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

Simple Smoothies

Healthy Smoothies

Why Smoothies?

Smoothies are a staple in our house. We usually make them for breakfast to give the kids a great start to the day! Sometimes in the summer on super hot days, we’ll even make them for dinner. If you have a picky eater like I do, smoothies are a great way to makes sure they’re getting enough fruits and veggies in their diet every day! As you’ll see, I like to add spinach, carrots, lots of fruit, and protein powder to ours. Overall, knowing your kiddos are getting what they need in their smoothies, makes for less stress at meal times.

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Orgain Protein Powder

Protein Powder of Choice

There are so many protein powders on the market, it can be overwhelming. It’s so important you read the label on theses powders. Make sure the one you choose contains only clean ingredients with no artificial colors or sweeteners.

The one brand that our family loves is Orgain. I especially love that it’s plant based, made with clean ingredients, gluten free, Non-GMO, contains 21 grams of protein per serving, and is super YUMMY! The story behind the product is pretty inspiring as well. The founder’s a cancer survivor with 2 kids and a passion for quality nutrition.

I recommend you visit their website and check out the variety of products they offer. It’s not just protein powders, they also have bars and shakes specifically formulated for kids and athletes. If you’d like to try it, you can get 30% off by going to Orgain.com and using the coupon code: AMBASSADOR6924. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Creamy Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Coconut Milk (or Milk of choice) | 2 Cups

Frozen Blueberries | 1 Cup

Greek Yogurt | 1 Cup

Spinach | Small Handful

Flaxseeds | Sprinkle

Protein Powder (Vanilla) | 2 Scoops

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (I like to add the milk first for easy blending.)

Special Diet Information

Gluten Free, as long as the protein powder of choice is gluten free

Break Time Smoothie

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep time: 2 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Suja Uber Greens (juice) | 1 bottle

Spinach | 1 handful

Frozen Pineapple | 1 Cup

Frozen Mango | 1 Cup

Ginger | 1 Small Piece

Directions

Place liquid in blender first and then add remaining ingredients.  Blend into smoothie consistency.

Special Diet Information

Gluten Free

Berry Breakfast in a Blender

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Coconut Water | 2 Cups

Spinach | 2 Handfuls

Frozen Raspberries | 1 Cup

Flaxseeds | Sprinkle

Protein Powder (Vanilla) | 2 Scoops

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (I like to add the coconut water first for easy blending.)

Special Diet Information

Gluten Free, as long as the protein powder of choice is gluten free

Healthy Chocolate – PB Smoothie

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Coconut Milk (or Milk of choice) | 1 Cup

Peanut Butter | 1 Cup

Greek Yogurt | 1/2 Cup

Cocoa | 2 Tbsp

Flax Seeds | 2 Tbsp

Ice | 1 Cup

Protein Powder (Vanilla) | 2 Scoops

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (I like to add the milk first for easy blending.) Blend until smooth

Special Diet Information

Gluten Free, as long as the protein powder of choice is gluten free

Mommy’s Coffee Smoothie

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Almond Milk (or Milk of choice) | 1 Cup

Ice | 1 Cup

Coffee (I typically use leftover from the morning) | 1 Cup

Honey | 2 Tbsp

Protein Powder (Vanilla) | 2 Scoops

Chocolate Syrup (optional)

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (I like to add the milk first for easy blending.)

Special Diet Information

Gluten Free, as long as the protein powder of choice is gluten free

Suntan Smoothie

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Coconut water | 1 Cup

Coconut milk | 1 Cup

Coconut Oil | 2 Tbsp

Frozen Pineapple | 2 Cups

Hemp Seeds | 2 Tbsp

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (Add liquid first for easy blending.) Blend until smooth.

 

Sunshine Smoothie

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

Orange juice (low sugar preferably) | 2 Cups

Carrot | 1 whole

Ginger | 1/2 inch

Frozen Pineapple | 2 Cups

Fresh lemon juice | 1 lemon

Directions

Place in all ingredients in a blender.  (Add the juice first for easy blending.) Blend until smooth.

