Category Archives: Household

Washing cloth diapers: a learning adventure

I have been meaning to post about washing cloth diapers for a while but never really know where to start. Everyone I know washes diapers a little differently, but there is the basic outline that everyone sticks to. The reason in the different ways we all wash diapers is that we all have different washing machines, water quality (soft/hard), and diapers.

Here is the basic “How to wash cloth diapers” that everyone starts with

1. Put the diapers in the wash and run a cold cycle with an extra rinse without detergent. Make sure your water settings are set to “large load”. The more water you use, the better. This just rinses the diapers and any extra big “deposits” left on them. If you have pockets be sure to un-stuff them before putting them into the wash. I unstuff them before putting them into the laundry bag so I don’t have to deal with smelly 4 day old urine/poop when I am doing laundry.

2. Change the cycle setting to Hot/Cold with the extra rinse and add detergent. What detergent you use will depend on what you like, what works with your diapers and what you can afford. More on detergent below.

3. Run another laundry cycle on cold with no detergent as an extra rinse for your diapers. Some people just run an extra cold rinse, some people run the whole cycle. This will depend on your washer and how well your diapers rinse. I have to do two wash/rinse cycles after the original wash because my washer sucks so badly. If I do not do the extra cycles then my diapers get build up and smelly. I believe this step is why so many people have build up/smell issues in their diapers, they just do not get all the detergent out at every wash. I know all the extra cycles are not as “green” as we want BUT it is better than having smelly build up diapers that give our babies rashes. E hardly ever gets diaper rash.

I have an old crappy washer that needs some love. It was making some very bad noises today doing a not so large load of clothes. I think it might be nearing its retirement age. Having an old crappy washer means I do need those extra rinses.

A friend of mine has an HE washer and this is her regimine for washing her diapers:

We do one rinse/spin cycle (no detergent),then I add a couple soaking wet towels to the load (otherwise the machine doesn’t use enough water) and do a heavy-duty cycle, hot water, extra rinse. That usually does the trick, but sometimes if it’s a bigger load I do another rinse/spin at the end. It took some experimenting to figure out what worked for our machine, but with this routine we haven’t had build up issues in forever, so I’m pretty happy about that! – Alison P.

About Detergent:

The kind of detergent you use will depend on the type of washer you have (HE washers need to have very low suds detergents), what type of water you have (hard/soft), and how your diapers handle detergent. We have very sensitive skin in this house, and hard water so I prefer to use the un-scented Hard Rock laundry detergent. It works great for us. I know people who hate that brand. You can always make your own detergent, or get one of the many cloth diaper safe detergents. There are great lists out there that tell you the best cloth diaper detergents so you don’t have to feel so lost in the woods.

A fair warning, if the detergent you are using has artificial colors/scents/fabric softeners they are not good for your diapers. You at best will have build up and diaper rash issues, and worst might ruin your diapers and have to throw them out because they wont absorb anything! Be fore warned.

Also, if you use those detergents on your regular clothes, and use the same washer to wash your diapers, even with the cloth diaper safe detergent, you still might have build up issues. I suggest stripping your washer before starting to cloth diaper, and sticking to natural laundry detergents for all of your laundry needs so you do not have to worry about build up issues and cross contamination.

As I said earlier, everyone washes their diapers a little bit differently. Do what works best for you, but remember, it never hurts to run that extra rinse cycle if your diapers are getting a little extra build up/smell.

How do you wash your diapers?

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What is in my “medicine” cabinet

It is cold and flu season. If you have children, are around children, work outside the home, or have any contact with society whatsoever I am sure you are aware of this. I am in a wonderful group of natural living mamma’s who all have kiddos the same age as my little one. We are all different levels of “Green and Crunchy” and have discussions almost daily about the green stuff we are doing in our lives. I love that we all have special things in our life that we focus on, I am big on herbs and healing.

Almost every day someone’s little one is sick and I (or one of the other more herbally inclined mamma’s) have recommendations about herbs that might help the kiddo/husband/mamma feel better, and the moms who do not use herbs on a regular basis never have the herbs I suggest on hand! I decided to make a list of my “natural” medicine cabinet. It seems like a lot but using just these herbs and oils we have drastically reduced our use of Tylenol/Ibuprofen and we don’t even keep stomach medicine, cold and flu medicine, teething gel, sleeping pills, store-bought lotions, diaper creams, shampoo, conditioner, you get the idea.

