crunchysquared

Where healthy meets thrifty, with just a splash of crazy


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Fridge Fudge (and a sugary story…)

IMG_8641Your afternoon pick-me-up treat could be killing you slowly. Ok, so that sounds a bit dramatic, but let me explain.

The average candy bar has 20+ grams of sugar – or 5 teaspoons. Sugar, as in, refined, white sugar. The stuff you buy at the grocery store in an unassuming paper sack.

Pretty harmless seeming stuff, huh? I mean, it isn’t the best for your health, but a little treat each day couldn’t hurt, right? Unfortunately, that’s pretty far from the truth.

Heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, cancer, organ disease, hormone imbalances and irritable bowl syndrome are just a few diseases caused by sugar consumption. Sugar also lowers immunities, making you more susceptible to getting sick.

First of all, let me explain that there are two types of sugar we are dealing with. Refined and natural.

Refined sugar comes from sugar beets or sugar cane that has been highly processed. It is heated, bleached, and processed until it hardly resembles the plant it came from – both in nutrition and appearance. It has none of the enzymes, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to digest it or use it as nourishment. It is considered ‘empty calories’. Calories without any nutritional value. Not to mention the chemicals used in processing it are toxic to your body.

Natural sugar is found in fruits, honey, and even raw sugar (beware your sourcing and do your research to be sure that it is indeed ‘raw’). The key to knowing the difference is that natural sugars are closer to, or even in, their natural state. An apple has natural sugar in it, but it is still an apple. Honey is mostly made up of natural sugars, but when eaten raw, is how it is found in nature. On the other hand, refined white sugar has been processed beyond recognition and isn’t even similar to the beets or cane it comes from.

So clearly the best bet is to seriously cut back on-or eliminate altogether-sugar from your diet. Easier said than done! Anyone’s who’s ever tried cutting sugar out knows it is ridiculously difficult and often ends with a guilt laden, sugar coma inducing, ice cream binge. This is because sugar has a drug-like effect on the body and can cause withdrawals for a period of time. When people joke about having a sugar addiction, they really are closer to the truth than they realize. Sugar cravings are real and they are strong.

The good news is that these physical cravings usually pass within 3 to 4 weeks of cutting out sugar. The bad news is that you have to survive until then. I could give you lots of great ideas about coping emotionally, such as removing all sugary temptations from your home and distracting yourself from the cravings.

But on a purely practical (and yummy) note, I’d like to offer some tasty help. A healthy substitute for your cravings! Obviously, this substitute still needs to be consumed in moderation… but it is completely healthy and totally delicious. This is a staple in our houses and we rarely let our fridge be barren of it! It’s great for a quick treat or snack!

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Here we go!

FRIDGE FUDGE:

(Makes an 8×8 pan)

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil (I use extra virgin or centrifuge from Wilderness Family Natural, but expeller pressed works as well)
1 cup or less (to taste) raw honey
1 cup cacao powder (from Wilderness Family Natural. Could use cocoa powder, but not as healthy)
1 cup nut butter (I make my own. Here is the recipe)
1 tsp real sea salt
1 cup coconut flakes (optional)
1 scoop grass fed gelatin (optional. This would need to be added to warmed or fresh-made nut butter first) This is the best brand we’ve found.

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, or use a stick blender and mix
Immediately pour in the pan and put in the freezer until set.
We then cut them and store lidded in the fridge. They keep for a couple weeks at least (if you can keep from eating them all before then!).

SOURCES:

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/refined-sugar-alert-dangers-you-need-to-know-1.1956258

http://www.livestrong.com/article/436871-sugar-in-candy-bars/

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-symptoms-of-sugar-withdrawal.htm

https://www.verywell.com/ibs-and-sugar-intolerance-1944973

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/family-nutrition/foods-to-boost-immunity/4-habits-weaken-immune-system

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.

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Grate-Free DIY Laundry Soap Recipe

You know that ‘fresh laundry’ smell? The one that’s so familiar? The one that so faithfully greets you as you scoop a warm fluffy load from the dryer?

Do you know where that smell comes from?

From any combination of about 25 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in your laundry detergent, 7 of which are classified as hazardous air pollutants. Unfortunately, even ‘fragrance-free’ detergent options, marketed as hypoallergenic, contain petrochemicals and synthetic chemicals. These chemicals are cancer-causing, make your body toxic, and often trigger allergic reactions.

Worst of all, laundry detergents (as well as fabric softeners – but those are a whole different story…) leave residue in your clothing. This means that all of those toxic chemicals sit next to your skin all day for you to breathe and absorb. Yuck! Chances are, you could be experiencing a symptom of this toxicity and have no idea that your laundry detergent is to blame!

So, after we discovered this, we tried purchasing ‘natural’, ‘green’ detergents, thinking we were detoxifying this aspect of our homes. But, after some time, we discovered that these still had funky stuff in them.

