10 Everyday Swaps to Make for Healthy Living

10 Everyday Swaps to Make TODAY for a Healthier Living Environment

Cleaning up your environment can be surprisingly easy.  Take some time to look around your home, how many different products do you use every day? How many could easily be swapped for something less toxic? How are those products effecting your health and the health of your family? Have you ever wondered if you made a few simple changes in what you put in and on your body, that you might feel better?

Throughout my wellness journey, I’ve slowly eliminated toxic chemicals from my environment. I know it’s made a difference in my health.  My sensitivity to synthetic fragrances is over the top, they give me headaches every time I’m around them. I also have less joint pain, as someone who suffers from mild carpal tunnel, my joints often hurt. Now that I’ve swapped out toxic products for healthier ones, I have less pain. When I encounter a toxic chemical now, I often get aches in areas I’m not use to.

How Do You Get Started?

Start by taking note of how you feel today. What is your energy level? How is your mood? Do you feel anxious or worried? Now make the following simple swaps and take a weekly account of how you’re feeling.

I’ll be suggesting products that can be swapped out, if you make a purchase from one of the links, Metronome Wellness will receive a very small commission. However, what I’m trying to get across here is to just make a healthier, less toxic change, for your health and the health of your family. You can easily make your own products, or purchase them. Thankfully, more and more companies are getting rid of the chemicals in the things we use everyday, and making them more affordable!

Cleaning products

No surprise that cleaning products top the list.  Have you looked at some of the chemicals on the labels of mainstream cleaning products? I mean, toxic, highly flammable, keep away from children, hazardous crap! Scary right? Why would we want these in our homes? Of course, we were once told that we must sanitize everything. We now know that we’ve done more harm than good with this way of thinking.  There are more scary, drug resistant bugs out there than ever before.  STOP sanitizing everything! A little bit of bacteria and dirt is good for your health!

Did you know that with a little white vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda you can pretty much clean anything? Crazy and think of how much money you could save! Check out my essential oil clean recipes. If you don’t have time, or frankly just don’t want to, I recommend using Seventh Generation products.  They can be found almost anywhere, and they stick to their promise of keeping the toxins out of our homes and the environment.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste can be full of toxic ingredients like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial sweeteners, fluoride, propylene glycol, Diethanolamine. Why!?? What’s the point of adding these harmful ingredients to something you put in your mouth? One of the most absorbent places in the human body.  You can easily make you’re your own toothpaste! Wellness Mama has a few different ways: https://wellnessmama.com/1772/natural-toothpaste/ Or if you prefer to purchase a safer toothpaste, I like Himalaya Botanique, I get mine from amazon and have been using it for years.  

Shampoo

Another easy, simple swap to make today is your shampoo. I’m going to “plug” a MLM product, sorry.  I’ve tried making my own, and used a variety of different “natural” shampoos, and found Monat to be my favorite. It’s something that I can honestly say has helped my hair a ton! Over the past couple of years using it, my hair has grown more than ever, gotten stronger, healthier, and I frequently get compliments on it (which hasn’t happened since kids). Their company name is short for “Mother Nature” and they say “no” to toxic ingredients. Check out the science behind their products at:  https://monatglobal.com/the-science-of-monat/.

Face wash

As someone who struggles with acne, I’ve used a million different products. I wanted so badly for essential oils or something very simple to work, but it never did. I’ve used the dermatologist’s products and pills, but because of the chemicals, I never felt good about doing that, even if it did work. I finally found something that really works, and I can get behind. Tula. It’s a super food, probiotic for your skin, without all the nasty stuff! It feels amazing and gives me a natural dewy look.

Make up

I must admit, I keep it pretty simple, I’ve never been into make-up.  Again, I’ve tried making my own, and you can too, with a little arrowroot powder and cinnamon, but I never could get the combo quite right. So now I use and recommend this powder foundation called Everyday Minerals Matte Base. It covers my acne scars really well, and gives me a simple, clean, finished look.

