Green Love

Killer Garlic Kale Chips

DSC_5030

Kale chips.  It’s one of those things that initiates eye rolls when you mention you love them.  Go ahead and whisper behind my back while I enjoy the amazingly delicious treat I have just made myself from the mother of all health foods…Kale.

I tried buying these in the store once and they were gross.  I’m not even gonna try and say they had any redeeming qualities because I would be lying.  Now, most average people who try a food that activates their gag reflex would just move on and note that in their dislike column.  Not this girl.  I know I like kale because I have it in my smoothies, juices and in my salads. So I viewed my aversion to kale chips as a “challenge accepted” situation.  After several tries and fails, I finally made kale chips my bitch.

I perused tons of recipes for kale chips and most called for a dehydrator. Child please, I can’t drop another few hondo on a dehydrator after my Vitamix and Omega juicer purchases.  Luckily, with a little ingenuity and finesse this piece of equipment is unnecessary.  I’m sorry dehydrator manufacturing people, sometimes the truth hurts.  Dehydrators have their place in greensypants world but not where kale chips are concerned.

This recipe is just awesome.  When I make them they usually get eaten immediately.  I don’t even bother putting them on a plate or in a bowl.  I monge them right off the baking sheet.  Taking pictures for this post posed a challenge for me because I had to wait to eat them.  They have an amazing garlic flavor and just the right amount of crunch.   If you have tried my veggie lasagna you’ll find the flavor a little similar to the “ricotta” used in that recipe.  If you don’t have any experience using cashews as a cheese substitute, I am so sorry.

I was having company one night and decided to make these.  I put out a small plate of them. It was only a small plate because I ate almost all of what I had made.  I was interested to see if anyone would go for them.  Within minutes the plate was empty.  Everyone said, “What were those?  They were delicious”.  Oh you know, just KALE CHIPS!  First came the look of disgust.  Like how could they possibly want to snack on kale chips?  Then the look of confusion took over.  Surely, the only reason they liked them is because they were covered in cheese and fried right?  RIGHT?

Nope.  Actually, my dear family and friends who always make fun of me for eating “weird” stuff, there’s no cheese.  And they are not fried.  How you like me now?

I really think I need to start recording these tricks I play on people and posting them for you.  It is one of my greatest sources of joy.

Anyway, you’re probably wanting me to get on with it and share my secret to kale chippy goodness.  So here you go…

Here is what you will need:DSC_5020

  • 3 bunches kale
  • 1 cup cashews soaked at least 4 hours to soften
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • parchment paper
  • slide off baking sheet (no edges)

The actual process of making these can get a little messy.  Most good things in life are messy so just deal.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Wash and tear kale away from rib in pieces a little smaller than palm size.  Spread pieces out on towel to let them air dry while you make the garlic spread for them.

Drain cashews and add to high speed blender along with water, garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.  I said the nutritional yeast was optional only because you may not have it laying around.  It has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is loaded with vitamins and protein.  It also makes this kale chips go from good to amazing so get it for next time if you don’t have it now.  It can be found in most bulk bins at health food stores and Whole Foods.

Blend mixture until smooth.  If you don’t have a high speed blender, check out How to Choose a Blender and make that your next big purchase.

Here’s the messy part.  Using your fingers, coat each kale leaf with the mixture.  Make sure there isn’t large clumps on the leaves or it will be difficult to get the chips crunchy.  Only a thin layer is needed.  Place the leaves on a sheet of parchment paper that is slightly smaller than the baking sheet you will be using.  They will look something like this…DSC_5025

You can use a large bowl with a lid and add a handful of kale and a spoonful of mixture and shake the bowl but I always find there ends up being a lump of it somewhere and it doesn’t easily spread.  If you really are against doing the leaves one by one you can give that a whirl.

Once your leaves are all coated and on the paper, use your slide off baking sheet to place in oven by sliding paper directly onto middle rack.  You can put as many sheets will fit on the middle rack but do not put any on rack above or below.  The chips tend to cook unevenly that way.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven using your baking sheet.  Turn each leaf and place back in oven.  Check them after 8 minutes.  If they aren’t crispy check every two minutes after that.

And there you go. Kale chip perfection.  You’re welcome.

Good to knows:

  • If the chips seem a bit soggy, place back in oven for a few minutes.  I set aside soggy ones from each sheet and put all the late bloomers in together after all my sheets are done.  The kale leaves are all unique in that some are more curly or contain more moisture than others so some may need a little more time to crisp up.
  • If you don’t use all the mixture to coat the leaves it makes an excellent spread for crackers or toast.  It also freezes well.
  • Kids love these!  Well, mine does anyway.
  • Use the left over kale ribs in your smoothies or juices.

Enjoy your new found love for kale chips!

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

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Categories: Green Love, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

DIY Lotion

DSC_4833I have lotion on my bedside table.  I have lotion on my kitchen windowsill.  I have lotion in my bathroom, in my purse, and in my car.  If I don’t put lotion on my hands at least once an hour I feel like they are going to dry up and blow away in the wind like “He Who Must Not Be Named” at the end of Harry Potter.  If you didn’t know that happens then I don’t care that I just blew it for you. You have had ample time. (Nerd Alert, I know).

As you all know I have a love affair with coconut oil and use it for EVERYTHING.  If you haven’t read about my obsession you can do so here.  I do use it on my hands, but sometimes I need something that absorbs quickly if I’m going to be touching stuff I don’t want to get oil on. As great as coconut oil is for moisturizing, it can linger on your skin.  I wanted to keep using my beloved coconut oil but was thinking of how I could make it absorb quickly when I was using my hands a lot but still needing my lotion fix. I tried mixing a bunch of natural stuff together to find the perfect lotion.  Did I find something amazing?  You know it.

I tried and failed plenty of times.  Some things were too thin, some too thick.  Some smelled awful.  There were a few ingredients I knew I HAD to use since they are known to do amazing things for skin.  These ingredients are none other than coconut oil (duh), shea butter and aloe.

The shea butter is what gives this lotion its great texture.  It is full of vitamins A, D and E and has essential fatty acids and phytosterols (thought to bolster collagen production and slow down the aging process).  Shea butter on its own is very thick and not very spreadable.  Add the coconut oil and the aloe and you are left with a smooth, great smelling lotion that spreads easily, moisturizes like a dream and smells lovely.

Here is the recipe:

DSC_48265 Tablespoons raw shea butter

1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

1/2 Tablespoon aloe (preferably squeezed straight from an aloe leaf)

10-15 drops of favorite smelling essential oil (optional)

2 Teaspoons cornstarch

The trick to making this lotion is to warm the ingredients on your stove so they mix evenly.  I have a small cast iron pot that has a spout for easy pouring, but any small sauce pot will work.  Put the shea butter in the pot first on lowest heat setting. It may take a while to melt.  You have to be patient here.  If the heat is too high you will burn the shea butter and it will turn an ugly brown color and smell icky.  If ten minutes goes by and it’s not starting to melt, turn up the heat SLIGHTLY and wait.  Break up the shea butter with a spoon and keep it moving in the pot for quicker results. Once it is melted, add coconut oil and aloe.  Feel free to add any essential oil you like.  Grapefruit and Jasmine are a few of my favorites.  You can read up on essential oils here.  Lastly, mix in cornstarch.  The cornstarch helps bind the ingredients and cuts down the oily texture.  Mix it well and pour into shallow glass mason jar.  As the lotion is cooling, stir it every 15-20 minutes or so to avoid separation.  You can put the jar in the fridge for quicker setting.  Once it is solid it’s ready to be used and will not need any more stirring.

