Posts Tagged: home and beauty

Food and Oral Hygiene | The External Process

tumblr_mmnp0piD6Q1qiz3j8o1_500

Hello lovely friends,

Yes, I love eating, and as you can tell from my last post, I have braces, which can make one of my favorite actions in life a frustrating and daunting task, sometimes.  But, fear not!  As I’m sure you could have guessed, I have ample ideas to help keep those chompers clean with or without the braces.  It’s not always convenient to carry around some type of oral sanitizing device with you, but a tasty treat can both cleanse your palate–and your teeth–whilst satiating your cravings.

Let me break it down for ya!

What’s the What:

tumblr_mm2wehkNGW1qiz3j8o1_500

This could be you before, after and between all meals!

  • Chewing & Saliva:  I know, I know. I told you that if you have braces you’ll have to give the nay-no to crunchy foods, but that’s mainly if you’re BITING into those crunchy foods.  So, chomp away, with mighty conviction knowing that with each bite you’re helping to reduce plaque build up on your teeth by minimizing food particle build-up on and around your teeth.  What is more, with every bite you will be producing more saliva, which in turn will help to balance the pH in your mouth.  [Ideal oral pH = 7.3 or 7.4]  There are strips you can buy to test this.  A dry mouth = highly acidic = gum recession and bone loss.  Additionally, you will increase your nutrient absorption if you’re properly masticating your comestibles.
  • Breath & Decay:  Bacteria can breed easily in our mouth and is cariogenic– meaning the bacteria that spreads in our mouth can cause decay.  This bacteria not only leads to decay but once festering in your mouth, can cause unpleasant breath. In regards to matters of hygiene, the sitch in our mouth may be more like a stench, and this is for various reasons outside of what I’m going to expound upon today in this blog.  Just know that if your gut is unhappy, or unbalanced in the proper bacteria–those that help keep a healthy gut–then you may or may not see repercussions of that unhappy gut displayed in your breath.  Also, some foods that we eat will overpower our senses with strong odors, while others go unnoticed.  Furthermore, if you’re out with a loved one and they’re eating garlic and onions, take a bite, then you’ll become foul breath buddies for the night.  Alternatively, if you know you’ll be consuming a culprit bad breath edible, see the list of the yummy-time chow below to follow-up a meal.
  • Between Meals & Characteristics:  What’s less manifest in the dental health realm is implementing proper saliva inducing properties between meals.  One thing is for sure, consuming fermentable carbs [see below] will surely lead to decay and, again, an improper balance in your oral pH.  Moreover, carbohydrates that cling to your teeth begin the process of something that’s almost like an acid wash over your teeth and gums. Stay away from the sticky carbs or IMMEDIATELY rinse your mouth out.

What to Look Out For:

John Lennon

John Lennon

  1. Fermentable Carbs [keep these to a minimum if you have or suspect you have certain intolerances like lactose, fructose, fructans, and sorbitol]:  dairy, apples, watermelon, pears, wheat, brussels, avocados
  2. Foods that help increase saliva:  citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange), xylitol gum, room temperature or mildly warm soup, lemon juice in water
  3. Post-Odorous Breath Inducing Foods:  cinnamon (try mixing a shake of cinnamon with hot water and drink it like tea, add stevia or xylitol for sweetening), spearmint and mint (if you have these herbs readily available, either place a couple of leaves in your mouth and suck, then chew and swallow, concentrating on the back tongue area, or make a nice, fresh tea). Also, try chewing on a sprig of parsley (if this sounds strange to some of you, and you’re more the type to throw away that ‘garnish’ on your plate, save it just once until the end of your meal, chew it up, and see if it works).
  4. Whenever Eats:  apples, pears, tomatoes, celery, nuts, jicima, radishes, cucumber, strawberries (assist in cleansing and mild bleaching), green tea (if you can  handle caffeine), spinach & lettuce (reduce staining)

It’s important for us all to keep in mind how fastened our dietary choices are to many aspects of our life, and this includes our dental health.  I find this topic very interesting so thanks for letting me share with you.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

-featured gifs:  courtesy maudit (tumblr)

Keeping it REAL in the Kitchen

Sometimes when I least expect it, stories are unearthed that help me re-shape and re-think the very premise of my blog, food and our connection to it.  Over the weekend on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, I heard a story about how a REAL chef creates pastes, pestos and other assorted culinary delights with a mortar and a pestle, not electronic devices.  At the heart of the story, however, I found that the mortar and pestle represent something greater than just objects being used to get a job done.  These tools are extensions of ourselves, (thank you Philip Hensher for this concept) and allow us to come closer to the core of what it means to prepare food for not just ourselves, but for others.

