Saturday, April 10, 2010

"American" Cheese!?!

One night earlier this week I was watching OnDemand television and they kept airing a Kraft American Cheese commercial. As you might guess I'm not a big fan of Kraft or their supposed "Cheese" but I have never been infuriated over one of their commercials before. This commercial revolved around how their cheese is the only true "American" cheese, their product logo was fashioned to resemble the American flag, and patriotic music played in the background. Seriously! How are we as "American" consumers okay with this? It isn't even cheese! (I am making the gross assumption that we as consumers are okay with this because big business continues to promote in this fashion without negative consequence.) Have you recently looked at the ingredient list on a package of Kraft American Singles? For those of you who don't have a package in your refrigerator allow me to provide the information for you. (I Googled it, I do not feed this stuff to my family!)

American Cheese (Milk Cheese Culture Salt Enzymes)*had they stopped here they would actually have made cheese!, Water, Milkfat, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid as a Preservative, Oleoresin, Paprika (Color), Annatto (Color), Vitamin D3 with Starch Added for Slice Separation.

Now the ingredient list of the cheddar cheese I do have in my refrigerator.


It was bought at Costco, 16oz for $6 and some odd cents. Yes, I do have to cut it myself into slices, but I own a knife and typically have at least 20 seconds during my day when I can do this.

I know we live in a world of convenience. Packaged meals, sliced bread, food that can sit in our pantry for over a year and still be "good" to eat. This stuff is inexpensive and easy, but what is the real cost of convenience?

I was visiting with some family this past week. My aunt and uncle were telling me that my cousin who is in her early 20's will most likely require a kidney transplant in the next few years. She has a rare form of diabetes. My aunt, uncle, and cousin (her brother) recently went for physicals to see if they would be able to donate one of their kidneys when the time came. Much to their disbelief all of them had extensive kidney damage! They are not over weight or plagued with blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar problems. What they told me next definitely surprised me. The doctor asked them how much soda they drank. Their answer - about 24 cans a day between the three of them! When asked how much water they drink in a day, they couldn't remember the last time they drank a glass of water! They had no idea how their eating/drinking habits were affecting their health. They assumed that if it was on the shelves at the supermarket it must be okay to consume, right? If you have watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution you know how possible it is for the majority of a community to have the same food mindset as my family. It is scary, but I am thankful that individuals, such as Jamie Oliver, who have the resources and notoriety, are working to change this nation.

I can hardly wait until the day that "American" cheese no longer means "processed" cheese(or something that at least is meant to resemble it)!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dishwasher Detergent

Update on the homemade Dishwasher Detergent. The Borax, Washing Soda, and Vinegar recipe has not worked well for me. In fact I'll be going out today to get a box of Cascade to rewash all of my dishes! The recipe called for 2 tbs of the mixture. I tried more, I tried less, I think using none at all might have been my best option! It left a terrible film all over everything, not just the glasses. It is disgusting! I'll be giving a few other recipes a try, hopefully I can find something that works better than this. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Monday, March 29, 2010

All Natural Cleaning

I don't know why cleaning with all natural cleaning products didn't occur to me before a year ago! I am sure my husband is asking the same question! When I was pregnant he was responsible for doing all the heavy cleaning (tubs, toilets, etc.) so I wasn't exposed to the nasty chemicals and fumes.

So, my first step was to get rid of the Scrubbing Bubbles, Lysol, and Clorox. I replaced them with an all purpose, all natural cleaner I have been buying at Meijer. It works great, no complaints on that, but it is expensive! And I seem to go through it faster than the old stuff.

Living a healthier lifestyle shouldn't break the bank! At least that is my philosophy. So, I have been looking for inexpensive ways to get my house, clothes, and dishes clean without the chemicals.

Right now I am using Ecos Laundry Detergent from Costco. It is about $11 and it lasts me about 2 months. I plan to try making my own laundry detergent once the container I have open is gone. If you have a good homemade laundry detergent recipe you would like to share, please do! I have been adding 1 cup of baking soda to my whites. That has really worked well. Over the last couple of weeks I have not been pre-treating any of my girls' clothes, just throwing them in the wash with the extra baking soda, and it has been doing the job just as well as if I had spent all that time scrubbing them!

I just bought all of the ingredients to make my first batch of homemade dishwasher detergent (the same ingredients I will need for my laundry detergent). The recipe I am using is as follows:

1 cup Borox
1 cup Washing Soda
White Distilled Vinegar

Mix the Borox and the Washing Soda in a resealable container. Use 2 tbs. in each load. Use vinegar in place of your store bought rinse aid.

I will let you know next week how it goes. If it works, we'll be saving a fortune! I run our dishwasher at least twice a day.

So, for general household cleaning I tried baking soda and water. The enormous bag of baking soda I bought at Costco had all these suggestions on what you can use baking soda for. General cleaning was the top of their list. They recommended tubs, countertops, floors, etc. I would not recommend this at all! It works great as a laundry booster but not as a general cleaner. It left streaks or spots on everything! This was even after rinsing. It made my tile slippery and it didn't work on the tubs at all, even with a lot of scrubbing. I then tried vinegar and water. This is the cleaning product most of our grandparents probably used to get their homes spotless. Vinegar is cheap and the smell evaporates once it dries (except on your hands, wear gloves if you don't want to smell like a pickle the rest of the day). I filled a big bowl with warm water and poured a few glups of vinegar in it (maybe 1 1/2-2 cups)I washed my floors, windows, counters, tubs, everything with it. It worked great! It even took hard water deposits off the faucet and water dispenser on my refrigerator. I am in the process of making a citrus based all purpose cleaner (it has to ferment in my fridge for 3 months). I have high hopes for this cleaner and will let everyone know how it works once it is done. It would definitely smell better than the vinegar, but until then the vinegar and water works, its cheap, it disinfects, and it's all natural!

I would love to hear any other suggestions people have for all natural cleaning products you can make at home.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why I'm Inspired

I don't even know where to begin!

I feel like over the last 5+ years I have experienced this enlightenment. Not that we didn't LIVE healthy before,at least to most American's standards, but I think "healthy", in my mind, has been redefined. Healthy used to mean we didn't eat fast food. Which probably would be a healthy first step for the majority of Americans. Healthy, to me, now means knowing (being able to pronounce) everything that my family is consuming. This means not just the finished product but the entire ingredient list! We buy locally produced (grown, raised, and manufactured) food as often as possible. This means it is fresher! We buy very little processed food. This means a little more work, because I don't buy frozen or boxed meals, but in the end it tastes way better and is much healthier! We use all-natural cleaning products. I don't want my children around toxic fumes or residue from chemicals that are supposed to be "cleaning" my house. We use cloth diapers...for sooooo many reasons. The list could go on and on.

Bottom line. It seems like a good idea to know what is going in your body. As a Christian I believe my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. I want to keep it clean, healthy, and maintained on the inside and out.

Five years ago when we switched to only drinking organic milk. We had friends and family that thought we were just being yuppys! They were offended that we would have a problem with the milk that they drank. We are no longer the minority! More and more of our friends and family are choosing healthier options. I can still be a conservative, Republican and eat organic, buy local, and cloth diaper!

This blog is for all my friends who have asked me, "how do you do it?" We took small steps to get where we are at. We are still learning and making healthier changes to our lifestyle. But I am passionate about life and the way we are living it. I love to share the information we have learned and the reasons why we have chosen to do things the way we do. Feel free to take bits and pieces. You have to make decisions that are going to be best for your family.

God Bless!