The color is a bit brown.  People are sometimes put off by this.  Consider this, many natural things are brown.  All that store bought crap lotion is only stark white and flawlessly creamy because it is composed of chemicals that make it look that way.  Who cares what it looks like?  Once you rub it into your skin it all looks the same.

Enjoy your amazingly moisturized skin green people!

Good To Knows:

  • You can purchase a single aloe leaf at most health food stores. Whole Foods has them as well.
  • You can add some diaper cream if you want it to act as sunscreen. (Or make your own SPF 30 with this recipe)
  • Check this out if you aren’t sure which type of coconut oil to buy.
  • If you feel the lotion is still too oily, you can add more cornstarch.  You should be able to mix it in with a little elbow grease.  If not, melt again and add in one teaspoon at a time until desired texture.

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

Categories: Body, Green Love | Leave a comment

Buzz Off…DIY Bug Repellent

DSC_4811BUG. BITES. ARE. THE. WORST.  They always manage to find the worst spots to bite, too.  The backs of your knees, the tops of your feet.  Or, my favorite, the ever popular right-in-the-middle-of-the-forhead bite.  Really?  I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I don’t complain often.  But when I’m itchy…I whine like a sick man.  WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.

For this reason, I fear dusk.  I live in a wooded area and the mosquitos are plentiful.  Nothing puts a damper on a picnic quite like those little $h!t heads.  I am a nature and animal lover but I often find myself questioning how essential mosquitos really are to the homeostasis of the planet.  As much as I want them to just disappear and never return, they are here to stay and bestow their itchy misery on whatever victims they can find.  So let’s just suck it up and figure out how to make them move on to some other unsuspecting, non-greensypants.

First there are the obvious tasks…Eliminate stagnant water and wear long pants and sleeves whenever possible.  DON’T be the person who uses the chemical bug spray in your yard.  That garbage washes off in the rain and ends up in your water supply.  Tasty…And poisonous, and carcinogenic.  There are some herbal yard and shrub sprays made from peppermint oil that can be attached to your hose and sprayed in the wood line.  They work well short term.  If you are planning a picnic or to be out in your yard spray in the morning and it will definitely help for that day and maybe the day after assuming it doesn’t rain.  Here is an example.  It also repels fleas and ticks…Bonus:  It smells lovely.

So, I am guilty of using the main stream, store bought bug spray.  Sometimes it just has to be done.  If I am in a place where that is the only thing available I will spray a little on my clothes and try to avoid my skin.  There is some really horrendous ingredients in that crap.  Everything you need to know is right there on the can.  A nice long list of warnings.  You’ll also notice the burning in your lungs if you happen to mistakenly breathe in while applying.  If that is really your only option, and it’s rare that you do it, then go ahead and use it.  There are some really nasty things that can be spread by mosquitos.  However, with a minimal effort you can always be prepared to repel those buggers with some natural ingredients and things you may already have around the house.

be13db3a-627e-4c58-931f-62b5dca1ef37.imgTiger Balm:  This is a cream rub for aches and pains made from herbal ingredients…Camphor, menthol, mint, and clove oil.  It has a strong smell. That is what repels the bugs.  If you ask me, the smell is much more pleasant than your typical chemical filled bug spray.  Apply small amounts in areas mosquitos frequent.  If you have achey muscles go ahead and rub it all over.  Tingly.  Tiger Balm does contain a small amount of petroleum which some people like to avoid.  Generally speaking, I try to avoid it too, but the small amount used here is no big deal to me if it’s going to avoid getting bitten and exposing myself to potentially harmful diseases transmitted by mosquitos.  The small container is around $6 and a little goes a long way.  One purchase lasted me all summer using it about twice a week.

If the petroleum is a deal breaker for you there are sill plenty of options…

Tea Tree Oil:  Tea tree oil is an essential oil and is often used as an antiseptic and for acne.  I like the Desert Essence brand.  I purchased mine at Whole Foods but you can also find it here.  Any essential oil should be diluted with a carrier oil before applied to skin.  You will want to use a carrier oil that has no smell, or at least not a sweet smell in the case of a bug repellent.  Jojoba, or even olive oil would be good choices.  You can apply it to the same areas listed above under the Tiger Balm.

DSC_4813Citronella Oil:  I have no clue why this never dawned on me.  All the times I’ve seen and used citronella candles for mosquitos and I never gave a thought to what citronella was.  It’s a grass!  Well, holy $h!t.  How well does that work out for me?  I found this oil in my local health food store. It was $5.99 for one ounce.  A little goes a long way. You also dilute it with a carrier oil as you would with tea tree oil.  I find the citronella works better than the tea tree but it does have a stronger smell.

You want to mix 25 drops of essential oil (citronella or tea tree) to 2 tablespoons on carrier oil (jojoba or olive).  Almost every essential oil comes in a dripper bottle so it’s easy to control the drips.  You can purchase small bottles with squeeze drip applicators for the mixture and apply a few drops to the areas you wish and rub in.   Good areas to focus on are temples, behind the ears, nape of neck and the joint areas (inside elbows, wrists, back of knees, ankles).  The bottles are a few dollars each.  You can often find them in health food stores or at mountainroseherbs.com.  If you try to put this oil mixture in a spray bottle it will most likely clog.  If it is a spray you are looking for…

Another method is to put the essential oil in a small travel size spray bottle and mist the clothes you will be wearing outside with the concentrated oil.  Both tea tree oil and citronella oil on their own are thin enough that they won’t clog a sprayer.  I haven’t had a problem with staining, but I have a plain white tee shirt I use specifically for bug repellant and put it on over my clothes for the few hours bugs are at their worst.  I do the same for my daughter.  If I am going to be away from home I spray the shirts and put them in a gallon ziploc and take with.  Using this method will allow you to have the benefit of concentrated bug repellant without putting it on your skin (reminder, do not apply concentrated oil directly to skin, it may cause irritation).  I have put it directly on dark clothing also and have yet to deal with a stain.

You can also make a diluted spray that can be applied directly to your skin as well if you feel the extra clothing is a hassle.  Here is the recipe:

  • 4oz of distilled water
  • 3oz of witch hazel
  • 50 drops of your preferred essential oil (or a combination of both).

Mix in small spray bottle and apply as necessary.

Many other essential oils can be used the same way, but tea tree oil and cintronella oil seem to get the best results in my experience.  If you happen to have eucalyptus or peppermint oil you can try those before you purchase a new oil.

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Another option is a store bought all natural bug spray.  I have the Burt’s Bees All Natural Herbal Insect Repellent.  All of the ingredients are legit natural and include castor, rosemary, lemongrass and citronella oils among others.  It costs $7.99 for a 4oz spray bottle.  This is great to travel with.  I find it’s not quite as strong as using the oils but it’s a great choice if you want something quick and don’t mind reapplying a few times.  I always have this in my bag in case I forget my homemade oil mixtures or citronella or tea tree sprayed clothes.  That way I never have to be faced with using the awful chemical $h!t storm spray. Burt’s Bees is one of my fav brands. I absolutely love their products and use them for myself as well as my daughter.  This little spray bottle fits perfect it my purse and is made of aluminum. I have reused the empties several times for other things.

 

Tips and Tricks:

  • Add some of your oil mixture to a tart warmer and light candle underneath to use in place of citronella candles.
  • Got babies?  Spray a washcloth with your home made bug spray and put it near where your baby is sitting or sleeping outside.  I tucked it right in the visor part of the car seat where it was safely out of reach when she was snoozin…Works like a charm.  (Also, hang from patio umbrellas and deck railings.  Why not?)
  • If you feel like the scent of the natural bug repellent of your choice isn’t coming off easily in the shower, rub a little coconut oil on it and it will wipe away easily with a washcloth.  (This trick also works for DIY sunscreen)
  • All of these suggestions will also repel ticks.
  • Apply a few drops to your pet’s collar.  Avoid getting it on their fur so they do not lick it off.  Most essential oils are not edible.

