Proven Results!

Congratulations to my friend, Lauren, for dropping all of her “baby” weight and then some!  She is a pinnacle of success on the Cinch plan.  Laur, I know you are embarrassed of the “before” photo, but you look amazing in your after, AND you have three kids.

Cinch is an AMAZING way to drop some pounds or just drop the extra fat and keep the muscle you already have.

If any of you out there are looking to shed baby weight, holiday pounds, or just change your life for the better, consider joining us in our weight loss challenge.  If you sign up before the end of this month, your 4th month is FREE!

If you have any questions, use our Contact form to get in touch!

 

Suburban Wildlife Adventures – Part 1

For those of you who know me, you know I have had a few <ok, a lot of> wildlife problems for the average homeowner.  It’s pretty funny actually.  I’ve had run-ins with raccoons, a few stray cats, a family of groundhogs, swarms of carpenter bees, and more than a few battles with woodpeckers.

My house has cedar siding.  Reading that you should know that it susceptible to all sorts of things that vinyl siding isn’t – rotting, leaking, warping, carpenter bee nesting, woodpeckers.  It’s the woodpeckers that are the major problem.  When they peck, they are looking for food.  As the fall progresses, and their food supply goes down, they like to peck my house.  Which can lead to HUGE holes in the siding.

It’s 5am, I am laying in bed, just in and out of sleep.  I hear tap, tap.  Was that someone knocking on the door? It’s 5am, no way.  Tap, tap, tap, scratch, scratch, scratch.  WTF is that?  I’m on the hunt now.  JACKHAMMERING.  WTF IS GOING ON?!

I tried everything to get rid of them – I looked up getting a plastic owl attached to my house (yes, crazy lady), called the game warden to see if they could catch it (crazier lady), and finally did some research and figured out what woodpeckers DON’T like – anything that moves and is metallic.  The research consumed me for the better part of a week.

So, I start with aluminum foil.  Yes, I hung it out all of my windows.  If you think I’m nuts, you are 110% correct.  Still had a ‘pecker.

I researched some of the streamers that can be bought online for woodpecker deterrent – $200.  <I may be nuts, but I am not spending $200 on something>.  Finally, I head to the $1 store and buy 2 dozen mylar balloons.  I hung them out every one of my windows, AND line the side of the house with them on balloon weights (fortunately, it was last year, during Phillies playoffs and I bought a bunch of baseball balloons so I at least appeared slightly less nuts – that I was just “festive” for the occasion).

Well it worked.  No more ‘pecker.  I left them up for 2 weeks just to make sure, and no more ‘pecker.

Just this past week a friend called me for this “natural remedy” to a woodpecker situation.  One of her clients has a ‘pecker knocking on their gutter (apparently, these birds like to hear themselves peck as well – so gutter pecking is also not that uncommon).

If you find yourself victim to one of these little birds, give the balloon trick a try – no chemicals, no shooting, no going insane from the noise.  Though the balloons are not 100% perfect for our environment, if you deflate them after you are done if you separate the bottoms and reuse them again, year after year.  My $1 store will charge me 25 cents to re-inflate the balloons.  That’s a great deal :)

Have you had any trouble with wildlife at your house? What are some natural methods that you’ve used to get rid of the animals/bugs/birds?

 

It’s Supplementary, Watson.

We’re all busy, and we look to stop for quick meals on the run.   Yes, I have eaten at McDonalds.  God, I love their fries.  I don’t know why I love their fries (ok it’s because they are so crispy and expertly salted with 1,000,000 mg of salt).  However, I am sure I am not alone in this equation (whether you chose to admit it nor not), given that fast food sales have grown 2000% since the time my parents got married (circa late 70’s).   Seriously, 2000%.   1 medium fries sold in 1975 = 20 medium fries sold in 2012.  That’s kinda gross, when you quantify it in that manner.

I’m also positive that most of you reading this are able to – when there is adequate time – to put food on the table for your family and make a “balanced, nutritionally sound” meal for them – protein, vegetables, starch, and maybe a cup of milk for the kids for good measure.

We live in a country where most items are trucked in cross-country  (or between countries) to the local supermarkets.  We’re looking at “fresh” vegetables that were probably plucked from the ground a week or so ago.  For every day off the vine/out of the ground/off the tree, we are giving up vital nutrients that our bodies need to defend and protect our immune system, muscles, skeletal system, and brain.  Not only are we in a country-wide economic deficit, we are in a country-wide nutrient deficit.  90% of Americans are falling short of getting the essential nutrients they need in their diet.  Seriously, 90%.  That may be the closest this country ever get to “unanimous.”

