Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why a Square-Foot Garden?

Before I post all about the hows and whats of square-foot gardening, I thought I would tell you why I LOVE this gardening method:

-Requires very little space; 80% less than conventional gardening.
-Can be done in as little as 4 feet by 4 feet, — or as large as you want.
-Your existing (bad) soil doesn’t matter because we don’t use it. Start with an ideal soil mix that is weed-free and requires no tilling.
-Uses much less water; only about 20% compared to conventional gardening.
-No fertilizers or pesticides to handle — it’s all natural!
-The planting method requires no thinning and very few seeds.
-All the hard work has been removed in the Square Foot method – only the enjoyable part remains.
-Can be started in any season.
-Produces 5 times the harvest of a conventional garden.
-Can be done by those with physical or mental limitations. If getting down is a problem, raise the boxes to a higher level.
-Makes a great family project, all ages can participate - kids love to garden.
-No Weeding! No Thinning! No Heavy Digging

Square-foot gardening really is SO easy! If you want to know EVERYTHING about square-foot gardening, go buy the book Square-foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Otherwise stay tuned and I will get you started with the basics!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Our bodies are full of all kinds of interesting bugs some are good for us and some not so good. Probiotics are good bacteria. Acidophilus, bifidus, lactobacillius, etc... they reside in the intestinal tract. As with most good things, our bodies, because of lifestyle and diet are lacking in these essential bacterias. So we look to other sources to replenish our lack. Probiotics are most commonly seen in yogurt, kefir and raw sauerkraut. Que the activia commercial. I will just make a bullet point list of all the cool things that probiotics do.

- they manufacture vitamins, especially B's, which help to detoxify chemicals and metabolize hormones
- they help the enzymes to maximize food assimilation and digestion.
- starve the bad bacteria of nutrients
- change the bodies acid/alkaline balance
- boost immune response, inhibiting growth of pathogenic organisims
- protect intestinal mucosa levels
- develop a barrier to food borne allergies
- neutralize antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria
- reduces cancer risk
- reduces risk of IBS and diverticulosis
- synthesizes need vitamins for healing
- prevents diarrhea by improving digestion of proteins and fats

If you are not a yogurt eater then you could look into a supplement for your probiotics. I recommend Optimal Health Systems Flora Plus.

I do not recommend taking antibiotics unless you absolutely have to (like life or death) because they destroy ALL bacteria good and bad. This is not good because it leaves the system with out defenses, can seriously mess up your digestive processes for a long time and these days we are seeing new and freaky strains of antibiotic resistant bacterias- this is because for years doctors have been handing antibiotics like candy and the bugs keep mutating. I recently had MRSA, which is a very serious staph infection that can kill you. I treated it naturally and I won!

Educate yourself! Doctors do not know everything, they know what drug companies tell them.

When the @#$% hits the fan you had better know how to take care of your family.

Fun Fact: There are over 4lbs of bacteria in the human intestinal tract!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Amber- Contributor

Hi Everyone- I'm Amber. I don't know a lot about "going natural" yet, but I am definitely excited to learn. What I do know is Gardening- and I absolutely L.O.V.E. it! Just thinking about what to plant next in my garden gives me a little rush of adrenaline... dorky, I know.
Things you should know about me:
-Much to the dismay of my husband, I wear a T shirt and jeans just about everyday.
-I have 3 kids. I am a SAH Mom.
-I love to read almost as much as I love to garden. My favorite book today is The Host.
-Dr. Pepper runs through my veins.
-I graduated from BYU in 2006.
-After reading The China Study two years ago, I try and cook only vegetarian meals.
-I am an entrepreneur. I have started 8 businesses in the past 6 years.
-My favorite show is The Biggest Loser.
-Someday I want to move to Colorado. Arizona is way to dang HOT!
I can't wait to teach you what I know about Gardening!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reusable Produce Bags

The plastic bags used for produce bug me. Because usually I just put my produce in them at the store and then come home and empty it out into my fridge in bins and such. It seemed like such a waste. So I looked it up and I found Flip and Tumble Produce Bags. So I ordered them. I love them! I use them for potatoes, apples, citrus, onions, cucumbers etc. etc. I don't use them for lettuce or herbs--things that need to keep some moisture to stay fresh, because they won't work. But as for all of the other things they are perfect. I took this picture so you could see the size:

I found them cheapest at but you can also find them on Amazon, at Flip and Tumble, even at Target online. (I haven't seen them in a Target)

I give this product a THUMBS UP. Try them and come back and leave your opinion, good or bad. OR try one of the other similar products make by other companies and tell us what you think.

