Should you “GO Organic”?

So many products now come with some type of a label saying “Organic” but what does this mean? Not all organic labels are equal. Let us helps to demystify the various “Organic” labels out there.  By understanding what these labels mean you can become a more informed consumer and make purchase decisions that truly reflect your intentions.

Labeling

The following are common organic labels you will encounter on products and their meaning.

Certified Organic – “Free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation of genetic engineering” according the USDA.

Organic – Products containing at least 95% to 99% certified organic ingredients may be labeled organic as long as the non-organic ingredients are approved by the National Organic Program, a sub division of the USDA. (May have the USDA seal)

100% Organic – all ingredients within the product meet certified organic standards. (May have the USDA seal)

Made with Organic – 70% to 94% of the ingredients are certified organic; the remaining 30% cannot be processed with additives that are not on the USDA special exclusion list.  (Products with this label cannot have a USDA seal)

Organic Ingredients – Less than 70% of the ingredients are certified organic. The label may list the organic ingredients contained in the product on the information panel. (Products with this label cannot have a USDA seal)

Other – labels such as “all-natural”, “farm raised” and “grass fed” are not regulated and carry little meaning.

It is entirely possible to see the word “organic” on a product that is not eligible to display the USDA organic seal if the organic ingredients in the product comprise 94% or less if the ingredients. For this reason it is important to exercise caution when buying. Not all things displaying the word organic are equal.

Pros and Cons to Organic Foods

Nutritional Value – Organic foods do not necessarily have a higher nutritional value than conventional foods. Although some have hotly debated this topic, studies show that a products organic nature is not a consistent indicator of nutritional value. The USDA does not consider nutritional value as a factor in their organic food certification program.

Environment – foods grown organically are not grown in environments that use pesticides or chemical fertilizers that are not on the USDA special exclusion list. For this reason organic farms are considered to have less of a negative impact on the environment than conventional farms.

Pesticide Free - Be aware that just because something is labeled organic it does not mean the product is pesticide free. It simply means that they types of pesticides used were on the USDA’s allowed list. While organic foods tend to have lower traces of pesticides in the product than conventional foods, pesticides are still present in the foods to a degree. However, your exposure is less with organic products.

Taste – The answer to this depends on you! Some people state that they can clearly taste the difference between organic and conventional products while others notice no difference. Do organic products taste better than conventional products? The answer to this question is for you and your taste buds to decide. Energetically the foods may be healthier regardless of taste.

Price – Unfortunately most products labeled organic do cost more. Part of this is due to supply and demand and part of this is due to the fact that it often does cost more to farm organically versus farming conventionally.

Pregnant Mothers & Young Children – A developing fetus in the womb or a young child are the most vulnerable to higher amounts of chemicals in the food such as pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals. Children are uniquely susceptible to toxicity from these substances.  To the degree that parents can minimize exposure the greater the benefit to avoiding adverse reactions, impacts on development and cognition based on the research. Aside from purchasing organic produce and meats, purchasing organic cereals and baby foods like those produced by Happy Baby are a healthy option for infants.

Should you “Go Organic”?

Statistically organic foods tend to cost up to 30% more than the conventional version of the product. Is it worth the cost? While organic foods may not necessarily have more nutritional value, when you choose to eat organic foods you are ingesting lower levels of chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics. Some products like produce don’t seem to show much of a variance in the levels of chemicals ingested between conventional and organically grown produce.  See the following product suggestions of what products may be better when organic.

Beef – nonorganic farms utilize growth hormones to stimulate the growth of the cows. The studies are still inconclusive as to what if any impact ingesting these hormones has on humans. Until more is known, to minimize your exposure to these chemicals it is generally suggested to go organic.

Poultry and Pork – Organic farms do not use synthetic pesticides, fertilizer or antibiotics, all of which are common on conventional farms. Some studies show that the exposure to the antibiotics may contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria. If you do buy conventional try to avoid the fat and skin as this is where the pesticide chemicals will be stored in higher doses.

Peanut Butter – Organic peanut butter will not contain the sugar and fat from the partially hydrogenated oil that is found in conventional peanut butter. These ingredients increase risk for heart disease. Organic peanut butter will only be made with peanuts and salt providing a healthier product.

Microwave Popcorn – Both the chemicals used to coat the bag and the ingredients in the artificial butter have been linked to cancer causing agents and breathing problems. Go organic to avoid these potentially dangerous ingredients.

Coffee & Tea – Coffee is the crop that is most often treated with the highest volumes of pesticide and chemicals in conventional farming. This is because of the way the crops are grown that makes the crops extremely vulnerable to pests and insects. With Coffees and Teas the steeping process the pesticides and chemicals that are water soluble are extracted into the beverage that you ingest. For this reason purchasing organic coffees and teas are recommended as the pesticide levels are often unhealthy.  Teeccino offers a variety of organic coffees including Teeccino Mediterranean Herbal Coffee Hazelnut. Also, Uncle Lee’s Tea provides organic Green Tea and White Tea.

Seafood – The USDA does not have standards for organic seafood. This means that the word organic on seafood carries little meaning. Shop for fish that is low in mercury and keep in mind that there is no guaranteed difference between seafood marked organic versus conventional seafood.

Avocados, Pineapples & Melons – Produce with thick skins tend to protect the fruit from being contaminated with sprayed pesticides. If you buy conventional fruits with thick skins wash the fruit well before peeling. The difference between organic and conventional here is minimal at best.

Apples, Peaches, Plums, Strawberries, Leafy Vegetables – Produce where you eat the peel is better to purchase organic. The pesticides used on conventional farms remains on the skin to a great degree even after washing. Even though the levels are within USDA allowable limits if you are concerned about ingesting these chemicals at any level, by purchasing from an organic farm you will ingest a minimal amount of pesticides.