Coffee Creamer

If you’re a coffee drinker like me, and like a little creamer in your coffee (I’ve tried to switch to black many times, I just can’t do it), there are a lot of fairly new, healthier options on the market today. I use to use the original Coffee Mate French Vanilla, but the further I got along my all-natural journey, the less and less I enjoyed the taste of the it.  I switched to the Natural Bliss, which was pretty good, but I’ve tried to limit my dairy consumption, so when I came across So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer, I knew I’d found the “one”. If you’re trying for a more plant based diet, I highly recommend this, it has just 7 ingredients, 4 grams of sugar and is vegan certified.

Laundry Detergent

I’m just going to be honest again, as bad as I want to be “Suzy Homemaker” and make everything from scratch, I’ve tried making my own laundry detergent, but my laundry never came out as clean as I thought it should. I’d find that some of the socks would still have a lingering smell, and my whites were not so bright. 

There’s something about a specially formulated detergent that has been tested to really clean. The one I use and is Home Made Simple – Lavender laundry detergent, it’s a plant based detergent that is better for you and the environment.  I’ve found it at the local grocery store and it’s a reasonable price. This swap uses plant based ingredients and truly makes clothes smell fresh and clean.  They also make it unscented if you prefer not to smell like lavender.

Candles/ Air Fresheners

Please tell me that you don’t you aren’t still using air fresheners. The air quality of our homes is so important. Good air quality is important to support our immune systems against environmental and seasonal threats, along with preventing toxic overload in our bodies.  Candles are not the best option, especially if they’re full of artificial fragrance. Soy candles are a little better, but your best option is using an essential oil diffuser. There are many benefits to aromatherapy, it can help to energize you or calm your nerves, not to mention making your house smell lovely.  It’s so simple to change out the scents too.  You can use individual oils or blend them up to make your own special, preferred scent. I love lavender at night and a grounding blend during the day such as DoTerra’s Balance.

Deodorant

Swap out those aluminum laden deodorants for one with less chemicals. I do make my own from time to time, and often for my daughter, but for a purchasable deodorant that works, Schmidt’s is my pick! It has been proven to work in the southern summer heat over and over again. It’s a little pricey, but it’s nice to have around in a pinch.

Meat

I really don’t like talking about meat, I eat some on occasion, but I’ve never been a big meat eater, in fact, in the past I was a vegetarian. It’s however, an area to look at when making healthy swaps. Have you ever wondered where all the meat at your local grocery store comes from? I do all the time, and when I think about the mass production, I think about what kind of conditions these animals were probably living in. So when you’re shopping for meat, look for at the very least, meat that has been raised without hormones or antibiotics. If you can afford it, organic and free range is even better. You can read my post on Mindful Eating which addresses the need to think about where our food is coming from.

Slow and Steady

So maybe you don’t make all of these changes today, but soon. Take note after you’ve made the health conscious swaps. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? How about your kids? Do they seem a little less irritable? I hope you’ll feel the differences like me. Make the changes, for your health, the health of your family, and the health of our environment.

Resources:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/09/toxic-toothpaste-ingredients.aspx

Protein Pancakes

Are you looking for something simple, healthy, and quick to make for breakfast? My daughter makes these amazing protein pancakes. She loves to bake and thankfully is health conscious like her Mommy. She comes up with delicious, satisfying, healthy recipes that the whole family loves and doesn’t have to feel guilty about eating. This is just one of the many we enjoy. I plan to have her write down more as she makes them so we can share them with you all! I hope you enjoy!

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Protein Pancakes (gf)

Simple banana, peanut butter, protein pancakes that are gluten free! They are easy to make and delicious with fruits, chocolate chips, maple syrup, or just plain!
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of oats or gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of protein powder
  • 1 large1 banana
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
  • Next, heat the stove and spray a pan with cooking spray or coat with butter.
  • Pour around 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan, wait for the batter to bubble a bit, and flip.
  • Top with anything you want (fruit, chocolate chips, maple syrup, etc.) and enjoy!

