The Scoop on Drupes — September 20, 2020

The Scoop on Drupes

I debated whether or not to jump to another category or talk about the different types of fruit in this post, but I think that breaking the fruit category into smaller categories will help you as you plan your grocery list and hit the store.

So let’s begin by talking about the scoop on drupes…

******************

What is a Drupe?!

  • One type of drupe is the stone fruit, those fruits that are composed of a skin that surrounds a fleshy fruit part with a hard seed or pit in the middle.
  • There are two different types of stone fruits—freestone fruits, those where the seed can be taken out with no problem—such as nectarines, peaches, plums, prunes, and cherries.
  • And then clingstone fruits, those where the seed is a pain in the butt to take out—such as peaches, plums, cherries, olives, apricots, and mango. 
  • Another category of drupes is the tryma. These are nut-like drupes that actually grow within an outer husk—such as walnuts, coconuts.almonds, and cashews.
  • Finally there are bramble fruits—such as the blackberry and the raspberry—fruits that consist of what are known as drupelets, small or large clusters that have a small hard seed inside.
  • Nutritionally speaking, drupes are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The nutritional value will vary from fruit to fruit. We will look at these fruits and their nutritional value in future posts…right now I just want to break down our shopping list for our next road trip to Sprouts or Whole Foods into as many little categories as possible.

**********************************************

Which Fruits are Classified as Drupe

Almonds

Apricot
Avocado
Bayberry
Blackberry
Cashews

Cherry
Coconut
Coffee
Damson
Date
Hackberry
Jujube

Loquat

Mango
Nectarine
Olive
Pecans

Peach

Pistacho

Plum
Raspberry

Walnuts

    •  

When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Even More — April 6, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Even More

Lord knows, these months and the month or even months have been downright crazy…not to mention stressful.

 

 

So what is one way that you can worry less and chill out more?

 

 

If you actually read my blog on a regular basis, you will already know what I am about to say…

Aromatherapy…

More specifically essential oils…

And even more specifically diffusing essential oils as a part of the complementary medicine called “aromatherapy.”

 

 

******************

How Essential Oils Work

ls through the air, our olfactory nerve  sends almost instantly sends messages to different parts of the brain, including the limbic system and amygdala, which are both directly wired to the brain’s centers of memory and emotion.

If you remember watching the movie Forest Gump, you will remember the professor explaining that the amygdala is that part of the brain which controls our emotions, mood, and memory.

Interestimgly, these parts of the brain also do two what seems opposite reactions…either triggering a fight-or-flight respons where we get short of breath, our heart rate and blood pressure go overboard…or awakening the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us relax.

In fact, certain essential oils…(which we’ll talk about later)…interact with our nervous system and brain in the same way biochemically that many anti-prescribed anxiety medications do..making it a great complementary and alternative choice. 

So let’s find out which specific essential oils, more specifically citrus essential oils, are actually the best oils for helping you feel less stressed out.

**********

Citrus in General

Citrus essential oils can affect different people different ways…they can either be stimulating or relaxing…are totally have different effects from one person to the next.

These oils can help some people fall asleep more easily…other people to relax but not actually fall to sleep-more easily…feel more both refreshed and relaxed if you use them during the day,

Since this is the case, you must try the particular essential oil yourself to see how it affects you.

Below are some citrrus essential oils to consider.

**********

Bergamot

What is it…Bergamot essential oil is derived from the peel of a bergamot fruit, a hybrid citrus fruit somewhere between a bitter orange and lemon or lime, and is widely used in aromatherapy. This is the fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its signature fragrance,…(more on this later)…

 

What does it smell like…Bergamot has a clean, spicy citrus-like fragrance that is soothing…yet at the same time invigorating.

 

How long have people been using it…This essential oil has been used traditionally in Italian folk medicine because of its ability to relieve tension and anxiety….and in traditional Chinese medicine to enhance the flow of energy, fight bacterial infections and support digestive health.

 

What other essential oils should I blend with bergamot…try  floral oils like lavender, clary sage and jasmine.

