How to Begin Decluttering Your Stuff (and Life) Or How to Begin Spring Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello!

So this past weekend (and continuing until this next week) I have been studying for three mid-term exams!  However, I have also wanted to clean!  It feels so spring-like here, I must be ready for spring cleaning 😉  The image above I feel is a good representation of how I sometimes feel surrounded by the stuff in my life.

So, here are some tips I have been using to help me decide what I no longer need 🙂  These three tips are part of Step 4-Don’t have a lot of clutter, from the Feng Shui: What Not to Do article here.

1. Do I love it?  For some people, the answer may be that they love every single thing that they have in their possession (for those of you who this applies to, skip this step).  For the rest of us though, we probably do not love every single thing that we own.  If it makes you sad, feel down in any way, or makes you angry, if it is possible, give it away!  This will help to bring positive energy and feelings to you and your surroundings.

2.  Is it useful?  This can be a helpful question, but it can also be a difficult one that allows a person to continue having clutter.  So, more specifically, is it useful to you now?  Ask yourself whether you see yourself actually using it within the foreseeable future.  If so, keep it.  But, don’t keep holding onto that one shirt you’re sure you’ll wear someday again (I have been guilty of this too).  Just give it away, and move on. 🙂

3.  Does it reflect who I am now in my life?  This was the question that really helped me the most.  Since I have lost 35 lbs. from cutting out processed foods and sugar, I have been still holding onto clothes that really no longer fit me, nor that really even fit my personality anymore.  I still am holding onto some clothes that are too big for me (that I can see myself enjoying wearing later on just because it has not even been a year since I have lost the weight yet), but I have let go of those clothes too big for me, that are much more high school-ish, and that I did not even like that I was holding onto merely “just in case” I gained weight again.  And I feel so much lighter for doing it! 🙂  I also am starting to go through my collection of books, and giving away some that just do not fit my personality anymore, or that just simply do not make me happy.

I hope these questions help you lighten your belongings and help you lead a happier, clutter-free life!

Also, I just started a Facebook page within the past week.  Check it out! 🙂www.facebook.com/sunnymothernature

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: Only the three questions are from the article I linked above.  All the commentary and descriptions after the questions are my own.

Also, the image above is used under the Commons license, shared by the Smithsonian Institution’s Photostream on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2551232980/

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What is Co-Washing/ Conditioner Washing? An Alternative to Wen and a Way to Healthier Hair!

Hi everyone!

So, here is a hopefully more detailed description of what co-washing is, and how to co-wash your hair that Romi Madia requested!

I decided to try doing a vlog on it, hoping that it will be easier to understand what co-washing is, if I can be seen while explaining it, instead of me just trying to explain through written words.

Let me know if you like the idea of me doing more vlogs, if you’d prefer just more blog posts, or if you like the idea of both!

I hope you enjoy!

Here’s the info that I put into the description box 🙂

Co-washing, aka Conditioner Washing, is cleansing your hair with conditioner, instead of shampoo.  Although it sounds like it wouldn’t work, it really does!  Co-washing does not strip your hair like shampoo does.  So, your hair is healthier, shiny, smooth, and soft!

The products that I showed in this video are:

*Suave Rosemary and Mint Invigorating Clean Conditioner

*Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Conditioner

I only use Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Conditioner as my co-washing conditioner anymore.  For the once every couple of weeks clarifying, I use the Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo.

The other conditioners I have used for co-washing that work include V05 Repair and Protect Strengthening Conditioner, V05 Tea Therapy Blackberry Sage Conditioner, and Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner.

Link to my Wen vs. Co-washing posts: https://sunnymothernature.wordpress.com/category/wen-cleansing-conditioners-vs…

If you have any more questions, or have any comments or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!  And if you like my videos and posts, please subscribe~ it makes me happy 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

FTC:  I did not receive any of these products from any company, nor am I being paid for this video/ including these products in this video.  I bought both of the conditioners myself, and the shampoo was a Christmas present from my boyfriend 🙂

What to Avoid When Trying to Eat Healthy and Eat No Processed Foods or Sugar

Here are the ingredients and foods that I completely avoid since I’ve started eating healthy and have been avoiding processed foods and sugar. Now you can too! 