These are specific to my family. As you get used to using more herbs in your every day life, and find a good herbalist, you will find the perfect combination to have on hand in your home.

Here is my list of things I try not to go without in my home. This includes Herbs, Essential oils, and the extra stuff you need to turn these into medicine. I know the list seems daunting BUT with these few herbs you can take control of your family’s health and be your own family physician.

I will go more into detail with one herb or oil every week for “Wellness Wednesday” so keep an eye out every Wednesday for an update on the benefits of each of these herbs and oils for your family in detail!

Herbs:

Chamomile, CalendulaCatnipDandelion rootElder Berry, FennelLavender, Licorice, Marshmallow root, NettleOat straw, Peppermint, Red Clover, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Yarrow

Essential oils:

Basil, Breathe oil, Digestzen, Frankincense, GeraniumGinger, Lavender,  Lemon, Melaleuca,  OnGuard oil, Peppermint.

Things that help make medicine:

Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Vodka, Bees Wax, Olive oil, Almond oil, Baking Soda (aluminum free), Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Vinegar (white and apple cider vinegar), Tea pot, Tea strainer/ball/french press

What is on your families “Must Have” natural wellness list? I would love to hear what is in your natural medicine cabinet and why! 

This blog is featured on A Delightful Home‘s Your Green Resource, and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Give away! Fuzzy Woolly Balls!

In Caitlin’s post about DIY Laundry Detergent  she mentioned that she uses Wool Dryer Balls as a fabric softener/static reducer with her laundry. We also use wool dryer balls, in fact we have two sets of four! One, unscented, for the diapers, and one that I have scented with lavender essential oil for our every day laundry.

I love wool dryer balls as a natural alternative for our laundry drying needs and LOVE Woolly Balls made by Mindy Hughes, who has been so generous as to send us a set of her very own Woolly Balls to give away!

Introducing the Amazing, Versatile, Hand-made Woolly Ball

Woolly Balls are made from wool yarn and roving, that have been felted in layers to maximize durability. They are super eco-friendly (not just regular eco-friendly), and come from a totally renewable resource (ba aa aa).

In Your dryer they absorb moisture from your washed clothes, cut drying time, and they bounce around with your clothes and beat them into softness. They DO NOT emit chemicals when heated, (like the plastic balls), last for years, and you can use them in every load of laundry. They allow you to stop buying that expensive fabric softener (which actually makes your towels and other cloth LESS absorbent), are naturally antibacterial, resist mildew, and help reduce static cling (separating the synthetic fibers from your cottons helps even more to avoid static).

Why wool? Wool is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It can absorb up to ONE THIRD of its weight in water before feeling wet. It has natural anti-static properties. Gently bouncing dryer balls will soften your laundry without dryer sheets or chemical fabric softeners. Wool is mostly non-allergenic. For those with chemical sensitive skin, wool is a great choice. Wool is an easily renewable natural resource and is biodegradable. Woolly Balls should last several years, saving you money with each load!  We recommend three to five balls in your dryer, depending on the size of the load.

Woolly Balls are also wonderful natural alternatives to children’s plastic balls for indoor play, are easy to juggle (if you are into that) and perfect for fetch with your favorite pet!

www.mintheweaver.etsy.com

Bio

Mindy Hughes is an intentionally unemployed former corporate flunky who decided she was not happy completing other people’s to do lists.  She officially opened her home-based business, Anachronology, in 2011 and sells quality hand-dyed, hand-knit and hand sculpted items made primarily of wool at craft fairs, Renaissance Festivals and through her web-store at www.mintheweaver.etsy.com. She takes pride in the things she creates, and does nothing on a mass-produced level, preferring to create something unique of which she can be proud.  Along with playing with wool and yarn, Mindy is enjoying raising two gifted tweenagers and making a home for her family in Arizona.

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So how do you get this AMAZING matching set of Woolly Balls?

You will get an entry for each of these:

Leave a comment telling me how you would use these beautiful Woolly Balls. 
“Like” Anachronology by Mintheweaver on Facebook and let us know about it!
“Like” Natural Living Mamma on Facebook and tell us about it! 
Share this give away on Facebook and Twitter! 
 

