Organic Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When life gives you ripe bananas, you make organic banana bread, and add chocolate...duh =)

Here's the recipe I use for my organic chocolate chip banana bread:


  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder without aluminum
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I probably did a little more)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (5 medium)
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • ½ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, bananas, sugar and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mix. 
  3. Stir until moistened. Mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into bread pan (7 ½ x 3 ½ x 2- inches)
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until fork or toothpick come out clean from center. The oven you has everything to do with how long you bake it. If you have a convectional oven, it may be around 40 minutes. Just check on it after 40 minutes regularly. 
  6. EAT! =)

10 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid

It feels like everywhere around you there is something that causes cancer, whether it's food, cleaning products, environmental toxins, clothes, furniture and the list can go on. This can be really overwhelming for people, especially those with children.

Parents Magazine published an article in 2013 about the results of specific chemicals that should be avoided. Many of those chemicals are "known or suspected" to be linked to cancer, early puberty, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, autism, and other serious health issues.

There seems to be so much to avoid that lists such as these are a great way to get started without feeling overwhelmed. The goal is to reduce the usage of any products that contain harmful chemicals.

Here is a summary of the list, with some additions, provided by the published article done by Parents Magazine:

1. Arsenic 

Linked to: Skin, bladder, kidney and lung cancers

Found in: 
  • Apple and grape juice
  • Rice products (which are contaminated through pesticides in groundwater) 
  • Pressure-treated wood made or manufactured before 2003
What you can do: 
  • Consume juices in small amounts
  • Limit amount of rice consumed and try to switch to 100% organic and, if possible, whole wheat products
  • Avoid older pressure-treated wood, which may be found in sandboxes, playgrounds, wing sets, decks. If your child gets a splinter, it can actually be absorbed into the skin.
Remember, the skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs everything placed on it. For children, it absorbs at a much higher rate relative to their body size, so it's best to limit the exposure to these harmful chemicals as much as possible.

2. Formaldehyde 

Linked to: Skin irritants, allergies, respiratory symptoms, headache, fatigue, and nausea

Found in: 
  • Embalming fluid
  • Household products
  • Makeup
  • Skin care products
  • Baby wipes
  • Hair products
  • Pressured wood medium density fiberboard
  • Furniture
  • Glue and adhesives 
What you can do: 
  • Ventilate any furniture outdoors or in an open garage if you purchase wood made of pressboard or MDF that has been treated with this chemical.
  • Avoid beauty and household products that have these ingredients: 
    • Quaternium 15
    • Bronopol (also written as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol)
    • Diazolidinyl urea
    • DMDM hydantoin
    • Imidazolidinyl urea
    • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
3. Mercury 

Linked to: Impaired neurological development and high levels of ADHD 

Found in: 
  • Air pollution
  • Industrial waste
  • Fish (shellfish and larger fish that eat shellfish)
  • Older thermometers 
What you can do: 
  • Eliminate the consumption of large fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from diet, especially if you're trying to conceive, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about the air pollution, but if you live in a major city with a lot of pollution, try to make a weekly visit to a park surrounded by trees and clean air and inhale. 
  • Fight for clean air through the Clean Air Act
4.  Bisphenol A (BPA) and 5. Phthalates 

Linked to: endocrine disruptors, hormone disruptors (they mimic natural hormones and can affect reproductive development and health), early puberty, low testosterone for males and male reproductive problems. 

Found in: 
What you can do: 
  • Don't support or purchase any body products with "Fragrance" listed as an ingredient. They legally DO NOT have to tell you how many toxins are used in that word used to mask an array of chemicals including this one. 
    • This may come as a shock to you ladies, but it's in 99% of your products that are not organic. Use EWG to see what ingredients are found in the daily products you use. Purchase organic skin care products for your whole family.
  • Look for "PVC-free" raincoats and backpacks
  • Try to have cashiers drop the receipt in the bag to refrain from touching the chemical.
  • Avoid purchasing food and beverage cans, plastics and bottled formulas unless they are marked "BPA-free"
  • Do not microwave foods in plastic containers because they release this toil chemical and others into the food
  • Purchase "BPA-free" cups
6. Flame Retardants

Linked to: damaged reproductive systems (specifically polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs]), affected motor skills, learning, memory and hearing. 

