removing their stuff is a powerful and successful way to release negative energy,” Webb Grillo explains.

While you can practice cleansing on your own (more on that in a bit), experts like Webb Grillo are often called in to help those who need guidance. After the feng shui consultant is told about the negative energy and what caused it, a ceremony takes place.

“I usually write out the ceremony in advance with some information from the participants and make sure that they have time within the ceremony to express themselves,” she says. “It is most powerful when they speak their stories and acknowledgments aloud.”

Using a process from Denise Linn’s book Sacred Space, Webb Grillo abides by these four steps for a ceremony: preparation, purification, invocation and preservation.

“This means you prepare yourself and the space for the clearing, you determine what it is you are clearing, you are grateful for what you are asking to bring in, and you ‘invoke’ or acknowledge that you have done so and have something in the space to preserve the cleansing,” she says.

So, a cleansing can vary from removing items that carry a negative energy (like your ex’s clothing or furniture that belonged to a deceased loved one) to bringing in new, positive things in (like a plant or a crystal, which Webb Grillo says “can preserve a space and encourage a fresh energy to circulate.”)

Tools to Clear Negative Energy 

Even if you don’t use a feng shui consultant, you can create your own ceremony, as well as incorporate helpful tools into your cleansing.

“The burning of sage or incense literally eats up the oxygen in the space and this clears [negative energy] out,” Webb Grillo says. You can also get this from candles (a natural one, without synthetic scents) or essential oils. “Citrus oils bring in fresh, positive energy,” she says.

If you don’t want to burn sage for a cleansing ceremony, Webb Grillo recommends that you “leave a bowl of sea salt in a silver dish to sit and absorb” what’s hanging in the negative space.

“Leaving the salt there for a week would be a good time frame, then washing it down the sink, acknowledging that the salt holds the ‘old’ energy that is being discarded,” she says.

And, believe it or not, something as simple as clapping or ringing a bell “can be a great way to bring a fresh energy” into a space harboring negativity, she says.

While a ceremony with a feng shui expert can take about an hour, Webb Grillo notes that if you do it on your own, it can be even shorter, but the positive results can last a lifetime. Plus, space cleansing doesn’t have to be a one-time thing! Whenever you feel any sort of negative energy, whether it’s one corner of a room or your entire home, you can practice the art of feng shui and cleansing.

“When our homes are cleared and cleansed, we feel uplifted and happier, [we are] able to achieve our dreams and goals,” she says, “That’s what feng shui helps us to accomplish.”




12
JUN

8 Ways to Detox Your Home

Detoxes aren’t limited to body cleanses…you can (and should!) detox your home of harmful chemicals.

There are synthetic chemicals in everything from cleaning products to personal care items, and those chemicals can affect everything from how well you breathe to the health of your pregnancy to your focus at work.

Common Household Toxins

There is substantial evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders, according to the collaborative organization Project TENDR (1). The group identifies these seven pollutants that affect children’s development (2):

  • Organophosphate (OP) pesticides
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants
  • Combustion-related air pollutants, which include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Phthalates

If you have dust in your home—and if you don’t, seriously, what’s your secret?—chances are you’re being exposed to toxic chemicals. In a 2016 meta-analysis of the composite of dust in U.S. homes, researchers reported that “some phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants and phenols are consistently found in 90 percent or more of dust samples across multiple studies” (3).

As scary as all this sounds, we’ve got you covered!

“It’s pretty normal if this all starts to feel a little daunting when you first begin to look into it,” assures Katie Hussong, a registered nurse and holistic health and culinary nutrition coach in Baltimore. “The best approach, I think, is to focus on one thing at a time, to really take the time to understand it, and then to create a healthy swap. Little by little, these small changes can have a huge impact, and it can be an incredibly empowering and enjoyable process.”

So how can we reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals? Here are some smart, simple ways to eliminate toxins at home.

How to Detox Your Home

Learn what you’re facing. “Most folks simply don’t realize how harmful so many products and practices can be,” Hussong says. “We shouldn’t have to think about the chlorine and fluoride in our water or how the germs on our shoes, the closed windows and excessive time spent indoors, or the harmful endocrine disruptors in our favorite skincare, haircare, deodorant, perfume, cookware, cleaners, candles and furniture are all negatively impacting our health.”

Scan your home and make note of potential toxins. You can check the ingredients in your personal care and cleaning products on websites like the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Figure out the biggest offenders in your home, then make a plan to address them one step at a time.

Tackle your personal products. Sunscreen, toothpaste, face wash, lotion—anything you put on or in your body should be detoxified first since it gets directly absorbed. This can seem like an expensive proposition, but focus on one swap at a time. As you use up one product, replace it with a toxin-free alternative. Try using the Think Dirty app to find cleaner options.

Swap out your cleaning arsenal. “Harmful, hormone-disrupting, toxic, synthetic fragrances and chemicals are everywhere, and most of them come from the personal and cleaning products we bring into our homes with the best of intentions,” Hussong says. Eliminate chemical products as you finish them up. Use the EWG list or make your own non-toxic cleaners. Use wet rags to collect dust instead of spraying an unnecessary, chemical-laden dusting product. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.