We will be accepting entries until Sunday February 19th at 9pm, so enter to win! Tell your friends! Let us know how you would use these amazing fuzzy balls to their full advantage.

Saving money, living better, being green.

Ok so I have been thinking a lot about our budget lately, and looking at the “average” budgets most others have. I am trying to figure out where people get their numbers! Comparing our budget for a 3.5 person house to the national average is eye-opening.

Where we spend:

Food

We spend 18% of our income on food. We do this because it costs more money to eat organic whole foods. There is really no getting around that. By increasing the quality of what we eat we save in other areas of our life. My husband was missing a lot of work because of health problems before switching our diet. He is out of work 3-5 days less a month than he was before the switch saving us his PTO time and the salary cut he had to take when he ran out of PTO.

We spend less on doctors visits because of our diet changes as well.

Healthcare

Our insurance is subsidized through Mikes work, so we “only” pay about $400 a month for insurance. We do get the good insurance though (an extra $60 a month) so we can take advantage of the alternative care. I get masages almost every week for prenatal/post natal care and health maintenance. Mike and I take full advantage of the Chiropractor/Acupuncture benefits as well. I wish I could say we used a Natropath instead of a MD but there are no ND’s in our area who accept insurance and we don’t have the money to pay out-of-pocket and hope for reimbursement from the insurance company. I have found a holistic MD that I think I like though. We have a FSA so our co-pays are at least paid with tax-free money. It is helping a lot too with the hospital and midwife payments for the pregnancy. Too bad they are changing the way FSAs work starting next year due to the new health care legislation. Maybe we will get lucky and our insurance rates will drop?

Where we save:

Cleaning products

We have made our last big market cleaning product purchase. From here on out we make our own house hold cleaners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, laundry detergent AND dish washer soap! I am terrified of the dish washer soap, that is one we have not switched yet I just stocked up on my favorite out of fear, but when we run out I am making our own! Mark my words! Instead of spending an average of $30 a month on cleaning products we will be spending an average of $14 about every 3 months on vinegar, baking soda, borax, and Dr. Bonner’s soap.

By switching to home-made, natural cleaning products we not only reduce our cost of living but also reduce our families exposure to many carcinogenic, teteratogenic, and mutinogenic chemicals lurking in our home.

Personal care products

I make our personal care products. I have been using the Oil Cleansing Method on my face which has been FABULOUS and cleared my skin right up. More on that later. I make my own body lotion and oils, bath salts, diaper salve, eczema salve, deodorant, and have been “poo free” for 2 months now. Yes I still bathe daily but use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair instead of shampoo and conditioner. My hair looks and feels great by the way! We buy hand-made goats milk bar soap from farmers markets and craft fairs for soap, which feels so decadent to me. I love it! I used to spend about $40 on personal care items, not including makeup, which cost me another $20-30 a month.

By simplifying our personal care products, and knowing exactly what is going onto my family’s body we can better control the toxins we expose our selves to. I am not sure the accuracy of this statement BUT the herbalist I worked with in Spokane mentioned that 40% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our body and blood stream.  The skin is the largest organ on the body after all. If you could reduce your risk simply enough wouldn’t you? More on the health benefits of cleaning up your personal care products here.

Housing expenses

We live in a smaller than necessary apartment and keep the heater between 62 and 65* on a day-to-day basis. We turn down the heat and turn off the lights when we leave the house. Our light bulbs are all CFL’s which save a lot of power usage and our water heater is at 120* unless I am tackling some stubborn diapers. We spend an average of 19% of our income on our housing expenses when the average family is at 34%. (Note that is not including the cost of our home in Spokane, which is a rental and netting $0 profit or loss at the moment).

