Happy bellies for vibrant lives
Dianne

Natural Laundry Routine

When I started on my journey towards a natural, unprocessed life about 4 years ago, one of the first things I changed was my laundry routine. (Some of my fermentation students know that making yogurt was another change I made early on, but that's a story for another time!) Changing laundry detergents seemed like an approachable swap to make. It was a minimal impact change and I didn't need to add anything. 

Although choosing where to start was rather arbitrary for me at the time, the important thing is to start to make changes that minimize the toxic load on your body. There are varying amount of toxins in your laundry and other household and personal care products. The crazy thing is, contrary to what you may believe, this industry is not regulated and formulations can change at any time without notice. Ingredient lists don't even appear on many of these items. I don't know about you, but I want to know what is going in, on and around my body. There are many toxins we can't avoid, but we have the power to choose what happens in our own home. Similarly to my feelings on food, I choose to use the most natural products and avoid chemicals where I can. Because we all know there are times when we can't avoid them, so I want my body to be able to process those efficiently when they creep in. 

Why would I bother? Well, the chemicals in laundry detergent that give laundry its signature smell are actually toxic hormone distrupters. Many contain carcinogens - that's right - cancer causing agents right there in your laundry detergent! The perfumes are also a huge contributor to asthma problems. This industry isn't required to list its ingredients on the bottle, so the average consumer wouldn't even know. 

Additionally, making your own will be cheaper than buying store-bought detergent and is very quick and easy to make.

With all that information, I did a little research and stumbled across some laundry detergent recipes. I'll share the recipes that I've tested, tweaked and used in my house for many years. 

*If you don't have the time to do this on your own, message me to make some up for you!

Washing Detergent - combine and use 1 tbsp per load:

 

Fabric Softener

In the rinse cycle add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. [I'm linking to this so you know what I'm talking about, but vinegar should be really cheap at your supermarket. Like $3/gallon. I want to show you the products I use, but don't necessarily price check the links I've added, so be sure to do that before you buy. ] I put this in a fabric softener dispenser ball, but you could also put it right in your fabric softener dispenser if you have one. 

For the same reasons, I also swapped out my dryer sheets. Now I use wool dryer balls. I will say, especially in the winter, there can still be some static cling. But I've found my best bet is to use dry natural fabrics this way separate from synthetic fibers. Synthetics, especially performance athletic wear, really hold static for some reason and I've really not had great luck with those.

 

Stain Removal

I've got a really great natural spray that's super easy to put together. It's toddler approved and even gets out blueberry stains! This is tried and true! (Just test your fabric to ensure its colorsafe first)

Combine in a spray bottle:

 

Now, there are still times when I need to use store-bought detergent. Washing cloth diapers is definitely one of those times. The stuff I use is approved by Thirsties brand diapers, my favorite. And sometimes, washing food-filled toddler clothes and bibs also requires the store-bought stuff. In these cases my favorite these days is Planet Laundry Detergent. I get it for a great price on Thrive Market. I've also heard that plain old Tide is a cloth diaper tried and true, but I haven't used it for myself yet. 

Would you make your own laundry detergent? Let me know if it works for your family!

 


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Dianne

Bone Broth

The nourishing broth made from simmering meat bones and vegetables in water is the delicious food called Bone Broth. It is a traditional way creating a base for soups, cooking liquid for rice or grains, a base for gravies or a lovely drink all on its own. This has really taken off in the health industry recently, and with good reason. It helps to boost the immune system, heal the gut, enhance detoxification and improve joint health. Bone broth contains collagen, which is known to support hair, skin, nails and joints.  It’s also high in minerals and electrolytes and is packed with 19 amino acids.

If you can’t make your own bone broth or if you’re traveling, there are some great options for premade boxed bone broths. Not all are made equal so if they seem cheap, they are very likely not made in the proper traditional way. I keep Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth and Epic Turkey Cranberry Sage Bone Broth in the pantry for times that I don’t have homemade broth on hand.

But remember bone broth is pretty easy and inexpensive to make at home, so give it a shot and make some today! It also freezes nicely, so you can make big batches and have it available in the freezer for when you’re ready to use it.

The recipe is simple:

Ingredients:

-    Meat bones *see below on choosing bones and vegetables

-    Vegetables or Veggie scraps *see below on choosing bones and vegetables

-    6-8 quarts of water (depending on the size of your pot)

Directions:

·        Combine your meat bones and vegetables/veggie scraps in a 6-8 quart stock pot, crock pot or instapot

·        Cover with filtered water (the Berkey is my fav!), leaving 1-2 inches at the top.

·        Add Salt (I like Real Salt because of the consistent mineral levels in this product)

·        Add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (this helps to extract the minerals)

·        Cook time for Chicken is 12-24 hours / Cook time for Beef is 24-48 hours

·        Simmer on the Stove top, in an electric Slow Cooker or in an Instant Pot (adjust cook time per manufacturer's directions)

·        [[I often dip into the broth as its cooking and drink down a mug-full or two on its own.]]

·        After the broth has slightly cooled, strain into a large bowl. Let cool. Discard the used bones and vegetables. Portion into mason jars or freezer-safe containers.

·        It will last in the fridge for about 5 days. Freezer for a few months.

 

How to choose your bones:

Option 1 – Roast a whole chicken. Eat the meat, save the bones. Drop the entire remains into the pot with vegetables and water and you are done.  If you are a newbie, this is the place to start. You could even use a rotisserie chicken that you get pre-cooked from the store. I’ve seen some recipes using two carcasses in the same amount of water, but I find that broth way too strong. Perhaps there are greater health benefits this way, but personally, I think one is just fine.

Option 2 – Save bones from meat you eat. I have a few zip top bags in my freezer for beef, pork, and chicken bones. When we eat a bone-in cut, like a pork chop or short rib for example, I’ll save the bones in the bag. When the bag is starting to get full, it’s time to make broth!

Option 3 – Purchase bones from your local butcher or farmer’s market. Many times the suppliers are looking to get rid of bones or sell at a low price. Although with the popularity of bone broth, the prices are starting to rise. If you want to make some broth and don’t want to wait to accumulate the bones, this is a good option. But, since these bones are essentially *raw* (unlike the bones that we’d talked about previously that had been pre-cooked), they should be roasted in the oven for an hour or two before making your broth. Pro-tip: Drop them in boiling water for a minute before roasting.

A note on quality: Make sure your meat is organic and ethically raised. A farmer’s market or local farm is ideal for obtaining the healthiest meat. And remember healthy meat = healthy bones = healthy broth.

Vegetables: While you can use an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery, I prefer to use vegetable scraps. When I’m cutting my vegetables for other meals, I save all the scraps in another zip top bag in the freezer. The scraps have just as much flavor and this way you don’t have to waste veggies you’d otherwise eat! So keep your onion and garlic peels, carrot tops and celery leaves for broth! You can also add in any other herbs, vegetables or scraps you may have.

  

How to use Bone Broth:

-        Base for soup or stew

-        Whisk an egg into 1 cup of broth for an egg drop soup (my go-to easy breakfast)

-        Add to roux (flour + fat) to make a gravy

-        Use in place of water when making rice or beans

-        Drink it right out of a mug. Especially if you are feeling sick or trying to heal a gut issue.

How do you use your bone broth?


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