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The Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods

Learn the dangers of genetically engineered foods #gmo #eco #green #organic, via SustainableBabySteps.com

The topic of the dangers of genetically engineered foods is a big one with many different facets and risks. This is why I've invited Angela Malson, environmental expert and activist, to share her knowledge om GMOs and the steps we can take to make a difference.

What is genetically modified food or GMO's?

GMO's are "Genetically Modified Organisms", essentially the splicing genes to create unnatural combinations of animal, plant, bacterial and viral genes into one seed.

One example is taking a gene from a fish and injecting it into a strawberry to make it grow longer into the season; you then have a strawberry with a fish gene, thus the "modification" or mutated existence. GMO's are also created with their own pesticides injected into them that can release on their own and are grown to withstand huge amounts of herbicides.

Read more about the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

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Clove Essential Oil: 50+ Benefits and Uses - Sustainable Baby Steps

Learn about clove essential oil as a supplement for toothaches, athlete’s foot, mold, liver cleansing, and 50+ more uses.

Continue reading "Clove Essential Oil: 50+ Benefits and Uses - Sustainable Baby Steps"

Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of Fruits and Veggies

Every year the Environmental Working Group launches their list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of produce. These two lists are helpful in assisting you in finding which fruits and veggies you should prioritize in your organic food budget and which are safer to "cheat" on.

The first is a list of 12 or more produce items that contain the highest pesticide residues among conventional produce. The second lists the fifteen items that contain the least.

First, keep in mind that just because it's on the Dirty list doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't ever eat it; although organic is always preferred (both for your own health and the health of the environment) eating conventional produce is better than eating none at all. And properly washing your produce will also go a long way in decreasing your exposure to harmful chemicals.

Also remember that just because it's on a Clean list doesn't necessarily make it the best option. You'll notice that many of the cleanest fruits are tropical, which means they might not be local to you at all (meaning a big eco-footprint to get it to you in the first place), or may still be genetically modified (GMO) and perhaps why it has such low pesticide residue (because the pesticides are actually in the genes of the plant now!).

So as always, use this as a guideline to help you make informed decisions, but not as your only resource.

See and share both graphics Dirty Dozen and Clean 5 graphics here.

Continue reading "Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of Fruits and Veggies"

43+ Uses and Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood Essential Oil for acne, overthinking, yoga, fine lines, cramps, and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Sandalwood essential oil is derived from the steam distillation of the wood from the sandalwood tree. It's woody, and earthy aroma is incredibly grounding.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of sandalwood oil include:

  • Antidepressant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antitumor
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Astringent
  • Calming
  • Sedative
  • Tonic

Therapeutically, it's most often used for healthy skin, the nervous system, and muscles and bones. But it's emotional wellness and aromatic influence is probably more widely known.

Sandalwood essential oils are widely known for the way being a spiritual, sacred oil, used around the world during practices of prayer and meditation. Perhaps this is because of the way the oil impact a busy mind, calming thoughts and anxiety or worry, allowing a person to relax into a peaceful state, let go of their own mind/ego, and slip into presence.

Sandalwood is also an oil high in sesquiterpenes, a naturally occurring chemical compound found in certain essential oils, known for having a positive impact on health and wellness, particular in regards to the brain. Sandalwood is one of the oils with the capability of passing the blood brain barrier, a necessary component to battling brain disease, according to the American Medical Association.

Read more about sandalwood essential oil here.

Continue reading "43+ Uses and Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil"

23+ Uses and Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black Pepper Essential Oil for quitting smoking, constipation, colds, flu, and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Black pepper essential oil is steam-distilled from the berries (peppercorn) of the Piperceae. Although black pepper itself is frequently used, the oil is not so widely known. However, it's an oil high in monoterpenes, a chemical constituent know to have a powerful impact on the body in many ways.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antitoxic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Expectorant
  • Laxative
  • Rubefacient
  • Stimulant (nervous, circulatory, and digestive)

Therapeutically, black pepper oil is mostly used as a supplement for digestive and nervous system support and wellness. For this reason many people will use the oil as a flavoring in their cooking, just as you might with crushed black pepper. However, the ratios will be MUCH different. You wouldn't use a full teaspoon of black pepper oil, but rather start off with a drop or less to find the right amounts for your recipes.

Aromatically, black pepper essential oil helps people to examine things with clarity and honesty. It allows a person to take off their own facade or mask, share their true thoughts and emotions, and unblock the flow of growth in this way. It might help a person who is dealing with repressed memories or emotions, allowing them to dig deep into their past or their present experiences. It can help you uncover hidden truths or face patterns or habits with courage. In fact, there are even studies done on the effectiveness of black pepper oil and smoking addictions (Rose et al, 1994).

Read more about black pepper essential oil here.

Continue reading "23+ Uses and Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil"

The Myths of Biodegradable Waste

The Myth of Biodegradable Waste #eco #recycle #compost #green, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Oh yes, "biodegradable waste" is a huge fallacy for most homes. And although it seems like everything is marked "biodegradable" anymore, even styrofoam derived from corn, we're far from being in the clear by opting for it over other options. Since because they CAN doesn't mean they will.