 

How do I use it…Like all other essential oils, you have the option to use bergamot essential oil in your diffuser or apply it to your skin,..but be careful if you do apply bergamot essential oil topically because it can cause severe sunburn.

Also be sure to combine bergamot essential oil with a carrier oil—such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado—before using it on your skin or adding it to your bath.

Bergamot can often be irritating to the skin…and make you more likely to get  sunburns and blisters when you’ve been out in the sun for too long.

 

Health benefits of bergamot essential oil are believed to include…

  • helping you to relax
  • improving blood circulation
  • keeping you from feeling so fatigued
  • lowering your blood pressure
  • lowering your heart rate
  • reducing chronic pain
  • relieving anxiety and stress
*******
Lemon

 

Source...leaves of the lemon plant

Benefits…

  • acts as a sedative
  • can help relieve the nausea associated with cancer treatments
  • eases symptoms of depression
  • improves mood
  • promotes sleep and relaxation
  • reduces anxiety and stress

 

 

*********

Melissa (Lemon Balm)

Source...lemons…(go figure, right?!)

History…has been used for hundreds of years. Known for its medicinal and uplifting qualities, it has also been given the name “elixir of life”.

Benefits

  • calms the mind
  • boosts immunity
  • strengthens the nervous system
  • can act as a antidepressant and release feelings of sadness and worry

 

 

 

*******

Neroli 

Source…derived from the flowers of the neroli, a citrus fruit

Fragrance...sweet and spicy aromal..similar to an expensive, floral-based perfume…in fact, commonly used as an ingredient in French perfumes

History…has been around since ancient Egyptian times

Blend with…sandalwood

Benefits

  • acts as a sedative
  • helps you sleep
  • improves concentration, mood, and memory
  • regulates the metabolic system
  • relaxes both body and soul
  • releases feelings of anger, irritability, stress, anxiety, and worry

 

****

Yuzu

 

Source…derived from the yuzu fruit, a type of East Asian yellow citrus fruit often used in Asian cuisine

History…Japanese have had a custom of taking yuzu baths, which involves floating yuzus in hot baths during the winter to relieve stressas far back as the 1700s

Benefits

  • decreases negative emotional stress
  • decreases salivary chromogranin A, an indicator of stress and sympathetic nervous system activity
  • lowers your heart rate in just ten minutes, with effects lasting for about thirty minuters
  • soothes stress and anxiety
  • suppresses sympathetic nervous system activity, also known as the fight-or-flight response
Essential Oil Diffusers…The What and The Why — April 1, 2020

Essential Oil Diffusers…The What and The Why

Essentiial oil diffusers are a popular method of using essential oils to gain both the relaxation and health-related benefits of that particular oil, or combination of oils…not to mention that they also help “clear” the air and create a pleasantly fragrant environment.

This enjoyable and effective way of turning only a few drops of essential oil into a fine vapor that is then dispersed in a given area is one of the most common uses of  aromatherapy in homes.

As you breathe in the vapors that are dispersed throughout the day, the nervous system to transmit signals to the limbic system of your brain, the part of the brain that controls emotion and memory.

Diffusers are great because they an affordable, relaxing, and healthy way of using aromatherapy at home that allows you to control…

  • how concentrated the vapor from the diffuser is
  • how long these oils are dispersed
  • what oils are dispersed in the air

 

 

 

*********************************

Essential Oil and the Immune System

For strange reason, people are concerned more about maintaining their immunity system than ever before…(gee, perhaps it’s because of the coronavirus?!)

And thankfully essential oils can help because many of these have both  antibacterial and antiviral qualities that help protect your immune system as they are inhaled.  

Essential oils help boost your immune system because as these oils are diffused into the air, they break down the free radicals and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

The best essential oils to use for boosting you immune system are…

  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • eucalyptus
  • lemon
  • oregano
  • peppermint
  • star anise
  • tea tree

 

 

***********************

Essential Oils and Pest Control

 

Essential oils can be a safe and effective way to keep mosquitoes, gnats, and other pesky bugs away without the use of insect repellants that contain toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children,

Essential oils work as an insect repellant because most bugs cannot stand the aroma of diffused essential oils runs bugs away because they think that it stinks…not to mention the fact the some essential oils are actually deadly to bugs.