Fruit Juices – As a result of the extraction process organic juices do contain fewer pesticides and chemicals and few to no additives (preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings, flavorings and monosodium glutamate). As a result organic juices retain more antioxidants and key nutrients including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorous than non-organic juices.   The company Only Natural provides organic juice concentrates in cranberry and noni.

Root Vegetables - Fertilizers and pesticides are added to the soil in both conventional and organic growing. Despite the type of farm, root vegetables at the store are likely to have chemicals in them. If it is possible to purchase from a local farmer, who does not treat with chemicals, that may be the best option in general when it comes to produce.

Nuts & Seeds – Nuts such as peanuts that are actually grown in the ground and like root vegetables will absorb the pesticides and chemicals from the soil through the roots. In general nuts and seeds have a higher oil and fat content that result in a more significant absorption rate of pesticides than other forms of produce.  The Online Organic Health Store offers a variety of organic seeds and nuts including Raw Organic Chia Seeds. It is also important to remember that nuts as an ingredient in other foods and snack bars. Choose an organic option for these as well such as Luna Snack Bar Organic Caramel Nut Brownie.

Consider the Source. Buy with reputable vendors who specialize in providing organic and environmentally conscious products to their customers. This will make your buying decisions easier as these vendors have already screened the products they offer prior to marketing them to you.

When looking to purchase items that are organic and natural check out the Online Organic Health Store. All products are organic and environmentally friendly. Most food items are certified organic with many proudly displaying the USDA seal. All products are at least 75% organic. Visit the Online Organic Health Store to stock your pantry with healthy foods and supplements and to discover environmentally friendly household products.

 

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Essential Oils

The use of essential oils for spiritual and medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptian culture was especially well known for their use of essential oils in their rituals. Both the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures utilized essential oils to complement their healing practices. Essential oils are a natural alternative to everything from treating medical conditions, emotional and psychological concerns, to alternatives to household cleaning products.

When used for healing sometimes the oil may be applied directly to the skin or inhaled as an aromatherapy treatment. While we are not sure exactly how this works it is believed that the aroma of the oils activates centers in the brain triggering physical and emotional responses that support our health. Because essential oils are a “volatile compound” meaning that the quickly transition from liquid to gas when at room temperature, they are the perfect tool for the aroma therapist.

Essential oils are naturally occurring in nature and can be extracted from a wide variety of seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, leaves, etc. Essential oils are typically very concentrated with a strong smell. It often only takes a drop to overwhelm your senses and get the job done. To date there are over 3000 essential oils that have been identified. As a volatile compound the composition of the oil is important. Factors such as the ratio of the aromatic compound, the distillation process, and the age of the oil are important in determining the use and potency of the oil. Even the geographic location of the collection of the base ingredient can alter the healing properties of the essential oil to a degree.

Safety

If is important to treat essential oils with the respect of any other medicinal herb. Essential oils are extremely potent and can be toxic in excess. Essential oils should only be applied to the skin or inhaled. Pure essential oils are most often diluted with an oil base such as olive oil or jojoba oil before applying to skin in order to prevent burning, rash and or inflammation of the skin. Even when adding essential oils to an aroma diffuser it only takes a few drops distilled with a ¼ cup of water or more to achieve a more than sufficient aroma in the air. Not distilling the essential oil enough can make the smell so overpowering that it can cause headaches and other concerns until it dissipates.

Essential oils are flammable. They should never be placed near a flame or heated unless they are significantly diluted with water.

Be aware of your health conditions and check for any contraindications prior to using a particular oil. For example people diagnosed with high blood pressure should not use rosemary. Anyone receiving chemotherapy should first consult their physician before using essential oils. Some oils contain estrogen-like compounds, like sage, and should not be used by women with ovarian or breast cancer.

Choosing a product that is pure and does not contain synthetic ingredients, chemicals or other materials that dilute the oil allows you to achieve more predictable results as there are fewer ingredient variables, possible contaminants or possible allergens to contend with in delivering an essential oil treatment.

Uses

There are many ways to use essential oils depending on your purpose. Diffusers are a common tool used to disperse a sent throughout an area. Essential oils are often used during massage to stimulate positive emotions either by placing a drop on a cotton ball near the nose to be inhaled or diluted and mixed in with the massage oil itself.  Oils at times may be applied directly to a wound to accelerate healing or to an acupuncture or pressure point and massaged in to assist in releasing a block. The possibilities are endless.

Essential oils are often purchased as individual oils. However blends of several oils are also available on the market. These blends in the right combination can also be extremely successful in producing specific results for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual purposes. The following is a list of common essential oils and possible applications.


Basil: Fight colds and bacteria. Add a couple of drops basil your foot bath or place a drop in each shoe to remove lingering foot odor.

Bergamot:  Reduce tension or stress. Use in the shower for calming aroma and purifying skin or add a few drops to bath water for a relaxing bath. Anti-depressant. Relieves joint and muscle pain.

Cinnamon: Applied diluted, cinnamon can help soothe muscle aches and pains due to its antispasmodic and analgesic properties. Use in a diffuser to relieve chest cold symptoms. 2-3 drops in a spray bottle with water for a quick cleaning spray.

Citronella: Natural insect repellent. Inhale to reduce pain and inflammation. Kitchen cleaner.

Clove: Used to clean cuts and treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Dilute clove oil in a carrier oil before applying to skin. Add clove, cinnamon, or a citrus oil to pots of simmering water to rid your home of lingering food odors.

Eucalyptus: Works as a pesticide and has the ability to kill fungus, bacteria, insects, mites and weeds. Add 10 drops to baking soda then sprinkle the mixture onto a carpet. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before vacuuming. While washing bedding, add a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to get rid of mites.

Grapefruit Add a couple of drops of citrus essential oils like grapefruit and lemon to baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over the bottom of your trash can. Inhale when feeling tired to boost energy.