Toss your dryer sheets. “​In the laundry room, get rid of those dryer sheets (one of the most toxic items in our homes) today,” Hussong advises. As an alternative, she suggests purchasing (or making your own) organic wool dryer balls. “It’ll cost you less than $20, and they’ll last you years and years. You can also add essential oils to the balls for your own real fragrance, courtesy of Mother Nature. It’s easy to DIY your own laundry detergent and fabric softener, too, if you’re up for it.” You can also use vinegar for a fraction of the cost.

Eat clean. Choose fresh fruits and veggies that have lower levels of pesticides. EWG has created shopper’s guides to help identify which produce you should buy organic and which are safe to buy conventional.

Furnish wisely. When it’s time for a new sofa, or you’re decorating your child’s bedroom, look for products that don’t have toxic flame retardants (4).

Use essential oils. “Because of their many diverse properties—antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, soothing, uplifting, cleansing, etc.—we can use high-quality, ethically-sourced essential oils to replace so much of the toxic stuff we bring into our homes, slather onto our bodies, ​and put into our air, and it can be easy, fun, and super cost-effective,” says Hussong, who is also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate.

Purify the air. Make sure your HVAC, vacuum, air filter and so on utilize HEPA filters. Open windows on a nice day to let fresh air in—and toxic air out. You can also harness nature’s air purifier—plants!—by scattering them around the home. Or, work in essential oils. “Instead of that plug-in air freshener or candle laden with toxic hormone-disrupting chemicals, imagine being able to put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in the diffuser to shift the aroma, energy and mood of your home after a long day of work,” Hussong says. “As they diffuse, the natural antimicrobial properties of the oils will also work to cleanse the air of germs and odors.”

Creating a Healthy Home

Bottom line…yes, our homes are probably full of toxins. But, just like a detox or cleanse for your body, you can detox your home with these simple swaps. Make them one at a time to avoid burnout. Then, when you find one thing that works, keep it up, then shift your attention to the next offender on the list!

“That’s the beauty of the world of natural health. One door opens another, which opens another, and so on. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about progress and creating safe habits that support lifelong health, happiness and vitality,” Hussong says. “And here’s the thing: Once you know this stuff, you can’t un-know it. But there’s power in that, because as the great Ms. Angelou taught us, we do the best we can until we know better. And then, when we know better, we do better.”




25
MAY

8 High-Tech Gadgets That Can Help You Sleep Better

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Home at 1:45 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

These days, it feels like no one ever sleeps enough. As sleep becomes more precious than ever, we’re finding it harder to fall and stay asleep—often due to technology.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of people use some sort of electronic device during the hour before bedtime (1). While it may seem harmless to shoot off an e-mail or take a final peek at Instagram before turning in, the blue light emitted by our tablets, laptops and smartphones mimics daylight (2). This makes it harder not only to fall asleep but also can leave us feeling tired, anxious and depressed when we wake up.

After a day surrounded by technology, it can seem like the only solution is to power off and kick all electronics to the curb. However, there are some gadgets designed specifically to help you get the best night’s sleep ever.

“I often recommend that patients use apps and/or online community support as an adjunct to treatment, in addition to recommended behavioral strategies to improve sleep and mood,” says Dr.  Sara Nowakowski, a clinical psychologist who is board-certified in behavioral sleep medicine. “These devices, mobile apps and internet-delivered insomnia programs are improving all the time, and there is value and clinical utility in them. It is finding the right balance for the patient.”

Below, find eight different devices targeted to help you sleep better.

SleepScore Sleep Tracker

One of many on the market, the SleepScore Max is a non-contact nightstand monitor designed to record sleep and send feedback on how to get better sleep to your smartphone. Touted as “the world’s most advanced sleep improvement system,” it asks you certain questions before bed (such as how much caffeine you’ve had that day) and calculates a nightly “SleepScore” to determine how productive your sleep is.

Sleep Number i10 Smart Bed

If you have a few bucks to spend, the pricey i10 Smart Bed promises the “ultimate in blissful, cooling comfort.” Depending on the model, the bed can adjust height and firmness and can accommodate different settings on both sides. The i10 tracks how you sleep by sending a “Sleep IQ” score to your phone and also controls your temperature while you sleep by absorbing excess heat and releasing it as you cool down.

Smart Nora

The Oprah-approved, non-contact Smart Nora promises to banish snoring once and for all. The device comes in two parts—a nightstand monitor and a pillow insert with a pump. As soon as the Nora detects early sounds of snoring (before they become loud enough to wake a sleeping partner!), it triggers the silent pump to inflate and deflate the pillow insert. This motion stimulates the throat muscles, which allows for natural breathing to resume.

Philips Wake-Up Light

If you sleep in a room with minimal sunlight, it can be difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Enter the Philips Wake-Up Light, which uses a combination of light and sound to help you wake up in a more refreshing, natural way.  The light also has a sunset simulation to help you wind down before bedtime.