What do I mean?

There are a number of electronic devices that were created, essentially to help us consolidate our kitchen time.  All of you working women and workingmen try this new (Insert Crazy Kitchen Gadget Here) and save yourself 15 minutes in the kitchen during meal prep!  This is of course, if you’re the type of patron who bothers creating a meal for yourself, beyond hitting the ‘cook time’ button on your microwave.  (No judgment placed here, really.).  And though I am certainly an advocate of time efficiency, (ask my husband :P) I also feel as though we are short-changing ourselves as consumers if we turn the process of nourishing our body into a race to the finish line, a gormandizing fit, a gluttonous charade.  It is because I have these feelings that I also have a sense of urgency to share them (my feelings) with you, in hopes that you too, will momentarily contemplate your kitchen habits, and perhaps those reflections of ‘pace’ will spill over into other parts of your already drenched schedules.

So, I’m sure to some degree, I am preaching to the choir, but I stand on this soap box in hopes to penetrate even those of you who’ve made thoughtful kitchen behavior a common practice because it is my understanding that a soft nudge or kind reminder, never hurt anybody.  I would like to use the rest of this blog post to go over a few ways in which you could stylistically approach your time in the kitchen and still come out feeling time-fulfilled.  Connecting yourself to the food that you’re about to eat will make a world of difference, and an essential place to start is the heart of any home, the kitchen.

  1.   Use your HANDS…Salads:  When preparing greens that come on big-stemmed leaves, rip away!  For at least one part of your meal prep you can forget about the sharp tools and get your hands moving.  For example, take large kale leaves and in a downward motion, cup your hands around the leaves at the farthest end of the stem from the tip, pull the bulk of the leaf off of the stem.  Repeat, and after all of your bundle is complete, rip up each leaf into smaller pieces. Rinse.  You can get multiple leaves done at once by stacking them and ripping in vertical motions, then re-stacking and ripping in horizontal motions.  If my wonderful explanation (ahem) wasn’t what you needed, just know that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you spend time cutting these greens, over ripping.  Additionally, texture is a big factor in salads and nobody wants to taste over-manipulated greens.
  2. REUSE:   In a world where naturalresourcesare being depleted (sorry for the doom & gloom) and so much of what we purchase is chemical laden, I’m and advocate of re-use.  Of course, having new, shiny objects is fun and oddly fulfilling to the aesthetic side of us all, but I say, why not re-use in ways that will bring you a tad closer to your purchases and your food?  For instance–forgive me, this is not a novel idea–but I re-use old jars for a multitude of things:  homemade sauces, dressings, marinades, smoothies, juices, teas, left-overs, and most recently a co-worker gave me the idea of strategically layering a salad in a wide-mouth jar for freshness.  This is just one example, but there are many more ways to reuse in your kitchen.  Please, tell me some of your favorite things to re-purpose.

    motherearthliving.com

  3. Go NUTS:   Yes, you could buy those nuts in a cardboard, foil lined container with salt added and a pre-roasted label, but will these nuts really work for you and your body?  Are they really the freshest?  Hmm….Granted, the idea I’m about to cover is something that is of more convenience in the cold weather months if you don’t have a dehydrator, but either way, check this out.  Take your raw nuts and soak them in water with apple cider vinegar for 6 to 8+ hours (depending on the density of the nut–i.e. almonds need to soak longer).  Rinse them and then spread evenly onto a cookie sheet.  Season according to your tastes.  Set your oven to its lowest setting and dry out the nuts.  Lightly toast them to increase top absorption of minerals like zinc (walnuts). 😀 Trust me, this does seem tedious, but most of the work is done for you while those nuts are soaking.  Why soaking your nuts is important:  You can counteract enzyme inhibitors and break down phytic acid and tannins which are not digestible and inhibit you from actually absorbing that much-needed zinc, etc.

