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An Accidental Hippie

Your place to discover how good healthy living can be

  • An Accidental Hippie

In researching how to reduce the amount of chemicals we used in our household, I came across soap berries. I was very intrigued as I had never heard of such a thing. Soapberry also known as a soap nut is a fruit from sapindus tree. The best species is mukorossi which contains the most saponin that produces soaping effect. When contact in water, soapberry releases saponins, work as natural surfactant for water to break up dirt, grease, and grime. Soapberry has been used for thousands of years in China as detergent, cosmetic, and medicine. It is a natural alternative to chemical detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard. Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, is an additive that allows cleansing products to foam. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, SLS is a “moderate hazard” that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. I was so happy when my adult son stopped by after having some fun with his friends by mudding in some jeeps! That was the PERFECT opportunity to try my soapberries. I must say I’ve been super impressed! The Benefits of Soap Nuts If you’re not yet convinced of their benefits or how to use soap nuts, the following information should answer some of your questions: * Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically. * All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients. * Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging. * Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer. * Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent. * Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic. * Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies. * Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent. * Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils. * Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces. * No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics! * Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water. * Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too. * Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines. * Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water. * Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems. * Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost. * Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself! * Countless Uses: Look below for a few ideas on how to use soap nuts in your own home. sources-http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/soap-nuts.html

  • An Accidental Hippie

In terms of MONAT products “naturally-based” means we strive to use ingredients that are “close to the source”. This means that we use high-quality botanical extracts, essential oils and vitamins in pleasing and effective formulations. That means we blend natural ingredients with surfactants (for cleansing products), emulsifiers (for creams and lotions) and preservatives (for a product that is free of contaminants and safe to use).Is MONAT “all natural”? No. And it would serve you best not to use this term.Let’s talk for a moment about the difference between “all natural” and “naturally-based”.To fall into the all-natural category would mean that we would be either using natural preservatives whose safety has not been substantiated or the complete lack of preservatives all together. The absence of preservatives would also mean that our products would have a very limited shelf-life and would need to be refrigerated. That alone, would make it difficult for MONAT to exist. Items would have to been expressed shipped cold-packed and that would make the products quite cost prohibitive.Let’s review the terms introduced in the beginning: surfactant, emulsifiers and preservatives.SurfactantsOne of the functions of a surfactant is to cleanse. A surfactant is any ingredient which reduces the surface tension between water and another liquid or between a liquid and a solid. There are good surfactants and bad surfactants. SLS has caused quite a controversy in recent years as a bad surfactant and linked to possible disease. You will never see SLS in any of MONAT’s products.To cleanse, a surfactant interposes itself between dirt and the object being cleansed, thus separating the two and allowing for easy rinsing. It’s what makes your cleansers, body washes and bubble baths foam and bubble. Some surfactants are also known as detergents (remember “detergent” is not a dirty word!) There are mild cleansers and harsh cleansers. At MONAT, we use the gentlest and safest surfactant blends possible to effectively cleanse the skin, yet keep it moisturized and comfortable. Without surfactants, our products wouldn’t bubble and face it, most of us associate “foam” with “clean”.EmulsifiersSimply put, an emulsifier is what makes a cream a cream. It’s what “marries” oil and water. An emulsion is created when fine droplets of a liquid are dispersed in a second liquid; both liquids do not mix on their own and must be held together using an emulsifier. A great example of an emulsion is mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a mixture two liquids that normally can’t be combined. Oil and water is the classic example, but for mayo you are trying to “marry” lemon juice and oil. Emulsifying is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while simultaneously mixing rapidly. This disperses and suspends tiny droplets of one liquid through another. However, the two liquids would quickly separate again if an emulsifier were not added. Emulsifiers are liaisons between the two liquids and serve to stabilize the mixture. In mayonnaise, the emulsifier is egg yolk, which naturally contains lecithin, a fat emulsifier.PreservativesPreservatives are a good thing, you want them to be in your beauty care products.Preservatives are added to skin, hair and body care products to protect the product and the consumer from the many types of mold, bacteria, yeast and fungus that can grow in a product. These unwelcomed “critters” can compromise the integrity of a product (make it separate, make is smell bad) and can in some cases can hurt you (from skin rashes all the way to blindness).Most companies use a blend of preservatives to protect against a wide range of contaminants (this is because some preservatives only protect against bacteria, some only get mold and fungus. These blends of preservatives provide us with broad spectrum protection.It is fairly safe to say that the total preservative blend used in our products is less than 1% of the total formulation, are a natural alternative to synthetic, and are non-toxic to the consumer.Is naturally based better? Yes! Naturally-based means you get the best of both worlds: a product with ingredients that are as close to the source as possible blended in effective and safe formulations. We will continue to use only high quality botanicals, essential oils and vitamins in MONAT formulations so that you get the most benefit of what the earth has to offer.