Aroamarest

The Aromarest nightstand monitor uses light technology, dual aromatherapy diffusers and sound to help “restore your natural ability to sleep well.” The Aromarest has simulated sunrises and sunsets and can also play soothing sounds to help you fall asleep and wake up or white noise to help you sleep throughout the night.

Dreem Headband

Designed to monitor your sleep by recording and analyzing brain activity, the Dreem sleep headband claims to have the “most accurate sleep monitoring” technology. Designed for comfort, the headband tracks sleep while also providing sounds to help you sleep through the night through bone conduction. Once you wake up, plug the headband into its charger and it will sync with your phone, providing you with a personalized sleep report.

Dreamlight Sleep Mask

This ain’t your regular sleep mask. The Dreamlight uses light, sound and genetics (!) to help you fall asleep faster and wake up with more energy. The mask has embedded sleep-inducing orange and wake-inducing green lights as well as technology to aid in relaxation techniques. The mask syncs to your phone to track sleep and provide you with a “personal gene profile” to deliver a more tailored sleep schedule.

SmartDuvet

A climate-controlled, self-making (yes, self-making!) bed can be yours with the addition of the SmartDuvet insert. Placed between the duvet and duvet cover, the SmartDuvet controls the temperature of your bed (allowing for different temperatures on both sides) and also rolls the duvet back into position to make your bed in the morning. Set your ideal temperature and bed-making time from your phone and the SmartDuvet claims to do the rest.

As with all new technologies, it’s important to note that these sleep gadgets, while appealing, may unintentionally disrupt sleep, according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (3). In addition, very few have FDA approval or endorsement by American Academy of Sleep Medicine-accredited sleep facilities or sleep specialists.

“As with all medical interventions, they are considered ‘experimental’ until randomized clinical trials are conducted to provide empirical evidence of the efficacy and safety,” Nowakowski says. “It is important for consumers to do their homework and look at the evidence that supports its use to improve sleep.”




15
MAY

LuckyPlanet Natural Cleaning Products

Filed Under: Green Living,Home,Natural Cleaning Aids at 3:56 pm | By: admin

LuckyPlanet is a line of cleaning products created by the LuckyVitamin team. They are powerful on dirt and grime but safe enough to use around your family and pets. From dish soap to window cleaner, everything in the LuckyPlanet assortment is plant-based, non-toxic and cruelty-free. The whole line is free and clear, which means there are no extra scents or weird smells that you’re going to get from these products. If you want to DIY it, you can add some essential oils from our LuckyAromas brand and maybe make your toilet bowl smell like lavender!

LuckyVitamin created these products with you in mind. They are free of synthetic dyes, colors, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, chlorine, bleach, phosphates and ammonia. So keep your home clean and green with LuckyVitamin!

 

Subscribe to LuckyVitamin’s YouTube Channel!

 




15
MAY

Your Eco-Friendly Guide to Hand-Washing Clothes

Filed Under: Home,Natural Cleaning Aids at 3:20 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Doing the laundry is one of those frustrating inevitabilities in life. You need your wardrobe to look (and smell) as fresh as possible, so making laundry a weekly priority is important. Of course, very few people look forward to this task. Sure, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can definitely eat away at your day.

On top of all this, there are a handful of frustrating environmental issues that stem from the way we wash our clothes. Using a washing machine too much can waste water and energy (1), while certain cleaning products contain agents that can be hazardous to human, animal and plant life (2). Luckily, you can keep your clothes fresh without destroying the planet by taking a few additional eco-friendly steps when going about your routine.

Hand-Wash Your Clothing

The best way to get started is by limiting how much you use your washing machine. Opting to hand-wash your clothing can be a fantastic way to conserve both energy and water. Now, the difficult part of hand-washing your clothing is you need to make time for the task. You will no longer be able to toss your clothes in the machine and go off to focus on another task. Hand-washing requires your full attention and a bit more room in your day.

That said, making space for the activity in your weekly schedule can make you feel more accomplished. To get started, all you need to do is find a large plastic bucket for washing and wringing out each article of clothing. Next, look at tools like a laundry plunger (3) to make the cleaning task easier and a laundry wringer to aid in the drying process. Hand-washing with a plunger has been noted to be effective and requires only a bit more effort than plunging a toilet. You’ll get a little workout for your arms and have some clean laundry in under 15 minutes.

Try Drying Alternatives

You’re already learning how to wash your clothes by hand, why not take things to the next level? Instead of hand-washing and throwing your clothes right into your dryer, you might find it more beneficial to explore some alternatives. Limiting dryer usage can be helpful when you’re conserving energy, but there are a handful of drawbacks to this. For one, it will take more than a day for damp clothing to dry without machine aid. You can speed this process up a bit on a warm, sunny day by utilizing an outdoor laundry line (4).