First, what does biodegradable mean? It simply means a product will break down over time with the help of microbes, oxygen, sunlight, and water, and return back to the natural resources from which it came. Anything nature-made will do this (given enough time), but man-made objects are usually put through a process that renders them incapable of breaking down, making them non-biodegradable and the stuff archeologist will be digging up and using to define us centuries from now. (That's gotta make you wonder what they'll think!)

It's tempting to think anything biodegradable is sustainable or green. It's usually not. When it comes to shampoos, soaps, or cleaners, it's certainly helpful to ensure you're not using chemicals that will hang out in the environment for centuries. But there are several myths and dangers to biodegradable products that are important to look at below.

Click here to understand more about "biodegradable waste".

Continue reading "The Myths of Biodegradable Waste"

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items in Your Home

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Are you ready for a long list of alternatives to plastic you commonly use and might think you can't live without?

Yes, it possible, affordable, and/or easier to go plastic-free around your home. It might be challenging to make the switch to 100% plastic-free, and it might take some time. But with the health and environmental dangers of plastic, it's worth it.

For the most part you're looking for things made from natural materials: glass, wood, cotton or other natural fabric, stainless steel, hemp, jute, rubber, and so on.

And there are very few things you can't swap out! Comb through the list in this article for the plastic you think you can't get rid of and find a better alternative (and be sure to reuse and recycle the plastic you end up with):

Click here to find 35+ alternatives to plastic.

Continue reading "35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items in Your Home"

7 Types of Plastics, Where You'll Find Them, and Which You Should Avoid)

Do you know which types of plastics are making us sick?, via SustainableBabySteps.com

It's important to know that not all plastics are the same. Of the 7 different types of plastics some or more dangerous than others and should be avoided. Of the others, it might be a good idea to limit or avoid those as well. Below we'll look at each type individually to see where you might find it and how you might replace it.

Important: Although some plastics are considered "relatively safe" they still contain chemicals that can leach into your food, or environment, especially as plastic begins to age. It's a much more sustainable route to choose long-lasting, renewable, and natural materials instead. Not only will you decrease the likelihood of off-gassing in your home, you'll also reduce resources and save money over the long-run by investing well upfront.

Click here to read more about which types of plastics you should avoid.

Continue reading "7 Types of Plastics, Where You'll Find Them, and Which You Should Avoid)"

25+ Uses for Dill Essential Oil

Dill Essential Oil for Cholesterol, Fungal Infections, ADD/ADHD, and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Dill essential oil is a rare oil created through steam distillation of the plant. A lot of people don't necessarily know how to use this oil but there are actually many uses.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of dill oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Expectorant
  • Stimulant

Research has shown other properties might also include: anticancer, antifungal, laxative, and more. Quite often dill is used for digestive support, specifically with constipation or gas. Because of this it makes a good flavoring agent to meals as it may assist in the digestive process. It's also sometimes found in digestive blends or used in conjunction with them.

Aromatically it has a calming affect on the mind and body. This may make it useful during times of stress, within tense relationships, or handling triggers. Because of its influence over the digestive system this may mean it's also useful for issues surrounding the sacral (second) and solar plexus (third) chakras, including feeling grounded, confident, and centered.

Read more about Dill essential oil here.

Continue reading "25+ Uses for Dill Essential Oil"

Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Helichrysum Essential Oil for Chronic Pain, Bruises, Sunburns, Natural Sunscreen, and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Helichrysum essential oil is made from the steam distillation of the flowers of the plant. It's not one of the more common essential oils, but after reading all this I'm sure you'll agree, it probably should be.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Expectorant
  • Mucolytic

Because of these properties, it's most commonly used to support the cardiovascular system, as well as muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints, as well as common skin issues (such as eczema, sunburns, etc).

Aromatically, it has a much different reputation. As with most oils it can be helpful with stress, particularly anger or emotional pain or despair. For these reasons, it might be helpful for a person who has experienced trauma, even (or especially?) if it was long ago. Old wounds, present turmoil, or even feelings of hopelessness can be supported with helichrysum oil. This oil can lend a person inner strength to address what might be buried and the courage to see the healing through to the end.

Read more about helichrysum essential oil here.

Continue reading "Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health"

Cement Recovery

New portable light weight forms allow for the recovery of cement on the jobsite while producing a value added landscaping product. As most are aware concrete

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Why Go Green: 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Your Lifestyle

Why Go Green? 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Our Conventional Lifestyles, by SustainableBabySteps.com

There are likely as many answers to the question "Why Go Green?" as there are people who live a sustainable lifestyle. It is a deeply personal, encompassing choice that is usually embraced wholeheartedly by the individual.

I've laid out the most frequently discussed reasons below. Many reasons will vary greatly from each other. Some people will disagree with some of these ideas while others draw from several of them when discussing their decision.

Despite disagreements, within every person living sustainably is a common thread: the strong conviction we feel for our lifestyle and the empowerment we experience through our actions. Whether it's a lifestyle given to us by our culture or our own research, we live this way because it fulfills us. And despite what some may feel about another person's answer to the question "Why Go Green", it is a source of inspiration to be able to bond through our animation and personal convictions.

This is a lot of really heavy information. You may want to grab a cup of something and take your time reading through it. Or you might want to just skim through it before delving into The Steps. Whatever you do, don't let it overwhelm you! It's here only as a learning resource, not to depress you.

Click here for 9 reasons to go green.