Below is a list of useful items in the kitchen that remain both useful and important in the line of connected cooking and food prep:

  • timer (If you’re in an old-school kitchen as I am, you’ll need a cute little timer to keep track of your cooking times, forget about the cell phone and try for a simple device you devote to your kitchen space.)
  • mortar and pestle  (Open up the life of your herbs and spices with this grinding device, that can be extended to many more purposes in your kitchen.)
  • ceramic knife and steel cleaver knife with sharpener (Ceramic is more precise and useful for vegetable prep, from my experience, but not especially good for cutting through thick skins of winter squashes like acorn and butternut.  This is when I would recommend getting a steel cleaver and learn to sharpen it on your own.  This is an upcoming challenge for me.)
  • hand whisk   (Reduces time and acts as another type of bodily extension in cooking.)
  • spatula  (I couldn’t live without my spatulas, waste not!)
  • manual juicer  (Sometimes a little elbow grease is needed.)
  • hand crank can opener (For those who use canned goods.)
  • sieve (Assists in the post-soaking process of fine grains.)
  • cast iron skillet  (Use as a pan for baking in the oven and on your stove-top for iron distribution).
  • bamboo spoons
  • crock pot
  • spray bottles (Make your own oil sprays for salads!)

The manner in which you do or do not utilize your kitchen (be it small or large) is up to you, but one area to easily initiate a close bond with your edibles, is here!  After such a massive food holiday (Thanksgiving), food connection is certainly a pertinent topic to keep in mind; I hope you will.  Please, send your commentary, criticisms and thoughts my way; I would love to hear from you.

peanuts ( gocomics.com )

And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

~RAM~

More Than This, It’s More Than Food (part 2)

You don’t have to feel like this about the state of your world…check out these household solutions.

 

Hello Everyone,

Before I complete this series, I would like to thank anyone I know who has participated in helpful and lively discussions about food connection lately and the many roles food plays in our lives’.

OKAY!

What’s That?:  (SIDE NOTE:  I’m only mentioning a few methods, but know there are a lot more!)

Oats/Oatmeal/Whole Rolled Oats (Avena Sativa):  A staple in so many homes (and I’m not talking about the flavored kind), there’s always extra uses for this grain.

1) CLARIFY:  For those of you who have oily skin or just want to clarify your skin after a rough week (especially to my dancer and actor friends out there, that extra make-up can be very tough on your face), I suggest making this mask.  (TRIPLE THREAT)  Combine 1/2 ripe tomato, 1 tsp lemon juice, and 1 tbsp oatmeal into a blender until smooth.  Apply mask to face and neck, hang out for a little while and then rinse.  Check out Vegan Beauty Review for more info. 😀  2)  SOFTEN & TIGHTEN:  Simplicity.  This is where I fall.  If you don’t have a lot of product sitting around the house, I suggest cooking up about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oatmeal (depending on how much body you’re going to cover) and after it has cooled to a warm temperature, spread the oats onto your face and body if so inclined.  Let it dry and rinse off in the shower.  You’ll notice your skin will feel especially soft and moderately tighter.  If you’re into baths, try soaking in a calming oat bath.  Try adding the oats to a cheesecloth bag, nut milking bag, or something of similar texture to not make a big mess in the tub.  You can also add your choice essential oils.  3)  DEODORIZE: Kitty got carried away one afternoon, evening, anytime!?  Pour some of those oats into a small bowl or shallow dish, and set them into the room where the culprit odor lingers.  Bam, odor-free zone very soon!

By: Jaime Harder Caldwell, M.A., R.D., Oxmoor House

Olive Oil (Olea Europaea):  Originating in the Mediterranean, though rarely produced there now, this oil is extracted from the pulp of the olive.  A delicious and nutritious (forgive me) fat for semi-regular consumption, but there are many other uses to this fabulous food.