Geranium:  Use in a steam facial to improve skin texture and moisturize. Add a few drops to shampoo or conditioner. Calming, inhale to balance hormones. Rubbing a few drops of geranium oil on your pet can keep ticks from attaching to their skin.

Lavender: Lavender is an anti-inflammatory. It also has hydrating properties that help calm down irritated, stressed, or acne-prone skin. Inhale to experience less anxiety and fear, increase sense of well-being and reduce need for pain medications. For a headache rub lavender, oil on your temples to help relax. Add a couple of drops of chamomile and lavender oils to your pillow to enjoy a restful sleep. Apply to cuts to accelerate healing.

Lemongrass: Lemongrass is antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, so it can be used as a powerful disinfectant. It also can repel insects.

Lemon: Well known as general purpose cleaner when mixed with water or apple cider vinegar. Strong antibacterial, astringent, and antiseptic properties. Aroma uplifts and invigorates. Mix oil with one part water and one part vodka for diy air freshener. Then pour the mixture into a diffuser for a fresh-smelling home. You can use lemon oil to dissolve substances such as wax, oil, chewing gum, or glue.

Marjoram: Dilute with massage oil and rub into back of neck to reduce stress or apply to muscles after exercise. Rub into feet prior to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Orange: The happy essential oil. When inhaled, it can help alleviate anxiety and boost your mood. Inhale to enhance immunity and boost circulation. Natural antibacterial, dilute and use as a kitchen cleaner.

Oregano: Add oregano oil to the soles of the feet to give your immune system a boost and take advantage of its antifungal properties. Combine with massage oil to massage into skin to help fight infections and promote healing.

Patchouli: Used to treat dandruff and oily scalp. Also applied to skin irritations to combat dryness, acne and eczema. Reduces depression and inflammation. Used to create musk perfume whose aroma is said to be an aphrodisiac for some.

Peppermint: Helps to relieve nausea and vomiting when inhaled. Spiders and rodents are repelled by the scent of peppermint. And 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle and spray near doors and cracks. Stop hiccups by adding 4 drops of peppermint oil to a shot glass full of water. Add peppermint oil and Epsom salt to warm water for a luxurious foot bath.

Pine: Detoxifying, stimulates blood flow helping to decrease swelling pain and soreness. Natural disinfectant. Used as household cleaner and air freshener.

Rosemary: Known as a dandruff tonic, and has even been reported to help stimulate hair growth. Peppermint, citronella, lemongrass and rosemary oil are known to deter flying insects. Add drops of these oils around windows to deter flying insects.

Sage: Add equal parts sage, frankincense, and eucalyptus oil to a bath to soothe a fever. To reduce foggy vision and heal from eye injury add 2–3 drops of clary sage oil to a clean and warm wash cloth; press cloth over both eyes for 10 minutes. Can give relief from coughs, colds, and infections in your chest and respiratory tracts. It also provides relief from congestion caused by the common cold.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is well known for combatting acne. Proven as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne, without any of the harsh side effects. Use it diluted as a spot treatment. Use hot water and a combination of lemon, tea tree, and sweet orange oils to unclog your pores. Allow steam from a bowl of hot water to waft onto your face before gently rubbing the oil mixture into the skin then wipe oil with a clean towel.

Vetiver: Inhaled to calm emotions, encourage deep relaxation and alleviate snoring.

Ylang Ylang: known for mood uplifting qualities. Add a couple of drops to a diffuser to invigorate your office and increase productivity. Apply to wrists as perfume. Refresh skin with steam facial using this oil.

These are just a few of the many uses for these essential oils. The possibilities are truly endless. Choose 2 or 3 methods you would like to experiment with and try incorporating essential oils into your daily routine to experience the difference they can make in your life.

These and other essential oils and essential oil blends can be found at the Online Organic Health Store.

 

 

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How to choose the right fertilizer for your plants.

Fertilizer or plant food is used to enhance plant growth. Many gardeners use fertilizers to enhance plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available to plants through the soil. Fertilizer is primarily sold in liquid or granular form. Fertilizer supplements the elements naturally existing in the soil to grow healthier and more fruitful plants.  Fertilizers also help to avoid disease and insect problems that could be plaguing your garden.  Fertilizer is like a multivitamin for healthy plants, flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately most soil does not provide the essential nutrients needed for ideal plant growth.  If you have been gardening in the same location for some time prior crops have already absorbed the naturally existing nutrients in the soil leaving it less fertile. Fertilizer can be used to replenish lost nutrients and ensure that this year’s garden has all the nourishment it needs to produce a healthy crop.

Nutrients

In most fertilizers there are three primary ingredients. It is important to choose the right ratio of these ingredients for the plants you are feeding nutrients to. Fertilizers will note on the label a 3 way ratio, for example 2-3-1. The first number represents the ratio of Nitrogen (N), the second the ratio of Phosphate (P) and the third the ratio of Potassium (K). This label is known as the fertilizer grade which is a national standard. By law the N-P-K ratio for organic fertilizers is typically lower than a synthetic fertilizer as the ratio can only consider the nutrients immediately available, not those released over time.

  1. Nitrogen increases the plant’s capacity to grow new stems, flowers or fruit. When nitrogen is at optimum levels plants will grow larger and faster. Finding the right level of nitrogen in your soil is important as too much nitrogen may actually stunt the plant’s growth because it is absorbing too much nitrogen and not enough of other nutrients.

  2. Phosphorus helps plants to form strong roots and supports in the process of photosynthesis, the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy. The right phosphorus levels improve the plants vitality and seed size. To absorb phosphorus a pH level of 6.5 to 6.8 is necessary for most types of plants.

  3. Potassium builds plant protein. This is important in fighting diseases and making plants disease resistant. Potassium also aids in the photosynthesis process, helping to regulate metabolic activities. As with the other nutrients, potassium used in soil at incorrect levels can cause damage to the plant.