This is by far our most used appliance! We make smoothies every morning usually with the blender cups. The food processor is great for all the baking my daughter likes to do! We’ve used it daily for over a year and it hasn’t missed a beat! I highly recommend it if you’re in the market for a new blender or food processor.

Alternatives to Trick-or-treating

Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating 

Not sure how you feel about trick-or-treating this year or any year for that matter? You’re not alone. Something about sending kids out to get candy from a bunch of different people just isn’t my favorite.  I’ve hung in there over the years and let my kiddos participate because it’s a bit of a childhood rite of passage you could say. This year with the coronavirus, it really doesn’t jive with me.  My kids are getting older so they’re okay with doing something different. After throwing out a few ideas, we’ve decided to have a couple friends over for some backyard fun.  

The kids have been working hard on creating a haunted trail in the backyard for the past week and are super excited about having a few friends come walk through it. We’ll be watching a movie in the backyard, having a fire to roast marshmallows & hotdogs, dressing up, and painting pumpkins.  Halloween doesn’t have to only consist of trick-or-treating, check out this list of other ideas: 

Backyard Movie Night 

Hang up a sheet, bust out the projector, choose a scary movie, cuddle up and enjoy. For an added bonus, someone could dress up for a mid-movie scare. 

Campout 

What a great excuse to go camping. Spend some quality time outdoors with family and friends. Whether you choose to travel or just backyard camp, this can make for a super fun Halloween. I remember going camping at a campground on Halloween when I was a kid, it was a blast. We sat around the campfire and told ghost stories along with all the other traditional camping shenanigans. You could even make it a yearly tradition.  

Create a Haunted Trail or Garage 

Growing up in the country, our trick-or-treating consisted of driving to a few family members’ homes and showing off our costumes for a little bit of candy.  When I went with a friend around a neighborhood, in what might have been 5th or 6th grade, it was like a whole different world of trick-or-treating!  

Anyhow, instead of a trick-or-treating we had a Halloween party every year. My sisters and I would take our old detached garage and decorate it with spooky, (what we thought at the time was), awesome scary stuff. We would get a few friends or cousins to come over and dress up like haunted characters and have family walk through. Honestly, putting it together was probably just as fun or more fun than the actual event.  

I suggest encouraging your kiddos to get creative, come up with creepy things to add to the haunted house, add some dim lighting and scary music and invite friends to come check it out. They’ll have a blast and probably forget about trick-or-treating all together. 

Dress up and handout candy, Judge the trick-or-treater costumes, and give out prizes to favorites 

As kids get older, they can play the part of the “candy passer outer”. If the whole family gets involved, it can pretty fun. Dress up and sit on the porch for a little scare for the trick-or-treaters. Judge the costumes and give special prizes out to your favorites.  

Plan a getaway 

Want to get away from it all and not feel guilty for not participating this year. Plan a getaway. Halloween may just be the perfect time to take your family to those family friendly hotspots that are always super packed. Think about it…a good majority of families will be celebrating Halloween at home, why not enjoy a little time away? If the kids want to dress up, pack the costumes and hit up the local ice cream or coffee shop.  A quick Google search will likely highlight a few local businesses giving away some free or discounted goods or services for those who wear their costumes when they visit. 

Costume party 

Skip the chaos and bring the costumes to your house. Have a costume party (outdoors and socially distanced this year of course). Add some fun games and contests like best costume or best Halloween treat, kids and adults both will have a blast. 

Find a Haunted forest or trail  

Haunted forest or trails can be scary so you may want to save this one for the older kiddos or find one that’s age appropriate. A good scare on Halloween always makes for a memorable one.  

I’m sure there are many other fun things you  could do instead of going out and loading up on candy that only makes you cringe. Get creative, have some family fun and soon they’ll forget all about trick-or-treating. Happy Halloween! 

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love fall and all that comes with it! The kids and I carved pumpkins yesterday. We saved the seeds like we always do and roasted them this morning after they had a chance to dry out a bit. We love this healthy, yummy treat, we look forward to making them every year. This year I thought I’d share one of our favorite recipes.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only tasty, they’re also really good for you. Did you know they’re great for digestion, high in fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin B2, copper, and contain antioxidants? What more could you ask for?