Now you can enjoy all your outdoor adventures (or just enjoy a cocktail in a lawn chair) without wanting to scratch your skin off.  You’re welcome!

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

Categories: Body, Green Love, Product Recommendations | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buttpaste vs Cancer

DSC_4771Now that I have your attention…

You know how when you are young you would rather die than listen to one word of advice your parents give you?  Yup, that was me.  There was one thing though, that for whatever reason stuck.  My mom would always tell me to wear sunscreen.  This is one of those golden nuggets that you don’t understand when you are seventeen.  As if I’m ever gonna get wrinkles mom, please.  And skin cancer is for old people.  But alas, there I was sneaking into her medicine cabinet generously applying her SPF 30 face cream in the morning (that just shed a whole lot of light on why you flew through that stuff huh, Ma?) .  Here are the words every mother wants to here….Mom, you were right. (I still stand by my tattoo and belly piercing though).

Most of us use sunscreen when we are planning a day outside in the sun.  Really though, you need to be using this stuff everyday.  Even on cloudy days UV rays are strong enough to damage skin.  We all want the easy way out, right?  We want to be able to do barely anything but get huge results.  Well what if I told you there was a way to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles and it’s as easy as putting lotion on everyday?  Oh wow!  How do I do that?  F*ck!ng sunscreen.  Use it.  You will walk for the cure but not put lotion on for the prevention?  Think about that one…

As with any product there are good sunscreens and bad ones.  Ones that are natural and ones that are filled with chemicals.  You’re here on greensypants so you’re looking for alternatives to the mainstream crap you buy in stores.  For some reason we forget that what we put on our body is just as important as what we feed ourselves.  Our skin is our biggest organ and it is porous.  It will absorb what you put on it.  There lots of chemicals that you will see on the back of your sunscreen bottle that could potentially be harmful.

Truth be told, the jury is out on all the chemicals used in sunscreen.  There are some studies that show some of the chemicals, such as oxybenzone, are present in the urine of almost all subjects that applied the sunscreen.  What does that mean?  It means that you put it on your skin and it has the potential to be absorbed into your bloodstream and hang out in your body for a while before exiting through your urine.  What did it do while it was in there?  Maybe nothing, but we don’t really know.  The companies that make products with suspect ingredients always fall back on the old…”We have been using this ingredient in our product since 1970 (or some other seemingly far away year).”  Oh, cool.  You know what there is a lot more of since 1970?  Cancer.  Is anyone able to prove without a doubt these ingredients cause cancer? No.  Is there anyone who can prove definitively and without question that they don’t cause cancer?  Anyone?  Didn’t think so.  There are plenty of studies that show zero adverse affects.  Guess who paid for those studies????  Yeah, the company making the sunscreen.  That’s not a conflict of interest or anything.

I went ahead and listed all of the ingredients in your typical SPF 30 sunscreen that you would buy in the store. Take a look…

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 1.0%, Homosalate 10.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 0.8%, Oxybenzone 4.0%

Inactive Ingredients:  Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydogenated Dimer Dilinoleyl/Dimethylcarbonate, Copolymer, Triethanolamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Disodium EDTA, Dipopylene Glycol, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide, PEG-15 Disulfate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, BHT, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Aloe Barbadenisis Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Methyldibromo, Glutaronitrile, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

Phew. At least I see Aloe Leaf Juice in there!

The active ingredients listed here (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are what are referred to as “physical barrier” sunscreens which simply sit on the skin and form an actual barrier from the sun.  The rest of these hard to pronounce ingredients on this label are “chemical barrier” sunscreens.  That means that they are absorbed in the skin and the sun protection is a chemical reaction. There are so many ingredients in most sunscreens to ensure full spectrum light protection.  All those chemicals listed above have different UV rays they filter.  That is really important when using sunscreen.  It’s getting confusing now, I know.

I don’t want to launch into a chemistry lesson and try to explain all these scary looking ingredients.  I wouldn’t be able to if I tried.  Instead, I am going to show you the ingredient list of the Badger brand sunscreen that I use…

Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%

Inactive Ingredients:  Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E.

Well, isn’t that lovely?

There is only a “physical barrier” sunscreen here.  Zinc Oxide.  The non-nano, uncoated means that the particles in the zinc are big enough that they cannot penetrate the skin and will only sit on top.  Many other sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide.  This ingredient has recently come under fire.  Here is a good read. The controversy is not in the ingredient itself just in the fact that it’s not always clear if the type of titanium dioxide used is the proper formulation, and therefore, may be absorbed through skin.  Take a gander and you be the judge.  You may want to read the “Nanoparticle Info” at the bottom of this post.

Now, like I said in the past, I’m not about to tell you that your sunscreen may be harmful and then leave you high and dry.  You have options here, loves.  Can you make your own?  Yes.  Do I make my own? No.  Is there a reasonable middle ground?  YES!

DSC_4784Zinc oxide.  It should be listed as the only active ingredient in your sunscreen.  As mentioned above, Badger is my go to store bought brand. It is expensive.  This 3 oz tube pictured on the right cost $14.  Since it is a mineral sunscreen, it is more expensive.  Zinc is an actual earth mineral and is much more expensive than those cheaply manufactured chemicals.  Make sense?  I will say, that I think the Badger is worth the money.  You can purchase it here.  They have sunscreens for kids and adults and tons of other great products.

You can in fact make your own sunscreen by purchasing zinc oxide non-nano powder and mixing up a batch with other ingredients like magical coconut oil and cocoa butter.  The reason I don’t do that is because zinc oxide powder in its concentrated form can be breathed in and damage your lungs.  I don’t want to mess with that stuff.  Don’t let that alarm you.  Regular old table salt would be harmful if it were breathed in as well.  What now?  In true greensypants fashion, I have an answer for you….

Buttpaste.  Yup.  All you mommas and poppas out there will recognize this in the first photo.  It’s diaper cream.  You can use this stuff straight and it costs about half of what the Badger will cost.

Diaper cream is just zinc oxide which is the active ingredient in sunscreen.  It is meant to sit on baby’s sweet little tush and form a barrier to protect affected skin.  It’s all mixed up and ready to use.  No messy lung infecting powder to deal with.  The tube pictured in the first photo is maximum strength, 40% zinc oxide which would give you an SPF of approximately 60. Wowza! That’s a high SPF.  You can use diaper cream straight up on your skin and will have maximum protection.  If you will be using it straight you can go with regular strength diaper cream.  If you want to add some other organic ingredients and make it a little more luxurious on your skin go with the maximum strength 40%.  That will enable you to dilute the cream with other ingredients and still have a high SPF.  Here is a recipe for making your own SPF 30 sunscreen with diaper cream.

  • 1/4 cup (one 4oz tube) of maximum strength diaper cream.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter
  • 1 tablespoon beexwax

Warm coconut oil on stove top in small pan until melted.  Remove from heat and add other ingredients.  Mix well and place in tube or jar.

Making the recipe will end up costing almost as much as buying the Badger.  I make my own using this recipe and use the Badger.  They are virtually the same.  If I am going to give an honest recommendation I say stick with the Badger brand and avoid the hassle of making your own since the cost is about the same.  If you really want to save money then go with straight up Buttpaste…But…

There is a down side I have to tell you about.  The zinc does not absorb in your skin beautifully.  It will make your skin appear a bit white. It’s not that bad.  Remember that physical barrier talk above?  This white layer is the protection from the sun.  Is this inconvenient? Yes.  Know what else is inconvenient?  Cancer.