I’ve also included a couple tips on healthy eating that will help you to start eating healthy too!

This list is long, so just read it over.  If you don’t think you can avoid all of them at this time, it’s ok.  Just avoiding a few of these ingredients and/or foods will help your health. 🙂

Ingredients to Avoid If Avoiding Sugar of any kind:

1. All artificial sweeteners (ex. aspartame, saccharin, dextrose, corn sugar, grape sugar, sucralose)

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

3. Corn Syrup

4. Sugar

Ingredients to Avoid if Avoiding Trans Fat:

1. Hydrogenated Oils of any kind (ex. hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated canola oil)

2. Partially Hydrogenated Oils of any kind

3. Interesterified Oils of any kind

Any of these oils listed in a food, means that there is some trans fat in that food, even if the label states it has 0g trans fat.  This is because the FDA decided that companies could advertise any of their food products as having 0g of trans fat if it has less than 0.5 g of trans fat in them per serving.  Trans fat is more harmful to your health than saturated fat.

You need to be especially careful of this loophole when the serving size seems especially small.  This can result in you consuming a lot of trans fat when you believe you are consuming none at all.

There are three types of fat: two are naturally occuring and one is manmade.  The two naturally occuring fats are unsaturated fats and saturated fats.  Unsaturated fats are the good kind, and are naturally liquid at room temperature (think olive oil).  Saturated fats are considered the less healthy type of fat (but still better than trans fat) and are naturally solid at room temperature (think butter on the counter).

The third type of fat, and the manmade type, is trans fat.  Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified to be solid at room temperature, not liquid.  This modification is what created margarine, shortening, etc.  However, this alteration is also the reason why they are more harmful than saturated fats.

Other Ingredients to Avoid, to Help Overall Health and to Help Avoid Processed Foods:

1. Artifical Flavoring

2. “Natural Flavoring”

3. Propylene Glycol

4. Caramel Coloring

5. Fake coloring added (ex. Yellow 5, Blue 1)

5. “Enriched” Flours ~ Although some people look at “enriched” foods as a good thing, it really is not.  “Enriched” means that whatever food product it is, has been so processed that the natural vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber that would normally be found in it have been stripped out.  So, companies had to add vitamins, minerals and/or fiber back in to make it more balanced.

6. Added vitamins and minerals (look at “enriched” flours)

7. Soybean oil, Soy Lecithin, anything soy (soy has become the “new” corn- soy and corn are cheap fillers)  Soy is okay in small amounts for people (ex. Someone who has a glass of soymilk once a day because they are vegan/vegetarian).  However, too many people are getting lots of soy in their diet through processed foods and not even realizing it.  Soy mimics hormones in our bodies, and we need to be careful of that.  Soy is in anything from salad dressing, pasta sauces to chocolate.

Foods (That May Have a “Healthy/Healthier” Reputation), and Food Packaging, to Avoid:

1. Margarines– has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

2. Shortenings (ex. Crisco) -has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

3. “Wheat” foods that have 0g of fiber~ this means that it’s overly processed because wheat naturally has fiber in it.

4. White bread

5. White rice

6. White pasta

7. Any foods that are “instant,” or have a reduced cooking time: most of the time, they are more processed than the foods they are imitating (ex. instant mashed potatoes vs. homemade mashed potatoes; parboiled instant rice vs. brown rice)

8. Any foods, including meat, that have high percentages of sodium, cholesterol, or saturated fat

~Sodium- the highest percentage on any food should be 10%, but ideally lower

~ Cholesterol- the highest percentage on meat should be 30%, but ideally lower and should be more around 20% or less for any other food

9. Avoid Food Packaged in Plastics #3 and #6 – these are the most harmful types of plastics.  The chemicals in these plastics can leech into the food the plastic packaging is holding, which then makes it unsafe for our health.