Continue reading "Why Go Green: 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Your Lifestyle"

Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home

Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home, via SustainableBabySteps.com

The sun is shining, the breeze is cool and you're ready to freshen your home with a few spring cleaning tips.

Spring cleaning shouldn't mean choking on cleaning fumes or burning your eyes and skin. But sadly, almost all spring cleaning supplies contain dangerous or questionable chemicals119, such as:

  • Ammonium chloride found in toilet bowl cleaners or deodorizers are permanently corrosive to the eyes.
  • Aliphatic petroleum solvent found in carpet cleaners is a neurotoxin, damaging the nervous system.
  • Crystalline sillica in many popular cleaners is a carcinogen, eye, skin and lung irritant.
  • Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether found in floor cleaners, waxes and polishes has been linked to narcosis and kidney failure.

Spring cleaning (and spring cleaning supplies) should rejuvenate us, not make us sick!

That's why all the following spring cleaning tips will help you accomplish your goal in a safe, non-toxic way. We'll start with the essential spring cleaning supplies.

Click here ot red more eco-friendly spring cleaning tips.

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home"

Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Helichrysum Essential Oil for Chronic Pain, Bruises, Sunburns, Natural Sunscreen, and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com
Photo Source

Helichrysum essential oil is made from the steam distillation of the flowers of the plant. It's not one of the more common essential oils, but after reading all this I'm sure you'll agree, it probably should be.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Expectorant
  • Mucolytic

Because of these properties, it's most commonly used to support the cardiovascular system, as well as muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints, as well as common skin issues (such as eczema, sunburns, etc).

Aromatically, it has a much different reputation. As with most oils it can be helpful with stress, particularly anger or emotional pain or despair. For these reasons, it might be helpful for a person who has experienced trauma, even (or especially?) if it was long ago. Old wounds, present turmoil, or even feelings of hopelessness can be supported with helichrysum oil. This oil can lend a person inner strength to address what might be buried and the courage to see the healing through to the end.

Read more about how to use helichrysum essential oil here.

Continue reading "Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health"

Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More

Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Using essential oils for depression, anxiety, stress, etc can be a very wonderful way of supporting the boy and mind through the myriad of emotions that may arise.

This is because of the aromatic influence essential oils have on the brain. The brain processes aromas in the same area that it processes emotions, memories, triggers, fears, etc (the limbic system, including the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, etc). Using an essential oil with uplifting properties while experiencing those emotions and triggers, or regularly before a trigger occurs, can help the brain to rewrite the process, thus helping you to slowly move through the experience with greater and greater results. (Learn more about the aromatic use of essential oils in this free workshop.)

Of course, there is a time and place for essential oils and a time and place for medical support, so if you're dealing with this issue please reach out to a holistic health care provider or naturopath so that they can help you determine the best route for you. Nothing trumps the relationship and trust you can build with a trusted medical advisor.

Something you'll recognize quickly about many essential oils for depression, stress, anxiety, etc is that they are commonly citrus oils. This is because citrus oils have an uplifting affect on the mind and body. But based on your own body chemistry, or any underlying health or emotional needs you have, you might find they aren't the best fit for you.

So while I'm talking here about citrus oils, and specifically a blend that is specially formulated for emotional support, there are also more recommendations for essential oils for depression, anxiety, etc. below.

Read more about essential oils for depression, stress, anxiety, etc.

Continue reading "Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More"

Eco-Facts and Tips on Inflating Tires

How to properly inflate tires to save gas, via SustainableBabySteps.com

You would think properly inflating tires on a vehicle would be an obvious maintenance routine. But according to one study done by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 33% of light trucks and 25% of cars have at least one underinflated tire. 3-8% had all four underinflated!

Why does this matter? Well, lots of reasons:

  • It decreases your fuel economy by 10%, by creating "drag" between the tire and the road
  • Reduces the life of your tires by about a year
  • Makes handling more challenging and leads to accidents
  • More likelihood of tire damage while driving
  • Creates more greenhouse emissions and pollutants in the air

Checking and properly inflating tires on your vehicle is good for your vehicle, your budget and the environment.

Click here for how (and how often) to properly inflate your tires.

Continue reading "Eco-Facts and Tips on Inflating Tires"

52+ Uses and Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil

52+ Benefits and Uses of Lemongrass Essential Oil #tendonitis #whiplash #cleaning #varicose, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Lemongrass essential oil is created by steam distilling the leaves/blades from this grass. Lemongrass is commonly used in cooking, but the oil actually has many more benefits from its high concentration.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Insect repellant
  • Revitalizer
  • Sedative
  • Tonic
  • Vasodilator

It's commonly used in cleaning, and therapeutically, for support of the immune system, and muscular and joint systems.

Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, it's said to be the oil of energetic cleansing. In this way it might be helpful in clearing energy from a home, or letting go of negative energy you might be holding onto, which may help those feeling stuck, heavy, or depressed.

Click here for 52+ uses for lemongrass essential oil.

Continue reading "52+ Uses and Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil"

Zero Waste Home: How to "Recycle" Waste That Can't be Recycled

Zero Waste Home: How to Recycle Waste That Can't be Recycled with Bottle Bricks, via SustainableBabySteps.com

A Zero Waste Home probably sounds impossible. You might already recycle properly and compost your compostables, but what about the other little things that come into your home? Plastic wrappers, miscellaneous styrofoam that sneaks in, the foil wrappers from snacks...you can't compost them or recycle them, so what can you do?