Organic vs. Synthetic

In addition to choosing the right ratio of the three primary ingredients in your fertilizer it is also important to choose and organic fertilizer vs. a synthetic product. Consider the following benefits to an organic fertilizer:

  • Organic fertilizers are made from naturally occurring organic material vs. synthetic fertilizers which are made by chemically processing raw materials.

  • Because the nutrients in organic fertilizers are not water soluble in organic fertilizers they release nutrients to plants slowly over time. Synthetic fertilizers are water soluble and are absorbed by the plant immediately which can damage the plant.

  • Organic fertilizers stimulate the good microorganisms in the soil and improve the soil structure. While synthetic fertilizers may provide and immediate boost, they do not improve the soils fertility on a long term basis.

Liquid or Granular

What about the type of fertilizer?

Granular fertilizer nourishes the soil improving the quality for all plants drawing their nutrients from that soil. Granular soil also helps to improve the way the soil works by aerating the soil allowing it to retain water better and air to flow freely to the roots.

Liquid fertilizer can be sprayed on the foliage with remarkable results for the plant. Plants can absorb nutrients 8 to 20 times more efficiently through the leaf surface over the roots. While fertilizing the roots and the foliage are both important, the liquid fertilizer produces better results if sprayed on the leaves at times in the plant’s life cycle of transplanting, blooming and just after the fruit sets. Foliar feeding or spraying fertilizer on the leaves is best done in the early morning or evening.

Recommended Fertilizer Products

Neptune’s Harvest is an award winning producer of all organic fertilizers utilizing fish hydrolysate. The below excerpt from Neptune’s Harvest website describes their process:

Fish hydrolysate is an all organic, highly nutritional protein fertilizer, made utilizing naturally occurring enzymes present in fresh North Atlantic fish. We produce this using a cold process employing enzymes (natural biological catalysts) which break down fish, or fish frames (the part left after the fillet is removed for human consumption) to simpler protein complexes. This process is called Hydrolysis.

No synthetic materials are mixed into the fish hydrolysate, and the only manipulation the product undergoes is grinding and hydrolysis. This process yields a stable, non-odorous, liquid fertilizer that is an easy to use, safe product. The nitrogen in Neptune's Harvest fish fertilizer is derived from fish protein in the form of amino acids which when added to the soil, slowly break down into basic nitrogen compounds. While a percentage of nitrogen becomes soluble due to the nature of the manufacturing process, no inorganic nitrogen has been added.

Neptune's Harvest hydrolyzed fish does no biological damage to the soil and will promote the growth of beneficial bacteria making the soil less compact and better able to drain, yet hold moisture better for future plant use as it is needed. With our cold process, the vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and growth hormones are not damaged or destroyed. Because no oils or proteins are removed, the nutrients remain in the soil longer, and lower N-P-K rates can be used to meet or exceed the results obtained by chemicals with much higher rates. Some advantages to using hydrolyzed fish fertilizer are that it rebuilds soil, gives excellent plant growth with increased yields, and is made from a renewable aquatic resource. Our hydrolysate fertilizer is filtered through a 165 mesh screen as a first step, and then through a 150 micron screen before it is packaged. This ensures an ease of application with most irrigation sprayer systems that is second to none.” www.neptunesharvest.com

Product

Description

Seaweed Plant Food

0-0-1

Neptune’s Harvest Seaweed Plant Food is an organic storehouse of over 60 naturally occurring major and minor nutrients and amino acids.

·         Delivers micronutrients to promote growth

·         Enhance plants development, color and vigor

·         Increase plant hardiness and resistance to adverse environmental conditions, such as early frost, extreme heat and lack of moisture

·         Increases and accelerates germination,

·         Enhances the rapid development of a healthy root system

*Liquid - Apply to soil or foliage.

Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer

2-3-1

Neptune’s Harvest Fish/Seaweed Blend Fertilizer gives you the best of both products, combining the naturally occurring vitamins found in fish hydrolysate and the nutrients and amino acids in seaweed to make this optimal liquid fertilizer. (Combo of Green and Orange label products)

·         Soil fertilization and plant growth

·         Protects & enriches soil

·         Plants are stronger, healthier, and more plentiful.

·         Increased yield of fruits and vegetables.

·         Flowers and foliage will be stronger and more colorful

·         Blooms will be more plentiful, fragrant, and longer lasting

*Liquid - Apply to soil or foliage.

Fish Fertilizer

2-4-1

Neptune’s Harvest Fish Fertilizer is an organic fertilizer made from fresh North Atlantic fish.

·         Multipurpose soil fertilizer

·         No unpleasant odor

·         100% organic, so it won’t burn plants and roots, or pollute the environment

·         Feed vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs 

*Liquid - Apply to soil or foliage.

Kelp Meal

Multi-Purpose Plant Food

1-0-2

Neptune’s Harvest Organic Kelp Meal is Ascophyllum Nodosum, which is widely recognized as one of the finest marine plants available for agriculture today. Kelp Meal is a natural and cost affective enhancement to any soil fertilization and conditioning program.

·         Suitable for all crops and applications, and can be mixed with most soil conditioners and fertilizers.

·         Can also be incorporated into potting soil, seed and transplant beds, as well as composting materials.

·         Helps soil to retain moisture

·         Enhances healthy root growth

·         Good for keeping lawns healthy and green, even through drought periods.

Crab Shell

Multi-Purpose Plant Food

2-3-0

Neptune’s Harvest Crab Shell is an excellent dry organic source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Calcium (23%) and Magnesium (1.33%).

