Cleaning with Bi-Carb

Cleaning with Bi-Carb

If you are trying to reduce toxic chemicals from your home, then you may have heard about using Bicarb Soda instead of harsh cleaning products around your home.  Here are some ideas for how Bicarb can be used to clean and deodorize your home.

Using bicarb to clean your children’s possessions is a great way reduce their toxic chemical intake; especially since pretty much everything goes in their mouths.

Add 3 tablespoons of bicarb to a pot of boiling water, add your baby bottles and boil for 3 minutes.  Then follow your usual sterilizing procedure.  Sprinkle their stuffed animals with bicarb, leave for about 15 minutes and dust off the excess, this will get rid of nasty germs and make them smell better

Toilet training accidents are bound to happen; along with food and drink your lounge is bound to end up with some smells and stains.  The good news is a good sprinkling of bicarb, leave for a few hours then vacuum off will leave your lounge looking and smelling great.  Add a sprinkling of bicarb inside everyone’s shoes and leave overnight.  Next morning give them a good shake and the smells will be gone.

Let’s face it kids will draw on anything and getting crayon off the walls is a pain; try using a wet sponge with a sprinkle of bicarb when wiping your walls.

Using bicarb in the kitchen:

Make your stainless steel sink sparkle again with a sprinkling of bicarb over your wet sink, scrub, rinse and then line your sink with vinegar soaked paper towel for about 20 minutes.  Using a soft brush or cloth with a paste made from bicarb to scrub around the sink rim and caulk will see your sink shining.

To deodorise your fridge or pantry place an open box of bicarb or a pour some into an open container and leave in your fridge/pantry for up to 6 months.  The bicarb will absorb food odours so make sure you discard it when the 6 months is up.  Put it down the kitchen sink to give the drain a clean on the way through.  You can also wipe your garbage and/or recycling bins with a damp cloth sprinkled with bicarb to deodorize them; sprinkle with some bicarb in the bottom (once dry) to keep the odours away.

Wooden and plastic chopping boards can be refreshed by giving them a scrub with a paste of a tablespoon each of bicarb, salt and water. Make sure you give the boards a good rinse afterwards (make sure any wooden boards are completely dry before using again).

A sprinkle of bicarb topped with hot water and an overnight soak will remove funky smells and stains of your plastic containers and burnt food off your saucepans and frypans.

Have a look at our blog for more great articles on how to reduce the toxic chemicals around your home.

Visit the What Can I Eat Directory for great toxic free product suggestions.


The Low Down on Buying Organic Fruit & Vegetables

The Low Down on Buying Organic Fruit & Vegetables

Pesticide concernlow down on buying organic titled

Non organic fruits and vegetables have pesticide residues which can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metal residues such as cadmium. The toxic chemicals that are found in pesticides have been linked to a number of health related disease such as hormonal imbalances, infertility, autism, neurodegenerative diseases and even some cancers. Organic food generally has more flavour, tastes fresher and doesn’t have that chemical or waxy after taste that you get with non-organic fruits and vegetables.

Top reasons to eat organic foods:

  • They taste better
  • They have higher nutritional value
  • They are better for the environment
  • They are GM free


As eating all organic can be a bit tricky not to mention expensive I have compiled a list for you of foods that contain the most chemical residues and are the ones to choose to eat organic.

Apples come out the worst so if you are not eating organic apples it may be wise to peel them to avoid eating the chemical residues left on the skin. Fruits and vegetables with thicker skins such as bananas and oranges tend to be safer options and okay to eat non organic.

Organic certification means that the product was grown or produced without the use of harmful chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Organic certification can be time consuming and very expensive and I am noticing some produce is now being marketed as chemical free. This means that it has not gone through the intensive protocols or expense of being certified organic however it indicates that the produce was grown without the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides. This is also a good option when choosing fruits and vegetables. The down side to choosing chemical free over organic however does mean that there has been no certification process.  You are therefore relying on pure trust and integrity of the company that you are purchasing your goods from.

Fruits and vegetables best to eat organic:

This list has been influenced by the U.S Environmental Working Group (EWG) which publishes a yearly shopper’s guide (the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen) to the amount of pesticides on fruit and vegetables. I have modified the list to make it more appropriate for Australia.

Worst for pesticides (best to eat organic):

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach (you can taste the chemical residue on non-organic spinach leaves)
  • Capsicum
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas
  • Potatoes
  • Kale
  • Chilli Peppers
  • Broccoli

Whilst the cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower are listed as safer options due to lower pesticide residues, I do recommending buying organic broccoli and cauliflower as the florets soak up the pesticide residues which are hard to remove by soaking.