Found in: 
  • Upholstered furniture (couches, pillows, mattresses, carpet padding)
    • Because the chemical is not bonded to foam, they can be released in the dust of the furniture as it ages (very scary!)
  • Electronics before 2014
  • Foam products manufactured before 2005
What you can do: 
  • Don't let babies put electronics, especially those mobile phones, in their mouths
  • Replace furniture and pillows if foam is old and beyond repair
  • Use a vacuum with HEPA filter and/or run HEPA air filters in rooms
  • Throw out older items such as car seats and mattress pads where the foam is not covered in a protective fabric
7. Fluoride

Linked to: cancer, discolored teeth, loss in tooth enamel, brittle bones, and neurotoxicity. 

Found in: 
  • Water supply
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Soil
What you can do: 
  • Switch to a toothpaste and mouthwash that does not contain fluoride. I personally use Now XyliWhite Toothpaste and love it! I have for over 4 years. 
  • Call your state department of environmental protection or municipal water supplier to see the level of fluoride in your waters. We do this every time we move to find out immediately.
  • Invest in purchasing a water filtration that does reverse osmosis. Use the EWG water filter buying guide before doing this. 
8. Pesticides 

Linked to: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia in children and negative neurobehavioral development. 

Found in: 
  • Sprays to treat and kill inspects and weeds produce, outdoor lawns and gardens. 
  • Soil as a result of spraying
  • Groundwater supply as a result of spraying
  • Baby food and drinks
What you can do: 
  • Don't let children play in areas where pesticides have just been sprayed
  • Buy organic fruits and veggies!
  • Always wash fruits and veggies with a soft brush and water or peel and trim before eating. 
9. Lead 

Linked to: nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development 

Found in: 
  • Homes built before 1978 that have not been in good repair (lead was found in wood and used in paint) 
  • Imported toys,
  • Jewelry 
  • Candy 
What you can do: 
  • If you live in a home built before 1978, be sure all the paint is in good condition as it contains lead and can be inhaled by young ones. Frequently mop and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • If you live in an older home, make sure to get a lead-safe certified contractor to do repairs
  • Avoid painted or metal toys older than 1978
  • Avoid purchasing imported toys and children's jewelry, especially from China
  • Do not buy candy made in Mexico
10. Perchlorate  

Linked to: high doses interferes with iodine absorption into the thyroid gland, which interferes with hormone production needed for growth and development.

Found in: 
  • Naturally occurring it is found in arid states in the southwestern U.S.
  • Industrial chemical contaminant used in rocket fuel, fireworks, explosives and flares
  • Bleach
  • Some fertilizers
  • Groundwater
  • Drinking water and irrigation all over the country
What you can do: 
  • Call your state department of environmental protection or municipal water supplier to see the level of perchlorate in your waters. 
  • Check with your doctor about taking an iodine supplement to boost thyroid function and offset any contaminants. 

Getting Rid of Acne Naturally

Let's face it, acne sucks! No one likes to have it and yet for many people it is inevitable. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects about 80% of all Americans between the ages of 12-44. It's also the most commonly treated skin abnormality.

We know it can be embarrassing and make us feel insecure about the way we appear to others.

Acne can be caused by so many different factors, and still there are natural treatments and remedies that will help you get rid of it.

*For the sake of keeping this post simple, I will not be discussing Acne Rosacea or Acne Vulgaris.  

Let's dive in...

What is acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that occurs when the natural oils in your skin begin to clog. When this occurs, bacteria is multiplied and the skin becomes inflamed. This characterizes itself in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and sometimes cysts.