·         Multipurpose plant food

·         Helps with nematode and fungus problems

·         Mix thoroughly with the soil or apply directly as a top dressing

·         Good for growing in hostile environments

Turf Formula

2-0-2

Neptune’s Harvest fish hydrolysate is an organic, liquid fertilizer made utilizing naturally occurring enzymes present in fresh Turf North Atlantic fish. It contains macro and micronutrients, vitamins, amino acids, omega oils and more. Promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria making the soil less compact.

Specifically designed for use on turf grass. Provides necessary nutrients for tolerating environmental conditions such as high temperature and drought. Offers improved vigor, color and root density.

www.NeptunesHarvest.com

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Are you burning the healthiest candles for your home?

Candles have been used throughout history. The earliest uses of candles have been traced back to primitive Egypt. The primitive Egyptians used a candle made from wax extracted from the pulp of reeds that was soaked in melted animal fats. From this point in history the candle began to evolve. Other ancient civilizations made candles from a combination of plants, insects and papyrus soaked in bees wax or tallow. The ancient Chinese developed a bee wax candle while the Japanese experimented with candles from the wax of tree nuts. India discovered a process to create a candle from the wax extracted from boiled cinnamon.  All of these candles were used for the practical purpose of casting light but also were heavily used for religious rituals and ceremonies across all cultures.

Today candle making has evolved into the creation of candles for practical, ceremonial and decorative purposes. The types of candles available on the market have also evolved. Today there are many factors such as the wax type and other materials that go into the making of a candle that a consumer must consider in making the best selection for their purposes. It is important to choose candles that will not only meet your needs but also are healthy and safe for your family and your home.

What type of candle wax?

An important factor to consider in choosing candles is the type of wax used. There are 5 primary wax types on the market today.

  1. Palm Wax – Palm wax is widely considered the best quality candle wax on the market today. Palm wax burns cleanest with almost no smoke residue making it a non- toxic candle type. This wax type has the longest burn time of all the waxes and produces a very bright flame. Palm wax is good for large, long lasting candles and does a great job at retaining the fragrance with means the fragrance will last all the way to the end of the candle burn.  Palm wax is derived the oil in palm trees. It is 100% vegetable- based and therefore vegan. The Palm tree also has a spiritual significance making this candle type a popular choice for ceremonial and religious purposes.  Palm wax candles can be difficult to find, which can make them a more expensive choice compared to other candles.

Aloha Bay Candle produces and top of the line selection of Palm Wax Candles. The company also carries a variety of blessed candles for specific intentions that come with instructions for use in specific ceremonies and manifestation rituals including Physical Healing, Chakra Healing, Positive Energy, Abundance, Happiness, Protection, Love, and Money. Unscented Taper Candles and Tea Light Candles are also available in many different colors.

  1. Soy Wax – Soy wax candles are made from soybeans, often those that are grown by local farmers allowing the consumer to support their local economy. Soy candles are slow, clean burning candles that produce very little soot. Soy candles are non-toxic. In general a soy candle will last 30% to 50% longer than paraffin candle.  

While many do not care for the scent of soy itself in an unscented candle, soy wax candles do seem to hold the scent of essential oils very well releasing it slowly and steadily due to the slower candle burn. This candle type also holds the dye color well making for a more attractive candle. This type of wax is biodegradable and water soluble making wax spills much easier to clean up. Soy wax is great for larger candles.

When considering purchasing a soy candle sure the candle is “100% pure soy” to avoid purchasing a lower quality candle that may actually be a blend of soy wax and another lower quality wax.  A blended candle will not offer the full benefits of a 100% soy candle. Also confirm the soy candle is organic as 90% of soy is GMO soy in today’s market.

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Soy Candles are a manufacturer of high quality soy candles in several scents including Basil, Lemon, Cranberry, Lavender and Geranium.

  1. Beeswax – Beeswax is another clean burning, long lasting candle type. It is all natural, virtually drip free and has own pleasing scent although the honey sent does not always blend well with other fragrances. Caution should be exercised to look for “100% Organic” beeswax in order to obtain pure, non-gmo, raw, unrefined and screen filtered beeswax. Beeswax is often used in luxury holiday candles and hand sculpted candles.

Some believe strongly in healing effects of beeswax candles, particularly as an effective treatment for allergies although the research to support this is inconclusive. Beeswax when burned releases negative ions into the air. Higher concentrations of negative ions clear the air of mold spores, pollen, pet dander, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, dust and other hazardous airborne particles. When the negative ions attach to positive ions causing the germs and other allergens to become too heavy to stay in the air the quality of the air is improved and the effects of excess positive ions are removed. This improves the overall feeling of wellbeing and enhances health benefits.

Bluecorn Naturals is rated one of the top producers of beeswax candles for 2017. Other products are also created from beeswax including everything from deodorant to lip balm from organic companies such as Nourish Organic.

  1. Blended Paraffin – Blended paraffin is the most widely used candle wax. More than 95% of candles are made from blended paraffin primarily because it is an inexpensive, easily attainable material. Paraffin is the leftover by product from petroleum refining process.  When a paraffin candle is burned it releases same harmful carcinogens as when gasoline is burned. The soot from burning paraffin wax collects on the jar, blackens walls and leaves a soot film on furnishings. The black soot emission is loaded with toxins that may trigger allergies and even asthma reactions for some.

Despite the documented harmful effects of blended paraffin candles, they are easy to find, inexpensive to purchase and burn very quickly.  Most retail and discount stores carry this type of candle in a variety of colors and scents.

  1. Mineral Oil, Mineral Oil Based Gel and Resin Compound Wax –Mineral based waxes produce a generally clean, steady burning. When molded this wax type creates a clear and bubble free candle.  Mineral based waxes have a higher melting point which results in less soot being created from the burn. However these types of candles must be in heat resistant containers due to the higher melting temperature or the containers may explode and cause injury. This wax type is most often used for container and gel candles that are intended to be decorative accents or collectible candles, not for frequent use.