Better for pesticides:

  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Cabbage
  • Frozen peas
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Rockmelon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Oranges

Wash thoroughly

If you are eating non organic wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with a vegetable wash. These washes can be purchased from health food stores or you can use vinegar. Do not wash fruits and vegetables with dishwashing liquid. You would be surprised how many people do this! Dish washing liquid is also full of synthetic chemicals that you do not want to be eating.

DIY vegetable wash

Fill up a large bowl with 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water.  Add your vegetables or fruit and leave to soak in this mixture for up to an hour.  Make sure that your produce is fully immersed. After 1 hour (you can leave apples for half an hour longer as they have more of a waxy coating) remove, rinse with water and dry with a clean tea towel. If you get into the habit of washing your produce as soon as you buy it you then have fruits and vegetables ready to eat whenever you like!

Check organic labels

Do be mindful when purchasing organic labelled food and drinks such as organic wine, yoghurt, coconut cream and plant milks as they can still have nasty additives such as carrageen gum and preservatives added.  Many packet organic foods can also have high amounts of salt and sugar so just because the label says organic it doesn’t always mean it is the healthiest option. Reading the ingredient label carefully is the only way to find out exactly what is in the food that you are eating.

Whilst eating fresh organic produce is the best possible option, washing your produce thoroughly and peeling the skin where possible can really help to minimise your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and toxins.

Article submitted by Fiona Tuck.

Have a look through the Pantries of What Can I Eat for other great Organic Products

How a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet can make your Winter Wonderful

How a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet can make your Winter Wonderful

The Whole Food Plant-Based diet is the ‘new kid on the block’, when it comes to eating. In the US, this wholesome way of eating has already found many followers, and it is renowned for the huge benefits it bestows on those who follow it. Proponents include leading medical doctors, scientists and cardiologists, who are prescribing this diet to their patients with staggeringly posit
ive results.

People who change their diet from the ‘standard Western’ diet to one of fresh, whole produce and complex starches and who exclude all processed foods and animal produce, find that they often lose weight rapidly, gain back their youthful energy, sleep better and even reverse heart disease.

With the colder months approaching, most of us are bracing ourselves for a season of sniffles, lethargy, low mood and cravings for comfort foods. But it doesn’t have to be this way! I have seen amazing improvements in the health of people, who are adopting this way of eating, myself included.

Before I changed my diet from ‘Health-Conscious Vegetarian’ to Whole-Food Plant Based, I was on regular migraine medication, and had been battling my weight for decades. I was able to control what I weighed only by constantly watching what I ate – as an allied health practitioner and nutritional therapist, I thought I was doing all the right things.

After being introduced to the Whole Food Plant-Based diet through a book by the wonderful Dr Neal Barnard of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, I not only got to my ‘happy weight’, and am staying there effortlessly, but I was also able to discontinue my migraine medication, and am feeling fabulous all-round!

So, if you are looking for a way to feel wonderful this winter, give the Whole Food Plant-Based way of eating a go. I can absolutely guarantee you that, if done properly, this way of giving your body premium nourishment, will see you less prone to infection, and put a bounce in your step, as you experience a surge of energy, and a happier mood. Now is the ideal time to ramp up your nutrition, ditch the processed rubbish, and love your Winter!

Article submitted by Hilke Legenhausen from Hilke’s Health

Check out our Nutrition and Wellbeing Category for some great products to supplement the Whole-Food Plant Based Diet

Tips for Using Vinegar in the Laundry

Tips for Using Vinegar in the Laundry

Inexpensive white vinegar can be used in the laundry to whiten, brighten, reduce odour and soften clothes without harsh chemicals.  Make sure you use the white vinegar for cooking that is usually found in supermarkets near the sauces etc; this has no additives and is made from the process of fermentation of corn.  The white vinegar you find in the cleaning aisle has other additives included and us usually more expensive.