Baby products

We cloth diaper almost all of the time. Ellie gets a rash at night, or wakes up wet in cloth so she sleeps in sposies almost every night. Other than that though we cloth diaper. If we were buying her disposables at the rate we change diapers and in the brand we use that does not cause her rashes, we would be spending an average of $90 a month, which would end up being about 1,080 a year. In Ellie’s first year of life we spent $320 on cloth diapers (that includes the very generous gift of my wonderful sister for Ellie’s baby shower), and I just bought some new-born diapers for when #2 comes for an additional $200. We are now over supplied with diapers and I will probably sell off some of my extras once we see how well we go through what we have. I spend $12 every 3-4 months on laundry detergent and the water/electric cost really is minimal with the washer and dryer, especially since we line dry during the summer. So we can call that a $59 a month savings on cloth diapering in the first year, and more for the second year into potty training, especially since half of year 2 will be spent diapering 2 kids! Good planning on our part.

And really what is cuter than a kiddo in a cloth diaper. Yeah she posed for this.

By cloth diapering we are reducing our child’s exposure to the toxic chemicals in children’s diapers. Ellie rarely gets diaper rash or yeast infections like a lot of babies I know who use disposables. I think once parents get over the learning curve of cloth diapering they will truly appreciate the health and financial benefits.

Breast Feeding

Ellie was exclusively breast fed for 6 months and is still breast fed to this day. She does not get cows milk when she is not nursing, she gets water. This saved us $1,733.75 in her first year of life alone (according to these calculations done with numbers from 2007). This is not including the cost of Organic Whole Milk we would have switched to afterward.

This cost is also not including the fact that miss Ellie has very rarely been sick enough to take to the doctor. Here is a good article about the benefits of BFing and some great links to scientific articles.

Clothes

We rarely buy new clothes for our selves, but when we do we buy quality. We never buy brand new clothes for our child unless they are on serious discount. It just seems like a waste of money for something she will grow out of quickly or destroy while playing. My MIL does buy her a new wardrobe at least twice a year because shopping for little girls is so fun. My savings tip: do not buy small children new clothes, they don’t need new clothes (unless it is a special occasion) nor do they care if they have new clothes. Let them be a little rough and tumble, creative and artsy, and have fun without worrying about staining or tearing. It will make your life much less stressful.

This is why we don’t need to destroy new clothes. 

How is this green? Re-use baby , re-use!

Transportation/vehicle expenses

We have 1 car. It is 10 years old and well maintained, most days. We own the car outright and have no monthly payments. Maintenance cost (including the big repairs spread out over the year) average about $80 a month. We spend about $80 a month on gas if I am driving a lot.  We live 5 miles away from Mike’s work and he bikes to work as weather permits, which is about 9 months out of the year. The rest of the time I give him a ride to and from work or he carpools. Bike maintenance is about $10 a month. Insurance cost is about $60 a month. That makes our transportation cost $230 a month, about 4.6% of our budget. The average American household spends 16% of their household income on transportation. It pays to drive an old car with decent mileage and only have 1 car if your situation allows.

By only driving one car we reduce our emissions by half, our gas usage by half, and our 10 year old car is just as fuel efficient as a car of the same size made this  year.

I could go on about how we save “being green” but I would love to know how you save? What are your tricks to benefiting your family and your environment by “being green”? I find the changes we have made help us support our expensive food habit and make our life much more enjoyable. I would love to hear your experiences.

Shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Our Simple Farm’s Simple Living Wednesday.

Got scum? Natural bathroom cleaning tips.

As you can tell from my recent post whining about my achy pregnant body I loves me a good bath soak. I HATE the filmy blegh that is left in the tub after I bathe from the oils, or after the child takes numerous baths. I also am not a big cleaner. I just don’t like to clean. The chemicals I used to use always made me cough and gag and I always felt sick afterward. I also never trusted the cleaners enough to take a bath right after using them.

After focusing on detoxifying my life as much as possible I came up with a replacement for the “normal” bath scrub I was using. It rhymes with A-hacks. I found this bath tub scrub to be safe, effective, cheap, easy to use and NON TOXIC. Plus you can bathe right afterward without feeling like you are getting cancer from the tub its self.

The recipe is really difficult… are you ready for it?

Salt (natural sea salt of course) and baking soda. I add Melaleuca essential oil to the mix too for the anti-bacterial/viral/fungal properties. It adds a nice smell too.

The combination of baking soda and salt scours the tub well and easily removes any film or build up.

Mix salt and baking soda in a 1:1 ratio and add 8 drops melaleuca essential oil per cup of mixture. Sprinkle liberally in tub, scrub-a-dub-dub and your tub is nice and shiny and clean. You can also jump right in and take a nice hot bath as a reward for your sparkly clean tub.