This is where "bottle bricks" come into play. It's a bigger step, for sure, but it is also a fun, creative, and conversational step. It can be a great way to create awareness in friends or family, or even create a community effort at schools, community centers, churches, etc.

Here are what others are doing with their bottle bricks...

How to recycle waste that can't be recycled, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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How to recycle waste that can't be recycled, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Click for more inspiration and to learn how to have a Zero Waste Home.

Continue reading "Zero Waste Home: How to "Recycle" Waste That Can't be Recycled"

The Dangers of and 3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers

3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Plastic food storage containers have become "the norm" in most kitchens. It's almost impossible to avoid them completely, and it's certainly a challenge to find plastic alternatives at most stores.

But plastics come with health concerns and challenges that are worth the effort to avoid. For instance, most plastics contain BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical found in the processing of plastics that had been found to leach into foods and have been linked to a disruption of hormones and many other health issues.

Even the plastics marked BPA-free may still be dangerous, containing BPS instead. Still a bisphenol, it has shown the same hormone-disrupting dangers of BPA. (BPA and BPS can also be found in things such as the lining in canned goods, not just plastics.)

Also as plastics begin to wear down and shown signs of aging (splintering, scratches, etc) the likelihood of contaminating your food goes up. Many plastics on the market these days are only meant to last a few months; others may last up to a year before showing signs of needing replacement. This is not only bad for your health, but for your budget, and the environment. And if your local recycling facility doesn't accept all types of plastics, you may find yourself with no alternative but to throw them in the trash.

Read about 3 safe alternatives to plastic food storage containers here.

Continue reading "The Dangers of and 3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers"

Patchouli Essential Oil Properties, Benefits, and Uses

Patchouli Essential Oil properties, benefits, and uses: acne, stretch marks, grounding, stress, anxiety, and more., via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Patchouli essential oil has been popular for decades...and if you want to be "officially crunchy" it's pretty much a prerequisite to have before you can be admitted into the club. ;) But other than covering up body odor (which it does very well), it's actually used for many other things as well.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of patchouli oil include:

  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antitoxic
  • Astringent
  • Decongestant
  • Deodorant
  • Diuretic
  • Insecticidal
  • Stimulant (Digestive)
  • Tonic

It's an oil high in sesquiterpenes, naturally occurring compounds within patchouli oil that have the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier and have shown to be effective against many diseases, making it ideal for supporting your body's natural healing abilities. (You can learn more about sesquiterpenes in this free workshop.) And it's heavy base note aroma makes it longer-lasting than many essential oils.

Read more about patchouli essential oil here.

Continue reading "Patchouli Essential Oil Properties, Benefits, and Uses"

Guest Article: Sustainable Timber for Eco-Friendly Building

Learn about sustainable timber for eco-friendly building, indoors and outdoors. via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Sustainable timber is big right now and so it should be, as we want the forests of the world to be there for future generations to enjoy. Go back a few years and if you wanted to make sure the timber in your doors, gates or whatever was sustainable, you'd be hard-pressed to find any useful information on the subject.

The basics behind sustainably harvesting trees is pretty simple: every time a tree is cut down and harvested for its timber, a new tree is planted; but obviously on a major scale. The way this is achieved is through whole areas of forests being felled in rotation; as one area is cleared, it is re-planted and then several years later, a new area is felled within the same forest.

Click here to read more about sustainable timber.

Continue reading "Guest Article: Sustainable Timber for Eco-Friendly Building"

Are you interested in submitting a guest article to SBS?

The growth of this site is in thanks to all of you lovely readers, and the hard work we invest in growing the content of the site.

However, a truly sustainable community includes voices from more than just one person!

That's why I'd love to invite you to contribute an article of your own and share you knowledge and experience with over 2,000,000 readers a year!

We are highly interested in articles about:

  • Sustainable recipes
  • Earth Day crafts and activities
  • Home remedies
  • Homemade beauty and personal care products
  • Organic gardening tips and tricks

Have an idea of something you'd like to contribute to the community?

Click here to read our guest submission guidelines and contact us with your ideas!

Continue reading "Are you interested in submitting a guest article to SBS?"

26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives

26 Home Heating and Energy Efficient Alternatives and Tips

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, home heating accounts for approximately 40% of our entire energy consumption. And over 95% is done with non-renewable fossil fuels; such as oil, natural gas or electricity from coal plants.

With environmental impacts increasing and energy costs on the rise, home heating alternatives are at the forefront of our minds. Not only can these energy-efficient ideas lessen our impact on the environment, they will save money too.

Much of our effort to warm our home is lost through improper or inadequate insulation and drafts. To start the list are the many ways to insulate your home and keep accumulated heat from escaping. Following those imperative measures are ideas to keep your home warm, use less energy in keeping warm and acclimate to the seasons.

Click here to read more about energy-efficient home heating strategies.

P.S. South of the equator? Click here for home cooling strategies!

Continue reading "26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives"

Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, and Pain

Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, Stress, and Pain, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Using essential oils for headaches or migraines can be a very effective way is managing the symptoms and sometimes even the underlying source of the pain. Essential oils are known to have many soothing, pain-reliever properties found in a variety of plants.