As mentioned above, the best way to ensure dry clothing in the fastest manner is by thoroughly wringing out each piece of clothing. Doing this action by hand is incredibly straining to your wrists and it requires much more effort than hand-washing. Use a wringer or similar device and you can limit your energy consumption without developing wrist problems in the process.

Use Better Cleaning Products

To get your clothes truly clean while hand-washing, you have to use the right products. Since a number of detergents and bleaches are terrible for the environment, you want to opt for green alternatives. In recent years, a number of new products have appeared on the market promising to deliver options that are less harmful to the planet. With so many different products out there promising the same thing, you might find yourself wondering if everyone is being honest.

Governmental regulations on what qualifies as a “green” cleaning product do not exactly exist. Still, you can consult helpful resources put out by the EPA to become a more informed shopper and avoid using products that contain hazardous chemicals (5). While most brands that make eco-friendly promises are being on the level, it is best to verify the claims on your own to know you’re making the best choice.

Making these slight adjustments to your routine can provide you with a sense of pride that your effort is helping to keep the world as fresh as your hand-washed clothing.

 

For additional tips, check out 5 Ways to Green Up Your Laundry Routine




4
MAY

How to Make Your Own Citronella Candle

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Home at 10:22 am | By: Ysolt Usigan

When the weather heats up, you instantly want to eat delicious barbecue outside, sip margaritas on the porch or enjoy the warm summer air with family and friends. Unfortunately, once dusk hits, mosquitoes run rampant. Saying hello to summer also means saying hello to these summer pests. Bug bites can easily ruin the outdoor fun.

Lucky for you, there are solutions to repel mosquitoes—bug sprays, cover-ups, even high-tech bug-zapping traps. Some are more effective than others, but one of our favorite go-tos is the citronella candle. And the best part is, you can make your own!

“You can control exactly what ingredients are used to make your citronella candle,” says Stephanie Moulton, an expert candle maker and owner of Coming Home Candles. The main ingredient you need is citronella oil.

How to Make a Citronella Candle

Here is Moulton’s easy, step-by-step tutorial for making your own citronella candle.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 16-oz. metal candle tin
  • 2 pre-waxed wicks with tabs (Size: CD-14)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Soy wax flakes (10 oz.)
  • Saucepan and glass measuring cup with handle (to use as a double boiler)
  • Scale
  • Thermometer
  • Citronella fragrance oil or citronella essential oil
  • Complementary essential oils (optional; try lavender, lemon or peppermint!)
  • Clothespin (to help hold the wicks in place)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Use hot glue to adhere two pre-tabbed candle wicks to the bottom of a 16-ounce tinplate candle tin. Glue the metal tabs across from each other at points between the center and sides of the tin.

Step 2: Simmer a few inches of water in your saucepan. Measure out about 10 ounces of soy wax flakes and pour them into your glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup into the pot of water, with the handle on the outside of the pan. Melt the wax to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It is VERY important to use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the wax.

Step 3: Once the wax reaches the exact temperature, remove the measuring cup from the heat source. Add up to 0.9 ounces of citronella fragrance oil and up to 0.1 ounces of a complementary essential oil to the wax. Stir until the oil is well-mixed into the wax. (Note: If you’d prefer not to use fragrance oil, you can swap in citronella essential oil.)

Step 4: Pour wax into the tin. Use a clothespin to secure the wicks so they won’t fall over. Let cool and sit for 48 hours before burning.

Special Considerations

While it’s awesome to be able to make your own citronella candle, it’s super important to make sure your wax is at the right temperature before you add the fragrance oil, Moulton warns. “Not only can hot wax burn your skin if it splashes on you, every fragrance oil has a flash point (the temperature at which the oil combusts), and you don’t want to pour fragrance oil into wax that is hotter than its flash point.”

In addition to safety precautions, you absolutely need to measure and get the right size wick. “If the wick is too small for the container, it won’t melt the wax all the way to the edges of the container,” says Moulton. “If the wick is too big, it will burn with a larger than normal flame.”




20
APR

3 Ways to Use Vinegar for Laundry

Filed Under: Home,Natural Cleaning Aids at 2:37 pm | By: Maggie Marton

If you’re looking to pre-treat stains, soften clothes or banish odors from dirty clothes but want to avoid harsh chemicals, then vinegar may be your new best friend.

Using Vinegar for Laundry

Vinegar serves as an alternative to harsh laundry chemicals like bleach. But why? White vinegar is comprised of about 5 percent acetic acid and 95 percent water. “The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalis in soaps and detergents,” according to the Vinegar Institute. (Yep, it’s a real nonprofit serving the vinegar industry!)

While you can use other vinegars like apple cider, distilled white vinegar is an inexpensive and effective choice. You can pick up a large jug for around $2 at most grocery stores and use it to brighten, soften and de-stink load after load of laundry.

Vinegar can be used in lieu of bleach, stain treatments and fabric softener; you’ll still want to use laundry soap in your machine. So, let’s look at some specific ways to try vinegar in your laundry room.

