Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Little Tips for Healthier Living

Wow, there is so much information to remember for healthier living.  Do this, don't do that, try this, what about that.  Whew!  It's enough to confuse anyone.  Well, to make it simpler, I've come up with a list of Little Tips for Healthier Living that will be easy to implement into your daily life and rewarding for both you and the earth when you do.

I will call this Installment #1, as I am sure I will think of more to share with you.  Also, please be assured I do all of these things in my own home, or I wouldn't recommend them to others.  
Homemade Veggie Stock

  1. Use veggie stock instead of oil when sauteing foods.  This will cut down on the oils you consume.  Don't get me wrong, there are healthy fats you need in your daily diet, but sauteing with olive oil (which most people tend to do) is not healthy.  Olive oil turns toxic to your body at high temperatures.  Sauteing with veggie stock both sautes and steams the foods you are cooking, and adds a wonderful, savory flavor.  I make and preserve my own veggie stock using pulp from my juicer, but there are many healthy options available as well. Choose organic and low sodium if available.  My favorite brand (if not using my own) is Pacific.
  2. Make your own bread crumbs.  I don't know about you, but I buy bread that has a clean label - usually about 5-6 ingredients.  What I don't understand is why there are 15+ ingredients in prepared bread crumbs.  What are they putting in there?!?  I came up with an easy way to make my own.  Purchase a loaf of whole grain bread (or bread of your choice), toast it to dry it completely, run it through your food processor or blender to your desired crumb size, and store in a sealed container like a glass mason jar.  Use at will and season creatively.  How much easier could it be to make bread crumbs that are 'clean'?
  3. Use citrus infused vinegar to clean your home.  Start getting rid of those nasty, chemical-laden cleaning products in your home, and get back to the basics.  Let's face it, vinegar smells kind of yucky, so to make it better smelling, take some lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit peels (or a combination thereof) and put in a glass mason jar.  Cover the peels with white vinegar.  Let soak for 10-14 days, then pour into a labeled spray bottle.  Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so use this mixture to clean counters, mirrors, toilets, sinks, whatever you need cleaned.  You will still detect a small hint of vinegar scent, but can also smell the sunny citrus.  
  4. Substitute unsweetened almond or coconut milk for milk in recipes.  Personally, I am trying to consume less dairy.  I am from Wisconsin, the dairy state after all, but lots of dairy doesn't serve my body well.  So when cooking, I do substitute alternative milks in recipes. Think mac n cheese, creamy soups, french toast, oatmeal, baking, hot chocolate, etc. My kiddos frown on drinking alternative milks, but I do substitute in recipes for a healthy balance. My favorites are So Delicious Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Pacific Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk.
  5. Citrus Vinegar
  6. Make your own lotion bars.  Most commercially produced lotions are full of mystery ingredients that are not good for you.  I have a pact with myself - I try not to put things on my body that I wouldn't put in my body.  Your skin is your largest organ, and it pays to keep it healthy too.  I use this recipe to make my own lotion bars, with one small addition - I add about 15 drops of tangerine essential oil to make them smell prettier.  This recipe is cheap to make, and literally takes about 10 minutes to do, not including the hardening time.  The boys use them too, and love the heart shape mold I have.  I hope you enjoy the blog writer's humor as much as I do!
Here is a challenge for you...try at least 2 of these in your own home, and post your results in the comments.  I would love to learn from your experiences, and can't wait to hear from you.  Happy New Year!

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