However, it's important to note that every person is different, the source of your headache will vary, and what will work for one person, might not work for you (or might now work every time). Essential oils are very subjective, meaning trial and error (with high quality oils) is necessary to find the right solution for you.

Click here to read more about essential oils for headaches...

Continue reading "Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, and Pain"

20+ Benefits and Uses of Cedarwood Essential Oil

20+ Uses for Cedarwood Essential Oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Remember the smell of grandmother's cedar chest? Cedarwood essential oil is a lot like that: warm, grounding, comfortable. And although it's also good for repelling moths, it has many other uses and benefits as well.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of cedarwood oil include:

  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Antiseptic (urinary and pulmonary)
  • Astringent
  • Diuretic
  • Insect Repellant
  • and Sedative

Emotionally, it has a very grounding, calming effect...

Read more about Cedarwood essential oil.

Continue reading "20+ Benefits and Uses of Cedarwood Essential Oil"

7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization

Part 6 of a series by Andrew Odom

7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization
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There is a little known secret to tiny house design or small space living that is well hidden and kept within the cloisters of some stale fortune cookie in New York's Chinatown so that we tiny folk don't appear to be as disorganized and messy as we sometimes are. It is figuratively (and sometimes quite literally) our dirty little secret.

Small spaces get messier and more disorganized much faster and much more chaotic than a larger space.

In fact, the rate of messiness is probably proportional to the actual square footage of the space. I sometimes wonder if a lesser-known mathematician didn't come up with a formula that reads J2 + C3 ÷ Xft2 = messiness where J=junk and C=chaos. The reasoning however is pretty simple. There is less space in a tiny house to actually commit to solid organizing. Right? WRONG! What there is more challenge to overcome. But it can be done and the following tips explore those victories.

Click here to read Andrew's tiny house design tips...

Continue reading "7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization"

Plarn Octopus and Coral Reef

I have been crocheting for many years, and have been crocheting with “plarn” for about two years. I normally make tote bags that can be used for grocery

Continue reading "Plarn Octopus and Coral Reef"

10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013

10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Every year the holidays come and every year we scratch our heads wondering what gifts we can buy that are not only well-loved and well-used but don't add waste to an already overburdened season.

Whether it's someone new to sustainability, or someone who was crunchy before crunchy was cool, we've put together a list of eco-friendly products that are creative, fun, useful, and appreciated.

(As an added bonus, anything you purchase from these links - the item shown or otherwise - supports the growth of this website and enables us to continue to share this message of sustainability with millions fo readers each year. Thank you!)

Check out the top 10 eco-friendly gift ideas for 2013.

Continue reading "10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013"

Announcing: Autumn Meal Plan and a BOGO Sale!

Meal planning is my diving grace. Without it I'd be a mad woman, trying to scrounge together enough ideas, figure out the list, and make it out the door before we starve. But thankfully I learned from a summer of doing just that and got on creating an Autumn Meal Plan this season.

(Yes, I had hoped to share this with you a lot sooner than December, but better late than never right?)

Introducing: Sustainable Autumn Meal Planning

Our newest menu plan is similar to the last in many ways:

  • 7 days of easy recipes (not to be confused with "boring")
  • Only 2 recipes a day (because who has time for 3?)
  • A bonus: 21 simple snack or meal ideas for in between
  • Simple, sustainable, mostly local ingredients
  • Totally grain- and dairy-free (but customizable to your needs)
  • A grab-and-go grocery list to make your week easier

What's different?

This menu is filled with seasonal recipes and ingredients, perfect for fall!

And To Make Up For Its Late Arrival....

If you purchase the Sustainable Autumn Meal Plan by December 9th (ahem, my birthday) you're gonna get the Winter Meal Plan for nothing!

My belated Thanksgiving gratitude to you. :)

You don't need to do anything special....just click here to grab the Autumn Meal Plan and it will already include Winter's menu too. (Don't add both to your cart or you'll pay too much!)

Again, this is only until December 9th!

Click here to learn more and get your two meal plans for the price of one!

With so much yummy gratitude,
Tara and Justin Wagner

P.S. Extra gratitude to all of you readers and affiliates who have helped our site grow so much....over 1.2 million readers in the last year thanks to your support! xoxo

Continue reading "Announcing: Autumn Meal Plan and a BOGO Sale!"

Your Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods

A Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods (for most of Northern America)

Eating seasonal foods is almost impossible these days. Everything is available year-round in the grocery stores, since it's now being shipped around the world. This isn't always bad, especially when you use food for healing and need specific options. But the amount to which it's done along with the amount that generally gets wasted is appalling.

Having a fruit list and lists of vegetables like this can help you when choosing seasonal recipes.

Find out what's in season for autumn right here...

Continue reading "Your Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods"

12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving

12 steps to crate a greener Thanksgiving, via SustainableBabySteps.com

A Green Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by far. With exceptions only in edibles (and Black Friday sneaking in early), it's a holiday virtually void of commercialism and consumerism. It's a day based on generosity, thankfulness, connection and loving what is. There is nothing more superb than sitting around a table with those you love, taking turns describing what you're thankful for and sharing the good in our lives.

Even though it's a rather simple holiday, there are still some things you can do to make it greener. Check out the article below for some sustainable tips and ideas...

Read last minute tips to green your Thanksgiving here...