10. Limit and/or avoid Plastics #1 and #7.   #1 Plastic is one that the studies are inconclusive about.  Some people suggest it is harmful while others say it is safe.  Plastic #7 is the miscellaneous category for plastics.  Some plastic labelled as #7 is safe, but other #7s are not.  I like to be on the cautious side when it comes to my health.  So, I try to limit these as much as possible.

 Tips for Healthy Eating and Eating No Processed Foods or Sugar:

1. When looking at any wheat or whole grain products, make sure there is at least 2g of fiber.  This normally means the product is less processed.

2. Look for ingredients that you can instantly imagine in their natural state: tomatoes, brown rice, etc.

3. The fresher the food is, and less packaging there is, the better.

4. Go for the rainbow when selecting fruits and vegetables

5. Eat whole wheat and whole grain foods like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread- instead of white rice, white pasta, white bread, etc.  Wheat and whole grain are complex carbs, not simple carbs like their white counterparts, which make them a better fuel for your body.

6. Eat only 2 palm-sized portions of meat a day.  This is an easy way to visually see what an 1 oz. serving of meat looks like without having to buy a scale, or carry one around with you everywhere.  Also, this is the amount of meat recommended for a person daily.  Following this keeps in check the amount of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium you’re consuming in a day.  The rest of your daily protein should come from beans and/or nuts.

8. If cutting out most processed foods from your diet/food intake, make sure you still get enough sodium.  Most Americans get way too much sodium in their diets/daily food intake because of how much processed foods we eat, and how much sodium is in processed foods.  So, most of the time, Americans have trouble with too much sodium.  For us who cut out most processed foods though, we have the problem of getting too little sodium, which our bodies do need to function (and will cause horrible leg cramps if receiving too little).  So, make sure you have enough sodium by salting your meat a little,  eating salted nuts, etc.

9. If you are financially able, go organic.  USDA Certified Organic foods are regulated and are required to not have pesticides, artifical growth hormones, etc. in them or on them, making them an even healthier choice.  However, I am even not able to go completely organic because of finances.  I have a few items (milk, eggs, cheese, and I believe one other item I can’t think of) that I regularly get organic.

However, I believe that eating fresh produce, leaner meats, and overall healthy foods will benefit anybody’s health regardless of whether they eat only organic foods, only conventionally made/grown foods, or a mixture of both.

That’s it!  Thanks for making it through the entire list!  I did not go into the reasons why I avoid each ingredient and food because I felt that it already was a really long blog post.  So, I only included reasoning when I felt that it was especially needed.

If you have any questions on any of these ingredients or foods- like why one of them is on my list– please comment below, and I’ll answer back!

This is not an all-inclusive list.  This is only what I can think of right now. I will be continuously adding things to it when I think of more.  🙂

Did I miss an ingredient or food you think needs to be avoided?  Or, did this list help you start eating better?  Comment below and let me know! 🙂

Have a sunny day, and happy healthy eating and grocery shopping!

~Kim

“Why settle for eating healthier, when you could be eating healthy?” ~Kim Maurer

How to Tell Whether a Tea has Caffeine with Sunny Mother Nature

It’s easy to tell if a tea has caffeine, or if it’s naturally caffeine free with Sunny Mother Nature!

There are people who only want caffeine.  Others who only want caffeine free.  And then there are people like me who drink both. 

Yet, there are many people from all those groups who don’t know, without looking at the package of tea, whether a tea has caffeine, or is naturally caffeine free.  So, here are the 5 things to look for:

1) If the tea is from the Camellia sinensis plant, then it has caffeine.

You’re probably wondering how science class suddenly came into a tea post, right?  Well, that’s the only science, I promise! 

Basically, the Camellia sinensis plant is where the leaves come from for white tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea.  So-

2) If it is a white, green, oolong, or black tea-then it has caffeine.

3) If it is a red tea, aka rooibos, or honeybush tea, then it is caffeine free. 

Basically, remember that red tea is NOT from the Camellia sinensis plant, and you’re good.

4) If it is an herbal tea, then it is caffeine free.

