Take the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

Originally Published on OnHealth.com on June 21 2017, By John A. Daller

Take the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

19 easy ways to get your 9 servings a day

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

If you thought getting five servings of fruits and vegetables a day was tough, get ready for nine! That’s the latest recommendation from the new dietary guidelines released by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Nine servings translate to about 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day.

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but how do we go about getting nine servings every day? Most of us had a hard time working in five.

And what about people who don’t even like veggies? Many of us can even picture our mothers urging us to “eat our vegetables” at the family dinner table — or even refusing to let us leave the table until we choked those veggies down. (In fact, some researchers believe that bad experiences with vegetables from our past can affect how we feel about these vegetables now, says Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition consultant to the American Institute for Cancer Research.)

If this sounds like you, eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day probably sounds next to impossible. But it’s a goal that’s so important for your health.

“The best nutrition minds in the country made these recommendations after studying the research that show fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and high blood pressure,” says Christine Filardo, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the Produce for Better Health Foundation. “Fruits and vegetables can also help fight the obesity epidemic.”

According to Filardo, the most common reasons people give for not eating more fruits and vegetables are that they often aren’t convenient, and people don’t know how to prepare them.

So what does it take to get into the nine-a-day habit? According to experts:

  • It takes constantly reminding yourself to eat fruits and vegetables.
  • It takes having fruit and veggies available at every turn — at work, at home, in restaurants.
  • It takes making it easy for yourself, because most people today are beyond busy.
  • If you haven’t been accustomed to eating much produce, it takes starting small — maybe going for one serving a day at first — and staying the path.

With all this in mind, here are 19 surefire ways to get you on the road to enjoying fruits and vegetables several times a day.

1. Make fruit salad.

Fruit is much more appealing if it is cut, washed, and assembled into a colorful salad. A couple of times a week, clean out your produce bin and make a beautiful fruit salad.

2. Make a bowl of fruit part of your decor.

Wash whatever fresh fruit you have at the moment and set a big bowl of it on your table or desk. As you pass by or talk on the phone, you’ll find yourself munching on this awesome snack food.

3. Toss some fruit into your breakfast.

Throw some fresh, frozen, or dried fruit into your breakfast, whether you’re having a smoothie, pancakes, French toast, or hot or cold cereal.

4. Throw some veggies in the skillet.

Making an omelet or frittata? Fill it with chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, chili peppers, broccoli florets, or whatever you have on hand. Any or all of these veggies can also be tossed into any potato skillet dish.

5. Crunch on a green salad.

Eat a crisp, green salad almost every day. It’s a cool and refreshing way to work veggies into your lunch, dinner or snack. Load your salads up with as many raw veggies as you can: cucumber, grated carrots, zucchini, broccoli florets, green beans, onions, radishes, jicama, tomato, etc. And try using high-nutrient raw spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce. For a sweet twist, add fruit to your green salads. Strawberries, pears, grapes, orange segments, mango, and papaya all work well.

6. Pair fruit with cheese.

Enjoy some fresh fruit with cheese for a nice (and portable) dessert, picnic, or snack. The fruits that best lend themselves to pairing with cheeses are pears, apples, and grapes.

7. Munch on dried fruit.

Dried fruits make great snacks! They don’t go bad or get bruised, and you can carry them in your briefcase or car (or store them in your desk) for a pick-me-up any time of day. Try dried apricots, pears, peaches, nectarines, prunes, raisins, dates, cherries, blueberries, and more.

8. Add veggies you like to dishes you love.

Spaghetti is one example of a dish that can be secretly supplemented with veggies. Just add finely chopped zucchini, mushroom, onions, eggplant, or yellow squash to a flavorful spaghetti sauce. The smaller you chop the veggies, the less likely you are to notice they’re there.

A few more examples:

  • Layer zucchini slices into your lasagna.
  • Stir broccoli florets into macaroni and cheese.
  • Toss a few chopped vegetables into an omelet.
  • Slide some veggies into a cheese quesadilla.

9. Spoon up some soup.

Have soup as a snack or with a meal, at home or in a restaurant. Choose soups that are bursting with vegetables. You can embellish canned soups with extra veggies, too. Just stir them in while you’re heating or cooking the soup.