I used to be all weird about it in public.  I was so concerned what everyone would say behind my back because I possibly look like I have lotion that needs to be rubbed in. Then I realized…You know what…I’m fighting cancer.  And wrinkles.  Oh, you think I look dumb with my skin protected from the sun?  Let’s compare sun spots in 20 years.  How about that???  I wear my ghost suit loud and proud.  I don’t even care anymore. I’m saying “no, thank you” to cancer.  And another thing…So many people ask me how I have managed to keep my skin looking youthful.  You should see their face when I tell them Buttpaste.  Priceless.

I am not suggesting you look like casper all day every day.  You can put a small amount of the diaper cream in your daily moisturizer for a light UV protection if your sun exposure will be limited and the white won’t be detectable.  It’s a better option than all the age defying creams with the yucky chemical sunscreens.  If you are beach bound and know you are going to be in the relentless sun then spread that $hit all over. If the idea of the white is too much for you to handle in public, use your regular sunscreen and stick to using the diaper cream when you are at home in your own back yard and no one will see you.  Those small changes are better than nothing.  I will warn you though, that’s how I got my start.  Just when I was in my garden.  Now I glow white for all the world to see.

Lather up, bitches.

I’m not just talking about your face.  Spread that $hit everywhere with reckless abandon.  Pay special attention to your face, shoulders and chest.  It may seem like overkill now but you’ll be the sexiest one in the nursing home someday.

I joke about the Casper thing, but really, it’s not that bad.  Just be prepared to take an extra minute to spread evenly.  I put a little sample on my arm for you to see.  The left is the Badger brand and the right is pure Buttpaste.  The recipe above comes out the same as the Badger.

DSC_4785

See?  You can handle that, right?  In do time people will be asking you what you do to make your skin look so amazing.  Add coconut oil to your routine and you are a green force not to be reckoned with.  Read about it here.

Some tips:

  • A little nervous? Use your normal sunscreen and gradually add more and more diaper cream into it.  This way you will at least be using less of the harmful stuff.
  • You can purchase other brands of diaper cream but look at the other ingredients.  Many have some unsavory contents.
  • Go with a diaper cream that is 40% zinc oxide if you are making the recipe.
  • Babies don’t care if they look white.  Use this on your little ones if you have them!
  • As with any sunscreen, re apply often
  • Don’t forget the backs of your hands, that area is the first to show age.

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

Smooches,

Nikki

Nanoparticle info

A few people have inquired about my awesome beach bag in the first photo.  Here is the link if you want to order one!  Lot’s of colors and patterns!

Categories: Body, Green Love, Product Recommendations, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Stank

DSC_4717Yeah, party people.  Let’s talk about stank.  More specifically, armpit stank.  I know this seems awkward but I’m kinda excited because we have reached a new level of comfortability in our relationship.

When we sweat, we stink.  We just do.  You can try to say…”Oh, I just don’t sweat that much”…or “Yeah, I never have a problem with B.O.”

Lies.

We have all had the day where we forgot deodorant and and are constantly doing the pit sniff test.  And, you know when you’re about 90% sure that weird guy (or girl) who stalked you back in ’03 is standing behind you at the bank and your trying to figure out how to get out of there without making eye contact?  Yeah, your lying if you say you don’t have pit stains when you get back in your car and haul ass outta there.  If you’re still denying this, how about this one…You go to the mall to finish your christmas shopping and you’re wearing your winter coat.  You’re carrying a thousand bags.  The escalator isn’t working.  You walk up it.  F@cking sauna.  Just because you don’t smell it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  You’re sweating and you stink.  Sorry.

Well, just put on some of that prescription grade, extra strength, roll on, spray on, whatever on deodorant and antiperspirant.  Problem solved right?  Maybe not. Your pits may be smelling like a rainforest breeze but you may have just exposed yourself to some nasty, disgusting, possibly life threatening chemicals.  Aluminum, parabens and triclosan to name a few.

Lately, more and more information has come to light exposing the ugly truth.  What we put on our skin can be harmful to our body internally.  Here is information provided by the Centers for Disease Control regarding this.  There’s a slew of information that links deodorant and antiperspirant use to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  In regard to the deodorant controversy, the CDC displayed this as guideline:  “Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.”  Results are conflicting?  Um, if by “conflicting” you mean the studies show deodorant causes cancer and the deodorant manufacturers say it doesn’t then I guess you’d be right.  More like conflict of interest…but I digress…

As with any controversial topic there is always two sides to the story.  There are studies making a connection between deodorant and cancer and studies that debunk the notion.  It’s a tricky situation and can leave you confused and unsure who to trust.  With all of the topics I choose to delve into, I usually come up with the same conclusion.  Where there is smoke there is fire.  I’d much rather come up with an alternative deodorant than keep using the suspect stuff and regret it down the road.

If you haven’t heard much about the controversy here is a run down of the ingredients in question:

Aluminum:  This is in the antiperspirant component.  You are basically clogging your pores with metal to keep the sweat from pouring out.  That really creeps me out.

Parabens:  Parabens are a group of synthetic preservatives that are often found in deodorant, shampoo and tons of other body products. They are very easily absorbed through the skin.  Parabens disrupt hormones and it is strongly suggested that this can lead to early puberty in children, and increased risk of hormonal cancers.  Parabens are also linked to birth defects.

Phthalates:  (yeah, I don’t know how to pronounce that either) Much like parabens, phthalates disrupt hormones.  Phthalates are linked to increased risk of birth defects and increase the likelihood of cell mutation.

Triclosan:  Triclosan is what helps squash odor and is classified as a pesticide by the good old FDA.  It is also named a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Many companies have begun to remove triclosan from products but it still lurks out there. (Kinda like the guy at the bank).

Y’all know me.  Those words are enough to ignite my anxiety and make me short of breath.  When I walk past the deodorant aisle in the store I think to myself…”breast cancer aisle”.

Well, now what do I do?  Possibly increase my risk for cancer or stink?  There is some good news here.  There are several natural versions of deodorant available in stores and, if you’re really feeling into this green thing, you can make your own (stay with me here).

I’ve tried several of the deodorants found in your typical grocery stores.  When I say I tried them I mean I actually tried them.  I didn’t just put it on and sit on my ass.  I put it on and ran, did yoga or bootcamp class, sat out in the sun for a while…I made sure I sweat.  A lot.  I warned all my workout neighbors that were next to me in class that I was in the midst of an experiment and let me know if I smelled.  Luckily, I work out with some cool people who were entertained by this endeavor.  I asked them to get right up in there and take a whiff.  For some reason, they obliged.  And to them, I say thank you!

Keep in mind when I tell you which ones worked best that everybody’s body is different and just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  Also, most of these still contain a “no no” ingredient which isn’t ideal. Overall, any of these would be a better choice than your big name brands that will have the two big offenders, aluminum and parabens.  All of the examples listed here are free of both of those little $hit heads.

Here are the deodorants I tested:DSC_4708

From left to right: Tom’s of Maine (Unscented), Tom’s of Maine (Fresh Apricot). Arm & Hammer Essentials (Unscented), Arm & Hammer Essentials (Fresh Scent), Lafes Natural and Organic (Unscented).

Tom’s of Maine was my least favorite.  The unscented version didn’t do much to fight off stink.  The fresh apricot was a little better and smelled really nice but wore off quickly.  Tom’s contains propylene glycol as the first ingredient which has been added to the list of no no’s recently.  This one just didn’t work for me. I give it an F.