1)  REMOVE & MOISTURIZE:  If you’re looking for an alternative that’s an implied resourceful tool for beauty, I highly recommend olive oil.  Though there are many brands of olive oil sold that are at their core, diluted with other vegetable oils, I still feel that this is a better alternative than buying a bunch of overpriced ‘eye-make-up’ removers. So, what you’ll need to do is have a bottle of oil specifically for the use of ‘beauty’ not cooking (I don’t specify between extra virgin and virgin for this purpose).  I either put the oil directly onto my fingertips if I am applying it directly to eyes for moisturizing or you can apply the oil to a cotton ball or pad.  For small areas, try dipping a cotton swab into the oil and lightly rub area around eyes.  Maybe you did a hack job on your eye-liner or something of that nature, the oil will help break down the substance without much abrasion being done to your skin.  Be wary about rubbing too hard around the eyes, the skin here is very sensitive.  2)  SHAVING:  For all the women and the gentlemen who have issue with skin irritation after shaving (or while you’re shaving), or maybe you’re using eco-friendly razors with less lubricant on the device, I recommend trying olive oil.  This may seem like the strangest practice to implement, but it not only helps to soften the hairs on your body to start, it also creates a smooth and evened surface for the razor to pass over without nicking your skin.  The bonus, it leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft afterwards with a flattering glow.  3)  FRESHEN UP YOUR WOODEN FURNITURE:   Combine about a tsp+ of olive oil with small amount of lemon juice/lime juice or vinegar (increase this amount and the olive oil amount increases), and with an old dish cloth, rub this solution into the dry cracks of your antiques or newly purchased furniture pieces to keep them shiny and conditioned.

I hope these and the previous post are helpful tools for repurposing those kitchen foodstuffs!  Again, let me know what home and beauty recipes you come up with or have practiced.

 

And remember…bite responsibly!

 

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~

 

More Than This, It’s More Than Food (part 1)

http://www.lepenquotidien.com/?p=148

Bonjour Everyone!

Often, food and food products in our cupboards and refrigerators is thought of as simply that, food items.  However, beyond the customary and conventional use of some things, we find that our usual ideas can be expand into more.  DIY and repurposing is all the rave, and I’m here today to comment on what often starts in the kitchen as a consumption ‘tool’ doesn’t have to remain merely for consumption.  There is a level of convenience, satisfaction and balance that comes from reusing or finding new uses for consumable items (particularly if they are nearing their ripest, or on the verge of expiring), especially in a world that’s so ridden with waste and debris.  Everyday I’m encouraged by the indelible impression something as small as reusing a toilet paper tube can make.  All that being said, I’ll just get down to it!  After doing a pinch of research and recalling my own remedies, here’s a list of some things you may want to attempt.

What’s That?:  (SIDE NOTE:  I’m only mentioning a few methods, but know there are a lot more!)

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):  It gained popularity in the 1950s as a folk remedy to try.  Go for raw (natural)- unpasteurized.  Apple cider vinegar is made from apples that are pulverized and allowed to ferment.  ACV shouldn’t be pasteurized because this operation will damage or kill the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that are present.

There are a few things that you can do with apple cider vinegar besides the norm:  1)  FACE:  Mix about 1:8 (acv : water) ratio when you make your first mixture to test how your skin will react.  You can increase the amount of acv depending on the strength your skin is able to handle.  Some have very sensitive skin and may want to stick to a very low ratio.  Additionally, feel free to use this in the morning and at night (although, personally I’d suggest using it only in the evening to not overrun your senses), and do not rub this solution around your eyes.  What does this help with?  This toner is an excellent natural exfoliant that’s not too harsh and it also helps to balance the pH on your skin’s surface.  This pH balancing is due to the malic and lactic acid that is present and lends to antibacterial and antiseptic properties.  This also makes for a great aftershave for men and women (especially if you’re suffering from ingrown hairs or a type of razor burn).  2)  HAIR:  Make a solution of about 1/2 tbs acv and 1 cup of water that you can mix together by repurposing an old toilette bottle (facial wash, shampoo, ect…).  For a lovely sheen and added boost to your roots, rinse this solution through your hair after shampooing.  I suggest doing this while you’re still in the shower for less mess.  If you don’t feel comfortable having this solution being the last liquid to touch your hair, make sure to rinse your hair with cool/cold water, not hot.  Warmer water dries out your hair/scalp and disrupts the natural pH balance of your hair.  3)  CLEAN:  Combine 1/2 cup acv with 1 cup water and shake.  This is a suitable disinfectant for tiles, surfaces in the kitchen and so forth.  I suggest mixing this solution with a few drops of an essential oil if the scent of vinegar disturbs your senses.

