EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I really love the Environmental Working Group and the reports they produce. Its findings go a long way to help consumers dig through all of the jargon and figure out what chemicals are in everyday products. The EWG’s 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning is my new favorite.

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to decode a label in the middle of a store aisle and having no idea whether or not a product is going to bring unwanted chemicals into your home. But thanks to the EWG, now you don’t have to do that. The group tested more than 2,000 cleaning products for actual ingredients, disclosure of those ingredients and any harmful effects. They graded each of the products and categorized them on their website. It’s completely user-friendly.

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Homemade Cheese

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Curds and Whey

A couple of years ago my husband was given a cheese-making kit. This weekend we decided to make an Indian cheese calledpaneer. I was surprised by how easy it was. The kit was pretty basic, containing cheese cloth, citric acid, cheese salt and most importantly, the instructions. We bought a gallon of whole milk and got to it. The most time-consuming part was heating the milk up to 190 degrees without scalding it. After it gets up to temperature, you drizzle in the citric acid and watch the curds separate from the whey. It’s pretty neat to watch the pot go from white milk to yellow-ish whey and chunky curds in a matter of seconds. All that’s left is draining the curds in cheesecloth. We salted the cheese and let it sit with a weight on top for about an hour. The gallon of milk made about a pound or so of cheese. We’ll be freezing some of it and using the rest to make one of my favorite dishes, palak paneer.

 

Organic Hair Color

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not a big fan of coloring my hair, but when gray strands starting making an appearance right above my forehead, it was time to make a move. Thankfully, Richmond is home to Red Salon Organics which carries Organic Color Systems, a completely ammonia-free line of hair color. I was a little nervous to try out this organic line because gray can be tough to cover and organic products are typically not as powerful as their chemical-laden cousins. But my stylist said the gray wouldn’t be a problem so I went for it. The color turned out beautiful. It was like a lush shiny version of my own color. The best part is that you don’t leave the salon smelling like chemicals. The color has a slight licorice smell that I actually kind of like.

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New Pinterest Board!

There’s now a Method Wellness board on Pinterest! Click the link below and follow the board for more great tips on natural living a modern world.

http://pinterest.com/tdaudani/method-wellness/

Olive Oil as a Cleanser

Image courtesy of dusky/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This may sound a little counterintuitive, but I’ve been washing my face with oil. Not an oil wash from a cosmetics company, but olive oil from my kitchen cabinet. And I’ve been pretty pleased with the results.

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Sunday Goals 10/7/12

With family in town this week, I let myself slide a little bit. I had a great weigh-in on Thursday and I’m hoping I can keep all of the weight off for next week. I was able to complete all of my goals for last week, though. So here we go for this week:

  • Attend 3 fitness classes – at least one should be something other than yoga.
  • Food journal all week.
  • Maintain or lose weight at this week’s weigh-in.

At-Home Workout Picks

One of my friends recently asked me what Pilates DVDs or online videos I like. Personally, I do better with group fitness classes, but I like to have a few options at home in case I’m in a pinch. One that my husband and I both like is Mari Winsor’s Winsor Pilates 20 minute workout. It’s a great classical Pilates set that, done right, is a good workout in only 20 minutes.

My other favorite is MyBarre3.com. Sadie Lincoln is one of my favorites and she’s taken at-home workouts to a new level. The site is constantly adding routines that target different areas and run different lengths meaning there is a perfect video for every situation. They only catch is that it requires a monthly description.

I think the instruction on MyBarre3 and in the Winsor Pilates DVDs are pretty clear, even for someone newer to the workouts.

Flying Green

Our Little Jet Setter

We recently took Baby A on a cross-country flight to San Diego to visit her grandparents and other family and friends on my husband’s side of the family. I was a little nervous about flying with a 4 1/2 month old, but I have to say, it wasn’t that bad. I tried to stay as eco-friendly in the air and on vacation as I do at home. Here are a few of the little lifesavers I packed:

 

 

 

  1. Aden & Anais bamboo blanket- We literally don’t leave home without one of these. They are big, soft, breathable and beautiful.
  2. Lifefactory silicone teether – Made of food-grade silicone so you don’t have to worry about BPA. This ring bends and is skinny enough that it fits in tiny hands and mouths.
  3. MAM pacifier & holder – Sucking during take-off and landing helps baby’s ears so we brought A’s favorite paci from MAM. We love it because it’s BPA free and orthodontically designed. You can attach it to the holder and clip it on so it doesn’t fall on any dirty floors. We also removed the pacifier ring and used the holder with the teething ring.
  4. Dapple Pacifier wipes – Airports and airplanes are dirty so it was nice to have these individually wrapped wipes that are all-natural, food grade, fragrance-free and preservative-free.
  5. Earth’s Best Chlorine-free wipes – I make our own wipes at home, but the container is a little too clunky for my diaper bag. So these wipes from Earth’s Best are my go-to when traveling.

 

***Please note: I am not being compensated for posting about any of these items.

Sunday Goals 9/30/12

This is the first in my series of Sunday goals for the Get Well Challenge. I’ll keep it brief and will report back next week!

  • Attend 2-3 fitness classes plus nutrition meeting and weigh-in
  • Eat a vegetable side with 4 dinners during the week
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water a day

Path to Wellness

After a nice, long maternity leave I’m ready to get back into a routine. I’ve found myself searching for a new normal when it comes to wellness. Gone are the days of walking miles around New York City and taking and teaching fitness classes regularly. Little Baby A was born on April 27th so it’s high-time I get back into the swing of things. For me, I’d like that to include staying fit and eating healthy. Thankfully, I found Ellwood Thompson’s Get Well Challenge to help me get on the right track.

I was one of the lucky 30 chosen to participate in three months of free fitness classes, nutritional counseling and weekly weigh-ins. If this doesn’t motivate me to create a lifestyle filled with healthy habits, I’m not sure anything will. I like that the program is long enough that going to classes and watching what I eat becomes routine. I’ve read that it takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to become sustainable, so it’s comforting to know I’ll have the motivation of this program to get me through that period of time.

The program started last Monday with a big meeting to get to know the generous providers around Richmond who are offering free classes, advice and encouragement to us. We were given a food journal and signed up for our initial body fat assessment & weigh-in and our initial 15-minute consult with a dietician.

We were given a BIA, or Body Impedance Assessment this week, where electrodes were hooked up to my hands and feet. I learned my body fat percentage, BMI and how much water was in my cells. Let’s just say that all of those measurements need to improve. Interestingly, I measured an inch and a half under my tallest height measurement. I attribute this to my hiatus from Pilates. I think I’ll measure taller by the end of the program, once I’m back into a fitness routine.

We were also asked to attend a goal-setting seminar. I was really inspired by the other women in the class. It motivated me to talk to them. I’ll be sharing my goals here and updating my progress. My meeting with the nutritionist is next week. In the meantime, I’m food-journaling everything on myfitnesspal.com. It’s a pretty awesome site if you’re looking to count calories.

So, here’s what I’m looking to accomplish:

Weekly:

  • Set weekly goals every Sunday and revisit last week’s goals

Short-term:

  • Lose 4 lbs. by 10/30/12 (We have a photo session scheduled that day for Baby A’s six-month birthday).
  • Incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Have a vegetable side with dinner at least 4 nights during the week.

Mid-term:

  • Lose 10 lbs. by the end of the GWC on 12/24/12.
  • Establish a routine where I am not going more than 2 days without exercising.
  • Reduce body fat by 10%.

Long-term:

  • Lose 16 lbs. by 4/22/13 – my birthday.
  • Continue a consistent exercise routine.