I use a combination of salt, Melaleuca essential oil, and lemon juice for moldy spots. Just make a paste with the ingredients, apply to the moldy areas, and scrub clean. I let the solution set for maybe a minute (I am impatient) and it usually scrubs right off with no issues.

I have a friend who has used fresh lemon on her tile grout in the shower as a cleanser, she just scrubbed it with the lemon meat and she said it came out sparkling white.

You can also make a salt and lemon juice paste and use it to buff the metal of the faucets in your house.

So many great cleaning tips in such a little blog! How do you naturally clean your bathroom?

This blog posted on the  Frugally Sustainable Blog hop

Feeling Dirty? Make your own laundry detergent!

Caitlin guest posted before about her awesome DIY Orange Cleaner last week. It was a huge hit! I am so glad so many people are interested in using it. She also makes her own laundry detergent AND dish washer detergent. She wrote this guest post for us, and I bet, if we are really nice to her, she might help us out with dish washer detergent making some time in the future.

I am just so inspired with her simple household cleaning solutions that are green, cheap, AND simple! Thank you Caitlin! Check out her blog at Caitlin-lane.blogspot.com.

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I’d like to thank Amanda for letting me guest post on her blog again! It’s always fun to hop over to other’s blogs to share a few tips and tricks.

We started cloth diapering my daughter when she was five-months-old. I had considered it before having her but my mom, who had used the old pin and rubber pants method with my older sister and brother, talked me out of it. You see, I was a Pampers baby back when cloth diapering was still (according to my mother) a huge pain in the butt. Kissing metal pins and rubber pants goodbye hadn’t been an issue for my parents.

But when we finally made that switch I was at the mercy of buying some sort of expensive laundry detergent. Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t use that much when you wash cloth, but buying separate detergents for cloth and our clothes was beginning to add up. Plus, we were simply coating our clothes,
washer, and dryer in unneeded and unwanted chemicals. Ew. So the most logical explanation was to figure out what I could make on my own that would be best for my family. And now, no more pre-made laundry detergent laden down with chemicals and, with the aid of wool dryer balls, our clothes are
better than ever.

I need only 3 simple ingredients. Borax, washing soda, and a bar of ivory soap. I’ve heard great things about using Dr. Bronner’s soap instead and plan on giving that a go after I use up the pack of ivory soap that I have left.

Grate up your bar of soap. This is actually 2 bars as I make a double batch at a time. If you want to be a super productive person you could probably make a butt load all at once, but I kind of enjoy making it, so I keep my batches smaller.

Now, add in the borax and the washing soda.

And shake the crap out of it until it’s fully mixed. You’re done!

I keep my detergent in an old pasta container that I never really used and use and old teaspoon from an extra set of measuring spoons to dole it out. For my diapers I use 1 tablespoon of detergent and for most other loads anywhere from 2 – 3, depending on how soiled the load is.

If your first try with this detergent doesn’t work out do not, and I repeat, do not throw your hands up in the air and say “Well this sucks!”. Every washer is different. You might have hard water or your laundry might still be loaded down with a butt load of chemicals. I don’t know, I don’t do your laundry. But when making homemade detergent there’s often tweaking involved that requires you to play with the amount of the ingredients or the ingredients themselves. I can’t even begin to tell you how long it took to get my
dishwasher detergent correct. So don’t be disheartened if this doesn’t work perfectly for you. Play with the recipe a bit until you find the perfect process that works best for you.

DIY Laundry Detergent:

Ingredients:
1 bar ivory soap
½ cup Borax
½ cup Washing Soda

Directions:
-Grate soap and place in air tight container. Add borax and washing soda, shake well.
-Before use, give either a quick shake or stir.
-Use 1 tablespoon for cloth diapers, and 2 – 3 tablespoons for other loads.

Bio:

Caitlin is a wife, a mom, and a lover of words, living on an Air Force base in the middle of nowhere. Since having her daughter she’s turned to the green side and has enjoyed the changes that eating and living well has brought her family. She also blogs at All About Growing up and Becoming a Famous Author (Caitlin-lane.blogspot.com).

Shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Cheap and easy drain cleaner

Just a quick post about how I cleared a drain last night.

Our garbage disposal has been backing up recently and in turn our dish washer has not been getting dishes very “clean”. I am loath to buy the nasty super basic, super toxic drain cleaner from the store. And honestly, $12 for a bottle of toxic goo is not first on my “to buy” list.

I always have been a fan of things that fizzle, sizzle and explode and have many fond memories playing with baking soda and vinegar. I honestly don’t know where I thought of it or heard of it first but I decided to try baking soda and vinegar for drain cleaner a while ago and loved it.

 

So I dumped about 2 cups of baking soda in the garbage disposal. It might have been closer to 3 cups. I buy the HUGE bag of baking soda from Costco for super cheap. Then I poured vinegar in the drain slowly. I also buy the huge bottle of white vinegar from Costco for super cheap. I let it fizz (fun) up to the top of the drain, then drain, then I added more, fizz, drain, etc

textures I saw float out of the drain were, lets call it interesting, the drain slowly cleaned out and started draining better. This did take time, about 5 whole minutes! Not as easy as pouring toxic goo and letting it sit 20 minutes, but I could use my sink after I was done without having to wait, and without the toxic fumes. Bonus.

So take your time, let it drain before you fizz again, and it works great!

How do you unclog a stubborn drain?

Orange you glad I didn’t say Windex? DIY Orange Cleaner.

I asked a good friend of mine, Caitlin, to write a guest post for me about the amazing Orange Vinegar cleanser she is using. I am so excited she is sharing it with us!

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Normally I look to Amanda for advice concerning all things green and crunchy as my family is in an ever evolving process to become as green as we can be. She has given me some of the best advice and encouragement, so I’m so very excited to be able to share a little something that I do on her blog.

When my daughter first started eating food I would freak out about cleaning her high chair. It could never, ever be cleaned right before she ate, only afterwards. And then after that it had to be wiped down with water to get off any chemicals that I could.

I was so stupid.

It never occurred to me that if I was so worried about harsh chemicals that I didn’t even have to use them. I progressed to using vinegar and baking soda mixed with water and a few drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. It worked, but I noticed that it often left streaks or residue and I’d have to go back over it with water again anyway.

Until I discovered, dun dun dun! This!

Orange peels (or lemon or lime. Whatever floats your boat) soaked in vinegar. Miracle in a jar, folks. Especially for those of you who go through a ridiculous amount of oranges like we do. This is one of the easiest things that you can do. After you finish an orange, pop the peel into an old container and cover with vinegar. Don’t fill the vinegar to the top, only a little less than halfway as you’ll need room to add more peels. You can always add more vinegar as you go. Once it’s soaked for about two weeks it’s good to go! But if you have several jars soaking like I do (I have some more hiding under the counter) you won’t have to wait after that initial two weeks.

Here’s the easiest part. Fill a squirt bottle halfway with your orange-vinegar mixture and then top it off with water. Keep it at a 1:1 ratio, but don’t worry about measuring. I promise it’s not life or death, it’ll be OK if it’s a little off.

Spray, wipe, and enjoy the awesome smell and cleaning ability of citrus!

Bio:

Caitlin is a wife, a mom, and a lover of words, living on an Air Force base in the middle of nowhere. Since having her daughter she’s turned to the green side and has enjoyed the changes that eating and living well has brought her family. She also blogs at All About Growing up and Becoming a Famous Author (Caitlin-lane.blogspot.com).

 

Shared on Frugal Days Sustainable Ways. 

How do you afford to eat healthy whole food?

Being the new year people have decided to make changes in their diet. I do not believe in trendy diets or fads. They may help you lose weight but they usually do not help you get healthy.

About three years ago I was told that I could not get pregnant because I had PCOS and endometriosis and some other problems. I was told by one doctor that I needed to go on a crash diet consisting of 500 calories a day and nutrient shots so I could lose a lot of weight fast and get “healthy”. Thankfully I did some research and decided this was not a good idea.

Instead I decided to make a change and eat only whole foods. No processed crap. Along with eating whole foods I decided it would be best for my health if the meat we ate was hormone and antibiotic free. I buy free range organic as often as I can but let’s be honest, we have a budget.