Rinse Clothes

You can incorporate white vinegar into your regular laundry routine. “Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water,” the Vinegar Institute recommends.

Another option, if your machine has an automatic dispenser for soap, softener or bleach, is to simply add the vinegar to the dispenser. That way, it will automatically dispense at the right time.

As an added bonus, vinegar is a natural disinfectant that is effective against certain types of bacteria (1). Commercially available white vinegar that contains 5 percent acetic acid kills about 80 percent of germs, studies show (2).

Remove Stains

If you find yourself constantly reaching for the stain remover, consider making your own DIY natural spot treatment. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water, and add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender if desired. Keep on hand to pre-treat any stains.

For large stains, you may want to soak your clothing in about 2 ounces of white vinegar and enough water to cover the stain (3). Leave overnight. Wash with eco-friendly laundry soap.

For stubborn stains like sweat and coffee, you can add a bit of salt to your vinegar soak. Coarse salt is ideal but table salt works just as well. Gently blot the stain. Allow to dry in the sun, and then wash as usual.

Vinegar can even be used to remove rust stains from delicate fabrics like vintage lace (4). Soak the lace in cold water, rinsing several times. Next, gently hand-wash the lace with a wool detergent. Then, tackle rust spots using a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.

As with any cleansing agent, if you’re unsure about using vinegar on certain fabrics, test a drop on a tiny, inconspicuous spot first.

Clean Your Washing Machine

Front-load washers in particular can develop a musty odor over time. You have two vinegar-fix options here: Add two cups of vinegar and run a full hot-water cycle to de-gunk your washer. Or, simply add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to every load for gunk prevention–and reap the benefits of softer, brighter laundry at the same time.

Ready to swap harsh chemicals for vinegar? One final word of caution: Be sure to read the user’s manual for your washing machine to make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for running your loads.




13
APR

It’s Time to Get Rid of These 7 Things in Your Kitchen

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Home at 5:12 pm | By: Maggie Marton

Homes are run out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, because they’re high-use, high-traffic zones, kitchens accumulate clutter fast. A messy kitchen sucks the fun out of cooking and makes entertaining guests stressful.

“Kitchen clutter can be broken down into two broad categories: countertop clutter and cabinet (or hidden) clutter,” explains Brianna Berner, a professional organizer and productivity coach at SpikedParenting.

But where to start? Here are seven things to get rid of now to make a big impact on your kitchen organization. Trust us: Once your kitchen cabinets are decluttered and you can find the tools you need, you’ll be more motivated to cook that healthy dinner you planned!

Food Storage Containers

“You don’t need an entire shelf full of Tupperware,” Berner says. “You just need enough to get you through the week.” Recycle the rest.

Duplicate Kitchen Tools

Tally up your pizza cutters, garlic presses, lemon juicers, paring knives and all the other little gadgets that stuff your drawers and cabinets. Eliminate duplicates to free up a ton of space and make an awesome donation to your local thrift store charity.

Extra Place Settings

Unless you frequently entertain large parties, it’s likely you have more place settings and more cutlery than your family can conceivably use. Keep a full set to serve your family, plus a few extra for when you do have friends over. Get rid of the rest.

Takeout Accoutrements

All those utensil packets and tiny condiments? It’s time for them to go! Bonus: This is a quick win, taking only a few minutes to recycle old menus and toss the soy and ketchup packets.

Piles of Mail

Or, really, anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. “For the dump zones, first figure out what the clutter is and then find a solution,” Berner says. “If it’s a bunch of junk mail, try to unsubscribe from what you can. If it’s loose change, put a canister there to catch it all. If it’s a bunch of receipts, redirect it to your shredder. Then, take a look at what’s typically being left out on the counter and why. Is it difficult to put this stuff away because your cabinets are a mess? Or is your family just being lazy?”

Expired Foods and Spices

Dig all the way to the back of your cabinets and get rid of anything expired. This includes spices and condiments lining your fridge door, too.

Fancy Kitchen Gadgets

Sure, you were going to spiralize all your veggies in that giant electric spiralizer, serve fresh waffles hot off the iron every weekend and whip up homemade quesadillas on that press, but… have you? Wishful purchases, especially large, single-use items, take up a ton of cabinet space. “And you don’t need every single gadget that you see advertised,” Berner says. “But I get it, there’s a lot of really fun stuff out there. So if you do find yourself wanting to get something that you really don’t need, then make yourself get rid of something else first to make room for it!”

Don’t feel guilty getting rid of any of these items! Instead, focus on how much space this exercise will open up for more family time and easier meals. To get your crew on board, get them involved! “If your family isn’t pitching in to help out, try to make it as easy as possible for them. Make it known where things go,” Berner says. “Create zones inside your kitchen for different activities. And make it clear that you expect them to put things away when they’re done. When all else fails, I’m not above a little bribery. Chocolate usually does the trick.”