http://www.motherfitness.com/nice-butts-healthy-guts-eat-coconuts/

Coconut Oil (CO):  Cocos nucifera (coco = monkey face and nucifera = nut bearing), a functional food that bears a tremendous amount of health properties.   

It’s a shame to just list a few, but the list of uses (beyond consumption) of coconut oil is extensive, here are some that I find helpful:  1)  Wood conditioner:  There’s not much to this one!  If you have an old cutting board or rolling pin that’s rough, put a tablespoon or so in the refrigerator to solidify it and then use it like a shortening and rub it all over the surface of whatever it is that your conditioning.  Let the piece sit for a few hours before you let it come in contact with water.  2)  HAIR:  Use to clarify roots when your hair has extra build-up or it is feeling extra dry or greasy.  I’ve actually slept with coconut oil on my roots over night with a scarf around my hair to keep my pillow from becoming translucent. :p       3)  Eyes:  Keep a stash of coconut oil with your facial items and use a dab of coconut oil under your eyes and on your neck at night.  I think its’ the best moisturizer out there.  I can completely see the difference the mornings after I’ve neglected to use this.  I actually moisturize my entire face at night with coconut oil, but this is extreme to some people.  I can say, as someone who’s had problematic skin, I’ve done this without negative repercussions.  4)  HEAL:  One last thing, I like to use coconut oil on my wounds and bruises as it helps in the healing and regeneration process.  It has the ability to reduce inflammation, which emphasizes it’s medicinal use.  Fantastic! Coconut oil is by far one of my favorite things!

Lemon Juice and Lemon Rind:  Exact origin is difficult to pin-point (I’ve read an assortment of ideas), lemons are known for their citrus quality and their antiseptic capabilities.

As lemons play a big role in my diet, I think it most appropriate to highlight some other constructive uses:  1)GREASE AWAY:  (combo deal); Try using a bit of course sea salt and half of a lemon.  Use the lemon’s side and rub it in the course salt.  Now take this and rub it over whatever trick y and difficult surface you have; a skillet, pan, stove top, walls and counters.  2)  DEODORIZE:  After you’ve used up a lemon’s juice in your morning cleanse drink, or over a crisp fresh salad, try tossing the rind into your garbage disposal to keep the blades sharp and the odors scarce.  3)  REMOVE STAINS:  If your sink is looking a little grimy, no matter how much you scrub, (comb deal) use baking powder and half of a lemon and rub the flat surface of the lemon over the difficult spots in your stainless steel sink. My mother used to say use a little elbow grease, I suggest this.  Try this on stone sinks as well.

Okay, these are just a few items to start you out!  Keep an out for my follow-up post and many more posts for the season to come!

What creative ways have you been using these items?

And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

~RAM~

Food Prep for the Spatially & Equipment Challenged

This weekend I began thinking about food preparation from all aspects.  Rather, what it actually takes to live in such a way where you are relatively sustainable in the kitchen and how one can imbue the importance of self-sufficiency onto others.  In the same token, I am not under the illusion that everyone I meet enjoys cooking, execution of food readiness, or the many facets that are involved in pre-consumption, as much as I do.  There are many challenges to be faced when it comes to involving oneself directly with meal planning and preparation, so I thought I would narrow down some of the main tasks I try to accomplish every weekend to ease my weekday duties.  Granted, when you have a busy schedule these tips are key, but they may not be as necessary for those who have a free-flowing schedule.  Additionally, the incongruous nature of a small ‘kitchen’ space or lack of kitchen gadgets can be frustrating and stifling, so I’d like to touch on this as well and offer a few helpful tips.  So, as Mario says…”HERE WE GOOO!”

