Saturday, September 21, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law; Circumvents Public Process | Food & Water Watch

A MUST read article for those of us that are buying organic foods with an organic label on it. Because of changes by the USDA, those organic labels may not be as organic as we think. Read on and let me know what you think.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law; Circumvents Public Process | Food & Water Watch

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My 5 favorite DIY household cleaners and beauty products

If you have followed My Fertile Lifestyle's Facebook page and Pinterest board, you know that I love to keep my family healthy.  I have been feeding them organic and local produce for a few years now.  I don't mind spending money on these types of foods because I want my family to be as healthy as they can be. As Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

You may also know that I entered this healthier phase of my life, when my oldest child was born. My journey led me to healthier household cleaners and most recently, healthier beauty products as I learned that what I put onto my skin was absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than what I ate. Now I would like to share what I think are fabulous DIY household cleaners and beauty products.

My favorite coconut oil, Trader Joe's!

  1. COCONUT OIL - In case you don't know, I love coconut oil!  It is such a versatile product that I use it both in cooking and as a DIY beauty product.  You can read more about my love of coconut oil here
  2. GLASS CLEANER - This recipe has three ingredients, that's it!  You probably already have them in your house.  The recipe says it is okay not to use newspaper to clean the mirrors if you don't have any.  However, I highly recommend using newspaper to clean the mirrors. My mirrors only come out well when I use newspaper.  Also, you may want to make half a recipe if you use a small spray bottle.  I always forget and then have glass cleaner left over. Let me know how it works out for you.  You can find the recipe here
  3. ALL PURPOSE CLEANER - This is my favorite cleaner for two reasons.  One is that I can re-use lemon peels instead of throwing them out.  The second reason is that it works so well!  It gets rid of the soap scum and makes my bathroom tiles shine.  The recipe calls for orange peels, but I recommend any citrus peel that you use.  Here's the recipe
  4. UNCLOG A SHOWER DRAIN -  Recently I had a shower clog in the master bathroom. Since we are living a more fertile lifestyle, I knew that I had to find a recipe to unclog it without using Draino.  And found it, I did. You will love this one, made from ingredients that you already have in your home.  Here it is.  
  5. DEODORANT - Let me start by saying that this recipe is a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant.  Although I still sweat, I don't smell.  Since I am avoiding toxins going into my blood stream, which would happen with OTC deodorants, I don't mind sweating.  Since I started using it, I don't think I smell nor have I received any complaints of smells.  In fact, the first day I used it, my 4 year old son said that he liked the way I smelled.  That's good enough for me. Here's the recipe for it.  
One of my favorite DIY beauty products, deodorant in a small jar.

And there you have it, my top 5 DIY recipes for keeping dangerous chemicals out of my home and off my body.  My husband joked that he doesn't know whether to use the all-purpose cleaner to clean the counters or put it on a salad.  My mother joked that her time spent with us would be more like a cleanse, rather than a vacation.  Everyone can joke about our lifestyle, but in the end, it is our choice to live this way.  We want what is best for our family and we believe this is it.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CSA - What is it?

I’d love to tell you all about CSAs, but first, I should tell you what the acronym stands for. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture which is exactly what it is.  The Palmentieros (as part of the community) support (with an upfront payment before the growing season) our local farmers.   By purchasing these "shares" in the farm, it gives the farmer some cash flow before the growing season.  For the past few years, we have been a part of two different CSAs.  Most CSAs work the same way.  In January or February, a payment is made to the farmer for a share in the bounty of the farm that year. 

Once the farmer begins harvesting vegetables, most CSAs will provide a weekly basket full of fresh vegetables and/or fruits that are picked that week.  The baskets are either picked up or delivered to a central location. 

The two CSAs, that my family have been a part of, are a little different than the norm.  The first one allowed everyone to pick the vegetables that went into the basket.  We were e-mailed a list of available vegetables on Sunday night and then we would return a list of the vegetables to be in our basket at pick-up.

One of the complaints about traditional CSAs is that there is no choice as to what is in the basket.  So if your family doesn’t like kohlrabi or you don’t know what to do with it (I didn’t know what to do with it either before I joined a CSA), you were stuck.  Who wants vegetables that you are not going to use?

The second CSA is very different.  At the beginning of the year, we make a payment to our farmer, Patti Popp of  Sport Hill Farm, for her Cash Crop program.  She then gives us a credit, to use in her marketplace on the farm, which is slightly more than what we originally paid.  She uses our money for her upfront expenses but the credit allows us to buy more fruits and vegetables.  I'd call that a win-win.

Benefits of a CSA:
  • Going to the farm - By picking up my share from the farm, it gives me a chance to ask about how the produce is grown.  The produce person at the supermarket can't answer that.  
  • Getting children excited about food - My children love going to the farm. One of the farms had cows, and the second one has chickens. They are learning where their food comes from. Sometimes they get to feed the animals.  It's fun and educational!  

  • Trying new vegetables - As I mentioned before, it was certainly interesting to try new vegetables. This year I have used kale, both as a chip as well as in my smoothie. How about that for a new use!  
  • Cash flow - For the farmer, it is a great way for them to raise some funds at the beginning of their growing season, especially when they haven't sold much for a few months.  
  • Meeting new people - For both the farmer and the community, it's a great way to meet new people who are interested in where their food is coming from.
  • Cost effective - Even though you may be in for sticker shock when you buy produce from a farm, you have to realize the value you are getting for those fruits and vegetables.  Since it doesn't have to travel from far away to arrive in your local supermarket, the produce lasts longer! It has probably been picked the day you bought it.  
By supporting your local farms through their CSA programs, you are keeping farms alive. There is a bumper sticker that I have seen recently that sums up the purpose of supporting farms, which says, "No farms, no food." By actively purchasing produce from a farm, you are increasing the chances of that farm staying financially viable.  That in turn, helps to ensure that there is a place where you can get healthy, nutritious food without GMOs.    And when we do that, it helps keep the earth healthy by supporting farms that are farming sustainably.  Isn't that what you want in order to have a fertile lifestyle?  I know I do.  

If you are interested in finding a CSA near you, check out this link to Local Harvest: