12 Houseplants for a Healthy Home

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A few years ago I was talking to my sister about plants. It might sound like a strange topic of discussion, but it is something everyone should think about. She has a beautiful home that is filled with detailed decor, lovely furniture, and plastic plants. I asked her why she chooses to decorate with fake plants instead of living ones. With a shrug she said, “Why would I want a real plant when the fake ones look the same but require no work?” She asked an important question and one that cannot be ignored. While plastic plants may (sometimes) look better and lack the maintenance of watering, weeding, and care, they can often release chemicals found in plastics. Ironically, living plants combat these same chemicals so the air is safer to breathe. I don’t think people recognize all the toxins within the walls of their homes. Even while using green cleaners, there are still pollutants hiding in your furniture, bedding, flooring, and walls. Here are twelve plants you can safely add to your home and additionally enjoy the healthy benefits they offer.

1. ALOE

This is my favorite plant, and might be the reason it is first on this list. The Aloe plant has a unique cactus look and is small enough to fit comfortably in a kitchen window. You might know it by the gel you rub on your sunburns called Aloe Vera, but it does more than just heal burns and cuts. It clears the air of chemicals often found in cleaning products, such as benzene and formaldehyde.

2. BAMBOO PALM

This is one of the best plants around for cleaning the air of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. This plant looks great as an accent piece in a living room or bedroom. It sucks the chemicals right out of furniture, carpet, and glues, making it a safe and clean place to relax.

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3. AZALEA

It is amazing where formaldehyde can be found, and this shrub helps tackle away this toxic chemical hiding in plywood and even the insulation in your walls. The Azalea has gorgeous flowers and survives well in colder temperatures. Place it on a porch, in a well-lit basement, or a sunny garage for it to grow best.

4. SNAKE PLANT

While deciding on which plants to put in which room, this one loves the environment of typical bathrooms. The steam and lack of light will help it continually grow. The bathroom is filled with items containing formaldehyde. The Snake Plant will clean the air from chemicals found in toilet paper, cleaning products, deodorants, and other personal items.

5. CHINESE EVERGREEN

This beautiful plant is like a built-in filter. Not only is caring for it incredibly easy, but it works hard to filter the air of pollutants while removing toxins. I would love to have a couple of these neatly placed in the highest traffic areas of my home; it helps the air flow as it cleans it.

6. SPIDER PLANT

This plant was made for people like me; I wasn’t blessed with a green thumb. The long thin spidery leaves and white flowers are strong enough to withstand neglect occasionally. This plant takes benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and even carbon monoxide out of the air so it is healthier to breathe.

7. GERBER DAISY

This beautiful little flower is a favorite for many, but beyond its stunning colors is the ability to ward off benzene and trichloroethylene. Place it in the sunniest room in your house and enjoy deep breaths of fresh air.

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8. CHRYSANTHEMUM

This beautiful flower would complement a brightly lit kitchen or as the centerpiece on a dining room table. The greenery and blooms both work together to filter out that nasty benzene that is a common ingredient in glues, plastics, and dishwasher detergents.

9. ENGLISH IVY

Every home looks stunning with a dash of Ivy, but the benefits of English Ivy are…well…really unique. A study concluded that this little plant has the skills to reduce airborne particles containing fecal matter. It might sound gross, but I wouldn’t want that floating around in my house. Changing diapers and using the bathroom releases fecal particles, so I would keep a plant close by these rooms to ensure the air is clean.

10. GOLDEN POTHOS

If you need a plant to hang from the ceiling, along a stairwell, or even inside the garage, this is the one. As a fast growing vine, it battles away the popular formaldehyde found in many products right inside your car or garage.

11. WEEPING FIG

This stunning plant looks great in any room. It takes a little work to keep it growing healthily, but the rewards are worth the effort. Often the carpets, fabrics, and furniture in your home contain small amounts of chemicals that are emitted into the air every day. The Weeping Fig battles away benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde so you can relax on your furniture and floors without a single worry.

12. WARNECK DRACAENA

This indoor plant can grow to be 12 feet with proper care and love. Varnishes, stains, and oils found in furniture and woods release pollutants that the Warneck Dracanena attacks like a champ. If you suffer from constant headaches and migraines, this plant might relieve chemical-induced headaches.