But never fear, we’re taking multi-vitamins so we’re getting our nutrients regardless.  Right?  Of course that’s right,  so I went to Target and bought vitamins.  I even bought the name brand, because they had to be better because they were the name brand.  Right?  I ate these multi-vitamins for the better course of two years.   Bottle after bottle, just before bed (or as close as possible), since I had read online that’s the ideal time to take them.   And I felt the same.  I really noticed no substantial difference.

The other day I was doing some (internet-based) research on the vitamins I previously took, versus the new vitamins I’m taking now.  I was curious to see WHY I feel better with the vitamins I’m using now – my skin is no longer excessively dry, my nails are healthy, and I just FEEL better.  Unfortunately, I never got to do a full comparison, because I Googled something to the degree of “actual content of daily multi-vitamins.”  I got this FDA study from 2008.  I was stopped in my tracks.  LEAD.  In the vitamin I was taking for two years has lead in it.  Seriously.  And while I don’t have kids – even I know some of the vitamins on their list.  AND it was a FDA study.  The government even knows.

How does stuff like this happen?  It happens because things are not regularly tested by entities before they put their products on the shelf – or maybe they are, and since the FDA doesn’t regularly screen vitamins, they are slipping through with these known traces of lead.  But what astounded me is, look at how many of them there are – it’s the whole freakin’ shelf in Target.  So while you’re busy making sure you don’t give them any toys covered in lead paint, you are giving them vitamins that contain it.  How’s that for irony (or lead-ony?!)

So what can you do to make sure your family isn’t exposed to lead in something you think is good for your family?  First, find a multi-vitamin that isn’t on the list; and second, find a vitamin that has been tested extensively so you can feel certain that you and your kids are in the clear.  Do the research and know what you’re buying, investigate and find out, look at studies that have been performed.

I’ll get back to my original comparison research this week, but in the mean time, take a look at what’s in your house and see if maybe making a switch to something without the lead content makes sense for your family.  I’d be happy to connect with you about products I’ve found that don’t contain lead.

After all,  “It’s Supplementary, Watson!”

 

 

‘Sup Suds.

So, the other day, my UPS guy dropped off a big ol’ box of natural cleaning supplies that I had ordered online (along with vitamins, healthy weight maintenance, and face products – those blogs will follow after a longer and more substantial test-period – I started using them the same day too).

I figured I had to start somewhere.  Well, I got to work on giving them all a whirl…first thing’s first…DISHES.

Let me say that I judge everything with three parameters: 1) how well it cleans, 2) how good it smells and 3) how much “suds” it makes.

I did a (very non-scientific, I might add) study in my kitchen on Monday night.  I tried my old, wonderful-smelling Pomegrante Palmolive dish wash against the Get Clean Hand Dish Soap that I ordered.  I told myself before I tried it, that if the ‘natural’ version was just as good as what I was used to using, then I’d keep using the natural version.

For the first test, I worked with my buddy, Palmolive Pomegrante.  I added half of the dirty dishes, and started out with 6 drops of the soap.  I filled the sink with water.  Good level of suds, amazing scent (of course) and it got the dishes clean as usual.  I also had two mugs that I had made tea in – so I tested one with the Palmolive (2 drops) to see if it got the ‘ring’ of tea out of the cup (I freely admit it the two of them were both two days left on the counter and well-stained) – I left it for an hour soaking with hot water.

For the second test, I tried the new-comer: Get Clean.  I took the other half of the dishes to wash and put them in the sink, added 6 drops of Get Clean and filled with water.  I also took the other mug and put in 2 drops of the Get Clean – I left it for an hour soaking with hot water.

For the dishes in the sink, I found the suds level better than the Palmolive for the few drops I used (it was a thicker suds), and the cleaning on the dishes was awesome.  The smell…well, it’s certainly not my Palmolive Pomegrante but it’s certainly not horrible either.  It’s a lemony-citrus scent and I kind of liked it – it’s a ‘clean’ scent.

An hour later I came back at the mugs – Get Clean: 1; Palmolive: 0.  No scrubbing on the Get Clean mug; I needed to scrub the other mug PLUS add some baking soda to get the stain off.

I did some more research on the natural dish soap.  I was interested to see that the soap is:

  • Nontoxic
  • Natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No phosphates
  • Biodegradable surfactants and safe for use outdoors in warm or cold water (which I thought was awesome!)

With all of this said and done, I will continue to use the Get Clean soap in the kitchen.  It was just as good (if not better) than my current solution.  I don’t have kids, but I still think it’s important to keep the house free of chemicals for my own health and the health of my family and friends.

I encourage you all to try it yourself and see if you think this might be a good fit for your house.  At $6.90, sure it’s more expensive than my current soap ($3.99).  However, I am using less to get the same ‘clean’ results so comparatively, it’s just about the same cost.