10. Drink your vegetables (and fruits).

Some people are just more likely to drink their fruits and vegetables. V-8 or carrot juice equals a serving of vegetables. Or try blending some carrot juice with a fruit juice you enjoy (maybe orange or tangerine juice) and you’ve got a fruit AND a vegetable serving.

11. Vegi-fy your pizza.

If you like pizza, top it with some vegetables. Try any combination of tomato, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and artichoke hearts.

12. Toss some on the grill.

After you take your meat or fish off the grill, don’t waste the hot coals. Throw some fruits and/or veggies on the grill while you’re at it. You might be surprised at how great they taste!

Often, you can use the same marinade you’re using for your meat. (Just marinate your fruits or veggies separately from the meat or baste them with marinade that hasn’t touched the meat, so they’re not exposed to raw meat juices.)

You can make a veggie kabob with chunks of vegetables (eggplant, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and other squash). Soft vegetables won’t need precooking, but firm vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, or broccoli, will benefit from steam or microwave cooking before they hit the grill.

13. Get them at the drive-through.

You can even get your vegetables at many fast-food chains, as long as you like salads. Wendy’s, for example, offers a Caesar side salad (with 70 calories and 4 grams of fat, not including dressing) or a side salad (35 calories, 0 grams fat, not including dressing). Ask for the fat-free French, low-fat honey mustard, or reduced-fat creamy ranch dressing. Use half the packet and you’ll add around 50 calories and from 0-4 grams of fat, depending on which dressing you choose.

14. Dress up your dinner plate with fruit.

Borrow a trick from restaurants, and add a beautiful fruit garnish to your dinner plate. It adds color and texture to your meal. Try orange wheels or wedges, sliced kiwi, a small branch of grapes, or a wedge of melon.

15. Drizzle on some cheese sauce.

Pour a little cheese sauce or grated cheese over a pile of broccoli spears or cauliflower, and suddenly it’s a whole different ballgame. You can make a lower-fat cheese sauce using reduced-fat cheese, fat-free half-and-half, and no butter or margarine.

16. Serve your veggies raw.

Raw vegetables are sometimes more appealing than their cooked counterparts. When you have a platter of assorted raw vegetables and some delicious low-fat dip in front of you, the vegetables just seem to disappear! Try raw cauliflower or broccoli florets, cabbage, or spinach, along with the usual carrots and celery. Use a light ranch or Italian dressing as a dip, or make your own and keep it ready to go in your refrigerator.

17. Keep fruit in heavy rotation.

TV chef and radio show host Bridget Kelly says that as a mother of two, she’s no longer interested in “sneaking” fruits and vegetables into her family’s diet — she goes for the all-out attack! To make sure fruit is appealing to her family, she has a trick: She serves the most perishable types soon after she returns from the grocery store and saves the hardier types for later. That means oranges and strawberries today (strawberries first because they have the shortest shelf life), bananas and grapes tomorrow, apples and mango the next.

18. Have prepared fruits and veggies ready to go in the fridge.

As soon as Kelly gets home from the store, she rinses all the fruit and puts some out for immediate consumption. The rest goes into easy-access clear plastic bags or containers. Then, when her family shows up hungry, she can toss them the fruit before they go rummaging around for chips.

19. Try a little salt.

Kelly encourages folks, if they’ve never done this, to boil their fresh vegetables in lightly salted water. “I can’t believe how many people aren’t aware of this simple flavor enhancement trick — it can make the difference between your child hating and loving broccoli,” she says.

9-a-Day Recipes

If you’re one of those folks who’s not sure you know how to prepare fruits and vegetables, here are a few simple recipes to get you started.

50/50 Fruit Salad (or Fruit Dip)

Journal as: 2 medium pieces of fresh fruit

Remember those 50/50 orange-and-cream bars? They were the inspiration for this recipe.

1 package (1.4 ounces) sugar-free and fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

5 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

2 cups melon cubes or balls (honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.)

2 bananas, sliced

2 apples, cored and sliced

2 oranges, peeled and broken into segments

2 peaches, nectarines or pears, cored and sliced

Put pudding mix, milk, and orange juice concentrate in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in or mix in sour cream.