What causes acne?
Acne has several causes, but these are the main ones (you'll know which category you belong to):

  • Hereditary
  • Oily skin (FYI: this is NOT a bad thing and the more you try to remove the oil from your skin, the more your skin tries to replenish it, so don't. Appreciate'll wrinkle slower than generational peers)
  • Hormone imbalance 
  • Monthly menstrual cycle
  • Candidiasis (If you suffer from candida, which is basically a fungal infection that can happen anywhere in the body, one of the best natural treatments I've seen for this has been Candida Freedom. They have pills and a soap. The soap is good for topical candida or acne.)
Now, there are other more common factors that contribute to acne that are easier to treat:
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Poor diet high on saturated fats, hydrogenated fats and oils, and/or animal products
  • Drug use (e.g. steroids, lithium, oral contraceptives, and some anti-epileptic drugs)
  • Exposure to industrial pollutants (such as machine oils, coal tar derivatives, and chlorinated hydrocarbons) 
  • Stress - This one is a doozy. It's really the root of so many illnesses, so RELAX! =)

How can I get rid of acne naturally?
Depending on what the cause of your acne is from the two lists above, depends on the best solutions for treating it naturally.

When it comes to nutritional deficiencies and poor diet, that is something you have in your control.

Stay Away
Getting rid of nutrient-deficient foods, such as junk food, carbonated beverages, highly processed foods, sugar, enriched flour products, refined foods...etc, is the best way to start, even if you don't have acne. Here's a quick list of ingredients you should stay away from: Bad Ingredient List.

When it comes to drug use, just remember that your body absorbs everything you put inside and outside of it. Harmful chemicals that only add inflammation to your body, will not only cause acne, but other detrimental illnesses and diseases that are triggered by the same.

The skin is the largest organ in the body; you need to make sure you treat it as such and be methodical about how to care for it. I'm going to share with you the best nutrients and remedies to use if you do have acne.

According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, the top three nutrients to combat acne are the following:

  • Acidophilus - replenishes essential bacteria to reduce outbreaks (taking it pure is better than yogurt, but if you don't want to purchase it, than yogurt is better than nothing at all. Make sure it's not sugar-induced yogurt or your defeating the purpose).
  • Collodial silver - Take orally and apply topically with cotton. This is a natural antibiotic. (I personally use this anytime I feel I'm coming down with something. It's definitely always in my house)
  • Vitamin A - 25,000 IU daily until healed then reduce to 5,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. This vitamin strengths the protective skin tissue.

Natural Remedies 
  • Bentonite clay mask- This is one of my favorite things to do! Bentonite clay pulls toxins from the body and the clay mask really works wonderfully. I have hooked so many people on this mask for good reason. Click on the heading for the best way to use it. 
  • Stay away from toxins - I blogged on this as well a while ago and there a few key ingredients that you should steer clear from in your beauty products. 
  • Tea tree oil - this has been my go-to product for years the second I feel like a pimple is coming or once it has taken residence on my face. Tea tree oil is antimicrobial, which is why it's an amazing product for acne. I use the Tea Tree oil by Desert Essence
  • Clean up your diet and eat healthy whole foods - increase consumption of greens (veggies) and fruits
  • Drink lots of water - rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces of water daily
  • Eliminate junk food, fried food (that's just more oil), saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, carbonated drinks, shortening, trans-fatty acids, refined foods and concentrated sugars
  • Limit alcohol intake - this contains lots of simple sugars that will only agitate acne
  • Eat a high-fiber diet - this helps clean you out of toxins as well

Consider this!
All disorders, pains and illnesses you feel are your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Taking medication without knowing the true cause is just telling your body to shut-up for a short while. Meanwhile, whatever the main cause is could be progressing at an alarming rate and damaging or compromising other organs or functions in your body.

The natural solutions offered could be permanent or temporary solutions. That all has to do with the cause behind your acne. Unless you know, find out from a medical professional.

As with all health posts, it is important to consult your doctor before beginning any treatments, especially if you are currently taking any medications. None of these statements have been approved by the FDA (if they had, I wouldn't post them =p...jk, but not really). 

My first square foot garden

Our goal in purchasing our almost 5 acres was to start being a little more self-sustaining. The process took us a few months while getting settled into our home, but with the first spring arriving, we took advantage and started building the raised garden beds. I have never gardened before so this was definitely a first for me.

