Posts Tagged ‘simplify’

Back To Basics: Why Cast Iron Is the Best Cookware Choice

Non-stick coated pans have always been in my kitchen, for as long as I can remember.  Have you ever tried to cook on anything else?  For many years, I had never even seen a non-non-stick pan….and the first time I experienced attempting to fry an egg on one ( I think it was stainless steel), I vowed never to do it again, if I could help it.

And then I learned about health.  And toxins.  And how toxins affect  your health (I mean in a negative way, of course).  And I looked at my non-stick pans and pretended I didn’t know that my food may be poisoning me just for the fact that I’d cooked it on Teflon (actually called Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE.)

Now, according to Wikipedia, Teflon does not begin to break down and release these toxic chemicals until it reaches 500F.  However, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) states, “In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Exposure to PTFE can create problems like low birth-weight babies, thyroid and liver issues, elevated cholesterol levels, as well as weakened immune systems.

Now, I’m not saying that using Teflon coated pans is the thing that’s most harmful in your life and that you should concentrate on changing your cookware ahead of  making other changes, such as avoiding aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, or MSG.  It isn’t.

However,  I’m all into getting back to basics lately.  I’m reading through the Little House On The Prairie books with my kids, and I just love the idea of going back to the way things used to be (not that I’m about to give up my Kindle or decide that I no longer want an iPhone or an iPad).  I want old fashioned skills, and as part of my living simply and owning intentionally, I want to have quality items that will not only last, but can be used in a variety of ways.  And if the thing can be used in a survival/off the grid scenario, all the better.

My new cast iron skillet definitely meets those criteria.

And did you know that cast iron IS non-stick if it’s seasoned properly?  Another bonus is that bits of iron make their way into your food and into your body, helping to protect you against anemia, which for most people is a good thing.

I was a little intimidated by the whole “needing to season the pan” thing, and then I saw this brand of cast iron that comes already seasoned, ready to use.  I’d been thinking about it more and more, especially when I tried to make my whole wheat pancakes on the skillet that’s in the new place where we’re staying, and had a really tough time due to the fact that the pan was completely warped and the batter kept running all over the place.  So when I walked into Target and saw it for sale for under $20, it was a no-brainer.

I wonder what Ma Ingalls’ favorite thing to cook on hers was.

For more info, here’s an article from Natural News called “Ten reasons to try cast iron cooking.”

No Shampoo For Me

Have you visited the hair-care aisle in your supermarket or pharmacy lately? You may have just gotten used to it, but next time you are there, take a good LOOK.  It’s tremendous!  Cosmetic and drug companies have spend a lot of money (and they’ve done a good job) to convince us that we need these things to make our hair look good.  I know that throughout my life, I’ve tried one conditioner after another, and especially went through an assortment of  “styling products”: mousse, gel, spray, spritz, and glaze.  And these things are not only expensive (as you probably know), but are also full of toxic chemicals which are not only hard on your hair, but also affect the rest of your body.

I have good news for you.  You don’t need them.

There’s a whole movement out there in the healthy/natural lifestyle world.  I only heard of it about a year ago and was intrigued.  It’s called “no poo” (no-shampoo), and it means that you stop using shampoo to wash your hair.

Why would you do this? To recap above:

  1. Shampoo is expensive.
  2. Shampoo is filled with harsh chemicals which are toxic to your body as they both enter your scalp and you breathe in their fumes.
  3. Your body creates natural oils for your hair which are good for it (and meant to be there).  Shampooing often disturbs this occurrence and actually causes your body to make MORE oil (since you took away the oil that was there by shampooing).
  4. Read # 3 again: Shampooing makes your hair MORE oily, not less.

I haven’t shampooed my hair for about 3 months now, and I can officially say that this method works, and works well.   My hair is not oily or stinky, and in fact looks as healthy as ever.  All I need to have to take excellent care of my hair is baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Basically, you wash your hair with 1 tbsp of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of water, massaging the roots well.  After rinsing,  you condition your hair with 1 tbsp of ACV (apple cider vinegar) mixed with 1 cup of water (an important step for maintaining the proper pH), rinse, and you’re done.

The hardest part for me was to refrain from adding some type of gel to my wet hair, but I am getting used to it.  If I really want to add something to help it hold its position and keep from frizzing, I add a little bit of aloe vera gel, which works just fine.

It is common to have an adjustment period of oilier hair, since your body is used to making extra oil to replace what you’ve been stripping away.  Once your body realizes that you’re not doing that any more, it will reduce the amount it makes.  I didn’t have much of a problem with this, and I think that’s because I was already only shampooing about twice a week (but that’s only my theory).

There are plenty of instructions out there, with variations.  Do a google search on “no poo”, and you’ll get plenty.  Here’s a simple one: How To Go No Poo .  If you are considering trying this (which I encourage you to do), you should definitely spend a few minutes researching. If you’d like more detailed information, you can download The No Shampoo Method e-book for a few dollars.

And if you’re looking for a community of no-pooers, “like” the No Shampoo Method on Facebook.

I have a desire for a simple, non-toxic lifestyle in which I spend as little money as necessary and don’t need to worry about running out of, buying, or needing to store lots of STUFF.   So since I can  also use baking soda for brushing my teeth and cleaning, and apple cider vinegar as a wonder-tool as well, this definitely fits my criteria for intentional owning.

Now it’s time to get the rest of the family with the program…

What Do You NEED?

Have you seen these tiny houses?

I have 5 children, 2 dogs, and a cat.  I grew up as an only child (own bedroom) with plenty of space to call my own.  Sure, I shared bedrooms in college, but for the most part I’ve had tons of space, always.

I’ve lived with boxes that I never unpacked from the last move, and then moved again.  Boxes of things that hadn’t been opened for years.

I’ve held on to shoes I never wear since they’re uncomfortable, because, well, I already have them, so…why not?

Why not is because the clutter taketh us over…..it’s time to simplify.

No more owning things we don’t use or don’t want.  No more shoving things just anywhere because they don’t have a place they belong.  You’ve heard of “living intentionally?”  Well, I want to own intentionally.

I want to be a family that will have no problem living in a small house (like this family) or, better yet, be mobile.  I’d love to be able to easily transport all of our belongings easily, and for us to be comfortable sleeping on our sleeping bags wherever we go, whether we’re indoors or in tents.

I recently stopped using shampoo (more on this in another post).  I’m the guinea pig, but I hope to get the rest of the family on the program once I get the hang of it.  Besides being better for our health (and our finances), think of the simplicity of being able to use only household products (like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and eggs) for our hair and not needing to buy or store (or move, if we’re traveling) shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel.  Less stuff, simpler life.

I’m planning to get a Kindle soon and then we can have books we like to refer to and re-read every so often on one little device, and not need to store (or carry, if we’re mobile) so many books! We LOVE books. But do we really need to OWN so many of them?

Less stuff, simpler life.

I know we’re too many people to fit into one of these. But looking at these pictures is inspiring to me.  To me, this says: SIMPLICITY.

What changes have you made, or would you like to make, to simplify your life?

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