Serve the orange dip with prepared fruit. Or, make a dressed fruit salad by adding all the fruits to a large serving bowl. Pour orange dressing over the top and toss gently to blend. Serve immediately, or cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 8-10 cups of fruit salad.

Per cup of fruit salad and dip (if 8 cups per recipe): 162 calories, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g fiber, 35 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 6%.

Tropical Fruit Salad

Journal as: 1/2 cup canned fruit in juice + 1 medium piece of fruit

Bring a taste of the tropics to your fruit salad with this recipe.

20-ounce can pineapple chunks canned in juice

2 kiwi, peeled, halved and sliced

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1 large banana, sliced

1 papaya or mango, peeled and cubed (or substitute an 11-ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained)

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest or peel

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup unsweetened or sweetened shredded coconut (optional)

  • Drain pineapple chunks, and reserve 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
  • Add pineapple chunks, kiwi, strawberries, banana, and papaya or mango to large serving bowl.
  • Put 1/4 cup pineapple juice, lime peel, lime juice and honey in a 2-cup measure and whisk together until nicely blended. Drizzle over the salad, and toss to coat the fruits well. Sprinkle coconut over the top before serving, if desired.

Yield: About 7 cups.

Per cup: 101 calories, 1.2 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 4 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 5%.

Vegetable Garlic Saute

Journal as: 1/2 cup “vegetables without added fat” + 1/2 cup “vegetables with 1 tsp. fat”

Substitute any vegetable you like for any of those listed below.

2 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts with loose outer leaves removed, cut in half (about 1/2 pound)

2 1/2 cups yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1/2 pound)

1 large tomato (or 2 small), diced

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Put Brussels sprouts, squash, and a couple of tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH until vegetables are lightly cooked. Drain well.

Add oil and garlic to large nonstick frying pan or skillet and heat over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts, squash, and tomato. Saute for a few minutes, or until vegetables reach desired doneness. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: 94 calories, 4 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0.6 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 26 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe – Cauliflower & Walnut Meat

Originally Published on ARespectfulLife.com on January 15, 2018 By RespectfulLiving

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat
I love this Vegan Taco Meat Recipe made from Cauliflower and Walnuts because I can make it in batches, portion it, freeze it, and take it out for a taco salad, a taco, lettuce wraps, or burrito! I have used this recipe for a taco bar at a graduation party and the guests did not know that it wasn’t ground beef!

The images below are some ideas on how you can use it:

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_2

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe – Cauliflower & Walnut Meat

Ingredients

2 Cups Raw Walnuts (unsalted)
1 lb. Cauliflower flourets
2 TBSP olive oil (Optional)
3 Medium Garlic Cloves Minced or pressed
2 TBSP Low Sodium Tamari
1 TBSP Chili Powder
1 & 1/4 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Marmite (optional – will give it a little meatier taste but it is hard to find in the U.S. and has salt))

  1. Instructions

1. Add 2 cups of walnuts to food processor and chop until you have small particles (see picture), remove from food processor and place in mixing bowl.

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_3

Add 1 lb. of cauliflower florets to food processor and chop until you have small particles that are smaller than ‘riced’ cauliflower, (see picture), put in bowl with walnuts.

2. Add ALL other ingredients into cauliflower/walnut mixture and mix thoroughly with your hand, squishing the mixture together until well mixed

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_5

4. Place mixture on a baking sheet with parchment paper, keeping it pushed together so that it is 3/4 inch thick.

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_6

5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn mixture over and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it looks and tastes just like taco meat!

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_3

6. A quick note on Marmite: It is readily available in the UK but difficult to find in the US. Is CAN be ordered on Amazon, I would suggest ordering more than one when you do!

Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Cauliflower & Walnut Meat_4

She Allegedly Retired

blonde hair blur daylight environment

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

It’s been about 7 months since Valerie retired. And  WHOA is in her vocabulary!!!  She had no idea it was going to be the way it is.  Just to summarize that she did work in law enforcement for 26 years and  also wore many hats on top of that.  She studied singing, dance, started a blog and is also raising a responsible teen.  So needless to say prior to retirement she was on a fast paced treadmill.  And was able to run quite fast.  Did she get tired?  Hell yeah but she just kept pushing herself because after all that’s the  way she was trained.  No Pain, no gain.