The best oils to use in warding off insects are…

 

 

***********************

Essential Oils and the Brain

Essential oils can improve cognitive function in many ways, including…

  • giving us more energy whenever we’re feeling down or sluggish
  • helping to balance hormones
  • helping us to focus
  • leveling out an imbalanced moods
  • relieving stress and anxiety
  • repairing the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function

Essential oils that are great for these purposes include…

 

 

**************************

Essential Oils and Pain Relief

Diffusing essential oils, both through a diffuser and topically can help relieve the pains of headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints…(more on this later)…

 

 

**************************************

Essential Oils and the Respiratory System

Diffusing essential oils reduces inflammation in your respiratory tracts and provides decongestant qualities…making them great at helping to  eliminate colds, coughs, and even pneumonia.

The best essential oils to use for respiratory reasons are…

  • eucalyptus
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • palo santo
  • tea tree

 

 

Aromatherapy…The Which — March 26, 2020

Aromatherapy…The Which

Aromatherapy…The Why — March 24, 2020

Aromatherapy…The Why

If All Else Fails — March 1, 2020

If All Else Fails

grocery delivery

So what to do if your attempts at container gardening are an epic fail…or while you wait to see if the plants that you do plant actually turn out successful…or if you simply don’t want to go to the trouble of planting your own….or if you don’t have the space to even attempt to grow your own fruits and vegetables….or if you can’t make it to your farmer’s market’s Saturday-morning-only hours…or if you are looking for more variety than what you yourself would even attempt to grow.

Thankfully there are large-scale online organic grocery delivery services and subscription boxes that you can join that will deliver an assortment of organic fruits and veggies to your door to fill in these gaps by sending organic, all-natural produce and products right to your door.

What a convenience, right?!

The only problem perhaps with joining one of these subscriptions if that unfortunately you won’t be able to choose which fruits and vegetables you end up getting…(it’s their choice, not yours…so you can’t be picky)…

But here is a list of a few to consider…

 

****************

Boxed Greens

boxed greensGoal…to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from farms local to Phoenix, AZ

Options include…

  • The Essential Family…basic produce for four people
  • The Family Gourmand…same as The Essential Family, but comes with a few more unusual fruits or vegetables
  • The Juicemaker
  • The Breakfast Box…seasonal fruits and fresh granola

Reach…offers weekly delivery to Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, and other areas in Arizona…as well overnight delivery both to other areas in Arizone and  nationwide

***********************

Door to Door Organics

door to door organics
Goal…to stock their boxes with pesticide-free produce primarily from local sources…even though they resort to getting produce from warmer climates and international organic farms during the winter months

Reach…several locations across the country, including Colorado, Kansas City, Chicago, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

*********************

Green Polka Dot Box

green polka dot

What…an online grocery store and buying collective that offers lower prices on brands such as Newman’s Own, Annie’s, Sprout, Tom’s of Maine, and more

Goal…to bring not only organic fruits and vegetables…but also other organic and natural products—including snacks, condiments, baking supplies, and more

How…either a $50-annual Club Membership or a $125-annual Rewards Membership

 

*****************************************
SPUD-–Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery
spud logo
Reach…the northern West Coast: Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange County, Vancouver, Van Island, and Calgary

 

How…you design your own Harvest Box by choosing…

  • how frequently you want to get groceries delivered
  • how much you want to spend
  • whether you want to buy local goods only…local goods over a variety of items…or variety over source
**************
urban organic logo
Reach…New York Tri-State area…imncluding New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut
Options…offers four box sizes, ranging from The Little Box to the Extra-Value Box
Contents…changes every week…but includes produce such as carrots, greens, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, grapefruit, and tangerines
Juicing Box…also offers a Juicing Box designed for DIY juice and smoothies…which comes with carrots, beets, parsely, celery, ginger, apples, pears, dark greens, and cucumbers

Groceries…also sells canned goods, baby food, sustainably-raised meat and household supplies such as organic cat food and cleaning spray

 

A Watched Pot Never Boils — July 18, 2019

A Watched Pot Never Boils

As Warm As Toast — May 11, 2019

As Warm As Toast

One of my original goals when I began this blog was to discover ways to create and enjoy more of a “natural” lifestyle…

But after I started this blog, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

So my focus changed from creating a more natural lifestyle to helping him learn how to cope with having developed the “Southern man’s rite of passage.”