We wanted to start by trying the square foot gardening method

For the first season, I made two 4x6 square foot gardens that contain the following crops (ALL ORGANIC seeds):
  • Roma Tomato
  • Sweetie Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Baby Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Red Pepper
  • Pepper Mix
  • Thyme
  • Beets
The soil used contains:
  • ⅓ vermiculite
  • ⅓ peat moss
  • ⅓ compost
This is the recipe from Mel's Mix, but instead of doing the math (it was giving us all major headaches), we purchased it pre made. We are not using ANY pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Yes, I've lost a few bits to the insects, but we share land =).

Here's the process of how I completed it (with the help of a wonderful neighbor/friend):

Nailed the wood together (this wood is NOT treated because I did not want the chemicals on or near my crops)

Laid out the beds and stapled weed resistant tarp underneath to prevent weeds

Started laying out soil

Nailed twelve inches apart and wrapped in twine to show each square

The reasoning behind the layout of the crops was intentional. Certain crops garner good shade from others and some do really well near specific crops. After a few tweaks, this was the final layout for the two boxes:
Crops in each square in garden bed #1

Crops in each square in garden bed #2
Planted and watered the seeds 

Slowly the crops started rising within a week (some faster than others)

Week 2

Garden bed #1 

Spinach - Week 3

Green beans and swiss chard - Week 3

Garden bed #2

Garden bed #1


Week 5

We decided to fence it in, give the tomatoes their own trellis' and kill the grass and weeds with small river rocks

The location of our garden has between 8-9 hours of sun with the shaded part starting on the garden bed #1 where the tomatoes are located. It's been a fun and exciting process to see my garden grow from seeds to actual crops. They're not ready yet for harvest, but I'll be excited to eat it and juice it when it is!

Warm Up With Some Chili

My husband is a hunter and I've grown to love and appreciate it, especially when we have venison in the freezer. One of my favorite meals to make with our ground venison is my deer chili.

Since the temperature in Orlando decided to drop to 47 degrees, I decided to make a dinner that warmed us up while enjoying the brief chill (the next day was 75 degrees).

The recipe calls for the following:

  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic (I love garlic so adding more is always nice)
  • 1 organic green pepper 
  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground venison
  • 2 15-oz cans of organic kidney beans
  • 2 14.5-oz cans of organic diced tomatoes 
  • 1 15-oz can of organic tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp crushed dried basil
  • black pepper
  • garlic salt
  • 1 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional - but not for us)
  • sour cream (optional)

Start by cooking the ground venison with the onion, garlic and green pepper.

Then add the kidney beans...

Then add the diced tomatoes...

Mix it together well...

Follow it with the tomato sauce...

Add your water...

 Add all your spices (never pay attention to my measurements...I change them everytime and taste as I go)...

Mix it all together and bring to a boiling. Then let it simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I made fresh organic bread to go with the chili using a bread machine.

Then it's ready to serve.

If you made it right, this should be the end result =)

The End.

So much to post, so little time

I have been really bad about updating this blog. I have had so many ideas, but not enough time to research and write.

Every post on this blog is researched and cited to give credibility. As a result, my posts take a little longer than most. So a nutshell, I've been lazy.

But, if you want to follow my Pinterest board on DIY Natural Remedies and Beauty tips, as well as Natural Health, you can do so here:


Stay tuned, I promise I'll be better next year =)

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus is such an amazing aromatic plant. The health benefits of this plant have been known for thousands of years. The essential oil comes from the fresh leaves of the tall, evergreen eucalyptus tree, scientifically classified as Eucalyptus Globulus. 

Native to Australia, this awesome tree has spread throughout other parts of the world. The major benefits of eucalyptus are shown below in the image. It's such a great substitute for toxic inhalants or topical chest ointments (e.g. Vicks VapoRub). 

I like to keep the essential oil in the house as a great inhalant when stuffed up from a cold. Great to have handy, especially if you have children.