Fast forward to retirement and now she finally gets a chance to rest and relax.  Umm not exactly.  She designed her retired life to keep herself on that treadmill.  How and why did she do that?  Well she got a puppy, kept up with all of my hobbies and realized that she was really exhausted.  But she kept pushing herself anyway.  Now instead of stressing about deadlines at work, she was stressing about getting the dishes done and doing laundry.  Seriously?  How the hell did that happen?

tired office worker

She realized that people get so programmed to go at such a high rate of speed that it is difficult to slow down.  Imagine when you are on a tread mill and you get off suddenly, well your heart keeps racing and it takes a little while for it to slow down.  Well that’s exactly what happens when you retire.  It takes a minute to slow down.  Except it’s a rude reality check to realize that you never got off the treadmill.  The treadmill just changed from the treadmill to “Plogging.”

The realization that one seriously just needed to rest.  Stopping all work just isn’t possible as a mom, your on call 24/7.  Especially with a puppy.  (counting respiration rates, taking temperatures of a puppy and trying to find her pulse,trips back and forth to UC Davis etc.)

How the heck do you slow down anyway?  The answer is to take time to rest.  Maybe  watching TV is not a waste of time.  I usually watch an interesting movie but you really need that downtime.

happiness

If you allow yourself to rest you will find  that one will start to feel more calm and sleep better at night.  Work still occurs but now just take more breaks and  don’t worry about anything.  Valerie is recovering from all of those years of over work.  Her favorite thing is when  plans are made and the plans fall through.  She stopped putting on make up as much.  Started doing yoga everyday.  Basically getting back to basics.  Valerie realized that “Yoga Teacher heal thyself.” has real meaning. Getting back on the yoga mat and just let go of the past and the future.  Allow yourself the time to rest and heal.

What was the result?  Well She feels way better.  She is more calm and relaxed.

Everyone is different in their experience.  And by the way what works for you might not work for everyone or maybe you want the freedom to explore your own options.  It’s called Freedom of Choice.  So please do what your heart desires.

Remember even cell phones get a chance to charge themselves.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor/dancer and singer.  She recently retired and is redesigning her life.  Life is a journey and it has many ups and downs.  Find the pathway that serves you.  This is a belly dance inspired movement.  She also gives a talk at the end about diet.

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Originally Published on LungInstitute.com on 15 July 2016 By Cameron

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Looking for a natural way to increase oxygen indoors?

For those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the desire for more oxygen can be a demanding one. Although there are options available for increasing oxygen through means such as oxygenators and air purifiers, there are a variety of natural alternatives for increasing air quality that are beneficial for both body and mind. The Lung Institute believes the home should foster an environment of good health and well-being, and with your health in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen indoors.

5. Areca Palm

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_2

As with all plants, the Areca Palm is biologically engineered to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, what sets the Areca Palm apart is its ability to also purify the environment it’s placed in by removing dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Areca Palm does well in filtered light and needs to be watered often. For one person, four shoulder high plants should suffice.
Best Placement:

The Living Room

4. Snake Plant a.k.a. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_3

Considered highly efficient in oxygen production, the Snake Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Snake Plant does well in window light and needs to be watered weekly. For one person, six to eight waist level plants are recommended. In an air sealed room, these plants are capable of producing enough oxygen to breathe normally.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

3. Money Plant

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4_4
Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs and small children if its leaves are ingested.

Recommendation & Care:

The Money Plant prefers indirect light and needs to be watered every week or so. For one person, three 18-inch plants are recommended.
Best Placement:

Any room but keep out of reach of pets or small children.

2. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4

Arguably the prettiest entry on the list, the Gerbera Daisy is often used as a decorative element in gardening. However, the Gerbera Daisy is also distinct for its ability to produce high levels of oxygen at night while removing harmful chemicals, such as benzene and trichloroethylene. Beneficial for those suffering from sleep apnea and breathing disorders, keep this one on the nightstand for better sleep.

