Thursday, February 25, 2016

DIY Laundry Detergent with Essential Oils

Laundry detergent.  We all use it.  It's on the shopping list every month.  But did you know that most commercial detergents are full of toxic chemicals?  We wash our clothes with these chemicals and then wear them on our skin, inhaling their fragrance all day, every day.  Sometimes I have been known to just smell clean laundry straight out of the dryer because it smells so "fresh!"  

Also, commercial laundry detergent can get quite expensive!  Tide averages about $0.12 per load.  Cheaper brands such as Purex would be probably half that.  This homemade detergent will cost you only $0.03 per load!  That adds up, especially if you have a big family and are doing lots of laundry.  

Another interesting fact is that most commercial laundry detergents contain loads of fillers.  A filler is something included just to add bulk or to make the other chemicals bind together better.  Fillers can account for up to 45% of what is inside the detergent canister.  Talk about wasting your money!
Common fillers include 1,4 dioxan (a synthetic carcinogen), gluten, alcohol, limestone, coloring, etc.

So what can you do?  If you can afford it, there are many "green" laundry detergent brands.  However those tend to be prohibitively expensive for many people, myself included.  I can only imagine my husband's reaction if I spent $30 on a bag of laundry detergent!  

Alternatively, you can make your own for significantly less money.  And it's not as complicated or time-consuming as you would think.  It's a great project for kids to help with.  If you have older kids, they could even do it themselves as part of their chores.  

DIY Laundry Detergent with Essential Oils

2 bars - Fels Naptha soap  ($1 each at Wal-Mart)
3 cups - Borax 
3 cups - Super Washing Soda
3 cups - Baking Soda
Optional -- 30 drops of your favorite (gentle) essential oils.  


Using a cheese grater, grate the Fels Naptha soap.  Be careful because it looks just like cheddar cheese!  Some unknowing passer-by may try to sneak a bite! 

Mix all the dry ingredients in a tub.

Take the grated soap and put it in a blender or food processor.  Blend for a few seconds.

Add 1 cup of the dry ingredients and the 30 drops of essential oils (we used sweet orange and tea tree oils).  Blend until the soap is finely chopped.

** If you are short on time, you don't have to blend the soap.  Just add the oils to the grated soap and then proceed from there**  

Pour the soap mixture into the tub with the dry mixture.  Stir well. Put a lid on it.  

TA-DA!  Use 1-2 Tbsp per load.  

Have you ever made your own detergent?  Did you use a similar recipe?

Friday, February 5, 2016

3 Week Kickstart to Health! Week 1 info

Joyful Mama’s
Kickstart to Health
Week 1

  • Drink half your bodyweight in water each day. So if you weigh 200 lb, plan to drink 100 oz of water.  Choose your water bottle, measure how many ounces it holds, and calculate how many refills you have to have to meet your quota. 
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. 
  • Exercise 4 days.   I will send out 4 workouts this week for you to complete, along with videos demonstrating each exercise.
  • No screens 30 minutes before bed.  Includes tv, computer, ipad, cell phones, etc.  

Why no screen-time before bed?

Rest and true relaxation are super important, and often under-estimated.  Especially in today's world, we are constantly doing things, thinking about things, stressing about things -- most of us are in our "fight or flight" mode much more often than our bodies are intended to be. 

Your body restores itself, heals itself, rebuilds muscle, de-toxifies, and much more while you sleep.   Think about it – for thousands of years, we went to bed with the sun.  Nowadays, it’s not unusual at all to still be awake past midnight!  Numerous studies have shown that 7+ hours of sleep reduces stress, reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses, improve memory, and aid in weight loss.  Studies also show that many (if not most) Americans have trouble sleeping. 

Our bodies begin to get ready for sleep by producing a hormone called melatonin.   Interestingly, when the sun sets and it begins to get darker, it triggers our bodies to produce melatonin.  Isn’t it amazing how nature works together?! 

Unfortunately, our screens and devices emit short-wave blue light, which dramatically reduces the production of melatonin.  A study showed that 1 hour of blue light at night reduced melatonin back to daytime levels!! 

I recommend installing an app called f.lux on your computer and other devices.  It is free.  It will block the blue light and turn the screen an orange-ish color at sunset.  We also have blue-blocking orange glasses to block the blue light from the tv.  And we even use red and orange lightbulbs at night with the kids. 