So save those seeds and roast them! This is just one of the many recipes out there, get creative, you can pretty much add any flavor you’d like. If you’re not looking for something sweet, I suggest adding some olive oil, sea salt, and nutritional yeast for a healthy popcorn-like taste!

Happy Halloween!

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Simple cinnamon roasted pumpkin seeds
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar or Sweetener of choice

Instructions

  • Rinse and dry pumpkin seeds
  • Combine coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar and toss in bowl with seeds
  • Evenly spread seeds on a cookie sheet
  • Bake seeds for 45 minutes at 300 degrees

How are Your Kids Adjusting to Quarantine Life?

The New Normal

By now you’re probably settling into this new way of life. Kids are home every day all day, somebody, if not both parents are trying to work from home. I try not to watch the news, but from what I’ve seen off and on, it doesn’t look as if things are going to be back to normal anytime soon.

This morning I woke up, drank my coffee and took the dog for a walk like I’ve been doing every day, this is my solitude. I’ve been pretty positive throughout all of this.  I always wanted to home school my kids and I’m definitely a homebody so staying home doesn’t bother me. But today, I have an itch to get out and do something, to go somewhere.

The thing is, this is not what the country wants right now, maybe I’ll drive to a get a coffee or smoothie just to get away and see what the world looks like. My husband’s been doing any of the store runs we need, he’s not a homebody, so he’s having a harder time than the rest of us.

Take This Time to Focus on Our Kids

With nowhere to go, nothing to do, why not focus our energy on our kids and their health in this time. How are they mentally handling all of this? Could they use a little motivation to get physically active? How about their diet? Do they drink enough water?  Eat enough fiber? Eat too much sugar?

We have time to help raise their awareness and educate them on the importance of being healthy NOW so they are prepared for future pandemics such as these.

Mental/Emotional Check-ins

So where do you start? I recommend with their attitude and emotions. If they’re not doing well mentally and emotionally it will affect every part of their life. Talk to them:

  1. How do they feel about what’s happening in the world? Respond to their fears and concerns with positivity and hope.  
  2. What are they missing right now? Friends? Family? School? Sports? Suggest a Face time/Zoom with friends and family? Play sports with them in the backyard, make a schedule of nightly/daily competitions (I can’t take credit for this idea, my sports loving son came up with it).
  3. Encourage them to start a journal to express their feelings in words.
  4. Are your kids getting enough sleep? Too much sleep? Do they seem overall happy or sad? Sleep as you know, can affect kids in all areas of life, mentally, physically, emotionally. Create a routine to enhance their circadian rhythm.

Physical Check-in

Physical activity for kids is so important.  The benefits of exercise are endless. Being active helps them ward off stress, improves moods, builds strong muscles and bones, improves sleep, and just keeps them overall healthier! However, when they’re feeling confused, down and out of routine their activity may not be a priority.

  1. When was the last time they broke a sweat? Sweating isn’t necessary every day, but kids should be getting good and sweaty from activity every couple of days. It’s an easy natural way to detox their bodies and keep their immune system running efficiently, and it can be fun!
  2. Are they getting daily exercise? With the down time we’re having, what better to do than explore different activities and find something they enjoy. Ride bikes, jog, play a new sport, or an activity they already enjoy.

Nutrition Check-in

Last, but not least, how have they been eating? Not just during quarantine, but for a while now? I feel like this quarantine has given us the perfect time to make some adjustments to their diets, or the whole family’s for that matter. You now have time to cook, time to make healthy substitutions, time to use up those ingredients you bought with good intentions of using a while back.

You have more control over what they’re eating now, so make it nutritious and healthy. Proper nutrition is invaluable, and we are learning this more and more each day. Keep their immune systems running strong with good for them food.