(These are in no particular order)

  1. Have some idea of what you do or don’t like and then make a list.  Make a list of ‘things I won’t eat’ & ‘things I will eat’.  This will help you understand where you’re limited and where you’re not limited in the kitchen.
  2. Consider the season and where your food comes from.  Having some idea of what’s in season in the area you’re living in can be a tremendous help.  It will allow you to choose vegetables & fruits at their fullest flavor. They will be easier to access, and most importantly higher in nutritional value for a lower cost.  This might be a helpful website.
  3. Reflect on your schedule for the upcoming week.  Are you going to be full-blast from the moment you awake until the moment your head hits the pillow at night, or will you have breathing room?  Demarcating what ‘free’ time you have from ‘busy’ time will help in evaluating a smoothly run day.
  4. Once you have a handle on the ideas from above, decipher your weekly budget for groceries.  Be realistic.  Know that when you  make a list you should stick to it, but sometimes we do waiver.  Sometimes prices have risen, sometimes we pay a little extra for local/organic foods–if you’re in the position of doing so–and sometimes we buy bulk (grains, legumes, etc..).
  5. As  mentioned previously, sit down and make a list of essential groceries necessary for the week.  Take note of where you’ll need to shop, how early they open and what’s the best day of the week to go–again based on your schedule.  Plan your route the day before heading out, so as to utilize all of your time–I’m sure this won’t suit some, but it’s a thought if timing is an issue.
  6. Pending the following items aren’t on your ‘things I won’t eat’ list, try these foods out as weekly staples (some will last longer than a week depending on how many you’re feeding):  lemons, ginger root, celery, cucumber, original unsweetened almond milk-I purchase the SILK brand, gluten-free bread/Eng. Muffins, greens(collard, spinach, kale, spring mixes, lettuce, chard etc…), tempeh, coconut water, coconut oil, raw apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, quinoa & millet, kombucha or kefir water, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cabbage, carrots, avocados & sprouts, raw almond butter, raw cacao treats, yams or sweet potatoes and stevia.

    www.sustainablefoodcenter.com

  7. Plan out breakfasts, but don’t eat until you’re hungry!  Green smoothies are your friend and try oats (gluten-free) in the morning and gluten-free toast with coconut oil spread on top.
  8. Conceptualize lunches and dinners, but don’t ‘plan’ them necessarily.  I don’t always know exactly what I’m going to consume for every meal of every day of the week.   This would feel suppressive and boring to me, so I conceptualize which helps in creating an adequate grocery list.
  9. Whichever day of the weekend you have free–assuming you have any portion free, change for another day of the week if your schedule is different–use this time for weekly prep.  I say, chop up as many vegetables ahead of time as you possibly can.  I try to cut up my snack vegetables–except cucumbers and bell peppers–ahead of time so that when I’m prepping for lunch/dinner/snacks I can just grab those with little thought.
  10. If access to a stove-top or oven is not an option, try planning more raw fresh meals. Invest in an inexpensive and small toaster oven.  They can do wonders for fast food prep, energy conservation and space consolidation in a tiny or non-existent kitchen.

    photo by: Jasmyne Rose – Myself & a friend in a kitchen from my past buried behind all those books.

  11. Essential kitchen gadgets to have:  chopping board, chef’s knife & pairing knife, peeler, colander, sieve, containers for storage, measuring spoons and cups, and at least one large mixing bowl.  There are many more I could list, but having had that tiny non-existent kitchen before, I understand the need for a micro-setup.  I’d also suggest getting a small crock-pot if you have the space.

I know this list may perhaps come off as very obvious for some, but I hope it is a helpful guide for others.  Also, know that the above mentioned ideas are not exhaustive and whenever I come up with new tips, I will post them.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I am more than happy to produce personalized detailed plans for any individual upon request.

And remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy and Spacious Regards,

~RAM~