Arm & Hammer Essentials performed much better.  The unscented didn’t work as well as the fresh scent.  Toward the end of the day I needed to reapply but it was effective.  Note:  the fresh scent was slightly manly. Arm & Hammer Essentials contains both propylene glycol and triclosan.  I give this one a solid B for effectiveness.

Lafes Natural and Organic was my favorite of the store bought deodorants.  It was unscented and still kept stink at bay even after yoga then bootcamp on a pretty warm day.  I was sweating hardcore.  I couldn’t smell any offending odor on myself so I asked my trusty workout buddy to help me out.  I give her credit too because she leaned right in there and gave it her best whiff.  Nope.  Winner!  Shockingly, this one contained none of the big yucky ingredients.  I give this one an A.  The only problem may be finding this one.  I got it at a small health food store unlike the others that were right with all the other deodorants at a big chain store.  It also cost about $1.50 more than the others.

I was so excited to find a deodorant that didn’t have any of the gross chemicals that could be harmful.  What could be better?  You know what’s coming…make your own!  I couldn’t call myself a greensypants if I didn’t at least try.

I think making my deodorant was the moment I realized that I had gone off the deep end.  I had flung myself off the cliff into the ocean of crunchy granola.  I’m here now.  It feels good.  Reeealllllllyyyyy good.

I looked up some deodorant recipes to get a rough idea where to start.  I ended up making a few alterations and came up with this…

1 cup coconut oil (learn how to choose the right one here)

1/2 cup baking soda

10 drops tea tree oil

That’s it.

DSC_4733Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over lowest heat possible.  You can even hold it above the burner.  It melts quickly.  You can also leave it in a jar out in the sun on a warm day.  Mix in the baking soda and tea tree oil.  (Sub arrowroot powder if the baking soda is irritating.  You can use any essential oil you please).  Pour into a shallow mason jar while mixture is still warm and liquid.   Let set to room temp.  It will be waxy unless your house is extremely warm.  If it is too hard to use your fingers, just scoop some out with a spoon you designate for deodorant and soften it between hands.  Rub it into your pits like lotion.  People always ask me if this is annoying.  No.  I may be avoiding breast cancer.  It’s fine.  If this is really troubling you just pour the just mixed ingredients into an empty tube of deodorant before it hardens and use that way.  Hold it up to your skin and let it melt a little before spreading to avoid crumbling. You can also pour into cupcake papers and hold those.  I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty so I just go for it.  Any extra left on my hand rinses off.

So, how does it work?  Pretty good, actually.  I wear this day to day unless I am expecting a sweat fest.  I sometimes need to reapply it which doesn’t bother me.  If I forget to put on my Lafes Natural and Organic and go to workout with just my home made deodorant I don’t panic.  I’m sure if someone were to get really close…like nose in my armpit close, they may pick up a scent.  Really though, if someone is close enough to you to have their nose in your armpit at the gym I think B.O. is the least of your problems.

Now, I know this whole natural deodorant thing seems a bit much.  You don’t have to go full speed ahead.  Start by getting one of the store bought ones and wear it when you don’t expect to sweat a lot.  See how it works.  Maybe you can stick with your trusty deodorant for workout days and go with your natural one on chill days.  Any small change can add up to a large payoff.  Give those pits a rest!

Side note:  The cleaner you eat the less you smell.  Isn’t that special?

Are you using a natural deodorant?  Let us know which one works for you!

Did you miss the post on making your own fruit and veggie wash??  Click here!

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

 

Smooches,

Nikki

Source:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/followup-antiperspirants-and-cancer/

 

 

 

Categories: Body, Green Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash

DSC_4699I am a full blown germaphobe.  I don’t mind dirt at all, but the idea of germs and things that can make me sick makes me bug out (get it, “bug” out).

I wasn’t always this way.  It was probably becoming a mother in the height of the swine flu epidemic (I don’t know if it was an official epidemic, but it sure felt that way).  This unleashed the crazy in me.  Like, double wash, triple hand sanitizer then anti-germ hand lotion crazy.  Before that I would grab an apple right out of the pile in the grocery store and take a bite.  The idea of that now makes my stomach turn.

It’s really important to clean your fruits and vegetables before you eat them.  Even the organic ones.  Unless you grow it yourself, your food is exposed to all kinds of things along the way before it gets to the grocery store.  And truth be told, the thing that creeps me out the most is produce in stores that other people had their grubby little hands on.  I’ve seen way too many people not wash their hands after using the public bathroom to just nosh on an apple right from the shelf anymore.  Ugh, I can’t even think about it.

So, now you want to wash your produce since I just reminded you that people are gross and don’t wash their hands.  They sell bottles of fruit and veggie wash in most stores.  I dig that.  It’s easy to just grab a bottle of it.  The problem is I go through a 22oz bottle in a little over a week and the stuff costs anywhere from $3 to $6 dollars in the store.  That adds up when you’re a greensypants!

The other problem…the ingredients.  The list of ingredients on most said bottles have some things I don’t recognize.  I don’t enjoy that.  So, to get to the point here…make your own!  It takes a minute or two and costs close to nothing.  Here is what you need:

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon baking soda

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

empty spray bottle

That’s it.  An ingredient list like that is what I dream about.  Here is how you make it:

Pour vinegar into a large mixing bowl then add the baking soda.  Remember that volcano you made in 5th grade?  Fizzy, fizzy.  (Kids love this part so get them involved and excited to wash some veggies.  YEAH!)  Make sure you have enough room in the bowl for the reaction.  Stir mixture until all the fizzing stops, add water then stir.  I like to put the juice of a whole lemon into it for fragrance.  You can also use store bought lemon juice.  This step isn’t necessary but the vinegar has a pretty dominating smell.  The lemon is much more pleasant.  Pour the mixture into your empty spray bottle, (a funnel is useful here), and there you go.  The bottle pictured here had some sort of cleaner in it that I dumped out.  It came in a gift basket someone gave to me (sorry to whoever that was).  It’s fine to use a bottle that has had a cleaning product in it if you thoroughly clean it.  You will have to fill it with mild soap and water and just keep pulling the spray trigger to get all the yuckies out of there.  It takes some time but just chill and watch a show or something (kids come in handy here, too).  You just saved like five bucks, people!

You want to spray all of your non peeling produce with this and let it sit for a few minutes before washing off.  With berries and grape tomatoes and such, just put them in a bowl and spray as you move the fruit around making sure you cover all surfaces.  Fill the bowl with water then toss in a strainer.  Avoid using on cut fruits and vegetables like squash or zucchini since it will absorb the mixture.  It’s not harmful in the least but it will alter the flavor.  Wash before you cut!

Now go wash some whole, real food and get chomping!

Be sure to like greensypants on facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there is more greensypants info to soak in!  Share with your friends and the green will keep coming your way!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

Categories: Green Love, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Gettin’ Juicy With It

DSC_4666We all knew this was coming. I hope you’re all as excited as I am.  We are talking JUICING!!! I really didn’t start juicing until recently.  Shocking, right?  I wanted to start sooner but I was so in love with blending I kind of felt like my Vitamix might get jealous if I start bringing a juicer around.  I was feeling like I wanted to try a juice fast, so I had a talk with my Vitamix and explained that there was going to be a juicer arriving soon and I will love them both the same amount, just in different ways.  Now I know how it must feel when you are having child number two.

Juicing is a pretty big deal right now.  I think that’s swell.  Anything that gets people interested in being healthier is fine by me.