Health Benefits of Blackberries

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Blackberries, the Mystical Fruit

Along with the health benefits of blackberries, do they make you think of anything else? I’m not sure what it is about blackberries, but I’ve always found them somewhat mystical.  They remind me of childhood. I remember hearing old wives-tales about the bad omens they would bring, the witches using them in their potions, and using the thorny branches to make their brooms. It seemed blackberries were mentioned in multiple stories growing up. So naturally, I was intrigued and wanted to grow some of my own some day. 

Planting Blackberries

We never had them back home on the farm, we grew raspberries, but not blackberries. So, when I finally had a garden of my own, I planted blackberry bushes! To my surprise, they were easy to grow, so don’t be intimidated if you’re thinking about giving it a try.

They simply need an area that provides them plenty of sun.  If your soil is sandy or clay, it may be a little more difficult, however, I’ve grown blackberries in both without any trouble.  Just add a little organic matter when you first plant them.

When my son was probably about two, I can remember him fearlessly spending a lot of time by the blackberry bushes picking and eating them right off the thorny branches.  His little face and hands covered in purple juice, he loved blackberries as a toddler, still does, but not like back then, such a great memory!

Terracotta Composting 50-Plant Garden Tower by Garden Tower Project

Health Benefits of Blackberries

Blackberries Provide your Body with Superpowers

As you know, most fruits are packed full of healthy stuff, but blackberries are superior to most. You can find the following benefits packed into these juicy berries.

  • Antioxidant and polyphenol rich, means they have the power to fight cancer cells.
  • Aid in weight management – Rich in fiber, means you feel full faster; a handful of blackberries will curb hunger.
  • Strengthened immune system – High in vitamin C, great for fighting off colds and flues.
  • Heart Healthy – Contain vitamin K, which has been shown to help regulate blood pressure
  • Protect nerve cells from damage – studies have suggested that polyphenols and manganese in blackberries may slow down age related cognitive decline and may improve memory.
  • Strengthen bones – Blackberries are high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all vital for strong bones.
  • Reduce Inflammation – Since blackberries are full of antioxidants, they’re great at fighting oxidative stress that causes inflammation.

Medicinal Uses

  • Blackberries have been used to treat bowel problems and fever.
  • Not only does the berry have healing powers, but so does the root, bark, and leaves. They were once known to be boiled in water and given as medicine for whooping cough.
  • Other illnesses thought to be cured by blackberry were, bites from venomous creatures, boils and sore throats.
  • In 1771, it was documented that blackberry decoctions would cure ulcers. – https://www.gardenguides.com/123417-history-blackberry-fruit.html

Healthy ways to eat blackberries

Blackberries are a little on the tart side, so for some people eating them by the handful may not be their first choice. If this sounds like you, here are a few simple ways to add blackberries into your diet:

Blackberry Yogurt Parfait
  1. Top them with a little whipped cream
  2. Make a yogurt parfait (Greek Yogurt, Blackberries, Granola)
  3. Blackberry smoothie
  4. On top of oatmeal or quinoa
  5. Infuse in water or tea with a few mint leaves
  6. Make a blackberry puree (over low heat add a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of water to a handful of berries and gently combine) instead of syrup, top your pancakes with it.
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Blackberry Nutritional Benefits

According to: https://draxe.com/health-benefits-blackberries/ Just one cup of these delicious berries (15–16 blackberries) contains about:

  • 62 calories
  • 14.7 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams protein
  • 0.7 gram fat
  • 7.6 grams fiber
  • 30.2 milligrams vitamin C (50 percent DV)
  • 0.9 milligram manganese (47 percent DV)
  • 28.5 micrograms vitamin K (36 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram copper (12 percent DV)
  • 1.7 milligrams vitamin E (8 percent DV)
  • 233 milligrams potassium (7 percent DV)
  • 28.8 milligrams magnesium (7 percent DV)
  • 308 IU vitamin A (6 percent DV)
  • 0.9 milligram niacin (5 percent DV)
  • 0.9 milligram iron (5 percent DV)
  • 0.8 milligram zinc (5 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligram vitamin B5/pantothenic acid (4 percent DV)
  • 41.8 milligrams calcium (4 percent DV)
  • 31.7 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)

Now that’s a lot of benefits in a little berry!!! Why not take the family for a little road trip to a local blackberry farm and enjoy a day of picking blackberries?

Effortless Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

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The Refreshing Smell of Lemons

Have you ever cut open a lemon and immediately felt your senses awaken? The scent of a lemon is so powerful, it can bring joy, calmness, and cleanliness in one sniff! I’ve been a big fan of lemons, the smell, taste, even just looking at the bright yellow rind makes me happy!

It’s no surprise that lemon essential oil is one of my favorites. To be honest, there are some oils I own, that I just don’t tend to use much.  I love them, and I’m thankful to have them around when I need them, but they stay in the drawer of my nightstand most of the time. 

However, lemon essential oil is not one of those!  It takes no time at all for me to go through my $11 bottle! The effortless uses of lemon essential oil saves me money, and makes eliminating toxins from my environment easy as lemon pie!

What is Lemon Essential oil?

Lemon essential oil comes from the cold pressing the rind of lemons. What amazes me most is that it takes 75 lemons to make 15 ounces of lemon essential oil! Potent stuff huh???

No wonder a couple of drops of this powerful oil really packs a punch. If you love the smell of clean, fresh lemons, you will love incorporating lemon essential oil into your healthy living routine! It’s great for so many reasons.

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Uses for Lemon Essential Oil?

Kitchen 2-3 drops on a damp cloth and wipe down:

  • Counters
  • Appliances (inside and out)
  • Inside of lunch box
  • Sinks
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Drains
  • Table
  • Trash can
  • Make a fruit and veggie wash to remove any nasty pesticides and germs: I use a glass spray bottle, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, and 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil.

Cooking & Baking – A couple of drops to:

  • Add to frosting
  • Add to pastries
  • Add in yogurt

Laundry Room – a couple of drops on:

  • Grease stains
  • Dryer balls
  • A cloth to wipe down the inside and outside of the washer

Wellness Boost – Diffuse or add to water or tea

  • Support relaxation
  • Promote mental clarity
  • Uplifting, helps reduce stress
  • Assists in detoxification

How to Purchase Lemon Essential Oil

Always use a pure, superior, therapeutic grade oil such as doTerra.  If you are interested in the $11 bottle of Lemon Essential Oil, becoming a wholesale member will save you money, for details, check out the following link: wholesale member. If you are interested learning more about the benefits of essential oils, feel free to email me at metronomewellness@gmail.com.  Or visit my Purchase Oil page for an explanation of the different memberships available.

Medical Disclaimer

As always, remember that essential oils are highly concentrated, and it only takes a drop or 2 for them to work their magic.  Always use caution with children and during pregnancy.  I am not a medical doctor, simply a health coach providing information for you to take and use how you see fit.  Please always consult your doctor before going off any medications. Complete Disclaimer. 

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For more essential oil cleaning ideas, check out the following

How to Make Your Own Sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen

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Yesterday was the first day of spring, although it sure didn’t feel like it here in North Carolina.  The sun hasn’t shone in a couple days, but I am now prepared for the day when I get to see it again! I spent a few hours yesterday making sunscreen, bug spray, allergy rub, and a couple of candles, because… why not?!?

So, I thought that I would share with you today how I make my natural sunscreen.  Sunscreen is a necessity, but the chemicals and additives that you can’t even pronounce are not!