Recommendation & Care:

The Gerbera Daisy prefers bright sunlight during the summer, spring and fall, and indirect light during the winter. It needs to be watered regularly with the soil being kept moist. Due to the decorative nature of the flower, the amount of recommended flower pots is up to the discretion of the planter.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

1. Chinese Evergreens

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_5

The Chinese Evergreen is one of the most common household plants and for good reason. This plant emits a high oxygen content while purifying indoor spaces of harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins. As its name suggests, it is quite popular in China specifically for its high efficiency in removing harmful pollutants from the air.

Recommendation & Care:

The Chinese Evergreen does well in full shade, and only needs to be watered occasionally with a focus on keeping the soil moist. The number of plants kept is at the owner’s discretion.

Best Placement:

The Living Room

Along with the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, what else can I do to breathe easier?

Although keeping oxygen-generating plants, such as our top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, may increase the quality of life for those suffering from COPD, they are not a form of treatment. And though indoor plants may ease the symptoms of COPD, they will be ineffective when outside the home or workplace.

Currently COPD has no cure; however, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of cellular research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us at (888) 510-7519 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.

Thinking about starting an indoor plant collection? Have a few suggestions of your own? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments on our list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen below!

Fish oil: friend or foe?

This Article is really important as it discusses Fish Oil which is a very beneficial for the heart. But beware that not all fish oil is created equal.  And some of it can be rancid and you really don’t know about the health of the fish.  Check out this article and then you can decide for yourself what is best.  XOXO Valerie

Originally Published on Health.Harvard.edu on July 12, 2013 on By Howard LeWine, M.D.

fish shaped tran capsules

Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The answer is more friend than foe, if the fish oil comes from food sources rather than supplements.

Omega-3s in balance

What’s so special about fish oil? It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These must come from food, since our bodies can’t make them.

The two key omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in these omega-3s. Some plants are rich in another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, which the body can convert to DHA and EPA. Good sources of these are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and canola oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation. Deficiencies have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, some cancers, mood disorders, arthritis, and more. But that doesn’t mean taking high doses translates to better health and disease prevention.

Fish oil supplements have been promoted as easy way to protect the heart, ease inflammation, improve mental health, and lengthen life. Such claims are one reason why Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over-the-counter fish oil. And food companies are adding it to milk, yogurt, cereal, chocolate, cookies, juice, and hundreds of other foods.

But the evidence for improving heart health is mixed. In May 2013, for example, Italian researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that omega-3 fatty acid supplements did nothing to reduce heart attacks, strokes, or deaths from heart disease in people with risk factors for heart disease.

Evidence linking fish oil and cancer has been all over the map. Some research suggests diets high in fatty fish or fish oil supplements might reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer. Other research shows just the opposite, a link between eating a lot of oily fish or taking potent fish oil supplements and a 43% increased risk for prostate cancer overall, and a 71% increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

Take home message

How food, and its component molecules, affect the body is largely a mystery. That makes the use of supplements for anything other than treating a deficiency questionable.

Despite this one study, you should still consider eating fish and other seafood as a healthy strategy. If we could absolutely, positively say that the benefits of eating seafood comes entirely from omega-3 fats, then downing fish oil pills would be an alternative to eating fish. But it’s more than likely that you need the entire orchestra of fish fats, vitamins, minerals, and supporting molecules, rather than the lone notes of EPA and DHA.

The same holds true of other foods. Taking even a handful of supplements is no substitute for wealth of nutrients you get from eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

What should you do if you currently take fish oil? If your doctor prescribed them—they are an approved and effective treatment for people with high blood triglyceride levels—follow his or her instructions until you can have a conversation about fish oil.

If you are taking them on your own because you believe they are good for you, it’s time to rethink that strategy. If you don’t eat fish or other seafood, you can get omega-3s from ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, and soy oil. One to two servings per day can help you avoid a deficiency of omega-3s.

Experts will surely remain divided on their opinions about fish oil supplements for the general population. And don’t expect any clarity about what to do any time soon. I expect other studies with flip-flopping results in the future.

Following food author Michael Pollan’s simple advice about choosing a diet may be the best way forward: “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.”