Have you tried the Get Clean?  Do you have another product you’d like compared?   If so, post to comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Moooooving Over to Organic Beef

(image from PhillyCowShare.com)

I don’t know about you, but for a long time, I moved away from eating beef and really was only a poultry eater.  Though I love me some turkey burgers, a good beef burger on the grill still really hits the spot in a way that no turkey burger can possibly do.  After a losing battle with buying sub-par (super-fatty, stinky-smelling, frozen-then-unfrozen) meat the local grocer, I pretty much gave up eating beef….

Until about a year ago, I was introduced to a great organization called Philadelphia Cow Share.  Philly Cow Share provides the Philadelphia region with organic, grass-fed, sustainably-raised beef.  You have the option of purchasing anywhere between an 1/8th or a full cow. I had the opportunity to partner with some friends at my local gym (Crossfit KOP) and bought in on an 1/8 share (cost was approx $350 for approx 40 lbs of beef = $8.75 per lb; note that I believe we received a bit lower of a price per lb because we guaranteed the purchase of a whole cow, versus buying individual 1/8th shares).

As with most things, I was initially hesitant that I was going to overpay for a like-quality meat to what I was getting at the local grocer – friends vouched for me that I would NOT be unhappy.   And they were right, I was seriously mistaken.  The meat that I got (and still get) from the Cow Share is awesome!  It’s just me, so an 1/8th share lasts me about 5-6 months, taking into account that I regularly entertain family and friends for dinner.

Part of the reason I love Philly Cow Share so much is that the meat is all individually packed (read: awesome when you are by yourself) and is always tender, even when I overcook it (NOT that I would ever do that by mistake…..).  Also, I get different cuts of meat each time, so it gives me the opportunity to get a bit creative in the kitchen with some recipes that I found online and in my family collection.  Their chipped beef is awesome, and I have even incorporated it into my “egg bakes” (recipe below) that I make weekly.  Their steaks are tender, the ground beef patties hold up well on the grill (disclaimer: I season these with some salt, pepper and onion before I cook them – otherwise, they are pretty bland), and their roasts cook up perfect in the crockpot/oven.

I think this was a good first step for “moooooving” (sorry, I can’t help it, I am laughing as I type) over to organic meats.  It made me re-appreciate beef and how good it can be when it is raised right.  I like that I support farmers in the tri-state area (Lancaster, Chester, Delaware, and Mercer counties) and also that I am buying meat that is grass-fed and free of growth hormones and antibiotics (better for me and those who I feed).

I hope you’ll do some more of your own research on Philly Cow Share and try one of the recipes that I made with their chipped beef.

 

Steak, Spinach and Egg Bake

Ingredients

1 pack Philly Cow Share chipped beef (approx 1/2 lb, give or take – you can use as much or as little as you’d like)

1 cup chopped spinach (you can use frozen or fresh, whatever you’d like)

6 eggs (or you can use 3 eggs and 6 egg whites, or you can use 12 egg whites – whatever you like though the yolk will help a bit when it cooks)

1/4 cup of water (or milk, if you prefer)

9″ pie plate

Canola Oil (or Coconut Oil or Olive Oil, whatever you prefer) non-stick spray

1 tsp olive oil

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray the pie plate with the non-stick spray of your choice

In a large pan, sautee the meat until it is brown outside and just a bit pink inside

Remove from heat then dice into smaller pieces (it’s easier if you wait till the meat cools a bit; I prefer the pieces smaller for a breakfast/brunch item but you can leave them larger if you like)

In a bowl, combine the 6 eggs and add the 1/4 cup water (or milk) – don’t make them too watery, you may need less than 1/4 cup if you use the whites

Add the spinach and the diced beef to the egg mixture

Our egg/spinach/beef mixture into the pie plate and cook at 350 degrees until the middle of the egg bake is firm (I would say about 25-30 min)

Slice in wedges for breakfast/brunch – makes a great to-go breakfast.

Makes 6 wedges

Variations: try sauteeing onions with the beef; add diced tomato to the egg mixture.

 

 

 

On My Way…

And so begins my first post of many, in my quest to revitalize my heart and my home.

I’ve gone back and forth with going “green” in my home and just haven’t done it – it’s just me, and let’s be honest, no one really depends on me and I don’t have any (known) issues with not being “green.”

However, over the past few months, I have been watching a friend of mine take her life to a new level – one where her family hasn’t been sick in as long as she can remember, and her life has changed from the opportunity that going green has presented to her.  With all of this in mind, I have decided to dedicate myself to learning more about making my life healthier and making my home a less toxic place.

I hope you’ll join me as I learn more about the different products that are available in the marketplace and give them a whirl.  My goal is to present each product as I have used it, and tell you about it so you can learn about the pros and cons.  More posts will follow over the next few weeks/months/(hopefully) years.

I look forward to sharing this revitalization with you!

Hearts and Health,

-CC