My son has sensitive skin, so some of the sunscreens on the market cause skin irritation, because of that I felt the need to learn how to make my own. The sunscreen I make is made with 6 simple ingredients that haven’t caused him any skin issues, and it always does a great job at protecting his pale skin from the sun.

How to Make Sunscreen 

This is what you need, (if you don’t have some of these ingredients, you can easily order them on Amazon, which is much easier than searching around town for them):

½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Cup Fractionated Coconut Oil

½ Cup Beeswax

4 Tbsp Shea Butter

2 Tbsp Zinc Oxide

12 Drops of essential oil (I use lavender)

If you have a double boiler, great, you can use that to melt the ingredients together, however I don’t, so I just put a small amount (like 1 cup) of water in a sauce pan and set a heat safe glass bowl on top. 

Ingredients to make sunscreen

Directions

  • Start by placing all the ingredients EXCEPT the zinc oxide and Essential oil into the glass bowl and melt together.  The mixture will become a transparent yellow color and everything will become incorporated. 
  • Next, take the mixture off the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes
  • Then, add the Zinc Oxide slowly, (careful not to breathe it in) and the essential oil.
  • Finally, pour your sunscreen into a few jars or tins (I used these).  Let it sit for a couple of hours so your sunscreen hardens up and becomes the consistency of a body butter.

Simple, Soft, Safe Sunscreen

The beauty of this sunscreen, is a little goes a long way! It has a smooth, soft consistency that rubs on easily thanks to the shea butter. Try not to leave it in direct sunlight as it melts very easily. I like to apply it before we leave the house, and keep it a cooler in a plastic bag, just in case, plus doing so makes for a cooling sensation when we reapply.

So simple, right? And when you use this, you can feel good about the sunscreen you’re putting on your family. Think of all you’re avoiding, like the many nasty endocrine disruptors and other unpronounceable ingredients.  I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I have had to use traditional sunscreens on my kids.

Once you make this, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. It feels great to be prepared, so make some today, and bring on the sunshine!!!

You Might Also Like to Read:

Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil

Amazing Benefits of Frankincense

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What is Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense is the “King of Oils.”  Most of us know it from the references to it in the bible (69 in all), the most popular being, when it was given as a gift to Jesus (Mathew 2:11).  Frankincense has been used for centuries. It has so many amazing benefits.

According to DoTerra: DoTerra Frankincense Essential Oil is steam-distilled from wild-crafted gum resins of the Boswellia carterii, frereana, and sacra trees.  Highly prized in the ancient world for its fragrant and health-promoting properties, it is a favorite among modern wellness practitioners for its many emotional and physical health applications.

Main Benefits

  • Helps maintain healthy cellular function
  • Soothes skin while reducing the appearance of imperfections
  • Promotes peaceful, relaxing, and satisfied feeling of overall wellness

Additional Benefits

  • Calms emotions
  •  Unwanted pathogens or bacteria
  •  Insect/Snake Bites
  •  Skin imperfections
  •  Morning Sickness
  •  Mental Fatigue

Uses

  • Add 2 drops to your moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes and rejuvenate your skin
  • Diffuse Frankincense to encourage feelings of peace and wellness
  • Massage into your feet to help stimulate your immune system and promote balance throughout your body
  • Place one to two drops in a veggie cap to support healthy cellular function

My Experience with Frankincense

It wasn’t until recently that I have had the pleasure of experiencing this amazing oil myself.  I started using a couple of drops a day in my moisturizer.  To my surprise, some of my age spots and scars started to literally peel off with a little exfoliation.

I have also seen it work it’s magic on cuts and scrapes that my family has endured.  It is not the cheapest of oils, but I truly believe it is the most valuable one available.  It is amazing, I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

How to Purchase Frankincense

Always use a pure, superior, therapeutic grade oil such as DoTerra.  If you are not already a wholesale member, and are interested in the benefits, email me and I can help you set up your account metronomewellness@gmail.com.  Or visit my Purchase Oil page for an explanation of the different memberships available.