Carbs and Sugar

Carbs are important for energy and most kids don’t have any trouble getting the right amount of carbs. However, limit the added sugar. We all know that sugar isn’t the best for anyone, especially kids, too much of it can weaken their immune system. An easy fix is to just not buy it and it into the house. And if you need a little treat, (which, I think we all need a treat every once in a while), make your own and use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. This is one of my favorite sweet treat recipes: Black Bean Bownies.

Fiber

Have you thought about their fiber intake lately? This is a little harder to track, but with a quick peak at the food labels in the house you can have an idea. Fiber helps them feel full, so less snacking, and helps their digestive tracts work more efficiently. Provide healthy fiber options at each meal to make sure they’re getting enough.

You may be wondering “how much fiber does my kid need?” A simple way to calculate a child’s needs is to take their age and add 5. For example, my 9 year old needs 14 grams of fiber per day.

Best Fiber Foods

  • High Fiber Cereals
  • Beans
  • Pears with skin
  • Potatoes with skin
  • Peas
  • Apples with skin
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Banana
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Protein

Don’t forget the protein. So how much protein does your child need? According to Dr. Sears, kids need one gram of protein per pound of weight in younger, growing children, and half a gram per pound for older kids. Protein is the building blocks of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments therefore, kids need protein every day!

Good Sources of Protein

  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Vegetables
  • Bananas

Hydration

And finally, how’s their water consumption. A good way to know is by the color of their pee (sorry, but true). If you suspect they’re not drinking enough, remind them and have them keep track of how many glasses they’re drinking a day.

Could they be drinking more? Being well hydrated will help their energy and mood. It also detoxifies the body and helps regulate virtually all internal processes.

Photo by Elliot Fais

How’d They Measure Up?

I know that times are tough right now for so many, but if we can keep in mind that our children our going through this too. Stay positive for them and give them your best self. Stick together as a family and focus on the things you can control, and I believe we’ll all come out of this a with healthier, stronger families!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

This recipe is probably our family’s favorite. Believe it or not, my picky eater even loves it. You wouldn’t think of brussel sprouts as being a vegetable he would eat, but he eats them right up without complaint. I think it’s because they get nice and almost sweet when you roast them with the apples and bacon.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

Super easy, delicious roasted brussel sprouts
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brussel Sprouts, Healthy Meal
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Skillet (this is what I use, but could also use a cookie sheet)

Ingredients

  • 1 package Bacon (Cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 4 Cups Brussel Sprouts (Cut them in half)
  • 4 Medium Cut up Apples (I've used all kinds of apples so whichever you prefer, I tend to use Gala most often)
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I've also used flavored oils, I like tangerine flavor for this)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Layer the bottom of your skillet or cookie sheet with bacon
  • Cook for 15 minutes
  • Remove bacon from oven and add the brussel sprouts, toss them with the bacon and drizzel with a little olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Place back in oven for another 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven and add the apples
  • Toss and drizzle with the remainder of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Place back in oven for an additional 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven and serve deliciously, healthy, yummy meal

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How to Make a Healthy Smoothie Bowl

Ice cream is a childhood staple, especially during the hot summer days. What’s the next best thing to ice cream? Smoothies! This recipe is so simple and kids love it! Chose your add-ins to please the kiddos, you can make it fruity, chocolatey, peanut butter, cinnamon, any flavor they prefer!

When you make this cold, delicious treat at home, you control the ingredients, no added sugar or artificial anything.

Once again, it has my son’s – Picky Eater Approval!

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Smoothie Bowl (Using Frozen Bananas, Berries, & Peanut Butter)

Smoothie Bowl (Healthy Ice Cream Alternative)
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 2 Frozen Bananas (Best if frozen over night)
  • 1 C Milk of your choice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 C Peanut Butter (or add-in of your choice)
  • 2 C Frozen Mixed Berries (or add-in of choice)

Instructions

  • Cut up bananas and freeze, the longer the better
  • Add all ingredients to food processor or blender
  • Blend on low speed for at least 3 minutes, until ice cream consistency

Notes

Add-In Ideas:
Cocoa, Peanut Butter, Fruit, Cinnamon, Nuts, Orgain Protein Powder