Any herbal teas, like spearmint, lemongrass, peppermint, etc. and tea blends that only have herbs in them, like a spearmint and peppermint blend-are caffeine free.

(Did you know? Technically, herbal teas and red tea are not “tea” because they do not come from the Camellia sinensis plant)

5) If a tea blend has some herbs, like peppermint and spearmint, mixed with any white, green, oolong, or black tea, then it is NOT caffeine free.

Remember that if a tea blend contains even one tea that has caffeine, then the entire tea blend is considered caffeinated.

That’s it!  Those are the 5 things to look for to know whether a tea has caffeine, or is naturally caffeine free!

Now you know how to figure out if a tea is caffeinated, or caffeine free, even if the packaging doesn’t say so!  (And see, there was only a little science.)

So, go drink a cup of tea- caffeinated, or caffeine free- your choice!

Mother Nature will love that you are drinking something that is natural and has so many health benefits in it too!

“Sometimes the world feels scary and unsafe, but if you and I have a cup of tea, it’ll suddenly feel much more like a warm and inviting place.” ~Kim Maurer, aka Sunny Mother Nature

Please Note- I am affiliated with Compass Tea Company.  If you would like to look at the Tea for One Set from Compass Teas, pictured at the top of this post, please click here http://compassteas.com/filtersforcupsormugs100ct-1-1-1.aspx

How to Make a Cup of Loose Leaf Tea with Sunny Mother Nature

Loose leaf tea isn’t difficult to make, with a how-to from Sunny Mother Nature!

I love, love, LOVE  loose leaf tea!  If you’ve never had loose leaf tea, you will be shocked to taste the difference!  Loose tea is such a higher quality tea compared to many (if not all) tea bags because tea bags contain the dust of tea!  With loose leaf tea, you are actually getting the leaf of the tea, not just the dust.  So, the taste will be significantly better with loose leaf tea!

Not only that, but because loose leaf tea is a better quality tea, you can infuse/brew more than one cup of tea with the same tea.  That’s right, you can place tea into your infuser, tea ball, or filters, and reuse the same tea for two to three cups of tea! (You just may have to brew the tea a little longer on the second and third brewings.)

Yet, from working a lot in a tea company, I know that many times people don’t know how to make loose leaf tea, but don’t want to admit it unless you ask specifically.  Often times, they feel silly if they don’t know how to make it, or are intimidated by the idea of making loose leaf tea.

I’m here to say fear not!  It is not difficult at all~just one more step to your tea routine.

So, with my “How To Decide Which Tea Infuser is Right for You with Sunny Mother Nature” post, you have decided which tea infuser that you are going to use to make your loose leaf tea with. 

Just scroll down to which tea infuser you are using, and start making that cup of loose leaf tea!

Metal Mesh Tea Infusers and Tea Balls

                      

For one cup of tea with either the Metal Mesh Tea Infuser or the Tea Ball, the directions are the same:

1) Heat the water, either in a cup, or in a kettle.  If in a kettle, next pour the water into a cup.

2) Take one spoonful of loose leaf tea and place into the mesh ball. 

3) Place the tea infuser into the hot water in the cup.

4) Let brew for the amount of time directed on the package of tea.

5) Take tea infuser, or ball, out of cup and either set into a empty cup for use later (to get two more brewings later), or dump out tea leaves into trash, or compost.

6) Optional: Place sugar, honey, and/or milk to taste.

Tea Filters, aka Tea Bags

 

With the tea filters, aka tea bags, the directions are almost the same as above. (for learning purposes, I will describe the tea filters as tea bags)

1) Heat the water, either in a cup, or in a kettle.  If in a kettle, next pour the water into a cup.

2) Take one spoonful of loose leaf tea and place into the tea bag. 

3) Place the tea bag into the hot water in the cup.  Rest the top of the bag down onto the side of the cup.  

4) Let brew for the amount of time directed on the package of tea.

5) Take tea bag out of cup and either set into a empty cup for use later (to get two more brewings later), or throw away into trash, or compost.

6) Optional: Place sugar, honey, and/or milk to taste.