Continue reading "12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving"

24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)

24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm), via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Melissa essential oil (or its common name, lemon balm) is actually from the mint family and steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant. It's one of the pricier oils and has a gentle citrus aroma and some amazing properties.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of this melissa oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antidepressant
  • Antihistamine
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Hypertensive
  • Nervine
  • Sedative
  • Tonic
  • Uterine

Although it's most widely known for its antiviral properties (especially for things like cold sores), melissa is also said to support a person through spiritual awakening. Like most citrus oils, it's uplifting to the mind and energy, but it's especially uplifting to the soul...

Read more about melissa essential oil here...

Continue reading "24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)"

Eco-Friendly Gifts: Your Green Gift Giving Guide

Green your gift giving #eco, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Choosing eco-friendly gifts is not only possible, it's affordable. You don't have to buy trendy (i.e. expensive) gifts to stay sustainable. These green gift giving ideas will help guide you through your shopping whether you're shopping for a Christmas, wedding or birthday present.

But remember: While being gentle on the Earth is crucial, it's equally important to give a gift your recipient will love and use. Giving from a place of generosity and care will accomplish both.

Learn 9 tips to green your Black Friday shopping here....

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Gifts: Your Green Gift Giving Guide"

33+ Uses for Birch Essential Oil

30+ Uses for Birch essential oil, via sustainablebabysteps.com
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Birch essential oil is a rare and hard to produce oil created from the steam distillation of the wood. Because of the challenge to sustainably, safely, and frequently harvest, it's difficult to find a quality supplier of this oil. doTERRA offers birch only seasonal and in very limited quantities. Usually to get your hands on it, you or someone you know must buy it from their annual convention.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of this oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Disinfectant
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant
  • Warming

The aroma of birch is interesting as well. It doesn't have the same "woody" aroma as other tree oils. Instead it smells minty, like wintergreen. Likewise it's properties and uses are very similar to wintergreen, as well, supporting the muscular and joint systems of the body. This is because both contain a natural form of methyl salicylate, which has cortisone-like properties and can act like "Nature's aspirin".

Read more about birch essential oil here....

Continue reading "33+ Uses for Birch Essential Oil"

Eco-Friendly Shaving Supplies and Sustainable Alternatives

Learn about the right shaving supplies and tips to make it your routine eco-friendly and free of dangerous toxins. via SustainableBabySteps.com

Shaving is one of those small but impactful habits we can all easily address. From shaving supplies to greener alternatives, we can decrease our waste, as well as our toxic load, all while saving money.

According to the EPA, Americans alone throw out an estimated TWO BILLION disposable razors each year. Although the actual weight will obviously vary from brand to brand, that's still around one billion pounds of waste - a lot more than you think from the small piece of plastic in your hand. But when you remember that little thing called "planned obsolescence" - the purposeful creation of stuff that is meant to not last in order to increase consumption and revenue - and how quickly these little razors dull or rust, plus the estimation that 90% of male adults alone shave at least once a day, you can tell how quickly it adds up. One razor a week, from age 14 on...it's a lot of waste. And that doesn't even include the shaving cream, after shave, water usage, and so on.

The toxicity of most shaving supplies is another concern to consider. According to the Environmental Working Group, not a single shaving cream on their list could claim there were no health or ecological concerns. Even of the "cleaner" brands, issues still arose from the use of ingredients such as sodium borate (organic toxicity, including reproductive organs), tocopherols (potentially carcinogenic) or fragrances (linked to everything from immunity and allergies to organi toxicity and ecotoxicology)...even propane shows up on the lists!

But everything we're describing below is not only safe, but effective, safe for the environment and your health, but actually more affordable - freeing up more of your budget for the things worth investing in (family, fun, organic food, etc).

Read more about eco-friendly shaving supplies here....

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Shaving Supplies and Sustainable Alternatives"

5 Tips to Make Organic MEAT Affordable

This is a guest article we recently wrote for the popular website, $5 Dinners.

Probably the most common complaint I hear when it comes to eating healthier, supporting sustainable agriculture, and avoiding genetically modified or corporate owned foods is the cost of organic food, particularly the cost of meat.

It can easily run 2-3 times more than factory-farmed, corn-fed, and chemical-loaded beef or chicken, making it impossible for most households to swing. This is compounded even further depending on where you live. If there are no local sources of good meat, and no stores that offer “better” meat for a better price, you might be looking at ordering grass-fed beef or pastured chicken online. The shipping alone is going to kill your budget.

To help you mitigate this, here are my 5 tips for making organic meat more affordable…

Find this guest post and other posts we've shared around the web right here.

Continue reading "5 Tips to Make Organic MEAT Affordable"

Eco-Friendly Products for Home, Garden, Family, and More

iZen Bamboo Keyboard

Getting ready to do some holiday shopping? We'd love for you to check out our product recommendation! We get a lot of questions about which eco-friendly products to choose, so we decide to create this little Amazon store full of our favorite choices for the home, garden, family, self-care, and more.

Not only do you get some great eco-friendly gift ideas, but you'll also support the growth and continuation of this website and our ability to continue reaching 100,000's of new readers each month!

Check out our recommendations for eco-friendly products!