13
APR

6 Surprising Essential Oil Uses at Home

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Home,Natural Cleaning Aids at 3:12 pm | By: Ysolt Usigan

Simply put, essential oils are extracts from plants. They can come from the plants’ petals, stems, barks, seeds, trunks and roots. They contain specific chemical components that work together to create therapeutic benefits.

You’re probably most familiar with using essential oils for aromatherapy purposes—spa treatments, relaxing massages, helping to clear your congestion when you have a cold—but they have many other uses you probably never even thought of. Not only are essential oils anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, they also have antibacterial, antifungal and sedative properties.

“I know people that now find they don’t mind washing the dishes and doing some household cleaning because the oils they’re using not only smell delicious, but also have mood-boosting properties,” says Jessica Klingbaum, certified aromatherapy specialist.

Here are six surprising essential oil uses at home.

Multipurpose Cleaner

Use essential oils from orange, lemon or grapefruit for cleaning everything from glass to counters in your home. Mix with distilled water and/or vinegar to make an all-purpose cleaning spray.

“I love that it’ll leave the kitchen smelling great and there’s nothing toxic in what I’m using,” says Klingbaum, founder of BeHipandHealthy.com. Essential oils can also fight germs and help keep our immune systems strong.

Deodorizer

You can make your home smell nice with essential oils—that’s a given. But did you know you can use it to specifically deodorize the inside of your stale-smelling refrigerator, your stinky trash bins, the bathroom, and even the inside of your shoes?

“Instead of getting some kind of plug-in air freshener for the bathroom, try putting a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the inside of the cardboard roll of toilet paper,” Klingbaum suggests.

Use essential oils derived from cinnamon, cardamom and clove for the kitchen, and jasmine, sandalwood and rose for bathrooms.

Geranium, basil and lavender oil work best to deodorize smelly shoes and shoe closets.

Carpet Freshener

Over time, your floors can start to smell stale. Freshen up your carpet or rug with essential oils made from mandarin or lemon. You can add two drops onto a cotton ball and put it right into your vacuum cleaner bag or put a couple drops on a small piece of newspaper and vacuum it up. Breathe a sigh of relief as your vacuum releases a fresh scent into the air while you clean.

You can also mix 10 drops of an essential oil into 200 grams of baking soda. Store it in an airtight container for a couple of days. When ready, sprinkle it directly onto your carpet before vacuuming.

Sticker Remover

Essential oils can also be your solution for sticker residue or even stubborn price tags on household items that you want to remove. Just a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the sticky spot you’re cleaning up will do the trick, says Klingbaum.

Insect Repellent

Bugs like mosquitoes, ants and beetles are not fans of peppermint, lavender, citronella, lemongrass and rosemary. Use three to four drops per cotton ball and leave them near or around windows and doors to keep little critters at bay.

You can also create a spray using 10 drops of the same essential oils diluted in 8 ounces of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake and use on your skin or clothes to repel insects.

Dust Mite Remedy

Just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the water while washing your bedding to rid sheets and pillowcases of mites. You can also mix the essential oil with water in a spray bottle to use on upholstered furniture for the same purpose.




29
MAR

7 Best Vegetables for Dogs

Filed Under: Home,Pet Care at 2:39 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

Whether you’re trying to eat more veggies (and, let’s face it, we all probably should), or you’ve got a few extra carrots hanging around in the fridge, it’s natural to wonder if it’s safe to share a few of your favorite vegetables with your four-legged bestie.

Fortunately, there are a number of safe vegetables for dogs. Learn more about the health benefits of vegetables for dogs and how to serve them, below.

Vegetables for Dogs: Green Beans

Full of fiber and low in calories, green beans make a great, vitamin-packed snack for dogs, says Dr. Antje Joslin, veterinarian at Dogtopia daycare in Phoenix.

Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and potassium, adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of “Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.” She recommends keeping a bag of green beans in your freezer for a crunchy treat.

They can also be served to dogs chopped, steamed, raw or straight from a can, Joslin says. Just be sure to get no-sodium beans if you go the canned route.

Vegetables for Dogs: Spinach

Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene and roughage (which is great for stimulating your dog’s digestive track), Joslin says.

As with humans, vitamin A is important for vision and immune system function, while vitamin K helps blood to clot and antioxidants help prevent cancer and other types of cellular damage to the body’s tissues, says Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield, certified dog trainer and author of “Train Your Dog Now!”

Joslin suggests chopping and steaming spinach first before serving it to your dog.

Vegetables for Dogs: Sweet Potatoes

Loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber, sweet potatoes are a dog-safe vegetable. They should be pureed in a blender or juicer for best nutrient absorption.

“Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, and don’t digest plant material very efficiently,” Summerfield says. She adds that, in general, vegetables should be given to dogs in small amounts or as a supplement to their regular diet. They should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s overall diet. 

Vegetables for Dogs: Asparagus

Another low-calorie treat, asparagus provides vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C, which helps build and maintain connective tissue in the body, such as skin, bones and blood vessels, Summerfield says. Asparagus also has folic acid and dietary fiber.

Like sweet potato, asparagus should be pureed before serving it to your dog, she adds.