You do not have to make all these changes at once.  Simply turning off the screens an hour before bed is a good start.  

Breakfast Ideas
For breakfast, we want to get out of the habit of eating quick cereals, toast, packaged oatmeal, or just skipping it all together!  I understand the struggle of getting up and getting out the door early in the morning.  But let's not sacrifice our health and start our day out with a sugar rush (and then a sugar crash!).   Instead, I want you to start your day with protein and fat.  Eggs are prefect --- nature's multivitamin!  The yolks contain DHA fat, all of the fat-soluable vitamins (Vit A, D, K, and E), as well as folate, B6, B12, and many other nutrients.  And the whites provide protein!

These breakfasts will require a little more time and work, but if you plan ahead and get some of the prep work done the night before, you can still have a quick breakfast in the morning.  And once you have been making a good breakfast for a few weeks, it will become second nature and not take as long to prepare.  

Sausage, Sweet Potato, & Egg Casserole
Egg casseroles are great because you can bake them ahead of time and simply warm them up in the morning.  Great for busy mornings.

If this casserole doesn’t sound good to you, Google “Paleo breakfast casseroles” to find other variations.  Or just make up your own.  Basically eggs, meat, and veggies baked in a casserole dish!
What you need
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cubed (or 1 1/2 large sweet potato)
1 lb ground sausage
8 eggs
1/3 cup almond milk (make sure it’s unsweetened plain – NOT vanilla flavor)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

n  Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and red bell pepper, season with salt & black pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender (about 3 minutes).
n  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
n  Add sweet potatoes to the skillet, drizzle some olive oil, and cover with a lid. Let them cook for about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Transfer them to the large mixing bowl.
n  Add sausage to the skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned (about 5 minutes), crumbling the sausage with a spoon as it cooks. Transfer to the large mixing bowl.
n  In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, salt, pepper and thyme. Pour over the vegetables & sausage mixture in the bowl, and stir to combine.
n  Pour the mixture in a baking dish* and bake in a 400 F preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the top of the potatoes begins to brown. Remove and let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve!
*This recipe turns out best if baked in a regular 9 x 13 ” baking dish. If baked in a deeper dish, it may require additional baking time for the eggs at the bottom to set.

Egg Muffins
Similar to egg casserole, but made in muffin tins.  Again, you can pretty much create your own recipe if this one doesn’t sound good to you.  Make sure you include sautéed veggies of some sort , eggs, and a meat (bacon, sausage, ground beef, ham)



  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease the muffin tin with coconut oil.
  3. Rinse and chop all vegetables into 1/4-inch pieces.
  4. Divide vegetables evenly between muffin tins.
  5. Whisk the eggs, then pour into the tins, dividing it evenly.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir the vegetable and egg mixture briefly to evenly disperse the vegetables throughout the egg.
  7. Bake the egg muffins in the oven for 18–20 minutes.
  8. Serve.


For best results, thoroughly grease your muffin tin, or use silicone muffin molds. These egg muffins can be made ahead of time, and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
(Recipe from

These take a little longer in the morning to make, but it’s worth it if you have time!  I learned how to make an omelette by watching YouTube.  It’s hard to explain the process on paper, I hope you can understand the instructions.

Several kinds of vegetables (chopped) – onions, green pepper, yellow or red pepper, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, etc.
2-3 eggs
salt & pepper to taste
butter or coconut oil

  • n  Chop veggies
  • n  Sautee veggies in butter or coconut oil, then put them aside in a bowl
  • n  Crack eggs in bowl and stir.
  • n  Make sure frying pan is hot, put some more butter or coconut oil in pan
  • n  Pour eggs in.
  • n  Tilt the pan so that the eggs cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Use a spatula to scrape in the cooked edges of the eggs.  Tilt the pan again so that the liquid eggs flow to the edges to fill in the gaps.  Do this repeatedly until the eggs are no longer liquid.
  • n  Add the veggies one top of one half of the eggs.
  • n  Use spatula to flip the other half of the eggs on top of the half with the veggies, forming a half-circle.
  • n  Turn heat down and let it cook for a minute or two.
  • n  Flip omelet and let it cook a minute or two.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.