After about eight months of eating whole foods I got pregnant. Surprise!

So people ask how we can afford to eat healthy. Fresh whole food is not cheap nor is it subsidized by government or big business. I was emailing a friend about this the other day and there are a few things we do to make eating whole foods most affordable. I figured I would share these tips with you too.

1. Buy produce on sale at your local “natural” grocery store. We have sprouts and sunflower farmers market here. They usually have a bigger selection of organic produce (I make sure to buy the top 10 worst foods organic), but their regular produce is usually more local (even in the winter it is from Cali not south america), and usually from smaller local farms especially in the summer.

If you can’t afford organic produce there are great produce washes to get all the chemicals off. My favorite is the bio-kleen produce wash http://www.amazon.com/Biokleen-Produce-Wash—-16/dp/B001OI13VW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1326152316&sr=8-3. It is plant-based and works very well. You can make your own but it takes too much time and effort for me.

Sprouts has good natural (hormone/antibiotic free) meat for the same price as most grocery stores have regular meat. Bonus.

If you search the sales every week you will usually find sales for items in bulk, the replacement milk you like, and canned goods. Sprouts has bulk  sales pretty often, this is when I stock up on oatmeal (we eat a lot of oatmeal), flowers, nuts, seeds, beans, dried fruit, and all that stuff. We save a lot buying in bulk anyway, but 25% off is an awesome deal. When i want chocolate I buy it from the bulk section too, you just get what you want instead of the whole big bag/bar/whatever and you save money there too 

2. In a lot of recipes you are going to find ingredients like almond, cashew, or oat flour. Do not buy the bags of pre made flour. You will pay WAY too much. Here is how to make flower with those… you get the almonds/oats/whatever… put it in the food processor (the blender will turn nuts into butter not flower if you aren’t careful so food processor is better), run in bursts until it is the flowery consistency. The end.

You can also make your own nut milk (like almond milk) but if you drink a lot of almond milk I wouldn’t because almonds have a toxin in it that they filter out in manufactured milk that we can’t take out at home.

3. When it is the season, buy food at the farmers market. Most small farms use limited or no pesticides but cant get the organic certification because it costs a lot of money that small farmers can not afford. You can usually get great prices on produce, fresh herbs, baked goods (yes most farmers markets have gluten-free/raw booths with food too yum), potted plants, and natural body care (home-made soap) stuff too.

A Saturday trip to the farmers market is a fun thing to do with the family. We usually get up early and go to the farmers market, get coffee and breakfast there off of whatever we scrounge up. It is awesome.

You can usually find local farmers who sell good meat at the farmers market. This is great because you can buy some of the meat and try it, see how it is. Ask the farmer how they raise their food, what they feed them, how they get exercise etc. From this you can usually find someone to buy a big chunk of cow from (1/4. 1/2 or even whole cow) and you will end up paying about $4-5 lb for some prime tasty meat. Totally worth it if you have room in a big freezer. You save a lot of money buying beef and pork in bulk. You can even ask for the bones for the dog and the fat to render your own lard if you are really hard-core. My friend The Spiteful Chef (http://thespitefulchef.blogspot.com/)  did that and the lard she rendered makes tasty delicious food.

Also, I found farmers markets in smaller active communities have a more diverse selection and lower prices than the huge farmers markets in big cities.

4. Join a CSA- Community Supported Agriculture. They all work slightly differently but the gist is you pay $x weekly and you get a basket of fresh produce you pick up every week. We do bountiful baskets (www.bountifulbaskets.org) and get the organic basket, which is smaller than the regular basket, but has all organic produce. It is $25 a week for the organic basket, $15 for the regular and I don’t usually have to buy a whole lot more fruits and veggies for the week. To be fair Ellie and I snack on fruits and veggies during the day but Mike does not. Your family might need more than one.

Some CSA’s you get a choice of what you get in your basket for the week but with bountiful baskets you don’t, you just get what you get. SO if we get a TON of apples or bananas I usually dehydrate them for snacks for the rest of the year. Other produce you get a lot of in the summer, like squash, you can cut up and freeze for later.