It’s scary what you can discover when you read the labels of some ‘healthy’ products.

*sigh*

Not to mention, laundry detergent can become costly, especially the ‘natural’ kind.

At this point, we knew we had just been prolonging the inevitable: making our own. Of course! With each passing year, we head closer and closer to crazy (though really, if we got much closer, we’d be smashed up against it…). There was not much left in our households that we didn’t make, so why not add laundry detergent?

But alas, many recipes called for less-than-natural ingredients, and most demanded the messy, laborious, sticky, sanity-sucking task of grating a bar of yellow soap. And heaven knows we didn’t need any more of that… the sanity sucking, that is…

THEN, we stumbled across a soap-grating-free recipe, and, as always, tweaked it a tad to make it our own!

It is super easy, super cheap, and works fabulously!

Ready to try it for yourself? Here ya go! This is definitely our most requested recipe.

soap in bucket

SUPPLIES:

5 gallon bucket (you can find them cheap at the hardware store, use empty grain buckets, or grab one on Amazon here)
1 1/2 cups Super Washing Soda (you can order it online here or find it at Wal-mart)
3 cups Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Liquid Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronners – which you can find online. I think other Castile soaps are available in stores.)
1/2 cup Thieves Household Cleaner (This is a Young Living essential oils product. I haven’t tried substituting anything for it, but you might be able to try some extra essential oils, and extra Castile soap. I can’t vouch for the cleaning power without it though.)
10-15 drops Lemon (or other citrus) Essential Oil
5 gallons hot water

DIRECTIONS:

Pour the washing soda and baking soda in the 5 gallon bucket. Add in about 1 gallon of hot water.
Stir until the sodas are dissolved.
Add the Castile soap, Thieves Household Cleaner, and Lemon Oil.
Stir again.
Add the rest of the hot water until the bucket is almost full.
Stir well.

Leave it to sit overnight. Don’t worry if it looks separated and chunky in the morning. This is how it it supposed to look!

Use about 1/2 cup or so per load of laundry!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below!  Happy washing!

Sources:
http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/toxic-laundry-detergent-ingredients-zmez12mazmel.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/07/12/how-toxic-is-your-average-laundry-detergent.aspx#!

http://www.heartfelthullabaloo.com/health-adventures/make-your-own-liquid-thieves-laundry-detergent

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.

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Babies!

As a veteran mama, now Grammie (Sheila), and new mama (Amberlyn), we have gathered together experience and research (surprise) and are wading our way through this adventure. We certainly don’t have it all figured out – and never will – as every baby is different and each new day is a new challenge.

We HAVE found baby products that are safe and non-toxic, figured out a few tips, and are trying to learn some more as we go. Being a parent, especially a new one, is enough work without trying to dig through millions of baby products and information. So, we’d love to spare you any footwork we can.

Subscribe and keeping watching for us to populate this section very soon! Feel free to comments with requests or suggestions!


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Pregnancy Tidbits

This topic is of very recent interest to me (Amberlyn), as I just had my first baby a few months ago. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started researching madly, questioning (as always) the cliches of pregnancy health. A conglomeration of sources, studies, and the pioneering wisdom of mommy bloggers before me guided me through pregnancy nutrition, supplementation, etc.

The main takeaway? Everything that enters your body now directly affects your baby’s development and future health. I certainly don’t have a thorough handle on it all. but I’m eager to share what I have learned.

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Skincare and Beauty Stuff

Skincare au naturale… the labyrinth of products, all guaranteed to be safe AND effective… but usually leave you looking like a dermatologist’s nightmare, OR just leave you unknowingly still slathering hidden chemicals on your largest organ: your skin.

We have run this rat race of skincare madness and finally eliminated all chemicals from our daily routine, while managing to keep from sporting elephant skin. And to make it even better, our skincare routine is rather simple.

Interested yet? Well, we’d love to share!

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Household Tips and Recipes Are in the Works

Do you have any idea how many nasty chemicals are lurking in your house? You probably use them every day…or maybe you know the dangers and are searching for safe, economical solutions. Either way, we want to save you from poisoning your body or breaking the bank.

Our household detox started years ago and has definitely been a gradual process. We’ve had a lot of trial and error and done a lot of research and would love to pass on our discoveries to you.

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Recipes on the Way!

We just straight up love cooking. And not just open-the-cookbook-and-follow-directions kind of cooking. Nooo… ware mad scientists in the kitchen. Our family jokes that we can never just cook from one recipe… we usually end up reading a bunch, referencing a few, and throwing our twist on them to create our own masterpiece. We also healthy-ize them – no processed foods, refined sugars and flours, or bad oils here!

Sooooo… this section of the blog is dedicated to sharing the results and successes of these adventures! Healthy, yummy recipes – tweaked so you don’t have to!

Subscribe and keeping watching for us to populate this section with many tasty delights very soon! Feel free to comments with requests or suggestions!