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Products for Home, Garden, Family, and More"

50+ Uses and Benefits of Cypress Essential Oil

Learn about the 50+ benefits of cypress essential oil for things such as arthritis, varicose veins, menstrual cramps, concussions, and more. via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Cypress oil is derived from the steam distillation of the branches of the cypress tree. It's fresh, slightly woody scent is grounding, and it is said to have been used for centuries urinary, liver, cardiovascular, and muscular and joiny health.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-infectious
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispectic
  • Astringent
  • Decongestant (Lymphatic and Prostate)
  • Deodorant
  • Diuretic
  • Mucolytic
  • Refreshing
  • Relaxing
  • Vasoconstricting

Aromatically, it's often said to have a grounding or balance effect. It's also used to create an emotional cleansing, moving a stuck or slow-moving healing process forward. It's strong ability to help a person release emotions and trauma can even be described as a purging, and can be intense, especially if you're not prepared for the work it'll ask of it.

Read more about the physical and nonphysical uses of Cypress oil here...

Continue reading "50+ Uses and Benefits of Cypress Essential Oil"

26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives

26 Home Heating and Energy Efficient Alternatives and Tips

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, home heating accounts for approximately 40% of our entire energy consumption. And over 95% is done with non-renewable fossil fuels; such as oil, natural gas or electricity from coal plants.

With environmental impacts increasing and energy costs on the rise, home heating alternatives are at the forefront of our minds. Not only can these energy-efficient ideas lessen our impact on the environment, they will save money too.

Much of our effort to warm our home is lost through improper or inadequate insulation and drafts. To start the list are the many ways to insulate your home and keep accumulated heat from escaping. Following those imperative measures are ideas to keep your home warm, use less energy in keeping warm and acclimate to the seasons.

Read more about home heating alternatives here...

Continue reading "26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives"

12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving

12 steps to crate a greener Thanksgiving, via SustainableBabySteps.com

A Green Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by far. With exceptions only in edibles, it's a holiday virtually void of commercialism and consumerism. It's a day based on generosity, thankfulness, connection and loving what is. There is nothing more superb than sitting around a table with those you love, taking turns describing what you're thankful for and sharing the good in our lives.

Because of the simplicity of Thanksgiving, it's probably one of the easiest holidays to "green" up. Here are a few tips to keep your conscious clean with a Green Thanksgiving, and keep you focused on the joy of the day....

Read more about creating a green Thanksgiving here...

Continue reading "12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving"

How to play, travel, and shop "green"

In our little family of three we're pretty big on laughter and fun. What's the point if you don't love what you do?

We bring this question into our work, the way we parent, and the way we spend our free time. Fun, laughter, and enjoyment is a guiding principle.

We travel, do work we enjoy, and we avidly explore things we love.

If we love something we make it happen as sustainably as we can.

Unfortunately I've met families in the sustainable community who didn't see it quite the same way. Many fun and enjoyable things were squashed or denied because it "wasn't sustainable"...but what can be more sustainable than enjoying one another and the things we're passionate about?

We have several guest posts on how to create an abundant AND sustainable life over on Urban Nature Man. I hope you'll check them, think about what it is you're sustaining, and let them know what you think:

Tiny House Plans: How to Build Your Tiny Home

Part 5 of a series by Andrew Odom

Tiny House Plans: How to Build Your Tiny Home, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Let it be known that creating or choosing tiny house plans is absolutely not for the weak of heart. It is not for pregnant women, men with heart trouble, people under 5 foot tall, or people who are taking anti-depressants or other mood enhancement drugs. Okay, so that is a bit of a stretch. But I think you get the point.

One of the greatest challenges in life regarding a home is deciding to build one yourself. It doesn't even matter what size; big or small. The project starts out innocently enough. Maybe a sketch on a napkin or a desire to be more independent. But before long it has blossomed in to a J-O-B complete with frustrations, late afternoon trips to hardware stores, lots of YouTube videos, swollen knees and knuckles, and the occasional curse word.

But rest assured that no matter how tough it may be it can also be the most gratifying experience in life, akin to giving birth or cultivating a food plot from nothing but dirt.

Read more about creating your own tiny hosue plans here.

Continue reading "Tiny House Plans: How to Build Your Tiny Home"

31+ Uses and Benefits of Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Juniper Berry Essential Oil: Home remedy for acne, bladder infections, nightmares, and more, via Sustainable Baby Steps

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Juniper berry essential oil is a steam-distilled oil from the berries of the juniper plant. The best oils are sourced from Bulgaria, their indigenous region, and take 3 years to ripen to maturity.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of this oil include:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Cleaner
  • Detoxifier
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant
  • Tonic

It's mostly frequently used for the urinary system, skin, digestive system, nervous system, and for emotional wellness related to fear and resistance.

Read more about juniper berry essential oil here.

Continue reading "31+ Uses and Benefits of Juniper Berry Essential Oil"

Greening Your Garage Building Plans or Garage Remodel

Greening Your Garage Building Plans or Garage Remodel, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Whether you're looking for or creating your own garage building plans (or just retrofitting/remodeling your current garage), it's important to take into account the environmental impact of your actions, in the same way we work to decrease the footprint of the vehicle we're putting in it.

The main reason people install garages is to either add value to their property or to provide much-needed storage space. Of course, you need to apply and secure planning permission before building a garage, but once you get the green light and install one, you can expect a larger number of buyers should you sell up, and also expect a greater price, usually recapturing around 67% of the garage's initial cost.