Many people claim juicing has cured all kinds of ailments, from acne and other skin conditions to neutralizing ulcerative colitis.  That’s pretty powerful.  I don’t know about all that jazz, although after watching the documentary SuperJuiceMe!, and seeing what it has done for myself personally, I’m pretty much convinced.  There are plenty of other benefits that are obvious soon after you start to get your juice on.  It’s been known to slow the aging process, regulate the bowels (ahem), and of course, help with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

I’m not talking about juice you buy at the store.  Even those really convincing ones that are all grainy and veggie looking.  No, no my dear.  Those have added sugar and have been pasteurized.  In other words, on top of being full of sugar they are also nutritionally void.  Those marketing people sure are clever though.  Let’s just say for arguments sake you could buy a real extracted juice in the store that has absolutely nothing added to it.  By the time it leaves wherever it was squeezed, makes a long journey on a truck and sits on the shelf in the store until you buy it, it’s lost all its’s benefits.  All of the minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes have been oxidized (damaged by oxygen).  When we see the words “minerals”, “vitamins”, “antioxidants”, and “enzymes”, we know those are all good things but we don’t always know exactly what they are…

Vitamins: Organic compounds that can only come from food and the sun.  There are 13 essential vitamins.  Vitamin A, eight vitamin B’s, and vitamins C, D, E and K.

Minerals:  Plants take minerals from the soil and turn them into compounds that our bodies can absorb.  Isn’t that nice of them?  Always wanting to help us, those plants.  Macro minerals like calcium and potassium are the biggies and then there are trace minerals like copper, iron and zinc.

Antioxidants:  These guys fight off free radicals.  Free radicals float around and damage cells and accelerate aging.  Antioxidants show those little a$$holes who’s boss.  You’re the boss.  Antioxidants work for free so hire as many as you can.  Drink your juice, people.

Enzymes:  These little powerhouses are the catalyst for every reaction in the body.  Sounds pretty important right?  Enzymes are plentiful in raw foods and cooking food changes the structure of them making them less effective.

Drinking green juice will give you an instant shot of  vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes right to the cells.  Zing!  Wow that’s good!  Much like blending, the flavor can be a little strange at first.  Starting with milder vegetables and using some fruit will make it easy to fall in love with juicing.  Notice I put the word “green” in bold.  Juicing mostly fruit or vegetables with a high sugar content isn’t doing a whole lot for you.  Sugar is still sugar.  When consuming fruit or sweet vegetables in their whole form it’s no big deal.  Concentrating it into juice is a little intense for the system so use them sparingly.  The green portion of the juice is where the magic happens.  The fruit and sweet veggies like carrots and beets can come along for the ride but they have to squeeze in the middle of the back seat between the cucumber and kale.  A good rule of thumb is at least three green vegetables to one fruit, then some citrus to cut the bitterness of the greens.  For example:

1 Cucumber (peeled if not organic)

2 Large Kale Leaves or 2 Cups Spinach

3 Stalks Celery

1/2 a lemon, peeled

1 Small Green Apple

This is a great starting point.  It won’t yield too much juice and allow you to get a taste of what we are working with.  If you are scared $h!tless this will help you ease in.  There’s lots of time to add all kinds of super amazing items in the future.  You will end up wanting more and more.

To give you an idea of what a full size juice looks like, here is an example of what I had this morning…DSC_4652

Just look at the picture above and imagine eating all that at once with no dressing or anything to dip it in.  Yeesh, that’s a lot.  It would probably take me a while and I love raw vegetables.  Now look at a glass of all this goodness juiced…  DSC_4669That’s 12 ounces (1.5 cups).  I can take that down in a few minutes and the energy and nutrients are being absorbed almost instantly.  From the moment I started washing the ingredients until I was done cleaning the juicer it took me twelve minutes.  That’s less time than it takes to go through all five lives in Candy Crush.  You got this.

I used to drink energy drinks (hangs head in shame).  I loved that boost but my heart rate would accelerate and there were times I thought I might just have a heart attack. No more of that!  Green juice to the rescue.  Squeeze me out some liquid green and I’m ready to tackle my day.  The best part is no inevitable crash after.  Bonus!

What about the pulp?  After juicing you are left with a bucket of fiber.  But, isn’t fiber good for me?  Of course it is!  Fiber itself doesn’t have nutritional value.  It’s just meant to help “move things along” if you know what I mean.  It’s a bulking and binding agent that makes it easier to get biz done on the throne.  You want to drink your juice on an empty stomach.  Drinking juice with an empty belly means you don’t need to worry about helping anything along.  The juice will get absorbed.  You need fiber for sure and you’ll get it because you’re tons of other healthy stuff like beans and whole fruits and vegetables, right?  You may even be blending.  Wink, wink.

Here’s some juicy tips:

  • Run the pulp through your juicer for a second pass.  Get every last, delicious drop.
  • You are left with this pile of fiber pulp.  No need to be a wasteypants and throw it away.  You can add it to baking recipes, leave it outside for the birdies, or even better, compost it!  Will I be posting something on composting? Does a bear $h!t in the woods?
  • Drink your juice in the morning on an empty stomach or in the afternoon a few hours after lunch.  Give it a nice open highway to get to it’s final destination…your cells.
  • Store your juice in mason jars (as full as possible) in order to minimize exposure to air.

Ready to bask of the glow of green juiciness?  Well, you need a juicer!  Stay tuned for a post on “How To Buy a Juicer” for the low down.

Are you enjoying greensypants??  Be sure to like greensypants on Facebook and follow on twitter!  Share with your friends and tell me what greensypants should talk about next!

Smooches,

Nikki

Categories: Green Love, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How to Choose a Blender.

DSC_4686I remember the first time I made a green drink.  I was brimming with anticipation.  I had my cucumber, kale, celery and frozen fruit in the blender ready to go.  It’s time now, the moment I have been waiting for. Flip the switch.  Nothing.  The obnoxious sound was coming out but the food wasn’t moving.  This is not at all what I pictured in my head.  I figured it would be a quick little spin and poof…green goodness.  Nope.  The blender was grinding away and nothing was moving.  So, like any other idiot, I took a spoon and shoved it in there to move stuff around.  Now we are getting somewhere!  I’m plugging away at the thing, mixing it as it struggles to blend the bottom inch of whatever I can shove down far enough.  Eight minutes later…Success!  I pour it in my glass. Hmmmm, it looks a little thick.  No big deal.  Here we go!  Cheers!

Vomit.  Like, actual vomit consistency.  “Viscous” is the best word I can use to describe it.  The taste wasn’t bad at all but the thick, chunkiness..No. Gag reflex activated.

How could this be?  I see all these pictures of smooth creamy shakes and I get this??   Am I doing something wrong?  Yes, Yes I was.

That night, by some strange divine intervention I just happened to come across a recipe that called for a “high speed” blender.  I figured all blenders were high speed. Have you ever seen the little blades turn?  They look pretty high speed to me.  Well, I was wrong. A high speed blender is not the same as my crappy blender.

The right blender is your key to successful green smoothies.  How do you know which blender will rock your world?  A little something I call the celery test.  Chances are you have a blender already.  Give it a whirl.  <—See what i did there?  Blend up some celery and see what happens.  If it’s still stringy you need a better blender.  If the contents stick to the outside and stay out of reach of the blade, you need a better blender.

I know what you’re thinking.  “I’m not spending a ton on of money on a blender”.  I’m with you, I felt the same way.  And they are pricey.  Then I started the typical dialogue in my head that always pops up when I want something.  “Well, it’s not like it’s another purse, it has real value.”  “I could always return it.”  And then the clincher…”It’s an investment in my health.”  How could I argue with that?  Decision made.  Get a high speed blender.