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash

I did try this mouth wash and I do like it.  It obviously has a different feel than store bought mouth washes.  But I feel like it definitely works very well and it’s so inexpensive and eco friendly that it’s definitely worth it.  Thanks for caring enough about Mother Earth to make your own mouth wash.  You’re a Rock Star. XOXO Valerie

Originally published on DiyNatural.com By Betsy Jabs

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash

Ever watched the clock hoping you could endure the burn of your mouthwash for a full minute? I have never been able to stand the harsh burn of commercial mouthwash, so after reading about beneficial properties of peppermint essential oil I did what any creative DIY’er would do… set out to make my own.

Natural and antibacterial homemade mouthwash

We strive to create recipes that are easy to make, inexpensive, and effective – this mouthwash is all that and even has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help keep bad breath at bay. Here’s all you need to make mouthwash:

A container – I use a small mason jar
½ cup filtered or distilled water (find the best water purification systems here)
2 tsp baking soda
2 drops tea tree essential oil (find 100% pure essential oils here)
2 drops peppermint essential oil

Baking soda will settle to the bottom of the jar when not in use, so be sure to shake mouthwash before each use. Swish about 2-3 teaspoons of this homemade formula in your mouth for a minute or two. As with any mouthwash, try to avoid swallowing this while gargling.

Feel free to double this recipe for a larger batch. Making really big batches is not recommended because the oils will continue to blend over time and flavors can change.

Matt and Betsy are passionate about living naturally and building a like-minded community focused on the sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Natural is about rediscovering the traditional value of doing things yourself, doing them naturally, and enjoying the benefits. Welcome to the movement!

Save money and get better mouthwash

A few years ago we paid $3.50 for a liter (nearly 34 ounces) of generic Listerine, and that’s about the lowest price you’ll find. If we divide $3.50/34 we get approximately $0.10/ounce for the store bought mouthwash. Our mouthwash recipe above yields 5 ounces with raw ingredients that cost approximately $0.03/ounce.

If you were to make a liter of this homemade natural mouthwash it would cost you approximately $1.00 which is $2.50 less than the store bought.

Homemade mouthwash delivers us a savings of approximately 250%.

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash_2
Xylitol mouthwash and other optional ingredients

Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health. It is recommended by many natural dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum and mouthwash. It is not a necessary ingredient for this natural homemade mouthwash but it will improve the taste and even the effectiveness. About 1 teaspoon is recommended if using in this recipe.

Matt just ran out of toothpaste and is whipping up a new batch that will include a bit of Xylitol and possibly even some coconut oil for better texture. (Purchase quality coconut oil here.)

Warning: Xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs. It is best to keep any Xylitol products or items sweetened with Xylitol stored safely away from dogs.

How To Make Natural and Antibacterial Mouthwash_3Matt and Betsy are passionate about living naturally and building a like-minded community focused on the sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Natural is about rediscovering the traditional value of doing things yourself, doing them naturally, and enjoying the benefits. Welcome to the movement!

The Cuban Mop: The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You’ve Never Heard of (and How to Use It)

Originally Published on Remodelista.com on May 22, 2018 on By Justine Hand

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use ItWhen it comes mops, I have a hate-hate relationship. Either I struggle to wield the heft of rope mops or find myself searching in vain for matching replacement heads for sponge mops. Plus, both models are really hard to clean. I often feel as though I’m just spreading the dirt around. Finally, for dust bunnies under the bed, I’ve long been searching for an alternative to the widely used Swiffer, with its plastic parts and expensive, not-eco-friendly disposable cloths.

Enter the Cuban mop. Its genius lies in the simplicity of its design—no bells and whistles, just two sticks that screw together into a T. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, easy to use, and a cinch to clean: just throw the soiled towel in the washing machine. Because it uses any old rag, I’ll never again have to trek from hardware store to hardware store for a matching head. And I can use it wet or dry. (Bye-bye Swiffer.) The wooden Cuban mop is also, in my opinion, the most aesthetically pleasing of mops. Since it’s made with all-natural, reusable components, it’s among the most eco-friendly mop options. In fact, it just might be the perfect tool.

Here’s how to use one.

Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista.

What Is a Cuban Mop?