This candle type is most often available from private crafters or home décor retailers.

Within each wax type there is a quality range base on quality and purity of the raw material; extraction processes used, etc., the better the quality of the wax the better the quality of the overall candle.

What other factors should you consider?

In addition to considering wax type in your purchasing decision it is important to also consider the quality of the other materials that go into the candle. These materials include:

  • Type Of Wick -Make sure wicks are cotton with a paper core, no lead which can be toxic.

  • Container Type – Can it be recycled or multi use? Is it heat resistant?

  • Dyes & Fragrances – Look for plant based dyes and essential oils.

  • Additives – Chemicals such as Vybar, Stearin, Petrolatum. Avoid chemical additives.

  • Decorative Items– Shells, glitter, plastics, stones, etc. Best for candles that are purely decorative and will not be burned.  

Why choose carefully?

The environment in our home and office has an impact on our health and wellbeing. Creating a serene and peaceful environment evokes those same feelings within our bodies. What we take in through our senses including visual stimulate and scents can influence our mood. Carefully considering the types of candles to burn in our environment can create an uplifting vibe and add to your décor however we also want to make sure our choices are healthy, non-toxic and environmentally conscious.

How do I choose?

Ensure that your environment is healthy and safe by using the healthiest, nontoxic candles you can find.

  • Use palm wax, beeswax or 100% soy candles

  • Use candles with cotton wicks with a paper core

  • Use candles with plant based dyes and essential oils

  • Avoid candles with chemical additives

Take standard safety precautions when burning candles.

  • Never leave burning candles unattended

  • Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets

  • Keep the flame low but trimming the wick

  • Make sure the candle holder is steady and secure

  • Keep candles clear of other combustible materials

Choose to purchase pure, safe candles that reduce the toxins in your environment and improve the feeling of wellbeing in your home or office. The Online Organic Health Store has a broad selection of candles to choose from as well as other great products. Come and check out our website at www.onlineorganichealthstore.com!

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Is Homeopathic Medicine for you?

Homeopathy is an approach to treating illness created by the German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. Homeopathy was the primary medical system in the early 19th century. Homeopathy was gradually replaced by allopathy. Allopathy approaches the treatment of disease with drugs having opposite effects to the symptoms being experienced. This is the methodology of mainstream pharmacology today.

Homeopathy is based upon 3 principles:

1.     Like cures like or the “Law of Similars”. In homeopathy an illness is cured by a remedy that creates symptoms similar to what is being experienced by the patient.

2.     Minimal Dose. Remedies are taken in an extremely diluted form for safety reasons and only taken for a small number of doses.

3.     A Single Remedy.  Regardless of the number of symptoms in the patient only one remedy is taken, which is aimed to treat all of the symptoms being experienced: mental, emotional and physical.

Is homeopathy the same as herbal medicine?

Homeopathy is considered a form of alternative medicine, but is not the same as herbal medicine. Both are forms of natural medicine and use herbal extracts for treatment; however the approach for the determination of the appropriate natural ingredient(s) to use, remedy preparation and protocols for treatment vary between the two methodologies. Herbal or botanical medicine applies different protocols in creating remedies. Herbal remedies are often more concentrated than homeopathic remedies and the dosages are sometimes considered as a dietary supplement intended to be taken on a long term basis as opposed to the minimal dose principal in homeopathic treatments. Multiple treatment approaches are often prescribed in herbal medicine where homeopathic medicine follows the single remedy principle. Herbal remedies are often prescribed by naturopathic practitioners. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed by homeopathic practitioners.

Homeopathy has historically been a controversial form of alternative medicine. Because of the dilution of the active ingredients in homeopathic remedies some scientists believe that therapeutic results are impossible while others contend that the efficacy of homeopathic treatment is simply a placebo response. Research studies of the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment have produced conflicting results. Meanwhile the rapid and permanent results experienced my many who have applied homeopathic treatments combined with the high degree of safety that these remedies provide make the option of homeopathic remedies worth a try.

What symptoms can homeopathic remedies cure?

Homeopathy has a remedy for any symptom being experienced. In homeopathy the belief is that every symptom has a coexisting naturally occurring ingredient that, in excess, would create a similar symptom. Remedies for commonly occurring symptoms are prepackaged and can be found in the Online Organic Health Store and other retailers. Prepackaged homeopathic products are easily available to treat the following symptoms:

 

Acne

Allergy & Cold

Athlete’s Foot

Bed-wetting

Cold Sores

Eczema

Flu

Gout

Headache

Hemorrhoid

Insomnia

Leg Cramps

Migraine

Nail Fungus

Nerve Pain

Osteoarthritis

Psoriasis

Rectal Pain & Fissures

Restful Sleep

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ringworm

Scars

Sinus Pain

Skin Tag

Stomach Upset

Stress Relief

Teething

Varicose Vein

 Warts

 

 

For more unique combinations of symptoms, finding the right homeopathic remedy can take some time and may require some experimentation through a trial and error process. Exactly the right remedy for your unique symptoms must be applied to realize results. While there are standard remedies that are most often successful as a treatment for a specific symptom, each individual’s scenario and symptomology are unique and therefore one remedy does not fit all scenarios.

If your symptoms are not included within the above common categories or the generally effective remedy is not producing results, remedy finder tools are available online. Both the National Center for Homeopathy at www.homeopathycenter.org and https://abchomeopathy.com offer “Find a Remedy” tools. Through these tools one can select the symptoms that are being experienced and the tool will recommend a unique and individualized homeopathic remedy.

What are the side effects to homeopathic remedies?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) “A systematic review has found that homeopathic remedies in high dilution, taken under the supervision of trained professionals, are generally considered safe and unlikely to cause severe adverse reactions.” Homeopathic remedies are generally considered to be a safe form of treatment even for infants and pregnant women. Typically it is safe to take a homeopathic remedy alongside conventional medicines; however you should always consult your prescribing physician or pharmacist. Naturopathic remedies are not addictive.