White vinegar offers a cheap, natural and environmentally friendly cleaning option and can replace a number of chemical filled cleaners around the home; here we are focussing on the uses in the laundry:

  • To soften clothes and prevent lint from sticking to them, add 1 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle
  • To remove odours from clothes add 1 cup of vinegar to a load of laundry
  • To remove pre-existing stains pre-treat with a mixture of 3 TBLSPNS vinegar, 2 TBLSPNS liquid detergent and 4 cups of warm water.  Rub the mixture into the stain and the wash as normal
  • To prevent colour fading, add 1 cup of vinegar to the was cycle
  • To prevent a new clothing item from bleeding colour, soak in a few cups of undiluted vinegar for 10 minutes
  • To prevent colours from bleeding in the wash, add 1 cup of vinegar to the load of laundry
  • To whiten dingy clothes, add 1 cup of vinegar to 5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add your dingy clothes, let them sit overnight and then wash as normal
  • To reshape/resize wool clothes soak shrunken clothing in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes reshape the clothing and let air dry
  • To kill bacteria in the laundry, add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle.
Catering For Dietary Needs on Camp

Catering For Dietary Needs on Camp

Food on camps is tricky, but not in the sense that it’s hard to do well, there’s just so many considerations when you’re catering for a diverse school group. Added to this, you often don’t know the kids very well. Before camp we do a lot of work preparing for any group and no two camps are the same. To begin with, we look at medical risks and dietary needs. What concerns are there? Do we have kids with allergies? Will some additives make them sick? Will bread and milk cause them to be ill? Can they eat meat? Is it the right sort of meat? Are there any other foods are of concern?

Having catered for so many groups on camps and residential programs, one of the key concerns was that everything has to be ‘normalised.’ Even though I might’ve been catering and cooking for a number of different dietary needs, because they’re kids, I never want anything to stand out or be remarkably different. The last thing I want to hear is a whiney toned, “Why do they get that?!” So if I was cooking burritos for example (which kids love), I’d cook a variation of the burrito for everyone to enjoy. Some have mince, some have chicken, some have tofu, some have beans. Some have tortillas, some have gluten free tortillas, some prefer just to have it on the plate!

Regardless of the mix of ingredients and the time that goes into this, the most important thing from my point of view is every student’s well-being and part of that is making sure they don’t feel ‘different’ a meal times. I’ve been to far to many venues that provide vastly different meals for the kids, making them feel left out and even isolated due to their dietary needs. I won’t have any of that on the camps I run and it’s not unreasonable to expect the same! To be honest, I love buying different foods when I go shopping. I think of all the cool combinations I can do for pizzas, curries and salads just to name a few! Whatever the menu is, I just love wandering around and searching for the best combo to make sure my one meal, can be eaten by all! This does take time, but once you’ve got an idea of a meal plan, each time you have a student with special dietary needs, it’s now only a matter of checking the plan and grabbing the right ingredient!

Article supplied by David Gregory of Xcursion

Toxic Chemicals – Eight Steps to Reduce Your Exposure

Toxic Chemicals – Eight Steps to Reduce Your Exposure

Did you know that products we use every day may contain toxic chemicals linked to women’s health problems, like breast cancer, reproductive harm like infertility and birth defects, toxic chemicals titledasthma, and other serious illnesses? The good news is that Women’s Voices for the Earth has done the scientific research for you on effective ways to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals in everyday products—and to get rid of toxic chemicals all together!

1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

– It’s easy, fun, and cheap to make non-toxic cleaners from safe and effective ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

2. Avoid Synthetic Fragrance

– Look for cleaners, laundry detergents, and personal care products labeled “fragrance-free” Warning: “unscented” does not mean fragrance-free!

– Discontinue use of air fresheners. Go to for tips to reduce odors around the home.

3. Give Your Personal Care Products a Makeover

– Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone. Check the Skin Deep database at to find safer products.

4. Go “BPA-Free”

– Ditch the canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead.

– Seek out products from the few companies now using BPA-free can liners like Westbrae Natural, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice and H.J. Heinz.

– Look for plastics labeled “BPA-free.”

5. Watch Out for Triclosan

– Avoid anti-bacterial hand soap with triclosan listed on the label.

– Reduce your use of disinfectant products.

6. Choose Plastics with the Recycle Symbols #4 & #5

– Look for plastic products with these symbols signifying PVC-free plastics.

– Use glass jars or bowls to store food.

– Never microwave plastic.

7. Keep Chemicals Out of the House

– Take of your shoes before entering your house to avoid tracking in oils and chemicals from the street outside.

– Use a door mat to catch dirt at the door.

– Dust with a micro-fiber cloth or wet cloth and vacuum your house regularly (with a HEPA-filter vaccuum if you can).

8. Turn Down the Heat on Non-Stick Cookware

– Keep the stove at or below medium heat when using Teflon or non-stick cookware.

– Opt for cast iron or stainless steel pans for cooking when possible.

Visit our Personal Care/Home Care pantry for great toxic free products


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