There are tons of blenders out there.  I spent hours upon hours figuring out which one to buy.  I considered price, power, customer reviews and personal experience while compiling info.  I narrowed it down to the three blenders that performed the best within these parameters.  My top choices are:  The Nutribullet Pro 900, The Ninja Ultima, and Vitamix.  Here are the pros and cons of each.

Nutribullet Pro 900

Nutribullet Pro 900

Nutribullet Pro 900– (900 watt) You flip past this infomercial every Saturday morning. I have no personal experience with this one, but I have a few friends that have it and like it. It’s basically a more powerful version of the Magic Bullet.  If you are going to use your blender exclusively for smoothies and nothing else this may be a good option.  Also, if you have limited kitchen space or plan to travel with your blender this could work for you.

Pros: Lower cost at $150 (on sale as low as $99), more compact size, and dishwasher safe.

Cons:  Product reviews suggest it is not built to last.  It has a smaller canister (32oz) compared to other high speed blenders. It  cannot make nut butter or other thick substances. Also, users report thick greens like kale and seeds leave grainy texture.  Reviews claim poor customer service, and there is only a one year warranty.

Ninja Ultima

Ninja Ultima

Ninja Ultima-(2.5 peak horsepower).  This one receives mostly good reviews for performance. There are a few reported problems that seem to be recurring. There is a set of blades about halfway up the blender jar.  They are there to keep the contents spinning instead of getting stuck at the bottom.  Seems awesome right?  People are cutting their hands. Not awesome.  I actually had a Ninja about three years ago and returned it a week after purchase for this reason.  If you are blending something that is a thicker consistency like peanut butter you usually will use a utensil of some sort to scrape the sides and you stick your hand in there not thinking about it.  Bloodbath.  Also, reviews report lid is difficult to get on and off.

Pros:  Makes great smoothies.  It has an extra large 72oz canister.  It is able to make nut butter, soups and sauces.  It has variable speed and 3 single serve cups included and is also dishwasher safe.

Cons:  Risk losing a finger or two.  Getting more expensive at $259 (have seen on sale for $199).  It is slightly large and bulky compared to others.  Users report thick blending (i.e. peanut butter) requires stopping the blender often to stir.  Only a two year warranty.

Vitamix

Vitamix

Vitamix(2 peak horsepower) If you are looking for the best of the best, I present to you the Vitamix.  It is coveted by foodies and greenies all over.  It will blend anything you put into it including nuts and seeds.  Like a boss.

Vitamix has a great reputation and is more widely known so there are more reviews.  You’d be hard pressed to find a legit bad one.  It’s been around for a while It’s not uncommon for someone to say they have had theirs for twenty years and it still works like new.  They have excellent customer service and it’s made right here in ‘Merica.  It also comes with this thing…

DSC_4678The tamper.  It’s like a plunger that goes right in the hole in the top of the lid and reaches just above the blades.  You can scrape the sides without having to stop or open the blender.  Genius!  Now for the hard part, the price…

The Vitamix is expensive.  I’m just gonna throw that out there because it will most likely be the only thing that will hold you back from buying it.  The price range is $379 to $650.  I know, I’m sorry.  $650 is bat $h!t crazy to spend on a blender.  The good news is that even the least expensive base model is amazing and will blend ANYTHING you wish into smooth oblivion.   Keep in mind these machines are very versatile.  They make more than just smoothies.  In fact, I bet you can put your blender into a Vitamix and it would turn it into a creamy milkshake.  (Don’t try that, as I’m sure it would void the warranty).

I am a proud owner of a Vitamix and it is one of my most prized possessions.  I use it everyday.  I have the Turboblend Two Speed which is the bare bones model and costs $379.  There is no variable speed and that doesn’t bother me at all.  The more expensive models have some nice bells and whistles but the base model works great and I don’t find myself dreaming of a better version.  The 64oz container is plenty large and I don’t see ever needing any more space.  (Important tid bit-To clean it you just fill it half way with warm water and a few drops of soap and blend for a few seconds, rinse out and let air dry.)

To sum up the Vitamix:

Pros:  Extremely powerful, blends perfect smoothies, nut butters, soups and sauces, great warranty, large 64oz container, excellent customer service.

Cons:  Price, hand wash recommended.

Many people wonder why the canisters of these expensive blenders are plastic and not glass.  It is because the high speed would shatter the glass.  All of these blenders mentioned here are BPA free.  The horsepower is important but as far as blenders go, a horsepower of 2 is sufficient for all of your kitchen needs.  If you know you want a more powerful blender for nut butters and such…Here is a great video from steamykitchen.com comparing the Vitamix to the Ninja Ultima.

Here is my final conclusion:  If you know you are going to make only smoothies and never want to make peanut butter or soup or anything like that go with the Nutribullet Pro 900.  It will serve you well.  Keep in mind, if you feel a juicer may be in your future also there are many units that can make nut butters if you can’t see spending the money for the Vitamix.

If you are willing to make the investment and want a more versatile blender, the Vitamix will not disappoint.  It will make the smoothest green drinks and creamy peanut butter.  You can also get a refurbished one for around $279 and that still comes with a 5 year warranty.

PS- There are many stores that send you coupons.  Sometimes it says right on the coupon it isn’t valid for certain brands.  Hypothetically, if you were to bring the excluded blender to a register and hand over the coupon it may work.   Just sayin’.

I hope this helped you on your quest to Greenyville.  Let me know what kind of blender you use and what you are whipping up by emailing me

nikki@greensypants.com!  Don’t forget to like Greensypants on Facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there’s so new greensypants info to soak in!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

Categories: Green Love, Product Recommendations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blend Baby Blend

 

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So you’re ready for some liquid love from the Earth. Pat yourself on the back.  This is a big deal.  At some point you have probably made a smoothie/shake/blended drink (Margaritas don’t count, but nice try).  Blending is a great way to get a ton of vitamins, nutrients and fiber down your gullet without even realizing it.  Some people enjoy green smoothies right from the get go and others find them a little to “healthy” tasting.

An important thing to remember is that food doesn’t owe you anything.  It keeps you alive, ok.  What more do you want, people?  It doesn’t always have to taste sweet or savory or amazingly decadent.  Once you start changing your diet to include more whole, real food your taste buds will change.  Ever eat a full meal then an hour later be like “Ugh I’m staaaaaaaarving…”.  Well, you are starving.  You’re starving for nutrition.  Imagine for a moment there are little human workers in your body that digest your food and you just ate a cheesesteak. It sounds a little something like this…”Ok, I’ll take some of this protein, maybe a little fat.  A few pieces of onion, good,  a couple pepper slices, fantastic.  Wait…That’s it?  WTF Nikki, where’s the G.D. rest of it?  I don’t need this bread and cheese.  Where’s the vitamins for F’s sake? Guess I’ll toss the rest of this crap on your ass and thighs, enjoy it. Now, give me something I can actually work with.”  That’s what your body’s actually saying when it’s growling at you an hour after you filled it with processed crap….So, back to blending…

I am not talking about the kind of shake you get from the gym bar or pick up pre-made at the grocery store.  Those are garbage and stop drinking them yesterday.  They are filled with sugar and chemicals.  A gym, or any other fitness center should be a place of health promotion.  Nothing is more aggravating than walking into a gym and seeing that awful menu hanging above the shake bar.  It’s giving people the wrong idea of what is healthy.  It’s in the gym it must be good for me! No. If it tastes like brownies or cookies it’s not good for you.  Seriously, you’re better off just having a brownie or cookie.  At least you know what flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs are.  (note:  Analogy purposes only.  I am not suggesting you eat brownies and cookies whenever you damn well please).  Same goes for all those branded bars and shakes in a can.  Take a gander at the ingredient list.  How many of those things do you recognize?  What’s the sugar content? I’m sorry if this information is difficult to hear. Tough love is hard for me.  But, I do love you, and that’s why I am here.  I was once in line at the store with a cart full of garbage I thought was good for me.  We are in this together.  Let’s get that body of yours cleaned up and looking like brand new, OK?  Ditch the weight loss shakes and read on…

So what do you use to blend?  I’m so glad you asked!  Vegetables mostly, and some fruit.  Some lovely add in items, like your favorite protein powder and super foods.  Oh, and almond milk.  Don’t forget about coconut oil!  And flax, and chia seeds and hemp seeds…see where I’m going with this???  The possibilities are endless.