How much better would that value be if you could also promote the efficiency and sustainability of the garage?

Read more about greening your garage building plans or garage remodel...

Continue reading "Greening Your Garage Building Plans or Garage Remodel"

How to Prepare for the Tiny House Transition

Part 4 of a series by Andrew Odom

You know you want a tiny house, but how do you make the tiny house transition? Read these tips from a tiny house dweller!

How to Prepare for the Tiny House Transition

I remember well those early days of talking "tiny." They were spent mostly looking at photos of gorgeous, petite, homes on wheels that were crafted by skilled artisans and dispatched to a mobile life of ease. My wife and I would sit for hours in front of the computer talking about how liberating it must be to live in such a small space and to have such few possessions. We dreamed about living debt free and being able to come and go almost at our whim. But as the British novelist Jasper Ford once said, "My mind wanders terribly. I'm not wholly annoyed by my daydreaming as it has been immense use to me as regards imaginative thought, but it doesn't help when it comes to concentration. And writing needs concentration - lots of it." To that point we were daydreaming. Our minds were wandering but we lacked much needed concentration.

The library produced no books for us on making a tiny house transition. Google had very few results and many of those were misnomers, at best. We realized by the second month of our decision that we were on our own. We were going to have to figure out how we were going to transition to a smaller, more deliberate life, than just building a tiny house. But we did find resources to help us make the transition....

Read more about making a tiny house transition here...

Continue reading "How to Prepare for the Tiny House Transition"

38 Benefits and Uses for Clary Sage Oil

38 Benefits and Uses for Clary Sage Oil #pms #menopause #cramps #natural #holistic #alternative, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Clary sage oil is an essential oil derived from a steam distillation of the flowering plant. It's described as having a floral smell by some, but more herby by others, and is most often used to support the hormonal system (usually in women).

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of clary sage essential oil include:

  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Nerve Tonic
  • Sedative
  • Soothing
  • Tonic
  • Warming

Clay sage makes a huge impact on women's cycles, often talked about being great for cramps, heavy periods, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and so on.

But it's also loved for many non-physical uses. It's an oil all about clarity, giving you the ability to see clearly what is muddled, or to look ahead with vision and clarity in the possibilities.

Read more about Clary Sage oil here.

Continue reading "38 Benefits and Uses for Clary Sage Oil"

39 Emotional and Physical Uses for Bergamot Oil

39 Emotional and Physical Uses for Bergamot Essential Oil #confidence #selfworth #acne #health, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Bergamot oil is one of my very favorite essential oils. This citrus oil is a rarer oil, extracted from the rind or peel of the fruit. The aroma is citrusy but sweet, and has a depth to it that I really love.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of bergamot essential oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Digestive
  • Neuroprotective
  • Sedative
  • Uplifting

Although bergamot is often used for physical issues, particularly with the digestive system and the skin, it's the emotional wellness that bergmot offers that I believe to be its greatest gift.

Bergmot oil is all about one's sense of self: self-love, self-worth, self-acceptance, self-judgment, self-hatred. This oil helps us do the work necessary to step out of our fears of not being good enough, or our habits of holding back for fear of rejection of Who We Are, and helps us to learn to love and accept ourselves. It teaches us to find validation within, accept our own authenticity, and not spend so much time worrying about what others will think about it.

Read more about bergamot essential oil here.

Continue reading "39 Emotional and Physical Uses for Bergamot Oil"

50+ Uses for Rosemary Essential Oil

50+ uses for Rosemary Essential Oil from healthy hair to respiratory illness and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Rosemary essential oil is a steam-distilled oil taken from the flowering plant. It's said to affect the immune system, respiratory system, and nervous system, as well as other benefits and uses (many of which are listed below).

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of rosemary oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Expectorant

In addition to its many physical properties, rosemary is also said to have an affect on the memory, opening the conscious mind, and assisting in learning.

Read more about rosemary essential oil here.

Continue reading "50+ Uses for Rosemary Essential Oil"

Safe, Natural, and Homemade Sunscreen

by guest writer, Nina Nelson

Learn about natural sunscreen alterantives, including homemade sunscreen, safe brands and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Looking for a safer, natural, or even homemade sunscreen? Until last month, most of my children didn't even know what sunscreen was. I purchased it for a swimming outing, knowing that they would be spending a great deal of time in the sun and I didn't want them to get burned.

Why don't I use sunscreen? Aside from the fact that commercial sunscreens use many unsafe chemicals that I don't want to rub all over my children's skin - their largest organ - I also want them exposed to the sun so they can produce Vitamin D. (Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to low immunity, heart disease, MS, multiple forms of cancer, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, and more.)

What about skin cancer, you ask? Too much sun exposure can cause skin damage and cancer. But according to the EWG, skin cancer rates are on the rise, though, despite the widespread use of sunscreen. One study suggests that the Vitamin A used in many sunscreens, because of its anti-oxidant and anti-aging effects, may actually be causing cancer. The report states that Vitamin A has photo-carcinogenic properties, which means that it can cause cancerous tumors when it's applied to skin that's exposed to sunlight. And adequate Vitamin D is actually known to help prevent many types of cancer, including skin cancer.

Read more about safe, natural, and homemade sunscreen here.

Continue reading "Safe, Natural, and Homemade Sunscreen"



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