Why try homeopathic remedies?

Homeopathy is a system of medicinal treatment widely used throughout the world. When the correct remedy is applied the results have been shown to be extremely effective. Healing results are often rapid, complete and permanent. The remedies are based on natural ingredients from nature, working with your immune system to support the body in healing itself. Remedies are intended for short term use and are not to be continued once symptom relief is experienced. Homeopathic remedies are safe to use along with conventional medicine and other alternative treatments such as acupuncture, energy healing, massage, etc. Lastly, homeopathy is “holistic”, meaning that all symptoms are treated as a whole not as individual parts.

How can I find a homeopathic practitioner?

In the U.S. there is not one governing body that oversees homeopathic medicine. Licensure requirements vary from state to state. Homeopathic doctors or practitioners often use the credentials of DHT, DHANP or CCH.

To find an experienced homeopathic physician or practitioner in your area search the “Find a Homeopath” Professional Directory at www.homeopathycenter.org or search the directory on the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH)  to find a practitioner and view their credentials.

Comments

Please comment on our blog and let us know about your experiences with Homeopathy.

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What is the all the buzz about BPA?

What is BPA?

BPA stands for Bisphenol A. BPA is a chemical that has been used in making certain plastics and epoxy resins since the late 1950’s. BPA is often found in the type of polycarbonate plastic used to make food storage containers, water bottles, plastic cups, baby bottles and many other plastic products. The epoxy resin used to line the insides cans for canned foods contains BPA. BPA residue can even be detected in the epoxy used in some dental sealants.

Why should we be concerned?

Studies focusing on the possible adverse effects of BPA began to increase and gain more attention in the late 1990’s.  In 2010 the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announce it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children” (FDA 2010). At this time the FDA began to launch initiatives to reduce BPA in our environment, especially in relation to contact with food. In 2010, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles but in 2012 denied a petition to ban BPA in all food and beverage packaging.  

Studies show that BPA seeps from the containers and packaging into the food and beverages that they hold. The FDA acknowledges that this occurs but claims that due to the low levels of BPA released into the food it is still safe. However, the FDA continues to monitor the research on the impacts of BPA. Some research shows that heating plastic, by heating a container made with BPA in a microwave or leaving a water bottle in the hot sun for example, actually increases the amount of BPA released into the food.

How much BPA is too much?

The FDA has said that BPA is safe at very low levels for human exposure.  BPA is so common in today’s environment that a 2004 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of study participants.  How much is too much varies. The European Union set a limit of 600 parts per billion (ppb) of BPA per kilogram of food, Japan’s limit is 2,500 ppb. Meanwhile France has suspended production, import export and marketing of BPA packaging coming into direct contact with food setting its safe level at 0.0025ppb per day.

What are the effects of BPA?

Research shows that the negative impacts of ingesting BPA may include:

·        Altering brain function

·        Behavioral changes

·        Impacts gland functioning

·        Disruptions of the endocrine system

·        Adverse effects on breast development

·        Contributes to obesity – impacts metabolism

·        Contributing factor in neurological and immune disorders

·        Cancer

Studies show that infants and children are especially sensitive to the effects of BPA because their systems are more sensitive and therefore more susceptible to BPA.

How can we minimize the levels of BPA that we ingest?

While Both the FDA and the European Food and Safety Authority continue to research and monitor the effects of BPA on our health we can still take proactive steps to minimize the levels of BPA we ingest by implementing these steps:

1.     Use BPA free products. The Organic Health Store and many other vendors offer a variety of BPA free products for the informed consumer.

2.     Reduce the use of canned foods. Substitute fresh, frozen or dried food for canned food.

3.     Rinsing canned foods in water may help lower the level of BPA in the food to a degree.

4.     Seek out canned products that use BPA Free Lining. Eden Organic, Vital Choice, Wild Planet, Native Forrest, Amy’s, Farmer’s Market, and Tyson are just a few of the brands that use BPA Free packaging. However companies do not always label their BPS free canned food products.

5.     Avoid heating food and beverages in plastic containers. The heat from the microwave or dishwasher causes plastics containing BPA to break down and over time increase the amounts of BPA released into the foods they contain.

6.     Use Glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for storage and serving.

7.     Take special care to minimize exposure to BPA for infants and children.

8.      Discard older baby bottles and plastic cups that contain BPA and replace with newer BPA free containers.

9.     Remain vigilant and keep informed. Be aware of new research findings and of new BPA free products as they are introduced to consumers.

What can we do to encourage companies to be proactive in going ‘BPA Free’?

Many companies are beginning to take proactive steps to remove BPA from food packaging, even without government regulation forcing them to do so. As consumers we can take steps to encourage companies to take action by asking for the BPA status of products, if it is not already disclosed. We can reward companies that have already taken steps to remove BPA by purchasing their products, providing positive customer reviews and promoting these companies through on social media. Until more is known about the effects of BPA and what levels are safe for humans, it is wise to exercise caution. Make safety a priority for you and your family by being proactive in reducing the BPA in your environment.

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7 Steps to Protecting Your Relationship From Infidelity

Infidelity is such a hot topic in today’s society. The most important thing to know about infidelity is that what constitutes this type of betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. While a form of physical betrayal is most commonly thought of when the word infidelity is used, emotional betrayals can be just as damaging and in many cases even more detrimental to the relationship. Emotional betrayal can include sharing your partner’s secrets or your deeper thoughts and emotions with another. For many the pain of an emotional betrayal cuts far deeper than a physical betrayal.