Banana Pancakes
These are really sweet, you don’t really NEED syrup.  Try them without syrup first.  If you do put syrup on them, make sure you get the 100% pure maple syrup, NOT the “pancake syrup,” such as Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth. 

1 banana
2 eggs
2 tsp (estimate) coconut flour
sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Butter or coconut oil

Makes about 3 pancakes.  Double or triple the recipe if needed.

  • Method:
  • n  Smash banana in large bowl with a fork or an avocado/potato masher
  • n  Crack 2 eggs in the bowl and stir well until eggs are incorporated with banana.
  • n  Add the cinnamon and vanilla
  • n  Add 1 tsp of coconut flour, stir in well, and wait a minute for it to thicken.  You may need to add another tsp of coconut flour in order to get your desired thickness.
  • n  Heat skillet on medium-low heat.  Add butter or coconut oil.
  • n  Using a large spoon or ladel, spoon the batter onto the skillet to make pancakes.
  • n  Let them cook until you can slide a spatula under each pancake without it tearing the pancake
  • n  Flip them and cook another few minutes, until they come up easily with spatula
  • Make sure you cook them slowly (on med-low heat) otherwise they will burn easily

Soaked Oatmeal  (Prepare these the night before)

I’m not a huge fan of oatmeal as grains are difficult to digest.  Oatmeal also turns to sugar in your bloodstream and I prefer to start the day with protein and fat rather than sugar.  However, I understand that some people do not like heavy meals early in the morning and would rather have something light.

Old fashioned oats
1 Tbsp of an acidic medium - Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, or Full-Fat Yogurt

Optional Toppings =
Honey or 100% pure maple syrup
Blueberries, strawberries, etc.
Full-Fat Milk (I only recommend raw or low-temp pasteurized milk.  Usually found at a local health food store)

Pour desired amount of oats into the pot you will cook the oatmeal in.
Cover with water.  You want twice as much water as oats.
Stir in the acidic medium.
Put on lid and let sit 12-24 hours.
In the morning, you can either
(a)  cook the oatmeal as is. 
(b)  Rinse the oatmeal in order to lower the acid taste from the ACV or lemon.  Replace the water, and cook.
Either way, it will cook quickly since the oats are already soft.
Cook oatmeal on stove for a few minutes, until hot and soft.

Why soak it overnight?   Grains of all kinds are difficult for us to digest due to the anti-nutrients they contain.  Anti-nutrients are basically compounds that prohibit nutrients from being absorbed by the body.  Oatmeal actually has the highest level of an anti-nutrient called phytic acid!  When oats are soaked overnight in an acidic medium, the toxins and anti-nutrients are broken down and your body can then absorb the nutrients in the oats.  You will usually feel full for longer when you eat soaked oatmeal as opposed to unsoaked.  Up until World War II, it was the norm to soak oatmeal overnight – Quaker Oats even came with an overnight soaking packet!  

Yogurt Parfait
I’m not a huge fan of yogurt as a lot of people do not tolerate dairy very well and may not even realize it.  Yogurt contains a good amount of sugar and I prefer to start the day with protein and fat rather than sugar.  However, I understand that some people do not like heavy meals early in the morning and would rather have something light.

  • Ingredients:
  • Full Fat Yogurt, preferably organic & preferable plain
    • Do not get the mainstream brands you find at the store – Yoplait, Chobani, Fage, etc.  They are typically low or no fat. They also usually contain added sugars, preservative, flavors, etc.
    •   Kroger has a good brand of yogurt called Dreaming Cow.  It is full-fat, grass-fed, and kind of locally made (made in Georgia).  Aldi also sometimes has organic full-fat yogurt.
    • The fat (a) makes you feel full for longer, and (b) acts as a buffer to the sugar that’s naturally found in yogurt, slowing the sugar’s absorption into your blood stream.  Without the fat, the sugar will immediately spike blood sugar.  With the fat, your blood sugar will rise and fall more slowly. 
  • Optional -- Fruit – berries, pineapple, banana, etc
  • Optional – homemade nut “granola” – almonds and cinnamon in a blender until the texture of granola

Mix yogurt, fruit, and granola to make a parfait

What questions do you have?  Ask me anything and I will do my best to answer it or else point you in the direction of someone else who may know the answer!  

What will you be having for breakfast this week?
Leave a comment below!