Let’s start with your base.  Something green like cucumbers and celery are the foundation of a good green shake.  They are full of moisture and take on flavors easily.  Next, you want to add some leafy greens.  Kale, collards, dandelion greens and spinach are good ones. Then a little fruit to sweeten it up.  Frozen pineapple is a great choice.  It makes anything taste good and freezing fruit before you blend it gives your shake that smooth consistency.  I always like to add some lemon when using greens.  It will cut the bitterness.  Here is a good recipe to start with.

Basic Green Shake                                                   

1/2 cucumber (peeled if not organic)

1 stalk celery

1 large Kale leaf

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/4 to 1/2 lemon

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

scoop of protein powder (optional)

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This recipe is a good foundation and you can always add seeds and yummy little enhancers later which we will talk about in the near future.   If it seems too thick you can add more almond milk.

Now, I know it isn’t going to taste like a milkshake.  It’s not supposed to.  Your taste buds may be sullied by sugar and other chemicals that you have unknowingly (or maybe knowingly) been eating for years, maybe even decades.  This alters the taste of everything you eat.  Sugar is a drug.  A bad, addictive drug, and it’s in almost everything that has a wrapper.  If you have ever tried to eliminate sugar from your diet you have probably experienced withdrawals.  Anything that gives you headaches, nausea and the shakes when you stop eating is not good for you.  We are going to be talking a lot about ways to reduce sugar.  Guess one way…blending!  You will start to look forward to your smoothies.  You’re going to get creative and in no time you will be putting all kinds of things in the blender.  You will be amazed at what your body can do for you.  (Side note:  The type of blender you use is VITAL to a good smoothie.  Stay tuned to find out which blenders are best.)

Already a green drinker?  What do you like to blend???  Reply below or email me at nikki@greensypants.com!  Don’t forget to follow on twitter and like on Facebook so you know when there’s new greensypants info to soak in!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

Categories: Green Love, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oil-icious

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As promised, and without further adieu, I present to you a how to guide on getting coconut oil into your bod pod.  I’ve already posted how its changed my life in the beauty department so now let’s talk about health.

Coconut oil has amazing health benefits.  It’s actually a superfood.  That is one of my favorite words.  That means a whole lot of goodness is headed your way.  It has lauric and caprylic acids, which kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast and, in turn, boost the immune system.  Now there’s saturated fat in it and lots of it.  But relax, here’s why you don’t need to care about that…The fat contained in coconut oil is Medium Chain Triglycerides.  If this sounds like a complicated scientific term, that’s because it is.  To break it down for you, it’s a healthy fat.  It is metabolized differently than those long chain icky ones that are found in junk food.  If you don’t trust me, go ahead and do some research to ease your pretty little head.

The first time that I took the plunge and actually ate (or in this case drank), coconut oil I had about a half a tablespoon in my green shake in the morning.  Then another half a tablespoon at night in tea. I didn’t really notice anything different at first except perhaps feeling fuller a bit longer than usual.  The next morning when I was brushing my teeth I looked in the mirror and noticed that my complexion looked different.  Amazing different.  My skin looked hydrated but not oily.  It looked perfect actually.  Like you see in face wash commercials.  I wanted to do that thing where they splash the water on their face in slow motion.  It was THAT good.  I had never seen my skin like that.  It was so soft and smooth.  I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I have to believe it had something to do with the oil.  Unless a magical, anti pimple, skin perfecting angel blessed my face when I was sleeping?  Maybe.

So I continued on my quest of ingesting coconut oil.  My skin started glowing.  I actually had a complete stranger tap me on the shoulder and ask me about my skincare routine while on line at Target.  Now, to give full disclosure, I will say that I eat a pretty clean diet so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. Before I switched to a mostly plant based diet, my skin was pretty much skin of a hormonal teen.  Switching my diet was a huge step in the right direction for my skin, but I saw an even bigger improvement when I started the coconut oil regimen.

Here’s the deal…the consistency is vile in its waxy form, which is what it will be like at room temp unless you are in a really warm room.  Like hot yoga warm or on the beach or something. I insist you NEVER try to just take a big old heap on a spoon and shove it in your pie hole.  It does not taste like pie.  It doesn’t taste bad, it just won’t end well. But there are plenty of ways to get this stuff down the hatch. Here are some of my favorite ways…

Cook with it.  You can use it in place of any oil you cook with.  It has an extremely high smoke point at 350 degrees.  Keep in mind that it does have a coconut flavor.  It’s not very intense but is great for sautéing and even better for baking.  To use in baking, you will need to melt it.  Some people put it in the microwave.  DON’T.  You will destroy all the good stuff you’re trying to get from it. It melts on contact with skin so it doesn’t take much heat.  I’ve found the easiest way to melt it is to get a very small mason jar or other type of air tight jar and put the oil in that.  Then just drop it in a bowl of hot water.  If its warm out and you have some time just put the jar in the sun and it will melt pretty quickly.  Don’t melt it until your ready to mix it in or it will solidify again.  It can be a tricky bastard like that.

Blend it.  One of the best ways to eat coconut oil is to toss it right in your smoothie.  If you don’t have a high speed blender it will solidify in small waxy balls if you have something cold in it like yogurt or ice.  I don’t mind it but it may be less than appealing to some. If you do have a high speed blender (Vitamix or similar), you won’t even know its in there.  You don’t have to melt it first.

Tea I love me some herbal tea.  You can melt a good tablespoon into your hot tea.  The melted oil will float on the top and you can just sip it off.  My favorite tea is Echinacea with a little raw honey and some ginger grated in.  The coconut gives this a really great smoothed out flavor.  Any tea you prefer would also work fine.

So how much?  One to three tablespoons a day is the goal.  Now don’t go effing crazy and dump three tablespoons in your smoothie the first day.  Here’s why…It will make you nauseous.  You will want to die.   You will need to lay down and feel like you want the sweet angel of death to have mercy on your soul.  Okay I’m exaggerating… but really it’s not good.  Your stomach will hurt and you’ll feel awful.  Ease into it.  Try a half a tablespoon and gradually add more.

The same rules apply when buying coconut oil whether you’re ingesting it or using on your skin.  UNREFINED and COLD PRESSED coconut oil is the only type you should buy.  Any brand is fine as long as you follow those two criteria. Here is an example… .DSC_4668 I like to buy a large mouth, shallow mason jar and put oil in that and keep it in the bathroom to use for my skin and keep the rest in the jar in the kitchen.  No need to be putting my fingers in the same jar I’m eating from.  Vom.

Haven’t read The Holy Grail aka Coconut Oil?  Click here see more coconut oil magic!

Already using coconut oil??  Reply below and tell me how it’s going!  Also, have any questions you want answered??  Comment or email me at nikki@greensypants.com!  Don’t forget to follow on twitter so you know when there’s new greensypants info to soak in!

Til next post…

Smooches,

Nikki

 

Categories: Body, Green Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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