Anti-Inflammatory Coconut and Sweet Potato Muffins with Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon and Maple Syrup One of the most satisfying things we can hear is, that the baking goods which are delicious and we all love, can be healthy and nutritious at the same time. Actually if all inflammatory ingredients are avoided, such as vegetable oils, processed wheat and refined sugars, and instead of them anti-inflammatory ingredients are used which are rich in nutrients, you will be able to make a tasty and healthy meal which will supply your body with a lot of energy and will also support your overall health. The recipe that we are recommending contains very nutritious ingredients, the base of the recipe is potatoes, and they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Laura Flores is a nutritionist in San Diego, and she reported: “One of the richest sources of riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B5 and vitamin A, are the sweet potatoes. They are also very rich in carotenoids, their color gives it away. Also they contain low amounts of sodium, and they are completely fat-free, contain less calories than the white potatoes, but there is one downside, they have more sugar.” Because of their richness in color-pigmented vitamins, the sweet potatoes also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Even though they contain more sugar, they will not cause any blood sugar spikes, instead they will help you maintain a steady level of your blood sugar, and will supply your body with enough energy, even if you are dealing with type 2 diabetes. L. Flores also mentioned: “Even though they contain much more sugar than the white potatoes, they are not like every other starchy food that will cause a rapid change in your blood sugar levels, instead they will help you maintain the levels of blood sugar steady.” On the other hand we have the coconut flour, which is highly effective in regulating the cholesterol levels, and the ginger and turmeric are there to fight against the inflammation, bacteria, prevent viruses and decrease the risk of cancer as well. The coconut milk is a rich source of medium-chain fat acids, which have the ability to help you lose some weight, and boost your metabolism. Also it is a rich source of minerals and vitamins, such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, and vitamins E, C and B-complex. Now, below you can learn how to cook these tasty and healthy plant-based muffins: Ingredients: A tablespoon of aluminum-free baking powder 1/2 cup of unpasteurized honey or maple syrup 1/4 cup of organic coconut flour A cup of organic brown rice flour 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed in half a cup of water 2 tablespoons of organic olive oil 3/4 cups of organic coconut milk A small, roasted, sweet potato A teaspoon of ground ginger A tablespoon of ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoons of ground cloves A teaspoon of turmeric 1/8 teaspoons of ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Salt Instructions: First turn on the oven, to reach a temperature of 400F. Penetrate the skin of the sweet potatoes with a skewer, make a few holes. Then add them on the baking tray and let them cook for 1 hour. Once they are baked, let them cool down and then you can cut them in half and scoop the insides of the potatoes, and put them in larger bowls. Then you can mix the maple syrup, olive oil, coconut milk and flaxseed. Mix well all of the ingredients in another bowl and then add that mixture into the previous bowl with the potatoes. Stir well and once you get a homogeneous mixture, then you can fill the muffin trays and put the min the oven again to cook for an hour. Enjoy the tasty and healthy muffins! Source: healthy-holistic-living.com