Cup Infuser

The directions for a cup infuser are a little bit different than the two sets of directions above.  The cup infuser from Compass Teas, www.compassteas.com, (however, the amount made by a cup infuser depends on the brand and size you have) holds about a mug and half of a mug of tea, or two small tea cups of tea.

 1) Heat the water.

2) Add to the infuser. 

3) Add the a spoonful to two spoonfuls (depending on how strong you want the tea) of tea leaves to the infuser and let the tea brew. 

4) Place/set the cup infuser on top of cup and the tea will pour through the bottom into the cup. 

5) Pick the cup infuser back up after the amount of tea you wish to be in your cup, is in your cup.  The tea will stop flowing through once you pick the infuser back up.

6) Either leave tea leaves in container to brew two more brewings later, or gently pull at middle pole, to take out the mesh center piece.  Then, dump tea leaves into trash/compost, and rinse with water to get the rest of the leaves out of the cup infuser and the mesh center piece.

7) Optional: Place sugar, honey, and/or milk to taste.

You’re done!

You have now made your own cup of loose leaf tea!  Good job!  Mother Nature loves that you are drinking tea.  Afterall, you have just made a beverage that, if made by you, has no plastic bottles or containers, is good for you, and is a Mother Nature friendly beverage! 

So, sit back and relax while you drink in a beverage that is good for you and Mother Nature.

If you have any questions about what type of tea infuser is right for you, or about making your own cup of loose leaf tea, please comment below and I will answer back!

“Sometimes the world feels scary and unsafe, but if you and I have a cup of tea, it’ll suddenly feel much more like a warm and inviting place.” ~Kim Maurer, aka Sunny Mother Nature

Please Note- I am affiliated with Compass Tea Company.  Also, these directions are for one cup of tea unless otherwise stated.

How To Decide Which Tea Infuser is Right for You with Sunny Mother Nature

Sunny Mother Nature will give you the basics on how to decide which tea infuser is right for you!  You may even decide to own and use more than one (like me).

Picking out a tea infuser, if you don’t already own one, is one of the first steps to starting to make  loose leaf tea (the other step is buying loose leaf tea). 

So, here are the four most used types of tea infusers to choose from and the pros and cons of each.

 There is:

1) The Metal Mesh Tea Infuser

Pros-  reusable, dishwasher safe

Cons- small pieces of tea may get through the mesh and into your cup of tea

2) The Tea Ball (which normally comes with a charm on the end, so as the chain doesn’t slide into the water as the tea is brewing) It is the same as the Metal Mesh Infuser, but has a chain instead of a handle.

Pros- reusable, dishwasher safe

Cons- small pieces of tea may get through the mesh and into your cup of tea

3) Tea Filters, AKA Tea Bags- Please do not mistake these “tea filters” as the equivalent to coffee filters.  Instead, these should be called tea bags, because you are essentially making your own tea bags.

Pros- biodegradable, chlorine-free, like making your own tea bag, no tea gets through the filter

Cons- not reusable

 

4) The Cup Infuser

Pros- reusable, does not allow tea through the mesh, dishwasher safe

Cons- more expensive than the other types of tea infusers

My personal faves are the tea filters (aka tea bags) because you do not have to deal with attempting to get all of the tea out of the metal mesh.  Also, none of the smaller pieces of the tea can slip through the filter (unlike the mesh ones) and into your tea.  However, all four of these choices Mother Nature would love because one is biodegradable and the other three are reusable.  So, you will be not harming Mother Nature while you enjoy your teatime!

You can get all of these different tea infusers from Compass Teas at www.compassteas.com, and many other tea suppliers and tea places. 

So, pick your favorite tea infuser and go see the next “How To’s with Sunny Mother Nature” to learn how to make loose leaf tea.

“Sometimes the world feels scary and unsafe, but if you and I have a cup of tea, it’ll suddenly feel much more like a warm and inviting place.” ~Kim Maurer, aka Sunny Mother Nature

Please Note-I am affiliated with Compass Tea Company.