Lately we have been talking about different cooking methods so that we can get back to the Raw Foods Pyramid and learn how to eat better—now only better for your health, but also better than what you’re been eating for the last how many years.

The cooking method that we are learning about now is “deep frying”…

Now we will look at five different batter types…first of all, a baking soda batter…

But before we start looking at baking soda as batter, I thought that I would cover some more of the uses of baking soda…for “beauty,” health and home.

Starting with using baking soda as a deodorant…

Okay, enough of a road map…to try to convince you that I haven’t veered totally off course with my priorities…

Let’s move on…

—————————————————-

Becoming a Smarter Consumer

Many of us have started paying way more attention to the ingredients in the products that we buy…making sure that these products do not contain parabens, formaldehyde, aluminum, synthetics, and other harmful additives that might be harmful to both our bodies and our community.

Many of the current skincare and makeup products not only contain these ingredients, but are more likely to irritate the skin, clog the pores, cause even more skin problems.

But on many of these more “politically correct” products, you may find natural cosmetics are much less effective,,,so many of us are starting to make our own alternative products….

In this post, we will look at using baking soda as an alternative to store-bought deodorant…

After all we all have to use it…it’s cheap…and we’ll have to have it on hand when we actually start deep frying our French fries and onion rings…

—————————

Why Baking Soda?

Baking soda is one of the best natural ingredients to use when making your own deodorant…if not the best…for many reasons, including…

  • contains no harsh chemicals, artificial fragrance, or alcohol
  • having antibacterial properties that help control the bacteria that grows in our underarms, which cause odor when they break down sweat.
  • helps balance and regulate pH levels in the body
  • neutralizes strong and obtrusive odors effectively—as already proven in its use to deodorize drains, trashcans, dishwashers, and refrigerators
  • offers long-term protection
  • relatively inexpensive
  • removes harmful substances from your body

————————

The How

There are several different options as far as using baking soda for deodorant, including…

  • Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have
  • Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder
  • Making a Spray Deodorant
  • Plain Baking Soda

There are also ingredients to add that will make your deodorant more effective. These include…

  • Aloe  Vera
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Dried Flowers…such as lavender
  • Essential Oils
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin E Oil Gel Caps
  • Witch Hazel

———————-

Recipes

1.Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have…If you find yourself with an arsenal of half-used natural deodorants that you quit using because they were ineffective…as so many are…then “fix” them by adding baking soda. To do this, roll out all of the remaining deodorant in the container. Mash the deodorant in a bowl with an old fork or spoon. Now add at least 3Tbsp baking soda and mix well. Once you have the right consistency – not too hard or too soft – pack your improved deodorant back into the original container and refrigerate for a few hours so it hardens.

2. Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder…Combine 2Tbsp baking soda and 1/3C arrowroot powder to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine them thoroughly…(more on arrowroot powder later).

3. Making a Spray Deodorant…Combine ½tsp baking soda, ½C witch hazel, and ¼C aloe vera in a spray bottle….(More on witch hazel and aloe vera later)…Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. 

4. Plain Baking Soda…Simply put ⅛tsp…(no, I really don’t expect you to measure it, but you get the point)…in your palm. Now add ¼tsp water to your palm to dissolve the baking soda. The mixture should feel slippery, so add more water or more baking soda as needed. Apply the mixture to your underarms. Allow the mixture to dry before getting dressed.