Soap Scum Remover

So I was looking at the floor of my bath tub and it was all brownish in spots from soap scum. I usually use Comet but I wanted to try something natural, so I googled it.

Baking Soda. That was one of the answers, so I tried it. MAGNIFICENT! It worked like a charm. I found it worked better if I wet my sponge and put it directly on there to form a paste versus when I just sprinkled it on the tub directly. It was great because my almost 2 year old was right next to me and usually I freak out and lock him out while I'm cleaning because if that nasty chemicals. But it was great, I even let him help. And at one point I somehow inhaled some of the powder and I didn't have any fear or thoughts in the back of my mind of how wrong it was. No more Comet for me!

Also, heated white vinegar works. I've used that before and it works, but I found it to be more difficult than the baking soda.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Essential oils

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. If you have ever enjoyed the gift of a rose, a walk by a field of lavender, or the smell of fresh cut mint, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils provide plants with protection against predators and disease and play a role in plant pollination.

Essential oils are non water-based phytochemicals made up of volatile organic compounds. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils. Essential oils are very clean, almost crisp, to the touch and are immediately absorbed by the skin. Pure, unadulterated essential oils are translucent and range in color from crystal clear to deep blue.

Try this at home: Squeeze the peel of a ripe orange. The fragrant residue on your hand is full of essential oils.

In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Modern scientific study and trends towards more holistic approaches to wellness are driving a revival and new discovery of essential oil health applications.

I have been using essential oils for a long time and I love them. Lavender is one of my favorites. I use it as a deodorant, just a couple of drops in the pits and I smell good all day, except for super sweaty days in summer, that would require some plain baking soda.

Three of the best oils to start your collection with are lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree. These oils are less expensive, so they are a great introduction to oils because your investment is not to intimidating.

Lavender is widely used and accepted for its calming and relaxing qualities.

Because of the many influential compounds found in eucalyptus, it is a key ingredient in cough and throat medicines and chest ointments. Eucalyptus is used widely both for its calming and clearing properties as well as to ease breathing* Just mix it with a little olive oil and rub it on the chest, throat and shoulders.

Recognized by its more common name "tea tree", melaleuca has been revered for its cleansing and regenerative properties, especially for the skin. Composed of more than ninety different compounds, melaleuca has limitless therapeutic applications. Tea tree is great for killing fungus, bacterias and viruses. Any time you get a cut, scrape, etc.. just drop tea tree on it.

If you are really interested in using essential oils then you should get yourself a book so you can learn how to use them.

There are a lot of companies that sell essential oils, I like several, however you should do your own research and find a company that you like.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Calli Overstreet--Contributor

My name is Calli. I am a food person. You could say I am a FoodNerd. You may not believe me, but I could probably talk about food all day long. Food is fun, it's culture, it's health, it's skill, it's exploration, it's sharing and serving, tasting, and learning. It's important to me.

I have a bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science with a minor in Communications from ASU. I work for a doctor, seeing those patients that need help with nutrition, weight loss, diabetes education, and food allergies. Group cooking classes, personal consulting, and chef assisting is what I do on the side occasionally. In my last year of college, I completed an internship with a professional chef, who is a naturopath. I developed, modified, and learned many recipes during that time. Shape Up US is an organization that created a continuing education course all about health and wellness and I was a writer and contributor for that project.

I am a dance teacher, since I was 16. I teach all ages and all styles. I have taught at many different studios around the valley, and still do. This fall I will be co-teaching a program called "Confidence Connection" at Premiere Performing Arts Academy. I am mostly teaching the students about nutrition and exercise and how they relate to self confidence and empowerment. It is a program designed to help youth gain life skill so they can take on the world with confidence.

On a personal note, I am married, no kids yet, love to laugh, be sarcastic, and have fun. I sing, dance, play the guitar, and cook. I love going to the superstition market and overflowing my fridge with fresh produce for $10. I love debunking that healthy eating is expensive.

My philosophy is what I like to call  90/10. 90% of the time we should eat whole, non-processed food, Ex: veggies, fruit, lean meats, fish, and nuts and seeds. The other 10% is just because we can't change overnight and be hardcore in a blink. We live in a world of food that is horrible for us, but happens to taste so good.

I will be contributing recipes, tips, nutrition facts and myths, and restaurant reviews of places that actually serve or will serve you healthy food!! That's how I roll, welcome aboard :)