As the name suggests, the Cuban mop originated in Cuba, and it’s a simple T-shaped wooden tool with a long handle, usually wrapped with cloths or rags. In the US, the mops are widely used among the Cuban immigrant population, particularly in Miami.

What You’ll Need

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_2

  • Cuban Mop: I bought my IMUSA Cuban Mop from the Cuban Food Market via Amazon for $17.95. (Note: Some Amazon reviewers were unhappy with the quality and size of this mop, but I bought it because there are not a lot of options out there. Though a bit crude in terms of finishing, my mop works great and is still nicer to look at than most. The handle, though admittedly short for taller folks, is the same length as my commercial sponge mop. In my opinion, this version is worth the money, but I can see an opportunity for someone to improve on craftsmanship.) Quickloop also makes a similar mop that looks quite sturdy; $16.
  • Absorbent Cotton Rag or Towel: I bought these Cuban Style Cloths, again, on Amazon for $16, but any old rag will do. (Note: The product sample image on the Amazon page shows yellow stripes. The ones I received, shown, have blue stripes.)
  • Cleaning Product: I use Rubio Monocoat Natural Soap; it’s a ready-to-mix concentrate for cleaning oil-treated floors.

How to Use a Cuban Mop

Step 1:

Wet any absorbent, medium-size cloth—an old hand towel, dish rag, or even cloth diaper will work—with your favorite cleaning solution. Squeeze excess liquid, and lay the towel on the floor.

Note: If you want to use your Cuban mop with a dry rag, skip this step.

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_5

Step 2:

Wrap the cloth around the Cuban mop as follows:
Above: To use, simply push the mop along, being careful not to lift it off the floor. When one side gets dirty, flip the mop and use the other side. Once both sides are soiled, remove the cloth, rinse, re-wet with cleaning solution, squeeze, and rewrap.

(Lizzie, shown using the mop, is tall, about 5’10”. You can see that she is able to effectively use the mop, though a longer handle would be more comfortable for her.)

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_3

How to Clean the Cuban Mop

To clean your mop between uses, simply remove the cloth and toss in the washing machine. Easy and eco-friendly.

The right tools always make housework less of a chore. Here are more of our cleaning favorites:

Swept Away: Utilitarian Household Goods from a San Francisco Designer
10 Easy Pieces: German-Made Cleaning Staples
5 Favorites: Display-Worthy, Artisan-Made Dustpan and Brush Sets

THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF

Originally Published on Simple-Veganista.com THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF
After a few attempts (five to be exact) at making this lentil loaf, I have finally come up with a veggie version that tastes pretty darn good and is extremely filling. I wanted to keep this easy with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. After doing a little digging I was able to piece this together from a few resources like the one from Made to Create which is wonderfully simple and also had good reviews from when I shared it on my Facebook page! And also this one from Oh She Glows which is a walnut version using apples and raisins but I wanted one with all veggies (Hers looks delicious and I will be trying it too). Last but not least, I referenced this recipe at My Vegan Cookbook.

I especially love the glaze for the top of this loaf. You could serve some extra on the side, or double the amount if you like and put a little extra on. And if you like spicy, you’ll love the ground chipotle pepper in this recipe with the glaze, such a nice combo of sweet and spice! I found the higher amount of chipotle listed below to be just perfect for myself, adjust to your liking starting with the smaller amount if you’re not a fan of spice. Be prepared, one slice will most likely fill you up, it does for me! I’m not kidding when I tell you this is one hearty and filling lentil loaf. Leftovers make for great sandwiches. Store the loaf in the refrigerator for up to a 5 – 6 days. Sub in other veggies if you like. Some have left comments of adding in zucchini for the bell pepper. You get the idea, you can adjust to what you have on hand or prefer. Now on with the recipe…make a loaf and share the love!

THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF_2

THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF

A wonderfully flavored lentil loaf for the whole family to enjoy. The leftovers make for great sandwiches too!
Ingredients

Loaf

  • 1 cup dry lentils (use green/brown)
  • 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
  • 1/3 cup water (6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or steam saute using 1/4 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced or grated
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup oats (I used GF oats)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or finely ground oats (any flour of choice will work here too)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder…for good measure!
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, optional
  • cracked pepper & sea salt to taste

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF

Instructions

Rinse lentils. In large pot add 2 1/2 cups water/broth with lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s ok if they get mushy, we are going to roughly puree 3/4 of the mixture when cooled. Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool (do not drain), they will thicken a bit upon standing, about 15 minutes is good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. This will act as a binder and will thicken nicely upon sitting.

Prepare vegetables. In saute pan heat oil or water over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add spices mixing well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture. For me this was an important part, I tried it other ways and this worked to help as a binder. If using an immersion blender, tilt your pot slightly to the side for easier blending. Alternately, you can mash the lentils with a potato masher or fork.

Combine sauteed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and flax egg, mix well. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed, or any other herb or spice you might like. Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal later. Press down firmly filling in along the edges too.

Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated. I recommend making each tablespoon heaping so you have plenty of this great sauce on top. Spread over top of loaf and bake in oven for about 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing.

Serves 8.

NOTES:

You may like to double up on the glaze, having some to put on the loaf after it’s removed from the oven.

If you don’t care for a little spicy heat, omit the chipotle powder.

I do not recommend reheating the entire loaf at once. It will most likely become too dry, as the heat will take to long to reach the center. I recommend cutting slices and reheating. If you need, you can make your lentil loaf the day before and store uncooked until ready to heat, bring to room temperature and heat according to instructions above.

Your work is done…except for the dishes…maybe you can delegate that to someone else. 🙂

 Did you make this recipe?

Tag @thesimpleveganista on Instagram and hashtag it #thesimpleveganista

Eco Friendly Buyer’s Guide

Let me just start with saying that I am not receiving any endorsements or kick backs from any of these companies.  I like that I can just be independent and if I find something that is awesome, I can freely discuss it and not have to feel like I am bought and paid for. So just for the record, these are items that I have found at my local grocery store, Nugget Markets.  They do have quite a few Eco Friendly products and it’s worth it for our planet to support these companies and also you can go on line to purchase as well.

if you care

1)The First product is called “IF YOU CAREPaper Snack & Sandwich Bags.”  I did purchase these and they give you 48 bags that are compostable, unbleached and totally chlorine free.  They have no Paraffin Wax, Not chemically treated  and it keeps bread soft up to 6 hours.  It’s also has all of these approvals from FSC, VINCOTTE that it’s OK to compost, USDA Certified BIOBASED PRODUCT.  Usually my kid puts just snack type items in them.  Such as crackers or chips.  But I feel so good knowing that I don’t have to use those wretched plastic sandwich baggies which are killing marine line and are made from Petroleum products.  So big shout out to Nugget for carrying this product.

beverage in clear wine glass

Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net on Pexels.com

2) World Centric has compostable straws.  (I couldn’t use the image due to copyright) They are made from corn not petroleum.  I think this is a great alternative for plastic straws.   It’s understandable to use them when driving or if you have small kids or if you have a disability or a medical procedure.  So if you really need them then they do have these at Nugget or you can order them from here.  

Other options include stainless steel, glass and bamboo.  Also they have them made out of cookies as well.

chico bag

3)Chico Bags are super convenient and cool.  They break down into these small little bags you can keep in your purse.  And when you need it, you can open it up and have a bag in two shakes of a lambs tail.  These are available at Nugget or you can get it here.

TP

4)  I tried to find some toilet paper that was not in plastic.  They did have toilet paper that  was from recycled paper but it was wrapped in plastic.  So that defeats the whole purpose of having sustainable toilet paper.  There is a Toilet Paper called Who Gives A Crap.  They give money to build toilets.  So you can feel good when you use toilet paper and you can buy it here.

forks

5)These Repurpose utensils are BPA Free, Plant renewable and compostable. What more do you need?  These are so awesome and anyone who buys these is a rock star and an official Earth Angel.  So all you have to do is buy this kind of stuff and you are an Official Earth Angel.  Thanks for caring and you can order these here.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Plogger.  (Jogging and picking up trash) She’s on a mission to spread the news about living a more sustainable life style. The more Eco Friendly items people use the less harm to the ocean and marine life. Thanks for caring.