I found a trick for the veggies that people don’t usually enjoy eating (like lettuce in this house, or kale) are great in green smoothies or the juicer. Just mix with your favorite fruit and you get all the nutrients without having to eat a salad. AND it doesn’t sit in the refrigerator for a week then go all nasty.

Check out http://www.localharvest.org/ to find farmers markets and CSA’s in your area as well as local farms that have activities for families like apple and pumpkin picking and all sorts of other seasonal stuff.

5. Grow your own food. Yes even if you live in a small apartment like we do right now there are some great easy foods you can grow right on your back porch. Seeds and soil are cheap and it is a great easy way for you to guarantee healthy organic produce for your family.

Well that is all I can think of right now. Let me know if you have any questions or any ways to eat whole food and save that I didn’t mention. Food is by far our biggest household expense but we save A LOT on medical bills and we feel much healthier and happier as a whole so it is very much worth it.

How do you afford to eat whole foods?

Why I blog

There is so much information out there for those who know to look. Those who question common knowledge, who know that the truth is out there (not just about extra terrestrials, but like… you know… corporations poisoning us and stuff) and have all sorts of great tips and ideas they can share to help benefit all of man kind! If only we would know where to look.

Ok so that is a bit of a reach, all of man kind really, I would be happy if I can just benefit some of mommy kind, maybe daddy kind, perhaps just greenie kind.

A long time ago, in a far away galaxy (or state), I had a lot of problems. After much trial and error with a lot of doctors with varying levels of competency and usefulness, I discovered that I had PCOS, endometriosis, a prolapsed uterus, and there was a fat chance in hell that I would ever get pregnant without the assistance of said useless doctors. Their great advice was to lose weight… thanks docs… not that I have not been trying for years or anything… no matter how much I exercise or how well I ate I just did not lose weight and did not know why! I had a bad back at this point which was pretty pissed by all the weight I gained too so that didn’t help much.

After the one of the many doctors suggested medical weight loss (starve your body and fool it into loosing all the weight it can quickly and completely starving your body for the nutrients it is so obviously lacking in the first place) I decided to do some research. Back to that information at the tip of your fingers. Now here is something I have learned after years and years of researching stuff: there are a lot of quacks out there, and a lot of remedies for the same problem. Something that works for one person will not always, or even usually, work for another. Our bodies are all different and react differently to varying factors.

Long story short I found eating all organic meat and mostly organic produce (at least the “dirty dozen”  http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/organic_natural/12_foods_you_should_buy_organic)

and I started loosing weight. Do your own research and tell me why. It’s actually very interesting the effects pesticides and artificial hormones in our food really does effect our bodies. As soon as I lost about 20 lbs I got pregnant! OOPS! We were NOT planning on this at all but I can’t tell you how happy I am that it happened. I have the most beautiful, smart, curious, squirmy and adorable little girl ever. (She is at this very instant trying to delete this whole article because I am not paying explicit attention to her.)

So I did what any other nerd would do, research. I explored what to eat while pregnant, parenting styles, tips, I learned what I could about baby care, cloth diapering, what is in baby products, clothes, food, diapers, whatever I could get my hands on! My mind was a bottomless hole soaking in every piece of information I could. Filtering out all the crazy information with what would actually work for us. I learned what herbs are used to treat different problems. I learned what chemicals are the most important to avoid. I learned!

So I know there are people out there who are too busy to do the research, or don’t know where to start. They don’t know the local haunts that are there for support, or the natural lines of products they have access to. They don’t know they can be green within a budget. They don’t know! I didn’t know.

So I decided to share my knowledge and insights and hopefully spark a thought in you, so that you can then go and do your own research, reach your own conclusions and hopefully share some of your knowledge and insights with me.

And that is why I blog.

Check out why some of my other mamma friends blog:

Katt : http://augustreverie.com/main/why-i-blog/964/

Molly Yanz : https://mommyyanz.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/why-do-i-blog/

Heather Wikle Gonzales : http://fearfultofearless.blogspot.com/2011/06/blogging-with-kids.html

Megan Gallt : http://perfectlittlelove.tumblr.com/post/6793626021

Caitlin : http://caitlin-lane.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-i-blog-what-about-you.html

Xandy : http://xoxostar.com/?p=2518

Angelahttp://stifterfamilystories.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-i-started-blogging.html