Not only are the healthy benefits hard to pass up, but plants create an energy that can be very therapeutic. I love walking into my home and seeing nature inside my doors. It helps me stay positive during the winter months and makes my home feel cleaner. Yes I am terrible at watering them, and sometimes the weeds are noticeable, but man do I love the feeling of breathing clean air. Like my constantly beating heart, I often forget about all the hard work my plants do during the day and night for me. The beautiful green and bright seasonal flowers are a reminder of the clean air I get to breathe from simply having plants in my home.

Source: BusyBee Cleaning Service

Mama eats plants

Originally Published on MamaEatsPlants.com  on April 5, 2018 By A.

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trash free, plant based lifestyle

manicotti + simple marinara

When I saw gluten free manicotti shells at my co-op, I knew I had to take them home with me! The ones I used are these ones by Jovial Foods. The box is recyclable and the plastic looking window is certified home compostable wood pulp! Plus, they taste amazing- they’re my hands down favorite brand of gluten free pasta- they cook al dente without gummy texture or off flavors.

To fill them, I knew I wanted something creamy (which is where I usually turn to cashews) but I needed to cut it with something to make it less heavy and more nutritionally dense. I remembered a lasagna recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan For Everybody, which uses cooked cauliflower blended with the cashews to add bulk and creaminess without getting too heavy. I wasn’t sure if it would taste just right stuffed in the manicotti- I haven’t had these since going vegan- and sometimes Italian recipes which rely heavily on gluten and animal products can be hard to replicate well. To my delight, the texture and taste was perfect, gluten free, vegan and all.

Mama eats plants_3
So many of you asked for an exact recipe after I showed them in my Instagram story (I saved it to my highlights so you can still watch it!) that I thought I’d write it up here for you to reference back to if desired. My marinara is super basic and relies heavily on good ingredients, so search out good canned tomatoes and good olive oil. I can my own tomatoes every summer with my mom (ever since I can remember) and it’s so worth it for the rich flavor all winter long- it’s not hard but does take a full day of work. We use a pressure canner and go off the instructions in the booklet it comes with- it’s not scary or complicated at all. Often farmers will sell their “seconds”- bruised or oddly shaped tomatoes- but the case at the market to you. San Marzano store bought canned Italian tomatoes are the closest thing to the flavor of home canned.

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plant based manicotti

for the marinara:

2 x 28 oz cans whole tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped

a palm of fresh oregano (about 2 tsp chopped)

chile flakes (optional)

salt to taste

whiz the tomatoes and their juice for a few seconds in a blender or crush with your hands well to break them down into small pieces.

Add the olive oil and garlic to a pan and start the heat on medium high. When the garlic starts to sizzle and become fragrant- about 30 seconds, pour in the tomatoes (don’t let the garlic burn or color, stir around if necessary) and the oregano and chile if using. Reduce to medium low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, while you make the filling.

for the ricotta filling:

8 ounces (approx 2.5 cups) cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1.5 cups raw cashews, chopped if whole

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

s+p

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or basil

Boil cauliflower and cashews in a large pot with 3 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain mixture in colander and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Process cauliflower mixture, 3 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 cup water in processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 2 minutes. Season with plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Pulse in basil or parsley for just a few seconds to combine. Mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead.

assembling:

1 box manicotti noodles or other stuffable pasta (12-15 pieces), cooked according to package directions

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

In a baking dish, spoon some sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Working with one manicotti at a time, use a butter knife or a pastry bag to fill each shell. I used a butter knife and packed it in half from each end. Don’t worry if theres a few blank spots. I wasn’t perfect about it but they all turned out fine after cooking. Layer the filled ones in the dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the top.

Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and plate. I sprinkled extra chopped parsley and spooned leftover cashew ricotta that I had in the fridge over the top in little dollops (this recipe) but it would be delicious on its own too; or hold back some of the filling and dollop on top.

We served it with a simple fennel citrus salad- just toss together:

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1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/2 a small red onion or fresh spring onion, thinly sliced

1 orange, cara cara, or grapefruit, pith removed and fruit sliced

1/2 cup fresh whole parsley leaves

a few handfuls mixed lettuces

juice of 1/2 a lemon

generous drizzle good extra virgin olive oil

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

chili flakes to taste