Vegetables for Dogs: Brussels Sprouts

Believe it or not, Brussels sprouts aren’t exclusively reserved for food bloggers and trendy restaurants.

“Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, these little power balls are great snacks for dogs,” Joslin says. “The best way to serve Brussels sprouts to your pup is by steaming, boiling or microwaving them. Don’t serve them raw, as they will be too hard for your dog to digest.”

Vegetables for Dogs: Broccoli

Broccoli is another dog-safe vegetable that is high in fiber, which is important for regular bowel movements and can help dogs feel more satisfied after eating, Summerfield says.

Broccoli should be served to dogs in small quantities and broken down into bite-sized pieces, either raw or cooked. As with all vegetables, broccoli should be served plain, without any added seasonings or oils.

Vegetables for Dogs: Carrots

Carrots make a great, crunchy snack that can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and can lower the risk of heart disease, Joslin says.

Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body after consumption, Summerfield says.

Before adding any vegetables to your dog’s meals, speak with your veterinarian about which vegetables are safe to add to her diet. And remember, onions, garlic and chives are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.




29
MAR

5 Best Fruits for Dogs

Filed Under: Home,Pet Care at 12:49 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

We micro-manage our pets’ diets almost as much as our own, and it can be confusing to determine which foods are safe for dogs to eat. Sure, it’s common knowledge that chocolate is a no-go, but what about fruit?

Fortunately, there are a variety of fruits that are perfectly safe to share with your dog—and make a healthy, nutritious snack for you both.  These are our favorite fruits for dogs:

Fruits for Dogs: Cantaloupe

This sweet summertime fruit is loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, beta-carotene and folic acid, says Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield, certified professional dog trainer and author of “Train Your Dog Now!” As in people, vitamin A is important for vision and immune system function in dogs, while vitamin K helps blood clot, Summerfield says.

Cantaloupe can be cut into small pieces and given to your dog as a treat (just make sure to remove the rind first). In general, fruits should be given to dogs in small amounts as a treat or supplement to their regular diet, she adds. Fruit should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s overall diet.

Fruits for Dogs: Apples

Packed with antioxidants and dietary fiber, apples are another fruit that’s safe for dogs.

“Dietary fiber is important for regular bowel movements and can also help dogs (like humans!) to feel ‘full’ or satisfied after eating,” Summerfield says. “Antioxidants are beneficial because they help to scavenge free radicals in the body and prevent cancer and other types of cellular damage to the body’s tissues.”

In addition, apples have both phytonutrients and flavonoids, two plant-specific types of antioxidants that serve as anti-inflammatories and help boost the immune system, Summerfield says.

Like cantaloupe, apples can be cut into small pieces (without seeds or core) and fed raw as a treat.

Fruits for Dogs: Watermelon

Your perfect warm-weather snack also happens to be a great choice for dogs too.

“[Watermelon] contains more water than do some other fruits and so can help prevent dehydration,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of “Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.” “It’s also a good source of potassium, which may improve recovery from exercise.”

In other words, feel free to share a few bite-sized pieces of cold watermelon on a hot day—bonus points if it’s after a trip to the beach.

Fruits for Dogs: Pumpkin

Yes, pumpkin is a fruit. And a dog-safe fruit, at that!

“If your dog could stand to lose a little weight or has certain types of digestive problems, adding pumpkin to the diet might help,” Coates says. “Pumpkin’s high fiber content makes dogs feel full without adding many calories and can also be used to treat constipation, diarrhea, and anal sac problems.”

Pumpkin also contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron and potassium, says Dr. Antje Joslin, a veterinarian at Dogtopia daycare in Phoenix, and its nutrients can help add moisture to a dog’s skin and fur.

Consider adding a scoop of canned pumpkin (just pumpkin—no seasonings) to your dog’s meals and be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s digestion.

Fruits for Dogs: Blueberries 

High in fiber, blueberries help control blood sugar, support healthy digestion and prevent cell damage, Joslin says. They can be fed to dogs raw or frozen as a treat or snack.

“Blueberries are a wonderful treat for dogs,” Coates says. “They contain a lot of vitamin C and manganese, both of which help the immune system function properly. Also, flavonoids, the compounds that make blueberries blue, are excellent antioxidants.”

Many other berries can be given to dogs in moderation, including strawberries and cranberries, Summerfield says. These have similar health benefits as the other fruits on this list.

Finally, keep in mind that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.




27
MAR

Is a Messy Home Affecting Your Health? 4 Signs It’s Time to Declutter

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Home at 2:44 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

The changing season is a perfect time to take a look at our lives and evaluate what is and isn’t serving us. While there are worse offenses than a messy closet or junk drawer, excess household clutter can actually have negative effects on your mental and physical wellbeing.

We asked our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf, about the effects untidiness can have on our lives. “Clutter can become so overwhelming that it becomes a distraction,” Dr. Wolf says. “A recent study revealed that cluttered homes can affect individuals socially and in their careers (1). We can become so overwhelmed with our possessions that the rest of our lives fall by the wayside.”