5. Store Bought Options…Good choices as far as non-DIY OTC natural deodorants include the following…

  • Burt’s Bees
  • JASON
  • Kiss My Face
  • Trader Joe’s

6.  Add-Ins…Finally there are more ingredients that you can add to any of the above recipes, including…

    • Cocoa Butter…2Tbsp cocoa butter
    • Cornstarch…2Tbsp cornstarch
    • Essential oil…10-15 drops of essential oil—such as patchouli, myrrh, tea tree, lavender or orange.
    • Shea Butter…3Tbsp shea butter
    • Vitamin Oil…2 vitamin E oil gel caps

 

 

 


Storing

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, once you finish making it you have two options as far as storing it….either transferring the mixture to a small lidded container or putting it into an empty deodorant stick that you already have.

When you’re not using the deodorant, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

———————-

Using

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, rub a small amount of the mixture on your underarms. Wait up to five minutes before getting dressed to avoid smearing the paste onto your clothing.

How to De-Funk Your Kitchen—Eliminate — March 22, 2019

How to De-Funk Your Kitchen—Eliminate

I have heard so many women advise new brides that If you haven’t started dinner before your husband comes home from work, start cooking some onions…and they will think that you have been cooking for hours.

I know that times have changed…

But onions haven’t changed…

And neither have odors throughout your home…unless you do something about them.

So I thought this would be a good time to talk about eliminating and enhancing the odors throughout your home, mainly your kitchen.

Here are a few of the areas around your kitchen that you might want to consider if you want your kitchen to not smell like rotten eggs…

1.Windows…If you have a window in your kitchen, one of the easiest ways to start making your house less stinky is to open the windows so that smells don’t linger.

2. Kitchen Surfaces…If you are going to keep your kitchen smelling great, it should be kinda obvious that your kitchen should be clean, including your cutting boards and other areas where you prepare your food. This will not only get rid of any smells left behind, but also kill bacteria.

3. Garbage Disposal…There are many things that you could run through your garbage disposal on a weekly basis to eliminate any smells. Not only will this keep it from smelling, but it will also kill bacteria.

These “things” include…

  • Baking Soda
  • Essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender or rosemary
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemon or orange peels
  • Lemon-scented dish soap
  • Salt
  • Vinegar

Fridge…One of the main things that can start making your fridge stink is the residue on your fridge shelves that are left from bottles and containers. Fridge mats, such as these, are a great way to catch these drips. Once they easily clean them, instead of having to waste time scrubbing those shelves.

Freezer…Set fresh coffee grounds to get rid of the smell of rotten food in your freezer.

Garbage...Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can every time that you take out the trash to help neutralize the smell of kitchen scraps and keep nasty garbage odors at bay,

Microwave…Pour some vanilla extract into a bowl and microwave on high for one minute.

Oh “Huck,” Where Have You Been — March 2, 2019

Oh “Huck,” Where Have You Been

Okay, I just told you to dry your food that you are going to be sauteeing off with a paper towel…and many of you cringed at the thought that I would even dare to have them in my house…aren’t we all “going green” these days?

Even though you might be much better off using this on the food that you are going to be sauteeing…after all, do you really want to risk making your family sick by drying foods such as raw chicken on something that you might then wash and use to clean your mirrors, windows, and wood furniture? 

But right now I am taking a break to look at all the other things that can be used as alternatives to standard paper towels so that we can do one more thing to be “eco-friendly” and do our art in saving the environment.

Basically in the school of “green thinking,” there are three trains of thought—find something similar, use something else instead, or use something that you already have on hand.

So let’s first look at “Something Similar”…

When it comes to ordinary paper towels, the next something similar would have to be other towels and napkins that are made of a fabric that can be washed and re-used. Examples of this include Huck towels, microfiber cloths, and napkins from such materials as chambray, cotton, and linen.

1. Huck Towels

  • Color…may be white or dyed different colors…designate a specific color for each specific use
  • Commercial Uses…to clean surgical instruments…also used by rofessional window washers, car detailers, and cleaning companies
  • Durability…long-lasting, tend to hold up well even after many washings
  • Fabric….pure cotton…whenever buying Huck towels, make sure that the towels are 100% cotton because blended fabrics are not as absorbent.
  • Household Uses…window cleaning, drying dishes, dusting and polishing furniture, wiping down furniture on the patio and porch
  • Source…Rag Lady…looks like an excellent source for all sorts of recyclable, well…rags…