When experiencing a deep betrayal a person can feel like they are going insane. Obsessive thoughts, intense pain and our deepest fears creep to the surface causing us to respond irrationally. Often our reaction to a betrayal can be completely out of character and a shock to everyone around us, including ourselves! When walking through this process you may feel completely alone which is only exacerbated by the guilt and shame society inflicts on the victim. This often causes the victim to retreat into isolation even further at a time when they most need support and comfort from others.

With the current divorce rate in the US hovering somewhere between 40 to 50 percent, taking steps to strengthen your relationship and proactively protect it from infidelity are important steps to take in a proactive effort to make your relationship last.


Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/love-family/relationships/affairs-and-divorce/7-steps-to-protecting-your-relationship-from-infidelity.aspx#qi6fURUsQlpmwe7y.99

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7 Steps to Deal with Jealousy and Envy

Jealousy and envy are often spoken of as the same emotion. Actually they are different ends of a spectrum. Jealousy occurs when we want to keep what we have. We become jealous when we are afraid of losing something in our life we value. Envy is when we want something we don’t have. Envy is based on the desire to possess something someone else has but we do not. These emotions are often referred to as shadow emotions, expressing the darker side of our humanity.

When we are feeling jealous or envious, it doesn’t feel good. Experiencing and staying in the space of jealousy and envy can very quickly lead to despair. Based in fear, these emotions leave us feeling hopeless and powerless. The more we find ourselves enmeshed in these emotions, the more they can build creating a downward spiral that is hard to climb out of.

Once we begin to feel jealousy or envy it is easy for these emotions to take over our focus. When we are drawn into the shadow emotions of jealousy and envy we become unproductive and increasingly are surrounded by more and more negativity, hatred and resentment. Since jealousy and love cannot coexist in the same space focusing on these shadow emotions actually repels love and happiness from our life.

Feeling shadow emotions like jealousy and envy is normal and a part of the human experience. Learning to recognize that we are feeling the emotions of jealousy and envy is what allows us to have the human emotional experience. However, it is important not to get stuck in these shadow emotions and drawn into the darker side of being human. By being aware of our feelings of jealousy and envy we can take the following action steps to move through these emotions and on to emotions that feel more pleasurable.


Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/personal-growth/7-steps-to-deal-with-jealousy-and-envy.aspx#AkATIvhJ8TlS4z6I.99

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7 Hacks to Maintain a Happy State of Mind

I am often asked, “How do you stay so happy all the time?” Well the short answer is, “I don’t.” We all have times that involve “unhappy” emotions including sadness, despair, frustration or anger just to name a few. Life is full of cycles. Feeling the full range of emotions as you go through life is part of being human. No one is happy ALL of the time. The difference between “happy” people and people who are not happy is that “happy” people recognize that happiness is a choice. While we may feel sad or depressed, happy people choose not to set up camp and put down roots in that unhappy state, marinating in those unhappy emotions. It is not always easy but it is possible to move through tough times with a smile on your face.

When feeling unhappy emotions acknowledge them and even embrace these emotions, but set a limit. It is not going to help to ignore or deny how you are feeling. We must acknowledge the emotion and experience the related feelings that go with it in order to move through that emotion. However, also set a limit for yourself. Be it 10 minutes or an evening depending on the magnitude of the upset, only allow yourself to wallow in unhappiness for a set period. This does require you to exercise your willpower and to recognize that you are in charge of your emotions, not the other way around. When it is time to take control and move out of an unhappy state try the following hacks to shift back into a happy state of mind and allow the unhappy emotion to pass...Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/galleries/7-hacks-to-maintain-a-happy-state-of-mind.aspx#R3YhJjhSVBrRJ6Dx.99

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7 Differences Between Spirituality and Religion

Spiritual but not religious (SBNR) is a new buzz phrase often thrown around within new age circles. What exactly does that mean? How are spirituality and religion different and how are they the same?

A religion can be defined as an institution with a set of organized beliefs and practices shared by a community or group. The social network of a religion can provide structure and peer support in following prescribed codes of conduct for daily living. For the most part a religion is a public entity and the general premise of the religion’s doctrine including creed, code and ethics is documented, tangible and openly shared.

Spirituality on the other hand is a personal and uniquely individualized discovery and set of beliefs and practices that evolves over time. Through study, experience and self-reflection beliefs and practices evolve that support an individual in their unique connection to something outside of themselves. Spirituality is deeply personal and while some practices like yoga may be performed alongside others the actual belief structures and connection is unique to the individual and often completely known only to themselves.

The following 7 differences between religion and spirituality will help you to distinguish between the two... Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/personal-growth/7-differences-between-spirituality-and-religion.aspx#gR8OIUIxTX3IS9Xh.99

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5 Breathing Exercises to Boost Your Energy

Breathing is one of our most critical bodily functions. While we can live for months or weeks without food or water but a fresh supply of oxygen is required every few minutes for us to survive. Breathing is not only important physiologically but also has great power spiritually. The bible speaks of how God breathed the breath of life into Adam in the story of creation in Genesis. Some translations of the bible state that it is from the breath of God that we receive life. In Hebrew the word for breath also means life. The Greek language also has a word for breath that is analogous to spirit. In the book of John, Jesus draws an analogy between the breeze and the Holy Spirit blessing an individual. The power of breath has been known and respected in many cultures and belief systems for thousands of years.

The act of breathing has an impact on both our emotional and physiological states. Conscious breathing can help to rebalance our mind and body, reconnecting us to Spirit. When we consciously practice breathing we are able to relax and sent larger amounts of oxygen to every cell in the body, especially the brain. At the same time the act of breathing includes exhaling poisonous carbon dioxide from our systems thereby cleansing our system as we also nourish it with oxygen. Practicing any of the following conscious breathing exercises even for just 1 minute will re-energize, re-focus, and reconnect you to your purpose, allowing you to proceed with our day refreshed and with a clearer mind.


Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/galleries/5-breathing-exercises-to-boost-your-energy.aspx#pFWYVXJhoGrWZ5UW.99

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