Unsure if clutter is holding you back? If you’re struggling in any of these areas of life, chances are it might be time to tidy up!

Diminished Productivity and Focus

“Clutter creates chaotic environments that cause stress (2),” Dr. Wolf says. Crowded countertops, unattended piles of junk mail and even the steady stream of notifications on your phone all compete for your attention. These tiny distractions add up throughout the day and lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which can erode your ability to focus.

Solution: Start in your most cluttered room first and tackle it in pieces. For example, take 15 minutes to completely clean out and reorganize the junk drawer in your kitchen or your desk. Consider what documents can live in a digital space instead of camping out on your desk. Making sure every item has a home will make tidying up in the future that much easier. Challenge yourself to declutter for 15 minutes a day to help reclaim your focus and productivity!

Unhealthy Eating Habits

When it comes to eating healthy, Dr. Wolf says, “Research shows a messy kitchen can make you feel out of control, and what you see is ultimately what you’ll eat (3). Meaning, you’ll reach for the cookies if they’re sitting out on the counter before rummaging through the fridge for something healthy.” If your cooking supplies are a jumbled mess, the less likely you are to prepare a healthy meal.

Solution: Reorganize your pantry shelves and cabinets so healthier options are visible and easy to access. Take the time to recycle old, ineffective kitchen supplies and organize the usable ones. Keeping fruit out on the counter instead of buried in the fridge will make you more likely to eat it!

Worsening Allergies and Asthma

Did you ever consider what’s living among your clutter? Excess dust, mold and animal dander can collect in all the extra nooks and crannies—the more items lying about, the harder it is to keep them all clean. This can aggravate allergies and asthma, create a breeding ground for germs and attract disease-carrying critters into your home. (Eek!)

Solution: Aim to keep the knickknacks on your surfaces as minimal as possible—the fewer items to collect dust and germs, the better. Display only what you know you’ll get around to cleaning regularly. As a bonus, add plants to your decor to improve the air quality in your home!

Low Energy and Trouble Sleeping

Researchers have found that people with messy bedrooms had worse sleep quality than those with tidier spaces. “When there are multiple visual stimuli competing for your attention, you have a hard time narrowing your focus,” Dr. Wolf explains. “This also applies when getting a good night’s rest.” Sleep requires a Zen state of mind. A messy room can leave you feeling unsettled and anxious, painfully aware of the daunting cleaning task surrounding you.

Solution: Try to make it a part of your nighttime ritual to ensure dirty clothes are in the hamper, your desk is organized and your vanity is tidied and ready for the morning. You’ll sleep with a clearer head, and your morning routine will be a breeze.

You don’t have to be held back by clutter! Use these tips when tackling your spring cleaning to help you feel refreshed and renewed for the season ahead.




12
JAN

Keep Your Home Clean With These 7 Essential Oils

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Green Living,Home,Natural Cleaning Aids at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Essential oils are wonderful. They smell great, offer tons of health benefits and can even help cleaning your home. Loaded with naturally antibacterial properties, essential oils are the ideal ingredient for homemade DIY cleaning products. Add oils to clean up and sanitize your kitchen or bathroom or use to enhance your laundry routine. Let’s look at some of the best oils for cleaning and disinfecting your home.

1. Tea Tree

Tea tree oil fights germs, bacteria and viruses in everything from homemade wipes to hand soap and much more. Plus, tea tree oil can be used against bugs helping to deter lice and other pests.

2. Rosemary

Loaded with natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties, rosemary essential oils can be used in many different ways for home cleaning. From homemade soaps to laundry detergent, air freshener sprays to remove stubborn stains, rosemary can be mixed with washing soda,
baking soda, and vinegar to create a powerful stain remover product.

3. Citrus Seed Extract

A powerful antimicrobial agent, citrus seed extract is often used for dishwashing products. Also labeled as grapefruit seed extract, these essential oils are considered natural degreasers and can be very helpful in your kitchen

4. Lavender

One of the best-smelling naturally antibacterial essential oils, lavender can be mixed with another common natural cleaner: vinegar. Just add 4-5 drops of lavender to your vinegar cleaning mixture for its natural antibacterial properties as well as an enhanced scent.

5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a natural germicide which can help clean and sanitize your home leaving a “great smell” in the air. A powerful dust mite buster, eucalyptus is great for stinky jobs in the kitchen and bathroom, plus it can help to deter pests.

6. Peppermint

Another essential oil that can leave your house smelling great after cleaning, peppermint contains antibacterial properties that can be used in spray cleaners and natural deodorant spray. Easy-to use, you just need to mix 10-15 drops of peppermint with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and use the air freshener along cracks and crevices to deter ants and spiders.

7. Pine

A common ingredient in cleaners, pine oil is effective at killing yeast spores, E.coli and other household germs. Pine is a strong and powerful ingredient, perfect for ridding the bathroom of mold and mildew and cleaning hard floors while leaving a natural fresh scent.